Sunday, December 21, 2014

Coffee Table Books

I like to have books in the house that aren't strictly for reading, books that are for browsing. Books that give you pockets of beauty no matter how short the time you can spend with them.

Do you have those?

These are the latest titles gracing our coffee table and delighting our eyes - if you are stuck for a last minute gift they could be a good grab from your local bookstore too.

Flora - an artistic journey thought the world of plants by Sandra Knapp

This book is full to bursting of stunning records of beautifully drawn flowers and plants.

This book though is more than just its illustrations it tells the stories of plants that have adapted to their environments, botanists who have braved all the dangers that the world can offer for their love of remote plants - plants that now grace the gardens of any who want them.

The book profiles over 20 plant families in all their various glories.

I'm not a gardener - I once drowned or starved an aloe vera plant - however I do love flowers. I love that flowers are mostly just a visual gift to the world. Flowers remind me that colour and variety and beauty for just the sake of it is valid and valuable.

This book would be perfect for anyone who takes delight in gardens, in flowers and in the history of plants. It's also just lovely for looking at.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Nov 2014 RRP $49.99

Birds, the art of ornithology by Jonathan Elphick
This is a gorgeous historical account of the development of ornithological artworks. Two of the things that I love about this book are that in the introduction the person writing the forward realises their development all things ornithological was greatly enhanced via a connection with the same family - what a gift that family gave to two people who are now recognised as leaders in field.

Also I love that the book acknowledges that it is the art of ornithology that did what science did not have the resource to do at the time- preserve the details of birds now extinct. Yay for art leading the way!

The illustrations in the book are so interesting and I love that there is such a reflection of how the art developed and a recognition of the things that mattered in specific eras.

For any bird lover, art lover or those interested in the history of art this book will make a gorgeous accompaniment to their collection and it's a book that will happily fascinate and transport the reader in a way any great 'coffee table' book can.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Oct 2014 RRP $49.99

South with Endurance: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917 by Frank Hurley

As a family with some serious Antarctic love going on I was really pleased to get this book to review. I must confess to not knowing much of Shackleton's journey other than his name, before receiving the book. For those like me it is a story of courage, of leadership that risks itself to save the lives of those in their care, and of success.

This book is first and foremost about the photos that tell the story of this expedition. It is also about Frank Hurley the photographer and of course about the expedition itself.

Frank Hurley was the groups official photographer and he has captured so many stunning images of the whole expedition. I marvel at the workmanship in the photos when you look at the size of the equipment and the lack of special editing available nowadays.

This book also tells a story of time and culture in a way that will fascinate adventurers and history lovers alike. This book is filled with stunning photography that is a visual treat.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Dec 2014 RRP $29.99

Thanks again to Allen and Unwin for these gorgeous titles that will be enjoyed immensely  in our house.

love you more than a half hour lost in lovely images xxx

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Make My Week - boozy tumblers

This is my latest project with a lovely mama-friend here.

Take a large selection of empty bottles and create glasses/tumblers - rather stylish, even if we say it ourselves! We made a set of these for each of our children's teachers.

I can see we'll be making more of them in the future. You may receive a set as a gift.

Now just to explain my recycling bin diving to the neighbours :o)

Joining in with less boozy projects here:

 Show & Tell Thursday's
(and big ups to lovely Leonie who has hosted this link for 2 years and is waving goodbye to it)

love you more than a project that works xxxx

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Things Art Says

I am a great believer in the ability of art and the arts, to tell us stories, to lead us into new depths of understanding and to challenge us.

A good piece of 'art' (and by that I mean anything in the arts - poetry, drama, dance, visual art...) draws us in, it makes us drop our defences and then it sucker punches us with some golden nugget of truth.

Also good art encounters people in different ways depending on where they are at and what they are ready for. Two people can go to the same film, read the same book, see the same photograph and it will speak to them in different ways about different things.

Art connects us to one another - it builds invisible bridges where we experience solidarity of experience, hope, validation.

Art is important in the world.

The makers of art give something of themselves in everything they produce - they struggle to reflect both beauty and despair, hopefulness and disappointment.

When school finished last week Bounce brought home a family portrait. In the family portrait one character is a different colour, they are bigger, they are the feature. That character? is his brother. One of Bounce's first words when he was very small was 'my brother'. Before he called Flip by his real name he called him 'my brother' for a long time, such is his love and affection for his brother and the importance of their connectedness.

As Christmas dawns on us we look towards our families and the characters that loom large in the family portrait of our minds may be villains or heroes..... maybe this Christmas it's time to re-callibrate the villains and re-celebrate the heroes.

This Christmas I remember that because of Christmas, because of the birth in the stable I can call Jesus my brother and I can know my lineage in a royal line is secure.

love you more than new and moving artworks for the wall xxxx

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


today my thoughts are with the people who lived through yesterdayas awful events in Sydney

and my heart is especially broken for 3 children who have been robbed of their mama this Christmas - and every Christmas from now

so, so, so sad

may we none of us take for granted the little moments with those we love more than our every breath


Sunday, December 7, 2014

For A Little Bit

Today I returned from a wonderful time in NZ doing house-y stuff and visiting my beautiful new niece.

Tomorrow we move house.

Then we have to wait for over a week to get the internet transferred (they did that last time too, it must be very complicated to connect the internet here I think???).

Anyway..... given that I will only be able to check my email now and again I think I'll have an informal sign off here for a week or two. I do hope to return before Christmas and maybe show you our new digs - the kitchen has a pantry - such joy must be shared!!!!

I will do a catch up when I return on the portraits and make my week posts - because that's about all you can actually count on me for at present anyway!

Hope your Christmas build up/ school wind down/ end of year frivolities are going perfectly.

love you more than an unpacked and ordered kitchen xxxx

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Make My Week - Enderman

Another of Fay's patterns for another boy party.

I have the approval of Flip so I count that as a success

joining in here:

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than being a 'hip' crafter xxxx

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Tea Chest

A friend lent me this novel a while ago and I grabbed the other day from the stack.

3 women caught at crossroads in their lives come together to create a beautiful haven of tea-loving tranquility in a derelict building in London. Not without it's problems, there are plenty of odds to overcome along the way.

One of the things I loved about this novel was that the main character had a beautiful relationship with her husband and 2 boys - lately I've been reading novels (some I have chosen not to review/share because I can't recommend them as good reads) with wives who are frustrated, un appreciated and over their situations and I feel like I can't relate. So, it's such a joyous breath of fresh air to have a novel whose action can go ahead with a wonderful supportive husband and well loved children cheering  a woman on from the sidelines - hooray!

The other 2 main characters are not so straight forward when it comes to their love lives or lack of but these are also different from your typical scenarios.

The Tea Chest by Josephine Moon is a lovely chic-y read for anyone who loves a good story about women making it against the odds, redeeming friendships, following your dreams and taking a chance. If you love drinking tea you'll get an extra bonus too.

Details - Allen and Unwin (not one I was sent to review) April 2014 RRP $29.99 also available as an ebook.

love you more than a quiet moment for a cup-of-tea xxxx