Monday, February 27, 2012

Hooked. Literally.

My sore wrists and poor little thumb only had a few days rest.  I've started my next crochet project.

I had trouble settling on a design (and colours) but I decided in the end on a squares-in-the-round pattern I found in a crochet book I borrowed from the library.  Because I need step by step visual instructions.

Actually it was pretty easy once I got the hang of it and now I just can't stop hooking.  It's been really hot here in Adelaide which is surprisingly conducive to sitting on the couch under a mountain of wool.  No really.

I've set myself a tight deadline for this one.  It's for a special little boy whose first birthday is in less than a month.  Failing that, it will be for his second birthday.

Ravelry details here.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


We ripped up the tiles in our living room a few months ago (they were functional but not pretty) and put down floor boards instead.  A new floor meant we needed a new couch (thankyou IKEA) and a new couch meant we needed some new cushions of course ("pushions" Rory calls them).

I was aiming for a whole lot of colour.  Which I think I've achieved.  I was also aiming to use up heaps of scraps.  Which I've also achieved.

Now if I could just figure out a way to make the cushions stay on the couch so I'm not picking them up off the floor and re-arranging them 3000 times a day I'd be very happy.

The kids don't sit on the couch.  They sit on the floor with a pushion.  We told them the rules - no eating on the couch, no sitting on the couch, and no looking at the couch.  But we were really only serious about the first rule.

From left to right - 
1.  Mostly Anna Maria Horner scraps and some Kaffe Fassett, 2.  Also Anna Maria Horner, 3.  Anna + Kaffe again, 4.  A mixture of everything in my scrap drawer, 5.  Amy Butler, 6 A mixture.

P.S Not all of the cushions are new.  Some I made back here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Finished - finally!

Finished!  Finally!  I started this blanket way back in August 2010 (or so Ravelry tells me) when I found out my younger sister was pregnant.  Curse her for not finding out the gender!  I decided to start a blanket anyway figuring there was a 50% chance she'd have a girl.

Nope.  Of course she had a boy.  And I made this for him instead.  The poor rainbow blanket has been sitting half completed in a basket in our living room ever since (he's nearly one!).

I decided to pick it up again recently when I was having some forced rest days (doctors orders who am I to argue?).

I had a little help from Chris sewing in the ends (I offered him the choice of riding to the video shop or weaving in the ends for me while I rode to the video shop).

And now it's finished.  Although I'm not sure what to do with it or who to give it to.  Its job for now is to hang on the end of Abby's bed looking pretty.

The best part about finishing a long-term project like this is that now I can start something else.  I quite like Kate's granny stripe blanket and I love this ripple blanket (but I'm not that clever).  I've never made a granny square blanket but I'd like to.  And I really want to crochet a rag rug too.

Whatever I choose it's likely to be part of the scenery around here for at least a few years and I know just how the project will unfold -

1.  Start rug
2.  Forge ahead with single-minded determination on the project.  It's all I think about!  It's all I talk about!  I take it everywhere! This will be finished in no time.
3.  Reach about 30% completion.  Enthusiasm wanes.
4.  Other projects begin to look far more interesting.  Abandon mega-rug and get sidetracked with 2 or three small projects.
5.  Much time passes.
6.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, the mega-rug project looks interesting again.  Forge ahead with single-minded determination until the project is complete.
7.  Finish rug

Sound familiar?

Visit more creative spaces over here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A homegrown meal

For a few years now I've had an obsession with growing our own fruit and vegetables. Eating off the land (all 800 square metres of it!) and being 'backyard self-sufficient.'

One of my goals was to be able to cook a meal made entirely of produce that was grown in our garden. It nearly happened once before. We have made Rhonda's spinach pie using produce that was almost all grown in our garden. But we hadn't grown the onions and garlic ourselves.

On Friday it happened.

Rory and I picked a heap of ripe tomatoes. I added them to some onions (that I grew in the garden), garlic (that I grew in the garden), basil (that I grew in the garden) and some olive oil (made by the olives my friend down the road grew in her garden).

And voila - pasta sauce!

My finest achievement yet.

And then we made some pasta with eggs (that the chooks laid in the garden) and some flour (ok I bought that).

So the whole meal was made with produce that was grown entirely in our garden. It was the simplest of simple meals but jeez it was yum!

The recipe is from here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The planets aligned and the sewing gods smiled upon me

The planets aligned today and I was child free!  Thank you school, kindy and Nanna.

I started the day ripping up some vintage sheets for green tea's fat quarter swap.

And I finished the day with a new dress.  The vintage florals said 'ignore the washing,' 'what dirty floors?' 'those bills can wait,' and 'you didn't really want to weed the front garden anyway did you?'

The hot pink, pale pink, grey fabric spoke loudest.  It wanted to be a dress. Really?  I'd always thought it was too bold for a dress.  Anyway, today I listened.

I used the pinafore pattern in the Make it Perfect book but modified it slightly.  I cut the skirt much wider and added some gathers to make it fuller.  I also added some fatter ties at the back and omitted the bias binding under the bust.

The sewing gods had already put just the right sized zipper and just the right colour bias binding in my stash so I didn't even have to use up any of my precious child free time to go shopping for supplies.

Does your fabric talk to you?  Do you listen?

More creative spaces over here.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On baby quilts

My sister-in-law had a baby last week. She arrived at the hospital 9 cm dilated and popped him out (just like that!) after a 7 hour labour. If only it was that easy for everyone!

Anyway, he is a cutie and they are enjoying their first days at home as a new family. We visited recently with some supplies (freezer meals, baby sling) and a new quilt for little Jasper.

We didn't know she was having a boy until he came out so this quilt was made in a frenzy each night after the kids were in bed.

And while I sewed I thought. I thought about babies. And how lovely they are. And how our baby days are over. Erin is 18 months old now. She is a walking talking toddler. A walking toddler who points at the fridge and says 'pole' as in icy pole. The kid only has about 10 words and this is one of them! Her other favourite is 'no' so you can imagine how much fun that is for everyone.

But babies are lovely. I love being pregnant. I love giving birth and I love love love the first couple of weeks with a newborn. That time is so fleeting and so special. And I'd love to do it all over again. And again and again probably because I'm not sure that feeling ever goes away.

My heart tells me it would love to have another baby.

My head says no! A firm definite not negotiable NO. My head says it is bored with this SAHM thing. My head says it is ready to get on with the next phase of life. My head says it would like to sleep again. My head says it is exhausted and has run out of patience and does not have the ability to sort out yet another sibling squabble or convince yet another small child to put their shoes on. My head says there are days when we can't handle the three children we've got let alone another one. My head says it is so nice to reconnect with my husband after all these years of being each other's second (or third or fourth) priority. My head says it is very much looking forward to the next chapter (back to uni! family holidays! a second income! no nappies! parenting big kids who can buckle their own car seats and don't require being pushed around in a pram! big kids who can occupy themselves for more than 3 seconds at a time! big kids who can help with the chores!).  Yes, that's what my head wants.

It was fun while it lasted but from now on I'll have to be content with sewing baby quilts and inhaling other people's newborns.

You can see other baby quilts I've made herehere, here and here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hot Buns

I know it's only February but that doesn't stop the supermarkets from stocking Easter eggs and it doesn't stop me from baking hot cross buns. Or just plain 'hot buns' at this time of year I guess.

I happily eat 'hot buns' all year round.  You can't overdose on Easter I don't think.  Not like Christmas.

I always put the tree up and start playing carols way too early (like mid November) so that by the time Christmas rolls around I'm sick of the sight of the tree and the carols are driving me mental.

I found this recipe in a magazine a few years ago and according to Abby they taste 'just like the shops'  so they must be good.

2 x 8 gram sachets dried yeast
1 1/4 cups milk (warmed)
1/4 cup caster sugar

Whisk yeast, milk and caster sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Set aside for 10 minutes.  (Do NOT go for a walk or leave the house during this time or your helpful husband might put the bowl in the fridge thereby killing the yeast and forcing you to do this step again).

4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon salt
60 grams butter

Sift together in a large bowl and use your fingertips to rub in the butter.

2 cups sultanas
2 eggs

Stir in the sultanas, eggs and yeast mixture.  Turn dough onto floured surface and knead for five minutes.  Put in a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm spot for 45 minutes or so.

Punch down the dough and knead until smooth.  Shape into 12 balls.  Put on a baking tray and set aside for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for a further 15 minutes.

They freeze well.  Just thaw them out as you need them and grill them for a few minutes in the oven before smothering them in butter.

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