"It's the little things in life which make it magical..."

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Alphabet Series - "L" No. 2

This was one of the earlier alphabet ladies I embarked on, but it has taken until now for the recipient to receive it, and thus allow for me to share it with you!

There were many things I was proud of with this piece, and it's safe to say that I still like it now, which is a good sign! For, usually artists look back at old work and think that they were terrible, and can't understand why they were so proud of it at the time :P

I really experimented with creating colours for this one. I mixed a jacaranda colour for her eyes (inspired by Odette), a mint for her dress and a reddish-brown for her hair...I love the layout of the dress, it really captures a strong, yet graceful movement of fabric, as she dances the night away...I also love the look of the hair with its swirls and tonal graduation...

She was inspired by Anastasia, and she makes me want to draw more dancing ladies! But alas! I have another piece to show you soon, which is of a quite different project theme, and I think I will be doing a few more pieces for the new project, before I can go back and experiment more with the alphabet series!

Happy Spring-time! =D

Monday, 9 September 2013

The Language of Flowers No. 2

I wanted to share another painting I've done using the 'Language of Flowers' concept. I loved making the last watercolour, and wanted to embark on another personalised bouquet for a special person in my life...

I have been slack of late in the art-making department, as grabbing a novel is often an easier way to wind down...But I am happy that when I do hit the paintbrushes, that I do something which is meaningful to me...

 Geranium - True friendship
Celandine - Joys to come
Fuchsia - Humble love
Flax - I feel your kindness
Petunia - Your presence soothes me

Happy fairy dusting your life... :)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Date and Cookie Slice

This slice is adapted from a traditional South African treat, known as ‘South African Date Cookies.’ Typically they use Arnott’s ‘Marie’ biscuits, which I tried, and they were yummo... but I wanted to mix it up and thus tried ‘lattice’ biscuits, which are usually relegated solely to stodgy vanilla slice served at morning teas everywhere…

They are easy-peasy to make, and are scrumptiously addictive! It’s quite difficult to stop at one, so don’t endeavour to make these if you have self-control issues!


350g Pitted Dried Dates
150g Butter
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
200g Packet ‘Lattice’ Biscuits
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¾ Cup (approximately) Shredded/desiccated Coconut


Line a medium-large square or rectangular lidded container with alfoil (cut off a sheet longer then it, so it comes up the sides for easy removal of the slice)

Chop the dates into rough small-ish pieces (about 3-4 cuts per date)

Melt butter and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat

Add the dates, and simmer until broken down like a thick paste and ‘mushy’ (stir every now and then) – set aside to cool

Place biscuits in a snap-lock bag, then using the end of a rolling-pin crush biscuits into different sized pieces – set aside

Lightly whisk eggs and vanilla with a fork in a cup, then mix well into the cooled date mixture

Mix in crushed biscuits, until evenly coated

Press into the lined container, place the lid on and refrigerate for four hours, or overnight.

Remove from container, remove alfoil from slice, then cut into 20-24 pieces

Place coconut in bowl, then coat each segment with coconut



You can change the ‘Lattice’ biscuits for ‘Marie’ if you’d prefer, and don’t worry about the Marie being a 250g packet, using all of them still works out fine :)

If you only have one egg, that’s fine also.

I had increased the date mixture, so If you’d prefer less, do 250g dates with 115g butter :)

Happy Baking! =D

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Chunky-Choc Cookies

I know, I know, chocolate again! But sometimes there is just no substitute for the endorphin-inducing goodness provided by cocoa sweeties :D These are my current obsession, despite having been making them for years and years, I've had a recent resurgence of love for these goodies! Quick and easy, with a hit of the joy one gets from undertaking baking endeavours, plus the joy of eating baked goods without taking hours to make, or being complex :) Utter perfection in my humble opinion!

Lovingly adapted from 'Double Chocolate Cookies' in Donna Hay's Simple Essentials Chocolate 2007.


80g Butter
½ Cup Brown Sugar (not packed)
100g Dark Chocolate
¼ Cup Cocoa
1 Cup Plain Flour
1tsp Bi-carb Soda
1 Egg
100g Dark Chocolate (roughly chopped into chunks)


Preheat oven (fan forced) to 160°C

In a heatproof jug place butter, sugar and 100g of chocolate

Melt in microwave on medium-low, for bursts of 1 minute, stirring between each burst, until melted and smooth – leave aside to cool

In another bowl sift cocoa, flour and bi-carb soda

Once chocolate mixture has cooled a little, stir egg in until well combined

Add half of the flour mixture, and mix until just combined, then add the other half and mix until just combined

Mix in the chocolate chunks

Place clumps  of dough on a tray (they don’t need to be neatly rolled into balls) – makes between 20 and 23 cookies

Bake for 8 minutes

Leave on trays to harden for a few minutes, before placing on a rack to cool


Enjoy oozy and fudgy straight from the oven (watch the choc chunks they’re hot!), but also great once cooled and set.

Happy baking adventures!

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Language of Flowers

Back in January I read the most beautiful book, 'The Language of Flowers' by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Despite the vastly different circumstances the main character Victoria, experienced in her life, I resonated with, and connected to her story. It gave me great hope. Although, most of what I felt, and the reflections I had, was dis-related subject matter, it nonetheless struck me due to its humanity.

Each type of flower has a meaning, and Victoria uses this as her way of communicating to others. It was tragic and beautiful, all at the same time. The symbolic use of flowers inspired a painting. This was the result, which I gave to my Mum for Mother's Day. I did a lot of research on what the flowers should look like, and in choosing the message I wanted to give her. I did a few sketches of the look of the flowers, and then did a trial with watercolour paint. The final piece is me painting straight onto the paper, no pre-drawing, just going for it, and hoping for no blunders! I chose to give a message comprising of both feelings and gratitude:

Dogwood - Love undiminished by adversity
Gentian - Intrinsic worth
Cosmos - Joy in love and life
Phlox - Our souls are united
Lungwort - You are my life

If you are at a place in your life where you feel a little stuck and need uplifting, read this book. If you have ever felt alone, hopeless or insecure, you will connect to the story. The message I took from it was simple, and regularly overlooked, love and joy. That's all.

Happy fairy dusting your life :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Alphabet Series - "T"

Here's another one of my Alphabet Series illustrations, which I gave to my sister for her birthday. I used 185gsm paper as opposed to my usual 300gsm, and surprisingly it went well! I was worried that being thinner, it would buckle too much in the areas where I use a lot more water (i.e. layering up the dress to get the gradual shading), but it didn't! So it shows that you can't be skeptical, but need to first give new things a try :)

There is so much I love about looking at this piece; her barrel curls swept to one side, the 50's style dress, her bambi-green eyes, the style of the letter "T", and the sky-high heels :) After preparing this post, I really want to embark on another piece, but also as it is formal season, and I have naturally been looking at all sorts of gorgeous dresses! Thus, I have come across many a picture with some point of interest, be that a hairstyle, body-pose or style of dress...so hopefully there are some illustrations in the works :) I would however, like to build upon this current look by adding a little something extra, but I don't know what direction I'll go yet, as I'm a bit stuck in my current comfort zone. So, I need to follow my own advice, and just experiment, and not worry about producing a frame-worthy piece every time I use a piece of paper!

Happy fairy dusting your life!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Lady Beetle Dessert Platter

For my lil' sister's birthday recently we threw a "Beetle Ball" themed dinner party...I want to remain modest, but it was seriously the best-idea-ever! =D The dinning table was turned into a secret garden, with grass, mushrooms, flowers and little critter ornaments (hedgehogs, snails, gnomes and butterflies) everywhere! We dressed up as insects too, using creative makeup, wings, spots and antennae!

But when thinking about making a cake for the occasion I was unsure of what to do...We've previously done all the kid's party cakes in the theme - the butterfly, the ladybug, the hedgehog and even for her thirteenth, a large "13" covered in cute meringue "grubs". But also because we eat pretty healthily at my place, we usually go naughty with celebratory dinners, and thus this event was to be a fish n' chups kind of occasion...and thus despite being technically full, because it's a birthday, it's still fun to have a pretty cake...sooo I came up with a dessert platter! Where you have something which is fun and gorgeous to look at, but is something sweet without being a huge slab of cake (not that you ever have to actually eat a huge slab of cake, but you know how these things roll!) :)

Here's the lo-down of what I did to achieve this dessert:

I covered a cake board with aluminium foil. Then spread a batch of chocolate fudge frosting on the surface to make the "ground."

The "grass" is achieved by placing shredded coconut in a snap-lock bag, adding a touch of green liquid food dye, sealing the bag, and then rubbing it until coated.

The "logs" are pieces of liquorice dipped in chocolate and then scoured with a toothpick.

The "mushrooms" and "rocks" are lollies which can be purchased if you're lucky to find the right shops!

The ladybugs are inspired by those found in Bakerella's cake pops book, and were achieved by baking cake batter in the cake pop pans that you can purchase nowadays. Once cooled, I dipped them in white chocolate which I coloured red using powdered food dye. I then painted mentos black, using liquid food dye for the head, chopped the ends off of tic-tacs for the eyes, used heart sprinkles for the mouth, and jimmies for the antennae. Before using a tube of black food gel to add the details :)

I hope that you like this idea, 'cus I was pretty stoked about how it turned out! :) So hopefully it makes you want to get creative in the kitchen, and that this is something you can whip up when you want a sweet ending to a get-together without too much of the sweet!

Enjoy fairy dusting your world! =D

Friday, 8 March 2013

Mermaid 'Alagaesia'

Sometimes you feel inspired...and other times you feel dispassionate and are just existing, rather than living...

Sooooo the other week I was feeling more of the latter. Just pacing through the predictable motions of my day. Then, I started looking through images of artists whom I love and for some reason, unbeknown to me, this illustration by Sara Butcher was so beautiful and struck a creative chord that I stopped browsing then and there and got to work on the idea which revealed itself in my mind!

The result was Alagaesia, (a name I only devised for her this very morning, as I've been reading the 'Inheritance Cycle' by Christopher Paolini. If you enjoy fantasy novels, you should try these as the stories are as intricate and real as the world created by Tolkien).

Original dodgy sketch of the idea.
Final design in golden brown pencil.

Further polish final design with blue pencil.
The majority of the piece I finished that day, but the final touches and tweaks took me a few more days to complete as I never know when enough is enough! I hope that you like her, as I am really pleased with how it is different from my norm, with the use of blue pencil, the colour palette and filled background. But not so different as to remove the presence of my style :) What also makes me stoked is that I took a risk (of wasting watercolour paper) and drew the final design straight on the paper, as opposed to polishing it and then transferring it onto the good paper! Yay, progress!

What inspires you, and what does it inspire you to do?

Happy Fairy Dusting your life!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Alphabet Series - "L"

So Valentine’s Day has come and gone once again, and yet I’m still thinking about throwing a “sweet hearts” soiree, where everything is pink, red and white including the food, which is also cut into heart shapes where practicable =D

However, posting this illustration has to suffice for the time being to fulfil the ‘pink’ component. :) This piece used the same process as my other illustrations, but I particularly love how the hair turned out, and the fresh dance-like pose being captured. She is quite doll-esque, but it makes me smile to look at her :)

On a different note, the tertiary academic year is upon me, and I’m reluctant to let go of my current lifestyle, which is filled with exploring and enjoying all of my favourite cultural pursuits…I have appreciated it though, utilised it well, and achieved much, which is more than I can say of holidays past where the time flew past yet I had little to show for it!  

So as I go back to school, I'm conscious about how we all have to ensure that we stay balanced, and not neglect doing those things we love! So if you tend to lose track of the little things in life which bring you joy, schedule them into your diary, as you would any other appointment. As the most important appointment you can make, is the one where you give yourself time to you! :D

Happy Fairy Dusting Your Life! =D 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Alphabet Series - "K"

Valentine's day will soon be upon us, and whilst the societal focus of the day seems to have shifted towards dating-status, I have adopted a different approach. I use it as a reminder to take the time to let those who are integral in my life, know that I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to know them...Celebrating those who are special to me has re-ignited my art-making, as I loving giving to others, and bringing joy, and luckily my hobbies have the ability to bring joy to most people :)

This alphabet illustration is a lot more simple than the others I have been making, it was however the first one I had drafted back in July, before I dove into the project in November with more developed characters. Nevertheless, I still love it, as it is such cute character and the look is quite sweet and perfectly suited to the recipient, a most genuine and lovely young lady :)

There are many ways to give, with words and acts often being much more meaningful than other forms of gifts. So embrace the day as an opportunity to acknowledge the special people in your life...

Happy Giving :D