Google+ LISTENING TO THE SQUEAK INSIDE art by Kirstin McCulloch of LilliBean Designs: August 2010

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

☆ Granpa

G'pa and Me at my 21st birthday

Last week marked the seventh anniversary of my granpas passing, a man who had filled my childhood with stories and adventures, my teens with dreams and possibilities, and my early adulthood with understanding and guidance. He was a man who  was held in high esteem by every one who knew him - in fact to know him was to love him, and seven years on there is still a gaping hole in my life and in my heart.

There are so many stories to tell, fond memories to share - he was larger than life really. He always had story to tell, a letter to write or a song to sing, and they always seemed to illustrate a point he was trying to make - often to a strong minded, stubborn grand daughter. He believed that you could be anyone, do anything, and that there was no such word as impossible - in fact impossible was actually 'I'm possible' if you inserted an apostrophe!

I miss his wisdom, his unwavering support, his love and his unfailing belief in me…

I could use some of this when the black clouds of self doubt roll in.  And I can only hope that I can impart a 10th of his wisdom and spirit to our girls.

I miss you…


Sunday, August 29, 2010

☆ Illustration Friday and the flu

I had such a hard time this week completing an entry for the Illustration Friday prompt.  'Atmosphere' is such an abstract thing to illustrate. My husband immediately thought of a bubble and a city or living thing in this bubble, where as my immediate thoughts were along the lines of an atmosphere surrounding two people - like tension, passion, hate - that kind of thing.

I had a crack at drawing something for both ideas, but in the end I didn't complete either of them. My only free day in between mothers groups, car rego, in-law visits, ultrasounds and specialist appointments was on Wednesday, and wouldn't you know it but I woke up feeling like death - I had the flu. All night previous, I had dreamt I was in an icy cold bath and woke up several time shivering, and the next day I ached - from my achilles, to my finger nails and the chainsaw in my head. But funnily enough it was only a 24 hour thing, and on Thursday I was a new woman!!

Needless to say, on Wednesday, I didn't really feel up to refining my sketches, and Bean was delighted to have almost a whole day in front of the TV.

So here are the part-way finished 'Atmosphere' sketches:

I titled this one 'The Conversation' and although I didn't quiet get the
feel I  wanted I thought it was a cute sketch!

She has a small globe in her hands - quickly coloured with water colours
one day this week I may go back and touch it up with gel pens

Next weeks prompt 'immovable' will prove to be a challenging one too!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

☆ The Ivy War Begins...

I have just taken Bug up to bed with every single muscle in my body groaning in protests as I walk up the stairs, my arms so sore its a struggle to carry my 10 pound, 10 week old Bug to bed. But there is a sense of satisfaction to my aches and pains, as today, I started to tackle our totally over grown, totally neglected, totally overwhelming back yard - and yet I am still not sure I've made any head way.

According to our neighbours, the previous owner wasn't able to do much yard work in the later years of her life, and you can tell. The ivy has taken over, and is running rampant, strangling several trees and taken over a flower bed in which we have uncovered hundreds of daffodil and jonquil bulbs. (Bring on the spring!) 

Ironically, I thought Ivy was a beautiful plant when we lived in Scotland, and dreamed of white cottages with entrances framed with lush green ivy, yet here in Australia I just want to kill it. 

It. Is. Everywhere.

So I suspect this will be the never-ending battle and the bane of my gardening life! Some what like the black berry brambles and rhododendrons where in Scotland. Every day a new shoot would poke up. Maybe I should give in and buy some kerosine to kill it. If any one knows of another, less toxic way to kill the ivy, I would love to know!

On a brighter note the nursery was having a sale as we walked past it yesterday, and I bought a couple of plants for the front entrance - which I had a great time planting with Bean on watering duty - although she spent most of the time sitting on her bike pretending to 'wide' and trying to dig up the flowers we just planted!

Here are a few pics of  our efforts….


Thursday, August 19, 2010

☆ Illustration Friday

'Star Light
Star Bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may
I wish I might
I wish I have my wish tonight...'

I am not sure of where this rhyme came from but I remember saying this as a child whenever I saw the evening star. Actually thinking about it I still say this rhyme when I see the evening star!!

This is my entry for this weeks topic on Illustration Friday - 'star gazing'

'Star Light, Star Bright' - water colours paint & pencils, gel metallic pens 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

☆Toilet Paper Dolls

 It has been a miserable fortnight with cold, wet and windy weather so we a little house bound and stir crazy at the moment.

Last Friday, desperate to find something new to entertain Bean while I cleaned the house for our impending visitors, (there is only so much dusting and bed making she is interested in helping with!),  I found a couple of empty toilet rolls in the recycling and I remembered seeing a flickr post of a toilet paper class shot -  here.

So I very quickly drew a fairy queen and punk princess, coloured them in with Beans crayons and cut around the top.
Fairy Queen

Bean with her new best friends

It was hard to focus on the dolls with the excited waving around by Bean!
They haven't left Beans hands - she has played with them constantly over the weekend despite receiving a few new toys for her birthday. 

Today they are looking slightly tattered - the Fairy Queens wings are bent and the punk princess is currently awol. 

Who needs expensive toys, or dolls to entertain the kids when there is always a toilet roll in the house??

What creative ideas have you had to entertain kids on those cold and wet afternoons? 


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

☆Bean is Two

I can't believe that its two years since my gorgeous, amazing, mischievous and talented daughter was born. It always blindsides me how much I love her, how much she surprises me, how I can't imagine my life with out her…

She was born in Inverness, Scotland, on a rare sunny day. We had to travel two hours from our home to the hospital first on a ferry and then I in the back of an ambulance, my husband following behind in our car. But I didn't mind so much cause then he could ask me if I was ok for the one thousandth time!

8 hours after my first contraction, she met the world and I felt blessed that not only had I had a complication free labour, but that my Bean was healthy with ten fingers and ten toes. A perfect baby...

Now at two she is a bundle of energy. A constant whirlwind of motion and action. Her laugh infectious, her smile like sunshine, her imagination boundless, her mind canny, her love endless and her tantrums....legendary!

Happy Birthday Bean, my little big girl.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

☆I'll have my lunch...with Spots

Mama (iphone)
Last weekend my sister, mum and I went to Canowindra (a small town 20 minutes from home) for lunch. They have some great restaurants & cafes there as well as some very cool shops - like the vintage clothing shop and the Trading Post.

After a delicious tapas plate, the most decadent dark chocolate and raspberry brownie and a few warming glasses of red, we meandered through two stories of vintage home wares, hand sewn stuffed toys, art deco lamps and a whole multitude of trinkets, glass beaded jewellery and just cool stuff, we found our way to the cafe courtyard, where we found these amazing giraffe sculptures.

I am not sure who the artist is, but seeing these gorgeous creatures in amongst the greenery of the courtyard I want them for my back yard.... but even if I could afford to buy them the mama giraffe was already sold, and I wondered who could resist the baby giraffe because in my mind you couldn't just have one now could you? 

Baby and Mama (iphone)
Baby - Close up (iphone)
Baby and Mama. (iphone)
It's made me think about my own backyard and how I could do something creative on a grander scale - some kind of sculpture or wall hanging perhaps. The mind is boggling.

What do you have in your own backyard, courtyard or balcony that's creative? 


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

☆ Toy Boxes and Sticky Fix Its..

Two months ago (just after the birth of Bug), I decided that I wanted to do something special for the girls and individualise their toy boxes. At that stage they were just plain, brown stained pine boxes that we had bought years ago to house our (my) shoe collection, which had been used as toy boxes by default. With the new addition to our family I wanted both the girls to have their own individual boxes for the huge mountain of toys that seems to keep growing and growing!

Bean being the eldest picked the colours for them, a bright apple green for her and a soft lilac for Bug. In my infinite wisdom I also wanted the girls to have their names on the boxes, so went about searching for just the right letters for the box. Not too big or too small, like the three bears story, it had to be just right!

I also wanted to personalise them more and paint the letters with patterns that I had designed and painted myself. After a long search in hardware stores, hobby shops and long web searches I stumbled on this fantastic online store called mdf magic which allowed me to choose the size and font I wanted.

So I have been spending the last two weeks finding snatches of time, between feeds, nappies, playtime and rain, to prime and paint the toy boxes and design and paint the letters, and yesterday I finally finished them - after a struggle with double sided tape, sticky fix its and super glue that is!!

Here some pics:
My temporary work space - the kitchen table (my space is under construction at mo.)

Close ups of a few of the letters

The finished product! - photos taken with my iphone so not the best quality photos.

You can't really tell from the photo's but the 'A' above has fish and the first i below has ladybug stick ons.

I am so impressed with how these turned out - I love the bubble and star l's and the ladybug i and the flower n - I am thinking of doing some for my niece and for my sisters baby due in September.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

☆Procrastination and Lessons from Bean...

So I am not sure what I should be writing about, or even what is the purpose of my ramblings, why do I feel the need to share my journey, or does there even have to be a plan?

I find that writing this blog is much harder and much scarier than I first thought. I assumed that it would be similar to writing in my previous paper journals, where I would just blurt out what ever was on my mind in a random jumble of thoughts and ideas. But I feel that this should be more organised and coherent and possibly the thought of an 'audience' has given me a kind of stage fright. Could I just be procrastinating again and letting the fear take over?

This blog is about rediscovering my creativity - I am making a very public and truthfully, for me, a very scary statement to the world that I am going to follow through on the promises I have made to myself and my family, to live a creative life. I suppose I should relax and let it evolve on its own….maybe

Ever since I have been consciously living, not going through the motions of the day so to speak, I am finding it easier to have creative moments each day. I guess I am consciously making time - so when Bean* and Bug* are asleep, while Bean is playing quietly, and Bug is kicking on the play mat, or instead of siting mindlessly in front of the box overnight, I am drawing, painting, sketching and reading the numerous art and craft books that I have collected over the years.

The other day Bean and I sat down at the kitchen table to paint - me painting mdf letters of their names for their toy boxes, and her in her sketch book. Now Bean is my eldest child and she has always, always been fussy when it comes to her hands. She just does not like to have them dirty. If she has dirt, or food, or paint or a marker pen spot on her hands she fusses and has to wash them - or rather we have to wash them for her.

But that day she very slowly and very bravely started to finger paint! She started off slowly - so slowly, the tip of a finger here, then the pad there, then her whole hand until finally she was holding her hands up to me so that I could cover them in huge globs of cold squishy paint and she was slapping her hands down on the paper, swirling them around laughing and having a fantastic time - forgetting in the moment that her hands were.. well, dirty.

I was so proud of her letting go of her fear and being involved in the moment and I decided that I need to take a leaf out of my two year olds guide to being creative - Let go of the fear and live in the moment….

Of course three hours later when she had dinner on her hands she demanded they be washed straight away.

So this week I am going live in the moment and let go of the fear… and we'll see how that goes!


*P.S Bean and Bug are the names we gave our girls during my pregnancy. Bean is two and Bug is two months! I image they will feature often in my upcoming posts!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


There is a part of me that wonders why starting my blog is so hard to do. In my head I have started this many times, and I have never had a problem writing my thoughts and experiences in the many journals that are scattered around my house, but maybe it is like beginning a new sketch book - it is new and pristine and I can't wait to start working in it - but more often than not that sketchbook is still untouched weeks later.

Like this blog which has sat untouched since early January…

So this post is about making that first mark, making the blank pages not so pristine, just getting out there and writing it.

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