on the last day of autumn

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on the last day of autumn the ginkgo’s golden beauty peaked…

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the smoke bush sparkled with rain drops…

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the camellia’s were already falling to the ground, dying beautifully…

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the magnolia buds readied themselves for their winter show…

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the secret seat by the ferns was lonesome for company…

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the sun tried to peek out…

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but on the last day of autumn it felt like winter…

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the hydrangeas were mostly bare of their lush green leaves…

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the flowers began fading into their decaying winter shades…

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the lake reflections were dark and chilly…

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and the last of the tulip tree leaves tumbled down in front of me…

farewell autumn, you’ve been swell…
come on winter, give me your best shot…
bring it on…

wishing you a peaceful farewell to the season, and a toasty warm embrace to the new one x

my smile inducers… may 2015

It’s smile time! I want to stop and think about the things that make me smile… smile… and maybe… hopefully… make you smile… and get you thinking about the things that bring a happy smile to your face… or heart… or both. #smilefest

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Another beanie finished and another kid obliged with photos. On a roll. Although the best photo from this lot turned out to be the one where I said ‘You can’t roll your eyes in the photo!’. You know how your kids (adult really – he’s nearly 24!) can get all eyeball rolling when you want to take 20 photos of them in your knitted goods, in the cold, outside? Geez, I can’t understand it! This beanie is a roll up or down cuff variety and is thick and cozy and warm with its beautiful New Zealand wool and a mix of a bamboo/alpaca/merino blend. Chunky and solid and quite ‘blokey’ I reckon.  
Bonus smile: He told me that ‘I turned out pretty good’ [as a parent], it came out in conversation quite innocently even though it sounds a bit weird, the kid telling the parent they turned out ok. We had a good laugh about it and I told him I think he turned out pretty good too… and I have this other beanie I need to photograph…

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This beautiful card brought a heartfelt smile to my face. The stunning image was created from a stamp that my clever daughter drew and then carved out. The movement in the petals, the design in the leaves… Oh how her creative talents blow me away!

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Pip Lincoln from Meet me at Mikes, and her latest book ‘Craft for the Soul’ is a smile inducer of the most sincerest kind. There’s so many great ideas in this book to bring some ‘nice times’ into your life, that you’d be hard pressed to feel anything but happy when reading it. Terrific practical ideas to encourage out the creative, spark ideas, and move in the direction you really want to go in. I found myself smirking and giggling quite a bit throughout this book, Pip’s sense of humour is pretty cute! I can see it’s going to be one of those books that I’ll come back to time and time again, and tap into its motivation and positive can do attitude. I don’t even think you need to be crafty to enjoy this book. If you’re on the hunt for a smile then I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy. You’ll be smiling before you know it and maybe even making a pom pom, or crocheting a blanket, or going for a walk everyday, or writing 3 pages every morning.

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We have an arch in the backyard and nearly everyday the same two doves come and sit on top of the arch and snuggle and cuddle and fluff up their feathers and look all cute. My little Dove Cottage has its own little resident love doves. Awww.

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Magical walks under pretty Autumn trees as the leaves gently rain down. Impossible to not smile.

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Walking on fallen crunchy Autumns leaves puts a spring in my step and makes me feel like a kid. If you always stay on the path, then veer off under the tree and take yourself on a crunchy walk and feel the corners of your mouth creep up towards your cheeks!

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The other day I was down and out with one of those dreaded winterish lurgies. My throat was the worst hit, so I took to my trusty old medicine that I purchased in Paris a couple of years ago. Because when I went to live the Paris dream holiday, my tonsils decided it was party time. I fixed them good and proper with a natural medicine bought from the ‘Herboristerie’ down the ‘rue’ (herbalist’s shop). This medicine has a distinct smell and taste (don’t all herbal remedies?) and every time I have it, I am immediately transported back to Paris, wandering the boulevards with my sister, chirping bonjour in a bad accent, and smiling at anybody who looked at me. So, being hit with a sore throat these days has a sweet memory filled smiley french side effect. Nice.

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Toast and Peach Jam made my with homegrown clingstone peaches. Exactly! This is probably just a delicious moment for most people, but for someone deprived of bready goodness for the best part of a decade, it is indescribable joy. I am making my special potato bread on a regular basis and enjoying a bready type breakfast e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.!.!.!.! It’s such a thrill! Tho’ I might cry when I run out of my Peach Jam.

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I finished this lovely lacey Cashmere blankie. It’s so light and has the softest drape and it made me so very happy to gift it to my mum for Mother’s Day.

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So that’s my little walk down smiley lane. How about you? What’s been making you smile? What’s made your heart happy lately? Has something put the spring in your step? Share a smiley moment in the comments if you’d like… I love to hear some… smiles are contagious you know…

Sending a happy smile your way, hope you catch it!

autumn country roadtrip

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I wrote a whole other post about this autumn country roadtrip to Beechworth… then deleted it. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words what I want to say. And sometimes I’m not sure what I want to say until I start writing. And sometimes it just comes out all wrong. I guess what I want to say, to you dear reader, is this;
You can learn a lot in an autumn country roadtrip.
Like what it was like to be scared of a vicious Rooster called Sputnik. And that Rooster Sputnik was named after the satellite the Russians launched into space around 1957. That one of my favourite photos of my mum with her dad and an old car, was taken in front of the Tarrawingee Pub (now named Plough Inn). I learned that Nana always had cows, though I only remember Daisy and being a scared of her as a young city kid. That Koalas will run out in front of the car near the main street of town to get to a better tree. And watching a Koala run is pretty funny (thanks for the photo Sis!).That Autumn in the country somehow seems more vibrant, more crisp, deeper and richer. That winter in the country could be bitterly cold and entail walking over icy puddles on the way to school. And that same walk to school entailed a walk by the (then in use) Jail. That the old red brick fire house in town used to put on dances in the 1940’s and that’s where my grandparents met. That owls hooting in the distance whilst you take photos of fog like pea soup and the sun rising, is a good sign. That nothing can compare to spending real, living in the moment, quality time with family. That many family members worked at the tannery, the pine plantation, apple orchards and ‘up top’. That I’m blessed to have a line of strong determined women on both sides of my parents family. That visiting a cemetery can be a beautiful experience. That you can find the best coffee in the most unexpected places. That when you finally stop and take photos of that beautiful old building you pass every visit, swearing you’ll stop and photograph it next time – every time, is incredibly satisfying and can surpass your expectations. That I love autumn in country more than I thought I did.
I’ll let the photos tell you the rest…

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2 sunrise fog
3 sunrise fog
autumn house
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bee hotel
autumn sunshine
koala crossing
tarrawingee pub
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May you enjoy beautiful autumn days in the country.

taking stock, take 3

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Making : My kiwi coast blanket.
Cooking : Pips roast chicken soup. Lots!
Drinking : Ginger spritz and my fave mix of liquorice & peppermint tea.
Reading: About Kate in dumbofeather. So inspirational!
Wanting: To buy the old fire brigade building in Beechworth. Lovely lucky Brenda at 13 acres, instagram’d a pic of this special place which is how I found out it’s for sale. My grandma met my grandpop at a dance there way way back in 1945!
Looking: Like something the cat dragged in! I’ve been gardening and riding my bike, so mix up some helmet hair with dirt and you’re getting close!
Playing: Nice with myself and listening to the whispers before they get all yelly and demanding.
Deciding: On what veggies to plant in our brand new veggie patch… excited!
Wishing: I could win tatts (refer to Wanting above)
Enjoying: The extra motivation for bear loves dove thanks to a blog with pip course. Hence two posts in a week – this one is homework! Smiley face stamp for moi 🙂
Waiting: For things to slow down. But getting a bit impatient as it’s just not happening.
Liking: Just doing something for the fun of it, not because I need to, or because I should, or because it’s on ‘the list’ but just because it’s fun. (refer picture above!)
Wondering: Why I don’t make the fun things a priority when I know how good they are for me. Seems a bit dumb really.
Loving: Skyping my son.
Pondering: How I can bring some balance into my life that I long for. Somewhere between getting stuff done and spending enough time relaxing/crafting/doing fun stuff and seeing family/friends. Oh balance where art thou?
Considering: What kind of practical steps would help facilitate the Pondering thing. I really want to do something about it but just not sure how. Maybe it’s just my perception on the time frame I would like to do all that stuff in?
Watching: Offspring again.
Hoping: We can get in a few more rides before winter sets in and the weather turns crap.
Marvelling: At how autumn blows me away every year – it just never gets old for me!
Needing: A few more hours in the day, and days in the week – who doesn’t huh!
Smelling: The refreshing peppermint and lavender essential oils I’m burning.
Wearing: A huge smile from ear to ear when I think about how amazing it will be to be in Machu Picchu with my son and hubby beside me. OMG. Dream!
Following: My heart.
Noticing: How it’s nearly June and I suspect my roses will have to go another year without pruning.
Knowing: I better get some accommodation and holiday insurance sorted soon as my South American adventure is racing round!
Thinking: That I can’t believe after not having a passport for most of my life, that within a very short time frame I am going to tick off two massive travel bucket list destinations that I kinda thought would always be that ‘one day I’ll go to paris’ thing and ‘one day I’ll go to Machu Picchu’ thing.
Feeling: Very lucky and blessed with life in general but especially my two beautiful children… As a newish empty nester I miss them heaps but I am also really bloody proud of them, who they are and what they are doing with their lives!
Admiring: My son for having the guts to fly to the other side of the world, by himself, not knowing anyone there, and living his dream adventure!
Sorting: Not quite at the physical sorting bit yet, still mentally sorting a few crafty supplies so I can get them all organised and arranged nicely in some newly free drawers. It’s on ‘the list’.
Buying: Not much, I’m trying to save. (Refer to Knowing).
Getting: The gardening bug back again after putting in the new veg patch.
Bookmarking: Blogs and recipes.
Disliking: Feeling tired and a depleted by the end of most weeks, weekends are becoming more about recovering than doing stuff, which is something I’m desperate to fix!
Opening: Up the throttle on my motorbike like a cheeky little revhead!
Giggling: At the little revhead I become on my bike! I blame the rumble of the Duke.
Snacking: On the last of the chocolates I brought back from NZ that you can’t buy here, whitmans white chocolate with freeze dried raspberries. I may shed a tear when the last bag is finished!
Coveting: So many farms on real estate websites.
Helping: Myself to another cuppa.
Hearing: The new Beck cd. Again. And again.

So that’s me. That’s where I’m at this Sunday arvo. Where are you?
Wishing you time for the fun stuff.

peaceful autumn walks

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Sometimes my mind is like a freight train, heavily loaded up heading to some important destination.
Sometimes there’s mechanical or track issues and I’m stranded until repairs are underway.
Sometimes it’s like a bullet train, flying along at a rate of knots unable to take in the surroundings.

But then there’s Autumn… In the mountains… Where my train gently chugs to a stop and I get off… I walk around enjoying the trees in their gorgeous Autumn glory… In awe of their majesty and strength. I think of nothing much but how beautiful they are… And how amazing Mother Nature is.

But I can’t always get to the gardens in the mountains… And it’s not always Autumn… So I thought it would be nice to mentally go back whenever I want to… And I thought maybe you might want to too?

Feel free to stroll /scroll at your own pace… Pause where you like… Leave when you want… Next train leaves only when you’re ready…

Wishing you peaceful Autumn walks in the mountains…

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from crazy to slow and a link-a-long

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Comfort + Love Blankie.
Cream: Bamboo & Cotton. Grey: Wool.

This was my comfort crochet project. It’s finished and been given, with love, to somebody very special. There was much comfort taken in making this simple little granny square blanket. It’s the kind of crochet that needs no counting or concentrating, I could just drift into a gentle soft cloud of creating.

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And drifting into gentle clouds of creating is exactly what I needed to do lately…Is Summer crazy or is it me? I mean I do love the amazing fruits of summer…

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And I love to celebrate the birthdays of loved ones whose special days fall into the crazy that is Summer… Even if it is with a slightly failed ‘could be greater crater cake’ … (I say slightly because although it looked like the surface of the moon, it tasted delicious… surprisingly!)

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And I love the flowers of Summer… Despite the extreme heat we’ve experienced, and most of my garden looking like it survived heatwave after heatwave, with little to no watering (ahem cos that’s kinda what happened!), I still managed to find some vase worthy stems… I’m not fussy and I’ll use just about anything in a vase… This one includes olive tree branches, parsley seed heads (again), bougainvillea, plumbago and the odd tough old reliable rose.

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But Autumn, I’m so ready for you and your quieter days and slower pace… I’m ready for the chilly mornings and evenings, and the mild days in between. I’m ready for the beautiful misty mornings… I’m ready for the trees to lose their leaves and show me their strong pretty trunks… that bend and sway with whatever life throws at them… their strength in their flexibility… I’m craving that flexibility to help me move through life’s crazy and slow seasons… tho’ it’s the slow I embrace wholeheartedly with ease…

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I’m starting the slow already though. I’ve passed this old trestle bridge a few times now, but this time… we had time to stop… time to walk the trestle bridge… and time to take some pictures. It was so nice. I’m amazed how these old bridges were built without the modern-day help and technology. Such craftsmanship.

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Good craftsmanship is worth acknowledging… whether it be in building, creating, crafting, or writing. Sometimes it’s not a drive out to the country to walk on an old bridge… sometimes it’s just a click away! I love a little link love in blogs, and I enjoyed visiting some new places the other day after seeing Pip from Meet me at Mikes Link-a-Long post. I’m probably a little late to the Link-A-Long party, but if you’re looking for a dose of being real with a healthy serve of humour and wit on the side, then please do go visit Kate Forster’s blog What Party? … I had the pleasure of seeing Kate speak at a Voices of 2013 event last year. I was so impressed, when I got home I started following her blog… and I never fail to leave it without a little smile on my face.

And if you haven’t heard of Voices of 2013 then you really must visit here, where you’ll find all the winners who were voted then judged to have the best blogs in Australia. SO many great links here… And, you can vote for your favourite Aussie blog here if you want? I have… one of my votes went to Lamb loves Fox and it’s not just because I love the name! The photography here inspires me to want to understand what all those buttons on my camera do… it’s just beautiful!

I hope Summer (or Winter!) hasn’t been too crazy for you? Do you have any links you’d like to share in the spirit of a link-a-long?

May you stumble upon good craftsmanship often.