Thursday, May 31, 2012

going offline

These days living in an intentional community, or commune, doesn't mean going offline.
Twin Oaks Community, where i used to live, used to be you could only use the internet on the hammocks business computers after office hours in the courtyard. No  longer. After (undoubtedly a long) decision-making process, communards now have i/net access from their SLG's (Small Living Groups). The commune has gone live.
 I have many dear friends still living at Twin Oaks, and i often wonder about going back to visit and the changes i will find. I miss my Friday night cooking for 100+ people. I miss the sense of appreciation and validation i felt living there. I have not felt that since i left. I wonder how i/net access has changed the culture there. I liked the island culture there...of beauty being an individual thing (how freaking refreshing is that?! and after living back in well, 'non-communeland' for a few years now, what a relief).
I miss the ease and fluidity of gender dynamics. I miss the diverse worklife i built up there. I miss the art, the homegrown music, the sauna, the pond, kayaking down the river, autumn wood stacking (my favourite physical job), the big seasonal rituals. I miss the diversity and wisdom of people i lived and worked with. I miss commie clothes (a communal house full of clothes, shoes and dress ups). I certainly miss my people. I even miss the conflict resolution work and mediations i facilitated. But i have to confess, i am a bit stuck on whether i miss the shared bathrooms. Didn't blink an eye at the time, but do i want it now? Hmm, i'll get back to you on that one.
 Can anyone spot me?! Almost ten years ago. Eek.
Yup, good times. I love that such a life is possible.

And what got me on this wander down memory lane? Thinking about community, about support, thinking about where to move to, what next. (Decidedly NOT thinking about anything remotely connected to fertility issues! I'm taking a month off. So there!)  And someone sent me a link to EcoSalon's '10 Communities we want to live in'. Go take a look. Dancing Rabbit in Missouri i love and have some dear ones living at or near. You can find Twin Oaks Communities website HERE.
It's real, this life, you can build one too. Or sneak off with ideas from it and create your own dream.
Or, heck, just do a visitor period and move in.

Oh yes, the whole reason for this post title...i am going offline for a week or so.
Brewing me up some plans you see. You just wait. xx

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Dress Up Box

 Dressing up is a huge part of children’s imaginative play. Our huge dress up drawer gets alot of daily traffic.

A few basic dress up’s can be used for many things. When i was crafting for my son’s friends birthdays he often requests i make a cape or crown. I started getting alot of email asking how to make various outfits folks had seen on my blog.
So, I am starting the ‘Dress up Box’ series on the blog, about what we and other folks have in their dress up stash. Plus, a few tutorials, a few giveaways and i am stocking dress ups in my GrowMama felt store and market stall now too. When i am onto a good thing, i like to share the love. (Besides, otherwise i get twitchy making the same sort of things over and over!)

I love how children will use one item for many things...a stick can be a sword, a wand, an air traffic controllers baton. Are sticks in your dress up box, or do you have a collection? We do. 
Big thanks to Jed for trialling the new lot of dress ups so i could take some pics. I only feel slightly guilty for being responsible for his first 'fake' or pretend smile for the camera. I guess it had to happen one day.
If you'd like to contribute a piece about your dress up box (a review of your dress up collection, a related story, a tutorial, a rant - plus a few pics ), either leave a comment or email me. More the merrier i say.

GrowMama felt store HERE.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

sewing makes everything better (almost)

So, Mother's Day weekend...i couldn't leave the premises so...what to do, but unearth the fabric stash and get sewing?! I shelved all manner of projects to sew a few things for myself.
These two jersey fabrics came from the thrift shop and i had been wanting tunics for the winter...
 ...enter New Look 6731. At first glance, an ugly pattern, but then i have no vision in these things. I rely on other people's visions in translating patterns - or design 'em myself. I had seen someone else make it up (See clevergirl HERE) and loved it.
 I had been saving this fabric for a batwing top and kinda wish i still had. I like this top but i suspect it is not one i will wear alot. Good thing it took me minutes to whizz up.
Yup, this pattern has three pattern pieces and it being jersey, there is not a finished seam in sight.
 This one however, i love. And proceeded to wear for the next three days. It's a double layered super soft vintage knit and is a dream to wear.
I love the neck line. With jeans or over leggings...i'll be wearing this one a whole bunch.
Sigh, i just love sewing from other people's throw away's and if it's sewing time comes in under an hour, all the better!
Do you have a fast 'n' dirty pattern you pull out from time to time?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

stitching therapy - oh yeah!

I finished the Alabama Chanin skirt i started at the Sew Fun retreat awhile ago. All handstitched folks.
When i was travelling i didn't have a sewing machine in my backpack (imagine, no unlimited sewing machine access for 16+ years...shudder!) and i made many clothes by hand on the road.
 It was so nice to get back to that handstitching a garment thing.
 I love the way it turned out and it is so super comfortable to wear, those two layers of cotton jersey just kinda flow.
Given that i need a bunch of sewing therapy at the moment, i leapt into cutting out the Alabama Chanin corset top in the same fabrics. (fifty cents apiece at the thrift store).
But, alas, it was late at night and i was addled of brain with hormonal, uh, disturbance and emotional bluchh and blindly followed instructions (most unlike me) and the pattern pieces i traced from the sheets in the book. And, well...if you ask me there is a central pattern piece that ends about 8 centimetres or so early. Bother. In my aforementioned state, i only realised it after i had handstitched (for hours) the corset together. Bother again.
It could be just my tum doesn't like a good flaunting these days, but i don't think it works to trim it up. I can't find anything online about any flaw in the AB pattern. I doublechecked my tracing, all good there, i will just have to get creative and find some super stellar way of remedying the hole. Hmmm. W.I.P

While i am at it, a few of you have asked about the Alabama Chanin books...i have two of them from the library and have requested Natalie Chanin's latest one. I am going to send you over HERE to a run-down of what is in each book. Don't forget you can upcycle thrifted t-shirts to make you Chanin clothing too.

Alot of thinking and feeling goes into handstitching big projects like these, each one is a process and at the other end of a few lately, i am feeling good. I can appreciate that so very much is great in my life. That all will be okay. Etc. Phew.
Thank you for all your caring words. We all hit hard times. It is how we hit them and work through them that counts aye? xx

Friday, May 18, 2012

not the mother's day i planned

So, if you are someone who comes here to be inspired or uplifted you may want to come back another day.

If you are someone who is not up for a hard story today, please don’t read on...i’ll see you another day.

And, if you are a friend, and didn’t know what i have been going through, i apologise for you finding out on the internet. Just so many of you are so darned far away. And i am not very good at reaching out at times like these.

Sunday was Mother’s Day. What i had planned for the end of last week was a series of posts leading up to Mother’s Day. All celebrating mama’s that have their hands full and perhaps wouldn’t be celebrated themselves on the day. You know, the single mama’s in our lives...or mama’s whose partners have passed on. Those amazing mama’s who juggle so much without the back up of being able to ask family to step in and cover for them. I wanted to put out a request for each of us to turn up at one of those mama’s doors and make them breakfast in bed, or post off a sweet something, or whatever it was would make that mama’s heart sing. Or sending a caring something to those mama’s whose child had died, or those that so very much wanted to become a mama, but could not. We all have those women in our lives, i am sure.

Maybe next year. My plans were hijacked by a sweet life that was only in my keeping for such a short time. A much wanted sibling. A much loved already little one. I spent Mother’s Day miscarrying. I still feel raw. You would think i would be used to it. In the last year and a half i have had five miscarriages. Five.

I feel so strongly the same being, spirit (whatever you call it) trying to come through. The moment the pregnancy was over i felt it’s outrage at being ousted. It woke me up and i just knew. It is a reminder to me at how everything can change in a heartbeat. Literally. And how hard it is not to feel like i have failed. One day pregnant full of hope and new life, the next, grieving. Riding out the hormone crash and the emotional rollercoaster of hope and loss.

How keenly i feel my gratitude that Jed is with us. I am truly blessed with that little fellow.

I feel lucky too, to have avoided hospital. And for the support of the lovely women at the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic.

Lately in blog world i have read a few more personal than usual blog posts and appreciated their honesty and felt richer for having heard those stories. No matter what i set out to write, this is all that would come out. I have felt inspired by those honest blog posts and want to be open about what we are going through in the hopes that my story may help others. I’d like to know that i can share whatever is real for me here in this cosy space i have carved out for us in blogworld. There is more to this story, but for now, this is all i have strength for between tears.

Apart from the hormone crash that i know so well by now, i am down. I wanted to warn you that i may wander off and wallow in it occasionally, but that i would always be back. Just those big plans are on a little shelf for now. I’ll get back there. There is a whole lot of sewing therapy going on, let me tell you.

Friday, May 11, 2012

the path of a stream

 The local council decided to move our streams. Uh huh. They were afraid they would start to erode the nearby coastal road. I understand the reasons and it was still very strange to have such heavy upheavel in our quiet little corner of the world.
It made a heady combination for the small one...the diggers etc and the beach.
Oof! We saw the beginning of the work, checked on it daily and we were there when the last machine packed away.
You'll be pleased to know that our streams are nice tidy straight lines heading straight for the sea now.
It jumped us into a beautiful impromptu look at water and how it moves and behaves naturally.
Take a look at THIS selection of aerial pictures from Google images. Nature just rocks doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

poor photographic evidence

So, here you have it folks. Very poor photographic evidence of a very entertaining (and hopefully informative!) Plant Medicine workshop last Sunday.
I had forgotten how much i love this work.
It felt good to be back at it.

Much going on behind the GrowMama scenes at the moment, all shall be, at some point!
Those of you who are waiting for the new improved version of the Plants as Medicine Handbook...i will be contacting you this week. They are ready to go thanks to the design and techy help of the lovely Davina Warman. If you need any friendly design help, click on over to meet her.

Wishing you all a good week. Stay open to the magic. It's always there, somewhere.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

outfit and assistant

Just ignore the floor that might need a vaccuum and feast your eyes on this dance of colour.
Yup, that was my town outfit a few days ago.  It is always interesting to see the reactions of others when i dress, er, loudly. (And lets face it, there are also days when jeans and whatever it takes to blend in will do just fine)
 As ever, usually just out of screen view, or edited out, is my trusty helper...
Doing nifty stylist tricks like adding a weapon (in the form of one of the hundreds of 'special' sticks we have).
 Just what it needed, no?
Stretch velour dress from Surge via - $19
Vintage mint cardigan from Salvation Army - $3.50
'Pink legs' (that's my assistant talking) - .50 cents from Salvation Army - brand new too
Handstitched black leather shoes, italian no less - $20 also from trademe
Stick - free
Assistant - wages for the photo shoot paid in Feijoa cake

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

extracurricular issue 8

 Always one to scurry away with a cup of tea to read, Extracurricular magazine's issue 8 is out.
The theme for this issue is Self-Publishing - the power of print.
They were flying off my GrowMama market stall at Kraftbomb Market on Sunday. I wrote an article in this one too - called:
 ...a look at the growing phenomena of ebooks and ecourses in the crafty blogworld.
I got to interview three awesome women who have published ebooks or run ecourses:
...Kathy Stowell of Bliss Beyond naptime (and her adorable cow, Daisy) ...
...Emma and Elsie of Red Velvet Vintage store and Elsie blogs beautifully at A Beautiful Mess (one of my favourite girly late night stop offs at the moment)...

...and the irrepressible Jessica Van Den of Epheriell Designs who is taking the craft-selling world by storm...but especially check out this latest post of hers entitled What are you waiting for? What indeed?!

...all amazing stories to tell. It was a very fun honour to talk to each of these fabulous ladies.

You can get your very own copy of Extracurricular by hopping on over to the website HERE...stockists, including where to buy online are on the right side bar there. Or Aucklanders can pick up a copy at the next Kraftbomb market - every last Sunday of the month 11-2 at the Grey Lynn Community Centre.
It is more than a good read. It's a keeper.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


My picnic placemat rolls won the bronze in the Handmade Olympics most innovative design event...Hoorah!
A big thanks to all of you who voted for me. REALLY big thanks, a little validation is so good from time to time isn't it? I felt proud to be amongst such awesome designers.You can click on over to Rikrak Studio's announcements of the winners HERE.
My super talented childhood friend Jacqui posted a lovely post about my nomination on her blog Blooming.  She is a fellow crafty mama of two gorgeous boys living in Japan. I have been enjoying catching up with her via her blog lately.Thank you my lovely friend. 

The email saying i'd won bronze arrived mintues after i had done some sleep math. I was a bit flattened by the realisation of just how much sleep i am getting.
Let's see...(i'm a born night owl and my work time is mostly at night, i find it almost impossible to get to sleep before at least 10.30), i am often up until 11, then i read/unwind...okay, sometimes midnight.
Then Jed usually wakes once in the night, still (hey, it beats the 5,6, 7 times a night he was up his first few years let me tell you) then the speedy brained kid is up at oh, 5am? Maybe 5.30. Civilised begins with a 6.
I may not come downstairs during the week until i smell coffee but we're not talking solid sleep.
So, i estimate i get, on average 5 and a half hours sleep a night. Broken with one wake-up in that block.
Yup. 5 hours sleep does not a happy mama make.
And yup, repeated doses of coffee can only alleviate that so much.
Actually, i worked out that my little fella gets on average 2 hours less sleep than his peers. He fell asleep mid afternoon yesterday- which was unheard of - but woke up a different kid. It is so sad for me that i can't manage to get him more sleep. Oh, yeah, and me. Sure, rest time after lunch is a part of our daily rhythyms and i do what i can. It has been like this since he was born. This was the baby that took two hours to settle for a nap - then slept half an hour. Argh! the word 'sleep' used to be so loaded around here!
You know, as a parent, you just work with what comes y'know?
I am blessed in so very many ways and this is just one of our challenges.

So you see, the timing of the email about my bronze win, was perfect.
Good news to stop me wallowing in sleep deprived despair.

And me. I have just had a loooong bath and am going to sleep BEFORE 10 pm. Wish me luck.