If my boys had a room like this...


 Light and organised and tidy and spacious.

I don't think they mind very much that their room is only about half the size of this room with a window that overlooks the carpark (and cemetery beyond) because, well, the Samurai is 8 months old so what does he care, and the Angel is far more interested in the boxes of toys that take up any floor space he might have had to play on. He happily (and regularly) takes over the living room if he needs space to play.

But if they had a room like this I can guarantee that the art on their walls would change very frequently, and would be photographed often. Frankly - this is the only honest reason why I wish the boys had a room like this... because I am tired of being disappointed by the photos I have been taking of my work... my complete lack of space (and professional stylist) are frustrating. As for the boys? as far as they're concerned, the whole house is their room so they don't care if they have a schmick and nicely styled place to sleep (thankfully)

Photos of my work will be coming soon, and stuck all over etsy and the new selling platform Nookroad (check it out) but it takes me a while to think up descriptions (I won't pretend that they're witty) and click through all the categories my work fits into and enter sizes and postage costs and all that other stuff. So I have cut some corners and posted all my current prints on the blog for you to have a look at. (Click on the 'print sale' tab along the top) When I get some more time I will be moving them onto etsy, but you'd be doing me a favour if you bought them from here so I don't have to put them up hahah... yeah.


The Elm Tree: the real life shop  is coming some time next month and everything has been super busy getting it sorted out. I have had zero time to do art or anything very creative so I have to apologise (again) to those with subscriptions. I am putting together something special to make up for my tardiness! Promise!!

If you are interested in being part of our store I will be posting more details soon.

Sick days

It seems like every winter I am bemoaning the same things. It is probably indicative of some kind of disastrous vitamin deficiency ( :( ) but every time the weather gets cold our house needs to be quarantined. We are the tag team family of phlegm (ew) as soon as one member of the family has wrestled their illness into submission and reached a state of wellness the next person leaps in to the sick ring. Last winter I remember having to cancel nearly every social commitment we had because we didn't want to infect our friends.

Everyone is slowly recovering and so the days here are punctuated by naps. Family naps.

I came out of my 'office' (I have my computer set up in the angel's room) and found this.

ps. Ky dressed them - and obviously dressed himself - and they're matching. Pretty cute. The room was really dark so these are the clearest photos I could get - and it took a lot of tries to get them. Blur city. 

Love your camera

I have always felt a bit limited by words, which might be one of the reasons why I love art so much. That's not to say that I don't love words too - I read a lot, but sometimes you can say a lot more with an image. You know...

1 picture > 1000 words.

However many words a picture may be worth, learning how to take nice photos has always been on my list of things to do.
Reading other peoples blogs and seeing how awesome their photos are has only served to remind me almost daily how badly I wish I knew how to do more than just take an 'auto' photo.

So on Monday morning Analiese sat down with me and schooled me on how to use a DSLR - it's my mums, but after this she'll be lucky if she gets it back... (don't worry mum, I know that you're very very lucky)

For anyone who is interested in learning more about using your camera then I would absolutely recommend going to one of Analiese's classes. I have spoken about her before on this blog, so if you have a good memory you will know that she is a relative of mine, but asides from this and her being generally awesome - I really enjoyed learning how to take a decent photo.

The benefit of her 'Love your camera' course was in the absolute personal application of it. It wasn't just about learning how to use a tool for sake of being able to use a tool, but the whole conversation (it was one on one so it was informal and relaxed) applied to how I would be using a camera after I left the class. So while I haven't taken any other photography classes (ever) I still think that it is a great reminder even for people who have.

She went through all the auto and semi-auto settings on the camera and then we took a bunch of photos fully manual, which was around the time that my boys all came back from wandering around the park and so I was able to take some photos of them.

Analiese is predominantly a family photographer, but this class is about learning how to use and love your camera so that you can use it to tell the stories that you want to tell in the way that you want to tell it. There was no pretentious 'only shoot manual because everything else is cheating' or anything like that, but I am excited that I can apply the things that she taught me (and use the little cheat sheet of notes she gave me) to my point and shoot camera - which also has a manual setting.

I'm totally putting pressure on myself to produce good photos on this blog now, but with a shop opening in the works and life as hectic as ever, it is really nice to have some more skills in my arsenal and great as well to have been able to spend some time doing getting something from my bucket list ticked off.

Analiese has a class coming up later this month (on the 20th)  so check out her website and send her an email if you are interested in a spot there - or if you would like to have a class like me just one on one, email her for more info.

ps. Obviously Analiese took the photos of me taking photos - she sent them to me (because I'm vain and I asked for them) and they had a number for the file number. I totally renamed it 'eleanorisaphotographer' hahahaha. One class and already I'm all like 'woo check me out' Hi-larious. 


Kyle served a mission for our church in Washington DC. I served one in Taibei.

As you might imagine, living away from home with a strict set of rules, working hard to share something that is deeply personal (faith) with a lot of people (most of whom reject your message) can be quite challenging.

Recently Ky was asked to make a short documentary style film for his course - using a voice over and photo montage.
I don't think that either of us are overly preachy people (obviously asides from the time we spent actively being preachy as missionaries) we just live our lives and let other live theirs and our relationships with people are not contingent upon them agreeing with our lifestyle nor us with theirs.

So it was somewhat surprising to some people in his class when he produced a film recounting part of the personal journey that he went on as a missionary. It's not really about being Mormon so to speak, it's not even really about God... it's just about a journey.

I drew some of the images for him to fill in the holes where photos were absent. The girl who appears in reference to girlfriends never actually dated him (he actually went out with that girl's friend) - he just didn't have any other photos.

And as a final note - I hate that last photo. I totally wasn't ready for the camera to go off. Boo.

Oh this?

Some days I am so overwhelmed by everything, or just so out of sorts that I feel like I am faking everything I do.

On those days I wonder if it is really obvious - just how much I don't know about what I'm doing.

Some days it probably is, but other days less so. 
In any case, it helps to remind myself that everyone has their own issues that they're carrying around. 

Maybe not as obvious an animal perched on my head... but still. 

I drew this a few years ago. My brother just let me borrow his computer monitor and so I have been able to get back into a whole lot of my art that has been locked away for months since my screen got wrecked.  

Mum, Oma, and Grandma

When I was pregnant with the angel Ky and I helped his parents pack up some of the rooms of their house in preparation for getting it ready to sell. For me - quite pregnant - that meant that I was packing up Sue's craft room - which was extensive and totally awesome. One day I will have a craft room like that. With shelves of fabric, (maybe paper and paint for me) and all sorts of goodies in drawers around the place.

There was a whole basket full of fabric off cuts in various sizes and patterns that I looted like a fabric pirate. (The rest went into the bin, so really I was rescuing it)

I am a total quilting noob, despite my mum being super awesome at making quilts and my mother in law having a quilting business - but I thought I would give it a go.

I cut the fabric wrong, I didn't even iron some of it, I sewed it however I felt like, and my general lack of precision left me with a quilt top that wouldn't sit flat ... and it was seriously frustrating.

My mum saved me. We used my patchwork compilation as a fabric which we cut up and mixed with some yellow she had to make squares which we could get to sit flat. She very recently finished it up for me - quilting it on her machine.

So... it all started as fabric remnants from Grandma, got messed up by Mum, and saved by Oma.

More than 2 years later, here it is. A very Swedish looking (in colour) kids quilt.

Lessons learned (or revised)
 1. Be precise. 
 2. My mum is awesome.

My Angel Gabriel

Since he could hold a pen/crayon/pencil/paintbrush, I have been doing art with the Angel.

He is a marvellous mess maker, but as far as I could tell he never really enjoyed drawing because he was mostly just scribbling. There is a lot to be said for using quality art materials when working with children... a cheap watercolour set which didn't share colour properly frustrated Gabe to no end, but as soon as I let him use some proper acrylics he wanted to paint every second he could.

Yesterday we sat down and because I had no other pens to hand I let him use sharpies to draw a picture. He drew this:

That's us. Ronin, Gabe, Ky, and me... I'm a cyclops with three eyebrows. Mutant mum. 

I didn't tell him how to draw people, or how many eyes we had to have, though I did remind him that we needed arms and legs - and so we look like potatoes. Which is marvellous.
It was the first time that he actually tried to draw more than just a collection of shapes. Since then he's been an unstoppable drawing machine and I am super happy about it, because it means when we turn the TV off, he has more to do than making a mess with playdoh (so much mess!)

Today he drew monsters.


 Such a cheesy guy.

It is wonderfully rewarding to see him enjoying art, I think all children like to make things and be creative and use their imaginations when given the opportunity.
I am working on a business plan to open up a shop where we will do just that. Give children (and grown ups) the opportunity and materials to get creative.
I am very excited.

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