Thursday, July 2, 2015
For some people travel is all about the museums and galleries, for others it's about the shopping and for others it's all about the beach or the local gardens. When our family travel, our most favourite thing to do is to explore the local markets. We love craft markets, trash and treasure markets, farmer's markets, vintage antique markets, almost any old market will do.
We google them, we walk as far as we need to to reach them and then we explore them. Up each aisle and down the next, chatting to the locals, learning their stories and tasting/trying their wares, each market we find is another adventure.
On Tuesday, two days after we landed in Israel and twenty times since we'd been asked when we could visit a market, we walked to The Carmel market. We arrived pretty early to avoid being squeezed by the crowds and we explored.
We listened to the stall holders calling their wares, we smelled all the smells - some delicious and some putrid, we saw Druze women baking fresh pita and we delighted in the fact that we are back in summer fruit and vegetable season.
We bought spices and halva, lollies and apricot leather, the girls bought rings and bracelets, and we got tricked into buying way more bread than we ever wanted.
And we left there with bulging backpacks, full tummies and happy hearts feeling like our adventures have begun.
Big love and happy travels to you my friends.
I hope you're travelling well.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
How are you? What's the weather like over there? Are you having a lovely day today?
We're great. After travelling for what felt like a week, we finally arrived in Israel on Sunday morning and are slowly settling in to life on the other side of the planet.
But before I fill you in on what life's like here, I want to go back to the start.
I'm breaking my no iPhone photos on the blog rule for this post, but it was so humid in Hong Kong while we were there that I was scared to take my real camera out of the room. I killed a camera with humidity once and I really can't afford to do that again. So in order to start this story at the beginning we'll do it in squares. Hopefully they'll all be rectangles from next time on.
So last Thursday afternoon after what felt like weeks and days and hours of packing and planting and cleaning and organising, we left our Daylesford Organics home and headed to the airport.
We weren't actually leaving the country for almost another day but it felt like a calmer, easier and safer departure than one at five on Friday morning, and sleeping at a hotel across the road from the terminal and the airstrip felt like a great start to our adventure to come.
After running around like a crazy lady to get out of the house, when we arrived at the hotel and the hugeness of what we were about to do started to sink in, and I found that I couldn't sit still so I went for a run in the hotel gym.
I took that photo to send to my sister Emily who came to visit us at the hotel and wanted to know where I was, I didn't even stop running to take it. It's hard to slow down when you've been running for so long.
But there's nothing quite like an eight hour flight to make you do just that.
From Melbourne to Hong Kong I watched Still Alice and cried my eyes out, then watched a hundred episodes of the Kardashians to take my mind off Alzheimer's, and I knitted the beginning of a pair of socks.
We spent about 24 hours in Hong Kong and during that time we looked out of our hotel room and saw the buildings in the photo above and felt so very far from Daylesford. We enjoyed listening to our girls practise the Chinese they learn at school,
we bumped into the cutest family taking a selfie in the hotel while waiting for the lift and we joined them, we wore dresses with no leggings for the first time in months,
we bought paper fans, iced coffees, a tiny pack of UNO and a toothbrush for Pepper,
but not pig collagen, horse oil or my little pet wrinkle patches.
We watched Miss Pepper get her photo taken
and saw the cutest ice cream truck.
And then we headed back to the airport for the next leg of our journey.
It feels slightly surreal when something you've been planning for ages finally starts, don't you think? Like one part of you is living it but another hasn't quite caught up.
I hope you're having happy adventures wherever you may be.
Lots of love,
Monday, June 22, 2015
The other day I was standing with a gorgeous friend and my dad when my friend asked me if I was organised. My dad laughed and told her that if she was asking me that then she obviously didn't know me very well.
It's true. He's right - I am disorganised.
And that is particularly difficult right now when we are speeding towards a deadline. Hurtling at it so hard and fast that I can practically see my last few hours and days at home disappearing before my eyes.
We're going away at the end of this week. And while our adventure isn't quite as huge as the one I wrote about a year ago in this post, it feels pretty big just the same.
And with only a couple of days to go until blast off, I'm finding myself wandering around in circles. I'm crossing things off my to-do list NOT because I've done them but because I've run out of time to do them. And I'm thinking less and less about the me that I am now and more about the me that I'll be next time I'm here, and what would make that me the happiest. And of course I'm scrubbing everything in sight, wanting the people moving in here to think I am the greatest house keeper that ever there was. (It does bug me that they get to live in a much sparklier house than we ever do).
So basically this post is about darning in the ends. Tying them up and tucking them neatly under a few other stitches out of sight. I feel like my whole life is a bit like that at the moment actually.
So firstly thank you all so very much for your gorgeous comments about my Amanda cardigan. I have worn her every day of the past two weeks and she is everything I hoped for: snuggly, warm and so very comfy. Although I am super excited to be skipping winter this year, I look forward to wearing Amanda upon our return and for many, many winters into the future.
To the lovely ladies above - please message me your postal addresses and I'll get your squishy TONOFWOOL sample out to you SOON!
Over the past few months I have received SO MANY messages asking me where we bought farmer Bren's spoon carving knives from. If I haven't gotten back to you or if you were wondering too - please have a look at these links Mora knives and Ben & Lois Orford. We bought the Mora knives for our farmer boy and then he developed his knowledge and love by watching loads of youtube clips and found more knife makers himself. Hope that helps.
In about six weeks we'll be at Spoonfest so expect a big chunk of spoon love then.
And the last thing I want to talk about is this video that our family made. Farmer Bren wrote, filmed and directed it; we wrote and illustrated it and Indi sang it.
Our girls go to the most beautiful little Buddhist school in Daylesford, The Dharma School. It is a school that values kindness and compassion, that looks after and cares about each individual, and a school that, along with the usual academic stuff, teaches our kids how to be great human beings. Honestly, I feel like this school is not only changing our girls' lives but ours too.
The words below are from the fund raising brochure and express the school's philosophy better than I can:
Our children are our future. They are the hope of humanity as the challenges that face us around the world continue to escalate. These challenges call for a new kind of humanity and a new kind of leadership - one that is not based on power and will alone. But a humanity that is guided by the enduring qualities of wisdom and compassion. These are the qualities that lead to right action. One-pointed and altruistic, with the highest good as our goal.
Over time we are seeing a new kind of child emerge at the school. One who adopts an attitude of open-heartedness.
Who chooses to act from a clear sense of what is right.Who is learning to master conflict resolution. Who considers their impact on the world around them. Who is guided to seek the highest good for all.
We believe the world needs more children like this, children who will grow into adults with values and qualities than can make a true difference. Loving parents,compassionate leaders, benevolent business operators, caring workers, wise teachers, truthful politicians, true peace makers.
This is why the Daylesford Dharma School is important.
For the past few years the Dharma School has been renting a couple of rooms at a local tennis club, but now our lease has run out and we need to move. We've found a block of land on the outskirts of town and our friend Mel has drawn up beautiful plans for buildings and gardens but first we need to buy the land.
And this is where you guys come in. We've launched a crowd funding campaign and I'd really love it if you could have a look through it, share it through your social media and if at all possible donate too. We can't do this alone and we'd be so grateful for your help.
Please click this link - Our school needs a new home.
Thank you SO MUCH!!
See you later alligators!!
Big love xoxoxox
(Oh and if you have a book suggestion for me I'd love that too).
Monday, June 8, 2015
You guys I knitted a fisherman sweater!!!!
Last New Years Eve I resolved that if I really was going to call myself a knitter then I would have to knit a heavily cabled woman sized jumper before the year was out, and I totally have.
I think the idea originally got planted in my head last year when Karen Templer along with a panel of experts hosted an Amanda cardigan knit-a-long. Over the period of a few months my instagram feed was filled with Amandas in all stages from swatching all the way through to wearing and all hashtagged #fringeandfriendsknitalong.
I totally wanted to join in on the fisherman fun but the timing was wrong for me as I had just discovered socks. So I watched from the sidelines and fell deeper and deeper in love with the pattern as each pic and blog was posted.
Then in March, I decided it was time to make good on my New Years' resolution and when gorgeous Kylie of TONOFWOOL offered to send me the wool, I knew my Amanda cardigan time had come. So I ordered the book the pattern came from and once it arrived I wound the wool, set myself a first day of winter deadline and cast on.
And I knitted the back, the two front pieces, the sleeves and then I joined them together and knitted it into a cardigan.
It took a while to get the hang of the cables and I undid it and reknitted it quite a few times but eventually it clicked and then it actually was a really fun knit.
I even reached my June first - first day of winter deadline!
But then I stalled. After all those hours and stitches and cables and buttons I just couldn't bring myself to try it on. What if it didn't fit me? What if it was too tight on the boobs, or too short on my bum or too long in the arms? Eventually, after a few days of watching it out of the corner of my eye sitting all neatly folded up on the kitchen sideboard, I convinced myself that it really didn't matter.
If it was too small then maybe one of the girls could wear it. If it was too big then maybe I could wear it with extra layers underneath. And if it really didn't work for anyone at all - then it would make a very snugly blanket indeed. It was after all a great thing that I'd followed through and knitted it without distraction and I know that I wasn't really very careful with the measuring and swatching in the beginning and couldn't really blame anyone but myself.
But then last Friday night while rushing out for dinner, I grabbed it, chucked it on over the top of the dress I was wearing and it worked!! It fitted well!! It looked great and it is possibly the warmest piece of clothing I have ever owned.
You can find all of my Amanda details on Ravelry here.
And in the meantime TONOFWOOL have given me five small 25 gram samples of their incredibly soft and squishy 10ply Cormo for five of you to try out.
If you are interested in having a play with my new favourite wool and you live in Australia, please leave a comment below.
Now that that enormous project is done, I think I'm going to go and cast on something quick and easy.
And then I'm going to get my cardigan off Indi. And hide it.
Big love to you guys, I hope you've got something fun to look forward to.
Monday, June 1, 2015
OK here we go, new week, new month, new season - let's take stock!
Knowing - that I should go outside and keep planting the garlic.....but it's freeeeeeezing.
Wearing - my tennis skirt after a session on the elliptical trainer we just rented. I feel so much fitter when I wear proper exercise gear as opposed to my pyjamas, I wonder if there's some fact in that.
Questioning - how it was we came to live in one of the coldest places on earth.
Liking - the simplicity of a seven year old's world and wishing she would stay seven for a few more years.
Opening - the firebox to put more wood in. Often. Always.
Giggling - while listening to Miss Jazzy filling my Mum in on all the gossip.
Feeling - so incredibly grateful to Paula a gorgeous blog reader who sent me a 100% merino wool top in the mail. I love it!! Thanks Paula. xx
Making - teeny-tiny red mittens for my nephew. Small sized hand-knits never fail to make me so clucky. Details here.
Cooking - brussel sprouts, that we just picked from the kitchen garden five minutes ago, with garlic and butter and toast. Yum!!
Drinking - strong coffee and peppermint tea and not enough water.
Reading - Pip's Craft For The Soul. I love reading books written by my friends. I love the way I can hear Pip's sweet voice reading the sentences to me and telling me her stories. I remember so clearly reading Pip's word count updates on Facebook as she was writing this book and here it is all gorgeous and interesting and wonderful and published, that's so cool I think!
Marvelling - at how kind and thoughtful some people are, like lovely Mel who sent me a gorgeous package of doilies and pretties to sew with. Thanks Mel. xx
Wanting - my girls to help around the house more. I know, it's so boring but it's driving me crazy.
Looking - at the time and wondering if I should put the beans and rice on for dinner yet.
Playing - Miss Indi's new song. It's so good. I can't wait for you to hear it.
Wondering - if Miss Jazzy would actually wear leg warmers if I made her some.
Wishing - for a bit of sunshine for tomorrow as it's the start of pruning week.
Enjoying - the lovely and kind feedback I've had about this interview.
Waiting - to get our olive oil back from the people who pressed our olives.
Loving - making play lists of all my longtime fave songs on spotify.
Watching - Orphan Black, so, so good!! Are you watching it too? Do you love sestra Helena?
Pondering - my medlars. Should I attempt medlar jelly or should I pass them on?
Considering - painting a mural on our bedroom wall.
Deciding - what I should knit next.
Buying - new work overalls online. I forgot how often winter work wear needs to be washed.
Hoping - that the green manure farmer Bren planted last week germinates and grows like a jungle out there.
Thinking - about how much I love eating my porridge with my farmer Bren spoon each morning.
Smelling - wet poodle.
Following - the year nine dramas and trying not to take them personally.
Noticing - that I sometimes have to use google to understand what my kids are saying these days. For example - ship - did you know that?
Admiring - the autumn leaves. The last on the trees, the carpet on the ground and the piles that we've raked up. Spectacular!
Sorting - out buttons and trying to find six matching ones for my Amanda cardigan.
Getting - fitter and stronger. Hopefully.
Snacking - on almonds and thinly sliced granny smiths.
Closing - the farm stall today until the summer veggie season begins in another six months or more.
Bookmarking - recipes that use chickpeas, I'm obsessed!
Hearing - the beep that tells me the washing machine is finished. Gotta go.
Phew! That was quite epic.
Thanks for the list Pip!
How are you travelling anyway?
Are you reading/making/growing/listening to anything good?
I hope your house mates come home happily and helpfully.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
On Sunday we picked the last of the apples and pulled the nets off the trees.
It's been an incredible season, possibly our best ever and although I do feel sad at the thought that it will be so many months before I pick another juicy ripe apple from a tree, I feel happy and grateful for the season that was.
Our orchards are made up of 40 varieties of heritage apples to spread out the blossom and the harvest - so we picked and we picked this year all the way from January through to late May. From the sweetest all the way through to the ones that make you wince with sour. From the ones that hold their shape when cooked through to the ones that completely disintegrate into mush. From the old faves like Granny Smiths and Jonathans all the way through to the interesting Mutzus and the Peasgood's Nonesuch and the Esopus Spitzenbergs.
It's been such fun!
And although we do wonder if the bio-dynamics and the nets made the season so great, we're most thankful of Mother Nature and the rain and the sunshine and the bees.
And the farm stall. How we love that stall. Opening her up in the morning, picking apples and filling the crates, writing cute notes on the blackboards for our customers, our gorgeous customers, and the thought that our apples are being munched and crunched in homes and lunch boxes all around the area.
So to finish on a high and to thank you for your love and support, we have dropped the price to $2.50 a kilo from now until we run out. Which will be pretty soon I think.
So if you are in the area - please come and buy some and take them home and eat them, bake them, juice them, dehydrate them, pop them in Fowlers jars, make stamps with them, stew them, brew cider with them, bob for them..........
And tell me - what's your fave variety of apple and what's your fave way to eat them?
Oh PS Alli you won the little Tea Mouse kit. Yay!! x
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
And now for the crafty bits.
In the middle of all the apple picking, apple cooking, apple preserving and apple eating, I screen printed a whole bunch of bunting flags
to decorate our stall at The Lake House produce day last month.
I actually finished the farmer boy socks about two months ago but then apple season exploded and I never got a chance to blog them. The top four things about knitting these socks are;
- The skein of yarn is split into two 50 gram bits so you know when to stop winding one and start winding the next and then you can't help but knit two identical twin socks.
- The colours and patterns change so often which made them interesting and fun.
- Somehow, I have no idea how, the yarn is dyed into those colours and patterns which means you get the cool designs without all the ends to darn in.
- Farmer Bren LOVES them!!
Apart from the giving or wearing, the best part of finishing a pair of socks is adding a new colour into my scrappy sock blanket. It's still not very big, but I'm really loving it.
And then there's Amanda.
As far as I can work out I have one button band, the neckband and the seaming to do and then I'm done. I still have no idea if it will fit me but it's getting to that stage where I'll soon find out.
I'm knitting Amanda in Tonofwool which I am LOVING!! It had beautiful stitch definition, it is super soft, it's Australian and I have a few samples that I'll be giving away soon - so watch this space.
Then there's the weaving kit that farmer Bren and the girls bought me a week before mother's day. I am busting to have a go but trying my hardest to wait til I am wearing my new cardigan.
Which brings us to the sweet Tea Mouse.
Tea Mouse is the cutest softie pattern designed and written by lovely Sarah from Chantille Fleur.
In Sarah's own words - The Chantille Fleur Tea Mouse has darling little ears with fabric lining, a matching love heart on the front and even a little knitted tail. She's a sweet little character with a lovely black nose which she just loves to point in the air. The Tea Mouse is a delight to look at and to create.
Sarah posted me the kit which meant all I had to do was find the right sized needles and get to work. The pattern was easy to follow and came together quite quickly. I had thought it might make a sweet gift for a new baby but it keeps disappearing into Miss Pepper's bedroom. Looks like I'll just have to knit up another one. Or two.
Sarah has very kindly offered to send a Tea Mouse kit to one of you guys, (Australian addresses only, sorry).
Tell me in the comments who you would give your little Tea Mouse to and I'll pick a winner on the weekend.
Until then check out the knitting kits here.
The Tea Mouse Ravelry page here.
Chantille Fleur facebook here.
Chantille Fleur on instagram here.
OK, that's me all craft caught up, how about you?
What're you making at the moment?
Big warm woolly love.