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Beckler's Botanical Bounty Odds and Ends Plants Texture Travels

Travel theme: Earth

Thanks to Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? for this theme, which is in celebration of Earth Day. Hopefully we will be able to encourage our politicians to have policies that support our Earth too.

It is tempting to publish beautiful photos of sunsets or mountains or glorious landscapes. I want to show you one of my favourite parts of the Earth, the area around Menindee. It is an arid area of Western New South Wales, an hour away from Broken Hill. It is flat and looks uninspiring. However, the more you look, the more beauty you see in this unique landscape.

Big skies…..

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red dirt…..

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and amazing colours.

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What part of our Earth do you cherish?

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AnneLawsonArt Birds Kindness My art work Texture

A delight from Queensland

Recently Kate emailed me to ask if I wanted a nest. Well, who can resist a nest? Probably plenty of people, but not me!

The story behind the nest is that an olive backed sunbird created this nest by suspending it from the fairy lights right by Kate’s backdoor. Kate had the delightful task of keeping the nest, bird and eggs safe. You may remember her blog posts about it, where you can also see a photo. It is an amazing creation, especially to be made by such a tiny thing.

Yesterday the nest arrived, safe and sound, because Kate had packed it so well.

 

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And this is my new treasure

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Not everybody’s cup of tea, but I love it. The muted colours, its fragility, its construction (how does one little bird create such a thing, especially as only some parts look like they have been woven) and the little additions, like the feathers and paperbark (must be from a melaleuca!)

My mind is buzzing with creative ideas. Maybe even oil pastel?? In October there is an exhibition of natural history subjects, and this little sunbird nest could be just the subject for me! I will keep you posted.

So many thinks to Kate for thinking of me. She is such a generous soul, and my world is richer for knowing her.

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The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook

The Sketchbook has left the States and arrived in Greece. Now it is not only international, but global! How cool is that?!

It is a while since I have written about it, but I have just updated my Sisterhood page. It gives you an overview of the contributions all the Sisters have made, as well as the background to the Sketchbook, and who the Sisters are.

Our blog The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is another way to keep up with what the Sketchbook looks like. Simply follow the blog and you will receive posts as they are published. Here the Sisters make links to their own blogs too. The blog even has a natty interactive map. 🙂

It is an amazing project. So many walls are going up, so it is lovely to know that the Sketchbook can just fly over the top of them!

 

 

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Music Odds and Ends

International Day of People with a Disability

December 3rd is the International Day of People with a Disability. How wonderful that my favourite song of 2016 is from the Paralympic Games. I posted this clip on my blog  a couple of months ago, but have to repost it to celebrate all the fabulous people who do not let their disabilities describe who they are.

 

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How does my garden grow? Odds and Ends

Trump

 

That title is deliberate. If you are sick of the whole election you can skim over this post. However, I am, like the rest of the world, and especially Donald Trump himself, trying to work out what happened this week and what the ramifications are. Not living in the States I can only understand the broad brush stokes of the election, not the fine details that are seen close up. But I can see that his victory has given heart to the Right Wing around the world. We saw Pauline Hanson and her cronies cracking open the champagne to celebrate on the steps of our Parliament; Marie LePen was jubilant, knowing that her Fascist movement has just been given an almighty boost.

Because of the time difference in Australia we watched the whole train wreck of an election in real time. Every time the maps and graphs were shown I was hoping that what I was seeing would change. There is always a happy ending….right? The princess gets saved, the murderer gets caught, the cavalry rides to the rescue. Not this time.

Now people are anxious and afraid, people whose lives are already affected by hatred, poverty and discrimination ~ people in the LGBTQ community, Muslims, people of colour, Latinos, women who need an abortion, women in general, migrants, those on food stamps and so the list goes on. To state the obvious, being President of the United States means that Trump’s decisions will affect the whole world. There are real concerns about climate change and humanitarian programmes.

The distrust with mainstream political parties and structures and feelings of hopelessness and alienation are common features around the world. Racism, homophobia, sexism, intolerance are pouring out through the cracks and being encouraged by the political right, both ‘respectable’ and extreme. But at the same time there are those who refuse to be cowed by intolerance, like the thousands have protested against Trump’s victory

While dismayed and concerned for the world, I have been heartened by the blogs I have read. Below are a few that have encouraged me to believe that humanity and inclusiveness are still strong values that are held dearly. If you have a post to share, add the link in the comments below.

In her pre-election post Alys showed me that Americans have an enthusiasm for democracy, and she has an official polling booth in her garage! Her post Dashed hopes sums up her despair. I love that her son wore black to school the day after. The comments are worth reading too.

Celia, who created the Fellowship of the Farmy over at The Kitchens Garden, is a New Zealander by birth but now lives in the US. In her very heartfelt post she writes about how her idea of Home and being Other has been brought into focus by the election. The comments on her post I am an immigrant need to be read as well.

Marina from Letters From Athens, puts the Trump victory in the wider global context in her post A general malaise  Follow the discussion in the comments too.

Francesca rightly points out that it is not the time to sit around anxiously navel gazing; it is a time to protest and speak out. Her post is A Saturday perspective.

Ailsa from Where’s my backpack? has challenged us to do something great. In her post, Great she has written the most amazing poem in response to Trump’s victory. It is worth reading just for that, but she goes on to say:

Do something great. What that involves is entirely up to you. Create something beautiful and share it with the world. Write something true from the depths of your humanity and share it with the world. Do something kind for someone in need. Embrace a different culture. Volunteer. Plant a tree. Tell someone how much they mean to you. Reach out to someone in your community you’ve never even noticed before. Try to understand someone else’s point of view. Learn something new. Teach your kids something new. Stand up to bullies. Protect those being victimized. Be brave. Be gentle. Be vulnerable. Nurture. Encourage. Forgive. Love. Shine.
❤

Many of us see that we are in a period of transition, of flux. However, the outcome of that transition is not predetermined. If we want this period of transition to be a transition back to humanity and inclusion then we need to act, to make our voices heard, to stand up for what we believe. How, where and when then become the questions to be answered, and I am still working through those.

But in the short term I am planting my veggie garden. It may seem an unusual thing to do in response but gardening is always soothing. When you plant a seed you are investing the future, and building hope.

As well, our vegetable garden is in the front yard and in full sun and full view of passerbys. It gives the Fella and me a chance to chat with others and strengthen community bonds. I know that others have been inspired to try their hand at some veggies too. So our garden is growing trust and hope as well as potatoes and tomatoes ~ well I hope so!

[Below are some photos of the work in progress. The plants by the fence are from the Last Chance section of our local nursery; slightly battered, but at half the price. The wooden planks are to make edging for the beds and came from our neighbour’s hard rubbish pile. The potatoes are very wizened because they have been sitting around for a couple of months. Even the worms benefitted, as they got the cardboard nursery tray!]

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My art work Odds and Ends

“new things are happening very quietly inside of me.”

“New things are happening very quietly inside of me”

I love this quote and the story that Austin Kleon tells about the former nun who made it. It reminds me that it’s okay to sit and ponder and allow creative thoughts to bubble away inside, waiting until they are ready to be released.

 

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Plants Texture

Texture on Tuesday — bark

I love bark. It has such surprising colours and textures. These are street trees, growing just near my house.

As well as painting, I love to use fabrics, threads and beads and it is textures like these that have inspired some of my creations, such as this bag.