Friday, December 31, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So Quiet

Everyone must be away on holidays - its so very very quiet both here in blogland and in my emails. Hope you're all having a wonderful time.

My crochet/knitting is a bit ho hum at the moment. I found a pattern on the net that I decided to make, started it, frogged it because it was way too small even for a premmie, started it again making it just a little bit bigger, then about halfway through, decided that it was a lousy pattern after all so put it aside and will frog it when I feel inclined. If the yarn wasn't so pretty I'd just dump it all in the bin.

While listening to Dr Malouf on the radio the other night, I churned out another hat for one of the upcoming K4C 2011 charities. Here's Charlotte modelling it for you ..

Today I had to do a bit of grocery shopping and, wouldn't you know it, the yarn shop is right next door and all that lovely yarn was beckoning me to come inside!! Panda has this yarn called Crazy Print which is new to me so, as you do, I bought 2 x 100g balls. Variegated yarn has some kind of fascination for me - I love seeing the way it turns out. As I'm a very slow knitter, it might be a little while before I show you the finished project but this is what the yarn looks like ..

Pretty isn't it ? The yarn is 100% acrylic and feels a little icky but I guess the true test will be how it knits up.

Before I finish this post, I must show you one of my Christmas gifts ..

I hadn't seen these Aero Gardens before but they sound fantastic. There's a guaranteed harvest (I'm growing 7 different herbs) and the plants are supposed to keep growing for about 6 months. I have some cherry tomatoes to grow when these herbs are finished and if my timing is right, I'll have tomatoes during late winter. There's no dirt - just water, nutrients and lights which are automatic - 16 hours on, 8 hours off. I'll post another pic in a week or so - by then the young plants should be well and truly up.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Whew .. almost over for another year

I hope all my Aussie friends have had a lovely day and those on the other side of the world are enjoying their Christmas. It was wonderful having the family here together for the day but its now time to relax a little. Grandson has gone home with his new drum kit and peace prevails once again in my house. The only casualty around here was me !! Managed to do a fair bit of damage to my little finger with a very sharp veggie peeler but thankfully it won't interfere with my crochet and knitting and obviously, I'm still able to type ok.

Apart from lots of lovely goodies from my family, I received a very nice gift from my partner Kathy in the AustraliaCrochet Christmas Gift Exchange. Here's what Kathy sent ..

A great gift which is much appreciated - thank you Kathy. By the way, the card is hand made and that is a lovely little crochet snowflake glued to the front. Oh and the smell from the sachet is divine.

I mentioned an interesting sounding salad in yesterdays post. Well I made it and it was really, really nice, albeit quite different to what we usually have. Here's the recipe.

Orange and chocolate salad
60ml (1/4 cup) orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
2 oranges
80g mixed salad leaves
2 tablespoons flaked almonds
30g dark chocolate

Put the orange juice, vinegar, oil and mustard in a small jar, season with pepper, seal and shake well.
Peel the oranges and remove the white pith, then thinly slice into rounds.
Put the orange slices, salad leaves and flaked almonds in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and gently toss to combine.
Place in serving bowl. Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate into curls and sprinkle over salad to serve.


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I was going to leave it till tonight to pop in and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy 2011 but with the family coming over for a European style Christmas Eve buffet tonight, I thought I'd better do it now. So, I do hope you all have a wonderful time. If you're looking for a fun, quick, easy kids treat, these little mini puddings are just the thing

They only take minutes to make so here's what you'll need.
Arnotts Royal biscuits
White chocolate melts
Mint leaves lollies - I couldn't find any at my supermarket so I bought soft jubes and cut them up but be warned, if you do that they are VERY sticky and hard to handle as they don't want to leave the knife or your fingers :) The method should be self explanatory by just looking at the picture. Have fun.

On the crochet side of things, I did something yesterday that I haven't done in years and that is crochet around a bought face washer.

The overlocking was so rough and shoddy looking that it really needed that crochet edge to tidy it up and I do think it finishes it off nicely don't you ?

Now I can't finish a post without a hat can I? I think I must be hooked on hats at the moment as I seem to have made so many. Anyway, this little one is one of my favourite baby patterns as the size is spot on for a bub.

Nothing fancy about this though and you don't really need a pattern as its just trebles (US dc) starting off with 13 in the ring and increasing the usual way on the next two rounds. For round 14 you turn (just the once) and do another 3 rounds to finish off. Turning makes the turn-up sit nicely.

Well, I'm off to the kitchen again to prepare an interesting sounding salad for tonight. If it turns out ok I'll give you the recipe next time. Have a great day tomorrow.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mission accomplished

Well its done and I'm satisfied with the sizing. Also got a bit of a buzz from just working out my own pattern. Next time I might make the pattern bit about 2cm shorter, although with a different yarn it might be ok as is. I used Feathersoft 8ply for this hat.

Needed to get back into my comfort zone before going to bed last night so made one of Suzi's fan bookmarks. I'd use a nicer thread next time I make one though - the tassel on this looks a bit ratty. Very easy pattern though and would make a nice addition if you're gifting a book to someone.

Just noticed the pic is a bit blurry - sorry about that but I deleted the other shots I took from my camera. You can see a nicer picture on Suzi's blog.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What were they thinking ??

Well the size is right but the yarn is hideous !!! Yarn manufacturers should realise that some of their colour variations just don't cut it (IMHO of course).

The only good thing is I now know roughly how many stitches I need to get the size I want. So, would you believe I have started yet another hat but this time have decided to wing it and see if I can work something out for myself - ie no pattern ! Getting game aren't I, especially being a bit of a dumbo when it comes to knitting. I thought about it for awhile, thought about it again, then consulted a friend regarding the mathematics regarding the crown shaping ..... then bit the bullet and wrote down what I proposed to do. So far so good and the pattern and number of stitches have worked out ok. One thing I've decided is that 1x1 ribbing is sooooo old hat (no pun intended). I'm up to the top shaping now so might show you a pic tomorrow - if it looks ok :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This time next week ........

Only 6 more sleeps, and this time next week it will all be over !! Last year I showed you a very funny video that explains why email was invented. This year, I'd like to send you my best wishes for Christmas with this ......

I know there are many animal lovers who read my blog so I hope you enjoyed that. On a more serious note, here's something beautiful from one of my favourite singers, Rene Froger ...

No knitting or crochet pictures today as I'm still working on that toddlers hat. Maybe it'll be finished tomorrow and hopefully the size will be more to my liking.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Early start

I felt the need to knit yesterday so decided to get an early start with my charity knitting for next year and chose this toddlers hat from my pattern stash.
Posted by Picasa

Now this TODDLER's hat fits me and last time I checked, I wasn't a toddler !!
So frustrating, especially when it was a purchased pattern. Oh well, as its for charity, I guess it will fit someone who will get a little warmth from it.

I've spent the last hour or so sifting through my books looking for another pattern that might be better suited to a toddler and am going to try a pattern from one of the Lincraft books "Countryside Creations in 8ply". Fingers crossed it will be a better size.

All my Christmas gift shopping is finished (thank goodness) and I now have the luxury of a few days break before the mad rush to get the fresh food items for our Christmas dinner. Sooooooo ... I'll be off now and start digging into the yarn stash to find something nice for that toddlers hat.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just for a change

I decided to play around with my double-ended hook (aka Cro-hook) and really like the efffect you get. Its very similar to tunisian or afghan stitch except that you change ends every 2nd row creating a truly reversible pattern, different on each side.

I used a 6.50mm cro-hook with 8ply and the result was quite thick, very spongy feeling and I think would make excellent hot pads or potholders. My little experiment turned out to be a hook roll

Being a bit of a sceptic, I wondered if the hooks would slide out but I gave it a really good shake and they did stay put. Here's the finished look ..

Also finished the pair of dishcloths so now I can add them to the other goodies and get that gift in the mail tomorrow.

The pattern is here - its done in Peaches & Creme which isn't really my favourite cotton as its so thick but I have lots of it to use up and I think its probably best suited to dishcloths. I like the stitch and will try it with BWM cotton next time.

Did a bit more of my Christmas shopping this afternoon. Xander, Willoughby and Tasha (the dogs) will be getting Schmackos (liver flavoured of course) and Madison is going to get a little fluffy mouse that runs along after you pull the string where its tail should be ! She needs to lose a little weight so I hope she enjoys chasing her mouse around on Christmas Day. Here she is waiting for the big man in red.

Sure she's a little early but hey, a girl can hope can't she ??

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

By George, I think I've got it .....

... thanks to my friend L who suggested I google White Balance. I've fiddled a bit with my camera and want to put the two pictures up here to see if what I did has fixed the colour problem that I had in my last post. Same settings for both pics

Yaaaay ... thank you, thank you, thank you my dear friend L !!!

Now to finish those dishcloths.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why is it so?

I learnt something about my digital camera today and am wondering why colours change with different backgrounds ? Perhaps one of my clever blogland friends might be able to enlighten me? This first photo of that scarf I was telling you about in my last post shows the colours exactly as they are, but see what happens (second pic) when I put it on a different background ..

The same happened with this little doily I made yesterday as a last minute addition to a small Christmas gift going to Belgium. The first pic (white background) is the correct colour, but see what happened when I put it on my table ?

Weird huh ??

Today’s project is a pair of dishcloths to be added to another gift for a family member in Queensland. Hope to get them finished before I go to bed so I’ll show them to you next time.

Only 19 days to go ......

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The UFO that will have to wait another day

Oh dear, I've made a mistake in my knitting and had to put it down as I'm hopeless at knitting backwards. Too keen to finish, I missed a row in the pattern so I'll have to go visit my friend tomorrow (hopefully) so she can fix my mistake. I'm making a scarf in Noro Silk Garden and really want to get it finished.

The premmie hats are on their way to the Knit4Charities member collecting on behalf of the organisation who asked us to help them out. I think I ended up making about 18.

Another FO for today is a little pair of premmie booties. These were meant to be for a large premmie but I think the next size up would have been a better size. These ones only measure about 2.5 inches.

Its starting to feel a bit like Christmas at our house. My daughter put up the tree and some lovely decorations this afternoon and there are already several gifts under the tree, along with the empty stockings for Santa to fill. The cat will probably have a ball after everyone goes to bed tonight.

Do you remember the mini Christmas stockings I was making a month or so ago? This was another Knit4Charities project and we were aiming for 5,000 stockings. Well, we got to a grand total of 4,613 which we all think was a pretty good effort. This means that Christmas for that many disadvantaged children will be a little brighter this year. I'd like to again thank Pat in Tasmania who also helped with this challenge and made some lovely little stockings.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's raining, cats and hats

Wow, from beautiful sunny weather last week at the coast back to cold, wintery and wet weather in Canberra. I reckon I'd qualify as a weather forecaster - my car has been in a rather dirty state for about 2 months and last Thursday afternoon after I got home, I decided to take it to the car wash and even paid extra for it to get the extreme valet service. Well, wouldn't you know it - the rain started Saturday and we haven't had a dry day since. It did ease off a bit this morning which was convenient for the workmen removing a dangerous very tall diseased gum tree which was growing about 3 feet from my next door neighbour's house. This guy was incredible the way he moved around up there .. almost monkey like. The pic was taken from just outside my front door - that dark bit on the left hand side is my guttering.

On the crochet front, I've been making little premmie hats. Someone told me that as far as size goes, a good guide is they should fit easily on an orange. Don't know about you but we get enormous oranges here. I've been experimenting with different size hooks, different baby yarns and different number of increases. Our Knit4Charities group received an urgent request from Berry Street Foster Care for tiny premmie hats and small blankets so I hope my contribution will help.

Its been awhile since Madison (my shadow) has popped in to say hello to you, so here she is waiting by the back door while I was getting ready to go away last week. Maybe she thought she was coming too ?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coast Day 3

Today has probably been the best weather wise - a lovely warm 27 degrees with just a gentle breeze. I have to show you this picture of the sun peeping over the horizon early this morning. This would have to be an extremely rare pic from me as I'm usually still well and truly asleep at this time of the day.

Must confess, I did go back to bed for a few hours.

Later in the morning I decided to go for a short drive to the beach as a trip to the coast just wouldn't be right without visiting a beach. I was expecting to be at Batehaven but maybe I took the wrong turn.

This is Caseys Beach which is only about a 5 minute drive south of Batemans Bay.

On the way back, I stumbled upon a Vinnies store and think I got a reasonable bargain. For $10 I got all this lovely stash plus the DVD.

Finally, back to Target for a few more DVDs they had on sale for $8.99 each.
The Thorn Birds; Sleepless in Seattle; and, Ghost.
Anyone for a girls night in soon?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coast Day 2

Not alot to tell you today. Was planning a trip to Mogo which is a beautiful old town/village with lots of interesting crafty type shops, however, too many aches and pains put a stop to that idea. Maybe tomorrow ?? I did venture out for a little stroll around nearby shops but even that didn't last for long. Did manage to get a little crochet done but still haven't got anything finished to show. I brought a couple of UFOs with me and am hopeful that when its time to go home, I might have turned one or two into FOs.

The food is good and last night I really enjoyed the fish special at $8 (even though it was fried)..

And who would ever tire of the view?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Coast - Day 1

So we’re here at the coast and what beautiful weather – couldn’t ask for better. The trip down was pleasant and uneventful. I had planned to stop off at Australia’s first heritage listed town - Braidwood and take a few pics to share with you but only managed to get one of an old museum.

I think everybody in Braidwood was in town today as the shopping part of town was so busy. I need to find the bakery on the way home as my daughter tells me it’s the best.

It’s a pretty drive between Braidwood and the coast, even though you have to come down that mountain with all the hairpin bends etc. I love the way these trees line the side of the road – I decided to stop in the middle so here’s two views – east and west. The mountain starts about 10 minutes further on.

Batemans Bay has changed so much since I was here last which I must say was quite a few years ago. Like lots of other places, the main street is one-way and guess who sailed straight past the motel and got totally lost ? Yeah well, eventually got back to where I should be – not much different to what visitors to Canberra say …… you have to go round and round in circles and you eventually get there. The motel room is great – don’t you love the view from the balcony?

I’ve been here before and know that sunset can be quite stunning so I hope to get a nice pic for you later tonight.

Today’s mission – accomplished !!! Found Target Country – quite boring and nothing to extract any cash from me, BUT right opposite was the Bargain Box which just happens to sell yarn, amongst many other very interesting things. Like any self-respecting crocheter, had to add to the stash and support local business by purchasing this lovely Magnum. Four balls of 8ply and the bright red 12ply which I’m going to see how it goes with the Queen Anne’s lace scarf pattern. I really like this pattern and have seen some really stunning scarves made with a solid colour.

Nearly time for dinner so I’ll leave you with a this last shot from the balcony - its now low tide.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why did I do it?

I really don’t know what possessed me when I bought this yarn. Its thin, a bit scratchy to feel, and is going to take an age to make anything with it ...

I’ve trawled through 140 pages of projects made with this yarn on Ravelry looking for a particular scarf pattern I was planning to use with this Noro Kureyon Sock yarn and would you believe, I couldn’t find it !!!! Rather than just add to my stash, I have started a V-stitch scarf (don’t need a pattern for that) and its not looking too bad. I think an open type of stitch works best for the yarn as there’s no complicated pattern competing with the colours. I’ll show you a pic-in-progress in a few days.

Had a play around with some Christmassy cotton (from the stash) this afternoon and am quite pleased with the way this hotpad turned out, although I think I might try it again soon and use a solid colour instead of the variegated. I’ve seen pictures of lots of these Starburst hotpads and the solid colours really appeal to me. Anyway, this one will be added to someone’s Christmas gift – hope she likes it.

I’ve been hankering for a trip to the coast for awhile so will be heading off on Monday morning to Batemans Bay for 4 days, and guess what? You’re coming with me !!!! There are plenty of things to do there but what I’m really looking forward to is sitting on the balcony looking out over the water, doing a bit of knitting or crochet, maybe reading a book or just lazing around in front of the television (something I rarely do at home).

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Picture Perfect

That describes lunch today with my very good friend Lucy and a few samples of her beautiful photography. Words cannot describe the beauty of nature, captured in these following photos. Enjoy ...

Aren't they gorgeous? Thank you for allowing me to show my blogger friends some of your lovely photos Lucy.

Still feeling a bit um - shall we say 'sufficiently satisfied' (or you could say 'full') I'm going to just have a cheese and tomato half baguette for dinner tonight then I think I'll settle down for a little knitting. I hope to have what I'm working on finished soon so I can show you - maybe tomorrow.