Saturday, February 26, 2011

magic loop.

Today I've been thinking about new skills you learn as you need them. Stuff you find out about because you want to. New skills that keep it interesting.

The other day Bren and I were trying to teach Indi to do long subtraction for her homework. She had to learn it but didn't necessarily want to. It didn't seem at all relevant to her life and I didn't blame her.

But I'm not talking about school skills. Skills that you have no idea when or if or how you'll ever make use of them in real life. I mean skills you learn because you choose to. Because you want to. Because it makes life easier, or more exciting or interesting.

This afternoon I cast on 72 stitches for a new born baby beanie but then realised that I didn't have small enough circular needles to join them in the round. My choices were to use double pointed needles which I don't feel particularly comfortable with or to learn the magic loop.

This lady showed me how to do it. She was so patient, such a great teacher and repeated herself over and over until I was confident I knew what I was doing. I can now magic loop.

I love the magic loop!
But if I had to learn it at school I might not have.

This week Farmer Bren has learnt all about earthships, Indi has learnt how to knit, Jazzy has learnt how to do a ballet leap and Miss Pepper has learnt how to tell a joke. I'm sure we've all learnt about a gazillion other things too but these are the things we've been the most excited about and hungry for.

BUT I do have to add that there is such thing as negative learning too. During the week when I was at my sickest I made the mistake of googling my symptoms only to discover that I had about three weeks to live. My doctor thought it was hilarious. I wont be doing that again in a hurry.

So have you learnt anything cool lately? Do tell...

See ya. XX

Friday, February 25, 2011

Thanks a bunch!

I made my Farmer Boy a bunch of rainbow carrots.

The truth is I've had a crappy old week. I've been sick, Miss Pepper has been sick and the rest of the family have sort of lived off the bare minimum. But he's been there, holding it all together the whole time. He's been feeding, driving, cleaning, shopping, dressing and even plaiting hair. He is so ace.

But of course he should have been out doing farmer things. I know I'm worried about how far behind I am, I can only imagine how far behind on his to-do list he is.

So I made him a bunch of carrots to say thank you! I got the knitting pattern from this book.

Rainbow carrots have sort of been our signature crop for the last few years and I thought he deserved a bunch.

He'll most probably tie them to the mirror of his tractor or his ute but now I'm thinking I might need a bunch of my own for my wool basket.

Thank you all so much for your wishes of health this week. I hope your weekend is all kinds of wonderful.

See ya. XX

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Knit in bed.

Here it is, my creative space. I am sitting up in my bed with its mismatched linen and I am knitting the other sleeve of my grey cardi.

I'm not sure I could ever knit socks because sometimes I find doing the same thing twice a bit tedious. The first sleeve of this cardi was fun, but the second is a race to the finish line.

Miss Pepper is snoring softly beside me. Miss Pepper is sick, sick, sick. Poor little thing. Every now and then she wakes up to tell me she's still sick. Yuk!

I'm a bit sick too. And sick of being sick. And a bit sorry for myself.

In the photo I can see that I still hold the needles and yarn wrong. Funny, I've tried to imitate the YouTube ladies countless times but it just doesn't feel comfortable. I often wonder if I'd be quicker if I did it right.

I'm starting to think about my next knitting projects: a green beanie for Matt's baby, Noro wrist warmers for Indi, a vest for Pepper, a ballet wrap for Jazzy...I've even been thinking about knitting a jumper for my Farmer Boy but I am a bit concerned about The Sweater Curse.

And I'm wearing my green cardi. Did you recognise it? I wear it almost every day. Maybe I should knit another in red. Yep, I think I just might.

So what are you up to today? What are you making? I hope the sun is shining where ever you are.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Inspiring you?

Yesterday I made up for the loss of the day before. Yesterday I spent the morning in the kitchen baking and jamming and cooking and scrubbing and the afternoon in the little girls' room. I filled five boxes up for the op shop and two boxes up for the tip.

I sorted and folded and chucked. There were baby clothes in Miss Pepper's shelves and too many clothes in Miss Jazzy's. I was ruthless and it felt great. My three year old played DJ and helped me with the folding and showed me her dance moves.

Yesterday I didn't stop until the girls were in bed. Then I had a long bath, listened to a This American Life podcast and went to bed. Wrecked.

Today I have paid for it. Today I am so sick again and I have barely achieved a thing. Today I feel flat and sorry for myself. Miserable.

So lovely people I was wondering if you could help me out. I need inspiring. Please.

So what is inspiring you today? A blog you love, a new craft, your clever kid, an exciting project, your garden??? Anything. Please.

And thank you. You guys are the greatest.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lost day.

The other day I was listening to a podcast and the narrator was speaking about how she'd been sick in bed for the last few days and really enjoyed it. How she'd woken up each morning relieved that she was still sick enough to stay in bed. She spoke of how the household activities had moved on all around her and of how much knitting she'd gotten done.

I imagined her sitting in a bed with freshly laundered sheets, propped up on a mountain of plump, matching cushions, in a light and airy room with no piles of books or laundry to be seen.

I imagined that if I myself were to fall sick for a few days that I might enjoy it and get lots of knitting done too.

And sure enough, someone out there was listening and my wish came true.

Yesterday morning I woke up feeling disgusting. I got up and helped the big girls get ready for school and after they'd gone, I crawled back into bed. But it was anything but enjoyable. My body ached and I was shivering cold. Knitting, reading or even watching a movie were out of the question. All I could do was lie under the covers and hope for it to pass soon.

My Farmer Boy brought me cups of tea and heated up the hot pack but I worried about the load of laundry still wet in the machine from the night before, about the berries and plums needing to be jammed before they got mouldy, about pantry shelves that needed to be stocked, about dinner, about the crumbs in my bed and the wet towels on the bathroom floor. Really I was worried about all the things I was meant to do that day that would have to be done the next.

All in all it really wasn't the kind of day I would wish for again in a hurry. Or maybe next time I could be prepared with a kitchen full of food, dinner in the freezer, clean sheets and a neat and tidy house. Maybe I could organise for the girls to be picked up from school and ferried around to all their activities. Maybe my kids might be understanding and sympathetic and stroke my head and bring me the heat wheat...

But being sick certainly ain't all sitting up in bed knitting that's for sure. I did not, could not knit one stitch the entire day.

This morning I've woken up feeling about 75% better, but there's no way known I'm staying in bed again. I've got berries softening on the stove, a cake in the oven, my second load of laundry in the machine and a berry tea party to attend with Miss Pepper.

So how about you, do you get to be sick and enjoy the midday movie occasionally? Does the world keep moving around you or does it stop and mount up and wait for you to get out of bed?

Whatever the case, I do hope you are well and healthy and happy this fine Tuesday and for many Tuesdays to come.

See ya. XX

Saturday, February 19, 2011



...for lazy Saturdays with no farmers' markets, that we live an hour and a half from Melbourne, for my Mum, for delicious new wool and the promise of new projects, for toasted sandwiches for lunch...

...for love heart lattes, that Miss Pepper only vomited once, that it stopped raining after 20mm, for plans to get outta here, for rocket that grows as you watch, for leafy green salads with lemon dressing, for blogging that gets it out of my head and onto the computer...

...for sleeves, for beautifully written and designed patterns, for knitting, for designers that reply to my queries with patience and compliments, for a new cardi that I cannot wait to cast off and wear, for your comments and emails and suggestions and gifts, for my editor, for quiet sister games that go on for hours, that you can't see the state of my hair today...

...for crochet, for sour plums, for my Farmer Boy and our girlies, for sunshine, for baths in the afternoon...

I hope you have yourself a long list of gratefuls too.

See ya. XX

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Snatching moments...

My creative space...

...snatching school pick up...during snack time at bush kinder...waiting for dancing to finish...when they are asleep...when I should be asleep...

...hooking squares...

...dreaming about colour and pattern combinations...

...over locking edges...

...finally finishing a little dress and popping it in my shop...

...only ten rows left of the main part of my cardi...then the sleeves...

Have a wonderful and creative Thursday...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tangled up.

I walk past this tangled mess of yarn about 50 times a day. It sits on top of the filing cabinet that is just outside our sewing room/office.

Sometimes I walk past it and think if only I had the time...sometimes I think I should chuck it out with the rest of the clutter, sometimes I think what a waste of something so gorgeous, sometimes I remember the day I bought it many years ago at the Daylesford market and the dreams of crocheting a vest, sometimes I ignore it and sometimes I pull it down and try to find an end and then get distracted by something more pressing and give up on it.

Would you think I were a bit mad if I told you I feel a lot like this tangled skein of wool right now?

That I feel a bit tangled and messy and pulled in every direction.

My house is a mess and by brain is a mess right now.

Today I should take the washing off the line before it rains, fold and put away yesterday's laundry, bake some bread, make the pizza dough for dinner and something delicious for afternoon tea, plant out the gazillion onion seedlings, strip and make some beds, mow the back garden, paint the caravan cupboard doors, pick berries and make jam, find Jazzy's ballet gear, clean up my house, sort and move Pepper's clothes into her shelves, reply to my emails, weed the kitchen garden, do a food shop, return some calls...the list is endless.

The list is all confused because I am a work from home-stay at home Mum.

Work jobs versus home jobs. Its a never ending battle that fills my head.

And then just to complicate things further, there are the Mother issues.

Miss Pepper, my third child, my baby. I want to indulge her and breathe her in and savour her because our time alone together will fly away. But there is so much I need to get done before the big girls get home from school and my working day ends. Sometimes we play but most often I find myself making a game out of something that needs to be crossed off my list.

And lastly there is the stuff I want to do. I want to sew and knit and print and crochet and draw. I want to fill all our wardrobes with Mama made sundresses and pants and pyjamas and make some for my shop and the present drawer. I want to give in to the itch to create. I want to feel inspired.

I am so consumed with questions and recipes and solutions and possibilities and my hands have blackberry splinters in them from days ago and I wonder if there is any such thing as a woman who watches daytime television without any guilt and I've written this all out to see if it helps and makes sense of it but I'm not sure if it does and its time to go and do something and I wonder if you can relate or if you think its all a bit crazy...a bit messy...I'm not sure if I'd have it any other way though...would I?

See ya.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today so far...

Today I woke up wishing it were still the weekend, we were given lots of lovely cards about love from our girlies, I scrambled around for bits of underwear and uniform, I offended the eldest with a comment about her social life, I let the youngest wear shoes that are waaaaaaaay too big for her, I reminded the middle to remove her potions from the freezer to take to school,

I went for a walk with my boy, we did a pilates class and then met his parents for an early lunch in a court yard, I had a coffee and a lentil summer salad mmmm, I came home, I tidied up a bit and put some washing on, I read some emails, I gathered up the dress for a little girl to wear to a wedding and then I changed my mind and decided it wasn't quite right so I cut out some fabric and made another one, I sewed one of Wendy's divine little pockets on for treasure collecting,

I took a couple of photos of the dress and then came inside and decided I like the other one after all, I think I'll send her both and she can decide.

Soon the girls will be home, I'll bring the washing in and make lentil bolognese for dinner, then its craft night, a drink, a spot of knitting and a gossip and hopefully not too late a night.


What are you up to?

I hope your Monday is a Funday. XX

Saturday, February 12, 2011


This Saturday, as always, I am grateful for my Farmer Boy.

I am grateful for love.

I am a bit of a romantic. I believe there's someone out the for everyone. Some of us find our love earlier and some have to go on a bit of a journey to find them.

The first time I ever really remember meeting my Farmer Boy Bren we were at a dance party in the middle of the bush in about 1997. My sister and I were dressed up as Chuppa Chup (lolly pop) fairies. We were wearing enormous poufy tutus, tiaras, fairy wings, t'shirts that said insert coin and massive jars of Chuppa Chups we had fashioned into back packs on our backs. We were probably filthy too.

This gorgeous guy with long dreadlocks came up to us and sort looked at us all confused trying to work out how he could get himself a lolly and we ran away screaming about the best looking guy we had ever seen. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee...

Luckily we met again a few days later at the prewedding party of a lovely mutual friend and the rest, as they say, is our history....and our present.

I know its mushy but I can't help myself today. I've had a bit of a difficult week and he's been with me the whole time, doing everything he can to help, look after and spoil me. He's my best friend, my team mate, my love.

Grateful doesn't even seem big enough to cover it.

Have a happy and loved up weekend folks.

ps. Thanks Em for the pic. XX

Friday, February 11, 2011

Some answers.

Happy Friday my friends!

I thought I'd round off my week and bring in the weekend with some answers to last Tuesday's wonderings.

Yesterday I suggested to Miss Pepper that she be the mum in a game of Mums and Dads. She was happy enough with the suggestion. So we started to play. Soon enough I realised that she had put on such a posh accent and every second word was daaarling or sweeeetie. This sent me on another spiral of wondering. Do I really sound like that? Do any of the mums she knows sound like that? Where is that coming from?

Farmer Bren's memorable food experience was something about a paddock to plate experience. About the joys of killing an animal he had raised and then cooking it (outside!) and feeding it to his kids. Eeeewwwww!!!

The lice? Well I've combed and combed but something tells me we ain't seen the end of them.

Apparently the masses of dragon flies flying around at the moment have everything to do with all the rain over the summer. That may be the case but I wonder what it means when a gazillion bees swarm and then land all together on the wisteria vine outside the carport? They smell like honey en masse like that too. Amazing.

I have never, not ever, gone back to sleep in the day since I've been a mother. Its just not in me to do so. There's just too much to do.

Our family's loved one is fine after his tests. We got the best results we could have hoped for. THANK YOU for your kind words and concern.

The silencer for the magimix? Who cares. What I really need is a silencer for my sewing machine. After sewing all that twill tape my head feels like it is going to explode. I think I need to invest in some noise canceling headphones so I can listen to that Never Not Knitting lady in peace.

The jury is out on the whole wholesome vs cool thing. I guess it depends on the crowd you hang out with.

Ten years olds are pretty sure they know everything but at least she came to me for advice on what to wear to casual day today. Maybe I am still cool in her eyes.

We bought five litres of the colour formerly known as Brittany to paint the inside of the caravan the other day. The next step is to rename it something spacious sounding and calm and soothing.

Halving a baking recipe seems to work for me most of the time as long as I am concentrating on the task at hand and not being distracted by plaits in the mixture or grubby hands trying to help me.

Meringues...piped vs spooned? Neither in this wet and humid weather. BUM!!!

So that's it folks, some answers and few more wonderings.

Its been a full on week this week at Foxs Lane. A lot of playing with Miss Pepper, a lot of preparing for market and not a lot of me time. I had huge expectations for the first week back at school. I was going to get so much done. Oh well, that'll just have to happen next week.

I wonder if you have found the answers to any of your questions this week?

I hope we all have a wonderful and happy weekend.

See ya. X

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twill tape.

This week my creative space is in full on preparation mode for the Lake House Produce market this weekend. Every other year we've had tables laden down with fruit and veg and eggs but this year due to all the flooding we wont have as much as usual.

This year we are making the most of what we do have.

This week I am concentrating on making things look gorgeous. Good enough to eat.

In between all the family and house stuff I am collecting berries, picking plums, making jams and baking. And in between all that I've been feeding cotton twill tape through my sewing machine to make fancy ribbon. I bought it at an oppy years ago and its been sitting here waiting ever so patiently to become something.

The ribbon will be tied into pretty bows to decorate all the bags of goodies we'll have for sale on the day and to hopefully direct a bit of traffic to our website. Its a bit tricky don't you think?

Its a pretty noisy business I tell ya. I can only manage one bobbin at a time. I wonder if you can get a silencer for your sewing machine....

So what's cooking with you?

See ya!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wondering...(between 11am and 11.22am).

When I play Mums and Dads with Miss Pepper why do I always have to be the Mum? That's not a game to me.

I over heard Farmer Bren being interviewed yesterday and being asked what his most memorable food experience is. What is mine? What is yours?

How is it possible that we have lice when we've only been back at school two days?

There are zillions of dragon flies around here at the moment. I wonder what that means. Gosh they are gorgeous creatures.

When Farmer Bren takes Miss Pepper with him to take the girls to school and says I should go back to bed because I look tired, why don't I? Why don't I even consider it?

When Jazzy says there is a girl in her class who is cleverer than me, does she really believe it? Could it really be true?

How you are meant to pass through your day when you know that a loved one is preparing for some yukky, invasive hospital testing this afternoon.

Is there is such a thing as a silencer attachment you can buy for your magimix? I've been making bread crumbs and the noise is driving me nuts.

Yesterday when I was stirring a huge cauldron of jam, Liam called me wholesome. Is it possible to be wholesome and cool? Or do they cancel each other out?

When you are explaining something to a ten year old and they say 'I know, I know' do they?

If the colour I chose from all the colours at the paint shop went from being my favourite to I'm not so sure, was it because they named it Brittany?

If you halve a baking recipe, does it mess with the science of it?

Do meringues look better piped or spooned?

Got any answers?? Or questions of your own??

Hmmm I wonder....

Monday, February 7, 2011


Last night I cast off the Stripey Green Skirt test knit.

I am a slow knitter but this pattern used thick needles and chunky yarn and knitted up quite quickly, even for me.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love how different sequences of purl and knit make such great shapes. Pleats! How cool!

Now I'm just knitting the icord, (thanks youtube lady for the how to), that ties around the waist and holds it up. An icord is a pretty cool thing to know how to knit I think. All you need is some yarn and two double pointed sticks and you can create a cord. Knitting geek! Knitting geek!

When I'm done I'll get Miss Pepper to try it on for size. I'm thinking it'll look a bit cute with a white t'shirt and leggings.

This morning I hooked up a couple of grannies, lined them stitched them on, unstitched them, sewed them on straighter, for the dress for a little Busy girl to wear to a wedding. She's into pockets at the moment apparently. I wonder what treasures she'll put in them.

Actually now I'm seeing it from a bit of a distance, I think I might replace the green one with a cream one. Less in your face I think.

Actually, now I'm not even so sure about the grannies. I think they take over a bit. Hmmm.... better think about that one a bit more.

Today I received a package in the post FULL of gorgeous old patterns from a lovely lady called Glenda who reads my blog and thought I might like them. I do!

If I had time in an oppy to rummage through a pile of patterns, I would choose these ones to buy and to sew for my girls. I love them all. They are just my style.

Thank you so much Glenda!

And I've been baking meringues and making jam for a produce market this weekend. My house constantly feels sticky and smells like cooking fruit but my taste testers are happy.

So on with the week we go.

I hope its a happy and healthy and fun and creative one for us all.

Bye now. XX

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grumpy 2 grateful.

It didn't start all that well this morning. Tired from lying awake worrying about the rain, a loved one with a sore heart, tangles and knots in my knitting wool, girls who tripped over the texta bucket and wouldn't pick them up, a laundry overflowing into the the living room, a visit from a gorgeous friend that turned into a conversation about promiscuous teenagers and left me with a stomach ache and a sticky kitchen.

Nothing was working, everything was annoying me.

So we put on our boots and walked out.

We walked, skipped and danced. We picked and ate berries and plums and apricots. We squealed and sang. We jumped in puddles. We got scratched on prickles and got muddy and wet. We roared like wild animals. It was exhilarating. It was exhausting.

One of us had to be bribed with jam sandwiches to finish the journey. One of us wasn't allowed to take her camera (pic from Bren's iPhone). One of us ended up at Lola's house up the road. One of us was thrilled to show off the lettuce, rocket, carrot and beetroot seedlings and was devastated by a few enormous puddles. And one of us danced the tango with a rose in between her teeth.

Sometimes when we leave the house all I can see is farm jobs that need doing. Today I remembered the reason we moved here ten years ago. I saw the wide open spaces and the trees, I breathed the fresh air and felt excited about this wonderful place to bring up our family.

That two hour walk changed my day, I went from being grumpy to grateful.

I wonder what sort of day you are having. I do hope its a happy one.
I'm off now to watch Madeline with the little girls, eat popcorn and knit a few rounds of the stripey green skirt.

See ya.

ps. More grateful at Maxabella.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Today I cast on a new knit. A test knit for a girl in Canada. After the grey, grey, grey I've been knitting, I decided to make this one stripey just for fun. I like the changing colours bit. Perhaps I'll work towards a bit of Fair Isle at some point. Maybe.

Today was hot and humid and at times felt like there wasn't enough air to breathe.

Today I sewed a dress for a little girl to wear to a wedding.
Is that the sort of thing you had in mind Cath?
Is it a bit too mixy matchy for you?

Today it poured with rain and hopefully got rid of all those pesky locusts that invaded our house last night. They might do awful things to the farm, but when they were flying around inside last night, it felt just like a horror movie.

Today when it poured with rain it made the usually white Maremma puppies grey. They are still pretty cute though.

Today my big girls went back to school. It was so quiet without them.

Today I did lots of stuff but none of the stuff I should have done. No housework or baking or jam making. Plenty of time for that on the weekend.

I hope your today was great. Did you get much done?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

See ya?

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