Happy as a clam

It has been a long time between posts – over a month in fact! But in that month we have moved house and I have to say that we are so happy to finally be in our house. It is like a dream that we are finally here! The move in day was long and arduous but we made it through and finished our day with pizza sitting in camp chairs surrounded by boxes! So many boxes!!! I have to say it was quite amazing to finally unpack them all and find homes for all the stuff that we have had hidden away for the last 13 months. Yep it was 13 months for this build and we waited patiently through two winters in that freezing rental property, now it is all behind us!

I have been busy as when we moved it was school holidays so I had no work which meant 100% focus on getting the house ready before work and school went back – so the multitude of lists were complete with hanging all the artwork in our gallery space. We have also celebrated two birthdays – my hubby and my son, baked bread and biscuits in our amazing oven, enjoyed cooking everyday in our kitchen and admired the sky from the skylights in the bathroom and the stairwell. That ugly stairway above is from our rental property and I wanted to include it here as the cleaners did an amazing job!! We also got rid of boxes from IKEA and heaps of other stuff that we wanted to donate but could not because we have been in lockdown for over 100 days.

Back at work I’ve bought coffee for my workmates including a golden milk latte for me – so good to have matcha latte as a treat every so often too! It is so fun to be back with the children and playing outside when the sun shines or not!

Apricot is loving the sunshine and all the light this house brings and with that my passion for gardening is cruising along and I have been repotting all my plants as they adjust to new surroundings as well. My indoor plant collection is growing and now I have taken up a new craft macrame so I am pretty excited about making little nets for my plants to hang from. Time to get to work, it is amazing how your environment can change your whole being it still feels unreal that we are here and everyday I am thankful that we have this beautiful purpose built house to we call home.

All over the shop!

The days have been dragging on and life has been such a struggle as we play the waiting time to move into our house. We are so fed up with living in this freezing cold rental with its broken ceiling and terrible design. There is awful light in this house and my poor plants have suffered under cold conditions, they will be so happy when they are moved into our new house. We will be too, sure I have a roof over my head and have food in the fridge but there is something about when you are ready to go – it is time! Trying to focus on my study has been problem number one! As I sit at the dining table in a room with two massive windows and no heating (its super expensive and useless to heat this place) it is difficult to concentrate as I suddenly feel cold – so off I go to find a blanket, coat and a beanie. This is how I dress to feel comfortable inside this house. You can see above the cat is even done with living here too.

This is what the outside of our house looks like at the moment as I have called the real estate agent to fix this broken ceiling two months ago. It was certainly lucky that no one was out there the night when it collapsed, as it ruined a couple of my pot plants! Then the wire has been hanging there for ages until I emailed them to see when it could be fixed and they said not for another 10 weeks!! Good bye and good riddance to you all, this is a ridiculous scenario for $2700 in rent per month. Thank goodness we do not have to pay these guys one more cent. This place looks insane with its bubble wrap on the windows and ruined facade.

I have to be thankful for the location we are living near with the amazing, overflowing Merri Creek close by. A couple of weeks ago I went for a walk and a chat to my friend after a weekend of heavy rain. You can see the trees underwater due to the amount of rain – it was scary with the rushing flow of water but exciting at the same time to see all the rain that had fallen. Now it is September and spring is here and we are a bit happier to go outside in the sunshine in the morning to feel the warm sun on our faces.

Winter is in the background but the chill is still here, on a walk to the shops to get fathers day goodies we have found beauty in the flowering birds of paradise and a fresh little leaf on a plane tree. So much to look forward to when the warmth returns to our hemisphere soon.

Today I went for a walk to see our house and here it is, nearly there with its beautiful fence in place. We only have 11 days to go until we get the moving truck in the driveway to fill it with boxes and our stuff to take to our home. I am so looking forward to moving, as are the rest of the fam as we are trying not to complain about our living conditions but we all are done with living in an uninsulated house with hardly any natural sunlight. This is due to being a south facing house and it is a terrace house with windows on the front and back – there are prominent windows but not in the right place to capture the warmth. See our new kitchen below for the afternoon sunlight that we will enjoy through the big windows.

Well the countdown is on and it is the small wins and we celebrate next Wednesday only 7 days until we are outta here!

Our beautiful kitchen island minus the stone top

Spring in my step

When the sun is shining it is a time to go outside! After all the time I have been inside working from home and doing my Uni work I thought I had better grab that sunshine and get some vitamin D. Man I am happy that I did that Saturday morning as it was just beautiful! While I was walking I was listening to hope and all the inspiration from the Michelle Obama podcast on Spotify – seriously I love this so much!! As I wandered around the streets I even took off my winter coat discovering remnants of spring at every turn.

I went walking to our house to check out how our concrete project turned out and I was pretty impressed with the gum leaves on the left and the conifer trees on the right that remind me of the beloved Redwoods in California.

Garden inspiration at the Royal Melbourne Hospital at Parkville. This garden is absolutely stunning with the waterfall in the centre. Its strange I felt I had been there before but maybe it has featured in films, who knows?

This was my work project last week as I created a Spoonville community for our kindergarten, hopefully this little fella survived the crappy weather this weekend and did not get washed away! I am sure the afro is looking a bit damp now. I love this idea as there are little communities popping up everywhere where the kids decorate an old wooden spoon to give it a new life. A perfect project for the children in lockdown and our kindergarten community.

Oh and can 2020 get even worse! My yoga teacher friend posted the above picture of the visitor centre at Big Basin State Park in California after a lightning fire engulfed the park. It is so sad to see this as we spent a lot of time under the redwoods camping, hiking and enjoying nature. California is where I really got to appreciate the environment (I love banana slugs) to become who I am as an environmentalist. Seeing these fires year after year, not only in California but here in Australia has brought me to the realisation that government is doing f…k all! We all need to get busy, so I am now listening to The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis because if we don’t get a start soon we are all gonna be screwed. After time in lockdown with this pandemic we now have an opportunity to turn our future around and this needs to begin ASAP.

These are strange times…

It has been a while since I wrote anything here but the weeks have flown by as I managed to fall behind in my University studies and everything else has been unpredictable with coronavirus. I had work meetings, professional development for work, webinars for my high schooler, online doctors appointments and my last hair appointment for a long time! Lists of readings for uni to do, where it is so hard to focus with the whole household at home as the new normal. There is zero opportunity to disappear to a cafe for timeout with my computer and a coffee. Thank goodness for headphones I say! Exercise has been inside with body combat or some other Les Mills class every day if I can fit it in. Plus I have managed to make dates for drinks online with a couple of friends which gives me something to look forward to!

Times sure are strange but it is something we have to get used to here in Melbourne with our stage 4 lockdown restrictions of no work unless you are a permitted or essential worker, 1 hour of exercise outside per day, 1 person designated to go to the shops per day and 8pm to 5am curfew plus no moving outside of our 5km radius unless we need to go to a medical appointment. It feels intense to write this, but it has to be like this as it is important to curb the spread of this nasty virus. I am really missing so much now, but I feel once we are allowed to live “normally” again we will appreciate everything a lot more.

This is where I spend most of my time these days in my little study zone which is the converted lounge room with its massive windows covered in bubble wrap to keep the warmth inside. I am sitting here covered in blankets and wearing a beanie. I just keep saying not long now but every day is so uncomfortable living in a house that is uninsulated in a city that gets very cold in winter and really hot in summer. For these pics, I had to do a clear out of my desk to do a presentation for Health and Physical Education for Uni which is why the area looks void of anything as everything was put on the floor so I could film my 5 minute presentation. It looks very fancy and neat but I like to have my bits and pieces surrounding me so it is back to the way it was in the pic on the left now – cos sometimes I just feel like playing around with some craft – as most of the time I am studying. Last week I wrote a 2000 word report for the value of science in early childhood education, which I loved as I am a huge fan of science. Here is a little chemistry experiment I made for the little ones for work. I was on the tail end of my report and then stage 4 happened and we had to get into remote learning mode for the kiddos at kinder. Just breathe, I said and I got there in the end with a 48 hour extension!

Each day is another day closer to living in our new home, here are the pics before they get to sanding the floors tomorrow. The kitchen is looking amazing and I am so looking forward to cooking up some delicious dinners there. Not long now as it is wonderful to see things moving along – the construction fence is down and we will have a new fence in place soon. I am so happy to see this and it is definitely something to look forward to, just in time at the end of lockdown but who knows? The coronavirus numbers have been up and down for the last week and a half so we will see. We will have to have a zoom house warming party, until we can be together again!

Lockdown 2.0 in Melbourne

So as you can see from the centre picture we are in lockdown again as multiple community clusters of COVID were appearing so Melbourne went on a massive testing blitz. There has been a huge amount of tests and the numbers are pretty high still and we have been in lockdown for 2 weeks now. The night lockdown 2.0 was announced I was meeting a friend for wine and pizza, so we made the most of our time out and drank an extra glass of wine! I have been at work and I am also back at Uni balancing my time so I can write my assignments, do my readings and get other things done, like making and creating! Above is a dress I made the other day ready for spring and the window decoration is what I created for the lockdown 2.0 to bring some rainbow love to the community. But now I have covered the windows in bubble wrap to keep the warmth inside – who knew the bubblewrap creates double glazing on the cheap!

So with lockdown 2.0, we all gotta do our bit with mandatory mask wearing when we are out and about. My masks were made with a great pattern and tutorial by a lovely lady on the Good Karma Network. In the classroom we are allowed to take the mask off when we are teaching and working with the groups of children. Still I would rather wear the mask and stay well. I will be spraying all the masks I made with a non toxic fabric protector to keep the micro droplets at bay.

I have not been out much but I did find the super cool toilet block designed in conjunction with a local artist and our local school art captains. I love it and it brings some beautiful colour into our streets.

And finally some progress on our house…

Our house is getting there we are now on the countdown to moving in at the beginning of September, so fingers crossed all goes well and we can be in for the spring! Whoo hoo!

Getting creative on holiday

What has been happening over the last couple of weeks. For one, I worked crazy hours on my last week of work before the winter break. So over the first week of break it was time to get down and get busy with crafts and projects that have been waiting to be bought to life. It has been so good as I got out the craft boxes that need to be dealt with and began making starting with needle felting and knitting then it was working with clay and making jewellery to add to my winter clothes. The fun part was getting out my knitting machine for a couple of weeks and knitting up some layers of wool for the rest of winter – it has been ages since I got out my Brother chunky knitting machine so some online tutorials came to the rescue and I got to work with a plan of knitting and felting pieces to create layering vests. Then came the brilliant idea of cutting up an old cardigan that is annoying to wear and sew and felt the pieces together – it is so good to create again! Next week will be minimal creating as I am back at Uni so my study comes first.

And yes we have all been keeping our distance – this is from the tram trip I took to the city today for my first aid course for work.

In the background our house has been moving along and I went to meet a landscaper there the other day. There is joinery in place and the painting has been done to a point and the move in date is still another couple of months away. I was imagining myself working in the kitchen with our NEFF oven and gas cooktop with the island for prep space – so much fun to be had when we finally move, the countdown is on!!

Here are some of my creations that I have been making over the last few weeks while I have been away from Uni and had time to clear out and make. The two vests I made with my knitting machine are layering pieces for winter using an old jumper sewing together felted yarn pieces. This was yarn that was donated to me ages ago so I am happy to see it in action.

My rainbow needle felted cardi is a project that has been on my list forever and I finally built up the courage to start and it was quite rewarding and meditating sitting there at night needle felting away – I had no idea it was so addictive. So now all my holey jumpers have been fixed with needle felting 😀

I have been making with oven baked clay and I first started with making beads to jazz up my winter outfits for work. I also made some dangling earrings and now I am making stud earrings which I love as they do not get stuck in my with high scarves and jackets. I wore a pair out to the city today and they were so comfortable so I will add them to the Etsy shop in the future. Plus I have crocheted a lovely little lap blanket that doubles as a cape or a place for our rescue kitty Apricot to sleep.

It has been so good to be free to work away at my crafts over the last few weeks and make and create. I am layered in warm wool and can accessorise with colour. I had no idea how much fun it would be to work with oven bake clay and add signature crochet strands of colour from yarn I found in Portland, Oregon. Next week it is back to reality and studying again and then I will be back at work, so I gotta enjoy this free time while I can.

Calling upon our super powers

I have had to call upon my super powers as the new change of pace has really been a shock to my routine. I have gone from groundhog day of everything being the same for two months to working as an educator with 3, 4 and 5 year old little people. Whew it has been exhausting but I know what centres me and makes me happy is crafting while I am away from my studies or work.

Now that I am finished with the garage organisation for our move in 3 months!! I have bags of stuff to donate and have already sold some fabric on Marketplace. My other projects of selling my vintage clothes collection is at my Etsy shop and I soon will be adding my beaded creations below once I have given them a road test when I go to work and see if they are up for the challenge of a day out at work with children.

I have now completed an induction for my part time job and seem to be getting into the swing of getting up early to be at work by 8am. Which is fine as I am a morning person. This beautiful rainbow was created by the kindergarteners at the head office which I knew of the location as it was the end of the train line. The building had a great view of the city in the distance. So this week was a bit crazy and I have been doing extra shifts as a cold has to be treated as COVID and my co-educators have been stuck at home recovering and waiting for their test results – which are negative, whew!!

So while I have been having a nice amount of downtime in between work and cooking amazing seasonal dinners with food from CERES I have been making. I bought some Fimo to make mobiles when in isolation but I later decided I would make some beads and it has been so fun to play with clay again. I really love making the beads and also some earrings with the mix of colours. I reckon they make great gifts and I can also gather up a supply for a local market – yay! I have always wanted to try to combine my textiles crafting with clay and these are the perfect combo to jazz up a winter outfit.

After cleaning out my fabric stash down to one big box, I found this gorgeous cat fabric that I had made into a dress for Miss H and now that she is too big for it I cut it up and pieced it together for a skirt for another year or so I reckon and then it can be passed onto another cat lover!

As I am getting used to this new routine with going to work and time at home, I am making sure that the free time I have now is not wasted so my plan is to needle felt a cardigan in rainbow, do some knitting on the knitting machine, make a spring dress, finish a baby hat for my friend and continue to create with clay. Now that I have dug out my supplies I plan on getting busy and creating for the next couple of weeks before Uni starts up again in the second week of the kids school holidays.

There will be many more opportunities to photograph sand castles, children’s paintings and their creations when I am at work to document my learning on my teaching blog. Documentation and reflection is so important where I am learning so much from the experienced teachers at my work, it is so good to be working again in something I enjoy!

Light at the end of a COVID tunnel

Finally I am feeling a bit more focused to begin the next phase in our life. Now that Uni is nearly over and I have a break for a month it is time to get some organisation happening so our packing process in September to our renovated home will be a smooth one! I am absolutely thrilled to realise that this will be our last move to our home. Over the last couple of years I have packed, donated, unpacked, passed on, boxed up and sold a lot of our stuff but now its time for a more severe clean out!

I am so thankful to be living in a civilised society with all the madness going on in the world at the moment with Black Lives Matter. Racism is an ugly undercurrent that unfortunately still exists in our society. Most of us are immigrants who have chosen to live in many parts of the world that we love, away from where we were born people do not get it – we live in a world of many nations and people. As an educator I am always reflecting on bias and this is the one thing that matters to instil in children that everyone is equal, no matter what colour you are. I watch children play together when they are 3 to 5 years old, somehow there is no filter to who you play with – it is the adults in children’s who create the negative bias towards others, for what?? Yes everyone has experience and a story to tell but it is important to process, learn and move on from the negativity towards others. The racist rhetoric that still exists in America and definitely Australia needs to change but how can we do this without seeing other peoples perspectives, the white man is still in charge where colonialism, corporation and greed overrule. Most people know what is right and we all have to believe and support each other, even if this means to go to your local Israeli felafel shop and enjoy a lunch in the sunshine! Get over yourselves, the world would be way more boring if we did not live in such a diverse multicultural world.

Now to the some good news for the next few months. I am finally working again as I was offered a maternity cover role as a co-educator at the kinder where I did my placement last December. It has made me so happy to be working with children again. I feel the impact that an educator can have on a child is something that they can take with them for their future. The early years of a child’s life is a phenomenal growing period where they are processing and learning so much and it is so important that the role models who interact with little ones promote positive behaviours. There is so much at stake for little people and the time they spend at preschool prepares them for so much! My new job is part time and it will balance beautifully with my University schedule so heres to knocking over the rest of the year with a truly positive light.

Crafting in the time of COVID-19

This year I have spent at least two weeks between posts – which is slack for me as I like to keep this like a journal of my goings on. It’s funny you think with all the inside time we are having that you have time for plenty of other projects that are on the “To Do List”. Having to stay at home, it has been good to get into a routine with doing my Qi Gong meditation, have breakfast, exercise online with Body Combat and then study for the rest of the day and then make dinner. Then at night time chill out and craft with cold fingers! At the moment I feel like I want to be crafting all the time to make more layers to keep me warm in this icy cold rental property we are living in. This place is ridiculous it is hot as hell in the summer and colder than the outside temperature in the winter. It has heating which is useless as they are electric wall heaters that suck up energy and our power bill is outrageous $1500 for a quarter of a year – yep that sucks!

Anyway I have been researching and writing for my Arts Education folio which includes a 600 word reflection piece. That is the thing I really enjoy about teaching it is the constant reflection on your life and how your teaching will harmonise to your sense of being, which has meant that this unit of Arts Education reignited my energy to teach an integrated arts curriculum and how important it is for the kids in the 21st century. The arts teaches critical and creative thinking, which is a must have in this day and age.

I have been going through all the yarn I have at home and knitting up many hats. This hat is a fave and it is the Starving Artist pattern on Ravelry and it is so warm and comfy for my short out of control hair at the moment – I have a hair cut booked in June!! It is a very easy pattern to follow that looks great on as well. This Malabrigo yarn I have knitted and frogged multiple times and now I think I have finally found the right pattern for it. The colours are perfect for this hat. This yarn is also knitted up into a night cap and cowl to keep me warm at night – you gotta do what you have to when the nights drop to 3 degrees celsius in a house with zero warmth.

When the payday came through I decided to track down my favourite Malabrigo Rasta and this was found at a yarn store in Brisbane. This has to be my favourite yarn of all time, it is perfect for the Melbourne winter and this is going to be a hat that will go down over my ears, so looking forward to knitting this one up as it will be so comfortable and warm. Aaahhh Malabrigo!

My other craft is crochet and you can see this project in the top pic laying all over my assignment notes. I have had to make a lap blanket to keep warm when studying at my desk. So I have been gathering all the scratchy yarn and making a blanket out of it – you can never have enough blankets in winter – especially in this ice box. It is moving along quite well with that giant crochet hook and is a cinch in single crochet. It is so important to balance work with the arts and crafts for me as it keeps me on an even keel as I always need an outlet to create constantly no matter what I am making. Yes definitely the arts really keep me going and provide the grounding for my creative energy.