29 December 2006


Getting used to this life is wonderful and as tiring as everyone says it is. Days go by, it feels like Wednesday but its actually Friday, nights seems to go by so quickly when getting up at all kinds of odd hours. It is 4 weeks today since the birth, in some ways it feels like a heartbeat, other measures seem like its been a long time. X-mas has come and gone without much impact. We both grow to love this little creature more and more everyday, which I thought not possible to do since we already love him so much :) he is a good kid, but recently developed this hobby called crying...yes, it is as frustrating as we have been told, because you often do not know why. It is wonderful though when he is soothed by a hug, feed or just some kind words and stroke of his head. Being a Mum is quite cool but I still dont really feel like a "Mum". I'm sure this will come in good time, 4 weeks is not long to adjust to a new responsibility, role, title and societal member.

22 December 2006

santa got it right

Santa got it right, good one mate. I got my first pair of Birkenstocks which Santa has told me I cant wear until the 25th.....but around the house doesnt count does it...?


How cute is this little pooch!! Another awesome gifty from my dear friend Sal. I love this little guy and can see he will be in the family for a few years to come yet!!! It comes from a store called ak traditions in Prahran. Thank you dear girl.

17 December 2006

I'm here

Here's my reason for not posting too much. I willl post when I can. Being a new Mum is wonderful and exciting and tiring. Recovering from the birth is just the beginning, breast feeding is difficult and painful but I am determined that I will use this method to feed my baby. Luckily this little guy doesnt cry too much so life has not been too stressful just yet!!! We are very happy and trying to make sure our darling Long Long doesnt feel too left out. To describe my first two weeks, happy, calm, very stressed, uncontrollably sad and weepy, uncontrollably happy, in love, gentle and kind. I dont think this is hormones alone. It is the realisation of the responsibility of this whole, entire life, that is now mine to shape and care for, for the rest of my life.

1 December 2006

a little break

I'm going to be away for a week or two while I have my baby. Wishing you all an excellent lead up to x-mas with all the preparations and gift organising. I have not finished everything I wanted to, noticing especially when I turned over the calendar today and saw December 1st. All the small jobs I planned to do this year seems to have been complete but in turn created more. I have however, completed the major part of the garage reno, now complete with carpet, rendered walls and broadband internet. The couch is coming tomorrow and we will slowly fill the room out. I did not finish my feature painting for the wall :( I did get all my x-mas ornaments sent out, which I am very happy about and managed to finish all my card orders.

As for the baby room, well, I calculated about 7 days work on the cot alone.....and still not happy. We were still screwing it together this morning. So the room is clean and clear and we have a total of a chest of a drawers and a cot. No mural or coloured walls or groovy handmade mobiles as I had planned.....I still have those plans but will integrate them in my new life.

We are both very excited and cannot wait to meet our little boy. All the things left undone can wait as this is by far the most important thing I have done.

28 November 2006

jingle bells

I have finally finished and decided the design for my xmas dec's. They are not what I thought but have evolved well and have ended up quite cute. Each one is different, double sided, with a combination of black line drawing and photoshop colour, cut out and attached to thick card with a single golden bell and golden string for hanging. Phew, I have just a few more to go and then I can send them to faraway places in the X-mas decoration swap yay!!!!

27 November 2006

accidental cuteness

While wok shopping on the weekend I found this very cute selection of wrapping papers. The kittens in the basket remind me of my primary school days and swap card collection which I loved but have no idea where it is these days. My sister and I used to go the the local milk bar, which we called "Fat Bev's" and deliberate for a very long time over both the mixed lollies and swap cards she sold.

The wok is also an excellent buy. It has now been seasoned with lard and had an innaugural feast cooked in it which consisted of lobster with ginger, garlic, shallot, spring onion, some other chinese flavours, salt and pepper. Not a bad Sunday night dinner.

I plan to see Borat tonight which it seems is all very wrong but a funny escape from a week of growing anxiety. It wasnt until a few years ago that I even knew that Kazakhstan existed as a place . I was working in Japan and walked into my friends office one day for morning tea. There was a guy there who I assumed was Japanese as he looked Asian, but he was actually from Kazakhstan. I remember being really shocked. That meeting fuelled my fascination with the spread of ethnicity over borders and the mixing of ethnicity, cultures and religions. I think it is especially interesting in those parts of the world. Here is some more info.

24 November 2006

little clothes

I have been washing and preparing lots of little clothes that I cannot believe soon will fit a small human, and that small human will be my son. I received a very cute little singlet today from one of my dear friends, the creators website is under construction but I'm sure worth the wait.

23 November 2006


WIP news on the garage reno. Finally we have a lot of movement towards being complete!!! Yay, it has been such a long project and finally we are near the end. As you can see it is lovely and bright in the afternoon, so perfect for thinking, drawing, napping and a glass of wine to chill out. Next on the agenda is to finish painting the walls, get the carpet and blinds installed and then its ready to move in furniture (which we will buy later). Once this is done we can start on the baby room. We will have about 2 days before he is due to get it done.....
You can see the cot is in the back of the room, still unpainted and in pieces....its not that I have been lazy it is just onto its 100th coat of paint which just is NOT working as I had hoped........grrr....

22 November 2006


I made blueberry muffins for brekky and they actually taste like muffins, not like little rock cakes made from cement. They will surely give me some energy to make all my X-mas decoration birdies like the one above. It is simply made from (and this is after much huffing, puffing, procrastinating, trialling, experimenting and frustration) from a single black line drawing scanned into photoshop with each one with a different colour and texture and some have text. They are then, full colour laser printed on thick paper and then mounted on card with a small thread at the top for hanging. They are fiddly but will look great on the tree and excellent for the X-mas dec swap.

For those in Australia, has anyone been watching Geldof in Africa on Tuesday nights on ABC? It would have to be one of the most moving and articulate shows I have seen in a long time. Those outside Oz can reference more info here.

21 November 2006

red and pink

No its not a shoe shop specialising in red and pink shoes (although that isn't a bad idea), these shoes are all mine. I never thought of myself as a collector but looking at these, I have pairs that I have collected from overseas trips, a local bargain from the op shop and some from my days in Japan. Each pair actually has a story that is meaningful to me which is probably why some of these are years old and I dont want to throw them away. After removing these shoes from my cupboard I have only a few pairs of useful black or brown shoes and some sneakers (which are pink and red). As you can see the red shoe attraction follows through to my drawings as almost all of the girls have red mary jane shoes. I dont have a preference or favourite as I find that almost always red or pink shoes will match with everything.

20 November 2006

working bee

The garage reno had a huge helping hand on the weekend thanks to the efforts of my sister and brother in law joining in to help get things moving. We managed to complete the rendering of the walls inside, prime and paint the ceiling and prime and paint the doors and windows inside and out. A massive thanks to the guys. There are just a few jobs left to do over the next two weeks but I'm sure it will all be done in time for the delivery of little Pei which is now confirmed for 1st December.

15 November 2006

happy birthday

Today is my darling's birthday (and my sweet friend Lisa chan). It is very difficult to buy him a gift, so this year I decided I would make him an installation in our home. I made a family portrait from 4 single canvases, each one with a simple drawing of each of us family members, including Long Long. My portrait is featured here. I intended to paint the wall (the colour of my shirt in the painting) before I hung them and add some text on the wall, but I just hung them on the regular white wall and might experiment later.....a missed opportunity? I'm so indecisive at the moment I cant believe I actually finished this project.

Did I mention that for the last few months I have been addicted to ice? No, not the drug but the frozen stuff......a possible explanation

14 November 2006

mongrel mo

Have I missed something or is the mongrel mo back for guys? In two days I have seen 3 separate young-ish guys with the old chops covered in hair. Being a child of a mongrel mo'd father for most of my childhood, I feel that I am in a time warp and possibly scarred for life.

I first noticed this mo in Nick Cave's image fairly recently, but he can carry it off, and no doubt it will be or already has gone. As for the rest of the guys, maybe not......The whole facial hair thing is such a personal choice but I cannot see how THAT kind of facial hair would be a conscious choice. It just seems weird to see a young guy with a mo. I know its totally normal in many other parts of the world for young guys to have mo's (but do you notice even when young guys come to Australia, from especially sub continent countries, the mo lasts about 2 days, never to be seen again). Maybe it is a fashion thing that goes hand in hand with another fashion bubble I seem to have missed which are those white pimp shoes.

I am struggling to find a good image of this mongrel mo but I'm sure you know what I mean.

13 November 2006

not long now

Its nearly time for Pei Pei to be born. We had the hospital training day yesterday which covered many aspects of the labour, birth, pain relief, hospital resources etc etc...We know this little pumpkin is upside down so a c-section is now a foregone conclusion. We will know by next week the exact day of delivery. The midwife who delivered the training was very experienced and knowledgeable and made both us us realise the obstetrician is just for the safe delivery, the midwife is for the soft fuzzy support and encouragement. It is wonderful to know when the birth date will be, it feels like we have some more control over the situation. It seems the more control (or perceived control) you have over the whole birth process, the less stressful it is. We will see, I am anxious about the epidural and being cooped up in hospital for up to 5 days!!! Of course I will miss my darling Long Long too. But we both are quite excited now that it is almost time.

In other creative news, project #1 and #2 are coming along SLOWLY..............the garage reno is reliant at the moment on a tradesman to do carpentry jobs and until he does it we cant go onto the next job....is very frustrating waiting for him to show up, often much later than agreed....

The baby room is then reliant on the reno being done...as it stands, it keeps getting more full of all my craft making bits and pieces and less looking like a room for a small human being........I really hope I do not go into labour early and we stick to the schedule.....c'mon c'mon

9 November 2006

illustration friday - smoke


Finally the sun shines today after a few days of gloom and cold in a row, yay!!! I am on a mission today to finish the cot (it needs to be sanded and repainted) and finish my xmas decorations, which of course, I have changed my mind again. I have gone back to paper based designs not clay. I am excited to receive my list of ornament swapees for the holiday ornament swap. Maybe I have been sweating too much over these ornaments...

I will post my image later for Illustration Friday. This week is 'smoke'.

7 November 2006

out of step

Today is the famous 'horse race that stops a nation' the Melbourne cup. I have tried year after year to get excited about this holiday/race but have never been able to muster any. I have just decided to accept I am out of step with this celebration and be happy not to be part of it and take advantage of the quiet streets, parks and public places (even though it is very wintery weather today). Tragically, there was huge parade in the city yesterday with horses, jockeys, models and the like, and I didnt even know it was on, until I was trying to rush to my Chinese class and many roads were closed and there were thousands of people in town. I do read the paper but seem to have missed much about the Melbourne cup. I find it hard to explain to vistors that we have a public holiday for a horse race and that it is limited to the boundaries of Melbourne. Maybe I'm just a big old sourpuss and need to lighten up and just go with it. I must say I do feel better for making a decision that it OK not to get involved.

That said, I am beginning to understand what 'heavily pregnant' means and why people refer to it in the last weeks. You just feel heavy. My darling and I went to the Melbourne institution of Lebanese food last night called Abla's. Was soooooooooo delicious (most creamy, wonderful hummus and homemade lemonade with rose water) but somehow through the dinner, it was like a rip cord had been pulled on my body. I took my shoes off during dinner but they didnt seem to fit when it was time to go....my feet had swollen about 2 sizes. My stomach being squashed at the moment frustrated me as I can only eat small amounts, but I know that only an hour or more after I will be hungry again.....so 4 am I'm sitting on the couch eating a bowl of sustain :(

So, I'm just happy to be out of the loop for the day. I'm looking for a decenct don buri today, I wonder if any places will be open?

3 November 2006

flip flop topsy turvy

After tooling around trying to make my medallion x-mas dec's work, I got sick of that (because they look awful) and went back to try my luck with the birds. I found out my trusted felt tip pen writes/draws on the clay....what a revelation. I am much happier with this result. I am not dextrous with a fine paint brush and easily frustrated as I never get the result I want, but a felt tip pen can do just what I want it to. This is soooooooooo much better than my previous lame attempts. Now the x-mas tree will really look like it is full of birds. Happy x-mas tree decorating day (coming up soon).

1 November 2006


This may explain why it is hard to put on my shoes, pick up anything below my knees, sleep comfortably, drive easily, breathe a lung full of air, wear anything that used to fit me a few months ago or eat at least every hour or so in case I fade away with starvation. Its all coming to an end soon, and I cant say I'm sad about it. It really hasnt been too bad a ride and the end result is quite wonderful, but I'm not really 'enjoying' it if you know what I mean. It is really just a massing of the first 5 months of morning (read ALL DAY and NIGHT) sickness, just feeling generally blah, birth anxiety, carpel tunnel syndrome and lots of weird bodily changes so I guess I'm really lucky that I havent had too many severe changes/weight issues/emotional issues/family pressures etc etc etc....I am sooooo looking forward to meeting the final result, a little, tiny baby which is half me and half my darling. How cool!!

I am a little worried about how to introduce a little baby to our lovely Long Long. Anyone done this and have successful stories?

31 October 2006

it is decided

For my xmas dec's I have fiddled with pinks, messed around with blues and decided to look to nature for a colour that suits the occassion. It is decided to follow the green colour tones above, and use a burnt orange/copper colour for a highlight.....I wanted to include something of the Australian xmas and not get caught with snowflakes and winter themes.....I have also ditched the bird shape in favour of a simple medallion shape, I just could not get the birds to work, they are now waiting for a miracle of inspiration to transform them into something cool.

Will post the results of my new directions in colour and shape.....

30 October 2006

xmas ornament swap

I am very excited to be part of the freshly blended ornament swap. Here is a small bird that I have been playing with. It is on clay so I think it will be too fragile to post so I'm going to send one to myself and see how it survives. I have a colour delimma as I dont want to make them red and green, but keep going back to my old favourites. I'm thinking of just selecting 3 colours plus b and w and see what I can do (maybe some glitter?!). I also have some experiments with a peg attachment on the back so you can clip it to the tree etc....or I might just add a magnet to the peg so you can use it to hold a postcard etc....I have two deadlines now, one for the swap and the other for my tree!! This is a good thing.


This is a new shadow in my home thanks to a hanging screen of folded palm leaves. I'm not too sure which I like better, the shadow or the actual screen?

My belly is still growing and little pumpkin might be delivered early (like up to 2 weeks!!)through c-section as he is still upside down. I will know for sure in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I need to keep on with project #1 and #2. While I was having a nana nap on the weekend my mind was going crazy with all kinds of ideas, I hope to eventuate at least one of them soon. I will add a post about my xmas decoration development/experimentation later.

26 October 2006

illustration friday - ghost

This is the start of the feature painting for the new retreat/studio room we are renovating. I wanted to make something relevant to our home and given chicken and ducky (the street pets) are an everyday part of life I wanted to make a picture including them. Unfortunately chicken died this week, so I though it was quite apt to have his ghost laid down. Halloween is not really big in Oz, so I wanted to create my own impression of the theme. I am very interested in Asian cultural beliefs about ghosts and spirits. One of the most beautiful things I have witnessed is the floating of lanterns on the river in Japan during July/Aug when the ghosts/spirits of family members return. A simple explanation can be found here

I am a sucker for very bright colours, my favourites are red and pink, and lots of black outlines. I am limiting myself to muted tones and layers for this painting. I will post the progress so you can keep me on track if I am straying into those comfortable colours.

25 October 2006

found object

Last night while trying to document my expanding belly, we found some recent shots of chicken and ducky. He is really is a lovely looking bird. Today ducky is sitting in the same place as yesterday as if in mourning, still making small sounds.

24 October 2006

in loving memory

The chicken who lived in the street and made us all smile has died.
Ducky has lost his friend and so have we.
I think the fox might have eaten him.
I have never heard a duck cry until today.
Bye bye lovely chicken we will miss you.

22 October 2006


This is Dalmy, short for dalmation. My friend gave him to me about 3 or 4 xmas's ago. I have never had much luck with taking care of fish, but this guy has stayed part of the family and continued to grow.

20 October 2006


It is my sisters birthday today and I do like to make some part of the gift, so I made this card, well, the flower part out of old kimono and paint swatches. I bought a lovely gift from tilkah such prettiness. Have a good weekend!!

19 October 2006

illustration friday - smitten

After meeting my cousins week old baby today, this perfectly captures them (and us), smitten, by their amazing creation.
This image is available as a card from my website, along with the girly pink version www.thegrassygarden.com.au

pet project #1 and #2

I have set myself the task of 2 projects. One is to create the baby room which currently is the top photo, the other is the renovation of the garage into a studio/retreat, which is the lower photo. As you can see, there is some work to be done. There are grand plans ahead and a time frame to work with. I am quite excited as I have never done a DIY on the house before. Of course, carpenters and other tradies have been enlisted to do the hard bits but as for the decoration, thats up to me, with help from the labourer (my darling husband).
Have been thinking about materials for my xmas tree decorations and think that paper based ornaments next to lights might not be the best combination. I'm onto the next material which is a type of air dry clay. I think it might be a bit heavy, so will try a few experiments and see how they hold up. I dont think that material will catch on fire though, which is a bonus.....

18 October 2006

some lovely colours

I saw this green colour flower against the blue sky and thought what a beautiful combination it made and right next to this tree was this amazing bush of purple flowers with folded leaves. I think there are many colour cues from nature that can be used when making choices about colour for crafts, rooms and clothes. Nature seems to choose the colour match not for beauty but we can appreciate it for that reason only. I have been taking photos lately of colour matches to use later.
In the meantime, I have also been experimenting with making the decorations for the Xmas tree, trying to get organised before the baby comes so I can still do the tree. I love to decorate the tree!!! This year will be inspired by our lovely birds such as magpies, wattle birds and some of the small cute ones like wrens. I will post a photo once the design is finished.

17 October 2006

my market day

I had a very sunny and fun market day on Sunday. I must thank all my dear friends, family and darling husband for helping lug gear and keep me company. It was a sunny day and a good experience. I think it will be the only stall I have as it is a long day. You can still buy all my goods through my website. I made the above magnets for market day. They are a combination of recycled kimono (that I bought back from Japan myself) and felt and I have some available through my website. They were especially popular with kids and can also be worn as a brooch!!! I met some lovely customers and saw many dogs including whippets which is always a bonus.

13 October 2006

illustration friday - trouble

There will be trouble this summer as my most favourite stone fruits including cherries and apricots are not only likely to be very expensive, but perhaps not available at all!!! This is due to a snap frost a few weeks ago in the stone fruit growing regions which destroyed so many fruits. This is on the back of almost a year without reasonably priced bananas. Currently bananas retail between AUD$12.99 to $16.99 per kg!! Last Xmas a box of about 1kg of cherries cost AUD$30.00!! I cannot imagine the prices of these fruits this summer...boooooo :(

melbourne international arts festival

The Melbourne International Arts festival opened last night. I went to see The Actors' Gang performing George Orwell's 1984. On first impression I thought it might be tying in with public conciousness to clarify the whole big brother thing and to bring some real meaning to an otherwise useless waste of mind/TV space. Upon watching the show, I am reminded (after reading the book a long time ago) that it aspires to much more than clarifying or quantifying something as trivial as a TV reality program. The story, as it probably always did from the start, paralells what is happening, especially today in our world of fear mongering and media brainwashing. It was like watching a commercial station current affairs program with all the underlying criticisms exposed. Although a heavy performace, there were some well scheduled laughs to lift the mood. One of the coolest things about the festival is the theme of the visual arts program with animals everywhere!!! Of course the wonderful Spiegeltent is back with Paul Kelly repeating his amazing A-Z of songs over several performaces. I think this is such a cool idea. BUT I will just have to listen to him on ipod as my baby is due any day around that time......take the time to go and see at least one thing and support the arts!!

My image today is a homage to the exhibition Pet Project, and even though I am not an exhibitor, I can still show my image in my own little way.....

12 October 2006

summer comes early

Wow, what a stinker, its 30 degrees for 2 days in a row and its not quite the middle of October. I took the pooch out for a walk last night just on dusk, and it was so beautiful. Just a very warm breeze and the sky and indigo blue. One of my favourite trees is the lemon scented gum which has a smooth bark and lovely big branches. I saw one last night like a very black shadow against the indigo sky. I could smell the wet soil from freshly watered gardens and occasional wafts of flower smells like jasmine flowers. I like it when it is warm and you can get a glimpse of peoples lives through their open front doors, sometimes music is playing or the TV is on. I like to hear chatting. Usually if I walk at night time I am always worried about being attacked or at least being very on guard, last night I wasnt worried and just enjoyed that moment and walked quite slowly.

11 October 2006

christmas cards 2006

As promised my Christmas card range for 2006 is available to view at http://www.thegrassygarden.com.au/pages/xmas2006.html I will also be selling these guys at my market stall this Sunday. I would like to make some tiny tags for gifts with the head of each character on one side and you can write on the other. I will see how they work in the making process and keep you posted!!

10 October 2006

Chinese New Year cards 2007

You can see my range of 6 Chinese New Year 2007 designs HERE I hope you like them!! Christmas designs will be ready to see by tomorrow at the latest. I will post the link. Both sets of card images will be available at my market stall this Sunday.

7 October 2006

craft market stall

I will be selling my gift cards (and some Xmas cards and tags), felt magnets and kimono pouches at the Williamstown craft market on Sunday 15th October. Look out for my white market umbrella and The Grassy Garden sign.
The market is located in the Commonwealth reserve in Williamstown, for directions you can look here http://www.williamstowncraftmarket.com.au/map_site.htm
The market runs from 10am to 4pm. I hope you can come along.

Keep your fingers crossed for a pure beauty day of clear, bright sunshine and no wind :)

5 October 2006

illustration friday - quiet

I have recently joined a wonderful online illustration forum called illustration friday. You can visit this link to find out more: http://www.illustrationfriday.com/
This weeks theme is "quiet". I took inspiration from watching my darling dog sleeping, how peaceful and relaxed he looks. Can you guess what he might be listening to?

morning mayhem

I was taking our dog Longlong out this morning and while walking along minding my own business, another very vicious, nasty dog lunged and tried to attack him. The lead of the vicious dog snapped so the dog was going for it, I was stuck in the middle trying to pick up Longlong (he is about 14kg), he was terrified and pulling on his lead. I was so scared he was going to snap his lead and run onto the road. In the middle of this I fell over onto my knee and scraped it on the ashphalt while managing to pick up the dog. Both dogs were barking and yelling, I was yelling and so was the owner of the vicious dog. I guess people had a look but no one came to help. I was actually quite shaken and when I got home I burst into tears. I guess I was lucky I didn’t fall on or hurt my belly, or the dog didn’t bite my face as I was on the ground.
What do you do in this situation, except tell the person their dog needs to be dealt with? The owner did not offer any help, maybe she was just as shocked as me? I havent decided on a nasty dog strategy yet, but I will develop one, should it ever happen again and instead of having a sook, I can do something useful, like kick it in the head!!

29 September 2006

coffee and cards

I have been printing, cutting and packing various card orders. I am pleased with this gift card called 'lattecup'. Maybe because I'm off coffee at the moment it seems so much more attractive.

27 September 2006

summer sky

While out walking this morning I noticed a distinctive summery sky. Those tell tale whispy clouds meaning warm weather. Spring has just arrived but it seems the seasons are in more of a hurry these days.
Thinking about time, yesterday I heard about a most remarkable Aussie called Tim Cope who has just won the "Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year" award for his trip following the trek of Ghengis Khan of 10,000km, 18 month journey by horse from Mongolia to Hungary. http://www.timcopejourneys.com
It was very interesting to hear about his appreciation for time in the places he was travelling through. He mentioned upon his brief return to Oz, his impression is that our lives are governed very much by 9-5 and have rigid time frames for things like visiting friends/family. These kinds of rules do not apply to many of the places he is visiting, he said the greatest determining factor for anything is the weather. I think his humble and articulate expression of his experiences helps me to really live and appreciate his journey and to remember that some places are still untouched by fear mongering governments (but not to say those govt's dont have any problems), excesses of wealth, fame worship and where family and community are the most important things in life.