Miss Penny's Arty Stuff is a blog for artists. I aim to promote the many genres of the arts and share stories of interest and relevancy with an artistic community.

The photo above is of the Belabula River, Carcoar NSW where my family comes from.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Perfect for the Australian Summer!

Orange interior with two pockets. The ideal size for the beach or use it as a shopping tote. So light and easy.
Love it!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

KCB & Timmy Trumpet - Tromba Ye Ye Ye (Original Vocal Mix)

I've found the music of Timmy Trumpet. Great Electro & House Music. Check out some of the other tracks. He's been performing around Australia. I also like a track called 'Sunrise'.

Dress-up your Christmas Dress

Are you feeling all Christmassy yet? This should get you started!

And the best part is - you can use it all-year around.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ridiculously Cute

I have a love affair with fabric especially quirky, fun, flirty fabric like this. Some fabric can be utilised to make gorgeous, useful items with flair that will show off your individuality. Wow!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Patti LuPone - Can-Can

I thought I would share this clip with you. The Can-Can is SUCH A BIG PART OF MY LIFE! I grew up performing the Can-Can with my dancing friends from the Dolly McKinnon Dancing School at Bathurst. We were in the Carillion Theatrical Society production of the Cole Porter Musical 'Can-Can' and we were often called upon to perform the Can-Can at local events. I was always on the end of the line-up because I'm the tiny one! We had soooo much fun!! As a group of dancers we were together for many, many years.

Summer's the time to show leg!

Can you Can-Can?

There is no trick to a can-can,
It is so simple to do,
When you once kick to a can-can,
'Twill be so easy for you.
If a lady in Iran can,
If a shady African can,
If a Jap with a slap of her fan can,
Baby, you can can-can too.

Lyrics by Cole Porter, from the Musical Can-Can

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Standout with a unique bag for Summer!

This bag features long handles, extra large zippered interior pocket, plus another pocket. Cute lime green dotty interior lining. Lemon pom-pom trim - oh so retro. It's a cute bag! Very summer 2010.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hey Mumma Chef!

This is the perfect gift for a hot, sexy mummy who is mean and clean in the kitchen. Come get it for a christmas gift you will not find anywhere else.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Calling Shopperholics!!

Gone Shopping Tote
This adorable tote has plastic coating for longevity and navy fabric lining with white spots. There are two handy interior pockets one with a zip and one without. It's main draw card is it's unique, there is only one and I haven't any more material so this is it girls, you'll have to fight over it.

New Range of Bags

Australian Wildflowers Handbag
It's time to make up some lovely bags for the Christmas stockings out of some of the gorgeous fabrics I have collected during my travels throughout this year and this bag is no exception. The fabric is one of the prettiest I have seen. It is a high quality quilting cotton with a metallic gold touch, displaying Australian wild flowers. I've teamed it with black so it will be a great mainstay in your wardrobe. All my bags are one-off and completely handmade.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I"m off to Mackay Eisteddfod

Hi Friends,

I'm off tomorrow to adjudicate the Mackay Eisteddfod for two weeks.

I'm very excited because I haven't been to this part of Australia since I was a child. I hope I will get a chance to see a little of the gorgeous coastline on my one day off.

Mackay is about 970 kms north of Brisbane and is known as the Whitsunday region.

I expect it will be a little warmer than Mooloolaba, even though we are already having days of up to 26 degrees.

I've had a look over the program and it looks very exciting and certainly not too over programmed, something that comes with experience, this is Mackay's 64th eisteddfod!

I'll be keeping in touch on Facebook to let you know how I'm going.

Talk soon,

Miss Penny.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Love super stars of dance? Watch this

If your day has been a little dull - I promise this man will brighten it up! Well, if you love great super stars of dance, that is.

He's eye candy too and well, incredibly talented. The clip dates back a while, but I haven't forgotten him, no way, no how!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present, Angel Corella dancing Le Corsaire.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A glimpse into the Artist's Studio

Margaret Ellen Turner's exhibition "The Idea of Wallum" is currently on at Noosa Regional Gallery.

I would highly recommend you have a look at the following short video of the artist at work in her studio, it is really interesting.


I always love to hear what is behind the creation of great art and Margaret is particularly good at articulating her experience. I know I found it fascinating.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Idea of Wallum

Recent paintings by Margaret Ellen Turner

Opening 6pm, Friday, September 3 at Noosa Regional Gallery

Guest Speaker: Dr Lisa Chandler

ideas that go beyond sentiment and nostalgia....

Here is an excerpt from the exhibition invitation:

The artist’s notion of wallum presents us with views of a dark yet luminous forest, scarred by natural forces, with its scraped surfaces suggesting layers of deep time. The interwoven trunks and glowing interiors create rhythmic patterns and a landscape pulsing with a warm life force. The strong illusion of depth draws us deep within the forest’s inner core, yet at the same time the bold lines of foreground trunks suggest a barrier that bars our entry into the heart of the wallum, guarding its inner secrets.

Dr Lisa Chandler.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Extraordinary Talent from Sunshine Coast

I wanted to let you know how Jane Magao got on at the Sunshine Coast Vocal Eisteddfod as I've said before I think she is a talent to be watched.

Well, here is the score sheet:
Set Piece 14 years - 3rd singing 'Castle on a Cloud'
Sacred Gospel 14-15 years - 2nd singing  'Agnus Dei'
Australian composer 14 -15 years 3rd - singing  'A Roving'
Jane won the Music Teacher's association of QLD Bursary for achieving the highest combined points for the sections above.
Contemporary 14-15 years 'Last Day on Earth' (she sang this piece with such passion, even though she didn’t appear in the prize winners on this occasion).
Vocal Duet 13 years and over - 1st singing 'The Ashgrove'
Musical Theatre 14 years - 2nd singing 'I Feel Pretty' from West Side Story
Junior Vocal Championship 14 years and Under - 1st singing 'I Attempt From Loves Sickness To Fly' & 'En Pri'ere'. Jane also won this Championship last year!
Jane was presented with The Lurline Smerdon Memorial Prize.   

There were two other singers that I felt were notable and I would like to mention, they were Genevieve O'Brien and Lucy Clough. Both girls drew my attention and I think are absolutely delightful talents. I wish all girls the best in their future ventures.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This calls for a cup of Tea!

I think I need a nice cup of tea, a good sit down, a big deep breath and to start all over again!

I've been working really hard lately and I feel I've lost my blogging way.

It's just that the students at ballet have had their exams, so that's been hectic. I've also had lectures to give at TAFE, and they require considerable preparation. I've also been very busy preparing for a big dance eisteddfod that I'm about to adjudicate.

I've also been attending the Sunshine Coast Vocal Eisteddfod to watch Jane Magao perform and she has been doing very well. She even won the Championship for her age group. Well done Janey!

I promise to return to my former blogging regularity dear reader. Just as soon as I've had a cup of tea or two or three and maybe a little nanna nap!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Readers - It's your turn!

I think it’s time to hand this blog over to you for comment.

What is it that you would most like to see on “Miss Penny’s Arty Stuff” in the future?

Do you like the features that are business and marketing oriented?

Are you strictly into craft?

Do you love the dance clips and stories?

What about the Sunshine Coast Art scene events, are they your thing?

Is recycling and sustainable living the reason you drop by?

Please give me some feedback. It’s easy to comment and very safe. If you are a follower just sign in at the top of the blog and you can then comment under your user name, but if you prefer you can comment anonymously. For all others, it’s easy to comment under anonymous (in the drop down box) and then you can put your name in at the end of your text if you wish, it’s up to you.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Development Opportunity for Artists

I spent today at an acrylic painting workshop with Don Milner.

Many thanks to Lyn Donald who organised this great opportunity for our Post Graduate painting group.

Wow, this was a wonderfully educationally day and it has also returned my faith in acrylics, which had waned momentarily - I was off on an 'all oils' tangent!

Here are some photos of a lovely day spent with fabulous people and a particularly adorable puppy dog, named Belle.

The gorgeous girl in the middle is my friend Karen Magao, working away on her piece.

I highly recommend Don for workshops, he is fun, delightful, a great teacher, inspiring and an awesome painter.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Words of Inspiration

"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." -- Calvin Coolidge

How inspiring is this quote?

I believe that only the most persistent of us continue with art. Many talented people give up, because it is so hard. Will you still be there in many years to come?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The horrible plastic bag!

Although this is an American clip it's relevant for any of us living anywhere on the globe. I have a real issue with plastic bags. I feel really guilty about the continued output of these things on the earth and there is still not enough happening to slow the relentless production.

Have a look at my March archives to see the dress I made out of plastic bags some time ago as a statement in recycling. It was crocheted from strips of plastic bags. I found the material so toxic to work with I had to use a mask while I crocheted the plastic strips up into the frock. It does give off a gas!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Queen of 'Works in Progress'

Here is my rug for 2010, no it isn't finished, but I've had the best of intentions, that has to count for something.

I tend to be the Queen of 'Works in Progress', I'm wildly ambitious, dreaming that I will get through the myriad of artistic activities I set myself, projects lined up here and there and of course, it would take a team of thousands to accomplish. But, not to be disheartened on I go, sure that I can have the output of a small factory. Every now and again reality bursts my bubble when some mortal asks a question such as, "haven't you finished that rug yet, Penny?" and I have to answer "well, no".

The fact is I only get the small time I'm at soccer and the little bit after dinner to do the crocheting and a rug is such a big project.

How are you going with your winter knitting and crochet projects? Are you getting things done? Are you realistic or are you like me and live in an artistic bubble of ambition? I'd love to hear from you about how you manage your creative drive.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Understanding The Consumer

Before you can even begin to prepare your sales message or workout a sales strategy and media planning, it helps to spend some time considering the consumer who may ultimately become the buyer of your product.

This isn’t easy because even buyers themselves find it difficult to articulate what motivates them to chose the way they do. Sometimes, we do not even want to admit what drives us to purchase certain items because, put simply, it isn’t always a rational choice.

For example, shopping can be a pleasant experience, well some types of shopping (not food shopping - not for me anyway - yuk). It’s more than just purchasing goods that we need. If that were the case, then we would only have one pair of joggers and one other pair of sensible shoes, and that would be just terrible.

Brands have an identity and a personality, they are much more than just a name on an item. They provide us with something else that feeds into an emotional need, a connection develops.

So, people are attracted to characteristics about certain brand’s personalities, intangible traits that the consumer may or may not be aware of. This has been proven by studies. When asked why people prefer a certain product over others, often the answer will be a rational answer like taste or smell but then in a blind study they cannot differentiate their (so called) preferred product from the rest. This proves that their preference was more likely to have been motivated by emotional responses rather than rational.

Examples of these emotional responses could be:

* the brand’s personality has connected with them through advertising
* the person relates to the brand’s image and wants to be associated with it
* the brand has a great reputation which they respond to
* the brand is building a positive relationship with the marketplace through philanthropy
* the brand is standing out from the crowd i.e. cutting edge
* they see the brand regularly which builds trust

By now you may be wondering why I’m talking about all this stuff to you when you are an artist, well do you think you could utilise some of this information to help to build the brand that is YOU? Do you think you could work on the Social Media sites to help to build a following and help your followers get to know you better? Do you think they would then feel more comfortable in dealing with you and potentially buying from you? Could you generate curiosity or interest in your work?

Basically this information is the same in a large or small environment...... People are people wherever they are.

Good luck! I will help you with your sales message too and coordinating your marketing materials. Hang in.... it’s coming.

Thank you Anne for this great photo from Chang Rai in Thailand, sporting yet another Miss Penny bag!! Woot woo!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A cure for Miss Penny Please?

Hello Friends,

It's just as well that blogs are written because all I can do at the moment is text and type. I'm mute, totally and utterly mute. I have a serious dose of laryngitis. I have a tendency to laryngitis. I do not know why, but it seems to be one of my weak areas, perhaps from all my years of teaching, I do not know. I taught ballet today, in a strange and somewhat comical manner, with a gesture here and a movement there. My students seemed to understand what I was on about, luckily.

Some years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching some hearing impaired students to dance and at that time I actually learnt a little bit of signing, I wish I had continued with it. I've often thought of doing a course in Auslan signing, but as yet I haven't got around to it, but it is on my to-do-list. It would come in handy now.

Have you ever had laryngitis? Do you have any remedies?

Do you like my photo? I wonder how the liver pills worked? I bet they tasted bad!

I took this photo in Carcoar, NSW. It's the town where both my parents were born.

Monday, August 2, 2010


So hello again, do you remember me?

That’s the question isn’t it when we are out there marketing our work, trying and hoping that someone will remember our advertisement, our Facebook post, our last Twitter tweet, but amongst the myriad of messages what are the chances?

Well, what are a few things we can do to improve those odds?

Today will be the first of a series of articles addressing marketing art work. Initially my discussion will begin with building a brand, and the place to begin is with yourself. What can you do to set up a point-of-difference between you and the hundreds of others out there?

My last post’s headline read “You don’t remember me, do you?” and this was very poignant when we begin thinking about this subject. How do you interact with your audience, your peers, your clients? How would you introduce yourself at a networking event? Are you very active already in your local community? Are you altruistic? Are you writing a blog, do you have a web presence, a social media presence?

How would you hope to be remembered?

OK, so you may have answered yes, I’m out there working on these things, I’m interesting and engaging and I’m already well known. Fantastic, you are on your way, but its also very important to not be overtly sales oriented when networking. Instead be utterly devoted to your product (as most artists are) walk the talk - this is the easy bit - just be who you are, be positive and up beat. Have photos at hand and business cards with a URL address to your blog or website.

There is nothing more off-putting to potential buyers than someone who is only interested in interacting when there is a sale to be made. I know I see through this at a thousand paces!

Always try to be warm and friendly and offer more than a quick sale turn around. Connecting at a human level will never be out of vogue. Simply caring has always worked for me, it’s brought me long-term friendships, love and laughter as well as long term clients.

In the next article, I’ll talk more about coordinating your sales message.

Friday, July 30, 2010

You Don't Remember Me Do You?

As artists and crafters we are always looking for those DIY ways to reach out to our potential buyers in inventive and hopefully inexpensive ways. As you know I specialise in Arts Marketing and I've recently been lecturing Visual Arts and Ceramic students in ways they can utilise Public Relations and Marketing to cut through the clutter and get their produce noticed in these economically difficult times.

How are you breaking through the noise and making an impression on your potential clients with your message? Is your customer understanding your advertising and answering your call to take action like; visit your website, make an order, sign up for your newsletter etc.

I'll be talking a lot more about reaching your target market in the articles to come over the next week or so.

In the mean time enjoy this fabulous clip from 1982.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Look at Moi!

I feel I should own up to something my closest friends know about me and as you are my readers you ought to know as well. I am a self-confessed Kath and Kim junky. Yes, its true, though its now some time since my idols created new episodes, I’m making do with the oldies and watching repeats with glee.

You may (if you are very clever) capture an odd word here and there, a tiny splatter of the vernacular of these lovable morons from Fountain Lakes slip into my writings. Just yesterday I know I mentioned that I’d be ‘doubly pleased” if something happened, well that’s a Kathism if ever I’ve heard one.

My daughter and I converse non-stop in K & K lingo. Most people seem to be slowly forgetting the beloved tongue of these suburbanites, now that the hornbags are no longer on the set, but not us, no way! We are finding we get a few odd looks when we break into our ‘down to a tee’ take-offs of our favourite small screen stars. Does no one else remember every single line, is it just us? We suck up every morsel of the script like jackals at a scavenge. It must be all that performing arts background kicking in!

In real life, I like to think I’m somewhat refined but if you get Shaya and I going, we are the epitome of Kath and Kim and the best and worst of everything so uniquely and appealingly Australian.

You’ve gotta laugh, well we do, hysterically at ourselves and we have been ever since the series began and it doesn’t look like stopping anytime soon, well not until our DVD’s wear out that’s for sure.

We do go to trouble, it’s nice, it’s unusual.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reusable Bags are Great but lets make our own!

I’m so pleased now that some of the big retailers have decided not to offer plastic bags anymore, but offering reusable bags for sale, could lead to an even bigger environmental disaster if people just keep buying them every time they leave their reusable bags at home. I have decided to make myself a bag and take it with me in my handbag all the time, to ensure I have at least one bag on me at-all-times.

Here are my tips on how to make one. I decided on a bag with a lining and an internal pocket, to cover all my shopping possibilities, but you don’t need to go to this much trouble - it’s up to you how fancy you want to get. I bought my piece of fabric at a garage sale, so I’m doubly pleased to be using something someone may have even thrown out!

  • 1.5 mts of 115 cm wide cotton fabric
  • cut 4 pieces 40 cm x 47 cm for body of the bag
  • cut 2 pieces 65 cm x 6.5 cm for the straps
  • cut 2 pieces 21 cm x 17 cm for the pocket
  1. Place pocket pieces wrong sides together and sew along three sides, trim seams and turn inside out. Turn remaining hem, press and sew.
  2. Sew the pocket to one of the 40 cm x 47 cm pieces about 12 cms from the top.
  3. Place this 40 x 47 cm piece right side together with another piece and sew along three sides, this will make the lining of the bag.
  4. You now need to make right angle corners by folding the seams of your bag together - stick a pin through your seam on one side to match the seam on the other, fold these together to make a right angle. Sew through. I hand tack the tip of the corners down.
  5. Take your remaining 40 x 47 cm pieces place wrong sides together and sew along three sides, this will be the outside of the bag. Finish with angled corners the same as the inside of the bag.
  6. Fold the upper edges of both the inside and outside of your bag to the wrong side, measure to make sure they are both the same. Turn the outside of the bag the right way out. Place the lining of the bag, inside of the outer bag and match up the top edges, pin together.
  7. Sew a line of stitching right around the upper edge.
  8. Prepare your handles by ironing in the raw edges 5 mm to the wrong side all the way around your 65 mm x 6.5 mm pieces. Now fold this piece in half and iron again. Sew along the three sides. Iron again.
  9. Sew the handles to the bag 9 cms from the outside edge.
  10. Your bag is now finished, give it a quick iron.
  11. You could make a little zip up bag to keep your shopper bag handy and stow it away in your handbag, like I have pictured here, its just a simple rectangle with a 20 cm zipper. Overlock the raw edges.
  12. You are now ready for some environmentally friendly shopping, well done.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Some Wishes Come True

Two of my long held wishes came true this week; my eldest son graduated from university with a Bachelor of Business and my only daughter completed her apprenticeship becoming a fully qualified hairdresser.

When I was a young mother I felt, at times, overwhelmed by the responsibility and the enormity of the job ahead, at other times I was delighted by the challenge of raising my children. Today I am mostly filled with pride in myself for being brave enough to tackle the hard stuff and showing enough love and commitment that my children survived education and came out the other side successful.

I am proud of the people they are and I’m grateful that they are strong, kind and generally happy. Congratulations Rhys and Shaya!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Invited as Guest Lecturer

I was delighted to be invited as guest lecturer for the Diploma of Visual Arts students at Noosa TAFE. I attended today to give a talk on the benefits of Public Relations for the Arts sector. I spoke of the changing landscape for promotions today with the juggernaut of Social Media rapidly changing the way we communicate and how we can harness this to promote ourselves, our artwork and our arts practices.

My audience were delightful and appeared to be very engaged in my discussions. Any extra education in Marketing and Communications can be extremely valuable for emerging artists and though some of them admitted, it was a lot to take in, I feel they have gained more general knowledge about networking and relationship building that they will be able to utilise as they build their own arts practices.

I will be returning to give another specific lecture on writing practice and some legal requirements of running a business in the weeks to come.

Their colleagues from the Ceramics course will be hearing the same lecture next week, so I do hope my friends from Visual Arts will give me a good wrap.

Here they are pictured following the lecture, testament to the fact that they survived very well indeed.

Thanks for having me Noosa TAFE and all the very best in preparation for your end of year exhibition.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Our Janey"

I see part of my role these days, as a talent development officer and, wherever possible, I aim to assist and encourage young people with outstanding ability to access opportunity.

I spent this afternoon assisting a young singer from my local community to further develop her musical theatre item for the upcoming Vocal Eisteddfod. Jane Magao is an outstanding talent and a delightful and humble young lady, we spent about an hour working together on some movement to enhance her chosen song.

Wherever Jane sings she brings delight and sometimes surprise to her audience, most people are quite shocked to hear such a strong and developed voice coming from someone so young.

I know one day the Sunshine Coast will state a claim to ‘our Janey’, and I will be able to say, “I knew her before she was famous”, now there’s a prediction to put in your books!

Here's Jane pictured at the En Pointe studios in rehearsals with Miss Penny this afternoon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Amazing Kaleidoscope of Tap Dancing by Emmy Award winner Jason Samuels S...

I'm having a field day on YouTube at the moment and I've found some sensational dancing. This clip actually reminds me of one of my former students, in the style of the dancer. Hey Aaron - I'm talking 'bout you Man!!!

I have always had a love affair with buttons, it’s an inherited thing. When I was a child my mother kept a large plastic container full of buttons, which she had collected or harvested before disposing of old clothes. Some of these buttons were absolutely gorgeous, much more beautiful than those plastic things created today. I would lovingly draw them from the old treadle sewing machine cupboard and imagine the splendid garments I could create using these gems.

When I grew up I started my own collection. However, I’ve found I just can’t part with any of them. I can’t use any of the ‘special’ ones on anything I intend to sell. If I use them on a garment for myself, I like my mother, remove them before disposing of the garment.

One day recently, I asked my mother if I could have her collection now that she no longer sews and she reluctantly handed over a few of her beloved buttons. By the time I got back to Queensland she had, apparently, been down to the store to replace the buttons. Oh dear, the addicted had kicked in. We are button maniacs, mother and I. Is there a cure? I hope not!

The photos show just some of my buttons. The dragonfly buttons are my favourites. I also collect sequins and beads. My studio strains under the weight of my storage issues. Groan!! But I cannot and will not change. I love my stuff!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Begin the Beguine

A Sunday afternoon could not be better spent than by watching old musicals. Oh how I loved being a child and being full immersed in the magic of the Hollywood era. I looked up to my idols, Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell and many others like them as they whirled and twirled around the dance floor with a dreamy fluidity. These two were remarkable dancers. Another clip I recommend is Eleanor in Fascinating Rhythm - it's too large to load to the blog, but go to YouTube and check it out, especially if you are into Tap, you will love her, she's special!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Feeling good about Chooks

Recently, we bought some chickens. I didn’t realise it would be so much fun, and it sits so well with my interest in recycling arts. I feel all warm and satisfied with myself when I’m doing something that aids the environment and keeping chickens is definitely a good thing to do. You can feed them all your kitchen scraps (cutting down that household garbage) and they reward you with lovely organic eggs. What a great trade agreement.

I’m thinking these chickens will make beautiful subjects for paintings one day soon and the eggshells and feathers will be pleasing additions for my mixed media work too. It’s a win-win situation.

My little boy, Hugo is a natural chicken farmer. He has them trained already, they seem to love being picked up and patted. It’s just too cute for words. And each time they lay and egg he is over-the-moon with excitement.

Their names are; Daphne, Daisy, Ginger and Dot (changed to Dash - because she runs fast), which has a certain reference to SOS code, but hopefully we don't need our souls saved just yet, we're doing our bit for the environment in this small way.

Might put a worm farm on the shopping list!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Back to Ballet

The studios of En Pointe Classical Ballet Coaching, Queensland were buzzing with excitement when I arrived today. The floor of the dressing room was strewn with shoes and tights and all things dance related. There were brand new photos on the walls baring the successes of the most recent competitions and events. There was tapping sounds emanating from one studio and classical music coming from another. What a wonderful atmosphere enveloped me as I entered.

Today the 'newbies' were joining the crew, new recruits who have taken the plunge to become 'full-timers', following their dreams. Full of hope and nervous energy they eagerly awaited each and every moment of the day's undertakings.

I sauntered in and took up my place feeling every bit at home in this warm and welcoming place. Comfortable in the knowledge that I am exactly where I should be.

What a lovely day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Georgie's Shoes

The owner of these shoes, the lovely Georgie is one of my students from En Pointe and these shoes represent her will and her desire to achieve.

They speak of her strength, of her push and explosion, her artistry and her fluidity.

The shoes that carry her through her dance can also tell of both her quiet beauty and of the power and strength she shares with her audience. They are the elements of song, the stories of love and loss, the whispers of emotion that carries the souls intent and charisma out to the viewer.

Shoes are much more than a covering for the feet, more than an allowance to come up onto pointe, they are the effervescence of the dancer that inhabits them, they are the ghosts of something past, they hold within them a memory, too magical to be lost.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Art is like a broken bike

Sometimes it feels as if I’m chasing an impossible dream, on a bike that’s no longer road worthy.

Each time I finish an artwork I am compelled to start another, unsatisfied and sure that I can do better. Full of hope, I start again like a drug addict chasing a fix, unable to attain a goal that is out of my reach.

As a young dance student I was often told that my performance was acceptable, but I should strive to do better. I wonder if this has set me up for a constant longing for perfection? It drives me on and has me searching for a better way, a more interesting dynamic, a richer combination, a fresh interpretation.

Whatever I desire, perhaps the journey is more enriched for the search? I hope so!

Who knows, but without this inner drive maybe I would not continue to be an artist, is it even a choice? Who’d pick a broken bike?

If you are wondering, this photo was taken in Sofala, New South Wales. It's a cracker don't you think? If you haven't been there, you should go.......

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sophisticated Black & White

Don't you just love black and white? It's timeless and you always have something gorgeous and 'black' to wear it with. I almost wish I could keep this bag, but I made it for a friend, it was a commission.

It's possibly turned out a little more 'evening' than she had in mind. Mmmm.... I might be back at the machine attending to the original brief a little more closely before long. Whoops, I think my creativity may have got carried away on this project. But then again, it could be one of those wonderfully versatile 'day into night' bags.... yes, that's it! What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Margaret Ellen Turner

I had coffee today with one of the Sunshine Coast’s own contemporary visual artists, Margaret Ellen Turner.

It was great to hear what’s instore for Margaret in the coming months and in fact, I will be working on a media campaign leading up a to an exhibition of Margaret’s work at the Noosa Regional Gallery in September.

It’s so exciting to talk with and work along side artists that I hold in such high regard. Margaret is in fact one of the most respected educators in the arts on the Coast, having worked at both the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Sunshine Coast Insitute of TAFE.

I’ll be telling you more about Margaret’s work soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Today's efforts - One frilly bag

I hope you like what I made today. It wasn't an easy day's creativity - it was one of those frustrating - break the needle on the machine and curse days - I hope you know the type. Anyway, at least I have one bag to show for it, a little offering. Tell me about your days at the wheel of your 'creation station'. I'd love to hear from you.......

Friday, July 2, 2010

Some like to Cook!

I am fascinated by the differences between individuals, the variety of things that capture our soul’s intent, that take hold of our spare time and sometimes even become our careers.

I’ve found it incredibly interesting studying the pursuits of my own children, the things they were attracted to from babyhood that have stayed with them. Three of my children are adults now and I am seeing these interests still running strongly within them.

Now, I’m in the midst of raising my fourth child (aged eight) and I often wonder what his life will bring and therefore I was alerted to a possibility when he was watching Masterchef (which he rarely misses). He was so intently fascinated with the masterclass in terrine preparation, that I was quite astonished.

I had been blissfully sewing my crocheted squares together for a granny blanket, I truly couldn’t give a fig for a cooking class and hadn’t given any attention to the television at all but as his passion became apparent (through numerous comments) I began to take notice, for example, “Oh look at that terrine mummy, it’s so beautiful, that man is treating it as if it were his wife.”

Now this is a statement worth looking up from the sewing for. He then continued with other statements of utter rapture. Goodness I thought, this child is in passionate love with a terrine. I asked him if he always felt really excited about food and cooking, and his answer was an unadulterated yes.

My husband is a very dedicated cook making many homemade meals including beautiful breads. Hugo has been participating in this cooking of late, which I assume has sparked some of this enthusiasm.

As you know cooking is NOT my passion, as I’ve confessed previously. I eat only to keep up energy levels to enable more dancing. I generally find eating an annoying waste of time and my husband is sometimes cranky at me for not stopping to have lunch. How different we all are.

Hugo asked me what I got excited about and I replied, bright colours. It could be bright coloured wool or tubes of paint or fabric or papers. I find them irresistible and I own more than I will ever have enough time to use. And dancing of course, I’ll never tire of dancing, not in a million years.

What a wonderful diverse and colourful world we live in and thank goodness we are all so different. Perhaps my Hugo will be a chef one day. We’ll have to wait and see.

Star Motif Bag

I'm using crocheted elements more and more in the bags that I'm creating due to the fact that crochet is just so appealing and so in vogue at the moment.

This bag is my latest creation and I found the pattern for the star design in the June edition of Notebook magazine. I did increase the size of the star by making the trebles into double trebles and BEWARE there is a mistake in the pattern on the third round. Don't you just find that sooooo annoying? It's not really a problem for experienced crocheters, because we can work it out from the picture, but I do feel for people on their L-plates, it must waste so much time.

Anyway, good luck finding all those funky options for your beautiful crocheted motifs - there must be millions.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lyn Donald's Exhibition

I just wanted to remind you that my friend Lyn Donald currently has an exhibition of her gorgeous floral art on at 'Lily's on the Lagoon' Restaurant at the Novotel, Ocean Drive, Twin Waters. Queensland.

For further information please phone Lyn on 0439 615 664.

This really is such a lovely exhibition I didn't want you to miss out on a chance to see Lyn's work.

You can click on Lyn's name to look at her blog too. I paint at Lyn's house every Wednesday, so I was lucky enough to watch this wonderful painting come to fruition, it's truly beautiful, don't you think?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Recycling for Arts

Have I told you how much I love recycling? I’m a collector, but not just for the sake of collecting and stashing stuff, I like to collect and repurpose stuff, make it new again, give it a chance to live once more and be appreciated in a new way. Therefore, I make art out of things others might throw away or store in a dark box. I like to bring things out to decorate with.

Pictured here is a collage I have made from collected memorabilia. The items have been gathered from secondhand stores all over Australia. I’m always sticking my nose into some op shop, antique store or garage sale wondering what goody I might find. Even the frame has been given the ‘Miss Penny once over’ (it was once an outdated 1980’s looking thing).

This particular collage is a collection of masculine items. The writing on the front of the postcard reads; Bruxelles Musee Wiertz, La Brigand Calabrais, it looks very old, possibly from the early 1900's. The Players Medium Navy Cut Tobacco tin lid is also well worn and gives a lovely rustic vintage feel.

I’m thinking it would make a great gift for the man in your life, a talking piece for his office or games room, very blokey indeed!

I feel good about myself when I recycle - all happy that I've done some little bit to save the environment and use up stuff we already have. What do you do? Do you make interesting items out of old stuff too? I'd love to here your recycling stories.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I’ve had a sensational week!

I’ve been guest teacher at a dance studio teaching ballet to little children, filling in for a teacher who is on holiday. It has been immense fun. Usually, I teach senior full-time students, who are always lots of fun too.

Sunday was FAME (as you already know).

On Friday morning I watched our beautiful En Pointe students participate in a Masterclass with the International Stars of Ballet. There I caught up with a ballet colleague, Ms Robyn Hick who I haven’t seen for some years. Robyn was in town to see one of her former students, Damian Smith who dances with the San Francisco Ballet, Damian was one of the organisers responsible for bringing the International Stars of Ballet to the Sunshine Coast for the Noosa Long Weekend. Our En Pointe dancers auditioned and won their opportunity to participate in this prestigious event, so we are indeed very proud of them.

Today, I was off to Brisbane for the Textile Show at the Exhibition Centre. What a lovely day, spent with two wonderful girlfriends, Anne and Lizzie. I gathered lots of lovely materials, wools, felting supplies, and beads not to mention a head full of new ideas.

Then I finished off the day meeting up with my former student, Aaron who is now a musician. It was great to see him again after nearly ten years (I’m going to make sure it is never that long again). He is an inspiration, bubbling with creativity and incredibly lovable.

I’m blessed to have many wonderful relationships with my students past and present and I never ever take for granted the gift it is to be a teacher. Of late, I have had a great deal of pleasure and reward returning to me from my past students, for which I am truly grateful.

This week I also got to see the most beautiful rainbow and the most gorgeous sunset and a stunning full moon AND a frog has taken up residency in my front garden. Auspicious omens I feel sure.

I was also offered the most amazing opportunity I have ever been offered but it’s a SECRET! So, you will have to wait for the news on that one.

I only hope you have had a great week too. xxxx

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Circles of an Artful Life

The subject of today’s musing was the realisation that my life runs in circles. I’m circular in my work, I constantly return to dance, I have tried many other things but repeatedly I come back around to dance, it is where my heart resides and is my true vocation.

At the beginning of the noughties (2000), I embarked on a big sweeping circle, namely my academic phase, studying communications at University, the circle was complete when I returned to the arts to offer this knowledge to artists and creative organisations to assist them to better preserve and grow their enterprises.

I’m circular in my creative arty, crafty endeavours too, I’ll think of an idea, gather materials, start a project and then invariably the project will not get finished and it will sit and sit and sit until finally I will come back to it.

I used to be frustrated by these long waiting periods, annoyed by the everyday stuff that would prevent me from bringing my ideas to fruition. Now I’m much more patient more prepared to wait because I’ve become comfortable with the notion that things will come-to-pass, the time will come for my projects to find their natural way into the world.

Somehow artworks have a life source of their own, they will ‘birth’ when the time is right, with no interference from anyone apart from the creator (me) actually turning up to do the creating. My life is no different, it’s following an extraordinary path I would not have predicted, it has delivered some momentous occasions of perfect synchronicity leading me on to the next phase, some I might say I have not enjoyed, yet these have been the most necessary.

So, may I give some reassurance to other crafters and artists that the time to create won’t allude you forever, try to breathe and hold your ideas close to your heart, they will not wither on the vine, they will still be there when you come ‘full circle’. Do try to journal, just in case you’re forgetful.

I talk with many men and women who seem to spend a great deal of their lives in bitter frustration. Many are blessed with creative talents yet thwarted with difficulties of one nature or another that prevent them from realising any sort of satisfaction in their chosen art form. I believe their lives will ‘circle’ at some time in the future. Patience and persistence are the only two things I see that stand between a successful (or happy, depending on how you look at it) artist and one that gives up! Hang in and do what you love.

The circle of Miss Penny’s life: Dance, knit, crochet, sew, paint, collage, write, photograph, dance, knit, crochet, sew, paint, collage, write, photograph, dance................

And yes, if you are wondering - I have four children and a husband (with a business) and two dogs and three chooks and a job and aging parents and friends and a sore back and blah, blah, blah. I’m probably just like you!

Monday, June 21, 2010

FAME opens in Brisbane

'Fame the Musical' opened in Brisbane this weekend and what a fabulous show it is. I was determined to be in attendance as I have a friend and former student, Charles Bartley (pictured here with Hugo and I after the show) in the cast.

Charlie has given me a lot of pride as I've followed his rise through the ranks of the 'So You Think You Can Dance' series last year where he finished second. He now joins many of the other former SYTYCD contestants in the cast of FAME, including some of my favourites, like the beautiful Amy. Charlie is 'dancing dynamite' in this production and of course I would go just to see him alone, but the show has many draw-cards.

The whole production is just sensational and Talia Fowler, the SYTYCD winner from the 2009 series was absolutely fabulous dancing alongside Timomatic (another of the wonderful SYTYCD contestants).

The outstanding choreographer, Kelley Abbey has just blown us away with her work over many years and this production really shows just how brilliant she is.

Now if it's 'impressive voice' that 'floats your boat' then the portrayal of Mabel Washington by Jaz Flowers will really do it for you, she was incredible!

I really loved FAME and I would highly recommend this Australian cast and this wonderful and refreshing production.

Do try to get along to see it.

Friday, June 18, 2010

World Tours with Miss Penny Bags

I'm doing a little feature with owners of Miss Penny bags sharing their travels. Here is Anne, the absolute best customer I have, having purchased in excess of a dozen Miss Penny bags to date, enjoying herself in Thailand.

Anne tells me she loves to travel with my bags because they are light weight and in the case of this fabric "Cocktail Hour" number, easily washable.

I've asked other owners of bags, to share their photos of themselves, in exotic locations and will be adding these to the blog as they come in.

Happy Holidays Anne.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Disaster Chef Competition

One of my readers asked me what it was that I had done that had caused me to be 'banned from the kitchen' after reading the post "The Act of Musing" (April Archives) well I'm prepared to tell all, if you will tell your Disaster Chef stories.

I've got four handmade crocheted (by Miss Penny of course) pot-holders to put up as bait.

Here's what you have to do. You need to be a follower to enter (because that's how I can track you down to let you know you have won). Sign in and tell your story in the comments box.

At the end of June, the four best stories will win these pot-holders. And I will publish my best Disaster Chef story - and it's a cracker, you are going to love it.

Get cracking with those stories - I can't wait to hear them!

Monday, June 14, 2010

On the Mend

I'm pleased to report Grandpa Graham is 'on the mend' this latest event, 'the argument with the bus' is just a mere bump in the road for this legendary Grandfather. The heart attack that followed slowed him down for a while too and will be added to a long list of near misses.

Father has survived the following:

* World War 2
* Numerous dangerous liaisons with venomous snakes (which he used to enjoy playing with)
* A lightning strike (on a shed he was leaning against for protection in a storm)
* A train crash, (where he was in the only carriage which was not derailed)
* An earlier car accident where the car rolled several times
* A taste for buck jump riding
* And cancer of the throat

We love him to bits and hope he will stay with us much longer.

The staff of Bathurst Base Hospital have been just marvelous and we would like to thank them for all they have done.

Sunday, June 13, 2010