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Home

What do you love about your home?  For me it is cosiness.  I don’t like big, open plan homes with lots of space and sparse furnishings – they seem very cold and unfriendly to me.  There are times when I wish I could be more Spartan in my decorating style and live in a less cluttered space, but that wouldn’t be me and I wouldn’t feel as comfortable.  I like colour and pattern.  I like being surrounded by things that are special to me, or have been gifted to me by someone I love.  My home isn’t very sophisticated or adult looking.  I have nice artworks, but then they are, quite often, accompanied by something silly or incongruous.  I have lots of vintage items, but then they’re sitting with something from Kmart or a discount store.  I don’t care – it’s whatever makes you happy, right?

My house is small.  But that’s ok.  My hoarding habits are probably better being contained anyway 🙂  But I do like cosy.  I like to feel cocooned.  I like to feel safe and enclosed.  I like to look around the room and see all my “precious things” – they have memories attached to them and they’re important to me, even if they’re not “on-trend” or matching or stylish.  I have started culling a little bit – as much as I like my stuff, even I have to concede that I do have a lot of junk.  But if something has a real emotional pull – I keep it.  It’s there, in my life, for a reason.

So, what makes a house a home, to me…..

  1. Colour.  I like white – I really do – but I would always pair it with lots of bright colour.  Shabby-chic white I love – because it’s distressed and homely and paired with lots of pretty colour, wood finishes and interesting textures.  But stark white, I can’t do.  Plus it shows up dirt too easily ha ha.
  2. Plants.  I am not a great gardener, as I have pointed out before.  But I do like lots of plants around the place.  Greenery is good.  As long as it stays green 🙂
  3. Soft furnishings.  I like a cushion or two.  Embroidered tablecloths.  Throw rugs and patchwork quilts.  Especially when they’re handmade ones.  Curtains I can take or leave – at the moment I am stuck with the ones that came with the house – but I HATE vertical blinds with a passion.  Unfortunately, I have those too.  They will be going as soon as I can afford to get rid of them.
  4. Candles.  I definitely have a bit of a pyromaniac streak.  But I love the soft light they give (hey, I’m in my 40s – I need all the soft lighting I can get!) and they create such a nice ambience.  I love the fragranced ones – vanilla, berry and gingerbread are my favourites.  My house always smells like cookies.
  5. Books.  I am a bit ridiculous with books.  I have LOADS.  But I just love having them around me.  A house without books is not a home. For me, anyway.
  6. Pets. This is one aspect that I am currently lacking in.  It’s so sad.  For most of my life I was surrounded by animals.  Now I don’t even have a budgie or a goldfish.  I am working on getting cats though.  One day (in my fantasy world) I will have a  property large enough for geese and dogs and rabbits and chickens, cows, and sheep again.  One day.
  7. Art.  Whether it be a family heirloom worth thousands, or a cute crayon scribble created by a special munchkin in your life, it’s important to have art around the place.  Things that inspire you or just make you smile.
  8. Music.  I always have music playing.  I have to have at least the radio on when I’m cooking or creating.  It helps to block the world out and focus you inward.  Plus, I like to sing.  I would die if anyone else heard me, but it is one of life’s joys, having a sing-a-long to a favourite tune.  As long as the neighbours don’t complain, it’s all good.
  9. Nooks.  I nearly bought a house last year purely because it had a reading nook with a balcony overlooking the garden.  Oh I loved it.  But I did not like the neighbourhood or the low popcorn ceiling (ugh!) or the ugly dark grey carpet (I was never sure if it had originally been grey or not…).  I really struggled to let go of that reading nook though – it was glorious.  I’m still dreaming about it now.  I would have spent my life in there, snoozing in the sunshine or pondering the Universe.  Sigh.  But nooks are important.  Every home should have a cosy little corner somewhere.  A place you automatically go to recharge and recoup.
  10. Photos.  I think it’s important to have photos in your home.  Family photos, travel photos, childhood photos – they’re all important.  They remind you where you’ve come from and where you’re going.

Most of all, your home should be a place of sanctuary and security.  It should be the place you feel happy to fall asleep in.  The place you can’t wait to get to at the end of the day.  Granted, I am a bit of a hermit, and I probably spend more time at home than most people.  Because I need lots of me time and space, anti-social wench that I am 🙂

My seven-year-old niece had a sleepover at my place on the weekend.  She slept with me (much more fun than sharing with Daddy – he snores!) and although I copped a few kicks to the back during the night, it was nice to share my space with that precious little person.  Having her be comfortable and feel secure with me is what home is really about.  I want my home to feel cosy and welcoming to everyone who visits me.  Especially the little ones.  That is way more important to me than having the most expensive furniture or crockery that matches my napkins.  Because home, most of all, should be about family – whatever family means to you.

Hope your home is a happy place today and always.

x

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Spoonfuls of Love & Kindness

Anyone else feeling the world is an icky place to be right now?  I always try really hard to focus on all the good and not dwell on the bad, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult.  I feel so anxious about what the future holds, don’t you?  Do we even have a future?

When feeling this way, I just want to curl up in a giant cookie, suck my thumb, and pretend the world’s not there.  The next best thing to doing all of that is crafting.  I can lose myself in paint and glue and paper and the chaos of my craft room.  Sucking of the thumb is not advised during this time as it will usually be covered in all manner of art mediums, but cookies are allowed, as long as they’re washed down with copious amounts of tea.  Some music on the stereo, a nice warm cardi, and I’m all set.

This weekend I worked on this collage piece.  It’s quite pink for me, but maybe I was chanelling my inner child and wanting some comfort and cuteness.  Maybe that was just the colour I grabbed first (after culling all my papers a few weeks back, I am now a bit low on supplies…might need to go shopping ,hee hee!) and it has no emotional ulterior motive at all.  Whatever, I am quite pleased with this one.  It came together so quickly (for me, Mrs Snail-Pace) and I like its sentiment and theme.  I can see there’s a couple of spots I need to touch up (not outlined or finished off completely) but I will do that before  varnishing.

I do think kindness is the most important quality a person can have.  I think it creates a foundation for everything else.  If you’re inherently kind, you won’t judge people, or be intolerant.  You will put others first and not seek to oppress or demean anyone.  You will strive for the greater good, and help others to do the same, by your example. There is strength in love, and it should never be seen as a weakness.  Love and kindness should be encouraged in schools, and in churches and in our community.  Instead of someone getting three million “likes” because they achieved the perfect duck pout or showed their boobs or bought a new handbag (the cost of which would probably feed three families for a month), we should be applauding those that do good.

We should be celebrating kindness and spreading love and compassion.

Anyway, I am getting on my “be nice” high horse again.  I had a lovely weekend – caught up with an old friend, spent time with my family and brand new baby nephew, and did lots of crafting.  I had time to myself, and time with loved ones, which is the perfect balance.  I nested and baked and slept and tried not to think about the outside world.

Hope you experience, and share in, some love and kindness today x

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Taking Stock in May

Aggghhhhhh.  I had written a fairly long post here and it JUST DISAPPEARED. [insert swear word here].  I don’t know what happened.  It was there – and then it wasn’t.  So annoying!  I have no idea what I even wrote.  So I have to start again.  Sigh.  And, of course, what I wrote before would have been BRILLIANT to the point of being genius.  Now whatever I write will be rubbish!  Double sigh.

Anyway, moving on… What I had been saying, before I was rudely interrupted by computer tomfoolery, was that one of my favourite blogs is Meet Me at Mike’s, created by the very talented Pip Lincolne.  It’s a great little blog, with lots if inspirational ideas and good stuff.  In fact, the blog’s tagline is “Good Stuff for Nice People”.

One of the regular things Pip does is have a “Taking Stock” post, where she lists the things she is doing that month (or week, or whatever), the things that are inspiring her and the every day stuff that is making her world go ’round.  She’s even kind enough to have a prompting list you can copy and paste.  And you know I am lazy and need that kind of help in my life.  I pretty much wish that life could be one long list that someone else writes for you, and you just have to fill in the blanks.  Even better if they let you fill in the answers with a pencil.  That way, if you make a boo-boo, you can erase it and start again.  I’d probably go through a lot of erasers.

So, my “Taking Stock” list for May…

Making : A mess.  Always.
Cooking : Lots of comfort food.  It’s cold and I am sick of eating salad.  So, soups and polenta and porridge are the go.  I am trying to avoid making cookies…sigh.
Drinking :  Tea.  Always tea.  But a lot of Passionfruit and Hibiscus tea.  Because it is      delightful.  I don’t normally do “fruity” teas.  They smell wonderful but taste pretty insipid.  Like watered-down cordial.  But this tea is fab.  It does, unfortunately, smell a little bit like cat pee.  But it tastes delicious.  You should try it.
Reading : I just finished “The Good Mayor” by Andrew Nicoll.  It’s bloody delightful.  One of the reviews describes it as a book that “makes you want to go out and fall in love” and, indeed, that is very true.  I don’t read romance novels (AT ALL) because – hello! – I’m bitter and twisted, but this one is different. It’s quirky and funny and heartbreaking and, oh, just read it already!  I couldn’t put it down.  You won’t be able to either.
Trawling : Job sites, sadly.  Times are a-changing.
Wanting : A steamer for my clothes.  I know – pathetic.  But some of my clothes are very tricky to iron and I don’t end up wearing them much because I dread the inevitable crease-fest.
Looking : Home-decorating books and magazines and websites.  My house does not reflect this, but one day it shall.  Oh yes!
Deciding : Whether I should get rid of my bead / jewellery-making stash.  I need to de-clutter and figure out exactly what I want to do, craft-wise.  But I know that as soon as I get rid of it all, I will need/want it.  Such is the life of a hoarder…
Wishing : I could win the Lottery.  The big one.  The one where I could buy my family and friends houses and set everyone up for life.  Money can’t buy happiness but it can go a long way towards taking some worry and stress away.
Enjoying : My guilty pleasure is Catfish.  The TV show, not the actual fish.
Waiting : For a family announcement.
Liking : Hiking.  Ooh, that rhymed!  I am very unfit and hurt for days afterwards, but I do enjoy getting out and walking in the sunshine and fresh air.  Exercise doesn’t have to suck.  I’m not going to be scaling Mount Everest any time soon, but I am liking trekking around our local landscape.
Wondering : Why I am like I am.  But I cannot afford more therapy so I will have to figure it out on my own or just quit wondering.  Embrace the weirdo that is me!
Loving : My family and friends.  I am so blessed.  A lot of people have come into my life that I am so grateful for.
Pondering : Life, The Universe, and Everything.  And also why I can’t stop thinking about food for three whole seconds.
Considering : Taking up yoga.
Buying : Home maintenance stuff.  My house is falling to pieces.
Watching : I’m a bit obsessed with Russel Brand this month.  So I am re-watching a bunch of his DVDs.  I mean DVDs with him in it.  I don’t mean I broke into his house and stole a load of his personal DVDs and then watched them.  That would be weird.
Hoping : That things will be ok.
Marvelling : At how beautiful, wise and loving my nephews and nieces are.  They never cease to amaze me, and give me hope for the future.
Cringing : At how much Income Protection insurance costs.  When you have pre-existing conditions, you basically have to pay double what everyone else does.  So I get to have a kidney problem, mental heath issues AND a huge insurance fee.  Awesome.  Two thumbs up.  As soon as I decide to drop the insurance, I know I will get hit by a car or attacked by killer bees or something.
Needing : Better exercise clothes.  I tend to do the baggy-pants-and-baggy-t-shirt combo and I generally look like a bag lady.  A sweaty, wheezy bag lady.  I am not confident enough to wear the tight, workout gear everyone has these days.  But I should probably try to be – it would give me more incentive to actually get my butt into gear.  So I can get my butt into the trendy gear, so to speak and look less homeless.
Questioning : My life.  What the heck am I doing with it???
Smelling : The lack of perfume on me.  I have run out of my favourite scent – “Butt Naked” by Somethin Special.  Terrible name but I love the smell of this perfume oil.  I always get complimented on it and it’s just a happy, yummy scent. It’s got top notes of strawberry, cherry and coconut, which is just delightful.  Plus it is not tested on animals, which makes me very happy indeed.
Wearing : Warmer clothes.  And Pants.  Ugh.  I hate pants (trousers, slacks, jeans).  I did just buy some cropped, linen pants which I actually don’t hate.  They are very comfortable and I don’t feel like a lumpy, dumpy sausage in them.  In fact I feel rather nautical.  If I wear them with a blue and white stripey sweater, I feel downright jaunty!
Noticing : How people don’t say “Bless You” when you sneeze anymore.  It’s so rude.  I just say “Bless Me” when I sneeze now.  Cuts out the middle man.
Knowing : I have a LONG way to go before I am an adult.
Thinking : Way too much.  But not about the right stuff.
Admiring : Sarah Michelle Gellar.  She just seems like a decent human being.  A great Mum, and wife, and she doesn’t get caught up in all the celebrity nonsense.  Plus, y’know, Buffy kicks arse!
Getting : Lots of bills.  Man, they are all coming at once!  Pretending they are not there does not help.
Feeling : Anxious.  Lots going on.
Hearing : At the moment I have Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” in my head. Constantly.  That’s probably because I keep playing it. Constantly.  Don’t judge me – it’s a good song.  I miss the 80s.
Embracing : Wearing glasses.  I am trying really hard to remember to wear them.  Most of the time they end up on my head, like a hair band, rather than on my face.  But I’m trying…

So that’s me for the month.  Lots happening and lots to think about and worry about.  What are you up to in May?  Any big plans for change or transformation?

Thanks for dropping by – and DO check out Pip Lincolne’s great blog, Meet Me at Mike’s – you’ll get lots of inspiration and ideas 🙂

 x

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Your Heart Knows the Way (and sometimes that is through housework)

I have to be good today.  I have to clean my house.  I cannot sit in my pyjamas all day, drinking tea and making art.  I can’t.  I have to do laundry and wash the floors and find my bed under all the crap that is on top of it.  I have to dust my shelves and do my dishes.  I have to organise my wardrobes and attempt to make sense of my craft room.

I would rather be crafting, but today I have to be an adult.  Which is boring and unfulfilling and doesn’t spark joy in me.  But it will make me feel like less of a failure and perhaps enable me to get a fresh perspective on things.  It is hard to be creative when your house looks like a tsunami has been through it and you’re embarrassed to have people over to visit.  I don’t want to live that way.

So, no crafting for me this weekend, unless I get the cleaning out of the way early and can manage to fit in a few hours of happy creativity.  I’m going to put the stereo on, get in the right frame of mind and clean.  And tidy.  And sort.  And find my home again.  My brain has been telling me I need to do that, and finally my heart has caught up and is in agreement.  Begrudging agreement.

Here’s a little canvas I did a week or so ago.  It will have to tide me over until I can make another.  I was pretty pleased with it, to be honest.  It came together really quickly and, although I hated it at first, it kinda grew on me.  I’m hoping housework will do the same. It could happen, right?

Thanks for dropping by 🙂

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Blessing Tree

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Having had a bit of a creative slump lately, I was moping around at home trying to figure out something I could do to get me back on track.  I didn’t want to make a card (odd, for me, because I always like making cards) and my attempts at making a Kelly Rae Roberts-inspired collage were all dismal and uninspiring.  So, what to do?

I have a box of “bits” that I hold on to for upcycling/altering or using in other projects.  It’s got tins and wooden blocks, boxes, decorations and papier mache forms.  Basically, it’s a box of crap that I have collected.  It’s a hoarder’s dream, but it does come in handy when I am stuck for inspiration and want to do something different.

So, with that in mind, I rummaged around and found these weird Christmas decorations.  I bought them years ago in a post-Xmas sale, so they only cost me 25c each or something (the original price was $9.99 – ridiculous!).  I thought they would be good for altering, stamping on, painting etc.  I liked the shape and the fact they had a good solid base, as well as being able to hang them from something.

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Crazily expensive Xmas decoration!

I had been playing around with them for a bit when I decided to make a tree out of one of them.  Don’t ask me why.  I like trees, I guess, but I had never really had an urgent desire  to make a little mini-tree of my own.  This one came together reasonably quickly, once I got into it.  I covered the body/trunk in dictionary text and sealed it with gel medium mixed with a little black and brown paint.  I raided some sticks from the neighbour’s tree and made wee little branches with them, stuck into the holes in the wooden shape.

During a crafty session with my nephews and nieces, I made some teeny-weeny mushrooms and a little bird out of polymer clay.  After baking them and letting them cool, I painted them (with a lot of squinting) with acrylic paints.

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Polymer clay teeny-tiny mushrooms and a birdie!
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Painting mushroom # 1
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Adding the final detail to mushroom # 3.  Do you know how fiddly it is to paint tiny little “gills” on a tiny little mushroom?
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Wee birdie.  I didn’t make him too detailed.  Partly out of laziness, but mostly because I was scared of making a shemozzle out of it.

I then crafted a little bird’s nest from twine, which was oddly therapeutic. Just twisting and fraying the twine and making it a roughly bird-nesty shape.  I really do like making tiny things.  I don’t know why, but they are very satisfying and appealing, from a creative point of view.  I really do need to wear my glasses when doing this stuff though!

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Mini bird’s nest!
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Happy little birdie in a tiny nest!

Eventually, it was all put together (very carefully – it’s not the most robust of creations!), sitting on a base of sphagnum moss glued to a wooden lid, and I’m pretty happy with it.  It’s just for me.  No purpose behind it (not a gift or something to sell) – it’s just purely for me.  I added the “Benedictus” text (from an old large print dictionary) because, very roughly translated, it means “Blessed Be” which kinda resonates with me for various reasons.  I wanting to make some more things like this now.  I’m feeling the mixed-media vibe right now!  I’d like to try some tea-bag art next…will keep you posted!

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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The final product.  Blessing Tree complete.  Blessed Be!
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Mis-Beehaving

My Mum has a gorgeous garden.  She keeps it looking lovely, but also endeavours to make it as water-saving and bee/bird-friendly as possible.  She has lots of natives combined with more traditional, cottage garden plants.  It’s not easy having a nice garden in WA.  The Summers are so hot and even in the “wetter” months things can dry out. A couple of years ago, Mum got a landscaper in to help her design an eco-friendly (but still beautiful) garden that she could maintain herself and continue to work on.  She’s only a pensioner, my Mum, so it was all done on a strict budget, saving money where possible (the landscaper was brilliant).

What she ended up with is a low-maintenance garden that is pretty all year round and makes the most of every season.  It is also very welcoming to native birds and bees and the odd frog or two.  Mum’s been very keen on attracting the native Blue Banded Bee, a cute little species of bee that lives a solitary life, with the females building their nests in singular burrows, in mud or soft mortar (or you can build them a little house, like THESE).  They don’t create large stores of honey, so they are not suitable for honey production.  BBBs don’t mind having close neighbours, in fact they will often build their nests right next door to another bee, although they still do not behave in a “colony” kind of way.

They are excellent pollinators, using the “buzz” method, which means they grasp the flower and basically give it a good shake, by shivering their flight muscles, or banging their head on the flower (yes, really).  This releases the pollen, which is hidden in tiny capsules.  Many flowers require this type of pollination, so blue banded bees are very necessary to the continuation of several plant species.

While they do have a mild sting, BBBs are not very aggressive.  They move very quickly and can hover, unlike most other bees.  They are a total pain to photograph (ha ha) because they don’t stay still for long, and move at a much faster pace than regular bees, zipping around in a blur that causes the photographer (ie me) to swear a lot and dance around the garden, yelling “Keep still, dammit!”

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If you look VERY closely, you can just see the bee, hovering about, in the centre of the photo.

They are attracted primarily to white or blue flowers (possibly because it is better for camouflage) and are particularly good at pollinating tomatoes, eggplants and kiwifruit apparently.  So much so, there are plans to use them as greenhouse bees for large-scale tomato production.

BBBs are small critters, about 11mm in length, and have bands of iridescent pale blue-almost white on their abdomens.  When they fly, they look like a little flash of blue.
At night, the males cling to  plant stems, like tiny little chickens roosting for the night 🙂

Bees, in general, are so important to the well-being of the planet.  We should look after them and give them happy habitats and clean environments.   I personally love the little critters (probably because I have never been stung!) and enjoy watching them and their behaviour.  I find if you just let them get on with their business, they will stay out of yours.  Blue Banded Bees are really nice to watch and because they are not aggressive, you can get up close and personal with them, plus there is no risk of being attacked by a swarm!

You can find out more info about the Blue Banded Bee HERE

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Finally – a perfect shot!  It took me probably an hour to get this little guy to stay still long enough for me to take his photo.  Look at those amazing antennae and perfect stripes!
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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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