empty nests and new beginnings

I have to start this with a warning… I’m feeling awfully sentimental at the moment. As of last week we are officially empty nesters… It sounds so weird… and feels even weirder! If you follow me on instagram you’ll know my son left last week for his indefinite backpacking adventure in South America. So I have not quite been myself… you know, all 6’s & 7’s. But I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve been up to anyway, as it has been a while hasn’t?

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I finally finished my big knitted blanket. Now I have all those ends to do! Hopefully it won’t take me another year and a half to get to them. Somehow it felt kinda right casting off this big project yesterday… emptying out my craft bag.

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And I started a new project. It’s been quite a while since I began a new blanket and I’m loving this one. The humble granny stitch is quite simply crochet comfort. A perfect project for me at the moment… and new beginnings for my craft bag.

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I seem to have started a snowball of declutter too. You know how it goes, start cleaning out one room and before you know it you’ve started a draw in the lounge, and a cupboard in the laundry! Or maybe that’s just me? Not sure how long the novelty will last, I do get distracted terribly easily. Obviously! An old box of photos and there goes a few hours… and maybe a few tissues! From wee babes to fully fledged independent adults in just over 20 years.

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Beautiful young adults with huge big kind hearts and loving gentle compassionate spirits. Who can ask for more than that? Not me. I’m proud as punch. And I’m ready to embrace new beginnings… albeit with a couple of tissues tucked into my bra old lady style.

Wishing you not-too-sad end of era stuff and happy new beginnings.
And may you find your #comfortcrochet equivalent!

antlers, imperfection and favourites

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Deer Antlers loved up with handmade goodness, nature and peace.

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This one is mine… A little leather, beads, feathers, turquoise and of course some crocheted hearts. Hubby made the feather drops using some vintage aqua silk thread to bind them up. I selected the feathers and placed the turquoise drop and crochet heart in position, and he patiently tied them all together. He finished them with a little sliding knot on the leather so we can adjust the drop length when hanging them. I have Lyrebird feathers, Owl down, Rosella, Kookaburra and I think there’s a Currawong feather there too. All collected on walks I talked about in catching peace.

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This one is hubby’s… He has the treasured Lyrebird tail feather that he finally found after years of searching through twigs and leaves. He’s also got a very special Wedge-tailed Eagle feather in there. One day he saw a couple of them having a spat and as they flew off, one lost a feather. There’s also an Owl feather, some Owl down, Kookaburra and Rosella feathers. The leather plaited drop on the left with a rose bead is from our wedding day. We loved putting together the eclectic mix of goodies on our antlers. It was a real combined crafty effort, mostly my design and direction with hubby selecting the feathers and making the drops. Real patience is required for the fiddly feather drops and that’s definitely his crafty talent more than mine.

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The turquoise and silver feather drop has been recycled from my blue suede bag. There were two of these but they fell off a couple of times and I was scared I would loose them. Being rather special and large pieces of natural turquoise I took them off the bag – they had been waiting for a rightful home for some time. One found home in the feather drop, and the other one made home not so long ago in the center of the peace catcher. Somehow, I think they have ended up where they always should have been.

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The carved bone beads have been floating about in hubby’s craft stash for years. They too have found there rightful home. In fact everything hanging on these deer head antlers we already had. Nothing was purchased… we just rummaged through our craft stashes and found everything there.. Except the deer heads, they were an amazing gift for Chrissy. Thanks Sis x

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There’s something special about this little collection of goodies that we crafted together…I find it very calming and peaceful and interesting to look at.

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I have also been crafting in my usual space too… Remember this one? It’s been around for a while now and has a long and troublesome past. Well I decided I am going to finish this little number.

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The yarn is all from Bendigo Woollen Mills and it’s such a delightful squishy blanket.

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Can you spot the mistake? I absentmindedly changed colours on the wrong side! But you know what? After the unraveling this blanket already had, and the time it takes to knit just one row (of a gazzillion stitches), AND after reading this brilliant post, I decided perfection was just too high a price to pay. It still looks beautiful, but it really looks handmade – complete with human error… No machine could do that! Motivated by Felecia’s word ‘completionism’ I decided to push on and accept the imperfections of my work. If you like everything to be just perfect, then I highly recommend reading this great post to help see it all in a fresh light.

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I’m going to leave you with this image of my craft apron with one of my all time favourite crafty tools attached. I always pop my apron on when I knit, crochet, or craft in general… it saves my clothes all being covered in yarn fluff! Plus, if I don’t put it on, I’m forever looking for my scissors. Having scissors ALWAYS on you is a godsend. They are attached with this sweet little ceramic heart, and a stretchy retractable wire that clips onto the scissors. I am seriously lost without my apron and scissors combo. Do you have one of these too? Are they not the best! Do you have a favourite crafty tool? One you simply can’t live without? This is mine. Now I’m off to go pop my apron on and get crafty…

Hope you find some crafty time in your day today too…
And maybe a little acceptance of imperfections…
And even something to look at that brings you peace…

crazy christmas crochet lady

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I went a little crochet crazy this chrissy… just for something different! I made all those cushions in the pic… and the inserts…

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and all of these coaster sets… and a couple of knitted beanies… with 4ply!

Of course I only really decided make a few things late November/early December… then the list grew… then I decided to hand stamp all my wrapping paper too… I’m a bit crazy like that… but boy oh boy was it worth it… to see everyone’s sweet happy faces unwrapping their pretty pressies… smiling and surprised with their homemade-especially-for-them-coloured-coorinated-with-their-home-decor-pressies… ahhh – they are precious moments indeedy…

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The pop of brights blooming flower cushion and coastal coasters went down a treat.

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I forgot to photograph the heart cushion by itself, but these coasters used the same green as the cushion and went together. The baby blue and white cushion was gifted without matching coasters as they weren’t required for my mother in law who resides in an aged care facility. Cushions however are very much required. And a soft alpaca cloud pattern cushion seemed most appropriate.

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Cool grey with a clean pop of cream for the mod home.

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Soft deep smokey blue, duck egg blue, mint, cream, cotton, silk and bamboo. I do so love these colours and textures.

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I love the earthy olive green cotton coasters with the soft lime / chartreuse silk combo. The almost dirty but still fresh and bright without being too bright lime of the cushion with the cream. Oh what fun it was to pick the main colours, contrast colours, and accent colours for each recipient – I swear half the fun is putting colours together!

The Blooming Flower cushion is the most wonderful cushion. I’ve made a few of them now and I love to play with the colours in the pattern. Pretty sure I haven’t made two the same yet. Some I alternate evenly, others graduate in their alternation, some all one colour, some with variegated yarn. I love the endless options. I’ve just had trouble trying to find round inserts for the cushions so I made all the inserts. This worked out rather well to be honest because I like a well stuffed cushion, and I find most of inserts you can buy are a little lame in the stuffing department. The Free Blooming Flower Pattern is from the lovely Lucy at Attic24.

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And one of my favourite coaster sets, the citrus splice set. Yet to be handed over… if I can part with it… but what can I do with 3 sets of crochet coasters? Yes, I already have two sets. I posted the link to the sweet coaster pattern back here if you’d like to whip up a set… or two… or three… they are a bit addictive!

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So it may have been a little quiet around here lately but I’ve still been crafting like crazy.

Now I’m in the recovery period which means the PJ’s are getting a workout, there’s nananaps being had, left over turkey being scoffed, chocolates vanishing, odd jobs being thought about (can’t rush things), new to do lists being written, more knitting and crochet being done (crazy crafter!), garden pottering taking place, new music being enjoyed, and memories of a wonderful Christmas day, full of special and precious family moments, being cherished. Family love in motion is a beautiful thing to watch, be a part of, and enjoy.

I have truly felt so very blessed this Christmas, yet also shed a quiet tear. For some, Christmas is a painful reminder of special people missing in their lives. I hope you feel blessed with your lot in life or had a moment to enjoy a sweet memory if you have a loved one missing from the Chrissy table. I hope you had a lovely christmas day and got to share it with those near and dear to your heart.

And if you don’t do the Christmas thang, then I hope you had a lovely day filled with sweet moments all the same.

ps. this was my Christmas inspired flower bunch for the table, from my garden. Who knew being lazy and letting all your parsley go to seed would reward you with a sweet little pop of green in the flower bunch?
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taking stock … (and a pretty flourless flower cake)

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I love good idea… especially when it’s a quick and easy one that gathers all the current happenings in a bit of snapshot.  The ‘taking stock’ idea comes from the lovely Pip and her Meet me at Mikes blog. I saw the idea when Pip first posted it, but a week or two went by and I figured I’d missed the boat. Then it popped up at the Foxs Lane blog by the very sweet Kate. So I thought maybe I haven’t missed the boat. Maybe it doesn’t matter when you decide to join in. I figured it didn’t and joined in.

Making : A knitted beanie for my sons birthday. Lucky he’s your typical almost 22 year old and doesn’t read his mothers blog! Of course I know it has to tick the ‘cool to wear list’ too, but if it doesn’t it’s ok as my hubby has dibs on it. It’s my win win knitting project!

Cooking : Gluten Free cake so I feel like I can eat nice treats like everyone else {insert a sulky pout-ish looking face here}
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Drinking : Ginger Spritzers mostly. Ridiculous amounts sometimes and other days not nearly as much as I need to. The ginger spritz is just ginger syrup and sparkling water. I make a tweaked Ginger Syrup version of one I found here, and I find it really hard make enough to keep up with the demand. It’s delicious and healthy. Yay!

Reading: Blogs and mags

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Wanting: To be able to get up a bit earlier in the morning to have more time in my meditation, without feeling like it’s the middle of the night.

Looking: For some motivation to get out into the garden and pull up all the weeds that have suddenly appeared between my snow drops, daffys, violets, mile-a-minute and the blue stones.

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Playing: My learn to speak french cd in the car on the way to and from work so when I get to Paris (eeep!) I hopefully won’t offend anyone, and will be able to find a toilet or a bank or a post office if I need one. I do know how to say ‘I want to buy some shoes’ already so I’ve got the really vital stuff down. Just need to work on the other stuff…. like directions. Oui!

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Wasting: Really not much – I’m stumped on this one! I don’t even waste my cold peppermint tea that I don’t finish from my teapot anymore – I pour it into a flask and have it chilled. It’s not gross I promise! We don’t waste food in this house either with two composts and a healthy worm farm.

Sewing: The endless ends in of my crochet blankets. Darning actually, but who is going split straws here? Trying to learn to love this bit like Pip but not succeeding very well for the most part.

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Wishing: For tattslotto to play nice so I can have my little dream farm sooner rather than later.

Enjoying: Feeling like mother duck and having my ducklings all living at home for what will probably be the last time. My daughter and her fella are in between renting and settlement of their first house so are back home temporarily, and my son has purchased his ONE WAY ticket to South America next year. He tells me he’ll be back… one day… but I sense the backpacking travel bug is pretty strong with him and it could be a while before lives in Australia again. But for now… I’m mother duck.

Waiting: For tattslotto to come to the farm party (and getting a bit impatient with it).

Liking: This cute little blog post where I get to share more than I usually would about myself, but feeling pretty comfy about it. Thanks Pip!

Wondering: How I’ll ever feel OK with my enormous to do list. By the time one thing is ticked off, there’s another two added… It’s like one step forward, two steps backward.

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Loving: My beautiful family and feeling so super blessed at the very sweet souls that are in it! Also loving the fact that one of my crochet blankets has travelled as far as California thanks to Etsy. OMG!

Hoping: My farm dream will actually come true and that it will be the satisfying simple life that I’ve been dreaming of.

Marvelling: At how quickly dust and tumbleweeds appear after cleaning. What’s with that?
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Needing: Storage space and a de-clutter session… the storage will fix itself soon enough (refer back to ‘enjoying’) but the de-clutter needs a ruthless energetic me that’s gone into hiding of late. Especially the energetic bit.

Smelling: Rain coming… and feeling old because I can.

Wearing: A cardy… always! So a cardy girl.

Following: My dreams wherever I can, and dreaming about them when I can’t.

Noticing: That winter is nearly over and spring is on the horizon.
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Knowing: If I keep giving the little farm dream my thoughts and energy, that I can make it happen.

Thinking: I need to actually do some spring cleaning this spring. That would be a first. Oh, and that the little farm dream is on my mind lots lately. Bossy little dream.

Feeling: I need 48 hours in every day just to get done what I’d like to in the craft, gardening, cooking, eating and sleeping departments.

Bookmarking: Lots of random things like knit and crochet patterns, blogs, things to do and see in Paris, cute little farms that I know I can’t have just yet but can’t help visiting (virtually).

Opening: Exciting mail like my brand new hot of the press business cards! OMG!

Giggling: At the cute Bengal kitten that moved back with my daughter and her fella. Koya is very entertaining, especially when she’s really excited and races around the house forgetting that paws and floorboards equals no traction. Her slides are pretty awesome, think kitten on skates and just try not to smile. She also likes to sleep on top of a really uncomfortable temporary storage unit, because it nearly reaches the ceiling, with her paws dangling over the edge. It’s a bit cute!
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Feeling: Happy, content, lucky, blessed, crafty, creative, inspired, busy, pressured, tired, wild, rambling, overwhelmed and a bit crazy sometimes. Pretty normal by my books.

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So that’s where I’m at right now. Happy and content and busy and dreaming of more. It’s a pretty nice place to be really and I’m glad I did this little post even if to remind myself of this. Hope you’re in a good place right now. Wishing you lots of happiness and contentment and dreams you can turn into reality.

PS: The Flourless Flower Cake is a gluten free apple and rhubarb cake that I made this morning, and the rhubarb came from my garden as did all the pretty flowers and blossom decorating the cake.

PPS: All the other photos are of flowers in my garden right now.

bees and a beanie

Time for another 1st – I knitted my first beanie and I used circular needles for the first time!

Charlie’s Farmer Boy Hat
100% Pure Baby Alpaca, Knit.

This was such a fabulous beginners pattern I came across a little while back on the gorgeous blog ‘Foxs Lane’. The lovely Kate kindly wrote up a free little beanie pattern to make your farmer boy a hat, and although my hubby isn’t a farmer boy anymore… he will be… again… one day… when our dream of having our own little farm comes true.
In the meantime he does work outdoors gardening, so a warm beanie is definitely a must for the cold mornings.


This beanie is so so so soft! Pure chunky baby Alpaca yarn is definitely one of my top 3 yarns as it soft and fluffy and feather light and super warm. I think it feels like what you would imagine a cloud would feel like if you could touch it… one of those really big fluffy puffy clouds. Delicious!
And it must be comfy as Charlie is still wearing it from the ‘photo shoot’ even though it’s actually quite sunny outside!

Now… onto the bee part of this post… have you ever heard a swarm of bees… before you even saw a single bee?

This is what a small section from a small (according to the apiarist!) swarm of bees looks like.
I thought the swarm was HUGE! Believe me, it was LOUD!
I was weeding the garden when I heard what I thought was a car engine pulling up… but I looked around and I couldn’t see a car… so head down, weeding some more… then… the humming got louder… and louder… and louder…
This time I stood up and had a good look around, over the fence and up the road… and that’s when I saw the swarm… this huge swirling humming cloud… heading past the tree on the corner… and over the fence… into my front yard!


Within about half an hour they had made themselves quite at home… seems the big ol’ gum tree in the front yard of Dove Cottage was the new address… and a few thousand bees couldn’t be wrong… right?
In no time, two huge busy buzzing hives appeared amongst the gumnuts.


A quick google… and a call to the local apiarist…. and 20 minutes later… we had gentle Gavin… in the yard… up a very tall ladder… with a box… full of bees!


After a fiesty shake of the branch most of the bees droped right into the well positioned box.
Then after a minute or so… one flap of the box was opened… and the straggler bees buzzing about gently buzzed into the box… like they were being quietly summoned… by muma queen… it was amazing… almost a bit magical… and made me want to learn more about bees.
Apparently, Gavin said the bees in the box released pheromones which ‘called’ the other bees in. Clever hey?
I also found out that any bee can be a queen bee, the queen bee is just the bee that gets fed royal jelly for all of her life, instead of the first few days of her life like the rest of the bees. That made me curious about Royal Jelly too.

Fascinating hey? At least I thought I was… Do you already know lots about bees? Sorry if I’ve bored your to tears with my bee post. I’ll buzz off now…

Hope your day is full of magical suprises… and maybe even a hand knitted gift… made with love.

it was an ‘s’ kind of sunday

My Sunday was full of Spring, Sunshine, Sunrays, Show offs, Serenity, Skeins & Socks.


Spring
The first of the cherry tree blossom was out… reflecting beautifully… in the lake… at my favourite park… in the mountains.


Sunshine
Glistening… on the other lake… at my favourite park… in the mountains.


Sunrays
Even heart shaped sunrays… shining through the tall gum tree forest… over the tree ferns… landing on the pretty pink rhododendrons.


Show offs
This blurry masses of feathers… were two very chatty little Lyrebirds… putting on a fabulous display… fighting to claim their own patch of dirt… to dig up some more dinner.


Serenity
Serenity Point actually… yes that’s really the name of this spot… overlooking the Yarra Valley… with the blue-est of blue sky blessing us… very serene.


Skeins
My skein was wound into a ball… my hubby is good at the winding part… I am good at the skein holding part… he is wearing an alpaca jumping… whilst winding alpaca yarn… we are a bit biased… regarding alpacas.


Socks
I started my second sock… at Serenity Point… my hubby plaited his leather belt… we crafted together… in the spring… sunshine… it was gloriously serene… we felt like we’d had a holiday… by the time we left… just a few hours later.


I wish all my Sundays were like this.

I’d like another ‘S’ kind of Sunday… sprinkled with daffodils… sunshine… craft… and serenity… soon.

Hope you get your dose of Serenity soon too!