Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Search Begins

You may be wondering how I decided I was moving to Tasmania, well in truth the decision not just to move, but to move to Tassie came about completely by accident.  I had no intention of moving, there was nowhere I really wanted to live, so I was just going to stay put. My darling son had announced his intention to move back to Mildura. He had renewed a friendship with a girl he went to high school with in Grade 10 and that friendship had "developed". They were going to rent and save up to buy their own place. I decided to help and started looking at online real estate sites for somewhere for them to rent.  Some how I ended up looking at a cute little house in Flowerdale, Tasmania. I was immediately drawn to it.  I opened the link and looked at all the photos, I read the blurb. I researched the area, I looked at more houses and it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to live there.

I told my children, neither believed me at first, they thought I was joking. When they finally realized I was serious their reactions were polar opposites. My daughter told me in no uncertain terms that I was crazy and "who wants to live there...nobody I know wants to live in Tasmania". My son on the other hand thought it was a great idea and "if it's what you want , go for it Mum!". I believe in signs..crazy I know, but after my announcement two things happened that convinced my my instincts were right. My son had bought me a subscription to Country Style magazine for Christmas. My first magazine arrived in the mail the week after I told  my children I wanted to move, it was the Tasmanian issue, that week was also the very first episode of Location, Location, Location Australia. The two hosts were helping two families with their search from new homes in Tassie!

I examined why I wanted to live there, there were plenty of reasons. There was no humidity. The house was smaller, it had three bedrooms and a wood fire. The land was smaller, this house was on 1.5 acres as opposed to my 2.5 acres. I could grow all the roses and other cottage garden plants I liked and the garden was a blank canvas so I could set it all out my way too. The house was all on one level and perhaps most importantly, it would be closer to my children, (my daughter had also announced her intention to move back to Victoria, although not Mildura) without being too close.......perfect! I told my boss, he thought it was a fantastic idea, he asked for the link to the house. Every week he would ask if I had booked my ticket to Tassie yet and if not why not.

It took me three months to work up the courage to fly down to Tassie to check out the property, I also found another 13 properties that I wanted to look at. I booked my ticket, hired a car and booked accommodation. Sadly the little blue house sold the day before I flew down. Still I had other houses to look at and a week to do it.  I was concentrating my search on the northwest coast around Wynyard which was only a half hour drive from Burnie where there would be more employment opportunities. In the end I looked at 15 houses. I had a new favourite, 1.5 acres, three bedrooms overlooking the ocean. A huge old barn I could convert into stables for Chloe, a chook house and still have plenty of space to conver part of it into a craft studio.  I went and looked at this particular house 3 times. It needed some work, a slight rearranging of the living spaces a new kitchen, there was NO oven, an an updated bathroom. On my second visit I measured every single room and drew up a floor plan. I discussed my ideas with the real estate agent and each night I drew up plans of what I wanted.  When I got back home I made an offer, it was rejected and I waited for a counter offer. When I rang to find out what the counter offer was I was told the house was sold.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement, I was disillusioned and wondering if perhaps my instincts  and the signs were wrong, maybe I wasn't meant to to live in Tasmania after all.  For weeks I refused to look at properties or discuss my plans with my boss. Eventually the call of the southern state got too strong and I started to look again.  I widened my search, I knew I didn't want to live near Hobart, I preferred the north. I decided to move my search to within a half hour radius of Launceston and started to make a list of properties to inspect. Finally in June, winter, I headed back down to look at houses again. This time I had a list of 5 to look at and another two or three that I hadn't decided on.

Every house was not quite right for one reason or another. One little cottage I looked at in Longford was almost perfect. It was the right size, but the garden was a little small, it was right next to a racing stable and opposite the race course and the living spaces had no solid walls to accommodate my large kitchen dressers. At the last minute, four hours before I was due to fly home, I rang the real estate agent about another little cottage I'd seen advertised in Longford. I'd been debating with myself if I wanted to see it or not and finally decided I would.  I met the real estate agent out front of the cottage three hours before my flight.  We walked in the front door and the second I crossed the threshold I KNEW this cottage would be my new home...perhaps even my forever home. 

I returned home full of excitement and optimism, I told my boss, I sent him the link . Finally I rang the real estate agent and made an offer. After a bit of toing and frowing we reached a figure we were both happy with...and the cottage was mine!

Settlement on my new home was the end of September 2014. The vendors rented it back from me until just before Christmas. In January I went down for four days to play in the garden and then I rented it out for three months while I got my Queensland house ready to sell. It went on the market late on a Thursday night and by the following Tuesday night the house was sold and all contracts signed......the race was on to get the house packed up and all arrangements made so that I could move into my new home by the 16th May.......mission accomplished! Despite the fact I have moved down here just in time for winter, I couldn't be happier. I am where I'm meant to be.

Kath xoxo

Monday, April 6, 2015

Back to the Future

This weekend is Easter, for most of us a time to share with family and friends, but for me this Easter is the time for me to take on my arch nemesis, the dreaded craft room. The craft room is the smallest habitable room in my house, a mere 3 meters by 2.7 meters, but believe me when I say that room is the most densely packed piece of real estate in the whole house. If my house were the world then my craft room would be China. So this weekend my goal is to get my craft room packed because I know once that room is done the rest of the house will be a breeze. Actually I already have 13 boxes packed, but always in the background the craft room has been looming like my darkest this weekend is show time!

Good Friday lived up to its name and I got stuck in and packed 7 boxes, don't panic they are what is called book boxes, small so once packed they are not too heavy and perfect for me as I'll have to be able to move them. Saturday I only packed two boxes, but in fairness I did do a lot of cleaning out of goodies to go to my local St Vinnies store. Yesterday there were no boxes packed, but with the room half done there was space to sift and sort and clear and cull. Everything still remaining in that room now needs to be packed. I half filled a skip bin yesterday with unwanted papers and a few pieces of furniture no longer able to carry out their intended function, not to mention a couple of pieces of antiquated technology. Amongst the purging I came across some old posts from when I used to write on the Garden Web around 1996. I particularly wanted to share one piece of writing with here goes!

Me & My Shadow or A Lesson in NOT Wishing (originally posted on The Garden Web 1998)

You know how people are always saying "don't wish too hard you just might get what you want"? Well today it happened to me. My daughter Rachell is 7&1/2, she is my shadow. Wherever you find me you will find Rachell. Half the time I don't even know she is there until I turn around and WHAM!! I bump right into her. Don't get me wrong, I love both my kids and I wouldn't be without them for all the money  and all the gardens in the world, but sheesh everyone needs a little space and time out occasionally. This child is stuck to me like a postage stamp is attached to an envelope. Sometimes I actually wonder if our umbillical cords are still attached.

Rachell is definitely a mummy's girl. I am the best Mum in the whole wide world, I know this because she tells me at least twice every day. Well this weekend my wish came true. I was virtually childless ( which is something like those virtual chocolates I just sent G'ann). Rachell is going to a sleep over at her friend Lani's house. This is the first time she has branched out on her own, she has only ever slept over at Grandpas house before this and she always had her big brother with her, this time she is on her own She was so excited that she packed her bags at 6:00am for a 2:00pm departure. 

Bradley is having a friend sleep over here, these boys are almost 13 so they are self sufficient. They went to the movies, came back and ate me out of house and home and then went off to the bedroom to do their own thing, listen to music, play their game boys, you get the picture. I dropped Rachy off at Lani's and that was it. A whole afternoon and evening without my shadow. Oh the peace and quiet, what bliss, what joy!! What on earth am I going to do next?

This is great I get to go the the Garden Party without a little voice asking "mummy are you talking to your friends?" Mummy is G'ann's bear back??" Mummy how is Ruthann's school vacation going???" At 9:00pm I finally go off line. At 9:05pm the phone rings, a little voice says "Mummy I miss you, I love you Mummy" but she is brave, she doesn't want to come home.

Russ, my hubby, and I spend the evening looking like two little lost sheep because Bow Peep is at a sleep over. Now what do we do? Does this mean we will actually have to talk....I mean to each other? Do we remember how?

It is now 8:00am Sunday morning. Nobody came sneaking into my bed at 4:00am when hubby got up for work. No-one is complaining cause I got out of bed too early and they want to sleep with me. No-one is spilling breakfast cereal all over the table. I only have 2&1/2 hours to wait for the sun to come up and my shadow to return. Will I make it, can I survive another 2&1/2 hours without my shadow?

I think I'll go back off line now, maybe the phone will ring and a little voice will say "Mummy I miss you, can you come get me please?" I live in hope!

Well my Shadow is now all grown up, she is a beautiful, strong, independent 24 year old. This year she moved out of home, but not 5 minutes down the road, more like 19 HOURS! So I best get back to packing my craft room. As she keeps telling me "every box you pack Mum, takes you one step closer to Longford" it also takes me one step closer to her. This piece of writing also explains why my friends on the Garden Web christened her TS (The Shadow) it stuck and I think we have all referred to her as TS for so long they have actually forgotten her real name! 

This is us in Paris, about to head out to the Moulin Rouge to celebrate her 23rd birthday.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Paradox of Life....or where I've been

Well as we Aussies would say, "it's been a long time between drinks" I haven't posted on here for over two years, but there is change in the wind..big change and I want to share it, particularly with some people who have specifically asked if I have or will start a here I am.

Over the past 30 months I have come to the realization that life is full of twists and turns and contradictions. Some of them you see coming, others sneak up on you and some crash into you head on like a freight train at full steam. Some are good and others are terribly bad, but they all contribute to your story and shape you into the person you are. It is up to you how you choose to repond.

30 months ago my husband passed away, it was sudden, unexpected and tragic, he took his own life. I don't want or need sympathy, the time for that is past, but in order to fully understand where I am headed, you need to know where I have been. The past 30 months have been both the longest and shortest 30 months of my life. They have been painful and torturous but they have not been joyless or without beauty or happiness.  Some days they have been all of these things at the same time, some days they have been none of them, and some days they have been one or the other. Never the less, life does go on and for the most part we humans are nothing if not adaptable.

My husband and I loved each other very much and we were in love, these two things are not the same nor are they mutually inclusive, it is possible to be one without the other, but in our case we were both. Which is not to say our life was perfect, it wasn't. We had our ups and downs like most couples, we had been through some tough times and some great times and life was "comfortable"...until THAT day. Now each day takes me both a step further away from him and a step closer. There is not a single day goes by that I do not think of him and miss him and wish that he was still here.

I have to admit that when I looked into my imagined future, this is not where I saw myself. At 52 I did not picture myself living all alone. I did think that my two beautiful, grown up children would possibly be no longer living at home. I did not imagine for a second that both of them would be living at the other end of the continent nor that I wouldn't have my husband beside me. I always, always pictured the two of us growing old together, instead here I am with only the company of my two grand puppies (ah yes I have inherited the dogs of my darling children) and no full time human companionship. Some days it is oh so lonely but others it is pure bliss. I am at 52 years of age about to embark on my very own solo adventure. For the first time in my entire life I get to be completely selfish. To make decisions and changes that only need to take me into consideration. If my choices are right, fantastic, if they are wrong then only I have to live with the consequences and I have only myself to blame. It is VERY liberating but also a bit scary.

So what is this momentous change I hear you ask, this grand adventure, maybe even this mid life crisis? Do women even have those or is that the exclusive domain of middle aged men? Well are you ready for it? I am uprooting my whole life and I too am moving to the other end of the country, but even further south than my children.....I am MUCH more adventurous than they are!  After 14 years in this house in sunny Queensland, I am selling up, quitting my job of 11.5 years and moving to.......Tasmania!

I have bought a wonderful little cottage in a small village just south of Launceston. The cottage has a beautiful cottage garden, both cottage and garden are so very me! I don't know anyone down there, I have no family or friends there and no job to go to, but I am going anyway! Well the not knowing anybody is kind of an untruth. When I first went there to look at houses I didn't know anybody, but I have built up quite a friendship with the two wonderful gentlemen that I bought my cottage from. They still live in the village, both are in their early 70’s and had felt the need to downsize, but loved the village too much to move away from it. Since purchasing my cottage, I have been to Tassie a number of times, each time we catch up in person and in between we stay in touch the old fashioned way, via letters.

Some people think this move of mine is very brave, some are jealous. Others think I am running away, yet others think I am foolish. My darling daughter thinks not only am I crazy but I am moving to the ass end of the world and my son, who has a very relaxed attitude to life says "good on ya Mum, you deserve this". I, on the other hand, think I am heading exactly where I need to be. I have been down to Tasmania four times since I made this decision. Every time I get off the plane at Launceston Airport I feel a huge sense of relief, like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have visited my cottage three times, the last time I was there for four days just pottering around in my garden. Every single time I walk across that threshold my heart sings and I know in my heart of hearts that no matter how scary this move is, I am where I am meant and need to be. I am happy with this choice I have made and I am very much looking forward to writing a new chapter in my book of life, even if it is tinged with sadness. 

Future posts will cover my search for my "perfect for me" home, my preparations for my move, my two week road trip to my new home and life in Tasmania. I'm sure there will also be more crafting posts, as I just KNOW that with this move will come the return of my crafting mojo, and possibly some of my favourite recipes. Who knows where my blog will take us, life is full of endless possibilities.

Life is not perfect but it is good and I hope you will join me on this journey. 

Kath xoxo 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Tim Holtz 12 Tags of 2014 - January

Well can you believe it, I haven't been on here for so long and here it is only day 2 of 2014 and I'm posting. Here is my take on Tim Holtz January 2014 tag. Hope you enjoy it, sadly it isn't the best photo and for some reason blogger wants to turn it on it's side. I'll post a better photo tomorrow. Kath

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sympathy Cards

Today I needed to make two sympathy cards, one from my girlfriend, who lost her father last week and the second for her mother, who is also a friend of mine. I always have trouble with sympathy cards, I like them to be tasteful but still an expression of my art and I just am never sure if I am heading in the right direction. Making these cards was very bitter sweet for me as only a few short weeks ago I was on the receiving end of a number of sympathy cards when my husband passed away. Life does move in mysterious ways, and its not always fair and it's not always easy and sometimes we are left wondering....why???? My favourite saying right now is "You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it"....I sure hope so!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Postcard - Andy Skinner style!

Here is a postcard I created using Andy Skinner's Book of Secrets techniques. It is for this month's postcard swap. The theme was flight, as soon as I saw the tiny wooden balloons I knew that I HAD to have them and exactly what I was going to do with them. I really like how this turned out and I hope the recipient likes it too.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My take on Tim Holtz 12 Tags - September

Here is my version of Tim Holtz September tag. This was so much fun to create and I really love these techniques. The printed paper under the typewriter is an actual piece of newspaper form a 1967 edition of Melbourne's "The Sun", it is a section out of the birth announcements.