I have always had a love hate relationship with my handwriting. It has always seemed inconsistent and its quality appeared to be totally dependent on the kind of pen I was writing with.

When I was a teenager (an increasingly long time ago -.- ) I imagined myself as some kind of writer. Fantasy mostly.
I had a folder full of various kinds of paper that I wrote my stories on, and while they were completely hopeless (I have never had delusions that they were good) I enjoyed writing them, and on a tangential point, I enjoyed seeing pages and pages of handwriting. It was paper fulfilling its purpose.

I love letters, I love journals and scrapbooks... so I figure I should really get over my handwriting.

As an offset to certain fonts, handwriting (and not just handwriting inspired fonts) can look pretty cool. Here is a draft of a menu I made up for my talented television/radio/magazine food reviewer/chef slash lawyer Delaney. As a side note, I love Delaney's handwriting. 


I have a great friend called Zana.

She is an artist with considerable talents in the area of costume making and clothing design. She works in the industry - and if you have seen the movie Australia then you have seen some of her handiwork yourself. She is currently working on some Australian films and her other job? It's at a men's fashion company. So she knows lots of stuff.  

Like many talented, creative people she doesn't have a lot of belief in her abilities (which are substantial) I believe in her though, and I have made a website populated by her work - so that others can appreciate her talent and buy it, so they can wear it themselves.

So if you have daughters, nieces, friends or neighbours who are discerning and like awesome clothes, then send them on over to The Elm Tree.

When I have time, my work will also be there.
If you have any things that you would like to see from either of us, if you want to hire Zana to make you something specifically or you want certain fabrics to be used, then you can email us at hello@theelmtree.com.au

We look forward to hearing from you!

Time and priorities

I have said this before, but it amazes me how fast time goes by.
I wake up in the morning and then it's the afternoon followed quickly by evening where I shove the boys in their beds and curl up in the dark ... ready to do it all again the next day.

Business's which need running, emails to be responded to, art to be painted, clothing to be washed, toys to be picked up, children to be washed, study to be done... it all gets crammed into the suddenly insufficient hours of the day.
 It's not that I'm complaining mind you, I get more done than I used to simply because I'm trying to do much more than I used to.

It's that whole 'aim for the moon so that even if you fail to achieve it you will still be amongst the stars' thing.

Unfortunately all the rush meant that the awesomeness of my newest little family member was passing me by.
So the moral of the past month of my life is: Time spent doing 'nothing' is not necessarily time wasted.

You can't get to know someone unless you spend time with them. Even little squishy people who can't hold their heads up properly. 

So a month after his birth, I have two new businesses set up, two websites created, some design work done... and most importantly - I am completely in love with yet another McComb.

On day two of life. MacDaddy, MiniMac, MacJunior.


The husband has decided that he would like to study film and so for the past month we have been looking at different schools, applying for schools, preparing portfolios, and all those other things that had to be done before application dead lines.

I also signed up for a study course myself so that I could help supplement income.

Then I had a baby.

In the week of limbo between the baby's due date and his actual birth date I did do a little bit of painting. This is my favourite of them. Just to prove that I'm still alive haha.

wild horses

When Gabriel was born we would take him to visit Ky's parents and his dad would take Gabriel in his arms (sometimes immediately) and take him out to be sniffed by the horses.
I thought it was kind of cute, if not the spiritual experience he assured me it was.

The first animal Gabe could identify? "Horse"

He would even pick up sticks at the park and ride them around calling them 'horsie'.
So when we got the call that there was a rodeo, we got in the car and drove up to see more horses.

Gabe slept much of the way to the Valley waking up only for Maccas (typical) but as soon as we got to the house his eyes popped open and recognising where he was he demanded to see the horses.

These photos aren't from the rodeo, they're from April this year of Gabe and Flame, hanging out through the electric tape fence. Ky's dad just sent them through.

at least he knows now not to touch the tape... he learnt the hard way...
I painted this for Gabe a week or so ago. It wasn't finished when I took the photo, and still isn't. Gabe carries it around sometimes and manages to spill things on it nearly every time he touches it (the paint has run...and it looks very messed up) but at least he is deriving some kind of enjoyment from it.

Just a minute Mr Postman

Sometimes it seems like a struggle to maintain positivity in life. I don't mean that in an 'emo' way, but just in general there are so many things that are always going on, so many directions that you could possibly be pulled in, that if you gave in to it, you would never fail to find things to be unhappy about.

I would like to think that finding things to be happy about is just as easy if you apply the right frame of mind, but it doesn't always seem that way.
I have recently been reminded just how important friends are, and the wonderful ability letters have to really lift spirits. (Thanks Gwen :) )

So I thought I would make up a few more mini art canvases, which like the others, are made especially to be inexpensively posted to those awesome friends who live too far away.

Bit blurry, but you get the idea. I totally dream of living in a place like that.

two little eyes


Winken, Blinken and Nod

by Eugene Field, 1850-1895.

Winken, Blinken, and Nod one night
 Sailed off in a wooden shoe --
Sailed off on a river of crystal light,
Into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going, and what do you wish?"
The old moon asked the three.
"We have come to fish for the herring fish
That live in the beautiful sea;
Nets of silver and gold have we!"

Said Winken,

And Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song,
As they rocked in the wooden shoe,
And the wind that sped them all night long
Ruffled the waves of dew.
The little stars were the herring fish
That lived in the beautiful sea --
"Now cast your nets wherever you wish --
Never afeard are we";
So cried the stars to the fisherman three:
And Nod.

 All night long their nets they threw
To the stars in the twinkling foam --
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe
Bringing the fisherman home;
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed
As if it could not be,
And some folks thought 'twas a dream they'd dreamed
Of sailing that beautiful sea --
But I shall name you the fishermen three:
And Nod.

Winken and Blinken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoes that sailed the skies
Is the wee one's trundle-bed.
So shut your eyes while mother sings
Of wonderful sights that be,
And you shall see the beautiful things
As you rock in the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fisherman three:
And Nod.


In some games there are a spells or attacks which you can cast on people which do damage over time. Initially its not enough to really smash a person, but over time it slowly chips away at their health or mana or whatever... and if you have enough of them combined with other attacks you can win. They call them 'dots'.

It's geeky of me to think in gaming terms, but pregnancy is a lot like a damage over time spell. Slowly your energy is drained, your body loses fitness and hurts a lot, immunity is practically non existent, your control over your tear ducts stops working (or is that just me) and in general your physical capabilities are diminished. Add to this a virus which seems to have mutated several times to survive these past four weeks or so, and the new muscle damage I have done in my chest from coughing too much and I am right out of this game. Ky, the baby, and the flu season have conspired against me and I am low on health and mental stamina at the moment.

So with all that in mind, here is a thought for Sunday.

Its the original sketch of the nautical mice from the wood panel. The words come from a Blues Clues song from an old DVD we used to watch when my brother was a baby. I always hear the song in my head when I see the words and for some reason thats way more awesome than it would otherwise be.

You & Me

You and me, we live too far apart.

(and brr, this igloo is cold)

its pronounced gwash.

My mum is awesome.

She has inspired my good behaviour with promises of art supplies, and even now as an 'adult' (debatable status) she continues to use art supplies as currency.
I am sure that at some point she will grow tired of getting art instead of more far more versatile currencies (you know, like CASH) for the many things she does for me and my family, for birthdays, Christmas, and mother's day. But until then, I will be happy to continue making things for my mum who has consistently been my most enthusiastic fan.

The other day she bought me gouache (which I had no idea how to say till just now) and this is what I have done with it so far.

I love that I bothered to turn this into a print, because now I can stamp it on anything haha. This was my first real try at painting on wood and I think it went alright.


 And here are the nautical mice that you might have caught on my instagram earlier in the week.

I have decided that I love painting with gouache and don't know why I hadn't done it before, because I can paint with it like I draw with ink (my favourite medium to draw with) and it dries fast and is beautifully opaque so I can paint over things with the designs that I want and in general its just FUN.

Painting on wood is alright too, though I'm never excited about having to wait for varnish to dry, or having to clean up after using it. Boo to turps it totally stinks. 

So thanks mum :)

a true story

When I was younger my parents gave me a flower press for Christmas. I have since pressed a lot of flowers.

Recently (as in the past ten or so years) I haven't really pressed anything, so I find it highly coincidental that right when I finish off making some presses for the shop I also find something to press.

Every time I see a patch of clover I look for 4-leaf clovers. Every. Single. Time.

I have never found any.

Until this week on Wednesday when I looked down and saw this...

Right there, four leaves. Dude. I thought it was so amazing that I immediately took photos for instagram. (follow me: eleanormccomb) I kept looking as we wandered around and I FOUND TWO MORE.

Yeah, you just have to trust me when I say that they all have 4 leaves. Pardon my fluoro nails. Obviously there was something in the water on that hill side, but nothing is going to take that very lucky feeling away from me.  

I came back from my walk and pressed some clover, and finished off two of these things. Behold my amazing wood working skills (the nice guy at Bunnings cut the wood up, so really all I had to do was sand it down, drill some holes, and varnish the wood. Pure talent right there)

They will be ready in the shop as well... I just have to work out postage. (The postage question is becoming a running issue. I need scales!)

The press is complete with recycled corrugated cardboard and brown paper - (the cardboard helps give some flexibility when you press things, and the paper helps absorb some moisture)

I think that flower pressing is one of the lost arts, or at least it seems to be, and is a great way for children, and grown ups, to take a closer look at the world around them. As a 'biologist' (aka, someone with a BSc hahaha... ) I think that any way we can raise awareness for the environment and nature is good.

a familiar scene

This is the first in a series of 3D paper cut water colour paintings that will illustrate different children's stories.

Naturally Little Red Riding Hood was the first one I tackled... I don't know why I like drawing this story so much, but I think it has something to do with my affection for drawing trees...

They will be available on my etsy store soon (as soon as I figure out postage costs)

Mixing things up

I really enjoy working with ink, and prints are even more fun to make now that I can use rubber blocks instead of lino.

But sometimes you just have to add things to them. So I cut the waves, boat, and general shapes of the animals and then coloured it all in with pencils and used ink to add faces and the moon. There are several more prints to come, and I like the idea that they are all pretty much the same, as prints are, but are still unique due to the colours and expressions I draw on them.

The Owl and the Pussycat - one of the most random couples to be found in children's rhyme.

This is the first one, so I have put it in a rather grand frame, but I like it. Cheesy gold frames are awesome. 

My name is Eleanor

I know right, how many blogs does a girl need?!
I change all the time and never seem to gain the traction that I need to stick around... but we're looking forward not backward and I am starting up a new business (which is really just the old business)

You see, recently I have done some work for other people and with some brusque (but encouraging) words from my husband I have realised that it's the work I do at the request of others that makes money. While I love the work that I do on my own and the things that I attempt to sell on etsy, they just aren't the same as a commissioned piece that has been crafted and made specifically for the needs of someone else.

I mention all of this on the back of designing the wedding invitations for my brother in law Ben, who got married this weekend gone, and just yesterday finishing the design for my sister Reina who is getting married in September. (image only shows half the invite... cos we don't want you all just turning up :P)

It was really great to be able to use my skills (such as they are) to help them organise their weddings and also miss out on the stress of buying them gifts. Ky (the husband) pointed out that other people charge money for that kind of thing usually, and so I thought I'd give it a go.

I also love illustrating and painting and so on top of my own work which will still be available in the etsy store I will also be available for commissions of the more arty kind.

Here is some of the work I have been part of:

It's been quite a while since I pulled together the header for Delaney's blog, she is now a regularly featured cook on NZ morning telly and naturally this has everything to do with my ability to cut paper - and only partly to do with her elite cooking skills, and wonderful, vivacious, and hilarious personality. 

 Not too long ago, Jess refurbished her blog and I was glad to help her out with that little illustration in the top left. 
Be sure to check out her blog, and enjoy the inspiring photos and general kindness that she exudes.  

Carli and Winston had a very specific vision for this painting of a tree that grows outside their home, and a motto they found meaning in. I hope I did it justice! 
So if you have an event that you would like an invitation for, or a drawing, or painting to brighten up your home, drop me an email.

Eleanor McComb
eleanor.mccomb @ gmail.com

I realise that I could have done all of this on the old blog which I will still use for my art journals, but I've realised that there is nothing wrong with my name, so why not just use it.

So I am.

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