I have returned from the other half of the world, and back to my blog, just in time to take part in a lovely swap for the south. Katie Cadamn seems to be hosting a southern hemisphere seasonal exchange… it would be lovely to get on board for some summertime crafting … Here is what she has posted…

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SEASONAL EXCHANGE  – Ready for a ‘Summertime’ crafting challenge!
Southern Hemisphere Seasonal Exchange is inspired by the small nature table I have tried to start for my young children to mark the changing of the seasons. However, I have found most material and craft project sourced for inspiration is often based on seasons in the northern hemisphere which is not always relevant to us, as seasonal changes where I live in the Southern Hemisphere can be subtle and quite different from what is happening in the northern hemisphere.
 
Like my children, I am also learning about the unique seasonal differences in Australia, I am new to crafting and new to keeping a nature table. I would love some inspiration and I am sure other people would as well.
 
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have Seasonal Craft exchange reflective of the seasons of the Southern Hemisphere.  I am sure there are many of you like me, who are ready for a crafting challenge, a chance to create your own symbolic item reflective of the current season and a chance to inspire a stranger through your chosen craft.
 
So here goes, to get the ball rolling and to keep it simple I thought we would start with a ‘Summertime‘ themed craft swap.  As it is a busy time of year, to participate you need to include a minimum of one handmade item that you can swap with your allocated partner.
 
GUIDELINES
The crafted item should be related to the current seasonal theme, in this case ‘‘Summertime.
 
The swap is open to all those in Australia and overseas. [You don’t have to live in the Southern Hemisphere to participate!]
 
As a participant, you must be willing to mail overseas and honour your swap commitment.
 
The details: Participants will be allocated one (only) swap partner. You will send directly to your partner and they will send directly to you. Swap partners will be randomly allocated.
 
No prior crafting/ art skills required.
 
Participation should be done in the spirit of openness, appreciation and sharing. The only requirement is the item you send should be handmade by you with love and care. Make something special that you would love to receive yourself.
 
No returns!
 
The exchange is open to all ages!
 
All packages must be mailed by the 1st December, the first day of summer and should be suitable to send in the mail.
 
So…. if you would like a small handmade summer inspired keepsake to add to display over summer sign up now!
 
REQUIREMENTS
At least one, no more than five items.
 
One of these items must be handmade. It can be an object, an artwork, an ornament, small handmade book, something to display. The key requirement is it is something made by you.
 
If you would like to include additional items things that could be included might be items from nature (unless you are shipping internationally), a card, additional artworks, a candle, purchased items made from natural materials (no plastic/polyester/foam/etc) etc.
 
All of the items must be theme and seasonally appropriate.
 
Optional: You may want to include in your package a little blurb about your items and/or yourself.
 
In addition, it would be wonderful if you were able to document the process of making and the final product. These images can be posted on the Flickr group Southern Hemisphere Seasonal Exchange http://www.flickr.com/groups/1548872@N21/
 
HOW DO I SIGN UP
Sign ups will take place here until 18th of November.
 
The first 100 people to sign up are in!
 
Please email at southernseasonalexchange@gmail.com
 
In your email please send your
Real Name, Mailing address (in English), Email address, [Optional: Facebook and/or Blog URL and Blog name.]
 
**Please make sure you email me this info to be entered into the swap.**
 
PRIVACY: Your privacy will be respected and your details will not be passed on unless you give permission.
 
Partners will be allocated after sign-ups have closed.
 
I will confirm when you have been added to the list. Please be patient, this may take a couple of days.
 
Sign ups are open now!
 
DISCLAIMER
As I mentioned previously I am a mother of two very young children, new to crafting and have never undertaken co-coordinating something like this before, so your patience and understanding is really appreciated in this first attempt. I am excited to see if anyone else is interested in participating and will give it my best shot to get it up and running.
 
If it is a success we might try it again when autumn comes around.
 
INSPIRATION
Thanks for Seasons Round Exchange http://seasonsround.wordpress.com/ and New Zealand Handmade Christmas Ornament Swap http://www.newzealandhandmade.co.nz/2010/10/new-zealand-handmade-christmas-ornament.html for inspiring the idea of the craft swap.
 
Want some inspiration check out some of the swaps on flickr. Here are some to start with
Seasons Round Exchange  http://www.flickr.com/groups/seasonsround/
The SavVy { Seasons } – a modern Swap http://www.flickr.com/groups/1437999@N23/pool/
Soft trees swap http://www.flickr.com/groups/15961496@N00/
Rhythm of the Home http://rhythmofthehome.com/
 
Also another wonderful webpage is Seasons South and North http://www.seasons-south-and-north.co.uk/

fire and water

February 10, 2009

February skies finally opened up and the cool sweet relief of rain is here.  We poured some belated candles (candlemas weather was simply too hot) and whilst the children delighted in “dangerous” excitement of hot wax and kindled hope of warmth and light of flames to come, adults pondered the awesome power of destruction that self same fire can bring.  Yet in the devastation that the summer bushfires always bring (achingly deadly this year), the rains never fail to herald new life as from the ashes new growth tenderly and resiliently shoot forth, the community, and even the whole country rallies together, and the miraculous new birth of spirit occurs. 

p2030003February

We light a new candle today, both in grievance and in gratitude.

Candlemas

February 3, 2009

Usually at this time of year the winds start blowing some wisps of cooler air through the evenings, and the worst of the summer heat has been quenched by thunderstorms and a few welcome overcast days.  NOT THIS YEAR!  Usually we spend candlemas melting down our old stubs from christmas  (and the rest of the year) making sand candles, dipping candles, or even rolling fresh beeswax ones.  This year it was just too hot still, so all we could do was sort out our stubs into colours, and put fresh candles from our supplies in the holders and candlesticks, … and we wait for the cooler weather …

seashore1

Above is one of last year’s sand candles on our nature table this year.  The boys love to set shells in the sand before pouring in the wax to create little sandcastle looking candles.  We like to say this little blessing as we make them.  

Bless this little candle light

May it shine so true and bright

May it catch the warmth of sun

and shed it’s glow when darkness comes. 

candle

Our storytime candle  (verse below)

Fire faeries come to earth,

and the fire faeries come,

bringing golden light from the sun…

We snuff our candle at the end of the story so we don’t “blow away” the mood the story has set

Goodbye fire faeries,

time to say goodbye, 

Goodbye.

sea3

Once upon a time there was a little mermaid who lived with her brothers and sisters on the edge of the sea.  Today all her brothers and sisters had gone off to follow the schools of fish in the sea and learn about the great wide ocean.  But little mermaid was too little to swim with the schools of fish and was left at home, bored and lonely. “ I wish there was someone to play with me, someone to keep me company”. She sighed.

 

 Just then a Dolphin swam past.  “Oh Dolphin, dolphin will you play with me, will you keep me company?” “ I’m sorry little mermaid” said the dolphin “I’m off to search for shoals of fish, and to keep an eye on your brothers and sisters.” and with a graceful flip of his tail he was off out to the wide ocean.  Little mermaid sighed again “ I wish there was someone to play with me, someone to keep me company”. 

 

As she sat at the waters edge a great turtle heaved itself out of the water beside her.  “Oh mother turtle have you come to play with me?” asked little mermaid excitedly.  “No, I’m sorry little mermaid I have lots of work to do. I’m off to dig a deep hole in the hot sand to lay my eggs, then swim off back to the deep cool ocean.”  “I see” said little mermaid and she  swam off a little way down the beach looking for someone else who had the time to play with her. 

 

Along the beach she saw a jellyfish floating with the tides.  “Jellyfish will you play with me, will you keep me company”said little mermaid.   “blob blob, blob blob” was all the jellyfish would say  “Blobblob blobv blob”.  Little mermaid began to cry a little “ I wish there was someone to play with me, someone to keep me company”

  

All of a sudden she heard a giggle, and then voices.  “Who is there?” called little mermaid.   “We are !” replied the voices and out of the edge of the waves came many sea sprites and water babies.  “We will play with you!”   They said.  Little mermaid was overjoyed and spent all morning playing with her new friends.     They showed her how to tickle anemones, make seaweed necklaces and float on the tide, and that afternoon when her brothers and sisters returned she had lots to tell them about her new friends and what she had been up to while they had been at school. 

 

Little mermaid by the sea

bored and lonely as can be

Don’t be sad now little dear

Lots of new friends are just here!

 

Little mermaid by the sea

Won’t you come and play with me

Splash the waves and build sand high

Watch the seagulls winging by.

 

Little mermaid by the sea

Now as happy as can be

The sun sets at the end of day

Thankyou for our day of play.

 

 

Golden wheat

January 24, 2009

Something we have done for a few years now is to set aside a 1m square plot somewhere in the garden in spring, and sow some wheat.  The golden heads drying out in the summer heat really evokes seasonal change in a good way (as opposed to the rest of the garden wilting and struggling).  

cubby2

We have harvested the grain heads now (we have a little hand sythe, but scissors work best for the kids)  and it sits waiting next to some baskets, sushi mats and small rolling pins to husk or thresh and winnow the grain.  We also have two small hand coffee grinders which we use to grind the grain, and some jars to hold the outcomes from all the different processes.     Once enough flour is produced, we make some pancakes or bake bread, and continue grinding with renewed enthusiasm.  The children (and their friends) love to have a go at separating or grinding the wheat, and having it set up in a corner of the kitchen means they are free to give it a try any time they feel inclined, and it always amazes me just how much a 1m plot can yield. 

Above is last year’s plot next to the cubby house (this year it was at the back of the garage, not so picturesque).   The straw (stalks) have been saved (earmarked for Christmas ornaments later this year) and a handful of grain carefully put away for next year’s plot.  We also tried oats this year, but we are not sure how we are going to roll them yet.

A Glimpse of summer

January 16, 2009

A little peek from our nature table, imagine a golden spiral lazily swirling in the almost non existent breeze above, (doesn’t photograph well) and the buzz and bump of insects at the window. The languid humid heat is inescapable, and we think fondly of the few days we have had here and there spent in the cool of the sea (and forget the sunburnt sand encrusted sunscreen sticky moments) p1010011

Three Kings Day

January 6, 2009

For us the Three Kings Day  brings the end of Christmas.  We leave our tree and decorations up for the twelve days of Christmas, and on Twelfth Night the three kings finally make it into the stable of our nativity set.  Over in Wales my uncle will probably be out wassailing apple trees, but the closest we come to that is eating apple pie or apple cake for desert, or frozen apple juice iceblocks if the weather is as meltingly hot as it was this year! 

p1060008

On the morning of Epiphany we bake three kings bread ( basically a white flour fruit bread twisted into two rings and placed on top of eachother to make a crown shape, drizzled with lemon icing and a few cachous) and enjoy it for morning tea as we pack away our decorations, take out the tree and settle into the long hot lazy summer ahead.