Monthly Archives: October 2011

a collection of some of my words…

Feeling like an artist…

Well, I have had quite an arty weekend. Seeing my two entries on display at the Taranaki Art Awards and Exhibition was very exciting. I felt quite proud of them. There is an amazing selection of art to see at the exhibition and it is real acknowledgement of the wide range of artistic talent in Taranaki. If you get the chance, go and check it out.

I also had two paintings on display at a national conference on in Taranaki, at a beautiful winery, over the weekend…so  I am feeling the love…!

Wherever you are, I hope you too, are sharing your art and creative ideas.



Taranaki Art Awards – start this weekend!!

This is just a  plug for the Taranaki Art Awards…they really are good and if you do like seeing local artists talent, then get down to Opunake and check out the exhibition – featuring many of  Taranaki’s (and NZ’s) finest artists, and new, exciting, emerging artists also frequently contribute. It’s on for several weeks.

Opening night is this friday, 7pm, its cheap as chips and includes a glass of bubbly.  It’s also a nice day trip  – round the mountain, stop in Eltham (vintage shops and cheese), Stratford (Art Gallery), Opunake (art exhibition, cafes, shops and beach picnic) make day of it. If you have kids there is agreat playground down by the Opunake Beach and a skatepark (with No Graffiti!!!) right next to exhibition centre in Opunake.

Anyway – here is the link, FYI.

I’d love you to support local art, by checking it out if you are, Opunake is a gorgeous 45 min drive from new Westown supermarket.

See you there!

My heart wandered, too…

My heart wandered, too… Not to Italy, or to France as I read about in several of my favourite “beautiful” books – women going off searching for something… their lost heart, love, romance, excitement, a different future than the one they could see unfolding before them…Nor did I did I Eat, Pray, and Love my way through three continents. I did not meet a guitar playing, vespa riding, Italian heartthrob or a melt in the mouth Frenchman who could whisper sweet nothings in my ears.

 I did not enjoy weekends at a rustic and authentic Tuscan villa, or spend days in a petite but glamorous Parisian apartments with views of the Eiffel Tower, or months reflecting on life while at a Buddhist retreat…

 No, these were not options for me on my heart journey… My journey is a lot less exotic, in fact a few coffees at a local French style café and an italian car is about as European as it got…it is a kiwi story, a taranaki story, a lot more local, very local in fact, but just as full of surprises and unexpected turns, inspiring moments and still, fundamentally a life journey. What was I searching for? I guess, it what was described by Carla Coulson in her book “Italian joy” and that was to be “filled with an indescribable happiness for what my life had become”.

 Reality interfered with my European fantasy. Just a few little things like, well, I noticed in the books I read that none of them seemed to have children, for starters. Nor minor factors like mortgages, debts, jobs…you know the usual things. Like having 3 dependent children that I was not about to leave behind, oh… and a crippling mortgage, and a teeny small matter like a job…these may be insignificant matters when we are talking affairs of the heart, but never the less, they were more than enough for me to ensure a full blown fantasy escape to Europe for a years self indulgent sabbatical  to find what I was searching for, was simply not going to be happening anytime soon.

So, this story is my story. It is the story of the painful process of untangling yourself from your marriage and starting over, the search to truly find what makes you happy, feel inspired, really loved…its also the story of an unplanned and unexpected pregnancy , but mostly it is a love story…a search for my own heart and a what I found along the way, kind of story…

 My journey was not a planned out, considered vacation, thought about, researched and plotted about. I simply realized one day that the thought of spending another single day in the life that I had was simply going to swallow me up and spit me out as a bitter, angry, sad and resentful person. I felt stuck, suffocated, frustrated, lonely and tired of pretending everything was great. Like many things like this, what looks like a sudden rash decision, is simply the end result of a long painful period of desperately wanting the image I had got so good at presenting to others, to be the reality I was actually in.

 And so I left. And started again. Just me, my three sons, very little money and no real plan. I gave back my wedding ring, my engagement ring, and the keys to my family home and I walked away. What defines the path we end up on is largely based on what we choose to take with us and what we leave behind, I recalled from Pia’s book, and I reflect on how true this is.  

And this is what I found when I wasn’t really looking…

I found that I am a good, kind, decent person. I am not mentally unstable, or selfish, or erratic. I found that I could be a better mother to my children than I had been. I found that I was capable of giving and receiving love again. I found that I was stronger than I thought. I found out that my destiny included mothering 4 children and that I feel so incredibly blessed to have each of them. I found that it doesn’t really matter what others think, if you know you are doing the right things. I found that guilt remains for a long, long, long time. I found that if you do risk, the rewards can be far greater than you ever expected. I found that I am a nicer, better, kinder, more involved friend to my friends and family. I discovered that I actually have everything I ever wanted. It came to me when I finally believed I deserved it, believed it was possible and believed quietly it would happen. I found my creative self. And I found my heart.

This is some writing I have been doing – I hope you enjoy it.  The books I loosely refer to are;

What does it say about a person…the words they collect, use and save?


 Antiques Adventure Alone Art Alive Answers Anticipation Architecture Apples A simple, modern life, a paring back and more focused on quality Ageless A story to tell Antiquity Absolutes An attitude of gratitude


Being bold Books Beauty Brainstorming Being Beaches Bubble Baths Brave Butterflies But doing it anyway Beads Bridges Balance Caleb’s Blue eyes – the very best shade of blue I have ever seen. Beating hearts Basil and tomatoes Blond haired Boys Believing Blood lines


Closer Creating Colour Coffee Cats Curves Chaos Connections Confused Complex choices Child like Chocolate consequences Challenging Change Celebrate Corrugated iron Celebrities aren’t Children, mine especially. Context  Create – to bring into being, to produce as a work of thought or imagination.


Do you believe in destiny? Deciding on a different path Driftwood Dreams Dancing Decrepid buildings Drinking wine Doubts Decisions Deepest darkest Delicious Describing


Enigmatic Elegant Eloquently Exasperated Expressively Ephemera Eat Endings Epiphany Exploring


Frayed edges Fork in the road Feeling is first Friends Feeling really really happy Foundling Fragment Farrier


Giving not taking Glistening Going for it Glass like


Head first Honest Hanging out the washing Heart to heart Heartfelt Heart land Heart ache Heart songs Happiness


Intimacy Interested Is there any greater journey than love? Inspirational Images I am that is In the moment


Journaling Jaded Joins together the pieces of my life Just do Just be


Kids smiles Knowing when to stop and when to start also


Letting go Live love laugh Love Lyrically Living Letters


My self My own My life My heart wanders My heart pounding Mama tiki


Noticing Night sky Nature Nuture


Ours Owning Origin Once upon a time Objet trouve – an ordinary object, found; a strand of sequins, a beaded flower, thread and buttons, etc that is treated as an object of art by the one who finds it. Origin France.


Paying attention to the small things Peace Painstakingly A Perfect day Perhaps just a minute longer Perhaps I am just a girl with delusions of grandeur? Are perhaps, people where they are they want. They are two different things. Play Picking up the pieces Pohutokawa flowers at Christmas time




Restoring the balance Reflections Its Raining again Romantically Responsively Record keeper Rainy day jobs Rewards Retreats Reflects Rejuvenates Being Real Respect Renew


Stories Streets Sojourns Starting something So, here we are Serendipity Sanity Sanctuary Soil Sand Surf Soothes Sunshine streaming in See Shells Sculpture Smiles Sunday morning piklets


Touchstone Giving Thanks Taking risks Things that I know to be true Think Travel


Unexpected places Us Unite / Untie (how can 5 letters mean so much?)


Vessel Voyages Vintage


Want less, not more Wide eyed Will anyone like my paintings? Water, our life blood Witness to our lives Weekend What do you want, do what you want, want what you do. Walking Walks on the beach Wavering


Marks the spot. Kisses. Sign here.


You, of course


It’s about the end. The last one. Finito The end of an era. The end of summer. The end of love. The end of the story. And then when there is an end, a real end, then and only then, can there be a new beginning.

These are some of “my” words.  I collect words, they appear in my various journals as scraps cut out of other books, newspapers, posters, flyers, or scribbled down by me. They frequently inspire my art. I guess it may be a bit peculiar to collect words and simple phrases, but, I like them. I wonder about how words affect us.

Point No1. There must be no evidence of life.

Ten top things I have learnt from looking at a very beautiful, very glossy book of 100 “dream homes” from down under…

1. Remove all evidence of any life. I am not expecting shoes by the front door, laundry baskets over flowing beside the washing machine, or dishes in the sink in a glossy photo house book. But I am expecting evidence of a LIFE! You know, evidence of a life lived and being lived fully? Evidence of personality, interests, accomplishments,  relationships….real LIFE. Real people certainly do not live in these houses. 

2. Tables must be bare of everything. They must be big, shiny, and very modern looking. Do not dare have anything on it. At a real push you may have a modern vase with flowers. definitely not a tv remote, coasters, placemats, a bowl of fruit, or heaven forbid… a newspaper. Same rule applies for coffee tables.

3. Absolutely no family photos allowed. Absolutely NOT on any walls. One cute photo (must be black and white and in a modern frame)  of a baby or a recognisable and desirable tourist destination (ie Eiffel Tower) on a side board or bed side table is tolerated.  Not a family mug shot to be seen. Definitely no photos of events, milestones, ugly relatives or pets. No ugly and mismatched photo frames either.  

4. Sofas must be large, very low, angular, and you may select one colour – beige, black or grey. Cushions may be allowed but absolutely must be colour coordinated to match sofa and curtains. They must be located on a very nice (also colour coordinated) rug with a coffee table placed in the middle. (see above, point 2). A  TV must not be seen. children’s toy box, definitely not.

5. Kitchens must be glossy, shiny, with bare surfaces. Only exception an italian coffee machine. Any sign that actually anyone cooks or prepares meals must be banished from sight. Food must not be visible. You are allowed a very nice bowl of perfectly formed fruit. All fruit must be same shape, colour and form and the fruit colour must co-ordinate (or juxtapose nicely with) with the kitchen cupboards. Herbs growing on windowsills are definitely not tolerated. Cooking utensils must not be displayed. Pots must not be displayed. Fridges (preferably) must not be visible. Cookers must be stainless (and fridges) if they are visible. Cookbooks must be tucked away out of sight. You may leave out one, but it cannot be the cook book you had while flatting, or your children’s school fund-raising cook book. It must be hard cover. Toast making is definitely not to be seen. Ditto homework activities, high chairs, and any other sign of children in the kitchen.In fact, preferably all your kitchen activity is removed to a dark, tiny room called the scullery or walk in pantry, and the place that is called “the kitchen” is just for looking at.

6. Floors must be shiny floor boards (if a beach house) or preferably tiles. Carpet is not allowed in living areas (apart from one rug (see point 4). There must not be anything on the floor, part from placed furniture and one rug. Shoes must not be left on it. Dogs or cats must not lie on it. It is not to be used for riding bikes, learning to roller blade, or for dancing.

7. Bathrooms must not actually be used.

8. Laundries do not exist. Nor do garden sheds. Nor do junk drawers, filing cabinets, toy boxes, computers or any electronics that have wires, or vacuum cleaners. Anything remotely “useful” or functional must be stored neatly in a garage or a drawer.

9. No one in these houses gets given or inherits ugly presents for their house by relatives and friends. No ugly platters and dinner sets  from a wedding 10 years ago, no ugly large vases from dear aunty Mabel,  no ugly painting inherited from Uncle Joe, no ugly “doesn’t really fit with our house” furniture inherited from grandma. No, not in these houses. Everything is perfect, colour-matched, coordinated, and preferably new. It is selected and chosen by the owners, for this house. 

10. Houses must be big. Shiny. Full of glass. Nothing wrong with that. Built for entertaining. Nothing wrong with that either. They must be modern in all ways. Rooms must be open plan, the bigger the better. Bedrooms must be far from living spaces. Childrens’ rooms must be far from the parents retreat. Visitors must be far from both. One lounge is definetly not enough, you must have at least two of any of the following: a formal lounge, a theatre/tv room, a children’s play room, a grown up’s entertaining room, a visitors lounge, or a family room.  

So, what I learnt was, if these are dream homes, maybe I am having the wrong dream? Am I the only one questioning the  DREAM?  I wonder if these architectural masterpieces are built for living in, or more for show? The more i reflected on them, the more i realised that what they had in common were not things i aspired too. I like small spaces as well as big spaces. I like kitchens that look used, lounges  and living areas that tell you something about the people that live there, I like pets and children, and evidence of them. I like family photos, music instruments, books, and things that make a house a real, home. With these 100 houses, I longed for some, any, evidence of life. I wished for visible  information about who really lived there. What I saw were designer tables, sofas and paintings, glass and clear surfaces. Almost exclusively – the same things (above 10 points) over and over again. So…are they dream homes? Society says they must be. I think not.

words from a wise soul…

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Do something great.

RIP Steve Jobs.

What makes a place have heart?

What makes us want to be somewhere? What makes us want to linger in a place? What makes us want to meet friends or family at a certain place? What makes a space a place?… 

a little note about a big city with a little bit of a big change going on…

Sometimes things can really surprise you…In a good way I mean. I left Auckland 5 years ago, not entirely sad to say good-bye to it..the traffic, the noise, the real lack of a down town city centre with any discernible “heart”, the inability to walk anywhere, the lack of good quality inner city urban environments (in the CBD), the lack of trees…well, Auckland CBD, I think you have come of age. Now, I know its rugby time and you have made yourself all pretty for the big  “to do”, but you really have grown up…and in an interesting, funky, edgy, creative, inspiring kind of way!  And you have lots of places to sit, walk, talk, meet, in streets that are not full of cars, but actually, full of people, and furniture and real, blossoming trees!…And grass and fun things to sit on, rest on, read a book on, interesting play grounds and sculptures……what a pleasure to be here! You have lots of little cafe’s, boutique shops, and little kiosks,  in all sorts of nooks and crannies and lanes where people have priority. Old buildings are being restored, spaces are being transformed in a good way…Your main down-town streets are no longer a deserted wasteland, not that long ago only filled with cars, bus loads of tourists and foreign students, but now really, really full of people…families, children, workers, all sorts of people…a real city! Big tall buildings and modern glass/chrome facades? Yes, they are there, Auckland is a big cosompolitan city after all,  with all that big glass shiny-ness. But… what you discover, if you walk around and spend some time,  is that this city centre is a livable, human-scale, vibrant, thriving city – with lots to discovery…and I for one, am very jealous!  Something good is going on! 

A tale of two friends…

A friend sent me two links to check out…she thought I’d find them inspiring She was right! Both of them sent me on a trip  from one blog site to another and another, to one website, to another and another link, and another link……looking at all the gorgeous things people are making, all the inspired stories of people doing what they love, and all the courses, seminars, resources, advice, all available…it really is a real community of like-minded creative people out there…all busy sharing, caring, trying to make a living doing what they love, doing what they do because it compels or inspires them…I feel totally invigorated, inspired and ready to join in. So, check out these sites and be prepared to fall in love…

 Another friend feels so far away…maybe these sites will remind her that even though we are many thousands of miles apart, there are people in both our communities at opposite ends of the earth, making beautiful handmade things, doing,  maybe even sharing, and maybe if she finds some of them, it will make her new big, crowded, noisy city feel a lot less soul-less….its just a thought?

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