Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Star Baby Afghan

WIP number one! I started this about 2 weeks ago, it will be a star baby afghan and is being made from baby weight 4ply yarn with a 4mm hook. Whilst it's light and soft, it's slow to work up... I don't know why I thought 4ply would be a good idea over 8ply but it seemed brilliant at the time! I'm now regretting my decision slightly; it dawned on me that I may never actually finish it. It's quite small at the moment, only on row 12 or 13 (I think). I also don't know why I cut the yarn after one row of the yellow given I had another 4 rows to do with it. Brain not attached to rest of body today. Plus I'm too angry at the weather to think about much else... yet another thunderstorm passing us by without bringing any rain!!! This build up has lasted forever and I am well and truly over the heat and humidity. JUST RAIN ALREADY!!!!!! I am losing my marbles.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Too many WIPS!

For those of you who don't know what a WIP is, lucky you! It means you finish things. It stands for 'work in progress', and I have A LOT of them. So many in fact that I'm going to start selecting a current WIP and blogging it's journey from whatever state it's currently in to completion. You'll be able to follow the progress of my WIPS by perusing through the links on the right hand side of my blog should you wish to do so, and I do hope that you will! Even leave me a few words of encouragement? I procraftinate so well that I procraftinate finishing one project by starting another one. Oh I'm not insane, other yarn (or fabric!) addicts will understand. So, let this be the beginning of accountability! Like when you diet or start exercising and want to share your progress so others can keep you on track and cheer you on etc, you, the person reading, are now my unfinished crochet project cheer squad. Congratulations ;)

By the way, I'm not actually going to start putting my list of WIPS together until tomorrow, I have crochet to do.

See? Procrastination level 100.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Gingerbread, crochet food and a sparkly edible laptop.

It's amazing what you feel like doing when you aren't stressed. Since opening Dear Doily Handmade in April this year, custom orders have filled nearly every spare waking moment and I won't lie, it has been really stressful at times. Sometimes I forget that I'm just a hobby business and I can really turn the pace down if I'm uncomfortable with it. I've been priding myself on orders being completed quickly, but it isn't until you begin to wind down for the year that you realise exactly how much time you've been spending on them. Having closed for the Christmas/New Year period I've been enjoying a bit of 'me time' crochet wise... I felt like making a couple of unicorns and a dragon last fortnight, so I did! Yesterday I felt like making some cupcakes and trying out some amigurumi strawberries for the first time, so I did! Today I decided that I'd never thought of trying a seahorse, and I do love seahorses, so can you guess what's been on my hook? Hehe There have also been a couple of lovely cowls created with my new Lion Brand Tweed Stripes yarn that I had ordered for mermaid tails.

No, that mermaid tail set that appeared last post hasn't been finished yet. I didn't say I'd gotten more organised during this break *wink* I'll get to it. It's crazy insane idea overdrive!!! MAKE ALLLLL THE THINGS! I make cowls in summer... in a Darwin summer... because I'm a crazy person!

So my lovely little seahorse is going to be mint, pale pink and purple (three of the few coordinated colours left in my dwindling stash, I need to re stock again soon!) and it's currently in little pieces across the right hand side of my laptop. After dinner I'll get back to it, absolutely dying to see how it turns out!!! I'm mean, c'mon... sea horses are ADORABLE. Imagine a whole tank filled with them and other sea creatures?! *Swoon*

Ohhhh I made gingerbread cookies today too! They look and taste pretty fab but my god they took forever! Baking whilst parenting a grumpy teething 14 month old is a slow process, I think I made the dough this morning, then baked them mid afternoon and iced them later in the afternoon. My hands and dermatitis are hating me right now from all the time they've spent in hot soapy water washing up after myself. Baking would be so much more fun if someone else cleaned up the mess. All I can say is thank Zeus for disposable piping bags, or my stars, trees and gingerbread people would have been all green. Seriously, who enjoys cleaning out and drying a piping bag after every colour change? Although people who probably enjoying icing things regularly most likely own more than one. I got to use the edible glitter I'd bought too... it is now covering my kitchen and the keys of my laptop which I stupidly left on the kitchen bench during the decorating process because stupid me forgot to turn off the kitchen fan. Derp, Tash. It didn't occur to me until after I'd finished baking the biscuits that I can't have the usual royal icing I use for them due to the raw egg white and being preggo BUT the internet came to my rescue and I actually found a really neat recipe that uses that Pavlova Magic stuff instead (recipe HERE if you'd like it!) and whilst the recipe made enough to build a cyclone shelter out of, it was the perfect substitute. It dries like a dream and is deliciously glossy. 'Scuse the dingy pics, but here they are. Oh yeah, the pink ones were supposed to be red, but I can never get the red to actually go red so now it looks they're naked.
That's about it! We've just been bumming around this weekend, playing with our little critter who is having a blast now that he can walk, and currently waiting for the roast pork and vegies to finish cooking so we can all go to bed like the old farts that we are ;-)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mermaid tails and uneaten cake.

Here I am!!! Darnit I nearly blogged everyday for a week, but then a stomach bug hit and totally knocked me out for four days. It was AWFUL. The trip to the emergency department, and the five hours that followed was really the icing on the cake; especially since my husband and 14 month old had to wait there along with me until we knew what was happening, and by then it was too late for them to go home and come back to get me.
The dishcloths I made after having crochet withdrawals whilst sick
Speaking of cake, it's ironic actually because my husband baked a chocolate fudge cake the night before I woke up throwing my guts up (charming, huh?) and it sat un-iced on the kitchen bench for around three days. I think it's still down there in a container, although I doubt it edible anymore. The one time he decides to bake a flippin' cake!! Ah well. Maybe cake is a bad omen? Nah, never. I also had some Tim Tam truffles I'd made that are also still sitting in the fridge downstairs and have been for around a week now... neither of us have really had the appetite for them! Tell you what, it's a good thing we're going to have company for the next two weeks (father in law is coming to visit) because it's really hard when you want to bake and cook delicious things but have no one to really share them with, and consequently then try to eat them all yourselves (appetite permitting! Not recovering from an evil bug of doom whilst battling your usual morning/all day sickness would help a little in that department).
The little gift I bought myself today, it had me at 'free crochet gift'
Oh yes, it's been fun with the morning sickness thrown in. I'm still not feeling 100% now, not eating much and trying to drink as much as I can stomach to keep that migraine from coming back, but definitely better than the alternative of being stuck in bed with a bucket permanently draped around your neck. MUCH better.

Would you believe that those few days I was sick, I was actually missing being able to crochet? There wasn't a single hope in heck I would have managed it, but I was thinking about it! I've made up for it yesterday and today though! As soon as I felt human again, or the closest thing it at least, I made a few dishcloths.

Mobile phone photos for this blog post, because I was much too lazy to get the camera out and find the SD card *cough cough*. Let's see, what have I been up too? Well my beautiful order of Lion Brand Tweed Stripes from my favourite American supplier arrived on my doorstep this morning... I opened the package and basically salivated all over the plastic wrapper. It is BEAUTIFUL. It was bought specifically for a lovely new mermaid tail pattern I'd bought, but was having trouble matching the right yarn for. I just figured it was easier to order the exact stuff it says to use, so much less stress that way. YES, that is something that stresses me. It drives me batty when so many of my favourite patterns are written with American yarn weights in mind and I don't have ready access to them or a solid basis for comparison to substitute. That's why my supplier is my absolute new best friend! So anyway, I obviously needed to make said mermaid tail pronto, I'm in luuuuuuurve! Isn't it lovely? The colourway is just amazing! I have another lot to try out aswell when I get the chance to make the second one. (Do excuse the tails still hanging out).

Then there's this itty bitty santa prop set I whipped up yesterday... the bottom half was a challenge and a half, given I was trying to work it out as I went, and there were A LOT of failed attempts. I got there eventually. I'm thinking I might pop a subtle chain drawstring around the legs and waist so it can be fitted a little closer in case it's too big. Babies are so hard to size correctly! A prop made for a 5lbs baby isn't much use on a 9lbs baby. All the set needs to finish it off is the pom pom for the hat... which I will admit I procrastinated doing tonight because truthfully I really dislike making pom poms. I will do it though... that will be on the top of my 'just do it' list for tomorrow morning. Also on the list is going into the main shopping centre to pick up some bits and pieces and I am just dreading dreading dreading the crazy crowds. I'd rather make pom poms!
Oh! Nearly forgot! I totally had my 19 week baby morphology scan today :-) I can now share with utmost delight that we are expecting a little boy! And if today's 1 hour 42 minute long scan is any indication, he is going to be one stubborn and active little peanut. You read that right... my scan today took 1 hour and 42 minutes! Bubba was so super dooper active for the first part of his scan that the sonographer had trouble checking him, then when it came time to check his heart was working/looking the way it should, a certain young sir decided he'd worn himself out and refused to move from his comfy little spot. I had to leave for a walk (Officeworks was next door, I'd never been and being the complete stationary addict that I am nearly died. See notebook I absolutely HAD to have), jump up and down, roll from side to side and have the sonographer actually poke bub on the bottom a few times to get him to move... he wasn't interested however and stayed put. Hence the long appointment! Eventually he shifted enough to get what we needed, cheeky thing!

So yep! That's been my week... how was yours? Getting close to Christmas now, hopefully you're more organised than me and have more presents actually bought and wrapped other than the one for the dog. I have a totally messy house and a whole lot of things to get done before Thursday, for now though I am going to spend 15 minutes watching Dirty Dancing and starting a lovely chunky v-stitch cowl with my spare ball of Tweed Stripes before hitting the sack. It's 10pm, staying up too much longer when you have a baby that will wake at 6.30am is silly. Geez Louise I wish I didn't have this heartburn though!

Night! Xx

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Meet Amethyst, the dragon

This beautiful creature is about 30-ish cm tall, and has taken me 4 days of nap times (Lynton's, not mine. I wish I could crochet in my sleep!) to finish. She's made up of so many different pieces which need to be sewn together in just the right places for her to stand unassisted. I've named her Amethyst and she is now ready to go out into the world and find her forever home! Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying 'freelance' crocheting at the moment? LOVING IT.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

My FABULOUS background... and more unicorns. I swear not EVERY post has unicorns in it ;)

Our power went out again last night, apparently every time there's a decent lightening storm half the Territory goes out. When it's 30 degrees at midnight and you don't even have a fan to circulate the air it is honestly torture. Well, it is for us preggos and mums of babies who are used to sleeping in the cool... and the fun part of it happening is you never know how long it's going to be out for. It was gone for 12 hours earlier this year!! YUCK! It came back after around an hour thankfully. Between that and the neighbour's two dogs barking CONSTANTLY through the night, we didn't get much sleep. My husband got up to our little one this morning only to find that his bed, his toys, the floor, his hair, his clothes were all covered in vomit. The poor little guy had been sick through the night and we didn't know until this morning. I'm not sure that his air con turned back on when the power returned and he may have gotten too hot and been sick as a result. He seems pretty normal today, a bit sleepier than usual but totally understandable given all thunder and barking. I am SO grateful that my husband was here to shower the baby and wash his things instead of me as I'm still taking anti-nausea pills first thing and probably would have only added to the mess.... what a glamorous notion, right?! *pregnancy is worth it, pregnancy is worth it, pregnancy is worth it* and repeat.

BUT after all the dramas were sorted and the mess cleaned up, the little man went down for his morning nap and I got to test out my new photo background!! TA DA!
What do you think? Is it fabulous, or is it fabulous? *wink* SO easy to put together and store! WHOOP!
I have a teeny weeny little feeling that flower garlands will be something that features more and more on my hook come next year, as soon as I saw those little pretties together in a line on twine a flurry of ideas whirled around in my mind. Oh the possibilities! *swoon*
Oh, and those unicorns I shared a crummy phone pic of in yesterday's post? Here they are in full daylight in all their unicorn-y glory! See what I mean? White canvases and natural light for the win! All I've done with the images are increase the exposure a little and touched up the temperature so the blue cast wasn't so strong. I'd be lost without my 50mm lens and LR; I can't always use them properly, but I'm getting there. I'd love to have a little space where I could leave my background, tripod and camera set up but it's just not possible with a little person (soon to be two) running around. I used to have a nice big crafting/sewing desk in the 'spare' room but hubby has taken over it with his laptop. Fair enough I suppose, I have every other surface and storage area in the house covered/filled with yarn :p
Anyhoodles, I have that midwife appointment this afternoon which I'm oddly nervous about... although it may be the lack of sleep making me feel a bit precious so wish me luck there. Ooooooh and this Saturday I have plans! YES, that's right... plans! To leave the baby with the other half and actually go to lunch other humans, other PREGNANT humans! Honestly, if you really knew how little time I spend outside my house then you'd totally get why it's such a big deal ;-)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Crochet photo-envy, bad horrors and baby unicorns.

Hello internet,

How has your Tuesday been? We haven't done much, just another day spent trying to entertain my little cyclone on legs and keep my husband out of trouble. I seem to be super accident prone today though as I've manage to kick my little toe solidly not once, but twice and fallen up the stairs. Yes, up. I would say that it's a pregnancy thing to be this clumsy but I'm usually always this way.

I have my first midwife appointment tomorrow afternoon so that should be good, then in another 13 days we have my father in law coming to visit us up here in the Territory. We did have a minor set back with a surprise bill (that is apparently due before Christmas Day) dampen the spirits a little but we'll manage. Any day can be brightened a bit with crochet, I finished up two baby unicorns which I'm excited about putting up tomorrow... aren't they the sweetest?
It's been nice to have a break from orders and work on a few ideas. I've been waiting for the chance to try these in a colour combination other than pink and purple, and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out! One is in purple and green, and the other in orange and blue. I want to experiment with a black and red one at some stage, it's on the list! A flower garland also happened today, I already had the flowers and have been wondering for a while what to do with them. After I'd bought home two canvasses with the intention of using them as my new photography background I had the idea of threading them onto some twine to use as part of my new set up. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to try it all out together but I hope it will look alright!
I'm constantly on the look out for ways to better show off the things I make, and constantly jealous of the amazing photos I see at The Patchwork Heart and Attic 24 (isn't everybody?!) wishing I had made such beautiful things and had a beautiful blog to display them. It's a dream. Don't even get me started on Molly Makes.

One day though, right?

One of those unicorns was actually made whilst watching The Amityville Horror, although I accidentally picked up the 2005 remake, not the original and I can't say I was overly impressed. Whilst I'm not a huge horror movie fan I will occasionally crochet to one. I have an uncanny knack of looking up right at the moment something jumps out. Most of my crochet is made whilst watching something. I went through season after season of Downton Abbey whist making some giraffes last fortnight, a snuggle blanket was created whilst watching an episode or two of HBO's Silicon Valley, and I have a scrap-ghan on the go at the moment which has been steadily created with Daria on in the background. I've often thought I should actually mention which movie or TV series it was that accompanied the creation of each particular handmade doodad. It's a hooker thing, I'm sure nearly all fiber-fiends do it! It IS actually possible to watch an entire season of something and recognise the voices of each character, but not actually know what any of them look like ;-)

Monday, 1 December 2014

Travelling with toddlers... just don't do it.

Hello, hello!
I was just thinking to myself that I don't blog very often. I like the idea of blogging but I'm not very good at the actual practice of it. I wish I had super awesome artistic photos of completed crochet to show you everyday and some meaningful musings to go along with it! My life really isn't exciting enough to write about. I could perhaps try to make more of an effort, for myself, you know? Alas I have no artistic photos to share with you this particular post, just this one of some unicorn bits I made whilst at the kiddies play centre this afternoon.
Our little guy deserved a nice big play and run around after being cooped up on a plane for so long last night. We flew back in from a wedding in Port Macquarie, we were only there for 2 days, and the flights were long and painful. Apparently our son doesn't like to sleep even when totally and utterly zonked. I can't say we'll be travelling any distance with a toddler again any time soon. Some people get lucky where kids and planes are involved, unfortunately that isn't us. Hubby and I are pretty exhausted, although we did have a wonderful short trip! Seeing family and having them spend time with their first grandson and nephew was really nice. My sister and brother hadn't seen him since he was 21 days old.

My husband is now on holidays for about a month, and I'm taking some downtime from custom orders over that time to do my own 'thang'. I've already created one unicorn in a colour combo I'd been dying to try out, and I have various parts of a dragon lying around on my bedroom dresser awaiting assembly and details, then there's the purple, green and white one I started earlier today. I'm really excited to start the new year with some pre-made toys ready to go :-) I have made hundreds of orders over this past year which has been both amazing and exhausting, many many nights spent speeding through my projects to get them ready on time for my lovely customers. I'm so so thrilled that I am able to continue doing what I love thanks to the huge amount of interest and support I've received. 2014 has been a massive year! This will be our second Christmas here in Darwin, I can't believe we've been here just over a year already! I have no idea what to expect from 2015, lots of sleepless nights and mayhem with baby number 2 arriving in May, and goodness knows my crochet will slow down for a while, but we are excited about starting a new chapter!

How I got back in control of my anxiety

Has anyone else found the past week or so especially more stressful and difficult emotionally and stress-level wise than normal? I certainly...