Saturday, November 13, 2010

Spinning, Charity Blankets & a Smiley Boy

Hi all this is my latest spinning, it's an English Leicester X fleece which I washed a few months ago and it's been sitting in a tub ready to prepare to spin. As you can see it has a lovely long staple and the color ranges from white to a beautiful silvery grey, very pretty.

About six months ago (or more) I volunteered to help with stitching up blankets for the bushfire victims from last years Black Saturday, who lost everything. I was given a bag of knitted squares and some yarn and it was up to me what I did with it.

Well, I've never stitched up or crocheted together knitted squares before. I'm mostly a crocheter, so this was quite a task for me. And I have to add that I didn't enjoy it very much either.

Don't get me wrong, I do loads of craftwork for charity. Not long after the bushfires I donated loads of blankets, hats, scarves, ponchos and more. It gives me a lot of pleasure to know that my craft is going to someone who needs it and will be useful to them.

The problem was, there were so many different sizes in the bag of squares, and there were even a few rectangles thrown in too. So I had two problems, how to get the knit fabric together nicely AND try and put uneven shapes together too! AND some were knit from point to point as well! Aaaarrrgh!!

A number of times I laid those squares and rectangles out on the floor and tried to put them together but they just would not work out unless I could crochet a few more rows around some of the shapes, but then I had the risk they'd come out too big!

In the end I knew my limitations, so I just put together what I could, crocheting them together in a simple single crochet in a few different colors. And then I added a couple of rows of fun fur around the edges to give the dull colors in the blankets a bit of a lift. It's most likely these two blankets will go to some kids as one is a single bed size and the other a cot size, and most kids love the feel of fun fur, so it just adds that little bit of cuddliness to the blankets.

As for the pile of leftover squares? They all went back in the bag to go back to the lady who has organised all this and they'll mostly likely be added to some other blankets.

Lesson learned: MAKE SURE when I offer to stitch together blankets ever again that insist I do CROCHET ONLY!!

Here's a couple of pics of my boy modelling his new shorts, shoes and socks, as you can see he's a very happy boy!

He ran off with one of my charity hats as he "loves the rainbow colors!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Country Cotton Shawl

Hi all, I'm rather proud of this shawl I crocheted a couple of months ago. The pattern is the Country Cotton Shawl, free on Ravelry, and I've made a few of them now. The others were in store bought yarn, this is the first in my handspun yarn.

The yarns are all my own handspun. All the different colors are different fleeces from different sheep and I did the whole processing: sorting, washing, drying, and then flick carding, myself. Then I spun it into various 2-ply yarns.

I'm pleased with the effect the colors have given as I wanted the gradual grading of colors and it's worked very successfully. I absolutely adore colored fleeces and especially those that have more than one color in the one fleece, unfortunately those ones are a bit harder to get.

It's fun to look at the colors in this shawl and remember all the different fleeces. This shawl is quite heavy and will be lovely and warm in winter.

A Busy Week

Hi all, I'm GLAD it's the weekend, there's nothing like that thank-god-there's-no-alarm feeling when you can sleep as long as the kids will let you!

While I had the blogging issues, I've been taking some photos I wanted to share. Firstly, here's a chocolate cake I made a few weeks ago then threw in the freezer. We had it last week and I had some leftover cream, (trying very hard to make sure I use up ALL those leftovers as that's where money goes down the drain) added icing and sprinkles and wahlah! Lots of lip smacking goodness at our place!

Last Saturday I went to our local stitch n bitch and not long before we left to come home it started to rain, and I MEAN RAIN!!!! It bucketed down and this is what we saw on the way home. This is a bike track not far from our house which is normally dry. The water was nearly up to the road and would have been 4 - 6 feet deep in some areas. It was flowing incredibly fast. It was a good opportunity to chat with my boys about the dangers of this sort of water if they're ever out with their friends and this sort of rain happens again.

These photos were taken on two different roads.

The other weekend my friend and I took the boys to see our horse Harley. They both enjoyed having a ride and a cuddle.

Last weekend I did a pile of baking: 2 x sour cream cakes to use up a tub of sour cream, 2 x banana and sultana cakes to use up some near black bananas and a double batch of chocolate chip cookies. This has covered lunchbox snacks and after school snacks and two more cakes left in the freezer.

I made a big batch of fried rice this week to use up some leftover sausages and what was expected to last two meals was eaten in one, that's what happens with teenage boys!!

Toby had the 'cops' come to Preschool for a visit this week and that has been the highlight of his week. All the kids were allowed free access to the inside of the police car to press all the buttons and make the light and sirens go on, what a happy bunch they were!

For me this week was a mass of appointments and I'm very glad the week is done! xxx

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I Feel Loved

Last night after school my two boys were out playing in the backyard after school, they came back inside and called out, "close your eyes mum!."

They came into the kitchen and handed me a little bunch of flowers each. These are growing over our side fence from our neighbors house. Aren't my boys sweetie's??

A New Park

Today the boys and I went to a new playground over at Rowville. We hadn't been there before so I didn't know what to expect, but had been told it was a fabulous playground and we weren't let down.

The boys didn't know where we were going except that it was somewhere free (I'm broke after buying my new little laptop) and we had a picnic packed.

As soon as we pulled up at the park their faces lit up and there was sounds of "Oh cool!! Thanks Mum!!" We unloaded my basket and the food, and then they disappeared on their scooters.

The great thing about this playground is that it has plenty for kids to climb on, swing on, slide down, climb up, whizz around on, get dizzy on, hide under, and on and on. Plus it had a concrete path that went all around the outside, plus wiggled it's way through the middle as well, so they could ride their scooters as well.

There was also a path down to some outdoor basketball courts too, so they happily rode down there as well.

We had chicken chip sandwiches, cookies and cordial for lunch and I loaded them up with sunscreen and hats as the weather became quite warm as the afternoon went on.

They disappeared for ages at a time and every now and then I'd see then run somewhere or their heads pop up so I knew all was okay. I don't think I would take Toby (4) there by himself to play, but it was perfect for the two boys together.

I happily sat and crocheted some more dishcloths for Christmas gifts and caught up on a few knitting/spinning podcasts on my ipod.

It was a lovely afternoon, and even better because it was free! I reckon we'll be using this park quite a bit on the Christmas school holidays coming up very soon.

Computer Issues... AaaaaRRGH!!

Hi all, well I've had blog issues and kid issues and other issues and thank goodness they are all over and done with and I am back! Phew!!

Firstly, my lovely laptop caught the most dreadful virus, I've never had an issue like that before and it was quite frightening when this virus was telling me I had trojans everywhere, and other things were going to take ALL my passwords through my system and go into my bank accounts and all sorts, yes I was panicking and rushed my laptop down to the computer shop.

I was without internet for a few days while my trusty computer tech sorted out what was going on. I've been going to the same guy for years, he's a friend and always done reliable work. Well, I got my laptop back, plugged her back in and BANG!!! Up came the dreaded virus again!! AAARRRGH!!

So back I went! He was shocked, and I've left her with him for a complete wipe out and re-install. He has another three computers with him at the moment with the same virus and he said it's a ripper.

The thought of being offline for another few days AND those days being the weekend, almost made me tic and shake and...... well you get the idea. I don't have much of a social life with special needs kids, so the internet is sort of a lifeline for me to online friends and the outer world. So my boys and I went out last night browsing at secondhand laptops, I was hoping to fluke a bargain, but there was nothing that grabbed my interest except one, and it had cord issues. Where the cord plugs in wasn't working too well so I quickly side-stepped that one and continued on my way. I don't need another computer with issues!!

Anyway we browsed a number of computer shops and there was nothing, until we came across a new shop that we hadn't been in before. Straight away I found a little ebook, it's a brand new netbook and I've long been thinking about getting a netbook for taking out when I take the boys to playcentres as there's usually free Wi fi.

It was right in my price range and had all the bits and pieces that I wanted, plus it's BRAND NEW!! I've NEVER had a brand new computer before, I've always gotten refurbished as I couldn't see the sense in spending hundreds more for exactly the same thing, and I've never had any issues with them.

So I bought this little ebook and late last night I got her all unpacked and connected up and then I couldn't get my internet going..... aargh!! BUT..... a quick call to my service provider and it was just a case of disconnecting the power cord to the modem for a few seconds and plugging it back in and I was online!! Woohoo!! It just needed that little bit of help to tell the modem to recognize another computer, easy peasy!!

So here I am, back online a happy chappy! xx