suddenly big

Some highlights caught on video of the daring crusaders:

A modern ode to the mandarin – the perfect snack. With inspiration from Spike Jonez.

An impromptu evening serenade from the youngest clan member. Pay attention!

Most recently – Orlando & Azaro practice their sweet moves.
Warning: turn volume down. Hi-yah! Wah! Shhw!

Lucky Stars Christmas Tree

Orlando & our Lucky Stars Christmas Tree

I’ve always liked decorating a living tree for Christmas, but as we haven’t had much luck with houseplants since moving to the Southern Hemisphere that was not an option this year. Our collection of Christmas ornaments is very thin, but our little boys are old enough to be enraptured with the magic of the season. I needed to get a bit inventive.

We have two Chinese Pepper Trees in the garden that need to be pruned constantly – which gave me an idea. I saved some of the branches & stripped off all the leaves, then let the sap dry out for a day or two. There was my tree, but what about the decorations?

It’s been a year of epic highs and crushing lows, but with hindsight being 20/20 I can see that every one of those lows was a blessing in disguise. Origami Lucky Stars seemed to be poetically perfect.

lucky stars in 'nikkuware' bowl by Nicole Fenton

origami lucky stars in my 'nikkuware' bowl by Nicole Fenton

And cheap, too! I found some paper ( long forgotten) in my stash of crafty bits, but it is easy to find at any time of year in one of the Asian stationary and gift shops – morning glory shops, for example. I was ready to give up on my project after folding three stars, but the fiddliness is irresistible. Soon I had a whole bowl full. Orlando was keen to help and tried most conscientiously to fold a few without success, but he compromised by “putting the dreams in” after I folded each one.

I painted the branches with quick drying chrome spray paint and found a suitable pot from the collection in the shed. Then we just needed to put it all together. Rubber bands hold the branches together at the base. Orlando & I collected pine cones from around the neighbourhood and used them to fill up the gaps in the pot – keeping the branches upright. The pepper tree branches and pine cones smell delicious!
Digging into my stash again I found a spool of silver thread. Using a needle I threaded each star on to the silver string leaving gaps in between – quilter’s knots keep each star in place. Then came the fun part, decorating the tree!

lucky stars christmas tree

homemade with love & luck

Brian tells me the result looks “witchy” – coming from him I know that’s a compliment. I’m really happy with how it turned out – our bright & religiously inclusive symbol for celebrating the people we love.

Seasons Greetings, Everyone!

♥ Home Sweet Home ♥

Welcome Home ♥

Sunday afternoon chillaxing

I wasn’t sure I was ready for the adventure to be over, I had small fantasies about meting up with my boys and travelling Onwards To Adventure! But…

it’s so good to be home.

100% pure joy delivered via cuddles. Lots and lots of cuddles. Sometimes cuddles with giggles and kisses! It’s not a surprise that it’s good to come home to my family, but it’s pretty special nevertheless ^_^

I was surprised by just how romantic it is to be here. By “here” I mean right here in our little house. Our cosy little colourful house, with the ocean just over there, the summer-is-coming smell, and the myriad other small things that add up to a very beautiful life.

Home cooking is absolutely on the list of myriad small things. By special request, this was tonight’s dinner:

Almost Grandma Verna’s Spinach Soup
aka Vegetarian Penicillin

3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Massell Vegetarian stock cube ( chicken flavour)
1/4 cup rice
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup sliced green beans
3 cups shredded spinach
1 cup diced potato
1 medium brown onion, chopped
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Boil the water in a large saucepan. Add salt, stock cube, rice and all the veggies except the spinach. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Add the spinach when the potatoes and carrots are almost cooked through (@ about the 15 minute mark). Add milk and reheat gently but do not boil. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

Cloud 9

So sensationally happy and floaty and wonderful! The sun is out, my hardenbergia alba are a mass of snowy blossoms, I push-mowed the lawn in a skirt and bare feet, Orlando is singing little songs and the Zo babe is cruising around like a champ. And that’s just the beginning!

The Nihao Pingyao project is full steam ahead – we completely obliterated our first target and raised enough for all four of us to be able to travel to China. So much support for our art! It’s overwhelming with warm fuzzy feelings.

chimera’s ball

And then, I find out that my little photograph chimera’s ball has won the 2D category prize at the annual Craftsouth SALA exhibition “WishList”. Amazing! I sense some new dresses on the horizon 🙂

I have another happy thought too, but I need to keep it a secret just a little bit longer so as not to tempt fate. & before you ask – no more babies just yet, thank you! Two is plenty for now ^_^