Wild Ones Issue 3


I’ve been sitting in front of this screen for about 15 minutes. Sitting picking at my fingernail (now broken dammit!), staring at the blank page and wondering where on earth I begin!

I’ve neglected this space for over 6 months! My last words here were just before we 3 took off for a wild adventure in Vietnam but in that post, I was focused on sharing all about Wild Ones Issue 2 and had promised to bring all the goods on our travels after our return. I think I might have failed to deliver on that promise!

Now here we are, and I’m typing again with my focus all on Wild Ones Issue 3, but simultaneously knowing that I’m skipping past one of the most significant 6 months of my life.

I need to write about that! I want to share and I want there to be some record of it here in this Open Journal. That feels important because it’s been huge. Nothing less than life altering and with that, has come massive amounts of challenge and heartache, but all of it essential and worthwhile to get us where we now are and to propel us towards where we wish to go.

So, stay tuned for another post very soon because that shitty second half of 2018 has paved the way for what feels like a pretty fab year ahead. Things are changing in this space as I have something important to do this year, something I’ve allowed my fear to halter for a long long time. Something that still terrifies me but one which I know cannot not happen. More coming soon xo


I’ve fallen way behind in sharing about this latest issue of Wild Ones. Lucky for me, it’s a bi-annual mag so even though this one landed in Nature Play SA member mailboxes just before Christmas, I’ve convinced myself that I can get away with it because we’re still a few months away from Issue 4 rolling out the door.

Nature Play SA have changed things up a bit recently, tweaking and making adjustments to better suit the team and all those who support their work - just the way a healthy organisation should! Late last year, instead of the three-tiered membership packages that were available for families, they simplified and merged it all into one terrific membership which, in my opinion, is an incredible bargain when you realise what you get, plus it makes the choice more streamlined and less complicated.

A Family Membership gives free entry into all of Nature Play’s major events throughout the year, discount to their boutique events, discount in their shop, exclusive emails and of course, a copy of Wild Ones mag - 2 released each year, one Spring/Summer and one Autumn/Winter.

Just to put that into a little bit of perspective, the last time I visited the shop to stock up on craft supplies plus a couple of gifts, the discount I received just about paid for my annual membership! Add in the free entry to 1 or 2 of their major events - Cubby Town or Forest Festival, and you’re way out in front. Happy Days!

Everything in the Nature Play shop has been beautifully curated and all items support and encourage screen-free, wholesome, old fashioned nature play. Just check out their latest Catalogue for some serious eye-candy! The book collection alone is enough to have me creating a mile-long wishlist. And just so you know, I’m a loyal contributor to the mag and a huge advocate for their work, I’m not sponsored nor do I receive affiliate kickbacks for plugging their cause ;) Simply put, I just love their work!


So much work goes on behind the scenes for each issue and a lot of that work can be accredited to Nature Play’s Manager and Wild Ones Editor, Jason Tyndall.

Over the past 18 months since my involvement with the first issue began, Jason and I have met a bunch of times to brainstorm article ideas and he talks about the future plans for the mag. We lock down my specific contributions and then of course, set word counts and deadlines. As each deadline approaches we then schedule a photoshoot and crafting day with my kids. We squeeze this in around all the other activities Nature Play have got going on, as well as those that I have going on. Plus the many other photoshoots Jason schedules to cover all the images within the pages. That guy pulls off some crazy working hours, let me tell you.


Sometimes I’ve already got my draft written by the day of shoot and sometimes not, it seems to work either way although, for this issue I was very much in the throes of Vietnam prep and apart from organising what we needed for the shoot, I hadn’t written a single word! I found myself taking notes on the day, almost like an inventory of what materials we were using and the most effective method for creating the brushes. You could say I kind of winged it and Jason very graciously allowed for the organic process to unfold. So, with these notes and a heartfelt promise that I would email my write-up to him during our first days in Vietnam, I set about getting that first solid draft done whilst sitting on the plane. Ever the optimist, I also had an audiobook, a collection of downloaded podcasts, my journal and my knitting. You know, just in case I managed to smash out that work with hours to spare ;) Clearly I was also assuming that my 2 kids would leave me to my own desires but considering I was in the middle of the 3 seats, I didn’t stand a chance!


Then with all the wonderful yet exhausting excitement of overseas travel and repeated occurrence of dodgy WiFi, I dragged that deadline out! Eeeek a first and let’s hope the last time that ever happens! Finally though, sometime during our second week of travel and during one of our ‘splurge’ accomodations with reliable WiFi, I got that draft tidied up and clicked send. So even though I’ve already expressed my gratitude, I’m eager to say another big fat THANK YOU to Jason! He’s a pretty great Editor to work with, not to mention extremely patient and accommodating!!


I’ve been doing so much writing and reflecting on last year and making some pretty exciting plans for this year so bare with me while I put all that into some kind of coherent form. I reckon my next post could be a juicy one!

Back with more soon friends xo


Wild Ones Issue 2


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.  


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 ;)


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!  


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.  


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.

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!  


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. 


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!



* 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.


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!


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.


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?


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


* 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.