Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Finding Space & the Crap we accumulate

I am quite unsettled at the moment.

But it's only for a little while longer I hope.

I am still trying to find space in this new house for things to go, and find space and time to get back into crochet and blogging and creating.

I have a lot of THINGS. Like books, yarn, and crap.

This isn't even half of it!

By Crap I mean all the things you accumulate as gifts and that you pick up yourself and don't want to get rid of right now because they bring joy and memories.

Charcoal walls. Don't even get me started on how much I dislike them.

To you, Crap is wonderful. You love the Crap. You don't call it Crap though, you call it 'nick-nacs' or 'memorabilia', 'bric a brac', 'momentos', or just simply 'my things'.  But let's face it. To many other people, it's just Crap.  In fact I'm fairly sure when I bite the dust, and my kids have to figure out what to do with my bits and pieces, they'll chuck the whole lot.

Our small front lounge. For now. I'm thinking that a repaint in a fresh light colour and bespoke shelving is in our future...

And that's totally ok because I'll be pushing up daisies, but for now I'm still holding onto and loving my Crap.

Yarn and books. My favourite idea of the week.

However finding places for my Crap is taking so long. And we didn't exactly move into a grand manor filled with millions of special shelves for Crap.

Colour coordinated book
 curating: thanks Pinterest!

So this weekend we are having a garage sale to get rid of some Crap while still finding places for our Special Crap which is staying.

All this is leaving very little time for creating, blogging, crocheting and spending scrumptious hours of sitting in comfy chairs doing those things with a cup of coffee.

Bijoux can claim my place for crocheting and the drinking of the coffee, for now.

Which leaves me feeling still unsettled. You know that feeling too, don't you?

So this morning after dropping Sonofagun No.2 at school in our old neighbourhood, I gave myself 15 minutes to wander around the area and find some small happy things.

Soft pink Azaleas

Like camellias. I bloody love Camellias. After perving and taking sneaky stalker photos of some in peoples front gardens, I decided I'm going to plant some at our place.

I gazed longingly at the park in front of the beach.  Today wasn't a nice day to go walking through it, so I took a quick snap of this immense Morton Bay Fig Tree.  It was cold, windy and rainy.

Then a lovely old man walked over to me and made a funny comment about the poor weather. He was a member of the local historical society. He started telling me how his family had lived in the area for decades and one of the local streets was named after his mum who had worked as a nurse in the original hospital.

It reminded me of how much I loved living in that area for it's strong sense of community and history. Not a long history, just 100 years or so, but for the ever expanding city of Melbourne, it's history.

Gum Blossoms in front of the local library

If I could find a big adult sized tutu that looked like this, I'd wear it!
We made time on the weekend to take the kids out to our local (Wahhhh! not local anymore) favourite old cinema in Yarraville to see Spiderman Homecoming.

The street in front of the cinema is permanently closed now. So they played some street Jenga.

Bear and I had Ciders while we waited for the most amazing burgers.

I did find some time last week on a Sunday afternoon for a little bit of creating. I started writing and replicating my Unicorn Poop Arm warmers. But after 1 row of star stitch, I decided I wanted to do a few more. Then they turned into slightly different arm warmers.

Theyre still a work in progress. I'm not sure if I should be making arm warmers in the round, or like above; a big rectangle thing which is sewn up the side. I've done it both ways and in combination. With the combination way, I start working in rows back and forth, then at about row 5 or 6, join the 2 sides and continue in the round. Once I've finished then last round, I go back to the first 5 rows and sew them together. I prefer the way these fit. What do you think?

The Red Haired Amazona

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Moving House

I've been away from blogland for a little while...

I would like to say life is cruising along very nicely at the moment. That things are chugging at a walking pace and lots of interesting things are happening. 

What is actually happening is that life is currently the 8am express to Flinders Street Station. Jam packed and hurtling down the tracks with occasional jerky stops, and while you have a million things on your mind about the destination ahead, all you want is a comfy seat and cup of coffee!

We have just about finished our house move.

My little house near-ish the beach and lake is now empty.

This morning we said goodbye to the Eternally Fruiting Lemon Tree.

And picked as many of the ripe ones that were left.

I've managed to cram an entire house full of crap into another slightly bigger house which already is full of stuff.
At least Sonofagun No.1 has settled in to his new cave...

Please excuse the mess....
The result is like one of those hoarder houses on BBC documentaries about people who crawl through tunnels of newspapers to the toaster in a space that was the laundry but is currently a makeshift kitchen because the kitchen has 37 years worth of TV guides, 15 slowcookers still in their boxes, a large undefined blob which may have been your childhood chewing gum collection or earwax, all of which hides the corpse of a long lost family pet who everyone thought ran away in the mid 1990s.

But everyday we pack more boxes and reclaim living space to make this place liveable for our blended family.

My lovely man The Bear was already living here so I was able to plant sweet peas in April which are coming along nicely.

Our fluffy black moggy Bijoux has been confined indoors until she becomes more comfortable, but spends most of her time hiding in the Sonofaguns bedroom.

My gorgeous Bear bought this place about 2 years ago. He's been using it as a home base but has mostly been at my place or on the road. So it is pretty much a blank canvas.

I'm very much looking forward to landscaping, and decorating and making it our home.

I was super excited to find this little patch of violets in the 'garden' (I use that term loosely). Bear has been instructed not to dig it up!

And my potted daphne has flower buds. A few little things that make me happy and content in our new home.

I took cuttings of a dark pinky purple ivy geranium and from the fig tree in the old backyard. And my lovely neighbor Nana Bev gave me some cuttings from her begonia.  I've popped them in jars of water to strike.

Nanas wall unit has become buried in all my nic-nacks until I can curate the collection properly and find special places for everything. I haven't got anywhere to unpack my yarn yet!

And look what we've got!  This beauty is warming our whole house this winter!

I've had hardly any time for crochet design but have been chugging along with a few WIPs.
Something that has snuck up on me is the need for reading glasses.

I didn't realise I needed them until the Bear got a pair. I tried them on for fun but was amazed that suddenly I could see properly! So off to the optometrist went I.

I had to wait a week for my prescription glasses so in the meantime I bought a cheap pair of magnifying glasses from the supermarket and crocheted a little bag for them.

Then I got my 'real' ones. What do you think?

You can tell it's winter here! Chunky scarf time...

I've been slowly working on my Shells on the half Shell blanket by Teresa Kasner. So easy to zip through the rows.

One morning on the train, I started making a little flower which I found on the Little Woollie blog. Julie is a super clever designer.

I then crocheted some leaves, stitched them onto a boring grey knit vest, embroidered a chain stitch and voila!  I'm just going to crochet a couple of little flower buds to finish it off.

As I mentioned in my last post, as well as moving, I'm planning a super exciting trip in September with my godfather Gary (aka Gazza because in Australia everyone's names are altered to end in 'ZA' or 'O'. EG John = Jonno, Barry = Bazza).

My cousin and his partner of nearly 30 years are getting married. And we are super thrilled for them!

The plane tickets are already taken care of and finally after weeks of unsuccessful searching on airbnb, we've booked accommodation for the first part of our trip. And even though we have to go to this one specific city for my cousins wedding, we are trying to plan sightseeing as well. We also decided to visit another big city thats only a short trip away. 

Many people would have a long list of big touristy places they want to see when they travel. 
For the first city my bucket list is simple:

1. See a real live squirrel. We don't have squirrels in Oz! I've always been fascinated by squirrels and chipmunks.

2. Find a copy of Desolation Boulevard on vinyl by The Sweet. This is available here, but in the place where I'm going, there's something extra special about their releases of this album. Do you know what that might be? It will give you a big hint of my destination!

I'm not really the type of tourist who wants to go to all the tourist sites and see all of the tourist things.  I kind of like to go and dwell and soak up atmosphere. 

I'm also quite lazy and am not overly excited about hiking up mountains or walking to the far side of town to party all night at the hottest discotech, snorting blow off Bob Segers' ass with Stevie Nicks. Maybe if I was 20 years younger...

We will still go and see the amazing big things because how dumb would it be to go somewhere like London and not see Buckingham Palace? Or visit Egypt and not see the pyramids?

The 2nd city has a much longer list of special buildings and monuments which we want to see! Perhaps because Gazza and I are politic-geeks. And this city has some rather impressive museum type places that push our nerdy buttons.

So that's what I've been up to. Thanks for visiting!

The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Glitterball Mandala

crochet mandala

I've been playing around with this mandala for a little while, getting the hang of creating a round, flat doily thing that doesn't get warped and wobbley.

Then I found some delicious gold and silver thread while away at Phillip Island a month ago.
I avoided metallic threads for many years as I thought them a bit tacky. I was so very, very wrong! I used some in my Unicorn Poop Arm Mitts, then decided to chuck a bit of glitter in this very glittery mandala.  And I love it!

I have also been having massive Eargasms listening to the glam rock stylings of Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, Thin Lizzy and David Bowie lately. The music I listen to when I crochet has a huge impact on my colour choices.

As I crochet and sing along to the tunes crackling out of my record player (for you Gen Y/Zers, record players were what we oldies used a long, long, long time ago before CDs were invented. Think of them as being like black CD discs but way bigger. And no lasers!!), I found myself wanting more colour, more crazy!

Even now I have a strong yearning to throw neon in with the silver, aqua and hot pink. That's the power of vinyl Crochet Brothers and Sisters!

I called this mandala 'Glitterball' because it reminds me of all my favourite tunes such as Ballroom Blitz and the glam/ glittery iconic symbols of the 70s rock scene: Aladdin Sanes' lightning bolt, glitter coated platform shoes, crunchy guitars, and fantastic androgynous makeup.

So are you ready Steve, Andy? Mick? Alright fellas!

Let's gooooooo!!!!!*

*Ballroom Blitz opening lyrics, not mine. Go listen to the song if you've never heard it. It's the coolest thing next to your eardrums.

What will you need?

A combination of cotton yarns in the colours below (or your own choices). The gold and silver will probably be acrylic or polyester.

A 3.5mm crochet hook

Scissors and darning needle

Stitch Abbreviations

(U.S. Crochet terms are used)   




Double crochet


Finish off


Half double crochet


Single crochet






Slip stitch





Colour A

canary yellow

Colour H

disco ball silver

Colour B

hot pink

Colour I

grass green

Colour C

light pink

Colour J


Colour D

flamingo pink

Colour K


Colour E

blush pink

Colour L


Colour F


Colour M


Colour G

storm blue

Grab your hook and let's get started!

Round 1: Starting with Colour A, crochet 6sc in a magic ring. Ss to beginning sc, then FO. [6]
Round 1

R2:          Join Colour B to any sc from R1. *(Ch2, dc in same stitch, ch2, ss in next st). Repeat from * 5 more times. You will now have 6 sweet little petals. FO. [6 petals]
Round 2

R3:          Join Colour C in the top of the middle dc of any petal from R2.  Sc in that same st, ch4, *(sc in top of the middle dc in next petal, ch4). Repeat from * 5 more times and finish with a ss to beginning sc. FO. [6sc, 24ch]
Round 3

R4:          Join Colour D in any ch4 space and ch1 (counts as 1st sc). 5sc in this same ch4 sp. Then *(sk sc, 6sc in next ch4 sp). Repeat from * 5 more times and finish with ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [36sc]
Round 4

R5:          Join Colour E in any sc of R4. Ch1 (counts as sc), then sc in each st around. Ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1) and FO. [36sc]
Round 5
R6:          Join Colour F in the sc that is at the point of each side of this little ‘hexagon’. Ch1 (counts as sc), ch7, sk 5 st. *(sc in next st, ch7, sk 5 st). Repeat from * 5 more times, then join with ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [6sc, 42ch]
Round 6

R7:          Join Colour G to the beginning of any ch7 sp. Ch1 (counts as sc). Crochet 9sc in same ch7 sp. Then skipping every sc, crochet 10sc in each of the remaining ch7 sp. Ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [60sc]
Round 7

R8:          Join Colour B to any st from R7. Ch1 (counts as sc), then sc in each st around. [60sc]
Round 8

R9:          Join Colour H to any point of the ‘hexagon’ as indicated by the photo below.  Ch1 (counts as sc). Sc in next 2 st, hdc in next 2st, 3hdc in next st, hdc in next 2 st, sc in next 2 st. *(sc in next 3 st, hdc in next 2st, 3hdc in next st, hdc in next 2 st, sc in next 2 st.) Repeat from * 5 more times. Join with ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [72st]
Round 9
R10:       Join Colour I to any st of R9. Ch2 (counts as sc and ch1), then sk next st. *(sc, ch1, sk st). Repeat from * around to the end. Join with ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [36sc, 36ch]
Round 10

R11:       Join Colour E in any ch1 space. Ch2 (counts as sc and ch1), sc in same st, then ch1 *(sk next st, sc in next ch1 sp, ch1). Repeat from * 5 times. Skip the next st. Now to complete to round: #(in same st {sc, ch1, sc}, then ch1, {sk next st, sc in ch1 sp, ch1} 5 times). Phew! Repeat from # 4 more times. Join with a ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [42sc, 42ch]
Round 11

R12:       Join Colour J in any ch1 sp. Repeat R10. [42sc, 42ch]
Round 12

R13:       Join Colour K in any ch1 sp. Repeat R10. [42sc, 42ch]
Round 13

R14:       Join Colour A in any ch1 sp. Ch 3, dc in same sp then ch1. *(in next ch1 sp crochet 2dc, ch1, sk next sc of R13). Repeat from * around to the end. Join with a ss to top of beg ch3. FO. [84dc, 42ch]
Round 14

R15:       Join Colour D in any ch1 sp. Ch3 (counts as 1sc plus 2ch). *(sk the 2dc of R14, sc in ch1 sp, ch2). Repeat from * around to the end. Join with a ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO. [42sc, 84ch]

R16:       Join Colour L in any ch2 sp. Ch1 (does not count as sc). *(in same ch2 sp: sc, hdc, dc, ch3, sl st to 3rd ch from the hook. Skip the next sc. In next ch2 sp: dc, hdc, sc). Repeat from * around to the end. Join with a ss to beginning sc. FO. [You will finish up with 21 ‘rays’]
Round 16

Round 16

R17:       Join Colour J to the point of any ray in the ch3 loop. Ch1 (counts as sc), Ch6. Then *(sc in the top of the next ray point, ch6). Repeat from * 20 times. Join with ss to beginning sc (which was a ch1). FO.
Round 17

R18:       Join Colour B in any Ch6 sp. Ch3 (counts as first dc), 7dc in same ch6 sp. Then *(8dc in each ch6 sp skipping each sc). Repeat from * around to the end. Join with a ss to top of beg ch3. FO. [168dc]
Round 18
R19:       Join Colour M in between the 2dc above the sc of R17. Ch10 (counts as 1sc plus 9ch), sk 8dc of R18. *(sc between the 8th and 9th dc of R18. This should be above the sc of R17. Ch9). Repeat from * around to the end, only crocheting the sc between the 8th and 9th dc of the previous round. See photo for clarification. [21sc, 189ch]

Round 19
R20:       Join Colour D in any ch9 sp. Ch2 (counts as fist hdc), 8hdc in same ch9 sp. Then *(9hdc in each ch9 sp skipping each sc). Repeat from * around to the end. Join with a ss to top of beg ch2. FO. [189hdc]

Round 20
R21:       Join Colour L to the first hdc of any 9hdc section. Ch1 (counts as 1st sc), then in the next 8 stitches: sc, hdc, dc, 2tr in same st, dc, hdc, sc, sc. *(sc, sc, hdc, dc, 2tr in same st, dc, hdc, sc, sc). Repeat from * in each of the remaining 20 ‘9hdc’ sections around to the end. Join with a ss to beg sc (which was a ch). FO. [198st]

Round 21
R22:       Join Colour H to the first sc of the previous round. Ch1 (counts as sc), then sc in each of the next 4st, ch3, sc in next 5st. *(sc in each of the next 5 st ending with the 1st tr of the previous row. Ch3, starting with next tr: sc in each or the next 5 st of the previous row). Repeat from * around to the end. Basically in this round you sc in each stitch but with a little ch3 between the 2 high trebles in the middle so you make it a little bit more pointy. Join with a ss to beg sc (which was a ch). FO. [198st, 63ch]

Round 22. Doesn't the silver make it looks super cool and glam?!

And you're finished!  Block your mandala just so those points sit out nice and pointy.

crochet mandala

I would love to see your mandala. Pop on over to my Facie page and post a photo of your finished Glitterball. Or tag me on Instagram @red.haired.amazona.crochets
I love love love seeing everyone's finished projects!