30 April 2015

retreat | recreate

So, the exciting news? I am hosting a women's creative [textile] arts retreat in beautiful Ubud, Bali.

Bali Wellness Retreat (8)

Details are at retreat|recreate if you would like to take a look!

Yoga Resort in Ubud (13)

20 April 2015


I told you I am doing a pottery course, right? It's a ten week beginner course, and then you can just pay for another ten sessions and keep turning up to the studio. It's kind of addictive and oh so satisfying EATING OFF YOUR OWN HANDMADE PLATE.

Breakfast on a handmade plate

Let the long Easter weekend commence! Shop-bought hot cross bun on a homemade plate.

Here's another slab plate, ready to glaze. I ended up glazing this in a simple white with a sparkle effect. I have no idea what it will look like (classy? naff?) as it takes a few weeks for the teacher to fill the [enormous] kiln and fire all our pieces.

Slab plate ready for glazing

This little pear was made on day one when we learnt to make pinch pots. Or in our case, pinch pears. That crackle glaze is a lot of fun. The bottom part of the pear is matte black, but the proportions aren't quite right - I wish I'd made the black just a skerrick higher.

Pinch pear with crackle glaze from pottery class no 1. Looks more accomplished with a b&w filter.

And finally, my first wheel-thrown pots. (Embrace the wonk is my mantra). These are little tumblers which have since been underglazed with mismatching pale blue bands. Again, they are yet to be fired so I'm not sure how they'll turn out, but that's half the fun.

First wheel thrown pots!

Continuing my year of doing stuff that's fun, on the weekend I went to a fantastic indigo and shibori workshop. Photos to come when I am home in daylight hours to take some decent shots, but in the meantime here's a little instagram photo of some of our sample pieces laid out on the table.

Shibori on indigo with @bekindtextiles at @handmakersfactory

I have some exciting news to share. Some of you may have already seen it on Instagram or facebook, but it needs its own post rather than being plonked here. Sorry to be such a tease! I'll be back with a big announcement soon.

2 April 2015

dyeing experiments

Natural dye workshop with strawberries #naturaldyeing

Some years ago I was a member of the Natural Dye Group at the Plant Craft Cottage (at Melbourne's Botanic Gardens). I think I talked about it here on the blog although I can't find it. Since then I've done a smattering of natural dyeing at home, plus a whole shipload of acid dyeing, Kool Aid dyeing (thank you American dealers friends) and food colouring dyeing. My most popular post still is this one - it continues to get hundreds of hits from people keen to learn how to dye yarn safely with small people milling around.

Anyway then I went back to work full time and blah blah blah everything fell to pot. Except my bank balance, so you know, swings and roundabouts.

Well this year I kind of made the resolution that this will be my year of doing more stuff I love. Including dyeing and dancing and learning new things (more of that next post. I have POTTERY to show you, people. POTTERY).

So, I took a natural dye class a couple of months ago to refresh myself and give me a kickstart back into it.

Strawberry natural dyeing. Clockwise from top: copper iron aluminium solar #naturaldyeing
Natural dye class with I Am Alchemy.

Since then I've been going crazy. Mostly solar dyeing with the occasional foray into the kitchen for stovetop dyeing. Solar dyeing is the perfect methodology for dyeing if you work full time. (I sound like an advertisement. Dyeing for busy mothers and career women!) You whack a few things into a jar on the weekend and leave it in the garden for a few weeks. Easy.

Solar dyeing coming along nicely one week later. Tumeric, ivy, raspberry, tea. Not shown (in steel pot) - strawberry.
Tumeric, ivy, raspberry, tea. Mordanted with vinegar.

Solar dyeing results: tumeric, raspberry, ivy, red cabbage, strawberry.
Tumeric, raspberry, ivy, red cabbage, strawberry.

Blueberry, raspberry, red cabbage #solardyeing #naturaldyes #naturaldyeing #dyeing #yarn
Blueberry, raspberry, red cabbage.

Solar dyeing: red cabbage, tea, raspberry.
Red cabbage, tea, raspberry.

Solar dyeing: blueberry, logwood, madder.
Blueberry, logwood, madder. Mordanted with vinegar.

Red cabbage dyed wool yarn: left = solar dyed, right = stovetop dyed. Both mordanted with vinegar.
Red cabbage. Left solar dyed, right stove top. Both mordanted with vinegar.

Madder, logwood, blueberry.
Madder, logwood, blueberry.

Tending three new dyepots this morning before work
This week's experiments: Black bean, logwood exhaust, carrot tops. All pre-mordanted with alum

Three skeins of hand dyed sock yarn. Nailed the variegated soft pink I was after.
Kool Aid dyeing! Fingering weight yarn which is on its way to becoming a cardigan for me after the woman who expressed interest in me dyeing it for her decided $25 per skein is waaay too expensive. Ahem, take a look at etsy, ma'am, you'll see many hand dyed skeins for $32 per a skein

My collection of naturally dyed yarns grows
The beginnings of a beautiful naturally dyed collection, hooray!.

What to do with lots of little 50g balls of dyed yarn? Dig out your loom and get weaving of course.

10 February 2015

2014 book list

Good morning

Betsy says good morning I am feeling much better thank you please feed me.

I updated my reading list for 2014. It's over there on the left under "not just cookbooks", or if you're reading via a reader, here's a direct link.


That's not my house.

15 January 2015

closing and opening

Queensland sky II

Christmas and new year took on a different shape this year - this first year without my dad. While we were all gathered in Queensland we took the opportunity to farewell Dad with friends and extended family, nibbles and lots of champagne. It was tough and lovely at the same time, but it felt right. The ritual of a wake or funeral or in our case a champagne celebration at Mum's house, really brings comfort and closure doesn't it?

Hello beach.

While in Queensland we also took the opportunity to visit our favourite beach, and trot up to Brisbane to GOMA to catch the latest exhibition and hang out with the cousins who we see only once a year.


We helped Mum with more sorting and made a couple of trips to the op shop. I also wrangled her sewing machine to make a new clothespeg bag as two years of nagging her to make herself a new one seemed to have failed.

I wrangled Mum's sewing machine and made her a new clothes peg bag.

We're now back home in our messy house with the luscious brown beasties and back at work. Sigh.

Early light on messy house

The wee one (Betsy, the darker brown smudge in the photo below) appears to be recovering from her six months of mystery virus. She is slowly putting on weight, purrs and snuggles again on a regular basis, and positively sprinted through the house the other day which she has not done since she was very young indeed. I am hoping she is on her way back to bouncy shiny good health. She also turned one on the 6th. My own little Epiphany.

Can't make the bed.

The middle child received his year 12 results and now awaits university offers. I'm excited to see what this year holds in store for him.

New beginnings for a new year.

21 December 2014

fourth light of advent

The fourth light of advent It is the light of man.  The light of love, the light of thought To give and understand.

The fourth light of advent
it is the light of man.
The light of love, the light of thought
to give and understand.

17 December 2014

bit o' this, bit o' that

Scout tee

Sewing bling

Little baby Betsy is 11 months and 1 week

At home this morning waiting for a doctor appointment. Middle child has suspected fractured arm.


Some sewing, some gardening, some working. I am firmly in denial that Christmas is a matter of days away.

Terrifying new purchase

A terrifying new purchase has been made. I read the instructions and put the beast back in its box with the excuse that I haven't any threads for it yet anyway.

Fractured elbow = sling for two weeks

The middle child received his Year 12 results and fractured his elbow on the same day. He says it doesn't hurt but I wonder if that's the post-school euphoria and relief speaking. Two weeks in a sling (but luckily no plaster)is the cure apparently. We're all about the denial around here.

14 December 2014

third Sunday of Advent

The third light of advent  It is the light of beasts.  The light of truth that we may see  In greatest and in least.

The third light of advent
it is the light of beasts.
The light of truth that we may see
in greatest and in least.

7 December 2014

Second light of advent

The second light of advent, it is the light of plants. Plants that reach up to the sun and in the breezes dance.

The second light of advent
It is the light of plants.
Plants that reach up to the sun
And in the breezes dance.

4 December 2014

continuing ...

Jacaranda watch: first day of summer.
First day of summer

Thank you for your comments about my father. I can't reply to all of them as they come through as no-reply comments for some reason, but please know that each one was greatly appreciated. There was no funeral but we will have a celebration of Dad's life at the end of the month with family and friends, just after Christmas, and at some point in the new year we will scatter his ashes at the beach where my brother and I grew up. All the children were in the middle of exams when Dad went into hospital and as we all thought he would pull through, I flew up there on my own, leaving the boys and the mister behind. It will be good to have all the grandchildren and partners there for the memorial/celebration afternoon.

To the Heart Garden #Heide
Into the Heart Garden at Heide

In the meantime life continues. Children finish school for the year (or forever, in one case), go away with their friends, the little kitty is very poorly and the vet is struggling for a diagnosis, a friend distracts me with an invitation to the opening of an art exhibition, and knitted things are cast off.

Shibui line break shawl
'Line Break' shawl in Shibui Staccato, a luxurious silky yarn from Sunspun Yarns

Not a well girl. Also, stung by a bee.
Hoping for a diagnosis soon. It's been months and I am desperate to see her plump and energetic again.

The ducklings at work are growing like weeds,

The campus ducklings are growing up fast

while the Welcome Swallows outside the laundry door have raised two lots of chicks this Spring.

Welcome Swallow egg shell

Insert cliche regarding the circle of life here.