Thursday, January 24, 2013

Crochet Necklace

There are all sorts of  beautiful knitted and crocheted neck pieces popping up on Pinterest  Ralvery and on blogs all over the place at the moment.  However they are mostly scarves, cowls and winter, winter, winter wear.  In sunny Queensland it hurts to even look at some of this winterness, but I want to wear my crochet around my neck too!  So how perfect that the marvellous Lucy from Attic 24 has this pattern for little crochet balls.

My new necklace.

I used a size 3 hook it was fiddily but it had the best finish.
 The yellow ballon the left  was made using a 3.5
 and as you can see it's not as tight.  Warning - They are addictive.

What are you doing in your Creative Space?  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Making Soap (Without Chemical Burns)

I have been very keen to make Cold Press Soap Recipe from the Down to Earth Blog for a while now.  I have been collecting my ingredients from various places, local and the internet.  The Caustic Soda arrived while we were on holidays and our kind neighbour was collecting our mail.  Eyebrows went up when my Hazchem parcel arrived, thanks Mr Neighbour P for not judging me.

Finally soap day was here, I banished the younger two children outside and recruited Miss M my scientist in residence to help me.  We weighed and measured with NASA like accuracy, we had our protective clothing on and our work bench all laid out with soap making equipment.  I can not stress enough the importance of treating this process with full Laboratory protocol.  I am happy to report that only a few mild chemical burns were sustained (and that they may even have been psychogentic, we were that paranoid.)   However next time I would mix the caustic soda and water outside as, phew does that give off some noxious gas!  I also can not agree enough with other bloggers that a stick mixer is the way to go and be really careful that it doesn't overheat.

The Trace looked just like custard when it was time to pour.  I think next time I would let my trace thicken a bit more than this.

Lye is the name given to the toxic burnie mix of the caustic soda and water.  Trace is the name given to the mixture when it will no longer give you a chemical burn.  (Which is when the Lye and the oils have completely mixed.)
It really did look yummy.
Miss M "put some random toys in to make the soap more fun" (her words.)  
The recipe said to leave it for 15 hours before cutting into bars.  Unfortunately for us a humid heat wave kicked in so it was 48 hours before I could cut it.  Next time I will give it longer again as the pieces were pretty malleable  and don't look anything like the  Down to Earth Blog photos.   The soap is now supposed to need a couple of weeks to cure but again the humidity will slowing that down.  I also think that if the Trace was thicker when I poured it, it might set faster??

We can't wait to use it - Especially Master B who wants his spider back.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Last Years Pencil Case

I have been putting off dealing with all the stuff that came home from school last year.  The two girls had bags full of exercise books, scrap books, pencil cases, display folders and so on (and on and on.)  What do you do with it all?  All those beautifully covered books, half used pencils and boxes of Oil Pastels - that may have been used once?  Lots of it can be used again but that means an enormous sort out needs to take place.

I am proud to say I have now done it and it was surprisingly enjoyable.
We tipped everything out and then sorted, sharpened tested and binned.
We even did the obligatory, Melt Down All The Old Bits of Crayon.
(in oven at 160, for 10 mins or until melted.)
They are so pretty.  Next time I would do them in patty papers,
 Mr Daddy was a bit worried they weren't going to pop out of the tin.
This is our new Home Work Station.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Crochet Injury

I have had my first hard core craft accident and it was NASTY!!  My crochet frenzy during the lead up to Christmas, coupled with faffing about with the ipad whilst sitting in ludicrous postures, came together in the perfect storm to strain my neck and cause a bulging disk.  Have you ever hear of anything more ridiculous???   But it really hurt and I couldn't move.  Mr Daddy had to do everything and I mean everything for me.  The Physio was very cross at me and has banned me from crochet for at least two weeks. (He has actually forbidden me to pick up a crochet hook.)
So I have lots of exercises to do and have to go back next week for more.  
I have to admit I did slink over and pick up a hook but this
is the only way I could do it.  So needless to say I
 only managed to get a row in.
My poor neglected basket.

Has anyone else been banned from crafting for health reasons?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ponti Knit Skirt

With all this relaxing going on, I have also been doing a bit of sewing.  I got this awesome printed Ponti Knit fabric from Sew Tessuti way back in November.  I ordered half a meter and have been planning to make a plain pencil skirt.
It's Italian and a bit funky.

I just love Sew Tessuti packaging, it makes you feel so warm and fuzzy to open your postal satchel to be greeted by this kind of customer service.

I was so keen to get stuck into it, that I didn't think at all about positioning the printed pattern.  I am not so fussed on the plain part of fabric that ended up at crouch level.  I am going to put it down as just one of those lessons that I learn about as I go.  Having said that....  this is my finished skirt I love it!   I have worn it a hundred times already.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Relaxmas

We have been having such nice down time at our house.  Its has been really slow paced, quiet, stay at home kind of days, dotted with some festive activities.  Christmas was at our house this year, it was a smaller gathering than previous years.  My brother and his family have just moved back to the UK (and live in a house that my children swear must be in Harry Potters Privet Drive.)  My sister's husband was also overseas for work, so there was no Uncle M to organise back yard cricket.  There was however lots of good food, homemade gifts and kids running everywhere.

Santa brought Miss S this hammock, its her dream come true and very popular all round.
Its hung between the Mango tree and Bamboo, in its own little cool and shady micro climate.
We had a christmas Fairy handing out parcels
We had Baby Violet to cuddle - How beautiful is a sleeping baby xxx
Here she is swaddled in the Noro Shawl I made for her Mummy.
We have also been spending lots of time in the garden.  I am relocating a couple of veggie beds, in my never ending quest to steal some sun light from all the big trees.  I am also hoping that by having them up closer to the house I might be better at watering.

The new spot (pool side)

The Mango tree has been a major feature of these holidays.
Its ten years old now and finally big enough to climb.
If you look really hard you can see Master B popping his head out of the canopy.
I love coming across children's play,  look what I found hanging from the Mango tree.
I am not sure what this game is or who was playing but it looks pretty.
Oh and I also have my first apples growing, I am so excited.