Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is coming to a close here in Australia and what a day it's been! We have had a great time celebrating with our family. Feasting, playing board games and enjoying each others company.
This afternoon we got a lovely big thunderstorm. Always a lovely change from sweltering heat. We shepherded all the children inside to watch 'Kangaroo Jack' while my two brothers hijacked my nephews nerf guns and ambushed us while we were playing Rummy King in the pergola. Fun times!! I don't think men ever really grow up. Simple pleasures make great memories.

Don't forget to hug your children a little tighter and spare a thought to all those parents who won't get to hear their little ones laughter.

I hope your Christmas is as special as ours.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Countdown is On.

We have three sleeps until Santa comes and I still have stockings to complete!
Thankfully the pattern I had picked out is easy and fast to do. I could comfortably finish one stocking a day if my day was not taken up by demanding children and animals.
On that front, I have set them up with various crafts but they are sick of them already and we are only three days into their six weeks of school holidays. I finally gave in to my kids plea's to let them open their Wii last night as an early present. It wasn't a very hard decision though. Last week my youngest son and my nephews were sure they saw a snake in the old outside dunny which my landlord has filled with planks of wood and other building supplies. Of course it could have been a lizard, but the snakes are out in force this year. A lady in my street came home from work last week to find a brown snake in her house.With their cross breeding they are more dangerous than ever. So until the vines and shrubs are cut back my kids are housebound. Happily their favourite Wii game is Just Dance.

 I have completed one stocking and have three more to finish. I love the finished project! This is Miss 9's purple stocking.

As my other three are all worried I won't finish Their stocking, I thought I would make them all together. I have completed the leg section on Miss 11's Harry Potter Griffindor stocking, Master 7's bright orange and blue stocking and am now working on Mister 12's black and maroon stocking. An hour of working in all black and I should hopefully be on to the heels.

Better get on with it. I hope every one is enjoying the lead up to Christmas!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Parcels and Presents!!

I don't know what is more exciting, receiving parcels or presents. So luckily for me I have received both! The parcel came all the way from Michigan from my excellent scarf/cowl swap partner and she spoiled me rotten! THREE cowls! THREE! Can you believe it? I love each one of them. The rest of the huge box they came in was filled to the brim with goodies! Owls, candy, owls, yarn, owls, notions, owls. Get the picture :-) The owls was on almost every item in the box. Needless to say, I was in owl heaven!

Here are the cowls. The last one is long but I folded it up for the photo.

Here are the owls...

and yarn.

Thanks for being a great swap partner Tonya!
 I love swaps. But my budget needs tightening, as in corset tight, with the ridiculous hike in electricity prices. So next year I will have to limit myself to the KISS swaps.
 Lucky for me my mum has a neighbour who loves me and is always passing things over the fence for me. She has recently held a craft stall in her back yard and handed over the few things she had not sold to me. Look at these Cute cushions!

She also made a posy of large paper flowers. These are the leftover ones.

I had been looking for something to fill in my unusable fireplace in the lounge room. My mum gave me the large vase for the paper flowers to go in. I love the way it looks.
 I also got a huge box of Christmas decorations, but I have not yet finished decorating.

In the box were these. I have no idea what they are supposed to be.

Any ideas?

A CAL of Our Own

One of my swap partners from the 'Ville and I got to talking on Facebook one day about bags/totes and showed off our 'Must Make' bag patterns that we had been admiring. After oohing and ahhing for a while over each others choices we decided it would make a great two person Crochet ALong. So dates were set for the future and excitement was high.

Yarn was purchased and the day before the CAL was to start we set some basic perimeters. We were to work on our bag for one day a week only. Being an international CAL, Maria would work on her bag on a Saturday which would be my Sunday and we were to post photo's of our progress at the end of the night.

I figured this would be a fast and easy project. My bag 'The tartan fat bottom bag', tutorial by BobWilson123, is worked in mesh then has chains threaded through. Well I was right with the easy, but fast it is not. With the demands of my kids it has been very slow progress! But I am happy with the results so far. We are four weeks in and if I pick up the pace I am hoping to have my bag completed for Christmas.

Here is the progress so far:


The light was not the best so it does not show the colours to the best advantage.


As you can see not much progress happened that day. I'm not sure what kept me away from crochet, but with our hot summer days we were probably at the pool.



I just love the colours I chose for this bag. The week two photo is an accurate representation of the colour I had chosen.


The mesh section is now complete. The next part is making all those dreaded chains to weave through. This coming Sunday is going to be FUN FUN FUN!

Monday, 3 December 2012


It was quite a surprise to visit my blog and realise my last post was way back in October! My how things get away from you when you are having fun! I am hoping that I don't go so far between blog posts in future.

Things have been very busy and full on here in the cottage. As some of you would know, back in October I started an intensive five week introductory course in Aged Care. It consisted of three days in the class room and one day on the floor every week. I am happy to report that my five weeks was up last week. I passed all my book work with flying colours and just handed in my paperwork yesterday to go on a three week probationary traineeship with our local nursing home. If all goes well, after these next three weeks I will be officially offered a traineeship for the next two years, ending in being a fully qualified Assistant in Nursing. Exciting stuff!!

I have one months break from school work so I am spending my time catching up on all my crochet projects that have practically been abandoned during the past weeks. I have sent out puffies with squares that were pledged ages ago and sat around in their incomplete state for far too long. Photo's to come when they have reached their new owners.
I have a poor snowman who still only has a section of his head completed.

Stockings for my four children to make...

My kids don't do normal Christmas colours.

...and a Merry Christmas sign that will probably be abandoned until next year

Why can't the month of December have eight weeks?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Completed Fat Owl Bag

I was extremely happy to get the Fat Owl Bag for my first project over at the Calling All Crocheters group on Ravelry. I had no idea what colour I wanted my bag to be. At least until I went to visit my two dollar store in a neighbouring town. As soon as I saw the variegated tan,grey and white yarn I had a vision of a barn owl. Perfect!

I had some projects to complete first but when I actually sat down and concentrated on it, it only took two days to crochet. I love the crocodile stitch. It is pretty and easy to do. But for a while I was sure I would never complete those rounds.

It was much faster going when I reached the face section of the bag.

Then came the ears/ handles.

By this time night had fallen and I was happy make the eyes and beak while watching my TV shows. When I got up the next morning I sewed them on.

The eyes are sewn on a little wonky but I am quite proud of him. Yes you heard right. It's a him. My Harry Potter obsessed daughter christened him Errol just like the Weasley's owl.
 A couple of weeks passed and Errol held a few bits and pieces I needed close to hand. My small scissors and crochet hook kept falling out so I knew it was time to try my hand at sewing a lining. The material I brought especially for this was a little to small. Luckily mum had given me some material when I first brought my machine, so I found a large piece of blue and last night I set about sewing the lining together. This morning I sewed the lining onto the bag. After I finished I noticed I had actually pulled the lining up too far on one ear. But because Errol is staying with me I didn't mind in the least.

I am happy with my first lined bag. At the moment he is residing on my table with a project in him. But the project is too big for the bag.

Once I finish this project my fat owl bag will hold smaller projects like my squares and the newest project I have received from my Ravelry group. I can't wait to fully immerse myself in that project. It is festive and totally adorable!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Perching Owls and Little Aussie Cottage Tea Cosies

I have spent the last couple of months getting to know my swap partner while working on our projects for the Tea Cosy swap over at the 'Ville. We found out that we have a lot of things in common during our regular email novels and I can not thank our swap hostess enough for bringing my new friend into my life.

A couple of weeks ago we exchanged emails saying our packages had been sent and so the waiting began.  We made a deal to wait until we both had our packages in our hands to open together over Facebook messages. That way we could get the instant gratification of a reaction we all need when a swap partner opens our packages.

My partners package reached her yesterday and I had no idea how she could hold out with that temptation until mine reached me as well. Well I got a taste of it today.

After I got my kids off to school this morning I had a friend come over for a quick cuppa. An hour later my package turned up and my friend was still here. I knew when we opened the packages I would be chatting with my swap partner for a long while so I held off messaging her so I wouldn't be rude to my friend. Four hours later my friend left to pick up her little man from Pre-School to take him to a Transition Day at our school around the corner as he starts Kindy next year. Just as she was leaving my sister-in-law came to leave her things at my place, she was also going to the transition day. After she left I knew I would have about ten minutes before both gals and another friend would come back for a cuppa while waiting for their Pre-schoolers to finish at the school. So I messaged my partner but she wasn't online. My friends came back and another turned up. What followed was a weird dance of comings and goings and for the next couple of hours I was not alone for five minutes to check my messages. I am thinking it was an impromptu lesson in patience. Well finally just after 4pm I only had one friend left and she was just as impatient as me to see what was inside. My poor swap partner had been sitting around  for about thirty minutes by now waiting for me to get back online. So the unveiling began.

 My partner brought the same tea pot as me so we could be sure they fit and it was a little different as it doesn't have a spout. So what resulted was perfectly fitting tea cosies. I love owls and my partner based my cosy around it. A gorgeous flowering tree with cute owl pendants hanging around in them!

One side

...and the other side
 It was late in the afternoon and we had a storm brewing so the cottage was very dark and the colours do not show up very well.
 I received a whole box full of goodies to go with my tea cosy. Everything as great as the last.

I was thrilled with everything. Bernat Satin yarn, sharp crochet hook, tape measure, highlighter tape, craft buttons,cute owl stitch markers, lotion bar, cute cards and a gorgeous applique owl to add to my Special Art Project!

I received a gorgeous square made out of Caron Simply Soft for my Friendship 'ghan. The colours of which I had admired while my partner was working on her Shawl Swap and she was using.
 Even my kids were not forgotten.

Here are my girls colouring in their posters. The boys also made a start on theirs after dinner but I did not manage to get a photo.

I also got some Biscotti. I have never tried it before and can't wait to try it when the kids go to bed. Of course I couldn't escape sharing the delicious tootsie rolls. My eldest boy was hanging over the box while I was opening it and he spotted the tootsie rolls before I did. I managed to stash one for myself for later though.
 Thank you Maria. I feel totally spoilt!

In our earlier conversations I found out my partner loved cottages. That's when my my brain went into overdrive planning a unique tea cosy. My original idea was for a cosy based on a very popular Aussie song called "Give me a home among the gum trees".

When I got to scribbling ideas I realised there was no way I could fit in as much as I wanted. So I made it on a much smaller scale. Even then it was hard to not add to many details and and overcrowd it. This is my finished cosy.

I am happy to say Maria seems to love it as much as I do hers. I hope she gets as much pleasure from all the goodies in her box as I am sure to get from mine!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Filet Project - Complete!

This post is very late in coming. But every project deserves it's ta-dah moment! Last month I completed and sent out the filet project I had been working on for my swap partner over at the 'Ville. It was the first time I had attempted filet crochet and I must say it is a little addictive. But I think I may view all crochet in that way.

 Once I decided what I was making I had trouble finding a pattern I liked. In the end I designed my own symmetrical pattern. That was an experience in itself. As relaxing as filet crochet is I ran into some difficulties through lack of basic counting. I have a terrible habit of not counting stitches (or in this case squares) as I go. So when I thought I had almost completed my project I noticed my last row of filled squares did not look right. So six rows of crochet was ripped out and I made sure I counted carefully from there.

Not long after that I had completed my first filet square.

Of course what does a girl who hates sewing decide to do?

Turn it into a cushion of course! What a nightmare experience that turned out to be. But I persevered...

...and ended up with an adorable angel cushion. Overall I am very happy with how it turned out and my sewing was not too bad. When it came time to pack it for shipping to America the cushion insert came out. When I had everything ready to go I realised I could not find my filet bookmark I had made as a practise piece before we had received our partners. So I pulled out my pattern again and made another in variegated pink/white/purple thread.

I must say that filet crochet is easier to see in plain colours. The first bookmark I had made in purple and you could see the pattern clearly. In case you can't tell, pattern is three hearts. I will definitely be making more filet projects in the future.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Crochet Abundance

Usually when I overburden myself with crochet projects that all have deadlines I tend to get a little stressed out. But this month I am finding my projects exciting and my biggest concern is that I am going to suffer from crochet ADHD. I keep flitting from one project to another and back again.

 This month I am juggling a couple of swaps. One of which has a deadline for next week for shipping. I am not stressing about my cosy swap. It is coming along nicely and I can see the finish line up ahead. The thing is, I am enjoying it too much! I adore the way it is turning out and there is a fine line with extra little added details and overcrowding. I am trying not to cross the boundary but don't want the project to end.

My other swap is the Winter Scarf/Cowl swap. I have my pattern all picked out and have ordered the yarn so I am waiting impatiently for it to arrive. In the mean time I am getting to know my swap partner.

I heard about a brilliant CAL at Ravelry called Calling All Crocheters that is quite different. Instead of everyone working on the same project, the moderators of the group choose a pattern for you and you have a month to complete it. Those moderators must be extremely busy. Everyone in my month are overjoyed with the patterns that had been picked for them. For such great fits, those girls must spend a huge amount of time stalking the participants and finding the perfect pattern for each. For my first project I was given the Fat Bottomed Owl Bag. I had a hard time choosing the perfect colours for bag. I managed to find four balls of variegated yarn that remind me of a barn owl. Plus I am going to try my hand at lining it. It will be used as a project bag. I almost forgot to mention that there is also a Calling All Knitters group.

I have joined another group at Ravelry especially for Australian swappers but I have yet to see a swap that inspires me. There was a monthly square swap happening but it looks like that has come to a stand still for now.

I have pledged two 12" squares for our newest biggest square over at Crochetville's Friendship-ghan CAL. I picked out and printed the patterns this morning and worked on one while on the way to shopping 15 minutes away.
 On top of all this, I just found out the sex of a friends baby and must make a start on some items for little Maddox. He is not due until early February, but I know from experience that when the kids are on Christmas holidays for six weeks of summer, I usually have to leave my crochet for when they are sleeping because we do lots of outdoor family fun stuff.

Speaking of Christmas, a couple of weeks ago I started a Christmas bunting. I was inspired by Lucy at Attic 24's holiday bunting. It's no secret that I am not a fan of hand sewing, so instead I graphed out my lettered pennants and spent some time learning the proper technique for afghan stitch colour changes. I am very happy with how my first pennant turned out. The lines are so clear.

Soon I will upload photo's of the filet swap I posted out. I am happy to hear my swap partner liked her package.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

September Daze

September is just flying by this year. I don't know where the days are going because I have not accomplished as much as I had hoped. I had planned to have my teapot cosy finished by now but I am still on the main part. No appliques have even been started yet. But I am getting somewhere with my little extras.

Even with my crochet progress going slow, I have had a lot going on in my family's daily life. We have had birthday's and camp, markets and dance recitals. On the second the kids and I caught the train down to Maitland. The kids spent the day with their dad while I did some Birthday shopping at the large monthly markets. It has been years since we lived in Maitland and I had forgotten just how huge and busy they are. I picked up a lot of birthday presents for the three of my kids having Birthdays this month. I loved the stalls that buy direct from the factories and sell for the much cheaper factory prices. My two youngest children got their presents from those stalls, while I just happened upon a Harry Potter stall for my much obsessed eldest daughter. I managed to pick up a couple of PlayStation games for my eldest son. Needless to say all the children were happy with my haul.

My Birthday was also this month and I managed to pick up a few things for myself. 

I couldn't go past the cute little knitted cupcake pin cushion. I was in need of a larger Afghan hook with a longer cord and found one at the same stall as the yarn. The yarn is 100% wool in beautiful bright colours. I am going to make myself a Tunisian simple stitch scarf for next winter with it.
 Here is a closer look. It mostly looks blue, but there is green in there as well.

The Handmade and Home Grown Markets just happened to fall on my Birthday this year. They are only a very small market and mostly sell baby items. But  my kids managed to find me a cute owl cushion and also brought me a little owl cross stitch from GO-LO, our dollar store.

My mum dropped me off a bag of presents as well before we went to my daughters dance recital.

A very cute bunch of solar owl lights. Mum was disappointed when she found out I already owned two of the bigger ones at the front. But I love them and was happy for another.

Earlier this week mum was telling her next door neighbour about the teapot cosy I am working on for my swap partner and not long after, This was passed over the fence for me.

I love the rooster tea set! I also got given candles to go with it.

My best present is yet to come! Yesterday while I was at mum's showing her how Ebay worked, we got to talking about how I want to learn how to sew again. Mum has been wanting to teach me for ages but her old machine has PMS issues. I have not wanted to be the one to finish her off for good. Well mum told me how said next door neighbour's daughter had just picked up a brand new sewing machine for cheap. Usually cheap means crap when it comes to machines, but he hunted through the catalogues to find it. What a bargain it was!

A saving of 61%!! Surely they would fly out the door. So we quickly headed down to the shop and I brought home my newest fun toy.

Mum spent some time showing me the basics and sat back and laughed at my attempts of straight lines. I learnt I have a lead foot but once I got that under control I managed to sew together three sides of some scrap material.

Unfortunately our material shop closed down earlier this year so I am waiting patiently for my mother to bring me some material to practise more with until we go shopping next week. I did manage to repair a
big rip in my favourite knitted jacket though. If anyone has any idea's of a basic learner sewing pattern for me to try, please pass it along.

Enjoy what is left of September!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My Filet Swap Project Came!

The swaps at Crochetville are always a highlight for me! When the swap schedule gets posted for the year I can always be found at my table with a pen, pad and calendar deciding which swaps I want to join. It's always a fun hour until too many overlap and I need to decide which ones would be more fun and in my price range. Of course during the year when certain swaps open I decide to join extra swaps that are not on my list. The filet swap was one of those swaps this year.

Well earlier this week my parcel came in the mail. I am always excited to receive mail but swap packages are extra special. The delivery lady came very early. Long before the kids went to school. Which they were thrilled about when they saw the huge bag of tootsie rolls. Some even went to school so the kids friends could try our favourite American candy. Needless to say they are long gone now.

Along with my candy I also recieved a square for my friendship-ghan.

I love it. I am fasinated with the stained glass window squares.

I also received a square from my swap partners mum. Her mum could not get the pattern right so they did an exchange. My swap partner would make a square and her mum would weave in all those ends on her filet project. What a great exchange! Linda will you come be my mum? I hate weaving in ends too.
Here is the square my partner made for her mum to give to me.

Isn't it gorgeous?

Of course there was also my swap project! I had asked for anything with an owl on it. I am in love with my new owl!

It was meant to be a square but turned out alot bigger. So it is a table scarf now. But I am worried it will get ruined on my table. My kids are messy little monsters and I'm a total klutz. So I have a vague idea of turning it into a large pillow for my bed or somehow incorporating it into a bedspread. I/m not sure yet but at the moment it is safely packed away and brought out on a daily basis to be admired by myself and anyone who comes to visit us at the cottage.

Thank You Rene' for being my swap partner.

As soon as I have official confirmation that my filet package has reached it's destination I will post some photo's.