Scones, Gardens and Art – A Magical Day

Apart from Champagne and Music, my other passions include Mosaics, Gardens, Art, Antique Bone China and Devonshire Teas.
On a recent Sunday I managed to indulge in a number of these passions…

My lovely neighbour and my clever, arty, gardening friend and I first set off to visit Banool, which was on display, for the first time, as a part of the open garden scheme. ‘Banool’ is a Paul Bangay designed garden filled with lovely old trees and interesting sculptural pieces


‘Banool’ has a lovely, old, stone house, which was built in 1936. The property was bought, by the current owners, in 2004 and the house and gardens have been extensively renovated.



There are many interesting copper sculptural pieces including a number of handmade copper swings, which looked amazing as architectural pieces.

The day began with rain but ended up being quite pleasant, though the seats were a little wet for our Devonshire tea tasting by the pool.

My trusty neighbour appears to be enjoying the scones! She didn’t continue on with us to the next garden/artist studio. Perhaps she went back for more scones…

We continued on to visit Nerina Lascelles. , one of the amazing artists who had her studio open as part of the Nillumbik Artist Open Studios
Nerina has been exhibiting in Australia and overseas for over 20 years. Her work is quite layered and seems to have a Japanese influence. I find it very beautiful.

The house was an incredible backdrop for Nerina’s exquisite paintings.





Our next stop was Shaaron Smith’s Mosaics Studio




This was the original purpose of our trip and we found Shaaron warm and friendly and her garden a riot of mosaics and roses.





Shaaron also runs classes in mosaics so if you are interested make sure you contact her. Click on the link above for her details.

Whilst we were admiring Shaaron’s mosaics, we met a couple who suggested another studio they thought we should visit. So we jumped back into our cars and bounced our way along a long and winding road and dusty tracks to find the oasis of Kay Steventon

Kay has a studio with her pantings but it was her ceramic pieces which I fell in love with…



Her garden was beautiful too and we were encouraged to have a wander through..



And so it was with a heart filled with gardens and art and mosaics and scones and adventure and beauty that we headed home. A Perfect day really.

Strathewen Mosaic Letter Box Project

On Sunday I am planning to head out to Panton Hill and Kangaroo Ground to the Nillumbik Open Studios. I mentioned Shaaron Smith in my previous post. I am really looking forward to having a look at her work. In the meantime I thought  that I’d share some photos of the mosaic letter boxes from Strathewen (which I also mentioned in my previous post). These were taken when they were exhibited in Hurstbridge before they found their new homes in Strathewen. I am looking forward to seeing how they have settled in….


Mosaics and Open Studios


If you live in Victoria and you are interested in mosaics, or other forms of art, you might be interested in the Nillumbik Open Studios.
It will be running over two weekends in November – 17th and 18th, and again the following weekend -24th and 25th November from 11am – 5pm.

There are 38 artists and 25 studios open with a range of disciplines including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, jewellery, textiles and photography. (I’m quoting directly from the website now).

An artist whom I am looking forward to visiting in her studio is Shaaron Smith. She looks like having some really interesting mosaic work.



The Nillumbik area was deeply affected by the Feb 7 Bushfires in 2009. If you are in the area you might also like to check out the mosaic seat outside the St Andrew’s hall. It was made by a group of women, many of whom lost their homes during the fires. The seat was made to tell the story of Feb 7 and beyond and to commemorate the event.



Another display of mosaics in the area, which you might like to have a look at, is the Strathewen letter box project. This was another initiative, after the fires, which was started by a local artist, who didn’t lose her house, and who wanted to support her community and all those who had lost so much. The town of Strathewen was substantially destroyed during the fires but these mosaic letter boxes bring a spark of hope back to the town.


So if you have a day free there is much to explore. That’s the plan for my day at least. I’ll post some photos if you can’t make it.

My Spring Garden

Melbourne in Spring seems to oscillate between Summer and Winter temperatures. There is usually wind at times, rain at times and sun at times! However the garden is starting to look Spring like at least.

The first of the Roses are starting to Bloom too

This one is Nancy Haywood

This is an old Dutch Rose. I can pronounce it but I can’t spell it for you sorry.

Of course all of the Winter rain means weeds, weeds, weeds so I have been doing a lot of weeding of late.

The old rooster is happy about that..

So is the fish ( he doesn’t look that happy but it’s hard for a fish to look happy really)

I’m happy, I love it when the garden comes to life again.

I’ll be even happier when I have finished with the weeds..

Then I thought I’d celebrate with a High Tea with friends in the garden.

The garden really looks its best around Cup week when the roses are all out. I’ll make sure to take some photos to show you.

Until then I’d best get back to the weeding.

Trends for this Season

So as our long, cold, wet Winter makes way, in Melbourne, for Spring… here are some of the trends for the season.

I think that I can happily avoid the ‘tribal prints’ trend but hey that’s just me..

Here goes:

1. Print Clashing

2. Neon Colours

3. Florals

4. Pink

5. Pastels

6. And best of all….the Spring/Summer trend is Western

It’s easy to use accessories to keep up with the latest trends without having to buy into the whole look.

Check out my buckles at

on Facebook (Broken Plate Mosaics)

or at

St Andrews mosaic seat – after the fires.


On Feb 7 2009 a number of areas in Victoria experienced a massive firestorm in which 173 people died. 

One of the areas which was severely affected by this fire storn was the Kinglake -Kinglake West- St Andrew’s- Strathewen area. More than 1200 homes were destroyed in this area and 120 people died.  Many people  were deeply affected by what had happened on that day and were looking for a way to help. Chris, a friend of mine, decided to start a mosaic group in St Andrews and a group of women began to meet once a week bringing with them pieces of broken china, glass tile and bricks which they had managed to salvage from their properties after the fires had burnt through.


Chris taught them how to mosaic and together they created pieces of art which managed to preserve some memory of that which they had lost in the fires.



After finishing their personal pieces the group decided that they would like to make something for the community which would artistically express their memories of what had happened before, during and beyond that day on Feb 7 2009.

It was agreed that they would make a mosaic seat, which would tell the story and which would sit in St Andrew’s by the Hall (near where the market is held every Saturday). 



For over two years these women came together every week and their personal stories, memories and experiences were encorporated into the mosiac design.



The Lasting Memories Mosaic seat was officially unveiled on Mothers Day, May 2012. 








For those who are interested there is a video of the mosaic seat on you tube

under St Andrews Lasting Memories Mosaic Seat



Cowboy boots and Chuckwagon races

So.. it’s Stampede time here in Calgary which means everyone dresses up in hats, jeans, buckles and boots and has a big party.
There is a parade

The husband seemed to like the parade..

Will and Kate were here last year.

There is a rodeo..

And Chuckwagon races.. ( don’t ask.. It’s too hard to explain)

There are fireworks and music and girls in flippy dresses and cowboy boots

There are interesting food choices too. Where else can you find Deep fried Oreos or deep fried Cheesecake or deep fried Mars Bar!

They like their buckles over here too.

I made this one from a plate like this one

It’s hot today though. I don’t think i can wear jeans when its 32C! I think I’ll eat ice-cream instead.

Happy Stampede!!

Scones and Champagne anyone?

I love Antique bone china. I know that some people might think that I don’t, because I like to make my buckles out of it, but I really do. I love the colours, I love the patterns and I love the delicate shapes.


Usually, if I am at someone’s house, I will admire their china from a distance. I wouldn’t want them to think that I had deliberately dropped Great Aunt Flo’s china teacup just so that I could make a great buckle or necklace out of it (though ‘old country roses’ does make a great buckle)


The other thing I like about beautiful bone china is the high tea experience. When we lived in Canada I would find any excuse to take visitors out to Lake Louise to have high tea over looking the lake.


I especially like it when a high tea begins with a glass of champagne before moving on to petite sandwiches, tiny pastries and delicious scones and cakes all served on beautiful bone china plates. There is really nothing that I don’t like about the high tea experience.

So when I discovered two enterprising girls who love to collect beautiful pieces of china and not turn them into wearable art I was intrigued. They are actually happy to rent out their beautiful china for anyone to use for a high tea, or a wedding or any event where a little added style and sophistication might be needed. Understandably I got quite excited!

A Vintage Affair have a wonderful range of pieces for hire for all sorts of occasions. They have been featured in a number of magazines.


Charming Vintage Tea also have a lovely range of pieces and they will deliver and set up the pieces as well as pick up and wash them afterwards. Sounds like a great idea to me.


Perhaps we should have an afternoon tea with matching buckles and tea cups!
Do you see any you might recognise?


Mosaic Shoes

If you like mosaics, as I suspect you do, then check out these shoes from Pisaverde in London.. They are a bit like wearing mosaics on your feet! I have particularly fallen in love with this pair



But these are great too…


And these..


They look like they do Summer ones as well..


If you see me post and I am wearing a pair you will know that I have succumbed! Be still my beating heart!

Winner and Losers

‘Winners and Losers’ starts it’s new season this week. In the First Season Bec wore one of my buckles as she tried to save someones life. Which perhaps suggests that my buckles may have super powers… just saying…

Unfortunately, taking photos from the T.V ends up looking like a photo through a fly wire door, but still it’s better than nothing I guess.  Here’s the buckle she wore.


And here are some snaps of her wearing the buckle..


Here she is in deep conversation with Jenny.. (41 mins into the show)


And here she is visiting the poor girl in hospital ( looking suitably concerned).


Sorry for the fly wire effect but it was pretty exciting seeing my buckle on T.V for the whole show. and I thought it looked pretty good belted over a dress.

Suitably, when I took the ‘Which Winners and Losers girl are you?’ quiz. I was most like Bec.

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