Saturday, 31 January 2015

Like looking for a needle in a haystack

A drawer full O' needles
Why is it, whenever I go to start a new project, I never seem to have the all the tools I require? I have a drawer full of knitting needles, and last night, when I wanted to get going on a bit of knitting, (which of course isn't on my list) I didn't have the needles I needed.

I have 4mm, 4mm double pointed, 4mm x 40cm circular, 4.5mm x 100cm circular, but not 4mm x 100cm circular, why oh Why?! Does anyone else have this problem? Or is it just me?! Looking at that drawer, I should've put something to organise my needles on the challenge list.

So due to my need for 4mm x 100cm circular needles, Sophie and I made a trip to our favourite crafty place Craftee Cottage this morning. Before we left, I checked out what I needed for something actually on My Handmade Challenge list. #9 a crochet fruit buddy.

Item #9 Crochet Fruit
As I'm only new to crochet, I don't have a lot of hooks. There are 3 hooks required for this pattern, I own 6... Not one of the hooks I own is the right size. Seriously?!

The lovely ladies at Craftee Cottage sorted me out though, and I'm technically ready to go. It'll be February tomorrow, I really do need to get making. If I could just get the children to play nicely with each other, perhaps I could get started... Or from the sounds of things, perhaps I should just wait until they're in bed...

Friday, 23 January 2015

Handmade Challenge; Australia Day Progress Report

We're getting to the pointy end of January, heading into the Australia Day long weekend here in Oz, and I'm still 1 down in My Handmade Challenge and 11 to go. A chance to get started on another item over the weekend?

Australia Day Pav (2013!) Happy Australia Day
There are still distractions though. Felix has requested a dinosaur cake for his birthday which has me madly googling and 'pinning' ideas on Pinterest.

I have sent a little love for the Send a Little Love Swap off to Melanie in the UK. I won't share what I've sent just yet, as I want Melanie to see it first!

At this stage we're still waiting to hear when Sophie will have her heart surgery, so I don't know when her big belated 1st Birthday bash will be. Complete with items #2, heart pinata and #10, love heart cookies.

How are you going with your handmade challenge? Have you finished something yet? I would love to see it, perhaps it will inspire me to stay on the straight and narrow.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Yes I can knit a toy stethoscope!

In answer to the question I asked in my last post, it turns out I can, and did knit a stethoscope. Well technically I crocheted the end piece by using my basic crochet skills learned from making my first item in the handmade challenge, the crochet cake.

The finished product complete with 'Doctor Bag'

The rest was simply knitted icord around chenille sticks. I taped the joins and the ends so no pointy bits of metal can stick out from the wool.

WIP late at night, knitting icord around chenille sticks

I then found a cardboard box, knitted an icord handle, attached it, put a cross on the front of it and a few brand new syringes inside (from one of Sophie's many hospital stays). There you have it. Hopefully it's just what Felix was after and we can all look forward to some good old fashioned doctoring from now on.

I should probably throw a few bandages in for good measure

So that's one distraction taken care of, although I feel like I could add more. What would you put in a toy doctor kit?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Crafty Little Distractions

Oh dear, it's happening already. I'm getting distracted off the main path. Yes I have one item down, but I shouldn't really be resting on my laurels. Although a rest does sound nice.

A hint for the little love swap
Instead of whipping out the patterns that are sitting in the drawer, or finding the fabric I need for one of the 11 projects left on my Handmade Challenge list. I am working on a little something for Melanie at The Patchwork Robin for my first ever swap! The send a little love swap organised by Mad About Bags.

The photograph shows a little preview, I don't want to give too much away!

My other crafty conundrum is that Felix's 4th birthday is coming up, and I would really like to make him something. I'm thinking he might like a little toy stethoscope as he is currently running around with a necklace trying to 'listen' to people's hearts.

The conundrum being, how on earth do I make one? I've found a pattern for a cute little crocheted one, which I am still not terribly good at, as well as a pattern for a sewn felt one, which likewise my skills are fairly poor. Could I possibly knit a toy stethoscope?! Hmmm...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Handmade Challenge; Item 1 Complete

Bam! One week in, and my 2015 Handmade Challenge is officially underway (please note, I've started at number 7, just to keep you on your toes) In the New year, I jumped at the chance to sit down with my Suzanne Houghton Designs make it yourself Crochet Cake Kit.

I read the instructions, I watched online videos, I read through other books, and I tried, and tried again until finally something clicked... I was crocheting and there was no stopping me!

A not quite perfect work in progress

No it doesn't look like the picture on the kit. It got wider at the bottom as I worked my way down the sides, I did the frosting wrong on the top and ended up using the top at the bottom, but hey! For my very very first ever crocheted item, I'm pretty thrilled with the results. The kids can tell it's a cake, and it's still in one piece after they've all had a play (even the baby).

My cake on the left V's the packaging on the right

In terms of the kit itself, it is lovely, however I wouldn't recommend it to beginner beginners (like me). I made quite a few mistakes and felt there wasn't enough guidance. I got most of the way through practicing the first piece, when a change of instruction made me realise I had been doing it wrong the whole time.

I would have benefited from some photos showing how each piece should have looked. Also the instruction cards weren't numbered so I managed to get myself in a bit of a pickle with that too!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am though. The New Year has hardly begun and I have already completed one item on My Handmade Challenge List, and ticked off my Handmade New Years Resolution of learning to crochet, although I still have quite a way to go before I would consider myself proficient!

1 down, 11 to go.

Now... what should I do next? Remember, you can join in any time and create your own Handmade Challenge for 2015.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Crafty Dads

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that crafting is generally left to the women, especially where kids are involved.

However, over at Big Kid Little Kid, some awesome Dad's, have taken on a craft challenge of their own for 2015.

Each week the Dads at Big Kid Little Kid will receive a surprise craft item that they have to turn into "an extra cool Dad-craft!" WARNING these Dads are nerds... They have begun with Skylanders egg heads;

Swappable and unstoppable Skylanders Dad craft

Here are a few of the things they have created thus far. You can click on the links for each item for a complete 'How To' guide!

A Jawa tea light holder (from Star Wars)

A Krang Cactus (From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

A Super Mario Piranha Plant

I'm really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Handmade Resolutions

The New Year is upon us, and I am very glad to say goodbye to 2014. It hasn't been the easiest year for us with surgeries for our little girl and hospital visits. She has one more big surgery to go, and then we can get on with 2015.

So looking forward, and past all the nastiness, I am making 5 New Year Handmade Resolutions for 2015;

1. To learn to crochet! This is a very important one as I have two crochet items on my Handmade Challenge list, and according to the rules, I must make them before the 31st December 2015.

2. To complete my Sew School Online course. I signed up for this course in 2013. Shortly thereafter, I discovered I was pregnant with our 3rd baby, and also that she had a heart condition. Sew School went by the wayside.

3. To make something for myself. Another item on The Handmade Challenge list.

4. To include a handmade item in every gift I give. Whether I have made it myself, or I have purchased it from someone else who has.

5. To encourage others to have a go at making something themselves.