my sabbatical


























So don’t hate me or anything, but I’ve just begun a 6 (ish) month long sabbatical. Well, long service leave actually… but then truth be told I’m also officially unemployed after being made redundant due to a recent company merge. So long service leave, redundancy or sabbatical, call it what you will, but I choose sabbatical as it feels like a happy word and brings with it thoughts of retreat, holiday and time out… and that is kinda sorta what I plan to do with this time. Redundant on the other hand, not such a nice word, but in reality it was my choice. A new job or the opportunity to take my long-awaited hard-earned long service leave. It really wasn’t too difficult to decide, in fact I felt a bit like it was fate and the decision was already written in the stars… or sheep or cows or something. I did have plans to leave my job in another year or two anyway, and find something closer to home, rather than continue indefinitely with the 3 hour (at best) daily commute. I’m going to stretch out my long service leave and see if I can make it last double the time, hence the approximate 6 month time frame. Hello budgeting, meal planning and ultra conservative living!

To be totally honest I’m beside myself with a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, joy and overwhelm. It’s been a huge year of change for me, I’ve left my home of 19 years and moved far away (well around 100 odd k’s away) from my friends and family. Now after 14 years at the same job, I’m on a sabbatical and at home full time. It’s a lot to digest. But I’m so happy and have that awesome and rare feeling, that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in life right now. I’m keen to tackle the ridiculously big list of things that needs starting in order to convert our paddocks into a productive farm. I want to invest some time in Charlie’s Stockman Leathercraft shop. I’m ready to spend some serious time crafting and possibly reopen my poorly neglected and too-long-on-vacation shop. I’m going to dust off my sewing machine and get stitching again. I’m busting to spend some reading time with our wonderful collection of books, full of teachings on practical self-sufficiency and practiculture. I plan to write a little more here, it’s something I enjoy enormously but find it hard to justify the time. In fact, I’m looking to make peace with time, it’s felt like my arch enemy for so long now, but I’m hoping these 6 months will unfold at a gentle pace and we can become friends again.

In other news, the two baby lambs are even more adorable than ever. They hang out together and play in the paddocks, running and bouncing and looking like they smile even for the camera. I’ve renamed Big Ears to Bouncer, didn’t want to give her a complex about her ears, and the new littlest lamb is Buttons, you know cute as a button and all. There’s also been another lamb born, sadly her mother didn’t make it so she has been hand reared by our neighbours (the real owners of all these sheep, although you’d think reading this that they’re mine!) with much love and care. To the extent she wore a nappy and slept inside during her early days. I know – just the image of that in my head makes me smile. They have named her Lucy and she is so very sweet and friendly, and actually let me get really close for a photo and pat.

The wrist warmers started out as this pattern, but I got really confused (it’s not hard!) around the thumb bit so I veered off pattern and made up the bit from the thumb up. They are not as nice as the original pattern, but still I’m pleased with the outcome. And in pure baby alpaca yarn they are so light and soft and warm and in time for the chills of winter. (my missing pairs still haven’t turned up)

So tell me, if you have a moment, what’s your best budget-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, recipes… ha, don’t ask for much do I?

May time be on your side x

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lemon butter, sherbet and candy

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Mmmmm…. lemon butter… I could eat it by the spoonful… sometimes do! It’s the thing I hunt down at markets, forever in search of the perfect homemade lemon butter.

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Well I had myself a bit of a lemon butter off recently and I finally made some (even though my classic old New Zealand cookbook ‘Edmonds’ calls it lemon honey).  I also had a recipe for lemon custard, it’s been stuck to the fridge for months, teasing me.  Then I was gifted some lemons from my gorgeous daughter.  And you know what they say about life giving you lemons? Yes I’ve seen the pinterest boards saying ‘get yourself some tequilla and slam that sh*t down’… but tequilla and I aren’t fond of each other…  (bad memories!) … So when life gave me lemons, I decided lemon butter and lemon custard was the answer. And a day of whisking began.

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I whisked till my arm was burning. I kept remembering stories of curdled lemon butter when it all goes wrong. I was determined mine wouldn’t curdle. And it didn’t, all the whisking paid off. I tested both of these glorious lemony buttery delights extensively… I take my research seriously you know!  And I came to conclusion that they are both bloody delicious!

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But which one would I choose to make again you ask? Neither. I would take a little from each recipe and tweak up my own version. What a surprise hey?! You see I loved the addition of the zest in the lemon honey, but I loved the custardy texture of the lemon custard. The lemon honey was very sweet, the custard a bit tart… so I’d go somewhere in between for the sugar.

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The one on the left is the lemon honey, complete with lovely zingy bits of zest. The one of the right is the lemon custard. Funnily enough, looks a lot more like custard. Both equally moreish!

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Now I found the recipe for the lemon custard online, so long ago and I really can’t remember where I found it. I’ve searched far and wide to where I thought it may have been and can’t find it. So I’m reproducing it here but please know it is not my recipe. If it is your recipe or you know the creator of it, please do let me know so I can share some link love.

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Now for the sherbet. My sherbet wrist warmers are done and I can’t wait to pop them on the next gloomy grey cold day, and feel all bright and happy and sherbet-ey.

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This is my new project. It’s my Popping Candy Blanket, because the colours remind me of popping candy. Some of the sherbet colours mixed in with some of the many random odds and ends of colours that I keep promising myself I’ll use up. I find it tricky to use up end bits of yarn because I’m pretty pedantic about what colours I like to play together. But I’m loving the bright colourful mix of this one as it honestly feels really happy, and I feel happy crocheting it.

What about you? Are you making anything that makes you happy? Like eating lemon butter by the spoonful? Life giving you lemons?

Wishing you juicy lemons, sherbet smiles and happy candy coloured days.

crochet wrist warmers in teal

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Teal Bobble Wrist Warmers, Crochet. 100% wool.

You see I had to make another pair. Not long after I finished these lovely crochet wrist warmers, I got myself a new mustard hoody for my winter walks. And not long after I got my mustard hoody I realised that my soft pastel wrist warmers just would not do… pastels and brights together? For some maybe, but not for me… Obviously, I’d just have to make some more… right?

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You see I’m up to weaving the ends in, and washing and blocking the last two blankets I’ve made. And I just love a diversion… not to mention starting another project before I finish the last! It’s a bit of a specialty of mine actually.

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I love the teal and mustard colour combo… I understand I may well be a year or two behind trend… but I love it… now.

I made these wrist warmers up. Using one of my favourite crochet stitches, the blanket stitch. They were quick and easy, and became quite the chunky little warmers. So I finished them off with a chunky little bobble edge to match the chunky bobble-ish stitch. Perfect chunky goodness for a blustery cold day.

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I felt bright and cheery on my winter walk this morning. Everything was quite bleak and grey and overcast… except me, I was a burst of sunshiney colour and I loved it… even my homemade fimo bead necklace matches… Pretty fancypants for a winter walk!

Are you managing to get out for a walk when winter shows you her best? Or are you enjoying some summer sunshine on your walks? Or maybe you don’t walk much? Maybe you need some colourful warm crochet wrist warmers to get you out the door? Would you like a pattern for them? It would be a very short pattern I promise… the only kind I like really!

Hope you get some cheery pops of sunshine in your day.

crochet wrist warmers

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I made myself something… I’ve been enjoying my winter walks lately except I kept having to roll my sleeves down over my hands to keep them warm. Then I remembered some lovely wrist warmers I had spotted a while back either on the Coco Rose Diaries Blog or Instagram.

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So I searched Pinterest for Patterns… as you do! Before long I landed on this pattern for Wrist Warmers which I thought looked like the ones on the Coco Rose blog. Perfect! Or so I thought….

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I hunted around for some odds and ends of yarn, knowing they wouldn’t take much, and put together the lovely blue shades that I always fall back on. Soft. Pastel. Slightly green in some lights and sometimes a bit greyish. Gorgeous fibres. Alpaca, silk, wool… the usual suspects.

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Off I started… following the pattern… It wasn’t long till I hit a snag! A bit of the pattern that didn’t seem to make sense… to me anyway. I had a look at the comments and somebody had written that it looked like there was a whole row of pattern missing. Great I thought… knowing patterns aren’t exactly my strong point. So, I started the other wrist warmer and got it to the same snag point. Then I just kinda sorta made up the little bits that I needed to continue in the main pattern row. Not sure that makes sense now as I write it, but basically I just fluffed along like I usually do. They are very similar to the look of the ones in the pattern, but a bit different… they’re missing a row every second row! There’s a lot of winging it, and a certain amount of uncertainty in knowing whether the finished product will be wearable when fluffing along like this. And I will say that there was a bit of unraveling … me and the yarn! Throw in a few obligatory swear words about patterns and before I knew it they were done. And they worked… I even made up a little joiny bit between the thumb and fingers.

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I have tried them out and they work a treat. My hands are warm as… My fingers get a little chilly but I need them free for photos… Because what’s a winter walk without taking a million photos I ask you? A ‘normal’ walk my hubby would say!

Wishing you little joyful moments like happy sunny winter walks with warm hands.