my smile inducers… august

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I finally heard from my son yesterday after quite a few weeks of no contact… I’m such a worrier when things go quiet. He’s volunteering at an animal refuge in Bolivia and tells me ‘things are fantastic’. He’s been travelling since January and it’s the longest I’ve ever gone without seeing him. But I’ll be meeting him at Machu Picchu soon (OMG I still can’t believe it!), and he’s so so happy and that makes my heart smile!

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My gorgeous daughter and her lovely fiancée have decided to get married in Iceland… by themselves! And although this makes me a bit sad that I won’t see her getting married, there are two things about this that make me smile. One is that there’ll be a big party to celebrate when they get back and they will be wearing their wedding outfits so I’ll still get to her as a beautiful bride. And two is that I’m so damn proud of her doing it her way. As you can see from this cute photo, she loves adventure and travel. The fact that her wedding will include both of these things is testament to her living her dream and following her big beautiful heart. Heart smiles all ’round.

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We are blessed with a lot of lovely Leo women in our family, so August means lots of yummy birthday cake and a family birthday gathering. My amazing sis made all of those cakes! And I can vouch for 3 of them, they were delicious! I couldn’t eat the cup cakes for my sweet nieces sweet 16th birthday as they weren’t gluten free, otherwise I would have had four pieces of birthday cake! Flourless Chocolate Brownie cake, Pavlova cake and Persian Love Cake smiles.

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Hubby has been getting lots of orders in for his Stockman Leathercraft hand plaited belts lately. He’s been plaiting non stop every night when he gets home from work. I love that people want to buy his beautifully crafted belts and it makes me smile when he has that ‘I just sold another belt’ smile on his face. There’s something special about that feeling when people appreciate your craft, it makes your heart smile.

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I’m finally ready to list my Popping Candy Blanket in the shop. I think if I wait to take the photos that I’ll be happy with, I’ll never get my stuff listed. So this baby is in the shop, ready or not! I have to laugh at myself being so pedantic about my photos. I need to accept that I can’t take the best photos of my finished products for the shop, but I do the best I can and should just get over myself wanting them to be perfect. So I’ve been doing a bit of smiling at myself lately, and given myself a good talking to about unrealistic expectations. Tell me, do you do that? You know, shake your head at yourself and have a bit of a giggle?

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Making this custom blanket order, it makes me smile every time I pick it up. I haven’t worked with pure alpaca for a while, I’ve been using a lot of alpaca blends, or wool or cotton. But pure alpaca is such a delight to crochet with. And what makes my smile beam from ear to ear, is knowing I’m heading to alpaca-yarn-city soon! Our trip to Peru is not far off and my hubby is under strict instructions to pack light so he can take an empty suitcase which I will joyfully fill with alpaca yarn! He’s got a new nickname for the trip, Alpacapacker.

So many reasons to smile, I do feel very lucky that these smile inducing things are going on in my life right now… And what about you? Is there something that’s been making you smile lately? Are they heart smiles or regular smiles or both? Add your link on the froggy below so I can pop over and see what’s making you smile or hashtag #mysmileinducers on Instagram.

Wishing you smiley days and happy hearts…

foraging for mushrooms and yarn

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Yesterday I had a road trip of the best kind… with blue skies and rolling green hills dotted with sheep and cows and trees. My hubby Charlie went foraging for mushrooms… I went foraging for yarn.

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Charlie got to meet the very cool Ro Anderson from Whole Larder Love at his mushroom workshop… in a forest bursting with pretty light and mushrooms.

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A bunch of lovely folk went foraging in this beautiful forest, then Ro cooked them up an amazing feast on a campfire and a brilliant little bush kitchen set up in the back of his ute.

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Not only did they all learn heaps about what mushrooms to pick, where to look, and what not to pick, they got to eat the most amazing food at the end of it all.

You can read a bit more about the mushroom forage and see some more photos I took on hubby’s blog, Stockman Leathercraft if you like.

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Meanwhile as Charlie searched the forest floor for mushrooms, I road-tripped my way to Bendigo Woollen Mills and found myself some gorgeous new blues and greens in wool and alpaca… I’m so predictable aren’t I? I just can’t help but be drawn to these colours over and over… I find them a colourful and peaceful mix all rolled in together, and that’s a combo I can’t resist.

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Speaking of colourful… My Popping Candy Blanket is nearing the finishing line… except I’ve got about a billion ends to darn before I can crochet the edge. So I’ll try to resist the urge to start a new blue/green project… I’ll be busy darning ends for quite some time I think…

How about you… darning any ends? Busting to start a new project? Been to any beautiful forests lately?

Wishing you ripper days filled with good clean country air.

I’ve been doing a bit of this lately…

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Crocheting this… and it hasn’t been all straight forward.

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There was a bit of this involved… it included scissors! Doesn’t that just feel wrong to have unpick something with scissors?

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It was my own fault, I thought I was being a smartypants darning my ends in as I went. But that only works if you are totally sure you love what you are making… I thought I did. It was probably the first and last time I’ll darn as I go… Darn it! (sorry, lame puns are my specialty)

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This is take two. I’m going with the granny stitch in the granny stripe pattern… obviously without the stripes. You can find the granny stripe pattern here in amongst some other lovely crochet and colourful goodness by Lucy at Attic 24. You can find the Puffy Flower Granny Square pattern here, and there’s a very easy tutorial on youtube here by the lovely Clare Sullivan of Bobwilson 123.

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I’ve been doing my bestest to move to the slow, and this crochet in the park session was a big leap in that direction. It was only for half an hour or so but geez it was heaven.

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Remember I showed you a picture of hubbys new natural hide? Ha ha… just made myself laugh at that sentence… for first time readers I should probably include the word leather hey? Leather hide that is. Kangaroo leather to be specific. Anyway, I’ve had these ombre fimo beads for a while now, I made them back here. They’ve been strung on a single piece of leather, waiting for hubby to plait me one of his signature necklaces.

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I really love how the natural colour doesn’t detract from the pop of colour in the beads. And I love that you can adjust the length of the necklaces to suit your outfit. And just look at how fine that plaiting is! He’s a smartypants isn’t he? I think you might see more of these. I’ll just add it to my ever growing crafty to do list.

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My overflowing craft basket, with its two bags of yarny goodness had a clean out recently, motivated by the recently gifted new basket. How cute is it? I absolutely adore the birdies on the handle.

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And lately my inner-nanna has stepped aside for my inner-rockchick. Well maybe not rock, more like country-folk-chick. The Stray Sisters are the two sisters from The Waifs and boy are they amazing. And boy can they hold a tune. And lets face it, who doesn’t love a gal who can rock out the harmonica? It was a two coffee morning this morning thanks to this gig last night. It was great, a fab night out with some very special peeps but I’m feeling a little worse for wear this morning, possibly due to getting to bed at 1 a.m. and maybe thanks to a Mojito too many.

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I also managed to catch the incredible Neko Case recently. Wow wow wow! You can’t walk out of a Neko gig without being blown away by her majestic voice and tight as band. There were goosebumps during the acapella song! So so good. Neko is probably one of my all time favourite artists and this was the second time I’ve seen her… It won’t be the last.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you? Doing any ugly unpicking? Getting to any gigs? Crafted in a park lately?
I’m going to leave you with a couple of links to some songs by the The Waifs and Neko Case… happy listening and happy days to you!

this one

this one

this one

this one

eight random things

This is meant to be ten random things but I only got to eight. Ten random things is the lovely Kate from Foxs Lane’s idea… you can see her ten random things here

red and white heart garland
hearts & pom pom garland
I’ve been making heart garlands again lately… Am loving having lots of little crochet hearts hanging around, they make great little wrapping embellishments too.

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I cleaned out my yarn bag… believe it or not this is my cleaned out version! Next project will definitely have to be one that uses up all the half used balls in various colours and blends… I would really like to stop myself cracking into the big yarn stash and make something with these leftovers. Any suggestions?

peace catcher card
monets bees card
I’ve been making cards with my photos. The bees of Monet’s garden always make me smile and the peace catcher image really does feel peaceful.

knitted blanket with too many ends!
I have not sewn one single end in on this blanket! Instead I started a whole new blanket… as you do! I just can’t face them right now… so many… so overwhelming…

stockman leathercraft leather
I’m loving the new leather hide hubby got for his birthday… the gorgeous natural colour is right up my alley. I’ve already put my request in for a belt and a necklace… and I have some more plans up my sleeve for this hide that’s really exciting… I’ll let you know when I get a bit closer.

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We’ve been laying bluestones in our backyard and boy are those suckers heavy! They are the kind of heavy that you find yourself counting to 3 before the big lift to prepare, then letting out some sort of involuntary groan upon the up-heave. We call them the backbreaking bluestones – when we’re being polite.
When it gets tough, my sweet, clever and ever encouraging mum reminds me of the amazing history they have. I love that they have history and I feel like they bring a certain energy to the space too. They came out of a really old factory site (now being converted to a housing estate) where they used to make guns and bullets. I just cannot imagine how much hard work it was cutting the bluestones by hand back in the day… Sheesh just moving them is pretty grueling… I have actually moved quite a lot of them but do admit hubby has taken the bluestone moving brunt. I’m more the pointing type, the ‘move it a smidge to the right on your side’ type, the re hydration girl fetching drinks, and the sand shoveling girl. But still, I’ve moved my share.

herbalicious spuds
I’m looking forward to the next ‘same old crap’ post on the lunchlady blog. Kate from hellokateberry has this great lunchlady blog, and I think there will be a new same old crap post each week from different people. It’s a great idea and I’m even considering submitting my same old crap ‘herbalicious spuds’. They are so easy it’s ridiculous and just about every ingredient is substitutable.. except maybe the spuds!

delish soup ingredients
And lastly, these ingredients make a delish soup. I know it may look like a weird bunch, but together they make for happy tastebuds. I got the inspiration from the amazing Katy at No Big Dill who shared a link to the recipe that was my inspiration. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (predictable aren’t I?), but was still thrilled with the results. In fact I changed quite a bit but I kept the main two ingredients which were cauliflower and apples. I did things like made it dairy free, caramelised my onions really well, then added the apples, then I used heaps of celery followed by cauliflower and chilli. Then I just added my stock, some good quality curry powder, a touch of pepper, blitzed it with a stick blender and voila – deliciousness! Even hubby enjoyed it and he usually calls cauliflower ‘cows breath’! A bit harsh don’t you think?
Anyway it’s a simple soup with not too many ingredients, but a good chunk of time is required if you want to make your own stock like I did. There’s something about the apples and cauliflower together that’s just a bit magic. And the best part is that I made heaps, so we have left overs to enjoy all weekend. I’m off to have a bowl now…

Have you got 10 random things you’d like to share too? Or eight? Six? Even just one? Let me know in the comments, I would really love it if you did. I feel like I’m the friend doing all the talking… your turn now…

Hope you get to enjoy some delish random goodness this weekend.

antlers, imperfection and favourites

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Deer Antlers loved up with handmade goodness, nature and peace.

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This one is mine… A little leather, beads, feathers, turquoise and of course some crocheted hearts. Hubby made the feather drops using some vintage aqua silk thread to bind them up. I selected the feathers and placed the turquoise drop and crochet heart in position, and he patiently tied them all together. He finished them with a little sliding knot on the leather so we can adjust the drop length when hanging them. I have Lyrebird feathers, Owl down, Rosella, Kookaburra and I think there’s a Currawong feather there too. All collected on walks I talked about in catching peace.

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This one is hubby’s… He has the treasured Lyrebird tail feather that he finally found after years of searching through twigs and leaves. He’s also got a very special Wedge-tailed Eagle feather in there. One day he saw a couple of them having a spat and as they flew off, one lost a feather. There’s also an Owl feather, some Owl down, Kookaburra and Rosella feathers. The leather plaited drop on the left with a rose bead is from our wedding day. We loved putting together the eclectic mix of goodies on our antlers. It was a real combined crafty effort, mostly my design and direction with hubby selecting the feathers and making the drops. Real patience is required for the fiddly feather drops and that’s definitely his crafty talent more than mine.

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The turquoise and silver feather drop has been recycled from my blue suede bag. There were two of these but they fell off a couple of times and I was scared I would loose them. Being rather special and large pieces of natural turquoise I took them off the bag – they had been waiting for a rightful home for some time. One found home in the feather drop, and the other one made home not so long ago in the center of the peace catcher. Somehow, I think they have ended up where they always should have been.

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The carved bone beads have been floating about in hubby’s craft stash for years. They too have found there rightful home. In fact everything hanging on these deer head antlers we already had. Nothing was purchased… we just rummaged through our craft stashes and found everything there.. Except the deer heads, they were an amazing gift for Chrissy. Thanks Sis x

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There’s something special about this little collection of goodies that we crafted together…I find it very calming and peaceful and interesting to look at.

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I have also been crafting in my usual space too… Remember this one? It’s been around for a while now and has a long and troublesome past. Well I decided I am going to finish this little number.

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The yarn is all from Bendigo Woollen Mills and it’s such a delightful squishy blanket.

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Can you spot the mistake? I absentmindedly changed colours on the wrong side! But you know what? After the unraveling this blanket already had, and the time it takes to knit just one row (of a gazzillion stitches), AND after reading this brilliant post, I decided perfection was just too high a price to pay. It still looks beautiful, but it really looks handmade – complete with human error… No machine could do that! Motivated by Felecia’s word ‘completionism’ I decided to push on and accept the imperfections of my work. If you like everything to be just perfect, then I highly recommend reading this great post to help see it all in a fresh light.

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I’m going to leave you with this image of my craft apron with one of my all time favourite crafty tools attached. I always pop my apron on when I knit, crochet, or craft in general… it saves my clothes all being covered in yarn fluff! Plus, if I don’t put it on, I’m forever looking for my scissors. Having scissors ALWAYS on you is a godsend. They are attached with this sweet little ceramic heart, and a stretchy retractable wire that clips onto the scissors. I am seriously lost without my apron and scissors combo. Do you have one of these too? Are they not the best! Do you have a favourite crafty tool? One you simply can’t live without? This is mine. Now I’m off to go pop my apron on and get crafty…

Hope you find some crafty time in your day today too…
And maybe a little acceptance of imperfections…
And even something to look at that brings you peace…

New Belts hot off the press!

Sharing the new belts my husband has made… they are lovely! And adjustable! Gotta love a belt that moves with you don’t you think? I’ve got my order in….

Stockman Leathercraft

I’ve just created a brand new design for a Ladies belt. It’s more of the fashion style, that my wife tells me, ALL the women are wearing!

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Ladies Fashion Adjustable Leather Two Tone Patterned Belt with Solid Brass Horseshoe Buckle.

Yep that right ladies, this belt can change from as small as a 84cm to as large as a 100cm size. Great to wear on the waist or the hips, and being plaited it will stretch and soften too. Bound to be the most comfy belt in the wardrobe! IMG_6991

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Ladies Fashion Adjustable Leather Plaited Belt with Solid Brass Horseshoe Buckle.

This one would vary in size from around 89cm to about 107cm in size. Both belts come with a matching plaited belt keeper. This means you can tuck the end of the belt through the loop, keeping it nice and tidy.

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So I may have been quiet here on the…

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