podcasts and craft wagons












The other week I felt like I was the last person on earth that hadn’t opened the Podcast app on their phone. So I decided I was going to investigate this whole podcast thing that I kept hearing about, and a few days later this great post appeared on one of my favourite blogs, Meet me at Mikes. Put it out to the universe and suddenly it comes to you hey? Well after a great head start thanks to Pip, I soon found a few more subjects that piqued my interest and I’ve been ‘podcasting’ ever since. On the drive to and from work, when there’s crap on tv and even when I get outvoted in the tv watching stakes, and there’s some sort of ruby/hunting/fishing show on. I pop my little earplugs in and I’m off in another world learning about amazing people, what makes for good design and why we like to swear. It’s brilliant! Have you tried it yet? What do you listen to?

The first week of spring has brought with it all sorts of beautiful and not freezing mornings, sparkly sunshine on jasmine and dewy raindrops on blossom. My maybush is flowering, the birds are extra happy and chirpy, and it’s a teeny bit lighter when I get home from work. We’ve picked and eaten lots of fresh greens from the garden this week and I’m looking forward to the veggies growing a bit faster than the slow mode of winter. Cakes were baked and eaten in celebration of all the Leo birthdays plus one early Virgo birthday in our family. I made a flourless zesty citrus cake with sweet potato, loosely based on this recipe, a decadent chocolate chip cookie cake loosely based on this recipe (thanks Reannon!).

In other news I’ve been struggling to fit in craft time of late – unheard of for me as I’m usually pretty good at prioritising this, I know my sanity suffers if I don’t. But for some reason it’s taken a back seat for the last few weeks while things got a little chaotic around here in the wardrobe/declutter/move furniture in every.single.room to a new spot mode. Finally we’re settling back into a regular state of slightly ordered chaos, only a bit of furniture rearranging to go, and most of the crazy chaos is gone (some of it just moved outside to the garage!). Anyways, as a result of the lack of craft, unsurprisingly my health has started to suffer and I’ve been feeling a bit average / stressy / overwhelmed… so I got to fixing that by casting on a beanie at the beginning of the week and casting off by the end of the week. It felt so satisfying and so good to be crafting again. I used some fave chunky baby alpaca which was a delight to knit up. The squishyness is impossible to describe or see in the photo but trust me, you’d want to curl up and sleep in this beanie if it was big enough. I talked my son into modelling it for photos again, ‘just pretend you’re a pixie in the flower garden’ I said… you can probably guess which photo is the one I said this in?

Don’t you think it’s funny how even when we know what’s good for us, we still fall off the wagon and forgot/stop to prioritise the things that bring us peace and make us feel good about ourselves and life in general. I’m back on the wagon again and even cleaned out my yarn basket and got myself a few new projects to play with. Bring on the craft and spring sunshine I say!

Wishing you a gentle cushioned landing if you fall off your wagon, and giving you a leg up to get back on again.

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.

dear monday 13.7.15

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Still reflections on the early morning walk to the Hot Water Beach.

Low tide unveils an area on the beach where ripples of natural hot thermal waters run just under the surface of the sand. Steam rises from the sand and confuses the senses, as the crisp sea air blows by your face whilst your feet feel the warmth from below.

Dig a little hole, it quickly fills with steaming hot water… let some of the gently lapping waves trickle in until the temperature is just right… have a soothing healing hot bath… watch the waves roll out and the sun come up… soak it in… soak it up… heal… breathe… be…

Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula. North Island, New Zealand. March 2014.

 

dear monday 

What? Greeting Mondays with gratitude and memories of dreams come true.

How? Sharing a favourite 2014 holiday photo every Monday in 2015. 

Why? Cos I don’t like Mondays so I’m going to fight them with sweet moments.

You? Feel free to join in #dearmonday2015 (leave a link in the comments below so we can see it!)

See? You can see other dear mondays here

more about how this all came about here

shades of winter

Brrr… the cold snap in Melbourne has made herself at home… rain is falling as I type and the heater is on high… but yesterday we managed to squeeze in a walk, in between the showers.

Winter has her own chilly beauty… bare and exposed branches… raindrops on flowers… moss and lichen… and every shade of green imaginable.

I do love that winter makes you want to hibernate indoors and slow down the pace… long slow cooked casseroles and soups… lots of hot cuppas… crocheting to the sound of rain… That’s my plan for today at least anyway.

How about you? Are you somewhere toasty hot and beachy, looking out at blue waves rolling in? Or are you close to the fire, watching the grey sky settle in for the day?

May your view be one that warms your heart.

winter calm

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So winter is here, and despite the blue sky today, it was freezing… the air in the mountains has that chill to it that reminds you there’s snow in air, making it a little harder to get out the door for a walk. But I’m so pleased when I do, winter has her own prettiness and is worth the chilly bits. I do it for the peace I feel when walking in a beautiful garden, to breathe clean air, to be close to nature, and for my physical health.

I’m working on making the looking-after-self thing more of a priority lately, which means more walking and finding more time to meditate. Sometimes it’s just a little mind wander, or a slower pace in the frenzy of swirling thoughts, or a mountain of zen, or a quite moment, and occasionally it’s the real deal, a peaceful deep state of calm. But that takes a lot of time and constant practice and I really struggle with the time thing these days.

Then along comes Sash over at Inked in Colour with her post Tea to meditate to. It’s a simple way to bring a little calm mindfulness into the day, without a lot of time and preparation and made a lot of sense to me. I’m definitely going to try to incorporate this into one of the many times I make myself a cuppa during the day. Even if you don’t meditate, I reckon you could have a go at this and maybe benefit from it. I always feel better and more together when I’ve had some slow in my day and calm in my head. And it’s such a bonus that it only takes a few minutes! So on that note, I’m off to pop the kettle on and make myself some tea to meditate to.

May you find peace in your cuppa.

my smile inducers… may 2015

It’s smile time! I want to stop and think about the things that make me smile… smile… and maybe… hopefully… make you smile… and get you thinking about the things that bring a happy smile to your face… or heart… or both. #smilefest

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Another beanie finished and another kid obliged with photos. On a roll. Although the best photo from this lot turned out to be the one where I said ‘You can’t roll your eyes in the photo!’. You know how your kids (adult really – he’s nearly 24!) can get all eyeball rolling when you want to take 20 photos of them in your knitted goods, in the cold, outside? Geez, I can’t understand it! This beanie is a roll up or down cuff variety and is thick and cozy and warm with its beautiful New Zealand wool and a mix of a bamboo/alpaca/merino blend. Chunky and solid and quite ‘blokey’ I reckon.  
Bonus smile: He told me that ‘I turned out pretty good’ [as a parent], it came out in conversation quite innocently even though it sounds a bit weird, the kid telling the parent they turned out ok. We had a good laugh about it and I told him I think he turned out pretty good too… and I have this other beanie I need to photograph…

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This beautiful card brought a heartfelt smile to my face. The stunning image was created from a stamp that my clever daughter drew and then carved out. The movement in the petals, the design in the leaves… Oh how her creative talents blow me away!

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Pip Lincoln from Meet me at Mikes, and her latest book ‘Craft for the Soul’ is a smile inducer of the most sincerest kind. There’s so many great ideas in this book to bring some ‘nice times’ into your life, that you’d be hard pressed to feel anything but happy when reading it. Terrific practical ideas to encourage out the creative, spark ideas, and move in the direction you really want to go in. I found myself smirking and giggling quite a bit throughout this book, Pip’s sense of humour is pretty cute! I can see it’s going to be one of those books that I’ll come back to time and time again, and tap into its motivation and positive can do attitude. I don’t even think you need to be crafty to enjoy this book. If you’re on the hunt for a smile then I highly recommend picking yourself up a copy. You’ll be smiling before you know it and maybe even making a pom pom, or crocheting a blanket, or going for a walk everyday, or writing 3 pages every morning.

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We have an arch in the backyard and nearly everyday the same two doves come and sit on top of the arch and snuggle and cuddle and fluff up their feathers and look all cute. My little Dove Cottage has its own little resident love doves. Awww.

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Magical walks under pretty Autumn trees as the leaves gently rain down. Impossible to not smile.

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Walking on fallen crunchy Autumns leaves puts a spring in my step and makes me feel like a kid. If you always stay on the path, then veer off under the tree and take yourself on a crunchy walk and feel the corners of your mouth creep up towards your cheeks!

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The other day I was down and out with one of those dreaded winterish lurgies. My throat was the worst hit, so I took to my trusty old medicine that I purchased in Paris a couple of years ago. Because when I went to live the Paris dream holiday, my tonsils decided it was party time. I fixed them good and proper with a natural medicine bought from the ‘Herboristerie’ down the ‘rue’ (herbalist’s shop). This medicine has a distinct smell and taste (don’t all herbal remedies?) and every time I have it, I am immediately transported back to Paris, wandering the boulevards with my sister, chirping bonjour in a bad accent, and smiling at anybody who looked at me. So, being hit with a sore throat these days has a sweet memory filled smiley french side effect. Nice.

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Toast and Peach Jam made my with homegrown clingstone peaches. Exactly! This is probably just a delicious moment for most people, but for someone deprived of bready goodness for the best part of a decade, it is indescribable joy. I am making my special potato bread on a regular basis and enjoying a bready type breakfast e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.!.!.!.! It’s such a thrill! Tho’ I might cry when I run out of my Peach Jam.

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I finished this lovely lacey Cashmere blankie. It’s so light and has the softest drape and it made me so very happy to gift it to my mum for Mother’s Day.

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So that’s my little walk down smiley lane. How about you? What’s been making you smile? What’s made your heart happy lately? Has something put the spring in your step? Share a smiley moment in the comments if you’d like… I love to hear some… smiles are contagious you know…

Sending a happy smile your way, hope you catch it!