Thursday, 30 October 2014
I was away last week. My mum was in hospital and I flew up north to look after her.
I spent the week keeping her company, visiting my Dad and looking after the house and the dog. She's out now and on the mend we hope and my brother is there to help her transition home. My sister was there too, last month, I love my family.
I had lots of time to think last week, at home alone each night and on the long drive to and from the hospital.
And I found myself thinking a lot about kindness and community and generosity.
I was going to write an essay here about good people and how they restore your faith in humanity but I think I'll just say this small something: My mum is really well loved in her community. She is kind, thoughtful, funny, clever and in return she attracts really kind and lovely people.
And in these bad news days I was reminded about how wonderful people can be. Friends came out in force to offer help and support to our little family, my gang helped let me take the time I needed, and she was surrounded in hospital by kind nurses, doctors, cleaners and orderlies doing their job with a smile.
I think most people are good. Not all of them and not all the time, but lots of people are doing good every day, watching out for others and giving without thought of receiving in return.
I strongly believe this sort of giving is its own reward and I believe in a sort of karma. I try to keep an eye out for my neighbours, my community, my family and in return they reward me with love and care a thousand times over. I know they have my back.
You guys are my community too and I love the way the online world works in that same way. I love that social media like blogs and instagram can enhance our feeling of community so it spreads out even further and we are all a bit closer to each other's lives, most times for the better.
And that's what I was thinking as I drove to and fro.
Monday, 27 October 2014
A couple of months ago I finished glazing my second batch of pots and drove them out to Homebush Pottery for firing. As you may have seen on Instagram I got there only to find out they had moved to Brisbane. Boo!
I was in a tizz for a while, disappointed and wondering what to do, but then I remembered that Blackwattle Pottery Supplies which I'd visited once before has a firing service too. Its in Ingleburn, a much longer drive from me, about twice as far, but they are so nice there that its always worth the trip.
I'd noticed on their site earlier in the year that they run a few specialised ceramics courses too. And you know I love a craft workshop. I was really interested in learning about mold making which I'd been stalking on youtube so it seemed like fate when my last batch of pots was ready the day they ran the biannual mold making course again. I booked in straight away.
You may not know but lots of ceramics you use every day are mold made. Its one way of producing multipe items the same. And you can make a mold from just about anything, so it opens up even more wonderful possibilities for making.
John and Amanda run Blackwattle Pottery and between them have decades of ceramics knowledge. What they don't know about ceramics isn't really worth knowing. They are also the nicest people and really generous with their skills and knowledge.
There were three of us in the class and we spent the day making molds. Amanda showed us one of her molds and poured it with slip first up. Its a wonderful process which relies on the plaster molds to draw the water out and solidify the liquid clay slip.
After that we brought out the objects we'd brought along to mold and used different techniques to set them up. I took along this little vintage glass milk bottle to use as my mold and we set it up in a little wooden frame using right angle cottle boards. As you can see the other items used different setups so we got to see a range of techniques.
At the end of the day I came home with a couple of molds and lots of new thoughts and ideas in my head. It was really inspiring.
Of course because of our renovation (week 6!) I have no space or outside areas to experiment at the moment, but I did manage to use my mold a few times to make these little ceramic milk bottles. They have been fired once and are now back at Blackwattle for a final glaze firing.
Hopefully they'll be ready for my stall at the Etsy run markets at The Rocks Village Bizarre. This event looks like lots of fun and sees music, magic, shows and markets running from November 7th till 19th December in the magical surrounds of The Rocks.
My stall is the first week, Friday November 7th and I will finally be selling a few of my little ceramics. I'll also have tea towels, prints, cushion covers and more. The markets are on the corner of Playfair and George streets in The Rocks and run from 6.30pm-10. A great chance to kick your Handmade Christmas shopping off with a bang! It looks like there will be lots of fun stuff happening alongside too, so I hope I might see you there.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
Zoe is a beautiful new member of our extended family. Another baby! My Mr has lots of older brothers and sisters and there is a bit of a baby boom happening amongst their older kids, aren't we lucky!
Our nephew, her father and his wife have a great meeting story, with a very happy ending and a couple of months ago they welcomed little Zoe, their first child. Soon after she arrived they set off for four weeks on a Greek island with family (as you would) so its taken us a while to catch up.
As you know I usually make baby quilts for new arrivals, however I knew that Zoe had already been gifted a beautiful handmade quilt, so I thought long and hard about what I could make instead.
I decided on a light muslin wrap that would serve as shade protection and a light pram cover on hot summer days. Everyone needs a blankie!
Ambitiously I decided that it would be necessary to bind this wrap with handmade bias binding, which I have never made before, or sewn successfully! I did try sewing bought bias once before, for a baby wrap, and it was a big fail, and has intimidated me ever since.
The wrap I imagined had lovely patterned bias though. So armed with a million tutorials, a few youtube videos I finally went for it. And it worked, I'm happy. I can see I am going to be making a lot more bias in the future and practicing my bias sewing skills again.
Its a great way get a unique look to your handmade sewing, a great way to mix and match patterns or solids without having to search out the right colour or use that scratchy stiff bias binding you generally find in the shops.
And the fabric is a beautiful vintage paisley my Mr found for me on his op shopping travels. It's light as air and I love the morning sky blue background.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
We've just finished two weeks of our renovation and the school holidays, a crazy mix! The whole back of the house is gone and there is half a big hole in the backyard, soon to be a whole hole next week.
I think this is the scariest part of the build (I'm hoping so) before they start putting it all back together again!
Luckily we managed to escape the dust and noise for a few nights up in the Blue Mountains this week. It was so nice to be away and destress a little. Though the place we stayed at was called Serenity Cottage which made me think of this :-)
The Blue Mountains has some of the most amazing views I've ever seen. Photos don't do them justice, they are jawdroppingly grand and there's something about the experience of standing on the edge of these huge canyons that can't be reproduced in photos. We visited a few years ago which I blogged about here.
The villages in the western part of the mountains have a lovely old time air to them, people have been holidaying in this part of the world for over a hundred years and they have managed to keep some of their old worldiness. Old guest houses, antique shops, park monuments, blossom trees. Its a world away.
We visited an old favourite lookout, Pulpit Rock near Blackheath on the first afternoon. Then did a major bushwalk down a million stairs into the Grand Canyon area. Once we dropped into the rainforest area it was like a fairy glen, and the path stepping stoned back and forth across the creek which ran down the side of the cliffs.
Coming back up those stairs was hard work and I was huffing my way up one part, groaning to myself as I rounded another corner to another staircase of steps, when I was surprised by a bird ahead. I thought it was a bush turkey till I got closer and was dazzled to find a lyrebird instead. He didn't even look up at me as he browsed his way through the leaf litter looking for food.
I managed a few photos till the others caught up with me, but he is camouflaged so well in all but this one. I was a bit starstruck but glad I have a record of this delightful meeting.