Month: August 2018

A Garden Room Gift

Ever wanted you own little shed with a difference? It’s not my she shed. It’s called Garden Room, skilfully designed and made by my husband Bill. A wedding gift and project.

Every day I see something that Bill has made with love. From the heavy pavers that we both carried down the steps from the carport onto the site. Three by three metres, out near the side of the laundry – a cosy spot for potting plants, gathering blooms, cutting, snipping, watering etc.


Bill orders the cypress pine timber, thousands of screws for the job, the roofing and all the bits he needs to build with. We already have a potting bench so the framework will be opening onto this. We enjoy a trip to the demolition yards at Yandina to source second hand doors and windows. Scrounging around in the big yard is an interesting experience  Рso much gets delivered and dumped.



I assist with the paint work but Bill has done the bulk using black as the colour to add appeal and the sort of country style shed with a high pitched gable roof – a bit “barnish.”

Bill prefers to work by himself as he knows where everything is placed, or should be placed; he likes the freedom of working his own pace. Mastering things solo means working out clever tricks for balancing on the roof, ladder, trusses, stepping in exactly the right centimetres and moving across the right position.

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When the walls go up, the site starts to look like a shed. Working independently and with plenty of coffees, hot brekky stops in the cold mornings, means I can browse some Pinterest sites, blogs and think about the interior. I have already some vintage buckets, Bunnings essentials, a K Mart prop or two, vases, bottles and essential gardening gloves, hat etc.

Can you spot the hard worker up high? He is listening to bird calls.
Planing the rosewood timber for shelving I vacuum the shed for the fine red dust.

I think the pride comes when Bill sees what he has made with his own strong hands. It’s really a beautiful thing to share and allows him to feel connected with timber, tools and his time. There’s a sense of purpose that is so satisfying when one makes something.

July hits with rain. He takes a good break. Bill takes his thoughts to paper and comes up with a skillion roof side to protect from rain.




WOW! Impressive hey! and my new colour scheme is Mexican chilli. Bold and vibrant.

Two coats of wash and wear Taubmans paint one cold morning

So, after 4-5 months, the wedding gift has emerged. Stronger and more beautiful than ever. A pavilion perhaps, a sleep out for Bill (NO) a room for plants and possums and hanging baskets. A place to appreciate the human touch of craftsmanship.

Thanks darling Bill.

I will share the more finished look closer to Spring when the light filters through the windows, and the scent of jasmine or lavender drifts in.


Maya and Cat



It is very clear to me that children’s writer and illustrator Caroline Magerl loves her art and stories. Her latest travelling exhibition Maya and Cat is showcased at the Nuvo art gallery in Buderim and I was the lucky one to have met the artist. German born, Caroline’s father sailed a yacht and played music, her mother loved fashion and the seven year old girl found herself sailing off into the horizon. This haphazard lifestyle meant she had time for drawing and reading, although she did move school 9 times. Imagine gazing out from 2 portholes in a cabin watching the world go by. Imagine being the new girl at so many schools! That was hard.

Adventure ran deep in her veins and it was to be a humble start with scrubbing pots, sailing, some freelance illustration and working as a cartoonist for the Bulletin. Patience and hard work paid off for Caroline when she won the Crichton Award in 2001 for Grandma’s Shoes illustrated by Libby Hathorn. How exciting for her. But ideas take time.

Some ideas take 10 years to simmer and grow. As she says, ” every book will take its own route.”

“I am in a 2 legged sack – write and draw.” Her influences extend from Germany to Russian and East German styles of art, John Birmingham and UK Quentin Blake.

Caroline Magerl



Have you lost a cat?

Interviewed by Jo Chandler, she is asked about what she hopes children will learn from her books. “I want connection and engagement with the story – emotion. For kids to feel.”

She remember feeling those quiet days with her nose deep in a book reading all day.

Caroline cares about her words although she wasn’t first a writer. You need to care about the characters, ask questions about my characters. Her illustrations are playful, messy, loosely evocative and fun. In Maya and Cat and Hasel and Rose¬†windows and animals feature along with the sea, boats, bicycles – finding the lost, searching. Maya and Cat is about friendship and resilience. Rose and the Wish Thing is about the power of imagination. In the Naming of Tishkin Silk by Glenda Millard, Carolie’s tender black and white drawings enhance the text.

as Fritz and Irma, beaming and calling, threw their arms into the air
Margaret Gibbs and Caroline Magerl

From an upbeat childhood to international artist and children’s book author, Caroline is both gentle and comforting to talk to and knowledgable about her craft. Her favourite double page spread of Maya and Cat is the one with the rooftops. A bit of Mary Poppins.

She has carefully placed the cat and Maya and the distance between them.

Now to her process. Everyone loves to get inside an artist’s mind. For her the design of the place comes first. Perspective and characters with setting. Following on are the black and white drawings with a focal point to look at. Then the colours. Practise being spontaneous. Finally, the wash first and the ink.

If you look closely at her art work, you will notice dashes, lines, little squiggles, slabs of colour, scratchy trees and pathways, lush green and blue foliage, citrus lemon hills, pink teacakes shaped like starfish.

Jo Chandler interview


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I love the words that Caroline used from Einstein – Hold onto your tiny ideas.

From these ideas stories grow and grow.

draft and dabbling

Why not visit The Books of Buderim store and say hello to Fiona who will be delighted to sell you a copy of Caroline’s books. Snuggle under the warm doona and read this magical story to any child – more suitable for 3 + years.