Saturday, December 26, 2015

Joyful Journey

The story of a Mothers quiet encouragement &  an Afghan that has been 3 years in the making.

Back in 2012, not long after arriving here in Australia, I saw a ball of wool that I fell in love with ( nothing new there!) - a nice long run colour changing yarn that would be perfect for the centre piece of some squares I had seen called Noro Circles Afghan. Of course I bought it, well two balls of it - just to have a play with & keep my hands busy in the evenings. I thought perhaps I'd make a cushion out of the squares.

A couple of weeks later it went on sale & I bought a couple more balls in a different colourway & crocheted away until I ran out again.....which was about the time that Mum came over from New Zealand to stay with us. She saw what I was doing & fell in love with it, encouraging me to make the afghan, despite the fact that I said I didn't know if it would ever get cold enough here to use it.
On one of our trips out & about we were in the store that sold the wool looking at craft supplies & she bought me a few balls of it. I guessed that it was on it's way to becoming an afghan rather than a pillow!

I well recall teasing her when she said "I'd absolutely love something like that to snuggle up in" - replying with a comment about the bright colours screaming at her decor. Knowing Mum as I did, I knew her comment wasn't intended as a hint that she'd like me to give her the one I was making, she would have asked outright, it was simply her way of encouraging me.
But the seed of an idea was planted & I figured later I would make her one in some of the more muted colourways available in the range.

So it went on, after Mum went home - when I had a bit of money to spare & the store would have a discount, promotion or sale I'd buy a couple more balls. Slowly the pile of squares grew. Over time the wool had become harder to get & I'd had to search around other stores to get it.

The store chain eventually discontinued the yarn & all of a sudden in mid 2013 I was finished, whether I liked it or not! I started laying it out on the spare bed trying to figure how I wanted to put over 100 different squares in numerous different colourways of the wool together....and there was nothing I could come up with that felt "right"...mainly because I was over thinking it before I even started. After an incident involving a cat, her hair & the disturbance of a semi likeable layout I packed the squares away as Summer approached... & forgot all about it.

Then, in March 2014, I got the call from Mum that she was pretty darn ill. As I made arrangements to go to visit her while she was still "reasonably well" my mind went to the squares sitting there & I knew what I wanted to do with them, but also that I wouldn't have time to sew all the ends in & assemble them before leaving for New Zealand. Believing that she had another 5 months I thought that I'd do it when I got back & send it to her.

It wasn't to be. When I arrived back after her funeral & right up until October this year I haven't been able to face them. It was actually the Jacarandas that reminded me of the squares, & I determined to somehow celebrate Mum's life & mark her journey through it. I assembled the squares into an afghan during the days that were the anniversary of her time here with me.

In the end it was easy - take a leaf out of her book. Because despite every stinking illness, & every emergency surgery & hospital stay - Mum stayed optimistic. She took great joy in life & in those she loved or cared about. She always looked on the bright side & was a beacon of light to friends or family going through anything. She always had time to support & encourage others, no matter what she was going through.

So the layout became easy - push the darker squares into the opposite corners & let the joy & light shine through.

It would have been Mum's 78th Birthday today - I hadn't given her a hand crafted Birthday present of any significance since I made her a porcelain doll "Joey" back in 1993.
I can honour her memory by celebrating her life this way though -

Caroles Joyful Journey

Monday, November 02, 2015

Those Purple Trees

The Jacaranda's have been in flower over the last month - stunning trees at the best of times, but when they are planted en-mass, as they are locally, they become absolutely spectacular!

I spent the latter half of last month celebrating "17 days of Mum" - or rather the last quality time we ever had to spend together when she came over for a holiday just after we had come to Australia.  She just loved the Jacarandas & would always admire them pointing them out in the distance as we drove around - or gasp in amazement as we drove the streets lined with them locally.

One of the Jacaranda lined streets locally.

Sometimes it's a bit difficult to look around this place & imagine what it was like 3 years ago when Mum arrived 3 1/2 months after we had moved here. I wasn't fully unpacked, hadn't replaced any of the furniture left behind in NZ.... & certainly didn't know my way around Brisbane, or a fraction of what it had to offer.
Heck, at that point we had only just got our own car (finally settled in a stress filled rush the week before she got here) & I had been brave enough to drive on the local motorway all of 3 or 4 times....if that!

Never the less on the day of her arrival I'd put my big girl panties on, plugged in the "specially purchased so I could galavant around the countryside with Mum" GPS & braved the even bigger, scarier motorway down to the Gold Coast. Thankfully, after that, Allan was around for most of the bigger trips.
I suspect that Mum never realised how absolutely petrified I was on that particular drive, a suspicion backed up by the fact that when we were almost back home that evening, she mentioned that she'd like to revisit  Robina Town Centre Mall .....which was way back down where we'd just come from. Or maybe she was just trying to encourage me in her own special way ;)

The colour takes on a different hue in the shade.

I've always disliked the fact that she'd arrived to a house that still didn't feel like home, a non existent garden &, after an extremely dry winter, a parched lawn & sad looking trees. I was tired & my energy levels at an all time low as I hadn't yet managed to find a Doctor here that could deal with my stupid thyroid & had run out of my prescription a month earlier - most mornings were a battle just to wake up enough to function in a semi human manner. But eventually my body would catch up with my sluggish mind & we'd get going - Mum often leading the race everywhere. I remember teasing her that she should share her excess energy with me - & I my excess body weight with her!!

We had a good time - loads of laughs, lots of travel, wine o'clock every evening & lots of shopping. Mum was an encourager & an enabler in that aspect  - gosh, how she loved the shops!! We made memories, of course dreaming at the time that we would make more once we were more settled over here. The only thing there wasn't enough of were photos of  the two of us together.

The pops of purple throughout the suburbs really make an impact.

So, this last month has been a bit of a journey in more ways than one. I've revisited some of the memories we did make while she was here....& had a few laughs about some of the smaller memories such as big ass spider that would always choose Mum's shower time to visit the bathroom!! Determined to celebrate her life, rather than focus on the huge space she has left in mine, I finished a project that I had been working on when Mum was here - & there is a story behind that, so I will leave if for another post.

These days gardening seems bitter sweet somehow. Mum was one of the few people that understood my passion for it (heck, she was one of the few people who understood & encouraged my passion for anything!). So as I intermittently plod on trying to liven up what was once crispy grass & overgrown bush, I think often of Mum & wish so much that she could see what I have done. I know it would make her smile - & draw in a contented breath while saying to herself "ahh, Deb has settled into her new life".

As for the Jacarandas' - now when they are in flower they will always remind me of Mum & her visit here.
They are also bright, vibrant & offer up a note of positivity in a landscape of sameness - just as she was.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Blues.....

I've never quite understood why some people don't like Monday - unless of course you are still at school & not that fussed about it. Because lets face it when you are still at school - the weekends are never long enough! But after we've finished school the rest is about choice. Plain & simple.

I have always loved Monday ( I don't profess to have always liked school though....) & I still do. To me it signifes a fresh beginning & often a chance to catch up on the things I didn't get done the previous week.

The only thing I don't enjoy about Monday these days is that they seem to be getting closer together, coming around just that bit too quickly.

The up side to that is that today was a spectacularly "Blue Monday" - everything with even a hint of blue in it was showing off.

My gorgeous waterlily was showing off yet another bloom.
Plectranthus caninus ( Dogbane)  getting in on the act
This poor baby is blue because I can't recall it's name.
Passiflora edulis f. flavicarpa - Yellow Passionfruit 
Clitoria ternatea - Double Blue Butterfly Pea is
singing the the top of it's voice.
Argyreia nervosa - Elephant Ear Vine with friendly grasshopper.
Not exactly blue - but she's certainly"In the Pink"
Even the weeds were getting in on the act!

Oh, yeah - I do so love me some Monday Blues & hope that the prettiness involved in this form of "Blues" brings a smile to the start of your week.