baby it’s cold outside

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Baby it’s cold outside Beanie.
Yarn 1 (Dark Grey) = 50% Baby Alpaca, 30% Merino Wool, 20% Bamboo.
Yarn 2 (Light Grey) = 50% Alpaca, 35% Merino Wool, 15% Silk.

Just popping in quickly to say hi…. ‘Hi!’ …. and to let you know I finished knitting my beanie. And shock of all shocks, I’ve actually popped it in my shop! I think it’s the first thing I’ve listed in my shop for months. It’s reinvigorated my determination to concentrate more on making items for the shop. I hope you’ll be seeing a refreshed shop within the next few months… or as fast my hands can knit, crochet, snap, type, repeat… etc etc etc…

Meraki

Is that not the sweetest way to describe the process of making something with love… of doing what you love… of following your creative drive to make… of quite literally putting your heart and soul into what you make…. I stumbled across this new-to-me word on instagram via Desert Wanderer. I just love it and am so pleased to have found the perfect little word to describe how a bit of my heart ends up in everything I make.

Speaking of sweet finds, I’ve got two more I wanted to share with you today… just because.

  • The Moral Bucket List isn’t a 5 second read, but it’s well worth the few minutes it’ll take you to read it if you are looking for some inspiration.
  • And this one… because love is beautiful and love that stands the test of time is pretty special.

What are you reading lately, care to share a link?

Wishing you warm Meraki beanies for when it’s cold outside baby!

Thanks to Skye for the Moral Bucket List link, and a special thanks to my beautiful daughter for the beanie modelling xx

craft, music and chocolate

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I’m a bit like this tram at the moment… lots of stops and starts, mostly on the move but kinda going around in circles… it’s been busy lately but there’s been quiet moments too… I’ve been doing a bit of nothing and a heap of everything… Let me see if I can catch you up on some of my favourite things shall I?

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I’m crocheting this blankie.
It’s slow going as I’m changing yarn colour every row… look at all those ends!!! I’m trying to figure out a way to incorporate them into the design and I’ve got an idea, I’ll let you know if it works. I’m loving the colours together and the pattern is a cinch to remember.

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I’m knitting this beanie.
It is going to be quite luxurious. A squishy and soft beanie using two different yarn blends. The darker grey is a mix of alpaca, wool and bamboo. The lighter grey is alpaca, wool and silk. Deliciously chunky and quite the delight to knit as I’m not using a pattern, just winging it.

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I’m baking treats.
I made a batch of my Allergy Friendly Toasty Fruit Bread the other day, only I made a variation of the recipe. Ha – what a shock hey? I am a huge fan of ginger so instead of dried fruit I added crystalized ginger. And I was extra generous with the ginger spice too so it turned out a little like a gingerbread bread… kinda… if you use your bread-deprived imagination. Oh and I tried a garlic and herb version too and it turned out a treat. I popped the savoury mix into a muffin tin so I now have little thyme and garlic bread-like muffin things. I zap them for a mini in the microwave and slather too much butter on. Not too shabby at all.


I’m listening to a lot of Shakey Graves.
I love the way this guy makes music. Both hands, both feet, his voice and his heart. I was lucky enough to see Shakey Graves supporting Shovels & Rope recently and it was the best gig. You know when you see someone doing something and you think to yourself, yep they are doing exactly what they are meant to be doing in life. I really do love my music and discovering new music to enjoy is one life’s sweetest pleasures.

I also ate way too much chocolate over Easter but hey, the Bunny made me do it! I love the guilt free chocolate breakfast that comes with Easter. My break was full of good quality chocolate (because I’m a chocolate snob as well as a coffee snob) including a new to me variety of Lindt balls – Caramel with Sea Salt… umm… yummmm… and too much of my fave Willie’s Cacao milk chocolate with sea salt, deadly discovery that one. And to balance out the indulgence of a chocolate filled Easter, I planted some silver beet, chives, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy and celery in the veggie garden. Am sure the digging in the garden worked off at least one chocolate ball!?

So how about you, what have you been up to? More importantly, what’s your favourite Chocolate?

Wishing you chocolate filled breakfasts, and music that makes your heart sing.

so that was christmas

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Chrissy hellos to you! Did you have a good one? Do you celebrate it even? Some of you don’t I know. Our family does, in a big traditional way. It was decadent and included many sweet treats, like these homemade marshmallows made by my clever Sis.

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And there was this! My lovely Sis made sure there was a delicious sweet after lunch for me seeing I can’t eat all the traditional sweet fare on Chrissy day. Thanks Sis, you’re the best! This little beauty is gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free (I think) and vegan… and it’s a cheesecake for goodness sake!!! How utterly amazing hey? Best Boxing Day Breakfast ever!

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I had originally thought this would be the first Christmas that I wouldn’t see one of my kids. But my backpacking boy made it home in time… just… long story! Our family had a lovely day, pressies were exchanged, hugs were had, laughs were laughed, Turkey was eaten, Mojitos were drunk, but the biggest gift of all was the time shared after lunch. Tummies were full, hearts were content, and the chatting drifted into the late afternoon. The lead up to christmas can be fraught with stress and pressure, that time after lunch feels like the time when we all exhale and truly relax.

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I even did a bit of Christmas table crochet! You see I didn’t manage to finish Mum’s bag so had to wrap it and give it to her without the handle! Sorry mum, I finished it Boxing Day and will get to you soon!

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The build up to Christmas can be a bit tetchy can’t it? There is just so much to do, and time always gets away. But stressy times for me equals more craft, as it’s the best way I know how to chill and slow myself down. I learned (and it took me a while!) that if I don’t make the time to craft, even when it’s crazy busy, my mental and physical health suffer. So after knitting my Turquoise Baby Alpaca Cardy (and even managing to wear it – thanks Melbourne Summer!), I couldn’t wait to crochet some of the gorgeous baby alpaca yarn. This stitch looks like weaving to me, which I thought was rather appropriate for my Peruvian yarn.

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And then on Boxing Day I decided to cast on a Beanie in the same grey yarn as the scarf. It being summer and all! I don’t know why I do these things, I just like to make what I feel like and I don’t know why I feel like knitting an Alpaca Beanie in the middle of Summer, but I do, so I am!

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So that was Christmas, and now the New Year is just around the corner. If you celebrate Christmas I do hope it was a lovely day for you. If you have family members missing from the Chrissy table I hope there was a moment of sweet remembering amongst the emptiness. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you enjoyed a couple of days off and managed to do something you love.

May the sun shine on your apple trees and may the New Year hold bright sparkly goodness in store for you.

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).

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.

fibre to yarn… the andean way

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The altitude is 3,762m, the air is thin and oh so pure… it’s a place far from home where the mountain ranges seem to go on for ever… It’s Chinchero in Peru, and it’s home to a very old wonderful colourful market… fruit and vegetables are bought and sold there in the same way they have been for hundreds of years… the main difference now is the odd tourist and backpacker.

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You can purchase just about everything you’ll ever need and more … from alpaca jumpers to ancient hand made spoons … even fairy floss!

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It’s an historic market held on sacred grounds… and we were lucky to see them preparing for a festival on the day we visited.

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We ventured over the valley to the hill nearby… here the lovely Peruvian women showed us how fibre was turned into colourful yarn… with traditional methods that have been used for hundreds of years.

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The first step was obtaining the root of the soapwort (jabonera) plant… it was grated into warm water, then frothed up with hands ’till it become sudsy. It’s a natural shampoo…. and smiling a beautiful cheeky smile, she tells me it’s ‘good to stop the grey hairs’… ha, a few years too late for moi!

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The pure wool fibre was washed and became a beautiful clean white within minutes… then rinsed and strained using a woven basket a few times… it was soon looking pristine enough to start spinning.

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Watching the spinning was really beautiful… she made it look so easy and effortless… and I know it’s not! Despite this I’ve added learning how to do this to my crafty wish list… I’m not sure I’ll break into song though.

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There’s a little insect that lives on the cactus… the Cochineal bug leaves a powdery white trail on the cactus… ‘sacrifice’ she whispers as she crushes it in her hands… the vivid red liquid stains her palm.

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Then the magic starts… she squeezes some lime juice into one part of her palm and the colour softens and mellows… then a large piece of rock salt transforms the red into a new shade as she rubs it… a little powder from one of the dishes in front of us is mixed in and the colour changes before our eyes again… She rubs her palm with the skein of yarn to remove all the colours and dips it in the pot of water… a new colour is born… a teaspoon of salt is added and half the skein is dipped again to reveal a new shade. I am in awe by this stage!

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All the colours are made from items that are naturally available to them… purple corn, beans of some sort, plants, leaves, flowers, salt, limes… all imparting their signature colour on the yarn… so naturally… what a privilege it was to see… I just love that it’s the simple things that create the colours… the resourcefulness… the years of learning that go into creating specific colours… who thought to add lime juice to change the colour the very first time? So clever… so beautiful… so honoured… so inspired.

So, you guessed it, I’m also adding yarn dyeing to my crafty wish list! Have you ever dabbled in dyeing your own yarn? Or fabric? Do you have million things on your crafty wish list that you are busting to learn?

Wishing you magic moments and colourful inspiration this sunny Saturday…