Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Where the heck did November go?  I can't believe how fast the weeks have been passing.  I never intended almost two months to go by without doing a post.  That also means nearly two months of not popping in to visit other blogs so I have a lot of catching up to do!!  And a big hello to lots of new followers - it has surprised me to see how many new folk have discovered my little blog. 

It has been an utterly crazy few weeks in the lead up to Christmas.  There have been ballet recitals, end of year school celebrations, summer sports, a few health issues and some very weird weather to keep me on my toes.  It's meant to be summer but I am currently sitting here, very early in the morning, and all I can see out of my window is fog.  The airport is closed making Christmas travel plans a nightmare for many.  Thankfully we are staying home this year and I'm really looking forward to some time to slow down and just potter about for a while.  Not to mention the chance to eat far too many festive treats and start the diet in the new year!!  My small folk love these chocolate biscuit Christmas puds so they requested we make them again this year.  Not to mention the piles of white chocolate rocky road and bottles of caramel sauce I made for gifts this year.  Delicious!
There has been a wee bit of time for some crochet.  I'm still trying to use up my Stylecraft yarn but it just keeps on going!  I started this blanket ages ago and wasn't sure that I loved it enough to carry on.  But my gorgeous sis-in-law Sarah visited yesterday and she spotted it in my basket.  So I'm going to get it finished and give it to her.
There is something nice about a simple granny square isn't there?  I think I was worried it was a bit too simple though - that's why I hadn't fallen in love with it.
 But the more I look at it now, the more it is growing on me.  Maybe I'll make another one for me later.

And there have been many, many more tea cosies made.  Quite a few sales and commissions in the lead up to Christmas which is fantastic!
I was a bit naughty this year and went a little but nutso with online shopping.  I had wanted this book for a while and it didn't seem to make it to the bookshops here so I ordered it from good old Book Depository along with a few other treats for gifts.  I love, love, love that website!!!  And I really love seeing a little (or large) brown parcel in my letterbox!!!
The very first pages the book opened to was this - I thought it was just gorgeous.  I have only managed a quick flick through the book - so can't wait for a sunny day so I can sit outside and read it properly.
Miss 5 has become a real little crafter.  She got this sweet little sewing kit for her birthday and it goes everywhere with her just now.  She was unwell recently so I cut out some shapes for her to sew.  She made this sweet little bear and today she is sewing more stockings to hang on the tree.  I am so proud of Mr 8 too, for a boy whose favourite part of school has always been lunchtime(!) - he came second in a poetry competition this week.  I didn't even know he had entered - so it was a huge surprise.  My little boy is really growing up to be a gorgeous fella.  
Even though the weather has been completely screwy, boiling hot one day and pouring with rain the next, we have managed to grow some yummy veges.  Broad beans are one of my faves and thankfully Miss 5 is keen to pod them with me and then peel them once boiled.  It certainly speeds up the process! 
And for the very first time, after trying for 4 seasons, we managed to grow a broccoli!!!  I actually squealed out loud when I spotted it!!  It wasn't huge but was enough to feed us for one meal.  It tasted beautiful as it was only a few minutes from garden to plate.
And another gardening success - well kind of - was this cabbage.  Again, we've been trying for years with no success and then one day it was just there, like magic.  It was tiny - but perfectly formed under those outside leaves!  My theory is that neglect was the perfect answer.  We'd had such terrible weather that the vege patch had been left unweeded for several weeks.  A theory I will try again because I hate weeding!!!
Our cabbage was tiny but check out this freakishly large strawberry.  I had to put my crochet hook in front of it show the scale of this monster.  So if you're going to be good and limit yourself to only one choc dipped strawberry then this is most definitely the one you'd want to choose!
And speaking of large - look at this gingerbread house.  Apparently it has set the record for being the largest ever made.  It is at Te Papa museum and the kids loved it.  The smell was just beautiful.
 Phew - that's a lot of butter!!
Another wee treat I bought for the family this week was these bright and gorgeous pudding bowls.  I had to go back and get another set so we have enough when friends visit.  A bargain at $5 and oh so bright and lovely.  I might just have to fill them with sweets and treats tomorrow and dot them about the house.

Before the fog set in, we went on a family walk around our suburb.  I wish I had taken more pics now as these Pohutukawa trees are blooming everywhere just now.  They are called a New Zealand Christmas Tree and the story goes that if they flower before Christmas then we are going to have a long hot summer.  Well where I live, there are beautiful red flowers on all the trees so bring on the good weather.
Miss 5 collected flowers on the way.

Telecom sets up this amazingly huge tree each year.  The children go into the old red phone boxes and call Santa.  Then their wish travels up the tree and lights up as it goes.  We took the children yesterday and it was just gorgeous listening to them leaving their little message for Santa. 
I love this pic - it is taken standing inside the tree looking up.  Just a shame it isn't dark until quite late here, so my small folk haven't had a chance to see it completely lit up in all its glory.  We might have to let them stay up late and go for a drive tonight for a Christmas Eve treat.

Well that's all from me!  Have a truly wonderful Christmas wherever you may be.  Thank you so much for popping by and I hope to see you again in the New Year.  I hope you all get thoroughly spoilt this festive season.  Merry Christmas!!!

Take care,

Monday, October 29, 2012

In love with colour!

I know I have shown lots of pics of my tea cosies recently but I really can't get enough of them!  I have made so many lately that I can whip one up in about 30 minutes - the pattern is in my sidebar - then have them in a pile waiting to be topped with flowers or spots (my latest design - talk about cute!).  And it was a good excuse to play around with the photo mosaic!! 
These little spotty cosies were fun to make and look so cheerful.  It doesn't seem to matter how many I make out of this wool - the stash doesn't seem to get any smaller. 
But this wee blue cosy is one of my absolute favourites.  Sometimes a particular colour combination really hits the spot.  

In my last post I showed a picture of some gorgeous old chairs I'd found.  Well in the same week I managed to find a retro coffee table and this lovely little vinyl footstool for an absolute bargain (the table was the grand total of $2.50 on Trade Me!!) - both of which will go nicely with the 70's chairs.

But as much as I loved it in its original condition - it had a wee bit of damage and was screaming out for a makeover.  I had the perfect fabric in mind after spotting it in the shop a few weeks ago. 
The colours are gorgeous and I loved that it looks like I've painstakingly joined all these squares together!!   Big fat cheat!
Ta-da - now that looks more like it!  I know it sounds tragic, but this little footstool has made me so happy.  It's a burst of colour in a fairly plain room and it lifts my spirits whenever I walk by.  I had a ridiculously great time playing with upholstery pins and my hammer.  When it was finished, I wandered around the house with hammer in hand trying to find other things that could be covered!!
And best of all there was just enough fabric left to make two wee cushions.  I have been waiting for the perfect project to use some of my pretty trims on and this was it. 
You might have spotted the chairs already but here's a better shot of them.  We will have them reupholstered professionally in the future but it's pretty expensive so I will have to save up for it.  In the meantime I have bought new foam for the seats and backs.  Then I spotted an amazing fabric that was reduced from $100 per metre to only $10 per metre!  How is that for a bargain!  And it was reversible so I've done one chair in each colourway, one with a pink background, the other with a green background.  When I say "I've done them" I mean I've wrapped fabric around each chair and fastened it to see what it looks like and to convince my husband that it wasn't too girly!!  Now I have the challenge of stitching it in place.  I am really happy with the result and am quite happy to have them like this until they can be covered properly.  This new little sitting area has become a favourite spot for the whole family.  Before, it was a space covered in toys but they have been moved to the other end of the room.  The children love sitting here to read, Bella lounges in the sun most days and the grown ups grab a quick sit-down whenever they can!
Oh look - there's Bella soaking up some sun.  She moves from one chair to another depending on which looks the warmest at any given time.  What a hard life she has!!  Did I mention that these chairs are perfect crochet chairs?  Lots of room to move my arms but also just the right height to rest my elbows on while my hands are busy.  I'm really proud that we've found these lovely older pieces and given them a new lease of life.  When I worked on the woodwork of the chairs I found the original labels underneath them with 'August 1975' on them!  They're almost as old as me!
And now for something not so old .... I sold a few tea cosies last week so with my earnings I treated myself to this adorable sundress.  The first thing I did after taking this photo was unpick that crazy huge bow on the front!  It looks so much better without it.  It was made with a huge piece of fabric so now I'm thinking of what I can make with it instead.  Now I just need the temperature to improve a bit here so I can wear this little beauty.  I've decided that this summer I am going to wear dresses as often as possible.  I have found some lovely vintage dresses over the last few months at the op shops and I can't wait to start wearing them. Bring on the sunshine!!
Oooh almost forgot - in the height of my current fabric obsession I found a sweet little spotty fat quarter when I was working at the market the other week.  It matches some of the colours in my curtains perfectly and I knew it would make a perfect top for another footstool we had here.  This lime green footstool has been well used, the children jump off it constantly and it has taken an absolute hammering.  So it was time for a bit of prettification (is that a word?).
And here she is - I love it!  Don't you love how a piece of material and a hour or so on the sewing machine can transform something completely.  As with all my sewing - it is by no means perfect.  Probably something to do with the fact that I don't like measuring anything or using pins!!!  I have an idea in my head of what to do and I just go for it.  Sometimes it turns out - sometimes it's a disaster.  Thankfully this one worked out!!
And amongst all the pretty colours and girly projects it seems only right to pop this picture in from Mr 8's birthday party.  He had a Trash Pack party and for his birthday cake I made him lots of slime cakes.  It was so much fun to make cakes that are meant to look gross.  The boys thought these were great - they decided they looked like pooh and slime - and they were a total hit.   Hilarious.
I am yet again very behind in my blog reading so apologies if I haven't popped by recently.  I feel as if I'm constantly trying to keep up and failing miserably!  I can't wait to see what you've all been up to.

I hope you all have a fabulous week.  See you again soon. 


Friday, October 5, 2012

She's finished!

Yes, she is finished and I am truly in love with ripples!  The rhythm of this pattern was just what I needed.  It was a pleasure to pick up my hook each evening and do a few rows.  I finished this blanket a few weeks ago but haven't had a chance to do a post until now.  It's school holidays here at the moment and it is crazy busy.  But this morning Mr 8 (yes Mr 7 became Mr 8 on Tuesday - happy birthday gorgeous boy!!) and Miss 5 have friends here to play so I'm sneaking a few minutes on the computer.
I had to sneak a peek of my shoes into this pic - talk about colour co-ordinated shoes and crochet!  I had to replace those cute floral ones I bought recently as they were the most uncomfortable things I'd ever worn.  Cute - but painful!  Lesson learnt - sometimes a bargain is a bargain for a reason!!!  So on to a different brand and now my feet are happy.  Miss 5 got the same shoes too - which is easy when your mother buys her own shoes in the kids department - and she is loving being able to match her mum.  She has waaaay better style than me though!
My tea cosies are still keeping me busy too.  Lots of orders and a few extras to pop onto my wee online shop.  I have got so much of this wool to use up - I'm just glad that these rainbow stripes are so popular!!   I never get bored of making them - the pattern is now etched in my brain.   The one I have on the go at the moment is a plain blue which will be topped with flowers, then the next order is for a plain blue with hearts around the top like this one.   Just as well there is plenty of good telly on at the moment to plonk down in front of with my hook!
 Did I tell you that my wee girl used to ask me if I was making a jersey for the teapot?  Too cute.
I have been a very happy girl recently and have had a few days helping out in the Stitchbird shop.  It is impossible for me to leave that store without buying something!  I spotted this fat quarter of fabric and thought it was perfect to make a wee pin cushion.  To all you sewing pros out there - I apologise for my less than crisp corners!!  These are so much fun to make - I have had to make a few and give them to friends.  It was just the simple project I needed to get me motivated to sew again.  Now I have some sewing to do in preparation for our school fair.  Frogs and headbands!!

Oooh, oooh, oooh, do you remember that gorgeous little cafe I visit called Martha's?  There are a few pics of it here.  Well they have opened a new cafe just across the road from Martha's and it's called Arthur's!!

So where Martha's is all bright, white and girly, Arthur's is all dark wood, half pint water glasses and fry ups on the menu.  Instead of flowers on the table there are plants - just gorgeous.  I visited for the first time last week for a cuppa and it was stunning.  It's in an old 2 storey building at the top of Cuba Street and the main eating area is up a tiny staircase. 
Lots of old oak tea trolleys dotted about the place and antlers on the wall.  There were even a few crochet cushions on the chairs!
So it seemed a perfect coincidence that I had brought along a neutral crochet project to work on while I drank and ate (a beanie order) - as it went perfectly with my surroundings.  I can't wait to go back for a proper breakfast sometime soon.
Isn't this hilarious!  I popped into my husband's office last week and they have had these funny paintings done all around the place.  This giant mouse hole made me laugh.  Clever ay.

Want to see what I'll be working on tonight?

I have been looking for an old chair for ages so I squealed out loud when I spotted these two beauties in the Salvation Army store on Monday.  The upholstery is absolutely revolting but the wood and the springs are in excellent condition.  While they sit in my hallway waiting for me to work on them, Bella has decided that they are just perfect for her day long snoozes.  She flits from one to the other and is one very comfy cat. I am going to work on the wood myself then send them to a professional to replace all the foam and recover them.  As much as I'd love to do it - I think they are beyond my abilities. The hardest thing will be deciding what material to use!!  We also have a retro floor lamp and coffee table that we have our eye on - fingers crossed we win those online auctions.  We have cleared a space in our sunroom now that the children aren't playing in there so much and it will become a lovely, sunny reading spot.  Can't wait!!!  The best thing about them is that they are the perfect crochet chairs.  My short legs can touch the floor and my arms rest perfectly. 

Have a fab weekend everyone!  We are off to the WOW show tomorrow night and I am really looking forward to it.  I've only been once before and it was amazing.  It's soooooo cool.  There are some incredibly talented people on this planet.  Wellington is really buzzing at the moment with lots of out of town visitors and international tourists for this event.

See you again soon,

Friday, September 14, 2012

Back to normal!

It's taken a wee while but I am now almost back to my old self.  Thank you so much for all your lovely wishes and butt jokes, they really cheered me up!!  So because I wasn't able to sit comfortably for such a long time, I was beyond bursting to get my crochet hook out again.  And I think I have more than made up for lost time.  I decided a quick project was just the thing to get me started, more on that a little later.  But then the overwhelming urge to do another ripple took over! 

This started out being called "The Leftovers Blanket" because I had quite a bit of Stylecraft leftover from my giant granny blanket.   As it has grown, it has taken on the prettier name of Rainbow Ripple Blanket.  At first I thought it looked a little bright, but it always amazes me how the whole look of a blanket can change depending on what colour you use in the next row.  It definitely provided some cheerful colour while we were having some horrible weather last week.  It is growing ridiculously fast and I will be finished it this weekend hopefully.  The best bit about making a ripple blanket is that there are only a few ends to weave in at the end - bliss!!!   

There is something quite addictive about these ripply stripes.  And every time I look at it, it reminds me of a blanket my Nana M had in her house when I was little.  Nice memories.  
I have also pulled out my African Flower Hexagon blanket that I started last year then got a bit tired of.  Before I started the ripple, I made a heap more of these little beauties. I'm not joining-as-I-go, so it's a little fiddly joining them all up, but I'm loving the result.  This one is a pure wool blanket and the weight of it is fantastic.  It's definitely going to be toasty warm.  It's still got a way to go but I'm aiming to have it finished for next Winter.
And last but not least in the crochet department, here's the quick project I mentioned.  I spotted one lone ball of wool at my local wool shop and I just loved the moody tones.  It is a King Cole Riot and the shades of silver and gray are beautiful. 

The pattern is called Spring Petals and you can find it here.  It was a lovely easy pattern and it worked up really quickly.  I had this finished in one evening.  I will definitely be making more of these!
I've been having a fab time on Pinterest lately and was fascinated with all the Mod Podge ideas I'd seen.  I saw a pin for some homemade equivalent so I had to give it a go.  We had some wooden coasters that had seen better days so they became my test item.  I used a spray adhesive to attach some pretty scrapbooking paper to each coaster, then used the Mod Podge to seal it - with several coats.  I've just used a spray acrylic sealer over the top so that they are more waterproof.  I absolutely LOVE them!   This is them before they got sealed.

I'm off now to decorate a birthday cake for my niece and nephew who turn 2 today!!  Happy birthday to you both, I can't wait to give you big birthday cuddles tomorrow!!

Then after that it will be time to boil the kettle, make a large cup of tea and do a few more rows of my blanket.  I should be doing the housework but the thought of it is just too boring in comparison!
Have a fabulous week - see you again soon.