Wednesday 24 April 2013

Something New

Hello everyone - hopefully this finds you all having good times and sunshine! I've been having both - intermittently!

First off, to continue from last post, Jan Eaton's book has been having a good old workout here after a lot of indecision as to which of these blocks to try first; it was so difficult to choose cause they are all so beautiful and beguiling but I did get going and so here's a wee peep at them so far:

First one is number 54 'Framed Flower'

Next we have number 189 'Willow'

This one is 71 'Star Flower'

And last but not least comes  number 83 'Diamond in a Square'

I am quite happy with each of them and they will look more even and straight edged when they've been properly blocked - I hope! Now would you like to see them together in a square?

Now more decisions need to be made - what's going to become of these pretty things? They each measure 6 inches square so are quite large. I could work more of the same or continue the variety of mix and match in the same colours?
I did try out a gentle little pink thing to see if maybe a few of these could be worked around the 'square' in order to build a smallish blanket - what? another cushion? Well maybe! I could even do the pink  one in the other shades already used to balance things up a bit more. Let me show you little pinky:

This is number 6 'Textured Bluebells', only it's not blue!

Just another idea - and again, they should all be 6 inches square when properly finished - I hope!

But that's not all I've been doing since last time; cooking and baking is always a priority at our place so, when the weather was a bit off a couple of days ago it was time for another pot of soup. Sweet potato, butternut pumpkin, and carrot make a lovely drop, and some nice hearty gluten-free herb and nut damper muffins complete the picture - yummmmm!

I'm going to finish off with a pic of our cheeky little 'Pika' for she's such a big part of our lives:

I did say cheeky, didn't I! Who could resist those eyes!

It makes me very happy that you take time out of your busy day to have a look at the things I've been busy with, and I've been so encouraged by your lovely messages, thank you!

Joy xx

Saturday 20 April 2013

Decisions Made and Task Accomplished

How are you today friends? In the midst of your busy days I hope you've been finding time to enjoy some craft time? I certainly have, although not without a couple of hiccups here and there!

Last post I showed you the little 'Happy Flower' granny squares I had begun to work up in various shades of blue, and I thank those of you who left, (or emailed), me comments regarding my dilemma as to whether or not to include some additional colours and, in fact, what I was even going to finally make with these little cuties! Well the decision wasn't too difficult after all: I really liked the blues yes, and was also really tempted to include some pink and mauve but, because there are so many crochet projects that are really beckoning me, and because I really love a variety of colours and subjects as well as learning new things, the little grannies only multiplied to the 'mighty number' of nine - still in blues - and became a cute little cushion. I really enjoyed watching this project develop and love the finished product AND I am now ready to begin something NEW! Yes!

There were a couple of false finishes to this project and I've taken a pic or two which will explain what happened. You see, after little cushion was all finished and put together I thought a couple of rows of double crochet (in the navy) around the outer edge of the button closing end would finish things off nicely! Yes? Yes, that did look good - so much so that I decided to do the same border around the rest of the cushion. Then what? Then I realised that the whole thing looked unbalanced because the flap- over-closing-side was devoid of the navy edging - so from the front, the cushion had three edges in navy and one still white - difficult to explain hence the pics to show how I overcame the problem - without having to unravel the whole flap (including buttonholes) in order to include a navy stripe!

I really do like this little blue Happy Flower cushion!

Recently I took delivery of a book that many of you lovely people seem to be familiar with, Jan Eaton's '200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans', and I'm so longing to get into these blocks - the excitement has been building considerably so that it can hardly be contained any longer - so - tonight after dinner, in a comfy place in front of the telly, with a choice of  gorgeous new colours - that's where I'm bound! What are you doing tonight?

Thank you for popping in and being accommodating towards me and my ramblings! I wish you all a happy weekend filled with all things lovely.

                                                                            Joy x

Saturday 13 April 2013

Endings and Beginnings

Hello again friends! I'm so pleased you dropped in to have a little look at what I've been up to, and I trust you are well and finding lots of time to enjoy your creative activities, whatever they may be.

My days have been pleasantly interrupted of late by friends popping in and catching up on this and that, but nevertheless I did manage to finish the fuchsia cardigan and I'm really glad it's done! Not that it was a difficult job really, for the fan and feather pattern is quite simple to follow, but ...  ....  ... it turned out  that it was knit in one piece from the beginning right up to shaping for the armholes and yes, I'm one of those people who don't like circular needles for I learned to tuck the right needle under my arm when knitting and that's how it's been all those millions of years for me. The circular needle doesn't allow for that, does it! So there was me struggling with 252 stitches on an ordinary knitting needle - a round of sympathy please!!! Thank you!

Having said all that, I am happy with the finished product and without further ado, here it is:

What do you think? The pattern is not everyone's 'cup of tea' of course, but the colour - isn't it so bright and cheery, which is just what we need for Autumn/Winter approaching.

So now would you like to see the 'Beginning' part of this post? Well these little granny squares come from a tutorial which the lovely Sharron of Annie's Place very kindly and patiently put together - thank you so much Sharron! 'Happy Flower' is the name Sharron chose to call her post where you'll find this pattern, if you'd like to check back.


I have not, as yet, decided what I'll do with these little grannies - they could become a cushion or even a knee-rug, but I did originally decide to stay with blues for this project. Now I'm not so sure! I definitely want to keep the navy and white as the two outer colours, but now am beginning to think it might be rather nice to include some other shades in the centre parts - maybe a couple of pinks or mauves here and there. I surely would welcome your suggestions!

This little bird, which my daughter bought me some time ago, is rather attracted to this one!

On another subject now, a rather lovely native Australian plant - Hakea Laurina, more commonly known as Pin-cushion Hakea.

Above we have the flower bud in it's perfectly  beautiful little 'casing', then 24 hours later and hey presto, below, that lovely protection has given way to the sweet little pin-cushion flower. How amazing is mother nature - everything so well planned and brought to fruition!

In a 'past life' one of my favourite hobbies for quite some time was water-colour painting, and this type of study had me totally absorbed for hours on end. 

Now I would really like to include a couple more 'nature type' pics, if my trusty friend here will allow me: let's try eh?

Good little computer! So - this is the Liquid Amber which many of you will be familiar with - but I was so taken with the colours of this beautiful specimen the other day, it seemed like a pic or two would be a good idea although the colours don't appear to be quite so brilliant as they seemed on my camera. Ah well, we do our best don't we!

It's time for me to go so, until next time, do what you best enjoy doing and keep well and safe. Thank you so much for looking in and for taking the time to leave me a message - I do so love to hear from you.

Joy x

Friday 5 April 2013

A Very Talented Young Person

Hello friends - this little post is following on quickly from my previous one because I really wanted to finish that subject we were covering then, but my computer refused to upload any more pics. Naughty computer!

We had been to the lovely little arty town of Balingup in the South-West of our State and had begun the return journey home, which means we travel through the very pretty Bridgetown. Here is a pic of the bridge from which the town derives its name -

Very pretty, restful, and inviting area, don't you think?

There are many interesting types of 'arty people' in this lovely country town but a name I really want to mention to you is Gabriel Evans whose greetings cards I came across in a little shop whilst on this country drive. This lad is still in his teens and already has produced a prolific amount of the most awesome artwork, including book illustrations. You may remember in a previous post I mentioned how much I love Beatrix Potter's work? Well take a look at a little sample of this young man's work:

This pic (from a card) is called 'The General Store'

And this one is 'The Elves and the Shoemaker'

I am totally 'blown away' by this talent - what a gift! Well done young Gabriel and what a future he has before him! If you are interested in looking further and enjoy 'surfing' the net, you will find lots more information about Gabriel and his family - each of them accomplished in their various fields in the Arts! Wow!

So to finish, here is a pic from our garden from quite some time ago - ah, spring flowers - Oh to be in England now that April's there ....  ....  But of course this garden is in Western Australia - I did say we have a very kind climate down the South-West didn't I!

Lovely that you had time to call in, really nice to see you here and I look forward to the next time.
Bye for now,
take care,

Time Passes Quickly When You're Having Fun!

Well hello again lovely people - I can't believe how quickly time has flown since my last post; in fact it wasn't until I got into my camera and saw the different themes that had been rolling around in my mind that the realisation came that perhaps I should have been here last week!

I hope you all had a lovely Easter and didn't eat too much chocolate? Hey no, I was really good, honestly!

I promised last time to show you my latest 'Work in Progress' and so here it is coming up, although I really have done a lot of work on it since this pic was taken. The second front is well on the way now, which leaves the sleeves and bands to complete. I must say that although I have been mainly enjoying this knitting after such a long break from it, I am really quite desperate now to get back into some serious crochet that will allow me some changes, in colours at least. Having said that, I absolutely love this fuchsia shade, don't you?

The next subject I was planning to cover is Basil and Pesto - now that's diversifying is it not! We have some lovely healthy basil growing in an old wine barrel in our back garden - and we believe it's stayed healthy and relatively free of bugs because we (well, J actually!) planted marigolds around it; have you heard of that trick before? Anyway when one of our friends spotted the basil he suggested I make some Pesto with it, and as this guy is such a keen maker of chutneys and jams, I thought I'd better show willing! How could I not when he even supplied the recipe!

The recipe is a bit loose, give and take, but basically:

3 tablespoons pine nuts - I used macadamias cause I don't care for pine nuts
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
1 cup basil leaves, well packed
salt to taste
60 grams parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor  grind the nuts and garlic, then add basil leaves, salt and cheese. Once mix is smooth, slowly add the olive oil. After placing the pesto in a jar, just pour a little olive oil over the top before sealing, to help preserve the paste.

Voila! There we have it! It has a beautiful flavour, keeps well in the freezer, and because it's quite concentrated can be spooned out as needed and mixed with a little of the pasta cooking water  before stirring through the pasta etc.. Good also for spreading on the base of pizzas, or bruschetta. You hungry yet?  
It even makes gluten-free pasta taste good!

Next subject? Well we are having a bit of variety this post for we now go to driving in the country - ah how lovely to break loose and take in the beautiful scenery, freely provided, for soul-uplifting! After a busy Easter with family and feeling very overcrowded with tourists in our little town, we decided it was time to drive further around the South-West of our State to a couple of favourite haunts - Bridgetown,  and Balinup. It's a long trip to do, there and back in one day, and some people think we are quite mad, but we so love the drive through the forests and the interesting things we see in the couple of little towns we pass through in order to get to our destination. In fact, J says that were we in the UK, we'd have passed through 'forty-one' villages had we travelled a similar distance. And wouldn't that be nice!!! 

This curious shop in Balinup is filled with all sorts of oddities - hardly an antique shop to be strictly correct, but interesting nevertheless! 

But this, as far as I'm concerned, is the piece de resistance, and one place I'd be very disappointed to miss after making such a long trip to Balinup - the Tinderbox - oh do take a look at their site: this is where I buy my essential oils, pure plant incense, skin care products - just walking into that place and smelling the beautiful aromas is the most relaxing, edifying thing to do!

Just around the corner from this fantastic place is a lovely little 'Rose Cottage' that you might like to have a quick look at - it's so pretty isn't it! Not the best time of year for the roses but you get the idea? And look at the beautiful colours of foliage all around - quite stunning I think!

I have more I wanted to tell you about, and show, but my computer refuses to allow me to upload any more pics at this time - I don't know why - so they will have to wait for another time. Annoying! Ah well, something to look forward to I guess!

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and please call in again soon; you're always welcome!