Friday, July 27, 2012

Giant Granny Square Blanket Ta-Da!

Yippee, I have finished my huge granny square blanket!  Every last end has been woven in and she now has pride of place on our bed.  I am absolutely in love with this blanket and every time I walk past my bedroom, I catch a glimpse of it and it makes me smile.  Poor hubby has had to get used to all the pink-ness but he agrees that it has given the room a nice cosy feel.  I started her back in January and kept working on her in between other crochet projects.   I am so proud of it, and want to remember it from every angle, so apologies for the billions of photos I am bound to use!!
She's a whopper and a little hard to get a decent photo of!  I had to perch on the dining table to get this photo.  And even then it's not the best of pics.  I didn't take the time to get it all nice and even and some of the squares look a little wonky which they aren't at all.  I used a different technique this time which has ensured the straightest squares and I am a convert.  Each round was started on the opposite side to where the last round finished, no spaces between clusters except in the corners where two spaces were used.  It worked a treat!!
 See .... look at all those lovely squares!  I joined them as I went and I love the wee stitch detail it gives.
I looks gorgeous on the bed.  Perfect for this freezing weather we've been having.  I was so excited when it was finished that I tore the new pink duvet cover out of the packet, threw it on the bed just so I could get some photos.  That's my excuse for the wrinkly pillowcases, and I'm sticking to it!!
It was touch and go whether I had enough of my favourite raspberry colour left to do the border but it worked out perfectly.  I used four rows of single crochet to keep it nice and simple.  And the border colours were based on the last four rounds of one of the squares that really caught my eye.
Yep - that looks just right to me.  I was really careful not to work into every stitch where the squares join, to avoid having a ripply border.  The yarn was Stylecraft and I had initially bought a mixed pack of this through Deramores.  I ended up having to buy another mixed pack as the colours I was mostly using didn't seem to be available in individual balls at the time.  Oh what a shame - to have all that extra yarn ...  ha ha.  36 squares in total, with 12 rounds each square.  The kids love playing 'match the squares' with it. 
 Even folded up I think it looks lovely.  
 Mmmm, gorgeous grannies - so simple but so satisfying.
It's freezing here today, so I'm thinking I might have to steal it off the bed tonight so I can snuggle under it while I watch telly. 
And it wouldn't be a photo shoot without my little crochet companion Bella.  'Oooh what's this Mum, you're trying to take a photo, well how about I just sit here and make myself comfy'.  I think she has been by my side for every one of these squares.
I know you'll be bored stiff by now, but all these photos are for my old age when my memory is flagging and I need a visual reminder!!
So now that the blanket is finished I can spend some more time playing on Pinterest.  Don't you love it when you spot something and it looks so simple and you wonder why you didn't think of it yourself?  I spotted something similar to this last week and within minutes I had my very own jar of cupcake papers.  So much prettier than the plastic container they had been stashed in inside the pantry.  This looks so bright and cheerful, I had to keep it out so I could see it.  The kids love it as they can turn it around and choose which ones we should use.

Have a fabulous week.  See you again soon.


Monday, July 16, 2012

It's so nice to be back!

Wow, it's been almost a month since I last had a chance to do a post and I've missed it.  So I warn you, this post will probably be long as I've got lots to catch up on.  The days have been absolutely flying by recently.  It has also been the school holidays here so my small folk have been keeping me rather busy.  Both children were sick over the holidays which wasn't much fun.  At least the weather was rubbish so it was ideal to be tucked up on the couch, watching DVDs and resting.  It did mean that I was able to get my hook out a few times during the day which was lovely.  I made a collection of tiny hearts for my wee girl and made them into a garland for her bedroom. 
She is very particular, just like her mother, and they had to be in a certain order.  I am going to have to make more of these as they are just so cheerful.  I can see garlands popping up all around the house (anything to add some colour to these gloomy winter days).
Then there was a bit more heart creating.  I had bought a battered old book of sheet music at the op shop a while back so I got it out while the kids happily played (not fighting for a change!).  With the help of some thick double-sided mounting tape, these layered hearts turned out really well.  Perfect to fill an empty spot on the wall.
 Side on you see the 3D effect.  And while I was taking a photo of these, Miss 5 made this one ...
Too cute!  I didn't realise she had even been watching me make my one.  I think she did a fab job!  She went on to make about 6 of them which are now on her bedroom wall.  Mr 7 was also busy making things - but his makes were Lego.  He is obsessed with Titanic and made a great selection of Titanics and icebergs!! I must get a photo of them.
I also finished my cat from Annaboo's CAL!  I'm so happy with him - I will definitely be making more now that I know it's not as hard as I thought it would be.  I overstuffed his poor head a bit, but hey, he's still cute.  
I also stayed up too late at night having a play on my sewing machine.  My fear of zips and buttonholes were holding me back from making cushions, so I decided to do a flap/envelope back instead and I love the result.
I had been collecting fabric for a while but then I spotted this fabulous length of fabric at Stitchbird.  One length made two cushions and I absolutely adore this bird print.  I had planned to use a plain backing but at the last moment changed it to the green and white spots and I love it!
 I was so pleased with the result, I couldn't wait to make a few more.
 Here's a pic of the back.  Nice and neat and not a zip in sight - yippee.
Here are the next two I made.  I was all set to make some square ones next until my brand new 22 day old sewing machine decided to sound like a helicopter landing in the living room and promptly died.  I know it wasn't a super flash machine and I did get it at a cheap price, it was still a decent machine at a fairly decent price before the sale.  Grrrrrrr.  And because it was outside of the 14 day period I wasn't able to get a replacement machine.  So it is currently away being repaired and I am missing it.  Fingers crossed it gets fixed soon or I will be turning into a super-grump.  I had also started altering all my jeans which I am eager to continue with.  All those jeans that have wider legs have started to be taken in so they are nice and lean.  I used to do this all the time as a teenager and can't believe I haven't done this sooner as an adult.  This way I end up with jeans that actually suit my figure and fit me perfectly.
Big news too - I have finished my giant blanket!  Here's a quick pick of it before I did the border - I had just laid it on the floor to look at it and of course Bella appeared and wouldn't budge.  I'm not going to show you until my next post as I am determined to have every end tied in before I take photos of it.  I know, I know, I said I would tie them in as I went but clearly I am a big fat liar!!  I got carried away and after the first 10 were made and tidied as I went, the next 26 squares were left.  I am absolutely kicking myself now as it's the bit I really dislike and now I have to sit for hours with a needle, sewing the pesky things.  In saying that though, I adore the blanket and can't wait to have it on my bed!!
I had a lovely letterbox treat last week, my book arrived from the UK.  I had read it from the library and had to have it.  So many ideas, so much colour - I love it.  I am a little addicted to Book Depository - it is soooooo much cheaper to buy books from the UK than it is to buy them here.
I love all the mismatched furniture, china and colourful bits and pieces throughout this book - definitely the look I want.
My biggest bargain last weekend was these pretty sneakers for less than $10.  I bought them at a children's shop as I have ridiculously small feet.  The lady in the shop asked me "how old is she" presuming they were for my daughter.  I replied that she was quite old, 41 in fact!!  Oh well, at least my feet feel young.  
My gorgeous friend Ange gave me this most amazing recipe recently and I have to share it with you.  Ginger crunch is a popular slice here in NZ and one I make often.  This recipe is for a fancier version which is beyond delicious.  It's easy and the outcome looks much more difficult and will guarantee to get lots of oooohs and aaaaahs.  If you're able to stop eating it, you're a stronger person than me!

Oaty Ginger Slice

3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbspn chopped crystallised ginger (or substitute with 1 tspn ground ginger - works perfectly)
7 Tbspn golden syrup
250g butter
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced or chopped almonds
3/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
4 tspns ground ginger
2 cups icing sugar
3Tbspn chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.  Line a slice tray.  Combine sugar, crystallised ginger, 2 Tbspn golden syrup and 150g butter over a low heat.  Stir until melted then add oats, almonds, flour and coconut.  Mix well then firmly press into slice tray.  Bake for 20 minutes then cool.

For the topping, put remaining butter, golden syrup, ground ginger and icing sugar in a pan over a low heat and stir until smooth.  Pour over base and sprinkle with pistachios.  Allow to set then cut into slices.


Have a fabulous week - see you again soon.