“Bespoke” ABC Television Series.

A new series called Bespoke is about to be shown on ABC Television, here in Australia.

Starting on 3rd September 2015, the series will investigate our love of handmade goods.

Is this a fad or are we just doing what human beings have been doing since the beginning of mankind?

I believe the later and that we are hardwired to use our hands and other senses to produce something.

Should be an interesting series. I will be there planted in front of the television with crochet in hand.

Here is a teaser of what the series will cover. Click here.

Road Trip Shawl

I am supposed to be cleaning the bathroom but I have snuck away

to write this short blog.

What’s on the hook this week?

I am still addicted to the Road Trip Scarf, which I love   for its simplicity.

You can find the pattern here

I have managed to finally get the initial row increases correct and

my last two scarves have not ended up being kite shaped or pulling inwards.

Once past row 3, you can settle on into the repetition of the pattern and watch your scarf grow.

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This olive cowl crocheted up very lacy as I used a thinner 100% wool.

I modified the edging to my own ruffle.

No flower adornments added as per request of daughter.

Daughter No1 is a red-head and loved this colour.

She chose her own faux stone button at the woolshop.

I bought the wool on the destash page on Facebook.

Very happy how this one turned out.

On to bigger version of the same pattern

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At the moment I am working on this large shawl and beautiful sunset colours.

The wool is 100% acrylic and comes from Turkey.

I purchased it from an Etsy  store on this link here.

It is beautiful to work with and the colours are just the thing to brighten up the last of our winter days  .

I leave it near the television and have gotten in the habit of crocheting whilst watching television.

Just a row or two here and there, makes the shawl grow quickly.

It is good to have a pick up/put down project to work on.

Daughter No 2 has picked up her knitting needles and is making a scarf for her boyfriend.

He has worn to death the last scarf she knitted him.

Time for a new one.

She has discovered how calming knitting is and gives her a chance to stop thinking about her

university studies for a short while.

One of my goals is to teach Daughter No1 how to knit or crochet.

She seems to have slipped through her childhood, without having any lessons from me.

Such a poor deprived child.

I am off to have some lunch now.

Thanks for reading my blog and leaving comments.

I really appreciate it.

Cheers

Linny J.

Domestic Soup Disaster

Are you a great cook who loves spending hours in the kitchen, whipping up gourmet meals?

Sad to say this is not me.

I am one of those people who are challenged by the Kitchen and cooking.

My Mum has always been a fantastic cook and I got excellent marks in High School for domestic Science.

Somewhere over the years, I managed to lose both my talent and confidence in the kitchen.

The causes:

Married to a man who can cook better than me. We used to have dessert cook offs in our courting days.

(he won)

The exhaustion of having 3 babies and making all of their food.

(a few burnt saucepans here, where I forgot I had food cooking.OOPS!!! )

Having children who told me once to often that their dinner was disgusting.

( kids have to eat more than fish fingers and mash)

Going back to work full-time.

( thank goodness for takeaway)

Menopause

( it’s no fun sweating in a hot kitchen at my age)

Feeling on a high from my trip to the Farmers Market on the weekend,

I felt inspired to make some soup for dinner.

I cooked up a great tasting pot of potato and leek soup.

At the same time I had stewed the rhubarb for

the apple & rhubarb crumble, that we were having for dessert.

I knew I was on a winner with this batch of soup.

I was feeling like a Martha Stewart Graduate. Pleased as punch with my domestic abilities.

My daughters and Hubby rave about my soups. My son hates soup and says it isn’t a meal.

I love nothing more in winter than a big bowl of hot soup and crunchy bread.

I allowed the soup to cool down in the pot for a couple of hours before pulsing it in the blender.

All was going well until batch no 4 in the blender.

All hell broke loose when I pressed the pulse dial.

Fragments of potato and leek flew in the air. They covered my face and clothes.

My bench, kitchen window, tea/coffee canisters, toaster,kettle and tile splashback, all got a good dousing of soup.

OMG……… I had forgotten to put the lid on the blender and now my kitchen was a disaster zone.

Here I was blending away, thinking what a kitchen goddess I was and then the next minute I was standing amidst chaos and mess.

Goes to show that pride comes before a fall.

Thankfully the dog came over and licked up the soup from the floor.

He liked the soup but I did worry later if dogs can eat leeks.

I only had myself to blame for this mishap.

There was no point in moaning and complaining, so I set to work on the big cleanup.

Becoming a domestic goddess like Nigella seems like an unachievable goal for me.

I can’t for the life of me imagine Nigella standing with soup splattered all over her.

The soup was lovely with a pumpkin sourdough roll from the local bakery.

Oh don’t even let me get started on my bread failures.

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The Road Trip Scarf

I have been very hooked on crochet this week.

I discovered the Road Trip Scarf and have been playing around with the pattern,

to create my own woollen cowls for my daughters.

I am onto my third one this week (pictured below).
I am using an olive green, 8 ply 100% Australian Pure Wool.

It was purchased from a yarn destash site on facebook for a few dollars.

I am really enjoying buying fabric and yarn from the destash sites.

By moving fabric/yarn out of people’s stashes, we are recycling and cutting back on the manufacturing of too much fabric and yarn on this planet.

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This red cowl is no 2. I modified the original pattern by crocheting less rows and omitting the ties & flowers.

The wool is Patons Inca.Compostion of 50% Pure new wool, 30% Acrylic & 20% Alpaca.

The wool was purchased from the little wool shop around the corner from my house.

It is really important to me to support the little wool/fabric shops, rather than

the big chain shops where you are just a number waiting to be called.

I added a large vintage button at the back but the whole cowl can easily be left done up and pulled over one’s head.

For the edging I did 3 treble crochets in each 1 ch space, followed by 1 chain.

This gave it a fluted effect and serves to weight the cowl down, making it sit neatly.

Though the cowl can be arranged in a messed up fashion, which my daughter prefers.

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The same wool  as used in the red cowl, was used for the Blue cowl.

The same modifications were made to this cowl as the red one.

These have been very enjoyable projects to do in front of television.

Once I got the hang of the basic pattern it was very easy.

It would be an ideal road trip project.

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There is nothing like hitting the local markets to make Sunday feel like Sunday.

We have a local farmer’s market once a fortnight .

The weather for the last two markets was shocking, cold and wet.

I chose to stay nice warm and dry in my bed.

I was relieved to wake up early this morning and find the weather was perfect for market shopping.

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I have become a middle aged hippy. Grey hair with a shopping trolley.

I always said that I would never use one of those shopping trolleys but now that

I have one, I would be lost without it.

For years I lugged plastic bags of groceries, that cut into my hands.

My back and shoulders hurt as I carried heavy bags.

The trolley makes it so much easier to shop.

Don’t be surprised if you run into me at the shops with my trolley.

There are lots of people with grey hair and shopping trolleys at the Farmers Market.

I am in my hippy element.

We had our usual market breakfast of a flat white coffee and an almond croissant, before hitting the stalls.

Our pantry had run short of local honey and the best jam we have ever tasted, so we stocked up on these.

Even our children have noticed how much nicer the jam and honey is, than the Supermarket kind.

I tell the Jam man that his apricot jam is better than Maggie Beer’s ( sorry Maggie but it is).

They ran out of it early in the season, only making 100 jars.

I think my family ate 20 jars of it over the summer.

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Off to the foccacia lady to pick up our lunch.

Then onto the Apple and pear growers.

The potato lady who sells the all sorts of spuds, laughs when Hubby tries to pay her $5-00 instead of $10-00.

Hubby is still not 100% awake yet.

The vegetable stall had the freshest, tastiest looking vegetables.

White as snow cauliflowers and bright green broccoli which looked like they were just freshly picked.

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As it is winter here in Australia, there is an abundance of root vegetables.

We had a lovely parsnip,sweet potato, chickpeas & beetroot bake last night.

(Add some ginger & garlic to olive oil and toss through the diced vegetables.

Bake root vegies until soft.

This is absolutely delicious and can be eaten cold as a salad )

Back to farmer’s market.

I can’t help wanting to buy a bit of everything as the quality is so good.

Such a nice change from Supermarket quality, where we have no idea how old the produce is.

Sure it is cheaper at the Supermarket but the few extra dollars is easily accounted for by the freshness of the Farmers Market produce.

I love being able to interact with the growers and give them good feedback or ask questions.

I like the idea that the produce has not travelled far and what we are eating is in season.

The food is in it’s prime and therefore will have the best nutritional value for us, as well as tasting the best.

I have 3 University students with heavy course loads and a busy husband with his own business, to feed.

All of them need to eat well. I can’t sit exams for people or see my husband’s clients but I can make

good healthy, tasty food for them.

I owe it to myself to eat well, especially as I am menopausal.

I always leave on a bit of a high from my trip to the Markets.

I have done my bit to support small business, help the environment,

make someone happy and feed my family high quality food.

Looking forward to dinner tonight of a Roast, baked potatoes and fresh green vegies.

What is your weekend routine?

Colour can improve your mood.

I am feeling a bit sad this week because I learnt of the death of a beautiful spirit and talented crocheter,

Marinke.

You can find her blog a creative spirit here.

I haven’t kept up to date with her blog lately and reading of her passing via another blog, was a real shock.

Marinke or Wink as she liked to be called, wrote very openly about her battle with depression.

Sadly she lost her battle and took her own life.

Wink’s blog posts were  always filled with colour and she was a talented photographer of nature.

She will be very missed in the crochet world.

Her blog helped me through my own depression 3 years ago.

Along with medication and counselling,

I learnt how to crochet and how to use colour in my craft work.

I found that the crochet kept my mind from wandering to dark thoughts.

It also helped by completing something tangible.

The use of colour in my crochet improved my mood.

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I started to photograph nature and look for beauty in nature.

The world is full of colour and Mother Nature provides it all for free.

Doing this on a regular basis, has been a lifesaver.

When I let my guard down and stop taking photos of nature, my mood dulls.

In honour of Wink, I will think of her whenever I crochet or take nature photos.

Melbourne is having a long, cold and dull winter this year.

It is hailing tiny beads of ice, at present.

That is ok, because I am snuggled up nice and warm inside crocheting the blue shawl in the above photo.

A recent visit to our local wool shop, filled my head with beautiful shades of man made colour.

My daughter chose this gorgeous denim coloured wool, which will look amazing with her red hair.

I will have to take daughter number 2, to the wool shop to chose her colour.

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Winter means pansies and I love pansies.

How can you not feel happy when you look at their cheery faces.

These are on my front verandah in a sheltered sunny spot.

I have been buying pansy fabric on the destash sites, so that I can make a pansy quilt.

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The view out my big, back window is of my lovely purple iris.

Everything else in the garden is dormant and flowerless.

These iris have flowered every winter for the last 24 years.

They survive the hot Australian summer on minimal water and come back

strong every winter.

My crafting plan for the coming week is:

I am hoping to hand applique the coloured hearts onto the quilt in the below photos.

It is amazing how the addition of the hearts, has turned this quilt into a celebration of colour.

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Yes there is one heart missing, you observant readers.

I didn’t notice till I loaded the photos onto the computer.

So much for my powers of observation.

I hope you are having a lovely day.

Thanks for reading my blog, it means a lot to me.

Cheers

Linny J

Rehoming an unfinished project

How long do you spend pondering over a project that you are not 100% in love with?

Do you plod on in a loveless way, just because you always finish what you start?

For me it has been a few years of pulling this hexagon project out and looking at it,

wondering where it would go when finished.

I have made 8 hexagons, so I was getting a good idea of what direction this was heading in.

It is very vintage look fabric by called American Jane by MODA.

Great for a vintage kitchen or house.

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The problem is that the colours in the fabrics are not my usual taste.

So after all the hard work to finish a hexagon quilt or blanket, how would I use it

other than a picnic rug. We rarely go on picnics.

So today I decided to rehome it and sell it to someone who would love it.

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Have you discovered the fabric destash sites on Facebook yet?

Here in Australia we have stacks of them.

Some specialise in patchwork fabrics, others in a particular fabric designer.

So I bundled up all the fabrics & hexies , took these photo’s of them.

Then I listed them on a Patchwork & UFO ( unfinished objects) Facebook  group

for a very reasonable price.

Within a minute of the listing, they were sold.

The power of the internet.

My hexie babies are heading to a new home.

I will stop pondering about them and can get onto

some Tilda projects, which are more my style.

I just love this concept of re-homing rather than wasting.

What you don’t want some other crafter might.

Do you re-home unloved projects or keep them ?

Have a great crafting weekend.

Cheers

Linny

Patchwork Holiday- Bright 2015

Do you have a holiday destination that inspires your creativity?

Mine is a trip to an Alpine  town in Northern Victoria, called Bright.

It is a 3 and a half hour drive from home.

Both Hubby and I love mountains and we hear them calling often.

We haven’t been there for two years and were both excited about our holiday.

All that fresh air gets my creative juices flowing.

For me it is an escape from the busyness of living in a home with 3 young adults and a big city.

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I load up my sewing machine and my patchwork, whilst hubby loads up the golf clubs.

He goes off to play 18 holes and I get sewing.

I didn’t pack the trestle table like our last holiday to Bright.

Instead I totally rearranged the unit, so that the dining table was close to a powerpoint.

I love the serenity of being alone in the unit.

This holiday I took along some small projects to work on.

A pack of charm squares or 5″ precut squares from

MODA called Beach House and  another set of 5″ charms called Bella White,

became a small quilt top.

I love precut packs as you get a sample of every piece of fabric in a range.

Like a box of assorted chocolates.

The colours in this range are pale and whitewashed looking.

The dark green and brown look a bit out of place though and

my least favourite colour in this fabric range.

This is my first attempt at making windmills which is an easy pattern,

but care must be taken to get the triangle points all matched up.

There was some unpicking two or three times, to get things as close to perfect.

I left in my Amish mistake, to acknowledge that only God is perfect.

 It is a great rule for me as perfection is something I rarely achieve in my projects.

I will quilt and bind it sometime in the future.

For the moment it will join my works in progress pile.

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Speaking of works in progress, this next one was a project I made last time I was in Bright, two years ago.

You may remember the runners from the fabric range by Bonnie and Camille called “Marmalade”.

When I got home from that holiday, daughter No 1 fell in love with them and begged for one.

Being such a sharing person I agreed.

She wanted an orange backing and orange binding for hers.No embroidery either.

I liked the lime green backing and  a white binding with the green machine embroidery.

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Mine was finished quite quickly but my daughter’s remained a work in progress until this holiday.

All that was left to do on the runner was to bind it.

I was determined to finish hers on holiday.

A few weeks ago on the internet, I managed to track down some orange and white striped fabric from the same range for the binding.

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It is really interesting how different the two runners look.

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I really love this range of fabric and it’s summery colours.

As it is winter here In Australia, these colours are a bright cheer up.

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After these two projects, I was feeling very creative.

Bright has a gorgeous Patchwork Shop and I headed in to have a look.

The first thing that caught my eye was the box of Tilda fat quarters.

I adore Tilda fabrics and their vintage style fabrics.

What did appeal to me was a doiley pattern hanging on the wall,

made from the very same Tilda fabrics, that I was eyeing off.

We had only been in the store 5 minutes before I was paying for my

new Tilda Fat quarters, kit pattern and embroidery threads.

My hubby was amazed, as he usually spends a long time hanging around waiting for me.

I plan to work on a few more of my unfinished projects before I start this kit.

Aren’t these fabrics below so lovely?

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Till next blog.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers

Linny J

Flower Crochet Coasters

It is time to return to one of my favourite craft activities.

Crocheting flower coasters in these gorgeous colours.

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I blogged about these bundles of joy, way back in 2012.

I made 6 each for my two daughters.

The pattern was on Yvestown blog.

This shop has since changed hands but the original blog posts are still available.

My daughters have requested more coasters. So I need to refresh myself with the instructions.

From memory they are fairly quick to make. A great activity for front of the television.

I used cotton thread, which gives them a lovely texture.

My daughters have used them as mini doilies, bunting and hanging off a real tree branch.

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I highly recommend this pattern.

Click on the Yvestown link above and you will find the pattern.

Happy crocheting.

Cheers

Linny J

To blog or not to blog.

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You have probably noticed that I have been absent from my blog for quite a while.

I actually was going to close my blog, when renewal came around this month.

It seems that everyone these days has a blog and that we are all shouting in cyberspace to be heard.

I have been doing lots of soul searching of late and pondering the following :

What am I trying to say with my blog and what direction should I take?

What do I have to say that would be of interest to anyone in blogland?

Do I fear that my life is so insignificant in the grand plan of humanity,

that I need to leave a visual footprint that “I was here” ?

Yes I think this might be the case for me.

When that blog renewal notice came around yesterday I found myself willing to press the renew button.

So here I am today, back writing a blog and no clearer as to why.

Maybe by the end of this blog post I will have an answer.

A theme seems to be taking shape in this post Self Doubt.

The downside of social media is that we now have a insight into how other people live their life.

This can leave us comparing our life to others and coming up feeling dreadfully

short of being perfect, of being successful and of being popular.

As we peruse snapshots of beautiful holiday destinations, fantastic jobs, beautiful homes and families,

we can be drawn into a comparison game in which we feel less successful and sadly lacking in our life.

Depressing thoughts indeed for some.

I recently fell prey to this sort of social media comparison.

My high school is having a huge reunion soon and photos are being shared on facebook.

Linda Year 11 group girls photo

It is great that with the help of social media, people can be reunited and reminded of those high school days.

I moved out of town in my 20’s and have only kept in contact with my best friends from school.

The School Reunion has a facebook page which I joined.

I was drawn to snooping how people had changed since school.

So, yes I confess I became a facebook stalker, a voyeur.

Seeing the photo’s of the popular group and the tough girls group has for me reopened that box of teenage insecurities about popularity, being bullied, the pressure of not having the perfect body and coolest clothes.

That box that had been closed shut for 30 years has suddenly been opened

and those feelings are there still. There are some new insecurities to add to the old ones.

Is having an ordinary life successful enough? Will I fit in 30 years later or are the old stereotypes still in place?

I have decided not to go to my school reunion, as I suspect it will resemble the movie

“Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. “

I will have to come up with something better than inventing post it notes ( you need to watch the movie to understand this).

Not being able to lie without my facial expressions giving me away, sadly prevents me from creating a fabulously successful tale of my life since school.

I have no nerdy hero who will fly in his private helicopter to rescue me in front of everyone.

Better to stay away.

Back to why I need to keep my blog open.

It is for me to use as a way of expressing gratitude in my life.

It is the simple act of gratitude that puts those unworthy feelings back in the box.

I am alive and healthy.

I have a wonderful family who love me.

I have a job I love and am loved in return.

I have a modest house but live in a beautiful leafy area.

I have food in abundance and access to medical treatment if needed.

I have true friends.

I have travelled to the other side of the world and seen things that I never dreamed possible.

I am blessed to be here where I am.

Right here, right now.

Taking photos of nature or my craft projects keeps me centred and focused on what is important in my life.

They ground me.

My blog is my visual diary of gratitude and abundance.

I am worthy.

As I am at this present point in time.

I was worthy in the past and will be worthy in the future.

We all are.

Thanks for following me for the last few years and welcome to my recent followers.

I have made some wonderful friends through my blog and enjoy sharing your life through your blogs.