Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crochet Star Tutorial

These star frames are a twist on the Mary Go Round crochet flowers by Lola Nova.  I've been making the flower frames for a couple of years to frame Little Golden Book pictures.  I've recently come up with a version of my own just in time for Christmas, the perfect handmade ornament for the tree! Use them to frame photos of family members or treasured Christmas pictures, or just leave it empty and let it hang amongst the lights!

Here's how to make them...

You will need to raid your daughters/friends dress up box or jewelry stash for a cheap thin(but rigid) metal bracelet as shown in the picture.  You can also pick them up at $2 shops, opp(thrift) shops or chain stores like Diva.

I’ve used 8 ply wool or acrylic yarn for all of my stars, and a 4mm hook. You can experiment with finer yarn or a larger hook if you like.

Stitches used:
* Slip Stitch (sl st)
* Chain Stitch (ch)
* Single Crochet Stitch (sc)
* Double Crochet Stitch (dc)
* Picot stitch

After attaching yarn to hook with a slip knot, attach your yarn to your bracelet with a slip stitch

(I usually use finer bracelets, you know the tacky silver, gold or metallic coloured ones? This one is a touch smaller in circle size but thicker to crochet around. Just see what you can find)

Chain 1, work a SC into the bracelet. Continue to work SC’s into the bracelet all the way around so that you cover all of the metal, but not so that it is bunched up (if that makes sense). Join to the first chain with a sl st.

(If you do too many stitches around you will end up with too many star points and they won't sit nice and flat)

 You can keep count if you like and you will finish with 49 stitches (including first chain) which makes things easier later, but I never do and always manage to finish with even ‘petals/points’ by adjusting the point width which I’ll explain later.

Chain 1, work a SC into the same stitch and each following stitch all the way around and join with a sl st.

*Skip 2 stitches and work a DC into the next stitch (the third stitch from the hook). Then do two more DC into the same stitch.
Picot stitch:  From here, chain 3, sl st into the first of these 3 chain stitches. Then do 3 more DC’s into the same stitch as the first 3. Skip 2 stitches and sl st into the next stitch.*

You will end up with your first star point with your 6 DC's and a picot st in between.

(for a full tutorial on how to do a picot stitch click here)

Repeat from * to * around the bracelet and pull through to finish.

Use a needle to weave the starting end through to meet the finished end so that you can tie them together to hang on your tree or garland.

Note: You can see if you look closely that my points are slightly uneven and the last three points are slightly wider than the first four. This is because I'm lazy and don't count my stitches!! Quite often I get it right anyway but I usually count my remaining stitches when I'm close to the end and modify the last few or even just one so that I use all the stitches. I don't think it matters in the end but thats just me and my love of imperfect creations :)  To modify you either (or both) skip and extra stitch before the first three DC's or after the last three. Or you your could skip three stitches all the way around if you'd like less points in your star. 

I hope I've made some sense in my first ever tutorial! AND I hope I've encouraged you to have yourself a handmade Christmas (one handmade ornament counts!!). If you can't crochet then enjoy making these mini paper lanterns I made with my daughters.....


Sunday, November 25, 2012

A handmade Christmas

I love love love November!! The weather is warming up (yes, even in Victoria), the roses are blooming, the end-of-year Christmas parties have begun, and the end of the year is in sight!

My two favourite FAVE-ourite things about November are:

1. We start thinking about Christmas and Jesus' birth, the birth of a perfect King 2012 (approx) years ago. At our church we have a big 'Jesus birthday party' on christmas eve with a giant cake and lots of fun involved.  But in November we begin to teach the historical story of His birth both at school and in church to the kids, and at home we explore it with our own children.  If you are privileged enough to be one of these teachers or to be a parent, its in November that we start to get excited and to want to share your excitement with everyone....

2. And because of all of the above, my creative juices go bananas and I go slightly crazy with wool and paper and sticks and twine. The girls join in and we set about making our christmas a handmade one.

This November I jumped on board with Stacey from the gorgeous pilgrim styling to post a #creationaday on Instagram for the month. I knew I'd be making things almost daily anyway! Pop over to her amazing blog for some inspiration. Here are some of my makes...

My Crochet Star Frame tutorial/pattern is here.

And my 7 and 4 yr old girls have been having fun too..

I've written a full tutorial for this crochet star frame here.

I've missed a few days but not due to lack of creativity, more lack of time to finish and post a picture.  One day I made a yummy pizza, the next an advent calendar, then a giant star made from old fence pailings....

November is not over yet.... 
I hope I've inspired you even just a little :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Little Golden Books

If you liked my crochet star garland from the last post there is a great tutorial on how to make them here. (The Royal Sisters is a personal favourite crochet blog of mine.)  A big thanks to Erin from Taking time to create who kindly showed me how to link to other sites. :) I might go a bit 'link-crazy' in this post just to show off!

So why the obsession with Little Golden Books?

Ever since I can remember I've loved Eloise Wilkin's round faced illustrations in children's books, mostly in Little Golden Books.  When my mum gave me a copy of 'My Little Golden Book about God' when our little Miss 7 was born I remembered how much I love the faces of the children and the beautiful colors and themes in this book and others like it.

When miss 4 was born I needed a journal to write my letters to her the same as I'd been writing to her big sister since her birth. I used this picture from the book (yes, this was the first time I committed the crime of cutting up a valued book. eek) after I covered it with fabric and have since been writing her life down for her to give to her when she's older.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago when I found I suddenly had a little more time and energy to develop my creative side. I've always loved decorating my home with handmade paintings, fabric and ornaments and being resourceful and creative rather than buying everything new. Having two girls has brought out my girly side and has only encouraged my love of Eloise Wilkin and other delightful faces of Little Golden Book illustrators.  I particularly loved and still love 'My Teddy Bear' and I came up with the idea to use the pictures to display on the wall in the girls' play area for a vintage feel but also to preserve and accentuate these beautiful pictures. I mounted them on different sizes of MDF wood and simply blue tacked them to the wall about their vintage school desk!

That was the beginning of my/our (my vintage-loving-friend Sarah jumped on board to make creating more fun and share my passion for LGBs) process of 'rescuing' the beautiful vintage pages form tattered LGBs and preserving them on wood in the form of brooches, necklaces, wooden blocks, magnets and other fun things.

My love of Eloise Wilkin and Corrine Malvern for their ability to bring to life adorable children on the pages of books has extended to so many other LGBs both rare and common, the older the better, the more saturated the illustration the more admired. As much as possible I read them to the girls (they ARE on display all over the place at home and readily able to be grabbed in a quiet moment) and they happily read them to one another and beg me not to cut up their favourites.  I can honestly say that we only cut up double or triples or poor quality books :)

Now Sarah and I sell our wooden upcycled wares at Markets around Geelong and even Melbourne.  It helps that my husband is a Builder and hers is a Painter, so they are able to find and cut the wood for us  so we can focus on cutting, gluing, sanding, lacquering, packaging..... and crocheting (for me). Oh and oppshopping (thrifting) for vintage LGBs which Sarah has an amazing talent for!

I could post a hundred more pictures of other creations and books but I'll leave it here and have a cup of tea!

Whats your favourite Little Golden Book? 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Slow beginnings

I'm oh so slowly learning how to set up my blog, all the while wondering if I'll stick with it and actually go public. Meanwhile I can happily imagine I have an audience and pretend blog just like little miss 4 plays pretend mums and dads with her cousins, completely oblivious to the trials of parenthood. Is keeping a blog a trial at times? I imagine it must be. Putting your thoughts and musings and well, life out there for others to see and judge or even admire or relate cannot not go without its hiccups or even heartbreak. I'll keep pretending for now.

After enjoying so many beautiful blogs out there I've become both inspired and simultaneously daunted about the process of blogging. I don't think I'd ever bothered to read someone else's blog until I met some amazing like-minded friends on Instagram and became curious about them and encouraged by their faith and creativity as being a source of inspiration as they work hard as wives and mums and friends! (This is where I insert links to these blogs, if only I knew how, and I have tried!)  But instead of being daunted by these beautiful women I am going to choose to be encouraged by them and enjoy my own beginning and see where it leads.........

I think I'll do it Winnie the Pooh style:

While I do that I'll leave you with this picture of part of a crochet star garland I recently made because Christmas is fast approaching. Why this picture? Simply because I can AND because the colours match this post! :)

'Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."'     - C. S Lewis

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Its a family thing

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. ” 
 C.S. Lewis
Oh how I love my little family.  

I have the perfect job as wife and mummy. Somehow I find time to dream and create and to learn endlessly along the way.  For someone who has been through several long years of illness and hence periods without employment, I've been blessed to land THE best job around!

Theres me, my amazing, teeny tiny bit younger-than-me husband Blake (five years difference is nothing) , our firstborn Miss 7, and our little cutie Miss 4. We've been married almost ten years, have lived in Cairns together where we lived the holiday lifestyle and adopted some more grandparents for the girls, and are back, settled in Geelong, loathing the cold weather but loving the support from family and the feeling of being grounded, for now.

They still think they live in Cairns, barefoot and beautiful.  

 He and I in our favourite Victorian haunt, Daylesford.

                                  Girls being kids

                     We love to camp! And Indented Head is the perfect spot for pitching our tent, collecting shells, riding bikes, swimming in the ocean, staying dirty for a week and eating icecream.

                               He with Miss 3 (then)

                                          New Dad, almost 7 years ago x
Thats them. My favourite people on earth, my little circle of joy. Oh there is room for more though, probably no more pregnancies (after having two looong sick ones and longer recoveries) but we'd love to adopt a child or two if we can. It'd be so easy to settle and find comfort in us, with grateful hearts of course, but wouldn't it be great to share what we have with a child who otherwise wouldn't have had it......? Maybe. Only in His will.

In the meantime, I'm keeping my day job!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A new-to-me world

Well hai there fellow blogger, instagramer, crafter, vintage lover, tea drinker.....! I've been debating the pros and cons of starting a blog for a good six months now.
I'm still undecided.

Today it occurred to me that blogging about our current exciting/stressful/major renovation could be cathartic for me, and if I manage to get into the groove of this new-to-me world I may even meet some lovely folk (you) who might even help, inspire or encourage me.

This is where my mind needs to be almost daily...

...Not on backyard parties for little girls! On my home and its ever-changing shape, size and style. This picture above is pre-extension so we have lost a good deal of our lovely sun-filled yard (sob), in exchange for a (fingers crossed) sun-filled living space!

On Houses. Paint colour, flooring, garage door type, tiles, lighting...and it goes on and on.  This (above) is my friend Jo's house. I took photos of it this morning because we are trying to decide on exterior paint color.  Alg and Jo's home is 1/2 strength Hogs Bristle, freshly painted. I really like it, and may use it, but for ours I'd like to try something a little whiter first.  We tried Dulux Whisper White recently on our weatherboards and it looks too white.  So now we'll try either 1/4 Hogs Bristle or Antique White U.S.A.  If that fails we will go a light grey instead!

 Above are a few homes I've been spying on and knocking on their doors or just blatantly snapping pictures.

And behind the iceberg roses is our home thus far! The old beige colour below and the new yellow weatherboard above, all ready for a fresh white coat!

{This is where I'd rather be, at my parent's hobby farm with my 7 and 4 year olds enjoying the peace......}

I'm a creative spirit and am crazy about pretty things but I'm H.O.P.E.L.E.S.S at making decisions. I can narrow down to two, two colors, two baths, two pendants etc but then I get stuck and worry about making the wrong choice.

          Ah these tough first world dilemas! Perspective. :)