I've always had a fascination with astrology and divination. Coming from an alternative family it wasn't unusual to receive tarot cards or set of runes for Christmas and to sit around on New Year's Eve our star signs for the coming year. It was innate within me to look to the sky and to the tarot deck for inspiration and insight, but as I 'grew up', got a 'real job' and bought a 'real house', I lost touch with that part of my world. Not intentionally mind you. I just got too 'busy', doing what I thought was 'right' to star gaze and look inward for answers.
Then everything changed and immediately I began to realise that the life I thought I had planned was no longer serving me. My paradigm began to shift and over the last two years, I've been learning to once again trust my intuition and follow my heart. I've begun to reconnect with the moon cycles, the seasons, the solstices, equinoxes and the world around me. I've found beautiful tarot deck that calls to my soul and books, websites and amazing people like Cheray, who have helped me to search within and trust myself again.. that free spirited young girl, who wore love beads around her neck and flowers in her hair.
So this week, as I open my journal and draw my cards, I write out my dreams. And I do so happily knowing that now isn't quite the right time to bring them to life, just yet. I've got so many ideas right now, big wild ideas. They need time, love and so much energy and I know in my heart things will fall into place in time, but for right now,with the new moon and this Mercury retrograde, I'll keep them nestled within my journal pages and not get caught up thinking that I'm not 'doing enough' or 'making stuff happen'.
Slowing down, letting go, trusting your intuition and allowing possibilities to unfurl in time.. It's a beautiful thing.
So if you're feeling a little bit stuck over the past few weeks, things not going your way, technology driving you crazy, too many ideas and not enough time. Don't worry, it's not just you, it's in the stars. Just breath, put your phone down, go outside (remember to take a jacket if it's as cold at your place as it is here), reconnect with the world around you, have a beautiful Friday and nurturing new moon.
This time last month I was sitting in this very spot, writing a post very similar to this one. I look back now and am amazed at what four weeks can bring. Within a month, I've finished up projects and begun new ones, had some wonderful insights on and off the yoga mat and I've seen my work in print in three magazines. Our broad beans have almost outgrown me, the rainbow chard just keeps going strong and we are still surrounded by mandarins. Miss Tallow is nearly nine months old, almost standing all by herself, is full of chatter, giggles and is fabulously determined. The days are getting colder and I keep reminding myself to stay present, focused and enjoy this lovely season.
I've been feeling so inspired with a crochet hook in my hand lately. As well as making wall mandalas for Wilde Asher, I've been keeping my hands busy making a rainbow pixie bonnet for Tallow and also working on a few presents for expecting mamas.
Our kitchen has been bustling with activity lately, especially on the weekends. The local farmers market has been full of lovely produce, so as soon as we get home from our Saturday morning outing, the whole family is in the kitchen, working on stock, stewing seasonal fruit, baking bread, biscuits and making fabulous chai mix. It's our happy place.
I'm making my first loaf of sourdough this week! I'm a bit precious about my starter and may have been moving it around the house throughout the day so it didn't get cold. Oh my! Can't wait to share how it turns out.
I've been slowly working to fill our home with only natural products. Now that I've got our cleaning products sorted, next up is the bathroom. While the majority of our products are eco friendly, I'm really passionate about making my own, especially after watching films like this one. Ever since I've been looking at all those bottle and jars totally differently and I'm really looking forward to changing the way I approach cosmetics. I'm loving this post.. Got a lemon? Got a beauty product!
I'm super excited that the lovely ladies at Mollie Makes have interviewed me as part of their Photography special. Photography has played such an important part of my creative evolution and I had such fun sharing a little bit about my creative process.
This is Us.. Wandering down by the local billabong on a beautiful winter afternoon.
It's not often I share a photo like this, in fact, I'm not sure I've shared a 'selfie' since about 2008. But as I looked back through the photos we took on Sunday, I just couldn't get this photo out of my head. We are standing at a very special spot at Kings Billabong. The last time Ben and I were there, was in September of 2012, a little over a month after we lost Cohen. We sat together, looking out over the water, knowing we were meant to be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary, instead we quietly made plans to leave our home behind, trying with all our might to flee every emotion that encompassed our lives.
On Sunday, just be chance we found ourselves in the very same spot, happily playing with our baby, laughing as we took silly photos and watched the pelicans basking in the winter sunshine. It was everything I had wished we would be on that day in 2012. It's our little family, right now, just as we are.. embracing our beautiful rainbow girl, missing our precious angel.. Full of love, hope and exciting possibilities for our future.
Sometimes these winter mornings leave me a little lacklustre and searching for that kick start, a moment of sunshine and heat to ignite my creative fire for the day. These dark, cold mornings have never really agreed with me, so when Tallow and I wave goodbye to Ben each morning, I must admit to breathing a sigh of relief that we can hang out it our pajamas for a while longer (sometimes a long while) and take the mornings slowly. Some days I notice my mind wandering, as I boil the kettle or wash the dishes, wishing for an extra hour to myself and a uninterrupted cup of tea. It's so easy to live in the past, wishing that everyone had a good night's sleep, wondering how the washing pile got so high. It's even easier to live in the future, in the hope of a long morning nap, daydreaming about the weekend, writing endless to dos. The hard part is being in the present, letting it all go, the lists, the washing, the lack of sleep.. to just be.
The present is raw and open to all possibilities. It hasn't had the opportunity to be 'touched up' by the mind, it hasn't digressed off the path, it's right there and some days it can be a little daunting, especially when it's cold and foggy and it's so much easier to huddle up by the heater and daydream. I've realised though, it's in the mindful present, that those wonderful sparks of creativity, energy and purpose (the really good stuff) are to be found, ironically the very same sparks I'm most often daydreaming about.
So this week, I've made a promise to myself.. to embrace the cliches and live in the moment. I've given up my list making, opened the blinds early to catch every drop of morning sunshine and just dived straight into our days. I've let the hours unfold without watching the clock, played, read (mostly 'That's not my Fairy/Bunny/Mermaid/Tiger') giggled and danced, captured creative opportunities when they appeared and perhaps most importantly, I've stopped worrying at 6pm about where the day has gone.
And I know it's so easy to slip into old patterns, to worry about things I can't change, get swept away in tomorrow's plans and to scroll through social media feeling like I'm not keeping up. But know when I do, I remind myself to stop, to let the feeling go and come back to the present, to the moment that really counts.
Day by day we have waited, for shades of green to turn vibrant shades of orange. You can often find me staring from the kitchen window, just basking in the beauty and colour of the two citrus trees that take centre stage in our beloved garden. There is such romance in meandering across the lawn and picking a ripe orange right from the tree, inhaling its fragrant perfume and knowing that moment of childhood delight, pulling the skin carefully away from the juicy flesh is only moments away.
When we first moved into our little white cottage just a stones throw from the beautiful Murray River, we couldn't believe our luck to find two citrus trees in the garden, one mandarin and one orange. While we waited for the fruit to ripen, the branches groaning under with weight of their delights, I daydreamed and searched for recipes that would make the most of our sweet bounty.
The inspiration for one such recipe arrived courtesy of an episode of River Cottage Australia. A delightful slice, that's a little bit naughty and feels a little bit like cheating (with no oven required) but is simply the most lovely and easy treat to serve for afternoon tea when friends drop by.
Winter is a challenging time of year for me, one that brings up so many emotions, even more so now that we are back in Mildura. Mid July I'll be celebrating my thirtieth year on beautiful mama Earth and August brings the second year we will be without our angel Cohen. I'm taking each day as it comes, reminding myself to be present in the moment, rather than wishing Winter to be over too soon. We prepare ourselves with extra blankets and coats and cuddle up close as we wait for the sun to rise. And while I prepare our home for the cold days ahead, I prepare myself too, going gently, reflecting often and writing from the heart.
Everywhere I turn change is abundant, in the seasons, in the words I read, images I see and people I share with. There is a homespun revolution taking place, slow and steady and so wonderful. It makes me so excited to read more, explore more, meet more people and share more ideas.
I think I've linked to it before, but I just can't get this amazing groundhouse out of my head. I love the thought of building our own home, especially one that works sustainably with nature. This project is endlessly inspiring and has us really beginning to develop a plan for our very own.
Letter by letter, I'm really enjoying writing to my lovely penpals from around the world. I must admit I was quite overwhelmed at first, realising how many letters I had to write, but I've reminded myself, it is called snail mail for a reason. So I'm letting my heart lead the way, creating little envelopes filled with love and inspiring bits and pieces and day by day, filling pages with introductions, memories, questions and musings.
I'm longing to make a sweet little potting bench on the back patio, I'm totally going to make a few of these for the kitchen and I'd love one of these for making almond milk.
I taught myself to crochet about six years ago, just after I started blogging. My mother would tell you I've always been a pretty determined little soul, if I wanted to learn to do something, I'd just keep trying until I got it right. So armed the enthusiasm and determination of my five year old self, learning to do a cartwheel, I watched a few you tube clips and with hook and yarn in hand, I taught myself to crochet over a long weekend in 2008.
Over the years, I've made beanies, berets and baby blankets, I even managed a vest without a pattern, but I've started many more projects than I've actually finished. It's always the same story, I can never find quite the right yarn, I settle for something I don't love and then I give up after a few squares or rows, getting bored or just not 'feeling it'. And I'm always left totally frustrated and defeated that I can't make what I can see so clearly in my head. Lately I've been feeling like I just want to finish something, to prove to myself I really can do it.
So when I read about Kate's lovely idea to do a motif a day in May, my heart rejoiced. Here was a goal, a deadline, something to work towards, something I could make myself accountable for. And the crochet fairies must have been listening, because in the very same week, after years of searching, I found the perfect rainbow of cotton yarn, colours that would finally bring my ideas to life. When I first signed up for the motif challenge, it was really just to give myself a creative kick up the rear, but in the process, one colourful mandala at a time, I was able to give myself so much more.
Without any patterns, any plans, every few days I would sit down and let my hands find their way. Each mandala had a story to tell, inspired by a song I was listening to, a film I was watching, a pairing of colours I noticed in a magazine. More than that though, each mandala was stitched mindfully, during nap time and late in the evenings, when our home was quiet and still and so was I. And in that stillness I found the space I needed to exhale, to stretch my creative muscles and dream up some really exciting ideas.
This is what I love about 'craft', it can totally transform you, body, mind and soul. At the end of it all, I found myself with something that money could never buy, thirty-one mindful mandalas, which will come together to adorn Tallow's bedroom and a month of memories, happiness and endless possibilities.
I've decided my great grandmother Isobel had it right. She tendered her garden, raised her own chickens and gathered her family together each day. I was always inspired by the prettiness of her era, the embroidered tablecloths, the fine bone china. These days though, I'm more inspired by her way of life, her simple, homespun everyday. I wish I could ask her how to keep the snails off my broccoli, which breed of hen will be hardy and lay well and what the secret to her shortbread recipe is.
I crave simplicity in my kitchen, my craft room, my wardrobe... in my whole life. I no longer want a cupboard full of teacups, a basket of unused yarn and box full of pretty fabrics. I want to be practical rather than just crafty. So I make things to warm us in winter, cloths to keep the house clean, toys for Tallow to play with. I embrace the tea cup rings on my dining table, love my gently worn, thrifted jeans and yearn for meals made entirely from our own garden.
I'm no longer searching as much 'out there', in the commercial world for inspiration, I find it just where I am. In the willows that overhang the river and the cockatoo feathers we find on our slow afternoon walks. It's at the stalls of the local farmers market and in the vibrant marigold blossoms that dance about my garden. They tell me stories and fill my days with colour and possibility.
Now I look for the artisan in the everyday. The serepe draped around my shoulders, the hand turned mug I saved at the tip shop, the chard and spinach I lovingly tend to in my little veggie patch. It's those pieces of everyday that add up to shape a simple and beautiful homespun life.