I thought it would be fun to kick off the year's interview series by answering Mabel's questions myself! She's a gruelling interviewer but much tea was had and lots and lots of giggles. I hope you enjoy the read.
Where do you live and with who?
Oh where do I live indeed! Have I mentioned I live in a National Park? In a traditional farmers homestead? With eight bedrooms and a pantry the size of a shed?? I do! And I pinch myself everyday. Sadly the homestead is not our forever home. We are very lucky that my husband works for ACT Parks as a Ranger and we passed all the criteria to be the caretakers for the homestead.
Gudgenby Homestead was built in the 1960s (to replace a falling down shack) by the original landowner Bill Boots and his family and is located approx. 40 mins south of Canberra, on the very southern tip of the ACT. The land was passed to the ACT Government to form part of Namadgi National Park in the 1980s. It is the start of the snowy mountains and can get to minus 18 degrees in winter. We have 4 fireplaces including a wood stove and several heaters. And of course many many quilts. We stay warm. Just…
Home is my husband and my daughter Joss. And my daughter Elinor who is not with us physically yet is in every mountain surrounding us and every eagle that flies over us. There is also Buster the kelpie and the three chooks. And a million spiders. Snakes in summer and several platypus in our river.
Which Oh Mabel lovely product calls your house home? Who is the lucky soul who sleeps with Mabel?
I would say we have a few Mabel linens in our home ;)
I’m not sure how to say which is my favourite. Am I allowed a favourite? The pattern of our sheets rotates weekly however we always have Cowper Street on our bed with Ziggy Zaggy joining in as well during the colder months.
Describe your bedside table?
My bedside table tends to rotate regularly depending on what piece of furniture I’ve picked up from the op shops and what Joss has decided to take off or put on. Currently I have my lamp, a wooden heart jewellery box given to me by my brother last year containing my wedding rings and watch, a my little pony and sitting underneath is a pile of books waiting to be read.
What are you currently reading in bed?
I used to be a mad bed reader. As far as I was concerned, bed was for reading. I could lie for hours and hours, squirrelled away under the covers deep into a story about a world different from mine.
Now? Any attempt to read in bed results in passing out the minute my head hits the pillow.
Any chance for reading is taken during a summer evening when Joss is down in bed and I can sit in my hammock. I have just finished reading non-fiction ‘The Big Leap’ by Gay Hendricks and am now about to start on Magda Szubanski's memoir 'Reckoning'. I am so excited to start this one, Magda is truly inspiring.
Bed time tunes?
The frogs. The frogs down in the river under my bedroom window. Sweetest lullaby I know.
Favourite breakfast eat in bed?
A cup of tea. If someone brings me a cup of tea to have in bed, with pillows plumped up behind me, the curtains open and a chance to sit in silence, I am in heaven.
Do you have a special textile or pattern that holds a special memory for you?
So so many. I started Oh Mabel as a tribute to the textiles that have held special memories in my life. I have a woven wool blanket made by my Dad’s sister shortly before she passed away not long after I was born.
The wallpapers, the carpet, the rugs, the blankets in my Nanna’s house in Tenterfield.
Knitted teddy bears handmade by my Gran.
My very most treasured textile? A soft wool baby cocoon/blanket hand knitted by my Mum awaiting the birth of Elinor. It is the only thing I have that Elinor wore in her short life, it touched her skin, it (I hope) gave her comfort. For a long time I didn’t know how to treasure it. Do I put it somewhere special so that it doesn’t become worn and dirty? Put it behind glass?
A couple of years ago I asked my customers on Instagram whether they had a particular textile that they treasured. One response has sat with me ever since. She said that she had a pillowcase that used to be her Nanna’s and after her passing she used that pillowcase every day. The fabric became threadbare but loved through so much use and the connection with her Nanna was there every day. She never regretted not using it, even though it can no longer be used.
As soon as I read that, I knew that it was better to have my Elinor’s cocoon with me every single day rather than be put away. I now sleep with it, held in my arms every single night. Once day it will look unrecognizable, old and fuzzy, the colours no longer their original shades. And that is what it was made for.
If you could choose anything in the whole wide world:
Career? This. Inspiring people to live their lives with awareness and to treasure the every day moments and memories we experience. Creating beautiful bedlinen to be passed down through families and be the backdrop to the memories of your lives.
Live? Here. Right here in the Gudgenby Valley, Namadgi National Park.
Cook? Pasta and salads. And garlic bread. I wish I could live in a garlic bread.
What special talent do you wish you could have? I would love to be able to sing.
If you could go back and give your teenager self some advice, what would you say?
Ah sweetheart. I know you have a pretty good idea of how you think you’re life is going to turn out but you have so much to learn and experience, so much that will land at your feet that was never on your radar. You will not get a sense of what is most important to you until you are in your 30s. That’s a whole lot of living and learning to do in the meantime. Enjoy it! Spread your wings and say yes to new things. Travel. Meet new people. Try something random (you will un-expectantly enjoy running and weight lifting. Who knew!?). Never compare yourself to others.
And know that you will have all the answers you need. And that you have a family that will support you no matter what. And that it’s okay to create your own life. You will do just fine.
Top sheet/no top sheet? Both. Sometimes there’s a top sheet and sometimes there’s not. I do love a freshly made bed with a top sheet though.
Make your bed every morning? I’m going to go with every second day…
Sleep on left side or right side? Right.
Usual Bedtime? Whenever my husband wakes me up from the couch and tells me to go to bed :)
Night owl or Early riser? Early riser, currently not by choice but I still prefer the mornings.
Whoa! That was exhausting but fun! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did being interviewed by taskmaster Mabel. I have a whole string of fabulous people lined up to interview this year. Would you like be interviewed? Let me know!
Sarah & Mabel xo