Sunday, 29 December 2013

Simple Truths

Rather than doing my usual thing of posting something crafty, I thought I would create a post with some of my favourite sayings and  quotes that I've seen in my travels around the WWW.

I am a firm believer in "paying it forward", nothing in this life is free and if you choose to help others, hopefully, in return it will come back to you.

If I have to purchase a ticket to park somewhere and I am out before the time is up, I have no qualms whatsoever in approaching someone and asking if they would like my ticket. It's only a small thing, but sometimes it can mean a lot to someone. Especially to a mother who is trying to juggle children, organise things and unload everything she needs, before she can even think about getting to the ticket machine, this can make it just a little easier for them.

I am also a firm believer in Karma and believe that you should treat others as you would expect to be treated. I was brought up with respect for people and possessions and have tried my best to  instill this in my own children :)

Friends and family are a very important part of my life, without them, you have no grounding. They help to keep me sane and some days they are also known for trying to send me insane, but at the end of the day, I know that the ones I can rely on to stand by me and support me, will always be there.

Rather than ramble on, here are a few of my all time favourites that I would like to share with you :)

I hope they help to put things into perspective for you, like they do for me!

This one for the special people in my life :) 

When I'm feeling unsure, but know there is a solution...somewhere...

for the curious side of me....

This helps keep me thinking positive :) 

For those days when I feel like it's "one step forward, two steps back"...

This one is so do so much more than just exist...

When I'm feeling like everything is overwhelming me...

To remind me that people come into our lives for a reason...

Truth, kindness & important...

To remind me that it's the little things that count...

I hope you had a very Merry  Christmas  and wish you nothing but good things for the coming New Year :)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Off The Hook :)

I mentioned in my last post that I was making a shawl for my mother in the nursing home. I finally managed to finish it off last night and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The Bendigo Woollen Mills 4ply cotton was a dream to work with, it doesn't split or catch at all :)
I used the shades called Pink Rose and Blush, I had planned on throwing some cream cotton into it to break it up, but I ended up not thinking that it would need it.

I decided to fancy it up a bit and give it a nice edging as I thought it was looking a little plain, so I hunted through my patterns and came across Doris Chan's "All Shawl" pattern and loved the wide edging in the pattern. So I chose that to finish it off and I LOVE it!

Here's the finished piece:

I plan on hunting through my felt stash and making a little tag to sew on with mum's name on it and a little "handcrafted with love" message on it. I just have to decide where the best place will be to attach it.

The "happypotamus" has had to take a back seat, because I wanted to get this finished as soon as possible. I have to re-stock my stuffing supply as well, so that will have to wait until the new year and it will be a belated Christmas or "just because" present instead. Lucky for me, I thought about buying a gift in case I hadn't completed it, or I would have been in a bit of trouble LOL.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Busy, Busy, Busy....

Life has been pretty hectic of late and I've barely had time to scratch myself, let alone sit and post something here. Finally, I have a little spare time on my hands and thought that I had better do it while I have the time :)

I've been working at my teaching position for the past few months and managed to pull off getting another teaching job at the same time, so the hours away from home and doing what I love have been  minimized  significantly. Last week was my last stint of teaching for this year, so I finally have a little time to catch up on WIP's and get as organised as I can be for Christmas.

At the moment I am frantically trying to finish a shawl as a gift for my mother in the nursing home. I found a really nice one in a book called Chemo Caps & Wraps by Annie's Attic. They don't have a preview of it anywhere online, but for those that have this book, it is the green shawl called "Simple Shells Shawl". I did toy with the idea of making her the one that was more openworked and had pretty flowers, but mum's hands are always busy and I was worried that she may get her fingers tangled in it, so I went for the denser pattern.

I paid a visit to Bendigo Woollen Mills a little while ago and bought some lovely 4ply cotton yarn in shades of pink and I'm really liking how it is working out. I don't have any photo's to share at the moment, but I will take some and include them in my next post :)

I'm also trying to finish off a happypotamus by Heidi Bears, for my future daughter-in-laws sister. I'm making it in shades of pink and purple with white and I am about 3/4 done with all the motifs. I just have to put the edging on about 20 of the hexagons and then make the final 6 motifs and I can begin sewing it all together and stuffing it :)

The rest of the Christmas gifts are well and truly under control and wrapped and under the tree!

This is only a quick post for now, I promise the next one will be a lot more entertaining, but I'd like to close this one by saying.....

May it be filled with lots of love, happiness and good health for you all - from my family to yours!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Is This The Real Life? Is This Just Fantasy.....

When I thought of writing this post, the first thing that popped into my head were the first line of lyrics from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody! lol

I suppose you are already wondering why I would choose those words for a post....well wonder no more...

I had finally managed to spend some time sorting through my stash of yarn and seeing what I actually had and came across a nice little stash of some bright coloured yarn which I wanted to do something with.

For a while now, I have been wanting to make a throw that was bright and not just the same old, same old stitch. So off to Ravelry I went and stumbled across the pattern for the Fantasy Blanket and knew right away that it was the one!

I picked out my colours and found my favourite hook and set to work.

I really liked the mix of different stitches and the way the colours were working together, it didn't take long at all to get it to the length I wanted.

I didn't want to do the border that was included in the pattern, so I decided to do it my own way. Which ended up being a mix of some of the colours of the blanket being used around the edge in a simple single crochet stitch, finished off with a white reverse single crochet (crab stitch). I'm not 100% happy with the edging and am actually thinking of changing it to something more to my liking, but for now, it can wait until inspiration strikes.

Here's a photo I took of the blanket just before I added the edging, I love the way the colours just "pop"!

Once I decide on the type of edging I want to change it to, I'll share another photo. 

Surprisingly  it didn't use as much yarn as I  thought  it would, so I actually have enough left over to start another multi-colour project. Now I just have to find the right pattern.....

Doily Rug...

I had been wanting to try one of these for quite some time now. I had seen so many gorgeous examples on the internet and just had to try it out for myself.

The main problem I had was sourcing the t-shirt yarn for it. I finally managed to hunt some down on Ebay. I bought 4 skeins of Moda Vera Gypsy for a lot less than it would have cost me in the store.

I chose to go with a brown colour for the yarn as our house has a lot of neutral colours and woodwork.

The next problem I had was deciding on exactly what doily pattern I wanted to use for a rug.
I finally found one on Ravelry called "Birthday Doily" which was a free pattern. It can be found here:

I then had to go out and buy myself some really large crochet hooks, so I chose to get a 15mm and a 19mm. Of course, I didn't need an excuse to buy some yarn while I was at the store, but that's another story!

Anyway, once I got used to tension of the t-shirt yarn and the really large hook (I chose to work with the 15mm), it was smooth sailing.

I managed to complete it over 3 evenings and it now has pride of place on my bedroom floor in front of my mother's rosewood tallboy that I inherited when she moved to the nursing home.

This is my finished rug:

It's not the best photo in the world, the camera just didn't like picking up the proper colour, but I think you can get the idea.

It took just over 1 skein of the Gypsy and they are huge skeins (500gms). Now I just have to decide what to do with the remaining yarn......

Another doily rug, an owl basket, or something else.....I guess I'll decide on something soon enough....

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Another One Bites The Dust

Last night, I managed to get another project off my hook. I finished my throw that I mentioned in my last post. It's another Random Stripe throw, but in black, 3 different shades of grey and a warm yellow. I really like how it turned out. I think it looks masculine, which works well, considering it has found a home on the back of my husband's favourite sofa in the lounge room....

This is not how it is going to stay, the photo was actually taken with it just being draped here so that I could pick up all the colours to show you :) 

After finishing the throw, I was at a loss as to what to make next. I have been toying with a few ideas, but hadn't decided on one in particular. I finally thought it was time for another filet piece, but I won't mention the details about it yet as it is going to be a gift for a good friend and I don't want to expose it before it is delivered to it's intended recipient.

As well as crocheting the throw, I have been trying to teach my future daughter-in-law to crochet.  She had learnt the basics from her grandmother, but only knew how to do a granny square and that was all. She has been watching me making things for the past few months, since she moved in with us and has been begging me to teach her, and she seems to be getting the hang of it very quickly. She's made 2 things so far and can already see the improvement in the 2nd piece. 
I started her with this pattern, from Lion Brand...

This is the photo from the Lion Brand site....
And this is Amanda's attempt at it (this was the 2nd try at it)...

I think she did a pretty good job of it and even though the legs and arms are bigger than they are supposed to be, I still think he's pretty cute! At the moment she's working on a Narwhal pattern, learning how to create circles :) 

Besides the throw that I've just finished, I also decided it was time to make a new bag holder for my plastic shopping bags. 
I used a pattern from e-Patterns Central that can be found here: Butterfly Bag Holder 
I made mine slightly longer than the pattern called for, and I found some other butterfly appliques that I preferred, but I think it's still a little plain and am on the lookout for an applique pattern for a dragonfly to add to it.

This is the finished bag......

with a close up of one of the butterflies....

I really like the way they stand out, almost a 3D effect!

Before I go, I'd like to share a piece that my mother made a couple of years ago when she was a member of a local craft group and still living in her own home. I found this while I have been going through the process of cleaning up her house...I think it is gorgeous....

This now has pride of place on my bed among some other embroidered cushions :) 
Mum couldn't have it at the nursing home with her, and when I asked if I could have it, she said yes! It is something that I will cherish for a long time, because it was handmade by her. 
I'm debating about making a little lace applique of something to add to the centre, but I haven't found the perfect one yet......

'til next time....keep warm, or cool, depending on where you are on this great planet of ours :) 

Friday, 24 May 2013

Throw Some Warmth Around....

The days and nights are definitely getting cooler here. So of course, I have done the obvious and decided to make some throws to keep me warm while I do what I enjoy.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on a throw using the Random Stripe Generator, I finally finished it, just in time to give to my mother for Mothers Day :)

I love the way that it turned out and she thought it was beautiful. It is so thick and warm, perfect for someone that feels the cold. 

After gifting this one to mum, I had to make another for myself. Mine is being done in white, black, light grey, medium grey, dark grey and yellow, but not in that order, again I used the Random Stripe Generator and found a combination that I really liked and went with it. I'm about 3/4 done and will post a photo when it's finished.

Occasionally I also knit and decided that when I want to do something a little different, I could alternate between crochet and knit projects. So out came the knitting needles and some yarn that I purchased on sale last year and I decided to start a cable scarf. It's a reverse cable and very easy, there are only 6 rows to the pattern.

This is a photo taken a little while ago, progress is actually further along than what you see below, it's about twice as long...

If you're interested, the pattern can be found here

I don't knit very often, but I do enjoy it and it's the one craft that my mother was able to teach me, at the tender age of 8 and it's stuck with me and I am very grateful that she had the patience to get me knitting :) 

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Cooler Weather = More Time For Crochet :)

I don't seem to get as much time as I would like to get back here and update what's been happening, today I decided that I was going to do just that :) 

Last time I managed to sit and write, I mentioned that I had found a new love - Filet Crochet!
I've now completed 3 projects and love them all.

You can find the original blog post about my discovery here: 

I mentioned that I was on to my 2nd project using this technique and was making a "Welcome" sign for my wall, I finally managed to get it finished and I must say that I love it.

I had to hunt high and low to find a frame that would fit it, some were too big and others too small, I decided to settle for a bigger one and here is the finished result, made with DMC cotton size 20 and a 1.25mm hook.

Please excuse my bird cage, it decided to photo bomb the photo! :)

As you can see, I chose not to block it - in hindsight maybe I should have, but I don't have any immediate plans to remove it from the frame and do that. Besides, the quirkiness seems to fit in well with our house lol.

After the filet, I decided that I needed to do one more project to satisfy the urge to know that I had got it right, and as I've mentioned previously, I have a "thing" for owls. So what better project to do, than an Owl Filet project!

This is the one that I chose to make: 

This one was made with the thicker 4ply crochet cotton and a 1.25mm hook, and I love the way it turned out. It is quite large and at the moment it is sitting on one of our coffee tables.

I have a few more filet projects that I'd love to do, but for now, I'm not in the mood for counting continuously and marking off rows as they are completed, so I chose to return to my real love, amigurumi!

I bought this pattern a while back and it has been sitting in my folder on the PC waiting for me to create it and I have to say I'm very pleased with the way it turned out and think it is one of the cuter projects I have done :) 

It's called "Guardian Bear" by the very talented "Esbelotta"
and can be found here:

I love her patterns and they are so simple to work with. I have made another of her patterns in the past and blogged about it, here's the one I made previously:
Mama & Baby Owl - the first picture in the post :) 

I'm now working on an multicolour afgan, as the weather is getting cooler at nights and I decided it was time to make a bigger project. The fact that as it grows, it also keeps my legs warm, is another benefit :) 

It's a simple pattern made up of alternating sc and dc stitches and the stripes were created using the Random Stripe Generator
and this free pattern and I have to say that I am loving it.

I'm using similar colours to the pattern picture, but I would love to make another when this one is finished in a different colour combination. I think my next one may be made using: orange, grey, black and white :) 

Apart from all the crocheting, things are moving along nicely here, I'm back teaching I.T again this year, mum is doing well, the kids are all happy and life is good!

Keep smiling! :) 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Some Things Are Easier Than They Look :)

Over the past few months, I have had little time to do much of anything. My son's fiance moved in with us, mum is in the nursing home, my daughter has had a few troubles of her own and I have been unwell.
I was recently diagnosed with Diverticulitis and am in the process of waiting to hear from the hospital for an appointment with a specialist in regards to my legs. It is hereditary in our family that all the women will end up with varicose veins at one time or another in their lives, and as luck would have it (NOT!), it didn't skip me! So at some stage in the near future, I am off to have some form of surgery to rectify my legs. I'm not looking forward to it, I thought my days of surgery were well and truly over, but apparently not. But, a girl's gotta do, what a girl's gotta do to keep herself healthy and pain free :)

Anyway, I didn't set this blog up as a way to moan about my life and complain about all the things that could be better, I set this blog up as a place for me to share my love of crochet with others, so that's what I'm going to do right now :)

For a while now, I've been wanting to learn something new, I wasn't sure what it would be, until I found it. I discovered that what I wanted to learn the most was....Filet Crochet!

I've always admired the patterns I have seen, but never thought that I would be able to do something like that myself. A while back, I received a pattern for a filet crochet heart tablemat, which I loved. Of course, I stashed it away for future reference.

I had grown tired of making amigurumi's for now and didn't want to take on another afghan just yet, so I decided the time was right for me to finally sit with that pattern and see if I could in fact, master the art.

It took me a little bit to get the hang of reading the graph, but once I got it figured out, it seemed to be so easy! Why did I wait so long!!

Anyway, I finally finished the tablemat and I'm quite proud of the way it turned out :)
I used a thicker 4ply cotton and a 1.25mm hook and I love the end result.
What do you think?

I toyed with the idea of blocking it, but thought that I would leave this one "au naturale" because of the thicker cotton. It actually smooths out quite nicely when I take the time to lay it down properly, this was just done in a rush so I could get the photo taken lol.

Since finishing the mat, I decided that I needed to hunt my finer crochet cotton out of my stash and tackle another pattern. For a while now, I've had a book in my possession called "Learn To Filet Crochet In A Day", so I hunted it out and found a pattern that I liked and made a start on it.
This one is going to be blocked and framed when it's completed and I am going to hang it on the lounge room wall :) 
Here's how far I have progressed with this one...

And this is what it will look like (I hope!) when completed :) 
(it's the "Welcome" at the bottom of the picture below)

As you can see, I'm only about 1/2 way along so far, but I don't think it will take me long to complete it. The hardest part is going to be finding a frame to fit it as it is quite large.
I bought an A3 size frame in town the other day, thinking that it would fit, but it is about 2 inches too narrow. So I will have to go on the hunt again, for a bigger frame.

Anyway, that's the extent of my work at the moment, life has slowed things down a bit in the relaxation side of things, but hopefully I'll get more time to spend doing what I love soon.

Til next time :)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Yes! I'm Still Alive!

Finally, I have a moment to sit and write some form of an update!
Life has been busy and it's been a roller coaster ride for the past few months, but I'm still alive and breathing and waking up each morning :)

Mum seems to have settled in well in her new home, she still has her days where she's not so good, but she's doing OK and still with us, that's what counts!

Christmas was wonderful! We had a family day that was full of fun and surrounded by people we love. We even got some exciting news. My son Josh proposed to his girlfriend and they are now engaged and very happy. On a sad not though, my daughter, Ebony and her boyfriend split up last week and she's not doing too great at the moment, it's going to take time, but we'll get her back on track.

There hasn't been much time for crafting as the weather is still quite warm here, so the hook and yarn hasn't been as busy as I would like it to be. I'm also still playing catch up on my I.T studies, so any leisure time activities have had to take a back seat for now, but as soon as I have any spare time on my hands, I plan to get back into crocheting, I'm seriously having withdrawals!

Hubby spoiled me this year and bought me a brand new camera for Christmas and I LOVE it!!!!
It's a Fujifilm S2980, which isn't top of the range by any means, but it sure beats the little Kodak compact digital camera I was using before.

I'm still learning about all that it can do, and every time I get an opportunity, out it comes and I shoot as many photo's as I can.I've taken hundreds already! lol

Just after I got it, I was outside on the back veranda and saw a grasshopper sitting on the rails, so I got the camera out and took some macro shots and I couldn't believe how well they turned out.
Here's one of the better shots of the little guy...

I've been playing with quite a few different settings, trying to find what works best, so when I get back to crafting, hopefully I'll have some decent photo's for this blog :) 

I'll leave you with a sunset photo that was taken a few days ago....

Until next time....which will hopefully include some kind of crafty content :)