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The past two years have been all about adjusting to motherhood and finding my way through it via craft. The out pouring of this came in the form of my blog Aunty Mum. Now I'm finally finding my feet, the children are growing, I'm getting some independence and my interests are morphing . . . into cooking. Join me in exploring creativity in many forms, food, fabric, frowns and laughter.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fabulous February


Wow, this month has been a month of achieving things I never thought I’d ever achieve. Four knitting needles are starting to feel like lovely companions, the grey blanket that was just a vision at the beginning of the month is complete and delivered, I’m making progress on Kayley’s Room Makeover and I’m continuing with my square a day challenge.

Tomorrow is the first day of the month and I’m off to find some more fun sock yarns for more foot warmers, and some other lovely colours for hats (winter is just around the corner so it’s almost hat season again.)

And March is the start of our Lamp Upcycle challenge and I have even managed to incorporate the square a day challenge in this . . .


By using this as inspiration for my own bedside lamp. Well, that’s the plan anyway. I hope it comes off! (Thanks to the Lovely Carolyn for finding this for me.)

Thanks for all the encouragement I’ve been receiving over the past month. It’s wonderful to see how many people are starting to follow this little mental ramble of mine. You have no idea how much seeing you all helps me to push the envelope a bit and try new things. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Completion Day


I can’t believe how happy I am with these socks, and how simple they were to make . . . let alone enjoyable. I’m definitely going to make some more so watch this space.

The completion was interrupted briefly by watching Kayley compete in and complete her first ever triathlon.  She didn’t come first, but she didn’t come last and she even managed to put on a burst of speed at the end to stop someone passing her. Well done my lovely girl!

I’ve also been playing with some square ideas fDSCF2518or Lexi’s birthday on 31 March. She’s a ‘girlie’ girl so anything sparkly and girly will be loved, but I want to make her a nice little cushion for her bed. I’ve beaded this one. I do apologise for the horrid photography but I was taking these while the homework was being finished so they’re a bit hurried.


This one I’ve done with texture . . . which is hard to see in this photograph. The third square will have the flower I made the other day and I have no idea what will make up the fourth, but I’d like to think I’ll have them done by this evening so I can work out what I’ll do for the back of the cushion. Maybe I’ll have something to share tomorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I’m such a goose sometimes

Sleep isn’t something I’ve been excelling at recently and it’s starting to take its toll. This morning the house looked like a bomb had gone off, due to some zealous children, a sprinkler and a very busy weekend. The grass was so long that the children had trouble even finding the sprinkler.

Instead of getting to work I procrastinated by phoning my Mum. Of course it wasn’t long before I had a little cry and, true to form she dashed around to lend a hand. You see, my approach to heaps of work is to hide away and pretend it doesn’t exist then feel even worse when I’m faced with it the next day. Mum’s approach is to knuckle down and get it done so that the next day you can relax.

Two hours of lawn mowing, five loads of washing (mostly towels) some hoovering and floor mopping and it was done. Instead of being able to revel in the achievement I took myself off to bed for an hour.

But, I have managed to get some crafting done.


I saw a flower like this on Pinterest the other day and had to try and make it. (There was no pattern so I just followed the overall design and made it up as I went along. Here’s how I made it:

Using double knit and a 4.5mm hook, take colour A and chain 4, join with sl st to form a ring.

Rnd 1: Chain 5 (one dc and 2 chain) into the ring, Dc, chain 3 seven times, join into 3rd of starting ch 5.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, sc into same as joining, *5 dc into next ch 2 space. sc into next dc. Repeat * around. Join with sl st into first sc. Fasten off.

Rnd 3: With colour B join around any dc from round 1. Ch 6 (1 dc and 3 chain), *front post double crochet around next dc from round 1, chain 3. Rep * Around. Join with sl st into 3rd of starting ch 6.

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc into same as joining. *7 dc into next ch 3 space. sc into next dc. Repeat * Around. Join with sl st into first sc. Fasten off.

Rnd 5: With colour C join with a sc into any first dc of a petal. *Sc into each of the next 7 dc, sc into fpdc from round 3.  Rep * around. Join with sl st into first sc. Fasten off. Tuck away any ends.


And I’ve also been making progress with the socks. So far I haven’t got to that “I really don’t want to do this any more” stage and am even planning the next pair. Hopefully, with all the big chores done I can rock on with them tomorrow and maybe even get them finished. Here’s hoping anyway.

And it’s Janae’s friends birthday in a few weeks so I’m wracking my brains about what I can create for her. I’m thinking a little pillow, a hat (winter isn’t too far away now) and maybe even a little headband or something. I’ll see how much time I’ve got.

Saturday, February 25, 2012



There are times when I feel like I don’t do enough things with my children. Sometimes I feel like our weekends have been wasted doing house work and gardens and things. So this weekend I decided we needed to go on an adventure. We went off to Te Puna Quarry Park.


I can’t believe I’ve lived in Tauranga most of my life and have never been here. So when Janae’s kindy informed us they’d won the grant for the music garden I felt it was the perfect time to go check it out.


We didn’t make it all the way to the top but the view from three quarters of the way up was amazing. It was just so hot. By the very nature of a quarry it’s sheltered and as the day wore on the heat just exploded. Next time we go we’ll start much earlier in the morning.


We stopped off at the music garden on our way up the hill. Paula (Te Puna Kindergarten’s head teacher) and her husband are doing a great job and the kids had a ball making a cacophony of sounds. Later, when we were down again and enjoying lunch in the shade we could hear others playing the instruments and the sounds echoed off the rocks. It was quite wonderful.


And on our way back down, who did we run into? Paula and her husband “planting” a new seat for parents to relax in the shade while their children play. She took some time to play some music with Janae. I can’t tell you how pleased Janae was as Paula is her absolute favourite teacher.


This is the amphitheatre and was probably my favourite spot. It was open and lush and had a lovely pond full of tadpoles and water lilies.


And the plants were awesome too. This is the flower of a Nikau palm. Bright purple and almost jewel like.

It really was a lot of fun and there is still over half the quarry we haven’t discovered yet. That’s for the next time we go.


And while the children lunched I got the first sock finished. It was quite lovely sitting in the shade listening to their chatter while I knitted.


Thank you Kayley for being my sock model. I’ve started the second but there were a few expletives I’m ashamed to say. I must have started at least five times. I can’t understand why the first sock was so simple to start and I had such problems with the second. However, the ribbing is done and we’re underway again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Piles of Pleasure


Wow, it’s been a busy day. But it’s also been quite pleasurable and quite productive. I may be in “sock” mode right now but the squares are also present in my life.

I’ll be honest, it’s a battle right now to make myself do a square each day, but it’s worth it to see the pile slowly growing. And, having another project, that is not crochet related, on the go means I’m able to stick to my no joining as I go rule.

I was concerned that only three squares from a 100gm ball of yarn would mean I’d have to use two balls of each colour for this blanket. This would break my other rule this year . . . thrifty at all times. Then I got to thinking, there are lots of babies being born right now and cot/car blankets are always popular and this will be about the perfect size once it’s joined and bordered, so there’s no need to worry.


This afternoon I took the kids to Nanny and Granddad’s for a swim. I am so loving it now all the children are water savvy, competent enough to swim without me being in the water, and are complete water babies. It means I no longer have to go in with them. I get very itchy skin from hot water (even getting in the shower at this time of the year can be a nightmare). Now I get to watch and work at the same time.


This is Kayley. She may look impressive but it was one very loud belly flop. Actually, it may have even been a face flop. It doesn’t stop her though. She’s been training for the school triathlon next week so she’s all fired up.


Rogan is the biggest fish of all I think. He spends more time under the water than on top. And he’s very much a ‘free’ swimmer, which probably makes it difficult for his swimming teacher. However, she’s such a honey that she puts up with him.


And Janae is the ‘next generation’ swimmer. Her confidence is astounding sometimes. I haven’t seen many four year olds able to dive in the way she does. And this week at lessons she was doing freestyle and adding the breathing in too. Go Janae.


But craft is never far away from my fingers and while the children have been out being educated I’ve been working on my sock. I so love self striping yarns as they make patterns I can only dream of. I have to say, I am completely in love with the process so far. I don’t know why I struggled so much trying socks last year. I’m still hoping, however, that the enthusiasm will last through sock two. Hopefully I’ll have a complete one to show you by the end of the weekend. We’ve got some fun plans, weather permitting . . . I hope your weekend is fun too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Never Do Anything by Halves


For those of you who have read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I never do anything unless I go at it 100%. And it seems that the idea of making socks is no different.

I had a lovely time at the library this morning. The knitting and crochet books are located on the bottom two shelves so I kicked off my shoes and sat on the floor taking my time to search through each title.

I’m almost embarrassed to say I came home with no less than six sock books. This concerns me that someone will go up there looking for a sock book and not find one, but I’m hoping that our hot and humid summer will put even the most enthusiastic sock knitter off looking for books for the next week or so.


And, also true to my personality, I had to come straight home and get started. I wasn’t too happy with the yarn choice while I did the cuff but now I’m on the body of the sock I’m loving it. It reminds me of boysenberry ripple ice cream.

Now, there’s just one problem with sock knitting. I almost never make the same pattern twice. I think I have a low tedium threshold and making the same thing twice seems a little pointless. However, by the very nature of socks it’s kind of necessary to make two. But I’m determined!

I am so inspired by Alice at Crochet with Raymond and her gorgeous socks. Alice loves making socks so much at this year she’s limited herself of one pair a month. Recently she confessed that often she has to push herself through the tedium of sock number two, but the glorious pair she ends up with is worth the hard work. I will remind myself of this in a few days when I get to sock two. The first sock is like the first leg of a long haul holiday. I get to LA (or somewhere in Asia depending upon the carrier) and think . . . this is so much fun. The second sock is like the feeling I get when I’m about five hours from my final destination I’m wondering why on earth I started out on the journey in the first place.

So keep your fingers crossed with me that I can get through a pair as I’d love to wrap these up with Mum’s blanket for her birthday on 25 March. That’s the plan anyway.

This is actually quite fun


Apologies for the photography but I just had to show you the first of the cabled gloves.

I have to admit I had quite a lot of fun make this and am looking forward to starting the second. And I was surprised at how straight forward it was (even with five needles on the go).

I kept a piece of paper next to me that had scratchings of how many rows I’d knitted, which row of the cable pattern I was on and a reminder of which rows I had to cable forward or back. All this marking made the knitting process fly.

I’m also a lot happier with my tension on this glove, as compared to the first pair I made. So today I’m off to the library and I’m going to hunt out sock books. I usually do my shopping day with my mum because: a) I get to drive her big fancy car; b) I get to use up her petrol; b) she treats us to coffee and a muffin; c) shopping is generally more fun with a friend. But my folks are off to Taupo for a couple of days so I get to shop alone. This means as much time as I want browsing the library isles. Bring it on!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I love this time of year


There are copious amounts of things to gather from the garden. I’m loving this big bowl of tomatoes because the possibilities of what I can do with them are endless.

Just the other day I made Annabel Langbein’s roasted tomato sauce and it made the most delicious spaghetti bolognaise that we finished it off in one meal.

I may make some relish with these instead though. Oh . . . it’s so hard to make decisions sometimes.


And a container full of beans. We’ve been very selfish with our beans this summer so I’ve given this lot to my mum. I have exchanged a fresh fish and chip dinner at their house tonight though. (I have a feeling we may have got the best of that trade.)


And I got brave last night and started another pair of fingerless gloves, to the pattern this time. Wow, five needles in one garment, now that’s what I call knitting. It’s going well so far, but I’m going to make sure that the first glove at least is made while the cherubs are away being educated as I don’t think my poor old brain would cope with all that concentration.


And the purple blanket is coming along too. I get so frustrated with my camera as these colours aren’t true to what I can see with my eye (or it could be that my eye is wonky). Hopefully, when it’s complete, I’ll have a lovely sunny day and the colours will photograph perfectly. And I’m being very stern with myself regarding the putting together of this blanket. I’m determined to wait until all the squares are complete before deciding on a joining method and placement. Let’s hope I can stick to it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Must Have Book


I mentioned a fabulous book that was loaned to me by Kate and here it is.

I don’t often buy craft books, having been stung by thinking the book I’d bought would be fabulous only to find it wasn’t quite so and it’s sat on a shelf ever since. Well, this book is one that I’m definitely going to invest in. It has every kind of border you could imagine, and some you’ve never dreamed of. With my Square-a-Day challenge turning into the Year-of-the-blanket, I think this would be a very useful tool . . . and one I’ll use throughout the years as well.


It’s got detailed instructions as well as graphs. My first crafty thing was cross stitch, way back when I was a girl, so following graphs is easier for me, but the written instructions are easy to follow too. And with very clear photographs, it’s relatively easy to pick which design you want. Well, it would be easy but I was like a baby in a candy store with way too much choice. But, I got there in the end and I’m so pleased with the outcome.

And the square challengDSCF2468e is coming along great with the next project under way. I’m working all in purple for this blanket and the squares are HUGE! 12 inch squares are fabulous because they lull you into the false sense that work is coming along quickly. However, they do take much longer to stitch and I’m only getting four squares from 100 grams.

I used this square in my Gala Blanket (not full sized though) and loved it. So I’m replicating it in a full blanket. I’m hoping this blanket will be the first thing I’ve made and sold without a commission. I just need to work out the vehicle for selling. I’ll just have to keep pondering that one.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It is with great pleasure I present . . .


Yes, after weeks of dogged concentration, determination and complete pleasure I’ve finished the Gala Blanket.

There were times when I wondered why on earth I’d undertaken this task . . . the fear that I wouldn’t be able to create 36 different squares that all looked good in the grey-scale colour scheme was probably the most daunting concern.



The other major concern was whether it would be big enough to be of any use to anyone. Laying the finished blanket out on my bed, and I feel that it’s just the right size to throw over yourself if you’re a bit chilly.



And the other concern that ran through my head with every stitch I made was, what will I do with the border. Well, Kate from Greedy for Colour came to the rescue last week. It’s an amazing book, and I’m going to order a copy next week because it’s fabulous. But it’s so fabulous I don’t want to loose it in this post, so next week I promise.



So, nearly 60 hours of crochet and the project is complete. This has to be the most rewarding thing I’ve made to date. I can’t quite work out why, but I think so much of me went into it, into creating individual squares, the research into other people’s work to gather inspiration (or see if I could figure out how they’d made something), and the love I tried to put into each square. It’s going to be difficult to let it go.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I’m such a Nana sometimes


I tend to suffer from very hot feet . . . have you ever had that burning feeling and you just can’t cool your feet down? Well, this summer has been murder.

Finally I decided that enough was enough and I got a bucket, filled it with water, placed it beneath my outdoor table and, let me tell you, it was bliss.

Tonight was even better . . . if that can be so. You see, we’ve had quite a bit of rain over the past few days (and not a moment too soon). So my bucket is filled up with glorious, soft, cool rain water. Ahhhhhhh. Now I can go to bed will cool toes and a happy heart!

Well that was easy


I cannot tell you how much fun these were to make. I know they’re very “Christmas” but with the constant thought of squares in my mind, there are only a few colours from my stash I’m willing to experiment with, so red and white were the colour of the day. You can see that one is slightly larger than the other, I’m fairly sure that’s due to differing tension; I’m also fairly sure that with more practice I might just be able to get the hang of four needles. Who knows, maybe a decent pair of socks may emerge from this endeavour.

It also felt extremely strange to be making gloves in the height of summer, but I know I’ll wear these a lot when the cold weather arrives.

I also think I’m going to whip some up in black for my brother (sans frilly bits) as he’s a street artist who spends his days drawing on the freezing streets of Wellington. I think these may be very welcome by him. I may even get brave and try the cable. If it’s in black I don’t think they’ll stand out as too girly.

So it’s shopping day and I’m off to get some more yarn to complete the Gala Blanket and maybe a couple of new ones to start the next big project, which I haven’t entirely decided upon yet. I think a palette may help with that decision. And it’s planning day for Crafty Girls 2012. Oh the pressure to come up with crafts that are fun, budget friendly and able to be completed in a couple of hours. If you’ve got any ideas please feel free to pass them along. All suggestions gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

School Days


Have you wondered why your mother used to tell you when you were young that your school days would be some of the best of your life? It’s because she was projecting and, in fact, your school days were some of the best of her life. Well, that’s the way it feels to this mother . . . especially after such a loverly day like today.

This morning I packed up my basket of goodies to show off and I went for morning tea with Kate from Greedy for Colour, and . . . such a treat . . . Dominique from 2nd Hand Maid. Now, we’ve already established over the past three years that I have a tendency to be a bit thick, but until very recently I had not made the connection between 2nd Hand Maid and Kate’s crafty bloggy friend next door. It appears they’re one in the same and it was truly a treat to spend a morning discussing all things yarny. I was sooooo tempted to ask if I could have a photograph of them both at the table hooking and/or sewing and/or knitting but I was too shy. Maybe next time.


And for those of you who have heard of my morning teas with the lovely Kate, you will know I ALWAYS come home inspired. Today is no different and once I’d got the baking for the children’s afternoon tea out of the way, I located my four double ended needles and braved knitting in a way I always find so difficult. I’m endeavouring to make some fingerless gloves . . . pattern here.

I have omitted the ribbing and the cable as I’m just not capable enough with four needles to attempt anything beyond stocking stitch at this stage. I do, however, see a lovely little lacy crochet border instead . . . hopefully.

And, with at least an hour before dinner prep begins, three children all happily fed, watered and relaxing before homework time, I’m going to settle back into trying to make some gloves. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I can do it!


I can’t believe how easy the bullion stitch is once you know how. The tutorial I linked to on Saturday is the way to go. And I think the effect is brilliant . . . although you’ll see that I get a little better at it with the second square below.


Remember the blue blanket I showed you yesterday? Well, I’ve kind of pinched the idea of the popcorn stitches in the corners and hope to create the same effect here will the bullion stitch. I’m hoping this will become a cushion for my bed, as I have three very ordinary cushions on my bed and would love something a little more . . . well . . . me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

It took some minor miracles


But all the squares for the Gala Blanket are complete. Waaaaaa Hooo!

I’m amazed that it’s virtually finished. Alas, I need some more 5 ply white to do the border but at least that’s easy fixed and I’ve come well within my deadline of 24 March. I’m so pleased with it and keep wandering by to have a quick look and try to imagine what it will look like finished, blocked and ready to go.

Now I’m turning my mind to the next large scale project. There are two options . . .


This beauty that I found on Serendipity the other day. I can’t tell you how in love with this I am. The colours are just beautiful and, I’m almost ashamed to say, I’d probably simply steal her design. Janae has asked for a blanket and I wonder if this might be just the thing for her.

Or there’s this . . .


that I found on Pinterest. I absolutely adore the simplicity of this blanket on the eye and the clever use of popcorn stitches in the corner to create two motifs from one. I'm not crazy about the blue and would have to figure out a colour I like.

And I’ve been asked by the St Vincent de Paul ladies in town if I would be kind enough to make them some booties, baby blankets and hats if they supply all the yarn. Well, what could I say? An excuse to make more goodies . . . of course I said yes.

But now my bed beckons as there’s no more to be done today. I wonder what I’ll come up with tomorrow (apart from clearing out my very messy wardrobe).

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Making up for lost time


Do you ever get almost to the end of a project and you just couldn’t bear to put it down as it just had to be done as soon as possible? I’m like this with EVERY project I’m afraid. And the Gala Blanket is no different. Having had two days where I got next to nothing achieved I decided that today would be productive: boy, oh, boy was it productive. I’ve crocheted just about everywhere except the loo (and I would have had I thought of it).

And do you want to know the really upsetting thing? I’m almost out of yarn and I only have two squares to go. I just can’t see how I’m going to stretch it out.

The children, thankfully, have been very understanding of my working frenzy today, and have spent lots of time playing nicely, swimming, sharing the computer like little cherubs. And after lunch I was serenaded by Janae. (Albeit, she had no idea she was serenading me.) So I had to sneak around to get the camera and capture her playing with the buttons and singing songs about them. She’s a little blessing sometimes.

Finally, I can, at last, see why some people thought I was simply taking photographs of squares in black and white and didn’t understand that the blanket I’m making is all in greys. It wasn’t until I put the montage together that I fully got the impact of the colour scheme. I don’t mind, I’m still loving the effect and hopefully, whoever wins the raffle at the school gala will love it too. Andrea has threatened to only sell one ticket for it . . . to herself. Now that’d be interesting as I know of about four people who want it. Hehehehe, will the handbags fly I wonder.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Have you ever . . .

. . . been to the library and brought home a huge stash of books to peruse (having primarily judged all of them by the covers) and realised, once you’ve got them home and opened one or two, that they’re totally not what you were looking for?

I’ve stumbled upon a solution to this and it’s not a solution I’d have thought would work.

I dragged Janae up the stairs and down the 746 isle to pull books off the self (some I wanted and others that just took my fancy). Then we lumbered down the stairs and off to the children's section. “Can I play Mum?” she asked. Sure. I planted myself on a sofa and started flipping through books. Of the six I had chosen, three went into the returns bin before we’d even left the library.


This was the book I went specifically for. Slippery little sucker had been filed in the wrong place so it took some finding. But with only 12 more squares to go on the Gala Blanket I’m certain I can get them out of here.


The other book I brought home was this one all about the crochet bullion stitch. I found the most amazing square motif that featured the bullion stitch and I had to give it a go. I probably tried about 20 times and got totally fed up and swore I’d never try it again. However, it’s so beautiful that I’m determined I’m going to beat it. I also found this link on Pinterest the other day that seems quite helpful in mastering it. I’ll give it a go once the rug rats have found peaceful slumber this evening.


Finally I chose this one, which isn’t exactly what I wanted, but might have some useful ideas for future blankets this year. (2011 was the year of the cushion for me and it seems that 2012 is the year of the blanket.)

Alas, I have no crochet to show you. Can you believe that I’ve spent less than half an hour with a hook in my hand over the past three days? Tuesday I said I was looking forward to Wednesday morning quietly creating. Huh! Fat chance. I’ve driven over 300 kilometres in that time, have been to countless planning meetings and even to a “high tea” this morning to celebrate a friend’s birthday. So tonight I’m determined I’m going to get the children into their pits at a decent hour and just enjoy the peace, the solitude and the creativity . . . oh and the pot of tea!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Glorious Days


A quick trip to the supermarket after kindy drop off, then home to rush through the chores, make a quick call to arrange a cup-a-tea date with two local crafty ladies next week (more about that closer to the time), make a pot of tea and then immerse myself in my Gala Blanket. Yes, that was the bliss of my day.

I am still stunned that it took two hours to tie in some tails and add this row to the blanket. I popped in at 11 to put some washing on the line, then the next time I came back indoors it was suddenly midday. It’s true when they say “time flies when you’re having fun”.


After a spot of lunch I churned out two more squares using some experimental techniques that I’m not sure if I’m in love with or not. Time will tell. But they will appear in the Gala blanket because I’m sure they’ll blend in nicely.

Now the children’s day is coming to a close as I listen to them race about outdoors on their bikes, scooters and skate boards. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if they’re rowing or just having loud fun; although with the odd word that’s filtering through I feel sure that if I don’t intervene soon there’ll be tears before bedtime.

My morning appointment has been postponed tomorrow so I’m all aglow about another morning making squares. Bring it on!