Christmas Poem: Present

I’m getting in early with a poem this week, after missing last Friday – it’s a busy time of year for many people, unfortunately…I wish you joy, however, and the presence of those you love, whatever holiday you keep (or don’t keep).



May I be
Present in this present day;
No bells, no sleigh, no reindeer in the snow
Is better than the gift of being now.

So may I be here present with my loves,
Be in this moment simply with my friends;
Above all gifts with wrapping tied in bows,
May I present my presence as a gift-
Empathic, peaceful, with a loving heart.DSCF4524 (Medium)

Just for fun, here’s the original of the image at the top – before I went to town on it with digital magic!

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And what would Christmas be without a John Lennon classic, “Imagine”. This UNICEF Armenia version comes with extra sugar – but so does Christmas breakfast! Besides, Serj Tankian (of System of a Down and Axis of Justice) was involved…

Creativity: Really Easy and Quick Festive Bunting

All you need is a length of string, a packet of tiny pegs, and a small collection of festive fabric – plus maybe half an hour of your precious time!

I had a little stash of shiny fabrics – silver, gold, sequined – and when I found a pack of shiny gold pegs (intended for displaying Christmas cards), I knew what to do with them. I cut strips of the fabrics, of varying width, two of each, except for the sequins, which was too small to cut up (I thought). With the sequins at the centre, I arranged the rest either side, folding them in half over the string, and pegging them on, as for laundry on a line. A couple have only one peg, because otherwise I wouldn’t have enough pegs.

Tie a loop at each end, to hang it with, and it’s done! I think that the plain wooden tiny pegs you can buy in crafty shops would look really good with a range of neutral fabrics – a bit Scandi, perhaps. Or you could go all out with Christmas prints, or Retro cool prints or….what ever you like really!DSCF9220 (Medium)

Morgen really likes the holographic silver remnant. Maybe it felt cool on this warm summer’s day, or maybe she just likes to sleep on any piece of fabric I happen to put down on a horizontal surface…

Weekly Photography Challenge: Yellow

Maybe because it’s wintry and dull in the Northern hemisphere, this weeks photography challenge theme is “Yellow”.  For us in the Southern part of the world, summer is well under way (it seemed to get started about October this year), and we are not deprived of sunshine. The paddocks are yellow, with the barest trace of green left from the last shower of rain. I’ve still got some yellow flowers, some because they are tough (Escholtzia and Fennel) and some because I nurture them (Pansy).

We had a couple of bonfires mid-year – no more until April at least. The yellow flames are an example of the warmth of the colour, toasty as sunshine on a hot summer’s day. The saffron crocus isn’t yellow, but it’s stamens produce a wonderful yellow dye, as well as being a fantastically expensive spice. That’s my whole crop you see there… Paper starts out white, but yellows with age. Yellowed paper shows a lack of archival value, but also a warmth and history which makes it compelling for many of us!

Creativity: (Almost) Instant Lightshade

A quick post today, I hope…After painting one wall of my sewing room, and re-organising things in there as a consequence, I felt it was time to update the light fitting. The frame originally had a handpainted silk shade, which I did about 30 years ago to match curtains in the lounge, where it hung for years. It then spent some time ‘in the shed’, the silk perishing with age, until I steeled myself and tore it off. I dressed the now-naked shade with a piece of mutton cloth, which I’d dyed in shades of orange. I just stretched it onto the frame, and stitched it at regular intervals. Nice enough, but it had been there for too long now, and I snipped the stitches and took it off.old shade

I’d got bored with it earlier, and tied a bit of gauze around it…I’m like that! For my new one, I found a crochet table runner long enough to go around the shade, fastening it with little gold safety pins along the ‘seam’. I then threaded some narrow ribbon through the ‘top’, pulling it up to fit the rounded top of my shade. A drum shade would be even easier! I now think a lining of a thin white or cream fabric would have made for a softer effect when the light is on, but that’s for another day.almost-instant lightshade

My new shade is both hipster-ish and nana-ish, but maybe they are the same thing.

And there’s nothing wrong with that!

If something isn’t working for you anymore, take a look around the house (or an op shop/thrift store). Maybe you can fix it your way…

Just do it, as the Greek goddess of victory said….

Weekly Photography Challenge: Twinkle

Less than two weeks before Christmas, and all the other twinkly holidays around this time of year, the theme for the Weekly Photography challenge is “Twinkle” – “find a light source and a reflective surface in order to capture a twinkle”… That should be pretty simple to achieve at present, what with fairy lights and shiny decorations all over our houses, shops and streets in celebration of the season…

Some of these are Christmas decor, but as I like shiny things (and rusty things, but that’s for another day!) there are plenty of things around my house that twinkle and gleam (especially if I dust them first). Our Christmas tree this year is the dried flower stem of an agave – lots of hanging points, but unyielding, so tricky to get through the door. It also lacks the piney smell that proclaims that Christmas is coming, so this morning I picked a few bits of radiata pine to compensate.

a twinkle of cups


This twinkly set of demi-tasse coffee cups and saucers was given to me by my late friend Rose. There should be 6 cups, but I broke one (dusting!) and 5 looked wrong. She told me they were a 21st birthday present, so they are now 53 years old, genuine vintage. I probably should use them sometimes, but it would have to be a special occasion to justify using such pretty and delicate things.

Friday Poem: Travelling Deeper

It’s been quite a few years since I wrote this, partly in an effort to work out where I was ‘at’, flooded as I was with new ideas and fresh attitudes. While the journey no longer seems so utterly strange and unfamiliar, it still goes on, and I don’t doubt that plenty of other people have had, or are having, similar experiences and might identify with the imagery.IMG_9734 (Small)

It seems I’ve crossed a border
And entered another country.
It is unmapped territory:
Only a few have come this way before,
But they have blazed the trees,
And built beacons on the hills,
And I am penetrating deeper every day.
Sometimes I feel a little lost,
The landscape is so strange to me.
I stumble and turn aside,
And sit down by the way.
Sitting and wondering,
I see the next marker,
And rise refreshed to start again;
And I am penetrating deeper every day.

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It can be unsettling, not to mention discombobulating, to come to the realisation that what you have always taken for granted is not the only way to see the world and all that is in it. It was my experience that books seemed to appear regularly, by authors who did in fact view the world differently, and also who described odd experiences that resonated with what had been happening for me. Hence the signposts, and blazed trees.

There did indeed seem to be “more things in heaven and earth than  I had dreamed of in my philosophy”…and more than “only a few” had been there ahead of me!DSCF7689 (Small)

Creativity: Inspiration Board

I upgraded my inspiration/mood/notice board this week. It’s had a long evolution, starting out as a display vehicle for earrings and other jewelry about ten years ago. I bought a large stretched cotton canvas, and, leaving it white, I strung wire horizontally across it (‘landscape’), winding the wire into thumbtacks/drawing pins pushed into the sides of the wooden frame. The earrings were then hooked over the wires, the different prices indicated on swing tags knotted onto each wire. We used it for a couple of years, then found something else, and it lay idle in the shed. Until…an inspirarion board

I needed somewhere to pin up  souvenirs and bits and pieces, and hung it in ‘portrait’ fashion, so that the wires are vertical. Tiny pegs and paper clips hold pieces in place on the wire, while some bigger sheets simply slot behind the wires. It remained much the same, moving from one room to another, new things added – usually on top of what was already there. Until…an inspirarion board 2

I was painting a wall in what is now the sewing room, and needed to take down the heavy laden inspiration board. In doing so, I removed most of the treasures that had built up over its surface, and put them aside. I looked at the white canvas, I looked at the can of pale pink paint…I decided it was time for an overhaul. I painted directly over the wires and the tags that were still there, letting them stick down in the paint. I then decided some paper pattern tissue would be nice, so I found my bag of stray bits of pattern from the op shop/thrift store and selected a rectangular piece that I was sure I’d never need for anything else, and smoothed it down over the wet paint with my hands. When I got paint on my hands, I wiped it over the pattern, visually softening it. Once it was dry, I got to work on refilling it, returning some of the old display, and adding some new ones.

I ‘unstuck’ some of the wire, so I could tuck things behind it, and left some as it was. There are still a few reminders of our trip to Washington State in 2011 (the house I wish I’d seen in Olympia), inspiring fabric pieces, postcards, a photo of my youngest wearing practically everything in the dress-up box a long time ago…a vintage instruction for measuring oneself for a bra, which came in the middle of a pack of bias tape(!), one of my collection of pairs of long white gloves, still in it’s original bag, a printed-off drawing by Meatpuppet Cris Kirkwood… all sorts of things! I’m sure it will be added to – that’s what it’s for!

Weekly Photography Challenge: Gone, But Not Forgotten

When is a photograph like a cake? When it takes you back to memories of things past…This weeks photography challenge theme is “Gone, but not forgotten”, which could be anything from your now-grown-up baby’s shoes to the crumbs from your afternoon tea treat. I’ve chosen to go with memories of Christmas past – a bit Proust, a bit Dickens!

The very retro Santa and angels turned up at the Salvos, where I volunteer once a week. Luckily I spotted them in the bin and rescued them from oblivion. If only they could tell me about all their Christmas’s past!

The card I came across recently – it was from my Great grandmother, in 1975, when Simon was a little baby. She died around ten years later, aged 96, her health gone, but her mind as sharp as ever. She made the best ever quince jam in her day, and loved romance novels, chopped wood in her eighties and, as a child, could fell a playmate who was running away by throwing a stick between their legs. My older daughter’s third name is for her, using the only one of her three names that she actually liked – Sarah. She was known all her life as Queeny, although the stick-throwing doesn’t sound very regal to me!

The chrome and red glass sugar and creamer set was our gift to my in-laws for their Ruby wedding 25 years ago. This year, Bryan’s mother returned it, for ours. Since she died recently, the set has an extra poignancy, and pride of place. The card next to it is the first for this year, from friends who are always the first…she’s so efficient, her card always a reminder that it’s about time I got on with ours!

The Christmassy installation on top of the old stereogram is a mix of old and new, with a piney coniferous theme, mementos of the past and potential mementos for the future. I’ll have to remove it before toddler Juniper comes for Christmas, but in the meantime it helps remind me get in the right mood.

Friday Poem: Kath

Kath was an elderly lady who was brought to church every Sunday from residential care, maintaining her lifelong place in the church community. She had entered that stage of life sometimes called a second childhood, her behaviour freed from the constraints of being ‘proper’. I don’t recall what the hymn was, but I’m fairly sure it was in waltz time…IMG_2356 (Medium)

This morning
Old Kath got up in church
And danced before the Lord.
Simple, artless, profound;
Beautiful expression of joy,
Slow feet and twisted hands,
A child-like smile;

But she knows something
The rest of us have lost
And she has wings.IMG_2357 (Medium)

I didn’t take photos in church – I don’t think I even had a mobile phone, let alone one with a camera back then- so I’m using these photos I took recently of a joyous and noisy nursery flock of galahs (aka Roseate Cockatoos). They’ve had an exceptional year, for some reason. Local farmers certainly haven’t, what with lack of rain and late, brutal frosts. I have never seen so many ‘immatures’ together, which is why I went out with the camera. Of course they took off instead of continuing to feed on the roadside, and I kept snapping as they flew past. They then alighted on a power line, shrieking and flapping and being generally entertaining.



Weekly Photography Challenge: Converge

This weeks challenge – converge – in which things come together, or at least, appear to. My super-funky mirror, picked up somewhere (literally) by Alex and Lucie, holds the shattered reflection of the pictures on the wall of the study, a convergence of images. The brick paving has lines that converge toward the back of the picture (except they are partly hidden by grass – does it converge or invade, I wonder). Convergent lines on the base of a hand-blown glass tumbler – the work of David Herbert. Branches converge to become a tree, and twigs converge in the jug. The branches are still bare because possums eat the leaves as soon as they grow, and the flowery twigs were snipped off their tree top by cockies…