31 January, 2011

The Reward For All The Finishes

... is starting something new of course. I had every intention last night of working on the Rainbow Ripple but it was just too hot to sit under. So having got this yarn recently I thought I had better use it. It's a nice varigated soft acrylic. I thought it too would make a nice baby blanket. But with the varigated yarn I didn't want to do anything with a pattern that would suit better with changing colours. So I quickly checked though Crochet Pattern Centrals list of afghans for a blanket that I could use. I didn't look at that many as the tennis was starting & I want to get the hook going. I found this Bubble pattern. It's pretty simple & quite effective. I have done almost 5 inches & used up almost one 100g ball. Wow! It is worked in single crochet pretty much so it isn't growing very quickly & you can't really see the little bobbly bits sticking up out of it in the picture. But it is nice I think. I think it will make a nice boy blanket for one of the many friends who are expecting this year. Hopefully one of them has a boy! It's pretty cute. I have another nice varigated in the same yarn as this one that I will have to find another pattern in that list for. I will have to go & get a couple more balls of this one though as once I finish this ball I should work out how many I need to get it a decent size. It's all good fun & keeping me occupied anyway.

30 January, 2011

Another Finish

This has been a good weekend to finish things off. Don't you love finishes... I have been working on another of the dragonfly cushions. I like this one way better than the first one I did. This one I did with DMC pearl #5 907. It's for someone that likes green, lime green at that. I thought I would make it a little more funky though & a little less white but backing it with something other than the linen that the front is attached to. I chopped that off & added this lime green fabric backing.
I really like it. Now I want to do 2 new ones for me & back them. I nearly did with my original but I just did it how it was designed. I am waiting for new ones to arrive at work. I had better not buy them all though. (if you are interested in one email me through here & I will give you the details on who to call as work does send stuff out all over Aus!) I would really like a couple more. I gave one in the packet to someone for a present the other day. I hope she enjoys doing it. I have all sorts of ideas on doing more though. I have to stop thinking ... I don't have time for all the thinking to be put into action.

I must say while I am sitting here melting that I am really glad I am only 15 weeks along. It would be terribly uncomfortable. Bad enough at this stage. Got to love winter babies! lol

Ok, I had better go & finish off this other little thing I just started & then I can get back to some other projects that also need my attention. Happy Day everyone.

29 January, 2011

Charity Quilt Squares plus a Ta-Dah

Here is my little Ta-dah moment for the day. Somehow today, between weeding the garden, fishing off the garden wall & finding shapes in clouds, I have managed to finish the edge of the Baby Ripple blanket. It is only 2 rows of single crochet around the outside as I experimented a little & anything too large was going to look horrible we decided. So I added just this little edge to give it a finished off look. My only problem with edging is working out where to stick the hook in to the existing sides. So I don't know if I did it technically right in crochet work but oh well, I did it where it went the easiest.

Also today I had to finish off some quilt squares. This is for a quilt to raise money for the Elkhounds that need rescuing in the USA. I am friends online with a large group of people around the world who own Elkhounds.

Meet Juneau our Elkhound. She's nearly 5.

In North America there are a lot more of these dogs than there are here in Australia. So many in fact that they have rescue groups to help these dogs when they are abandoned or need rehoming. This is done primarily through the John Nelsen Moosedog Rescue Fund. The group pays for health work needed for a dog & foster care for a dog until its forever home is found. It's probably a good thing I am not near all these dogs else I could imagine I would have quite a few. Foster failure is regular with those who take them in originally on a temporary basis. There are also lots of happy stories though on dogs that are rescued & do have amazing stories on how they ended up looking for a new home.

Fundraising is done regularly through a number of people to help fund this work as it does cost a bit to do this. A few ladies that quilt a little have got together to work on a quilt together. I was recently sent the fabric pieces all cut & ready to sew. I will send them back to the USA & then the quilt will be completed & will most likely be raffled off. Cool. It's nice to be able to do something to help raise funds from the other side of the world. I'm not terribly happy with my squares though as for one thing I was short a star point. So I will have to hope there is a little left that the recipient can finish it off. Also I had a couple of rather small squares so I tried to assemble as well as possible but I hope she has enough fabric also to undo & resew those that look a bit wonky. Really I don't think they will do at all, but it depends on what fabric is left. Hopefully there is some.

So two little jobs finished off today. Hopefully tonight I can finish off another one before getting back to my rainbow ripple blanket. I was very excited yesterday when I got to venture out for a couple of hours all by myself & I got to go stash shopping. I found the orange I had run out of while out & about so I can now get back onto my blanket. I bet now the weather will warm up more & I will have to put it down again. The last week would have been perfect for sitting under it but oh well, it wasn't to be & I did get the baby blanket done in the meantime.

It's exciting to see all the produce popping up in the garden again too at last. The beans are going mad. We will soon have a lot of Roma tomatoes ready to pick followed by some Ping Pong tomatoes & Heirlooms. It will be interesting to see how they all taste & produce in the end. We have just finished all the tomatoes from the freezer that we had last year so that has been fabulous to have a supply all year. We also decided that it would be good to try to do a spreadsheet on how our vegies grow, with info like how much room they need, whether they are even tasty & anything else we think we should use for reference next year. You know, you always assume you will remember all those things, but come next year, I can imagine we will be trying to remember which ones we grew that were really delicious or which ones were really short plants & didn't need high stakes etc etc... so much to remember. We will try to record it.

Hopefully Sunday will be just as much fun as today was. Enjoy the tennis finals! I will. Hope the ones you cheer for win!

28 January, 2011

Baby Ripple Blanket almost done

Here it is looking all cute & cuddly. This picture believe it or not actually shows the colours quite true. Amazing with my (lack of) camera skills. I am happy with the blanket but also not. For one thing I have had to make it small. The width wasn't big enough really & seems to have shrunk up a bit in the first couple of rows once I got going, so I must remember that for future reference. Other than that I love it. I love the look of the colours with their white flecks & I like how cozy it is. I think it is about a pram cover size only. I think I should had had an extra 2 ripples on it for a decent size that would be a bit closer to cot size. Anyway I have a friend expecting her first in winter so this may go her way, unless I come up with something I like better for her instead. I am currently sewing in the last few ends & then I am going to try an edge on it in plain white wool. It should look ok if I can figure out a nice pattern for it. I think it needs it but I will see, as I may put one on & then pull it out. So stay tuned...

In the meantime we have had a little working be in the garden now Stuart is able to move a little bit more. Good thing too as I will be able to move a bit less in coming months! lol I must be 15 weeks now so I am being kept away from some gardening which isn't so bad! hehehehe...

All 3 in a row... the fuzzybutt on the end though didn't have a wheelbarrow to help.

Anything Daddy can do, I can too! Daddy cuts trees, I can too.

Daddy goes up ladder, I can too. (& give Mummy heart attacks galore until insisting the ladder is finished & can be packed away!)

We had a lovely Australia Day here with a bunch of family & friends. Little kids all over the place! Good fun. Have a great weekend!

21 January, 2011

Craft is Cheap Therapy!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. I have been fiddling with a number of different things which I do depending on where I am, what is going on, how much brain power I need.

I finished this Mill Hill Snow Sled the other week. Just finished Kitty Stocking inbetween other bits. That's going well, as that makes 6 already for the year. Half way in my goal of one a month. The end of the year is going to get busy busy busy so I have to try to fit in what I can now. lol
I only work one day a week at the moment & it is amazing what changes in store in that time from one week to the next. Last week I went in & found these Japanese dragonfly patterns. Straight away my mind starts going 10 to the couple of dozen on what & how & who for etc etc... Well I bought one along with DMC pearl #5 Colour Variations 4025. The dragonfly is a cushion technically. The fabric is one piece of linen front & back. The front is printed with the design & the rest also has the edge marked on it to line up front & back to sew. I couldn't read the instructions but at least there were little pictures so you kind of have a clue. All I really needed to know what when you have stitched it up & sewn the cushion you need to wash it. Then all their markings wash straight off. Magic. I must admit I love cheating embroidery like that. This was so simple. Basic running stitch all over. I did stuff up though in one way, in that after I started I had an "Uh oh" moment when I realised I should have backed the front with some interfacing or something as I would end up with serious thread shadows. Ok, lesson learnt for the next one & the next one. I went back to work on Tuesday & got 2 more white ones. (they also came in navy) I have started one in green for someone & I got another DMC in 4200 so I will have a pair.

Finished cushion. The thread shadow wasn't as bad as I was expecting but I have started the next one with interfacing & it is a lot nicer to sew with that on as well.

I have also been working on the baby ripple blanket inbetween everything else. It's growing nicely though I am not sure whether it will be too heavy for a baby though Sally tells me it won't matter really. Better get that finished next anyway. To many things going on. But the dragonfly stitching has been handy to chuck in the bag & take while you wait on repair people.

Have a great weekend!

14 January, 2011

Baby Ripple

I went to my local wool shop to get more orange for my Rainbow Ripple blanket. She hasn't got any & is waiting for stock. Ok, so I can't do anymore of my rainbow. Darn it. Oh well, I will browse the shop & see what is there since I was in the child free. Found this nice soft squishy wool called Ninna Nanna from Italy. I bought it in 4 colours for a nice baby ripple blanket. I have a few friends expecting this year & thought a couple of local ones may like a nice soft woolly blanket. It looks quite nice really. I got this much done yesterday just veging out. Can't do much else right now with the lovely summer rain we are having. Stuart has been home off work all week so it has been a pretty lazy week. It's actually been quite nice after the festive season & his very short time off work, though we could have done without the issues of why he has been off work! lol So here's to some nice crafty days ahead while the rain continues & we watch the river rise down at the back of our paddock. (it won't flood us though if it does go over the banks so don't worry there!)

I was planning on making a sun hat or 2 for the kid but it doesn't seem like sun hat weather really! What are you working on while it is so rainy? Or are you flooded out? Have you lost all your craft stash through a flood this week? I hope you are getting some nice crafty time in like I am. Stay dry & drive safely. The roads are horrible.

09 January, 2011

A Year Ago Today

It's been quite a year! Today last year we moved house! It was really quite a huge thing for me as I never imagined I would move out of the house that we had lived in for almost 18 years at that time. But well, even I had to be realistic & realize we had outgrown that one. It was even me that initiated the house hunting & looking at the place we ended up buying, since named Fell Farm. :-) We love it. It feels like we have been here for years & years. I never imagined I would be able to move but I did. We are very happy here in our little paradise.

With the new place we become pretty committed gardeners. Fortunately the flower garden are mostly pretty easy but we had a crash course in vegetable gardening as soon as we moved in reaping the benefits of the work that the previous owner started in the gardens. We are now planting, growing & eating our own hard work though which is very rewarding. It's particularly great when you can save some money on your groceries, especially with the vegie prices due to rise. Pity I can't grow mangos, watermelon & bananas though.

Another huge thing for the year was that I went back to work sort of. Some people might not call one day a week "work" as such but for me it was great to get out to do that one day. Actually it only started out as a fill in spot & then a couple of hours a week & then a whole day! Bonus! My dream job in a craft shop! What could be better. :-)

They are the major points of our last year really. Of course there were other great things that are probably newsworthy but I won't bore you all that as I'm probably the only one that cares anyway! lol

Instead I will leave you with pics from the beach today. It is amazing to see how far BJ has come in a week playing on the beach. Considering he wouldn't even go on the beach only a few weeks ago. He had some playmates in the pool for a while & they were all older than him too, but he did eventually copy what they were doing too. It's all good. He copies everything at the moment. But here he is playing with his boat that he got for Christmas & having a great time. Also I must add that he is sporting his new hat that he got for Christmas made for him by a great friend Sally. She made a hat & shorts like it for her own little guy & made BJ a set for Christmas too. So lovely & beautifully made! The hat is just awesome, particularly because I can pick him out in a crowd of kids easily in it! Have a great week!

06 January, 2011

Rainbow Ripple

It's getting bigger! & wow, I was impressed with how awesome it is looking if I do say so myself! I just love it. This is laid out on a queen size bed. It is almost the width of it. Not bad at all. I just put it on the single bed though to get a better idea of how long it needs to be. Ok, I'm only just a little bit past half way. That's ok, I am quite enjoying doing it. It is getting hotter though so I don't know how much I will get done in the next couple of months as I am quite hot by the time I put it down of a evening. I will have to decide on another blanket soon I think so I have something smaller to work on. I just looked at the wool shop when picking up another couple of balls for this one. I really can't decide what I would like to work something on, but I think cotton would be nice. A cotton/acrylic blend would be ok. I did see some in the store that had a few colours available. Not many of the ranges have a lot of colours. I might change my mind completely before then & go for something else like a varigated something. Mostly the varigated I looked at came in acrylic though. I am still liking the idea of cotton. I have a ball of one I looked at so I might experiment with that a bit first to see what it hooks up like. I think it was only a 4 ply so may be interesting to try after the rainbow ripple.

A beautiful morning at the park with kids & friends so that was fun! Loving this sunny stuff! Have a good day! It's nearly the weekend!

03 January, 2011

Christmas Ornament Goal

Ok, I know Christmas is over but I felt like working on a few Mill Hill ornaments so I did. I have had a little time to sit & play so I was able to dig a couple of these out. There is Penguin from the 2009 series of ornaments & the Teddy Wagon & Elfin Magic are both old ones. Those 2 older ones are both done all in beads & only with one colour thread so the Mill Hill kits have certainly come a long way when you look at how intricate the ones coming out now are, complete with specialty stitches, treasure & charms.

I have in mind that I would like to complete a bunch of these throughout the year as part of a craft goal for the year. I don't think I have ever written down plans for anything like that before but thought it would be interesting to see what I manage in the next year.

So firstly I would like to end up with 12 of these ornaments done. One for each month. I had in mind that I would work on one at the start of each month, regardless of what else I was working on. That is going to be quite a challenge for me as I don't normally work on multiple cross stitch projects at once. I really hate doing that actually. But I think this would be interesting. So I guess I have got a good start for the year with 3 out of 12 completed. (then I will need to buy a bigger tree for them all next Christmas!)

I am working on finishing my Rainbow Ripple blanket at the moment too. I have done some of that the last few nights & that will definitely get finished before I start any other blankets. I just saw this one the other day, the Vintage Vertical Stripe blanket. I won't even think about it though until the ripple is done. Then I will need to make the tough choices like colours, yarns & size. Hmmm... so many decisions... but I won't think about it yet. (nope not thinking... brights or pastel? Lap rug size or single bed size? Cotton? Acrylic? Bamboo? Wool blend? nope, not thinking about it at all! Anyone want to work on one of these with me in a couple of months?)

I really would love to work on some more embroideries. I enjoyed the animal ones so much last year & although they aren't quilted up yet I would love to just sit & do some more embroidery. But I need to decide on a design & what to turn it into etc etc, before I start something. I have lots I want to do but then what... Maybe I should just work on the ones that keep calling me regardless! I think that is often the most fun way to be creative, to do what your mood is calling you to do & what appeals to you then & there.

It is going to be a busy year so I don't want to get too carried away yet. I have a couple of ideas of others things I would like to do but don't know how I will manage yet so I will have to think about whether they are even close to achievable or not. I think for the moment I need to keep things simple. Like a jelly roll quilt. It shouldn't be too hard but whether I can start it & work on it until it is finished is a whole other matter. I would prefer to get stuck in & finish it rather than leave it half way through only to come back to it & muddle my way through all the bits.

So that's it for the moment. That's not so bad but mostly just a jumble in my head! (I imagine I will read this a week or more from now & wonder what the heck I was thinking to write such a pile of nothing!) I might add to it later on. We'll see what the months bring. Maybe come the end of summer & moving into the cooler months I will be more inclined to think of big projects that I may be able to try & sit & finish.

Back to work tomorrow for us both. All good things must come to an end but I can look forward to our mini caravan holiday at the end of the month now.

02 January, 2011

Our Own Personal Beach Pool

What more could you want when you go to the beach? With BJ just discovering how fun the beach could be we went down again today after a very successful play there yesterday as well. Bj didn't like the sand before. But now it's different. We had a great run around today once again in a pool left by the tide. This is an ideal time to take a toddler to the beach to play. It's entirely different if you are a big person & want to swim as it is then a long walk to the water. lol But we had a great time today. BJ really wanted a sandcastle so we were armed with bucket & spade. Apparently you can't make one without a bucket. But of course it was me that did most of the work on castle. He had fun knocking it down. All good. It's been a great introduction to the fun of the beach. He didn't sit in the water once as he doesn't get all that yet but he did end up soggy both days. Looks like he is like his parents though & gets shivery very quickly.

*Note - this beach was actually busy here today. There were probably 20 other people on the beach when we were on it. They were all at the other end though. Best kept secret in Aus we are! shhhh... don't tell anyone about it if you know where I live. hehehehe
The holidays for us are drawing to a close already which is really sad to think of already. I only work one day a week so I get a bit of a break the other days still but it's not the same if Stuart is back at work too.

If you have holidays I hope you are enjoying the family time too! It's precious!

01 January, 2011

New Year's Day Brunch

Well that was pretty yummy! We cheated & had our family over for a brunch that they had to cook themselves! They didn't know that until they got her though & saw the table set. Well I figured this was a good way to serve up hot food to everyone. They were all responsible for cooking their own! If they didn't enjoy their meal it was also their own fault! Bwahahahahaha...

First up was a meal of eggs, bacon, tomatoes, chipolattas, mushrooms & English muffins. Can't be bad.

Ok, here is me cooking...

Followed by Stuart cooking. lol

As you can see below, the pan set is a bunch of (well used) frypans on a rack with metho burners underneath. So each person gets to cook with their own set. Lovely fun! We have used it for dinner parties before where you have diced meats & so forth as well, but never at breakfast time.
After a course of the meaty stuff we had a quick wash up of pans & plates & started on a dessert of mini pancakes again cooked in the pans. Too good. What a lovely way to start the year.

Enjoy your weekend!