Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Lucky 13.

Yippeee, finally completed a simple wedding anniversary Sweethearts garland/bunting, which has 13 Hearts (my husband and I were married on a Friday the 13th!). I hung it over our bed, because we still haven't found the perfect headboard. Our 113 year old house is being painted, slowly, one room at a time by me...and I haven't settled on a colour for the bedroom. I'm leaning towards Duck Egg Blue. Sadly it's Ancient White at the moment.

 Also, got around to crocheting up a handy "colour reference pin-board", which I've been meaning to do since I first started crocheting around two years ago. Before that it was bits of yarn, attached to Prestick, stuck to a cupboard door. The labels eventually fade or fall off and I wanted something a bit more robust. This weekend I had a bee in my bonnet to tidy up all the lose ends floating in my mind, all those niggling  little irritations that do the rounds in your head while you're crocheting. So I crocheted up colour samples for my entire stash. And once I pinned them all up it was really useful to see the colours I gravitate towards , and the one (s) I gravitate away from...YELLOW. I have ONE skein of Sunshine Yellow!! Yellow is just not my colour it seems. Anyhow, with my lovely Colour Reference Board, I was able to put in a decent yarn order at my favourite online yarn store Kayo Bazaar. My intention is to fill in the blank yellow spaces with softer Baby Yellow, and Banana Yellow. :-) Useful too, to shuffle colour combinations around on.

I'm more than usually excited about getting this yarn delivery because I've ordered 5 skeins of Coffee Cotton to try out. 60% cotton, 25% panfibres and 15% coffee extract. It had me at Coffee Extract!  I'll do a review once I've played with it a bit. Of course, all this "tidying up" is me busily procrastinating over the border to my Married Harmony afghan/blanket. I've reached that point and I cannot make up my mind over the border. It's even creeping into my dreams! I think I need to not think about it for a few days and hopefully , as it usually does, the perfect solution will just pop up...probably while I'm driving, or in the shower! I've learned that when I get anxious about finding a solution to something, anything really, the best thing to do is to Then like magic, the solution floats into consciousness. Always. I need to trust this process.

May inspiration always find you... close to your hook and yarn! :-)
Love, always,

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Bootifull Things.

I have a confession to share today. I am SO broody! It might have everything to do with both my grandsons reaching the ripe old age of 10! Officially the start of  " stop cuddling me in public ". To their credit they do still cop a cuddle, but only when no-one is watching. Babe is aloof, and will allow cuddles only when she settles down for her evening nap. So my mind has been on all things cuddly, and babies, and teeny things, And because I missed out on crocheting when my own children were tiny tots, I never learned to crochet * cute little things *. My bad, as the saying goes.

Sewing was my thing, but practical wear, like shorts, dungerees and skirts for myself. I saw a lovely, and for me, very moving video on youtube the other day which reminded me of exactly why I decided to eventually learn the fantastic art of crochet. Oh, here I go again, waffling on. To get to the point. I have been busily procrastinating from starting the border to my Married Harmony crocheting baby shoes and booties. I can't stop! But what a satisfying addiction!

Again, all credit goes to Laura Eccleston from Happy Berry Crochet for her excellent and detailed tutorial. She's a perfectionist, so I relate, and more than happy to slowly follow her instructions. Once I "mastered" her pattern I jollily made a few smaller booties, using a downsized version of my own... but also inspired by this super easy tutorial. Again, I'm hooked! Now, all I need is a baby! My middle-son suggested I crochet Cat Booties. It might just come to that. And Babe is always close by.

Wishing you a splendid day, and may your dreams be re-ignited. As they say it's never over, 'til it's over.

Love, always.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentines, and all that jazz!

Valentines Day has come and gone, again, and I don't know if it's just my imagination but I do sense a waning of marketing enthusiasm? I definitely did not see the usual going-overboard displays around our small shopping centre. It's a good thing I say! The commercialism of it all really irks me!I think people have come to rather more authentically, celebrate this day for Lovers. Well, in our case you couldn't get more authentic than completely missing our Wedding Anniversary, as well as Valentines Day and doing what long-term Lovers usually do. We were married in February, on a Friday 13th! It's my lucky day and number. We spent the entire weekend working on installing our backyard swimming pool! In the meantime, as this was happening, the side of "the huge hole" began collapsing!  Afterall, it is only compacted beach sand. Eeeek!!! Much panic going on as well as a few hearty expletives from my husband and his helper. Of course my role was keeping everyone fed and suitably hydrated ( what happened to the cool and breezy forecast, Mr. Weatherman? ), while biting my nails and praying to the rain denizens to please stay away until Monday. I'm a horrible person, we have a drought going on! My pleas went unnoticed, thankfully for the flowers and trees, because later in the afternoon we had that "possible shower" as predicted. Luckily, the sandy walls stayed intact. In between my catering duties I headed for my usual go-to when I'm riddled with anxiety or worry. I crocheted Hearts, using a lovely easy Tutorial called Sweet Hearts .

I've seen many Heart tutorials but I particularly like the slightly lacy effect here. Anyhow, I made one, then two, then know how it goes. And now I have enough for a garland which I shall hang above our bed. I've been looking out for a genuine vintage brass headboard but they're suddenly hard to come by. Funny how that works, right? When I wasn't looking , they were just everywhere! So in the meantime I'll dangle some pretty hearts above my sleepy head and dream of pretty headboards. Mind you, I still need to join them. I hope that wherever you are LOVE will find you, even when you're not looking for it. It's what makes the world go 'round! That, and in my little corner of this beautiful planet, yarn and crochet!

Wishing you a lovely week filled with your passions, to your hearts content.
Love, always.
Jen xox

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Handmade Hook Rolly

Yep, I think I made that name up, Hook Rolly. You roll it up, and it has Hooks inside. :-) I made one a few months ago with some scrap fabric mainly because rummaging through my pencil case for the right hook got a bit embarrassing, when you're sat in a coffee shop! I usually try and squirrel away in a corner so I can get on with a bit of hooky over a frothy cappuccino and the last thing I need is for the gentle hum of conversation to stop abruptly as everyone turns around to see where the tinker, tinker, tinkering sounds are coming from! Anyhow, as usual I get a thought and then immediately put it into action without thinking too much about the details. So my "old" hook rolly has served me well but "the colour"...a bit blah.

I'm always collecting bits of fabric and so I rummaged around in my fabric basket and found a cheerful looking scrap of cotton print fabric, and a bit of linen from an old cushion cover and in no time I'd sewn up another hook rolly. Sewing is not my strong point. Just too fiddly but sometimes it's unavoidable. I'm a little slap dash about measuring everything out, but even my " more-or-less" measuring calculations seemed to have worked out.

Then, instead of making a fiddly strap, like I did with the previous one, which closed with a fiddly button, I just crocheted a "sleeve" and added a flower too. The idea for the sleeve is for when I'm working, I can roll up the hook rolly but use the sleeve to hold the hook I'm using as well as the darning needle and scissors. I thought about this when I was doing a spot of hooky at a local coffee-cafe and their tables were really teeny, so spreading out a bit wasn't possible.

Also, it has two handy pockets inside, for the scissors, tape measure, nail file, and small tube of hand cream. As I often say, I do love beautiful things but I love functionality better! :-) And best is that I didn't buy a thing but rather used bits and pieces of what I already had. Buy less, make more is my motto this year ( well, every year! ).

Have a splendid Hump day and happy hooking!

Love, always.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Backyard Treasure Hunt.

It's been sweltering, again. I say that often, I know. Because in fact we are experiencing record temperatures here in the Cape of Storms. I really wish it would storm! Sadly, our Summers are as  dry as a dry thing about to burst into flame just looking at it! So, we decided to dig out a swimming hole. In our backyard. Now the beauty of living here, and particularly in a house that is 113 years old is that you're bound to find treasure. The Cape Peninsula is steeped in fascinating history. Mostly the "treasures" come  about as lovely shards of delft hand-painted crockery, and other interesting bits and pieces of handmade/hand-painted pottery.

To most people these seemingly insignificant broken pieces are of no importance but to me they are each a particularly unique key to.... Well, the imagination boggles and it's one thing I've never been short of and that is romantic daydreaming, and flights of imagination. Each piece, as I gently wipe away decades of grime, comes alive with a story to tell.

Usually I can see the lady of the house, lovingly packing away her pretty tea-sets or special display crockery, into a crate bound for the high seas to Africa, or I see a couple sitting over a breakfast, eating from lovely plates they probably take for granted. Or a family, taking tea on a Saturday afternoon, while reading the newspapers, and the children gobbling down scones and jam and drinking their milky tea from beautifully patterned cups. Mostly though, I find old bones and lumps of coal.

It seems callous to be digging out a swimming hole now, especially as we're in a drought of sorts but the reasoning behind it is sound. We're allowed to water lawns, trees and flowers and veggie gardens...which is what we've been doing, between 6pm and 6am. Luckily we have a small backyard and most of it has been reduced to sand from the high winds which have shredded practically every living flora in spite of my best efforts. We thought then, why not use the water instead to fill a small swimming pool, really a splash pool...and once it's filled, that's it. No more water wasted on an unforgiving garden. It's all sand, fine sea sand really. It's a bit like that joke about shoveling sand in the Sahara. It took us a day to dig half way! The wind howled and blew half a beach straight into the house. We are undeterred and determined to win this war! :-) I was rewarded with my most prized find of the day. A 1957 Queen Elizabeth 11 three pence coin.

I'm excited about what the other half of the dig will yield. Who knows, the Cape of Storms was also a frequent stopover for Pirates!

I hope, wherever you are in the world, that you are indulging yourself by doing the things which make you happy. Life is too short to fully grow up and lose our childlike love of discovery. Dig, for what you love, to your hearts content.

Love, as always,
Jen xxx