26 February 2015

T-Shirt Yarn

Is fun.  It's been around for a little while, but I'd never used the bought stuff.  Ever.  Confession: I'm a little bit of a yarn snob.

Prepare for boring information:  I prefer to buy and use 100% cotton or 'mostly-percent' natural materials like wool and linen etc.  Every t-shirt yarn I found was either 100% polyester or 100% un-determined fibers.  Yes, some yarn I find actually says that, they don't know what it's made of... so, I stay well clear of that.

It turns out that this particular t-shirt yarn was 80% cotton and 20% polyester so I bought some, with a coupon of course, I didn't pay full price - who does that?  I ended up with a big square - destined to be a cushion cover.

Then I bought another giant ball of t-shirt yarn... it was the same brand, the same Lot Number.  But it was different.  It was a slightly different white, ok, I can deal with that.  But it was thicker, about twice as thick and it looked way out of place and when I made another crochet square to match the first one, it just didn't work.

I decided to buy some knitting needles.  Circular knitting needles.  I needed a challenge.

Now for some, these aren't really a challenge.  I was taught how to knit by sticking one long knitting needle under my arm and using that to hold it while I yarned-around the needle.  SO, yes, this was a challenge because I was forced to knit properly.

It didn't take long to figure out after a couple of handy you-tube tutorials.  I found my own rhythm quickly and on the second day of owning circular knitting needles I finished the other side of my cushion cover.

Look at that texture!  I like it so much that I don't lean on the cushion, I just stroke it.  I love the way this knitting (knit one side, purl the other) is smooth.  I kept it garter-stitch at the edges to stop it curling.

Then I made a 2-inch button using some pretty yellow Skulpey (the same stuff I used to make crochet hook handles in the first picture).  I've joined the two sides together and now, I only have to sew in the ends and the button before I can show you a finished photo.

Until next time!


24 February 2015

When projects come to an end...

Sometimes it's a huge sigh of relief.  I started my raggy crochet rug two and half years ago.

It is now finished and looking awesome in it's new home as a bath mat.  It's thick enough to save my aching knees when I give our son a bath, it dries my feet when I get out of the shower, it's strong.  It can handle the washing machine and the dryer.  I think I like it so much more just because I made it myself.

Gotta love those DIYs that work out, even if they take 2.5 years to finish.


01 February 2015

Alphabet Lettering

After Christmas I bought myself a new pretty moleskine journal... and it just so happened to be at a time when I had the alphabet on my mind.

I've had ideas of painting an alphabet chart, with pretty colors and designs, for my son's bedroom, and when I got this new journal, that's what I planned on doing.  At least one letter a day... which would only take 26 days (easy, right).

I got this far...

Then I counted the pages in my new journal and realized that doing this project would take up nearly half of it and I was beginning to get bored with the lettering already.  Waaa!

So, for now, I have A, B, C, D, E and F, and not a lot of intention to finish the alphabet (in this style) in the near future.

Have you ever started a project, full of good intentions, only to get tragically bored with it and lose interest?

I have, however, begun to pick up old projects (crochet baby blanket, now finished, yay! And crochet rag rug, currently working on) to get them finished or, at least, closer to getting finished.


27 January 2015

In my daydreams

Err' day I'm dreaming of a house like my Dream Home and Homeware Pinterest board.  I've even drawn pictures of what I want my kitchen bench to look like [Insert a wistful glance into the distance dreaming of a polished concrete counter-top and a big wooden butchers block].

One day, Holly, one day.

It's been on my brain for a long time; I want beautiful linen (actual linen or cotton/linen blends, no plastic) for our beds in simple colors (grey) that I can decorate with crochet (think a king-size comforter with a giant crochet motif like the back of my hoodie) and colorful art and furniture around the house.  Happy.

Something like this slate grey linen bedding set from Parachute Home Bedding.  Oh me, oh my.  Now that's cool and a little bit fancy, don't you think?  They have a cool story about how they were founded and what they do to give back, too.  Now, I'm down for comfort and quality and good looks and awesomeness, who isn't?

The awesome thing about linen is that it gets softer the more you use it.  It's a natural product, made from flax.

Right now we have two sets of sheets for each of the beds in our house.  One set is cotton, one set is polyester.  It's a hot climate here and the polyester makes me sweat, it's gross to sleep on and everything here gives you a static shock.  I love cotton, I love linen especially.  I want my sheets to be made well and they have to last.  I'm prepared to pay more-than-cheapest prices for quality.  It's going to happen.

Do you remember the baby blanket I crocheted for my friend's baby?  100% linen.  I've got a bit of that linen left and I'm very keen to get crocheting another blankie for myself.  Yes, one can never have enough blankies, especially blankies made of lovely linen.

Oh, linen.  I want to curl up in that bed right now and go to sleep.


18 January 2015


Looking back over the last couple of months, I realize it's been a little lot quiet here.  There has been a lot going on and not much at the same time.  You know how life gets?

I've been baking a lot more than usual.  If you've been following me on instagram you might recognize some of the photos ahead.

I brought with us, from New Zealand, an Edmonds Cookbook.  It's almost a staple in every New Zealand kitchen (am I right NZers?).  Tonight I made some Afghan biscuits, but they were a bit of a fail.  They're ok.  Just not awesome.

Edmond's version of shrewsburys.

These turned out awesome.  Yummy, almost like shortbread, with a hint of lemon zest, two sides with raspberry jam squished together.  YUM.


I found this relatively simple French Bread recipe through Pinterest.  The above picture is actually of my second attempt.  Again, the first attempt was amazing!  These ones, I kind of forgot to knead them a lot, and I wrecked the yeast a bit at the beginning, and I put them in bread tins instead of just on the tray... but they still managed to turn out ok.  I freeze one loaf and keep the other one in the fridge.  It's perfect for toast and grilled cheese sandwiches.  YUM.  Definitely keeping this recipe handy in my recipe book.

As well as baking goodies (I've made a yum banana loaf and several batches of cookies), I've been getting into some fitness.  We have a free gym (and pool) available here, it's 'free' as in we probably pay for it in rent, but at no extra cost, we can use it as much as we want.

My husband and I have been going to the gym, usually he goes one day and I'll go the next.  Or we'll both go in one day at different times.

It has been amazing.  I've worked my way up to running, from being very unfit, and I'm finding that I love running (on a treadmill in an air-conditioned room).  It's a great way for me to zone out, focus, have some 'me-time' and feel great.

I had to get over my panic when there were other people in the small room though.  I get all, 'omg I hope they don't think I'm running out of time (or in time) with the music, maybe I'm running too slow, is my heart rate too high, I know they noticed me look down at the screen, I hope they don't notice that my face is bright red, I'm the only one here sweating with a red face, must look like I'm in my own world, zone out, oops, stay straight on the treadmill, don't fall off the treadmill.'  Haha.

I have been doing some crochet.

This blue-with-brown-fleck is an almost-finished blanket.  Remember this post?  Yeah, it's been on the go for a little while.  A project I brought to the States with me.  I just love this wool.

I found a penpal.  I put stamps on the shopping list and my husband said to me, "Haven't you heard of email?"  Ha.  Ha.  Writing letters is much more fun and I like to draw and write and make things pretty.

Playing with some pencils after listening to a song that I will always love.

And, with the help of packing-paper, a cheerios box, a toothpaste box and some string, I made a cute journal/scrapbook for myself.

Keeping myself busy with painting, drawing, making, doing.

Hoping to get an online shop up and running soon with prints of my art for sale... watch this space.


04 January 2015

October, November and December's Journal 2014

Oops!  It's in Psalm 37:4, not Isaiah.  Eek.

The second image, Isaiah 46:4, is my most favourite piece of art work at the moment.  Do you have a favorite bible verse?

Have a lovely week!


09 December 2014

One Week-aversary in AZ

Ok, so it's been more than a week.  But only just, really, if you're only counting 'working days'.

The first Monday, home alone, with the kiddo while my husband went to work was, in a word: frightening.

Our boy is the kind that can't be left indoors for too long or else he'll turn into a gremlin.  We currently don't have a car.  Roy has one for work, but that's strictly for work only.  It wouldn't matter if we did have a car through, because I don't know my way around enough (at all) to know where to go anyway.

So why not go to a playground?  My head has been full of this:  Arizona = scorpions, snakes, bugs, spiders that bite or sting or are poisonous and things that freaking hurt when they sting.  One does not simply 'go' to a playground (in my head, over and over).

With my head full of the above, my head has also been full of:  panic, can not walk off the sidewalk, do not walk on grass or woodchip, don't sit on seats anywhere, don't look anywhere but the sidewalk in case of stepping on any of the above listed scary things.

So, frightened as I was, I ventured out with my 3 and a half year old.  We went as far as the playground (about 50 metres/54 yards).  I kept looking at the steps and railings on the playground for any signs of spiders.  The gardens are pretty bare so I didn't think there would be any snakes.  I didn't even sit on the seating at the playground.  Too scared.

It turns out that I had a severe case of hypochondriac-ness.  If you're from Arizona, you're probably laughing at me right now.

Honestly though, in New Zealand we are so lucky to not have any snakes, scorpions or anything that's really too scary.  There are spiders, but they are nothing (I hear) to what Australia has, or the US for that matter.

That night I had a mini freak out and talked to my husband about it.  I came to the conclusion that because I didn't know anything about my surroundings I felt so scared and isolated.  So, the next day, I put our son in the little stroller and wandered a little further.

Needless to say, the next day after that we went even further and found the most amazing book store, clothes shops, a vans shoes shop (dig vans) and a mini outside playground in a mall.  One that I could frequent as a potential place to meet other Mums Moms - or so I thought at the time, until my darling 3 and a half year old found the power outlets and cables around the edges of it more interesting than the actual playground.  Yes they were covered, the cap on the end of the hose was also in a covered drain.  But my boy, you see, is very fast and knows that if there is a plastic cover, then there's probably something really interesting underneath it.  Oh my.

We left quickly after that and found a pet store.  Lots of cute puppies to look at and there was even one white boxer puppy out that we could play with.

I can proudly say that I am now at least a little confident in my surroundings here in Gilbert, AZ.  I am just on the look-out now for some friends (Nigel - no-mates).  I'm thinking I could start up a coffee meet-up at the mall and see if that might gather some Moms to come and hang out.

We went to church last Sunday, but that was when we still had a rental car.  I didn't manage to talk to anyone.  It was big (and awesome) and we got a little lost amongst everyone.  But, now that we don't have a car, church is out of the question.  It would take about 2.5 hours to walk there versus a 15-20 minute drive.

Not having a car is limiting, but not having a car also means that I'm going to get to know this neighborhood really well and I might just get a little bit of fitness into my system.  Now, I can't complain about that.

While my husband was at work last week, our boy and I managed to go to a couple of playgrounds (many times), we've had a swim in the pool, and dipped in the hot tub (we had the whole pool to ourselves), I've been to the local craft store, I've made my first purchases with American money, we've learned that our boy does not like automatic flushing toilets (too loud), and that you always always need to have your sunglasses and/or your sun hat.

You'll be proud of me:  I can now sit on a playground bench without too much fear of being eaten alive by a spider.  Because it could potentially happen, right?