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.

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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).

winter flowers and some modern retro

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Modern Retro Blanket
Yellow: 100% Pure Baby Alpaca, Teal: 80% Alpaca and 20% Organic Merino Wool. Crochet.
My colour inspiration was a direct rip off from these photos!

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It’s my…a bit modern (teal and yellow)… but a bit retro (granny square) blanket. It’s feather light and super soft. It kept my legs so warm whilst I was crocheting it, and is quite delicate being all 4ply yarn. Generous in size, this baby would be a great lap blanket or a gorgeous modern baby blanket. Quite the versatile little blankie I think.

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It’s a granny square that just kept going. I added a few thin stripes, then some chunkier ones, and I really love the effect this created. I might find it a bit hard to part with actually, but I will be listing it in the Shop soon. If I can bring myself to do it.

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And I just have to share a picture of this gorgeous Rhododendron. This winter flower is our new Rhododendron ‘Wedding Gown’. It’s just starting flowering and is so pretty!

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Lime green in the bud, it opens to the most light bright white delicate flower.

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It’s on the front porch, in it’s very large pot that we purchased it in, but will be planted in the garden once it’s finished flowering. (we didn’t want to send it in shock and risk the billion buds on it not opening!) The pretty little pink buds in the background here are Jasmine. It grows all over my front porch and is about to explode into a delicious sweet heady scent that knocks your socks off when you walk up the porch steps. A perfect entrance to Dove Cottage.

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My favourite tall gum tree forest was in the misty clouds on my last visit. It looked absolutely gorgeous!

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Mother nature rewards me enormously when I make it to my winter walks. Although the day was very grey, raining on and off, overcast, no sun in sight, gloomy even – I am greeted on my walk with this gorgeous sight! I am really falling in love with Rhododendrons. Especially the early flowering ones that give you a big tree with red pom poms like this one.

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And how’s this for a cheery path? I was walking in the rain at this point, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face snapping these beauties.

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I’m going to leave you with this pretty yellow daffy, and send out cheer and hope and love to all, in honour of Daffodil Day.

Hope you find some bright cheeriness in your day… even if it looks gloomy outside… may you find a flower that puts a smile on your face.

socks, a blankie and some pondering


Serenity Socks
50% alpaca, 30% Merino Wool, 10% Silk, 10% Nylon. Knit.

I’ve finally got around to showing you my finished pair of socks. They have been finished for a while actually, I’ve even been wearing them – which feels pretty special. They are soft and light and comfy… and I have the next lot of sock yarn ready and waiting to be converted.
I used a free sock pattern I found on Raverly. A great beginners sock I think, a simple pattern – simple sock.


Fluffy like a Teddy Blankie
100% Baby Alpaca. Knit & Crochet.

This was a delight to make. Pure baby alpaca is in my top 3 yarns for sure. I just love how delicate, light, soft and fluffy it is. The colour is called Winter Queen and I really like its earthy tones with delicate little hints of pastel colours like blue, orange and purple.

I tried out a new stitch called Pennant Stitch and I’m loving the little triangles it created. I will admit to again following a pattern ( I know… what’s happening to me?!). But I will also admit to a few unpicking sessions due to drifting off into my own little rhythm of knitting… which is all well and good except that it wasn’t the rhythm of the pattern. Oh well, the upside is that I’m getting better at unpicking knitting!

I’m also entering this blanket in the “made it” challenge on the Woolhogs blog… Check it out if you want.


I just had to share this image of my orchid plant with you today too. I am in awe of its constant beauty and pristine delicate petals. I’m new to orchids, this is my first but I have a feeling it won’t be my last.


Lastly I thought I would update the “Dove Cottage” image on my ‘about’ page. This photo was taken this morning to capture the gorgeous Jasmine in all it’s blooming glory. I adore coming and going at the moment as I get the sweetest punch of Jasmine perfume every time I pass the front steps. It’s so delicious it almost makes my mouth water! A sweet little spring treasure is Jasmine.

I’m off to start another new project… I have a scarf, socks, knit blanket, hats and another heart blanket on my short(?) list… so hard to decide… I believe this calls for a peppermint tea whilst I ponder over my yarn stash. Ahhh I do so love this part too. The pondering, imagining a particular yarn as a hat or blanket or scarf, handling the soft fluffy skeins and balls, matching and contrasting colours together, looking through patterns and different stitches…. And then bringing all these elements together. Thinking about what I’m going to make next, and then making it… I just love that whole process.

Are you pondering your next project too? What’s on your short list?

Happy pondering!

bees and a beanie

Time for another 1st – I knitted my first beanie and I used circular needles for the first time!

Charlie’s Farmer Boy Hat
100% Pure Baby Alpaca, Knit.

This was such a fabulous beginners pattern I came across a little while back on the gorgeous blog ‘Foxs Lane’. The lovely Kate kindly wrote up a free little beanie pattern to make your farmer boy a hat, and although my hubby isn’t a farmer boy anymore… he will be… again… one day… when our dream of having our own little farm comes true.
In the meantime he does work outdoors gardening, so a warm beanie is definitely a must for the cold mornings.


This beanie is so so so soft! Pure chunky baby Alpaca yarn is definitely one of my top 3 yarns as it soft and fluffy and feather light and super warm. I think it feels like what you would imagine a cloud would feel like if you could touch it… one of those really big fluffy puffy clouds. Delicious!
And it must be comfy as Charlie is still wearing it from the ‘photo shoot’ even though it’s actually quite sunny outside!

Now… onto the bee part of this post… have you ever heard a swarm of bees… before you even saw a single bee?

This is what a small section from a small (according to the apiarist!) swarm of bees looks like.
I thought the swarm was HUGE! Believe me, it was LOUD!
I was weeding the garden when I heard what I thought was a car engine pulling up… but I looked around and I couldn’t see a car… so head down, weeding some more… then… the humming got louder… and louder… and louder…
This time I stood up and had a good look around, over the fence and up the road… and that’s when I saw the swarm… this huge swirling humming cloud… heading past the tree on the corner… and over the fence… into my front yard!


Within about half an hour they had made themselves quite at home… seems the big ol’ gum tree in the front yard of Dove Cottage was the new address… and a few thousand bees couldn’t be wrong… right?
In no time, two huge busy buzzing hives appeared amongst the gumnuts.


A quick google… and a call to the local apiarist…. and 20 minutes later… we had gentle Gavin… in the yard… up a very tall ladder… with a box… full of bees!


After a fiesty shake of the branch most of the bees droped right into the well positioned box.
Then after a minute or so… one flap of the box was opened… and the straggler bees buzzing about gently buzzed into the box… like they were being quietly summoned… by muma queen… it was amazing… almost a bit magical… and made me want to learn more about bees.
Apparently, Gavin said the bees in the box released pheromones which ‘called’ the other bees in. Clever hey?
I also found out that any bee can be a queen bee, the queen bee is just the bee that gets fed royal jelly for all of her life, instead of the first few days of her life like the rest of the bees. That made me curious about Royal Jelly too.

Fascinating hey? At least I thought I was… Do you already know lots about bees? Sorry if I’ve bored your to tears with my bee post. I’ll buzz off now…

Hope your day is full of magical suprises… and maybe even a hand knitted gift… made with love.