Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015.Done and Dusted.

This morning, while sweltering over a cup of coffee I found myself feeling a bit glum. Not about the usual things like world poverty, floods and earthquakes but mostly about not finishing a project I promised myself would not see the light of day in 2016 with it's tails still showing. I am only two thirds of the way weaving in fourteen sets of nine granny squares. It started out as this, Lucy's lovely Harmony Blanket design and then of course, because I'm neurotic ( or something ), I had to go and complicate the whole shebang by designing thirteen different squares ( you know, because life isn't complicated enough, right? ). Anyhow, so the blanket is still a WIP. To cheer myself up I wandered through my Crochet Projects file, and noted that, in fact, I had completed a fair body of work. Also, I had completely forgotten about the 162 pairs of boobie covers I'd crocheted for an Expo! ALSO, it had slipped my mind as to just how much I enjoyed designing and crocheting each and every pair. In fact, if it wasn't that there was a budget I had to adhere to, I would have kept going!

And that cheered me up so much that I had a Xmas Mince Pie, vegan, of course...and another cup of coffee. I'm easy to please.

For 2016, a lovely poem, and every word, I wish for you.

"May light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your hurts turn to healing;
Your heart embrace feeling.
May wounds become wisdom;
Every kindness a prism.
May laughter infect you;
Your passion resurrect you.
May goodness inspire
your deepest desires.
Through all that you reach for.
May your arms never tire."
~ D. Simone

Love always,

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Cushion Cover. Tick!

I'm quite proud of my efforts here, especially as I have been very lazy over the festive season. I've hardly done a spot of cooking or housework. It's all been take-outs and eating out and my jeans tell me I've gained at least a kilo or two. Oh, well. That's all I can say. So actually getting down to a bit of crafty work has felt like a slog really. Which is odd, for me. Mind you, there has been quite a bit of fix-upping and sorting cupboards and drawers going on about the house. Anyhow, I set up my trusty little Janome sewing machine. You know, I've had it for absolute ages! I bought it second-hand after my super-duper-almost-made-coffee Elna was stolen. I always meant the Janome to be an in the meantime sewing machine but I have gotten used to it's simple no fuss functions. Ten years down the line and it still runs like da bomb (as the saying goes). I had some scraps of African print fabric, and of course my rather shabby Circles Of The Sun finished squares, which were a practice run for the 'real thing'. But they sort of grew on me and reminded me of the humble rustic handwork you find in Folk Art. To be honest I've always loved what I call 'honest art' and what other people call Naive Art. And so, that was my thinking. It certainly isn't a perfect piece but I thoroughly enjoyed making it, with love and passion! And that's what counts, for me ( and Babe ) at least. :-)

Sometimes too, I just feel like sewing, using either my machine,or needle and thread. I used both here. After the initial resistance I found myself back in my happy place, and all the minor irritations of the busy-ness around me, which comes with everyone being on holiday and in a festive,spending, harried, mood...just melted away. And then there were some reminders of those who have passed on. My mom-in-laws pincushion, for one! It's an antique, which she once stored in a display cabinet but I think "things" should be used. I find it beautiful, functional and delightfully macabre. :-)

Once the cover was all sewn together I had to hand sew it to the crochet work. And it was all very satisfying and "something to do" on Xmas day to make up for feeling a bit guilty about all the laying about I've been doing.

I've also been making New Years Resolutions lists. I'm determined to adhere to them too! Hee, hee. On the top of my list is the 365 Make Something Project.  Or whatever blows your hair back...crochet, decoupage, scrap-booking, knitting, blogging, patchwork, woodwork or painting, The thing is to do , whatever you do... everyday, for an entire year. No cheating. With this in mind my only wish for everyone is that they do get to do what makes them happy, for this New Year and all the New Years to come. As Woody Allen Says " Life is short and full of pain, so do whatever works for you!"

Love Always,

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Busy Bee...not so much.

It's not too hard to feel a little overwhelmed by all the festive busy-ness within our crochet community! It's Winter in the Northern Hemisphere so comfortable chairs plopped in front of a flickering fire, lights twinkling on the Xmas tree, hot chocolate and blustery weather outside all lend themselves to a lengthly spot of hooky. Sadly ( go away Summer! ) it's all SUN and HUMIDITY here...not to even mention a few too many creepy-crawlies, flies and mosquitoes, who seem to mistake you for dinner if you sit too long anywhere! Also, that irritating squeak as you pull yarn through hook! Sweaty hands do not bode well for crochet projects.#I'mNotCrazyIHaveAnxietyIssues. :-) On the plus side I witnessed the birth of Pray Mantis'. That was something very special!

You know, they are so incredibly teeeeny! And scurry away very quickly too, yet, I swear they stopped for a moment to pose as I shakily tried to focus my camera and also not frighten them off in the process. I was well aware this was a *Grand Occasion*.

I've had a small list pinned up in my tiny know, snowflakes ( Matt's sweet Snowflakes ) and Xmas Tree baubles ( Heather's easy-peasy baubles )... however, they were not meant to materialise. Instead I've spent hours giving my tiny space a good "going over", walking our Dogs, spending an inordinate amount of time shmoozing in coffee shops with my Husband, who is on leave for an entire month! I have a bad habit of using that sticky stuff to tack bits of paper directly to the walls...a pattern, a phone number, a recipe or any reminder that doesn't have a home. When I get around to filing it somewhere then the wall is left with a small "oil" stain. Have paint, will paint tulips...and voila, no more stains :-)

And then... instead of buying presents for our Family we agreed to make birthdays EXTRA-special and over the holiday season to rather invest in the people we rely on for the rest of the year...our service delivery know, the postmen, the rubbish collectors, the newspaper delivery guys and petrol attendants, as well as waiters and waitress's and shop assistants who will be working on during high season. We bought presents and also tipped even more generously than we usually do. Money well spent I say. :-) So, although there has been a hiatus of sorts, on the very hot days, I am a crochet addict and my yarn and hooks are never too far away. As usual, I am inspred by nature and we have been experiencing a drought in some parts of the country. But anyway, WATER is an issue worldwide. I've called my new piece ( a single-bed blanket ), *Water For Trees*. The colours then are self explanatory. 

I am absolutely enjoying the simplicity of this pattern. I found it here: Shell Stitch Tutorial
Keep It Simple, Sweetheart, is definitely looking good as an attitude to adopt and practice in 2016. Especially as 2015 has been an awful year for so many. Besides the hot weather, events which have shaken our planet to it's core have made me less inclined to crochet. Instead I have taken to the streets marching and protesting with so many others who feel that the only power is People Power, to change so many wrongs, into rights.

Wishing everyone a peaceful, gentle and contented Festive Season and a New Year where we all feel grateful for the many splendid little things that make our lives enjoyable.

Much love,

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Stone Tiles and a Summer Sampler.

So, I've been in house renovation purgatory. If you've ever had to pull up wall-to-wall carpeting, including glued down underfelt then you'll understand exactly where I've been. I won't even go into all the gory details of scraping fifty year old glue off concrete, and what it did to my hands. I wept at one point, like a tiny child! It's a testament to my love for Animals, and my own sanity that the carpets had to go!Just looking at them made me sneeze! For some reason, unexpectedly, our dogs, who are really, really, really house trained, took to peeing and pooing on the carpets. I think they were trying to tell me something? Of course the prepping wasn't the worst of it. The dogs and I headed out of town for three days when the Tilers moved in to lay down the lovely grey-terracotta stone tiles. My husband remained behind to oversee the proceedings. On the day I was supposed to come back ( to a beautifully laid floor ) he called to suggest I stay away for a few days more. Um, why? Oh, there's " a bit of dust " he needs to clean up? Anyhow I insisted on coming back to...oh, my word! I'd not taken into account that the Tilers would be cutting stone tiles with an angle grinder. Literally, there was dust EVERYWHERE. Just EVERYWHERE. It's been two weeks and I'm still finding fine terracotta dustings in cupboards and elsewhere. My first thought was for my tiny studio but thanks to some crochet fairy magic it seemed to have missed the worst of it. However, now that things have settled down a tad I am enjoying the benefits of our lovely stone floors!

 No more vacuuming, no more dust mites and sneezing, no more fifty year old GREEN carpets!  One thing always leads to another. It's just the way things are in the renovation game. So we had to paint the walls, and buy spiffy new mats, and think about a new lounge suite, and sprucing up the kitchen, bathroom and shower too! I painted the living room and dining room, Coffee Liqueur... and the Kitchen, Soft Moss.

Hahaha, the revenge of the green carpets! Babe, of course, had to have a lie on each mat just to ensure it's catnapability. :-)

In the meantime I had been almost at the point of joining all my yummy granny squares, but to lift my spirits I decided to do a quick sampler, incorporating a bit of Sophie's Universe, so that I could learn a few new stitches, you know, to keep my mind off all the chaos. I pretty much winged it throughout, changing yarn weight and hook sizes. was just for practice. I spent the few moments between the renovation grind and grime doing a row here and there. The results were a bit chaotic, in colour, from my usual careful planning. Also, a gazillion mistakes but... WHATEVER! :-)

At one point I was going to make an afghan of it but then I remembered that I still had 126 yummy granny squares waiting to be joined into a blanket. I used the Elle Pure Gold and Family Knit , both DK and size 4, 3.5 and 3.25 hooks. Colours chosen at random were... amethyst, soft lilac, lavender, petrol, just pink, ivory. riviera, shrimp, citrus, clementine, sunshine, soft lime and olive. Honestly, I don't know how I would have coped as well as I did without being able to do even just a bit of hooking in-between. My anxiety issues mean that I absolutely hate disorder, and change. Although my entire life, mostly, has been about dramatic changes being thrust upon me, forcing me either to sink, or swim! However, over the years I have come to hate the just swimming part. I want to float, on a lilo, with a crystal glass of pink champagne in one hand and a crochet hook in the other, basking and enjoying my life on this beautiful planet. Crochet has been a lifeline in times of severe anxiety. It's my go-to when I feel overwhelmed and without fail, after a few rows, I can feel my jangling insides settle down.

I wish you a wonderful week and hope that the coming holidays are filled with many happy crochet hours. The dishes can wait. Or better still, delegate, delegate, delegate! :-)

Lotsa love,