Louie's little dolls donation to fires.

This is a direct copy and paste from my Waldorf doll making Facebook page.  

................................................................

Every doll in my Etsy shop has been donated to kids affected by the #Pineryfires in South Australia.

For those that know me we live in a rural town called Hamley bridge.  Part of a large area in the mid north that was horrifically affected by some of the worst bush fires ever seen in the area on Wednesday.

There has been two people tragically killed, more injured, at least 90 homes lost, thousands of acres burnt, (approx 260km perimeter) stock killed....it's been awful beyond comprehension.  

My family is safe, my home was ashy, soot filled but completely intact.  My husband is with us after a very close call, though his car is a write off.  We are so incredibly lucky considering the horror circumstances.  

Our community has rallied, cleaned, vacuumed, baked and raised us up like the legends they are, time to pass it forward. 

So the dolls in my shop have been donated to little ones who need a smile among the soot and sadness.  

If you are able to donate I'll include a link to this post.  


💚❤️💛💙💜


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A few days later...

Well it has been a hectic few days, running on adrenaline, coffee and the well wishes of friends and family.

Day 3 post fire and today we are knackered. 

But, we have been raised up, looked after, supported and assisted by friends and family.  We are lucky, and have been increadably humbled and blessed.

Our friends and family have helped us look after the boys, clean the shop, clean the house and work through the mountain of ash covered clothing.  Life will start to return to normal now for our family. Sadly not for many around us.  

The stories if the community are being told, they are devastating, and heartbreaking.  Stories of homes lost, mates lost, days spent shooting hundreds and thousands of livestock, animals, beloved animals that people tried but couldn't save.  It was just so fast.  


William is struggling to process all he saw and heard.  He had a huge melt down today, just screaming saying how angry he was, thrashing about.  I get it little buddy, I get it.  Once he calmed down we hugged and talked and hugged some more and he lay quietly resting in my arms.  Angus and Henry are ok.  Tired, but ok.  It will pass.  Love heals.  Gods got him, Gods got us. 

Much love, 
Em
Xx


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Pinery fires.....

What a horrific day.  Thank God we are safe.  


I don't even know how to articulate this but I'm going to try.  We are drained, running on empty.  

Yesterday a fire started from a hay stack spontaneously combusting in a town not far from us, called Pinery.  It then travelled at horrific speed accross the district with 80+km/hr winds.  

We checked the CFS updates constantly and it was predicted to miss our town, to travel a way in front of it.  

I don't know what happened, the wind changed, the weather was worse.  What ever.  But it hit us.  

Grant checked the reports and it seemed safe to drive to pick up the boys, but the fire became out of control and as he was driving, the fire surrounded him, jumping all over the place.  Thank God there was a water bomber that cleared the road enough for them to pass through.  The smoke was thick and black, there was debris in the air.  There was confusion and Grant was in a car accident.  The car is a mess but it kept him safe.  Fortunately he was ok, the car held out just long enough and he managed to get to safety while the fire front passed.  


At this same time the sky in Hamley grew pitch black, filled with rancid smoke, ash and embers.  I was utterly terrified.  I grabbed Henry, grabbed the dogs, loaded them into the little car and drove to the local oval which was a safe zone.  

The smoke had cleared by this stage quite a bit....

Fire burned in plain view, perhaps 50m away.  I was terrified it was not safe enough, terrified Grant was not safe.  My baby was with me and I could do nothing more to protect us.  

Phone reception was out, Internet was out.  We waited there for what felt like eternity, but I guess was a couple of hours.  

The fire past.  Houses near us were lost, lives were lost.  

Grant got a ride into town, we checked out our house.  It is intact, but filled with soot and ash.  Power is out, water is out.  We have a generator we can use, we will buy water and we are going back in tonight with family to begin the clean up.  

Thank god my Grant came home to us.  By the grace of God, and by our amazing emergency services he did.  Not everyone was so fortunate.  There are many houses lost, vehicles burnt on the side of the road, burning trees, injured animals.  It looks like a war zone. 

But we are safe, our community is rallying.  As only rural communities can.  Our friends and family are looking after us, the boys, supporting us, praying for us.  We are indeed blessed.  We are safe. 

Much love, 
Em
Xx  
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Settling in.

It has been a week and a half or two weeks?  Since we moved into the old cottage.  It has been a busy time, but there are signs of us beginning to settle in.

There is so much work to do, and I struggle with the dust and the grime which is a natural by-product of renovating.  I worry about the boys asthma, and airways with it all.  We do try and keep it as clean and well ventilated as possible.  

I think renovating and old cottage is a romantic notion, but the realities of it are not so much, which we knew coming into it.  It is hard, time consuming dirty work.  But we knew this and I am trying to keep reminding myself that getting rid of $100,000 of debit was ALWAYS going to require work and sacrifice.   I'm confident it will be a lovely little cottage when it is done though.  

We have started on the front two rooms, which will be the lounge and our master bedroom once done, I always love the last stage of renovating.  The last 10% is the exciting part!

First the boys ripped up the old dusty carpet and layers of lino under it.  They then had to chip away the old damaged plaster, its a messy, dusty job.  Then Grant channeled in the lines for the new power points which will be fitted.  The plastering has been started and its just waiting for the top coat.  Then paint and flooring can be laid.  We are aiming for the front two rooms to be done by Christmas, Im holding out on putting up the tree till then!   

Its an amazing opportunity for the boys to work alongside Grant.  They happily come in and work for a bit and then wonder off and do their own thing.  William especially loves it.

Working together as a family is something we value so highly, there are so many important lessons to be learnt working side by side.  Conversations naturally occur, things get talked about, worries solved.     

I got to spend a few hours in the garden on the weekend, re-potting my herbs which were neglected in the last heat wave and fried, I popped a few things from the shade house into the garden round my clothes line, and bought a rose to plant in the dust bath the dogs are building near the back door, I only grabbed a little straw and manure as a start as I knew I would not have too much time, but it was enough to make a start.  The soil here is good soil, though lacking organic matter, moisture and love.

The cheeky dogs seem to have moved their snoozing quarters elsewhere so the prickly rose worked a treat!  I'm beginning to plan a garden in my mind, looking at the light at different times of the day, looking at what we already have in place, getting opinions from everyone who comes here who likes gardening.  Learning from others wisdom is always the best!


We have made a couple of bottles of lemon cordial from our home grown lemons, which is amazing, I also pulled up some tiny garlic which obviously did not do much!  Ha!  But it smells good and will be used none the less.  Im excited to have a few herbs up and going.  Once we have finished the 4 main rooms of the cottage we will get serious about setting up the garden and fixing the fences and so forth.  For now I'm limited with bringing in soil as Grant is constantly using the tailor, I don't want to hold him up.  So I will have to make do with the pots and the little beds around the house.  Coming into summer is not a great time to garden anyway.


Lemon cordial recipe: 
650gm white sugar
500mls fresh lemon juice
500mls water

Put in pot, bring to boil until sugar is dissolved, pour into sterilised bottles.  Keeps for about 3 months in the fridge.  

I have been pottering away on making the Waldorf dolls also needed for Christmas.  Its a relief to be making headway!

But anyway, I had best be off.  My washing machine just beeped at me ready to hang out the clean washing. There is always more to do and the sun is shining.  I need to sort Henry's cloth nappies and set up a system here for them as I have been using disposable and its time to get back into cloth.  I much prefer it.  There is also washing liquid to make as I ran out mid move.  Just general life to catch up on and I must say it feels lovely to potter about and I'm so incredibly blessed to do so.

Much love,
Em
xx
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Christmas gift plans.

With all the busyness of moving, Christmas is something which has barely got a look in yet!  There have been vauge wish lists by the boys mentioned.  Im pleased to see they are pretty simple so far.

We generally try to go for something to wear, something to read, something you want, something you need.

I thought I'd share how we do Christmas.  The boys each have a "Santa sack" in which the gifts from Santa are delivered.  

Santa in this house tends to give the small gifts, in the sack there might be a nice book or two, a small amount of good quality chocolate, Pj's, jocks, socks, a new tree decoration, some stickers, perhaps some fresh pencils or a small craft thing.

I think this year I will put together a nice letter writing kit with some nice writing paper, some envelopes, stamps, and a few card making supplies, with owning the local the post office, letter writing is a great thing to explore!

I like the boys to know that their big gifts come from us, that we work hard to give them something they have asked for.  I feel like it is a lesson in gratitude, rather then things coming to them from Santa who they don't really know, or see if you know what I mean?

So here is our thinking so far....

Want:
William: air hogs racer (what ever that is.)
Angus:  (Talking toy bird thing, bought on sale.  Hidden somewhere in house....I cant even find it thats how well its hidden)
Henry:  Kitty surprise (this child LOVES cats)

The toys this year are a little more commercial then we usually go for, but this is their wish list, and I think balance is important.  We are not purists with any one style of parenting or lifestyle.  We aim to live more simply and with Christmas that means conscious gift giving and avoiding excess.

Need:
All the boys need a swag for camping.  This will be a joint present from grandarents/great grandparents.

Read:
Im thinking famous 5 for William by Enid Blyton, I'm unsure about the other boys, will have to go on a book hunt!

Wear:
Summer Pj's for each of them.

I have struggled this year with time to make the boys each a special gift as the last few months have been so busy.  But I still want to include a small handmade element, Is I focus there is still time.  Here is my plan for each of them.
William: Superhero cape and felt mask.
Angus: Yellow outfit for Jimmy his Waldorf doll. (favorite colour)
Henry: Superhero cape and mask for his Waldorf doll Bobby.

Along with the letter writing kits which I will put together in a nice kit for each of them, though they wont take long.   

Gifts I am going to give to the nephews and nieces are:
Nephew 1 - Friendly looking Joker style Waldorf doll., I have started him.  (I feel the need to call him a natural fiber doll....hahaha!  But he loves Jokers green hair and purple clothing and I'm happy to oblige.)
Neice 1 - Baby Waldorf doll and ringsling set to go with the doll I made for her last year/book

Neice 2 - Baby Waldorf doll and ringsling to go with the doll I made last year/book
Nephew 2 - Superhero cape and felt mask/book.

The other Grandparents are looking at buying each of the boys a nice wide brimmed hat from here to work around the Garden with Dad.  The Hat Store.

Much love,
Em
xx



  
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Owning our home and 100 posts!

EDIT: I *think* I have hit 100 posts!  To my dearest readers, Thankyou for taking the time to check in, to leave a comment, to bring encouragement or to even share this little blog.  I started this blog as an online diary to document our journey to a simpler life, as a place to reflect and so forth.  I seriously thought I would be blogging to the virtual sparrows when I started, so the fact I have "readers" is totally cool to me, and quite surprising!  But I love this blogging thing, as small as this tiny corner in the vast Internet world is, it's mine and I get to share it with you, readers from all over the world.  It means so much to me.  So Thankyou for reading, for checking in, for commenting, and for encouraging our family along the way.  I love hearing from you all and if there is ever a topic you want to tackle with me please do let me know and I'll endeavour to explore it with you!  Much love guys, and hope to have another 100 posts in me, with much growth and change along the way.  ❤️ Em xx


As I sit in the cottage kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil to brew my morning coffee I'm filled with peace and gratitude.

We have spent much of our married life working really hard to get ahead financially.  We often see friends going on overseas holidays or enjoying the financial benefits of being a two income family, fancy dinners, dressed up in beautiful clothes and big family holidays.  All these things are wonderful and I celebrate and cheer my friends on in their achievements as they do me!

But it is not our life.  Our life has been quieter, much of it at home working to get ahead, saving, renovating, trying to live simply.  Sometimes we have done it all badly, sometimes we have rocked it, but it's always been our conscious goal which we work towards.  Sometimes it has all seemed like "for what?" The pace has at times been terribly slow, filled with setbacks and then at other times been amazing filled with success.  But I think it's the leaning into our values and keeping focus that's the main thing.  Through all seasons.  Weather we succeed or not, we will eventually get there if the goals remain unchanged. 

For us that is -
- Living a life that reflects our faith.
- Living simply. 
- Aiming to teach our boys about our values through our actions.
- Doing jobs ourselves.
- Learning new skills.
- Cooking healthy foods, from scratch.
- Living in a way that's environmentally sensitive and aware. 
- Caring for animals. 
- Caring for our home, and enjoying it. 
- Avoiding consumerism.  

But today as I sit in our cottage I know this; we own her.  Not the banks, and that's what it's about.  I'm proud of that.  Seriously proud.  At the ripe old age of 32 we own our home outright.  She is small, and needs work.  BUT she is ours, and that my friends, it pretty darn cool.  

I'm going to keep it real - it will be short lived, we are getting a $60,000 loan to do the basic works on her like salt damp, electrical, fixing timber framed area, flooring and so forth as well as re-shuffling some finance and interest rates in the shop, so it will be $40,000 house/$20,000 business.  But in this moment, I'm celebrating that milestone!  A loan of that small size won't take long to whittle down if we continue to work hard.  We don't own the business outright mind you, that's a little way off.  But one thing at a time.  

But today after the school and kindy run I won't be going out to celebrate, I will nip to our shop to help for an hour or so, then come home read with my littlest man and pop him to bed.  Then I will pick the ripe lemons on the little stumpy gnarled old lemon tree make some refreshing cordial, whip up dinner and get on with life.  The next couple of days are going to be hot here, 40c and windy.  The farmers are on high alert for fires with the paddocks filled with crops.  It's a time of rest, sewing, quietly organizing  and re-charging before we start another big 
push on the old cottage over the weekend. 

Anyway, I must go, the boys are up, breakfast and coffee has been had and it's time to make lunches and get ready for school.  

Much love, 
Em
Xx
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3 days in and 1 room down....

Since we moved in we have absoloutly come in and hit the ground running.  

The boys are settling in, so is Max the cat and the dogs are utterly loving having the whole family around outside ALL the time.  

The chooks have settled in too and our aracoona has started laying!  Cute little eggs. 

We found a stumpy lizard which was pretty cool. 

The boys had fun squashing some grubby dropped grapefruit!  I'm not sure why Angus is wearing his life jacket - he has been all weekend.  And a bike helmet and sunnies at times too.  Must have been some adventure I missed out on! 

And we got cracking on the very first room.  The "storage" room.  This room will be my sewing room once the house is complete, but for now it will act as a family bedroom.  We are expecting near 40C here this week so an air conditioned room is a saviour! 

Costings;
Aircon $100 (gumtree)
Paint $150
Flooring $240
Misc hardware from the depths of Grants shed. 
Wine.....priceless! 

Here are some photos of the process.  We still need to lay quad around the edge and seal along the front near the door.  But otherwise it's mostly done. 








So as is becoming my new habit I'm writing this on my phone while the boys drift off.  But now they are asleep I need to hop up and get tyding.  The place is chaotic!  I have spent so much time scrubbing/cleaning so far and have barely touched the sides! 

Much love, 
Em
Xx 
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Setting up camp.

Wow what a huge couple of days....

Just a short post to show our first night in the old cottage.  I'm laying with Henry while he drifts off, trying not to fall asleep as there is some stuff I need to do tonight.  Working without the boys underfoot is faster and far more relaxing! 

Getting the van in was a squeeze, a small  almond tree had to go but there are stacks of bigger ones.  We will set up a more permanent camp over the weekend.  Sooo many jobs....

Quick and easy dinner beef, bean and noodle stirfry.  

Our first night in the van.  The big boys are on the mattress at the back, which converts to a king single bed and is the dining table and chairs usually.

Anyway I think little Henry has drifted off, time for me to creep out, pour a large glass of wine and get cracking. 

Sweet dreams all, 
Much love, 
Em
Xx

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Thanks!

Thankyou so much for all the support, encouragement and excitement about this move for our family.  It really has lifted my heart and I'm so pleased your following along and want to be a part of it.  I swear I can feel you guys cheering us on! 


We are officially out of the old place, scrubbed clean, ready to welcome the next family.  

I won't have internet for a week or so until it gets hooked up so I'm terribly sorry I can't reply to comments, but I'm reading them all and they mean so much.  The app keeps jamming and freezing mid reply.  I can write posts though - go figure!  

Anyhow, my boys all just rocked up so time to welcome the dogs and chooks into their new home, Maxi cat is hiding under a cupboard, poor little fella. 

Much love, 
Emma
Xx
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Exploring the old cottage.....

We are slowly moving our lives to the little old cottage.  As we do we get an opportunity to explore, and sit in her quiet.  Gosh it is peaceful here.


We have no radio or tv here yet.  The old door hinges squeak and the old wooden doors bang shut cheerfully as the boys run in and out.  

It's been interesting to spend time in the garden exploring. My goodness my heart filled with peace, as I stood under the hot sun and smelled the fresh lemons as I picked my very first batch.  A simple, ordinary but special moment. 

There are beautiful holly hocks about in full show. 

Busy bees.  I'm excited about exploring beekeeping in the future.  

Aggies about to burst into full bloom.

Grapes growing....

Tiny oranges

Raspberries I think? 

An old nectarine I think - despite the fact it has clearly done through some difficult times, it's a tenacious thing and has plenty of fruit on it despite having no middle. 

I cannot wait to pull off this timber and see what the fireplace is like behind. 

The old laundry trough will double as a bath for little Henry.  This room smells like my grandmothers old laundry.  Comforting and familiar.  This old trough will be staying - what a workhorse! 

We picked up this old wardrobe from hard rubbish, and a little solid set of draws which will come in handy.  There is no storage in this place anywhere.  The old owners gifted us various wardrobes also and an old timberframed chair I will recover for my sewing room.  

I cannot wait to fire up this old stove! Once her chimney has been cleared mind you.  

So we are still moving, and slowly getting there.  It is an exciting, tiring time, wonderful, challenging time for our family of 5.  

Much love, 
Emma
Xx

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MOVING DAY!!

G'day all,  Today is moving day!!  I may just be a little bit in love with the little old cottage and cannot wait to call her home....well at least her yard home while we camp there in the old caravan while we renovate her. 

Is it strange I refer to the old cottage as a "her"??  I feel she has the character of a little old lady, I may be a bit odd - but I'm OK with that.  HA!

I'm spectacularly excited and equally disorganized about the whole thing!  Its ok my Mum is coming to the rescue who is an organizing machine.  Though not as young as she once was I can be the muscle and she can be the brains.  I'm quite sure with a flick of her wrist and a couple of hours of hard work together, she will have an efficient system in place for us all to work towards!  We have some friends coming today also to help which is great.  :)

Today we are allowed to start to store things in the sheds, so from this weekend until Thursday we will essentially be camping in the house with only what we can load up into the caravan - except the fridge and washing machine, they will stay a little longer.  So mattresses on the floor it is, a few books, 1 bag of clothes each, a couple of pots and very basic pantry supplies, a couple of favorite toys.

Getting everything ready the boys will need for their first night.  Fresh linen, pj's, a full change of clothes so there is no searching for essential bits and pieces after a long day.  Their teddies, books and precious things will be popped in their bags and so forth.

I'm mighty grateful for hot chooks and a simple homemade salad at the moment!! 

I spent a couple of hours in the shop the last couple of days, cleaning it, stocking and getting it ready for an oncoming week of neglect while we focus our energy on moving.  Fortunately we have lovely staff that can hold the fort.  Mum and Dad have not seen the shop for years so we are excited to show them through so they can see the changes we have been making and for grant to make them a coffee with the new machine.  As we are not allowed into the house yet, it will be a resting place after unloading into the sheds. 

Anyway I have a plastics cupboard to deal with, take care and hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

Much love,
Emma
xx
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The reality sinks in.

The last week or so has been a bit of a coaster of emotions, from denial about leaving my comfortable little home in town, leaving my lovely green, shady gardens, (which look great at this time of year may I add.) to anxiety about how we will all cope living in cramped living confines of the old van, and finally to feeling peaceful and excitement again.

Yesterday I spent some time listening to pod casts of some good sermons, in prayer and reflection.  After a nourishing dinner and an early night I have woken ready to go and was reminded of this scripture, and finally in my heart, I feel ready to move forward in our plans.  

This is the right move for our family, as unconventional as it may be.  Finally my amazing Grant has his spark back in his eye.  Ever since the 2010 floods that took our house I have always felt there was something in him that was missing, I'm not sure, perhaps his excitement about his home?  He seemed always restless in town.  But now we are moving back to the country, backing onto farmland, in an old cottage which he can work on.....I think the flood took something from him, and this move is bringing it back.  It brings me so much happiness to see him so deeply happy about this move and what it means to our family.  That man is one of the gentlest, hardest working, clever, positive, kindest, most loyal people I have ever met and I'm so incredibly proud and blessed to be walking though life with him by my side - I truly did marry my best mate.  He challenges me to be better, to grow, to try new things.  But he occasionally allows me to be a princess when it all gets too much - as long as it doesn't become a habit.  ;)    

But by golly we have some packing to do.....My house has empty boxes, newspapers and big checkered bags piling up everywhere we look, half sorted things and is generally looking chaotic.  Denial doesn't do the realities of moving house much good.....

Meanwhile is there anything as exciting as having a house full of boxes to play in?!

Money is still a concern, its going to be cutting it down to the line with the banks, even though we are actually reducing our mortgage by $100,000 - go figure?!  Absolutely worst case we buy in cash but that leaves us with no renovating budget.  We have not exhausted all avenues by any means yet and there is still a little time up our sleeve.   

Once we get in there will be a big couple of days repairing fencing to keep in Ronnie the collie, building a hutch for the chooks, fences for the veggie gardens.  We will be hiring a post hole digger so we need to have a rough garden design mapped out.  Our yard is going to be kinda flipped, due to the pre- existing fully grown fruit trees.  All the "work area" is close to the house, and I know from experience if I'm not able to see the veggies/herbs I will forget about them so they also need to be upfront.  The back half of the yard has a large clearing and I think we will be planting lots of native shrubs, large trees, ground covers and so forth and of course lawn will need to be laid for the boys.  We would love a seating area and a fire pit/bbq area out there also.  I'm pitching a dry riverbed area to Grant to make it a really natural, low water bush style garden with stepping logs and so forth, but I'm not winning on that one.  He is not thrilled at the idea of shifting heavy rocks.  But I'm not convinced I can't change his mind just yet!  I reckon it would be beautiful and awesome for the boys.  I have some plans kinda drawn out working around the pre-existing garden structures.  After the weekend when we have moved I'll work on them a little harder and more to scale and share them with you.  Ill have to work out how to share my pintrest boards with you!

Anyway I have school run to do and boxes to pack, best I get off the computer and get going for the day.

Much love,
Emma
xx 


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