Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dreaming and Scheming #1...

 When you were a child, did you have dreams about what sort of life you'd have when you 'grew up'?

Beyond the usual 'I want to be a Princess or a Fairy and live in the Woods' sorts of dreams we have when we're really young, we all have an idea of how we'd like our life to look when we become adults.

Funnily enough, growing up in a rambunctious household of seven children meant that I mostly wished for peace and!

And to this day, I crave and value my peace and quiet and have toiled long and hard to achieve and preserve it.

Apart from that though, I wished for a home with a bookshelf, art deco furniture and artifacts, and a rambling garden. I was hugely influenced by my European grandmother and mother here, as they too shunned the bright, shiny and new. They instilled in me, a love of books both for reading and for gazing. They loved their gardens and knew how to make a garden both productive and pretty.

To start with, I didn't even know what Art Deco was, but I knew I loved it. All those gentle curves in the furniture, the beautiful wood with burls and knots that craftsmen brought to life with such loving care, the leadlight touches, be they clear panels, segregated to accommodate a curved door on a display cabinet, or a cacophony of jewelled colours on a feature window.

Back when I was first furnishing my home, Art Deco wasn't really appreciated, and I was able to source some beautiful pieces at bargain prices. Alas over the years, they were sold, as one thing about Art Deco furniture is that it's bulky, and my smaller homes at that time, couldn't always house such large pieces. I did however keep my curved dressing table with it's huge circular mirror, which still has pride of place in my bedroom.

These days, I indulge my love of Art Deco in the form of jewellery, posters, and smaller pieces like jewel boxes and ornaments. Now that's a lesson I wish I'd learned earlier! 

I always loved anything representing Greyhounds, which were featured often in the form of silhouettes on lamps, statues, and works of art. Now of course, I have my own real living miniature greyhound, our little whippet, who we adore. I still recall the first time I saw a dog of the 'Hound' breed. I was 5 years old, and a lady walked by with an Afghan hound which is sort of a long haired greyhound. I took one look at that long slender curved tail and declared it a Monkey Dog. For the rest of my life, I wanted a Monkey Dog, and now I have one! See, you can even have a dream pet :)

As the offspring of Europeans, seeing 'the old country' was always going to feature big in my dreams. 

Travelling to Turkey, Italy, Greece, and Spain last year saw a long held dream fulfilled. See, you don't have to fulfill every dream between 20 and 30. Some dreams are worth savouring and enjoying later in life when you can travel in style.

Seeing my childhood visions of the Arabian Nights spring to life before my eyes, will stay with me forever.

Even having a garden eluded me for many long years. Decades even.

But just in the last twelve months, I've managed to grow roses, plant fruit trees, and grow enough herbs for myself and friends. That one came much later in life, and is treasured all the more for it.

My Grandmother and Mother could knit, crochet and sew anything and everything, and did so. They were masters of fashioning fondant into any flower you care to imagine. If  someone needed a wedding dress, three bridesmaids dresses and two for the little flowergirls, they'd manage that too.

I toy with all of those, but cannot hope to match their level of skill. I've had a different sort of life. 

But I think I inherited their creativity gene, in other ways. I adore papercraft, designing and sewing dance costumes, cooking, and gift creation. The advent of the internet has had just as much influence on me in that respect, as Mum and Nanna.

So let's have more than a few moments of Dreaming and Scheming in our Homespun Year.

What can you do this year, that will have you looking back with a feeling of pride and accomplishment next January? 

Will it be mastering a skill to a level where someone will pay you for your skill?

Will it be planting a herb garden or some fruit trees?

Will it be simply finding away to cut your grocery budget by $50 a week to save for that longed for overseas trip?

Maybe it's reading the complete works of Shakespeare or the King James Bible, the version I grew up on, which for me is always the 'real' Bible. Even if you're not particularly religious, it can be a fascinating read as an adult.

Here's my list....

Learn to knit Cable Stitch so I can recreate those lush rugs in all the Homewares stores

Master my embroidery sewing machine

Travel to Vietnam

Gift only homemade, home grown, or home created, targeting the gift to the recipient (this bit is so important), and within that, meet the following four mini goals....

Perfect my candle making skills, so I can turn my collection of thrifted cut glass sugar bowls, into lush pastel candles for gifting

Grow something I can gift lavishly...roses, herbs, bunches of kaffir lime leaves, succulents, ivy

Promise myself that in DIY-ing my gifts, I will only use the best components. If I'm DIY-ing, I can afford to use beautiful yarns, luxurious fabrics, and heavenly materials of all kinds. They don't have to be expensive. Remnant bins often produce the most gorgeous beaded tulle, lace, satins and silks for next to nothing.

Pass a skill on to my daughter and daughters-in-law that will encourage them to DIY their own gifts.

Read the original Lewis Carrol Alice books.

Finish reading Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky (I'm finding this tough going, but I'm persevering....good brain food!).

See my granddaughters more before they start school and the moment is lost.

Value the time I have with my sons and daughter, as each visit is a blessing in itself.

Repaint my home and purge anything that is not beautiful. I almost don't care about the 'useful' in that quote. It can be beautiful and useful. If it's just useful, I'm going to eye it with great suspicion!

Love life. You never know when you're not getting any more of it.

What's on your Dreaming and Scheming list? Let's work on them together.

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  1. Mimi I can teach you how to cable, it looks hard but is easy.

    I do not remember dreaming about my future as a child - lots of things happened in the family. We moved and I changed schools a couple of times, my sister, who is 11 years younger than me was quite ill. What I had been good at got lost in it all as did any hopes and dreams.

    Over the years I have done a few things that would probably have been on my bucket list, if I had ever put one together.

    Family research was a big one, finding other living family members has been interesting. I still have a couple of things that I need to do with particular families - eventually I would like to head to Dublin and sort out a family that belongs to my husband.

    I also did a teacher's aid course a couple of years ago, ended the question of if I was good enough to go to Uni - families can be horrible sometimes.

    I never had anyone to teach me embroidery or crochet so they are on my bucket list for this year as is establishing a garden now that we have the drainage sorted out. I have gardened for many years but never in the soil we have (sand).

    We still have a lot of unpacking to do (was going to be done last year but life stepped in the way) so I think that is enough for me this year.



    1. Lynette, I was a highly imaginative child who had my entire life mapped out at different times. I guess that's harder when you're living with a very ill sibling. Reality has a way of touching all that we do in that situation. I don't think you need Uni to measure your intelligence. I know plenty of Academics who have no social skills whatsoever, which makes life very hard for them in other ways. You are going to have the garden to end all gardens once you get going. Living in the tropics has it's advantages! I'll look forward to you teaching me to cable knit. It's a date. Mimi xxx

  2. Mimi, this year I am trying to improve my crochet and knitting skills and move up from basic level...very basic level ;-) I am also, at this very moment, waiting for my first loaf of sourdough bread to rise so that I can bake it before I go to bed and it is already nearly 9pm. I learned how to make a starter on the Down to Earth forums but I think I have botched it up today. I just might go and take a 'peek' at my starter, Gertrude, and see if she is behaving. I think it is going to be a late night tonight. LOL!

    1. Chel, believe me, my skills are BASIC! But it's amazing what you can do with chain, double and treble. Small is the go for me. I don't have the patience for long term projects as a general rule, although I am getting better. Sourdough sounds mouthwatering, so I hope 'Gertrude' has done her job. Yum. Mimi xxx

  3. What a thoughtful post, Mimi! I need to spend some time reflecting on more of my plan for the year, instead of just focusing on the immediate (purge, organize). I feel as though I'm in a very good place in life, but I do feel a little twitch to satisfy more of my creative side in the home. My husband & I are trying to firm up some travel plans too, most likely another area of the states we have yet to explore. I also adore the Art Deco period. :)

    1. I know Rita. The urge to do the necessary, and forget to dream is a sad thing in adult life. Dreaming I think is just as necessary, if not more so. Why do dreams have to remain the domain of the young? I'll look forward to hearing of your travel plans at some stage, and a creative sojourn sounds good too! And yay to a fellow Art Deco enthusiast. I thought I was the only one! Mimi xxx

  4. Dear Mimi,
    I always wanted two girls and a cottage with a lot of flowers. My high school dream was to be self sufficient and live in a cottage and sell my crafts. I more or less got the life I dreamed about right down to the white picket fence. Well its cream but Im painting it white!
    Last year I added quite a few new skills and really loved it. This year I am going back to soap making, learning new crochet stitches and I just began hand rolled hems on hankies. Hand rolled hems sounded fancy to me but turns out to be ridiculously simple.
    This year also I am "whitefying" my house as it had crept slightly away from the whites that I love so I am painting a lot and currently doing doors and door frames fresh crisp white over the yellowish cream that came with the house. Already its working a miracle.
    I find with talents and crafts etc what we loved as children is what we will always love, our true selves. xxx

    1. Dear Annabel, you are a great example of this idea. I've always admired how focused you are on your goals, and it's an admirable trait. Look at all you've achieved already with your blog, and remember you had doubts about even having a blog at one! We are whitefying too. Our home has been a soft eucalypt grey/green inside and out, since we renovated 12 years ago. We think white is now the go, seeing as how the children are now all but grown. I'm looking forward to a lovely neutral palette to play with! Hand rolled hankie hems sound so sweet and lovely. I must see! Thankyou...Love, Mimi xxx

  5. I really enjoyed reading that Mimi! And I love that you have both big goals and smaller ones you are working towards this year. I just adore hearing about what you and your daughter get up to together, you are creating special memories as well as special gifts. I really want to make some progress on the interior of my house this year, starting with my sons bedroom. I needs to be stripped of wallpaper and then painted. Thankfully I have my brother to help me plaster. Then I can rip up the awful carpet! I have some things I've made to put on their walls which I can't wait to hang on nicely painted walls. I'm also crocheting a blanket for my daughter (bought the wool over a year ago lol), and am going to give a quilt a go which I am excited and intimidated to start! Smaller goals for me this year are I want to make sure I read at least one book a month, find some new dinner recipes that everyone in my house will eat, and find time to machine sew more. Thanks for the insight into your goals and dreams!

    Have a lovely weekend

    1. Jen, I couldn't agree more. The little goals help inch you one step closer to the larger ones too. Wallpaper...arrrrgh! Quilting is something I admire greatly, but just know I do not have the patience for! Please update me as you go? Mimi xxx

  6. What a beautiful rose! I've never had much success growing them but I enjoy seeing them in others' gardens!

    My dreams have changed over the years. I achieved my dream of landing the corporate job I wanted and discovered it wasn't what I wanted after all! I'm much happier "living the dream" with my husband and children. Right now I'm dreaming of getting the first stage of our home renovations, which are feeling a bit less than dreamy at present, completed so I can "play" with knitting and crochet projects, card-making, and perhaps making a quilt. I'm so thankful for the things I've learned along the way and am looking forward to new adventures.

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Leigh, isn't it funny how that works. I've fulfilled many dreams that ultimately were not what I thought they'd be. That's okay. It helps you clarify the next dream. Mimi xxx

  7. Your dreaming and scheming list sounds wonderful. A really nice mix of great things to work on and achieve in 2016. I haven't put together a list yet. Perhaps I should make that my starting point?

    I look forward to following more of your journey and see how you get on over the coming 11 months.

    Sally @ Life Loving

  8. interesting, yet again! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  9. I have a new agenda this year. I am fostering a closer relationship with the Father. I love working with my nieces too and one will soon be in kindergarten and all of these precious preschool hours will be gone. So taking each day as it comes growing and spending time with family seems to be on the list. A weed free garden by July would be nice too! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx