Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

A bit late, but yes, we did have a wonderful Christmas. Lots of homemade gifts, much giving of self, and a few shop gifts. Amazingly enough excitement was still high even though there weren't enough presents to fill the sacks this year! How wonderful, I'm thrilled we were finally successful at having a simple and frugal Christmas.

End of year 5 primary school class celebration, and my dear boy was proud as punch to bring this platter for his contribution to the party food:

How can a poor packet of chips or bowl of lollies compare, I ask you?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A simple and frugal Christmas

A friend of mine commented to me recently that her young children have such high expectations as Christmas approaches, they take it as a sign that Santa doesn't like them or that they have bad parents, if the gifts received on the 25th do not meet the exacting standards of their juvenile approval. My friend can hardly wait for the Christmas season to be over, and I can relate to what she is saying.
I felt like that year after year, dreading the Christmas season and looking forward instead to that magical break between the 26th and the New Year: a time when I do not have to work, and when the days drift by and blend together in blissful harmony. Usually.

I think that this year something in my and my husband's minds snapped when we realised this sacred celebration was being looked at to a smaller or greater degree as a mail-order catalog for consuming THINGS.
You know, THINGS: plastic, cosmetic, metal, and electronic bits all stuck together in various combinatins and formations with amazing promises of fun, beauty, prestige, and exhorbitant price tags to boot.

And so R and I, as monarchs of our little realm, set out to make things CHANGE.

Basically our family is trying to consume less in all areas, not just at this time of year. To walk more gently upon the earth. So the children can see there is a reason for what we're doing...I hope. At least they'll be able to see that we're trying to be consistent.
We're putting effort into reducing our consumption of electricity and water (not as much effort as we could, but baby steps are ok too), I've switched to cloth for things (like hankies) we used to buy as disposables, and we recycle and repurpose as many things we can. This is our hanky box, which has replaced the tissue box much to the disgust of some family members. That's ok I tell them, they'll get over it. If they really want disposable tissues I won't stop them buying some with their own money. I'm very kind like that, hee hee!

In fact I am so efficient (tongue in cheek here) that the junk mail catalogs tend to end up in the bin without ever coming into the house, as many times as I can get away with it!

We explained to the younger children that even Santa Claus / Father Christmas has to work with what the parents say and what they can afford. Yes, even the big man in red himself has rules to work under; that's why kids in poor countries and those whose parents don't have enough to make ends meet might not receive more than a hug this festive season - some kids won't even get that.

So what will happen next week? There will be a shop gift under the tree for each child. Something inexpensive, something they will hopefully get good use from in the year ahead. There will also be something hand made for each of them.

But most importantly, and this is what I'm looking forward to above all else, we will spend time together as a family and share in the joy of remembering the precious gift God gave us two millennia ago: even the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cicadas on the move

Saw a lovely cicada about a month ago, about the size of my thumb. How very different they look all green like this, from the dried up husks the children collect later on!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ordinary days are the best kind.

Bread rolls made from 100% freshly ground biodynamic organic wheat. They were delicious, and as light and fluffy as wholewheat has a right to be. How I wish they would turn out like this every time! Garlic butter goes beautifully with these, nice and warm from the oven.

Book covers: a great gift idea, and really good for protecting the book you're reading while it's being jostled around from place to place. These covers were padded with an old woolen blanket (except the middle one, that one uses ordinary synthetic wadding)

My new rag bag. The inspiration for this came from Jewells, at Eyes of Wonder, based on her clothes peg bag. I'd like to do another one with proper set in sleeves, with a more prairie dress look to it.

Some ocean scenes from Port Elliot in South Australia. I love SA; it has a character all its own that I miss. Different in so many subtle ways from NSW, though each has its own charm. SA has the distinction of being the place that nurtured me from birth to maturity, so there are memories woven into the very fabric of the place which are a comfort somehow.

A scene I love that is within walking distance from where I live.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Natural beauty

I found a piece of wood when out walking yesterday. The smaller branch (probably a creeper) that grew around it has made a spiral indentation in the larger branch, both living together for who knows how long till they were chopped down and cast aside. Now they are a beautiful addition to my nature plate on the dresser. I love the textures of wood, the unpredictability of it, the earthy quality of the colours, the variety of shapes to be seen within it. I love wood; real wood that can breathe and which speaks of the life it had as a living thing.

This chip of wood is no taller than my thumb.
It caught my eye immediately, because the eagle head side was facing up. I love how it looks like an eagle on one side, and like an afghan dog on the other.

Sometimes I think that weeds can look even more beautiful than ordinary flowers. They are less pretentious somehow; you have to look harder to see their beauty.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My garden, closeup

Here are some photos I took a while ago around the garden. Shot on a Nikon D80 with a Tamron 90mm lens.

A grevillea, taken just after rain.

I always forget the name of this one...

More to follow as I get them uploaded. I just love the Tamron 90mm! The world looks different and more beautiful somehow, through this lens.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sprouting Shelf

Here is my sprouting set up. Small jars work best for us, as we don't go through very much of any one particular sprout very quickly. I like them when they are nice and small, seem to taste better that way. Who could have guessed that a girl who used to love weetbix, sugar and milk would one day prefer a bowl of lentil and mung bean sprouts with fresh raw almond milk!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Only a few weeks now to Christmas, 2008 has gone really fast.