Vintage Cards and Christmas Shortbread

This art journal page evolved over a couple of happy hours crafting in my studio, listening to Christmas songs. The focal point is a Christmas card from my vintage card collection. The card was sent from a father in Italy to his daughter in New Zealand during the Second World War. During a time that was so fraught with heartbreak, with many families being separated from their loved ones, it must have been so special for that little girl to receive a Christmas card from her father from all those miles away across the ocean, and to know that he was all right. It makes me feel blessed to be surrounded by all my family at Christmas time.

To make the page, I painted and stencilled a background, then layered the card with Christmas sheet music, festive papers, fabric, lace and ribbon, finally adding a few little embellishments.

I love doing Christmas baking – homemade mince pies, Christmas cake, and Christmas cookies are enjoyed by all at this time of the year. This is my great-grandmother’s shortbread recipe. I add spices, orange zest, and cranberries at Christmas time to give it a festive touch.

Christmas Cranberry Shortbread

225g butter or non-dairy spread
125g icing sugar
zest of 1 orange
½ cup cranberries
375g flour
25g cornflour
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Cream the butter and icing sugar.  Stir in the orange zest and cranberries. Add sifted flour, cornflour, and spice and mix. Knead well. Roll out the dough ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. Cut into shapes. Prick with a fork to stop the dough from rising. (I forgot to do this, but they still turned out nice.) Bake at 160° C for 30 minutes. (I cook on fan bake so that the bottoms of the shortbread don’t burn.) Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!

From our place to yours, Merry Christmas!

 

 

Pretty As A Pansy

Pansies are one of my favourite flowers. Their sweet faces brighten up the winter garden, and I especially love them in shades of purple and blue. When I saw this pansy fabric on Grandmother’s Garden Patchwork & Quilting website, I immediately began planning what I could do with it.

I made a patchwork table runner to cover my art table when I’m not using it.

Then with the leftover fabrics, and strips cut from the coordinating picture panel, I made a small wall hanging. I added some buttons, lace, and stitching, then I found two sticks in the garden – one from which to hang it, and one from which to dangle beads at the bottom.

Finn kept an eye on what I was doing.

This sweet pansy is called Matrix Denim.

In the language of flowers, pansy means friendly thoughts or think of me. These pansy cards are from my collection of vintage greeting cards.

With friendly thoughts from me to you, wherever you are in the world.

Finn

We recently celebrated Finn’s third birthday with a trip to one of his favourite river spots, where he loves to run, explore, swim and chase sticks. I made this scrapbook page for his album, which is filling up fast.

Here are some close-ups of the details.

I love to layer papers.

finn4

The burlap gives it a natural feel.

finn6

I used collage elements and did some chalking through stencils.

Washi tape and ribbon co-ordinate with the colour theme of water and nature.

This pretty sticker was from Graphic 45’s Botanical Tea collection.

finn5

 

In My Studio

Craft Studio

I have been doing Danielle Donaldson’s online art workshop, All Creatures Lovely and Small, learning to draw and watercolour whimsical creatures and create mixed-media story blocks. Good fun!

He’s not quite finished yet. I still have to add some embellishing around the pup.

Lavender, rosemary and peppermint picked fresh from the garden bring the aromatic scent of herbs into the studio.

Finn keeps me company while he has his chew.

Once the echinaceas have finished flowering outside, their seed heads make an interesting arrangement indoors.

echinacea seed heads

Beach Wall Hanging

This little wall hanging was inspired by a recent visit to Waimarama Beach. I rummaged around in my stash of fabrics for blues and golds to accent the colours in the photograph. I sewed them onto a burlap background with wavy lines of stitching, then sewed on strips of ribbon and trim, and added some buttons and some driftwood and shells from the beach. Hanging from the bottom are vintage tassels I found at a recent antiques fair.

beach wall hanging

Finn had a wonderful time chasing his toy, then burying it in the sand. He even found a playmate. Although he loves to swim in the river, he has always been a little hesitant about going into the ocean. But on this day he was happy to follow Nick into the water, and to retrieve his toy from the shallow waves.

My Craft and Writing Studio

I have always dreamed of having my own little creative space, a place where I can keep all my art and craft supplies, where I can spread out and work on a project and leave it out at the end of the day, instead of having to tidy it away. A place where I can be messy, a place that is inspiring to write in, a place where I can shut myself away and write and create and forget about everything else for a while.

Now, my dream has come true! Nick and I bought a kitset garden room and together we built it in the garden. Well, Nick was the one who made sense of all the instructions, and did all the heavy lifting and construction, and knew just what to do. I just helped where I could. It was hard work, but well worth the effort. My little studio is just 10 square meters in size, it is made from Scandinavian redwood, and I love it!

The inside is a work in progress as I organize all my art and craft paraphernalia into boxes and drawers. I’ve got fabric to make curtains, and Nick is going to build me a wall of shelves.

Craft and Writing Studio

The planter is covered in netting to stop Finn from jumping in and digging out all the pansy seedlings we planted.

It even has a little verandah and decking out the front where Finn can lie in the sun.

Finn