Dark Blues and Shades of Grey

A beautiful bog of images here….

Dark blues, greys and linen

Naturally dark greys with splash of green life

Soundtrack for life

Recently I had a late night road trip with my girls. My eldest sat in front with me and played her ‘songs’ from her iPod. As she switched between one great song to the next, she sang along, offered a commentary on the artist and made comparisons with other music she liked. I had a great time humming along. And I realised that she is writing the soundtrack to her life, but she doesn’t fully realise that yet. We all have a soundtrack. A song with special meaning – a first kiss, time of hardship, the trials of youth….We will have favourite musicians who influenced what we wore, how we wanted to be and what we aspired to, but it will be music that will help to write our passage through life.

I wonder what your soundtrack sounds like? Dare to share??

New Baby…

My sister recently had her first child. And last night another dear friend had her third babe. So I have been aware of the beautiful sleeping arrangements one can make for baby. Aren’t these cots and cribs adorable. When our first was born we had no idea. No one had cots to hand down to us, we were amongst the first of our friends to have children. The choices seemed so daunting and expensive and no where as beautiful as we see today. Design and babies have come along way in just over a decade.

So we managed to buy one second hand from a lady in the country. I remember the mid winter drive to this small cottage on a large property. She had one child and was sad to part with her simple wooden cot. She included all the Egyptian cotton linen and a lovely woollen blanket as well. Little did we know there would be five of our own babies to lie in that cot. Wonderful.

Conversations with Creative Women: Rosanna Marshall

Rosana with her Mum and her three men!
Rosanna and her parents in Brazil
Sometimes you stumble across a real talent. My gorgeous friend Rosanna has a story to tell. She is a gifted writer and creative soul. She shares her food, stories and family with mine. Today I want to share her blog 1heart2homes. It is a blog in its infancy but has a heart of wisdom, experience and love. It is a story of life across different continents and cultures but her home has one heart. Enjoy!

What does being creative mean to you?
I think being creative means using that source of inspiration that everybody has inside to bring joy to life. It’s finding ways of doing the same thing differently, from cooking a simple meal for the family, to solving problems at work. It’s making life more colourful, more interesting. It’s trying new things, even when we are not so sure of the results.

What things have inspired you, given you pleasure and joy?
In general, nature has a powerful effect on me. I am a very visual person, so gorgeous beaches, colourful mountains, just being in these places and absorbing their beauty is something that inspires me and brings a lot of joy. You know that feeling when you are in your car just watching the scenery roll by, listening to some good music and letting your mind wander? Everything seems better, all the answers are found…yes, nature definitely inspires me. And people, generous people, people who make a difference, who find a life project and devote themselves to it, no matter what.

Where did you grow up and how did family life and your home influence how you “see” the world and ignite this desire to create?
I grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’m an only child, so my family memories are usually of our small group of three plus my best friends. We were very close and spent a lot of time together. Our holidays on the beach, in summer, or in the mountains, in winter, are memories that I’ll never forget.
My parents were my friends, always on my side, helping me with my projects, my dreams, I can’t remember one single occasion when they would not have been there for me. It really helped become who I am. I pursued my dreams; I studied what I wanted, I travelled, always with a lot of support from my parents.
As for my country, it couldn’t have been a more creative environment. Brazilians have this way of being happy, of finding joy in little things that makes them different, special. I grew up in a vibrant country surrounded by jubilant people, “the Brazilian way” as we say.
When you are there, when you are part of it, sometimes you don’t realize how special it is, but now that I’ve been away for so long, it is so clear to me what kind of person I am and want my kids to be, and how much of this comes from my parents, my country, the values that were taught to me from a very early age.

What are some of the ways you have had to juggle your creativity around different seasons in life?
In Brazil I was an ESLT(English as a second language teacher), and worked in this area for more than twenty years, but there were different stages in my career, usually 8 year cycles, I don’t know why.
I worked at one school for 8 years, and then I ran my own school for 8 years; I started teaching privately and kept doing it for about the same time.
Most of the time I was dealing with adults, professionals who needed English in their careers. It is a very competitive market in a big city like Sao Paulo; you have to be creative to survive. You have to offer something different, to be outstanding in the mainstream.
Even when you are working for a school, from the moment you step into a classroom you have to be creative, to make your students feel comfortable and eager to learn.
I had to develop some custom made material to be used by different clients. It was a lot of work, and back then, my life revolved around my business, but it was worth it.  I’ve learned a lot about who I am, about people, how to solve problems, survive them and keep working. Yes, it was very good. But that phase is over, and I have to say, being a mum and taking care of my family, which is what I’ve been doing in this other season of my life, requires as much, if not more, creativity and work.

You have recently started blogging. What inspired this creative venture?
You are one of the reasons I started blogging, you know that.When I first saw your blog, I really related to the idea of sharing thoughts and stories, registering a bit of my family life. I wasn’t sure I could do it, though. I wondered ‘what if I run out of inspiration, what if I have only 3 posts and that’s it’? But I gave it a try, and ideas and posts just keep coming…it’s my way of saying things, being heard (or read), telling our stories, recording our memories, using my creativity from the moment I choose a title to my post, to the choice of artwork to illustrate my thoughts.
I just love it!

How do you balance family life with time to blog?
So far, I’ve been balancing my blog and my studies in a good way. I’m studying on line, hoping to be accredited an interpreter/translator here in Australia. I did a course in Brazil many years ago, but never really worked in this area, except for some translations for some clients and students. But I really like it, and I think it could be something I could do from home.
I try to do both in the morning, an early start after dropping kids and husband and after doing my exercise (a bit of swimming, gym and/or walking the dog). I will sit in front of the computer for hours if possible, reading my course texts aloud, or writing my posts.
But I don’t do it every day, for obvious reasons, and I never do it on the weekends (obvious reasons, too).
Once everybody is back home, my time is theirs.

What creative people do you admire – writers, artists, cooks…. How have they influenced your work?
So many people, hard not to forget some…I admire writers for their ability of saying things in a magical way. When I’m reading a book, I sometimes just read the structure of the sentence and  marvel at how beautifully chosen the words were, how talented a person can be when putting ideas on a piece of paper.
When I travel with my family we love to visit the local artists, and then again, I marvel at the beauty of so many paintings, the artists’ creativity and gift. Now that cooking is a major part of my life (and I have to say it, I love cooking), I admire so many chefs, the way they discover new ways of bringing feasts to our table. And when there is a project behind the name, like Jamie Oliver, then they really get me!
They influence my work by inspiring me, by making me believe that we can do it, we can find sparks of creativity in anything we do. We just have to try.
What can we expect from your blog in the future? 
I don’t know, I started talking about general thoughts, having in the back of my mind that this could be a good way of leaving something for my boys in the future, you know, ‘let’s read some stuff mum wrote in the past, let’s see more of the woman she was’.
Then I started translating the emails I had sent to my friends in Brazil after we left the country. Our journey to Australia. So right now, it’s all about registering how we ended up here, and what our life felt like while settling in. I already have some ideas of things I want to write about once I finish this phase, but to tell you the truth, there’s only one thing you can expect from my blog for sure: honest thoughts, loads of love and impulsive creativity…..hope it works.

If I could deliver anyone at all to your desk who would you most like to share a cup of tea with?
I’m trying to find interesting names…Richard Gere keeps popping in…..seriously, I love meeting women who have stories to share and who are willing to share these stories. But if it were to choose very special people, like dreams come true, I think I’d love to meet Madre Teresa de Calcutta and Chico Xavier (a Brazilian man who had more light within than the sun itself).

Complete this sentence: I wish I had known……it would be this good; I would have done it earlier.

And finally, what advice would you give someone starting on their journey of blogging?
Ah, just take the plunge, enjoy it, go out there and do it!!!Dare, explore, be creative! It’s a lot of fun and very inspiring!

Follow Rosanna’s blog: 1heart2homes


…for the grey clouds that have over taken the hint of blue. For the wind that whips the trees into swaying and singing on this winter morning. For the breakfast bowls I have packed away and toast crumbs that I have wiped from the table, for little mouths marked by hints of toothpaste, for sudden outbursts of drums or piano as a child does a “practice’. I am thankful for hot showers, cups of coffee that are deep, dark and full of crema, for a call from my man…just to say hello, hours after he said goodbye. For a sense that when the winter blues continue to characterise life and the busyness seems to take over just a little, spring is only days away. Warmth, light, hope is promised. And I know even though I don’t always feel the hope, He promises that it is true. For that I am thankful.

Betty Bunny and Book Eating Boys?

It is Book Week 2012 in Australia: Saturday 18 – Friday 24 August. The theme for 2012 is Champions Read and no doubt families across the country are preparing for the much anticipated dress up for Book week at their local primary school. We have had great fun over the years pulling together costumes: Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Elizabeth Bennett, Pippy Longstocking and the rest.
While we get distracted but the costumes and making links to favourite books the Children’s Book Council of Australia shortlist some fabulous books worth reading or putting on the list for Christmas and Birthday choices.

We have had great fun reading over the last few weeks. These are not on the BCBA list but here are two of our favourites from our local library:

Betty Bunny is a ‘handful’ and her frequent misunderstandings and the quaint humour of this story is played out in Betty’s large family. My three year old can relate to some of the great lines that Betty delivers.

The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers

This is a lovely tale about a boy who eats books and gets smart. But realises that really books are meant to beread and there is so much to learn by reading…..the illustrations are wonderful.


Be inspired….this is a pencil drawing. Amazing.
If you have time and energy to find ideas worth sharing, then you’ve got time and energy to bring ideas of your own to life.  Bernadette Jiwa
So….I figure a lot of what I do here is sharing ideas, encouraging others to use, create, reflect. Well at least I hope that is how you respond to the blogposts. So maybe I need to be bringing some of these ideas to life! What should I do? How should I use the next season of my life to do something I am really passionate about? Now this is a question that flaws be on a grey day. How about you? What are you hoping to do?