my smile inducers… october

There’s been so many things to smile about lately that I thought it was high time for another smile inducers post… and a warning… I’ve been smiling lots!

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Blanket
Ducklings on Water blanket… all alpaca and baby alpaca and pure merino wool… in Pip from Meet me at Mikes Cheery Wave Ripple Pattern… squishy soft and delightful colours… a custom order for a sweetie who requested blue, grey, cream and yellow… these were some of the shades in my stash and they worked beautifully together.

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Scarf
So much so that I had to make a scarf out of the same colours… I found this pattern on the sweet Dottie Angel blog… I’m loving crocheting this pattern, so easy and chunky and bubbly.

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Rufus
Writing a special little message and sending Rufus Rad Rabbit off into the world to find his new home… I really enjoyed making my first Softies for Mirabel and to be honest was a smidge sad to say goodbye… but only for a brief moment as I know he’s off to fulfill his life calling… and you’ve got be happy for people/rabbits who find what it is that they are meant to be doing in life… and do it.

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The Nursery Project
I reckon these guys are doing just that…Rohan Anderson and Kate Berry have created The Nursery Project“Simply put, we imagine a place where we can share the idea of eating real food and living well. We aim to create a place for people to the learn skills to grow, raise, harvest and cook real food.”* What a great idea hey… you can read lots more about it here.
This terrific idea needs funds to get it off the ground… and thanks to the beauty of crowdfunding, we can help make it happen. I love the whole idea of crowdfunding… someone has a dream… asks people if they want to help make it come true… and people do… It’s the people doing it for themselves and that pretty cool! The Nursery Project is a place that’ll inspire and teach people, and that’s the sort of thing that I love to support. So if you want to help dreams come true, check out this link and offer a few dollars.

*text and the image above is from The Nursery Project website

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Homegrown
Growing your own veggies is so satisfying… it’s something we’ve only just got back into… inspired by blogs like Whole Larder Love and Foxs Lane… who’d have thunk a little baby cauliflower could bring such smiles to two grown adults! It’s my first homegrown cauli… can you tell?
We’ve just got a long narrowish ugly spot out the back… near a falling down fence… but the veggies we’ve enjoyed so far are broccolini, broccoli, bok choy, radish, swiss chard, cos lettuce, snow peas and sugar snap peas. Not bad from a small patch… homegrown veggies make me smile big time!

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Weaving
The latest addition to my crafty ways… I’ve never done it before and am totally making it up as I go… though I did buy the complete kit from the Finders Keepers Market last week which came with these gorgeous fibres… hand dyed indigo pure wool is pretty hard for me walk by… and it came with instructions on how to do four basic stitches…
I couldn’t help but think of all the amazing weaving I saw in Cusco recently as I weaved away… and the traditionally dressed women I saw weaving at the markets, by the side of the road, in the shops… so many of them with their long hair in plaits… it seemed pretty natural to add a plait to my weaving.

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Memories
Speaking of Cusco, I just love looking back at the photos of our holiday. Especially from the two days we spent at Machu Picchu… You won’t see too many photos of me on this blog but the time at Machu Picchu is etched so deeply in my heart that it doesn’t seem right to not have it recorded here…
The second day we visited we were blessed with the most incredible exhilarating thunderstorm… watching those water channels come to life and divert the rain water like they have done for hundreds of years was such a privilege… listening to the birds tweet the happiest of songs after the rain had stopped and the sun came out was magical… Oh and can you see the face in the mountain? Yep, big swelling heart smiles here.

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Crochet
Happy coloured granny squares… arranged on the coffee table in the order I’m going to stitch them together… waiting patiently for me to stop getting distracted with new projects… but looking pretty while they wait!

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Roses
Roses always make me smile… but old English roses that smell like fruit punch… they just blow my socks off… every year when Abraham Darby blooms her pretty petals and smells so sweet and looks so pretty with her peachy coloured goodness, she tops my favourite list again. Sticking my nose into the centre of this flower and taking a deep breath is one of life’s sweetest treats.

So that’s what’s been making me smile lately… how about you? Care to share? Add your link below by clicking on the froggy so I can see what’s making you smile… Or tell me in the comments or hashtag #mysmileinducers on Instagram… I’d LOVE to see yours!

May you see your dreams into fruition and smell the sweetest smelling roses.

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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…

grandparents and granny stitch

Gran
My Gran… isn’t she beautiful? The picture on the left was taken at a spelling bee… she was such a smart cookie. On the right she is going to the Footy… to see her beloved Bombers. Yep, that’s how smart they dressed to go the Footy in those days. Just look at that gorgeous hat with the feather… so stylish.

Grandma
My Grandma… isn’t she beautiful? She’s such a cutie in the one on the left… arm around my Grandpop and the wee girl in the bonnet is my mum. On the right she is with her dad… looking like the sweet country girl she was.

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What a stunning wedding party… I’d like one of those sailor shirts now! Unfortunately my Grandma & Grandpop don’t have any wedding photos as legend has it the photographer they booked got drunk and didn’t turn up!

I’ve seen a lot of beautiful old photos lately and I feel very lucky that we have so many. All the photos are showing the wears of time, so dad has digitally removed some scratches and blemishes on a few special ones… a labour of love for their funeral services. Grandpa left us last year and Gran just a few weeks back. Grandma passed a few years ago now and Grandpop followed six months later. They were all able to see their grandchildren grow into adults and even enjoy their great grand children… how great is that?!

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I have such wonderful memories to treasure… I’m lucky our family was close and we had lots of birthday parties, Christmas days, afternoon teas and so very many other special times together. Making rock cakes with Grandma and Grandpop throwing real rocks in the mix. Grandma’s homemade baked rice pudding with peaches. Grandma teaching me the piano when I little, then my kids the piano when they were little. Gran taking my sister and cousins and I to the theatre to see Peter Pan. Gran’s nectarine tree in the old house. The smell of Grandma’s homemade soap. The smell of Gran’s handcream. Gran & Grandpas sheep called Sean. Playing pool very carefully on Grandpa’s new pool table. My cousins and my sister and I wearing matching dresses on Christmas day that Gran had made. The taste of Grandma’s freshly dug new potatoes at dinner. Grandma’s homemade biscuits with passionfruit icing. Gran’s lemon slice and birthday sponges. ‘Working’ in Grandma & Grandpops shop. Watching my daughter jump up and join Grandma in her linedance class. Receiving texts from my 90 year Gran! I could go on forever but I don’t want to bore you… maybe I already have… Suffice to say that grandparents are precious and the memories we’re left with live in a very special corner of our hearts.

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This Wreath-of-Love was made for my Gran with blooms from my Dove Cottage garden. Pretty bright pink Camellias, pale pink Camellia buds, one special Abraham Darby Rose, Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine buds, Mile-a-Minute, Happy Wanderer, Daphne and Salvia.

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And now to something a little brighter… My Popping Candy Blanket is finished and will pop into my shop soon. I absolutely loved crocheting this blanket and am pretty sure the Granny Stitch is my favourite stitch ever. It’s just so comforting and rhythmic and humble. And versatile, not only in what kind of pattern you use it in, but how you use colours with it. I really like the effect of the white main colour, and a single row of different colours in between. But now I’m ready to start a new project… oh how I love this part… forming the idea and picking the yarn and the colours.

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A happy little stash of blankets… that makes me smile. And if you were expecting the ‘my smile inducers’ post, I’m sorry. I’m lame and fickle and undisciplined. I know I said I was going to do that each month… but you know, I really didn’t feel like writing a list of smiley things today. Not that I’m not smiling… I am. I have a lot to smile about… really, so much! So the smile inducing post will pop in from time to time, just not to a set calendar.

Do you have any special Grandparent memories you’d like to share? I promise you, they won’t bore me.

And if you’re lucky enough to still have grandparents around, give them a hug.

And if you no longer have your grandparents around, I’m giving you a virtual hug right now.

Wishing you blooms in your garden, and time to make sweet memories with your special ones.

citrus blossom icing

It sounds delicious doesn’t? But it’s not food for the body… it’s nourishing… but in a different way… Meet Citrus Blossom…
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Citrus Blossom Blanket.
100% Pure Cotton, Crochet.

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It’s fresh and full of citrus colours… it looks cheery and happy… much of this blanket was crocheted either on the way to, on way back from or in New Zealand. I think it has the light carefree vibe that our holiday had.

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I love the three dimensional aspect of these flowers. I was originally going to have more of them… but it didn’t quite work… now I’m glad it didn’t. I think nine flowers is perfect. Besides, it works with my OCD about numbers… nine is a great number in numerology and it’s one of my faves.

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I wrote about the patterns I’ve used in this blanket here. And I found a lovely subtle little edge pattern on pinterest here. I love the fresh burst of sunshine I feel with this blanket, it will be going into the shop soon to join a heap of others… all with their own vibe and personality.

I have such a stash blankets that I’ve made… sometimes I wonder if I will ever sell them all… sometimes I wonder if it’s wise I put so much of my time, love and energy into making stuff… but then, out of the blue, I’ll get an email that makes me realise something very important. I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.

sweet babe wrapped in love
I was thrilled to receive this lovely photo of one my blankets with it’s gorgeous new owner. This dear sweet little baby girl has had a tough start to life, but is finding a smidge of comfort in her blankie. Her mum and dad cuddle her during the day in this blanket, and keep the blanket with them during the day so it has their scent, then when bubs is tucked in at night, she’s wrapped in the blanket to comfort her.
I love to craft for so many reasons, but this… this is the very sweet heartwarming icing on the nourishing cake. I feel like in my own little way, I am putting out a teeny tiny incy wincy bit of goodness in the world. I know it’s only a crocheted baby blanket, but I am humbled and honoured by this story. Humbled to be a teeny part of it, and honoured to have had this story shared with me. How can this not warm your heart? How could you ever want to stop crafting babies blankets after hearing this? So I shall continue to follow my heart and craft, not just because I love it so much that I couldn’t stop if I tried, but because somehow, somewhere deep down, I really believe I am meant to.

Sending healing thoughts out to all little bubs that need it.

May goodness find you on this cloudy but very good Good Friday.

spring waves and spring blooms

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Spring Waves Blanket
100% Cotton, Crochet.

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This was such a fab pattern from Pip @ Meet me at Mikes. Thanks Pip! I loved how easy it was to remember once I got going, and how these lovely happy colours work together. It’s called the Cheery Wave Ripple Blanket and the colour selection was inspired by Spring’s beautiful colours in the blossom buds, flowers, new leaves and cheery blue skies.

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All the cotton for this blanket came from Bendigo Woollen Mills. It’s such a lovely soft cotton to use and creates a gentle floppy drape. I do so love to work with pure cotton.

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I took a few snaps of the flowers blooming in Dove Cottage the other day… This is Abraham Darby and it’s one of my favourites. It’s not only a gorgeous peachy colour that softens and gets more pinky when it opens, the smell truly knocks your socks off! Tis so fruity and sweet and strong and delicious.

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This last one is called The Prioress and it smells sweet and spicy – almost like nutmeg or cinnamon or apples… Really! It’s gorgeous and is a prolific bloomer which makes it a big hit in my books. It’s also pretty tough, like most roses, and like most of the plants in my garden. No mollycoddling here. You have to be a bit tough and look after yourself in my garden. Even tolerate a bit of neglect for when life gets a bit crazy, or the crochet hook wins over the garden shovel battle.

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I adore the colour of this Butterfly bush. My garden is so full of flowers in Spring I just love it. It’s also full of weeds and lots of “to-do’s” too which I really don’t love – but lets not dwell on that. The flowers, oh the flowers. It’s hard not smile (even if only on the inside) when you see such pretty delicate sweet scented flowers everywhere. Don’t you think?

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Baby apples are a bit cute aren’t they? This is an heirloom apple variety called a McIntosh I think. I’ve had it for a few years but never actually eaten any fruit from it. The birds robbed me of the few apples it grew last year. I mean I don’t mind sharing with the sweet birdies but they were a bit greedy and took the lot. Then there’s the Possums! Oh what to do with our affectionately named fatarse possum. He plonks down on the tin roof every night -almost the same time. And hubby and I joke, ‘Ah there goes fatarse again’. Teehee. But not so Teehee when he ate ALL of our apples last season. ALL of them. All the Granny Smiths and all the Golden Delicious. Hence his nickname! Though I do think he invited his whole family and all his friends and they had quiet midnight feasting parties too, because there were a lot of apples. We did have nets on the apple trees too. But that didn’t bother fatarse. He worked his way under the nets, stuffed his face then ATE his way out of the nets. Yep, chewed through them. So, no nets this year (because they are full of holes!), and a bigger and stronger fatarse – yet I’m still hoping to eat some of my apples this season. Optimistic? Naive? Silly? Maybe. Probably.
Do you have any fruit trees? Do you have any fruit that goes missing? Do you have any tips on how we can share the fruits of our labour with the birds and the fatarses of the world? My apples and I would be most grateful!
Wishing you fruitful days filled with lovely sweet scented blooms.

spring meadow butterflies

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Spring Meadow Blanket & Butterfly Garland
100% Cotton except the pink is 100% Wool. Crochet.

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Spring Meadow is finally finished! It’s a gorgeous soft, slightly chunky, floppy blanket that’s just perfect for a spring babe.

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It’s mostly a lovely cream colour with a row of Daffodils, Roses & Tulips at the base. It will be going into my Etsy shop soon.

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The Spring Meadow garland wasn’t my original idea for the butterflies… I had this idea of attaching a few butterflies to the blanket but I didn’t like the look of them on the blanket… the proportions were all wrong and it just looked a bit too tizzy. So onto a garland they went. I now think this would make the perfect addition to the blanket in a sweet babes room or pram.

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Forget me not Butterfly Garland.
100% Cotton, crochet.

Crocheting the Butterflies was a little like when I was crocheting the hearts… I kinda couldn’t stop… So I made another garland… as you do!

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It’s such a simple little pattern that’s actually quite easy to remember once you’ve done it couple of times. I’m going to try to move on from the butterflies now as I’m excitedly ready for a whole project. Yay! I love this part and can’t wait till inspiration hits and that moment when you say “That’s it… That’s what I’m making next!” … In meantime you’ll probably find me at my yarn stash squishing lovely skeins of yarn or pondering over the many projects I’ve got lined up on my wish list at Pinterest and Ravelry.

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I’ll leave you with my Spring Tea Party themed picture that I created for an Instagram competition to win a gorgeous Mrs Smiley’s necklace. Have you seen these necklaces? They are so pretty and very unique. I’m lucky enough to have one of their bunny locket necklaces but you really couldn’t have too many of them – they’re gorgeous.

Hope you get to enjoy a nice a nice cuppa in some lovely sunshine today… Near a blossom tree or a pretty golden tree with leaves gently falling… with a tasty macaron or two… birds chirping… bees buzzing… butterflies fluttering by… Mmmm that sounds so nice, I might take my cuppa out to the backyard and do just that… No macarons though… I already ate them. And yes… they were delish!