Rocket Stove

Yesterday I helped build a mud brick rocket stove at the community garden which is situated at Access Community Group in Corrimal. We used the mud that I was immersed in before Christmas last year

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After our mudstomp last year we put our homogenised mixture of sand and clay in plastic bins and bags to use for another day and yesterday was that other day.

First we got rocks and formed a basic frame

Once the structure was complete we then got to decorate our stove with smashed tiles. There was much deep conversation while we engaged in creativity.

Mud is fun, creative and practical

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Creating Memories

Today a group of my garden peeps from both Barrack Heights and Albion Park community garden went on an adventure to harvest some bamboo.

However, a few of us got distracted by the mulberry trees and that was it…….fair share for all, fair share. 

As we were gathering and eating we reminisced about our childhoods. My Granny had a huge mulberry tree at the house by the river and another near the railway track. I have delightful memories of gorging on the fruit, climbing the tree and getting messy.

This made me think of how times have changed and children today have less access to this type of experience. This moves me to want to create memories for today’s children.  When this generation of children grow up, I want them to have memories that connect them with nature. I want them to experience the simple joy of what we did today. I want to leave a legacy.

Richard Louv is a great advocate for this kind of thing and it was after viewing one of his lectures that compelled me to get involved with Barrack Heights Community Garden. I’m so glad that I followed that prompt as it has changed my life in ways that I could never have imagined.

So here’s to taking action to create wonderful memories for tomorrows adults and a future where nature is valued as it should be.

Oh yes, this is a selfy of me gorging on the mulberries!!!

I Belong Here

Your home town is not necessarily the place where you belong.   

This is a little bit sad for me, however I have come to accept this and I embrace the place where I do belong. I really wish to not offend anyone, as my home town holds so many lovely memories and when I need to go somewhere pleasant that’s where I head.

Today I realised that I don’t belong where I was and moving was for us the best thing that could have happened. A few years back, due to circumstances out of our control we ended up moving to Shelharbour City.

Since I have been here I have had the time of my life, in spite of suffering depression and anxiety.  I am so glad that I decided to take my son to the local community garden as its been one of the biggest blessing to have come in my life. This has been a place where I have been able to heal from grief, to pick up my paint brushes again, to be creative, make new friends, feel a part of the community, to reconnect with nature and to learn many new skills.

In fact one of my new skills is to make little movies, here is a montage of my experience at the garden

Another thing that I admire about this city is, when I took my soon to the 2528 project where free activities are available for the local kids. What impressed me the most, was when asking about the near by school that had closed down and I was delighted to be informed that it was reopened by a community of people who care for their children. I could hear the dignity and fight in their voices and I thought to my self “this is the type of people who I what to be around and these are the types of conversations I like to have”

Sorry, I don’t give a crap about your kitchen reno or how big your house is or if you even own it!!!!!!!

Being exposed to the 2528 project had me meet a lovely chap by the name of Brian, who made me glance over the road to a discarded servo and suggested that it would make a very good community art space. Once again, this is the type of conversations that get me excited and make me feel alive. As a result, I’ve been involved with the Queen Street Servo Project.

As I have been out volunteering in this city, I have never felt so valued before as I have now. I remember when I first took my paints to the garden, one of the members said that they felt privileged that I had chosen the garden as a painting space. This took me by surprise  as I’d never really had this before and I can say that the sentiment was echoed by all who attend making me feel like we were family. Everywhere that I go here and put my hand to the plough it is welcomed with honour, rather than the usual statements such as the messy mum, weird, unusual and unconventional. All those statements are good but I am more than that and being embraced by this city has proven it.

What is even more special about living here is that I have been nominated twice for The Good Neighbour Award 2013 and if I had been still living in my home town I would never have experienced this. This is why I say that I belong here, as I feel that my gifts and talents have been embraced and appreciated. I feel that I have grown in confidence and I want to do even more for this community that has embraced me.

This is what makes a place rich, when they invest in the people rather than the image.

Letting the Outdoors Influence the Inside

For over a year now I have been attending my local community garden and I never get sick of it. I have found time after time that it inspires and sparks creativity in so many different ways. Sometimes the inspiration is unexpected, like when I made a tee pee or when I decided to put a green sari on the wall to represent a tree house in my lounge room.

This leads me to talk about how the outside is influencing my interior design for my little abode. I have always loved green and I enjoy nature colours and by placing them in my house I have found that it really does make me feel good!!!!!

Last year I made the wall hanging from a stick and other collected  items from the garden. I did those little paintings while sitting at the garden with some music to accompany me.

I look forward to see how more inspiration comes as there is a turn of the season and I hope to create a legacy of some kind that will inspire people to love nature and to let your home be designed in a way that makes you feel good.

One Idea Leads to Another

Well, today at the garden I started off doing this

and ended up doing this

This was a lot of fun and very relaxing.

I am amazed at how much inspiration lives in a garden.

When I am creating and following an idea I feel like I’m a kid again.

It excites me and makes me feel happy.

It is delightful

Joy

I am living the dream

I don’t have much yet I am extremely rich

I feel like I am playing in My Father’s backyard

God made me a play ground full of peace and joy

When I am there I feel protected and loved

I don’t care what this world has to offer, who needs  the stress?

If that makes me some weird chick, then bring it on

I am free

When The Son set you free, you are free indeed.

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Yesterday I built a Teepee

Yesterday I built a teepee and it felt amazing to do so.

It was started on Sunday when we had a fun day at the community garden and I worked on it yesterday. It reminded me of when I was a child and I used to make floor plans of homes.

I would draw floor plans, make floor plans out of grass clippings or my toys, I would imagine floor plans and play accordingly. I loved looking at display homes and my greatest dream would be that I could look inside all of the neighbourhood houses. I think you could say that I had an obsession with houses.

I reflect on this and think “How remarkable”! I had no desire to become an architect and even today I have no desire to be an architect. Yet here I am in a community garden building a primitive structure that reminds me of my childhood desire to create houses.

I get quiet distressed at what I call ugly new estates, where houses don’t make ecological sense. Houses should reflect personality not wealth. I believe that houses need to reflect an understanding to the environment and should be  a place where we can be ourselves.

Any way, that’s enough of me preaching and here’s some pictures of my teepee.

Kinetic Wind Sculptures and other stuff!!

I’m in awe. I have just viewed a Youtube film about Theo Jansen’s  kinetic wind sculpture that walks by itself because of a breeze.

My world of art is expanding and I love it. Just recently I have been enjoying making installation, weaving and butterfly palaces at the community garden and was asked what work ideas I could contribute from an artist point of view.

This got me thinking and since then I have been on a kinetic, wind, sculpture, music, sensory and interactive search.

I would love to see interactive musical sculptures dotted throughout the garden. I would love to see kinetic wind sculptures bringing visual delight to viewers. I would love it to be a place where kids with sensory needs can come and be stimulated or calmed by such an enriching place. I would love to see the garden to become an outdoor class room for children who just find it difficult to learn inside. I might just stop here because I could keep going.

I love this art world, for it’s more than just pretty pictures or limited to just arty farty’s.

The arts can provide innovation, enjoyment, play, problem solving, community connection and just good old fashion fun.  Beats me why people don’t value it enough??

Anyway enjoy the film and get inspired!!!!

I Think I’ve got a Butterfly Theme Going on Here!!

I’m just a bit excited and feel like I’m a kid ready to play and have fun. Last Monday I went op shopping and found myself some pretty delightful bargains!!

I picked up this butterfly dress for $7.50

I couldn’t resist wearing it the other day, on a frightfully rainy come windy kind of stormy day. I felt like a butterfly flitting from place to place.

One of the other items that I was able to purchase is a mosquito net for the gorgeous price of $5.  I was instantly thinking that it would make the best butterfly palace ever!!!! So I hung it on my clothes line and road tested it at home

Now that is nice and so delightfully serene. Forget some exotic location to bring some tranquillity, just get yourself a mozzy net and you’ll be fine.

The next step was to take my net to the garden for yet another road test

Now that looks fantastic and I can’t wait to set up the butterfly palace for the kids at the community garden…….. Sometimes I think that the kids are just an excuse to me to experiment and play.

So the next thing to do is make some butterfly wings and make up a story and in the meantime lets sing this classic song

It’s a Start

A couple of years back I had a happy little garden in my mum’s back yard and an awesome worm farm. Unfortunately discouragement set in when the neighbours dog tore up my garden and I failed to care for my beloved worms and they died…boo hoo 😦

I think that if I was attending a community garden as I am now I probably wouldn’t have let gardening go by the way side, but never fear; it’s never to late to start again.

Last week I attended the Big Back yard Festival at the Wollongong Botanic Garden where I got a little bit inspired by this idea

So armed with a free rocket plant that I received at the festival, my hubby and I came up with this

It is small, but its a start and in the process I really feel like I’ve stuck it to the marketing man by reusing things that were of no longer any use to us. As well as starting our very small garden at home, last Tuesday I decided to actually do some gardening for a change and harvest some food from the garden too.

This very small start feels like a big change and suddenly I no longer feel helpless about the rising cost of life. I have always desired simplicity and to do the things that matter. I don’t like this world system and getting back to gardening somehow makes me feel like I am taking responsibility and being a good steward of the earth.

I feel more rested and when God’s word tells us not to worry about tomorrow I am able to just receive it with peace in my heart. Matthew 6:25-34.

I was also excited because Jason came to the garden too, it’s become a real family thing and I love it