Friday, July 27, 2018

from my studio

Hello friends! I'm writing to you today from inside my studio!!!

Yesterday the boys did the last bits of work on her and then they packed up their tools and left. By the time I got home from having coffee with a friend in Macedon it was no longer theirs but mine. It's so funny how that happens: one minute the building site belongs to them and the next they knocked on the door to come and see what I was up to.

What I was up to was listening to Missy Higgins on my headphones, washing the place from top to bottom with a cloth and warm soapy water, and having a little cry at the enormity of it all. 

It feels HUGE! And to be honest I'm not even sure what I'll spend my time doing in here, other than being alone, and probably knitting, and drawing, and writing, and hopefully painting, and possibly embroidering, and reading, and drinking tea, and hiding from my family, and lying on the bed in the mezzanine watching the tops of the trees blowing in the wind, and not being distracted by the housework, and valuing my own creativity, and enjoying my own company; we'll see.

I can't begin to tell you how much I love it. I'm sitting here in my chair alternating between typing words and looking out the windows at the little yellow-breasted birds drinking the nectar from the banksia flowers and I'm making plans for all the things I want to do in here over the weekend. Starting with washing the windows and bringing some plants in.

Okay, so how's your week been?
Here's a bit of mine;

july 21

On Saturday Miss Pepper put the finishing touches on her skirt. It was a funny old sewing lesson considering I hadn't touched my machine for years and years and we probably made every single mistake there was to make, but we both learnt something from each of them and it all looked great and fitted well in the end and that's probably all that matters anyway. That and that she wants to have another go at it again soon.

july 22

On Sunday, just as the sun was setting, we walked into the forest to collect some kindling for the fire and to take some photos of the skirt she made and of the cardigan I knitted her.

Cardigan details here.

july 23

On Monday my mum and I attended the first of five introduction to floristry classes we signed up for at our local neighbourhood house. In the first class we talked a bit, learnt how to make a basic posy and made wreaths out of grape vines and wisteria. We both had such fun and are really looking forward to next week's class.

When I came home I pulled some tubs of stewed apple and plum I'd made last summer, pureed the fruit, poured the mixture onto sheets, popped it in the dehydrator and then cut it into strips and rolled them up for the girls' lunches.

Here's a blog post how-to I wrote a few years ago.

july 24

These mid winter days I find myself constantly hunting for signs of spring. The green tips of the jonquils gave me cause to squeal with delight one cold and frosty morning.

And while these are still not brilliant photos of farmer Bren's turned bowls, they give you an idea of how sweet they look sitting on the top shelf in the shed in their nest of wood shavings. I had to climb up a ladder and hang precariously off to one side to take those photos, hopefully I'll get some action shots of him making them for next week.

july 25

On Wednesday the boys sanded the floor and then built the little deck off the side of my studio. I can only imagine how beautiful it will look in a few weeks' time when the ornamental almond is in blossom, and then when the days warm up it'll be such a perfect spot to sit with a book.

july 26

And then yesterday the shelves went up around the window seat, the final shingles were nailed to the front and the studio was handed over.

Late last night I came in to make sure the heater was off. I climbed up to the mezzanine, laid down on the slats, watched the spot-lit tops of the trees in the forest and listened to the sounds of the night. I was there for quite a while before summoning up the energy to return to the chaos and the hormones and the craziness and the dramas of late Thursday night. When it gets warmer I think I might stay out there from time to time.

july 27

This morning we hung out in my studio for a while after the big girls had gone off to school with my mum. We climbed up and down the ladder, we lay on the mezzanine, we sat in the window box and we admired the light and where the shadows lay. 

There's still so much cleaning and wiping and dusting to do after the sanding settled a thick layer of dust on every surface, but I decided to put that aside for the weekend and to write my blog in here today instead. I'm well practised at looking past any urgent cleaning, so that part was easy.

Which brings me to now. To finish at the very same place that I started. Sitting on a chair, in my brand new studio, with my lap-top on my lap, typing words in between watching the world outside and the shadows dancing inside.

So far all that I've brought in here with me is the chair that I'm sitting on, my computer and charger, my card reader, the socks that I'm casting off and the swatch that I've just cast on.

It's 4pm and the winter sun has just disappeared behind the trees in front of me. It's my favourite time of the day to take photos mid-winter, but today I think I'll just sit here and watch.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend my friends.
I hope you've got a good book to cuddle up with, and a nice cozy spot to snuggle up in.
And something interesting to tell me. Go on?

Oh and she'll need to be named of course, any suggestions?

See you next week you guys.

Lots of love,


Friday, July 20, 2018

deep dark winter

This is me right now. It's Friday afternoon, it's miserable and rainy outside, I'm wearing socks I knitted last year and although I have absolutely nothing to complain about, I'm feeling flat and a bit grumpy.

It's crazy what a hold winter has on me because despite the constant reminding myself of all the wonderful things going on in my life, I don't seem to have any control of my mood. It's deep winter, it's been days since we last saw any sunshine, and the arctic gale blasting outside is so icy as it pinches and whips.

It's tempting to make a list of my many blessings here in the hope that it will somehow tip my balance over into the happy, but the truth is that this blog is all about the seasons and the seasonal, and this it appears is my annual, seasonal reality.

So let's get on with the week shall we.

july 14

Last weekend we had some friends to stay on our farm and on Saturday they came up to our house with a bucket full of shakshuka and some Turkish bread and together we cooked and then sat around to eat. We knew these friends at school, we had our kids at the same time, and now here we are as families sharing stories and food all these years later. How wonderful that feels.

july 15

Bren has been turning bowls again. This latest batch are the size of salad bowls and they're incredibly beautiful. He makes the bowls from the wood while it's still green and he leaves the edges thick so that when they dry out he can put them back on the lathe and reshape them. I'll take some better photos for next week's blog so you can see the scale and the shapes.

july 16

On Monday I looked around my room at the piles of books and unfinished knitting projects and decided to make a bit of sense of it all before the big move into my studio in a few weeks time. I put books back up on the shelves, I folded up bits of material and I finished the last few rows of a few knitting projects, then I soaked them and blocked them.

It's crazy how I'm always in such a rush to cast on and knit a new project, but then I often leave them for dead so close to the finish line. 

Hopefully these two will be dry, photographed and worn before the weekend is through.

july 17

There's nothing quite like the feeling of finishing a book you really didn't like the tone of and starting something new and fresh. So far The Dry is everything I need in a book right now; it's engaging, entertaining, suspenseful, and steady paced, thank you Jane Harper.

july 18

On Wednesday Bren and Jobbo made one of my life-long dreams come true when they built me a window-box for my studio. It's incredible how much of a difference it's made to the space by framing the window and the view and inviting you to stop and sit. I imagine many a future blog post will be written in that new spot.

july 19

The power was out for most of the day yesterday so I planted seeds and split wood and the boys nailed shingles onto the front of my studio.

There's a small chance that by this time next week it will no longer be a building site but a small studio instead. Imagine that?!

july 20

The package full of yarn that I ordered full of typos last week arrived this morning. I think I'm going to use the yarn in the top photo to knit a Telija. But first I must finish those wine coloured socks. I pulled them apart twice more during the week. Once because the pattern I was knitting was driving me crazy and not at all fun to knit, and then again when I found a few mistakes. Fourth time lucky I'm going to knit them plain the whole way up to the cuff where I might do something fancy. Watch this space.

Which brings me to now and a little bit of surprise and relief that I managed to string all of those words together considering the grumpiness and the PMS and the rain. As soon as I've published I'll put some wood on both fires, hang out the washing, water my seeds, help Bren with the dinner and hopefully sneak in an episode of The Crown before the girls get home from school.

Hooray for the weekend!

Do you have anything fun planned?
Does your mood sometimes defy justification?
Do you know how much of a difference watching Glow on the iPad while running on the treadmill has made to my endurance?
Do you love peanut butter on corn crackers?
Do you know why our cat spends the day sleeping outside in the cold when she could easily sleep inside by the fire?
What else?

See you next week lovelies.

Love, Kate x

Friday, July 13, 2018

a break from the rhythm

Just as I was about to start writing my blog today I read back through an email I wrote on my phone last night and sent to someone about buying some yarn. It contained two of the most awful typos I've ever made. In my defence I'd just returned from a five-hour round trip to take Indi to Melbourne, but still...

Firstly I wrote that I was interested in the yarn she was advertising on the death page. The DEATH page!!!! Of course I meant to write the destash page and my phone changed it. Actually my computer is trying to change it to death as I type this right now too! There's no hope. And secondly I wrote that I was going to use her yarn to nit. NIT!!!!!! a colour-work sweater. I'm mortified. If I were the seller I'm not even sure I could sell yarn from a death page for someone to nit with. I only hope she's a bigger person than me and can look past it.

I'll keep you posted.

Let's get back to the past week while we wait.

july 7

Last Saturday night we took our big girls to see a gig at a pub in Castlemaine. They found out about it, they booked it, and because it was at a licensed venue, they took us with them so that they could get in. And while we hung out at the back swaying to the music, I got a crystal clear glimpse into the future. Our two were holding glasses of (ginger) beer, pushing their way to the very front, dancing and singing, chatting with those around them, waiting in line to get their tee-shirts signed, speaking to the artist about song writing and playing, and spending the entire drive home dissecting every moment. It was such a great night. 

july 8

On Sunday we packed up our car and drove for an hour to an Airbnb near our girls' school. Jazzy had rehearsals for the musical all week, Pepper was away, and we all desperately needed a break from the routine.

The night before I had learned that later this year there will be a new knitting emoji added to the emojipedia which reminded me of a great podcast, so as Indi drove we listened to it again - 99% Invisible - Person in Lotus Position - it's so interesting and I highly recommend a listen if you haven't heard it before.

When we arrived we discovered that our host had gotten the dates mixed up and that the place hadn't been set up for us, so he sent us to the local pub for a meal on him while he arranged it all. Upon our return a few hours later we soon had the fire roaring and we settled in to watch all the media reports about the rescue of the Thai boys trapped in the cave.

And I finished knitting the beanie I started last week and as I predicted ran out of yarn before the end. I'm hoping that the addition of a pom pom will soften that charcoal bit at the top.
The details are here.

july 9

On Monday after we delivered Jazzy to school for rehearsals, we set Indi up at the kitchen table with her school books and went for a brisk walk in the icy cold to explore our surroundings. I was very interested to see that their daffodils were up and flowering while ours at home haven't even pushed their way out of the ground yet.

Then we settled in for a lazy day of watching episodes of The Crown and knitting socks.

It made me smile later on that evening when I listened to bits of the new song Jazzy was writing and heard the words kings and queens; she wouldn't watch it with us but somehow it still snuck into the lyrics.

And then that night, once everyone was asleep and the house was quiet, I finally finished reading Heart of Darkness, thank goodness. I can't say that I enjoyed reading even one page of it but now that it's over and I am able to hold my own in literary discussions with Indi, I'm glad I persevered. Reading your comments about your struggles really did make me feel better about my own, so thanks for those.

And then, even though it was terribly late, I started reading The Tattooist of Auchwitz. Bren had heard the author interviewed a few weeks before and said it came very highly recommended. I'm not at all looking forward to it, but I am looking forward to it, if that makes any sense.

july 10

On Tuesday we drove to the top of Mount Macedon and walked around admiring the view. And while it was icy cold it didn't snow like it did on the two days after that.

On our way back from collecting Jazzy from school we popped into and explored a rare-plant nursery. The owner told us how disappointed he felt that so many people prefer to buy plants at huge shopping complexes these days rather than from small, interesting, slightly more expensive but definitely more unusual ones. We left wishing we'd had money with us and vowing to return in spring time.

When we got home I pulled apart the socks I'd been knitting and cast on another pattern that when stretched out on the foot wouldn't be lacy and holey and impractical for farm boot wear.

And then over dinner the girls taught us all about the anatomy of a song and we listened to so many to dissect all the little bits. I'm fascinated by their passion, and the music that's coming out of them. It feels like such a gift both to them as a way to express themselves, and to us to be surrounded by it.

july 11

On Wednesday, we packed up and left our beautiful country retreat, somewhat reluctantly, and headed to Melbourne to pick up our Pepper. We'd had a wonderful break from the farm, from our routines, from our to-do lists and from that feeling that everywhere you look there's more to be done.

Of course we had a little photo shoot on the way out.

In Melbourne we kissed and hugged our smallest who we'd all missed like crazy, we shared lunch with Bren's parents and we tried our luck at a local op shop where I hit the jackpot in the book department. I always feel rich when I've got a stack of books waiting and this lot will keep me going for a while.

july 12

Yesterday we did that thing you do when you've been away from home for a while even though it had only been a couple of days. We walked around the garden looking for new growth, we visited my studio to admire the progress, we unpacked and did washing, we enjoyed our own space and then we all sat down to do homework and write some articles.

july 13

Today. The sun is shining brilliantly outside, my parents are just home from overseas and we have friends staying for a few nights, so I really wanted to write this blog quickly today, but it hasn't happened. I took so many photos of the last week that it's taken me ages to edit them down, my brain isn't working properly after a dreadful night's sleep, and I just want to sit in the sun-room and knit squares of my scrappy sock blanket instead.

But the yarn seller kindly chose not to mention my typos and to sell me the yarn so I'm happy. Now I just want it to arrive so I can cast on.

How's your week been anyway?
Has auto-correct embarrassed you lately?
Do you know the difference between the pre-chorus and the chorus?
Have you watched The Crown?
Do you find it hard to resist a jungly nursery?
Do you love a mini break?

I wonder.

See you next week and thanks so much for your kindness!


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