Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mr Doubtful

Today should have been the first day of school for our four children. We home school and are looking forward to another year of learning together. My husband and I spent hours pouring over curriculum, going to a meeting for advise (and to change schools). We're very happy with our choices, and excitedly placed the order for the new curriculum, and began the waiting game ... and so now we wait. I ordered with what I thought was enough time for the curriculum to arrive well before the first day, but, no. 

And then ... enter 'Mr Doubtful'.

Have you met him? He's the guy that makes you wonder whether or not you are actually cut-out for this homeschooling thing. You know you're only technically a day late, but Mr Doubtful gets into your ear and whispers, "you really aren't organised" ... and then there's, "do you know you're teaching a high schooler Elisha?" ... 

... On and on Mr Doubtful goes ...

 "Can you really teach your first grader to read?"
 "Are you going to be able to keep up with everything?" 
"Are you going to be able to keep your home clean, 
you do realise you're a perfectionist don't you?"
"What do other people really think of you home schooling your children?"
 "There's going to be lots of gaps in their education you know, 
you'll miss teaching them something important" ...

... one day in ladies! One day in, and Mr Doubtful is here already! 

Well I think it's time that Mr Doubtful gets told the truth, don't you?

I think my answer would go something like this ..

"Well Mr Doubtful, I see the point in all of your questions. But let me tell you something ... I am equipped to teach my children, not because of myself, but because of Him who strengthens me.  You're right, I don't have it all together. I will make mistakes this year, and every other year. But that's o.k.  There are many things I do right.

My home will possibly, more often than not, look like a scene from WW3, with dirty dishes in the sink, piles of washing sitting, sitting ... sitting, floors that need mopping, dust that multiplies seemingly by the millisecond ... but I'm not creating a castle, or a kingdom, or a display house; I'm creating a home. And a home is where life happens; so home is where mess happens.

I don't run by your 'must-do to impress' schedule, but rather I run on God's time; doing what He asks of me. I know, I know, teaching a high schooler is daunting, but it's not impossible. Teaching a child to read will be challenging, but it can and has been done. God knew we would choose to home school Mr Doubtful, and He will help us through. I will miss teaching them important things, you know why Mr Doubtful? Because I'm not super-mum, and I don't want to be. I'm mum, chosen for these children to love, nurture and enjoy, and God says I can do this. And there will always be someone who disagrees with our choices, but they're not the ones who live with them. 

At the end of the day Mr Doubtful, you are just fear talking. And perfect love casts out fear. So say what you will, but excuse me if I'm not listening to you; I'm too busy teaching my kids".

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Me and My Sketchbook

Art has always been something that I've enjoyed for my whole life. While I was a teenager, I lived and breathed art. I took art as a subject in high school and was always drawing, or painting, or photographing something (or writing). I really enjoyed completing sketches of anything I could find that caught my eye; actually I drew a lot of eyes.

I haven't shared much in the way of sketching on my blog until now, as I haven't been giving myself time to do any! Lately I've picked up my pencil again and allowed my heart room to breathe over the blank pages. It's been very refreshing. 

I do know now, and I guess it comes with age, that my favourite drawing subject is anything that resembles life 'in the old days', and anything that is anthropomorphic (animals that behave like humans, e.g Beatrix Potter)  All the sketches below are copied from other artists pieces (for personal use only), but eventually I would like to feel 'practiced enough' to create my own scenes and artworks too.

You begin with the possibilities of the material. 
- Robert Rauschenberg

Draw your pleasure, paint your pleasure, and express your pleasure strongly.
 -Pierre Bonnard

The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude. 
- Friendrich Nietzsche  

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” 

― Edgar Degas

I believe it's important to make room in our lives for the things that make us come alive; the things that help us reflect and relax, grow and change, be thankful and happy. 

I'm not sure what I'll sketch next, but that's the fun of it. Just seeing something and knowing I'd like to give it a try! 

I hope you've all had a wonderful week.

Blessings to you all.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A Weekend at Home

I love those weekends that you have where you've got very little on by way of events to leave home for. A weekend with no time constraints, no agendas or to-do lists; just to be and enjoy (rare, I know). This weekend was one of those for myself and my family. 

I spent a leisurely Saturday morning in town birthday present shopping for my youngest daughter (didn't have to be done, but I thought, why not!) and enjoying some fantastic op-shopping. We played board games, sketched together, mowed the grass, cleaned windows, scrubbed old bottles that we dug out like buried treasure from out in one of our paddocks, printed out beautiful inspirational illustrations for a little journal book that I made (another post on that one), cleaned and shined op-shop finds, re-positioned furniture to make way for a beautiful cabinet that belonged to my Great Grand-parents, and just had a lovely time being together and being home.

It was a few weeks ago that we dug out the above mentioned bottles, and I've only just had the time to really try and get them scrubbed and as clean as possible. It took around 6 hours (in two separate time frames) to actually finish this ... felt like mission impossible at times! They went from looking like this ...

To this ...

To finally (and I mean finally) this ...

I think it adds a nice bit of old-fashioned charm to the kitchen. They still aren't spotlessly clean, but if soaking them for one week, putting them through the dishwasher, then filling them with rice (for abrasion), vinegar and bi-carb and attacking them with wire bottle brushes in hot soapy water can't get all of it off ... then who knows what will? I think I'll just be happy with them like this! 

This year I intend to sketch a lot more than I have in the previous couple of years. It's one of my personal goals in my new bullet journal. I find it very relaxing to sit after doing chores or preparing dinner or whatever it may be, to sit and create with pencil in hand. 

This gorgeous fox is a copy from another artist, it is not my original work (only for personal use). I really enjoyed creating the different texture in this piece with the fur of the fox and the grain in the wood. 

This is my original piece that I sketched from a photograph that I took of our lovely little rag doll kitten 'Aslan' ... I just can't resist him and had to capture him in a drawing as well.

Another copied sketch (personal use only) that I just loved. It's actually from a piece titled 'Little House on the Prairie' and I really like how it speaks of such simple, beautiful, wholesome times. 

I hope to be able to carve out more snippets of time here and there to sketch more lovely images, I'd like to have my journal full of them by the end of the year.

My great grandparents were such an amazing Godly influence in my life. I have many fond memories of them and I believe that their character and example is what has helped me form my own in some ways. They're very special to me and so having this piece of furniture (even with the timber veneer strips chipping off) in my home is very important to me (I hope to replace the veneer soon).

While at the op-shop I purchased a beautiful set of four 'Peter Pan' series plates in perfect condition for only $4.00 each, and a gorgeous cat and bunny rabbit one for the same price, along with a lovely butterfly one for only $2.00. I couldn't believe it. I also found a lovely little deer ornament that was only 50c ... it's pretty cute!

Here's my beautiful display cabinet that belonged to my Great-Grandparents ...

Well, I think that's about it. I'm going to tuck myself snuggly into bed giving thanks to my God who I love for all the blessings He gives. 

Life's never perfect, but it's still beautiful.

Good night friends xo

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Bullet Journal and New Typewriter!

There's a section in my bullet journal titled 'Personal Goals'. I normally approach writing these things out in intricate detail, but then I find that this stifles my creativity and I actually end up feeling restricted in achieving these goals throughout the year. 

This year I took it from a different angle and briefly wrote out what it is I would like to accomplish or develop for 2016. By going about it this way, I think that it broadens my opportunity to steer the goal in whichever direction I think it should go when it comes time to work on that goal. Make sense? I hope it will work. I think it will work. I'll just have to see I guess! 

That's the great things with bullet journals, I can customise them to suite my needs and my brain; that may look completely different to your bullet journal, but that just it, it's supposed to be individual. I'm hooked. I was driving into town to go to Aldi yesterday and I had this instant compulsion to buy washi tape. I know you've had that before too, so I'm not sharing with people who will see me as being crazy! The urge won, and I found myself somehow parked outside my local scrap booking shop, scavenging through a basket of washi tape in delighted school-girl bliss. I found four perfect for my bullet journal, one with the days of the week on it. 

This is what my 'personal goals' page looks like now ... 

This was a much more relaxed approach for me and I really like that I can look at it from a glance and see that I'm already doing some of the things that are written here! It's nice not having a rigid check-list for these things. 

Also, yesterday before the washi tape expedition, I purchased second hand a new little object that I'm so excited to share with you all! ... 

It's a vintage 'Tippa' typewriter! Apparently the colour is 'Canary' ... beautiful!

I am so ridiculously excited to be using this!!

The photos above and below are just of some random writing that I did to practise using my new little love. I may use them in a story, I may not. It was very enjoyable to be so unrestricted in my writing though, without the distraction of a bright screen and electronics. Besides, anything vintage is just perfect in my books!

I really look forward to using my typewriter and bullet journal throughout the year! I've actually shared with my oldest daughter the tab section of my journal, and she is in the process of setting up a journal for herself too! We are both very excited! 

I hope you're having a beautiful week friends!

P.S. I ended up naming my new room, 'My Cozy Place' ... just in case you were wondering, thanks everyone for your name suggestions!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A New Un-Named Space!

Over the last two days I have been setting up my new art room. I'm not certain that that is what I am definitely going to call it, 'art room', or whether it's going to be 'craft room', 'relax room' ... whatever! All I do know is that I have this absurd compulsion to name things, and this room is no exception.

How getting my own room came about is a very long story that I won't bore you with. I'm just happy to have one, and I'm really excited to be using it through the year!

I have op-shopped pottery over the years, as it's normally so cheap, and all hand made too. I like having my most frequently used items within easy reach, and these pottery jars are perfect for keeping them out, yet organised.

This long table is predominantly for my sewing (which I am still definitely a beginner with!) and so it also has my sewing box and basket (with crotchet and embroidery work in it) close by.

I added my favourite books to my shelf and some pottery that was my late Nana's. 

The white chest of drawers is where I put my Quite Time Basket so I can grab it when I'm relaxing on the lounge.

You all know I love comfort. So this room has crotchet blankets, cushions, candles, and lamp light. And yes, that is a hat box turned into a little kitten bed for Aslan, he needs a comfy spot too!

My walls are decorated with op-shop art, so each piece cost no more than $10. The pink and purple flowers in the vase painting was also my late Nana's artwork that I remember hanging up in her home. It's extra special.

Last night I spent time in here praying, adding to my bullet journal, reading and relaxing. It was such a nice way to end a long day.

Do you have any suggestions for names? It has to be named something, and I need your help! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Bird Feeders - Op Shop Style!

As you all know, we really enjoy op-shopping and making things for our home. During the holidays, we saw an idea on Pinterest (where else), for making glass bird feeders with second hand glass ware. We hunted through our local op-shops for glass pieces that we thought would work well for this project, then headed home to get started. 

Our family really enjoys birds. They are such beautiful little creatures and their variety is a testimony to the creativity of our amazing God. Having more of them around our home is definitely something that all of us like the thought of!

The feeders were so simple to make. 
All we needed was ...

  • the second hand glass ware
  • a hot glue gun (with spare glue sticks)
  • some wire
  • a pair of pliers

I also found in the shed, a black wrought iron candle holder that once held a glass bowl in the top for wax melts. The glass bowl had long since shattered and so I thought that re-purposing the holder to make a bird feeder would be an excellent use for it! It gives the garden a bit of a quirky touch too, which doesn't bother me in the slightest!

As I was sifting through the shed, I also found two wire brackets that I ended up using to hang the wire hanger on as well.

We sat out on our back patio as a family, while the rain drizzled all around us, and happily made the feeders. We tried different dishes stacked on each other and chose the layouts that we were most happy with and the ones we thought our little feathered friends would most appreciate! 

They've turned out so beautifully! I am yet to fill them with seed, as it's been raining for a few days here now and it'll just be a waste to get the seed wet. But, we have seen a couple of birds already drinking from them, which is very exciting! 

All up, these four bird feeders cost us no more than $5! A very inexpensive way to provide a little refreshment for the sweet birds, and add some extra beauty to the garden.

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