Tuesday, 19 July 2011

show & tell - susan rees osborne

Susan Rees Osborne has been writing her Pea Soup blog for over six years now. If you haven't already come across it you must visit soon. I've been reading for about a year and its one of my very favourite places on the web. Suse's place is calm and capable. Its full of wonderful landscapes and ideas, books and music, food and craft and humour. And a rescue greyhound with the sweetest face. As many of you would know Suse lives this handmade life on the bushy outskirts of Melbourne "amongst the kangaroos and mudbrick houses".

I was lucky enough to do a small swap with Suse this year which means I've been using her fabulous handmade soaps for the last couple of months. Luxury! For others not so lucky, Suse shared her soap recipe last year with lots of great tips and advice. She's generous like that, she also helped me when I took on knitting my first cardigan this winter and I emailled her out of the blue for advice.

Here is a small taste of her beautiful photography and wonderful crafting skills and a chance to find out more about the person behind them. Read on to learn how Pea Soup got its name and discover what she considers her best collaboration. Thanks again Suse :-)

Susan Rees Osborne
http://www.etsy.com/shop/peasouphandmade (in fits and starts ...)

1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
I suppose pea soup fits into the broader craft blog community, but it also serves as a bit of a brain-dump as well. I do like to rabbit on about all sorts of other things besides knitting.  Books, photography, adventures with my sewing machine, the juggle of a job/family/part-time study, general miscellania inside my head.


2. Why blog? How did you start?
I first came across craft blogs six years ago when I googled knitted flowers, as I wanted to embellish a hat I'd made for my best friend's fourth baby. The google search came up with Loobylu's blog and I was first intrigued, then hooked.  I read all the blogs on her sidebar, and watched the craft blog community from afar for a few weeks, but when I came across the Self Portrait Tuesday project for bloggers I leapt right in.  I still can't quite believe I've kept up the blog for six years; it's the amazing and ever-evolving community that keeps me participating, that's for sure.


3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
My mum taught me to knit and crochet. And sew. My aunt was an amazing embroiderer. YouTube has been marvellous for instruction in the execution of the perfect short row heel.

4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
If I'm sewing I tend to take over the dining table for several weeks at a time and we eat at the breakfast bar or on laps until someone cracks it and I clear it all away again. The woolly arts are far more portable - my fleece, yarn and spinning wheel live right next to my chair by the fire.


5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
When I was 17 I went to a tiny little town in Idaho, USA for a year as an exchange student.  My host mother immediately nicknamed me
Sweetpea.  Many years later when I met my husband he gave me the same nickname, which he quickly shortened to Pea.  He still calls me Pea more often than he calls me Susan.

6. Favourite media to work in?
Wool.  Although I'm quilting at the moment and those fabrics are verrrry pretty.


7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
I dabble a lot; dyeing, spinning, lace knitting, quilting, photography, soapmaking.  Sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the things I like (and would like) to do.  I do plan to extend my natural dyeing (ie. plant-based) experiments a little more, maybe at the end of next year when my studies are fiiiiiinally complete.

8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Ahem. Let's not go there.

9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
I had been watching Eva's naturally dyed textile jewellery on Tinctory (www.tinctory.blogspot.com) for a long time, promising myself that one day... one day... I would own one of her pieces.  And now I do.


10. Favourite food/recipe?
Maltesers.  Raspberries are a close second.  Recipes, meh.

11. Favourite colours?
Plum. Duck egg blue.

12. Star sign?

13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
Oh lots.  London, my birthplace.  The landscape of the Palouse
where I lived in Idaho. Last year we camped in the desert outside Broken Hill (flickr set here - that was stunning. Venice lives on in my mind after a brief visit in 1985.


14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
There are no tricks.  But I know that it's worth juggling, as I am a much nicer mother, partner and friend when I make the time to do things that are important to me.

15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
India Flint is pretty inspiring. Jude Hill, Eva from Tinctory, some of the amazing knitting designers like Anne Hanson, Veera, Jared Flood and Kirsten Kapur. Too many others to mention.

16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
I made three extraordinarily beautiful babies, but I collaborated on that project.


17. Three words to describe yourself?
Hopeful, curious, loyal.
How do you answer that without sounding like a pretentious git?

18. What do you like to do besides creating?
Take photographs, play the cello (I'm up to my fourth song now, so proud!), garden, read. Drink cups of tea in bed on a Sunday morning.



  1. And guess who got me bloggy hooked? I hold the very fabulous, witty, Master of Random Bits and Pieces Blog Post, (aka Ms Soup), wholly accountable on that score.

  2. A very interesting read and a new blog to check out - thank you.

  3. How wonderful to discover a new blog that is so inspiring and creative and fun! Loved everything about this show & tell, Susie. Great to meet you Pea :) Kx

  4. I love Suse's blog and she has the best Chai recipe, I just made a new batch today.

  5. Love Pea Soup, am inspired by Suse regularly. Thanks for giving us this interview!

  6. Here via Soup Lady's blog! Great interview and yes, you have a smashing blog too.

    I have been going to S.Lady's blog for years because she makes me smile and nod my head in agreement and we seem to like the same books.

    I have only been in Oz for 10 years and her blog was one of the first to inspire me to start my own.

  7. Thank you for this - I have been reading PeaSoup for years and I never knew half this stuff! I can carry on reading feeling knowledgeable now....:D

  8. Stupidly, I have only just cottoned on to Pea Soup. But now I'm there with bells on. And I've started knitting... oh dear.

    Great idea, this show and tell...

  9. Such an interesting interview - lots of things I didn't know about Suse. I thought your line, "Suse's place is calm and capable" totally sums up her blog.

  10. Thank you Susie, you made my ramblings sound and look wonderful! And I'm blushing at the things you and your commenters said about me.

    Thanks again for including me in your fab series. Can't wait to see who you come up with next month.


Thank you for dropping by and commenting :-)