Monday, December 02, 2013

December 2 :: the baking begins!

This morning I was struck by the sudden urge to do some festive baking (I blame all the tinsel at work!)
Shortbread is always a good place to start, and I thought this recipe for cranberry & white chocolate shortbread sounded too good not to try =)


xo

Sunday, December 01, 2013

December 1 :: advent

Hooray for the first day of December, AND the first Sunday of advent!

As in previous years we were super excited to head out to the Scandinavian Australian Association's Christmas Bazaar. We always look forward to the Danish pastries they sell there, and of course a lovely sparkly advent calendar. I'm always surprised at how it's practically impossible to get this kind of advent calendar anywhere - everything these days is chocolate, and most of them are pictures of something/someone trademarked!

This year we went with this lovely tall treehouse, covered in glittery snow =)

We always like to choose something with a few kittens on it 

Being the first Sunday of advent I also put together a very simple "adventskrans". 
Is really isn't quite a wreath, but I think 1 little candle is enough to get the hygge of "julestemning" across in the Australian summer =)

Happy December everyone!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Birthday cake!

One of the funnest things about having a bestie with young kids is having an excuse to make a fancy cake every so often =)
This year, for her 5th birthday, miss E asked for a 'Dashi' cake. 
A bit of research into the Octonauts, and I managed to come up with something the kids recognised =)


Xo

Sunday, September 22, 2013

taadaa :: Scrap vomit quilt

 
This is one of my biggest crafty finishes ever (my first bigger-than-baby-sized quilt!), so it's a bit embarrassing that it has taken so long to share it! I managed to finish up in time to have my quilt hanging in the Canberra Quilters Members exhibition at the start of August, and it has been on the bed keeping us warm since.


I had so much fun making my this quilt! 
The scrap swaps organised by the fabulous Angie from GnomeAngel (and Green Tangerine Quilts!) meant that I have so so much variety in my squares - there are hardly any double up prints - AND I made loads of new friends, who I think of every time I look at the quilt. Which is a lot. I could look at it for days and days, and still see something new in all those tiny squares.
 

I had it professionally quilted by Raylee at Sunflower Quilting, and am just so happy with the job she did on it. The pattern is called 'popcorn', which, you'll see, goes nicely with the backing fabric.
The backing was pieced from a dotty print, the light blue from the cross blocks on the front and this cinema scaredy cat print, which I just love. Seriously - who thinks up these designs? =) 


I chose to do the binding myself. It was a bit of a huge job, but I'm really glad I did - I'm a bit proud of it =) look at those corners!


And, most importantly, it has the kitty seal of approval =)






Friday, June 14, 2013

Renovations

These past few weeks we've been introduced to the world of home renovations - and not by choice!
We had a leaky pipe under our house slab that has resulted in having all our carpet pulled up for replacing, and all our plumbing redirected through the roof. 

We're also having the shower pulled out (due to a chronic leak there as well) so that all the water proofing can be redone (properly this time!) Phew!

Everything is all topsy turvy here, furniture all moved about, books packed into boxes and stuff EVERYWHERE.

We're looking forward to how nice it will be once it's all done =)

Friday, May 17, 2013

To market

The weather has really turned autumn-wintry all of a sudden in canberra - most of the trees have dropped their gorgeous fiery leaves to the ground, and the days have been really cold this week.

I might be addicted to my new photo app - A Beautiful Mess

The cooler weather has many of us seasonal knitters thinking seriously about pulling out the sticks - and spending far too much time clicking around on Ravelry trying to match up our favourite pattern with a perfect yarn (or vice versa!)

Last year I made myself a honey cowl, which I started in May and finally got around to finishing on our holiday in the UK in late November. I've been wearing it every single day the last two or so weeks, and love it so much that I'm keen to add another cowl (or two) to my wardrobe.

My Honey Cowl in action - riding on the York Wheel
I'm currently trying to decide between Purl Soho's Big Herringbone and the Cupido Cowl.

1. Whit's Knits: Big Herringbone Cowl, 2. Cupido Cowl
I'm not completely decided about which yarn I'll use yet, but there will be plenty of opportunity to squeeze a few contender on Sunday since the end of autumn in Canberra also means that it is time for the Old Bus Depot Markets annual Celebration of Wool. I had so much fun with my friend Suzy Hausfrau last year that I'll be there helping her out again this time.

 And, given both the cowls on my lust list call for worsted weight yarn, I won't be surprised if some of this gorgeous Swans Island worsted in oatmeal comes home with me =)

 

Xo



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

In May I am reading

This month I'm reading Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy - I'm up to the final book.
I really enjoyed the first book, and then the second not as much.


Maybe that's always the way with a trilogy? The first one is action packed to get you hooked, then the second on slows down for some character development and builds to a big finish in the third?
I am really enjoying the action bits, but have to admit that I have found the romancey parts a bit forced and tedious.

That said, I'm still pretty keen to read the other series - the Mortal Instruments.
There are 5 novels in that series, and the first has been made into a film - City of Bones - due for release in August.

I'd love to hear what you're reading - leave a comment below to let us know, or linking to you blog if you do a monthly book round up too =)

Happy reading
Xo



Sunday, May 05, 2013

Woodland sampler :: May

Working on my woodland sampler is becoming a favourite ritual for the first weekend of the month.

I look forward to it all week, and it's lovely to spend an an afternoon and evening (or two) curled up in front of the TV with a cup of tea and my stitching - especially now we're getting into the cooler part of the year =)

I can't say enough how much I am enjoying this project - Amanda and Ashleigh at the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery have done an amazing job designing each month's cute design, and they are just the right size to keep you stitching for a little while, but not so long that you don't feel like you're making progress.

It is also exciting to see what each month's design will be - the girls share some sneak peeks throughout the month and have everyone guessing. This month is a gnome and sprouts. I'm nearly done with his hat, and am loving the combination of red green and yellow on my oatmealy coloured even weave (which, by the way, is AMAZING to work with).


If you're interested in stitching up your own woodland sampler the pattern, along with a bunch of other lovelies, is available from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery here.

Xo

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Canberra Brown Owls Blog

logo by Mikaela @ Danvers Creative

It's no secret how much I love my Brown Owls friends - setting up a Canberra group was probably the second best thing that has ever happened to help me embrace my creative side (the first best is my mum, to whom I will forever and ever be grateful for being such a fabulous crafty role model and inspiring me and my sisters since we were teeny tiny).

This evening we launched (haha that makes it sound a bit grander than the reality) a Canberra Brown Owls blog, which we're hoping will be a place for all our owly friends to share projects and inspiration, and to keep up on all the ace crafty goings on in Canberra. Do pop over and check it out if you're interested =)

Speaking of ace crafty goings on in Canberra, this weekend is the first Mega Crafty Day, organised by my friends at Canberra Creatives. I'll be there representing Canberra Brown Owls and demonstrating the lovely and addictive art of english paper piecing (or spreading 'hexy-fever', depending how you look at it ;o)). The flyer is available over here if you'd like more info =)

xo

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Quilter's block


I kind of think I've talked here before about process versus product crafting, and how I am for sure a process person - I love being busy making things, but have less interest in the finished product. This is why I only ever knit one sock, and why I have projects sitting around just needing a button, or a zip, or blocking to finish them off. I'm most likely to finish something if it is a gift for someone else, or I want to wear it the next day.

I spend a lot of time talking about quilts and fabric, so I think some people have been a bit surprised to hear that I have never finished a quilt top bigger than baby quilt sized.

My relationship with making quilts has gone through some definite phases.
First up - collecting fabric. For ages - seriously, years - I have been collecting quilting fabric. It turns out I'm really good at fabric shopping ;o)

Scrap vomit & quilty helpers =)

Until pretty recently I was too scared to cut into my fabric (this fact didn't stop me from buying more fabric, mind you - like I said, the shopping has never been a problem!). I think this changed when I cut into a fat quarter bundle to make the two baby quilts I took as gifts on my trip to Denmark last year. Once it clicked for me that I can cut up fabric and put it together to make something I like even more, all I want to do is cut and sew everything in my stash.

So it's totally weird, but now I'm stuck on the next step. I'm really excited about making quilt blocks, but not really motivated to piece the blocks together and make tops (and let's not even talk about basting, quilting and binding!).  Right now in my sewing space I have blocks for 3 different quilts waiting to be pieced (plus one finished top -  a gift for someone else!).

please excuse the dodgy photo - it's hard to get the whole thing in the shot!

In the name of motivating me past my quilter's block (haha get it?) today I took a big, exciting step - I've booked the scrap vomit quilt in for quilting. Then it's going in the Canberra Quilter's exhibition. Eeep.
 I've got til the end(ish) of May to get this baby pieced. And I'm kind of excited - wish me luck (even better, wish me motivation ;o))!

xo




Saturday, April 13, 2013

Footy :: under lights

Three regular season AFL matches are bing held in Canberra this year, the first of which was on this afternoon / evening.

Being a twilight game, it was also the first time footy has been played under lights at Manuka oval. The lights looked great - although a bit imposing on a ground that kind of looks closer to a local/school oval than a stadium. =)


The game was good - the young GWS team was more competitive than I expected, and both sides played well at times. It was also a great crowd - the ground was pretty full, and one of the great things about the games here is that probably the majority of the crowd barrack for a team other than those that are playing, so the atmosphere is generally pretty laid back, with everyone just there to enjoy the game.

You couldn't have picked a nicer day weather-wise either - sunny and warmish during the day, and not too cold once it got dark. We're very lucky to live in such a beautiful city, and it can be really quite spectacular in autumn.


We're looking forward to the next game, and luckily we don't have to wait long!
The GWS boys will be back to play the Gold Coast on 27 April - you can get tickets here if you are interested in checking it out =)

X

Friday, April 12, 2013

In April I am reading...

March and April are looking good as far as reading goes!

First (towards the start of March) I found Anne Rice's latest, The Wolf Gift, on super sale - it was just the thing for the plane train plane plane bus train train bus plane of our two recent trips to Melbourne, and I finished it over the Easter weekend.

Whilst I enjoyed it, and it was nice to see Rice back into the supernatural-y horror-y kind themes that first got me hooked on her writing, it wasn't her best ever. It will be the first in "The Wolf Gift Chronicles" though, and I think it might sit better as an introductory book for the series than it does alone.


Then I discovered the joys of ebooks, when I came across a link on twitter for a free download of the 'young adult' supernatural-y novel Spellbound. I wasn't sure how I'd go with reading on the screen, but I actually found it so handy to have right there with me and got through so quickly!
The book was pretty good - like I said I read it pretty quickly. It was a little bit cliched and predictable but still enjoyable - better than twilight but not as good as the hunger games =)

As soon as I finished I went searching for more downloads (did you know you can 'borrow' ebooks from your local library? Mind blown!) and downloaded a free book each from kobo and the iBooks store.

I've already finished one - Bound, which is the first in the Crystor series, and again young adult super natural-y (I do love my young adult fiction! And teen movies too!).
I also found this engaging enough to read quickly, but maybe not as good as Spellbound (still better than twilight though haha).


Next up on my iPad is another one that sounds like a sophisticated read (haha) - Vampire University.
I've also had some books I ordered online arrive this week, including one novel: The Quilter's Apprentice, the first in the Elm Creek Quilts series.

I'd love to hear about what everyone else is reading - to join in with our bloggy book club you can leave a message in the comments about what you're reading, or post about it on you blog and let us know in the comments to pop over and check it out.

Given my new ebook obsession I'm especially interested to know everyone's favourite place to find ebooks.
Ooh, and I've also just joined good reads and am keen to know who else uses it and what you think - or if you use some other similar social networky kind of site to keep track of what you're reading, see reviews and find your next read?

Xo

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Creative space :: springy

I've really got back into cross stitch this year after hardly doing any for so so long, and it is largely thanks to the clever girls at the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. All their patterns are so cute that I can't say no to buying them and then I just can't put them down! The motifs are pretty small and quick to sew up so you really feel like you're achieving something, rather than working on a project forever.

woodland sampler :: April showers
 
It started with the kawaii winter wonderland sampler, which I saw so many gorgeous pictures of on Instagram throughout December, and then I jumped at the chance to sign up for the Monthly Woodland Sampler.

 floss is so pretty!

This month Amanda and Ashleigh are doing a Springtime sampler, with 5 little designs released each Monday for 5 weeks. I wasn't actually planning on joining up, but then my sister (who is also doing the woodland sampler with me) was doing it, and did I want to do it too?, and it does count down to my birthday (25th =)) AND of course it is to die for cute, so how could I say no? =)

So this week I've been on the couch in front of the TV trying to catch up on the frames before I start the designs - although I think this time around I might not wait til they're all done =)

frametastic :: 7 down, 18 to go!

More creative spaces here

Xo


Ps I just noticed this is my 950th blog post! Wowsers!










Friday, April 05, 2013

Weekend!

Hooray weekend!
We've been super busy lately, so this weekend we've decided to just stay home.
I've got loads of at home things planned - like cooking in the slow cooker, reading, sewing and of course working on my woodland sampler cross stitch.
AND, with the end of daylight saving, we get an extra hour to enjoy!
Here's to a relaxing weekend =)

X



Thursday, March 21, 2013

Creative space

Loads of creative stuff going on here, and with a day off tomorrow and then brown owls on Saturday I'm hoping to get lots more done too =)


woodland sampler stitching




Looks to me like a good, crafty, & long weekend ahead!!

More creative spaces here !

x

Monday, March 18, 2013

wedding!

Last weekend we popped down to Melbourne for a few days to celebrate my sister's wedding.
It was an amazing, gorgeous, wonderful (and hot! 35ishC!!) day.


I have 3 younger sisters and we're all pretty crafty/creative.
Steph is the cross-stitch champion in the family, so when I came across a super cute pattern for a wedding sampler at Little Dove Designs on etsy I knew I wanted to make it for her =)





Of course this is the secret stitchy project I've been working on the last month or so, and the 2nd finished project for March (as alluded to here =))
Unfortunately the colours haven't come out very well in this photo - in real life the pinky reds and greens are much more vibrant!
All in all I think this turned out pretty cute, and the newly weds both seemed to like it too =)

xo

ps - this is the boot of mum's car the morning after the wedding - stuffed with gorgeous flowers!
We put them everywhere in Steph's houses, and there were still enough for people to take bunches home! Beautiful!!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

taa daa :: big baby hexy quilt

A very exciting weekend here this week, with one project finished and one oh so very close (imagine - 2 finished projects in one week!!). Today's taa daa is the big baby hexy blanket, which I made for a handsome little boy who turned 1 this week =)



My records (aka instagram) tell me I started on this little project 32 weeks ago! I worked on it loads while I watched the Olympics last year, and I have no idea why it took me so long because I loved making it.


 The hexies are 2 inch and just a random selection of cute and colourful fabrics I had in my stash - I wanted it to be a kind of  i spy quilt, with loads of fun things to look at.
After hand piecing the hexies I appliqued them onto the spotty backing - I thought about cutting away the fabric behind them but in the end decided not to. I think if I had they might have been less 'puffy' - if I even get my hexymf hexies done I am going to need to rethink my basting & applique method!

I also hand-quilted using DMC embroidery thread - yellow the all the way around the appliqued piece and then different bright colours around random hexies.



The backing is a very cute Noah's Ark kind of print from Spotlight - I think it is just perfect.
This was my first time making and sewing on my own binding (the two baby blankets I made last year I used ready-made bias binding) - and I'm pretty happy with it. Actually, I'm even pretty happy with the mitred corners =)




Don't you just love a folded quilt?!

I finished it with an embroidered label (of sorts - just a name and date with some kisses and hugs) and was very excited to hand it over to the little guy at lunch on Saturday - I hope he'll love it =)

xo

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Creative space :: on the road

Today I'm on the bus to Sydney.
I'd hate to waste all that time that I could spend stitching, so I've brought my creative space on the road - it's a top secret cross-stitch shaped project.

As always, click over here for more creative spaces

Xo



Thursday, February 07, 2013

Creative space :: mind the needle

It has been creativity central here these past 2 weeks!
I've been way too busy making & sewing and stitching to blog.

My project of choice tonight (at least for just right now) is my woodland cross stitch sampler.
I've so nearly finished the February motif - a cheeky night-loving racoon =)

This is such a fabulous project! I think having just a little something to stitch up each month works really well, since it is so manageable - there's no feeling overwhelmed by how much
there is to do.

Also, what do you think of my needle minder? It arrived today and I'm in love =)



Xo

More creative spaces over here!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Scrap vomit

With a new scrap vomit square swap underway I've been inspired to start sewing up the scrap squares I received in last year's swap.
Here's my first 'block A' block - it is actually much less wonky than I thought it would turn out, and I kind of love it!
I can't wait to get more done!
X



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creative space :: quad

Work is super busy just now, so I'm trying to balance it out with as much creativity as possible at home =)

I actually kind of have four crafty things on the go at the moment!

I finished the first block of my 2013 woodland sampler this week!
It is so cute, and I just can't wait until February!


I'm working on another Stitchy project that I'm not ready to share, but the floss is gorgeous =)


This little hexy piece is something I've been working on for ages, and I'm so determined to finish it in the next week or so! I took advantage of some of the (marginally) cooler weather we had this week to finish off the hand quilting, so I think I just need to trim & bind and I'm done!


I've also signed up for another round of Angie's scrap vomit swap! I took part in the swap Angie organised last year, and thought it was super fun - and how cool to make a quilt with little bits of fabric from the other side of the world! Between the 6 packs I received in last years swaps, and the 5 I'll get this time, plus the squares I've cut to send and extras from swaps with friends, I must nearly have enough for the scrap vomit quilt A blocks. Next I'll have to decide on colours for the B blocks!

What's happening in your creative space this week?
Check out more creative spaces, or share yours, here =)

Xo








Thursday, January 10, 2013

Creative space :: framed

Instagram has become my very favourite source of creative inspiration - the way that you can follow along in real time with the development of a crafty masterpiece on the other side of the world is just amazing!

Throughout December I enjoyed seeing the progress that a number of of my insta-pals were making on their Kawaii Winter  Wonderland cross stitches  from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery - so I knew I wanted in when the 2013 Woodland Sampler was released!

I think it's a really fun idea - at the start of each month for the whole year you get a design emailed to you, and on ordering you get a pattern for the frames onto which each month's design will be stitched.



I'm being super disciplined and stitching up all the frames first - it has been the perfect craft for this hot weather (and for hours in front of the cricket!)  

And it has been loads of fun to 'stitch-along' with friends (like the lovely Angie Gnomeangel) on Instagram =)

xo