Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Cold nights, warm blankets.


It's Winter now.

It's the time for blanket making!

I've been stash busting by crocheting a classic granny stripe blanket.
I rolled a bunch of my remnants into cakes. Yarn cakes look amazing until you use half of them. Then they look like hollowed out yarn shells and start to fall in on themselves.
Chuck Norris likes to try and sleep on the blanket while I'm crocheting. Just like a cat except heavier and his big clumpy claws pull out little threads in the blanket.

I'd like to show you a photo of the size of this blanket, but Chuck is always lying under or on it...
 This is a photo I like to call 'Dog in crochet on crochet'.
This is another photo I like to call 'Kid under crochet under cat'. 
When Sonofagun No.2 is sitting on this couch playing PS4 or watching tv, for reasons unknown, he does this with the blanket on the back of the couch.
His ever watchful guardian Bijoux, then sits on the back of the couch like this....
Whenever I have almost used up a yarn cake for the new granny stripe blanket, I roll it into a little ball and put it in another basket.
I started making up some random granny squares with these.
I sewed 5 of them together in a ring. They look very pretty!  
And made them into a lamp shade. 
This isn't really the right sort of lamp shade as the base was designed for a desk lamp so it has an awkward knob thing that sticks out the side.
It doesn't get hot enough to worry about being a fire hazard, so I don't have to spray with any kind of fire retardant.
 
Once the blanket has finished and I have some more little yarn balls leftover, I have the perfect lampshade waiting to be covered next to my bed!
I also stretched my baking skills. Not in doing any challenging baking. Just baking.
I bake about once every 4-5 years. I don't really like baking. But Sonofagun No.2 had just returned from school camp and was excited by something he had never had before called 'a scone'! 

I thought if my 10 year old could be excited about this mystical thing he had never had before, then I would blow his mind by baking some!
These were lemonade scones which are gluggy and sticky to make but come out of the oven super fluffy.
Sonofagun No.2 told me as he stuffed his face full of scones, jam and cream that my scones did not look like the real scones he had at camp, but they were 'adequate'.
On the weekend I made a super fast solo trip up to Mollymook. Look beautiful and sunny, doesn't it?
It's a lie. It was freezing and windy with occasional rain squalls.⛈

Aunty Horse Whisperer was getting married. So I flew up to Canberra on Friday morning.
As the plane landed, I looked out of the little windows at a brilliant blue sunny sky.
And the pilot said this:
"Welcome to Canberra where it's a sunny one degree outside."

That's the thing about Canberra winters. It lies to you. You look outside at 10am and think, "Wow it's beautiful and sunny!"
But you step out into arctic temperatures!
The Fatherdom was waiting to pick me up and drive me back to Mollymook.
That night the Parentals and I shared a delicious Italian sausage, fennel and fetta pizza.
 

On the day of the wedding, we all chipped in. It was a lovely backyard wedding at Aunty HWs little farm.

The Mothership had spent the whole week before the wedding preparing and freezing delicious mini quiches, meatballs and chicken wings for the big day. She then worked from 9am that morning with my Nana in the kitchen at Aunty HWs house preparing sandwiches, snacks etc for the guests. 
I helped Aunty Martha Stewart to prepare a grazing table full of deli meats, crackers, pate, cheeses, fruit and chocolates.
The next day it was straight onto one of these cool double decker Sydney trains from Kiama to Sydney airport. Our Melbourne trains are boring single level things. It only cost a couple of dollars for a 2 1/2 hr trip up the coast.
Thanks for stopping by!

Louise
Red Haired Amazona

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Corin Crochet Cowl

There's a place just outside my home town of Canberra called Corin Forest.  In summer it's a lovely place to go for a picnic. In winter it gets cold enough to snow a little bit. They have a snow play area which is supplemented by a snow-making machine and a really fun 1.2km alpine slide.

It's no Chamonix, that's for sure! But we used to take day trips up there when Sonofagun No.1 was little. We'd take a big thermos of piping hot soup for lunch and make snow men, have snowball fights and slide down the hill on plastic toboggans.

I have had these chunky yarns tucked in my stash for a few years. I'm not big on chunky yarns as you have probably seen all my little birds which use super skinny cottons!


The first thing I made with the chunkys was a new dog coat for Chuck Norris the pugalier. He loves it!

With the rest I made something for myself. A chunky, granny square cowl. Named it the Corin Cowl as it will keep you warm in Alpine temperatures with those lovely soft alpine colours!

It's super easy to make. 

It's made up of 2 rows of 11 granny squares sewn into a loop. You can make more or less depending how tight or loose you want it to be. So let's get started!


Yarn & Notions

Your choice of colours in chunky acrylics. I have used Moda Vera Mawson.
8mm crochet hook
Scissors
Needle for sewing in ends

Choose your own colours!
Round 1: Starting with a magic ring, chain 4 (counts as 1st dc and ch1), then {dc, ch1} x 7. Join with slip stitch to top of beginning ch3. Finish off. [8dc, 8 ch]



Round 2:  Join your 2nd colour in any Ch1 space. Ch3 (counts as 1st dc), 2dc in same space. Then 3dc in each ch1 around. Join with a slip stitch to top of beginning ch3. Finish off.  [8 x 3dc]
Round 3: Join your 3rd colour in between two 3dc clusters.
Ch3, then 2dc in same space. Sk 3 dc, *in space between next 2 clusters {3dc, ch3, 3dc}, sk 3dc, in next space between 2 clusters {3dc}. Repeat from * three more times. Sk 3 dc, then in space between next 2 clusters {3dc, ch3, 3dc}. Join with a slip stitch to top of beginning ch3. Finish off.
Your completed square should look like this:

Make another 21 squares or more if you wish but in multiples of 2.

Sewn together in 2 rows as per the photo below.

Then sew the two short ends to form a loop.

This cowl is so thick, chunky and soft and SUPER warm!









Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Hello Autumn!


The long hot days of summer are disappearing and are replaced by the up and down temperatures of Autumn. Most days we are lucky as it still hangs in the low to mid 20s. Glorious, warm sunny days and cooler nights.
So far we have only had to light the fire once.

The garden is still producing vegies and flowers.  We even have two watermenlons growing. I planted the seedlings just after Christmas. I should have planted them a lot earlier in the season but I didn't really PLAN to plant watermelons. I saw them in the garden centre one day, and thought, "Hey, let's see what happens with these!"


The Lebanese zucchini keep on producing. But the Bear and I decided we mostly eat zucchini in our winter casseroles and curries, so we keep offering them to anyone who visits. Otherwise they don't get eaten.
 I've come to the realization that I'm a Dahlia fan. I'm not sure when or how this happened. One day I was rather kind of 'Meh' about Dahlias. The next thing I knew I had them all through my garden and I get ridiculously excited when they flower.
It's all very strange. Has that ever happened to you before?

But look at this gorgeous thing! I can't remember what it's name is, but I bought it from a dahlia bulb seller at a farming expo last April.

 This amazing one was also purchased from the same seller. This one is called 'Starsister'.  I thought I had planted it in a pot. Then that dahlia started flowering with plain little pink flowers and I was really cranky as I thought perhaps there was a mix up of the bulbs at the store. Then a few weeks later this popped up and started flowering in the garden bed. I had mixed the bulbs up when I was planting them out!

I just adore it!
 Here's the little pink one.

I love a good pompom dahlia, don't you?

Our tomato plants went nuts! They are still producing loads of fruit. Loads of little orange pear tomatoes and black cherry tomatoes. They are only 2 plants on this arch trellis but they have been branching everywhere.



Most evenings before dinner, I take my little harvest basket out into the garden and pick limes, tomatoes, herbs and strawberries.
We no longer live super close to the beach, but on my days off after school drop-off, Chuck Norris and I go to the beach.  It's an 'off- leash' beach for dogs. And he loves it.
He runs around and says hello to the other dogs, smells all the smells, pees on Pee Rock, and occasionally runs back over to me wagging his tail as if to say, "THIS IS THE BEST FREAKING DAY OF MY LIFE!!!"
So I started thinking that the cooler evenings mean Chuck might need something to keep him warm.
I'm new to the world of dog clothing. Chuck didn't come with his own wardrobe. But he is a short coated dog who will need some protection when it get cold.
I found this pattern for a striped crochet dog coat by Bernat yarns.

I chose rainbow colours because I am allergic to non-rainbow.

I really like the way the neck ribbing is created. The pattern is fairly easy to follow, but I did encounter a few issues which were answered by some of the comments left on the webpage.

I am using Stylecraft special DK whereas the pattern requires an aran weight yarn (Bernat Super Value).

So whilst Chuck would be a 'medium' size, I altered the stitches a little to crochet his jumper between a 'medium' and 'large' size.

It mostly fits well so far, except for the front leg holes which are a little tight. I think that's more the fault of my adjustments than the pattern.

I have a few more rows to go, then sew in the last ends and it's done!

Doesn't he look like a supermodel!

I have also been crocheting some jackets for a set of metal tealight holders which are kind of metal and naked looking (ie: ugly).
I'm using Scheepjes Catona. I love it's glossy colours.

I simply started by crocheting a flat circle. Then when the flat base was the same diameter as the tealight holder, I crocheted 1 round without increasing in the back loops. Then kept crocheting around without increasing.

This one below was inspired by the silk blue bag that it's sitting on.



This one below is a little experimental and as yet, unfinished. I love the art of French artist Nathalie Lete.
I have a few blank notebooks that are covered in her designs, such as this one.  For months I have played around with the idea of crocheting designs based on her paintings.


 It's not finished yet. I love the vibrant colours and quirky creatures she paints. I also absolutely ADORE, (or should I say 'j'adore') her Christmas decorations. Very expensive and hard to find in Australia.

They give off a lovely warm glow and the tealight holder is large enough that the cotton isn't close enough to catch the flame.

 And while many of you are watching your Spring bulbs pop up, soon I'll be planting mine!
Thanks for visiting!

 Louise
Red Haired Amazona