Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cushion Update

My cushion is coming along nicely and I'm bursting to get it finished. I just have to edge the front then add the back and it will be complete - yippee. Because I adore this wool so much and don't have an endless supply, I have decided to back the cushion using a jumper/jersey (thank you Lucy for the idea). I figure that you really only ever see the front of a cushion so why waste my favourite wool putting it on the back! This way I will have enough to make two gorgeous matching cushions instead.

Here it is leaning against the insert so you get an idea of what it will look like. I absolutely love it! It's very bright and cheery and with the stitches between the grannies, it almost starts to look like a printed fabric the more you look at it - or maybe that was just my tired eyes not seeing straight!

Because I was feeling a bit lazy and didn't really fancy joining the squares in my usual way, I decided to have a play with alternative options. After a few attempts I decided this was the look I was after and I'm thrilled with the result. The contrasting wool really stands out and I think I will use it to edge the cushion now.

To do this joining stitch you take two granny squares with right sides together. Into one of the 3DC clusters, insert hook into the space between the 1st and 2nd DC and draw through wool, make a SC into this space, then make another SC into the space between the 2nd and 3rd DC, cut and tie off wool. Repeat this between all the 3DC clusters on your granny squares. You need to tie off the wool after each cluster otherwise I found you can see the thread behind the grannies.

Just starting to join the grannies - but more importantly, check out the very cute pink and white spotty crochet hook holder! Visiting a friend in a suburb I hardly ever go to, I was wandering through the local shops and found two of these in a bargain bin at a bookstore - very random! I think I may have actually squealed out loud when I spotted the price tag of only $2.00!!! You have to love a bargain like that.

More granny gorgeousness.

And speaking of bargains - my visit to my local Op Shop last week ended with me finding this fabulous book for $1.00. It brought back memories as I had this exact image of Holly Hobbie on my bedroom wall my entire childhood. It has been so well looked after and is in pristine condition considering it is 32 years old. This is definitely one I will keep forever. Miss 3 loves it too.
Have a fabulous week!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That's Dinner Sorted!

It seems a bit light-hearted to write about dinner, while here in New Zealand we all seem to be in a state of shock and helplessness following yesterday's terrible earthquake in Christchurch. But to me, the shock of this earthquake has reinforced the importance of appreciating everything in life, no matter how small. Today for me that is the time spent with my daughter, hearing her squeals of delight as she found each vege in our garden and baking biscuits together.

Miss 3 and I have just picked this gorgeous basket of goodies from our very tiny vege patch. I managed to remove the basket from her clutches before she ate all the butter beans! So courgette stuffed with rice and veges is on the menu tonight. Yum.

With some yummy homemade bread - I think dinner is well and truly sorted.

We also made some double chocolate chip biscuits (wearing our matching spotty aprons!) - again most of the mixture survived to make it into the oven although quite a bit made it into her tummy.

Just what my new/old plate was waiting for don't you think?

The rest are now in my favourite biscuit tin. This tin has been dropped so many times by the children that it is covered in scratches, dings and dents but to me it just looks well loved. And talk about cheerful - I do so love dots!

Sometimes it takes a tragic event for us to put things into perspective and to realise just how lucky we are. Sadly the death toll from yesterday has risen to 75 according to the latest report with many people still missing, buried under collapsed buildings. I am struggling to write about it without crying - this is such a tragedy for our beautiful little country. My love and best wishes are with everyone in Christchurch. xx

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Canterbury Earthquake Tuesday 22 February

My heart goes out to everyone affected by the earthquake that has struck Canterbury in the South Island just over one and a half hours ago. I am in front of my television now watching in utter shock. As this earthquake struck in the peak of lunch time I fear that there might be loss of life, however I hope with all my heart that I am wrong. The previous large quake that struck on 4 September 2010 was in the early hours of the morning when most families were asleep and together and amazingly there were no casualties. I can't think of anything worse than this happening when families are dotted about the city at school and work etc.

I feel absolutely helpless at a time when you want to do all you can for your fellow NZ'ers.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Inspiration and a bit of crochet recycling!

I didn't have to go far for a bit of inspiration today. I was wearing my current fave skirt which is amazingly colourful and realised I had wool in almost the exact shades. These are just a couple of the squares which will become a fabulous retro cushion. My mind is thinking too many projects ahead so I am going to have to get a wriggle on and finish some of my current projects - and try and not keep starting new ones!

This wee pink hat was the very, very first thing I ever crocheted. It was originally edged in lime green with three little flowers on the front. Miss 3 was going through my new crochet flower book and requested a new look for her favourite hat - hence the recycled crochet title. That's the beauty of crochet - you can easily change things by undoing a few rows - unlike knitting which (to me anyway) seems so much trickier. It's also fantastic to be able to add crochet rows to knitted hats as kids grow when they are particularly attached to certain items in their wardrobe! I had a few spare minutes while Miss 3 was at creche and quickly stitched the flower and leaves on and changed the edging to red. When she got home and saw it, she was adamant that it must be worn immediately - even though it is a very HOT 26+ degrees here today. Now that's crochet love huh.

Our tomato plants have finally started to ripen and they're all doing it at the same time so with an overwhelming amount of tomatoes I had a session in the kitchen whipping up this delicious arrabiata. It is a recipe from a woman I admire hugely, Wendyl Nissen who has a fabulous website (and weekly newsletter) about living like a nana, homemade lotions and potions and lots of natural alternatives. I adore her books and have made many changes in my life since reading them. I have been making my own soap for ages but with her recipes I have branched out and made lovely hand wash and air freshener.
I have just started making dinner using this arrabiata and it smells amazing. Along with some gorgeous homemade french bread - I think it will be gorgeous.

And just to end things today, I have to show you this very old but very pretty plate I found at my favourite op shop (charity store). It was only $8 which I thought was fantastic considering it's all gold and sparkly and gorgeous! I can't bring myself to put it away so it's living on my bench for now. I think it's screaming out for a batch of scones to be piled on top!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Summer and Winter in one day?

I met a friend for a cuppa at The Chocolate Frog Cafe today which is inside a garden centre. While we were sitting there, a trolley of gorgeous sunflowers was brought in ready to put on a display. It was one of the most cheerful sights - I just had to grab a quick pic. Sunflowers really are the most spectacular design aren't they? My wee girl was with me and she was in awe of them. We have grown them at home before but she is too little to remember. I think I am going to have to go back to the store tomorrow to buy one of these. They were only short ones so would be perfect in a pot. Gorgeous!

And in stark contrast to the above burst of summery goodness, I finished another winter scarf today. It seems a bit crazy posing for a pic (taken by little Miss 3) wearing a warm scarf over a summer top on a stinking hot day.

The pattern is on Ravelry and is called a Sweet November Scarf.
It was really quick to make. I know it's a bit beige when I'm trying to put more colour in my life, but it will go so well over a bright coloured winter jacket. And let's face it - I'm not exactly short of colourful scarves at the moment! I'm not convinced just yet that I'm a tassel/fringe kinda gal but I'll give it a go. I like that it can be worn so many different ways.
Now I can concentrate on making some more flowers. Miss 3 has requested some to decorate a hat I made her last winter. She loves my tea cosy so much I think she want's to have her hat look just like it. So cute.
Hope everyone is having a lovely week so far. Bring on the weekend! I am bursting with excitement about a night out tomorrow night. I am going to a fabulous charity movie event raising money for Ovarian Cancer Research. The ticket price was only $25 and it includes the movie ticket, a glass of bubbles and a gift bag by a cosmetic company valued at over $300 - now what girl doesn't get excited by a gift bag! I can't wait.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just a quick note

Hello all, it's just a quick little post today to say thank you so much to everyone who has left such lovely comments recently. I'm fairly new to blog land and am so excited to receive any comments whatsoever! I am constantly blown away by the way we find our way to new blogs and the resulting inspiration. So thank you again for making me smile.

I have got a few projects on the go now and am flitting from one to another. But thankfully with both children back into their regular routines this week, I am able to grab a bit more time to crochet. I am making another flower topped tea cosy for a friend whose birthday is coming up, I have a granny square cushion part way done and this morning I started a shawl/scarf that I found on Ravelry which looks perfect for the upcoming winter months. I think I am going to have more scarves than anyone I know at this rate!

My dear friend Kylie from Blue Teacups asked me to make her a wee mat to go under her teapot and by fluke I had the exact same wool that she is using on her current tea cosy. So here is what I made, it's the front piece of a potholder from Crochet with Raymond. It's similar colours to the cushion I did recently but I love this so much more. I was going to back it like a pot holder but we decided it is probably fine to use as one layer.

I loved it so much I decided to use one I'd made a while ago and edge it to match my new tea cosy - the two look so cute together. This pink one was my first attempt at an African flower and I mucked it up completely but I still like it and couldn't bring myself to undo it. My darling Nana always used to say, "A blind man would be pleased to see it"!!

Right - my oven timer is beeping to remind me to go and knock down some lovely bread dough that is due for its final rise ready for our Valentine's Day dinner. It's actually the 14th here in NZ already but the post dates always show US dates (I think that's what it is!). So happy Valentine's Day to you all. Have a lovely week everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Anyone for tea?

It's that moment - the excitement of seeing the completed project! But with it comes a hint of owwwww as I didn't really want it to end - I was having so much fun making it.

I have absolutely loved making this tea cosy! It was my first attempt at knitting which I really enjoyed but as my first love is crochet, it was making all the cute flowers and leaves for the top that I loved the most. I got a crochet flower book for my birthday and have had so much fun working my way through it for this tea cosy. I neglected all household jobs last night so I could sit at the table and stitch all the flowers and leaves on. I love the colours, I love the randomness of the placement but most of all I love that it makes me smile whenever I look at it.

Is this my best side?

Or maybe it's this side?

My favourite view is this one. A nice big pile of flowers plopped on the top.

This pic was taken last night just after I had pinned all the flowers on and I was getting set to start attaching them. I was absolutely smitten at this moment!
My teapot was a very short, chubby 2 cup style so with a picture in my mind of what I wanted to make I just had a go at making up the pattern as I went along and I am thrilled with it. I will be popping the pattern in a post in the next few days.
There are so many gorgeous tea cosys I have come across recently that have inspired me. Alice's flowery tea cosies at Crochet with Raymond are utterly adorable and so is the gorgeous basket of flowers cosy by Pearly Queen . I hope you don't mind me mentioning you - I just love what you do!
Right, I'm off to make a cuppa! Have a lovely weekend all. It's Friday evening here, the sun is shining, it's 27 degrees in my house and the cicadas are chirping like crazy. I'm hoping the weather stays like this for the weekend but I'm told it's due to rain darn it. Oh well, rainy days mean more opportunities to crochet!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tea Cosy - an attempt at knitting!

I adore crochet and am really quite obsessed with it, but I have two very good friends who are the most amazing knitters. Having seen their work recently I have been inspired to give it a go - but combining it with crochet of course! For some reason I can follow a crochet pattern, after much reading and regular mistakes, but a knitting pattern might as well be in a foreign language for all I can understand. So for this one, I knew how to do the basic knit/purl stitches but that was about it. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to look so I just went for it - scribbling down notes after every few rows.

I took my teapot with me everywhere I planned to knit so that I could measure my work against it as I went. I had been shown how to knit two together to decrease but had never tried it - and I must admit I'm thrilled with the result as it tapers at the top. Because I'm a total knitting beginner, I decided to knit two sides and join them, as doing it in one whole piece and working around handle/spout was just too tricky for me to get my head around.

Once I'd sewn the two sides together, I edged the bottom in crochet using a fab pink wool. A bit of a wavy bobble edge (which I'm obsessed with doing at the moment) and it looks a treat. I have made lots of leaves and am about to start on the flowers to top it off. I have been saving some gorgeous wool in pinks/oranges/reds that I'm bursting to use. I love, love, love these colours together. I can't wait to see the finished cosy. My 3 year old thought it was a hat this morning with space for her ears - adorable!

Hopefully I'll be finished in the next few days. I'm waiting for a parcel to arrive with my birthday treat in it - a book of crochet flower patterns - and I'm getting impatient. I just want to get on with it - it really is an obsession isn't it.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

African Flower Cushion

This started life as my first proper attempt at an african flower potholder. But once I'd edged the last row I kept thinking how nice it would be just to keep going! So I undid the bobble edge and kept on going with rounds. And here it is.

I did have one major problem though - I can't find round cushion inserts or round cushions for that matter anywhere in Wellington!! I've even searched online in NZ to find some but nothing. So if anyone knows where to buy them, please please please let me know. So instead I bought a square cushion, unpicked it, unstuffed it, cut it into a circle, re-stuffed it and re-sewed it. Phew - what a mission. So my cushion is a bit lumpy and bumpy and not a perfect circle but hey - it's a delight to snuggle up against. I think this one is going to find it's way into my teeny tiny, very old Fiat 500 - it will look so cute in the back seat just waiting for a small person to snuggle it when we venture out for a drive.

Such a simple little stitch combo, but what a gorgeous difference it makes when finishing off the cushion.

So until I can track down round inserts, any cushions I make will have to be square! I have found some fabulous patterns for gorgeous granny squares that I'm bursting to try. They are in a book called "Bring Colour to Crochet - 64 multi-coloured squares" by Renate Kirkpatrick. It's a fabulous book - she has made a sampler blanket using a different pattern for every square. But I'll have to be patient as I'm determined to get cracking with my tea cozy as soon as poss.