Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a question

30th December, 2008

I've been asked how I got my hands on Buntspechte ('woodpecker') animals. 
Well, firstly let me say that once I've set my mind on something I don't give up easily.

I first made soft animals for little M to play with. They are well loved but a little on the wonky side & as his play developed I wanted pieces which would grow with him. Pieces that would last a lifetime & had the warmth & beauty true of the natural world. 

I searched high & low for the 'right' pieces. 
I found lots that were lovely but none that sung to me. 
Until I found the Woodpecker animals. 
I had tears in my eyes ~ seriously. With the joy & the beauty in each one. And I knew they were the right ones.

I sent out an email to our family. 

Then I placed an order with them through their site. The cost seems high but not once you've seen them. Each one is amazing & large too. The perfect size really. The postage cost was heavy but by spending our money on these we were reminded to wind back the 'excess' that can occur at Christmas. And I think that the balance was achieved.

We are so grateful for all of the love & thoughtful gifts given to our wee one this Christmas. It's wonderful that others were also moved by these animals & the pieces they gifted complement & complete what we gave. We are so thankful.

For prosperity's sake the letter is below.

Dear Family,

Ok.... Straight to the point. 

As you all know we like Miles to play with 'natural' toys as much as possible. Wood, wool, fabric, earth, leaves, water, etc. 

Our reasons are many & varied. The three main ones being that 
(a) by playing with toys 'of nature' he will indeed be connected to the natural world - a rare thing these days. 
(b) He will learn to imagine, create, problem solve & improvise as the 'toys' he uses are, as such, unfinished pieces. They have room to evolve as his play does. A simple basket of shells offers endless play opportunities as money for shopping, food for animals, steps for a building, beds for small dolls... on & on it goes. 
(c) that we reduce our impact on the natural world & where possible improve it. So where & how the item was made, from what materials & how it will be disposed of at the end of it's life cycle are all factors in our shopping habits. For more info check this out http://www.storyofstuff.com/

With these points in mind I began my search for figurines. Small people & animals for play now & long into the future. My search took me all around the globe (not literally, unfortunately). I found many wonderful figures in my travels, several handmade by men & women with a passion & a skill for woodwork & children. 

With an extraordinary amount of excitement & satisfaction I found these -

Handmade with love in Germany. Using locally sourced renewable timber. Painted simply with vegetable dyes. These are truly incredible.

As you can imagine, each piece is a work of art. They are not cheap, by any stretch of the imagination. They are however, heirloom pieces that will be loved & treasured not only by Miles & any other children who may bring joy & laughter into our home. But also the generations of children that may follow. 

So I ask you all so humbly, to please consider one of these figures as a gift to Miles for this Christmas or Birthday or the many that will follow. 

We will place an order in the coming weeks so you can, if you like, add to our order. Prices range from $20 for a 5.5cm duck to $28 for a 10cm goat to $50 for a 16cm horse. Just let me know which animal or person you would like to choose & if the cost is more than you had planned to spend we can top up the difference. 

Of course, each of you offer many & varied gifts to Miles in the way of your company, your passions & your laughter. It is not necessary to purchase gifts for him. He is most happy to spend some time 'hangin out' in the garden with you. If you prefer to share your time with him, that is truly a gift to us all. Or if you have another gift in mind.... These figures are simply a suggestion.

So with much love & peace & we approach the festive season,

x Jules & Paulie

and so I don't forget

from Grammy & Pa ~ the horse
from Aunty Dan & Uncle Shane ~ the rooster & the goat
from Aunty Kath ~ the calf
from us ~ the cow, the broody chicken, the donkey

Sunday, December 28, 2008

my mind's eye remains closed

29th December, 2008


I believe it was Christmas recently.....? 
A whirlwind of preparations, celebrations, traditions new & old, wrapping paper, anticipation & some good old fashioned fun.

My camera was rarely in my hands, all of the 'shots' I saw during the season shall remain in my mind's eye this year. I 'captured' the memories I wanted to hold onto & tucked them safely away. My hands busy with other important tasks ~ Like sewing & baking & holding onto my lovins'. 

Some pictures that did make it onto the hard drive.....

The excitement that is 'really helping' to decorate the Christmas tree for the first time ever

The joy in my man. Home, at long last, for the holidays.

decorating the tree & hanging our faery angel on the very top
she is the same faery who graced our very first tree in 2002

the dude really came
early christmas morning in all it's blurryness

there's stuff in here....
wow, there stuff in here :)


preparing a christmas feast for many,
our turn to host
we couldn't have been more pleased

my helper
chopping, then munching, then chopping, then munching
just as christmas preparations should be

who was more excited about this gift?
little M saving it for very last,
sweet P wanting so very badly to give it weeks earlier?
or me? Heart & soul poured into it for what feels like my whole life. 
These animals that bring such warmth, such joy, such love, 
& such truth to our home.
To his childhood.

Oh he loves them, right away he loves them. 
To hold, to cuddle, to care for.
He loves them
A lifetime full.

Full bellies, a setting sun, a happy gathering, empty plates.

the love & the play continues

Merry Christmas to all & to all a goodnight.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

25th December, 2008

A wish for the world....

            for peace, laughter & humility.

And a wish for you all also....
    I wish that you will find joy in the daily tasks that you undertake, 
    I wish that you will find magic in the simple pleasures of the world,
    I wish that you find complete contentment in the nurturing of your children,
   And I wish that your home is filled with light & laughter.

A very simple Christmas treat for you....

Cast on 16 stiches
Knit a square
Cast off
Fold in half
Stitch sides together leaving room to loosely stuff with wool. 
Stitch sides closed.
Pull top to base with a simple stitch.
Use wool to create a simple comb, beak, feet ~ mine are all different.
Attach several wool strands to fan from the bottom to create a tail for a rooster.

Make as many as you like. 

(Note: this is my adaptation of a traditional pattern used by Steiner kindergartens.
To stick with Steiner philosophy the wool is locally grown organic & plant dyed. However. We do what we can & I would say that recycled wool from other projects is equally as good to use).

Merry Christmas Wonderful Friends
A very Merry Christmas to you indeed.

Monday, December 22, 2008


22nd December, 2008

Because I work best under pressure.
Because he deserves a little hand made lovin'.
Because I can only focus on one thing at a time.
Because we have had the worst evening in history.
Because working with my hands brings me comfort.
Because even nudey boys need pockets.

A little felt satchel for storing all his treasures in 
when life is too busy for clothes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the twelve

21st December, 2008

In the spirit of Christmas, twelve things I'm loving today....
playing with my tablet just for fun 

& putting together a little gift for friends new & far 

Witnessing the bond of life long friendships forming.

The abundance of new residents in our garden
(they are ladybugs - I neeeeeeed macro people)

those baby blues

& ol' blue eyes himself singing the sweetest seasonal tunes

the magical gifts from our mother earth

finally finding my tribe

the dodgiest mama haircut to date
~ it's making me giggle daily

the look, feel & smell of grain before feed times

that for this moment in time he looked at the camera
(apparently children of photographers find their toes, bare walls, 
cloudless skies far more interesting than their mama's cameras)

that we now count the minutes  
until our Sweet P is home for the holidays


Monday, December 15, 2008

angel spirits

15th December, 2008

There is much talk of the angels & spirits in our home. 
12 silk angels made with such love & laughter are hung in celebration each evening as we light the Christmas candle. One angel for each day as we acknowledge the 12 days of Christmas.

So as I was instructed to drape & then tie I gleefully knew why......

an angel appeared before my eyes
he laughed & ran to the garden
singing & dancing & wishing
he blessed the flowers then called to the heavens
& giggled & giggled & giggled

Thursday, December 11, 2008


11th December, 2008

So much I want to share, to remember, to savour about this moment in our lives. This festival of Peace. These memories we are creating.... 

Instead ~ working! Not for much longer though. A little left to do before I switch off for 2008 & settle into the celebrations with my sweet family.

Another sweet family I photographed a couple of weeks back.
2 week old miss C. Not so big on sleeping...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


2nd December, 2008

Oh my December.... really!
So many things calling for my attention & yet here I am, in this lovely little space. An opportunity for quiet, reflection & joy. Thanks for sharing it with me.

A bit of an update is required I believe....

Not so long ago, we bought home some wee little chicks. We were amazed at how quickly their personalities emerged. At how little Flo was such a nurturer & how Ebb was (don't laugh) the cockier one. Determined, self assured, too busy for many cuddles.
I watched these two babes intently as we all bonded with daily cuddles, singing, playing & learning what the word 'patient' meant. 
I was suspicious. I said to my sweet P 'I think we may have a rooster'. Assured by all, including our chicken lady that I was overreacting we carried on. Waiting for week 20 when our babes would either lay or crow.

I was brushing my teeth the first time. I thought it was sweet that where we live we could still hear roosters every now & then
what... no... surely not... my imagination again... (crap)

A few days later I came home from a shoot. 
Sweet P - 'Should we tell Mama about the commotion in the garden this afternoon'  
I sat down, put my head in my hands & shook my head. Paulie laid his mobile phone in front of me & played the recording he took of our Ebby's first proper 'cock-a-doodle-doo'.
Yes, a rooster indeed.

So the heartbreaking decisions about the logistics of housing a rooster. Of fertile eggs. Of early morning wake up calls. But finally of just what the term 'cock' means. One rooster, one hen. It ain't no fairytale romance people. 

We had several months in which we were able to come to terms with the decision & then farewell our Ebby friend. He would be returned to the farm from where he came (a small, beautiful, free range situation where there are harems of happy hens sharing their roosters). We would wait until some young hens were available & then make the swap.

But.... Flossy went broody. Seriously. 
So a change in plans saw Ebby returned home to the farm & us with 6 fertile eggs to gift to our beautiful mama-to-be. 

So. Today is day 15 of 21 hatching days. That beautiful Flossy girl has not left the nest for more than 10 mins in over 6 weeks. She sits & clucks & waits. Keeping her wee charges ever so warm & loved.

Our play, therefore, revolves around this cycle. Laying, waiting, birthing (thanks to this wonderful book) & caring for chicks & babies. Just wait till the real things appear!