This beautiful book, Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House, written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood*, is getting a workout here at the moment. It's a delight - thoughtful text and sensitive, brilliantly executed illustrations, with a poignant and extremely relevant theme; how does a child cope with moving to a new house in a new location?
I have to agree with the main character, Clancy - I would also prefer to stay in the pretty cosy cottage rather than the inner city townhouse with large cavernous rooms that his family have moved to. But that's not the point. As Clancy checks out his new surroundings, clutching to his security toy, he is nervous, anxious, displaced.
Just like my little girls have been feeling! Unsettled. For Miss M, it first manifested in her early morning writing session, all over Grandma's new couch. ALL over it. Wow! Completely out of character. And then she spent a week clutching on to her security toy, crying a the drop of a hat as she tried to find her way in this new place.
Five weeks on and they are doing better now, and school starts in a week. I'm looking forward to the routine it will provide and I have no doubt that our girls will be more settled when they find new friends. In the meantime, swimming lessons have helped, as have visits with their cousins and, this last weekend, visits from out-of-town grandparents and friends. And cuddles. Lots of cuddles, talks, letters and parcels sent to old friends, phone calls...
What books have you been reading lately?
* Check out Freya's blog here. She is a very talented lady!
When I was packing up my wool stash for the move, I had to ask myself if I was seriously going to use it all. Some incomplete projects just didn't make the grade - the colour was wrong, the yarn wasn't right - and were gifted to the local op shop. Other yarn, such as this beautiful Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed that I bought 12 years ago, just had to come with me.
My initial aborted attempts to use this wool included an aran knit jumper and, when that didn't grab me, I then tried it in a jacket, but it wasn't to be.
And so last year, I tried again, and used 9 of the skeins to knit my first Mara Shawl for one of my buddies. Which then left me with eight skeins. Hmmm. Not quite enough to knit another Mara. But, after another lengthy ravelry.com pattern search (which I loooove to do), I discovered that eight skeins would be quite enough to make this pattern - Autumn Leaves Stole by Jared Flood.
So, I'm feeling good - I'm destashing!
And I'm knitting, which always makes me feel good!
The weather is so glorious at the moment that we are taking advantage and visiting the beach to wash away the day's renovation dust!
And each time we visit, we are amazed at how much water and swimming confidence all our girls are developing, although sometimes they can get a bit too confident and that's when Mummy runs full pelt down the beach to drag them back......
We haven't taken the girls to the circus before and, given that it has been in town for the last few days, and Miss J has been supremely excited by the expanse of yellow-ness that is the Big Top, we decided that this was the perfect time for our first circus experience as a family.
It was Hilarious!
Oh, don't get me wrong. The performers were very talented and it was obvious that they worked very hard at their craft. Clever people.
And there were no wild animals, about which I was pleased, not that I expect to see them in the circus situation anymore.
So, there were no lions, no elephants, no tigers. But there were ...... cows.
Performing circus cows???
Beautiful black and white cows. And as I watched them saunter around the ring I couldn't help but laugh at the apparent absurdity of a circus cow. And then, of course, once I started that uncontrollable giggling, that was it. It just seemed so bizarre, so...... surreal! So completely unexpected!!
But you know what? Those very well trained cows did what they were trained to do.
It had to be seen to be believed....
.....so you had better go yourselves when the circus comes to your town!
Have you been to a circus lately?
The Australian, the international, the metaphorical?
Ever since my very clever interior designer and stylist sister launched her website 5 weeks ago, she has been receiving lots of positive online attention. Today, for instance, she is having her home photographed for a major Australian lifestyle magazine. She has also been contacted by a publisher!!
Kim has had much success in the 15 years since she started down this path. And now, the power of social media is helping to take her talent into another realm!
Kim helped us to style our last house so it was perfectly presented for selling. This time she is determined to get hold of our new place to give us advice before we start renovating.
And I'll listen. Because she obviously know her stuff.
What a great little pattern this is - Snowflakes on Mulberries Hat designed by Amy Klimt. Fun to knit, quick, with top quality results. My only modification was to knit 17.5cm before beginning the decreases, allowing the wearer (in this case, G) to fold the lower edge up as much as he likes.
Knitted in Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 8ply in Graphite - grey, with an underlying blue hue, and oh so artfully modeled by G, while distracted by the cricket on telly!!
Shall I knit another Mara? Absolutely! But not just yet - I have started a beanie for G using some of the other Bendigo wool I received last year. And in addition to that, I have been thinking about the practicality of a poncho for me, now that we live in cooler climes...... any excuse will do!
Our goal* is to eventually live on a large block of land (or as G would have it, a farm) where we can grow more of our own food. We did do that to some extent at our last home in the Perth Hills on 1/2 acre; we had a sizable vegie patch, 20 or so fruit trees, and kept up to 10 chickens while practising organic principles. Moving to the South Coast brings us closer to that goal, closer to another side of the family, closer to the lifestyle we envisage for our family.
So why, now, the smaller block near the beach? We no longer have any chickens**, our vegie patch is growing in pots, and there's not a fruit tree in sight!
It's all part of The Plan.
This house, while lovely and brilliantly located, is our 'Stepping Stone House'. It's purpose is not only to provide us with a beautiful place to live, it's also a gateway for us, a house through which we hope we can achieve our ultimate lifestyle dream - our 'Forever House' - once we establish ourselves in the community, and locate the larger block that we dream about.
Even so, this house suits us right now - and this has surprised us. It might be that we stay longer than we original planned.
But I still miss my chickens.
* An idea triggered, once again, by Allison Tait and her Life in a Pink Fibro blog. Thanks, Allison! ** which have found (or rediscovered) loving homes before we left! I wouldn't leave them with just any one!!
Hooray and thank you to the movers who delivered all our furniture on Christmas Eve, and especially to the moving man whose truck broke down on the way back to Perth at 5pm with still a 4 hour drive ahead of him! Poor thing!!*
But for us it meant that we could wake up on Christmas morning in our new home, surrounded by tinselly decorated boxes. Phew! We made it!
And thank you to the talented and generous Greer of Typically Red and Christina who ran the Giveaway. The beautiful red bonnet arrived in time for Christmas. I had intended to keep it as a gift for a younger child, with both Greer and I thinking that it wouldn't fit a four year old, but it was quickly snaffled by Miss J when we collected it on Christmas Eve, and she would not remove it, not even for bed! And it was HOT on Christmas day - certainly not the weather to be wearing a woolly bonnet, nor for using the brand new umbrellas that a thoughtful and practical Santa had supplied:). However, the bonnet did come off the next day. I think even Miss J agreed that a bonnet is not quite the right attire for a swim at the new local beach!
And just how local is our new beach? Oh, only a leisurely 2 minute stroll. And a really good one is just a short drive away. Hee Hee!
It is truly beautiful down here in our new town, in many ways. But right now I am laid up in bed with a tummy bug. Which isn't so beautiful. So I'll write more later**. Of course!
*I am told he did get home before midnight. Please. Next time, take a mobile!
** Because writing in bed while flat on your back is not easy, not matter how stubborn you are!!