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Vicariously living Danishly

June 25, 2017

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. We’re in a dark’an’orrible place right now. And personally my solution is books, sweet books.

Like this one: Helen Russell’s The Year of Living Danishly. 

Like the finest Danish pastry, this book is light, enjoyable and morish. But it isn’t empty fluff. This is quality stuff. 

Reflective, philosophical, socially and politically relevant. Entertaining, engaging and inspiring. This book hits the rare sweet spot: fun and funny while being relevant and insightful. This is  the kind of gently uplifting nourishment a lot of us need at the moment.

And as an added bonus for us AFOLs, the book also features the odd insight into what it is like to work for Lego. It sounds pretty wonderful. So Lego, if you’re ever looking for someone to help develop a new line of gender-neutral town and train based sets, I’ve got a lifetime of Lego building experience, an eye for design and Lego-bucketloads of creativity, and I think my little family could build a very happy life in Denmark.

Painting without a plan

May 4, 2017

Today I decided to paint.Not with a plan or a goal, but just for the love of painting. I wanted to do something fast, loose and spontaneous. I wanted to embrace the idea that there are no mistakes in art, just infinite possibilities.

I call the result “Essence of a Tabby Cat”.


I rather like it upside-down.

Sudden illness, slow gestating art…

May 2, 2017

I have no voice at the moment. Also, not much energy. It is very annoying.

On Friday morning I had a voice, and I felt fine. On Friday arvo I still felt fine but my voice started to disappear. By Friday night it was gone. And then I started to feel a bit more bleurgh.

Laryngitis apparently.

So I can’t go to work, don’t have the energy to go out or do much housework, and of course I can’t talk. So, what to do?

  1.  Read ridiculous amounts of books.
  2. Restock my My Etsy shop. Which I opened about 7 years ago (eek!) but have neglected for most of that time. But according to my stats people have suddenly started visiting my shop in the past few months, even though there has been nothing there. So, ever the optimist, I’ve restocked.

Actually it has been kind of fun going through my drawers of artworks and prints and imagining them going to forever homes. I really hope they do.

Plus I found an old unfinished painting from several years ago (four or five at a guess) and I really like it. Got to get back into the gouache and finish it sometime soon.

FullSizeRender(2)

Another item for my to do list!

Seven years to get around to doing Etsy properly. Five years to paint one picture. I really don’t rush things, do I?

Never mind. Years ago I discovered the line-work for an artwork of a couple of cats lounging on shelves in my drawers. It had been languishing in the drawer for years, but I dusted it off, painted it up, and it is possibly my favourite artwork ever, despite the long gestation.

Literary Felines

Literary Felines by Julia Marshall (and yes, you can buy prints of this from my Etsy shop now).

I have so many different creative outlets and hobbies and projects and dreams. I’m not very efficient as an artist. But hopefully as these things bubble along slowly at least some will brew into wonderful creations that were worth waiting for.

Philosophical ponderings while my toddler sleeps

March 8, 2017

Happy anyway

February 21, 2017

I wanted to post about how great and helpful the book Happy by Derren Brown is. I wanted to share a photo of the book. But WordPress is not co-operating today.

Well, clearly WP decided to co-operate in the end!


Oh well. Not a big deal. I choose to not let this bother me. Not because I’m “thinking positive” but because this trivial little matter is not worth it. And because I really am lucky, and life and all the precious things I value really are limited.

Thank you Derren Brown for providing an inspiring, thoughtful read for those of us who enjoy reading about how to live well.

Warming up a little

January 17, 2017

I am not a warm person. At least that is how it seems.

I like people. I’m pretty sure I usually like other people more than they like me. I wish others the best, always. I’m interested in their lives, and stories, worries and joys.

Yet I am difficult to get to know. I struggle to chat, or dive in too deep, or get overwhelmed and retreat. I am guarded, reserved, shy. I overthink and undertalk. People don’t take to me, at least in part, because they think I don’t take to them.

On the inside I am warm, I care. I’d like to talk, even more to listen. But how do I learn to say the right things, to gauge the right level of questions, or find mutually engaging topics? 

How do I turn my inside out? Is it time to try underthinking and over talking? That strikes me as potentially disastrous! 

What I know is that people matter and connection to people is the crux of life. 

Somehow I need to get better at connecting. I think my mission is this: take the warmth within me and wear it on the outside.

I wonder if I can?

S is for stylising, spontaneity and swiftness

January 15, 2017

I haven’t done much painting in my son’s lifetime (18 months now).

But I did paint up this S for my niece’s 1st birthday.

Although it was tricky to find the time to get it done it was a good reminder of how much I do enjoy painting when I get a chance. And the time constraints made me work efficiently in a loose, painterly, make-it-up-as-I-go way, which I think is a way of painting I should adopt more often. 

Less thinking, planning, sketching and prepping. More revelling in the joy of paint and shape and patterns and colour. Splash it out quickly. And if it doesn’t turn out, oh well, it didn’t take long.