Newsletter Nov 2021

A collage of screenshots of 4 virtual terrarium workshops


As of 5/11/21, ACT reached 99.64% of first dose vaccination of anyone over 12 yr and 94.41% of fully vaccinated. It is definitely the highest vaccination spot in the whole world! The respective vaccination rates for NSW are 93.83% and 89.36%. This is good news for CFS as we would resume our pop-up stall outside of Little Giant Roaster Café in Dec. The next face-to-face Creative Workshop is scheduled for Sat 4th Dec. I just checked the vaccination rates of the postcode 2068 (Willoughby), it has already reached 90% +, our team will be very confident to put on our ‘Welcome Back Stall’ on Sat 11/12. We have received some generous donations from our supporters and we will launch the Petal-it-Forward campaign.     

A big thank you to Radio 2ac which helped promote the ‘Mental Health Month Creative Weekend’ to the Chinese Community. Many participants also learnt about the Virtual Terrarium Workshops through word of mouth,. Thus thanks you to ALL of you who helped spread the words to your circle of friends. We received very encouraging feedback from the workshop participants. As a mental health researcher, I did a very brief theme analysis tabulated below: 

ThemesWhat I enjoyed most and other commentsWhat I enjoyed most and other comments
CreativePlanting the succulent, decorating the terrarium.Making the terrarium. It was very fun!
Connect with peopleYes, it was a fun activity to do with the family.…it’s fun to interact with more people.
Finished productsWorking on something creative and seeing the amazing end product.Hanging the finished piece, being able to finish things is a joy.
Mental HealthIt’s a great initiative as our mental health has been affected by the extended
COVID-19 lockdown.
Mental health is as important as physical health or may be little more!
Themes from evaluation forms submitted by terrarium workshops participants

In summary: I think community connection initiatives should be available all year around so people can connect when they need, engage in crafts, build skills, a sense of competency.

CFS will continue to seek funding to offer the community with similar events. If you would like to find out how you can help or make a donation, check out our website: How can you help? – Community Flower Studio

If you would like to purchase a DIY Succulent Terrarium Kit for a loved one or a friend as a Christmas present, order online here !


Flower of the Month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Queen Anne’s Lace

I immediately fell in love with the flower ‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ (QAL) when I saw the little dainty white florets with a very special scent. I knew this flower must have a connection with the Royals but only found out all the folklores while writing this article. Despite its ‘royal’ status, it is mostly found growing in poor quality soil that is dry, such as roadsides, fields, and disturbed areas. The small taproot has a mild carrot flavour and scent, and its branching stem is covered in tiny hairs. The leaves have a classic fern-like appearance, and the flowers look like delicate lace-like creamy circles that appear in an umbrella shape when young, flattening out as they mature, and eventually forming a bird’s nest shape as they age. 

QAL (Daucus carota) is a white, flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate regions of Europe and southwest Asia, and naturalized to North America and Australia.

QAL florets curled up!

 As a biennial plant, it develops the root and a rosette of leaves in the first year. In the following year, its stem will shoot up and produce flowers and seeds. It can reach heights of about 31-120 cm high. This plant bears attractive, fern-like foliage and tall, hairy stems that hold a flattened cluster of tiny white flowers, with a single dark-colored floret just off its center. Here is a short video clip to show the various parts of this plant.

QAL is believed to have been named after Queen Anne of England, who was an expert lace maker. Legend has it that when pricked with a needle, a single drop of blood fell from her finger onto the lace, leaving the dark purple floret found in the flower’s center. The fruit of this plant is spiky and curls inward, reminiscent of a bird’s nest, which is another of its common names.
I am very keen to grow some in my garden. Apparently, the root of first-year QAL plants can be harvested and eaten as any other carrot would. They need to be gathered early in the season while they are still tender. The longer they mature, the more fibrous and woodier they become. You can also harvest the mature flowers when they lie flat. Simply dip them in a flour batter and fry them as fritters, similarly to dandelion fritters

QAL symbolizes sanctuary – perhaps due to the umbrella and bird’s nest shapes of the flowers. QAL. with the delicate, lace-like flowers, is also associated with beauty. Many women (in the 19th century) added the flower to their baths in hopes of attracting love.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Growing Queen Anne’s Lace and its care: or watch this YouTube clip on Meet the Wild Carrot!

A beautiful dainty QAL bunch.
A bouquet with White & Chocolate QALs

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Christmas Workshop by Young People for Young People

Make Your Own Picture Cookies Workshopby Jacque, Anthony & Bibi Register today!

Date: Sat 4/12 Time: 1230 to 1430

Venue: Chatswood Youth Centre, 64 Albert Rd. (Crn of Albert and Victor Road)

Floral cookies
Hearty cookies
Create your picture cookies

Partly funded by Willoughby City Council. Send Bibi an email if you have any questions.:

Another Virtual Workshop hosted by a young CFS member held on Sat 6/11. Check out the PowerPoint Slides here.

Queen Anne’s Lace of various colours

Queen Anne’s Lace seed pod
A QAL & Rosie Posy
A Pin Cushion tree near Nelson Bay, NSW.
Floral Arrangements for a wedding
A Floral Arrangement with Chocolate QAL – perfect for a Halloween Party

Plant of the month

by Dr Bibiana Chan

Pin Cushions (Leucospermum cordifolium) is an upright, ever green shrub of up to 1½ m (5 ft) high from the Proteaceae family. The flower is better known by its nickname ‘Pincushion’. It was the featured flower in the first wedding I did as a freelance florist.  Among the various hybrids available, I love the orange flowers with grey-green leaves.   There are other colours: yellow-pale, orange-deep, orange-red. The flowers have long vase life as cut flowers and are used widely in the florist industry. Though it is originally from South African, it is adopted as an Aussie Native. All are tolerant of coastal conditions, and are drought tolerant once established. Poor soils are no problem although they will grow a lot better in humus-rich well drained soil. With long lasting vibrant and colourful flowers from Winter to Spring through Summer, requiring little maintenance and ideal for both the garden and containers.

You can check out this ‘Carnival Yellow’ in the footage by Sydney’s Royal Botanical Garden.

If you are in Sydney, why not make a trip to the Royal Botanical Garden to admire the Pincushions and other flowers at the South Africa Garden which was opened since Feb 2018.

I learnt that there is actually a genuine Australia Pincushion ‘Hakea Laurina’ which has a rounded pin-cushion flower head. Its colour is a soft cardinal or cherry red, with projecting long styles, white to pale pink on aging. It also has a faint, pleasant scent which can be easily detected by bees. If you are curious about this native beauty growing mostly in the sandplains of the coastal southwest of Australia (from the northernmost range being Narrogin and extending east to Esperance), here are 2 links for you:

‘Yellow Carnival’ Pin Cushions


An arrangement featuring some Aussie Natives
A small table arrangement for a wedding
Orange-Deep Pin Cushions
Hakea Laurina By JJ Harrison ( – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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by Kim Wilkins


Many of you will be familiar with the 3-part Millennium series by Swedish author the late Stieg Larson. A fourth was written by another author after his death. This is the second of the three and to my mind the best. It was published in 2006 and is about 400 pages long.

I read these books a number of years ago but recently saw the film in Swedish of the second book which reminded me of what a good work of fiction it is.

As with the first book it centres around journalist Mikael Bloomquist and the young, brilliant but psychologically challenged hacker, Lisbeth Solander.

The second book explores Lisbeth’s character much more deeply and goes into detail about her life and family. She is the most interesting character in the series and this is the strength of this novel.

Like all good thrillers it has a great “cliff hanging” ending and is an excellent page turner. Larson was a brilliant author and his early death was a tragedy.

If you have not read the series don’t be put off by the movie of the first book which, despite Daniel Craig’s lead, was fairly dull.  If 3 or 4 novels are too much for you, I recommend this as it can stand alone as an exceptional thriller.


Ondeh Ondeh

by Nikki Nyam

Ondeh-ondeh consists of a chewy glutinous rice ball, filled with gula melaka (palm sugar), and coated with fresh grated coconut. The perfect ondeh-ondeh bursts with liquified gula melaka the moment you take your first bite. So there is no other way to eat it but to pop the whole thing into your mouth! Enjoy!


Pandan leaves
1 1/4 cup Water (You will use 1 cup for the recipe, maybe a little more)
150g Gula Melaka (Palm sugar) 1 tbsp White Sugar
200g Fresh grated coconut (you can use frozen grated coconut, but not desiccated coconut)
1/2 tsp Salt – Mix together and steam for 10 minutes. This makes the coconut stay fresh a few hours longer
2 tbsp Rice Flour 1/8 tsp
1/8 tsp Green Food Colouring (optional)
120 g Glutinous Rice Flour
60 g Tapioca flour
Pandan juice


Add water and salt to the desiccated coconut. Mix well and steam the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Mix glutinous rice flour, tapioca flour and sugar evenly before adding pandan leaf extract to create a dough. If the dough is too soft, add more glutinous rice flour. Divide the dough into 28 little balls. Flatten dough and wrap chunks of 5g palm sugar in it. Be careful that the dough is not too thin as it will expand during the cooking process. This will result in the dough cracking and the palm sugar flowing out. Put the little balls of filled dough into a pot of boiling water. Dish it out once they float or leave to boil for a further 5 to 10 minutes to allow the palm sugar to melt thoroughly. Coat ‘onde-onde’ with the steamed desiccated coconut. Leave to cool and enjoy! Watch this YouTube and try it yourself.

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A photo of a Terrarium supplied by a workshop participant.
Creating a paper lantern while enjoying a cup of tea!

The! first Harmony Day was launched in 1999 by the then NSW MP Dr. Peter Wong. This was an initiative in respond to Pauline Hanson’s 1996 maiden speech at Parliament describing how Australia being ‘swamped’ by Asians.  According to the 2016 Census, nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was. Mandarin came first as the most spoken language other than English.  Eighty-five per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia (check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website for more details).

From the Desk of Bibi

How engaging in creativity can help boost our mental health?

Have you ever had doubt whether you are creative at all? Before I came to Sydney to study, I was never given much ‘room’ to explore my creativity as a young student in Hong Kong! Having lived in Sydney for almost 30 years, I’m proud to call myself a creative person!

At a recent webinar on Creativity and Mental Health hosted by New Jersey Creative Theatre Group, I came across this definition of Creativity:

Now ask yourself,

‘Do I doodle during meetings? Do I snap photos with my smartphone? Come up with unique recipes? Sew or knit? Do crossword puzzles or fill in adult colouring books?

If your answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, then, you’re creative. When one engages in a creative activity, most likely you’re focused with optimal attention on that task. It’s sometimes called being in the zone.  Dr Tamara Shella, the Art Therapy Program Manager at Cleveland Clinic talked about this in an article How Art Can Help You Cope with the Pandemic?, she wrote:

‘When you’re creating art, whether it’s writing in a journal, singing or making a card, you’re getting into what’s called a ‘flow state.’  Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the cofounders of positive psychology, coined the phrase flow state. It is a state of optimal attention. During this time, one is totally focused on the task at hand. That means you’re not worried about the time, bodily sensations or any other needs.”

This is often a euphoric state to be in, you are more mindful and relaxed. This allows the person to feel more positive and brings a sense of accomplishment. People who experience flow report higher levels of creativity, productivity, and happiness. It can stimulate our minds, embrace mindfulness and experience feelings of accomplishment or mastery. Another benefit of tapping into our creativity is that we can use it to come up with new ways to connect with the people who are important to us.

You can read more about this topic : How creativity positively impacts your health?

Springtime by Carol S.

What a beautiful time of the year!  Not too cold.  Not too hot.  You very rarely hear anyone complaining about the weather in springtime. 

September, the start of Spring is the most popular time of the year, most people put their house on the market for sale.

A lovely time of the year.

Beautiful, colourful flowers everywhere.  With a bit of rain, all the flowers bloom, colours showing everywhere.

It is hard not to smile when you see all the beautiful and colourful flowers around. 

When you get to smell a flower, the aroma puts a smile on your face.

Spring time is a time to enjoy the wonders of our area.  A time to just lie back and enjoy the pleasant weather.


skills learnt from the terrarium workshop

By a terrarium workshop participant

A heart-warming message from a caring mother:

Hi Bibiana how are you going? I wanted to share with you my haunted house for Halloween. Attached are the before and after photos. Your creativity with the Terrarium and flowers encouraged me to do something arty. It was also very relaxing. It’s so important Isn’t it. My youngest kid is having a hard time at the moment and it was a real struggle to get my kid to help me paint it. Eventually my kid took over the creativity of it all, felt good about the whole process and was proud of what has been achieved. A big step for my kid. Thank you for what you do. It’s great!

Pierre de Ronsald

Fire Fighter

Jude the Obsecure

Golden Celebration

Cosmic Doodle – with Erin Lee Gafill

Everyone has an inner child waiting to roll up the sleeves to splash some colours in one’s life!

Creativity = Curiosity + Courage

I openly shared my own struggles with clinical depression. I attended a weekend art therapy workshop at Sydney University a decade ago. I learnt how creativity could keep me out of misery!  

Creativity is simply our ability to combine all the existing pieces in our head—memories, ideas, knowledge, inspiration—into incredible new things. It is completely contingent upon the depth, breadth, and diversity of these cognitive micro-resources—the more pieces we have, and the more disciplines they span, the stronger, richer, more impactful our creative output will be.

The art therapist encouraged participants at the workshop to set up a permanent ‘Creative Corner’ at our home. It certainly works for me.  American Artist and Educator Erin Lee Gafill believes that everybody has the capacity to create! She has never seen a boring child’s artwork. She said,

Every child’s artwork is immediate, emotional and funny which is very important in life. There is something about finding the child in yourself. Learning how to play and how to come back to become a child. Colour is important and pattern is playful. Play with those elements in life, don’t be afraid to have a good time. Just get started, just to get hold of a project, give it a time limit, eg. 10 minutes and walk away. Once you get started on something, you come back to it every day.

When I watched her tutorial, I was amazed to find that was exactly what I did to reach the flow state! Cosmic Doddle works for me! I hope it will work for you too.

Follow your intuition!  Are you enjoying it? Is this fun? Listening to what you have noticed? How does it feel?

Playing along, mixing the colours. Play is the operating word. The pattern you drew is inviting you to play! Take a piece of wax or candle and draw a wax line. Give yourself a surprise!

The 2nd word is ‘ Allow yourself to surprise yourself!’

Enjoy Erin’s tutorial and give it a go!

Dolphin Succulents

Community Flower Studio Logo Explained

Community: CFS is a community to support young people facing mental health challenges.

Creative: CFS hosts events to unleash young people s creative talents.

Resource: CFS provides members with resources to enhance their wellbeing.  

Support: CFS  offers support to members to develop their potential.

Growth: CFS fosters a growth mindset which is helpful in dealing with challenges.

Recovery: CFS sees recovery as achievable and a journey to cherish.



Website: Mobile: 0412 613 073

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Address: 10-12 Clanwilliam St., Willoughby, 2068, NSW, Australia.