It is cold and wet here on the farm today, so the fires are burning and cupboards are being examined for winter wardrobes. But the colours outside continue to be stunning!
I have been tinkering with a little project over the weekend, along with nursing my dog who is having a slow recovery from her snake bite, and spending a morning drinking tea and catching up with an old friend. And now my chicks have returned from their trip s being inside with the fires going and listening to their adventures is the best place to be!
Stay warm friends and have a great start to the week!
Tonight I opened a box, sent from Tasmania by a dear friend. It is full of fabric from three generations of her family, and she is entrusting it to me as someone who will make good use of it and appreciate where it has come from. Talk about precious cargo! I will be taking my time to examine each piece and really think about what to do with it.
Opening the box and thinking about precious cargo got me thinking about my last few days and other sorts of precious cargo I have encountered.
Yesterday was rather dramatic. I was sitting at the bench having a cup of tea and chatting to two friends when I heard our dog Dottie barking ferociously. I stuck my head out the door to have a look and found her flinging a dark coloured snake with her mouth. The snake wasn’t running (slithering) away though – it was attacking her. After calling her away I went to look for the shovel and told my friends what was happening. As we looked for the snake and watched the dog we realised that she wasn’t well, so a phone call to the local vet, a pile of towels wrapped around her and under her and with one of my friends holding her carefully, off we sped to the vet.
Dottie on a drip and receiving oxygen, still managed to be charming.
The good news is that we arrived safely, despite my rally driving over the mountain range that sits between us and the vet. The vet rushed to meet us in the car park, and was able to treat her quickly, and she should make a full recovery. The bad news is that the treatment is extremely expensive ($1500 just for the anti-venom medication alone). The moment that our precious cargo stopped panting loudly and my friend thought she had stopped breathing will stay with me for a very long time. Dottie is very precious to all of us, and to lose her would have been devastating, particularly while the children are away visiting their grandparents and having adventures with their father during our school holidays.
It has really shot home the need for us to be prepared for snake bites for humans as well. Time for some first aid revision and reminders for the children and adults!! (The snake was later located and dealt with by my parents who were digging out the garden bed it had disappeared into. It was a juvenile tiger snake, so we are very lucky. A grown tiger snake would have killed her.)
We are really experiencing the full extent of country life this week. The day before Dad and I had to make the hard decision that it was time for two of our old hens to go. We didn’t want to do it but knew that it had to be done. I described it as ‘farmering up’ – taking responsibility for the hard bits of being an animal owner as well as the good bits. They had been precious cargo – they had introduced us to being chicken owners, had provided wonderful eggs, and had taught us a lot about caring for our animals. The responsibility to end their lives with respect was a heavy one.
On the flip side, our green hued eggs continue to be produced as precious cargo to be carried from the coop.
In amongst all this drama and country life I have been cutting out patterns, matching fabrics, and dreaming big. Might be time to put the fabric with the machine and actually make something! How novel!
I am also enjoying the beautiful roses from our garden in these lovely vases that a friend gave me as a house warming gift. The sight and smell of them warms my heart.
I hope that your precious cargo, whatever it may be, is safe and well tonight. Give them an extra squeezy hug, just because you can.
I have been reflecting over the last week on what it is that I am doing with my time! When I worked full time I seemed to have more time to sew, to blog, etc. Now that I am self-employed I seem to be running in circles all the time. I am not sitting idle, and am not spending hours surfing the internet, yet I seem to not get to the things that I want to do. This was frustrating me for quite a while, until I realised that the things that I have added in to my days are the very reasons that I am no longer working full time.
Over the last few years I have had to shift my priorities. I have had to change my parenting style. I have re-invented our day to day life. (Not just once!). The reason that I have less time available to sew, or blog, or return phone calls, or pay bills (oops!) is because I am more present in my children’s lives. I am still not engaged at the level that I could be, and am certainly not a saint (heaven forbid) but I have come to realise that by spending more time putting the children first our life is better. Now when my boy is starting to get angry and lash out I can normally pin point the cause within a few minutes. I can usually remember the strategies that will help him to calm down without escalation. (Usually. Definitely not always.) When my artist-in-residence is collapsing in a ball of spiky frustration I can see where it has come from and help her to unravel and calm down. (Sometimes). And when my eldest chick is having completely out of character episodes of appalling behaviour I have no idea. Until I empty her rubbish bin and realise that she has been sneaking her little brother’s snacks – full of gluten – and her body is attacking itself.
Much easier to be kind to myself when I think about what we have dealt with each day and how we have resolved it!
I have had a couple of great moments this week that I wanted to share. I was fortunate enough to be invited to see Mary Poppins, the musical, being produced by the Free Rain Theatre Company at the Canberra Theatre. (One of the amazing up-sides of the Human Brochure experience has been invitations to so many wonderful events!) I took the artist-in-residence and we absolutely loved it! It was, to quote Mary herself, ‘practically perfect, in every way’. We even had a chance to have our photos taken with some of the cast afterwards!
The artist-in-residence having a night at the theatre.
This weekend just past was also very special. The Handmade Markets were on, in a new location here in Canberra. I am still not at the point where I am ready to return to having my own stall, but I love my role in the background of the markets, which allows me to interact with all the market designers on an individual level. The exposure to so many talented people is a true delight. Even better, I was able to take the children with me and when we stopped to talk to different stallholders the children had the chance to interact with them too. They got to taste beautifully handcrafted chocolate (thanks Cicada chocolate!), to receive hugs and rainbow roses from GG’s flowers (special hug thanks to Gayana), and the artist-in-residence was able to talk to different artists about their work and her own art. Mick from Leafy Sea Dragon presented her with one of his cards depicting one of his own artworks as an encouragement to another artist. She was thrilled!
The eldest chick and her two friends ran their own business throughout the markets, providing stall holder support. They were exhausted but very happy and very proud at the end of the weekend. This band of 12-year-old young women are learning about money management, customer service, hard work, planning, and innovation at a young age and I could not be prouder of them!!
I also managed to sneak myself a treat on Friday night. I had an hour to fill between finishing helping with the market set up, and when I was to collect the children from their father’s house. I thought about ringing friends etc but decided to take myself into town for a meal on my own. We have an area here called ‘The Hamlet’ which is where the gourmet food vans park, and various funky shops are tucked away. I went to the Mr Papa van – Peruvian Street Food. Oh my goodness.
The burger made with slow cooked pork belly, sweet potato, and a very tasty sauce and salsa combo is heavenly! I then followed it up with a little trip to the Frugii Dessert Laboratory where the ice-cream alchemist creates beautiful ice-creams, and desserts! (The owners are also delightful people!)
I had the choux pastry with hazelnut cream, and blood orange syrup. And even better – I had time to sit and enjoy and just have time to myself. Talk about bliss!
A custom order set for a baby overseas
After all this inspiration my plan was to sew, design, and create all week. Hmmmm…… the best laid plans! Between routine medical appointments, school meetings, housework, and general family commitments, I have managed only a very small amount of sewing.
An ipad case, coin purse and key fob for a birthday girl in Melbourne.
The good news though is that I have created some new pattern templates, which is speeding up my process a lot. (Instead of measuring and cutting each piece I am now using a template to cut each piece – such a simple thing but one I just hadn’t done!!) I also finally made a key ring fob – something on my ‘to do’ list for a long time. I like it! Maybe I should make some more….. where is that ‘to-do’ list again?
Wandering on the farm is a delightful pastime
The dam is the source of much entertainment – and home to some venomous snakes!
I love the skies out here!
I did spend time with my boy down at our dam finding rocks, sticks and long grasses to try and create ‘survival tools’ like spears and knives. We haven’t been particularly successful yet but we have had a lot of fun trying!
And I indulged in some fabric shopping – with no particular project in mind! It is just so lush! The new range from Skinny la Minx, via Hawthorne Threads. Drool.
Now to decide what to do with it! Choices, choices, choices!
I hope that you have been able to find time for yourself in your week too.
We are settling in well here on the farm. We have grown our chicken flock by 4 with the addition of some Araucuna hens – and they lay green eggs!
The Dr Seuss references abound as you can imagine! One of the hens has been named Sam-I-Am, while another is Yertle the Turtle. Then we divert into random chicken names like Fiona and Big Bertha. Dad continues to work on perfecting their coop and run and we all love just watching them as they scurry around negotiating their larger group. The ‘pecking order’ is alive and well!
With time has also come room to start sewing again. What a joy! I am taking it slowly, and focussing on building up stocks in the Shop Handmade, and filling some gaps in their stock, so have expanded my range of baby goods a bit, and am not back to bag making just yet.
New products for my range – Reversible baby blankets – flannel one side and cotton the other!
A quilted baby blanket from organic cotton and cotton flannel – this one was hard to put in the shop!
Baby change mats with laminated cotton outers, bamboo padding and cotton lining have also joined the product list.
I am also working on some concepts of re-branding. The break away from blogging and sewing has given me time to reflect on where I want to take this little adventure I call my business, so stand by for a bit more movement over the next few months! Now that I have a studio set up it is easier to think about moving forward again.
My sewing studio. Still need to work on the curtains and carpet and paint – well the decor generally – but the space is awesome!!
I have been focussing on my own health a bit more over the last couple of months. For the first time in my living memory I have lost weight, and kept it off, and passed that magic weight point that has alluded me for over 20 years. You know that point where you diet, get down to a certain weight, but just can’t get below that, even though you have plenty of excess ‘body’ that could go? I actually beat it! Even better, I am feeling healthy and energised. I did it using a product system that my sister is selling – I was extremely sceptical at first but have been converted. Now to get the exercise happening a bit more regularly (my never-ending battle!)
What else have I been up to? A quick trip to Queensland to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday. It was a great weekend full of colour, laughs, great music and shared stories. The interesting thing is that these are people I met a couple of years ago, by chance, at a Bluesfest. We just clicked, and have become fast friends ever since. The people I met at their house and the party were all just like them – warm, generous of spirit and amusing. One of the guests said that ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ and this is so true when I think of this family!
Nothing like a tropical back yard party to set a great scene!
With more headspace, and time to start designing again comes a return to fabric buying, researching, and coming up with ideas. Look out – the grey matter is ticking away coming up with all sorts of ideas here! I am even contemplating making something for myself. I know! Wonders will never cease! But in the meantime here is an awesome free printable for pop-up hot air balloons that I found on the wonderful site Design is Yay, by the delightful Wita. (That is my favourite sort of researching – finding cool things to share!!)
Our weather is just starting to turn cool, so I am even contemplating crochet again. That change of seasons is always enough to kick me into gear! I have been happily pinning ideas on Pinterest (so addictive but such a good way to capture ideas for later!)
I hope that your week is going well and that you have awesome plans for your weekend!