on the cusp of change…


Is where I’ve been lately… Sifting through nearly 20 years of memories in our beloved Dove Cottage… finding first birthday cards and first pairs of shoes… holding pretty much everything I own for at least a moment and assessing if it’s something I should pack, gift, donate or tip… that takes some serious time and emotional energy for a sentimental clutterbug like myself… trying to keep in mind some wise words I read about the purpose of precious keepsakes like old letters… constantly reminding myself stuff is just stuff… even if some stuff sparks memories long forgotten… packing, packing, packing and packing… all the while during moving mode life pushes on… work is worked… chores are done… birthdays are celebrated… gigs are enjoyed… and minds have been blown – hello Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings!

I know so much about my everyday life is going to change, and whilst we’ve been counting down the sleeps til we move like a 6 year old does a visit from Santa, we’ve also been soaking up the goodness of where we are… morning coffees in the window are that little bit longer and sweeter as we wonder what we’ll ever do without a window seat… every flower that blooms in the garden is a little more meaningful as I recall when I purchased it, planted it, watered it and pruned it… Really appreciating the significance of saying ‘I’ll pop over in 5 minutes’ as I mentally prepare to change that line to ‘an hour and half’ or so.

Sitting on the cusp of change is a weird place to hang, you know it’s only temporary so you can’t really get comfy… there’s sadness in letting go of the old yet excitement in leaping into the new… it’s a bit like doing the limbo in no mans land … and I’m trying to hold my shit together and not get sick from pushing so hard… and packing, packing and packing some more… and trying to embrace one of my favourite Dalai Lama quotes ‘Change is the only constant in life’.

Some things will stay the same of course… I’ll still be me… but I’ll be me in this new phase of my life, no longer in the Dove Cottage era… it’ll be the farm era… the time we followed our hearts and just went for it with some research and knowledge about what farm life might be like, but mostly with a dream bigger than the sky, a bunch of blind faith and a basket full of hope.

May the changes in your life be smooth and sprinkled with sweet things x

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craft, music and chocolate

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I’m a bit like this tram at the moment… lots of stops and starts, mostly on the move but kinda going around in circles… it’s been busy lately but there’s been quiet moments too… I’ve been doing a bit of nothing and a heap of everything… Let me see if I can catch you up on some of my favourite things shall I?

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I’m crocheting this blankie.
It’s slow going as I’m changing yarn colour every row… look at all those ends!!! I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate them into the design and I’ve got an idea, I’ll let you know if it works. I’m loving the colours together and the pattern is a cinch to remember.

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I’m knitting this beanie.
It is going to be quite luxurious. A squishy and soft beanie using two different yarn blends. The darker grey is a mix of alpaca, wool and bamboo. The lighter grey is alpaca, wool and silk. Deliciously chunky and quite the delight to knit as I’m not using a pattern, just winging it.

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I’m baking treats.
I made a batch of my Allergy Friendly Toasty Fruit Bread the other day, only I made a variation of the recipe. Ha – what a shock hey? I am a huge fan of ginger so instead of dried fruit I added crystalized ginger. And I was extra generous with the ginger spice too so it turned out a little like a gingerbread bread… kinda… if you use your bread-deprived imagination. Oh and I tried a garlic and herb version too and it turned out a treat. I popped the savoury mix into a muffin tin so I now have little thyme and garlic bread-like muffin things. I zap them for a mini in the microwave and slather too much butter on. Not too shabby at all.


I’m listening to a lot of Shakey Graves.
I love the way this guy makes music. Both hands, both feet, his voice and his heart. I was lucky enough to see Shakey Graves supporting Shovels & Rope recently and it was the best gig. You know when you see someone doing something and you think to yourself, yep they are doing exactly what they are meant to be doing in life. I really do love my music and discovering new music to enjoy is one life’s sweetest pleasures.

I also ate way too much chocolate over Easter but hey, the Bunny made me do it! I love the guilt free chocolate breakfast that comes with Easter. My break was full of good quality chocolate (because I’m a chocolate snob as well as a coffee snob) including a new to me variety of Lindt balls – Caramel with Sea Salt… umm… yummmm… and too much of my fave Willie’s Cacao milk chocolate with sea salt, deadly discovery that one. And to balance out the indulgence of a chocolate filled Easter, I planted some silver beet, chives, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy and celery in the veggie garden. Am sure the digging in the garden worked off at least one chocolate ball!?

So how about you, what have you been up to? More importantly, what’s your favourite Chocolate?

Wishing you chocolate filled breakfasts, and music that makes your heart sing.

my smile inducers… january

In the spirit of that old thing ‘what you focus on grows’…. it’s time to look for some smile inducing moments… I’ll go first shall I?
In no particular order….
 
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When my boy told me about choosing to spend his precious few last backpacking dollars on a book to keep him entertained on the long trip home from Colombia to Australia, instead of buying a meal. I feel like I must have done something right there, books over food… and he loves his food!
 
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Watching hubby chase the birds out of our apple trees… he’s pretty tall and lanky (think praymantis) and when he hears those familiar lorakeit-gorging-sounds, he flys out the door, leaps over whatever debris is in the backyard (currently a teasingly-lazy-hammock), and furiously waves a big stick at the birds, telling them in no uncertain terms to buggar off! Ahh if only he’d let me take a photo of this, I’m sure you’d be smiling!
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Eating my homegrown veggies… I don’t mean to bang on about it, but it seriously makes me so happy and smiley with every mouthful!
 
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The Humans of New York website… yes I know, I’m late to the party… I usually am… some of the stories are a quite heartbreaking but the inspirational warm and fuzzies mostly outweigh the sad bits… I’d love ALL school teachers to read this one
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Mondays! I know, who’d have thunk it! I’m so enjoying my new dear monday series I’m actually looking forward to Mondays so I can reminisce over my holiday photos and pick just the right one for that particular Monday… that may be the ONLY thing I’m looking forward on Mondays, but hey, it’s a start.
 
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Listening to pearls of wisdom from Ralph on Landline, who is now 84 and still working in the timber mill he designed and built when he was in his 60’s. The classic understated country way he spoke, and how this rolled off the tongue, made me smile indeed:
“There are things in it [the saw mill] that I didn’t do right, because, let’s face it, a fella whose never made a mistake, he’s never made anything”… and aint that the truth!
 
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This blog… if you’re ever having a crap day just pop over here for some guaranteed authentic cheery attitude… you really can’t help but leave a Pip post without a smile. I’d just love to have more of that cheery disposition so I pop over regularly in the hope that it’ll rub off a bit.
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Getting a flat tyre on a pretty road… admittedly the pretty road induced more of a smile than the flat, although it was the second flat in 2 weeks so I kinda had to smile. Smile or *swear! And really, what can you do? Change it, enjoy the scenery, move on and smile about the good fortune of breaking down in a pretty peaceful part of the country I say.
 
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Music is especially giving me plenty of heart smiles lately… Being able to escape the everyday into favourite songs whilst crocheting is one of my all time favourite things to do… I’m loving the whole Sweet Apple CD but especially this song, and this song.
 
Ok, now it’s your turn… tell me something that’s made you smile lately… big or little it doesn’t matter… a smile shared is… a smile shared!

May your smile-o-meter runneth over with happy.

 

*Of course I did plenty of that 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…

postcards from usa… the joshua tree desert

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We left the high rise buildings and hustle bustle of LA, and watched the landscape slowly become more desolate until it became the desert. It was classic, iconic, Americana desert. Despite the lack of those big old tumbleweeds it did feel like being in an old western movie. Yuccas en mass, scattered amongst small low growing shrubs and bushes. Big ol’ boulders stacked precariously and cracked from years of mother natures loving forces. The big black crow watching us from his vantage point atop of the largest rock. The teeny lizards nervously darting about. A striking sparse, open, and quiet landscape.
Then the special rock. A candle, an inscription on the rock, the feather from a black crow. There is most certainly a special vibe around this rock, a kind of calm peace. It’s the special place in the Joshua Tree Desert that means something to any Gram Parsons fan. We listened to our new obscure little releases of Gram cd’s driving in and out, and I felt sad for the loss of so many talented musicians that have left this earth so young. And at the same time I felt grateful, for the beautiful music they have left behind for us to enjoy decades after they made it. Music that stands the test of time.
Our day trip out to the desert was the highlight on this last leg of our holiday in LA. We fly home tonight with hearts full of gratitude and wonderful memories, feeling so damn blessed and lucky. Will write again as soon as I’ve settled back into normality. I have some beautiful baby alpaca yarn I can’t wait to show you!

I’ve been doing a bit of this lately…

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Crocheting this… and it hasn’t been all straight forward.

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There was a bit of this involved… it included scissors! Doesn’t that just feel wrong to have unpick something with scissors?

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It was my own fault, I thought I was being a smartypants darning my ends in as I went. But that only works if you are totally sure you love what you are making… I thought I did. It was probably the first and last time I’ll darn as I go… Darn it! (sorry, lame puns are my specialty)

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This is take two. I’m going with the granny stitch in the granny stripe pattern… obviously without the stripes. You can find the granny stripe pattern here in amongst some other lovely crochet and colourful goodness by Lucy at Attic 24. You can find the Puffy Flower Granny Square pattern here, and there’s a very easy tutorial on youtube here by the lovely Clare Sullivan of Bobwilson 123.

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I’ve been doing my bestest to move to the slow, and this crochet in the park session was a big leap in that direction. It was only for half an hour or so but geez it was heaven.

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Remember I showed you a picture of hubbys new natural hide? Ha ha… just made myself laugh at that sentence… for first time readers I should probably include the word leather hey? Leather hide that is. Kangaroo leather to be specific. Anyway, I’ve had these ombre fimo beads for a while now, I made them back here. They’ve been strung on a single piece of leather, waiting for hubby to plait me one of his signature necklaces.

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I really love how the natural colour doesn’t detract from the pop of colour in the beads. And I love that you can adjust the length of the necklaces to suit your outfit. And just look at how fine that plaiting is! He’s a smartypants isn’t he? I think you might see more of these. I’ll just add it to my ever growing crafty to do list.

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My overflowing craft basket, with its two bags of yarny goodness had a clean out recently, motivated by the recently gifted new basket. How cute is it? I absolutely adore the birdies on the handle.

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And lately my inner-nanna has stepped aside for my inner-rockchick. Well maybe not rock, more like country-folk-chick. The Stray Sisters are the two sisters from The Waifs and boy are they amazing. And boy can they hold a tune. And lets face it, who doesn’t love a gal who can rock out the harmonica? It was a two coffee morning this morning thanks to this gig last night. It was great, a fab night out with some very special peeps but I’m feeling a little worse for wear this morning, possibly due to getting to bed at 1 a.m. and maybe thanks to a Mojito too many.

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I also managed to catch the incredible Neko Case recently. Wow wow wow! You can’t walk out of a Neko gig without being blown away by her majestic voice and tight as band. There were goosebumps during the acapella song! So so good. Neko is probably one of my all time favourite artists and this was the second time I’ve seen her… It won’t be the last.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you? Doing any ugly unpicking? Getting to any gigs? Crafted in a park lately?
I’m going to leave you with a couple of links to some songs by the The Waifs and Neko Case… happy listening and happy days to you!

this one

this one

this one

this one