Thursday, 19 November 2015


Well here we are in November of 2015!! How did we get here so fast? My mind is a blur with all the flurry of life that has happened since my last blog post...we won't mention how long ago it was hehe!

Some of the happenings in the last year have been pure joy! Some have been very exciting, unexpectant pleasures...but as life is also about seasons and curve balls, some have been moments of sadness, hurt, pain and shear heartache. I find as I travel this road of ups, downs and turnarounds the most helpful and important thing to remember is who you are travelling with and what is your reaction and attitude to the goings on in your life and around you.

I heard once a saying that goes something like this "It isn't what is happening to you that is your reaction to it!" Well I do actually think it does count what is happening to you...everything matters, especially if it is heartache and pain that you are experiencing. I do agree though, that it is your reaction to it that matters most! It is when we go through the depths of despair that we really do find out 'who we really are.' Do we respond in bitter revenge; self pity; anger; tit for tat; doubt OR do we respond in love; kindness; turning the other cheek; faith and compassion.

A dear friend of mine came to my rescue a couple of weeks ago with the most beautiful words of hope and love. It was one that I needed desperately as I battled with physical injury that was sooo painful. Our thoughts are often the most vulnerable  when we are going through physical pain, don't you think? You can be coping so well with life's injustices...then comes pain and everything just falls in a heap!! Well, this message is the most beautiful and simplest of reflections "A soft answer turns away wrath."

Soul Sisters Rose.
With recent world events it has been so encouraging and enlightening to see mankind respond not out of fear or hatred but out of for one another that will bring a future of hope.
As we draw near to the season I love is my prayer and hope that regardless of your circumstances you will be able to turn away all forms of wrath with soft words that come from a heart of LOVE. In this dark and often evil world, I believe LOVE is our most powerful weapon. If individuals can respond in love I believe the world will be a much better place. Yes we need to protect and stand against injustice but we need to do it from a heart of LOVE.
That reminds me...did you know I wrote a book? I don't think I have even blogged about the book I have recently had published through Arkhouse Press. Time has literally flown! It is a book about BEAUTY and how in our most darkest of moments it is beauty that is all around us, to fill us with hope and ease our soul. Beauty is available to everyone, it does not differ between gender; race; age or circumstances. It can come in the form of a soft spoken word (there it is again;) a vision of loveliness; a hug from a friend; a kind gesture. Yes beauty is all around - yours for the taking!

"Beauty All Around"
Catherine Grace.
This award winning book is available at most book shops in Australia (if not in stock they can order it in for you.) It is also available from my webpage and can be posted off to anywhere in the world! It would make the most beautiful gift for that someone special in your life. It is a collection of short stories; quotes; poems and brings a message our suffering world is in much need of.
So dear ones, if your heart is troubled at the moment or you are feeling hurt and pain I hope you can dig deep and respond in love. 'Reach out and touch somebodies hand, make this world a better place if you can'...Ohhhh I just wrote the words to a song. Must be time to put on some Christmas music and saturate our home with the most beautiful season of all as we celebrate the birth of JESUS...the one who taught us so magnificently how to LOVE in all situations. He remains my only hope for now and all eternity. I trust He is yours too!
Be very, very blessed in all you do,
Cathy (Catherine Grace - now author...hehe, who'd of thought?) Xx

Friday, 7 February 2014

How many is enough?

So here we are, the start of another year, that already is going too fast. Christmas came and went in such a flash, I am struggling to remember all the beauty of each moment...or maybe that is just my age! I hope 2014 is going to be your best year yet, where dreams are fulfilled, promises are revealed and love comes into your world in abundance.

For me, the year has begun with exciting creations happening in the art studio and High Teas being very popular already. Something that has been happening in our household has been a massive Spring clean - well more than that really as it is now well into Summer and we aren't finished yet. We have been uncluttering...just a tad he he!!

Something that my man and I just adore is collecting. We have done it all our married life from Royal Albert china; Beatrix Potter memorabilia; ducks (or the unfeathered variety) to trains; automobiles (in miniature of course) and works of art.  After 39 years of following in Mr. Bower Birds footsteps, we were definitely bulging at the seems and with our children all flown the coop now, we have felt the need to down-size.

Oh the drama - what does one keep and what does one give away; sell or just throw? As painful as this recent burst of sorting has been, we do feel just a smidgen lighter and ready to start again hahaha! No not really - we are trying our best to just window shop slightly more these days and save for the next exciting trip to distant shores.

One thing we have struggled with is the question ''how many is enough?'' Well for me, it was quite easy - all the Royal Albert; Beatrix Potter; duck ornaments could stay and the rest could go! I wonder why that didn't go down to well for someone else? Sooo being the loving heart that I am, we have both chosen our absolute favourite collections and given the rest to charity so at least we know it is blessing someone else.

It is interesting to note that over here on the coast, we have often been looked on as rather weird or extravagant - well I guess not too many people have 170 Royal Albert plates on their wall do they? In the country, collecting just seems to be a way of life and I never felt ''different'' like I do here in this minimal, foreign land! We have even had well meaning 'friends' remind us in a bible study group one night of a speaker that had come to the church with an important message of NOT owning too many things. Oh dear...what sinners we must be!

Well just to humour a little justification here, we are very generous in our giving and all my Royal Albert collection is used each week for my business. It gives me so much joy being able to serve people who come to Garden Terrace Studio using the very best china just because I believe they are special and deserve the very, very best that life has to offer. It is my way of using what is in my hand to give and just loving on people.

One thing that has come to mind so much lately is a collector I just adore. His collections are just breath taking and there isn't a day goes by that I am not overwhelmed by the beauty of everything He owns...and also shares with us. Can you guess? Yes this collector is my Heavenly Father. Do you know that God has over 10,000 birds in His world wide collection. Oh and the beauty of His flowers; trees; animal life - the list is endless and to think He made it all for my pleasure is the most amazing act of love and generosity.

In the days ahead I hope you stop to smell those flowers; visit the bay or creek to feed those ducks;  look heavenward for that bird in flight...even climb a tree (if you are younger than me!) As you do I'm sure your heart will just explode with gratefulness and you will know and feel the love from the one who knows you better than anyone else - your Heavenly Father...yes, He just adores you and wants the very best for you in every area of your life.

Ooo, I know - why not start a collection of your own? You are certainly in very good company. I can't even start to explain how much fun and pleasure my hubby and I have had over the years sharing our times of searching antique shops; markets; charity shops for that very special find!

Here is to an abundance of all things good in the days and months ahead.

Love and blessings,
Cathy Xx

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Hello dear friends. It has been 8 months since my last contact with you all & when I went into the administration panel for this blog I noticed that over 1,500 of you have been reading my simple, humble words. What a blessing to know & I do hope my message to you today will bring comfort and meaning to your life.

Well, where to start? 2013 hasn't been the year I expected at all. Sadness, confusion, trials and choosing the road called ''trust'' have been my little lot so far. I do hope your days haven't been as difficult.

It all started in March when my darlin' of a Mum had a fall. Up until this time, she was an amazing lady for 88 years of age. Each week she would go off to her clubs which included Legacy, bible study group, seniors group, Probus, exercise gym, church, not to forget her weekly visit to the shops & her walks around the garden paths. On the day of her fall she was getting ready to go to the school across the road to read to the children which she had been doing for 4 years. Well long story short, my Mum didn't recover from her fall. She tried so hard doing all the rehab and exercises to help mend her broken shoulder and hip, but after 4 months of trying her best, her little body was just too tired & in mid June she arrived in her heavenly home.

I still can't get used to not having her here with us, but each day does show steps of progress. One thing I have thought about sooo much since her leaving is the word BELONG. My Mum belonged to a beautiful family of 5 sisters & a loving mother and father. She had studied their family heritage for years and has given all of us a copy of the family tree to let us know where we BELONG and where our roots came from. Here is just one photo of my heritage:~

The more I thought about the significance of the word belong, it took me back to some words I wrote not long ago about our children & how in belonging, there also comes another life lesson of "letting go." Our children belong to us in a sense for a lifetime, just as I was a part of my Mum's life for the whole of her time with us, but there was a time that she also had to ''let me go'' just as I am having to learn now how to let her go, so I can continue living my life here to the full. These are the thoughts I wrote not long ago:~

"Right from the cradle, we are being taught the lesson of 'letting go.' At first our babies need us to carry them everywhere, then all of a sudden they are off and running. They are so dependant on their Mum for feeding, then they are able to feed themselves with a few fun moments in between with bowls of porridge on their head (just ask my Mum) and a sloppy, sludgy mess on the floor under the high chair. It is happening their whole lives as parents are continually faced with the next episode of letting go. Feeding, walking, talking, learning, reading, holding hands...Oh I did find that one hard. One of the most beautiful experiences a mother can have is a soft, chubby, little hand in theirs. Then we are faced with driving lessons and although a tad stressful, well hugely stressful actually, this particular letting go lesson was much appreciated as Mum's taxi service went into receivership! Next you may be faced with saying goodbye at the airport as your darling daughter flies the nest for grand adventures of her own or you may be watching your son's saying their vows to their beautiful brides they have chosen to love and cherish for the rest of their lives. Where ever your journey takes you, it is all a lesson in letting go and the earlier we learn it as parents the easier it will be for our children."

"There are only two bequests
we can hope to give our children.
One is roots, the other is wings."
Hodding Carter (1907 - 1972.)
There it is in a nut is roots - BELONGING; the other is wings - LETTING GO.
It is with a heart full of appreciation that I am so grateful I belong to the family I was born into. We weren't perfect, neither is my own family now (well nearly he he he!), but we all belong to a faith that lives by loving first, forgiving always, living for God and most of all having fun along the way. All these thoughts are helping me face each day of 'letting my Mum go' as I thank my Heavenly Father for her beautiful life.
When it was her time to leave, she said her goodbyes so graciously. I will never forget her final words to me "Goodbye love, goodbye." I replied a little puzzles not realizing it was a final farewell. "Where are you off to Mum? Do you mean your heavenly home?" With such faith and assurance of where she BELONGED, she answered in her sweet, soft voice "Yes love, I love you...goodbye." Not long after this she also said her goodbyes to my other sister and then turned to her first born, who was by her side and said "I'm resting in my Father's arms."
So my lovely friend - where do you belong? My most deep and urgent thought, in this troubled word we are living in at this time is:~
I hope you still 'belong' to your family or has offenses, hurts and heartache along the way torn you apart? Maybe it's time to put love and forgiveness back in it's rightful place.
I also hope and pray you belong to God. In His word He says that Jesus is the only way to do this as He is our gift of eternal life. It's not hard you just takes one little whisper..."Jesus, I want to belong to you." He is right there you know and He will do the rest. He is such a perfect, loving God.
The most amazing thing about all this is that I know without a doubt that I will see my beautiful Mum again. She is in heaven with the rest of her family & my Dad having the most perfect time waiting patiently for the rest of us to join her when it is our time. This really does make the letting go process so much easier. Love you my gorgeous little Mum.

Well it's time to put the kettle on. Nothing nicer than a cup of tea in the Old Country Roses set my Mum gave to glad she introduced me to the Royal Albert family to belong to, too!
Love and blessings,
Cathy. Xx

Thursday, 3 January 2013


Instead of writing this blog as the Christmas decorations were going up...I'm am doing it, as the decorations are coming down! Why? Well, it is a very good reason ~ my techno man hadn't had time to load the blog site onto our new computer! All is forgiven though as it is giving me a chance to reflect on the beautiful season we have just experienced with a grateful heart & precious memories.

I noticed a theme evolving this year as the Christmas season began, firstly with my most favourite book I read this time every year, "The Light of the World" by my favourite artist Thomas Kinkade. It was with a touch of sadness that I read his beautiful words each night just before I put my light out, knowing of his troubled end to life. Being known as the painter of light, his amazing art work always depicted some form of illuminating light through windows, street lamps, Churches, sunrises, sunsets portraying his faith & outlook on life ~ that Christ is the light of the world & we all can bring light into our everyday living by being who we were created to be. It is a lovely thought that his paintings & writings will continue on with his message of faith & hope.

As the theme of light continued from messages at church & even an unexpected serenade from Doug Parkinson singing " This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine" at Carols in the Domain, it has left me pondering about how we can do just that ~ let our light shine. Our world today has such a lot of darkness in it, sometimes to overwhelming degrees, but my faith & hope, like Thomas Kinkade is in the baby that came all those years ago. A bright star shone that night bringing a light into the world that has never dimmed because the baby became a man & that man, Jesus is the Saviour of the World. It is our choice whether we follow Him or not, but if we do, we are promised an eternal life of light & love. There is no gift more precious than that.

I was touched by the Queens message this year where she encouraged us all to follow the example of Jesus by living a life of service to others, then finished by saying "...and what can I give Him, I give my heart." I do hope your heart is full to overflowing with Christmas bliss, wonderful memories and light & love in abundance to the extent that you will shine your little light to all those around you. The world will be a much more better place if you do, because there is only one unique and beautiful you!

For me, the studio is one place where I shine my light. High Teas are in the air, new projects and creativity are ready to begin. 2013 is going to be a brilliant and shining year.

Blessings of light and love to you all,
Cathy Xx

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Greater love

I can't believe it is 4 months since I last posted! I must be having too much the saying goes:) It has been super busy during this time with the studio, family, visits to family in the country...oh and yes, a lovely holiday in Tasmania. It was our first time. With a Kiwi hubby, we usually set of to N.Z. but this time I helped him change his mind, so we ventured off to the prettiest state in Australia (in my opinion.)

We had no idea what treasures of beauty & experiences were waiting for us, but my oh my, it certainly is a gem of a place. It wasn't hard to be reminded of our times in England with the many stone walls, green scenery, old cottages and rolling hills. I was amazed at the paddocks of daffodils and snowflakes. Who on earth planted all of those? We joked saying it may have been the convicts on their days off.

One thing that struck a cord in our hearts was the fact that it certainly is a state of sacrifice. We are here because of the lives given way back 'when' and not just by convicts either. Many brave and adventurous people left all they knew and loved to try for a better life. A life of promise, hope and prosperity. Sadly, as we saw in St. David's park in Hobart, some never made it off the ship. We spent a long time in this park reading the heartfelt plaques on the memorial walk. So many babies, so many mothers and fathers who didn't reach much sacrifice.

There is a verse in the bible that says "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." I'm not sure if these dear folk knew that is what they were doing, but I was so moved this day thinking that is exactly what they have done...there is no greater love than this. It's the love that Jesus showed when he gave His life for us, so that we could have an eternal hope and future. I hope you know this love ~ it will change your life forever.

During our travels around this beautiful state we found the little town and church where my great, great grandfather lived. He was originally from  Cork in Ireland, then in the army in India, then came to settle in Tasmania. Again, a brave move, a hard life, but sacrifices that meant I have had a better life. Each day I am so grateful for those who have gone before me to pave the way and only hope my choices in life are making it better for my generations to come.

Only this week I found out that a great sacrifice was made for me in the form of some words spoken. I am so humbled to think that someone loves me enough to do this at the expense of their own well greater love than this. I hope that we all can travel along this road of sacrifice from day to day, to make it a better world for all those we love and cherish.


Another time of year is fast approaching where we can spread some of this love to those around us...yes Christmas is only 11 weeks away, yipeeeee! I just love Christmas:) In the studio some of the girls have been busy making pretty little dishes and candles decorated with the technique of decoupage using paper serviettes. The ladies of the Central Coast Decorative Art Assoc. shared the candle technique & next month I am showing them how to decoupage the serviettes onto china dishes. Embossing the patterns with hand painted embellishments really make these pieces a gift that anyone would be happy to receive, especially if the dish is filled with some Christmas sweets:) If you would be interested in finding more about these classes just go to and follow the contact links.

I hope the days ahead are filled with 'great love' for you all,

Cathy xx

Friday, 4 May 2012


Don't you just love autumn?  It really is my most favourite time of year.  The coolness of the air is like a gentle kiss of freshness, especially after the humid summer that comes from living on the coast.

One of the special things we love to do in Autumn is to visit the country town of Orange where we used to live for 17 years.  My dear Mum still lives there so the tug to return home never leaves us.  Anzac day falls in Autumn as well so it is with great emotion and pride that we take part in this day of remembrance to support my 87 year old Mum who still marches with the Ex-service woman and to pay homage to my Dad who served in the Second World War in the Middle East; Darwin and New Guinea. This year saw hundred (maybe even thousands) fill the streets with people showing support and love with grateful hearts to those brave men and women who sacrificed so much to give us all a future of hope, security and safety.  We WILL never forget.

As the bugle was playing the last post I closed my eyes and thought back to the many times I heard my Dad play this piece.  It is such a beautiful yet haunting tune bringing with it so many memories for so many people.  For me it means love.  When I opened my eyes a kaleidoscope of colour flashed before them as the sunlight caught the falling autumn leaves as they danced to the ground.  Such beauty and a perfect analogy as each leaf represented the brave soliders with their comradeship; the mothers, wives and families left at home...wondering; the sacrifice of love; the years unfolding, remembering those that were left behind, those that returned with physical and emotional scars to last their lifetime yet the brilliant colour that comes to our lives now because of such selfless bravery.  Yes, I know I will try and live my life worthy of such love and sacrifice.

Visits to the wineries; Mt. Canobolas; Cook and Moulder Parks; catching up with friends; showing off this beautiful part of the world to our coastie friends and of course a reunion with some of the dear ladies that came to my studio in Orange made for such a special and colourful time.  It makes me so happy to know they are continuing on with their art and painting such beautiful pieces.

On one of the many walks during this visit I stood underneath the most blazing autumn tree.  A song came straight to mind...can you guess?  "Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue..."  All the colours of the rainbow, a kaleidoscope of colour, a gift of beauty from my favourite season of the year, there to bless my soul and warm my heart.  I hope during this amazing time of year you can find colour in your life too.  Maybe you don't have a colourful autumn tree to stand underneath and look heavenward, but I'm sure if you look ever so closely, colour will be there in a smile; a walk at sunset; a juicy red apple or even a phone call from a loved one you need to hear from.  I  hope some of these things will be there to add a tinge of sparkle to your day.

Now I'm off to the studio to start preparing for classes and a High Tea next week ~ a group of girls to celebrate their friend's 18th birthday.  Can't wait to bring a little bling, history and lar-de-dar fun to this group!

Cathy XXX

Monday, 20 February 2012


The start of a new year is already getting away on me!  The studio has been opened this year for nearly a month now, with classes back into full swing and High Teas being booked and taking place.  I love the start of a new year.  It brings with it so many possibilities, so many lessons learnt from the previous year and a kind of uniqueness that all things are 'new.'  For an old fashioned girl like myself who gets excited about antiques, lace, the next old Royal Albert plate for our collection, 'new' is rather a foreign word for me but when seen through the eyes of new beginnings it takes on a whole new meaning.  Uniqueness is the word that springs to mind.  The start of 2012 is unique.  It has never happened before and it will never come around again, so with this in mind I have decided to look heavenward and say 'bring it on!'  

For our family this year, it is another very exciting one with the wedding of our youngest son.  As I speak, pretty floral fabric squares are being sewn into serviettes to add to the theme of this rustic/country wedding....on the coast.  So another unique experience we will never live through again, as these two adorable hearts are joined as one, is about to take place in just a few weeks.  Isn't love grand?

With classes at Garden Terrace Studio back into full swing I am reminded again of this designation 'unique.'  Two of the beautiful artists that come every week to learn; share; enjoy with a little added frivolilty, along with myself have all been painting the same design.  It never ceases to amaze me how each artist can paint the same design but each piece is unique.  With our own interpretation, gifting, use of paint, brush and likes each piece takes on its unique meaning and look.  That is one of the most important things I try to bring to my classes ~ to encourage the strengths, desires, talents and uniqueness of each artist.  I am often told in class "Cathy, I wish I could paint it like you...." to which I make a quick reply "Oh no you don't, one of me is quite enough ~ paint it like YOU!"  I love the quote that says it beautifully:~

 "Be yourself ~ there is no one better qualified!"

With this in mind take a close look at the three paintings of "Ducks down a county lane."
Kath decided to paint hers on a tray.  Oh how delightful being served a lovely cup of tea with 5 chubby white ducks pearing up at you!  Kath's painting is so charming with the shadow work highlighting the feathers of the ducks being so precise.  Her piece is very country, usefull and depicts the ducks setting off in the morning glow to forage, play and enjoy a summers day.
Estelle also chose a useful piece in painting the ducks on a box which will be given to her sister as a gift ~ what a blessed sister!  Estelle decided to paint each blade of grass individually!  What patience and what an amazing effect.  We were all in awe of her artistic ability:) With an added fence post, pretty sunset and some field flowers Estelle's finished piece is quite different to Kath's, quite 'unique.'
When I painted mine I wanted it to be a little whimsical.  For those of you who know me well you will understand that painting my favourite creature in the universe just had to be right!  I also added a sunset loving the thought of the little ducks heading home after a perfect day on the pond (which is just out of site around the bend at the top of the lane) and added some pretty colourful wildflowers to draw the colours from the sunset and flowers all together.  So three patterns exactly the same but three unique interpretations.  No piece is better than the other, no piece is right or wrong, but each piece is pleasantly unique.

Other art work taking place in the studio this term is a very wise old barn owl where Gail is using texture paste to create a wonderful textured feathered look.  Wendy is continuing on with her Australian Flannel Flower design on a place mat then changeing scene completeley in chosing an underwater ocean scene for a lazy suzanne she was given.  Also flat brush roses with pretty lace from the Advanced Course and a lovely garden scene on the top of a box is making for a very busy but exciting term one.

The first High Tea for the year was such a special one taking place a couple of weeks ago.  A group of amazing ladies all joined together in spoiling one of their lovely friends who was in need of a little cheering up.  These ladies were absoluteley gorgeous dolling up in beautiful bling, bringing love and laugther with them as they enjoyed the 17th C tradition of High Tea, parlour games and viewing 170 Royal Albert Plates.  It's quite amazing that so many ladies that see this collection either own one of them or recognise one of their Aunties, Mother's or Grandmother's plates.  It is always fun hearing their stories as they travel down memory lane. 

Well I must move on ~ the kettle it calling.  It is so nice to be back with you at the start of a new year.  I hope you are feeling encouraged being your unique, beautiful selves and I hope this year is one of great joy and opportunities.  Don't forget you are always welcome at Garden Terrace Studio or if you are wanting something painted for your home or that unique gift you may be needing for someone special, just ask:)

Cathy XXX