Thursday, January 18, 2018

Artist of the Month - Susan Nethercote

Let’s kick start the new year with Susan Nethercote as the artist of the month. I came across her work on Instagram and I have been faithfully following and getting inspired by her works and style. She is a brilliant botanical and floral abstract painter based in Australia. There is beauty and romance in all her work. The shades of colours that she chooses work so harmoniously together. Her work is poetic to me and there is a feeling of joy and peace while browsing through her work.
Susan Nethercote, Michelle Dunn Photography

Susan Nethercote started out researching, lecturing and tutoring in Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne.  She has spent most of her professional life as the designer and owner of the Australian women’s clothing label Manque Design.  Most recently she has also spent a lot of time coaching creative professionals to greater business success in her consulting practice Creative Conversation.

But her first and greatest Love is making Art, which she has been doing her entire life.

Since having her first child in 2011, Susan has devoted increasing amounts of time to painting, to the point where it has become the primary focus of both her creative and professional life.

Working from her home studio in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, Susan predominantly sells her work privately and by commission.   She can be found at

Susan is inspired deeply by nature – the plant, mineral and bird kingdom’s in particular. She has a fascination with the different ways that nature interacts with light and weather patterns, and how this creates different atmospheres and moods. It is these ethereal qualities, the “veil between worlds”, that
Susan attempts to capture in her work.

She mainly works in acrylic paint, and often includes mixed media of pastel, ink.

In her words “Sometimes my observations lead me down the path of abstracting my subject completely, and sometimes I feel inspired to represent the subject realistically. Frequently it is a combination of both – capturing a perfect natural subject in a highly abstracted environment.”

In all cases, her focus is on capturing the most subtle, magical and ethereal aspects of natural subjects, attempting to stimulate the most subtle, magical and ethereal aspects of our inner selves.

Susan is endlessly fascinated by how art is able to access the parts of ourselves for which we have no words. “To me making art is soul work.”
·         How did your journey as an artist begin? Did you have any formal training or is it self-taught? 

My journey as an artist began when I was 15 and I begged my mother to let me take oil painting classes with a local artist.  I didn’t stick with painting at that stage though, I went on to study art history, become an academic and then made the surprise move of starting a clothing label which I’ve had for 18 years now.  I returned to painting in a big way after the birth of my second daughter about 4 years ago.  I was having a hard time emotionally and painting was my way of processing it all, it really helped me to heal some old wounds.  I could never have predicted that painting would become my new full-time profession! I took some great online classes in that time by people like Kelly-Rae Robers, Mati Rose McDonough, Faith Evans Sills and Flora Bowley. I totally went to art school online and it was the best!

·         How would you describe your art style? 

Well, I can only describe my art style in terms of what I am making currently. And at the moment I am painting wild, colourful abstracted florals and also loving abstracting the more structural botanical blooms found here in Australia and South Africa. So I think it’s safe to say that my style is Floral and Botanical Abstract.

·         What's your inspiration for your art work? 

Flowers and gardens are my biggest inspiration.  But the paint itself and the act of swiftly moving it around is also incredibly inspiring for me.  I’m a big fan of ‘happy accidents’ in art. I truly believe that we do ourselves a huge favor as artists when we relax, get out of our own way with our desire for perfection and allow something bigger to move through us! That’s where the real magic happens and also where people respond best to your art.

·         What is the most challenging aspect about your work?

Firstly, having enough time! I have two kids, the youngest of which is just about to start school, so hopefully I will have more of that soon.  I’m weirdly comfortable about doing large scale commission work, which is super-challenging, but I’m totally up for it as I absolutely love creating work for others and also painting very big! I am also about to launch an art retreat on the French Riviera, which is really exciting, but has also pressed ALL my buttons and has been a huge challenge.  To be honest, I find the act of painting the easiest part of my job as an artist.

·         What is your creative process like? And what keeps you motivated?

My creative process is very swift and free.  I like to work fast as I love the feeling of just allowing the creativity to move through me.  This really helps with not getting too ‘precious’ about my work.  For me this kind of creativity is very spiritual. I feel like something universal and beautiful is running through me veins when I paint, and I really trust that and give myself up to it.  Not every painting I make is ‘good’, but enough are to keep trusting this process.  I’ve always been a pretty driven and motivated person when it comes to my creativity, my biggest problem is usually the opposite- knowing when I need to slow down and put the brakes on the million projects I could potentially take on.  Over the past year, I have learned to be a little more selective about what I take on.  Saying no to opportunities that just didn’t feel right, was very empowering for me.

·         Do you commission different projects? And how can people purchase your paintings?

I do a lot of commission work these days, as I mentioned, and I really like it.  People have mostly gotten in touch with me to create something for them after seeing my work on Instagram or Facebook. I use those platforms very deliberately as my primary organic marketing tool. I really enjoy the process of creating for someone else, but I have made a system for that so that I am absolutely as clear as possible on what they are after.  I also sell my work directly from my website  

·         What is your favorite art piece that you have done till date?

I have just recently completed a large, 3 canvas commission for a waiting room at an IVF clinic in a major Melbourne hospital.  Since I went through IVF myself to have my first child, this project was very close to my heart. I am very proud of these paintings. 

·         Any tips or words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career.

Being a successful artist also means being a business person.  Invest in a website with an online store.  Learn how to take good photos of your art (even an iPhone can take amazing photos if you pay attention to lighting).  Share you art and your art journey on social media, especially Instagram. And by far, the best marketing decision I made was to by stock photography of interiors and Photoshop my art into them so people can picture your art in their home.  My art business has grown so much over the past year as a result of each of these aspects.  And also, allow yourself to get messy, real messy, that’s where the magic happens.

Thank you Susan for sharing your inspiring journey with me and my readers. Wishing you all the best Susan in your creative journey!!

Please click here to follow Susan's work  on Instagram and click here if you wish to buy her work.

All Images and work are copyright Susan Nethercote

Monday, January 15, 2018

Recipe: Pigs in a Blanket

Today’s post should’ve actually been written by my husband because this was the first recipe that he actually experimented and blew me away! The roles were reversed this time for a change… where I was the guinea pig along with a couple who came home for dinner and my hubby experiments on us…. It was a moment to hold on forever because I don’t always get to see this! He tried out these sausage rolls or the classic “pigs in blanket”, a simple starter which is absolutely easy to make and vanished as soon as it was served. It is also a great breakfast idea as well, especially for kids.

So buckle up and enjoy trying out this recipe! I guarantee your guest, friends or family will definitely enjoy it!   


Frozen puff pastry precut squares – 1 pkt Thawed and chilled (it had 15 pieces)
Sausages – 15 pieces to fit into the squares

Egg – 1 (lightly beaten)
Parsley – 2 tablespoon

Shredded Cheddar Cheese – 2 tablespoon

Caramelized onion – 2 tablespoon ( in a small pan shallow fry thinly sliced onions in butter in low heat till soft and golden brown) 
Sesame seeds – 2 teaspoon

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lay the pastry precut squares on the sheet and add a sausage to each sqaure, a bit of caramelized onions, sprinkle parsley and cheese.
  • Wrap the sausage and secure the ends.
  • Brush the tops of the pastry dough with the beaten egg. And sprinkle sesame seeds on each roll.
  • Bake the rolls for 20 minutes until golden and puffed. Let it cool before serving and serve it with any of your favorite sauce.

All above images are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Happy 2018.... Reset, Refresh!

So here we are smoothly sailing into 2018… wondering what this brand new year has in store for us. Aren’t we all looking forward to fresh starts, possibilities and more importantly refresh?? Many have managed to keep their resolutions in 2017 and turned their lives around unlike me. But I have to say that I managed to stick to two of my resolution and that is “to learn something new” and travel. I am grateful and blessed that I learned two new skills in 2017- Calligraphy and different textures in painting.  

This year, like the previous I hope to learn something new again. This is important to me because it opens up doors to endless possibilities and helps me to look at the world in a different angle. We are never too old to learn something new… a new language, an instrument, dance or any other skill. And secondly I hope to focus on being healthy… eat healthy, less sugar and carbs (the most difficult part) and stay fit. And when it comes to blogging, I sincerely hope I can be more consistent … and focus more on my paintings. So here I am hitting the reset and refresh button by taking the following small steps:

·         Learn a new skill

·         Read one book every month

·         Create an art work every month

·         Eat more fiber and less carbs and sugar (me crying here L but got to do it)

·         Travel

·         Dance, sing, listen to more music and party because life is short. Need to create good memories.

·         Chase my dreams and make it work

·         Organize my pictures and click more

·         Do all the fun things with my family, especially my 7 year old

·         Constantly remind myself that change is a good thing

Thank you all for showering me with lot of blog love!! You all have kept me going with your comments and emails. I am back with more inspirations, home tours, décor love, food, art, DIY and interiors, so stay tuned!! Wishing each one of you a Fabulous, Blessed and Healthy 2017!!

Above Images are copyright Tickled by Inspirations

Thursday, December 21, 2017

DIY Christmas Cards

Gone are the days when we used to make Christmas cards and post them to our loved ones…

In order to revive this and keep the tradition going, my dearest sis’ Anju took the initiative to pull all our cousins together on this little project. So all of us decided to make simple Christmas cards and send to each other. And this small initiative brought back nostalgic Christmas memories. Mailing addresses were exchanged with each other… and our creative skills were put in use. (Thank you Anju!)

I came across a brilliant DIY Christmas project on Pinterest where you just use Q-tips and some acrylic colours. And I had a fabulous time doing this with my 7 year old!!

  • So all you need are some acrylic colors - preferably Christmas colors, Q-tips for each color, Colored or white card paper and a paper plate to put colors on.

  • Create a card by folding the paper.

  • If you are making a Christmas tree then dip your Q-tip on green color and make dots into a tree shape.

  • Then add ornaments by making different colored dots. It is as simple as that!!!

  • Use your creativity, make any Christmas scene and have fun doing it with your little ones!!!

All above images are copyright Tickled by Inspirations

Monday, December 18, 2017

Chocolate Roast Almond Bark

Christmas is calling and you definitely need chocolate during this season! Any recipe for a chocolate bark is one the easiest non-baking treats to make and a great homemade gift. Absolutely simple to make and it is a recipe where you can keep improvising with the ingredients. This is a highly addictive and easy to make treat and I am sure you will enjoy making it. So let’s move on to the recipe.

Makes about 30 pieces


10 oz. semi-sweet Chocolate chips

1 cup sliced almonds

1 tbsp. Butter

½ cup or more crushed toffee bits (you get it readymade)

A pinch of salt


1.       Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.       Toast almonds in butter with salt.

3.       Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth.

4.       Once the chocolate is melted and silky in texture, add the almonds, crushed toffee bits and stir well.

5.       Pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper and use a rubber spatula to spread it in a thin layer. It will cover the better part of the baking sheet. Sprinkle the balance toffee bits and sprinkle stars on it as I did to add color.

6.       Put the baking sheet into the fridge for 10 minutes. Remove from fridge and leave on the counter to cool and harden for several hours or overnight.

7.       Once completely cool, break the chocolate into pieces that are a couple of bites each.

8.       Store in an air-tight container or package up for gifts.

·         Add raisins or any dry fruits to give a different flavor
·         You can substitute almonds with walnuts and pistachios.
·         You can use dark chocolate or milk chocolate or even white chocolate.

Above pictures are copyright Tickled by Inspirations

Monday, December 11, 2017

DIY Christmas Center Piece

It is that time of the year… The weather is chilly and perfect… cups of coffee and hot chocolate being served around… the Christmas tree and décor is up… the baking aroma from the kitchen constantly giving us nostalgic memories… and the carols playing in the background. Perfect countdown to Christmas...            

Every year for Christmas, I try to come up with something new for my coffee table and this year I am trying out with something old, new and gold… All you need is a small or mini cake stand, any Christmas ornament to flaunt on your cake stand and some pine cones to sprinkle around and voila your center piece is ready to make a statement. I placed a mini Christmas tree on my cake stand instead of ornaments. Use your imagination to place something nice on the cake stand like scented candles or pine cones.  It is simple, less time consuming and looks fabulous! Tell me what do you think of my coffee table center piece?

All the above images are copyrighted Tickled by Inspirations

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Recycled DIY Cards

One of the nicest things about recycled cards is that it’s a great way to teach about recycling and sustainability. I had a pile of some wedding invitation cards that’s of absolutely no use now and I stashed it away hoping to recycle it all at some point. And since Christmas is around the corner I decided to recycle these invite cards into Christmas cards. So I cut them all into half… discarded the inner sheet that had the invite details and used my recently acquired calligraphy skills in use. Isn’t it a gorgeous (and green)idea?

Love these self embossed prints on the card... so hard to throw them away! 
Cut the card into half... I will definitely use the Invitation printed side for future use so I have kept it away :)

My Calligraphy skill in use!

Lots more to write!!

Do you have a fun project for Christmas? Please share your ideas with good resolution pictures and mail to . I will gladly share it with my readers.

Above pictures are copyrighted Tickled by inspirations