Archive for January, 2010

House Vs Home

As many of you know, I have just made the big move interstate for my fiance’s work. I’ve packed my whole life into brown boxes, put my dog in a pet crate, pulled up all my roots and hopped on a plane to Adelaide, South Australia.

Moving makes you realise how much a house is really just four walls and a roof. When we first arrived we felt completely disoriented – culture shocked even. Because we knew no one here and nothing was familiar. But after a week, the quaint converted cottage I’m blogging from is starting to become a home, and I’ve discovered it’s all about the little details…

I love:

  • The high ceilings, fireplaces and wide creaking floor boards
  • That it smells and sounds like an old english house from my childhood (my dad was British so we spent a lot of time with his family over there)
  • The quirky trio of black bantam chooks painted on the power pole just outside our house, so when I drive down the street I know I’m home
  • The massive fig tree in our backyard heavy with fruit, and the strange little green gnome who sits under her
  • The sound of my pup’s toe nails clacking on the floorboards as he follows me around the house
  • The wind through the ivy that creeps down the side of the house
  • That I have blank walls to hang fresh canvases on (as we speak I’m doing a new painting specifically for this house)

But I don’t love:

  • The too-creepy-for-words cellar in the floor of our dining room. A wooden trapdoor lifts to a rusted metal ladder that leads down into something straight out of Silence of the Lambs. If I haven’t blogged for a few days, then you know where to suggest the police look…

It’s all these things (except the cellar) that have imbued this place that was once foreign with a feeling of homeliness. And when I think about it, it’s the very same details that make a story feel real and familiar, too. The small observations that ground you in the world of the story – that make it a novel you want to curl up with, one where you sigh when you open the pages.

I wonder what the details are that make your four walls and ceiling a home?

Mug Shot

I grew up with a mum who, on special occasions, always asked for something hand made rather than store bought. I made her all sorts of things throughout childhood – 3D cards, dolls, picture frames, letter holders, decorated mirrors, board games. This tradition has continued into my adulthood and each year I try to come up with new ways to keep it going. Often mum gets the original paintings of new characters I’m creating or stories I’m experimenting with, but this Christmas I decided to do something a bit different.

Here is the result:

I have a few Squish Rabbit mugs left over, so when the book is released I might just run a competition where you could win yourself one…

PS. Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back into the whole blogging swing. I don’t want to make excuses, but I do have a great one if you want to hear it. I’m currently in the middle of moving interstate, packing, organising to rent out our house, planning a wedding and rewriting a novel for my agent. Can you say irrationally stressed?

About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

Released Sept 2012:


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