Monday, 25 April 2016

Picnic at Hanging Rock. Yes, Picnic.

Down here in Melbourne, my suburb doesn't have many deciduous trees. And coming from Canberra where they are the predominant planting, I always kind of miss the visible colour change into Autumn. So this year I decided to venture out looking for some.
This weekend was a long weekend as Anzac Day fell on Monday (today).
So we piled into the car and set off for the Macedon Ranges just an hour north west of Melbourne.
We packed a picnic, and drove off with no set plan or destination.
picnic at hanging rock red haired amazona

This is what I wanted to see. Bright vibrant autumn colours!

We discovered little shops with creepy curios.

Then we saw a sign leading off the highway which stated the famous Hanging Rock was only a few kilometres down the road, so we decided to stop by to check it out. We thought we'd only be there for about half an hour.

macedon ranges picnic at hanging rock

Located within the Wurundjeri nation's territory, the rock has been a popular tourist landmark since the 1860s but became more famous since the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. The movie was based on a book published in 1967 by Joan Lindsay, and tells the story of some school girls who mysteriously disappeared whilst on a school trip in 1900 and since has sparked the necessity for thousands of tourists to wander its spires calling "MIRANDA!!!!"

I think Miranda is the one looking very studious with the magnifying glass. She should have stayed right. here.
The rock itself was formed by lava spilling out (not as a volcanic eruption) and solidifying a kajillion years ago, and gradually eroding into these amazing rock formations. It reminded me of Weathertop from the Lord of the Rings!

Despite the huge amount of other visitors, we found a carpark close to the base and decided after a bit of indecision about the need for coffee and the hideous thought of exercise (Holy Richard Simmons!) that we were here, so we should walk up and check it out.

Although my ridonkulously unfit body kept screaming "get me a frigging cappuccino and jam croissant you cruel biatch", the beautiful bushland, amazing rock crevices and caves and constant need to watch out for Brown Snakes kept me pushing onwards and upwards.

There were peeps sitting in little rock caves.

There was kangaroo poo.

And one of those casual little warnings that everything in Australia will try and kill you.

Can you see those people all the way back there? They didn't read the sign.
There was evidence of previous visitors.

 And there was all of the vista!

Every time there was an area to stop and admire the view, I thought, "Right! well this is far enough. I've seen stuff. I really can stop now and go back down."  But I also thought that as I was here, it would be a total cop out if I didn't go all the way to the top.

Ugh. You've got to be kidding me. It just keeps going UP!
And then we reached this sign. It gave the impression the Summit was just there. Right next to this sign. It wasn't really. It was up another horrendously steep rocky path of hell but by this time I think I was experiencing what they call the 'runners high'. Or that thing where you've passed the mental blocks and I was like "Yeah! bring it on! Gimme another few kilometres Rock Baby!"

Yes. That's me almost near the top! I'm thinking, "Try not to look to dusty, panting and sweaty for the selfie!"

 Lots of people were taking all sorts of fun pictures in high places!

Here I am. In the notorious cave Miranda climbed into before she disappeared. As I climbed in I called out my heartiest "MIRANDA!!!!". Some of the other tourists giggled. The ones who didn't, rolled their eyes. Haters gonna roll eyes.
I thought I was being dreadfully clever. I was also by this stage extremely dusty and dirty.

After wandering around the summit, clambering over rocks and through crevices, we made our way back down to the base. And had a Picnic. At Hanging Rock.
Sadly I didn't buy a fridge magnet or tshirt to commemorate the occasion.

We then decided to take a round trip home through Kyneton. 

It has gorgeous old houses.

And took a quick walk through the Kyneton Botanic Gardens.

And I got me some epic autumnness....

And superb yellowness....

What is it with the Macedon Ranges and creepy curios????

It was such a great trip out today. We've even decided to go back to the Rock in the Spring!

But if you all don't mind, me and my aching muscles are now going to stumble off for some ibuprofen and a strong mug of wine  tea. Tea.

Anzac Day 25/04/2016
Lest We Forget
The Red Haired Amazona

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Crochet, crochet everywhere... in my house

I'm having one of those explosions of creativity.

And the house is a bloody mess.

All actions of domesticity have been abandoned, except for a brain fart I had yesterday when I found myself accidentally cleaning the oven.

People who know me will find this dreadfully out of character.

I've got three or four potential projects on the go which means if I don't rein myself in, none of them will get finished!
In the process I have created a crochet nest.

I read this interesting article in Simply Crochet magazine recently where Kat Goldin (in her regular column) describes the special nest she has created where she crochets on the couch. I have one of these. There is a spot in the corner that is ample ass sized, surrounded by all of the things to suggest a large, yarny Bower bird lives there.

Firstly I have been making mandalas.  Or doilies. How about Mandala Doilies? Mandoilies! They are mandala-ish but being used as doilies.
Here's some of what I've made so far.

I am loving making them.

I'm using bright coloured cotton yarns and they whip up so fast. I can make at least one in an evening in front of the telly, then start on another before I drag my exhausted body off to bed at ridonkulous hours.

I must admit it's not the crochet keeping me up, it's the bloody addictive binge tv on the Netflix! I've powered through 3 and a bit seasons of Arrow, halfway through season 2 of Daredevil and my personal collection of the X-Files.

I have been trying to perfect the stitch counts so they are regular, and easy to understand for when I publish the pattern.  I also really really want to make them into Youtube tutorials too. But it takes a while to make a good Youtube vid. So when I start to think about writing the patterns up, editing them into printable PDFs, writing a video tutorial plan, filming and editing, I feel a little overwhelmed and pick up another project!

Which has been my Stevie Bird pattern...
I thought that because Stevie Bird is such a popular little pattern, that I would also make a Youtube tutorial for it!

But I hadn't made any Stevies since last year, so I printed my PDF out and started making one.

Then I discovered a few ridiculous errors! How did I ever publish this with such glaringly bad mistakes???

I've made 2 Stevies in the past couple of days (whilst also making Mandoilies) and am currently updating the webpage pattern and the PDFs. Then hope to make a video tutorial for them.

My personal "veg out" project which I'm also making is a cardigan which I found on Ravelry.

It's called the Turnberry Cardigan which was designed by Drew Emborsky and is available for free.

I have a bag full of purple merino Superwash which I purchased for another project which I decided not to complete. Hopefully this one will turn out ok.

Do you have a Yarny Bower Bird Nest?

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Lemon & Raspberry Cupcake Free Tutorial

Life is always better with a cupcake!
So why not make one!

My cupcake inspiration came from my Cupcake Pinterest board.

Looking at all those gorgeous eats makes me hungry! But I don't love baking. And I probably can't do with any extra kilos, so I thought I'd crochet some instead!

This pattern is available free for all you gorgeous people here, but if you would like a PDF version to take away with you, you can purchase it for a super dooper cheap US$1 from my Ravelry, Etsy or Love Crochet shops!

Amigurumi Tips:

All amigurumi is crocheted in rounds of continuous spirals without joining to beginning of round unless stated otherwise. If the patterns states to stop working in spirals, finish rows, and chain up according to the pattern.

Always use a stitch marker when working in the spirals or you'll lose your place!

All thread ends can be hidden in the body of your Ami.

Never talk about fight club.

Tools of the Trade:

I have used Yarnart Begonia Mercerised Cotton or whatever takes your fancy
Black 4ply cotton for the mouth
2.5mm crochet hook
Darning Needle
2 x 6mm Safety Eyes
Polyfill Toy Stuffing
Any beads or sequins to embellish


Beg: beginning
BLO: back loops only
Ch: chain
FO: Fasten off
Fphdc: Front post half double crochet
Hdc: half double crochet
Inv dec: invisible decrease
MR: Magic ring
Sc: single crochet
Sl st: slip stitch
St: stitch

Cupcake Case

Round 1: Work 6sc into MR
R2: 2sc in each sc of the previous round [12]
R3: (2sc), sc in next st [18]
R4: (2sc), sc in each of next 2 st [24]
R5: (2sc), sc in each of next 3 st [30]
R6: (2sc), sc in each of next 4 st [36]

From this point on, we are no longer working in continuous spirals for the cupcake case.

R7: Sl st into the next st. Ch2. Working in BLO for this round only: Hdc in each of the remaining st. Join with a sl st to top of beg Ch 2. [36]
R8: Ch2, *(FPHDC in next st, hdc). Repeat from * around. Join with sl st to beg Ch 2.
For the remaining rounds of the Cupcake Case, Fphdc in the fphdc of the previous
R9- 14: Ch 2, *(FPHDC in next st, hdc). Repeat from * around. Join with a sl st to beg ch 2.  Finish off colour A. Join Colour B, ch 1.

R10: Working in spirals again, sc in each st around.
R11: sc in each of next 4 st, inv dec. FO.

Add safety eyes or embroider on using black thread if for young children. Then sew on a little smile.

Cupcake Icing

Round 1: Work 6sc in MR
R2: 2sc in each sc of the previous round [12]
R3: (2sc), sc in next st [18]
R4: (2sc), sc in each of next 2 st [24]
R5: (2sc), sc in each of next 3 st [30]
R6: sc in each st [30]
R7: (2sc), sc in each of next 4 st [36]
R8: sc in each st [36]
R9:(2sc), sc in each of next 5 st [42]
R10-12: sc in each st
R13: sc in each of next 4 st, inv dec [36]
R14: To create scalloped edge: {sc, hdc, (3dc), hdc.} FO.


Round 1: Work 4sc in MR
R2: In each st (2sc) [8]
R3: (2sc), sc [12]
R4 - 5: sc in each [12]
R6: Inv dec, sc in next 2 st [8]
R7: Inv dec x 4.  Cut yarn leaving a 6" thread. Stuff with a teensy bit of polyfill, then using the yarn end, sew the last little hole up, then use to sew the raspberry to the top of your Cupcake icing case.

To assemble:

Add any embellishments to your cupcake case such as pretty beads or sequins.
to make the base of the cupcake stable, you can cut a circle from cardboard to fit the bottom of your cupcake case.
Turn the cupcake case inside out.

Place the embellished icing inside the cupcake case so the outsides are facing and the icing frill is tucked inside.
Starting from the back, sew the 2 pieces together leaving a gap at the back large enough to pop in the cardboard base and stuffing.
Turn rightside out, slide in your little cardboard base, then stuff with polyfill just enough to hold it's shape.

Then sew the gap together.

And you're done!

Why not mix it up with a Vanilla & Blueberry Cupcake?

Or a Red Velvet Cupcake?
Or just go nuts and make whatever you feel like eating!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Crochet Bowl Cosy Free Pattern

I have not one, but TWO sets of Fargrik dinnersets from Ikea.
When my old hodgepodge of plates and bowls were almost unusable from chips and cracks, I found these nifty little sets on a shopping spree to the 2nd Amazona Heaven: Ikea!
Why 2? Because 1 set would just be enough, but it's super handy to have extra plates etc for guests. In case they, you know, don't want to eat from their hands. And each set was only $29.99 (who has 1 cent pieces these days anyway???)

When my Sonofaguns have to handle a bowl that's a little too hot from either the food or after heating food & bowl in the microwave, they usually grab a teatowel to help hold it. And carry it off to wherever they're going to eat it. Which is always the dining table. Not. Then all my teatowels disappear.

Not happy Jan.*

*For my non- Aussie readers, a common saying by peeps in Kangaroo Land embodied & originated from this:

The Mothership can do stuff with a sewing machine and had made herself a quilted microwave bowl cosy. They are very groovy and although I had asked her to make me one or two, before she could even breathe in the direction of the Automatic Electric Needle & Thread Stitchermebobby, I was already with yarn and hook posed in front of a bowl thinking of crocheting in a roundish, semi-circley way.

Once I started, I couldna stop Capt'n!

This pattern should fit a bowl approximately 15-17cm in diameter at the top, 6-8cm at the base and 7cm high. Although my cosies do not go all the way to the top of the bowl as it's sort of unnecessary and you want to minimize food spillage around the edges onto the cosy.

Having said that, I have used Patons cotton blend yarn which is AWESOME for its washability!!!

Tools of the trade:
Your choice of colours in 8ply cotton or cotton blend.
2.5mm crochet hook
Darning needle

For this cosy, I am making the main body in this gorgeous mango, and the final row in white. But you can use whatever colours you like. Go crazy!

Abbreviations. US Crochet Terms are used.

MR- Magic Ring
Sl st- Slip stitch
Beg- beginning
Ch- Chain
Sc- single crochet
Dc- Double crochet

Let's start!
You can change colours at the end of each row or use the same colour for the whole piece.

Round 1: Starting with MR, ch3, then crochet 14dc into the ring. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, ch 3.[15]

Row 1

R2: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc in each dc of the previous round). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, ch 3.[30]

Row 2
R3: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [45]

Row 3
R4: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 2 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, ch 3. [60]

R5: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 9 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [66]

R6: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 10 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [72]

Row 6
R7: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 11 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [78]

R8: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 12 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [84]

R9: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 13 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [90]

R10: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 14 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [96]

R11: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then *(2dc, 15 x dc). Repeat from *. Sl st to top of beg ch 3, then ch 3. [102]

R12: Dc in same sp as beginning ch 3, then dc in each dc of the previous row, with no increases. Once you've crocheted around to the end, sl st to the top of beg ch 3, and Chain 1.[102]

R13: Sc in same sp as beg ch 1, sc in next two dc of the previous row, then *(long sc between the 3rd and 4th dcs, 3 x sc). Repeat from *. Sl st to beg sc, finish off and sew in ends.


crochet fargrik bowl ikea
See how fast that was to whip up? Now go make another!

A classic 'Post- use' photo featuring Sonofagun No.2.
fargrik bowl ikea
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