Saturday, December 24, 2011

day 11 of 12: gingerbread house

happy christmas eve 
to all
we've celebrated christ's birth with my family already today
what a great feast
i even made a pav for the first time ever & it was great!
i've made up my own little family gift tradition
some lucky person is given the gingerbread house!!!
it was for my brother andrew this year ...
lots of fun in the making ... & a great little 'helper' this year
"mummy, i need to have the 'colours!!" (translation = freckles!)
he was devastated when we didn't come home again with it!
right ... so it looks like i'll be making another in the near future ...
  hey do you remember the other day i was lamenting over 
the fact that i haven't yet made Oscar his own stocking 
... well my mum made 4 ... very funky santa sacks personalised with names!
whoo hoo ... i'm off the hook ... yay roma!!
& of course it was laden with goodies
i hope you are spoilt too this christmas time with lots of loving family & great memories ...

Friday, December 23, 2011

day 10 of 12: JOY to the world

joy to the world
the lord has come
let earth receive her king
a carol usually saved until Christmas Day itself
just getting a jump on it ...
offering you an invitation
to 2 services at ABC
Christmas Eve Midnight Service @ 11.15pm
Christmas Day Family Service @ 9.30am
(at which i am doing a bible reading .... to a packed congregation!!)

 ... hey have you ever been to a african american church service
oh my ... if you ever have the chance you must must must ....
i love the big deep rich sound that black american vocalists can muster
this wonderful man Nat King Cole is no exception!! 
 let every heart prepare him room
and heaven and nature sing 
while field & floods
repeat the sounding joy
so in your travels today & tomorrow before the big day arrives be sure to:

"Do nothing without JOY"

1 year ago: we were sort of homeless 
... but excited as we'd just had the winning bid on our home!
2 years ago: i was enjoying preparing for Christmas 
with no Tupperware on my mind (1st time in years) & was making lots of gifts!
3 years ago: was Oscar's 1st Christmas
4 years ago: we had just been to my brother's wedding in Washington 
& then we had Christmas in PA with my other brother's extended family
Here we are in NYC ... @ the Rockefeller Centre
it was wonderful  ... i was pregnant & we were very very JOYful

Thursday, December 22, 2011

day 9 of 12: the making & giving

i've written this post for all people who make & create personalised items to be intended as gifts:
.... you will relate to me on this today i am sure!
if you are someone in my life to whom i have given a handmade gift there is no need to be offended by these comments ... be complimented that i love you to give you something that i have spent time making just for you!!
i have made many many gifts for people over the years
in fact i have a secret hope that on the day they all celebrate my life after i'm gone i hope
that they all bring along the things i've made 
& painted & sewn & pottered & designed & taught & crocheted & printed & framed & photographed & knitted & quilted & any combination of the above ...  & loved making... 
yes i have loved the creative process in every piece ...
i hope i'll be able to look down (?) & observe!! ...
(sorry not meaning to sound sombre but its the only time i can think that it would happen
i'm really not narcissistic!!)
i'm not sure however in the 'receiving' of gifts ...
if some of the 'intended recipients' have really understood what's involved 
in making a handmade personalised gift!!?? 
you see it needs to thought of as a gift in the first place ... 
then all options considered ...
then an item & design & pattern chosen to be 'perfect' for the intended ...
then the correct materials chosen & gathered ...
tools gathered & accessible ...
then the making ...
hands & heart at work ...
and the finishing ...
then it doesn't quite stop there :::
the maker holds their breath until a said 'look' of some sort of 'joy' is seen in the eyes of the 'intended' ...

its quite involved & the response by the 'intended' should be in line with their personality & be genuine & hopefully positive .... only thing is ... that many people don't quite get this as perhaps they have never really been involved themselves in hand made
& so i have learnt not to struggle with the seaming personal non-reaction but in some cases to simply not go back again to be wounded once more ...
... the making is so personal that to feel that its not been understood as a gift from the heart & perhaps seen as a cost saver (!!!!!?) is heart wrenching
...  j'adore heartfelt handmade gifts ... in fact i was spoilt rotten recently with some ....
this is a gorgeous purse / pouch made by the very talented Karen from And so, I sew ...
whom i have been getting to know & adore ... in person!
Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou Karen

i love this gift because i know she knows i love handmade & all my personal reasoning behind the why ... as well as they just simply make nicer gifts ... i love it because she has picked a favourite hue of greens ... & i'm not sure she quite knew at the time but i adore that fabric line too ...
i love it also because it was specially made just for me!
 as for intended use ... its now home to my growing collection of crochet hooks ... so i can take it places & others can admire & comment!!

here's another handmade gift ...
again green ... noticing a theme here?
people must know me huh!!
this one was made by one of my SIL's
she's rather clever with a crochet hook ...
these covered coins are USA currency all adding up to 40 cents in total ...
... a quarter & 2 nickels & 5 cents
appropriate & i love it

 these guys ... are going in those koala pouches shown yesterday .... they crept their way out of the scrap box & into my heart .... they should crawl into the hearts of some other little people ... & i've made Oscar another so he can join in all the creative play!!!

anyway when it comes down to it ... i love giving handmade ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

day 8 of 12: christmas gift bag decorations

you may have got the idea that i really love the whole christmas decoration thing?
well yes i do ... i've really enjoyed getting out all our decorations & the tree this year
as last christmas they were all packed away in storage awaiting their time to be moved into our new home ... its been a great fun finding new 'places' for them all, as the last time i packed them away, 
we seriously thought that we were going to move to atlanta, ga, usa ... 
that fell through ... & with hind-sight, our lives are the better for it!!
we decided we were up for a new adventure in life ... well i did & it took a bit of coaxing but Craig finally agreed to sell our house & buy somewhere new ...
this time last year we were elated & were looking forward to moving in ...
we love where we are ... even another o/s offer wasn't enough of a carrot!!
be to christmas ...
the one decoration that i have not got myself into gear to make
is a christmas stocking for each of us
we even have a real fire place & mantel on which they can hang ...
... i'll get there one day
i have however managed some gift bags with the
clear intention that they be used by the owners for future christmas' etc
... i made the ones below for the local cousins last christmas
& for the international cousins a slightly biased aussie themed christmas print ... 
pictured above ... the handle section kind of folds up to use as a bag
but looks kind of cute with the top folded down too ...
 these bags have wonky stars as their patchwork center panel
both bags are lined properly to see out the test of time & childhood!!!
i did make Oscar a koala bag too ...
& he does have a giant draw string bag made of the same santa etc fabric from the other one that i made in a hurry for his 1st christmas ... its fits lots of loot so i'm sure in the years ahead he'll probably prefer to put that out rather than a neat little stocking anyway!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

day 7 of 12: twinkle

 a twinkle of fairy lights around here
we have lots ... this is just some
love the twinkle & the little bit a magic they bring!
sorry not handmade today ...
... check my earlier post for what i managed
to sew up this morning ... & then deliver later today
tomorrow ... i will show you what i've been working on tonight!

happy bamboo

 new look bamboo baby
travel patchwork blankets
anti bacterial
pesticide free
i've amp-ed up the design of these just a notch
if you like or would like to give one as a gift
i can help you out
 so a little package arrived on saturday
in the shape of a lovely little baby girl
welcome to the world little emily
you can spot the older version
back here ... still good-uns

Monday, December 19, 2011

day 6 of 12: angels proclaiming

"Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!"
sung by a choir at Kings College, Cambridge
... we have walked about this magnificent chapel
with its fanned, ornate vaulted ceiling
that stretches to the heavens
why this carol?
well i like it
this version is a bit posh-er than what i'm used to singing along to
but its really sweet so enjoy the rendition
love the harmonies ...
& its about angels ... & we all know that the angels 
lit up the night sky in the fields outside Bethlehem
to tell the shepherds of Jesus' birth ...
 here are some i've made 
that hang about at our place each christmas
(i've taken a while to find some 'right' spots for 
decorations this year ... being in a new-to-us home!)
another pattern used ... yep!
but with some wild interpretations as you can see!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

day 5 of 12: purple-ly pink

today is the 4th sunday of advent
we've had:
peace = blue
hope = white
joy = purple
& today is
love = pink
... each sunday the children have tied different coloured
ribbons on the tree to represent each one
... stay tuned for christmas day to see the whole effect ...
one of these advents i plan to make not the whole advent calendar of december
but 5 somethings 
.... for the 4 advent sundays & christmas day itself 
... an idea sitting in the back of my mind .... maybe next year ..??
i made this cute little tree a while back ... 
its covered in purple ribbons
with a teeny baby sized angel teddy on top
this other tree is covered in mexican pressed metal decorations
which remind me of days long past
when i used to work near 'market import' in armadale ...
i love the feast of colour that shop is ...
... do you know where i'm talking about?
very very mexican with a touch of europe ...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

day 4 of 12: piece-d at Christmas

 hey hey
happy happy christmas
has been a long day for me today
great day at the market
the little covered note books were a real hit!!!
friends & kids around
then an early tea with the O/S family
great times
got to enJOY that journey remember
thought i'd show you a few little favourites of mine
that have hung on our christmas tree for a while now
above: really mini log cabin pillow decoration
in total they measure about 1.5 inches square
will make some more like these one of these years!!
 little patchwork pieced tree pillow ornaments
this one is about 2 x 4 inches
is basically a grouping of flying geese triangles
here we go
this one is interesting
i only ever made 2 of these stars
& should dig out the pattern again
(yes shock horror i used a pattern! do you believe that Sam??)
um .... the star is 
as you can see a little wonky 
but i like it like that
somehow the pattern involved the background hexagon being formed 
by folding in the points to the centre of the star 
... confused 
... its hand stitched too ... 
for years i used to add a little handmade decoration 
to all our family members' christmas gifts 
... maybe i'll work on doing this again ...
they may however be crocheted??
piece to you & all mankind
(PS: my apologies for the poor photography 
but in the twilight of the evening that was all i was up for!!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

day 3 of 12: christmas market

 i've been busy sewing up & hooking some 
christmas-y decorations/ & gifts
for the little market i've been at
each month on the 3rd Saturday most of 2011
come along to see if you're local & 
in need of some gift-y items ... i'd strongly encourage you 
to find something handmade to gift!
its so much more satisfying than 
having bought a mass-produced item ...
... & you'd be supporting all people's who handcraft ...
above: cute A6 sized notebooks
with fabric covers & crochet embellishments
i'm really quite proud of these ...
lots of different colour combos to choose from
& a great little gift for someone who has 'it all'
but still needs to write important stuff down on paper!!!

Surrey Hills Trinity Anglican Church
Tastes & Treasures @ Trinity
every 3rd Saturday
from March to December
177 Union Road, Surrey Hills
9am to 1pm

Thursday, December 15, 2011

day 2 of 12: mini figgy puddings

ho ho ho
i love really quick easy to put together ideas
i wish i could say this was my idea
its not
craig's cousin stephen brought them along to one 
of our Christmas extended family afternoon teas
i loved them & have since made them twice for different events
 what to do
mix some white icing so its quite thick
packet of malteasers
a few green musk sticks
(stephen used cut up mint leaf lollies but i don't like those lollies 
& i like the way the musk stick gives a more holly looking shape!)
a pack or 2 of chocolate royals buscuits
its not rocket science
so off you go & put some together!!
good fun & a great novelty talking point

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

day 1 of 12: crochet baubles tutorial

on the 1st day of Christmas ...
there are just 12 days until Christmas
not a partridge or a pear tree
how about a little look at some 
Christmas-sy decorations
that i've made
some recently & some favourites from the past?
all true loves ... 

this is the new-to-me
crochet baubles garland
that i've been working on just lately
(in-between event management!)
as mentioned, i've fallen for the 
feel of yarn through my fingers again
& am really enjoying the crochet process
think in the new year i'm
going to ask a yarn-y friend of mine
to teach me a few more crochet tricks!!!

here's a little "how to"
what means what ... or what i understand it to mean ....
chain = ch = one loop on hook, yarn over & pull through first chain
slip stitch = slst = insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through (2 loops on hook), then through the loop on your hook.
double crochet = dc = yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over & pull through the first 2 loops on the hook (2 loops remaining on hook), yarn over & pull through last 2 loops.
half double crochet = hdc = yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (3 loops on hook), yarn over & pull through all 3 loops on hook

what to do ...
chain stitch 4 & join into a ring
first round is worked into the ring
round 1 - chain (ch) 2, then double crochet (dc) x11 times
then join with a slip stitch (slst) = 12 spokes on the wheel


round 2 - for this round you're working into the gaps between the stitches ...
join a new colour, i just tie a knot & the ends can be short because they will just be hidden & you won't need to sew them in ... nice huh!
pull the new colour through to the front
ch 2, then half double crochet (hdc) into every space x11 times
then join with a slst = 12 sections, creates a star affect with the first colour

round 3 - again you're working into the gaps between the stitches ...
join a new colour ...
pull the new colour through
ch 2, then half double crochet (hdc) into every space x11 times
then join with a slst = 12 sections
you'll notice with this round that the outside starts to curl up ...
this is what helps to create the rounded ball effect of a bauble
(Note: if you prefer them to be less bauble-y & smaller then leave them this size & skip to joining the 2 halves together)

round 4 - again you're working into the gaps between the stitches ...
continue in 3rd colour
ch 2, then half double crochet (hdc) into every space x11 times
then join with a slst = 12 sections
this round will definitely pull the circular shape into being more 3d sphere like

you of course will need to make x2 of these half shapes ... matching colours or not ...
i have then made a set of 12 of these & joined them together as I have joined the halves together ...

join in the 4th colour (i've used an off white)
hold the two halves wrong sides together
hide all the ends, sandwiched between
with the yarn, pull through & then slst through a stitch on both halves on the edge... (2 stitches on hook)
then slst through the next stitch & repeat
continue all around the bauble shape
at the end join up the joining yarn ....
at this point you can make a loop for a single decoration
for this i have done 40 slst .... seemed like a good number at the time!!
if you wish to join them into a garland like i have here then you make a chain, again i did 40 slst
between & then join in the next bauble ....

 i've enjoyed making cute flowers in the past
with the help of this excellent tutorial
so i can tell you that these
Christmas baubles were also inspired by lucy's style ...
with the help of her crochet definitions too!
um ... & if any of this does not make sense then ask me as
this is the first time that i've ever tried to write down a crochet pattern!!!

stay tuned to see what crochet goodies
i've been making for the Surrey Hills market this Saturday ...