Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Making apple cider

A few nights ago, we were lying in bed when my farmer boy asked me how I am managing to keep my feet on the ground with all the book buzz going on around me. It was an interesting question and I had to think about it for a bit before answering.

In the end I realised that the answer is simple. There is so much gritty, real life stuff going on here all the time that I have no choice. None at all.

In amongst the interviews and the photo shoots and the articles and the blog posts and the small film and the gorgeous comments from you guys, is my real life and it is unstyled and not a bit glamorous.

There are the girls and Bren and their adventures and issues, the ever changing farm stuff, the house work, the bills, the crazy bunnies, the mud, the desperate list of garden chores, the running low on toilet paper, the hungry fires, the stinky fridge, the breakfasts, lunches and dinners...the list is endless and urgent and ignorant of any book I may have written.

Having said all that, last night after seeing my book in the windows of two book-shops in Melbourne, it did take me longer than usual to calm down and get to sleep. What a crazy ride. What an incredible adventure. I am grateful for this experience beyond measure.

But I'd best be off now and clean up the crazy sawdust mess the bunnies have just made and do last night's dinner dishes...blah!

Lots of love to you guys and thank you, over and over....x

Sunday, July 28, 2013

an invitation, a broken blog and a great big fat thank you...x

An invitation - please see above and please come.

An opportunity to win a copy of my book - please see my last post.

A broken blog - for some unknown reason, the last 158 comments on my last blog post didn't show up on the blog. I have no idea why. I have written to blogger and await their reply. I feel a bit sick.

In the meantime, please write your giveaway entries on this post here.

But not all is lost, I have all the emails that go with your missing entries secured safely in my inbox.

We'll draw the two winners from ALL the entries, on the blog and in my inbox, next Thursday 1st August.

And finally, thank you, thank you, thank you all for the kindest, most heart warming and generous comments on the giveaway post. You have made me laugh (farmer Bren centre-fold), you have made me cry (I'm seriously such a sook lately) and you have completely blown me away. I feel super lucky and thrilled to have you all in my life.

Love Kate xx

Friday, July 26, 2013

WIN a copy of my book #VANTASTIC

The count down has begun. My book will be in shops and available to buy from next Thursday. That's six days from now!!

I really can't believe it. I cannot imagine what it'll be like to walk into a bookshop and see it there on the shelf. I can't believe that after all this time, after the phone calls and contracts, after all the writing and photographing, after the dead lines and edits and word counts, that the time is almost here. Wow!

So I thought just as a sneak peek we could take you through some of our fave pages and then give you a chance to win a copy for yourself.

Here goes;

My book, Vantastic, is all about caravans and road trips. It is for dreamers and adventurers. It is filled with tips and hints and stories. It has recipes and craft projects and other how to's. It shares bits of my family's road trip story. And it is so much more.

I am super excited to watch it go out into the big wide world.

And I am crazy, super excited for you guys to hold it in your hands and read its pages too. I really, really hope you like it. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!

So would you like to win a copy?

Just leave a message on this post and we'll draw TWO winners next Thursday the first of August. The very same day it goes into shops.

We're happy to post anywhere in the world AND we're all more than happy to all sign the winning copies. Some of us may have even been practicing our signatures.

OK, comment away, you've got to be in it to win it.


Please note; the comments are no longer showing up on this post. Please leave your giveaway comments on the post above. Thanks heaps. x

Monday, July 22, 2013

all kinds of woolly wonderful...

On Sunday, which felt like it might have been the coldest day in my living memory, I darned in the ends of Miss Pepper's hottie cover.

Yesterday the high and the low in temperature were just one and a half degrees apart and the high lasted less than an hour before it began dropping from 3 back down to one and a half again. Yesterday we ventured outside to gather and feed for less than an hour and my fingers ached with cold so badly I feared I'd done permanent damage.

This morning Miss Pepper is home with a tummy ache snuggled up with her granny hottie on the couch and I am feeling like it was finished just in time. She says it's helping too.

At the Sheep and Wool Show I bought these three hanks of wool. 280 grams a piece.

The darkest one on the right was hand dyed with indigo and alkamet eco dyes. The one in the middle was hand dyed with indigo and tumeric eco dyes. And I might just dye the natural one myself with something from around here, beetroot or eucalyptus leaves I think.

I bought these buttons. I always buy wooden buttons when I see them.

I bought almost a kilo of this divine black sheep wool off farmer Sue French whose sheep grew it.

We chatted to Sue for ages about black sheep, about the fact that her wool is processed in Australia from start to finish and about shearers and wool co-ops.

I bought a kilo thinking I would finally knit my farmer boy that jumper he's been asking me for.

But then we found a lady selling old Tractor Jumpers made in Australia from Australian sheep's wool, so we bought two of them instead.

We were both quite excited by these two purchases, I don't know if there is even such a thing any more as Australian made knitwear made from Australian sheep. We felt like we'd discovered a real treasure. They look so great on my boy too, but that's beside the point.

I've been wanting to try an ergonomic crochet hook for ages now, so I bought the Clover one. But honestly, I'm not sure it feels any better in my hand than my good old metal one.

And I bought a bag of 50 eco-dyed, pre-knitted squares for $15. The stall holder lady was selling them off cheap because her business had changed direction. I have no idea why I bought them off her. Maybe because they were so crazy cheap, maybe because I love the thought of a blanket in those colours, or maybe because I still owe Miss Indi a blanket for her bed and this seems like a doable before the end of this winter plan. I know it's kinda cheating, but crocheting them together and then around them is still crafting...

And lastly, I bought a bag of these. For playing with and laying out and designing and admiring. And when we're finished, I think I'll string them into a garland. Love a bit of felt ball action.

So there you have it, that's me woolly sorted for a while. Or until I dream up a project in neon...

So what are you making, baking, growing, or writing?
I bet it's wonderful.

Bye for now


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Australian Sheep and Wool Show 2013

Oh my goodness, I LOVE WOOL!!!!!

And I love the Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo. Love it!

Last Friday was my third visit to the show and each time I think I love it more. I think I understand it more and I think I am less overwhelmed and inspired by it more.

I love it all the way from the sheep, to the fleece, to the sheep and wool peeps. I love watching them judging, handling, admiring, wearing, spectating and socialising.

I love watching the spinners and weavers and felters and dyers and knitters and crocheters too. I love the passion they have for their craft. I love watching their fingers move, the smiles on their faces and the excited way they describe what they do. I feel like I'm one of them. It makes me happy.

I love watching the way the stalls are set up. Trestles and baskets and bowls and hooks and shelves of glorious woolly delightfulness.

And I love how the shoppers shop. According to their craft, their colour pallet, their yarn weight, their yarn type, their budget.

I love the weaving.

I love the felting.

I love the yarn bombing.

I love the buttons.

I love all the different types of needles and hooks.

And most of all, I adore the wool.

On my first trip to the show, four years ago, I was so new to the wool crafts and so overwhelmed that I went home empty handed. Not so much this time. Now I know that I love organic, Australian made, naturally dyed, and 8ply or chunkier.

I had such a great time. I Love that my farmer boy did too. Taking a day off farm-work to walk from stall to stall, to chit chat with the stall holders and to carry my bags.

I'm hoping that by next year's show we might have a few woolly friends of our own living here. I'm hoping that I'll be a spinner by then too.

Oh what fun!

I'll have to show and tell my purchases another day, I've run out of room.

Did you go to the show?
Did you have a great weekend?

Happy new week you guys.


Saturday, July 20, 2013


Last Thursday I overheard a bunch of old timers in the main street of Daylesford predicting snow for this Saturday. It was dark and it was mild, even a little bit warm at the time and they said that was a sign of snowy things to come. 

Apparently the old timers are always right!

This morning we woke and looked out the windows into the forest as the steady rain became sleet, and then the sleet became fluttery snow. Slow, quiet, snowflakes fell from the sky. We lay in bed and watched them make their journey from way up high, and then down, down, down to the ground.

It was beautiful.




And then the girls ran in giggling with delight.

Its snowing! It's snowing!

And then the girls ran outside and jumped on the trampoline, and collected cup fulls, and caught snowflakes on their tongues and on their eyelashes and in their hair.

Of course we had to join them too.

We've lived here for 12 years and although we've had snow before, we've never seen anything like this. This was real, crunchy, heavy stuff. Thick enough to pull Pepper down the hill on a tarp-sled, plentiful enough for snow ball fights, cold enough to almost freeze my toes off.

We visited all the animals, we walked through the forest, we covered vegie beds and compost heaps and we smiled the whole way through. There's something so fresh and pure and wonderful about a snow covered farm.

By early evening the snow had melted into mushy, slushy puddles. The creek flowing through the bottom of our place was rushing with extra speed. And all our clothes were soggy right through. Even Miss Pepper's pockets full of white stuff had been mixed with juice and drunk.

It might snow again tomorrow. It might not.

I like that Mother Nature keeps her little secrets to surprise us.

I hope you are having a wonderful, magical weekend too.

Lotsa love


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