Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Yarn Along.....

I'm joining in with Yarn Along today.  
(Sorry about the poor quality photo, I had to take this after dark)
This week I have been trying to get a few rows done on the stripey blanket so I can update the crochet along.  I'm slowly getting there, I like to have a bit of a chunk done to post on the crochet along, so am madly hooking away most evenings.  Except that this is a time of year when there are lots of things happening in the evenings, eating into my crochet time!  Tonight we had an information night at the high school for Max who is starting there next year, it's the end of primary school for him, and for me the end of 11 years of being involved at that school, quite a milestone.
There is also night tennis finals to play in, award nights, a graduation dinner and various other commitments, all good things to be involved with, but I am missing my down time! 
As my boys would say, first world problems mum. Laugh.

Anyway, back to the yarn along, I have started 'Hidden Empire' by Kevin J Anderson, the first book in a big sci fi series. I think this will be a good one for the summer holidays, it has nearly sucked me in, I need to read a bit more to really get involved.

I enjoy a good sci fi, so if anyone has any recommendations I'd love to hear them.
One of my favourite sci fi authors is Sheri Tepper, has anyone read her books?  
If you like sci fi and haven't read anything of hers, give her a go, I love her stories!  
She used to publish a  new book each year around my birthday, and Gary would give me a lovely hardcover edition as a present, but I think she might be getting very old now as I haven't seen anything new from her for a few years, I hope she is still alive!

And for something completely unrelated, we had a glorious sunset tonight after a beautiful day, I think tomorrow is going to be very hot, so a bit of slothing in the shade keeping cool might be in order, and very likely a swim in the evening.  Looking forward to it already!
Stay cool if you are in Melbourne.

Have a great day!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Tree Decoration Tutorial....

Would you like to make a little crochet tree ornament for Christmas?

Thanks for the interest in this little make, I am happy so many people liked it!
This is how I made my tree ornament for the swap, it was very easy,
 maybe a bit fiddly to put together, but not difficult at all.
You could make these trees bigger or smaller depending on how many layers you make.

As you probably noticed the layers are the basic flower pincushion pattern,
 ( this is the one I used, a nice straight forward pattern)
 each with a different amount of rounds completed to give a range of sizes.  
I started with the bottom layer (10 rounds) and then made the second layer 2 round less (8 rounds) , 
and the third layer 2 rounds less than that one (6 rounds), and so on.  
The bottom 4 were done like this, then for the top 3 layers that are quite small, I used a smaller hook (2mm or 1.5mm I think) and finer cotton till I had a size that worked in with where I was up to on my tree.

If you want a bigger tree, you could start with a 12 round layer and go up from there, or for smaller tree start with 8 or 6 rounds.

These are the colours I used for the 'Christmassy' one.

And these are the colours for the pastel one.

You will need a long needle to sew all the layers together, and sewing cotton in colours that match in with your tree.

Once you have your layers all assembled, cut lengths of bobbly ribbon or pom pom trims, pin to each layer and hand sew in place.  I did a fair bit of playing around with colours and different ribbons in between each layer until I was happy with the combination of layers and trimmings.

Once all the trimmings are secure, use your long needle to sew the layers together, I found adding one layer at a time, sewing to the bottom layer, and then adding the next layer, worked well and made a nice solid tree.  

Before I added the top layer I sewed a loop of ric rac for a hanger,then sewed the top layer over it, which I think looks quite neat.

So there you have it, an easy peasey  Crochet Christmas Tree!

You could embellish these with lots of cute little things I think, you could add beads or little buttons, or do little picot edges around the rounds instead of sc.
And they would look lovely made in a fluffy, fuzzy yarn I think!
The skies the limit!
I hope you can have a bit of fun with this.

Happy hooking, bye!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yarn Along and a bit of babble.....


I am joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along today, and am still hooking away at the Cutie Patootie Pants.  
I am not sure if stripes were the best thing to do for these pants, as I didn't realise the pattern changed stitch widths within the rows, so my stripes are going to be thicker on the backside than the front.  
Oh well, I will see how they turn out anyway.

It was my birthday last week and I received a couple of lovely books, one of which was this one, 
'Whole Larder Love' by Rohan Anderson.  
(I seem to be reading a lot of non fiction, practical type books at the moment, ones you can dip in and out of as you like)
This cookbook is full of gorgeous photos and lovely little snippets of story telling about his food love affair.  I am not sure if I will actually cook a lot of the recipes, they are quite adventurous for a house of fussy, plain eaters, but I love where he is coming from with the food he makes.  
I am passionate about growing as much food in our garden as we can, and just love knowing I have been able to provide parts of our meals from outside the backdoor.  
We are a long way from self sufficient, (and am happy to support our local farmers for things that are beyond our capabilities), but I think there is so much satisfaction and sense of 'worthwhileness' in food gardening, I really don't know why everyone doesn't give it a go!!  It makes me really happy!

But I digress, back to the book, there are a lot of recipes for wild game 
(rabbit, hare, venison, duck, yabbies)
which is something I don't cook (or hunt, for that matter), but you never know, maybe if I'm feeling a little wild I might give the duck risotto a crack!  

Speaking of books, I have gone a little crazy recently on Book Depository, and seem to have parcels arriving every few days with lovely, interesting books for me to pour over, so I thought I might do a 'book sharing' post one day a week till I have shown you what I have bought.  
Trust me, there is a lot of lovely, colourful, inspiring, booky goodness coming your way! 


Well, it has been a rather emotional, draining and long couple of weeks around here, but we got through the funeral and gave Jack a send off I think he would have loved. 
 Some positive things come from such a stressful time too, the strong bonds of family and friends, and a deeper appreciation of how lucky we are to have one and other,  and the great lives we are actually living right now. 
I'll be stopping to smell the roses of life and giving thanks for just being here in this moment, in this family, in this place.  It is a lucky feeling.   
I was feeling a bit nihilistic, the other day, you know, 'what's the point to doing anything, nothing really matters in the big picture, our lives are so fleeting, why bother with anything, there is no meaning to doing anything....'  that kind of depressing thinking.  Not like me at all.
I lost my purpose briefly, and so now I am trying to make sure I focus on the good, lucky life I have, and that the purpose of life is to actually get out there and live it, see where it takes you and make the most of each new day. I am sure that is what Jack and my grandpa would want. (my grandpa died on the morning of Jack's funeral, how's that for timing!) Lucky for me Gary is a very positive husband and keeps reaffirming all the good things we have got going for us.

Ok, getting a bit deep (morbid) there, time to finish up I think!  Sorry about that little tangent, I don't usually write about this sort of thing, but it's kind of how I am feeling at the minute, I am sure I will be back to my happy self shortly, I am going to crochet my way to happier days!

Oh, and thank you all for the fantastic response you gave my Christmas decorations, you are all so nice and supportive in this crafty bloggy community.
And yes, I will put together a tutorial on how I made them so you can all have a go at a bit of
 Crochet Christmas Cheer. Keep an eye out for it soon.

Um.... I think that's all for tonight, 
see yay later!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Little Christmas Crafty Tadah.....

How's your day going?  
We're going pretty well here.
So this is what I have been up to craftily speaking, 
I have finished my little Christmas decorations for the swap! 
And with heaps of time to spare. Yay!

 They are little crochet Christmas trees, (in case it's hard to tell), and I am pretty pleased with how they turned out.  The crochet bits were straight forward and then it was fun adding the pom pom bits and trims.  I was hoping they would look a little bit over the top, in a colourful kind of way.  
They make me smile, so I think that's a win.  

I kind of made up how to put these together after having a think about how to crochet little trees.
I think they are reasonably tree-like.

I hope my swap partners like them.  

......blues and pinks and greens in this one...

....and keeping it a little more Christmassy with this one.....

Have a fun crafty day! 

PS. Thank you so much for all your kind words on the death of my father in law, there is a lot of comfort to be found in this great big bloggy community, and both Gary and I were touched by your sympathy, good thoughts going out to you all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Why I love living on the edge of an island....

..... because you are able to do this after dinner on glorious nights. 
 We are so lucky.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Crochet along Update #5 and sad times...

How is your weekend going?

I have to say this last few weeks have been a bit of a write off for me. Life has taken a turn for the sad, with my lovely father-in-law, who had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer, dying last night.  My husband has been spending as much time with his as possible, but it still feels like a very rapid ending to a great and interesting life. It doesn't feel quite real yet, I know the next few weeks will be tough for the whole family, but they are strong, and I am sure Jack will be given a great send off and we will all try and focus on the wonderful life he had and the great family he created, so many happy memories to reflect on when we feel down and miss his presence.

I thought I would try and cheer myself up a bit with a shot of colourful crochet, I have had a fair bit of crochet time in the driving to and fro the hospital, so have managed to get a few more rows of the mixed stripy blanket done.  
I don't think I have done a progress post for this blanket for a while (mainly because there hasn't been much progress!), so here are a few pictures of it's growth. Slowly getting bigger!
Maybe 25% done? 30%?

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely weekend and give your loves a extra special hug. 
I know I will be hugging mine.

PS. I have updated the crochet along page with the details of the next few rows that I have completed. You can find the page link on my side bar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yarn along....

Hello, today I am joining in with Ginny and her Yarn Along.
This week I have been trying to finish my Christmas decorations for the swap.  All the crochet bits are done, it just some sewing and adding a few embellishments left to do.  This is the fun bit, choosing extra trimmings and trying different things out till I find a combo that I am happy with. 
 They look a bit weird all unfinished, but I think they will be cute once I get them together. 
(Hoping anyway!)  
I think it is ok to go a bit over the top at Christmas time, I'll show you the finished things later in the week (hope you will be able to tell what they are supposed to be, Gary couldn't!!)

I have also been looking at a new crochet book that I got this week, Little Crochet by Linda Permann.
There are some cute things for babies and toddlers in here and a very nice granny square blanket that I might have a go at some day.

But these little Cutie Patootie Pants are the reason I wanted this book. I saw the lovely ones that 
 Shara from One Grey Elephant made, and just had to make a pair for a few up and coming babies (not my own!)

I am thinking of making them in cotton, as I have just received some new cotton from Bendigo. 
These 5 colours are from their new seasons colours, and I really like them, especially the kiwi green and the sky blue.

 These are the new colours mixed with some older colours that I already had, I think I can make some good colour combos with this lot.

I have 5 hours as a passenger in the car tomorrow, so might make a start on a little pair of pants.

Happy yarning on!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Hi there. How are you going where you are?  
We are having a public holiday for the running of the Melbourne Cup, and it feels like the weekend has kept going, which is always nice.

On Saturday a friend of mine, Nikki, got married and asked my friend Esther and I to do some flowers for the party afterwards, so on Friday we got together and created a storm of flowery loveliness.  Esther is a florist, so was able to order some gorgeous stocks, delphiniums, special roses and and some other pretty things to fill out our home grown roses and annuals that we picked from our gardens.  We also picked lots of greenery to help give that relaxed, cottagey feel that Nik was after.  She wanted lots of flowers everywhere, so we tried to oblige!

They looked so pretty, I had to take a few piccys and show you.  These are mostly the smaller posies we made at my place, the taller things like the delphiniums were made up at Nik's place straight into big vases.
It all looked beautiful by the time the wedding took place, and we had a great time, dancing the night away, I love a good wedding! (is there any other type?)

Hope you all had a good weekend too.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Slow Living October

Another month has rolled around and it is time to reflect on my Slow Living goals and join in with Christine and the other lovelies for my Slow Living report for October.
There has been beautiful sunny skies and a much warmer feel
 to the days in October, summer is on the way!

Nourish - We have been eating our normal range of foods I think, with a greater emphasis on home grown vegetables as I was able to provide broccoli, spinach, snow peas , podding peas, lettuce, kale and celery from the garden this month.  We mostly ate these in raw form as the boys don't like cooked veggies, although I did steam the spinach, kale and broccoli, because that's how I like it!  The snowpeas have been a star performer, I have been weighing my harvest and in the last 2 weeks of October I picked 5.5kgs !! That's a lot of snow peas, and they are still going strong.  
The chooks are producing a steady supply of eggs, so I have been making quite a few meringues to use them up, and because the kids really like them.

Prepare - Haven't really prepared much this month, we tend to eat things fresh and give away any excess.  This is an area I should try and improve. 

Grow - Things have been busy in the garden, I have been cleaning out beds ready for spring/summer plantings. I planted potatoes, zucchini, climbing beans, and a bed of capsicums, and there are lots of seedlings in the hothouse ready to go into the garden - tomatoes, basil, perpetual spinach, cucubers, cantaloup, pumpkins, 3 types of beans, snow peas, kale and lettuces.  My first sowing of sweetcorn didn't work so I am going to have another go soon.  
Also planted sunflowers and zinnias which are all up. 
 The raspberries are covered with flowers and plenty of buzzing bees, Yay!
In the garden, it has been all about flowers, with the poppies, iris and roses all putting on lovely displays, not to mention the blossom on the fruit trees and ornamentals, just gorgeous!

Green - Um.... I've been picking my own bunches of flowers and using extra blankets instead of turning on heating for the few cooler evenings as winter leaves us, It does feel like warmer weather is on the way.  Also looked into window coverings for our back room to keep out the sun this summer and help keep the house cooler, we have no air conditioning so it can warm up quite quickly inside.

Create - Didn't get much interesting creating done in October. I am continuing on with my crochet along blanket, although I didn't make a lot of progress, and I have started a Christmas decoration for a swap I have joined.

Discover - In October I was reminded that it is important not to take people and relationships for granted, you just don't know how long any of us have on this earth, and things can change very quickly.

Enhance - I took part in Blogtoberfest as part of the blogging community, I don't do a lot to connect with other people on my blog, so I thought it would be a good way to try and rectify that, I had mixed results. I found it hard to fit in a post a day, without feeling like the posts were very boring! Must try and find more interesting things to post about! 

Enjoy - We had family gatherings, a birthday and I had a night out to a great concert in October.  Also enjoyed a bit of day dreaming about some new crocheting, hope to get onto that soon!

So that is my wrap up of October, overall the time flew by so quickly that I didn't really get to achieve a lot.  I am finding with more work days away from the house, I don't have the 'Slow' life I am aiming for.  I am certainly going to take steps to address this in 2013, I haven't really got a lot of joy out of the last few months, and I think it is just because I have been so busy.  I really don't think the extra bit of money is worth it, so am going to rebalance things in the new year.

Have a great day!