field and flourish


















Back in November I got to enjoy my August birthday… a gift to attend the fabulous Field and Flourish workshop run by Tamsin from Tamsin’s Table and Mel from Cecilia Fox. I adore Mel’s flower arrangements and I’ve long been a fan of Tamsin’s Instagram feed, her images feel like they’ve been plucked from my dreams – rolling green hills, beautiful farmhouse, lots of fresh homegrown produce, and so many pretty flowers and table settings not to mention delicious food… just gorgeous. Funnily enough I didn’t seem to capture any food shots, I guess I was too busy eating it, all of which was homegrown and homemade, sprinkled with pretty flowers and love.

The day began with a wander through the Rose paddock…. yes paddock! Tamsin planted a whole paddock full of Roses, not just any Roses either but a carefully curated collection of Roses that not only travels through history as you travel down the hill, but blows your socks off with perfume and petals and colour. Then it was time to wander through the veggie garden, collecting all sorts of lovely foliage and veg that was purposely left to go to seed. Did you know Leek seed heads make for a stunning addition to an arrangement? They do! Most of us ventured beyond the veggie garden to collect some grass seed heads and other goodies and of course to check out the free range Turkeys and their babies. Who knew baby Turkeys were so cute?

We prepared our flowers and dethorned our roses under the cool shade of the magnificent old Ash Tree that graces the garden surrounding Tamsin’s farmhouse, listening to the lovely stories Mel shared about all sorts of things including becoming a florist in New Zealand. All the while Tamsin and her friendly team were busy preparing our lunch, the smells wafting out of the kitchen were amazing. Back inside and under the gentle guidance of Mel each student made a posy and a large arrangement, whilst delicious snacks were served and we sipped rose syrup spritzes. Freshly dug heirloom radishes, with a generous slathering of butter and a sprinkling of salt and deep-fried onion anyone? Oh my that was a taste sensation that had to be eaten to be believed. Divine!

Before we knew it first course was served and my taste buds were in heaven again. Tamsin kindly accommodated all my tricky food allergies and blew me away with a flavoursome 3 course lunch. Everything looked pretty as picture and almost too good to eat. Blue potatoes with pretty little blue flowers scattered throughout the fresh greens may give you an idea of the kind of pretty I’m talking about. But it couldn’t convey the deliciousness. Nor could my description of a quince syrup sorbet with sweet tangy poached Rhubarb (so fresh I saw it being carried from the veggie garden whilst we were eating first course!) and sprinkled with the tiniest but most divinely flavoured fresh rose geranium petals. I guess you’ll just have to trust me when I say the food was as pretty as it was delicious and fresh. We ate our fill and chatted around the beautiful big table, surrounded by gorgeous old windows with views to die for.

What a lovely day it was. Mel’s stories and helpful advice with the flowers and arranging, and Tamsin’s welcoming hosting and delicious food made for the most perfect combination. I learnt about arrangements having ‘ins and outs’ and giving each bloom room to breathe. I learned that the right variety of zucchini will make the most amazing noodles you’ve ever tasted and you can grow a huge amount of produce in a relatively humble plot… and of course so much more than I could eloquently share with you here… If this dreamy day sounds like your kind of cuppa tea, then you’ll be pleased to know Tamsin and Mel run this workshop every year, but they always sell out within days of being announced so you’ll need to be quick if you want to book into this gem of day.

Wishing you dreamy days flourished with delicious prettiness x

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raindrops on snowdrops










The Bees are face-down-bum-up in the Daphne, which smells simply divine. Night rain leaves the snowdrop patch sparkling like diamonds as the morning sun streams in. Camellias show off their pretty colours with their delicate petals dancing in the late afternoon light. Daffodils turn their sunshine faces towards the sun and the Hyacinths poke their pretty little heads out of the ground, reminding me spring is near. As the sunlight flickers through the trees I watch the birds gather their twigs and treasures, ever so selective in their choice. I listen to the chirpy cheery birds and soak the up the quiet peace of the garden.

Ok, I’m ready for another day.

I hope you are well and find sparkly diamonds in your garden.

crocheted north winds & african flowers

Happy Friday! Have you been zenning out on top of the Mountain? Neither have I! I’ve spotted Mount Zen in the distance but not managed a visit longer than a nanosecond this week. Ah yes, best of intentions and all…. I had a busy week at work and am now feeling oh so grateful that Friday is here. Thought I’d squeeze in a quickie update to share a couple of finished projects that I haven’t had a chance to show you.

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North Winds Shawl
50% Silk / 50% Wool – main colour. 100% Silk – duck egg blue.

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I finished this a little while ago and really enjoyed crocheting it. The pattern is called Eve’s Shawl and it’s a freebie and it’s super easy! That’s a double winner in my books. I’m yet to wear it but when I tried it on it felt like a big feather! So light and soft yet I could feel its gentle warmth immediately. I’m thinking a mild Autumn evening might encourage its first outing.

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A colourful little bookmark that I made up as I went. I originally wanted to make a pansie flower but the pattern I started ended up looking really weird and lopsided so I gave up and just played around until this little sweetie emerged.

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The flower itself is layered and worked in quite a few rounds. It’s mostly made from cotton with a cotton blend and a bamboo yarn for the green.

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My first pincushion! I’ve seen so many different crocheted pincushions on pinterest! But this one using the African Flower on Sandra’s Cherry Heart blog really caught my eye. Sandra has also written a great little tutorial that’s easy to follow and makes life easier for a reluctant pattern follower like myself.

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I deviated from the pattern only slightly in that I changed colours more often as I wanted this pincushion to have a really strong pop of colour. I love the combination of these bright colours together and find myself branching out into new combinations and shades more often these days. And let’s face it, when isn’t Aqua appropriate? Exactly!

I must say what a lovely change it was to make a few little projects rather than the blankies. I do so love to make blankies and they will always be my favourite thing to make, but a couple of faster projects in between were thoroughly enjoyable. Having said that, I am so looking forward to getting back to crocheting my Milky Way Dreams Blankie, it’s like I’ve missed the comfort of an old friend. Do you feel like that when you haven’t worked on your crafty project for a while? Or is that just me? Am sure there’s a help group out there for me… somewhere…

Must dash and do what I’m supposed to be doing now, I think I’ve procrastinated long enough… productive procrastination though, so totally excusable… wouldn’t you say?

Wishing you the comfort of old friends and days filled with pretty flowers.

when life gives you lemons

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Gifted with a large box of lemons, I obviously had to make a triple batch of lemon curd. I mean really, is there a better way to honour and respect the lemon? Lemon butter, lemon custard, lemon honey, lemon curd – whatever you want to call it, you can’t deny it’s deliciousness now can you? A while back I had a bit of a lemon butter off, trialling two different recipes. The outcome was that I’d make up a new recipe using bits of both. This batch of Lemon Curd is just that. It’s pretty simple and didn’t take too long to prepare… and lets face it, bowl licking duties with this stuff practically demands you make it often!

I have started knitting with my baby alpaca yarn that I brought back from Cusco, but it’s hard to photograph and I got frustrated trying. You see it’s Turquoise yarn, but the camera either makes it blue or green. Not Turquoise which is that gorgeous mix of both. So you’ll have to wait till I’m feeling more patient for a photo of this project. In the meantime, I crocheted up the sweet Market Bag with delicious sounding cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills, Honeydew and Latte. The pattern is from the lovely Michelle at Poppy & Bliss, and you can find her super easy tutorial over at the fabulous My Poppet by Cintia. I follow Michelle on IG and her feed is so colourful and happy, a testament to her great eye for colour. I’ve only just discovered Cintia at My Poppet but I like what I’ve seen so far! I’m totally loving her latest post with a homemade notebook. Such a terrific idea, I think I’ll have to add it to my crafty to do list.

After a while trying to figure out how I was going to make Emma Dean’s Rhubarb Cake Gluten Free and Sour Cream Free, I finally figured it out… kinda… I subbed the sour cream with Lemon Curd! De-freaking-licious!! But very ugly. And it sort of fell apart a bit too, so my adaptation didn’t go totally smoothly. Even Emma says it’s an ugly cake, and it is, but I do think mine was made uglier by the fact that it was too crumbly and sort of collapsed on itself. I’ll give it another go with some tweaking, and hopefully, I’ll be able to share my gluten free version with you soon. I baked my heart out today. Lemon Curd, Ugly Rhubarb & Lemon Curd Cake and I also made some Apple & Ginger Cup Cakes. They were pretty ugly too but man did they taste good! It’s not all about looking pretty, sometimes taste buds get to rule.

My garden is letting me know that spring is nearing a close. The last couple of Peonies are about to bloom and the roses are everywhere. It’s divine and to pick a bunch of flowers from my garden fills me with such joy and contentment and peace. It’s a great reminder to get out in the garden and look after it as I do have a bit of a tough love attitude to gardening. You gotta be tough and fight for your right ’round here. No mollycoddling, get planted, watered occasionally, fertilized rarely, and loved daily. I’ve been here long enough to have let the weaklings ‘go’ (they died!), so only the brave and beautiful remain. And the weeds of course. But that’s life isn’t? The flowers with the weeds. The delicious with the ugly. The good with the bad.

Next time life gives you lemons, I recommend lemon curd. It makes everything better.

Wishing you juicy zesty sweet lemons.. and may you be loved daily too.

spring happenings

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Gosh the last couple of weeks have just whizzed by! Where have you been?

I’ve been photographing my hubby’s beautiful leather plaited products… his shop has been super busy lately and we’re doing our best to keep up with orders… plaiting, photographing, listing, posting… it’s fantastic and very exciting to see elements of our dreams become part of our everyday lives. How lucky are we!?

I’ve been picking peonies and roses and enjoying watching the garden bloom into a colourful haven of peace and prettiness… We’ve been harvesting lots of our own veggies and the other day we ripped out a flower garden bed to plant a tomato patch. I got it into my head that I wanted to grow all the tomatoes for Grandma’s Tomato Sauce next year. Ripping out the garden bed was a huge day that involved a lot of sweat and great music… the kind of music that makes you break into rake air guitar (I’m looking at you J Mascis and Sweet Apple!)

I’m loving the new Lucinda Williams CD ‘Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone’. The song ‘Compassion’ lifts it’s lyrics from a poem Lucinda’s father wrote… I’m trying to live my life with this kind of compassion… for everyone… you know, not get impatient and curse idiot drivers and other such non-compassionate activities… it’s a challenge and some days are easier than others… but I love the idea of getting this beautiful song stuck in my head and becoming a subconscious reminder…

I’ve been making “Bubblegum Bunting” and wondering what’s the best way to photograph it… I finished the “Ducklings Reflections Scarf” … which was a total rip off of the gorgeous “Ducklings on Water blankie”… I’ve been secret squirreling a couple of other crochet projects for a special upcoming project… and I’m hoping to start a whole new project soon… maybe some knitting… with my divine baby alpaca yarn I brought back from Cusco… sometimes I just go to the yarn cupboard and squish it lovingly wondering what I shall make of it… I’m a bit weird like that, or maybe you do that too? Tell me you do!

I’ve been picnicking with my godsons… eating watermelon in the sunshine… such fun… I’m definitely going to make that happen more often! I’ve been chatting to my son who’s now in Colombia… he has been robbed at gunpoint in Ecuador (he’s fine), seen tarantulas and anacondas (not what’d be on my travel wish list), travelled for 20 hours at a time on a bus, partying (probably way too hard) a lot… and generally having the time of his life.

I’m really enjoying reading this blog, this blog and this blog lately… so much great stuff out there in webland, not enough time to get to it all!

What have you been doing?

Wishing you juicy watermelons in the sunshine and music that moves you…

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.