Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Not so Everyday in May ;)

Been away for a bit.  Work is pants.  This weekend was the anniversary of my dad passing away last year.  So it's all been rather odd and emotional.  But I'm still here!  This week at my social inclusion group (that title seems really trite and I'm not sure if I like it, I will have to brainstorm a new name) we made pom-poms.  Or rather tried to.  I was sure everyone would be fed up after they needed 'rescuing', but they want to have another go next week!  Must admit we did have a lot of fun, and though not many pom-poms saw the light of day we did have a lot of laughs.  And laughter's definitely the best medicine when you've been feeling 'odd and emotional' :)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Everyday in May - day 19

The past two days have been pretty pants ...

but sometimes all you need to do is look heavenwards to feel there's beauty in the world too :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Every day in May - day 17

No pictures today.  Just a wee ramble through the world that is in my brain.  Work was okay, not thrilling but I have a little list of happy things - I received my new strings for my ukulele so no longer have an excuse not to learn how to play it; Starburst jelly babies were half price at Coles; for the first time ever my chooks did not squawk in panic when I put them to bed for the night; somebody else cooked tea and washed up for me tonight; I still have my Dr Who Lego to build as pointed out to me by my number 3 (I think his building fingers are getting itchy).  All's well with the world :)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Everyday in May - day 16

Today I made these with the ladies at the group I facilitate - they're called 'God's Eyes' and they are addictive!  There are lots of tutorials online that show you how to make them, or you may have been one of the lucky ones who made them at school.  I see lots of possibilities for these little beauties :)

3 lolly sticks - took some working out 
The reverse side looks just as interesting

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Every day in May - 3 days in one!

Day 13

Did you know the WA Police Pipe Band are 50 years old?  Neither did I, but it was one of the facts I learned when they visited our number 3's school.  I adore bagpipe music, it sends a chill down my spine (in a good way).  It was good to see another side to the police - the leader was a Scotsman called Stuart, very fitting I thought and he had a great sense of humour - much to the childrens' delight he took great pleasure in ordering the teachers about :)

Day 14

Thrifting always without fail cheers me up.  Treasure this week included a cross-stitch kit, a sparkley top and some awesome orange silky fabric, all for the princely sum of $3.  For this I get to embroider a dragon, make a sequinned cushion for a fraction of the price of one I've seen in the shops and line a handbag or two.  Spot the item I didn't get at the thrift shop - a clue, it's not the sandstone!

Day 15

We're renovating the kitchen, so I had to say goodbye to my funky tiles :(  I took photos of each one -  sad I know - but now I can do all sorts of arty things with the images.  We did manage to save 2 whole tiles, which was amazing as the tile adhesive seemed to symbiotically join to the wall at a molecular level (no lie! sounds good too) so the majority smashed as they were being removed.  These are destined for mosaics.

Lots of fun had this weekend :)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Every day in May - day 12

When I feel a little down or stressed, these girls really cheer me up.

The lighter coloured hens are the ones I raised from eggs :)  Princess Leia and Angel (aka 'the blondes' when they run around squawking for no apparent reason).  Watching them do their stuff really does relax me.

And the dog loves it too xx

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Every day in May - day 11

I'm too busy UNRAVELLING tonight to write - crochet that is.  I've been trying to make a 'granny circle' for the top of my lovely retro stool, but after a certain size it took on a life of its own and now resembles a woolly jellyfish!  Gah!  So it's back to the drawing board, a bit of googling, some maths to work out increases and experimentation (probably more of that than maths I think) to try and produce a more circular circle.  I am not going to give up on this!!

Apologies for no blog yesterday - it was just an awful day and I did not feel at all chatty!  So day 10 is MIA, and jolly good job too!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Everyday in May - day 10 - May musings

It seems that ageing is the topic of the moment within my circle of family and friends.  As the first anniversary of Dad passing away approaches the kids have been talking to me about it, trying to make sense of it and having a little cry, which inevitably sets me off!  But it's good to talk about Dad, and it's the first significant death that the kids have had experience of so we are all negotiating unknown territory together.  What broke my heart the other day though was HB telling me that she is ok with ageing, she's not scared of death but the thing that scares her most is that her mum and dad are getting older.  This was all mixed up with talk about Dad so it's been an emotional week!

Family and friends alike have been lamenting that they are getting older and basically falling apart!  Someone very dear to me was only today scared to admit they may finally need spectacles after having 20/20 vision for years.  As I've worn glasses since I was 25 I'm not so bothered about this - I'm the proud owner of multi-focal glasses and sunnies!  I can now see the world in 3D!  And if you think about it, how many 46 year old machines are still in good working order?!

It's all good really - the worst thing - which makes me laugh actually - is the way my joints in my knees and hips crack as I walk around, now that it's got colder.  The part that makes me laugh is the look on the kids faces when they hear the sound - they're not sure whether to be sick or give me sympathy :)

Anyway, I could burble on about this subject forever, and will most likely return to it at some point, but for now c'est finis!

Here's a little quote to finish with that's very apt, and was on my calendar for today - spooky hey?

"Ageing is annoying, but it is the only means that they have found to live long." - Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve

Goodnight lovelies x

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Every Day in May - day 8

Happy Mother's Day to all mums everywhere!

I've had a lovely day not doing very much apart from crocheting a chair cover, eating croissants and homemade waffles and going for a bike ride with my number 3.  I'm trying to get practise in for a mini triathlon and he's practising for his school camp in June.  We were both awesome!

I was lucky today to have all 3 kidlets at home and they did some legitimate graffiti on a special mug for me today.  I can see quite a few cuppas being made in this :)

From a book HB bought me comes my new favourite quote: "Mums ~ tea powered.  Cars need petrol - mothers need tea"    Stuart & Linda Macfarlane.

Never a truer word said.

Every Day in May - day 7

Parts of the path leading to the library
This one was not blogged about yesterday as I have decided to have one internet free day a week for a while just to give my head a rest!  I've done it for the past 2 weekends and it really has made a difference to my sense of peace.  I won't say it has been easy though :)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Everyday in May - day 6

This a kind of 'part 2' or the continued part of 'to be continued -

this photo was taken last year at the Riverbank winery, the one we could see when having coffee yesterday - if you look you can see a teeny red house in the distance - that's the place we were at!   And we never knew ...

I had to be persuaded to post this photo, as I thought I ruined the view!  Isn't it funny how we can view ourselves so negatively?  But I'm hoping you're looking at the red house really!  Or the grass; it's so beautifully green the photo must have been taken in the autumn/winter - we don't get to see green grass that often!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Everyday in May - day 5

Thankfully my anticipated 'tough' day at work didn't transpire, instead it was rather peaceful.  Even managed to have coffee and cake at lunch time with my hubby by the river.  Very civilized, and a much better version of the day :)

The weather looks overcast, but for someone who prefers the cool of winter it was a real delight.  A day full of 'wins'!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Everyday in May - day 4

Firstly ... May the 4th be with you!

When I'm on my working days I find it difficult to get my act together and forget to take photos!  Therefore, I've looked through my archives for a pic that makes me smile - I need a bit of cheering up as I have a tough day at work tomorrow which I am not looking forward to at all!  Some loving kindness is in order, and who could look more kind or loving than our family dog?

Thanks for cheering me up C-dawg xxxx

He's not supposed to be on the sofa by the way, so shhh ... don't tell anybody ...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Every Day in May - day 3

Today's offering is a food offering.  Truthfully it's the only thing I could think of to photograph and blog about - I was so tired after work I couldn't think straight!  Must be the winter coming, I think I want to hibernate!

So this is a yummy veggie cottage pie, made for my no.3 whilst he was trying to be a vegetarian - he still loves the food, but has decided he likes meat again too - just not all the time.  It is also evidence of one of my better ideas of cooking in batches and freezing some - perfect for those wintry nights when you return home tired and don't want to think about being creative with cooking.  It's good to take a break ...

Monday, May 2, 2016

Every Day in May - day 2

I went off into the woods today with my ideas book, for a walking meditation, a conversation with myself :)  That's all I need really for a good dose of inspiration  - my trusty purple pen, my book wherein I write any little thing I want to create or think about (very handy as I often forget my ideas soon after having them as they are replaced with other ideas - I tell you, my brain never rests, which is why I'm always tired!) and the stomping ground of Torwood Forest.

I love the peace of the forest, and the fact it's virtually deserted means people don't see me talking to my dog or blowing out 'dragon breath' as I delight in the fact it's winter now and can see my own breathing!

Where's your favourite inspirational place?

Every Day in May

This post was intended to be written and published yesterday (clue is in the title), but I was distracted by a monumental phone call back home to the UK.  It was so lovely just rabbiting away to my sis about stuff only we can rabbit on about that time changed form and I had no realization of the lateness of the hour!  So I went to bed instead of writing :)

What is this 'Every Day of May' all about then?  It was a brainwave of my husband's - a mindful and gentle way to get me through the month as I approach the anniversary of my Dad's death.  The aim is to notice something that brings me joy each day, and record it somehow.  I've decided to record that moment with the camera, which was Dad's favourite method of recording life's moments.

It seemed fitting to start with one of his very old cameras - a Kodak Brownie, which I found as I was clearing out my wardrobe for decluttering purposes.  I'd squirreled away a box of Dad's stuff that I brought back with me last year, and yesterday was the first time I looked through the contents properly, remembering when I'd first seen them, and what they meant to Dad.  It was very bittersweet for me, but very therapeutic I should imagine!

So, I took a pic of the vintage camera with my smartphone, and posted it straight to Instagram last evening.  I think I can say the first day of Every Day in May happened in the correct moment somewhere on the interwebs!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tiddly pom-pom

It must be the decluttering time of year - either that or I'm finally fed up with the amount of useless tat I hoard in far flung places around the home.  Last weekend it was the turn of our sideboard in the hall to be sorted, and amongst the debris I found a half-wound pom-pom hiding in one of the drawers.  It was started by our youngest when he was in pre-primary (a fair few years ago; to think we were at a high school open day for him yesterday ...)  I'm not completely sure if I was looking for a distraction from tidying (surely not) but I had the sudden urge to finish it off.  Making pom-poms was a craze for a while when I was a little girl, whether just in our house or at school is irrelevant, I had memories of it being very therapeutic and lots of fun.  So, off I hurried to find some fat, fluffy, soft yarn, that was lovely to the touch but more  importantly would make a speedy finish for the job.  It turned out really well, and it's obvious where the old and the new, as it were, meet on the finished article.

By the time I'd finished it and proudly shown it to the original creator I was in the mood for making more, but seeing as together we had ruined the pom-pom circles I rummaged in my knitting stash for an as yet unused pom-pom maker I'd been wanting to trial.  I shouldn't have bothered!  Just look at the sorry excuse for a pom-pom - it's weedy and not at all 'succulent' and plumpfy as a real pom-pom ought to be!  

The main problem was that it was very difficult to actually keep the yarn on the darn thing without it all falling off.   And the diagram for starting and finishing was so unclear, that although I followed them 'correctly' the whole thing unravelled before I could tie the knot!  My advice is to bin them as I did - the one here was only kept for the purpose of the photo then joined his companions medium and large in the wheelie bin.

Old-fashioned cardboard circles are far superior and work every time :)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

One of the brood has left (sniff, sniff)

My brood
I have been chasing chickens far too much lately.  Princess Leia - who has taken up to sleeping on top of the enclosure - discovered she could fly into next door's garden yesterday morning, at getting ready for school time.  Grr ... after the second attempt at running round in circles and getting nowhere, I enlisted the help of the youngest of my clan who helped shepherd her towards our garden fence.  Leia thought she'd try and be smart and squeeze through the fence gap, whereupon she found herself wedged between wood and wire fence and no way to move backwards or forwards.  After some undoing of wings, and untangling of feet I managed to grab hold of her and post her back over the fence.  Not content with causing mayhem for one day, I've just spent 15 minutes chasing her round the garden at night-time trying to get her to roost in the coop with her mates.  And our Scottish sheepdog cannot have inherited the 'rounding up' gene as he is about as much use as chocolate teapot when escapees are escaping ...

Ruben with his foster mum isn't he a handsome chap
Anyhoo ... our brood is getting smaller, from 5 down to 6.   The other day our gorgeous rooster Ruben found himself a new 'mob' down in the valley.  I took him to a friend of a friend, who introduced him to her 4 girls, one of whom instantly established pecking order and pecked him, hard. I'm sure he will get along just fine.

Now we just need to find a home for our other rooster Chris.  He is trying to bonk all my girls, and to be honest I couldn't stand the stress of rearing more chicks.  The hens are getting rather shirty with him too.  It's no fun being a boy in our garden!

(Even though I sounded distinctly grumpy at the start, I love my chooks wholeheartedly)

Monday, March 7, 2016

De-stressing in New Zealand

Quintessential NZ mailboxes
Life has been .... interesting ... for the past few weeks.  I could offer many reasons for not writing - I think the best by far is that I've been away travelling and have shunned technology as part of my de-stressing process (apart from being contactable by email as the kids stayed home).

The first part of our holiday was in New Zealand, in Auckland, our old stomping ground.  It was so much fun to catch up with old friends, almost as if we'd never been away.  It makes me remember how blessed I am to have loved ones in so many different places.

We stayed near an alpaca farm - I need to get me an alpaca or two.  Spot the baby :)

You can see Rangitoto from nearly everywhere in Auckland.  It's very recognizable, whatever the weather!  I loved this cool day walking around Musick Point and catching the view.

We had a few cloudy days, one memorable day was when the storm clouds chased us as we travelled the curvy back roads to Kaiaua in my quest to find the dragon lady at The Dragon's Nest Pottery.  I will have to share my dragon treasures with you another time ...

Encountering the Misty Mountains in our search for dragons
One of the highlights was the day out to Kawakawa Bay - we shared the beach with picnickers and a couple travelling round on their motorbike.  Here we forgot all our troubles and sat and listened to the waves.  I lay down under a pohutukawa tree and watched clouds through the branches.

We travelled round in an old Mazda 2 that sounded as if it had ambitions to be a supercar, but moved at the speed of a vintage bicycle.   We all have our dreams ...

It was so refreshing to be in a cooler climate for a while.  Although I have always been strange and enjoyed the cold; and see what it does for the countryside, just look at that lovely green field!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Happy Birthday to me :)

A selection of my birthday gifties - and yes that is a krispy kreme donut - HB said she had enough money to buy me one.  Excuse the scratches on my feet - I picked a fight with some rose bush clippings when going out to the car.  They won.

Crikey - 46 years old today!  I was thinking I'd have a very quiet day, I didn't really want to think about my first birthday without Dad; however my friends (and family too xx) guessed and looked after me so well I feel honoured to know such gorgeous and special people.  It all started yesterday at my little crafty meetup with 3 dear friends for tea and cake and carried on today with coffee and cake at the patisserie, followed by a high tea and colouring in session in my friend's studio, finishing with a special meal and choccie cake at another friends house - and they had something nobody else did - baby ducks!  The most divine little creatures ever - one nestled in my hands and nearly fell asleep until cold pasta was brought out.  I need some ducks! But I think I will simply visit theirs ... much easier and a lot less poo to clean up!  :)

The kids made my heart smile most though.  HB who'd had to leave the house before 6 this morning to volunteer at uni (she knows I don't get up for anything before 7 at weekends, even presents) phoned me at a more respectable time of the morning to wish me happy birthday.  Then surprised me with a new bottle of perfectly purple nail polish on returning home, to replace my favourite shade shattered in the kitchen floor at Christmas (no names mentioned).  Youngest man split an A4 sheet into vouchers for making me cups of tea, and by the expiry date wrote, 'if I get plenty of hugs there is no expiry date', and eldest boy gifted me a book on kombi campers, as he knows my secret dreams of having a mobile studio in one!

I really do love that purple nail polish!
So it didn't feel too harsh being on the downward slippery slope towards 50 :)  In fact I felt very blessed to be so loved.  It's a cliche I know, but that's the best gift.  xxxx  Thanks to everyone who made my day so special, you know who you are ...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Quote for the month - January

I used to find quotes quite frequently and use them here, but not for a while now.  Thought it might be a good idea to rediscover my passion for them and round off the month nicely.  I did read this one out to my hubby and he said he'd read it somewhere recently, but he enjoyed hearing it again and I'm sure the energy from repeated tellings will do more good than harm, so here 'tis:

"Be soft.  Do not let the world make you hard.  Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.  Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."  -  Vonnegut

I believe :)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood Pencil Case

In an effort to keep up my creativity with as little effort as possible I did invest in some colouring books (always a favourite activity of mine in my childhood and with my own children) and some lovely coloured pencils which I can never resist.  My absolute favourites are the Inktense pencils by Derwent, stunning colours with a real depth and intensity of colour as the name implies.  However recently I discovered the Lyra brand, favoured by Steiner schools I believe - a lovely 'feel' to them when I use them and a similar depth of colour.  I had to buy them individually so no tin to keep them in as with the Derwent brand.  What was I to do to keep my pencils safe?

I made my own pencil case!  Using a tutorial by Noodlehead I slightly altered the measurements to accommodate the gorgeous fairy tale pictures on my retro styled Little Red Riding Hood fabric.  As you would expect from Noodlehead, it is also fully lined, and ... quilted no less ... with iron on wadding so no actual quilting involved, but it is lovely and sqiushy and provides extra protection for my pencils.  I so don't have a problem with over-attachment to  my art materials :)

I love you coloured pencils xxx

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Happy Holidays

Happy Australia Day everyone :)

This cow is nothing to do with Australia Day, but rather is a clue to where we have just spent 2 lovely, relaxing days and nights with friends who moved away from Perth - in the lovely country town of Cowaramup!  It's much better if you say the name out loud, it has a lovely ring to it!  There are plasticky/concrete? cows up and down the high street, and some even have 'moo' sounds emanating from them!  Nearly as impressive as the real camels I saw sharing a field with cows on the return journey to the big smoke.  I kid you not, - yes I thought I was seeing things too, but the other passengers in the car verified it for me.

I had to include a pic of my lovely Christmas present made by my Mum, it slowly made its way here, was unwrapped in a rush and very much appreciated by its new owner.  My favourite mode of transport in my arty dreams, in my favourite colour, on a squishy, soft cushion cover made with lots of love - another little lift for the spirits :)

One thing I did take away from the break was that I really am too stressed most of the time and that I need to make some big changes - will 2016 be my year to stress less?  I hope so.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My 2016 Mandala makes me happy

Today is the 2 week anniversary of my course to make my 'power' mandala for 2016.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know how much I love these magic circles and their power to focus intention and heal.  So it would be no surprise to you that when the opportunity appeared to do a whole day workshop on the sacred circle I leapt in with both feet!

The course was facilitated by the gorgeous and beautiful soul who is Dawn Meader.  Please check out her website if you haven't done before, and buy her book (or come visit me and look at my copy!) - it's filled with beautiful images and poems.

I've admired Dawn from afar for a few years and was thrilled to be able to do the workshop at her home studio.  That was the first milestone of the day for me - it was the first time I had driven to Fremantle by myself!  This is such a huge achievement, as when I first became ill a few years ago I was so anxious about driving as I thought that every time I went out I might die in a car accident!  As a result I didn't travel very far, which didn't help my mental health obviously,  These days I am much better, can manage my anxiety around driving, and always give myself a big pat on the back when I get to places under my own steam.  Anyway, I digress, back to the mandalas ...

I shared the time with 13 other wonderful women, which was lovely. We were all there for the same reason; sometimes I worry about being in a group as there is usually someone who wants to take centre stage and it be all about them (may not always be true, but it seems a general group dynamic to me), but this was so not the case.  We all got to talk or simply be quiet if we wished, and it was  all ok.  I won't go into all the fine detail as it seemed a really sacred time for me and the other women present, but there was a genuine feeling of belonging, which I suspect I may have been missing for some time?

Our first exercise was to practise drawing a bird from a picture - we shared the drawing, by starting off with a pastel outline, then moving onto the picture next door when told to by Dawn.  It was all done very quickly, not giving any of us time to think 'I can't do this!' In the end the bird you started ended up being created by 6 people.  I loved mine so much I took it home!  Birds have become a really significant symbol for me since Dad passed - I think they visit sometimes to let me know he's about!  Usually the cheeky ones like teeny blue wrens or the Willy Wagtail :)

Our first task was to make our background using acrylic paint using 3 colours in any combination we liked - red, yellow and white. Then we would complete the mandala using soft pastels, which I have never used before - I've always been put off by the texture, and 'chalk down a blackboard' sounds, but they produce such a gorgeous result.  We completed a visualization before moving onto each 'ring' of the mandala.  Each ring stood for a certain area of our life, e.g. health, finance, play, relationships. Can you see my tiny dragon in the circle for play?  And I made the finance circle pretty in lilac and green as I am scared of money so wanted to represent it as less so in my mandala.  Every mandala needs a centre point, and we also did a visualization for this.  I was determined at the start that I was not going to draw a heart, as I draw hearts in everything I produce, but throughout the visualization the heart image would not go away and was so strong I knew it needed to be at the centre of my mandala.  And I'm pleased with the result.

It was such a wonderful day, real food for the soul - I can't recommend it enough,  And Dawn is gentle, gracious and very humble, you'll be drawing before you know it, even if you think you haven't got a creative bone in your body!  So please go and check out Dawn's website if this post has spoken to you at all (even if in a tiny, quiet voice, as that is the inner powerful you!)   There is a meditation on her blog page too which is good fun - don't give up if it feels odd on the first try - meditation takes a few goes!  But is so worth it :)

You see, the magic of the mandala must be working, as I said yesterday I would write about something that made me happy, and look at me being all creative today!