Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blog writing vs book writing.

I know there are people way more qualified to write this list than me. I know there are people who have been writing blogs for longer and who have so much more book experience too.

But, for what it's worth, here's where I'm at two months into this book writing caper. It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride, but something tells me it'll all be worth it when I hold my own book in my hot little hand.

  1. Whenever I publish a blog that I'm not completely thrilled with, I make myself feel better by reminding myself that in a few posts time that blog will be in my archives barely ever seen or heard from again. This kinda takes the stress out of blogging for me. I like it. In books though, the words and photos are stagnant. They are there for the reader to read and reread and refer back to. Yikes!
  2. Book writing is a job while blog writing is a hobby. There is no way I could ask farmer Bren to take the girls to the pool or to Ballarat for the afternoon so I could write a blog. But to write a chapter for my book? Of course!
  3. My blog writing is diverse. It's sporadic. I write whatever I feel like writing whenever I feel like writing it. Book writing on the other hand is time-tabled, and check listed, and word counted, and edited, and deadlined.
  4. When I tell people I write a blog often their eyes glaze over. That's nice they say. When I tell people I am writing a book, it's a completely different reaction. People are interested, they care, they ask questions.
  5. In my early days of blogging, my blog used to keep me up at night writing posts in my head. But over the years it's become quiet and let me go about my own business. My book on the other hand is bossy!! It wakes me up with chapter plans and ideas and words. So many words. My book would speak its words to me underwater and sell ice to an Eskimo, if it could.
  6. I am the boss of my blog. I am the only one who decides which photos I upload, what content I write and how I lay it out. I am the editor (with the occasional dad correction), I am the designer, I am the photographer and I am the publisher. It's a one woman band. Although my book will have my name on the cover, it's really a group effort. I write according to a plan I made with my publisher, my mum corrects my grammar, my editor asks for more information, changes the order around and makes it all work. And my designer makes it beautiful. Yay team!
  7. Blogs are quick. I reckon a post can go from start to publish in less than half an hour if I really concentrate. Books on the other hand take forever. The book I am writing now will not be published until next August. And I've been told that's a fast turn around in publishing.
  8. Whenever I spend time writing a blog instead of doing the housework or cooking, I feel guilty. Whenever I do anything else but write my book I feel guilty.
  9. When I write my blog I feel like I'm part of a community. There's always lots of visiting and commenting and socialising involved. When I write my book I sometimes feel like the whole world is going out and having fun and I am stuck here, alone behind my computer.
  10. A blog is a blog. But a book is a BOOK!!! I cannot even imagine the feeling of holding a book I made in my hands. A book filled with my photos and my words. I cannot imagine the feeling of seeing it on the shelves of a bookshop or in the hands of a stranger. Wow.

Have you ever bought a blogger's book?
Have you written a book, or thought about it?
Are you reading a good book?
Can someone please tell me to stop procrastinating and get back to writing mine? Thanks.

I hope the last two days of your 2012 are fabulous.


Thursday, December 27, 2012


In the midst of all this book writing a whole bunch of stuff happened that I never got a chance to mention here. Miss Indi vintage frocked up and graduated from primary school, Miss Jazzy finished grade three, Jo-Jo had a hairy, Miss Pepper had her last bush kinder and kinder day, there was a creative dance concert and a ballet concert and this mama who doesn't cope so well with change and time passing cried a whole lot of tears. And crocheted a whole lot of motifs.

But then this morning in our house, something huge happened. A mile stone. Something that I just had to record here.

Miss Pepper had her first ever hair cut.

One minute she was the girl with the longest plaits in the world. She was going to grow her hair for the rest of her life. And the next minute she wanted it cut. Just like that. She was sick of it hurting when I brushed it and wanted hair just like Jazzy's.

So I cut her hair.

And she loves it. She loves flipping and tossing it and she adores jumping on the trampoline with it. She is most excited to wear it out all the time.

I don't have a baby anymore. Sob.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The book blanket

A few days ago, just after I had finished writing a chunk of my book (!), my editor (oh my goodness I have an editor!!) wrote me an email telling me she thought I should celebrate with a glass or two of bubbly on Christmas day.

For the next little while I thought about that email a lot.

I thought about how despite my lack of confidence in myself as a writer, I had actually somehow put words together and written sentences and paragraphs and chapters.

I thought about how someone who was paid to edit books, someone who had possibly edited hundreds of books before mine, wasn't running away screaming from this project, but actually congratulating me instead.

And I thought about the celebration she suggested. Chances are, given the family we were spending Christmas day with, there would be lots of bubbly already. I wanted to grab the opportunity my editor was offering and make the most of it. I wanted something fun, something not at all book related and possibly something ongoing I could continue to use as a reward for the next few weeks of book writing.

So I decided to crochet a blanket.

A blanket that has nothing to do with my book. A blanket that is made by my hands, away from the computer and is meditative for my sore, word filled brain. A blanket made from cotton in fun gelati colours. And a blanket made up of small squares so it isn't a hassle to carry around in my basket.

When I pulled down my crochet book to choose a pattern for the squares I couldn't commit to one and decided to work through all the different stitch patterns instead. Rib stitch, lace trestles, simple crossed stitch, close shells stitch, simple bobble stitch, boxes and bars... What fun!

Just like the last blanket I crocheted holds the stories of the final month of our road trip last year, so this blanket will hold the stories of writing this book.

Hopefully I'll stick with this project long enough to make a lovely big fun blanket, but if not I guess I can cut it up and have a bunch of new face washers. Win-win.

Have you started a new project lately?
What will hold the stories of your summer/winter?

I hope the last week of your 2012 is fabulous!!

Big love. xx

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hunting echidnas & native bees.

This writing a book business is hard.

Harder than I thought it would be.

I had thought that if you can write a blog then surely you can write a book, but now I'm not so sure. They're quite different.

My brain hurts from thinking so hard, my lower back aches from sitting at the computer for so long, and all of a sudden there are a gazillion other things I would rather be doing. Even scrubbing the bathroom seems like a fun adventure...I could put on some music...get the old toothbrush and bicarb out... Don't even mention the neglected basket of crochet constantly calling me from the other room.

Sometimes I feel so inside my words that I forget that the rest of the world is still spinning. That the family needs to be fed, that underwear needs to be washed and teacher's necklaces finished. I'm in a book bubble.

I know I've been given an awesome opportunity and I am grateful. I know that when I sit down and focus, the words come and mostly I like them. And I know that I am lucky enough to be working with some very talented people.

And most importantly, I know how blessed I am to have my funny little family to ground me. For berries to collect, an echidna to follow, native bee hives to look out for, sticks and slugs to name and tell stories about and the most wonderful farmer boy to grab my hand and remind me to be in the moment and to remember to breathe.

One word at a time.

One hole in a bead at a time (every few paragraphs).

I'll get there.

How are you going?
Are you getting there?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cider house bottling.

Yesterday, nine months after that March day we pressed our autumn-harvested apples, we gathered again for the next part of the process. For nine months those vats of apple juice with added champagne yeast have been bubbling away and becoming cider. Yesterday was bottling day.

First the collected bottles were soaked in a sterilising solution.

Then a teaspoon of brewers sugar was added to each.

The bottles were filled with cider.

And then capped.

Of course, as with all the best community working bees, the working bit was only a small part of the fun. There was lots of music, a feast, happy-wild children and a fair bit of taste-testing too.

One day I'll work out how to add sound and video to my blog. These words and photos seem a bit one dimensional without the background music track to really get you in the mood.

In March I ended my blog saying how much I love community and celebrations of season and fruit and time, I can't think of a better way to describe how I feel today too.

My farmer boy has himself a little hangover this morning.
I wonder how his Dad is holding up.

Happy days to you my friends.
I hope yours are filled with music and friends and a glass or two of something fruity.

Big love. xx

Thursday, December 13, 2012

All you need is love - a giveaway!

My gorgeous friend Chanie and I go waaaaaaaay back. We used to work together in a shop in Melbourne city while we were still school-girls. She was the cool girl down the back dealing with the lay-buys and I was at the front folding clothes and making sure all the hangers were facing the same way. Sometimes people even thought we were the same person. But we weren't. Obviously.

In 1999, the very same year me and my farmer boy got married and started looking for a farm to buy, Miss Chanie was the owner of her very own shop, the most fabulous shop in Melbourne, GenkiThat year Genki launched what went on to become a fashion institution, the I love tees.

Made in Melbourne from Australian cotton and illustrated by clever cookie Beci Orpin, the I love tees went on to become a range of 37 different designs. From I love beer, to I love craft, to I love animals....there's something for everyone.

For the past 13 years these tees have cost $49, but now to compete with the big wide world of online shopping and make them affordable for everyone, the I love tees will cost $25!!!!! Bargain-a-rama I say!!

Check out the whole I love range here.

Anyway, to kick off this great offer and celebrate the cutest, made in Australia, limited edition tees, let's have ourselves a bit of a giveaway.

I have five tees to giveaway. Two of the men's tees, two ladie's tees and a kiddie one (size 4-7).


Click the links and leave us a comment letting us know which tee it's going to be.
Men's, women's or kiddie's tee?
What colour?
What size?
And which design?
Oh and make sure I have a way of contacting you.

Phew, got all that?

We'll draw the giveaway early next week.

Have fun!
Keep cool!

Big love. xx

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

❤ Thirteen ❤

My dearest, sweetest farmer boy,
Happy, happy anniversary.
Long let this adventure continue.

Miss Indi took the pics.
Pretty clever huh!?

I hope your day is filled with love too, sweet peeps. xx

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blah blah blah...blahg

This morning a fashion label shot a commercial on our farm. It was very cool. There were hay bales and apples, an old truck and tractor, and a cast of soooo many. I took lots of photos. I'll show you them when I'm allowed to.

Miss Pepper is sick. This afternoon she told me she could feel my heart was breaking for her. She could be right. I hate to see her so miserable.

Miss Indi had transition day at high school today and is a little bit less intimidated. I'm not telling her this, but I'm still hugely intimidated by those big, scary high schoolers. I cannot believe I'll have one of my very own soon.

And I'm writing a book. Oh my goodness!!!! It's exciting and terrifying and crazy-scary, all at the same time. I'll let you know some more when I feel a bit more confident about it all.

I've been making lots of crafty stuff lately but I can't show you any of it just yet. It's a little bit frustrating but hopefully it'll all be worth it soon.

Miss Jazzy is really thrilled with her teacher and class for grade four next year. I'm really happy too.

Today I met someone who was in a blockbuster film recently and took 80 international flights last year. 80!!!!! Can you imagine?!

My head is fuzzy. It's been like that for a few days. I don't know what it is but it kinda feels like steel-wool. Ugh!

I'm overwhelmed. And out of control. All the time lately. What's with that?

The props people from this morning's shoot  left us a couple of apple pies, boxes of fruit, a bunch of cute jars, the flowers above and some glasses. I think we'll have the pies for dinner. I'm not capable of much more tonight.

My house is a MESS!!

There is no diesel fuel in the whole district. I've still got a bit but I have no idea what happens when I run out. Farmer Bren can't even spray seaweed on the orchard until we get some.

The kitchen garden needs work but I can't seem to get out there. I suspect out there is where I really need to be though. Maybe when the girls go to bed.

My Mum finally shared the crumpet recipe I've been waiting for over here. I've had my fair share of disaster crumpets and am very excited to give these ones a go.

Bren is reading a book about terrible Australian food facts. He's highlighting the bits he needs to remember. I like that he reads text books and I read novels.

Our internet is still not working all the time. The third technician this month just left and it's still not right.

Ugh what a mess!

How are things with you?
I hope you're making more sense than I am.

Big love.

Friday, December 7, 2012

handmade dresses. x

Shhhhhhhh can you here them, those cheeky girls of mine?

They're sitting around, many years into the future and they're laughing at me. With love of course. Well I hope so anyway.

'Do you remember those hand made dresses Mum used to make us out of her little scraps of fabric', they'll ask one another. 'Remember how sometimes she got so into her sewing that she forgot to make us dinner til late? Or how her clothes were always covered in over locker threads? Remember when we used to come into the sewing room to ask her a question and she'd warn us not to get burnt on the iron or step on her pins? And how she claimed to be allergic to t'shirts with words on them? Remember how there were always dresses in various stages of completion hanging from coat hangers on hooks all around the house?  And how she was always kntting at school assemblies? Do you remember how she used to snip at the long threads hanging from our hems in public? Or how she never threw any clothes out but chopped them up and made them into new clothes instead? Do you remember the look on her face when we chose to wear her dresses above all the others in our cupboards? Do you remember the photo shoots for her blog!'

I wonder if they'll dress their own little girls in their old mama made dresses I've put away for them, or if they'll only want new.

I wonder if they'll make and sew things themselves.

I wonder what crazy tricks a sewing machine will be able to do by then.

I wonder what they'll do and where they'll be and who they'll be.

I wonder how long this little chicklet will be happy to wear these mixy-matchy-patchy dresses I create.

I certainly love making them for her.

Do you think your kids will giggle about your ways one day?
What do you think they'll say?

I hope you have the most gorgeous weekend.
Have you got anything exciting planned?
I'm hoping to be very productive and get a big chunk crossed off my list.
Fingers crossed.

Ciao. x

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