Monday, December 5, 2016

Warm weekend

Hubby was home for the WHOLE weekend.  What a treat that was!  Not that we seemed to do anything exciting in the way of outings or anything.  No... not.. at.. all.  We are a homebody family, especially when it is a tad warm outside.
 
We've had a few storms of late but not much rain.  As a result it's pretty dry here and we're really looking forward to a day or two of good soaking rain.  Until then we'll enjoy the storm build ups, the lightning and thunder and the rainbows.
 
 
For some reason we live in an area where a lot of the storms seem to 'split'. 
 
When you are a storm lover like myself we do still get plenty to keep us happy.  This season though, most of them seem to go to the south through Brisbane, or the north through the Sunshine Coast and Gympie.  The Glasshouse Mountains area (my neck of the woods), gets the top or bottom of the storms.  That means that we get the build up and all the flash but about 6 spots of rain.
 
Ah well, at least we don't really get the damage then do we?  There's always an upside.
 
So my Saturday morning started pretty early.  About 3.30am in fact when I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep.  Rather than disturbing lovely hubby who had only arrived home late the following day, I decided to head out to the lounge to toss and turn to my hearts content and leave him to snatch a few extra good hours.
 
Unfortunately I ended up having two restless children up at different times and I wasn't even able to snatch a few more minutes like I had hoped.  Once Master M was truly up (around 5am), I knew that the day had well and truly started.  Master M has ALWAYS been an early riser so I left him to the xbox with promises of keeping the volume down low, and snuck back in to bed.
 
Not that I slept.  Lovely hubby ended up waking up too and made me a cup of tea which is one of my life's true indulgences.  The indulgence is not just having a cup of tea.  It's someone else MAKING me a cup of tea and me being able to finish a cup while it's still warm.  That is a true indulgence in my book because it's so rare.
 
Since everyone (except Little Miss R) was awake, I decided to finish my snowflake garland.  The snowflakes had been finished and blocked for weeks.  I just hadn't hooked them together which I knew wouldn't take much time at all, I just hadn't set any aside at this stage to do it.
 
In a remarkably short time it was done.  Both garlands were done as a matter of fact as I made a small one for Little Miss R as she wanted one for her bedroom.
 


 
Once the whole house was awake and breakfast was had, we started to decorate for Christmas.  My first priority was to hang my snowflake garland up.  I'm so happy with it.  Even though it's white and sort of blends in with the walls and the rest of the house, it still looks lovely.   (I did add tinsel and other colour to the walls and hallways behind a bit later on, just to make things a bit more festive and brighter.)


 
 
There was a well deserved break mid-morning to down a coffee and a fruit mince tart because it is the season......

 
I had another brief moment to admire my snowflake handywork before the kidlettes and I got straight back into the decorating.

 
Now I could show you the pretty bits and the all so happy holiday moments but I'll give you the realistic view of the moment after the tree was finished...

 
There are two children under the blankets on the above lounge.  It was bloody hot and humid outside so we had the airconditioners on and they were content to snuggle up and not clean any of the mess  up.
 
I can't say I made it spotless either but we did get it tidied up a bit so that no one would get injured if they walked through the lounge.
 
Then of course we got to enjoy our handy work when we had another evening storm and the power went out for a short while.  Our new battery lights worked a treat in lighting the place up and created a magical little world for awhile.


 
 
I won't say that the power came back on all too soon because I was in the middle of cooking dinner and really NEEDED it at the time.  For a brief moment the magic of the fairly lights were a wonder though.

 
 
 Sunday started a little differently. I'd been up since 12.30am watching the Rugby Union and then struggled to go back to sleep.  I did snatch a few minutes before Master M was awake just after 5am. 
 
No happy xbox playing this early though.  It was a case of "Mummy I feel a little sick"  and me then having to clean up the trail of vomit that he left throughout the whole house.  It was closer to 6am when it was cleaned up and a load of washing on. 
 
Lovely hubby blissfully slept through it all of course.  :)
 
xx Susan
 
 
 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Blanket update

I feel like I've been so busy lately but I honestly can't tell you exactly what I've been doing.
 
Do you have days/weeks like that too when you feel like all you've done is run around and you're not sure where all the time has gone?  That's been my last couple of weeks and the next two are looking like they're heading that way too. 
 
I was hoping to have a bit of a breather before the school summer holidays arrive but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
 
Anyway, during the busy times, I have been getting bits of Master M's blanket done here and there.
 
It started off small....
 
 
...and then grew a bit more as I was able to spend a bit of time in my happy place.

 
It's now nearly 1/3 complete.  There's still a long way to go but it's coming together beautifully right now and I'm really, really happy with it.

 
 
So for now I'm going to check my diary to see what I've got planned for tomorrow and will hopefully be able to find some time to pick up my hook and get a few more lovely ripples done.
 
xx Susan


Friday, November 18, 2016

Graduation

Congratulations Miss T.

This beautiful young lady has just graduated from high school.

Miss T is our niece (hubby's sister's daughter), and the kids cousin.

She is a beautiful, level headed young girl who has so much ahead of her.

Well done and good luck gorgeous.

xx Aunty Susan


Monday, November 14, 2016

Out for some fun

The intention was to have a lazy weekend wallowing in front of the air conditioners because of the heat.   I think we handled that end of it quite well actually. 

We did decided to pop out for a bit and go to the nearby Skippy Park to have a play.  It's only takes a few minutes to drive there from our house so we decided to head up there early before the heat really struck.

There was the slide to go on of course and a bee-line is made for it as soon as we arrive.
 
 
 
 It's a truly wonderful big, long slide that the kids love.  It was even better that we had the whole place to ourselves which was a bit of a miracle because even at 8.30 in the morning there's usually plenty of people out and about here.
 

 
 

 
 The spider web is always fun to climb, as well as zooming along on the zip line and playing on the swings.
 

 
 It was pretty hot work even this early...

 
 Another favourite is the log in the sandpit area.
 

 
 I was able to get a little of this done but not much at all really.

 
 
 We were home before 9.30am and ready to put the air conditioners on and enjoy the rest of the hot day in the cool of the house.

Now I know that this outing seems to be truly wonderful and happy and it makes me realise just how much we blog writers can edit out to make things sound nice and idyllic.

The whole time spent at the park was about 30 minutes.  The only happy and peaceful times are what you see in the photos.

Little Miss R screamed and ranted at her brother from the moment she got out of the car because SHE WAS GOING ON THE SLIDE FIRST!!!  He was off like a rabbit and nearly at the slide before she had even got out of the car but I think he even recognised something in his sister at the time and patiently waited for her.

She continued to rant, whinge, scream, cry, throw tantrums and make life miserable for us all...and that was just the first 5 minutes. 

Master M then very subtley started to do little things to get back at his sister.  Things like leaving his shoes on the slide when she was trying to go down and many other small manner of things.    He didn't say anything of course, just got his revenge very quietly.  That just made Miss R's tantrums all the LOUDER. 

She did quieten down for a bit after he shook the bejesus out of the web thing and she was near the top and nearly fell through.  She hung there clinging for a bit until he stopped and she was able to climb down.  She was a bit quiet after that as I think it MAY have got through to her for a few moments not to push her brother too far.

After 10 minutes I was ready to fall in a blabbering heap and was extremely thankful that no other people were around to view my feral offspring or their not coping mother just at that moment.

Things did calm down briefly with short and intense spikes off emotion until both children decided that they WANTED TO GO HOME!!!

I'm hearing you there!! I was so ready to go and was deciding to work out if it was too bloody early for a wine considering Bex is no longer around. 

A lovely cup of tea did the trick when I got home though. (and no I did not put a splash of whiskey in it like I was tempted to do).

So that was our lovely outing for a little bit of fun.

I'm sure you all have very similar stories.  :)

xx Susan
 


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Slow

Slow...
 
That is my plan for the weekend.  Slowing things down and spending some quiet time with the kidlettes.
 
Hubby is away at work and there is rain and some storms predicted so I think our outings and jaunts will be kept to a minimum, even non-existent. 
 
The kidlettes are happy with xbox, lego, reading and puzzles so I'm hoping to get through quite a bit of the time unscathed.  I know there will be arguments and fights that will need refereeing but I'm being optimistic and hoping I can keep these to a minimum.
 
I seem to have been quite busy lately with lots of extra little things taking up my time.  I've certainly had to try to keep things organised in my diary so I don't double up or stress too much about things and so far I've been doing well.
 
I've even managed to make my first batch of chutney.
 
 
 
 
This is not your usual chutney as it's made out of dried fruit so I thought it would be perfect for Christmas time as it's sort of a fruit mince texture and flavour.  I'm finding it to be REALLY sweet although I suppose I should have expected that so I'll let the flavours develop a bit then work out what I want to do with it all.
 
This weekend I mainly have plans to do lots of this.....
 


I've been doing bits and pieces of Master M's blanket when I can although there have been some days when I haven't even picked up a hook. 
 
I'm really intending to spend as much time as possible on the soothing ripply rows and enjoy the process as I work.


 
I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
 
xx Susan
 


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Snowflakes

The heat has really arrived here this week so during the day we've had the air conditioners on a bit, especially in the afternoon when the house really heats up.  They will probably be on most days from now until next March/April and that for me usually means more crochet time.

I find it so much nicer to sit in a comfortably cool room crocheting than sweltering away and getting grumpier by the second.

Anyway, I've been crocheting some snowflakes lately to make a garland to hang up around the house at Christmas.  It's a project that's easily portable and takes no time to make one or two up every now and then.  I'm getting quite a nice pile all of a sudden which is good so hopefully I'll be able to link them all together soon.


Once I've finished a few of them then I've been blocking them to give them a lovely open snowflake look.  If  you've never blocked before and are like I was in the early days of my crochet journey then I'll show you what a difference it can make.  

In the above photo, 3 of the snowflakes have been blocked and 3 haven't.  Can you guess which ones are which?

Blocking is really quite easy, especially on a small project like this.  I like to use the kids old cot mattress which sits on my bed nicely and I can move it around if I have to.  I then put protective plastic on it which is the old mattress protector from when they were babies.  I've also used a cheap plastic tablecloth that I got for $2 from the local discount shop.

Then I put a towel or two down and start to pin out whatever project it is I'm working on.  I like to work from the inside out as it blocks more evenly and I find you don't stretch it out too much.



In the case of the snowflakes, I soaked them in the bathroom hand basin for about 30 seconds and got all the fibres really wet.  Then I gently removed as much of the water as possible before pinning them out.  You could also use a spray bottle with water in it and give it a good soaking once it's pinned out.

You can see on the next photo the difference in the top half to the bottom where I hadn't finished pinning it out yet.


The next photo shows a blocked and unblocked snowflake.  The one on left is the blocked one.


I usually have the ceiling fan on in the bedroom too and they dry in no time at all.  Because I'm making a garland out of these I've sprayed them with a bit of starch so that they will hold their shape while hanging up.

Sometimes it's a bit fiddly pinning everything out, especially if you are doing a bigger project but the end result is well worth it.

I have also FINALLY received my yarn order from the UK (2 days shy of 3 weeks to get here).

I couldn't wait to get started on a project and dithered around for a little while trying to work out which one to begin.

In the end I decided that Master M's blanket was the most important project as well as the biggest one so I would make a start on that.  I still have snowflakes to finish so I'll work on those when I want a break from the rhythm of crocheting a ripple blanket.

Aren't the colours just gorgeous.  Master M is pretty excited about his blanket.



I was able to get a little bit done on it before we went away for the weekend.  (Hubby's cousin celebrated her 21st birthday so we packed up the camper trailer and drove out to their farm about 2 hours away....it was a fantastic night).



I got quite a few snowflakes made while I was away for the weekend as it was the perfect portable project.  It won't be long until I've finished them all and then I can really concentrate on the blanket for awhile.  

I'm really looking forward to that.

xx Susan

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Crochet Shawl

It's felt so good to make this shawl.  I hadn't picked up a crochet hook in about 6 months and then I really just wanted to make something.

I'm finding that scarves and shawls are things that I like to make best, especially shawls.  It's usually too hot to wear them where I live but I do really love making them.

A few weeks ago I decided that I would make this.....(it would pass the time until my yarn order arrived from the UK).




I was only able to spend a few moments on it every few days.  On one particular cool and rainy day I was able to spend a few hours on it which I found really soothing and relaxing.

I kept a post it note handy crossing off the rows as I went as I had to do them in a repeat pattern of 3 rows.  I found the crossing off the rows system much better than any row counter.  Well it was much better for me anyway although I'm sure there are people out there who swear by the row counters.  It's really whatever system works best for you.




Then all of a sudden it was finished....




There was still the ends to tie in and it needed to be blocked, but essentially it was completed.

  I was so surprised that it took only about 2 weeks because I felt I wasn't putting much time into it at all and thought that it would take me a lot longer to make.




The feeling that knowing you have completed something made by your own hands is truly a wonderful thing.

Once it was blocked it was ready to be wrapped up and put away.



I'm still not quite sure what I'll be doing with this shawl.  I've found that I really, really LOVE making shawls but considering I live in the sub-tropics, they're not really that practical for me.





I will continue to make them though because there's something about them that just makes me want to pick up a hook and order more yarn.  It's soothing and I feel I'm doing something productive with my time.




I just wish I could learn how to photograph them properly!

Oh and my order from the UK still hasn't arrived.  It's well over 2 weeks now so I shouldn't complain too much but my fingers are just itching to start Master M's blanket.

Until then I'm working on a snowflake garland out of some white cotton that I have.  I can make one snowflake with the ends tied in within 5-10 minutes so I'm getting a nice little pile.

The pattern for the snowflakes is really easy and can be found on Lucy's blog over at Attic24.