Friday, February 29, 2008

seven pink ladies and one ezra ...

Today I had an important date with seven little girls. My friend's Madison and Coral helped me prepare a fun day. Each girl got a pink pack when she arrived with lipgloss, stickers, pink sparkly hairclip and a few sweets. Then Madison did makeup and I did nail polish ("soft pink or dark pink?"). Then we played some games, went to McDonalds for ice creams with a flake, then the park to play, then back home for some 'pink' food and finished off with Barbie Island Princess movie. Madison gave us a tour of her beautiful room. (When I was Madison's age, I was sharing my grandmothers room and I loved all her face creams, earrings and Chanel No 5 perfume.)

The whole day was pretty, beautiful and gorgeous. And silly me, guess who didn't take a photo of herself in her flowers and lei? Poor Maddy hurt her foot at the end of the party, I hope she is ok now but she was a trooper and managed to say goodbye to her guests. I think I'd like to do it again but do some art stuff too. We ran out of time today.

I loved the girls dressing up and coming in their pink party clothes. Mum's letting me know during the week about their little girl's excitement for the coming Pink Party. One arrived in her full ballet regalia and had polished her nails the night before. It was fun although I have to admit, that because I have son's, well, I wasn't quite prepared for the 'girly' attitudes. Girls are soooooo different. They talk for a start, which is pretty cool.

I loved the way the girls played the games and got all excited about things. They were screaming on the rides at the park which was a hoot - literally screaming as they spun on the roundabout, spun in the teacup, spun on the stick-thing - SEVEN GIRLS ALL SCREAMING. Still I loved it because it was 'happy' noise. Um, one thing, not a good idea to take kids to the park and spin on things straight after ice creams. Did I mention I love, love, loved it?!

I dropped a few of the kids home later and we did some crafts, beading and sewing.

Then on the way home, I got a phone call from my three boys (husband and sons) to pick up a pot of my favourite body cream for my birthday plus to order whatever Chinese food I wanted. We are all tired, it's raining and a really nice night to stay home and snuggle down. The boys celebrated with me early because my man will be way down the South Island on Tuesday.

Finally, let me take you on a visual tour of one of my favourite stores.

Welcome to Lush at the Porirua Shopping Mall. Thanks to Anna and Laura for my gift wrapped pot and allowing me a little artistic licence in your store today. Their products are all made without that yucky petroleum stuff other companies use and there mag says that there is no testing on animals. They also have these yummy fresh facial masks that I want to try, made up each week and left on ice. It looks good too. Enough talk, on with the tour.

Here's their soap (snap, I'm a 'Boheem' too) ...

How delicious are these bars of soap? I want to eat them. They smell so good.

And I thought to myself, if only it were so simple, 'Happy' soap. Imagine, having a shower and feeling instantly happy, no matter what is going on in your life. Then all us therapists would be out of a job. Truly, I wish! Still, it did smell happy, if that's what happy smells like. I think I'm a "moaning mini" sometimes, perhaps I should direct my husband to this stand.

A big deep bath full of fizz, bubbles and sweet scents anyone? Some with sparkles, others dried flowers and lots and lots of gorgeous scent.

I found my birthday cake! Yummy roses butter cream. This is a favourite of mine too. And the lemon one. And the coconut one. I would lick it if it wasn't made of soap, I swear!

Or how about "Temple of Truth", "Frosty Glitter" or "Marzipan", which all sound like exotic dishes, fit for a party table.

And these gold bars sparkling like treasure from Indiana Jones, Temple of Doom.

Here are the two lovely ladies who served me, Anna and Laura.

And finally a wall of delightful little packages awaiting lots of lucky women and a few men too.

This is my favourite scent. Being the hippy-girl that I am, I love the orange scented spicey mix of Karma Kream. It must be one of the more aromatic products in store. Just love love love it. I got my first pot today, after waiting over two years for it. Now, when people say I smell nice, I'll say "it's my Karma baby".

So a pink party, lots of little girl friends and a pot of Karma Kream. ... Happy Birthday to me!

What a night ...

Here we are, Whitireia students and tutor Deb (far left) and Suzie Moncrieff, the founder of New Zealand's World of Wearable Art. That's her sandwiched between Olivia and me. I think her story is that about twenty years ago (give or take) she and a few others had a small gallery in Nelson, and decided to have a show. The idea was to take art 'off the wall'. From those humble beginnings, this is now a major event on the arts scene every year with entries from all over the world. We had a little chat about lasts years show, which was truly amazing. This is a huge event that is choreographed with dancers, acrobats, and models. You have to see it to believe it. (Thanks to Carol for this photo because guess who had flat batteries at the most inopportune moment!)
Suze chatting with us. I met her last year and she was just as friendly as ever.
Me, Olivia and Joan, some of my wonderful colleagues from Whitireia majoring in textiles. See my lucky feather earring and my new fabulous Native American earrings. Love love love them.
I want to tattoo my arms and hands this year (or next depending on when I get my design, I want a moko - Maori tattoo, so I may have to wait) but I noticed Suzie's and snapped it. Such a simple design that looks great.
Looking out from the second story of our city town hall, one looks across Civic Square to Wellington harbour and the Hutt hills beyound. The sky was grey but the light is good for my purposes. I got a great angle on these tall sculptures.
Another view looking across to Eastbourne and just below to the right is Cirque Ici.
I remember this, Friday night drinks. All the office workers flood out into the bars for a few drinks, laughs and relax with friends.
Then onto another entirely different gathering, my husband and kids were at their church prayer meeting tonight held in a local marae, Maraeroa at Waitangirua in Porirua.
And look what I found. These carvings are typical of Maori carving (I think you might appreciate these Robyn, and perhaps you can see why your work might resound with me too). Robyn is a an artist in South Africa who carves from wood as well, and you can view her work by clicking on her link, Art Propelled down the right hand of my blog. The figure below has tukutuku panels to the left. Tukutuku panels are made using wooden slats that are woven together. It takes two women, one sitting either side of the board, weaving back and forth to achieve this. And look at this fellow. He has a fish tail. There were over thirty of these carvings supporting the walls of the marae, then central carved poles, and the main ones at each end. The ceiling was a combination of tukutuku panels and more carvings. I don't know the local lore, but each of these carvings will be significant and represent someone important from this tribe.
This lady was high up and so I couldn't get the lighting any better. But having a woman depicted here was very interesting. Where I grew up, no woman were represented in the carvings. She must have been at least three metres high.
Below, this carving has a smaller figure wedged between it's legs.
On of the tukutuku panels.
Detail of tukutuku panels.
My son showing me his muscles. The carving behind him shows the figure holding a kete (flax woven bag) and has a dog. They were all very interesting, like a good read because each figure was represented quite uniquely.
The painted central beam of one of the other halls. Most meeting houses are built on the form of the human body, with a spine (central beam) and ribs (rafters).
And finally, when I got home, my son needed to talk. He is finding all the changes hard this year. He has such a quiet nature and I loved the way he came and leaned against me while I checked my mail. We read how Robyn was bitten by a spider in South Africa and has a swollen foot, how the caterpillars leave something on you that makes your legs and arms itch, how she is visited by monkeys and we learned what owl pellets are. I couldn't solve his difficulties but I promised to help him through them. In the morning I have a 'Pink Party' to attend, then my family want to celebrate my birthday early, so I think we are going for a bush walk and swim at the Kaitoke Park in Upper Hutt. I hope your day was satisfying. And congratulations Robyn for taking up my first challenge and winning. I look forward to finding things from my culture and country for your package.

Let the photos do the talking ...

What a day ...

The sun was shining, I had a whole day to start on my studio and tonight I am going shmoozing with the World of Wearable Arts crew at the Michael Fowler Centre but first in continuing with my 'keeping it real' theme. I saw on Nina's blog (you can visit by scrolling down the right hand side of my page and clicking on her name/link) yesterday photos of her home, lovely quilts on her bed, paintings by Misty Mawn, her own art works and artifacts and was so inspired. My home however has a few areas that don't look great and I show these humbly knowing also that my darling friend Wini is coming over to help me sort out my studio today. Thank God because quite frankly, I don't know where to start. So here, my dear friends, I humbly present the before pictures of my home so that you can all feel good and normal about your own homes.

So come journey with me. First we start with my studio where all my work was thrown in here at the end of last year as I got all excited about sewing craft over Xmas vacation and the last thing I wanted to do was clean. And so now it looks like this.

Piles and piles of stuff.
More piles. What to do when piles start falling over? Shove it in a box of course.
About six loads of CLEAN washing waiting for someone to care enough to fold it.
Boxes of woollen jerseys waiting for me to felt them and make creatures with them.

Unmade bed, washing to be folded and put away (yes more) ...

My pile of books beside my bed for late night reading and my journal on top for random thoughts that might occur in the wee hours ...
A pile of fiction for when I don't want to think about anything too hard, sits leaning against another wall ...
My husbands side of the bed with his suitcase ready for another three day trip next week to Christchurch. He is busy these days. We fly past each other. It is nice to have these quiet days at home so I can gather my thoughts and pull my home into some semblence of order (unless I distract myself with other more creative and fun pursuits) ...
The bench in the kitchen. Do you have one of these? As soon as I clear it, we stick stuff on it. It is always a jumble with things literally flowing onto the floor ...
The garage which is supposed to be my studio ( see I got the carpet here, vintage shag for $10 from Trash Palace). The garage is too run down for me to work in during our Wellington winters. No power for lighting and heating. And running a lead is not an option cause it would short out our home. Plus I want to extend the bench that exists so I can have a decent size workspace. Would love to extend it down the other side of the garage so light could pour in through the window.
The drawers I started to refinish and then stopped. I got a bit of work to do in here ...
The roof is mouldy and I need to recover it with some nice fabric.
But there is always a silver lining ... and here were mine ...
This basket and woven flowers are the product of a summer holiday with my mother-in-law several years ago. We use harakeke, New Zealand flax which is a traditional fibre resource used by Maori for lots and lots of things. It's a funny plant because the blades are not symmetrical. I love weaving with her. We play and try out new things, and some of these flowers are results of our play.
And then my friend Liz left a gift for me yesterday. These two gorgeous dishes. I love green or red dishes, I think food looks amazing on these green dishes. That is a rather large and old capsicum. These platters will join my collection in this range. How lucky am I?
So here are the before pictures, I will post the results of my springclean later as it happens. But Wini and I spent five hours today just sorting through things and throwing out lots of things from the studio. There is more but it will have to wait ...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

10 Things I am grateful for ...

1. Faith.

2. My family - I let them down, make mistakes, get grumpy, sound mean, am impatient, forgetful, disorganised, tired and they love me anyways.

3. Cheerleaders - I have a few of those in my life. My angels that cheer for me from the grandstands.

4. My mum. She believes in me and backs me up - and distance is no obstacle. She has thrown all that she has and is behind me, no small feat from another country. And while we don't always see eye to eye about everything (and who does?), she doesn't pack a sad or force her opinions on me. Wish I could say the same. She's become very respectful and supportive. Hooray for mums I say, especially now that I am one too.

5. Expression. I wasn't there but I just bet I came into the world kicking up a fuss and I haven't stopped. I love that I can articulate, communicate, write, create, photograph anything I want to. Ever since I was little, I could use words. I read 'Papillon' when I was about 12. Go figure. Recently I feel that I have a little more self-control and awareness in this area (thanks Coral), tempered with the understanding that I can influence things. This blog is full-blown expression. Taking the lid off my life, hoping that it may help or inspire someone else, and help my family overseas to see into our lives and my heart.

6. Coffee. (and a wee slice or piece of cake too if possible).

7. My little home here on the hill overlooking the harbour and looking across to the hills on the other side. The big big sky outside my windows and the feeling that if I stand on my roof, I might be able to touch a piece of it. I certainly take enough photos of the sky.

8. The freedom I have to do what I love - art and my family and meeting so many amazing people. I love my life, it's packed to the hilt with so much stuff.

9. The library. I love books. Maybe I'll write one some day. What do you think?

10. My camera. My viewfinder, my other 'eye', my instant moment-catcher.

It all sounds rather self-centred and materialistic but actually for the first time in my life, I am finally following my own mind about things and not worrying about what people think or worrying if they will understand. My own neurotic thoughts seemed to have been stilled and I am so much more calmer. My mum told me in one of our last phone calls that I should just follow my heart no matter what others think of me. I am 37 next week but it feels like I am finally here with both feet on the ground, a clear conscience and peace in my heart.

What are you grateful for??? Reply with a gratitude list and I may just send something in the post to the first person for your efforts. I have some vintage wallpaper, NZ stamps, Tapa cloth, a bit of felt and bits and pieces for collages - a wee bag of collage papers and fibres. I can post them out if that appeals to you. So go on, there's a challenge for you. Click on 'comments' and leave your list.

And then I see these guys and it's worth the cost ...