Monday 27 May 2013

Busy Happy Times

Hello to you all and thank you for popping in and leaving me lovely messages; I love reading them and responding to them. If you are a newcomer to my place then please feel welcome and do let me know you've been here - it's so nice to hear from all of you!

I hadn't realised how busy it's been around here until I began to upload my pics! Last week it seemed like I didn't have much to report, so didn't, but time has caught up with me now so I'll get into my sharing without further ado!

First off let me show you the progress on my 'round the colour wheel' blanket, as well as the little one with the central flower - which is now finished.

I really needed a change after all the blanketing and decided to make something completely different this time, so out came the sewing machine after quite a long break - it's a wonder it wanted to speak to me after such neglect! 
I came across a magazine that is new to me (Inspiring Country Threads, Stitchery - published in Australia), and this is Vol 14 No 1 - so obviously not new to other folks. Something on the front cover  looked like the sort of pattern I'd been searching for off and on for quite some time so I jumped into it!

My lovely husband thought she should be called 'Annie' so Annie she is.  I made some changes to the original pattern just to personalise her - mainly the hair and the shoes, and I'm quite fond of her. I do remember my Mum making lots of toys and dolls, and teddy bears; she did such a great job of everything she tackled! I'm pretty sure she would like Annie, but sadly she's not around to see her!

I also decided to try my hand at a pair of socks - it's been years since I knit with four needles - and even longer since using 4 ply yarn which was a bit of a challenge to begin with but I'm getting there!

This is King Cole's Zig Zag yarn and I do like the way the colourways have worked out. It's always a bit risky with multi-coloured yarns isn't it, but also exciting to watch how it 'pans out'. In this pic you can see a little bit of progress where I've turned the heel.

It was my birthday yesterday (Sunday) and family and friends really spoiled me with lovely gifts and attention - and I soaked it all up of course. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. We've been having a run of cold nights but lovely sunny days just recently so on Saturday J and I took a short drive up Mount Shadforth Road to 'The Lookout', just so I could get some sunny pics to show you a bit more of our beautiful countryside .

The cows have the best view in the area, overlooking the inlet and ocean!

So back to Sunday: we took a drive to the other side of Albany - probably about 70 kms all together - to the lovely Goode Beach, where we took a nice stroll along the sand then had a cuppa at one of the picnic benches provided there. The sand is squeaky clean at this beach and as you can see from the pics, there is also a gorgeous residential area built up around it. We find it is rather reminiscent of Robin Hood Bay (those of you from the UK) but the houses are completely different here of course. RHB is a favourite spot of ours - we just love the old fishermen's cottages and the twisty turny little pathways there!

Afterwards we drove into Albany and took a couple more pics, this time of Princess Royal Harbour, before having a quick look at a particular car yard that presently is housing the most gorgeous new release VW Beetle. I love it and especially it's retro dashboard - but the lotto didn't come up for us this weekend YET!

Now then, I think it's time to let you have a look at a couple of my lovely gifts:
That beautiful cup and saucer is Wedgwood - Deco Bloom - and although my lovely parcel postie delivered it on Thursday, I managed to not open the box until Sunday morning - did I do well, or did I do well! My elder daughter chose it for me and I absolutely love it! And do you see that beautiful Kaffe Fassett book there? Well I had only mentioned Kaffe's first name to my younger daughter recently and she went off and found (among his many titles) the very book that I had on my wish list. My daughters are wonderful and I so appreciate and love them!

I've been sitting at this computer for quite a while today - do you find it takes a long time to sort out and prepare pics? And that's only the start isn't it! But I am so happy to be sharing with you some of the happenings in my life and I also very much enjoy following your lovely blogs too. Thank you for visiting and please do leave me a message if you would like to.

Happy week to you and keep well and smiling.

Joy xxx

Monday 13 May 2013

Round and Round the Colour Wheel

Well hello again lovely readers - it's nice to see you here again and I hope that 'everything in your garden is lovely' - as the saying goes! Speaking of gardens, I have been really happy to see all the gorgeous spring pics of gardens and surrounding country walks and woodlands in some of the lovely posts coming from UK. Thank you so much for the sweet memories they awaken for me!

As I reached the end of my previous post you may remember the postie had just arrived with my parcels of Stylecraft Special DK yarn and I was all excited. That excitement increased considerably  as I tipped out those beautiful bundles of colour; well wouldn't you get a bit stirred up at such a sight?

I gazed at the mountain of colour; I squeezed and cuddled it, and patted and stroked it; and then I began to mix and match and arrange and re-arrange, all the time happily clicking the camera lens - these pics are only a few of the many I actually took!

Anyway, I had decided that when this yarn turned up, a largish portion of it would become my next hookie blanket - and so it is fast becoming a rainbow of colour and I'm loving it. What brightness - it's almost dazzling - and it's not only me who has a fondness for this new project - take a look at this: 

Our little Pika doesn't always co-operate when we need her to pose for pics so I apologise that these  are not very sharp and clear (and besides, the lighting was bad that day), but this is the only record I have of the work in progress at that stage!

With this blanket I really took time to work out my colours beforehand - even made swatches and recorded them in the sequence that I chose to use them, for a rainbow was high on my priority list. The lovely thing about organising this part carefully is that I could later decide on the colour-row-count as I progress, depending on how everything is shaping up - I like having that option! I also enjoy having the choice of whether to continue repeats as set in the first few rows or instead, reversing the colourways - again, when I see how the project is developing.

As you can see here, the blanket has grown a bit since Pika laid her cute little body on it, and I did decide to reverse colourways just after I had incorporated each of the chosen colours - see the purples, that's when I turned! You will also notice that I have not kept to the original colour-row-count. What a boring world it would be if we didn't have choices eh!
This is my second ripple blanket; I chose only five quite muted colours for the first and crocheted it in pure wool, whereas this one is acrylic, weighs in much lighter, and encompasses sixteen colours. I love them both. The pattern and inspiration once again comes from Lucy at Attic 24

Before this lovely yarn arrived I did begin another project - I can't not have something on the hook - so I'll give you a little peek at it. This pattern came from Simply Crochet magazine, issue 3, and they reference it back to Susan Ritchie at Mrs Moon

I very much like this little blanket and am enjoying the change of colours: it will be a lap/knee size whereas the rainbow ripple is going to be rather a lot larger!

Also I really fell for a picture of some little baby shoes in the same issue of Simply Crochet and decided over the weekend to give them a try. It seems like the cotton yarn used in this pattern is slightly thicker than the one I am presently using from my stash, for the one shoe that I have completed is rather on the small size even for a baby, but will fit a dolls foot - somewhere down the line! Something else to think about? I may leave completion of this project until I see a doll crying out for a pair of shoes!

It is ever so sweet don't you think? It even has a double sole!

I'm going back in time a little now - just a few months or so - to show you a couple of cuties I made from 'The Gnome Craft Book' by Thomas and Petra Berger (pub: Floris Books).
The first pic is of  the Reading Gnome, and the second is the Grass Elf.
Then I put asidet felt and pipe cleaners and such like and took up the crochet hook. Like I keep saying, how dull if we couldn't make choices and 'ring the changes'.

A huge thanks to each of you who leave me such pleasing messages - I love reading them and appreciate the effort and time you take to do so - just as I love visiting your blogs and interacting with you all. I am so glad that I took the plunge and jumped into the blogging world for I've 'met' so many lovely people in the few weeks since I began!
Very best wishes to all of you!

Joy x

Monday 6 May 2013

Cats, Mouse, Pin Cushion - and Beautiful Countryside

The start of another week and I hope it's a good one for all of you! Thank you so much for your lovely observations and compliments - I do love hearing from you and appreciate you taking the time to leave messages - so much!

Well this past week has been quite busy and, although I'm still awaiting my delivery of Stylecraft Special DK (maybe today, I tell myself every morning), these hands have not been idle! I didn't want to start anything on a large scale, for that will happen when the new yarn arrives, so instead a couple of little personalities jumped off my crochet hook just to keep me 'employed'.

Well, yes, employed probably is the correct word because I've had requests recently for more of these little fellas. Would you like to have a look? Same as I've done before but different colours - well we much have changes of colour mustn't we!

And as you can see I tried my hand at a pin-cushion too, which I'm quite pleased with; it'll serve it's purpose I expect!

Yesterday, being Sunday and a lovely morning weather wise, we took off on a drive to an area near Albany, Western Australia which has become another of our favourite spots: it's part of one of the popular  walks for folks around here who enjoy taking in nature - called The Luke Penman Walk - after the Doctor by that name who did a lot of botanical studies in this locality during his lifetime but, sadly, died at a young age. It's such a beautiful spot to relax and unwind.

And of course, for me, the water views are sheer magic!

I did take some pics from the 'billboard' at the carpark entrance to this lovely area and I expect if you click on these they should enlarge and allow you to read the information, or part of it! I hope so!

Gosh, I do hope this hasn't bored you 'out of your brain' as they say!

Our younger daughter had her birthday on 1st May - May Day - and here are pics of just a little of her birthday 'stash,' and the Raspberry Chocolate Torte that has become a big favourite around our place - for special occasions only of course!!! Oh yeah?

I hope I haven't overloaded you with pics this time, and I do apologise if the taste buds are cranking up after feasting your eyes on that cake? Mine are because I haven't had lunch yet - but - lunch will wait a tad longer because - guess what - my lovely yarn has just been delivered - oh I love our parcel postie - so I'm off to open up those bags and spill all that lovely colour out all over the place. Then I'll take pics to show you next time!

Have a great week and happy crafting!

Joy x

Wednesday 1 May 2013

Something New Just Grew

I hope you are all well and happy! Thank you for popping in again and I do hope you like what you see here on my little spot. I also thank you all so much for the lovely encouraging messages you've been leaving me - I am so grateful to receive them. Thank you!

The Jan Eaton crochet blocks have become: what - a bundle?

A little blanket of sorts - maybe it would be suited to a little girl or perhaps a handy lap/knee rug for someone - I don't know yet - but I do know it's a finished article.

The pale pink squares were a bit of a handful when it came time to crochet everything together because their side edges were more open than the others: I just couldn't get the stitches as neat and even as I would have liked. But we live and learn and that is something I'll be more aware of in the future.

This little piece measures around 25inches square and really is just a sampler using my first choices from Jan Eaton's book - '200 crochet blocks'.

I have been messing around with effects and wondered - what do you think of it in black and white?

This really impresses upon me just how much I need colour in my life!

And speaking of colour, I ordered online a lovely selection of Stylecraft Special DK from Deramores UK and am now happily anticipating its arrival. It does take a bit longer to come to Australia of course, but as it's now two weeks since the order was dispatched I can start getting excited! I have heard so many good reports about this yarn and even though I've never liked using acrylic yarns, I do believe that this one is very good to work with. The colours come in an amazing range, and the yarn is very economically priced!

So now I will 'fill-in' with a small project - or two - while awaiting the big day: I can hardly wait to open that box of yummy colour!

I have some other interesting things to show you - Australian Paper Barks. In the past the Aborigines would strip the bark from these trees and make lovely artworks with it.  Loads of texture in that dry old bark.

This, to my mind, is a wonderful little spot - just a couple of streets away from where we live - a very peaceful area in which to linger awhile and take in the calming energies.

The trees provide lovely shade where you can relax and 'tune in' to the water gently tumbling down over the boulders. We are very fortunate to have this area so close to home, don't you think?

In another part of our small town, just down the embankment from the plant nursery, is this lovely scene!

Same view really, but pic taken from opposite direction - aren't the azaleas lovely, and the trees offer them protection from the elements.  

So to finish off today, here is a little box of cute and cheeky personalities which I made and gave a while back - all happily settled in their new homes with parents of all ages!

I do hope you are having lots of happy craft times and I wish you all well! 

Joy xx