on being creative....

I got a lovely comment on my facebook page yesterday from someone who wrote....

"Your dolls are truly beautiful Emma. I dream of being this creative!"

I just wanted to say YOU CAN BE!  Seriously you can. 

I'm not particularly naturally talented when it comes to sewing.  I struggle to think around corners and in 3D and how to imagine various seams will sit when piecing things together.  I often have to sit for quite a while and look at a pattern to really work it out. 

I remember the first time I laid my eyes on a Waldorf doll.  It was a photo online and I just fell in love.  I loved the craftsmanship, the natural fibres, the simplicity and the kind of play it was designed to encourage.  My interest grew from there.  I HAD to have one for my boys and so I eventually bought a kit, then bought books, patterns, DVD's, I YouTubed for hours and researched so much about these dolls. 

And then I practiced.  I failed, I tried again, I cussed a little, felt defeated at times that the product in my hand didn't match up to the picture in my mind.  But I persisted because of the love that was sparked in my mind and heart.  I'm particularly proud of my dolls necks.  I have improved so much, they are sturdy and smooth and this is an area I feel is essential to a well made Waldorf doll, and something I struggled with at first.  But with repetition, experimentation I have found my own technique which I'm really pleased with.   

I think mostly being creative comes down to persistence and repetition.  We can all have colourful and amazing ideas - but it takes persistence, repetition and love of the process for us to truly become good at our craft.  In all honestly I'm only about 1/3 of where I would like to be.  I dream of being able to produce dolls worthy of this standard......Dollectable.  These Dolls are collector dolls and simply amazing.  My dolls are nice, strong and sturdy but they are really a child's doll.  A doll made for cuddling, telling secrets to and going on adventures with.  I love making these dolls, but one day I dream of making something TRULY amazing! 

I have recently been branching out in my sewing to making my own clothes.  This is in the aim to help my dressmaking finishes.  To make a collector worthy doll I need to be using all my own clothing patterns, and they need to be finished to an excellent standard.  All these things are all building a strong foundation of skills.  And I love having unique clothing to wear! 

This was my latest project, the pattern was from Simplicity.  A dress made from cotton/linen.  Very airy and simple with big practical pockets.  I was experimenting with Bias tape, I have never really used it but I must say it is a little bit of love. 



So my point is, if you have a dream, do work on it, chip away at it and slowly persist, because realistically what do we have to loose?  Nothing, even if it doesn't quite go to plan, it's a wonderful path to be on with so much pleasure to gain! 

Much love, 
Emma


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Dreams, plans and an "oops!"

There are two kinds of people in this world I think.  Those that dream and then meticulously plan it out, add up the pros and cons, research and then wisely commit knowing full well what they are getting into.  Then there are those that dream, have a yarn or two figure "she'll be right!" and then leap head first, sink a bit, thrash about and then somehow find their way to calmer waters.  Yep, it seems we are the latter.

It appears we have sold this house and we have bought a run down, 4 room, 100yr old cottage, on a massive block and that we are moving in about two weeks.  (packing party anyone?!)

We were intending to buy the place in cash, then get a $60,000 line of credit style loan in which we would use to renovate and knock off a small high interest loan we have.  Of course it didn't occur to us to actually double check this was the best way to arrange it.  We organized the sale presuming the banks would still do this as we have used it in the past for renovating projects.....yep.....nope....apparently they dont offer it any more as they deem it too high a risk, first "oh crap" moment right there people!!  Forward planning, always a good move.   

What they will however do is give us $60,000 towards the building, allow us to use our own money for the rest and for the renos.  All good, problem solved right?  A simple task of collecting a mountain of paperwork and faxing it of and bobs your uncle.  BUT......It appears we have lost 3 rather important peices of paper.  No biggie, we can order copies from the tax department.....except it takes 28 days for them to process it.....I did mention we need to be out of here in two weeks right?

So.....best case scenario the banks will be satisfied with the mountain of paperwork we have provided them, seeing as we are actually reducing debit by $100,000 and all will be fine.  The worst case scenario is we buy the cottage in cash, and then deal with the reno budget as we can scrape money together.....Dear Lord please let it be the first option....

Did I mention we will be living in the little old caravan while Grant and I gut the cottage, treat the salt damp, plaster, lay flooring and you know - make it clean and livable?  In the middle of a south Australian summer (think 40C), over Christmas, with three small boys, two dogs and a cat?  Whats life without a few hair brained ideas and a couple of adventures right?!



So, like any wise, organized and sensible homemaker I am of course in total denial about the entire situation and am continuing my sewing-fest.  I'm 3/4 the way through a lovely linen summer dress, I don't have any current pics but here is some of it at the beginning. 


The boys and I have been enjoying baking, reading and this amazing spring weather we are having of course lends its self to loads of time outside and plenty of water play.



This is some scripture I love and am slowly and prayerfully trying to remember in my daily life and forever trying to work towards as I can be a little hot headed and feisty!  So far I managed to not loose my cool at Grant for mis-placing the paperwork.... Ha!


Much love,
Emma 

 
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Here.

If you have stopped by this week, Thankyou.  My blog is quiet as little Angus had his tonsils, adenoids and grommets put in last Wednesday so we are in quiet, home recovery mode.  He is recovering well though is still a little sore and fragile.

We have all been struck by gastro and movies, bed and home made broth are all the rage around here.  I'll be back soon, with hopefully some good news not only about our health but also about our big move.  Fingers crossed!

These boys, oh my mothers heart.  Such an amazing caring soul.  

Much love, 
Emma 
Xx

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Beauty.


Beauty.  Its a funny thing isn't it?

Lately I have been contemplating beauty very much.  The way our society shapes what we believe is beautiful, the marketing which directly influences that and the vast way in which this can differ from culture to culture.

I love watching documentaries about indigenous cultures.  The ways in which various cultures decorate their bodies fascinates me.  I have seen women who cover themselves in mud, sharpen their teeth to a point, and cover their body in amazing tattoos, decorate themselves and the list goes on.  These various practices can often reflect a myriad of strengths, as well as physical beauty like bravery, strength, endurance, position in the group and achievement.

These things to me are perhaps not traditionally beautiful, though I can appreciate the beauty within the context of their culture.  Which means beauty is not a universal standard, it is contextual.  

In these indigenous cultures it strikes me that wisdom and knowledge are highly valued, both of which come with age.  When technology is sparse or non-existent the knowledge of the community elders is greatly valued and needed.  

Then I look at our western culture and think hmmmm....we kinda have it back to front.  

We throw everything at our young people, the world is geared towards targeting those under a certain age.  Clothing, travel, so forth.  We first go to google before our elders.  To be perfectly honest, I'm not remotely convinced this is a healthy community model.  

In a true, real and traditional community, we are surrounded by people from different walks of life.  People who offer their opinions, sometimes unwanted yes, I'm sure!  But also people who offer wisdom would challenge us, grow us and who would RUB us, stretch us and essentially grow us.

Rub, it's a funny thing.  Yes uncomfortable, but take the example of a fruit tree.  When you prune a tree, it looks bare for a bit, but soon enough it grows like crazy and bursts forward with fruit.  We are designed to be pruned.  When there is no pruning, a tree grows out of shape, grows woody, and eventually stops producing fruit.  I think we as people do too.  Being around people who rub us, stretch us, is good for us to a degree.   

I think the Internet is an amazing tool, but it also has the ability to allow us to seek out those with similar interests and surround ourselves only with them.  It allows us to isolate ourselves from the bigger world, if we allow it.  

Which is a double edged sword.  It's an amazing thing to be able to find like minded people, but the danger is if we only surround ourselves with people who agree with us, have the same select view point of us, is that we take away the rub, we stop being pruned, and I wonder if that means, like a fruit tree we will stop producing fruit?

Excuse my rambling thoughts, This is related to beauty.  I promise.

So If beauty is defined by culture where do we sit?  Do the things we think are beautiful come from our values?  Or are they being forced upon us?  If beauty is something to appreciate, are we actually appreciating it or is it a burden we feel?

For me I realized I valued wisdom, which I believe is formed with age, knowledge and life experience.  There was a freedom that came with that.  My greys are no longer embarrassing.  They are simply a reflection of where I am in my life.  Because I see aging as something to value, I no longer feel tied to trying to hide my age, which is kinda freeing.

Clothing.  I love nature, sewing, raising my babies, natural fibers and living life the best I can.  So my idea of beauty has changed from being fashionable to being practical, with soft clothing, layers, loose dresses, big pockets and leggings so I can sit on the ground and play with my children with ease and comfort.  I foresee more linen in my wardrobe, its such a beautiful, comfortable fiber and wool, nothing beats wool.

I love hand made, hand crafted items, I love the time, the energy and the uniqueness of them so I take pride in making, or supporting those who make items.  Because I see beauty among the process, sustainability, time and craftsmanship.  It costs more, but I value it more and buy less as a result. 

This has allowed me to find my own style.  I love things which tell a story, which has helped me simplify.  many things in the shops are mass produced, and whilst I do see the prettiness in them, They are easy to walk away from.  Providing a comfortable, affordable home is also something I see as beautiful, so buying beautiful quality second hand goods is a way to bring thing in that are affordable, sustainable and often have a lovely story that goes with them. 

Anyway, I guess my point is, beauty is completely contextual, and realizing this has been freeing.  To look at my values, to see the beauty in them and by trying to outwork this throughout my persoanl style has been a great process, sometimes challenging.....but then again all things that are worth doing usually are.

Much Love,
Emma
xx



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Keeping busy at the old shop.

With all the changes going on, the coming of spring, we decided recently the old shop needed a lift.  Perhaps we also needed a distraction.

Our shop is a place where a lot of the community come in, read notices, pick up their papers and stop and have a natter.  We wanted to offer a place for the locals to sit and catch up over a well priced cuppa, perhaps lunch or a cool drink.  Where Mums could sit, feed their babies if needed, where little ones were welcomed and could play with toys or draw. 

Its one of those jobs that can be really expensive if we allowed it to be, as most jobs can.  But this lifestyle of trying to live simply and mindfully outworks into all areas of our lives.

We no longer look outwards for new, we look at what we have to see if there is something we already own that can do the job, can be re-purposed or if there is a way we can change the way we are thinking about the task at hand.  So much of our lives in today's modern world are geared towards mindless consumerism, these simple steps help us to stop and take stock of what we are doing, and why.  

We have hired a lovely fancy commercial coffee machine, (better value then buying for a small scale and they service/repair them etc.)  re-arranged the old shop so one of the big old bay windows was clear and brought in seating. 

I really wanted a couch to be there, so we measured up our comfy, leather two seater couch which fitted perfectly so we brought that on in.   Our big 3 seater couch is still in our outdoor lounge/sewing/spare room and the boys can have beanbags. We went onto Gum tree and found an amazing, solid timber, country style 4 seater table and chairs and brought that in also for $75, a total bargain.  I have said it before and I will say it again, it is AMAZING what people get rid of!  I bought a lovely big basket for the toys which was on clearance due to a damaged handle.  I can fix it with string and wood glue and 10mins of effort.


Once it was all in place I decided the wall needed brightening up, so I nipped into spotlight and bought some timber embroidery hoops, some clearance fabric and set about making some wall hangings,  and finally hung some sweet hessian bunting in the window, brought in some cushions and a little round side table.  

What we now have is a lovely sunny nook.  We hope to convert the other large bay window into a seating area also in time.  We have a freezer to move and a bit more re-arranging to go on that side though.  I'm thinking about painting that wall to emphasise it and visually seperate it a bit to the eye, though it's a tricky spot.  What do you think? 


As we make our move to the town, not only will it be nice for our customers, but also our family to have a comfortable space to eat, spend time and talk whilst running the business together.

Much love,
Emma
xx  

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Comfort...

Sometimes the wisdom of my children completely amazes me.

Our buyers pulled out at the last minute, much to everyone's surprise.  Goes to show its not over till its over, and clearly, it wasn't quite over.

This little house had termites in one corner years ago - before we moved in.  About 90% of the houses in this area have had termites at one stage or another.  Its common and if caught early, easily treated.  There was a full treatment, bait stations were installed for further maintenance by the previous owners and there has been no further activity since we have been here.  Their building inspection was extremely thorough and naturally showed this up.  (You would hope it would!)  The builders inspected every square inch of the place, deemed it safe, and were not concerned by the old damage, there was no evidence of recent damage and deemed the house to be structurally sound, safe and solid.  They put forward this recommendation but the older lady panicked and someone (not a builder) gave her the advice not to buy a house that has ever been touched by white ants.  Goodness knows why, as long as you understand the full history and the current condition of the home there is nothing to get upset about.

So yesterday was a long, stressful and disappointing day in the end.

This morning was the silver lining.  I was tired after a restless night and as I lay in bed, I listened to my beautiful old soul William encourage the little boys to help tidy the kitchen.  Instructing them gently and kindly on how to unpack the dishwasher, dry the dishes and together they packed them away.  He carefully made sure they didn't touch any of the knives, and then together they tidied their room and Will helped Angus find his clothes for the day.  He soothed Henry when he bumped himself and as I lay in bed and listened to all this my mothers heart grew and grew.

When I got up I gave him a huge hug and chatted to him about how the sale fell though.  And in all his wisdom he replied "I know".  We chatted about how it meant we had to get the house really tidy again ready for inspections, and that we can pray for the house to sell and that God was still looking after us, even though it felt sad and disappointing.  He took it upon himself to then go out and tidy the lounge.

We have another four people (maybe more) looking through on Friday.  There is lots of interest.  Who knows what will be?

Goodness I am so very blessed.  Despite a disappointing day.  So today we are going gently and quietly.  Focusing on all we do have and that God's got this.      


Much love, 
Emma
Xx


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I think we bought a house!

I think we bought a house!  Its not much of a house mind you, its a run down 100+ year old 4 room stone cottage with a timber frame extension which basically needs ripping down and re-doing.  But she has captured hour hearts and we have agreed on a price.  The formal paperwork is yet to come, so I'm hesitant to say she is ours quite yet, as these things are never really done until they are totally done.

Im sure there is some rule about blogging to only talk about the things that are concrete but meh, this is a diary of our lives in all its messiness and the beauty that exists within that!  

This little old cottage is on a HUGE block, FILLED with fully grown fruit trees, berry canes, vines, nuts.  (I'm going to need to invest with a dehydrator!) There is still room for a mulberry tree mind you, down the back.  I'm going to buy one for Grant I think and surprise him, he has great memories picking mulberries as a child and they are his all time favorite fruit.  there is an amazing big old pepper tree, perfect for climbing!

The old girl needs ALOT of work, from a silicon based damp course which needs to be drilled/injected into the walls, to stripping back to the stone and re-doing the lime plaster on the affected walls, the timber frame extension needs re-doing out the back, the bathroom, kitchen, flooring, painting, a big combustion wood fire needs to be put in, air con, wiring and more no doubt. 

All on a shoe string budget!

But this is what Grant and I are good at.  We are good at sourcing amazing things for next to nothing.  Gumtree is our best friend, so are recycling yards.  People so often buy things that are the wrong fit, or have excess left over after a big build, or simply change their minds which they then sell on at a fraction of the cost.  We love seeing our vision come to life, and Grant in particular thrives on this kind of work.

It will be a matter of careful planning, sourcing quality second hand the windows/doors, thinking outside the square and then designing the building around that, and patience.   

And this place it a PALACE compared to the 150yr old house we were doing up a few years ago (which we left after a major flood, read about it HERE if your interested.)

So we are excited.  Whats life without a few adventures right?! 

Most importantly this move will allow us to get rid of a bunch of debit, it will mean we are closer to the shop which will mean we are part of the local community, and also that we will get to spend more time together as a family.  These are the things we value in our lives, so the decisions we make are to put these values at the top of our list. 

HERE is the listing, though it will not stay available for ever so I have saved some of their photos and will pop them on here for future reference. 

Here are some photos I saved directly from the real estate page...















 Anyway, I do think its time for another cuppa tea and to get stuck into some housework around here.  We have friends visiting this afternoon so a good excuse to potter about and get some things done.  :)

Much love,
Emma
xx
 
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Under contract!

Life has been getting back to normal here, the house is now under contract which means we can relax and not worry about walk throughs.  Well until we start packing that is.  Assuming all goes well we will be moving in as little as 4 weeks.  We are not sure exactly where yet, we are working on that, Ill be sure to keep you updated.   I'm totally in denial and trying not to think about it all.  Instead I have immersed myself in sewing which is of course a completely practical thing to do, no?  But it did result in me making this sweet little superhero.  Her name is Scarlett, and I think I may be a just a little bit in love with her!

She is listed HERE for sale.  Christmas anyone?



Is it a bird?! Is it a plane?!  No its SUPER SCARLETT!!


This is more what my house usually looks like, in case you were thrown by the inspection photos.... Ha!!

Sewing is a completely practical and logical option when faced with a tower of a "to do" list, no?  4 weeks is a wonderfully long time to pack up our entire lives yes?...So I'm just going to be here....doing this...BAHAHAHA!  I may be in denial, but when I know where we are actually moving I'm sure I will find my packing mojo.....maybe.....

Much love, 
Emma 
Xx


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getting organized!

With the house on the market, de-cluttering is heavily on my mind.  The more I do it the better I get.  Also organization to help make this process as easy as possible. (which Im not sure is actually possible?!)

Poor little Gussy has to have his adenoids and tonsils out and get grommets in a couple of weeks time. (great timing hey?...) So I am busy making bone broth to freeze to help him heal after his surgery.  Henry has a sore throat so only two of the three batches made it to the freezer, one was used to make chicken soup for dinner tonight.  


One of our favorite meals here is make-your-own cold roll night.  Roast a chook (or what ever meat.) thinly cut veggies, vermicelli noodle, rice paper and soy and sweet chilli dipping sauce and its a cheap fun meal!  :)

In my general de-cluttering mission I tackled my wardrobe today.  I pulled out all that I owned and threw it on my bed. I read recently about a Japanese method HERE  where you hold each item in your hand, and thank it, and ask several questions of it...It kinda sounded weird to me, but actually it was really helpful.  I want my house, my cupboard to reflect the things I love, the life we are trying to lead.  And my goodness.  I got two large garbage bags to donate, another small one of bits and pieces to throw away.  There is now space in there, and its filled with the clothes I love, that fit and that I wear.  


Much love,
Emma
xx
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