Venerdi in Venice: Roamin' Gondola


ink & watercolour illustration commission for Sisterhood of the Travelling Scarves

When engaged by these women to go roaming, the gondolier had an entirely different kind of Rome in mind.  Luckily, they're quite happy and not at all alarmed to suddenly find themselves in the fountain outside the Pantheon, in spite of this not being a Tim Burton movie.   But there is more to the story...

A few months ago, a lovely lady named Michelle saw my illo over at Pierre's Venice Daily Photo.  Before you could order a Chianti, she'd told some of her Italy-besotted friends, and the charming Maxine commissioned me to create an illustration to represent the friendship and shared love of Italy within their group {known amongst themselves as the Sisterhood of the Travelling Scarves}.  Maxine's brief to me was to draw three ladies with scarves and incorporate a gondola and the Pantheon.  So you see, the gondolier was on the right track after all, though possibly shouldn't have deserted his post for the sake of a quick gelato nearby {something I'm tempted to do myself}.

Since then, I've met several of the Sisterhood through emails, including one hilarious lady who happens to live in North Queensland, not far {by a country folks' compass} from where my father was born.  Get outta here! I thoroughly enjoyed the process, and what a delightful bunch they are!  I'll bet none of them would mind steering the gondola around the fountain in the absence of their errant gondolier ~ not one little bit. And on that note...

Happy Venerdi in Venice {and Rome} to you!

Shed Your Office Hours


ink & watercolour illustration, 5.5" x 8.25" [14.5 x 21cm]

There are sheds, and there are sheds.  This one falls into the latter category. 

I'd be quite happy to have one of these tucked in my garden ~ an old whitewashed-timber studio and its corrugated iron roof that can't be heard over when the rain pounds down on it.  An endearing spot where I could sit overlooking the lavender bush I don't have, while sipping tea that I do have, and wearing designer gumboots I don't have.  Not today, though ~ I'd be passed out on the floor from heatstroke.   Curse you, February...

I'm not sure if any of that ever goes on in this former stable-turned-office, but it is quaint and alluring.  It {and the cottage it accompanies} belongs to heritage architect Peter Freeman and his wife Tanny, in the town of Moruya on the NSW South Coast, as featured in Country Style's Australian February edition. 

I suspect they have real gumboots...

Friday Fleurish: Blooming Tiny


ink & watercolour weensy, 3" x 2.25" [8 x 6cm]

While I'm in a meep* mood of myopathy, I thought I'd continue with our miniatures theme for today.  This still life is on a much smaller scale than Tuesday's scenes, thus somehow creating a miniature on a larger scale {and the opportunity to use the word thus}.  Don't ask me how ~ something to do with Einstein's Theory of Relativity.  Or was it membership of the Mickey Mouse Club...

Regardless, here's to a blooming nice weekend!  And on that note ~

Happy Friday Fleurish to you!

*Meep (mēp) Etymology: 2010  An endearing word coined by AmyR; a gently surprised exclamation meaning, "How delightful!", especially used when happening by chance upon something tiny and enchanting.  Not surprisingly, Amy spends much of her time at Disneyland.

Just A Tiny Post Today


ink & watercolour weensy, 3" x 2.25" [8 x 6cm]

Perhaps because I'm a bit on the tiny side myself, I'm rather fond of tiny things, and I'm not just talking about petits fours, mini macarons and cocktail food.   It's been a while since I drew some weensy works, so today I plied myself with hydrating eyedrops and set about it.  One thousand three hundred and sixty-five blinks later, voilà, a little French farmhouse...

  ink & watercolour weensy, 3" x 2.25" [8 x 6cm]

...and a little restaurant for lunch in the village nearby. {Let's not panic ~ I hear they serve standard-sized meals}.  Depending on your screen, what you see here may be pretty close to actual size of the drawings.  Now I just need a dolls' house to hang them in...

Francophile Friday: Ei-Ffel Like Macarons


ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.75" [18 x 22.5cm]

Macarons and the Eiffel Tower all in one illustration?  "What's the special occasion, Shell?" you ask.  And you would be wearing your astute and perceptive hat, or better yet, beret ~ we're marking a special occasion, indeed.

One of my beautiful girlfriends is having a certain birthday in a few days.  I really wish we were celebrating together, and if we happened to be in Paris, even better.  I'll leave it up to her to put up her hand if she feels so inclined, but only if she really wants to.  Otherwise, she can remain a woman of mystery and we who are worldly~wise will nod sagely and not let curiosity get the better of us while she keeps her own counsel about such things.  This much of a hint I disclose: she will really love this scenery!!

Thanks to sweet Katie for the gorgeous photo inspiration.  As Katie is presently travelling in exotic locations, I can't check, but I'm pretty sure {based on the chandelier and ceiling} that this was taken while she was pressed up against Stohrer's window, though not at the same time as Virginia.   Since 1730, this dreamy pâtisserie has been producing some of the most delicious calories ever to be walked off in Paris.  There are so many chocolate and violet macarons here, we can all enjoy them and I'm sure no-one at Stohrer will be any the wiser that we got up to mischief in their window.  So, Happy Birthday, nearly-birthday-girl, and on that note...

Happy Francophile Friday to you all!

Book in a Stack of Light Reading


ink & watercolour illustration, 7" x 8.75" [18 x 22.5cm]

Over Christmas, I was going to catch up on some light reading.

It didn't work.  Ok, my reading pile doesn't look exactly like this one.  Nor does my chair or wall.  Maybe the drink.  But you get the general gist of it. 

And the reading can wait for one more day ~ after all, I've had two blog awards kindly bestowed upon me, and I couldn't possibly concentrate on a book while I'm still basking in the warm fuzzy afterglow of such honours!

For the "Creative Writer" Blogger Award, I thank dear PopCultureNerd, my go-to person for astute and entertaining reviews of movies, TV and books {and responsible for several feet of my must-read stack}.  Please note the quotation marks and resemblance to Pinocchio.  Interpret this as you will ~ it's gold and shiny and I'm delighted to accept. Having been awarded this by someone with impeccable punctuation and a pert little nose, I take it as a huge compliment.

And for the pretty pink Kreativ Blogger Award, I thank another of our regulars: dear Mise!   Her dry and intelligent wit is not just reserved for blog comments ~ if you haven't already visited her Pretty Far West blog of idyllic domesticity ~ three parts Irish Breakfast Tea and one part Irish Whisky ~ you are missing a treat. 

And in the spirit of the Irish Whisky part of proceedings, I shall befuddledly blend both of these award protocols {the exact details of which I'm a bit foggy about anyway} and give you a list of five things about me that you might find amusing or entertaining, but may not actually be true.  
  1. I have freckles and I love them.  I frown on the practice of attempting to bleach freckles with lemon juice.  Own them, I say.
  2. I refused to participate in the obligatory running races in our annual primary school sports day until Grade 5, when I ran on a whim and won my race.  All were confounded, myself included.
  3. Our cat Fatso is not fat.
  4. I grew up in a coal mining town, but I'm not a coal miner's daughter.
  5. When I was little ~ littler ~ a recording of me playing Greensleeves on the electronic organ was used by one of the local Mr Whippy vans.  I was not paid in ice-cream.
And now for the really tricky part ~ passing the baton.  There are far more creative and tasteful bloggers around these parts than I have awards for, so here are just four special ones out of all the special ones:  AmyR's Disneyland Daily Photo {Kreativ Blogger}; Cafe Pasadena {Kreativ Blogger}; Altadena Hiker {"Creative Writer" Blogger Award}; and Margaret's Finnegan Begin Again {"Creative Writer" Blogger Award}   Thank you all for amusing and delighting me! 

Francophile Friday: Eva's Carousel


ink & watercolour illustration, photo inspiration thanks to Virginia Jones

Just in case you've had the kind of week when you feel like crying, "Stop the merry-go-round, I want to get off..." this might make you change your mind.  If you want to share a ride on this Parisian confection-like carousel with this little cutie-pie, you'll need to check with her grandmother and photographer/blogger extraordinaire, Virginia.  I imagine she'll be only too happy for you to climb on board. Thanks for the beautiful photo inspiration, V ~ this one's especially for you and your family, though I don't guarantee it will lessen your fretting for Paris.  Maybe it will just smooth the edges off it. I couldn't find this photo on Virginia's Paris Through My Lens blog but I did find Eva in the same adorable outfit!   So hang onto your pretty knitted pig-tailed beanies and ...

Happy Francophile Friday to you!

A Covet of Cupids


ink & watercolour illustration of print ad, 4" x 4.25" [10.5 x 11cm]

Valentine's Day is a couple of weeks away, so I thought, "A-ha!  I shall pip everyone else at the post and blog about it now."  A-ha, indeed!!  And lest you fall off your perch in surprise at my forward planning, I shall draw your attention to a celebrity fragrance that was released sufficiently long enough ago that you may no longer locate it in a luxe department store, but it may still be loitering on the shelves at your local day/night chemist {pharmacy}, and thus the perfect solution for the last minute gift for blokes to procure on their way to their amour on Valentine's Night.

The fragrance in question is Sarah Jessica Parker's Covet Pure Bloom, resplendent with sweet tropical florals, like mandarin, purple plum, coconut water, tuberose, pikake, jasmine, amber, iris, sandalwood and creamy musks.  By its name alone, it's a nice match for Valentine's Day, as the origin of the word 'covet' according to is "c.1225, from O.Fr. coveitier, probably ult. from L. cupiditas "passionate desire," from cupidus "very desirous," from cupere "long for, desire." 

I have to wonder, though, how many covet the dress over the perfume...
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