Tuesday, 31 January 2012

One a day project

My new granny square blanket is coming along nicely....well, the granny squares are... as I don't plan to join
them up until I get to 50.

I've done 12 in the last fortnight and I'm liking how the new colours - navy blue, hot pink, mauve, dark grey - are looking. I'm trying to use each coloured ball of yarn equally, but am sure my favourites are coming through.

I carefully stack them up every night to ensure I have some sort of colour balance.

Head on over to Gingerbread Girl and catch up on all the progress the lovely gals have made on their one a day projects. 

There's some amazing work being done.

I love joining in with Gingerbread Girls meme, it keeps me motivated, and I get some great inspiration and crafty ideas from the other lovely gals.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Summer jam making

My apricot and nectarine trees produced an excellent crop of fruit this year, all due to our 10 year drought being finally over and getting plenty of rain over winter. Good fruit is a result of good conditions at the time of flowering - which is during our late winter/early spring.

I was determined to have a go at some jam making this year and put all this fruit to good use.  I sneakily bought  the Country Women's Association Preserves cookbook whilst Christmas shopping last year - as it contains every possible jam, relish, chutney you could ever think of.  Unfortunately their apricot jam recipe was not very successful for me - too much water and it did not setting properly. 

But the nectarine jam came out delicious.

I slightly changed the recipe - by using equal weight of sugar to nectarines, as I have successfully done in previous years for raspberry jam. I also used less vanilla.

The recipe goes like this...

Put 2kg of peeled and sliced nectarines with 37g pectin. Bring to the boil over high heat. Add 2kg white sugar. Stir constantly during the whole process. Heat to a rolling boil for one minute, then take off the heat. Stir and skim for 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tsp of vanilla. Ladle into sterilised jars.

It's my first time using pectin, and I loved it! There is nothing more disappointing that going to all the hard work of preparing the fruit, boiling the jam, preserving the jars - and then for one's jam NOT to set. So disappointing. So am very happy to used pectin again - as a fail safe method.

Have you done any jam making this year?

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Endless Summer

With only a couple more days left of January 2012, I'm pretty happy with how much stuff I've squeezed into it. My daughter starts her first day of school in a week (both her and I are very very excited!), as a result I've been very keen to really treasure my time with her.

We've been going to Ocean Grove beach, so she can try out the new boogie board Santa brought her. I must confess I felt a guilty sort of pleasure when she got 'dumped' by this tiny little wave. It's a bit of a right of passage to be tossed and turned by waves - I was proud that she got up and wanted to keep on riding more waves.

Also visited a Space in Film exhibition at ACMI and Scienceworks and have been playing lots of board games.

On the crafting front, I really want to finish a knitting project - a kiddies jumper - from this book.  I've banned myself from starting any new knitting projects until this is finished. Is this something you do too?

As a new knitting book arrived two days ago in the post (and it is absolutely scrumptious) there is now a new urgency to finishing this jumper. I'm planning on showing you some of my new book - more on that later....

Last night I blocked out the jumper. I was a bit unsure of how to do this - but after some research from the yarn label/books/blogland - decided on pinning it out, placing a damp tea towel on top, and gently steam ironing it.  This seems to have worked well.

Next step is stitching it all together, and knitting the neckline. Almost, almost finished.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

One-a-day project

While I have been busy doing crochet, knitting and other general making projects, I have not been very good at documenting them on blog land. The lovely gingerbread girl has started up again with her one a day tuesday tallies, which has given me the gee up to do some blogging about what I've been doing.

Since I finished my previous giant granny square blanket I've been wanting to start a new crochet blanket project.  One that is BIG enough to fit a queen size bed. I stocked up on my latest favourite, affordable wool - Moda Vera 8ply - compliments of a sale at spotlight - and added it to the left over bits from my giant granny square blanket. All up I have 12 new colour balls, and 9 odds and ends - as well as many balls of white wool.

For the inspiration and pattern I've gone to Sols(tr)ikke, a norwegian blogger who does lovely crochet and knitting. I came across her blog a while back when I was searching for granny square blankets. Aren't the grannies adorable??? (though a bit out of focus)

Her pattern is easy to follow, and introduced me to the idea of doing double trebles in the corners of granny squares for a lovely effect.

So 19 done....many more to go.

Check out Gingerbread Girls blog, and see what other one-a-day activites have been going on. There's lots of new and interesting projects. 

It's late here, so I'm off to bed. Tomorrow I'll check in with the other one-a-dayers and see what they've been up to. You should to!


Thursday, 12 January 2012


Thanks to the ravelry Block-A-Month-Crochet-A-Long (BAMCAL) I've been busily crocheting blocks to build into an afghan blanket. The great thing with this group is they provide 2 12inch blocks a months, as well as two 6 inch ones.  I've decided to crochet the 12 inch blocks in 8ply yarn, using up my leftover yarns and adding as I go.

This is my first crochet a-long, and so far I'm loving it.  It's a great opportunity to learn new stitches, and at the end of it I will have a large blanket.

Thank you to thornberry for alerting me to the start of this crochet a long.  You can join up here.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New years thoughts

Welcoming in the new year makes one think about the year gone, and the year ahead.  This past year has been full of new experiences and some real personal challenges.

My blogging started in August, here is a snapshot of the major craft projects...

My sweet flower granny blanket, design from Attic24. My first ever blanket, that now lies beautifully on my daughter's bed.

My crocheted seaman's scarf.

My amigurumi green tree frog. Made for a university assignment - my Uni tutor's loved it!

 My crazy bunny nugget.

Started my African flower hexagon pillow - still in progress.

My first ever big knitting project - a shrug.

The christmas dove.

The giant granny square blanket.

For 2012, my crafty plans include...

1. Yarn bomb something in the local area. (surburban Melbourne needs a bit of spice and colour!)
2. Do a crochet pattern out of one my vintage craft books. (I have soooo many books, it's about time I used them.)
3. Sew 5 pieces of clothing for myself. (I sew clothes for my daughter, but never for myself.)
4. Make or buy curtains for all my curtainless windows.
5. Crochet a queen size blanket for my bed.
6. Do a youtube cooking tutorial (crazy brave!).
7. Learn fair isle knitting.
8. Do crochet tutorials on my blog for my patterns.

The one thing I have learnt from the challenges of the past year - that I need to constantly challenge myself to do new and difficult things. I must get out of my comfort zone.