Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Greater love

I can't believe it is 4 months since I last posted! I must be having too much fun...so 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 40...so 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 being....no 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 www.gardenterracestudio.com.au 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