Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Brian the Blanket

I know that when you make a blanket, you're supposed to give it a name or a label. If you design it yourself it could be something inspiring like the 'Spirit of Tarqua' blanket, or something that describes the look of it like the 'Superfun Whizz Popper' blanket. I just made both of those up. I don't think they actually exist but feel free to google it just in case.

I didn't 'design' this blanket. People have been whipping up stashbusting granny square blankets ever since granny squares began. 

But I didn't want to simply give this blog post a lame heading like 'Granny Square Blanket' or some such (I think I already did a few years ago?). So I decided to call this blanket 'Brian'. 

I started work on Brian back at the end of December.  On a whim sometime last year I purchased a yarn pack with a rainbow of colours in it. The shop called it a:

It's not as big or 'mega' in real life as it appears here in this image but it was fine. The yarn has this glossy quality which the magpie in me was attracted to so I threw the dollars at the shop person and ran off cackling and hugging my environmentally unfriendly plastic bag of 'Fun pack mega' acrylic yarn.

I put the yarn in a basket and lugged it to many places. I crocheted Brian in the car at school pick ups, while travelling on a ridiculously brief trip to Mollymook, and to the drive in...

I loved all the colour combos. I'd select colours carefully in groups of 3.
The yarn in the 'Fun Pack Mega' (please don't make me say that again) was actually a brand called Marvel Stallion which I had purchased from time to time in the past and had lots of leftovers which I added to my basket stash.
At this stage I stopped carefully choosing colours, and just added whatever I had left that I hadn't used in any recent rows. 
Brian slowly grew.
8Track the pesky little nutbag grew fond of Brian and decided to sleep on him in the basket.
Then decided he didn't particularly care for Brian and just wanted the basket.
At last I had very little glossy yarn left so I started on an edging. Despite Brian being a big square, I have only edged 2 sides with a sort of saw toothed edging. It sort of looks fun and circussy.
When you roll up Brian, he really does look like he was birthed from a 'Fun Pack Mega'.

I put Brian on the couch and went off looking for my phone to take a photo. When I came back Sonofgun No.2 had crawled under it and declared it belonged to him.
Then his constant companion Bijoux appeared.
She decided it was hers.
After a couple of hours, the Queen of Floof removed herself and I was able to take it for a few pics. Chuck Norris was here purely by invitation. He normally sleeps on the blanket to the right of this photo.
So Brian has taken up residence on the couch in our little loungeroom. I am of two minds about the purple circus edging. 

But Chuck has decided it's ok.


Red Haired Amazona

Monday, 8 February 2021

It's the Summer of Love

I used to hate summer. Now I bloody love it. I'm not a fan of the heat. But I love it when the temperature is around the low to mid 20s, and I can spend time outside in my little garden.
Recently I bought a punnet of this stunner.
It's called Phlox 'Popstar Red'. 
I saw it amongst all the other seedlings and it was like KABLAM in my eyeballs and I grabbed the last punnet.
I love adding little surprises into my pots. Like this white lobelia tumbling out of a white ceramic pot of candy pink geraniums.
I'm a sucker for violas too. I have planted loads in terracotta pots which I've then plonked around in the garden beds.
I bought this little Linaria a while ago. It's not really going nuts in the garden, but sitting there prettily like a little burst of sunshine.
I have no control over the dahlias anymore. And who the heck cares? They look fabulous.
The impatiens bloody love it under our pergola. They are going ballistic.

I've stuck some morning glory seedlings in random places. I added them to existing hanging baskets like here and they're climbing up up up! I think this one is called 'Grandpa Ott'.

When I started dating the Bear, he didn't see the point of gardening. I think his idea of gardening was to stick in a few yuccas and mulch the rest with that horrendous coloured bark. Now he is outside planting and harvesting more than me!

In fact now he has graduated from the School of Louise's Obsessive Gardening as he decided that we needed to create a Verge Garden.

A Verge Garden is when you plant on the council owned space between your property boundary and the road. 

There are loads of rules about what you can and can't plant on the verge. Our local council states there must be at least 1 metre between any garden and the road, no high edging and plants can't grow any higher than 1 metre.

We chose a selection of herbs, vegies and a couple of non-edible perennials to attract pollinators.

The plants we chose were:

1 x English lavender

1 x Curry plant

1 x Rosemary

Rainbow Chard seedlings

Calendula seedlings

Strawberry runners (dug up from the backyard)

Parsley seedlings


1 x Lemon Balm

1 x Thyme


1 x flowering Salvia

Mignonette lettuce

Once the plants start to get bigger we're going to stick up a sign for our neighbours welcoming them to help themselves to the produce. We'll see how it goes!

Hopefully the garden will thrive and it doesn't get damaged. We love the idea of sharing a space and some yummy fresh produce with the people around us.

When I was a teenager, I had a very brief dalliance with embroidery and cross stitch. I Didn't mind the cross stitch but was terrible at embroidery.
Recently I was sorting through my craft magazine freebies. You know those mini kits that come with Molly Makes magazines?
I have a huge stack of them. Sometimes I'll make the kits with cute felt animals. I liked the embroidery kits but hadn't opened them. So I decided it was time to give them a go.

The first one I tackled was this cute kit called Let Love Bloom. It was from Issue 87 back in 2017? Man, I hoard things for YEARS! 
The designer is Amanda Bryde from Brynn & Co and is available to purchase on their website. (I have included the links here in case anyone is interested but I don't collect any commissions if you buy. I just thought it's nice to link directly to the designer).
Image courtesy of Mollie Makes website.

The kit came with a little pink plastic hoop, all the required threads, a needle and a small printed piece of fabric. The printed fabric and the instructions in the magazine made this really easy to embroider. 
It was super fast to work up.
And then it was done. Even my french knots looked ok!

I found an online tutorial to stitch up and cover the back.

Then I dug up another little Mollie Makes kit for 2 small cactus plants. These were tiny!
Both were in 1 kit and designed by Sonia Lyne of Dandelyne.  (Once again I don't collect any commissions from these links. I just include them if you're interested!)
The fabric wasn't printed for these, but they are small and the instructions were fairly straight forward so I don't think I did too badly.

They're all on the wall of fame. 

I'm currently working on a pattern I purchased off Etsy.
I'm a huge fan of the Netflix series Sex Education. When I found this quote online, I had to purchase the cross stitch pattern....
It's still a work in progress but can you guess what it will say?

Red Haired Amazona

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

From Cactus to Macrame!

Let us all worship at the altar of the cactus god...
No, I haven't joined a cult. A little while ago we joined some very dear friends on a little day trip to the nearby town of Lara which is between Melbourne and Geelong. It's smaller than a suburb. In fact it's close enough to Melbourne now to almost be a suburb!

Our first stop was to Roraima Nursery and display gardens which specialises in cacti, succulents and unusual plants. I was utterly blown away by how amazing the gardens are!

There was a family of fruit bats (also known as Flying Foxes) hanging around in one of the large gum trees. We were captivated by them for ages. 
They're super cute and about the size of a cat and have huge wingspans.
The plantings in the display gardens were spectacular. There was a huge range of cacti, succulents and other exotic plants.
I loved all the unique sculptures as well. Some of them like that massive big cactus in the first pic looked completely constructed out of new materials and other sculptures were made from reclaimed objects such as garden tools, car parts etc.

The nursery was filled with hundreds of cacti and succulents but also thousands of other plants such as frangipanis, orchids, shrubs, deciduous and evergreen trees, perennials etc.
A special guardian just in case someone had thoughts of sticky fingers...
They had a few pots of Dioscorea elephantipes on display. These succulents can grow up to70 years old and grow a large tuberous base. Slender vines with heart shaped leaves grow out the top. They're so gnarly and fascinating!
I loved how they incorporated interesting plantings in the nursey. Like this massive water fountain filled with all sorts of plants, then surrounded by potted clivias for sale. I think they're clivias. I didn't take note of the label so now I'm looking at this photo and my brain is going: "Clivias? Agapanthus? No, Clivias! Wait? Maybe agapanthus?"
We then drove a short way to the other side of the village to the Serendip Sanctuary. It had a good picnic table area where we set out our lunch. There was a little trio of Tawny Frogmouths sitting in the tree above us.
Tawny Frogmouths are often mistaken for owls, but they are a different species as they don't have talons. They can be really well disguised!
There was quite a few different types of birds in the walk through the sanctuary. Such as this Cape Barron Goose.

This Tawny Frogmouth was basking in the sun. I don't think they do this often as they prefer to sleep up in the gums during the daytime.

This strange looking bird was getting the full mite-pecking treatment from a Bronzewing Pidgeon.
A flock of Magpie Geese.
Before travelling home, we quickly stopped back into the Roraima Nursery so I could grab these sweet little treats.
A baby Cattleya orchid and Epidendrum orchid.
I had a leftover coconut shell (actually 2 halves) so I decided to do a bit of recycling...
I decided to make a little macrame hanger. Instead of sturdy macrame cord, I wanted to create something smaller and more delicate. I cracked out some cotton yarn and beads.
I first worked cords of spiral knots, then popped some hot pink beads in. I have a huge bag of beads a friend gave me which she found in an op shop. More recycling! I've never worked beads into macrame before but it's fairly straight forward.
After another short length of spiral knots, I left a 10cm length, then started a short bit of square knots, added some funky black and white beads, then another length of square knots.
This looked ok!
And here is the finished product!

I have one more macrame coconut shell holder to make for the other orchid...

But it's still a work in progress :)

Thanks for visiting!
Red Haired Amazona