On safari in Beach Haven

The lockdown bears (and friends) of Beach Haven

lockdown bear 01
this bear can be found somewhere in Beach Haven

The bear hunt was on.

Beach Haven was rife with bears (and monkeys and tigers, giraffes and chickens) though they were safely locked down in their own bubbles during the Covid-19 level 4 alert.  Walking the neighbourhood was an allowable activity and that is what photographer Brian did.  Carefully scanning the streets within 2km of the Beach Haven shops he spotted and photographed many of the soft creatures.

Check them out on his Facebook page … see if you can spot your Beach Haven lockdown critter.

on my bookshelf is “Gold Dust Woman”

Have you seen Stevie Nicks live in concert? tell me about it.

I did not know about the shawls, the chiffon and the hats but I was brought up to speed in Gold Dust Woman – a biography of Stevie Nicks. It is not an autobiography, Stevie does not think the world is ready for her memoir and “the fact is that nobody has a clue to what my life was really like”. It will probably stay that way but a story of Stevie Nicks has been captured in a 347-page biography.

She is like a cat in the dark
and then she is the darkness

Author, Stephen Davis worked with Mick Fleetwood on his biography in 1987. Davis also wrote album notes for Fleetwood Mac/Greatest Hits and Live at the BBC. Davis collected information from Stevie’s informative, intimate and quotable interviews; from his time working for Mick Fleetwood and personal interviews with Stevie’s friends and colleagues. The writing had quirks and sometimes did not flow but for some reason, Gold Dust Woman captivated me from the start to the finish.

I started reading, not really knowing much about Stevie Nicks; she was just a singer in a band – Fleetwood Mac. I enjoy the music of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks but when I read this book, it told me the anguish in her life – the relationships, the drugs and the long hours. All those harsh things brought her early music and words to the songs. I felt guilty that the music I enjoy came from the stormy clouds of difficult times but then there is always a silver lining.

Has anyone ever given anything to you
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it’s all I ever do
This is your song

I did not know about Stevie’s love to perform, to write poems, her style and the shawls. The book brings the background to the songs and albums that Stevie wrote and performs. It gives reasons for why songs are as they are or why they were remixed by changing the tone or increasing the beat. I now listen to the songs with a different ear.

Stevie visited New Zealand many times with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist in 1977, 1980, 1986 (with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), 2009, 2015 and recently November 2017. Who went to see her – comments, please?

The 1980 Tusk show in Wellington did not go well. It was opened by Hammond Gamble and Street Talk but Lindsay Buckingham behaved badly by mimicking Stevie, getting in her way and perhaps even trying to kick her or trip her up – the band did not do an encore that night! The Auckland show followed two days later, Stevie was able to charm the audience even though there was still tension within the band.

I have my own life
And I am stronger
Than you know

Still touring and approaching 70 (born 26 May 1948), Stevie reminds us “if you want to stay young, you have to make an effort”.

I got my copy of Gold Dust Woman from the library – worth a read to find out who the Gold Dust Woman is.

“Chiffon lasts forever if you take good care of it”

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My art inside Redbubble

I am having fun 🙂

Find your art on Redbubble

My beautiful watercolour pencils and sketch pad travel with me. I thought they would become a prized possession, but that was not so. I always have them out and admire their colours but am reluctant to put them on paper because (pause) … well … I think it is because I am afraid (another pause).

Afraid of putting a less than perfect mark on the paper. Afraid that my curves would not be beautiful flowing curves. I have so many ideas loitering inside of me but afraid to implement them.

I knew that if I did it every day I would get better but it hasn’t because I haven’t

HSDB005 Glen Hope Art BoardThis journey started with photos. Photos are easy – point and shot, sometimes you get lucky.  I relied on my computer to zoom in and crop to get a better picture. I heard about the ‘thirds’ rule in composition. My small mobile phone camera turned into a Canon PowerShot, still a basic camera but with more zap and zoom.

Then I discovered Vi Hart (thanks Craig) – wow, what a lady. She is a mathematical doodler and has expanded my knowledge of Fibonacci spirals, taught me about binary trees and snakes. Fantastic, my imagination has turned binary trees into mountains with snow. This is exciting for me because I ‘get’ maths and maths is the world, it is everywhere – you just need to look.

blue triangles looking like mountains
Just doodling … and an upside-down random binary tree becomes mountains

Maths has given me the structure I have needed to do art. It has provided the starting point because I can draw a straight line with a ruler and many straight lines can become curves.

Did I mention colour? I have always loved colour and it took me down the track of dyeing fabric – sixty-six colours in four tints from three dyes. That was an adventure – and I used maths to get the gradients of the changing colours.

HSDB007 Summer in the Alps Bag
‘Summer in the Alps”, tote bag from Redbubble

Colour is mathematical and I have found the 16.5 million colours I can make on the computer. Additionally, I have a favourite website that helps me determine the relationships between colours. This keeps me safe and my colour confidence is increasing.

Here are most of the elements, I think, I need to do art – colour, structure and thirds but still afraid to put pencil to paper. Somehow, paint.net came into my vision and is now my easel. It gave me courage. I can create my mathematical structure, manipulate the colours and let my ideas flow.

It is not a problem travelling with this new art, it is all on the computer – able to be shared, viewed and sold.

Enter Redbubble.  I had known about Redbubble for a while – for me, they have two purposes.

Redbubble is an Australian and creates a community of artists. This is a safe place for me because no one knows who I am and everyone is an artist on Redbubble. It is all in a digital form and includes photography, digital art, fine art etc. It has many ideas, many genres, not everything appeals but that is what the world is about.

Redbubble’s mission is to ‘bring more creativity into the world’

It is a place for inspiration. I can join groups, share my work and enter competitions. There is a complete spectrum of artists, from the novice to the professional and I feel comfortable sharing and watching what others have done.

The second part of Redbubble is the product. I can upload my art to Redbubble and instantly it appears on a variety of items (60+) which are sold through the Redbubble website. Of course, you are competing with 400,000 artists for sales and I guess it all comes down to your marketing – another skill to be acquired.

White T-shirt, black sleeves with oval print of the Eiffel Tower reflected into a puddle
Eiffel Reflection T-shirt available from Redbubble

To sum up, this is a marketing blog. I am an affiliate (and contributor) of Redbubble. You will see their logo and links throughout my blog. If you make a purchase through a link from my blog, I will get a commission and if you purchase any of my art pieces, I will get more commission. They gave me a little something for writing this blog.

Enough of the sales talk head over to my Redbubble portfolio or look at my portfolio (still a work in progress). Follow me on the House Sit and Dog Blog Facebook page or at Instagram to see my ideas flow – I have a strategy!

The story of a recipe

Let’s have a cup of tea and some Orange Cake

I made my first orange cake from scratch using a 1980’s Cuisine Magazine recipe.  It was a “food processor” kind of cake using a whole orange and cooked in the microwave.  It instantly became a favourite of mine.

Years went by and I did not bake that orange cake as much.  Then one day on a road trip between house sits, Continue reading “The story of a recipe”

the final resting place for the Red Baron?

Why has Manfred von Richthofen been buried four times?

It was 1975 when his brother, Balko, obtained permission from the East German government to take Manfred’s remains back to the von Richthofen family burial plot in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Manfred von Richthofen
The official portrait of Manfred von Richthofen (taken 1917 by C. J. van Dühren)

Manfred’s first burial was in the village churchyard of Bertangles neat Amiens, France in 1918. Continue reading “the final resting place for the Red Baron?”

The Mountain of de Bueren

374 steps over 260 m with a altitude climb of 50 m

Montagne de BuerenI huffed and puffed my way up these stairs along with the other tourists. I was surprised how this ‘tourist attraction’ encouraged people who would normally take the lift to tackle the stair challenge.

Three hundred and seventy-four Continue reading “The Mountain of de Bueren”

Just another autumn

Where do all the autumn leaves go?

Snow fell gently as I walked home. I realised autumn was coming to an end.  This autumn was different to my previous autumn experiences – it was more obvious.  Now I understand why Anne of Green Gables said: “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”. Continue reading “Just another autumn”

Hier wohnte Karl Baum (here lived Karl Baum)

Karl Baum, the butcher, has one of the 60,000 Stumbling Stones placed in 22 countries.

Karl Baum, his wife Toni, daughter Gerti and brother Leo lived at Mauergasse-8, Wiesbaden, Germany in the 1930’s.

Karl was the second oldest of six children.  He was a butcher and originally the family lived in the apartment above his shop in Schulgasse-2.  Business was good until 1934 when the Sturmabteilung (Nazi Paramilitary) prohibited the Jewish butchers from using the town’s slaughterhouse Continue reading “Hier wohnte Karl Baum (here lived Karl Baum)”

Reading again and a serendipitous gift (the best kind)

the perfect gift does not need to wait to gift giving time

Copies of Joey and the Jet boat are travelling with me just in case I find the right person for them.  I was thinking a young child rather than the Swiss primary school teacher who shared her collection of German children’s books with me and I was able to add Joey and the Jet boat to her collection of English children’s books.  That is the kind of gift-giving I like: a children’s book lover who was familiar with the Queenstown setting of the book. Continue reading “Reading again and a serendipitous gift (the best kind)”