my life

During most of 2013, will be hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

The theme for this month is Make It Local :: with Alexandra Smith of Lola Nova. Today, Alexandra shares her last post for the month. Thank you so much Alexandra for sharing your inspiration, taking us on a tour of your local farmers market and for sharing your great tutorial for making market bags. Also, for introducing us to Annie and her local woollen mill, Nancy and her Macrame and to Lindsay and her pesto recipe (yum!).


Last year when Kathreen invited me to be a guest editor for a month on WhipUp, I was deeply honored and jumped at the chance. Though I never met her in person, I considered Kathreen a friend, a kindred spirit and a supporter of the utmost kind. Through her hard work and gorgeous spirit, she brought together a community; fostered art and craft, endlessly inspired and encouraged so many wonderful people.  She made such a tremendous impact on me and I know so many others. She created an amazing legacy and I truly believe she made this world a better place. She reminds us to live life with passion and intent; to live deliberately with love and to continue to follow our hearts.


I cannot ever repay Kathreen’s kindness to me, though I would like to contribute to her legacy in some small way. The 3 Origami Market Bags from my previous tutorial are up for sale in my Etsy shop 50 percent of proceeds from each of these bags will be donated to the trust fund for Kathreen and Rob’s beautiful children, daughter Otilija and son Orlando.

If you would like to donate in another way, please follow the link HERE.

Thank you and much love,

Alexandra Smith



by kath_red on 18/04/2013

in my life, Newsletter

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. Rumi

When we make a change, it’s so easy to interpret our unsettledness as unhappiness, and our unhappiness as the result of having made the wrong decision. Our mental and emotional states fluctuate madly when we make big changes in our lives, and some days we could tight-rope across Manhattan, and other days we are too weary to clean our teeth. This is normal. This is natural. This is change. Jeanette Winterson

There’s still time to change the road you’re on. Led Zeppelin


You would think that taking a year away from your ordinary life would be change enough. Or perhaps this oasis is merely a catalyst for more change. Taking a year away seemed like such a huge step, to pack up and live on the road with minimal stuff and in a confined space is like the wind of freedom blowing through your life. A chance to step out of the ordinary and the chaos of comfort to contemplate the bigger picture — to look at where you are going and what you want to achieve.

This perspective has been life changing is many small ways for us — it has taken a couple of months to relax enough to even get to this stage of contemplation, to be able to let go of the worries and pull of our regular life — and we are still not fully there yet. We still worry and wonder. But now we have begun to make plans, to visualise a life of difference, to see beyond what is in front of our nose and to seek new horizons. I am not even talking about anything major — we won’t be living in an ashram, and we won’t be building a treehouse in the woods, but a list is beginning to emerge — priorities and importances.

Some big changes are in the wind, but it is the smaller changes I am most excited about. A commitment to live more fully in the now, to create small everyday adventures, and listen to our hearts.

What changes would you / could you want to make — small or big, realistic or dreamy — or are you completely happy where you are right now?


During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy! :: April is Functional Creativity.

DO get in touch if you are interested in writing a guest post for whipup this year! Send me a short email with your idea Kathreen {at}



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The summer days travelling have been a mix of slow living and fast moving. We wake up with the sun, or later, we cook breakfast and drink a couple of cups of tea while waiting for the kids to emerge from their tents. We watch the sunrise, listen to the early morning birds and the sounds of the surf smashing on the beach. We check emails, do some early morning writing. Then think about our day ahead. A lazy day of hanging around or a day trip somewhere? Nearby caves, or maybe jetty diving, or possibly a city excursion to a museum. Invariably the beach wins out.

We slowly wash the dishes. First we have to collect water, boil the water and then hand wash and dry and tidy away our little campsite. We sweep the sand from our tent floor, we gather up the dirty laundry and warm some more water to wash a few of our smelly clothes. We tie up a rope to some trees and hang out our washing to wash in the breeze and the sun while we gather our towels, hats and sunscreen and head to the beach for our daily swim and wash. We practice our body surfing, we give ourselves a salty body scrub, and then when we are getting cold and a little tired we head to shore and stand in the breeze to dry off. We walk along the sand, looking for interesting bits of washed up treasure. We make some impromptu ephemeral collections, sometimes take a souvenir with us, but mostly let the surf reclaim its treasure.

Time for lunch, we head back to our campsite, we eat cheese and salami and crackers and cucumber. We make some soda water with our old fashioned soda stream — or maybe a hot chocolate. We get out the chess board, or backgammon or maybe cards. Some of us read a book, others do some sketching or writing or even take a nap. We think about the afternoon, plan to go fishing at dusk, or a walk along the cliffs, or maybe an afternoon swim if it is really hot. We might go treasure hunting later, or do some odd jobs around the campsite. After a while we get a little peckish again and make more tea, and think about dinner.

Later, after our afternoon activities, we’ll once again gather, sometimes exhilarated and eager to discuss our day, sometimes tired and sunburnt and sandy and happy to sit for a while. We get out our family read-aloud novel and read a chapter or two while someone prepares dinner, we eat, and once again wash the dishes, and continue reading for a while accompanied by a hot chocolate or maybe a warming whiskey. We feel close, we feel connected. Spending this time together, becoming more patient with each other, learning to ignore outbursts of temper or sudden mood swings. We are learning about each other.


  • Enjoying a quiet interlude after an early start … I went to the farmers market with a friend then we did our family house clean for an hour.
  • Loving that it is raining outside … just a drizzle and it won’t stop me from hanging the clothes on the line.
  • Waiting for a load of washing to finish so I can put the next one on … it’s washing day today … hoping to get all the towels and sheets washed, they’ll enjoy the rain too.
  • Listening to talkback radio on the ABC … actually just turned it off, it was a bit dry and I couldn’t concentrate properly.
  • Researching the next Action Pack {Family Apothecary … so luscious} … just hopped online to buy some seaweed powder, kaolin clay and some essential oils.
  • Eating strawberries and drinking fresh mandarin juice from the markets … such intense real flavour!
  • Sketching, scanning and fiddling in illustrator.
  • Hoping that two of our ducks are enjoying their new home … we still have two left and we need to find a home for them before next year.
  • Making silly faces at my daughter … and she is making faces at me.
  • Thinking and planning for next year {the link leads the Action Pack blog where I discuss our family’s plans for next year}.

What are you doing?

Knitting Designer series [link to whole series HERE]

More at Whipup

 My Pinterest boards

Reading and watching

  • We watched the movie Eragon for the second time the other night, since we are all reading the series of books (separately –  and then discussing it in a book club sort of way) we felt we needed a refresher on the movie – just to see what was different {quite a bit actually}. We are all loving this series the Inheritance Cycle (some of us are further ahead in the series than others) – and are fascinated by the author Christopher Paolini, he wrote the first book in the series when he was just 15, his parents helped him to self publish it and it was picked up by a publisher a couple of years later.
  • One of our family read-aloud novels earlier this year was Holes by Louis Sachar, we loved this book — adventure, boys daring escapades plus a touch of the ridiculous, and so when we discovered that a movie had been made from the book a few years ago we had to watch it — it was pretty good (not as a good as the book though – but pretty close) — read the book!.

Don’t forget to grab your copy of the latest Action Pack magazine for kids (Go Tribal Issue)


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This week I stumbled upon this blog meme things I am afraid to tell you, usually I don’t do memes – well never really. But this one caught my attention and spoke to me. Mainly because I too think that the presentation of perfection on blogs gets a bit much sometimes. While I don’t think I present a perfect front – I do of course gloss over the grisly bits. So here are a few things – some truths about me. Feel free to comment.

ps. This is my craft room in flux – I am not suggesting this is a messy space – rather a space in transition – I am in the throes of an organisational flurry.

I do indeed have a messy house — and it does annoy me even though I try to let it slide, I find myself yelling about dirty socks and cups of tea left all over the place — I don’t want it to annoy me, but it does. I have found some ways to compromise — family cleaning day, kids being responsible for their own room and bathroom — and me trying my hardest to not help them and not pick up their dirty clothes for them, husband cleaning our bathroom and me not being too anally retentive about it, I still keep control over the laundry though — whites turning grey is one of my bugbears. The biggest truth here though is that I am an inherently messy person — I probably needed to marry a tidy person, but instead he is messier and vaguer than me and so are the kids and I hate to have to be the tidy one.

I have moments when I crash and cannot be motivated to do more than the minimum to keep everything together. I had a few months like that recently, post-deadline depression, but not really depression, more like needing down time to recover from a period of high stress, high work load, high creativity — which I thrive on by the way, I love and need that adrenaline that comes with a deadline. And when it is gone I suddenly feel bereft, and all I want to do is read trashy novels and sit on the couch and drink cups of tea. I have to force myself to start a new crafty project, to make lists and do some work. I feel like I am in limbo until the next major deadline (which by the way is coming).

Motherhood did not come naturally to me. I love my kids and love my family — they are my whole life. But I struggled in the early years (and now those years are just a blur), I think I was afraid to follow my instincts, instead of sitting on the couch cuddling my baby to sleep I fretted about why she wouldn’t sleep, instead of enjoying the the oh so precious and short time of babyhood I struggled with losing ground on career and creativity. Looking back — if I could do those early years again, I think I would revel in being a stay-at-home mother instead of fighting it all the time. I am making up for it now — but the years are passing way too quickly, and I just want to spend all my time with my babies (pre-teen and early teen terrors) while they still want to spend time with me.

I struggle with my weight. And lately I have put on a little — which I will have to do something about soon. I love food and hate exercise — that’s the truth of it. And I have been awfully lazy lately. But the struggle has been a lifetime of self consciousness — I admit to having body issues. And at 40 I really don’t want to any more — I want to be happy in this body I have been given (short and round) — I am making a conscious decision to let go of body issues and take back control.

That’s probably enough for now — nothing earth shattering or gobsmackingly shocking — I am a (40 year old — yikes!) woman who lives in a nice house in the suburbs, works from home, struggles and tries hard to live an authentic life and loves her family — pretty ordinary! Not perfect, not glossy magazine stuff at all! Ha! Now what about you?!

Fun stuff and news

  • Latest Australian Quilters Companion magazine has an article in it by me!
  • Check out the Molo Wool Project by ClothRoads.
  • Did you know that Interweave was bought out by F&W Media — lots of staff have moved on and there no doubt will be more big changes over there. “The immediate plans for Interweave include increasing the number of digital magazine / content launches through the Interweave digital newsstand; expanding the e-commerce, e-book, and digital pattern business; and expanding the live and online education and event business.” [Source]

 My Pinterest boards

Craft and inspiration

At Whipup

More wonderful knitting posts in our designer knitting series

Don’t forget to grab your copy of the latest Action Pack magazine for kids (Go Tribal Issue)


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