Friday, February 24, 2017


Tree embroidery with scissors

Stitched tree trunk
My beautiful tree has had her branches tossed around by storm Doris this week but is soaking up the sunshine out there today. Such a joyful "after the storm, spring is coming, soon, promise" kind of a day.

All of my daily ten minutes craft prescription time plus a fair bit more has been dedicated to tree stitching. On Sunday I just parked my tired, achey little body by the door and stitched until I felt a whole lot better. That restful absorption is the craft therapy magic I think.

I love that the trunk is emerging, and is feeling really true to life. She's looking a little more silver birch than plum right now, but the choice of the sideways stitch to reflect the striations of the bark makes me happy.

Friday, February 17, 2017

One small stitch for man...

Starting an embroidered portrait of a tree
I have embarked on an epic project. I want to caption this photo "can you tell what it is yet?" with Aussie inflection but that phrase from my childhood is out of bounds these days. Anyway it's a trunk. Of a tree. I'm stitching a portrait of my most beloved plum tree. Everyday companion for the last twelve or so years, we haven't got long left together. I don't think I will see her blossom again. Sob.

We're most likely having an extension built. It will be amazing to have more space but I wish, I wish, I WISH I could keep my plum tree too. It won't work. If anything it's too close to the house already and should long ago have been dispatched to the great orchard in the sky. I feel like a sentimental ole fool, what a palaver over a tree. Then I think about how many memories are wrapped around that trunk and nestled in the crook of her branches and it makes a little more sense. I love that tree and enjoy it every single day. I am lucky to have shared this space with the tree and grateful for the new beginnings that are part of the ending. My family tree is a bit like this at the moment too. Ah stitchy stitching, you create space to hold so many feelings.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Making Winter and finding a little spring

Sun shining up like God behind the clouds
Though the silence here might suggest it, I haven't actually been hibernating all winter. It's kind of been like my summer but colder, greyer and damper. A bit like Eeyore in a puddle. As soon as I work out which country has only spring and autumn, I'm there, till then I seek coping strategies.

So far this year I've found three great ones -

No.1: a day long yoga retreat with my regular class teacher. It was such a gentle day I felt lovely and mellow that evening, full of the kindness that I had been cultivating in the practice and then I spent the next four days in bed! It had been coming a while in all honesty, I think the work we did just unlocked a wave of exhaustion and made me face where I really was. The only way is through.
Journalling on wisdom from Mara Glatzel
No.2:  A seasonal virtual retreat with that bodhisattva of self-care Mara. Happily a shade less dramatic physically but it has really helped me pick my heart up from the lows of that crash. I signed up for Cycle about two seconds after resolving to stop trying to buy myself 'better' through books and courses and Stuff. Thank goodness for my contrariness because a few hours of virtual retreating with a lovely circle of women was just the catalyst I needed to clarify what I am craving this year and to gently ease me back towards helpful practices that had become increasingly fragmented. I see how that old rascal - practice - is so key to everything but I feel like I need a constant reminder that just a little can still make a difference. Stitching together little pockets of care creates a very different outlook.
 Knitting and blankets, cosy craft time
No.3: The Making Winter retreat and its after effects are a testament to exactly that. A little of what you fancy does you the power of good. Emma drew together four fabulous craft workshops over two days to allow a little dabbling in what all crafters can testify are serotonin boosting activities. Of course the laughing and laughing and chatting and laughing in beautiful surroundings didn't hurt one iota either. I've come home with a well of inspiration and written myself a daily craft prescription for the rest of February. I'm thinking that might be one practice that lasts out these last cold days of winter.
Willow weaving lanterns or bird feeders
Emma Mitchell, Silver Pebble's teaching collection
Hand holding seedheadBlossom peeping over a wall against a blue sky

Friday, October 28, 2016

Today my heart sings for...

Horse Chestnut leaves carpeting Florence Park
... the mercurial moods of autumn: from the the bold, dazzling colours gleaming in the sun, through golden twilights to murky, mysterious misty mornings... pigeons cooing and moulting a hundred feathers... my dear Auntie Jo... the bite of wind that brings roses to my cheeks... Luke Sital-Singh serenading me... finding a peaceful path through complicated relationships... the ginkgo trees in the park... the smooth, golden bark of the eucalyptus... oh all the trees, always... chai tea... Halloween... my little spare room space... rose petals... baba ganoush... the smell of incense... a weekend filled with friends, Friends...

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's a tromance

English beech leaves close up

Eye in the bark of a beech trunk

Beech mast casing on branch
The beech are catching my eye right now. I'm taking my time with them. Sinking in and letting the feeling of my heart dancing bubble up. There are huge, gracious, glories in my local park and hanging out with them is a daily joy. The magic of watching them takes me deeper into love with my life. I noticed for the first time this spring how soft and vulnerable their concertina leaves are as they push out of the long, spindly buds. Reaching out for the light; sure of their purpose. While I'd revelled in that acid green of fresh beech woods I hadn't realised what tender pleats they start out in. Collected, fallen beech leaves were my one reference. Shiny, summer toughened, autumn browned and I assumed they popped out hard and ready for their work ahead.

In one breath I'm not quite sure how we've swept from those tender spring days to these so fast. In another I am just, so grateful, to be here. There were times when I thought the summer would never end.

I'm feeling so much better, reset; resolutions set for the year ahead like the buds forming on the showy beauties all around me. I'm with these deciduous trees casting the tired summer done leaves aside and readying myself, curious for whatever winter has in store.
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