Tuesday, December 23, 2008

well wishes

...to each and every one of you who have read and left comments this year...thank you. I still feel excited when I read the words you leave in this space. I hope you all have a shiny, bright and joyous Christmas.

I'm going to have a little rest from here. What will I be doing? I have no idea but the possibilities are exciting. Perhaps just hanging around at the cafe waiting for a coffee (see above). No doubt many beach trips, lazy afternoons reading and mornings at the park will be in store. Some writing in my new notebook and some time with my precious boys.

Our warm summer is here and I'm heading out to play x

Saturday, December 20, 2008

not a creature was stirring...

not even this mouse. In our house. I had to get him. Fell in love really. As soon as I looked up to those high out-of-reach shelves and saw him perched there all lonesome I just knew he needed to come home with us. A Christmas mouse, red scarf 'n all who will probably stay out to play all year round.

I have bought and I have baked, wrapped and tied ribbon, written greetings and well wishes on cards. All without too much fuss and not much stress. There's a few more batches of iced jumbles to make, a few more sweet spiced nuts to create. And then...?

We'll drop gifts and cards onto doorsteps, post parcels on their way, celebrate the Solstice and begin to slow down and chill a bit while we wait for the magic of Christmas Eve. I love the Eve, I do I do.

The "sweet spiced nuts" recipe came from the latest edition of Kindred magazine. It is so wonderfully easy to make (perfect to do with children) and so very yummy (with a little bit of this and a sip of tea you may just find yourself in bliss).

All you need is 200grams of raw nuts & seeds (I used cashews, almonds, pepitas and sunflower seeds), 2 heaped teaspoons of cinnamon, finely grated rind of one orange and 4 tablespoons of honey. Mix together, place on a tray (lined with baking paper) and bake at 180degrees for about 10-15mins.

I hope that you, wherever you are, enjoy the preparing and planning. Because if I've learnt anything this year it's that it's about the journey and not so much the 'big day'. x

Saturday, December 13, 2008

you are the light i see tonight

Perhaps there is no other time quite like Christmas to observe the season. And it's opposite, on the other side of the world. I keep flicking through blogs and getting all caught up in the magic of the ice, the snow, the coziness of decorated homes and the warmth and love imbuing every single post. And while those of you in the northern hemisphere are reveling in the few hours of daylight, our light is shining bright until eight in the evening. And then as the sun sets, the temperature cools and we settle in for the night, watching the beetles and the bugs swarm around the lights.

Our sun light is so bright, our skies are clear, our nights are balmy. Our family is close, our children excited. Christmas is near...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

we do it different here

Sometimes it is hard to create magic at Christmas time - especially considering our Christmas trees are lined up outside the local fruit and veg shop instead of a snowy field. I've walked passed this blue wall so many times and never noticed it's vibrance. It was only when the contrast of the green arrived that I discovered my new favourite wall. I'll have fun with this over summer.

Our Christmas here is casual. Sometimes we swim in the ocean on Christmas Day. We eat prawns, fish and fresh salads for Chrissy lunch. Sometimes we swelter in the mid-summer heat. There is sand instead of snow. Sunscreen instead of mittens.

Now that I'm a Muma Christmas has taken on a whole new meaning. An no doubt next year when my little one has a little more understanding and hence a whole lot more excitement, we will decorate, make, wrap and celebrate much more. And like this year we will revel in our beach Christmas, where the ocean beckons and the sun is hot. It's a more subtle seasonal magic but it's just a wondrous.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

oh dear me

I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm a little weary at the moment. Perhaps my reason is a little different - I'm not tired because of festivities or turkey-needs-to-be-cooked-stress. You see, my little chicken is turning out to be one of those lively spirits. Those children who people refer to as 'balls of energy'. He's a climber.

An explorer and a giggler with the stubbornness of his Dada and the determination of yours truly. Me oh my it is exhausting. He's a grazer too - that's right, he'll eat all day. Some bread, some cheese, some peaches and then some more please. Which means I'm preparing/cooking/serving food for most of the day. Don't get me wrong, I love feeding him with fresh food goodness but it is a bit of a shock to the system. He's grounding me, pulling me down from that cloud I like to float on. This is such uncommon ground for me and I'm taking a while to adjust. I'm being challenged but I'm learning.

He's a screamer, a squealer, a chatter and a giggler. Every sentence is a statement - he never questions. For good reason I am slightly concerned about future tantrums. Goodness gracious me. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Of course there is always balance in our day. However hard it is I always seem to get one of those cuddles with a pat on the back that make everything seem easy peasy. Thank goodness for the hugs, the open-mouth slobbery kisses and the cheekiness. I just have to get better at keeping a straight face when I'm trying to explain that what he is doing isn't nice. I always laugh in the most inappropriate circumstances.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


...translation (hello, hello).

New phones, old phones, vintage phones, mobile phones. Give my little one some buttons and he's happy. His little index finger pushes each individual button - 1, 2, 3, 4. And then he giggles. It is rather sweet to watch.

In the last few weeks I've all of a sudden remembered the contentment that comes when a child is in the wonderful world of play. Sometimes I join in, other times I just observe and occasionally I start to work on my own little projects. We are busy, our home is calm and all is well.

And look at this gorgeous new bookshelf that Che's Ommi found in the local church op-shop. It's so wonderful for his books and toys. And very, very red. I love it, love it but I'm not sure if I'll keep it how it is or paint it white. I wonder...

Thursday, December 4, 2008


He helps unpack the shopping, taking bites from the fresh fruit & veg as he goes. This makes me happy. Very happy.

Cherries. Ripe, red cherries. Christmas indulgence. $6 for 1kg of yummy yummy cherries.

Hand washing. It always seems like such an arduous task. I procrastinate for weeks sometimes. But I love the satisfaction of delicate garments all fresh and clean and lying on the bed, ready to be put away.

I'm starting to recognise photos in my day. Odd for a writer to find that connection with a camera. Nice though. Nice.

Monday, December 1, 2008

his first artwork

...and then he ate the pen.

original artwork by Ché.

twig light, star bright

And so a pile of twigs, fallen from gum trees, became stars that hang so beautifully in our window. I like them, I do. All different sizes, the twigs joined with hemp cord, and hung with silver matte ribbon. It looks like a little one has made them - I like that organic, homemade, found-stuff-in-the-garden crafting. It's beautiful in its simplicity.

Sadly, we're not decorating a tree this year. Why? Because I have visions of a certain 14-month-old laying flat under a fallen tree and unintentionally getting wrapped in fairy lights. I also see baubles scattered about the place, broken branches and a very frantic Muma.

And so I took to decorating our mantelpiece instead, the feature being the gorgeous advent calender train that Che was given on his first Christmas - something that we will look forward to displaying every December for many, many years to come. Today I lit my Christmas candle so the scent of cinammon, sweet orange, cloves and nutmeg fills the house and I wrote a list of neighbours and friends who will be treated with cookies, well-wishes and good cheer. It was hot today - basking in Summery warmth is a sure sign that Christmas is approaching. The cicadas are singing too...Summer is here.

See that bronze plaque below our mantelpiece? I first saw it when Daniel and I went to breakfast one morning when I was 38 weeks pregnant. It was stuck on the brick wall next to the table we were sitting at. It was covered in brown paper. Daniel started to rip the paper. It says:

Will you marry me

On the 30th May 2006 Daniel and Jodi had their first date.
16 months later he asked her to marry him at the same table of the same cafe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

colour play

Colour and light and all things bright. We are finally crawling out from under the clouds - feeling better and ready to play. And today I watched my little one 'play' for the first time. He took his Che Che (choo choo) train and pushed it around the floor as he crawled. Around the basket and the table. Around and about. It was beautiful to watch. I could tell that he was actually thinking about what he was doing, he planned a little route and off he went. Che and his train.

My house smells of lavender, ylang ylang and patchouli - the 'hippie chic blend' made by a local scent and soap maker. Since we found our rhythm I have enjoyed playing house so much more. It's cleaner and more organised than it has been in months and I feel more inspired in my own space. Inspired to write, make, create and yes, play. It's a good feeling.

Che and I have found our little groove and we're so happy. I'm a better Muma because of it. I'm calmer and more engaged and I can easily say that I am more certain and more passionate about my role as parent - about the choices Daniel and I are making. After teaching a pre-natal yoga class last week a few of my students were talking about leaving work and the significant changes that would make to their family income. I suprised myself with what I said to them because it was the first time I had actually considered it myself. "Your life become simpler when you become a parent. You spend more time at home, you spend more time together. Your life-style doesn't cost as much."

Because...you clean, you feed, you bake, you wash, you play, you read, you cuddle - together.

After a phone call with a dear friend today I realised how important it is to be surrounded by like-minded parents. It's so good to know that Che's friends are being raised by parents as passionate as Daniel and I. We share the same values and beliefs, we're choosing an 'alternative' form of education and we're trusting in our natural instincts. I feel supported and understood in my parenting journey...it's so nice.

Enjoy the bright light of an approaching Summer ... or the cosy dim haze of a Winter just around the corner. Wherever you are I hope you find your seasonal rhythm.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The sky has been grey, sometimes dark, the wind strong. It is so un-Spring-like that I am feeling a little cheated. I don't suppose it helps when the little one is miserable with a fever and annoyed at the toothiepegs that keep threatening to break-through. Oh dear, oh dear. I have spent quite a few hours cuddling and swaying with him and staring, as I do, out the window. Watching the different colours of the day. The light and the dark. The trees and the twigs. The twig tree is so Wintery.

This bunch of twigs will be perfect for something I have in mind. For building and finely creating. With time and patience and a cup of tea beside me. I'm re-discovering my love for creating with my hands - for objects as well as words. It's nice.

Monday, November 17, 2008


I've been away. Not from home, but from this blog. A little break, a little breather. It was time to find some rhythm and now we're sailing rather smoothly.

I actually started by changing a few things about my evening. Before Che goes to bed we clean up his toys together. And before I go to bed I make sure the kitchen is spotless. As far as I'm concerned there's nothing worse than waking up to dirty dishes - a clean kitchen is a fresh start. Perhaps I really am heading towards domestic bliss?

On the food front there was one habit I had to kill. I'll admit that I'm slightly addicted to chocolate and if there's a block sitting next to my cup of tea, I'll get through it pretty easily. Although the taste was enjoyable (the guilt not so nice) I was waking up with a sugar hangover. True. Sleepy, lethargic, cranky - not the kind of Muma that I need to be. And so I've taken on the French approach - one square of quality chocolate a day (sometimes two) with my tea and I'm waking up much happier. Good start to the day.

And Che and I? We pitter and we patter and I'm pretty happy with how our week has been. We visited the Steiner playgroup down the road and me oh my it is a delight. Unfortunately we can't go till Che is two. I was slightly disappointed but I see it as a opportunity to find our own way together - and without wishing the days away we have something very special to look forward to next Spring.

We've been row-row-row your boating, sandcastle making, reading and gardening.

Not long ago it became pretty evident that Che has rhythm - he shakes his bum in time to the music, he beats his body to song. He's fascinated by sounds - give him some windchimes and he's happy for hours. And so everyday we make music with his mellow sounding drum, our Tibetan singing bowl, a tambourine, maracas and our voices. I have no music talent whatsoever but I do enjoy watching him have fun. Sometimes we do a little Kirtan (devotional chanting to music), sometimes we just make a whole lot of noise. I just have to convince him that high-pitched squeals are not music to anyone's ears. Oh my goodness, how my child can squeal!

...and the winner is...Christie from Pigeon Pair. A gorgeous 70s clothkit is coming your way!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Saturday night. Cooking dinner for friends. Wearing my Nana's apron for the first time. I found it in my Mum's wardrobe and brought it home with me. She was the best cook, my Nana. Perhaps that is why I always think of baking when I think of New Zealand. Shortbread, pikelets and ginger gems. Tins and tins full of buttery, sugary treats. I'm hoping her secrets are stitched into the apron. A nice thought.

I've been wanting to bake lately, so desperately feeling the urge to knead some dough and bake some sweet treats. But an inquisitive, curious 13-month-old and baking don't mix well. He's at one of those in-between stages and I am really aware of staying present with him and not wishing for him to reach that next phase. But in doing so I'm finding it a little difficult to create a rhythm in our days. Or to even notice a rhythm. And because I'm one of those ether types I tend to float along all day until I realise that it's almost dinnertime. I work better with routine, with rhythm.

So I'm going to spend the next few days creating some routine. Writing it down. Being a bit more aware, more grounded.

And just as I have been pondering all these thoughts I find out that my street is in fact blessed. There are four churches so you could call it holy land. But apart from that it seems to continually offer me things I ask for. Cherry blossoms - tick. Roadside blooms - tick. A footpath - tick. Village markets - tick.

A Steiner playgroup - tick. Today I discover that the house at the end of the street does in fact hold a Steiner playgroup every Friday morning. With bread baking, story time and lots of like-minded mumas and their little ones. Oh my goodness gracious me I am a lucky girl.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 30 (+ a sweet something for you)

Gratitude today for you dear reader...on my last 'official' day of gratitude. 30 days of noticing the little things that make me happy. Without being all gushy, lovey and goo-gaa, I'd just like to say that all those comments are so welcome in my life. They make my days. So thank you.

What's most exciting is that these posts have proven that writing, for me, is a given. It's what I do. Pencil and pen on paper, fingers on the keyboard. And now that I'm a muma I have learnt to compose sentences in my head. I thread words together until a spare moment arises whereby I reach for a piece of paper - a bill, an envelope, sometimes the pages of someone's else's novel.

More on this to follow.

Today I am parting with another gorgeous, gorgeous clothkit. A magenta dress perfect for an evening out with your love. It can be made for sizes 8-18. It's a bit folksy, a bit of night-time glamour - it's pure 70s style. "A tropical print dress with rounded collar and tie, side pockets and easy buttoned elastic waist."

I truly love this one but in sticking with my Spring mantra, I'm giving it away. All you have to do is leave a comment. I'll announce the winner next Sunday evening. You can read more about clothkits here.

Sending some good ole vintage luck your way.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 29

I know there has been a lot of similar photos to this one - taken as Che crawls away from me, towards the water. It's just what's been happening lately. I put him down on the sand and off he goes. The sea beckons. Who am I to stop him?

With his snazzy new nappy cozzies on (yes, a nappy built into the swimmers), his rashy and sunhat he fully immersed himself in the sea and he loved every minute of it. It felt good to spend the late afternoon near the water. It's pure summer to me.

Summer needs music too and I am so happy to have found this CD. Mike was a few years above me at school and for as long as I've known him he's always sung beautiful songs. But this new creation is by far his best. It's folky, bluesy and earthy - sweet sounds to lull us all on summer evenings. Go ahead, have a listen. You'll like it, I promise.

Gratitude today for the sea water and a good tune.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 28

Remember when you had a newborn and you found it hard to imagine that little bundle as a moving, giggling, wriggling, social little creature? You were so stuck in the awe of new parenthood that for a while you didn't think about parenting a toddler. You momentarily forgot that soon you would be chasing your little one around a park.

I'm just beginning to realise that while the present moment is so much fun there is always that next stage to get excited about. And as you can see we have officially reached the 'park' stage. Yes, we are a park family. We love it. Swinging, sliding, round-a-bouting till our hearts content. Watching Che observe, chat and play with the other kids is just gorgeous - he's pretty passionate about fun. And Daniel and I are loving the fact that we can be kids again too - swinging higher and higher and higher...play date anyone?

Earlier today I read that Michelle was starting a little market in her village and I got all sad about the fact that we don't really have a villagey atmosphere in our neighbourhood. We live on a gorgeous country-esque street with cottage gardens and horses but no little piggies going to market anytime soon. And then, like someone had heard my pleas, while driving home I notice a beautiful big sign on the school fence at the end of our street. "Village Market - 3rd Saturday of every month" ... dream come true, I am bursting with excitement. The basket is all ready to go.

Gratitude today for life in the park and at the market.

Monday, November 3, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 27

Gratitude today for 'green, jasmine & pear tea', a decadent concoction from the very lovely Madame Flavour. My mum found the 'sultry chai' blend in the supermarket and passed the hint onto me. These most gorgeous teas are presented in little fabric infuser pods, like 'silken purses' and they are completely biodegradable. The packaging is beautiful and each pack comes complete with a little note from Ms Flavour herself - the woman who, lucky her, has tasted tea in places far away - Paris, China, India...even with Geisha in Kyoto.

Sometimes a cup of tea can make everything better...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

daily meditation

The spring day
in the pools

haiku by Issa
Found in "today and today"

Since Year 4 poetry class I have always loved haiku. The simple rhythm three lines can create.
No rhyme, just flow. 5, 7, 5. Typically addressing a season, a reference to time in nature. Perhaps it was the beginning, that poetry class, of me and words. I'd rather write a letter than speak on the phone. With pen in hand I internalise and although there are times when it creates frustration...there is more joy than anger.

I calm when I watch the smooth, lyrical line of pen on paper.
You may calm with a needle and thread
Paintbrush and watercolour
Rolling pin and dough
Hammer and nail.

What is your daily meditation? What do you enjoy?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

30 days of gratitude : 26

It's hot, humid and sticky and the perfect day for lounging around on the day bed. Perhaps a little bit of beach time and some mango time too. Che is proving to be a determined and independent little soul who likes to feed himself. I'm impressed with his patience and skill - not so happy about the crumbs, the goo and the general mess that he creates. Thankfully the days are warm enough to just wash him off. We can't wait to use the outdoor shower in mid-summer...splash, splash, splash.

My kaffir lime tree has sprung back to life with lots of luscious leaves. I thought it was beyond rejuvenation so I am so happy to notice that it was just a little sad and tired over winter. Lots of green curries to come. My mint is ready for picking and today we're enjoying ice-cold water infused with mint leaves. A nice way to herald the warm warm weather and the summer that is fast approaching. Cheers to long sunny days and warm evenings. I've started burning sandalwood incense to frighten the mozzies away. I know citronella works too. Any other suggestions?

Gratitude today as we head towards summer with open arms and sandy toes.