|Week 50: FESTIVE|
It's 1.32pm on 21 December and I've just, against all better judgment, eaten two fruit mince pies for lunch and then wandered the halls for nearly an hour, unable to decide on which pile to tackle.
That sentence pretty much sums up my 2016.
It's been a strange, fragmented, bizarro year of major ups and downs, calamity and calm, and the oddest sensation of feeling either upside down, or wanting to abscond to an isolated villa in Tuscany. Granted, the latter is pretty much a permanent sensation! But more so than ever this year.
It's been such a strange and challenging 12 months--for everyone, it seems--that I'm kind of expecting to wake up and realise it was all just an upside down dream.
That truly wouldn't surprise me at all. I'd wake and I'd go 'Wow, that was a marathon dream nightmare hybrid! I'm so happy to be awake now, yes I am!'
So, as I wait to wake, and as the fruit mince pies settle onto my thighs, I'm only making one resolution for 2017... and that's to recalibrate. Earth myself, house, family, world, work. All of it. Take what's needed and chuck the rest. Cleanse. Focus. Streamline. 2016 was the carnival ride sugar rush. 2017 will the rowboat on an expansive, deep and beautiful lake. A lake bustling with Things I Love to Do.
I hope it's like that for you, too.
In the meantime--here is a pre-Chrissie update before I disappear into a Lindt box the size our car (why fight it?).
This year, thanks to the carnival ride, our Christmas decorations are tiny and quiet, and Christmas lunch will be similarly tiny and quiet. Fairy lights, my little ceramic village and large stars made from plain brown paper bags (don't they look gold!?), took centre stage for decorating, along with advent calendar treats housed in black envelopes (the Jo Malone perfume advent was well out of my reach--come on mega publishing deal, come on!!).
Ella was begging for our 8ft monster faux pine--now in retirement at least 5 years--and the thought of it just suffocates me, especially as everyone absconds soon after the fairy lights go on, and mother is left alone to cover the entire thing in glitter-crusted ornaments (a four-hour task, minimum).
So, our little traditional feather tree once again festoons our living room--light and airy and EASY. This year, it's been adorned with Kikki-K baubles in metallic golds, silvers, clear, black and white. And this year I've dragged out the little red and white ribbon ornaments I made many moons ago, as well as white paper lanterns. Easy peasy decorating, and just so fresh and tinkly, with lots of light and air swirling in the spaces between.
I really must go through our Christmas decs. Do you need to do the same? We have cartons upon cartons of various-colour-themed trinkets, teetering like mini Mount Everests in the garage. It's time for a cull.
Our little nucleus of a family now has 6 or 7 deliciously vacant weeks ahead of us, with not much to do in them. My heart patters at the very thought.
We might go kayaking. Lake walking. Hiking. Yoga. Cooking outdoors. We'll do galleries and museums and cafes galore. Yoga. Watching a backlog of movies that's nearing a decade in length.
I also plan on painting. A lot. I'm starting some new picture book ideas that I also want to illustrate. And by February, I'll be into my first illustration commission for the National Library. Eeep.
Another big plan for summer is lots of gardening. The year has been so stupidly consuming, we've not even bothered with our summer veggie patch--the first time since we moved here almost nine years ago. We may plant some late-starters, and my big focus is to get a good solid bank of white hydrangeas going in the front garden (which you can glimpse out the window above).
We'll also plant succulents, and gather armfuls of iceberg roses from the garden. Our agapanthus are late to bloom this year, but the buds are now popping, and when they start to fade, I run around with secateurs and snip them off at the base, then stuff them into massive vases, forming great architectural structures resembling the dandelion puffs of giants.
Another thing I want to do ... mini terrariums, festooned with succulents and little ceramic animals. Like mini woodland worlds in glass pots. Below is one I made yesterday from baby succulents we found at the market at Merimbula on the weekend.
We had a lovely time in Merimbula. Oh my, that's a heavenly part of the world, and I highly recommend going before Christmas, as the hordes descend from Boxing Day onwards. We won't be going away again these hols--maybe a sneaky weekend trip to Sydney for the cricket (actually ... boys: cricket, girls: shop).
And now--a Merimbula intermission...
|Glenbog State Forest, New South Wales, on way to Merimbula|
How pretty was that? Inspired by plants and pink, I did a little painting while I was away, too. The one below, and the one at the tippety top of this post, for the 52-Week Illustration Challenge (my first since, oh... forever??).
Such a nice way to finish the year, and another nice way was to receive a Highly Commended for This is Captain Cook, in the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards on 15 December. Below, with friend and uber talent Stephanie Owen Reeder, who also HCd for Lennie the Legend. Big congrats to Jackie French for her win.
It's also been lovely to see Australia Illustrated doing well, allaying all the incumbent fears that come along with a first self-illustrated book.
And our local chapter SCBWI drinks at Mint Bar, Gorman House, Ainslie.
|with Irma Gold and Tracey Hawkins|
|listening to Stephanie Owen Reeder (left) speak about Lennie the Legend|
Just this morning, I picked up my author copies of This is Banjo Paterson, illustrated by my gorgeous friend Christina Booth, and out 1 February 2017. It looks so luscious in real life--it's always a thrill to hold a brand new book in hand (though I dare not look inside--I'm not superstitious--it's just a 'thing'! Takes me a while to open the cover).
I also collected my gift from Christina--an original from the book--the final spread (which makes me cry! you'll need to read the book to find out why). Just adore adore adore--and will treasure always.
AND I finally managed to snaffle some hard cover copies of Australian Kids Through the Years. This print run pretty much sold out within months of release, so it's great to be able to grab a handful of copies.
I vaingloriously sat to press CBCA Notable Book stickers on each one, calling out to my kids 'I'm pressing CBCA Notable book stickers onto my books!' Nothing but the sound of eye-rolling from various other rooms.
Oh! The 52-Week Illustration Challenge is on again for 2017. The illustrious Nicky Johnston will yet again take Directorship, and our divine Admin team are all sticking around, too. Membership has now reached almost 5.5K, can you believe that?
I was tasked with creating the 2017 logo set, and below is a peek at the green logo. You can see the weekly themes for 2017 by clicking on it.
Okay, I think that's enough for now. Better finish with a pic of my new cushion covers ... yes yes. On sale at Pillow Talk. Pillow heaven. (No, this is not a sponsored post.)
Wishing you and yours the most glorious festive break. May it be plump as pillows with all things delicious, heart-warming and memorable (I wrote 'memborable' and I thought it was such a fun and funny word, I had to share!).
Let's hold hands and dive into 2017 with gusto. I can already feel the change in energy, the delight and opportunity. I hope it's all that and more for you.