Never EVER give up on your dreams! I'm sure someone's put that on a bumper-sticker, haven't they? But really, if there is something you want to create, be it a life style, a home, a job, or even that little thing of beauty you've been longing for. Well, if you want it badly enough and you hold it close to your heart for long enough, and if each and every single day you do some small thing towards it, then one day you'll blink and look around yourself and realise, holy crap! I've done it!! And when you have that moment, let me tell you, it's really really cool!
There are a few subtle changes happening in this space and maybe you've noticed them already? Or maybe not? It might be well over a month since I last managed to publish a blog post (eeep sorry about that!), but rest assured there has been much happening behind the scenes. There's a whole lot of new things going on and I'm not really sure yet how it will all translate into this little space here, or where exactly it's leading me, but I do know that I've buckled in for a wild and crazy ride and it certainly feels exciting and fun, and very very purposeful! So for now, the obvious changes are the new site banner up above - it's got wings!!! It's a photo I took a while back and although I had no idea I would be using it in this way back then, it feels perfect to be doing so now. Also, I'm using my name in the title to replace The Conscious Caterpillar, and my profile photo has had a long overdue update, which you would have heard about already if we are connected through Instagram. All that, plus a few other little tweaks here and there, is part of this new thing, this new thing that doesn't yet have a name. And it's all a part of me holding a vision and creating my dreams.
So let me share with you a story about some other visions and dreams of mine and the exploding joy I'm feeling right now over seeing them come to fruition. Before I get to that though, and in relation to the Why Do We Run series, I've been slowly gathering some thoughts around shame and guilt and their connection to fear (and grief) but as you can imagine, it's not a post I can just throw together so bare with me while I gather my words.
This collection of photos stem from the beginning of the year! That'd be around January - how is it that we are nearly half way through already?!! That's just ridiculous!!! So these photos each paint the picture with how, bit-by-bit, I'm seeing the fruition of some dreams, plus all the way at the bottom, is a really cool story about a sink!
When we first viewed this house of ours, straight away we knew it was the home we had spent so long searching for. Having a cellar was not on the prerequisite list but I secretly desired one all the same and when I trod those steps leading down from our hallway, down under the ground into a large, well built space lined on either side with handmade timber shelving from who knows how many years ago - no doubt 137 years ago when the house and cellar were first built! - I knew with all my heart I would work towards filling those shelves with jars of preserves. Preferably made from my own homegrown produce.
It's been a little over four years since then and this Summer/Autumn is the first cycle of seasons where I can officially say I have harvested my own homegrown fruit (with help from the kids, of course) and turned it into a chutney. What's more, there are jars of this spicy plum chutney filling a shelf in the cellar! They were cling-stone plums, golden plums actually but with that incredibly unusual Spring we had leading into Summer, they became something else entirely. SO much larger and deeper in their colour (and flavour) than I have ever seen them. It was because of that, that I got busy with making something from them instead of leaving it all for the birds and possums. To be honest, I don't think much of golden plums (the tree was here long before us) and so have never before made the effort but this season, well it really was something different. And the tree was so heavy with fruit that there was still plenty for the native foragers.
As I mentioned, they are/were cling-stones, so I didn't bother to try and slice each in half to remove the stone (imagine what an annoying nightmare that would've been!). Instead I roasted them up and smashed it all through a colander. Then I used the mushy mix in a big pot with celery, sultanas, some onion and maybe a few other things that I've forgotten about but most definitely there was a spice bag filled with lots and lots of Indian flavours. I used those books below as a bit of a guide, but mostly I just made things up as I went along. Towards the end, I added some Pomona's Pectin as plum based products are notorious for not setting. Then the whole lot got divvied out into the jars and put into a water-bath. I've gifted a few away since then and we three are now onto our forth jar so I think we can declare it a success.
Next came some tomatoes. On Instagram, I've been talking about how my homegrown tommies were super slow to get going and now, I'm carefully watching the forecast, ready to take action in case we have our first frost before they fully ripen. So far so good and each night I've been covering them over but most of the fruit looks like it could use another few weeks before harvest so I might even pull the whole plants up (roots 'n' all) and hang them in the shed. This is the advice that has been shared with me over on Instagram and apparently it works very well!
Anyway, way back in January (or maybe it was February?) an opportunity came up for me to grab a couple of boxes of seconds organic tomatoes. At the time, I was feeling a little doubtful that my homegrowns were even going to flower let alone have those flowers become fruit, so with those two boxes sitting in my kitchen I set forth with some passata making. I followed Matt and Lentil's instructions in their book, Grown and Gathered as it's simple with no fuss. Things need to be simple and no fuss for me... no peeling of the tomatoes, no de-pipping the plums... see the pattern? If I over-complicate anything, well then it's just not going to happen at all, so I've learned to seek out options and alternatives that roll the same way I roll.
And now those jars are sitting on another shelf down in the cellar too, right alongside the chutney. And maybe, just maybe, my very own homegrown tomatoes will join them next month too.
Together, they were teaching the first in a series of preserving workshops and I came home with a stash of pears and a couple of jars of the peeled fruit in a light sugar syrup (not to mention a very full heart because those two girls are such fun to hang out with). But guess what, those two jars are now sitting down in the cellar on the next shelf along from the chutney and passata. Happy days!
Now with all preserving aside, I'm moving on to visions and, although filling my cellar shelves with jars of preserves has been a dream richly connected to vision, this is more about the power of creating a Vision Board! And this story is all about that sink I mentioned. I never thought I'd blog about a sink, but this is not just any old sink. And honestly, I took a frightening number of photographs to go with this story and I actually uploaded about four of them before realising I'd crossed the line, HA!!! Just because I'm obsessed with this sink doesn't necessarily mean you are, or that you want to see multiple images of it - and seriously, none of those photos were very different from each other so I culled three and have left you with just one. I styled it just for you too. Um yeah ok, I styled it for me as well as you because playing around with such things is just too much fun. Anyway, here is the story and you'll have to read allll the way to the bottom before you get to see the sink.
...Many moons ago I took a little snapshot of this sink as it sat unused upon Alia's floor at Poet's Ode. I had never seen a more perfect sink and to say I was rather fond of it is clearly an outrageous understatement (...obesessed!). I printed that little picture out when I got home and stuck it upon my vision board. All this time since I have gazed at that picture and dreamed about my future kitchen.
Maybe you know, maybe you don't know, but Alia is moving on to other adventures and sadly, she will no longer inhabit that beautiful space that was Poet's Ode. I paid her and her shop a visit in the days before she closed her doors and as she was selling, reducing and giving away so much, I threw the question out there...
I don't suppose your sink is for sale?
And here came her answer...
I tingled all over in response, but resisted as I didn't want to be spending extra money at that point in time and so, I offered my good wishes and we hugged our farewell. I hopped into my car and I drove away. For ten or fifteen minutes I drove with that sink clearly in my thoughts and goosebumps all over my body.
And then I pulled over, took a deep breath and I sent an SMS...
Dearest Alia, I'm still thinking about your sink and I've decided to buy it! Will you hold it for me until Wednesday?
The thing is, I don't need this sink... YET, but I will when I renovate my kitchen and even though that is still a little ways off, I'm not silly. I know that no matter how hard my future self searches, I would forever compare all sinks to this one and no other will ever be good enough. However weird this makes me, I had actually fallen head-over-heels for this particular sink and I didn't realise how attached to it I had become until I was driving away that day. I know, I know, it's just a sink! I promise you that I really am quite a sane and stable person, I just have a thing about this sink. And a thing about the fact that the power of my vision - seeing that photo every day, several times a day, upon my vision board - paved the way for me to manifest that sink into my life!
When the Universe grants you your wish and you have gone and created your vision, well... you had best sit up and take notice! Opportunities such as this are not an everyday day occurrence and nor was the ridiculously overwhelming sense I was getting that I was meant to bring that sink home.
I fully plan to base my entire kitchen design around that sink. It is antique, French Provincial from the 1700's. That piece of worn timber at the front holds the history and the stories of a time and life I'll wonder about over all the years to come. And what will I do with it until it's kitchen duty resumes? Well I am thinking I might just use it as a planter in my studio because keeping it covered in the shed kinda makes me feel sad - what do you think?
So that is the story of my sink. And that story will be added to the collection of individual stories that go with every piece of furniture within our home.
Never EVER give up on your dreams friends, and trust the power of your vision!
Lots of love xo