Monday, December 24, 2012

Our Living Christmas Tree

This living Christmas tree is three years old now, I saved it from certain doom when there was work being carried out in our garden. My plans are to grow this as a bonsai. Apparently pine trees make great bonsai trees, so I'm going to give it a whirl!
our living Christmas tree is three years old
This tree still looks a bit scrawny of course, but so much better than last year. And the year before it was tiny! I'm hoping it will thicken out now I have researched how to prune pine bonsai trees. Hopefully I won't kill it!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Festive Star Garland

I made this up quickly to put on our Christmas tree. The ends of this thick arcylic ribbon are hard to weave in, so I did the whole garland in one take.
Festive Star Garland is made with one piece of yarn
I began with 15 ch then sl st to form a loop for hanging. I then did another 15 ch, then another 2 more to start the first star. 9 dc into the 2nd ch from hook formed the first round of the first star. Round two begins with 4 ch then 2 dc into the same, then I continued with my 5 pointed star pattern. To end, I did 1 dc into the same as the 1st 2 dc then sl st into the first ch sp. Another sl slst and you are at the tip of the first point so able to do another 15 ch for the garland. This way you don't have to fasten off for each and every star, but just do the whole thing with one piece of yarn.
the underside of a star so it can be made in one take
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A very long scarf

And here ends the saga of the three scarves! Yet again I spent far too much time on this, when after it all I just ended up making a very simple long and skinny scarf, unravelling an earlier attempt to make a cowl!
this very long scarf is nearly 3 meters long
At first I thought this would be a convertible cowl with home-made polymer clay buttons. But then I learned my sister-in-law prefers long and skinny scarves, not short fat cowls, and then I misplaced the pattern for the started scarf, so this got unravelled. I had to give up on the polymer clay idea because the black clay I had was too old and I had to throw it out, and then when I went to the store to find some more they didn't have the right colour! The cowl pattern was inspired by a cowl I saw on pinterest,but I lost the actual pattern for it.
a false start to a long scarf, originally it was going to be a cowl
I was more than half way through the convertible cowl idea, when I had put it down for several months. Come Christmas it was time to finish it so I could give it as a gift, but then I couldn't find the pattern I was working on so started to unravel it to work it out, thinking I would only undo a little bit. But it unravelled a lot more easily than last time I tried to unravel this yarn. And because I was convinced Liz would prefer the long and skinny, I just kept unravelling.I ended up using the 7mm hook and doing a width of just 10 dc so the scarf is extra long and skinny.

This scarf is so long, it can be doubled over, maybe even thrice over. It measures a very long 2.8 meters, and is skinny so if it was doubled over it will be nice, thick and warm. The perfect thing for winter ... when it gets here!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Woven Labels

I've been struggling for a while with my packaging and labels, but three weeks ago I went ahead and ordered some woven labels which arrived on Monday.
my first woven labels from arrived this week from Sydney
I got them from a place called Fantasy Labels which is based in N.S.W., as I preferred to get them from Australia. I only got 50 because you know I'm only starting out, so far I've only sold 9 things! I really do not need 100s of these things! I think they're just the ticket to give my hand-crafted goodies a professional finish and they didn't cost too much money.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blocking the Red Doily

Talking of doilies that needed blocking, I was horrified to realise I had put up this red doily for sale without blocking it first! When it dawned on me, I set to the task of getting that done quick smark. LOL!
red doily after blocking
blocking the red doily onto a piece of white foam using sewing pins

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pink & Green Doily

I found making this doily very relaxing, so I think I should have more things like this for sale in my little online shop. Pinning it out to be blocked was also relaxing, and it needed quite a bit of that!
a pretty pink and green doily I've put up for sale in my online shop at
When I was pinning this I noticed something about my design that I think I oculd improve, so the next doily will be 11 rounds instead of 10 rounds like this one.
blocking the doily
I completed it within an afternoon so that's not too bad, time wise. I used some of my beautiful 4 ply cotton from Bendigo and a 3mm hook.

When I'm happier with the pattern I hope to share it on Ravelry as a download in a set of doilies. My friend Hazel has offered to pattern test so I'm very excited!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tiny Sea Green Premmie Beanie

I felt I had to make a beanie the same size as the tiniest yellow knitted cap my son wore the day he was born. I didn't even get to see my son the day he was born because I was in the ICU when I came to after the midday operation. Some thoughtful nurse arranged for two photographs to be printed, and gave them to my husband so I could see them that afternoon. In those photos, my son is wearing a tiny yellow knitted beanie. This very special beanie was given to us as a keepsake. I wanted to make one the same size using the left over 4 ply merino bambino by Cleckheaton I picked up at the RSPCA shop.
I felt a need to make a tiny beanie the same size as the one my son wore the day he was born
For this beanie, I started with a round of 12 dc. There are 4 increasing rounds, then another 8 rounds that are not increasing. I finished the brim with three rounds of sc. There was a tiny bit left to do a tiny 5 petal flower. It would look cute on the beanie, but then it might not get used for a little boy, so I left it off. For this tiny beanie I used a 2.5 mm hook.
the sea green premmie hat alongside the knitted yellow one my son wore the day he was born
I don't know what I could do with this tiny beanie, other than donate it to the hospital nursery where Thomas spent the first two months of his life. Only a nurse would be able to find a baby small enough to fit this tiny hat. It measures 9 inches in diameter and is less then 4 inches tall.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Green Willow Bag

This is another string bag, like the large blue one I made which I will keep for myself as a beach bag. I liked it so much, I made this green one to put in my shop just in case someone else might like it, too.

I was reading on Ravelry, an online community for knitters and crocheters, that other members had also made this willow market bag which is in the Crochet So Fine book by Kristin Omdahl which I borrowed from the library. There is a new stitch for me to learn in this pattern called the ldtr which was quite hard for me to work out. I tried to finish the row how it was described in the book, but the end result in my blue bag was messy. But a ravelry member suggested how to finish it and the result was much neater for my green bag.
detail of the willow pattern
I also had trouble with the foundation single crochet in the handles, so did the same in this green bag as I did for the blue one. That is, I did ch instead, then inserted an extra row of sc on top of that, which is the eqivalent of following the pattern. I think it ended up just fine.

Another thing I need to remember is when to start the handles on a bag, as I don't have that in my notes. There are 36 sc along then 72 ch for the handle, but skip just 36 stitches. Then another 72 sc along until its time for the next handle. Skip 36 and chain 72 for the handle, then finish of with another 36 sc which brings you to the start of the round.
green string bag as a bag of fruit
This time I made the bag as big as was suggested in the pattern, so its not quite as big. I hope someone will like it enough to buy it!
green string bag on a chair

Friday, December 14, 2012

Green clothes for a baby doll

I've decided to give this baby doll to my son for his 2nd birthday because he can say the word 'baby' and likes to give his smaller one a bath. He sometimes moves the doll's head from side to side while saying 'no no no', its so cute!
a green outift for a baby doll
I chose this doll because it was the least ugly, in fact I think its quite gorgeous. I wanted to also use it as a photo prop, but as it turns out it's too small for the newborn hats and only fits the premmie ones. The problem was the doll is a girl and came dressed in very pretty pink clothes. Although the outfit I've made for her still looks feminine, I think its unisex colours are more suitable.

The tiny shells premmie beanie I made with cleckheaton baby wool fits perfectly, so I made an outfit to match. I simply did a hexagon jacket that was joined at the sides to make a sweater. Then I quickly made up some shorts in a matching aqua colour. I used a narrow strip of brightly coloured material I used for his toddler pillow to edge the shorts. But because I am more handy with a crochet hook than a sewing machine, yet again the shorts were way to wide around the waste but short up the middle! I solved the problem by turning the shorts into bloomers by threading elastic around the bottoms of the legs.

Now she looks like a genie baby doll! All ready for my son's second birthday party on Friday. Yippee!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Frangipani Flowers

A friend asked me to make her some frangipani flowers, so I searched for a pattern but couldn't find one. So I made up my own, and this is the result.
crochet frangipani flowers, design by Teena Sutton Murphy
I'm working on writing the pattern down, I'm hoping to sell it on Ravlery as part of a set of flowers. I don't imagine I'll sell it for much maybe for a dollar, or even less. I am after all, just starting out! Please let me know if you like this flower and think I should include it in a pattern download on Ravelry.
frangipani flowers in 'pink blush', 'yellow with pink' or classic 'white and yellow'

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Large Green Rag Rug

I've made a couple of different attempts at making rag rugs, my most successful before this was the heart shape one I made a couple of years ago. The method I used this time worked up a lot quicker, was gentler on my hands and produced what I think is a neater result.
rag rug made by crocheting acrylic around strips of rag
I've been meaning to make a rag rug like this for quite a while. For this rug, I ripped an old sheet that had torn into 2 inch wide strips, then I sewed the ends together with my sewing machine. If I simply tied the ends together, it made an ugly knot in my work. I didn't hem the edges of the rag strips either. This way the bulk in the rug was reduced, I just tucked in the ends.

Using the principles of a flat circle, I did sc around the strip. At first I used a 4mm hook, then I switched to a 5mm hook at about the 4th round. After about 10 rounds I switched to a bigger hook again, this time it was a 6mm hook. Because the rug had started to buckle up, I undid a bit and with the bigger hook stitched more loosely, so the cordage would fall flat better.
an attempt at rag rugging
Back in March I went to my local library to learn more about rag rugging. This workshop was the main driving force to get me to put Thomas into day-care, which was very hard for me. But then he liked it so much and was getting so much out of it, we decided he could go two days a week instead of just the one. I was fairly unhappy with the method they taught me at the rag rugging workshop, it was basically platting and gave a messy result. It was fairly slow going too, so I gave up on that idea. At least they taught me how to rip up a sheet, which is fairly basic. You just rip it up! And that's a lot of fun, too.

Towards the end of this rug, I did a couple of rounds that were non-increasing because the edges were ruffling up. Then the rug came flat again so I went back to increasing once at each of the 9 sections. I had to keep checking the flatness of the rug throughout my work, often stopping to place it flat on the floor to see if it was buckling. By the end I was using a 5mm hook, and just used a tighter or looser tension to make the rug lay flat. To finish off, I did one round of scallops, they're just 5 dc into one sc, sk 1, sl st into next, sk 1, repeat. But because I didn't count every stitch to make sure there was a multiple of 4, I started with 2 ch and 2 dc into same. That way, at the end I could insert an extra stitch to make the joining scallop a little larger (3 dc, dc into next, sl st into 2nd ch).
detail of the scallop edging
The end result does have some buckles in it, but you can stamp them flat and that's all you need. As the rug ages it will become more and more flat. I will put this in the high traffic area of the kitchen, if it ages well I will make another one. I ended up ironing the rug flat and it came up better. It also slips on the tiles, so I need to get some non-slip rubber to place underneath it. I hope to make a smaller pink one for the ensuite bathroom!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bunting Flags, free pattern

I've made some improvements on the first lettered bunting I did for my son's room, which had his name Thomas on it. After my first bunting, I decided the lettering should all be in the one colour and in capital letters so its easier to read.
Happy Birthday bunting
This bunting has a flag shape instead of a triangle shape, to allow a square space for the capital letters to fit. Once you've made all your bunting flags, you join them together with a couple of rows of sc, with loops at both ends to make it easier to hang. After I had finished these, I ironed them to make them lay flat. Because I used brightly coloured acrylic, they need to be ironed as they can't be blocked like natural fibres.
letters are all in white and are capital so they stand out and are easy to read
Bunting Flags with contrast edging
worked in rows, with one round edge, gauge not important other than to be consistent across the project
1. ch 21 (21st ch counts as 1st sc), sc into 3rd ch from hook, sc into each chain to end, turn (20 sc)
2. ch 1 sk 1 (counts as 1st sc throughout), sc into next and each st to end (including starting chain of the prev. row throughout), turn (20sc)
3-20. repeat 2nd row until you have 20 rows
21. ch 1 sk 1, sk next, sc into next and into ea st to end, turn (19 sc)
22. ch 1 sk 1, sk next, sc into next and into ea st to end, turn (18 sc)
23. ch 1 sk 1, sk next, sc into next and into ea st to end, turn (17 sc)
24-39. cont. as above, decreasing every row by 1 sc
40. ch 1 sk 1 sl st into starting ch of prev. row, fasten off
41. in contrast colour (I chose white), weave in ends into edging, sc into ea starting ch or last sc of every row, with 3 sc into each of the 3 corners, sc into ea of the 20 ch of row 1., fasten off and sew in end
42. with contrast colour (I chose white), place the yarn on the wrong side of the flag and pull through with hook to sl st your letter, when the letter requires you to back track, estimate how much yarn you need for the letter and cut (I allow at least 3 x the length of the remaining letter), thread onto yarn needle and sew on the wrong side until your yarn is where you need it to be to continue your letter

Monday, December 10, 2012

My First Cotton Flower

Yesterday, my first cotton flower bloomed, its so exciting I need to share it with you right away!
inside my first cotton flower
I also got a shot inside the flower which is special I think. I can't wait to tell you how this turns out, it shouldn't take too long for this flower to develop into a cotton boll!
this is my first cotton flower which bloomed on Sunday 9th December 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sindy doll underwear

One thing I did after I first got the Sindy dolls, which I blogged about yesterday, was to make this doll's underwear. I'll be including it with the package I've sold on ebay which will end in a few days, so I thought I should record what I did.
some custom made underwear I made for a Sindy doll
I don't remember clearly how I made this so I can't share the pattern with you. I improvised this to fit the doll, which is why I'm not keeping it for my Barbie collection. It's s simple slip on top, made the same way I've made other tops for the Barbie dolls. The underwear was custom fit, with scallops around the edges. Hopefully you can see what I mean from the photographs.
back view of the underwear
Every doll needs a proper set of underwear, don't you think?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Farewell to Sindy

I really don't fully understand why I have these in my possession, but I do and thankfully not for too much longer. I put these up for sale on ebay yesterday and someone has placed a bid already, much to my relief!
two Sindy dolls that have been briefly and inexplicably in my possession for about a year
Looking back I guess I must have been experiencing some sadness at leaving my World of Warcraft guild, it had been a big part of my life for nearly 3 years. Getting back in touch with reality I think took a period of time, during which I went through a phase of looking at toys from my childhood on ebay. I actually bought three lots, a lot of Sindy furniture, a lot of 8 dolls and some cane doll's furniture. Two of the dolls were Sindy dolls, and another was also made by the same company, so I put all the Sindy items together to list as a bulk lot.
I'm glad to say farewell to this bulk lot of Sindy by Pedigree items
I did have a Sindy doll when I was a child, I think it was from 1981 and wore a brown floral dress. I cut her hair short and made her my man doll because I didn't have a Ken doll. Oh, the terrible things some children do! I also had a cupboard much like the one in this photo. For the past year I've been really worrying about what I was going to do with these things I really do not need, and now they are going to a better home. Farewell!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Two Square Shrug

Well, I spent a fair bit more time on this than I should have! Because I wasn't sure if the two squares would work, I kept unravelling my work, to make the squares smaller or larger. In the end I settled on making the squares quite tight so they would pull tighter at the back, and not buckle up like they do if the squares were larger.
shrug made with two granny squares joined together then extended for sleeves
For this simple shrug, I used a 4mm hook and three 50g balls of 5 ply pure white wool my mum gave me. I kept the shrug simple, deciding not to add the shells along the collar like I did about three times and had to unravel as I resized my work. I kept it simple because when this shrug is folded in half long ways it can double as a generously sized long and thick scarf. Not that I will use it as a scarf, but you never know when I might need another one!
the simple shrug can be folded lengthways to make a warm scarf
It starts off as two granny squares joined together to make a bolero shrug. For this shrug, my granny squares have 13 rounds, this would depend on how tight you want your shrug around the tops of your arms. My arms are a bit big, so if you were making a shrug for yourself, you would need to check that the corners of the granny square meet around you shoulders. After the two granny squares are joined on one side, the opposite corners are joined to form armholes. Check that the squares pull neatly across the back of your shoulders, then you add sleeves to your desired length. I went this long because that's all I had left of this white yarn. I just wove in the ends with a hook instead of sewing them in with a needle, just in case I change my mind again!
this yarn was originally half a pair of fingerless gloves
I've had this yarn for a while, and at first I thought I would make some fingerless gloves. I started by making the first of the pair, thinking that perhaps I could have them for sale in my online shop. I found this fingerless gloves pattern from pinterest that I thought looked nice. But I decided they weren't nice enough to become wedding gloves, so I undid them so I could use the yarn in my white shrug.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Red 10 Round Doily

I sat up one night and quickly scribed the diagram for this design. I was inspired by the 4 round doily, which in turn was inspired by a picture of a doily from 1893, but I extended the 4 round doily to 10 rounds, I drew the diagram first, and then when I made it, I was almost surprised that it actually worked!
my 10 round doily design
I used a 2mm hook and red 4 ply mercerised cotton. I hope to share the pattern with you one day, I am looking at some software that I will hopefully be able to use to draw the crochet chart diagram!
the doily is the perfect size to go under a vase

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tiny Two Round Flower, free pattern

I made these four flowers using the tiny bit of yarn left over from making my latest spiral bunny rug. Its pure merino wool, so I couldn't waste it!
tiny two round flowers made with left over merino wool
I made them to go in my shop because I'm making a theme in my shop in festive colours. I used a 3mm hook and the wool is 4 ply. I made two Irish Roses, just following the traditional pattern you can find for free with a google search. Then I had enough for just two more tiny flowers in two rounds. The first round is 6 sc, the petals are ... wait, I think I need to write you the pattern!

Tiny Two Round Flower
gauge not important, hook and yarn will determine the size of the finished flower, I used a 3mm hook with 4 ply wool
1. 3 ch, sl st into 1st ch to form loop, ch 1 6 sc into loop, sl st into 1st sc
2. (2 ch 2 dc into same 2 ch sl st into same) repeat into each sc to form 6 petals
I also made two Irish Roses with the left over yarn, following the traditional pattern

Monday, December 3, 2012

Festive Spiral Bunny Rug

I made this new spiral bunny rug in Festive colours to help spruce up my banners in time for Christmas. I've also put it up for sale in my online shop, I wonder if anyone would like to buy it?
detail of the festive spiral bunny rug
It measure 66cm across, or 26 inches, and 3mm thick. I used 3 x 50g balls of pure Australian merino wool in 4 ply baby yarn, I bought it on special earlier this year. I used a 3mm hook, and it took me just over a week to complete. Now I know how to do these, this one was considerably quicker than the last spiral bunny rug I did, which was in lavender, leaf and stone. That one took me nearly a month to finish.
festive spiral bunny rug on a chair
As long as I remember the first round is 6 sc in one colour, then split into the 3 colours in the second round which is also sc. Then the third round starts the dc. I also used a lareg saftey pin to secure the two yarns I wasn't working with so there would be no unravelling. And I caught each colour up to the others, so when working with one I could go all the way around, this reduced the amount of time wasted picking up a new colour.
down view of the spiral bunny rug
I had a tiny bit left over, and not wanting to waste any of this precious yarn, I made a few small flowers to sell in my shop. I'll post about those tomorrow!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Handcrafted Hanging Stars

My mum gave some shiny ribbon still brand new with the tags on, it looked perfect to make some decorations so I made these hanging stars. My friend Hazel saw them and asked me to make some more for her, so I have another order for my little shop!

4 handcrafted hanging stars in white gold ribbon
I used my 6mm hook, which worked well with these hanging stars. I just used my simple 5 pointed star pattern, plus and extra 16 ch for the hanging loop. Making the hanging stars were simple enough, the tricky part was sewing in the ends. After I was nearly finished, I realised it was easier to simply weave them in with a 4mm hook.

multi-coloured stars in white gold, gold, bronze and silver
stars hanging on a pine tree
I think they look really cute, what do you think?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Potted Garden Update, Summer 2012

The potted tomatoes are looking great and I have high expectations for them. The first fruit have appeared, although its only been just over a month ago now that I planted the seedlings into the 30cm pots. I went to Stanthorpe last weekend for a tomato pruning lesson, so I now know I'm on the right track with these tomatoes. I also have some self seeded cherry tomatoes I've decided to allow to grow, but this time I will prune and stake them, and not let them run wild like I did last Autumn.
first fruit of the tomato bushes
two tomato bushes planted out into 30cm pots just over a month ago are doing very well
Now I've started fertilising weekly, the capsicums are looking more confident. They're still producing small fruit like they have for a while, but there is more foliage. I hope this is a sign that the plant it healthier and about to produce better sized fruit.
I have 5 pots of capsicum that are a couple of years old
The beetroot is looking great. I fertilise that with worm tea mixed with power-feed once or twice a fortnight. The roots look to be about the size of golf balls so are about ready to start picking. I like to use the leaf as well as the root, cooked with the evening meal like spinach.
beetroot, lettuce, cucumber, rosemary
The potted garden is looking better than ever, but I have high hopes it will continue to improve now that I have started feeding more often, and of course, pruning those pesky tomatoes!
more baby tomatoes

Friday, November 30, 2012

First Appearance of Cotton Bracts

My eldest cotton plant is nearly 3 months old, and is look very happy. So much so that the first of the bracts have appearred! These are the blossom buds, which will develop into cotton bolls. I can't wait!
this potted cotton plant is almost 3 months old

the first bract has appeared
and here is the second bract, which will grow into flowers and then, hopefully, cotton bolls
I had high hopes this would work, but I'm kind of surprised these have appeared. I hope they go all the way into growing into bolls of cotton!
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