Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pink and Black Crochet

A Granny a Day - Week 2

What a busy day it's been, getting the children ready for school tomorrow after 6 weeks holiday! It's going to seem very quiet, what on earth am I going to do with myself?

Perhaps I could sit and make more granny squares! I'm quite pleased with the squares shown above - I'd wanted to have 7 each week to share, but with my wrist being so sore I had to slow it down a bit. Plus some of these squares are actually 'illegal' in that my hubby had told me off for crocheting when my wrist hurt so much, so I only crocheted when he wasn't in the room and quickly stuffed it under a cushion when he walked in! My son has renamed my project 'Criminal Crochet' - has a daring, dangerous ring to it doesn't it?! I'm toying with the idea of making a new blog just for the squares so that I can share them and give details of patterns and links to other sites I've found patterns on. Or I might just post the pics on Ravelry which is a brilliant site for anything knitty or crochet. You have to register for an invite to join as there are so many people who want to join, but it's a veritable treasure trove of information, inspiration and ideas and is well worth a look.

I'm hoping to get my new blog banner finished this week so that I can get my new look blog up and running before my 40th birthday, which the counter says is now only 6 days away!

Friday, January 29, 2010

From day to night

One of the many things I love about living near the national forest is the visitors we get to our garden. This kangaroo was still roaming around early this morning.

Messing about in our garden this evening to get cool I took these photos of the full moon. The bright foreground against the very dark background gives the pictures an eerie feeling. Like I say, only messing about, but I like the results. Creativity needn't be technically brilliant, it's much more fulfilling if it's fun and pleasing to the creator.

Manual countdown says: 8 days until Lara's 40!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sushi for tea!

Look at what we made today!

I absolutely love making sushi - it's yummy and healthy - and fun to make.

I found that getting all my ingredients ready first and all lined up behind the chopping board was best. Don't put too much filling in (you'll have to experiment to see what's right, any mistakes can be eaten anyway!) and leave 2cm free at the end of the seaweed to 'glue' down with water when you reach it. We used tuna mixed with mayonnaise for these little beauties along with cucumber. It's a great project to get the kids involved with, and the best thing is they can eat it straightaway.

Initially we used the sushi making kits you can buy at the supermarket for about $10 and now we have a surplus of bamboo mats; you can also buy them for less than $2 at the supermarket. It's such good fun and easy to do - give it a go this weekend. It would be brilliant for school lunches.

9 days until I'm 40!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fireworks - the ultimate in bling!

Sunset over Perth City, silhouette of trees in foreground - love the drama

Fireworks on the tall city buildings can just about be seen to the right of the picture.

The finale - more drama to light up the skies

Finale in more detail

Managed to get a few photos of the fireworks display in the city last night, from our vantage point in the hills. I love the drama of sunset skies! And the bling and glitter of fireworks, scrummy!

My wrist is feeling a lot better. Many thanks to the lovelies who gave me advice on how to deal with the problem. I was advised to do pre-crochet stretching exercises (on my wrist that is, crochet is not quite an extreme sport yet) and to gently squeeze a foam ball. So, I found out my small foam star with a smiley face on it and did some hand squeezing of that and gently stretched my wrist before crochet and I really think it worked. I'm also going to invest in a good wrist support - I did find a good website which sells wrist supports but I won't give you the link until I've tried the product myself in case it's pants and doesn't help at all! I only want to recommend things that work.

As well as the above I've been taking lots of fish oil capsules, as they are apparently very good for, well everything really, including joint pain and improving how the brain works (definitely needed). If nothing else, I do seem to be swimming a lot better lately ...

Manual countdown says: 10 days until my 40th birthday!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's 26th January and that must mean ...


We've spent the morning in the garden having breakfast, drinkng tea, and chatting. A lovely cool breeze drifting through ... ah, what a great way to start the holiday ...

I must say that when I went outside to take my photo, I had to hop back inside to put on my flip-flops (thongs in Oz-speak) as the ground was burning hot! I'll be spending the rest of the day indoors until we go out this evening to watch the Australia Day fireworks from the top of the hill. :)

To my friend and the many others who'll be attending their citizenship ceremonies today I'd like to say very best wishes and may this be an Australia Day to remember. xxx

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crochet Show and Tell

I've decided to make Sunday my 'A Granny a Day' show and tell time, so hopefully I'll always have a week's worth of squares to share with you. Despite my RSI I managed to finish another square today (the lovely orange one in the centre) but now my wrist is really hurting. I'm wondering if maybe I've been overfilling my wineglass and it's just become too heavy for me :) But seriously though if anyone has any tips on how to treat carpel tunnel syndrome, please let me know! I know the best thing would be to rest my hand, but that's pretty infuriating for a creativity addict! At least I finished my first week's crochet challenge - yay!

13 days until I'm 40!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Mother Earth Doll

15 days until my 40th birthday!!!! (Trying to make this look like a Bridget Jones diary!)

As my hand is still hurting from too much crafting I'm taking a break, I've been looking back through older project photos (I must say it's very frustrating not to be able to make art) and I found pics of my Earth doll I made for the Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine competition. The 'make a Mother Earth doll' theme particularly interested me because I feel a great affinity with this lovely planet we call home, though I know I take it for granted too much sometimes. This doll was my little ode to Mother Earth, to show I love her as much as she loves us, despite us doing our best to destroy her slowly. She's a simple calico cloth doll made from my own pattern, painted with acrylic paints and embellished with beads and copper wire. The roots of the tree are basically quilted just to add a bit of interest. In the true spirit of recycling and sustainability I used a garland I'd made from yarn and beads a couple of years ago for her hair - I think the hair looks very theatrical and rather in the fashion of Marie Antoinette (which come to think of it, probably isn't that appropriate for recycling and re-using materials!). I had great fun making her, and hopefully my thoughts for our present and future relationship with our planet are clear. I'm really coming to love making dolls to express a story or message, they're a very powerful medium, and so much fun to make!

PS thanks dad for the proof-reading of yesterday's post - I've edited it! How cool is that to have my own proofreader all the way back in the UK! xxx ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A little granny bag ...

Here's the little felted bag I made from the granny squares I'd made at the weekend. The squares were lovely and soft before felting, but afterwards they were more, well, felty! I'm going to have to get used to the sturdier feel. At least it gave me a project to use my huge white button on!
That's all you're getting tonight - think all that crochet has given me RSI!
Manual countdown: 16 days 'til I'm 40!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

If you want something doing ...

Aaaaargh!! Right that's it - I cannot get that blasted countdown thingymijig to work so rather than throw my computer out of the window in a fit of pique, I'll have my own bargain basement basic manual counter!

18 days until my 40th birthday!! Yippee!


The Roaring Forties

My art materials taking over the kitchen table. I started painting the background for my new banner, but later discarded it for something much more interesting.

It's a good job I didn't blog yesterday - all I would have done is complain and moan about the weather! It's been in the 40's for the past couple of days, a bit (!) cooler today.

Anyway the 40's part is a good link as it's my 40th birthday in less than 3 weeks time!! Yay, at last I'll be a grown up! No seriously, I am quite excited about it - maybe I'm just amazed that I got this far ... Well, on Sunday I spent quite a bit of time trying to download a counter to decorate the blog and countdown until the big day. But do you think I could work out how to do it? No way! It's supposed to be a simple downloadable gadget, but they obviously didn't count on me ever using it. What made me feel slightly better was that my very intelligent, technology savvy son couldn't even work out how to do it, so it isn't that I'm an old fogey with no techno know how. Thank goodness, oh the shame of it ...

Art and craft wise I have been making my banner as you can see from the photos. I'm also continuing to crochet a granny a day - it only takes 3 weeks to form a habit, so I'm hoping that this becomes one. It's a guaranteed way to get some creativity into my day, and I'm loving it!

You know, as I've been approaching my big 4-0 people have been asking if I'm going to dye my hair to hide my grey hairs! Firstly, what business is it of theirs, and secondly, no I'm not! I'm actually trying to cultivate two gorgeous grey streaks on each side of my head so that I can look like an old crone! Of course it will have to be a glorious shiny white that you'll be able to see amongst the other grey hair when I'm older!

I found a quote in a magazine about this very subject and I hope it makes you smile like I did (good old P G Wodehouse!)

"There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine."

Right, I'm going to have one more go at that counter ...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Crochet Challenge Commences!

Lots of words in my last post - lots of pictures today (and lots of words too probably!)

Firstly I have to tell you about my BIG tea mug. I do love tea, and sometimes I need a huge tea, so out comes the BIG tea mug. Delicious! As well as being an awesome drinking vessel for a tea addict, it always reminds me of my adventures as a traveller many moons ago (16 years ago to be exact!). When my husband and I did our big OE together we found these mugs on sale - they were only $1NZ each and I loved the deep blue colour; we bought one each and carried them round in our backpacks for a few months until we returned home to the UK. And we still have them! What nutters!

Anyway I digress - on to the CROCHET!! Firstly I have to thank Sally at virtu for putting me onto the granny square challenge, which you can sign up for too at this link. It's really captured my imagination and yesterday I made 3 squares!! As you can see from the photo I had a granny square bag felting kit in my collection, which I started yesterday, hoping to felt today. The kit was on sale at Spotlight - they may have a few left! The wool is lovely and soft, but be careful not to twist it too much as you crochet as it goes very tight and thin (lots of untwisting happening last evening!) My very first square of the challenge was made from a pattern I'd ripped out of a magazine when I was about 14, although I didn't learn to crochet until I was away at uni a few years later - see even crochet brings back memories! The square is in my most favourite creating colours of purple and orange.

When I woke yesterday morning the first thoughts to pop into my head rather than 'what shall I have for breakfast' were 'ooh, what sort of squares shall I crochet and what will I make out of the squares'. Here's a little list:

1. pink and grey squares (sounds revolting, but honestly looks quite pleasant)
2. really bright squares
3. blocks of 9 squares, each with a colour theme, to be joined into one big blanket
4. cushion covers
5. use up my stash of acrylic 8 ply to make a random patterned afghan blanket
6. crochet with pure wool to make a lovely soft blanket, possibly in natural colours
7. alternate traditional lacy designs with 'solid' crochet squares
8. find as many different squares as I can and make them all!

Most probably I am going to do number 8 as I cannot resist trying somthing new, and if I find anything really interesting, I'll share it with you here! To start here are a couple of websites to start you down the track: try out Bev's Country Cottage for lots of afghan squares, including hearts and flowers; also this site has lots of links to different patterns with intriguing names such as cluster flower afghan square, puff flower and popcorn flower - I'm going to try them all!

I think this project is so inviting because it's small and portable and a great way to get some creativity into your day - it's also very quick, you'll be able to find a pocket of time somewhere in your day. It allows you to be creative with colour and design. Personally I think the traditional granny square is just lovely in it's simplicity and gives lots of range for colour choice.

Well, I'm off now to sit under the air-con and make another square, then I'll make start on my new blog banner. And off you go to crochet ... join the challenge!

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Granny a day!!

Eek - I've just signed up to the granny a day challenge for 2010. Not a competition to see how many grannies you can spot in Coles or anything like that - rather a gorgeous reason to crochet squares for no reason at all if you want, or to make a big, big blankie if you so desire. Click the link here if you too want to use up your stash of yarns and end up with a fantastic something at the end of the year. The bit I liked was that if you do miss a day (or two or three) it doesn't matter, which is good because I do tend to get easily distracted by other artsy goodies and can sometimes wander away from the path. Makes life more interesting, but also means a lot of UFO's in the house and a husband wondering where on earth we are going to store everything. Oh dear ... :)

Goody, goody, I'm going to search out all my lovely wool and hooks. After complaining about not being able to knit because it's too hot I've got a little project which won't weigh a ton in my lap and can be carried outside into the cool evening air. Yay!!

A little reminder to myself ...

I know a few posts ago I said I would be showcasing a new look blog and nothing has changed yet! I need to produce a new banner for the blog, which is complete in my head but not the 'real' world as yet! So I am waiting for a space to be creative in without being disturbed! I haven't forgotten - watch this space ...

Hello Kitty Lookalike

Isn't she so cute? This is a Hello Kitty lookalike I've knitted for a very special person's birthday. You can find the pattern here if you'd like to have a go yourself. It will probably take a couple of hours to do the knitting part, and another couple of hours to do the sewing and messing around with stuffing (plus finding things/materials if you're anything like me). The pattern didn't include the bow as seen on my kitty, but as my daughter said, you can't have a kitty without a bow. I made it by casting on 12 stitches and knitting 8 rows garter stitch, then casting off; next I wound a length of wool around the centre to make the bow shape and used the end to sew the bow to the toy's head. You could even make some little polka dot dresses for her ... hmmm, got the imagination going now ...

Oh, and Kitty is quite small, less than 15cm high, but I think that is just right for small hands, or to tuck into a handbag for grown up Kitty fans!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little creative bursts

We are very proud of our wee hibiscus plant - we had to move it from a shady corner where it was forgotten about and never watered. Really we thought it was done for and would never recover, but nature is remarkable and stronger than we give credit for - et voila here is our hibiscus thriving and looking gorgeous.

Today has been fairly creative - starting with some yummy apple cinnamon muffins which I can't show here because we, erm... ate them ... all. Very tasty though - I love that sort of creativity! There's the photography of course, that's very creative. I've just come in from our courtyard, where I sat knitting a few rows of a cardigan for my niece, pleasant in the cool evening air - accompanied by the sounds of a kangaroo stomping about in the bush and an owl hooting away in a distant tree. Some of the delights of living near the forest. I love it!!

It was great to take advantage of the cooler evening air. Lately I've found it really uncomfortable to do any knitting or quilting - my quilt has got to the size where it feels heavy and hot and I'm not motivated to do anymore! I'll enjoy the knitting I can do until the weekend when it's going to be hot, hot, hot - my favourite (not!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Falling asleep ...

Here's a tired little doodle - I've just finished the rest of my data entry and feel so sleepy, but have learned from last night that entering figures into a computer for a long time then trying to go straight to sleep just doesn't work! My mind was working overtime and I had an argument with myself to stop thinking and go to sleep! So I've wound down by doing a 5 minute doodle, completely off the top off my head, no thinking about what I'll put - although I had planned to draw spirals, they are so relaxing!

That's my wee creative piece for today, I'm too dozey to write anything inspiring and exciting! Until next time .... ;)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nightie night

No blogging tonight - have been catching up with my bookkeeping data entry and very tired now ... :( Will catch up tomorrow.

Friday, January 8, 2010


This week I've been busy de-cluttering the house. I don't mean one of my periodic tidy ups, I mean real de-cluttering. My son and I had a catchphrase for this weekend of purging - "be ruthless". This morning I walked into the kitchen and was nearly blinded by the white sparkly worktops and calmed by the bare walls which were previously adorned with my crystal mobile and hanging things, which had no purpose apart from looking pretty (and collecting dust evidently). The whole effect was magnified as we've just replaced the skylight with transparent wavy roofing stuff - we now have to wear sunglasses in the kitchen to see each other. Everything was as shiny and sparkly as a new pin - dazzling!

And it doesn't stop at the environment being uncluttered - my head is also in a clearer space. I had a morning of musing and have come up with some new ideas for my blog which I should be able to showcase over the next week. I did in fact feel as if I've finally seen the light. It all feels rather grand - think I need to have a lie down to get over it all ... :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Did you like my first post of 2010? Suppose it was topical and to the point - oops! - I hit the return key by mistake and the post published. When I looked at the blog it looked fine though and I did want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! So now I've done it twice. Can you believe a week has already passed in 2010 and I haven't written!

My first excuse was that I had a bit of an accident on New Year's Eve - I was practicing an avocado stone removing technique I'd seen on the TV, but the chef hadn't had a glass of champagne and wasn't holding the avocado in his palm, brandishing a large knife. The inevitable happened and I stabbed my hand, which was a really stupid thing to do. I have promised my dad I will use a spoon to take out the stones in future. It's amazing that I sobered up very quickly and did a little panicky dance around the kitchen before shoving my poor throbbing hand under the cold tap. I was well looked after by the kids and my husband and the hand has healed well. My youngest summed it up well yesterday when one of our friends was having trouble cutting something and we told her to be careful. He piped up with 'yes, you don't want to do something silly like mum did'. Never a truer word said. It left me with a sore hand and only able to type with one hand and I am not patient enough for that, so a couple of days turned into a week.

But here I am, very contrite after my very avoidable accident and ready to get creative. Already I have a few things to share, but you will have to wait for that! Until then, seeing as it is the New Year (have I mentioned that?) and a time for starting anew, I thought I would find out a quote for inspiration:

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us". Helen Keller

May 2010 be a year of opportunities for you. xx

Happy New Year!!