I explore: basket weaving

I’m a workshop addict; it’s fun learning new ways to make things. I haven’t done one in a while so when I saw the opportunity to join a workshop using upcycled materials and basket weaving techniques; I signed up; as you do.

What appealed to me most about this workshop was the use of recycled materials like fabrics and wool to create a woven platter or basket. I have a vast collection of fabric and yarn and twine from my dressmaking and soft “sculpture” phase. This class seemed like a great way to combine the use of these upcycled materials, my love of colour and learn a new skill.

IMG_6652

An enthusiastic group gathered at Little Lane Workshops for a pre-workshop glass of bubbles; then dived into learning weaving techniques guided by Ruth Wood of Craft School Oz. Ruth’s weaving has many influences including indigenous weavers in remote Australia and South East Asia. Her platter made from the fabric of a leg of black pair of jeans inspired to me to join the course.

Source: @craftschooloz

The afternoon workshop wasn’t enough time to complete my project, but it has certainly given me the necessary skills to make a platter or a small basket.

img_6563-1

A selection of creations from the workshop

I did go on to finish my mat; not bad for the first attempt and this is a craft I’ll continue to do. The process was relaxing and creative.

IMG_6653

The finished up cycled woven mat


2018 Year in Review

Yes, its March and I’m reviewing 2018: it’s never too late right? And I started writing this on my birthday; what a better time to reflect on the past year.

What went well in 2018

Travel

This year we went on one of the biggest adventures of our lives. We bought a catamaran overseas and sailed it 4000nM down the Atlantic coast of France and Spain into the Mediterranean. It wasn’t without its risks from a lifestyle and financial perspective. Suffice to say, it was worth all the risks and challenges. We created incredible memories and learned new skills from the experience.

You can read more about our boat here and our sailing adventures here.

Writing and photography

I rediscovered my interest in writing and photography while sailing. With limited time and materials to pursue my usual creative interests of painting and art journalling, I turned towards blogging, photography and videos as a creative way to share our sailing and travel experiences. As with any creative practice, its a continuous work in progress and often just a matter of showing up at the keyboard or with the camera. I’ve been particularly enjoying the post processing. Check out our latest photo blog here. 

What didn’t go so well in 2018

Health

Without going into details, I had a health shock towards the end of 2017 – which meant dealing with it in early 2018.. I was so lucky because surgery and treatment did not prevent us going sailing; in fact it consolidated my belief that life can be short and that you have to grab opportunities when they stare you in the face.

Moments/dates that are etched in my memory

29 October (it was actually 2017) – the day of the diagnosis. This day was the longest day of uncertainty, disbelief and shock. I’m not alone; many women go through this nightmare, and it takes ages to adjust to the new reality

5 March – we first saw our new boat “Wild Heart” in France, all shiny and ready to go sailing. She was (and is) beautiful.

17 May – it was a milestone moment sailing out of La Rochelle at sunrise towards the Bay of Biscay

25 September – spending a few hours alone at anchor during a Bora which gusted up to 50kts. It’s a longish story for another time

28 September – arriving in Bari, Italy at sunrise with good friends after a peaceful overnight passage from Croatia. We’d checked out of Croatia the previous day and headed across the Adriatic towards Italy. This arrival marked the end of our sailing season. It was partly relief to finish happy and safe but mostly so proud to have achieved what we did together.

There were so many other moments, small pieces of joy that I’ll remember and too many to list; small moments like landing a tuna during our crossing from Menorca to Sardinia, arriving in southern Sardinia to the prettiest sunset, having the most turquoise bay to ourselves in Menorca, crossing the Bay of Biscay and sharing the experience with friends and family. All priceless.

The biggest achievement

The whole commitment and process to buying a new catamaran and deciding to sail in the Mediterranean. We had little experience of sailing a catamaran, let alone doing it half way around the world. Any way you look at it, the end of the season was a big deal for us. We have travelled 4000nM and multiple countries in 6 months from France to Croatia.

The biggest challenge

Remaining relatively calm in 50kts winds and managing the boat for a few hours during a storm while I waited for the wonderful crew to get back on board.

Illnesses or injuries

Apart from managing the aftermath of my diagnosis and treatment from the previous year, I managed to fall off a dodgy pontoon in Spain when securing the boat in 30kt winds. I half fell into the water and onto a steel support and was lucky not to break a rib.

What do I want to do less of this year

  • worrying about things I can’t control (good luck with that)
  • buying more than I need
  • using less plastic

What do I want to do more of this year

  • spend time in nature – walking, swimming, sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding
  • work consistently on creative projects; painting, writing and photography

2018 kicked my arse. It was a year of challenges and change. It pushed me hard to let go  of control and lean into uncertainty. Onward into 2019, we’re off sailing again.

(Thank you to the bloggers who gave me the inspiration for this post).

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


Photoblog: Colour and Culture of Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon is a city of vibrant colour and colour, heavily influenced by Art Nouveau style architecture. A perfect place to rest and explore after sailing down the Atlantic Coast.

IMG_6399

The Hill Tram Tour – used by locals and tourists alike

IMG_6479

At the end of the Hills Tram, this band was entertaining the passersby

IMG_6406

Art Nouveau style shop fronts are common and beautiful. This is a jewellery store founded in the late 1920’s whos facade features the Portuguese coat of arms

IMG_6411

We sat and watch this busker suspended in mid-air for ages

IMG_6423

Buildings full of colour

IMG_6428-4

In the Bairro Alto district, this Theatre was built in the mid 19th century

IMG_6458

If Portuguese tarts take your fancy, then Pasteis de Belem is the place to go but be prepared for the queue

IMG_6491

There’s a certain grittiness of the buildings in some areas that made this town intriguing

 

 


Wild Heart waiting: La Rochelle and all things yachts

IMG_6254

A small part of Port des Minimes, the largest marina in France for pleasure boats. It’s also where a number of brands launch their yachts not only Fountaine Pajot but Amel yachts and Nautitech catamarans

IMG_6253

Boats and masts as far as you can see

IMG_6259

The entrance to the old port, where boats constantly leave and enter

IMG_6279

The historic architecture and rich history of the town sits side by side with the pleasure craft yachting lifestyle

IMG_6313

There are regattas and sailing schools a plenty.

IMG_6325

Wild Heart in the evening shortly before we left the marina

IMG_6318.jpg

When we arrived in La Rochelle, a few short months ago, we had no idea what to expect from many things; the town, our new catamaran “Wild Heart” and sailing in France.

We quickly discovered that La Rochelle was a joy, rich in history and lifestyle; commisioning a new boat was an intense and exciting experience; sailing in a new country was an adventure. In fact, it continues to be an adventure of exploring, discovering and learning.

Photograph credit: Scott Johnston

Where we stayed: Hotel St Nicolas La Rochelle

Low key hotel, in a convenient location in the old town and about 30 minutes walk to Port des Minimes

Where we ate:

We enjoyed all the local boulangeries and pâtisseries around the hotel. And any gelato shop, of course

As restaurants go, Prao Restaurant was one of our favourites for the fresh food, atmosphere and wine selection.

Shopping for the boat: Get our download here of all the places we shopped to “outfit” the boat.


A new catamaran and a different life.

There are times you make decisions that you know will change the path of your life.

Our catamaran purchase is one of these big, scary decisions.

Why big and scary? We have made a big commitment to a particular way of life. A life of 6 months sailing and 6 months at home in Austrlia. I know it will have its challenges. We are taking a leap into the big unknown and having to let go of things in our life now to make it possible; the comfortable, safe familiar things.

Read More


I explore: free diving

Have you ever tried free diving? In the middle of winter last year, I decided to learn. Why winter? Who knows, it seemed like as good a time as any. Don’t get me wrong, the Australian winter is not a European winter; it’s very mild by comparison but it’s still a crazy time to learn a new sport where you spend an extended time in the water.

The driver? An upcoming sailing trip to Tonga. I’m so excited about this trip and I really want to get more out of snorkelling and I figured free diving would help me dive deeper and longer.

While I was looking for  a wetsuit in Sydney, I met a free diving instructor and a week later signed up for the next beginner class (AIDA2). The inspiration for all this….

Read More