October 23, 2017 § Leave a comment
I have a lot of 100% natural wool felt laying around. And this past week of spring there are suddenly mulberries everywhere.
I have always wanted to delve into natural dyes – lately I have been on a bit of a drive to get to some things on that always elusive to-do list. One Saturday night I decided it was time to dye with the mulberries themselves.
I did a quick google – no fancy chemicals here to use as mordants or fixatives. I’d have to go with the cupboard staples and hope for the best: salt and vinegar.
First I cooked the mulberries till I had some strong, dark, purple juice. I let it cool overnight. I also soaked the wool felt overnight to ensure it was absorbing liquid.
In the morning I cooked the felt in my special dyeing-only pan with some salt – a good handful of salt simmered in the water to dissolve, then add felt and simmer for 5 mins.
In goes the mulberry juice and a good swig of vinegar. Simmer another 10 minutes, then rinse and hang to dry. The felt looked lovely and purple in the pot, but when rinsed it revealed a lovely soft grey color with a hint of purple.
Next time I will let the felt cool in the pot overnight again to see if I get more purple in the finished product. However grey is one of my favourite colours at the moment so I am please with the result.
February 4, 2016 § 2 Comments
I have journalled for most of my life. I can remember as a girl, writing dreams for my life that involved being a writer and having lots of children (!).
As a teenager I wrote copious amounts of emotional outpourings about friendships and lovers and family tensions.
As a twenty-something I took on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, purging my mind every morning, and then journalled the pregnancies and births of two children.
In my thirties…well, journalling became more intermittent; for crises or massive moments only. As my family grew and time demands intensified, journalling evolved into more of a luxury than a necessity.
I have written before about the body and the messages it can send to us through imbalance or illness. It is this exact scenario that led me to realise, just today, that I have not journalled for months, nor written this blog or indeed, much of anything. A niggling pain pointed me to the realisation that somewhere along the way in the last little while, I stopped expressing myself.
I intended to visit this blog today to let it be known that I was going through some deep stuff, too deep to share, too deep for me to be comfortable being visible in any way. I intended to publicly give myself permission not to write.
Instead I find myself re-committing to my writing practice, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. See, I do not feel myself unless I write.
It is true that I am feeling much inner turbulence in recent months. I look at many aspects of this world and think to myself: this is insane. And I do not know how to exist within this insanity I see.
All I can do is write. And keep writing.
January 5, 2016 § 2 Comments
Things have been extremely quiet on this blog, for a few months now. Moving home seemed to take most of the year and most of my energy. And then there was a new, exciting job.
With all my energy going into the home and then into my career, I really didn’t have much to say. I just felt fallow, for a while.
Now we are in a New Year and as I write this the rain is pouring down for second day. I love the sound of it at night when I lay in bed. I love staying at home and playing, reading, watching movies with my children. And I cherish the interior space it prompts me to inhabit.
I have spent these past few months just living; being present with my family and with the job I am called to do in supporting people training to become Steiner Education teachers. After many, many years as a stay at home mum or working in very part time roles close to home, I am relishing my new life travelling into the city to work, dressing up and embracing new responsibilities. Of course it is a big adjustment for our entire family and a new sense of balance is still emerging.
Despite not being much of a party goer on New Year’s Eve, my husband and I sat up well into the night, with that musical from the 80’s ‘Can’t Stop the Music’ on TV in the background, writing down some ideas for 2016. I like to follow Dr Demartini’s guidelines in focusing on the seven areas of life, as he outlines in this post. I’m getting better at making plans each year, and it seems each year I realise more and more deeply that whatever I want in my life is something I will have to create.
Writing and crafting are the big loves of my life at present, and I hope to bring more of my gifts in these areas into the world in 2016. Watch this space!
The landscape near our new home is very different to anywhere I have lived before. Today, in the rain, we walked. That New Year energy is still hanging around, and the cleansing, refreshing rain felt like more than just rain.
I’m ready, 2016.
September 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
My eldest child is sixteen.
He drives now. He travels all over our city armed with his transport card and a mobile phone. Right now he is living with my mother because she lives closer to his work experience location, and he has arranged his lunches and everything he needs himself. I have been called upon for one thing only: money.
It doesn’t really matter which child is missing, but one less child means things feel quite a bit more relaxed at home. I use these times to catch up on things, and lately my time is also being spent pondering the larger picture of life. Now that my teenager seems ready to step out in the world alone, I can reflect on the journey of parenthood from the very beginning to this point now – where I feel my son will be fully independent in no time at all.
When I left high school and was pondering career choices, I shied away from many things I was interested in – paramedic, morgue worker (yes, they were what I thought I wanted to do despite having no talent for science and top marks for essay writing and history!). I could not imagine myself doing anything entailing massive responsibility, and I remember that feeling as a conscious thought.
I drifted along in my arts degree, and met my husband literally the week after I finished, providing an escape from having to think about a career. We took off travelling. Then I studied kinesiology – again I shied away from becoming professional. I didn’t want the responsibility of expectation that I could help people.
Ironically, I have embraced the greatest responsibility of all: childrearing. With five children, I have accepted into my life a massive load. When my children were babies and toddlers, it was hard to imagine the worry about teenagers that now keeps me awake into the night. And this is only the first child – there are four more to go!
My son wants a cat. And this extra responsibility, I already know, is too much for me. We always had cats and dogs when I was growing up. It was normal for me. I remember when I was a teenager, left at home for a week whilst my mother went to a spiritual retreat. I came home one night with my older sister to find my beloved ginger cat sitting in the hallway with a puffy, injured eye. That sight was a shock to me, but what was worse is that I was responsible for the cat, and I had no money to take him to the vet. My sister stepped in to save the day but that experience has stayed with me, and not in a good way.
Now we have guinea pigs and our children love them, and they seem just the right amount of work for us to manage. But a cat as well….I would almost rather have another baby than get a cat! The responsibility involved overwhelms me. I wonder about this theme in my life – maybe responsibility is one my major life lessons to come to terms with.
Last night, I held one of our guinea pigs in my arms as he passed away. I sobbed and sobbed over this little animal.
Later, in bed, I asked the angels to help me be strong enough for the responsibilities in my life. I have a deep determination to always be there for my children, but some days things can feel very overwhelming.
September 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
An early Spring afternoon. A full moon rising. An irresistible pull to the ocean.
It was an impromptu decision to jump in the car and go.
Some children relished the chance to explore the rocks as well as their physical skills. Some of us relished getting our feet wet and watching the moon rise above the swell of the water near the heads.
We stayed well past dark, bushwalking back to the car by the light of the moon.
A much needed family adventure.
August 19, 2015 § 1 Comment
About the time we were given notice to vacate our old home, I began this weaving. Almost every evening during the intense six week period of packing and procuring a new home, I could be found sitting on the lounge, hot chocolate beside me, weaving.
I made the frame myself from some simple planks of wood, some nails and a lot of string. At first I envisioned a simple blue/green theme, but then green led into yellow and the weaving itself began to lead me into unknown territory. The soft glass piece comes from one of my favorite places in Sydney to visit: Reef Beach. The leaves come from some awesome trees on the side of the road where I park to visit the chiropractor! Not so special in location, but more for the fact that for me they embody Sydney and the sandstone landscape that shapes it. This weaving is now incorporating the elements: two stones are next, from the garden of our old home, and then hopefully some feathers that will lay in my path one day.
I love the depth of weaving. The lines, the warp and the weft, the repetitive action going back and forth, back and forth. I love it that as I was weaving this piece, I was also in the process of weaving new elements together in my life….elements that even I did not know I was dreaming into existence back then.
I knew the weaving was to have pride of place in our new home. I had hoped to finish it before moving, but of course that did not happen. It is now six weeks since we have moved, and it sits, still unfinished. In those six weeks I have been in despair, feeling that the creative part of my life would have to be packed away as my physical crafting materials were. I could not see the path ahead, as our new home situation quickly made it clear to me that the way I was operating before was now redundant.
I was sitting fallow. Not knowing what to do, so doing nothing.
But as the cycles of life continue unabated, so my own cycles kept turning too, and I began to catch some new threads – so different from what I expected out of my life at this time, but so rich and satisfying.
The weaving is calling to me, ready to be finished now that the shoots of my new life have sprung.
To be continued…..
August 8, 2015 § Leave a comment
The bus slowly crawls through the city, mirroring the idleness of the sun on it’s descent. The golden sun streams over the city, some buildings bathed in its glow, some left in shadow.
I reflect on the past two months, and the changes which have taken place. Some aspects of my life continue to be bathed in the glow of my focus and attention and energy, and some have been left in shadow. Left to fade away.
We moved house in those two months. I have moved homes many times on the past twenty years, but somehow this move was harder than them all combined. I suppose moving a family of seven entails a lot of stuff, as well as a lot of organisation, as daily life must continue for the children, move or no move.
But I resisted this move so much. I was very comfortable in our old home, comfortably stuck and living with all the things that were not right for us at that house. I had such set ideas about my life was supposed to change, or not change, with this move. In the end, with three days spare, we took what we considered to be the ‘last resort’ house.
I cried when we moved in. Then I felt like a spoiled brat for crying over having to move into an almost brand new house with three toilets (after just one at our old home) and keys to a community pool. Some of my dreams for myself have had to be shelved with this move, unless I find a way to adapt them and make them not dependent on my home space.
It didn’t take long for the gifts of this new house to show themselves….peace and quiet, a lovely new area with great spaces for the children to play, closer to school, more space. And then, a new job for me, one that uses my own unique skills. One where I get to go into the city once a week on the bus to work, something I still find exciting weeks in.
I know now what happened. I thought I was God, or in control of my own life. I never was, and it took me a while to catch up, let go and let myself be held my the universe.