How to really grow food in your backyard Here I share with you the secrets that have transformed me from a gardener with a not-very-productive vegie patch, to growing most of my family's fruit and veg.
Traditional Foods My health has dramatically improved after changing my diet for a more traditional way of eating, as advised by Sally Fallon.
Food Flower Poster Forget the food pyramid! It was developed by the agricultural industry, not by nutritionists. Instead, print this Food Flower poster, which shows a visual guide to choosing nutritious and satisfying traditional foods.
I've been making this spell book, which is Elcho Grimstone's general reference book, to use during the show. I've been having a wonderful time making up ancient-looking pages, and Paula is a fount of wonderful ideas when it comes to making up wordy old-worlde text. Here are some of the pages.
Speaking of portraits for the walls, I thought I should have some images of Velvetta and Mortimer on their wedding day. I made Velvetta a veil specially for the photographs.
While I've been working on Velvetta's workshop, in my cloud of inspiration, I've been having more ideas - to make a short show which is a love story, showing Velvetta and Mortimer as they first meet. He comes to her workshop to order a cloak, and they go through the process of selecting the pattern and the fabric together. Then while he's waiting for her to sew, Mortimer discovers her Epithium, a harp-like instrument designed for two, and begins to play. Velvetta is delighted to discover they have this in common, and it's not long before he's requesting her hand in marriage. At this point, maybe there's a wedding ceremony, or maybe I simply unveil a wedding portrait on Velvetta's wall, and hold up a title "One year later...."
I have a bunch of little picture frames, and I plan to put some family portraits on the walls of the Elcho's lab and Velvetta's sewing workshop. For Elcho, I thought an absolute must was a picture of him and his wife before she died. I've doctored up a photo so you can see him looking younger. Doesn't he look great with hair? I also gave Velvetta more hair and changed the shape of her face and mouth a bit. Ok so she still looks young, but, umm, didn't that happen a lot in those days anyway? Oh dear, now I'm suddenly convinced it looks like a father-daughter photo. What do you reckon? Do I need to change it more to make the woman look older?
And for your entertainment, here's the original photo, so you can see just how far it's come. I love photoshop.
Since our director, Gabrielle left, Paula and I were battling on not only with Act 1 of The Grimstones, but also trying to pull together Act 2, which we'd choreographed with Gabrielle. Somehow it all started going pear shaped. I found it just about impossible to get my head around Act 2 when I was still trying to get the hang of Act 1. It took a nice manageable task and turned it into something overwhelming and daunting. Paula, for her part, was suffering from a crisis of confidence that she'd ever get the hang of manipulating these puppets. Fireworks began to fly and we suspected a relationship meltdown could be in the works. Great. Not. We made an SOS call to Kelly Parry, and bless her, she flew in with enormous angel-coated wings, to save not only our relationship but the show.
First step was to postpone Act 2 indefinitely - we'll get Act 1 up and running, and launch that. It's a show in itself. Act 2 can happen LATER. In the meantime, with Kelly once a week for the first two weeks, then twice a week, and then the last week before we left for three whole rehearsals, the show has begun to blossom. She has a way of bringing out the best in Paula and me in terms of our characters onstage, and when Paula threatens to bail cos it's just too much and too hard, she reminds her that her goal of us setting off in our van with The Grimstones loaded in the back, to perform en route to our destination.. well it's not that far from our reach at all.
For me having Kelly there means I don't need to motivate myself - I simply do as she tells me. It's so much easier than trying to decide if I have the energy to run that scene one more time or not.
And the image - from the Grimstone photoshoot - the giant books lined up as if on a shelf.
We had our street party recently. It's not an event that exactly "goes off" with everyone gathering heartily to build our sense of community in our street. But every year a few different new faces show up and I really enjoy discovering who my neighbours are. In fact, it's a bit sad, that we all live in the same street and so many of these faces don't even ring a bell with me. May that gradually change. At this year's street party I got chatting with a photographer who lives only a few doors up from me (but of course we've never met). We agreed to do a swap - he takes pics of The Grimstones for me, and I perform at his daughter's birthday party. I'm delighted. This really highlights the concept of "going local". So last week he walked past all of two houses to my place and we did a photoshoot. It was so satisfying and so many of the photos are really lovely. Here's my favourite for today - and stay tuned, I'll be posting more of the photos as I edit them - they all need cropping and I might add a few borders as I've done to these pics.
Finally I have taken some photos of Bertha, our lovely campervan, so you can see the results of my make over. You can see the external make over here. It's been a slow process, over the past two years, that I've been shifting her away from that hideous beige seventies decor and into something a bit more my taste. Happily it hasn't cost a lot of money, as it was mostly sewing and painting which Paula and I did ourselves. I'm so pleased with how she looks. For me, interior decor seems to do absolutely everything to enhance my mood. When I stay in a place that delights me, I get joy from looking at and being in my surroundings every day. When I don't like the aesthetic I find it really hard not to let it seep into my pores - it definitely influences my spirit. Happily Bertha is now a space I like to be in just to enjoy the aesthetic and find inspiration. By the way I would have liked to paint all the exposed fake wood laminate white, but for some reason Paula is resisting. Maybe one day...
I thought I didn't have any new year's resolutions, and then all of a sudden they came to me, inspired by my friend Kelly's comment that she's going to "downshift". She'd been at a talk at Woodford about downshifting, and it got me thinking about what I can do to become less materialistic, less consumerist, and what I can do for the climate change effort. Here's my resolutions - a bit more radical than usual, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep them. But stay tuned and all will be revealed!
My resolutions for 2008:
For one year, don't buy any new clothing or homewares (ouch - I am addicted to homewares). Op shop things are fine because they don't send a message to the manufacturer to make more. It's fine to buy books (investment in self-education), materials I need for my business, and items from independent artists (eg at a market stall). *
Use public transport or ride my bike unless I'm sick or need to carry a lot of gear, when going to places near where I live. Experiment with riding along the Merri Creek trail and see where I can go this way. *
Use less water by having fewer baths. *
I also plan to experiment with my diet to see if I can improve my immune system, which seems far too vulnerable to colds and flu. More on that later.
And I'll leave you with a photo that makes me happy - me signing silly songs to Jesse while he laughs and laughs.... the best feeling..