TCS is the fond abbreviation for The Craft Sessions and for the last two years I have treated myself to this weekend retreat of ultimate indulgence. It takes a bit of juggling to get myself onto the plane what with organising the care of my two little people, plus a dog, a cat and our home. I am super grateful that this year the kids shared their days between my Mum (Granny) and some family friends of ours. And the furry creatures stayed at home where they are most comfortable and our beloved babysitter stepped in once more to house-sit (she took care of things while we were up in Queensland last month too).
Until last year, I had never been to the Yarra Valley and back then I did not allow myself any extra time to explore. I remember driving through that picturesque area and longing so deeply to have more time to soak it all in. This year I made sure I did just that!
I caught the first flight out (one of those pre-dawn red-eyes that leave you questioning your sanity), collected my hire car and was quickly on the M80. It wasn't long before I was surrounded by the lush green, barely Springtime vista that explodes from every corner of the Yarra Valley. The Valley boasts rich fertile soils, quaint homesteads, rolling hills, vineyards, farmers and producers of all kinds. It's an absolute feast for all your senses and I definitely gorged on all things weathered, rustic and rural.
I'm going to continue sorting through and editing my photos of crafty goodness this weekend, but for now I really wanted to share a little from the Yarra Valley itself. Including my tales of getting fabulously lost and how much of a buzz I get from adventures such as this.
Many folks have wondered why I hire a car only to have it sit there at the retreat venue for those couple of days. I see their point, although I still wouldn’t swap that quiet time by myself for anything. I am someone who is perfectly comfortable with my own company and in fact, given I don’t get much of it, I absolutely relish the opportunity to crank the tunes, explore on my own terms and allow my thoughts to drift (uninterrupted... erhum hands up all us parents). That time is GOLD! And to be able to choose my own playlist and not have to swap between the kids favourites... oh, it's just too good! My choices for this trip rotated between Yo La Tengo’s Fade, Sahara Beck’s Bloom and Katrina & The Waves Walking On Sunshine. I know, I have the most eclectic taste in music! And the spectrum doesn’t just end there… it really is a full rainbow kaleidoscope depending on what I'm in the mood for.
With a few hours up my sleeve on the way there last Friday, I took to some back roads. I pulled over, I parked, I wandered and I even sat with a pot of tea in a quiet little cafe. That shiny red car served me well ;)
The Craft Sessions wrapped up late in the afternoon on Sunday and it’s becoming tradition for me to stay at a B&B in the area and book a flight home the next morning. I booked a late morning flight so that I could have a relaxed start to the day and possibly do a little more exploring on the way back.
Well I might have stretched that idea a little too far this time. You see, I decided to rebel against my GPS and follow the street signs that led to "Melbourne" instead. Little did I know that those signs were taking me into the heart of Melbourne and into the thick of traffic. I realized this just in the nick of time and decided to duck and weave my way back through the country side and hopefully find the M80 Ring-route I had initially intended upon.
And that’s where the real adventure began! I got beautifully and delightfully l.o.s.t!!! And I made discovery after discovery with the absolute best one being a little town called, Warrandyte (sorry, I can't find a decent link). It is apparently a suburb of Melbourne but, oh my goodness, I'm calling it a town because the connotations of suburb seem to insult it's beauty. This town had me seriously considering missing my flight. By this stage I was at great risk of doing just that, I really didn’t have the luxury to dilly-dally anymore. I was still somewhat lost and was putting all my faith in the Universe and a whole lot of trust into that little blue line on the GPS, and the pulsing blue dot indicating me and my current location. It was leading me through Warrandyte plus a few other towns and then onto the M80. I was pushing it to say the least! I couldn’t stop and I couldn’t take a single photograph, but what I saw through that car window was enough to steal a little piece of my heart. Really, truly!!! Warrandyte, I’m coming back for you next year, I need to walk your streets, sip a pot of tea in that quaint little corner café and maybe hunt out the best coffee in town too. Your Op-shop (thrift store) is calling me and, oooh, to browse that Linen & Larder store. I want to play at that nature playground and admire The Stonehouse Gallery, then wander that Folkart shop that flickered past my periferal vision and definitely, definitely take lots and lots of photographs. Perhaps I will even find a sweet little B&B to rest my weary head as well ;)
I didn't miss my flight. I made it back safe 'n' sound with just enough time to duck in home before picking the kids up from school. So it's Friday now and that was Monday. Pretty fabulous way to kick off this week, I'd say!
Happy weekending friends and stay tuned for this coming Monday when I bring you all the crafty delights from The Craft Sessions itself xo