Friday, 30 January 2015

We Grow & Gather - Tomatoes..

 The humble tomato.. my goodness have a learnt so much about you this summer. You are wonderful, plentiful, strangely mysterious and a very welcome addition to our garden.  

This season has been our first 'proper' attempt at growing tomatoes.  Previously we had grown a few cherry tomatoes here and there, but this year, I was determined to have enough tomatoes to make passata.  So as soon as it was warm enough, in they went, any type we could find, seeds and seedlings, along the side fence, with a few eggplants, capsicums and some lovely basil.  

All was going well, fruit began to appear and we were dreaming about the prospect of fresh tomatoes for summer, but on closer inspection, things were not all peachy in our patch.  One of our large heirloom varieties was not looking well and it was clear some little critters had come home with the seedlings we had bought.  Snails too were getting into anything low to the ground and the usual suspects, our gang of slater bugs were also joining in the fun.  At the beginning of summer, I was pretty sure I'd be making one tiny jar of passata from the baby romas I'd managed to salvage.  

We took some action, removing one of the plants we decided was just causing too much trouble and trellising as much fruit up off the ground as possible. We also decided to harvest almost as soon as the fruit began to turn red, in the hope that we could ripen them on the kitchen bench and save anything we could from our garden critters.   

Thankfully after a little helping hand, we began to see some wonderful harvests and every few days we were gathering a basket or pot of delicious fruit. We still had the occasional unwelcome visitor borrowed deep inside, but on the whole our bounty has far exceeded my expectations.  Things are slowing down now and this weekend I think we'll remove the a few of the plants that have almost finished and make way for some leafy winter veg. 

 On reflection, I think next year we might grow our tomatoes in pots or raised beds, up high and away from our creatures that call our garden home.  I'm also going to extra note on the varieties we choose and their specific appearances and needs.  One variety we grew while tasting wonderful had a rather unusual mottled appearance which put us off at first, so a little more research will come in handy next season I feel.      

Now we are working quickly, to bottle what we can ready for winter and of course enjoy our bounty fresh on toast, homemade pizza and in summer salads. One recipe I was eager to try was my Nan's tomato relish, which in our family is quite legendary.  I never really liked the taste as a child but I remember the wonderful aroma filling my grandparents Surfers Paradise apartment when we would arrive for our summer holiday visits.    

I was delighted to discover my Nan's original handwritten recipe and after confirming that it was indeed the 'right one' I spent Australia Day, making my very first batch.  They really are little pots of joy and a very special moment in my cooking adventures.  

Tomato Relish

6 pounds of tomatoes
4 large onions
Handful of salt
Brown vinegar
1 1/2  tablespoons of curry powder (I blended my own using these ingredients as a guide) 
2 teaspoons of mustard (I used ground mustard seeds)
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 pound raw sugar
2 tablespoons of plain flour (to thicken if necessary)
Note: I was cheeky and also added a couple of tablespoons of my favourite Byron Bay coconut chili sauce

Core, peel and chop tomatoes and finely slice onions.
Cover with a handful of salt and leave for at least six hours or overnight if convenient.
Drain off juice and in a large pot barely cover with brown vinegar.
Bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes.
In a small bowl mix curry powder together with mustard and add in a little vinegar to make a fine paste, then add to tomato mixture.
Then add cayenne pepper and sugar.
Boil for an hour and stirring regularly to stop the relish from sticking to the pot.
 Mix two tablespoons of plain flour with a little vinegar and whisk in to avoid any lumps. 
Bottle into clean, sterilized jars and enjoy!   

Much Love, light and happy preserving 

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Everyday Moments..

 Our new map on the kitchen wall - a perfect spot for dreaming and planning..
A little afternoon stitching..
Happy strawberries - still blossoming in the summer sun..
Our dream handmade home - Going from dreams, to early sketches, lists and plans.. 
Homegrown, homemade - my favourite..
Deliciously quiet nap time moments..

Much Love

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 4/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Sunday: 5:00pm - Summer afternoon swims in the river. A perfect kind of weekend. 

Much Love & Light

Thursday, 22 January 2015

From my Journal..

A new series of raw musings, straight from the pages of my journal. Thoughts, about life, change, dreams, the future and finding home.

Written on the First Full Moon of the 2015..

"So here we are settling into to 2015. Trying to keep the pace gentle, the approach simple, and the 'to dos' a joy rather than a burden.  And as the full moon lingers in the in the sky tonight, I make sure to come home, both within my soul and my journal.  To feed the yearning desire of my heart to nestle in and truly connect to the radiant source energy that abounds. This journey, my soul journey is now really just beginning, and with a lighter load, an awakened understanding I am now able to really connect, to the land, to the sky, to who I am. I said once I wanted each day of my life to feel like Confest, I wanted to create a new version of my life, free from the heavy energy of the current paradigm. And I finally feel like I'm getting a little closer to making this happen, with less stuff, a deeper connection and a sense of lightness, a release of the baggage I was carrying for so long. Lightness in my being, light to guide my path.  And while I still feel a longing to reconnect with a tribe I am yet to meet, and to find our real home, a property of our very own, I know I am doing what I can with what I have and right now, that's what counts. So I feel like I've done the easy part, the physical letting go, now it's about going deeper and begin to finally make peace. Finding the teacher and the healer within, trusting my intuition, not being afraid of what may appear in in my tarot readings, but to learn from them.  Not worrying if I am enough, or is we have enough, but learning how to make do and feel content with who I am.  And to really let go, and not worry about what others think, but start somewhere and keep just moving forward. 

'Live simply, give more, expect less', it's a good one isn't it. Expectation is something that's so difficult to overcome, so ingrained over the years. And this year it's about embracing each day without expectation, loving freely, without judgement and rising above the heaviness and the dense energy of this current reality. And it's a choice. Something I can so when I wake up each morning.  I can make a difference, in my thoughts and actions, words and energy. And now I feel like I have to do this, more than ever before. For our future, our dream, I have to let go of the past and take hold of the present.  We know what we want, we know the right place will find us, so now it's about taking steps to make it happen."

Much Love & Light

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Everyday Moments - From the Summer Garden & Kitchen..

Rosemary & a thrifted apron - two of my favourite things..
Everywhere I turn there is another pot or basket of tomatoes - It's time to start preserving..
Homemade rough cut pasta - The first batch of many..
Anzac slice - Such a lovely morning tea treat..
Writing down recipes - from lovely ladies, Rhonda & Emma..
Evening gathering - Ready for zucchini slice..

Much Love & Light 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 3/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Sunday: 8:30pm - After an early picnic dinner in the park we came home to water the garden and gather a lovely little harvest.  One is collecting zucchinis, the other inspecting tomatoes. 

Much Love & Light

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Conscious Living - A Love List..

"What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make" - Jane Goodall

List #005.. 
A collection of blog posts, articles, short films & links to inspire and invigorate a more conscious way of life. 

January always brings forth the most beautiful and inspiring manifestos and articles, writing that makes my heart sing and truly inspires my soul.  Belinda's post about choosing happiness was honestly is one of the most poignant and moving pieces I've read in a long time.  So too, was Ellie's beautiful simple living manifesto.  I admire both these amazing and passionate women so much, do pop by and share the love, I promise they will make your heart happy too.

And speaking of a happy heart, this open letter to Australia Post from the wonderful ladies at Ecolosophy, really got me thinking this week. Great work ladies, here's to standing up and making wonderful positive changes.

My love for tiny homes grows ever stronger as I dream up the kind of handmade home we would love to build one day.  This TED talk by Andrew Morrison really got me invigorated to start drawing my ideas.

 And I can never go past a gorgeous tiny house tour, a super cute little handmade home or a beautifully crafted Earthship.

The Bharini Effect have done it again, with another thoughtful and inspiring interview with Brie-Ann of Wabi Sabi Well. Not only has the interview inspired me to take more conscious steps in my everyday, but that property, oh my, has helped me plant the vision for the kind of patch of land I'd love for our family.

I'm always gathering new recipes to try and after my first successful batch of apricot jam and homemade passata, and a great win tonight with this pasta recipe, I'm feeling a little bit more confident and adventurous in the kitchen. So in the next few weeks I'd love to try, this cashew cheese, these fabulous olive oil crackers and some wonderful carrot cake truffles. I love using vegetables in baking. What's been happening in your kitchen lately?

Do you have a morning ritual? I'm starting to work on one for us at the moment.  I'm finding a new rhythm in our mornings, balancing mama moments, with quiet soul nourishing snippets, like practicing yoga while making strong mugs of tea. I really enjoyed reading about these morning rituals. Some lovely ways to begin the day.

And this list.. It's never far from my mind and each tip is something I often come back to.

My gorgeous friend Katie gifted me The Simple Life for Christmas and this little book has barely left my side since.  There's so much between it's pages, so many reminders to slow down, be more thoughtful and really enjoy life's everyday simple pleasures.  One chapter I really adored was about bed making and it's something Rhonda also writes about on her amazing, resource filled blog.  I'm taking a new approach to bed making this year, adding a bit more effort and care, to make our bedroom a really lovely and cozy retreat for our family.

Wishing you a beautiful and productive weekend!
Much Love  & Light

PS. You can find previous Love Lists here 

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Soul Journaling - Tips for starting a new Journal..

This year I wanted to start a new series about journaling, not just writing notes and to do lists, but real from the heart, find your passion, from deep down inside you, soul journaling. I hope these posts may inspire, invigorate and regurgitate your writer's heart, to find a new lease on life on an old journal, or give you a dash of courage to start a new one.  And this process, of starting fresh is what I wanted to focus on today.

The month of January brings with it that wonderful sense of freedom and new beginnings, a fresh start and an opportunity to try something new.  And often it is the time when new journals are open, blank pages gleam with oopportunityand a new journey begins.  However, starting a new journal can be easier said than done.  I've always felt beginning a new journal is like moving house.  Opening that cover can be very exciting and totally daunting all at the same time, especially if you are leaving a finished journal, full of beautiful memories behind.  So here are a few tips, to help through the transition, to settle into the pages of a new journal with ease and get ready to write your heart out.

Find a quiet time and space to begin - While not always easy, finding a quiet time and creating an inviting, sacred space to journal in can really help open your heart space, allow for a creative release and a little magic to unfold.  Whenever you can, carve out a little time for yourself, put on your favourite music, boil the kettle, light a candle, add a little romance to the experience. It's beautiful and totally worth it, especially when your opening those first new pages. 

Let your past journaling experiences go - You'll notice that if you're not feeling like writing in an old journal, it's often because it doesn't feel right anymore, a situation may have changed, or your energy may have shifted. Don't feel like you have to keep going. If you don't love it, if it feels like a chore, if it doesn't feel like you any more, it's ok. Let that journal go and start over. Tie a ribbon around your old journal, send it to a bookshelf or treasure box with love and leave those feelings with it, so you are ready to begin anew. 

Move in with love and gratitude -  Your journal takes on the energy you bring to it, so remember to move in with love and gratitude.   One way to move in is to bring a few things you love with you, a little bit like moving house. Add a few favourite photos or ephemera to first pages. I always take a few precious photos, including one from our wedding day, from one journal to the next.  It's comforting to see something familiar and often makes those first few pages less intimidating. 

Set your intentions - This is another lovely way to move into your new journal with gratitude and helps to overcome that 'what do I write on the first page' scenario.  Open your journal, leave the very first page blank (I'll come back to that a little later) and on the following page, write a little manifesto.  Ask yourself, what are your intentions for your journal, what do you hope to fill it with, what are you grateful for, what nourishes your soul.  This kind of prompt allows you to get your hand moving and begin immediately to make a connection with those pages.  

Leave the opening page blank -  I leave the opening page of my journal blank, so I can come back over the course of my journal writing and fill it with all my favourite things.  It becomes like an inspiration board and sets the tone for the journal.  It's also always so lovely to open up your journal to and see photos, quotes and ephemera that make your soul happy. 

Add an envelope in the back - I add images and ephemera to most pages in my journal, so I like to keep an envelope in the back to stash bits and pieces as I find them. I also try to cut the images I find to size, so they are ready to use when I need them.      

Dive right in - Just get in and start writing.  Let your hand go, let the words flow, don't worry if it's not amazing Keats like poetry, just make sure you go beyond the surface of your day.  If you feel a 'to do' list coming on.. Come back to your heart, your soul's purpose, what you hold most dear to you.  

And a bonus tip..

Use a pen you love - One thing I love about jounaling is that it's a beautiful soul nourishing experience that doesn't have to cost all that much.  All you need is a notebook and a pen and having the right tools can really change your journaling experience. Spend a little time to find a pen you love. It doesn't have to be the most beautiful, it just has to feel wonderful to write with.  Keep it close by and use it often, it is your link your heart to the page. I've been using these for over 10 years. 

So go on.. Grab a journal and dive right in.  Now is the perfect time start a new adventure. And don't worry if you've already begun, you can always go back, add more, take things out, start over.  There's no rules, expect to love your journal and write whenever you feel a calling from your soul.

Have you started a new journal in 2015? Are you new to journaling and not sure where to start? Please feel free to comment and ask me questions or shoot me an email, I'd love to help you on your way.

Much Love & Light

PS. You can find my posts on journaling & a few more tips over here

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Everyday Moments..

 My raffia sun hat in progress.. Now beginning work on the brim
Sunday afternoon adventures.. Love exploring this part of the world
Reading, writing and planning.. It's already shaping up to be an exciting year
Beneath all the leaves.. There are some serious pumpkins taking shape
Park Life.. So much to explore
The sky ablaze.. To finish of a beautiful, homespun weekend

Much Love and Light

Monday, 12 January 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 2/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Sunday: 2:30pm - These two and their matching shoes.. On our way to the park. 

Much Love & Light

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

My Word for 2015.. Light

How do you choose just one word for the year? Well it seems if you open your heart and let your intuition guide you, the word might just find you. This is how my words have found me over the past few years.  

In 2013, I chose the word embrace and it couldn't have been more appropriate for the amazing journey of motherhood I embarked on. Last year my word was nourish. I wanted to nourish myself, my family, find us a home, grow a garden, organise, simplify and take time to be and rediscover myself.  Looking back now, my heart swells with happiness, knowing that 2014 really was all about nourishment, especially for my soul. 

 Throughout December I was pretty sure I had my word for 2015 sorted.  I thought for sure it could be 'connect'. Connecting with the earth, with people, putting plans into action, it seemed to really fit my vision for the year. But, last Thursday morning as the first sunrise of 2015 shone through our bedroom window, a vivid memory danced around me head, one I just had to follow. 

'I was about 16 and my family and I visiting Byron Bay for the day. We were having breakfast at one of the little cafes and I remember being totally captivated by the waitress serving us. She was ethereal, she walked as if she were gliding, connecting with incredible energy force, that I couldn't understand.  Her face was serene, like she had just finished the most magical yoga practice ever. She was beautiful, from the inside out and her whole being, was light.'

And there it was, in that memory.. my word for the 2015, light.  As soon as the memory faded I was reminded of a quote I shared in one of my conscious living love lists a few weeks back.. 'Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light' and words perfectly resonate what I want to do this year.  I want to travel and live light, in our home and in myself. Living with less has already made our lives so much lighter and happier, I'm really looking forward to continuing and expanding our conscious journey.  I want to spread light, share and connect (there's my original word) with the tribe of like minded souls. And I want to be the light, to reconnect with my soul's purpose, stand up and make a difference and really be the change I want to see in this world.  I read that 2015 was the year of clarity and manifestation, so I'm trusting my intuition and letting my light guide the way. 

What's your word for 2015?
Much Love & Light

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Everyday Moments..

Early morning gathering.. Our first summer garden is beginning to share it's beautiful bounty.
Well read favourites.. We only have a tiny library of books these days and we love each one dearly. 
Tiny pea shoots.. We are experimenting with some potted peas & beans to help keep the bugs at bay.
A parcel of delight from my dear friend and maker extraordinaire, Melinda.   
Our vision board for 2015.. Surrounded by open air, close to the earth, reconnecting, regenerating, living simple and lovely greatly in our magical little oasis. 
The sweetest outtake from Sunday's portrait.. These two make me giggle. Yep, she's waving hello!

Hope you're having a beautiful start to the week!
Much Love

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 1/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Sunday: 8pm.. Playing in the backyard as the sun goes down. Some time after making homemade pizza and before taking the washing off the line and running through the sprinklers. 

Much Love & Light

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Thirty Goals for 2015..

So here we are in 2015 and as the sun sets on the first day of the new year, I'm making my list of the goals that I can't wait to dive into this year.  This is my fourth list of 'Thirty Goals' and over the past three years my list have proved to be valuable tool in helping me to achieve both little and big goals.  I love that this year so many of my goals are aligned with our homespun philosophy and my favourites are those that really require living from the heart. This year I want to live lightly, connect deeply and be open to all possibilities.  So here are my goals for 2015 (in no particular order)..

1. Buy less, live more
2. Preserve the year in homemade jams and preserves
 3. Sew some clothes for myself and Tallow
4. Make my own pasta
5. Work to create a no waste kitchen
6. Create a home manual 
7. Celebrate friendship
8. Give homemade gifts
9. Learn a new hooping trick
11. Write more 
12.  Live a 'cottage economy' way of life
13. Make my Nan's chutney recipe
14. Have a family holiday in Byron Bay
15. Create a minimalist wardrobe
16. Ditch disposal bottles, cups and shopping bags once and for all
17. Make a simple quilt for our bed
18. Enjoy our very first passata day
19. Tread lightly
20. Learn a new nanna skill.. darning perhaps
21. Finish my raffia sun hat
22. Create an online portfolio
23. Milk a cow by hand
24. Read 'The Ancient Secret of the Flower of Life'
25. Begin a new project
26. Expand my yoga practice
27. Give back to the community
28. Grow sunflowers and daffodils
29. Reconnect with Mother Earth
30. Live simply & love greatly

I've got some big goals this year, some that are giving me wonderfully excited butterflies in my tummy.  It's going to be a truly amazing year for everyone I think. It feels like it's really time to stand up and be counted, to truly start doing all the things you have ever dreamed of. I hope to share more of my goals throughout the year and elaborate of a few too, both here and on Instagram and I hope you will too.  So now it's your turn.. I'd just love to hear about your goals for 2015. If you've shared them on your blog, please feel free to add your link below or use on Instagram using the hashtag #thirtygoals2015 and @sophieisobelasher. Here's to a wonderful 2015, a time to fulfill dreams, take wild adventures, nourish your soul and live deeply.

Much Love & Light