Friday, 5 February 2016

the art of art


Here's some truths…. 
I grew up in a very very extremely creative home. I was supported in my artistic, creative wishes… My parents helped, pretty hands-on, with my massive end of high school art piece. Actually, they probably helped with a whole lot of most of the things we made at home. Not always hands on helping, but support and idea sharing, and offering advice and suggestions. And supplying materials and space to create. And sharing "real" artists - books of, stories of, taking us to exhibitions and talking about their history, their careers, their art techniques.. That sort of thing. The sort of things that we took for granted. Some of which I offer my kids now, and they take for granted. Which is cool - I think kids should take some things for granted from their parents. 

But - here's the thing. Through all this. Going to a Steiner school, having special art teachers, going to art camp during holidays… all those things (Which for my parents would have cost a lot, and been a challenge for them to find the funds for - somehow they did; with 4 kids too!). I still didn't go to art school, or ever consider myself as becoming an artist. (I did want to be an actor, which is an artist in itself - but I gave that dream up when I didn't get into any of the drama schools I wanted to). I never once considered the possibility of "being an artist when I grow up". Neither did my younger sister, or my older brother. My older sister did go to art school, and majored in photography, and she now works in the arts industry - but not as a photographer, and not as an artist. 

Now - at this stage in my life, where I'm coming closer and closer to calling myself an "artist" I still have these issues, doubts, thoughts about it. I know mostly all real artists go through this.. huh. Do they. Maybe. I guess everyone goes through different aspects of that through whatever their career. I'm not saying I'm special or different by having these thoughts, issues, whatevers. 

What I am saying, asking… is why.. And then - I remember that while my parents lived this very creative artistic life, neither of them was really a practicing artist. My mother wanted so desperately to be a potter, well to be accepted and acknowledged. She plugged on and on, with all her creative skills and talents - but always was left short of that particular fulfilment of being recognised. Even her craft of being a yoga teacher wasn't respected the way she deserved. But she kept at it, and battled through it. 

Many of you know that my mama is no longer here, walking our Earth. I was youngish and caught up in myself when she died, so much of this could be strange memories, or made-up extrapolations. And I don't know / will never know the full depth of much of what she was, went through, wanted… But I do know, remember, and now myself feel, that pain - a deep ache - of wanting to be 'accepted' somehow. 

I don't talk about my dad much here, because he's himself and I don't think he wants his story to be shared - especially my version of it.

All this is the lead-in to say…. I've been thinking about the art of making art. And about the anguish of. But mostly - about the way to come around and away from that strange need for validation from an outside world. Which is hard in this time of 'likes' and 'followers' and such a big world of popularity. Everyone wants more than their 15minutes of fame - we all want continual ever-increasing fame. And many people will never get that, many people who don't deserve it (artistically speaking) will get it…. 

So - as a society, and a community. What do we do about this? How do we raise a new generation who don't value or need this validity of 'likes' and 'followers'. Or is it just a bigger version of the school yard where we can all see the physical number count of someone's popularity - rather than guessing at and giggling about the losers in the playground. I was never the popular kid at school; I was quite happy being the slightly strange 'hippie' kid (not self-named) who was respected by people but not their number one or anything.

For me, as a mother and a creative and a sorta-kinda practicing 'artist/maker' my goal is to let go of the 'likes' issue. To make for making's sake - to delve into what I want. To remember that girl who made because she loved making. Who stood in drama class and spoke words loudly and proudly. Who made a plaster cast of her body and filled it with precious things, and glued birds wings on her back for her high school major artwork. That girl. The one who spoke up to the bullies and didn't really mind what people thought of her if they weren't her friends. And to help my kids be that person too - find that person in themselves and never forget him / her throughout this world of popular. 

Yep - that's my goal. Find the girl who glued green bird wings to her plaster cast body. 

(*I wish I could share a photo of this piece with you. For while I still have it, it's slightly the worse for wear… not having been stored in an art gallery or anything prestigious like that Cause doesn't everyone's year 12 artwork get picked up by a gallery! also - bird wings / feathers were found in our forest home, no birds were harmed. Also - I love that we dyed paper and fabric with natural berries from our forest home for part of the work. These things - from way back then - are my life now.)


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

let's share a cup of tea & conversation


Sometimes I feel like I'm baring my soul; 
Other times it's as if I'm hiding, there's little bits left behind.
Not that I don't want to share, just that somehow it doesn't come out right and the stories get a little lost in translation (from my brain to these words).

At any rate - I know that the more I keep doing it (putting words out here like this) the better I get at it. Somehow closer to the truth, perhaps if I'm lucky.

I've started blogging again. It may take me a while to find my routine and rhythm within it. I hope you'll come by and visit - to share tea and conversations with me....ideas and concepts and half-baked thoughts. And some pretty, and possibly a little ugly somewhere along the way.

I would like - if you could perhaps let me know what you'd like to read more of, hear more about....those stories that I have inside to share - which ones do you want to hear, to extract from me...? For I think coming for cups of tea - it is nice to guide the conversation a little, isn't it.

Gather Create : Summer's Harvest







Some of my really favourite things to do are gathering with other creative people; connecting, making, sharing, collaborating, learning, teaching, delving deeply into new ideas. Laughing. Drinking tea and eating cake. And making - stitching, dyeing, weaving… it doesn't always matter what the making is. Mostly it's about the connecting. Gather create connect. 

18 months ago I was so so lucky to bring a group of people together, alongside my sister-friend Leah, and share in a similar day Gather Create : Unfurl. I see people even now and we talk about that day. How amazing it was. How beautiful and connective and sharing and creative. How fantastic the food was. There aren't many photos from that day, which is testament to how deeply everyone was actually immersed in the day - not looking from the outside and taking photos, but being involved in being there. 

Due to…ummm - having a baby - I wasn't able to organise one last year, but it's been in my mind, heart and soul…. and I've been waiting waiting for the right time. And now I'm so pleased that it's happening again. Oh golly. I can't even begin to imagine how good - truly truly good - this day will be. 

This time we'll be gathering along the banks of a creek, set in the rainforest. At my neighbour's home & (new) cooking school - Jean, of Artisan Wholefoods. This will be the first gathering event for her place, which is a little bit exciting, don't you think. Jean teaches workshops in nourishing foods, the whole food journey being paramount to her recipes, but highly delicious. Jean's food isn't about trends or fads, but about real food that is good for your body and soul, while making your eyes water, your mouth smile and your tummy grumble (you'll probably want to get out your camera too - cause her food is beautiful as well as delicious - seriously win win win when you're being fed by Jean).

Our day will begin with a morning tea cake table - uh huh…. a cake table. Oh my. Can you imagine it…. All natural whole real foods (no refined sugar or horrible fake colourings). And water kefirs as well as organic tea and freshly brewed coffee. We'll gather and fill our tummys and talk and connect - we plan on an informal talk about finding your creativity, sharing on social media (mainly Instagram), and staying honest and true to yourself throughout it all. 



Jean will give a hands-on cooking demonstration of our lunch - a wholegrain pastry recipe for a Summer's Harvest tart. You'll learn how to make this at home, to nourish your family and impress your friends. There's be lots of hands-on photography time during this session, so you foodies will be able to explore the light and beauty with your camera. 

While lunch is being prepared, we'll slip outside to the back deck and garden to create some magic in the dye pots. Using all hand harvested botanical dyes - from this region - we'll make colour on fabric and yarn. Zoe and I will share all our experience, tips and how-tos at the dye pot… and you'll get your hands colourful and be delighted with the results. While our materials are dyeing we'll devour the lunch that Jean has prepared and linger over it while chatting and exploring the creek nearby. 

And then slowly slowly we'll do some stitch work - using assorted fabrics (some pre-dyed by me, some vintage & special pieces from my collection, some we dye on the day) we'll hand stitch a piece for you to take home, to keep working on, to create in your moments of time. There'll be a few projects available - a hand stitched scarf, notebook cover, drawstring pouch or small pillow case… or you can simply stitch samples to eventually sew into a quilt cover. If by any chance you're still hungry there'll be cakes and biscuits from morning tea, endless cups of tea, coffee or water kefir - or just beautiful fresh from the forest creek water. And we'll spend the afternoon settled into the beautiful stillness of creating and stitching, conversing and connecting.

This day is about more than just a regular workshop. It's a feeling, an emotion, a time to reconnect with yourself, with your creativity, with your inner quiet and slow… while also meeting other people in the area, in your creative fields. We truly can't wait to share this day with you - to experience a community of connectedness, a sharing of experience and skills, and whole lot of delicious cake and natural dye magic. 

All the details and booking info is on my website, but please, if you have any questions at all - don't hesitate to ask me via email (ellieabeck@hotmail.com) or through Instagram. 

Saturday 12th March, 2016. 9.30am - 4pm (Day light saving time)
Full price tickets $225, early bird tickets $180 - still available until Valentine's Day. 


And if you can't come along, but want to share in the stitch-natural dye experience I have Gather Create stitch kits that will have the fabric and projects as well as some special tea so you can share with us. Available here. 

* outdoor photos by Jean Martinez Artisan Wholefoods. 

Monday, 1 February 2016

on Instagram & loosing myself






Last year I was honoured to be placed on Instagram's Suggested User's list. This is IGs way of saying yay for what I was doing with my account, and loving the way I contribute as a community member. I gained approx 80,000 extra followers in 2 weeks - wow, hey!

I'm not saying this to gloat, or boast, but more to talk about 'how fame went to my head'…. HA!

While it hasn't gone to my head (entirely, I still have to wash up and change the baby's nappy), it did alter the way I view Instagram, and also….. sadly (!!) the way I post images. And that was never my aim. I went through a little stage of posting only for likes - oh golly, am I really saying this? Yep. It's true. And I don't like it. Not one little bit. For sure - this whole online thing, showing off sharing our lives is about connecting and having others 'like' what we do. Is it not? A little bit (a lot?!) for sure, it's about that. But what's the use of sharing parts that aren't real, of making things up just to show off. 

OK I never make things up, but mostly I choose to share an editing version. And I've been thinking about that. Why do I only share those views of my life and my home and my children and my making.

And this is what conclusion I've come to :
I don't want to share the messy, horrible, dirty… not because I don't want you to know about it, but because for me looking at the beautiful distilled moments bring me a little bit of joy and calm peacefulness amongst my noisy busy hectic noisy noisy day.
I've found over the past year or 18 months or so, that making the time to style and take photos has given me more than I thought. It's allowed me to spend time in my head, quiet slow soft thinking time - focussing on the faffering in front of me stills me even if only for a few very short moments. It's also showing me a creativity that I knew I had, but had never developed in this manner before; and that makes me happy and shows me potential. My potential.

This year I'd love to have the time (find / make / magic up the time!) to spend doing more styling, product shots, image-making. To make it a real thing, rather than a two-minutes 'don't touch baby' thing. I keep wondering if I have time, space, head space - could I make ti something proper?

How do you feel about Instagram? Do you sometimes get a little lost in the numbers game of it? When I go through that stage I always chat with someone else about it (mostly this person), and my family. And then I put it out of my head. I stop checking the numbers. I stop comparing myself to the other people getting lots of likes. I step back subtly and delve deeper into the image making, and the thing making, and the creating. I start making images for myself, rather than worrying about the likes it might get on IG. I keep putting it out there and stop questioning everything that I do. And really - I know that the reality of some of it that life is a popularity contest and there's no way around that. And in the end the people who are "liking" my images are the real people I want to connect with anyway. And golly - they are sweet beautiful supportive lovely real people.

Sometimes I need to remind myself that I'm a quality not quantity person - I prefer having less friends who I value and who value me.

So - note to self "Ellie… get over yourself. Just keep doing and making and taking photos and all that because you want to, because it gives you joy and pleasure. And for no other reason than that". 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

with intention {Slow Sunday}


It's the end of January… just like that. I'm not quite sure how we got to here, but mostly in that way that I don't barely even know what day it is. The past two months have slipped by in a whirlwind and a blur. 
December was the busy of makers making things to sell, and packing orders and the end of school count-down, and those days before Christmas where even though you don't want to rush somehow they zip past. 
January has been mostly spent in a slow sleepy stupor. The heat, but mostly just a relentless tired slipped into our lives and took us over. And we gave in to the tired and let it permeate our days. In a good way. I realised that we all needed these slow long languorous days, almost like catching up on the quiet that had been missing. 

And now - here. I feel like February heralds that official 'back to work', back to making, back to guiding things rather than being led / pushed / cajoled into something or other. 

I've set my word this year. It's not really a thing I do officially, cause I'm not so good at sticking to lists or resolutions. But it feels good to have a word to guide me, to remind me, to assist me. 

'Intention' - to do something with meaning, with thought, dedication, care. To have a pause before acting. To acknowledge the rhythm & ritual rather than the habit & routine. 

I'm also applying this word to what I do, not just how I do it. To think about the things I make, to plan them and make things with intention rather than just make for the sake of making. Making for the sake of making is different than making without worrying about the outcome. To allow the outcome to dictate the journey of making isn't something I want to take away, but I also want to make sure that the materials I use, the things I put out into the world have some meaning and aren't just to fill time or space. To use my time and materials with thought, attention, intention, consideration - it takes a little planning for a project and then allows me to enjoy the journey of the process.


I'll be sharing little snippets of my "intention" on Instagram #slowliving_intention - I'd love for you to share as well. To let us know what it means to you, and how you live with intention, how you let it into your days and moments. I'll have a prize at the end of February for the post that sings to me the most. 

I'll be back next week with some of my 'intention' ideas for projects for my slow making, and also some tips that I'm discovering on how best to bring intention into my days. This slow stitching project I'm working on is some of my naturally dyed linen and hemp. I'm working on samples for my upcoming Gather Create workshop, but they'll also form part of a quilt for our bed (in our new bedrooms). 

I'd love to know your thoughts on this word. 
Do you have a word for this year?
How does it fit into your life?

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Creative Conversations {Geraldine Devine from Bee Eco}


I have a supremely beautiful and special conversation to share with you today. I want to jump right into this home, this family and be part of it all - don't you?!
Geraldine Devine, of BeeEco beeswax wraps, is a woman who lives the life she talks about - she runs her business with a full heart and commitment to her beliefs; her family form the basis of all she does, and her home is full of warmth, honesty, colour and beauty. Living a true sustainable life, Geraldine and her family share their ideals in a positive light - inviting you to be part of the change through simple slow thoughtful living. This isn't about the perfect life, it's about a thoughtful journey, about sharing, connecting and educating. Geraldine, along with her husband Matt and four children, aren't living a trendy hipster Indie lifestyle (though, golly couldn't this photo below be an album cover!) - they're more content with simply living their daily beauty and watching their children play. 





I want to know about your beautiful family - tell me about where you live, and your amazing-looking home, and those sweet little ones of yours. 

Our family of six live deep in a very enchanting forest in a soul warming & welcoming treehouse cottage. A 1920's Teahouse, renewed by our favourite craftspeople, using recycled timbers & materials. It rattles, shakes & is filled with love & quirky character! Our self sustainable haven of tranquility, 'off the grid' with solar power, tank water & no services. Based on Permaculture & Biodynamic Principles we built a cob oven, spiral veggie patch, dam filled with silver perch, yabbies, lotus & lilies and a sub tropical orchard. Free range animals, tree forts, swings & fairy gardens galore, bring daily delight & good reason to live life outdoors. Our gorgeous children, Archi, 11, Arjuna, 8, Mirrah, 5 & Soma, 2 have a rhythm of farm duties, crafting, cooking, tree climbing, animal loving, reading & lots of surfing. The Farm is an endlessly magical oasis for them & fills our heart immeasurably to witness them being raised this way!


What are Bee Eco wraps? Share why you started making them - what lead you to walk this path in life? 

Bee Eco Wraps are a beautiful & sustainable method of wrapping your food. GOTS Certified Organic Fabric or Handprinted Hemp, infused with beeswax, jojoba & tree resin. A reusable option to reduce your use of plastic and enhance the freshness & longevity of your food, naturally. A tactile, everyday reminder of the changes we can make toward sustainable lifestyles. 

What you love, comes to be! Bee Eco, born from two great passions, textiles & sustainable living! 

Raising children saw us shift from being environmentally aware observers to become active participants in paving a sustainable future. This is our time to 'be'.  Role models that are grounded & passionate. Respecting this beautiful planet.  

Our kitchen is the hub of our house as it bubbles, brews, ferments & soaks are daily fare. Beeswax Wraps are an essential part of the homesteading, food loving kitchen! 

The 'Market Life' of the business is also our destiny, a perfect adjunct to our farm life, as we thrive amongst the bustling, diverse, musical, artistic & farming community on the Sunshine Coast. 



You make all the wraps by hand - can you share a little of the process, or how special they are… how much work/time/energy/love goes into each piece? 

We have poured so much love & positive energy into Bee Eco. The business has become a healthy part of our family, an element to the rhythm of our days (and nights!). From collecting the beeswax (and honey), cutting, chopping, blending, waxing, curing, every element absorbing the chatter & song of children & existing amongst the bustle of farm life. The monotonous sectors are enlivened with chit chat or loud music & the creative & delectable tasks of designing & choosing fabrics we savour & enjoy. 

Is Bee Eco a full time business or do you have jobs outside of the home as well? 

Bee Eco, our 50 acre farm & 4 children leaves us full! 

On the Farm we love to grow & make our own, we trade & support artisans & local growers. Within a community, our humble, real & down to earth existence can find it's authentic face. 


As a mama of 4 with a handcrafted family business, how to fit it all in, how do you find your 'balance' within the busy?

Laying in the garden, warmed by the dappled afternoon sun, nuzzled by lambs, surrounded by chickens, nibbling on fresh picked lychees near the bustling beehive, the children spread amongst singing, climbing, whittling & chicken raising..... we poured our heart & soul into creating this lifestyle & we are committed to savouring it. 

The balance is a gift from our children, who are ever present in each aspect of our life. To ensure we remain good role models on how a day should run, full of rhythm, purpose, nature, creativity & connectivity. To each other. To slow and channel our energy toward specific tasks with intent and positivity. 

In a slow living orientated household with no technology (other than a work iPad) and an aversion to shops & consumerism, time really opens up. We have a different sense of 'presence' now. We are so much more deeply engrossed in daily tasks. A choice to minimalise our distractions, interactions & things that we find may deplete us. Allowing our strengths to surface & our consciousness & peace to unite & ignite us. 

We feel that the greatest impact we can have on paving a sustainable and enriched future is held in our commitment to this lifestyle & passing traditions & knowledge onto our children. We are dedicated to not filling our lives too full to allow slow & generous time to relish in our children & the natural world. 

The wisdom of age brings insight, boundaries & more confidence to keep business within the realms of our energy resources, to harness it as a handmade, homemade family business. 

In a recent busy season phase, the snakes found holes to the baby chicks, the goanna's got to the eggs, I cooked my mother sourdough, the kombucha grew weird stuff & the animals took over the house. Yoga joined the list of multitasking skills, I got to bed just as the baby started nightly wake ups from not enough slow time day breastfeeding, I often forgot to breathe & my idea of tidy was to sweep everything into an ever growing pile (!), our sense of why we do what we do gained more strength than ever. Busy is good, but balance is essential. 

In the fast & hectic times we practice our mantras, remember to breathe & endeavour to have each other's back as we shelter our small folk from the inherent pressures of a small, family business. 

We are so very deeply in love with family life, grateful for our lifestyle & enjoy creating beautiful Beeswax Wraps. We pull ourselves & each other short when we feel too sorry for ourselves. We do sometimes call our life 'relentless'; the farm jobs, food preparation, lack of sleeping ~ we've been co sleeping & breastfeeding for a LONG time ~ this 'balancing' & juggling. Our life travels and experience have developed an ingrained need to think globally & remember our good fortune. We have many affirmations, methods & tools that we utilise to stay afloat through the tough times, that do, & will always come! We laugh, ALOT!


I love the recent fabric collaboration you did with Ink & Spindle (image above) and the linocut prints with artist Taryn Eales. You do a lot of collaborations with the fabrics of Bee Eco wraps - is this part of your business model, how do you choose who to collaborate with and do you have any tips to share on how to make it work well for both sides. 

The creative process & exchange of ideas is so vibrant in collaboration. We tend to work with folks with a mutual understanding of the dynamics within a creative family business & the flexibility & genius required to uphold professionalism, with a baby off one hip, amongst the chorus of little chatterers & helpers. 

The collective exploration & exchange of ideas results in something exceptionally beautiful, useful & bursting with story. Our hearts are full with the beauty created & friendships formed through collaboration. 

Like all of life, expect a few downturns, or sticky aspects & determine to ride it with grace. As the journey of a business & creative collaboration unfolds, remain kind, fair, professional & excited. Keep in the forefront of your mind what you can give rather than what you shall receive. 

Collaboration is a process of human relations, to which you can garner all of your gathered wisdom to bring about success. To offer your innate gifts & talents to bring to the table & trade with your chosen 'idols'! Fun!! 

Have you got anything coming up this year that you'd love to share?

The Ink & Spindle Collaboration was such an honour for us and we just adore the outcome! As it all sold out near immediately, a new Australian Native Botanical Range, once again designed & handprinted by Lara Cameron & Caitlin Klooger in Melbourne, is very soon to be released. 

The innate beauty & talent of Taryn Eales will continue to flourish as we bring more handcarved linocut, handprinted with Eco dyes, onto a gorgeous sturdy hemp. These Wraps feel invaluable & enriching to the soul of a kitchen. We roll down the country lanes, over rickety bridges, the kids mooing all the way, into Taryn's whimsical farm paradise, you truly can feel the beauty of this very talented Mama encapsulated in each handprinted Wrap! 

A beautiful boiling pot of textile love is brewing! We are just bubbling with excitement at some  upcoming collaborations! Solar screen printing & nature dyes with some of our favourite creative folk are amongst the excitement. 

We have also opened the doors of our Farm to welcome others travelling a journey of self sustainable living. 


What's your best eco tip - the simple smaller everyday things often are the best aren't they? 

Our number one Eco tip is time in Nature. Every day, as much as possible. The real change comes from within & occurs in Nature! A form of Eco enlightenment that brings a consciousness & empowers the determination to make & stick with those daily changes. Then get excited about all of the wonderful things you will learn, cool sustainable community you can be a part of & relish in the beauty of the natural world you are conscious of protecting. 

On a practical level, allow a gentle awakening to the perils of plastic & eco conscious choices. Create a list. Step by step challenge the disposable parts of life. 

Buy in bulk. Shift to sustainable toothbrushes, shampoo bars, jojoba oil & henna. Bicarbonate soda, apple cider vinegar & eucalyptus for cleaning. A great dishwashing cloth, scrubber, soap nuts for laundry. A mason jar each, a favourite op shop spoon, bamboo straw when out & about. Vintage wicker baskets are fabulous or an essential reusable shopping bag.  Look at ways to trade goods & reduce consumerism, or delve into the magical world of vintage! 

There is so much to learn about fermenting, gardening, cooking or sewing tapped into a local like minded community. Sustainable living is cool, pass it on! The time is NOW to be that change. 

I'd love to hear if you introduce beeswax wraps to your life - they are one simple change. You can find all the info about the Beeswax wraps here, and follow along with BeeEco on Instagram

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Coconut-sugar pastry Tarts with Honey-Matcha Labne and raspberries.


I have a special treat for you today - my wholefood chef neighbour Jean, has a sweet dreamy tart to share. It's got all good stuff in it, and it looks as amazing as it tastes. I'm ready for a cup of tea and a pretty little tart right about now!



What a delicious way to taste early Summer's delights, and remind us that we eat first with our eyes. The Matcha green tea gives the labne the most stunning colour; add more to amp it up or keep it subtle and pretty like we did. The sweet vivid raspberries were a perfect mix for the smooth creamy labne, which is a healthier alternative than custard or cream. And don't the colours just make you think of dreamy Summer evenings, lingering over a dinner party. These are great tarts because the prep is done beforehand, and the assembly is quick and easy. 

We used Matcha-Sol Organic Matcha Green Tea, which is the highest form of antioxidants for a green tea, as you're drinking / eating the whole (powdered) leaf. You can read about the health benefits on their site; or you can just enjoy these tarts with a cup of vibrant Matcha tea knowing they taste good and are good for you. 

Jean Martinez, of Artisan Wholefoods, works with foods to heal the body, using ferments and real, wholefoods. She runs classes on how to make ferments, wholegrain breads & pastries and much much more. Her hands-on workshops show off her passion for healing the body through a real and natural way, but more importantly enjoying the food you work with and eat. Jean's food isn't health food for the sake of it, it's about a whole lifestyle change that's enjoyable and bubbling with local colour and taste. Please do go and have a look at her workshop schedule, or follow her on Instagram and drool every day over her delicious yet real food - Jean is my neighbour, and often I'm at my home looking at the yum she's having for afternoon tea (on IG) ….and sometimes we invite ourselves up!


Coconut sugar pastry tarts with Honey-Matcha Labne filling
These delicious tarts have the subtle taste of matcha green tea with smooth raw local honey. The matcha gives the labne the prettiest green hue, which combines perfectly with the pop of fresh raspberries. The refined-sugar free pastry is crunchy and nutty, perfectly crumbly and could be used to make biscuits or cookies. 

Honey-Matcha Labne filling

About 4 cups plain full-fat unadulterated yoghurt will make about 2 cups of labne.

Labne is carefully strained yoghurt that mysteriously takes on a bit of an ice-creamy texture (well, I think so anyway). Simply place cold yoghurt in a clean cloth – I use muslin folded a couple of times, in a sieve to line it, and sit this over a bowl. Scoop your yoghurt into this, and place back into the fridge for hours or overnight – depending on your level of organisation and how soon you would like your labne. A minimum of 3 hours is good.

Place strained labne in a clean bowl and scoop in a couple of tablespoons of wild raw honey, some vanilla paste and matcha tea to taste. I used about 4 scoops from the beautiful bamboo scoop that came with the tea (approx 1 teaspoon) - this created a subtle taste and soft green colour. 

Whisk to combine and place back in the fridge while you make the pastry.

Coconut sugar pastry

   500g unbleached plain spelt flour
  100g arrowroot flour
  150g coconut sugar
  300g unsalted butter, cold but has sat out of the fridge for about 10 minutes.
  ½ tsp salt
  1 free range egg
  2 free range yolks



Place flours, coconut sugar, butter and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Turn on to a low-medium speed and allow the butter to work into the flour until it resembles crumbs.

Turn mixer off and scrape the bowl with a spatula, and loosen any bits of butter that may not have mixed in. Pour in egg and yolks, and turn back on to low and continue to mix until it becomes a cohesive ball.

Turn onto a lightly floured bench, and squish together, before dividing in to 4 equal pieces and flattening them into disks. Wrap separately and label.

Chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

Use 1 disk (1/4 of the pastry recipe) to roll out for the tarts - This will make 3-4 10cm (4inch) tart shells.

Pre-heat your oven to 180°C

Roll pastry between baking paper to desired thickness – about 4 mm

Grease 3 or 4 tart shells with a little butter, and carefully place pastry in each shell, being sure to push it into the corners, and trimming the tops. (The scraps can be re-rolled to make coconut sugar cookies).

Blind bake for about 15 minutes, then finish baking for about another 10 – or until pastry is lovely and golden.

Set aside to cool.

Scoop honey-matcha labne into cooled shells, top with some gorgeous fresh raspberries and then add a dusting of matcha over the top. Serve immediately. 


Recipe devised by Jean Martinez of Artisan Wholefoods. Styling by Ellie Beck, photography by Jean.

* The Matcha green tea was gifted to me from Matcha-Sol. I love enjoying it as a cup of tea, but am also excited to try it as cookies using this pastry dough recipe.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

create learn connect share



One of the things I love doing the most, in my creative outlet, is teaching and sharing. 

Have I ever told you that when I was a kid I wanted to be a teacher? Of course, I always thought that meant being a primary school teacher - sitting at a desk with a vase of flowers and the chalk board to draw or write upon. We used to play schools during our holidays, and I was always always the teacher. And all the dolls and teddys and animals and my sister were the students. 

So now, that my creative job - career! - has evolved into being a teacher. Well… I think it's a whole lot of lovely, and little bit strange. Of course, I don't sit behind a desk and teach the times tables or English language or about Roman clothing. Now I sit beside my students, I walk amongst them. My hands guide their hands, my voice shares my skills, experiences and knowledge. And my students go away after a day's lesson knowing how to work with their hands, so create something heart felt, meaningful, beautiful. And, hopefully, how to tap into their own innate creative self, how to express their creative vision and discover their own way of working, rather than following someone else's or copying pinterest.

All this is to say…. I have some workshops coming up soon and I hope that you can come along, that I can guide your hands and converse with you, and share my love of making and discovering your creative journey. 

Loom Weaving ~ oh my, you ready to become addicted to something soft and cuddly and seriously good! I love weaving in a way I haven't quite ever connected with the other yarny crafts.

Natural Botanical & Indigo Dyeing with Shibori ~ eeekkk eeekkkk. Yes. This will change the way you look at plants, flowers and leaves and you'll be dyeing every piece of pale fabric and yarn in your life. Seriously my full love for this way of working. 

Product Styling & Instagram ~ So… the real reason I haven't been at this lovely little blog for the past of 4 years is Instagram. If you follow me (and do… please do!) you'll know how much I love it so. In a good good way. Because it's so good for connecting with other people, and having a creative outlet and somewhere to share and learn and inspire and be inspired. Anyway, in this workshop I will share my way of styling products and things for selling and for fun, and also how I go about 'doing Instagram.' It's seriously going to be GOOD. 

You can find all my workshops and creative event info on my website here. Or join my mailing list… (send me an email to ellieabeck@hotmail.com and I'll add you to the list). 

practicing balance :: Slow Your Days


My baby will be one in only a couple of short weeks. I'm feeling like time and days and years are whirling away from me, at an increasing speed. I want to grab hold of those moments - not to stop time, but to live within it, to appreciate it, to acknowledge it; rather than existing around it and constantly chasing time. I'm guessing this is something we all aim for, wish for….hope for. 

I know we can't stop time; but we do have the mind power to slow time. I believe anyway. To be present and conscious is slowing time. To live inside time slows time. But how? 

I'm working on this, slowly slowly. As a parent, as a creative artist and as a small business owner. 


A few Slow Your Days tips ::

~ When you have a baby or small children, don't fight the hard days. Give in to those days where they just need endless cuddles and lots of hands on active play. Pack away the jobs list, cause it ain't going to get done anyway, and you'll just end up feeling frustrated. Get down on their level, and play - really play with them.

~ Go for a walk. Oh golly - this solves most any problem and hard day in our home. If baby won't sleep, or kids feel frustrated or I'm wound up I gather everyone up and out we go. It doesn't matter if you live in the forest or the city or near the beach. Just getting outside of your normal routine, slowing down and observing whats around you will help. Holding hands with little children, talking with them and noticing the things they show you. A half an hour walk will bring a feeling of fresh air and joy back into your home and help calm the crazy hour. 

~ A happy, well entertained baby will (theoretically, hopefully) sleep better. Spending time with little one should result in a decent nap which gives you quiet time for your own creative space or jobs list. 

~ Ask for help. With older kids, I think it's totally acceptable to expect them to contribute in a real way in the home. If you're working full or part time, and tending small children, running a business and trying to find time for your creative outlet - there isn't much time left for you and those beautiful cups of tea. Talk with the big kids about doing daily jobs - washing up, clearing the table, hanging washing,  folding clothes, those every day jobs that the mamas tend to mostly end up doing. I think of it as training my kids for when they leave home. If I don't have to wash up every day, it gives me more time to spend doing other things, which in the end gives me more time to be with them. 
This one isn't easy - it's hard. Some days it's simpler to just do the job yourself; but in the end that won't help your kids learn. This is one of those ones that takes time, build it up slowly…. understand that some days you'll have to re-do their job, or they'll take four times longer than you, or you'll just have to do it on your own. 

You will discover slowly, step by step, that you're finding moments to slip outside and breathe the evening air, or five minutes to sip your cup of tea while it's still warm. Those two things bring me more peace and calm, which carries through my whole day, than anything else. If you can manage a half hour yoga session yay for you. But five minutes with a cup of tea and the birds calling, and my family respecting my peace, me as a person - that slows my day immensely.

I'd love to hear your tips for slowing time, or finding time, making time….

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

A garden bouquet ~ from my natural dye diaries






A short while ago, my girl and I gathered some of the pretty blooms from around our garden. We rolled it all up into a bundle roll with fabric, and set the dye pot to cook. 
There's a little how to story over here, if you want to have a look and make your own special piece of garden-gathered fabric. Each time you dye in this special manner, you get different results, depending on the flowers, leaves and seedpods. 

For those of you looking for my how to dye with Turmeric, it's here! You can also look at all my Natural Dye post archives.

I also have a Natural & Botanical Dye workshop coming up really soon. If you live in or near Newcastle, NSW and would love to spend a day learning about how to extract colours from the dye pot, then I hope you can come along. Sunday 20th September. Held in a beautiful florist studio - we will have all sorts of amazing blooms to dye with. All the details and booking info are over on my website here. (There's only a few spaces left). 

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