Monday, 30 November 2015

Feather Babies, Crochet WIPs & a Magnificient View

On Melbourne Cup Day, just a couple of days before I published my Stevie Bird pattern, I lost my best buddy. 

Axel the crap bombing, grumpy, chocolate powder licking Axis of Evil flew the coop.
It was my fault. I put his cage outside to hang under the lemon tree as it was such a beautiful sunny day but didn't even notice I had left his door open. How could I be so dumb? Unbelievable! 
He actually stayed in there for a good couple of hours until I went outside to hang out some washing. I saw him in there. Said my normal cheery, "hello gorgeous!" to my yellow feathered friend (still not seeing the open cage door) and made a mental note to pick him some grass seed once I'd finish hanging my parachutes (bras and undies) on the line.
Then I heard a flutter and looked down to the horrific realisation Axel was OUTSIDE ON THE GRASS!

I took a tentative quiet step towards him saying "Axel buddy!" hoping he'd hop on my finger.
Instead he took one cocky-assed look at me.

I know what he said. We had been together long enough.

His beady black eyes and arrogant head tilt said as clear as day: 

"See ya biatches! I'm gettin' the flock outta here! "

And off he flew up into the air, down the driveway, then swooped off into the big blue yonder.
I looked in all the street trees, talked to neighbours, called all the vets in a 20km radius and left his cage outside for weeks. Weeks! 

But knew he wouldnt be back. It was a sad day in the Amazona household.
I missed budgie chirps and whenever I saw the cage would automatically go to say some cheery greeting or whistle to the empty space.

So yesterday I started cleaning out his cage to store away in the garage. 
I realised I didn't want to do that so I went to the pet shop.
And adopted a new featherbaby.

I'm in love with him already.
I let Sonofagun No.2 name him. I vetoed 'bingbong', 'cutie', 'stinky' and 'Bouche Dag'.

Then he decided on Sunny. And even though control freak Mama Amazona had a few preferable choices in her head (Davo, Gary, Hank), she thought Sunny was cute.

On his very first day he has already eaten some grass seed from my hand, and briefly sat on my finger!

On the crochet side of life, I am experimenting!

I guess you may be able to tell this is an Axel inspired piece of work.

I started it last week after being inspired by popart style pictures and the neon yarns in my cabinet.

I'm not sure if it's going to work but I'm thinking of designing a collection of 3 different sized cushion and bolster covers.

I have also been making a little Yoda from my latest Star Wars Crochet book that I purchased the other week...

And I've also almost finished a cloche hat in an interesting variegated cotton yarn...

I also joined the Bear for his work Xmas party.
It was held in Melbournes highest building, the Eureka Tower on the very top floor at Eureka89.

Eureka Tower. Look all the way up to the tippy top. We were up there!
There are Golden Bees outside the entrance
 Not sure why but they look gorgeous.

The view was magnificent. 
Looking down on Flinders St Station, Federation Square and the Yarra River
The wait and bar staff were very friendly and there was loads of yummy canapes, fresh oysters and wine. Mmmm wine.
The view west over Docklands towards Williamstown.
Sorry about the glarey pic. It's hard to get a decent photo through glass.
The view on the east side down to all the biggies: The Arts Centre, Myer Music Bowl, Rod Laver Tennis Centre, AAMI Park and the MCG

Same general direction 2 hours later.
Me and Bear. Looking swish.

In a swishy bar...
And after the festivities, we took a short walk around Southbank and took swishy photos. My man looks super swell in a vest...

How has your week been?  


Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Join As You Go Christmas Star Garland Tutorial

Tutorial crochet xmas pattern

Holy drunk Grannie on the Eggnog!

Look at me getting all Christmassy and stuff!

And it's still only November!

I thought yonks ago, like in August I should make something Christmassy coz all the other designer bloggy peeps of my close and general acquaintance were all super organized and were talking about how they already had their Christmas posts and patterns planned 3 years ago.
Then the whole of Spring just got BUSY AS, so I thought "Oh well, bugger that. Maybe next year."
And then last weekend I was gazing adoringly at my yarn cabinet (as I do regularly. I know I'm a freak) and the rainbow of 8 ply cottons and before I knew it I had a sweet little star in my hand. 

A few years ago I made a Star garland for my niece.  All the little stars were of about 4 or 5 rows and had beads hanging from the bottom and were strung along a chain of single crochet. It was very pretty. I can't remember where I found the pattern.

The one thing that I wasn't 100% keen on was the string part. I wanted something more, I dunno, COMPACT.

So I decided to try attaching these together in the Join As You Go style.  I quite like them this way!
What do you think?
They're super duper easy and made in just 2 rows. You can whip up a string of these in no time!

So let's get to it...
American Crochet Terms are used:

MR- Magic Ring
Sl st- Slip stitch
Ch- Chain
Sc- single crochet
Dc- Double crochet
Tr- Treble crochet

Tools of the Trade:

8 ply cotton or Cotton Blend in your favourite colours
3.5mm crochet hook
Darning Needle

Alrighty troops. Grab yer stuff and let's go.

There is a Stitch Graph at the bottom of the written tutorial and photos!!

Step 1.

Start with a Magic Ring.

Row 1: Ch 3 to start off in the MR. Then crochet 9 Dc in the ring. Join with a sl st to the top of the beginning Ch 3.
For the 1st Star:
Row 2: Ch 1. Continuing in the same direction and starting in the same stitch as the beginning Ch 1 work around as follows: *Sc in st, then in the next st (dc, tr, ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from the hook, tr, dc) x 5 repeating from *. Once you've completed the fifth point of the star, join with a sl st to the beginning sc. Finish off.

For the next stars:
At any of the points at which you decide to join the star onto the garland of previous stars, after finishing the first treble in the cluster slip stitch into the chain point of the last star in the chain so the little arms line up like in the diagram below.  Then ch 1, then in the same st as the previous dc and tr, crochet a tr and dc. 

It will be just like the other points except you are substituting the first chain for the slip stitch to the last star in the garland.

Now check out a whole bunch of step by step photos for a bit of extra guidance...

For those of you who like to follow charts...

Join together so they look like this

It's easier to sew in your ends as you go, particularly if you make a long garland.
Looks like snow! (smells like starch :P )
And once finished, pin out your stars as if to block and spray with some fabric starch to stiffen them so they don't get all floppy.

free xmas crochet pattern
Freshly released from their blocking pin prison

free pattern xmas crochet
One sweet little star on his own.

I hope you like it and make your own for Chrissy. If you do, I'd love to see a photo of your finished garland!

If 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!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Busy End of the Year

We all know things start to get a bit busy at this time of year.  But it still surprises me every time!

It's been a couple of weeks since I last popped my head into Amazona Blogland. For busy reasons.

My weekday office job has been a bit busy-ish, both the Sonofaguns are almost at the end of the school year which means lots of end of year excursions, concerts, dinners and getting ready for next year preparations are already kicking in.

Especially for Sonofagun No.1 who finishes from his school this year.

Victorians are weird. As in the state, not the era.
Back where I come from in the Imperial City, grommits (the affectionate Aussie slang term for kids, not the medical devices used to expel earwax) first go to Primary School from Kindergarten to 6th grade, then High school which is Year 7 to Year 10, then College for yrs 11 & 12, then out into the big crazy word of university, technical college or apprenticeships.

There are now some schools there which go from Kindy to year 12, but whateves. It's straight forward.

Down here in crazy Victoria where the football is kicked around by lanky basketballers in tighty tight pants (yes Warwick Capper. I'm talking about you.) and singlets, most schools seem to go from Prep (their weird name for kindy) to year 9. Then Senior college is from year 10 to 12.

I'm a bit out of touch with the football world, but apparently since retiring from AFL, Mr Capper has since dabbled in acting, politics and pornos. source: Wikipedia. So it must all be true.

Sonofagun No.1 is ending his first batch of school years to start Senior College next year.

So what is the most thoughtful, well considered thing a Senior College can do to parents who are trying to help their kids finish up the school year, wrap up their own work stuff, get ready for all those End of Year Xmas parties and start thinking about shopping for Christmas?

Send them all the wonderful book list and invoices for school fees for next year of course!

All payable just before Christmas!

Why thank you! How incredibly THOUGHTFUL!
Why don't you give me a papercut and pour lemon juice on it?

That's my Sunday afternoon exasperation over with.

In more fun news, I finished Henry J. Fox!

I found the pattern in a copy of Simply Crochet magazine Issue. 35 and he was designed by Yan Schenkel.

After spending so much head space designing Stevie Bird and Pearly the Hummingbird, I wanted to just let go and be led along by someone else for a little while, so he was a nice, easy diversion. It was so easy to follow the instructions and worked up in just a few days!
crochet amigurumi fox

Isn't he handsome?

I've also been writing up a quick tutorial for a cute little Christmas Star Garland.  If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have already seen a few of my pics.

There are so many different variations on this theme out there in Crochetland.  I did a bit of research and am hopeful this pattern isn't already out there. I'm almost finished writing up the tutorial to post in the next few days.

Sonofagun No.2 decided Baby Penguin & Captain Fluff had to see what Mama Amazona was doing...

Yes there'll also be a stitch graph for the graphically minded of you!

I have also been attempting to sort through some over flowing shelves of crap treasures.  You only get my After photo. The Before photo was a dusty mess!

Our Melbourne Spring has continued to display it's usual buffet style weather.  I received a call from someone in Queensland last week who asked "How's the weather down there?"

"Oh well, this morning it was rainy, then windy, then sunny, now it's rainy but it's supposed to clear up soon."
"So the usual Melbourne weather," they replied!
But today has been just beautiful so I took a few gratuitous flower pics...

free crochet tutorial

Just before I sign off, I thought I'd show you some pics I posted on Facie yesterday afternoon.

My BBB (best bloggy buddy) Vicki from Off the Hook and I were comparing the weather in her section of the world and mine.  We took photos at around the same time right there and then!

Here in Melbourne....

And up on the other side of the world, Vicki took this photo...

What's happening in your corner of the world?

The Red Haired Amazona