Thursday, September 30, 2010

Love Pepper.

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of you for the kind messages and emails you sent my Mum while I've been sick.

I am feeling a bit better today. I slept through the night last night, I ate a big breakfast this morning and I picked some flowers outside with Indi. I didn't let anyone wash my face for these photos, but I did do some drawings, scared my Mum when I was being a tiger and had a swing on the swing. If I have a nap after lunch then this afternoon we might go and play with Zero the puppy.

Oh and if you are wondering where my Mama is, she's guest blogging over at Lou Lou's today.

See ya.
Love, Pepper.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feeling crappy.

This morning I'm sitting here feeling crappy.

Its Wednesday today and that means that for the past three days the soundtrack to my life has been the sound of poor little Pepper crying. It breaks my heart and at times has had me in tears too, but seriously, the noise.

I'm feeling crappy for the big girls who are desperate to get out of here and into the big wide world to go and do some stuff but instead are stuck at home again. I feel guilty that most of the time I can't play with them because their little sister is so needy.

I feel bad because Miss Pepper just wants to sit and snuggle with me but I am not great at sitting still for extended periods of time. If she'd let me knit then maybe...

I feel bad because I am so tired after all these nights of not sleeping that I am only doing the barest minimum around here and no one has clean undies and we are living on shortcut food.

I feel bad because Bren has so much work to do on the farm but I need him here with me to make marble runs with the girls and take turns with Pepper.

I feel bad because when I went in to Pepper in the night she started crying harder because she only wanted her Dad.

I feel guilty because I know that this will be over in a few days and I know how lucky I am and that I have no right to whinge.

I feel bad that it made me feel so happy to sew this dress yesterday when Bren took Pepper on a drive to the irrigation supplies shop. I loved working with these gorgeous vintage fabrics and sewing them into a dress for my soon to be shop.

I guess one funny thing to come out of all this was the look on my face, and my snort, and then the look on Indi's face, when the doctor told me Pepper has a severe case of coxsackie virus. Say it aloud and you'll see what I mean.

I am so lucky to have my farmer boy who makes me love heart lattes each morning and I am grateful that the sun has come out. Maybe we'll rug up and go for a walk.

Huge thanks to Jodie for this wonderful package of washer swap goodies that was waiting in my post office box to brighten my day yesterday. I love it all, its so sunny and springtimey. Thanks also to Jodie for organising another wonderful washer swap, its been great.

So what's going on with you this fine Wednesday morning?
I hope there's a bit of sunshine in your life today.

Monday, September 27, 2010

@ my house.

Right now at my house there are a zillion things I should be doing rather than writing this blog but today I don't care. Today I've chucked the shoulds out the window. Yesterday Miss Pepper started to get really sick. Last night nobody slept. Today she's been crying non stop and as a result we are walking around in the same sort of fog as if there were a new born in the house.


Right now at my house I should be making dinner, instead I am holding my baby on my lap while I write this.

Bren is working somewhere and Indi and Jazzy are outside doing the photo shoot for their glamour mag.

Apparently when they are finished they'll 'fiddle with photos on the computer, write some text and print the mag.' Wow!

At my house today this pile of gorgeousness has been taunting me all day. I pulled them together last night intending to sew them into some more jumping dresses today but instead they are still sitting untouched.

Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe tonight we'll sleep.


I hope things are a bit more happy and healthy at your house today.

Love Kate X

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The jumping dress.

Happy Sunday!

What are you up to today?

My parents have come up for a few days and are teaching a cooking course at our local neighbourhood house today. Indi and my cousin Romy are going to the course. Bren is going to a bio dynamics field day and Jazzy, Pepper and I are heading into town to go on the tourist railway.

I sewed the final seams on these dresses this morning and when I took the girls outside to get some photos they couldn't stop jumping in them. I guess some dresses twirl, some skip and these jump.

And yes, they are still wearing their jammies underneath and have holiday hair.

I made the dresses from the picture on the front of the Sandi Henderson Claire dress pattern. Next time I think I'll make some room and open the enormous pattern sheet and trace the pattern pieces.

I love the way these dresses look so summery and happy and girly. I love the mixy matchy vintage floral sheet prints and I love that my girls are so excited with them and love them so much.

And allow me to introduce you to my new nephew puppy, Zero. I bet you can almost hear my girls squealing from your house. I tell you I am so tempted to knit that puppy a bonnet.

I hope today is a wonderful day for you and yours.

Oh and I almost forgot, Bradbill from The Plaster Fun House In Ballarat has updated his magazines to include some women's mags from last month!! I think we'll be heading back there before the holidays are over.

Love Kate

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Taking control of my content.

Before I start this, can I suggest that you go to your dashboard, press settings and press site feed. Once you've done that have a look at the top section entitled Allow Blog Feeds and make sure that you have clicked short. This means that a short excerpt of your blog can be used for google searches but that a whole blog post cannot be syndicated.

Done? Great!

Yesterday morning I made the decision to stop blogging. It just felt too disgusting to think of my stories and pictures being posted out there on a foreign blog as if they belonged to somebody else.

A little while later I came and read some of your wonderful comments and decided I didn't want to stop. This is my community and I love it.

Not long after, I decided to open up a new blog with a new name and start all over again. I couldn't decide whether I should keep it completely separate and secret, or if I should leave the new details on my other blog or in my comments or somewhere else.

Then I started thinking up new names for my new blog.

But then I got angry. This is my blog, these are my words and my photos and my stories and nobody has the right to take them and use them without my permission.

And then I started googling and found out that I was right. Just because it is on the internet does not mean that it is free for the taking. What that blogger did to me is called website hijacking and is a copyright infringement.

I spent ages searching and reading and I found out that this happens often and that there is a lot of information out there about what to do if it happens to you.

These are some of the sites that I found helpful

I left several comments on the offending blog asking them to remove my posts immediately, and when they were ignored I wrote a polite but firm email explaining the situation and asking that the posts be removed. I sent the email to the website administrator and the website host.

A few hours later I received an email with an apology letting me know that my posts had been taken down.

I think I was really lucky to have had a conclusion so quickly but I am still a bit freaked out that this must have been going on for quite some time without my knowledge.

If you want to know if anyone is using any part of your content, put your URL in here;

So peeps, my advice to you is to be very careful what you put on your blog because you have no idea who is reading it and what is being done with it.

A huge thank you to those who left supportive comments, emails, suggestions of ways to deal with it and who commented on the offending blog. I appreciate it beyond words. Thanks also to my Farmer Boy, you are so ace. You are calm and sensible and balance my over emotionality so well. It scares me to think of how badly I could have dealt with this without you.

Gotta fly, we've got wet wool laid out and its time to go and paint it.

Have fun out there.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bloggers beware.

So here's the thing, I think I've been a bit naive about this whole blogging caper. I write on my blog when I have something to say or something to show. I write knowing there are a lot of people around the world who read my blog, but I write for the people in my blogging community, those that leave comments and those whose blogs I read. I try to be as honest as I can, keeping in mind that once I press publish that I am putting my words and pictures out into the world and they will be there forever.

I, like most of you (I assume), am a mother, a wife, I make stuff, I try my best to make a valuable contribution to my community, I try to juggle work and family, I struggle to find my own identity within all of this and I am a blogger.

But then yesterday two things happened that made me question this whole thing.

1) Yesterday I made a throw away comment on my blog about a business my family often frequent. I wrote it not thinking that anyone who had anything to do with this business would ever read it. It was by no means a review.

But then late last night the owner of that business commented on that post.

Beware blog writers, you never know who is reading your blog and who has a google alert out for something you are accidentally reviewing.

2) After I read Brad's comment, I started googling around trying to work out how he had found my blog. I typed in his business name and latest and my blog came up second. The blog that came up first completely threw me. That blog had a different title to mine but contained my post in its entirety, photos and all. What it didn't have was any links to my blog or any explanation that that post was stolen from another blog.

Once I clicked onto that blog I found that it is made up of about four other blogs. Each time the four of us update our blogs, our posts are also added to their blog.

Other than that it looks like a normal blog with giveaways and recipes and all that.

Since I found it last night I have felt a bit sick. I am aware that when I press publish that I lose control of my posts but still I never expected to have my blog identity stolen like this.

Bren thinks its not such a big deal. He says they aren't trying to sell anything, they have no profile or identity except for their blog name and that they are just kind of like a collection of blogs.

I have written a comment asking them to remove my posts. That publishing my posts without asking permission or linking to me is rude and wrong. A few of my blog friends have done the same (thanks). They haven't published our comments or done anything about our request.


What do you think?
Am I overreacting?

Oh and from now on I am going to end my posts with a link to my blog. Something like this;

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eight things.

1) I finished The Rainbow Speckled Olearia last night. I love this pattern and it was pretty easy the second time around until I got to the second sleeve. At that stage I should have been on the home stretch but I made a big mistake and pulled it apart a bit roughly and ended up somehow pulling apart some of the body stitches too. I almost gave up, but after lying on my bed for a while and deep breathing, I came back and somehow managed to stitch it all back together again. Raveled here.

2) My Mum has a story in this issue of Notebook magazine. You should totally read it. Its so beautiful and sad and she's my Mum and I'm so proud. Yay!

3) The patchwork dress I made last week is on its way to a little girl who lost her home in the New Zealand earthquake via Deb. Are you are a patch worker? If so, Deb is collecting blocks to sew into quilts for some more families that lost their homes, you could make one too.

4) We are on school holidays. Indi is in Melbourne at her cousins' house and I am taking the little girls to Plaster Fun House in Ballarat. They love it. Me, I have nightmares sometimes about being locked in there with the magazines from the eighties, the fluoro lighting and the soft rock radio blaring. I'm hoping to get some knitting done.

5) I still haven't officially unpacked from our holiday but the bags are slowly emptying as we take out clothes to wear every day. If I leave it long enough, maybe I wont need to unpack.

6) The next thing I am knitting is a beanie for a birthday I missed last January. Woops.

7) Pepper is on some kind of banana diet. I have no idea what its all about but that's all she wants to eat. She loves them.

8) I am absolutely obsessed with dying yarn although I haven't dyed any yet. I think Mr Google is getting well and truly sick of me asking him the same questions about fixers and organic dyes and naked yarns.

Ok, I feel better now that's all out.
How about you? What's going on in your life?
I hope you are happy. XX

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The patchwork dress.

I guess I've had the idea of making a quilt kicking around in the back of my head for a while now. I've got lots of bits of gorgeous vintage sheet fabric and more than enough inspiring bloggy photos. So yesterday afternoon, when I had a few hours to sew I thought it was time to get started.

I ripped (sorry) up lots of 2.5 inch strips, over locked the sides and then spent AGES sewing them back together again.

Oh my goodness you quilters are a patient lot.

At this stage it was time to pick up the girls, do dinner and bath time and bed.

This morning I looked at it and knew that it was meant to be a dress. A mixy-matchy, patchwork dress. The quilt would have to wait.

I think it is about a size 5/6.
I was planning on selling it in my online store/market stall but to be honest, the skirt took HOURS and I have no idea how much I would charge.

And oops, I sewed the Everything But The Thread bit upside down.

Thanks to Candace for the vintage bits of fabric.
Thanks to Fii for the zip.
Thanks to Gina for the doily.
Thanks to Lizzie's Mum for the pink bit of fabric.
Thanks to the op shop fairies for the bias binding and the little girl pillow case.

Oh and if by chance you wanted to have a go at my crochet ric-rac tutorial but only speak French, you'll be happy to know that Christine has translated it. Click over here for French ric-rac.

Have a happy weekend y'all. XX

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My creative space.

Its so quiet in my creative space today. The big girls are back at school for the first time in weeks and Miss Pepper and I are pottering around, doing a bit of this and a bit of that.

First off was some hair for the dolly Amanda made her a while back. I've never sewn dolly hair before and just threaded strands of cotton through her head. Does anyone know how I can secure them now so they don't pull through?

I suppose she'll need some clothes now too.

Not content to just sit and watch me, Pepper decided she wanted to sew too, so we set her up with a hoop and off she went.

Then there were cupcakes to be baked.

And a few rows of The Rainbow Speckled Olearia to knit.

Its funny, I got so used to knitting with hot sweaty hands while we were away, that now I can't seem to get a grip on the wool and the whole experience is quite slippery.

My crochet ric-rac tutorial has been featured on the Craft Online magazine and on One Pretty Thing and I've started a Ravelry pattern page for it here. Wow and yay and oh my goodness!

Also sitting in my space today is an application to a gorgeous looking December market. But now I can't decide. Market or online shop?

So what's going on in your space today?
I'm off to Kirsty's to check it out and maybe then I'll unpack.
Have a happy Thursday. X

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homeward bound.

The farm boy refused to take seriously my suggestion of being the only organic sugar growers in Australia, so the bags are packed and we are heading home.

We've had the most wonderful three weeks away. A complete break from our real lives. So much fun.

Its been really hot!

We've walked, swum in the pool and the beach, danced, played fairy snap and Uno, blown bubbles, held snakes and turtles, eaten yummy food, cut a bit of paper into a thousand pieces, skipped, celebrated, hung in cable cars and travelled on a vintage railway, drawn, read, knitted, crocheted, played with iPhone apps and performed lots of shows.

The girls have fought and made up a gazillion times, Pepper has learnt to swim without her floaties, Indi has started to love to read and Jazzy has worn every piece of clothing she brought with her every day.

We brought their scooters which has made walking in and out of town really fun too.

Its been so ace to have Bren with us all the time too. We've laughed so much.

I'm a bit nervous about heading back to real life. I love my life but there's a lot of juggling and house work that I could do without. Oh and there's the cold, ugh.

But I'm going to try to hold onto the warm and easy and fun time we've had here and use it as my happy place. If chaos has erupted and I have a far away look in my eyes, you know where I'll be.

So right now we are on a plane, high, high above the East coast of Australia. Have a look up, you might see us. Don't forget to wave.

Have a happy Wednesday. X

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our family gang

I didn't sleep very well last night. For some reason I felt completely overwhelmed and grateful and full to the brim with love for my family.

Before we went to bed last night we went walking and played that who stole the cookie from the cookie jar game over and over and over. We played it as ourselves, then we played it in funny voices, then we played as other people in our lives and we played and we played and we played. And we laughed so much and we all felt happy.

Its funny that family thing. Its like me and Bren have created our own little gang. We have little bits of language that only we understand (frima - a frozen Prima, shmutter - a washer, bagers - bathers, bizzy - fizzy drink...), we have our own laws (no socks with sandals allowed), we have foods we love (lentil bolognese) and eat lots of and foods that are never to enter our house (pumpkin soup and fruit and nut chocolate), we love blue and green and hate orange, we make Dad think that he rules but we know that Mum really does, we love to make, to dance, to bake, to sing, to wear jeans with dresses over the top (well maybe not Bren). We are so proud of our farm and of each other and we are all obsessed with our six month adventure next year.

As well as living our own lives, we also have important roles to play in our family gang too. Bren runs our farm, makes the best pancakes, builds the best block towers and adores us. Indi tries her hardest to be the peacemaker, teaches us how to be parents and writes the songs for our occasions. Jazzy makes sure that everything is always fair, maintains the girly element and is the best dancer. Pepper makes us all laugh, loves to help everyone with anything and can easily be persuaded to take a side. And Indi described me just now as the encourager and the maker.

We have moments when we drive each other insane. When we wish that we could leave this gang and go and live an isolated existence in a cave far, far away. But the truth is we would miss each other far too much and could never cope.

At the end of the day we are fiercely loyal and are happy to put up with Bren's loud phone voice, Indi's constant singing, Jazzy's love of all things make-up, Pepper's repeating the same thing over and over and I guess my asking them to hold that thought so I can finish counting stitches.

Where would I be with out my gang?
I love your guts you guys! You rock my socks!

How about you? Does your gang have funny idiosyncrasies? Your own language? A dress code?

Have a happy Tuesday. X

Monday, September 13, 2010

How to crochet ric-rac.

Hey there!

What are you up to this fine Monday morning?

Since my post last week, I've had so many emails and comments asking about the recipe for homemade, hooked ric-rac, that I thought I'd do a little how to.

Before we start there are a few things to keep in mind.
  • I am using US crochet terminology.
  • I usually use a size 2 hook but its fun to experiment. The smaller the hook-the smaller the ric-rac, the bigger the hook, the bigger the ric-rac.
  • I use 4ply mercerised cotton but its fun to experiment with different plies and yarns.
  • My words describe the picture above them.
  • The stitches I am using are chain (ch) and double crochet (dc). If you are not familiar with these stitches just ask Mr Google, there are hundreds of great tutorials and videos out there to show you how.
Ok, let's get into it.

STEP ONE - Chain four.

STEP TWO - dc into the fourth chain from the hook, ie. the first chain you made.

STEP THREE - Do another dc into the same chain as in step two, chain, then do a final dc into the same chain.

STEP FOUR - Chain three.

STEP FIVE - Turn your work so that the crochet you just did is up the top as per the photo.
Then do two dc's, chain and another dc into the chain space from the previous round.
Then chain three. and turn.

STEP SIX - Repeat step five until you reach your desired length.
Always ch3 after each cluster and then turn.
Fasten off.
Stitch onto skirts, socks, quilts, cushions, frames, cards, dresses, tops, pants... anything really.

Here's the whole thing again in crochet language;
Chain 4 (only this once)
(2dc, ch1, dc) in fourth chain from hook, ch3, turn
(2dc,ch1,dc) in ch1 space from previous row, ch3 turn. Repeat this line until you reach the length you want.

I hope this all makes sense.

Please let me know if you have any problems with it.

Why don't you add your ric-rac projects to the Ravelry project page, I'd love to see some pics of what you make.

See ya!

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