Sunday, October 19, 2014

treasure hunt party

IMG_1721

I feel like I've spoken often here over the years about how much I love a kid's birthday party. How much I love celebrating each of my girls all the way from the planning and the invitation making, through to the themes and the cake. I love how as they get older the activities change and they get more involved in the running of things, and I really love watching the parties unfold, seeing the excitement, listening to the laughter and feeding them all the yummy treats.

Our parties are pretty low key, they are always homemade and mostly they are planned using games we played when we were kids.

A few years ago, on the anniversary of our 25th children's birthday party I wrote this list of my top 10 ingredients for throwing a top party.

Yesterday we celebrated Miss Jazzy's 11th, which was our 30th!! Wow!!

She invited her three best friends and asked us for a big treasure hunt, we wrote a list of activities and destinations and then they pretty much ran things themselves.

IMG_1644

IMG_1747

CLUE NUMBER ONE

At the start of our farm sits something that's red
It used to plow paddocks but now it's old and it's dead
On the seat of this beast sits your very first clue
Go find it then read it and it'll tell you what to do

IMG_1659

IMG_1663

IMG_1686

CLUE NUMBER TWO

Walk down the driveway, turn left before the creek
Wander through the apple blossom if the next clue you seek
Keep your eyes open for a blanket or two
You must each make two pom-poms before you get the next clue

IMG_1702

CLUE THREE

Go back to the driveway, turn left then start walking
Head to the tractor shed, not too much talking
When you get there take a seat, on a chair or the floor
You must each get your nails done before clue number four

IMG_1767
CLUE FOUR

Head on up to the place where our veggies all grow
The grass is a little long and might need a mow
There you'll find a table with some food to eat
Relax and enjoy, take a load off your feet

IMG_1741

CLUE FIVE

Now head down the path to the tee-pee of burnt sticks
Look around for a silver pot where you'll find all the tricks
Stand behind the marker and take aim at the middle
When you're done with this game, I'll hand you the next riddle

IMG_1749

CLUE SIX

Now go back near the house for some costumes and fun
There's chocolate in the caravan please walk don't run

IMG_1755

CLUE SEVEN

The next clue in this game leads you somewhere so near
A mere 20 steps away at a tiny house so dear
There you'll find the next part of this hunt that's nearly done
Show us your hand and have lots of fun

IMG_1758

IMG_1709

CLUE EIGHT

Now all that's left
Is the cake and the song
Happy birthday dear Jazzy
Thank you all for coming and playing along!!


It was wonderful. My favourite part was chucking the old eggs at the tree monster. There's something just so satisfying about the throw and the smash. Such fun!

And that's our 11, see you next week for 7.

Until then, tell me about parties at your place.
Do you do themes? Do you bake fancy cakes? Do you have favourite traditions?
I'd love to know.


Big love

xx


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five instagram Fridays

photo

Five Fridays have passed since I first told you about The Centre of Contemporary Photography's instagram competition. Five weeks of wondering and exploring the one word prompt given to us, five weeks of taking lots of maybe shots, and five weeks of considering the way I use instagram, the way the other contestants use instagram and what that all means in the scheme of things.

And of course it means five Fridays of uploading the final photo, five Fridays of refreshing my feed constantly to see what the other participants have posted and five Fridays of second guessing myself, of feeling happy, of feeling unprofessional, cliche, inadequate, proud and pleased.

So let me take you on a journey back through those last five Fridays and tell you a bit about the story behind each of my photos.

WEEK 4 | STRANGER

I had spent the few days before the fourth Friday at The Slow Living Workshop and even though I'd had my phone out taking pics the entire time, and even though I had an idea that I'd like to submit something with flowers, I drove out of there thinking that I would have to post my entry a day after. That a Saturday photo would have to be better than no photo at all.

But late that night, sitting in my car waiting for Indi to finish her school production, I found this one amongst the millions I'd taken that week. It felt perfect. Like it represented the theme and my few days exactly. The stranger in black, the contrasting yellow of the wattle and the incredibly beautifully styled table.

I captioned it - I find these internet friendships we form so interesting. We are strangers yet we know intimate details about each other's lives.

photo-2

WEEK 5 | TIME

My caption - These two and their sister. Their wobbly teeth, their birthdays, their new centimetres, their new tricks, their insights, their favourite songs, their squabbles, their seasons, their accomplishments, the books they finish, the year levels they complete, each day, each hour, each minute.

I woke them up at 5.30am that Friday. Jazzy wouldn't get up. Thankfully these two did. And thankfully the greys turned to blues, turned to golden orange and became awesome. Hand holding children and sunrises are totally cliche, but for a good reason I think. There are not many more humbling experiences than watching night become day, then watching it through their eyes, and then watching them become who they are to be.

photo-3

WEEK 6 | UP CLOSE

No caption this week. No close up of beach washed up pebbles, no close ups of tropical flowers or leaves or fruit.

Our Indi. On the walk through the jungle from the beach back to the house. Sandy hair, holiday face, content.

photo-5

WEEK 7 | MIRROR IMAGE

It took me a week to get this shot. Each morning for a week I'd run past the Port Douglas marina at 6.30 and hope for the best, but each day it was too windy and the ripples in the water disturbed the shot I hoped to take.

Until the seventh Friday. On that day I ran, I photographed just in case and not until I got home and flicked through my photo stream did I realise I'd gotten it. I flipped it for fun, didn't caption it and posted it before 8am, record!!

photo-4

WEEK 8 | CONTRAST

Last Friday morning I walked through our forest with a bucket of watered down clay we had taken from our dam and a paint brush. I chose three blackened trees, loaded some podcasts on my phone and got to work painting stripes.

I borrowed this idea from our wonderful friend and local artist Petrus Spronk. A few months ago he came over to our house and shared a DVD of his own works using clay to paint the trees near his home. He is fascinated with the horizontal stripes in the vertical forest. And we all loved hearing the stories of his beautiful images as much as we loved looking at the photos of them.

Totally and completely inspired, I asked his permission to paint some of our own blackened forest and to my delight he agreed.

So on the eighth Friday I painted, and while it wasn't exactly easy to make even stripes on the charred bark, it was meditative. And when I finally stood back, I liked what I saw. And I photographed it and then I came down the hill to the house and posted it. I love that I can see the stripy trees from my kitchen window when I am doing the dishes.

My caption reads - Horizontal lines in an otherwise vertical forest. White dam clay against the 2009 bushfire burnt trees. With love and gratitude for the concept to my artist friend Petrus Spronk.

And that's it! Until this Friday of course. Better get my thinking cap on.

If you are following this on instagram I'm sorry for the repetition.
If you'd like to see my first three pics you can check them out here.
You can click on the #ccpsalonig hashtag on instagram to see what the other nine grammers are posting.
And if you feel like it you can even join in too by posting your own responses to the prompts using the #diyccpsalon hashtag.

Phew, did you get all that? I hope so.

I also hope you are well and happy.

Until next time, may your light be just right.

Big love! xx

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

snippety snippets

IMG_1545

So the holidays are over and we've hit the ground running. It's springtime in our part of the world and although it's not quite tee-shirt weather yet, I feel like things are changing and I'm going to have to move fast and spend my time carefully to keep up.

I feel like we've had a great rest. I feel like I've had the time to really work out my priorities and I feel ready to work hard for and at the things I love and the things that inspire me and make me happy.

I feel like I've got loads to share with you here too, but before any of that let's do a quick catch up. Here are some of the early October snippets of my life.

ADMIRING the peony roses. We are generally a bit useless when it comes to growing anything that's not edible, but the peonies seem to take care of themselves. Each year they flower for Jazzy's birthday and each year I am astounded by their beauty and make a mental note to plant more. More roses and more flowers in general. We can't eat them but they certainly feed us in other ways. They make me happy, they make this place beautiful and they make me stop for a bit and be in the moment admiring them. Love!

IMG_1605

Technically I'm not CROCHETING anything but I have plans. I'm searching Ravelry for a hat pattern for my cold headed, awesome friend Andi who shaved her gorgeous raven locks to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. Pretty great hey!!

And I'm also queuing patterns for my Softie For Mirabel softie. I'm thinking I might make a kitty this year. Or a bird. Are you making one too?

IMG_1603
I'm READING this book. Oh my goodness how I want to be a shepherdess. And a spinner. And a natural dyer. And I want to sell a Daylesford Organics yarn to people all around the world. And I want to work out if there is a way we can do it all from here in a certified organic/biodynamic way.

I'm a little bit obsessed but I feel like our probable plans to travel next year are putting the brakes on this new direction. Or maybe it's making me change the direction of our travels into woolly research. We'll see.

IMG_1582

I'm SMELLING all of the blossom. I'm fighting for space to get my nose in deep with the bees. And I'm dreaming of quinces and plums and almonds and apples and nashis and berries. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

IMG_1614

Unfortunately we're still LIGHTING the fire for warmth. I had hoped that our days of collecting, splitting, hauling, stacking, lighting and cleaning would be over for another season by now, but I should have known better. Hopefully soon we'll be down to overnight burns only. And by then it'll probably be fire season.

IMG_1609

I'm still KNITTING my love heart socks. Knitting time at home is so much scarcer than on holidays.

IMG_1540

And I'm MISSING little holiday bare legs and arms photobombing my pics.

IMG_1555

We're EATING kale on everything, in everything and around everything. We planted a ridiculous amount this year and now I want the space back.

IMG_1303

I'm incredibly GRATEFUL for this beautiful 100% natural Polwarth wool that Tom from Tarndie Heritage Sheep Farm sent me.

Tom's great-great grandfather developed the Polwarth sheep on their farm in the 1800's to better suit the southern climate and now 100 years later they are still farming the sheep and now they are selling the wool on their big cartel site. Imagine what Tom's great-great grandfather would think of that?! Amazing!!

I haven't had a chance to knit with the Polwarth yet but I can tell you that it is soft and squishy and the colours are gorgeous, all the most important ingredients in a good yarn I think.

IMG_1568 And finally, I'm EXAMINING our wisteria vines as they naturally weave themselves into the roof of our carport. I think I need to make some time for some basket making, and wreath making and weaving soon before they wake up and sprout leaves and flower. I think the clock is ticking on my big basket dreaming, maybe this weekend the sun will shine and I'll get out my secateurs and get to work.

And that's me, all caught up and ready to press go.

How about you?
What are you admiring, crocheting, reading, smelling, lighting, knitting, missing eating, examining and grateful for?
Let me know in the comments, or perhaps you'd like to make a blog post of your own?

Until then, I hope some fun stuff is happening in your world.

Big love

xx




Monday, October 6, 2014

This week you might like to....

IMG_1138

VOTE for My Bearded Pigeon in the Etsy Design Awards.

I met Cath, Ms My Bearded Pigeon, online a few years ago right after we had both just started blogging. Each Thursday we, along with a couple of hundred other craft bloggers, would share our creative spaces and what we'd been up to.

I liked Cath straight away. I loved her creativity, her parenting and living style, the fact that she'd also moved from the city to the country and I really admire the fact that she always stands up for what she believes to be right, always supports other people’s projects and is always enthusiastic, encouraging and kind.

A few years ago Cath came up with a gorgeous organic cushion design which she handmade in her lounge room at home and then started selling on Etsy. When the world fell in love with her cushions and she found she couldn’t make them all herself, she employed other mothers in her community to help her with the cutting and the sewing. Other mothers who could sit up at their kitchen tables stitching and still be there when their kids woke up or got home from school. I think that’s pretty awesome.

I also think it’s pretty awesome that Cath herself juggling motherhood, running a household, going to work, being a constant and supportive friend, fighting copyright issues and copycats, has grown her business, come up with loads of new designs while always sticking to her ethics.

Voting for Cath puts her in the running to win a mentoring session with Clare Bowditch and also a trip to New York.

Voting is quick and easy, it’s free, it gives you the chance to win a $250 Etsy gift card and it would mean the world to Cath.

Vote for My Bearded Pigeon here.




Sponsor Pottymouth Mama to wear a dress each day in October and raise some much needed funds for ovarian cancer research. Every cent she raises goes to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF).

Currently there is no early detection test for ovarian cancer and the OCRF relies completely on the support of the community and business. 

Here are some stats I found on Lexi's blog;

  • Every ten hours, one woman dies from ovarian cancer in Australia
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death of all gynaecological cancers
  • Unlike other cancers, there is NO early detection test
  • Over 50% of the community incorrectly believe a pap smear diagnoses ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian cancer has a lower survival rate than both breast and cervical cancer
  • When detected and treated early 80-100% of women will survive beyond five years compared with only 20-30% when diagnosed at a late stage

This is Lexi's third year of participating in frocktober and it would be great to help her make it the biggest yet.

Please sponsor Lexi by clicking this link.


IMG_0586

READ this little interview I did over on Kellie's blog.

DSC_0540

MAKE a soft toy for Softies For Mirabel

I love this one. Each year for the past eight years, Pip and the Meet Me At Mikes crew have encouraged crafters all over the world to make and donate a soft toy for The Mirabel Foundation, an organisation that cares for children affected by parental substance abuse. 

As an obsessive compulsive crafter myself, the thought of something I have created with my own two hands making a small difference to a child's life, warms my heart.

Softies can be stitched, crocheted, knitted, woven or felted. Above is the softie I made back in 2010, you can check out all the others in the flickr group.


I still haven't decided what form my softie will take this year but I think it's probably about time I took a break from my sock-a-thon, don't you?

Keep up to date with the softies project over at Meet Me At Mikes.


I think that's it from me for now.
So tell me, are you going to vote or sponsor or read or make?
Were you a creative spacer or have you made a softie before?
Do you have anything going on that you think I should know about?

I hope you have a wonderful week.
I hope your sun shines and that you find the time to do something that you love.

Big love

xx

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

tropical exhale

IMG_1449
Each year we try to take a few weeks off between the cold, quiet months of winter and the start of the spring growing season. Each year we try to go somewhere far away from our farm. To have a proper break from the everyday chores, the ever growing to-do lists, the routines and the expectations.

The further we go, the more perspective we can get on things back home. The more the landscape changes, the more the flora and fauna and day to day life differ, the more we can really see our lives on the farm. And the longer we are away, the more decisions and changes and plans we can make and put in place.

IMG_1380
It's amazing what early morning walks on the beach, tropical fruit breakfasts, sea breezes, slow uninterrupted chunks of time, clear blue skies, the sound of the waves, bare feet, afternoon siestas, and beach salty skin can do to refresh and revive our visions.

IMG_1488
We've done our seed order, I've read Looking for Alaska and Crazy Rich Asians, Farmer Bren has been doing an online ukulele course and has spent hours perfecting his strum and accompanying Indi's singing.

IMG_1481
I've cast off another pair of socks, I've walked/jogged 7,000 steps before breakfast, we've spent a good chunk of time with family and bumped into friends and we've hardly ever driven anywhere, which is always the best sign of a holiday for me.

(Jazzy's socks ravelled here).

IMG_1494
We've eaten too much, we've thought more about next year's adventure, we've swum, we've been constantly amazed by the crazy beautiful tropical wild and bird life, and we've talked about life at home on our farm. We've felt alive and exhilarated and refreshed.

IMG_1398 We've breathed in  enormous gulps of holiday air and we've felt grateful beyond measure.

And in the weeks and months to come when life builds up and speeds up and piles up, we'll have these few weeks away to remember and ground us. Hopefully we'll be able to hold on to and recall the pillowy feeling of the the warm wind as it swirls around us, the fizzy tingle of the waves that have just crashed over us and the sweetest tastes of pineapple and passion fruit and strawberries in our mouths.


I wonder if you have a warm and sweet place to go to in your heart when things get too crazy on the ground? I wonder if yours is tropical and laid back like mine, or in the middle of the hustle and bustle somewhere exotic? I wonder what bird songs you can hear, what the market food tastes like and how tall the mountains on the range are?

I hope you can go there.

Big love

xx


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Socks from scratch

IMG_1414 I'm obsessed with knitting socks!!

I know that that's not news for anybody who knows me in real life as I'm always pulling that long, skinny needle and a couple of balls of fine yarn out of my basket to knit a row or two. It's probably nothing revelatory to you guys who know me online either, as my last few yarn purchases and crafty projects have been all about the sock too.

But as well as the click-clacking, I've been thinking a lot about this new love too. Trying to turn it over and inside-out, attempting to understand it and trace it back to where it first began.

IMG_1420
A long, long time ago, when I was in my early teens, I used to learn the clarinet off this wonderful woman called Anna, whose family ran a shop that sold roses on Wattletree Road. During my lessons Anna used to knit these long, colourful and heavily patterned socks. They were incredible. I remember them being knitted up with a different pattern each strip working up the sock. A house with a garden, a sky with butterflies, flowers, trees and birds.

The fact that they impressed this non knitting teenager says something and the fact that they have stayed in my mind all these years makes me wonder if I should credit Anna with my love of the knitting of the humble sock. What I wouldn't give to hold one in my hands right now and reconcile my memories with sock truth.

(Miss Pepper's blue socks raveled here.)

IMG_1354
Fast forward thirty or so years and finally I'm knitting socks of my own. Not nearly at Anna's level of complication, but there's time.

About four years ago when I picked up the needles and googled 'how to cast on', I think I probably had socks in my mind as the end game. (Check out Miss Pepper's cute cheeks in my first knitting post).

IMG_1362
Knitting socks just makes sense to me.

I love that I can play with the cutest, craziest, most colourful yarn that I would never be brave enough to experiment with on a larger piece of clothing.

I love that I can make something that we actually need and wear everyday. If life as we know it ever ends, my family will still have cute socks to put on.

I love how portable the sock knitting project is.

I love the anatomy of a sock. To date I have knitted nine and a bit socks and I never cease to be overwhelmed with admiration for the person who first broke it down and designed something that covers that tricky bit of the body and fits it so well.

I love all the different patterns and choices available from the utensils, to the yarns, to the directions, to the cast ons, to the gussets, to the heels, to the patterns, to the lengths, to the cast offs.

I love knitting two socks at a time, on a long circular needle, from the toes up.

I love that sock knitting is a slow and meditative craft.

I love that sock knitters are like members of a secret club. Three or four times over the past few months strangers have approached me while I was knitting and chatted sock techniques. It's almost like finding someone else who speaks your language when you are in a foreign country.

I love this book.

And I love clicking on the sock knitting hashtags on instagram and scrolling through what everybody else is making.

(Bren's Farmer Boy socks ravelled here.)

IMG_1428
Yep, I'm hooked on socks!

How about you?
What are you hooked on right now?

Happy equinox you guys!

Big love

xx


Sunday, September 21, 2014

a big bunch of daffodils x

IMG_1275

IMG_1256

IMG_1269 For some reason my blog seems to be stuck on this post.

I took the photos on fathers' day a few weeks back and I loaded them into my blog not long after that.

At first I think I thought it would be a blog about spring. About how a little sunshine, an extra few minutes in the day and some pretty yellow flowers make the whole world feel like it's opening up with a zillion possibilities.

Then when I didn't write that post I think I planned to write a bit of a story about each of my girls. One at a time. Where they are, what they are thinking, loving, doing, hoping, and dreaming about.

And then when that didn't eventuate I think I intended to write something a bit more farmy. Something about how we are feeling about this growing season, about seeds and biodynamics, and chooks and sheep.

But obviously I didn't write that one either. And for some unknown reason the tab of this blog post has remained open but the text part of this blog has remained empty. It's been like that for a few weeks now. And every time I take any new photos off my camera and think about writing a different blog post, I keep coming back to this one and I get stuck all over again. I can't seem to leave this post behind It's like I'd feel guilty to cheat on it.

So basically what I'm doing here is pressing publish so I can push forward.

Hopefully I'll be back in the next day or two to talk about all that other stuff. We've got so much to catch up on, I can hardly wait.

In the meantime I'm off to try this cast off on a little blue pair of Pepper socks.
What're you up to today/tonight?

Big love - speak soon.

xx


Visit my other blog.