Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and The Invisible Mother

Hello my little sparrows and swans,
I am taking a brief break from Blogging as I feel very overwhelmed with the wedding/birthday party preparations/editing book/renovating house.
I shall return in a week or two but in the meantime, I shall do my best to visit you all in your nests and trees.
This lovely piece arrived in my inbox the other day. I can certainly relate to a lot of it. If you are a mother, you may also see your own feelings. It is also for those who may be struggling creatively.
Invisible Mother.....
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'
Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mum. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!?
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.
I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'
In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it. And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become. At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from Uni for Christmas, or Easter that 'My Mum gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women .
Great Job, MUM!
Share this with all the Invisible Mums you know... I just did. The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you. This is beautiful and makes a ton of sense. To all the wonderful mothers out there.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Adieu for now my feathered friends xx

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fabbo Friday (oops) and Fab and Thrifty Beauty Products

Okay it's not Friday but I am sure I'm excused a tardy post, and in some countries it is Friday. Not being a believer in chronological time, I will excuse myself for being so late with this entry.
I love prestige beauty cosmetics and skincare but even more than luxury brands, I love hearing about thrifty beauty buys that work. Here are four of my favourites.
1/Lavender oil - I don't care what the Cosmetic Cop says, I believe in aromatherapy oils for beauty care. I love many oils which I blend myself in skincare but the great mother oil lavender is one of my favourites. Not only is it wonderful for skin compressing but it's so versatile and can be used for first aid and a host of other things in the house. All that for less than twenty dollars! I blend oils with a variety of carriers to make my own skin care as a change from commercial brands. Essential oils are like friends to me that I couldn't be without.
2/ Rosehip Oil - a wonderful carrier or brilliant to use just on its own. This is so good for the skin, like a huge vitamin pill. A great price and a great product.
3/Pure Virgin Coconut Oil. - If it's good enough for Elle Macpherson to use for weight loss it's good enough for me. I drink a tablespoon of this in water before meals to speed up the metabolism. But wait! There's more. Coconut oil can also be used for the hair and skin and body. You can add essential oils to it and you will feel like eating yourself by the time you finish.
4/ Sleep. It's free and the best beauty aid there is. Okay, I lie. This is one beauty aid that feels like a luxury to me as I never get it. But I'm aiming to start getting more sleep this year.
Enjoy your weekend. Thanks for popping in. What are your thrifty beauty aids? I'd love to hear them! xx

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chit-Chat Wednesday and JUST START!

This is going to be short. I'm so busy this week and Pip's post was so good that I feel we all need time to read and absorb it properly! Thanks again, Pip, for popping in and posting for me.
I am in the midst of trying to edit my mystery book, Poets Cottage, while I continue to: renovate our cottage (not as much progress there as I hoped), work very part-time in my 'real world' job, settle my daughter into her new school, juggle various school commitments and plan a wedding. Plus run a Blog and take my girl to swimming lessons etc. I wish I could say ballet but my daughter has dropped out of ballet and so I'm a ballet mother drop-out!
Anyway, here's a great quote from the wonderful Agatha Christie from Twitter site Quotes4 Writers. It could easily apply to all artists in any medium. Or, just generally life itself.
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Agatha Christie.
And so no excuses, no procrastination. Agatha has spoken!
Thanks for popping in. Enjoy your week. I am off to the movies tonight with Art School Annie to see 'It's Complicated.' I’m looking forward to seeing Meryl's house and Alec Baldwin in this romantic comedy. It will be good to turn my brain off and not worry about the fact I still haven't organized a wedding cake and I’m not sure about the dress with only a few weeks to go. But I do have a ring, an estate aquamarine art deco style ring. Art Deco also makes me think of Agatha.
Aren't these prints fun? You can purchase them or an entire range of book covers from the Queen of Crime's collection from the official Agatha Christie website.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and Pip Lincolne Guest Blog!

In a recent blogging competition I won Pip Lincolne! Yes, it's true. I won the legendary Meet Me at Mikes, Queen of fab and crafting. Not to do my housework that is - but to do a guest Blog on Tale Peddler. And so today I have a treat for you, dear readers. A post on inspiration by a woman who has inspired thousands and thousands around the globe.
Why do I love Pip so much? Regular readers will know I often have a gush over Pip. Ever since I first stumbled across her amazing blog Meet Me at Mikes and discovered a kindred spirit who loves vintage children's books, Nanna things, whimsy, nostalgia, homemade sauce, ginger-beer and is always ready to share these treasures and recipes with her blogging friends, I've been an avid follower.
Pip embodies the spirit of Brownies with her perky kindness, her campaign to get the entire world on the end of a crochet needle and just to live a craftier, brighter, more positive life. If you read the entry on her blog of how she got a book deal then you will see she has a very 'can do' attitude to life that we could all emulate. She's a loving Mummy, domestic artist, crafter, Blogger, writer and runs one of the cutest shops I've ever seen in Fitzroy, Melbourne called, Meet Me at Mikes!
If I feel anxious and panicky about the way the world is going and I start to feel I'm on a SHIP OF FOOLS that is slowly sinking, I only have to visit Meet Me at Mikes to begin to relax and start to smile again. The ship is sailing perfectly when people like Pip are on board.
But enough from me - I'll hand you over to the fabulous, luminous, cute Pip Lincolne. Three cheers for Pip and long may she reign! If you want to follow Pip (and you really, really should if you're not already) Here's her HOME
And I highly recommend her beautiful, crafty book Meet Me at Mikes! It has something for everyone within its Pip-like pages!
Inspiration Junket
Sunday mornings. Mmm. From beneath the blanket-y depths of your cosy bed you mumble something about sleeping in as you flip your pillow and snuggle down for another hour's kipping. No. No, no, no, I say. Sleeping in is fine. You seem to get that extra wee bit of time to yourself. Your body repairs. Blah blah blah. Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't you? It'll tell you why. That is the whole point. Everyone else IS doing it. The world sleeps at 6am on a Sunday. (Well, most of the world, of course some poor buggers have to work at that time, but GENERALLY the world sleeps.) Things are so snoozy, you can probably even hear your HOUSE yawning. The windows are probably blinking their shades drowsily and rolling over for another five minutes. The morning glories are still shut tight. The mice are snoring, the cat is catatonic (hence the word) and your neighbours are probably in some unwakeable slumber too. That is exactly the reason that you should GET UP!

You have the world to yourself. It's a brand new day! There are no interruptions. You are claiming extra time that you normally would be spending at the sleep bank, and you can use it to do some stuff just for you! And you can do it in your slippers. What could be better?

20 Steps To An Inspired Day

1. Get up
2. Wash your face and have a big drink of water
3. Make a pot of chai or tea or coffee
4. Put on some music
5. Make yourself some toast
6. Be sure you are warm enough
7. Turn on the computer
8. Go to a site like or and set up an account so you can save images to your very own dedicated inspiration library
9. Grab the little bookmark widget on these sites and drag it to your toolbar
10. Head over to Flickr, or your favourite blogs and start gathering inspiration images. You just need to click the bookmark widget and all the images on the page will be highlighted - from there you can choose the one's you love most and save them to look at all the time.
11. Leave a comment on your favourite images before you click away
12. Sip your tea
13. Make some more toast
14. Stretch
15. Pat the cat
16. Do some more clicking and looking
17. Get out your notebook and write down or sketch some things that have inspired you, or some things you want to do
18. Put a star next to the things that are most important
19. Review all the images you saved today
20. Make some fresh tea and repeat steps 10 to 20 until you get tired or someone wakes up

Important Notes ::
Be sure to carry your notebook with you at all times, that way you can refer back to it at opportune moments. For instance when you are in the book store you can check the scribble about that great book you saw on someone's blog.
Buy or make some nice bread on Saturday so you can do the toast part
Don't worry too much if you don't have a cat, these steps are important, but optional

Pip Lincolne

all images taken from Pip's flickr account:
main image of Pip originally published in August 2009 Home Beautiful

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fabbo Friday and a Fab and Funny French Film

My lovely neighbour and friend lent me the French movie I Do and this week was the perfect week for watching it. If you enjoy a funny, light romantic film then I highly recommend it. I'd had a pretty dismal week but I managed to put my woes behind me and laugh out loud a few times.
Alain Chabat plays Luis Costa, a happily confirmed bachelor who lives in an immaculate apartment and works as a 'nose' for a perfume company. His five sisters and interfering mother are trying to marry him off. Enter Emma played by Charlotte Gainsbourg whom Luis pays to be the perfect partner that his family will all fall in love with and then dump him at the altar, leaving him heart-broken so his family will leave him alone. The cunning plan backfires when his family fall in love with Emma too much and then he is forced to change his plan, hiring Emma to become the girlfriend from hell for the benefit of his family.
It's a lovely escapist film and Charlotte looks incredibly elegant, slim and stunning. But what would you expect with her parents? I do love Serge and Jane Birkin sooo much and have happy memories of visiting Serge's grave in Paris and seeing all the funny notes, cigarette butts,, metro tickets and quirky toys left for him. With a gene pool like that, Charlotte had to be exceptional.
Enjoy your weekend. Hope it is filled with lots of laughter and inspiration. Thank you for visiting me. xx

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Chit-chat Wednesday and An Education - Keys 2

Once upon a time there was a tiny speck. No bigger than the eye of a sultana inside my body. I was unprepared for this growth. I loved travelling to Paris. I enjoyed time to myself and couldn't imagine life with a little person. And yet a little person had arrived, for there was the speck.
Five years later the speck is a pig-tailed, long-legged, cheeky, bright and intelligent Australian little girl. All the doctors worried over the speck. They had muttered the words, DOWNS and LEGS TOO SHORT and will never grow to NORMAL HEIGHT.
But doctors and women can be wrong.
I no longer travel to Paris every year. I cannot remember what it was like to have unbroken sleep, think only of myself. Those days which seemed so perfect at the time, now look like black-and-white Kansas as I twirl and whirl with Dorothy and Toto in a world of wonder and Oz. A quieter and richer world.
The speck grew into a very tall girl and I grew into a mother. A mother who last week saw her sunbeam shine her way into the first day of big school.
I remember the moment when I first saw the speck on the monitor. I had been so afraid, so unsure, so doubting of my capacity to love a child. So fearing of the loss of identity and ego that would come. And yet I sensed the speck had a soul, that there was meaning to that speck. Something passed between us. And as I stared at that tiny, formless insubstantial thing, I knew the speck was looking back at me.
Fly high my little sparrow. I have given you the keys. I love you, Daisy.
I hope you are all well. I am frantic editing Poets Cottage and attempting to prepare for our wedding. Tonight I have my bookclub meeting. My charming, whimsical, writer friend Amanda Holohan is moderating the trippy book 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' and so it should be a fun night. For all the Mums and Dads who watched with a lump in their throat as their little ones started school enjoy the moment. Bittersweet and beautiful, joyous and poignant. Three cheers for us and even louder cheers for our wonderful children. xx

Monday, February 1, 2010

Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday and the Dreamer who never woke

He described himself as a dreamer who never woke up. Marc Chagall is my kind of person and artist. I have long admired his world of whimsical, fantastical beings and visions . He is a poet, a child, a madman. Pablo Picasso, not known for praising many artists, said that Chagall must have had an angel in his head to paint as he did.
Chagall was fearless and remained true to his own imaginative visions and world, rejecting the popular art of the day (abstraction and intellectual object paintings). Chagall's is a fantastic world of lovers who fly backwards, fiddlers with green faces or humans with rooster heads.
This outsider, eccentric genius rose from poverty and obscurity to become one of the most acclaimed artists of our time.
The French poet Guillaume Apollinaire described his paintings as “supernatural.” Whenever I feel jaded or uninspired, I only have to look at a Chagall painting to feel my sense of awe and wonder of this mysterious universe restored.
He was creating until the day he died, of course, at a very young 97. I can only imagine the angels flocked around this mystical child-artist when he departed this world.
A writer friend, Blaise Cendrars, composed a poem about Chagall: “Suddenly he paints / He grabs a church and paints with a church / He grabs a cow and paints with a cow.”
For Magnificent, Marvellous, Mighty Monday let us grab churches and cows and infuse our creative efforts with the joy and enthusiasm of a Marc Chagall. May we continue to see the world through fresh eyes every second and may we never allow ourselves to be pigeon-holed. Three cheers and a backwards flip for Marc Chagall.

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing. Marc Chagall
The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep. Marc Chagall