Butterfly hoop decorations

Gold paint touches on butterfly art

I made these hoop decorations as little take-home gifts from Olive’s butterfly birthday party.

Butterfly hoop art

I printed this ethereal image onto fabric.

After that I framed each butterfly in a small embroidery hoop. They look best framed slightly off-centre.

Butterfly hoops

As a final touch, I added a few tiny flecks of gold paint here and there – just to give the slightest glimmer.

I was really pleased with the way these turned out.

Butterfly hoop_edited-1

They’re not, perhaps, the usual garish gewgaw that appeals to a 4 year-old, but I like to think, for that very reason, they might not be discarded quite as quickly.

But I’m not entirely oblivious to the needs of 4 year old party attendees: I sent ’em home with a big fistful of sweets as well.

My previous life

Redhead II

Back in the olden days I was a lawyer.  Yep, in the early 2000s, I wore chic suits, had my own beautiful office with a view to die for and was surrounded by fascinating, clever people. Now I often hang around in my pyjamas until midday, run my business from our dining table and sometimes go days on end without talking to anyone older than 5.  Ahh, the olden days.

Wave 1

To be honest though, I don’t miss it. I was never really cut out for the stresses of it.  I was extremely hard on myself and took even the tiniest of setbacks very hard indeed. Coupled with this was the fact, as an old boss once told me, that  my sense of justice was far too finely honed to ever be a really good lawyer. He did have his tongue planted in his cheek when he said it (I think?) but there was, I think, more than  grain of truth to what he said. To this day injustice makes me incandescent with rage. Hardly the cool-headed approach required for a commercial settlement.

Surfboard 02

That same boss was (still is) a very good lawyer.  And, more importantly to me, a very good human. He basically  taught me everything I know and helped me go from being a bundle of graduate nerves to an okay lawyer with enough confidence to at least fool some of the people most of the time. I’m not meaning to get all To Sir with Love on you here but I was lucky to have him as my boss, and I’m still lucky to have him as my friend.

A couple of years ago he began sculpting.  Just out of the blue. With large pieces of metal. And found he could make them into amazing, flowing forms that reflected the bushfire scarred rural environment around his farm. Unsurprisingly, John’s had a great response to his work. I think they’re beautiful.


John’s work is being exhibited with the work of 3 other artists near Canberra on May 16th and if you’re nearby you might like to go and see it. It looks as though it will be a really beautiful exhibition. Here are the details.

If you had told me 8 years ago when John and I were in a conference with clients that less than a decade down the track he’d be exhibiting his sculptures in Canberra and I would be sewing headbands on my dining room table I would have laughed.  Guffawed.  Sniggered.  Snorted. And yet, here we are. Life rocks that way.

All photos (c) John Topfer.