{pinterest love} whipsy and ephermeral on a rainy Friday

Things are wiggly and fuzzy and muddled in my head. Life is full. Beauty-full. But also full and jam-packed. Busy. Yes yes. Busy. But I'm preferring to think of it as "full". 

I'm settling into the whimsy and fleeting moments of my days. The brief passing of light. The thoughts flitting and fleeing from my grasp. 

Sometimes it's best to let go. To allow what comes and goes to happen on it's own. To not force things too much. 

Tomorrow I am going to spend just a short but oh so wonderful time with my sister, Leah. We will talk whimsy, but we will hold fabric in our hands and make real stitches. Working towards ideas we have rambled and wished on for these past months. Ideas coming from whimsy into reality. Hopefully we will have something to share soon. Until then, we promise to share on our instagram pages.

Thank you to those of you still visiting here, in the hope that I will find more time to be here and share more with you. My sister went on holiday to a different country, and came back and told me I still hadn't updated this little page here. MMMMmmmmm - the quieter my blog the noisier my life; I have discovered. 

Images are from top, left-right: floral + ink, stars, purple dress, painted, seaweed, spotted head, flying scarf.

on making art

Last Thursday I was asked by two separate people how my art making was going. 
Exactly that "how's your art making going?".
To both I responded what particular art making are you wanting to know about?

While I know they were both being polite and wanted to say "how's things" in a more personal manner, and neither of them know me really well so perhaps forgot what my art making particularly was (umm - what is it again??!!); I thought it strange. And it's sent me off on tangents of art making thinking. 

What is art making?
What does it mean to me? What does it mean to you?
Is every day living art?
Do my children make art?
Can I make art with my children hovering around me...!?

Ah-ha there's what I'm probably most curious about solving at the moment. That last one. 

But firstly. Art making? Really we all know it's a totally personal and subjective thing. That art thing. Making art. Experiencing art. Exploring art. 

What is art?! 

I think that making a cup of tea is art (and in some countries is a complete art - think of a Japanese tea ceremony). Cooking dinner is art, or setting the lunch table for friends. Writing a letter to a loved one. Digging in your garden, planning and then planting new beginnings of art and beauty. Tidying up your home - straighten the shelves, arranging flowers in a jar. Brushing up your hair into a knot on top of your head. Getting dressed in the morning. Reading stories with your children. Having a conversation.
All of these things can be art. Can be expressed in an artful manner. Can be considered or thrown together, with some semblance of creativity and "art". I think there's an art to walking through our days and experiencing only the beauty and joy. 

It's true I haven't done any screen printing all year, or any drawing or painting for months, or any crochet for the past week. Instead I have spent time my days enjoying the sunshine glowing through the flower water (and documenting). I have planted lettuces with my children. I have read stories every night. I have folded snippets of fabric. I have washed up, and then stack the clean dishes away in the cupboard. I have put the clothes away in the drawer, in neat and beautiful piles. I have read about Pluto and the Moon, and talked about verbs and adjectives with my children at our home-school table.

Each day I am living an artful life.
How about you?
How's your art making going?


not for nothing

Sometimes I'm not here because there's not a lot to report.
But lately there's been too much happening to have time to think and compile. And I don't know where to start in all the telling.
So, this is just to let you know that I am still here, in this little blog corner of mine. I still like being here - and I visit here on my own sometimes.

There's lots and lots happening. Today I sewed something for a special project. Both the kids sewed something too. Mishi a lovely little bag, that we have to stitch some buttons onto as finishing details. Ari made an excellent belt, that he named a Thneed (yes, like in The Lorax). It can be worn as a belt (he planned it to tie around his dressing gown in the cold morning time), or a dashing scarf flung around your neck. Though mostly he's been wearing it as a Ninja headband - tied around his forehead. It is generally accompanied by silly dancing and crazy giggling; and when you think of that giggling, remember that he is missing both his front teeth!

I'm on that facebook place a lot more than I've ever been. All because of the Hey Maker! girls. 'Like us on facebook' - ha, that's the second time I've said that and it's not sounding too silly afterall..... There's lots of super good Hey Maker! happenings going on. Most of our talk is happening with kids around, and us trying to reign in our crazy dream ideas. But such good things that will happen. How wonderful to have met these people who dream the same dream as me. Isn't that just the bestest ever!

We're on school holidays here, and the week is pretty full. A visit to stay at my Grandma's house (have I told you she'll be 91 this year!), we'll finally go to see Arrietty at our local cinema (they have the best beanbags, which makes movie watching so much more comfy), and we'll see the snake man at the library. We might not get to visit our friends and their new alpacas - but that will happen soon I know.

What are you up to this week? Do tell.........


still here..... slightly. vaguely.
anyway. in the air. and juggling. and bumping about trying to do lots and lots of things. probably actually doing nothing.

happenings around here (in no particular order - as there really is no order).
+ the boy has pneumonia. can you believe it? i can't. we spent the whole of tuesday in town, at the doctor then x-ray, (then the library while we waited for the doctor to finish his lunch break), then back to the doctor. the tiny little x-ray of my boy - with the white floaty stuff around his lungs.
+ i have been doing small amounts of making for an upcoming market (next weekend, as in one week away!!). not as much making as i wanted, or needed. but life has got in the way.
+ more and more preschool things happening. being on the preschool committee has taken so much this year - i simply cannot believe it was that crazy. (our president left, so i became president as well as secretary. we hired a new teacher as well as a new admin clerk - that took a lot of sub-committee workings. we had many meetings and in-between other stuff. we had fundraisers). but next year, i will still join the school p&c committee and do it all over again. really - wouldn't you want to be part of how your child's school spends their money?
+ my sewing machine started skipping stitches. i had to find a new place to take her for servicing - new town, new mechanic. i'm still waiting for her to come home again. my sister's machine isn't quite as smooth as mine, so i'm stuck for the moment. with a market coming up in one week.
+ tomorrow i'm going for a photo shoot for the local newspaper, for a little thing about the upcoming market. that will be fun. i might even have time to put some make-up on!
+ the stupid internet is stupidly crappy in the country. cause you know - i live in the middle of no-where, so telstra has an excuse to have crappy internet. as in, i cannot even upload an image to my website! (just so you know - i do live in the country, but it is not in the middle of no-where, we are 1/2hr from Byron Bay, 1/2hr from Gold Coast, in a very bustling town. yes - we do live in the forest, but we can see the tv towers from our road). 

In the meantime -
The children have been their usual selves; complete angels at school / elsewhere, and horrible brats at home. Ah well. At least they do look sweet and cute doing it. We got the yellow tutu last weekend at a market, second hand. She put it on straight away and has worn it almost everyday since - with her other 2 tutus on top. A frilly tulle extravaganza that only my little one could possibly pull off, with a twirl and a whirl.

The timber, windows + doors (all second hand) were meant to be delivered today, but it's raining - so we've had to put it off until another day.

I got a stack of dvds from the library this week - the kids watched Jungle Book and Heidi (with Shirley Temple). 

Anyway - just some things happening around here. I'm learning to juggle and breathe at the same time. Or trying to anyway.

Still enjoying all the beautiful new blooms that are popping up around this place each and everyday. So many things to look at and enjoy. And my garden is still giving me such pleasure and joy.

I hope things are well for you, my friends. Let me know what's up in your little part of the world. Be back here soon, I hope..........

in the olden days

Was so happy to hear that my kids think the olden days was before even my grandma was around, rather than when I was young.

It then got us talking about things that my kids have no idea about. Like a cassette tape (which they did know; we found one once that they pulled apart. Ari said 'a little white box with string stuff inside') or a walkman (a walking robot). And did you know 'videos are so yesterday'.

'Videos are in the olden days.
Geckoblasters are in the olden days'.

Ghetoblaster - a gecko that farts and blasts off to space, hence called a geckoblaster.

It got Sam and me on a tangent from how quickly Walkmans have been replaced with these funny personal computers you carry in your pocket and do all manner of everything with.

.......rambled in our family sometime back in late August, possibly sitting around the kitchen/dining table. I'm sure there was lots of silly laughter and giggling. And me wondering if really I am now 'not young' - meaning I might be heading the direction of "old". 

*carved stamp cassette tape from my sweet friend Holly's blog, thanks xx.
* cassette tape in a mess, found on flickr.

about being here

The longer I stay away from this blog, the harder it seems to come back again. I'm staying away mostly because I can't easily be here - no electricity to charge my computer (except irregular walks up to my dads house for mains power). Our house is dark at night time, except for candle light and dull solar garden lamps. We all cuddle up to our fireplace, and read then fall asleep at a terribly early hour of the evening.
I am so missing being here; in blogland. With you, my blogland friends. Thank you those who are still visiting - one day {soon??!!} I'll be back again with more regularity. I do promise. 
For now it's just quiet. 

We are doing lots of yard work. While weeding gardens I am dreaming about the raspberries and strawberries I will plant, or the tomatoes we will grow - I plan on having so many that I'll be bottling them for the Winter time. We do have some little sweet peas that are growing strongly; I am watching them each day with anticipation for Spring and when they'll be big and start to sweetly bloom. Sam is mowing and cutting grass, making trails and paths and cleared area around the house and further into the bush, up to the dam, across the paddock. Finding the most marvellous mushrooms and fungi.

I am still drawing endlessly changing house plans. Ever watching where the sun is moving across the sky; wondering the best spot to build the bathroom, or a sun catching-morning coffee spot, or how to get good light into all the rooms. Soon soon, I am ever hopeful that soon we will start building. 

Working and making and drawing and sewing and designing have mostly taken a backseat to just being and enjoying and watching and weeding and collecting water from the creek. Though lots of dreaming and ideas and thinking and mulling and pondering........... Soon soon... {As long as there isn't another b****y preschool committee meeting again anytime soon! Words of warning - once you step up and offer any slight bit of 'yes, I can do that' at a community pre/school you'll be called upon to do it always....}.

Winter is here in two days. The cold has crept in, and we've been having a fire every night how. Sam is getting very good at chopping the wood and making the fire go. The kids and I go off into the forest and collect the kindling - which I am finding strangely meditative {despite the fact that my dad had the hardest time getting me and my sister to do it when we were kids. The hardest time! My kids are acting quite similar to that}.

I must admit the slow and quiet is suiting me well. I find that I am more relaxed and less anxious about things (like the silliness I sometimes bring up in myself when looking at other blogs, websites, lives, etc...). Being away from here is a good way to just be and enjoy and be happy and content with myself and with the small things I have.
{We cut Mishi's hair - too many knots and not letting us brush it or tie it up. 
The new bob cut is perfect on her, still tucks behind her ears and is easy to manage.}

{A beautiful stack of fabric that I've finally started working with. Hand stitching pieces, which I'm enjoying so so so much. Hopefully I'll have something finished to show you soon - it's actually going quite quickly, despite my messy hand stitches}.

stuff and more stuff

moving, and having to pack up our things, our stuff, our possessions......
are they our life?

do possessions + things = life?

next year we will be living in a very small one room house, while we build our slightly bigger home. we will be storing things in a shipping container, as we cannot store everything in our 'little house', and we are not ready to give up all our possessions/stuff.

some stuff we are planning on giving away, or selling, or will donate. our couch, which has served us well for the past 10 - 11 years won't be coming down with us. as comfy as it is, we have out grown it style wise, and will either make or find another one when we have a new loungeroom in a year's time.
also our tv - i am actually very excited about giving this up. we will have minimal electricity, due to solar power and no mains power at either our little house or our new home. i am sad + ashamed to say that tv has become too much a part of the daily life of our family, so i am very glad to be saying goodbye to it. {we will, i'm quite sure, get a new smaller one at some stage down the track. but i'm hoping hoping hoping that living in the country with endless things to do and play we will not want to watch very much}.

things like books and the treasures that we collect will be the hardest to think about getting rid of. books are a lifeline to me. something i grew up loving and cherishing; my parents instilled a deep connection to books and the stories and adventures they provide. i love going to visit at my dad's, and sitting at his book shelves and just looking looking looking. {i am very pleased to be moving closer to these bookshelves, and being able to borrow more books more often!}.
we will keep our books, and plan to build some wonderful shelves designed perfectly for storing and showing off books.

i know we have a lot of display/collection things - little bottles and ornaments and things like that. they hold special meanings to me, so i'm not sure i'll able to part with them. but i am planning on having (building) a cupboard in the new home that will house these things, and i can choose and edited collection to put on display. rather than having everything all at once; which is what we mostly have now.

with the time of 'giving', yet mostly 'receiving' (for the children) upon us, i am trying and trying to educate our children, and remind ourselves, that we don't need more and more things. little conversations with the children about why they think they need a new toy, or some other something else. it is hard for children, as they like the whole giving and receiving and unwrapping and excitement of it all. {and to be honest, as adults we do too - i love thinking about a special gift to give someone, and then taking the time to choose a fabric to wrap it in, and tying it up, and making a card for them. what i don't like is the guilt of gift buying, and the shopping centres, and the way that gifts are often chosen out of desperation, not long-thought. i don't like all that money being spent on made.in.china plastic items from major department stores. when there are countless other more ethical, environment, sustainable, community options.}

this year, with my family - as in other years - we are not giving gifts. nothing for the adults or the children. i mean my siblings, and nieces and nephews. instead us sisters (the mums) are taking the kids (the cousins) for a day out to a special place, with a picnic and lots of fun. it will be a surprise location for the kids, to add to the excitement of it all for them. also, we are probably going to give a gift from World Vision Smiles. a pig, or a goat, some chickens, pencils or school supplies, a cow, or a beehive are all wonderful options that will help out a whole community, they are fun items that my kids can have a connection to (and also understand how it can make a difference and what it can give to another child), and they cost no more (often less) than would generally be spent in the major department stores.

of course. there will be some handcrafted goodness. but that's another story. this is the story of stuff. (a ramble in fact....)

have you seen this. go now and have a look at the story of stuff. she's got lots of other ones to look at as well, so i'll understand if you take a while over there. but come back for some more ramble, hey!

about more stuff. yesterday i picked up my fabric and bits and pieces (nice words for "stuff") from the studio. there is a lot of fabric there. it will take up a lot of space in the shipping container, won't it. hmmmmm. what to do about all this stuff. the collection of stuff.

i am planning on spending the next week or so (until we go and housesit at a friend's house in bush) sorting through my stuff. editing and culling and boxing up things. i am sure there will be big piles that i'm willing to part with; i'm hoping anyway. and perhaps some decluttering (another word for getting rid of "stuff") of my fabrics and notions that you may be interested in adding to your own collection of stuff. {ie - i am planning on selling + giveaway some of those big piles of fabric over the next month, so stayed tuned}.

just my little ramble about stuff and possessions and the craziness of gift giving at this time of year. before you go and buy something, stop and think about it. where it came from, how it was made, what it's lifetime is, what will happen with it in 6 months time. think about the real needs of the person who are giving your gift to. even your neighbours or those people who you feel you 'have' to give a gift to, will understand and perhaps even really appreciate you giving a goat or a wind up torch to a child in need on behalf of them. and in the process you'll be educating someone else about the story of stuff, and reminding them + yourself that you have the power to say no to more stuff.

there - a motto for those who managed to read the whole way through this. you have the power to say no to stuff!

*all images from the Smiles Gift Catalogue.

sunday afternoon + giveaway winner

I've been sick for the past week and a half.
Keep thinking it's over; but it's one of those flu things that just stays around.lingering.
Lots of night time coughing.
Sam's been sick too; yet still having to go to work every day. Urgh. He's a good man.

Today I have finally have the energy to start getting the house back into order. And get the back-log of washing on the line. Perhaps by tomorrow the house will be looking good again - livable in.

We've spent a beautiful day of picnics in the backyard with my sister + nephew. Riding bikes, chatting, playing bubbles with the next door neighbours, drinking dandelion in the last patches of sunlight on a late Winter afternoon.

Sam and the kids have walked up to the bike shop. They're looking at a new bike for Ari's birthday (in October). He's finally getting the hang of riding, and needs a bigger bike. Mishi will get his old bike (painted pink, purple + silver; as per her request!).

I'm sorting through things (fabrics and associated stuff). Will be working at the studio tomorrow, and need to have everything on hand over there.

Listening to The Audreys.
Loving the lavender and jasmine that the kids are bringing into the house, and putting in little jars of water.
Enjoying this bookshelf and it's collection of things that I've recently put in the front room (during one of my little rearrange-moods).
And this crochet snowflake I made a while ago, and have hanging in the front windows.
Being inspired by this sea quilt. (Perhaps I'll finally get Ari's quilt started.....).
Flicking through the July/Aug issue of VogueLiving that Sylv found at the airport (on her way home from Tasmania a short while ago). {Sorry person who left it accidently and wanted to read the mag while the plane - I hope you enjoyed looking out the window instead}.

And the winner from my tea towel giveaway. (Sorry it's a week late - the flu headaches and drowsiness have been too consuming). Random generator has declared the winner to be Kim from Udessi.

*Come back soon, as I'll have another giveaway later this week.

To clarify my words

I just wanted to clarify a few things about my last post, as I feel that I didn't express myself well enough. (Sometimes the words just flow out in a certain way, and that's the way they stay and I don't  get to highly edit my posts. I guess I don't always remember that people are out there reading; so I'm just having a little babble to myself, and I sort of know what I'm talking about!!).

Anyway, I want to say that I'm really really really and truely sorry if I have offended any hobbyist crafter with my comments, about not wanting to be beside them at a market stall or on Etsy. This is wrong - What I should have said was :: It's so amazing that there are so many different sorts of crafters / designers / artists out there. And the reason that craft markets and Etsy work so well is that everyone out there isn't a full-time crafting business. {In fact, when you look around most of us aren't full time anyway - we have full children as well as sometimes part time jobs and other commitments.}

What I meant was that being a hobbyist crafter, as opposed to a full-time business crafter, doesn't mean that you shouldn't or don't have to cost out your products properly. When I see listings on Etsy or Made It and something is under-priced at only $5 or $10, I feel sad and upset and, yes, I'm going to say angered for a few reasons. The main reason is that I see that the hobby crafter isn't valuing their time or design skills. Even if you have made something that you perceive as simple and that everyone else out there is making, you have to remember that you have put your own voice into the picture. And that voice is worth something. And even if you used fabric from your stash, how did you buy that fabric in the first place - perhaps you did buy it 10 years ago and have no idea how much you paid for it; but once you use it you're going to have to buy some more aren't you. And fabric seems to increase in cost every year (in Australia anyway), and second hand shops are trendy now-days, so you may not be able to replace that piece of fabric as cheaply or easily. So while it only cost you $2 for that piece of fabric, it's actually going to cost you $10, or $5 or $15 for another piece.
And then you have to think about the time it took you to make your item. Yes - a lot of you may sit with your children, or while having cups of tea with your friends, or do snippets here and there so you couldn't possibly work out the cost and "you would have been doing nothing if you hadn't been doing that". Does this mean that your time spent making the item you want to sell is worth nothing - because you did it around the rest of your life? Or does it mean you are a multi-tasker who could be earning a little bit of money while playing with your children or chatting with your friends (or on lunch break at your part-time job). 
It is something that women do often, some women more than others, and something that we need to continue to fight to change. But we often undervalue ourselves, our time, our skills, our ideas.  Saying that you were only doing it around other things, so you don't need to worry about it. And anyway, you love sewing so why should you get paid for it. This is undervaluing yourself.
I totally understand that a lot of people start at home, making and then realise they could sell it, and they don't really know how to cost things out - their time or materials. You can make a rough gestimate - I mean, I think we all have a fairly good idea of how much a meter of fabric costs (you know things about your addictions, don't you!), and you know if it took you 15 mins compared to 2 hours. 
And then, there's the hidden costs - that we forget to factor in. Things like the tag you might sew into your item, and the swing tag or business card you'll print up (paper + ink costs, or pay someone else to print), and then things like the listing fees. Yes, Etsy + Made It don't cost much for a listing - but they still cost something about $0.50 or so (at least), and then Paypal fees. (If you list 5 things a week, with listing fees of $0.50c, then that's about $130 a year.) And then the time it takes you to actually upload an item, and then wrapping, packaging and taking it to the post office.
And other little things, like electricity. The Australian Government allows you to factor in $0.26c an hour for the cost of electricity in your daily usage of earning. This is your sewing machine, your computer (for uploading, etc), your lamp for toiling over your hand sewing, your radio. So, you spent maybe 5 - 10 hours this week on doing things that you are now selling online. This is $2.6 a week = $135 a year. Not much, you say? Well - I think if you could be factoring that into your costs, and earning yourself an extra $135 a year. Add that to the online listing fees - $260 or so; that's not something I'd scoff at for a nice little bonus.

And then there's the market thing. I read a while ago, on a USA blog (can't remember where now), that she won't go back to another craft market if she hasn't made more than 10x her stall fees. This sounds like a lot, and sounds scary to think about. And it's not something that we all would aim for - some people may be happy to earn enough money to head back out into the market and buy some lovely things from the other crafters. And, really, that sounds pretty good to me! {In reality,  it's not always so easy to earn 10x the stall fee at just a general monthly craft market - in Brisbane, anyway. The bigger designer markets are a different story.}
But, when you think about what it means - 10x your stall fees. A lot of markets around Brisbane cost about $85 for a stall. So that's $850 for the day. You sold $850 worth of things - Yah! That's really exciting. But this isn't profit - this is your takings. How much did it cost you to make these items, perhaps $450 (if you had costed things out and then doubled your costs to get to sell price). Take this off your takings (=$400). This has to cover things like, well for starters your stall fee. So take $85 off your takings (= $315), then think about your petrol to the market, and the fact that you had to sneak out of the house at 5am or drop the kids off at your in-laws (which the kids do love, but you're away from them for a day, missing out on family life - which is sometimes nice!), and whatever props you had to buy for your market set-up, and paper / plastic bags for people to take their goodies home in.  Let's say maybe $30 - which may actually be more on your first market, and then not have to rebuy for your next ones. (So, take that off = $285). And also all the pretty little business cards or postcards you gave away to all those customers who liked your things, but didn't want to buy then and there (or, just as likely, took it out of guilt, or because it's a pretty postcard that they like, but they're never going to buy from you, or because they're a kid running around and collecting them). Did you give away 100 business cards - oh, they only cost $20 (take that away = $265). And, there's other costs which sort of got forgotten along the way - that happens when it's just for fun, and you're not keeping receipts or factoring in all costs. So, $265 sounds really decent doesn't it. You just earnt that one day at the market. BUT - did you factor in your time when you costed your items? No, okay - umm... so that $265 for one market day now has to get divided up between all the little bits of time that you spent making your items. And sometimes you take custom orders, so you now have to go home and make those things because someone's paid you for it. And, remember, if you are actually charging just the material costs for your product, without taking into consideration any other factors, and you didn't double your costs (because "why would you charge someone for more than it cost you to buy your materials"). You made your $850 by selling lots and lots of cheaper items - but did you make any money to take home, or did you only make enough to pay back costs?
If you only took 4x your market stall fee, then your final profit would be a whole lot less. {$400 - $200 (product costings - which doesn't include your time, because you didn't factor that in at the start) - $85 (stall fee) - $30 (paper bags, etc) -$20 (business cards) = $65. That's how much you just earnt by sitting at that hot, cold, wet, windy, long, tiring, force-your smile market day}.
So - this whole ramble is best summed up by saying that if you are a hobbyist, you can still factor your costs so you can earn some money - for your time, your materials, and to contribute to your family income.
I feel upset when I see something online or at a market stall that is beautifully designed, well made, unique fabric, buttons, etc and is well photographed or stall lay-out is lovingly planned. And then you are only asking a small amount for your actual item. And then, I go into some high-end boutique and see a similar sort of item, but of course with a designer name, and they are charging 5x what you were asking at your market stall. 

So, I do love sitting next to hobbyists (and yes, that's you Hol, because I'd love to share another craft show experience with you) at market stalls, but only if you are valuing your time and design skills, and asking others to do the same. 

Rant over. Thank you if you made it to the end. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
*photos included because a post this long really needs some brightening up! 

an unexpected art

{image source}

It's getting to that time where I'm starting to think anew, to refresh myself.
To write down the plans, ideas, thoughts I have rambling in my head.
To try to bring them to life, in some way.

I've got pleats-and-folds-and-tucks-and-turns-and-twists-and-origami-under-over-inside-outside, wanting to see the light, to be shown to the world, to evolve from my head to my hands. To be seen with my eyes, through my eyes.

Lots of inspiration all around me at the moment. Wanting to make things, find the time to make it happen. All these lists of ideas and fleeting images scuttling about.

{image source}

I'm thinking of a long list of want-to-make in 2010. Which of course, will be way too over ambitious. And way too long. And way too silly. But, does that matter? I don't think so. I am, after all, one of those dreamers and thinkers and planners and wishers.

{image source}

What are your dreams and wishes for the new year?
The year washed clean by rain, or snow, or sun, or laughter, or tears.

{it's been raining and raining and raining here these past few weeks}.

torn between

These past few months have been quite hard for me. I am torn between the person I want to be, who I am, and who I can be. torn between;
wanting to have time alone to craft, create, think
yet wanting to have time with my little ones to play, explore, laugh, learn
wanting to spend more time making Red Seed Studio work
yet wanting to make for us; clothes for the children, pillows for our couch, (long overdue) gifts for family members
wanting to read a good book
yet wanting to go to sleep
wanting to send the children away to kindy or daycare
yet wanting to homeschool
wanting to sell our house, and start a new venture
yet not knowing what first steps to take
wanting to have a clean house
yet not wanting to fold the laundry
wanting to let my daughter self wean
yet wanting to have my body back to myself, and get a good nights sleep
wanting to do everything in my head
yet wanting to do nothing
wanting to spend time for yoga and meditation
yet not wanting to get up at 4am to have a moment on my own
wanting to keep on whinging
yet not wanting to bore you all...

(I really like this post - a day in the life).

Things have been happening. Some days are successful - we have fun, the house is tidy at the end of the day, we stop and sit in the backyard for a few moments or go for a walk. We get some proper work done, don't have the kids climbing and whinging on us all day. The sewing machine whirs and whizzes - or the screenprinting is crisp and perfect - satisfying.
Other days I stress and over load. I need to keep trying trying to stop that feeling of being drowned, or swallowed. I have to stop the need for that feeling and wanting of perfectionism. I have to learn to be at ease with myself.
I have been spending a lot of time lately feeling lost, floating about. No routine or rhythm. Up and down. Each day struggling to get to the end in one piece - emotionally, physically. I am feeling (emotionally) that I can't deal with the constant 'popularity' contest I put myself into.
Or am I just overthinking it all; again.


My house is in a fuzzy sort of mess.

My life seems out of balance, and well fuzzy too.

My finances aren't at all in the happy or healthy zones.
My mind most definitely is fuzzy, and out of balance and while there are some happy moments in my head there have been some quite unhappy and not so healthy aspects. So many things going on.
Yet despite all this my little ones still have the power to stop me, and make me laugh, or read them a story, or push them on the swing - or fly on the swing with them. They give the happiness and remind me to soak up the Winter sun, to look at the flowers - "the fairies danced so that the flowers could open".
So, with head too fuzzily muddled to write what I might want - I've decided to try and just keep my posts simple, with some photos and maybe a few words. And try and post more often than once or twice a week (I've tried that a few times before, haven't I).
And one friendship in particular, that continues to strengthen. That, too, is giving me motivation and ability to enjoy the small moments of peace and listening and being listened to, and of just being. And not having to be anything particular - just myself.
Sam and I are thinking and planning and working madly on our new business venture. I'll tell you about it soon, when I feel we really have something proper to show you. oooohhhh the anticipation is killing you, hey!!
Also - I wanted to say hi to my family and friends who read this little part of me, and don't often comment. Please do comment, just to let me know you're there. :: Hi Lea, Tal + Suri - lovely to hear from you


You may have noticed that there've been a few changes around this blog, here. Maybe because I still haven't moved (changed) houses - so this is my little virtual house. Maybe because it's so much easier to spend time sitting on my b.t.m (hey, Stef, remember "Under Milkwood"??). Maybe because I'm really enjoying teaching myself, and reading tutorials on how to change the html myself.
I don't even know what html stands for, what it all means. I'm good at learning and teaching myself, I really enjoy it. But it's all slow. And I don't know what a lot of things are for. I only just realised why people don't put their full email address on their blogs, but write it like this: ellieabeck (at) hotmail (dot) com. For those few of you others who didn't know, it's so that the computer spiders can't spam you.

And all that technorati stuff. Truly I don't know what it's about. Okay, I understand that it's a ranking system. And if you're more popular well then technorati tells you. If you're not so popular then you can read your exact number of people who like you. I'm quite used to being not so popular. I grew up being a bit of the odd-one-out within the school community. I hung out with the other odd-ones-out. Honestly, I keep saying that I'd prefer only a small handful of real friends, compared to a bucketful of acquaintances. Hmmmm. maybe sometimes I'd like a few more people to chat to. To feel a bit more popular. Arhhh well. Guess it's quite lucky that I have a good connection with my family - wish a few more of them would comment on my blog! (Thanks Timbo).
Anyway. The new pictures on the right sidebar link back to other places. Check them out, if you feel inclined. I'm going to add more as I get more time - oh, and maybe more things to actually add. And that label cloud. Isn't it the coolest. I found this tutorial and then found this colour chart to change the colours - that took me a while to work out. And this is the tutorial I used ages ago, to make a three column blog; which I may go back to at some stage.

There are lots of changes happening at home too. Not the house moving stuff. But new job stuff. I was fired a few weeks ago (via email!) from my part-time job. Sam will be finishing up at his job in a couple of weeks. Instead of going out and looking for new jobs, we are both jumping head first into wanting to start our own business together. This is something that we have talked about together for so many years; now we finally have no other reasons to not do it.

We are heading towards a market in just under one month, as being our main starting leap. So, lots of talk and work ahead of us. Lots of plans and ideas and work work work. But our minds keep ticking and tumbling, we are thinking similar things as each other. Some similar images and pictures we tell each other about. It's really wonderful, yet totally scary, to be at this point of change. Of new things happening for our family, for our daily lives.

So, you may see me around here lots over the next month, sharing our progress. Or not at all, due to having so much to do and think. And fit it all around the kids' schedule.
These few photos are of me, when I went out last weekend with some girlfriends. I took them in my mirror, with the flash - so not so good. Wearing one of my Maiocchi dresses (from last season), that isn't so breastfeeding friendly. (Don't you just love my expressions!!). The kids and Sam went to his parent's house. I went out for dinner with Sylve, and two long-time friends, one who lives in Germany. We had cocktails and sat with our dinner chatting for ages, and chatted more before dessert, then shared our delicious icecream. And lots of stories and laughs and wonderful times. Small time to be together, but such a special time. Thanks Sylve, Rejelle and Francious.

everyday :: today

Last night I made a rather rash statement about posting everyday this week, so here I am, attempting it. So, what to write about. Writing for the sake of writing, for the sake of words themselves or to tell a story as a whole. Or just simply to ramble.

Could I simply write a whole list of words that I like. Words or phrases that sound good to me. That I like to repeat in my head. Could I? Would you be bored? Does it matter?

:: :: ::

This morning I drove to work in the rain. The traffic and the rain. I listened to Syd Straw 'Surprise' on the cd player. I sang. I thought about my dad, who's cd it is. Borrowed from him, along with some Joni. There was an accident round the corner from our house (not very bad one; only tow-trucks), and a very slow L driver in the fast lane. Lots of road work on the way. I was only 2 minutes late for work.

I drove home this afternoon with the traffic. And the red, pink, bruised purple clouds. The golden sun hues bursting through the clouds. The swirls of red cloud, that looked like ink mixing into water. The blue clouds that looked like mountains in the distance.

I thought about all the things I want to do, be achieving. Not in a stressed way, but an excited, anticipated way. You know when you're on the verge of new beginnings in so many things, when new paths are opening and you can see possibilities. When you are approaching the cliff, and deciding to jump - hoping you will fly, but not minding if you tumble and crash to the rocks and waves below. Knowing that someone will rescue you, because family does that sort of thing.

Do you know that feeling? It's been coursing through my veins, blood, body for weeks now. Things (life) slowing it all down. but that's okay.

I'm good at living in my dreams, imaginations, possibilities, wishes.

And when I came home, opening the gate that has a pleasing squeak, hearing the even more pleasant sound of little feet running to the door. Of little hands opening the front door, and a little voice saying 'it is Mama', and then, a little face peeking out. And a big smile beaming at me. Two smiles. And hugging arms, and tumbling words. This is the best part about going out (to work, or for coffee with friends); coming home to the little ones.

:: :: ::

Obviously I have no photos of the awe-inspiring sunset I saw today (I would have caused an accident, even if I had had my camera on me). These photos are really old ones, that I just stumbled across in my computer. Little moments from the past year or more - the yellow runnunculus flowers are form our garden last year (none this year), while the other two are from at my dad's house, and walking on his land.

a bit of midnight silliness

My eldest sister sent me this today. A little bit of fun. Someone had a *few spare hours* to put this thing together.

Apparently, I am 95078578470 milliseconds old. That sounds lots more than 30.15 - which actually sounds even older than just plain old 30. What have I done with the .15 since my birthday?

These are the little things that make up my character. Yep, some are true. They are things I have read in horoscopes - I'm a Gemini. I always love the part where it says *Beautiful physically and mentally*, as if being born at a particular time of the year makes you more or less beautiful. (Though it does always make me smile a little secretly when I read this. You know what I mean).

23 MAY 1978
* Stubborn and hard-hearted
* Strong-willed and highly motivated
* Sharp thoughts
* Easily angered
* Attracts others and loves attention
* Deep feelings
* Beautiful physically and mentally
* Firm standpoint
* Easily influenced
* Needs no motivation
* Easily consoled
* Systematic (left brain)
* Loves to dream
* Strong clairvoyance
* Understanding
* Sickness usually in the ear and neck
* Good imagination
* Good debating skills
* Good physical
* Weak breathing
* Loves literature and the arts
* Loves traveling
* Dislike being at home
* Restless
* Hardworking
* High spirited
* Spendthrift

Age in years ~ 30.15
Age in months ~ 362
Age in days ~ 11004
Age in hours ~ 264107
Age in minutes ~ 15846435
Age in seconds ~ 950786087
Age in Milli seconds ~ 95078608722
Age in weeks ~ 77031
You born on ~ Tuesday.

Please let me know if the link isn't linked.. actually, I'm not entirely sure how to do that part at all. But, I am *sharp thoughts*. (does this mean I think about scissors and thorns and blades and things.....hmmmmm). Okay, okay.. the excel document can't upload. If you are at all curious and want to put your own birthday in, please email me - so I can email to you. ellieabeck@hotmail.com

PS - this post if just so that I can post something today. Maybe I could try one post each day this week. Ooohhhh, not sure how we'll go on that one.

just stuff....hmmm just life

Sometimes when I'm sort of at a bit of a loss for a good story for this blog, I look at photos I've taken and that sparks something for me to turn into at least a little reminder of our day. Seeing as how I've been away from here for so long, again, here are a few photos from randomness of our past few weeks.
Cushion cover I embroidered for my Grandma, for her birthday. She's somewhere close to her late 80's, don't think quite at 90 yet. But, she won't tell anyone. If I am like her at 90, I hope that I'll be proud to shout my age from her veranda across and down to the ocean.
We went to visit her, down the coast, and had planned a lovely little picnic at this same place. Except that it rained, and was cold. Not the best thing for the elderly or the really young - a wet, cold beach. Lovely to walk along, if you know that a warm shower and dry clothes await you somewhere not so far away. Instead we had lunch at her house, and while she fussed a bit, I did manage to get her to sit down for a few moments. She even let Sam clean the kitchen, and me to make tea for her!
So, the cushion. Actually, I really really like it. I have some more planned in my head. And actually started a few more embroideries on the drive home from her house; but used them on a different project for Ashey's birthday (no photos yet, have to post about that another time). I used an image of a sea bird, as my Grandma lives near the ocean, and likes shells and ocean-y things. The baby bird was an afterthought, and it would have been just as good without it (maybe better?).
And sewing up the cushion cover was quite quick and easy, I'll be doing it again this way. I used this great tutorial. it makes a very professional looking cushion, and more evidence of my zippered phobia conquered!
My sister visited my Grandma's house, and told me that the cushion was lovely; so that makes me happy.
Making more faces, playing dress ups, flying and posing. This is just another day in the life of my little ones. Mishi with her dress (handmade Christmas dress from my big sister), her hat, her shoes and handbag. Ari with his hand-down "Memo" (Nemo) t-shirt. The bright green shirt that family members keep saying I should accidentally loose in the wash, or something like that. It gives him happiness to choose it from his cupboard, and is much more fun than the other camo hand-downs we have. So it'll stay!
Feeding, dressing, stories, bedtime for little Roni doll. We bought this plastic doll for Ari, before Mishi was born. Hoping that he could bath and feed and dress it like a baby. I had really wanted to get him something special (like these, which I just saw last night, and think they are so sweet and like real babies). Mishi is a girl, that's for sure. She wheels the babies in the pram, asks me to dress and undress and then sits down and feeds (not breastmilk unfortunately - she looked at me strangely when I suggested that??!) them yoghurt and all sorts of messy food. Recently she borrowed another doll from Ashey - Anabella Jemima (I wanted to put her name in, as it's quite cute; a combination of Sylvie and my Mum naming the doll) - and has been taking her everywhere this past week.
The spectacular birthday party of an especially amazing boy. Ash turned 6 last week, and Sylve celebrated with a backyard party, which turned into a fireside Solstice and housewarming party. Kids went to bed (eventually), and we adults stayed up until almost 3am having beautiful music sung and strummed for us. With our feet stuck under the $10 cast iron fire pit, to keep the cold cold night from stinging us.
I made the birthday cake; a chocolate beetroot cake. Sort of made the recipe up - as I have been doing lately with lots of my cakes, bread, etc. I will make it again, as I see real potential in the beetroot chocolate thing. And then we iced it with green coconut 'grass' and licorice 'road' and lots of crashed cards. Ash asked for a racing car cake, this was our compromise to not making some extravagant real car with lots of colours and icings and such. As you can see, the kids loved the idea of real Matchbox cars; which they took home as their party bag thing. (No take home lolly bags for this family, with silly plastic toys - most kids were fairly happy with that).
And finally, a few photos I took this afternoon, after reading this quote. And then feeling terrible that I hadn't had the energy to take the kids to the park as promised. (Started a new job this past month which is great but tiring, and Mishi is still drinking so much milk at night-time). And that we had had a bit of yelling today. So, when I came across this post - going through my long blog list, while the kids watched Play School - it really stopped me. Here I am, trying to make a promise to remember to live more harmoniously with myself and my children. I'm just rewriting the quote, to continue to remind myself about what it means to me.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor E. Frankl
Edited: Sylve has told me that the doll's name isn't Anabella Jemima, that it's actually Jemima Anabella. I've put it in here, as a reference for my declining memory. I remember that I used to have an excellent memory - not so any more. Is it kids? Or just, something else?

crashing waves and other dreams

Last night I dreamt that I was being washed over by a big crashing wave. We had all been sitting quietly, happily playing on the sand - looking at shells and digging and exploring in our own thoughts. And then suddenly a massive wave - over our heads. I couldn't keep afloat easily, I was holding both kids in my arms and struggling. People were around me; family members - Sam, Dad, other people; all trying to keep their heads above the water and away from the rocks. For some strange reason (okay, it as a dream - lots of strange things happen!); there were knives flashing through the water, and that was something else we had to be weary of.
When I got up this morning, with the dream still in my mind, I knew that I was about how I'm feeling with things :: life :: at the moment. The knives I'm not so sure about, little bit scared to delve into what they could mean. But the water over my head - trying to stay afloat, well that's pretty obvious.
There are lots of things I feel so waterlogged about, that I'm constantly playing chase with, trying to achieve and getting done. So many things I have promised - to myself or other people - that I'm very behind in. I think the most important person I feel I'm letting down is my little Ari.
I promised him a bunny a long time ago, and have run into a few issues with that. Then we talked about a turtle - a red one; as red is his favourite and turtles are his favourite. I keep promising that tomorrow it will be ready. Yet, somehow, I don't quit know where to start.
And the 100th Post prizes are still "in the works". Sorry everyone, but they will happen. I know it for sure, just not sure when. And I still haven't finished or posted these two swaps that are now more than a month overdue - I feel really bad about that.
And then, for myself. All those sewing things I keep planning and dreaming (and talking) about are happening much too slowly. The market I am hoping to have a stall at is next weekend and I don't have very much stock at all for it.
BUT :: in the past two weeks we have had some lovely days. And I have made a few things, for some special people. And my mind is still ticking over, and planning and dreaming................

A gift for a special friend's birthday.

Hand embroidered, zippered purse and

a hand stitched ribbon, button and yoyo bookmark. With some lovely soap.

With beads from the collection my Mum gave me years and years ago. That I have been too scared or tentative to delve into until now - slowly slowly.
Bread rolls for my family's dinner. LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal) makes a lovely addition to the plain organic white flour. Kneaded and rolled with love.

A new dress for my Mishi. Based on a dress that my Mum made for Sylvia when she was a little girl (25 years ago); and that I discovered when visiting my Dad a few months ago. I made another that was a little too big, but will be wonderful in Summer time! Alexander Henry Yellow Birdseed, with a green gosgrain ribbon - though it still needs a button at the back.

And beautiful sunlight and views and smiles and laughs and happiness at home and out and about with our loved ones.

And lots of treasures from Mother Earth.

good things

It's 10:14pm. I'm tired; but I've been telling you that for the past months at least. But right now, things are good.

The house is tidy (ish), vacuumed, washing up done, massive kids clothes pile put away, food in the cupboard!

I just had a wonderful conversation to a dear friend. She lives in the UK, and we are best friends - of sorts. As in, I have known her for so much of my life and been through so much together, and now that we are on the other side of the world to each other - we are living lives more similar than ever before. It's good to talk to someone who knows you well, knows who you are now, who you were then, and is totally interested in being with who you will be some day down the track. It is sad to think that we will never live around the corner from each other. That we will never sit on the front steps and chat and watch the sun set together. Or that our children - very close in ages - will never really know each other as friends.

But, it's so wonderful to know that right now we have a friendship that doesn't need constant tending or weeding or watering. It is flourishing and flowering now. Thanks Stef for your dearness, your words, your memories, your hopes and wishes and dreams. Your sharing of family ups and downs.
Now, onto my market wrap up:

Last Friday I had a stall at the Avid Little Market. It was fun - I think I'm sort of addicted to wanting to have more stalls. (Really, I know that I am a sales person and always wanted my own shop - this is a first step). I didn't actually make many sales - but really a few is all it takes to boost my confidence, and the words and looks and soft touches of eager hands about my sewing and fabric choices. I had a lot of support from dear friends, some who came to visit me at the market, and some who bought from me. I had that feeling of not knowing if I should give them the item, or charge them, or.... I decided that they wanted to support me - I hope they did, and didn't feel as if they 'should'...???

A small night-time market. I'm not sure if I'll do exactly that one again. Coming into Winter I'm not sure if it will be 'big enough' for me to make any sort of real money that will warrant all that hard work. But I have a few other options I am looking into.
But most importantly - you know what. I am proud of what I made, of how my stall looked, of how I felt on the night, talking to people and selling my wares. I am proud of myself! Sometimes it's hard to think or especially say that.
I'm often proud of my kids, and tell them. But being proud of doing what makes me happy. Now that's pretty good hey!

Now that the stress of this market is over (and the three days of work, at my job, that followed), I have so much in my mind that is ready to happen. Writing lists in my head. Tomorrow I will step back into my sewing room, tidy it up a bit, and get back into sewing things for:

:: my next market, I'm currently planning

:: the prizes for my 100th Post winners

:: some gifts to send dear neglected friends

:: some so badly long overdue swaps (these are eating at me)

:: and the bunny that Ari asked me to sew him more than a week ago (does anyone have suggestions on how I can make him a bunny. I have minimal softie experience - and the few tries so far have been strange looking!).

Okay, so all of this won't happen tomorrow - I know. But that main thing is that I'll have started it. And somedays (like today, when I had a lovely walk with the kids and play in the sandpit, and watered my carrots and broccoli), even the thought of achieving those is good enough for me.

have I mentioned.....

....that walking is well and truly happening here, now. She was doing that tentative little scurry around the furniture and holding hands walking, for a little while. But while we were at my Dad's house two weekends ago, with all the bigger children scampering and running about, she came home walking. It's odd to see her doing the occasional crawl, now, if she wants to get somewhere really fast.
Her funny little walk - a tiny bit side-ways, with a scuffle sort of stance. She's very confident in it now. Sometimes she still overbalances and tumbles down, but generally she can stop herself from falling quite well.

And she pushes things - chairs, toy prams, wooden trolley full of library books. And can carry things quite well, also. Today when I gave her a plate of watermelon, she just picked it up and walked off down the hallway with it held firmly in her two hands.
Really, she does so much that everyone else does. Not a baby anymore. Last night, Sam asked Ari why there were some crayons that hadn't been put away in the basket with the others. Ari sat on the couch and had a tiny whinge about it. Mishi just walked over and picked them all up and went to put them away.
And potty-training is happening slowly, also. She has just done this herself. We are encouraging it, but by no means forcing it. When she has no clothes on, she just takes herself off to the potty, sometimes she sits down fully clothed -as an indication that she needs to go. And, of course, she needs toilet paper to wipe herself as well.
It's pretty amazing really, isn't it, the way they learn so much by just mimicking and copying and trying over and over until they can do it. I keep wondering if Ari was like this, at this age (Mishi is almost 14 mths now). And I can't quite remember. I guess that he wasn't really up to a lot of things she is, mainly because there wasn't the constant older sibling stimulation that Mishi gets from Ari.
I've been reading a book called Detoxing Childhood. A lot of it is really stuff I know (or should know, and be thinking about), but it's always good to have it there in front of you, again, at the moments when you need to hear it. One part talks about 'learning versus education'. This struck a note with me. So much of what children 'learn' is just our everyday life - we don't, as parents, set out to teach them to walk or talk, we encourage it when it happens, and show them by example. I think this is all falling into my constant thoughts about homeschooling or not.
I think so much of what children are taught at school is so they can an exam and get a good score, so they can go to University. And be told how to think, but also told that they have to think for themselves - but follow certain guidelines. I loved school - went to Steiner School for primary, and just the local high school. But I think, so much of what I learnt about who I am, and where I fit in, and what I do with my life now - comes from my parents, and my upbringing. Maybe more so than from school. Though maybe I'm having midnight rambles......... This was meant to be a post about Mishi walking.
And while she's growing, and shall we call her a toddler now - is she a baby anymore. And she can cope a whole day without me now, without my milk nourishment. Still, when she gets home, she's my baby. She suckles on my nipple for her milk - which is not just food, but always warmth and love. She hums her little going to sleep song, and strokes my face, and looks into my eyes. And her eyelids flicker and her eyeballs roll back into her head. And she sleeps, a baby sleep. Soft, contented, restless, dreaming, growing, learning. And, so too does my bigger baby, the three and a half year old boy baby.


Five years ago today, my sister rang me. I had just got home from work, was still in my work uniform. I remember sitting on the pine bench in our grungy kitchen, chatting to her. She rang to tell me that my Mum had been taken to the hospital. At the time my Mum had been with a friend, so we all had to be phoned and then make our way to the hospital, an hour's drive away.

I had to call my cousin to drive me there. I remember it being a strange sort of journey, one of not quite knowing what would be at the end - but also not thinking of what would be at the end, and of having no experience of what could be at the end.

I'm not sure I have written about this before, possibly I have. But really, right now - I need to say it all again.

As soon as I walked into the hospital emergency room, and they called my Dad to tell him I was there, I knew what it was. The rest of my family weren't there yet, just my Dad, and then me. I will never forget the weight with which he fell onto me; the hug he gave me. How could I not know, from that feeling of utter astonishment and anguish and fear and pain and terrible terrible shock that I felt dripping off my Dad.

How could I not know, in that moment, that my Mum was dead. But, I went in, and talked to her and told her she wasn't dead. That once, when I was a baby doctors had told her I would die (of pneumonia), and that this was the same. Yet, I knew. I tried to sit and read to her - a book she had lent me and I was returning, not having had time to read it; The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

In that little curtained room, where my Mother lay. With a machine breathing for her. With the quiet noise of other peoples' dramas happening behind and around.

No-one else turned up for a long time. My Dad had told my cousin to go and get my Grandma. My sisters and brother were collecting baby carseats and driving together, not knowing what lay ahead of them.

After some time, of me sitting and Dad sort of floating, the nurses took us into another little room. Some sort of quiet room, with chairs and carpet. I guess a place to take family to be alone, in these moments. We were offered cups of tea. I rang Sam, who was at home, and had no way of getting to me. I lay on the floor, not sure what to do with my thoughts or my body.

The hospital staff were preparing my Mother's body, and taking her upstairs where we could have some privacy from the emergency rooms.

In another room the family gathered. None of them knew what or why they were there. The staff hadn't told them anything, only taken them all together. Sitting, talking, waiting. Such realities never actually go into your head at the moment of unknowing.

I remember walking in, and saying she's gone. Dad said something, I'm not sure what, but I guess to tell them quietly, not so suddenly, abruptly.
Memories of parts of that night float through my head at odd times during my days. Of us being told that we would have to turn off a machine at some stage, but for now we could have some time. Of all of us taking moments on our own, to be with the woman who was everything to us, for us, of us.

Ashra was there too, only a little creature of 10mths. At the time of us finally switching that switch, he called out. A loud and certain sound, sad in it's knowledge. My Mum was like a second Mum to him, more than a Grandmother.

During the past five years, I feel like I have lived many lifetimes over and over. I have grieved my Mother throughout everything, sometimes more desperately intense, other times simply a thudding ache.

I have given birth to two children who will never meet her. I have grown in myself, and become a Mother, a person who my own Mother will never meet.

Yet, inside of me I carry the knowledge that I am of her, and she is of me. And in that way she will always know me, and my children.

And my Mother, the woman who gave me so much, gave me peace with death. I think sometimes over these past years I have thought maybe I wasn't grieving enough, intense enough, crazily enough. That I have actually coped through, and survived my Mother's death. Sometimes I feel that I have too easily gotten on with my life. Yet, when I saw my Mum, in that hospital, lying on that bed, I saw a peace. Deep, utter, free peace. No fear with death, of death.

Tomorrow we will go down to my Dad's house. We will have a lovely, simple, quiet - yet noisy - time with my family. Those people who mean life to me. My father, my two sisters, my brother, and our children. We will try to talk to them about who she was, this woman they will never know as we have known her. But, we won't be able to capture who she was.

I have stopped wanting to ring her, having that forget:remember thing that happens at the early stages of loss. Sometimes, still - though rarely - I do have a thought or do something, and I think oh, I'll just ring Mum and tell her about that. Not so often anymore. I guess the mind gets used to things quickly. Humans are adaptable, renewable. Some days I don't think about her, but that's okay. Some days I think about her too much, that's okay too.