Sunday, October 21, 2012


Welcome to my first giveaway!  Who doesn't love a giveaway?!  For those of you who don't know, as well as being a practicing artist and having an online shop called trees4thewood I also run a flower farm.  Before our baby, we sold to wholesalers in large quantities but life has changed and so has the way we run the farm, so we've changed our name too and are now officially Swallows Nest Farm.     

So what's the prize?

I love it when everything comes together.  We've combined trees4thewood and Swallows Nest Farm in this prize package.  You get -  

Set of 6 professionally printed postcards of flowers from Swallows Nest Farm
Pack of 5 handmade Tasmanian Waratah Christmas Cards from trees4thewood
Pack of 3 Welcome Swallow Fancy Edged Note Cards from trees4thewood
A hand painted Tasmanian Waratah bookmark from trees4thewood

Thats a prize worth $50+!!!  

What do I have to do to win this fabulous package, I hear you ask?!?

Thats simple!  I'm using Rafflecopter to run the giveaway.  There are three ways you can enter - and if you do all three, you get three entries! Entries are open for three weeks. Follow the prompts below and good luck! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Did Someone say CHRISTMAS?

It's just not right how fast the year flies by.  But here we are near the end of October and I have had to face the fact the Christmas is just 65 days (!!!!!) away.  Having 5 children means that Christmas is a fairly big deal in our house.  There used to be much nagging about the putting up of the Christmas tree until I made a rule (not quite sure what the basis of it was) that the tree-up date was to be no earlier than October 31st.  I know some consider it bad luck to put up the tree before December.  Obviously we don't subscribe to that idea!  I justify our position by telling people that we do take the tree down before New Years.  So the Christmas season starts very soon in our house.  10 days till tree-up.  

Being a maker and seller of cards has also brought Christmas much closer than it would otherwise have seemed.   Last year, I began printing little red robins to use as personal cards for family and friends.  They were something simple but creative that I could do when looking after the baby was at its most intensive.  It gave me a project to focus on and provided a good deal of mental health!  It also was the catalyst for starting an online shop.  January 2nd saw the opening of trees4thewood and since then, lino printing and card making have become a regular part of my life.  

The challenge this year was to create another card for Christmas that I would be happy to send to family and friends.  I am not a fan of mass produced, cheap cards.  I really don't see the point.  Being a visual person, I can't understand why you would put a picture on something to decorate it, that wasn't even nice to look at.  No offense to anyone who loves card writing!  Its not the sentiments that bother me - its that the cards should match the sentiment.  

Living on a flower farm, we often mark the seasons by the flowers that are available, and the lead up to Christmas is marked for me by the flowering of Waratah and Pincushion (or Leucaspermum) flowers.  The Tasmanian Waratah is a later flowering one, and near to my heart because its native to the state.  Also, being bright and cheery in the traditional Christmas colours, it was the obvious choice for this years card.  

The Tasmanian Waratah have a lovely structure with bent styles, that I found translated well into a design for a lino print.  

The cards are available singly or in packs of 5 (which gives a great discount).  If you're interested, click on this link and it will take you to the Christmas section of trees4thewood.  Sending a handmade card means so much more, I think, than sending a mass produced one.  And if you start early, you won't get caught in the rush!

Friday, October 19, 2012


I haven't posted for so long, I was considering scrapping the blog altogether, but after getting over my tantrum about how I don't have enough time I realised that I do like blogging and I'm going to keep at it! And there is so much to blog about! Lots has been happening.  Winter has come and gone and here we are in spring!  Such a beautiful season in Tasmania, with blossom, birds, lush grass, some of my favourite seasonal flowers at the flower farm, and the smell of summer in the air! 

One of the most exciting things that happened, just as spring sprang, was that I received a letter from the Devonport Regional Gallery saying that my tidal.12 entry has been selected for the finalists exhibition!  I was over the moon!  Tidal.12 is a prize run biannually with Australia-wide entries of work related to the tidal or "water-meets-land" areas of our environment.  I'm looking forward to the exhibition, and to seeing the other work to be exhibited.  Here is the piece that is going to Devonport ...

It's titled "Sight Seeing 14 - Marion Bay".  Its based on strong visual memories I have of childhood trips to the beach.  Marion Bay is a beautiful beach in southern Tasmania, not far from where I live. I've been working on the Sight Seeing series for about 3 or 4 years now, ever since I moved to rural Tasmania.  It's been a journey of learning to really "see" the landscape.  It's amazing how little you really see a place when you just go "sight seeing".  The landscape reveals itself and its personality over time, as the seasons come and go and the effects of weather and human activity impact upon it.  I have come to appreciate how much our high-speed, instant modern life-styles are at odds with the natural world. Being a flower farmer has given me insight into this too, with plants responding to time and seasons, not marketplace demands.  So the Sight Seeing series has been a way of exploring this - and of learning to really see the landscape I live in.  
Marion Bay was also the first beach I took my baby too, after she came out of hospital.  When she was born, in March 2011, she was taken straight to the Intensive Care ward at Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne.  She spent the first 4 months of her life there - she never even saw the sky.  It worried me that she could live, and possibly die, never having even seen the sky, the grass, a tree!  Flowers were not even allowed in the ICU.  (I did smuggle a few small ones in, every now and again !  I am a flower farmer, after all!  Shhhh!) Taking her to the beach for the first time was a memory that I really cherish.  

So there we have it!  I'm looking forward to December, when the show opens.  I'm sure you'll hear all about it then!