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Bobbly citrus baby blanket

7 Jan

I finally finished the blanket I have been making for my husband’s cousin’s soon to be born baby.DSC_1173

New babies are so exciting. I love their squishy little miniature bodies.

I also love baby blankets. They are such an excuse to use bright, fun colours and patterns, although let’s be honest, do you really need an excuse to work with bright fun colors and patterns. I think that’s one of the best things about crochet, it lends itself so well to colour explosion.

When Choosing the colours for this blanket I had to go with gender neutral colours as these parents are the type that like to keep the sex of their babies secret. Also, since it is Summer here there isn’t a vast array of yarn available.

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Any way, I went with some spritely citrus tones (yellow, lime, orange and cream) and used 4 ply 100% merino. I hadn’t used merino before, it was lovely. I thought it was similar to cotton in that there was no fuzz on the yarn it was really smooth and soft.

The pattern I used comes from a motif book my mum passed onto me, it is called the pink square, I have made it before in all one colour. It is a large square, about 22 cm. It looked really different done in multiple colours. I think it looks like a big daisy.DSC_1174

I made 12 squares in total. I joined them together  using a slip stitch.

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I wanted the border to resemble the squares in the type of stitches used. The first round was a simple little cream cluster of 3 double trebles in the spaces between the last round of the squares, each cluster separated by a single chain.

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 Following this I did a round of orange  doubles, 2 in each one chain space and a round of double trebles into each stitch. Both the cream and orange rounds had to be undone and redone with less stitches, as they rippled really badly.

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Next I did 3 rounds of double in yellow.

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I had found this super cute pom pom edging on Pinterest ages ago from Once upon a Pink Moon, and had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it. This blanket was that opportunity, so I finished it off with the pom pom edge in lime.

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I did a little happy dance and jumped up and down when I hooked that last stitch.

This is probably the biggest project I have finished. I am pretty chuffed with myself.

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The blanket is beautiful and soft, just right for a little squishy baby to snuggle under.

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Madeover with love

15 Nov

I have been getting into the makeover spirit lately. After months of the Husbands incessant nagging about my grandmas low boy taking up precious space in the garage I finally decided on a colour to paint it and bought some beautiful new knobs for the drawers and fixed i up.

This is a before shot, it has been sanded a bit here

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The colour I chose was a dulux colour called Superstar, from the chip I thought it would be darker. Although it is much brighter than I expected I am totally thrilled with the colour. I used a high gloss and did three coats with a brush, sanded it back lightly and did a final coat with a roller.

I had a few tears while painting it, thinking of  Nanny, I love that I have been able to restore something of hers and give it a new purpose.

This is how it looks now.

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I plan on wall papering the interior at some point (that might be another bolg post)

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These are the knobs I found on Etsy for the drawers, glamourous don’t you think?

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Now it is living in my sewing room and it’s intended purpose will be craft/sewing/crochet storage. So far I have managed to move all my supplies into the room but nothing has made it into the cupboard yet, I really need to organise it, I was trying to make curtains yesterday amidst all the chaos in there, not easy.

Anyway, I love it. I even got compliments from the Husband, he said, it looks really good and he was sorry for ever doubting me.

 

A geometric makeover

6 Nov

Earlier in the year I brought back some things from my mums place, you might remember this post. One of the things that I brought back, with the intentions of gussying it up.image

Well, it sat in the garage for 7 months, until last weekend, when I pulled it out and gave it the make over it deserved.

This is how it originally looked

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My grandfather made this table, I think it was made for me as a child and was originally green. My mum painted it red and covered the top with denim contact for my brother. Now after 10 years in storage it was time to give it a new lease of life for my Minimen.

It is destined for life in the playroom so to match the colour scheme in there I painted it bright, sunny yellow after I had removed the contact and sanded it back.

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To give it a a bit of spunk I taped some stripes randomly on the legs and painted them with the blue that is on the walls in the play room

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I found a cute geometric stencil and using the same blue I applied the design. I love geometric patterns, they are always fresh and modern, and put a smile on my face,

So this is the finished product, I think I will probably put a clear gloss coat of varnish on it to protect the stenciling.

I love how it turned out, although the stenciling could be neater. It is going to fit so perfectly in the play room. I also love that I am able to give the Minimen something that was mine as a child.

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Doll number three

4 Sep

Here is my third doll from the petals to picots CAL. I was late getting this one finished.  I am a super slow embroiderer.

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Still a hippie at heart…

21 Aug

You might remember this post about me wanting to make a pouf from t-shirt yarn to go in my non-existent entry way. Well things are starting to move on the next stage of our renovation so I might have a lovely little Scandi inspired entry way by Christmas (fingers crossed). So I have started getting ready to make my little pouf.DSC_0881

I grew up in a part of Australia known for embracing an alternative way of life so for many years I wore a lot of crazy hippie clothes and didn’t brush my hair all that much and often went without shoes. Living in the city for the past 15 years has changed the way I dress, but every so often my inner hippie get released like it has this weekend when I rediscovered my love of tie-dying.

As a teenager I tie-dyed everything I could get my hands on. I had tie-dyed bed sheets, curtains and clothes, I tie-dyed rompers for my brother when he was a baby, I even gave all the men in my family tie-dyed socks and jocks one year for Christmas.

To add some colour to my pouf I thought I would tie-dye the t-shirts before cutting them up into yarn. I chose to use the primary colours of yellow, red and blue in hope that I would also and up with some secondary colours in the final product.

I prepared my t-shirts by cutting off the top of the shirt and the bottom hem, leaving me with bands of fabric.DSC_0840

I rubber banded my fabric, the more bands that are used the less dye will penetrate the fabric.DSC_0851

I prepared my dye per the packet instructions, although I didn’t worry about whether it had all dissolved or not since this is all about colour variegation. I started with yellow as this is the lightest colour I was using.

With some help from The Minimen I popped my banded fabric into the dye gave it a stir and let it sit for 30ish minutes.DSC_0852

After rinsing I excitedly removed the rubber bands. I was so over joyed with the results I think I might have even done a little celebratory dance.DSC_0854

It is so satisfying when things turn out the way you were hoping.DSC_0855

So I repeated the process with the red DSC_0858and blue dyes,DSC_0872 each time adding more rubber bands to have a good mix of colour.

My thumbs ended up pretty sore from putting on and removing all the rubber bands, but I guess there can’t be creative gain without some pain.

This is how my yarn turned out! I’m in love, are you? Mr Minx even said he was impressed.DSC_0876

I used this nifty little join to make one continuous length of yarn when I cut them up.

Now I have one deliciously colourful ball of t-shirt yarn and I can’t wait to see how it will look crocheted.DSC_0880

Making Candles

14 Aug

I didn’t think I would be doing this today, but somehow I did a bit of candle making this morning.DSC_0837

As a teenager I had a candle making kit and made candles often, but as with most things like this as you get older you often don’t have time.

Today when I was cleaning up I was going to throw out these slightly drunk, heat affected guys, but they smelt so lovely I just couldn’t do it.

DSC_0825 I thought rather than throw them out I would upcycle them into a fabulous new candle.

So I started to search around the house for some other supplies and I found some plain taper candlesDSC_0828 and for a mould I used the lid of a take-away container and I reused the wicks from the candles.

First I put some holes in the container using a skewer and threaded the wicks through. I secured them with some play dough, this also stops wax leaking from the holes.

Then I chopped up the blue candle into chunks of varying sizes

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I filled my prepared container with the chunks.DSC_0831I wrapped the other end of the wicks around some pens, This holds them nice and straight until the wax sets.

I melted down the taper candles in a saucepan,  I let this cool so that it didn’t melt the wax chunks when it was poured into the mould, it only has to be cool enough that you can touch it safely.

Once it had cooled I tipped it into the mold over the chunks, gave it a good tap to expel any air bubbles that may have been lurking in there, then left it to set.DSC_0832 Actually I didn’t leave it, I continually returned to poke, prod and examine it while it set. I slid the pens out of the wicks while it was still soft and pushed the ends into the candle, but you could chop them off, I just took the lazy option.

When it was solid I pushed it out of the mould, It came out pretty easily, to make it easier you could probably give it a spray of oil during preparation.

And TA-DA a new candle!DSC_0838

And Sew We Craft
Edit: I am adding this to the Linky party over at And so we craft

Something New from Something Old

26 Jun

As you know, I returned from my last trip to my Mum’s laden with all sorts of crafty treasures. One of the things I brought back were a pile of crocheted doilies. Most of these were made by my Great Grandmother and since she died when I was only five these doilies are at least as old if not older than I am.

Now, I have little use for doilies. I am a minimalist. I don’t have vases of flowers or other nick knacks that I need to protect my tables from but I do want to keep these things that have been passed onto me.

I decided to sew several doilies together to create a table runner.

Out of the sea of doilies I chose ones that feature the pineapple motif.DSC_0683DSC_0684DSC_0686

There were a couple that needed their ends woven in. This was daunting, I was so worried about ruining the perfect tiny little stitches, but it went well.DSC_0691 After doing that I gave them a quick hand wash and blocked them so that they would sit nice and flat. They came out so beautifully after being blocked, they sit perfectly flat and they are nicely crisp, I had a little “ooohhhhh” moment after I unpinned them. Blocking is so satisfying.DSC_0695

Then came the arranging. I played around for a while trying to figure out the best combination and shape. I did this on the table that they would eventually adorn so that I got the right shape for the table. It wasn’t quite working out initially, but then as luck would have it I found another doily in the bottom of the bag and I got the design to work.

To stitch them together I used cotton of a similar colour and just put a few stitches where each doily touched. I had to carefully make sure that the doilies would still sit flat once stitched together so this was time-consuming making sure each stitch was going in the right place.

Once I put the last stitch in I stood back and fell in love! It turned out so much better than I expected an adds a lovely old world feel to my dining table.DSC_0755

It is really wonderful to be able to preserve and show off the work my Great Grandmother did rather than have these doilies being stored away unloved. I am so happy to be able to give them a new life.DSC_0757

Now that I have a beautiful table runner to show off I just have to teach my family that the dining table is not a dumping ground for all their crap!

Treasures in the Garage

17 Jun

Last weekend was my Grandma’s 84th birthday, so I traveled back to Lismore for the weekend. This gave me a chance to go through my Mum’s shed again and sort out some of the things she has stored there. I can’t believe the treasure trove that I found!

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At first I thought I just had bags of yarn, which is great, there were some really beautiful colours and textures there. I was really taken with some delicious dapled lemon and peachy baby merinoDSC_0668but was completely puzzled at the abundance of some pretty wretched colours, particularly bubblegum pink, burgundy and beige, however I continued to sort.

There was an old metal biscuit tin which had belonged to my Great Grandmother and inside there were heaps of spools of crochet cotton, some embroidery yarn, embroidery patterns and some unfinished embroidery. There was also an old wooden spool, which was empty, but I kept it as I thought it was a little bit special, as spools are all boring plastic these days, and I know people collect things like that.

Then I pulled out a heavy bag, which to my delight was filled with old fabric, some of these I remember being around the house when I was very small.

Photo: And vintage fabric.  I am in heaven

I don’t know what I will make from them, but I couldn’t turn down metres of free fabric so I will find something to do with all of this.

There were more doilies than you could poke a stick at! My mum can tell the difference between the ones my Great Grandmother did and the ones my Grandma did. Apparently Nanny crocheted looser than Granny, Also Nanny loved colour (she is the one responsible  for all of that bubblegum pink!) so many of her doilies have colour in them. Granny was a no nonsense country woman and all her crochet is perfect and done with a beigey coloured cotton.

I brought home a few doilies that I plan on washing and blocking then sewing together to create a table centre (add that to the to do list)

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Then I found the reason for the horrible coloured yarn!DSC_0657

This half finished afghan! I understand why it is half finished, Nanny must have come to her senses and realised what an awful colour combination she had chosen. The other piece in the picture is a jacket and booties which were started for me but were never finished before the end of Winter, so they were put aside and forgotten until now. which is unfortunate as they are nothing short of beautiful!

There were two of these great squares

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 but no pattern, my Mum thought it should be easy enough to figure out though. Finishing this might also be added to the to do list.

Here is some of the embroidery

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Just look at how perfect all those little tiny crosses are! I really want to learn embroidery but I can’t see myself having the patience for it or being neat enough for it to look any good.

Below is an embroidered table cloth with a crocheted edge. It has a few stains on it so hopefully I will be able to get those out and put this to use!

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Then there is all the patterns! Most were from the 70’s and 80’s, some were older, some were much older! Some, I am sure if they were in better condition would be collectibles.

I have to laugh at the pictures in the magazines. Everyone always seems so happy to be wearing the ghastly crocheted creations they are in.

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I don’t know if you can see in this picture but the lady on the right is quite exposed in that top, yet she looks as though she hasn’t a care in the world. I don’t think I would be that carefree if I had a nipple hanging out of my shirt, how about you?

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I was surprised to find a couple of things that I am going to add to the ever expanding to do list. What do you think of this Egyptian inspired top on the right. I think it could look rather fetching with some gorgeous jewel colours around the neckline.

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I love the staging in the old magazines. Just look at how beautiful that navy coffee pot looks against the red pineapple doily, and the simplicity of the tea cups on the tray mat with its fabulous turquoise edging, but my favourite has to be the green chair back cover with the recently discarded magazine perched on the chair just waiting for its owner to return.
I can just imagine housewives from the 70’s falling in love with these pictures and having to whip up their own red doily to serve coffee on when the ladies come to visit.

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There was also a lot of knitting paraphernalia, and a half knitted jumper in bubble gum pink! These, regretfully I left behind.
It makes me nostalgic and sad going through all of this stuff but I am glad I have been able to give it a new home and a new life and continue the tradition that has been so strong in my family.

I cannot read a pattern, nor can I unravel a skein.

23 May

This week has been a week of firsts and fails.

I saw my mum at the beginning of the week and she had a parcel with some vintage crochet patterns that had belonged to my Grandma,DSC_0549

a book of motifs from the 80’s that had been hers,DSC_0550

a whole box of crochet cottonDSC_0547

and a few hooks. There was also the little surprise of a handwritten pattern (not sure what it is for though there is no heading on it)

I was quite excited to get it home and go through everything, it all had the gorgeous aroma of the rose soap that it had no doubt been stored with over the years.

My first first was working with cotton. I didn’t expect cotton to be so slippery, it is very different to using 8 ply acrylic yarn and I struggled to get the tension right.

My second first was making applique motifs with that cotton. These were difficult, mainly because the patterns are more involved than a simple granny square and the other little things I have been teaching myself with. I really had to concentrate on reading the pattern and there were several undoings along the way.DSC_0551DSC_0538DSC_0552DSC_0542

This is also where my first fail comes in. The third motif I chose was quite complicated for my novice ability and introduced triple trebles, quadruple trebles and open triple trebles into my stitch repertoire, this was a lot to get my head around especially the open triple trebles! So even though I thought I had read the pattern carefully and I had undone and redone portions of it, when it was finished I realised that somehow I had missed some stitches. So, although this one probably has the best crochet it has the worst pattern interpretation.

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The cotton I used was a 4 ply bubblegum pink. For the first two motifs I used a 3 mm hook as the band said to use a 3.25 mm but I was unhappy with the way the stitches were looking so I changed hooks and this is my third first. For the third applique I made I used a 1.25 mm hook, I have never used a hook so small, I found it difficult to hold and lost grip on it regularly. Overall I enjoyed making these appliques and working with the cotton, even though my efforts were more fail than fantastic I am still proud of  what I achieved.

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It has been cold in Brisbane this week, and yesterday was one of those days where you just want to put on every item of clothing you own in an attempt to stay warm. I realise that for some of you a Queensland winter might be considered balmy but when 9 months of the year is singlet weather, when the temperature drops below 20 degrees Celsius everyone here is rugged up like they are in Siberia! So this cold snap made me decide that I am ready to move my crochet to the next level and actually make something with some use….an afghan!

I saw this gorgeous soft afghan on Pinterest

So my plan is to make something like this, all in grey and creating interest by using a variety of  blocks and motifs.

In yet another first I went to the yarn store! The store I chose was Tangled Yarns in Newstead and what a delightful store it is, they offer a vast array of yarn, knitting and crochet classes, social knitting and crochet and cake and coffee…what more could you want?

I have never bought fancy yarn before so I was excited to say the least. The yarn I chose was a super soft undyed baby alpaca.

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The label calls it oatmeal but I would call it light grey.

I have also never bought a skein before, nor rolled said skein into a usable ball, but surely it can’t be that hard, right?….Wrong. This was an epic fail!

I did Google how to do it, but in my haste to start using my new beautiful baby alpaca yarn I did not take the time to unravel the skein properly and ended up with a great big tangled mess. After about 3 hours I was starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and 20 minutes later I had 1 ball of delicious, soft, fuzzy alpaca yarn just waiting to be crocheted into something gorgeous.

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I love my little ball of yarn, I just want to hold it and look at it. I am so excited to turn it into a wonderful snuggly blanket!

We Heart Dinosaurs!

15 May

Do you remember a few weeks ago we made Salt Dough Dinosaurs? Well, they have been sitting in a box waiting for me to go buy some paint to pretty them up since then. Finally I decided it was time to finish what we started and create the art work for The Minimen’s future bedroom, bought some paint and pulled out the dinosaurs.

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I sometimes have trouble letting go of my artistic vision when creating with The Minimen and allowing them to enjoy the experience and make something that pleases them, rather than what I think they should be making. This dinosaur artwork was no exception. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to look, that is each dinosaur a single colour, so when The Rooster started mixing colours and applying them liberally I had to take some deep breaths and just let go and enjoy his creativity.

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We had a great time doing this and the art work turned out just fine.

This is how we did it.

We chose some deliciously bright colours of acrylic paint.

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Using a variety of sponges and brushes we applied the paint to the dinosaurs and stars, then set them aside to dry.

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While they were drying I painted random and uneven chevrons in the same colours we used for the dinosaurs onto a canvas we had.

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We left our painting over night.

The next day we found that some of the dinosaurs had gone soft and the paint bubbly and cracked.

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I’m not sure why this happened, or why it only happened to some of the shapes, maybe the wetness of the paint got into the dough and effected it. So if you are doing this  putting some sort of sealant over the salt dough before painting might prevent this.

I gave all the shapes a coat of clear nail polish to protect the paint and give them a glazed look. You could use any sort of clear varnish/finishing product to do this, I just happened to have nail polish at hand so that is what I used.

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I used a hot glue gun to fix the shapes to the canvas. There was some conjecture on the placement of them. The rooster wanted a more camouflaged look with a dinosaur placed on a chevron of the same colour while I wanted them to stand out by placing them on a different colour. I won out since I was the one handling the glue gun.

Here is our finished piece.

DSC_0506I can’t wait to hang it on their wall, it is going to look fantastic and it will be even more special because we made it together!

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