Move over 2013, there’s a new kid on the block!

I am forever grateful for the adventures and lessons of 2013. It was a year that at times felt like a decade, yet other weeks flew by in days. It was twelve months in which I worked harder, yet smarter and learned more than I could imagine possible.

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I am so lucky to have travelled widely this past year – to new places and to revisit old favourites, close family and friends.

I am glad I found music again – choir, guitar, ukelele.

I have learnt (and continue to learn) the value of good health through ills and dis-ease; and feel better, stronger, more “real” for the lesson. I’m embracing all my imperfections, and just trying to value the little things that go a very very long way to securing my happy equilibrium.

I cooked and ate and drank merrily through 2013.

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I am blessed to have met new inspiring folk. I have found more inspiration in places I didn’t think to look. I have read well – devouring novels, memoirs, non-fiction, journals and food magazines alike. I have de-cluttered, recycled and downsized my worldly possessions from 3 separate interstate locations to one (well, almost).

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But the biggest lesson has been finding my own space and time.
Space to just exist and have fun and cook, laugh, sing, sit, drink coffee and write.
Space also to reflect and truly learn from the hard things that are thrown my way – not just to shove them deeper and deeper down and just go on “coping”.

Space in nature to nurture (and be nurtured). I am busy each day cultivating a little parcel of space that allows me to grow, create, and push the boundaries.

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I found time to celebrate birthdays and milestones and new beginnings. Time to feel sadness and disappointments. Time and space to live in the hustle and bustle of a city paced life; to watch and feel the throng of busy-ness around me. Other times to relax in good company. Or time to be alone.

2013 was the first year in my life that I thought about myself (my bliss, happiness, hopes and dreams) more than others. Not in a selfish “the-world-revolves-around-me way, but more accurately I committed to looking after my self before I gave over to anyone else. There is reward beyond what I could imagine when you bravely place the highest value on your own self and what brings you happiness. So, I have finally made peace with myself and 2013 has taught me there is no shame in walking away from something that isn’t the right fit.

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One week into 2014 and the priorities are shifting further…the dreams and visions are becoming clearer, my inner voice is calling me to let go and live a more AUTHENTIC existence. 2014 will be about further refining my world, not being afraid to leave behind stale beliefs and old worn-out dreams. It will be about bucking my life-long habit of avoiding commitment and seizing each new day. There will be more travel, more reading, more time for singing and talking and of course eating and drinking well.

It will be more adventures to discover a stronger and leaner body. But a softer, gentler mind. And an open, grateful heart.

Welcome 2014.

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Thankful.

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The other day I caught my mind running off on a little self-pity bender.

A well-frequented path, I was stuck and beat up – finding excuses, blame and yet more excuses.
No matter what the concern, it seemed to all boil down to a disconnect between where I was and where I wanted to be.

Overwhelmingly, it would seem at every turn I didn’t know enough, or have enough, or dare I say – deserve it all.

(whatever that was)

Then I remembered……

I have a roof over my head.

I have a dry, comfortable bed to sleep in.

I have clothes to wear.

I have delicious, fresh food to eat – three square meals a day.

I have a job.

Dollars in the bank.

A car.

Family and friends who I love dearly.

And a safe, truly blessed country to call home.

I stopped in my [mental] tracks….overwhelmed and grateful. Thankful for all these luxuries and more.

I am blessed to live without the threat of violence or war around me.
I am so thankful to have the opportunities I do to travel, and learn and help and share.
I am grateful to know the true value of good health, taught only by overcoming the state of dis-ease.
To live in a beautiful city, with a natural wonderland just beyond my doorstep.
To grow my own food, and buy what I don’t locally.
And of course, be surrounded by inspiring and talented individuals being their best.

 

Suddenly I feel blessed.
Me and my little spot of paradise are – dare I say – enough.

 

What are you thankful for?

September:

 

 

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\\Last goodbyes

//New backyards

 

 

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\\Final stitches, sending parcels

//New projects

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\\Coffee dates

//Birthday love

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\\Blue skies, pretty clouds

//Heavy Melbourne rain drops on new blossom

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//Pedicures

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//Morning walks

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//Farm feasts with friends

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Of course there’s things I don’t photograph…like un-packing boxes, doing washing, painful physio sessions and lazy Sunday sleep-ins.

Thank you September, for bringing with you the sunshine and flowers and new beginnings of spring.

Until next year.

Crafty 13, Four

Project #4: Joanna’s Blanket

At the beginning of 2013 when I found out my old housemates  were expecting their first child, I was so excited for them. Firstly, because this would be one very welcomed, loved and blessed child. And it was so nice that good things were happening to good people. But also, it gave me a much-needed reason to start my next knitting adventure.

It began at the sales room in Bendigo Woollen Mill when I stumbled across these luscious colours, inspired by the world around me. I didn’t want to stick to the traditional “unisex” colours you see in shops – beige, white, cream, yellow or green. No, this baby deserved something much more unique.

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And then I remembered a beautifully simple blanket pattern I had found on Ravelry a few years ago.
There’s not a lot to this pattern – stockinette stitch, seed stick at the colour change and a border of my choice. Just a LOT of stitches on each row….168 in total!

Started: March 2013

Finished: September 2013 (the baby beat me by four weeks!)

Method: knitting (with a crochet border)

Needles: 4.5mm circular needle (60cm); 3.5mm crochet hook

Wool: 5 different colours in the bargain bin at Bendigo Woollen Mill – all 8-ply; mix of wool and woollen/alpaca.

Pattern: original inspiration for the blanket here or here; border was an adaption from Lucy @Attic24 and her granny blanket border. I ran out of wool to do the whole thing, but I like the result anyway…The eventual dimensions for the baby blanket were 95cm wide by 110cm long – sadly I didn’t get a photo of the finished blanket all laid out.

I love the process by which these things grow, and are born into this world.

Forever I will remember this winter on the goat farm punctuated by numerous times spent curled up on the couch in front of a roaring fire, knitting a plain row, then a purl.

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Or watching a movie, drinking a cup of tea at the dining table, knitting in my lap.

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Or snuggled down in the arm chair, house sitting and lazing with fury company.

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All the time, the rows would grow slowly. Some days I would knit for what felt like hours with just a little bit of progress.  Some nights after work I would only manage a row.
But there was such comfort in the rhythm, the repetition, the pattern.

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It was some stability in my life that had quickly grown and evolved to new dimensions – soft, warm and familiar.
From my new lounge room in Melbourne I spent a cold weekend in front of the TV weaving in the ends and crocheting the border.

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Almost nine months after I found out about the pregnancy, it was done. I had created something from nothing.
Whilst I haven’t had the chance to meet and hold Joanna in person, I feel lucky to give her something that gave me such joy to make.
I hope her parents feel so proud, so blessed to have created their precious little princess.
I hope she grows up to like purple as much as I do.
And most of all, I hope she is always warm and knows just how much she is loved.

Crafty Thirteen: #3

 

 

Project #3: A One Skein Scarf (or almost…)

Found and rescued from the bargain bin at Bendigo Wool Mill last year.

Not quite the right shade of purple for my baby blanket project. But perfectly soft and fluffy and warm.

Enter autumn cold nights that arrived brutally in April, just weeks after we had the last of a beautiful summer. I couldn’t bear the thought of idle hands on all my train trips to and from Melbourne, or on my multi-leg flights around Australia this past month. And a coffee without a some craft is an opportunity lost.

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Canberra life: coffee and knitting and catchups with friends.

 

Start date: April 2013

Finished: mid May.

Method: knitting

Yarn: 8ply wool from Bendigo Wool Mill – about 180gms.

Needles: 4mm bamboo circular needles

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Melbourne: tea and more progress on the knitting

 

Pattern: again, this was an adaptation from a larger blanket pattern. Made to fit my short attention span and requirements to be portable and easy.

I found this zig zag blanket via ravelry, and fell in ripple love. Again.

Similar to my last project I stuck to two repetitions of the ripple. Repeated.

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Finished, just in time for winter!

And the finished product is lovely and soft and warm. Everything I wanted for this winter – but with the added bonus of enough yarn left over to make a beanie!!

Keep tuned, the next month will be beanie time!

 

xx

My Crafty Thirteen: #2

Eeek, it’s the end of May and I’m falling desperately behind in my 13 from ’13 – better find some quick and practical projects to get me back up to speed then!!

But this is a cute project I made earlier in the year for my 12 year old nephew. Project brief: something that could easily (and cheaply) be posted overseas, and that it was practical. Well, I forgot that the northern hemisphere is warm at this time of the year – not freezing like Central Victoria – but I hope it’ll see lots of wear come the next winter.

Project 2: “Blake’s Scarf”

Started: February

Finished: Early March 2013

Method: Crochet

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Yep my happy place: crochet, chai tea and chocolate.

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