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family

I’ve learned so much about family in the past few years.

Family can be blood – or not.  Family can be friends.  Family can be the community you live in, work or socialise with.  You can adopt a family – make your own, or choose to be an orphan within a very large one.

All very intriguing.

Growing up, my own family lived far away from our extended families, but I always remember when we returned for long summer holidays how completely we were embraced and how totally I felt that I belonged.  I always thought that was about blood, but I can see now that it was much more about acceptance and unconditional generosity.

And when you think about it, we are all capable of acceptance and unconditional generosity.

I am fortunate.  I have a big family.  It makes me uncomfortable that I don’t get to see them as often as I would like.  Life gets in the way, and looking after my own little family needs to come first (especially this year), but just knowing they are there makes me warm.  I also have friends that are very much family, and that is such a gift.

Zara drew a family tree for school that was put into a collective book this year, and it made me so happy.  She left a lot of people out, and worried for days about who should have been in there as well.  I was thrilled that she had such an all-encompassing attitude to it.  That friends & their children were family (blood or not), that people we like should have been included.  That random branches grew and spilled over the page.  And it got me thinking about who we let in and why, and about people who may find themselves alone at this time of year and be feeling the sting.

And what I would do if it were me.

I think I would get out there and make someone happy.  Maybe random people.  Maybe giving strangers flowers or leaving books in the park and at bus shelters.  Putting gifts under wishing trees and thinking about the smile on the recipient’s face.  If I had no money and nobody to spend the day with I would volunteer at a soup kitchen, because you would be in contact with so many others who needed a smile on that day because I have discovered, that putting a smile on a strangers face is an enormously expansive experience.

Because we are all family.  All of us.

And we are all blessed simply to be here and breathing don’t you think.

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sew

I’m back from Craft camp.

And what an inspiring weekend that was.

I laughed more than I have for ages.  Ate amazing food.  Shared stories.  Met old friends and new, and was amazed, at how easy it is – when you forget that you are supposed to be nervous, how wonderful people can be.

Wonderful people they were.  And hilarious.

I came prepared for a solid weekend of sewing, and realised, mid-stream that this was my opportunity to actually take it slow.  I wished I had taken some pattern books to study and pore over – to think slowly about, to be experimental with and to take more risks.  I learned more about subtraction cutting (oh my gosh, oh my gosh).  I pumped out the projects.

But mostly it was just so great to be in the company of others who get the craft thing, and appreciate it is a journey and a pleasure, and something worth experimenting with in a stylish manner.  So great to learn, and discuss and open the mind to new possibilities.  Those ladies rock.

They do.

 

 

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rustle and link

In some ways I lament the loss of physical community that humans (for the most part) need.  Like  most people – I tend to lock myself in – coming out when I’m good and ready to play on my own terms.  Lazy but comfortable.  I love immersing myself in things that fascinate and delight, and my favourite social/unsocial pastime lately, is markets, which Melbourne thankfully has in abundance. The Melbourne Design market was on last weekend and it was amazing.  Music pumping, the scent of vegetarian paella wafting through the carpark and some fab stalls.  And upstairs Fed Square’s Mark it.  which was pocket emptying in the nicest way.

LOVE a good market.  Strong design, knowing your money is going straight to the person who made it, and seeing how happy both parties are. Special thing.

I think that we all have something wonderful tucked away just waiting to be made whole in our hands. Something original and wonderful that is a gift just by being in the world. One way to get in touch with this amazingness is by participating in a swap.  Sooz recently put the call out for participants in a ‘usefulness’ swap.

I love a good swap.

I love considering what to contribute.  The making of the object(s), wrapping them up and sending them off and then the anticipation of what will come back.  Mostly I love the sending off.  That is just such a thrill.  I almost forget that there is something coming back until there is a parcel delivered and that is a beautiful surprise.  The theme of this swap was to provide something that was eco-friendly.  I approached my contribution laterally and made a neckpiece for each of my swaps.  All different and hopefully a nice surprise.  They were made of Fimo which was mono-printed using newspaper so that they took on a light print.  I forgot to take photos (did I mention I was excited about sending them off) and a few of them were black with a slight sparkle in the mix.  They were wrapped in bags made of bamboo wadding, or the softest grey polar fleece I have ever felt.  I hope they found happy owners.

Thank you to Dee for a crochet dish cloth too beautiful to use for its intended purpose, Jo for a pincushion (I so needed a new one!) and drawstring bag, Ellen for a wheat bag (again – so needed!) and some beautiful fabric,  Sonya (no link) for some heavenly Garam Masala and handmade chocolate soap, Handmade lipgloss and some lollies all the way from Germany from Nicole (no link),  A cotton facecloth and soap saver from Abbington (no link) which is again too beautiful to use but I will, Bookmark from Nikkishell,  Eco travel lid from Breanna (no link), A marketbag from Rachel, and a Printed linen teatowel from my friend Alison.

Each item delightful in itself and because it was given out into the world with a happy heart and with a smile.

Each item lovingly turned over and appreciated.

Thank you ladies – I hope your ears are burning, you rock. 🙂

And thanks Sooz for organising the swap.  It was such a lovely thing to be part of.

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Escape aide

The day after my show opened I took a train with a mate to the city.  To see Dali, the Ian Potter centre, be immersed in art, lunch and chat.

Delightful and dangerous.

dali1

It is difficult to go from a free and inspiring day to cooking and homework.

Especially when the art on offer takes one so thoroughly out of the every day and brings new things to explore.  I do find that aspect of parenting difficult.  I miss the easy flow that allows ones own mind to come to its own logical uninterrupted conclusions.  Having a multiple of conversations going at the same times doesn’t leave much room for ones own thoughts on some days.  Which can make a girl cranky even though I would die without them.

But we are, at the end of the day, who we are because of all those little meanderings, and perhaps choice is not really choice at all – just natural chaos at work.

dali2

But anyway, back to Dali.

To be honest I was never a huge fan of Dali.  The pervasive images that are generally associated with him are not that interesting to me, and while I appreciate how astonishing them must have been at the time, they leave me a little flat.

It was amazing though, to actually be close to his works and see the level of perfection in the strokes.  The attention to detail and the gentleness of line.  He was a masterful draftsman and a beautiful drawer.

The jewellery is housed in an amazing room padded with red velvet cushions.  Sumptuous and moody.  I could have happily sat in there for a long time.

And in fact, that was my favourite thing about the exhibition.  The way it was structured, with a series of rooms, and experiences and two theatres to watch films.  In reaching the end of the ‘maze’ one felt as if a journey had been completed and that was enormously satisfying.

I think he would have approved.

Another great discovery was this:

water1

An installation at the back of the gallery called Five elements: water by Master Tetsunori Kawana.

water3

swoop

water5

Breathtaking in its scale and execution.  I’ll be taking the kids back to see this one.

And a very good lunch here. I LOVE Melbourne.  So much to offer when you step outside your comfort zone.

I think we all need days like this one, it will be making me happy for a long time.

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Blessings

spots

It happens, every so often that I wake up and just feel so overwhelmingly blessed.  Cuddles from  little ones, and declarations of love.  Bright sunlight and the smells of food that is healthy and good.  A day of good company and the outdoors. Inspiration flowing and positive feedback and a good night’s painting.  Things that seemed claustrophobic last week are looking expansive this week.  isn’t the mind a peculiar thing.

In the last 24 hours I have seen some wonderful things.  Some shouldn’t be posted about because they are not mine to discuss but watching the hands of friendship reach out and touch those known and not known has left me with a feeling of profound gratitude for peoples ability to be in a loving state of mind and be vulnerable and generous.  Which is difficult and special and not as hard as you’d think.

The blogging community in particular (or perhaps just because it is most visible if you move in those ether-circles) seems delightfully open to this and is a well-spring of joy and inspiration to me.

This touched me.  And this.  And congrats to this wonderful addition to our blog world (sign up for a giveaway).

ropes

I made this (mostly) from Kirsten’s free pattern.  after seeing it on Pinry’s blog and at her home.  How wonderful to have friendships that spill over to blogging and back into the real world..

This fellow continues to be a great inspiration on-line.  I am in awe of him and hope one day to see some paintings in real life.  It continues to amaze me how much the mind and heart can expand in front of a computer.

The world is full of all kinds of wonderful.  🙂

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only natural

It’s only natural that a day out frolicking here in excellent company should be lovely.

treehouse

And result in a ridiculous number of photographs (hurrah for digital cameras).

It’s only natural that the ensuing inspiration should cause some discomfort when I am unable to purge what is building up creative-wise.

It’s only natural – given that lack of hours currently unavailable – that I should dream large and consider an exciting collaborative project (which should be more carefully structured before I go spilling it all or approaching anyone).

pinry

It’s only natural – given that I have known this fabulous elegant, eloquent and fascinating lady for over 20 years that I would get excited when she starts a blog.  Go Pinners!

labne

And speaking of natural – I don’t think you can get more naturally fabulous than Labne.

You need one tub of greek yoghurt, a clean dry teatowel, some string and olive oil.

labne-hang

Lay the teatowel over a bowl and spoon the yoghurt into the middle.  Draw the edges up so you have a bag – fasten with string and hang over a sink or bowl to drain overnight – or into the next day if the weather is not too hot.  You will  lose about 20-30% in water, and will be left with an amazingly un-yoghurt like substance with the texture of cream-cheese.

Roll into balls with your hands and place in a bowl.  Cover with olive oil, put in the fridge and use within a week.

Fantastic on toast with sun-dried tomato, with any kind of roasted vegetable in a salad, as substitute for sour cream on baked potatoes or even on it’s own in pita bread as a snack.

And now I’m hungry.  Naturally.

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gathering

mossjar

I’m not feeling guilty, but do feel adrift somewhat since the opening.  Now it’s well and truly up, and I can breathe, get the house and our lives back in order after months of (almost) neglect.

I am trying to accustom myself to an easier pace and finding it difficult.

mosstop

This fell from our roof (or guttering I imagine).  Kicked off by birds doing what they do, and landed on the front step.  How wonderful!  Moss.  So I gathered it up and made a little terrarium which is engrossing in it’s tiny detail and making me happy.  A timely reminder to take it easy and let a little gather on this stone that has been rolling for what seems like the longest time.

I am swaying between languid gazing out the window and furtive activity.  I even had a spontaneous shopping expedition which was fruitful and exciting and brave.  Very proud of myself.

There has been a shedding of detritus.  Paperwork that has piled up.  Piles that need to be sorted.

There has been gathering of other things.  Happy catch ups, re-connections in real time or blog world (so out of touch with so many beautiful blogs).  Knitting together of yarn and plans and plots.

And a personal need for speed that I am (nearly) resisting.

High on the list of things making me lust for speed and langorous happy is a new book Views from a speeding train released by one of my favourite ladies (and artists) Amanda Van Gils.

avpic

Views from a speeding train (Barcelona to Monpellier), by Amanda Van Gils

Amanda is a Melbourne Artist who I’ve had the pleasure of knowing online and off for a few years now.  Last December she showed the works featured in this book at Jenny Port Gallery to rave reviews.  Seeing the works up close was a wonderful and fascinating experience.  To be looking at a speeding landscape as you stand – still and quiet in your own space – brings peace and movement at the same time.  Exactly how I’d describe my present state of being.

avcalendar

Views from a speeding train (Barcelona to Nice), by Amanda Van Gils

When she made a calendar of the work available I bought it straight away and it’s been making me happy on a daily basis ever since.

I think it’s fantastic how as artists we are able to self-publish and make work available to people who may not otherwise be able to afford a larger painting, or who would like to sit with it in their own home for a time and get acquainted with a new style or body of work before making the decision to invest.

How lovely to be able to gather moss and speed at the same time. 😉

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