Saturday, 21 December 2013

Toys for Nauru..

As Christmas has been getting closer, and the low level hum of panic started to turn in to a roar, I have taken some time to step back, have a reality check, and get things in perspective.
While we are far from wealthy, and most weeks I count every bean to make it to the next pay check, I know we have it good.

I live in a safe secure house, with no threat of violence or persecution.
My children live in a country where they have access to education and health care.
We can sleep at night, knowing that we are safe, and will wake in the morning, still safe.
My heart can barely stand the thought of me or my loved ones being so unsafe and scared that we have to leave our country, face perilous journeys to seek asylum in a foreign country. And once there being treated like criminals, or worse.
It breaks my heart to think of anyone being treated this way.
And ashamed that my own country, instead of welcoming and protecting such vulnerable people, locks them in such inhumane conditions.

So this Christmas my children will be getting less presents than usual. And they'll be OK.
We'll be sending some, via Sarah Hanson Young, to the more than 100 children currently in detention on Nauru. Read more here:
and here:

And if you want to know more about how to show support to refugees visit Welcome To Australia here:

I hope your Christmas is a safe and happy one, spent exactly how you like (or as close to it as possible!)
Jo xx

Friday, 6 December 2013

The Not So Ugly Duckling..

When I was a little girl, one of my favourite stories was the story of the Ugly Duckling. I had an audio book of it, a tape and book to read along with. I knew that story inside out and back to front. I listened to it over and over. I loved that little cygnet, I wanted to pick him up, snuggle up and tell him he wasn't ugly. I hated the animals and people who were mean to that little bird. I felt like I was the Ugly duckling and all the mean words and blows were inflicted on me. And when that little cygnet finally blossomed and realised that he wasn't ugly, he wasn't even a duck but in fact was a beautiful swan, I never failed to feel a little skip of joy. ( I was an imaginative and melodramatic child!)  
Throughout the years that story stayed with me, in the little corner of my mind, popping up when I'd least expect it.
 Throughout my teens I felt like the Ugly Duckling, the odd one out. The little bird that didn't quite match. But I forgot about the Swan.

Years later, I was in a friends shop. One of those old style second hand furniture and knick knacks shops where treasure really can be found. And there in a dark corner I spotted it. A gold painted frame. It was a dark painting, hard to see the details and in need of a clean,but the swan was what caught my attention, it was like she was glowing, leaping out of the painting. Of course she came home with me.

The first swan.

And that's how it started. two weeks later I was in one of my local op shops. And there on the wall, was a Vernon Ward print of two swans. 

A bit worse for wear, but still lovely.

Now I don't know if you are a treasure hunting op shopper and have felt this before, but I had one of those moments of excitement, mixed panic and a dash of killer instinct.  Where you spot something across the room, something that you MUST have. It feels like you're in slow motion, you're eyes are locked on your prize, and you walk/run towards it, hoping no one realises what a treasure is amongst them, hoping you're not going to have to elbow someone out of the way.  And when you get your hands on it, you look around with a grin from ear to ear, expecting everyone to be impressed with your efforts.  But their not, because to them it was just a picture hanging on the wall.

Since then, I've gathered together a bevy of Vernon Ward swan prints, and every time I look at them, I'm reminded of that little duckling, who despite feeling like he was the odd one out, became the beautiful swan, the one who everyone admired.

And you,
Do you collect? 
Do you have a story from childhood that still echoes into adulthood?
Jo xx

Friday, 22 November 2013


Coasters for my sis

When it comes to birthdays, Christmas or any other occasion actually, I can't help but get a bit crafty.  It's a bit of a problem really, I wander through shops, hoping to find something perfect for the person in question.  Something that they'll love, and something I can afford. The  constant refrain that runs through my head is "I can make that". (Although, if I'm honest I don't always get around to it!)
 I'm not sure if it's a result of being brought up on a farm, one of six kids, where hand me downs were the norm and mum made most of our clothes.
 One of my favourite memories is sitting beside mum while she sewed, the hum of the sewing machine a comforting rumble. I would be in charge of the pins, handing them out when needed, and rearranging the coloured heads into patterns on the pin cushion, collecting them when she was done. I remember spending time looking through pattern books, discussing with mum what I wanted, an extra frill here, longer there. The idea of just buying something off the rack was a tad foreign.  I won't deny that there was a time where I just wanted to have the same as all my friends, the latest trendy jumper, or some expensive brand name emblazoned on my clothes. 
 And now that I'm a mum myself, I am ashamed to say I haven't kept up the tradition of sewing all my childrens clothes, but I try my hardest to hand make presents, for my boys, my nieces, my family and friends.
When my eldest boy was little I would knit him a toy every Christmas. One year it was a possum, then a kangaroo.  He had to have a Tassie devil one year, after seeing a pair at a wild life park.
Of course I haven't been as consistent with his younger brother, but I try!

So to my point, I have been busily crocheting up some presents for my sisters. One who's birthday was in October, and one who I have for Kris Kindle.
The coasters pictured have been delivered to the birthday girl, and she loved them (phew!) 
The Christmas ones are finished but I'll be keeping them under wraps until they reach their new home!

Now I'm not saying there is anything bad about buying a present, who would ever turn their nose up at receiving a gift of any kind? And lots of time you do find the perfect gift for someone, something that you could never make yourself. 
But for me the giving and receiving of handmade brings another deeper dimension to a gift. When I'm making something for someone, they are always in my thoughts while I'm making it. And the thought that someone has been thinking of me whilst making me a gift is a wonderful feeling. No matter how small, hand made always feels bigger, and more precious than anything purchased from a shop.

So how about you? Do you have a hankering for hand made? 

Jo x


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Baby Steps...

I've been thinking about this blog a lot lately, in part because I'm doing the wonderful e-course "Blog With Pip" (via ) and in part because I've been sick, and have had lots of time, especially at night, to think. Putting myself out there is daunting, and there has been lots of asking why. Why do I want to blog? Why would anyone want to read what I have to say?  Why can't I figure this techie stuff out?!
For now I'm going to go with it, focus on what I love and let the rest follow.  My motivation for this space was to document my crafty achievements and adventures, and as a place for me to write.  For now I'm not going to stress over the techie side.  I'm sure that will come least I hope so!!
This photo is of my bedside table, and that is the first ever bobbin of wool that I've managed to spin.  It's lumpy, uneven and scraggly and I love it!! For me it is a symbol of where I am and where I want to be.  Spinning it was tricky, slow and frustrating at times, and the result is less than perfect.  But it shows a step forward. So I shall make this bobbin the symbol of this blog.  They are both imperfect, and my first attempt at something new. And I hope they will both be markers in the future of how far I've come!!

Friday, 27 September 2013

A lot of work to do...


Recently my dad sold his house, my childhood home. It is a beautiful place, 7 acres, amazing views, century old monkey puzzle trees... I could go on but it makes me a tad sad.
This year has been a year of letting go for me.  Letting go of stuff, places, and people. I've got a long way to go, but I think I've learnt some big lessons. Losing someone I loved dearly was the start. My aunt passed away a year ago this week. A year that felt like 5.
I inherited a bunch of her stuff. Some I treasure like a silver bracelet she wore. An old folk art chopping board she painted. But some stuff is just stuff. Stuff I can't clutter up my already full place with just because she once owned it. Like an old bucket full of tools that no longer work, a broken statue. A plain old coffee table ( I already have two) And more. I felt like I had to keep it, solely because she once owned it. I worried if I gave it away I was giving away a piece of her or a piece of my memory of her.
But my mum once told me "your house is not a museum Jo". And it's starting to sink in. I can't hold on to silly stuff just because someone I love once owned it. I can't be the curator of a crazy cluttered museum full of stuff that means nothing other than it holds a memory. I need to be selective in my hoarding!
So to my dad's house. Years of childhood memories, family heirlooms, and beautiful things. Going. My anxiety at letting more special stuff disappear was high. I saved some stuff for siblings who are away, some stuff that mum had left behind and felt she couldn't or shouldn't claim back. And yes I got some stuff for me. Childhood books, toys for my kids, some beautiful crockery and some furniture. An old cupboard from my family's old historical mansion of a farmhouse that I lived in when I was young. And a great big old filing cabinet, which has been mouldering away in the shed for years. I've always wanted to save it, and Dad finally let it go. ( I think this difficulty in letting go must be genetic!!)
But it needs work, lots of work. And I'm daunted by it all. But I'm hoping the process will be successful. And maybe a bit cathartic.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Sanity Ahoy!

Happy Pirate Day!

So today is Pirate day in our house, actually I don't think we have many days that aren't pirate day in some way! This is one of my favourite photos ever of Mr 3. It sums up my littlest man, curious, contemplative, and always a second away from absolute anarchy!! I've just come out the other side of a bit of a marathon of work, where I've been leaving before this little man is up, and I'm home when he is tired, emotional and most of the time hysterical. Not fun. But school holidays are here, and while I'll still be working, I'm back to much more decent hours. I'm looking forward to getting some sanity back, some time with both my boys, getting the house in order ( housework has been severely neglected!) and fingers and toes crossed I get some craft time. My woolly addiction has been neglected too!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

A granny to brighten a midwinter morn.

Last night we celebrated the midwinter solstice by gathering at my mum's house, eating dinner we'd prepared earlier in the day, no lighting other than candle light, and no power use, which means no screens! My Mr 12 found that a tad challenging , but he survived. We sat around the table talking, Mr 12 read when he got bored with us, and the young ones drew pictures and were hypnotised by the candlelight. Other than being reminded how flattering candle light is, I was reminded how distracting technology is. When the T.V is on it dominates the space, becoming the sole focus of the room. Even the radio on in the corner can dominate. I loved last night, it was a little reminder of the value of silence and space when it comes to creating. It has spured me on to make a space in my house to sit, create and just be, away from the yabbering television. Now to get planning!
Here's a granny square I made a while back, to brighten this midwinter morn.
Jo x

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Dipping my toes back into the water...

Well, it's scares the heck out of me to admit that it's been 6 years since I had to start this blog for a work related course. 6 Years, 2 new dogs, a new partner and a new child later and I thought why not give it a go. This will be a place for me to document my crafty endeavours and possibly share the odd thought about things here and there! I must admit, I didn't really embrace the blog thing 6 years ago, it was a totally new concept, that I barely understood. Suffice to say, blogs have evolved to something I couldn't have imagined. The rise of the everyday person having a voice, social media and an online community has changed the world.
Anyhoo, I have Mr 3 crawling all over me so I must away...