Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be kind to yourself

Can you believe it - January is almost over!  School starts tomorrow.  Routines happening again.  And how do I feel about all that?  Don't know really!  My head is buzzing with excitement, nerves and frustration.  I'm frustrated because I have all these ideas and don't know where to start.  Excitement and nerves due to looking forward to exciting times ahead, and nerves for the unknown, for myself and the kids.  Think I need a lie down :)  And that's exactly what I'm going to do, put life on hold for an evening, make a lovely cup of tea, curl up with a good book and relax.  Because sometimes, that's just what you have to do, it's called being kind to yourself.  Life will still be there when you get up tomorrow.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starting on my CAL (Crochet-along!)

Here are my first few rounds of the Sarah London crochet-along I mentioned in my last post.  It did take a few attempts, think I started too close to bedtime!  The great thing about crochet is that you only have to undo one stitch rather than a whole row, and you can see what you've done wrong very quickly because it just doesn't look right!  I've decided to use really bright colours to brighten up our lounge room in the winter, because despite the 42 degree day we had yesterday, it really does get fairly cold in the winter here.  Honest.

And it looks as good from the back ...
And I called the blanket a 'yarn-eater' when I think the pattern is actually called the 'wool-eater blanket', though I suppose I'm correct using yarn as I'm using my huge stash of acrylic yarn - and I'm going to try really hard not to buy any new stuff until it's absolutely necessary - when the yarn has all been eaten!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Back from hols ... Madora Bay Magic

Hello, did you miss me?  I certainly missed blogging about my endeavours, but totally enjoyed the relaxing time by the sea in Madora Bay.  Doesn't it look magical?

I also enjoyed not having access to any internet and being technology free for a while.  Just sewing hexies for a swap I've joined, reading books and being with the kids, blissful.  Though on my return I did have to do some catching up and found a crochet-along happening with Sarah London; if you go here you'll find the pattern for her yarn-eater blanket which looks amazing.  I'll be doing my crochet-along with a dear and special friend in the UK - it's heart-warming to know that everytime I pick up the crochet hook for a round I'll be thinking of her.  :)  And we'll keep each other accountable too, bet she'll do much more than me, she's become somewhat of a crochet whirlwind! 

Only a few more days of the holidays, then it's back to 'normal' - whatever that is!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making tacky - non-tacky ...

This a sneak peek of part of a present I've been working on for my sister.  It looks great now, but I have had a technical problem to overcome.  I don't know if it's the humidity or what, but the gel medium I use regularly without mishap has been misbehaving and wouldn't dry properly.  It would have been too tacky to pack up, and would have probably become stuck to packaging en route to its new home in the UK.  So I've been trying to come up with solutions and of course the simplest was the best.  Simply mix some PVA glue with a little water, and paint over the tacky surface.  Et voila, dry, non-sticky surfaces!  Thank goodness, I was beginning to panic!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Creative Space: Poncho for a birthday girl

Well, I've been really busy creating for the past few days I'm pleased to say, but I can't share much of it here at the moment because it's either for a mystery activity or for someone who may read this blog before their big day!  However, I can share the little poncho I've hooked for my niece as she's not reading this blog yet (but I'm sure she will when she's old enough :))

I'm particularly proud of the two tone lilac and pink tassles!
It's knitted in acrylic 8 ply for ease of washing for her mum; I used a pattern from Spotlight (the 'Charmed Knits' mini booklet).  I used really pretty girly colours as she does love pink.  Best news is that it is incredibly quick to make up, you'll be able to make one in a weekend.  Winner!

and another pic, just because it's so pretty ... :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For the love of tomato sauce ...

Daytime - I prepare 2kg of lovely, juicy homegrown tomatoes
 Oh ... My ... Goodness ... Now I remember why I haven't made this ketchup for such a long time - because it takes over half a day to make!!!  This is a very well rounded bottle of sauce containing tomatoes from our garden, a friend's garden and huge beef tomatoes from Aunty Noelle.  I use the recipe from Jamie Oliver's 'At Home' book.  Only difference is that I add more sugar to taste at the end and I made a double batch so we ended up with a whole litre (learned that lesson from last time!)

Evening - the finished product!
Then tonight, we had yummy woodfired pizza from our local pizzeria, and the beloved Heinz was overlooked in favour of homemade by the whole family :)   It may take an eternity to make, but it does taste soooooo good ....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A good day.

I woke up this morning for a coaching session, which was really wonderful.  It is such an honour to be witness to someone's story and a part of their journey, if only for a short while.  The session was also a good reminder of how much I enjoy connecting with people in this way, and that what I want to do with my life is coach and encourage others.  Sometimes I fall off the path and let 'fear' entice me away and find excuses for not doing what I really want to do.  So that reminder is a gift.

And look at what I've been creating - I've started to crochet a poncho for my niece.  It will be finished very soon - I love the speediness of crochet!  I'm not sure if you can make out the background very clearly, but it's a piece of hand quilting I started back in 2005!  I'm intending to complete projects this year ... :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Memories - making a 'Book of Days'

Provoking memories - hydrangeas remind me of my mum - they're her favourite flower.  Somehow she doesn't feel so far away ...
Wow - funny how you put something out there and connections start turning up like magic :)  I'd spoken yesterday about my intentions to work on exploring and expressing my 'roots'.  Well, today through one of my Facebook groups I found out about a year long project that encourages you to make an art journal of memories - Effy Wild sends out regular emails and short videos to get your creativity going (a passion close to my heart as you know).  It looks wonderful, I'm really excited about it even though I don't fully understand what I'm supposed to do yet - though some of the words being bandied about including journalling and altered books are getting the imagination up and running!  If you're even getting the slightest feeling of curiosity, go look at Effy's website here to register - you can only get the newsletters with info if you do this.  And don't panic about having to catch up or keep up - Effy's advice is to embrace 'your inner turtle'.  Don't you just love it already?  :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Here are my little crochet squares, being sorted into two halves so I can sew them together in a seemingly random, yet kind of organized manner!  I am trying to finish projects rather than constantly start new ones - completion is good too!

Woke up in the early hours of this morning thinking about a film I'd seen recently called 'Contagion'.  Rather than being purely about people catching a virus and it spreading quickly, it's also a brutally frank study of human behaviour.  Fascinating, thought-provoking and very scary as it shows us the shadow side of humanity (but also the honourable side).  I think New Year resolutions are a kind of contagion - we all catch the bug for making new resolutions, then destroy our self-esteem by not meeting the expectations we set for ourselves.  I would rather look at dreams and projects for the year ahead - if you can own the intention, and love what you want to do I believe you have more chance of staying the distance.  And the good thing about dreams is that they never go away - they may change shape and form as you develop, but that is brilliant!  My dream project for the year is to look at my roots - how my life in my homeland and subsequent new homes in other countries has shaped me.  I've been mulling it over for a few years since I came back from the UK with a load of old family photos and copies of documents.  Whilst I've been pretty slack at keeping up with the research on I feel like I can explore and express my discoveries through art, so that's what I'll be doing.  It's something I've been planning for a while, now it's time for action!  And of course I'll be documenting it here as I go ...

Part of my journey has been to find some blogs about my last UK home on the Isle of Wight, and I found a lovely one called 'The Living Isle' with simply great writing and beautiful photos - I aspire to write as he does!  Check it out here ...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Going back in time ... and forwards

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!  May 2012 be very special and full of opportunity  xxxx

Went back in time last night at a Disco themed party.  I fuzzed my hair by putting pipecleaners into washed hair, taking them out in the evening when the hair was dry and backcombing my locks.  My dog wondered what on earth I was doing and almost didn't recognize me, and my daughter told me I looked like I used to when she was little.  Not sure whether that was a compliment or not ...

There are some dodgy people out and about on New Year's Eve
So, now after all the excitement I'll be reflecting on my last year, and imagining what will be happening this year ... what are your dreams for 2012?   Feel free to share :)