14.2.12

Handmade Valentines Gifts

Happy St. Val's Day

I made some little gifts for my hubby as well as buying him a small gift.

I wanted to give him one of the little amigurumi hearts I made


I also wanted to use this cute red picture frame I got from the op shop the other day.
So I used some paper to make a little creation


I also made a cute little heart cushion for our bed with our initials on


I really like the matching colours in the frame and the cushion. 

So while I was at it I thought I'd make a
little Valentines gift for a couple of
my buddies



I'll deliver them today in a little envelope.  I used to think it was a bit unusual to send valentines to friends, but I think it's getting more popular.  And I love these peeps and I like to tell them so

All loved up
Jo :)

I love crocheted 3D love hearts



I'm gonna be sharing the love this Valentine's Day with these little bundles of squishy 3D crochet.



And because not everyone's favourite
colour is red...




And the cutest of them all...



I followed the tutorial from here.  It was a little bit tricky to get the pattern going, but if you perservere to get past row 3, it gets much easier.  Also I used a little safety pin as a row marker which made it easier to know where to stop.  I wasn't all that precise with the number of stitches but they all worked out in the end.



I used a variety of hook size and yarn types.  The tiny yellow heart was using the finest 3ply baby wool with a 3mm hook, the grey one was also a thinnish yarn and I used the smaller hook with that.  The others were using a 5mm hook.



I found it easy to get the hang of the pattern with the larger hook, but I found that the smaller the hook, the neater the stitches.

I'd never had a go at amigurumi prior to this.  I didn't even know how to say the word until I watched this youtube tutorial. I'd really recommend having a looksee if you've new to it, as this video goes through the importance of where to place your hook and shows how different your work will look, depending on where you do put the hook. 


12.2.12

Bonne Maman

I couldn't resist buying these




Those teensy little jars are just so adorable!  What is it about tiny cute things that is so appealing?



And if I had known just how divine they tasted I'd have bought them a long time ago!



Bonne Maman, my new favourite.

 
The cherry is exquisite; sweet with a little bit of sour!


Perfik

Jo :)

10.2.12

1 ripple blanket complete....

Back in October I started making a ripple blanket after being inspired by the rippling 'ripple' that seemed to be spreading worldwide, sort of like a crochet 'mexican wave'.

I was totally loving all the super colourful ripples that I saw in other peoples' blankets and dug around in my wool stash to see what I had available to me to use.  No bright colours in there, well not en masse anyways.  But there were some 100% wool balls in khaki, brown and cream that I had bought in the sale a few years back and had attempted a couple of unfinished projects with.

So I got cracking with a tutorial from
and here is how it turned out


The ruler is 1 metre so you get an idea of the size of the blanket
 Unlike other projects that have a specific size for completion, this project was going to be finished when I ran out of wool, as the wool was no longer for sale.  So when the weather cooled down this week, I decided to push on ahead and get those woolly balls all used up.


I've been trying to introduce a bit more colour into my house (it's a journey rather than a process for me after years of browns & beiges, so please be patient) so I felt that that colours of the blanket weren't really in my new 'colour up my life' plan. 

So what was I to do with a yummy, warm, super cosy little blanket that is just big enough to sit over your lap?  Well I put it in a khaki coloured old landy that needs a bit of warmth and a bit of woolly goodness.
Obviously the blanket will go inside the landy but I wanted to show the blanket against the paint colour.


I really enjoyed doing this pattern.  I did add a few too many chains and ended up with the blanket being wider than I intended.  I'd originally thought that I'd have the ripple rows shorter so that it would make a longer blanket, but due to me not keeping count as I was chaining, I ended up winging it a bit. 

I do think it actually looks better with wider rows now that it's done; I like the way it looks with the ripples going across my lap, rather than down my legs.
 
In rippley goodness,
Jo :)



6.2.12

A tour of my craft space

I've been intending to organise my craft supplies for a while as I have migrated from my craft hut to my lounge room as I found it to be more conducive to crafting if I am in the house rather than away up the garden.  My hubs has been very patient with my clutter which really was spreading itself around at an alarming rate.  I knew he was getting a bit over it when he suggested making me a table to work on and to have a designated area of the lounge to craft in. 
He suggested 'that half will be for craft and this half is a no go zone'....  Hmmm, patient but over it me thinks.

So this is the result....


I had a bit of a move round, the reading area has dissipated and been relocated.  The round table is where I have my sewing machine on the go.  The rectangular craft table is the perfect height, it's great for cutting out and drawing and anything that means that I don't have to stoop over to craft. 

Underneath I keep some of my fabric that I have imminent plans for and in the wicker laundry basket is my scrap supply.  A lot of scrap in there! 

Now for a little gander around the goodies on the table...

I keep a little bowl with all the most used bits and bobs in so that it's handy to grab...

Essential items are all in one place and easy to access. They include tailors chalk, quick unpicks, a needle holder, a pot of pins, bias maker & tape measure.

My scissors sit in a gorgeous cookie jar that was $3 from the op shop, the jam jar is for pens and chopsticks (an essential for poking out corners) and a small pair of scissors that fall all the way into the cookie jar if I let them...

The Mocona coffee jars that the hubs brings back from work hold buttons, zips and ribbon;  one jar for each.  Also the thread holder is such a great idea.  It was under $5 from Kmart and means that my threads don't all end up knotted together in a coffee jar.  The little honey jar holds my crochet hooks and I'm not too sure why the paint brushes are there as I do very little painting... I think I may relocate those...


Another thing to make sewing easier.  A little dish of pins.  It helps that the dish is totally gorgeous of course.  I find it so much easier to pick pins out of a dish than the ferret around in a little pin tin.  I tried the latter for a loooong time and now I am a dish convert.

Now if you like vintage sewing goodies, take a look at this beauty of beauties......
My sis in law found this for me at a trash & treasure market and I totally LOVE it. She so knows my tastes.

And besides the totally splendid lining, I keep other sewing related bits in here.  Embroidery thread, bits of felt, spare bobbins, another tin of pins



This beauty case I got for zilch from the op shop a while ago.  It may not be the most beautiful thing in the world but seeing as though my fave colour is orange and I genuinely like it, I bought it home with me.

And it holds my stamping and labelling goods.  Very practical it is too.

Okay are you still with me?

There's more....

By the back door there is the sweetest little cubby that has been used for a few things over time; it's held the dog's brush, things that need to go into the hubs work shed, shoes etc.  But we have never found the perfect use for it....... until now. 
With it technically falling into the craft half of the lounge I am using it as storage for my goodies.


And  in here I keep my stationery basket with the furry purple and orange pencil case I've had since I was 13 or so...


A little box with a few of my pattern bits in...


And a tray with a handle to hold lace, ric rac, bias and embellishments (I love that word)....



And there you have it.  This is how I have organised my space.  I know I am very lucky to have a) a very tolerant husband and b) the space available to be able to do this.


And I just wanted to share some sunshine with you.  It's only gonna be about 22ish today so that is perfect for me.  I love the way the sun leeches through wherever it can. 

Happy crafting
Jo ;)

5.2.12


With the weather forecast to be 34 degrees Celsius and windy today, thoughts of cooking anything in the oven were initally ruled out.  However...

... it got much cooler around 1pm and thoughts turned to making a zucchini slice to use up some of the zucchinis that have been growing themselves out in the garden.  Now a while ago I mentioned on here that slices in Australia are really popular and I had recently acquired a tried and tested recipe from a friend so I set about making my first ever zucchini slice.
Zucchini Slice
©       5 eggs
©       1 cup (150g) self raising flour, sifted
©       375 grated zucchini
©       1 large onion, finely chopped
©       200g rindless bacon, chopped
©       1 cup grated cheddar cheese
©       60ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 170’C.  Grease and line and 30 x 20cm tin.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl until combines.  Add flour and beat until smooth, then add all other ingredients, plus S &P and stir to combine.
  3. Pour into the tin and bake for 30 mins or until cooked through.

While the oven was on I thought I'd roast up a bit of one of the huge pumpkins that had grown out back.  I chopped it up into little cubes and sloshed a bit of oil over the top with a bit of S & P. (I find that I eat this with lots of meals if it’s in the fridge (great on pizzas and cold with couscous and feta)

THEN, I noticed 3 bananas that were too ripe for our tastes so I turned to the trusty banana bread recipe from Donna Hay’s ‘No time to cook’ book.  I have made some slight adaptations to this recipe to suit my tastes.  It’s so simple AND you can use up those bananas that are too ripe to eat.  I usually freeze bananas that are too ripe if I'm not going to use them to cook with. 
Banana Bread
©       145g plain flour (use wholemeal if you prefer or half and half)
©       1 Tsp baking powder
©       50g caster sugar
©       75g brown sugar
©       2/3 Tsp ground cinnamon
©       2/3 Tsp vanilla extract
©       2 eggs
©       70ml vegetable oil
©       3 mashed bananas
Optional : a handful of sultanas or / and a small handful of chopped walnuts, plus a few walnuts to garnish if you fancy.

1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugars, cinnamon and vanilla extract
2. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs, oil and bananas & mix to combine
3. Add in optional ingredients at this point
4. Pour into a greased and lined 20cm x 10cm x 10cm loaf tin and sprinkle the top with brown sugar and lay walnuts along the top if you’re using them.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 160’C for 60mins (mine always takes at least another 15 mins extra)

While everything was cooking, I went outside to sit on the back step and my thoughts wandered to the successes and failures I had with my garden this year.  One hot 40+ day my poor runner beans got frazzled and my potato plants withered and died.  I still haven’t quite figured out gardening here.  It is so different to my allotment gardening back in the UK and I was never an expert there.  So anyway all these thoughts led me to trying to dig a bit of earth around the frazzled potato plants and see whether there were any spuds there.

I had planted kipfler potatoes because I just love them and they are pretty pricey in the shops.  I know they are small but they are in the steamer as I type and will taste just wonderful I am certain.  I will leave the others in the ground for a while and see if they get any bigger…..

So all in all I have had a lovely homely day with the wind blustering outside and the rain clattering on the roof from time to time.  It was so lovely to come in from the ‘cold’ outside to the warm, fragrant kitchen.  It reminded me a lot of my Sundays in England when I’d be cooking the dinner while the weather did its thing outside and I felt safe, warm and cosy inside.  And I'm so looking forward to eating the goodies from my garden for dinner.

Jo :)

3.2.12

Be Happy and Sew

My creative mojo did a runner over the last couple of days.  Weird how that happens sometimes.  But today it returned slowly as I sat at my craft table and just pottered.  Look what I made....




I really like my little creation and it's now mounted on the wall by my craft table to give me a  bit of inspiration. 

Be Happy & Sew...

Jo :) 

My Cath Kidson bag has arrived....

Just before Christmas I entered a giveaway at Happy Loves Rosie's fabby blog to win a Cath Kidson bag and I WON!  Woohoo!

The bag took a while to travel half way round the world but the day before yesterday the door knocked and taadaah....

The DHL chap delivered this beautifully packaged parcel



And with the initials CK, I knew what it was from the outside...

Wrapped so safely in plastic and bubble wrap




And you know what?  There was a matching purse in the parcel too!

So gorgeous.

I am a very lucky lady and have been proud as punch being out and about with my super duper new bag.

Thanks so much to Happy for being so patient & following up on the bag's whereabouts.
She's a good stick

Jo :D 
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