Wild Ones Issue 2

 
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Does anyone else feel like there's been a momentum building towards this mid-year point?  It's a slightly crazy feeling but super exciting nonetheless.  Right now I want to reach for the unreachable and take a moments pause so I can savour my joy in holding this second issue of Wild Ones mag (or my littles holding it as the case may be in these pics).  I know this moment will soon be interrupted by the excitement and busyness of approaching deadlines for the next two issues, the scheduled photoshoot for my contribution in issue 3 next week, AND my attempts to tick off the ever growing list of to-dos as the departure date for our big BIG trip draws very very near.  

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In less than 2 weeks my friends, we three will be boarding a flight and heading to Vietnam for the month of July!!!!  I wish I could promise another blog post before we leave giving all the juicy details for what this trip will hold and how it has come about.  But the reality is and as my kids keep reminding me, it's now just 12 sleeps away and I know that my so called 'slow gentle' life is currently a long way out the window!  So regrettably, those details are not going to come about within the daily countdown that's happening around these parts. 

But afterwards, well yes indeed, absolutely!!!  And perhaps that's better anyway since I will then be able to share the richness of our experiences.  Oh what an adventure it is going to be!  I do have plans to post on Instagram while we are away so be sure to keep in touch via those little squares - you can click through from here even if you don't hold an Instagram account.  It might just be our connection that keeps me sane over that time, for there is a part of me that does wonder what on earth I have got myself into taking my two darling babes trekking through the northern hill tribes - see that?  I just gave you a little hint ;)

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But right here right now, it's time to breathe and talk about Issue 2 : CHANGE, the theme for this current Autumn / Winter Issue of Wild Ones.  Last week it was sent out to all Nature Play SA Family Members so if you are not already on board, you may wish to consider it since just like Issue 1 : BEGINNINGS, this next one is absolutely gorgeous!  

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In keeping with that inaugural issue, CHANGE follows the same format with it's three sections and holds more of Jason's breathtaking photography, plus another lifecycle pullout featuring his detailed watercolour illustrations.  That photo above shows the Fly Agaric fungi (or we 3 call it the Fairy Mushroom) and offers you a sneaky peek of just how beautiful and biologically accurate those illustrations truly are.  There are two lifecycle pullouts with each issue and just wait until you see how intricate Jason's illustrations for the Rain Moth are!  That guy doesn't do things by halves and consults with every expert he can think of (including those in specialised fields for the South Australian Museum) to make sure colours, tones, shape, form, markings, every teeny tiny aspect, is absolutely as it should be.  And if it's not, he will scrap it and redo.  That's how committed and passionate he is in educating and sharing knowledge with children and their families.  

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Other pages sport insightful tips on fruit trees from Nature Play's ambassador, Sophie Thompson and a truly heartwarming opening story from Claire Lock which reads as pure as poetry and not only bought tears to my eyes, but a firm lump in my throat.  Then there's the 'Home and Family' section, with more delightful tutorials to share with your children including one from me on Lavender Sachets.

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  FYI: yes that is a mass of dreadlocks in my kids hair!  I took these photos yesterday and last night after bath time, I dealt with the dreads!!

FYI: yes that is a mass of dreadlocks in my kids hair!  I took these photos yesterday and last night after bath time, I dealt with the dreads!!

The other exciting bit is that with the release of this second issue, the first one will soon be available in the Nature Play shop for separate purchase so you will be able to get your hands on it even without being a member.  The same cycle will follow with all future issues... once the newest has been released, the previous will become available in the shop.  But given it's a bi-annual publication, the 6 month wait is loooong!  

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Before I sign out and get cracking on all that is to be done before take-off, can I just mention (again) about the packaging.  I've raved about this on Instagram and will pretty much continue to do so to anyone who stands still long enough to listen but each and every magazine is wrapped up as a gift.  And I'm talking every single part of that wrapping is natural, recyclable, compostable and jolly darn gorgeous.  Even the postage envelope is padded with that shedded pulpy paper stuff.  But when you retrieve your 'gift' from within that envelope, you are greeted with a parcel that is bound in a single piece of tissue overlaid with a sheet of craft paper bubblewrap, all tied together with twine. 

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What sets each issue apart, making them unique unto themselves is the offering from nature that embellishes your 'gift'.  Issue one held a sprig of lavender to compliment the lavender playdough tutorial included within the pages, and this issue holds a bundle of sticks because within it's pages is a tutorial from Claire Lock for Nature Weaving.  The sticks are bundled together with yarn and let me tell you folks, that yarn is not just any yarn!  That is Wild Mushroom from Shilasdair's Highland Inspirations Range; 10% cashmere, 10% baby camel, 40% angora and 40% merino.  All spun together and naturally hand dyed with madder root, onion skins and tansy to create the evocative tones of the wild fungi in the woods around Dunvegan Castle in the northwest Skye*.  I lovingly donated part of a skein from my stash knowing the colour-way was perfect for Autumn / Winter and bound with the sticks, it became an undeniable compliment to the autumnal tones on this issue's cover. 

Enjoy friends and I'll see you on the flip side with all the stories from our adventure!

xo

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* quoted from the yarn label but Dunvegan Castle (in the northwest Isle of Skye) is located off the west coast of Scotland.  Nope, I haven't yet travelled there but instead bought the yarn from one of my pilgrimages to The Craft Sessions.  

 

Taproot - Love Pillow

 
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That photo above first appeared in my Instagram feed many, many moons ago.  In fact, I think it may even have been about a year ago.  It was a time when I was gearing up for a work trip interstate and my kids were feeling anxious over me going away without them.  I left them in the trusted and very capable hands of their beloved Granny, however this was to be the start of a continuing journey with separation anxiety.

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Months later, I found out that the theme for Issue 26 of Taproot magazine was HEAL and I thought a tutorial for the Love Pillows we made in the lead up to that trip, would make a perfect contribution.  Lucky for me, they thought so too, however they very nearly knew nothing about it because as the deadline approached I found myself busy with Nature Play SA and Wild Ones mag and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to piece it all together in time.  Taproot accept what's known in the mag world as 'on-spec' contributions.  This is short for 'on-speculation' and what it means is that instead of pitching an idea and then setting to work on the article once it has been approved and all word counts, deadlines and fees have been discussed, you put the work in first and then submit your absolute very best version 'cold', with no guarantee of publication.  I use to go hard with both approaches when I was first setting out on this writing adventure of mine, but these days I tend to prefer to pitch and have it be secured before I put the work in.

However, Taproot is different!  Taproot is worth doing the work and going in cold, with no guarantee.  It's a publication that grows stronger with every issue and I have been a subscriber since the very first one.  I absolutely adore it and this is the second time my words have been included in their pages and it makes me feel very honoured and proud to have their title in my portfolio.  

So going back to the looming deadline, I knew I wasn't breaking any contracts or letting down Editors by not submitting.  But I also knew that I really wanted to contribute this piece, not only because if I didn't I would be disappointing myself, but mostly because there is so much I can offer around the topic of Healing.  I actually had to choose between several different ideas for contribution, but a tutorial around these Love Pillows was definitely the standout.  My only wish back then, was that I had taken photos the first time around but as it turned out, it is the detailed step-by-step images I took when repeating the making for this article that have been included and compliment the tutorial instructions so beautifully.  So instead I feel ever so grateful for the few late nights I had but mostly to the Tradie who rescheduled on me that day way back last November.  I was saved from having to deal with maintenance issues and constant interruptions and was instead, able to use the time for craft and photo-taking.  Without that unexpected turn of events, it's unlikely this piece would have come together in time.  Serendipity for the win!

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Childhood anxiety is becoming more and more widespread and there are many theories being documented for the reasons as to why.  I have some of my own beliefs but have also recently learned* that anxiety is particularly prevalent in children between the ages of 8 - 10yrs.  This is known to be a classic developmental stage where children feel excited, thrilled and intrigued by the newness of the young adult world they are stepping into, however it can very quickly become confusing, frightening and overwhelming.  They then step back again into the childhood world that is so familiar to them, and one which offers comfort and reassurance but can also be frustrating and boring.  All those feelings, all those emotions running rampant within the heart and mind of someone who is no longer a child, but not yet an adult.  It's no wonder our little darlings get anxious, yes?  

Within our family, there is certainly an ebb and flow to our personal struggles with the anxiety beast and when it rears up inside my oldest, those feelings become incredibly consuming.  For her, it's a compounding double whammy effect whereby her grief around the death of her dad gets mixed up with the fear of losing me, and then this is all muddled up with the extra sensitivities that come with her now being ten, the ripe developmental age for anxiety to be acute.  Truth be told, sometimes it becomes a complete mess and the two of us simply ride the wave as gently and graciously as possible, which usually means lots of tears and cuddles.  

Our Love Pillows proved very effective for that weekend and have been slept with every night since.  They are not a cure-all, but they absolutely do offer something.  They offer comfort, support and understanding, but mostly they offer the little bit of extra Love just when it is needed most.

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You'll find my tutorial spanning pages 54 to 57 in this current issue of Taproot and it's accompanied by loads of pretty pictures with detailed instructions, and a list of the materials you'll need, plus tools and notions.  There's also a backstory on why and how the original Love Pillows came to be but it's such fun giving a little behind the scenes insight here on the blog and through Instagram, don't you think?

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This latest issue was released last month but because of the international mail delay, I have only just received my copy and it's a ripper!  So many inspiring recipes, tutorials and stories inside and if you are in the U.S, well you're the lucky ducks!  It's widely distributed all around the States in what sound like pretty fabulous stores, but otherwise, if you're across big wide spans of ocean like us here in Australia, you can certainly grab yourself a copy through the Taproot online store, but for those more local to me, Tassie based Spiral Garden have it in stock too!

Enjoy friends!  And if you do grab yourself a copy, please drop me a line as I'd love to hear what you think xo

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* through our family naturopath who has deep roots in anthroposophical medicine and is not only a wealth of knowledge but also mixes us magical herbal tonics for all our various needs.

 

Wild Ones Issue 1

 
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You know the saying...

...one door closes, another one opens

We've all heard it, yeah?  And cliche as it might be, gee it's true.  Or at least it certainly has been in my experience!

I've already mentioned about the burnout that hit me last year (here and here) and I'm not going to keep going on about it, but that really was a turning point for me.  It was the catalyst for me to steer myself back on course, reassess everything and metaphorically close some doors. 

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That's what was needed for me to gain a fresh perspective and it was honestly only a matter of days before I woke up one morning to a message.

It was from Jason Tyndall, Manager of Nature Play SA.  He'd read my piece in Taproot :: SHARE Issue 20 and was wondering if I'd be interested in meeting and talking further about some exciting plans they had on the horizon. 

BAMMM!!!!  Another door opened!  And it was one so aligned with who I am, how I choose to live and the way I strive to parent.  It's like the Universe was just waiting for me to figure it out!  I love that!  It's that undeniable confirmation that things are back on course and I totally get that this level of thinking is not everyone's deal but as I said in this post way, way, waaay back, 'make of that what you will, we all find our own courage through our unique belief systems' (and here's a random point to note... I wrote that post 11 days (!!!) after Tuck died!  Spins me out when I reread stuff from those early days and I am so glad I wrote them because it reminds me of how far I've come).  Anyhoo...

I was already familiar with Nature Play SA and the amazing work their small team manages to achieve, but reading statements like this...

...we work tirelessly to bring the magic, imagination, joy, curiosity and wonder back to the childhood of today. 

Well, really, it was a no-brainer for me to accept Jason's invitation.

That first meeting held so much more than shop talk.  There was Life talk!  Good quality, rich, meaningful, authentic, absolute alignment, Life Talk.  And that's just how it is meant to be.  Eight or so months later, those 'exciting plans' that were on the horizon are now unfolding and coming to fruition, while even more plans are being formulated for the future.  

It is very worth taking the time to read their full story, but in a nutshell, from starting up in 2014 with a tiny team of two, yet attracting a promising 100 people to their first event, that has now grown to a team of eight and now attracts over 7,000 participants to sell-out events across SA!  They are a not-for-profit organisation who, after the first three years of government funding, are now stepping out on their own as an NGO.  The current team continues to grow (positions available) and smash their goals through burning passion and unwavering dedication.  They are hands-down the greatest, most fun and most supportive crew I have ever had the pleasure to work with, and they truly live and breathe their vision...

...to make outdoor play in nature an everyday part of childhood

Which brings me to the details of those 'exciting plans', well those that have been unveiled at any rate.

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Last October saw the launch of the all new Nature Play SA Collective with the roll out of the Educators Membership.  Then in December last year, it was followed by the launch of the Families Membership.  Being a not-for-profit NGO, these memberships are now the main source of funding and with so many different packages to choose from there is a membership perfectly suited to every family or educator, from principals to relief teachers, homeschoolers, Uni students and families of all shapes and sizes. 

My involvement has been with the Families Membership which gives access to an online portal; a true treasure trove loaded with nature play ideas, downloads, videos, podcasts, activities and endless inspiration!  Up on the portal now is the first bundle of several tutorials, including one by yours truly offering steps for creating your own Story Stones.  Soon it will be joined by the next collection of tutorials, which will be released in time for Easter and includes my contribution for natural Egg Dyeing

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Then there's their brand new print mag; Wild Ones - a nature play magazine for everyday families, which is included with every tier of Family Membership and published biannually, based upon the seasons; Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter.

It's the most beautiful magazine.  And just to give you a sense of what you can expect... imagine a finely curated blend of meaningful stories, knowledgeable articles and engaging family friendly craft activities, plus nature based life-cycle pullouts with Jason's very own watercolour illustrations!  All nestled within paper stock and print quality that has been environmentally and consciously selected, and offers superior results with a beautifully smooth finish.  Jason is a professional photographer as well as a very talented artist and it is his images which richly grace the pages and front cover of Wild Ones.  The mag holds three sections; Knowledge and Storytelling, Rhythms and Change, Home and Family.

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This first issue offers thoughts on outdoor play, homegrown carrots (plus a great dip recipe), gardening alongside your child/ren, watercolour painting, lavender play dough... oh man, there's just so much good stuff inside!  And there's a piece from me all about the significance of 'Turning Five'.  It's a milestone birthday in our family and one which invites a meaningful gift.  If you've been visiting here for a while, you may remember the Explorer's Satchel I put together for Noah's fifth birthday..?  Well two and a half years later, I've now written close to 1000 words on why and how that gift came to be and you can find that story in the opening pages of this first issue.

Right now there is plenty of behind-the-scenes work going on to get Issue 2 ready for it's release next month, so stay tuned for all the goods on that when it happens.  And just in case you miss it when perusing their website... they have an online shop!!!  Fair warning though... your cart will be loaded in no time ;)

Happy week ahead friends and lots of love xo

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