Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Christmas Star Pattern Freebie!

Hello friends! I have something to share with you.

I created this pattern a few years ago, and it's super cute and super simple.

You can make them as individual stars and add a loop of chains to turn them into ornaments for your tree (they look so cute on a tree!), or even make a whole bunch of them an string them together on a chain to make a garland or starry bunting.

They work up really quickly. I prefer to use a cotton yarn for these, but I'm sure they'd look great in any type of yarn! My favourite cotton ever is the Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton, and I buy 8 ply. I see that they are currently on special; $11 for a 200g ball is an awesome bargain if you ask me! You'd be able to make hundreds of stars with that much.... and all the pretty colours...... Ok so I'm going to try my very best not to put in an order right now!

Anyway, without any further ado, here goes: My Christmas Star Pattern

And because I love you, I've even made a video tutorial of this pattern for you, in case you aren't familiar with any of the stitches :) Check it out here!

8ply cotton (or preferred yarn)
4mm hook (or larger hook for a larger star... experiment!)

Stitches (I use US terms):
ch=chain, sc=single crochet, dc=double crochet, hdc=half double crochet, slst=slip stitch

Special Stitches:
Bobble stitch - (yarn over, insert hook into ring, pull up loop)- do this twice. Then yarn over, pull through all five loops on your hook.

Begin with magic ring, chain 1.

ROUND ONE: Into the magic ring, work bobble stitch, ch2. Repeat 4 times (5 bobbles with ch2 between each), then join with slst in top of first bobble.

ROUND TWO: ch3 (acts as first dc), dc into same stitch. Ch2, work 2 more dc into same stitch. Work 2dc, ch2, 2dc into top of each remaining bobble, then join with slst into top of begch3

ROUND THREE: ch1, sc into the space between the two lots of dc that's behind your hook. Work the following around: Into ch2 space, work 1sc, 1hdc, 1dc, ch2, slst into second chain (called a picot, makes the points of the stars), 1dc, 1hdc, 1sc. Sc into the space between the next two sets of dc.
Repeat around, slst into first sc.

OPTIONAL: To make a loop for hanging, ch25, slst into the slst that ended the previous round. Finish off and weave in ends.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Christmas Crafting.

Hi again everyone! I'm not sure if anyone reads here anymore, and my blogging has become sporadic at best. Life gets crazy, huh? However, I love this little corner of the internet. It has so much of little family's history on it, and I come back here a lot to help jog my memory on things and to show the kids special moments from the past. So, even if it's not as frequent as it used to be, I'm going to keep popping back in and posting when I get the time.

Today, I wanted to share my most recent crafting adventure.

About a week ago, my mum shared an attic24 link on my facebook timeline. It was a picture of this gorgeous wreath...

Isn't it lovely? I replied to my mum that I have followed the Attic24 blog for years, and that I'm sure Lucy had made a whole bunch of wreaths for different seasons or occasions. Which of course then led to me falling down an Attic24 rabbit hole (man that girl is talented!!), and eventually landing on her Christmas wreath.

By that time I was totally itching to make one of my own. As beautiful as these wreaths are, they weren't exactly the kind of thing that I wanted to make myself though. So I did the only logical thing and headed on over to pinterest for some more inspiration.

By that evening, I had begun a little collection of christmasy crocheted creations (how's that for alliteration!) with which to embellish my wreath. (The colours came up SO WEIRD in this photo)

On the weekend I went on a wreath hunt, and found a styrofoam wreath at Spotlight for about $8.00. I had found this tutorial while browsing pinterest, and decided to use it instead of doing the stripey wreath cover from the Attic24 post. I just thought it was super cute! I chose an awesome bright pink fluffy yarn, and got to work. It really didn't take me too long. It was a little bit to get my head around at first; you have to kind of loop the yarn around with your left hand instead of picking up loops with your hook. Once I got the hang of it, it was easy peasy. I single crocheted around the whole thing, and then did a shell stitch to make the super cute scalloped border.

The lighting in these photos is completely awful, I do apologise. I was working at night, and you know, no light an all... 

I started playing with placement of my bits and pieces and quickly decided that I was going to keep to flat embellishments (ie, none of those little red balls or curls I had made, and no pompoms). 
I used the leaf pattern from here, the heart pattern from here, the mini wreath pattern from here (with little silver rings that I had stashed from my jewellery-making days), angel pattern from here (minus the tassel), and flower patterns from here and here. I only used cotton yarn, and only used what I already had at home. My husband was very proud, haha. Oh, and I also used a star pattern that I made up a few years ago, but I haven't got a link for it, I'll have to do that at some point! 

I actually ended up just pinning the pieces. I did this for a few reasons; firstly it was easier and quicker, and what's not to love about that! Also, it means that I can change them easily if I want to go for a different colour scheme or something another year. I made some simple little white single-crocheted strips to turn into curly swirls for my finishing touches. Annnnd..... voila!

I chained a loop which I pinned to the back for hanging, and today, I hung it! Yes, we have already decorated our house for christmas. Because, we are awesome like that, and we LOOOOOVE CHRISTMAS! I'll share some more photos of that sometime soon.

So here it is, my beautiful new Christmas wreath; in situ:

Go on, get crocheting! You know you want to!

Thursday, 30 July 2015

When Reuben Turned THREE!

This absolutely gorgeous boy turned three back in April! Three! Can you believe it? He is growing into such a beautiful little fella. He still owns the cheekiest smile ever, with a contagious laugh to match. He is just so much fun to be around. He has a great sense of humour and the biggest heart. He's loud and loves all the boy things. Dinosaurs, trucks, trains, planes, cars, superheroes. All the boy stuff.

So Reuben asked for a Superhero party for his birthday, and boy did Mama deliver.

I decided to make it a party where the kids could do stuff, so we turned the party into a Superhero training boot camp!

Each guest got one of these checklists, and each party game fulfilled one "competency". (***see the end of this post for a link to the prints!!***) When they had completed the whole list, they were presented with a certificate of completion. And yeah, I may have laminated stuff. I'm so a teacher.

First up they had to look the part... they came up with names, decorated capes (really simple ones I made with pieces of white cotton with a hem sewn at one end with elastic threaded through it), and had their faces painted.

They pinned the star on the SHIELD...

Single-handedly demolished "brick walls"...

Rescued a baby from a burning building... (and yeah, my husband does own a smoke machine)

Made their way through a laser maze...

And for their final challenge, they had to work together to defeat the evil villains (played by my brother and his BFF who turned up on motorbikes just at the right moment). The kids went to town on them with silly string and foam swords and karate chops.

The food was all allergy free, and I made little labels for each thing stating which superhero power it helps to build... like 'builds muscles', 'every blast', 'increases elasticity', 'boosts invisibility' and so on.

It was so much fun. The kids had a fabulous time, and I really enjoyed putting it on.

I also took allergy free cupcakes to kindy for him to share with his friends later that week...

All in all Reuben had a VERY happy birthday.

And now he's THREE!!! My beautiful big boy.

***If you're interested in the printable I made for Reuben's party VISIT THIS LINK. You will find the training checklist, the food labels, and the certificates. Enjoy!!


If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I am a notorious crafter. I'll give anything a go... I like to draw, and paint, and scrapbook, and sew, and cross stitch... But my craft of choice for the last few years though has been crocheting. I ALWAYS have a project on the go. I make hats, and little shoes, and cardigans, and blankets. I love it!

This is my most recent blanket, made from a beautiful pattern book I was given for Christmas. It was quite time intensive (took me months) and very challenging. I learned a new style of crocheting called Intarsia, where you work by the row, with multiple colours of yarn attached simultaneously. I think on my most difficult square (the spiral) I had about 8 balls of yarn attached at once. Definitely not one to do while the kids were around... I quite often landed myself in a tangle. I'm very proud of this blanket though, it feels like a huge accomplishment.  also learned how to crochet by reading charts while making this blanket, so that was pretty cool too!

I've also whipped up a few hats for the kids recently. The minion hats are proving quite popular and I have a long list of requests.

Recently, my Nana challenged me to have a go at knitting. Being that I'm mostly self-taught with crocheting, she thought I was up to learning a new skill. So, I did what any Y-gen gal wanting to learn a new craft would do, and got out my iPad. I spent a while on pinterest finding a pattern that a) didn't look too difficult, and b) were still cute. Then, I switched over to youtube, and found myself some tutorials. YouTube is seriously fantastic for things like this. It doesn't get cross at you for holding your crochet hook differently (I'm looking at you Nana!), or get frustrated when its student just doesn't *get* the whole tension thing... Plus it lets you stop and rewind as much as you want. I mostly learned to crochet via YouTube tutorials. I would simply search for the name of the stitch in the pattern I was using and voila, hundreds of wonderful tutorials would appear! And it's the same for knitting.

In one evening, YouTube had taught me to cast on, knit (actually those two skills were just a brush-up, my Nana taught me those when I was about 8, and I was amazed that it all came flooding back), purl, add stitches, drop stitches (like, intentionally) and cast off. And within a couple of evenings, I had made myself (well, Mayana actually) a knitted beanie! It's such a feeling of accomplishment to figure out how to do something like that, and to construct a piece of fabric from a single length of yarn is just so cool.. it never gets old for me!

So beanie done, I decided to move on to something a bit more involved. My next project was a little sleeveless cardigan, also for Mayana. I just love the way knitting looks.. and I'm really enjoying watching pieces of clothing evolve on my needles. With crochet, I have a pretty thorough understanding of how it all works, and can visualise how things are going to work or come together, adjust patterns to suit my imaginings, and quite easily create my own patterns by just looking at something. At this stage, knitting is more like a paint-by-numbers experience. Working row-by-row, unsure of what each stitch is going to achieve on the actual garment. The downside to this is that if I made a mistake I'm not sure how to un-make it, and I did have three very time-consuming false starts on my little cardi before I realised that I was misunderstanding some of the instructions on the pattern. But I got there eventually (thanks again internet!!) and there's no stopping me now.

Next up, something for my Quinny-bean. I decided to use up my left over bamboo/wool blend from the gorgeous Intarsia crochet blanket I made. I found a Patons pattern at Big W for a cute little vest, and adjusted it a little to make it striped. It worked out beautifully, though I've just realised I don't have any good photos of him modelling it!

Currently on my needles is a vest for Reuben. He asked for his to have buttons down the front, as he's just learned to use them and LOVES them. Luckily the pattern I bought has a button option, and it also has pockets! So a few new challenges ahead.

So look out world, Zoey has a new addiction.... who knows what will come of this! I'm pretty excited to find out!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The End of an Era

You may remember many posts from me over the years about our annual pilgrimage to the awesome Christian music festival, Easterfest. For sixteen years, Easterfest has been a highlight of the year for our family -- some years it was the only family holiday we had -- and last week, we found out that this year's festival, which we attended over my birthday weekend, will be the last ever Easterfest. You can read more about why here, but it basically boils down to the same reason so many festivals all around the world are closing down; fewer attendees, greater costs - they just become unsustainable. And it's such a crying shame!

I've been blogging about our Easterfest adventures since 2008, and you can read those posts here:
20082009201020112012. 2013 I attended but didn't blog about because I had to leave halfway through to go to my cousin's wedding in Perth, and 2014 was the slackest blogging year ever. But Easterfest has basically been an institution for our family. Mayana is six years old and this year attended her seventh festival. She was 10 weeks old at her first. Reuben was born two weeks after the 2012 festival, and was not quite one the first time he attended. And Quinten was a grand total of six weeks old at his first! I'm so glad that we got to share the festival with the kids, and that at least Mayana will remember it.

So given that 2015 is the last ever Easterfest *sob*, I thought I had better blog about it, and share some of the stack of photos we took! So here we go, a photographic wrap-up of the last *sob* ever *sob* Easterfest.

Good Friday church service

Lala and her two littlest boys

Miss Mayana with her super awesome ear-muffs

Selfie! Cool ear-muffs Reubs!

Who let these guys have the camera? More selfies!

More Reuben photography (you can tell by the way he puts his finger over the flash, lol). These our are very good friends Leigh & Lyndall. We met them about 13 years ago through Anglican Youth Ministries, and Easterfest was the one time a year we would definitely always catch up. I will miss that.

Easterfest was always awesome for making new friends too. Like Danni! We met through mutual friends, and she stayed with us for Easterfest this year. That's one way to become very good friends very quickly!

Me and my big boy.

My little sister and brother were lucky enough to be offered a performance spot at Easterfest this year. They had a set each day, and were fabulous. Their duo is called Alexie & Jordan, and you can follow them on Facebook. Do it!!

So it rained at Easterfest this year. A lot. It became a bit of a mudfest. And day two was a particularly rainy and muddy day. Pete and the kids and my mum and a few friends and me actually didn't make it to the park at all on Saturday. It was a shame to miss Switchfoot, but I couldn't bear the thought of trudging through heavy rain and mud with a pram and three kids. Mud and I aren't particularly good friends at the best of times. Plus at this point, Quinten was coming down with something and had begun to throw huge temps and get a mystery rash (which we found out the next week was a REALLY intense dose of hand foot and mouth disease), so I thought being outside in the wet may not have been the greatest idea for him. So we made the choice to hang out at the Easterfest Jazz venue on the Saturday evening instead. You know, I actually have no regrets. Aside from the fact that it was warm and carpeted and had padded seats and wood fired pizza... the music was simply amazing. We had such a fantastic night in there.

One by one the kids all dropped off to sleep, lulled by the sound of real quality jazz music.

He couldn't have done this in the mud!

Note all the gumboots! We all had a pair.. they were very necessary. I'm pretty sure Toowoomba sold out.

On Sunday the sun came out, and we ventured back to the park. It was still muddy. Oh so muddy. Have you ever tried pushing a four-wheel strider pram through ankle deep mud. Yeah. It pretty much sucks. But; worth it to get to the worship event on Sunday night! Oh, and also... Sunday was my birthday! How cool to get to celebrate my 28th birthday on the very last day of Easterfest ever.

It's blurry but I love this photo anyway. My dad and sister and I right down the front. This was during an African American gospel band called Light of Love. SO GOOD! The band that played next were called Bluetree, from Ireland, and I seriously get goosebumps just thinking about how awesome and impacting that worship was. 

Twas a bit chilly once the cloud cover blew away.... Brrr!

Down the front with Jase and Mays. Love these two.

No hands!!


It all got a bit much for Mays. That's a pretty fabulous place to take a nap.

The theme this year for Easterfest was, "Love Changes Everything".

How beautiful is it? I think definitely the prettiest festival we've had. Even with all that mud on the ground.....

I took this shot from right up the back on the hill. With our little point and shoot Samsung camera. Impressive, no?

I have to share this one, because my husband is actually crazy. It was fuh-reezing. Here he is rugged up in his woollen hat and leather jacket... and shorts. As you do.

Goodbye Easterfest. We love you and have loved you and will miss you forever.

Thanks for all the memories Easterfest... 16 years of fantastic memories.

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