One of our all time favourite authors, Alison Lester has released a new book,Kissed by the Moon. It is as if she peeked into the dreams I have for my babies and wrote them all down in her beautiful words. Her illustrations as always are detailed and colourful, inspiring and magical. A must for under the Christmas tree this year.
Have you found a beautiful new children's book for your little ones? I'd love to hear.
Picture a cavernous space. Soaring ceilings and white on white walls where colour pops and stale imaginations are teased back into life. The School* - a place to create, to art make, to play. Where passionate teachers open doors to new crafts and revisit time honoured ones. Skills are dissected into more manageable tasks making them palatable to the very beginner and accomplished artisans alike. This creative juggernaut entices us back into a world where creating isn't self indulgent or frivolous, but a part of being human. With the divine Megan Morton at the helm one can be assured that each tiny detail will be beautifully thought out and a magnificent time is inevitable.
Come Saturday I will be drinking in all that is this creative world. Alongside my beautiful friend Em from little tienda I am so very excited to be teaching in this inspiring space. To celebrate Mexico and all its colour and exquisite handicrafts we will be hosting a Mexican Fiesta teaching traditional embroidery, Papel picado and paper flowers and feasting on an inspired and enticing lunch. Instagram friends from near and far will be gathering for anInstameet* also as the icing on the cake. It is sure to be a brilliant day and I so look forward to guiding beautiful souls to create with heart and hands.
* The School hosts so many inspiring and empowering workshops you simply must explore them. Perhaps Santa might pop one in your stocking this year and lead you on creative adventures in the new year.
* The Instameet will be held from 1-2 pm at The School, 85 Dunning Ave., Rosebery. It would be grand if you came and said hello!
He spied the poster a long time ago. Whilst sharing a milkshake at a favourite haunt and chatting about this and that his eyes narrowed in and his milk moustached mouth beamed, "Steam train Mumma!". It was scheduled for the day before his birthday and we couldn't think of a more fitting way to celebrate the adventure of his life.
With both sets of grandparents in tow we ran our hands over amber wood smoothed by time, wear and much careful polishing. We inhaled aged leather and coal smoke and caught the tail end of memories as they hung off curlicued brass and in the corners of pressed metal ceilings. Tales were told, eyes were widened and the corners of mouths were nearly always curled upwards. And amidst all the clickety clack and bustling chatter I watched him.
Eyes no longer blue like mine but green as sea glass like his Papa's. Hands still bearing the dimples and pudginess of the baby days yet facial features ever so slightly fining down. He was quiet and reserved as he often is in new spaces but his eyes danced each time the train tooted. I smiled inwardly at my naive pregnant self, the one who questioned whether it would be possible to love another baby as much as the one before. I recalled those early, gentle hours after his arrival when I held him close and we studied each other. "I'm rather smitten with you little man." I said as his soulful eyes searched mine. And with each day together I've continued to fall head over heels. His is a love of laughter, of kindness, of affection. It rolls like crystal rainforest creeks and bathes my weaknesses and follies; it refreshes. I am blessed to know him.
He has five shells crammed into his fist and a hula hoop dragging behind him - on Monday he turns two. A vocabulary quite unimaginable to us pours from him throughout the day and he laughs often. It is not uncommon to see him clothed in a bright red tutu. Time has revealed his own special nature; one of affection, humour and gentleness, one of determination, and sometimes fire. And as he navigates his way and tests his toes in deeper waters I am trying my hardest to breathe it all in.
I spent many stolen moments of Bijou's early years longing for the time that came before. Squinting my eyes to see the baby face features that had since fined, wistfully thumbing through photo albums and willing my memory to recall all the tiny moments. But what with the whirlwind adventures of Kindy and the imminent arrival of "big school" next year I have been taken firmly by the hand and hauled along this growing up journey whether I like it or not. Surprisingly each chapter has yielded richer prose than the one before.
In an effort to embrace Remy's growth and change I am beginning his bed quilt. Although still happy slumbering in a cot with no sign of wanting to move, this gentle and slow creating will hopefully aid me in the letting go of the baby. With each choice of cloth I will imbue this bed covering with all that he is. Raw linen and botanical prints for his love of the natural world, whimsical nautical images in honour of his bed time friend, and vintage trikes for his adventures. Little snips of faded checkered shirts and his first pair of jeans will no doubt find there way amongst this eclectic yet meaningful collection. As it grows I will hunt out sentimental prints and hues to marry it all together. And while I cut and pin and sew I will think of him. I will try to look back on his infancy not with sadness but with joy and I will daydream a life for this boy of mine. May he touch the stars.
My thoughts whir above my head like a cloud. Sometimes its a gentle, wispy one which floats calmly from idea to idea. But mostly it swirls like a swarm of angry bees; each thought fighting to be the queen. Taming this storm hasn't been easy and when life gets busy I hear it's hum turn to a roar. Although it's something I will always have to keep on top of I've found that writing things down has helped. Whether it be romantic notions scribbled whilst sipping a rare coffee in solitude, pre-slumber plans for the next day or "must remembers" into calendars and diaries, jotting down the contents of my brain has eased their ferocity. It has helped me to view my brain's zealous nature as a blessing too.
With all her imagination and rolling talk I know that Bijou shares this trait. I can tell by her constant chatter that her mouth simply can't keep up with the melody of thoughts that are vying for attention. She speaks quickly like her Mumma. And although she can't write yet I am encouraging her to keep a track of thoughts, ideas and plans with simple illustrations on paper. We made some little books for just such ramblings using some leftover watercolour paintings. Needless to say the bees came out to play.
Industrial noise seems to dominate my aural landscape. A too close main road and a neighbour obsessed with his leaf blower spew harsh tunes into the air. Even my "whisper quiet" kettle announces its presence with a distinctly un-natural sound. I sense the tightening in my shoulders and I nudge myself out of my little wallow - to change perspective.
From another section of the orchestra a steady breeze is passing through leaves tickling them with its cool fingers. In turn they are sending forth their crinkly laughter. A giant gum tree creaks as it allows the earth's turning to bend and sway her. It reminds me of ebb and flow. On quiet reflection I also tally four different bird calls from within her branches. Above me the tin roof pings as the hot sun contorts its form and I think of Summer and its imminent arrival. Far off rumblings herald the beginning of the storm season.
Equal in frequency these calming sounds are dwarfed by discordant mechanical musicians. Inadvertently I have chosen to magnify the annoying and let it diffuse my day with tension and disharmony. Although I have learnt to visually overlook the less appealing and hunt out the beauty in my everyday I have been unable to shake these unrelenting tunes from my ears. Perhaps it is time to shift my attention to the sounds around me. Can I focus on the soothing and beautiful and let them drown out the grating? I guess it is all a matter of perspective.
There is a stony creek we like to visit. We skim stones,exploreand collect wisps of nature toadorn our nestand fuel our creativity. Sometimes we pack a picnic, other times we head to a nearby rustic cafe for frothy milkshakes and animated chatter. Always we turn down a country road and pull up next to a thorny, waxy leafed tree; our wild bush lemon..
Like sleeping beauties hidden behind a barbed wall we spy pops of yellow here and there and before long we are throwing caution to the wind and loading our wicker basket to almost overflowing. Some of these gnarly jewels will be squeezed over smashed avocado on sourdough toast. Others will be drained of their juice for freezing, some may even be preserved in a salty brine. But there will always be enough for lemon butter.
We've been using this recipe with or without the passionfruit. And then devouring it on toast.
Since ancient times women folk have gathered in circles. A union of kin around a basket of corn to husk, a small congregation of apron clad ladies choosing their daily loaves of bread, tireless souls knitting socks and baking Anzac biscuits for their men at war across the seas. Day to day life in all its messy, glorious, mundaneness would be laid on the table and shared about with cups of tea and digested slowly over an hour or two.
A melody of stories peppered with laughter and sometimes tears would play effortlessly and the daily grind would be exposed of its trivialities. Mentors would reiterate that this time is so fleeting and advice would be gently given to those in need. All would leave feeling calmer, reassured and bolstered with new perspectives, a positive spin on a familiar problem and perhaps a recipe to try.
Although the frantic pace of this societal time has caused these circle gatherings to dwindle I feel so blessed to have found myself within one. Every few weeks I meet with a beautiful group of women as we thread needles with cotton and share our worlds over stitchery, tea and a few hours. Our conversations don't often delve into politics or economics but mostly life's theatrics- both comedic and tragic. And as it is a time I have to schedule into our busy world I once viewed it as terribly self indulgent. Now I have come to accept its necessity in nourishing me as a woman but mostly as a Mumma. A time of sharing wisdom, compassion and guidance; a circle of friendship.
Are you part of a women's circle? Do you gather every once in a while over coffee in the evening, or with littles underfoot to make shared meals or bread? Or perhaps a crafting circle. I'd love to hear.