From my Commonplace… Wonder…

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Wonder:: A state of delight and astonishment at the mystery of our world.

“There is something very small-minded about a person who doesn’t wonder. One of the most dismal states is knowingness, where someone has settled for one narrow version of the world.”

“A life lived without wonder can easily drift into despair. Wonder is capable of nurturing hope even in times of doubt of loss.”

“Wonder is the necessary human condition, a state of being alive.”

“Day-to-day life finds most adults wonder deficient. Each day holds a new and profound experience for a small child, but it’s rare that I find myself in that vulnerable place, halfway between exhilaration and fear. I rarely find I have the time to stop and stare.”


Quotes from The Wonder Stuff article in The Simple Things January 2015
Linking up with Keeping Company CM

Around Here ::

Around Here

….. we have been busy, coming and going visiting family members, attending various appointments and simply taking part in the activities that make up the way we spend our days at the moment.

It’s been a week of contrasts …. busy travels interspersed with quiet days at home. A lot of my normal homeschool expectations have fallen by the wayside this week and we discovered once again the beauty of allowing more relaxed time without me having any input into the way the hours should be spent. It’s a pleasure to observe the children create and learn on their own as we simply live life together – sometimes all of us could be found in the kitchen creating quite a mess, other times all of us could be found in the studio creating works of art while other moments found us all engrossed in our own individual pursuits.

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Around here there has been::

:: Music – always music

:: Cooking – always good wholesome, healthy, life-giving foods brewing in my kitchen

:: Sewing, Stitching and Knitting – a given around here

:: Painting, stories, puzzles, games, outdoor adventures, and all manner of other children’s pursuits

:: Reading some books which had been started but never completed. Favourites include – Son of Charlemagne, Pollyanna, Uhu the Owl and Peter Rabbit & Grug for the youngest listener. (Grug is his favourite character at the moment. These books are simplistic in their illustrations and stories with a charming portrayal of the Australian bush.)

:: Planning for a new venture we are embarking on

:: Trying to plan the year ahead but finding such a task quite difficult for some reason

:: Loving the quiet simplicity of the days here at home

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Linking up with: Weekly Wrap Up

Sewing – A shirt for myself

Once again, it’s a wearable garment for myself which has made it’s way from my sewing table to my wardrobe. Two pieces of sewn clothing for myself within a couple weeks is pretty monumental when you consider just how few things I’ve made for myself over the past years. But while my Field of Flowers dress has been worn so much since I made it, this top is patiently waiting for the weather to turn a little cooler. This hot, muggy weather isn’t conducive to wearing a 3/4 sleeve top. But I expect as soon as the cool evenings start to roll in, I’ll appreciate having this one ready and waiting for me.

Once again I played with fabric origami to brighten up an otherwise fairly plain top. I like the way the triangles look a little quirky and fun (and not too childish, I hope).

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The finer details for those who are interested:

:: Pattern – Esme top from Sew Liberated

:: Fabric – the main fabric was from the bargain rack at my local patchwork store and the solid colours are a mix of Anna Maria Horner solids.

:: Alterations – I sewed five small, topstitched tucks at the centre front instead of gathers as I felt this would be more flattering on my figure and make it look less like a maternity top. I also sewed a casing at the waist on both sides and stitched a small amount of elastic. This was, once again to make it a little more figure hugging and less like a big, blowsy smock.

:: Other thoughts – I think my fabric was too stiff for the pattern and seems to poke out instead of falling softly (thus, the reason why I added the side elastic and tucks instead of gathers). I also think I would make the neckline a bit narrower if I made another one – it seems to constantly feel like it’s falling off my shoulders (even if it isn’t).  All in all, I’m not completely in love with this top, but to be fair, I haven’t worn it enough to give myself a chance to really like it as part of my wardrobe either. So time will tell on that one. I might have to check back in here and let you know how much I wear it over the winter. What I really like is the colourful, triangle accents around the yoke, the mustard topstitching contrasting with the grey and the brass buttons which have been in my button tin seemingly forever.

:: Would I make another one – hmmm, I don’t know. I think I would like to try this in softer fabric because I think it looks like a practical addition to my cool weather wardrobe, but I find myself getting put off with not feeling ‘good’ when I put this one on.

Building a Boat

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Nicholas has always had a bit of a fascination with boats.  He will spend hours sitting quietly studying the details of boats whenever he is given the chance and has produced many wonderful sketches of boats and their surrounds.  A couple years ago we lived by the waterfront, right across the road from a quiet anchorage and he spent hours, days, weeks even, quietly observing each and every boat. If a new one came in, he knew immediately or if one was missing, he spotted it. He would discuss boat designs in detail with his Pa, who knows a thing or two about this subject, and they would kayak around the boats discussing the designs of each.

Recently this fascination has turned to a new direction – a desire to build his own model boat. A desire which I’m sure he will fulfil in good time, but at the moment he is studying designs, plans, kits and weighing up the pros and cons of each. It will be interesting to see the result of all this planning and thinking. In the meantime though, I’m enjoying being his Mum and observing him grow and develop into his own unique person, with his own creative ideas and the ability to turn these ideas into reality.

With his head spinning with model boat plans and a quiet afternoon to fill, he joined forces with his younger brother and built these. The craft cupboard supplied the pegs; the toothpicks came from the kitchen and my sewing room was raided for fabric sails. Quick and easy model boats which then provided many hours of creative play for brothers and sister alike.

Sewing – A shirt for my girl

A lot of sewing has been happening around here recently and I thought it was well and truly time to come and show you some of the finished products. Because seeing how others interpret a piece of fabric (or three) and a pattern is really fascinating, isn’t it? Well it is to me. I’m constantly inspired in my creative endeavours by some little quirk that I notice in someone else’s handmade items – an unusual combination of fabrics or colours, or maybe a different design detail, or a combination of fabric and pattern that I would never have considered….

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This shirt for my fun-loving, outdoor-playing, always-keeping-up-with-her-brothers kind of daughter has proven ever so practical. It really ticks all the boxes that I required: feminine and ‘girly’ (she is still 9 after all), easy to care for and easy to wear – tick, tick, tick. It began as a small piece of fabric I bought at an exquisite fabric shop when she was but a wee little baby, snuggled asleep in a sling on the day I browsed that store (I remember it well). The fabric is textured and glitters and is simply beautiful in all respects. From memory it was rather pricey so I only purchased a small piece which has proven to be it’s undoing. I have pulled it from the stash so many times over the years only to find that I didn’t have enough for the project I wanted it for (wouldn’t it be lovely in a smocked dress…. the fabric is soft but has some weight…. perfect….) and worse still I could never find any coordinating fabric that didn’t ‘cheapen’ this gorgeous fabric. So back in the cupboard it went, time and time again.

Recently I realised that my girl was growing up, fast, and if I was going to make something from this fabric for her, well the time was now or never. Then I surprised myself by immediately pulling this yellow patchwork fabric from the shelf. Now, just so you know, yellow isn’t a colour I am normally drawn towards so it’s not very often that a piece of yellow fabric finds it’s way into my sewing room. But I had purchased this piece to coordinate with a patchwork project recently and hadn’t actually cut into it as yet. The two fabrics gravitated towards each other and the deep purple found it’s way in between and the result led me directly to the pattern pile to find a suitable garment that only needed a small amount of this main fabric. This top from my trusty Ottobre magazine was perfect and with a lot of puzzling, pulling and squeezing I managed to create enough fabric – somehow. I loved the result and enjoyed playing with some fabric origami  details (in truth it was my sister who was visiting at the time and fiddling with these triangles on a project she was making at the same time – so really I pinched her idea, thanks Mikaela).

The result is great paired with shorts, a skirt or jeans and best of all this active girl can remain active while still looking girly. Win, win.


Sewing – Field of flowers dress

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It’s not something I do very often – sew clothing for myself. But recently I’ve had the desire to actually wear something I’ve made. Maybe it’s a case of my daughter having a cupboard full of lovely dresses which our lifestyle (and her preference) doesn’t lend itself to wearing very often, so she really didn’t need me to make her anymore…. And my boys, well what can I say, boys clothes just aren’t as fun to be creative with, in my opinion. Having said that I have enjoyed the creative, funky kind of clothes I’ve made for them and they have enjoyed wearing them and, if I’m honest two of them are often heard asking me to sew more clothes for them….

But it was the flowery, flowing, girly sort of sewing I’d been hankering after. So I thought I’d be brave and sew for myself. Brave, yes, very brave because in my previous experience, getting a garment fit a young child is far, far, far easier than getting a garment to fit myself.

So armed with a gifted voucher to spend and a pattern which had been on my this-would-be-nice list for a little while now, I set to work. And the results have pleased me no end. I have worn this dress almost every weekend since I made it – my life at the moment, and therefore my wardrobe, seems to be have a firm dividing line between weekday activities/wardrobe and weekend activities/wardrobe. And the pattern is out on the sewing table just waiting for the ‘perfect’ fabric to make a second one (it uses an awful lot of fabric so nothing in my stash will suffice yet….)


The details for those who are interested:

Fabric: Budquette Nightfall Voile designed by Emmy Grace

Pattern: Clara Dress from Sew Liberated

Alterations I made to pattern: I added darts to the front bodice and pleats to the front skirt to make the front sit flat  and left out the front elastic (I’m not a fan of front gathered waistbands on myself). I left out the pockets (they were bulky and I found didn’t sit flat when I follow the instructions for setting them in). I sewed down the seam of back skirt/bodice to form a sort of casing for the elastic, otherwise I found the elastic didn’t really sit nicely against the body.

What I like about the pattern: The little collar which was easy to sew and sits flat while adding an extra design element to the dress. The shape of the skirt  gores as well as gather/pleat fullness. The easy to follow instructions – this was the first Sew Liberated pattern I had used.


Note: My husband stopped by this wheat field to get some photos while we were out driving one day. Then he kindly asked me to get out there in the field to add some interest to the photos. I obliged, knowing I wanted a photo to show you this dress (and I very rarely find myself in any photos), but I got out of there quickly. It was a hot, summer day in a black soil paddock and I know that is the perfect habitat for certain wriggly creatures which I’d rather not encounter. Thankfully I didn’t upset any sun baking snakes on this particular day!

A Charlotte Mason Afternoon

Last week I took myself off on a little adventure. I drove to the airport, hopped on a plane (all at an absurdly early hour), met some new people, talked, laughed, ate delicious food, discussed books, looked at books, oohed and ahhed over some beautiful books, slept very little, then I retraced my steps on another plane, returning home to my waiting family. I made some lifelong friends (didn’t I lovely ladies? friends for life?), learnt ever so much about homeschooling using the Charlotte Mason method, asked a lot of questions, shared my experiences with others and came home feeling very inspired for the year ahead and very content with the homeschool plans I have in place.

It was the first time I had travelled alone since I was 18. Yes, seriously. Quite a number of years have past since I’ve done something like this and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience – cancelled flight and all (my flight mix-up was a gift to me – it allowed me to meet a lady whose conversation I found quite impacting at this season of my life). I was collected by complete strangers (well, one was a fellow blogger, so I felt I knew her from her online words) and spent the next couple days in their company and what a delightful experience that was – a meeting of fellow kindred spirits.

While I had a couple days together with these couple ladies, the real purpose for my adventure was a Charlotte Mason afternoon hosted by Jeanne. We discussed various aspects of our homeschooling experiences and I suspect each of the 20 gathered ladies went home with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement as we begin a new homeschooling year – I certainly did.

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CM Afternoon


Waratah and Wattle

The following poem by Henry Lawson was one of our poetry readings this week. Quite appropriately coinciding with Australia Day. I thought I would share it this weekend as we celebrate this beautiful country we live in.



Waratah and Wattle

by Henry Lawson


Though poor and in trouble I wander alone,

With a rebel cockade in my hat;

Though friends may desert me, and kindred disown,

My country will never do that!

You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,

Or the three in a bunch if you will;

But I know of a country that gathered all those,

And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,

And the Wattle-bough blooms on the hill.


Australia! Australia! so fair to behold,

While the blue sky is arching above;

The stranger should never have need to be told,

That the Wattle-bloom means that her heart is of gold,

And the Waratah red bloom of love.


Australia! Australia! most beautiful name,

Most kindly and bountiful land;

I would die every death that might save her from shame,

If a black cloud should rise on the strand;

But whatever the quarrel, whoever her foes,

Let them come! Let them come when they will!

Though the struggle be grim, ’tis Australia that knows,

That her children shall fight while the Waratah grows,

And the Wattle blooms out on the hill.


From: When I was King, and other verses, 1905

Nature, Notebooks and Routine

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A peek into my day::

:: This week we have slipped back into routine again. We enjoyed an extra long break from normal learning work and other activities throughout November/December. I like it this way because in those months there is so much crafting and reading to be done with Christmas coming and we are all usually tired and ready for a break once the summer heat starts. This means that once the new year is upon us and all the crafting, gifting and visiting is finished, we are all (children and Mummy alike) ready for a new routine to be put in place. Add to this the arrival of a wonderful selection of new books which have been stashed on the top shelf so as not to be ‘discovered’ yet, well starting ‘school’ again seems just right for us. So every day this week has found us all with a new pile of books, devouring the ‘newness’ of them and excited at the selection each and every day.

:: Yesterday I was thinking about sharing a post here about our nature journals – with inspiration from Celeste’s new project this year. But, alas, I never quite got there. It began when driving home from a friends house and we saw a mother and three young emu’s and stopped to watch them as they paraded down the road in front of us – putting on a show just for us, I’m sure. Then we saw an unusual bird in the gum trees over our back fence and observed it’s markings and behaviour as the children were playing outside. Neither of these events actually got added to any nature journals but when I sat down at the table late yesterday I realised our habit of noticing, researching and adding our discoveries to our nature journals had obviously been observed and the children had been busy researching on their own. Strewn open in front of me was:

Emu’s in our Natural History book.

Cockateals in What Bird is That.

The Year of a Koala which I had been reading earlier (along with my knitting).


:: I mentioned my new notebook and have had a couple discussions over on Facebook and Instagram about various planners, diaries and notebooks for organisation. I have my lovely notebook and use the bullet journal idea. I used this system last year and LOVED it. My notebook was with me everywhere I went (it stashed in my handbag) and had all the details about everything I needed and a place to write whatever I needed to jot down, whatever the occasion was. The photos above show it when I recorded a ‘Day In My Life’ which I aim to do once a month – with inspiration from Ronnie.

:: Oh, and once again I’m enjoying some fresh flowers to brighten up my home. They do bring a freshness and joy to a home, don’t they?  It’s amazing what happens in a small country town on a Saturday morning – the grocery shop virtually begs you to take the flowers home (well, in truth, they are just very heavily discounted). Now that I’ve discovered this, you can be sure to find me there about lunchtime on any Saturday we happen to be in town… Just saying’…. Unless, of course, I get a visit from my friend whose lovely homegrown blooms are my favourite of all….

Live in 2015


2015 has been greatly anticipated by me. I’ve been jotting notes, plans, dreams and ideas for this coming year for such a long time. It’s not that I was wanting last year to end – I really wanted to savour the last month or so of 2014, knowing that these quiet, at-home, relaxed kind of days with my family were a gift to enjoy. But while immersing myself in these homely activities with pleasure, I was also looking ahead with such excitement. I’m still not sure why, but I’m incredibly excited about the year which stretches far out ahead.

I started a new notebook and began by filling several pages with my thoughts and feelings about the next 12 months – simple things like family; unusual things like candles and aprons (go figure. I’m not sure what the significance is, but I wrote them in a contemplative moment so I’m sure the reasoning will become clear. Either that or I’m simply crazy.); exciting things like planned travels; and soul stirring things like plans for a new venture which is guaranteed to be full of laughs and fun (and maybe some hard work? maybe?).

As I jotted, discussed or thought about 2015 I found the words ‘Live’ and ‘Life’ cropping up in almost every point. No idea why (maybe it’s that crazy part again) but it was a theme I couldn’t ignore. So it was quite easy to begin this year with a theme word – ‘Live’ (the verb, with the short ‘i’ sound). I’ve mulled this single word around in my mind for a while now and it seems to fit just perfectly.


:: Live Fully

:: Live Well

:: Live Now

:: Live Joyfully

:: Live my Love

:: Live with Intention

:: Live…… many more words with get added here as the year progresses.


So in 2015 I intend to ‘LIVE’. When the year’s end comes and I reflect, I want to know that I have truly lived my life. The physical location doesn’t matter, the accomplishments aren’t all that important, the events that fill the diary are only a part of the story – what does matter is the way I choose to live my life each and every day of 2015.