Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Yarn Trail - Rosabella Threads

I mentioned in a previous post that I was off on my own personal Yarn Trail hunt which basically involves me finding shops and places within my local area where I can buy yarn.

I wasn't expecting to hit the JACKPOT all in squealing, happy dance capitals so quickly and it all came about from a woman at a quilting shop mentioning Rosabella Threads and saying they were from near Toowoomba (about a 2 - 2 1/2 hour drive from my house).

I went home and looked online and immediately fell in love with what they had to offer and their story.  I fully intended to buy online, just to try out some of the yarn but then fate stepped in and we took Miss R up to Toowoomba over the weekend so she could stay with a friend.

I contacted them to say I was heading through that way on Monday and could I have a look at their stock.  More squealy happy dances when they said that I was more than welcome to call into their farm.




So after picking Miss R up from her friends, we made the short detour to the farm where we got to see the Angora goats which produce the beautiful mohair fibres for the yarn.




There were alpacas on the farm too but they were, very sensibly, down the back in the shade as it was pretty hot.




George, the resident Corgi, was on hand to supervise selection and to get the odd pat or two.




Then there are the yarns.  Oh my!  They are gorgeous and so soft.  The colours are beautiful too and is all hand dyed by the lovely Dianne who looked after us and showed us a wonderful selection.




I could have squished and dithered there all afternoon but decided that I would buy a small selection to make something just for me.  I can always buy more online or go for a drive another day when I start planning a few more projects.  In the end I bought a little teaser selection for me to start off with.




I usually go for blues and greys (of which there was a really wonderful selection of), but I was drawn to the Rose in the Prima range so went with my instincts.  I couldn't help myself and ended up buying a couple of skeins of the silver as well  :)




The yarn really is gorgeously soft and the colours are exquisite and I'm already having to reign in my overactive mind which is planning up so many projects.  I'll need years to complete the ones that popped into my mind while I was looking at the yarn so I've come home to collect myself, have a think and a plan and then work out what I want... one project at a time. (Wish me luck with that...LOL!)









I wanted to leave you with one last photo of the farm which is actually one of my favourites.  Dianne said that it wasn't at its best because it's so dry.

I love it because it's the reality of living on the land and the passion that producers like Dianne and Peter live with through the seasons and the years.  Rain hasn't been seen here since October and it's probably been longer up on the range.

We were there in the middle of a really hot day so there's a heat haze which I think showed up the parched ground in it's perfect harshness.

I can also imagine that late in the afternoon, the muted light would soften the harshness and there would be lots of warm colours making it look really beautiful.




I also want to add that I'm not affiliated with Rosabella Threads in any way.  Any opinions on my blog are mine alone and if I find something that I love then I'll happily gush about it.

Having said that, if you want to find out more about Rosabella Threads  and have a look at the range of yarn they have to offer, then click on their name and the link will take you to their website which will more accurately tell their story better than I am able to.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.  It's the last week of the school holidays here and I can see at least some of my days taken up with working on my new, pretty pink yarn!

xx Susan



Sunday, 20 January 2019

A better week and a Yarn Trail idea

Thank you so much for your comments after my last post.  It's quite amazing how a little comment from some kind person in cyber space can help lift the spirits and help keep you afloat.

You will be happy to hear that things are going great this week and a lot of that is because hubby has been home to help out.  That means that I've been sleeping better and I have someone to share the parenting duties with.  Hubby also took the kids out the other day and I was sent off for a massage so I'm a new and revived woman!

We have been to the movies again and then went out to dinner afterwards which was a bit of a novelty.  If we do go out it's usually for breakfast or lunch, rarely dinner so I'm sure the kids will be excused for arm wrestling at the table.



I like to let the kids experience different things and places as it helps develop the social skills which don't come easily to them.  We live in such a café culture and I want them to get used to the fact that some places you order at the counter and others offer table service.  

It might not seem a big thing to some people but it's little details like that which can confuse and stress them so I to make it as casual and easy for them as possible.

It was also a gorgeous summer's evening too so we took the opportunity of going for a walk along the edge of the Mooloolaba River near Point Cartwright after dinner.




There's a path which follows the river to its mouth and the surf which is where we wandered.  There were a few trawlers coming in and going out as well as some fishermen out in their boats hoping for a good catch on a beautiful, balmy evening.




I have to say that the path wasn't well lit so we were lucky that the moon was close to full which gave us enough light to see.

We've got a couple of quiet days left now until hubby goes back to work and most of the school supplies have been bought so it will just be doing what makes us happy for the last week of the holidays.




A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of my struggles, a germ of an idea was created and it's something that I'm pretty excited about.

I've decided to begin my own personal Yarn Trail (well that's what I'm calling it as it sounds better than finding yarn shops).

I usually buy my yarn online or sometimes at the craft superstores like Spotlight.  The only problem with doing that is that I'm limited in the stock that's available in the superstores.  There's usually only certain brands and a lot of it is acrylic.  There's obviously much more choice online but I can't see the actual colours or squish the balls to find out if I like the feel of them.

I read a couple of blog posts from some lovely people in the UK who go to local yarn shops and decided that I needed to find out where they are near me.  It's also an excuse for me to get out of the house more which is one thing I want and need to do this year. 

I'm giving myself a radius of about one and a half to two hours drive from my house so that I can drop the kids at school, explore and be home for school pick up.  Of course I'm not always going to go this far.  In my brief research I have found that there are many possibilities within a half hour drive so I'll definitely see what some of them have to offer.

So my yarn trail started in the township of Maleny the other day when I had my much needed day out.  It's an artisan town in the hinterland and an old dairy farming area.  It's a place I used to know well as I went to high school here but hadn't visited in quite awhile so I decided it was time to get to know one of my old haunts again.

The first place I went to was the Arts and Crafts shop which is where the many talented people of the Maleny Arts and Crafts collective can sell their wares.




Inside is a treasure trove of quilts, sewn items, pottery, paintings, woodworking, knitting, and crochet items, all made from the talented people of the area.




After a brief look at some of the gorgeous pottery and wood items, I headed straight to the back to the fibre section.  There were some beautiful shawls and scarves on display but as I was just starting out on my yarn trail, I was on the lookout for... well...yarn.  

I did find a small shelf with some beautiful hand dyed yarn but nothing really jumped out at me that made me want to buy.  I think some of it was hand spun too but not all of the labels stated this.  Most of it just said hand dyed.

As it's only about a 20 minute drive from home I can always drive up periodically when I want to get out of the house and see if there's some new stock that will appeal.

Another shop that had potential was Sapling Textiles but the yarn stock was very limited.  In fact I think there was only about 20 balls in a small corner but if it's fabric you want, oh my!  The silks were gorgeous and it's definitely not your run of the mill fabric shop.  I think if I sewed more than crocheted I would nearly send us broke buying some of the gorgeous fabric that was in here.





I also called into Maleny Magic Patchworks and Quilts on the way home as it wasn't far out of my way.  If you're after quilting fabric then this is certainly the place to go as the range was pretty amazing but unfortunately they had no yarn except for a couple of scarf kits.

I didn't expect there to be much yarn in a quilting shop but I'm treating it like a treasure hunt because I know some quilting places stock yarn as well.  All was not lost though as the friendly and very helpful lady who ran the shop told me about a certain yarn I had never heard of.

More on that next week though because as a quirk of fate would have it, that tiny little comment the lady made is sending me off on my next yarn trail adventure.

I also won't be going on my yarn trail each week either.  If  I did that I would accumulate a stash of yarn bigger that my house and send us broke in the process!!  I'll just be toddling off every now and then when I am able so I can see this going on for years so it will be more of a slow rambling yarn trail.

Happy weekend everyone.

xx Susan














Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Breathing

I had intended to do a nice, light post but I feel it is a bit beyond me right now.

The reality is that I'm struggling.  I often do when we're in the final weeks of the school holidays and all the little, and not so little things build up.  I've become quite adept over the years at dealing with it all but I find that no matter what strategies I use and things I put in place to make it easier, it's still a struggle.




We had plenty of extra kids over during the day recently and even though it's fun at the time and I'm happy to help out other people when needed, it really takes its toll.

I've mentioned before that both my kids are on the Autism Spectrum and both of them have sensory issues in various degrees for different things but too much noise and stimulation can really add up.  It got to the stage where they both weren't coping well with one child very noisily freaking out and making it known to everyone and the other pretty well 'shutting down'.

So the last week has been dealing with two gorgeous and quirky kids.  My sister had Miss R for a night which was a wonderful blessing for us all.  It gave the kids a break from each other too and something different for my girl to focus on.

When we have moments like this I usually have trouble sleeping so when a good nights sleep is more important than ever, I find myself tossing and turning and good old insomnia kicks in. That means I'm tired, cranky and have a lot less patience so I'm not at my finest as a mother.  It's a reality that we all deal with and when I hear people talking about someone being the perfect mother I get twitchy.  I mean, didn't the 1950's housewives have a stash of cooking sherry somewhere!

The worst seems to be over for now and I'm finding that I need to plan the rest of the school holidays around what triggers there may be for the kids.  We'll get there, we always do.  We don't have a choice really except cope with it and deal with what's in front of us at the time.  One day at a time is how we're working on things right now, sometimes we work on getting through to lunch, then the afternoon, evening etc and break it down if needed.

A huge positive is the fact that hubby will be home around 3 am tomorrow and will be here for 5 days before he has to head back to work again.  Yay! Let's hope it's not too much of a mad house he lands in.

Thanks for listening my friends and remember to look for the little positives in your day.

xx Susan




Sunday, 13 January 2019

This week I'm loving.....

Crochet

I don't seem to be getting as much of this done as I would like.

It's been really busy around here lately with extra kids, outings and sleepovers.  I seem to be doing things in small bursts and snatching a few moments here and there to catch up on some of my projects.

I have finished my Winter Mist Shawl and took a quick snap of it just to show you.



It's made out of a brushed alpaca / silk mix and is the softest and lightest shawl I've ever made.  It's gorgeous!

I'm also working on an easy shawl in a ball  which is my latest portable project.  It's a no think shawl and is slowly growing because as I said, it's really busy here now and my crochet time seems to be limited.  It's the perfect project for these school holidays though.





Sleepovers and play days

My house seems to be a revolving door of children lately.  I've had plenty of extra kids here during the day which equates to a LOT of extra noise.  The kids have also had a sleepover at friend's or relatives for a night, both at different times so I've still had one with me which has been a fun night of one on one time.

Master M and his mate had a big night when they went out for his friend's birthday.  It took its toll the next day and when I went to find out why they were so quiet, I realised they were crashed!




Outings

On the brief occasions that hubby is home from work we've made the most of it.  We went for a drive and picnic one day which I can't believe I have no photos of.

We also went to see How to Train Your Dragon 3 at the movies which was loved by us all, especially the kids.

While hubby was home I took the chance to escape for a day.  I needed it as it had reached that stage in the holidays when the kids wouldn't stop bickering and I had hardly had a moment since early December that didn't involve constant noise and interruptions.  I think I was about to go postal so hubby took over parenting duties and I had the best day out.




I knew I couldn't handle noisy shops or anywhere too busy so headed about 15 minutes up the hill to Mary Cairncross Park which ended up being just what I needed.

Coffee and journal time at the café was the perfect way to get my thoughts in order and then I headed into the park to enjoy some time meandering in nature.




It was the best pick me up and I've got a ton of photos so I'll take you for a walk through here when I get a bit more time to organise them all.


Food

I LOVE food and my days out always require me to find somewhere nice to enjoy something tasty that I don't have to prepare myself.

A tasty snack of spiced fruit toast with a raspberry and finger lime jam was perfect to fortify me during my walk around Mary Cairncross.



I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon wandering around the town of Maleny with its artisan boutiques and plenty of cafes.  The salmon and asparagus quiche was incredible!





That's just a few snippets of the past week or so.

I hope you're all having a great weekend.

xx Susan


Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Eleven

Just when you think Christmas is done, the leftovers are eaten, New Years looms then is gone in a sort of flash and you can recover and enjoy the rest of the school holidays, you realise in a mad panic that you have your son's birthday hurtling towards you way too quickly.




After a bit of a traumatic start when his sister decided to work on one of her monumental screeching tantrums, all ended up working out pretty well.




Mainly because big sister spent the day with a relative and the birthday boy got to spend a whole day with Mum which is very rare and ended up being such a wonderful treat for both of us.




One of the highlights was to when we went to a particular restaurant for lunch in Caloundra (his choice) that happens to be situated under the pool of the resort above.  There are a couple of windows on the bottom of the pool floor, or the roof of the restaurant, where you can see people swimming and waving at you while you're eating your lunch.




After a special day with just Mum and her boy, plenty of relatives turned up for cake and afternoon tea to celebrate and Dad arrived home just in time for the celebration too.  (He'd been away at work for a week and often misses family celebrations so Master M was pretty excited that Dad was home for some of his special day).




Happy 11th Birthday to my gorgeous boy.

I had fun too.  :)

xx Mum



Friday, 4 January 2019

Meandering into the New Year

How are you all settling into this bright New Year?  Ours didn't quite roll in with a bang but that's fine by me.  Since having the kids I've decided that I don't mind having a good sleep on New Years Eve then waking up early and spending some quiet time with a cup of tea and my journal.  It's a lovely way to begin a year but it didn't quite happen this year of course.

Master M's mate from across the road stayed the night so the kids all happily stayed up until midnight.  I dozed in bed with every intention of sleeping blissfully through the ticking of the clock but somewhere in town some crackers were let off which woke me up.  Then the noisy household kept me awake and my insomnia kicked in so while everyone else went off to bed I was wide awake and bushy tailed as the saying goes.  I rolled with it though and enjoyed some quiet time until exhaustion finally settled in around 3 am and off to bed.. again... I went.



We have had a couple of outings since Christmas but not without plenty of grumbling and whinging from the kids.  Hubby and I decided that we had better do a few things before we all became stuck to our favourite perches, not that the kids appreciated it at first.  

We are such cruel parents that make them go for a drive, feed them fish and chips, let them explore the rocks and sand at the beach and generally have a lovely happy time. The DRAMA of it all! :)






This time we headed around to Shelly Beach in Caloundra because it wasn't as crowded as some of the other beaches closer to town.  

It's a great one to explore because of the rocks that take up most of the beach but I'll show you more of this on another walk to here that I intend doing sometime in the next couple of months.



Holiday jigsaws always seem to happen at some stage around here too and I was given 5 x 500 piece ones for Christmas and we're working our way through them.

I always do my jigsaws on a canvas I bought at one of the local bargain shops years ago.  It's a perfect size for a 1000 piece jigsaw, it's not slippery so the pieces stay put and because of the wooden frame, it's easily portable.  Most of the time we work on it at the dining table and just put a piece or two in whenever someone walks past.  It's easy to pick it up and move it to the coffee table, bed or even the ironing board at meal times or if we feel like working on it somewhere else.



There's been plenty of crochet going on here too of course and I've been slowly browsing through the treasure trove of books my husbands Aunt gave me at Christmas.

She called in late in the afternoon when everyone was inside recovering from the day and I was enjoying some quiet time with my crochet, a wine and the dog at my feet for company.

The books in the photo below are what she gave me and I have to admit I've broken out into a cold sweat seeing the patterns for some things I remember wearing when I was a child.

I have come across some gorgeous things hidden in the pages, as well as some stitches that I would love to try.  Most of the photos are black and white so it's a bit difficult to see the stitch patterns properly so I've decided that I'll work on a few dishcloths over the coming year and test out the patterns to see how they work up.




I hope you're all having a great week so far and have a wonderful weekend.

xx Susan



Saturday, 29 December 2018

2018 Craft

How are you all going with the leftovers?  Are you as sick of ham yet as I am and do you have some new inventive recipes to keep the family happy?  My fridge seems to be back to a normal size again and not bulging at the seams because of the excess so that's a relief.

  These last few days of the year are turning out to be quite calm for us.  It's all quiet with crochet and cricket for me and games and quiet time for the kids.  We're planning a couple of outings just to get us out of the house but none of us seem very interested in doing too much at all.

Quiet meanderings seems to be how we're ending out the year and perhaps a few more outings once the New Year begins.

On the craft front, the second half of 2018 proved quite productive for me.

The first half not so much as I was still trying to deal with paperwork and putting into place strategies with the school and paediatricians etc for the kids.  That took up so much of my time over the past few years that I pretty well put everything I loved doing on the back burner.

After starting Miss R's blanket way back in January and only working on a few rows in months, she got a little impatient and kept nagging asking me when I was going to finish her blanket.

So in the second half of 2018, the hook was picked up again and it not only reminded me of how much I love crochet, but also how much I needed to do something for me.   It's okay to look after your family but it's not okay to put them before you for pretty well everything.   You shrivel and waste away inside until one day you realise that you're a shell of the person you used to be.

So finishing Miss R's blanket has been the spark I needed to turn things around and what a turn around it's been!

So here is a peek at what I've finished this year.  Enjoy!


Miss R's blanket from Stylecraft DK in colours she picked herself.



My granny square blanket from all the leftovers from Miss R's and Master M's blanket.




Little makes including a beanie and scarf for Master M, some spring bunting, plenty of dishcloths and some butterflies (which proved equally frustrating and fun).



Plenty of headbands as a request for a friend and some little mittens for Master M's mate at school.



My shoulder bag which I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!  More can be read about that here.



It's not all been crochet though.  I made some shopping bags which were gifts for school teachers and a few family members for Christmas.  Pretty and practical!




I also made some little ouchie packs for one of the teacher's at Master M's school for her little charges.




Some scarves were made.  One in a beautiful alpaca which my Mum gave me a great pile of and I'm still trying to work out what to do with it all.



Then there was my lacy scarf which I don't think I've shown you.  This was a stash buster project and is a pattern I use whenever I have a small amount of yarn left.  In this case it was one 50g ball of Noro yarn and I was able to make something light and pretty out of it.

I've got a free pattern on Ravelry for this scarf so if you have a some yarn leftover from a project, this is something that can be whipped up in no time and you have no waste then.




My Sea Green Shawl was a wonderful to work on and is so soft and beautiful.



I love the way this shawl feels and the way it drapes around you.




Another brighter shawl was made in a classic granny stripe.



My Summer Breeze poncho has proved a hit and I'm loving the beachy colours of this one.  It's so perfect for throwing over my standard uniform of jeans and t-shirt if I'm running out the door and want to oomph up my outfit a bit.




I made a second one as well but adjusted the original chain length and went up a needle size to open the pattern up a bit more.  I do like it but not as much as the original as I think the lace effect is a little too open for me.  It's great for summer though and the pattern for the original poncho is now available here.



I'm working on another couple of projects and one of them will probably be finished before the New Year but I'm not putting time limits on anything I make, especially in the school holidays.  They will get done when they're done and I'll show you more in the near future.

Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable New Year and hope that 2019 is filled with all that makes you happy (and a few less leftovers!).

xx Susan