09 January 2015

Non Resolutions for 2015

So you may have noticed that it's 2015 already.  And a new year means resolutions, right? Well, I'm not really one to set hard and fast resolutions but all the same there were thoughts and ideas knocking around my head, things that I hoped to get done or start in 2015.

Consequently, I grabbed my notebook and as an idea came to me I would pop it on the page and before I knew it the page was full.

OK, so what are those non resolutions:

  • spend even more time on my bicycle
  • get a job
  • work out if I can afford to study fulltime
  • spend less time down the internet rabbit hole
  • learn 100 new words
  • work out if I can afford to visit the UK again next Christmas
  • finish my foundation Uni course
  • start my degree course
  • stick to a couple of daily habits and track them
  • 10,000 steps every day in 2015
  • eat mindfully
  • keep my Instagram and Blog up to date
  • finally finish the C25K running programme
  • I can never take enough photos
  • lose enough weight that I feel good in my jeans
  • run the City 2 Surf again or do a charity run or both?
  • read more books - target 30 for the year
  • start a gratitude project with the kid
  • get more plants
  • make 2015 the year of the quilt
  • make handmade gifts for everyone - need to start planning early
  • work on my patience with the kid
Lots to think about there, some Im very excited about, some I know will be hard (i.e. getting off Facebook) but a shiny new year is always full with opportunity and this one is no different.

Happy New Year to everyone, hope yours is a wonderful one.

31 December 2014

2014: the year in review

Sometimes I get to the end of a year and think well I didn't manage to do very much. However, when I actually take a stroll through the year that was, I realise that in fact I did a lot more than I had imagined.

This year saw some big life changes for me, not all that I have gone into in this space, but in short I moved house, got retrenched after 18 years with the same company, started a part time university degree course and flew home to the UK to see my folks who I haven't seen in 3 years. Phew!

So I was actually quite surprised that I have managed to complete as many craft projects as I have...

So I wish you all a wonderful 2015 and my it be filled with joy and peace and a lot of crafting.

27 November 2014

Finished: Stella Monkey Dress

I told you that the projects were all finishing at once: voila another completed job.  I've made this dress before and the Kid loved it, and she actually asked for another one and picked this rather subtle yellow, monkey fabric for the job.

I couldn't find the pattern I used before, so I cut out another one but I must have gone a size up because this dress has turned out huge.  I have to tie the bow very high on her shoulder otherwise the kid is liable to have wardrobe malfunctions all over the show.

Pattern used was the Stella One Shoulder dress by Violette Field Threads.

26 November 2014

Finished: City Gym Shorts

Another project finished.  I am simply racing through them...or should I say they have taken me months to make but all the projects seem to be finishing at the same time.

I loved Purlbee's City Gym Shorts tutorial from the minute I saw it and was really pleased it came in adult and kid's sizes.  And you know what that means....matching shorts of course.  Though I haven't actually been game to wear them out in public yet.

I will definitely be making more of these for me and the kid - but perhaps one pair of matching shorts is enough.

25 November 2014

Sydney Rock Pool Challenge: #2 Mona Vale

The weather has been hot hot hot.  So it seemed just plain stupid not to squeeze in our next Sydney Rock Pool visit - number 2 of 29 pools has been ticked off the list.

Last week saw us visit glorious Mona Vale Beach and it definitely gets a 3 Shell rating from us girls.  Its got the lot: surf, rock pool, golden sands and even a headland to climb (did I mention I love climbing hills).

Hoping the rain holds off this week so we can get one more swim in before I head overseas.

21 November 2014

This week...I worked on my grammar

This week I started to read Eats, Shoots and Leaves.  I am now in week 4 of my second university trimester, endeavouring to complete a foundation course which will gain me access to the full degree I am longing to do.  This unit is like being back in my old school English classes but on steroids.  Its all dependent clauses, spliced commas and avoiding exclamation marks!  (Shhhh, Im loving it).   This book was optional (but recommended reading) and has just so happened to have sat on my bookshelf for the past 6 years: unread.

This week I got the urge to make another quilt.  I know, I know, I haven't finished the last one yet but remember my philosophy is that you can never have too many projects on the go at one time.  I blame this lady and her gorgeous quilts.  I discovered her blog after listening to the Elise Gets Crafty podcast (episode 35 to be precise).  I particularly loved Astrid's idea of just cutting up 4 and 5 inch squares and keeping them in bowls until you are ready to use them.  So that is what I have been doing.

This week I have been enjoying a cup of my favourite tea ever, Monk Tea from The Tea Centre. Not quite sure how I got talked into a bag of coconut tea mixed with chocolate tea; the lady said something about hot cuppa bounty bar and I was sold.  Not quite so sure now its home and have yet to try it.

This week I have just been loving that early morning sun as it makes its way across my living room.

18 November 2014

Sydney Rock Pool Challenge: # 1 North Narrabeen

I was at my friend, Gen's place recently having a lovely cuppa when I noticed this beautiful book on her coffee table.  We oohed and aahed over the gorgeous Sydney beaches.  Gen told me she had only recently bought the book and planned to swim in ALL the rock pools listed.

And so Gen and Amanda's Rock Pool Challenge was born.  There are 29 stunning pools displayed in the book; spanning from the Eastern Suburbs and up to the Northern Beaches (not sure what happened to the rock pools of the south - may be there aren't any?).

This challenge could take us years and we are certainly not in any kind of rush.  But there is also no time like the present is there?  So we set off last week for a swim at our very first pool, North Narrabeen.

I may have screamed when I got in (nippy to say the least) but then didn't want to get out.  A truly glorious way to spend a day.

Can't wait for the next one!

15 November 2014

This week......

I was browsing back through my little blog and realised I really miss taking photos and posting to this little space of mine.  So I thought I would try and change that.  It may not be the biggest blog in the universe but its my little corner and I should fill it with what I want.

SPENDING.....a lot of time on my beloved bicycle but am always aware that some roads are crazy to be on.  Saw this card in a little local shop and had to have it.

THANKING....the Kid for taking on plant watering duties, a job she loves and one I forget constantly.

MAKING...the most of the Sydney sun and getting to the beach before I jet off to hat and coat weather.

READING...This House of Grief .  Not a happy story but a compelling one.  After listing to Helen Garner in Conversations with Richard Fidler, I knew it was a book that I wanted to read.  Half way through and its so very sad.

SPOTTING...a yarn bomber in action.  Love it.

11 November 2014

Finished: Mid-December Cowl

Are you crazy Amanda or what?  Don't you know its 35 degrees out there right now.  A cowl? Seriously?

I know, I know.  But there is method in my madness I promise.  The Kid and I are off to the UK for Christmas so I thought this pattern by A Crafty House would be perfect to use up one of my yarns from The Winter Yarn Club stash I have still sitting around.

It knitted up really quick and whilst it doesn't quite look as fancy as the original, we like them just fine.  I wasn't planning on making matching cowls but the Kid saw me knitting it and demanded she had one too.  And lets be honest, it won't be long before she would rather slam her hand in a car door than be dressed the same as her mum, so Im making the most of it.

The pattern was seriously simple and dead easy (even for me) to make a smaller version of.

07 November 2014

Finished: Pencil Cases

Seriously how cute is this pattern.  I thought they would be perfect for the school fair craft stall (shame I missed it by a week, eeeek).  But WOO HOO they are done and dusted now.  And I love them.  Im going to pick one for myself and obviously the Kid wants one and the rest will go away until the next school fair approximately 359 days away.

I got this totally adorable tutorial from Gwenny Penny which is free to use as long as its for personal use and I double checked, yes it was OK for the school to sell them as a fund raiser, which was great news and much appreciated.

05 November 2014

Productivity....sort of

A while back (though for the life of me I can't remember when) I committed to finishing one craft project BEFORE starting a new one.  Well, guess what?  I am completely useless at doing that.

Seems that I quite like having a lot of projects on the go at the same time.  I may not win any awards for productivity but doing a step in this project, then a bit more of that project and then maybe some of project number three is just how I roll!

I think I find the prospect of making a complete dress or knitting a whole jumper a bit overwhelming so I like to break them down into bite size chunks and just do a little bit here and there.  Sometimes you shouldn't fight nature and just go with what works for you.

So what projects are on the go at the moment:

1.  The Stella Dress.  Making another totally cute one shoulder dresses for the Kid.  She picked her own fabric OBVIOUSLY!  Just a zip and some hemming to do.  Although I did mean to lengthen this pattern but completely forgot so I may be adding a bit of frill to ensure the Kid doesnt flash her knickers every five minutes.  (Pattern from Violette Threads)

2.  Snowflake Hoops.  Im thinking of making a batch of these instead of Christmas cards this year.  Just making one to test it out and then will take the rest of the stuff with me when I head overseas for a couple of months.  Got to have a holiday project or two, haven't you.  (Pattern from Stitched Gifts book)

3.  City Gym Shorts.  Well I just could resist making MATCHING shorts for the Kid and me when I realised this tutorial came in kids and adult sizes.  Tragic......me?  And yes we plan to wear them at the same time, bahahahaha.  This project is so very close to being finished, so you know what that means?  Yep, I can start a new project.

4.  Pencil Cases.  I found this sweet tutorial at Gwenny Penny Blog and thought it would be perfect for the school fair.  These are very, very, very close to being finished - just the linings to be sewn up.  Only problem is, the school fair was last weekend.  OOOPS, oh well better finish them and pack them away for next year's fair (me bad).

5.  Denim Embroidered Quilt.  Another project to take on holiday with me - just cutting out squares and plan to embroider them whilst sitting in front of the TV, chatting to my mum who no doubt will be knitting up a storm. Can't wait!

Oh and there is more - my coin quilt that is waiting for me to buy batting; and my hooded knitted jumper which to be honest I have got bored with so am thinking of asking my Mum to finish it (shhhhhhh I haven't told her yet - will just produce it from the suitcase TA DA).

Phew I think that is everything!