Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday night blog

One of my girls told me the other day that she wondered if she was spending too much time on social media lately looking at people having fun in the sun on the other side of the world at the beach and by swimming pools. She wondered if I thought it might be a problem. The funny thing in our house, is that our girls are so much more responsible and aware of their social media habits and the impact they have on their lives and thought patterns than I am.

After we spoke about it for a while I realised that I've been doing the same. I'm not looking at cute teenagers in vintage bikinis under umbrellas on pristine beaches, but I am most definitely hunting for photos of brightly coloured rows of summer flowers, farmers and gardeners working in their fields and orchards in the sunshine, women and families in summer dresses, and other pictures where the light streaming in looks warm and golden.

It's freezing here. It's often misty, the skies are white and there's icy cold moisture in the air. My face hurts from the cold and when I go outside I have to wear so many layers of clothing and scarves and hats and gloves that I can hardly move.

The following photos that I've taken over the past few days, one week after the solstice, one month into winter, are the exact opposite of those that I've been gazing dreamily at; they're dark and they're moody and they look cold, but maybe if you've  been sweltering in the sunshine on the other side of the world, they'll be exactly what you've been looking for to cool you down (yeah right!). They tell the story of our season anyway.

Our big girls have been on school holidays for the past week and there has been non-stop guitar strumming, lyric learning and melody writing going on. It's been such a joy to have their music floating through the air, down corridors, from behind closed doors, in the lounge room, in the kitchen, in the sun room, in bedrooms. Once I had to ask for a few moments of silence so I could concentrate on a piece of writing and follow a thought through, but the rest of the time I can't stop smiling and singing along and wondering if they know how lucky they are to have this passion and how awesome it is that they can share it, and wondering how things are going to change now that Pepper is on school holidays too.

As I wrote at the end of last week's blog, my farmer boy got on his lathe and turned a couple of door handles for my studio. It took him a few goes to find the right wood, and then the right shape, but now that they're complete I'll be reminded of him and his craftsmanship every time I open and close my studio door. Bespoke door handles...seriously!

And speaking of my studio, this week the insulation went into the walls.

I spent a few days with my farmer boy pushing floor boards from the old Malvern Star factory through the thicknesser.

Then Jobbo cut them to size.

And then they started lining the interior walls with them. They'll need another light sand to smooth them down, but gosh they're looking great. And by the end of today they'll hopefully be close to done and it'll be time to fit out the inside. Can you imagine! Honestly I'm not sure I really can yet. It feels kind of huge and unbelievable. But also ridiculously exciting at the same time.

And despite the icy cold air, we've been out farming. We finally finished pulling the nets off the trees, I pulled out masses of summer flowers, started digging up the dahlia tubers, planted some more bulbs, some sweet peas and some hollyhocks and finished with the wood splitter.

Mostly, once I'm out and into a job I quite enjoy it, once my blood is pumping, and once I'm making a difference, but psyching myself up to get out in it is another thing entirely.

I've almost finished knitting another pair of Uppsala slippers for Bren's dad John.

I've been reading and really enjoying my Mum's library copy of The Good Brother.

And we're watching Friday Night Lights again but this time with our big girls who are loving it.

I was just about to sign off for the week when I heard a bit of activity outside and decided to go and check it out for myself. And then when I saw what everyone was getting excited about of course I had to go and get my camera and include you too.

The beautiful hand-nailed Malvern Star floor wall, the windows, my farmer boy builder, and the chairs that I had seen outside a shop in town today when we were driving home from Pepper's parent teacher interview. I screeched to a halt outside but there was already a woman there buying them. I sat in the car wishing for her to change her mind while Bren went out to negotiate. He asked the shop owner but she said he was five minutes too late so he started walking back to the car.

I can't tell you how disappointed I felt. I've been scouring the internet for months for these chairs and then here they were outside a shop in our town. It felt like a sign.

But then, what do you know, the shop lady came to the window of the car and asked for our phone number because she wasn't convinced the other lady would buy them. And then as we were hunting for a pen and piece of paper she decided that she wouldn't. They were too much of a risk for her Airbnb. They were ours! Some for the sun-room, one for the deck of my studio and maybe one for inside. I'm thrilled!

Thrilled! If only it wasn't hurting cold outside I'd move in immediately.

I had a conversation this morning with an old blogging buddy of mine from eight+ years ago. She stopped making and blogging years ago and it felt a bit weird to say that I'm still here, still creating, photographing, writing and still pressing publish. She's moved on but I've stayed in the same place. After all this time, after all these posts. But then as we hung up and I plugged my card reader into my computer and sat down to write today's blog, I felt so pleased to be here. It felt like coming home. Who knows how long I'll go on for, but for now I'm happy to prioritise Friday blog day and I guess that as long as it feels good, I still will.

So tell me lovelies, what have you been working on today?
What's the soundtrack to your life at the moment?
What's your favourite way to deal with weather that hurts you?
And what are you still doing after all this time?
Do tell.

See you next week!

Love, Kate x


  1. I've been loving the summer photos from the other side of the world too, but the morning fog and frost are so beautiful and I love to see the girls sitting together near the fire inside. Also beanie weather is the best when you don't want to brush your hair.

    1. 'Beanie weather is the best when you don't want to brush your hair!!!!' I love that so much and I can't work out how it is that I never came up with it myself. SO much hair here and so many beanies. xx

  2. Hi Kate, here in sunny Cornwall u.k enjoying the sunshine, reading 'into the water' by Paula Hawkins...loving your post (as always)...thinking that in no time you will be enjoying your summer, when our winter comes...knitting vanilla socks, and baby cardigans for my niece!...walking my dog...thinking of work tomorrow..listening to nature..enjoying some silence...wishing you all a great week x

    1. It all sounds beautiful Sue. I saw that book reviewed somewhere the other day and thought it sounded like a goodie. Enjoy the sunshine for me. xx

  3. The studio looks gorgeous, and even if it’s cold so does the rest of the farm through your lense.

    Sometimes I think there’s not enough value placed on consistency, and maintaining community. Our society values ‘growth’ and change over all things (driven by economic concepts?) yet continuing to be present in the same space should have value too. Also, even if it’s still the same space that does not mean there’s been no creative chance. It may be growth of a different kind.

  4. I'm in a real meal funk, so I was wondering if some time Kate you might do a blog about the main meals you've had during the week?
    Really I'm just looking for some inspiration.
    As for your studio, just gorgeous, what a wonderful space it will be.

    Cheers Kate

  5. Just finished reading The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Attwood and now reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Ann Mary Shaffer. Cross stitching Wrendale design hedgehog for first grand child due in November and crocheting and knitting for first grand child due in November. Enjoying the sunshine and gardening and when time allows baking.

    Mitzi - East Midlands UK

  6. Oh Dear Kate, I love that our seasons are opposite each other. I love seeing the frosty pictures you post and hearing about the freezing temperatures you are having whilst I am sweltering in 90 degree heat (or even sweltering in 76 degrees) for you see I am a winter child. We just got through one of our worst winters with just short 1 inch of breaking a record of 200 inches of snow. And while I do not want THAT much snow any time soon the delicious cold temperatures that went with it are just my cup of tea. Hee Hee. And the lovely thing about that is when I need a break from all that snow and cold I know that I can get my fix of sunshine and flowers while reading your blog with all its loveliness. Truly it is exactly what the doctor ordered all year long. So please, just because others may feel continuing something for so long is standing still and they have moved on, does not mean that blogging for years means anyone is stuck as long as you feel it serves a purpose in your life and that we keep coming back week after week to serve a purpose for us. For me, reading your blog is like getting lost in a good book and imagining I am part of that story and hating when your come to the last page. Your story hasn't reached the last page yet and I will continue to enjoy it. How can reading about sunshine and flowers and veggies and and and ever get old?

  7. I have spent the past two days travelling to support a relative then back home, but will spend the weekend at a felting workshop making a bag! I look forward to Fridays and your blog every week. Thank you Kate. xx

  8. Great post again Kate. I’ve been helping my sister at her cafe on the beach. Warm sunshine but still very breezy. Still knitting my KAL and enjoying the warmer weather at last. Your studio is looking really good, bet you can’t wait to get in.

  9. Writing from a hot desert in the Southwest of the USA, I can say that I do indeed find myself sometimes longing for the weather you're having down there. The first chills of autumn and then the cozy warmth of winter sounds so pleasant right now. The grass is always greener!
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  10. At the beginning of a long,hot summer, I’m jealous of your winter! And when winter is here I’ll be drooling over all your beautiful flowers.
    I think social media is great for learning about people you would never have a chance to meet in person, and there is so much beautiful inspiration easily found online. But it is important to remember that it is often idealized and not reality.

  11. So envious of your lovely studio, the walls look amazing. I'm struggling with the 30 plus temperature here in the south west of the uk. The sunshine is wonderful if you don't have to go out in it and watering our large allotment daily is a chore as it's still really hot past 6pm. Mustn't grumble as we rarely get summers like this. Just started reading the Flavia de Luce series of books by Alan Bradley, rip roaring fun!

  12. Hello again Kate!
    I love that you're still blogging after all this time, I've also been blogging for a while but not nearly as long (or consistently) as you and I've just jumped back into it after taking a break for a few months.
    This morning I got up extra early and I've been knitting on a Boy Sweater for a neighbours baby who turns 1 this week, so lovely to knit baby garments, I'd forgotten how quickly they happen! Now I'm snuggled under a blanket catching up on Kate's world before I get up to start the day and head off to work.
    Have a lovely weekend xx

  13. oh it's all so beautiful, you post today. All the photos and the words. Love your new /old chairs and the studio looks amazing. Not as cold here as you guys get but I'm not in a hurry for summer after the last one.Keep warm. xx

  14. Loved the photos of the girls with the guitars and that last photo of hubby on the chairs in the studio he hand wonderful.

  15. The Good Brother, I think I read that, was one a doctor? With elderly parents? If it's the same book, I loved it!

  16. BTW, love the chairs, what brand are they Kate?

  17. Your studio is really coming along, it looks so beautiful already. You must be getting super excited for it.
    I love Catherine's comments above about growth vs consistency. It wasn't long ago that consistency was more highly valued. For me it's about looking inwards to find my own values and trying to focus on those no matter what others are doing and society says I should be focusing on -easier said than done at times.
    My favourite way to deal with unfavourable weather is to retreat inside and stick my nose in a book and another world until it passes (although less of an option these days with very young kids).
    Always lovely to drop by and enjoy your pics and stories from the week Kate. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I've been blogging for 10 years and only recently, instead of throwing it all away, I changed my blog name and revamped it. It's bloomin'scary and I have about a third of the readers I had but I like this world of telling stories and sharing photographs, particularly when I got to see the other side of the world.
    My coping mechanism for weather that is too much is yoga and a good book, though not at the same time :)
    Don't stop now!! x

  19. Plessers, don’t stop blogging! I love reading your posts. And... it’s summer in Holland. And it’s a lovely summer. But very dry. June is the month with the less rain ever... We were asked not watering the garden. And I starters knitting a scarf for winter...

  20. I wrote please.... Blogger had difficulties with writing english.

  21. Beautiful floorboards and chairs! It must have felt like winning the elusive lotto to be able to bring those home! I'm loving this weather, it's cold contrast to our hot summers, up north here. I too write a blog, I just like words really. It's the first time I've ever really consistently written anything and the practise of doing so just feels right. How long for? Who knows ... until it doesn't feel right anymore probably. Meg:)

  22. Hi Kate. I love your post. I am one of 'those bloggers' who started out years ago and drifted away as my girls got bigger and life moved on. I've been lamenting the loss of the old blogospher as I've started writing again. I find old blogrolls and my heart dips when the links are gone. I wish they'd all come back!! (And btw - those chairs are fabulous!)

  23. It's my 'Hello Weekend' routine to read your posts. Last weekends was heaven, looking at the frost pictures. I've just now got back from the beach here in Southern California, my face is wind-burnt from riding a Harley home (How 'Very'). Like your daughters I was watching the suntanned girls with their surfboards and realised I felt jealous. Why? It's ridiculous, I was there too! They do all have fabulous bottoms though. Grrrr, 43 on bottom headed south along time ago. Probably following Australian seasons.

  24. Bren and Jobbo (and you) have done a great job on the studio - Bren looks pleased as punch sitting in that chair!
    It gets cold by my Melburnian born and bred blood's standard in Seattle - fridge temps are common in winter. I have thick raincoats in various colours, none black or dull, that help keep me warm and my double knitted or brioche knits help keep me warmer when I do go outside. If I'm outside for long, I wear fleece-lined tights or leggings under my pants and water-resistant snow boots on my feet. We get a lot of dull drizzly days here so staying snug is essential!
    Technically it is almost summer here but we are getting Junuary with 18C temps and drizzle. Blah! Give me my blue skies, sunshine and mid-20C days!

  25. These pictures of your studio make me all kinds of happy! I love checking in each week and seeing the progress.

    I just love checking in here. I'm terribly glad you're still blogging x

  26. I rarely ever comment, buy I am so happy that you still write this bog!I happened upon your page about 5 years ago when I was up all night pregnant with my first. While my husband slept soundly, I would be up reading your posts and looking at all the beautiful pictures. Now I am pregnant with my third, and I am still smiling and sympathizing with your posts. And in the midst of these heat waves, its nice to remember the cooler weather (even though I'm sure you'd like to swap!) Please keep being wonderful :-) I really enjoy this space you've created!

  27. We’re glad you’re still here too, Kate!!
    Your blog is a warming balm xx


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Kate XX

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