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February 2011
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April 2011

Every day courage

Fragile existence
Fragile beauty found on a walk

Crafting For Courage went so well, I can't thank the makers, promoters, and all those who donated by purchasing the sale items enough. We put it together in such a short space of time and the results were both swift and successful.

Today I happily made a donation for 100% of the proceeds from my participation in the Crafting For Courage sale. The donation was made to the Save The Children fund for Japan Earthquake/Tsunami relief. If anyone would like to see the receipt for the donation, no problem, just ask :)

Friendly face (obscured)
Small deer looking at me through the hedgerow, seven others running away.

The mountain of difficulties facing so many families in northeastern Japan is immense. But sometimes we all need a little courage in our daily lives. The success of the sale was a real highlight this past week, but in other ways it's been a rough one.

Tea break in town with Gracie. She's enjoying fashion drawing right now.

It's time for me to take a short break, regroup, spend time with my kiddos and pluck up some everyday courage to tackle unexpected challenges.

Thanks again for the support.

Hope to be back soon.


PS, not a lot of time for proper photos lately - these are a few from my phone camera.

Can you spot the small deer right behind the hedgerow looking at me?

The "sail" goes on

Boat races B 
Boat races

An update on the Crafting For Courage sale - thanks again for the support. The doll, scarf and stack of linens have sold but I may still be adding items to the shop until Monday, depends on time.

Today though it's off to school to make boats with little people while parents help out around the school with things like painting, planting and clearing. Another community event, this time a little closer to home.

There are still items left to buy in the sale and several makers are trying to add more throughout the weekend, so if you can please go and have a look, visit the Etsy shops and browse around. It's a great opportunity to buy beautiful, handmade things and help the children of Japan at the same time.

The image above is from a Green Parent article I wrote last year; it's taken with some of our favourite sailors (hope to see you sailors soon!!!).

Happy weekend,


Springtime and sunny linens

Thank you to all the makers who have pulled together in such a short time to make and sell their art for the Crafting For Courage sale. Today was the first day and it's already going so well but it wouldn't be going well if there weren't a huge number of generous buyers out there supporting the efforts of the makers so thank you to you too!

The Gracie Doll and the scarf have both sold, thank you to the kind purchasers! I put together a collection of linens from my stock to add to the sale. Bits of old linen, lace and embroidery are my favourite supplies, I love working with textiles that have history. Tomorrow I'll add this pile of goodies to the shop for the sale. It includes a long piece of the same antique linen I made the scarf from (un-dyed). A stash of vintage linens is great to have on hand for whipping up quick gifts like these, and these.

If your favourite maker has run out of stock for the sale don't give up, many are working on replenishing, I know at least one very busy bunny maker who is stitching her fingers to the bone for the cause. Also, more makers are in the process of being added.


Just thought I'd sign off with some happy daffs that smile and wave at me when the wind blows.


Remember, the sale will be on until Monday :)

Thank you again for the generous support.




Crafting For Courage


Long linen scarf

Brown-eyed girl - A Gracie Doll

Favourite pattern

All of these items will be available starting later today through Monday the 28th. They will be sold through my new Etsy shop; 100% of the proceeds will go to the Save The Children Japan Earthquake/Tsunami relief fund.

Please walk, run, skip or trip on over to the Crafting For Courage blog now to see the wide assortment of items from a whole group of big hearted crafters.


I'm hoping to also be adding a couple of vintage textile packages to the sale.

Shop if you can, and spread the word if you would.

J x

Crafting love. For Japan


Things have been busy around here. I've been involved with some lovely fellow makers in the process of organizing a sale in support of the Save the Children Earthquake Relief Efforts for Japan.

This doll will be one of the items sold for the sale which will take place this Thursday and will carry on throughout the weekend. Sales will be made through our Etsy shops (I am opening one). After the items are sold, 100% of the proceeds will go to the charity.


One of the soft, dyed pieces of linen will become a scarf for the sale too. I will also be offering at least one package of vintage supplies as well.


Margie carved a wonderful dragonfly stamp and painted a rising sun in honour of the sale. 

Please follow Sonia, Margie, Pat, Nanou, Jill and Lisa to see what they will have on offer (oh, and me too). I will link to a blog soon where a growing list of pieces for sale can be seen. 

You can take part too by purchasing items from the makers who are donating or if you are a maker with an Etsy shop, by offering to sell something of your own. Also, if you can, help spread the word about the sale. If you're interested in taking part just leave a comment or email to learn how to be added to the list of participants on the blog. 



Saturday was the colour blue

Vintage textile flair 1
Small vintage pieces drying

Some of our Saturday moments in pictures.

Colour spreading 1
Dye travels

Inspired by Margie's day of dyeing, I'm finally working on a project that I've wanted to try for a very long time. It involves using some of my lighter weight linens and using up some of my stock of dyes from the big felt dyeing phase I went through a while back.

Saturday walk, sunny tree

Some trees we met on our walk look like a big hug.

Aqua wash drying

First warmth

Warm sunshine. Lawn games with no coats or gloves.

Blue night, photo by Tristan

And the day ended with a super blue sky lit up by a brilliant "Supermoon." We're so lucky to have had clear skies and no fog. There's a wonderful Flickr "Supermoon" page here.

One of the aqua dyed linens above will become a piece I'll be selling to help support Japanese earthquake relief efforts. I'll be taking part in a sale with other artists and crafters starting this coming Thursday the 24th. Please check back here for more details soon.

Happy Sunday to you!


Sometimes you just have to swing


I wonder if I'll come up in some racy search engines with this title. Racy?! That's a term my mother would use ;)

Have you ever tried to take a picture of your own feet while swinging? Try doing it when you can't stop laughing. If you come around here often you might wonder if I own any other footwear. I do, but my Huntress wellies are so useful until summer gets here, sooooo much mud (which you can probably guess by looking at them). This pair were gifted to me, thank you Dianne.

Sun breaking through

Yesterday I began washing some old textiles and hung them out in the fog in the hope they might dry a little; they didn't. Instead I discovered the line itself was so filthy from our recent winds and tractor activity that I washed them all again today and as I got the last linen sheet hung up the sun came out. 

Waiting wheelbarrow

And the sun coming out made me wish I could fill the wheelbarrow with primulas and roll it around the garden planting them everywhere. Maybe I'll pick a few up on Saturday at the local town market. Of course that means a lot of ground preparation... maybe the following weekend instead.

Small denim stash

Over the last few grey days I've been hidden in the depths of our tiny spare room that has become the family dumping ground (admittedly, mainly mine). I've discovered I save a whole lot of these things: old jeans, felt and felted sweaters & blankets, linen and bits of embroidery from charity shops and boot fairs. It wasn't actually a discovery, more of another reminder to myself. I have plans to turn some of it into usefulness. The stack of denim, a dog bed - the other stuff, more on that later. Watch this space.

Happy Thursday. Now go out and swing!




A happy bench

Frosty, favourite bench

I pass this bench nearly everyday. It's at the top of a small hill overlooking woods and a grassy path and each time I pass it makes me smile. I hope NS still has love.

Sun streams

The mornings are warmer and brighter these days and the sun streams through this section of woods on the path I take.

I hope you woke to a bright sunny morning too.


Hope and resilience

Apple blossoms, 2010

"We can't hide from Mother Nature." This is what I tell a friend who says he'll never visit California because of earthquakes.

I was sitting at a desk in our office, built on landfill and located directly between the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge and the fated Cypress Street Viaduct at 5.04 pm on October 17, 1989. I lived over the bridge in San Francisco and sat down to phone a friend I was due to meet to say I was running late, that's when it began. When the 7.1 violent tremor came and shook for 15 seconds it felt like armageddon. When the shaking stopped and those few of us left in the building walked outside, it looked like it too. Power lines were dangling, some on fire, others rattling on the ground sparking, pavement bent and buckled, but our battered building was somehow was still standing. If I hadn't bothered to phone, I'd have been on the upper deck of the Bay Bridge, the deck that collapsed. I couldn't get home for days, our Victorian apartment building was standing but without gas and electricity. Though lots of things were inconvenient we knew, it could have been so much worse. It didn't matter that in the days to come my commute to and from work would be closer to 2 hrs each way instead of 20 mins, I was alive and so were all my friends and family. It seemed the destruction would take decades to repair and the city would never be the same, but it didn't. Humans are amazing in so many ways, especially resilience. Except for altered freeways and thwarted expansion plans, in a few short years it seemed the scars were all but gone, and I would never have dreamt of living somewhere else.

I know (and possibly you do too) the fear that strikes when the earth moves, but I can't imagine the terror felt by the people of Japan during the 8.9 earthquake lasting, what must have felt like eternity - so much stronger than any quakes I've lived through. Add to that the devastation of a tsunami, unimaginable. I hope that in the days, weeks and years to come the Japanese people find strength in each other, joy in the blossoms bursting forth, and an appreciation of their own resilience.

Before long it will become clear how we can help. In the interim Margie has an important related message about what can be done now. It is relevant to us all, especially considering how many parts of the world and people have been affected by serious earthquakes even just in recent history.

If you're reading all of this, thanks and good weekend wishes to you.



Visiting the past and appreciating the present

Linen sleeve

This past Saturday Gracie and I took a last minute trip to London. I'd been wanting to visit the Threads of Feeling Exhibit at the Foundling Museum and realized it was ending on Sunday. The exhibit was showing tokens mothers left with their babies when they took them to the Foundling Hospital, Britain's first home for abandoned children. The hospital was opened in 1741 by, Thomas Coram with the help of famous friends like Hogarth and Handel. A short article about the compassionate Coram, and the significance of his undertaking during this time in Britain's social history is here.

Printed fabric and a mother's letter

The mothers left the tokens, mainly textiles, so they could identify their children if and when they went back to claim them. Hardly any mothers were ever able to return for their babies; of the thousands left there, less than 200 mothers were ever able to return for them. There were beautiful small fabric remnants and ribbons from bonnets and a lot of embroidery too. The images here are some of the items we saw; I scanned them from a set of postcards I bought, there's no named photographer to credit.

6-RibbonsRibbon from a bonnet

I found the whole experience really moving and I'm so glad we made it there before it closed. Gracie enjoys history as much as I do and has almost daily been saying she wants a time machine to go back and visit the past, especially ancient Egypt, a current topic for her in school. We discussed that while the past is fascinating, we're really lucky as women to live in the 21st century. Today as women we have choices - we can vote, have careers, choose who we'd like to marry or choose to not marry at all, we can even decide for ourselves the right time to start a family. We appreciated the craftsmanship in the textiles but also the significance and sadness in the lack of choice they represented. We're so fortunate.

Wool heart and blue ribbon

Another surprise treat for the day was meeting Jill. I can't tell you how fun it was to meet; she is so sweet and lovely and joined us for the exhibit.

Floral printed fabric

Pretty red sprig on linen and red wool

After the Foundling Museum Gracie and I went to get her an Egyptian fix at the British Museum. Gracie couldn't get enough; she was especially taken with "Ginger" the mummy with red hair. Ginger was well preserved in hot, dry sand for thousands of years. Poor guy had no idea he'd end up enclosed in glass for much of eternity with thousands of people staring at him everyday. Gracie observed, "I love looking at everything so much, but doesn't it feel like we're kind of grave robbers too." Hmmm. 

Blue-glazed shabtis

The mummies are interesting but I was drawn to the small objects, like these pretty blue shabtis

Picture heavy I know, but one more image from a current project just finished. I've been kept very busy this week with all sorts of arachnids and insects, here are a few of them now.


Wednesday is currently my favourite day. Happy Wednesday to you!