Saturday, 31 December 2016

Looking Forward

Hope. The looking forward of things to come, the belief that good things will happen, the trust that "better" awaits. The gentle wind that can lift our spirits and move us forward.

 "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, 
and sings the words without the tune and never stops at all."

(Emily Dickinson)

As we look ahead to a new year, many resolutions will be shaped. Yours (if you make them) and mine (if I make them). Perhaps, they will just be whispered silently within our own thoughts, maybe they'll take the form of words written down in a journal, on a refined piece of paper or the back of an old envelope. Maybe, they'll be displayed as pictures on a vision board (like Sherri's) or we'll see them only when we close our eyes. I think, at the core of every resolution, every promise we make ourselves, is hope. 

So it is with much hope, at the start of this new year just a midnight away, that I am looking forward to:

*spending time with those I love & holding them close*

*growing food & flowers in my little garden*

*crafting beautiful & useful things with my own hands*

*learning some new skills & refining a few others*

*walking regularly with the warm sun on my shoulders & sand between my toes*

* continuing to simplify my life & letting go of more that is unnecessary*

*exploring the natural world & taking purposeful steps to care for our Earth*

*reading many, many books*

*returning to beautiful Straddie
(Just under a year away now but who's counting!)

*watching the sun rise on the new days I am blessed to live*

A new day dawns, one of my 16, 263 days far!

As this new day dawns, and a new year beckons, I hope that you have much to look forward to. May 2017 be a year of hopefulness and happiness for you.


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Tomorrow's Eve

On the sandy edge of a little local road, on the island where we spend our holidays, we came upon this quirky Christmas tree. This native grass tree, dressed up in all its shiny finery, may not be your traditional conifer, but it is just as much a show-stopper. I'm sure we weren't the only ones to ask it for a photo! I'm certain too that we weren't the only ones it brought a smile to:)

On the eve of tomorrow, for many a tomorrow that will be Christmas Day, I hope you find much that gladdens your heart and that makes you smile. 

Merry Christmas!


Friday, 23 December 2016

Making Merry: Handmade Gifts for Christmas

Wrapped up in handmade gifts is the time, the love and the well-wishes of the crafter. Little handmade gifts have been slowly taking shape here over the last few months as I've endeavoured to finish projects for our dear ones. I wanted to make sweet and beautiful things, useful things, things which speak of nature and of caring for our Earth. 

A creamy knitted washcloth and a sweet bird stitched on a little drawstring bag.
(Bird design by the talented Melissa Wastney of tiny happy.)

A little hand-rolled beeswax candle that smells of honey.
(Beeswax sheets from Happy Flame.)

Hand stitched and home-sewn reusable Christmas sacks. A little  gift tag too!
(Repurposed cotton and calico bags, old salvaged doilies and last year's Christmas cards.)

Beside me in this merry making has been our boy. He's happily rolled beeswax sheets into candles, written words on bags for me to stitch over, repurposed used Christmas cards into gift tags and added all the extra sparkles needed with a good sprinkling of glitter! (Apparently, one can never have too much glitter!)

There is now only a little merry-making left to do. Today, we'll bake some lemon myrtle shortbreads using fragrant fresh leaves. We'll wrap and tie with ribbon the little gingery Christmas cakes we have made for our lovely neighbours and we'll hand-dip macadamia nuts in melted white chocolate for a Daddy who loves them.  We will honestly try not to sample too many of these goodies while making merry in the kitchen. It is important to taste test though, isn't it?


Thursday, 22 December 2016

It's Beginning to Feel a Little Like Christmas

It's beginning to feel a little like Christmas here in our home. Just a little! While away on holiday, I felt far removed from the Christmas rush, from extra busy shopping centres, long lines at the post office and piped in carols at the supermarket. Instead, there was just the quiet peace of a beautiful island. That quietness seeped into my soul and I haven't really wanted to lose it by rushing into Christmas preparations upon arrival home. 

We did take one special Christmas tradition with us on holiday though.  Each year, since he was very small indeed, we have used a simple felt advent calendar for our boy to count down the days until Christmas Day. In each pocket, we place a beautiful little ornament and each morning, it is collected with delight and placed upon our Christmas tree. At first, these ornaments tended to be clustered around the lowest branches of our tree but as our boy has grown they have been promoted to higher up! This year, with no tree to hang them from, they were instead placed in a special box ready for decorating the tree when we arrived home.

A sweet snowman waiting in the pocket our our advent calendar.

That same sweet snowman on our Christmas tree.

A decorated Christmas tree, with shiny red tinsel that catches the sunlight, real pine cones collected from under a stand of pines and a collection of sweet ornaments carefully placed by a growing boy.  

The few remaining "empty" pockets of our advent calendar tell me that Christmas Day is almost here and now, with a tree dressed in all its Christmas finery, it is beginning to feel a little like Christmas time to me.


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Under an Island's Spell

When I think of my deep attachment to the island we visit for holidays each year, and from where we've just returned, I am reminded of these beautiful words:

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
                                                                                                       ~ Jacques Yves Cousteau

There is so much more, besides the deep blue sea, that keeps me under this island's spell. 

... long stretches of soft sand underfoot ...

... rocky cliffs that have been scultped and shaped over time ... 

... leg-achingly steep sand dunes to climb ...

... spectacular views from on high ...

... deep freshwater lakes for scooping up tadpoles and tiny fish ...

... warm rockpools to explore ...

... wild creatures to quietly observe ...
(Kangaroos grazing on the headland.)

... abundant sea life under the waves ...
(Manta Rays just under the surface.)

... soaring birds that take off from the cliffs ...
(Brahminy Kite)

... wide and beautiful sunset skies  ...

It is nature that keeps me coming back to this place. While other adventures may beckon, it is this island that calls me back and has done so now for over twenty years. It is simply woven into my heart.


Friday, 2 December 2016


Tomorrow (I can't wait until tomorrow) we will make the journey over to the island we love.  It's been a whole year since we were there and I have missed it so. 

A long stretch of beautiful beach.

We'll cross the bay on one of the barges and I know, as soon as we dock and drive off, that I will feel that first sense of peace that will deepen as we drive out, seeing familiar roads and turn-offs and trees. There'll come a point along that road where the first glimpse of the blue ocean we'll be beside for the next few weeks will come into view. A sliver of sea-blue happiness!

Blue waving rolling in to the shore.

In our old ute will be everything we need for the next couple of weeks.  The rest will be far away. Too far to swim back for! My blog will be back here too, waiting for me to wash off the sand, hang up my beach towel and share a little more of this most beautiful place with you. 

Take care.