Posted on September 3, 2014
Every now and again I find myself getting a bit stale. Not in an old piece of bread way but in a thinking kind of way. I find I need to step outside my regular routine and inject some inspiration into my thoughts to keep them fresh and fun. I like to think of getting an inspiration injection as “investing in myself”. One of the ways I do this is by attending the Artful Business Conference, and its happening next week! Yay, it’s inspiration time!
The Artful Business Conference (or ABC for short) gives me an inspiration injection in two ways:
- learning new knowledge – hearing successful creative people talk about how and why they do what they do is incredibly motivating.
- building community – being able to connect with other like-minded people makes me go “ahhhh”.
Tell me more . . .
ABC is happening on Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th September 2014 and it is where “creative enthusiasm meets business sense” (to quote from the conference info). The conference is run by Elle from Studio Exsto. Elle is an amazing creative business person who has a wealth of knowledge and good advice, and she’s got the knack of getting together a great line up of interesting speakers.
Who is it for . . .
In my experience ABC is perfect if you’re a blogger, creative business person or if you dream of working for yourself.
How do I get involved?
You can attend the event in Melbourne, go to a satellite event in Canberra or get a virtual pass from anywhere! I love the virtual passes!
A bit more about virtual . . .
The virtual pass is fabulous for rural folks, those that aren’t able to travel or if you have other commitments – it means you don’t have to miss out on an inspiration injection. Provided you’ve got reasonable internet access and a computer, you can watch and interact with the conference and interact with other virtual attendees. I’ll be logging in on my iPad, and I’m planning of using my Apple Tv so that I can see the conference up on my big screen tv (while I crochet of course).
Access to the videos is fabulous . . .
The thing I loved about last year’s ABC was having access to the conference videos after the event so that it doesn’t matter if you miss something (especially if you sleep in).
I’m really looking forward to getting my inspiration injection next week! Tickets are still available and you can purchase them here.
Will you be ABCing? Do you have any questions about my experiences with the Artful Business Conference?
P.S. Like all my blog posts, this is my honest opinion and is written from my heart – I do love the Artful Business Conference and I thought you might be interested in it too. The link to purchase tickets is an affiliate link which means if you use this link to buy a ticket I’ll get a small financial reward.
Posted on August 28, 2014
Here’s a great way to add colour and life to your wardrobe during the warmer months – crochet an Outing Scarf using peach coloured cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills.
This is my second Outing Scarf and it is quickly becoming one of my “stash busting” patterns. Do you have a go-to pattern that you make over and over? Let me know in the comments below so I can check out your favourite patterns.
Posted on August 24, 2014
This week I felt the need to learn how to knit continental style. After 2 years of solid crocheting I followed my intuition, picked up my knitting needles and did a youtube search for continental knitting.
Continental knitting suits me. How I hold the yarn and the smaller, more fluid movements feels right to me in a way that english knitting doesn’t.
My awkward movements are slowly becoming more coordinated. Each night before I go to sleep I knit. As my stitches become more even, the click-clack of the needles soothes my mind and relaxes my body.
Following my intuition was the right thing to do – knitting now feels right and it’s good for me. Crochet will always be my favourite but I’m looking forward to doing some knitting as well.
Are you curious about continental knitting? I used this youtube video to learn (thanks to craftsanity.com for sharing) and this article on the Craftsy blog gives a comparion between the continental and english knitting styles.
Has your intuition ever led you down a path that ended with an interesting discovery? What style of knitting do you use? I’d love to hear about it so please share it in the comments section below.
Posted on August 7, 2014
Pumpkin soup is soul food. As the first spoonful enters my mouth it’s delicious goodness spreads and it fills the cracks inside me with it’s warmth.
Somehow pumpkin soup always makes me feel good on the inside, so I thought that I’d share my soul food recipe with you. This is how I like to have my pumpkin soup – with plenty of garlic, a bit of rosemary and lots of organic goodness. It’s great to have as a light dinner, or for lunch. (If you want to read more on how to eat more wholesome food pop over here).
Wholesome Pumpkin Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 organic brown onion, peeled and diced
- 1/3 cup of organic garlic, peeled and diced
- 750g organic pumpkin, diced
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup organic rosemary
- crusty bread
- Large saucepan and lid
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Stick blender
- Large spoon for stirring
- Ladle for serving
- Bowls for eating
- Cut up the ingredients.
- Place a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add the onion and garlic to the saucepan and cook until the onion becomes transparent.
- Add the pumpkin, water and rosemary to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and bring the soup to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft. Stir occasionally.
- Remove the soup from the heat and puree it using a stick blender until the soup is glossy.
- Pour into bowls and serve with crusty bread.
I’m a big fan of having homemade crusty bread with my pumpkin soup. When I’m almost finished I like to wipe the bread around the outside of the bowl so I get every last bit of goodness. What do you like to eat with your pumpkin soup?
Posted on August 3, 2014
Last week I got knocked down by the flu. It was like I fell into a deep, dark hole where it was difficult to summons the energy to move. While I was at my sickest it felt like I was missing something, but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
As I began to heal and regain my energy I was able to appreciate the little, simple things that I love about living in the country. I listened to the windmill pumping, watched the galahs go about their day and saw the landscape warm up on a cold, frosty morning.
I realised that I was experiencing one of life’s little bumps, one of the lower points in life’s ebb and flow. Just like how the seasons change, “this too shall pass”. I realised that my body needed rest to heal, and with the healing better times would come.
After finding my missing knowledge I’ve rested and taken comfort in knowing that better times are ahead. I’m gradually getting back to normal, and my crochet hook is moving again.
Do you ever need to take comfort in knowing that “this too shall pass”?
Posted on July 13, 2014
Creating brings me joy. It feels good to get hit by a flash of inspiration, and I love getting immersed in the design process of sorting out what materials to use and the intricacies of how to make it.
The beginnings of my crocheted Field of Wild Flowers Rug started with a flash of inspiration. I’d been admiring Linda Permann’s Dots and Poppies Baby Blanket pattern for awhile and I had the intention of making it “one day”. I’d bought Heirloom organic cotton yarn to make a different rug but decided the yarn wasn’t suitable for the pattern. Then one day I decided that the yarn and Dots and Poppies pattern should go together – bingo!
It turned out to be a great flash of inspiration. The different coloured motifs has the beauty of a field of wild flowers and the organic cotton yarn feels soft and oh-so lovely. This is the first time I’d made a “join as you go” rug so I improved my crochet skills my mastering a new technique and learnt how time consuming it is to join over 200 motifs!
The finished size of the knee rug is approximately 1.3m by 1m.
Materials and Tools
- 4.0mm crochet hook (I used an Addi swing hook)
- Heirloom Organically Grown Cotton 8ply (50g balls):
- Pink – 2 balls
- Blue – 2 balls
- Yellow – 3 balls
- Purple – 3 balls
- Green – 3 balls
- Brown – 3 balls
- Cream – 5 balls
- Darning needle
I used a smaller yarn and hook than in the pattern so to make a knee rug I repeated the pattern twice along the long side and twice on the short side (i.e. the pattern is repeated 4 times). To avoid confusing myself I photocopied the layout diagram 4 times and cut and pasted it together.
The colours I used for each yarn symbol in the pattern are:
- A: pink and blue
- B: yellow
- C: cream
- D: purple
- E: green
- F: brown
For the border I did 4 rows of single crochet using the cream yarn. The last 3 rows were worked in the front loop only.
I started making circles when I was sewing in the ends to combat being hit by tediousness. It makes the back of the rug look interesting.
I got a bit confused trying to work out what order to join the motifs in. I started on the bottom row and once it was finished I did the row above it. I repeated this until I had finished the last row. For each row I worked from the left to the right.
I learnt to check that the first motif of the row positioned correctly relative to the other motifs. I had to pull out my work a couple of times because the first motif of the row was positioned incorrectly.
Do you love getting flashes of creative inspiration? What flashes of inspiration have you had recently?
P.S. You can find my project on Ravelry here.
Posted on June 28, 2014
I love entering my crochet into country shows and I get a bit excited when I get the competition schedule of my local show. Little did I know when I received this year’s Chinchilla Show schedule that I would end up improving my crochet skills. I’d love to share with you how it happened so you can improve your crochet skills too.
One lazy, Sunday afternoon at Homelea I was perusing the Chinchilla Show schedule with the intent of deciding what to enter. After some serious reading I was hit with a flash of inspiration “I will enter every category of the crochet wool section”. I had every category covered except for a 3 piece baby set. “How hard can it be” I thought, “baby clothes are small, it won’t take long”.
A quick peruse of Ravelry and a consultation with my yarn stash and I chose to make the “Crocheted Sacque, Cap and Bootees Set #-636″ pattern (it’s a vintage pattern) using Knitsch Merino Sock yarn in the Nautilus colourway.
Little did I know what I was in for. It turns out making baby garments is fiddly and time consuming, not at all like making rugs with their big, long rows of the same stitch repeated over and over again. Even though that 3 piece baby set tested my resolve, I pushed to the end and found that the intricacies of baby clothes required me to use different crochet techniques to what I would normally use.
This is what I learnt:
– you can improve your crochet skills by making something completely different to what you would normal make.
– by pushing myself out of my comfort zone I’ve expanded my knowledge and improved my skills.
– the experience of doing something different is one of life’s simple joys.
– it helps to have a deadline and a goal, without them I may have given up before finishing.
– baby clothes are so cute!
When you think about it, this is fantastic advice for life in general.
If you want to improve your crochet skills, why not pick a tricky scarf and make it for Scarf It Forward? You’ll improve your skills and help a struggling parent at the same time.
I now feel the need to learn how to knit socks, this may be a big goal because my knitting skills are very basic!
Have you ever done anything crazy like make something you’ve never made before? Do you have any sock knitting advice for a beginner?
P.S. You can find my project on Ravelry here.
P.S.S. You can still complete the Homelea Lass Reader Survey here.
Posted on June 25, 2014
Would you do me a favour? I’d love for you to fill out the first Homelea Lass Reader Survey. It’s the very first one!
The survey is done via Survey Monkey so your comments are anonymous and you only need to answer the questions you want to answer. It won’t take long, there are only 10 questions over 3 pages.
I will be eternally grateful to you for sharing a little bit about yourself, and it will help me to tailor what kind of content you see in my corner of the interwebs.
Click here to be involved in the very first Homelea Lass reader survey.
Posted on June 21, 2014
Blog awards are a fantastic way to recognise and share great blogs. I must admit when I received my first couple of blog awards I was a bit hesitant – I felt a little bit embarrassed and a tad uncomfortable. I’ve come to realise that blog awards are a great form of feedback. It’s a virtual pat on the back and it’s a great way to give a couple of pats on the back as well.
Two lovely ladies, Kylie from Indigo and Quince and Lisa from Button Brain, have given me Liebster Awards and I feel honoured! The Liebster Award is a great way of recognising bloggers with a growing audience and this is what it requires me to do:
- Link back and recognize the blogger who nominated them
- Answer ten questions given to me by the nominator
- Nominate ten other bloggers for the award
- Create ten questions for nominees to answer
- Notify my nominees
- Get an award button and display it proudly
A little bit more about me
In the interests of briefness I’m going to combine the two lots of questions I need to answer. So here we go!
- Who are the three people you would most like to be stuck in a lift with? If you could spend a day with any person on the planet who would it be with and why? I’d like to spend some time with three lovely ladies I’ve met on the interwebs but never in real life – CJ from 30 Days of Smiles, Kim from Feather and Nest and Kylie from Indigo and Quince.
- What’s the most unusual sandwich you’ve had? Cheese and beetroot. It’s good too!
- If you could learn a new skill tomorrow, what would it be? What is one thing you would love to learn how to do? How to use Photoshop.
- How often do you buy new music? Very infrequently at present, although I do buy new yarn regularly!
- What’s your favourite childhood treat that you’d love to have right now? Strawberry jam and cream sandwiches on fresh white bread. Mmmm yum!
- Christmas pudding – cream, brandy butter, custard, ice cream or YUK, pass the pavlova? I’ll have Christmas pudding with cream and custard, followed by pavlova please. ;)
- What’s a small, seemingly insignificant item that you treasure? My signet ring that was given to me for one of my teen birthdays. I still wear it.
- Shower or bath? Shower please. When we renovate our bathroom there will be a fantastic free standing bath so then I’ll change to bath. I’ve got my fingers crossed we won’t get 10 years of drought after the reno so I can make the most of it.
- What’s the next thing you plan on buying? A fabulously worn timber chair to stack my finished rugs on. Now I just need to find it.
- The best time of the day is… after breakfast in the morning. The day has so many possibilities at that stage.
- Pink Or Red? Generally red, but sometimes I prefer bright pink.
- What is the last thing you do before you go to bed? I’ve recently started meditating before going to sleep. It’s a great way to end the day.
- When do you do your best work? When I’m happy, rested and content.
- What would you ask for as your last meal? Fresh seafood.
- What food do you hate? Liver – yik.
- What was your favourite childhood toy? My cabbage patch doll, she hangs out in my studio these days.
- Your favourite high school memory is… good times spent with good people.
- What superpower do you wish you could have? An endless supply of energy.
- You have to leave your house in five minutes, and never come back. Your kids and pets are safe. What 5 material possessions are you going to grab? My iPad, my crochet hooks, my favourite throw rug, car keys and some yarn.
These are the ten fabulous bloggers I’m nominating for a Liebster Award:
- CJ from 30 Days of Smiles
- Kim from Feather and Nest
- Louise from Click Love Grow
- LucyAnn from LucyAnn and Luna Craft
- Christina from Christina Lowry
- Kiwiyarns Knits
- Mel from The Adventures of Miss Piggy
- Christie from Fig and Cherry
- Kylie from Paravent
- Elle from Seeking More Staying Grateful (and Studio Exsto)
And here are ten questions for these awesome bloggers to answer (if they want to play along):
- What’s your favourite creative activity?
- If you could have anything for your next meal, what would it be?
- What’s your favourite colour?
- What inspires you?
- Do you prefer cold or warm weather?
- What is your ideal birthday gift?
- What’s your favourite season?
- Circles or squares?
- Do you love going to markets?
- How do you like to start your day?
Posted on June 15, 2014
Isn’t it lovely to wrap a warm, soft and snuggly scarf around your neck before you step outside on a cold winter’s morning? Now imagine you’ve just stepped outside but you don’t have that warm scarf around your neck because you’re a mum with a couple of children and times are tough. Every last cent you have has gone into feeding and housing the kids. Keeping yourself warm isn’t important when there are hungry bellies, but life would be a little bit brighter and warmer if you had that scarf.
Helping Hands Outreach Project for Dalby Parents
In Dalby, a regional town in Southern Queensland (that’s not far from Homelea), a group of local mums run Helping Hands Outreach Project to help parents that are struggling within Dalby and nearby smaller towns. They give hope by distributing food, clothing, toys and other items that are donated by the community. If you want to know more about Helping Hands Outreach Project you can find the facebook group here.
what Scarf it Forward is about
Scarf it Forward aims to put a warm scarf around the neck of a parent that is struggling to make ends meet. To do this we will make at least 30 scarfs for Helping Hands Outreach Project. The scarves that are made will go to the parents that Helping Hands are currently assisting and into the emergency food boxes over winter.
Scarf it Forward is about giving some love and joy without getting anything in return, except for knowing that you’ve made someone’s day a little bit brighter.
how you can help
I’d love for you to be involved! I need people to make scarves, materials to make them with and postage to send the scarves to Dalby. The scarves can be made using crochet, knitting, sewing, weaving, felting or any other craft.
You can also help by telling your friends, sharing this blog post on social media (there is sharing button below to make this easy) or even blogging about Helping Hands and Scarf it Forward.
what to do
If you’re keen to be involved with Scarf it Forward then fill out the contact form below and let me know how you’d like to help (making, supplying materials and/or postage).
I’ll then be in contact with how to join the facebook group – this is how we’ll keep in contact while the scarves are being made. If you can partially help with materials/making/posting I’ll match you up with a scarfy helper.
Let’s start making scarves!