Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some Makings.

I won't use many words today as I am still recovering from a wonderful, wonderful Christmas and a lost voice (from a virus). Here are a few little things I made for our neighbours - the donut is a brooch - I hope they realised that.
And for a delicious non-alcoholic Christmas and New Year drink - Strawberry and rose petal cordial to be mixed with soda water.
And as for post Christmas crafting - I am thinking about life on a smaller scale inspired by Ana Hrachovec's amazing book 'Teeny Tiny Mochimochi' - the knitted gnome pattern pictured below comes from it. I actually did the carrots a little while ago but am now thinking more is needed for dinner than just that.

I loved doing the knitted gnomes so much that I thought I would see if I could cobble together a crochet version. It still needs a bit of work but I am sensing a necklace coming on.
I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and taking it quietly where you can.
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxxooxx.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Quick Crochet Star Pattern.

I thought as a last little Christmas present I would jot down a new star pattern that I've been working on. Being the eve before the eve I won't do a post with lots of how to photos - just the nitty-gritty directions. But before I do... here are a couple more photos.
A shy snowman...
And a named reindeer - Hugo though Fluffy was appropriate and was very happy to make it official for me.
Now for the star pattern...

Christmas Star.

Abbreviations (U.S.) :
slst - slip stitch
st - stitch
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
trbc - treble crochet

Round 1. Chain 2, the 5 sc into the 2nd ch from the hook. Slst into the 1st sc to make a circle.
Round 2. 2sc into every st until the end of the round. (10)
Round 3. 2sc into every st until the end of the round. (20)
Round 4. *Working into the first stitch, 2dc then 1 trbc. The next part forms a picot stitch at the top of star's point - ch3 then slst back into the 1st ch. Trbc once back down into the same stitch (as the first 2dc and 1trbc) then 2 dc. Skip a stitch then slst into the next stitch. Skip anoather stitch then repeat from * 4 more times. Bind off and then use your fingers to gently pinch and shape the points to make them extra pointy.
N.B. It is very important to make sure you are only working into every second stitch and not accidentally skipping more (this is very easy to do).
I hope this makes sense. I have had a ginormous day - as I am sure everybody does at this time of year - and my brain is feeling pretty foggy. Please ask if any parts are unclear.
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.
P.S. In the photo above I finished the star by single crocheting around the edge to give it a sparkle - I haven't included that step in the instructions but if you want to sc into every straight stitch and 3sc into the points.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Christmas Peeps AND the Best Shortbread Recipe Ever!!!

Business first, Jonno cut out the stag head shield for me yesterday and I spent the day spraying it. The unnamed little fellow is now mounted and waiting for a brass plate to announce his name (although he may have to make do with a cardboard one until after Christmas).

The presents are almost, almost done.
And the boys and I are still enjoying our Christmas glamming of the house.

Now, for the shortbread recipe. I do not make this claim lightly but I do think we may have a winning recipe. It is gluten free but please don't let this turn you off if you are lucky enough to be a gluten eater. I made a batch of gluten and gluten free the other day and had my father-in-law (well known as a shortbread connoisseur test it). Jonno and the boys back up his decision whole heartedly. Here we go...

Shortbread.

250 grams softened butter
1 cup of icing sugar
1 1/2 cups of white rice flour
1 1/2 cups of corn flour

Method.
Pre-heat oven to 180c. Cream butter and icing sugar together. Add rice flour and corn flour and mix well until it comes together in a big ball. Add a little extra butter if it is too dry or crumbly. Roll out on a well floured bench and cut into shapes or roll into a log and slice into circles. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. When they come out of the oven be patient, don't test to see if they are cool with your tongue - it took forever for the blister on Hugo's to go away.

Lots of love, Kate xxooxx.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Very Greedy Christmas Tree.

Finally, finally, finally we have our Christmas tree up. The rain poured all weekend and I was beside myself with the thought that we were wasting our 'having a gaudily decorated tree in our house' time. Then, for a moment, the skies cleared and Jonno and the boys jumped into the ute and went to Bethlehem (really, truly, it's a nearby suburb) and found the most perfect tree ever grown.
The most exciting part about this tree is the big hollow at the top which I think would be perfect for a giant paper crane to nest in. Note the boys' amazingly large stockings - I will show them properly another day but please know that Santa Claus is not expected to fill them - the size is so that they can put all of their presents in and then transport them to wherever we are spending the day.
Instead of using Christmas lights (mainly because I don't have any), this year I am using a garland of party lights that I bought last year from Cotton On. I love them so much that I am now determined to seek out more.

I love Christmas trees!!!
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Australian Birthdays.

Hello again - I think I forgot to say in my last post that I was popping over to Australia for my mum's 70th birthday. Archie and I have just returned after a week's holiday, having left Jonno and Hugo to manage the farm whilst we looked after the birthday girl.
Here are a couple of glimpses from Mum's garden. They have had a bit of rain and it is all looking very lush and green - not quite the norm for this area as they head into summer.

This is my niece wearing her new Christmas present. Crochet garlands are my new addiction I think.

I love going home and finding things I made (even from years ago) still in place. This little dog was made when I first started crocheting, the pattern is from Nikki Trench's 'Super Cute Crochet' and is still a favourite of mine.
Archie loved being with the dogs. I think Bear may have thought that Archie was part golden retriever. Very understandable when you take Archie's golden hair into consideration.
And here is the birthday girl herself, 70 years old and in very good nick, her only concession being that she needs a magnifying glass to distinguish between spoons and forks... oh well (actually, her eyesight is very good - I thought I better add that so she doesn't get cross with me - not that she would - Hi Mum!!!!).
Very hard to say good bye to everyone this time but it is so lovely to be back at home now. I am currently writing this from bed having a Sunday morning lie in. The boys are downstairs watching cartoons and Jonno, not working this morning, is reading the final installment of the Eragon series and will probably not speak to anyone for the rest of the day. There is nothing like a good book is there.
My stomach is beginning to growl so I had better pop downstairs and rustle up some breakfast.
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxxooxx.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Christmas Bauble Tutorial.

Abbreviations.

ch = chain

slst = slip stitch

sc = single crochet

st/s = stitch/es

Sorry I left this out in the original post - I use 8 ply wool (preferably cotton or a bamboo mix) and a 3.5mm hook. Any fibre-fill is fine.


For the bauble.


Round 1. ch 2,

Round 2. 6 sc into the 2nd ch from the hook, join with slst into first sc. (6)

Round 3. *2 sc in each st. *Repeat until end. (12)

Round 4. *1 sc in the next st then 2 sc in following sc. *Repeat until end. (18)

Round 5. *1 sc in following 2 sts then 2 sc in next sc. *Repeat until end. (24)

Round 6. *1sc into the following 3 sts then 2sc into the next st. *Repeat until end. (30)

Round 7. *1sc into the following 4 sts then 2sc into the next st. *Repeat until end. (36)

Rounds 8-12. 1 sc into each st until 5 rounds have been completed.

Round 13. *1sc into the first 5 sts then skip the sixth st. *Repeat until the end of the round.

Round 14. *1sc into the next 4 sts then skip the fifth st. *Repeat until the end of the round.

Round 15. *1sc into each of the next three sts then skip the fourth st. *Repeat until the end of the round.

Round 16. *1sc into each of the next two sts then skip the third sc. *Repeat until end of the round.

Stuff firmly.

Round 17. Repeat round 16.

Round 18 *1sc into every second st. *Repeat until end.

Bind off securely drawing the yarn through the last few stitches with a needle.


For the attachment for which we have decided the name of Toggle.

Round 1. ch 2,

Round 2. 6 sc into the 2nd ch from the hook, join with slst into first sc. (6)

Round 3. *2 sc in each st. *Repeat until end the end of the round. (12)

Rounds 4-5. 1sc into every st until the end of the round.

Bind of securely leaving a long tail of at least 30 cm.



Using the tail, sew the toggle onto the top of the bauble.
After it is attached, draw the thread up through the top of the toggle in preparation for the loop. Pull the thread across the top of the toggle leaving a long loop and then... Draw the needle back through to form a knot and tuck the thread back down into the bauble. Voila!!!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to leave a message in the comment section. I am away from tomorrow for a week in Australia but I will do my best to answer during that time.
Lots of love and good luck,
Kate xxooxx.

p.s. Click here to purchase a copy of my new children's book. With craft projects and crochet patterns included!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Archie's Poem.

Here a couple of photos of the wreath I made for Archie's teacher - we will give it to her today....
I don't usually put up writing the boys have done on the blog but I had to pop this in today. I think this is a pretty wonderful poem AND it is about colour and I think he may be a little greedy for it too.

White.

White is... an albino genius all tall and proud.
White is... snowball earth, the biggest ice age of all.
White is... the fog like a blanket on the earth.
White is... Mount Everest, the biggest mountain of all.
White tastes like... fizzy sherbet in my mouth.
White smells like... fresh cut vanilla beans for custard.
White sounds like... the blizzard chilling me to the bone.
White feels like... fresh snow all crisp on the ground.
White looks like... lime icing on a cake.
White makes me... freeze in my tracks.
White is... the blanket that tucks me into bed.

By Archie, age 8.

Friday, December 2, 2011

In the Box....

What's in the box....
An angel bunny for our school secretary who is one herself - an angel that is, not a bunny.


And what lurks beneath this wrapping....
A little reindeer for our principle who has the most Christmassy surname of Stagg.
This little one is still waiting, I think a little nervously.
Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments on the Christmas baubles. Because I appreciate your words so much and they have brightened up my day beyond imaging, I will write up the pattern early next week.
Until then though, have a wonderful weekend.
Love Kate xxooxx.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baubles.

I have for a few years now been searching for a perfect Christmas plate. When I saw the plate pictured above I knew finally that my shortbread would have somewhere to rest this year. The best thing.... it wasn't even expensive - wahoo!!!
Thankfully, I have almost finished making some of the presents... I have been so tired at night that I haven't been getting through them as quickly as I had hoped. This weekend will hopefully see a good bit of making though.



Now for the next round of baubles.
Lots of love,
Kate xxooxx.

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