lifestyle, making, Uncategorized

February Reflections & the End of Summer

Hello there! Hope you are all well. Today is the first day of Autumn, although it is still a rather warm sunny summery day. I don’t know about anyone else & I’m certainly no meteorological expert, but I really do think our Summer here doesn’t end until at least April. I feel like over the last few years the seasons have been slowly shifting & Summer gets longer while Autumn & Winter get shorter. I used to always be a summer girl & the heat never really bothered me. Boy has that changed! This year I have found the heat utterly exhausting & I can’t wait for the cooler weather of Autumn & Winter, to get rugged up & wear my boots again! I’m definitely starting to prefer Autumn & Spring now. The weather is so much milder & there are more opportunities to get in to the garden & get some landscaping done.

As one month ends & another begins I thought I’d write a bit about my reflections on the past month & what I have or have not achieved in my aim of developing a more mindful & balanced life.

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I started a bullet journal which is something I have not tried before. I’m not really following any kind of specific formula, or template, just creating pages for things that I would like to keep track of & explore over the year. So far I have really enjoyed it & I try to create a new page every couple of days. I think it will be a really nice way to see what I’ve achieved & remember all the things that we did as a family at the end of the year. So far I have pages for Books I’ve read, Makes for Me, Makes for Tilly, Makes for Gifts & Makes for the home. I’ve also drawn up a Walking & Hiking Tracker to count how many kilometres I do on my morning walks or hikes I go on. I also have a sewing time & crochet time tracker to see how many hours over the course of a year these two activities take up. I have listed my two Make Nines as well as a page for this year’s word, Discovery, & my Mindful Living goals. I have pages for Adventures, Holidays, Garden Tasks & Home Renovations completed. A page to list the things I’m grateful for, New Crafts I’ve Tried & Tilly’s milestones.

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As well as my bullet journal I’ve been working in my List Journal which was put out by the magazine Breathe. Some of the questions or lists have been really easy to fill out, but others are much harder & it’s really forced me to sit down & think about my thoughts & answers.

I have started going on a morning walk on Friday’s. I don’t work on this day, so I get up early & go for a walk before Tilly gets up & before my husband leaves for work. As I really want to get in to bushwalking or hiking, I thought this would be a good way to build my fitness levels back up. It’s also a nice way to clear my mind a bit after a week of being in the office & prepare myself for what the weekend will bring.

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Native Gum Blossom found on my morning walk.

It’s been really hot here this past month so I haven’t really gotten out in to the garden to do much. We have a lot of hard landscaping & clearing that needs to be done & that’s a bit hard to do in 35-40 degree heat! I did get a bit done last week before the rain deluge, & Tim & I cut some trees down & took two loads of waste to the tip. I’d really like to plant some spring bulbs this year, so I need to get the front garden beds weeded & mulched soon so I can do that.

I’ve really enjoyed my making time this month. It’s been nice having the pressure to make items for my shop or markets taken off my shoulders. I’ve enjoyed working on things that I want to work on. I’ve nearly finished my Hexagon Flower Mini Quilt. I have loved working on this & it feels good to have nearly finished something I started ages ago.

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I pulled out another project I started years ago in the past week to get done, a 1” hexagon quilt pattern that I drafted up around 6 years ago. It’s called the Flowers Floor Mat & I’m hoping to get it finished for Tilly for Christmas.

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I’ve been crocheting a couple of things for my best friend who is having her first baby. She is due in April. I’ve been crocheting a ripple pram blanket & I’ve also made a bunny buddy for her. I have plans to make a fruit rattle as well. I also dyed up some yarn which my mum has then crocheted into a gorgeous cardigan. This past week I’ve also been making decorations for her baby shower which is this Sunday.

I have been reading much more, although I still do find that the only thing I really want to do in my downtime is sew. I find it hard to stop when I’m engrossed in a project. This month I finished A Garden in the Hills by Christine McCabe. To be honest I actually started this book last year but put it aside as I got really busy with my shop & markets. I didn’t have much to go so I thought I’d get it done so I could start something new. The book follows a year in the life of a Garden in the Adelaide Hills. I really enjoyed it & it was quite motivating. The only thing I found mildly disappointing is that even though it’s a novel, there were no photos of the garden that the book was about. And while the author painted a really good picture, it would have been nice to see some actual photos.

We went on a couple of outings in February. There was the daytrip I took with Tilly & my parents last weekend, which I wrote about in my previous post to Mittagong & Bowral. Tim, Tilly & I also went on a drive up the mountains to Blackheath to Evans Lookout & also up Blackheath Mountain. Every time we go exploring in our ‘backyard’ & I stand on the rocky outcrops looking over the vast valleys I feel such a sense of awe & littleness. It always leaves me feeling rejuvenated & with a great sense of hope & optimism for our future. It’s so nice getting back to nature. Even though the bush is so vast somehow it also feels so comforting. We’re going camping at Easter with friends out west again this year & I can’t wait! It’s going to be so much fun watching Tilly explore, & you just can’t beat sitting around the campfire with friends having a good old yarn!

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The view from Evans Lookout

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On top of Blackheath Mountain looking down in to the Megalong Valley

Tilly & I did some painting this month. It’s so fun watching here develop her creative side. She really enjoys drawing with crayons & painting. I bought some paper plates for her to paint. Because they are a bit stiffer than sheets of paper I thought they’d be a bit more robust & stand up to the paintbrush stabbing & all the wet paint. Paper gets quite soggy & tears really easy. I bought a couple of small canvases for her to paint on next. Tilly now goes to day care, or ‘School’ as we prefer to call it on Thursday’s. Her first day was fantastic & there were no tears when I dropped her. Subsequent weeks were not so good & there was a lot of crying & holding on to me for dear life when it was time for me to go. She always has a good day there & enjoys the activities. The drop off has gotten better & last week there was only a brief little cry when I went to leave. I know she will get better, & it’s so good for development. I’m amazed at how much she is learning & how quickly she is learning. She can now count to 10 & can also read & say all the letters of the alphabet, except for G, J & W. The other day whilst doing the grocery shopping she even recited the entire alphabet from A to Z without any help from me!!

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This moth I also played around a bit more with my styling & photography, this time with a Valentine’s Theme. I’m still finding my feet with styling & photography & this is something I want to work on a lot more this year.

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I hope this past month has been a good one for you. I hope the start of your year has been great & that you feel you’re on track for a year full of all the loveliest things in life. I know I’ve certainly started this year very positively & I have enjoyed discovering new things, new ways to look at my life & new things about myself.

Have a lovely weekend,

Miss Leela xo

 

lifestyle, Uncategorized

A Day Out to Mittagong & Bowral

Hello there! Yesterday Tilly & I had a lovely day out with my parents to Mittagong & Bowral. We headed along to the Southern Highlands Quilters Guild Biennial Quilt & Craft Show. The quilt show was quite extensive with many quilts on display. However it was very busy & the aisles weren’t quite wide enough to cope with the masses of woman who liked to stand and chat in front of the quilts. In all honesty I felt a bit under-whelmed with the quality of quilts on display. There were a few stand out pieces I liked, but unfortunately I had a small child who insisted on being carried throughout the entire show & so I had no free hands to take any photos. Sometimes Tilly chooses the worst times to be clingy! There were many stall holders there, but I was very good and didn’t purchase a single piece of fabric. Also carrying a toddler makes it very easy to inhibit ones access to the wallet.

https://www.southernhighlandsquilters.com/

After we finished at the show we continued on to Bowral. This country town is one of my most favourite places to visit. Not only are there fantastic shops & cafes, gorgeous country surrounds & gardens, but it will always have a special place in my heart as it is where Tim & I got married.

I had read in a recent Country Style magazine about a Tea Room & Nursery that I hadn’t yet discovered in Bowral, and so we were lead to Dirty Janes a Vintage & Antique shop, although in reality it is more like a warehouse! The place is massive & an absolute treasure trove of vintage antiques, as well as a couple of more modern décor stall holders. There was even a little yarn shop stall in there! Once again, I was unable to take any photos as the only way I could walk around in peace & look was by giving my phone to Tilly in the pram to watch Nursery Rhymes. So here are a few I found on the website with links to where I found them. I purchased a little pink ceramic dish & a small vintage blue milk jug.

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Image from http://dirtyjanes.com/the-blog/

Inside Dirty Janes is The Tea Salon where we had a delightful Brunch. I had the most delicious tea called Queen of Hearts, a blend of white tea, pineapple, rosehips, cranberries, lemongrass, pomegranate & cornflowers. It was so lovely my Dad bought me a packet to take home. I also enjoyed Lavender scones with Lemon Curd & Chantilly cream. Mum had apricot scones with ricotta & honey, & Dad had the Rose scones with rose cream & raspberry jam. They were all absolutely delicious!

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My Lavender scones & Queen of Hearts Tea

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Dad’s Rose Scones

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Image from http://dirtyjanes.com/the-blog/

Dirty Janes is next to Green Lane which is a little alfresco hub that contains The Potting Shed, Green Lane Kitchen, Harry’s Wine Bar, The Orangery, The Cook & The Gardener & Suzie Anderson Home. Again, I was unable to take many photos myself, but I have found some online & provided links for you to check these places out.

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Image from: http://dirtyjanes.com/the-blog/

Suzie Anderson Home is packed full of lovely modern country style homewares, furniture & soft furnishings. I could spend an absolute fortune in there, but I was quite restrained & just came away with a little ceramic dish.

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Image from http://dirtyjanes.com/the-blog/

The Potting shed is an indoor plant enthusiast haven with many specimens to choose from as well as a range of cottage plants for the garden. I took home a small fern for my bathroom & a little ficus bonsai to live in my Dining Room.

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I could literally have spent an entire day pottering around this little hub in Bowral. I think next time I go I might need to leave Tilly at home so that I can really look at all the treasure in Dirty Janes. Next time I’d love to have a meal at Harry’s and sit amongst the amazing décor of books, plants & vintage style furniture.

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Image from https://harryswinebarbowral.com/gallery/

We took the scenic way home through Thirlmere, The Oaks & Silverdale. We stopped at Hill Top at the Belle Fleur Lavender so I could grab some of the Hand Cream I got from there on our last visit. I really like this hand cream. I suffer from a bit of eczema on my hands & fingers & since I started using this every night I have had no flare ups.

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My goodies collected.

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Tilly Enjoying a roadside ice-cream!

A lovely day out all in all & I look forward to heading back again for more exploring around Bowral.

Enjoy the week ahead,

Miss Leela

Uncategorized

An Introduction

 

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Hello, welcome to my blog, a place where I plan to document & share with you my creative life. Thank you for finding your way to my little corner of the inter-world. I will be sharing with you my making, gardening, styling, adventures & explorations, as well as snippets of family life. So settle in with a nice cup of something & take a peek in to my creative world…

I thought I would start this blog with a bit of a ‘get to me’ post. I tried to cheat & did a google search on creative person questionnaires, but I couldn’t really find anything that wasn’t written in a deep psychological manner, so I guess I’ll make the questions up as I go!

Where do you call home?

I live in the beautiful Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Australia. I love living in the mountains & being close to the bush. We have such a stunning landscape up here. Even though I’ve lived here my whole life (30 something years), there is still so much of the Mountains that I’m yet to explore.

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Who do you share you Creative Life with?

I share my life with my Husband Tim, our daughter Matilda (Tilly, 19months old) & our Fur Children, a cat called Tink & a miniature dachshund called Indie. We are really fortunate to have a lot of our family living close by, including both our parents who live just in the next town over (perfectly convenient for babysitting!).

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What creative crafts do you pursue?

My main craft is patchwork & I particular enjoy English Paper Piecing. I enjoy doing a lot of miniature patchwork using this method. I also enjoy crochet. I have mostly been making amigurumi toys, with a few blanket projects here & there.

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Of the crafts you do what is your favourite & why?

English Paper Piecing is defiantly my favourite. I have been sewing using this historic method since my early twenties. Once I started using ¼” hexagons my passion for creating miniature quilts was ignited! I love the slow, steady nature of hand sewing that EPP (English Paper Piecing) provides. I find it incredibly therapeutic, & I find I want to do nothing more than pick up my needle & thread at the end of a day’s work. I get major withdrawals if I go more than two days without hand sewing! I also love how portable EPP is, especially my miniature projects. They don’t take up much room & can easily be packed up & taken away on holidays, or just as easily be worked on sitting on the lounge watching TV.

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What other crafts would you like to try?

I would really like to learn how to knit. My mum taught me ages ago & I made a very simple scarf, but I would love to knit myself some socks! I have been watching so many wonderful Knitting podcasts & seeing all the beautiful projects being made that I’m now desperate to join the Knitting Revolution!

There are more things I’d like to learn with Crochet, in particular I’d like to try Tunisian Crochet, & also garment making with Crochet. I’d also like to try weaving & I have started Yarn Dying & have plans to dye & print fabric also.

What other crafts have you tried, what was the first?

I think the first thing I ever learnt was how to Cross Stitch when I was in primary school. I also tried my hand at long-stitch, latch-hooking & Quilling as a young child. In my teen years I was mostly in to sketching & drawing & enjoyed working with chalk pastels. Aside from that I’ve dabbled in a bit of scrap booking but never really got in to, I prefer a more digital way to record photos & memories.

Who taught you your craft?

I learnt everything from my wonderfully talented & crafty mother. And I mean everything. She taught me how to cross stitch, use a sewing machine, everything she knows about patchwork I know about patchwork. She taught me how to crochet & has taught me once before how to knit, but I need some new lessons! When she isn’t around or available to answer my crafty questions, I turn to Google or YouTube tutorials to find the answers to my questions

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Who are your Crafty Role Models?

Definitely my Mum! Not only has she taught me so much, but we love sharing our crafty endeavours with each other. We enjoy spending time making together, as well as going on crafty expeditions to quilt shows, patchwork & wool shops. My Dad is also creative in the field of photography & so I call on him for opinions on that & other things. You are always guarded to get an honest opinion from him, whether you agree with it or not!

Aside from my parents there are many women in the making world I look to as Role Models. Amy Butler is a big one & I have admired her work since I first discovered her when I was getting in to patchwork quilting. Recently I have found new Crafty Role Models in the likes of Jooles from Sew Sweet Violet, Sandra form Cherry Heart, Melody from B Mandarines, Danni from Little Bobbin Knits & Molly from Homespun House. And really I could go on naming so many more!

Where do you get inspiration from?

I find inspiration from so many places. Of course there is the obvious Instagram, Pinterest & Podcasts, as well as books & magazines. But I also get a lot of inspiration from my surroundings & travels. Be it from my local bush surrounds, a trip to the coast or a trip out in the country. Being in these places not only inspires me but rejuvenates me. I also find inspiration from simple things such as flowers, going in to a craft or homewares shop, & also from fabrics & yarn.

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Tell us about your Crafty Business.

My business Miss Leela Handmade took many years to get off the ground. I held myself back from launching it for so long from a lack of confidence & feeling like I wasn’t ready. I also wanted everything to be perfect from the get go, my branding, my products etc. Finally I got the courage up & decided I was ready. I opened my Etsy shop on the night of my First Wedding Anniversary, October 13, 2013, so now I get to celebrate two awesome things on that date!

In my shop I sell my miniature patchwork wall hangings, as well as patchwork quilts, crochet amigurumi & décor items. I also in recent years developed my own range of cut paper pieces for miniature patchwork & I sell packets of these in my shop.

In 2016 I took Miss Leela Handmade out of the studio & did my first ever market, the Etsy Made Local Blue Mountains Artisan Market. I thoroughly enjoyed this experience which I shared with my Best Friend Rachael who kindly helped me out on the day. I also took part in last year’s Etsy Made Local event, both as a stallholder & organiser. I did a few other markets last year, & whilst it’s lovely to meet people out at markets, it’s bloody hard work! This year I’m not planning on doing too many markets & instead will be focussing more on my online Etsy shop.

What are you Making/Creative Dreams?

My big number one creative dream is to move to the countryside on a big rural property, with a lovely Australian country house & enough space to build a large studio & run a Making Retreat, where guest can partake in all manner of different creative crafts & stay in glamped up Yurts.

Other making dreams include writing my own patterns for EPP, writing a book, & to develop my own range of fabrics & yarns.

Aside from craft, what other creative pursuits do you have?

I have worked as an interior designer for the past 12 years. This has led me in to pursuing styling & photography. In particular I love styling crafty bits & bobs, & handmade items. I do also enjoy a bit of home interior styling. Last year I tentatively launched my own Styling Business, Miss Leela Styling. I am currently building up my portfolio & nutting out what my particular styling/photography ‘style & technique” is.

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When you’re not making, what else do you enjoy doing?

Reading, colouring in, working in the garden & watching a good movie or TV series. I enjoy spending time with Tim & Tilly, as well as catching up with Family & Friends. Going out & exploring new places is also something I like to do.

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What are some of your favourite things?

Tea! I love tea, pretty much any flavour tea except for anything liquorice flavoured, chai or green tea. One of my most favourite simple pleasures is making myself a pot of tea in one of my china cups. Also chocolate! Basically I need this to survive. Rarely is there a day that goes by when I don’t eat chocolate!

I love homewares & soft furnishings. I also like to collect things. So far my collections extend to cut glass vases, china tea cups & saucers, owl figurines, fabric & yarn (of course!), vintage sewing baskets, & vases of all different shapes & makes.

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Well I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about me. I would love to connect with you so please don’t be shy in leaving me a comment below, or connecting with me on Instagram or Facebook.

I hope to be back really soon with more from my Creative Making Life.

Miss Leela xo