Features

Thank you to all the wonderful guest bloggers who contributed articles on my month long hiatus – I am back at the helm (behind the scenes though for another week and a half with guests posting) while I get a few things done.

We had a super duper adventurous trip (with a few misadventures along the way too). I’ll let the pictures do the talking … for more pics from our trip I have a tumblr!

Lots of great scenery. (Flinders ranges) [We stayed at Wilpena pound camp ground – great place]

These amazing colours zooming past the car window.

Dirt roads – and an even dirtier car.

Some car travel crafting. [I am using some self striping yarn I bought from Etsy]

A misadventure. (Oodnadatta track)

Another misadventure (there were more but I got over photographing every one!)

Breathtaking sunsets. (Painted desert – SA) [We camped at nearby Arckaringa station – good facilities – a bit barren but turned out to be perfectly so – amazing sunsets]

And sunrise (cheeky kids too!) (Painted desert – SA)

Walking on inland salt lake – Lake Eyre

There is black sludge underneath that layer of salt

Camp fires

Lots of reading and cooking by the camp fire (the colours of the earth were incredible).

We ended up here. (Oodnadatta)

Musical junk sculpture in the middle of the desert. (Oodnadatta track)

Standing in front of a railway water tank from the old Ghan railway. (Oodnadatta track)

Wearing fly screen masks in a desert ruin and pretending to be a zombie. (Farina ruins) [We camped at the Farina Station campgrounds - an excellent find]

Cheeky kid wearing a pink hat. (notice our muddy camper trailer in the background)

We did some fishing too. (Murrumbidgee river) [Yanga National park – great spot]

Scruffy happy kids on the way home (sitting on a real submarine HMAS Otway - that happened to be decommissioned and resting in an inland town)

 

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Try making these spooky glowing orange candles. You could make them for Halloween or just whenever you like.  They are very easy to make – all you need is an orange, a small paring knife and a soup spoon. Download the free PDF for the full instructions right here.

This is an extract from Issue 6 of the Action Pack {Mini-mag for kids who want to do stuff!} for more citrus projects – zap and zest projects grab the whole magazine here (all 60 ad-free pages) for only $6.

 

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Jodi Anderson grew up in the woods of Wisconsin and her past is very present in everything that she does today. Her greatest love is beauty in the mundane, which isn’t difficult to find, and she keeps track of that in her online journal, Daybook. She refuses to let her struggles with pain and illness define her.

Crafting for health

Crafting really can be a unique and useful tool in achieving a healthy life, despite circumstances beyond our control, while participating in something that is creatively productive.

These are things that, whether you are healthy or not, you may have experienced:

Waiting for the doctor to call with test results, the loss of a loved one, gnawing physical pain, trying to put your life back together after ending a relationship, biding your time while undergoing cancer treatment, feeling ready to explode from the pressures of everyday life, being laid up short- or long-term, or struggling to stay afloat despite depression.

We are united in our ability to feel emotional pain and in our inability to completely avoid disease. Our lives, even when in good health, are certain to contain trying moments, periods of anxiety-inducing waiting and emotional distress, not to mention an ill-timed and unexpected cold or flu. With more serious health issues, mundane tasks can become increasingly difficult and life is likely to include long periods of time when everything seems to be in limbo, maybe waiting for an appointment with the doctor, anticipating an unknown diagnosis, or watching for the earliest signs of healing and recovery. So much of it can not really be avoided, yet we can determine how we handle these times, whether we succumb to them or use them to propel us forward in some other measure.

Meditation and journaling are often recommended in addition to more traditional physical and mental healthcare methods. I find that both can be helpful in a variety of ways. Meditation may lighten our mental load, center our thinking, and provide a sense of peace that can pervade all areas of our life. Writing can bring us focus, a chance to vent our thoughts, a way to feel less burdened, and a map to navigate our way through confounding circumstances.

Living a handmade life through crafting and art can provide many of the same benefits as well as a very personal physical product of our experience. Earlier this year, I found myself particularly housebound. Despite loving the cold and dark hues of winter, I began to crochet a brightly-colored rainbow blanket for my daughter. It seemed like an impossibly long project: hundreds of tiny stitches in every row, nearly two hundred rows to do, thousands of yards of double knit yarn, and a small hook. Making that blanket, in hindsight, feels like one long and slow deep breath. At the time, it kept my mind off of my body. It allowed me to meditate, stitch by stitch. I felt a sense of control and peace. Sometimes I did think about my unknown future while working, but it was more constructive than when I simply fretted with my hands rolled into fists. Of course, the sweet icing on the cake is seeing my young adult daughter tote the blanket, a sort of map-journal of my healing, around the house, wearing it like a robe at times, and sleeping under it nearly every night.

Much handwork is repetition in both a small and a large way, with a great number of seemingly trivial motions producing a grand item, such as with embroidery, knitting, and crochet. A large knit piece may contain hours of meditative stitching, the chance to mindlessly work or, also, an opportunity to focus on something besides the self, like proper technique, tension, and the progress of the piece. This repetitious movement and chance to free the mind is so much like meditation, and some find it easier as negative thoughts can be replaced by intentionally thinking of the work at hand, refocusing the brain.

Craft comes in all forms and negate none of it. Take hold of what brings you joy and peace.

The act of dressing a plate with food can start out as creative experimentation, but develop into a satisfying ritual. Maybe you will again find your passion for fashion by piecing together your wardrobe into new outfits or sewing up a fresh addition. Scrapbooking may seem like merely a way to save photos, yet it can be the story of your journey, which is important to recognize and, perhaps, share. You may wish to keep it private, but that does not lessen its significance. Stick a small sketchbook in your bag, whether you feel that you can draw or not. Use it to see what is around you or use it to get out what is inside of you. Let it help you to pass the time while waiting at the doctor’s office. Other small projects, like knitting, are great for this too.

While you can not control all of what happens in your life and with your body, you can grab hold of yourself and live dynamically despite apparent obstacles. The busywork of creating can help to get you through the small crises, and the satisfaction of a finished piece can lift you during the duration of illness, perhaps even physically comfort you.

Crafting is unlikely to cure a serious illness, yet it may provide a sense of relief or contentment as well as a feeling of accomplishment when even the activities of daily living are difficult to obtain. Cross-stitching may not mend your broken heart, but it could be a healthy way to vent your feelings. (Yarn bombing, anyone?!)

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Wheeeeee. So excited about this book finally hitting the shelves – almost 2 years after its beginnings. Thank you to Chronicle Books and Photographer John Paul Urizar and Stylist Stephanie Powell for making this book look so gorgeous. Thank you to my husband Rob for drawing all the lovely how-to illustrations throughout. And thank you to four lovely ladies who helped with some sewing. Andi, Fiona and Kate each sewed a quilt top for me and my neighbor Chris sewed two.

And of course my two gorgeous Kiddos, my inspiration! Thank you for your patience. A year of sewing, listening to that dang noisy quilting machine going day and night in the middle of the lounge room (amidst cries of ‘please turn it off just for a little while’) and fabric and threads all over the place – I have a very patient and lovely family. But it was worth it in the end. We have a book bloggy tour running late in October so watch out then for more about the book – but for now here are some sneak peaks of just some of the photos and quilts you will find in my new book.

Little Bits Quilting Bee is now available to order at Amazon and will be coming to a book shop near you very soon!

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Linky love

by kath_red on 20/08/2011

in Features, Link Love

Whether its emails with interesting links or trawling through my rss feeds for cool things – here are some lovely links to explore this week.

If you would like to send press releases or submit your own project please send to submit[at]whipup.net.

You can get more goodies delivered right to your inbox with our newsletter – read our newsletter archives online and subscribe.

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