Friday, December 24, 2010

happy celebrations!

hello and happy christmas from somewhere here to wherever you are!
What might this time of year mean for you...

I enjoy this time of year-connecting with my family, nature and myself!
I unwind. How do you take care of yourself?

'let it go. let it out.
let it all unravel.
let it free and it can be
a path on which to travel'
poem by Luenig.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mitiamo trip

Hello, I am going nuts with my camera at the moment. I have so many pictures to sort through and upload! In the meantime here's a few more images from the Mitiamo trip. Up above is a native and local pine tree variety. It's broken through a huge slab of ancient volcano granite and is a white pine. The Mt Terrick Terrick area was reserved originally for these trees-they are resistant to termites so this area was being preserved for timber. Fortunately for all the wedge tailed eagles, black wallabies and other beautiful locals it has all been protected as a national park now.
Something I find interesting is how the soil, the classic orange-red outback ground, looks dry and dusty, despite the huge amounts of rain this area has recently received, in fact on the way there and back lots of the side roads are still impassable, with water right over them.

The ground supports a lot of life though and as the rains fell out come these lovely wildflowers and wallaby grass. The star shaped very pale purple flowers are Wahlenbergia stricta.

The yellow flowers are a kind of daisy-the petals are tough and hard like paper and are so called 'everlasting daisies'
These clumping purple isotoma axillaris flowers are very prolific, growing around the granite rocks- they were so sweet, looking more like a cottage garden plant than a native flower.

Some of my family lived in this area a hundred odd years ago, maybe these flowers were appreciated by my old relatives, perhaps even placed on a grave?
One of the best places to see wildflowers in Australia is around old cemeteries. When mourners gathered wildflowers, and left them on the graves, they self seeded and have continued to reproduce each year( as they are relatively undisturbed and rarely cleared special grounds.)
So while it may seem morbid I love and recommend if you are ever in Victoria to go visiting old cemeteries!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


hello! I have lots of yummy new photos here today!
I was very lucky and my dad was well enough to take my lads and I out to one of my favourite places-Mitiamo rocks. Its called Terrick Terrick national park now, but has been a state forest, a pine reserve, etc, etc, over the years and has always been known to us as the Mitiamo rocks.
These are a native flower-lots about, very pretty. They are called chocolate lilies-apparently they taste like chocolate!!

This chubby wallaby is a black wallaby or swamp wallaby. Very tame and let us come quite near. Its beautiful to see such a healthy wallaby, nourished on the lush growth of the recent heavy rains.

This area has a long history-caves and waterholes where my kids play have been sheltering people for thousands of years.
This ancient tree has scars left on both sides of the trunk, healed marks where great areas of bark were carefully removed to make small canoes, large carrying bowls, and other useful implements. Its a beautiful piece of living history.

This river red gum area is usually quite dry, a small depression though, in this season has become a swollen creek. The trees can survive, even thrive in flood waters, and the brilliant green growth is a welcome sight after years of drought.

And this is my holiday projects...crochet hats. It was the first time of using fpdc-what a headache it was too learn, badly written instructions-but the result looks lovely-almost like cabled knitting. I ran out of yarn mid way so it became a lad sized hat :o)
But I have bought some delicious 4 ply yarn and am making myself one, and its so much easier to follow (i.e-bend the rules of the pattern) the second time around!!

Hope you are all finding ways to nourish yourself this season,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Midsummer in Ballarat...

Hello! We popped over to sunny old Ballarat(cough, cough), there we caught up with family and learnt a new game.
It's called 'jump the puddle.'
As you can see it involves running very quickly and well...I'll let you guess the rest!

Lets just say the shoes (and dog) were left outside to dry for a while!
Its been really wet and cold, good weather for puddle jumping and brisk walks. Make that brisk and bracing walks!

On the way back to my parents house today we briefly stopped at a park so the every noisy lads could burn off some excess energy. While stretching my legs this fungus caught my eye...
And this beautiful creature paused just long enough for shivery me to snap it! Don't you love the crisp black spots amongst all the soft oranges and browns?
There were so many fluttering around they were like a mist, but none of them wanted to settle long enough for a good photo. I don't blame them, did I mention its cold? :o)

Friday, December 17, 2010


Hello! More pretty shots from my walks, this Rosella is sitting on a red gum on the Murray river. If you look closely you can see a white and red sign on the tree reads "no parking"
Yes-the river really is up high!
This above shot was also taken in Echuca, near the old port. Such a cute duck-it was sitting on the bank for a while just watching the river go by, then suddenly must have seen something it liked and splosh, straight in!
This red wattle bird was posing, turning its neck from side to side, in between sipping nectar from nearby flowers (it's a honeyeater). I didn't have the heart to break it to him that my zoom function was going to make a good photo impossible, so here's my best attempt.
Can you spot the silver eye bird in this shot? They are cute and tiny and love my parents guava(feijoa) tree, there are 2 babies and 2 adults, but only one adult in this shot. I love watching them from my parents kitchen window, the 2 little bubs nestle into each other sitting on a branch.

And the flowers around here this year are spectacular! So much colour and vitality! So vibrant, these old fashioned roses have such a gorgeous fragrance too, I wish there was a blog version of scratch and sniff so I could share it with you...
Even the finished roses look beautiful to me, and I have spotted so many big fat swollen rosehips that my mind is turning over the possibilities of making some rosehip cordial. Will have to do some recipe searching!
Don't worry, with all these nature shots and walks I am not trying to hide a lack of making.
In fact, I have been crocheting, found some beautiful wool in a nearby op shop-20 cents a ball!! So I have made a hat and a few other little things...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

journey through the river country

Hello! We spent all day Monday on buses, planes, cars, in airports and basically we sat and sat and sat some yesterday we stretched ours legs and went for a walk down to the river.
There have been much needed rains and floods here which have given the trees, including this sprawling river red gum, some nourishment. It was beautiful to see red rumped parrots and blue wren as we walked along.

The grass was pushed over and covered in silty mud. These stalks were slowly lifting up to the sky again. There is so much long thick grasses everywhere, kangaroo grass rising higher than I have ever seen it.

And this little tree looked like it was already decorated for Christmas!
We had a lovely stroll (despite the mozzies and locusts everywhere!) it was spectacular to see the new growth on all the trees and shrubs and really refreshing to see pools of water where the ground has been scored with deep cracks...more soon, hope you're all enjoying the lead up to Christmas,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hello all! I am down to my 2 last markets for the year this weekend! I can't believe how quickly this year has gone by and how much has been going on! I am heading down to Victoria to spend some good solid time with my family in the town where I grew up. It has a beautiful river with red gums growing on the banks and it should be looking pretty healthy as the rains have been falling there.
What are your holiday plans? I plan to read and take photographs of the special places I loved from my childhood.
These are the books I picked up from my local library;
Last Child in the woods by Richard louv, which is about why we ate spending less time amongst nature and how this can be changed.
The social entrepeneur by Andrew mawson, which looks into social enterprises and is written by one of the leading writers and planners in this field,
and last but not least ;Kitchen table sustainability by Wendy saarkissian, which is about too much and which is too good to try and sum up here. I would link for you but my iPhone says 'no' so google them! :0)
I am having my second last stall (for the year) tonight at the avid reader bookstore, which is hosting a booklaunch at the same time.
The book is one I am yet to see is a handmade craft special, and it will be interesting to meet some of the contributors of the book and even see 'for real' what they have made! Books and craft-yay!
If you'd like to come along; avid reader, boundary street, west end, Friday night- tonight( think my blog date is out of whack for some reason)
From 5.30-8.
Cheers xkate

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

wet weather events

Hello! Sorry I have not been posting much lately-my home computer internet connections is on the blink, and relying heavily on my iphone and wireless cafes is not working out so well...I hope to get it all fixed soon.
Anyhoo-today I am online with my trusty usb stick at my lovely friend Sams! Thanks dear one!! LOTS and LOTS going on...will start with the good news...

The fundraiser at Reverse Garbage went brilliantly-the organisers did an amazing job; the space looked wonderful and the food was delicious and presented so creatively!

The whole feel of the night was so good natured, the live music and the auction was exciting-its a thrill to see the crowd joining in the fun and chipping in towards the fundraising! The event kick starts the fundraising process-for the the purchase of a permanent home, a purpose bought Reverse Garbage building. I would love to see this come into fruition!
I am thrilled to have a selection of my dash robin pieces in the gallery store.

I chose some Christmas style items;, some of my partridges, jacaranda brooches and few other good gift giving ones. Reverse garbage receives a percentage for these
sales, I am really happy to know that commission fee is going to a good cause!

So that was the highlight of the week. The rest though was more like a series of lowlights! Yesterday I spent some time reflecting and regathering my spirits with the help of this little love, curling up on my lap, purring and basically letting me be quiet and down. The disheartened feelings I had when two highly anticipated weekend markets were totally washed out left me very flat. This is the not so cheerful part! My hope and optimism about this business is at a low point.
Saturdays Christmas Brisstyle market was hit by such extreme weather, high winds whipping up and absolute down pouring of rains. Unfortunately quite a few of us had wet stock but the efforts of the organisers are appreciated. Helen was racing around with plastic sheeting and trying to keep every ones spirits up despite how frustrating it must have been for her, it was nothing short of spectacular and inspiring.

On Sunday I did not have high hopes for a clear skied day. I gathered at Northey street with the few brave souls who had travelled to our market site. Bob soothed our souls with some amazing music, the acoustics of playing under food connects huge new tent and heavy rain was so moving it raised goosebumps.

I felt negative and bitter and without the kindness and gentle support of everyone around me I would have felt worse-this was the site where one of the stall holders was meant to be!
Can you believe it?!?!
These feelings pass, Buddhism and counselling have given me some small seeds of patience and in some ways I know I am and even
feel lucky. Knowing this is passing disappointment, not genuine depression. I hope and work towards never facing depression again, I had a terrible time in the past with it and am thankful to have mental stability.
So instead of surrendering to feelings of failure I am cherishing simple little happy tasks, one at at time, and holding fast to moments of joy,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hello! I am feeling full and lazy because I have been enjoying some yummy pain du campagne bread today. I picked up a loaf from Sol bread which is my fave bakery chain in Brisbane, they have shops in West end and New farm, a stall at Northey streets Sunday market, and maybe even more places, not sure?
Anyway, they make all sorts of breads, but specialise in sourdough. By happy coincidence my taste buds specialise in sourdough :o)

I stopped in quickly after dropping off some brooches and toys to Echoes Giftshop, in West end. Echoes is inside the premises of Reverse garbage and to have your work stocked there you have to use at least 75% recycled or reused materials. They take work on consignment(yay-no upfront fees!) and proceeds go back into their organisation to fund their education programs.

These brooches are a good example of the kind of thing I am interested in; re-purposing high quality materials. These are discs of thick clean white felt, used in the transportation of glassware, afterwards instead of ending up in landfill, these are collected by Reverse garbage. I purchased them from their shop front, decorated them with embroidery, stitched a brooch backing onto them and now they have returned to the premises, in the gift shop for sale. The only thing I have not yet found are recycled brooch pins. If anyone has any leads on this I'd love to hear of them, as my aim is to use only recycled items.

I am happy to have been able to create this 100% recycled baby cloud toy. I filled it with ordinary polyester stuffing offcuts from an upholsterers, which are again, from reverse garbage- clean, fresh and totally usable.
The bird symbol was a fine red woollen jumper, felted, and the white material is again, reverse garbage offcuts, from clothing manufacturing. Even the sewing thread is from reverse garbage!
I love using stuff which was otherwise destined to become rubbish-it really feels great, and seems so useful. Why do we continue to buy new materials, and manufacture and import so much stuff when we have vast stores of things, overflowing, cluttering up homes and businesses?

There are some things we have to buy new of course, but lots of crafting supplies, I suggest we simply buy new, without really considering the impact, source, workers who've made them ,etc, etc...
Anyway, I feel so passionate about this but will stop now to hopefully avoid becoming a 'ranter' !
Before I sign off I thought I'd show you my new glasses, picked up just today-how strangely comfortable they are to wear! I thought they'd be heavy and hurt my nose as I have never worn glasses before, but they feel great...what do you think?
My goofball son is pulling a face to show what he thinks of them, he told me, "you look good in them" after a pause, he amended it to 'not
really good, but good."
Hope you're having a really good week,

Monday, November 29, 2010

home life-thrifting finds

Hello! Hope alls well! I have been doing some much overdue tidying today, with 3 markets on the past weekend our place desperately needed some attention.

It's looking about as good as it'll ever get! This vintage op shop found table cloth is one of my new favourite things(it even came with four matching napkins and only cost five bucks!)
In the background is also my new vintage suitcase-such a beautiful blue.

I was on a bit of a house tidying roll so began pulling out bits and pieces which are festive, to brighten up the place in the lead up to Christmas. What do you think of these crochet red irish leaves strung onto white chain with bobble tops?

I pulled out this fella, too, I see no reason why he should only come out at Easter-he took so long to make and is surely cute enough to be out more often!?

Tripitaka gave it all his approval, he's always happy with more stuff to pull down!

have a great week,

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Did you go to the Christmas market ? Wasn't it sweet?
From my perspective, turning up and setting up, and not having any other responsibilities on the night when I have my kids with me is fantastic.
The spaces are allocated and the tables all set, I just have to put out my pieces.
And littlest one even helped stock my table by whipping up some quick paintings.
He sold this one last night and a few more today and was stoked to make enough to get a book ('Roll over pavlova' ) with the proceeds on the way home.

I created these new birds yesterday-lambswool felt from upcycled knit wear, red linen vintage fabric on the back, filling from reverse garbage and recycled yarn wings!
Even the floss embroidery thread (eyes) was scored from an op shop-so pleased to be able to get some great high quality materials, locally and give them a new use. They are sort of chick/partridge like and they are lovely to hold and to prop against each other. I am not too humble to admit I really love them!

Can you spot them amongst the spread of goodies here? This is the pop up shop Chrissy, Sam and I created today, outside lovely Michelle's nook shop. Along the front here is some apron decorating-it seems the love of old aprons goes hand in hand with crafting, between us we have quite the collection! It all looked very pretty!

We enjoyed ourselves and all left for home with some spending money and some swapped treasures- some dash robin bird brooches and a toy cat were exchanged for a gorgeous whale water painting print from Jettas nest (Sam)and fabbo necklace and ring from my nostaligic feeling (Chrissy)
I love swapsys' at markets!
hope you're enjoying your weekend,

Friday, November 26, 2010

excitement building!

This gives an idea of what my house currently looks like...over balancing piles of craft bits in various containers....
and attempts at prop making in the theme of Christmas!
It's been really tricky to get these cardboard trees to stand up-glue wasn't doing it but the old slot method seems to be doing the trick.

Because I have the Christmas BrisStyle markets in Hamilton tonight, then a pop up shop outside nook tomorrow in West end, I am completely excited today and buzzing with energy and ideas....and Christmas spirit (no other spirits, honest.)

Imagine the joy/relief of having presents sorted before December even begins!? That's my plan, to knock it all off and get my hand made local pressies at markets, support my friends and look super funky in the process!

And do I, or do I not totally rock this Santa hat?*
So come and visit the cool chick at the markets....then pop over to me and say hello**
*answer is, alas, not
**bring me a brownie (subliminal message)
P.S-Lucy won the dash robin bird brooch! Woot, woot-she's a gem!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

blogging giveaway

My cat Tripitaka keeps presenting an offering for me...its an over sized bird brooch I made for my bag, and he finds it, 'kills it' and drops it at my bedroom door, its very amusing and a whole lot nicer than finding a real bird there.

I keep him indoors 95% of the time. The other 5% is when he has crept out. I never thought I would keep a cat indoors, because I think its sort of a prison like existence for an animal but after Max was killed by a car I seem to have become very protective. And Trippy is such a hunter, I have to protect the wildlife! I have never had a cat like him, he's on the hunt virtually every moment he's awake...even in the piccy above he has his paw on a bird ;O)

And speaking of birds....
you can enter my little dash robin bird brooch giveaway at the dash robin facebook page.
There is lots of dashy things happening, so much so that to keep you in the loop would create one helluva dull blog so I plan to use my facebook more as an updates place,
while on here more old school sharing thoughts and images blogging!
You can however take a look over yonder at the market list...(for example to see the 3
different markets I'll be at this weekend -with kids in tow-what was I thinking!!!)

So if you have a facebook account, become a fan of dash robin and this will also keep you up to date about all the dashing about going on :o)