Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Faraway friends up close

I had the good fortune of meeting Tamsin back in, hmm 2004 or even 2003 when we were both doing a Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing at University of Technology Sydney. In the very limited time we spent together we just clicked. Tamsin, who was pregnant at the time of us meeting, seemed so calm, wise and fun (she has one killer smile), I couldn't help but be drawn to her. In the few months we had together, before her and Adam moved to Melbourne, we had a lot of fun, we half celebrated NYE together (half as my brother ended up with a firework spark in the eye, so myself, my sister and a friend spent NYE in hospital with him), I got to hang out with baby Thea, they came to our wedding, we travelled to Beechworth and went to their wedding and that's about that. Since then we have only seen each other maybe three times and from there the rest of the friendship has been built on 'to the point', incredibly nourishing and beautiful telephone conversations, far too many to count 'snap' moments and the exchange of beautiful and heartfelt gifts.  
So you can imagine my excitement as I counted down the sleeps until Tamsin, Adam, Thea and Odette arrived. Now Bellingen is a considerable distance from Melbourne and taking into account they were driving, I can't actually say that they came for us alone, no, they had already spent a few days in Bega, a couple of weeks in Sydney, some time at Crowdy Bay and a little farmstay at the one and only Marook Farm, no less (you know that place with those amazing biodynamic yoghurts in glass jars). And from here they are gently making their way up to the Daintree and then to Darwin, The Kimberley and then straight back through to home. What an amazing, challenging and enriching adventure they have in front of them. 
They arrived on the Sunday and left on the Saturday and we loved it, it was easy, very real, insightful, and such a treat. There were feasts and many nights and some days filled with lazing on the couch and talking and talking and talking, there was yoga, massage, red wine, beer, a gypsy band and laughter. Thank you guys, we feel so honoured to have had such a big chunk of time with you all. We miss you already. 

Scott teaching Adam a few basics to take on the road. 

Cass, take note, these tortilla's were made by Adam from scratch, yep, they were amazing. We also tuned into some Mexican digital radio to get into the mood. 

Oh we miss these faces. Thea had the idea for me to make her a bolero. I had never made one before and felt a little out of my depth, but I based it on Annie's bolero, and downsized and fooled around a bit and they looked great, Thea and Odette (yes she quickly lined up for one), didn't take them off. Poe has also requested one.

We also had to have another indian feast, here is Woo modelling her beet top. 

Okay first an apology to all those visitors who have made the trek to us in Bellingen, who have swam in the Never Never Creek, who have like us, adored the surroundings and left with sated smiles. We are sorry, we are sorry that we hadn't discovered this place first, we are sorry that you will just have to come up and drive to the Promised Land and experience the most awesome swimming hole ever, yes ever. This place feels like it has delved into (as Tamsin put it) those guided meditations about imagining a swimming hole with clear water, trees and shade, sand with some pebbles and if you look into the distance a rope swing. Even Adam, Tamsin, Thea and Odette were impressed and they had just come from the stunningly beautiful far south coast and it's surrounds where they had delighted in the granite carved slide at Mumbulla Creek Falls, granite rock beaches, a magical lagoon and a flying fox into the dam (ok, the rope swing didn't quite compete with the flying fox with regards to thrills) but this place is seriously amazing. 
The reason why we had never been here before was that there are usually quite a few cars parked by the bridge where you start the adventure and that has always put us off, but there is heaps of room around here and some rapids and another swimming hole further up if you need a bit of peace and quiet. Okay, sorry, enough now. 
Jenna, Remy, Tracey and Vince, I was especially thinking of you all, when we visited this place, you are going to love it.
Oh and we had a curry picnic that definitely added to the "this place is awesome" feel, perfect company, location, weather and food.
Oh and I also had the honour of giving Odette her first haircut, I consider myself very lucky to be the one chosen to chop so many locks. Poe also wanted a new style, a new style so that when people saw him they had to stop and look and say "is that Poe?". I think it does that and besides getting used to a cold neck he is really enjoying it.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

and stuff

 Sadly we had to say a very fond farewell to Richilde as she headed to Canberra to study ceramics full time. To farewell she held a 30th/farewell/ping pong/clothes swap party, it was pretty awesomely lovely.

 Further to the fabulous beet comes the beet and it's friends (freezer stencils and embroidered bees). This cushion I made for the very special, the totally amazing Saul McGuiness. The cushion was inspired by one of his most favourite books ever  "To Market to Market" by Nikki McClure, it is a seriously amazing and beautifully educational book (personally I am also smitten by Nikki McClure and cannot quite get enough of her). Saul loved the book so much that he decided he would have a market garden party for his 5th birthday. What an awesome idea.
So his mum, the beautiful Jen and his dad, the lovely Rod, stocked up on bric-a-brac for the bric-a-brac stall, plants for the plant stall, fruit for the fruit stall and all sorts of delicious baked treats for the bakery stall. The kids received a couple of paddle pop sticks to use as money, they could get more 'money' from the information booth (the cubby house) and there was even a jumping castle (trampoline). I think the theme for this party is one of the best ever, I can't wait to see the pics. Yes, sadly we weren't able to make it (6 1/2 hours is just a little out of reach), but Saul we hope you had the most amazing day every. We love you so.
 I especially loved the way the pillow had the backing of a business shirt, from here, a pocket and buttons with zero fuss, super quick.

Luckily I had not one but two beautiful little ones to sew for, and as they both recently got new beds, so cushions were the answer. The amazing, the extremely funny and very sweet Ted, also got his own beet, yes beets for all my friends (well four or five max.) and a very special purple themed cushion, purple being his most favourite of favourite colours. Ted, yes we love you too, can't wait to hear all about your party. Mwah.
photo by Jason Brown of No.5 Church St
On Wednesday 15th January I attended the Bellingen Transition World Cafe at No.5 Church St. The idea behind a World Cafe is a chance for locals to get together and exchange ideas. Previous World Cafes in Bellingen have seen the emergence of the local free market, River Festival, Bello Food Box, re-learning in old skills, a seed saver network and a sustainable building forum. At this Cafe we looked at "What creates a vibrant and resilient community?", "What evidence is our community vibrant and resilient?" and "If we have transitioned well what would our community look like in 2020?". The room was full with about 70 people attending, ranging in ages from 16 years to over 80. Again it was really wonderful to be part of this, to hear people talk about exciting ideas for the future, to see how these ideas are being put into place and realising that in this community, with this support anything is possible. As I rode home on my bike, glancing up at the stars and feeling the warm breeze on my arm, I felt a welling within at the future potential of Bellingen and the wonder at how so many different people are feeling the same thing and making sure change happens.

p.s. thank you so much to everyone who commented and emailed and called about my tops, I really appreciate it. Just starting out in the, sewing for people who aren't my friends, world it is very nice to get such amazing feedback, it helps relieve anxiety and second guessing. thanks again lovely people.  

Monday, 20 February 2012

tops are tops

I have been away in the land of sewing, sewing like a crazy but delightfully happy person for the markets.  I made a top or two because I was inspired and then tried to do some skirts but for some reason they resisted and the tops kept beckoning and delighting me so I turned towards them and went top mad, it was really fun. I love having the freedom to change what I do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, whilst maintaining orders etc for the favourites. Here are are a few tops I made for the markets (which were on Saturday, they went really well, yay). So here is the top (and one dress) collection (otherwise known as the bathroom collection, for obvious reasons, I really need to work out the perfect place for self timer pics).


All fabrics and materials used are secondhand, upcycled or salvaged.

A lot more has been happening; an amazing transition town world cafe meeting, a ping pong, farewell, 30th, clothing swap party, yoga (ahhh), life changing massages, birthdays for two special little people and some very special friends from Melbourne arriving (it has been about 4 years between visits). Will have some photos soon, thought I would just touch base with the tops.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

beets and a clip

Scott, Ilo and I took Friday morning off and embraced the sunshine as we went on a little bike ride (little but very strenuous, up one very long steep hill) and made our way into the bush for a walk. It wasn't a long walk but it was very peaceful and saturated; we stopped and looked, we stood and closed our eyes as we took deep breaths, we discarded our shoes and felt the earth beneath our feet, we pried off leaches and had a little fruity picnic. We will definitely be spending more time in this neck of the woods.

This attractive looking vegetable print to the left is a little sneak snippet of a gift I am crafting for a friend. I haven't done freezer paper stencils in a while so this was a real treat. I am quite smitten by this beet but am very limited by the freezer paper as to how many times it can be repeated, i say three, max. I do intend to continue my beet love my doing a much smaller beet stencil for a t-shirt I have recently made, will show you soon. I love the beet.

Yesterday I had a very different day. I was helping these guys film shoot (ahem) a filmclip for a local band. I was hugely nervous beforehand but it all turned out to be pretty relaxed and a lot of fun. It was also a really great opportunity to get those film skills up (which i mentioned in previous post as to being quite crap).

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

a bee sting and a bellyache

As you may have noticed Poe's right foot on his very first day of school was carefully wrapped in a striking red facecloth, not, as you would expect, a sturdy and highly practical shoe. The reason for this anomaly was that a few days beforehand Poe got stung by a bee, unfortunately he is allergic so we were all a little scared but all was well. His foot did swell up a lot, and was really, really sore, but unlike last time it did not lead to an anaphylactic rash, phew. We feel more confident at dealing with bee stings rather than being hugely fearful of them (for the time being) So that explains that.

Now to the bellyache. Saturday morning I rode up to Kombu to collect a few things and as I was wobbling past No. 5 Church St, which is right next to Kombu, and wobbling because my 'few things' turned into a lot of things, as they were giving away a lot of the fruit and veg that might not make it through the rest of the day, let alone Sunday til Monday. Where was I? Oh yes, as I was wobbling past No. 5, I spied a table of three bearded/moustached folk, they were talking about songwriting and had a whiff of bluegrass about them. Well being the cluey lass that I am, I put it all together and realised that these young men must be Bellyache Ben and the Steamgrass Boys, the band that we were going to see at No. 5, that very night. Needless to say I peddled back home and reported my findings to my lovely bearded, blue grassy fellow at home, he took the information in, he casually walked out of the lounge room and then casually walked back in "Do you mind if I go and have a chat with them", mind, ha, not in the slightest my love, off you go, be with your kind.
I was shocked and a little saddened when my love returned with barely 15 minutes past on the clock, weren't they there, I asked. Oh yes, they are coming over to record some songs now. What!!

The lounge room had mikes and leads pouring out of it in no time and then in much the same time, we had an audience, a band and a recording session. Bellyache Ben and the Steamgrass Boys were really fun, they had some really great catchy songs and an amazing murder ballad about Jimmy Govenor, they were also really excited to be jamming with Scott and recording a couple of their tunes in our lounge room.

Sorry about the poor filming, no excuse just poorly skilled. 

It was a really lovely impromptu thing to do. It made Scott and I remember House Concerts and how we would love to hold one and then furthered this by reigniting a dream of building a mini kind of barn in our backyard one day to record bands and accommodate them with a little loft room. Inspired hugely by the beautiful dvd that accompanies The Decemberists The King is Dead album which was recorded in a barn, if you have never seen it, try your best to get a copy, it will be worth your while.

And then finally to No. 5 Church St for the evening performance, again really fun, yep, good honest fun.
Oh and those of you in Sydney, did you know that these fine lads play every week at Madam Fling Flongs, yep, every week, they have a residency there, Wednesday night Hootenanny. Go check them out.

Monday, 6 February 2012

the very first day


Yes, finally we made it to Poe's very first day of school, oh my goodness. Poe was super excited as he planned his outfit, demolished his breakfast and got ready for his day ahead. I was experiencing a number of lumps in my throat as we headed there, but managed to breathe through them and experience joy and excitement for Poe (this can't be said of my journey home!) It was lovely seeing all Poe's friends and their parents, we settled straight into winding yarn into balls, then making the art folders, drawing pads (which you lean on when using the beeswax crayons), and twisted yarn for attaching a little folder to the children's bags, it was a really lovely atmosphere, everyone working, chatting, a real buzz in the room. We then enjoyed a delicious morning tea, a story and a couple of songs. It was around then Poe asked when we were going to go, I loved that he was so ready (sob).
With a very special cuddle and kiss, we were sent on our way. Our original plan was to pick him up from school but Poe was very keen to catch the special Kindy/Year One bus with his friends, and so he did, he looked so big yet so small hoping off the bus (yes, sob again). Once off the bus we went along with two other families to the Gelato Bar to celebrate the occasion and to squeeze in just a little bit more play.

I did have a cry on the way home from school and then felt a bit empty, the idea that he is now really on his journey into the 'real world', the years stretching ahead of school and beyond, even though it has always been a forward journey, this just marked a massive moment. I am also so excited for him and can see how much he loves being at school and with his friends.

At dinner tonight we were talking about school and asking about his new teacher, Connie, and what it is like having a different teacher from Paige and Poe replied "She is good, I like all teachers. But Mumma and Dadda.......they are not as good as you". Oh darling one.
(Will explain about Poe's foot in the next post)

Friday, 3 February 2012

False Alarm

Okay, so Poe did not actually start school on Wednesday or Thursday or Friday because, well because the bridge just before the school was flooded, which means you can't actually get to the school. So we have been waiting, the anticipation has been building and we hope that there is no more rain for a while so that we can really have a good stab at this school thing.  In the meantime...
  Eagle-eyed followers of this blog, may recognise these delicious fabrics, oh yes, I received a very beautiful surprise package from Cass, the tablecloth on top is amazing, I feel very honoured to be entrusted with it. Thanks Cass, as I mentioned, it made my day.
 I was recently asked to create a very special piece for a friend's child,  it was hard to figure out, it gave my brain a work out, but when I got it, I felt pretty happy. I was really honoured to create this piece as it has a really beautiful purpose. I will post more photos and more information soon.
Catching up with the newspaper inserts/junkmail (Tracey your influence is far reaching).
I love it when the really simple pictures just say so much, check out the expression on that birds face.
Celebrating Finlay's 6th Birthday complete with a pink Combine Harverster

Oh and more of the usual. 
Amidst all this Scott was working like a totally awesome crazy person, three jobs at once at times (music and sound for a pilot children's show, mixing promos for the History Channel and a top secret project).  He was also managing the final touches for his cd artwork and the mastering of said cd, hmmm it was really intense for him and was happy when things were able to be ticked off and finished with. As we are finding this seems to be the way with freelance work, times of total insanity broken by weeks of absolutely nothing. But it's working for us and we are pretty grateful.