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Sea Monsters!

Science fiction and folklore are peppered with stories of large and lurking creatures of the deep. They can be elusive, like the Loch ness Monster, who placidly dwells in a lake in northern Scotland. They can be hell bent on revenge, like the tale of Moby Dick, where man takes on gargantuan whale and loses. Then there are those that lurk, like Jaws, on a blood thirsty rampage for life and limb!

Loch ness, Jaws and Moby Dick

However, my favourite sea monster would have to be the Giant Squid. This beast goes into battle with cannon laden ships, suffocates submarines (20,000 Leagues under the Sea) and takes on enormous whales, leaving their tentacle sucker battle scars on anything in its path.

1 the kraken

Hundreds of years ago, sailors told tales of ‘The Kraken’, a squid so big he could crack the hull of a ship and toss it in the air. Who could forget the duel of Captain Jack Sparrow: “Ello Beastie,” he says as row upon row of ferocious squid beak descend upon him.

With the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise fresh in the minds of Adults and children, I went with the Giant Squid theme at a recent craft playgroup. I drew the Squid and painted around him. With bubble wrap and paint brush, parents and kids stamped the tentacles along his arms. Lots of messy fun!

Giant squid painting

Just add kids, paint and bubble wrap!

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giant squid painting using bubble wrap



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The Tooth Fairy

Yesterday my daughter asked if the tooth fairy is real.

These are tricky times. If I say no, who’s next on the chopping block? The Easter Bunny? Santa Claus?

Tooth disposal has always been a serious business. In medieval times, the freshly fallen tooth would be thrown into a fire to ward off witches who needed those teeth, hair, nail clippings etc to add to Toe of frog and Eye of newt. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the ‘good’ Tooth Fairy came into being, with her exchange of coin for tooth.

tooth fairy collecting tooth

By the 1950’s the Tooth Fairy had a thriving business in children’s books. However it was the 80’s when the Tooth Fairy hit pay dirt. She got very savvy, commercialized and merchandised the Tooth Fairy brand via special pillows, dolls, movies, books, cards and more. It’s a wonder she bothers at all with that under the pillow chump change anymore!

Tooth fairy merchandise

Many of the kids in my daughter’s class are starting to lose teeth, so when I saw this Tooth Fairy doll with pocket I thought it would make a great birthday gift for one of her friend’s. Painted matching wrapping paper.

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Norman Rockwell, “Girl Missing Tooth.” Oil on Canvas, 1957.


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The Print Society Pop Up Workshop

I tried screen printing for the first time last year and was instantly hooked (to the dismay of family members who received screen printed tote bags, baby singlets, onesies and tea towels for months!)
Today I did a super quick screen print half an hour prior to the school run, so it’s a tad on the sloppy side. But nonetheless, to use as gift wrap, and for covering my daughters school books…it will do!

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My Sloppiest work ever!

Looks like The Sloppy Jalopy! Oscar’s car from Sesame street.


If you live in Sydney and wish to see far more polished screen printing head to:

The Print Society Pop Up Workshop @ Gaffa, from Feb 11 – 23, 2013

281 Clarence st, Sydney

PSpop up WS

I’m planning to go this week and have a squizz at their new range of fabrics, cushions and clutches!


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The BIG 7 List!

Why Do People Like Lists?

A list is a schedule, tally, program, outline, or time table.

Lists help us remember things. They relieve stress and focus the mind. Apparently they keep us from procrastinating. If lists are supposed to bring order to chaos then why do I feel Ugh about them?

Apparently our brains can only deal with seven choices before we become overwhelmed. When we’re faced with too many options we’re more likely to do the opposite of what we need to do (Scientific fact).*

Yesterday I had a list of domestic chores to wade through and health insurance to sort out. Instead I went shopping for maternity wear and made an Easter Parade bonnet! If I had made my list shorter, would my bank account be k-chinging to the tune of medicare rebates? Hmm, probably not. Nonetheless, rather than bore you (and me) to tears with a list that would read like this: Wipe down all appliances, clean and clear all flat surfaces, iron school uniforms…argh big yawn… I set myself a goal…to make a list that I can bravely attempt to stick to. My goal (if I chose to accept it) is to make 7 To Do Lists, with 7 Things To Do on each, for a period of 7 days.

Why seven? Science states that anymore and my focus will veer off track and straight back into shopping and crafts. Each To Do list is to take no more than 10 minutes to illustrate, and to be in someway reflective of how I feel about lists, and motivational if at all possible.

These lists will probably have my every day To Do’s: the washing of dishes and peeling of potatoes, however there will be no ‘Practice Kindness,’or ‘Eat more vegetables’ in sight. For me they will be much like a trip to the dentist: painful, but necessary, as on each list I will have listed one thing that I have been putting off for weeks and/or months.

Will I share them? Who really wants to know when I scrubbed out the oven or mopped out behind the T.V cabinet?

This is all a bit like a big dare for me, to see if I can really get on top of all the paperwork and grease traps I’ve been hiding behind craft for, for months!

cat in felt bed

I’ll link this up to http://meetmeatmikes.com/2013/01/52-lists/ where many, many folks are partaking in list making.

Last night I illustrated all 7 To Do lists, and here they are, my wall of procrastination.

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Work you do while you procrastinate

P.s. In Spanish ‘Todo’ (To + Do) means ‘everything.’ Ironic?


*Scientific fact sourced from studies in 2000 by US researchers Iyengar and Lepper in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


Refurbishing Vintage Patio Chairs

Recently in Melbourne we stumbled across Hosier Lane, walls filled with bright street art from sidewalk to skyline. It’s amazing how transforming spray paint can be.


And so, once again I find myself turning to killrust in a can. It’s extremely durable for spray painting outdoor furniture. I painted these vintage (50’s?) wrought iron chairs several months ago. There were four Vintage Iron chairs in total; two tubs chairs and two rocking chairs. All were in a flaky and slightly rusted condition, so washed them then sanded them back to smooth surfaces. Spray painted them with one coat of Killrust in brown before painting 2 coats of liquid Killrust in Vintage Green. 

refurbished black chairs

refurbished rockers

Until recently these chairs were a place where pillows went to die, foraged from sofas and armchairs. Now we have matching Pillow Perfect outdoor cushions in a retro birds and vines print.

These puppies are plush! 5 inches of padding and a beverage of choice make for a perfect weekend spot.



If you live in Sydney and would like to see some street art in the making, head to Hazelhurst Gardens, Gymea on Friday the 15th of February, 2013. Starting between 10 – 11am, Beastman will be spray painting a mural, where it will remain until April 1.



I would love to go, but find it increasingly difficult to get out of these chairs!


Foxy Lady

Did you have a nickname growing up?
When we were growing up we had a neighbour who half snorted his speech. If this wasn’t endearing enough, he combined a well coiffed mullet with a teensy weensy pair of footy shorts, think Warwick Capper in his heyday and add a 20kg muffin top.
This fine fellow used to call my sister ‘Mala Lisica’. This translates to ‘Little Fox.’ Creepy.
Nonetheless, since my sister did bloom into a foxy lady turns out the (tainted) nickname was right on. In tribute to this shared childhood memory (that we can laugh about now), a skulk of foxes grace her birthday present gift wrap, each with his/her own nickname from Cocktail Cathie to Moves Marie.
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Mina Braun Fox


Bee my Valentine

Yep, it’s that time of year again, when people the world over turn to Barry White, a box of chocolates or a suitably soppy card to express their feelings for each other. As much as I’d love to be beedazzled by De Beers, it’s very likely I’ll bee seing less bling and more the garden variety token of love. As for myself, don’t know what I’ll be giving husband for Valentines yet, but it’s sure to bee wrapped in some very inere-sting paper.
Rather than droning on and on, why don’t I just show you how I made some beeautiful valentine’s day wrapping paper using acrylic paint, bubble wrap, thumb prints and a black marker pen.
 1 paint bubble wrap
Painted the bubble wrap yellow then rolled it along the brown butchers paper. Painted another layer of colour: orange/ red and rolled again in a different direction.
2 rolled out wrap and paint
The bubble wrap was supposed to look like honey comb. 3 bubble wrap yellow and orange
Dabbed thumb in yellow paint and made random thumb prints on the paper. Once dry, used a thick black marker pen to draw in buzzing bees. 4 bees in progress
5 bees wrap paper
I glued the  paper to the surface of a pizza sized box, all ready for an edible gift!

8 gift box

Now I have to find a gift for the box, and not the other way around. Just add card and tacky quote. eg. Let’s misbeehave!
Any other sickly sweet suggestions?
Bee my valentine