flashbacks & granny squares

Adele & me
I’m on a bit of an old photo thing aren’t I? This one is different though as I’m playing along Kidspot‘s #voicesof2014 #flashbackfriday. Every week a new theme is chosen by bloggers and this weeks them is “matching”, chosen by moi! So this is my sister and I in our most matchymatchy outfit I could find. From the dress, to the bonnet type thing on our heads, to the baskets, to the shoes, to the hair style. I still remember these dresses and the baskets and even the thick rubber soled shoes (the soles were pink & white striped). Obviously, this was the seventies and we would have been looking pretty damn fashionable for the wedding we were going to.

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On the craft front, I’ve been crocheting granny squares like there’s no tomorrow. Originally I was going to join up with the lovely Kate from Foxs Lane and her Grannyhottie, which sounds way weirder than what it is. It’s actually a super cool crocheted granny square cover for your hot water bottle. But once I started crocheting these granny squares, I just couldn’t stop.

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So the Pixelated Series began. This will be the Pixelated Ocean Blanket and there’s another that I’ve started too. It’s lovely pinks and purples and oranges and is inspired by the colours of a pretty old fashioned flower. So I will be darning lots of ends next, luckily I’m actually starting to enjoy this part of the blanket making.

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This gorgeous colour combination is the next blanket I’ll be making. A lovely custom order blankie with the most luscious quality merino wool and alpaca yarn. Such a soft fluffy squishable mix, I just can’t wait to get started on it.

Well that’s me for now, I’ve been sick as a dog with nastyarse flu for the last couple of weeks so I’m just getting back into the swing of everything and slowly catching up. There’s really nothing like being on the couch for a week to make you appreciate even half decent health is there?

How about you, are you well? Have you managed to dodge the lurgies over the winter? Or are you enjoying the tail end of summer somewhere sunshiney in the world?

Wishing you sunshine, good health, and flashbacks that make you smile.

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grandparents and granny stitch

Gran
My Gran… isn’t she beautiful? The picture on the left was taken at a spelling bee… she was such a smart cookie. On the right she is going to the Footy… to see her beloved Bombers. Yep, that’s how smart they dressed to go the Footy in those days. Just look at that gorgeous hat with the feather… so stylish.

Grandma
My Grandma… isn’t she beautiful? She’s such a cutie in the one on the left… arm around my Grandpop and the wee girl in the bonnet is my mum. On the right she is with her dad… looking like the sweet country girl she was.

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What a stunning wedding party… I’d like one of those sailor shirts now! Unfortunately my Grandma & Grandpop don’t have any wedding photos as legend has it the photographer they booked got drunk and didn’t turn up!

I’ve seen a lot of beautiful old photos lately and I feel very lucky that we have so many. All the photos are showing the wears of time, so dad has digitally removed some scratches and blemishes on a few special ones… a labour of love for their funeral services. Grandpa left us last year and Gran just a few weeks back. Grandma passed a few years ago now and Grandpop followed six months later. They were all able to see their grandchildren grow into adults and even enjoy their great grand children… how great is that?!

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I have such wonderful memories to treasure… I’m lucky our family was close and we had lots of birthday parties, Christmas days, afternoon teas and so very many other special times together. Making rock cakes with Grandma and Grandpop throwing real rocks in the mix. Grandma’s homemade baked rice pudding with peaches. Grandma teaching me the piano when I little, then my kids the piano when they were little. Gran taking my sister and cousins and I to the theatre to see Peter Pan. Gran’s nectarine tree in the old house. The smell of Grandma’s homemade soap. The smell of Gran’s handcream. Gran & Grandpas sheep called Sean. Playing pool very carefully on Grandpa’s new pool table. My cousins and my sister and I wearing matching dresses on Christmas day that Gran had made. The taste of Grandma’s freshly dug new potatoes at dinner. Grandma’s homemade biscuits with passionfruit icing. Gran’s lemon slice and birthday sponges. ‘Working’ in Grandma & Grandpops shop. Watching my daughter jump up and join Grandma in her linedance class. Receiving texts from my 90 year Gran! I could go on forever but I don’t want to bore you… maybe I already have… Suffice to say that grandparents are precious and the memories we’re left with live in a very special corner of our hearts.

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This Wreath-of-Love was made for my Gran with blooms from my Dove Cottage garden. Pretty bright pink Camellias, pale pink Camellia buds, one special Abraham Darby Rose, Lavender, Rosemary, Jasmine buds, Mile-a-Minute, Happy Wanderer, Daphne and Salvia.

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And now to something a little brighter… My Popping Candy Blanket is finished and will pop into my shop soon. I absolutely loved crocheting this blanket and am pretty sure the Granny Stitch is my favourite stitch ever. It’s just so comforting and rhythmic and humble. And versatile, not only in what kind of pattern you use it in, but how you use colours with it. I really like the effect of the white main colour, and a single row of different colours in between. But now I’m ready to start a new project… oh how I love this part… forming the idea and picking the yarn and the colours.

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A happy little stash of blankets… that makes me smile. And if you were expecting the ‘my smile inducers’ post, I’m sorry. I’m lame and fickle and undisciplined. I know I said I was going to do that each month… but you know, I really didn’t feel like writing a list of smiley things today. Not that I’m not smiling… I am. I have a lot to smile about… really, so much! So the smile inducing post will pop in from time to time, just not to a set calendar.

Do you have any special Grandparent memories you’d like to share? I promise you, they won’t bore me.

And if you’re lucky enough to still have grandparents around, give them a hug.

And if you no longer have your grandparents around, I’m giving you a virtual hug right now.

Wishing you blooms in your garden, and time to make sweet memories with your special ones.

lemon butter, sherbet and candy

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Mmmmm…. lemon butter… I could eat it by the spoonful… sometimes do! It’s the thing I hunt down at markets, forever in search of the perfect homemade lemon butter.

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Well I had myself a bit of a lemon butter off recently and I finally made some (even though my classic old New Zealand cookbook ‘Edmonds’ calls it lemon honey).  I also had a recipe for lemon custard, it’s been stuck to the fridge for months, teasing me.  Then I was gifted some lemons from my gorgeous daughter.  And you know what they say about life giving you lemons? Yes I’ve seen the pinterest boards saying ‘get yourself some tequilla and slam that sh*t down’… but tequilla and I aren’t fond of each other…  (bad memories!) … So when life gave me lemons, I decided lemon butter and lemon custard was the answer. And a day of whisking began.

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I whisked till my arm was burning. I kept remembering stories of curdled lemon butter when it all goes wrong. I was determined mine wouldn’t curdle. And it didn’t, all the whisking paid off. I tested both of these glorious lemony buttery delights extensively… I take my research seriously you know!  And I came to conclusion that they are both bloody delicious!

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But which one would I choose to make again you ask? Neither. I would take a little from each recipe and tweak up my own version. What a surprise hey?! You see I loved the addition of the zest in the lemon honey, but I loved the custardy texture of the lemon custard. The lemon honey was very sweet, the custard a bit tart… so I’d go somewhere in between for the sugar.

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The one on the left is the lemon honey, complete with lovely zingy bits of zest. The one of the right is the lemon custard. Funnily enough, looks a lot more like custard. Both equally moreish!

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Now I found the recipe for the lemon custard online, so long ago and I really can’t remember where I found it. I’ve searched far and wide to where I thought it may have been and can’t find it. So I’m reproducing it here but please know it is not my recipe. If it is your recipe or you know the creator of it, please do let me know so I can share some link love.

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Now for the sherbet. My sherbet wrist warmers are done and I can’t wait to pop them on the next gloomy grey cold day, and feel all bright and happy and sherbet-ey.

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This is my new project. It’s my Popping Candy Blanket, because the colours remind me of popping candy. Some of the sherbet colours mixed in with some of the many random odds and ends of colours that I keep promising myself I’ll use up. I find it tricky to use up end bits of yarn because I’m pretty pedantic about what colours I like to play together. But I’m loving the bright colourful mix of this one as it honestly feels really happy, and I feel happy crocheting it.

What about you? Are you making anything that makes you happy? Like eating lemon butter by the spoonful? Life giving you lemons?

Wishing you juicy lemons, sherbet smiles and happy candy coloured days.

citrus blossom icing

It sounds delicious doesn’t? But it’s not food for the body… it’s nourishing… but in a different way… Meet Citrus Blossom…
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Citrus Blossom Blanket.
100% Pure Cotton, Crochet.

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It’s fresh and full of citrus colours… it looks cheery and happy… much of this blanket was crocheted either on the way to, on way back from or in New Zealand. I think it has the light carefree vibe that our holiday had.

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I love the three dimensional aspect of these flowers. I was originally going to have more of them… but it didn’t quite work… now I’m glad it didn’t. I think nine flowers is perfect. Besides, it works with my OCD about numbers… nine is a great number in numerology and it’s one of my faves.

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I wrote about the patterns I’ve used in this blanket here. And I found a lovely subtle little edge pattern on pinterest here. I love the fresh burst of sunshine I feel with this blanket, it will be going into the shop soon to join a heap of others… all with their own vibe and personality.

I have such a stash blankets that I’ve made… sometimes I wonder if I will ever sell them all… sometimes I wonder if it’s wise I put so much of my time, love and energy into making stuff… but then, out of the blue, I’ll get an email that makes me realise something very important. I am doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.

sweet babe wrapped in love
I was thrilled to receive this lovely photo of one my blankets with it’s gorgeous new owner. This dear sweet little baby girl has had a tough start to life, but is finding a smidge of comfort in her blankie. Her mum and dad cuddle her during the day in this blanket, and keep the blanket with them during the day so it has their scent, then when bubs is tucked in at night, she’s wrapped in the blanket to comfort her.
I love to craft for so many reasons, but this… this is the very sweet heartwarming icing on the nourishing cake. I feel like in my own little way, I am putting out a teeny tiny incy wincy bit of goodness in the world. I know it’s only a crocheted baby blanket, but I am humbled and honoured by this story. Humbled to be a teeny part of it, and honoured to have had this story shared with me. How can this not warm your heart? How could you ever want to stop crafting babies blankets after hearing this? So I shall continue to follow my heart and craft, not just because I love it so much that I couldn’t stop if I tried, but because somehow, somewhere deep down, I really believe I am meant to.

Sending healing thoughts out to all little bubs that need it.

May goodness find you on this cloudy but very good Good Friday.

I’ve been doing a bit of this lately…

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Crocheting this… and it hasn’t been all straight forward.

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There was a bit of this involved… it included scissors! Doesn’t that just feel wrong to have unpick something with scissors?

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It was my own fault, I thought I was being a smartypants darning my ends in as I went. But that only works if you are totally sure you love what you are making… I thought I did. It was probably the first and last time I’ll darn as I go… Darn it! (sorry, lame puns are my specialty)

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This is take two. I’m going with the granny stitch in the granny stripe pattern… obviously without the stripes. You can find the granny stripe pattern here in amongst some other lovely crochet and colourful goodness by Lucy at Attic 24. You can find the Puffy Flower Granny Square pattern here, and there’s a very easy tutorial on youtube here by the lovely Clare Sullivan of Bobwilson 123.

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I’ve been doing my bestest to move to the slow, and this crochet in the park session was a big leap in that direction. It was only for half an hour or so but geez it was heaven.

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Remember I showed you a picture of hubbys new natural hide? Ha ha… just made myself laugh at that sentence… for first time readers I should probably include the word leather hey? Leather hide that is. Kangaroo leather to be specific. Anyway, I’ve had these ombre fimo beads for a while now, I made them back here. They’ve been strung on a single piece of leather, waiting for hubby to plait me one of his signature necklaces.

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I really love how the natural colour doesn’t detract from the pop of colour in the beads. And I love that you can adjust the length of the necklaces to suit your outfit. And just look at how fine that plaiting is! He’s a smartypants isn’t he? I think you might see more of these. I’ll just add it to my ever growing crafty to do list.

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My overflowing craft basket, with its two bags of yarny goodness had a clean out recently, motivated by the recently gifted new basket. How cute is it? I absolutely adore the birdies on the handle.

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And lately my inner-nanna has stepped aside for my inner-rockchick. Well maybe not rock, more like country-folk-chick. The Stray Sisters are the two sisters from The Waifs and boy are they amazing. And boy can they hold a tune. And lets face it, who doesn’t love a gal who can rock out the harmonica? It was a two coffee morning this morning thanks to this gig last night. It was great, a fab night out with some very special peeps but I’m feeling a little worse for wear this morning, possibly due to getting to bed at 1 a.m. and maybe thanks to a Mojito too many.

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I also managed to catch the incredible Neko Case recently. Wow wow wow! You can’t walk out of a Neko gig without being blown away by her majestic voice and tight as band. There were goosebumps during the acapella song! So so good. Neko is probably one of my all time favourite artists and this was the second time I’ve seen her… It won’t be the last.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. How about you? Doing any ugly unpicking? Getting to any gigs? Crafted in a park lately?
I’m going to leave you with a couple of links to some songs by the The Waifs and Neko Case… happy listening and happy days to you!

this one

this one

this one

this one

from crazy to slow and a link-a-long

comfort plus love pile
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Comfort + Love Blankie.
Cream: Bamboo & Cotton. Grey: Wool.

This was my comfort crochet project. It’s finished and been given, with love, to somebody very special. There was much comfort taken in making this simple little granny square blanket. It’s the kind of crochet that needs no counting or concentrating, I could just drift into a gentle soft cloud of creating.

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And drifting into gentle clouds of creating is exactly what I needed to do lately…Is Summer crazy or is it me? I mean I do love the amazing fruits of summer…

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And I love to celebrate the birthdays of loved ones whose special days fall into the crazy that is Summer… Even if it is with a slightly failed ‘could be greater crater cake’ … (I say slightly because although it looked like the surface of the moon, it tasted delicious… surprisingly!)

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And I love the flowers of Summer… Despite the extreme heat we’ve experienced, and most of my garden looking like it survived heatwave after heatwave, with little to no watering (ahem cos that’s kinda what happened!), I still managed to find some vase worthy stems… I’m not fussy and I’ll use just about anything in a vase… This one includes olive tree branches, parsley seed heads (again), bougainvillea, plumbago and the odd tough old reliable rose.

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But Autumn, I’m so ready for you and your quieter days and slower pace… I’m ready for the chilly mornings and evenings, and the mild days in between. I’m ready for the beautiful misty mornings… I’m ready for the trees to lose their leaves and show me their strong pretty trunks… that bend and sway with whatever life throws at them… their strength in their flexibility… I’m craving that flexibility to help me move through life’s crazy and slow seasons… tho’ it’s the slow I embrace wholeheartedly with ease…

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I’m starting the slow already though. I’ve passed this old trestle bridge a few times now, but this time… we had time to stop… time to walk the trestle bridge… and time to take some pictures. It was so nice. I’m amazed how these old bridges were built without the modern-day help and technology. Such craftsmanship.

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Good craftsmanship is worth acknowledging… whether it be in building, creating, crafting, or writing. Sometimes it’s not a drive out to the country to walk on an old bridge… sometimes it’s just a click away! I love a little link love in blogs, and I enjoyed visiting some new places the other day after seeing Pip from Meet me at Mikes Link-a-Long post. I’m probably a little late to the Link-A-Long party, but if you’re looking for a dose of being real with a healthy serve of humour and wit on the side, then please do go visit Kate Forster’s blog What Party? … I had the pleasure of seeing Kate speak at a Voices of 2013 event last year. I was so impressed, when I got home I started following her blog… and I never fail to leave it without a little smile on my face.

And if you haven’t heard of Voices of 2013 then you really must visit here, where you’ll find all the winners who were voted then judged to have the best blogs in Australia. SO many great links here… And, you can vote for your favourite Aussie blog here if you want? I have… one of my votes went to Lamb loves Fox and it’s not just because I love the name! The photography here inspires me to want to understand what all those buttons on my camera do… it’s just beautiful!

I hope Summer (or Winter!) hasn’t been too crazy for you? Do you have any links you’d like to share in the spirit of a link-a-long?

May you stumble upon good craftsmanship often.