Thursday, 29 November 2012


10 more squares to go...

While the flower was not difficult to crochet, it was the most time-consuming part as the double treble and half treble crochet stitches made another appearance, and I cannot remember how to do them without referring to my notes.  The rest of the block was straightforward.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 1 hour
Result: Looking good.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


This was another interesting one to crochet.  The starting point for this block was the top righthand corner rather than in the centre, as is customary for traditional granny squares.  It is not glaringly obvious, but there is a cross is in the top righthand corner and the pattern radiates out from there.  Once the cross was formed, the square had to be turned over and worked on the reverse side every alternate round.

It did not take me long at all to complete this pattern since just the treble stitch and some chain stitches were used.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 1 hour
Result: Not awethum (according to Aimee).

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Trí déag

Just over halfway there, stay with me now.  You could be forgiven for thinking that the squares are all starting to look the same, but I assure you, they have their subtleties.

Here is another flower block, in white this time.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 1.5 hours
Result: Another favourite of mine.

Monday, 26 November 2012


I am amazed at the different looks you can achieve with a crochet hook.  If I hadn't made this myself, I would have thought that this block was knitted.

The block gets turned on the diagonal once a row is completed and at the start, it reminded me of working in a crossword grid.  If you take on this pattern, you will understand what I mean.

There was nothing too complex about this one (dare I hope to think that I won't encounter any more pattern errors?), it was another repetitive pattern that achieves quite a nice effect.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: I have a definite preference for solid blocks.

Drum roll please...

The winners of the mouse pin cushions/cat toys/projectiles for errant husbands (delete whichever is not applicable) have been found.  Congratulations, Sus and Sara!!  While I was very relieved that you didn't get crushed in the comment stampede that took place on my giveaway, I was ever so slightly gutted that I didn't need to use one of those random number generators.

However, this is my blog after all and I will NOT BE DENIED, so here they are, for your viewing pleasure:

The mice were lovingly packaged and delivered to their respective new homes and I am glad Molly and Ringwald have got such lovely owners.  Take good care of them now, won't you?

Sunday, 25 November 2012


No rest for the crooked it seems.  I have come to the conclusion crochet blocks are not meant to be exactly square, I mean, 11 blocks in you would think if I was going to see any improvement in that area, I would have by now?

This was a nice easy one to do; there was no overly complicated stitchwork and the flower was much simpler to construct than the one in block 3.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 1.5 hours
Result: Quietly pleased with this one.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Número dix

This was a very repetitive pattern, so it was quite nice to work on a square that did not require too much concentration.  The block gets turned over at the end of each row so every alternate row I was working on the reverse side.  It is great to be learning all these new techniques.

I also learned how to insert the hook in the front loop and back loop of a stitch to achieve a raised pattern.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I did that stitch accidentally way back on block 4.

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: This block looks knitted (disclaimer: I know nothing at all about knitting).

Friday, 23 November 2012


Just over a third of the way through the blocks and I'm feeling a bit of soreness in my shoulder.  That can't be good.

This was quite a fun one to do, even though there was a half-treble stitch that gave me flashbacks to my flower blanket fiasco, and some more clusters to decipher.

Again, the pattern called for a larger hook, which I ignored.  I am glad I used a different colour for the circle, it draws the eye to that area and away from the uneven outer stitching.

I am working out that it is best to try to complete a block in one sitting, as the tension gets affected if I stop mid-round.  My shoulder's not too happy about that idea.  I need to have a little word with it.

Degree of difficulty: Some tricky areas, but I feel like I am getting the hang of the lace details now
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: One of my favourites.

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Looks like the lace crochet gods got the message and decided to meet me halfway.  I do like the solid half of this block.  I can't help but feel the lace part runs the risk of getting little fingers and toes caught in it, or snagged on a corner of a piece of furniture, ruining the stitchwork.  Which would make me cry.  This blanket is HOURS worth of work.

Even though it doesn't say to do so in the pattern, I could have done with going down a hook size as the square is a little bit larger than my other ones.

Apart from that, there were no major issues with the stitches and - round of applause please - I cracked my first sub-2 hour block (not counting my granny square at the beginning; I've had a great deal of practice with them over these past few months).

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 1.5 hours
Result: I'm 50/50 on this one.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I think I'm being punished.  This is the third lace block in a row.  It's like the lace crochet gods all read my final comment in my previous post and decided that I will enjoy crocheting lace squares.

Strangely enough, I actually did have fun on this one.  There were no mistakes in the pattern, and no new vastly different stitches, so I thought I'd use this square to practice crocheting with two different coloured yarns.

Degree of difficulty: Lace crochet - bring it ON!
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: Spiderman called, he wants his web back.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Yes, that's right folks, I am going to host my very first giveaway.

Meet Molly and Ringwald (Wally to his friends).  These little mouse pincushions are looking for new homes.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below telling me which has been your favourite blog post so far and which mouse you would prefer.  That's it - oh, and you must also be a member of my blog (hehehehe).

Competition closes this coming Friday night 23 November at 6pm and I will announce two winners on Monday. Your odds are looking pretty good right about now, Sus and Sara :).

Numero sei

Am I boring you yet with all this crochet?  Here is another lace block.  The yarn is not as fire-engine red as it appears in the photo, so it's not quite as gaudy as you may think.

And knock me down with a feather, there were no mistakes in the pattern!  My block looks nothing like the one in the pattern picture so I can only assume that it was due to my use of a smaller hook.  Or it could be the FOUR new stitches they threw into the pattern for me to fumble my way through.

Firstly, there was the ol' double treble crochet.  That sounds complicated, but it's actually not too bad.  It is a marginally longer stitch than the treble crochet, to give slightly more length within the design.  I sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I?  Fake it till you make it, people.

There was also a 'shell' and 'v-stitch' required.  Okay.  Simple enough.  I was feeling pretty good about mastering those using the supplied instructions, but then they threw another cluster in there for good measure, which had a different stitch sequence to the one on block 4, so this one had it all really.

This design reminds me of a church rose window and I'm getting that Christmas-y feeling just looking at it.

Degree of difficulty: Patience needed for this one
Time taken: 2.5 hours
Result: Not entirely convinced that I like lattice-work crochet.

Monday, 19 November 2012

My first lace block.  I am using a hook about half the size of the one specified in the patterns, simply because that is what I have at home.  I imagine that if a larger hook was used, lace blocks would be feel quite flimsy and easier to get snagged on things, so I am happy with how this smaller block looks and feels.

A couple of large mistakes were found in this pattern, I'm blaming those for how slow I was to complete this block!  There is no way I would have known how to fix the errors, so thanks again to the girls in the online crochet group I've joined for their helpful corrections.

Degree of difficulty: The last few rounds of the block were quite hard (exacerbated by pattern errors)
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: It's not particularly symmetrical, but once it is joined to the others, it should look okay.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

You scream, I scream

We all scream for ICE CREAM!

Third and last birthday party of the year for this household, not counting the Big Guy on December 25.  Just so you know, I totally was not influenced by the Donna Hay Kids' magazine Issue 9 AT ALL.

We've not had much luck with outdoor parties this year due to the fickle weather, so we had to bring the sunshine indoors again.

With the exception of some ice-cream and donuts, all the food was egg, nut and dairy-free for the birthday girl.  To be told that she is no longer allergic to certain foods would be Sienna's best birthday present ever, but it's not to be so we continue to hope she will outgrow them. There was popcorn, fruit salad, marshmallow, homemade strawberry sorbet and all kinds of toppings. The guests all helped themselves; it was organized chaos.

You will recognize the personalized spoons I was working on earlier in the week.  They ended up being used as placemat markers so the guests could remember where they were sitting when they left the table for second helpings, and thirds...

Instead of a traditional cake, I baked the guests individual "ice-cream" cupcakes.

I think they enjoyed themselves.

Even though your actual birthday is not for a few more days yet...Happy Birthday, Sienna. You are our sunshine.

Nummer vier

This was another tricky one, the pattern calls for a cluster stitch, which took me a while to get the hang of.  There is meant to be quite a defined X on this block, which is not very obvious on my one.  I think this is because I inserted the hook into the wrong parts of my stitches in each previous round. As a result, my finished block has raised stitching and looks more like a dartboard, but I really did not want to have to unravel it and start all over again.  I'm particular, but not that particular.

I'm learning that crochet is a little more forgiving when a mistake like that is made, as long as the general shape of the completed block is the same size as my other ones, I should be able to join them together easily enough.

Degree of difficulty: Cluster stitch was a bit problematic - I am obviously someone who needs to be physically shown how it is done rather than follow a pattern so I was finding my way in the dark on this one
Time taken: 2 hours (I'm sensing a pattern here)
Result: My least favourite of the bunch so far.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Número tres

This blanket pattern I am crocheting appears to introduce a new stitch with each block, quite a clever way to build up a repertoire of crochet stitches.  I have learnt how to do a chain stitch, double and treble crochet and now half treble crochet.

I quite like the added texture that the flower gives to this block.  Two very small errors were found in this one as well, so it can never be assumed that patterns will always be 100% correct.  I just wish I could work out why I can't seem to get the blocks square - any advice would be welcomed.

Degree of difficulty: Another pattern that requires some degree of concentration when working on the flower
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: I really like this one (hope you do too!).

Friday, 16 November 2012

Block 2

This uses two different stitches (a treble and a double crochet) rather than just one like the previous block. I had to unravel it in a quite a few places as I lost track of where I was on the pattern.  When I got to the last round, I could not work out why my block looked nothing like the one in the pattern picture.  I soon discovered that there was quite a large mistake in the pattern itself.  I would never have been able to correct it myself, but I was able to find an on-line crochet group working on this blanket who helpfully supplied corrections.  I love you, Internet.

Degree of difficulty: A little trickier for novices than the first block, pays not to have demanding lovely small children in your company when working on this one
Time taken: 2 hours
Result: Wheely, wheely pretty.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Party favours

More party favours for this weekend.  These are meant to be 'I's for ice-cream', a subtle reference to the theme of the party that will surely sail over the heads of all the seven year old guests, and possibly the adults too, but you and I know that's what they are.

Did you spot the Hungry Caterpillar?  Just in case you missed him, here he is inching his way out of the basket:

We love that story in this house.  I had plans to set up a Hungry Caterpillar party for one of my children's birthdays, but it never eventuated.  Still, you don't really need to wait for a birthday to celebrate life so maybe I will surprise my family one day and call it a Just Because party instead just so I can trot out my ideas.


As you all know, I just love to weave in the ends of my crochet blocks...

I am going to use my blog as motivation to complete a block a day, so every day, for the next 25 days, I will show you a different crochet square, with ends tucked in and all.  In honour of this mammoth undertaking, I am renaming this month Crochember.

Hopefully by Christmas, even with all the busy-ness that this time of the year brings, I will have another completed blanket to show you, my lovely readers (all three of you).

Degree of difficulty: Easy
Time taken: 1 hour
Result: Not so much a granny square as a granny trapezoid.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Word up

Want to have a peek at my latest little project?  Of course you do.

Personalized spoons for my eldest daughter's birthday party this weekend.  I counted, and there are 27 easier ways to do this, but as you all know, I like to do things the hard way. Only. Eight. More. Names. To. Spell.

These are teeny-tiny alphabet stickers from a local craft store, which require the use of tweezers to apply.  It is times like these that I am glad my children have relatively short names.  How would the parents of Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii feel about the choice of name for their child right about now?

I am gutted the 'a' sticker is much smaller than the other letters but I shall quietly reflect and be glad that two of my three children take after their father in the obsessive compulsive stakes.

Friday, 9 November 2012

I do not like them Sam-I-Am

With the warmer weather upon us, my attention has turned towards making new summer hats for each of my girls.  The reason for this is because earlier this year, I made some reversible sun hats using some Dr Seuss fabric with a cow print on the other side.  I thought they looked amazeballs.  They hate them.  This disappoints me.

It was while I was lamenting the fact that I had spent hours drafting, then scaling a pattern (which still needs tweaking), and making four of them (because the first attempt was too small), that I thought to myself I should really have conducted some market research.

When I asked Renee why she didn't like hers, she said it was because it wasn't pink.  Of course.  It's precisely why I like them.  We have no pink sunhats in the house, so she has taken to wearing one inside out because it has pink lining.  It has a care label jutting out with her surname and home phone number flashing like a beacon on it, but she would still rather wear that than the hat I lovingly made for her.  Apparently, there is a pecking order even with ubiquitous hats. The ones I made would be ranked behind Princess Beatrice's one or anything worn by Lady Gaga.

Clearly, Aimee was thrilled at the chance to wear her hat for just a few seconds while I snapped this photo.  Getting her to wear it while smiling and staying still was a bridge too far, even with my bribe (see below):

The Hat:

Thanks for my new hat Mum, you're the BEST

The Sweetener:

Now I shall sit back and wait for all the comments to roll in about how dangerous it is to lick icing off a knife.  This blog is called "Crafting Dangerously" people, not "Crafting in Cotton Wool".

Thursday, 8 November 2012

My first craft kit

While watching my little ladybird, Renee, recently as she learnt how to thread a needle and do a basic stitch, a crafty idea popped into my head...

...I told you my girls inspire me...

...I put together a little sewing kit, and then I thought I would expand on it to incorporate other handcrafts.

It didn't cost anything at all, as I already had the items laying about the place.  I used an old cardboard nesting suitcase and filled it with lots of bits and pieces.  There are scissors, a seam ripper, fabric, ribbons and buttons, a thimble, tape measure, embroidery thread, pins and a little mouse pincushion I made.  There's wool and knitting needles too.  The most time-consuming part was glueing elastic strips on the lid to hold the scissors, thimble and seam ripper in place. I will add to the kit as time goes on, depending on where her interests lie.  You may recognize the paper I used to line the lid and cover the button box - I knew I would find a use for it.

Marvelling at my own marvelousness, I looked online to see if anyone else had already thought of doing this commercially.  Naturally, they had.  Stinkballs of fire.  And they are a million times better than my version, but I won't tell her that if you won't.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Fairy party - take 2

Happy Birthday to my big 5 year old girl!  What a whirlwind the past few days (and years) have been.

With the threat of rain, our planned outdoor garden party setting was brought indoors.  Fairy Trina flew in and weaved her magic on the little ones for an hour.  It was the first time we had used a children's entertainer, and she was truly fantastic.  I know my children and our little guests (and even some of the adults!) will long remember her visit.

Fairy Trina was the first item on Renee's very short list of special birthday requests.  The other was to have a rainbow cake.  Piece of (ahem) cake.  Here are some photos of the occasion.

Invitations were sent out two weeks ago.  That time just evaporated!

Our front door greeting (I love my children's chalkboard):

Sweet Fairy Princess:

Pinwheel decorations:

Banquet table.  All the food is dairy, egg and nut-free to accommodate one of my allergic children:

Fairy wands and mushroom houses (lollipop sticks and mini chalkboard stickers from Pop Roc Parties):

Traffic light jellies, a perennial party favourite:

Fairy fizz:

Rainbow cake:

Fairy dances:

 Face painting:

Guests' lolly necklaces held for safekeeping by fairy pegs:

When Fairy Fizz became Fairy zzzzz:

Happy School Days, Renee. We love you.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Colour conundrum

I just can't help myself with this alliteration thing in my post titles.  It's getting out of control.

Anyway, you may have been wondering what is going on with my chair project.  Or maybe you haven't. Regardless, I can tell you that in typical spring fashion, the weather here just hasn't been playing ball.  It has been either too wet or too windy to paint outside and I can't bring myself to fume out the house with the smell of enamel undercoat by painting it indoors.  So, it's given me probably a little too much time to pore over colour charts.

I want a colour that is unexpected, but that also won't date too quickly.  Naturally, I found myself asking what would Gerard Butler choose?  He seems like a man with an eye for colour and who has many different moods (all of them good), being Scottish and all.  Plus Scotland is all kinds of cool.

Hey lassie, need some help with your colour charts?

Excuse me, where was I going with this?  I was momentarily distracted by something.

Ah, yes, I'm now leaning towards a certain palette but I'm having a bit of trouble settling upon a final colour. Compounding the problem is the cost of paint, and if I don't get the colour right, it is quite expensive to fix. This is why I belong in the "white is alright" camp.  White is safe.  It goes with everything.  It doesn't scream "last painted when Rick Astley was telling you he was never gonna give you up".

Here are the colours I have whittled my selection down to (Disclaimer: the following may or may not be actual Resene descriptions):

This is Resene Scandal, a clean transparent blue, reminiscent of Gerard's ice-cool gaze:
Resene Scandal
See, his eye colour is nearly a perfect match:

What about Resene Kumutoto, a frolic of maritime inspired aqua:
Resene Kumutoto...
...or maybe Half Kumutoto
It's a more playful hue, with a hint of daring, not unlike this Gerry (I asked him, and that's his preferred name.  I prefer "The But", but each to their own):

Then there's Resene Half Baked, a lazy hazy summer blue with significant warmth:
Resene Half Baked
Exactly like this Gerry:

Lastly, there is Resene Undercover, a juniper green with an underlying depth, placid and dry. This is a darker colour than the others.  It has a more masculine feel yet it's still soft in a PS I Love You kind of way:
Resene Undercover

Tough choice, don't you think?  Thanks for the inspiration, Gerry.  You're awesome.