Friday, July 24, 2015

Tel Aviv street art












We're leaving Israel today. One more hour in the apartment packing, a couple of hours at the airport checking in and organising, five hours in the air and then London!!

Right now I'm feeling sad to be leaving Israel after such an incredible month, I'm nervous and excited about the next leg of this adventure, and I'm trying to remember to check under every bed, in between every couch cushion and behind every drawer.

I have another post in my head that I'll hopefully write in the next few days about our highlights and low lights of our trip so far, but until then here are some pics I took of the street art in Tel Aviv.

It's been one month since we have lived amongst people who speak the same language as us and it'll be so simple to make ourselves understood this evening when we ask directions to our Airbnb. Same language but new accents, currency and geography...the adventure continues...

I hope you have a very happy weekend - have you got some fun stuff planned?

I think ours will be spent exploring and if Indi has anything to do with it there'll be loads of shopping too.

Shalom to you my friends - see you on the other side.

Love Kate

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

five stories of Israel


Shalom friends.

So much for my grand plans for catching up and documenting our trip up to date here. I guess sometimes a tiny apartment, too many people always talking at once and the dodgiest Internet get in the way.

Last time we came to Israel we did the tourist thing. We travelled from the middle to the bottom and then the middle to the top and did all the touristy things in between. It was fun, and educational, and exhausting, and inspiring. We learnt history and geography, we walked on 2,000 year old tiles, stayed in a hotel on the edge of a crater, we floated on the Dead Sea and sosososo much more.

This time around we wanted to do something different. This time we wanted to live in the same place for a while and get to know the people, the culture and the way of life a little. This time we planned to spend two weeks in the middle of Israel in a crazy beach side city called Tel Aviv and then travel up north to a vegetarian settlement for a week and then back to Tel Aviv before we leave.

This time we've found a couple of places that make great coffee, we've discovered that if you want to go for a run along the beach in the morning you have to leave home well before seven or it's just too hot, we've visited a gorgeous vegetarian cafe where we felt right at home, we've spent time at markets and museums and the beach, and we've gradually been getting a sense of direction as we've walked miles and miles each day.

I've got zillions of photos and tales to tell, I really hope I get around to sharing them but with only three days left here I thought the best place to start might be one story each. So here goes.


Indi - On the first day we arrived up north on Moshav Amirim we spent a while in their little shop stocking up on kitchen essentials to see us through our stay. As we were wandering up and down each aisle trying our best to read labels and make the best choices Miss Indi started to feel hot and bothered and went to sit on a bench outside. Not long after she sat down a dog came and started rummaging through someones bag of food they had left near her. When they returned and pointed to the mess and asked her in Hebrew who was responsible she confidently replied - kelev! Dog.

How cool is that feeling you get when something just clicks. A foreign country, a foreign language, a foreign word starting to make sense tiny bit by tiny bit.


Jarrah - I guess one of the fears of taking three children to a country so different to the one they live in is the food situation - what will they eat? For us, local food is one of the reasons we do love to travel, but it's always a risk with the girls.

Well I'm here to tell you that Miss Jarrah has embraced the Middle Eastern tradition of eating shakshuka for breakfast. She loves it!! After five days away up north, the first thing she wanted to do yesterday on our return was walk down the street to find a cafe serving her fave. To her delight we found a place that served the baked egg dish in a rich, spicy tomato sauce served inside a sliced round challah. You should have seen her happy face.

Shakshuka for breakfast is a very long way away from the porridge and honey that we eat at home each day but something tells me we might have to mix it up a bit when we get home.


Pepper - While we were up north we spent quite a bit of time with a gorgeous family with three girls of their own. The most beautiful thing was to watch our girls playing with theirs without the use of verbal language. To watch our seven year old and theirs pointing and gesturing and laughing. To see how quickly they worked out things they could both do together that didn't need words - things like swimming pool games, loom bands, pretending to be cats and swinging on swings and hammocks.

Mostly they were the quietest that two seven year olds playing together have ever been.

At one stage after leaving them together and coming back a few hours later, we found them all swinging on swings and hammocks with arms draped around each others shoulders giggling like crazy and calling out random words they had exchanged in each others' languages.

Much later that same night, an extremely overtired Miss Pepper leaned over to me and whispered in my ear that she loved me so much more because I speak English and she can understand what I'm saying. It's so amazing watching the big wide world opening up to them.


Along with being in charge of directions and bus timetables and currency conversion and all manner of organisation - One of the highlights of this trip for me has been watching my farmer boy share his story of this country with our girls. Listening to him talking about history in a way that engages and excited the girls is priceless.

One day a few weeks back we were walking to the Tel Aviv museum in the heat of the morning when he pulled us all over into the shade of an ancient olive tree and told us of a time 20 years ago when he was living here. An exciting time when the Prime Minister of Israel was making inroads to peace with the Palestinians only to have it smashed when he was murdered by an Israeli who opposed the trading of land for peace.

Watching our girls' faces as they heard his personal story of life here at that time, listening to their questions as they came to terms with what had happened and then feeling their hunger to see more at the memorial, to stand on the balcony where it all happened and to google it all when we got home made me so proud of our guide and so happy that our girls are experiencing this with us here.


I guess for me, as much as I've loved being here again, as much as the sunshine, the family, the markets, the food, the culture, the friends, the craziness of this country inspires me and excites me - one of the best parts of this trip for me has been that I have started drawing and painting again. I know that it's insane to think that I needed to come across to the other side of the world for that, but I think I did.

Each afternoon we've been coming home from wherever we've spent the morning and we've sat around a kitchen table and made art in our journals. We've tried to capture the flavours and feelings of where we've been and it's been awesome!! Thinking about it gives me the same excited feeling in my tummy that working with wool does. I'm thrilled to have rediscovered this part of myself that has sat unused and unloved for too many years.

As I write this Indi is sitting next to me writing in her journal, the littler two are reading Harry Potter and my farmer boy is trying to find more ways to share our Dharma school crowd funding campaign with the world. It's seven at night back home but here it's midday and time to pack up our books and head out for lunch and some exploring.

Wishing you peace in your lives and in our world.


Love Kate xoxo

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life on the other side of the planet



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Shalom friends!!

How are you? What's going on in your part of the world?

We're still here in Israel. We've moved from the middle to the top and are staying with a vegetarian community. Last time we were in Israel one of my Instagram friend suggested that we come here and visit her family who run the bakery, so we did and we loved it and now we're back.

It's much quieter here than Tel Aviv city where we've just come from and I plan to spend a bit of time catching up my blog. Maybe while the girls are writing their journals this afternoon I'll make a start. I have loads of photos and stories to tell you. Life on the other side of the world has been interesting and exciting and inspiring and terrifying and eye opening.

Oh and life on the other side of the world is HOT!!!!

People here can't believe it when we tell them it's so cold that it's almost snowing at our little farm in Australia.

OK, the girls are desperate to get to the swimming pool. I'll post again soon.

Love Kate


PS I have no idea why my photos are looking a bit fuzzy. I've spent waaaaaay too long this morning trying to work out what's going on. Sorry.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Carmel market





For some people travel is all about the museums and galleries, for others it's about the shopping and for others it's all about the beach or the local gardens. When our family travel, our most favourite thing to do is to explore the local markets. We love craft markets, trash and treasure markets, farmer's markets, vintage antique markets, almost any old market will do.

We google them, we walk as far as we need to to reach them and then we explore them. Up each aisle and down the next, chatting to the locals, learning their stories and tasting/trying their wares, each market we find is another adventure.




On Tuesday, two days after we landed in Israel and twenty times since we'd been asked when we could visit a market, we walked to The Carmel market. We arrived pretty early to avoid being squeezed by the crowds and we explored.



We listened to the stall holders calling their wares, we smelled all the smells - some delicious and some putrid, we saw Druze women baking fresh pita and we delighted in the fact that we are back in summer fruit and vegetable season.

We bought spices and halva, lollies and apricot leather, the girls bought rings and bracelets, and we got tricked into buying way more bread than we ever wanted.

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And we left there with bulging backpacks, full tummies and happy hearts feeling like our adventures have begun.

Big love and happy travels to you my friends.

I hope you're travelling well.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hangin' in Hong Kong

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How are you? What's the weather like over there? Are you having a lovely day today?

We're great. After travelling for what felt like a week, we finally arrived in Israel on Sunday morning and are slowly settling in to life on the other side of the planet.

But before I fill you in on what life's like here, I want to go back to the start.

I'm breaking my no iPhone photos on the blog rule for this post, but it was so humid in Hong Kong while we were there that I was scared to take my real camera out of the room. I killed a camera with humidity once and I really can't afford to do that again. So in order to start this story at the beginning we'll do it in squares. Hopefully they'll all be rectangles from next time on.

So last Thursday afternoon after what felt like weeks and days and hours of packing and planting and cleaning and organising, we left our Daylesford Organics home and headed to the airport.

We weren't actually leaving the country for almost another day but it felt like a calmer, easier and safer departure than one at five on Friday morning, and sleeping at a hotel across the road from the terminal and the airstrip felt like a great start to our adventure to come.


After running around like a crazy lady to get out of the house, when we arrived at the hotel and the hugeness of what we were about to do started to sink in, and I found that I couldn't sit still so I went for a run in the hotel gym.

I took that photo to send to my sister Emily who came to visit us at the hotel and wanted to know where I was, I didn't even stop running to take it. It's hard to slow down when you've been running for so long.


But there's nothing quite like an eight hour flight to make you do just that.

From Melbourne to Hong Kong I watched Still Alice and cried my eyes out, then watched a hundred episodes of the Kardashians to take my mind off Alzheimer's, and I knitted the beginning of a pair of socks.

We spent about 24 hours in Hong Kong and during that time we looked out of our hotel room and saw the buildings in the photo above and felt so very far from Daylesford. We enjoyed listening to our girls practise the Chinese they learn at school,


we bumped into the cutest family taking a selfie in the hotel while waiting for the lift and we joined them, we wore dresses with no leggings for the first time in months,


we bought paper fans, iced coffees, a tiny pack of UNO and a toothbrush for Pepper,


but not pig collagen, horse oil or my little pet wrinkle patches.


We watched Miss Pepper get her photo taken


and saw the cutest ice cream truck.


And then we headed back to the airport for the next leg of our journey.

It feels slightly surreal when something you've been planning for ages finally starts, don't you think? Like one part of you is living it but another hasn't quite caught up.

I hope you're having happy adventures wherever you may be.

Write soon.

Lots of love,

Kate xoxo

Monday, June 22, 2015

darning in the ends



The other day I was standing with a gorgeous friend and my dad when my friend asked me if I was organised. My dad laughed and told her that if she was asking me that then she obviously didn't know me very well.

It's true. He's right - I am disorganised.

And that is particularly difficult right now when we are speeding towards a deadline. Hurtling at it so hard and fast that I can practically see my last few hours and days at home disappearing before my eyes.

We're going away at the end of this week. And while our adventure isn't quite as huge as the one I wrote about a year ago in this post, it feels pretty big just the same.

And with only a couple of days to go until blast off, I'm finding myself wandering around in circles. I'm crossing things off my to-do list NOT because I've done them but because I've run out of time to do them. And I'm thinking less and less about the me that I am now and more about the me that I'll be next time I'm here, and what would make that me the happiest. And of course I'm scrubbing everything in sight, wanting the people moving in here to think I am the greatest house keeper that ever there was. (It does bug me that they get to live in a much sparklier house than we ever do).

So basically this post is about darning in the ends. Tying them up and tucking them neatly under a few other stitches out of sight. I feel like my whole life is a bit like that at the moment actually.


So firstly thank you all so very much for your gorgeous comments about my Amanda cardigan. I have worn her every day of the past two weeks and she is everything I hoped for: snuggly, warm and so very comfy. Although I am super excited to be skipping winter this year, I look forward to wearing Amanda upon our return and for many, many winters into the future.

Mama Shara
Julie Maloney

To the lovely ladies above - please message me your postal addresses and I'll get your squishy TONOFWOOL sample out to you SOON!

The love gloves above I made for someone going through a tough time right now. I love that craft allows me to send love in the mail and hopefully bring a smile to someone's face.


Over the past few months I have received SO MANY messages asking me where we bought farmer Bren's spoon carving knives from. If I haven't gotten back to you or if you were wondering too - please have a look at these links Mora knives and Ben & Lois Orford. We bought the Mora knives for our farmer boy and then he developed his knowledge and love by watching loads of youtube clips and found more knife makers himself. Hope that helps.

In about six weeks we'll be at Spoonfest so expect a big chunk of spoon love then.

And the last thing I want to talk about is this video that our family made. Farmer Bren wrote, filmed and directed it; we wrote and illustrated it and Indi sang it.

Our girls go to the most beautiful little Buddhist school in Daylesford, The Dharma School. It is a school that values kindness and compassion, that looks after and cares about each individual, and a school that, along with the usual academic stuff, teaches our kids how to be great human beings. Honestly, I feel like this school is not only changing our girls' lives but ours too.

The words below are from the fund raising brochure and express the school's philosophy better than I can:

Our children are our future. They are the hope of humanity as the challenges that face us around the world continue to escalate. These challenges call for a new kind of humanity and a new kind of leadership - one that is not based on power and will alone. But a humanity that is guided by the enduring qualities of wisdom and compassion. These are the qualities that lead to right action. One-pointed and altruistic, with the highest good as our goal.
Over time we are seeing a new kind of child emerge at the school. One who adopts an attitude of open-heartedness.
Who chooses to act from a clear sense of what is right.Who is learning to master conflict resolution. Who considers their impact on the world around them. Who is guided to seek the highest good for all.
We believe the world needs more children like this, children who will grow into adults with values and qualities than can make a true difference. Loving parents,compassionate leaders, benevolent business operators, caring workers, wise teachers, truthful politicians, true peace makers.
This is why the Daylesford Dharma School is important.

For the past few years the Dharma School has been renting a couple of rooms at a local tennis club, but now our lease has run out and we need to move. We've found a block of land on the outskirts of town and our friend Mel has drawn up beautiful plans for buildings and gardens but first we need to buy the land.

And this is where you guys come in. We've launched a crowd funding campaign and I'd really love it if you could have a look through it, share it through your social media and if at all possible donate too. We can't do this alone and we'd be so grateful for your help.

Please click this link - Our school needs a new home.

Thank you SO MUCH!!

See you later alligators!!

Big love xoxoxox

(Oh and if you have a book suggestion for me I'd love that too).

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Amanda cardigan



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You guys I knitted a fisherman sweater!!!!

Last New Years Eve I resolved that if I really was going to call myself a knitter then I would have to knit a heavily cabled woman sized jumper before the year was out, and I totally have.

I think the idea originally got planted in my head last year when Karen Templer along with a panel of experts hosted an Amanda cardigan knit-a-long. Over the period of a few months my instagram feed was filled with Amandas in all stages from swatching all the way through to wearing and all hashtagged #fringeandfriendsknitalong.

I totally wanted to join in on the fisherman fun but the timing was wrong for me as I had just discovered socks. So I watched from the sidelines and fell deeper and deeper in love with the pattern as each pic and blog was posted.

Then in March, I decided it was time to make good on my New Years' resolution and when gorgeous  Kylie of TONOFWOOL offered to send me the wool, I knew my Amanda cardigan time had come. So I ordered the book the pattern  came from and once it arrived I wound the wool, set myself a first day of winter deadline and cast on.

And I knitted the back, the two front pieces, the sleeves and then I joined them together and knitted it into a cardigan.

It took a while to get the hang of the cables and I undid it and reknitted it quite a few times but eventually it clicked and then it actually was a really fun knit.

I even reached my June first - first day of winter deadline!

But then I stalled. After all those hours and stitches and cables and buttons I just couldn't bring myself to try it on. What if it didn't fit me? What if it was too tight on the boobs, or too short on my bum or too long in the arms? Eventually, after a few days of watching it out of the corner of my eye sitting all neatly folded up on the kitchen sideboard, I convinced myself that it really didn't matter.

If it was too small then maybe one of the girls could wear it. If it was too big then maybe I could wear it with extra layers underneath. And if it really didn't work for anyone at all - then it would make a very snugly blanket indeed. It was after all a great thing that I'd followed through and knitted it without distraction and I know that I wasn't really very careful with the measuring and swatching in the beginning and couldn't really blame anyone but myself.

But then last Friday night while rushing out for dinner, I grabbed it, chucked it on over the top of the dress I was wearing and it worked!! It fitted well!! It looked great and it is possibly the warmest piece of clothing I have ever owned.

So YAY!!!

You can find all of my Amanda details on Ravelry here.

And in the meantime TONOFWOOL have given me five small 25 gram samples of their incredibly soft and squishy 10ply Cormo for five of you to try out.

If you are interested in having a play with my new favourite wool and you live in Australia, please leave a comment below.

Now that that enormous project is done, I think I'm going to go and cast on something quick and easy.

And then I'm going to get my cardigan off Indi. And hide it.

Big love to you guys, I hope you've got something fun to look forward to.


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