One Colour

A Northern Exposure moment

In My Opinion, Inspiration, Reflection, WisdomOne Colour2 Comments

Just because this TV show (Northern Exposure) was made in the 1990s doesn't mean it's not a sound action to repeat watch it nearly 20 years later.

In 1990, when the show's harmonica theme song was first heard, I was living in Sydney. At that stage I think I managed to catch almost all the episodes between 1990-1993, then I moved to the Hunter Valley and, with the new living location and job, I didn't watch that many of the later episodes. By the time the show had its final series in 1995, I was married and pregnant, so definitely not in the zone for watching the series, although at that time I do remember watching quite a lot of Pride & Prejudice (the 1995 BBC production).

Northern Exposure still has a fascination for me, though. I love the quirky harmony of the imaginary town of Cicely, Alaska. The townsfolk, some of whom are so apparently opposed in lifestyle or belief, are still able to accept each other and live side by side. In that idyllic world there is little judgement, much respect and a wonderful fitting in with the rhythms of the seasons. The most recent episode I watched was "First Snow", all about the coming of winter, wishing each other "Bon Hiver", loading up on carbs to ward off the freezing temps to come and celebrating just what it takes to survive in such a remote location. I know life in Cicely it isn't real or even feasible but I still love the feeling I get when escaping for an hour or so into the lives of these characters.

So it seems good to begin my 2017 journal with a message straight from Northern Exposure. The message is spoken by Marilyn Whirlwind, one of the permanent characters on the show. I can't really say that the story Marilyn tells is based on truth (almost all internet references to this story are from the show), but it's a good story anyway.

Photo by AnsonLu/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by AnsonLu/iStock / Getty Images
The Eagle wasn’t always the Eagle. The Eagle, before he became the Eagle, was Yucatangee, the Talker.
Yucatangee talked and talked. It talked so much it heard only itself. Not the river, not the wind, not even the Wolf. The Raven came and said “The Wolf is hungry. If you stop talking, you’ll hear him. The wind too. And when you hear the wind, you’ll fly.”
So he stopped talking. And became its nature, the Eagle. The Eagle soared, and its flight said all it needed to say.

My take away from this is, if I hear my voice speaking I will know I'm not listening. And when I hear the wind and the river and the wolf (or birds, or laughter, or bees) I will know I am.

This year, and every year, I want the way I live to say all that needs saying, even if a few words leak out from time to time. By the way, these journal posts don't count as words or not listening, because I don't really know if anyone reads them!

Hand Knitted from Kenya

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So much in love with these gorgeous little jungle fun guys. The Kenana Knitters in Kenya have been making their quirky critters for nearly 20 years and this is their very first design. It is with pleasure that we can offer the jungle fun range to you, comprising lion, leopard, elephant, monkey and zebra. You can view and purchase under our A Gift tab.

The Kenana Knitter organisation works with rural women in the Rift Valley area of Kenya. Over 500 knitters and 200 spinners spin, dye and knit critters for export around the world. One Colour, with Kenana Down Under, has been distributing for them in Australia since 2011. What a joy to be part of this sustainable chain.

The tolling bell, no man (or woman) is an island, floral reminders

Inspiration, In My Opinion, Reflection, WisdomOne ColourComment

Reflecting on words written 500 years ago...

John Donne was writing in the (his) present and yet his insight and words are no less true today, in our present.

The bell tolls for all of us, every day, every hour, every minute, every second. This is a big kind of reflection.

For me, it's the inter-connectedness in the meaning of these words that toll for me. How can we be so connected (mankind together on a big rock called earth, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe) and yet make decisions based on being somehow separate and a part from each other? Decisions made here or there rippling across oceans and continents affecting the lives of others who didn't make those decisions in the first place.

We might think we are different, through our colour, creed, belief, birth location but if John Donne is on the money, that thought isn't true in the big sense, just in the little, keep me safe, I must be special, sense.

If we keep trying to break our inter-connectedness then we will start to believe we are not connected at all. That would bring mankind to a sad, sad place...an island, maybe. I might think I'd like to be on that island but really it's no place I want to be, not really, not permanently.

The bright star, the beauty of this passage, is that always in every age everyone is involved with everyone else, we just don't remember it.

John Donne reminds me.

"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated...No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee" - John Donne (1572-1631) in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII

Is this why floral tributes become such symbols for people even when they don't know the person or people who have gone?

And the inter-connectedness becomes evident in such laying down of flowers and messages for those we will never know.

This is a wonder and why we still exist - at least in my opinion.

Kensington Palace 1997

Kensington Palace 1997

A thought

Inspiration, In My OpinionOne ColourComment

While looking around for a humourous, inspiring quote for a friend, I found I was inspired humourously myself with this, from Frank Zappa.

If you end up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.- Frank Zappa

Coming soon - from the One Colour vault

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From the Vault! Over the coming weeks we will be adding some amazing One Colour African cotton t-shirts. A portion of the sale of these t-shirts will go towards helping fund much needed varicose vein surgery for one of the Kenana Knitter ladies in Kenya.

So if you, or your family or any of your friends need to stock up on fab t-shirts with unique designs, and you also want to contribute towards the cost of surgery, stay tuned...the t-shirts are coming!

One Colour - an ethos

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It's helpful to revisit core values and reasons for doing things. I did just that last week when uploading EcoBling to the website. It gave me a chance to review what One Colour is and what One Colour offers. This is what we are on about. And even if it is idealistic, I actually don't care. If you aim for the stars you might just reach the moon! Feel free to share with me your ethos by emailing me at di@onecolour.com.

One Colour is an idea in action. Our core mission is to provide on-going employment for our partners in Africa and to support like-minded businesses in Australia, where we live.

One Colour can be worn with purpose, can be owned or given with purpose - embracing the broken, the beautiful, the sustainable and the confronting in life. We want to see an end to extreme poverty, we want to be part of the solution. This is our way of seeing it happen.

The above pic is from a while ago, beautifully captured by Tangible Media. For those interested, Tangible Media takes all our Kenana Down Under photos - www.kenanadownunder.com.au

EcoBling now online

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As a keen follower and supporter of Katie Johnston, founder of EcoBling, it is with great excitement I announce that One Colour is now one of their stockists! You can view their amazing products in our Treasured Pieces tab. When you purchase or wear a piece of EcoBling you are supporting an Australian business, assisting them to send much needed funds to aid rebuilding efforts in Nepal.

Did you know, EcoBling was featured alongside Pure Pod at the recent FashFest event in Canberra and will again be featured at Undress Runways this weekend in Brisbane.

It's wonderful to see this planet friendly label getting well deserved attention. Shop EcoBling here

Once a staircase earring!

Once a staircase earring!

Spring, through the eyes of Leunig

Inspiration, ReflectionOne ColourComment

The Australian way of living is so diverse because we live on such a big island. And the indigenous had six seasons to cover the year, not simply four. Or up north it is "the wet", "the dry" and "the build up". So to move through the year in Australia it's more about seasonal living, dependent on where you live. A much wiser outlook, I feel.

To start your seasonal weather journey you can take a look at this link from the ABC website and read more about the indigenous way of weather. It dates from 2003 and is a fascinating place to begin. The Lost Seasons

#documentation #inspiration #sharedknowledge #naturalsigns #aboriginalsociety #future #newseasons #abcaustralia 

Talented local artist/writer - Anna Yum - launching her first book and wearing One Colour!

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I was so thrilled when artist Anna Yum (of Studio Anna Yum) approached me to wear One Colour for a photo shoot to help launch her new children's book, "Everyday Superhero". Obvious answer when asked, YES! Anna looks fabulous in one of our early styles and I'm so thankful we could partner with her.

Anna is an artist, a self published first time author, and an amazing supporter of local business! In Anna's words:

My children's book is about finding ways that you can be a superhero in the everyday choices you make. We don't need special powers to have an amazing impact of those around us. And it was reading about your company that I felt that sense that what you are doing is not super-human, yet you have a great impact on those around you by linking the buyer with the maker. You're an Everyday Superhero.

Following is info on the launch of Anna's book and some lovely pics of her family, her art and the lady herself. We've linked most of the photos to either Anna's website or facebook page and encourage you to take a look and if you live in Brisbane, even get a long to one of the events Anna is hosting for the book launch.

Anna Yum

Anna Yum

Anna's art

Anna's art

There & Back Again...Africa under my skin

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I did think I'd do a little more journalling while away, however, it didn't happen, although lots of other things did!

Here's a brief overview (also seen in our latest newsletter) and some more pics. And probably some more stories too, as it's so hard to capture the day to day in a few words.

It was so good to return to Kenya for a 6th time to visit suppliers who I now count as friends and friends who are now pretty much like family. Mum and I had a ball travelling around Nairobi in the crazy traffic then off into the country side to visit the Kenana Knitter group. A morning spent in Nakuru at Viva Africa was wonderful, too. After all, even though I have slowed right down in the fashion department, Viva Africa is the reason I came to Kenya back in 2008. The week spent with the knitters ended with a weekend away at Samatian Island on Lake Baringo about 3 hours north of Nakuru then a 3 day safari in the Masai Mara (animals like you wouldn't believe so see pics), culminating with a dawn balloon ride over the wide, grassy plains of the Mara, which was on Mum's bucket list! Nothing quite like it...big sky and big land....and big hearted people. Kenya is so much more than we read about in the news. Its heart beat is strong and we are proud to be able to bring just a small part of that life to Australia through One Colour.

Post Script:

Africa belly (my term for icky stomach) aside, every trip is worth it and this trip was again so worth while. The memory of a hug from Maggie (Magdalene - yes, the namesake of our first coat ever produced) who works at Amani Ya Juu in Nairobi. Holding the sweetest little innocents at Hope House for Babies, a baby refuge (not an orphanage) for little ones abandoned for who knows what reason, but they are loved and cared for by a small, determined, faithful team of local mums. The breathtaking country and its animals. The confronting and often dire situations that people live in. The smell of DEET as we lathered up to avoid malarial mozzies - we are so lucky not to have malaria in Australia. Precious time with my mum as we travelled over often very bumpy roads to see some extraordinary things together. The deepening of friendships which just pick up where we left them 2 years ago. The food, the sound of Hadada Ibis calling in the morning. Memory is a funny thing and writing it now helps cement some of my thoughts and impressions...so there is a point to journalling.

Until next time...

A selfie with Milkah and Monica at the Kenana Knitters...more on Milkah later this year.

A selfie with Milkah and Monica at the Kenana Knitters...more on Milkah later this year.

Lucky enough to swim in this pool at sunset on Samatian Island, Lake Baringo.

Lucky enough to swim in this pool at sunset on Samatian Island, Lake Baringo.

Gorgeous young leopard captured by Andrew Nightingale our guide while in the Mara

Gorgeous young leopard captured by Andrew Nightingale our guide while in the Mara

My favourite tree and sky.

My favourite tree and sky.

Hyena in the Mara

Hyena in the Mara

A lady waiting in the grass for the opportune moment.

A lady waiting in the grass for the opportune moment.

With James, our Masai guide. His gear actually deters animal attacks...I saw it happen when we viewed a pride of lions and the two main females got up and walked away when James came into view in our vehicle. These guys are amazing.

With James, our Masai guide. His gear actually deters animal attacks...I saw it happen when we viewed a pride of lions and the two main females got up and walked away when James came into view in our vehicle. These guys are amazing.

The next few days

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Since the last entry on Saturday we have been to Lake Naivasha to visit Helping Hands and view their new work space and admire their beautiful work. We were of course shown around the complex which includes a community school for 145 children, several rooms for meetings, wood work, therapy and a shop for the scarves, lovely throws and jewellery. Bernie, our host, and his wife Celia welcomed us into their home for lunch as well. Apart from the weaving project that started a few years back to provide stable, safe employment for several women, the Helping Hands community runs their school on an all-inclusive basis so children with learning or physical challenges can attend the school. There is a full time occupational therapist and two volunteer staff as well as the primary teachers. Each class numbers not more than 20 children and they all receive lunch every day with food grown in the market garden on the premises. It is quite a place! I selected some of their cotton throws to bring back as samples and will let you know when to expect to see them online, realistically it will be later this year.

Saturday was a fun day spent with an Aussie friend living in Nairobi. Angela has a small enterprise called That Missing Piece and I supply her beads in Australia to a very select group of stockists and at any markets I might do. However, later this year I hope to sell some of her delightful bracelets either to wholesale customers or online via One Colour. That Missing Piece provides employment for two ladies who work with Angela.

Sunday was sadly our last day at Amani Gardens Inn (until we return on 16 June for a couple of days before flying home). We have so enjoyed their hospitality, food and peaceful surroundings. However, it’s time to move on and so, with Joseph driving us, we left Nairobi for Kembu Cottages via the low road, along the Rift Valley floor through Nakuru and on to Njoro and Kembu. The Rift Valley floor provides the most spectacular views of Mt Longonot, an ancient volcano. The area is quite green at the moment, after good rains. We passed many nomadic Masaai herders with their cows grazing along the side of the road. According to Joseph, a Masaai would rather die than sell one of his cows, such is the pride in their culture and traditions. And again, according to Joseph, the Masaai can graze their cattle wherever they want across the land.

Early afternoon brought us to Kembu, on Kenana Farm, which will be our home for 5 nights and it is also the place where the Kenana Knitters’ workshop is found. And so we travel on.

Until next time...

This is Miracle at Helping Hands. The blur is due to the fact that she is working.

This is Miracle at Helping Hands. The blur is due to the fact that she is working.

Weaving and loom at Helping Hands. This is a rug in the making.

Weaving and loom at Helping Hands. This is a rug in the making.

Mt Longonot in the Rift Valley north west of Nairobi

Mt Longonot in the Rift Valley north west of Nairobi

End of first week

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The last couple of days in Nairobi have been pretty full...here's a quick run down:

Dinner out with Patrice, Liz and family at a Burger Bonanza (or something like that) place in Garden City. The burgers were two for one so who could refuse that! We used the new super highway to get there and apart from the exciting speed bump halfway along, it was a smooth, traffic snarl free ride.

The morning brought another amazing safari lodge style breakfast then we took a new road direct to the AIM (African Inland Mission) offices for a visit to find out what they are working on in Kenya and Tanzania. Mum is her church rep for AIM so it was interesting for her to meet a few people and see what it looks like through their eyes.

Then, thankfully Patrice suggested a trip to Amani Ya Juu and we were welcomed with an amazing hug from Maggie, one of the Amani Ya Juu ladies. If any of you have been looking on instagram you will have seen a post of drying fabric taken at Amani Ya Juu. This organisation is now 20 years old, starting out with the founder and 2 women working in one room in 1996 to now over 100 women working in the business consisting of a shop offering homewares, gifts, clothing, children's wear to cafe where people can come with their children and enjoy a garden setting. The site also houses all design, production and distribution of their products. They have a solid export market in America along with the shop in Nairobi, which is divine. We will return here before leaving Nairobi and I am having a meeting with Becky Chinchen, the founder, to find out if there are any possibilities in Australia...we shall see.

Then, probably the highlight of the day was our all too brief visit to Hope House for Babies. This is one of the most moving and humbling experiences...the babies are delightful little beings who are loved, fed, clothed and kept safe until they are adopted into families. Hope House works in conjunction with the Kenyan Child Adoption Service and accepts babies who are abandoned, most often it's not known by who or why, unless the mother can be located. It is very hard to describe the feeling of being with so many little angels being cared for by beautiful big angel mothers.

So this is not turning into a very quick run down as I haven't even started on our visit to the View Point at 2500 m above sea level and Helping Hands on Friday...I only hope you have been able to view some of the pics on instagram or facebook!

As always, Kenya brings so many lasting impressions. Until next time...

From the View Point looking out over the Rift Valley at 2500 m above sea level. Spectacular!

From the View Point looking out over the Rift Valley at 2500 m above sea level. Spectacular!

Arrival

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Touch down, after 19 hours of flying and 2 stop overs. It's great to be back in the bustling, busy city of Nairobi.

Thinking we could avoid morning peak hour, Patrice (our go to man in Nairobi), Joy and I decided to have a coffee before heading to our accommodation. However, we misjudged the vagaries of traffic flow in Nairobi and were caught big time in several traffic snarls. At one point a pedestrian we passed in our car passed us about 500m further on as we were at a stand still. We never saw him again so can only assume he made it to his destination long before we did!

The hectic streets of Nairobi with street vendors who walk between the crawling cars or set up little stalls on the side of the road were negotiated patiently by Patrice and we arrived, 2 and half hours later into Amani Gardens Inn, our home away from home while in Nairobi. The place lives up to its name "Amani" meaning peace in Swahili. The gardens have been here for many years and the trees provide the most beautiful canopy and homes to several different birds.

Right now I can see the early sun finding its way through the shade of the trees and we are about to start our day with the most delicious breakfast of fresh fruit (yesterday was sweet tangy pineapple and slivers of juicy watermelon), coffee and I hope a repeat of yesterday's hot omelette cooked with tomato, cheese and green capsicum. The freshly prepared omelette is an African specialty!

Well, I'm in need of caffeine so will away to breakfast then our day unfolds with a visit to the AIM (African Inland Mission) office this morning and a wonderful afternoon at Hope House for Babies.

Until next time....

A view of the beautiful garden at Amani Gardens Inn

A view of the beautiful garden at Amani Gardens Inn