Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Back to school at last

This weekend signified the end of the summer holidays.  One last weekend to prepare for the buying of stationery, ironing of uniforms, finding of p.e gear and polishing of shoes for the man child.  For the wee girl it was all about choosing first day clothes and hair styles.

The man child started year 11 (known as fifth form in my day) Tuesday.  The wee girl started her last year of Primary school as a year 6 today.

I'm working so the husband has the week off to get everyone back to reality.  The wee girl is thrilled to bits with her hairbands and ties.  I have been playing with african flower hexagons.

I have made a dozen or so out of the gelato acrylic/cotton mix so far.  I'm not sure yet where that is going.

I've also been inspired by Lucy from Attic 24 again.  She's crocheting covers for her trash.  

I recently came across a rather beautifully shaped iced tea glass bottle and on pintrest a tutorial for cutting glass using string and nail polish remover.  A friend drinks the iced tea and is saving the bottles for me.

When the children are back at school properly and the husband is back at work. I have some plans in mind to up cycle my own trash.

My mind is exploding with different ideas for this straight sided bottle!

I'm still working on my top and my blue and white china inspired granny stripe.  I'm finding as the weather alternates between almost chilly of an evening or stinking hot during the day, having a variety of projects means I can do whatever suits.  Chilly evenings see the blanket grow, quiet times see me working on the top and hot days mean more flowers.

Days off are coming up and a trip to Wellington for work looms in the not too distant future.

Today however, is housework day!  I have a nightshift to work tonight, and this day is always the big clean up prior to days off.  This year I am trying to be organized!  I want to divest us of a lot of the clutter we have and hopefully start turning the jungle outdoors into a garden over the autumn/winter months that will explode into beauty next spring!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The collection

The not so little people are back tomorrow, I'm heading northward early tomorrow to meet up with them in Whangarei.  I'm excited to have them back although the eldest is returning under a cloud.  I got his cellphone bill today.  We have an agreement where instead of allowance/pocket money I have a secondary number off my cellphone which is his phone on account, it's a system that has worked well for over a year and it's about teaching him to handle money/responsibility.  Well he went over his account limits in December by $500!!!  Yes you read that right!

We've had some communications about how disappointed I am in him and how he plans to make restitution.  He is very, VERY lucky that I keep my account in credit and that the amount still owing is something I can afford to pay, well not so much afford to, I am able to but I can think of a lot better things to spend that amount of money on than his phone bill.  I'm thinking he is going to be very, VERY busy when he gets home.  Far to busy to talk to his friends.  At least I have some time to think up suitable ways for him to make this up.

On to happier thoughts, the collection of exciting little things I have made for the Wee Girl while she has been away. 5 bracelets, 3 headbands and a hair tie.

The hair tie was easy and took about 20 minutes, I just crocheted slip stitch around a plain hair tie and then crocheted a single, a double and 4 treble stitches, then a double and a single, then started again to get the petal effect.  When it's on hair it looks like a double row of petals.

The pink hairband is a thinner version of the rainbow pattern in my accessorize post, with 8 instead of 12 rows.  The green head band is a crocheted ring of single and a row of trebles.  A little fiddly as you have to be very careful not to twist the foundation chain when you join it.

That consists of a foundation chain of 100, joined with a slipstitch to make a circle. A row of single crochet, a row of treble crochet and a row of single crochet then a row of slip stitch to finish.

I hope you are having a better day than me :)

Sunday, 22 January 2012


New cotton!  I found it yesterday at Spotlight while I was meant to be sorting out some new drapes for the wee girls room, it's new the Moda Vera Gelato range, a 50/50 mix of acrylic and cotton. I got myself 6 balls to play with.

It doesn't give a weight but seems to suit a 3mm hook or at least somewhere in that region.

I first thought I would make a lovely bright pencil case for the wee girl to start the school year with.  Something personal, useful and nobody could ever mistake her pencil case for their own.

Of course there's far too much there for one little pencil case and I needed to see how it worked up, more on that soon!

After visiting Spotlight, we went to a wondrous place called Geoff's Emporium!

Geoff's has been around for as long as I can recall and you can find just about anything there!  Crafting goods, hardware, art supplies... it's endless!  Soooo much to find there!  I will be going back and soon!

I got a metre of rhinestones to make some more bracelets, at $11 it was a little expensive but I can use it to accent so many things!

I found this little rhinestone heart buckle for $2 that is just perfect for this bracelet.  All I had to do was thread it on.

The husband purchased himself some cup hooks and mooched around the hardware while I flittered around looking at zips suitable for pencil cases and all the sparkly things!  I was in emporium heaven!

Home after a nice mocha, I settled down to play with my new toys.

The end product at this point is a headband!  Photo quality not so wonderful as I just snapped a shot with my phone to show you all and I haven't quite finished weaving in etc yet.

It's simple enough and I made it up as I went along.  I'm going to write what I did roughly but I will have to make another to make a proper pattern.

The front of the band:

Chain 61 stitches
Crochet 12 rows of single crochet (I changed colors every two rows) fasten off.
A row of single crochet to edge it and fasten off.

Then to make the back part that will go down behind the ears:

Right side facing you, crochet 12 trebles onto the end and turn.
Chain 3 for the first treble then crochet two trebles together to decrease to the end and turn.
chain 3 for the first treble* then crochet two trebles together and turn.
chain 3 for the first treble* then two trebles together once, treble to the end.  You should have 5 stitches by this row.
turn and chain 3 then 4 trebles, continue this until you have sufficient length.  Fasten off.

Repeat the above on the other end of the colour band.

Join both ends of the completed band together either sew or crochet together (I crocheted).  I crocheted the 5 trebles fairly loosely to give it some stretch as the cotton itself is quite firm.

And that's the basics.  On my days off I shall create another and make a proper tutorial for it.  By then I will have my wee girl back and will be able to include photos on "the model".

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Here is the inspiration for my next blanket, blue and white porcelain.

I'm still working away on my top but I need something that I can mindlessly crochet, something that requires less thought than shaping.  Something that is familiar, soothing at the end of a busy day.

I'm saving my top for days off when I can give it my full concentration.

In between I entertain myself with little things for the wee girl, bracelets, purses etc.  She's coming home to a vast collection of little things I've made whilst she's been away, living it up on the farm with her grandparents and brother.

Here is the beginnings of it.  23 rows of trebles so far.  This is pick up and put down.  I have yet to decide where it will be utilized, probably on the sofa this winter.

I finally realized it's ok to have more than one project at a time on the go.  So long as they all get finished eventually.

Pintrest has been a pleasant diversion and an inspiration, the bracelet was inspired by the wrap bracelets I have seen there but I made the pattern up myself and I feel inordinately proud of my first wholly my own creation.

Monday was my birthday.  It's been many years since I had a birthday without the kids around.  The husband was mine for the day, I had his undivided attention, he handed off his pager and turned off his phone.  To tell the truth, it was the best gift I got, having my husband all for me.  It's easy to forget how much time and energy children take.

My darling found me this beautiful watch, isn't it elegant? It's a watch for a lifetime this one.  It's not a fun,whimsical watch or even my usual practical watch.  It's a watch that says I feel like Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" today.  I'm elegant and classy.  It makes me feel pretty.

Back to my darling, who took me on a birthday adventure!  We went to Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf.  We left the car in a park and ride carpark and caught the train to the city. Then we hopped a ferry to the island and hired a car.

We had so much fun!  Lunch in a cafe, we wandered the island on foot and in the car.  We went to the Stony Batter a world war 2 gun emplacement and explored the tunnels.

The ferry ride on the quick cat was the best part though.  It was gorgeous weather and I love a boat ride.  Our harbor and the gulf are gorgeous.  Here are some of the shots I took on my wonderful adventure.

Leaving Auckland

Onetangi Beach on the island

Looking out toward the Coromandel Penninsula

Sheep on the road to Stoney Batter

Heading home
I had the best birthday a girl could ever want, the undivided attention of my handsome husband, exploring unknown parts with him and talking, so much talking.

I love summer!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Bracelet Tutorial

It takes me about an hour to make up one of these bracelets.  It's child sized, but you could easily make it adult sized by making a foundation chain large enough to fit your wrist and add a chain for turning.

I think it would be fab for a stall at a school or craft fair, you can turn them out fairly quickly if you know your crochet basics.

You will need:

Crochet cotton,  two colors. I am using 2 ply Milford Satin and the bracelet is about 8mm wide.

Crochet hook size 1.9 mm or 2mm if you prefer.

Strung beads.  I got a 2 metre string for $4 and I've made 3 of this kind of bracelet with plenty left over for more.  See picture.

A tapestry needle

A button

Chain 51

Row 2
start at the second chain from the end, double crochet to the end.

Row 3
Slip stitch to the end.

Chain 6 to 8 stitches to fit your button and join with a slip stitch to create your button loop on the end of the bracelet and tie off.

I hope that makes sense, I'm getting a kick out of my sparkly shatter nail polish in the loop picture LOL.

Ok back to business, now you need to weave in the ends and make it all tidy so that you can add the beads and button.

Thread the needle with your other colour.

Cut a length of bead to fit the bracelet leaving room at the opposite end to the loop for your button.

Line up your bead string in the centre of the bracelet on the right side.

Bring your needle up from the underneath (wrong side) of the bracelet and sew over the string in the space between the beads.  I only needed one stitch, you may need more if your beads are further apart.

Carry on to the end and secure on the wrong side.

Sew the button on the end.

et voila! One perfectly formed bracelet.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A visit to the craft store

The children are still away, I miss the wee girl particularly, of an evening she likes to squish into my chair with me or her Dad for hugs and I'm seriously missing my cuddles with her.   Every night at bedtime we have a little routine, she gives me a kiss and tells me she is off to bed (as if I haven't just told her it's bedtime) so I hug her and say "Don't let the bedbugs bite" and she says "if they do?" then I say, "cut them in two and give them to me in the morning!"  Then she goes to her Dad and says "Night Night Dad, I love you!" and her father says "perfectly understandable" to which her answer is always "Roger that".

So my non working evenings are feeling strangely quiet and lacking cuddles.

To keep my mind off the lack of cuddles I have been working on my top, I'm at the part where I need to concentrate and shape it so as I came off night shift yesterday, I decided last night to play around making some cuff bracelets for the wee girl.

They are fairly simple, I used left over 2 ply Milford Satin crochet cotton from the scarf project. A 1.9mm hook from my new collection of steel hooks (I HAD to use them!) and some pretty buttons and beads I got today at the craft store to finish them off.  I'll have to write down the pattern.

See my pretty buttons? I got two bags of mixed buttons at the craft store to use in crafting.  Loving the buttons!  I have all kinds, lady bugs, hearts, stars, tea pots and a bag of various sized round buttons which I used in the picture.

The wee girl is going to be so surprised when she gets home and finds a whole bunch of new things to adorn herself with.

I also got some silver plastic beads on a string, like Christmas beads only tiny.  It resembles plug chain. That's what I have used on the mauve bracelet, sewn over the joiny bits with darker purple crochet cotton.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I think it will be the first time in 15 years that I've celebrated a birthday without my children waking me with a lukewarm, over sugared, milky cup of coffee.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Back to work

My parents called the other night and asked if they could keep the children for another week.  At that stage they'd only been there 2 days.  We agreed they could stay, even though I will be missing having them here on my birthday.

They are having awesome fun with their cousins and grandparents on the farm.  My wee girl finally has a girl cousin to keep her company, there are only 4 girls out of 11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild, one is nearly 17 so not great fun for a 10 year old, more an object of worship than a playmate.  The one girl cousin she has lives in Australia with my brother and his family.  This is the first time my great niece has gone to stay and she's just 10 months younger than the wg.  It's a match made in heaven.  Good news on the horizon is my brother is marrying his girlfriend this year and she brings two more little girls to the family to even up the male/female balance.

The hubs and I have been kicking around the house when we aren't working.  On our last day off together we went in to town to explore the Wynyard Quarter.  It's a new part of downtown Auckland, along the water front.  There's cafe's galore, a play ground and sea steps down to the harbor, very family friendly.  Just across the viaduct bridge you have the pre existing party central, night clubs, pricy restaurants etc. It was the place to be during the Rugby World Cup.

I haven't had much opportunity to crochet this week.  I am still working on the top and am just about to finish the second ball of bamboo cotton.  It's wonderfully soft and cool.  I'm about halfway up the back.  I shall post some more photos soon.  With the children away it's a wonderful opportunity for me to move things around and do some uninterrupted deep cleaning.

Meanwhile I have a very quiet home and I am looking forward to whatever surprise the hubs has in store for me on my birthday, he's taken the day off and I am on my rostered days off.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Making the leap

So far, the closest I have got to crocheting apparel is scarf making.  I've yet to make anything that requires more shaping than an increase here and there.  Well I am taking the plunge.

I've been collecting a weekly magazine called the "Art of Crochet" it's my weekly luxury and I have 35 issues now which gives me quite a few different patterns, some easy and some not so easy.  This is one of them.

Shaping is minimal and the stitches are just alternate rows of trebles and doubles.

Looks simple and appropriate for a first apparel project right?


My parents offered to take the kids for a week.  My parents live many hundreds of kilometers away in the far, far north.  When the not so little ones go to stay there sans us, we usually arrange to meet half way.  Halfway is a 2.5 hour drive to Whangarei.

Yesterday the four of us drove north.  On the way we stopped at Warkworth and picked up my 9 year old "great niece" (yes I am a great aunt twice over now) and drove three kids to Whangarei, had a picnic of bacon and egg pies, cheerios (small sausages not the American cereal) and sauce, lemonade and cake at a park by the Whangarei Visitor Centre on the outskirts of Whangarei, swapped the kids and then I dragged the Hubs to go shopping!

I found some Bamboo cotton on sale for $2 a 50g ball.  I purchased 10 balls, more than enough to start this project.  Excited? You betcha!!!

The hubs also found me this, it came with all the hooks pictured.  I now have a collection of steel hooks for crochet cotton to make lace etc.  A couple of them are so fine I can barely see the hook!

By now I was in the midst of toe curling ecstasy! New materials, new tools!  The 2.5 hr drive to get home was slow and I was impatient.  We got stuck in traffic North of Warkworth due to the 3 sets of traffic lights spanning the stretch of highway just outside the town.  Not fun!

I spent the time planning and admiring my cotton and new hooks, singing to the music from my iPod and bugging the hubs.

As soon as we got home and got the dogs settled (they'd been stuck inside for a good 5 hours for the first time in weeks) from the excitement of our return and resentment at being left behind, I pulled out the pattern, made a nice cup of coffee and started.

I'm a little nervous about this, but I am underway.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Holidays: Hanging at home

Summer break is usually spent out of town, visiting my parents in the far North.  This year we have to remain in the city.  It's different and no less fun.

Tonights meal was bbq steak and sausages, cooked on the husband's new acquisition.  It's his belated birthday and Christmas gift.  For weeks I have been scoping out bbqs, sending him pictures on my phone and trying to find out what he wanted, today we went out together to purchase it.  The hubby thinks by bbqing he is giving me a night off cooking, not quite but I won't point out that when he bbqs the meat, I usually have to prepare 3 salads to accompany it, because I like bbq steak.

The wee girl wanted to make friendship bracelets, we found some nylon twine in various neon colours at a local discount store, got some tiny shackles at the local camping and outdoor store and the picture shows our creation.  I think I can do this better but it's a fun thing we are doing together right now.  The knots are macrame "square" knots I learned back in the late 70's when my mother discovered the craft.  We've also made her some braided soft headbands out of stretchy t shirt material to keep her hair out of her face.

I'm already crocheting another granny stripe, just a small rug for my grandmother in shades of blue and white inspired by delft pottery.  I also taught myself how to do a ripple with granny clusters.  I need some different wool to do that with though so it's going to have to wait a little while.  I still have plenty of cotton to play with and this little lap rug for my grandmother to complete.

Yesterday at the discount emporium we also got a couple of small dry erase (white boards) boards which we have put on the kids bedroom doors.  They are supposed to be for the kids and us to write reminders on for them, like take your bathing suit to school today or school trip next week.  At the moment they are being used to write silly notes and funny pictures.   Even the eldest likes them and he's usually fairly difficult to impress these days.

My favorite thing has to be this, also found at the discount emporium.  Isn't it lovely? It's a camera bag! I got it for $20.  I like to take my camera every where but I hate looking like I am out on a photo shoot or like a tourist.  Now I don't have to!  I have this shiny, retro, patent leather, bowling bag style camera bag to tote my camera in.  My toes wriggle with joy when I just thinking about carrying it!  It's OH so stylish!