podcasts and craft wagons












The other week I felt like I was the last person on earth that hadn’t opened the Podcast app on their phone. So I decided I was going to investigate this whole podcast thing that I kept hearing about, and a few days later this great post appeared on one of my favourite blogs, Meet me at Mikes. Put it out to the universe and suddenly it comes to you hey? Well after a great head start thanks to Pip, I soon found a few more subjects that piqued my interest and I’ve been ‘podcasting’ ever since. On the drive to and from work, when there’s crap on tv and even when I get outvoted in the tv watching stakes, and there’s some sort of ruby/hunting/fishing show on. I pop my little earplugs in and I’m off in another world learning about amazing people, what makes for good design and why we like to swear. It’s brilliant! Have you tried it yet? What do you listen to?

The first week of spring has brought with it all sorts of beautiful and not freezing mornings, sparkly sunshine on jasmine and dewy raindrops on blossom. My maybush is flowering, the birds are extra happy and chirpy, and it’s a teeny bit lighter when I get home from work. We’ve picked and eaten lots of fresh greens from the garden this week and I’m looking forward to the veggies growing a bit faster than the slow mode of winter. Cakes were baked and eaten in celebration of all the Leo birthdays plus one early Virgo birthday in our family. I made a flourless zesty citrus cake with sweet potato, loosely based on this recipe, a decadent chocolate chip cookie cake loosely based on this recipe (thanks Reannon!).

In other news I’ve been struggling to fit in craft time of late – unheard of for me as I’m usually pretty good at prioritising this, I know my sanity suffers if I don’t. But for some reason it’s taken a back seat for the last few weeks while things got a little chaotic around here in the wardrobe/declutter/move furniture in every.single.room to a new spot mode. Finally we’re settling back into a regular state of slightly ordered chaos, only a bit of furniture rearranging to go, and most of the crazy chaos is gone (some of it just moved outside to the garage!). Anyways, as a result of the lack of craft, unsurprisingly my health has started to suffer and I’ve been feeling a bit average / stressy / overwhelmed… so I got to fixing that by casting on a beanie at the beginning of the week and casting off by the end of the week. It felt so satisfying and so good to be crafting again. I used some fave chunky baby alpaca which was a delight to knit up. The squishyness is impossible to describe or see in the photo but trust me, you’d want to curl up and sleep in this beanie if it was big enough. I talked my son into modelling it for photos again, ‘just pretend you’re a pixie in the flower garden’ I said… you can probably guess which photo is the one I said this in?

Don’t you think it’s funny how even when we know what’s good for us, we still fall off the wagon and forgot/stop to prioritise the things that bring us peace and make us feel good about ourselves and life in general. I’m back on the wagon again and even cleaned out my yarn basket and got myself a few new projects to play with. Bring on the craft and spring sunshine I say!

Wishing you a gentle cushioned landing if you fall off your wagon, and giving you a leg up to get back on again.

one + four = life (baking, knitting, gardening and belts)

The one + four = life series is a ‘lovely weekly visual treat’ created by the lovely Pip from Meet me at Mikes.

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Baking
These are my ugly but delicious Herby Bready Muffiny Thingys. Quite the mouthful I know but very tasty ones at that. Adapted from my Allergy Friendly Toasty Fruit Bread recipe they are fast becoming a fave regular breakfast for me. Only a minute in the microwave and a generous lashing of butter and I have myself a filling healthy tasty warm breakfast. That’s a winter winner in my books.

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Knitting
I started another beanie as soon as I finished the Baby it’s cold outside Beanie. I’ve since finished this one and am considering which yarn to use for the next one. I’m a bit addicted to beanie knitting I think. They’re fast and satisfying, what’s not to love?

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Gardening
I’m so thrilled with my celery babies… having only recently learned about the whole grow-a-new-veg-from-the-old-veg thing. Do you do that? Do you know about it? Chopping the bottom off your celery and planting it? “They” say to put it in water for a week or so first, to get the roots started, but the lazy option of planting said celery bottom direct into the soil works too. Yay for shortcuts and cheap veg I say.

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Belts
Thing number 196 about being married to a leather man: You will stumble across long strands of leather, stretching from one room to another, tied to chairs, doors, cupboards etc, tempting a midnight trip should you forget they are there.
Some of these belts are in Charlie’s Shop already but most of them are still to be photographed and listed. It’s on the list. But recently we spent a bit of time creating a new item for the shop where you can design your own plaited belt. You simply pick your plait type, leather colour and buckle type, and Charlie plaits it up. It’s been something we’ve talked about doing for ages so to finally tick that one off the list is super satisfying.

I also came across a very interesting little read on the internet this week that I wanted to share. Five things I’ve learned about the creative process by Ben Lee is inspiring and encouraging. An interesting article that helped me look at the creative process a little differently, I thought you might like it too. Let me know what you think?

May you tick something off your list and enjoy hot buttery bready breakfasts.

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

hello 2015

Hello lovely readers, a happy New Year to you! Did you have a partying start to the year or a quietish one like me? I like the quiet ones these days and think I’m doing well if I’m awake to see the fireworks. Wild I know!

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This blissful week between Chrissy and New Years is one of my favourites all year. It’s a time when I can catch up on a few things, recover from the year, and think about what the next one has in store. I managed to finish the beanie that matches my Inca Gold Scarf, then started three new crafty projects, all of which have been unravelled. You know when you start making something and it just doesn’t look like you think it will in your head? So after unravelling what seemed like the 6th hour of work, I figured I wasn’t really meant to be crafting.

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So I got to work on cleaning out my pantry and a heap of kitchen cupboards and drawers that I’ve been meaning to do all year. Boring as batsh!t I know, but man did I feel good afterwards! So much so, that I went to the kitchen a few times that night just to open the cupboards and admire the orderly neatness, which is so not normal for me. The neatness, order or admiring of cupboards! Anyways, I realised that as much as I try to remember to take my own bags shopping, I inevitably forget them sometimes, and always seem to have a collection of plastic bags.

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Making something cute to pop them in was my reward after the big day cleaning and rearranging, and this is what I came up with. It’s nothing spectacular but it does the job. I used bamboo yarn which is soft and strong, and not surprisingly, made it up as I went.

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On New Years Eve I started this new project and so far I like it, fingers crossed that’s it for unravelling this week. It’s going to be super hot over the next few days so it makes sense that I’ll be crocheting a baby alpaca blanket! That’s just the way I roll.

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2014 was an amazing year, I managed to travel to some incredible destinations that to be totally honest, I never thought I’d ¬†get to. On New Years Eve we looked back at a heap of our holiday photos and it was so wonderful to see all the special places we’ve been to and relive bits of the holiday again. I feel so very lucky and blessed.

And yet next week I’m back at work and I’m really dreading it already. So I’ve decided to try something new on this blog. A regular post that will hopefully generate some blessed and lucky feelings to combat the dreary dread. You see I don’t like Mondays (cue The Boomtown Rats) and would like to make going back to work after the weekend, slightly less painful. And it’s not that I have a terrible job or anything, it’s just that a) it’s not crocheting all day and b) I need to do the 9 to 5 thing a bit longer if we are to live our little semi-self-sufficient dream one day.

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So here’s my plan… each Monday morning I hope to post a photo from our holidays last year. There’ll be little or no writing, just a photograph of something that made me smile on our holiday. A reminder for me to remember the details of our trip and how lucky I am that I was able to visit these places. In turn, I hope that my pictures will be at the least, just some eye candy for you to start the day with, and at most, maybe a little inspiration to believe that dreams really can come true. So what do you think? Do you get Mondayitis too? Will you pop in on Mondays?

The last two photos were taken at Santa Monica Beach, LA. The first one represents Joy to me, and the second one was taken from the top of the Ferris Wheel at Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier. Both taken during the Labor Day long weekend in the first week of Autumn.

May you have sweet holidays to remember and look forward to, and wishing you a 2015 filled with Peace Love & Harmony.

crazy christmas crochet lady

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I went a little crochet crazy this chrissy… just for something different! I made all those cushions in the pic… and the inserts…

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and all of these coaster sets… and a couple of knitted beanies… with 4ply!

Of course I only really decided make a few things late November/early December… then the list grew… then I decided to hand stamp all my wrapping paper too… I’m a bit crazy like that… but boy oh boy was it worth it… to see everyone’s sweet happy faces unwrapping their pretty pressies… smiling and surprised with their homemade-especially-for-them-coloured-coorinated-with-their-home-decor-pressies… ahhh – they are precious moments indeedy…

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The pop of brights blooming flower cushion and coastal coasters went down a treat.

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I forgot to photograph the heart cushion by itself, but these coasters used the same green as the cushion and went together. The baby blue and white cushion was gifted without matching coasters as they weren’t required for my mother in law who resides in an aged care facility. Cushions however are very much required. And a soft alpaca cloud pattern cushion seemed most appropriate.

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Cool grey with a clean pop of cream for the mod home.

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Soft deep smokey blue, duck egg blue, mint, cream, cotton, silk and bamboo. I do so love these colours and textures.

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I love the earthy olive green cotton coasters with the soft lime / chartreuse silk combo. The almost dirty but still fresh and bright without being too bright lime of the cushion with the cream. Oh what fun it was to pick the main colours, contrast colours, and accent colours for each recipient – I swear half the fun is putting colours together!

The Blooming Flower cushion is the most wonderful cushion. I’ve made a few of them now and I love to play with the colours in the pattern. Pretty sure I haven’t made two the same yet. Some I alternate evenly, others graduate in their alternation, some all one colour, some with variegated yarn. I love the endless options. I’ve just had trouble trying to find round inserts for the cushions so I made all the inserts. This worked out rather well to be honest because I like a well stuffed cushion, and I find most of inserts you can buy are a little lame in the stuffing department. The Free Blooming Flower Pattern is from the lovely Lucy at Attic24.

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And one of my favourite coaster sets, the citrus splice set. Yet to be handed over… if I can part with it… but what can I do with 3 sets of crochet coasters? Yes, I already have two sets. I posted the link to the sweet coaster pattern back here if you’d like to whip up a set… or two… or three… they are a bit addictive!

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So it may have been a little quiet around here lately but I’ve still been crafting like crazy.

Now I’m in the recovery period which means the PJ’s are getting a workout, there’s nananaps being had, left over turkey being scoffed, chocolates vanishing, odd jobs being thought about (can’t rush things), new to do lists being written, more knitting and crochet being done (crazy crafter!), garden pottering taking place, new music being enjoyed, and memories of a wonderful Christmas day, full of special and precious family moments, being cherished. Family love in motion is a beautiful thing to watch, be a part of, and enjoy.

I have truly felt so very blessed this Christmas, yet also shed a quiet tear. For some, Christmas is a painful reminder of special people missing in their lives. I hope you feel blessed with your lot in life or had a moment to enjoy a sweet memory if you have a loved one missing from the Chrissy table. I hope you had a lovely christmas day and got to share it with those near and dear to your heart.

And if you don’t do the Christmas thang, then I hope you had a lovely day filled with sweet moments all the same.

ps. this was my Christmas inspired flower bunch for the table, from my garden. Who knew being lazy and letting all your parsley go to seed would reward you with a sweet little pop of green in the flower bunch?
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cashmere fans


Cashmere Fans Blanket
75% Extra fine merino, 20% silk, 5% Cashmere. Crochet.

I just love this vintage fan pattern! I’ve used it before here and here, and I found it via a favourite blog, Meet me at Mikes.


It’s really much easier than it looks.


This is the first time I’ve edged this pattern though… and that was a little tricky to work out at first. Exactly where and how to attach an edge as the natural edge of the pattern is not a straight line.


So this is what I ended up with. A couple of rows of single crochet (crocheted into the back of the stitch like it’s done throughout the pattern), followed by a few rows of open squares then finished with a row of single crochet.


I whipped up this little matching beanie with the left over yarn. All done in single crochet stitch but I reversed the side for the last couple of rows to create some subtle texture for a band. I topped it off with a cute little tassel. Which by the looks of this photo has one stray long runaway strand!


I really enjoy working this pattern and love love love love the colour combo in this blanket. I think it might be one of my favourite colour combinations actually which is rather surprising as it’s not blue! OMG! Well… Ok… I admit the turquoise colour is quite blueish in some lights. The yarn is ever so soft and feather like with the silk and cashmere content, and it creates the most amazing drape. It’s very flowy and billowy and a little tricky to describe actually. It’s perfect for a baby blanket (tis cot size) as it’s delicate, light and with the open style pattern it provides a breathable warmth so would be suitable for all seasons (apart from extreme temperatures of course).

I’ve had this yarn for quite a while, and was a bit precious with it in regards to what I was going to make with it. I’m happy I waited and am thrilled with the result. In fact if it wasn’t so expensive I’d love to buy a big stash and make myself a throw blanket out of it! One day maybe… Could you imagine how soft and luxurious it would feel to wrap yourself up in cashmere, silk and extra fine merino? Divine!.

The exciting thing now is I can start a new project! Don’t you just love the anticipation and pondering before a new creation? I enjoy that part almost as much as the crocheting… Sitting amongst my yarn stash… which is growing rapidly…faster than I can knit or crochet it… and taking over the craft room… so much so that my hubby has nicknamed my craft room ‘the yarn shop’… so I’ve done a little ‘re-stocking’ lately… but oh my, to lovingly handling the skeins and balls… pairing them up in colours and ply’s… and textures and blends… browsing through patterns for inspiration or courage to tackle an actual pattern… I am getting braver in that department… So brave I even picked up some new pattern books recently… Ah yes, it’s all part of that creative process that I find so inspiring… and I love feeling inspired.

Do you feel brave when you embark on a new pattern? I’m off to be brave and inspired… hope you find a little brave inspiration in your day!