Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday goodies!

Well it's official - I am now 40! Although I have taught my small folk to tell people I am only 28 - it's not really lying, it's just a bit of creative maths. I had a fabulous birthday, lots of lovely gifts and treats. Don't you love these gorgeous measuring cups! My sister-in-law gave me these - little did she know I've had my eye on them for ages.

My dearest friend gave me the most wonderful bag of goodies including this delightful book. This is the book I was talking about in a previous post - where my body butter recipe originally came from it turns out. It is full of wonderful old fashioned tips, household hints and recipes. I'm really looking forward to having some quiet time next week when school goes back, so I can sit and have a really good read.

I was also given some gorgeous tea - a beautiful New Zealand Breakfast mix which I tried last night. It was absolutely beautiful. The other one is Earl Grey Blue Flower which is my all time favourite. Brewing a pot of this is just such a treat. Having it in a vintage tea cup makes it taste even better! So it is perfect timing that I am going to start making a beautiful tea cosy in the next week which I'm sure will make the tea taste better still. Can't wait to get started on it but it will have to wait a few more days while I finish off another project first.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

High tea and a bit of crochet!

I finished my gorgeous scarf last night - and I absolutely adore it. Roll on winter I say! It was remarkably simple to make (once I got my head around the pattern) and looks much trickier than it was. As mentioned previously, this was a pattern on Ravelry by Kathryn Nunes called the Van Ness scarf. I have decided that I can be a bit blonde when it comes to following patterns. I don't just look at them and get it immediately - but then again I am fairly new to this crochet thing! I always get there in the end which is the important thing.

I tweaked the pattern slightly by leaving off the final few rows. I did them originally but I decided I didn't want the ends to flare out so much so I undid it and love the result. I think it looks fab. I'm off to buy more wool tomorrow to make one for a friend of mine. It was such a lovely pattern to work with - I highly recommend it. In total it probably took about 3 hours to complete. A brilliant last minute gift project perhaps?

Apologies to anyone who is currently in the middle of winter ... but this was just the most blissful hour on Friday. Sitting in the sun on Oriental Parade, looking like a bit of a nana with my crochet hook, but it really was just perfect.
It's now Sunday here and I'm trying my best to ignore the fact that today is officially my last day in my 30's - eeek - but I'm slowly embracing this momentous point in my life. As a bit of an early birthday celebration it seemed only right to leave my 30's with a nice nana-y high tea. Surrounded by wonderful family and friends, we ate and drank until we could hardly move. We had tea at the James Cook Hotel, on the 17th floor so the views were fabulous. The food was gorgeous and I secretly wish no one wanted their chocolate mousse as I really, really wanted to have more than just the one!! I am told that calories don't count when it's your birthday so phew, that's just as well. I will definitely go back there again with girlfriends - it was gorgeous. I've been to a few high teas around town, but the food, huge tea list and adorable staff made this just the perfect morning.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Crochet in the sun

The weather has been a bit up and down lately so any opportunity for a quick few rows in the sunshine is wonderful. I have had my eye on this scarf pattern for ages and even though it's still summer here, and a bad time to be making scarves, I just couldn't help it. I found this pattern on Ravelry and it belongs to Kathryn Nunes and is called a Van Ness Scarf. It starts with four magic rings joined together, then you work from the middle up. Once that length is finished you go back to the middle and work from the middle down until the scarf is complete.
I can't believe how fast it is growing and just how easy it is. I thought it would have been so much trickier when I first spotted the pattern. I can see this becoming a regular gift idea!
For a treat I have ordered myself a new crochet book today which should hopefully arrive in the next week or so. I'm sure it will fill me with inspiration!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Splash of colour

With it being the school holidays here, I have my two small folk home so there is not an awful lot of time for crochet at the moment. I am up very early this morning so that I can squeeze in an hour or two while the rest of the house is asleep - I think that proves I am now addicted to it! Anyway, without much crochet to photograph I instead turned to things around me that I enjoy. Beautiful colours, simple pleasures.

Time to dust of my crochet hook now and have another go at this African Flower pattern. Mine still doesn't look like the ones I was inspired by so this time I'm going to try something different. Could just be a UK/US terminology confusion but I'm willing to give it another go! Even though mine doesn't look quite like the one in the pics I've been looking at - I adore it.
Have a lovely week wherever you are. The sun is up now and it's looking a little dreary today. But I am in a fabulous mood as I am meeting up with my oldest friend who I started kindy with many years ago. It's her birthday today and we don't live in the same city anymore so I'm thrilled to be able to catch up with her.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Homemade Goodies

Looking back at my weekend, there was a lot of time spent in my little kitchen. My gorgeous new measuring cups inspired me to whip up some baking (not that I needed an excuse - I love it!). First up was a Nainoma Slice that I made for the very first time. It was just gorgeous, all chocolatey and custard-y and it didn't last in my house for very long at all - always a nice feeling knowing your baking makes people happy isn't it. So with that tin empty, I made some Afghan biscuits which are my husband's faves. Not so great for my healthy eating but hey, sometimes you just need a chocolate fix!

Next up I made a batch of old fashioned Body Butter. I found this in an old newspaper article about things our nana's used to do/make. It's such a lovely lotion - and really nice knowing that it has no hidden nasties in it. Nothing but natural all the way. I use it for almost everything. It's wonderful to apply to 'smile lines' at bedtime, it's brilliant for getting your tootsies looking tip top ready for summer, it's even a great lip balm. It's also working wonders on the nasty burns I got on my arm on New Year's Day. They are healing very well and I'm sure it has something to do with this lovely body butter being massaged onto my arm regularly. Yay.
I usually make two big pots of it with the following recipe but this time I made lots of smaller ones so I can share the love with family and friends. There is a wonderful factory/shop in Newtown, Wellington called Arthur Holmes and they produce the most amazing pots/jars/bottles at the most amazingly cheap prices. I love visiting them and getting inspiration for other projects. Not really the sort of place to visit with children - all those shelves of glass products eeek!
If you want to have a go at making some, it's so unbelievably simple and very cheap. The recipe is:
1 cup almond oil
1/2 cup grated beeswax
In a saucepan, gently melt the beeswax into the oil. Once melted, remove from the heat. You can add a few drops of essential oil at this stage if you like. Then stir slowly with a fork until it cools and starts to set. Pour into prepared, sterilised pots/jars. Easy peasy!

Time to hang up my apron and get out my hook instead. I have had two unsuccessful attempts at an African Flower due to little people wanting to help! I need a bit of quiet time to have another go. My latest attempt is not perfect but to be honest I think it looks lovely. I will post pics of it's progress next time. I really like the potholders Alice from Crochet with Raymond makes so that was what I was aiming for. But I loved the look of it so much I couldn't stop at potholder size and have continued on to make a fabulous round cushion cover.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A wee bit of colour

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I have envied other blogs with these lovely grids of photos - but do you think I could work out how to do it! After much grrr-ing I have worked out a way to do it, but not quite perfectly - so this is just a little test run. I love it and hope to do one each month with an update of projects to date. So if you have any tips on the easiest way to do these grids please let me know!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Three Days in Wellington

I have just had the most wonderful three days in my lovely city. Two dear friends had their wedding on Saturday at The Boatshed on Wellington's waterfront. A beautiful venue with the most stunning views of the city. It was the most special day - for two very special people. The bride and groom had travelled home from London, where they now live, so it was a fabulous chance to catch up with old friends. A great reason to get dressed up, have a few drinks, eat amazing food and have a bit of a boogie on the dance floor.
These are just a few images to remind me of the lovely time I have had. You really can't beat Wellington on a good day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I am hooked on granny squares!

No sooner has my gorgeous granny square blanket finished, another set of squares have begun. This time I think they will become a cushion - the first of many I want to make. I have a feeling that my wee girl will want to claim this one as she sits with me while I crochet and calls these squares 'her little flowers'. I'm using a beautiful Moda Vera pure wool in good old double knit and using my No. 4 hook again. They work up super quickly which makes it such a rewarding project. I have treated myself to 9 different shades of this wool over the holiday sale season - a bargain at $1.99 a ball! How could I possibly resist. I am fast running out of space to keep all these balls of wool - eek!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My lovely granny square blanket is finished!

Isn't she lovely?

My small folk trying it out.

The last few stitches - almost done!

My gorgeous granny square blanket is finally finished! I still have all the threads on the back to tie in but from the front it's definitely complete - phew. This has been such a fun project with my small folk helping to choose the colours as we went along. No two squares are the same so it's super colourful and very cheerful. I have been fluffing around trying to make up my mind on what sort of edging I wanted. I even went so far as to get books from the library with every imaginable stitch shown (I now want to buy this gorgeous book). I decided on a scalloped edge in the end and I love the result. Not super fancy but it looks so comforting and wholesome. I used the colour that had first jumped out at me in the wool shop - even though I'm not really a blue kinda gal - this shade is just beautiful. I love, love, love this blanket! So do my wee ones - they were eager to scramble under it this morning to give it a 'test drive' as they called it. Thank you so very much to Lucy from attic24 for inspiring me completely with this wonderful design of hers! You're a total star.