Friday, 9 November 2018

Shoulder bag

I am seriously in LOVE with this bag.

I like to have a project to work on during the school holidays.  I'll trawl the net for inspiration and ideas and then make sure I have the supplies I need for when the holidays start.

This particular project became difficult to put off as from the moment I saw the photo of it on Ravelry, I knew I just had to make it.  I may make another one in different colours but I was drawn to the classic look of the silver and white in the photo so I decided to stick to those colours.

It's called the Malia Shoulder Bag and was designed by Rebecca Langford  at the Yarn + Chai blog so if you want to make one for yourself, head over there and find the details.  She also has some really good video tutorials to help when making this bag if you get stuck on anything.

I used the exact same yarn that she uses as well (Lionbrand 24/7 cotton in white and silver).  Since I loved the bag in her photo so much I wanted to make it as similar as possible and I have to say it was really great to work with. It's also a mercerised cotton so it's given the bag a lovely sheen.




You would have seen glimpses of me making this during our trip to Yamba.  Most of it was worked poolside while the kids were happily splashing and I was able to indulge in plenty of happy hooky time as well as a sip or two of a Margarita!  I don't think I missed any stitches :)




I love the texture of this bag and have already had quite a few very nice comments from people when I've used it.  Mainly when I go grocery shopping because that seems to be about the only place I go half the time .




It's big and roomy and fits plenty in it and it's even perfect for holding my latest portable project when I'm out and about.




I'm so glad that I decided to add the little decal piece as it really does finish the bag off.




I've also decided to add a lining to it as well which I think will finish it off even more.  When I'm carrying a few heavy items it does stretch a bit in the base so a lining will help fix that problem and prolong the life of the bag.

  I'm still working on sewing the Christmas presents for the kids school teachers so I'll make the lining for it while I'm working with all the fabric.

I hope you're all having a fantastic week.

xx Susan

(P.S. I just want to say that I'm not affiliated with Lionbrand yarns or the Yarn + Chai blog.  I like to know the details of projects when I see them online so I try and give that information out as well when I make something. Rebecca is also the designer of this bag so she deserves the credit for it.  Thanks!)




Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Spring...where did you go!

Spring seems to have left us in a bit of a hurry.  The pleasantly cooler days that we were enjoying have turned into hot, humid days and the air conditioners are in use to help make going about the day just that bit more comfortable.

Indoor pursuits were on the cards in the hottest part of the day over the weekend and I also grabbed the chance to head out and do a bit of shopping while hubby looked after the kids.

It's been ages since I've had a day like this and I have to say that I was reminded why I don't really like going to the shops very often.  The people and the noise and all the stimulation saying 'buy me, buy me!' was a bit intense and overwhelming I have to say.  I really don't know how people can go there all the time but that's just me, some people absolutely love it.

I was on a mission though, not just to have a 'me' day but to start on my Christmas shopping.

My first stop is always a coffee shop and this time I indulged in something a little sweet to eat as well.  It gives me time to go through my list and work out a bit of a plan of attack so to speak.  Once I've got things organised in my mind, I can cope with the day better and find that I can enjoy the Christmas displays, the crowds and just the busy-ness of the place for longer.




I did cross a few things off my list and have ideas for other things and am happy to say that I now have most of Christmas sorted, with the exception of a few bits and pieces.  The budget didn't stretch that far on the day so in a few more weeks I'll pop back into the shops for just a quick visit and get what I need.

A letter to Santa was posted over the weekend with great excitement.  It's not often my boy asks for things so I'm hoping Santa can deliver on this one.  Fingers and toes crossed and lots of google searching will be on the cards I think Santa.

Pocket money has also been earned when Master M helped hubby mow my Uncles lawn.  He loves using the ride-on mower when he's at my Uncles place and is working out how he can earn a few more dollars because he is saving up for something.  I have no idea what but I'm sure he'll tell me soon enough as he's hopeless at keeping a secret.




I somehow found myself in the kitchen for most of Sunday even though the temperature was in the mid 30's (celcius) and it's humid.  Thank goodness for the air conditioning to help keep me cool.

As tomatoes are pretty cheap and going a bit crazy in gardens at the moment, I decided to make a batch of my Sweet Tomato Relish.  As it says, it is sweet but it's a really, really beautiful relish that I found the recipe online for many years ago and have since tweaked it over time.



Some of it will be gifted at Christmas but most of it will be for our use as hubby and I both love it.  In fact hubby's not happy about having to wait a few weeks for the flavours to develop nicely before I'll let him have some.




I've also got a new project on the go.  I wasn't intending to start another blanket just yet but I had so much yarn leftover from Miss R's blanket that I decided to make one.  As it's the same colours in her blanket I wanted to make something that looked different and decided that a basic granny square blanket would be best. 

I can keep adding to it until I run out of yarn so I'm not sure how big this one will be.  I know I'll definitely have a good size throw for the lounge so I'll keep you posted on it's progress.  My stash is already dwindling and I'm LOVING it.



Our morning walks in the heat haven't been overly pleasant but Patch is finding some lovely spots to cool down and have a drink.




Sometimes when hubby's home Patch and I can go quite early in the morning before it really starts to heat up but when he's away we're limited to going after I drop the kids off at school.  The heat can be pretty relentless at that time over summer but we do love our walks, we just go for shorter ones that's easier for my boy to cope with on those days.

I hope you have all had a great weekend and were able to stay cool, warm or just comfortable wherever in our big wide world that you live in.

xx Susan

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

A shawl, a scarf and a tea towel

I seem to be always driving in and out lately.  Nothing major, just lots of little things that have required me to be on the move and the result is not much time in between to quiet my mind and work on the few projects I have going here.

It's all been good though and I have truly been getting things done when I have been at home, just in snippets rather than a long lounging kind of session.

The rainbow shawl I was making using a basic granny stitch is now finished and ready in time for spring/summer.  It's made of a cotton/acrylic mix which will be perfect to throw over swimming togs and can easily be washed if it gets a bit of sand and sunscreen on it.  




I'm really loving the brightness of it and in truth it reminds me a bit of the rainbow ice-cream that you get.  See.. perfect for summer.  You can wear it over your swimmers and match your ice cream :)













On the opposite end of the seasons I've also finished the alpaca scarf I was making from the stash that my lovely mum gave me.  I really wanted to put a fringe on this one too, just to finish it off a bit but I ran out of yarn.





I'm still really happy with this scarf though and it will be lovely to wear on a cold winters day and add a touch of brightness when the skies are grey.





Now we come to the tea towel mentioned in the title.  This is not a craft project of mine but a commemorative tea towel from my first year at High School.  

Back in 1987 a new high school opened in Maleny and I was one of the foundation year students.  In fact my grade were the first to go through years 8-12 at the new school and the tea towel with all the students and staff signatures was available for the official opening.



A few weeks ago we were at a birthday party for hubby's cousin and I met a lady there whose named was familiar and it turned out she was the mother of one of the girls who was in my grade.

During the evening she mentioned the high school tea towel and how she was so excited to have a photo of it that a friend sent her.  You see, her son who was a couple of years older than me sadly lost his life in a car accident when he was 24.  She loved the fact that she could see his name in HIS writing on the towel.

It just so happens that I had 2 tea towels and I promised her that she could have one of them.






So this week I dug it out of the back of the cupboard, gave it a wash and have since ironed it.  Now we're just trying to work out when we can catch up so I can gift it to her.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week.

xx Susan





Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Spring garland

Thank you so much for those who wished my girl a happy birthday.  Not only via the comments on my blog but to friends, family and others from afar who sent messages through my sister on Facebook (I'm not on it).  The look on her face when I told her that people all over the country and the world were sending her birthday wishes was priceless. 

Now..... onto crafty things.

All over blogland people are celebrating Autumn and decorating and making me feel a tad bit lazy really.  I am quite a homey person but decorating certainly isn't my strongest ability.  Not only that but it's Spring where I live so all the Autumn paraphernalia doesn't quite sit right with the weather we have here, especially as it's really been heating up this week.




Spring for me means flowers and as much as I would love to have big pots of flowering plants dotted around the house and yard, I have a pretty horrendous track record for growing things.  In fact when I mentioned to hubby the other day that I'm thinking of planting a few things up in pots his reply was a very loud snort (you know the choking sounding kind) of disbelief.  He either knows me well or has little faith :)

The lovely Meg has made a suggestion of the kind of flower I could try and I'll let you know if I'm brave enough to give them a go.  I have pots that I found in the shed and I've cleaned them up but that's as far as I've got for now.  It's a start at least.

Since the whole fresh flowers thing may or may not happen, I decided that I may as well make my own flowers and hang up a little bit of spring in my house.  




I only used cotton and cotton blends from my stash since I'm trying not to buy anymore yarn until I've made a dent in what I've got.  A few more colours would have been welcome but I was strong and used stash only.  Are you amazed at my willpower?  I am!

I looked for inspiration in a couple of the crochet books I have and ended up making just a few types of flowers, changing colours and hook size to make them a little different.  I added a few leaves and even made a butterfly.  I wish I had found that particular pattern when I was looking for them a couple of months ago.  This one was so easy and really pretty.




As soon as I finished a flower I blocked it straight away and sprayed it with a little starch to help them keep their shape when hanging up.  Then I added a simple chain to join them together and my lovely little spring garland is now hanging in the arch in our lounge room.








One spring project down and it's onto the next one!

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

xx Susan



Sunday, 21 October 2018

Thirteen





Happy Birthday to my beautiful, beautiful girl.

You're now a teenager!!

xx Mum

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

This week I'm loving.....

Crochet


Of course there's always crochet.  This week I'm working on a cotton triangular shawl in a granny stripe which I'm loving the easy flow of.  I'm not following a particular pattern as I'm just making this up as I go but a granny stripe is pretty easy to do and it's so effective.  As it's cotton it would be perfect for a beach wrap too.




I've also been working on a scarf in some of the alpaca wool that my Mum gave me.  I haven't quite been sure about the pattern of this one but the closer to completion I get, the more I like it.  (Red is really difficult to photograph so I'll show you more once I've finished and blocked it).





Rain

Days and days of rain that has hardly let up from heavy downpours to gentle drizzle.  It's been perfect for indoor snuggling and cosy pursuits.

(The photo below is from my front door and somewhere in the grey sky is a mountain.  We haven't seen it for days but I'm sure it will peek out through the clouds soon enough).




Storms

A prelude to the rainy weekend were the storms each day.

Of course most of them hit around 3pm when it was time to pick the kids up from school.  There seems to be some unwritten rule from Mother Nature that school time is the best time for a downpour.





We were lucky to escape any damage unlike some friends in the neighbouring town of Glasshouse Mountains who had trees ripped out and power lines down at their place.  No property damage on the farm though which was good although another friends trampoline ended up on the roof of their house.

We did get some hail one day and had to wait until the worst of it was over before picking the kids up.  Thank goodness the school kept the kids in their classrooms and realised that it would be a slightly later pick up for most of them.






Sewing

Slowly, slowly doing little bits each day to make these Christmas gifts for the kids school teachers.  One day its cutting out fabric, the next its pinning it together and then the process of doing a little sewing each day until it finally all comes together.









Afternoon tea


Nothing beats something warm and homemade when the kids walk in the door after a really wet and cool day at school.

Sometimes it's fresh scones but this time I made pikelets which were enjoyed with lots of butter, jam or golden syrup.  I had no cream  :(  as it was a spur of the moment cook up.

Making a double batch also ensures some for either lunch boxes the next day or a very quick filling mini pancake breakfast.





Board Games


The Monopoly board has been out while the rain teems down outside.  Ours is a Lord of the Rings Monopoly which we were gifted many years ago.

We zip through the Shire, Bree, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Rohan and onto Mount Doom while passing by the Steeds of Middle Earth (instead of train stations), Shelobs lair and the staff of Gandalf and Saruman.




This version also has the bonus Eye of Sauron on one of the dice instead of a one.  Each time this is rolled a special gold ring is moved onto the next property around the board and as soon as it reaches Mount Doom.. game over!  I love this shorter game and it's much better for the kids too as the game doesn't drag on and boredom sets in.







What are you loving about your week?

xx Susan







Saturday, 13 October 2018

Yamba

Yamba is a seaside town in New South Wales that is also situated at the mouth of the Clarence River.  It's a really beautiful spot and hubby and I spent the last night of our honeymoon here over 14 years ago.





Instead of dusting off the camper trailer and heading to one of the dams or up the beach to Double Island Point like we have in the past, we decided to splurge a bit and do something a bit different.  

Yamba is where we eventually decided on because it's not too far from Grafton so we could visit my father in law (who ended up going away so we didn't get to see him), there are a number of interesting places to explore and it had a couple of really good kid friendly places to stay.  We were also lucky enough to book accommodation in the school holidays at the last minute so it ticked the boxes.





We ended up staying at the Blue Dolphin Resort which was fabulous although took a little getting used to for us as we usually try and camp where there aren't too many people.  The place was packed with caravans, tents, camper trailers and cabins (sorry.. villas) like we stayed in.






It's also situated on the shore of an offshoot of the Clarence River and had its own private boat ramp and jetty.  I loved going for walks down to the water to watch the birds and boats coming and going.  Of a morning the trawlers would come back in with their overnight haul and we did get to sample some really nice freshly caught fish one night.




Being school holidays the place was packed.  We were hoping to get a cabin on the outer edges of the resort but unfortunately ended up smack bang in the middle of it and right outside the noisiest place for the kids to play.




That was the jumping pillow and I took the below photo from my seat on our little verandah.  It wasn't too bad though as they deflated it at dusk and didn't inflate it again until 9am and watching the kids play and have fun on it was a joy.

Our kids had plenty of fun on it too and when the noise got a bit much for them we shut the windows and doors and let them watch a movie until they could cope with the excess stimulation again.





The number one place at the resort for the kids was the pool.  Perhaps I should say pools plural as there were three of them as well as a bit of a water park.  The one in the photo below was the heated pool and the most popular because the weather has still been a little cool.





One of the other pools had a couple of waterslides which were a hit with the kids but they only went on them for a short amount of time because the water was pretty cold.  They would spend 10 to 15 minutes on the slides then go back over to the heated pool to warm up a bit.







So what did I do while the kids swam and played in the water, sometimes for 3 hours at a time.  I crocheted of course.  I had my school holiday shoulder bag project with me and hooked away very happily in my little spot.

As we ended up spending most of our time at the resort because the kids were enjoying it so much I ended up finishing the bag on our last afternoon there.  I still have to add eyelets and the rope handles to it and once I've done that I'll show you the finished product.





Spending so much time poolside and in the pool worked up an appetite and even though we were self catering in our little villa, we did splurge on chips and wedges too.  

We mainly got these for the novelty factor that you order at the cafĂ© and they deliver it to you wherever you are poolside!  I'm sure people do this all the time but it was a completely new experience for us as so we just had to have a snack.  The kids loved it.






They also had pedal go karts that the kids could zoom around the place in.  We hired them one afternoon for awhile and the kids had a great time tearing up the tarmac.




We didn't stay at the resort the whole time we were there otherwise there would have been no point driving to Yamba at all as we could have stayed in a place like it a bit closer to home.

There was plenty of grumbling from the kids (one in particular) when we told them we were off to do some exploring.  We were usually only gone for about 2 hours each day on our little jaunts which was enough to see some of the area in spits and spurts.

The first stop was the town of Yamba itself and the lighthouse.

We parked down at Turners Beach which is next to the mouth of the Clarence River and at the base of the lighthouse.





There were plenty of rock formations to clamber over and explore and to just enjoy the beauty of the ocean.

















We climbed from the carpark up to the lighthouse and then went back down again.  We really did have lovely weather when we were there although it was pretty windy so I wasn't getting too close to the edge of the rocks.





Another one of our jaunts took us out to Angourie which is more of a residential area and the start of a 65 kilometre walk through the Yuraygir National Park. You can do a shorter 10 kilometre walk on the Angourie Walking Track as well which looked lovely but we were happy exploring the headland and beach on this trip.

It was a lovely view down onto the Angourie Surfing Reserve from the headland and we were really lucky to arrive just when a whale was breaching just offshore.





I wasn't quick enough to snap it when it was right out of the water but in the below photo you'll see a white wave right in the middle of the picture.  That's the splash of the whale which was pretty exciting, especially since it was the first time the kids had ever seen one not on tv or in a book.





We walked down to the beach and did some exploring of the headland and over the beach on the other side which was beautiful and had very few people there which was a bonus.












We really loved our trip away and already it feels like a bit of a dream, especially as we're back into the school routine again for term 4 of the school year.

A big thank you to my mother in law who had a holiday of her own at our place and looked after Patch for us so we could go away.

I hope you're all having a wonderful week.

xx Susan