One Little Word

Resolutions aren’t for me. Instead, since 2009 I have selected a single word to be my focus for the year ahead. I first heard about this from Ali Edwards, and you can read more about it on her blog here.

My words have been:

  • 2009 – choose
  • 2010 – present
  • 2011 – clear
  • 2012 – slow
  • 2013 – active

For 2014 I have chosen the word MORE. I believe I have been doing good things for my physical, mental and emotional health – and now I am going to focus on doing MORE of them.

I saw this inspiring video and I created a similar layout to celebrate and record my intentions for how my One Little Word – MORE – will manifest in my life through 2014.

My ONW for 2014I really enjoyed doing the stitching and making the watercolour background. Celine’s instructions on the video were easy to follow – although I did make a practice page first for the watercolour part. I think this is only the second layout (ever) I have made that uses no photographs – but I might do more of them if they all turn out as well as this one!

They’re here!

AsparagusYesterday I had asparagus for the first time this spring. In this world of globally circulating food where very little is ‘seasonal’ any more, asparagus remain something available only for a couple of months each year. I look forward to the season, delight in eating gently steamed spears while I can, and then reminisce for the rest of the year … until it’s September again and the miracle reoccurs.

The spears above were over $1 each, so I’m not going to indulge too freely until the price becomes more reasonable. They were worth it though!

One step at a time guided creativity

I’m doing a free class at UK Scrappers, with my favourite tutor, Shimelle Laine. It’s called “Break It Down” and each week day there’s a post with a prompt for one stage of the ‘making a scrapbook layout’ process. Even if you play along only once, you’re sure to have some fun!

Here is the layout I made after the first week’s prompts:

Experiencing-OlivesThe photos along the top are from 1999 and the other is from 2006. The theme for the week was “Before and After” and we were challenged to find photos that could be used to tell the story of something where there was a difference over time. If you look in the UKS Gallery you will see layouts with photos from the same event, and others with photos decades apart. It’s fascinating to see how different people have interpreted the prompt.

Through the week we got more prompts on selecting the colour scheme (with links to some very useful websites), a new technique to try (stamping off), planning the layout, putting it all together and embellishing. I followed along right up until the last one, when I did something different to the suggestion. I was thinking how to decorate my page as I fell asleep, and the idea came to me just as I was dropping off – I’m glad I still remembered it in the morning!

I’m especially pleased with the colour scheme, which is not one I would have come up with by myself. I enjoyed documenting the change in our experience of olives before and after buying and planting an olive grove. The journaling reads:

At the Telecom Christmas Picnic held at the Wellington Zoo in December 1999, the olive trees made a nice background to a photo and easy climbing trees for Edward. This was our experience of olives.
In 2000 we bought land and planted olive trees.
Now we fertilise, prune and harvest our 800 trees every year. We know the different growing habits, harvesting ease and oil flavour for the varieties we grow. We have a business selling the bottles of oil we produce. We have a detailed and intimate experience of olives.


Olive harvest time

Ripe olivesI am very aware of seasonal changes since we became involved in a horticultural enterprise. Our lives are governed by the growth, ripening and harvest of our various tree crops, and now it’s the turn of the olives. It may seem strange that anything ripens through autumn – but for olives we usually pick in early June. Last year the olives were not ripe until July and I felt unsettled by the departure from the usual pattern. This year we are back to the usual pattern and I feel much better!

Are there any things in your own life – apart from the weather – that tell you the season has changed?

Grateful for…

I’m very late for Deb’s Listmania this week – but on the basis that it’s better to be late than not to do it at all, here’s my gratitude list:

Life – it may seem trite to say how grateful I am to be alive, but it is true nonetheless. I’ve had at least three close brushes with death and I’ve learned the lesson:  life is good and it’s to be grasped with both hands. I am so grateful to be alive.

just around the cornerMy immediate environment – I get to live on an olive grove, near a pretty town in a beautiful part of one of the loveliest countries on earth. How lucky am I? I am thankful for this every day.

in the groveMy family – my immediate family of DH and DS, DS’s lovely girlfriend, my sister and her family, our Dad,  DH’s family – and they’re all no further than a 2-hour drive away. Your family have to put up with you because you’re related to them – thank goodness for that!

usDH – we’ve been together for nearly 29 years (I think we should do something special next year, for our 30th anniversary). I am grateful to be in a long-standing partnership (although it did freak me out when I realised we have been together for more than half my life!).

on  my bikeHealth – although I have a chronic health condition, I’m managing it OK. I am grateful to live in this century, with on-going advances in medical knowledge. I am grateful to be as well as I am.

There are many, many other things I am grateful for, but those are the ‘big 5’. What tops your list?


Favourite Quotes

Deb at Homelife Simplified’s Listmania challenge for this week is favourite quotes. I didn’t think I had very many, but I noticed quite a few stuck to my filing cabinet when I was sitting at my old ‘work from home’ desk today (no longer that, as I don’t work from home any more). The quotes have been collected from a few sources and are either handwritten on memo-cube paper and stuck up there, or they’re on magnets or postcards. Here they are:

Important daily advice:
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
(William James)

Words that are always appropriate, no matter what the circumstances:
Smile, breathe and go slowly.
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

The next two are from magnets I purchased because I really appreciated the sentiments:
If you asked me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.
(Emile Zola)

here’s to opening and upward… and to yourself and up with joy and up with laughing
(e.e. cummings)

This one was a gift from Big Picture Classes – I just love it!
I plan on living forever. So far, so good.
(Dan Zadra)

And finally, words of wisdom to guide all of us who take far too many photographs to ever scrapbook them all:
There’s exactly enough time to scrapbook your most important memories.
(Stacy Julian)

What are your favourite quotes?

Currently I am …

book coverReading: short stories from the multi-author collection Scottish Girls About Town, which my friend Pam gave me a couple of years ago. I’ve only read the first two stories; both were enjoyable for different reasons, which is one of the bonuses of short stories.

Listening to: the hum of the computer, bird song, the occasional vehicle zooming past on the road

Laughing at: Simon’s Cat – DS was home over the weekend and he’s learned to draw this character; I’ve found one lurking on my shopping list (I wonder if there are more?).

bellbirdSwooning over: bellbird song – we have a flowering banksia and both bellbirds and tuis are visiting to drink the nectar.

Planning: training sessions in our new library management system for my colleagues; this is the product of my trip to Christchurch back in February, where I was trained as a trainer in Kotui (the NZ version of SirsiDynex’s Symphony LMS). The first session is on Wednesday, when the three library managers will be my students. Trying not to freak out.

Eating lots of: dukkah – most of our current hazelnut production goes to a local producer of this middle-eastern condiment, and recently we started stocking their product to on-sell to our own customers. Minor flaw in the plan though – it’s so delicious that I’m eating a good proportion of the stock!

Feeling: good about keeping up with yoga; nervous about the training; satisfied when I look at my April productivity

Discovering: different yoga philosophies and approaches, and the resources of Yoga Journal – awesome!

grapes-no-netsLooking at: the house and garden; the grape rows are flush with autumnal colour and look so pretty since we took down the bird-netting yesterday

Wearing: 3/4 pants, yoga pants, leggings – the cooler days have brought these back into my wardrobe after a summer of skirt-wearing.

Cooking: in a bit of a rut at the moment; need to try new recipes with vegetables currently in season

Wondering: what do the cats get up to during the day (and night) and where do they go? Ninja was missing Friday/Saturday – no sign of her all night, not there for breakfast – but she trotted up to me in the garden late on Saturday afternoon, absolutely her usual self. Mysterious!

Trying out: scrapbooking regularly on Monday nights; so far it’s working well and I’m carrying on finishing pages started then – and creating more – during the rest of the week.

5 things about Summer

Here I go with Listmania # 2 – five things I love about the current season, and 5 things I’m not so keen on. Big summer skyIt’s SUMMER here in New Zealand – my favourite season. I like most things about summer, but especially:

  • higher temperatures (I hate being cold)
  • longer days – I can get so much more done, and I’m more likely to exercise
  • people are generally more relaxed, and casual clothes are OK at work
  • lots of my favourite special events seem to be in summer – Christmas and New Year, summer holidays (aka vacations to those from the American continent), summer reading programme at the library where I work, celebrations and parties just because it’s summer
  • summer fruit and vegetables that make it easy to eat well

Summer fruit bowlThe things I’m not so keen about are:

  • flies – especially the clustering variety (hopefully it will be so dry this year they won’t be able to get out of the ground and I’ll only be annoyed by the usual kind)
  • hot nights – I like being hot in the daytime, but I find it easier to sleep when the nights are on the cooler side
  • sweating – ugh
  • sunburn – and having to avoid it
  • having to have all the windows open in the car to make it bearable to be in, but then getting blown away at open road speed

I admit, I had to stretch a bit to find five things I don’t like. I’m a summer girl!


Listmania #1 – Currently I am…

Joining in the fun (see Mandy’s blog here, and Deb’s post here – Deb is the one who has started us all off).

Currently I am:

1356 coverReading: 1356 by Bernard Cornwell (I love his novels – he writes about battles better than anyone else; his novel Agincourt is one of the best historical novels ever)

Listening to: the sound of the TV news, and of DH, DS and DS’s girlfriend talking about the current item – the Cabinet re-shuffle – with some amazement as to who has apparently kept her portfolio.

Laughing at: Ninja and Scruff – it’s an unexpected bonus of having a kitten (now a young cat) that the older cat discovers how to play again

Swooning over: summer fruit – I adore peaches, apricots and nectarines and the fruit bowl doesn’t stay full for long

Planning: my work-flow for pesto and chocolate spread production, so as to have enough ready for our stall at the Martinborough Fair #1 on 2 February

Eating lots of: salads – and using our new Citrus infused olive oil in the dressing (it tastes like sunshine to me!)

Feeling: that this year is already rushing along far too quickly


Discovering: biking the extended Greytown-Woodside Rail Trail is a great way to start the day (the link is to the event marking the official opening, but it’s actually all available to ride now)

Looking at: photos from my phone – I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have only just worked out how to get them from the phone to the PC (so some of the shots were taken in 2011!)

Wearing: shorts or skirt & t-shirts; I love the casual look and it’s important to be cool on hot and sunny days

Cooking: more new vegetarian recipes. Tonight we had Spiced Rice Scramble from Alison & Simon Holst’s Very Easy Vegetarian Cookbook and it was yummy. Next time I make it I’ll put in two tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce though, as it wasn’t quite spicy enough with only one

Wondering: how it is that yoga poses I could do with ease only a couple of years ago are now impossible


Trying out: hybrid scrapbooking. I’ve downloaded the Storybook Collection #2 elements from ACDigitals, printed & cut them out and used them on a layout (for some reason the link to the actual page isn’t working, but if you go to the main link, you can find them on page 5 under the Journalling Cards tab).

If you would like to play along with Listmania, create your own post using this list. The best bit? There will be another prompt next Monday!

January Goals

I’ve just read this post, and thus motivated I’m going to try something similar. It is quite intimidating to set goals for an entire year; goals for the days between now and 31 January I can manage. Here they are:

  • finish my Photo-A-Day/Project Life album for 2012
  • ride my bike on at least five more days (I’ve done one big ride and two round-the-block rides so far in January)
  • start again with my yoga DVD – exercise along with it on at least five days
  • make a date to have lunch with my BFF
  • send thank you cards to two people who have recently been especially kind to my Dad
  • see Quartet

Thanks for the inspiration, Amy!