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…

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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

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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.

antlers, imperfection and favourites

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Deer Antlers loved up with handmade goodness, nature and peace.

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This one is mine… A little leather, beads, feathers, turquoise and of course some crocheted hearts. Hubby made the feather drops using some vintage aqua silk thread to bind them up. I selected the feathers and placed the turquoise drop and crochet heart in position, and he patiently tied them all together. He finished them with a little sliding knot on the leather so we can adjust the drop length when hanging them. I have Lyrebird feathers, Owl down, Rosella, Kookaburra and I think there’s a Currawong feather there too. All collected on walks I talked about in catching peace.

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This one is hubby’s… He has the treasured Lyrebird tail feather that he finally found after years of searching through twigs and leaves. He’s also got a very special Wedge-tailed Eagle feather in there. One day he saw a couple of them having a spat and as they flew off, one lost a feather. There’s also an Owl feather, some Owl down, Kookaburra and Rosella feathers. The leather plaited drop on the left with a rose bead is from our wedding day. We loved putting together the eclectic mix of goodies on our antlers. It was a real combined crafty effort, mostly my design and direction with hubby selecting the feathers and making the drops. Real patience is required for the fiddly feather drops and that’s definitely his crafty talent more than mine.

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The turquoise and silver feather drop has been recycled from my blue suede bag. There were two of these but they fell off a couple of times and I was scared I would loose them. Being rather special and large pieces of natural turquoise I took them off the bag – they had been waiting for a rightful home for some time. One found home in the feather drop, and the other one made home not so long ago in the center of the peace catcher. Somehow, I think they have ended up where they always should have been.

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The carved bone beads have been floating about in hubby’s craft stash for years. They too have found there rightful home. In fact everything hanging on these deer head antlers we already had. Nothing was purchased… we just rummaged through our craft stashes and found everything there.. Except the deer heads, they were an amazing gift for Chrissy. Thanks Sis x

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There’s something special about this little collection of goodies that we crafted together…I find it very calming and peaceful and interesting to look at.

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I have also been crafting in my usual space too… Remember this one? It’s been around for a while now and has a long and troublesome past. Well I decided I am going to finish this little number.

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The yarn is all from Bendigo Woollen Mills and it’s such a delightful squishy blanket.

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Can you spot the mistake? I absentmindedly changed colours on the wrong side! But you know what? After the unraveling this blanket already had, and the time it takes to knit just one row (of a gazzillion stitches), AND after reading this brilliant post, I decided perfection was just too high a price to pay. It still looks beautiful, but it really looks handmade – complete with human error… No machine could do that! Motivated by Felecia’s word ‘completionism’ I decided to push on and accept the imperfections of my work. If you like everything to be just perfect, then I highly recommend reading this great post to help see it all in a fresh light.

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I’m going to leave you with this image of my craft apron with one of my all time favourite crafty tools attached. I always pop my apron on when I knit, crochet, or craft in general… it saves my clothes all being covered in yarn fluff! Plus, if I don’t put it on, I’m forever looking for my scissors. Having scissors ALWAYS on you is a godsend. They are attached with this sweet little ceramic heart, and a stretchy retractable wire that clips onto the scissors. I am seriously lost without my apron and scissors combo. Do you have one of these too? Are they not the best! Do you have a favourite crafty tool? One you simply can’t live without? This is mine. Now I’m off to go pop my apron on and get crafty…

Hope you find some crafty time in your day today too…
And maybe a little acceptance of imperfections…
And even something to look at that brings you peace…

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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paris, crochet and a cute kitten

Bonjour…. Parlez vous anglais? I said this quite a bit during my amazing holiday in Paris recently…. and loved it. What a beautiful language French is… even if I mainly stuck to the above with a little Merci and Au Revoir thrown in! What a beautiful city Paris is! I fell in love with it only a couple of days into my holiday, and it just kept getting better the longer I stayed. I won’t bore you with slide night, but will share a couple of pictures from my trip that I hope don’t bore you.

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The Eiffel Tower, taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.

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The Arc de Triomphe, taken from the top of the Eiffel Tower.

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There’s a pot of gold at the end of the Champs Elysees!

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The beginnings of Autumn in the Luxembourg Gardens

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The early morning mist rising over Monet’s Garden. This place was really amazing – so beautiful and peaceful.

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When Mr Monet walked out his front door, this is the spectacular garden path that greeted him. So pretty.

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The Louvre at night… incredibly beautiful.

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Just one of the spectacular leadlight windows in the Notre Dame. OMG – between the Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle I was in leadlight heaven. In Sainte-Chappelle my first glimpse of the incredible leadlight literally took my breath away. Exquisite!

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You’re never too old for a ride on a beautiful old Merry Go Round… Especially when it’s in front of the Eiffel Tower. Yep, I went on that Merry Go Round with my sister after we photographed the random Bride & Groom. There was a lot of giggling involved!

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Parisian Noro Scarf. I crocheted this silky baby all over the world… really! It was my flight friend and kept me sane (sort of) during those long uncomfortable hours on the plane, all the while Paris was in my heart. Either on the way there dreaming about the amazing places we would visit, or on the way back home remembering the surreal moments of being in Paris. Standing in the most spectacular palace, or walking in the most beautiful garden, or packing myself going up and up and up and up in the lift to the summit of the Eiffel Tower. So many surreal-pinch-yourself moments. This scarf will always remind me of Paris. I’m not sure if I can part with… but if I can I’ll pop in the Etsy shop soon.

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I have been flat out since I got back from holidays but last week I finally squeezed in some time to take a breath, and do some of my favourite things. I wandered around my garden and picked a basket full of flowers. I could seriously spend all day picking flowers, photographing them and arranging them in vases. It feels like time just disappears when I do this and it seriously fills my heart with happiness. It’s the kind of thing that nourishes my spirit, it calms me, slows me down and makes me feel peaceful. It’s such a lovely thing to do, I don’t know why I don’t do it more often!

Speaking of flowers, I saw the most wonderful idea on a favourite blog of mine yesterday. Pip from Meet me at Mikes has shared a link and put up a cute little video about “Pay it Flowered”. It’s such a sweet idea, I think I’m going to do it with a bunch of flowers out of my garden. Check it out, maybe you might want to give it a go too?

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Meet Nara. Isn’t she the cutest little kitten? A.dor.a.ble!!! She’s a little Bengal and a playmate for Koya, the other Bengal kitten you’ve seen pop in here from time to time. They live with my daughter and her fella in their lovely new home. Yep, that time came and now we are back down to one kid living at home. But only for the next couple of months before he heads off on his South American adventure. The times they are a changin’…

So that’s me for the last month or so. I got to live a dream come true. How lucky am I? Paris has been on my dream list since I was in year 7 and first started learning French. I’m so thrilled I got to go… and that it surpassed my dreams and was a total delight! And I got to share this experience with my sister. We travel so well together, enjoy each others company, understand the need for a billion photos, shopping stops, garden stops, toilet stops, coffee stops, croissant stops (not for me obviously!). We stayed in a gorgeous apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with the quintessential wrought iron balcony, and loved pretending we were locals for a while, going to our friendly fruit & veg man, the Boulangerie and Charcuterie. There was also a stop in Hong Kong for a few days on the way, and a few days on London at the end. Pretty wonderful really! For someone who has only had their passport for 3 years (yep!), I feel like I’m catching up a bit and finally seeing a bit of the big beautiful world out there. Feeling very lucky, blessed and happy… How about you? Have you travelled much? Have you ticked a dream off that you’ve dreaming for a long time? Or are you in the dreaming phase right now? Wishing you dream filled days and dreams come true.