Sunday, 29 March 2015

The Red Haired Amazona plays with her stash & gets the munchies

So yesterday's little road trip to Geelong saw me spending more money than I'm going to admit on STUFF.




I've loved Fimo since I was a kid.  I still have some ornaments that I made when I was about 10 years old. I'd made them as Chrissie decorations for my great grandmother. After she passed away they came back to me. Now I bring them out at Christmas time.

So I found a super cool tutorial via Pinterest by Vicki Brown Designs on making polymer clay handles for crochet hooks. How about that? Combine my love of Fimo AND crochet! Find a way to incorporate a glass of wine and Zac Efron and I'm in heaven!



Soft gooey fimo, a knife and a wooden table. What could possibly go wrong?




Yes. I did actually sit and roll all those little balls.




 Tah- dah!!!!   The original tutorial says you are supposed to leave the flat space where the hook size is clear, but I hold the hook quite close to the hooky bit, so this wouldn't have felt comfy for me.  



See all that yellow?  Sonofagun No. 2 wanted to make a mini Pikachu. Then got bored and made Things. Apparently they were bazookas and snail poo. He doesn't know what a bazooka is, but thinks the word sounds cool.







I also cleaned up my stash and added my new yarn.  It looks like bright lollies!



And also tidied up my cotton yarn basket in readiness for placemat making...



From the nearby sports fields I can hear the blare of sirens from local AFL footie games.
The sun is warming enough to comfort, and the birdlife has being singing happily all day.
I've had all the doors and windows flung open wide to catch soft autumn leaf breezes and with it the sound of birdsong through the house.



It's a perfect 24 degrees celcius today.  I think 24 degrees is the perfect temperature. It's so rare to have an absolutely perfect weather day in Melbourne that lasts for the whole day.



One of the few flowering things in my garden right now. Hot pink Ivy Geraniums!

I've got tonight's dinner in the oven. BBQ Curry.

We had a barbie last night for dinner. A couple of steaks, sausages and BBQ'd onion was leftover.  One of our favourite dinners is a curry made with the leftover meat from the previous nights barbie.  It's sitting in the oven cooking slowly until the meat melts in your mouth!
Then we'll dollop on some greek yoghurt and crunch on some pappadums!

I was also inspired by Jamie Oliver's Southern Fried Chicken Recipe.  I was lucky enough to be given his Comfort Food book for Christmas.

The first step is to brine the chicken!
I've never made a brine before but it's made the kitchen smell mouthwatering! Now it's sitting happily in the fridge overnight until the buttermilk stage tomorrow morning!




I think this week may be Melbourne's last hurrah for nice weather before the colder months start to sneak in. I'm contemplating taking the Sonofaguns on a trip to the Bellarine Peninsula on Tuesday as it heats up towards 27 degrees.

It's mid term holidays for the next two weeks. I'm off work to stay with the boys.  I'm not complaining! In between trips out where they whinge about wanting to stay home, or days at home when they complain of being bored, I look forward to lots of crochet time!

OK, the dulcet tones of screaming from the loungeroom means it's time to stop Sonofagun No.2 from jumping on Sonofagun No.1's spine...
Check out some of the lovely bloggers over at Handmade Monday! 


xox
Louise

The Red Haired Amazona

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Saturday Morning Yarn...

It's a cloudy Saturday morning here in Melbourne. 
I was tidying up the bedroom and looked at my baskets (yes plural!) of yarns and decided it was time to sort them out...


I have 3 projects in the works. I scanned my collection and came to one conclusionYou know what I'm thinking, don't you?

I need more yarn!
I have 2 more Cloche hats to finish, am planning on making something else scrummy with the cotton (in ombre colours!) and have to finish my scarf in the top left corner.
So off to the nearest craft shop I go. About 45-50 mins drive away.  Roadtrip! 

See you on the other side!

xox
Louise

The Red Haired Amazona

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Zombeavers, Ringtail Possum & Budgerigars, Oh My!

It's been a busy and interesting week so far.

Every Saturday night BFF the Blonde Bombshell comes over for dinner and a movie.
If we aren't accompanied by PWP (people with penises aka our Significant Others) we watch gorgeous old classic musicals and comedies such as Singing in the Rain, Oklahoma, Calamity Jane or anything with the completely adorable Shirley Temple. Or the other old beauties such as An Affair to Remember or Rebel Without a Cause (OMG that was a great movie!).

The Blonde Bombshell and I grab a couch each after dinner and the kids have been put into bed, pull out our crochet, drink the wine, chomp on whatever new type of chocolate indulgence we have and drift into movie heaven.

TBB has also started up a new movie review blog (after being absent from movie blogness for a few years).  And I set her a challenge. A movie review challenge!

She was not happy with my choice. She bemoaned the lost 90 minutes of her life. She typed furiously on her laptop the whole time in between scoffing Chocolate Pods. She exclaimed several times throughout the movie, "Oh dear God! Are you kidding me?"

And what was the movie? I hear you ask!

Zombeavers.


Yes. Zombeavers. It's a long way from Xanadu.


Yes.  There are not only Zombeavers. There are also Zombeaver People, Zombeaver Bears, Zombeaver Dogs and Zombeaver Bees, some unnecessary boobs and a creepy old hunter.

For Miss Emma's review pop over here. But just in case you were thinking of watching it and don't want to know the ending, it's FULL of spoilers from start to finish! Hilarious reading though.

My favourite part was the song at the end credits. Think Tony Bennett style lounge music. But as a song about Zombeavers.

Later that night after the PWP went off to bed, the Blonde Bombshell and I went outside to sit by the fire with warming mugs of Irish Breakfast Tea, toast marshmallows and discuss the weeks events as we do. And we were joined some local wildlife....





video



Isnt he cute?  He's a little Ringtail Possum who sometimes visits but we rarely get the chance to see him.  He was later joined by another Ringtail, but he didn't want to share the pears.

I've also had fun trying to get my newly 6 year old Sonofagun No.2 to understand the concept of time.

Sonofagun No. 2: can I have ice cream?

Red Haired Amazona in mother mode: After you've finished your shower.


Sonofagun No. 2: Awww!   but how long will that take?


RHAIMM: 5 Minutes


Sonofagun No.2: how many minutes is 5 minutes?


RHAIMM: 5

Sonofagun No.2: No. I mean how many MINUTES??

RHAIMM: five minutes

Sonofagun No.2: No, you're not listening to me. HOW MANY MINUTES? ???

RHAIMM: 300 seconds.


Sonofagun No.2 WAILS: But that will take SO LONG!


Sadly my crochet has been put aside for a few days while I recover from some self inflicted arm business. ..




This was courtesy of the incredibly talented Miss Billie Fiction of Artisan Tattoo in Altona. It's waaay bigger than I planned. But I do like birds. I have a few little nicknacky type birds around. Ok, enough that's it's almost bordering on obsession.

But I kind of try to curate my collection so the house doesn't feel like that Hitchcock movie.

I do have one real live feathered companion. Axel is a gender confused budgerigar.  In this photo his cere (the bit above his beak) looks brown but actually it's the same light pink colour as baby budgies. The only thing is Axel is 5 years old.  

If anyone can shed light on why this is so, I'd love to hear it. We had kind of referred to Axel as He.  He/ she could be asexual and that's ok too. But from the way he/she sometimes expresses his/her budgie lurve for the other budgie in his/her mirror... well let's leave it at that. Sorry guys. Didn't mean to drag your minds down into the budgie gutter.

Axel does budgie face. I do duck face. Axel didn't understand why I couldn't do budgie face.

I'm currently at home today with a sick Sonofagun No.1 but after a bit of cleaning I'll probably be on Pinterest trying to get inspiration for my next project. I do have a knitted scarf that needs finishing but yarn stuff will have to wait a day or so until my arm feels less bruised.  

I'd love to say a huge hello and thank you to all the lovely visitors to my blog over the last month.  Over 40,000 of you from 109 countries have popped by to visit just since the end of February! 

40,000!!

40,213 up to this very minute to be precise!

I've had lots of lovely comments and wonderful photos sent to me.  I've met some amazing Blog Land people who have been inspiring and helpful particularly with a certain piece of crochet whom shall not be named but we know who you are hat thingo.

Alot of you have had issues with the brim of that hat. I totes understand. The first hat or two I did turned out beautifully and only needed to be smoothed out by hand, then sat nicely.  Then I was getting feedback from some people who've mentioned it comes out all wobbly.

The lovely and super talented Vicki from Off the Hook and I have been emailing each other about this across the continents and hopefully soon one of us or both of us will iron out the issues.  
The pattern I posted is as close to what I believe the original pattern can be.  I don't speak or read Russian.
The way I figured out the pattern relied heavily on the photographs but also when I wasn't sure what was happening (particularly with the brim) I studied the translated words and how they also looked in their original Russian form and compared with how they were used elsewhere.  That's kind of how I taught myself the Runes from The Hobbit when I was 13 years old!
We will let you know how we go hopefully soon!

xox
Louise

The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Mini Granny Square Camera Case


Once upon a time, the Red Haired Amazona started writing her thoughts on the Interwebs.

Some of her thoughts were about the Sonofaguns.
Some of her thoughts were about chocolate.
Some of her thoughts were about becoming Mrs Dave Grohl or Mrs Eddie Vedder.
Some of her thoughts were about how frustrating level 524 was on Pet Rescue Saga.
Some of her thoughts were about pretty birds, flowers and curios.
And some of her thoughts were about crochet. Alot actually.

So she wrote some thoughts she had thunk. And wanted to take some nice pictures about her thunk thoughts.
She had a decent smartphone camera but knew she needed something BETTER.
She couldn't afford a big sexy DSLR, so she bought the best she could afford on the day.
She bought Kevin.
Kevin is a Samsung WB350F.  And he does alright.

I previously mentioned that poor Kevin started getting a bit bumped around in the Amazonas bag. So instead of doing what a non-yarnlover would do (buy a camera case on eBay), the Amazona started making him a nice snug little crochet case.
And here it is!

Kevin looks much happier now. I think he's smiling on the inside.






































Do you have a special person like Kevin in your life who needs a home?


Would you like to make a case just like Kevins?

You don't?  Oh well. Fine. It's not that hard you know. But buy it off eBay if you must.


But for the rest of you who would here's the pattern:




Materials:

2.5mm hook
8 Ply Patons cotton blend in a variety of colours.
A needle!
Invisible thread to stitch stuff together.
A fat quarter of delicious fabric!
A pretty button


Crochet Stitches used:
Ch- chain
Sl St- slip stitch
SC- single crochet
DC- double crochet

Let’s get started!  And don't forget to sew in all your ends as you go!

Step 1

First we need 12 small granny squares.  These are standard 2 Row granny squares, but for those of you who are new to the Glory of Grannies:

1.    Start with 5 chains slip stitched into a loop or do one of those magic ring things I’ve heard of.
2.   Ch3 to form first dc, then do 2 x DC,   Ch 3, 3 x DC,   Ch 3, 3 x DC,   Ch 3, 3 x DC,  Ch 3 then sl st in the top of the beginning Ch 3.
3.  Sl st over into the next corner Ch 3.  Then in the Ch 3 space of the previous row: Ch3 to form first DC, 2 x DC,  Ch 3, 3 x DC,  Ch 1; then in the next ch 3 space:  3 x DC, Ch 3, 3 x DC, Ch1; and again in the next Ch3 space: 3 x DC, Ch 3, 3 x DC, Ch 1;  ; then in the last ch 3 space:  3 x DC, Ch 3, 3 x DC, Ch1 and join to the top of the beginning Ch 3 with a Sl St.  I usually finish off by slip stitching over into the next corner ch 3 space and finishing off there.

Make 12.  They should look something like this!

Only the 2nd time in my entire life I've blocked something.  Kind of looks like an Entymologist's Insect collection.


Step 2.

Then using 6 granny squares for each side, stitch together in a grid like this:











I used invisible thread but you can use whatever you feel most comfortable using. I stitched back loops together, not the front and back loops.
You should then have two sides of 6 Grannies in grids 3 x 2.

Now we’re going to start making them into body parts. Sounds gruesome.

One of the grids...

Step 3.

1.    Take one of the pieces and starting on the right hand side of a long side of your grid, join the main body colour into the corner chain  ( I chose white).

2.    Ch 1, SC in the same chain space, SC into the next Ch which should be the last chain of the chain 3 space before the first cluster of 3 DCs, then SC into the top of each DC, sc into the chain loop of the next ch 1 (not into the Ch1 space if you know what I mean), SC into each of the next 3 DCs, SC in the next Ch loop.
You’ve now reached your first joining point between 2 Grannies. SC in the space where they join, then SC in the next Ch 1 of the next granny. If you need to add an extra SC in there somewhere to keep your work even then by all means! 
The idea is to create a smooth line of SCs around the whole piece.  Continue all the way across to the first corner and SC in each of the 3 chains around the bend then continue as before until you’ve finished making sweet little SCs all the way around the rectangle of 6 granny squares.

Then Sl St into the 1st single crochet.  Finish off and now do the same for your other 3 x 2 grid.

Super dooper close up of Step 3.



The 2 front and back pieces after completing Step 3.


Step 4.

Now we’re going to start working on the sides!  Take the piece you’d like to be on the back and work as follows:

Looking at where you’ll start working on one of the long sides, you’’l see the first corner, and join the white yarn in the last SC of the curve. Then:

Ch 3, then WORKING IN THE BACK LOOPS ONLY, DC into every SC of the previous row. 

When you get to the corner single crochets, work 2 DC into the one SC to make a corner fold, then continue on all the way around 3 SIDES ONLY!  On the last side, DC all the way until you get to the last 3 SCs that curve around the corner. And only work a DC into the 1st two SCs.   

You should have worked one long side, then a short end row, then the other long side.

The end that doesn’t get worked in the manner above will be the opening of your case.





See how on the corner, there's 2 DCs and this forms a corner in a nice little angle?
Now it sits up nicely!

We’ll work on that now with Step 5:

Step 5.

Now we’re going to make a little flappy bit that we will attach the closing flap to later:
Sl St into the last sc in the corner and Ch 3. Then DC in each SC of the previous row across to the corner at the end. The last DC will be in the first SC of the corner.  There should be a total of 22 DCs.

Finish off.

This is what that little flappy bit looks like from the back when it's finished. Not quite sure why I didn't take a photo from the front.

Step 6.


Now Slip Stitch this side to the DC edging of the first side down one long side, then the end side and back up along the other long side leaving it open at the short end where you created the flappy bit on the end of the short side. This should create the body of your little case!





Step 7.

We’re now going to make the closing flap out of a half granny triangle!
Row 1: Chain 5 to form a ring. 

Row 2: Ch 4, turn.  Then into the ring, 3 x DC, Ch 3, 3 x DC, Ch 1, 1 x DC.

Up to Row 2....
Row 3: Ch 4, turn. Then into the 1st Ch 1 space work 3 x DC, then Ch1.  3 x DC, Ch 3 and in same space (this is the apex of the triangle) 3 x DC, Ch1, 3 x DC in the last Ch 1 space, then DC into the top of the last DC (which was actually beginning Ch 3 of the previous row).

Row 3: check!
Row 4:  Ch 4, turn. Then into the 1st Ch 1 space work 3 x DC, then Ch1.  In the next Ch 1 space of the previous row 3 x DC, Ch 1. Then in the Ch 3 space at the top of the triangle 3 x DC, Ch 3, 3 x DC, Ch 1. In next Ch 1 space of previous row 3 x DC, Ch 1. Then again in next Ch 1 space 3 x DC, Ch 1, then finally DC in top of DC of the previous row.
Row 5: Ch 4, turn. Repeat row 4.

Row 6: Ch 4, turn. Repeat Row 4.

Just starting Row 6.

Step 8.

Stitch your triangle granny bit to the corresponding DCs on the case body.
You should now have a nice little case looking thing!  


If you’d like to also include a fabric insert so yarny bits don’t get caught in your cameras crevasses, keep reading!

I am Wonder Woman. Only I don't have an Invisible Jet. I have Invisible thread....

Together at last! From the back....

Close up of the open case from the front.
Nearly there!
The Fabric Insert:

Step 9.

With a piece of delicious cotton fabric, cut a long rectangle that is a fraction wider than your case and about twice as long, plus 1cm for hems.

MASSIVE DISCLAIMER: I can’t sew.  OK, I can make a sewing machine do a straight line but that’s about it. I made 2 fabric pockets before I was happy with it. I was kind of fudging it as I went along. Just don’t look TOO closely at the photo below because you’ll see how truly crap I am at sewing. The idea is to sew a little pocket that will slide into the case and be roomy enough when you put your camera inside.

I first folded and pinned a little 5mm hem on each of the short ends.

I then folded the fabric in half, right sides together and sewed up each of the two long sides to create the pocket.  I actually sewed along these edges twice for a bit of strength.

Kevin wanted to try it out...
Doesn't it look cute?



Wonder Woman uses her Invisible thread to sew the pocket into the case.
I sewed it in so there was still a lip of white yarn above it.




Tah- dah!


Now for the attacher thingo.  I used a button. You could also use snap studs or Velcro. Your choice!
I put Kevin in the case and closed the lid to see where the tip of the granny triangle would sit as there is a buttonish sized gap there. 

Then simply sewed the button onto the case. 



I hope you like this little case and decide to make one for yourself. It's a fun project perfect for using up leftover yarn.

I chose not to make a strap because as you can see from the photo above, Kevins strap sits outside the case and is more than sufficient.  You can of course choose to add one if you prefer!

They can also be used to hold all sorts of things including a few pieces of makeup to keep tidy in your handbag, or you can even make a smaller version for your phone. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy S5 which is about as big as Kevin so I am going to use my first prototype crochet case for him. His name is Jimbo.

I hope you did enjoy my tutorial or any others you've found on my little blog.  Many of my tutorials are free for everyone, however if you'd like to make a little donation, it would be gratefully received and contribute towards future free tutorials!


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

How NOT to pick up a Redhead!

Yesterday was St Patrick's Day here in Kangaroo Land.  

Saint Patrick's Day is huge here.

As a young Red Haired Amazona every year on St Patrick's Day my BFFs and I would rise bright and early.  We'd don our best and sexiest and make our way to the Canberra Irish Club to celebrate everything Irish.

We'd arrive with the Canberra masses and start with a hearty breakfast of Green eggs and bacon, washed down with a glass of Kilkenny!

My misty eyed reminiscences also include a gentle not- so happy reminder from my stomach. Stomach did not really love having Kilkenny for breakfast.

Neither did taste buds.  In fact stomach and taste buds didn't really love Kilkenny or Guinness at any time of the day!

But it was St Pat's Day and if you were a redhead in the Canberra Irish Club on St Patrick's Day, it was considered a Class A sin to drink anything else.

The festivities would already be in full swing by 10am.  The majority of participants were Australian with Irish descent making atrocious attempts at Irish accents whilst wearing green hats, Australians who had no Irish in them at all making atrocious attempts at Irish accents whilst wearing green hats, and the heroes of the day: the Irish ex-pats who would be holding court over the festivities like merry lords and ladies not needing to make any attempts at the Irish accent and not needing to make much attempt at all to be Irish as they were as Irish as Sean Shamrock sitting on the Blarney Stone singing Begorah.

I love the Irish.  Some of the best one liners ever at flung at me were from sweet Irish boys!

In that lovely lilting brogue:

"You're so sweet. You're like a lovely Irish lassie with sunkissed hair, ready to be kissed by a sturdy Irish lad like me!"

That one worked.

"You look like you've got a bit of Irish in you. Do you want some more?"

I've said it before. I do love a bit of saucy humour.  This one made me roar with laughter.  But that's as far as he got.

It wasn't as funny when I heard him try it on a brunette later that day!

Some Aussies tend to be a bit more gross and a lot less original.  If I had a dollar for every time one of them asked about the soft furnishings of my house, I'd be the leprecaun with the pot of gold:

"Does the carpet match the curtains?"

"Um, well I've got vertical blinds, and an Ikea spotty rug on floorboards..."

I've got a tip for you boys.  If you ask the question, you'll never find out.

Apparently I should be thanking a certain convict called Mary Mullins from Limerick who found herself shipped off to the colonies courtesy of His/ Her Majesty about a hundred or so years ago for my luscious auburn locks.




Thanks Mary!

I've heard in some countries, redheads cop a bit of a bashing. Verbally and sometimes physically!
Apparently some rapscallions tried to start 'Kick a Ginger Day' a few years ago. Scoundrels!  Let's turn the tables on them and celebrate 'Kick a dickhead Day'. Has more of a ring to it, don't you think?

Thank goodness I've never really encountered this kind of nasty business.

The interwebs (which is ALWAYS factual) has some interesting redhead facts:

1.  You can always be found in a crowd.  The amount of times friends & family have said' "Oh yeah, you were easy to see, your red hair stood out like a bloody beacon."

2. We do not have a fiery temper.  This is a myth created by men to throw it back on us when we get angry at their stupidity which they would also cop if they were equally stupid at a blonde or brunette.
"Gee honey, sorry I spent all my weeks salary on the Pokies. What you're angry? Gee you redheads are SOOO hot tempered!"

3.  Red headed men are hotties. 



I rest my case.


4.  Redheads rarely date each other because people think they are siblings. Which is a turn off.  

This happened to me.  I went out one night to meet up with friends at a local pub in Canberra.  As I walked in, I spied this extremely handsome Prince Harry lookalike (but as he looks now. If he looked like Prince Harry back then, he would have been a toddler and therefore not allowed in the pub).  
We had instant chemistry.  He walked up and said, "I want to take you out to dinner.  Now."  And off we went. We held hands, chatted, laughed, kissed, and the night was looking magical. 
We decided to go back the pub for another drink before, well, who knows?

When we returned, his workmates were there and greeted him, then one of them said, "Oh wow! Is this your sister?"
We looked at each other and all attraction died like a balloon with the air let out. 
In fact I looked at him and felt mildly repulsed as if I almost went home with my sibling. There may have been a little bit of vomit in the back of my throat.  I could see from the look on his face he felt exactly the same. 

5. We are happily mutants.  The gene that causes red hair, MC1R is a mutated recessive gene.  I am an X-Men.

6.  Red hair and blues eyes is the rarest combination in the world. We are human unicorns!


Over the years the pick up lines are fewer as I'm not out there in Pick Up Booty land anymore and that's totes fine by me.
But sometimes I'm taken by surprise.

One sunny morning, I was waiting for my morning cup of Wake Me Up Scotty! from the local barista near the train station on my way to work.

A gentleman walked in.

What I actually mean by gentleman is a man.  Possibly gentle. Most likely not.  He looked as if he had fallen on hard times.  Actually I think he was homeless.  And hadn't washed in a while. And had substituted food for liquor. And used it as aftershave.  He instantly reminded me of Lee Marvin from Paint Your Wagon.


"I was born under a wanderin' star."

When I say walked in, maybe I mean stumbled in?  Anyway,  I kind of felt sorry for him and was wondering if I should offer to buy him a coffee.

So he stumbled in, sees me and snaps back in shock. Or awe. I'm not kidding when I tell you it was like he was transfigured by me.  I started to feel a tad nervous when he says in a Lee Marvin Paint Your Wagon voice, "You're a redhead!"

"Um, yes?" I replied.

He exclaims loudly, leaning over to me, "I used to have a Red Headed girlfriend called Margaret!  And she was WILD!"

Then he leaned back and stared at me expectedly as if I was now going to also do something WILD!

It was as if he thought I'd drop down onto the floor spreadeagled and say, "Well come on down Sailor and gimme 50 of your best!"

Instead I looked at the barista like this:



Or it might have looked like this:



But most likely looked like this:




 And said, "Oh really?  I used to know a girl called Margaret and she was pretty wild too."

He looked confused.

And I grabbed my coffee and left.

It was quite satisfying to hear the barista and the 2 other customers quietly snort with laughter.

For those of you in time zones still celebrating over a pint of Kilkenny, 

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!


xox
Louise

The Red Haired Amazona