Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feeling Christmassy

Only Sunday-week and Christmas is upon us! No wonder I'm feeling all festive. This year has been so awwwwwfully busy that it was easy to cut myself a bit of slack around Christmas organization. I didn't even feel guilty. Even though I love christmas decoration swaps, I didn't sign up for any because I knew we just had too much on. I didn't commit to organizing any end-of-year do's for school or sport. I haven't sent a single card. The only things I needed to organize were the one present for someone in my big family (easy peasy, since it's supposed to be cheap, second hand, or homemade) and a couple of wee things for each person in my wee family. It's been very painless and now the presents are all done and dusted.
Having said that, we still end up wanting to give a little something to various other folks, so it's nice to have a wee treat on standby for such purposes. This year I felt compelled to make little Christmas puddings to give as gifts. I used an exceptionally easy recipe from one of Alison Holst's kitchen diaries and then steamed it in large tea cups to make little puddings that would comfortably feed 2 or 3 people.

Christmas pudding
From Alison Holst's Kitchen Diary Vol. 9 (1986)
2 cups flour
75 g butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup currants
1 c sultanas
1/4 c mixed peel
1/4 c cherries
1 t cinnamon
1 t mixed spice
1/2 c golden syrup
1/2 c milk
1 t baking soda
2 eggs
Grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon.
Whizz the flour, sugar, butter, and spices in a food processor until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Warm the milk and golden syrup to mix them, then mix in the eggs and the baking soda. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix in the fruit. Tip into a large pudding basin (or several tea cups with a disc of baking paper in the bottom and well-greased sides), cover with greased foil, and steam for 3-4 for a large pudding or 2-3 h for the small ones. Longer steaming makes them nice and dark.
Turn out and cool. Sprinkle with a little brandy then wrap in baking paper and foil. On the day, steam again to reheat- an hour should do it for the wee ones, maybe two hours for a big one. Serve with cream, custard, icecream, and/or brandy butter.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Cards, and care with card allocation

Home made cards, they're a welcome relief for someone who is a little overwhelmed by larger projects that seem to move at glacial speed. They're also a welcome relief someone whose wallet has been thrashed over recent weeks at the pre-Christmas sales...I've been buying clothes- very unusual for me but I had an uh-huh! moment a little while ago where I realized that I always buy things for the wee ones but seldom for myself, and it was beginning to show in my dismally drab, overworn, tired wardrobe.
But where was I? Oh yes, cards. 
I do nothing fancy when making cards, no sir. No ribbons, no scrapbooky things, no buttons, bows, fancy calligraphy, or poems. Just cardstock and funny pictures from old books, that's my style. I even like to include some of the text if it's amusing or informative. I just made this series of cards, with a friend in mind who loves fishing.

Oh goodness, you have to be careful though. That same friend is also recently divorced, so I won't be giving him this one, no, no, no.
Next on my list is some homemade Christmas presents. I'm going "fancy practical" this year with an edible gift that is also healthy. I'll tell you all about it next time. What are you making for Christmas gifts? Any good ideas?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Pie Day, and a Dolly

Helloooo Friday! Random story: we have a friend who calls Friday 'Friday Pie Day' because he always gets a pie on a Friday for lunch. How I would love a pie for lunch.
Okay, onto craft activities. I have plenty to be going on with, you know how it is, but sometimes when you have a lot to do you end up doing something else entirely.
My very dear friend has a little girl who is about to turn 3, so I made her a doll. We had a cloth doll when we were little, she was called Rosie and we made her lots of clothes. True to form, Mary Anna made her fancy silk dresses and even a kimono, while I made her odd scratchy little trousers and other strange items. I think Rosie was made with no pattern at all, but these days you can get a cloth doll pattern for free straight off the interweb, hooray! The Black Apple has provided her doll pattern as a free pdf download via Martha Stewart's website. For a quick and easy and rather fun project, this is pretty hard to beat. The pattern is simple and goes together in about 40 minutes. You can use little scraps of fabric from your stash and therefore justify keeping all those little bits you have been accused of never using. And cute! It's so cute! It's genuinely cute, not even weird cute, which is how things I design myself always turn out.
I used brown wool suiting fabric for her hair, which I love. It looks oddly like my own hair with its wee lines of white. I was going to use felt, but I only had nasty brown acrylic felt lying around, and I despise it with its horrible squeakiness and nasty unnatural sheen. *Shudder* I must get rid of it.
I made her a little dress too, too, using my own pattern, hence it is a little weirdly cute:
Because everything I make has to have a little shot of weird in it, otherwise it just wouldn't be my own work.
Have a great weekend everyone! Ta ra!
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Monday, November 7, 2011

Life lessons

I once read a short story in which one of the essential details about a particular woman's character was that she had brown towels in the bathroom, because they didn't show the dirt. I was a teenager when I read this story, and I remember doing an audible "Ewwwww" about that, which amused my mother no end. She did one of those knowing sighs and said "You'll understand when you have children".
Blogfriends, today I bought brown bathmats because I am sick of tiny brown footprints on my white ones. I am now officially a responsible adult.
I'm sorry, the details of my linen cupboard are probably only interesting to me, but sometimes my blog is a space for very trivial thoughts. I can't help it.

In craft news, the extreme busy-ness of my children over the weekend with affairs of their own meant that I had a free afternoon to piece together my quilt. Now I must tell you, better than any feeling of accomplishment or appreciation for pretty things is the feeling that I am getting better at something. I really am getting better at piecing quilts. I will never be one of those engineering types that has it all matching to the last millimetre, but every quilt I make is pieced more precisely than the last, and that is a very nice feeling.

I'm sorry, I didn't iron it to show it to you. I'm a slob like that. I decided against putting any sashing inbetween the windmill blocks for this quilt, because I thought it might make it ever-so-slightly twee. I like how the blocks become a little lost, and it gets that jumbled-vintagey-hot-mess look. Now I just need a border to finish it off, oh, and the quilting and the binding. The border fabric I chose is the backdrop for the tomato relish I made the other day, voila:

Yes, it is awfully early in the season to be making tomato relish, isn't it? Well a greenhouse up the road was clearing out the last of their winter plants to make way for the new summer crop, so I was the Johnny-on-the-spot that got 6 kilos for $5. Now I wish I'd got two bags so that I could fob some off for Christmas presents. Christmas, goodness me, it was only 5 minutes ago that last Christmas was done and dusted. This speeding up of time must be another thing about being a responsible adult, along with owning brown towels.
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Saturday, October 22, 2011


A holiday to Golden Bay is a wonderful thing. We watched 6 hours of the delicious Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice, did some walks, ate some chocolate, and drank some coffee, some of it on this rather spectacular little Espresso Boat parked up at the Pohara Docks. Then we nearly met up with a blogfriend but just missed her, and came home, feeling all holidayed-up and full of silly ideas for craft and Christmas gifts.

I was so overwhelmed by projects I could do that I started them all while the iron was hot. A friend came over when I had a half-stuffed knitted sheep and donkey on the chair, an apron all cut out on the floor, a skirt in 4 pieces ready to sew, my crochet blanked draped over the back of the chair so that I would remember to sew in all the ends, and a bag of vintage fabric on the other chair. She looked around, then looked at me, and said "I understand you're excited about having some free time, but you need to focus."
So true. First I focused on finishing this wee sheep. He is part of something very Christmassy.
Don't worry about the lack of legs, he is a lying-down sheep. I promise they have not been prematurely removed for the Christmas roast leg of lamb, although that would also satisfy the "being part of something very Christmassy" in a very comical way.
Then, I threw the bag of vintage fabric up into the air, whirled my arms around with a pair of scissors in each hand, and they landed like this:
It's gonna be another patchwork quilt. I've made three in my life, each of them imperfect but endearing in their own way. A bit like me really.
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's soooooo easy

I said to my sister, I mean my uber sewist sister, I was going to use a Simplicity It's So Easy pattern to make up some vintage seer sucker I got an Estate sale recently.
She was mortified. "Where's the fun in that?" she demanded to know, "where are the welt pockets, the lining, the tailored features?!"
Well blogreaders, I am telling you that all such tricky features are rather delightfully absent from Simplicity 2231, and I did not miss them at all.
This dress has simple raglan sleeves and a gathered skirt. The sleeve and neck edges are simple elastic casings to gather up the fabric. All made up, it's just as I hoped it would be. In fact, it's probably my most successful sewing project for ages.
Here is the front view:
And the back, with the simple ties to pull in the fullness:
It was a 6th birthday present for my wee Sylvie, and she was good enough to love it. She wore it to school with some purple leggings with silver stars on them, blue T-bar sandals, and a thermal top underneath. It was very 'Tokyo street fashion' and absolutely gorgeous. I love her style.
Well, it's almost school holidays, and in a few days we are heading off into the wild blue yonder of Golden Bay for a week or so. I'm taking some wool, a pom-pom maker or two, some very silly ideas, my two small children and my sister, some magazines and books, and lots of coffee, chocolate, and nice dinners. It's gonna be fantastic. See you all when I get back.
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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turning Six, with Pink Lamingtons

There has just been a sixth birthday in our household, and we decided we'd have a classic after-school party to celebrate. We did all the old-fashioned stuff: pin the tail on the donkey, an egg and spoon race, pass the parcel, and lamingtons (pink of course), chippies, and sausage rolls on the afternoon tea table, with camelias from our neighbours garden and our best table cloth to make it all pretty.

I tell you blogfriends, I am an old woman trapped in a thirty-something woman's body. Actually it's not a bad place to be. It was worse when I was trapped in a teenager's body.
But I digress. I was about to tell you about making lamingtons. These are a NZ/Australian classic. They are sweet and delicious and so peculiar in their own way.
To make a lamington, you first need to make a sponge cake. I make a 3-egg sponge from out of the Edmonds cookbook*, but any sponge cake will do. You could make it easy and buy one. Here is a top tip: you can do this a week ahead and put it in the freezer till you're ready for assembly.
On the day of assembly, make up a raspberry or strawberry jelly with 1 and 1/2 cups water instead of the usual 2 cups. Add 1/4 c of sieved red jam. I used the last of the grape jelly I made last summer. Let the jelly begin to set. When it reaches the consistency of raw egg whites, cut your frozen sponge into squares and roll it in the jelly. Then roll it in dessicated coconut, and you're done. You have just made pink, fluffy, super-special party food, good enough for a lady of 6, 38, or 88.
It's always a big relief when the birthdays are over for the year. I enjoyed my lamingtons immensely, but enjoyed my two glass of wine after the party even more.
*Basic sponge cake (from the Edmond's cookbook)
Beat 3 eggs, 175 g sugar, and a pinch of salt until thick- about 7 minutes with an electric beater. Fold in gently 125 g flour sifted with 1 t baking powder. Then, add 50 g butter melted with 2 T boiling water and fold in gently. Bake in a square tin for 25-30 min at 180 degrees Celsius.
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

A microcraft activity

It occurred to me the other day that I have now had almost a whole year with two children at school. I had deluded myself thinking that I would have lots of free time, but I quickly realized that a new phase brings with it substantial changes, in my case, doing more paid work. Not that I'm complaining, I really like my job, but it does cramp my style *craftwise*.

The upshot of this is that these days I'm a sucker for a quick craft activity that has the satisfaction of making something cool, and something homemade, just because it's fun. So...while I was standing at the stove cooking dinner last night, I made a candle. I had some beeswax lying around and a friend gave me some wick (bought by the metre from Livinglight Candles here in Nelson). An old can made a double boiler to melt the wax, an old cut-glass bowl (50 c at the junk shop) made the receptacle. I had googled making poured candles and saw all sorts of instructions re. sticking the wick in place and making sure the wick is the right size for the container. Well a job worth doing is worth doing badly, that's my motto, so I ignored all of that and just used what I had. I stuck the wick in the centre first with some hot wax, then held it in place between two skewers when I poured the hot wax in. Low tech.

Actually I'm right into cut glass at the moment. It's something I see all the time in junk shops and I find it devilishly tempting when it's so pretty and so cheap. I keep bringing it home with me and stashing it away at the back of the china cabinet, but I know you would like to see it.

Mmmmm, pretty, pretty, pretty. Have a great weekend everyone! Oh, it's only Thursday, isn't it. Well have a great end-of-week, then. 
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Friday, August 26, 2011

Beeswax (for minding, and furniture polish)

You know how little girls make clubs? I had a club when I was little, it had two members, me and my friend Penny. It was called JP's potion club and we used to make truly disgusting mixtures of mud and leaves and food items. It was fun.
The truth is, I still like making strange concoctions. I think that's why I like to make to make jam and jelly and household items like glass cleaner, spray cleaner, laundry liquid, and polish. Or perhaps it's because I am a total cheapskate. Either way, I have just made my own furniture polish, and now I am going to write about it on my blog.

Beeswax furniture/wood polish
50 g beeswax
1 C turps (and no, I do not mean the cheap alcohol you get drunk on when you're 18. I mean turpentine.)
1/2 c hot water
25 g soap flakes (I grated up some of the soap I made back here)

Melt together the beeswax and turpentine in a double boiler. I did this in a stainless steel bowl in a pot of hot water over a low-ish heat. You have to be a bit careful here because you don't want it to catch fire and singe your eyebrows off. Have a lid handy to smother any flames, just in case. Grate the soap and dissolve it in the hot water. Let it cool a little. When the beeswax is melted stir the two mixtures together. Cool and then use to polish your wood floors and any wooden furniture you might have.

The beeswax was from my sister, who among other things, is a bee keeper. She sent it up in a parcel via my Mum, and this is what it looked like.
Now, my Mum mistook it for muesli and poured herself a big bowl of it. Needless to say she was very dissapointed to bite into it and find that the 'oats' were wax and the 'seeds' were bits of beehive and bees arses. Pa ha ha ha ha ha! Some misfortunes just need to be laughed at.

Anyway, there it is. Furniture polish. It made a nice job of my bookcase. The recipes for the other bits and bobs are below.

Spray cleaner
Fill a spray bottle almost to the top with warm water. Add about 1 t dishwashing liquid and 2-3 T white vinegar. Add some essential oils if you like. I never do because have you seen the price of them?! It's only cleaning spray.

Glass cleaner
1/3 c methylated spirits or white vinegar
2/3 c water
1 t dishwashing liquid.
Use newspaper to clean your windows and they don't end up with linty streaks. That's true that is.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A parcel

Recently I promised my niece a silly parcel to cheer her up. I was all set to make something very funny and ridiculous, like an evil bunny egg cosy for instance, but at the last minute I thought to myself; "Is a very silly non-edible craft item the best gift for in impecunious student who only has a few more months in the city?" and the answer was "No".
Instead I decided that something edible, hopefully both delicious and healthy, would be just the thing to brave the Wellington winter. Roll on the rolled oats!
Wheat-free muesli (for my niece, who can't eat wheat but is okay with oats) Recipe adapted from Alison Holst's muesli recipe in "Meals without Red Meat"
4 c rolled oats (porridge oats or wholegrain, or a mixture of the two)
1/2 c shredded dried coconut
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c almonds, cut into large pieces
2 T (heaped) ground flaxseed
1/4 c honey
2 T brown sugar
1 T water
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t salt
2 T plain vegetable oil
1/2 - 1 c dried fruit
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Melt together the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, salt, and vegetable oil, then stir through the dry ingredients, mixing well. Spread in a large oven dish and bake at 170 degrees celsius for 15 min. Give it a stir and bake it 15 min more, checking regularly to make sure it's not burning. Let it cool completely before adding the dried fruit (I added 1/2 c raisins and 1/2 c sultanas). If you add the fruit while the muesli is still warm it will go as hard as nasty little rocks after the muesli cools; this is the truth and I know it from experience. Divide the muesli in half, give one share to your niece and keep the other half for yourself. Store in an airtight container.
And have a good week, okay?
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Stuff. Beautiful stuff.

I'm the first to admit there has not been a whole lot of crafty activity around here lately. However, that doesn't mean I'm not filling up the house with stuff I don't need and may never use. I just can't help myself, I love to go to junk shops and trawl for treasures. My Dad was the same, it's a genetic affliction.
I have a few favourite stops in the junk shops; kitchenware, bed linen, fabric, jewellery. These sheets were among the latest things to come home. The purple one in the background is my favourite kind, the white ones on top were totally unnecessary as I really don't need any more white flat sheets, but if some old lady has gone to the trouble to starch them (yes, really) and fold them so perfectly the least I can do is purchase them. I imagine that she was a retired nurse, who would smack my hands and shriek "stupid girl!" for not doing hospital corners when I make the beds.
Pinnies. These get comandeered for the dress-ups the minute I get home, but I have visions of actually using them one day. Especially that one with the pink swan on it. Classy!
Next, a fabulous dress, made in NZ back in the day. There is quite a lot of damage around the darts, so I'm going to cut it down into a skirt. You can't see in my crappy (sorry) photo, but this dress is sparkley blue lurex. It's gonna shock folks.
Lastly, these eight pieces of vintage cotton from an estate sale. Melissa from Tiny Happy was good enough to tell me about it, and my sister and I went and swooped like vultures, fighting over pieces we both wanted as only sisters can. What a show. Still, look at all the great stuff I got.
Well now I'm going to have to go and sew something with it all, aren't I. Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Winter Sun

It's the end of winter school holidays here, and it's like I've had two weeks annual leave from my life. Normally I am working on the computer, responding to emails, listening for the phone, and keeping an eye on the clock so that we're at school on time. But when we go on holiday over to our favourite spot in Golden Bay, there is no computer, no phone, my watch stays in my suitcase, and there is just the noise of the waves and the goings-on of small children.

Now this space of interweb is kind of like my memories, so I'm going to be honest so that I remember it honestly later. The noise of children is often lovely, especially when we have friends over. However, there is also plenty of this sort of thing:
"Muuuuuuuuum Harry used a grumpy voice with me and it hurt my feelings" and then "Muuuuuuuum Sylvie keeps interfering with my sandcastle and she won't give me any peace and quiet".
If I handle it right I can talk them into going back down onto the beach, down the little pathway into the winter sun.
And if I'm really lucky they forget their argument, and walk off after the tide to see what it left behind.
That leaves me sitting at the picnic table with my cup of coffee and my knitting and my thoughts, all of which are pretty nice most of the time.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

May contain violence (viewer discretion advised)

When I have big projects on like, oh, for example, crocheting a blanket (yes, still going), I sometimes need a small project that I can start and finish in one go, just to experience the satisfaction of finishing something. Making cards is a particularly satisfying project in this regard, since we always need them, I don’t like buying them, and my own rather questionable taste often makes me laugh.
For making cards, I have a box filled with pages torn from old magazines, tatty books destined for the recycling, or, sometimes, perfectly good books that I cut up anyway. Yes! It’s true! I’m a little ashamed but I’m telling you because I’m semi-confident that you won’t judge me. I also have a razor ruler to cut nice straight lines, and plain cardstock.
I hope you are still reading after my confession that I sometimes cut up books. I’m going to show some cards with pictures cut from a perfectly good book right now, can you handle it? Can ya?
The book: Action Man. From: The Hospice Charity Shop, $0.50.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear, violence and guns as well… I don’t know about you, but a part of my childhood was reading Commando comics, and these sorts of pictures give me a warm nostalgic feeling more than anything else. Anyway, my 7-year-old boy loves these cards, and what mother wouldn’t love that??
Moving right along, here are a series of gift tags made from a perfectly good Yates Garden Guide:
Well, I think that’s enough crazy book-cutting antics for one day. I hope you are all exhilarated rather than shocked and affronted.
Have a great weekend everyone!

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Funny Boys

Funny boy Number 1: My dear sweet little lad in his medieval outfit, all ready for a party a couple of weekends ago:
Crown and sword: Piggy bank busters, $2 each.
Cords: Postie Plus
Boots: No. 1 Shoes
Frown and belt: Model's own
Blue top with gold trim: Made (poorly, hastily, but with all of a mother's love) by me ( pattern McCalls Easy Stitch'n'Save 5216 made up in blue stretch velvet). Actually, I scared myself by how much I liked that stretch velvet. In my continuing fight against the tyranny of good taste I think I may have to sew myself something in it soon. 
Funny boy Number 2: My husband, who has been referring to this penguin popularly tagged with the name "Happy Feet", as "Sad Oesophagus".

Funny boy Number 3: Mr Thompson; his silly ideas made me laugh, his 'apology' made me laugh even harder, the irony of him throwing a sickie to avoid the furory was just delicious, and this protest gilded the lily of the whole sorry affair. Current events in NZ this week have been so entertaining.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So I've been thinking about this blogging lark lately, what is it for, really? When I started it was just a wee creative diversion because I liked making things, but my life has changed over these last 3 years, and I wouldn't say that is my primary motivation any more. When the wee ones were very small I could only do quick crafty things because I just didn't have the time or head-space for anything else, and it was fun to have small projects for myself. Now my children are older and at school the things I can do and want to do have changed. Little craft projects are not required for sanity because I'm already pretty sane. I can put my sewing skills to more practical use like making curtains, but is that really blog-worthy?
Every now and then I look back through my blog and see what I was doing a year ago, two years ago, and it's nice to remember. Sometimes I'm surprised by what I got around to doing. I might have forgotten about it otherwise. That is pretty blog-worthy to me, and so here I am.

All this thinking about whether I was a seasonal blogger or a perennial blogger got me thinking about plants. (As you do, you know). I have a favourite wee plant, Fuchsia procumbens, it grows on the shady south side of the house where it never gets any sun, and it thrives there. I like looking at it; it's a beautiful lime green colour with little heart-shaped leaves, and when it flowers, the flowers have only sepals, and no petals. It's a freaky wee delight.
What, you want to see Fanny Osbourne's botanical illustration of it? Sure, I happen to have it right here.

It's not your typical cut flower, but I do love it in a wee vase in the bathroom, where I can see it all the time.
It's a consumate survivor, this wee plant. I've had it in that vase for two months and it just stays there, green and perky, because it's made itself some new roots.
Somehow I think there is a good life lesson in this.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

While the boys were away

Funny how families develop their own traditions, isn't it? We have a heap of funny wee things that we do, just because it's worked out that way. Among the traditions that have grown in our household are pikelets for breakfast every Saturday, alphabet soup only when on holiday at Collingwood, very silly homemade cards for all festive occasions (really, the sillier the better), trips with Dad to see Grandad down in Christchurch. The kids love those weekends. They get to sit in the front seat of the car. Simon drives down after work at night, and there's the thrill of being out after dark and stopping in some small town on the way for tea.
Of course, there's always the other child whose turn it is to stay at home, and so they get to choose some fun stuff so that they have a great weekend, too. Being a crafty sort of a 5-year-old, when it was her turn to stay home, Sylvie wanted to choose some fabric from my stash and make a skirt. She chose some craft cotton and a doily to decorate it. The doily really cracks me up. It's neatly positioned so that when you sit down you can perch your plate of afternoon tea on it, just like on a table. She has such cool taste, I just love it.
In case you're off to go and throw up because this is all just too wholesome, I would also like to assure you that she also had a suite of unwholesome things on her list as well: a trip to town to buy some sparkley hairclips, a play at Chipmunks (shudder), and a fizzy drink and chippies from the supermarket. Life is so simple when you're 5.
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

The thrill of procrastination

When I was a student and studying for exams I was a master procrastinator. The meals were never more carefully planned and executed, and the house was as clean as a whistle. Now that I'm a grown-up I still love to muck around when I should be doing something else. In some ways it's a great way to get things done.
Case in point: My crochet blanket project. Now I know I said right here on this blog that it was insanity for me to undertake such a task, but as it turns out, my tax return is due and therefore crocheting a blanket has become a wonderfully addictive, delicious task to prevent me sitting down with my stack of bank statements and the calculator.
This blanket is going to be for a certain 5-year-old girl's birthday, hence the pinky/purpley colour scheme. To avoid it becoming too sickly I sneaked some grey and dark blue in, and I'm reasonably pleased with the way it's looking. If I were doing it again I might do different colours, but I'm a firm believer that you learn something with every project and so I'm not about to start unpicking or anything crazy like that.
Okay so here is a close-up because I wanted to show you the join-as-you-go thing. On the last round of each granny square you use your two-chain stitches between the groups of trebles to link to the next square. This neatly avoids having to sit down and join them all at the end, and makes a lovely big woolly blanket grow before your every eyes. Like magic. Magic!
The full instructions for joining-as-you-go are over here, and I also found a great clip on youtube about crocheting in the ends, here (with the added bonus of a New Zealand accent). Sheesh! What did we do before youtube eh.

Well, that's all from me on this wet Queen's Birthday Saturday. Hope you are having fun, whatever you're up to.