Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holiday Reading - Jodi Picoult

Will you think less of me if I confess this is the first Jodi Picoult I've read?? I'll remind you of course that I finally feel at a life stage where I have time to really read and enjoy good novels and I'm thinking I should have done it earlier :o).

So... it's so easy to see why Jodi Picoult is such a successful author. She is a supreme story teller and by that I mean that she writes stories about people who do and believe bad, terrible even, things but she writes their story. Without any 'teaching tone' she gently confronts the reader with the fact that everyone has a story. That person you judge from the outside - the boy that guns down students at his high-school, the scientist that believes in eugenics... the monster is a person and that person has a story. But, so do all the people they effect with their decisions.

Our lives are complex and complicated and we are pushed forward more often by our reaction to our past than by some lofty 'bettering ourselves' ideals.This is where I find these novels so irresistible. These, it feels, are real people not perfect nor entirely evil. People who struggle to come to terms with both their past and possible future. People who are engaged fully in their present while drawn back and forward over the narrative of their lives.

This latest publication includes 3 of Picoult's novels: Second Glance, The Tenth Circle, and  Nineteen Minutes. I'm not going to precis the plots for you, suffice to say they cover the entire rangeof circumstances - eugenics, the paranormal, rape, high school shootings, family life, falling in love, parenting.... but they are so much more than their big themes they are people, tangled, loving and loved, hiding and disclosing. They are stories to draw you in and when you finish you feel you are saying goodbye to friends and you want to know how their lives continue. - Don't you both love and hate that in books - when you want to know more about how things unfold for them?

These aren't quick reads (even for me). They bounce forward and back in time and between characters with seamlessness. You get totally drawn into the current tale and feel disappointed when it jumps only to find yourself totally locked into what you have just landed on.

As a holiday read 3 novels in 1 book (albeit heavy) is perfect. One book that can keep you satisfied for the whole holiday has to be a good thing right?

I'll be reading more of Jodi Picoult for sure. Her work is intelligent, well written and has more depth than anything I might spend time watching on TV.

Have you read any of her work? What would you recommend I try from her next?

Details - Published by Allen and Unwin 1st of April 2014. RRP $32.99 Au.

love you more than being late to the party but finding it still in full swing xxx

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Best Friday

However you spend today may you find Hope in anguished places and may you know Peace when the storm rages

may you be convinced of a Love that steps into time and a death that tears down forever a wall between those who are on the in and those who aren't.
By Italian painter Masaccio - we saw this in real life when we travelled in Florence.

Mark 15: 33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion,who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

may we all be convinced of this life changing Love xxx

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Make My Week - the extras

So last week when I made my special dress (thanks for everyone who visited and voted, whoever you voted for) I wanted to make all the accessories.

I made the plastic purse - which I think still needs some refining and an underskirt. (Because you can never have too many tulle underskirts right?)Very simple just 2 rows of very gathered tulle slipped onto a simple elastic waisted calico petticoat.

Not too exciting but a make all the same.

Joining in with inspirational ladies (and men I'm sure they would be welcome too) here

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than a cheeky peek of tulle xxx

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holiday Reads - Making Soapies in Kabul

Seeing as we're suddenly in holidays I thought I'd take some time over the next 2 weeks to share some reads I've recently been enjoying. (Including a special guest review by Flip!)

Making Soapies in Kabul by Trudi-Ann Tierney is the kind of book The Atlas usually picks up at the library, it's an autobiographical book with some kind of travel element involved. The book covers the 3 years Trudi-Ann spent working in the world of making TV in Afghanistan.

This book is one of those that gives a human insight into the crazy world of living in 'the Ghan' and making soap operas. As you can imagine things aren't straight forward but Trudi-Ann's warmth and genuine love of her crazy role takes you in and envelopes you in all the madness. Trudi-Ann doesn't down play the crazy or the cultural disconnects and mis-connects but she writes with humanity and warmth and has a deep affection for the cast of crazy expats and Afghans she meets in her time there.

I enjoyed reading it. It's a bit like intimate emails from a loved one in a far off land and it captures an Afghanistan that doesn't feature in news stories and western perceptions. It's not a picture of perfection though, far from, it's riotous, shocking and hilarious, but I like that - real but different.

If you like the thought of far-flung adventures and peaking behind the doors of making soapies with culture clashes and the insanity of doing anything in a war zone this is a book that you'll love. It's both readable and put down-able; you can read large chunks or just pick up here and there with snatches of time in between holiday activities with your loved ones.

Details - PUBLISHED: March 2014 IMPRINT: Allen & Unwin CATEGORY: Autobiography  RRP: $29.99 EBOOK: Yes

love you more than taking an adventure into a danger-zone without the danger xxx

Sunday, April 13, 2014


This boy playing mix and match with my shoes.

This boy after 2 lessons playing (and singing his heart out) at church this morning.

These are the boys I was given and I couldn't be more grateful for them, and for the great man they call Dad.

love you more than a bum note in a first performance xxx

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Make My Week - Will You Vote

So I am about to write a very long post to tell you about my entry into the Offset Warehouse Competition. If you're not one for reading these could I still ask you (very nicely) to go over and vote here.

There are four of us bloggers who have used some beautiful Offset Warehouse fabric to create something and it would be so nice if lots of people voted. Please vote for the one you genuinely like the best. Don't vote for me because you love me - vote for your fav. Ok?

So vote, vote, vote and make us feel like people are interested in our creations :o)

I was accepted with my idea by Zoe under the theme of Everyday Awesome and these are my thoughts.
When I read Zoe’s theme – everyday awesome – I loved it. What better thought to carry around in your heart than: there are ways as creative people to make everyday awesome.

We are given this day, others were not.  Some people’s days are taken from them by death, by force, by poverty, by slavery, by chance. We are given this day. This is a day to celebrate.  As a mama I have well known the pyjama filled days, those days of distaste at the stretch marks that have turned my tummy into something that resembles a deflating balloon. But I also know that getting up and dressing up for the day, choosing that favourite dress, those shoes that make you feel indestructible, those earrings given to you by someone who thinks you are wonderful – those days are better days.

Sometimes by being everyday awesome and wearing something special instead of saving it for a ‘proper’ occasion, we make someone smile. Maybe the person who smiles is the little person who looks up at a ‘dressed up’ grown up and thinks, ‘one day I will still dress-up too’. I think we owe it to ourselves and our children to send a message out to the world that we are more than bill payers, notice signers, dinner makers, environmental worriers/warriors, we are still just a little bit lot, wonderfully made. 

And so I was so thrilled to be chosen to make a dress from Offset Warehouse’s collection. Because I believe creativity is important and I am excited to see people helping us to do that in better ways – ethically, sustain-ably, leaving a gentle footprint. I am trying to make choices that reflect my respect for this great human family and for this wonderful earth we are charged to steward.

For the last 3 years we have journeyed through 10,000s of earthquakes in Christchurch, as the earth has destroyed grandma’s china, houses, sewer lines and lives it has also built communities that are knit together, it has made empty spaces that creative people have filled and it has taught us that what matters and what remains unshakable are relationships. It has taught me that joy and love and shared laughter are my gifts to the world and I will give them with all the generosity I have and in every creative way I can think of.  

It has taught me that I can, and should, use and enjoy my special things everyday or I can save them, only to find they are destroyed anyway. The value is not in the things themselves, it is in the use and pleasure we derive from them. It has taught me to use, wear, enjoy, and share today.

I’m not waiting for a special occasion. Today is awesome. Every day is awesome. I am not the youngest, oldest, wisest, strongest, prettiest, cleverest, slimmest woman in the world and so I owe it to myself, to other women, to my children and to others to declare (often with how I dress,) I’m not waiting for a special occasion, a better body, a better day. 

Maybe someone whose day is very far from awesome today needs to look at you and feel the hope of a better tomorrow. Go out with some glitter in your pocket (metaphorically) and make the world awesome.
Stop saving your blanks (in scrabble) until the end of the game. Wear your favourite dress, use your favourite china, use that massage voucher you were given, paint your toenails…. Or pay it forward and let someone else enjoy it.

I leave you with one of my favourite (slightly doctored) quotes:

Life may not be the party we expected, but while we’re here we might as well (don our favourite dress) dance (in public).

March to the beat of your own drum, dress with attitude, be imperfect, be everyday awesome.
Miriam x

Self-made flouncy petticoat, shoes from the goodwill op-shop, hand me down tights, also earrings made from wood from deconstructed houses (as a result of earthquakes).

My sincere thanks to the fabulous folks at offset warehouse for the opportunity to make this ensemble and for their enthusiasm in all our correspondence.

Hugethanks to lovely Zoe for picking my entry and for her continued challenge and inspiration to make good, ethical choices in my own crafting. I hope I have made something you think is beautiful. Good luck to my fellow contestants I so look forward to being inspired by your fabulous makes. 

More crafty ladies over here

 Show & Tell Thursday's

love you more than a brand new stranger-stopping dress xxx

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

in my neighbourhood - The Studio

The Art Gallery is situated on North Terrace in the central city. We've been here a couple of times with the boys. Perhaps, typically?, they don't like spending hours looking at each piece of art, although they definitely have their favourites.

We have however made a wonderful discovery in the art gallery. In the gallery there is a room set aside called The Studio - sponsored by a couple it features some kind of interactive art making that goes with the theme of the latest special exhibition.

The first time we went the room was decorated to go with the Middle Eastern art that was currently featured. There was Plasticine and we made little 'trinkets'. At least that was what we were supposed to make. Bounce made about 40 things and Flip made some kind of obstacle course that used rather a lot of the tools as well. I made a 'tree of life'.

The next time we went we had The Atlas with us. The exhibition was the current 'Dark Heart' one. The large house they are posing on (we read the sign afterwards that said please keep off, oops!) is also part of the exhibit.

This time we were supposed to make talismans - being that I'm not really  into them we just did our normal make your own thing. The Atlas made me an eye patch (so romantic) and I made a couple of brooches - which I forgot to photograph. I really liked that for this one there was no tape or glue so aside from sewing you had to get creative with how to put things together.

Also they decorate the studio to match the theme which is pretty cool too.

... and the cafe features colour in table cloths - what's not to love?

The Studio is open the same days as the gallery and is free. Yay! If you like making and you have no shame you can go by yourself as an adult or you can round up some kids and take them too, for a cultural experience.

** In my neighbourhood, recording our journey and writing the kind of posts about living in Adelaide I wanted to find before we left NZ**

love you more than crafty challenges xxx