Odds and Ends

18 in 18

A little behind with reviewing last year, but as they say better late……

A quick recap ~ the concept behind 18 in 18 was to choose 18 categories for 2018, then decide how many of those things you will try to complete during the year. I am surprised that I didn’t finish many of the categories, even some of the ones I thought I was getting on with. Here’s the final tally:

Write 18 letters ~ I wrote 13, and ground to a halt in September.

Sketch outdoors 17 times ~ again, I did this 13 times, and again ground to a halt in September

Visit 16 different places ~ I wanted to have this on the list to encourage me to explore a bit wider. I went to 14 new places, including places I went to while in Brisbane with Mum.

Upload 15 paintings to Etsy ~ Only 10, which at least means I created 10 things of a standard to put into the shop! [Want to see what I have been creating this year? Sign up for the letter from my studio. Or ask me in the comments to add your email address. The first one for 2019 comes out this Friday.]

Walk in 14 different places ~ and yes, I did walk in 14 places I hadn’t walked in before. Yay!

Go to 13 movies ~ I over achieved on this one! I am not sure of the final total, but it was more than 13. The reason was that I found Kanopy, a free online movie site, accessible through my library membership. Check it out.

Visit 12 galleries ~ 9 galleries, but I did visit a couple that I have filed away as possible places for an exhibition of my own.

Plant 11 native plants ~ oh dear, only 2 got planted, and they are not looking healthy at the moment 😔

Read 10 biographies or memoirs ~ I read 6. I thought I would read more about the golden age of exploration and botanic art, a period that fascinates me. As it turns out, my non-fiction interest last year was with creativity and the brain instead. Just chose the wrong topic! [Next post I am going to write about the books I read in 2018, and a mention of some of the fabulous books I have already read this year. I am off to a flying start.]

Find 9 different styles or pieces of music ~ I wanted to encourage myself to listen to more music. While I have only recorded 7 (sorry about the pun), I know that I challenged myself, and went to more live music events. So I count that one as a success.

Bake 8 cakes or biscuits ~ another poor choice, with only 3 baking sessions. It coincided with an attempt to limit the amount of sugar we eat, so my body appreciated not completing this one.

Paint with other people 7 times ~ oh dear, only twice. It was another category that I hoped would move me out of my comfort zone.

Clean out 6 cupboards and drawers ~ Yes! 6 sorted, and I feel lighter for getting rid of some of the tangles in the house.

Make 5 things for other people ~ I am pleased to say that I did this. My last one was a top that I made for my Mum. I was inspired to make it for her after the success of my blue dress.

Have 4 short trips away ~ Lorne, Ballarat, Somers x 2. Done!

Make 3 garments ~ my blue linen dress, Mum’s top and a knitted top for me. Yay!

Go for 2 long trips ~ Brisbane and Menindee. Yay again!

Work towards one exhibition ~ well, I changed this as the year progressed (my list = my rules!) to creating the website, which I did. It is still a work in progress, as you will see below, but I count that category as a success too.

I feel fine about the year. I know I was creative, engaged, interested and curious throughout the year. 2018 just panned out differently. Will I do 19 in 19? No. Many of my categories would stay the same as I want to continue to see movies, listen to music and walk in interesting places. I don’t need the challenge to do that ~ or so I hope.

I am not one to choose a word for the year, but this year a couple have chosen me ~ Completion and it’s friend Consolidation. There are too many things hanging over me, things that require completion or that need consolidation.

The website is one of these. It’s not right, especially the display of photos, and  requires thinking about ~ new theme? tweak what I have? new site? Then there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff that baffles me. I need to get to grip with that. So consolidation of my knowledge and skills is needed, to create something that showcases my work. (Any suggestions most welcome.)

Work around the house is another. Finishing the hallway, putting on solar panels, renovating parts of the garden, clearing out more cupboards. Completing jobs.

So 2019 will be a(nother) busy year. What plans do you have?


And just before I go……

It is the 10th anniversary of the Black Saturday Bushfires in Victoria. My thoughts are with those of you who experienced the horror of those fires, especially if you lost things very dear to your heart. May a gentle breeze blow through your life.


Odds and Ends Uncategorized

18 in 18

I’ve enjoyed this challenge because it has made me move out of the usual rut; it has brought options to the front of my mind. Having said that, I was surprised at the progress I have made in some areas. So, this is what I have been up to:

Write 18 letters

I am up to 13. Only 5 more to the end of the year. Should be able to manage that.

Sketch Outdoors 17 times

Another 13. Luckily I got outdoors to sketch during the recent trip to Menindee, in the Grampians, at Balranald and at the camping ground in Copi Hollow. I must remember to pack my sketchbook next time I am out and about….and then take it out and sketch!

Visit 16 different places

This hasn’t pushed me in the way that I thought it would. I wanted to extend myself to move away from the usual. I can tick off 12, and most of the recent ones are from the trip to Brisbane (Brisbane Museum, the Town Hall) and the Balranald Discovery Centre (there’s a good coffee shop there too). I haven’t pushed myself in Melbourne. So the next few months need to be full of interesting adventures. The most interesting of the recent crop was to visit General McArthur’s suite of offices in Brisbane. It was his headquarters in WW2, and full of fascinating information about him, and Brisbane during the war. Worth a visit if you are headed that way.

Upload 15 paintings to Etsy

I was in a hiatus for quite a while with listing new things in the shop. I was making decisions about the website, and wondering whether I was going to keep the shop or sell via the website. There wasn’t a lot of activity, and so I wasn’t motivated to list. Of course we all know that activity begets activity, so not listing helped that spiral. But that’s a thought for another day. I made the decision, which maybe only medium term, to keep the store and link from the website to the shop.

Recently I have listed

and there are more in the pipeline. That’s 8 for the year.

[If you would like to keep up with what I am putting into the shop, and sometimes being the first to know, you can simply sign up for the letter from my studio. It’s free, and you even get a feather drawing.]

Walked in 14 different places

I walk every day, and even the familiar walks are interesting and constantly showing me new things. However I enjoy walking in different places too. So far I have chalked up 11 different places.

One of these was a bit of a mistake. The Fella recently bought a new car, with all the bells and whistles, including a sat nav. Not something we have used before. We were heading off to walk in the Werribee Gorge, so I put the info into the sat nav and followed instructions. We were bemused when it took us out along the Ballarat Road to Bacchus Marsh, quite a few kilometres away from Werribee. I had plunged in ‘West Werribee Gorge’, not realising I had other options. Not to worry, we still had a nice walk in the bush, and I am still to walk in the Werribee Gorge!

Go to watch 13 movies 

Up to 11! Yay!

Since I last wrote I have seen:

  • I am Tonya
  • Finding their feet
  • Death of Stalin
  • Eulogy
  • The seagull
  • and watched Brooklyn on TV

Visited 12 galleries

7 galleries so far, with a couple of ones in Brisbane. Their art gallery is a very fine one. They have ranged from a quilt exhibition in Lilydale, way out to the east of me in Melbourne, through an inner suburban one showing John Wolseley’s sublime work, to a small gallery in West Footscray (much closer to me!) exhibiting Jessie Deane’s meticulous tapestries.

Plant 11 native plants

Languishing, I am afraid. Only two planted for the year. Maybe this spring…….

Read 10 biographies or memoirs

Another one that is languishing ~ only 4. It’s not that I don’t read, it’s that I haven’t been thinking about choosing memoirs from the library. The last one was Ann Patchett’s “This is the story of a happy marriage”.

Find 9 different styles/pieces of music

6 out of 9…not bad.

Two of the latest ones are from concerts organised by my sister. (I often mention the upcoming concerts in the letter from my studio. 😉) Michael Kieran Harvey played some wonderful piano music, including a piece composed by Eve Duncan. I was delighted by the compositions of Calvin Bowman (who is playing at the next concert), especially the ones of Walter de la Mare’s poems. They touched a chord!

Bake 8 cakes or biscuits

This wasn’t the best choice, as I have been trying to keep away from sugary things! Only 2 cakes. Not sure if that is a good or a bad result! I’m going to bake this weekend….and give it away ☺️.

Paint with other people 7 times

Still sitting on 2 too. Life gets so busy for all of us.

Clean out 6 cupboards or drawers

I am slowly working my way through the boxes of books I had in storage. It’s a slow process, as I want to reread many of them before I make the decision to keep or throw! But, aside from that, which I am not counting, I have cleaned the mantlepiece in the studio, sorted out and organised my paintings and sorted my summer clothes. Halfway there, but sooooo much more I could attack!

Make 5 things for other people

Tick off 4!! Since last time I have made beeswax wraps with Mary, crocheted a rug to give to the old folks’ home and crocheted a rug for Gerry. I may even over-achieve on this one!

Have 4 short trips away

3 out of 4, so on track, but nothing since I wrote last.

Make 3 garments

1 out of the 3. In May I knitted a tunic top for myself. I was so determined to make it work that I pulled it out and reknitted it. Can I count it as two garments 😄 ?

And I have some material to make up a dress, which I am looking forward to creating next week. So next time I write I will have two made…..well, if all goes according to plan.

Go for 2 long trips

✔️ Big tick for this one, as I have been on two, to Brisbane with my Mum in August, and caravanning with the Fella over September. Go Me!!

Have one Exhibition Create a website

Yep, I changed this one. Both are designed to showcase my art, and to sell, of course. It made sense to me to change.

The website has been up and running for a month or two now. Jump over and check it out. Or jump over to let the Google bots know there is activity on the site 😘. The more clicks and searches the better. I am blogging there as well as here, but the posts are different. I’ll explain more in another post.

It’s a work in progress, and always be. Static sites are not good. But I can proclaim it as something that I have achieved this year.

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

So, overall scorecard? Going well, with a few more adventures to come over the next few months.

Remember, to find out more about my art work, sign up for the letter from my studio.


Odds and Ends

18 in 18 update

I like my challenges for my 18 in 18. (Not sure what I am talking about? Check it out here.)  They are encouraging me to think outside my usual box, which is what I was hoping they would do.

So, how am I going since I checked in last?

  • Write 18 letters: I have sent two postcards to a friend in New York. James is a prolific postcard sender, and I love finding his quirky cards in my letterbox. Thank you James. I also sent a couple of birthday cards to relatives. Total: 7/18
  • Sketch outdoors 17 times: This is one that I am pleased I am challenging myself to do. I have been sketching at my local wetlands, the NGV and at Somers Beach at Easter. Total: 6/17
  • Visit 16 different places: I haven’t got into doing this yet. I thought it would be the easiest one, but I don’t factor in the time to visit somewhere different. Total: 1/16 [Note to self….get going on this one, ‘cos you will enjoy it!]
  • Upload 15 paintings to Etsy: Way behind on this one. It should be more than one a month, and I have only done 3/15. However, I have been creating, and selling my work before it gets to the shop. [A couple have sold through my newsletter, so if you would like to get sneak peeks at what I am doing, sign up for my fortnightly newsletter.] 
  • Walk in 14 different places: I went to Somers over Easter and had a long walk along the Somers Beach. That was wonderful. Another couple of walks took me along the Avondale Heights section of the Marybyrnong River, as I am mulling over a textile project based on the river.  Total: 5/14
  • Watch 13 movies: This was another one that I hoped would push me. I love movies, but never seem to find the time. Actually, that’s never seem to make the time. So, I have been caching up with some on Youtube and TV. I missed ‘The King’s Speech’ the first time around, and did enjoy watching it. Great acting. I also saw ‘Mr. Pip’ on TV. Hugh Laurie plays a recluse on the island of Bougainville at the time of their independence fight from Papua/New Guinea. It is quite shocking, but moving. A total contrast is Hitchcock’s ‘The Trouble with Harry’, a delightful comedy where Harry gets buried and dug up quite a number of times. It’s one of Shirley McLean’s early films. Total: 5/13 [Note to self…..organise to get out to the movies]
  • Visit 12 galleries: The ‘problem’ with this one is that I have been so fascinated with the Triennial exhibition at the NGV that I have been back there a number of times. And there is still more I want to see. Total: 2/12
  • Plant 11 native plants: Nothing doing here at all. My garden is rather a wasteland, but a trip to the nursery is on tomorrow. I may have something to report next time. Total: A big fat ZERO
  • Read 10 biographies or memoirs: ‘The Quiet Revolution of Caroline Herschel’ by Emily Winterbern. Herschel was an astronomer in a time when women were not expected to be involved in such pursuits, although Winterbern’s thesis is that it is possible that women made discoveries while helping husbands, brothers and employers, and just not given the recognition. Caroline discovered 8 comets. Her brother was also the astronomer who discovered Uranus, and he was able to help Caroline publish her discoveries. She was the first woman to be awarded a gold medal at the Royal Astronomical Society. Total:3/10
  • Find 9 different pieces/styles of music: I am enjoying this, and finding that my ears are perking up to different music. My friend Liz took me to a koto concert, which I enjoyed. The koto is a Japanese stringed instrument, and can be very dynamic, as this video shows. Dinner for St.Patrick’s Day inspired me to rediscover Irish musicians I enjoy ~ Ralph McTell (remember ‘Streets of London’?) and Christy Moore. Along the way I found Billy Connolly’s very funny tribute to Christy. Total: 3/9 [Any suggestions more that welcome.]
  • Bake 8 cakes or biscuits: Still stuck on the one I spoke of last time. 1/8
  • Paint with other people 7 times: A little progress here ~ once with a friend at the NGV and down at Somers with Peter. We painted peaches!
  • Clean out 6 cupboards or drawers: still a big fat zero here too, but as I am surrounded by stuff (see my last post) I am sure that there will be progress very soon.
  • Make 5 things for other people: No movement here. I am crocheting granny squares to make a rug, but it won’t be finished any time soon. So, some smaller projects are called for. Total: 1/5
  • Have 4 short trips away: Going well here! I had my stay at Ballarat for the opening of the exhibition, and as I mentioned before, I went to Somers over Easter. Total: 3/4
  • Make 3 garments: Still nothing doing here, but it is only three, and it’s only April. Total: 0/3
  • Go for 2 long trips: See above! Total: 0/2
  • Make plans for 1 exhibition: this one is a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ sort of thing. I am working on pieces and have many thoughts and plans, but nothing concrete to report just yet.

So, how are your challenges and plans going? You might like to read Margaret’s 18 for 18 update or be inspired by Alys’ challenge to finish her backyard projects in a month.


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Odds and Ends

18 in 18

This year I am intending to broaden out my horizons by doing different things. You can check out the list in the original post. They are not wildly adventurous things ~ I am not intending to do 9 different types of extreme sports. In fact sport of any stripe doesn’t get a mention! The intention was to extend the range of activities that I already do, to make me think outside the box.

And that’s how it turned out in January. Here’s an update of what I have crossed off the list so far.

I’ve had one (out of four) short trips away, to stay at the delightful, but busy, seaside town of Lorne, along the Great Ocean Road. Magnificent views, and very steep hills!


I’ve made one (out of five) things for other people. My friend Denise and I had a delightful afternoon making cushion covers for her dining chairs. My help was also her Christmas present 😊

It has been rather hot to have the oven on, but I did get a plum cake cooked. That’s one cake (out of 8) cooked. Looks fancy with the icing sugar, and it tasted okay too.


Looking for music has made me aware of the music around me. I have found one and have leads I wish to follow up, to make up my nine for the year. I may even surpass my target. Any suggestions? Darlingside was the group I came upon. I love the fiddle mandolin they use. If you like them too, do read about them on their website. It made me smile.

I am a fifth of the way through reading ten biographies or memoirs. But that’s not surprising, I am an avid reader. (I am going to post about my favourite books from 2017, hopefully before 2018 ends!)

Woman on the mountain by Sharon Munro was one of those books you read at a holiday home. The title sums it up….she lives an isolated, sustainable life on a mountain in the Australian Alps. She writes charmingly about the wild life around her, including the snakes, about bushfires and solar panels and how she got to the mountain in the first place.

In Four quarters of light Brian Keenan was searching during his four months of travel through Alaska for an answer to how wilderness impacts on people, especially their inner life. What does wilderness teach us about ourselves?

My intention when I decided to visit 12 art galleries and exhibitions during the year was to extend my knowledge of galleries, with an eye to finding some that might want me to exhibit. The two that I have visited aren’t new ones, but, hey, I make the rules, I can break the rules. I went to the Incinerator Gallery to see an exhibition of quilts put on by the Essendon Quilters, a local quitting group. The was other Romancing the Skull at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. I blogged about it here.

I am on track for movies ~ two out of 13. 3 billboards outside Ebbing Missouri and The Post. Both highly recommended.

The hills in Lorne were certainly different places to walk, and I also walked around Carlton admiring the terrace houses and then to Royal Park. So two out of 14 done. Wth this category I want to explore new places, the places that I have thought “I must go and walk around there” but never quite made it. I hope to knock a few (well, 12 more!) off the list this year.

Visiting 16 different places is another one to make me go beyond what I know. So I took the 96 tram to St Kilda. Not a big adventure, but now I know what the houses that I see so often from the car look like from behind.

Sketching outdoors can make you feel rather exposed as passerbys can, and do, look and comment. Usually it’s positive, like the guy in the coffee shop who said “You’re an artist!” I hope I got the punctuation right and he wasn’t saying “You’re an artist???” So, to have sketched in public three times is an achievement. I did some sketches down at Lorne, once in a cafe and then with my friend Janey at the NGV, along with about 100 other people! They were all following the lead of the artist while Janey and I did our own thing. I found this imperious chap.


Lastly, my letter writing. I sent off some postcards just before New Year, so I am not counting those. However, I have sent off 3 cards and letters, only 15 more to go. 💌

So, off to a good start. Now to keep up the moment and not let these things drown in the sea of ordinary life. How are your goals going? Still active or going under?!


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Odds and Ends

Wishing you joy

I suspect that there are many of you who, like me, are rather glad to see the back of 2017. It was a year of trouble and strife, and sometimes the only way to stay sane was to turn off the news.

But of course there were many positives too. I loved reading your blogs about your gardens, your creative works and your general ramblings. Even the posts that were despairing about the world were coming from a place of humanity and a desire to see a better world than the one being built around us. In Australia we finally have marriage equality and in Victoria dying with dignity legislation. And then there was the birth of my great-nephew Archie ~ sigh.

So thank you for helping me get through the year and for supporting my art in so many ways.

My wish for 2018 is that we all find joy. Let’s do it and celebrate the things that bring us that joy.

And more on next year…..

I am not a fan of setting goals. James Clear has good reasons why Big Goals don’t work. I am going to do something a little different in 2018, an idea that I have borrowed from Dr Snail over at the Snail of Happiness. Lots of you follow her blog (if you don’t, you should pop over and have a look) so you might remember her 17 in 17 list. She may have borrowed the idea from someone else, but following that trail is not on my to-do list today! I won’t explain the concept; my list should fill you in.

My idea is to include things that I want to do more of. For example, I always mean to get to the movies, but for some reason never quite make it. So now I am going to encourage myself to reach my target of 13. If I don’t make it, then at least I will have seen some. Some were easy to put against a number ~ 18 letters seems to be the perfect number. I am not sure about some ~ making even 3 garments might be a stretch, and baking 8 cakes or biscuits….well. I am allowing myself to put a couple together, such as sometimes combining the walk with visiting a different place.

So, here is my 18 in 18 list.

Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 4.29.43 PM

On Boxing Day we workshopped my list (don’t you love family involvement?!), which was great because people gave me suggestions; I wouldn’t have thought of a music one. Mum, who loves to record things, suggested that I use a book to keep track of what I have done. So I set one up, because I love to record things too! She also suggested that I illustrate it, but I’m pretty confident that’s not going to happen.


Every so often through the year I will tell you how I am going. Blogging about it will keep me accountable. And my Mum will expect updates as well 😊

What do you think about new year goals and lists? Some people, like Cathy, have words that keep them focussed for the year. What do you do? What would you put as #1 and #18?

Whatever you do, and how ever you do it, I hope your life is filled with people you love, and who love you back. May you find JOY.

Happy New Year Friends xoxo


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