Lavendilly Dolls: A Faerie in my Garden

There is a faerie playing in my garden. I spotted her yesterday with her hair flowing free … She had nothing on so perhaps she’d been for a swim in the river. I invited her in to dry off and rest.

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This morning she was gone from my house but I spotted her again … saying hello to my flowers …

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… playing in our trees …

Summer Faerie 3

… flying freely and happily over the lawns and down to the river …

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She said she isn’t staying long. Just a stop over before she heads up to bring some sunshine, warmth and playfulness to the mountains …

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Craft: Fabric Garland

I saw the most beautiful fabric garland – a HUGE one in lots of colours – stretched across the width of the Prep classroom at my children’s school. I just fell in love with it and couldn’t help inspecting it to see how it was made: SIMPLE! One of my favourite words. Short lengths of fabric, about 2cm wide and 12cm long tied on a length of rope and pushed down nice and tight. That’s it.garland2WM

What a brilliant idea –  and what a fantastic way to use up those little bits of fabric I have stored in my craft room. I knew I was saving them for something! I bought my rope from the hardware store and tied a loop at each end (for hanging). I began tying the fabric just under the knot so it was nice and neat.

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It didn’t really take that long to make and it was very meditative tying little bits of stuff onto rope. I got into the rhythm of pattern-making and colour blending and before long the garland started appearing. I put in some shiny and sparkly bits of stuff and I’m relieved to have found an alternative to tinsel garlands at Christmas this year. Every year I get tired of stepping on tinsel, vacuuming up tinsel, finding scraps of tinsel still sticky-taped somewhere months after Christmas has been and gone.garland3WM

My daughter loved the fabric scraps, and my son helped too (he even worked out my pattern), and at another time a friend began a section and we spent a happy hour talking and tying. I loved thinking about the fabric pieces that went in, and where they came from: scraps from my priestess cloak from my initiation, one of my husbands worn work shirts, fabric given to me from a friend, bits I was saving for another project that I had to be honest would never happen. Now I want to make a rainbow one, and one in various shades of colours. One for my daughters’ room, one for my son …. well, how about I just start with a couple of Christmas ones?

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Progress on the quilt

Well the quilt is not on Rosella’s bed yet!! And that is because I’ve been having other fun with my family on these holidays, but I AM working on it steadily every day. The photos are a bit blurry, but here it is unstitched while I was deciding where the squares would go.

And here it is all stitched together – everything in this quilt has been used before: there is a cut-up embroidered blouse, bits of dress and a pair of purple pants that I made years ago and never wore, fabric from my mum, fabric from my friend Christina, doilies from an op-shop, and left-over bits and pieces form other craft projects. I had some pretty edgings on old pillow cases that I cut off and sewed on to some of the squares, along with the ruffled sleeves of the embroidered shirt.

This patch has a pocket on it for her treasures: it came from a cute little dress she used to wear. I would have put the dress away for Linden but the front of it was pretty grubby. The fabric was just too beautiful to throw away.

This one is a dragonfly I embroidered when Kaelan was a baby. It was intended as a sheet set for his cot, but as he so rarely used his cot it didn’t seem worth finishing!

And here is where I have begun the quilting. I am using a really lightweight quilt from Ikea for the middle part, and an old sheet from my bed as the backing. The quilt is the only thing I have purchased for this quilt … it is synthetic, but washable and it was only $10. A patchwork quilt for $10 … not bad, hey?

Dottie Angel Challenge of the Utmost Kind – the end?

I have just realised that it has been a full year since I agreed to do the Dottie Angel Challenge of the Utmost Kind! This challenge was to buy only handmade or second-hand items for a full year – or to make the items myself.

I took on the challenge for a few reasons: to see how I could come up with creative solutions to find or make the things I have needed, and to see what kind of impact a challenge like this would have on my household. The hardest thing about this challenge was wrapping my mind around the fact that I had committed to NOT BUYING NEW STUFF.

It wasn’t that I have needed to buy anything, but as soon as I had decided to take the challenge on I had begun to regret it. It isn’t like I was spending money willy-nilly in the first place! Already I had been shopping for clothes in second-hand stores and hand-making presents. There really isn’t a lot that we do buy on a regular basis.I’ve always been very conscious about where our money is spent, because the large majority of what we earn goes back into the household in the form of food, rent, petrol and bills. It has always been fun to spend what there is left over on a little treat now and then. In the end, the challenge was made easy by not having much $$ to spare on buying stuff in the first place – even treats – regardless of how I felt about the restrictions I had placed upon myself.

I did buy some things new: mostly clothes for the family that I didn’t have the opportunity to make myself. Shoes. Hats. Underwear. When our tax money came in I bought some books that I have wanted to own and a couple of kitchen appliances that I needed to support my family’s nutrition. I am quite happy to borrow from the library but when you borrow books three or four times in a row, it is probably a good time to think about owning them. Even still, I did my best to source second-hand copies of these books. I love second-hand books. I love knowing that someone else has handled them, read them, gained something from them and then passed them on.

The year prior to taking the challenge I had sworn that I would not buy the children any more toys because I felt that they already had a wonderful and very special collection of playthings, many of them that David and I have made ourselves. In fact, as the year has gone past we’ve even culled that collection significantly. The children’s interests have changed and moved on, so the toys I have put away ‘for a rainy day’ have now actually been given away or donated to charity. What we have left are a core collection of useful playthings that still form the basis of the children’s imaginative play. Without any more toys, the children have become used to making things themselves, and the arrival of a new large cardboard box, a ball of string and a reel of sticky tape still brings an extraordinary amount of delight. We make use of a toy library when we need something new to inspire some different play.

What I have gained, through the experience of this challenge is an awareness of how much we really DON’T need in our lives. The cost of living in Australia is biting us, and yet when I remember the fact that I actually have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, a car to drive, and that we can afford to school our children at a place of our choice (that we even have a choice!) I feel incredibly lucky. Instead of needing or wanting to buy more, I feel the need to reduce our possessions, and the more I go through the things I own, the less I feel we need to have.

We moved house recently, and before we even began packing I spent several weeks going through our home clearing clutter. More items left the house during packing, more again left our lives once we moved and began unpacking. Even now I am still filling up boxes with items we just do not need.

So Dottie Angel was not wrong when she said it would be a challenge of the ‘utmost kind’. It transformed in an unexpected way into something very fulfilling.