Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Crochet update

I have been busy on the crochet front since I finished Miss R's blanket a few weeks ago.  

I've had a few portable projects on the go for when I've been out and about, or just to work on something quick when I'm at home.

My 'go to' projects seem to be dishcloths.  I love to try out new stitches and different brands of cotton and this is one of the best ways of doing that.  They're something that can be whipped up fairly quickly, they're useful and they're good for the environment so it's win-win all around.




I use a fresh one each day and then toss them in the washing machine with the tea towels once a week.  When they get old, stretched, smelly and just plain old manky, I throw them out knowing I've got some more lovely ones stashed away that I can use.




I've also been known to give them away as gifts when I get quite a pile of them.





The day after I finished Miss R's blanket I started on a shawl using Drops alpaca/silk.  It's gorgeous to work with and I finished it last week but have yet to block it.  I'll photograph the finished item and show you once I've got myself organised but below is a sneak preview of when it was being made.





Master M requested a scarf in some of the leftover colours from Miss R's blanket.  It's a basic treble crochet scarf in the back loop that came together quickly and easily.  He loves it!





I then decided to make a beanie to match which was quite fun to make except it's too big for him.  I made it in an adult male size for some reason but I do have enough yarn leftover to make one that's right for him.





There's no rush to get it done right now though as the weather is starting to warm up quickly so scarves and beanies will be put away until next year.  I'll try not to wait until next year though as I know the project will hang around the back of my thoughts, nagging at me until I get it done.





I have also bought some more fabric.  I do know I just decluttered my stash after the ant nest incident but I have a specific project in mind and the below fabric fits the bill.  I'll be using some of my stash as well so I'll keep you posted on this project.





Last weekend I decided that I really needed to sort through my yarn stash and ended up piling it all up on my bed.  It was a bit overwhelming to see it all in one place and realising just how much I had.

I've now sorted it into cotton, acrylic, wool, alpaca and any other special mixes that I have.  I've logged it, weighed some of the leftover yarn from projects (very organised I know), and now have a plethora of project ideas flitting around inside my head.  I'm starting to jot some of them down too so I can just look at my list and decide what I want to start on next.




(This is a pile of 200gm balls of pure alpaca yarn.  My lovely Mum gave most of them to me as she decided she wasn't going to use them and thought I would appreciate them and make something nice.  Isn't she sweet.)


We're in our last week of school for the term and lovely hubby is already off on holidays.  He's taken a few work blocks off which ends up giving him nearly 6 weeks at home with us. 

We do have plans to go away over the holidays but a lot of that time will just be doing family things together.  Hubby also plans to go fishing in the boat quite a bit so lets hope that it won't be too windy so that he will be able to get out on the water.  

I hope you're having a wonderful week and thank you so much for your lovely comments on my last post.  They were really appreciated and helped lift the mood.  Blogland really is such a lovely, caring community.

xx Susan








Friday, September 14, 2018

Off-Kilter

Off-Kilter

1. Out of equilibrium; not straight, level, or aligned properly, in a state of confusion or chaos. 
2. Not working correctly or properly; out of order; out of w(h)ack. 


There must be something in the air or the water lately to make so many people feel a little off-kilter in the last week or so.

I know I haven't seemed to be firing on all cylinders and after a little reading on blogland, I've realised that many of you are experiencing something similar.

I've been well and feeling good mostly but everything seems to be taking just a little more effort and motivation to do things.  Then there's all the little extra things that seem to crop up and need to be dealt with when it's the last thing you really need at the time.  I just concentrate on one thing at a time and tell myself it's all okay.

Being busier and out and about a bit more always seems to send me a little askew and that has certainly been the case lately.  I'm very much a home person and love to potter about in my space.  Sometimes I really need to force myself to leave the house and have to give myself a stern talking to as to how good it would be for me to get out for a bit.

After all the years of lovely hubby working away and being gone for good chunks of time, I've found that the kids and I have developed some pretty good routines for ourselves, mainly so that I can cope with partial single parenting.





  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it before but both my kids have Autism.  They are on the higher functioning end of the spectrum and the past couple of years have been quite challenging as they started to get older and new 'triggers' came into play. 

It was all mainly to do with school, especially with Master M and at times it really can take its toll on me.  There's regular appointments with various support networks for both children and then last year the school seemed to have me on a hotline because Master M just wasn't coping.

Things have been so much better this year so far with both kids.  Their school's have been fantastic and supportive and we've got some really good strategies and care in place for them.

Having said that, I had Master M home for 3 days last week and it brought up the thoughts of whether I would have to home school him.  It's been a consideration over the past couple of years but not so much this year when he's been reasonably happy where he is.

I looked at the pros and cons of it all and realised that right now, he's better off at school.  He does like it most of the time, there are however some pretty huge moments when he doesn't cope.  Sometimes I have to pick him up early and sometimes they put me on speaker phone and hearing my voice seems to help get him back on track.  I usually end up being an emotional wreck after those calls though.

His three days at home made me realise that I wouldn't cope with home schooling.  With a husband that's gone a lot of the time for work, I find that I really need that time when the kids are at school to help me function better when everyone's at home.





I struggled with this for awhile but after feeling like I've been out in the woods for a couple of years, it's nice to get myself back on track and do things that are important for me.  I've been so much happier and content in the past few months and the kids are feeling that too because they seem to be happier and more content (most days) as well.  I'm the one constant for my family and so they respond to my moods and emotions.  I've only just come to realise this and it's made me realise just how important self care is.

It doesn't matter if what I do is big or small, long or short.  It just needs to be something that helps me out at different stages of the day or week and often it can be something that I do for just 5 to 10 minutes.

When things have been a particular trial I'll often have a day out with just me, myself and I.  That usually happens when lovely hubby is home and I will say that he's always been supportive of me having the time I need right from the moment we first had Miss R.  That might have something to do with him being gone for 10 days at a time back then and me, with extreme lack of sleep and blathering about 'his turn' virtually throwing a baby into his arms as I headed out the door. :)

I often go to the shops for a bit but then I find them too noisy and I really don't need anything half the time.  Sometimes I'll go to a movie if there's anything on that I might like to see (rare), and other times I've taken a book and lay down on a picnic blanket somewhere relaxing and quiet.  Often it's in a quiet spot with a view of the ocean.  I always find that those moments recharge the soul.





I walk the dog.  Patch and I drop the kids off at school then head down to our favourite  place to walk and just enjoy the quiet.  Sometimes I'm blissfully happy just being out in nature, sometimes I've got way too much running through my head and other times I have a good cry if that's what's needed at the time.  It's a good way to get my head together before really starting my day and Patch loves his walk too.





I crochet.  I love it and I've realised recently how much I seem to need to be crocheting and sometimes sewing to help keep those happy molecules hurtling around.





Occasionally I just lay on my bed with my eyes closed for 15 minutes and concentrate on my breathing.  This happens if I've had a busy day and realise it's not long until I have to pick the kids up from school.  Of course I have to set an alarm because I have found myself drifting off momentarily on the odd occasion.

I love sitting out in our backyard of an afternoon.  I haven't done this much over the winter months and now the weather's warming up I'm realising how much I've missed it.  I usually crochet or write while enjoying a cup of tea and the kids often gravitate to where I am and play outside which gets them away from their screens.





On a weekend if lovely hubby is home that cup of tea has been known to change to a glass of wine.....
or two.




I love sitting around our backyard fire of an evening too.  This mainly happens on a weekend and usually only if hubby is home.  I don't know why as I'm perfectly capable of lighting one myself.  We've had fire bans here because it has been so dry but with some recent rain, those bans have been lifted in our area and I'm looking forward to enjoying more fires in the near future.

One of the main things I do that helps right the axis is write in my journal.  I treat it as if I'm writing a letter to a friend about what I've been up to.  I often go for days without talking to another adult so I've found that my journals are like having a conversation and are one of the quickest ways to get myself back in balance.





I would really love to know what do you do in some of those precious rare moments to help keep yourselves sane.

Whatever you are doing this week, I hope you are able to snatch some time just for yourself where you don't feel guilty about it and know that you truly deserve it.

xx Susan

Friday, September 7, 2018

A Coastal Walk - Golden Beach

Lately I've been going down to Caloundra quite a bit.  It's a beautiful place and only about a 20 minute drive from our house so it's not far to go when you need a bit of an ocean fix.

Today I'm going to show you the Golden Beach area which is not quite as touristy as other areas of Caloundra.

Golden Beach is along the Bribie Passage and has no surf like the other beaches as it's protected from the ocean by the northern tip of Bribie Island.







In the next photo you will see what looks like a white building peeking over the top of the vegetation.  That's actually a container ship out in the ocean, making its way either in or out of Brisbane.  

All ships going into Brisbane have to go past Caloundra as it's the only passage deep enough because of Moreton Island a little further off the coast.




There are also some small beach areas on the western side of Bribie Island which you can see in this post from New Years day when we took the boat out for a picnic and the kids and I had some fun on the surf side.







Golden Beach is also home to sections of mangroves which you can explore on a short section of boardwalks.










There's always plenty of watercraft out and about whether it's sailing boats, fishing boats (tinnies), jet ski's, kayaks and plenty of other vessels that float.  No surfboards though because there's no surf here.







The canal estates of Pelican Waters have access to the ocean from here too so the area is split into two sections because of the main canal entrance.







I love that there's so much parkland in the area.  On the weekends all throughout the year people are out in force but there's plenty of space for everyone this end of town.  There's free barbeques dotted all through the parks as there are in most places in Australia.




Playgrounds are plentiful and popular with the littlies, especially with the sun shades to protect them during the hotter months.




Of course you can find plenty of spots to enjoy a quiet lunch and just enjoy the view.

(Thai squid cakes with a chilli lime dipping sauce.  Holy YUM!)







There are the obligatory fish and chip shops as all coastal towns have.  

I have a strong suspicion lovely hubby has pulled the boat up on the beach across for this one and bought some lunch one day when he was out fishing!







If you do catch some fish then you can fillet it freshly at the waters edge so you don't stink out your own bin at home.




Wildlife of the coastal kind is plentiful here too with seagulls and pelicans always flying, floating or wandering around.




There's plenty of evidence of crabs but they're not often seen.




I also love the fact that right down the southern end of Golden Beach you will often see black swans. They are such beautiful creatures and there's quite a few in this area busy diving for food.




So that gives you a little taste of Golden Beach.  Thanks for joining me as it reminded me how much I love that section of town and has given me more ideas of things to do with the kids now the weather's starting to warm up again.

xx Susan


Friday, August 31, 2018

Miss R's blanket

I'm very, very happy to tell you that I've finally finished Miss R's blanket.

I can't believe I started this back in January and had planned to have it ready for her to use at the beginning of winter.  Well we're in the last week of winter here and it's finally done.

My girl picked the colours and pattern for this blanket and was even pretty adamant about the border colours.  There were a couple I would have changed if it was me, especially the Royal as I thought it was a bit too dark for the rest of the colours but that was her favourite so it stayed.  

I decided in the beginning that it was her blanket so I would make it how she wanted it and I'm so glad I did as she LOVES it so much.


The yarn and the colours used in the blanket are:

Stylecraft Special DK

The colours (in order of the stripe pattern in the blanket):

             1. Royal      2. Turquoise      3. Cloud Blue     4. Aster      5. Denim    
         6. Storm Blue     7. Silver      8. Aspen      9. Sherbet     10. Cream

I used about 1 1/2 balls of each yarn and repeated the same pattern of 10 colours.





After looking at patterns online and in my crochet books,  Miss R decided she wanted it to be made in the Neat Wave Pattern by Lucy of Attic 24.



I crocheted 322 rows or 161 colour stripes as each stripe was 2 rows of crochet.

The blanket ended up approximately 115 cm wide and just 252cm  long.  Yes it is a long blanket, longer than usual for a single bed blanket but there's a reason for that.

Miss R tosses and turn A LOT  and her bed has to virtually be completely remade each day because sheets and blankets get untucked and twisted.  I thought if I made her blanket extra long then we can really tuck it in well under the mattress and hopefully it will have a chance of staying on her bed.

So if I was making a normal single bed blanket then I probably would only have done about 121 colour repeats (242 rows).




The border was a very simple one of double crochet (UK/AUS terms).  I used 4 colours beginning with Denim.  The next three rows of double crochet were worked into the back loop of the previous row and were Silver, Aster and finally Royal on the outside.

There wasn't any inspiration for the colours of this blanket as she picked the ones she liked from a pile.  It wasn't until I was nearly finished and looking through some of my photographs that I realised the colours are very similar to Caloundra where we go often and is one of our favourite places.





It certainly made the Wave pattern choice very fitting.

I also finished it just in time for some perfect snuggling.  The day after I sewed in the last end, Miss R was a bit ill and had to have the day off school so she happily snuggled under her new blanket on the lounge for most of the day.

xx Susan

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The ants go marching

We've had a little trouble with ants marching through our house in recent months but haven't been able to find where they were coming from.

Mystery solved.  They were making a lovely nest in my fabric which I haven't touched since Christmas.

I was thinking about a future project so decided to sort through my fabric to see if I had anything that would suit only to find myself confronted with THOUSANDS of ants.  Not one of them was visible from the outside of the fabric but once I unwrapped it then it was game on.

I thought I was very ingenious years ago by wrapping the longer pieces of fabric around some corflute so I could stack them up like soldiers and have nice, neat shelves rather than a teetering mess.



Apparently the ants thought it was ingenious of me too as they made nests in the centre of the corflute.  The above and below shot shows you the last pieces that I tossed in the bin and they were the least infected which is why you're getting a photo.

I had about 15 other pieces that every hole you see was full and literally thousands of ants running over each piece of corflute.  There was more black from the ants than white corflute!  I was not taking the time to stop for a photo shoot with the ants running up my arms.




Apparently squealing and running around tossing fabric is a normal thing for me too.  The kids didn't notice a thing.  I'm not sure how concerned I should be about the fact that me acting like a lunatic doesn't hit their radar.

The dog noticed though but he just stood in the yard looking from the pile of fabric to me and back to the fabric like he was at a tennis match.  

I think my lesson is that I need to sew more. :)

I'm also pleased to say that our ant problem seems to have been solved and I now have clean fabric and tidy shelves.

I also took the time to declutter my fabric and took a really good look at what was there and what I thought I would use.  About a third of it will now go to a new home where hopefully it will become the perfect project for someone else (yes I washed and ironed it first).  I find it so much easier to declutter when I think of someone being happy or excited about getting something of mine that I may love but no longer have a use for.

I hope you all have a lovely week.  I will be enjoying an ant free one. :)

xx Susan




Tuesday, August 21, 2018

This week I am loving...

Crochet:

Working on Miss R's blanket.  Not much to do now....





...as well as my next portable project.  



Breakfast:

Breakfast out with our UK friends.  It was our last get together before they fly back to England this week and we will be sad to see them go.  Master M's hot chocolate however caused much excitement....





Hair:

Having my hair done then promptly going for a walk along the coast and getting it mooshed up!

(Is it just me or does anyone else feel an absolute idiot taking selfies?)


Walking:

Patch and I haven't been able to go for our usual walk much this week because of various appointments but I was able to take some time for 'me' and appreciate the beauty of the area we live in.  Such a gorgeous winter's day in Caloundra.


Receiving parcels:

A new order of yarn arrived this week in record time from the UK (only 8 days!  The last few orders have taken close to 4 weeks!)




Family:

I'm especially loving this rare photo taken of my cherubs and myself.  I have no idea how long ago it was since I had a photo taken with my kids as I'm the one usually taking photos!





I hope you are all enjoying your week in your little patch of the world.

xx Susan