Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cheating on granny.

So there I was crocheting away at my looooooooooong, biiiiiiiiiiiiig, queen sized granny blanket, when my mind wandered. Just like that. One minute I was excited beyond words at crocheting each double triplet into the space left the row before, and the next minute I wasn't.

I started to think about a rag rug. Very much inspired by Jodie's rag-a-long, I began contemplating methods and shapes and colour combinations. It took everything I had to stop myself from pulling down some floral sheets and ripping them into strips. It took almost more than I had to stop myself from doing a google search into ways of stitching the long braids together and a pinterest search for some rag rug eye candy.

But I succeeded. The rag rug will wait.

But the dress could not.

We came back from the beach and I made a dress.

An ugly sheet, just to get the pattern right, dress. But a dress none-the-less.

Not a few rows of the blanket.

And just like that the blanket has been neatly folded and popped on the shelf. A WIP (work in progress).

Hopefully I'll pick it up again soon.

I'm fascinated by that moment though. The exact minute when your current crush becomes yesterday's news. When your mind wanders. When something better comes along.

Is it inevitable in a slow burn project? If you rush and hurry can you beat it? Cheat it? I wonder.

Do you know what I'm talking about? Does this happen to you in your patch-working/novel writing/scrap booking/mosaicing/embroidering? Do you go back? Is there hope for the granny queen?


Monday, January 30, 2012

Last beach.

At the end of last week, with a forecast for some beautiful, sunny days, we headed to the beach to squeeze the last out of of our seven months of summer holidays.

It's hard to believe that in a few days time we will be back in the school, uniform, lunch, activities routine again. Its hard to imagine how we will cope with appointments, meetings and schedules. With bed times and meal times and homework times and wake ups times.
So before all that starts, we headed off to the beach for a few days.
We've been swimming and digging and playing ball and exploring. 
We've been walking through caravan parks and missing our road tripping life and talking about our next journey.

And we're loving hanging out with Miss Indi's friend Ethan, lent to us for five days. I know it's only short term, but things seem so much more balanced with a boy on board. Simpler. More active.
And despite the heat,  I've been crocheting....and playing with my crochet.
And of course I've been op-shopping.

What's a trip to a small coastal town without the hunt for my buddies the Johnson Brothers and The Meakins? Who knows how the six of us plus luggage and thrifty finds are going to fit in the car on the way back.

Home again, home again tomorrow morning.
School uniform sorting, hair cutting, life organising for a few days.

And then the school year begins.

Deep breath.

What have you been up to lately?
Found any treasures?
Made anything gorgeous?
Been anywhere exciting?
Eaten anything delicious?

Do tell.


Friday, January 27, 2012

So random.

I'm granny stripping.

I'm aiming to use up a lot of the odds and ends of balls of yarn that I've got rolling about here.

I'm making it queen sized to cover the foot of our bed in the winter-time, to warm our footsies. That means it's 441 stitches long which makes it sloooooooooooow going. I'm not certain how wide it'll be just yet. I think I'll know when I get there.

And I'm trying to choose the colours randomly. Not shut my eyes and grab one random, but more like pick each colour when I have finished the last. No long term plan.

I'm not so good at the old random. I prefer to have an order mapped out before hand. I feel more comfortable when I know where I'm going, what it'll look like in the end.

So this is a challenge for me.

Late last night after I finally popped the hook down and lay in bed I decided to rip it all out and start again in the morning. To hook a blanket that graduates in colour and shade through the spectrum. I know that would look good and it would be safe.

But this morning I changed my mind. I am going to keep going with the random. It's challenging me but so far I like the results and I am hoping that when there are lots of stripes, that the colours will blend a bit and the order wont be so important.

I think I can do it.

How about you? Do you do random? Or do you like a plan? Can you paper bag piece your quit layout ie. take the cut pieces of your quilt out of a paper bag and lay them as they come? (is that right Jules?) Can you randomly choose colours as you go? Do you have the end in sight or do you just make it up as you go along?

Whatever the weather, I hope you and yours have the most marvellous weekend.

Love Kate xx

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

cozy crochet.

My farmer boy is a bit obsessed with cozies.

While we were away on our caravan adventure, everything had it's own cozy. There was the spare wheel cozy, the esky cozy, the IMac had a cozy made out of my childhood sleeping bag and there were various other cozies and plans for cozies along the way.
After we got home and we became a TV only on the weekends family, he ordered a cozy for that too. Why should a big black ugly box take pride of place in the lounge room when it serves no purpose for five days out of every seven?
So I set to work making a big, colourful pile of granny squares.

I sewed in the ends and sewed them together.
I wondered when it comes down to it, which part actually takes longer: the crocheting or the darning?
 And then I pinned the finished granny blanket onto a grey blanket from the stash.
Sewed the grannies in place.
A television cozy.

It's so much prettier now.
Don't you think?

And life is so much better without the television.
We are so much more creative. 
We are reading and playing and listening to music more.
We are choosing carefully what we watch on the weekends.
We don't watch any ads anymore.
Our best friends are people not characters.
And we are achieving so much more.

I highly recommend it.
I highly recommend crochet too. I love it.

What are you making?
Are you crazy for cozies?

Ciao! xx

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Choosing happy.

A few days ago something a bit yuk happened. It wasn't terrible or life changing at all, it was just the way someone else's thoughtless actions affected me and my family. It gave me a bad taste in my mouth and an uncomfortable feeling in my tummy.

At first I felt angry and felt like going for a run or bashing the dust out of some rugs with a squash racket. Then I felt sad and felt like hiding in my bathroom and feeling sorry for myself. And then I wandered around aimlessly for a while not really knowing what to do with myself.

We have worked really hard to create the life we lead. We have discussed, we have prioritised, we have made plans and choices and tried really hard to live a life that makes us happy.

How is it fair that somebody else's thoughtless actions can threaten the happiness of my family? 

And then it occurred to me that they can't if I don't let them.

Crappy stuff happens no matter what, but if I don't react, if I don't give it air, then it wont be so big and it will soon fade away and become part of the back ground.

My priority, my job, is to focus on the good stuff and to keep on living a wonderful life with my family.

If you're looking for us we're out on the farm collecting sticks and making tee-pees for the beans and peas, we're weeding, we're planting, we're getting a lesson on nitrogen and nodules and we're collecting the coriander seeds. It's simple but it makes us happy.

We're choosing happy.

I hope you are too.

See ya. xx

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Eat. (pie pastry recipe)

One thing we talked a lot about while we were away was food.

We grow and sell organic food for a passion and for a living and are rather obsessed with the stuff. The fresher, the closer to your kitchen it was grown, the fewer nasties used to grow it, the better.

But still we are aware that unless you prioritise food, the more often you end up taking short cuts and finding yourself with some not so great food habits. I think that's what happened to us before we left. We were so tired from looking after the farm and growing great food to send off to other people, that we ended up putting some not so great food on the table for our family.

So while we were away we resolved to come home and to prioritise our family's eating habits. To grow and pick and cook and prepare from the kitchen garden/farm as often as possible. To prepare from scratch as often as possible. To eat local and organic and in season as often as possible. To include the kids in the process from start to finish no matter the messy consequences as often as possible. To experiment. And to start broadening our food horizons with new flavours and tastes and ingredients as often as possible.

And you know what? I think we are succeeding.

We have been making all our own bread and pasta and pastries and doughs. We have picked and used berries and lettuces and herbs and beans and garlic and onions and eggs and plums from the garden. We bought and swapped masses of produce at the farmer's market. We have introduced a few new menu items and experimented with some new to us flavours. And the girls have been involved and made a mess and had fun.

And I think making it pretty has made a big difference too. Using lovely crockery and cutlery. Having flowers on the table. Making a meal an event rather than a rush. Spending time as a family eating and talking (not with your mouth full) and enjoying each other.

To be honest I am dreading school going back. I am not good at rushing. A huge, important aim for me this year is to continue on with this food plan. Maybe we'll have to start menu planning. Maybe I'll have to get more organised. I think I can. I hope I can.

RECIPE: Easy Peasy Pie Pastry.

Gathered from lots of recipes, adapted over time.
Used for any sweet, fruity pie filling.

225g of flour
140g butter, cold, cubed
90g sugar
Zest of one lemon
2 egg yolks

Chuck flour, butter, sugar and zest in your food processor and mix.
Add yolks and a drop of water and mix to make into a dough.
(I love that moment when the mixture binds and becomes a smooth dough).

Roll half of this dough out to line a greased metal pie tin and pop the other half in the fridge.
Pack your cool filling tightly into the pie bottom.
Paint the edge of your pie bottom with an egg wash mixture of one yolk and a splash of milk.
Get the remaining dough from the fridge and roll it out on your floured bench.
Pop it on top of the pie or cut it into strips and weave them like we did.
Use any remaining dough to decorate the pie.
Press the top onto the bottom around the edges.
Egg wash the top.
Cut air holes in the top if it is sealed.

Our rhubarb/berry pie was cooked at 150c for about 50 minutes.

Breathe in those yummy pie smells. Admire. Get out some pretty plates. Eat with yogurt or cream. Enjoy.

Are you good eaters? Do you menu plan? Are you adventurous? Do you think about the ingredients? Are you trying to be better like me? Could you eat salad every day like me? Have you made/eaten anything amazing lately? What are you eating today?

See ya! x

Monday, January 16, 2012

Creatively speaking...

I am carrying this basket of yarny rainbows where ever I go.
I am hooking grannies.

I am trying to be good and sew in the ends as I go.
But not always succeeding.
I am playing with our farmers' market stall. 
Think mixy-matchy table-cloths and rushed single layer unhemmed bunting.
I am playing around with my second quilt.
A mini, yellow, quarter version of Kate's pattern.
I think it might become a cushion cover.
We are shopping for paint to paint the whole house white.
Except the girls' bed rooms which they want blue.
I still would love a yellow kitchen but the farmer boy wont budge.
I am celebrating op shop treasures by draping them over everything that stands still for long enough.
One dollar for these two rolls of old lace! Can you believe!
And I am trying to style a few lovely corners of my home to make me feel better about the vast majority which looks like a bomb has gone off in it. Ahhhh school holidays. Love em.

What about you?
What have you been up to creatively?

Bye! x

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The second tee-pee

I'm completely obsessed with childhood at the moment.
With stretching it. Prolonging it.
With getting out and getting dirty.
With making stuff and burning stuff.
With pretending and imagining.
With climbing and swimming.
With singing and telling stories.
With laughing.
With exploring and getting lost and falling over.
With grazing your knees.

There is a bit of a tug of war beginning in this house over independence.
Over mobile phones, shopping trips with friends and over outfits.

I acknowledge and remember those feelings.
But I am trying to slow it all down.
There is so much time for those things.

These times are precious and can be magical and wonderful.


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