Showing posts with label guinea pigs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guinea pigs. 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, " 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,!"

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!



The Red Haired Amazona


Saturday, 24 October 2015

Spring days and Crochet Tits (er, Birds)

Spring melbourne
It's Spring! Prepare for a few gratuitous flower photos...

We've had a funny kind of Spring down here in Kangaroo Land.

Love love love Apple Blossom! 
Spring can be cool, warm, windy, then cool again.
I literally inhale the perfume of sweet peas!
This year the temperatures are swinging so rapidly and widely some times I'm not sure if it's the Godzilla El Nino the meteorologists are threatening us with or if I'm going through early menopause.
The Pear blossoms were falling like snow last week.
Last week we had a 35 degree day. That's celcius people! That's hot summer, yuck, 'where's the bloody air-con' hot!
Native violets growing in my Lime tree pot.

Then the very next day it was 18 degrees.  Yes. 18 degrees celcius.

So in practice it works like this:

Oh holy Oprah it's friggin hot!

I bring the guinea pigs inside to live in the bathtub for the day so I don't come home after work to find their little smelly carcasses dead in their hutch.  Axels cage is plonked on the cool of the tiled kitchen floor.
When we're home, the 1980s aircon blows constant Antarctic chill into the loungeroom at the noise level of a Boeing 747 and there are no less than 4 fans and 2 portable evaporative coolers going so the whole house sounds we're testing the latest Holden Monaro for aerodynamics in a wind tunnel.

After tossing and turning in the wind tunnel until 3am when we finally drift off to sleep, the cool change blows in and we wake again at about 5am when the temp drops to 11 degrees.

All windy, cooly blowy things are switched off and we cosy up under doonas.

Waking up bleary eyed at 6.30am after the crappest night sleep, it's time for ALL OF THE LAYERS as I dress the kids and myself to set out for a miserable cold day.

The guinea pigs go back outside, I de-stinkify the bathroom from their fetid piggy- pee smells and actually Thank Yoda I live in crazy weather Melbourne where the heat waves never last too long.

It's crazy weather times, but except for inwardly freaking out at this possible End Of The World example of Global Warming, I don't mind it!

I have had some lovely Spring flower joy so far.
Sonofagun No.2 was disappointed that they didn't look like real dragons. 

I haven't planted too much this year, but just enough to fill a vase or two.

I've also been working on a few little things.

I have finished creating this sweet little bird. 

My friend Vicki from off The Hook called him a Tit. 

I was thinking of making a whole bunch of them, taking a photo to post on Facie and asking people if they like my Tits.

I've just read that last sentence back a few times. Perhaps it's not the best idea.

We don't really have THOSE kinds of Tits in Australia. There's a Crested Shrike- tit. But I think Australian Ornithologists realised if they called birds in Australia 'Tits', and had to talk about them at lectures to other Australian Ornithologists, the whole audience would be snickering and chuckling like a bunch of teenagers.
It would be worse if it was their main focus of study. At dinner parties, sorry, it's Australia: at BBQs someone would ask,

"Oi mate, whaddya do for a crust?"

"I study tits!"

"Crikey! I tried doin' that at the beach the other day and they called the coppas! And you do it legit? You're a bloody legend Mate!"

One of my Facebook page followers Margaret suggested I call it Steve.  I liked it, but thought as I'm headed to see Fleetwood Mac in concert soon I'd call her Stevie instead. Hope you don't mind Margaret!

I'm also trying to work out how to make a kingfisher.  Kookaburras are members of the kingfisher family.  I'd love to make a Kookaburra. It's in the works but their bodies are a bit stockier than other kingfishers. And they have longer tails.

I've also had lots of questions lately about the Cloche Hat pattern.

Little girls cloche hat

The main questions people ask are about how to alter the pattern to suit children of different ages.

So I'm working on it!  There is a brief description in the original Russian pattern which mentions reducing the number of double crochets worked into the 1st row, but I'm experimenting on a few different options.  I've also been revisiting some of the different methods that put single crochets in different places etc.  Just to kind of get a sense of what looks best. 

I've also had another cotton yarn splurge.  I really totally, honestly intended to only buy 1 ball!  But every colour just made me think of different types of birds I could make!

OK. I've blabbed enough for today.  Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Into the WIPs...

This morning I was in the supermarket and found this special edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  Look at all the woolly goodness!  And THEY know I like freebies. Even cheap plastic freebies.  They included them with the magazine just to make me buy it. So I did. There's lots of lovely knit and crochet patterns inside. And some that are a little bit ugly.  But we won't dwell on the ugliness of life.  They had me at Pompoms.

As soon as I got home, I made a cuppa, had some lunch, made another cuppa, chatted with the budgie, picked up some Playstation controllers from off the floor, stacked the dishwasher, fed the cat and patted a guinea pig, and made another cuppa after my 2nd one went cold, I hurriedly ripped open the pompom maker packaging and started playing with it.

Look at these beautiful fat, juicy pompoms!  We all want to wrap ourselves up in whatever they're attached to because THEY'RE FLUFFFFFYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

So I followed the instructions. This method was awesome because you can wrap the yarn around so blimmin fast!

I produced weird almost pompom things.

And got these pathetic creatures.

This is a fairly accurate depiction of what my hair looked like in the 1980s...

So I went back to my pompom construction with my normal little plastic circles I bought in Lincraft a while back.


The need for pompoms arose so I can finish one of my WIPs, a knitted Intarsia scarf I started last winter. I'm crazily trying to finish any WIPs before I embark on any more new projects.

This is another WIP. Not a fun WIP of choice because me and sewing don't love each other.

This weekend is the Blonde Bombshells 1st anniversary of her 29th Birthday. And she's having a Disney themed costume party. 

So the Red Haired Amazona is going as .....
Merida from Brave!

So I purchased a dark green velvet dress off eBay for $13. Super cheap.
I've found some lace and cheesecloth in Spotlight. I have also bought some soft gold string stuff and eyelets for the bodice.
As you can see I've cut out the bits in the arms to sew fabric inserts into. And I have tatted the lace to the cuffs.  I've only got a few more days so I better get cracking.

I'm not quite sure how it will work because sewing don't love me, and I don't love him. And that's ok. We try and generally keep our distant from each other, but can put in a half-assed effort if we have to. 

Bugger. Just remembered I haven't bought the bow & arrows yet! 
The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Starting a Rainbow Hoodie for a Little Mermaid in Banana Land

It's a miserable autumn day. 
What a wonderful excuse to stay inside and crochet!

Before my backside finds its favourite groove in the couch I did need to attend to some important little creatures.

Jerry (Hall) & Violet the guinea pigs needed a nice clean hutch with some extra straw for warmth.

So they came inside for cuddles with Sonofagun No.2 whilst I braved the chill and drizzle to muck out their house.

Guinea pigs are funny little creatures. Especially these two. One gets jealous when you're patting the other! They make that freaked out squealy piggie sound until you start patting her, which then changes to contented guinea pig purring and chattering. Then the other starts protesting because she's not getting pats! You have to find a way to pat both grumpy buggers at the same time!

With fresh sawdust and lots of hay stuffed in their castle and around the back for warmth and tunnelling, I popped the girls back in to Casa Guinea. They then ran around exploring and chattering to each other in their happy piggie way. Now I could get on with some crochet! 

A friend in Banana Land (Queensland) asked me via Facey if I could try making a cute Hoodie for her gorgeous little girl.  It's available as a free pattern on Ravelry by Marken of The Hat & I.

 It is absolutely adorable. It calls for worsted weight wool. The Google told me in the US this is like an Aussie 10 ply. We normally use DK or 8 plys here. And Banana Land is kind of hot. And when it's not hot, it's not cold either. In winter they shiver at a measley 19 degrees.  That's celcius. 

Soooo I've been faffing around with this one a bit. 
At first I used DK and a 3.5mm hook even though the pattern required a 5.5mm. 
It was obviously way too small.  You can't tell from the picture below, but this is the size for a 3 year old.  And Banana Land friends little girl aka The Little Mermaid (because she's an absolute swimming legend) is about 9 or 10?

I then have switched to 2 strands of DK and a 5mm hook.  This is giving the right measurements or gauge but will be way too thick for Banana Land.
I'll finish this one, then I think I'll do another in single strands, smaller hook but work out the extra chains etc required.

That pink, it's so bright!  My eyes! My eyes are burning!!!!

Last night was our usual Saturday night Hooked on Crochet. But instead of cosying up on the couch with our men and crochet in front of a movie in the comfort of the loungeroom,  we made it a family affair and took the Sonofaguns to the cinema to watch the latest Avengers Age of Ultron movie. 

And we took our crochet.
Yes, seriously.

We did have a few peeps look at us oddly when we pulled out wool etc.
A few curious souls even asked "how do you see what you're doing?"

The Blonde Bombshell is making a beautiful baby blanket for a soon to be new arrival in her family which just requires rows and rows of bobble stitch.
I started another placemat which is rows and rows of DC so we didnt really need to see what we were doing. Every now and then I used the light of the movie screen to check I was going alright but that's about it. 
Here's the Blonde Bombshell just before the lights dimmed and the movie started.  Many apologies for the blurry pictures!

And here's the start of my piece!

Do you have a Crochet Buddy? Or even a regular movie night?

It's often hard to find time for these things especially when you've got little grommits who zap your energy. But finding time to incorporate this kind of thing once a week or a fortnight can be so beneficial. Give it a go!

If you haven't already, pop on over to my Facey page and say hello.  I love new friends and sometimes post random mostly crochet related stuff which doesn't end up in Blogland.

Also pop on over to Handmade Monday and check out some other crafty blogs!

The Red Haired Amazona