Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crochet Ball Tutorial.

I am using the American crochet terms so when I talk about an sc , it is referring to an English dc.
Equipment - 3mm crochet hook, 8 ply or 4 ply yarn depending on desired size (you can use a 2.5mm crochet hook with the 4 ply yarn if you like but I find the 3mm hook is still fine).

ch = chain
slst = slip stitch
sc = single crochet

To begin, make 2 ch
Round 1: ch 2
Round 2: 6 sc in 1st chain, join with slst into first sc. (6)
Round 3: *2 sc in each sc. *Repeat until end. (12)
Round 4: *1 sc in the next sc then 2 sc in following sc. *Repeat until end. (18)
Round 5: *1 sc in following 2sc then 2 sc in next sc. *Repeat until end. (24)
Rounds 6 - 10: sc into each sc until 5 rounds have been completed.
Round 11: *sc into each of the next three sc then skip the fourth sc. *Repeat until end
Round 12: *sc into each of the next two sc then skip the third sc. *Repeat until end
Round 13: *sc into every second sc. *Repeat until end.
Round 14: Continue to follow the instructions from round thirteen until hole is almost closed. Bind off securely.

To make a bigger ball, in Round 6, instead of just doing an sc in every sc, sc into each of the following 3 sc then 2 sc into the fourth sc. This also means that in Round 11, you would *sc into each of the next four sc, then skip the fifths sc, repeating from * until the end of the round.
To make a flatter smartie like shape, follow the instructions for Round 6 and Round 7, beginning to decrease the pattern in Round 8.
I am so sorry it has taken so many days to post. I am not sure if the written tutorial is perfect yet as I didn't realise how much I rely on the look of the ball when deciding to decrease. I will keep playing with it though and will write up any changes along the way.
This has been a very quiet blogging week for me as I have been snared by a combination of school holidays and a temporary case of slow Internet connection. Actually, add to that a sudden onset of extreme tiredness and a need to sleep huge hours (not pregnant). Thank goodness everything has cleared up again, although the boysies are still on school holidays but that is a good thing. Today we are setting off for a little holiday in my parents-in-laws's camper van. We don't even know where we are going yet but we do have a list of things we would like to do... glow worm caves, hot mineral pools, hot water rivers, forests and crochet. Hang on, the last bit might just be me although I am sure that Archie will want me to include his knitting and I did buy two embroidery hoops so I will pack those for small boys in rainy weather.
I have also bought a couple of amazing new books so I will review them when I come back. Stay tuned and I will see you Monday next week. Have a good weekend - xxooxxooxx.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crochet Balls.

I don't know if you have noticed any balls floating around the periphery of my photos, but if you have, then you may be sensing they are fast becoming my latest obsession. The moment the boysies are in bed and a little bit of order has been hacked into our household wilderness, I head upstairs to the big, blue couch, reach for my hook and cottons and begin adding to the nicely growing pile.
Every second year we travel to Australia to have Christmas with my family which is the best thing in the world and so exciting for the boys, but also means lead up to the big day is extremely fraught. So on the other year, the kiwi Christmas, I like to take my time a little, enjoy being around friends and NZ family and relish in being able to have a tree.
The balls are part of this year's New Zealand celebration as I have decided to make a wreath of crocheted baubles which we (I) can enjoy for the entire festive season. Obviously I am anticipating it may take a while to come together, hence Christmas preparation in September. The good thing about making so many balls is that I am beginning to come up with my own version which I will post soon. In the mean time, I had better go back to the kitchen and finish cooking Jonno's birthday dinner which is the main celebration going on here today.
By the way, did I mention that when I flee upstairs, it is also to watch 'Bones' which Jonno and I are working through season by season. I am so obsessed that at the end of the day, I breathe a sigh of relief when Booth and Brennan appear on my screen. We are all such good friends and also forensic experts too. Actually, one of the things Jonno and I both like about it is that it focuses on bones rather than gore... a murder mystery show that doesn't put you off your snacks.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A rainy day with little fellas.

It is a wet and rainy school holiday Wednesday today and my first proper day at home in a week or so. The boysies are well rested and as a result, human like and pleasant. AND raring to do some 'crafting'.
Usually when I decide to do a craft with them, I forget they have their own strong ideas about the outcome which is, always, completely different from my concept. Strangely, just as I have let go of controlling the process, we are starting to be on the same page.
Watching them work makes me realise how important it is to do your own creative work in front of them so they can see paint brushes being used with respect, understand how important good tension is in sewing and how wonderful colours can be when they are not all mixed into sludge brown.
Lunch time and then a nap. Wahoo.
p.s. I just can't get enough of the Spring in the garden.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

'Super - Cute Crochet'.

If anyone has been wondering where this little fella comes from, it is 'Super - Cute Crochet' by Nicki Trench and is absolutely fantastic. Great instructions and one of those very rare books where you are tempted to make every single thing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Blue... but just the colour, not the emotion.

Bluebells and daffodils from the garden.
My new mug (yippee-yay) and violets from the farmers' market.
Beads waiting for me to make a pattern with them.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday morning chooks.

With every group, there always seems to be one individual with their own plans. On our farm, it is a chook. We have six hens who live in harmony with our dogs, cats and boys. Their house is down in the orchard, covered with passion fruit vines and by pink and white blossom trees. Every morning they make their way up to the garden, weaving their way through the red-stemmed dogwoods, up past the clumps of bluebells and onto our long, thick green-leaved lawn. Five of them cluck together, rushing over to see bleary eyed worms sticking their soft heads out to the morning light. They all take quick darts with their clacking beaks and jump up and down with agitation and excitement.
One little chook always walks away, instead jerking its wrinkled feet through the dew to our veranda where it then pecks away at the concrete, cleaning up all of the boys' crumbs from the previous day. It is now so bold and curious that when the boys are watching their morning cartoons, it comes to the door, taps its beak on the frame and studies them, her head tipped to one side. If they move back slightly from the door, she jumps through and strolls past the Lego, tapping the odd Morse coded signal and smashing any left over rice bubbles that have jumped out of a breakfast bowl.
We chase her out of the house after a couple of minutes because somehow, sense kicks in that perhaps it is not a good idea to let a hen have run of the house. Also, our home is chaotic enough without chooks roosting as well. And there is always the thought that tomorrow morning she will return.
I admire her because she isn't afraid to test the boundaries, to try new places and not become discouraged by rejection. There is something in her that makes her less fearful and I wish from the tips of my ears to the ends of my toes that I could have some of this too. My life is threatening change and I want to be able to embrace it, to not be weighed down by fear of the unknown. Maybe I could practise bravery by banging my nose and teeth against the concrete floor too, or instead, maybe I could just go upstairs and write my application forms, saving my bones from breaking unnecessarily. Where is that pen...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Helper and Horror.

Sorry, I know I have posted a similar photo but I haven't any more recent ones (note to self, try not to take photos just of craft things). I walked down the stairs announcing my decision to do an hour's clean up tomorrow morning. On being asked whether they were going to be helpers or horrors, Archie firmly said "Helper" and Hugo obviously decided honesty was the best policy with a loud yell of "Horror". That about sums it up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Care package trays...

My mother-in-law came around the other day with this tray of love and baked goods. She certainly know how to cheer someone up. Thank you Maureen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Funny things and good things.

Hugo has named him "Captain Doggy".
Even though he is only going to be with us for a little while.
Some wildly exciting plans for a suit left casually on the stairs.

I am still looking at all the good things around the house, trying to redirect my brain towards joy rather than world wide misery and destruction. I think it is actually working thank goodness 'cause I woke with a little bit of grumpiness hanging around the corners and I managed to banish it by thinking of things I would like to make, doing a tiny bit of yoga when I got out of bed and prioritising a few magical things for the day (that is why I am blogging so early).
Both boys are at home this morning, Archie is on the mend but still has a slight earache so the pompom box will make an appearance. I am thinking about making a pompom wreath for Christmas as a project with them so another good thing to raise the serotonin a notch.
I hope everybody else is scheduling a serotonin boost in their day too. xxooxxooxx.
p.s. The dog is the funny thing, not me just in case you were waiting for a funny story. Nothing funny going on here. We are all just sitting around seriously, thinking good things of course, but completely devoid of humour.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Happy Things.

Little doggy projects to be finished.
The crochet cushion Mum made for me.
My fabric stack showing a little bosom.
The paper lanterns over my desk.
Yesterday I drove my mama back to the airport and did the whole big goodbye. Emotions are so exhausting aren't they. So feeling a little low this morning, I wondered around the house cataloguing my favourite things with the camera. Oddly enough, I now feel as though I can breathe a little bit deeper and my soul is resting a little lighter.
Spring has flung wide her arms and is snaking her scents of blossom, fresh grass and bluebells through the open doors. Archie is beside the table sprawled on a beanbag (with a very sore ear) snapping pieces of mobilo together. As for Hugo, he is no doubt, soaked with a gritty mixture of sand and water at his pre-school. All in all, these things are good and I am going to give them free rein in my head today, let them gain a bit of dominance over the forces of grey.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Knitting, crochet and love.

There is nothing like seeing your mum start a new project...
And then see a little boy join in...
Who then manoeuvres on to her knee....

To bask in a mixture of yarn, love and sunshine.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A mother at my table.

My mum is really, really, really here. AND we have been doing lots of crafty things together including a trip to the bead shop and lots and lots and lots of crochet which has been very therapeutic considering that two little boys have been sick and very cranky and needing lots of support and encouragement to make it through the day. So disappointing though because of course, with a grandmother living overseas, you want your children to be in top form. Thankfully she has had a few children herself and understands the whole deal - and completely adores her grandsons no matter what health she finds them in.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


There has been a lot of cake eating (thanks to my mother-in-law, the marvellous and magical Maureen).
And lots of crocheting...
But most of all, lots and lots of sitting and chatting since Mum and I have been back in Tauranga. Still a bit tuckered out but definitely filled with the glow of having a mini holiday in Christchurch. Off to bed. So nice to be back. Kisses and hugs xxooxxooxx.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Time for a little jaunt.

Tomorrow will be a big adventure. I am setting off all by myself and flying down to the South Island to stay with my brother and see my Mama. And then when my brother is not looking, I am going to secretly mumnap her and bring her back up to North Island. Sneaky-like... The boys are bursting at the seams to see their 'Gaga' and so, are very happy for me to be holidaying without them for a couple of days. I can't wait to be up in the air with my feet up(ish) and a really, really trashy magazine. There just seems to be so many things to do before I go though, like make sure I really did organise someone to look after the boys for me and switch off the iron and not the freezer. Uh oh, I had better go and check again. See you soon. xxooxxooxxooxx

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another book and a house full of hair cuts...

I am beginning to have a somewhat furtive relationship with this book. I notice that every time I walk past, it stops me in its track and makes me sit down, flick through pages and sadly like our (actually I think he belonged to Lucy) old, deceased, overweight ginger tom, Ginger, dribble until my whiskers droop. The idea of hiding it in a cupboard somewhere has occurred to me but it is a library book and I don't want to lose it. I also don't want to return it, never ever, ever and am thinking about taking out library subscriptions on each family member's behalf so that I can keep it forever. It is just soo good.... soo good.
The other thing going on in this house at the moment is rather unfortunate. Half the members of the household are looking very awkward with new haircuts. Those two people happen to be Hugo and myself. Jonno and Archie are happy with their glorious heads of hair, swaggering around the house with a faint whiff of freshly shampooed superiority whilst Hugo and I, well, we are wearing lots of hats.
I have to say the hairdresser did a great job with my hair. It is very short and choppy, however, without any product (I hate the way it coats my hands whenever I self-consciously give it a ruffle) it goes into a kind of puff where I look like a monkey-headed girl. So farewell to the last haircut of scary dragon-gallery lady and hello to the 'one who lives with monkeys'... the colony has been so accepting of me fortunately.
Hugo's haircutting adventures have been quite a different story. It turned out he was not quite so enamoured by his blond curly locks and didn't think the whole sweeping fringe thing was as cute as I did. In fact, he felt it stopped him from being able to see. In fact, it did. BUT, he looked so cute.
The other night he trotted downstairs and told me that he cut his hair which he considered as a very good and practical thing to do because now he can see. It was very hard logic to argue with and he looked sososososooso funny, there was nothing in me left to firmly parent him with. Those long curly sides and the very short, hacked top was punishment enough. Jonno couldn't control his laughter and so had to leave the room.
The next morning I neatened up the sides but as I don't want his whole head to look as though a lawn mower went cyber-mad (you know what I mean, when they become slightly digital and slightly human and try to take over the world), we have to wait a couple of weeks before a general cohesion of lengths can be reached. I will post photos but first need Jonno to take a photo of me at my most monkey-like just to be fair to my smallest son.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I still exist.... I promise.

Missing in action is a terrible thing in the blogging world... but lean in closely and listen, I will tell you why there was nothing but a big greedy silence. On a wild and blustery night last week, a Tuesday if I recall rightly, a gigantic thunder storm lashed the Bay of Plenty with a dark and vengeful fury. Above our cowering house, a big blade of lightening cracked down upon us, blowing out our vulnerable little modem and plunging our home into an Internet free zone. It was such a big boom that Archie (the unwakable) sat up and cried out for me, fearing we were in the middle of an earthquake (not an uncommon situation in New Zealand).
The bright cold and hard light of day met us on Wednesday, I shall never forget it. I went to check on all of the previous night's international blog activity and... nothing, just a page that kept telling me to check my IP provider. No sorrys, no "I know this is hard for you", nothing.
For the first day I alternated between sweating and chills, the second day I had an urgent and unquenchable thirst to know what all of my blogging friends were doing, the third day I managed to potter around the house a bit but was still overcome hourly to check the computer and by the fourth day, I looked around and discovered my house was looking much tidier than it had done for months. By the seventh day I decided that cleanliness is the most overrated past time in the world.
So hurrah for the first day of Spring but more importantly ("Than Spring?" I hear the blossoms on our tree ask indignantly), hurray for being back online. So much to catch up on with all of the cup of tea reads which will be so much more interesting than any magazine.
I posted a few photos above of things that I have been doing in my computer-free week, just a few snippets including my super-rubbery new gumboots which make for the most wonderful pair I have ever worn in my life. I would give them names but I don't want them to get too conceited as I intend to walk all over them.... ba boom chi. Yes, that would be me in showing-off mode.
By the way, just 7 more sleeps until my Mama flies over to New Zealand. I have never grown out of the whole jumping into bed with her in the morning act, I just now have a couple of young puppy like creatures who also join in and we find this incredibly hard to do with an ocean in the way. The best thing is she has learnt to crochet so I am imagining lots of hooking (the more polite version) and copious amounts of tea.
Anyway, I had better go and cook something, sadly the family became very used to dinner over the last week. Honk honk.


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