Monday, 29 December 2008

Snowflakes in the Sun

I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday.
I spent a lot of time motoring around the Western Australian countryside visiting family and eating scrumptious food. I received some truly beautiful hand crafted presents (which I'll save for another post) and gave some crochet snowflakes that I made myself:

The top snowflake is made out of 4 ply metallic thread and the following two are crocheted out of 4 ply cotton:

I sprinkled lots of glitter over them too:

Of course, in a hot, summery Australian Christmas, real snow is no where to be seen but we love our northern traditions and my snowflakes were a bit of a hit. I had lots of requests from family who wanted one of their own. Luckily, the pattern for the first snowflake is really quick and easy so I managed to crochet four after lunch on Boxing Day, in between drinking white wine, eating chocolate fondue and catching up with my cousins!
(See, easy.)
For those of you who might be interested for next Christmas, I bought the patterns, called the Miniature Snowflake Set, from Crochet Memories.

I also crocheted a snowflake dishcloth as part of a Ravelry swap:

This was also a quick, easy pattern.
The recipient, my partner mooska, said lots of lovely things about the package I sent her. Thank you!

As part of the swap, I received a gorgeous collection of goodies from the talented Joeyn. She sent me a festive, knitted Santa dishcloth, some fragrant, hand~made soap (which smells like it’s been scented with cloves…mmmmmmm…), a super~cute pudding tree ornament, some delicious home~made Christmas cake and stitch markers which she made herself (with her daughter’s assistance) out of beautiful glass beads.

Here’s a close~up of the pudding and the stitch~markers. Aren’t they pretty?

I love participating in swaps! I've received some delightful work in them, felt that my handiwork has been truly appreciated and I've made some great, creative friends.

Since Christmas, and its flurry of activity, I've given myself permission to go easy.

I've been reading, reading, reading... I'm currently enjoying Alain de Botton's excellent Status Anxiety, Pema Chodron's The Places That Scare You and Emily Rodda's Deltora Quest. Drusilla Modjeska's The Orchard, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life Of Bees are waiting, stacked invitingly, on my bedside table.

I've been spending early mornings in my garden. The gardenias and honeysuckle are in blossom right now. I have little nosegays of them, along with daisies and the last of the nasturtiums, throughout my home. I adore their scent.

After months of neglect, I've picked up my Easy Daisy blanket again:

and I've been napping a lot with the cat:

who's loved the company.

I hope you all have a wonderful, restful New Year
as my mother would say,
a guid new year to ane an' a'
an' mony may ye see!


Tuesday, 9 December 2008


If you've been a regular visitor to my blog
you'll have noticed that I haven't posted for a long time
and you'll also probably know that my workload is sometimes really heavy. Last year, around this time, I tried to be superwoman and do lots of things (like blogging and getting involved in swaps and, you know, having a life)
as well as attend to work commitments
...and I ended up with a whopping migraine followed by a heavy cold.
This year I made a decision to focus on work until all my marking was over and, I'm glad to tell you,
I'm feeling really well and I only have one more report to write until I'm finished!

Life hasn't revolved completely around paperwork...I couldn't resist doing a little bit of crafting and nearly managed to finish my Spring Ripple Scarf:

The pattern,
which was easily memorised,
and the lovely colours,
which reminded me of twilight,
made this the perfect, soothing piece to crochet whilst I was marking.

...and I was given the opportunity to sing with the Collegium Symphonic Chorus
in a People's Messiah
which I just couldn't pass up.
I've loved the Messiah ever since my dad first took me, when I was ten,
I've wanted to perform in it for years
and it was magical,
just as beautiful as I'd imagined it to be.
I had to fight hard not to cry in parts because the music was sooooooo exultant.

Last weekend was my first completely paperwork~free break for ages.
Just spending time in my garden felt luxurious.
It's becoming quite overgrown out there,
a tangle of honeysuckle, passionflower and couch grass,
but I found out that a shy little dart butterfly has taken up temporary residence:

that the snails are feeling very confident:

and that there are flowers blooming, unexpectedly, in forgotten corners:

This little blue~blossomed plant is originally from my nanna's garden. I don't know how it got into mine (Nanna passed away twenty years ago) but it's a sweet reminder of her.

The upside of being stuck away for weekends on end is that, when you finally resume your social life, ordinary events become really exciting. On Friday night I went to Bazaar at Fremantle Art Centre. Sitting in the Art Centre's grounds, drinking wine and people watching with my dear friend R was a joy. Getting to do some shopping amongst all the hand~made goodness was pretty darn thrilling too. I bought beads, which you can see in the bottom right hand corner of the following photo:

They're destined to become part of another chunky, red~orange necklace.
I also purchased these wonderful polymer clay, drop earrings from oddgirlout:

I adore them! (and if you click onto the link you can see what they look like on.)

On Saturday I went out to a friend's fabulous exhibition at Accent Gallery in Dalkeith (where my new earrings were much admired) and on Sunday I did nothing but nap, read and crochet:

I felt positively decadent.
(The pattern, by the way, is from the Big Book Of Dishcloths.)

So I'm back.
I hope you're enjoying the beginnings of the festive season too.
I'm looking forward to spending some time in Blogland, catching up.
I've missed you all!
Have a wonderful week.