February Creations

Hello Y’all!  It’s already almost half way through the month and I feel as if I’m playing catch up with my blog already.  I’ve been busy – no, no, really I have – well sometimes I’ve been busy – other times ………  let’s just say I’ve watched a few movies, and read a few books and done a bit of knitting

Jos jumper 2

It’s a richer brown than is showing, flecked with gold  and this is the pattern

Elation free Cable Aran Knit Sweater Pattern Elation or buy as knitting kit

It’s a free pattern from Artesano Yarns in the UK – isn’t it lovely!!  My ED will love this for our coming winter.

And I’ve been receiving gifts!

I’ve been really touched by the kindness of people in this blogging world again.  In a recent post on the blog Love Those Hands At Home I mentioned to Kerry that I loved the little white crocheted place mats she was readying to put into her shop.  The next thing I knew they were delivered by my friendly postal lady and Kerry’s placemats now adorn my table and a couple of other places too – aren’t they pretty!

Kerrys mat 1 Kerry's mat 3

The post delivered a completely unexpected thank you gift just over a week ago.  Robin was a recipient in the Christmas Light Catcher giveaway and she sent me a thank you note and a copy of her CD – a collection of lovely folk and contemporary music played on her flute.  I was surprised and delighted by her kind gesture.  Thank you Robin, I am enjoying it very much – I’m so in awe of people who can make music!

Flute CD

Then I received another gift – from my friend Norah in Australia who didn’t receive a Light Catcher in the giveaway, but who did nominate her friend Robin [above] and who simply decided to send me a beautiful thank you note and a lovely inspirational book which has made it to the bedside table for dipping into before sleep.  Isn’t this the kindest thing?  Aren’t all these actions so thoughtful and so generous – and so happily welcomed!

I am constantly really touched by the generosity of people in the blogging world – and just want to say thank you, thank you.  I am really, truly blessed and absolutely require no more gifts!

Norah and I recently had a bit of a discussion about education.  Those of you who know me well, know I was once a teacher and am rather opinionated about that and about childhood in general.  Norah and I think alike and so she sent me some questions and ran a small Q&A type interview on her blog.

Part I is here and Part II is here if you should be interested.

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My shop was cleared out of Light Catchers by Christmas and I have finally made several new ones, of which three have made it into the shop [found at the top right of this page, under the header picture if you are interested in having a look].  There’s a ‘Mellow Yellow’, one called ‘Purple Haze’ and another called ‘Aqua Lights’.  Here’s a sneaky preview

Mixed pizap

There are three more still in production and I keep experimenting with curly-whirly, mobile types of danglers that will sparkle and jingle and tinkle too.  I haven’t yet found something I really like that is actually affordable for anyone short of the Sheikh of Araby to purchase ……. but I’m working on it.

Here’s a peek at the six strander I made for my kitchen window recently – lots of fun with this one bouncing rainbows and sparkles all round the room.  As always I apologise for my photos and the lack of colour – it is of course all shades of blue  :-) 6 Strand Blue pizap

And for all his fans here’s Siddy again, just going for a drive all windswept and tousled and loving it – and yes, I must clean the car mirrors sometime soon – but really, he doesn’t mind!

driving2 nov 15

I’m thinking about gifts and kindness and contentedness a lot these days.  I feel blessed!  I hope you do too.

Thanks for coming by today today, I love that you did!

 

 

 

Clouds From Both Sides

My friend Geoff over at ‘Tangental’ has just brought my later than normal morning coffee to a full stop, favourite coffee mug half way to my mouth, filled with the wonders of experiencing life in all its multitudinous wonderful choices – please read and enjoy and choose to be awesome too! <3

TanGental

I was reminded tonight of the fabulous Joni Mitchell Song

Both Sides Now

This line stuck, stuck hard in my throat, my head, in every little bit of me

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

There’s an image I adore.

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Bedroom Makeover on a Budget

I moved into my tiny flat in May 2011.  Built in 1972 it was in ‘original condition’ and in a state decor wise which is best described as ‘tired’.

In the intervening four and a half years I have done what I can to make my home a place that works for me. It is all looking pretty good – except for one room.  The small back bedroom, which at the end of moving in day 2011 looked like this

craft Room 2 May 11

and a week or so later looked like this

craft room

This room was intended as my art space, but after a few weeks of trying to squeeze my supplies and tables and me in, I decided to turn my big bedroom over to my art and squeeze my bed into this room instead.

This is a montage of my art room – just in case you have never seen where I create….. It’s not as tidy as this usually………..

pizap

There is, as you may have noticed, the most wonderful 70’s yellow floral wallpaper firmly adhered to the wall of the aforementioned tiny bedroom.  It wasn’t going to budge and investigations into removing or painting over required either more than my miniscule budget could afford or the use of chemical sealers that would likely kill us all in our sleep.

The yellow flowers had to stay for the time being.  I did my best:

Bedroom 28 8 14

But it really wasn’t good enough!  Time passed by, I went into the room only to dress or sleep, often never turning the light on.  It was a necessary room, but not an inviting one.

Recently I became very aware of the need to change and improve my evening ritual – I wasn’t sleeping that well and my reading time was also curtailed.  My room needed to be a place I wanted to spend time in.  I wanted to spend time winding down in a pleasant manner – taking a shower, putting on my pj’s making a cup of herbal tea and tucking into bed with that soothing drink and a good book and spending a bit of quiet time before sleep.

I needed my room to become a welcoming haven.

But how do you turn a tiny room into a welcoming haven spending as little money as possible?  You inveigle invite Youngest Daughter/Official Photographer to help and set to work and do a makeover in three days.

The plan: to remove the layers of curtains from the windows and streamline the area as much as possible while retaining privacy – the window looks straight onto an ugly old brick house next door and is also on the shared pathway between my flat and the back flat.  Take off the wardrobe door and replace with curtains.  Paint out the ugly wallpaper and rearrange the furniture.

Day one, clear everything out.  In a tiny house the issue becomes where to put everything.  Rain doesn’t help!  So, haul the bed into the lounge, shut the front door and don’t let anyone else inside.   Stop breathing and paint the walls with sealer.  Purchase a dozen onions, cut them up and put them in the room.  Close the door and don’t go back until Day Two.

Brm01

Finding ourselves still alive on the morning of Day Two, the Official Photographer and I painted, in the palest hue of green you will ever see, three coats onto the walls. [It looks white in the photos but is in reality a soft green that glows beside the cyan blues that are used in the furnishings.]  Endless rain doesn’t help with the quality of my photos either …………..

In between coats the windows were covered with a faux stain glass effect privacy film

Brm4

And also in between coats, a headboard was constructed from two large [100 x 80 cm] canvases that hold paintings I don’t currently want up, but don’t want to throw away.  An old blanket was used for the wadding and an unused piece of stretch fabric from the stash was the perfect size to cover the canvases.  It was all stapled together.

Brm03

It has to be duly explained here that all this is the brainchild of Youngest Daughter/Official Photographer who also doubles as our ‘Engineer Brains’ when I have a good idea but don’t know how to make it a reality.  Isn’t that a great headboard!

Brm6

Did you notice above the lace curtains that were retrieved from storage and cover the wardrobe instead of a door?

On the wall opposite the bed my favourite ‘soul’ picture, painted almost a year ago

Brm7

A new duvet cover was purchased in a sale and the 1500 thread count sheets [sigh, slurp!] were a Christmas gift.  And of course, there is no show without Punch Siddy

Brm1

 

Total cost of makeover

Sealer and paint  [on sale, saving 30%]     $97.00

Bedding [on sale, saving 60%]   $35.00

Headboard $0.00

Two girls, three days medium labour.

I can’t tell you how very happy I am with my room!  It may be tiny but it has everything I require and I find myself wanting to head off to bed at 8 pm now!

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

The Books Piled Beside the Bed – Pt 2

Has it really been two months since my last book review post?  Doesn’t time fly when life is interrupted by Christmas and New Year and fiddling about with beads and hot summer days, days of gale force winds, days of rain and days filled with everything at once …….

The pile of books is growing ever taller – as it appears my reading time is not generously allocated at the moment!

Here is a lovely shot courtesy our Official Photographer – you can see there is no room for anything else on that bedside cabinet!

Books1

Many of these books were received as Christmas gifts from the lovely Eldest Daughter who providentially works for a world renown publishing house.  How lucky am I?

Some of the titles, the eagle eyed among you may notice, were books recommended by your good selves in the comments section of previous post of the same title.  These were searched out by the aforementioned ED on her many forays around Book Shops and judiciously added into my pile of Christmas Books.

We do not slack around here when it comes to reading!

If you follow the blog [and if not, why not?] of the superbly well written author Geoff Le Pard over at  TanGental, you might also notice two of his titles in the pile as well. ‘Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle’  and ‘My Father and Other Liars’. Geoff sent me these books to read and review.  I’ve just launched myself into the first so look for something in the next ‘Books’ post  ……….

But let’s stay on track – life is more than just creating light catchers and lying about in the sunshine or battling the gale force winds, or avoiding the icy rain storm [whichever event is occurring in any given hour] you know.  I am trying to introduce myself to a new ‘healthy habit’.  [Please, do stop cringing!]   Preparing for a good nights sleep by undertaking a leisurely evening ritual that includes showering, pj-ing, hot tea-ing and read-ing.  I’m even about to redecorate my tiny bedroom to make this final hour of the day totally and utterly enjoyable, but that’s another post!

Since the last post this is what I’ve read, or started to read or just dallied with

the reader

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent; Translation by Ros Schwartz

It’s a smallish book, immensely readable and quite, quite fascinating.  The back cover bears the inscription ‘Love is a journey’.  The story is original and quirky and the characters are oddly original and quirky too.  It’s about how a man copes with a life that it is less than ideal and how his method of coping affects, and is affected by, what he reads, out loud, on the train every day.  I loved it!

rush oh!

When Mary Davidson, the eldest daughter of a whaling family in Eden, New South Wales, sets out to chronicle the particularly difficult season of 1908, the story she tells is poignant and hilarious, filled with drama and misadventure.

I’m dallying with Rush Oh! written by Australian author, Shirley Barrett.  Based on real events that took place in 1908 and told in the first person by the daughter of the whaler.  It is the story of a unique relationship between the whalers and a pod of Orcas – known simply as the Killer’s who steer the whales into the vicinity of the harpoons.  The story is wryly amusing, laden with the romantic notions and shyness of the young motherless heroine and her day to day life, responsibilities and day dreams.  One of the things that has caught my attention is the no-nonsense, non-sentimental, factual approach to the job of killing whales.  Set in a time when life was harsher and simpler, in this small community whaling is their life and livelihood, nothing is wasted, everything is worth something.  Reading, I am aware that I have given no thought to my modern bias of abhorring the killing of whales – the author is that good!

I was reading this book up until Christmas Day, then it was put aside because I had opened and could not put down this next one.

the forgetting time

The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin

Noah is four and wants to go home.  The only trouble is, he’s already home.

Now, one of the really splendid things about having a daughter in the business is I sometimes receive copies of books prior to publication.  This one comes out in March and is a first novel and a superb read!  It deals with that tricky concept, reincarnation.  It deals with a mother’s love for her child through loss, through despair, through on-going behaviour that is so unusual that it sends her searching from specialist to specialist seeking an explanation.  It deals with concepts of reality and scientific mores.  It answers no questions, it raises many more.  It reads like a mystery story, a little bit of who-dunnit hidden in there, and the vagaries of getting to know, or missing out on understanding, the people in your life.

I really enjoyed this book, and had that slightly sad feeling as I arrived at the end and there was no more story.  Here is a new author who has made it to my ‘must read’ list.  I am already looking forward to her next book.

I’ve returned to ‘Rush Oh’ and am really enjoying it – but I also started ‘Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle’ and now I have a nightly conundrum of what to read………..

So, what have you been reading lately?  Do share – we need to keep those books piled up……

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

 

A Whovian Lightcatcher

Hi, Happy New Year every onel!

I’m starting off with a look back at a highly secret project that took a chunk of my creative time last November – December.

So, for that lovely Holiday Season just past, I designed and made a Christmas gift for a Whovian.  It was kind of a mad idea, seeing as how I had never really seen the show and had no idea how I was going to make the vision I had in my head a real three dimensional experience.  It sure was a chance to get really creative!

I wanted to somehow indicate the whole spinning through the galaxy thing that apparently goes on in the show and give a feeling of the whoosh of time travel……

Who pizap

What these photos don’t readily reveal is the three dimensional thing that is actually going on……….

There’s a wee glimpse in this shot

2whof

And a touch of it’s fabulousness in this shot

who4

Man these things are hard to photograph!  I had already called in the Official Photographer who managed to get the full length eventually ……

2whob

who5

It is designed to be viewed in the round and hung away from the window for maximum rainbows.  When it was being photographed it spun out a kaleidoscope of colour through my living room.

The Whovian Light Catcher is made with two straight strands and two curved strands that circle around the outside.  Four AAA faceted crystal balls hang from the end of each strand.  Faceted glass baubles, acrylic octohedrons, silver beads, tiny oil beads and six lapis-lazuli gemstones make up the strands.  Lapis Lazuli is known as a sacred stone, said to be older than time itself – just like the Doctor!  :-)

Of course the charms include a weeping angel and a dalek, the Tardis, two red hearts and a sonic screwdriver – all things pertaining to to the story lines and the Doctor himself.

I had such fun making this light catcher and it really does give the feeling of spirals and vortexes and galaxies and such like which the Whovians of the family assure me is what it is all about!

What do you think?

I hope your year has gotten off to a good start and that it will unfold with fun, learning, new opportunities and much love given and received.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Summertime Christmas

 

Season’s Greetings Y’all!

Happy Christmas; Mid-Summer; Mid-Winter; Ramadan; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa ~ 

Whatever you celebrate may your days be blessed with your loved ones around you

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The Christmas Light Catchers were all finally sent off on Monday 7th December.  The nice lady at the post office assured me I was far too late in my posting habits to make the Christmas delivery deadline for those of you across the oceans, but I believe in miracles and it turns out there has been  a number of them – were you one of them?

I feel like my Celebration season got off to an excellent start this year with that communal giveaway and it has caused me to become quite ‘merry and bright’ about the whole thing – which is not something I have utterly given myself up to in the past few years.

I’ve been fortunate to experience Christmas in both hemispheres and have found pleasure and pain in both seasons.  As a child I had a feeling of deep disconnection between the presented pictures and the reality of our global situation – which simply added to my general discombobulation with the family dysfunction which was the reality of my young life.

In the blinding heat of mid summer we were all treated to displays of fake snow scattered about shop window settings and cards featuring pretty women in long gowns trimmed with fur, their hands buried in muffs and snow brushing their pink cheeks; or robins on bare branches white with more snow….  Carols and popular songs tinkled along merrily in the background and we all sang along with them – we were dreaming of a white Christmas, hearing sleigh bells jingling, and decking the halls with boughs of holly.  We lit the lights on the Christmas trees but never got to see their glow because it was always light while we were up.  There was no waiting for the return of the sun because it was always here and always bright.  [Years later my own children, excited out of their trees by the coming event, would wake us up at three o’clock in the morning to tell us Santa had been and the birds were singing.  Stockings were introduced to the end of their beds with enough goodies to keep them quiet for at least another half hour…….]

A heavy, roasted Christmas dinner was often cooked amid faces red and sweating and eaten in the same manner while we kids just wanted to escape the heat and dive back into the ocean or river.

We had few local traditions, everything had been imported from the Northern Hemisphere by the settlers who came to make new and better lives yet continued to adhere faithfully to the way things were done ‘Back Home’ despite all  seasonal disadvantages.

As a young mother I set about making sure my children did not experience the same sense of disconnection with the festival and over the years built up a new set of traditions and displays that met our seasonal and cultural mores and addressed my growing connection with a spiritual reality that had nothing to do with religion or culture and everything to do with the need for me to unleash the ability to understand what unconditional love is and to be able to live in it on a daily and practical basis.

Christmas became the festival where I practised best.

We had wonderful Christmases and in their own lives, my girls have carried on the traditions that were begun in their childhoods.

This year we get to have one of our special Christmases.  Just the three of us make up our small immediate family and we get to spend a week together this year.  We are tight.  We are devoted and adoring and just a little awed by each other.  Not being of a religious bent, but bearing strong spiritual connections with the message of the season we will celebrate our ability to love, to share, to give and to shine.  The summer sun is bright and warm and we let it be our inspiration.

Somewhere the decision was made to make this a Christmas to remember.

So for the first time in this tiny house, a tree arrived.  It got itself decorated with baubles, bells, flowers, birds and butterflies – in our favourite colours of course.

Xmas Tree 2015

And placed stage centre especially for Orlando’s enjoyment and contentment

O under tree Dec 15

I crocheted that tree skirt in one frantic 14 hour period, as big as I could get it in the time allowed and in between my doing of ordinary daily activities ……  After it is finished with this year I shall double it in size in a leisurely fashion.

The tiny courtyard is full of flowers and little bits of bling.  The chairs have comfy cushions and there are places for wine glasses and plates of food

Tiny Courtyard pizap

The front entrance welcomes with bells and bling, cats and a green nodding doggie and even more flowers

front2 dec15

Dec Front pizap

The hand made gifts are [finally] finished and being wrapped – this is the last of them

presents pizap

The Secret Recipe Cold Christmas Pudding is made and maturing

xmaspud1 2015

And Siddy is ready for GO! (His favourite aunty Jo arrives in two more sleeps and our Christmas begins!)

Xmas6

And I have my Christmas hair on

Pink Hair Dec 15

[I’m transitioning people, from coloured hair to cheveux au-naturale – the time has come – as the Walrus once so famously said.  And why not have a little fun along the way?]

This is my last post for the year, thanks for being with me through this fabulous and eventful twelve months.  Thanks for your encouragement and support and friendship.  And thank you for coming by again today, I love that you did!

 

 

 

Christmas Giveaway – THE WINNER

Well, the voters have spoken and it was so very interesting to see where your hearts went.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read and vote and to those of you who reflected back to me their thoughts and feelings both via the blog and in private emails.  I was touched, not only by the stories themselves, but also by your thoughts about the stories and the thought you put into making your selections.  I so loved Boomdee’s comment about hope – did you catch that in the comments section of the last post?

In the end voting was very close between two stories.  And very close between the next five.  So close that there was only one course of action left to me – and that was to make everyone winners.

Here’s what has happened:

The story you voted for the most was C.  This is the story of Melanie, submitted by her father, Colin.  I do not know Colin or Melanie and have no idea how Colin found out about the giveaway.  But he did and he wrote a beautiful precis of his daughter’s life and we all thought it was worthy of a light catcher – so it will be sent to her as soon as her address is received.

Extraordinarily close behind was story A.  Norah’s friend Robin touched our hearts and so nearly won it would be a shame not to send her something – so she will receive a light catcher also.

Then there followed the middle runners [it’s sounding a bit like a horse racing event isn’t it ….]  These stories were all close together in terms of votes, you all liked them equally it seems causing a split vote situation.  Nothing for it then but to say all the people featured in these stories are also receiving light catchers:

B, D, F, H, J and K.

I took some time out of life for several hours and with intense purpose made several versions of a simpler, single strand Christmas Light Catcher to be given to the runners up.  Each  catcher is made with one AAA crystal ball, either of 30 or 40 mm, a random amount of AAA crystal octagons, a random amount of crystal faceted beads, various glass, acrylic or semi precious beads and finished with several charms.  They are all different.  My plan is to wrap them up, package them and randomly write on the addresses as you send them to me.  Which light catcher anyone gets will be the outcome of random choice, pure good fortune or the will of the Christmas Fairy – whichever way you choose to look at it.

This is a shot of several of the single strands, all mixed up together

Xmas lc extra4

And as another added extra, today I threw all the names of the commenters from the last post into my favourite coffee cup and drew one out.

Sharon, aka ‘Gentle Stitches’ will also receive a simple single strand Christmas Light Catcher.

Here’s a few more of them just lying around waiting to be parcelled up

Xmas lc extra3

Although these catchers made as extra giveaways are much simpler than the major giveaway, they will I hope, spread just a few more light rainbows around the world and remind the recipients that they are in the hearts of the people who submitted them and their stories touched the hearts of the people who heard them.

Please make sure to send me the address of your nominee if they are a prize winner – instructions are in the previous post. .

Thank you again for your participation and encouragement of this Advent activity.

To finish, especially for his fans, here’s  a shot of Siddy admiring his new front door:

new door 13 11

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!