Ronda’s homemade flower brooch

This just arrived in the mail, a special handmade gift from Ronda, an old friend of my mother’s!

Ronda saw a photo of the first tea cosy I ever made on facebook and asked me to make her one, so I made her one and posted it to her. My second go at a tea cosy was a bit fancier, it was a reversible two way tea cosy with a Lady Grey side, and a Ladybird side. Ronda liked it so much she sent me a present back, which included her home made flower brooch!

How sweet, now I just have to find a special place to put it. I’m thinking my favourite sun hat could do with an embellishment like this!

Two Way Tea Cosy, Ladybird and Lady Grey

You’d think that deciding to decorate a red tea cosy to make it look like a ladybird wouldn’t be too hard, right? Well, it turned out to be a lot more difficult than making this reversible tea cosy in the first place!

The idea for this tea cosy is based on the first one I did in a sunshiney yellow. But that was only one layer, this one has two layers for added warmth. Because it has two layers, why not make it reversible, right? I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it, but it turned out to be fairly straight forward. I know the recipient requested neutral tones, which is why the first layer is a tasteful grey, but it’s for a red tea pot, so I couldn’t resist some fun! And I had a good roll of nice red yarn to do it with. I started off with 4 squares, 2 in grey and 2 in red. This time the ridges are vertical, not horizontal like in my yellow tea cosy, so there is more stretch. I don’t have the intended tea pot here to test the size, so hopefully it will fit with the extra stretch. For the body I used a 4mm hook, and medium weight yarn. I ran out of the thick black, so had to start using a finer black wool for the edging, as that was all I had. Because at least some of the black is pure wool, as well as the grey which looks like it might be a sock wool, this tea cosy will need to be washed as if it was wool, just in case there is some shrinkage. Another idea I have for a tea cosy, is making one side green and decorating it like a garden with butterflies and flowers.

Joining up the squares and neatening off the edges proved to be fairly straight forward. Making the final decision on how to make the red side resemble a ladybird was trickier. Do you think it looks like a ladybird? I hope the recipient does, and gets a nice surprise when she turns the grey tea cosy inside out!

Five dollar limit on gifts a Great Idea!

There are so many cute little gift ideas under $5, especially for babies and young children, there’s no need for the gift giving ritual to be excessively expensive!

Now I’m a mum I’m making more of an effort with Christmas this year. Granted I could make more of an effort than I have, but this year I’m just warming up! Next year I’ll be even more organised! Today I brought in our living Christmas tree and decorated it, it does look a little small, scrawny and sad, but not as much as last year! And next year, if all goes well, the Christmas tree should look better and bigger after a year of growth. I couldn’t put much decoration on it at all, it started to lean over so much, so I could only put one small star on it, and the love heart garland I made last year.

All the gifts I’m giving this year, or should I say Thomas is giving this year, cost $5 or less. As much as I’m actually not that keen on Christmas, I don’t want to be the mean spirited parent who makes my son miss out on something that is an undeniably big part of our culture. So Thomas is giving everyone a small gift this year, especially considering all the generous gifts he got from them when he was born! But I do wish others were not so extravagant with their gifts, because we can’t afford to reciprocate. But there are so many cute things you can give for just $5 or less! Some ideas for this year include books and a toy car I found on special for the kids, gluten free chocolate biscuits for my coeliac brother and framed photos of Thomas for the grandparents. I prefer to buy children’s books second hand from the charity stores, as they usually only cost 50c. Sometimes I can pay $2 for a second hand book, which is still a lot cheaper than most new ones, but I found some nice ones for $4 at the department store.

Its not hard, and when Thomas is older I hope to teach him some graciousness when it comes to gift giving, even if his mum is clearly lacking in that department!

Colourful ABC 123 Cube for a Baby

Here is an upgrade of my first attempt at a baby block. This one is for a gift, as we are part of a Kris Kringle this year. This cube has numbers and letters on it, as well as a bell inside to make it jingle!

I find our culture of gift giving at times very challenging. I’d rather give gifts as a matter of course, when things arise that someone needs or wants, then you give it to them if you can. I don’t like having to wait for a special occasion, then there is this culture of having to give a gift,  giving gifts the receiver does not need or want. This, in turn, increases the consumerism and rubbish that piles up on our planet. But unfortunately, I am a social creature, being a mammal and all, so I’m compelled to participate in this ritual and not cause offence to my friends and family. But sometimes I just wish we would get more practical with this gift giving thing! I think even gift vouchers are better than an unwanted gift, but for some people this is not in the spirit of it, and they don’t like it. I just loathe to see people on modest incomes waste their money on expensive gifts that are not needed.

A month or so ago we had a hail storm here in Brisbane, which caused some damage to the roof of my friend’s house. She lost her potted basil plants, so a perfect gift for her (I think, anyway), is a new basil plant! I took a cutting from my youngest plant, and put it in a vase on my kitchen sill. Now it has lots of nice new roots and is ready to plant in a nice pot. I just have to get some more potting mix and it will be ready for its new home.

Yet another Christmas, here we come!

Small Cream and Wine Hexagon Lap Rug

I’m not sure how useful this item I finished yesterday will turn out to be, it’s very small due to the amount of this wool I had. But it was so nice to make, I had to use it all up to make this small rug. It could be used as a baby rug, or maybe a small lap rug.

I’ve known for a while, I’d really prefer to make items using yarn that is locally grown, spun and dyed. This way, you can reduce your carbon footprint – its better for the environment if we use products sourced locally. Before I saw this yarn, any attempt to source something like that was way over priced in my opinion. But I found some assorted blends that were on special in Lincraft, which were from the Wangaratta Mill Shop. This may include synthetic fibres, so they are blended with local wool, but spun locally. I even found a local spinners site that sells drop spindles if I ever buy some raw local fibre.I’ve already made a beanie for Thomas using a sea green yarn from the same Wangaratta package.

This thick yarn has a nice, soft feel and it was a pleasure to make this small rug. But it is a bit small to be very useful, as I only had 3 balls of this type. I used a 7mm hook to make the stitches large and the rug quick to make up.

In other news, I sold my first item on ebay today, my old queen size mattress! We got a new mattress after Thomas was born, and my old mattress has been taking up room and had to go so I started bidding at .50c hoping someone would come and get it, and they did! The experience was a positive one, so I hope to sell a few other things from around the home that need to go. Who knows, maybe I can sell some crochet projects as well?!

Colourful Scrap Rug for a Toddler

This rug started off as a pile of scraps given to me by my mother last year, and is now the second rug like this I’ve done. I’m hoping it will be a useful rug for Thomas.

I really enjoy making these rugs. The material is not expensive, you can pick it up at op shops or find it in your own craft cupboard, and it’s satisfying to turn balls of left over yarn into something that can actually be used. I enjoyed making the first one so much I called it a ‘therapy rug’! There’s no pattern to the colours, the only rule is whenever I change yarn it’s a different colour to the last. It’s therapeutic because there is no stress at all about the design, it just comes down to a decision at the moment it’s time to pick a new colour.  And the idea of these rugs is to use up all of that left over yarn, that’s why there are not finished rows, rather they run into each other like spirals until the yarn runs out. Then I choose a contrasting colour to continue. This way there are no little bits left over at all.  That’s why this is much better than making a rug out of small granny squares sewn together. And I find sewing all those squares together at the end very tedious! For this rug, I used a 4.5mm hook, so not too small so it doesn’t take too long.

The first thing to do is sort the balls of left over yarn according to size. The very smallest ball of yarn is the one you want to start with, next choose a contrasting colour that looks to be amongst the smallest of the balls left. I’ve even resorting to weighing the balls on a small kitchen scale! This way you get the spiral effect. I’m rather proud how this one turned out, the pattern is quite nice considering there was little planning in it. It’s good to know I have something useful to do with all those annoying left over balls of yarn!

Two Red Easter Baskets

I whipped up these two baskets while Thomas was sleeping, we might use them for Easter this year when my young nephews come to visit.

I used some fluffy craft yarn I got from Lincraft on special, and some plain red yarn for the larger basket. I didn’t follow a pattern for these, I just made them up using a 4mm hook.

My pattern for an Easter basket

1. ch 3 sl st in 1st chain to form loop
2. 8 sc (UK dc) in loop, sl st
3. ch 1, 2 sc in every st, sl st (16 sc)
4. ch 1, 2 sc in 1st st, (1 sc in next, 2 sc in next) to end, sl st (24 st)
5. ch 1, 2 sc in 1st st, (1 sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next) to end, sl st (32 st)
6. ch 1, 2 sc in 1st st, (1 sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next) to end, sl st (40 st)
7. ch 1, 1 sc in every st, sl st
8. repeat row 7 until desired height is reached, then 20 ch and  sl st to opposite to form handle, embelish with a row of fluffy craft yarn

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