The Governer General and his gardens

We took a family weekend road trip to Canberra a few weeks ago. We broke up the not-so-far trip in Goulburn, having breakfast at The Roses Cafe [an old TAFE], a wander through the markets and Mstr M having a go at table tennis.

A rough itinerary in mind, we stopped at the information centre for maps and ideas. The lovely gentleman said, you are lucky to be here this weekend – as the Government House is open today and you might just see the GG strolling through the gardens.

We had the Floriade and Cockington Green on the list for the weekend but we soon set out to visit the Australian Mint where Mstr M made his own coin and Government House too.

This is part one of a three part series of the flowers we saw in Canberra that weekend. Government House, commonly referred to as Yarralumla, is the official residence of the Governor-General of Australia. It is located in the suburb of Yarralumla, in the City of Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory. The house opened in 1891 and opened to the public the day we were visiting. The house is set amid 54 hectares of parkland – and this is where this blog post journey begins……

Colourful and cheery garden beds welcome you

Although there are 6 gardens to wander through we marvelled through The Hasluck Rhododendron Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and through Lady Gowrie’s garden

 

 

 

These beauties were near the house it self

 

 

oh to go back in time and attend a formal function

We also made a trip to Parliament House and Floriade that day. Stay tuned for part 2 where I share the gems we saw at Floriade.

AmiguruMAY

What is AmiguruMAY I hear you ask? The lovely Ilaria from Airali invited fellow crafters to participate throughout May via her daily prompts to follow and share.  It was chance to celebrate all the things #amigurumi, hang out with other makers and designers from all around the globe and grow our creative community!

The prompts were:

Here are my posts that I shared over in Instagram land

Day 1

I plan on taking part in this monthly challenge. All things amigurumi! Hosted by the super talented @airali_gray follow #amiguruMAY to see what lovely cute creatures (amongst other things) talented crocheters are making around the globe. Coincidentally my #currentwip is a cactus pincushion designed by Ilaria herself. However as I rescued this kit from an op shop it came with no pattern. I found a pattern on Pinterest but am modifying it as I go along as I have limited yarn. A challenge within a challenge.

Day 2

It’s day 2 of the #amiguruMAY challenge! Inspiration, like many I absorb so much inspiration from here, Instagram, pinterest and books/magazines. There are so many talented and generous makers that share their makes, tips and patterns.

Day 3

Day 3 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Tools. It is the obvious tool but no cute creatures can be created without crochet hooks. Mine aren’t flash but do the job. Looking closer at them I have #tulip#rose #stratford #milford brands amongst my collection.

Day 4

How do you like your eggs? Fried? Scrambled? Hard boiled? Day 4 of the #amiguruMAY – the smallest. I had a go at making something tiny. I have a plan for these eggs 🥚🍳 stay tuned. Stroll to end of the post to see what I did.

Day 5

Day 5 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Introduce yourself.
Hello🙋‍♀️, I’m Carina. I was born in Argentina 🇦🇷 but have lived in Sydney, Australia 🇦🇺 pretty much all my life. This means I can also speak Spanish and love football⚽️. I am married and have a 7 year old 🏃‍♂️. I’m left ✋handed. I love to bake🥧🍪 but don’t really cook (hubby👨‍🍳 cooks). I love to travel 🌏🛫I work part time in 💊 research. I have been crafting since I was little. Learnt to crochet at an early age but discovered amigurumi🐖 about 5 years ago. Like many others, a day without crafting doesn’t seem right. Even if it is mending✂️ my son’s school uniform as I type this. Do we share any similarities?

Day 6

Day 6 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Maker or designer? Typically I’m a maker when it comes to #amigurumi but I did design and make 🐖☝️and the eggs a couple of posts back. I see so many wonderful creations that I want to try. Although I always like to put my own spin.

Day 7

Day 7 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Fave yarn. I recently came across and discovered @kartopu at my local @spotlightstores I raved about it to my friends. It would make THE best amigurumi 🐦🐸🐢🐙🐁🌸. The colours are sublime.

Day 8

Day 8 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Animals 🐂🐎🐅🐈🐩🐕🐖🐄. I made this pair 🐘 a couple of years back for a newborn. I love this colour combination. This will be a fun day to check out this hashtag😉

Day 9

Day 9 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. How/when did you start? I guess it starts with crochet, right? And I was little when I started crocheting. Observing my bff’s mum and learning (I.e making mistakes😉) as I went along. In fact a few weeks ago I sat with my bestie’s mum and showed her how to Tunisian crochet, how cool is that! So I have loved crocheting for a long time. I then discovered making other things other than granny squares. I made these spool pincushions for some friends and have shared my pattern for these on my blog.

Day 10

Day 10 of #amiguruMAYchallenge. Your first ami. This is my first ami. Love this green amineko cat. Love his attitude. This was gifted to our niece’s daughter. If you check out #amineko you’ll see his flock.

Day 11

Day 11 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. The biggest. Tooth Bunnies 🐇 . The bunnies are a pattern by @lanukas I renamed them ‘Tooth Bunny’ as the suffolk puff tail was sewn as a pocket for kids to leave their tooth and the fairy to leave a gold coin. They are not that big but the biggest I have made. I donated these to be sold in a craft stall at a school fete.

Day 12

Day 12 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Safety eyes. This is my limited supply. I often embroider eyes. Or have have used not so safe brads. I like how the iris on the smaller ones are coloured and like the idea of potentially painting the bigger ones to suit the project they will be used on. Looking forward to seeing what other makers use.

Day 13

Day 13 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Top tip. I have seen number of different ways to create an invisible decrease but I think like this one the best. Inserting your hook in the front 2 loops and then pulling yarn through. This great photo is by JustBCrafty on Pinterest. Am sure we’ll all learn a lot today reading everyone’s top tips. 📷 JustBCrafty

Day 14

Day 14 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Fave pattern. Well, if you are like me your pinterest board will be busting with patterns you want to buy or try out. Or with ideas you want to explore. During a ‘research’ session on Pinterest I discovered this llama. Isn’t she adorable. This would have to be my current fave pattern that I would like to try. The pattern is by Nancy Anderson.
📷 @redheartyarns website

Day 15

Day 15 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Hands at work. Sorry no manicure or nice polish but a little tute on how to create a magic ring for lefties. See we lefties crochet clockwise. Any questions let me know.

[This was a quick video – click on my instagram link below to see the clip.

Day 16

Day 16 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Stash . I’m happy to say I have more than this 🌈 stash shown but not as much as some others, although am envious of some stashes out there. Showing this variegated collection I bought in Argentina🇦🇷. I bought 2 of each. They are Brazilian 🇧🇷 and called Camila (my nona’s name 😍). I made the #amineko cat out of this green one.

Day 17

Day 17 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Texture. I finished my little #WIP the cactus🌵 pin cushion. So to add texture and thorns I tied some green yard randomly over the cactus. Thanks @deeacraftyboutique and for also suggesting a little saucer under the pot.
.

Day 18

Day 18 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. The cutest. This has to be my cutest make. Pattern by @airali_gray I made this for the newborn of an Aussie friend who is living in Germany. It was so much fun to make and dress.

Day 19

Day 19 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Creative goals🎯. My long term goal is to continue to learn. Discover new stitches. Whether they be crochet or embroidery stitches. Rediscover crafts. Learn new techniques. My short term goal would be to have a project published in my favourite magazine @homespunmagazine

Day 20

Miniature Monday and day 20 of the #amiguruMAYchallenge. Fave book. I don’t have a favourite amigurumi book. So I asked Ms Celeste. She too said she didn’t have a favourite but was happy to share her collection with me. I’m secretly eyeing the Tunisian Amigurumi book 🙊. Sharing another of my interests, miniatures. I love making mini items, even mini amigurumi books📖. Ms Celeste was crafted by the talented @bettis_stitches go see her furry creations🐕🐀

Day 21

 

Day 21 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Mark your rounds. I always use those 💚 green and 💛 yellow plastic stitch markers when working on the round and also in other crochet projects to secure the current stitch. But when I researched markers I found some pretty ideas on Pinterest. I used eye pins and seed beads and created these red ❤ stitch markers. They also double up ear piercings for my cow 🐄. I designed this cow but it’s a bit wonky. It then occurred to me eye and hook closures would make handy stitch markers too. The markers I saw on Pinterest were posted by Claudia Lowman on her blog ‘delights gem’ – by ‘floriental’.

Day 22

Day 22 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Photography. This is a cheeky post. Sharing a ‘photo’ of my recent rescues from the op shop. And this time with patterns🤗. I shouldn’t start them just yet with other WIPs lingering…… said no crocheter ever 🙊 I take all my photos with my @samsungau note 9📱 and love the quality of the photos. I use brightness and contrast features to enhance if necessary and I use @canva to add pretty text. And am pretty organised once I transfer my photos to my computer💻. Sorting and filing into folders 🗂

Day 23

Day 23 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Dreaming of….. holidays🏖, flying✈, Italy👢🇮🇹, Florence. I spotted this super cute window dressing 🐈☕in a tiny shop in Florence during our European trip in 2016.

Day 24

Day 24 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Ami friends. I have a number of instagram friends who crochet and who have crocheted amigurumi but I am happy to say I met a new friend through this challenge who creates some wonderful creatures. Andreea reached out to me offering to share a pattern. I’m enjoying seeing her journey through the challenge and beyond. Go see her feed, she is very talented and sweet.

Day 25

Day 25 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Stuffing. When I made these coat hangers there was no stuffing. I covered the wire and sewed it closed. Sometimes minis don’t require stuffing. But will be interested in reading the tips others post. Made with @dmc_embroideryperle cotton

Day 26

Day 26 of the #amiguruMAY challenges. Sewing pieces together. My little monster is ready to endure a little surgery and come together. Pattern by Erinna Lee for Simply Crochet magazine.

Day 27

Day 27 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. For… . I made these apples🍎🍏 for charity last year. Donated then for a school fete. I suggested they could be used as pincushions or end-of-year teacher gifts. Apparently they were popular and sold fast but had a cheap price tag 🏷I believe. They were fun and quick to make. I also made the stalks using wet felting technique. Pattern from Pinterest – 5 little monsters website.

Day 28

Day 28 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Fave stitch. I don’t have a favourite stitch for amigurumi, or rather haven’t used anything other than single crochet/double crochet (depending on which pattern or which part of the world you are in). But I did go in search on Pinterest. And found this loop stitch. I thought it would be great for a shaggy dog. When I tried the stitch with my left over cactus supplies I created this. I thought this would make a great scary monster😈👹 eye👁. Do you agree?

Day 29

Day 29 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Proud moment. Craft related but not amigurumi related. In addition to having many of my creations published in @handmademagaus my proudest crafty moment was winning the @brotheraustralia competition with this submission. A banner with my favourite quote embroidered and a little shelf of miniatures. The prize, a craft room make over, sewing machine and scanncut machine. Love my craft room.

Day 30

Day 30 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Not only amigurumi. As my Instagram name suggests I love to dabble in many crafts. One of them being miniatures. Miniatures is challenging, eye straining 🤪 but almost all makes are irresistibly cute 🐇. My dad made a ‘room box/store’ for me and slowly I have been filling it over the years. It is now a mini haberdashery✂️ store. This is one of the items I made from scratch. The ‘wine rack’ style shelf was filled with the finest 😉 yarns. This project reflects why I enjoy making miniatures. It’s a combination of many skills and crafts. Using maths, design and painting I made the balsa wood shelf. Using covered quilled coils I created the yarn.

Day 31

Day 31 of the #amiguruMAY challenge. Shelfie. It makes me happy I can’t take a shelfie of all my creations as most have been gifted, donated or sold. These owls 🦉 were photographed before being sold. Thank you @airali_gray for organising a fun challenge. Has been lovely meeting other artists, learning and absorbing inspiration.

You think you know someone until you make them this birthday card and they tell you, I don’t like eggs 🥚🍳 🤣 remember these mini tiny amigurumi eggs I made part if the #amiguruMAY challenge, I used them to make this card. Regardless, it was well received and appreciated.

to feel, feeling, felt

Many, many years ago I bought 3 bags of wool felt from Spotlight . I am not sure if they still stock them. Purple, orange and green. As you can tell they are rough pieces in many shades. I did not take a photo of the purple bag but here is the orange one.

So I set about first separating them into 3 shades, light, medium and dark. Then I proceeded to split the fibres to make them soft and easier to work with. This took a very long time. But worth it.

Then carefully guesstimating the amount I needed, I created balls of felt ready for wet felting.

So with a bit of hot water and soap and initially carefully creating felt balls between the palms of your hands, balls start to form. As they take on shape you can add more hot water and more soap if needed and applying more pressure with your hands to form the balls. They are left to dry overnight.

Once all the hard work is done you can create – the ideas are endless, here are a few that I created. The felt balls are easily cut with a kitchen knife to create 2 halves.

earrings – with a few seed beads and embroidery

necklace – with a few seeds, sequins and stitching

a trivet – joined and sewn together, I used a curved sewing needle

a greeting card – on tulle, perle cotton, seed beads and sequins

I trialed this process last year and created some green earrings for my bestie.

What would you create with felt balls?

Non-stop Workout Ninja Warrior party

We, as a family enjoyed watching Australian Ninja Warrior last year. Cheering on from our lounge room and with many sympathetic aws’s and oh no when contestants missed the mark!

In celebrating children’s birthday one tends to be inspired by current trends, current superheroes or current likes. Perfect! A ninja warrior themed party for master 7. Here’s a little overview of our efforts last December.

First, a bit of Pinterest inspiration for invitations and cakes. A free editable template was found. Edits made. Printing at Officeworks. Invitations on the their way.

My husband detests lolly bags [read the irony in the subsequent paragraph] so we brain stormed what could take place of the lolly bags. Water bottles! With our active, and energetic party theme, we thought these would encourage kids to drink healthy and be active.

Personalised thank you tags attached!

During a clean up I found some car-related party-favour medals. So printing off a few more thank you notes I converted them into Ninja Warrior thank you party-favour medals.

Master 7’s grandfather offered to make the piñata. He replicated the image from the invites to a T. And yes it was filled with lollies. And yes they all took home brown paper bags with the lollies they retrieved. What’s a party without a bit of sugar!

We settled on the menu.

We hired the obstacle course.

I created a commando obstacle course.

Now for the cake. After several Pinterest research sessions for inspiration I came up with my own design. It was to incorporate some of the obstacles. It meant I needed to use other materials other than royal icing and jelly. Namely, balsa wood, wire, paint, washi tape and plastic containers. I even used quilling techniques to create the rungs on the ring toss obstacle. I made the frame and used trimmed plastic containers for the pools. The cake consisted of a chocolate layer and upper vanilla layer. I had to be careful when engineering the holes to insert the swimming pools.

The party was a success. Happy and tired kids. And well fed parents. Till the next one!

 

Cliche but true – Cute as a button

Do you share my weaknesses? ‘Researching’ Pinterest/social media and adding to the many pins ‘you plan to try one day’? Or wanting to rescue ‘unwanted’ sewing notions from op shops. After seeing an idea on social media I traced it back to the artist, aren’t these trees gorgeous? I knew I wanted try these eventually.

And after a trip to the local op-shop, I encountered 6 bags of buttons. I couldn’t rescue all 6 so I choose 2. Yield, $2. Amongst the buttons was sewing threads, snaps and belt buckles.

After sorting, discarding and cutting threads off buttons, I soaked the buttons in Napisan [stain remover and whitening powder], scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and soaked them once more. What a difference that made!

Yield, 560 grams of reclaimed buttons. Left out to dry.

Then came the sorting, into colours. This rainbow with my favourites.

Pinks. Doesn’t the bottom right look like a ‘Mentos’?

Blacks.

Reds.

Golds.

Whites. Off whites.

My absolute favourite.

And then grouping them by size to see if I could make trees/tree shapes. I did add a few from my previous stash but not many and came up with a rainbow of trees. Although it seems white, creams, blacks, browns and oranges are more common. In matching perle cotton I joined the buttons to create the tree decorations. Some had bases. Some were skinny. Some were the perfect tree shape. Yield, 25 trees. I love each one – as they all different and quirky. Each one deserved it’s own close up shot.

The rose star!

The ‘star’ looks like a quilled button – what a treat for the papercrafter in me.

 

 

Love the vintage cracks and all.

 

 

 

I hung/stuck these on the kitchen/breakfast bar.

And added a few as gift toppers alongside my fabric stars.

The secret life of secret swaps

It is no secret that Instagram is BIG. And no secret that the communities formed are supportive and inspirational. And that ig friends become real life friends.
The ‘hashtag’ has become a uniting link. One such hashtag is #saturdaynightcraftalong. Those crafting on a Saturday night around the world post photos of their makes or WIP and add this hashtag to their photo. Crafters who join in are encouraged to follow the hashtag and support others in the community. Crafters can join any Saturday. Or every Saturday.
There are three lovely and dedicated ladies that take the lead and organise this crafty bunch around the world. Rachel @thebarefootcrafter in Australia, Lucy @charmaboutyou in the UK and Meg @myteaandbrie in the USA.
In it’s second year running we have just participated in the #sncaswap2018. 180 crafters globally participated in a secret swap. After completing a few questions and registering your interest on of the organisers sends out your swap partners details. Although the person you create for is not the person you receive from.
Each participant is encouraged to post a mosaic on Instagram. A mosaic is a collection of images and photos to assist your partner with your likes and preferences. Although everyone welcomes the idea of being surprised.
Each crafter had about 5 weeks to make a main item and add one smaller made or purchased item to the package. All packages were to be sent by the end of the first week in December in time for receipt before Christmas. Participants were also encouraged to post progress shots without revealing too much. The element of surprise was paramount. Crafters posted cryptic photos, photos of their wrapping and photos of their postal receipts.
The swap is an opportunity to use colours you normally would not. Try a new pattern. Or create something completely different.
It also a lovely way to connect with your partner and form another ig friendship.
Participants then shared what they received on instagram.

In researching for this post I reviewed all 680 posts [at the time of writing] that had the hashtag #sncaswap2018. The top 3 and the most popular were:

fabric pouch

drawstring bag

mini quilts

Followed by [in random order]:

needle-case

bunting

fobs

thread catcher

fabric bucket

roll and go

sewing organiser

scissor pouch

patchwork doll

patchwork stocking

stitchery cushion

gadget holder

wallets

project bag

scarf

sofa arm sewing caddy

wall hanging

knitted socks

pincushions

mug case

mug warmer

mug rug

cowl

cross stitch decoration

cushion

oven mitt

tea towel

Japanese knot bag

table runner

supply case

bag

fabric baskets

rope basket

wire/bead tree

hoop applique

pillow case

fabric ball

And the mini extras included:

washi tape

tape measure

knitting nancy

badges

pins

decorative pin

scissors

pincushion

lollies

chocolates

charm packs

gingerbread

ribbon

lipstick pincushion

stickers

baking cups

bookmarks

crochet star

fabric star

notepad

Christmas decorations

mug

wallet

keyring

embroidery floss

mug cosy

coasters

hoop pack

lip balm

travel sewing case

Christmas bauble

felt ginger bread decoration

I received this package from the talented and generous Natasha@sewcraftynatasha.

‘Cookies for Santa’ embroidered tea towel and oven mitt

Reindeer and sleigh cookie cutters

Miniature cupcakes, cup and teapot

a beautifully handmade card

And this is the package I sent my partner.

Tara loves amongst other things, drinking tea and reading. So I set about making a tea themed package, ‘a teapot cosy’ pouch and tea cup bookmark. It is the first time I tried the dumpling pouch pattern I found on pinterest

and I designed the teacup bookmark from inspiration of the beautiful Russian beaded brooches I have seen on Instagram.

“Mum, I can’t wait for our trip”,

said baby Joey. They were bound for Berlin, Germany. They were heading to their forever home to play with baby Ella and teach Ella of her Australian connection.

 

When I heard our friends in Germany were expecting their first baby, I could not resist making Bea and Miki, an Airali Design by Ilaria Caliri. It was a labour of love, with some tricky bits but I am happy with the duo I created. Wanting to use my stash and not knowing the gender I used a neutral palette. Browns, greens and greys. I made felt balls in place of the poms poms in the pattern [beanie and scarf].

 

With the hope to fit in with the nursery color I created a very subtle neutral tone bunting. Fabric triangles, ribbon for lettering and scalloped crochet trim.

the combined gift

Why are old things so charming?

A trip to Quongdong Cottage in Campbelltown during the school holidays opened up a world of historical houses around the area. Quondong is now the Visitor Information Centre and has information on local attractions and events. The Centre also features a heritage rose garden and a replica school room. More information about the historical site here. It is here I picked up a leaflet on, Camden Museum.

The next day, with junior and my mum in tow we set off to find the museum. We first stumbled across the Alan Baker art gallery, the historic Macaria building is stunning. There is something magical about Alan Baker’s paint crusted tool case. Add this stop when you visit Camden.

Then onto the museum through the current library. What a treat this hidden treasure is! You are welcomed with gem after gem everywhere you looked. Some items left you wandering what it was used for, others were memories of one’s childhood. The items however were labelled with detailed information. Here’s a collection of what caught my eye.

For the children

a pram

dollhouse furniture and books

scooter from yesteryear – that red tin car!

In the sewing room

 

one of my favourites – spools caddy and pin cushion

circa 1951

wooden spinning wheel – circa 1917

darning mushrooms, pin cushion, toy sewing machine

Office

 I remember some of these

typewriters, counting machines, stamp caddy, telescope

In the kitchen

milk bottles, milk cartons, tools on the far right


my mum remembers these pastel green cured meats boxes, kettles, milk urn, lanterns

In the laundry

wringing clothes by hand

irons

 

a well kept clothes wringer

I’ll let the label do the talking

Sports

lawn bowls case

Entertainment and travel

music, music, music

if those initials, stickers could talk

medical instruments far right

Medicine

prescription books

20/20 vision

If you are ever in the area I cannot recommend this wonderful museum enough. I’ll be going again – guaranteed to discover more wonderful snippets of history. There are many more historic sites in Camden, op shopping and some great cafes too.

I love a little bit of alliteration

I have a new page on my blog!

I have finally collated all my published work. Put this together reinforces that I do love a bit of alliteration, even in coming up with a name for my creations I have the need to be creative. Check it out here.

I have a soft spot for my very first published work, a English paper piecing hexagon Christmas tree – it made it on the cover.

Always smile at a [plastic] crocodile

The Queens Birthday long weekend here in Australia means I can squeeze in a blog post. Over on Instagram I promised I would share my photos of the 29th Miniature’s and Dolls’ House Fair held on 5th and 6th May at Netball Centre Olympic Park. This year we exhibited and had a stall.

So impressed with all the displays I forgot to take photos of my mini haberdashery store and of my dad’s ‘junk food’ lane.

My mum created a bag and hat shop many years ago. She subsequently created some framed pieces which would look lovely in a girls room, sewing room or craft room. We also sold room boxes which my dad made. He made the room box, floor and furniture. This is our mini stall.

I created some brooches showcasing different crafts which I sold on the day. You can see them laying flat. They all measure on average 5cm x 6cm [2.5 in x 2.5 in]. Mini knitting, crochet, macrame, quilting, weaving, cross stitch, sashiko, felt and ribbon embroidery. Here they are close up.

Here are some of the displays that caught my eye. The level of detail is what astounds any miniaturist. So zoom in or take an extra second or two admire the craftsmanship in these pieces.