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in the light of the sun

moments of me and my life by the sea

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crochet

shake it like a polaroid picture!

Warning – I’m gonna be all lame here and gush about an iphone app. You take a picture then you shake it and wait for it to develop like a polaroid!! It’s so much fun! (And it’s completely hypocritical of me to love it so much as I really hate the Hipstamatic app that takes faux lomo shots – just use a Holga or a Diana people!)

But look at the pretty wisteria…
And I love how at this time of year the gutter is filled with pretty purple petal litter

And this is my new friend Zeppellin. He’s the friendliest kitten in town. He lives on my parent’s street and I actually cross the road to see if he’s hanging out…

And here is my old friend Montalbano with his new friend, Gabi’s crochet baby blankie. I got straight onto it and sewed up the left over hexagons and started working on the trim. And since Bano likes it and I’m also told the lovely Sally’s Mister 3 even likes it, so I’m feeling pretty confident that my lil one will like it too. (And if not, too bad.)

Only problem is I got THIS CLOSE to finishing the trim in the pale green when I ran out of yarn. CURSES!!

Ironically every thing I’ve ever tried to crochet in that lovely pale green bamboo/cotton yarn has been promptly ripped up, I just can’t seem to get it to work for me. So I wasn’t surprised it wasn’t going to oblige me and finish the trim without an argument. What should I do? Rip it off? Fill the gap with left over jade? Crochet the row again using a smaller stitch that might conserve more yarn? Ditch the entire project?!


warm fuzzy "look everyone, I made this!" moments

So even though Spring is well sprung these days, what with all the magnolias and cherry blossoms and wisteria waving hello as you walk down the street, I’m still making room for some warm fuzzy moments in my life.

If I can be THIS PROUD of my recycled woollen turtleneck jumper transformed into a hot water bottle cozy then I can only imagine how proud I will be of the little baby I pop out after 9 long months. I bet there will be a lot of “LOOK EVERYONE, I MADE THIS!!!”…apologies in advance people.

Meanwhile, here is my new improved hot water bottle. Turtleneck jumpers are terribly unflattering on me, but I always get sucked in by the woollen jumper rack at Vinnies, so rather than return it back to Vinnies in a recent spring clean I decided to get crafty. Wish I’d thought beforehand to embroider something cute on it before I sewed it up but the urge to make overwhelmed my thinking process.

Have you ever got so sick of a project you’d been working on that you never bothered to finish it? Well, I think I’ve come across a solution – pass it on! My lovely neighbour Gabi had been working on a sweet hexagonal crochet baby blankie for a friend of hers since her friend found out she was pregnant. Now that friends baby is 1 and Gabi still hasn’t finished the blanket but has grown sick of the sight of it. So she passed it on to me instead.

And I’m so excited! I just have to sew on 14 left over hexagons and edge it and it’s done! Almost like I made the whole thing myself!

I better get cracking on this though otherwise I fear I’ll lose the will to finish also, and it would be a terrible shame for this poor orphaned blankie to be abandoned twice!

Whatever is worn on the head is a sign of the mind beneath it

 

So that must mean I’m bright, cheery and very good for you?!
Here’s my latest crochet project – a red delicious apple beanie…

apple beanie!
leaf detail on my apple beanie
apple beanie birds eye view
fuzzy

Turns out it’s awfully hard to take photos of oneself wearing a beanie in low light. Curse this dreary overcast and rainy weather! Although – tis perfect weather for a bright and cheerful apple beanie!

Does what’s on your head define your mind right now? 

pin cushion swap

I’ve joined in on the Pin Cushion Swap organised by sweet Kate of Foxs Lane.

My ummming and ahhhing, dilly dallying, tooing and froing time is now up. I’ve got to pop my pin cushions in the mail! Whether I like them or not.

Here they are:

pin cushion swap

pincushions 2

Now, I only learnt to crochet just last November so I am rather proud of myself for figuring these out all by myself and without a pattern. Having said that, had I consulted a pattern I may not have needed to pull them apart quite so many times…but where is the ‘learning’ in that eh?

I hope these cheery pin cushions leave a little ray of sunshine on my swap partner’s sewing table! I’m just putting the finishing touches on my ‘Sunny Songs to Sew By’ mixtape and then I’m off to the post office…

this couch potato is getting a serious makeover

I’d love a new couch. But I’ve been told by my better half that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this one.

I’d beg to differ.

I mean sure, it’s actually quite comfortable, if you don’t mind sinking into it and never getting up again. And the fact that it only cost 40 cents on ebay makes it hard to imagine a replacement that could scream !!!BARGAIN!!! quite like this one does. Everyone loves a bargain. Everyone that visits our home gets told “that couch cost 40 cents”. If we didn’t have the couch, what bargains could we brag about?!

But it’s so dark and shows so much dust and is getting threadbare on the arms and the cushions are sad and flat and missing buttons…

Oh, it would be so lovely and grown up to own a piece of furniture that I’d actually bought because I like the design, rather than the price tag. But I guess I’ll have to wait until I am…more…grown up.

In the meantime I shall exercise my powers of discretionary spending on soft furnishings.

Enter my Umbrella Prints cushions. I picked up two packs of Umbrella Prints remnants at the last Sydney Finders Keepers markets. Holy thread count, Batman, I am seriously impressed with their stuff.

Did you know that these original Umbrella Prints fabrics are hand screen printed in Australia on organic hemp/cotton and linen/cotton and the inks used are water based 100% solvent free. YES! It’s true! And unlike some other Australian, hand screen printed, environmentally friendly fabric* I bought recently, I’m really impressed with the quality of both the fabric and the printing. Seriously professional product. And it was a dream to sew.

Well, I dreamt that part up. Actually, my awesome, wonderful, kind and sweet mother sewed these up for me for Christmas. Bless her and her sewing skills!

So things are looking up, on the couch front, don’tcha think?

But there’s still so much brown….so I’ve decided to put my new found crochet skills to work and embark upon an epic project – my first granny square blanket!

I’ve purchased 15 balls of Moda Vera ‘Cupcake’ yarn, which is ever so soft and snuggly, in colours which I think will compliment my cushions nicely. I’ve got 4 base colours for this rug – a navy, pumpkin, mustard and red.

And then I’ve got 3 bright and cheery colours – turquoise, rose and purple – to add a little pop of colour here and there. Then I’ll bind them all together with a nice cream. Yum!

And this granny square rug will not be anything like the rug on Roseanne, which is what my ‘so called’ better half exclaimed when he saw my granny square pile growing…

Now, If we add up the cost of these cushions (easily $100 with feather/down cushion inserts and not including labour) and the wool to make this blanket ($70 so far but since I haven’t finished I’ll bet I have to buy more, 4 balls of cream to crochet it all together is definitely not going to be enough) I think I’d have just enough to purchase another (albeit pre-loved) couch from ebay. But where would the fun be in that eh?!

*No, I shan’t name names. I’d probably be ostracised by the Australian blogging community as this company gets a serious amount of online love. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and put it down to bad luck/exceedingly high fabric quality expectations/bad day at the press…but I doubt I’ll be spending any more of my hard earned discretionary dollars there in the future. Sad face…

WIP It!

Into Shape!
Shape Up!
It’s Not Too Late!

Sorry to put Devo in your head but I do like appropriating tunes to match whatever I’m doing. And lately I’ve been making stuff! Hooray for making stuff! And since I no longer work in an office where Management requires a weekly hour long Work In Progress meeting where I have to detail every single project I’ve been working on, leaving less time for actual work on said projects, I’ve felt a WIP meeting gap in my life. Perhaps I need some KPIs. Then I’ll need to see some ROI for my efforts at those KPIs. I’ll action this immediately and get back to you all by COB today okay?!

So here is my WIP report. Feel free to judge, provide constructive criticism, feedback or tell me to work harder, faster, better, whatever. Just do it condescendingly so I get that old office hierarchy feeling flooding back!

WIP #1 is inspired by soft lil yellow ducklings and fluffy grey kittens. Well, actually those thoughts came to me well after I chose the wool plucked from my mother and her mother’s stash. But it’s a nice thought, isn’t it?

This little WIP is destined to be a cozy neck warmer/cowl. Double sided, lemon and grey, knitted up in a moss stitch using two different sized sets of needles. I even learnt how to knit button holes for this project, which is quite frankly an amazing feat of learning on my behalf, from a book no less. Yes that’s right, I followed instructions from a book. I can’t even follow a recipe without thinking I know better. Very proud of my humble restraint and will to learn here! Although, foolishly I knitted button holes for buttons which I don’t actually have yet, so now I’ll have to find some that not only match my colour scheme but also fit the holes!

WIP #2 is supposed to be bright, cheery and fun. A burst of sunshiney goodness and floral frippery in the form of a crocheted pin cushion. I’m not sure if that’s just too much to ask of a crocheted flower or just too much to ask of my crocheting skills. Luckily it’s just a practice run for the Pin Cushion swap over at Foxs Lane because it’s really not doing it for me. I think I’m going to have to get all Blondie on this one and rip it to shreds.

WIP #3 is not really a WIP anymore, but I’m going to share it anyway. I SEWED! I haven’t sewn anything on a machine for years. I never really made friends with my sewing machine in the past. We’d fall out over silly things like broken needles, forgetting how to thread a bobbin, snapping cotton thread or slipping stitches. Plus with an expert sewer for a mum, it was always easier to put in an order rather than make something myself. Lazy, I know. But I decided that this is the year to move on from whatever trials we’d experienced in the past and learn to be a better, more understanding, caring friend to my machine. Listen to it. Hang out. Have cups of tea together, maybe a chocolate biscuit or three.

So I ordered Mum to hand it over (do you still stash stuff at your parents house even though you’re grown up and own your own home? nah, me neither.) dusted it off and enlisted the help of a kind and patient real life friend, Alex, to help me re-learn some basics and whip up a simple tote bag, even though I didn’t have a pattern or a clue.

Alex was super helpful and encouraging and we had whipped up a tote in (almost) no time! I was 99% of the way through, racing towards the finish line when a horrible groan escaped from my machine. Actually it was more of a frustrated growl, which I promptly matched with my own frustrated growl. We’d had a few hiccups along the way, but nothing that a timeout and a rethread hadn’t magically fixed. But this time my machine decided enough was enough and officially carked it.

So I marched back to Mums and she kindly applied the finishing touches on her machine. She also told me not to tell you that she helped me like that, that I should take all the credit for my efforts and sewing success. She’s nice like that.

Now that I have conquered a simple tote bag I’m thinking my next project should be something like a three piece suit. You know, to look smart and professional for our next WIP meeting. Well, once my machine is back up and running of course. Whaddaya think huh!?!

first impressions count

Does anyone else get almost as much pleasure from wrapping a present as they do from making what’s inside? You can’t beat squeals of excitement and anticipation. My squeals, of course. Giving presents is so much fun!

Quite often the outside of my presents trump what’s inside the wrapping paper. This can lead to disappointment. Be careful to balance the inner with the outer for optimum delight when gift giving.

Here’s my latest attempt at gift wrapping.

Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of my favourite things.

Curious about what’s inside?  
This awesome book and some handmade crocheted granny star coasters – a house warming present of sorts for my lovely friends Naomi and Anthony who’ve just bought their first home. I spent the last week visiting them in Melbourne and wished I could live in their lovely spare room permanently, while they make me tasty food, play me fun tunes and entertain me with hard labour. Believe it or not, you can have lots of fun hauling tonnes of bluestone on and off a ute.

Curious about how to decorate your gifts with leftover scraps from your crafty pursuits?
As you can see from the images, it’s not rocket science – it just takes a little time and effort. Just a little though! Hand sew scraps of felt or material cut into tiny triangles onto a length of wool with invisible thread to make a bunting garland like I’ve done below. Saving all the tiny scraps of wool cut off your crochet/knitting projects and knotting them together to make a super colourful, economical, no waste ribbon for present wrapping is surprisingly satisfying. Just think, those tiny scraps could have ended up in the bin but you saved them from certain destruction and allowed them to reach their full potential!

I’m never throwing away my scraps ever again.

How do you like to make a good first impression when giving gifts?

what to do?!

I wrote this list a few days ago. It’s a To Do list designed to fill my days with positive thoughts and affirmative action. Do you ever write those? I’m a big fan of the To Do list. They’re great as a brain storm, a procrastination activity, a reminder, a pick me up, and you can even add to them after the fact, to make the most of that glorious crossing off the list part.

Any of these on your list? (You don’t have to be unemployed to want/need to do these things either!)
Things I can do now that I am redundant am unemployed…
Crochet up a storm
Finish my crocheted chair project
Sew up my new cushions
Make yummy meals
Read books
Relax at the beach
Declutter the house
Gardening
Go to the gym
Make Christmas presents
Spring cleaning
Blog more!
Things I should stop doing…
Sitting on the couch staring blankly at screens
Watching crap TV all day and night
Making do with what’s in the cupboards because I am too lazy to leave the house – tinned salmon,  and frozen packets of edamame does not equal satisfying meals for days on end.
Procrastinating getting my resume sorted, answering emails, doing the laundry, showering and getting dressed etc etc
I’m not going to pretend that I can cross many of those things off my list as yet. But I’ve made a start! Here’s what I made today. It’s a…
 
 
You like? Alex taught me how to crochet those flowers at our crochet circle on Sunday, she made some for her super cute tea cosy. I’m always on the lookout for stuff to stick on my head, so I whipped up a band to match and pinned them on. Bit dodgy. You should make one and show me how it’s really done!

Friday Top 5 before 5 #1

Yep folks, every Friday I’m going to post a Top 5 before 5pm. It’s my new blogging goal. Hold me to it. (No-one does any work in the office on a Friday anyway, do they?!)

I’m going to kick off with 5 crafty projects which have been filling me from head to toe with excitement this week. I’m truly giddy with excitement!

1. Granny Stars
I bought this pattern from Sarah London and amazed myself by actually following said pattern and making something. This truly is a first for me, as I am a pattern-a-phobe. It drives my mother insane. I always tell her about my idea for some new bag/outfit/cushion etc and she’ll say – “So where’s the pattern?” and I just point to my head.

These granny stars crochet up so fast which is super satisfying. I’m going to turn them into a garland  – stay tuned for my finished product! Also thinking about decorating all my Christmas presents with one. Got any other bright ideas for these stars people?

2. The Great 2010 Tea Towel Swap
I did a screen printing course last year with my best friend Grant. We had grand plans to take over the world with our amazing screen printed designs. We bought loads of fabric and ink and got our screens made up and finished the course and then left the lot in the spare room.
Here’s some shots of our ‘grand designs…

I was tidying up my stash the other day when I came across a bunch of tea towels and linen ready to be screen printed on and thought to myself – “You really need to get this project finished.”

Enter The Great 2010 Tea Towel Swap – the genius idea of Sooz and Kate. This is the kick up the bum I need – I get to finish what I started and receive tea towels from people all over the world in exchange!

I just hope they like Dolly Parton, Frida Kahlo, Poppies or Jarvis Cocker.

You should sign up too!

3. Ink & Spindle meet my Couch
I’ve been meaning to update the cushions on my couch for a while now. I love the old ones, but it’s been 3 years and now it’s time for a change. I’m fickle like that.

Then I remembered Ink & Spindle and how I’ve been lusting after Lara Cameron’s work for years now. Stunning designs, hand screen printed in Melbourne (which after my course at CoFA I have a whole new appreciation for!) and they’re carbon neutral. What’s not to love?!
I think these Ink & Spindle fabrics are going to get on very well with my couch.

4. Stitch n Bitch this Sunday
I love every 3rd Sunday with all my heart. I get to see the ever so lovely Alfalky, drink my most favourite thickshake in the entire world at one of my favourite cafe’s (the Caramello at Mickey’s in Paddington. $7.50 but worth every delicious sip.) and crochet away the afternoon with other sweet and talented ladies.
Do you belong to a crafting group? They are the best fun.

5. Meet Me at Mikes – The Book!
So I finally got around to purchasing the ever so adorable Meet Me at Mikes craft book, as a belated birthday/early christmas present for myself. I knew it would be filled with super awesome of course, but I guess I didn’t realise HOW MUCH awesome could be inside.

Trust me, it’s a whole lot. I have been carrying it around with me all week, taking it out of my bag and hugging it, or flipping through the pages and longingly staring at the sweet images. But where to start? The begining? I don’t know – I can’t decide as it’s all so enticing!

I was thinking of starting up a group (online of course!) where everyone makes the same project, working our way through the entire book of course, and then blogs about each project when they are done. Would be cool to see how everyones project turns out.

What do you think peeps? Anyone in? I was thinking we could have 2 weeks per project, as life gets busy and all, huh? Maybe we need more time? Let me know if you are interested and I will get a McLinky list happening or something.

Got a copy of Pip’s book? If not, get one!

That’s my first Top 5. Hope whatever you’re making this weekend turns out just splendid!

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