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February 2015

January 2015

My word for 2015

At the end of 2014 I settled on a word for 2015, and my word is GRATITUDE.

It is being grateful for everything I have in my life right now and everything I want in my life. It's saying thank you for everything I have been given and thank you for everything I want to receive.

I mentioned having read The Secret and The Magic and while I don't expect riches to drop on my door step I am using the power of the universe to live a better life. It's about a change in my attitude to the world around me that makes me a better person and makes the world around me react in a better way towards me.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I read these books. I had The Secret on my book shelf for years and although I had tried to read it I just didn't get it. I didn't get how all the things you want in life magically came to you by asking the universe. But it's not about asking to win the lottery or own a Lamborghini, or live in a 10 bed mansion. It's about changing your attitude towards the things you have and being grateful for what you do have now, even if that is not very much. It's about not worrying how you are going to live the life you want but rather loving the life you live. 

When you stop looking so hard for what you want, the answers and clarity on how to get what you want do magically appear.

I use the principles of The Secret in my everyday actions, from planning the day I want to have to saying thanks for the great day I have had.

As part of this plan, every day I write one thing that I am grateful for. I write it in my diary in the morning. So at the end of the year I will have 365 things I am grateful for.

Diary

I have seen some dramatic changes in myself that I had never expected, and changes in my relationships with others. There is always more than one way to look at a situation and I have opted to see things from a better angle.

This change in outlook and way of living is good for me, I am happier now than I have been in a long time and I am grateful!

Ciao C xx


Stone washed hexagons

Remember the stone washed jeans of the 80's? Can you believe we actually wore them? No, me neither but the stone washed i'm talking about today is a lushious 4ply, 78% cotton/22% acrylic blend yarn in the most glorious colours.

I wanted to really show off the stone washed effect of this yarn so decided to do solid colour hexagons. The advantage to using one colour per hex is not having many end to stitch in. We like that kind of advantage!

Jessica blanket

I chose Attic24's pattern again for this blanket. It only took one hex to re-learn the pattern and I was on my way!

Jessica blanket close up

I made this blanket for my nieces birthday in July last year. The colours are perfect for the vintage style of her bedroom.

Buying the kits from Anita have opened my eyes to the vast choice of yarn that's out there and the fact that a small amount of acrylic isn't the end of the world. In fact it stops all the bobbling under the arms of jumpers and cardigans and helps make blankets that little bit more hard wearing. It has also been great fun waiting for a new kit to be announced and then waiting for the post man to drop it off!
But I must admit that my first loves will always be Rowan and Debbie Bliss ;)

Ciao C xx 


Soft fun

Pinterest is a time thief. Besides the hours spent browsing the 17 billion pages of lush inspiration, there are also many hours spent contemplating actually making the things I pin. I spend far too much time debating what project to do next, settling on one, printing patterns, thinking about yarn and then changing my mind and moving on to another pin!
But occasionally I jump in with both feet and actually make something I've pinned.

Kenzie blanket

I loved this pattern the second I saw it and when the soft fun kit from Anita arrived I knew this was the blanket I had to make with it. The yarn is a double knit, 60% cotton, 40% acrylic and it's super soft! And lovely to work with. The colours are so vibrant too and i'm pleased that my photograph shows them off nicely.
I have tried to link back to the pattern but it's gone :( But luckily I have a snap shot of the chart.

Kenzie blanket chart

This blanket is for my cousins baby in South Africa but as yet it is still sitting in my house as the postal system in SA is falling apart and I just can't risk sending it.

Kenzie blanket close up

This is such a fun blanket for a tiny tot and I can't wait for Kenzie to have it.

I have been mostly knitting since Christmas and am enjoying the rhythm of rows even though it feels like slow progress. I will add the completed projects to my share list.

This week i'm looking forward to the arrival of my photo books! Woo hoo :) I can't wait and I promise to share the experience next week.

Ciao C xx


Gentle ripple waves

One of my favourite blanket patterns is the gentle ripple wave. I use the lovely ripple pattern from Attic24, which is so easy to follow. There are lots of ripple patterns out there and lots of degrees of ripple, some of which make me a little sea sick but I would like to try and more zig zag pattern one day.

This blanket uses cotton 8 again and it's kit 2 from the lovely Anita on Crochet Crush. The colours are so gentle and vintage and so me!

Kit 2 posed

They also match my Cath Kidston stripe duvet set which is the alternative bedding set for my spare bed.

When I started the blanket I had no idea if I would have enough yarn for a double bed blanket, and I prayed that if I ran out Anita would be able to put another kit together for me.

I also had no idea if I would do random colours or a pattern repeat. Sometimes I'm sure of these things but mostly not! In the end I opted for a pattern repeat although my first block of colour was totally random. The single light green stripe that seperates each colour was a kit add on and I love how it works with the colours.

Kit 2 in progress

I was delighed that the yarn just kept going on and on and with each colour pattern the hope of reaching double bed size was a firm possibility.
And I was thrilled when it did!!! The blue bedding is not right for the blanket but this is my everyday spare bed linen and not the one I use for guests when I would have the blanket on the bed. Maybe I should have styled the bed better for the photograph!!

Kit 2 on bed

When I edged the blanket I squared off the top and bottom by doing longer stitches into the valley of the ripple. This seems to give it a more finished look then just following the shape. Edging a ripple is also a great way to hide the ends.

Kit 2 posed close up

Just a word on the cotton 8 yarn......it's lovely and light, 4 ply and 100% cotton, so a good yarn to use in the summer months when wool would get too hot in your hands. As a 4 ply it is also softer on the hands than the Rowan Handknit Cotton or Debbie Bliss Cotton DK. All 3 of these yarns have great colours and the advantage with the Rowan and Debbie Bliss is you can mix them so have a HUGE colour pallate to choose from.

These lovely summer colours are really brightening my day and making me long for the warm sunny days sitting in the garden with a lovely crochet project and a tall glass of something cold to keep me cool. Oh summer, oh summer hurry back!

Ciao C xx


Can we talk about photo books?

On the 21st I mentioned that I had created a snapfish account as a place to store my iPhone and iPad photos and that I had created a photo book of my 2010 and 2011 iPhotos.

As a scrapbooker it feels a little odd making photo books but in all honesty I wish I had done this years ago. I love to print the perfect photo and rifle through my stash to make layouts but I should have been far more selective with the photos I chose to scrap and the rest should have gone into these clever books.

In the past few days I have also created books of my trip to the Kruger National Park in 2012 and our trip to Cape Town in 2013.

Kruger page example

I have absolutely loved creating each and every page and reliving each memory with it.

I didn't use all 13million elephant photos I took but I did use quite a few of the lion photos as it was a rare treat so see so many little ones feasting on the carcass of a recent kill. We imagined that the rest of the pride were lazing under the trees just on the other side of that mound!

Once I have caught up with my iPhone photo books I will work on the many CDs and DVDs that I have containing years worth of digital photos. Thankfully they are in year order so i'm sure it won't take long to get them all in book form.
As for all the film photo prints, well that's a discussion for another day!

Ciao C xx


Staying in 2013

Yesterday I mentioned getting 2 blankets out of the first lovely cotton 8 kit and here is blanket 2.

Zara kit 1 blanket

The square I used for this blanket is out of Jan Eatons 200 crochet blocks book that I bought years ago. There are mixed reviews on the ease of following her written patterns, but I can say that I have never had an issue and i've tried quite a few.

I don't have a close up of the edging, it's a bit unusual as I wanted to use all the colours but didn't want a complete round of each colour. So I kept changing colour during the round to use all 10 colours in 3 rounds. I love how it turned out and i'm sure i'll use that method again.

This blanket was for my Goddaughter as the I made for her first Christmas was getting a bit worn. I love that it was used and not shoved in a cupboard.

It's so lovely revisiting and sharing these projects.

Ciao C xx


Can we go back to 2013

On Monday I said that I had finished a few projects in 2014 that I wanted to share, but going through my iPhone photos I have some from 2013 that I need to share too. So we will delve a little further back in the project archives for todays post.

This hexagon blanket was made with cotton 8 yarn from a lovely kit that my dear friend Anita put together on the facebook group crochet crush. The colours are just gorgeous and I managed to get two blankets out of one kit, admittedly with the add on kit of extra white yarn.

Jorja with blanket

The pattern is the perfect join as you go hexagon from Attic24. and it's such an easy pattern to follow that the blanket takes shape so quickly. My colours were random and I just chose them by looking at the colours around where the new one was going to fit in.

Jorja blanket in progress

There are a few ways to edge a hexagon blanket. I have only used one way and that is to follow the shape with treble or double crochet. You need to work two stitches together in the valley corners and make two stitches in one on the outside corners. The other, as yet untried by me, method is to square the blanket off and I really like this look so i'm keen to try it soon. I have pinned this to my Pinterest board Yarn Craft for future reference.

Jorja blanket (2)

As always with a blanket of many colours it's advisable to sew your ends in as you go to save having to do it all at the end!

Jorja blanket (3)

Jorja blanket (1)

I recently received an email from iCloud telling me that I am up to my storage limit  and i'll need to buy more space which I am not prepared to do, so i'm on a mission to do something with the 1000's of photographs I have on my iPhone and iPad.
Having done a little research on the best tools for the job I decided to set up a snapfish account. I downloaded the app on my iPhone so I can upload photos straight from my phone to snapfish which also has an unlimited storage facility. You can order prints straight from the iPhone app but to create the photobooks you need to log onto your account on a pc. Your photos are all there waiting for you when you log on! I uploaded all my photos from 2010 and 2011 and created a photobook which I will order once i've done a second edit and QA read through.
I didn't have many photos from 2010 & 2011 so i've combined them into one book. The following years will each have their own book.
When the photo book arrives I will be brave and delete the photos from my phone to clear space. I'm confident that they are on my snapfish account but i'll feel better to actually have a hard copy in my hand just in case!

And i'll keep you posted on my progress!

Ciao C xx


Baby blanket

Last year I finished quite a few projects so i'll be posting them over the next few weeks. Starting today with a baby blanket made for our good friends daughter who had a little girl in August.

Baby blanket 1

I used Debbie Bliss baby cashmarino and the cluster burst granny square on Petals to Picots blog. It's a tiny square so I wouldn't recommend using it for a full size blanket.

Just lately I have been quite systematic in my blanket design and am using excel to plot out the squares so I know how many of each to make right from the start. This has also meant i'm not left with lots of yarn or scrambling to buy more when I run out.
Once all the squares were made I used my excel plan to lay the squares right side down on my joining fabric. All squares were pinned down and I was ready to join. This is really my worst part of blanket making and the reason I love ripple, granny stripe and join-as-you-go-hexagon blankets so much now!

Baby blanket 2

The edging is 3 rounds of double crochet in the light pink with a scallop edge of the edge in the darker grey.

I loved how this blanket turned out and it was well received by the lovely mummy and baby. We worry don't we? We love it but will the recipient?

This morning we woke to a very light dusting of snow on the cars. There wasn't much on the ground and thankfully the drive to work was clear. Now it is bright and sunny but very cold which is preferable to the slightly warmer, overcast and rainy option. So far winter has been more like a colder than normal autumn and i'm still holding out for a big snow in February (ideally on a Saturday afternoon when we're home with no plans to go out until Monday morning).

I'm nearly a week off of facebook and although I am missing updating my own wall, I am not missing the drivel that caused me to leave in the first place. I'm still not convinced that I want to go back. Will see how I feel on day 10.

And now it's time to get back to my day.

Ciao xx


Back again

I have certainly taken a very long break from blogging but it's time to get back into it and what better time than an official birthday!

Me

Yesterday was my 40th birthday and even though I won't be having a celebration until the July birthday I felt that the day should be marked in some way. And that was a lovely dinner with best husband, and a little too much wine!

So 2015 what do you have in store for me? Well I have made some changes to my mindset over the past 5 month and i'm glad to say that they have all be good and positive changes and I am feeling very happy in myself.
The first big change was moving jobs. This was not a decision that I took lightly and although the money was less it is much closer to home, with an easyish commute and a far less volatile environment.
The next change was implementing a menu and cleaning plan into my life. The menu planning has been very successful, the cleaning plan not so much. I tend to fall off that wagon quite often, lol. I will share both in the months to come as I am excited how both work when they are followed.
Then there was the attitude adjustment. This was done by reading Rhonda Byrne's The Secret and The Magic. Both books I absorbed with much enthusiasm and have already benefitted by the change in myself and how I react to situations and don't dwell on negative scenarios that are likely to never happen unless I bring them to life. I know that these 'self help' books are not for everyone so i'll not wax lyrical about the benefits but I will say that if you come across it or can borrow it give it a try.
And then there is taking a step back from social media. This is a new change, only happened this week but already I am feeling lighter and less stressed by the opinions of others. I am always willing to listen to others opinions and respect what they have to say and i'm not a confrontational person so when I totally dissagree with someone I find it hard to say so. And of course this leads to an arguement playing itself out in my head and it just goes on and on and on for days. And going back to my point above I am moving on from that negative scenario situation.
The other thing I have managed since August last year was to write in my diary on a regular basis. Some days were just a few bullet points on that days activities and others were more detailed. But I did it. 5 months of diary writing and I can confirm that as of today I have 16 days written up for 2015! I love sitting each day, whether it be in the morning or afternoon and making a verbal picture of my day or thoughts. My hope is to become a skilful art journaller and so far there are is no art, just words and that's fine to start with!

2015 is also going to be the year I return to scrapbooking. I did a huge stash sort and clear out and found three 8x8 albums that have not been used so I'm starting with a 'month in review' page. Just one page a month to get me back into the rhythm of creating.
The only scrapping I have done in the past few years is the Journal Your Christmas project which I have thoroughly enjoyed and while i'm doing it I wonder why I fell out of love with the hours sat at my desk with paper and pretty things. And the answer is the overwhelming amount of stash and the pressure to create a masterpiece with each page. With the Christmas journal I have a limited amount of stash, all Christmas themed and it's usually stored in a 12x12 baggie so I don't need to rummage through a hundred boxes to find that perfect piece for the page. I have what I have that's it, and it all co ordinates. No stress.
And that is why I needed to de-stash. I gave away 4 bags of papers, books and embellishments and it was liberating! My stash is now managable.

Well that's enough waffle for the come back post. Lets hope I can drum up some readers!

Ciao, Caz xx