Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts

Friday, 6 April 2018

A Delightful Autumn

We're having a lovely warm Autumn. There is a dry crackle to the air but it's sunny and warm. 
The garden is still churning out food and flowers.

Check out these gorgeous Bishops Hat (Scotch Bonnet) Chillis.  My dad grew them in his garden, then at Christmas he gave the Bear one of his own propagated plants.  The fruit turns a glossy red when ripe.
I'm not sure where it is on the 'heat' scale though!


Violet and Jerry the guinea pigs are the very willing recipients of any trimmings that don't make it to the kitchen. 


I feel like I've been waiting forever for the limes to be ready to pick...



The strawberries never stop. Unfortunately we have an ongoing battle with some stealthy slugs. So far we have been keeping them at bay with coffee grounds (we have PLENTY of those) and crushed eggshells. However we have had to use occasional light sprinklings of snail bait when they get particularly active.


We're also still getting tomatoes. And mostly from the plants which popped up from compost!


Can you smell the basil?  It's amazing! 


I also planted some daffodils, jonquils and ranunculus for Spring. The ranunculus are already popping up through the soil. Our winters aren't very cold here, so I have 2 bags of tulip bulbs sitting in the fridge for a few weeks.


Lately the Bear and I have been watching this UK gardening show on the Netflix called Big Dreams, Small Spaces with a deliciously, curly haired bloke called Monty Don. Weird backwards name.

Sounds like his name is really Don Monty, but they wrote it backwards by accident.  

 He's got a beautiful voice. The narrator of the show loves to describe him as 'Englands head gardener' or the 'chief horticulturist of the UK' and other grandiose titles.

And because I don't live in the UK, I believe her!

Monty hugging his fuschia

He's kind of gorgeous!  I found a website online which described him as the 'thinking womans crumpet'.  

I think it would be more accurate to call him 'The Weeding Woman's Sex Symbol".


So the Bear and I have been watching his show and while I lust over those beautiful green, lush English gardens, the Bear draws up little garden plans for our gravelly, out of control front yard.

My favourite red Salvia


After many years of murdering poor innocent indoor plants, I’m finally having success.


I’ve been growing orchids, fiddle leaf figs, hoyas and these very groovy ‘Magic Beans’.
They are apparently a rainforest tree thingy.



I've been doing more crochet than I have the time to keep up with. I'm starting to suffer from 'Too Many WIPs' syndrome!

After completing my bolster, I began crocheting a scarf type thing in the same style. I really love making those random, colourful stripes. But it may not be long enough to be a scarf. It might have to be a table runner instead.  I've put it aside for the past 2 weeks until I make up my mind...



If you follow me on Facie or Instabrag, you may have seen my Easter Bunny Hat.



So first I saw a note from Sonofagun No.2s school announcing a FULL WEEK AHEAD of the Easter Bonnet Parade.

He dresses up for Book Week, Japan Day and some other random dress up day.  But for some reason I didn't think he'd want to wear an Easter Hat. 

So I exercised poor judgment and had a mega parenting fail and didn't say anything or make anything because #imabadbadmum .

So the evening (Monday evening) before the Easter Bonnet Parade at exactly 5 minutes past his bedtime, he jumps up and is all like:

"Mum. The Easter Bonnet Parade is tomorrow and I need to wear some sort of Easter Hat!"

and looks at me like I will say, "Yes, I know, and I've spent all weekend working on it for you and here it is, the most magnificent Easteriest of Easter Hats you have ever seen in your life and all you friends will be super jealous!"



Instead I was a total Bad, Worst Ever mum who will die a thousand Bad Parenting Fail deaths as I looked at my child.  

I thought to myself, "Oh. Shit. How are you gonna get outta this one Louise?"

I heard myself saying, "Oh really? Oh dear darling! You should have told me a few days ago that you wanted to wear a hat in the Easter Bonnet Parade. It's too late now!" 

And tried to tell myself I was teaching him a lesson in Planning Ahead.


So the next morning we arrived at school and there were lots and lots of well organized and totally Super Dooper parents dropping off children with Amazing Spectacular and Magnificent Easter Bonnetty Hat things and Sonofagun No. 2 turned and looked at me.

And gave me that look that is totally accusatory and I have failed at parenting.

Fortunately there were also loads of other parents who failed at parenting as they walked their Hatless children through the school gates with the same hunch-shouldered walk of shame that I was doing....

After dropping him at school, I went to work.  And got to my desk, turned on my computer and read my emails. One of them announced that 2 days later on Thursday (The day before Good Friday), our section of very serious and hardworking office grown ups would be having an Easter Hat Parade.

I'm not telling a lie when I tell you I have a rather substantial collection of yarn and craft items in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet.

I have yarn, spare hooks and several of those extra craft packets that are usually stuck to the front of Molly Makes magazines.

And without hesitation, I grabbed some things and over the next 2 days (in break times and at night watching Netty) made this:


Of course my eagle eyed Sonofagun No.2 was quick to point the finger and jump up and down at the evil mother who fails to make him an Easter Bonnet, then makes one for herself.


So I gave him my hat and told him he can wear it next year.  

That didn't work. In his 9 year old wisdom, he was quick to point out that it is a whole year away and I will probably forget because... (get ready for some classic 9 year old emotional blackmail)... I am a bad mum and don't love him and I should make him his favourite Tuna casserole to apologise.

Now someone who is way more forgiving of my faults and foibles is my Bear.  I am outside my comfort zone and making him a scarf in brown.

The Mothership was given some lovely alpaca from a friend (who owned the actual alpacas) and she passed it on to me.
I didn't know what to do with it because I don't really 'do' brown.

But Bear said he would like a scarf as he doesn't really 'do' bright colours.

I thought a knitted ribbed scarf would be a good manly scarf type thing.


These abominable 3 cms of knitting took 4 HOURS!!! 4 bloody long sweary hours! It was from a pattern of purl 1, knit 3 etc and just didn't work. And I'm a very slow knitter.

And I don't want to do something where I'm sitting hunch shouldered over it mumbling that repetitious sentence, "Purl...one. Knit, knit, crap! Bloody needle... knit..... Move the yarn to the front.... puuuuuurlllll..... one. Knit.... knit. Hang on. How many knits have I done? 1, 2, 3, 4. Crap! Put that back, Puuuuurlll....one!"

So I found a crochet tutorial for ribbed stitch, grabbed my 4.5mm hook and off I went like a speed demon down the rows.


So far I've used 2 out of 3 skeins and it's looking a lot better!


So that's my little ramble for this afternoon.

Thanks for visiting!

xox


Louise


The Red Haired Amazona



 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Summer Holidays 2018

Hello lovelies!

I have been having a 'gentle' summer.


I haven't exactly been lazy but just trying to take it easy on myself. 

Almost immediately after Christmas, we followed the Parental Units 10 hours north to their little slice of heaven in Mollymook on the south coast of NSW.


 I took with me a beautiful skein of Manos del Uruguay Alegria grande which is a worsted weight yarn.



 The Motherships' evil/ adorably strange looking cat Tiki watched enviously as I wound the ball of yarn...


 I started making these circle popcorny things. I rather like them. But I'm really not sure what to use them for. My original thought was to make a small shoulder bag, the kind you sling around your neck, just big enough for my phone for when we went on jaunts to the beach. 

I know it's not cool to take phones to the beach because you're supposed to be enjoying the nature and stuff, but I love having it handy to take ALL OF THE PHOTOS!!!! 


You may or may not have noticed two refreshing glasses of cool liquid in both my yarn photos. This does not indicate Louise is being healthy and hydrating with a cool glass of water with a slice of lemon.

It means it's late afternoon and therefore Gin O'Clock and Louise has helped herself to a gin & elderflower cocktail....

The Parental Units love cooking. A gene I did not inherit. Here is the Fatherdom making pasta for the lasagne we had later that evening.


My Auntie Horse Whisperer has also now settled in town and expanded her collection of miniature ponies and horses to start a sweet pony party business called Wendy's Pony Parties.


I don't love horses. They can bite, kick, and generally when I ride a full sized horse or pony, I feel WAY too far away from solid land on a moving thing I can't control. 

But these ponies and mini horses were so freaking adorable!! And super friendly! They just wanted pats and cuddles!


We only had one week, then it was back in the car for the long drive home.

And it was time to get our party shoes on. One of Bears friends is in an 80s style metal band and does rock festival promotions. So when he proposed to his lovely lady a while back, they decided to have a Weekend Rock Festival Wedding...
We packed the campertrailer, slipped on our party dresses and hit the road...

Trying on my wedding outfit.  Do you see that lovely sparkly pendant? It was made for me by my lovely bloggy buddy Vicki from Off The Hook For You at one of her Makers Cabin classes!

Rocknroll Brides and Grooms get married on stage....
 It was a blistering 42 degrees celcius that day, until a cool change swept in at 6pm. The temperature dropped down to 25c straight away. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset, then listened to live bands and DJs till we stumbled back to our campertrailer (others had tents) to sleep.


I'm very lucky as I have been able to take the summer off work (with my long service leave) to spend time with my boys and try and continue to heal.

I have given myself a break from designing crochet patterns for a little while. This is hard because I always have ideas running through my head!  

A little while ago I started making granny squares with this beautiful yarn called Moda Vera Fayette which now I think is no longer stocked (insert sad face here). I made just enough for a wrap which I envisioned wearing when I want to pop out on a cool, but not cold evening. 



I finally finished the 80 something squares (in between lots of knitted sock making), and have now started sewing them together...
Apologies for the dark photo....
 

The yellow is a bit 'muddier' than I would have liked which I feel makes the overall colours a little duller but once it has been sewn and blocked, I'll take it out into the sunshine for a photo!
Thanks for visiting! 

xox
Louise

The Red Haired Amazona

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Holy Morgan Freeman I'm Old! and Figs.



Summer has apparently finished.

Fortunately the seasons don't just stop dead in their tracks, tip their hat and say, "See ya losers!"  The change from one to another is a gradual process that takes weeks and sometimes months.

Down here in the bottom of Kangaroo Land we have escaped the heatwave that has affected the rest of the country and had a fairly mild summer. Not a single day over 40 degrees which I feel is an achievement. Well done Melbourne! You make my decision to move here 6 years ago feel justified!

Now we are cruising deliciously into a warm, sunny autumn.

The Rainbow Lorikeets which swept in at the beginning of February have flown home to their usual place of residence in the palm trees near our local train station. But not without first demolishing the nuts on the small conifer at the front of my driveway.

I pulled in one afternoon when I had finished work to see these guys. I immediately stopped and took this photo through the windscreen so they wouldn't get startled and fly away!




Although I have been busily crocheting and writing up patterns for my Winterlude Keyhole Scarf and Mandala, I haven't had much to report in bloggy land. I've been out enjoying the sunny days with friends and family!




It was Sister Amazonas birthday last week. She lives very close to an amazing place called the Unwind Craft Cafe.

It is located in Keilor East just slightly north of the Melbourne CBD.  You can bring your knitting or crochet along and have a coffee and Panini while crocheting away and not feel like a weirdo that everyone is staring at (like I normally do when I crochet in other non- craft cafes) because everyone else is crocheting or knitting too!  On this particular day, there seemed to be a crochet class in the back room, and down the front they were running a knitting clinic. If you are stuck with a knitting problem with one of your WIPS, you could bring it along for some help. How awesome is that?

The owners were 2 lovely ladies who must have thought I was a total fruitloop. I was so overwhelmed by all of the wonderful fibre pieces and yarns for sale that I did 3 whole circuits of the entire shop, decided to buy a whole batch of Bendigo Woollen Mill yarns, then promptly changed my mind because I couldn't decide what to buy!



An old friend Natalie drove up from Geelong for a visit on Sunday.  We have known each other for nearly 40 years as we lived in the same street back in Canberra.  I was 5 years old and she was 4. Holy Morgan Freeman I'm so damn old.

She brought over some beautiful flowers for little OLD me!



We took the kids down to the Esplanade for a walk and play.





Right in front of the Altona beach is a lovely medium sized park with playground. To the back of the park is the original Altona Homestead. On weekends it is usually open and free for people to wander in and check out the original house and there is also a little space at the back where you can have Devonshire Tea.  I had never been inside so we decided to check it out.

Photo courtesy of vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au

Do you see the gorgeous old crochet blanket in the cot?




In the dining room was this amazing/ macabre/ sad/ fascinating glass cabinet. It was the original taxidermied hummingbird display.  Apparently back in the 'good ole days' people like to collect these beautiful little creatures, kill them, stuff their teeny carcasses and stick them in display cabinets.

Aren't you so proud of your ancestors right now?




You know, as much as we all would love to have our own collection of stuffed hummingbirds, it much nicer to have crocheted stuffed hummingbirds, don't you think?

Like this!


(Shameless self promotion 'hint hint'. Click on the link above to see my Pearly Hummingbird pattern which is available to purchase for the super amazing price of US$5!!! Yes, just US$5!!))


"I wish I was crocheted!"

I have continued to work on my bright blanket. It's not very big. I would say cot sized or lap blanket sized.  Some lovely people on my Facie page gave me excellent name suggestions such as 'Tutti Fruity', 'Skittles' and 'Fruit Salad'.


I first started working rows of single crochet all around the edge. Now I've decided to add a green leafy round, then a little flower top similar to a round I incorporated in my Happy Flower Mandala. However I am not happy with the corners. See how they're a little rounded?

I'm enjoying the fruit and flowers in my garden before they finish for the season.

This flower carpet rose is divine. It's currently in a pot but I'm hoping it can find a permanent place in the garden before next spring.


Every couple of days I check the fig bush to see if the figs are ripe. I've been a bit worried the possums or birds would get them before I did.
I have never managed to pick them in time.

So I have been waiting for them to turn purple. Because I thought all figs turned a bit purple. So I went over to have a look and a squeeze.


I squeezed gently (Gosh that sounds rude), and the 3 big ones in the photo were soft! I searched in the Google and the Google told me that you CAN get green ripe figs. So I went inside for scissors and a bowl.

Get a load of these geezers! They're so ripe, some of the fruit is starting to split. Like fruity stretch marks!


I had to eat the flesh with a spoon! It was like jam! So sweet and sugary...  
**update: the Google just told me this is a variety called 'Battaglia' which is known for it's goopy innards resembling strawberry jam. For once the google is telling the truth. Pity it didn't tell me the truth when it told me 8 years ago I was experiencing menopause. Turns out it was pregnancy...**

Battaglia Figs: so yummy!

The good old lemon tree is full as usual...


So that's what I've been up to lately. What's been happening in your part of the world?
xox
Louise
The Red Haired Amazona