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.

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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

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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:

:: 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.

December Book Review

December Book Review

 

Books, specifically the reading of them, play a pretty major part in our family’s daily rhythm. In the past I’ve written a few ‘bookish’ sort of posts but nothing consistent. So as part of my way to welcome in the new year, I’ve decided to give you a monthly (hopefully) round up of some of the books we have explored. I find book reviews like this immensely interesting (ok, think what you like. I’m a book tragic.) and tend to spend an inordinate amount of time browsing your reviews, then, dare I admit it, I often find myself increasing my bookshelf capacity to keep up with all the ‘must read’ titles I discover. So as part of my 2015 plans, I’m throwing this idea on it’s head and going to share my two bobs on the book review front.

Since today is the last day of December and for the past month almost all my read-aloud-to-the-children reading has been completely out of our Christmas basket, it seems a good idea to share a couple new titles which have become favourites.

 

:: Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen:

A passing glance as I walked past a bookstore while visiting family (trying hard to be restrained) caused this title to jump into my hands. And I’m so delighted it did. I highly recommend it. The story of a young girl and her family, living on the Nullarbor, relying on the weekly ‘Tea and Sugar Train’ to deliver provisions to their remote location. This book tells the story of young Kathleen waiting for the one extra special train of the year, the Christmas train. It’s arrival not only meant that her family would once again have tea, sugar and other provisions but she would also receive a gift. Her delight in the gifted book was tangible as was the joy evident in the exquisite illustrations. Forgetting to buy sugar and having to wait another week till the train came again was forgotten in the shear joy of a family celebrating Christmas.

As a side note, this train was still supplying those communities right up to 1996 – I had no idea until I read this story. Connecting the true story of such a remote community with a celebration which all (or most) children can relate to, Christmas, made this historical recount all the more poignant. It is probably the best Australian Christmas story I have ever seen (in my view) and the illustrations are beautifully realistic.

 

:: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, Illustrated by P.J.Lynch

This title is on many a ‘best of’ list of Christmas stories and now that we have a copy in our Christmas basket, I’m going to add it to our favourite list as well. The story of raw love and devotion is displayed both through the words of the well-loved storyteller, O.Henry, as well as the original illustrations by P.J.Lynch. It provides such a simple way to reflect and discuss the important things in life – love and generosity.

 

:: The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, Illustrated by P.J.Lynch

Another delightful Christmas story set in Victorian times with the realistic illustrations transporting us back to that earlier period. The author says the she wrote this story to ‘Illuminate … the message of Christmas – hope.’ She certainly achieved this. The three main characters begin with an air of hopelessness but by the end of the story their lives are all greatly enriched by their relationship with each other.

 

:: Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble

This became the absolute favourite of my youngest boy. The illustrations seemed to draw him into the story and although the family life portrayed in the story is nothing like our modern, Australian lifestyle, he seemed to relate to them intimately. I think the underlying story of a family working together and the love they demonstrated goes beyond all boundaries and differences becoming a connecting link to the story being told. The sadness and hardship which was threaded through the story culminated in a better-than-expected solution and a delightful prospect for the future.

2014 Reflections…

The end of the year is drawing close. Christmas, with all it’s glitz, lights, parties and shopping seems to be surrounding me – although I feel rather insulated from it all this year, enjoying the simplicity of crafts and stories with my young family this advent season. It is such a delightful way to spend these hot, summer days – sipping iced tea and reading some of our new Christmas books (oh my, there are some beautiful books in our basket this year); drawing, painting and crafting engrossing everyone as gifts are created and quickly squirrelled away before they are seen. Memories are being made in our household on these quiet, homely days and I’m appreciating each and every one of them.

With this background of family and creative mess, I’ve been reflecting the year just past. I realise I’ve not kept up some of my plans with which I began January (consistency here in this space being one of those) but I also realise that this past year has been full of far greater richness than I had written in those well intentioned new year plans. I have delighted in a year of living in a new location, away from the normal, ‘expected’ activities and I’ve been able to chose, very intentionally, just how my children and I will spend our time – lots of time at home with adventures on the days we can go as a full family. The hours spent at home have been filled with heartfelt discussions with my ever growing children; all of us learning (or re-learning) many skills including how to knit, crochet; much sewing; even more conversations; hours spent simply sitting and watching these delightful beings (whom I’m privileged to call my children) play and interact with each other and at times their friends; I’ve stopped and enjoyed so many little moments and it’s these little moments which fill the greatest space in my reflective heart.

I could look around and wonder just what happened to the year as I haven’t recorded it in words or photographs nearly as much as I intended to. But because I have made the conscious effort to be present and appreciate the little moments, I have a wealth of memories and pictures embedded within my heart which I’ll carry with me forever. I may have neglected writing here (sorry, I do apologise) and neglected other writing and photography projects which I know I could have pursued (and will one day) but I really believe I’ve made the right choices for me this year. I look at my children and know that I have invested in their lives at a time when that was needed most.

I know the decisions I’ve made this past year will dictate my future and I’m content with that. I’ve lived intentionally, sometimes I may have been right and sometimes wrong but always with intention, and it feels good right now as I reflect on the year just past.

I’m not one to sit and ponder on the past too much, preferring to dream and plan for the joyous future in my minds eye. So this last week of 2014 I intend to do just that. I’ll reflect on what went well this year and dream of how I can be a better ‘me’ next year. Oh, what an exciting prospect.

Please will you join me this week and reflect on the past with a grateful heart and dream of the future with a joyful imagination but above all appreciate the present moment with the utmost respect, because that is all we ever have in our lives – the present moment.

The Gratitude Journals

Around here I’m Grateful for:

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* Happy children chatter: All are huddled in a corner surrounded by legos. Such a common sight around here and it’s almost assured to be accompanied by happy sounds.

* Flowers from the garden: The term ‘garden’ may be misleading – it’s really an assorted collection of pots which grow the most amazing collection of herbs, greens, tomatoes, strawberries……. YUM! And I’ve recently discovered flowers – herb flowers are really beautiful.

* Music in the mornings: Listening to the sounds of music as I am working in the studio in the early hours of the morning always succeeds to fill the entire day with a calm, happy atmosphere – even more so if the music is created by my own munchkins.

* Twisting yarn: Whether it’s in the form of crochet or on the knitting needles – these past few days have found me reaching for the yarn quite often.

* Studio time: Early mornings are the best – quiet, productive, contemplative, cool, birds singing, sunlight streaming through the door, yes a very good time indeed. Maybe it’s writing, maybe listening, maybe studying, maybe sewing, maybe preparing for day ahead but regardless it is usually accompanied by a cup of tea and I’m finding it to be the perfect start to every day.

* Reading: Of course! Heidi is our current family read aloud and even my three year old begs for it every lunch time – oh the imaginative play that proceeds from reading a classic like this (and further questioning and learning of course, now the children are planning a trip to Switzerland especially as we finished the William Tell story last week as well).

* Life: Yes, I enjoy living this life of mine and just finished an embroidery yesterday which proclaims, “Life is Beautiful”. And I really think it is. That might just become my mantra for the next little while. Life is Beautiful. Yes.

I hope you are finding the beauty in the little moments as well.

G’day

Hi there. I’m still here and terribly sorry about the radio silence in this place. While this little slice of my life has been rather silent of late, I can guarantee it’s not been silent in the real-life, in-situe version of my life. Family, Fun, Sewing, Noise, Sewing, Travel, Sewing, Writing, Sewing, Learning, Sewing ……. yep, it’s been rather full and to be honest, rather ‘normal’. It’s just that I’ve been so busy actually living and sharing the fun with my family that I sort of forgot to come and share with you here. Sorry.

 

So this morning I just thought I would pop in quickly and say ‘G’day’.

 

I’d love to give you a great round up of my recent crafty endeavours but the photos aren’t quite ready (yes I’m behind on getting them from camera to computer. They are sitting there waiting…. waiting…. waiting…. like so many other things). So that will be coming. Promise.

Then I thought I could give you an overview, a ‘Best Of’ sort of post about our family life over this past month or so. But really….. it’s all rather…. shall we say…..normal. General living and learning together. Hmmm inspiration hard to come by on this front.

That brings me to a post I’ve had open on a browser tab for the best part of the past month. A bookish related post full of photos and reviews of some of our favourite books we have delved into recently. But… well… that still sits there. Incomplete. Waiting for another day. I have no idea why I’ve got stuck on that one but the words just aren’t there to share. So when the words flow, I’ll bring it to you.

So… today…. I’m here. Just saying, ‘G’day’. Letting you know you aren’t forgotten. And getting back into the flow of meeting with you in this place with an expectation that I’ll call back to visit again very soon. Because to be honest, I’ve missed our little conversations here. I do so enjoy sharing my life with you in the hope that I can inspire you in some small way to live your life with intention, enjoying your family to the fullest, being grateful for the life you live and finding BEAUTY in the small, everyday moments of your days.

 

Talk soon.

Corinna

The Voice of Women in the Redlands – Strength and Inspiration

Last week I found myself a bit excited. Or maybe it was nervous? Maybe a touch of relief thrown in there as well. I’d think about Saturday and the butterflies would start dancing inside – a beautiful, graceful dance, not all skitterish with nerves, but butterflies dancing in harmony. That may sound a bit ‘airy-fairy’ but it describes my feeling well.

Now the interesting thing is that my anticipation of the upcoming event on Saturday and the butterflies and genuine feelings of pride which accompanied those graceful creatures had nothing to do with me. It was all in honour of a delightful friend of mine to whom Saturday would mark a major milestone in her life.

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About 15 months ago my friend, Louise, started on an epic journey and began writing a book. This book is a collection of stories about 12 ladies who are impacting the lives of other women in the Redlands. She was inspired by some ladies whom she knew well – the librarian of her children’s school and another former colleague of hers – and felt that their stories needed to be honoured. They were the ‘unsung heroes’ of our community and impacting the lives of those around them. So she set to work, with a massive amount of time and effort and interviewed 12 ladies and recorded their stories. And I’m extremely humbled to admit that my story makes up one of those chapters.

I think there’s a common feeling among most of the ladies involved, ‘Why my story? I’m just doing my job. Doing what I’m passionate about. Quietly living my life without any great hullaballoo.’ Well, that’s how I feel anyway. And I think that’s the beauty of this book – it illustrates the impact you can have by simply living your life well and being the best person you can be. That’s all it takes. Waking up each morning determined to be a better person than you were yesterday and enjoying your life in the process.

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The process of documenting these stories has been long and, I suspect, much more time consuming and all consuming that Louise ever anticipated. It’s been quite a privilege to have been involved in the little way I have and able to support Louise in tiny little ways. And I’m so proud to have joined her at her book launch last Saturday and observe as she spoke with quiet confidence to the several hundred people who attended. I feel that Louise’s story deserves to be honoured and remembered just as much as those 12 ladies who make up the pages of her book.

To illustrate the her generous spirit, Louise is donating all the profits from the book launch raffle etc. and half of all the author royalties to Hummingbirds Early Intervention Centre. One of the ladies whom Louise connected with through the writing of the book and recorded the story of this amazing lady, Bec, who has a massive vision which is gradually becoming reality and making a big impact in the lives of children who need extra care. A truly inspirational story.

So check out Louise’s website and know that purchasing a copy of The Voice of Women in the Redlands, Strength and Inspiration will be impacting the lives of so many families who truly need it.

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