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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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.

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.

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.