brave or .....

Over the past few weeks/months whenever I've talked with someone about our new homeschooling adventures they have proclaimed me to be brave. "Wow, I could never do that. You're so brave", generally with real admiration in their tone. My response has generally been "yeah, or stupid". 

I was saving writing about our homeschooling journey on this blog, as I have thoughts/ideals that it's a crafting/making/creative/small business blog. But, I think I need to realise that it's a me blog. And right now the me who writes, owns and is this blog is all about homeschooling.*

Let me start off by saying that so far in this 6 weeks since we left school, and began homeschooling, it has not been an easy or smooth transition. Not that I thought it would, but I had hoped it would be easier than it has been. I think I guessed the kids would settle into their school routine and allow me to sit and be their book-work teacher for at least 3-4 hours a day. And I had crazily assumed that the daily work would just sort of write itself and evolve easily. I mean; my kids can read (one learning, one very proficient) and write, and are highly intelligent inquisitive children. I think I assumed we'd all skip along a path of self-learning and enjoying reading/writing/working every day. 

Ha! Let me say that louder HA!. (Therein lies the "stupid" part. The part that thought it would all happen on it's own! Ha. I hear all our teachers laughing hysterically at that one). 

Well, actually that has happened on many wonderful mornings; we've sat down with our books and a semi-planned idea of what we'd work on. And stayed at it contentedly for a good couple of hours. Beautiful. The kids learning and talking and remembering and being inspired and excited. But then the next day it didn't happen. And another day they wanted to play Barbies / Lego / building fairy houses / on the iPad for an extra few hours. Or the maths work was too hard. Or they didn't want to put in the effort of the English or the research for the project we'd talked about doing. And it's dwindled. Day by day has slipped into a semi-holiday. 

Of course, in our home even on holidays and weekends and Sunday mornings there is life learning happening. Reading and writing and story telling and making and planning and exploring and discovering and researching are always happening around here. We talk about things at breakfast, or recite our times tables in the car, or make up Haiku's when we see a beautiful cloud. Or a play evolves from a remembered snippet of a favourite story. And they curl into bed at night, and we read stories together - sometimes him reading, sometimes her, sometimes me.

And I think all this is good. It's schooling. I believe it would fall under what is generally termed natural learning or un-schooling. And I love that. It seems to fit within our life and days and the kids self-learning personalities.

Aside from my need to be totally dedicated and on top of recording and note taking to assure the board of studies that my kids are learning and doing work (and really - perhaps learning more, and more passionately, than many classroom children); I think it's all good. 

All good. On the schooling front. 
oh but. but but.... What I'm really rambling on about here is: Is it all good on the mama/teacher/carer/cleaner/hugger/bookreader/crafter front. What I'm wondering is. When do I get my break? That moment between teacher and mama.

I love my children. More than the moon and the trees and life. No denying that ever at all. But I'm wondering when I'll be brave enough give over wholly of myself, and be there with them endlessly. And stop wanting/expecting/demanding that time for myself. As I see it needs to be. I'm eager here if there's anyone with experience reading able to give some advice, or take my children for a day or so.... 

Will homecshooling give them everything. But take everything from me?

Wondering if I'm brave enough.

*though I am keen to hear from you, my dear readers, whose thoughts and visits I really really honestly value and respect and don't take for granted. I'm eager to hear if you'd like to read more of this style of style of blogging, or if you've come here to see pretty pictures of things I make? Please do do leave a comment and let me know. I love that blogs, this blog, can be a conversation between friends. 

{images from top: maricor/maricar; rummage, but found here; bottom 2 from my words Pinterest page.} If you'd like to see pretty pictures that I'm posting, head on over and follow me on Instagram. It seems a teeny too much stretch to get those images from my phone or camera onto the computer.

am I allowed to say.....

The other day, while driving to pick up my friend, a thought crossed through my mind (I often have wonderful thinking and singing sessions while driving on my own).
I realised - with no vanity or ego - that I'm really happy with who I'm becoming. Not to say that I'm perfect, or have reached any higher level. I just felt that in myself - how I think of myself, and perceive myself, and present myself - I'm a person I'd like to know, and be friends with. 

Am I allowed to say that....!!?

{I always believe that if you can't love yourself how can you expect other people to love you. If you don't stand tall feeling and believing you look good, are interesting, or beautiful or special, or wonderful or unique; how can you really expect anyone else to think the same!}. 

Anyway. I don't want to gloat. Or pretend that life is always peachy. 

But it's how you look at life isn't it. Yes - we still live in a teeny shack. A shack that leaks when it rains heavily, the sun doesn't shine on it until almost mid-day, the outside creatures can get in (think native mice, rats and snakes), there's no space for thinking or being away from anyone else. Yes - I haven't done one single tiny bit of screen printing all year (yep ALL YEAR). And barely any sewing. And my crochet projects seem to have fallen by the way side. And I don't have a bathroom, or a wardrobe or a chest of draws even for my clothes (those that aren't packed in boxes in our shipping container are stored in plastic tubs under our bed). I don't have a bank balance to zip off overseas, or let alone to go justify going away for a weekend for our upcoming anniversary {house building does that to you - takes everything!!}. I don't have the perfect studio for making or creating any time I feel like it. 

And those things all affect me. And get me down. But then - is it worth being down, and dismal and upset and bitter about these things? Not for me. 

Stop and smell the roses is as old as sayings go. But it's true. It's the stopping, and taking notice of one thing that matters. Of enjoying and appreciating tiny moments and everyday happenings. Those for me make me more than happy. They make me content. 

I think happiness is wonderful. Pure joy and bliss and all that. But high happiness can be fleeting - at least it doesn't last forever. For me, contentment lasts longer, is steady and real and brings about joy and happiness more often. 

Again with the roses :: I brought some home the other day from a local road side stall. And being real roses (rather than grown across the globe to specific commercial conditions) they had lots of big spiky thorns. While snipping the leaves and thorns to put them in water, I pricked myself. My little ones asked my why roses have thorns. Of course it really is so that animals can't climb up and eat them. But it's a reminder that the beautiful and the difficult (ugly) exist side-by-side. Can so-exist. Or that out of hardship can bloom beauty. 

The same as the lotus. That beautiful spectacular flower that blooms from dirty mud. 

{oh, I'm full of the quotes today aren't I?}. 

So - this whole long wordy post is to say this. That it's ok to be happy. It's ok to be content. To say yes I am good and things are good. And that if you're not feeling that way - then maybe take a moment (a long moment) to stop and enjoy those tiny moments of beauty you DO have around you. Sometimes you have to invent or exaggerate that beauty, but it will be there if you look.

The Dalai Lama says: "Choose to be optimistic, it feels better".

** This post was written a few weeks ago, and has sat in drafts until now. Now when I needed to read and remember and say these things. I posted on Instagram today about feeling moody - and what I meant was low and lacklustre and joyless.

Every day is an endless journey to finding my peace, contentment, calm and balance.

with thanks........ from me {I've been featured!}

A couple of weeks ago I was featured on lovely Susie's blog FlowerPress, as part of her Show & Tell series. Can I tell you how happy and excited it made me feel to be part of this series of amazing bloggers and makers; who's work I admire and respect. 

It's funny, Susie and I "met" many years ago through our blogs (and blog-friend links). I won a giveaway she had for her perfectly beautiful hand screen printed tea towels. I know I'm not the only one who hasn't ever used them, as they are like art works. {Though I always say that we should use our best and most beautiful to elevate the everyday}.

Also last week, I was the featured blogger as part of Megan's new series on North Coast Bloggers, as part of her The Byron Life blog. As soon as Megan contacted me, asking me to be part of this wonderful idea she'd thought up, I jumped at the chance. For me this series is all about what blogging means to me - making the connections and the joining the dots with other bloggers. The fact that Megan's series is based on bloggers within my region is even more exciting. It's so wonderful to "meet" new people who are basically your (blog) neighbours. 

Megan and I met last year, when she interviewed me as part of Hey Maker! We talked about pop up shops, and the closing down of businesses in small towns and how people are trying to change that. Her story didn't make it to radio, but was the research and impetus for this radio interview with Jo Olive and myself.

It's funny and wonderful, and interesting and smile inducing to read the things people have written about you. Oh my. Thank you both so much Susie and Megan for your lovely sweet words (you surely made me blush!), and for the photos you chose to go with my words - I looked at them in a new light; and that's always an excellent thing to be able to do with one's own images.

I think for me, both of these features reminded me why I blog, and what my blog is about. I was recently invited to be the guest speaker at a local creative business gathering about blogging, where I shared my blogging story. Connections in the blog world are the biggest reason I blog - finding like-minded creatives, being inspired by them, hopefully inspiring someone else along the way, and all the while exploring my own creative voice. Reading blogs is like gathering for a cup of tea, and enjoying some crafting and conversation with people who get me, and who interest me.

I'm curious - why do you blog? 
What do you get out of blogging? 
Do you comment and connect, or sit quietly watching? Why don't you comment? 
What qualities do you enjoy most in a blog, in the blogs you read? 
And also - what's your favourite blog - I'm always looking for more connections and dot joining...

Happy day my friends, 
Ellie xxx

just this - tuesday morning

I sat in the sun this morning, after dropping the kids at school, and rolled this yarn into a ball. I drank my tea (bancha), and listened to the birds calling and the bees buzzing. And I soaked up that warm morning late Winter sunshine.
And it felt good on my body and my soul.
{and Sam took some photos of me, to email for print. And I felt self conscious and a bit old and tired. And decided that I need to tone up, and freshen up, and see the beauty in me in again}.
What did you do today?
How do you see the beauty in yourself? Do you look or do you ignore?

A week

Last week was long and tiring and pushed me further than I wanted to be pushed in terms of energy and stress and health. Just a little too much. In reality I think I must be the one who does the pushing of myself. But my body pushed back and said 'no'. Hence I've been feeling tired and sick and grumpy and haven't been able to relax. Sam has been feeling much the same. We've both had anxious tight feelings around our chest - something that keeps holding onto us.

I did not have any quiet moments of just being and not having to rush off somewhere else or other. Always something happening. On Friday I drove into town three times (each trip to town is a 40minute round trip). And yet, I still didn't get the grocery shopping done, so had to go in on Saturday afternoon, after a morning at a kids birthday party (which was thankfully sitting in the sun talking).

Ah well. I think I just need to keep learning that I feel best, more motivated and uplifted when I have some moments of quiet.

I feel the need to write myself an important list of things I need:

To drink a cup of tea in peace and quiet, and if there's a spot of sunshine that always helps.
To do some making of some sort - stitching, sewing, crochet, screen printing, drawing, painting.....
To stop and look around quietly.
To breathe deeply and soak up the good air around me.
To keep the house tidy, and the kitchen table clear - less clutter makes us all happier and able to breathe easier.
To do baking, cooking.
To do some writing; a letter to a friend, in my journal, or my gratitude diary, or perhaps even here.
To spend time with my man just talking and being truly together.

What are you doing this week?
Are you feeling stressed or relaxed?
Did you bake or sew or draw or make?

have a lovely week, my friends xx


one day, last term, Sam + i were in town (both kids at school + pre-school).
we were at Sam's favourite eating* place, in town.
i suddenly said i wanted to colour + cut my hair.
at the hair-dressers.

now, one thing - i have never ever not once in my whole entire life had a hairdresser (or indeed i believe anyone else) put a pair of scissors to my hair. i have had a hair-dresser dye my hair only a handful of times.
growing up my mum always hennaed our hair. after she died i didn't henna it for a long long time. it seemed like a ritual that wasn't right without her doing it.
i dyed my hair, or got Sam to do it sometimes with those yukky buy-from-the-supermarket type dyes.
i also one or two times hennaed my hair myself. i didn't feel right; doing it myself.
and life never configured to have a sister do it for me either.

so, on that day a few weeks ago i walked into the hair-dresser in town who had been recommended (and where we took Mishi for her stylish little swishy do).
they use organic, natural products.
they have a lovely minimal, yet pretty interior.
and they are lovely women who work there.

so, here it is. a before photo taken self-portrait with my phone. trying, of course, to be arty and also not really get my face. the last two are afters. bit hard to notice, but take it from me - my hair is much much shorter than before.

there's some during photos too.... like the organic tea they bring you (a whole menu with organic teas + coffee). [the hair on floor photos were taken by the kids, one each].

i do like it. and my hair is now much healthier. and has some good style to it - she cut some nice little bits of shaping into it, so it sits well.
but it's just the teensiest bit too short. i keep going to tie it up in a knot as i used to at the nape of my neck or on top of my head. i've had to find hairbands (i always always use pieces of old stockings that i cut up, so soft on my hair).
so, i'm growing my hair again...........

*Sam enjoys going to The Austral Cafe in town. It's one of those places that's been around for a long time (since 1919 in fact). We used to go there as kids, for hot chips. They still make milkshakes the old fashioned way - malted milk in those metal containers. Makes me think, perhaps I should do a post of Murwillumbah buildings as it's a very pretty town with some lovely buildings and historic look to it.

falling in love {again}

Since moving out of the city, and living here in this tiny house surrounded by all this possibility, things have changed and evolved. I mean, within me and my relationships.

I'm finding that I'm falling in love with my husband all over again. But in a new and different way. Not that I ever stopped loving him - never at all ever!

But before now we've never really had 'time' just being together. Haven't been on big adventure holidays together (not backpacking or anything else). Nor done much anything other than just doing 'regular every-day living' :: work, house work, children, shopping, etc etc. Just like any normal couple. Good and wonderful and loving times together, but always other things competing for energy, thoughts, emotions, time.

Now - with neither of us working outside the home (except for all the constant things I seem to keep volunteering for), and both children at school & preschool for five and three days each, we have time together. Living in our tiny home, and not having anywhere to escape - no extra rooms (no bedroom, study, etc) and no computers or internet to take our time away. Now we are together. Talking and working alongside each other.

We are planning and thinking, and planting new trees, or pulling weeds or discovering more ant nests around the yard. We are sitting inside watching the rain pool outside our door. We both point out the little birds flying about to each other. Or count the leaves left on the tree and marvel together for the hundredth time how much we both love that tree. And sit quietly together enjoying those moments of being part of something else.

Part of something else together.

I am falling in love with my husband all over again. In a new way.

important things to do to remind yourself you're still a girl

> Give your man a really big, long smooch goodbye (cause he's taking the kids away for the weekend, and cause giving your man a big, long smooch is a good thing to do!).
> Pack your basket of things for a night away on your own.
> Remember to include a good book or two to enjoy. And some fresh lemons for your grandma.
> Turn the music up nice and loud.
> Put your sunglasses on. Enjoy the look of the road behind you, in the rearview mirror. And look forward to the road in front with a light heart.

> Drive nice and fast*, with the wind in your hair. Sing as loud as you want, and make sure you tap and bang your fingers on the steering wheel.
> Swing past the post office, in town, just in case there's a nice little treasure for you. (Ooohhh, there is.) Ignore the phone bill that came with it.
> Head on up the coast. Wind, music, sunglasses, mountains all about you. Doesn't the car feel just that little bit lighter without the car seats or the kids.
> Stop off for a dip in the ocean. All on your own. At the best ocean spot in the whole wide entire world. Jump about in the waves for just as long as you want. Feel the sun on your back, as you sit on the sand. All on your own. The sand under your feet as you look for rocks along the water's edge. (Ignore the fact that your body doesn't look exactly the same as it did when you where a girl. Or even a bit younger than you are now....). Wrap your sarong around you, and head on back to the car - don't have to worry about drying/dressing/cleaning sand off any body but yourself.
> Head on further up the coast, just a little bit. To your grandma's house. Visiting your grandma is a good thing to do. You still feel like a girl, even though you are the one now cooking the dinner and cleaning the dishes, compared to her doing it for you when you were a girl.

Being a woman is really really good, of course. But sometimes, being a girl again (of indeterminate age) is really really important.

Enjoy your weekend. I'm staying at my grandma's for just one night, then heading back home for some peace and quiet until the noise arrives back on Sunday afternoon. I'll be lapping up every moment of the quiet that living in the bush brings.

*though of course, not too fast, stick to the speed limit please. One of the good things about country living is those road signs that say 'drive to suit conditions'....


i am tired.
ari woke me at 4.30am. it was so light outside (Summer is here, afterall), that i thought it was closer to 6am. but it wasn't.
he climbed into bed beside me. and sniffled and wiggled for an hour or so. got up and down. and out and in. and snuggled up to me. with his warm little body.
at 6am the alarm went off.
we all got up.
sam made coffee. which we sat and drank, in the front room.

mishi got up some time later, while i was washing the dishes from the night before.

i am tired. off to bed now. to sleep. tomorrow is another big day of things to do. things to plan and think about. school lunch to make. washing to do (and hopefully no rain so it can dry). an end of school afternoon event to make food for (one week left of prep - can you believe that!!!).

{these are taken on my computer camera. no lights in this room. except the glow of the computer.}

young, carefree and rosy cheeked

a school friend just posted this on her facebook page. i'm putting it here, to remind myself...........

......... that i once was young. and how super skinny i was back in high school.
{i'm the one in the pink top, with that super short denim skirt on. and the rosy cheeks. and that long hennaed hair.}. i think it was our final year of high school. we had all spent the day at the tea tree lakes near Byron Bay, swimming in the murky brown tea tree water (that is so excellent for your skin). in those last weeks and months, while we waited for school to be over, and to get our final school exam results, and have our school formal all dressed up.

in those days before...
partners, marriage,
the real world,
being grown up,
living in the big smoke.
oh, those were the days - weren't they. to be young, carefree and rosy cheeked!

{hi Christy, Manda, Nym + Bel.}

things to be grateful for

sometimes i go through my days feeling a bit complainy,
and wishing things were other than they are.
doing that whole 'it's not fair' dance that we humans sometimes do.

well, my mum did used to remind me that life
wasn't meant to be fair.
but, you know what. 
sometimes i think i do just have to keep reminding myself
how fair things really are
for me. 
in my life.
my days.
my family.

i think i've got better than the fair share of good things.
things to be grateful for. 

i have this little journal that i bought, on a whim,
to help remind me to be grateful.
I enjoy sitting with it, at quiet moments, to stop 
and positively think about the things that are good.
that make me happy.
that make me feel grateful for my life.

This morning I am grateful for:
// the little baby kitten who lives with us. her name is red flower, and she climbs into bed with me in the morning giving me sweet little kisses and kicks her legs about in the air. she likes wearing rainbow dresses and no shoes and eating mangoes and dancing pretty little dances.
// my parents-in-law, for always being there to help me out, with a smile and kindness.
// being able to pick the carrots this morning, with the kids from Ari's classroom, from their little garden (which we have been tending the past few months). to spend time with a whole classroom of growing minds is just wonderful.
// the breeze blowing in through my window, and fluttering upon my face in a soft and kind manner.
// organising enrolments at new schools and pre-schools for both my kids; this means we really are moving, and it's happening so so soon.

*all images borrowed, with deep thanks, from Erin Endicott. Her work uplifts and inspires me, in an usual and strong way. Do go and have a look at her exquisite hand work.

today i am.....

: having morning tea (apple + almonds) with the little one - she is singing beautiful songs about Winter fairies, and drawing snow and little creatures (a Winter fairy, a big Winter dinosaur.....)
: trying to warm up in our cold house - the one patch of Winter sunlight hasn't arrived yet
: avoiding the washing up (kitchen is much too cold to be standing still)
: writing lists and planning things - new ventures will be shown here soon
: wondering when I'll find the time on my own (with no kids around...) to start the tax return
: drawing new designs, and thinking of new products to put them on
: enjoying wearing this beautiful and oh-so warm scarflette from the ever-so lovely Sandrine
: looking at (again, yes, again)
: wondering what to make for dinner again tonight; last night it was toast and left over lentils
: trying to find someone to make me a new website (any ideas or recommendations?)
: enjoying the fact that it's almost the weekend, and surely I can sleep in tomorrow (perhaps also the kids can visit their grandparents and I can sit down at the sewing machine - something I haven't done for more than a month now! eeekkkk....itching fingers and ideas).
: being annoyed that Blogger isn't letting me load images with ease.

: look - that's me, on a Friday. So let's say this is a 52 Fridays entry. Ari took these photos before school this morning. (They're not the most flattering images of me, but there's not many taken of me, so I have to have what I get)

kisses E.

Happy Mother's Day

To my dear {women.mother} friends,
Wishing you all a beautiful day of sweet kisses and terrific drawings.
A day of excited gift giving and warm hugs.
Of smiles and friendship and deep love from your special treasures.

This morning I was awakened by my boy climbing into bed with me. Giving me mother's day hugs.

I went to the organic market with my sister. Where we did our fruit, vege, bread shopping - me carrying my lovely, perfectly sized op-shopped basket, which I love.
We sat and enjoyed warm dandelion and chocolate brownies. And conversation filled with wishes and hopeful realities and possibilities. The sort of things that sisters can share, knowing that we understand each other's dreams - and know them to be true and real and possible. 
And enjoyed moments of just being. And soaking up the warm glorious sun. 

And then home again. To a table lovingly set with flowers and second breakfast - coffee and fresh bread with avocado, olive oil, delicious sun ripened tomatoes, basil. And conversation of life, and of course more dreams and wishes and perhaps realities. 

And messages from my siblings. My dear brother who lives in Melbourne, who always remembers to text and send me a warm message of love and thought. A reminder of his warm, strong hugs and deep penetrating gaze. And my oldest sister, who I never see or talk to often enough.

And booking a family holiday away for a few weeks' time. 
And listening to my children play contentedly, in the tidy peaceful home we live in.
And, now to go and do the laundry - and enjoy watching it dry on the line in the windy sunshiney day.

Enjoy. Being a mother. A daughter. A sister. A friend. A spouse / partner. A woman. Yourself. Enjoy.
xxxxxxxxx E

i just remembered :: Friday # 7

It's Friday today. 
That means I'm to take a photo and then load it up. hmmmmm. Can we do another of those computer ones?
I'm wearing all red today. Well, mostly sort of. It's red day at my son's Prep room. He went to school in a whole red outfit, with a cute little felt elf hat on (that I made for Mishi's b'day party). 
Red dress a hand down from my sister (is it called a hand up, if I'm older than her?). Anyway - I'm older and fatter. The dress is much too big for her, but I fill it out quite nicely, thank you very much.

Today I came across a new blog; Crafting an MBA (which I'm going to spend a while reading through over the next few weeks).
And wrote a really long comment on my google groups (Bris-Style), about costings and mark-ups and that sort of thing. 
There's heaps of "it" going around blog land at the moment. The way we all cost our products out; the fact that those of us wanting to make this our business (and hopefully make a speck of money) are having to continue to compete with those who are hobbyists. Being a hobbyist crafter isn't a bad thing at all - it's just well, quite a bit annoying when I have to place my products next to yours at the market stalls or Etsy site. 
Michelle from Cicada Daydream wrote an excellent post about it a few weeks back. Read the comments too, lots of interesting points.
I'm working on writing a post, for Selvedge House blog, which will address some of these issues. I've had a fair bit of experience in retail and costings and wholesale aspect of business, and have done a few different business courses. So I do have a few thoughts on it all. If there's something particular you'd like me to talk about, let me know and I'll add it to the post up. (Which will happen after my NZ trip).

So, that's me today. I'm having my afternoon coffee. Before I head over to pick up the school boy (walking) and then (drive) to get the kindy girl. Then do the dinner thing, and the teeth, stories, bed thing. And then, maybe I'll fold the laundry. 

51 versions of me ~ 5

i had a little sleep.
have not been sleeping well, of late. kids wake up in night, either they come into my bed, or i end up in their beds.
so short afternoon naps are very pleasant to be able to have.
i kept waking up, hearing noises. i am not used to sleeping in a quiet, alone house. (many noises outside).
both kids at school. husband at work. me sleeping! sounds like a delicious life, doesn't it.
(house is a mess, still have to wash the breakfast dishes, will have to wash school uniforms + kindy sheets this afternoon. feeling guilt over being a stay-at-home-mum who doesn't keep house very well. still sound delicious.)

anyway, before my little nap.
i wrote down a list of things
things i need to do
want to do
need to do.

did you read this blog post yesterday. so, i didn't need to write one - pretend i wrote that. though, of course, my pictures wouldn't be as beautiful, or beautifully matched. {even in her non-creative-phase, she's creative. grrrr}.

i got a lot of things down on paper.
really worked things out in my head.
directions to move to.
things to be happening, get working on.
where to go, what to do.

and then, i had a marvelous little day dream of where i will be in six months time. creatively. work-related. design/sewing/products/range/brand.
won't share yet, but hopefully soon i can show you that it's falling into place.

so you like our blue sheets. what a lovely colour to sleep in. our bedroom walls in our last house were close to this colour. i miss the colour of our last house. this house is dirty white. we will find our very own new house soon, soon, soon.

so - today. i feel good. optimistic. about myself. in my mind and body.
{tomorrow may be a different story - but today is now is the moment is today}.

*** I would like to thank you all for the sweet, lovely, thoughtful and totally ego-boosting comments over the past little while. I feel so lucky, blessed, and happy happy happy to have so many wonderful friends who offer me little gifts so freely, easily and thoughtfully. I truly appreciate each and every comment that you leave me.

now :: then

Doing this 52 Fridays self portrait challenge has made me really look at myself a bit closer.
My whole self, not just the corner of my eye that I see looking in the rearview mirror while driving the kids to kindy, or doing the shopping. {As I don't generally wear makeup, or style my hair in much of a particular way - I somehow rarely spend much time looking in the mirror. We do not have a full length mirror in our house, so I look at bits here and there, but not the whole overall me - and not with an objective eye.}
I've noticed that I frown a lot. Sam tells me so, too. But until you see if yourself - and look - you don't really know or take notice. My mum used to frown a lot, too.
Not in a frowning way, just - that's the face I make. The face I own.
I wonder, though, our faces are an expression of our life. The deep lines etched into our faces are part of what our days take us through. Someone who scowls or smokes their whole life will have lots of little lines around their mouth, someone who frowns will have furrows in their brow. Someone who laughs easily, happily at life will have soft lines at their eyes.
I do not seem to have soft lines at my eyes.
I seem to have furrows and frowns on my brow.

but, oh, but look at these photos from just over a year ago. I look more than a year younger. I look at ease, happy, carefree.

So - I've been wondering, thinking, pondering. Does this mean that the last year of my life has been filled with stresses, furrows, frowns. And why.
When was the last time I was that happy?
Or have I spent too much time trying to get to somewhere (a new, dream house; a new, successful working life; my won business; my own sense of self; time without my children.....).

So - I'm challenging myself, through the 52 Friday's challenge, to find a happier, carefree, more laughing me.

51 versions of me :: 4

I finished my skirt.
And can I tell you, that I think I do so very love it.
For today, I dressed up a little bit (well, no makeup, but some jewellery). And I worked out how to work the self-timer on camera (after owning it for this many years, it took me only a matter of moments to do it!).
I've named the skirt, but not ready to tell you yet.

This is the first day of something.
A finished skirt.
A tiny little photo shoot.

I do wish that I could learn to smile in my photos. A natural smile. Instead of that frown. Perhaps, this year I'll learn. Through 52 Fridays. This accepting of who I am.

my creative space :: a pink giraffe

today i'm making the skirt that's been in my sketch book for a short while. and in my head for a longer while.
i bought this fabric at spotlight, when we were there for tulle for the ballet tutu. it's not often that spotlight has interesting fabric (years ago they used to, but not now) - so i grab it when i see it. i knew i wanted to make a skirt out of this, so instead of getting my usual half a meter (is that what you do, when you don't have a project in mind?), i got 2.5 meters. which means i've got heaps left over after my skirt. i'm planning on using it to line a bag i'm working new designs on.
this makes me think of a pink giraffe. how fun - to be a pink giraffe.
skirt is still in production. come back tomorrow, i plan on wearing it for 51 versions of me.

and yes, those are a whole lot of pin tuck pleats. which i love sewing. a small amount of my pleat, tuck, ruffle inspiration, if you want.

For more Creative Spaces, visit Kirsty.

51 versions of me

Holly is doing a new challenge this year, of posting a self portrait of herself each Friday. 52 Fridays - a self portrait challenge.
I've decided that I'm going to try and do this too. I have already missed the first Friday, but that's okay - I think 51 versions of me is enough anyway. You may be lucky and get more or less, depending on how my year pans out. {And if I forget in one week that I said I was going to do this each week!}.

Raw, exposed and real.

And, just so I don't feel all alone - some captured photographic memories of who is here in our house right now at this moment in time.
At 7.23pm on a warmish and still Friday night in January. The bats are calling outside. The story-telling music is playing. And my cousin, Chloe, is reading Mr McGee and the Biting Flee to my two little ones.


13 again....

Today is my birthday. I am now 31.
My aunt sent me a sweet card, a cute one she had, that was for a 13 year old - 13 :: 31.

I don't know what it's meant to feel like at 31, can't remember 13. So. I'm feeling okay. 31 is sitting nicely in my head - the thought and idea of it. Not freaking me out.
I spent a beautiful afternoon at my sister's house, with some lovely and very dear and special friends. No kids! Did you hear that - NO kids. I didn't want to leave. I could have sat up and chatted all night to those women. And nibbled on the food they all brought, and the bubbly (we can still call it champagne, can't we, even though we all know it's not). And listened to the music. And smelt the roses over and over again. Well, those I can - Sylve gave them to me - David Austin's. So heady and full and sensuous.
And then I headed over to my in-laws; where my mother-in-law had made a beautiful and simply perfect dinner for us. She makes these lovely baked sweet potato (white ones) in long sticks, and they go all caramel-ey. And grilled veges (eggplant, zucchini, capsicum) and adds them to a rocket and feta salad. And of course a special meat (though since I came into their life, I know that she always makes special care and thought to provide me - the vegetarian - with delicious alternatives).

And then a yummy cake. Topped with fresh raspberries.
And Sylve offered fresh raspberries too, on her little chocolate cake treats.
These are quite a delicacy here, and I gobbled their sweet globules of fresh (the ones that Sam didn't eat!).
So, despite the whinge and mess from the kids this morning; a beautiful birthday. And some lovely and thoughtful and just right for me presents. You know when you only get a few presents, but they are right. That's the best, hey!

Left over cake tomorrow. May have to find some friends to share it with; or take the kids on a picnic (if the rain eases for a moment).

:: 31 :: A year of becoming an adult and enjoying things slower, and respecting myself, and taking more time for myself. Of stopping. Of laughing and giggling. And singing and running. And creating. So much creating is bursting out of my seams; eager to evolve into itself.

Sam turned 35; he still is a young man to me - the sweet person who I met and fell in love with all that time ago.