woodland blanket












Finally I can show you this crocheted labour of love blanket! It’s been quite tricky making something so big and not being able to show you before now. A long time in the making, this blanket begun life back in June 2015. I knew it was going to be a biggie so I gave myself plenty of time to make it, I just had to finish it for my sister’s 50th birthday in August 2016. Little did I know when I started it, that by the time the wonderful 50th birthday event rolled around, I would have been through a rather big year of change myself.

All the hexagons were crocheted in my old home, Dove Cottage. Then I packed all those little hexys into a big box and there they stayed until almost all of the other unpacking was done. Crocheting the hexys together and the boarder, was done here at Harvest Moon Hill. I guess there’s something comforting about that, with the upheaval of a big move like the one we did, it was like falling back into an old friend being able to pick up this blanket and keep working on it in our new home. Occasionally out on the deck overlooking our lovely hills, and then as winter drew close, in my favourite chair by the fire.

It was a pleasure to make something so special for my sister and I really enjoyed the lengthy process. I loved having this big project at the ready for whenever I had the crafty urge, chipping away at it, little by little over time and watching it grow. And apart from making a few beanies and some wrist warmers, I’ve found it really hard to get stuck into another crafty project. I’ve started plenty, but I’ve unraveled all of them. Oh the hours of making I’ve unraveled, it’s disheartening at times. I seem to keep landing at this point in the project where I’m not happy with it. I keep thinking the next project will be ok, but I’m yet to find it. Do you ever go through creative periods like that? Where you’re just not happy with anything you are making and find yourself back at square one all the time? Of course now I find myself spending so much time ‘researching’ the next project (scrolling pinterest/ravelry/instagram #’s) that I’ve got no time left to actually start something. And by the time I’m ready to start it next time, I’ve changed my mind. Ah well, I’m just trying to go with it at the moment, I guess it’ll pass… eventually.

Wishing you a healthy creative mojo and a happy birthday for whenever it is!

PS. Happy Birthday Sis x

PPS. Pattern details: It’s been so long that I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure the pattern is the same as my ‘hexy make up wipes’ pattern, but continued for more rounds. I used all 8 ply yarn with a mix of pure wool or pure alpaca or a wool/alpaca blend.

Advertisements

my sabbatical


























So don’t hate me or anything, but I’ve just begun a 6 (ish) month long sabbatical. Well, long service leave actually… but then truth be told I’m also officially unemployed after being made redundant due to a recent company merge. So long service leave, redundancy or sabbatical, call it what you will, but I choose sabbatical as it feels like a happy word and brings with it thoughts of retreat, holiday and time out… and that is kinda sorta what I plan to do with this time. Redundant on the other hand, not such a nice word, but in reality it was my choice. A new job or the opportunity to take my long-awaited hard-earned long service leave. It really wasn’t too difficult to decide, in fact I felt a bit like it was fate and the decision was already written in the stars… or sheep or cows or something. I did have plans to leave my job in another year or two anyway, and find something closer to home, rather than continue indefinitely with the 3 hour (at best) daily commute. I’m going to stretch out my long service leave and see if I can make it last double the time, hence the approximate 6 month time frame. Hello budgeting, meal planning and ultra conservative living!

To be totally honest I’m beside myself with a mixture of excitement, exhaustion, joy and overwhelm. It’s been a huge year of change for me, I’ve left my home of 19 years and moved far away (well around 100 odd k’s away) from my friends and family. Now after 14 years at the same job, I’m on a sabbatical and at home full time. It’s a lot to digest. But I’m so happy and have that awesome and rare feeling, that I’m exactly where I’m meant to be in life right now. I’m keen to tackle the ridiculously big list of things that needs starting in order to convert our paddocks into a productive farm. I want to invest some time in Charlie’s Stockman Leathercraft shop. I’m ready to spend some serious time crafting and possibly reopen my poorly neglected and too-long-on-vacation shop. I’m going to dust off my sewing machine and get stitching again. I’m busting to spend some reading time with our wonderful collection of books, full of teachings on practical self-sufficiency and practiculture. I plan to write a little more here, it’s something I enjoy enormously but find it hard to justify the time. In fact, I’m looking to make peace with time, it’s felt like my arch enemy for so long now, but I’m hoping these 6 months will unfold at a gentle pace and we can become friends again.

In other news, the two baby lambs are even more adorable than ever. They hang out together and play in the paddocks, running and bouncing and looking like they smile even for the camera. I’ve renamed Big Ears to Bouncer, didn’t want to give her a complex about her ears, and the new littlest lamb is Buttons, you know cute as a button and all. There’s also been another lamb born, sadly her mother didn’t make it so she has been hand reared by our neighbours (the real owners of all these sheep, although you’d think reading this that they’re mine!) with much love and care. To the extent she wore a nappy and slept inside during her early days. I know – just the image of that in my head makes me smile. They have named her Lucy and she is so very sweet and friendly, and actually let me get really close for a photo and pat.

The wrist warmers started out as this pattern, but I got really confused (it’s not hard!) around the thumb bit so I veered off pattern and made up the bit from the thumb up. They are not as nice as the original pattern, but still I’m pleased with the outcome. And in pure baby alpaca yarn they are so light and soft and warm and in time for the chills of winter. (my missing pairs still haven’t turned up)

So tell me, if you have a moment, what’s your best budget-friendly, gluten free, dairy free, recipes… ha, don’t ask for much do I?

May time be on your side x

craft, music and chocolate

IMG_0305
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?

IMG_6025
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.

IMG_6018
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.

IMG_0296
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.

make a pantone butterfly garland

IMG_5751
Pantone Butterfly Garland
100% Cotton, Crochet.

IMG_5445
I’ve made lots of butterflies lately, including a custom order colourful butterfly garland for someone special. I had a lovely time playing around with colour combinations, and as I did, fell in love with the idea of creating these Pantone swatch inspired ones. Because who doesn’t love drooling over beautiful Pantone colours?

IMG_5439
I have made them before here, but the pattern I used seems to have disappeared from the internet. Luckily I had a couple of screen shots on my phone from when I first made them.  I thought I’d pop the pattern up here in case you want to make some too? They are pretty easy and would be suitable for beginners.

IMG_5491
Crochet Butterfly Pattern
(This is not my pattern, I originally found it on Mariesmaking.com)
I am using US Crochet terminology.

  • Round 1:
    Start with a chain 4 and make a slip stitch join to form a circle OR do a magic loop.  Chain 3, then make 2 double crochets. *Chain 1, make 3 double crochets*. Repeat from * to * until you have 8 lots of 3 double crochet clusters including your first one. Join with a slip stitch into the top of your first chain 3.
  • Round 2:
    Chain 3 and in the next chain 1 space do the following, * 3 double crochet, chain 1, 3 double crochet*. Repeat from * to * in each of the chain 1 spaces until you reach the start of the round where you did your first chain 3. In this space you need to make 3 double crochet, chain 1, 2 double crochet then slip stitch into the top of the chain 3. Fasten off yarn now if you want to change colours. You should have 16 lots of 3 double crochet clusters.
  • Round 3:
    Add your new colour into any chain 1 space, chain 3. Slip stitch in between the next two double crochet clusters. *Into the next chain 1 space, make 9 double crochets. Then slip stitch in between the next two double crochet clusters.* Repeat from * to * until you come to the first chain 3 you started the round with. Make 8 double crochets here, then slip stitch into the top of the chain 3. You should have 8 lots of 9 double crochet clusters.
  • Fold your butterfly in half. Make a chain of about 24-29 stitches and tie this around the middle of your butterfly with a knot at the top. The endy bit become the butterfly feelers. Darn in all your ends and Voilà, you’ve made yourself a butterfly!

The original pattern said to stitch the butterfly together then stitch in a chain bit at the top for the feelers. But I found it impossible to get a neat consistent stitch line up the butterfly, which made the body look all lopsided. I found my little chain method much neater, but feel free to do the stitchy bit it you like.

 

So are you going to make one? Do pop back and tell me if you do won’t you?

Wishing you happy making, and pretty flutterby days full of all your favourite Pantone colours!

crocheted north winds & african flowers

Happy Friday! Have you been zenning out on top of the Mountain? Neither have I! I’ve spotted Mount Zen in the distance but not managed a visit longer than a nanosecond this week. Ah yes, best of intentions and all…. I had a busy week at work and am now feeling oh so grateful that Friday is here. Thought I’d squeeze in a quickie update to share a couple of finished projects that I haven’t had a chance to show you.

shawl2
North Winds Shawl
50% Silk / 50% Wool – main colour. 100% Silk – duck egg blue.

shawl
I finished this a little while ago and really enjoyed crocheting it. The pattern is called Eve’s Shawl and it’s a freebie and it’s super easy! That’s a double winner in my books. I’m yet to wear it but when I tried it on it felt like a big feather! So light and soft yet I could feel its gentle warmth immediately. I’m thinking a mild Autumn evening might encourage its first outing.

IMG_5313
A colourful little bookmark that I made up as I went. I originally wanted to make a pansie flower but the pattern I started ended up looking really weird and lopsided so I gave up and just played around until this little sweetie emerged.

IMG_5314
The flower itself is layered and worked in quite a few rounds. It’s mostly made from cotton with a cotton blend and a bamboo yarn for the green.

IMG_5299
My first pincushion! I’ve seen so many different crocheted pincushions on pinterest! But this one using the African Flower on Sandra’s Cherry Heart blog really caught my eye. Sandra has also written a great little tutorial that’s easy to follow and makes life easier for a reluctant pattern follower like myself.

IMG_5307
I deviated from the pattern only slightly in that I changed colours more often as I wanted this pincushion to have a really strong pop of colour. I love the combination of these bright colours together and find myself branching out into new combinations and shades more often these days. And let’s face it, when isn’t Aqua appropriate? Exactly!

I must say what a lovely change it was to make a few little projects rather than the blankies. I do so love to make blankies and they will always be my favourite thing to make, but a couple of faster projects in between were thoroughly enjoyable. Having said that, I am so looking forward to getting back to crocheting my Milky Way Dreams Blankie, it’s like I’ve missed the comfort of an old friend. Do you feel like that when you haven’t worked on your crafty project for a while? Or is that just me? Am sure there’s a help group out there for me… somewhere…

Must dash and do what I’m supposed to be doing now, I think I’ve procrastinated long enough… productive procrastination though, so totally excusable… wouldn’t you say?

Wishing you the comfort of old friends and days filled with pretty flowers.

crafting blues and eating greens

IMG_4959
Hello, are you well? How’s 2015 panning out so far? I hope it’s been kind to you… it’s been rather blue for me… in a crafty way… I’m so boring consistent with my colours.

Woven Ocean Blankie
100% pure baby alpaca, crochet.

IMG_4950
This is the finished blankie that I started back here. It’s a big feathery pile of squishy soft blue, aqua, teal and mint. My favourite wedge of the colour wheel.

IMG_4955
And this stitch is absolutely my favourite crochet stitch at the moment. I’ve seen it referred to as moss stitch, seed stitch, woven stitch and others, but I call it woven stitch and used this fab little tutorial here to get me started. It’s such an easy stitch to remember and I love the way it produces a look somewhere between weaving and knitting.

IMG_4972
This is going to be a shawl… eventually… I hope… There’s some yarn chicken going on with this project so it could be a different colour by the time I finish it too. I found this easy free pattern here and I’ve had this gorgeous yarn for ages. The pattern is a simple 3 row repeat producing a lacey type look as it’s a big fat hook (4mm) with fingerling weight yarn.

IMG_4970
This yarn is 50% silk 50% wool, hand painted and the colourway is called ‘North Wind’… cute huh?! It’s beautifully luxurious, I especially adore the colour variation and the gentle sheen that the silk adds. Way back I made a scarf with this yarn which I’ve since sold in my Etsy Shop. I think I’ll be keeping this shawl though… says she who has never worn a shawl in her life and happens to have to another half finished shawl stashed away waiting to be finished!

I just loved this post from the lovely Kate at Foxs Lane about exactly that – half finished crafty projects. My ‘excuse’ for the other half finished one is this… Black Knight, the black alpaca, had to grow more of his luscious black fibre, this has to be then be spun before I can purchase it, and hopefully finish the unfinished shawl.

IMG_4998
If you follow me on instagram you’ll know how much I’ve been spamming my feed with our Dove Cottage Harvest. Our humble little veggie patch is going great guns and we’ve been enjoying so many healthy fresh organic greens like this silver beet. And if you just went eewwwww, then please hear me out. Purchased silver beet from the shops may as well be a different vegetable altogether. Fresh picked baby silver beet is sweet, not bitter, and almost dissolves in your mouth – so not chewy like the shop stuff can be. It’s truly delish! And of course one the easiest things to grow ever!

IMG_4996
I just came inside from taking these two photos, and to my delight spotted the first of our butter beans. Crunchy juicy sweetness… I had to test one! We have been eating heaps of the regular green beans though, I’m thrilled with how much a couple of seeds have produced. As well as the beans and silver beet, lately we’ve been enjoying lettuce, zucchini, (monster) squash, and fresh new potatoes. Seriously my mouth is watering just typing that! I know it’s cliché and all that, but growing your own veg is so rewarding and delicious! If you’ve ever thought about doing so… but just not got there… find a teeny little corner in your garden, or get a big pot on the verandah, and plant something easy like silver beet, radish or lettuce. I swear you’ll be hooked in no time!

Wishing you blue skies and delicious greens to eat… see you soon for dear monday.