31 August 2010


Meet our new guinea pig, Arthur. She's about the same age as Leslie was, also somewhat shy and black and white rather than brown and white. She's about half the size though and much smaller than Martha, who has fortunately stopped chasing her around - It seems that Martha is the boss of the cage. Arthur was a mum about 6 weeks ago...Do guinea pigs miss their babies? She's a lovely little thing who doesn't mind a hug and I hope she likes it here :)

30 August 2010

unschool monday :: decisions

When I was about twelve years old, my parents handed a big decision to me... Did I want to start drama classes at a local theatre school, or join a hockey team. I stewed on it for a good few days. It still seems like one of those pivotal decisions. Like it might have affected who I am today somehow... I'm always grateful that they left the decision up to me...

Last week I found myself having a similar discussion with big owlet. As much as she loves the idea of ballet, I suspect that she finds it a little too challenging. She loves the freedom of dance and is quite uninhibited... but ballet makes her arms hurt. She doesn't love it enough to work at it. Something I remember discovering at a similar age. I asked her if she'd like to try a different style of dance... contemporary, funk perhaps? "Oh I already know how to do funky dancing, mama!" Fair enough too.

Watching her in her ballet class and really honing in on her enjoyment level, I see her face as she goes through the steps. She knows them well and actually dances beautifully, her feet are spot on and she has a certain grace about her. But she really lights up when its time to improvise. She asks to do more of it. The other student in the class hates improvisation, so a compromise is found and big owlet goes back to going through the motions... On the way home we talk about it and I think back on our week and big owlet and what really gets her enthused about life. She's so dramatic. She loves improvisation. Sometimes its hard to drag her out of the dream world she's in when making up stories with little owlet. She loves to perform... We talked about it at length, talked about her options and left the decision up to her...Not the first time we've done that this year and in my head I'm thinking about the money we've spent on classes and clothing that has hardly been worn and how far she has come. I wonder if I'm too easy, encouraging her to give up rather than work at it. But its her life and if its not fun, then what's the point?

So this week she starts drama classes! The school promises loads of improvisation and sounds so up her alley. Fingers crossed. Oh and we'll see if we can squeeze in a stint of indoor rock climbing too 'cos thats her favourite and her best...

thing #8

Another garden skirt... one for daydreamers like me. This one is a size 2-4. The others I've posted recently have been 4-6. Little owlet has just graduated to a 4-6, so we'll be making these little ones for our smaller friends....

29 August 2010

thing #7

Bean bag sets!! These are made with a mix of textured and coloured fabrics and each bean bag has something different inside (lentils, beans, chick peas etc), so they all feel different - some bumpy, some smooth. So much fun to throw around the house on a chilly day and great for gross motor skills.

If you've seen something you've liked in the past week, just let me know and you are welcome to have it before market day... otherwise you can find it there or on etsy later if it doesn't find a home before.

mother blessing

P1020334 rev
Big owlet when she was little and little owlet when she was "baby inside"... I am the moon...

I've had the great fortune to attend a number of blessingways, but never my own. It looks like I may have the chance towards the end of this very long road to our third owlet... and I will be celebrating!! So what is a mother blessing/blessingway? Traditionally, its a Navajo ceremony to celebrate the passage of a woman from maiden to motherhood. They've become increasingly popular over recent years as a way to bring positivity and caring energy to a soon to birth mother. An alternative to a baby shower. Generally no presents for the baby are brought, no registry involved. Rather than focus on the baby, it is very much about the mother feeling supported by the circle of women around her and remembering all the women who have birthed before and around her. So what goes on? It depends on the mother and what she's up for, but you'll often find beads, candles, henna and red yarn, not to mention piles of yummy food... Guests might bring a bead and some might be sent from afar to contribute to a necklace. The birthing woman's belly may be adorned with beautiful patterns in henna, or perhaps a plaster cast made to remind her of the time her belly was so full and ripe. Candles may be brought to the mother, or taken away to be lit when there is word that she is in labour. Someone might fill a tub with warm water and herbs to soak the mother's feet or gentle hands may massage her. The red yarn symbolises every woman's birthing lineage and fertility... Each woman in the circle ties the yarn around her wrist for each woman who has birthed in her lineage (as far as she can remember), then passes it to the next woman so at the end there is a network of women who have birthed before. Then the yarn is cut and tied around each wrist to stay there until news of the birth. Another tradition I've taken part in recently is mother blessing flags - like tibetan prayer flags, I suppose. Friends and family near and far contribute affirmations, symbols and positive thoughts to the mother on small flags which are hung in her birthing space.

A difficult thing to convey is the amazing energy at a mother blessing. Its nourishing not only to the mother, but for the women around her. There's often talk of birth, in a positive sense, no horror stories!! Fear is removed. There's anticipation and love and a buzz that tends to linger. Sounds a bit hippy flippy perhaps, but I think the recognition of this period of transformation is so important. Focus on community and support around women is so important at this time and a little ceremony and tradition never hurts. So much focus will be on the baby after the birth, after all...

For me, I love the red yarn, the massages and I've enjoyed contributing prayer flags for friends far away, but I'm thinking of altering it slightly. Combining the idea of the red yarn, I'm hoping to send out some patches for friends and family to contribute to a redwork style quilt - borrowed entirely from Kirsty's Quilt Project of last year. Rather than redwork embroidery though, I'm thinking mixed media - paint, screen printing, felt, embroidery, applique, drawing... whatever. But it has to be red. The squares will be hung around my birth space (where I'm sitting right now) and one day made into a quilt to hand on to the owlets... Oh and of course, there will be cake and umpteen cups of tea, lots of chatting and maybe a teary eye...

PS. Some peeps have asked me if I'll be allowed to have a homebirth this time. The answer is yes, but no, but kind of... The Australian Government signed an agreement shortly before the election which allowed doctors the right to veto homebirths. Women wanting a midwife in attendance at their homebirth must check in with the hospital and doctors and can only birth at home if the doctors say so. This would exclude women who have previously birthed by c-sec, or who have a breech baby or twins on board, or perhaps women who are deemed too heavy or too tall or too overdue etc. The list is endless... As someone who tends to carry babies longer than the hospital recommends, and for a variety of other reasons, this effects me. It effects thousands of women. Actually it affects all women who now have lost the power to make decisions about their own health care. I have done extensive research, know my body well, have birthed easily before and know where exactly I need to be when the time comes. Fortunately I have support and experience around me and will have the birth I want, but it is ever so slightly compromised...

28 August 2010

thing #6

Well yesterday the wheels fell off momentarily... We spent a lovely day having lunch with friends, nothing strenuous or stressful, but I haven't been sleeping well, so I'm finding functioning normally for an entire day a bit of a stretch... and by friday I'm shattered. Friday night found me sobbing at Huz "I'm too tired to make dinner!" Nothing that fish and chips, an early night for the owlets, a movie and a massage didn't soothe. Then bed at a reasonable hour and today I was back to some form of normal again...

So I redeemed myself today and made four things. Apron decorating kits for an order and for the market/shop. Yay for getting things done!!

26 August 2010

thing #5

Well actually, its five things!! Re-stocking clips for market day...

my creative space... colours and lists

Days are busy, thankfully getting longer... My make one thing every day challenge is going well so far and I'm floating in a sea of fabric, buttons, ribbons and beads... I'm also making time to commit some of the lists in my head to paper today. Waking up at 4am to make lists and sort things out is fun, but does make the days a tad exhausting - I rearranged the kitchen cupboards in my head the night before last! Now if I can manage to distract the owlets and sneak an afternoon nap I reckon I'll be getting somewhere!

Visit Kirsty's to see real creativity in action around blogland.

25 August 2010

thing #4

Day four of my two week challenge to make something every day. Dusty pink japanese quilters fabric with dusty pink stripe bottom layer and woven ribbon trim... Today was hard. Swimming, then sewing without a nap in between!

24 August 2010

thing #3

A slight diversion from things for the market. A blessingway flag for a lovely mama waiting on her Spring babe. I've loved receiving flags in the mail to decorate with a symbol or affirmation and then return to hang in the woman's birthing space... then wondering how they all look there - has anyone done something similar, how do the colours all look together? This one was fun to make. Needle felting is such a satisfying thing to do while snuggling in the evening with Huz and watching something mindless...

an owlet staple...

So everyone has their own version of how to make anzacs. Here's ours. Its a year-round fave recipe here for snacks during the day and no refined sugar so we avoid meltdowns... well we try.

Honey Anzacs

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup rapadura
3/4 cup coconut
125g butter
1 generous tbspn honey
1/2 tspn bicarb soda
1 tbspn boiling water

Set oven to 150 degrees
Melt the butter and honey together in a saucepan
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl
Add bicarb to boiling water and dissolve, then add to melted butter mixture.
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together
Put small balls of mixture on a tray, then bake until golden.
Makes about 35 owlet sized bikkies.

23 August 2010

thing #2

Day 2 of my make something everyday challenge. This skirt's for the September Market or etsy or wherever it sells first...

unschool monday :: life lessons

I had intended this week's post to be a round up of some of the awesome science experiments and stuff we did in the last week for science week... Then life happened. On wednesday night, just after Huz had popped out for a bit, I discovered Leslie Feist (the guinea pig) had passed away. Huz came back home and we broke the sad news to the owlets who were soaking in a bubble bath. Immediately upset, sad, worried, they hurried out, into towels and wanted to see her. They spent some time patting her, observing her cold body and eyes still open. They checked on Martha Wainwright (the guinea pig), her sister. Tears rolled. Big owlet didn't quite know what to do, so I suggested drawing a picture - something that always helps focus and calm her. Little owlet helped Huz with the body and joined in with the art, as did I. We chatted about the pictures we'd made and there were a few tears before bedtime. The first pet death can be a big deal, but I think its so important to honour it for them. Big owlet proclaimed it the saddest week of her life...

The owlets have coped with a fair amount of grief in the past eighteen months. They touched their tiny brother, Pippin's hand after his too-early arrival last year. They watched us grieve him and felt it too. Its always been important to us that we are honest and open with the owlets about death, just as we are with birth and life. We don't hide grief from them and support them in expressing their own grief. Its another life process and we've had some really wonderful conversations as a result.

Fortunately, we were reminded of the circle of things with the whale birth and morning of whale watching that followed, the very next morning... which was proclaimed the best day of big owlet's life (she tends towards the dramatic side). We buried Leslie in the garden, under a sapling that grew from a beautiful tree that fell down about two years ago. More reminders on that beautiful circle that life is. We are on the lookout for a new friend for Martha and so it begins again... But they'll always have a spot for Leslie and what she taught them.

22 August 2010

one thing...

I have a market in two weeks and a few orders to fill and though I'm starting to wind down a bit, I'm hoping to get stuff done before it gets too uncomfortable to sit behind the machine... So, in an effort to overcome my crafty rut, I'm going to attempt to make something each day. One whole thing. I may have bitten off more than I can chew...

Today's thing is the felt crown little owlet is modelling. I'm intending it for the market or the shop. If I don't get around to listing it though and you think your little owlet might love it, let me know and its yours. x

21 August 2010

whale watching

It was one of those moments we have living where we do. An email as I was finishing my muesli and suddenly we were dressed and at the beach near the end of our street... watching whales! A mama Southern Right Whale had birthed her babe overnight near our beach. We watched them swim and play; mama whale showed her baby how to roll, swam gently around it as it gained confidence. We'd never seen whales in real life, so it was pretty amazing to have them in the neighbourhood! When Europeans began settling this area, they were afraid to bring the boats into the river because of all the whales, so naturally they hunted them to near extinction... so lovely to see the whales returning...

For me, it was lovely to watch a mother and her newborn getting to know one another, unhindered and so naturally. A beautiful reminder for me of things to come...

19 August 2010

my creative space...

Its been a few weeks since I've worked much in my creative space and certainly that long since I've blogged it. I'm about to rev up again to sew some new skirts, mini mei tais and aprons for the next market, which I suspect may be my last for a little while... I must admit at this point in time, I'm lacking inspiration. I'm in a little rut of knitting squares and sewing things I know so well. I'm sure once I get the fabric out and start playing with colours again, it'll all seem like loads of fun all over again.

Pop over to Kirsty's to join in or to visit some inspiring creative spaces.

16 August 2010

unschool monday :: one hundred

My lovely Mum sent me this poem. It was written by Loris Malaguzzi, who developed the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. I love the sentiment. Its so important to us that we help our owlets retain and express their individuality (see photo above - chalk and cheese). Its why we've chosen a natural learning approach for them....

The child
Is made of one hundred.
The child has
a hundred languages
a hundred hands
a hundred thoughts
A hundred ways of thinking
of playing, of speaking.
a hundred always a hundred
ways of listening
of marvelling of loving
a hundred joys
for singing and understanding
a hundred worlds
to discover
a hundred worlds
to invent
a hundred worlds
to dream.

The child has
a hundred languages
(and a hundred hundred more)
but they steal ninety-nine.
The school and the culture
separate the head from the body.
They tell the child:
to think without hands
to do without head
to listen and not to speak
to understand without joy
to love and to marvel
only at Easter and Christmas.

They tell the child:
to discover the world already there
and of the hundred
they steal ninety-nine.
they tell the child:
that work and play
reality and fantasy
science and imagination
sky and earth
reason and dream
are things
that do not belong together.

And thus they tell the child
that the hundred is not there.
The child says:
No way. The hundred is there.

15 August 2010

Big owlet's big birthday weekend

When you are seven, there are so many awesome things you can do... like read your own birthday card for the first time...

and order pink pikelets for breakfast.

You can bake your own farm cake (and lick the bowl)...

...then blow out the candles with your best friend beside you.

You can check how much you've grown, before heading off to the bush for a holiday in a beautiful part of the world.

You can groom a horse for the first time...

Learn to ride it...

Then take it for a wander through the bush, before spending the rest of the day playing with animals of all kinds, including a very cheeky baby wombat.

You can finish the day by the campfire, gazing at the moon, looking for the milky way... When you come home, you'll feel more grown up, like you've wandered through to the other side of the farm gate. Seven is big and its going to be a wonderful year.

*most photos in this post were taken by Huz... with the good camera again*

12 August 2010


Creative, emotional, defiant, loving... Growing up before our eyes, our little old soul. Happy Birthday big owlet. x

9 August 2010

unschool monday :: the zone - part two

You observe them every day, watch them play and move around their environment. Then one day they use something in a way they never have before and you see its working. They go and get the puzzle book from the cupboard, sit down and complete the whole thing. Bubble wrap one week, jigsaw puzzles the next. Who knew they could do that? We've had weeks of surprises like this lately. Sometimes its the quiet, gradual reminders that they are growing and changing, others the surprise of little owlet writing MUM on a card and giving it to me. They learn from each other, from us, from the world around them and its amazing, normal and wonderful to witness.

8 August 2010

Beautiful Mountain

Yep, still pinching ourselves that this is 20mins from our doorstep. Hope your weekend was beautiful too. x

5 August 2010

Beautiful handmade...

P1150981, originally uploaded by owletmama.

Blessed with a talented grandmother and friend... Lucky little owlet.

4 August 2010

Thrifty finds :: part three

Little owlet's much longed for old style phone.... "one that goes around and has round bits for the ears". She needed it for organising important business meetings and catching up with interstate relatives.... We scoured second-hand shops for weeks before her birthday. Somehow you never find exactly what you need when you look for it in those sort of places. Everything was brown with push buttons or cream and cracked. One day little owlet woke up and proclaimed that the old phone must be red... That afternoon, I walked into a shop and found it there waiting for her!

2 August 2010

unschool monday :: what owlets think

To begin with, we were a little worried about how big owlet would go with learning outside the school system. Countless times other parents have commented that they'd love to home educate their children too, but their children are so social... they'd miss other children. I suppose they would if you assume that real friendship only happens in an institutional setting, or in the playground every morning tea and lunchtime.... Its when you step outside that thinking that children only want to befriend children their own age, and not the kid across the street who happens to be two years younger, that you see it clearly. Children outside the day-to-day school system often seem to find it easier to play in a multi-aged setting, I've noticed. I've talked about socialisation before, so I won't go to much into that today, but initially it was a concern for us when we withdrew big owlet from her school. She is a social child too - really social. Would she be missing out?

When the school year began last year, and we stayed home, rather than begin prep with her peers, it took a while for it to sink in. She began to understand that she was at home while some of her friends were at school. She couldn't play with them whenever she wanted. She missed them. She missed her teacher. She missed playing all day and baking and doing craft... We knew that although she'd only been there for two kindergarten years, there was some de-schooling to be done. We kept on with our normal day-to-day. We spent time with other home educating families. We went on outings, spent long days at the beach or park, stayed home and baked, did some craft... At the beginning of this year, I knew her deschooling was complete when she told me how she felt sad for her schooled friends. They didn't get to do all the great stuff we did. They didn't get to go to the playground whenever they wanted to and make new friends each time. They were missing out!

Now when we are out and about, big owlet likes to tell people all about it. At first we forget that we are not within the norm until someone asks "No school today?" or "What grade are you in?" The other day, Huz listened in on a conversation she was having with a new friend. The friend asked "Who is your principal?" "What's that?" replied big owlet. When it became clear that the principal was something to do with school, big owlet said, cool as a cucumber, "Oh, I don't go to school". This always brings a look of surprise, shock or interest from whoever she's talking to. The friend's mother was intrigued... "Who does that? Who teaches you? Your Mum or your Dad?" She asked. Big owlet looked confused. "They both do". I imagine she would have been thinking, "well, duh", if those words were in her vocabulary.... The friend was mortified. "Oh but you have to go to school!" and began listing all the things that happened there. "Oh no, we have much more fun" said big owlet. "We get to go swimming and to the playground when we want and..." and on it went. Cue: warm, smug feeling all over Huz. :)

I suppose we're all a huge leap from where we were when we first began. There's still some deschooling to be done, but for us grown-ups, rather than the owlets. All those years within a system will do that. Its a very difficult mindset to break, but one that we're happy to be battling. To know that our children are learning, almost without us noticing, and to know that they have such fun doing it makes it all worthwhile. It makes the hard days better and the days when they find that zone (today was one), all the more satisfying.


You can read more about deschooling here:

Deschooling for Parents - Sandra Dodd
Deschooling a Parent : Learning to Trust - Jan Hunt

1 August 2010

In the shop

Hoping to add some more things today... stay tuned.