I thought I’d strike gold, but I found something better …

The wattle is out.

It can mean only one thing.

It must be late August.

The quintessential Australian sign that winter is nearly over.

A riot of delicate yellow fluff …

A promise of sunny days to come …

I wanted to capture it for you ….

but by the time I’d finished work …

I’d missed that beautiful late afternoon light

I’d missed the yellows ….

…but I found you some blues.

Have a lovely week.

And stay tuned for I have some surprises in store 🙂

… in which she sneaks away with a dozen oysters and goes in search of a happy ending

Foreword note:  No pictures this week. You’ll thank me in a minute.

Scene 1:  A cold wintery morning in Bathurst. Husband is sad. Could be the winter blues or because he’s got a wife who’s gone blogging mad. We don’t know. He’s just sad. He leaves for work. Gives his wife a sad little grin goodbye and heads off to the farm. Tragic.

Scene 2:  Wife starts pacing the house. Can’t settle to anything. Washes up. Checks her workload. Nothing that can’t wait till tomorrow. Decides to take the day off.

Scene 3:  Wife races in and out of shops buying prosecco, oysters, fresh bread and sweets from the patisserie. Hurriedly stuffs the back of the car full of doonas and pillows. Drives to the farm, music blaring.

Scene 4:  Wife arrives at the farm. Sneaks past husband to the top of the hill. Rings him on mobile.
Wife: “Where are you?”
Husband: “In the hay shed paddock.”
Wife: “Well I’m up in that protected little spot on the top of the hill. Want to join me?”

Scene 5:  Cut to shot of husband flying at breakneck speed across bumpy paddock on tiny ancient tractor.

Scene 6:  Dissolve to shots of clouds and trees swaying in the breeze.

Scene 7:  Cut to shot of husband and wife’s children reading this post, holding their hands to their heads in a shoot-me-now-gun-like pose.

Scene 8:  Two happy souls, snuggled under doonas, talking (really talking) and cloud watching for the first time in years.

Which all leads me to ask this question…

When is the last time you truly surprised someone, let alone surprised yourself?

Try it soon.

Trust me.

I’m feeding you pearls lol.

Postcript:  Back in town later that night we went to a fundraiser for a friend. Steve was asked to draw the raffle. He pulled out a ticket. No takers. Checked his own pocket. It was his! First prize – a dozen bottles of lovely local wine. Huzzahhh!

Pulled out a second ticket. No takers. Checked his pocket. It was his … again!

He was so embarrassed he put it back in and handed the bag to someone else 🙂

The moral of the story:  If you’re looking for a happy ending maybe you’ve got to rewrite the script!

Have a great week x

… in which she discovers the gentle art of random weaving and decides that she’s not quite the basket case she thought she was.

It has been a long time since I’ve had that lovely feeling of being lost in the moment…

Completely absorbed in a simple pleasure

… facing only the simplest of choices

… sitting quietly

… engrossed in the gentle art of making something.

But that’s exactly what I was lucky enough to do this week at a random weaving workshop with south coast artist Harriet Goodall.

Throughout the preceeding week the boys (and various friends – yes you know who you are) had been teasing me relentlessly about my forthcoming basket weaving workshop.

There had been plenty of snickers.

Well you can snicker all you like my lovelies…

because what I knew and you didn’t, is that Harriet Goodall is not your average
basket weaver.

I knew a little bit about her through mutual friends who put together this video for Country Style magazine and when I heard that Sophie Hansen at Mandagery Creek Venison had snagged her to do a workshop, I jumped at the opportunity.

What I didn’t realise, is that Sophie has this fabulous background as a magazine editor and now showcases local producers in her own blog Local is Lovely. She is also a beautiful cook and spent the day – ever so quietly in the background – preparing lots of deliciousness for us all to enjoy.

So it was a good recipe for a great day.

Good host, good food, good company, in a pretty location surrounded
by snow covered hills.

But back to our weaving ….

What I love about Harriet’s work is its organic nature.

It’s relaxed and loose.

And in a world full of mass produced plastic and rubbish, the idea of learning how to take pieces of nature and craft them into something functional is very appealing.

And sure enough, as promised, within a few short hours we had all produced our own unique baskets from bits of flotsam on the floor.

I had this vague idea that I might create a woven fairy castle to hide somewhere
in the garden …

A fairy castle with its own deck.

I’m not quite sure what I ended up with.

But I had the most beautiful day, lost in the moment, creating it

… and I think the fairies will still approve.

When her here and now is our here and now

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that our daughter Maddy had been in India on a university textiles tour. Her experience was so special I’ve asked her permission to share some of her photos. So if you’d like to join me …. step this way …

UTS (the University of Technology in Sydney) took 10 second year fashion students
to Delhi for three weeks to see first hand the incredible skills of local artisans.
They experimented with block printing …

and dyeing techniques …

but it was the embroidery that really blew Maddy away.

And it’s easy to see why.

So beautiful.

So exquisite.

Detailed beyond belief.

Every stitch made my hand.

Maybe Madz has a bit of story teller inside her because this was the
embroidery that she chose to focus on.

It’s called Sujani and every work has its own narrative.

It describes all the simple things that make up a day to day life.

A here and now of the very highest order I’d say.

There was time out to do some shopping … how could you take 10 girls away and not!

And some exploring.

An opportunity to see the wonders of India…

And experience first hand its pressing environmental issues.

It’s a bittersweet moment to watch your little girl step out on her own.

It’s what you want.

But you can’t help but want to protect her too.

For us it’s always been a high priority to try and get the kids out into the wider world,
to encourage them to travel at every opportunity.

To realise that they are part of something much bigger…

This time round, it was lovely sitting on the sideline watching her start her own journey.

Who knows where it will take her but one thing was certain.

She was in the best of hands.

Thankyou so much for everything you shared with our girls.

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Happy Hands Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation reviving Indian arts, crafts and culture. The People’s Project is an art studio-cum-residency where rural artists challenge and explore various theories of creativity.

You can buy Happy Hands products online here.

Or follow them on facebook here.

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All photos: Madeleine Hogan 2012

Two old things in a junk shop and a story from Malta

Steve and I have been together for quite a while now and throughout the years, apart from our shared and tragic passion for Survivor, there is another big element in our lives which gives us enormous pleasure.

Second hand junk shops and auctions.

Oh sorry Steve. Did you think I was going to say something else?

It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, if we spy a dusty, overcrowded
treasure house of junk, it’s just a given that we’ll dive in and take a look.

Happily losing ourselves in the moment, searching for our own specific treasures.

Until I hear “Marg Marg Marg!” and the moment’s broken and I’m dragged off
to look at some piece of crap really interesting stuff that Steve has found.

One day I sent him on a mission to buy a cheap second hand microwave from an auction.

He came home with an antique divers helmet.

Only it turned out it wasn’t antique. It was Copper Art. ahhh that still makes me laugh.

More often than not we come out empty handed.

It’s more about the pleasure of looking …

and imagining ….

and admiring old things that were made by hand and made to last.

destinationhereandnow_bathurstmart_secondhand

Old things that have had a good life … but have still got plenty of life left in them.

A bit like ourselves really.

destinationhereandnow_bathurstmart_joseph

Apparently Aaron at Bathurst Mart has been asked to sell this statue of Joseph many times over the years but he told me this lovely story this morning of why he’s hung on to it. He was a little boy in Malta when the Germans were bombing it and his father placed a statue of Joseph on the roof of their home and prayed to it every day to keep them safe.

He has a picture of their house standing tall while everything around it was flattened.

His mum said it was luck.

His dad said it was Joseph.

So just to play it safe, Aaron has his own Joseph looking down from high above his office.

It’s a bit hard to tell whether it’s working 😉

Anyway this was a rambling way to say that one of the nice ways to spend a wintery Saturday morning in Bathurst is to go poking around the many antique and second hand shops we have in town. If you spot a couple of nice old things, make sure you say hello.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever come home with from a second hand store?
One of my favourites is a vintage, French enamelled enema pitcher which I now use to keep all my kitchen implements in  🙂

________________________________________________________________________

Thanks Aaron for letting me wander with the camera this morning. Bathurst Mart is located on the Vale Road (the road to Goulburn) just on the outskirts of town.

We’re up and happening on Pinterest.

I’m still getting my head around the whole social media thing and my jury is still out on it, but for those of you who are into Pinterest, I thought I’d let you know that I’ve set up a site that showcases a lot of the photos that have appeared so far on the blog.

I’m actually really impressed with the Pinterest interface – it’s beautiful to use.

If it is your thing and you’d like to take a look: just click here.

What’s your take on social media?  Do you reckon it’s all it’s cracked up to be?

Marg