sharing the crochet

molly makes pattern basket of colour

Each time we visit the Bega Valley it feels like we are yet another step closer to our dream of moving back to the east coast.  We always spend some time checking out the realestate – driving around houses by the sea, bumping down dirt roads looking at land. Some of the houses are instantly checked off the list.  But the land – oh I can always imagine great things for the land :-)

One piece we looked at these holidays was the perfect distance from the town and hospital – many huge and beautiful gum trees, hills worthy of the Sound of Music, lush grassy fields with big boulders tumbled here and there, a sparkly dam.  By the time we’d pulled up, I’d chosen just the right spot for our straw bale house, planted the flowering plums along the drive, and built a little wooden jetty on one edge of the dam with places to sit and a row boat so that Julian can take for me for romantic little rows across the water whilst I hold a parasol :-)

Abby, however, was more fixated on one of those boulders under a distant tree.  ”It’s a dead cow,” she declared. “Rubbish!” I said, “It’s just one of those boulders.  ”Yeah, a black and white one with legs,” she replied, sharpening her focus on the binoculars.  ”It is not!” I insisted, “How could there be a dead cow!” “Well, there is,” she winced, and passed the binoculars.  She was right.  It was definitely a dead cow.  We couldn’t decide whether that was a bad sign or just one of those things.  This is the country after all.  We crossed our fingers that the nearby farmer was about to discover his dead cow and moved on to the next address.

The other lovely aspect of visiting is our growing friendships with some of the locals, especially one of Mum’s neighbouring families.  An IT dad, a craft-loving mum (Shauna), three little boys, and all great beach lovers – such fun!  And this holiday, after a lovely long rainy-day lunch with them, Shauna and I hit the local yarn store for supplies for an impromptu crochet lesson.  Even more fun!

Mum had just the right pattern – a granny square blanket in the Molly Makes Book of Crochet and we spent a lovely couple of hours mastering the crochet hook, chains, and eventually a granny square.

recording the first chain shauna

Shauna is a natural – very persistent, heaps of enthusiasm, and a keen eye!  We practiced and practiced – I would slowly do a round, pointing out each step whilst she watched – maybe do it again. Then I pulled it out, passed it over, and Shauna would try.  It worked really well and by the time she headed home, she had one complete Granny Square and another started.  We were all on a crochet high!

And she hasn’t stopped!  Each night, a new granny square pops up on the Instagram :-) and should she run into any complications, she can always pop across the road to Mum who will be able to set her back on the right path.  Even nicer, she can pop back across the road and sit on Mum’s front porch, with the beautiful Sapphire coast before them, and they can work on their projects together.  Sigh – such envy!

getting the hang of it very nice edge Just as the dead cow boulder was probably a sign that that wasn’t the perfect block of land for us – I can see signs in everything – I do declare that this lovely afternoon of sharing and making with the neighbour was DEFINITELY a sign that there are great things to look forward to we too become happy residents of the beautiful Bega Valley.  Shauna, Mum and I are especially looking forward to woodwork classes with these great women – Two Sheds Workshop :: Woodwork for Women – with a view to making our own Adirondack chairs.

Just imagine the fun we’ll have – not just meeting more great people, learning all those skills, and making our own beautiful furniture – but then all the hours we will have sitting in them with our stitching.  On a jetty, overlooking a dam, with no dead cows in sight.

hoppity-hoppity

Well!  You’ll need to settle down with a lovely cup of something to read this one!  The lovely and creative Rebecca of Needle and Spindle asked me to participate in this little bloggity hop, where we get to ramble on about the whole creative process as it fits into our lives.  It’s taken me hours to collect all these thoughts and put them down in some kind of order, but I do hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did thinking about it, and perhaps it will add a little light to the creative chaos that is so often on display here at block-a-day :-) And once you’ve ploughed your way through this, you can follow the links back to read how other lovely, like minded folk approach their craft.  It makes for inspiring reading.

What am I working on?

I always have so many different projects on the go.  I adore planning a new project, and starting it provides a thrill that literally makes me smile and jig about and even squeal a little.  But finishing – well, I can honestly say, it just doesn’t give me the same zing. Bizarre but true.  I am definitely more seduced by the crafty doing than the crafty finish. Is this a good thing or not?  At the moment I think it’s a good thing.  Starting new projects is my way of recording all the ideas that swirl around my head.  And you know, giving these started projects lots of time to marinate – moving them in and out of the doing zone – gives me a chance to refine them, improve them, adapt them to new purposes.  All good things.

purple knitting

So – what am I working on?  On the knitting front, I am currently knitting my Mum a grey and red stripey jumper (that has to be finished in time for her to take to Canada at the beginning of December), my Abby a vivid purple Lopi jumper that it is now too hot to wear (ah, there’s always next year), my Julian an argyle vest (truth be told, those needles haven’t been touched for months!), and a cinnamon coloured cardigan for myself that has a fair isle band around the chest and upper sleeves.

Patchwork – definitely the black, mustard and turquoise triangles.  Started as a simple star that has just kept on growing and growing and growing.  It really is quite addictive.  And everytime I think, that’s it! no more rounds! I find another piece of lovely fabric and quickly start cutting.  And my Spring House version of the Winter House.  And my fox faces.

mustard and black winter house

fox faces

Embroidery – Working on my Norwegian Queen.  I got heaps and heaps done last week in Merimbula and am really pleased with her progress.  I’m keen to finish this one, because then I want to make a Norwegian King!  I’ve also dragged out my Hawk Run Hollow Village cross stitch – quite the epic project.

cross stitch cross stitch box

Applique – oh the fox chair!  I am completely in love with the fox chair.  It’s been slow going but very very satisfying.

fox face

Upholstery – Putting hessian, lace and cross stitch together to recover an old English Oak card chair I found by the side of the road.

appliqued chair

Crafty – I’ve recently bought Salley Mavor’s book “Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects” and oh, it is truly enchanting :-)  I’ve just made a wee doll of Lucifer – he’s part of a Michaelmas mobile – he’s been pushed out of heaven and is suspended amongst the starts and blackberry leaves and berries.  I foresee many many more of these little folk.  They are such fun to make.

felt doll

Sewing – tshirts and skirts for summer.  My first two tshirts- great successes – shrank when I washed them.  So they’ve been handed down to Mum’s lovely neighbour and I’m now a devoted preshrinker.

skirt and tshirt

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think the thing that really defines my work is my lack of concern for perfection or the “right” way of doing things.  Soon after I became really interested in making in my mid 20s, I became obsessed with things being perfect.  Lines had to be dead straight.  Corners had to be precise.  Errors were intolerable.  Evidence that it had been MADE rather than conjured up out of the air meant I had failed.  And I didn’t think anything I made could stand up to being touched or used by anyone. It was horrible.  Stressful for everyone – I remember a friend taking me for a walk through the university garden one lunch time to show me that there were no straight lines in nature.  And my husband declared that if something I made couldn’t be USED than it simply wasn’t of any use.  After a few years of this my making ground to a halt because I knew I could not make things perfectly.  I decided that the only craft I was any good at was cross stitch – making those little crosses neatly on strictly gridded fabric met my need for order and the perfect finish.  I literally gave all my wool and knitting needles to my Nanny and declared that I would have to save my few finished quilt tops up until I could afford to pay an expert to quilt them. It was all rather crushing.

Then, after finding the bloggy world of making and being so utterly inspired by so many incredibly talented people, I began making again.  I also began blogging  and strangely enough, that encouraged me to just keep going.  There was always a new blog post to be written ;-) I began playing with many different techniques and genres and it was so fun that I slowly let go of that perfection.  I wanted to be a maker – a sewer, a knitter, a crocheter, a doll maker, a patchworker, a quilter, an appliquer … I really worked at teaching myself that the beauty of making was in the making.  I didn’t want to be a passive observer, I wanted to actively create.

quilting

So my seams are not perfectly straight and my points are sometimes missing. I cheerfully re-chop things if they don’t fit, and if I realise I’ve missed something on the pattern I can usually rejig it so it works. My quilting is higgledy-piggledy and I never bother with batting and backing (vintage blankets all the way).  I don’t care what patchwork fabrics are the latest or what colour background the cool quilters are using.  I cheerfully make my clothes out of old tablecloths and curtains.  My quilts are made from fabrics gathered here, there and everywhere.  My knitting is almost always dictated by what my local yarn store has dug up for the bargain basement this week.  My furniture is gathered from the side of the road and brought back to life with elbow grease and Danish oil.

blanket quilting

I just keep swimming the Lily way and when I’m finished, what I’ve loved making is free to be used and worn and dragged and squashed and crumpled up and that’s all good.  If the candlewax drips onto the appliqued table cloth that’s fine.  If the armhole stitches are wonky – so what, the jumper is still eminently wearable and cosy.  If the little visitor dirties the felt doll, oh well, it looks loved.  I don’t even blink when Mum’s old dog pees on my quilt or our dog wipes her chicken wing juicy chin on my crochet floor rug.

cushion in the sand

That’s not to say my work is clumsy or I am careless.  But I think handmade needs to flow in a way that fits in with everything else that is going on.  It’s not a precious art form that I set aside a few hours for each day/week or a finished item that needs to be guarded.  My work is simply part of our lives, often created amongst the dishes we’ve just eaten from on the kitchen table, and as such, never needs to be perfect or cosseted.  Just lovely. And useful is good too.

Why do I write and create the way I do?

You might have noticed,  I have no problem with writing on and on and on (I have never been able to write to a word limit – such a constant problem with my academic work :-) and whilst my punctuation is sometimes erratic, my style is rather formal. But, this being my blog, I can write however I like.  And I think it probably reflects both the constant chatter in my head, and my love of richly detailed, more old fashioned literature (oh Charles Dickens – you can take as many pages as you like to describe a house!) Honestly, I do talk to myself most of the time.  I think it comes from spending a lot of time at home alone – first as a stay at home mum, and now living in Melbourne where I have no family or friends to visit.  Instead, I potter about, doing the chores, looking after Abby and Julian, writing essays, or making – a constant stream of quiet chatter keeping me company. Describing what I see around me, what I could do next, how I could proceed with a project, what tack I’ll take on a paper, what I’ll talk about with Abby when I collect her from school, what I’ll write about on the blog, what’s infuriating me in the news, what my worries are for the future …  And so my writing reflects this same tumbling chatter.  If you were sitting here beside me, I would sound exactly the same in person as I do in writing :-)

Why do I create the way I do – hmmm … I like to do things the old fashioned way.  I don’t like our society’s emphasis on new and modern, fashionable and sophisticated, fleeting and disposable.  My grandmothers and mum taught me the basics of all my making.  Nanny Cottam taught me to knit when I was 8, crochet in my teens, and her love of patchwork inspired me when I was in my early 20s.  We went to classes together and have spent countless days side by side at her place, running up clothes, curtains, sofa covers, patchwork etc. on the machine, looking through magazines and books together, plotting our next projects and purchases … my dear old Nanny Cottam is without doubt the most important creative force in my life.  Her admonition when the going gets tricky “Now, let’s just sit down and we’ll have a quiet look at it” will guide my creativity for the rest of my days.

Nanny Dougall – who sadly died when I was just 11 – is another huge influence in my life.  She was the queen of making do, making from scratch, using what she had, and appreciating beauty.  She taught me to handsew when I was little – we made a wee doll’s quilt from little squares from her stash.  She started me on my embroidery career – first with making wonky white crosses on blue gingham, then moving on to a Holly Hobbie embroidery kit.  And whilst we cared for her during her last weeks, she taught me to make pompoms – I was so amazed with their cleverness.  My little sister and I were devastated to wake up one morning and find that she’d died overnight – she was going to teach us to crochet that day.  But whilst I never had the chance to spend the time with her that I have with Nanny Cottam, it is what she left me that helps shape my creativity.  I have her crochet books, her carefully embroidered doilies, the beautifully crocheted and knitted jumpers and cardigans she made us, the fabric scraps she gathered, the spools of crochet yarn she inherited from her mother, pieces of pretty china, her piano stool, her tin chest.  She appreciated what she had, she carefully gathered what was important to her, and she celebrated beauty.

And then there’s my Mum.  She’s an exceptional seamstress.  She sewed all our clothes when we were little and most of them when we were older.  She sewed my school uniforms, my ball gowns, my  pregnancy clothes, Abby’s bunny rugs … There has always been a sewing machine set up in the centre of the home, ready to go.  Everything we’ve ever seen and liked is matched to the refrain “We could make that”.  Mum gave me the invaluable belief that we could make whatever we needed or wanted, and we could make it beautifully.  She also let me make stupid things really badly.  When I insisted that WAS what the Vogue pattern said to do, she just shrugged her shoulders and said “alright” and I wore the jumpsuit with the lining sewed in with  the seams visible and fraying.  That was awesome parenting Mum!

So yep.  I’m wordy, old fashioned, hopelessly sentimental, determined to do it for myself, and yearn for the days of old when people DID things instead of simply shopped for things.

How does my creative process work?

Hmmm … I think my work is very much shaped by my confidence with that particular genre.  When knitting, I tend to stick very carefully to what the pattern says because at this stage in my knitting “career”, I don’t have a good understanding of how knitting patterns are created.  All those shapes and increases and decreases are all a bit of a mystery to me.  I mean, I know how to do them, but I don’t know how to put them together myself.  Thus I am very happy to bow down to the creativity and skill of those that know so much more.  However, I do spend a lot of time thinking about the magic of knitting – how did people come to think of winding yarn around sticks and pulling it in and out in different ways to create all kinds of wonderful stitches and build beautiful, warm, hardy fabric.  I love that.  It makes me feel incredibly connected to something that has intrigued, delighted and protected people for thousands of years.

sewing feet

In most of my other work, my increasing confidence with how things are put together has led me away from the patterns of others.  I like to draft my own patterns and most of my projects are inspired by what I see about me, what my family likes or is doing, and especially thinking up ways to add extra handmade decoration to our home and the festivals we celebrate.  I adore decoration – I remember seeing the film “Carrington” when I was at university in the late 1980s, watching Dora Carrington and her friends embellish everything around them, and thinking yes!  That’s exactly what I want my world/home to be like.  Colourful, rich, detailed, so very connected to the past, unique to me and my family (I have a loathing of the homeware catalogue look) and most importantly handmade.  I want my work to please me and be lovely and useful for my family but I also want it to show the world what it is we love and value.

craft table

The grill door on an Art Deco block of flats in Fitzroy becomes a simple quilt. The photo of a fox in a English rural magazine marries the lovely rounded shape of a hard rubbish chair and becomes a piece of embroidered and appliqued upholstery.  The lovely artwork of my Nanny’s Figgjo china collection inspires me to recreate it as embroidery.  I see a pretty piece of fabric in the shop and wonder what it could be, what it could go with – it can be as simple as wrapping hebel bricks to make a bookshelf or trim a skirt.  A book of antique samplers inspires the start of a huge and complex quilt with hundreds of tiny pieces and seams.  A collection of coloured china on the draining rack makes me want to sew a quilt or knit a stripey jumper capturing just that light and colour.  It comes from everywhere, my creativity

dresser

Most of all, it’s very spontaneous and cheerfully repurposes what was bought for another project because at that moment, it’s the perfectly right thing to do.

Wow!  We made it to the end!  Now.  I am supposed to be linking you to another maker however, with the end of the school term, a quick holiday in Merimbula, and Julian’s departure on a month long work trip to addle my brain, I’ve not lined anyone up.  I’m so sorry.  However, I am sending out some emails right now so I will let you know where to visit next as soon as I can :-)

While you wait – go make something – it’s just so good.

skirt trim.

 

 

all over the place

 

I’m very unsettled at the moment.  You may have noticed.

Each day, I bounce from room to room, from project to project.  I hit upon something that takes my fancy for several hours – throw myself into it – it’s delightful – I’m delighted – I’m going to do marvellous things with it.  Then, the next morning, I’m back to bouncing.

Feverishly filling in a giant crossword book I found.  Spending waaaaaaay to long playing mahjong on the computer.

The one upside to this state, is that slowly, bit by bit, each room is getting a good shaking out and organising.  This only seems to happen by creating an unholy mess first.  And sometimes, the crosswords overtake me and the mess lurks about for a few days.

little boy teatowles

The reason for this chaos.  I am at a completely loose end.  You see, it’s a funny thing this nursing business.  You know how there’s this perception that there are never enough nurses.  Well that’s only sort of true.  The degree we undertake these days, to gain our registration, is so very very university based – with so little clinical practice – that no one wants to employ a newly graduated nurse.  She needs way to much training to be safe and useful.  No one except nursing homes.

They’re usually desperate and will cheerfully snatch up a new graduate and put her in charge of 40 – 80 residents.  She will be the only registered nurse on duty and will be expected to provide medication to frail and vulnerable people she’s never laid eyes on before and accept complete responsibility for their wellbeing.  It’s a recipe for disaster – the examples of which hit the coroner’s court.  Mention working in a nursing home and newly graduated nurses shudder with fear.

And so we have the graduate year.  I think almost all of the hospitals have them.  The big public hospitals have big intakes, the little private hospitals have little intakes.  And they all have hundreds and hundreds of new graduates applying.  And guess what – there are nowhere near enough graduate places for those who are graduating – at least a third of graduates will miss out.  Makes you wonder where they wind up.

Do they just grit their teeth and head to the nursing homes, fingers crossed that they don’t kill a poor old soul?  Do they go rural (another whole can of worms)?  Do they do agency work – as terrifying as nursing home work – imagine a ward in a hospital where you know nobody, don’t know how they do things, have never walked those corridors, navigated that drug room, met those patients, and you have almost no clinical experience – nice! Do they go bank (casual work for a particular hospital – not quite as bad as agency – at least you stick with the one hospital)?  Or do they wind up in all sorts of random places where they will never develop the skills they’ve studied for – like doctors’ surgeries and schools and occupational health and safety things.  All of these alternatives to the real thing send chills down my spine.

crocheted flowers fabric on piano

Where does this all leave me?  Well – I achieved a good GPA.  I have great clinical reports and glowing references from really good placements.  I put in my four applications for a grad year – you are only allowed four – and you can only apply one year (theoretically you can apply every year, but you will always be considered last after your first go – so given there’s a shortage of places … )  I received three interviews at 3 big public hospitals – all of which I had been to as a student and had great references from.

The fourth application – a private hospital where I’d also had a great placement and really clicked with the senior nursing staff – I missed out on an interview – they emailed me one hour after applications closed to advise me.  I was HORRIFIED to have been dismissed so quickly so queried their decision.  Turns out they didn’t like my clinical reports – I used my last two reports which were from the Royal Children’s Hospital and The Alfred ICU – two of the most sought after placements – this private hospital wanted general medical or surgical.  Really?  Bugger them.

owls crochet

I had my interviews.  The first two were up quick.  The third was a few weeks back.  I think they went well.  Hard to know.  And now – I have no clue as to what 2015 will hold for me because we don’t find out until October 14th!!!!!!!  Can you believe we have to wait that long.  My first interview – at The Alfred – was on August 5th.  That’s 2 1/2 months wait.  Aaaaaaaaargh!!!!!  And get this – the final joyful bit of the whole torturous process – we only get one offer.  That’s right.  Even if all the hospitals who interviewed you want to offer you a grad year, you will only hear from the one you listed first, so you better make sure you ordered that list just right.  AAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGHHHH!

For this marvellous process, we say thank you to the State Government of Victoria and their canny little program ComputerMatch.

So, until October 14th, I am bouncing around, fretting hourly about whether I will get an offer.  Rehashing those interviews and thinking up 20 ways I could have answered each question better.  Filling out yet another crossword.  Wasting more time on mahjong.  Not finishing my quilts.  Not writing up my crochet pattern.  Not working on my needlepoints and cross stitches.  Not finishing off that yoke on Abby’s sweater or Mum’s stripey sweater or Julian’s Argyle.  Not upholstering the footstool.  Not painting the front porch chairs.  Jeeez I’m slack.

Instead, I’m hating that here I am – with months of blissful home time – and I am not using it wisely.  I am flitting about chaotically – perpetually lonely and seemingly unable to finish even one thing.  Wanting the day to pass quickly so that Abby and Julian are home.  Incredulous that another week has disappeared.  Sad that the weekend vanished in the blink of an eye.  Longing for the year to just jolly well slow down.  Wishing I could hack into ComputerMatch and get an offer now so that I can stop THINKING about it all of the time and just settle down to being lucky Lily at home.

Man, I am all over the place.

crumpled quilt

the sort of gardening we’re good at

new leaves by my side basket of yarn under dog

Since there’s nary a green finger between us – I’m hoping they’ll grow when we turn our hands to gardening our own land – our best “gardening” is enjoyed in other ways.  With wool, and cotton, and needles, and hooks, and books, and bikes, and tools, and paper, and pencils, and good food, and lovely company.

So, when a magnificent spring day burst forth, that’s just what we did :-)

julian raleigh buds

Out we went, soaking up that sun and warmth.

rabbits lunch

hat crochet sticking out from my chair basket with flowers

And when, at last, the air cooled and the sun dropped, we celebrated the day and the lovely “gardening” we’d enjoyed …

and of day treat

Have I mentioned how much I love spring!

 

granny busy

out the window

new balls yesterday's four smiley little mouth snip new faourite

The morning may have dawned extra cold and foggy – but after a trip to my favourite Wondoflex for some extra balls of crochet cotton – the rest of the day was gloriously spring, spring, spring!

I spent it on the front porch, baking so warm in the sun that after shedding two jumpers, I simply had to get changed into a skirt and tshirt – which of course, proved a little chilly once the sun began to set and the night chill set in.  Ah, the change in seasons – keeps me on my toes.

And what filled my hands – why Granny Christmas Baubles of course!  All the photos for the pattern are taken, just setting it out now.

There was also a little extra something put together this afternoon – in a medium completely new to me – bamboo and wire – it was a bit fiddly.  But I think tomorrow – with some extra tweaking – it will be just right.  Especially when there’s more Granny Baubles finished for hanging.

supplies and tools almost

much trebling :: a Granny Christmas Bauble

one

It all started here.  Wondering what I’d get if I didn’t add any increases to a granny circle.  A-ha!  A granny bowl.  A very wee granny bowl.  It sat so prettily upon the table.  It was a jewel like jelly fish washed up on the sand.  A very pretty jelly wobbling on a fine china plate.  A limpet covering the low tide rocks with a floral carpet – oh I can’t wait til the summer holidays – Abby and Julian, I’ll need your help!

Or it could be half a Christmas bauble.  Oh yes.  I could definitely see Christmas bauble potential.  So, instead of rising from my desk and doing some of the sewing that awaits me on the kitchen table, I gathered my balls of cotton and began more trebling.

blues bowl how it begins

I do declare, choosing the colours to put together is such fun.  And they rarely turn out exactly as I think they will.  Well actually, I can’t really picture the finished combination when I start so as I finish I find myself thinking “oh that’s what you are – you’re so pretty” or “really?  hmmmm …. “.  Funny enough, when I show my family and ask which ones they like best, they almost always like the ones I’m not so fussed on.  Goes to show.  One person’s perfect cup of tea is another person’s dishwater.  Or something like that.

like a bo-peep biscuit elephant orange fingers

Now it was obvious that there needed to be two of each little granny limpet.  But true to Lily form, after hooking up the first two, I dedicated the rest of the day to making the first half of each bauble.  Because it was fun.

two

Until I had a wee pile of granny limpets.  By this stage, they made me think of patchworked echinacea.  So because my lawn has no spring bulbs shooting and summer flowers are a long way off,  I planted my limpets, just to see if they could indeed have a floral future – and they so could!  Wouldn’t they be so sweet lining a garden path for a birthday party!  You’d have to finish them off properly with a felted wool ball for the echinacea head, and have them firmly attached to the stick.  With a couple of felt leaves embroidered with the names of the party guests – then they could pick theirs and take it home as a party favour.  Much better than lollies.  Oh my goodness Abby – have another birthday party dear!  A flower fairy party.  What?  You’re 17 this year and flower fairies just aren’t your thing any more?  That doesn’t matter nearly as much as indulging your mother’s fancies!

wee bundle in my gatden beige red and yellow amongst the weeds

Sigh.  Well, despite it being a FABULOUS idea and I SHALL do it one day – for myself if needs be – these limpets are destined for more jolly things.  And so I stitched their shells together – turned them into ocarinas it did – and stuffed them with fleece.  Now there was a brief interlude when the first one – the yellow centred one below – had a crocheted yellow border finishing it off.  And it was as irritating as the chicken pox.  It just didn’t sit right and I confess, I was disappointed with the effect and cursing as I fetched Abby from school.  I’ve spent all day making these bloody things and there’s six of them and now I don’t really love them.

But when I got home, ripped that yellow off, and SEWED the two shells together with the same thread as the final border …. oh.  The chicken pox feeling cleared up immediately and I was much pleased.  I also changed the pattern slightly from the first yellow centred one.  It had chained spaces between the granny clusters – which made for a slightly floppsy integrity.  So they’re gone – making my limpets much tighter and more bauble like.

ready

facing swinging in the breeze swinging blue bauble front and side
red in the tree blue in the tree on the bench

I am very excited about this pattern – I hope to make many more – for our tree, for Nanny and Grandad, for Abby’s school teachers, for Mum to take to family in Vancouver at Christmas … I think they’ll make marvellous little presents.  Quick to crochet.  Frugal with the yarn.  Just right.

And I did announce, via Instagram, that the pattern would be here tonight.  But it isn’t.  Sorry.  I have written out all the instructions but I would like to take several more photographs to illustrate some of the more difficult-to-describe-in-writing steps.  And put it together really nicely as a proper pattern you could print off with my “pint of cream” details.  So that will happen tomorrow when there’s plenty of light to take nice, clear photos and I can coerce Abby into helping me with the layout.  Hope that’s okay and you didn’t have your yarn and hook ready and waiting.  Yeah right :-)

I also had a rather good idea involving some little secret bits to put inside … you’ll see.

crochet :: spring flowers :: a september project

the beach

I started my spring flowers – from the Paton’s Modern Crochet booklet – when this was my view – last summer at Merimbula.  I sat out on Mum’s front porch and crocheted a few, here and there, in between swimming at the beach, adventuring, reading and generally just lazing about with my family.

But the day we drove home from this lovely holiday, Grandad had a heart attack and so began a rather chaotic year, with urgent trips to Brisbane, more illness and family upheavals, my final semester of studies, long clinical placements, many essays and the nerve wracking process of applying and interviewing for grad year placements.

Those poor little spring flowers – such a lovely and potent symbol of a holiday filled with light and warmth – were shoved into a basket and forgotten, whilst the balls of cotton were – ridiculously – left falling out of this sweet sewing basket …

beautiful blue bulging

… which of course, couldn’t be closed and looked perpetually messy and irritating in the corner of the living room.

Yesterday found me trying to push this basket under the craft table with my foot, whilst balancing a pile of patchwork fabric on my arm and carrying cups of tea for poor Abby who has now had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics we finally got last week for her persistent sinus infection.  Nice! Needless to say, I couldn’t push said basket between the desk leg and chair leg, so handed out the tea, dumped the fabric on the piano (where all fabric lives) and took a closer look.  Wondered where the little squares were.  Found them shoved behind the rocking chair.  So pulled them out too and ooohed and ahhhed over their pretty colours.

There were 39 finished – I thought about how many I still needed to do – 105.  That would make 144 which would make a nice 12 by 12 blanket.  Add a few lovely border rows and I’d have a sweet spring blanket that’s almost 1.4 metres square.  Can’t you just see it folded over the end of a lovely vintage cane cot!? Good thing I have one :-) And so was born the notion that I could crochet a few each day in this, the first month of Spring, and have my lovely flowers ready for our return trip to the beach this summer.

I stacked the balls almost neatly in a rectangular basket – now named “working basket” – stored the finished squares in the lovely navy basket and sat down to time just how long it takes me to make one square, and thus see how feasible it would be to crochet 4 a day for the first 15 days, then 3 a day for the last 15.  My first effort was a bit fumbly and I found I needed to follow the pattern carefully.  But by the time I was up to the fourth little square, I had rediscovered my rhythm with these flowers, the pattern flowed easily and I was able to crochet one square in 30 minutes.  Perfect.

contents two little stacks the collection close up

Today, with the sun out, there was a wee bit of lining up and admiring … oh, it really is going to be such a pretty blanket, isn’t it!

needing to be planted added on the end all lined up

Some fiddling with the wee flowers awaiting their ecru borders …

favourite1 favourite 2

And a little naming of my favourites – I do love that pea green with the reddy-pink and pale blue – and that dark blue looks just lovely with the pink and soft red.

finished working basket

Now – baskets are sorted.  I have two more balls of ecru (will obviously need many more, but this was all spotty had) and 8 little squares have been finished.

1970s

Fingers crossed I can maintain the momentum – only 28 more days and 97 squares to go!

on monday morning before I leave for a late

crumpled sofas

:: the sofas are crumpled with quilts … speaking of the cold but cosy nights we are having as we move past the winter solstice and once more towards the sun

crochet basket

new version

:: so many corners filled with so many projects … a little dabbling in last summer’s crocheted cotton throw, and turning a doily pattern, written for fine mercerised cotton, into something so much chunkier and more colourful – plans for something silly and wonderful!

blue sky

:: the back door opens to the first blue sky in days … look at our funny winter trees – the oak still dressed in its autumn leaves, the flower buds already colouring and tentatively venturing out on the magnolia

umbrella

:: first morning in ages that I haven’t had to take the umbrella with me on my morning visit to the chicken and rabbits

unknown berries

magnolia

:: more signs of our strangely bothered climate (look around you Prime Minister Abbott and Environment Minister Hunt – you woefully ignorant, head-in-the-coal, intellectual and moral pygmies!) – the birds never touch these berries so nor shall we.  As for the magnolia – best flowers it’s ever produced – even if they are several months early

srtichokes
tea and crumpets

:: wintery mornings call for tea and honeyed crumpets, then more tea, and more tea and more tea and more tea … as for those artichokes – they’re just so pretty but I’ve never cooked with them – hmmmm ….

vintage stools

:: smiling at our newly thrifted kitchen stools.  They absolutely don’t fit in our kitchen, but we’re tolerating them there at the moment.  Red re-upholstering would be just the ticket – yes?

a very cosy nook pins

:: making the most of the few hours I have at home before heading into the hospital for a late – making time for my home’s ordinary everyday needs as well as sneaking in a bit of creativity every day is essential for maintaining a cheerful perspective during these long and intense weeks of placement!  When I don’t do this – and focus manically on the here and now – the long hours, the constant learning, the stress of new and tricksy things, the relentless insomnia – I forget that what I am living right now, is not what the forever more is going to be!  Pinning out a quilt, chatting to the chicken, tidying the corners of Bootville is a good reminder that nursing will be an extra string to my fiddle, not the entire orchestra.

stuck pins

:: how DO these pins get so entwined!  More baffling then coat hangers.

ready for christmas bunting

:: two left over strips of festive vintage blanket – perfect for a Christmas banner – and perfect time to start thinking about this as we turn the corner of the year!  Oh how I love Christmas :-)

bloody eye

:: and finally, as I pull my hair back and clean my teeth, I am reminded that viciously rubbing one’s eye when it’s itchy is NOT a good idea.  Oy!  I look as if I’ve been in a pub brawl!  My poor eye!

So – any moment now, one of my fellow nursing students will be pulling up outside my home and we shall choof on in to the hospital together for another afternoon in the ICU.  It’s full on my friends, full on.  I’m seeing things I never knew existed – and lots of things that are not usually visible.  I’m caring for needs I had never before imagined.  But when, for the first moment, it feels a bit overwhelming and a sense of horror begins to creep into my thoughts, I look into my patient’s face and all I feel is love and empathy.  It goes a long way.

 

and then the cold and grey arrived

chimneys

Ah this weekend heralded the true beginning of Melbourne’s cold season.  Grey, drizzly days where the damp seeps into your bones and no matter how many layers you accumulate, you can still feel the cold.

Saturday we went to the movies – a very unusual event for us  in Melbourne given the price of cinema tickets here.  And it was Abby’s choice of film – Captain America, the Winter Soldier.  But it was fun nevertheless.  There’s something about disappearing deeper and deeper into a cinema – up the stairs, down the corridor, through the sound-proofed door, fumble along a pitch-dark passage, then into the dazzling light of screen-lit, steeply climbing rows.  That was followed by an afternoon of quilting whilst the rain pattered down outside and Julian cooked supper – a slow roasted beef that filled the house with its aroma and made the kitchen so warm the windows fogged up.

Sunday was the day I was waiting excitedly for.  I had supplies and family all ready for an adventure to Warburton and Mt. Donna Buang where I was hopeful we might see a sprinkling of snow, given the cold snap that had arrived with its snow to 1200 metres.

Alas, I woke at 6am with a dreadful migraine.  I staggered out to the cold kitchen, took my medicine, crawled back to bed, out again (the pounding right eye was accompanied by nausea), back into bed, out again, in again.  It was awful.  Finally, 2 hours later, I fell back asleep.  By 1pm the headache had reduced to a dull thumping in the back of my skull that turned into a swooshing rush of blood everytime I moved my head.  The rest of the afternoon was spent on the sofa, sometimes knitting, sometimes sleeping, sometimes watching “Jonathon Creek”.  Julian went in to work for a few hours.  Abby did homework. Great day – sigh.

gutter golden leaves

These things happen, don’t they.  But it wasn’t all a write off.  After finding that crocheted headkerchief in my stocking drawer the other day, I got to thinking up some more ways to make wintery headkerchiefs.

I don’t know why, but I am very fond of scarfy things tied round my head :-)  Cotton squares folded into triangles for summer, soft silky vintage ones from the op shop that slide off so quickly I spend more time tying them on then wearing them.  I’ve made bundles of Heather Ross’s summer bandanas from her Weekend Sewing book and worn them all year round.  And I love looking at the things other women tie round their heads – be it for religious, cultural or just plain practical-for-the-weather reasons, oh there are so many pretty ways to cover the head.  Those delicate muslin caps the Amish women wear, the folk head scarves of Eastern and Northern Europe, the gauzy wraps the women of India and Pakistan drape round their heads, those exquisite beaded and embroidered concoctions they wear in Mongolia – all so beautiful. I even love how the Queen ties those silky scarves under her chin when it’s cold.

I don’t know why we’ve moved away from headscarves and hats – such a shame.  Such potential for adding lovely hand work and colour to our days.  And oh, how I do love colour.  So first up on Friday night – a multicoloured crocheted headkerchief.  Using up scraps of Patons and Cleckheaton’s DK in the colours that just happened to be in the bag.  I made the triangle first, then added a band across the front that buttons underneath my hair, then a picot edge.

crocheted from back

crocheted from side

Then yesterday, in between the sleeping and the head throbbing and Jonathon Creek – another triangle – this time knitted – from Debbie Bliss Tweeds – simple increases on each side and down the centre – another crocheted band across the front with a button – another picot edging.

holding tree

from the back

shoes through the grass

close up at back

behind trunk leaves

photogrpaher

(thank you dear Abby for taking photos of your silly mama!)

Must say, today its warmth was very welcome – my it was cold and grey.  But working at my desk, with my headkerchief pulled over my ears (oh yes, might have looked a bit quirky bit it sure was warm :-), my shawl wrapped over a thrifted cashmere cardigan and my lambswool slippers – well, I was almost toasty.

one red leaf

Now – I have some nice olivey-green Malabrigo, a crochet hook and a cup of tea at hand.  My head is still aching a bit – hoping tomorrow I’ll wake up bright and sparky – and there’s a cosy evening of stitching ahead of me.  The best way to enjoy a Melbourne winter.

weekending

donuts sock knitting cosy

Oh long weekend how I do love you!

Homemade doughnuts, fair isle sock knitting, teaching my girlie how to crochet, wool shop shopping, friends over for the afternoon, movie watching, clothes washing (that always makes me feel good at the start of the week!), and hours of lovely peaceful time around the kitchen table together.

Good stuff.

p.s. that cheeky little opportunistic doggle in the top photo STOLE a doughut.

 

a crochet sampler :: week 1 ~ apple trees

ingredients

Do you remember, I mentioned the other day that I was so inspired by Nanny’s 110 Crocheted Edgings book that I wanted to make a crocheted edges sampler?

Well, I’ve started!  Yes, 2014 is the year of just doing it.  And I thought I would make the whole project into a little weekly thing and share it here with you.  Each week, I will add another sample to my background and then publish the instructions and photos here, if you would like to join me.  That means, in a year’s time – I – and you! – will have roughly 50 edges.  We may have had enough by then.  Or maybe we’ll make more!  As Nanny would say, we’ll play it by ear, shall we?

A word on copyright – I don’t know if this book is still within copyright.  I certainly don’t want to steal from it, which aside from anything else would diminish the wonderful effort put in by its original authors and publishers, The Misses Bamford & Walker of St. Ives, Sydney.

Instead, I see myself – and this little series – as celebrating their skill and expertise, as well as the wonderful heritage left to me by my grandmothers.  All designs belong to Misses Bamford and Walker.  I will not be reproducing their instructions here, because I actually find them really hard to follow – this is no slight of Misses Bamford & Walker, but more a reflection of my skill level and the differences in how we write crochet instructions today as opposed to then.

So, I will be muddling my way through their instructions – it will be trial and error with lots of ripping back – and I will then write my own instructions which will be my interpretation of how I achieved their design.  From my experiences so far, I use the accompanying photographs to guide me as much, if not more, than their written instructions.

Also – this will be a rather long post because it’s starting us off – describing how I prepared the fabric and establish my crocheted edge.  In all future posts we’ll just jump straight in to the week’s design.

Shall we start!

A little trip up the road on Saturday, in the most frightful heat, presented me with a lovely piece of dove grey fabric as the background.  It’s a heavy cotton, 150cm wide, with an almost aida-cloth like texture.  I straightened the top and bottom edges by pulling a thread from the edge through from one side to the other, to find the straight line, cut along the line that appeared, then overlocked the edges.  I prewashed it – figured I wouldn’t want to be washing it much once it was laden up with crocheted edgings – and amazingly enough, when it’s 40 celsius, things dry to a crisp on the line within an hour.

I measured down 9 inches from the top edge – it just seemed to be the right amount – folded it over and gave it a light water spray and a good bash with the iron so that my edge had military precision.  Then I stitched 3cm away from it – straight across from one side to the other.  My first pleated edge for crocheting!  Now I bought 2 metres of fabric but I’m not sure how much of that length will be used.  Will have to wait and see.  However, I have divided my width into 3 columns.  I have left 10 centimetres on either side for a border and binding, and then 5 centimetres in between each of the columns.  That means each sample of crocheted edging will be 40cm long – just enough to get a good feel for it!

(Should add here that I apologise in advance for chopping and changing from metric to imperial measurements – being here in Australia where metric is the order of the day, metric is my usual guide, but I still use imperial often because of the quilting rulers – so it was 9 inches because of the quilting ruler I had at hand, 3cm because of the gradients marked on my sewing machine and so on!)

Now I’ve only done the first pleat, because I wanted to see how much gap I would like between each row of crocheted edgings.  When I’ve finished the first three, I shall play around with the gap between the first and second rows and update you.  It may well change for each gap, according to the depth of the edging. Some of them are beautifully deep – wait til you see the Crowns!!!!

starting with number 3

Sunday morning – after a terrible night’s sleep, thanks to the heatwave – I sat up in bed, with two fans blowing on me, a huge glass of water by my side, a constant supply of coffee (thank you sweet Julian!), a snoring Lucy at the foot (she was forbidden from snuggling into the background fabric), and started my stitching.  I chose Edging No. 3 – strong enough to be worthy of the top line of my sampler, but not too deep or difficult.

Preparing the Fabric and Establishing a Crocheted Foundation Edge

Step 1

Using DMC No. 12 Perle Cotton, measure in 10cm from the edge of your background fabric, then blanket stitch the edge of your pleat until you are 10cm away from the opposite edge (don’t worry about your 3 columns at this point).  It doesn’t really matter how long each stitch is.  Obviously, it’s nicer if they are uniform, but it won’t affect the crochet.  However, the width of the stitch will – too narrow, and the crochet foundation you will make in Step 2 will bunch up; too wide and your crochet foundation will gather your fabric in.  Mine are roughly 1/2 centimetre wide.  We won’t count them :-)

mark your destination

Step 2

Using DMC Traditions Crochet Cotton (we’ll call it our thread), Size 10, and a 2.5mm crochet hook, create a double crocheted running stitch through your blanket stitching. This will form the foundation on which you will stitch your lace edging.

I achieve this by fastening my thread on the far right, leaving a long enough tail to pull through to the back.  Make 1 chain.  Then insert the crochet hook through the next blanket stitch loop that runs along the edge of the pleat and draw the thread through so that you have two loops on your hook.  Wrap your thread around the hook and pull it through both loops on your hook.  Repeat on each blanket stitch loop until you reach the end of your first column – 40cm (that’s what the pin is marking in the previous photo).  Fasten off, leaving a tail long enough to pull through the back.

making chains across your blanket stitch

Now we are ready for this week’s edging!

Week 1 :~ Apple Trees (edging no. 3)

A word on the rows.  I do think that you can differentiate sometimes between a crochet’s front and back, which is why I  fastened off my double crochet foundation row.  I wanted to start Row 1 on the front of my work.  When you are going round something – like a doily or a face flannel or a skirt – it’s not a problem because you are always working on the front.  When you are making one straight line, you are going to be coming back on the wrong side.  However, I think, in this design, the second row works fine to come back on the wrong side.  

trebles

Row 1

Return to the beginning of your double crochet foundation (the far right).  Make 2 trebles in the first 3 double crochet foundation stitches.  * Make 1 treble in the next double crochet.  Chain 4.  Make 1 treble into the same double crochet.  Make 2 trebles into the next 5 double crochets.  Repeat from * until you reach the end of your double crochet foundation.  I finished on the second pair of the 5 trebles.  Doesn’t really matter where you finish – just don’t finish on the sequence – 1 treble, four chain, 1 treble.  It’s a sampler, not a finished product.  Fasten off, leaving a tail long enough to pull through the back.

my crochet companion

Row 2

Make your way back to the third pair of the first group of 5 treble pairs (remember, you’re working on the wrong side for this row).  I finished on the second pair of my 5 trebles so I just started there.  If you finished on the fourth or fifth treble pair, slip stitch back to the third pair.  # Make 1 double crochet into the first of the two trebles that make your third pair.  Make one chain.  * Make 1 treble into the loop (formed by row 1′s 1 treble, 4 chain, 1 treble sequence).  Chain 4.  Make 1 double crochet into the chain stitch you made before the last treble.  At first I found this bit tricky – so I’ve included a photograph of where to make this double crochet below (with the mustard coloured arrow).  Make 1 chain.  Repeat four more times from * .  Repeat from # until you are back at the beginning.  Fasten off.

four chain where to put the double with arrow in goes the hook

It looks so much more complicated than that, doesn’t it – but it’s only two rows.  And I do think the lace created looks like well laden apple trees.

done

Let me know if you’re going to make a sampler too!  And if you need help deciphering my instructions, or think I could do it better (because I have NO experience at crochet pattern writing), please feel free to email me – lily(at)blockaday(dot)com.

Enjoy!

 

 

clara and nellie

crocheted edgings

Perhaps you noticed the “”110 Crocheted Edgings” book on my tray the other day?  It belonged to my other Nanny (that is, not the one who is married to dear old Grandad, but my father’s mother). Mum passed it on to me a few years back now.  It was in this bundle of goodies …

the bundle

 

… that appeared during the great wool tidy up.  Oh yes!  The number of treasures that were unearthed during those days of wool untangling and winding made the tedium of it all well worth while!

This is only a small bundle of books, pamphlets and loose notes – collected and written by both my Nanny – Clara, and her mum –  Nellie. Nanny adored her mother and I remember her home being stuffed to the brim with all sorts of books, linen, clothes, fabric, furniture (including the piano her mother taught on), and bric-a-brac that had been her mum’s.  Her mum died when Nanny was only a young mother herself – I have a letter that Nanny wrote her Mum just after the birth of my dad and just before Nanny Nellie died – I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat just thinking about it – it was so touching and vulnerable.  She must have missed her mum terrible.  Very soon after her dad remarried a woman with two daughters who, whilst happy to move into the family home, did not want most of Nellie’s belongings – so Nanny promptly removed them, carefully stored them, and spent the next 40 years carting them about.  I clearly inherited her genes – I’m dreadfully sentimental and cannot bear to throw anything out – as our jam-packed garage, shed, sewing shed, and Julian will testify.

stitch guide edgings

The crocheted edgings book is particularly lovely.  Even Julian thinks that page above with its illustrated stitches is quite a prize.  And I’m finding the little book especially useful for my crocheted face flannels.  I stumbled upon these via the talented Kristin at her lovely blog Cozy Made Things and just knew, as soon as I saw them, that they were my cup of tea.

in front of me

So, whilst in Brisbane, I slipped off one afternoon to visit my old favourite fabric shopping haunt – The Quilters’ and Embroiderers’ Store with Karen and Leah – and bought several fat quarters.  That was a mistake.  Clearly a fat quarter is much too big to be a useful face flannel.  But a quarter of a fat quarter is a little miserly.  So I ended up cutting a square – 13 x 13 inches – from each of the fat quarters which left quite a bit of waste.  Ugh.  If I’d just bought 35 cm I’d have had two face flannels for a little more than the price of one fat quarter – and still a bit of leftover that could go in the scrap bag for a future scrappy flannel quilt.  And that would have worked very nicely because Mum, Auntie Anne and Nanny have all claimed the first round of face flannels I’ve made!  I may need to indulge in a little mail ordering – ohh look at that, they have 616 to choose from – and I won’t be making the same mistake next time.

start with blanket stitch number 26 done corner

Now I’m not sure whether Kristen doubled hers.  I didn’t – Mum wondered whether I should, but it would have made it very bulky and they would take ages to dry.  So,  I simply overlocked the edges, then ironed 1 inch hems on each side with mitred corners.  Then, using my 4 ply Paton’s cotton crochet yarn, I blanket stitched around the edge.  This makes for a super easy first round of crochet.  For this flannel, I used edging number 26!

I will add here – Nanny Clara would be alarmed at the use of such thick cotton.  She used crochet hooks that were so fine, I cannot even SEE the hook.  As for her crochet thread – it’s almost the weight of regular sewing thread!  Extraordinary.  Also – her local haberdashery had a very fine service to offer their crochet customers – a machine that you ran your fabric through and it evenly perforated a quarter inch in from the edge – which allowed for very elegant work indeed.  When I was in Taree recently – their home town – Mum and I did look for this shop – but it had gone.  Funny that.

Just writing “edging number 26″ makes me think of a rather crazy but awfully fun idea.  Another book I inherited from Nanny Clara included delicate pieces of lawn that she had practiced different sewing techniques on – different seams, hems, collars, inserts etc.  One of the pieces had several horizontal folds in it which she had finished in a variety of ways.  Can you imagine a lovely big piece of cotton/linen (don’t want plain linen, it’s too stretchy) that I iron neat horizontal folds into – and stitch them, like big pinch pleats.  The I could “divide” the piece of fabric into five even columns, and crochet each of the 110 edgings, so that it becomes a sampler!  Then I could back it, bind the edges and hang it on the wall.  Oh my goodness!  I’m so excited at the thought, I’m twitching.  It would be so beautiful.  I would do them in a selection of soft, gentle, antiquey colours.  Nothing bright.  It would have “old world charm” :-) Oh my goodness!  I’ll have to run up the road to Darn Cheap again tomorrow!  ’Cause you know, I was thinking, that’s a lot of face flannels to use all 110 edgings.

Mind you, I am planning to crochet around the edge of my latest quilt.  In red.  I think it will look fetching – we’ll have to see ;-)

Now the rest of the post is taken up with photos of my favourite pages from the bundle … there are so many wonderful projects in here that I will be occupied for the rest of my life.  Take a peek …

weldon's practical crochet

:: this is treasure of a book – so much goodness inside

ardeen's cotton advertisements

:: the advertisements are just brilliant.  And I love the advice “to just write to us” should you need anything.  Can’t you imagine ladies sitting down at their writing desks after breakfast and elegantly penning a quick note to the wool store in time for the morning mail.  Goodness, the wool would probably be delivered the very next day.

useful doyleys

:: I love that these are “useful” (others were handsome – not that Julian thought so) and that they’re spelt D’Oyleys.  Intriguing – I shall have to look that up.

two pretty shawls

:: I love this picture – their hair, the chairs, the properness of it all.

little girl

:: oh my goodness – this little girl – isn’t she a darling and so cosy!  She most likely couldn’t hear anything either.

wendy the waaaf

:: I don’t know about you, but I definitely want a Wendy the WAAAF!!!  Truly, I shall make her – and she shall sit on my dresser.

butterflies

:: I’ve not heard of stiletto work, let alone tried it – have you?

the coronation

:: a memento from the coronation of our current Elizabeth.  Shows all the places the processioned passed.  So sweet.

beauty tips

:: I was a bit puzzled by a whole bundle of “beauty tips” – both Nanny Clara and Nanny Nellie were so against this kind of frippery – they were good Presbyterian women who did not have time for fancies – they would have thought it positively outrageous that a good moral woman had TIME to fret about wrinkles.

the other side

:: then I realised that on the back of each carefully saved beauty page, was a crochet pattern.  Aha.

black book

:: Nanny Nellie’s cook book – her writing is so curly and ornate I can barely read some of it …

jam drops and bible cake

… but Jam Drops and Bible Cake sound good.

recipes

:: Nanny Clara’s recipes.  I love that people wrote down recipes and saved them.  Yet another thing we’ve lost – what with our plethora of lavishly produced cookbooks and internet recipe sites.  I keep meaning to start keeping hand written copies of our favourite recipes – but never seem to find them time.

So there you go – a wee glimpse of a face flannel – I’d better take some photos of the rest before they’re all parcelled up and sent away.  And a little wander through the past.

You see, I HAVE to carefully keep all of my things so that women, three or four generations from now, will sort through my boxes of funny old things with a laugh of delight and awe. :-)