turquoise baby alpaca cardy

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I finished a piece of clothing! A real deal wearable cardy… that I love! It’s a bit amazing… you see I’ve started a few over the years but never quite finished them. And by started, I don’t mean a lame go at the band or something… I mean made the front, back, and one sleeve on one of them! But then something always happens… bored, yarn issues, get distracted with multiple other projects, make a HUGE mistake… and I don’t finish them. It used to be the cycle of a lot of my crafty endeavours… start stuff but not finish. Now I’m hellbent on finishing what I start… to the point where I’ll sit up knitting until 2 am to finish it because I’m so damn excited that I’m about to finish something! #crazycrafter!

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I first spotted this cardy on IG via the lovely Corrie from Retro Mummy. It’s called a Kina cardy and Corrie was knitting a gorgeous kiddie version, but you can find the free pattern for the adult version on Ravelry here. It’s a very easy simple pattern to follow, great for a beginner pattern follower (moi!), as it’s knitted from the top down in one piece. I made a couple of tweaks … of course… I extended the sleeves a smidge… I also made it a little bit longer overall and of course I popped some Pom Poms on it. I’ve yet to add the button at the top as the Pom Poms are more decorative than functional.

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This is the first thing I’ve knitted with my stash of pure baby alpaca yarn I stuffed into my carry on suitcase, sat on it to close it, and carried it back all the way from Cusco! Man that suitcase was stuffed full, and there were more bags (of 10 x 50gm balls!!!) stuffed in our regular big suitcases too. I was only slightly embarrassed when they had to open my luggage at one of the many airport security checks, and sheepishly mumbled ‘yes I like to knit and crochet a bit’. All I can say is it was so worth it. The yarn is exceptional quality and so soft and light and fluffy and warm.

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As you can see by the different colours in the photos, it was really difficult to capture the true colour of this yarn. Turquoise just wants to break my camera for some reason. It looks blue in the photos but it’s true colour is closer to this last photo.

I think knitting yourself a piece of clothing is a huge leap of faith. What if you get to the end of it and it looks crap on? And what do you do when you make a mistake? Unpicking Knitting is hard, unlike the forgiveness of Crochet. But I’ve got to say, the satisfaction of making something that I can actually wear is huge. So give it a go… if you haven’t already… you don’t have to be an expert. Take that leap of faith… cross your fingers it will fit… and look ok… and if you do have to unpick, my best advice is to do it slowly… whilst eating chocolate.

Wishing you proud I made it moments and coolish summer days so you can wear your knitted goodies!

PS: Yes I probably should have dead-headed the rose bush behind me for a prettier backdrop… but you know… I like my gardens wild and rambling (reads: ‘slightly’ unkempt).

hexy make up wipes

bear loves dove Hexy Make Up Wipes

Do you use those little disposable cotton pads to remove your make up? I do… Or I did, until I made some re-usable ones! They are pretty ace and I thought you might want to make some too? I made up this pattern for my hexy make up wipes and thought I’d pop a little tutorial here in case you are a beginner crocheter and would like to have a go.

Hexy Make Up Wipes by bear loves dove

I can totally recommend them as a great learning project, not too big or tricky. And hey, I’m sure you wouldn’t mind wiping your mascara off with a slightly wonky hexy if they don’t turn out perfect first go would you? And just think, every time you do, it’s like you are kissing the earth a smidge as you’re not piffing the disposable cotton ones in the bin. Oh and these guys survive the washing machine no probs, so don’t be thinking it means heaps more work, just pop them in with the next hot or cold load.

1. Supplies

Ok let’s get started. This is what you will need.

8 ply cotton (this is parchment colour by Bendigo Woollen Mills)

3mm Crochet Hook

Darning Needle

Pretty Scissors (ok, they don’t have to be pretty!)

I use American Crochet terminology and you’ll be making the following stitches:

Chain (ch), Slip Stitch (ss), Double Crochet (dc), Half Double Crochet (hdc).

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Start:

Chain 4 then join with a slip stitch into the 1st chain to create a loop OR make a ‘magic loop’

I made a magic loop in the picture above and there’s some great you tube videos around if you’d like to learn how to do one, they are really very easy once you know how.

2. Round 1

3. Round 1 Join

Round One:

Chain 3 (this becomes your first Double Crochet), then Double Crochet another 11 times into the middle of your loop. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the first Chain 3 you did. (12 stitches all up)

4. Round 2 & Join

Round Two:

Chain 3 then Double Crochet again into the same spot. (This spot is the place between your Round One Chain 3, and the Round One first Double Crochet).

Double Crochet 2 times into each space between your stitches. Join with a Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 3 from this round. (24 stitches all up)

5. Round 3 1st point

Round Three:

Chain 2 then do a Half Double Crochet into the same spot. Chain 2, then do 2 more Half Double Crochet stitches into the very same spot.

6. Round 3 2nd point

Make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces.

Now into the 4th space do this: Make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space. This makes your little hexy corner.

7. Round 3 Join

Now make a Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces, **then do your Hexy Corner (make 2 Half Double Crochet stitches, Chain 2, make another 2 Half Double Crochet stitches ALL into the same space), then Half Double Crochet into the next 3 spaces**.

Repeat from ** to ** until you end up back at the start next to your first Chain 2. Slip Stitch into the top of the Chain 2.

8. Round 3 finish

Cut your yarn with a generous tail to make darning the ends a bit easier, and pull the loop right out through the last Chain.

9. Darn those ends

Now darn your end through the top of those first stitches, then work on the wrong side of your hexy whilst you darn that sucker in good and proper so your beautiful work doesn’t unravel.

10. Add a pop of colour

And that’s it! You can even add a pop of colour to the last round if you fancy. I hope you found the pattern easy. I’ve written it in a very long winded way, so if you want the short and very pinterest friendly version, tis here;

hexymake up wipes free pattern

Will you pop back and tell me if you make some? And please do let me know if you find a glitch in the pattern, I’m a beginner pattern maker / tutorial writer so forgive me if there is one!

Happy earth kissing and may your waterproof mascara hold steadfast during the sad movies.

when life gives you lemons

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Gifted with a large box of lemons, I obviously had to make a triple batch of lemon curd. I mean really, is there a better way to honour and respect the lemon? Lemon butter, lemon custard, lemon honey, lemon curd – whatever you want to call it, you can’t deny it’s deliciousness now can you? A while back I had a bit of a lemon butter off, trialling two different recipes. The outcome was that I’d make up a new recipe using bits of both. This batch of Lemon Curd is just that. It’s pretty simple and didn’t take too long to prepare… and lets face it, bowl licking duties with this stuff practically demands you make it often!

I have started knitting with my baby alpaca yarn that I brought back from Cusco, but it’s hard to photograph and I got frustrated trying. You see it’s Turquoise yarn, but the camera either makes it blue or green. Not Turquoise which is that gorgeous mix of both. So you’ll have to wait till I’m feeling more patient for a photo of this project. In the meantime, I crocheted up the sweet Market Bag with delicious sounding cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills, Honeydew and Latte. The pattern is from the lovely Michelle at Poppy & Bliss, and you can find her super easy tutorial over at the fabulous My Poppet by Cintia. I follow Michelle on IG and her feed is so colourful and happy, a testament to her great eye for colour. I’ve only just discovered Cintia at My Poppet but I like what I’ve seen so far! I’m totally loving her latest post with a homemade notebook. Such a terrific idea, I think I’ll have to add it to my crafty to do list.

After a while trying to figure out how I was going to make Emma Dean’s Rhubarb Cake Gluten Free and Sour Cream Free, I finally figured it out… kinda… I subbed the sour cream with Lemon Curd! De-freaking-licious!! But very ugly. And it sort of fell apart a bit too, so my adaptation didn’t go totally smoothly. Even Emma says it’s an ugly cake, and it is, but I do think mine was made uglier by the fact that it was too crumbly and sort of collapsed on itself. I’ll give it another go with some tweaking, and hopefully, I’ll be able to share my gluten free version with you soon. I baked my heart out today. Lemon Curd, Ugly Rhubarb & Lemon Curd Cake and I also made some Apple & Ginger Cup Cakes. They were pretty ugly too but man did they taste good! It’s not all about looking pretty, sometimes taste buds get to rule.

My garden is letting me know that spring is nearing a close. The last couple of Peonies are about to bloom and the roses are everywhere. It’s divine and to pick a bunch of flowers from my garden fills me with such joy and contentment and peace. It’s a great reminder to get out in the garden and look after it as I do have a bit of a tough love attitude to gardening. You gotta be tough and fight for your right ’round here. No mollycoddling, get planted, watered occasionally, fertilized rarely, and loved daily. I’ve been here long enough to have let the weaklings ‘go’ (they died!), so only the brave and beautiful remain. And the weeds of course. But that’s life isn’t? The flowers with the weeds. The delicious with the ugly. The good with the bad.

Next time life gives you lemons, I recommend lemon curd. It makes everything better.

Wishing you juicy zesty sweet lemons.. and may you be loved daily too.

spring happenings

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Gosh the last couple of weeks have just whizzed by! Where have you been?

I’ve been photographing my hubby’s beautiful leather plaited products… his shop has been super busy lately and we’re doing our best to keep up with orders… plaiting, photographing, listing, posting… it’s fantastic and very exciting to see elements of our dreams become part of our everyday lives. How lucky are we!?

I’ve been picking peonies and roses and enjoying watching the garden bloom into a colourful haven of peace and prettiness… We’ve been harvesting lots of our own veggies and the other day we ripped out a flower garden bed to plant a tomato patch. I got it into my head that I wanted to grow all the tomatoes for Grandma’s Tomato Sauce next year. Ripping out the garden bed was a huge day that involved a lot of sweat and great music… the kind of music that makes you break into rake air guitar (I’m looking at you J Mascis and Sweet Apple!)

I’m loving the new Lucinda Williams CD ‘Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone’. The song ‘Compassion’ lifts it’s lyrics from a poem Lucinda’s father wrote… I’m trying to live my life with this kind of compassion… for everyone… you know, not get impatient and curse idiot drivers and other such non-compassionate activities… it’s a challenge and some days are easier than others… but I love the idea of getting this beautiful song stuck in my head and becoming a subconscious reminder…

I’ve been making “Bubblegum Bunting” and wondering what’s the best way to photograph it… I finished the “Ducklings Reflections Scarf” … which was a total rip off of the gorgeous “Ducklings on Water blankie”… I’ve been secret squirreling a couple of other crochet projects for a special upcoming project… and I’m hoping to start a whole new project soon… maybe some knitting… with my divine baby alpaca yarn I brought back from Cusco… sometimes I just go to the yarn cupboard and squish it lovingly wondering what I shall make of it… I’m a bit weird like that, or maybe you do that too? Tell me you do!

I’ve been picnicking with my godsons… eating watermelon in the sunshine… such fun… I’m definitely going to make that happen more often! I’ve been chatting to my son who’s now in Colombia… he has been robbed at gunpoint in Ecuador (he’s fine), seen tarantulas and anacondas (not what’d be on my travel wish list), travelled for 20 hours at a time on a bus, partying (probably way too hard) a lot… and generally having the time of his life.

I’m really enjoying reading this blog, this blog and this blog lately… so much great stuff out there in webland, not enough time to get to it all!

What have you been doing?

Wishing you juicy watermelons in the sunshine and music that moves you…

my smile inducers… october

There’s been so many things to smile about lately that I thought it was high time for another smile inducers post… and a warning… I’ve been smiling lots!

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Blanket
Ducklings on Water blanket… all alpaca and baby alpaca and pure merino wool… in Pip from Meet me at Mikes Cheery Wave Ripple Pattern… squishy soft and delightful colours… a custom order for a sweetie who requested blue, grey, cream and yellow… these were some of the shades in my stash and they worked beautifully together.

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Scarf
So much so that I had to make a scarf out of the same colours… I found this pattern on the sweet Dottie Angel blog… I’m loving crocheting this pattern, so easy and chunky and bubbly.

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Rufus
Writing a special little message and sending Rufus Rad Rabbit off into the world to find his new home… I really enjoyed making my first Softies for Mirabel and to be honest was a smidge sad to say goodbye… but only for a brief moment as I know he’s off to fulfill his life calling… and you’ve got be happy for people/rabbits who find what it is that they are meant to be doing in life… and do it.

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The Nursery Project
I reckon these guys are doing just that…Rohan Anderson and Kate Berry have created The Nursery Project“Simply put, we imagine a place where we can share the idea of eating real food and living well. We aim to create a place for people to the learn skills to grow, raise, harvest and cook real food.”* What a great idea hey… you can read lots more about it here.
This terrific idea needs funds to get it off the ground… and thanks to the beauty of crowdfunding, we can help make it happen. I love the whole idea of crowdfunding… someone has a dream… asks people if they want to help make it come true… and people do… It’s the people doing it for themselves and that pretty cool! The Nursery Project is a place that’ll inspire and teach people, and that’s the sort of thing that I love to support. So if you want to help dreams come true, check out this link and offer a few dollars.

*text and the image above is from The Nursery Project website

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Homegrown
Growing your own veggies is so satisfying… it’s something we’ve only just got back into… inspired by blogs like Whole Larder Love and Foxs Lane… who’d have thunk a little baby cauliflower could bring such smiles to two grown adults! It’s my first homegrown cauli… can you tell?
We’ve just got a long narrowish ugly spot out the back… near a falling down fence… but the veggies we’ve enjoyed so far are broccolini, broccoli, bok choy, radish, swiss chard, cos lettuce, snow peas and sugar snap peas. Not bad from a small patch… homegrown veggies make me smile big time!

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Weaving
The latest addition to my crafty ways… I’ve never done it before and am totally making it up as I go… though I did buy the complete kit from the Finders Keepers Market last week which came with these gorgeous fibres… hand dyed indigo pure wool is pretty hard for me walk by… and it came with instructions on how to do four basic stitches…
I couldn’t help but think of all the amazing weaving I saw in Cusco recently as I weaved away… and the traditionally dressed women I saw weaving at the markets, by the side of the road, in the shops… so many of them with their long hair in plaits… it seemed pretty natural to add a plait to my weaving.

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Memories
Speaking of Cusco, I just love looking back at the photos of our holiday. Especially from the two days we spent at Machu Picchu… You won’t see too many photos of me on this blog but the time at Machu Picchu is etched so deeply in my heart that it doesn’t seem right to not have it recorded here…
The second day we visited we were blessed with the most incredible exhilarating thunderstorm… watching those water channels come to life and divert the rain water like they have done for hundreds of years was such a privilege… listening to the birds tweet the happiest of songs after the rain had stopped and the sun came out was magical… Oh and can you see the face in the mountain? Yep, big swelling heart smiles here.

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Crochet
Happy coloured granny squares… arranged on the coffee table in the order I’m going to stitch them together… waiting patiently for me to stop getting distracted with new projects… but looking pretty while they wait!

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Roses
Roses always make me smile… but old English roses that smell like fruit punch… they just blow my socks off… every year when Abraham Darby blooms her pretty petals and smells so sweet and looks so pretty with her peachy coloured goodness, she tops my favourite list again. Sticking my nose into the centre of this flower and taking a deep breath is one of life’s sweetest treats.

So that’s what’s been making me smile lately… how about you? Care to share? Add your link below by clicking on the froggy so I can see what’s making you smile… Or tell me in the comments or hashtag #mysmileinducers on Instagram… I’d LOVE to see yours!

May you see your dreams into fruition and smell the sweetest smelling roses.

rufus rad rabbit

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Meet Rufus!
Rufus came to be for a good cause, I made him for the Softies for Mirabel toy drive.
Softies for Mirabel is such a lovely creative way to bring a smile to a little kids face who could really use something to smile about.

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I discovered this wonderful toy drive via one of my favourite people and blogs, Pip Lincolne from Meet me at Mikes. Anyone can get involved, your toy can be whatever you want it to be!

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I’ve never made a stuffed toy like this before and I didn’t use a pattern. Rufus came out of my head with what whatever crafty supplies I already had (admittedly I do have a healthy craft room stash!). I was inspired by the beautiful softies on another favourite blog, Posie gets Cozy. They are totally adorable, as is the blog and the softies creator, Alicia Paulson. Rufus sports crocheted eyes out of sashiko thread, a stitched felt nose and some cotton whiskers.

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The trim on the fake pockets is something I’ve had for years. It was a packaging trim from a Bison purchase, and I knew it’d be perfect for something one day!

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Of course it goes without saying that I have a healthy stash of left over yarn, so crocheting a jacket and knitting a scarf seemed like a perfect way to use some up and make Rufus all cuddly and warm.

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Now Rufus did have some body shape and proportion issues. But I had a chat with him and explained that these things weren’t important really. It’s the stuff you’re made out of that counts. And he’s stuffed with love and kindness and a super big heart so that’s all that matters.

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Rufus Rad Rabbit was surprised to hear this, that his bumps and lumps and odd shape body didn’t matter. Now he’s as happy as can be and just can’t wait to meet his owner and start sharing some of his love and kindness.

Wishing you sunny Sundays full of love and kindness.