30 November 2009

Tis that season, again

Advent 2009 : : Week 1

First Sunday of Advent, 2009

The first light of Advent
It is the light of stones
The light that lives in seashells
Crystals and bones


Each year I get lovely emails and comments about our Advent traditions, which spurs me on to ignore the tedium of blog repetition and just post them again. I feel I need to post them anyway - Advent celebrations are a large part of the end of our year and this blog reflects what's going on around me. So here we are again.

Last night as I was poised to light the first candle to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent, Son #1 asked if he could do it. I hesitated (MY job!) but then thought it would be a good way of engaging him, particularly as he had been reluctant to get off the couch and join in, and so I relented. He struck the match and we sang the little song* and then I spoke the verse as the children each put a stone or crystal on the plate.

(Yes, it's a seasonal plate this year rather than a seasonal table, and that's just fine with me. It will probably go up on the mantlepiece tomorrow night when we put up the advent calendar and hang the angel chain. We don't do the kind of advent calendar where the children open a box or miniature stocking and get a trinket or treat every day; for a start I could not keep up with that every night for a month, and secondly it's the celebration and anticipation of the season that's meaningful for us. Our advent calendar is a humble cardboard thing with beautiful watercolour paintings that follow the story of Mary's Little Donkey and coincide with each chapter of the book as we work our way through it every December).

So. A new tradition wherein the eldest son lights the candle? Or maybe they'll take turns? We'll see next Sunday when we light the second candle.

If you are interested, I have written about our Advent celebrations in the past. You can find all the links to those posts here.

* Advent, Advent, a candle burns
Advent, Advent, a candle burns
First one, then two
Then three, and four
Then stands the Christchild at the door.

26 November 2009

photographic interlude

Some pictures to keep the blog warm as I'm a bit busy right now.

sunrise, late spring

Work has gone slightly ballistic but we won't dwell on that ...

well?

... and there have been rehearsals and performances of a rather hilarious production of Robin Hood from Son #2's class, which have kept us busy in the evenings this week.

tawny frogmouth after the rain

The birds still come and either totally ignore our presence ...

cheeky beaks

... or flap about noisily demanding we refill the birdfeeder.

sunrise from the lounge room window

There's been some knitting squeezed in around the edges of life. I made some cotton washcloths for a bloggy friend across the Tasman ...

washcloths for a friend

and a soothing-to-knit garter stitch cardigan for me currently on the needles.

short rows cardigan

I hope to be able to get back here next week with reports of Craft Camp (heading off here this weekend with the usual craft group gang. Squeeee!) and some rather lovely goodies to show you (I went Christmas shopping but only found things for myself. Must.try.harder). Also, there should be some news about a calendar soon.

18 November 2009

enabling

This ...

hand dyed sock yarn - Ocean Waves

and this ...

fire

and these ...

2 x Leaf Litter skeins of superwash sock yarn

just went into the shop. You know, in case you feel like knitting. Or just stroking some pretty wool.

In other exciting news, myself and two friends are collaborating on a 2010 calendar. It's going to be absolutely beautiful and will, I think, make lovely Christmas presents. We'll be selling it on Red Bubble so watch our blogs for a heads up when it's ready. I'm hopeful that it will be soon.

13 November 2009

Spring Fair - Saturday!

Constance Spry

The Melbourne Rudolf Steiner School open day and spring fair is tomorrow!

There will be school tours, talks on Rudolf Steiner's educational philosophies, pony rides, a Children's Tent, fabulous coffee and cake in the Cafe, gourmet lunches in the Dining Room, musical performances throughout the day (you might spot two of my boys), exquisite Waldorf dolls for sale, a butterfly enclosure, a rockclimbing wall and other children's activities, a produce stall selling all sorts of yummy foodie items, raffles and a wonderful craft market featuring stalls from talented folk in the wider Steiner community.

It's a fabulous day, and the school's biggest fundraiser each year. I hope you can come.

It's going to be hot too, so bring a hat!

11 November 2009

Nothing says summer! as strongly as a box full of mangoes perfuming your kitchen

evening light

When I realised the whole boxful were ripe, rather than a blend of ripe and unripe, I looked up some recipes for chutney, and mango chicken, etc.

I needn't have bothered. Turns out five people can quite easily consume 26 enormous mangoes.

7 November 2009

pop pop poppy

poppy seed pods

I gave my camera a work out the other day at Heide.

More here.

6 November 2009

fresh

I sewed a skirt the other night, from the cutting out all the way to the hem, in one evening after work. Talk about proud of myself! I was sorely tempted to go to bed with only the hemming to go, but the thought of the poor thing sitting there for another five months before I got around to it was just too depressing.

new skirt

It's a simple A-line skirt from my trusty pattern that's easy to make and I know fits me. The fabric is curtain fabric from Spotlight. If anyone out there has curtains like my skirt, I do not want to know, thank you.
I wore it to work the next day, and I'm wearing it again today.

pine cones

Earlier in the week I cleaned out the lounge room fireplace (because summer has made a sudden appearance) and filled it with pine cones for the warmer weather. I collected those pine cones by the side of the road one very very hot day in January, with Janet, and she took a photograph.

3 November 2009

bullets for your Tuesday evening

dramatic cloud

• Isn't that a fabulous cloud? Awesome, almost.

• It appears I've entered some sort of challenge, only with the housework and without the jogging. So ... today I weeded another garden bed, made a batch of muesli bars, baked bread, and helped the youngest child pack for camp. Hmm, not quite as impressive an effort as yesterday, which featured furniture rearrangement (a major and rare endeavour round here). I really should include the jogging, especially as bathers seasons is practically upon us. Well, IS upon us actually, as it was 33C yesterday. Or something.

• One of my favourite commenters started her own blog, yay!

• We had a four day weekend all because of a horse race. Not bad, huh?

• The Soup family celebrated today's day off with a picnic at one of our favourite spots. The boys and the mister took a soccer ball and three kids from a neighbouring picnic rug and a woman from a different neighbouring picnic rug all came and joined in the game while I wandered through the kitchen garden, albeit somewhat nervously due to the sign placed by the gate saying a snake had been spotted in there recently.

• This morning a cockatoo was trying to squeeze his massive self into the bird feeder. I always forget how enormous cockies are until I see them next to another large bird such as a parrot, or trying to fit into the feeder. (I did photograph him for you, but it's still in the memory card).

• I gave in and cast on a blue cardigan with the Silkroad (mmm, wool, silk and cashmere!) before finishing all the other projects currently on my needles. I justified this by saying I need mindless knitting for occasions such as picnics and SnB sessions, rather than projects that require charts and counting and no chit chat.

• Our department's city office is almost up and running which means I can work the occasional day in the city soon. Which means train time. Which of course means knitting time. Another reason for mindless knitting projects.

• Son #3 goes on camp tomorrow. I don't like this. Youngest children should not be allowed to leave home. Ever.

• We went out yesterday to look at rainwater tanks and came home with a $10 crabapple tree. And lots of tank brochures and prices.

• I'm on a Tudor reading kick at the moment. Currently in the car I'm working my way through Margaret Irwin's Elizabeth trilogy on audio book - Young Bess, Elizabeth: Captive Princess, and Elizabeth and the Spanish Prince. They waffle and get side tracked a bit, as if the author found some really interesting little tidbit when doing her research and then had to work out how to incorporate it into the story. Good though, mostly. On my bedside table are Philippa Gregory's The Constant Princess, about Catherine of Aragon, and The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. Gregory tells a gripping story usually although she is occasionally a bit repetitive and also has an annoying habit of giving her protagonist some little quirk or habit to denote anxiety/moral dilemma etc which she then bangs on about forever until you are ready to scream YES, WE GET IT NOW LET THE HAIR TWISTING/NAIL PICKING/SMUT WIPING ALONE. I don't know why I just typed all that - I've read all Gregory's books and enjoyed them, perhaps I've just read them too close together (ie all in the last 12 months). Alison Weir isn't a particularly elegant story teller; her prose can be quite bland and strangely stilted, but at least you know her research is spot on, being An Important Historian and all. I'm about a third of the way through both these last two.

• I went to the black hole that is Ikea the other day, and as is the rule, did not purchase what I went there for but came home with two lots of fabric (for skirts) two picture frames and this year's Advent candles.

• I did something the other day that I have mixed feelings about. I purchased The Artist's Way. Has anybody any experience of this practice? Am I kidding myself, or am I on the cusp of beginning a journey I've been heading towards for years? I have my end of year assessment essay due in on Monday (Pompeii again) and only then I will open the book.

• Son #3 let Son #1 cut his hair today. Talk about brave.

2 November 2009

feathered friends

cross lorikeet
A rather cross lorikeet, squawking at me self-righteously. I wasn't filling up the bird feeder fast enough in his opinion.

Rosella
A pair of rosellas have been visiting lately. They tink politely at each other and take it in turns.

King Parrot in the birdfeeder this afternoon
And this afternoon a King Parrot let me get very very close.