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A super-quick post that morphed into a really long one.........

Happy New Year everyone! I love a new year! Fresh and filled with so much potential! I always feel so excited and full of energy for the year to come! Not only that, I feel strangely compelled to use exclamation points excessively!!!!! Don't worry, this will settle down as the year continues on.

So,'s a couple of quick Moleskine journal drawings. 

What I love about drawing in my little Moleskine journals is that I just start off with a random shape (the circlet of flowers in the top drawing & I can't remember where in the second), then I just do whatever. Nothing is preconceived. They can end up as a disaster, or something great (usually somewhere in between), but the result really doesn't matter - it's just a way to relax and let it happen.

This has been about it on the drawing front over the last month or so. It's been so hot here that I haven't been doing much else than keeping the garden alive and surviving. My brain pretty much turns off at 30degC.

So, what else has been going on.........(you may find this long and boring).......

On the blog:

I sent out a survey to subscribers a few weeks ago and I want to thank everyone who took the time to complete it - you're all brilliant and so, so helpful in helping me with my planning for 2016 - I've got lots of fun ideas percolating that I really want to make happen this year. Soon I'll be posting responses to a few comments that came up consistently in the feedback, too. Thanks again!!!

You may notice that I've had a bit of a blog redesign? I've pared back to a more minimalist look and even updated my photo - this one's a little more recent, but I need to work on getting one from this year. I do like the lime green on the hat I'm wearing, though :)

I've also added a TERMS OF USE page tab up the top. I've tried to avoid this for ages, but as I get lots of questions about using my work in various applications I really needed something there. I hope this will clear up any grey areas and answer questions. Anything I haven't covered, or you don't understand, please do not hesitate to contact me as I'm sure there are ways it can be improved and I can only do so with your feedback.

Around the farm: 

As I mentioned this Summer has been hot, hot, hot. And, as you all know - I do not cope well in the heat as it means a constant battle to keep the gardens alive. Not only has it been super-hot - Summer started here for us about 2 months early - we had total fire bans and bushfires back in September........seriously.

The hot Spring/Summer has meant more than me being unable to fully function, we only put away about 1/3 of the hay that we usually produce and the paddocks are very, very dry. This has meant that the sheep have had to be reduced from 8 to 4 and we've had to drop the number of cows by 5. We managed to sell two adorable calves and a heifer to a neighbour so I am happy knowing that they are close by and I can see them when I drive past. Unfortunately this has meant that when the weather has been still, their mamas have been able to hear them calling to them. It's been a noisy couple of days, but everyone is settling down now and this is by far a better option than sending them to market. Fingers crossed that Autumn will be wet and warm and the grass will make a comeback so our girls and boys can put on lots of condition before Winter.

What else am I doing this year besides drawing and blogging?

This year is going to be pretty amazing for me as my youngest child turns 18 in a few weeks and is legally able to drive solo here in Australia - she is booked in for her driving test the morning of her birthday. We're both looking forward to the freedom - Erin because she can go where/when she wants. Me, because after 26.5 years I do not have a dependant child. I'm excited!

Besides lots of garden and farm related stuff going on, I'm studying again this year - I am doing both a second PDC (Permaculture Design Certificate), and taking eight tertiary units to fill some skills gaps in the first half of this year in order to commence a Diploma in Graphic Design in August.

Just for fun, I'm also about 25% through an online course that I want to complete over the next 3 weeks, and John and I will be teaching some permaculture related courses and hosting a couple of farm tours. I also want to try and squeeze in a blacksmithing course this year if I can.

It's going to be a busy, busy year. But, you know what? Life is short - you've got to cram it all in, you know?

I want to share a couple of photos of my bee garden with you. The first quarter of the garden was put in early Spring, then the greenhouse was added and the second quarter prepared and partially planted out. I still have the fernery, pond and grass/hydrangea area to complete, but it's pretty wonderful so far. I love, love it and so does Ollie, where else would he be but hiding behind the catmint? Bella loves sleeping in the seedling trays in the greenhouse :)

Compared with these photos (below) from mid-November - it's a big difference in just over two months.

If you made it through this post, I'm pretty sure that you deserve a medal or something :) I hope your Summer (or Winter) is fabulous, and I'll "see" you on the other side of the hot weather!



  1. Lovely to read your new blog - yes, I did read it all 😊 I am looking forward to following your adventures and learning and being inspired by your wonderful art work this year. Phew! Just reading all you have planned makes me feel tired! You go girl!

    1. Lynne - it makes me feel tired, too, but I love it! :)

  2. Great post; so newsy, and not at all boring. Thank you for sharing. Love the info about the weather, your garden/farm and the photos. Since we are half-a-world apart, it's interesting to know first-hand what's happening in your hemisphere. Stay busy and keep stretching yourself. And remember to keep us "in the loop"!

    1. I've been wishing I was somewhere cooler that's for sure, Ethyl :)

  3. Love your blogs. Your art is always wonderful, and I can't believe how you have time to do all that you've planned. Thanks for sharing your photos. Your gardens look amazing!!

    1. Thank you! I am so happy with how the garden has come together, Barbara :) My secret to fitting more stuff in is to not worry too much about the unimportant "jobs" like housework :) h

  4. Love the new journal drawings and I did make it through to the end of your blog post. Glad to see your post - was wondering what was happening on your side of the world. Hope a little wet weather finds you soon. Anxiously awaiting new posts and updates on all you are doing this year, and of course - MORE ART!!!!

  5. Well done, Sherri! I couldn't believe how long it got once I read back through it all :) We're meant to be heading towards some milder, wetter weather this week, thank goodness. The garden really needs it and so do the paddocks. More art is definitely the plan for this year :) h

  6. Oh Helen ~ yours is one of my favorite blogs! Not only because your lovely art ALWAYS makes me smile & sigh with appreciation & inspires me to keep practicing drawing graceful curvy lines, but also because I enjoy the news you choose to share about your life on the other side of the globe. It's so fun to imagine your summer farm when I spent my morning gazing out at the gentle snowfall in the Sierra Nevada mountains where I live! Thank you for the time you spend on posting what means the most to you. I ALWAYS enjoy it!

    1. Thank you, Jan! Where you live sounds so lovely and peaceful.......and cool. What a lovely thought right now in the middle of my summer :)

  7. bravo! quelle activité débordante !
    you are lucky to find time for all!childs farm and for us beautiful patterns! on you blog!!!!
    thanks you very much

    1. Thank you, Mariejo :) It's a joy to share.

  8. Hi Helen,
    I always get excited when you do a blog post :) I love looking at all the marvelous things you are doing on your farm; looking at the pictures of your lovely animals and plants. Gives me so much inspiration! Sad to hear that your hay season didn't do so well. I love the doodling in your moleskin journal. I would love to see you post a youtube video of you starting and finishing one of those - just for inspiration! Yes, it has been hot here (39 in Gawler, Adelaide today) and as we have evaporative cooling, it has been too hot to do anything but flake around and try to stay cool in the muggy air. Stay cool, and here's hoping for some wet weather soon so we can have some greenery and your animals can get more to eat! take care, Tracy

    1. Hi Tracy. Thank you! I will have to try and remember to video one of the doodle drawings - they are usually pretty fun and quick to do :) Lucky you with the evaporative cooling. We don't have any kind of aircon (by choice, but sometimes I wish). Just a big verandah, which works pretty well most of the time :) h

  9. Thanks for sharing your amazing art and your story. Your energy, aspirations and focus are refreshing, despite the heat & conditions you're experiencing! One of my favorite things with Zentangle is being able to make little connections with people all over the world. I'm fascinated to have made your acquaintance this way! Your story and your art are delightful! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Sandy! Isn't it great that we can get to know people from all over the world this way? To me the internet is still an amazing, awesome thing. I don't really get how it works, but I love that it does :) h

  10. Helen,
    I was so happy to see your post when I checked my email this morning! I poured a second cup of coffee so I could sit and savor it. As I look out my glass dining room door at the blustery snow piling high around us, and the bitter, biting cold, it's difficult to fathom extreme heat anywhere! So sorry to hear about your animals, but glad things are settling down.
    I love your journal entries. I agree with a previous comment, that it would be great to see you do one from start to finish. In your 'spare' time, of course.
    How exciting for you with all of your classes and upcoming events! You're right, do it now while you can.
    The pictures of your gardens are lovely. I love the one with your kitty! I grew up on a farm....a llloooooooong time ago, and your sharing and photos always bring me back to my childhood.
    Thanks again for sharing your gifts and your stories with us. Your posts are always a bright spot for many of us.
    God bless. Lynda

    1. Hi Lynda! Thank you :) Your snow scape sounds so serene and cool to me right now, but coming from an area that rarely sees any snow (if it does happen to snow, it melts before it hits the ground), I would probably just find it too cold. There's really no satisfying me. haha.

      It is going to be an exciting and busy year - I can't wait for it to truly get going in the next few weeks :)


  11. Thank you, Helen, for welcoming all of us into your life. Your blogs are priceless & I love the pictures of your farm & the animals. You are the busiest person! I don't know how you get it all done & still have time for art. You are living an amazing life, Helen. Enjoy every minute!

    1. Hi LindyLu! Thank you! My secret is that I don't get too stressed about non-essesntial housework. I'd rather be out in the garden, or drawing, for sure :) h

  12. I enjoyed your 'long' post and sharing your life with us. Amazing how fast the kids grow-up, I remember the days when my freedom came - I loved it and now it's bittersweet...
    Your gardens are gorgeous, we have snow and cold here in northwest Indiana, USA, I am dreaming of my gardens waking in about 3 months. I love your Ollie, he looks like my Taya - she's been gone for 15 years. Now, Gabby, claims my catmint...Here's to more pleasant weather and looking forward to what is in store here in 2016...Thanks again and Happy New Year.I love a new year too! And I never stop using those exclamation marks! ;) ....

    1. Thank you! It is amazing how fast the time goes and the kids are grown. Mine range from 26 - 18 now and it just feels like a few short years ago and they were all babies. A wonderful time, for sure, but that said I am really looking forward to it just being me and my husband and not having to worry about anyone else schedules but our own :) Ollie is a beautiful boy - such a charmer :) I have quite a lot of catmint in my new garden and it has surprised me that the cats aren't overly interested in it, really. I had expected to find them lying on it all the time. Perhaps next year when these garden beds are more established and they have a bit more cover to hide out in. Here's to our new year!!! h

  13. I love your tiles. They are all so energetic and playful. Just inspiring.
    Greetings Tina

  14. I always enjoy and admire your blog with the amazing pretty designs.
    Best wishes for this new year. Let it be a creative year!
    Here in the Netherlands it's often rainy, but not cold. 6 or 8 degrees Celcius. I like summer, but we have to wait about 3 months.

  15. Hi Helen,
    This is my first comment here even though I've been following you for a while. I love what you are doing with the Permaculture. I don't know much about it but now I've got to learn more. Uh oh. What did I get myself into. LOL But I do enjoy your blogs and hearing about your gardens and animals, and of course your drawing.

    I live in Sonoma County in Northern California. We've actually had quite a bit of rain this month. Thank goodness. And it's getting into the mid 30's at night this week. (Temperature in Fahrenheit - don't ask me to convert that to Celsius though - Ha ha!) I'm afraid that some of my plants didn't make it through this last summer though. But the bulbs are coming up now and I expect to see daffodils soon. I love looking at your garden pictures. Gives me so many ideas.

    And I absolutely love your art work. Zentangle entered my life about 3 1/2 years ago. Once I found your website I've been working on being more minimalist instead of trying to fill in every little space. Thank you for all you share with us.

    One last little thing - My Mom's name is Helen also. And with my Dad's name being Mel, they combined their names to come up with my name - Melena. So it's a special name for me.

    Well, that got a bit long. I understand how easy it is to do that. Have a great year! There is hope for rain if we're getting it now.


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