Creating an urban homestead and news about life.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tea Cosy Swap

This is the beautiful Teacosy I received in Rhonda's last swap at Down to Earth. Sarah from New Mexico gave it to me, and it arrived intact. I love the different blue fabrics, I made an offer on my first house this morning and it has a blue kitchen. More about the house soon. Anyhow, so the colours are perfect. I love the detail of the words tea and the little teapot ornament. Sarah also sent the great chilli fabric. She is from New Mexico and it's pretty hot there :)

I knitted my tea cosy for her, and forgot to take a photo so hoping she emails one to Rhonda.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pay it Forward

I have joined the Pay-it-forward giveaway, and am going to receive a gift from Bittersweet Punkin (thanks in advance) Now I am going to pay it forward...
Here's a chance to get a surprise from me, on a surprise date, in the next 365 days. Here are the rules:
1.~Leave a comment on my blog that says you want to play. First three folks to comment and PLAY will get a gift from ME. (If I don't know it already, let me know how I can contact you, an e-mail is fine.) EDITED: I did not say the item had to be handmade...just a surprise prezzie....
2.~Do the same thing on your blog! The first three folks who leave a comment and commit to doing this on their blog, too, will get a surprise from YOU at a surprise time in the next 365 days!This should prove to be fun.....and interesting.This is a great way to make new friends too.....let's see what happens.Just copy all my..pic and all..and use it on your post.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

At last, Sorry.

Today was a very special day for Australia. This morning in parliament and broadcast live across the nation, the Primeminister apologised to the Aboriginal People, and the Stolen Generations for the systematic removal of children from their families for the eradication of the culture, language and identity as a governmental policy until the 1970's.

There is a misconception among many people who believe that this was done because the children were being neglected or abused, and while that may or may not have occurred in some of the situations the facts are that there were official governmental policies to remove children to eradicate the aboriginal "problem"

Brisbane's Telegraph newspaper reported in May 1937,

Mr Neville [the Chief Protector of WA] holds the view that within one
hundred years the pure black will be extinct. But the half-caste problem was
increasing every year. Therefore their idea was to keep the pure blacks
segregated and absorb the half-castes into the white population. Sixty years
ago, he said, there were over 60,000 full-blooded natives in Western Australia.
Today there are only 20,000. In time there would be none. Perhaps it would take
one hundred years, perhaps longer, but the race was dying. The pure blooded
Aboriginal was not a quick breeder. On the other hand the half-caste was. In
Western Australia there were half-caste families of twenty and upwards. That
showed the magnitude of the problem (quoted by Buti 1995 on page 35).

By the 1930s Neville had refined his ideas of integrating Indigenous people into non-Indigenous society. His model was a biological one of `absorption' or `assimilation', argued in the language of genetics. Unlike the ideology of racial purity that emerged in Germany from eugenics, according to which `impure races' had to be prevented from `contaminating' the pure Aryan race, Neville argued the advantages of `miscegenation' between Aboriginal and white people.
The key issue to Neville was skin colour. Once `half-castes' were sufficiently white in colour they would become like white people. After two or three generations the process of acceptance in the non-Indigenous community would be complete, the older generations would have died and the settlements could be closed.

The local protector of NSW, James Isdell, supported the mission's concern to rescue `waifs and strays from the bad contaminating influence of natives' camps'.

The half-caste is intellectually above the aborigine, and it is the duty of
the State that they be given a chance to lead a better life than their mothers.
I would not hesitate for one moment to separate any half-caste from its
aboriginal mother, no matter how frantic her momentary grief might be at the
time. They soon forget their offspring (quoted by Dr Christine Choo submission
385 on page 14).

In 1927 Dr Cecil Cook was appointed Chief Protector and Chief Medical Officer of NT. He was the first full-time Chief Protector since 1914. Cook was preoccupied with the continuing increase in the numbers of mixed descent children, foreseeing `a danger that half-castes would become a numerically preponderant under-class, in conflict with the white population of the north' (Markus 1990 page 92). Cook's solution was similar to that proposed by Chief Protector Neville in WA, namely, the absorption of people of mixed descent.

"Generally by the fifth and invariably by the sixth generation, all native
characteristics of the Australian aborigine are eradicated. The problem of our
half-castes will quickly be eliminated by the complete disappearance of the
black race, and the swift submergence of their progeny in the white ... The
Australian native is the most easily assimilated race on earth, physically and
mentally" (quoted by Markus 1990 on page 93).

the Governor-General stated in August 1996,

It should, I think, be apparent to all well-meaning people that true
reconciliation between the Australian nation and its indigenous peoples is not
achievable in the absence of acknowledgment by the nation of the wrongfulness of
the past dispossession, oppression and degradation of the Aboriginal peoples.
That is not to say that individual Australians who had no part in what was done
in the past should feel or acknowledge personal guilt. It is simply to assert
our identity as a nation and the basic fact that national shame, as well as
national pride, can and should exist in relation to past acts and omissions, at
least when done or made in the name of the community or with the authority of
government ...
The present plight, in terms of health, employment,
education, living conditions and self-esteem, of so many Aborigines must be
acknowledged as largely flowing from what happened in the past. The
dispossession, the destruction of hunting fields and the devastation of lives
were all related. The new diseases, the alcohol and the new pressures of living
were all introduced. True acknowledgment cannot stop short of recognition of the
extent to which present disadvantage flows from past injustice and oppression

ONe thing I feel strongly about is that the policies regarding the Aboriginal people were not to protect the children from harm so much as protect the purity of the European race. What happened in Australia to the Stolen Generations is Genocide

Genocide is defined by the International Criminal Court and the United Nations as,

... any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or
in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: a. killing
members of the group; b. causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c. deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d. imposing measures
intended to prevent births within the group; e. forcibly transferring children
of the group to another group (article II).

I am glad that our government has acknowledged this, and I applaud the Labour government for following through on the Bringing Them Home Report Working and living in the Redfern community and growing up on the south coast of NSW where there were numerous children's homes has deepened my respect for the Aboriginal People and the struggles they go though. I hope, as the Prime Minister said that the apology given today will help remove a great stain from the nation's soul and in the true spirit of reconciliation to open a new chapter in the history of this great land Australia.

I pray that we will learn to give every person a fair go, regardless of the colour, creed, or gender. I pray that those who have been sceptical about this apology will change their minds. I pray for those who have been touched by these policies and grown up hurt and lonely and confused, for those who were abused, beaten, demoralised and isolated. I pray that you will have peace, and that this apology would start to mend the wounds in your hearts.

Friday, February 8, 2008

What will I make???

I went to the op shop today to get an apron (for preparing wool for spinning) and found a whole lot of quilting fabrics for a bargain. They were all done up by colours and I bought a blue one which I have shown here, and a green one, which has some lovely fabrics too. I also got a ball of pink cotton yarn for making more dishcloths, I am on my third at the moment, inspired by Rhonda, but the cotton I have was too thin so I have started crocheting them. I like this as I don't have to focus too much on what I am doing, and can make them while chatting to my mum, or last night at the bushwalking club meeting. People are always surprised that someone under 60 is making something by hand which frustrates me.
Home made things do take time, but they give me a sense of satisfaction, of pleasure, and purpose. That I can contribute to the economy with more than my credit card (Which I only use as a debit card, and a regular amount of my pay goes into it each fortnight) I also love giving a gift that is handmade, it says I have thought about and put time into this gift. Anyone can run down the store and buy a present, but something made by hand speaks volumes to me.
I also finished and sent off my Tea Cosy for Rhonda's swap to Susan in New Mexico, I did knit that one and crochet a flower to go on it, but wrapped it up before I remembered to take a photo. I'll have to wait until she gets it and sends a photo to Rhonda to go on the Blog. Now I just have to wait for mine to arrive.
I am already thinking about what to make next with these fabrics, but I will wait until I have finished the project I am working on now.... Or maybe not, who needs one project when you can have ten!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Spinning around

I have spun my first wool. So exciting. I went along to the local spinners and weavers group last year and began to learn to spin. You have to spin two bobbins of wool and they ply them together by spinning them onto a third bobbin the opposite direction to which you spin them individually. This creates the tension that holds it together and stops it from unravelling.

At my first lesson I learnt how to comb a shorn fleece and how to spin the wool, but had to wait until last saturday to learn to ply. Not really that hard at all compared to the spinning part. I now have a lovely bobbin of wool ready to wash and then make something.
For anyone interested in spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, crocheting (hmm they're good at cooking too!! I can definately reccomend you contacting your local spinners and weavers if there is one. Jam packed with people ready to share the skills they have. The local group offered me a spinning wheel on loan, gave me some fleece to get started with, and are always willing to answer silly questions.
At the meetings they always have a show and tell, and this meeting one woman had been to a felting workshop and brought back some examples of her work, from front to back it is a scarf, a hat and a bag, all so colourful and fun. I love the colours of the bag in particular and the softness of the texture.

Another lady is very creative with needle felting, and creates exquisite animals, especially Australian natives. The photo below is of a bilby she was comissioned to make by another member of the group for her sister who lives in Canada. It is being entered in the local show this weekend, and I'm sure it will take out a prize.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Moss and Rocks and Falling Water

On Sunday I went for my first walk with the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers. We went to Granite Falls, a spot just south of Nowra on the South East coast of NSW (Australia) About half an hours drive from where I live.

It was a tough walk, all off track, walking through bush that is essentially untouched, taking navigation from creekbeds and ridges identified in the maps we had. I loved it. We walked across the top of the falls to start and then down a ridge to the creek in the first photo. We stopped here for morning tea and then spent an hour walking up the creek to the base of the falls. The area around this spot is famous for it's beautiful sandstone and very distinctive mountains, the budawangs. Granite falls however is as it's name might suggest, made of granite. It is spectacular, with the water falling to one level and then over another, and from the base was breathtaking.

We then walked down the creek to where it joined a larger river, and there was a great swimming hole where we stopped for lunch and to refresh ourselves.

We then fought our way back up the river against lots of undergrowth and back up the hill to where we had left our cars. Although walking in this way is probably a lot harder, I find it so rewarding in that I am going somewhere possibly no-one has ever walked before, somewhere special. The places you go that are hidden from most of the world but are so amazingly beautiful, remind me that there is a God, and that he created the world. Every bit of it is spectacular, even the parts that almost no-one looks at. And all that you can do is stand in awe and breathe .... Thankyou.