Welcome

Hello there and welcome! Please excuse any dust as we are finishing up construction of my shiny new site… where I have brought my Photography portfolio and my blog under the one roof.

In order to make for a smooth transition, I have re-directed my previous Wordpress blog to this site. It would be fabulous if you would update your blog readers and subscriptions with the new address, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun that is in store.

I am also planning a giveaway in the near future, so please, subscribe and spread the word! Meanwhile, feel free to kick off your shoes and have a look around. I have imported all of my previous posts, dating all the way back to 2005, and I’m hoping that all my links etc work as well. If you spot any broken links or problems, please let me know! Otherwise, it will be blogging as usual, starting back up really soon.

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Love from me…..

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Rest and recharge… Part 1 – Canberra

I just realised today, as we were dreaming and hoping to plan our next family holiday, that I never did share photos with you of our last trip – from waaayy back in 2010. I really need a holiday right now, so I decided to sneak in a mini break by reliving one of the best, most relaxing trips we’ve had in a long time.

We fitted a lot into 3 weeks, we attended a 3 day convention in Canberra first up, staying just outside of the ACT in a hotel/motel which was very comfortable… Loved Canberra. I didn’t expect to, and I would much prefer it wasn’t so cold, however it was still a great city. Easier to get around than I expected, with lots of touristy type things to look at. I must admit, that despite the cold… we visited at the end of July, there was plenty of amazing sunshine! Adelaide is so much greyer in winter.

Highlights were the National Zoo and Aquarium, which, from the entry to the carpark, we were wondering why we were there…. but it was certainly a hidden gem, and well worth the visit.

Snow Leopard, National Zoo Canberra.

Snow Leopard, National Zoo Canberra.

Tiger, National Zoo Canberra

Tiger, National Zoo Canberra

Aquarium, National Zoo Canberra.

Aquarium, National Zoo Canberra.

White Lions, National Zoo Canberra.

White Lions, National Zoo Canberra.

White Lions, National Zoo Canberra.

White Lions, National Zoo Canberra.

White Lions, National Zoo Canberra.

White Lions, National Zoo Canberra.

Sun Bear and Cub, National Zoo Canberra.

Sun Bear and Cub, National Zoo Canberra.

Sun Bear Cub, National Zoo Canberra.

Sun Bear Cub, National Zoo Canberra.

Sun Bear Cub, National Zoo Canberra.

Sun Bear Cub, National Zoo Canberra.

This is only a fraction of the fabulous animals we got to see, some of which are truly unique in Australian Zoos.

Another amazing place to visit was Black Mountain Tower, although not for the faint of heart. I went up to the “Panorama Kiosk” but sent the boys up to the viewing platform without me.

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

Black Mountain Tower, Canberra

It was a very very long way up but an amazing view of this uniquely sited City. Love the lake views, with all the mountains surrounding.

Finally, no trip would be complete without the requisite Museum visit – the National Museum Australia. We had as much fun walking around the outside of this Architecturally bizarre building as we did looking at the displays inside.

National Museum Australia, Canberra

One part of the outside of the National Museum Australia, Canberra

National Museum Australia, Canberra

National Museum Australia, Canberra

Views from around the National Museum, over the lake to Black Mountain Tower.

Views from around the National Museum, over the lake to Black Mountain Tower.

Stay tuned for the next stage of this amazing trip….

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Some more Gelli Printing fun

This Gelli printing is totally addictive! I’ve been so keen to give it another try, one day last week I just decided that whatever needed to be done that day, could wait, and out came the paints. I use our family dining table for my painting, so I need a decent amount of time to set up and work, otherwise I spend more time cleaning up than playing. My dream is to have my own little “art studio” space, however until one of the kids leaves home, that’s not likely to happen ;) I did however score some awesome new stencils cheap, so I was all set for some serious paint fun!

Gelli Prints on inside of envelopes

Gelli Prints on inside of envelopes

Here’s the best of a stack of envelopes again. It’s a bit flimsy paper, but I love the freedom of the patterns and shapes….. I’ve got quite a collection of these papers now, and I’ve been dreaming up some ways to use them up – stay tuned for those!

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So, after making a couple more sets of prints on the watercolour paper again, I was finished with my Gelli Plate, but didn’t want to stop painting and creating… so I decided to try some owls out on these new backgrounds.

Painted owl on Gelli Plate background

Painted owl on Gelli Plate background

Painted owl on Gelli Plate background

Painted owl on Gelli Plate background

Again, they are wild and crazy and colourful, and not really like Juliette Crane’s work at all, but that’s ok because they are uniquely mine! They still need a bit more work and embellishing, but it was a very productive, and therapeutic, afternoon of painting.

Posted in Art, Inspiration, mixed media, painting | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wonky Log Cabin Quilt Completed!!

I’m so excited to be finally finished with this one – only my third ever quilt. DH was working from home today because we were getting the car serviced, so I dragged him outside for a  couple of photos. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to wait for the breeze to stop, it’s been pouring with rain for a couple of days, so we were determined to make use of the finer weather today.

See the progress of it here and here….

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Sadly some of the quilting lines pulled the blocks a little out of shape, but you can definitely get the idea of the uneven and random shapes in the log cabin blocks. The 2 different background “sashing” fabrics blend really well together, so it’s turned from a design mishap to a design feature! I love the jagged and erratic nature of these blocks, it keeps your eye moving and always finding new shapes and contrasts.

Edited-0692I tossed up whether to run the set of extra strips along the seam between the two backing fabrics, or across it, and decided I liked the contrast between the 2 fabrics better. You can see that one line of quilting about 1/4 down from the top that really pulled everything out of alignment.

I tried a new spray baste this time, the 505 spray that everyone raves about. I have to admit that I was seriously unimpressed. It gummed up the bottom of my walking foot, causing all sorts of dragging and puckering, and it didn’t feel at all like it was holding the quilt securely – hence the stitching pulling the blocks out of alignment. I will be going back to the other spray in future.

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Because of the rather random nature of the fabric used, choosing a binding fabric was especially challenging, and I am really happy with what I eventually found – this tiny spot in black and grey on a white background. We wanted to keep it light feeling, not a dark black based border which would look out-of-place with the light coloured sashing, and finding anything to perfectly match the purple or burgundy in the quilt was impossible. I had all but given up when I found this one, and it works really well.

We’ve already slept under it, the wool/poly batting is just the right Autumn weight and at 60″ square, it’s a perfect fit for our bed – we prefer quilts without miles of overhang.

So, considering it was a rather random project on my new sewing machine, I have learnt a lot from this quilt, and once again I’m super happy to have less than a tiny sandwich bag of scraps left over at the end of it.

I’m currently going through one of Leah Day‘s freemotion quilting classes on Craftsy – Freemotion Quilting a Sampler, and I’m looking forward to trying out some new skills on my next project! Yes, of course there’s a next project, I bought the fabric for it months ago. Patchwork and quilting is addictive like that.

So, any fabulous crafting projects you’ve finished lately?

 

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Chronic Illness Awareness

Something just a little different for today’s post…

First off, I want to say thankyou so much and welcome to everyone who has come to visit me. Gelli Arts, the amazing company behind the Gelli Printing Plate, has kindly sent oh so many new friends to meet me over the last few days. It’s been fantastic to hear from you and to see your own amazing new creations.

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The start of the last migraine chain, last Wednesday.

You may have noticed that posting around here gets pretty sporadic. I hardly get out into the garden anymore, and my photography has had to take a bit of a back seat as well. I have been diagnosed this year with Chronic Migraines, and I just wanted to share a bit about it here with you. I know that I didn’t know much about them, and there is a lot that many people don’t know.

Fact 1 – a migraine is not just a bad headache. Yes, my head does hurt, but the actual process is different. A migraine is now believed to involve your neurons inside your brain being overly sensitized to otherwise “normal” stimulus…. your trigger. My triggers are light and noise. We haven’t been able to identify any others. Some people react to perfume, red wine, caffeine or even certain food additives. A migraine attack makes me dizzy, weak, photophobic, with intense pain in my head and behind my eyes. If you make any loud noises around me, I will physically wince. I will wear my sunglasses everywhere because shopping centre lights trigger the most horrific attacks.

Fact 2 – you don’t have to have the full-blown aura and vomiting to have a migraine. Actually only about 25% of migraines have those symptoms. Which is why for a long time, I never dreamed that I had migraines. However, that being said, each migraine attack can be different and I have had nausea and flashing lights over my latest attack.

Fact 3 – there is no magic pill to make it go away. I haven’t been able to find a pain relief medication to make the pain stop during an attack, and I am currently on my 6th preventative medication. Each time we are hoping that this is the one, this will work. Every person, every case is different and it takes time to work through all the possible combinations and eliminate all the other options, including MS, Brain tumors and Aneurysms.

Fact 4 – migraines, like CF, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Depression, are “Invisible Illnesses”. Just because I’m still standing and pretending to smile, doesn’t mean that I’m not in constant pain. I just stopped telling people about the pain because no-one can make it go away. It’s really easy to forget about people with Invisible Illnesses, because there is no visible reminder about the torture their bodies are putting them through. I am also fighting a losing battle with my brain, because the pain makes me very foggy and I struggle to find words for everyday conversations.

Fact 5 – migraines are much more common in adult women than men, and are also genetically linked. I have strong reason to believe both my mother and grandmother suffered from them, although at the time, they put them down as “sinus” headaches, which is a common misdiagnosis. If you genuinely have a “sinus” headache, you will have an infection, with the corresponding fever. If you just have sinus pain, that’s not a sinus headache.

Fact 6 – migraine attacks last between 4 and 72 hours. I have had a full-blown migraine, on and off, since last Wednesday (9 days). I have had a few hours with low pain, where I have scurried out to do some shopping or hang some washing out, but within 4 or 5 hours, the attack has returned and I am being beaten into submission again. I assume it is a string of attacks and not just one super long one, however I have to admit to being fed up with it. That’s where the chronic migraine part comes from. I have not had a week without pain in months. I can barely remember a day without pain!

I was overjoyed that this morning I woke up and the pain was back down in the manageable range – the height of my luxury being having a shower, which is really hard to do when you have a full-blown migraine attack. Despite DH and the children’s best efforts, there is some housework to be done, some shopping that can’t be put off, and hopefully leaving the house won’t trigger the next attack.

One of the hardest things of all is accepting my new limitations. I am used to being able to do what I want, when I want. Having mountains of ideas, and the energy to carry them out. Having words, and conversations, and being able to make sense. Now I feel like I’m turning into a shadow of myself. Some former Cassie, who is just some lame joke compared to the old one, who looks a bit like her, but that’s about all.

I hate being told I can’t do anything. I terrified my Dad when I was 5, by climbing up the ladder to see what he was doing on the roof. At age 8 I climbed Ayers Rock (Uluru), without my parents. I got so sick of people asking where my family was that I adopted a nice American couple along the way, who we stayed in touch with for many years, but I just wouldn’t accept NO. And now, I haven’t got any choices. My body is the one saying no, and it’s quite violently at times. But I keep pushing those boundaries, every day that I can, because, I won’t accept them. Maybe today, possibly tomorrow. But not forever…..

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Meanwhile, please share your experiences with invisible or otherwise illnesses. We can be great support to each other if we try. 

Posted in Migraine, Words | Tagged | 4 Comments