Monday, 12 September 2011

Windows ATC Swap

The lovely Patty Clark is hosting an ATC swap over at Milliande's art community with the theme of "Windows". This theme resonated with me and so I signed up and finished the cards last week. I made window shutters that open to reveal a rugged window frame made with granular gel.

The "window pane" is made from a sheet of mica through which you can see a fair maiden waiting at the window for her love.

I used gesso, acrylics, gel pens, stamps and mica.

Let me go to the window
Watch there the day-shapes of dusk
And wait and know
The coming of a little love.

                              Carl Sandburg

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Banana Murderer and new beginnings

For a couple of years now we had been lamenting the fact that our majestic big trees in the backyard had to go due to the fact that they had become unstable and dangerous. Tree loppers were asked for quotes, and more than a year passed without any action on our part.  Finally it was agreed that we would go ahead but we were hit with devastating floods and heavy rain for months on end. Then it turned into a waiting game for the ground to dry enough for the tree lopper's trucks to drive on.

Tipuanas in May 2011
In the meantime precious plants were moved, garden gates and termite traps dug up, brick edgings removed, juvenile banana trees dug up and transplanted and still the rains would return every time we thought the ground was firm enough to call the tree loppers.

Finally the ground was dry enough towards the middle of July and we gave the tree loppers the go ahead to remove the trees.

My partner gave clear instructions to the tree loppers of leaving our precious banana tree standing (we finally have fruit after 5 years!) and asked them to avoid damaging the tree. We could not believe our eyes when a minute later, yes, 60 seconds later, one of the guys (aka the "Banana Murderer") was half hanging, half wrestling with the same tree until it lay flat on the ground. Too late to save the tree, we hurried outside and quickly removed the precious, unripe bunch of bananas and hung them under the house in the hope the fruit might still ripen (which it did not), before the truck moved in and work began in earnest.

It always amazes me that people are able to cut down a tree in a couple of hours when it took decades for it to reach maturity. The crew took a day and a half to chop eleven trees down.

We went from this last year:

To this:

We saved some pieces from the trees' long thick logs for my partner's future woodworking projects and five slabs for me to paint on.

The Tipuana trees (Tipuana tipu) bled red sap. A beautiful deep red, like blood. The next day we collected as much as we could of this sap, some was still liquid and some had dried to a crumbly texture. Hopefully we will get to use it as a paint of some sorts.

The native bee nest in the stump of one of the Tipuanas was saved and the bees stayed on. We have capped the stump with an old metal sheet and the bees now have an overhang to shelter them from the weather.

We are now faced with a "brown desert".  It is depressing to look at but at the same time full of new possibilities. In the meantime there are weeds to contend with, it seems our backyard is host to the worst obnoxious weeds. There's Madeira Vine (Anredera cordifolia), Onion weed (Nothoscordum inodorum), Nutgrass (Cyperus rotundus), Cobbler's Pegs (Bidens pilosa ), Chinese Elm seedlings (Ulmus parvifolia), Oxalis, the list goes on, you name it - chances are we've got it.

I will end on a positive note: The Banana Murderer did not succeed in totally getting rid of our banana tree.
Imagine my joy when I noticed five little side shoots coming off the cut trunk of the old tree. Now we will let them grow a bit taller before we'll carefully separate them into five new banana trees and a couple of years down the track we might finally enjoy our banana crop.

young banana shoots

Until next time... I wish you every success dealing with your weeds!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 14

I thought it was time to finally share my own creations I made for this swap.

My initial plan was for cards that incorporated and focused on the Yin Yang symbol to show that good and evil are in balance but I did not get any further with this idea.

I based my interpretation of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil instead around the Greek god Pan.
The nature god Pan was depicted with the back legs and horns of a goat. While some see Pan as the god of the wild, nature and shepherds other will see in him the Devil. Because of this I called my cards Pan's Duality (good and evil).

Pan's Duality by Monika Schmid

The background is a needle felted and freehand machine embroidered landscape in blues, purples, greys and greens. I took a photo of my Pan statue, photoshopped it and printed it out on fabric. The leaves I made by sandwiching an old page from a Greek old testament page between sheer fabric and freehand machine embroidered leave shapes that were then cut out. The cards were embellished with beads, little stars and an embroidered fence.
Monika's cards

This will be the last of my posts about this swap as I am getting ready to swap the cards and mail them back to the four corners of the world.

Until next time... xoxo

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mother Earth ATCs

The lovely Louise is hosting an ATC swap with the theme "Mother Earth" over at Milliande's, so despite my best intentions to ease off the swaps and instead focus on my art I could not resist signing up.

My Mother Earth is surrounded by a rainbow written with her names from different cultures and the symbols within the brown circles are symbols for Earth  also from different cultures. I have used acrylics, Twinkling H2Os and gel and black pen.

Mother Earth ATC's front
The cards open to a Ute prayer that I thought would go nicely with the theme. The background is a photo I have taken at the Mount Cootha Botanical Gardens in Brisbane.

On the back of the card I have written the following:

Cherokee Prayer Blessing

May the Warm Winds of Heaven
Blow softly upon your house.
May the Great Spirit
Bless all who enter there.
May your Moccasins
Make happy tracks
in many snows,
and may the Rainbow
Always touch your shoulder.


Monday, 1 August 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 13

Apologies for my long absence here I had holidays and have been sick with the flu the last couple of weeks. But today exciting mail arrived so I had to share.

After being lost in the mail somewhere for over a month the missing package arrived today from Barbara and Julka with their beautiful ATC creations. It was really exciting to open the envelop to find all these beautiful cards.

Here they are in no particular order:

Barbara's cards
Barbara's cards are made with collage and pieced paper. I am not sure how well you can see the eye of the raven but it has a tiny red (evil) jewel glued to it. Barbara's cards have wonderful titles: "Quoth the Raven Nevermore", "There stepped a stately Raven", "In the Garden - Midnight Eerie", "The gloom of Death is on the Raven's Wing" and "Blackbird singing in the Dead of Night".

Julka's ATCs
Julka's cards also have such an eerie look to them that I just love. There are angels sitting in the garden and in the front are dogs that look like they might be just about to howl at the moon. Julka used Gesso, image transfers and heat embossing.
Thank you both for participating and your beautiful cards!

There's more to show and tell, tales from the holidays and projects which I will share as I get my energy back.

Until next time... xoxo

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 12

A new set of cards has arrived! This time they are from Pandora in the US.
Pandora created ingenious little cards so richly layered with card stock.

Pandora's ATCs
Thank you for taking part, Pandora! I am waiting just on a few more cards to arrive for this swap before they get traded and sent out into the big wide world.

I also received my cards from the Bluebird of Happiness swap organised by the lovely Mary who also included some lovely bird cut outs  which I suspect her magical Sizzix machine might have produced.

received from the Bluebird of Happiness ATC swap

The card on the left is made by Sonja and the card on the right is made by Trine. Both cards will be treasured additions to my ATC collection.

Until next time... xoxo

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 11

Here are the latest arrivals for our Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil swap (as always in no particular order):

The first lot are from Mary Montedonico in the US. I must apologise about the poor quality of the scan it does not do Mary's beautiful creations justice. Mary based her cards on "Bloody Rosie" and used black tulle, ribbons and stick on jewels to great effect to embellish her multi layered art work. Mary's cards are intriguing and I wonder just who this victorian looking "bloody Rosie" was and what her story is.

Mary Montedonico's ATCs

The second set of cards is from Dawna in Canada who created these beautiful and spooky creations with digital collage(?) Each card has a different quote that sets the mood for the artwork.

Dawna's cards closed
Dawna's cards opened

As you can see there is a wonderful variety of artwork from all the different participants.

Until next time... xoxo

Monday, 11 July 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 10

Deedee's beautiful ATCs have arrived today from California. I am amazed at yet another totally different interpretation of the theme and the stories these cards tell!

Deedee's cards
Deedee used cutouts, rubber stamps and acrylics for her whimsical creations.

Thank you so much for taking part, Deedee!

Until next time... xoxo

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 9

Here are the latest arrivals for my ATC swap. The first lot came from Desi in the Netherlands. Desi created wonderfully dark dutch houses with a night garden.

Desi's ATCs

The second set is from Marilyn in Canada. When I was brave enough to pull on the little ribbon I made a grizzly discovery within these amazing cards!:-)

Marilyn's ATCs

The third set arrived from Sonja from Serbia. Sonja's cards have a beautiful vintage look to them.

Sonja's ATCs

Thank you Desi, Marilyn and Sonja for taking part. It is an absolute pleasure to see what everyone created!

Until next time... xoxo

Monday, 4 July 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 8

Two more sets of cards have arrived today, and what stunning creations they all are! I am amazed at the different interpretations of the theme and the creativity of every participant.

The first set is by Mel-made from Australia who used inks, gel pens, ink pencils and liquid graphite for her deliciously creepy plants.

Mel-made's ATCs

The second set of cards arrived all the way from Canada from Anne Trudell.
Anne created five different and beautiful designs using black gesso, paper cutouts, acrylics and ink.

Anne Trudell's ATCs

Closeup of the card on the bottom left with the window opened

I feel very privileged to receive all these wonderful cards and being able to admire them in person before they get sent back out into the world.

Until next time... xoxo

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 7

Two more fabulous sets of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil cards have arrived.
The first comes from my lovely and inspiring friend Liz Monaghan in the US. Liz has used the image of "Loud Larry" who looks like he is scared and in trouble and screaming for help:-) Liz has used decorative paper, stamps, ink, marker, brads, chain and charms for her beautiful cards.

Liz' ATCs

The second set is from my wonderful and always inspiring friend Louise Kirby. I am so lucky, Louise also takes part in our art journal round robin and me being next in the circle I always get to admire and get inspired by her beautiful entries in person.

Louise's cards closed

A black gate opens to a nightly garden scene under the full moon where witches dwell in lovely little houses.

Louise's cards open

I can't believe Louise also gifted me one of her wonderful goddess shrine ATCs. I just have to show pictures of it too and you can see more of Louise's inspiring art on her blog.

Thank you both so much for taking part in this swap!
Until next time... xoxo

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 6

Two more packages filled with amazing creations arrived today.

Here are the beautiful ATCs from Lorraine Rigby in England. I must admit my scanner is not doing these or any of the other cards received any justice. Lorraine has created such beautiful cards full of symbology that remind me of Tarot cards.

Lorraine Rigby's ATCs

And the second set arrived from Beth Gould in the US.
Now I must warn you Beth's cards are pretty scary... Beth mentioned that she had some crazy dreams and I am not surprised:-) But her cards are deliciously creepy and dark!

Beth Gould's cards
A big thank you to both Lorraine and Beth for taking part and your beautiful cards!

Until next time.. xoxo

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 5

When I got home today a beautiful package from Trine in Denmark was waiting for me. The package was decorated with beautiful stamps, postage stamps and even a poem by Mary Oliver.

I wonder what the postman thinks delivering all these beautiful artistic packages.

Trine's cards are very elegant in design featuring bats, ravens, girls with face paint on, full moons and stylised plants.

Trine's ATCs

Trine used Ink, Aquacolor, Paper Images and Gel medium.

Thank you Trine for taking part and your creations which I love!

Until next time... xoxo

Friday, 24 June 2011

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil ATC swap part 4

Two more sets of beautiful  ATC creations arrived for the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil swap, both from England.

The first set is from my good friend Mary Larner whose sepia coloured creations I just love! These little cards have such an eerie and spooky atmosphere with ghostly figures lurking behind trees or under the archway.
Mary used bleached vintage photos, vintage text and pictures from a 120 year old book, transparencies and distress inks.

Mary Larner's ATCs

The second set is by Lynn Kelman who created these beautiful cards with a different and wonderfully spooky atmosphere based on her stone angels. In Lynn's accompanying letter she says these beautiful words:


Lynn Kelman's ATCs

Please click on the photos to see a bigger picture.

A big thank you to Mary and Lynn for taking part and your beautiful cards!

Have a great weekend!

Until next time...

Monday, 20 June 2011

Strawberry farm, Beach and Scones

This weekend we went for a drive to the Sunshine Coast and on the way we stopped at a strawberry farm. The strawberry season has just begun (June to November) here in Queensland. It is a PYO or Pick Your Own farm and is very well equipped with a farm shop with a Cafe, a lovely picnic area on the lawn surrounded by fields and a children's playground.

When we got there it was later in the afternoon. There were lots of kids from a birthday party there who seemed to be having a great time. The most popular with the kids was not the playground but a pyramid of hay bales placed in the lawn that the kids climbed and threw hay at each other.

On the second sign it says no eating allowed in the field

One of the fields was in conversion to organic farming.

All the strawberries were grown in plastic covered rows.

After enjoying afternoon tea in the lawns of the farm and having bought a kilo of strawberries to take home, we drove on to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast to the beach.

It was way too cold to swim but we saw birds plunge themselves head first into the water to catch fish. We also saw graceful dolphins further out in the water coming up every so often for a breath of air. Following are some beach impressions:

Fished out of a rock pool, a mermaid has lost her shell bracelet.

Cool patterns from barnacles on the move

The next day we had Devonshire Tea or what I recently learned is called Cream Tea in England. We made scones and topped them still warm with the strawberries from the farm and a dollop of cream.

Homemade scones might not look as nice as the bought ones but they taste great!

Here's the scone recipe we use, it is easy and quick and comes from the Masterchef TV series:

Date and Lemon Scones

Preheat oven to 200C


150ml milk
150ml cream
1 egg whisked                    combine wet ingredients in a bowl

3 cups self-raising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup chopped dates
zest of 1 lemon                  combine dry ingredients in a bowl

pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix gently to make a dough.

Caution: do not overwork the dough or you will end up with hockey pucks not scones!

As soon as there is a crumbly mixture forming turn the dough onto your work surface and pat together to form a dough about 2cm  (1 inch) thick. It will still look lumpy and that is fine.

Using a round cookie cutter or a glass cut out the rounds and place on a baking tray.
Brush the scones with a mixture of milk and a little sugar and bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Enjoy warm  with your favourite jam (or fresh berries) and cream.

Here's the link to the original recipe where you can even watch the episode to see the masters at work:

I wanted to say a big Thank You to all who take the time to read my little blog, the followers and for all the comments left here. I treasure everything and don't take it for granted.

And before I go I would like to tell you about my lovely (art) friend Gillian Lee Smith
from England who is raising funds for the Willow Foundation. This organisation makes special days for seriously ill people aged between 16 and 40 available. Gillian is an amazingly gifted artist and is selling prints in a medium and a large size to raise funds for this charity. So if you can spare a moment hop on over to Gillian's blog and read about her amazing weekend away and see her beautiful prints.

Until next time... xoxo