Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spring is Springing!

Oh how I love Spring!
The garden is blossoming - daffodils and peach and nectarine blossom everywhere! I just love it.  I have been sharing quite a few spring photos over on instagram but I just had to show you my blossom in my favourite blue jug.
That cute little teacup candle was from my favourite op shop for a whole $2.  I also managed to get shiny red fake-Doc boots for $10 when I was there last week! I haven't op shopped for so long that it felt good to get a couple of bargains.

Spring has also sprung at Bushland Park - we were treated to a rare find of a frosted dragonfly.
The kids have been very interested in using my camera to take photos of the wildflowers.  Right after she snapped this photo my little friend took a photo of me!

As goofy as I look with my back pack, first aid bumbag and big red jacket seeing this photo did make me smile because this really is my happy place and a big reason for why I enjoy teaching so much.  This nature play journey we are on is by far the most inspirational and uplifting part of my teaching career.
Last week Bushland Park was being used for an Artist's Retreat so we had to head down to the Summer Track, which is where we began bush kindy a few years ago.  It was a lovely way to reminisce and remember and think about how far we've come but also some great views of our little town. I never get tired of the beauty of this place. I can see why they call it the "Valley of Praise"


Where ever you are this week, I hope you are finding some Spring loveliness to make you smile.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It is supposed to be fun..right..?

Finally this weekend I got around to making Hannah's nightie.  I bought two lengths of cute flannel at Spotlight at the start of Winter, planning to make nighties for Maddie because she has worn her old one to shreds! Maddie's got made straight away (I was pretty proud of myself too!) I made it from Emma Hardy's "Making Children's Clothes" which is one little book I have used a lot.  The pattern only went up to size 5 so I fudged a bit for an almost 7 year old and it was all good. Maddie LOVED it. She loved it so much that the 12 year old decided I should use the other length of fabric to make one for her...um..problem..
I have always been envious of those talented individuals that can eye a piece of fabric and just know how to cut it, just so, to make whatever they damn well liked.  My grandmother was like that. I remember watching goggle-eyed as she hacked into fabric with that satisfying "snip, snip, snip" sound that dressmaking scissors make, not a pattern in sight.  I remember thinking that one day I wanted to grow up to be just like her.  I wish she had taught me more before Alzheimers claimed that clever mind.
Well, even with a smaller pattern, and a right-sized jammie top to modify the arms it was still tough going. No amount of clever fudging will deny the fact that my baby girl is growing up and has loooongggg legs and loooonnnngggg arms. We ended up with a fair bit of colourful language and 3/4 sleeves.  I did a bit of creative thinking with the sleeves and hemmed them with grosgrain ribbon (and now I am wondering about the few fancy coats I own that have ribbon hems? Was it a feature or are they just skimping an extra inch of fabric?)
Anyhow, to cut a long story short. It is done. And she has worn it three nights in a row so I think that means she likes it.  I am holding onto that for as long as I can as I had thought we were getting too grown-up for Mummy-made nighties. 

I like the way they are similar without being matchy matchy.  My Mum made flannel nighties for me when I was a girl and they were always so comfy and snuggly.  We also had full length flannel floral skirts for Winter (gotta love the 80s!) but I don't think I will be reviving that tradition anytime soon. Anyhow, now that I got through it, I think I may just go and buy an extra length of fabric and make a couple more nighties for the girls - without playing yardage chicken I can make full sleeved ones - and hopefully I can use these nighties as a workable pattern (maybe tweaking Hannah's to allow a slightly wider sleeve)

In other news, I hit the trifecta at the library this time around:
Three very different reads but all good.
"The Almond Tree" is kind of harrowing but also kind of uplifting.
"Euphoria" is very much about cultural anthropology and human relationships - kind of a bit disturbing but also fascinating.
"The Truth According to Us" made me happy because it is written by the co-author of one of my favourites "The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society"  This was a "first novel" and Annie Barrow's Aunt (the other co-author) passed away before it was finished.  I am so pleased to see Annie writing again - loved this one!

Now that the weather is warming and Winter Days are (hopefully) coming to an end my thoughts are turning less to porridge and more to muesli for breakfast. My children go through muesli like nobody's business so I made my own using my friend's granola recipe.  You mix everything in apple juice and coconut oil.  It really is yummy and moreish and because it is rich and toasted hopefully the children will eat slightly smaller servings!
I know it is insane but I get such a buzz out of making stuff like this from scratch. Channeling my inner Martha Stewart?
Till next time,
Keep smiling,
Nell
xxx

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Feeling the Fibre Love

Recently my friend Chris and I went to the Mt Pleasant Fibre Fair. The fair is always an opportunity to replenish my stash and my two very favourite fibre "dealers" are always there, as well as our local craft book supplier.  Quite a few things came home with me.

There is some possum/merino in two colourways, some smooshy 8 ply yarn to make a bush kindy hat or cowl for me, a skein of sock yarn I had to have, two beautiful merino braids that work so well together, rainbow wool to make more of my little baby knits, and that stunning shawl book, along with another pair of 5mm tips and a big bag of raw fleece so that I can spin copious quantities of grey wool.  I really did have fun and it was wonderful to catch up with so many rav friends too!
The very next day I got to have lunch and a crafty afternoon with my quilty friends, including Deb who is an ex-pat member (having moved to Cairns a few years ago) So good to see her again.
I love this fellowship of women.  They are an inspiration to me.  Spending time with them is so good for my well-being. Yvonne, Rhonda and I decided that we need to inspire each other to quilt more.  I love sewing but since moving into this house and losing my beloved craft studio I find myself not sewing as much because the space just doesn't work.  I have been thinking of ways around that and I think a re-model upstairs might soon be in order.  Watch this space!
This has been a big work week (three fabulous opportunities to share experiences with two amazing early childhood educators) so a lot less knitting time.
I am still working on my Art Palette test cardi, and my Igneous socks, and also a tunisian crochet cowl for Hannah. I love the way tunisian crochet looks woven.  It is fun and easy.
We had a gloriously sunny day (with a misty morning start) to bush kindy this week.


I feel incredibly blessed to be able to work in such a beautiful setting with amazing children.  The last two days we have had a touch of Spring in the air.  So lovely to know that it will be here properly before we know it!
Hope you are having a good week!
Keep smiling,
Nell

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sending Big Love

Sending Big Love to all who regularly do the sole parent thing and my few amazing friends who have tragically lost their spouses.
I don't often talk about my husband on here because he doesn't really like me to.  Suffice to say, he is my world. He is the person who has changed me most of all. I think of him as the person that saved me from myself at a time that I was most insecure and uncertain of who I was and where my life was going.  At this moment in time I have known him for more than half my life. He is my filter on the world. He is my rock. He is quite possibly the one person in the world that truly loves me for all my faults and imperfections.  Ours is not a perfect marriage, but he is pretty damn close to being my perfect love.

I am so very lucky that I married a homebody.  My Prince is more of a homebody than I am and could actually sometimes just become a hermit I think. He rarely goes anywhere unless it is with me.
I love being at home, but I also need people. I come from a long line of chatterboxes.
Anyhow, to cut a long story short, my homebody husband was away at a conference this week..in Phuket.. That is actually not really how I would like to spell it right now.
I had quite a terrifying day of it, knowing that the latest bombs happened right where he had tea the last two nights. He was supposed to be playing golf, but absolutely uncontactable.  Horrible thoughts filled my mind and gripped my heart.
I finally heard from him this afternoon, and we got to skype tonight. So good to see his face and hear his voice. Today broke my heart all over again for my dear friends who have lost love ones.  In those few terrible waiting hours I empathised with them in a way that I haven't before.
Hug your loved ones tight.
Tell them you love them.
And when they return from far away, do not let them go.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Winter Afternoon

What a beautiful clear afternoon we had today. You could almost imagine that Spring wasn't too far around the corner.  I recently participated in a Winter Swap with Kathy's Fibres group over on Rav (where I hang out entirely too often these days) and my lovely swap partner sent me the most gorgeous frame with an Eddie Vedder quote "No matter how cold the Winter there is a springtime ahead"  She also sent me a mix cd of Winter songs - such fun! I haven't had a mix tape since James and I were first going out and he wrote an intro and an outro for me and played it on his guitar (ah, young and foolish love!)
This little scene makes me so happy.  I love those brave little flowers that bloom despite the Winter.  My red geraniums, and the early jonquils, and the daphne.




I planted my bare rooted roses a few weekends ago. I can't wait to see them bloom this Spring.  There is a certain loveliness about the light in a Winter afternoon.


I'm feeling optimistic about Winter today. It has been the coldest and wettest Winter since Hannah was a newborn but it has been made pleasant by virtue of wood fires, friends, and time spent in nature.
There has been lots of knitting too.  Sitting in my rocking chair by the fire with a cup of Blue Mountain Tea and my latest project just embracing my inner Nanna.  I think it has been the Winter of the Sock.  First there were Maddie's Kyla socks, then plain socks in a lovely merino silk from Moseley Park Farm
Then my Tootsie Roll test, then a Going On Stripes Test, and then these current favourites - The Igneous Socks.
I enjoyed this year's Tour De Fleece (although I didn't see a single bit of the real race) and managed to spin over a kilo of fibre.  Lots of lovely knitting happiness ahead.
The scrapbooking juices haven't really been flowing lately - too cold in the kitchen LOL but I did have a little play with our new Flower Market Cricut cartridge on the weekend:
I also participated in a Wooly Wormhead Scrapalong to make a charity hat.
 There is a local group  knitting for refugees so this will go towards that. The preference is for 100% wool because of the bitter conditions in the camps so it allows me to put precious little bits of handspun to good use.  My little knitted cardigans are currently on display at the local SALA exhibition and after that I have been asked to show them to one of my very favourite local shops (which stocks amazing handmade toys and dolls) so it is good to know that I will be able to keep steadily selling them to support my fibre habit. I like the instant gratification of these little projects and the way I can spin and knit colours that I wouldn't necessarily wear for myself!
My current obsession is with this:
A test cardi in a lovely tweedy brown that I picked up as a bargain on a rav destash.  I can't wait to be finished and snuggling in this cardi - it will be so warm and smooshy!
So that is what is happening around here lately.  Along with plenty of bunny cuddles, Hannah's forays into cooking, Dan's excitement over learning the drums, James getting ready for a work conference over seas, me getting ready for our big kindy fundraiser, and appearing on radio and in the paper within a fortnight of each other promoting our bush kindy program, and minimal cleaning and domestic duties LOL
Life is busy but oh so sweet.
Enjoy your week folks!
xx

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Just Chilling and Chilly..

Brrr. It is freezing here. It is also school holidays. That means a lot of hunkering down in front of the fire knitting and referreeing fights over t.v. choices and whose turn it is to feed the chooks/dog/rabbit. This has been the longest, coldest, wettest Winter.  Ironically, wet wild weather means that we sometimes have no electricity, which means no pressure pump, which means no water.  A small child turned on the tap outside when the power was off and because nothing happened she didn't turn it back off.  The power came back on. The pump kicked in. We lost 20 000 litres of beautiful rainwater while we slept.  Sometimes living here feels a little like living in Little House on the Prairie.  I know that I am not meant to admit that, being a farm girl originally, but I have kind of got used to suburbia and mains water and ducted heating.  Then I feel utterly ridiculous when I read some of my favourite blogs and see stories like them digging their sheep out of the snow..

I feel like life is a roller coaster right now.  We are either on the dizzying highs or the gut wrenching lows. I am sure a lot of that has to do with low Vitamin D levels and a residual back problem that needs to be managed better.  Saturday morning we had a fine morning and I got out in the garden and planted all of my bare rooted David Austen roses and weeded and pottered around and picked up lots of kindling.  While we were outside the neighbours lost a massive old gum - we watched it fall and heard that sickening crack and thud as it hit the ground. The awe was tinged with a bit of sad, and a bit of fear, but mostly gratitude that it hadn't damaged anyone or anything.  Those gums move such a lot in the wild wind. Thankfully we have only lost a few big limbs from ours and no damage has been done, besides a few sleepless nights and a couple of hours with the chainsaw.

One of our neighbour's houses got broken into - again, sadness, fear, vulnerability, a feeling that not everything is right with the world.  This is my castle. I love this house. I want to feel safe here.  I am also profoundly disgusted and saddened that people can feel that they can break into someone else's sanctuary and take what is not theirs. Not fair brown bear.

Our lovely, amazing ex-neighbours (our Nairne neighbours) are in the process of saying goodbye to their husband/father and that is heartbreaking.  I pray for a peaceful, dignified end for a wonderful man. Life can be cruel. Again, not fair brown bear!

And in amongst all the blah, there is so much good.  One of my lovely (lurking) blog readers has just added a beautiful little baby girl to their family of energetic beautiful boys.  She totally appreciates my handspun, handknit cardis so it has been fun to knit something special for her.  There has been lots of knitting in front of the fire - test socks (which are fun but kind of kooky as the designer only needs one to finish the test - so I am getting a collection of odd socks patiently waiting for their mate!) There has been glorious spinning for the Tour de Fleece.  Visits from friends. Pikelets and soup on the Stanley cooker.  Plenty of apple crumble and roasts and winter comfort food. Jonquils popping through in the garden. Sleep ins.  Reading in bed with the electric blanket on - most recently Clara Parkes, and now the new Sara Gruen novel. Lots of cuddles and snuggles with Marmalade the bunny (who loves to be handfed carrots and broccoli stalks). Before the wasted water fiasco there were long soaks in hot baths.

I am trying to find the joy and comfort in little things. Winter cannot last forever.
May you be warm and well my friends,
May Winter's small blessings and simple things bring you comfort and joy,
Keep smiling,
Nell

p.s. a photo less post. Most of my crafty photos are currently taken on the ipad which doesn't allow for blog posts.  I really need to get back into the habit of using the camera and downloading photos regularly. Apologies and cheers for those who made it to the end of a dreary read.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Winter Happy

It is grey. It is rainy. It is cold. It is Winter.  I feel like it has already rained too much. I feel like even the smallest kindness could bring me to tears today.

Today my extended family, the Cox "clan" (as we call my Dad's side) said goodbye to my Uncle Frizz. He was a funny man. Fun and kind hearted.  I am sad that I couldn't be there.

Can you maybe spot the one who is a couple of months overdue for her Vitamin D booster?

So anyhow, here are a few things that make me smile;
Our new bunny is called "Marmalade" - she is little and sweet and super snuggly and finally I have found a rabbit who likes broccoli stalks and nudges me when she wants a pat just like my sweet Kiara used to do.
There has been lots of knitting beside the fire. Mostly shawls for our rav shawl-along (A http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nelliebligh/quaker-yarn-stretcher-boomerang and then a http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nelliebligh/willowind ) then some socks for a test knit.  I love that the yarn for these was part of the Bungaree Swap/Destash so essentially free!  When they were done I put them on the end of Maddie's bed while she slept.  The next morning we had bush school.  We were sauntering along hand in hand when one of the other Mums pipes up with "Maddie, are those HAND KNIT socks you're wearing?!?!"  Not exactly school uniform but I bet her feet were nice and warm and it is nice to know she appreciates them.







She does know how to make a Mummy's Winter heart glad.
Love this kiddo and her funny ways.
Please pray for sunshine for Bush Kindy tomorrow so that I can get some much needed Vitamin D.
Stay warm folks!
xxx