Monday, August 18

A Blog Hop with a difference.

I have been tagged by my Beautiful Friend Janelle Wind to Participate in this Blog hop with a difference. I feel a little out of my Depth not having ever participated in a blog hop before and not having a creative niche to focus on, but hey I'll give it a go! Most of the predecessors up the chain I looked at are all paper crafter's. It is a blog hop with a difference as it is ever expanding and growing. The idea being I tag three creative people to play along and they will each tag another three, on and on it rolls. Though I have not managed to find three people to play along only one who wasn't committed elsewhere. 
So now without Further ado ....

What Am I working on Right now?

Right now I am knitting a baby cardigan for my newest Niece, she is about 8 weeks old and I'm working up a Debbie Bliss Pattern in her Baby Cashmerino yarn. I'm making the 6 to 9 mths size as its the first time I have ever made anything like this and I'm not sure how long it will take me.

I am also working to get all of my old Scrapbook layouts stored in appropriate page protectors. I'll eventually get everything into well ordered albums. I hope to be at a point where I know they are all protected and safe before I start my project life, pocket style pages ( hopefully this week ).

How long does it take to create a project?

That depends on what my creative medium is. With yarn projects I can work up coasters and wash cloths quite quickly. I usually finish a Scarf or large mandala in a few days. If its a more complicated pattern it can stretch out over a week and something like my hexagon ( mood ) blanket could go on indefinitely.
I can whip up a handmade card in 15 to 30 minutes.

What are my fave things I love to create with at the moment?

I really am enjoying working with the Baby Cashmerino yarn, and I'd love to get some more Symphonie hooks in the sizes I use regularly, they are so beautiful to work with. Though I mostly work with my clover amour hooks. In paper play Papertrey ink stamps & StampinUp dye pads. Lily Bee Design are my Favourite Paper people, these three brands/items are my staple in paper craft and card making ATM.

How does my creative process work?

With yarn projects I usually work on them at night while sitting in front of the TV with my Mr. I also sometimes snatch a few pattern repeats during the early afternoon but it just depends on the level of difficulty in the pattern - do I need to concentrate or is it a simpler known stitch etc. This kind of thing dictates when and how I work. I almost always take a yarn project along with a magazine, my planner or a book to the Kids sports practice sessions too.
With scrap booking I most often would start with a photo and story and then move things around a lot trying to find a visually pleasing arrangement. For card making I decide what colour base I want, most often Kraft or off white and then I have a look in my tiny scrap and discarded things bags. I would have often cut a shape, created a tag or stamped a sentiment that in itself was fine but didn't 'go' with what I was making. Keeping these all together enables me to sift though and find some bits to add to, or base a card on and drastically cuts down the time involved.

How do I become inspired and stay inspired?

Inspiration for yarn projects comes easily. Seeing a picture or pattern of a big bright mandala with some overlay detail makes my heart beat faster and I just want to make one! A delivery of a yarn club package gives me some direction and a beautiful new yarn that I usually cant wait to work with. Yarn inspiration is often based in need; for example when my Children need winter hats and I set off looking for a pattern to try. 
I see beautiful paper, felt, embroidery, quilting and kindness most days through my lovely online friends and Pinterest. All this creative beauty is what encourages the spark in me to burn brightly, the wonder I feel at all the amazingly clever, talented people sharing their creative skills and knowledge on line.

What is my signature style?

My Scrapbooking style is characteristically lots of negative space, one photo, layered PP, bright colours and an embellishment cluster or two usually featuring a piece of chipboard or transparent element.
I'd describe my cards as Simple. Featuring a neutral base with bright colour pops and bolder patterns in their design.

I have chosen to tag My very talented Friend Cassandra Madge, who is a whiz when it comes to photography and stitches up stunning quilts amongst other things!
I think I first came to have contact with Cass through Blythe Dolls via instagram. We secretly wish we lived in the same city so she could pop over for some morning Tea when I have baked something Yummy and she could teach me how to use my Camera with more skill! We could go on Nature Photography picnics, eat baked things, sit on one of her gorgeous quilts and take pretty pictures together!

that's it for me, I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about what I am up to and how I work!

Sunday, August 17

Weekly Wrap Up 17.08.14

My Weekly Wrap up is a summary of what this week held for me, featuring a selection of pictures from my Instagram feed.  

Hi all! Hope everyone has had a great week. I've spent lots of time out doors this week with a couple of gorgeous sunny days and lots of little seedlings needing attention!

 With the garden as a focus I have now planted out into bigger pots a LOT of lettuce and Mizuna. Also Hon Tsai tai and some of the Cream gold onions. I poked some Nasturtium seeds, that I found stored, into the soil - though I don't hold high hopes for them as I never have much luck with Nasturtiums here. I potted garden Cress, Chives and Coriander - there's a tomato seed that has sprouted too. All of these are still in the potting shed which serves to protect them from the still heavy frosts we are having lately.

Little signs of Spring are becoming more and more apparent as I notice more Bulbs with big fat buds and various flowers peeking out here and there, The red shoots of new growth on the roses is more obvious and I often see birds gathering nesting materials from the garden. I tidied up and reorganised some potted Earlicheer, gladioli and daffodils and moved a self seeded Salvia from the pot where it landed to a garden bed yesterday. Its raining today and there is rain forecast for the next few days too.

One day was so nice I spontaneously took the Kids down to the lake on the way home from School. They played in the playground and we went up to peek at the ducks. I really love watching ducks and observing all their variations.We also saw a pair of Swans with 5 cygnets, made friends with an injured Coot and watched two Pelicans sun bake and preen!

I'm still on track with my menu planning and meal preparation. The cookie dough I made up and froze last weekend has been great to have on hand this week. My quandary with baking is that one of the Children almost always does not like what I have made, finding something they will both eat is a ( delicious ) journey!

The Baby Cashmerino yarn arrived and I started work on my Nieces cardigan. This is something new and different for me, knitting a baby garment and using lots of colours but I felt like I could handle the challenge. I opted to carry the yarn up the side to save having to weave in all of those ends but now I'm up to the armhole shaping of the back this method becomes a bit bulky and less tidy.
Each time I think I have organised all of my Scrapbook pages into proper page protectors I find more! I took the pic that is above on the right, posting on Instagram saying I was done and then found a 12 x 12 plastic bag containing lots of layouts featuring extended family, siblings, nieces and nephews etc. I'll get there. Last night I found a document I had created in April 2010 which seems to be the journaling for "a week in the life". There is an empty pocket style Album in my cupboard too ... these seem to be destined for each other - that may have even been my intended purpose for it originally! I need to see if I have photos to go with this and it might end up being a lovely launch point for my pocket style adventure.

I've been asked to participate in a creative blog hop and if you are interested in my creative process and inspiration pop back tomorrow for that :)

Tuesday, August 12

Birthday Club August

In August It was Janelle we were sending our Birthday Club goodies to.
I'm still trying really hard to get something handmade into each of my gifts that I send out to the girls in the club.

Janelle has a really lovely retro style in some of her furniture pieces and vintage clothing, her colour preferences are very similar to mine so I crocheted a vintage style doily for her, I did modify the pattern a little as my gauge was out using this gorgeous turquoise Catania cotton. The loops at the end of the fans were really big on the original pattern and some of the chains were longer.

I tucked it nicely in a bright chevron mug I thought she might like, with some ' Australian Afternoon' blend tea. I really like this Blend its a bit stronger and has more Oomph. I reach for it when I just need a bit more Depth to my afternoon Cuppa. Have any of my Lovely Readers tried it?
Janelle later told me that these are the exact cups she has and one was chipped so that was a nice fortuitous choice!

The next club Birthdays gifts don't go out until October! Though I will pop in soon and share another gift that I sent out to a sweet friend, last month.

Sunday, August 10

Weekly Wrap Up 10.08.14

My Weekly Wrap up is a summary of what this week held for me, featuring a selection of pictures from my Instagram feed.  

This week was c-c-c-cold in the mornings and sunshiny during the days. The day time temps are coming in the mid teen range but the nights this week were a really heavy cold run for August with the coldest being nearly -8 a few -4 and -5's too. We enjoyed seeing how much more frozen the ponds were each day and what else was frozen. Oh and by the way my lettuce that I was worried about last week have survived beautifully the big ones and the small ones :)  

Creatively I have finished up my Kaitlyn Cowl, I made mine wider than the pattern called for and created my own button hole band as I wanted to use these 5 smaller buttons, that I took from an unravelled project, on it. I ended up sewing the buttons to one of the sides so it closed up in a V front rather than a loose cowl. I feel this is so much more practical. I'm still working on my planner though not as conscientiously as I have the last few weeks and I learned you can plan, plan, plan your little heart out but if you don't act on the instruction you have  set yourself there's not really much point! so I'm back with a planning session set for today and a renewed focus.

I'm really missing the memory keeping aspect of Scrap-booking. When I look back on so many of my pages and see the little things they used to say, or than snapshot of where they used to sit, or that quiet moment I captured on camera with a little note of the date and what it meant to me; It fills me with such warmth to have that memory in front of me. I look back now at a lot of my earlier design team work that was busy and product focussed and I don't love the visual appeal in those pages but still cherish the 'moments' they hold.
I've come across these in my de cluttering and have bought them out to a more accessible area for everyone. The kids and I are really enjoying looking at them together and there is a beautiful bonding process happening as I read my thoughts to them and they hear about their younger selves.

I'm slowly making progress on the bookshelf move. I'm finding this one particularly tricky as I work my 
de cluttering into the process. So many books I loved reading to my toddlers that don't deserve space on the shelves any more in terms of their value to us now, oh but the emotional pull! It interferes with my intention to part with them. I am putting it off. There are books that I need to sort into 'store for future generations' and 'move on for others', who can enjoy them now. I'm finding it so difficult to choose what to store and what to release; there are still several large piles of books in my lounge room and meals area that I need to sort and deal with.

Any Tips?  

One place I have been busy and productive is In the Kitchen, I've been making a lot more of our meals from Scratch and baking a few times this week too. I put a second Lazy Susan in the pantry cupboard for the oil, sauce, vinegar and some dried fruit. I love these up on the shelf above my eye level as I don't have to constantly be getting something to stand on to access what is at the back.

Spring is definitely in the air here.
Thanks for stopping by,  I hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Tuesday, August 5

Choc Chip Cookies

I made these on Saturday but they tasted even better on Sunday and Monday! The texture improved giving them more of a chewy quality. This was a recipe I originally saw on a package and tweaked by taking something out and adding a couple of other things.  

Ingredients :- 

125g softened butter
1 1/2 cups SR Flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg
tsp Vanilla
Pinch of Salt
Choc Chips

Method :-

Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the egg, Salt and Vanilla and combine with the creamed ingredients. Lastly mix in your Almond meal, Flour and Chocolate Chips. When its all well combined, drop spoonfuls onto baking sheets and cook in a preheated oven at 160 deg for about 20 minutes.

Friendly Reminder -  This one would not be suitable for Lunch boxes as it contains Almond meal.


Notes :- I used Dark choc chips between 3/4 and 1 cup and I used Golden caster Sugar.  My flour blend is predominately white but contains Wholemeal too.

Sunday, August 3

Weekly Wrap up 03.08.14

My Weekly Wrap up is a summary of what this week held for me, featuring a selection of pictures from my Instagram feed.  

Hello! How are you all faring this morning? We are a bit chilly here in Canberra with our biggest frost yet this winter, The week ahead has a 7 day forecast of minimum temps ranging between -3 and minus 5, so I think after lulling us into a false sense of Security Mother nature is reminding us winters not over yet!
 I'd taken photos of all the lovely greenery in the potting shed during the week and while I did take extra precaution to cover and cosy my little seedlings, when I went to untuck them this morning my lettuce were frozen solid and my lettuce seedlings were in frozen soil. :(  I tried to water my frozen lettuce and the water in the watering can was frozen, so I went to fill it at the tank and the tank tap was frozen! Some things are just not meant to be, its the risk you take as a gardener. I still hold hope the seedlings might pull through but I'm quite sure the plants we are eating from are lost.

In the kitchen my resolve to stick to our food budget is strengthened after a shocking blow out for July. I'm using my planner to try and keep two weeks in advance with dinner plans, this is aiding me when making a shopping list. I'm trying a different strategy of when, where and how I shop. I'm Re organising the kitchen cupboards and have cleared two shelves to dedicate for stockpiling in a smaller cupboard, I hope to have that entire cupboard dedicated to stockpiling soon ( three shelves )
I'm using my collection of Recipe books to pull new dishes from and adding them to the Plan with an aim to get us eating at least one different or new dish each week. I hope this might add some new meals to our tried and true repertoire and open my Fussy eaters up a bit. I can only Try!
Waste is an area that needs attention here also when it comes to food.

I had a major blow up with the kids yesterday. The bickering and ignored intervention eventually got to me and I went on a major rant about what they have to be grateful for. Explaining that the important stuff is the people, the love, the experiences. The things to be grateful for are the food, the roof, the clothes, the books, the education... That the devices, board games, TV shows, computer, toys ... everything else is luxury. Its stuff.
My heart has been somewhat heavy lately as I look at them and sense what I perceive as a growing sense of entitlement and lack of gratitude. More, more, more; me, me, me. I wonder about how as parents we have played our part in creating this and asking myself where is the line between encouraging and fostering their interests and spoiling them? Also what other factors are at play in creating this 'attitude'.
I really just want to derail it before it gets any bigger.

On a lighter note my knitting needles are calling to me and I borrowed this Debbie Bliss Book from the library. I have a 6 week old niece and another of my Sisters is Pregnant, I'm going to make a cardigan for Baby Scarlett, I haven't made a baby Cardigan for about 20 something years, the one and only I made was a gift to my Mum for one of my three youngest siblings, I was about 20 when I made it -  forgive me for not accurately remembering the ages of all my siblings, but there are 10 of them! The further down the line they are in birth order, the harder it is for me to remember ages and dates. I'm the eldest. Anyway ... back to the knitting - I used to work in a lolly shop and would knit at the counter in quiet times, which were plentiful in our little town. I have a throw/blanket planned for the baby on the way (gender unknown) and thats one involving a hook but I have until Jan for that one so it will start a little later.

I sent off another Birthday Club gift this week and the third instalment of my Winter Yarn club arrived, this yarn is so soft, chunky and luscious in its variations. I subscribed to Jellywares winter yarn club and haven't looked up Jodies pattern Recommendations for this one yet, I still haven't finished my second instalment project! I fear if something new catches my eye I'll start on it and have an abandoned WIP, so I'm trying to put in some effort on Finishing My Kaitlyn so I can wear her this season.

I hope you are all having a lovely Weekend. x