Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why Flossy-P is frickin' awesome...

My whole life, every time I hear the postman's bike outside the front of my house I feel a thrill of excitement. Kind of like the thrill you get when you see someone you have a massive crush on but haven't kissed yet. Still, at twenty nine years of age, I love the mail.

So, this came from the lovely Flossy-P yesterday, sorry it's scanned rather than a nice photo, I blame... um... my dying phone, again, really have to do something about it. I entered a comp on Flossy-P's blog and for the first time in my blog reading career, I won, winnah!

The little cards that you can see are actually part of a lovely altruistic neighbourhood thang that she's invented. Basically you wander your neighbourhood and place cards anonymously in letter boxes to tell people that you like their gardens. Flossy-P explains the concept far better on her blog than I ever could, so please go there to read all about these gorgeous little cards:


I'm waiting for a weekend where my family is all in the one city so that we can wander around our neighbourhood and give them out, even though I feel like keeping the pretty little things for myself (Bad Em!) that kind of defeats the purpose of the cards.

So thankyou Flossy-P, I loved your mail so much :) Big Hugs.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go find a book worthy of the bookmark.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Paint Your Own Dragonfly

Gawd I love finding new ways to utilise the ridiculous amount of art and craft material that I have hoarded like a jealous dragon guarding it's pile of gold.

For example, I made up a few "Paint Your Own" kits to sell at the markets. They were quite popular and easy to make, so I thought I would put them on my Etsy store. After all, it is school holidays... pester power YAY!


Usually I don't bother, but....

When my favourite snack becomes untasty, something has to be done.

Paper Doll Kit - Voodoo Susan is a mermaid

So, the centrefold in my first volume of "Creatures and Dreams" is a paper doll version of the character Voodoo Susan. One of my lovely Sunday market friends suggested that I colour in one of these myself (did so with watercolours) and put it on my stall for sale.

After asking a few of my regulars, including Darcy, if I should try this, the answer was a definitive 'yes'. Thought I had better give it a go then.
I've been having a lovely afternoon, mucking around with the different outfits and my scanner.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Ooooh seriously, I love warm weather so much. Actually... that's not quite true, I love swimming when the weather is warm, not really the weather itself. I'm an exzema kid. Hot weather makes me itch.

Hehe thanks for sharing that Em, I'm sure you're thinking, but hey... I'm just a sharing, caring, kind of a girl :P

Yesterday afternoon the boy and I went down to Sydney for my sister's "Flying the Coop" housewarming. I took down a whole lot of ingredients for pizza, then spent the afternoon swigging champagne with Lychees in (Cas's idea, I am a total convert) and chopping up ingredients. I love cooking. Seriously. The more complicated and time consuming a recipe the more I love it. Food just seems to taste better when you spend forever messing with it :P

Anyway, so I made the ingredients, we lined them up along the bench and turned on the oven, made a couple to get them started, then we pointed hungry friends to the kitchen while we made inroads with the punch. Tasty. Ten and I left around eleven, I think, and drove all the way back up the highway to home because I had markets today. My boyfriend rocks, seriously, I'm pretty sure that I made very little sense rambling on in my warm fuzzy drunkeness, but he didn't mind at all that I sang my own lyrics over the top of his songs hehe. So yeah, we got home, after a stop off at Rich's to see his shiny new motorbike (ohhhh sooo sexy), watched somethingorother on the laptop because I was too excitable to sleep yet.

So... I woke up this morning, completely disorganised, possibly still drunk, yet still managed to pack my stuff and haul my sorry arse to the markets. Luckily Jen was there to commiserate with my sorry self and tell me stories, so I made it through.

Actually, I did more than make it through, I had an utterly awesome day. It's wierd, the heat was kind of intense, the wind was crazy, stalls were falling down, stuff was being blown off tables, but it was still, as it always is, quite lovely to be there.

Best of all though, my favourite ever customer Darcy, who is almost 4, came by to say hello with his mum. He's really shy, has only ever said hello to me before hiding behind his mum and pointing at things he likes, but today he said hello and answered questions and said goodbye.... aw man, he is the cutest kid. Reminds me of how Cas used to be around strangers.

We packed up early because the wind became ridiculous, so I came home and tried to clean the dust off things, then thought.... Eff this, why am I working when I could be swimming? So I went to the ocean baths.

The Ocean Baths ROCK. The water was cold, deliciously slitheringly cold, and there were people absolutely everywhere except in the water... only about ten people swimming. So I did a few laps, then swam to the end that looks over the sea, crossed my arms and just watched for about half an hour.


Friday, September 26, 2008

The Orange Widget's Big Day Out

Widget the Brave: Orange Sherbet

This is the youngest of the Widget clan, Sherbet Orange is its name.

Likes hanging out on the beach, soaking up warmth from the sand and warning others to swim between the flags.

On guard at the Merewether Ocean Baths.

Mini-widget badge on my lapel watches on, while Sherbert Orange pretties itself.

To laze about in scrambled eggs.
(Please note, "scrambled eggs" is not the botanical name for this bush/plant/thing, but that's what we call it in Oz).

Behind the scenes at the shoot: Ten encouraged Orange Sherbet to work the angles.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Angels and cranes

This is the most recent of my paintings, still trying to figure out what to call it. Originally, the angel was a design for my book "Creatures and Dreams". I drew an angel and a devil and tried to portray them as I see them in my head. Devils are cute and endearing, angels are slightly creepy and alienesque. Is that a word? Is now :P

I've actually been finding it really difficult to photograph the paintings because of the mediums used. I'm a big fan of this stuff called "Interference" which adds a golden (or whatever) sheen when painted over/with acrylics. It bends the light off the paintings in all kinds of interesting ways. You can see it on these photos slightly better because I spent a day mucking around out in my courtyard, taking shots from every angle, wishing I knew how to use a proper camera.... still, camera phones are pretty good...

The pink/orange surface that the angel stands on is a combination of texture mediums (glass beads and general build-up kind of stuff). I went over the top of this with a wash, first pink, then orange, and then finished it off with iridescent shiny shiny.

The cranes in this painting are made from several types of paper. I trawl magazines for different colours, pester my friends for the foil from the cigarette packets, and hack up junk mail. Particularly fond of the dusky gold that the larger ones are made from (thankyou Benson and Hedges) wondering if it would be possible to get my hands on raw product, foil before it has been used in a packet. Probably not hehe

Dodgy art

Woah, apparently the Lempriere award has been cancelled due to the entries in said award being crap. Or something like that :P

Rather than try to explain this myself, when I would rather be snuggled up on my couch with a huge block of chocolate (some days I hate being a girl), I'll point you to an article about said cancellation:


Yay for Charles Darwin!

"The statement will read: Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practise the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends."

The Church of England! Makes me proud to be an Easter Anglican, so good to hear a Church making a positive statement, and about evolution no less!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

On clouds.

I'm not exactly sure where I first started painting, but it's something I have only done very sporadically, and it's only the last four months or so that I have been going about things seriously. It's become a bit of an obsession.

I can tell you exactly where I learned to paint clouds though. My mother taught me.

My favourite book when I was small was "There's a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake ". When I was five my mum and I painted the cardboard box that had previously housed our shiny new fridge with images from this beloved tome. Even though I was reading it to her at that stage LOL

Mum drew a scene from the book on each side of the box, and I helped colour/paint in. The clouds in the sky we painted using the cotton ball method. You just take a cotton ball, dip it into white paint, then splodge it on to make the clouds. Then, when the white paint is dry, add silver highlights, but don't go overboard.

The picture above is a much more recent example :P It doesn't have the highlights though, because I was out of silver that day.

So it seems I am not the only person still obsessed with sending letters....

I found this website today (thanks to my lovely new zine friends at Ming) called Send Something.

Basically you upload a profile about yourself, talk about why you love getting mail and what types of things you like to receive in said mail, then you send letters and other people send you letters... YAY!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

This is Cassandra

Cassandra is my sister. These days she is an Architect working for Sydney's Nettleton Tribe. She rocks.

When Cas was little she had these amazing golden curls. I'm completely biased, of course, but still, so so cute. Cas is my partner in crime, the one person who I know will always get my jokes and she's always lovely :)

I loved painting this. It's one of the rare times that i have managed to adhere to my vow to keep things simple, become more stylised and disciplined. Also experimented by mixing Kleister medium into pearly inks to keep the painting wetter for longer. The gold broadstrokes underneath and above the sun are my favourite parts of the painting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Singing in the rain

Work in progress, haven't decided who I want to put on it yet.

Yesterday I took about a hundred photos of my paintings (any excuse to get out in that gorgeous spring sunshine) so that I can put a couple on Etsy. Am off to the post office to see how much it costs to send things like these to such far flung places as London, Alexandria, Las Vegas etc.

Wondering if it would seen wanky to take one down with me, but I think I will have to because the origami component of the paintings makes them harder to mail. Done it before, and it worked beautifully, but yeah, difficult to explain to people exactly what I need... that and the fact that last time the painting sold while on consignment, so I have no idea how it all works.

Deep breath, off I go ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hide and seek

I had these big grand ambitions of posting here every time I put something in the Etsy shop, but as much as I love my creatures, I get a bit sick at looking at photographic representations of them, so I've decided to play Hide and Seek instead. Look at the above photo... can you see the creature?

Widget the Brave hangs out on a brooch

This tiny little furry Widget is a creature of courage. He is daring, dauntless, heroic, valiant, resilient, and most of all he is brave.

Widget is the toy you want around when things go wrong, when you need someone to rely on, when you need a friend to keep you safe. Nothing scares or worries Widget the Brave.

That is why this particular Widget has decided to hang about on a brooch, so he can stay close to you at all times, on your clothes, bag, or guitar strap.

He is completely hand-made, from an idea in my sketchbook for an intrepid alienesque adventure creature.

Widget the Brave stands 4cm tall and is roughly 5cm wide. That's not very wide is it?As he is on a badge he is only recommended for those over 6 years of age.

* All designs in the Emerald Arts shop are the intellectual property of Emma Stronach.

He's in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15247307

Saturday, September 13, 2008

OMG 100th post, frickin' sweeeeet!

Sometimes, when I am done at the markets on a Sunday, I squish a lime in my mortar and pestle and have vodkalimeandsoda.

It's lovely.

Today was lovely too, especially because working from home as I do, it's easy to get stuck in my own head... danger is, that sort of thing leads to very productive but a little bit bored Em. So it's nice to get out there and talk to people, see my favourite customers and market friends. And then I come home with the Sunday papers and a hell of a lot of really tasty produce. Nice way to spend a working day ;)

Below are some photos of things that I made while I was there today:

Prototype Sad Panda Not the final shape, just so you know, because I realise it looks more like a bear, but I found this little unfinished body while I was marketering today, so worked with what I had ;)

Altered the design of Widget the Brave so that his eyes were smaller and his ears were bigger. The mouth definitely didn't work though, going to have to redo that. The cactus silk I've used here is not as thick as embroidery cotton, but it's really beautiful so I have to figure out a way too make it work ;)

Hopefully vintage silver fabric doesn't scar... which reminds me, I want to try out that self-healing fabric... sounds really cool.

Very very small widget badge. Have to picture this in your mind, but the purple board will have a line drawing background printed on it, nothing too busy, just something more than blah blah purple card stock. Maybe a Widget Bio too...

Prototype packaging for new badges/brooches I'm working on.Can't decide on whether it should be badges or brooches. Boys don't wear brooches do they? Is that even how you spell it?? Auuugghhhh :P

Friday, September 12, 2008

New logo

After attending a whole lot of free seminars for Small Business September (some useful... some not so useful ;) I have taken the advice of one of the lecturers and set about updating the logo for my business Emerald Arts.

Before, I had a green goldfish, not for any reason in particular, just because I like fish. I've realised (or been told) that while nice, it doesn't really reflect what I do, or what Emerald Arts is all about. So I drew a snail with an E on it's shell. Still got some work to do, but I kinda like it...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I <3 mail ;)

When I made my first sale on Etsy last week (thanks to the lovely Skye) I rewarded muself with a postcard from the gorgeous BelleandBoo.

So this came in the mail today. What packaging! The other letter is from my sister, containing the crane invitation for her housewarming/flying the coop party. Can't go though as it is in Sydney and i have the markets to go to, pants! Still, the invitations look hot 0_o!

Rockin' out

Compiled for myself a little rock playlist to get me motivated. Markets on Sunday, terribly unprepared, poor little neglected Etsy shop needs work, so here it is, Em's Thursday Rock List.

(Please note: the Rock List may or may not contain some songs that you, dear reader, do not think of as Rock. But be assured that I do).

Cream - Crossroads

Rick Derringer- Rock and Roll- Hoochie Koo

Franz Ferdinand- Take Me Out

Incubus- Stellar

Queen- Bohemian Rhapsody (dur)

Queens of the Stoneage- No One Knows

White Zombie- Thunderkiss '65

Jane's Addiction- Stop

Andrew W.K.- She is Beautiful

Billy Joel - It's Still Rock and Roll to Me.

Bush- Comedown

Chris Cornell- When I'm down

Coyote Shivers - Sugarhigh

Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock

Eskimo Joe - Black Fingernails, Red Wine

Fall Out Boy - Champagne for My Real Friends, Real Pain for my Sham Friends

Muse- Starlight

N*E*R*D - Rock Star Poser

Pearl Jam - Evenflow

Radiohead - Creep

National Pornographic - Girls

Soundgarden - She Likes Surprises

Spank Rock - Chilly Will

Sugar Ray - Abracadabra

Tenacious D - Tribute

The Bloodhound Gang - The Bad Touch

Machines of Loving Grace - Golgotha Tenement Blues

Pantera - The Badge

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Snakedriver

The Cruel Sea - Better Get a Lawyer

Rock on \m/ 0_0 \m/

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Father's day flower show

After lunch at a cafe called The Source we moseyed on over to the flower show at the Cathedral

The side chapel where the unknown soldier sleeps had a maypole under one of the... um.... hundreds of stailned glass windows. Reminded mum of growing up in Bathurst. I thought that growing up in the country was all hard work and no play, was totally wrong ;)

The view towards the rose window

Ther series of squares in the top of this photo support (aesthetically anyway) the Cathedral Tower above them. I wonder if my old dog Toby is still the only pet to be allowed in the Christchurch Cathedral?

I think that the flowers for this exhibition were arranged according to the principals of Ikebana

U want this bird, don't you ;)

So it came as no surprise that the florist Peter Heard was a major player in the show.

Sorry for the quality of this photo, my poor little phone is on it's last legs after being dropped so many times

Goodbye my lovely church, thankyou for another year of gorgeous flowers

Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Etsy

Etsy is a fabulous website, and I'm enjoying the experience very much, but I had to laugh when I was reading the advice for new sellers yesterday...

it said that it is a good idea to post an item a day, that way lots of people see your stuff, or something like that.

The thing is, it takes me so long to post an individual item, that's probably about my hit rate anyway.

I like stories and I get easily distracted. You probably would too if you lived in my house :P

Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks

My dog is an 11 year old chocolate brown Labrador called Eddie.

Well, technically her name is Edina, after Edina from Absolutely Fabulous (or Ab Fab), but we always call her Eddie. Only Edina when she is in trouble.

Then it's Edina Monsoon Stronach.

She, the boyfriend and I were up at the top of King Edward park where there is an old lookout and gun battery, and by gun I mean whopping great canon.

It's a really cool place to explore, and there is a doggy park right next to it so Her Majesty is happy ;)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Shop Update: Rupert the Dancing Bear

Rupert is a bear who loves to dance.

He likes salsa, crumping, classical ballet and modern, but his favourite style by far is disco.

Rupert is made from vintage silver fabric found in a treasure box. He is entiredly hand sewn and comes from an original design in my sketch book.

Rupert the Dancing Bear stands approx 11 cm tall and 9cm wide (that's roughly 4 inches tall and 3 1/2 wide).


Shop Update- Bob the Accountant

Some people think that Accountants are really boring people, but those people are wrong.

Bob loves excitement, extreme sports and rally driving around his farm on a Sunday afternoon.

Just because he is good with numbers, doesn't mean he's not a helluva lot of fun ;)

Bob stands approx 11cm tall and 7cm wide (that's 4 1/2 inches tall and 3 inches wide).

All Emerald Arts creatures are copyrighted to and the intellectual property of Emma Stronach.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

shop update

Road-Kill Bunny listed here:


Widget the Brave listed on Etsy here :


Poor old Broken-Hearted Pete

Pete is a gentle music loving creature. Loves kittens, music and long walks along the river bank at sunset.

Pete is entirely hand-made. He is an original Emerald Arts creation born in my sketchbook and would love to go to a good family.

So take Pete home and see if you can turn that frown upside down. Maybe you can make him happier than Kate Moss did.

For sale on Etsy: