At Twenty-four

The life and times of a busy mother of two.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Where to begin?

Child 1 to school. Check. Child 2 to Kinder. Check. Go to gym. Check. What now?

The 'to do' list is always so long and prioritising is not a strong point of mine. I've had some great creative ideas for new products milling around for ages -- perhaps today's the day for something to materialise.

Love these:

'Even robots get the blues' by ultrajunk

Well, won't get anything done if I'm on here for long!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

To blog or not to blog, that is the question...

I think this says it all.

Thanks to Kelly at 74 Lime Lane for the link from Pinterest, originally from here.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A productive week (back in September!)

Thinking about what I've achieved this week for my business, I feel that I can sit back and smile.

Those cards (6 types x 10 cards each) that I dropped in last week are now gracing the shelves at Readings in Lygon St, Carlton. I need to get my own barcodes printed on the back so they can put them out as soon as they get them, rather than having to sort out the barcodes for me, however, I've found out that each barcode number costs about $100 so it will be a while before I'm doing that! I'd need to employ a sweatshop in a small Asian country to make enough money to make that worthwhile. :o\

'Life amidst decay' -- View to the mainland from Alcatraz Island, USA
Cards shown flat: end product is folded vertically in centre and is 15cm square.

'Endless track' -- Völklingen Ironworks, Germany. UNESCO World Heritage site.

'Fireworks' – Munich, Germany. Flower, colour manipulated.

'Magic pathways' – Munich, Germany. Tree branches, colour manipulated.

'Spokes, magnified' – Nasturtium leaf, Melbourne, Australia

'After the rain' – San Jose, California, USA

'Natural buttons' – Yarraville, Australia.

'Wood king' – Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne, Australia

'Charcoal tree' – 2009 Bushfires memorial, Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne, Australia

'Homage to the sun' – Melbourne Zoo, Australia

'Countdown to launch' – Yarraville, Australia

Focus on Art's five 2011 calendars will also be in all Readings stores in Melbourne by the end of November: keep an eye out for them, too! There's bound to be one near you:

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Focus on Art cards soon to be in Readings, Lygon St, Carlton.

The selection of 10 art cards that Readings have ordered will be in their Lygon St store as of next week. The calendars they ordered will be delivered by the end of October, which isn't that far away. Of course, buying direct from the manufacturer has distinct advantages: namely price! Some of my time in the next week or so will be spent trying to sell more calendars around Melbourne. Wish me luck!

I'm also sending out feelers to see if anyone wants to put in orders for any one (or more!) of my 5 different 2011 calendars -- they make a fabulous Christmas gift. ;o) They are: Kitchen Owls, 2 photos of my assemblage sculpture owls per month; Vibrant Colours, a mix of strong colour shots and colour adjusted images; Sand and sea, a combination of beach scenes at Mornington with beach boxes, beach sunsets, marine objects/creatures; Details in Nature I, mainly macro images of natures details; and Details in Nature II, as with Details in Nature I but with a focus on Australian plants (taken at Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary).

Those interested in ordering a calendar (or two!), please contact me at focus at stewardson dot net I would be more than happy to email samples of the calendars for those who need convincing. ;o)

How on earth did we get to September without me noticing??

(I have posted the 2 photos above to give you an idea of what the calendars will look like. The Kitchen Owls calendar days have much more space for planning than the other 4 calendars. I'll post some more photos in the next little while to give more of an idea what the inside looks like in all other calendars.)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Catching my breath!

Lots of excitement around here over the past month or so. A whirlwind time was had late June preparing calendar designs for 2011 before presenting them to Readings in Carlton with the hopes of some being ordered. I came out of an incredible meeting with the rep there with orders for 160 calendars (4 types: 40 of each) and 60 cards (10 types: 6 of each). Wooo hoooooo (exactly what I yelled out -- not being able to contain it -- walking down Lygon St after the coup)!! They will be stocking one calendar that was in store there for the 2 weeks before Christmas last year (Details in Nature II), another calendar overflowing with incredible colour, both natural and colour manipulated, called 'Vibrant Colours', a third with a seaside theme including some beach boxes from Mornington beaches called 'Sand and Sea' and my 'Kitchen Owls' calendar -- filled with 24 of my assemblage sculpture creations. Now to work out the best way to get them produced so I make some money and it doesn't just turn into a marketing exercise!

Other great news includes the cube I now have at In.cube8r: champion to around 90 Melbourne artists. I rent the glass cube on a monthly basis and fill my cube with whatever product I wish (obviously they have vetted mine and all other artists' work). I currently have 12 owls and 3 mini blocks (photographs) on display. Go in and check it out sometime: they have some wonderful work all made in Oz.
321 Smith St, Fitzroy

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Another 5 owls ventured out into the world today!

A 2nd visit to The Very Curious Kitten at 138 Lygon St, Brunswick East today ended with cause for celebration. Five of my owls now grace the walls of this haven for local creatives thanks to Annemarie Blades, shop owner and owner of successful market business, Button Tree (
Kitchen Owls Bookworm #41, Wide Awake #61, Dish #69, Frilly Lily #74 and Polka-Dotty #83 are keeping each other company awaiting adoption by their long term family -- perhaps you?
The complete collection of Kitchen Owls can be viewed at All owls in this album which have comments are no longer available from my market stalls (either sold, in a gallery, or retail outlet).

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

My owls have flown into Ojas Handcrafts in Clifton Hill

Exciting news: Focus on Art, in the form of 11 Kitchen Owls, have made a breakthrough onto the retail scene. A long overdue visit to Ojas Handcrafts (at 344 Queen St, Clifton HIll), resulted in some adoptions and they are now the proud owners of owls #31, #47, #48, #50, #53, #55, #58, #59, #63, #66 and #75. If you would like to see which owls these are, check out All owls in this album which have comments are no longer available from my market stalls (either sold, in a gallery, or retail outlet).

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Focus on Art™ supports educational projects in Kenya

This coming weekend, Focus on Art™ is very proud to be supporting the Vanessa Grant Trust (VGT). To find out more about the VGT and make a donation of your own click here.

Three of our new owls will be flying up to Sydney, accompanied by Felicity Kingsford, for a fundraising dinner in support of this worthy charity. Sugar & spice #73, Why? #67, and Clueless #71, all owls completed in the past week, will be under the hammer in live and silent auctions, helping to raise money for sorely needed furniture, educational aids, library books and computers. Fingers crossed that they fetch some good money!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Parliament of owls population explosion!

My little parliament of assemblage sculpture owls is growing at a rapid rate. I have added another 13 to the collection over the past 2 weeks, with a little help from my 7yo daughter, Tara. Tara made 1 owl, Bright Eyes (#49) and our first 'Kitchen Fowl' White Chickadee while we were camping up at Cohuna in Victoria's North.

The Webshots album showing the complete set of assemblage sculptures is up-to-date again at and also complete are the photos on my Facebook business page where you can become a Fan to get regular updates of my markets.

Best wishes for a special and completely spoilt Mothers' Day to all you hard-working mums out there. We'd be lost without you!

Friday, 30 April 2010

WOW! Owls flying off the stall at both Rose St and Abbotsford Convent markets

Whew. The past few weeks have been really 'up': Rose St was a hit, a record breaking market at Abbotsford Covnent, and a bevvy of new creations from our time camping up (almost) on the Murray. To top it all off I'm trialling a new market at Borders in Carlton on Monday 3 May which will be a first.

Rose St Artists' Market, with its upbeat music and hip ambience was incredible and it looks like I may have found a home for my owls -- 3 owls were sold within the first couple of hours and a tri-frame sold, too, making it my most successful market yet. It looked rather grim at the outset with the market organiser having placed me outside and, on arrival, gulping at the possibility of my frames being smashed to smitherines in the gusts of wind whisking around teh courtyard. Some convincing arguments saw me quickly moved inside which was a godsend.

6 owls, count 'em, SIX of the little suckers, were sold at Abbotsford Convent's Makers' Market in April which is a new record (along with the fact that not one of my photo products sold at the same market :o( -- also a record). Granted, it was an open day at the Convent and people were streaming thru the doors, but it was generally an exciting day for business. The Makers' Market organisers are still grappling with the issue of bringing people inside to our stalls with signage of some sort within the limiting perameters of heritage laws which will, I think, be the deciding factor as to whether I continue this market or not. I am booked and paid for for 16 May and 20 June so there's time yet to gain a few more statistics before making that decision.

Monday coming will be a novel experience: Borders in Carlton are holding their monthly (1st Monday) Craft Fair at which I am to have a stall next Monday. Setting up in a shop will no doubt pose some interesting challenges and my fabulous new card display, louvre doors, may have to stay home as they will probably be too heavy to clamp onto the table provided. There are so many unknowns here with Borders providing the table (and a chair, hopefully!) and no hanging space possible, I shall have to think outside the square. The #1 purpose of this new market is to hopefully get some stock into the Borders store card displays. Fingers crossed that the powers that be take notice!

A bit to do before then (including a working bee at the school, 2 children's birthday parties, 1 dress up party for adults, and the usual running-a-household-type weekend activities) so best get off the computer.

Adios. Hopefully see you Monday.


Friday, 9 April 2010

New market on trial this Sunday -- Rose St Artists' Market, Fitzroy

Well, I've been enjoying the freedom of the school holidays but *not* the absolute shambles resulting in my house at the end of a few days of playing at home. I'm therefore looking forward to some time to create a little order here once school goes back. Not too much, mind…

Tara's 7th birthday at the beginning of Easter was a highlight of the holidays, along with our present to her, 'Cats', a couple of days prior. It was a distinct pleasure to enjoy her absolute delight at the theatre (luckily not solely due to the kitch, plastic martini glass with the lit stem that constantly changed colour -- "you may take it back to your seat but you must switch it off before the 2nd act begins". Never fear, it was only a non-alcoholic slushy!).

Easter down on the Mornington Peninsula helping to celebrate a wedding and take some photos of the occasion was fun with additional highlights of a judged Easter Bonnet Parade and Easter Egg Hunt at Uncle Martin & Aunt Yvette's caravan park on Easter Sunday. Tara's eyebrows shot up when, on arriving at Granddad's place, the Easter Bunny hadn't yet been as he was "incredibly busy delivering eggs all over the world"! A weak excuse which has helped to convince her that the Easter Bunny, along with that guy in red who turns up at Christmas, aren't real. Let's face it: I'm a terrible liar. ;o)

One benefit of our lazy school holiday life has been the volume of new owl creations (new ones starting from Mini Mae #25 -- which I'll be taking to Rose St, Fitzroy on Sunday 11th. Come and join the fun of a market chock full of amazing talent selling fabulous stuff. I hope to see you there!

Back to school and the usual routine next Monday. Mixed feelings about that. My next market will be the following Sunday (18th) back at my regular Abbotsford Convent Maker's Market. It's panning out to be a busy month.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Back to full health

Well almost. I'm back swimming laps a couple of times a week which is generally a good indication of wellness, however, and it's not surprising, my level of stamina is low. At the end of 50 metres my lungs are struggling and I'm needing to rest a bit where I could previously keep going. Easy does it for a while longer, I think.

I've been busy working on some more owls and diversifying a little -- I need to with so few tea strainers to be had! One of my recent additions is 'Stretch' whose body is an oval grater. You can see him for yourself on my Metal Sculptures album
I've also been brewing up some other creatures which I"m hoping to bring to fruition during these school holidays. Watch this space!

My blog has had some adjustments and now sports a list of my upcoming market dates down the right hand column. I will endeavour to keep this updated so you can keep abreast of where I'll be to come and say hello.

Off to enjoy the first weekday of the school holidays. I think we'll stay in pyjamas ALL day. ;o)

Friday, 12 March 2010

Market day again!

I have been enjoying the return of movement in my fingers and have been busy making some more owls for my market tomorrow which you can see on my webshots page by copying and pasting the link below into your browser (if you've seen the others, you might want to 'jump' to the current ones by clicking on 3 at the bottom right of the white picture panel).

I will be at the Markets in the Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens (near the Observatory Gate) from 9 to 2pm on Sat 13th March and then at the Abbotsford Convent Makers' Market on Sun 21st March from 10 to 4pm. See you there!

Oh to be healthy again!

Wow! How absolutely awful the past three weeks have been. I was laid low with a very nasty virus which hit at about 1am on Sun 21 Feb and when the alarm went off at 6am, it was in full party mode in my poor, sad, painful body leaving me in no shape for 'marketeering'. My first thought was to drug myself up with some Codral and 'soldier on' but my hubby breathed some sense into me with the most reasonable argument: that he could look after me (and the kids) on a Sunday, but not on a Monday. So, sure, I could go off to market and kill myself so that I would require a week to recover – with no additional support – or I could stay at home in bed and recover quicker. Well... the recovery was less than quick so goodness knows what might have been had I decided to head off to the Abbotsford Convent market after all. I was mostly recovered by Thurs and was in reasonable form for the craziness that was my daughter's school Fete on that Fri afternoon/evening.

That pretty much did it. I felt battered, but not beaten on the weekend which we spent down at Mornington taking it VERY easy. The weather was with us (i.e. cold) and meant that we spent most of our time inside watching videos, doing puzzles, and resting.

Back in Melbourne for Monday back at school and by Mon evening, most of the joints in my body had seized up and I was shuffling around like an 80 year old. It was awful and an incredible way to make me thankful for the usually pain-free, fluid movement that I enjoyed most of the time. I was not just stiff, but every movement was painful. As time went on, the pain, particularly in my feet and hands, got worse and my extremities started to swell. I took myself, slow shuffle by slow shuffle, to the doc on Wed and was relieved to hear that it was likely to be a short term problem. Relatively. 2-3 weeks was the expected recovery period, which, at the time, seemed like an eternity. I couldn't do anything. Well, I could, but it was slow and excruciatingly painful, so I didn't. I still needed to drop Tara off at school and Erin off at kindergarten (although she ended up being sick with my original virus from Tues to Thurs so we just blobbed on the couch together watching videos!) but driving the car was a disaster: limited head movement meant very slow and limited checking for other vehicles when turning anywhere and lack of grip with my hands meant turning corners was ridiculous. Any impatience for elderly drivers turning the corner in future will be no more. Ouch. I couldn't actually grip the wheel but used the side of my hands to push against the steering wheel struts. Very, very slow with painful jarring if I missed the hole!

During this time our house just became more and more messy. Getting dressed was achieved with help from my husband who was 'luckily' unwell and at home from Wed to Fri so could help with some things. Unfortunately, with my incredibly depleted immune system, I came down with hubby's mucous-filled virus last Sunday making for a completely miserable me. :o( On a positive note, my feet had started to loosen up and slowly, from the ground up, my whole body started moving more easily. Last to loosen up have been my hands which still suffer a little pain on making a fist and grasping things is still achieved gingerly. Back to the doctor's on Wed this week for a follow up appointment which ended up being about the 'new' virus with the double-sized head, sore throat and liquid cough with painful lungs. He finally felt that it had gone beyond a joke and we're now fighting back with some antibiotics which are helping me to feel human again. Tomorrow's market will find me rugged up with lots of suppressant medication and moving pretty carefully, but at least upright. Tara has joined me at home today with a rattling cough, and headache to keep it company. Poor love: I know exactly how she feels.

Bring on our return to health. I can't wait.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

New additions to my repertoire

I have had some surprising interest in my quirky Kitchen Owls which you can see in my album on Webshots The he first one ('Flashy Fabio': Kitchen Owl #1) was quite a surprise to me as well: he is so adorable! As with most things creative he sort of evolved and, to be fair, he had been brewing in the creative recesses of my mind since my first 'sculpture' attempts for my daughter's school art show back in October last year. I displayed this shiny fellow for the first time at my Dec market at Abbotsford Convent and, perhaps due to poor layout, he was still around to be packed up again ready for my Jan markets at the Royal Botanic Gardens and Abbotsford Convent. More success this time as he, and a strawberry owl I made on the day of the Convent Maker's Market were sold. I didn't even manage a photo of 'Strawberry owl', my first jam jar lid owl (almost identical to 'Berry Pretty' but with a strawberry jam jar lid). 'Little Laddie': Kitchen Owl #2, my very first tea strainer owl, became a Christmas gift but also the rough template for the majority of my owls to date. I took along 'Beaky', 'Berry Pretty' (another jam jar lid owl), 'Insomnia', 'Dainty', 'Fly away home' and 'Copper Grandpa' to my February market at Brunswick Town Hall (Sisters' Market) and had some exciting interest. 'Dainty' was sold quite late in the piece to a young lady who had earlier bought some of my cards and who had been riding away but returned saying 'I was on my way home but I decided I just had to buy Dainty'. It's wonderful to think of my little guys hanging around in people's back yards or kitchens. Time and enough tea strainers are lacking to get more done but I'm doing my best to have some ready for the Botanic Gardens market on 13 March. 'Fly away home' now has a home to go to so I'll have to make another one of those, too. No rest for the wicked! ®