Monday 28 November 2011


A couple of nights ago I sat down to write about our time away, I wrote and wrote but felt completely dissatisfied with the post, so I shelved it. How could I write about each home that I visited, each friend that I had the honour of catching up with, in a mere sentence or two? Yes, it's possible but it isn't enough for me. So slowly, slowly these are our first few days.

Usually when we go on road trips we try to start as early as possible, armed with cd stories, pencils, paper, lots of food, favourite songs and a few other surprise toys (as you might have guessed we aren't really big fans of those portable tv/dvd devices, we definitely believe that a bit of boredom is great for kids). Anyway to help out Poe and Ilo a little we decided to embark on the five hour drive to the Central Coast in a different manner, the plan was that we would leave in the late afternoon, have dinner in the car and then the kids will fall asleep listening to a story on the cd player and then transfer easily into bed and wake up in the warm embraces of Peeba and Phil. Good plan right. And do you know what, most of it worked like magic, by 7pm both Poe and Ilo were asleep and Scott and I were gazing at the sun as it made it's way down past the lush green hills and flat plains coating everything in a light that was worth a gasp or two. There were very few cars on the road and the trip was a breeze.

I did say most of the plan worked, the rest of the plan, you know the bit about the kids transferring into bed etc. etc. did not really work out. They both awoke an hour out of Lisarow but were content just gazing out the window, which was great, however when we arrived, oh my goodness it was like Christmas had come early. Both Poe and Ilo were simultaneously telling stories, dancing, singing and laughing for Peeba, Phil and Patma (my aunt), they were delightfully excited. We arrived at about 10pm and they didn't get to sleep until about 12. The fact that Ilo hadn't eaten for a while didn't help (Ilo had fallen asleep in the car within 20 minutes of leaving Bellingen). Nevertheless we are converts of the night drive, we just need to fine tune it. Poe loved the fact that he was asleep and then, nearly there. 

The next day was spent luxuriating; eating amazing curries, being entertained by Poe and Ilo, talking, crafting and planning some op shopping expeditions. Ilo and Poe loved tagging along with Phil as he pottered around the garden, checking on the blueberries, strawberries and blackberries and feeding the silver perch (thanks to Phil's backyard aquaponics).

On the second day we set off on an op shopping adventure (I have a hard time thinking of a better adventure) and it was like the op shopping fairies had been waiting, I struck op shopping gold. Seriously crazy and awesome but the best thing was that most of the gold came under the category of gifts. Even though I have crafted gifts for everyone I must admit that for those extra extra special friends I like to add a little well loved something as well. Unfortunately that means I can't post any pictures of said gifts as that would spoil the surprise for a few of you out there. I did however manage to happen upon a delightful collection of doilies to add to the ridiculous stash that I have at home, ridiculous but used on a regular basis for many a crafty thing. I also scored a couple of 70's dresses (awesome but not quite right for me, so I have chosen new and much loved homes for them), some stunningly soft and beautiful floral sheets and some much needed glasses, of the drinking kind.
Oh yes, in this time of excess, is there nothing better than being able to recycle with excess. Excessive consumption of mass produced material goods creeps me out at the best of times but at Christmas, oh my goodness it makes me sick to my stomach and desperately sad about the fate of the world, yes, sorry not really festive thoughts are they, no actually they are because festive should be about delighting in those around us, the love and how lucky we are, not by how much worthless stuff we can accumulate.

The rest of our visit to Phil and Peeba's included a visit to the Japanese Gardens, more sewing, more chatting and more loveliness. Phil and Peeba's home is like an oasis, a place where whoever enters it immediately feels relaxed, loved and warmly embraced. It is one of my most favourite places to be.
Oh by the way, unfortunately Scott was not around to experience all this lovin, he headed to Harrietville to the National Bluegrass Festival, but have no fear he had an amazing experience, but more about that later.
Now to Sydney, first stop Tracey and Vince's (hopefully tomorrow).

Friday 25 November 2011

what a thank you

My beautiful cousin Dexter and his lovely girlfriend Flinder (fresh from Montreal) spent the week at our place, discovering the delights of Bellingen and it's surrounds. As a way of thanks they made this hilariously beautiful filmclip. Perfectly corny, out of sync and all, bravely filmed at Vintage Espresso, sensibly recorded at home.

and the river rises

So much to tell you about but thought I would throw these pics your way first. Still kind of drizzling now, will this be our first flood? I am kind of hoping so. More tomorrow.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

added extras

I forgot to add a couple of things to my post yesterday. Firstly a couple of weeks ago, around the time of Poe and my birthdays we received a package from our lovely friends Gary, Sarah, Stella and Mira. Stella made a fairy/santa attractor for Poe to hang above his bed and I received a book and this amazing parcel.

Someone had obviously put a lot of time and effort into starting this patchwork quilt but never actually got around to completing it, Sarah spied it in an op shop and thought of me, thank you so much Sarah. I actually don't know exactly what to do with it yet, but I do have some ideas.

Scott created this beautiful sculpture that now adorns Poe's bedroom wall. I love looking at it so much and really enjoy it as it is, but am sorely tempted to weave some embroidery thread around some of the sticks.

I know that I should be cleaning, packing and cooking for our car trip but I threw caution to the wind and whipped up these shorts for Ilo, here he is with his most favoured smiling face and doing a John Johnson pose, a hilarious performer we saw at Peats Ridge Festival last year.

Photo from Peats Ridge Festival

Speaking of Peats Ridge, there is a crowd shot from the 2010 festival that is being used to promote this years festival online, if you look closely you can see Poe on Scott's shoulders watching Washington. Poe has headphones on and a panda face.

Monday 14 November 2011

Free + stuff

This past week I feel like I have accomplished quite a bit; I have felt inspired, patient and fun as a parent, accomplished quite a bit of nourishing crafting (for myself and others), made some time for me to get a bit fit (and enjoyed it) and scored at and contributed to the Bellingen Free Market, another initiative of Transition Bellingen. The week has also included a few emotional struggles and tears, but I am not going to go into that, life is hard sometimes, even amongst all the fun.   

Some headpieces as commissioned by Jen. 

We were lucky enough to get a big crack in our windscreen to warrant a new one. So whilst at the windscreen repair place Poe scored this awesome cardboard wheel thing out of the skip and we all had a great time watching them remove and then replace our windscreen, that black liquid silicon stuff was pretty impressive. 

We then spent the afternoon pottering, Scott and Vic recorded some vocals for his soon to be completed cd whilst the kids played and I created this doily/tablecloth top. I am really happy with it and delighted at how easy it was to make. Scott has declared it as one of the best things I have ever made, hmmm not too sure about that call, but nevertheless I like it. 
We then, as we do most Fridays headed up to the Lodge, where we enjoyed pesto pasta, pineapple juice and a gin and tonic. 

We picked up this super cool old desk for free at the Free Market along with, 

these crocheted squares (I can't crotchet so I am so excited by the potential of these squares, oh what to do with them, where to start) and 

no not the desk, the chair. I recovered it using some free fabric that I found at one of the famous Bardwell Valley throw-outs, they were seriously great. 
Oh, how I love free stuff, stuff that is given a chance to be loved again, stuff that is given away with the knowledge that the love will be shared. 
Not only did a few of our old bits and pieces find new homes at the Free Market but Scott also gave a couple free guitar lessons.

The desk we bought at a little antique shop near the windscreen repair place. The shop is the most reasonably priced antique shop I have ever come across, I am sure I gasped more than once at how reasonable various items were. It was a really pleasant surprise. 

This little friend was also from the antique shop, an original squirrel nutcracker, we are all just a bit smitten with it. 

Ah the bags are packed and the smiles are getting bigger by the hour, tomorrow afternoon we are heading south. Myself, Poe and Ilo are heading first to my parents for a few days and then to Sydney. Whilst Scott heads even further south to the Harrietville Bluegrass Festival, we are all really, really excited. 

Wednesday 9 November 2011

we've been

Cycling with Poe, who has been getting more confident everyday. 

Drawing with fabric crayons.

Loving how cute this bird is, if it didn't kind of also look like an airplane, I would have got a tattoo of it, oh still waiting for the picture that will adorn my arm. 

Loving Ilo's running dialogue as he creates (actually he has a running dialogue all the time). 

Making pancakes on a whim. 

Adoring these curls and the colour of his hair. 

Delighting in what Poe creates with these stunning bamboo blocks. We got them for Poe a while ago from Flying Penguin in Newtown

Enjoying more colours as I hide the majority of my fabrics away in cupboards and delight in the simplicity of the minority. 

Loving seeing the way Poe and Ilo have been playing in their fabric cubby house. Poe decided to sleep in it one night. My mum, the amazing crafter that she is, created this for Poe's 4th birthday. 


After all this home time we decided it was time to get loved up by the community (again!). This time was a bit more exclusive as we headed to Chrysalis for a Carnivale. Again, it was really lovely to spend some time at the school, it is very easy to forget you are an adult in such a place, you can easily get caught up in the wonder of it. There was music (yes a bit more drumming, I think Scott started to feel just a little scared), delicious food (prepared and cooked by some of the students) and kids (and parents) running around, dancing, laughing and catching up with friends. 

Saturday 5 November 2011

The Bellingen River Festival

Last Saturday was the inaugural Bellingen River Festival, it was run by Transition Bellingen, with the aim of celebrating the Bellinger River; "creating an opportunity to enjoy, learn about and explore our relationship with our river". A transition town means that "it is a town that is part of a global transition network that aims to build resilience so local communites can survive and even thrive in the face of global challenges like peak oil and climate change", definition from here.
On the day there were workshops, activities, bands, canoe races, lantern making, krathong workshops, weaving, story telling, tree planting and a lantern parade that was simply amazing, but more about that later.
I started the day slowly by going for a massage (not at the festival) and while I was lying face down and trying to still my brain, Scott, Poe and Ilo went busking (also not at the festival), apparently it was amazing with both Poe and Ilo getting right into it. Some favourite tunes amongst the passer-bys were "Spoon full of Sugar", Scott's "Holy Water" and "Chim Chimeree". They made a whooping $25 big ones and then donated half to the Bellingen River Festival and Animal Welfare.

We then rode down to the river and were so excited to see the bridge decorated with lanterns and flags, it looked so beautiful. We met up with friends, laid out the picnic blanket and then went for a little paddle in the river. We ate homemade (not by us) sushi and rice paper rolls, planted a few trees, watched the canoe races, met lots of people we knew and generally enjoyed the beautiful day.

Poe spied an inflatable water slide and after a little jump on the jumping castle got his wetsuit on and went for it. Scott and I were watching and both held our breath as he reached the top, we were so sure he would back out but no, down he went, oh what a thrill. Not sure whether you can see it but his face looks totally terrified as he heads down the slide.

At a certain point we thought it would be a great idea to go home for some dinner and a little rest, before we headed back to the festival for the lantern parade. As we walked in through our gates Scott spied a water dragon near our garden (at the end of our street is a creek, where they usually hang out, but we have never seen one in our backyard before), as we didn't want to freak it out we gave it a wide berth and headed inside. But then Scott, called out "it's laying eggs" YES, can you believe it, it was laying eggs in our garden. So amazing. It then buried the eggs and camouflaged it with some leaves and then scooted under the house for a rest. Apparently the incubation period is a couple of months and then the little dragons (!) hang around for a while before heading to the creek. Has anyone ever experienced this before?

From one magical event to another,  The Lantern Parade. As we cross the bridge we watch as the krathongs,  made out of banana leaves, flowers and candles were placed onto the water.

Then the drumming started, now according to the program, when the drumming starts we had to go to the north side of the bridge and so we did, feeling the excitement welling around us.
A little aside: anyone who knows Scott well, knows that he is not a fan of tribal drums, due largely to five years spent in Byron, where at every party, at every gathering there were tribal drums and fire twirlers. But and yes, it's a big one, these drums worked, they unified people, they created momentum and excitement, they sounded great and what's more they were fun. Scott has amended his dislike of tribal drums to something along the lines of 'they are amazing on the right occasion'. (ie please use sparingly).

A friend of ours, Soli (gorgeous looking human to the left in the picture), astounded us with her drumming prowess.

Then the dancers arrived, which gave everyone even more energy and created even more excitement. 

Lanterns were being lit all around us and slowly we began to dance across the bridge following the dancers and the drummers. 

Oh my goodness it was like a group hug, everywhere you looked you saw different people from the community, some we recognised, some we didn't. But there was everyone and they were all beaming. 

The truly wonderful thing about this festival was that it was just for the Bellingen community, the celebration of our river, us. It wasn't about making money, selling merchandise, it was about celebrating.  In the past week we have had countless chats with people about town who have commented on the beauty of the festival and as they talk you can see the pride in their faces, what a town!