Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Have you made any new year resolutions yet? Hang on a bit ... I want to tell you about a very brave little 13yr old girl whose story I have been following for the past 18 months or so. In 2009 she was diagnosed with medulloblastoma which is a malignant and aggressive brain cancer. She tries to maintain as close a normal life as possible as she faces a plethora of medical appointments and ongoing tests. At this time of year, as we're all making new year resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, give up this, give up that etc. etc., I think this quote from Dainere says it all .... "So much has happened in the past couple of years and I am just so grateful for every day that I have on this earth, I think that many people take life for granted and waste it by not making the most of it or doing things that really are not right or hurt other people. We should always wake up each day wanting to make it a special day, one where we smile at others, appreciate those people around us, try to help out others in any way and spread happiness and love."

So what are your New Years Eve plans? Here's what I'll be doing .. a bit of reading,

and maybe a bit of this ..

My DD, her husband and his parents have gone to Sydney for the fireworks tonight, a harbour lunch cruise tomorrow and then on to the Blue Mountains for a few days. I'll be watching the 9pm fireworks on the telly (after I've watched them draw my numbers out in the 31 million Lotto) and maybe stay up for the midnight fireworks which they're saying is going to be quite spectacular this year.

Oh dear, look what just turned up in the junk mail from Lincraft ..

Hmmmm - reminds me of something I read this morning "I'm not a hoarder, I'm a collector." Do you think I should go?

With only 8 hours left of 2011, I'd like to wish all my wonderful friends a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2012. (If I win the 31 million I'll buy you all a set of Denise Interchangeable Hooks). ;)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A little bit of Crochet and Larry's Spread

I haven't been feeling too well for the past few days so not much of anything has been getting done. My family and visitors are away at the moment (they'll be coming and going for the next couple of weeks) .. so I've been vegging out a bit. I did however feel the need for a bit of instant gratification so hat number 11 has been added to my pile of charity items.
I love this pattern - requires no concentration, is quick to make and the 'butterfly' makes it look better than a plain old beanie. I used Lion Brand Micro Spun which I found in my stash, and a 4.50mm hook. Not real keen on working with this yarn as its very 'splitty' (is that a word?) although it is very soft.

Many years ago I knew a chef who used to make this wonderful spread. The hand-written recipe on a scrappy piece of paper fell out of a book I was looking at the other day so I thought I'd share it with you, and have it here for my future reference. Its a very quick, easy recipe and ideal for this time of the year when you're after something light to eat (and need to use up some of that ham).

Larry's Savoury Spread

1 tsp chicken stock (or a chicken cube crushed)
250g Philadelphia cream cheese
450g crushed pineapple (drain juice)
1/2 tin corn kernels
200g gherkin, chopped
100g finely chopped ham
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Cream the cheese, add all other ingredients and mix well. Will keep in fridge for 2 weeks. Can be made smoother by adding some pineapple juice to be used as a dip, or left firm to be used as a spread on crackers.

Mmmmm .. I'm off to the pantry - hope I can find a tin of crushed pineapple.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Its not only the turkey that's been stuffed at our house. After a delicious meal of prawn cocktail starters followed by the traditional turkey, ham and roast veggies for mains, we were all too full sufficiently satisfied and so we have just had our plum pudding with warm custard for our evening meal. And now its time to try to get back to normal as soon as possible.

I missed out on posting my update for my Year of Projects last week and I must confess I haven't had much time to touch hook or needles for awhile. However, I can show you hat No. 8 which I'm not all that happy with but I suppose it might keep some poor soul warm next winter.

Oh, nearly forgot I also made two little premmie hats so these will be numbers 9 and 10.

Tomorrow my daughter, son-in-law and his parents from Belgium will be leaving for a few weeks holiday so I should have plenty of spare time to do what I like - and you know what that will be. No no no no no .... not sleeping all day !!!!! I plan on being a happy hooker.

Bye bye Santa .. see you next year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night ...

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse (or a cat)

Merry Christmas from me and from Madison

Friday, December 23, 2011

How cute is this ?

Merry Christmas everyone

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Two weeks from now

It has just occurred to me that in two weeks from NOW, it will all be over !! Santa will have been, the presents will have been opened, the food eaten, the kitchen cleaned up and we'll all be relaxing after the mad rush. I have to confess I haven't even written out my cards yet - must do that this week.

I knew I'd find a good excuse to show you this photo of my beautiful Nikki - our first Japanese Chin. She was the most loving and devoted little girl and I'm sure she thought she was one of us humans.

I almost gave in to that persistent Noro Kureyon sock yarn last night and started to feel guilty about having frogged it five times. After surfing around a bit on Ravelry to decide what it might be next, I was interested to read some of the comments on this yarn. Some hated it, said it was a nightmare to knit, noted that it breaks easily, is scratchy and hard .. even looks like clown vomit !! So, what do you think I did? Well, I did what any self respecting person would do .... I fished out some 4ply baby yarn, a pair of 3.75 needles and am making some premmie baby hats. This of course will add to my Year of Projects personal challenge so it was without doubt the best course to take.

I missed last weeks update as I've been so busy sorting/clearing my craft room so it can be temporarily used as a bedroom for guests, but I do have a couple of FOs to show you.

Hat number 7

A scarf from some yarn I found in my stash - Lincraft Surprise.

And finally a Christmas potholder/heatpad

Have a great week.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

The countdown seems to have begun

Everybody seems to be getting ready for Christmas and here am I still trying to sort (clear) out my craft room so we can accommodate overseas guests. I did manage to finish a few more hats (Nos. 5 and 6) for my Year of Projects.

I tried several times to get the colour right in the photo of that butterfly hat and this was about the closest I could get to the pretty mint that it is. You'll have to excuse my granny mandala in the background.

By the end of this week I have a few secret santa gifts to post off and will be including this little doiley in one of them. Its one of my favourite patterns and for this one I used Peter Pan Washable Goldfingering - its white with a very pretty pearl like shimmer. You might see it better in the close-up picture.

This is not the easiest thread to work with and its certainly not soft but I think its pretty and would look nice on the Christmas table.

I know a lot of my dear blogger friends are busy putting up and decorating their trees now that Thanksgiving is over. We have a tradition in our house that we don't start Christmas decorating until after my DDs birthday on December 14. At least one advantage of doing this is that there's less time for the cat to get herself into trouble.

Have a fun week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trying to catch up

Just about everything has stopped me from getting on with my year of projects challenge but the worst challenge is trying to sort out my craft room. I have overseas visitors coming for Christmas and need to make room in there for a blow-up queen size bed. Talk about a stash ..... I had to go out and buy three more 57L crates, plus give away a huge bag of yarn to a friend who also knits and crochets for charity, but there's still heaps more yarn looking for somewhere to hide. I'm not as game as some fellow bloggers so will not be showing you pictures of my craft room - sorry !!

I did manage to get the new hat number 4 done.

The previously mentioned hats number 4 and 5 are still on their respective needles and hook but I'd like to think I'll get these finished this coming week. I also finished a scarf which will be a gift for my daughter's MIL - I've been pondering over how to finish this one off and settled for just sc all the way around to give it a bit of a classic look. I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10ply and the scarf is approx 60" long x 6" wide. It took all but a few metres of the 200g ball.

In an effort to use up some stash, I've decided to make some cat blankets for some of the animal refuges Knit4Charities is supporting. This month is Save-a-Dog Scheme (obviously they save cats too as they've requested these blankets). The group will also be supporting other animal refuges in the coming months so I'll just keep making the blankets in between other projects. I'm using double 8ply with a 10mm hook - starting with 40ch and working 36 rows dc. The cats don't care about fancy stitches so the blankies are nice and quick - they're also lovely and soft.

Hmmm .. almost dinner time here so I'll nip off to the kitchen for a while then come back here and check out everyone else's progress on their Year of Projects.

Have a great week.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Boom Boom

A dying granny tells her granddaughter, "I want to leave you my farm. That includes the villa, the tractor, and other equipment, the farmhouse and $22,398,750.78 in cash."

The granddaughter, absolutely floored and about to become rich says, "Oh granny, you are SO generous! I didn't even know you had a farm. Where is it?"

With her last breath, Granny whispered, "Facebook..."

The Devil Tommy made me do it !!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Travel Plans

I have been in many places, but I have never been in Cahoots. Apparently you can't go there alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone. I've also never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there. I have, however, been in Sane. They don't have an airport. You have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my family, friends and those where I have worked. I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump and I am not too much on physical activity anymore. I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often. I've been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm. Sometimes I'm in Capable, and I go there more often as I'm getting older. One of my favorite places to be is in Suspense. It really gets the adrenalin flowing and pumps up the old heart. At my age I need all of the stimuli I can get.

We were in suspense this afternoon when a piece of new furniture was delivered and it just wouldn't go around the necessary corners to get into its designated room. After a few minutes of panic clear thinking, my daughter rang a glass repair company to find out if they could remove the window so said piece of furniture could come in via that way. As luck would have it, they could and in fact were here (from the other side of our city) in 35 minutes and about 45 minutes later everything was back to normal and the queen size bed was IN the room. Phew !!

I'm now recovering by doing a bit of crochet. More about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Long time no Nanna post

My grandson went to a school disco last night (ah that brings back memories) .. and he had to go dressed as something starting with the letter 'p'. What do you think of my little man - he can take me in any day !!

Nearly lunch time here .. feel like a snack ?

Bacon Strips

5 slices of bread
1 egg
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 cup grated cheese
1 dessertspoon melted margarine
4 rashes of bacon, diced

Mix all ingredients and spread over bread. Slice into strips and cook in oven at 200 deg celsuis (400F) for approx. 15 minutes.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Old treasures & FO's

Its an absolutely perfect day here but instead of being out in the 28 degree (celsius) weather, I've been inside, looking through a pile of books I haven't touched in ages and re-discovered these beauties I knew I had but couldn't remember where they were. It would probably have been about 10 years ago, my youngest daughter was doing the rounds of just about every antique shop she came across and found these very old patterns which she thought I'd like.

This is what she wants me to make (to quote her words .. "a family heirloom" !!

My poor old eyes aren't what they used to be and these days I prefer to work with yarn rather than thread but perhaps as a compromise, I could aim for a table runner. Maybe. By the way, did you notice the original price on those patterns - 2d each - that would be two pennies. My how things have changed.

I have two finished projects to show you today. I finished this little dress last night

I was pleased with the way it turned out - I did make a few changes but they were very minor ones.

Finally, as part of my Year of Projects (50 hats by the end of June 2012) here's hat number 3
hot off the hook ..

Hats 4 and 5 should be finished this week (hopefully) however I have a major, time consuming task facing me in the next few weeks so I'm not sure how much crochet and knitting will be done. With overseas visitors coming for a few days over Christmas and needing somewhere to sleep, I have to tidy up my craft room which is currently bursting at the seams with crates, plastic bags of yarn, a table covered with stuff etc. etc. .. you know what I mean?? I have to make room to fit a double bed in there somehow. Oh well, as A.A. Milne once said "One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries". Wonder what else I'll find?

Have an exciting week.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Kids Granny Hat Pattern

Thanks for the lovely comments on the Kids Granny Hat I posted about yesterday. For those interested, the pattern is here. You'll notice I did a few extra rounds of the granny pattern - this is because I used our Australian 8ply instead of the worsted weight which isn't readily available here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thank goodness for crochet

It was starting to look as if I'd have nothing to report this week so I grabbed a hook and made this cute kids granny hat last night.

I've been working on a knit hat (part of my YoP hat challenge) for several days and it seems to be taking forever. Its so easy (just what I need) and is just k1, k1b every row - a stitch I'm sure you'll all know well. I wonder if its the pattern or just me but its growing so slowly. Hope to have a pic soon.

The weather here has been lovely this week - such a nice change from the long cold winter we've just had and the roses in my front courtyard have gone crazy. This pink Leonardo da Vinci always puts on a good show.

.. and the fragrance from these red beauties (forget their name) is beautiful.

Well, I'm off to bed now. Will be popping around to visit everyone tomorrow morning.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hot off the Hook

Yes, its Ta-Da time for the baby blanket I’ve been working on for the past few weeks.

This is the first time I’ve used the join-as-you-go method to actually make anything and I must say it was fun doing this blanket. For the record, I used Magnum 8ply with a 4.00mm hook. No pattern – just plain old grannies and for the border I just played around till I got something I thought was suitable.

A few days ago I decided to set myself a challenge to make 50 hats before the end of our Year of Projects. I will be donating some of these hats to Vinnies Night Patrol which is run by St. Vincent de Paul. The van visits several locations in my city, giving free soup, food and drinks to people in need. Some of these folk are homeless and live on the streets. Since the weather here in June is starting to get very cold I want to do my little bit to help keep these people warm and perhaps make life a bit more comfortable for them. The baby and children’s size hats will be donated to a local women’s refuge. Therefore, to enable me to do this, I’m modifying completely changing my list to now read “50 Hats for Charity”. Of course I’ll be wanting to make other things as well but I think it would be more realistic to just have the hats on my YoP list. And so, here’s hat No. 1 – this is the Urban Shells beanie which can be made in any size. I used Magnum Soft 8ply with a 4.50mm hook. The pattern was designed by fellow Australian Katherine Crombie and can be found here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Almost there

I missed my Sunday update so thought I'd better pop in to say hello and let you know how the baby's blanket is coming along. As you can see by the picture, I'm almost finished joining the squares and will then just have to give it a nice border. I'm sure I'll find something suitable in my new book 'Around the Corner Crochet Borders'.
With a bit of luck (and available crochet time), I hope to be able to show you the finished item by the end of the week.

I want to thank Marie from Undergroundcrafter for the lovely book, card and crochet hook I received in the mail a few days ago. You may recall I won the Ami Ami Dogs 2 book giveaway on her blog a few weeks back. The book is lovely and I'm particularly thrilled to find a pattern for a Pug magnet included as I've had Pug dogs for most of my life and am very fond of them. One of my daughters owns a Pug - guess what she'll find in her Christmas stocking this year? Thank you again Marie for this great prize.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

At last

Its been awhile but at last I have something to show you for my Year of Projects update. Mind you, its not finished but I'm happy with the progress so far.
Of course you can tell its going to be a baby's blanket can't you? I'm using the join as you go method so after 8 blue squares and 1 more mauve one, all I have left to do is the final white rounds to join plus the border. Reckon I'll have it finished by next week?

You can tell its spring around here ... the magpies are very active and are swooping like crazy. We used to have a family of maggies visit us each year but for some reason they stopped coming. This guy has been enjoying my yard quite a bit lately - I wonder if he's one of their offspring coming back for another visit.

Oh, before I finish this post, for those who asked (and especially Kathy), I've tried that Addi Swing Hook I told you about last week and like I said, it will take a little while to get used to the funny shape but its probably a good hook for anyone who gets sore hands when crocheting. I hold my hooks the 'pen' way and it seemed to be quite comfortable. Not sure how it would be for people who hold the 'knife' way though. I've only played around with it for ten minutes or so but when I've actually made something with it, I'll give you another update.

Time for bed now but I'll look forward to reading everyone else's updates tomorrow.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday update late

Seems I'm getting a bit slack with my Sunday posts but then we are ahead of the rest of the world time-wise here in Australia, so that will have to be my excuse. If frogging stuff is considered productive then I've been VERY productive this week. Started making a baby's blanket with 5 pastel colours - just 5 round granny's with another round of white for the join-as-you-go method. I used stash and thought I'd have enough, but oh no, not so !! Couldn't find the right colours at the LYS and to cut a long story short, ended up having to discard 9 squares, remove 3 from the already joined blanket, completely frog a baby's hat I had in my charity box so I could use the yarn to make one extra square that I was short of in that particular colour. Aghhhhh frustration !!!

During the week I received my Addi Swing Hook from America. Haven't had time to give it a test-drive yet but its very different to any other hook I've ever used and I think it will take a little getting used to.

I'm off now to do a bit of blog surfing to see what others have been up to. Have a good week everyone.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nice Surprise

A quickie today to share a lovely surprise. I've just received an email from Marie of Underground Crafter blog letting me know I've won a copy of Mitsuki Hoshi's brand new book Ami Ami Dogs 2 which was released on 27 September. Marie has written a review here. I've been crocheting for many years but this will be my first adventure into amigurumi. Thank you for this generous give-away prize Marie - I'm looking forward to receiving the book.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting my money's worth

Some of you may recall the ball of Noro Kureyon that I bought (a few months ago) last January. I can't even remember why I bought it or what I was planning to make, but it has been started and frogged about half a dozen times, the most recent being about two minutes ago. I was urged on by responses to my question in my last post when several people made the comment that you should love what you're doing. Since I wasn't actually loving the scarf this ball of Noro was producing, out it came and I'm now deciding on what to try next. Its quite strong yarn as you would have thought I'd have worn it out by now but its still holding its own in spite of all my frogging. I won't tell you what I'm making with it ..... I'll just surprise you (and myself) when its done.

Before I end this post, I'll leave you with this most interesting conversion chart .....

Half a large intestine = 1 semicolon
1,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower
2,000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won Ton
1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
453.6 crackers = 1 pound cake

There ... you really needed that didn't you?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just in Time

Still a few hours of Sunday left for my weekly Year of Projects post. I don't have a FO to show you this week as I decided to abandon that shopping bag I started last week and start another which is about halfway done and is a much nicer pattern. The first one was curling horribly and not very pretty. Anyway, with a bit of luck I'll be able to show you the finished bag next week.

While I was surfing around blogs a few days ago I came across a really beautiful hat pattern that you can get as a free download. Its designed by Alla Koval and will be perfect for summer which is just around the corner for us here in the southern hemisphere. Of course its on my to-do list. Can any of my Aussie readers recommend a good firm cotton that might suit this pattern?

Another thing of interest I stumbled upon is just what we all need ..... another crochet hook !! This one is a special one for working that first round when doing edges on fabrics. As its name suggests, it has a sharp point which makes piercing the fabric much easier than an ordinary hook.

If you'd like to read a review, and a chance to win one of these hooks, visit here and here.

Confession time !! I have drifted so far away from my original list that I'm starting to feel a bit embarrassed. What do you think is more important in this project - sticking to the list or blogging?

Have a great week everyone.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Its gotta be Sunday somewhere

Here's my Sunday update for the Year of Projects - again a little late but I'm hoping its still Sunday somewhere in the world !! I only have one thing to show now as I posted a couple of days ago about other things I've finished this week.

A problem I encounter time and time again is having to 'tweak' patterns written for American yarns so that they work ok with our Australian yarn. This little hat is no exception. The pattern is extremely well written and easy to follow though so its just going to be a matter of fiddling around with hooks and dropping a size or two before the flower band section.

I'm currently working on a self-pouching string shopping bag, using Milford 4ply cotton. The pattern can be found here. Where I live, the local government is putting a ban on plastic supermarket shopping bags from November 1, so this little bag should come in quite handy. I think they would be a nice addition to a Christmas gift as well. Hope to have it finished to show you next week.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date

Well, better late than never I always say !! This is a late Year of Projects post that should have happened last Sunday but due to other exciting events (like family visiting for grandson's 9th birthday) .. it didn't happen.

I have a couple of finished items to show you today. I'm happy to say the last of my orders is finished.

The colours are beautiful in this one but I wasn't happy to find a knot 3 meters from the end of the ball. The nature of this yarn requires a knot at the end so I opted to finish the scarf off before the knot as I felt that two knots close to each other close to one end of the scarf might be noticed.

My placemat is also finished and is being used every morning - love the colours in this too.

And finally for today, I was surfing around the crochet blogs and sites a few nights ago and came across this cute little baby's pattern. Of course I grabbed some yarn and a hook and in no time had this cute little hat -

Enjoy the rest of the week.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bloomin' Beautiful

They were all beautiful .. the flowers, the food, the sunshine and the company. Had lunch with my friend L yesterday and just happened to have my camera with me. These lovely double jonquils were all along the pathway from the carpark to the little cafe where we had lunch

Check out little hairy legs

Mmmm .. warm chicken and mango salad - tasted as good as it looks too

Its so nice to be getting some warmer weather after our long cold winter although as always happens, we'll no doubt be getting more of the cold stuff for another few months. Some of the flowers in my garden are starting to bloom and are brightening things up a bit.

I received this book in the mail today

It has 150 gorgeous border patterns by Edie Eckman and I'm sure it will be a very useful addition to my pattern library. I also bought "50 More Crocheted Afghan Borders" by Jean Leinhauser - again some lovely border patterns but I think of the two books, the former is my favourite.

Haven't been doing much crochet or knitting this week and probably won't have much spare time over the weekend either as we'll be busy celebrating my grandson Ryan's 9th birthday. House full of visitors = not much crochet time.