Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2015 - Dream big

The end of the year is a time for reflection and renewal. Experience tells me that no one is immune to life's difficulties so I know your year will not have been easy and that new challenges in the future lie before you.

So gentle wishes from me to you and hopes that you will have the courage to face your difficulties and the strength to keep trying.

From the pen of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, a little inspiration.
'What if you slept
 And what if
 In your sleep
 You dreamed
 And what if
 In your dream
 You went to heaven
 And there plucked a strange and beautiful flower
 And what if
 When you awoke
 You had that flower in your hand
Ah, what then?'

Happy New Year!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Collab fun

In early December I collaborated with The General Trading Co to run a competition on Instagram continuing with a cutlery theme following my first successful #thespoonseries challenge. The challenge was called #theforkseries and the prize was 5m of beautiful seed lights - a perfect prize for Christmas and supplied by The General Trading Co.

The General Trading Co had the difficult job of selecting a winner and in the end chose the talented @24cherrys. Visit her creative IG feed at http://instagram.com/24cherrys.

So many other creative and lovely images were entered which made the choice so difficult, but TGT Co did a great job selecting the winner. Big thanks to The General Trading Co for providing the prize and selecting the winning entry.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Instagram #thespoonseries challenge winners

I am so excited to announce the winners of my first Instagram  giveaway #thespoonseries
Congratulations to Nadia @my_eclectic_loves and  Ainslee @mysuburbanfarm - the simplicity and moodiness of these photographs epitomise the challenge.


Special mentions are for these lovely captures by @claireb_photography @juliabesidethesea @ofheartandhome @sarahshanahan_lifestyle  
I am so grateful to all of those wonderful contributors to #thespoonseries challenge -  I wish I could give you all prizes - Claudia xo 

This is what lovely Kim Klassen, who judged the challenge, said about the winning entries:
"So many gorgeous spoon photos. It’s difficult to explain why I choose the images that I choose. I was immediately drawn to both images. You know, that instant sigh of … YES… so beautiful!
I love the rustic tabletop Ainslee chose - the perfect sway of lavender, the creative spoon staging and the light, is just so right - beautiful!
Nadia’s image immediately drew me in. The dark background, the light on the tattered textile, the simple placement of the cutlery - so right. And that spoon - be still my heart!
What a fun series……so much to love. Thank you Claudia for inviting me to be a part of this…… xo"
Thank you so much to Kim for accepting the role of being the judge.
It is such a difficult job.  But who better than Kim, whom I met through Instagram and who is an inspirational and talented creative and thinker.  Her website hums with creativity. Visit her site KimKlassen.com to discover more about her work initiatives, what courses she offers and the free knowledge and tips Kim generously gives away.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014


After all the support and encouragement I received from the friends I made through the Instagram community I decided to have a small giveaway to say Thank You. The prize is one of two prints of one of my original works from the Daring Adventures in Paint course I did earlier in the year with Mati Rose McDonough. http://www.matirose.com/

I developed an affinity with drawing vintage spoons and so decided to set a challenge that entries had to feature a spoon and be tagged to the tag #thespoonseries.
The lovely and talented photographer and educator, Kim Klassen, of Kimklassen.com agreed to be my guest judge. I wait eagerly to see what photographs she chooses.

The competition closes 14 November, midnight, NZ time.
Here are some of the lovely entries so far.

TL @gunnkmonsen     
BL @katherinedorrington   TR @rarepearstudio   BR @mathea_cornelia

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Simply beautiful: a visit to Home Magazine NZ's, Home of the Year, 2014

Down a long winding farm track and nestled on the banks of one of the inlets of the Kaipara Harbour, sits the Home Magazine's, Home of the Year, 2014.

'The Home' is in fact two cabins. Two friends chose to build the  separate dwellings on a shared property and enlisted the design expertise of architect, Nat Cheshire. Each cabin is compact - a mere 28 square meters, with one room and a mezzanine for sleeping. A ceiling window enables the owners to lie in bed and view the stars in the night sky.

The high studded living room includes a kitchen bench and a cleverly concealed door to an ablution facility. The shower, although hot, is located outside - exposed to the elements. 

There are two large square window spaces - one of which serves as an entrance.

The view out the square window to the water and mudflats is serene and beautiful.
For a Q&A with the architect ,more photographs and a video of this interesting award choice, visit the Home Magazine NZ website:http://homemagazine.co.nz/the-marvellous-2014-home-of-the-year/


Sunday, 26 October 2014

The 100 days project is over. What next?

For 100 consecutive days, 1000's in New Zealand and elsewhere resolved to work on a creative activity each day as part of the 100 Days Project and record it online. Over the last few weekends exhibitions have been held of local contributors in Wellington, Melbourne, IJsselstein (Netherlands) and Auckland. 
Well over 100 contributors ranging in all ages, exhibited in Auckland over the weekend. Here are some of their works. 
Lee Taniwha - 'Before I kick the bucket' 100 things the artist would like to  do before popping off this mortal space.
Angelo Dema- 'A4' Imagine creating a 3d object out of a flat sheet of A4!
Asta Lott - '5000 poppies'. Asta crocheted 100, but is carrying on to contribute to the 5000 poppies project to commemorate 100 years of the Anzac Remembrance Day in 2015.      
For more on the 5000 poppies project visit:
Work | Shop -' 100 domed objects' - beautifully crafted 3D objects with exquisite detail. http://100daysproject.co.nz/project/2014/1061

Suzanne Denmead - 'Crafterzan' cleverly crocheted characters. http://100daysproject.co.nz/project/2014/841

It was a great activity to be involved with and hope to return next year.
My theme was printable sketches- simple line drawings to convert to images that are easily printable. I found that photographing the simple drawings took on a life of its own.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

100days project - one thing. every day. x100

Have you ever given in to the urge to be creative and let it see where it leads you?

Well I have had this experience recently. I joined in the 100daysprojectNZ arranged by Emma Rogan and am pleased to find that surprisingly I have managed to complete the 100th day of the project.

We live such busy lives and before you know it you realise so much time has passed and you've let time to be creative slip away. Last year it suddenly hit me that I always had excuses for not doing creative projects. It was now or never. I decided to set up a stall selling crafts - things I had enjoyed making from recycled bits and experimental sewing projects. Hence the beginning of my blog because I was required to link to a website to display my products. I enjoyed my excursion into markets and met some fascinating people. However, I didn't particularly want to sell things, but make. The creative process fascinates me and I always delight in the unexpected - fortunately so, because often what I am trying to do doesn't always work {laughs!}.

Well I am never going to be a business women, too late for that now and so I decided to take a break from markets. It was around this time that I encountered Instagram. I took Stephanie Somebody's Instagram Debunked course through The School. Megan Morton, Sophie The and Stephanie brought their styling, photography road show to Auckland and lucky us! On my foray into IG, I came across some amazing bloggers, photographers, stylists and designers and others like me, in regular jobs, who needed creative outlets.

So I decided to post my images on IG. My aim was to make simple drawings which I could hopefully turn into some printable images- either by making stamps or stencils. Now that the drawings are finished, the printing phase begins...

I have had such warm responses and made some wonderful connections. These have really spurred me on and encouraged me to keep going (I have to admit that I enjoyed styling the photos as much as doing the drawings!).

So if you are hesitating about trying something new, all I can do is to say
there's no better time than now.


PS The 100days project exhibits in Auckland the weekend of  25 October opening that evening at the Thievery Studios, Level 2, Lagonda Building, 203 K-Road, Auckland city centre.


IG photos printed by Origrami

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Tasty blended eggplant dip

Eggplant and capsicum dip with a hint of smoked paprika

Easiest of recipes. The only thing is to watch closely while grilling the veges- don't set the kitchen on fire!

1 eggplant

1 yellow capsicum

1 TBS lemon juice

1 TBS tahini paste

1 clove of garlic

seasoning to taste (I use a Mediterranean style herb and spice mix)

50ml olive oil

Smoked paprika to garnish

Wash and dry the veges.

Remove the eggplant calyx and slice it lengthways into 1cm thick slices and season.

Remove the seeds and slice the capsicum into quarters.

With a basting brush, coat with olive oil.

Grill until the eggplant flesh is browned and  the capsicum soft and /or the large skin surfaces 'blister' (don't place it too close to the grill - be sensible about this and keep a close eye!)

Remove from grill and when cool, carefully remove the capsicum and eggplant skins.

Whizz up in a blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients, except for the paprika (left-over oil can be added too if mixture seems a bit dry)

Cool in fridge and serve in small dish with a sprinkling of smoked paprika on the surface and garnish with flat leaf parsley.

This is delicious as a starter on fresh ciabatta, with vege sticks or with an antipasto-style snack.


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Lily and Frank feature

What a lovely surprize to come home after a long day at work and discover that Catherine Frawley from the www.borrowed-light.com website and Instagram profile @lilyandfrank featured my Instagram photo as the winning entry in her weekly #frommykitchencompetition Instagram challenge.
Thank you Catherine!

This scrumptious recipe is a Nigella Lawson chocolate mousse recipe. Gloriously simple and wickedly delicious!


Friday, 8 August 2014

Botanical beauty

Mail arrived this week from Georgina Reid (Head Hunter founder and editor) of the online magazine The Planthunter Life. With Plants. Georgina's classy magazine celebrates the connections between plants and people.

A few months ago Georgina ran an Instacomp with her issue 8 theme of the theme of Poetry. She collaborated with the jeweller, Carolyn Barker, to offer this beautiful piece of jewellery as the prize.

It is a hand-made copper pendant with a botanical theme- a gingko leaf and is from Carolyn's 'fallen leaves' series. Carolyn is based in Queensland, Australia and developed the series as a result of a crowd funded project. Carolyn was inspired to create the botanically inspired pieces after spotting sun tinted leaves adorning a sandcastle on a beach after an evening swim. 

More on Carolyn's amazingly beautiful jewellery can be found on her website. http://www.cbjewellery.com.au

Of course the lure of winning this gorgeous pendant inspired me to write a poem. And being a lover of the botanical and really wanting to win, I simply couldn't resist, so not one but two entries.

Here are my two attempts and corresponding pics.

{ode to the gingko}

no flowers
only  golden beauty
stolen  by winter
when naked branches secretly
nurture new life

{ode to the manuka}

your fragile blossoms 
belie the healing elixir 
of your gifts, uplifted 
and woven by tiny creatures 
into sweet, golden treasures

Manuka is a New Zealand tea tree used by local bees to make delicious honey goodness.

And here the beauty that arrived this week! Joy is me and thanks to both Georgina and Carolyn!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Tea & roses

July in the Antipodes is time for rose pruning. After a week of non-stop rain, I awoke to a blue sky with painted clouds and looking out the window realised that the new leaves on my roses were already starting to sprout. I seriously needed to get on with pruning the old dear. 

Auckland isn't really the place to grow roses - too humid in summer, so I only have one rose. It is no dainty standard type, but a gnarly old fashioned one 4m high that I would have pulled out long ago if it hadn't been so persistent. Its ugliness is only forgiven by its stubbornness to cease flowering  well into winter accompanied by the scent of a 1000 perfumeries. Apparently it is difficult to breed roses for their scent, so another good reason not to remove this brute.

Accompanied by Frodo, my faithful gardening companion, and equipped with clippers, long handled clippers and a pruning saw, not to mention the thick gloves and protective clothing, I clambered my way behind the hedge and started pruning. I tried  to avoid hacking the stems which was tricky because of the height of the plant and to avoid being stabbed by razor sharp thorns. The rose 'branches' were way above me (a ladder would have been helpful, but threw out our old one recently!), so I had to stretch to reach the skyward growing stems and bend my body into weird angles to avoid having my kidneys punctured by surrounding bushes and branches.


After three quarters of an hour, I had all the branches cut down into stick lengths and dumped in the garden bin. I can tell you that the cup of tea that followed was well earned!


My tips on rose pruning:

In a standard or bush type of rose, the purpose of pruning is to create a bowl to allow light and air into the centre and to encourage the plant's branches to fan outwards. My rose 'tree' is against a fence so I needed to prune it to ensure that the branches didn't grow across each other. Also I had to be careful not to remove too many branches too far down to the woody stem.

It is important to make a cut at an angle above a growth node. Also depending on which way you want the branch to fan out, you need to choose your cut above the correct node.

Happy pruning!


The easy gardener for New Zealand gardeners. 1999. Random House Australia.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Special mention by Jen Francis, Interiors Addict blog owner

Another fun #7vignettes completed! This Instagram challenge is run by Jen Francis who runs the blog Interiors Addict and who is currently flitting around Europe and America. Despite this, she still found time to post and this month, judge, the #7vignettes challenge. Each day there is a theme and it's incredible to see how each participant interprets them. The winner was the wonderful Angela Steyn an interior designer from Australia. Angela puts together the most beautifully edited photographs. Somehow she knows just how many items to include in her compositions and in the most muted calming tones.

A few of us competing in the challenge got a special mention (including moi). Have a look at their lovely galleries - so amazing to see how creative people can be:



Monday, 21 April 2014

Instagram community

Over the last few weeks I have been kept busy with Instagram. There are loads of challenges to participate in and I have found them to be huge fun.
  • #7vignettes, a monthly 7 day challenge with themes provides by Jen Bishop, who runs the website Interiors Addict 

  • #ELPminimal run by Sarah from Emotive Light Photography who's love is food photography. Each Sunday Sarah provides a theme for participants to post an image with three items or less. A number of my photos have been featured.