Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Scarf #1

So here is the first of the two Christmas Eve scarves (photo credit P. Chalmers).

I used a single 50g ball of Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre (30% superfine alpaca, 40% kid mohair, 30% merino) in this hot pink colour. This one has a short fringe as it's recipient is my 8 year old niece and it made it a little more fun. It only took a couple of hours to make using this pattern as I wandered through mum's house on Christmas Eve watching
1/ my sister wrap presents
2/ my husband, brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law play Settlers of Catan with the Seafarers expansion (great game, easy to learn and play) on what was a decidedly crap layout!!
3/my dad watch the Christmas Carols
4/ my mum wander from one thing to the next whilst keeping track of the Christmas pudding cooking on the stove

So, no it didn't take an awful lot of concentration, but I do find crocheting one of those things that you do have to watch unlike my knitting that only the first and last stitch and sometimes the increases/decreases need to be actually observed.

I think I can see a whole lot more of these scarves in my future, especially as I worked out that if you hang it around your neck and stuff one end through a centre hole on the other tail, you don't need to tie a knot and you can have it as tight or as loose as you want and it won't undo!! Who could ask for more??

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A quick round up!

Had a fabulous Christmas, lots of fun and laughter. Happy kids needing to reminded on a regular basis that rules do still exist. Lots of time spent with family and friends. A lovely holiday season!

I finished the quilt yesterday and it has been gifted today to a friend who had her three little boys at similar times to mine and lived across the road until recently. They are heading home to New Zealand in a couple of days to live permanently. I put this quilt together as a memory for her boys (5, 3 and 2) to remind them of where they were born.
The front
and the back
I always wonder if there is enough detail in these pictures so here is a closeup of the kookaburra on the front
and the fabric I used for the back.

All of the animals and the Australia are attached using vliesofix (?sp) and then sewn down. I raided my stash of Tonga Dimes Batiks for them all. The animals and the states were echo quilted by hand and the black sashing was machine quilted with a single line through the centre of each sashing piece to create a frame effect for each of the animals. I also used bamboo batting for it since it was the same price as wool batting and I thought I would give it a try. Oh and I've forgotten to measure it but each of the coloured squares was supposed to be 25cm square with a 2 cm sashing piece between so it should be about 110x110 cm. Near enough anyway!!

On Christmas Eve I realised I was two birthday presents short so I also managed to fit in the construction of two birthday gift scarves that I crocheted using this pattern from Knit and Tonic. Of course I managed to forget to take pictures so will have to wait until I can persuade both my niece and my sister in law to provide me with pictures. Oooppps! Imagine a pale blue silk for my gorgeous sister in law and a hot pink alpaca/kid mohair/merino one for my 8 year old niece. Pictures will come in time, I promise.

Still working on the cardy for our friends new addition and still have to find the rest of the house and make some camp bed sheets.

Getting there!!! Hope all of your holiday crafting is going well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas break and a round up

We are off to Mum's this evening for a sleepover and Christmas lunch tomorrow, then Cousins Christmas on Boxing Day, so we'll be out of the loop for a few days.

The Holiday Crafting is almost there, all of the Christmas stuff is done, just have the quilt for the end of the month and the camping sheets for January 10th, so should be good.

Clear the Decks December...not going so well.

The kitchen is mostly under control because J keeps doing the dishes.

I have found about a third of my bedroom so far mostly by relocating stuff to inside the wardrobe!

Haven't made it to the laundry yet, we'll see since that one is at the BOTTOM of the list of HAVE to do's.

I did find the table but buried it again under my sewing as it is a seriously multi tasking table.

The Holiday Crafting is almost there, all of the Christmas stuff is done, just have the quilt for the end of the month and the camping sheets for January 10th, so should be good.

The Holiday crafting has been taking up heaps of time so I haven't found T's bedroom yet.

So I'm off to find some more "Decks" today while packing up 5 people to go for an overnight visit at Grandma and Opa's. Have a friend bringing her 3 boys over this morning so it looks like a busy afternoon for me!

I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday however they spend it, whether travelling short or far or not at all. The time spent with family and friends I feel is worth the extra effort so I'm stuffing lots of events in!!

Will be back to provide a complete round up of Clear the Decks December on the 31st. Will also post pictures of the felt letters and board I have made for Z and because of a present reshuffle for H as well. So there will be two of them fighting over it.....maybe I'll need more letters. Oh and the quilt. I can't wait to show you but because it is quite specific in a pictorial sense and I have a feeling the recipient may float past this blog on the odd occasion pictures will have to wait until it's received. So more crafting to show soon. Oh and our friends had a baby girl on Monday and I haven't finished the cardy so I suppose there's another thing to add to the list....

Happy Holidays!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Psssttt he's gone!

Yep Bird has flown the coop, I just went to check and he has been removed from his resting place and has flown away.

Now we just have to wait and see if his finders let us know where he is.

This has been a lot of fun. I will be joining in again next year without a doubt.

Fly away birdy.....

Well Bird is possibly on his way to a new home, he has been left attached to the bridge rail on the bike path between Banyule Rd and Lower Plenty Rd in Viewbank, Melbourne, Australia. And yes that is close to home, we may go for a walk later to check if he is still there or not.

(that speck on the right is he!)

We hope he is going to a loving home as much love has been invested in his creation and the kids will miss him.

I was aided and abetted in his delivery by Z.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Crafting

Well while going for a swim last night I remembered that one of the things that my number two boy is getting for Christmas is a felt covered board and some sets of felt letters to stick on it to make words. Well really to get him to start looking at individual letters and recognising them. So I stopped off at Bunnings on the way home to buy a piece of MDF which J will attach the green felt to while I merrily cut out a million letters....well 52 at the moment. We are planning on making a scrabble set of letters i.e. 100 letters in total made up of the usual spread of needed letters, but I thought I would start with two complete alphabets so we could at least write Merry Christmas Z on it for when we give it to him!!

So here are the letters in situ
the red (sorry it looks a bit fuzzy here, but you get the idea)

and the yellow

I have some orange I am planning on using as well

Now I just have to get the scissors to them!!

Did I mention?

Recently there was a blog promotion of a whole heap of blogs and etsy shops for the brisbane/queensland region hosted by Le at Third on the Right and the deal was you go and check out the websites and shops of the various donors and leave a comment. There is some fabulous stuff out there locally.
Anyway at the end of the whole thing there was a note in my inbox to say I had won a prize and it arrived promptly.
How pretty is that?

I have been using it ever since to house "bird" both during the knitting and now that he is finished.

So Thank You to Katy for such a beautiful little bag.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm back

I'm knitting, I'm sewing up a storm and I have deadlines.

I'm reading blogs while eating breakfast, sometimes I'm commenting, mostly just reading at high speed to see what everyone else is up to!

Christmas is approaching and I think I'm finally getting into the swing of it. We have an Advent Calendar for the boys which is a Christmas tree shape with drawers that we alternate having an M&M each on one day and chrissy decorations for the tree the next (small ones!). So the boys are getting to decorate the tree as the month progresses and they are loving it!

Anyway off to sew (sshhh it's done with needles, just not kitting ones!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Brain Dump

This is going to be a bit of a brain dump so if you're not into that you might want to skip this one, otherwise, read on....

Firstly thank you for the kind words you have left regarding the recent sad news of my Nan's passing, I do truly appreciate your thoughts.

I've been a bit absent recently both here and in "real life", too many things to do and a brain like a sieve generally lead to things not happening (housework, crafting, picking kids up on time from kinder...thanks Gen!).

J has been doing a fabulous job of working and then coming home to a potentially very sad wife and mad cap kids, some days are better than others. The dishes are getting done, messes getting picked up, I'm noticing, just not necessarily saying so, sorry.

I have been knitting.

I have finished bird for the toy drop (see previous post).

I have finished my Nan's socks and after a considerable amount of internal debate have sent them down to be added to her coffin. They were always meant for her, I bought the yarn for her and was knitting them for her and didn't feel right keeping them so she is getting them.
They worked beautifully and I am very happy with them.

Last Tuesday I was asked if I wanted to make a washcloth for Jenny (and Wayne) for Christmas. They run the fruit shop we have our Tuesday SnB meetings at , so I've done that as well.

Technically they were tricot, wrong side out and right side out, crocheted together and stuffed with a sponge, more of a kitchen washing up type cloth. Got the pattern here. The white lines in the centre photo are nylon thread stuff that the old ladies use to make toilet roll covers and hangar covers with. Had to do a quick trip to Lincraft to find some as my LYS didn't have any. Couldn't blame them really it is terrible stuff, but really good like this for scrubbing pots or washing off stuck food.

Tried to catch up with friends on the weekend, they are due to have their second child in a week, but everyone was busy. Last night after finishing the washcloth I realised I have not yet made anything for the baby. Where is my brain? So fished out some white wool this morning and have cast on for the bubblegum jacket in Merino Bambino. Have had to frog a couple of rows a couple of times now. Highly unusual. Especially as I have only done the band and about 6 rows of the back piece. The girls at SnB this morning suggested I could dye it to whatever colour I wanted once I was done. Haven't ever dyed before not sure if I want to try on this, will see.

And to my brain...wherever you are....the baby is sleeping through oh so much better now, so can you stop hiding? I need you to be working!!! I want my memory back right now thanks!!

Christmas is being a bit of a challenge this year, although it's not really Christmas that is the issue, it's me not getting into to it. So next post will have some Christmas stuff that we are doing around here, some crafting, some cooking and some decorating!

Hope all is well in your part of the world this Christmas season. Be back soon!

PS I've tried posting this twice now and it hasn't worked, I'll try once more shall I?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Summer Knitting Charity Challenge

So my LYS is having a summer challenge, and and just because I can't say "no", I said "yes!"

My colours are 1 ball each of white and mint green, what will I make? Think it can wait until after the Christmas crafting!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Knitting therapy

So as part of the Toy Society Christmas drop (see side bar for link) I have been making a toy bird to drop on the weekend before Christmas. Today I have been finishing him up. Sewing the tail and wings together and then onto the body, adding eyes and hair and last but not least the beak.

Meet Bird:Here we see him in his natural habitat, Z is going to be sad to see him go, he thought this one was for him but he has been promised one with pink wings, so he'll be patient....for now!

The Phone Call

The one we have been expecting, but dreading came this morning. My eldest sister rang to say that Nan had passed away in the early hours of this morning.

I am sad because my Nan has always supported me through my studies, been especially proud of my achievements and seemed to understand it all in a way I never expected.

I am relieved for her because her physical and mental suffering is now over, she was alert and aware to the very end and that made her physical symptoms so much the worse for her to bear.

I believe that now she will truly rest in peace. I will miss her dearly and she will always be remembered.

I love you Nan

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

We have been really busy already this month. I have been down to Mum's two weekends in a row, seeing my Nan both times, this week she looked much better, they have adjusted her pain meds. Had my nephews 10th birthday party last weekend and my Dad's family Christmas do this weekend. I took T with me this weekend and left the other two to the tender mercies of their father. All of the children had a ball with their respective parents so it worked out well. Also had H's Kinder concert on Friday, which was fabulous! H was a great method actor as a wombat in the Aussie Christmas story that the kids acted out. It was so good and will be on the DVD we are getting of his (and the other kinder kids') year at Kinder. Saturday morning we went to the Kew Traffic School with the Kinder kids, they all raced around like lunatics and all of the parents were in awe of just how close they came to crashing into each other without crashing!! Best of all, Z was racing around too, this is the first time since getting his bike that he has been able to push the pedals consistently and steer at the same time. Well done Z!! The scraped lip and knee were the result of riding into a pole not a kid, and he managed to get back on his bike again before we left and rode again today so he hasn't been put off at all, thank gooodness.

I showed my Nan her socks in progress this weekend. When I showed her she wanted to try them on so (Prepare to flinch) I pulled the 4 dpns out and we put it on her foot. It was worth it, she liked the colours and was interested in where they were at. At the moment it is hard to get her interested in anything so I figure that was good. When I got back to Mum's I set about putting the needles back in, I only lost 2 rounds of knitting and it was easy enough to get everything working again so I was happy. I have done another pattern repeat since then so here they are as they stand now:And no, I didn't pull the dpns out again to take the pictures, LOL!

How is Clear the Decks December going? Well we have found the top of the old Singer sewing machine at the front door where we drop the kids backpacks, it had accrued all of the Winter jackets and hats and the green shopping bags and the sunhats and various shoes and toys and now it has three backpacks, one for each child! Much nicer. I came home today to a clean kitchen, the kitchen fairy (aka J) had been at work, so now it just needs to stay that way. Had to clear the top of the television to put the Christmas tree up but it didn't go very far, it found it's way to the kitchen that must be my next target.

Lots of knitting to do, lots of cleaning to do and at last the brain fog of too many broken nights sleep is lifting so we may actually make our targets!!

Have a great week, knitting and a Bourne Movie await me :-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Clear the Decks December

All right so I'm declaring it is a "Clear the Decks December" and have the photos to prove it. Not that I am going to show them anywhere anytime soon, way tooooo embarassing!!

My house is not actually dirty, just cluttered. Like I can't find the dining table because the slot cars are set up on it because the baby pulls it all apart if it's on the floor and we would all trip over it. Not being able to find the table also means the kids eat dinner at the little table and us on the couch, the sewing doesn't happen because there's no space for the machine, presents get wrapped on the floor, quilts get laid out on the floor, photography happens on the floor, you get the idea. So this December I am saying "ENOUGH" by the 1st of January there will be a place for everything and everything in its place. At this point I can envisage my little sister rolling around on the floor in fits of laughter, I'm not sure whether it will be because I've declared and she thinks I won't have a hope or because she is feeling sorry for J and the kids.....I'll wait until she tells me!

This organisation of my/our space will of course have to happen around all of the usual pre-Christmas stuff, but since Christmas is not at our place this year, that is not my deadline. We will be having New Years here though so that is. I have the photos of all the bits that need fixing, oh except in T's room, he is asleep, I'll get those ones later. So on Dec 31st 2008 I will go around and take the second set and I'm hoping/wishing/praying there will be a striking difference.

Anyone want/need to join in? I can think of at least one person/couple.....

What else? I've added to my Holiday crafting list and am about to add a separate section on the sidebar under the logo so that I can keep track and today's other job is to get the camping list from my sister so I can see what else I need for January.

That's about it I think, for now at least. Happy December everyone!

PS Sorry for those of you with bloglines etc, who probably got a post entitled Clear the Deaks with nothing in it....yes the mystery button presser strikes again!!