Thursday, November 27, 2014

Garden Roses

 Absolute happiness for me is picking a massive bunch of roses from my garden. 
 I am sure that I would have raved about it before but one of my top three roses would be Pierre de Ronsard.
 I am still recovering from the dreaded lurgy so I thought I would be more more image-y than wordy...

 And my little stripy rose above, finally opened (see below)outlasting all of the flowers from her original bunch - impressive.
I hope something lovely has bloomed in your day too.
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

Monday, November 24, 2014

'A Good Yarn' - A Book Review.

'A Good Yarn' by Katherine Poulton  is my favourite knitting pattern collection ever. EVER!!!
Maybe I should tell you why. Katherine Poulton and Lily Cole (both models -  read more about them here) set up the knitware company The North Circular in 2009 for London Fashion week, wanting "to return value to the hand made product, personalise the process of production, rekindle the relationship between the producer and the purchaser - knitter and scarf wearer, practically and digitally.We were both blessed with talented knitting grandmothers,so we grew up knowing the value of things made with love". 
They make the most amazing beanies, mittens, scarves, snoods, socks, etc - and have been my go to guide for inspiration for a long time now.
Late at night I often surf the internet looking for new release books. When I stumbled across this book my joy knew no bounds.... except, there were no reviews on it and these days I don't like to buy a book unless I know what some of the projects are in it and have seen a few photos. There are so many wonderful books out there but often they may only contain one 'must do' make. I'm happy to  borrow these books from the library but not necessarily purchase. My criteria to buy means that there must be at least three projects worth making - or two if they are spectacular.
So I wrote to the publishers explaining my predicament (it must have been a brave day) and asked if they could please send me a copy to review. And they did! Thank you Kyle Books.
The next question arose in my mind. When a book is given to you for the purpose of review, how do you fairly evaluate it without gratitude (that wonderful thing) getting in the way. I went back to my criteria for buying a book, how many of these projects would I make. I counted up the number of projects in 'A Good Yarn' that I would knit either for presents or for myself and ended up with the astonishing number of 22 (out of a possible score of 30). And I would choose to knit these over similar patterns in other books because they are amazing.
This is the most generous book. So many of the beautiful pieces from their collection are included! For instance, the beanie pictured above is sold on their site in a dip dyed version. I feel so rude even mentioning this next point but.... well,  we crafters can be thrifty - it sells in their shop for £89.00 whereas the book sells for £13.59. Hurrah for being able to knit!!!!!!!!
With so many beautiful projects, it would have taken all day to upload the photos. Instead I've only included a few which was a very difficult job.
Another reason for loving 'A Good Yarn' is that all of the yarn choices are eminently sensible. I borrowed a book from the library once where the projects were made up with all sorts of crazy, expensively branded cashmere. I later read a review on that particular book where totted up the expense for making one cushion - $200US. In this, no brands are pushed. Instead they tell you the ply, needle size and tension required. For a bulkier knit, they recommend using 2 strands of aran together - very simple.,
I am thinking about my nephews for the beanie above - they don't need to know that a girl was photoprahed wearing it.
This is one of my favourite patterns. I have a long neck and adore anything that I can wrap around it multiple times. A collar and a scarf - wahoo. I also want to make this one for my slightly younger brother but in a different colour because he may feel awkward if we wear matching clothes in our late 30's.
Of course the photography is beautiful and the best thing is, I'm sure I'll look exactly the same in as them in this beanie because that is how it works. Yes indeedydoo.
We have a young family friend at art school who this hat would be perfect for - but in black because that's what art students wear.
 And the Bobble Hat again. I love how it pops up here and there in different colours.
The Catch Shrug - this is in my top three list.

One of my favourite things to make when travelling are socks. However, I'm completely fed up with 4ply patterns. This one however, uses dk and is now at the top of the list. Once again, this book is definitely proving itself to be my new knitting bible.
 Houndstooth gloves!!!!
 This is another of my other absolute faves. A little while ago my friend bought something similar and I was secretly green with envy..... Actually I think she probably realised when I tried to wrestle it from her when she left.

The other reason I am thrilled to have this book is because my boys and various nephews have grown out of the other books I used to work from in both size and taste. And they aren't quite as keen on crochet toys anymore..... Having something contemporary to dip into for presents is great. 
I really, really, really love 'A Good Yarn'. The patterns are straight forward, beautifully styled and photographed and just so inspirational. It even has loads of tip boxes from experienced knitters. 
You can buy it here, here and here.
Lots and lots of love,
Kate xxx.
p.s. By the way, if you read my post yesterday, you would have picked up that I have not been well and all of these photos were taken from bed. Thank you so much for all of your thoughts - I'm now feeling much better.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Quiet Time.

I have spent the last few days in bed sick. Midway through last week I began to feel awful, overwhelmed by all sorts of things I really didn't need to be worried by and very, very, very tired. I woke Thursday morning with a raw throat, headache, etc and suddenly had to obey my body's orders to lie flat.
I don't know if I have mentioned before that I have a funny ear syndrome where I have a tiny hole in each of my ear bone canals. I suffered for years with intense bouts of nausea and vertigo until X-rays revealed the story and medication was prescribed (which has been a miracle). When I get a 'nuffly' nose though it means that I have to remain prone as the pressure is too much for my ears.
Fortunately, the boys had school Thursday and Friday and I had a stack of books to work my way through. 
I've noticed of late that my ability to deal with stress has been decreasing. It's always been something I have had to be careful about but the mindfulness that helps me deal with it has been slipping away at the rate of knots. Not surprising that I have ended up with a good old stonker of a bug.
The funny thing is though, that after being in bed for the past few days, I feel as though my soul has been wiped clean. All the things I have been worrying about have turned out not to matter and instead I've had time to revel in a feeling of peacefulness and let that grow in its place. I don't know how I will feel tomorrow when the new week's pace starts up again but I hope that I can hold onto the mindfulness more firmly.
 I am a big advocate of list writing. It really helps me to keep everything in check and I am addicted to the ticks that completing a task brings. However, I was thinking today that I need to put lovely things onto the list, things I might do through the course of the day without realising that they are the most important things. Top of the list really needs to be things like - drink a cup of tea quietly - pick roses for bathroom - photograph something special for the blog/instagram. Of course the list has a million other pressing and ordinary things to do but including beautiful things would be a much more uplifting way to start the day.
 This morning I walked around the garden picking roses for my room and had a 10 minute tidy so that I had some loveliness to look at before collapsing back into bed.
What a difference it made to my day. The smell of these roses by my bed were heaven.

And I managed to take some photos from bed for a book review tomorrow with my cat Tinkerbel keeping me company. Just wait until you see this book, it is in my top three knitting books ever!
I hope that you have managed to find some rosy bits in your weekend too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pink Rope and Macrame.

 Eeeeek, I was searching for paracord on trade me (New Zealand's version of ebay) and came across this pink paracord - so perfect for macrame. Of course I snapped it up with a sweaty fury and then waited anxiously for it to arrive in the mail.
On the day it finally appeared in the mailbox, I was on my way to town and bought this huge, glass bowl to use the rope with. I found one for $25NZ ($20US) - it really is big - so felt it was quite the bargain. Of course the first thing I did was start knotting up the moment I came home. 
The air plant in the photographs was borrowed from another little terrarium and has since returned to its home. A trip to the nursery will be my next job!
 I'm also really excited because my Christmas postcards and magnets arrived at the end of last week. If you order a copy of 'Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon' between now and the 10th of December, you will receive them as a little thank you treat with your book. AND did you know that the books come wrapped AND postage is free so I can send them for you to anywhere and anyone in the world! Hassle free Christmas shopping at its best.
 Here is a bee in our blossom tree. I had to include it because it is so sweet and there is also a burgeoning pink theme in this post.
 And to top it off, my favourite pink rose in my favourite teacup with pink roses...
Lots and lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday Morning Baking.

As I mentioned yesterday morning, Archie woke in a baking mood. After trawling through my favourite cookbook, 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' by Nigella Lawson, he settled upon her Jam Donut Muffins. One thing I love about Nigella's recipes (we are on first name basis) is that with an extra egg and gluten free flour, they translate so easily into a gluten free version. I can say from experience that this is not always the case!
 He did the whole thing by himself from start to finish and with such happiness.
Hugo of course thought it was the best thing that has ever happened in our kitchen.
We were allowed to have one each. The rest had to be saved for dessert because Poppa was coming over for dinner.
Awwwww. Archie loves his Poppa.
Lots and lots of love,
Kate. xxooxxooxx.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Good Morning..... or Evening!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. I'm still in pyjamas mid morning and feel like I should commit to clothing soon but it's soooooo snuggly. I've just finished an unputdownable thriller - 'Wolf' by Mo Hayder and have a stack of new choices waiting for me - I'll photograph them later. And I have only had one cup of tea so there are many more waiting for me to drink. I have a few must do crochet projects to work on which is always nice. And Archie is currently perusing cook books to find something to bake. Wahoo.
I hope you find yourself sandwiched in a cosy bit of time and space this weekend too.
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.
p.s. If this is sounding too idyllic, I had better let you know that the house is a mess and any cut could turn gangrenous.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stanley's Christmas Count Down....

This was Stanley's first Christmas. He was just a little lad, firmly swaddled and braving the snow. I do feel sorry for his mother as she looks exhausted in the photo. On the other hand, Stanley's father looks so content. He travels for work so was very relieved to be home Christmas Eve. His job? Stanley's father works alongside a travelling magician, he is the rabbit that jumps out of the hat. Not the most regular of hours but as he constantly reminds himself, somebody has to do it.
This is one of the photos from the inner leaf of 'Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon'. Stanley's mother stuck some family snaps into the book with washi tape which was very kind of her. 
Now.... the count down is on for Christmas. If you would like to order a copy for some lucky person's present and they (or you) happen to live in Europe, America or the UK (or anywhere else), be sure to order by the Friday 5th December to make sure that it arrives before the big day. If you are in Australia, you have a few more days with the last being Wednesday 10th December.
BUT the best news is that I have ordered some postcards of Stanley's first Christmas and I will send one out with each book ordered over the next few weeks. Yay. Usually I pop in a little card to say thank you - this one I will leave blank so you can send it (or keep it) or do whatever you like with it.
As for the book, sales are going really well and I am starting to receive some lovely reviews (which are always nice). Kat Goldin from Slugs on the Refrigerator, my crochet hero and author of 'Crochet at Play' and 'Hook, Stitch & Give', had this to say....

"There are few things I love more than watching people do what they love and so, when Kate Bruning from Greedy with Colour published her children's book Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon, I immediately clicked over to etsy to ensure one would be arriving on our doorstep.
From the moment it was opened, it became our new favourite, with Georgia declaring Stanley her best friend and insisting I read it every time I sat down.I have long loved Kate's sense of colour and whimsy in her work - from her awesome bicycle bunting to her crazy awesome hot air balloons - Kate brings fun to whatever she is making.
Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon pulls all of that together in one beautiful package. The idea is so simple- the first half of the book is the adventures of Stanley the bunny. The second half of the book includes patterns for making many of the elements seen in the story. Its a truly amazing work of art - the story is sweet and relatable, the photos are lush and full of detail and the patterns are sweet and simple. I can not recommend it highly enough.  We love sitting and looking at the pictures and just taking in all of the details".

Sooooo, only if you feel like it, hop on over here and make sure Stanley (just like his dad), arrives in time for Christmas!
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Macrame and Candles - A Skill Swap Morning.

 Gaaaahhhhh! I have been missing blogging so much! The past few days I have seen me falling into bed each night exhausted and unable to speak, let alone write. So I am posting even if words are only used sparingly.
And thank goodness I have something fun to write about! Today my friend Maddy (who made the dream catcher) came over and we had a morning of swapping skills. Maddy taught me how to make soy candles (wahooooooo!!!) and I shared my extremely meagre knowledge of macrame.
 This is Maddy in action.
 In this day and age it's a wonderful thing that we can sign up here and there for classes but they are expensive and something that just isn't always in the budget. I love the idea of bringing different talents together and sharing knowledge for the joy of it. It would be a great thing to set up some kind of forum bringing people together in this way. Thinking cap on!
 I made a couple of quick nets (?) and have swivelled with a new direction - crocheted, macramed, bonsai balls - there is going to have to be a catchier title than that! Watch this space.
 I can't wait to get going!
 I love, love, love candle making - it really is one of the most relaxing crafts ever, especially when you have a lovely teacher.

And here is some bunting I bought on the weekend. I'm so annoyed because I lost the label telling me who made it. The colours are sublime though aren't they. 
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.


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