Wednesday, September 26, 2012

sunny day....

We had a fun day today, very relaxed and ordinary, but just what you need in holiday mode.
The weather was lovely, so I took lunch outside.  We had popcorn, chocolate chip bikkies, sausages and berries, very yum!

 My mum and dad and one of my sisters and her girls came around for the picnic too.

Max and Andre were pottering around, doing their own thing, their favourite holiday pastime.

My photogenic nieces.

There was some ball  throwing action, cousins playing nicely together is always great to see.

There was some fun with papa....

...and an afternoon egg to collect.

 ...... Josie had to check the photo of herself on my last post...... lovely mum......

this one likes to pull the odd face here and there, this is 'extra happy face'

......all in all, a very pleasant afternoon sitting in the sun and enjoying some time with the family.

These holidays have been so good so far, I have had lots of time to potter in the garden and really get some jobs done.  Jesse has been doing work experience at Gary's work, so it has just been Max and Andre and I around here, we went to the movies yesterday and saw a family of ducks with tiny little ducklings crossing the road on our way home, so cute!

Ok, I'm off to do a bit more on my blanket, hoping to have an update for you all soon!

Happy days to you all!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Crochet Boutique - Review and Give Away!


How are you all going today? I'm good, really happy it's school holidays and we can kick back and unwind a bit this week.  Time to catch up on a bit of blog reading and hopefully get a few more posts done myself, and a bit of crochet time too!

Well, a few weeks ago something quite exciting (for me)  happened, I was sent a new crochet book to review, and here I am having a look at it!

Crochet Boutique by Rachael Oglesby is a great book, with some lovely simple patterns for hip hats, cowls and other accessories.  The instructions are clear and the skill level is easy, so beginners would feel at ease with these patterns.  

There is lovely photography to inspire you to get out your hook and have a crack.  I like this shopping bag, great for market going.

I like this triangle fringe scarf, very hip!

There are also some gorgeous timeless pieces,  like this wrap and the cute bubble beret.

 ....and I liked the laptop satchel and heart garland, think I might hook up some hearts for myself soon.

I decide to have a go at the bubble beret, I didn't have the yarn suggested in the pattern, so used some Cleckheaton Country Tartan 8ply 100% wool from my stash and hoped for the best.  It was a fun make and I had no problems following the pattern, it only took one night and half a car trip of crocheting to complete.

My sister and nieces came round today and Josie was happy to model it for me, I think it looks pretty cute!  It has turned out quite a bit smaller than the pattern, but I didn't test my tension (naughty lazy me), 
and am using a different yarn, so it is for a child instead of an adult, I think it would look gorgeous on a little one this winter, nice and cosy and warm.

(Such a happy darling, nice to get my girl fix in this house of boys!)

Max thought he would try it on too, but it's a bit small for him, and so chic with the Metallica tee!!  He thought it was quite amusing!  
(He also thought it made a good frisbee!!)

So, lots of very doable, snuggly patterns, simple and stylish, for the cooler months here, and some nice homey things too, something for everyone, I guess!

And you know what? 

Lark Crafts kindly sent me an extra copy of Crochet Boutique to give away to you lovely readers, so if you would like a copy for yourself, just leave me a comment and I'll pick a lucky winner next week!

So I hope you all have a great day and maybe get out your hooks and crochet up a storm!

Edited to add: Thanks for entering, this giveaway is now closed!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Crochet along Update #3

How are you going today?

I have got the next bit of the crochet along for you today, so here what I've done:

After the aqua and red outlined cluster pattern, and the 1 row of blue hdc, 
I turned the work and went back with another row of blue hdc.

Next was a row of pale pink hdc, then turn the work and go back, so you end up with a double row of pale pink hdc.

Next is a 4 row pattern called Catherine Wheel.

Special Abbreviation CL (Cluster) : work [yo, insert hook, yo, draw loop through, yo, draw through 2 loops] over the number of sts indicated, yo, draw through all loops on hook.

Row 1(wrong side) : In red, join and make 1ch in first st (counts as first st), 1sc in next st, * skip 3sts, 7dc into next st, skip 3 sts, 1sc into each of next 3sts; rep from * to lats 4 sts, skip 3sts, 4dc into last st,  turn.

Row 2 (right side) : In pink, join to first st and  make 1ch, 1sc into first st, 1sc into next st, *3ch, 1CL over next 7sts, 3ch, 1sc into each of next 3 sts; rep from * to last 4 sts, 3ch, !cl over last 4 sts, skip tch, turn.

Row 3 (wrong side) : still with pink, 3ch, 3dc into first st, * skip 3ch, 1sc into each of the next 3scs, skip 3ch, 7dcs into the loop that closed next CL; rep from *to end, finishing with skip 3ch, 1sc into each of last 2sc, skip tch, turn

Row 4 (right side) :In red, join and 3ch (counts as 1dc), skip first st, 1CL over next 3 sts, * 3ch, isc into each of next 3 sts, 3ch, 1CL over next 7sts; rep from* finishing with 3ch, 1sc into next st,1sc into top of tch, turn.

This pattern can be a bit tricky at the start and end of rows, depending on how many stitches are in your blanket, so here is the graphic pattern to help you work out your ends and starts.  Just adjust your ends and starts to keep your sides straight, according to where you are in the pattern repeat.
(sorry it's a bit blurry, it's getting late here!)
Of course you can do this pattern in whatever colours you like!

Catherine Wheel Stitch Pattern, from Basic Crochet Stitches , edited by Erika Knight.

Next is a chunk of sc rows.
Row 1 : (Right side) Lime green, sc across the row, doing 10sc evenly across each pattern repeat of the Catherine Wheel row below to ensure the stitch count stays the same. Turn.

Row 2 : (Wrong side) 1ch, skip first st, sc in each st across row.

Row 3 : (RS) Mid green, Sc in each st across row, turn.

Row 4 : (WS) 1ch, skip first st, sc in eachst across row.

Rows 5 -11 : Sc across the row, doing one row of each colour, working all on the right side.  
Colour sequence that I used :
Light blue, 
dark blue,
dark blue, 
 light blue.

Next is a chunk of Granny stripe pattern  (see earlier pattern notes) in watermelon, spearmint green, and mid blue.  You can add more or less granny stripes if you would like.  I think I will add a couple more to this chunk, but I haven't quite got to that yet. 

Ok that's all I have for you at the moment, school holidays are coming up next week, so I might have a bit more time to devote to this while the boys have their holiday sleep ins, so there hopefully won't be quite as big a wait for the next instalment!  Sorry for my slowness, but this is a huge blanket and each row is taking ages!

Just a note on the yarns I am using, I am using quite a few different Australian brands, (to get a good colour range), mainly Heirloom Colorworks 8ply and Cleckheaton Country 8ply, with some stash bits and pieces as well.  I think they are DK equivalent.  They are probably hard to find overseas (although Cleckheaton is very common here), so you can use any dk weight yarn that takes your fancy, I like to work with wool, but I am sure it would be just as nice in any yarn you choose.

Have a great day!

Joining in with The Creative Spaces over here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Spring Colour....

Hello.  How are you all going?

I feel like I haven't been round here much recently, life has really become busy over the last few weeks, and I don't feel like I am giving anything the proper attention it deserves, including this sad, neglected blog!  Really looking forward to the school holidays at the end of next week, hanging out for them actually.

In the mean time, Spring has sprung around these parts and my long awaited poppies are flowering beautifully.  These have to be one of my favourite flowers, I never get sick of them, especially the pastel shades.  I seem to be in luck this year with a fair percentage of pastels in the mix, not just yellows and orange.  They do perk me up no end, happy days!

And much excitement, my cutting garden of tall freesias are also in bloom! Yay!
Last year I dug up a lot of my fressias that were scattered around all over the garden and planted them in a special bed so I could cut them for the house and try and give them a bit of special TLC.  They were supposed to be a tall florist variety, but in the borders they didn't grow as tall as I liked, but in their cutting bed, Wow!  I am getting some very tall stems 30 - 40cm, and really sturdy flowers spikes, I just love the scent of freesias, they are making the house smell so Spring like, just brilliant!
(And there are still lots coming up in the other parts of the garden, gotta love a multiplying bulb/corm?)

So cheerful and super delicious smelly!

I have also been doing a lot of baking, in fact I feel like I am rarely out of the kitchen these days!
My boys might be a bit fussy on the food front, but they seem to inhale the baked stuff that I make, I could easily bake every day and they would still be looking in the tins for biscuits and cakes, 1 or 2 batches don't seem to cut it any more!

Really easy banana muffins, a current favourite of Max.

Something exciting came for me in the mail this week, and I have to say I was waiting with great anticipation for this parcel, my first online yarny buy!  And I wasn't disappointed!  Look at all these lovely cottons I bought and such gorgeous colours!  It was the colours that drew me to this yarn, it is really hard to find nice colours in 100% cotton locally, so I was very pleased with these.

I bought them from the lovely Yvonne at The Yvestown Shop.  I am sure all you crafty ladies would know of Yvonne and her gorgeous blog, so much inspiration there! It was a great online shopping experience, I highly recommend it!
 So these yarns have travelled half way round the world to end up here, and I am so happy with them!  I have lots of ideas brewing for this lot, if I ever get time to settle at some crafty action, hopefully on the holidays.

So here are a few more pictures of the yarn, cause you can never have too much colour to brighten your day!

I really love some of the blues and this brilliant orange, and the bubblegum pink, and the grassy green, and .......well I love them all actually!!

Anyhoo, I'll be back with the next bit of the crochet along over the weekend, if i don't get too distracted by my new stash!

What have you been up to lately?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Yarn along.....

Today I am joining in with The Yarn Along peeps over at Ginny's place here.

It has been seriously windy here the last few days, like trees down, black outs, and blocked roads windy, so a good time to stay indoors and get a bit of hooky done. ( Not actually what has been happening, work and normal hectic life goes on regardless of the weather.)
I have been doing a bit more of the mixed stripy blanket, progress is slow and I feel that everyone will be thoroughly sick of seeing this blanket by the time it is finished!!

And I have started reading one of Max's latest reads Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle.  This is a story I bought him a few years ago, but at the time he was a bit young for it and only got a few chapters in and then left it.  Recently he picked it up again and got stuck right into it and had it read in less than a week, he is onto the sequel now, and really enjoyed the first one.  
I was always intrigued as a child by stories about tiny people, and I still like the idea of whole worlds operating right under our feet but unseen by us.  This is a story about the tiny people who inhabit a big tree, and the adventures of one in particular, Toby.  I have only read a few chapters, but it seems like a pretty in depth story for a children's novel.  Courage, betrayal, abandonment and strength of character are a few of the themes that are being explored here, so it is a great story for my 12yr old to enjoy and hopefully learn a thing or two about human nature.
It is an english translation of the original French novel, so I don't know if much gets lost in translation, the story seems to flow nicely anyway. 

Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? 
Do you still like to read children's books?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Crochet Along Update #2.....

So here is the next bit of the crochet along!

I think last time I had finished the chevron stripe pattern, so after that section I have added rows of sc in 3 colours. 
Starting with the right side facing, I have done 1row of sc in dark blue, then turned and gone back, so ending up with a double row of sc. Then I've repeated this in pale pink, and mid blue.

4dc cluster pattern

Next, I have done a row of 4dc clusters, with 3 sts skipped between them (this keeps the stitch count even overall).  The first cluster is made of 3chs and 1dc, then the rest are 4dcs.

Next, a row of sc in lime.

Next, another row of 4dc clusters in blue.

Next, a double row of sc in green ( 1 row, turn, second row)

Bobble Pattern

Next I am setting up for my bobble row with 1 row of dcs in pale blue.
The middle row of the bobble section is where you do the bobbles . 
There is a great tutorial over at Tales from Cuckoo Land here that shows you exactly how to do the bobbles in another colour, which is how I learnt how to do it, have a look over there to find out how to do this part.
Then I did another row of dcs in pale blue to finish off this bit.

Next another double row of sc in green.

(I am going to call this next 3 rows Outlined Cluster Pattern in future)

Next, one row of sc in red.

Next, one row of 4tr clusters in turquoise, made the same way as the 4dc clusters, but with trs instead.

Next row, ch1(counts as 1st st), 1sc in next stitch, then 2trtog into centre skipped st of the first row of sc in red, *then 3sc across top of cluster sts, then 2trtog into centre skipped st of first row of sc in red*, and repeat to end of row. (hope that's not too confusing!)

Next, I row of hdc in blue.

Okay that's where I'm up to at the moment, I am pretty happy with how it is working out, I have decided not to use any white in this blanket, so I hope the colours keep looking good together.

I am going to try and work a bit of Catherine Wheel pattern in soon, so hope that works out ok, then it might be time for some repeating of the chevron stripe and granny stripes, I'll have to wait and see!

How are you going with this blanket? 
Still having fun?
Getting frustrated with my slow posting? (Sorry!)
Are you doing your own bit of winging it crochet?

Have a great day, and happy hooking!