Saturday, June 30, 2012

Like like

Inspiration, tutorials, podcasts and sweet things that find themselves in my bookmarks (and an unrelated photo of my puss cat.)

puss cat

The perfect knot hair style tutorial
Five quick fixes to make your blog instantly more readable
This American Life podcast 
33 ways to stay creative
Turn your instagrams into magnets (and use this code to get $2 off your order: FRIEND616P)
Giant crochet doily rug 
tweek studios, found via Pocket Carnival, love the chess piece wine stoppers
Vincent Van Gogh colouring book 
Rohan's post on the downfalls of owning stuff

Any bookmarks you would care to share? 
Where do your spend time online?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Four months old

Four months

Four months

Four months

Four months

Four months
(Details: Ledge, Cat print, vase, Rabbit night light, cabled cushion, dress vintage, and tights thifted.)


Four months

Four months

You know those moments that you want to find a way to preserve? You know they won't last forever, you know that is part of what makes them special, but you want to capture them all the same? There is a moment each morning now, where both children join me in bed when they wake. First Emerson for a feed and a cuddle. Then Cohen, who crawls in between us; always the center of attention. We snuggle beneath the blankets. I stroke Cohen's hair. Cohen kisses Emerson's chubby rosey cheeks. Emerson's little hands reach out and grasp at the two of us. Sometimes catching at Cohen's nose, or a lock or my hair, or the edge of the blanket. She smiles, chirps and coos. Cohen laughs and chats. He says "love you Mama, this much" and holds his arms out as wide as he can.

And in that moment, before the day urges us out of bed, there is just the three of us and my heart is full of love and joy, no matter how tired I may be. These moments I want always to remember.


One, two and three months old.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Things I love about Winter

anzac biscuits

granny square love

blankets on the couch

camelia in bloom

rainy days

The warmth of the oven spreading throughout the house
Biscuits straight out of that oven
Dressing the furniture with blankets
And even more blankets for movie watching
Camellias, always camellias
Baby bonnets and rosy cheeks
Staying in bed with the two little ones as long as possible each morning
The scent of the neighbours fire carried on the breeze each night
Going to bed early to read a book and falling asleep with the light on
The comforting grey of rainy cold days that reminds you to slow down, reconsider what must be done and what can wait, and gives you permission to read or knit or day dream

What do you love about Winter?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yarn along

Yarn along

I have finished reading 'The Great Gatsby,' and am looking forward to our book club discussion about it. I also completed the raglan sweater I posted about in last weeks Yarn Along. The pattern was vintage, and like most vintage patterns I have come across, was knit flat and then stitched together. The Raglan and Lace jacket above is a modern pattern and is knit in the round - the body on circulars and the sleeves on double pointed needles. The sleeves are then slipped on to the circular needles in a simple and ingenious way. Knitting techniques never fail to amaze me. 

Modern and vintage patterns both make use of double pointed needles, though you don't often see vintage patterns call for circular needles, do you? Which lead me to wonder when circular needles were in fact invented. I discovered this fascinating page on knitting history, which informed me that the first US patent exists from 1918, though they may have been used even earlier than this in Europe. The use of four or five double pointed needles to knit in the round dates from the twelfth century. This fifteenth century image of a 'Knitting Madonna' is thought to be the earliest image of circular knitting with dpns. And though none of that explains why vintage patterns tend to be knit on straight needles, I do love a bit of knitting trivia.


Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Thank goodness

Raglan knit

Raglan knit

Raglan knit

Raglan knit

Raglan knit

Before the sun had risen today the garbage truck woke Cohen. He has a love hate relationship with garbage trucks; part fascination, part fear. And this morning, snuggled into my warm bed, begrudging the early start, I was hating them a little too.

I have been feeling the effects of an accumulated lack of sleep lately. I know I'm not alone in this. It comes with the mothering territory. Those three feeds a night seemed manageable at first. But the irritability that eventually accompanies interrupted sleep? It is not at all helpful when trying to appreciate the noise and questions that accompany a three and a half year old boy. A toddler is a wonderful gauge of one's patience...

Thank goodness for knitting. The quite moments, repetitive actions and introspection. Thank goodness for toddler naps, Lego and time in the garden. Thank goodness for toddler songs ("I'm songing" as Cohen says), toddler dancing and a vivid imagination. Thank goodness for grey, cold days without plans. Thank goodness for the little thrill that a finished project brings.


Raglan Sweater for Emerson (to grow in to.)
Pattern: Gifted vintage pattern, Fontana 1280 Raglan Jumper
Buttons: Thrifted card of Vogue buttons 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

This Moment

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thrifted - practical and charming

These sweet old cups were 50 cents each. The crane was made for Cohen by a man at the op-shop to keep him amused.

Hand knitted baby dresses, $1 each.

These hand knits 50c - $1 each.

This tricky looking girls hand knitted top was $3.

Charming, cheap and practical. The rewards of buying what we need second hand. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Yarn Along

Yarn Along

I'm savoring 'The Great Gatsby.' I'm pleased I chose it for book club this month. The research I've undertaken to form my questions for the evening has brought with it a new level of appreciation for this gem of a novel. I tend to read quickly. And having read this book several times before I'm even more prone to hurry though it, though still enjoy it. But I have been forcing myself to slow down, re-read those poetic sentences that catch my attention, enjoy the details, the references, the moods. I find each time I read a book it seems a little different, because I am different. I bring a different self to the reading, with new experiences and knowledge. And with really good books I find it is like reacquainting myself with an old friend. That's what reading 'The Great Gatsby' feels like. Do you have books that feel like old friends too?

I am still knitting two rows a day on the cardigan I mentioned last week, but I have also picked up this raglan baby sweater again, which had been sitting in the bottom of my knitting basket waiting to be sewn up and have the stitches picked up for the collar. Having accomplished both of those tasks quickly last night I'm not sure why I was putting it off, as completion is now only an inch and a half of ribbing away.


Joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anyone can knit

The receptionist at our Medical Center* and I had a charming little chat this morning after she admired Emerson's knitted tunic. She told me how she had dressed her babies in hand knits, either lovingly knit by her Mother, or sought out in op-shops. I happily confessed that Emerson's tunic was also thrifted, but that I knit for her too. She asked if I had knit my scarf and seemed delighted that I had. 
"I wish I could knit," she said. 
"You can!" I replied.

Hot water bottle cozy
Hot water bottle cozy

Anyone can knit! Less than a year and a half ago I would often repeat that very same phrase. I would admire hand knits, stroke lovely skeins of wool, wish that I could knit and then admit to myself that it seemed too complicated. The receptionist felt the same way. She said she could do knit and purl stitches, "but not do fancy stitches like you." But even fancy stitches are just a combination of knitting and purling. Once you can knit and purl you can do just about anything. Even cables are just knit and purled stitches. The twist that gives them the cabled look is only a matter of skipping a couple of stitches, knitting the next couple of stitches, then knitting those stitches you skipped. The explanations are truly more complicated than the process its self. It's just a matter of sitting down with needles and yarn and having a go. You don't have to learn all at once. It's all about little steps and building your skills and confidence. I encouraged her to give it a try.

The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief

If you know knitters in real life I can bet that they would be only too happy to teach you. Teaching someone to knit, helping them to learn a new skill, gives one immense satisfaction. And the satisfaction of knitting something for yourself can't be beaten. But even without first hand guidance, the internet is full of possibilities for learning how to knit. From video tutorials on Youtube, to step by step diagrams, you can learn everything you could ever want to know when it comes to knitting. Many yarn shops also offer knitting lessons and knitting groups meet up at cafe's monthly and welcome new knitters and are happy to teach beginners or or offer advice to those experiencing difficulties with patterns or stitches. You can find knitting groups through yarn stores or on Ravelry. (Ravelry is a must for all knitters. It is a free website which contains thousands of patterns and where knitters and crocheters can keep track of their projects and yarn stash, join groups and forums etc.)

'Autumn Leaves'
Autumn Leaves

Encouraged by a friend who knits, I finally picked up some needles and plucked up the courage and began knitting. I taught myself how to move beyond the knit and purl stitches I had learnt as a child. I chose simple patterns at first, like a plain vest, which allowed me to practice ribbing and decreasing. With each pattern I chose I was introduced to a new technique and I kept building on my skills. I kept challenging myself to try new things. Knitting abbreviations are daunting at first, but you do pick them up quickly. When I came across a new abbreviation that I didn't understand I would google a Youtube clip, as well as a description of the process, then I could watch it being done and write down the steps at the top of my knitting pattern as well to refer to each time I came to that part of the pattern. By the end of the project I would have learnt that new technique off by heart. And now, less than a year and a half later, I can no longer imagine not having a knitting project (or three) on the go.


So if you have ever sighed and said "Oh, I wish that I could knit," I want you to pick up some knitting needles and yarn, allow yourself some quiet time and take the first steps. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can make wash cloths for practice. You can knit a simple scarf. Or try your hand at cables. You just have to allow yourself to try.

And if you are a knitter, I'd love to hear about how you came to knitting or who taught you to knit.

*Woe is me, I have mastitis.

Monday, June 18, 2012




Today I shall be taking a jar of jam to the neighbours and explaining the screaming they no doubt heard last night.

I made my very first mandarin jam yesterday, with a dozen mandarins from our neighbours tree. It was much more time consuming than I had anticipated. I doubled this recipe but only used the rind from three mandarins and two lemons. Peeling the skins, removing the membranes and seeds, then chopping a dozen mandarins is a lengthy process. Especially when baking bread, fixing dinner, supervising baths and nursing a baby along the way. Luckily my husband makes a rather wonderful, if somewhat impatient, stand-in pot stirrer. The results though are seven jars of beautiful jam, containing nothing but mandarins, lemons, rind, water and sugar. One jar saved especially as a thank you to our wonderful neighbours.

Possums are determined little creatures. We have one such little Brushtailed friend fiend who keeps managing to wiggle his way in to our garage despite our best efforts. Last night, after we presumed he had vacated the cavity beneath the bath to partake in his usual night time ramblings, we affixed a plank of wood over his garage entrance route. Determined to keep him outside for good this time. To my dismay, he was late in leaving his bath place abode, and at 10pm could be heard trying his usual exits in the garage to no avail. The possum proofing was working, except that the possum was trapped inside. My jam was cooling and my husband was sleeping and things were going bump downstairs. What to do. I woke my husband, who showed little interest in getting out of our warm bed. I cajoled him into coming down stairs with me and I grabbed the broom just in case.

This in turn lead to my bemused husband watching on as I chased said possum around the ceiling joists downstairs with the broom. He was supposed to be helping me. Apparently he was tired. So, I have a broom, the possum is running over the open garage door, then darting back inside and I am trying to shoo him out again. As you can imagine, my husband was even more amused when our dear possum unexpectedly launched himself at me. Flying through the air, possum paws outstretched, he landing on my jeans and foot. And I, well, I would like to say I remained calm and saw him on his way outside and calmly brushed my hands together in an 'that's the end of that' fashion. But, as you will no doubt have guessed, I screamed. Then did a little screaming-jumping-up-and-down-shaking-my-hands-get-it-off-me-get-it-off-me dance. Which I'm not proud of, but which had the desired effect. The poor possum ran, leaving me with two nice scratches on my foot in the process, but finally scampering out of the open garage door. My husband laughed all the way back to bed as I repeated several times in a shocked, high pitched sort of way, "Did you see that? It jumped on me? It JUMPED ON ME!"

I lay away half the night listening for tell tale bumps and scratches. Now I'm off to reapply some antiseptic and visit the neighbours with jam and explanations. And perhaps nap this afternoon...

How was your weekend?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Shop re-open!

My jewellery bench

A messy jewellery bench is generally a busy jewellery bench. In quiet moments and nap times I've been able to pick up the tools again lately and it has felt very good indeed. 

Today I'm pleased to announce that I have re-opened my Big Cartel store with five pieces to begin with. Hooray! More finished pieces will be added as time allows. I will be focusing on having a few items consistently in the shop, like the 'Rick Rack' Ring and 'Away with the clouds' Earrings, as well as a few one of a kind pieces and some pieces in new materials. 

Pop in and visit my shop here!

You can also see some of my sold jewellery here.

This moment

This Moment
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

For the love of books and bloggers

"Time is the wisest counselor of all"  ~ Pericles

Further to yesterday's discussion about reading, I was reminded of Morrissey's 'Handsome devil' song lyrics, "There's more to life than books, you know. But not much more."

I was so pleased to have had my suspicions confirmed by your comments. We are indeed a crafty and well read community, drawn together for similar reasons. My life would certainly be less rich without the joy and knowledge found in books, or the support and inspiration of the blogging sphere. Something worth sharing indeed.

Thank you fellow readers and crafters!
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