Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Big Changes Ahead!

Things are definitely on the move with my life, and I'm glad to say, for the better :)
I'm in the process of finalising mum's affairs and getting her life belongings sorted out, the wedding has been and gone and was wonderful! Work is about to wind up for the year, and my 1st official pattern has finished the testing phase and I'm going to release it here today!

But the biggest, life changing event for me is - after 33 years, I have finally given up smoking! It has been 7 days since my last cigarette and the cravings haven't been anywhere near as bad as I thought they would be. I woke up last Thursday (19th Nov) and just decided that I was no longer going to smoke. So far, so good and I plan on doing whatever I can to remain smoke free! Time to get healthy!! :)

I still miss mum like crazy, I don't think that feeling will ever go away. It was such a bittersweet time at the wedding, knowing that she was there with us in spirit helped, but it would have been wonderful if she had of actually been able to share the day with us and experience it in all its glory.

The wedding was the most beautiful occassion I have had the pleasure to be a part of, and I'm not just saying that, because it was my son marrying the love of his life. It was a well organised, laid back event with people that mattered being there to enjoy the whole day.
The bridal party looked stunning and the groomsmen were nothing but perfect gentlemen!


The bridesmaids - 2nd from left, is my daughter, Ebony.

I love this photo! It captures such a sense of fun!

This would have to be my #1 favourite of all the photo's I have seen so far. These 2 are made for each other ♥

The garter was worn with pride on the day and was tossed at the end of the evening. The bride didn't want to let it go, but I promised her that I would make her a replacement for her keepsake box, and she was happy with that, so it got tossed :)

And now that the testing has been completed and I am happy with the way it has been written. Here's the link to the free pattern :)



(Please let me know if you have any issues getting the download for this)

Enjoy!


Sunday, 9 November 2014

My First Official Creation!

Since my last post about the passing of my mother, life has done a complete backflip on me and now we are in the process of planning a happy occassion.
On Saturday 15th November at 3:00pm, my first born and only son, is getting married!!!

It's an exciting time for all of us, but also a sad one, knowing that mum won't be able to be there and witness her grandson taking this huge step in his life.

I have been busy helping them out to put things together for the wedding. They decided they wanted to create their own invitations from scratch, so we went on the hunt for materials to make them.
They wanted a rustic theme, so we managed to find something that was suitable and this is what we came up with....

The front of the invitation - it's amazing what you can do with paper doilies, twine and hessian sheets.

The inside, with a pocket made from a paper doily for the RSVP card.




They also wanted to make their own place cards, so I designed some using Publisher that fit in with the invitations. Just some simple tent fold cards with a name tag placed on the front (sorry, no pic of those).

As well as that, the bride didn't have her "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" arranged. 
So I set to putting something together for her: 
  • The something old & borrowed is going to be an antique marcasite watch that my mother was given by my father on their wedding day in 1965, which she passed on to me on my 30th birthday and I wore on my own wedding day.
  • The something new & blue is a pattern of my own design, a garter
I hunted in all the usual places - Ravelry, Pinterest, blogs, Google search, and could come up with nothing that looked "right" for the day, so I got out my hook and some crochet thread that I had in my stash and set to work designing one.

I had to play around with it until I got it looking how I wanted. It's just a simple little pattern, but I love how it turned out and have actually decided that I am going to publish it and offer it on Ravelry :) 

I'm calling it - Dainty Little Garter.

This is the actual garter that I made for the bride (and she loves!)...
I'm in the process of adding a store front to my Ravelry and once it's done, this will be my first official pattern release!

Once it's set up and finalised, I will be including the pattern link on this blog, so stay tuned! 

Wish us luck for a smooth day with wonderful weather :) 



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Goodbye - Is The Saddest Word


The past few months have been a real whirlwind of ups and downs. Some have been more than I felt I could cope with, but I've made it this far and each morning I wake to live another day.

On the 26th of September, I said goodbye to my best friend, my confidante, my inspiration......my mother. She passed away peacefully, after a long battle with dementia and other health issues. It was the saddest day of my life so far. Even though it has been expected all year, with late night phone calls from the nursing home telling me they think "this is it", to calls at work where I've had to drop everything and run, it was still a huge shock to all of our systems. I got the call that morning and she passed away a few hours later.
I believe to this day that she waited for me, because she took her final breath as I entered her room.

I miss her so much, every single day! My life feels like there is a void that needs to be filled, but nothing can replace that empty place, at least not in the way that it was filled before. I know over time the pain will lessen, but for now, it's still as raw as if it was yesterday.


Rest in peace, mum. 
A social butterfly, carried to Heaven, on angels wings.

 


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

I'm Still Alive....

It seems like it's been forever since I had a chance to actually sit and pay a visit here. With work, family and other things going on in the past few months, I feel like I haven't really even had time to stop and scratch myself.
Today I decided that enough was enough, and here I am!

In the past 4 months, I have officially become an 'empty nester'. My son and his  fiancĂ©e finally moved out on their own into mum's house at the end of April. They've settled in really well and are loving being out on their own and being independent. It's taken a lot of getting used to for me, I still have days where I go to talk to one of them, then remember they are not here.

On the upside, I can now put something down and not have to worry about not being able to find it again, my house is cleaner, I can watch what I want (much to hubby's dis-satisfaction) and I don't have to play taxi to anyone, seeing as they both now have their licence :)

My daughter is still out on her own, she had to move house, which was a big job, but we got it done and she has settled into her new home and is happy there, which is what counts.

Mum has had a few ups and downs, we had a pretty horrible few weeks where they thought that she wasn't going to make it. She had a bad episode in late April/early May where she aspirated into her lungs and they thought they were going to lose her, then again in late May, when she was battling a bad chest infection, but I'm glad to say that she is still with us and battling on like she always has. It's at the point now where she doesn't recognise anyone anymore, which is heart breaking and it's very rare that she even speaks to anyone, but just to have her here still, is enough.

With all the goings on, I decided to put my Mood Blanket project aside, so that has come to a standstill. I have a decent size batch of squares made, which I may re-purpose into another project, I'm not sure what yet, so they are stashed away until inspiration strikes.

I have managed to get a few other things off my hook though. With the cold weather we are experiencing now that it is Winter here, I have been busy making throws. The Red Heart Corner to Corner (C2C) has become my favourite and so far I have made 2, which I am really happy with.

These are photo's I took while I was working on them, I don't have photo's of them completed at this stage. It's too dark and dreary to capture the colours properly, so when the weather is nicer, I will probably take some :)

I have a thing for monochrome at the moment, so this one was born from that:

This gorgeous coloured yarn had been in my stash for a while and I needed to find something make from it, this is the result, which I love! I had 2 similar skeins in different types and they both worked  beautifully together is called Moda Vera Bouvardia in the colourway - Canyon Flight and the other is Moda Vera Noemi - Pink Mix.


As well as those, I've put together a couple of smaller projects, both of my own design.
One was a cover for my ottoman that sits near my crochet chair and has a lift up lid that of course hides some of my yarn stash :)

This is the view of the top:

 The side on view:

And this is what is hiding underneath lol:

Finally, I have finally managed to get my hands on some Red Heart Aran yarn. A chain store (Big W) here in Australia has finally started stocking some of it, not much, but enough to allow me to buy some to try.
I bought a couple of skeins of their purple and white and made myself a brick stitch throw (which you can see lurking on the back of my chair in the centre photo above)

It's just long enough to cover my feet and allow me to snuggle up under it if I want to, when it's really cold.....

 This is a close up of the stitch pattern and edging I used....

And the latest thing to come off my hook, which I just finished last night, is a cover for my Ipad. I had been wanting to make one for a while, for when I take it to work, etc with me, so I went to my stash and found some yarn that I thought would be perfect for the job.
I designed the cover myself, using a basic cover pattern where you make a chain as long as you need and then work up from that in the round until it is the length you want. I wanted a flap on mine, so I could close it, so I set about designing one that I would like and allow me to attach some buttons (which I also had in my stash). And then I went on the search for an applique, which I found in my stash from a Maggie Weldon pattern.

This is the end result of what I came up with and I have to say that I am really happy with the results :) 



My next project is finding a pattern for a rug out of t-shirt yarn for in front of my kitchen sink. If I can't find one that I like, I may just have to create one of my own.

I'm still working, teaching IT 2 days a week and am studying as well, so on top of everything else, there isn't much time left for anything that I really want to do.

Until next time....



Friday, 14 February 2014

Back In The Swing Of Things...

I know that I said that I was going to try and update this on a regular basis, but time has just gotten away from me lately. Today I finally have some time to sit and actually spend more than 2.3 nanoseconds here, so I thought I would pay a visit while I had the chance!

I'm still plodding away with the Mood Blanket Challenge, I'm about a week's worth of squares behind, but I'm catching up. The hotter weather has finally started to disappear, it's still quite warm here, but nowhere near the 40°c+ days that we were having.

I've had yet another change of mind with the Mood Blanket squares and have decided that it was just going to be too plain for my liking. So I hunted through my stash and found a book with a variety of really nice square patterns, so I have been slowly working my way through, pattern by pattern and am going to incorporate these in amongst the "plainer" blocks.

The book I am using is called "50 Fabulous Crochet Squares" by Leisure Arts. There are some gorgeous patterns in this book and I plan on making all 50 of them :)

Here's just a small sample of them, from the book cover...


This is where I'm at for now with my squares (sorry for the picture quality, it was taken in a rush), you can see the squares from the book that I have made so far...


I still have some catching up to do with the "charity afghan" square - 3 each of the pink, light green and dark green, then I plan on getting back into the book and making some more of those gorgeous motif squares.

I'm still working these squares with the Bendigo Woolen Mills 4 ply cotton and am only just starting to make a dent in the skeins. They are 200g in weight, so I think that I am going to have plenty to see me through this project, and if not, I'll just have to pay another visit there to get more! ;)

In my last post, I mentioned that I was running behind on making my sister's birthday presents. I ended up just making her an owl (sorry I forgot to take a photo)in 4 ply cotton and bought her a cute little word art plaque that was all about sisters. She loved them to bits and they only arrived a day late. I'm saving the scarf to make in the cooler weather and will send it to her as a "just because" gift when it's closer to the time that she will actually need it and can wear it :) 

As well as catching up on the squares and my sister's gift, I took part in an amigurumi swap with another lady from one of the Facebook groups I'm in. I ended up making her an owl from Moji Moji's Rainbow Nesting Owls pattern (surprise, surprise! LOL) and a little kitty from Little Muggles - Violet The Kitty and she was very pleased with them. I didn't take a photo before I sent them, because I wanted to get them in the post quickly, but she did share a photo when she received them...


The lady had requested pinks and purples as her preferred colours, and this is all that I had in my stash at the time. I was quite happy with how they turned out. Although I didn't have any pellets to weight the bottoms so they don't quite sit as well as I would have liked. But the main thing is, she liked them :) 

In return, this same lady sent me an ami, it was the first one she has made and I think for a "1st timer" she did an excellent job. Of course, she knows me well enough to make me an owl!


The picture above is of the owl she made me and she said that it was from the Soren the Barn Owl pattern. I love it!!! :) 

I can't believe that we are already nearly 2 months into the new year! Time seems to go past so quickly these days!!

Anyway, looks like my time here for today is up, so I better get back to doing what needs to be done around here and hopefully the updates will be a little more frequent from now on :) 

Oh...and before I forget....











Thursday, 23 January 2014

Something Crafty This Way Comes...


Even though things have been pretty much up in the air over the past few months, I've still managed to make time here and there, for my favourite hobby.....Crochet!
And I've also taken another leapt into creating things with felt and embroidery thread.
Rather than go into the tedious details of everything I've been doing, I think I'll just show you :) 


These two cuties are from a pattern called "Mama & Baby Owl" by Esbelotta. I saw the pattern on Etsy and just had to have it. I think they are gorgeous and I love the way they turned out.


This strange little fellow is from a pattern kit I purchased at our local craft store, Spotlight. I played around a bit and changed the colour combinations and "rebel crafted" the eyes differently. I think it's pretty cute!


I decided that I was in need of a new holder for my mobile phone and came across this cute pattern in a new book called "Happy Stitch" and just had to make it. It's the perfect size for my phone and everyone that's seen it so far, has commented on it and wanted one of their own. I told them that I'll gladly take orders lol.


Another sewn project......it's a cute little bag that I put together made from felt and artificial leather. Everyone of those "feathers" on it's belly are hand sewn, as is the rest of the bag. It was a long tedious job with all that sewing, but I'm happy with the end result. It isn't the biggest in size, but it's perfect for holding all my USB drives and iPod and Kindle cables and it currently hangs on a hook above my desk :)

Yes! I know they are all Owls! lol
I promise that I have been working on other things that aren't owl related, but I can't show you at the moment because they are gifts that are still waiting to be delivered to their new homes. Can't have the intended recipients finding out what they are getting before they receive them!!
So I guess you'll just have to stay tuned for those! :)  

Friday, 17 January 2014

In The Mood For Crochet?

I'm lagging a little behind on my progress with the Mood Blanket Challenge, but only because we are experiencing a heatwave here in Victoria this week. The past 4 days have been 40°c+ and the A/C is struggling to keep the house cool enough to do anything. There has been so much going on around here this week, that I haven't really had time to pick up my hook.

Besides the extreme heat, we have had thunderstorms that had very little rain but a lot of lightning and thunder which has sparked some serious fires. The closest one was on Wednesday night, only 10kms from our house! It was a very restless and stressful night waiting to see if they were going to get it under control. Lucky for us that they did. The CFA (Country Fire Authority) do a marvellous job protecting us and they do it all as volunteers. They need to be better recognised for putting their lives on the lines to protect ours!

Anyway....back to my blanket progress....
I decided that I didn't want to use white squares in my blanket as I had originally intended, so I had to go and get a new colour to replace it, I decided on light teal. The white is now going to be used to edge my squares and make the border instead, which will hopefully make the colours pop. So far I have 12 of the 17 squares done.


I'm really liking the way that the colours are coming together. As you can see, my moods have been varied since beginning the project and I'm happy to say that there are more "good" days than "bad" days so far :) 

I haven't really made a firm decision on how I'm going to join the squares yet, at the moment I'm tossing up between 3 different ways - sewing them together with a whip stitch, single crocheting them together (through the back loops) or maybe doing a braid join. I guess it will all fall into place at some stage, but hopefully sooner rather than later because I don't want to have to sit and join 365 squares together at the end!! 



I'm seriously lagging behind on other projects too, it's my sister's birthday in 3 days and she has requested a scarf (why anyone would want a scarf in the midst of summer is beyond me lol)  and an owl, and I haven't even started on them! She lives 400km away and I will need to post them, so I think I need to get myself busy with those and get them in the post to her so she doesn't think that I have forgotten her. I know they won't make it there on time, EEEEEK! why did I leave it so long!!!

I guess I should start looking through my pattern stash to find something cute but quick.

'Til next time...



Monday, 6 January 2014

Crochet Mood Blanket Update

I've had a change of mind with the pattern that I had originally chose to do this challenge. I just didn't like the size that the squares were, they were too big for my liking. I may have to re-visit the pattern at a later date and use the squares that I have already made to make a smaller lapghan.

So, off I went on a hunt and found a pattern that I really liked and thought would fit the bill perfectly. I decided to use the Good Cause Afghan because I thought it suited the meaning behind the whole challenge.

I have to confess that I love working with cotton yarn, so much more than acrylics, so I delved into my stash and came up with 10 balls of Bendigo Woolen Mills cotton in 4 ply and set to work picking colours to suit moods and adding them to my journal.

I decided to also use a much smaller hook (2.25mm) and I am really loving the way that it is turning out so far.

These are the first 5 days squares that I have re-done so far, assigned with new colours for each mood of the day


I picked up a cheap little journal at a local store for a couple of dollars and set to work taking sample cuts from each of my colours, this is what I have come up with for my mood/colour chart. 
{Please excuse the owl coaster that is photo bombing, the page wouldn't stay open so I could get a good picture!}lol 


I've segmented the book into sections, the first half has the mood chart and on the following pages, I am listing each day and the mood I was experiencing. I've allowed enough pages for the whole 365 days. The rest of the book will be used to document why I was feeling the mood on that particular day. It will be interesting to look back on it at the end of this journey and see what my year was like :) 

While I was doing all this re-organising of how I was going to do this challenge, I wondered where on earth I was going to store all these squares as I was making them, then I remembered that I had bought a cute little case on clearance and had it stored in the craft room. So, out it came and has officially been delegated the task of storing the squares and journal.


It doesn't look all that big, but in real life, it is actually quite deep and I don't think it will have any problems at all holding the 365 squares that I have now decided to make :) 

Here's an inside view... 

so much room for activities! 

I have to say that I am quite excited about this whole project now, even more than I was before and I'm looking forward to seeing how this whole thing turns out at the end of the year :) 



Saturday, 4 January 2014

Crochet Mood Blanket 2014

I stumbled upon the Crochet Mood Blanket 2014 challenge on New Years Day and knew straight away that this was a project that I wanted to do.
The rules are simple.....
You can crochet or knit one square or row a day or week in a colour to match your mood.
Depending on the size blanket or even how many you want to make at the end of the challenge, will help to decide on how often you do the squares or rows.
I was going to tackle the 365 squares, but the square I chose, is quite large, so I don't know if it will end up being 365 - I may have to change my train of thought and only do 52.
I chose to use the squares from Bear's Rainbow Blanket by Purl Soho - which is a free pattern.
I am making it in 8 ply acrylic - because that is what I have the most of in my stash - and I'm using a 4mm hook.
I've made 2 squares so far - a blue and a green. I will be edging them all in an Oatmeal colour and I may use some of the colours for the border or I may just keep it simple, I'm not sure yet, but there is plenty of time to figure that out :)
I've decided to join as I go, because I know that nobody likes joining at the best of times and the daunting thought of possibly having to join 365 squares together at the end, is something that even I am not keen enough to do! lol.
Here's my first square....

I've decided that rather than match my mood on the day, I will be working with the first colour that jumps out at me from my stash. I'm also keeping a journal of the colours and days and making notes of how I was feeling on the day that I made the square, which I will keep with the blanket(s) when I'm finished :) 

For those that are interested in doing this great challenge, there is a Facebook group that you can join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/crochetmoodblanket2014/
There is also information available on Instagram: http://instagram.com/mummy_stacey which is where it all began. 
It only took one woman to have an idea and voice it, and it has gone viral. This lady thought that she would only get a small following, but it has grown so quickly and she now has 1,588 members in the Facebook group and a large following on Instagram as well!
It just goes to show how one small idea can bring so many people together!
I'll keep you updated as often as I can with this project. I hope you think about giving it a shot yourself :)