the wayfarer mind

Do you ever get exhausted from your own wayfarer mind? The places your mind goes, the depths of emotion, the distracting fantasies, the picking over of memories, the rampant imaginings?

I do love my own company, but wow, busy old brain! It’s a riot and a rampage in there…

The other day I was gardening and idly musing on a young friend who recently married. I wondered if she might have children one day, then I thought how lovely it would be if she did, and how I could help her with the (non-existent) baby and then I thought ‘ooh, but she might find me overbearing with my wanting to help and my advice. She might have to ask me to ease off a bit in my interest in her (non-existent!!!) baby’. Then my conscious/observer mind NOTICED this bizarre…what was it? not quite a fantasy…because it ended badly…brain tangent, I guess…and I literally LOL’ed at myself. (Laughed out loud.) What a dick! Minds are so sticky! So bizarre! How did I get from a pleasant musing about a the happy situation of a friend (real) to a fraught interpersonal drama (imagined) within seconds?

Such is the nature of the wayfarer mind …

Thank goodness for meditation and yoga is all I can say about that.

Anyway, in the manner of the wayfarer mind here are some entirely random things which have passed through my thoughts/life lately…

I made the ‘Cheat’s KimChi’ from Wild&Good – it’s yummy, a great thing to have in the fridge to go into sandwiches or on top of salads. Seems to last quite a while, too.


I found another lovely mattress textile on my recent Foxton weekend – isn’t this one stately? Refined?



My friend Emma recently spent a month in Japan and talked a bit to me about how handmade signs and displays are celebrated there, whereas here in NZ (especially in the ‘Indie’-craft scene) there seems to be a move to try to make things look more ‘profressional’. I got involved in the Indie-craft scene early  (in it’s current iteration, I mean…because let’s face it…where ever there are domestic women – there are handmades and crafts happening! throughout history) but anyway, around 2004…and I have to agree with Emma. What started out as quite punk-inspired, lo-fi and witty! There was so much wit and humour about the handmades in the early years – has become more ‘straight’, saccharine, mainstream, ‘professional’ (whatever that means) which is a shame, I think. This is a generalisation, of course, and there are many exceptions – but the Indie Craft scene really lost it’s allure for me when it got less about politics and wit and more about the pretty-pretty, about looking ‘designed’.

I love lo-fi! handmade! rough and ready! repurposed! banged up! unskilled! quick and keen!

Like Emma, I like hand-drawn signs and hand-made displays.

It’s far better to do something badly yourself than to watch someone else do it well.’

-George Bernard Shaw

Here are some wonky, gleefully amateurish signs I made for a group that I volunteer with, Environment Network Manawatu, for a stall we had at a cultural festival:

enmsigns_2 enmsigns_1

I’d like to make more signs. Signs that tell people to do happy/silly things. Signs in unexpected places…

I’d also love to see this documentary which artist Faythe Levine made about the dying art of handpainted signwriting in the USA. 

It’s a dying art because of the invention of the vinyl cutter. Again, people wanting cheap, ‘professional’ signs is killing off the trade of signwriting.

Lah-lah-luddites unite! Why is so much ‘progress’ anti-human, non-humane and ultimately, daft?  Handwritten signs are so much more soulful and interesting than plastic letters cut by a robot (er, machine.)

Emma not only spent time admiring the handmade signs of major Japanese cities, but she also shopped….and she bought me (among other awesome things) my own washi-tape tower. The Liberty-like floral stuff at the bottom is fabric tape…it is sooo pretty I can hardly stand to use it, but I have been…


Anyway, in other news, in what might be the last thing I ever knit because a) at last count I have knit myself almost 30 scarves over the last decade – which is a lot for a woman with only one neck, and b) my OOS is so bad in my right wrist that knitting really hurts it more so I shouldn’t do it….I made a friend of mine who is having a baby (as opposed to the friend mentioned above who is NOT having a baby, ha ha!) two gnome hats – one for her and one for her baby so they can MATCH and stride around Wellington this winter looking pixie-like, amusing and warm….but I had a little try-on of the adult-sized hat before I sent it southwards…(I invented this pattern, so don’t ask me about it – it was anarcho-knitting…I did what felt about right and I have little idea of what that was now….)


People should wear fun clothes more. Life is short. Live it up, people!

The other day, I saw this woman (who looked to be in her 40s) wearing this ‘tutu’ which was actually just a bit of elastic with some tulle strung onto it…a streak of electric blue in combat boots. Hell yes, girl!



Finally, in case you were getting worried this tangential mess was never coming to an end – today I listened to an episode of Desert Island Discs where the guest was Mairi Hedderwick….artist and author of the Katy Morag books, which I LOVE!

Anyone who has had children in recent years might know the Katy Morag books, they are fantastic fun – the travails of a young girl who lives on a remote Scottish island. I used to LOVE reading them to my boys because the family were so REAL and messy and riotous…the mess in the books often reflected my own domestic mess with small kids, and the island grandmother was wonderfully pragmatic and capable…just as able to bake scones for tea as to pull her sheep from a bog…anyway, the episode is a good listen for a rainy autumn day – Mairi talks about her own experiences living in the Scottish Isles and much besides.

She also talked about how her depiction of Katy Morag’s mother breastfeeding led to some book shops and libraries refusing to stock her books. How daft is that? When I WAS a breastfeeding mother, it was so comforting to see depictions of breastfeeding in the books I was reading my kids. (Also depictions of tired, frazzled mothers – that was also heartening, too.)

(Art by Mairi Hedderwick)

katiemorag_2 katiemorag

Those pictures are terribly threatening, aren’t they? (*sarcasm*)

Here’s to the handmade, here’s to island life (yes, that includes us, New Zealanders – our country is TINY!), here’s to quickly knocked up tutus, and silly hats and cheat’s KimChi and vintage textiles and all that traveling teaches us. and here’s to the wayfaring mind… 










6 thoughts on “the wayfarer mind

  1. The hats are totally wonderful! I love them! you are a total goddess and I will make something to help soothe that bloody OOS. I used to have it too and it can be very painful 😦


  2. oh thank you – once again you write and make me feel better! not sure exactly why but i love the ramblings and thinkings and i don’t seem to get to talk about anything to anyone lately so i’m glad someone is out there thinking!


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