Friday, 8 January 2021

A little update!

 Happy Friday, Lovelies!

Woweee, what a week it's been worldwide, right? We truly are living through historic times. In the future when people wonder how we got through these times we can safely say " crochet saved our day, everyday! ". To all you lovelies who commented on the last post and shared some of your New Year's thoughts with me, THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really loved reading through each and every comment. You are all such an amazing bunch, really you are.


I wanted to let you all know that the Chrysalis Throw  Mystery-Make Along is in progress. I'm not crocheting at my usual speedy pace and that's because my household is very disruptive at the moment. It's been impossible to get a quiet moment to myself to think and design. However....no worries as I am moving forward even if somewhat at a plod. In the meantime, I'm sharing some absolutely gorgeous colourways for the Throw, so far, and I'm VERY excited anticipating seeing these colours grow into the Throw size! They are all beautiful but some did make my heart beat a little faster!


Beatrice Jaquier



Yunita Puspa Wiriani


Joanne Kinter

Wendy Bourke


Urooj Umar



Also, there's been a bustle of activity going on in the background as some of my lovely Testers have been working through older patterns making sure to straighten out a few gremlins. I can't thank them enough! I know many of you Lovelies have been waiting for ages for the latest update for the Durban Spice Girls. If you purchased this pattern way back, you should find an update in your Ravelry Library. Perhaps your download links have expired? Let me know if they have or you could email Ravelry to request a fresh download link.





πŸ’— Our Giveaway this Friday is 5 copies of the Durban Spice Girls and 5 copies of the Chrysalis Throw Mystery-Make Along. If you do comment, don't forget to leave your Ravelry name and let me know which pattern you would like. Also, don't forget to check your Ravelry to see if you're a winner!πŸ˜ƒ


Lovelies please take care of yourselves, stay safe and crochet on!

Warm Hugs and Best Wishes,

Jen xx







Thursday, 31 December 2020

Happy 2021!

 Dear Hooks 'n Tales Friends,

   I'm so thankful to you all for making 2020 bearable for me. I've really enjoyed reading the comments and stories that you have shared. We truly are a connected community of crocheters. It's no small achievement we survived 2020 without losing our marbles. Perhaps we have lost a few but no matter. If you're reading this, and feeling a little dejected, a little hopeless, worried, or fearful BUT you're still up every day, taking that shower, dressing for the day ahead, making beds, preparing meals, boiling a kettle for a fresh pot of coffee or tea, feeding your fur-babies or human babies, doing laundry, watering your garden or not killing your house plants, working full time or part-time, taking care of elderly family members, planning school-lessons or any number of mundane yet necessary daily tasks...then you are a bright and shining STAR! If you're not managing even the basics, I completely get the struggle and I want you to know that you are beloved and appreciated no matter how you show up for each day. Keep in mind that a star still twinkles no matter how close or far it is. Shine on.πŸ’—





  2021 will bring unique challenges still. This horrible Pandemic isn't going away anytime soon. Regardless, hang in there and shine your light. Last year I asked what your New Year's Resolutions were for 2020? Many of you Lovelies replied that you never make them! In retrospect, just as well, because all good plans made by mice and men definitely did go asunder in 2020. I'm big on planning but what 2020 taught me is that it's good to plan but even better to adapt. I'm training myself to take each day as it comes then see whether I can get through it without having a hissy fit if things slide sideways. I feel too that we are all shedding old skins. There was us pre-2020 and then us post 2020. We have all changed, I think? I am sad for what we have lost; our pre-2020 lives, for some of us our jobs, our health, and dearly loved family members and friends. I have had to dig deep to scrape up some courage so that I can welcome 2021 as a wonderful opportunity, a rebirth, filled with budding possibilities and fresher perspectives. For me, The Chrysalis Throw will always be representative of this historic time.



  This short poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson has been a daily encouragement for me. Perhaps more of a war-cry! I've printed this out in large type then taped it to the wall in front of my work table. That way, every time I look up I'll be reminded to not sweat the small stuff. To worry less about what the future may bring and take care of each day as the gift it really is. This too: " You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days" - Alain de Botton. 

2020 has made a bit of a Philosopher of us all, right?😊


" Write it on your heart

that every day is the best day of the year,

He is rich who owns the day, and no one 

owns the day who allows it to be invaded

with fret and anxiety.

Finish each day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt 

crept in.

Forget them as soon as you can, 

tomorrow is a new day;

begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit

to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This day is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,

to waste a moment on yesterdays "



Please stay safe, take care of yourself, and don't forget deep, deep breaths.πŸ’—




πŸ’— Much love and warm HUGS!

Jen

PS: Lovelies, let me know what you will take and what you'll leave behind from your journey through 2020? What are your wishes for 2021? Don't forget to leave your Ravelry name. I'm giving away 20 copies of The Chrysalis Throw today! 









Monday, 14 December 2020

Silly Season Ramblings....

Happy Monday, Lovelies ( before I forget...THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your comments on the previous post. I love reading them all and only wish I had four more hands to reply to everyone! ).

I hope you are all keeping calm and sane while we wearily continue navigating our little boats of Life through the swells and troughs of 2020?  It feels very much like we're battling through something, doesn't it? Last night I was lying in bed and that movie with Robert Redford popped into my mind. The one where he's solo in a sinking yacht? I was thinking about how we're all, in some way or another, finding ways to survive these unsettling times. Podcasts and Vlogs have been a lifeline for me and really stepped up to provide much-needed daily entertainment and inspiration. Here's my shortlist of favourites. Do you have much-loved Podcasts or Vlogs that you could recommend?

πŸ’™ Arne and Carlos.

Oh my hat, these two, besides talented, generous, and full of incredibly informative snippets, are unintentionally incredibly funny too!




πŸ’™ The Last Homely House.

Hosted by Kate who lives on a farm in Northumberland with her four Cats, Hens, and a Goose.



πŸ’™ Paul Cooper's, the Fall of Civilisations.

Fascinating, informative, and brilliantly detailed narrative. Highly recommended if you're into History.



πŸ’™ Eight Miles From Home.

I never miss a Vlog detailing the nomadic life of this amazing couple Jay and Sascha and their adorable little "Moana" in the flesh called Story Ember. They restore my faith in Humanity.



Routines and rituals have also helped keep me grounded. When my boys were much younger their Dad was shot and paralyzed in a botched car-jacking. As you can imagine, it was a deeply distressing time for us all. What helped most were our daily routines which, even though internally I was buckling, kept us going! Simple disciplines of waking up and immediately heading to the kitchen to boil the kettle for our morning beverages, laying the breakfast table, stirring a pot of oatmeal, feeding the Dogs and Cats, filling the washing machine with laundry, and preparing the morning lessons for my homeschooled brood. These rituals forced me to stay in the moment rather than crumble into a soggy ball of despair and fear. Over time these routines became deeply ingrained survival tools, which I'm thankful for now. I'm reminded too that there are no mistakes, only lessons.

These days, without the distraction of small children, I'm still up at 4am! I make a lovely cup of coffee and get back into bed to read the daily online newspapers on my tablet. At 5am it's snack time for the furry-brood. By 6am I am at my desk answering emails and checking for messages on social media. At 7am it's breakfast then a walk about the garden to check on "everyone". This morning I noticed that an ailing banana plant I moved a year ago into a sunnier position, has finally flowered! 







My day continues in this more or less orderly fashion. In a way, repeating the same routines each day is like living and breathing a Mantra. There is calm to be found. And if you are easily amused as am I, humour in spades too.πŸ˜†




Our weekend visits to Kalk Bay still satisfies in so many ways. It's a ritual that rewards the effort of getting up early on a Sunday! The bakery had just opened, the bread was still warm, the coffee excellent ( oh, the joys of consistency! ), the staff predictably jovial and welcoming. Their routines raise my routines and make me want to do better! We've been frequenting this bakery for 18 years! They have yet to disappoint. A pleasant, slow amble along the harbour wall jutting into a sparkling seascape would have been enough but then this... three large seals dropped in for a visit. They are so like Dogs!





As usual, I'm off on a tangent! Let's chat crochet. If you've purchased Part 1 of the Chrysalis Mystery Make-Along then, as we speak, you'll find Part 2 in your Ravelry Library! I am having so much fun designing this Mystery-Along so I hope you'll have fun too and that it will keep your mind away from more troubling thoughts? I'm completely second-guessing my colourway of course. I'm not feeling so blue these days, more golden orange and salmon pink! Luckily many of you are amazing colourists and I've added a few images to the Ravelry pics album. So, if anyone is stuck for a colourway do head on over HERE. 



Noelene and I are running a Festive 12 Day Advent Quiz Competition over at the Workshop. There are prizes for answering simple and fun questions so if you're keen for a laugh and maybe winning a little prize, do head on over HERE.

I hope those of you Lovelies who commented on the last Blog Post and were picked by the random picks generator have received your free copy of the Chrysalis Throw Mystery-Makealong? Today, there are another 5 copies up for grabs, so don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you comment. Good Luck! πŸ’—

It's 9am now and that means shower and make myself presentable ( to the grocery delivery person and the fur-kids). Who else? I have barely left the house since April! πŸ˜†


Wishing you all a lovely calm week ahead! Avoid drama and demagogues, which will only make you feel worse. Stay safe, wear your mask and shine on!

HUGS,
Jen πŸ’—








Thursday, 26 November 2020

Happy Part 1!

 Hello again, Lovelies!

Oh, I don't like doing this...it's so impersonal but I'm issuing a blanket THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY MUCH for all your comments on the previous post! Our GIVEAWAY winners have been randomly chosen so if you entered your Ravely name please check your Ravelry just in case. 

As you know, I love to answer each and every comment! However, my poor typing fingers ( I have two πŸ˜†) declared a strike by first numbing the fingertips then cramping a few key hand muscles. Is this why people have Personal Assistants? I asked Roxy and Lally if they were interested in the job. They furiously wagged their tails and jumped about, basically indicating that they didn't evolve into Dogs just to work for the rest of their lives! There was also mention of upping cookie rations and an extra daily walk because did I not know they were Doggie Princess's and not us working class?


In the meantime, Miss Augusta snuggled deeply into the Chrysalis Throw yarn basket which made it impossible to begin Part 2 of our Mystery Make-Along. As we speak, it's STILL a Mystery even to me. By the by,  those of you Lovelies who purchased the Prelude...you will find Part 1 in your Ravelry Library.





I don't have the heart to move her! πŸ’“

These days I have a small team of Testers. I'm sharing a few of the "tests" completed so far and I'm sure you'll be inspired to create your own unique colourway too? It's taken me ever so long to summon up the courage to work with Testers...don't ask me why. Ok, fine, I'll tell you. πŸ˜† It's probably something to do with losing my mother when I was five years old. She wasn't "lost" so much as died from colon cancer at twenty-four. A young girl, without her Mom, often becomes very independent, resourceful, and self-sufficient. Asking for help is not an option when you have had to rely on self-preservation instincts for most of your life. There's a lot more to it but of course, I don't want to make you all cry, right? Crochet is our fun and happy place! Back to my wonderful Testers who I cannot thank enough, truly you are all a blessing!

Rene πŸ’“


Urooj πŸ’“




Amy πŸ’“


Samantha πŸ’“


Yunita πŸ’“


If you haven't yet joined our Mystery Make-Along and would like to then you can find Part 1 HERE. Note, the purchase price includes ALL PARTS ( image-rich + detailed videos throughout ).


Lovelies, as always I wish you a calm, safe and peaceful weekend.

May your yarn basket be ever full ( with yarn, not cats...although cats...ok, I'll see myself out now ).

HUGS,

Jen xx

PS: our GIVEAWAY today is another 5-copies of The Chrysalis Throw Mystery-Along. This is another chance to win a free copy! I'll be doing this until the Mystery Make-Along is completed. Don't forget to leave your Ravelry name if you comment. πŸ’—

PPS: I forgot to mention that I met a handsome Prince last week while the fur-girls and I were on our daily walk in the forest. πŸ˜‰















Friday, 20 November 2020

Days of my life, and Chrysalis!

Hello, Lovelies! 

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend. I hope you are all well and staying safe?

Since our unpleasant visitation from a certain Crown Virus, a visitor that insists on overstaying it's welcome, days have begun to blend together. From what I'm reading on media platforms, it's becoming the norm to hear people say " what day is it? ". To help get me through these challenging times has been to create specific rituals for each day. Let me explain:

MONDAY: is mending day. Not only sewing on the odd button or taking up a hem but also bits and pieces of kitchenalia or garden-related paraphernalia ( fixing a fence pole, oiling the clippers, replacing a dodgy plug on the weedeater ). Also, I sort out what to keep and what to give away or repurpose. This is over and above the usual chores of the day. So that's Monday!

TUESDAY: I bake...cookies, muffins, bread...whatever! I know it's Tuesday because otherwise there are no cookies for the rest of the week to enjoy with my coffee! And that's never a good situation.

WEDNESDAY: Wash Roxy and Lally. As soon as I collect their towels they BOTH step meekly into the shower. Yep, they know there are cookie treats waiting for "good girls". Then it's a blowdry with the hairdryer. Immediately afterward,  they run back into the garden to roll around in the sand and grass... and that's why I have to wash them every Wednesday.

THURSDAY: Garden Day. All. The. Things. are snipped and clipped. Leaves are swept, Roses are dead-headed and fed. If it's not too hot, I have been known to climb a ladder and clean out the gutters.

FRIDAY: Call my beloved 88yr young Aunt who lives 1000 kilometres away. This is our Friday thing. If we don't chat then it's not Friday!

SATURDAY: Mr. HooksnTales is home. I get coffee in bed! HA!

SUNDAY: is always Kalk Bay day. We head out early before 9am to our favourite deli, the iconic Olympia Cafe HERE. There is a side entrance bakery to the restaurant which opens at 6am. We stock up for the week on fresh sourdough and ciabatta bread, spinach and feta filled croissants ( for the Mr ), and Mushroom and Lentil Pies for the Mrs. We order excellent coffee and walk to the harbour wall where we watch fishing boats bob on the waves and feed seagulls our crumbs. We spend some time chatting and making plans...good coffee makes you very chatty! πŸ˜†








πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“


Of course, there's always lots of crochet and designing going on in between trying to keep track of the days. Especially when you are the very fortunate recipient of a large box of super-yummy, deliciously squishy yarn from WECROCHET. Xmas arrived early! Honestly, Lovelies this is not a commercial plug for a Yarny company...you know I'm not into that! But up until I was contacted by WECROCHET, I'd never heard of them! I must point you to their lovely Podcasts HERE, which I have listened my way through... at the rate of knots! As you can tell, I'm not very good at plugging! Just go visit their website. It's LOVELY!! Of course, I immediately dived in and made a thing with the gorgeous City Tweed. Find out more HERE. I wish you could smell this divine yarn through your computer. Someone needs to bottle the City Tweed fragrance!



In other crochet-related news, I am working on a " secret thing " which I can't really show you right now. But soon! HOWEVER, there is one " secret thing " out of the bag! TADAAAAA, we're going to be embarking on another Hooks 'n Tales crochet Throw Mystery Make-Along adventure! I've called this one " Chrysalis ". The idea for the name came from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows HERE.  The name for the new Throw is derived from Chrysalism: n. the obscure feeling you have when a storm is raging outside. There is thunder and lightning, you feel the air crackle with tension, rain pelts against the window panes. You enjoy the amniotic tranquility of being cosy and safe indoors.


πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“


Today I am releasing the Prelude to the Chrysalis Throw on Ravelry HERE. This will give you a little time to decide on your own colourway and purchase yarn if need be. I also added the stitches we'll be playing with plus other maybe useful information. The Chrysalis Throw is a MYSTERY MAKE-ALONG, explored in 3-Parts: The Square ( 30cm x 30cm/12" x 12" ), The Block ( 50cm x 50cm/20" x 20"), The Throw ( 1.20m x 1.20m/ 48" x 48" ). Again, expect a romantic, vintage-feel, floral-themed, richly- textured and decorative end result. Crochet, Yarn, Florals, Texture...yummy, right? Part 1-The Square will be available on Ravelry Friday 27 November. And Monday 30 November on Lovecraft.



Of course, our GIVEAWAY today is 5 copies of The Chrysalis Throw Mystery Make -Along!  Don't forget to add your Ravelry name to your comment below to stand a chance of winning a copy! 


πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“

There were a lot more things I wanted to share with you, Lovelies but who has time to read a book these days...oh, hang on, we do! πŸ˜† Wishing you all a very calm, peaceful ( yet fun! ) Yarny weekend! I hope that all the little things will bring you much joy! 

HUGS as always!

πŸ’“Jen