my sabbatical


























So don’t hate me or anything, but I’ve just begun a 6 (ish) month long sabbatical. Well, long service leave actually… but then truth be told I’m also officially unemployed after being made redundant due to a recent company merge. So long service leave, redundancy or sabbatical, call it what you will, but I choose sabbatical as it feels like a happy word and brings with it thoughts of retreat, holiday and time out… and that is kinda sorta what I plan to do with this time. Redundant on the other hand, not such a nice word, but in reality it was my choice. A new job or the opportunity to take my long-awaited hard-earned long service leave. It really wasn’t too difficult to decide, in fact I felt a bit like it was fate and the decision was already written in the stars… or sheep or cows or something. I did have plans to leave my job in another year or two anyway, and find something closer to home, rather than continue indefinitely with the 3 hour (at best) daily commute. I’m going to stretch out my long service leave and see if I can make it last double the time, hence the approximate 6 month time frame. Hello budgeting, meal planning and ultra conservative living!

To be totally honest I’m beside myself with a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, joy and overwhelm. It’s been a huge year of change for me, I’ve left my home of 19 years and moved far away (well around 100 odd k’s away) from my friends and family. Now after 14 years at the same job, I’m on a sabbatical and at home full time. It’s a lot to digest. But I’m so happy and have that awesome and rare feeling, that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in life right now. I’m keen to tackle the ridiculously big list of things that needs starting in order to convert our paddocks into a productive farm. I want to invest some time in Charlie’s Stockman Leathercraft shop. I’m ready to spend some serious time crafting and possibly reopen my poorly neglected and too-long-on-vacation shop. I’m going to dust off my sewing machine and get stitching again. I’m busting to spend some reading time with our wonderful collection of books, full of teachings on practical self-sufficiency and practiculture. I plan to write a little more here, it’s something I enjoy enormously but find it hard to justify the time. In fact, I’m looking to make peace with time, it’s felt like my arch enemy for so long now, but I’m hoping these 6 months will unfold at a gentle pace and we can become friends again.

In other news, the two baby lambs are even more adorable than ever. They hang out together and play in the paddocks, running and bouncing and looking like they smile even for the camera. I’ve renamed Big Ears to Bouncer, didn’t want to give her a complex about her ears, and the new littlest lamb is Buttons, you know cute as a button and all. There’s also been another lamb born, sadly her mother didn’t make it so she has been hand reared by our neighbours (the real owners of all these sheep, although you’d think reading this that they’re mine!) with much love and care. To the extent she wore a nappy and slept inside during her early days. I know – just the image of that in my head makes me smile. They have named her Lucy and she is so very sweet and friendly, and actually let me get really close for a photo and pat.

The wrist warmers started out as this pattern, but I got really confused (it’s not hard!) around the thumb bit so I veered off pattern and made up the bit from the thumb up. They are not as nice as the original pattern, but still I’m pleased with the outcome. And in pure baby alpaca yarn they are so light and soft and warm and in time for the chills of winter. (my missing pairs still haven’t turned up)

So tell me, if you have a moment, what’s your best budget-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, recipes… ha, don’t ask for much do I?

May time be on your side x

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baby it’s cold outside

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Baby it’s cold outside Beanie.
Yarn 1 (Dark Grey) = 50% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino Wool, 20% Bamboo.
Yarn 2 (Light Grey) = 50% Alpaca, 35% Merino Wool, 15% Silk.

Just popping in quickly to say hi…. ‘Hi!’ …. and to let you know I finished knitting my beanie. And shock of all shocks, I’ve actually popped it in my shop! I think it’s the first thing I’ve listed in my shop for months. It’s reinvigorated my determination to concentrate more on making items for the shop. I hope you’ll be seeing a refreshed shop within the next few months… or as fast my hands can knit, crochet, snap, type, repeat… etc etc etc…

Meraki

Is that not the sweetest way to describe the process of making something with love… of doing what you love… of following your creative drive to make… of quite literally putting your heart and soul into what you make…. I stumbled across this new-to-me word on instagram via Desert Wanderer. I just love it and am so pleased to have found the perfect little word to describe how a bit of my heart ends up in everything I make.

Speaking of sweet finds, I’ve got two more I wanted to share with you today… just because.

  • The Moral Bucket List isn’t a 5 second read, but it’s well worth the few minutes it’ll take you to read it if you are looking for some inspiration.
  • And this one… because love is beautiful and love that stands the test of time is pretty special.

What are you reading lately, care to share a link?

Wishing you warm Meraki beanies for when it’s cold outside baby!

Thanks to Skye for the Moral Bucket List link, and a special thanks to my beautiful daughter for the beanie modelling xx

crafting blues and eating greens

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Hello, are you well? How’s 2015 panning out so far? I hope it’s been kind to you… it’s been rather blue for me… in a crafty way… I’m so boring consistent with my colours.

Woven Ocean Blankie
100% pure baby alpaca, crochet.

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This is the finished blankie that I started back here. It’s a big feathery pile of squishy soft blue, aqua, teal and mint. My favourite wedge of the colour wheel.

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And this stitch is absolutely my favourite crochet stitch at the moment. I’ve seen it referred to as moss stitch, seed stitch, woven stitch and others, but I call it woven stitch and used this fab little tutorial here to get me started. It’s such an easy stitch to remember and I love the way it produces a look somewhere between weaving and knitting.

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This is going to be a shawl… eventually… I hope… There’s some yarn chicken going on with this project so it could be a different colour by the time I finish it too. I found this easy free pattern here and I’ve had this gorgeous yarn for ages. The pattern is a simple 3 row repeat producing a lacey type look as it’s a big fat hook (4mm) with fingerling weight yarn.

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This yarn is 50% silk 50% wool, hand painted and the colourway is called ‘North Wind’… cute huh?! It’s beautifully luxurious, I especially adore the colour variation and the gentle sheen that the silk adds. Way back I made a scarf with this yarn which I’ve since sold in my Etsy Shop. I think I’ll be keeping this shawl though… says she who has never worn a shawl in her life and happens to have to another half finished shawl stashed away waiting to be finished!

I just loved this post from the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane about exactly that – half finished crafty projects. My ‘excuse’ for the other half finished one is this… Black Knight, the black alpaca, had to grow more of his luscious black fibre, this has to be then be spun before I can purchase it, and hopefully finish the unfinished shawl.

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If you follow me on instagram you’ll know how much I’ve been spamming my feed with our Dove Cottage Harvest. Our humble little veggie patch is going great guns and we’ve been enjoying so many healthy fresh organic greens like this silver beet. And if you just went eewwwww, then please hear me out. Purchased silver beet from the shops may as well be a different vegetable altogether. Fresh picked baby silver beet is sweet, not bitter, and almost dissolves in your mouth – so not chewy like the shop stuff can be. It’s truly delish! And of course one the easiest things to grow ever!

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I just came inside from taking these two photos, and to my delight spotted the first of our butter beans. Crunchy juicy sweetness… I had to test one! We have been eating heaps of the regular green beans though, I’m thrilled with how much a couple of seeds have produced. As well as the beans and silver beet, lately we’ve been enjoying lettuce, zucchini, (monster) squash, and fresh new potatoes. Seriously my mouth is watering just typing that! I know it’s cliché and all that, but growing your own veg is so rewarding and delicious! If you’ve ever thought about doing so… but just not got there… find a teeny little corner in your garden, or get a big pot on the verandah, and plant something easy like silver beet, radish or lettuce. I swear you’ll be hooked in no time!

Wishing you blue skies and delicious greens to eat… see you soon for dear monday.

turquoise baby alpaca cardy

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I finished a piece of clothing! A real deal wearable cardy… that I love! It’s a bit amazing… you see I’ve started a few over the years but never quite finished them. And by started, I don’t mean a lame go at the band or something… I mean made the front, back, and one sleeve on one of them! But then something always happens… bored, yarn issues, get distracted with multiple other projects, make a HUGE mistake… and I don’t finish them. It used to be the cycle of a lot of my crafty endeavours… start stuff but not finish. Now I’m hellbent on finishing what I start… to the point where I’ll sit up knitting until 2 am to finish it because I’m so damn excited that I’m about to finish something! #crazycrafter!

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I first spotted this cardy on IG via the lovely Corrie from Retro Mummy. It’s called a Kina cardy and Corrie was knitting a gorgeous kiddie version, but you can find the free pattern for the adult version on Ravelry here. It’s a very easy simple pattern to follow, great for a beginner pattern follower (moi!), as it’s knitted from the top down in one piece. I made a couple of tweaks … of course… I extended the sleeves a smidge… I also made it a little bit longer overall and of course I popped some Pom Poms on it. I’ve yet to add the button at the top as the Pom Poms are more decorative than functional.

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This is the first thing I’ve knitted with my stash of pure baby alpaca yarn I stuffed into my carry on suitcase, sat on it to close it, and carried it back all the way from Cusco! Man that suitcase was stuffed full, and there were more bags (of 10 x 50gm balls!!!) stuffed in our regular big suitcases too. I was only slightly embarrassed when they had to open my luggage at one of the many airport security checks, and sheepishly mumbled ‘yes I like to knit and crochet a bit’. All I can say is it was so worth it. The yarn is exceptional quality and so soft and light and fluffy and warm.

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As you can see by the different colours in the photos, it was really difficult to capture the true colour of this yarn. Turquoise just wants to break my camera for some reason. It looks blue in the photos but it’s true colour is closer to this last photo.

I think knitting yourself a piece of clothing is a huge leap of faith. What if you get to the end of it and it looks crap on? And what do you do when you make a mistake? Unpicking Knitting is hard, unlike the forgiveness of Crochet. But I’ve got to say, the satisfaction of making something that I can actually wear is huge. So give it a go… if you haven’t already… you don’t have to be an expert. Take that leap of faith… cross your fingers it will fit… and look ok… and if you do have to unpick, my best advice is to do it slowly… whilst eating chocolate.

Wishing you proud I made it moments and coolish summer days so you can wear your knitted goodies!

PS: Yes I probably should have dead-headed the rose bush behind me for a prettier backdrop… but you know… I like my gardens wild and rambling (reads: ‘slightly’ unkempt).