Sunday, December 7, 2008

handmade? yes, please!

We get some free money today from the establishment. I put my case to lovely lover for me to use said free money to buy a new super dooper thread-itself chain-and-cover- stitchin' overlocker. So I could make more stuff that would mean we would have to buy less stuff. He said nup but yeah but no but yes but don't pay retail, okay? Anyone have any recommendations for said overlocker-o-does-everything?

And then I found out that today there is a call to action for all crafty peeps in Melbourne town which, among other things, has inspired me even more to buy said overlocker. Especially as I just made some handmade presents, in the spirit of said call to arms, along the lines of this and I reckon a super dooper overlocker could have made the job a little easier at times....

calming punctuation

i love how onegirl writes in lower case. somehow it makes it calmer to read. a calmness that is also seen in her beautiful work. i am an admirer.

also admiring the tiny but happy one

and i'm always admiring the mixtape girls cause they organise stuff and give away stuff and publish great stuff and are just quietly inspiring me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

meet Grover the Elder and Weebit

I have to direct you here for a moment of breathtaking beauty and astonishing wonder, as well as a bit of a giggle at some of it. Hoorah for slow and methodical process, I say. Puts my 'I'll whip up a coupla gnomes for a gift' to shame.

Is someone able to convince me that this little guy above and his beautiful weebit on back are 'essential'? Please.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Selling this:

To buy one of these:

It's the biggest purchase I've made in some time. Makes me nervous. What also makes me nervous is the reality of towing 2 small folk round behind me with nothing but my legs to get us there. If you're interested in the Mountain Buggy, go bid on it why don't cha?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

sunny sunday

Me "Smalls are quiet"
Him "Mmmmmmm"

Me and Him wander over to see 2 sorta nudey smalls 'painting' selves with a bucket of water (and dirt). They sat there for an hour, painting, singing, warming their backs in the sun.

Me and Him kept planting and mulching. Get your tomatoes in, folks! Before Cup Day to guarantee good harvest (so they say).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

good things come...

I have a column over there (see right) entitled 'were I buying it, it would be this...' where I list a few of the things that I come across that take my fancy but are just too far (okay, some of them are really, really far) from being essential that I may never own them for myself. If you've just read my last post about non-attachment, you can consider this list as one of my many efforts towards aparigraha. What I love most about the practice of non-attachment is that sometimes really really good people do really really good things and you end up with really really nice things in your hand, for your own, just like that. Let it go and it will come. The universe will provide and all that.

Like Frankie. He comes along this week, containing a free wrapping paper book which makes me happy. Then I see it has a piece of my folk lover joy within. Free for me. So I can enjoy my folk lover papercuts in the flesh after all. Sorta. Kinda.

Then there is my friend's ma, who recently sent me a heap of fabric she no longer used. Hey. Thanks! Sure it was kinda floral and bright, but it's perfect for perfecting the pretty knickers I'm currently working on for the little 'un. She will only wear 'pretty' knickers, and not the ones that no longer fit the big 'un. Fair enough. And whatever gets her to the potty, I say! I'm going freehand, no pattern, and really no idea. I'm trying for this kind of thing. Anyone have any pretty knicker tips?

'sup, scarecrow?

Haven't been here in blogland much lately. Things a-plenty happening but just not a whole lot to say about them. I've been enjoying things as they rise and letting them go when they fall, happy again as another appears and happy, too, when they disappear. Aparigraha. The Sanksrit term for non-attachment. My absence from blogging is a manifestation of this. These ordinary minds of ours are constantly building more and more solid images of how things are and how others behave as a way of generating confidence and security. We build these self-images and then we defend them by bending every situation to reinforce our certainty. Were life an homogenous event, this would be fine. But she ain't, is she? Life demands we adapt and change with her. And so this is what I do. In the practice of aparigraha, begin first by consciously withdrawing your hand from reaching for external things. Ultimately the need to reach outward for anything will diminish and you are left with knowing that all you need you have. All that is essential is at hand. Enjoy what you have around you today. For me? Let's just say there's some scarecrow making in the making out back.....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

sleepy wombats

We were well on our way to Wombat Bend this morning, the 'cool park' as it's fondly known round here, when I hear a whole lot of nothing from behind me. Odd, what with 2 small folk in the back and all. Turned around to see 2 sleepy wombats. No Wombat Bend for us today. Seems our car journey was a not-so-carbon-friendly lullaby. Upon return home, unloaded smalls and associated paraphenalia, and now this - random alone time. Life so good....

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

potager and potaging and potatoes

Ahh, that fuzzy line between winter and spring.

Winter means rain and cold winds....but prolific, well watered veggies out back. I like pottering in the potager patches.

Spring means the ladies are laying. Especially that Brownie, as she has been named by the smalls. We open the coup each morning to see 4 eggs. Beautifully and silently appearing from a perfectly rounded pea straw nests.

Food miles. What's it all about? I like the 100 mile limit where you only eat food grown from within 100 miles of your home. We live out in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges so will mostly be eating potatoes, strawberries and apples....and eggs...

What's growing in your garden?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

baby born story

I'm heading to another blog love fest in October. Thanks for the invite, girls. First thing I do when invited to these things is check out the other invitees' blogs. Which makes me think they might do same. Which made me think I should write something. Which makes me think I should. Write. Something.


Nope. Nothing coming.

Then, Leslie to the rescue. She has just given birth to Mae and graciously shared her story with all of us. She has also asked that we graciously do same.

Yay. Truly a joy for me to share.

Our youngest was born during a summer sunset. By the time you'd finished your dinner that evening, she had arrived. I was right up for a new years eve birth (her due date), so when I had some tweaking labor pangs, rather than pains, in my parent's pool a few days later I was happy. Lovely lover and I headed home, leaving our eldest out back wacking golf balls with poppy. We had a beautiful birthing celebration a few days before and I went about our home, lighting the candles we'd been given, adorning the beaded necklace my special lady friends had made for me, lighting the oil's all so lovely at that point, isn't it???....Within an hour we were in the car heading to the birthing centre. We got to the birthing centre, contraction in the reception area and another in the lift, walked (waddled) into the birthing room, headed straight for the bath, stepped in, squatted down and she was born into the warm waters 4 pushes later. I remember the wild pink of the sky as we headed down the mountain road to the birthing centre, and the look of innocent shock on the 12 year old boys' face who witnessed my fine self experiencing a full on 'my baby's coming!!' contraction in the reception area as we walked in. Poor kid.

Hey, that was fun. Thanks, Leslie.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

planning a party

The boy is 3.

Location sorted - not our house, which means we can go away weekends for the next few weeks instead of running about planting a birch tree forest playground with mushroom settee for the smalls

Invites sorted - Boy has been on paper cutting frenzy lately so we used his cutting pile and ta-da turned it back into home made paper sheets

My intent is to make some goodies for the small folk to take home. But should that go awry, etsy offers me:

spaceman crayons by gaddy nipper crayons

French vintage ephemera by surrender dorothy

june bug soap by anniepoo

and wristlets by jc casa

I love parties.

Monday, July 21, 2008

music box love

I Love Bjork

I love the moments mmediately prior to nearly almost we love it and they love it but it's a kid size accordian for pete's sake at the market on Sunday. Maresi!

And check this one out! If I saw this in a market someplace, it would surely be mine. I mean, theirs.

Should you be inspired, go check out what Kirsty has been making with tin cans and pegs. What a clever lady.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

more I am liking, madam

Neighbours that come tell us when the chooks have got over the fence (and then watching the smalls chase 'em back into the back), when old friends call in when they're in my 'hood and hang out ALL afternoon, 20 editions of Golden Hands for 20cents (so much GOLD in Golden Hands), the thought of rugging up and heading into the Melbourne Design Market this weekend, and Feist on Sesame Street. Lots to like.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

liking and not

I'm reconsidering this whole blogging thing. I recently read a post from a fellow blogger about her smalls having a go at one another and it all ending in tears. Mamma blogger snapped a photo of one of said smalls, in the moment of tears and unhappiness, to show off the latest little outfit she had sewn for said small. I wanted to hug the teary little 'un. To me, this was a demonstration of the ugly side of blogging - the relentless paparazzi capturing the moments throughout your day only for the purposes of sharing with your readers, regardless of what those moments contain and what they may require from you. I can see how it all happens. I recently headed down that path with my intention to share some 'daily love' with you all, in the form of snaps of stuff I've loved throughout my day. The first set was snapped just after we'd put the smalls to sleep and I wandered in to their playroom. There were little piles of goodies all about the place, they looked so beautifully and conscientiously placed and ordered and yet I knew they were the result of random acts of play and joy. I snapped, and posted, away. In the following days I loved the sticks we had stuck in the herb garden as a makeshift barrier to keep the chickens out. I loved looking into the bag of winter woollies we had worn during our winter walk, discarded as we warmed with each few steps. I did snap these images and they are beautiful. But I felt like I was looking too hard, like I was trying to capture an experience within a moment to hang on to for no other purpose than to publish it for others, and not to enjoy it for myself. These things arise and then they pass. Like the pain in my right ankle during a long sitting meditation. I have spent a third of my life learning to observe that which arises, to enjoy the moment while it is with me, then to graciously let it go, without attachment. I cannot help but do this now. So, another time, another place and you may have got some more daily love (by then I'll be a better photographer, too!). Instead, I give you a random list of stuff that I'm finding kinda wonderful at the moment. Be sure not to attach yourself to it, now!!

Indian villagers (LOADS of Indian villagers!) saving elephants from drowning. This is truly wonderful.

Hitchiking beetles. Spunky beetle travels across the seas looking for love.

Energy revolution. Former colleague fighting the good fight. Sign on, people!

Monday, June 30, 2008

yoga-mazingingly soggy

I cried today cause it is so cold and soggy in the hills. And the smalls are all cold soggy on the inside which means it's all books and baking for us inside dwellers. Which is ok. But we'd rather be outside discovering new mushrooms - we are totally surrounded by them at the moment. There is one just outside the front door under the wattle tree that is so big a whole clan of faeries could live beneath it. It's like to 100 ares of organically farmed land in St Andrew's with 3 houses on it that we oh so much wanted to buy with our pals but missed out by a few '000 a few months back.

So I put the soggy smalls to bed and rolled out my yoga mat for a little shanti shanti in front of the fire. I got lazy and downloaded the yogamazing video podcast. Chas is practicing surya namaskar on the gulf of Mexico at sunrise and I'm following along on the fire-front floor, trying to pull of downward dog in socks. Tricky business. I am also loving the Friday Night Family podcast by They Might Be Giants. TMBG were a favorite of mine throughout the early 90's and I love that they are now singing the good stuff for my smalls to enjoy. I played them the most recent TMBG podcast this afternoon when we were all booked and baked out at around sunset. I loved it and I loved that they loved it. I remember this post on that same nervousness you get when introducing your smalls to the stuff you love. Inconceivable! I'm so happy that there are free podcasts for folks to enjoy. No need to consume and have it posted via airmail, just download the bits you want and play it whe you want. Perhaps we'll actually play the Friday Night Family podcast on Friday nights and thus make it it a new Friday night tradition in our home, right alongside crumbed flathead and thick roasted 'taters with sauce.

I've also started a new thang on this blog - daily love. Stuff I'm loving daily. Me thinks that capturing and being reminded of it one of the essentials for carrying me through this southern winter. Capture and document and share. Check it out over there. First lot of love is some snaps from the playroom at closing time tonight. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


A darlin' pal recently gave us a mega magazine to hang on our mega blank white walls of the studio out back. The only other picture on that wall is an op-shopped flamenco dancer in a bad but big wooden frame. She is hung on a big old golden hook, too. I also have my Tibetan chuba hanging up out there - big, red wool with that big, sweeping collar that the Tibetans stuff their wares into. All things big are possible on these walls. The thing is, the mag now really brings the space together in that perfect way that only a blu-tacked 3-tone mega-magazine can and I now want the Stones vs Beatles issue.

Once I was a Beatles girl - I learned how to play the White Album on piano when I was a child, and I had way long relations throughout my 20's with a jazz man who got me stoned and taught me about the weird yet genius Lennon-McCartney chord progressions (or something like that). I always preferred George, anyway. Maybe that's why it didn't work out? But more recently I'm a Stones girl. Cause Mick does good scarf and my smalls love grooving to Mothers Little Helper. Oooh la la.

Thanks, J. We are loving it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

kiddie consumers

You know we recently had hard waste here in the eastern foothills. I wrote about how we aimed for a zero waste verge, but were, sadly, unable to achieve it. Seems the locals in sfgirlbybay's neighbourhood ain't waiting for collection day, but rather are just letting loose their unwanted on the streets. I love her approach in dealing with the rubbishing of her homeland. Check it out here.

What I did notice during the build up to hard rubbish were the number of children's toys on people's verges. The number of plastic children's toys. My theory is that less of the more open ended space for creativity type toys that children have, the more likely they are to appreciate, and thus play, with them for a longer time, both in the length of each instance they pick up the toy to play with it throughout the day and the number of days/weeks/months/years that toy is of interest to them. I've certainly noticed this with my own small folk. The plastic aeroplane simulator which makes noise and flashes lights when you press the 'right' buttons, gifted from Nana, is in the cupboard after merely weeks. The wooden farmhouse with wooden farmer, farmer's missus and farm animals, gifted from same nana, is played with nearly every day in some way. Today the farmer's missus was being chased by tigers in the morning, she is now Alice's baby's baby and this evening she could be a lady whale in the bath for all I know.

But I'm scared of it all, folks. I'm scared that most of the toys on offer to my small folk are designed to encourage brand loyalty, fashion consciousness and groupthink. I'm scared that all the research indicates that contemporary children spend less time with toys and games than we did, and that most of their time is now taken up with pre-programmed computer toys and games. I'm scared that marketers directly appeal to my small folk, inviting them into consumerism as soon as they can. Wasn't it the home economics movement of the 20th century that counselled women, once the quilters, the sewers, the preserve makers of the home, to abandon this handicraft culture and instead become a modern, smart shopper, buying these things, once made with love in the home, at the shop? Isn't that what's happening to my small folk now? I feel like I need to don a cape and throw it over their eyes when we head out into the big wide world. Or at least to the shops.

I say: give a boy a glass egg and see where he goes with it.....he's currently looking at the open fire through the glass egg, telling me that the egg is getting warm and that the egg is holding the fire within it.....I'm off to share in that joy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

balancing and slumping

Got the small folk a new bike today. A balance bike. Weeeeee! It looks like so much fun I wish I could drink some potion and make myself smaller so I could have a go. The 'thrifted' (my new favorite word) trike from nana just wasn't built for the tracks around here, which kept us largely confined to the 'block' (read footpath). The theory is that with a little more grip on the tyres of the new bike, that small folk may be able to head off road, go further and expend less energy on pumping little legs in millions of rotations each 10 metres they ride....On our way home from the bike shop, called in to buy some milk and a plush doggie was instantly selected, cuddled close and thus adopted by Alice. Now I don't do plush purchases, mostly cause I make 'em myself, but also because we have a cupboard full of plushie thangs that were gifted to our small folk over the years that they have never even looked like being interested in. But this plushie doggie is the same size as Alice and she seized it like it had always been hers. Absolutely not negotiable. The dog is coming home with us, mum, now pay the lady. Apparently a portion of the sale of these plushies goes to the RSPCA. Nice one. I challenge you to resist those criteria. Speaking of what makes us buy what we buy, is anyone watching The Gruen Transfer on ABC1? It's a panel of advertising folk chatting about how advertising has it's way with us. Tonight was underwear. Apparently women want knickers that reflect each one of 24 archetypical moods, according to Marks and Spencer. For mine, I just want to get through complete yoga practice without my knickers going up my bum. This phenomenon is so common in yoga, it's even been deemed a 'wedgie break'. Blokes just have good knickers and everyday knickers. I'll have to remind my 'having a crisis in the underwear department' buddy from this earlier post of mine.

The most challenging thing about the challenge of not consuming unnecessarily, is when it comes to my small folk - a plushie certainly isn't essential, but intuitive parenting (i.e. my heart) told me it was okay today. And just look at her slumping all over that doggie!

to give breast is to give life

As a breastfeeding mother to my littlest folklet, the boobie milk monster who will latch onto me for a suckle at any opportunity, I can't help but direct you here. So beautiful. Who knew breastfeeding was so sexy in a) black and white and b) spanish?

Above is our version of 'dinner', first posted here. Love love love.

Speaking of love, this is the lovely gift I got from the lovely Christie at the Blogmeet organised by the lovely Nikki and the lovely Justine. In fact, the reason I left the lovely meet was to breastfeed the littlest folklet before my bust bust, if you know what I mean.

And my favorite lil' bit of the blog-gift? Hint: you can find more of her here. Do I have a blog-crush on her just for her fabric? No. I also have a blog-crush on her largely because of the chuckle I get from the side panel bit (techie term???) of her blog....te he he.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

what to do with all that rubbish?

We didn't manage a zero waste hard waste throw out. We had a big ol' old box that the chickens were kept in when they were little 'uns, in which we filled with random crap laying about the place. It's amazing how much crap you can find when someone is going to take it away for free in the wee hours of the morn. I made a point of taking the small folk around the block to check out the neigbours' hard waste, looking for bits and pieces to add to their 'spaceship', which we ended up making out of an old easel frame. All the homes around us had stuff out for collection except for Frank and Margaret across the road who are too old to acquire and/or keep crap. They had nothing on their front verge. I aspire to that. Frank did come over and grab an old chair of ours that he thought his son could use to practice his french polishing on. And we got a new see-saw from the girls down the road who are obviously too old/big/cool for it any longer. We also saw an old bunk bed we never used go to a local family of six kids! Lovely.

Perhaps we could have also contributed some materials for this?

Just have to decide on the right buttons, and I'm finished my bag for this years Blogfest. Swaperama is this Saturday and I am muchly looking forward to it. I am advised to fill my home made bag with goodies from my stash that I don't use and would like to pass on to someone who may. Lovely, but difficult for a person like me who keeps stuff 'just in case' I can find a use for it one day, like prettying up a spaceship, for example.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

3 for 3

I've been invited to join a fitness challenge mob at work. Pay to join, set a goal and, if I achieve it, win a pot of cash. I'm thinking of losing cms from my 2-bubs belly. Not that inspiring. Swim 1km within 15 minutes. Wrong season for getting wet. Run 10 kms without stopping or walking. More like it. I made a 'run' playlist on my mp3 player about 3 months ago and I have played it 3 times. Yep- I've run 3 times in the past 3 months. Then this morning at sunrise, I faced up to the frumpy truth - instead of rolling out the mat for some bending, heading out back to the studio for some wacko balancing on a swiss ball, or pressing play on the aforementioned 'run' playlist and getting to it, I made myself a cup of tea with loads of honey and sat down to finish a felted owl I've been working on for a while.

So in the interests of delaying the onset of the frump craft freak I am bound to become as I age, I will take this fitness challenge and win it! Thought I may need new trainers for the challenge, but then this:

"So the next time you're stuck in traffic behind a container truck, breathing CO2, try to calculate how many pairs of training shoes are stuffed inside the metal box in front of you. Then ask yourself the following question: 'If somebody, somewhere, in the transport chain saves a few dollars on the shipping costs of a container box from China to Europe, to Australia, or indeed anywhere else in the world, will the consumer now pay $99.95 for a pair of trainers instead of $100?'"
from here

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

sharing that which is useful and beautiful

Haven't been posting lately cause this blog hasn't been an essential element in our lives lately. There has been essential purchasing of the daily kind - tahini, toothbrush heads and then this magazine. There has been essential planting of autumn vegie seeds. There has been essential open fires and essential baking to go with it. There has been some essential and amazing conversation trails as J asks why? to stuff going on in his world. And the impending hard waste collection in our community next week is inspiring an essential cleanout. Lots going to Freecycle. Lots going to be recycled. Lots going to the op-shop. Lots going to Hand Me Downs. Lots going to some other space on the block - from the studio to the shed, from the storeroom to the bungalow, from the carport to my sister's house. That kind of thing. My aim is to have no hard waste out the front on collection day. I remember hearing someone, someplace say to never have anything in your home that you don't actually use or don't think to be beautiful. This has been my mantra for some time now and I am happily applying it now to our home-cleanse. The only space that seems to have been untouched as yet is that top drawer of papers and bills and pencils and spare buttons and pirate eye patches and yoga timetables and..... I am finding it increasingly uncomfortable to have and to keep things that aren't being used regularly. That vacuum sealed bag of beautiful baby clothes we were storing, just in case we make more babies? Gave it all to a friend working with teenage mums who often comments that their babies don't have enough winter woolly layers on in the cool weather. Brrrrrrr. I've mentioned before that I've got a 'thing' about warm kidneys, especially the kidneys of babes. Makes me feel good to know that our things are being used and used well. I watched the small folk share a cup of chai (round block) and a bikkie (red square block) in the playroom on Friday morning. They then shared the 'choppers' (wooden swords carved by their great-grandfather for their father) to 'chop' wood for their fire (pile of old red clothes). When they emerged for a snack, J said he felt happy sharing a cup of chai with his sister. Warms the cockles, don't it? He loves sharing as much as me. A has just learnt how to say "mine" and what that means. So soon she will learn yours, ours and theirs. And then she'll be sharing her felted mushrooms, her 'beautifuls' (necklaces) and her textas with all those she meets. I love that their blocks are cups of chai and that old red velvet dress of mine is now a fire. I love how my small folk demonstrate to me how use what you have in your space to do what you want to do.

This post is also warming the cockles of my heart at the moment. My mama's day was also beautifully simple. A sleep in. A hand made card. A donation as a gift. A ride across to my parents place and a family lunch to follow. Simply lovely. I made a little healing pack of joy these for all the mama's I know using this as a guide. I LOVE how people are sharing their crafty prowess online for all of us to play with. As part of the cleansing process I went though my fabric stash, folding and storing it all neatly so I can see what I have. I'm hoping that as a result I may, too, have some crafty prowess to share. I'll be posting it here if and when when it happens.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

me and my gal

Me and my gal went fossicking at Camberwell Market this morning. Loaded up with toasty layers and headed in to town. It felt wrong the whole way there. It felt wrong driving on a Sunday morning. It felt wrong driving into town on a Sunday morning. Wrong driving into town to a Sunday market where there are things to buy and I'm not buying. Aren't I? I reminded myself that it was only consumables coming in on large ships requiring bay dredging that I wasn't buying. And there have been plenty of things I haven't bought because of that flat and simple rule. So while I picked up an ooh yeah have to have it cause of those pockets black skirt today for a fiver, I haven't been buying pumpkin patch tights, chesty bonds singlets or plain wooden fairy wands for the small folk to decorate as they will. Which is neither here nor there to aforementioned small folk, as they have been busy decorating the chook house instead.

cluck cluck

I've got a thing about keeping my family's kidneys warm over winter. I also have a thing about second hand underwear. Thus: where oh where can I get new tights and singlets that haven't been shipped in? Help me out, folks.

Monday, April 21, 2008

what else is essential?

A sunset beer at the Espy at the Essential Festival

....and some Esseential Freeware for you techies

....and the bare minimum essentials for the displaced in Somalia

....and kids in the hoods

are there small folk in there?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What would you do?

A friend rang me this morning to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me he had a crisis in the underwear department as a result of his reading of this blog and connecting with the intention behind it. In said underwear department, he mused: Do I need those new underpants? I have 10 pairs already. Shouldn't I just wash the ones I have more regularly? Freaky. Did this friend hear me walking down the hall this morning grumbling about how I was wearing a really old pair and absolutely needed to buy some new nickers? Apparently he also had a similar crisis in the shorts department. But shorts have no place in my wardrobe so I couldn't connect with that one at all! Shorts cannot be beautiful. But this, this is beautiful. The picture above is from her etsy site.

Lovely lover then came home at sunset and told me he'd done "something bad". From his tone, I thought he may have hassled a local drop tail lizard with a stick on his way home. But he said he'd bought a new tennis racquet with a little pot of cash he'd been saving. And as I reminded him of our 'not buying it' status, he then said he'd also saved the same amount for me to spend on 'whatever I like, as long as it is for yourself'. How much do we love that man? Ten out of ten. But then the strangest thing happened. I couldn't actually think of anything I wanted to buy. But then I remembered that dress (or any of the others gaiaconceptions makes) and now I am looking at a few days/weeks/months/years/a lifetime of internal debate about whether I should.

Pros: A piece designed, sewn, and dyed using eco-friendly fabrics such as local organic cotton, hemp, raw silk, and organic wool. Custom made. Small home based producer. Absolutely beautiful piece of attire.
Cons: Do I need another dress? Can I cheat on my pledge?

What would you do?

Monday, April 14, 2008


I love that the theme of this years' blogmeet is Using What You Have. Seems I'm not the only one in love with this concept. I'm in for this year's meet, and if you send in your intention now, you just might make the cut too! Now, what DO I fancy putting in my lucky dip bag?????

flywire for felting

I headed out last night to my first Sylph crafting class for autumn. Sylph is this little toy/craft/book/handmade joint up the road from our place that I just love. Recently from said Sylph, I've been making these little felt heart brooches and popping them on the present table at weddings in places like Warburton and Inglewood from wool tops bought from Sylph. Loving brooches at the moment. Loving heart shapes at the moment. That wall of wool tops in all the colors of the rainbow on the back wall at Sylph is inspiring. The wooden toadstool furniture makes we want to take tea and biscuits. I want to live in the felted fairy and gnome houses that are displayed here and there. Last night we wet felted. Used pre-felted backing, terraline and flywire to make the magic happen. Works so much quicker and easier on the wrists than the scree I have been using. I love new and better ways of doing things that make said thing easier and quicker. Me thinks time should be valued alongside other things on the 'essentials' list. The essential amount of time spent on doing something well, no more and no less. We also drank minty tea. We also ate chocolate cupcakes. And another crafter and I worked out we went to primary school together. Also time well spent. When I got home, my lovely lover said he thought expenditure on hobbies and passions was certainly an essential for us, I heartily agreed and we drank to that. Cheers.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

rainy red boots

So much lovely rain today. It is definitely on my 'essentials' list. Helping the green manure seeds to sprout. Softening the first layer of dirt in the bed we dug over yesterday. Filling up the little bath we have out back for the birds. Washing the dirt from the car. All that. We watched the rain fall from the back door for a spell. When it eased we got rugged up and headed outside. Alice jumped straight into a puddle in the hand-me-down-from-jem boots she's recently grown into. Absolutely delightful. I was delighted that the boots now fit her and I was delighted that she jumped straight into a puddle. Rain kept us close to home so my only expenditure was a sunday morning swim at the pool. A lazy kilometre while rain fell. Best $4.40 I have spent since not spending it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

the universal list according to joy

When the universe is on side, the op-shop delivers. So they say. When my intent to buy less was being formed, I found this little gem in the bookcase of my local op-shop.

Joy's list to help her survive and grow is thus:

'Gasoline' on the list gives away where it's published, and I wonder if this is an accurate reflection of standard consumption in the U.S of A? Something tells me yes. It got me thinking about the space, or even massive gorge, between need and want. At what point does acquiring the necessities for life become over-consumption? And is it over-consumption if you acquire things/stuff/needs/wants second-hand or as a non-monetary exchange and the like? For me, it's that creative pursuit of attainment, regardless of need or want, that is part of the joy of holding some thing in my hand. 'Heading up to the shops', even though J can now ride up there with us on his second-hand treadly from nanna, is the least inspiring option.

A pal of mine is renovating a house in Darwin. Recently, he got himself an entire kitchen on freecycle and drove it up on the back of his converted-to-biodiesel ute from Melbourne to install himself. Now that's inspiring. Go PT-B!

From finding a pink hardcover on the shelf at the sally army to finding a kitchen on the web, share with me your latest inspiring find, folks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Essential Thing Rag is the name of an ol' Hoodangers song, a 5 piece Melbourne band that do amazing things to trad jazz with a banjo, a mohawk and quite some nudity. It seemed a fitting name for this blog, which is about doing without the non essentials. It's a personal protest against the dredging of Port Phillip Bay to accomodate bigger boats carrying more stuff for us to consume. Seems to me that if I consume less stuff and the folk around me consume less stuff, then dredging the bay to bring more stuff into town may not be necessary. It's a beautifully simple equation. And it is a beautifully simple quest. Get your list of essentials sorted, give yourself a start date and you're away. Consuming less stuff. Go. Go make yourself an intention. Go hardcore. Or go easy on yourself. And let me know your list of essentials, cause I daresay they'll be different to mine and hers and that guy's over there in the window seat.

This is what we are buying at the moment, for my young family of 4 (with a little justification in brackets as necessary):

- green manure seeds (our vegie patches need a little post summer pick me up)
- chickbits (for our 6 baby chicks we just inherited!)
- tomatoes (just put our finished plants through the mulcher and into the compost)
- washing powder (so many nappies for A and so many wet pairs of pants for an almost toilet-trained J!)
- flour and yeast (a fellow yogini gave us her old bread maker recently, but I'm still yet to use it. Anyone got a favorite recipe?)
- a ream of amazing gold material (from the Barwon Heads Church Op-Shop that I have used to sew some hand made friends for new babies in town) and some rainbow dyed wool tops (cause it's getting kinda small-folk-need-a-felt-vest-wintery here in the hills)

here's our lil' ladies

Et tu?