christmas, chez nous…
Posted in christmas ideas, interiors, nature December 23rd, 2015 by pia

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

While others might revel in this time of year, I have felt a growing resistance to it over the years, especially the last decade. On reflection I can see there are many personal reasons for this, but I can also feel it connects with a collective consciousness as the world opens to change…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

As I’m not religious (in that I don’t follow any particular faith), I’ve always felt conflicted with celebrating Christmas in what it traditionally symbolizes. In past years we’ve just pulled back from it and done our own thing. And that was okay until we had a child… how to make this time of year retain the magic and joy for a child but also give it deep meaning that is in alignment with our family without following the hype and conformity?

I have been able to take some wonderful and small steps toward reinventing this time for my family. This year I have the emotional and physical space to create what we want and need as a family without family pressure, social or religious conformity, hype, excessive-consumption, drama or stress. For us that means rather than focus on “Christmas” as the destination, we choose to focus on the journey we’ve had together and as individuals this year. So it becomes about gentle reflection and slowing down toward the end of year rather than speeding up. And instead of just showing up and receiving, the emphasis is on the giving which also and most importantly for me includes giving care to self. For us, this time of year in our home is about creating tranquility and peace, along with strengthening the connection to earth by spending as much time in nature as possible, bringing it in and expressing gratitude for it daily…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

A few changes that I’ve been able to put in place this year include:

…being ‘just the three of us’ for the whole day of Christmas – it will be completely free of plans and be inspired by nature and the weather. Beach, mud puddles, playing with puzzles, who knows, but it will be about being together.
…Romain and I haven’t given gifts to each other for Christmas since we’ve been together and we don’t want to but I didn’t want the tree to have gifts just for Laly so – as suggested by wonderful Meg who runs the playgroup that Laly and I attend – Laly has made a gift with her Papa to give to me and her and I will make a gift for her Papa to give to him. I have also made a gift for her so each of us will receive a handmade gift. This for me has been one of the loveliest experiences and I’m thrilled to make it a new tradition.
…not visiting a single department store or mall in the lead up to Christmas. I’ve done without this for years as I only shop locally or online for handmade items, but this year I decided to make it an essential part of the preparation.
…this year I introduced an advent wreath on our table to acknowledge and express gratitude toward the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms on earth. Traditionally this is religious but I choose to focus on nature as the divine, and each week we light a candle for each kingdom while adding a found piece of nature that represents that realm…

PiaJaneBijkerk_christmas2015_8

…And I made a wreath from foraged flora for the front door in the first week to express gratitude for the plants we have around us…

PiaJaneBijkerk_xmas2015

There is much more I’d love to add and rather than strive to get it all together now, I’ll implement the shifts slowly over the years and see how they evolve as Laly grows… and I have no doubt she will want input on it all as she gets older.  I can’t wait to share all these ideas with you. Along with this I’ve been creating some beautiful projects & I look forward to sharing all of it with you later in the new year.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetmaking little trees

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetcollecting fallen pine branches

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLaly’s frangipani sculptural piece hangs in the hallway and smells delicious

In the new year I’ll be transforming my creative online space and evolving it into the next phase of my creative work. In the meantime, I’ve been having fun in my growing online store by adding some new book packages and a special digital download of the how-to projects from Little Treasures

LittleTreasures_howto-2LittleTreasures_All_howto-7

Click here to find out more.

So this year for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling joy and gratitude and contentment about the coming few days. And although it will be the first Christmas without my Mum in my life, incredibly I feel her presence stronger than ever. I know she is here with us, I feel her love everyday and it feels amazing – like the warmest blanket on the coldest night, or the sweetest ocean breeze on a hot summer’s evening.

Last but not least, with all that I’ve learned from this year’s journey of self discovery and healing, stars have become my central theme for the holiday season because we are all made from stars…

PiaJaneBijkerk_christmas2015_7

Eternal Love,

Pia xx

fiji love…
Posted in mini trips, nature, pia's photos August 13th, 2015 by pia

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_2015_1

White sand, sunbleached coral, palm trees, coconuts, and jungle… for six days, this was our everyday…

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_2015_13

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_2015_14

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_2015_16

PiaJaneBijkerk_fiji_coral_2015

Last week we decided to take a spontaneous and much needed break away to Fiji. Neither of us had ever been, and it was Laly’s first overseas travel – what a wonderful first place to mark with a stamp in her passport…

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_2015_10

We stayed on the Coral Coast, which is the southern part of the main island of viti levu (take a look at this gorgeous illustrated map of Fiji by Kate Evans). At this time of year it was quite windy on the south coast with the seasonal trade winds, and some days there was rainfall, but the temperature was perfect for dresses and sandals.

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_malevu_2015_6

Although resort life isn’t at all a representation of life in Fiji, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a glimpse at some of the Fijian traditions that were incorporated into daily activities, including singing, story time, weaving, dance, food and language.

Not far from the resort, the guests were invited to take a village tour of Malevu, guided by the chief who showed us some of the medicinal plants they have growing which included noni and the yaqona (kava root) plant. Along with describing some of the benefits of each plant, the chief gave us a brief history of the village and traditions. Below is the village kitchen…

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_malevu_2015_7

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_2015_5

PiaJaneBijkerk_coralcoast_fiji_malevu_2015_8

At the end of the tour we were invited into the village meeting house for a kava ceremony where we each drank kava from a coconut bowl, and then danced to traditional songs.

PiaJaneBijkerk_fiji_vitilevu_2015_3

It was such a lovely winter break, I felt my whole body and spirit finally relax. I look forward to visiting Fiji again and having the energy to explore some of the islands and surrounding waters.

xx

Insight:

Since we had limited internet access, I took a break from email and social media and I cannot tell you how much better I feel for it. I have more clarity of thought, and I feel my sense of freedom and creativity coming back.  I have kept it up since we’ve been back, and I’d like to maintain a better balance that works for me – to bring blogging back as my first port stop, and then letting people know about the blog post via social media. At this stage I have decided not to engage in conversation as much on social media, and would instead like to encourage communication and community through this space, where I can write freely and share images without space limitations, as well as include links to other artists and blogs and websites as these are aspects of sharing online that I have missed. Let’s see how it goes…

 

how to create your own edible garden…
Posted in australia, creative ventures, food, nature June 24th, 2015 by pia

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_1_IMG_2917

Earlier this year on a drizzly and rather misty Saturday morning in February, I drove down to the very beautiful Glenbernie Orchard in Darkes Forest, in the Northern Illawarra of New South Wales. I had signed up to talented baker Tara Mills of Mill Lane’s workshop on “how to create your own edible garden”, encouraged by my dear friend Jenni who was also attending and lives in the area (I’ll be showcasing Jenni’s gorgeous home here in the (blog)house very soon, in the meantime you can have a little sneak peek here).

I love turning off the highway upon entering the Royal National Park, like other times I’ve traveled in that direction, I wind down all the windows in the car and take deep belly breaths to absorb the gorgeous air. On this occassion, I was playing the latest album of Tenzin Cheogyal called Heart Strings, and so by the time I arrived at Glenbernie, I was well and truly at ease and ready to enjoy the full day workshop ahead. It’s an incredibly rare treat to have an entire Saturday to myself, and to spend it with like-minded people learning all about permaculture and enjoying a glorious home made lunch by Tara made it very special…

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_24_IMG_3023

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_4_IMG_2928

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_3_IMG_2921

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_5_IMG_2931

These seasonal workshops, hosted by Tara, take place in a large shed on the Glenbernie Orchard property, looking out over the apple orchard. It is taught by Narelle Happ, horticulturalist and garden designer, who has over ten years experience in permaculture, and is filled with knowledge which she passionately shares throughout the day. She’s a great teacher, very patient and willing to share everything she knows about creating beautiful edible gardens.

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_8_IMG_2936

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_6_IMG_2940

Throughout the day Tara served a delicious array of dishes for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. At lunchtime we sampled the orchards own apple cider, as well as indulged in a glass of sparkling wine, which relaxed us into the afternoon. In the morning we talked about the principles and ethics of permaculture, designing our individual gardens, and creating health soil, while in the afternoon we learnt about specific seasonal and perennial plants, propogation, and seed saving and raising. Narelle incorporated a lot of hands on activity, so we were able to learn through experience which I have always found the best way to soak in information, especially for those of us who are visual learners.

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_20_IMG_3003PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_11_IMG_2960

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_18_IMG_2999

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_2_IMG_2919

At the end of the day we each came home with an armful of gardening goodies including our propogated plants, seeds, companion guides, notes, a wooden handled trowel, and some of Tara’s delicious recipes.

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_28_IMG_9081

It was a wonderful experience, and to be able to come home to my own garden and see it afresh, implementing Narelle’s advice and teachings over time spent in my own little borrowed patch of earth. I have more confidence now with things I wasn’t sure about like my compost system and soil, as well as the needs of certain vegetables. And I’m inspired to keep trying, keep planting and experimenting, and then to cook as Tara does, with pickings straight from the garden.

PJB_kitchengardenharvet_feb2015_23_IMG_3010

Thank you everyone who attended that day for the wonderful conversations and a big thank you to Tara, Narelle and Jo who owns the farm, for having me along. I am keen to get back down there for Tara’s baking workshop now, called “the art of making French breads” ah oui!

xx

 

……….

all photographs by Pia Jane Bijkerk

Related Posts :
Kaspia's Caravan pop up in Surry Hills...
a portrait and a story...
beautiful book in the making: Solace...
the solace of my bedroom, as captured...
Kaspia's Caravan...
Welcome to Stef Bassett's Hessian Shack...
mother. nature.
Posted in australia, mini trips, nature June 8th, 2015 by pia

PJB_rosebanknsw2015_1

PJB_rosebanknsw2015_4

A few weekends ago we flew up to Northern NSW  to spend some time out in a beautiful cottage nestled within a macadamia farm, offered to us by a wonderful friend. One morning I walked down to the creek at the bottom of the hill,  alone, and with gum boots on I stood in the middle of the gentle flow of icy water…

PJB_rosebanknsw2015_5

I breathed. I watched. I tried to let go of my thoughts to connect more deeply with the surroundings. In my effort I heard the loudness within. My body and mind throbbing with busyness that I recognise comes from the city we live in and the people that inhabit it, and the intensity of events of the past few months. Years. Instead of feeling at peace to be in natural surroundings, I became more aware of the battle within. And I know for me that open awareness is the first step to healing.

PJB_bushwalk2015_2

I’ve been craving nature – to be surrounded by wild nature – and although this craving has always existed within me as a low hum, it is louder and feels more intense and insistent of late. When I explore this craving, my mind is cast back to my childhood, and how being in nature, playing with nature, always felt like my true sanctuary and was often the place I’d run to when I felt the urgent need to escape.

PJB_northernnsw2015_3

Today I understand with more clarity why I love being surrounded by nature. It’s where I connect. To myself, and to the world and universe. It’s where I feel freedom. Of spirit. Thought. And emotion…

PJB_byronnsw2015_1

As I gain clarity, I continue to observe. And remain open. The winter darkness allows me to rest more. And to be.

PJB_home2015_1

And I write. And write. And write. I know I am in the midst of making another book. I can feel the energy of it. In time, it will take form. For now, I write.

PJB_writing2015_1

Related Posts :
Kaspia's Caravan pop up in Surry Hills...
fiji love...
christmas, chez nous...
the solace of my bedroom, as captured...
Welcome to Stef Bassett's Hessian Shack...
Kaspia's Caravan...
bird by bird…

PJB_LTMBH_birdmobile_IMG_1918

Yes that does happen to be the title of one of my favourite books by Anne Lamott, recommended to me by sweet Kylie some years ago while I was writing My Heart Wanders. It helped tremendously as I had spent many days sitting looking at a blank screen, wondering how to start the mammoth task of writing a memoir of that time of my life.

But I digress! Do you recall this bird mobile I made for Laly’s room, which I featured in Little Treasures: Made by Hand? It’s on pages 208-211, with reference to Spool sewing who released the pattern some years ago. I made the birds using the pattern then attached them to some twigs with ribbon, and embellished the mobile with vines and dried fern fronds. It hung above Laly’s cot for many months, but once she began to be able to stand – and reach up to the birds – I took the mobile down. The birds were added to her toy basket until a few months ago when I found an abandoned birdcage. I gave it a good clean and then Laly and I painted it in an array of her favourite colours. I let her paint it in her way (mixing colours together, with big dollops of dripping paint). We added a couple of twigs inside the cage et voilà, the birds have come out again to play…

PJB_birdcage_IMG_2833

PJB_birdcage_IMG_2835

I’m thrilled to have found a way for the birds to be played with again, relevant to Laly’s new skills: She’s right into inventing her own games and role play. To decorate the cage we went out to forage for some vines and ferns. Of course I had plans for her to be part of the photoshoot for this blog post, but she didn’t want to and I’m doing well now to let her make her own decisions when it comes to play. So while she was out with her Papa I took the opportunity to play with the birds and cage in my own way…

PJB_birdcage_IMG_2837

Happy weekend mes amis!

xx

PS new music on the way, I hope you’re enjoying my growing collection so far. Thanks for your downloads and encouraging comments thus far, so appreciated.

PJB_LTMBH_birdmobile_IMG_1482

Related Posts :
...and so I play...
music time: Spirit & Flight part 2...
Pia and Kelly's Treasure Hunt...
sweet mini art exhibition...
Do It Yourself...in shades of yellow