Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015 - The Year that Was..

2015 has been a year for putting words into action, living life in the slow lane and embracing every ascpect of simple, conscious living.  This year I've found within me a passionate creative spark and a urge to be the change, a longing to connect, invigorate and find my tribe. I've found a resiliance in myself, while being away from family and having Ben working long hours and I'm finally beginning to listen to my body and my soul and truly connect with life's ebbs and flows. This year I've refined my life, my belongings and my ideas. I've begun digging a little deeper, evolving and coming to understand my place in the great turning. I'm so grateful for this beautiful year of celebrations and gatherings, of growth, realisations, unfurling dreams and creating the path to our future apsirations of financial freedom, off grid living and community suffiency. 

      Our 2015 Adventures..

January -  Summer family time by the river and in the garden, first swimming lessons and a new tradition of relish making. 

 February - A visit from Nannie Annie, late Summer harvests, new designs and ideas and breathtaking sunsets. 

March - Autumn's arrival, believing in myself and a new blog name, Winter planting, the beginning of my love for basket making and reveling in the season.

April -  Easter celebrations, pumpkin scones, some words and pictures in Hundreds & Thousands zine, rose garden wandering and finding joy in simple pleasures.  

May - A family trip to the Gold Coast to celebrate my Nan's 90th birthday, the launch of our new Wilde Asher store, double rainbows on Mother's Day, gratitude and bush adventures. 

 June - Solstice celebrations, soul gardening, writing & styling, picnics by the river, new recipes and blissful winter moments. 

July - Adentures to Broken Hill for our first Flour and Fire Day, birthday celebrations, festival inspired creations, soul journaling and special gifts. 

 August - Another special visit from Nannie Annie, bountiful winter harvests, adventures to the Sand Hills, amazing oranges and blossoms, lily pilly jam and the beginnings of my natural dyeing studies. 

September - So many gorgeous celebrations, Tallow's second birthday, our nineth wedding anniversary, Ben's birthday and Father's day, a garden fairy birthday cake (perhaps my favourite cake ever), Journal Your Heart Out month, embracing Spring Exquinox and leaf printing. 

October - A family holiday to Byron Bay for my sister's amazing wedding, jacaranda season, exciting realisations, happy days of natural dyeing and basket making. 

 November - Peaceful days, afternoon walks and our first river swims for the season, the return of amazing sunsets, making rainbows of colour, summer planting and special new fibre art works. 

December - A lovely family getaway by the river, festive making and happy peace signs, a homespun Christmas, decluttering and reveling in the beauty of home. 

Now as I look forward to 2016, I'm truly ready to soar.  I'm ready to spread my wings, to learn new things, take a leap of faith and let my voice be heard.  I feel like 2015 was really preparing me for what is to come, as I expand by horizons and send my ideas out into the world.  I'm so excited, we've got some big adventures planned! I'm looking forward to sharing my goals for 2016 in the coming days.  

For now, I wish you a most divine evening, an opportunity to reflect, celebrate and create an amazing vision for the year ahead.  May your dreams sparkle like the star constellations of the evening sky and light the way to a magic 2016.   

Much Love & Light 
xxx

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Our Conscious Christmas - 2015..

Our conscious Christmas this year was as slow and simple as possible.  Nothing new was purchased excecpt a lovely little potted Cyprus pine to play the roll of our Christmas tree for many years to come and a few ethical and eco-friendly gifts for our girl.  Our aim was to create a calm and gentle December, one that did not involve shopping centres, buying and consuming.  Instead we wanted to make and do, take a lingering approach to the season and revel in our precious time together. 

I decorated using branches, bark and leaves gathered on our afternoon walks and added some dried blushing bride blossoms, tied with hemp twine.  I made Tallow's stocking last year by using the Japanese leaf printing technique Hapa Zome with some violas from the garden on calico and handstitched her name. 

Our few gifts were wrapped with recycled brown paper, vintage fabric scraps and calico bags, which were kept to be used again throughout the year.  



Our homespun Christmas table was adorned with homemade crackers, a vase of billy buttons, elements of nature and my grandmother's tablecloth.  Our much loved reindeer was a lovely purchase from the local craft market last year.  

Throughout the month we created our own special tradtions, found the spirit of the season in sunset swims in the river, making cards and gifts, spending time in the garden, reading stories and talking to the elves and fairies, using the special fairy door on the mantlepiece.   On Christmas Eve, I sat back, marvelled at this little scene and felt so grateful that I was able to create a little bit of magic for our sweet girl to wake up to. 

This season means something different and special for everyone.  For us, it is the opportunity to spend time as a family, to slow down and send our love, peace and gratitude into the world.  We choose an eco-friendly, no waste path, while keeping some of the traditions we both loved as children.  We create new traditions each year and focus on giving and sharing. We remember our Littlewing,  who is forever in our hearts and embrace each other that little bit tighter, know how truly blessed we are.

Much Love & Light
xxx

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 52/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Sunday 7:30 pm - Veggie patch play as the sun sets..   

Much Love & Light
xxx

PS. This marks the final in my Capturing the Weekend series. It's been a lovely reminder to stop and notice the beatuiful little moments that punctuate our weeks and I look forward to putting them together in a little book for Tallow to look through and enjoy for many years to come. 

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 51/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Our exta long weekend ~Tuesday 5:30 pm - Summer Holidays.. 

Much Love & Light
xxx

Friday, 18 December 2015

Thirty Goals 2015 - An Update..


This year I set out some pretty big goals for myself.  Within the first few weeks, I'd ticked a few off and then, as it often happens, Summer came to an end, the days got full and I didn't check my list for a little while.  Looking back now though, I realised that those goals and ideas, buying less, treading lightly, learning new skills, were all firmly at the forefront of my every day life. So now as I reflect on what I've done thoughout the year, I realise that by living consiously and thoughtfully, I've been able to achieve much of what I set out to.  And while my total no waste kitchen is still a little way off, I know I'm taking those little, mindful steps each day, to slow down, stay in the moment and revel in the beauty of every day life. Here's some of my favourite goals for the year.   

Buy less, live more - This really has become the motto of my life at the moment.  I used to find myself just buying things, little things for no real reason.  Perhaps because I thought I needed it, wanted it, had to have whatever it was.  That need to buy is often so innate within us a society, it's hard to shake off, but this year I've been really trying.  Each day our home becomes a little more minimalist and a little more peaceful.  Having a list, placing boundaries, evaluating and avoiding impulse buys have all helped me to bring less stuff into our home and feel lighter, happier and more fulfilled.  

Preserve the year in homemade jams and preserves - I've loved learning about preserving this year! It's the first time I've delved into the preserving world and I can't believe how rewarding it is.  Our foraged lilly pilly jam was one of my favourites for the year and I can't wait to try some different recipes and ideas next year.  Chilli jam is high on my to make list.

Make my own pasta - Why have I not made my own pasta before.  Seriously how delicous and simple! I must remember to do this more often and to learn how to dry and store it too.  

Give homemade gifts - Making gifts always makes me so happy.  This little set of garden friend finger puppets (which I just finished yesterday) is one of my favourites for the year.  I've found it a really beautiful way to slow down and invest time into something special.  

Write more - This is always a challenge and one openly accept every year.  I'm noticing now that when the words come, I just have to be there ready with a pen to catch them, no matter the time or place, so I often keep my journal close just in case.  There are ideas brewing, words wanting need to be shared and I'm looking forward to writing and publishing more in 2016. You can find more about my journalling practice here

Make my Nan's relish recipe - This year, as I finally took a leap of faith into the world of preserving, I made my Nan's relish recipe. It took all day, a tradition I'd love to continue each summer and it really tasted amazing.  Of course, our three bottles didn't even make it until Autumn, so this summer I think a bigger batch is in order. You can find the recipe here

Have a family holiday in Byron Bay - This holiday was so beautiful.  Alongside being a part of my sister's gorgeous wedding day, we got to reconnect with a part of the world we love, play at the beach and rekindle our dreams of sea side living. 

Create a minimalist wardrobe - This was a huge goal for me this year and something I'm really proud of.  Only a few years ago I had a huge amount of factory made, cheap clothes, that I didn't really look after or care much about.  Now I've got my wardrobe down to 50 items of clothing and 10 pairs of shoes and couldn't be happier.  I'm in my third year of my ethical fashion journey and now almost everything I own is ethically made, handmade or preloved.  I'll be sharing more about this topic in the new year including some tips on how to curate an ethical and minimalist wardrobe of clothes you love.  

 Tread lightly - This goal is really all about mindset and making conscious choices.  From growing our own food, refusing and reducing single use plastics, composting and buying less, it's everyday discussions and decisions that make our lives and the planet healthier and happier. This is a goal that I work on each day and one that will always stay on my list. 

Finish my raffia sun hat - Last summer I got rebellious and made my own sun hat.  I wanted to take a stand against fast fashion and create something I really loved that would stay with me for many years.  You can read more about my hat making here.  

Learn a new skill - I thought I might learn darning but it turns out basket making was a new skill that's brought me great joy this year.  With some leftover raffia from my sun hat, I set about creating a basket and enjoyed the process so much, I've been creating some to sell for Wilde Asher.  I love beauty in utility, creating useful, long lasting objects and these eco friendly baskets just feel really special to create.

Begin a new project - I've fallen totally in love with natural dyeing this year and it's become an ongoing artistic study and project. I first tried natural dyeing back in 2012 with mixed results.  I rushed what I was doing back then, wasn't very thoughtful and was only after the end results.  This time around I've taken the opposite approach and am realising that the true beauty of this ancient practices lies in the slow and gentle pace and the beautiful and often unexpected results. I'm planning a series of posts about my natural dyeing studies for the new year and can't wait to share my experiences.   

Give back to the community - This year I've been so happy to be able to give a little back through some crafting adventures, like making these prayer flags as part of Bec's fundraiser for Oxfam, my peace signs for UNICEF and some granny squares for Fleur's 'Little Squares of Strength' blanket.   

Reconnect with Mother Earth - Time in the garden, weekend bush walks, gathering flowers, star gazing, cloud meditating, creating sacred spaces and ceremonies for the solstices and equinoxes have all helped me to begin my reconnection to Mother Earth. I hope to create an even more mindful daily practice in 2016 and expand my connection, through more yoga and meditation. 

Live simply & love greatly - This year I have been learning to let go, trust my instincts, go within, find balance, cultivate happiness, practice gratitude, go slowly and be present, not just one day, but every day.  I've noticed that at about 3pm each day, I can find a moment of quiet and I think to myself, 'yes, I've got this, it's working, I've found balance and simplicity', only to lose it again by the next morning.  And what I've realised this year is.. That's perfectly ok. The eb and flow of life, much like the tide is profound and beautiful and working with it, staying present and aware of this cycle is where balance and happiness can truly be found.  

~~~

I started this goal list back in 2012 as a way to combat my previous lofty ambitions and new years resolutions which I was never able to keep track of or fulfill.  I decided I wanted something that contained big and small goals, something I would love working through and something I could some back to year after year.  I love the evolution of my goals over the years and the way they reflect my own evolution and growth. Now as I look to 2016, I'm looking forward to rolling over some of this year's ideas and adding a few new fun things into try.

Do you set yourself goals for the year? I'd love to hear about them!
Much Love & Light
xxx

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 50/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Sunday 5;30pm - Pink ball, pink boots, freshly mown lawn.. All the best things, especially when you're two! 

Much Love & Light
xxx

Friday, 11 December 2015

Made with Love..


This year, one of my main goals was to buy less and live more.  So when I have wanted to add something new to my life, I've tried to be very mindful in decicing what to buy, why I'm buying and who made the item. I first began this conscious journey with my wardrobe three years ago and now it has become a part of my everyday life, no matter what I'm choosing.  Overall this year I've kept my new items few and wherever possible, I've chosen to support local, Australian makers, who work tirelessly every day on their small businesses to bring their ideas to life.  I look around my home now and it brings me so much joy to see things made by such incredible creatives.  Each piece has a story to tell and all are made with love.  

I've been a long time 'online' friend of Christina of Christina Lowry Designs and have always loved and admired her beautiful jewellery and the joy and passion that resonates in everything she creates.  I was very blessed to have Christina make me a beautiful signet ring this year and I also purchased a pair of gorgeous wear everywhere studs.  I love the way Christina shares her everyday life and her business so lovingly & openly and it warms my heart to know that I wear a little of her radiant joy each day.  

Bee Eco Wraps are by far my favourite zero waste find of the year.  The Devine family live off grid on the Sunshine Coast and put all their love into making the most incredible eco wraps.  I've been working on eliminating as much plastic as possible from my kitchen and honestly now that I've used these wraps, I don't know how I lived without them. They smell amazing and are so handy! So far I have two in my collection and I can't wait to get a few more.  And they make the fridge look pretty too!

Millie is one of those artisans who just inspires me every day. Her incredible cheeseboards are true works of art and I feel so lucky have one sitting on the mantlepiece.  And while this wasn't an 'essential' purchase, I love having things around me that are both beautiful and functional.  That wonderful phrase 'beauty in utility' springs to mind when I think about Millie's work.  Over 2015 I've really cut down the 'stuff' I keep around our home, instead opting to decorate mainly with natural and found elements and I love the way Millie's board feels so at home amongst the gum leaves and feathers and functions as both a piece of art, prop or serving platter. 

When I first began to simplify my life three years ago, I wrote in my journal that I wanted just one perfect cup to drink my favourite tea from.  It almost seems a bit too obvious now, but at the time I was surrounded by thrifted crockery and felt totally overwhelmed by my stuff.  Ever since I wrote those words I've been on the lookout for 'my perfect cup', something truly unique and handmade with love.  And I finally found it thanks to Instagram, created by the very talented Katia Carletti.  Just the right size for a cup of Earl Grey, with the most beautiful shape and feel, my perfect cup and all of Katia's work exemplifies everything I adore about handmade. And the best bit, Katia only lives four hours away, so my cup didn't have to travel too far to find me.  

When you shop small you celebrate the creativity of a passionate artisan who is following their dreams.  And while you support and help to nurture their pursuits, in exchange you receive a little piece of that creativity, both physically and emotionally and for me, that's the most special part of this beautiful exchange.

You can see the more of these amazing makers here:
Christina Lowry Designs Shop & Instagram
Bee Eco Wraps Shop & Instagram
Millie Fairhall Shop & Instagram
Katia Carletti Shop & Instagram

ps. Christina has generously offered 15% off her gorgeous jewellery range if you use the code SWEETSOPHIE.

Much Love & Light
xxx

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Our Summer Days..


Summer has begun.. Long days perfect for playing, gardening and exploring.  And when the days get too hot, we retreat inside, to make, paint, stretch and relax.  So often the time of year can be overwhelmed with unneccessary busyness, so I've been really mindful to keep our days free and gentle, especially when the weather is over 40 degrees.  And in those gentle moments, this is what we've been up to.. 

Last week I woke up with the sudden urge to make peace signs.  I just felt like I needed to stitch more peace, hope and love into the world.  I began with one decoration and a week later, I'd made a rainbow.  At first I was make a few to decorate our home, but then I thought like minded souls might like them too, so I've added them to our Wilde Asher store and will be donating $5 from each sale to the UNICEF Refugee Appeal.  Pop over and check them out if they call to your heart. We have a special discount today too! Use the code - XMASLOVE and receive 25% off storewide (until midnight Thursday 10th Dec). 

These warm days are just perfect for eco printing.. I've been a doing some experimenting with natural dyeing over the past few months and these prints always make my heart so happy.  Each one sings it's own story.  The leaves slowly gathered on our afternoon walks and bundled into beautiful silk.  I'm not quite sure what this will be, a scarf perhaps.  Right now I'm just enjoying watching it flutter on afternoon breeze. 

I always love the way the morning sunshine streams into our bedroom.  I've been really mindful lately to create a calming Summer space, inspired by ocean hues and beautiful soft linens.  Looking back I realised I often cluttered our bedroom and I feel so much lighter keeping it all really simple. 

Outside our summer garden is finally coming along after a rough beginning with an over enthusiastic snail population.  We've changed the way we garden this season, using raised beds and copper tape to keep the snails at bay.  Now I'm waiting rather impatiently for our first zucchinis of the season. In the meantime there's always herbs and spinach to gather and these gorgeous pom pom Melaleuca flowers to brighten the garden.  

We've kept our Christmas traditions and making very simple this year too. Rather than gifting presents, our families have decided to exchange handmade cards and save our money for more regular visits up to Queensland.  A little watercolour paint and a good sprinkle of stars and glitter and our rainbow Christmas fairy inspired cards are ready to send. We've also chosen to buy no new decorations and instead I've decorated beautiful natural elements. I'm looking forward to sharing more about our mindful, zero waste Christmas soon.

 This bright little spark loves nothing more than helping with whatever I'm creating, finding muddy puddles to jump in and making up enchanting stories and games.  Doesn't the washing basket make a perfect car/train.  I love watching her imagination blossom and feel so blessed to be able to spend each day nurturing her creative spirit. 

As the year comes to an end, I'm really feeling drawn back to my space here.  It's a beautiful time to reflect on each month and think about the year ahead.  The ebb and flow of the seasons is something I'm embracing more and more each day, as I connect with my creative urges to sometimes make, sometimes write, sometimes capture and sometimes just sit and enjoy the beauty of these precious days.

Much Love and Light
xxx

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Capturing the Weekend - 49/52..

"A portrait capturing our weekend, each week, in 2015."

Saturday 8:15pm - The best spot to cool off and watch the sun set.. 

Much Love & Light
xxx

ps. It's been a little quiet around here because I've been busy making some special peace sign decorations.  I'll be sharing more about them tomorrow and if you'd like to check them out and add one to your home you can find them over here