Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dragons, Knights, Quilts!

 We met a dragon at the Balingup Medieval Festival this weekend! We went down  on Saturday. Balingup is a very pretty little country town in south west Western Australia. They have held this festival for a number of years, but we have only just heard of it. The festival goes for two days, with lots of people who come just to dress up and have a great time.

 We listened to great music. This, I think, is "Contraband", an a capella group. We had people playing medieval instruments and people playing celtic music.

 We watched knights in a tournament. This is the "Grey Company" and they practice all year to do these kind of shows.

On Saturday night we enjoyed a fire spectacle which ended in a burning of a dragon! (not the nice one above - another one).
When we got home  I decorated for spring which is almost here. A new picture tile on the mantle which echoes the nasturtiums from the garden, plus a litte bird sitting on the nest with her partner nearby.

 And today I finished the Out of the Box quilt -this is the front. Made up of blocks left over from another quilt and some scraps sewn in the "Mile a Minute" blocks. I nearly didn't finish this one -as usual, half way through I was rather unhappy with it, due to the usual conflict between idea and execution! I am glad I persevered.

And this is the back. Found in an op shop, I think it may have been a curtain once. I like the colours in it.

Now I intend to start another quilt -but this time it won't be just to use up scraps, but will be one I start intentionally!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How to give more

Following on from yesterday's post on abundance, I want to think about how to "give more".

Here are some ideas:

1. Be kind. 
My friend Daena has a very inspiring blog  here in which she gives very creative expression to the idea of offering random kindness to others. I find that most people just need a 'good listening to" and that the gift of time and attention is always welcome. I always notice people standing on their own in a crowded room -and make sure I try to include them in conversation. I have met some wonderful people that way.

2. Volunteer
My DH is today off doing some work for a small organisation that needs him. He will donate the fee to a favourite charity of ours, which we both work for in a voluntary capacity. This is the local refugee agency CARAD .
I volunteer as the coordinator of the fundraising and marketing committee. A small but dedicated team of other volunteers and I work hard to find the money which helps the organisation help very vulnerable people.

3. Donate
If you can give money to a worthy cause, go ahead and do so regularly.
If you can't give money, you may be able to give THINGS which you no longer need. Many charities earn good money by selling these things at Op Shops -and you keep such things away from the tip and put them back into the hands of people who can use them. Surprisingly, the more you give away the better you will feel -clutter in our house robs us of peace, but if we release it to bless others we are blessed too.

I love making quilts -and yet I don't have huge numbers of them in the house. If I can think of someone who needs a quilt, I am happy to give it away. Sometimes they are birthday or wedding or Christmas gifts, sometimes they are for other reasons. It makes me happy to make them, and giving them away adds to the fun.

4. Be encouraging
A small word of encouragement and appreciation goes a long way. Many people don't get enough encouragement and appreciation in their lives, but it is so easy to offer.

There is so much we can give, from our abundance. I hope you have an abundant generous day today.


I finished the "give now' quilt and it is hung up in the family room. It is part of a series of three to illustrate the slogan "Live Simply, Give More, Expect Less' motto.

I chose the panel for the middle of this quilt because it looks so lush and gorgeous. DH thinks it looks like Provence, DD thinks it looks like Italy, and I think it reminds me of the winery regions of our south west of Western Australia.

The idea of course is that we are living with abundance and therefore can 'give more". It is my belief that the practice of generosity is one which enables us to really feel 'abundance'- there is nothing like a gift freely given to make you feel rich beyond measure!

So here are some examples of the abundance I found around here today:

 A bowl of home grown winter tomatoes, ripening in the kitchen. There are lots more on the bush -an unexpected bounty for this time of the year, thanks to the very warm winter we are having. Fortunately we have had some rain recently, so they are doing well.

 One of three new rhubarb plants on the way. I do love rhubarb, and it is so expensive when you buy it in the shops, and often looks a long way from fresh. I am really feeling the 'abundance' of three plants -fingers crossed they keep growing this way.

 Pumpkin bread -our new favourite home made bread. Alongside a fruit bowl recently given new fullness by someone I know with a fruiting avocado. Our avocado is too new to fruit, and this is a wonderful treat.

 Purple blue iris in flower in the backyard. Jackie French said that  if you have flowers to pick for the house, you will never feel poor!

 Two lovely greek terracotta plates depicting scenes from mythology, found at the op shop for very little, and hung by my lovely DH with great skill so that they hang in line, in our bathroom.

Lemon buds on the tree with promises of more to come.

So much to be thankful for- so I hope you can find some things to be thankful for, from your abundance today. If you do so, why not leave a comment and share it with me?