Nickelby At Darnum

Living in Yurts and Pods - well hopefully one day

Angela BetherasComment

As I have shared on previous posts, I purchased my farm practically empty, certainly empty of a house and 11 years on that is still the case however there is some movement at the station.

Outside of working with textiles and alpacas my next great love is house design and interior decoration and design and I have done a few house renovations and redesigns over the years and can't wait to do this next one. When I first moved here I had approved by council a rather large boomerang type house which was going to be fantastic. I mean I was designing conservatories and walls for large paintings, boot rooms, bedrooms for the dogs; this house had the works and then some.  Then reality set in and when I found out that the concrete slab was going to cost more than 80k.  I had to think it all out again and let that permit slide.

I could have just made it smaller but that would have just been annoying as I would have always felt it just wasn't right so I decided I would just have to get the pen and paper out again and start over. So one day when I was up a ladder checking a tank I was looking at the view from up there (it was lovely) and thought how well the round tank fitted into the environment so I thought - what about a round house!

Down from the tank and onto the computer and I found a company in NSW who sold kit yurts. Perfect! I would live in 3 round rooms with annexes for office, library, WIR's and ensuites and I would join them together with a couple of "pods". Very technically I measured the yurts using dinner plates and bread and butter plates and measured up the pods and sent them off to the yurts company draftsman in QLD and set about getting them costed.

So a few months later back in 2016,about this time of year, on the back of a B Double truck the kits arrived for my builder to put together the 3 yurts (he would have to build the pods).

I had done the figures, sorted out the finances to get the next stage done and once the 3 yurts were up I set off to meet the bank. That is where it all started to come undone. They all said no they would not give me money to finish my house despite what my spreadsheet said.

So two years down the track, the yurts are there framed and with a roof on each, they have been wrapped but with every breath of wind the paper blows off so I am always up the ladder trying to rewrap. I can't reach the top as they are quite high off the ground and there is only one of me so it is a pretty painful task and often quite scary but we do what we have to do.

The building permits have now expired so will be up for many more $$$$ but I am hopeful that sooner rather than later I can get the doors and windows in them and put on the Colourbond cladding for the walls and make them all water tight and then set about building the pods and getting it all to the ever important "lock up" stage but with no bank coming to help it has to all be done from income from the shop.

I did set up a "go fund me" page but I don't think I ever had any intention of pushing the button as I wouldn't feel comfortable with that so I just make sure I have a ticket in the lottery each week and hope one day I will have a house again after 11 years of not having one. But on the plus side I say to people well it is a good thing I like planning house interiors as I have so much time to research and do pretend shopping for this house it is satisfying all my design needs and I have changed the cladding material at least 4 times! Below is a picture of when they were first put up and wrapped by the builder and his team and you will see I will have a beautiful view and the gaps are being joined by the "pods" which will be a kitchen/dining on one side and laundry and bathroom on the other. 

Ahh one day! So if anyone knows of a way to find a few hundred thousand please let me know!


Look out Autumn here we come!

shop newsAngela Betheras

Well the diary says that Autumn is here, it is now March 8th, in fact it is International Women's Day so that gives us two reasons to celebrate.

Autumn is my favourite time of the year.  The dreaded Summer is on the way out, the mornings are cool, the trees are turning, the grass is hopefully growing and whilst it might look like things are shutting down for the start of Winter for me and my work it means that life is starting to ramp up. The spinning wheel is back in action, the SAORI loom is going at full throttle, cria (baby alpacas) are being born and the images of big open fires, gatherings of friends around the table with a favourite glass of red, snuggled up in my alpaca jumper, sitting under my alpaca throw rug and watching a romantic movie as the nights draw in are just a stone's throw away and I love it!

Autumn is the time when you still want to get out and about, sure the beach might not be the best place to go but as we don't have a beach near us we enjoy walks through the bush, visiting wineries and being able to get out and about and not break into a sweat.

Autumn is the time when the shop here gets busy as well. Not too many people want to try on a jumper when it is over 30 degrees (although the shop is always cool it is a bit off putting) so we see more people coming in and falling in love with all things alpaca and I start to think I wish I worked harder over Summer to ensure I have enough stock.

I am working more and more in the slow clothing space where we encourage everyone to reuse, recycle or if purchase then to purchase with thought.  Instead of hitting the shopping centres, you don't need to now you don't need the air con they provide, why not start to think carefully about your purchases, purchase items with low production mileage, buy natural fibres as plastic damage our waterways, purchase an investment piece and by that I don't mean something expensive but rather something that will last the test of time, that helps you create your memories, memories of what you were wearing when.....Clothing is such an extension of ourselves, give it time to become part of who you are and take time to find out where your clothing comes from and how it has been produced. Above all, consider shopping with the little gal or guy and support a local community.  After all, you buy from me, I buy from my local shops and they do likewise and it means you are doing your bit to help keep a country community alive so we remain here for you to enjoy when you come to visit next Autumn.

We look forward to welcoming you to Nickelby At Darnum very soon and now back to the loom so there are some Nickelby Designs for you to see when you visit

Vale Misao Jo

Angela BetherasComment

SAORI weavers around the world are weaving with a  heavy heart this week as we mourn the loss of the SAORI founder, Misao Jo on January 10th at the young age of 104, just shy of her 105th birthday.

Many of you who have visited Nickelby At Darnum have heard me speak about my time in Japan in early 2016 where I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Misao Jo.  She no longer spoke but she enjoyed her mornings in the studio watching everyone happily working away on their creations. I experienced a very special moment with her when she wanted to hold my hand and her eyes smiled the biggest smile, it was probably the highlight of my trip and it was then I knew that SAORI was home to me and how much this art form has come to mean to me.

Misao Jo started weaving at the age of 57 and she brought to her weaving life experiences and many of us have been attracted to the SAORI way as it is all about developing individuality not merely producing products. As Misao Jo said " it is just like a painter painting a picture or a poet writing a poem. SAORI Weavers weave in search of our true selves which are hidden"

The SAORI family now speaks many languages, crosses many boarders and reside in all corners of the world and we communicate through SAORI and strive to make the world a better more friendlier place.  This has all been made possible because of one woman who never strove to teach but to help us all find our own individual creativity.

This week social media groups are being flooded with memories and thanks to a woman who has given so much to so many people.  Her legacy is indeed lasting.

Misao Jo's favourite colour was red so I think this week's creation will have to have a touch of red in memory of such a wonderful woman who lived a wonderful life.