spring happenings

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Sam
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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.

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.

my smile inducers … july

Are you smiling yet? No? Well let’s see if we can fix that… I’m going to share a few things that made me smile lately, and I hope in turn these things will make you smile.

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This photo makes me smile because I adjusted the manual settings on my camera to take it! Yay! I know it’s not perfect, but hey those oranges look pretty darn good to me. You see I went back to school. That normally wouldn’t make me smile much at all (remember, I’m the A+ for daydreaming girl). But this was The Photo School, run by two of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet, Kate & Peta. Class was chokoblock full of great information on how to take better photos with your iPhone and your camera. During class there were many laughs, theory and prac sessions, lots of chatting about what makes a pretty photo, heaps of drooling over pretty photos (ok maybe the drooling bit was just me!), plenty of mind blowing aha moments, the occasional swear word, and nobody got detention! (tho’ I’d be happy to stay back in that class!)

This post about love and marriage on Edenland that started with a little smile which turned into a giggle, then grew into a heart smile and finished with a face smile. So gorgeous and full of love and hope and humour.

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The latest Eels CD “The cautionary tales of Mark Oliver Everett” is not only a fave to listen to at the moment, it has THE coolest intro on the 2nd CD. (click on the image above to read the first sentence, top right, for bonus smirk)

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Wrist warmers… I totally love thinking of the person I’m making them for, selecting just the right colours and designing the perfect embellishment for that recipient – I’m in creative heaven! I’ve made a few wristwarmers for gifts recently and not only does making them make me happy, giving them to unsuspecting recipients makes me happier and is absolutely a smile inducing thing to do.

The way Lynne from ‘Design the life you want to live’ talks about books in this post, how her writing includes font changes and spaces for emphasis, and how she can make writing feel so colourful. I think you’d be hard pressed to read this post without smiling.

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Finally… After years of probably very lame reasons on why we couldn’t /shouldn’t have a veggie garden, we’ve bitten the bullet and planted one. My silver birch trees received a rather severe pruning for the cause. ‘Cos if I’m going to have teepees in my garden they’re gonna be pretty white ones.

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This colour combination. It’s like sherbet and that makes me smile! That is all.

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This gorgeous photo was taken by Elizabeth, a lovely reader who emailed it to me with a note about how it was a smile inducer for her. How ace is that? I feel joyful whenever I see flowers, especially a beautiful rose like this one covered in nourishing raindrops. Thanks Elizabeth.

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This photo of my daughter and her fiancĂ©e, and remembering the beautiful sunny morning I took it, makes my heart smile. In the silver birch forest where the romantic proposal took place, we captured some engagement celebration photos. The morning sun glistened on their beautiful-happy-in-love-faces and it was a moment I will always remember. And look at those gorgeous faces… I mean seriously…. they should be on the cover of a magazine!

at the marble caves
This photo of my son at the Marble Caves in Chile. He is ticking off things on his bucket list like a man on a mission. He’s much further north now and has just seen the massive salt flats in Bolivia. I remember him telling me about wanting to visit the salt flats and marble caves so long ago, it makes my heart smile to know that he’s living his dream. This photo was taken by his talented mate Justin Smith, isn’t it a ripper? I love the texture of the caves.

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Now I originally saw a photo of a tassel wearing llama via this great thing that lands in my inbox every Sunday. (That’s a smile inducing email every week already!) But then my son shared some new photos of his latest adventures and lo and behold there’s more tassel wearing llamas! Serendipity. Now if a llama wearing hot pink tassels on his ears and a matching ‘necklace’ doesn’t make you smile, I think your smile-o-meter may need adjusting.

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Spiced Hot Chocolate. This is my foolproof smile-o-meter tweaker. Select the milk of your choice (cows, soy, almond… whatever floats your boat), add a healthy dash of cinnamon, one star anise, some delicious dark chocolate and simmer till piping hot. Pour into your fave mug, then stir in some honey and/or maple syrup. Feel your smile grow bigger with every sip.

Ok now it’s your turn… what’s been making you smile?

If you blog maybe you’d like to write a smile inducing post? That would be ace! Simply click on the froggy to link to your post at the bottom of this one so we can all smile with you ok? There’s no rules except smiles must be involved.

If you don’t blog then you can share your smiley things in the comments, or Instagram them using the #mysmileinducers hashtag.

I’ll be writing a smiley post on the first Saturday of each month in an effort to create a smileworthy place to visit each month… for you and me.

Ok, are you in? Let’s share some smiles shall we?

Wishing you smiley hearts and faces, and smile inducing moments to remember.

how do you write?

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The lovely Rachel from The Chronic-Ills of Rach has invited me to participate in a blog hop whereby I answer four questions about my writing process, then invite another blogger to join in and write about theirs. Thanks Rach! Visit Rach’s blog to read about her writing process, I just love that music plays a role in it.

20140618-181545-65745337.jpg Now I need to preface this with a warning. I feel like a bit of a fraud writing this post. I am not a writer. I’ve never done any kind of writing course or training, and school was a very long time ago for me. Besides, when I was at school I was better known for getting an A+ in daydreaming not school work. So I’m writing about writing but I’m not a writer OK? OK… glad we got that sorted!

20140618-181546-65746786.jpg Obviously I do write… but I think of this writing more like a waffle on about the things I love. I do like to play with words… sometimes. And I do like to arrange sentences nicely… sometimes. And I like it all to flow… sometimes. But then sometimes I like it a bit raw and unpolished, and you may trip over my words a bit… I think that’s ok too. You see if I trip over words, it can give me the moment’s pause that I need to hear the penny drop. Plus if you trip over my words here, then you wouldn’t be so surprised if you met me as I do that when I talk too. A bit awkward at times you know? So if nothing else, I’m consistently inconsistent in my approach to writing. For me the photographs tell the story*, I just fill in the gaps and extend on the details. I nearly always start with the photos**.
20140618-181546-65746207.jpg What am I working on?

I am working on my blog and bettering my blogging skills. I’m just finishing up my first e-course, a Blog with Pip course run by the very sweet Pip Lincolne from Meet me at Mikes. Apart from learning of lots of stuff about blogging, it’s given me the motivation to look at all aspects of my blog, funnily enough including writing! Who’d have thunk it?

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Why do I write what I do?

A couple of reasons. Firstly I have a need to get stuff out. You know, the ol’ self expression thing. Who doesn’t hey? We all have our means of doing this. I use other tools to do this too like craft & photography. But sometimes only words will do. With the odd photo thrown in of course!

Secondly, I write this blog as I want to give people a behind the scenes look at my handmade goodies that I sell in my Etsy Shop. I have found a number of great Etsy shops from blogs, and I like and understand the items more because I feel like I know a bit more about how they were made… the person who made them… the environment in which they were made… the vibe and energy they have… they are what they marinate in… does that make sense? It makes the whole process of buying something handmade more special… to me anyway.
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How does my writing process work?

I don’t know if I have a process as such, apart from the above mentioned word, sentence, flow thing I do… sometimes! I can think of something I’d like to write about in my head for a while. Sometimes I’ll use the notes in my phone to jot down a line, sentence, paragraph. (This can be convenient if you’re out and inspiration hits and equally convenient you are too lazy to get up and walk to the computer… I’m looking at me!)

But mostly when I blog, to be really honest, I start with the blank page and some photos, maybe a loose idea of what I’m going to say and just transfer my thoughts via the keyboard. The chatterbox inside my head just loves the instant keyboard outlet and once I start the rest seems to just follow. I seriously started typing this post not knowing what the hell I was going to say… but once I start… it’s a bit like the dam wall breaks and my fingers just have to keep up.

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How does it differ from others in your genre?

I’m not sure… I like my writing to feel natural like a conversation but I do self edit. A lot. When I said waffle before I meant it. I’m not great at keeping it short naturally. I need to get the whole long winded thing out and then go back, cutting, editing and removing all the unwanted unnecessary fluff. I struggle to read really long posts on other blogs, it’s nothing personal, just a time factor thing really. So I consider that a bit when I write a post. I don’t always achieve a short post though, there’s always a bit of waffle somewhere! And this post feels quite enormous… maybe I’m just proving my consistency with being inconsistent to you?

I guess I would like YOU DEAR READER to feel like you’ve had a cuppa and a catchup with me. Granted, it’s a bit one sided with me doing most of the talking, but that’s where the comments come in handy, it feels more like a conversation when there’s a few of them. So feel free to jump in any time!   20140618-181544-65744304.jpg

Well that’s my lot. I don’t think I answered the last question properly but hey, who’s marking this?

kate forster

Now it’s my turn to ask another blogger to join in. I am absolutely thrilled to introduce you to the super lovely Kate Forster. Not only does Kate write her blog with great wit and humour, she is also an author of eleven novels! Kate’s blog What Party is a favourite of mine, I’m guaranteed to leave it feeling better than when I arrived at it… and usually with a smile!

Kate is the author of eleven novels for adults and young adults, and blogs at http://kateforster.wordpress.com. She lives with her family in Melbourne, Australia.

Pop over to Kate’s wonderful blog and learn about her writing process… and join in the conversation below… leave me a comment and let me know – do you have a writing process? Do you like to write? Do you self express via other means? What are they?

Wishing you happy reading, writing and daydreaming my friends…

 

* Except here… I know the photographs are irrelevant to the writing, but I simply couldn’t write to you without including any pretty pictures!
**These pictures came after the writing (just to keep being inconsistent) and the flowers are all blooming at Dove Cottage right now.

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.