The most amazing week

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Last week I had the most amazing, and busy, week. It was full of Christmas parties and get togethers and two of the most amazing concerts I have ever seen.

First we had the Field Family Annual Concert (yep, that's totally a thing now, last year it was Coldplay) and we saw the legendary Paul McCartney. A real life Beatle. I don't know anyone who doesn't love The Beatles so to be able to see one live was an experience I will never forget. I don't think the girls really appreciated it, frankly one of them was bored, but hopefully they will as time goes by. He played for an incredible 3 hours with only a couple of minutes off stage before the encore and told stories and anecdotes between each song. Some were about the songs, some about fellow Beatles and some about other musicians (Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, the list went on).

We had total nosebleed seats (or ear bleed in my case) but the arena is only small so you have a pretty good view no matter where you sit. It was a sold out show and worth every cent, and there were a few of them required for the four of us to attend. But totally worth it.

Five days later three of us made the hike back down the motorway to see my favourite band, Muse.

If you aren't familiar with them, check out this quick video to get an idea of how freaking awesome they are.

Our eldest opted out of this one as she'd already seen them twice before. Mr Homespun missed them the last time they toured due to work commitments and tried to get out of it this year as his work Christmas golf day was on the same day but we waited until he got home before heading to Sydney.  And he certainly wasn't sorry we did so. They put on an amazing show, as they always do, and we all had a fantastic night. We had incredible seats as you can tell from these photos.

Now I'm dealing with a serious case of post-concert melancholia (also totally a thing) as I get my head around possible never seeing one artist ever again and the others for another few years. Total mood killer.

Have you seen any incredible never-to-be-forgotten concerts? I'd love to hear who they were.


What being deaf sounds like

Sunday, 24 September 2017

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you'll have read that my hearing aid recently broke and is currently being repaired. Unfortunately a spare $5000 hearing aid doesn't sit in a drawer somewhere so I am without my other 'ear' for a week. This has caused me to spend a little time thinking about what it sounds like to be deaf, a strange concept to most I'm sure. I expect everyone's experience with hearing loss is different and I realise that there are many people out there doing it much tougher than I am, but if you are interested in what my world sounds like, please read on.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of my hearing loss is that it is only one ear. So I should just be able to hear with the other ear and move on, right? But as with most things in life, that is rarely the full story. So I've narrowed how it feels to be 'my' deaf to two descriptions, one literal and one figurative.

First, the literal description.

I'm unable to hear most sounds less than 100-110 decibels in one ear. That's about the same volume as a rock concert, so not much is getting through to my brain (take that either way, lol).

Now that may be difficult to imagine, but that is only what is going on in my middle ear. It's when we get to the inner ear that things get interesting.

Grab someone who's close by and get them to stand with their mouth about 2 inches away from your ear. Now get them to make a 'shhhhh' noise at a firm level into your ear.

And never stop.

Occasionally they can get really loud for an hour/day/week at a time but rarely quieter than that original level. And imagine that is almost the only sound getting through on that side.

Now your brain is trying to interpret all the other sounds going on around you from just one ear. That's a whole lot of sounds to sort through.  Driving you crazy yet? That's the best description I can give on my current level of hearing loss.

And figuratively?

Imagine you are wearing a big set of headphones.

And music is playing through them, but it's different music in each ear. One is a crazy busy piece of classical music; beautiful, but bloody complicated with lots of stuff going on.

And in the other ear? Norwegian death metal.

And you don't speak Norwegian.

And aren't really much on death metal either.

That pretty much sums it up, so next time you run into me and I insist on standing to the left of you or I just smile and nod at everything you say, you'll know why.


Tokerau Shawl

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

I recently finished another knitty project, my Tokerau Shawl.

This was my first project using an indie dyed yarn and it is divine! The colours are amazing and it was a great fit for this project as it shows off the gorgeous speckles just perfectly.

I've also purchased some more yummy yarn from the same dyer so I'm now working out what to make with it but I have a few other things on the go that need to be finished first. The dyer has only been selling her yarn for a short period and she's Australian so it was also lovely to be able to support another small business owner. If you want to see more of her gorgeous hand dyed yarns she has an Etsy store found here.

Details Ravelled here.


Sock Knittng

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

If you spend any time looking at the current knitting scene around the world you will no doubt know that knitting socks is all the rage. I bought my first sock yarn about two hundred years ago (okay, so you all know how I'm prone to a bit of exaggeration so that really means about 10 years) but found it to be not worth the effort. I knit too slowly, the yarn, needles and therefore stitches were way too small and it all just took too long, dammit!


I recently tried again and am finding it altogether wonderful! I have taught myself continental knitting so I am so much faster than I used to be and the choice of yarns now available for socks is just staggering. I have even started venturing into dyeing my own sock yarn but that's a post for another day.

One knitter/indie dyeing podcaster started a KAL (knit-along) where participants knit 12 pairs of socks throughout the year and if you google images for 'boxosoxkal' you can get a peek at the deliciousness that is sock knitting. How could any knitter resist?

Not me.

I found out about the KAL too late in the year to finish 12 pairs but I did end up knitting three pairs in 2016, which I was seriously chuffed about. I've now finished another 5 pairs this year and have 2 more pairs in the works. Because why have just one pair on the needles, right?


Bluesand Cardigan

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Earlier in the year I received my first knitting commission (squeeee!) and it was for a long cardigan. After much consultation with the client (how posh does that sound? Makes it sound like I actually knew what I was doing!) we eventually decided on the Bluesand Cardigan by La Maison Rililie. I don't have any good photos of it as I was so excited to give it to her the second it was finished! But here is the crappy photo anyway:

I definitely want to make another one of these, this time for myself, but that's a project for another day.

Details ravelled here.


My first market stall

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Good grief, where has the year gone?

After a great start I quickly reverted to my usual slack bloggy self but can you believe it's been nearly six months since I last posted????!!!!

Not much has happened since February though, but I did have my first market stall which was pretty exciting. And as it turned out, pretty disappointing.

The market I chose was specifically for kids and babies so I thought it would be a great spot to dip my toes in. After paying a premium price to have a stall the number of people attending the market was extremely disappointing. Still I managed to make a small profit (that we blew on lunch on the way home, that's how small it was) which was more than some of the stall holders made. The stall across from me had some lovely handmade items and only sold a couple of hair ties for about $2. Poor bugger!

Needless to say I didn't attend the next market a couple of weeks ago, I need to find a better fit if I ever decide to have a stall again. But I did get some good feedback and some ideas of where to extend my product lines so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

But it was close.


Backyard bees, raiding the hives.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

I helped raid the hives! Well, to be honest I did little more than take photos, move stuff around and generally just observe how it's done, but I was all suited up and looking the part so I'm counting it.

Any apiarist out there may find this completely boring, but for all you non-beekeeping folks - read on!

The smell of the honey and the beeswax was incredibly strong from several metres away, even before we disturbed the hives.

With all those busy little bodies in the hive it can get quite warm in there so on warm days like this day you will usually find a large number of them hanging around outside.

It's a fast job, you need to be in and out as quickly as possible so as to not disturb the bees as much as it's possible when you are taking a large part of their home away.

Some of the hives were overflowing, definitely due for a raid. The little black comb like thing in the top is used to get rid of the beetles (mites? they look too big to call mites) that like to make their homes in the hives and contains lime.

This is our hive, there didn't seem to be as many bees in it so possibly some of them swarmed and left to find a new home.

The frames from these boxes will have the honey extracted from them and then they will be returned to the hives, ready to be filled up again. Raiding will slow down soon, leaving the bees plenty of honey to get them through winter.

That's one thing crossed off the list of things I wanted to do in 2017.

And for a bit of a laugh, this is what hearing a bee through a hearing aid looks like:


The boy sweater

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

I've been desperate to share this for several weeks but couldn't as it was a gift. The recipient now has it so I can show you!

This was a gift for my great nephew who recently celebrated his first birthday. Obviously he doesn't read this blog and I don't think his mumma does either but you can't be too careful. There were no surprises from us as far as the gifts went, we gave him a book and some handmade goodies, I'm so predictable!

There was enough yarn left to make a little matching beanie. I used the mock cable pattern from the jumper on the otherwise simple beanie. It looks a little scrunched up in the photo as I don't block my knitted hats, (tried it once and it was difficult and didn't really do anything for it so if you have any tips on blocking knitted hats I'd love to hear them).

The pattern for the jumper was designed by Lisa Chemery and it is definitely one I will use again. It was quick and relatively easy, although I'm still not very good with short rows. The yarn by Bendigo Woollen Mills.

Details Ravelled here.


Bullet journalling

Monday, 13 February 2017

My March cover page, shamelessly copied from this much better version

Or perhaps that should read Trying to let go of perfectionism.

I've never really considered myself a perfectionist but I'm starting to think that I am. I've always though I was satisfied with okay, (especially with the housework) or at least done, but I've started a Bullet Journal this year and it's becoming apparent that I do have at least some perfectionist tendencies.

I've always had a thing for stationary, especially diaries. Every year I try a new one and it usually only lasts for a few weeks. They were always missing something, I want to keep track of something, or put something else in it but there's no room so when I stumbled across Bullet Journalling I was so excited. The idea of making your own diary, containing everything you need and nothing you don't was exhilarating!

Finding the right journal without spending a fortune looked difficult for a while. What's the point of forking out a heap of money on something I was only going to use for a couple of weeks? I finally found one, in a big box office supplies shop (you know the one I mean) after searching it several times. I kept looking in the notebook and journal/diary aisles, but eventually found it when I went for a wander in the other aisles. And it was less than $5! Bargain!

So I started setting it up and stopped again after a couple of weeks. Why? Firstly, developing a new habit is sometimes hard, right? Secondly, it wasn't pretty enough. That's right, it didn't look anything like all the pretty ones all over Pinterest.


So, overcoming my butthead tendencies is something I'm working on. I'm still trawling through Pinterest but this time it's to teach myself to do some of those pretties for my own bujo. And whilst they still aren't nearly as lovely, and if I'm honest never will be - I'm not an artist, they are getting better.

In the meantime, my bujo is helping me stay on top of things, to be more organised (goodness knows I need all the help I can get there) and hopefully it will one day soon give me time to started wading through the enormous list in my head of things I want to get around to eventually (hey, that might be a new page idea!).

Do you have a Bullet Journal? Care to share your pretty pages?


Tomato & Chilli Relish

Saturday, 11 February 2017

We are starting to get into tomato glut season so here's a delicious recipe to use up some of your extras. I found this recipe ages ago but now have no idea where it came from.

1.8 kg ripe tomatoes, blanched in boiling water and peeled
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 mild red chilies, deseeded and chopped (more if you like it hot!)
450g caster sugar
1 tbsp salt
300ml malt vinegar

Halve and chop the tomatoes, place in large pan with all the juices, and all other ingredients except vinegar. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 90 minutes, add vinegar and bring back to the boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until the mix is thick enough that you can see the base of the saucepan when you draw a spoon through it.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal.

If you can resist the lure of the relish, leave for 1 month before consuming.

Enjoy with a  sharp crumbly cheese.



Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Another bit of yarny goodness I knitted up last year (I'm a bit late blogging about it though!).

The pattern is a popular one by Melanie Berg and is easy enough but by the time you get towards the end each row takes forever. Worth every second though, look how lovely it is.

The yarn I used was cotton, something light enough to wear on cooler summer days and nights. The best part about this shawl (scarf?) was that it only cost me $10 and a handful of change. Sure, a month of my life, but only $10! The biggest knitting bargain I've come up with so far.

Details ravelled here.


Copenhagen Calling

Sunday, 29 January 2017

That's the name of this beautiful cowl I knitted late last year. Obviously it's too hot to wear it at the moment so I don't have any photos of it on me.

The pattern is by Isabell Kraemer (the same designer of my toe sweater) and is just lovely, not difficult but enough to keep most knitters interested with the sections being just long enough before changing. I'm trying to learn new skills when it comes to my knitting so this was the first step towards colour work and I can't wait to try something a little more difficult soon.

The yarn however was a bit hit and miss. I bought the teal yarn along with cream, it's a merino yarn and is so lovely and squishy so I was looking forward to wearing it when the weather cools down. As I was knitting it up however, the teal was staining my hands pretty horribly and although I can live with that I was scared of what it might do to the cream yarn once it was washed. Unfortunately there is no grey in the same yarn range so I had to settle on another yarn and although it looks great it is quite scratchy so I'm not sure how it will feel once it's wrapped around my neck.

Details ravelled here.


Farm Auction

Thursday, 26 January 2017

I went to my first farm auction last weekend, Mr H has been to a few in the past and nabbed some bargains, but this was the first I had attended. I picked up some lovely old galvanised tubs and buckets with the intention of turning them into pots like these.

But we paid a premium price for them so now I'm not sure if I want to drill holes into the bottom of them. The largest tub may already be a little leaky so if it is I will happily take to it with the drill but the others I'm not sure of. Next time I may just consider buying new ones and finding a way to age them.

Have you been to a farm auction? Nabbed any bargains or not so bargain goods?


Welcome 2017

Friday, 13 January 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are enjoying the fresh start of the new year. I'm not one for resolutions but I do like to take stock of how I'm travelling along and this year is no different. I have been battling with some fairly major anxiety issues for a couple of years so I've recently started seeing a psychologist to help deal with it. I have turned into a bit of a hermit, rarely venturing anywhere other than work and when I do go somewhere other than my 'normal' places it makes me extremely nervous. The ENT, neurologist and the psychologist have all assured me this is fairly normal when dealing with Meniere's Disease but I am hopeful that over the next few months I will start seeing a difference in how I cope with it.

I have set myself some other goals, just some things I'd like to do or learn in 2017 including:

Making cheese - I received a cheese making kit for Christmas 3 years ago (obviously you can't rush these things) and I really want to finally put it to use.

Making soap - I'll admit the whole process, and dealing with lye, makes me more than a little nervous.

Inspecting and raiding our bee hives - yes, we have our own hives now as well as the others here.

Get around to putting my own stamp on this place. It's now been 3 years since we moved here (yikes!!!)  and although we have done the front boundary fence, the place hasn't changed that much.  So I have a few plans to change that.

Have you made any resolutions for 2017?