Welcome to my blog. I work full time and creating is my sanity. I like to use many different mediums and was a finalist in the Fire Mountain Beading Contest in 2008. I am a passionate blogger, and a promoter of handmade goodness.

I love : my husband, my fur kids, family, music, sunshine, creating, chocolate, handmade soaps, the DUST Team, gardening, friends, Triple J Radio and photography. Comments welcome, I hope you enjoy the adventure with me.

Please respect my copyright and that the original ©photographs and ©text published on this blog remain the property of ©Maddabling (Samara). Please do not reproduce, crop or alter my original photographs.

made with love.........................maddabling xox

proud member of the down under street team

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Friends - West Australian Makers - Fox Hill Llamas

Hello Maddabling Readers, welcome to a new edition of Friday Friends! Have you had a good week? What have you been creating? I am super excited to introduce you to all a new Friday Friend and West Australian Maker; meet the lovely Nichelle of Fox Hill Llamas
I don't think I have ever featured a maker that has such a diverse range of products as Nichelle creates. I just LOVE her work. The first thing that caught my eye was this Native Bird Nester in the shape of a Wire Bird. These help to invite native birds into your garden around nesting time, and give them natural warm and water repellent fibres to build their nests with. So cool! I think this would make a fantastic addition to our developing native garden :) 
Then I saw this. For the crafty people in your life, these Make Your Own Cards and Bookmarks with Handmade Recycled Paper packs would make a perfect gift - or maybe you could keep them for yourself. 
Lastly, I spotted this pretty lady while browsing the Fox Hill Llamas Etsy store. For a totally different gift, why not take home a Little Llama Decorated with Tassels, they are  just like the Llamas of Fox Hill!
Dear readers, I invite you now to read all about The Fibre of Fox Hill Llamas.  Maddabling wishes you a wonderful weekend, whatever you are doing xo♥ The Weekend blog post will be returning this week - look out for a new recipe!
The Fibre of Fox Hill Llamas
Who is Fox Hill Llamas? Fox Hill Llamas consists of myself (Nichelle), my husband Trev, three daughters and of course a magnificent herd of llamas! I am the cause of creative chaos at our place, the maker of our fibre products and handmade papers. 
Fox Hill is quietly hidden away in picturesque Marradong Country in the South West of Western Australia. Our property is a rough and tumble granite hill and the perfect addition to this property was llamas, with their gentle tread and love of heights. While we have been always been delighted at their quiet curiosity and playful nature, we saw so much more in these enchanting animals. 
Having loved these animals since I was a child and wishing to find a truly sustainable reason to farm them gave me a great incentive to look beyond their value as a companion. In our first years of sharing our lives with llamas, we would store our shorn fibre, considering the ways in which it could be really admired and utilised. I wanted the natural beauty of llama to be displayed for many to see, so I began to look for inspiration and knowledge on how to turn my ideas into a reality. Using the internet as my guide and the ideas in my mind I began our adventure!
What inspires me? I am inspired by the beauty of our location and our gentle animals. I hope that the handmade items that I create enable this to be shared with others. I believe everything has worth, when something is deemed 'worthless' it is just waiting for someone to think of a way to add value to it :) I wish for my children to see that an idea can become a reality. That anything is possible if you commit and are willing to work to achieve it. Our Etsy store opened at the start of this year. 
What mediums do I work with, what are my favourites? 
Llama Fibre and recycled paper.  I sway between both in regards to favourites. Fibre processing and felting is hard work and can be a challenge. I find paper making is very calming and relaxing, so it depends on how I am feeling as to which one I prefer on any day!
What kind of things do I make? Decorator items from llama fibre, vessels, area rugs, native bird nesters, handmade paper, llama poo paper.
My favourite techniques? Fibre art - wet felting would be my favourite technique.
Paper making - the hand dip method .. hands down!
Creating items with fibre from the animals we have raised is a fun, challenging and dusty process! These products are truly home grown and handmade from start to finish. We even shear our own llamas. Every one of our animals has an uniquely individual fibre.. as micron, fibre length and guard hair all vary. (Some of the llamas in our herd had never been shorn until they came to us.) This individuality makes me aspire to ensure that all our llama fibre pieces also have individuality, with most pieces being 'one of a kind'. As no two llamas can ever be same, neither should their fibre creations be the same! 
Colours depend on the natural colours of our animals. Using the llamas and our beautiful location as inspiration and the many materials for my creations has been very rewarding process. In the last year, I'm happy to say that we've built a product range that includes all of the fibre our animals produce with nothing going to waste. We even include our llama fibre and manure in our handmade paper range.  Shearing, fibre tumbling, picking, carding and creating mostly takes place outside with our llamas looking on. The young animals are often a distraction, but I'd very much miss their playful interruptions.
Handmade Recycled Paper... Paper-making has been a part of my life since I was a child. My mother has had many a laundry sink overflow as a result of my paper-making endeavours blocking her drains! I love to use recycled paper and botanicals sourced from our property in my paper.  Much of the paper is custom ordered for weddings and made to suit the occasion. We source shredded office paper to make all our recycled paper products.
As I am always looking for something new and interesting to do, our Llama Poo Paper is the result of merging my love of paper-making and our llama products. We have a lot of fun with the concept and making of our llama poo paper and it has been funny watching some reactions to this item. The manure is sanitised before it is used in the  paper-making process and then the paper is sun and/or air dried. I love the uniqueness of every piece of paper and the variance of all handmade items.

My favourite piece? That is a difficult question! I love the concept behind our bird nesters. While not an overly creative item, I love that this is a traditional waste product that is reinvented. These are made from picked llama fibre that is left over from our processing and shearing. To see how excited someone is when they see a bird collecting fibre from a nester is rewarding. Providing a way to connect someone with their environment and the animals we share it with is valuable to me. The story of our Llama Fibre Bird Nesters is here: http://foxhillllamas.wix.com/foxhill#!lifestyle/c14ak
What are my future plans and dreams? I am on a  mission to share the beauty of llama fibre with as many people as possible :) I would love to be able to provide work to our community in the future. To share the art of recycling paper with local children.
We were featured in the Temple and Webster 'Raw and Natural' Handmade Markets earlier this month. There will be new vessels and llama fibre rugs in our store soon. I am also working on an collection of rugs and soft furnishings made from local alpaca fibre.

Dear readers, do you want to see more? Here is how you can connect: 
Buy lovely things on Etsy here: 


Become a facebook follower here: 


Visit the Fox Hill Llamas website here: 


and follow sweet tweets on Twitter here: 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wise Owl - Wednesday Wishes

Wednesday Wishes today is inspired by the Wise Owl........enjoy xo♥
Paperdermy Mini Owl from EllaClawley
Green kawaii owl - felt toy - owl stuffed toy - plushie from WishsongCreations
Nested Grass Owl - ECO Limited Edition Archival Fine Art Print from ReneesArtwork
Owl Candle - 'Hooter' from Skandals
Ceramic Owl with Wooden Frame Brooch from lovelysparrowandco

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Friends - DUSTy Divas - Conversations in Clay

Hello dear readers, it is Friday once again. Have you had a busy week? What exciting plans do you have for the coming weekend? I am looking forward to catching up with a dear friend who will be visiting my town :)

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce to you all a new Friday Friend, DUSTy Diva and Australian Maker - meet Keryn of Conversations in Clay. 
Keryn makes the most beautiful jewellery from Polymer Clay. And I mean strikingly beautiful. Let me share some of my favourite pieces with you now. Firstly, the Shield Pendant Mokume Gane Technique in Copper and Teal. Oh my! What a gorgeous statement piece. 
Next on my list are these cool minty Green Wiggles Polymer Clay Stacking Bangle Set. They remind me of the colours in the shallow waters of our white sandy beaches during the summer months. 

Lastly this stunning Large Leaf Pastel Batik Polymer Clay Brooch.  Isn't it just divine?
Dear readers, I invite you now to pop your feet up, perhaps indulge in a cup of tea and a biscuit and read The Conversations in Clay Chronicle. Have a fantastic weekend everyone xo♥

The Conversations in Clay Chronicle.

"Conversations in Clay" is me....chatting to myself as I experiment with yet another clay technique ... excitedly yabbering on to my husband about my latest project (and sometimes muttering about a failed one - sorry, learning opportunity) .... debriefing with my long term friend over our weekly cuppa ... And more recently, joyfully swapping tips and clay experiences with fellow clayers on a Facebook polymer clay forum. Since the teenage years I have rarely been without a craft to busy my hands - sewing, crochet, embroidery, all dabbled in as a novice - it is a joy to create. 
My jewellery-making started out with woven seed bead items a few years ago and in purchasing beads from Heather Richmond at "Over the Rainbow" noticed her sway towards polymer clay. With a little guidance about my first purchases from Heather I have gone on to learn from the many tutorials available online (isn't technology wonderful!).  I have been lucky enough to do workshops with Melanie Muir and Tory Hughes when they came to Australia and enjoyed meeting them along with other clayers. I usually work in isolation.
"Conversations in Clay" is a bit of a mouthful, but I think it serves to form a link between 2 major aspects of my life - polymer clay +; speech pathology.  It also describes the way in which I hope to communicate different messages and moods with my work.  Polymer clay, with its boundless versatility is a soothing haven to me after a full-time week of nutting out speech/language/literacy solutions for children in bustling schools.  It provides such satisfying play with colour, form and texture. 
I love to cane, extrude and emboss.  I am equally drawn to the free form organic as I am to the clean lines of geometric patterns.  As well as creating jewellery I have decorated vessels and plan to take my work in this direction as I hone my skills. 
As I work my way through each day I find my eye is drawn to all sorts of images that stir my creative juices, and always find myself asking..."How would I achieve that look in polymer clay?"  I love to browse places like Pinterest, Flickr and dedicated websites to keep abreast with what clayers all over the world are doing and it is wonderful to see polymer clay making its way into the world of art in its own right. I am inspired by so many peoples' work, and their influence is seen in my pieces.  What I am really working towards is creating a look of my own - so back to the studio!
The next few images below shows some more of some of my work... and I will share a little something about each one.
This is one of my earlier pieces - a collection of eclectic beads in the same colour way that was created with canes and Skinner blends. 
These are Stacking "Wiggle Bangles" that have been decorated with extruded canes.
Here are a series of earrings that were crafted following Melanie Muir's techniques for mokume gane, framing and backing of beads. 
This piece is a bangle of firm polymer clay structure and covered with a caned veneer.
Earrings in Faux bone and Jade, inspired by Lynda Moseley's caning techniques.
These BIG beads have been caned using  Sarah Shriver 's caning techniques.

Dear readers, would you like to see more? Here is how you can connect. 

Buy lovely things on Etsy here: 

and become a follower on Facebook here: 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Snail Orchids, Delicately Fragile and Chocolate Beetroot Loaf Cake

Hello lovely Maddabling readers, I hope this weekend blog post finds you happy and well. It has been another gorgeous sunny Winters day today. Tonight I share with you Snail Orchids, Delicately Fragile and Chocolate Beetroot Loaf . Happy Reading xo♥
Snail Orchids
Quite by accident, I spotted my first Snail Orchids today on a coastal walk. They are the second type of orchid I have seen so far this orchid season. I have never seen these ones up close and they are amazingly tiny yet detailed. 
They are so small that I nearly missed them, they only grow to around 20cm in height. I just happened to look down at precisely the right time.  It's very easy to see where snail orchids got their name from don't you think?
Delicately Fragile
I was fascinated by this delicately fragile leaf that was in our yard, skeletal in appearance, all of the leafy green was gone. It was feather light yet such an intricate structure still remained. 
I love these snaps in black and white, they make it all the more striking. Nature is quite surreal at times, this will be a good leaf-y reference point if I am taken by the urge to sketch again...
Chocolate Beetroot Loaf Cake
I saw this recipe in STM last weekend and have been very keen to try it, not having had success with Beetroot Cakes in the past. This recipe was excellent and made two smaller loaf cakes that are dense and very moist. I made a few substitutions that I will list in the recipe.  
Chocolate Beetroot Loaf Cake
1 1/4 cups self raising flour, sifted (I used 1 1/4 Cup unsifted Wholemeal Self Raising flour) 
1/4 Cup Dutch Cocoa, sifted (I used 1/4 cup of Raw Cacao, unsifted) 
1 Cup Caster Sugar (I used 1 cup Coconut Sugar)
125g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Grated Raw Beetroot

1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Place the flour, cocoa, sugar, butter, egg, milk and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
3. Add the beetroot and mix to combine. 
4. Pour into a 10cm x 21cm (2 litre capacity) or two small loaf tins lined with non stick baking paper. 
5. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. 
6. Allow to cool in the tin for five minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. 
Note: This can be sliced and frozen for up to two months in individual servings.
Readers, I hope you enjoyed Snail Orchids, Delicately Fragile and Chocolate Beetroot Loaf Cake. See you all on Wednesday for a new edition of Wednesday Wishes x

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Friends - DUSTy Divas - Australian Artists - Bungleboorie

Happy Friday lovely readers. Did you have a fantastic week? I certainly did. Lots of lovely warm winters days even though we had icy car windscreens first thing in the mornings. Today I want to introduce to you all a new Friday Friend, DUSTy Diva and Australian Artist; meet Anne of Bungleboorie. 
Anne is a very clever creator, with many diverse skills. Let me share some of her work with you now. Being particularly fond of landscape photography, I really felt drawn to "Capertee" - Oil on Canvas. Those rolling hills and clouds! 
I am sure that I have mentioned before that I have a particular soft spot for owls, this Bronze Owl Brooch is no exception. I simply adore it! 
While browsing through the gorgeous works that Anne creates, I found "Little Heron Girl." This is a potrait of Tessa the Little Heron Girl, isn't she beautiful? 
Dear readers, I invite you now to read The Story of Bungleboorie. I personally found this very inspirational. Have a fantastic weekend everyone xo 
"The Story of Bungleboorie"
Where I Live and how it influences my work...
Bungleboorie is an aboriginal, Wiradjuri word, describing an area where I live in the bush in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. It is "pagoda country" with big rock formations and many diverse fauna and flora. 
These include the Wollemi Pine, banksias, boronias, heaths, kangaroos, wombats, quolls, lots of snakes, no crocodiles or mammoths, bush fires, tall eucalytpus trees, owls, black cockatoos and white cockatoos, king parrots, rosellas, lyre birds, kookaburras, poor soils and lots of waratahs.
My studio was a shack I built but burnt to the ground in last years bushfires. I am now waiting for my new studio to be built - a tin shed on a ridge looking out onto the burnt out rock formations in the valley below. 

How did I get started... Before the fire I taught High School art and worked alongside my students often gaining inspiration from them. Children are very free with their art using colour and form to match their dreams. 
Now the journey begins for me working with terra cotta and porcelain clays, making bronze pieces and lampwork glass. During winter and spring I will make 3D and summer and autumn packing up the car with lunch, easels, oil paints, 2 dogs and going "bush" to paint outside. 
Other Inspirations.... Italy, especially the renaissance period...cave art...anything Moroccan especially architecture, Turkish Iznik pottery and many other early art periods...browsing online artists works especially on Etsy. 
Market Plans... I hope to join the Blue Mountains artist's trail and have studio openings and perhaps, interactions with fellow artisans visiting and perhaps working in the studio for a day or two in exchange for a thrown pot or two! 
Perhaps a new phone, my students said my current one is "not cool" and twitter, tweet, Facebook and blog...so as the Lyre Bird in the valley below hails the end of the day, my journey continues to connect to the seasons, the stars, the beautiful fauna and flora and make more art.

Dear readers, would you like to see more? Here is how you can connect! 

You can buy lovely things on Etsy here: 


and view her portfolio online here: