Thursday, October 30, 2014

Eloise the snake and a crochet giveaway

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What do you give the seven year old who has everything for her birthday?

Why an enormous stripy crocheted snake of course!!

The Sunday before the Friday of our Pepper's birthday we found ourselves asking each other this question often. Seriously, what on earth did she possibly want or need? Being our third girl the answer was most certainly not clothes, or toys, or books. And being seven the answer was most certainly nothing too babyish and nothing too grown up either. And not giving her anything just wasn't an option.

So we were stuck.

And then it occurred to me that I could make her a toy. And hopefully the fact that it would be made by me, and the fact that it would be bright and big, would kind of negate the too babyish bit

So I got to work on ravelry, found a pattern, and every night as soon as she went to sleep I got out the hooks and the cottons and started crocheting. Around, and around, and around.

And you know what? She loved it! She loves it!!

She takes it everywhere she goes, she changes its name constantly and she's even given it a much coveted place in her bed so she can snuggle it all night. (Poor old Big Ted hasn't been as happy finding himself in the crack between the wall and the bed every morning though).

Funny how I am petrified of snakes in real life yet this stripy one makes me so happy.


So, do you want to make a stripy snake for someone you love too? You know you do. The pattern is simple and totally make-able for beginners. I just used lots of scraps of cotton I had from other projects and I used these gorgeous Clover crochet hooks.

And guess what??

Gorgeous Renae of Yarn Haus has kindly offered to send one of you a packet of these wonderful hooks too. How cool is that!!

I am seriously in love with the Clover hooks. The padding is in the right place not to leave an indentation in my finger, I love the colours and I don't think I will ever use another hook again.

So if you live in Australia or New Zealand.
If you love to crochet or would love to learn.
And if you think these hooks are just what your hooky kit needs, then please leave a comment telling me something about crochet. Anything you like. And we'll choose a winner early next week, (my birthday week - YAY!)

Oh I just realised my pink hook is missing from the pics. Oops! Never fear, your kit will definitely include the pretty pink hook too.


In the meantime why don't you check our Renae's;

Gorgeous new yarn haus website here.
Go like her pretty yarn haus Facebook page here.
Go follow her fabulous yarn haus instagram account here.
And go and follow her witty yarn yarn haus twitter here.

You gotta be in it to win it!!

Happy hooking friends!!

Love Kate


PS Miss Pepper's snake is ravelled here

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a nest among the prickles


IMG_1961A week or so after we got back from our winter break up north I had a mega tantrum.

I think it started when I went down to check the asparagus patch only to find it waist high in prickly weeds. The very same thing happened in the raspberries and the strawberries. After that I was a mess. I wandered around the farm with tears streaming down my face for hours. I felt overwhelmed, out of control and completely hopeless.

It felt like we had left this place in the depths of winter and while we'd been gone the sun had come out, warmed the earth and everything had shot up and taken over. It felt like in another few months we would be like Sleeping Beauty in that fairy tale where she goes to sleep in her castle and the vines and creepers grow up and cover her home until no one knows there is anyone or anything there at all. It felt like it would take us weeks and months to get on top of all the vines and thistles and that was precious time we didn't have considering it was the start of spring and things needed to be planted.

So I wandered and wept. And I wept and wandered.

And after a while my farmer boy came and wandered with me and tried to console me and make practical plans for mowing and slashing. He would put in a few days on his tractor and I would follow behind with the brush cutter. It would be hard work but he promised we would see results quickly.

But the truth is that I knew then that we were having the same conversation but thinking two different things.

In my head I was planning a war on weeds. I would spend as much time as it took to get this place in order. I would slash from sun-up to sun-down. I would prioritise it and I would be super proud when in a few months or weeks time I would stand back and look at our manicured farm.

On the other hand I knew that my farmer boy was thinking a very different thought. He would happily mow the orchards and clean up a bit around the place, but he didn't see the horror story that I did. To him weeds aren't the sworn enemy but another part of the farm's ecosystem. He certainly doesn't want them to take over and bury us, but he doesn't want to eradicate them all together either.

So we did as we planned, we spent a few days mowing and cleaning up this place and almost immediately I felt better. I felt like I could breathe. I felt like I could cope.



But then this morning as we were walking from the house down to the bottom garden to gather some rhubarb and asparagus and broad beans for lunch, we decided to check in on the hazelnut orchard to check for fruit set. And there, under a tree, tucked into the prickliest blackberry bush there ever was, was the most beautiful little nest. A nest for a tiny bird. A nest for a bird that needs undergrowth for it's habitat and undergrowth is not really something that our local forests, having been disturbed over many years, provide.

And as we walked down and then back up the hill for lunch I opened my eyes further and saw this place differently all over again. Not so much overgrown but biodiverse.

We're thinking the nest we found is probably a fantail nest and I'm thinking good thoughts about that fantail family living happily in our hazelnut orchard. I'm also thinking about picking those hazelnuts and eating those hazelnuts and cooking with those hazelnuts come autumn-time, fingers crossed for a good harvest.

Fingers crossed I can keep seeing the habitat and move onto other pressing farm jobs.

I hope your fairy tale castle has a clear way in my friends.

Love Kate xx

Monday, October 27, 2014

Miss Pepper's floral party


Last Wednesday, two days before Miss Pepper's birthday, I was having a little bit of a moan at school about how I don't have a baby any more. About how time is flying. And about how hard it is sometimes not to feel a teensy bit sad at her milestones because they are firsts for her, but also lasts for me.

At that point one of the girls' teachers stopped me. She told me that she'd lost so many friends over the years that now she looks at ageing as a gift. We are so lucky to live our lives and watch those we love, live theirs. Life is a blessing.

I decided then and there that I want to think like that too. I want to celebrate and feel grateful and be happy and leave all that melancholy stuff behind. That especially makes sense when it comes to our Pepper, the happiest, most joyful child.


Last Thursday, one day before Miss Pepper's birthday, she told us that she wanted her world to be filled with flowers, so we filled every pot we could find with colourful blooms.

Last Friday our Pepper turned seven. We celebrated her with cards and presents and pancakes and cake and songs. I felt happy the whole day thinking about how exciting a little kid's birthday is and she had the very best day too.


Last Saturday, the day after our Pepper turned seven, eight of her best friends came over for a flower fiesta party!!


As they came in, each of the girls lay fabric flower petals and leaves and feathers on a piece of elastic and I hot glued them on for them.


I absolutely loved watching each of them create their masterpiece. Some crammed on as many petals as they could fit all the way around, some placed layer upon layer upon layer, and then some went for one single bloom - gorgeous and simple.


Once they were all crowned, we played pass the parcel with notes, pin the bees on the blossoms and musical statues.


And then my farmer boy sat the girls in a circle and taught them how to make paper flowers.


We made garlands with some, while others wore theirs as corsages or held them like posies.


Then we sang to our birthday girl, ate cake and then we danced.

Much later on, after her guests had left, the cards had been opened and the presents had been played with a bit, our family went and ate ice cream down by the lake. We played charades, we watched the ducks and then we went for a long walk. At one stage I asked our Pepper if she had enjoyed her party. I said that to me it looked like it had included all the best ingredients; yummy food, craft, music, laughing and her best friends. First she told me that I had forgotten crying, because indeed there were a few seven year old party tears. And then she told me it was the best party in the whole world, the best party ever. You gotta be happy with that.

And I totally am happy with that.

And I love that in a seven year old world crying can be part of the happiest time.

I'm hoping for happiness and not too many tears when I turn a year older next week and when Indi does not long after that.

I'm not 100% sure that this blog makes sense but it's been crazy windy and stormy since very early this morning and I feel wriggly and jiggly and rattled inside.

Enjoy your present and your presents lovely friends.

Big birthday season love from us.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

falling off the mower


Yesterday I fell off our ride on mower so today I'm starting my day off very slowly.

I didn't actually fall off but rather jumped off when I thought it was going to roll ontop of me. And actually my farmer boy says it wasn't going to roll on me, but it certainly felt like it at the time.

Looking back I know that I was being silly. I was in a rush to finish the mowing before school pick up time and instead of leaving the steep, hilly bit for the whipper-snipper, I thought I'd be smart and get it done there and then. Turns out I was not so smart. I realised I was going up the bank at too sharp an angle, I got too scared to go backwards but tried anyway, slowly, I felt like the mower tipped a bit, I slammed on the brakes, straddled it in a funny way jumping off (not haha funny) and managed to batter and bruise my legs and pride and confidence in the process. Ouchy.

I'm fine. The mower is perfectly fine. It's probably not a bad thing to happen to me at the beginning of mowing season. But this morning I'm feeling a bit achy, and instead of rushing out there to set up fences for a chook move tomorrow morning, I'm crocheting a couple of rows of Miss Pepper's stripy birthday present and writing to you.

How are you?
Are you in a rush or being gentle on yourself?

Take it easy and travel safely my friends, we'll get there in the end.

Love Kate xx

Sunday, October 19, 2014

treasure hunt party


I feel like I've spoken often here over the years about how much I love a kid's birthday party. How much I love celebrating each of my girls all the way from the planning and the invitation making, through to the themes and the cake. I love how as they get older the activities change and they get more involved in the running of things, and I really love watching the parties unfold, seeing the excitement, listening to the laughter and feeding them all the yummy treats.

Our parties are pretty low key, they are always homemade and mostly they are planned using games we played when we were kids.

A few years ago, on the anniversary of our 25th children's birthday party I wrote this list of my top 10 ingredients for throwing a top party.

Yesterday we celebrated Miss Jazzy's 11th, which was our 30th!! Wow!!

She invited her three best friends and asked us for a big treasure hunt, we wrote a list of activities and destinations and then they pretty much ran things themselves.




At the start of our farm sits something that's red
It used to plough paddocks but now it's old and it's dead
On the seat of this beast sits your very first clue
Go find it then read it and it'll tell you what to do





Walk down the driveway, turn left before the creek
Wander through the apple blossom if the next clue you seek
Keep your eyes open for a blanket or two
You must each make two pom-poms before you get the next clue



Go back to the driveway, turn left then start walking
Head to the tractor shed, not too much talking
When you get there take a seat, on a chair or the floor
You must each get your nails done before clue number four


Head on up to the place where our veggies all grow
The grass is a little long and might need a mow
There you'll find a table with some food to eat
Relax and enjoy, take a load off your feet



Now head down the path to the tee-pee of burnt sticks
Look around for a silver pot where you'll find all the tricks
Stand behind the marker and take aim at the middle
When you're done with this game, I'll hand you the next riddle



Now go back near the house for some costumes and fun
There's chocolate in the caravan please walk don't run



The next clue in this game leads you somewhere so near
A mere 20 steps away at a tiny house so dear
There you'll find the next part of this hunt that's nearly done
Show us your hand and have lots of fun




Now all that's left
Is the cake and the song
Happy birthday dear Jazzy
Thank you all for coming and playing along!!

It was wonderful. My favourite part was chucking the old eggs at the tree monster. There's something just so satisfying about the throw and the smash. Such fun!

And that's our 11, see you next week for 7.

Until then, tell me about parties at your place.
Do you do themes? Do you bake fancy cakes? Do you have favourite traditions?
I'd love to know.

Big love


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five instagram Fridays


Five Fridays have passed since I first told you about The Centre of Contemporary Photography's instagram competition. Five weeks of wondering and exploring the one word prompt given to us, five weeks of taking lots of maybe shots, and five weeks of considering the way I use instagram, the way the other contestants use instagram and what that all means in the scheme of things.

And of course it means five Fridays of uploading the final photo, five Fridays of refreshing my feed constantly to see what the other participants have posted and five Fridays of second guessing myself, of feeling happy, of feeling unprofessional, cliche, inadequate, proud and pleased.

So let me take you on a journey back through those last five Fridays and tell you a bit about the story behind each of my photos.


I had spent the few days before the fourth Friday at The Slow Living Workshop and even though I'd had my phone out taking pics the entire time, and even though I had an idea that I'd like to submit something with flowers, I drove out of there thinking that I would have to post my entry a day after. That a Saturday photo would have to be better than no photo at all.

But late that night, sitting in my car waiting for Indi to finish her school production, I found this one amongst the millions I'd taken that week. It felt perfect. Like it represented the theme and my few days exactly. The stranger in black, the contrasting yellow of the wattle and the incredibly beautifully styled table.

I captioned it - I find these internet friendships we form so interesting. We are strangers yet we know intimate details about each other's lives.



My caption - These two and their sister. Their wobbly teeth, their birthdays, their new centimetres, their new tricks, their insights, their favourite songs, their squabbles, their seasons, their accomplishments, the books they finish, the year levels they complete, each day, each hour, each minute.

I woke them up at 5.30am that Friday. Jazzy wouldn't get up. Thankfully these two did. And thankfully the greys turned to blues, turned to golden orange and became awesome. Hand holding children and sunrises are totally cliche, but for a good reason I think. There are not many more humbling experiences than watching night become day, then watching it through their eyes, and then watching them become who they are to be.



No caption this week. No close up of beach washed up pebbles, no close ups of tropical flowers or leaves or fruit.

Our Indi. On the walk through the jungle from the beach back to the house. Sandy hair, holiday face, content.



It took me a week to get this shot. Each morning for a week I'd run past the Port Douglas marina at 6.30 and hope for the best, but each day it was too windy and the ripples in the water disturbed the shot I hoped to take.

Until the seventh Friday. On that day I ran, I photographed just in case and not until I got home and flicked through my photo stream did I realise I'd gotten it. I flipped it for fun, didn't caption it and posted it before 8am, record!!



Last Friday morning I walked through our forest with a bucket of watered down clay we had taken from our dam and a paint brush. I chose three blackened trees, loaded some podcasts on my phone and got to work painting stripes.

I borrowed this idea from our wonderful friend and local artist Petrus Spronk. A few months ago he came over to our house and shared a DVD of his own works using clay to paint the trees near his home. He is fascinated with the horizontal stripes in the vertical forest. And we all loved hearing the stories of his beautiful images as much as we loved looking at the photos of them.

Totally and completely inspired, I asked his permission to paint some of our own blackened forest and to my delight he agreed.

So on the eighth Friday I painted, and while it wasn't exactly easy to make even stripes on the charred bark, it was meditative. And when I finally stood back, I liked what I saw. And I photographed it and then I came down the hill to the house and posted it. I love that I can see the stripy trees from my kitchen window when I am doing the dishes.

My caption reads - Horizontal lines in an otherwise vertical forest. White dam clay against the 2009 bushfire burnt trees. With love and gratitude for the concept to my artist friend Petrus Spronk.

And that's it! Until this Friday of course. Better get my thinking cap on.

If you are following this on instagram I'm sorry for the repetition.
If you'd like to see my first three pics you can check them out here.
You can click on the #ccpsalonig hashtag on instagram to see what the other nine grammers are posting.
And if you feel like it you can even join in too by posting your own responses to the prompts using the #diyccpsalon hashtag.

Phew, did you get all that? I hope so.

I also hope you are well and happy.

Until next time, may your light be just right.

Big love! xx

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

snippety snippets


So the holidays are over and we've hit the ground running. It's springtime in our part of the world and although it's not quite tee-shirt weather yet, I feel like things are changing and I'm going to have to move fast and spend my time carefully to keep up.

I feel like we've had a great rest. I feel like I've had the time to really work out my priorities and I feel ready to work hard for and at the things I love and the things that inspire me and make me happy.

I feel like I've got loads to share with you here too, but before any of that let's do a quick catch up. Here are some of the early October snippets of my life.

ADMIRING the peony roses. We are generally a bit useless when it comes to growing anything that's not edible, but the peonies seem to take care of themselves. Each year they flower for Jazzy's birthday and each year I am astounded by their beauty and make a mental note to plant more. More roses and more flowers in general. We can't eat them but they certainly feed us in other ways. They make me happy, they make this place beautiful and they make me stop for a bit and be in the moment admiring them. Love!


Technically I'm not CROCHETING anything but I have plans. I'm searching Ravelry for a hat pattern for my cold headed, awesome friend Andi who shaved her gorgeous raven locks to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. Pretty great hey!!

And I'm also queuing patterns for my Softie For Mirabel softie. I'm thinking I might make a kitty this year. Or a bird. Are you making one too?

I'm READING this book. Oh my goodness how I want to be a shepherdess. And a spinner. And a natural dyer. And I want to sell a Daylesford Organics yarn to people all around the world. And I want to work out if there is a way we can do it all from here in a certified organic/biodynamic way.

I'm a little bit obsessed but I feel like our probable plans to travel next year are putting the brakes on this new direction. Or maybe it's making me change the direction of our travels into woolly research. We'll see.


I'm SMELLING all of the blossom. I'm fighting for space to get my nose in deep with the bees. And I'm dreaming of quinces and plums and almonds and apples and nashis and berries. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.....


Unfortunately we're still LIGHTING the fire for warmth. I had hoped that our days of collecting, splitting, hauling, stacking, lighting and cleaning would be over for another season by now, but I should have known better. Hopefully soon we'll be down to overnight burns only. And by then it'll probably be fire season.


I'm still KNITTING my love heart socks. Knitting time at home is so much scarcer than on holidays.


And I'm MISSING little holiday bare legs and arms photobombing my pics.


We're EATING kale on everything, in everything and around everything. We planted a ridiculous amount this year and now I want the space back.


I'm incredibly GRATEFUL for this beautiful 100% natural Polwarth wool that Tom from Tarndie Heritage Sheep Farm sent me.

Tom's great-great grandfather developed the Polwarth sheep on their farm in the 1800's to better suit the southern climate and now 100 years later they are still farming the sheep and now they are selling the wool on their big cartel site. Imagine what Tom's great-great grandfather would think of that?! Amazing!!

I haven't had a chance to knit with the Polwarth yet but I can tell you that it is soft and squishy and the colours are gorgeous, all the most important ingredients in a good yarn I think.

IMG_1568 And finally, I'm EXAMINING our wisteria vines as they naturally weave themselves into the roof of our carport. I think I need to make some time for some basket making, and wreath making and weaving soon before they wake up and sprout leaves and flower. I think the clock is ticking on my big basket dreaming, maybe this weekend the sun will shine and I'll get out my secateurs and get to work.

And that's me, all caught up and ready to press go.

How about you?
What are you admiring, crocheting, reading, smelling, lighting, knitting, missing eating, examining and grateful for?
Let me know in the comments, or perhaps you'd like to make a blog post of your own?

Until then, I hope some fun stuff is happening in your world.

Big love


Monday, October 6, 2014

This week you might like to....


VOTE for My Bearded Pigeon in the Etsy Design Awards.

I met Cath, Ms My Bearded Pigeon, online a few years ago right after we had both just started blogging. Each Thursday we, along with a couple of hundred other craft bloggers, would share our creative spaces and what we'd been up to.

I liked Cath straight away. I loved her creativity, her parenting and living style, the fact that she'd also moved from the city to the country and I really admire the fact that she always stands up for what she believes to be right, always supports other people’s projects and is always enthusiastic, encouraging and kind.

A few years ago Cath came up with a gorgeous organic cushion design which she handmade in her lounge room at home and then started selling on Etsy. When the world fell in love with her cushions and she found she couldn’t make them all herself, she employed other mothers in her community to help her with the cutting and the sewing. Other mothers who could sit up at their kitchen tables stitching and still be there when their kids woke up or got home from school. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I also think it’s pretty awesome that Cath herself juggling motherhood, running a household, going to work, being a constant and supportive friend, fighting copyright issues and copycats, has grown her business, come up with loads of new designs while always sticking to her ethics.

Voting for Cath puts her in the running to win a mentoring session with Clare Bowditch and also a trip to New York.

Voting is quick and easy, it’s free, it gives you the chance to win a $250 Etsy gift card and it would mean the world to Cath.

Vote for My Bearded Pigeon here.

Sponsor Pottymouth Mama to wear a dress each day in October and raise some much needed funds for ovarian cancer research. Every cent she raises goes to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF).

Currently there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer and the OCRF relies completely on the support of the community and business. 

Here are some stats I found on Lexi's blog;

  • Every ten hours, one woman dies from ovarian cancer in Australia
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death of all gynaecological cancers
  • Unlike other cancers, there is NO early detection test
  • Over 50% of the community incorrectly believe a pap smear diagnoses ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian cancer has a lower survival rate than both breast and cervical cancer
  • When detected and treated early 80-100% of women will survive beyond five years compared with only 20-30% when diagnosed at a late stage

This is Lexi's third year of participating in frocktober and it would be great to help her make it the biggest yet.

Please sponsor Lexi by clicking this link.


READ this little interview I did over on Kellie's blog.


MAKE a soft toy for Softies For Mirabel

I love this one. Each year for the past eight years, Pip and the Meet Me At Mikes crew have encouraged crafters all over the world to make and donate a soft toy for The Mirabel Foundation, an organisation that cares for children affected by parental substance abuse. 

As an obsessive compulsive crafter myself, the thought of something I have created with my own two hands making a small difference to a child's life, warms my heart.

Softies can be stitched, crocheted, knitted, woven or felted. Above is the softie I made back in 2010, you can check out all the others in the flickr group.

I still haven't decided what form my softie will take this year but I think it's probably about time I took a break from my sock-a-thon, don't you?

Keep up to date with the softies project over at Meet Me At Mikes.

I think that's it from me for now.
So tell me, are you going to vote or sponsor or read or make?
Were you a creative spacer or have you made a softie before?
Do you have anything going on that you think I should know about?

I hope you have a wonderful week.
I hope your sun shines and that you find the time to do something that you love.

Big love


Visit my other blog.