The Soft Chevron Crochet Blanket

Oh me, oh my, what an epic project this turned out to be.

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Late winter of 2014 my parents made the final decision that Bendigo was to be their next ‘home town’. With that came a whole lot of craziness associated with selling the family home & moving 3 hours ‘up the road’.

In my down time (which wasn’t a lot seeing as this took me 6 months to complete) I decided to relax by crocheting a blanket for my Dad.

The blanket is completely made from Bendigo Woollen Mills ‘Luxury’ 10 ply yarn. I chose the yarn as I wanted Dad’s blanket to be as local to the area they were moving to as possible. Plus, I love everything the Bendigo Woollen Mills produces. I am particularly excited about their latest release and the colours. I need to keep reminding myself I have an epic stash of wool that is earmarked for a myriad of projects, so I don’t need it. Then my evil twin mentions the fact that ‘really, what is one more ball of wool when it’s so pretty’….argh, the dilemma haha.

Ok, so back to this blanket. It ended up being pretty big but I love it. I used this CrochetHooksYou tutorial and just adjusted it to the width I wanted then just decided to do 15 rows of each of the 7 colours I had. To finish it off I just did a single crochet border & I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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Hopefully this blanket will keep my Dad’s skinny little legs warm this coming Bendigo winter & for many more winters.

MacroBoy & I are heading up to Bendigo tomorrow so I will finally get to give the final product to Dad. Hope he likes it!

I’m already on to my next project, I spotted this blanket on Pinterest by Rescued Paw Designs & at the start of the year I snapped up some super cheap wool on clearance at Spotlight in pretty much the same colours, so I am already making good progress on a blanket for MacroBoy.

I am sure to be back in a couple of weeks with an update of sorts. Until then, happy crafting!

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Sugar Skulls Anyone?

Another quiet weekend that has turned into a super productive two days.

I started my weekend with an early rise & a workout, then I headed off to my monthly acupuncture session. By the time all of that was done it wasn’t even 10am, so off we headed to do our weekly grocery shop & then settled in for a relaxing afternoon.

This morning we had our usual Sunday morning pancakes & tea, then headed into the garage to do some serious sorting & culling. The result is another 60 items ready for donation on Thursday plus another 43 items thrown out. So that brings my total donation/throw out number to 190 (my goal was 200…so close!!). Not bad for mid-February, the only issue is, there really is not a lot at all left to get rid of around the house, so I’m not entirely sure where the other 175 items are going to come from throughout the rest of the year.

After a morning tea break I headed into the sewing room & knocked out a couple of gifts for another amazing colleague, who also happens to be a friend. My friend is a real girly girl, however she also loves horror films & all things skulls. So when I stumbled upon some sugar skull fabric during my Boxing Day sale shopping, I just had to pick some up.

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In addition to the sugar skulls, I also picked up some other fabric with some skulls, flowers & Americana due to my friends recent travels to the US.

A lunch bag type arrangement was requested & because I can, I added another zipper pouch to the gift.

I am really happy with how they both turned out, sweet & a little quirky, just like the gift recipient.

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Have a fab week peeps! It’s another crazy busy one for me but I guess it keeps me out of trouble!

A My Little Pony Project

We have been lucky enough to have a very quiet weekend, so after an amazing breakfast date on Saturday morning, I got stuck into a little project for a young friend.

A beloved colleague & friend asked if I would make a zipper pouch & drawstring bag for his daughter, and when the fabric was already purchased and ready to go, well, how could I say no!?!

It wasn’t a stress free project, I made an incorrect cut on the lining fabric of the drawstring bag, so some emergency repairs ensued, which proved challenging due to the zig-zag nature of the pattern, but hey, it kept the afternoon interesting haha.

I also really struggled with inserting the zip into the zipper pouch. I’m definitely no expert when it comes to zips, with this being my 3rd ever zip installation, however, the others seemed easier.

Overall I’m pretty happy with how they turned out, so fingers crossed the person who they have been made for is also happy with the final product.

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I decided to style my makes with home grown roses, we seem to be getting a final flush in the front garden before the Autumn weather starts to creep in (which I’m not going to lie, I am super excited about hehe).

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I’m also a bit over the warm weather as 2015 is my year of looking after my health, which involves a lot of working out & this is just a little bit more pleasant when the weather is cool. I’m a bit shy when it comes to talking about stuff like this, but perhaps in a few months, if I feel I’ve found a good recipe for success & balance, then I will share how I’m trying to improve my overall well-being.

Upcoming projects include another tote bag for a special someone. This time with black & white chevron & chocolate suede, I’m scared & excited at the same time. Will post when it is done!

Hope you all have a fab week. Mine involves 10 pin bowling, hopefully a stay at a fancy city hotel, lots of working out & eating clean, along with a few treat meals and LOTS of talking on Thursday. Bring it on xxx

Quilted Placemats

Happy Australia Day!

Gosh, what a relaxing & at the same time busy long weekend!

We spent the most of it up at my parents place in Bendigo which was lovely. Dad has been using the total overload of plums to make sauce & I will take some more into work during the week. We are definitely experiencing the summer glut that comes along with mature fruit trees. No complaints here!

At the moment, MacroBoy has just put a whole duck in the oven for our late lunch & I have just taken a banana cake out. Once that has cooled I will smother it with some passionfruit & honey icing & it will be ready for afternoon tea. I used this recipe, which is out of Annabel’s latest cookbook ‘The Free-range Cook – Through The Seasons’. I have her last 3 cookbooks as well as this one. There isn’t a single dish we have cooked out of them that hasn’t been amazing.

The banana cake also keeps our ‘cook one thing out of a different cookbook every week in 2015’ theme alive & well. Winning!

Even though it’s been a long-weekend here in Australia, I haven’t spent a lot of time sewing. I did go shopping for a whole lot of bits & bobs though & I’ve managed to get everything I need for two more tote bags & two more zipper pouches, so I’m sure they will feature in upcoming posts.

Today I finished off some quilted place-mats. I also made continuous bias binding for them which was a first & not nearly as daunting as I thought it would be. I used this tutorial to help me.

The place-mats are made up of 6 x 5 inch squares in 3 different fabrics plus a neutral beige backing. The fabrics will look familiar as they were used for the bucket bag that I made my Mum & the tote bag I made myself recently.

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I used a 1/4 seam to sew all the individual blocks together & then to add a little bit of interest when joining the top, batting & backing I stitched a 1/4 seam to either side of the fabric joins. You can see this in the final photos with the binding attached.

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I used 2 inch strips of a steel grey plain cotton for the binding. It was tough to match the colours in the fabrics as a lot of the colours in the Paris inspired fabric are faded. I like the way the dark grey has come out in the end.

My binding isn’t perfect, it is definitely wonky at times but that is OK, it’s only my second time ever attempting to bind something, so I’m pleased that I can see an improvement.

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These four mats will take pride of place in our new camper trailer when we pick it up in 6-8 weeks. The bonus of using them in the van is that they are super light-weight & fold down nicely so they don’t take up much space.

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Ok, off to finish off my home-made facial cleanser, moisturiser, more sleep-balm & sore-muscle salve. Living a simple life can be pretty darn busy sometimes!

A Zipper Pouch & some Sleep Balm

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Today was a pretty relaxed Sunday. This was much needed as MacroBoy & I ventured to Ikea yesterday & that requires some getting over haha.

The good thing about the trip is that it was a complete success & my craft room has been very much made over now, so I will do a post on that very soon (just have to get MacroBoy to hang some artwork for me).

I promised a colleague I would make her a treatment to help her get to sleep & hopefully have a more restful sleep.

I based my recipe off Shalom Mama’s, however I’ve made my own tweaks.

You will need:

– 1/8 cup Lemon Balm

– 1/8 cup Chamomile Flowers

– 3/4 cup Coconut Oil

– 1 tbsp beeswax

– 15 drops each of Lavender, Cedarwood & Lemon essential oils

To make:

– Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius

– Melt your coconut oil (either in a saucepan on low heat or in the microwave) then add this to an oven proof bowl & add your lemon balm & chamomile flowers

– Once the oven is up to temperature, turn it off & place the bowl with herbs & oil in the oven for at least 3 hours

– After leaving the herbs to steep in the oil, strain the herbs so you are just left with the oil, then place this oil along with beeswax into a small saucepan on a low heat

– When the beeswax is completely melted, take the oil off the heat & add your essential oils

– Pour this into your container & you are done

I rub a small amount onto to the soles of my feet & a little dab onto my temples each night as I get into bed. I love it & find it incredibly effective.

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Whilst I was waiting for the herbs to steep in the oil I went to try out my new & improved craft room. To accompany my sleep balm gift, I decided to make a little zipper pouch to hold the tin.

I used this Craftsy course which is the same course I used to help make my tote bag from my last post.

It was my first attempt (& success) at working with a zip. I did OK, it isn’t perfect, but at the same time, I thought it was going to be a whole lot harder, so I was definitely pleasantly surprised & will not shy away from zipper installation in the future.

This zipper pouch is something I could put together easily in an hour or so & would be great for gifts. I can already think of one other person who desperately needs a pencil case upgrade at work, so I will add them to my gift list.

You may notice the photos in this post are far better than usual…I will happily admit I employed MacroBoy’s services for these.

Have a great week!

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The Tote Bag

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After my little mitten adventure yesterday, I thought I would make something nice & simple for myself today.

Again, I took inspiration & direction from a Craftsy course. The instructor is Kristen Link & the free course also has instructions on how to make a small zipper pouch which is another simple project I am hoping to embark on as soon as I get over my fear of zippers (soon I hope!).

I really love how this bag came out. I used the last of the denim that I had left from Mum’s bucket bag & I think it worked really well with the neutral patterned fabric. The only thing I really changed from the pattern was that I made the pocket significantly bigger. I wanted to be able to drop my keys & phone in there to avoid the inevitable fishing expedition I have to embark on every time I get back to the car.

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You could have a lot of fun with this bag, using different patterns, colours etc. It is designed to be fully reversible so you could have two completely different fabrics & make it a true two-in-one bag, however, I just chose a plain fabric for my lining as I’m happy not to take advantage of the reversible design this time.

I can see this bag getting a lot of use, especially for market visits & quick bike rides to the supermarket. I also think this would be a great gift & I think I will make a few for that very purpose this year.

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Well, that’s it for another weekend, back to the real world tomorrow.

Hoping to update the blog with some natural health remedies that I’ve been trying lately. I will try to get that up in the next couple of weeks.

Mittens for Koalas

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A call went out via the Australian media in the last couple of days for some 100% cotton mittens for injured koalas caught up in recent bush fires across the southern parts of the country.

In the back of my mind, I’ve always hoped that whilst the sewing and crochet aspects of my world are relaxing, interesting & useful, that at some stage I would be able to use these skills for charitable work.

As I work full time, I may not be able to donate lots of man hours to charitable pursuits & as a single income household, we may not be able to donate significant funds, but one thing I can do is donate some of my time on the weekend, that probably would have already been spent sewing.

So that’s what I have done on this super gloomy & cool Saturday. I will get MacroBoy to post them off on Monday.

I used this pattern, which I found via this article.

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Hope you’re having a great weekend. I am thinking I will attempt a tote bag tomorrow…and if that works, perhaps I will consider my first ever skirt in coming weeks (argh, garment making, can I even do that?!?!).