Sunday 23 December 2012

thank you

Bags are packed, presents sewn and wrap, I am dripping with sweat and we are almost out the door. I am ready to relax and enjoy the restful and beautiful time ahead. Before I head down to my parents and then to Sydney for a week or so, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you to you beautiful people who come and drop in and peer into very little snippets of our lives, to those who stay and  engage and to those 'behind the scenes', who fill our lives. Thank you, it has been lots of fun.

This year has been a huge year and I want to say how grateful I am for dear old friends with whom I have been able to be me in a beautiful safe space that is always warm and everlasting, to new friends who have embraced me and my family, who love us, encourage us and are so open with offers of support. I am grateful for my family, to those who whisper kind and loving words and I am thankful for those who forgive, for those who understand and for those who love with open arms.
Oh and to those very special ones, you know who you are, who have loved and created very wonderful friendships with Poe and Ilo, watching the way that they feel loved and safe with you, moves me beyond words. Thank you.

I love that this year we have been able to explore so many new opportunities and step into shoes we would never have thought to try on. So many wonderful adventures have been had, it has been one amazing ride.

Wishing you all lots of love, beautiful easy times, squeals of delight, oodles of fun, plenty of magical moments and most of all lovely, special relaxing times with your nearest and dearest. 

Thursday 20 December 2012

exhaling bit by bit

Lately, each day I sit and read with Poe and Ilo a few extra books than usual, I find myself lying on the lounge just thinking about what I need to do rather than doing or sometimes thinking of nothing at all, I partake in random fancy dress requests, chose to linger rather than rush and have put a lot more effort into Christmas crafting/decorating with the kids. We have stayed at home, we have nested, we have experienced the after school term come down and emerged beautifully on the other side. It feels good. It feels right, cocooning and loving those near.
Yet I can't deny that despite all this loveliness, I still kind of feel like I am in denial about some gifts yet to be made, packages yet to be sent (many are on their way though) yep, hoping for a bit of magic on that front, maybe my long awaited clone will finally arrive and step in and do some late night crafting for me, hmmmm.
My body, however seems to be literally yelling at me to slow down, it keeps throwing all kinds of acts of mayhem at me, I must admit I have had no choice but to take it seriously after all, it has definitely taken an emotional battering this year, yes, I have realised this year that I physically manifest my emotional stress but am working on moving that on real quick. I look forward to letting some things go and taking a nice cleansing inhalation before next year begins (and whatever else it takes to start afresh).*

That is where I am now, however.....................

last week we had a very special celebration at Poe's School, it was his 'going up' ceremony, from Kindergarten to Year One, it was amidst a week of craziness but was a welcome pause, so wonderfully sweet and special. The Kindy children enter a room with all the parents, their current teacher, Annabel, their new teacher James (who is so very lovely) and their Year Eight buddies. Annabel then brings each child up with their buddy, the child gives their buddy a candle they have made and the buddy gives the child a bracelet they made for them, after putting on the bracelet the year Eight buddy would have a little saying for the child, quite often from Dr Seuss;

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” 

“A person's a person, no matter how small.” 

That kind of gorgeous and inspiring stuff. Then Annabel gives the child a little velvet pouch and the child gave their new teacher a flower. Yes, I was crying, so simply beautiful, I especially loved seeing the connection between the Year Eight buddies and the Kindy children.
Then we formed an arch outside and the children led by their new teacher James went through the arch and followed the stars up the stairs to their new classroom. They stayed up there for an hour or so then we all came together for a delicious group feast. It all felt really special, so beautiful seeing the children being 'held' so warmly as they made their transition from Kindergarten to Class One. At Chrysalis, as it is for a lot of Steiner Schools, the Year One teacher is the teacher they will have throughout their whole time at the school. I thought about that quite often as I watched James and the children during the ceremony, he will be with them and see and support them as they grow, he will be part of our lives for the next eight years, who knows what adventures and experiences we will have together.

*I don't mean to be mysterious re my 'emotional' year but it does help to know that blogland is not real life. There are really wonderful, beautiful blogs out there that do share a lot, but that's not for me, however it is hard to know when and how to draw the line. Moving away from friends is hard, maintaining and figuring out long distance relationships can be hard, communication is hard. But the rewards, are unbelievable, so beautiful and nourishing and worth all the hardship and then some. That's all. xxx

Sunday 16 December 2012

The Perch Creek Family Jugband, oh my

What a wonderful night, these guys are absolutely amazing, so so so much fun and totally inspiring, yes even me, who has had no previous instrument inclinations was drawn by the possibility of playing a banjo ukelele, I doubt that this would actually ever happen, my drive wasn't that long lasting, but there was a glimmer, a vision and a thought, pretty lovely for that moment.
Perch Creek were entertainment plus, saws, jugs, washboards were all played in a magnificent manner, there was totally enthusiastic and hot tap dancing on stage and on a table and a variety of other awesome moments.
Interestingly this wasn't the first time I have seen them, I did see them last year at the Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival and they were good but nowhere near as great as they are now, it feels like they have absolutely blossomed since then.  In the last year or so they have moved to Melbourne, toured Europe and played literally oodles of gigs, the result of all this is beautiful. They are raucous, funny, sweet and so delightful. I highly recommend checking out their intensive touring schedule and going to see them, children will also be totally awestruck and inspired by them, what a show.

As the last song was played to a whooping, laughing and delighted crowd, in swept the Samba gang fresh and excited and ready to, uh, dance, instead they swiftly grabbed me, waved to Scott and we headed to a very lovely unit a few doors down. A hysterical, crazy, ultra fun and not that late a night ensued. Riding my bike home through a sleepy darkened town, I marvelled at the wind in my ears, the stars above and of all the beautiful moments that had happened that night.

Thursday 13 December 2012

music news

photo by 'Natsky'

I just realised that there has been a lot happening on the Scott music front that I have foolishly failed to share with you all. Firstly and awesomely, The Mid North were nominated for Best Country song and Best Album in the North Coast Dolphin Awards. Scott got all glammed up and headed to Lismore with a friend for the red carpet event and guess what.....I am sure you have guessed but they won both  awards, how wonderful is that. Scott, as you could imagine was totally delighted, as we all were. So lovely to get some public recognition for his wonderful work and talent. I only wish I could have been there to celebrate with him, but we aren't quite ready to leave Ilo overnight. Maybe next year.

News to hand part two, we are having the lovely Nadine and Sammy staying at ours for the next couple of nights as they play in town and up the mountain in Dorrigo, they are part of a band called The Foghorn Stringband and their music is awesome, if you are into old timey music. So personally I am really excited, apparently they are into all night jamming, woohooo, the lovely Grant from The Butcher Boys will also be staying, so I am preparing for some serious yawns and dark circles under my eyes, can't wait.

I will also be heading up to No. 5 tonight to take some photos of the Perch Creek Family Jugband, a seven piece band consisting of brothers and sisters, yes they do play the jug and washboard!

And finally, Scott has been planning a 'O'Brother Where Art Thou' night in town at the Memorial Hall in March, basically a whole heap of talented people in town will perform the soundtrack in a dinner and show kind of night. So great right? Well, it get's better because Mike Compton, a 'modern master of Bluegrass mandolin' who plays on the actual film soundtrack will be in town and will performing!!! Again, totally great.

Yes, it's all happening people. Anyone who has been thinking of visiting and happens to love the 'O'Brother' soundtrack, March might just be the time to come.

Monday 10 December 2012

far and few

Oh yes, days, maybe even weeks may pass between blog posts these days. A lot is happening, in the mind, the heart and more often than not the hands. This time of year, as I am sure it is with many of you is mayhem, it definitely feels like we are just holding on, closing our eyes and hoping we get through it. Scott and I are both juggling a larger than usual work load, which being freelancers is great, we cannot complain about that, but let's just say there has been a lot of coordinating being done and I can honestly stay that we may just be living in an authentic pigsty. Scott has been working on this crazy series and I as you well and truly know have been sewing and taking quite a few photos at No. 5 and then sewing some more, mostly til midnight. Yes, it has been a bit of a production around here, complete with dramas as my overlocker suddenly goes completely mental and decides to eat my clothes rather than finish them off in a delightfully orderly way. Eeek.

Weirdly with all this sewing, I have taken hardly any photos of what I have been making, which is just strange for me but totally understandable considering the need to create lots and lots of pieces. But I will let you know it has pretty much been all white. No, not alright. All white. Yes, for the recent Artisan's market I shared a stall with the magnificent and very talented Nicole (who is a ceramicist who knows that less is more, her pieces are simple, yet perfect) and we went with a white/cream theme. It was really quite liberating to stick with a theme. The stall looked so wonderful, a little oasis, it was pretty great watching people enter and seeing their shoulders relax and little sighs escape as they look around and as an added bonus we had a bumper day, which was fantastic. Strangely by the time I did manage to think about taking photos a lot of the pieces had already found new homes. Hmmm, on second thoughts we were quite busy from the get go, ah yes, my excuse is now due to busyness. Yes, will stick with that.
The Artisan's market was really impressive, gee there are some talented folk around these parts, Nick created a few spectacular bird pieces, Soli some stunning jewellery, along with Bell and her gorgeous clothes and hoops, amazing basket weaving, other ceramics (no where near amazing as Nicole's work though), some paintings and other bits and pieces, a really unique and impressive market.

I have, however decided to keep with the theme at this week's monthly markets and maybe I will have the time and brain space to remember to capture the stall in all it's glory.

Amongst all this I would especially like to thank Ilo, for being so wonderful and self sufficient, I have loved sewing and watching him through the door potter about, sit and draw, lie on the lounge, come to me for kisses and just be totally wonderful. Here he is cutting the rug (yes he has been heavily influenced by my Samba routine) and playing a few tunes with a couple of friends, Peppa and Lara.

Oh and here is a huge  thank you. Thank you to Nikki and Imogen, these wonderful bloggers gorgeously mentioned my crafty wares at Blue Caravan on their blogs, just because they wanted to, I promise, I didn't even beg, plead or coerce. Thank you lovely ones, You guys are awesome. 

Wednesday 5 December 2012


Last weekend we made a little road trip to my parents place, we gathered there with my brother and his beautiful partner James, my aunt Patma and my sister Suriya and there we prepared for a party to celebrate my parents and their 40 years of marriage. Amongst all the cooking, decorating and yes, a bit of op shopping, my most favourite part of the lead up to the party was the late night chats. Sitting out on our back deck staring at the stars, being amused by flying termites and doubling over with laughter, i felt my soul being nourished, it was so easy and so full of love. 
I found it interesting watching my parents and seeing where they are now, they seem to be in a place where individually they are both nourished, nourished by their art, their friends, their family, their interests and together they, as they said ' to get to their comfort zone', yes they still have their moments but they love where they are in their lives, feeling so blessed by their relationship and all those around who help to support it and to open it up. 
How gorgeous are these old pictures, taken in Penang, where my mum grew up and where she met my dad. 
The party was full of people from all different generations, old friends, new friends, children's friends, grandchildren's friends and family. It was a great and easy party, wonderful music, dishes upon dishes of amazing food (lots of curries), flowers, flags and laughter. All these things reflect what my parents bring together and share. 

True to form, the rest of the weekend was also about food, my brother brought his pasta machine along and we ate fresh rainbow trout from the backyard, unfortunately the heat was a little too much for them, luckily they were a great size for eating. 

Okay, heading back to my pile of sewing, getting ready for the Artisan's market this weekend and Bello market next weekend. But stay tuned for some Christmas crafting ideas. xxx

Thursday 29 November 2012

in the van

hey there lovely ones, life has been a bit crazy around these parts lately, very emotional and full in my head partnered with me literally wading through mountains of lace and linen as things start to amp up with markets agogo, restocking Blue Caravan and half hearted thoughts about Christmas crafting.
Sadly by brain is not quite kicking into the Christmas crafting yet, this has led to me feeling vaguely panicked, but live in hope that inspiration (and motivation and time) will strike me down and i will be overcome with easy but wonderful gifts to create.

In the meantime, here is a little sample of what you can find in my online shop at Blue Caravan, I have been having a great time doing these delicious miniature embroideries on toy blocks, totally affordable and accessible art, wooohooo. I have quite a few more kicking around in my head and I am open to commissions,  hope you like them.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Working on a building

Okay, well maybe not, unfortunately after a building inspection we have decided not to buy, our very exciting dream. Yes, so disappointing but once we discovered some rotten supporting beams which had been eaten out by termites we knew we were in for a bigger job than planned. Our builder called it a 'money pit'. So just like that the home we were 'living in' in our minds, disappeared. After a few chats we have now kind of decided that if it stays on the market for a while and the owners will budge a LOT on the price then maybe we will try again, in the meantime however we have fresh ideas and a new perspective on what we might now be looking for in a home.
You see, we tossed around so many alternative building options that we were nearly delirious. We did some research on sandbag or earthbag building, strawbale, mudbrick and most excitedly hempcrete. Hempcrete, grown locally, is sounding like a pretty amazing natural building product and one that is growing in uses and function. It is mould and fungus proof, a great insulator, has wonderful acoustic properties, sequesters carbon dioxide for the life of the building, is lightweight and solid and is termite and fire resistant. We have a lot churning through our minds at the moment, but we are very glad we discovered this 'surprise' before throwing a whole lot of money, time and love into the space.

So stay tuned, I guess. In the meantime, to help you all recover from the shock and disappointment, here is Ilo playing a Bluegrass standard 'Working on a Building' with The Mid North.

Thursday 22 November 2012

link it

A few little links today, hope you enjoy.

  • My new beautiful friend Nikki, you might remember her gorgeous face from here, asked me a few questions for her blog Wholefood Mama. It was fun, I procrastinated, I took lots of not quite right photos and changed my mind about recipes a lot and then decided to just do it, so glad I did. Thanks Nikki. 
  • We received a special package in the mail from Cass, some belated birthday gifts. I unwrapped a deliciously colourful and wonderful piece of fabric and Poe was gifted this wonderful book;  Miss Rumphis (and a couple of packets of seeds). This book all had us smiling and delighting by the end of it, I highly recommend giving it to everyone, seriously. It has everything; exploring the world, retiring by the see, guerilla gardening and delight. Apparently it is a classic, unfortunately this is the first time I have come across it, our lives are so much richer now we have it in our lives, thanks Cass.
  • I have just finished reading Rad Dad, a wonderful, amusing and beautiful book by two fantastic humans who are passionate about their parenting journeys and hearing about others. They have been running this blog for a while now. The book looks at the newborn experience through to childhood and teenagers, there was lots of love, wisdom and humour. I especially loved a couple of stories about that boring and insidiously poisonous act of gender stereotyping, it was touching and beautiful hearing these fathers talk about how they act against it, for themselves and for their children, especially one transgender father who acknowledged how damaging stereotyping had been for him growing up and how determined he was to encourage equality and acceptance in his childs life. 
* Rad Dad also gave a little nod to an awesome blogger Blue Milk, who blogs about her experiences in Motherhood as a feminist. I particularly love how she writes about the gender stuff;  encouraging non-conformity (check out this post about s gender non conforming colouring in book), embracing children as individuals and educating others, she even created a workbook for her child's school and ran a workshop on gender stereotyping, yes she is that awesome. 

Tuesday 20 November 2012


Enjoying the delights of a little Vintage pop up shop/garage sale, hosted by the lovely Leisa and Ben, who are new to town from The Central Coast. The excessive amount of Vintage clothing up for grabs was not any ordinary collection it was from her shop Pumpanickle Vintage.
Some more No.5 food snaps for a local mag, Focus. 
Cath, trying on outfits for Harrietville, National Bluegrass Festival
Scott being loved up by Poe and Ilo after returning from nearly a week away at Harrietville.