Friday, August 17, 2018


This week has defeated me.

I've got nothing left.

I went there. I cried all the tears. I scraped the bottom. It terrified me.

I hope to be back next week, one week before spring, with more hopeful tales of life on our farm. But until then you'll find me here, gathering my strength, reading chapters, sipping tea, knitting rows, and looking out the windows at the wind dancing through the tops of the trees in the forest.

Be kind to yourselves friends, and look after each other.


Friday, August 10, 2018

piece of the pie

Hello friends,

It's so lovely to see you. How's your week been?

My week has been good mostly. And a bit of bad now that I think about it. And then some in the middle too.

Actually let's do this: if my past week were a pie - one piece would be dealing with matters of creativity, one piece would be the bleak never-endingness of winter, one would be the absolute joy of my studio, one piece would be worrying about the state of the world - droughts, bush fires, violence, poverty and cancer, one would be the routine, one would be the joys and stresses of parenting, one would be Bren and his bowl turning, one would be the garden and farm and one would be family and friends. After you lift those nine pieces from the pan, the bits that get stuck to the bottom, the crumbs, and the bits that fell off the spoon are all the other stuff that makes up a week in my life, the ups and the downs, the exciting and the mundane, and the other details.

So let's get to the photo a day, hey.

august four

Last weekend we stayed in the most beautiful house, with the most gorgeous views, on the side of a mountain. It was Jazzy's musical weekend and there were many, many drives to and from school, so we decided to stay somewhere near by. It's amazing what a difference a change of scene can do for the state of mind. As forest dwellers usually surrounded by trees, none of us could stop looking out of the windows and admiring the views and the ever changing weather conditions. 

We discussed changing our fireplace and heating set-up, incorporating a grey wall somewhere, the difference double glazing makes and how much easier it would be for the girls to live closer to their friends.

It was such a lovely break from the rhythm.

That mountain in the middle of the picture window is Hanging Rock.

august five

On Sunday afternoon we returned home, and even though we'd only been gone for three days I searched every plant and tree for movement and signs of spring. 

Look at that peony go!

august six

On Monday I spotted this little vignette on the kitchen table and it looked so wintry I just had to take a picture. From the middle in a clockwise direction; the first seven eggs of the new season in one of my farmer boy's turned wooden bowls, my scrappy sock blanket, Kath's salt pig, a bowl of native limes, two overripe avocados, another of Bren's bowls and a branch of Hebe from that morning's flower arranging class.

august seven

Late last week before we went away, I started to worry about the wintry mess the farm is in, how the rush of spring will soon be upon us, and how we know from past experience that the best way to greet it is with neatness and organisation. So we made a list and slotted jobs into days in the family diary.

I must admit that due to the most unpleasant weather over the past week, many of the jobs did not get done, however the cleaning of the greenhouse most certainly did.

On Tuesday we pulled everything out, we washed everything down, we oiled the table, we cleaned the windows, and then we neatly put a lot of things back.

It's almost time to start the spring planting.

august eight

Sometime early this week in-between splitting wood, hanging out the laundry and driving the girls to school, I had a bit of a crisis of creativity. It occurred to me that my only creative expression these days is knitting, and aside from the original choice of pattern and yarn, that sometimes feels a bit mechanical.

Watching Bren turning a round of wood into a bowl feels like something different. Each cut is a decision, each shape a design. It's like he's working with the wood, sometimes he is the in-charge and sometimes the wood makes it known that there is no choice. It's beautiful to watch him work, the shavings flying through the air and piling up like carpet under foot, the lines and markings becoming exposed, the knots taking charge, the final shapes always different.

As I type this I can hear the sound of the lathe from his studio. I look forward to watching him walk past my window when he's finished to come and show me what he's made. I love watching the bowls in his hands as he shows them to me and discovers them for himself, turning, noticing, acknowledging, learning.

And so it came to pass that I needed to push myself in a new creative direction.

And so one day, after I had driven the girls to school, I clipped a branch of eucalyptus leaves on the way into my studio and then sat down and drew it. And then painted it in for good measure.

It's been years since I drew and painted and the connections between my eyes, hands and brain are rusty to say the least but I pushed on regardless. Focusing on the shapes, on the negative and positive space, on the light and shadow, and trying my hardest to draw what I saw rather than what I knew. All those art school lessons came right back to me.

I drew the stem standing in a vase, lying on the bench and upside down. I shaded in pen, coloured in water-colours, and painted in acrylics.

I gave myself permission to be bad at something and not see that as a waste of time.

I challenged myself to try to return to the process once a day.

And after a few pages in my sketchbook something amazing happened. It felt like the creativity door in my brain opened up. I started noticing and looking at my life in a different way, I started dreaming up other unrelated creative projects, I started itching for time to knot and sew and design, I felt itchy with all the opportunities and options. 

That page of branch painting is from yesterday's session. It killed me a bit when my family told me it was great. They love me and want to encourage me, but it's not great. Not by a long shot. But it is great that I'm pushing through. Painting and smudging and trying to capture something. I'm a bit happy with that. 

august nine

I started reading People of the Book. I read March earlier this year and felt lucky to find this book in an op shop a few weeks ago. I'm about 100 pages in and so far I love the way the story is being told. It feels like a treasure hunt and I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads me to next. I'm not sure how I feel about the main character though, I hope she strengthens and develops.

august ten

Today. I always thought I'd sit in the window seat in my studio to write and read and knit, but so far I haven't, not even once. Mostly I find myself sitting in a chair in front of the big window with my knitting or computer on my lap. I do hope to find a little table to sit up at soon.

But in the meantime the window seat has become a display. Glass bottles of flowers and leaves, Bren's newest wooden bowls, my just cast off and just cast on socks, and up the other end books, and wool and paints and brushes.

I've still hardly moved anything into my studio in terms of furniture or art supplies. My usual pattern is crazy messy chaos and I'm desperate to keep things simple and clean in here. But I do love the look of a bit of crafty mess too: inspiring photos torn from magazines, bits of yarn in colour palettes I like, a tiny sweet posy picked from the garden, a reminder note in beautiful handwriting...I guess the key is to find a way to keep these items in a neatish way without drowning under the weight of their clutter. It might be time to pin things to the wall.

In any case there is just enough time to collect a load of wood before school so I must go.

But how about you?
How are you feeling creatively at the moment?
What's your favourite creative way to express yourself?
When was the last time you allowed yourself to be bad at something? Isn't it freeing?!
And just for fun, how would you divide your last week in terms of pieces in a pie?

I hope you have a gorgeous weekend friends. I hope it is filled with the perfect balance of productive and restful. 

See you next week!


Kate x

Friday, August 3, 2018

flat battery

Late last Saturday afternoon Bren and Pepper had lit a fire in the garden to burn some of the wooden off-cuts from the studio build, when I came out of the house and was struck by how beautiful the little scene looked in the last of the glowing winter's light. We had friends coming over any minute so I rushed inside to get my camera to capture the fire, and the smoke, and the light, and the two of them, before they arrived.

The first time I rushed outside ready to click I was dismayed to see that I'd forgotten my SD card. So I ran back inside, grabbed it, popped it in, and ran out to try again. Only to remember that my battery was in the charger. So I raced inside again, put the battery in the camera, and ran outside. Only this time I found that my camera wouldn't turn on. No digital readings or lights at all. I took the battery out and put it back in several times but no change. So with some concern I took it back inside and went outside to greet our friends.

On Sunday I put the battery back in the charger, saw that it was fully charged, tried to put it in my camera again a few times, but nothing happened.

By Monday when I was still putting the battery in and getting the same result, I started wondering if I would be able to blog this week and if in fact this might be a sign that I need to take a deep-winter break and come back when the mud has dried up and the sun has come out.

My camera was already old when I bought it second hand from a photographer five or six years ago but I am completely reliant on it and have never given any thought to replacing or updating.

On Tuesday I asked Bren about it and we spoke about the life-length of batteries and how I should really have a spare and that if I ordered one online it might just arrive before blog Friday. But I had a million things to do and couldn't be bothered researching models and shops, so I didn't.

On Wednesday he held my camera in his hands, popped the battery in and out a few times with no change, and then just as I was starting to think that all hope was lost, he looked logically and practically (his words not mine) at the camera and noticed that the SD card door wasn't closed properly. So he clicked it in and it all turned back on. Just like that. I still can't believe that I didn't notice that myself. But obviously I didn't.

There is no great message or moral to this story. I'm actually a bit unsure as to why I just spent so much time telling it, other than to explain why there aren't photos of my every-day this week. And because it's made me think about how much of a creature of habit I am, how much I distrust technology, how I'd be lost without a camera, how even though I ended up being completely present in that bonfire moment - I'm still disappointed that I didn't get any photos of it to post here, and how I guess I probably should look at getting some spare bits and pieces for future just-in-cases. Or a little point and shoot to keep in my bag.

So rather than the photo-a-day post I've been sharing lately, I thought I'd do a quick round up instead.

This past week I've been -

Photographing - my Merricks shawl, finally. Pattern by Kylie @WhiskyBayWoollens, yarn by Abbe @TheNobleFoxYarnCo

Cleaning the green-house getting ready for spring planting.

Listening - to the podcast The Teacher's Pet which is a terribly distressing and sad piece of investigative journalism, I'm almost up to date and completely hooked.

Knitting - these socks for the sixth or seventh time. I actually cast them off earlier in the week with bobbles at the top, but the bobbles stretched the cast off and they became baggy and so I had to pull them apart yet again and start something new. I'm pretty certain that these love hearts are it this time though. They kind of remind me of a sugar bowl we had growing up.

Learning - how to make tussie-mussies in our floral design class last Monday.

Reading - Susi Fox's book Mine.

Loving - every single second spent in my new studio. It's quiet and uninterrupted and heavenly.

Watching - season 2 of Glow.

Needing - to get something nice for all five of us to wear to a special birthday party soon and not knowing where to start.

Dreaming - of sunshine and warmth and blossom.

Looking forward - to Jazzy's school musical tonight.

Feeling - a bit like I've got a flat battery myself.

Wondering - if it'll snow tomorrow.

Apologising  - for this blog post and wondering if I should really take a winter blog break after all.

Hoping - that you'll leave me a little note and tell me a bit about what you're growing/knitting/watching/hoping/cooking/feeling/wearing...

Signing off until next week.

Love, Kate x

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