Give me a home among the gum trees

I may not be much of a gardener or any of one, but I do appreciate our garden (and the hard work Hewhofishes puts into it). I particularly enjoy the edible parts of it.
We’ve eaten a few home grown radishes this year, but these two just keep on growing. We’re not sure if they’re going to be tasty so we’re just letting them keep growing. We want to see how big they get!

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I cooked up some pasta the other night with sauce straight out of the jar, but I leant out of the window and added some fresh bok choy and parsley and it turned into something extra yummy.
The plan is for two more window boxes along that side of the house. I keep giving HWFs not so subtle hints that I want him to grow spinach. Spinach is on the gout list so he won’t be able to enjoy it, but I will. Isn’t that what love’s about? Growing vegies you shouldn’t eat for the lady that you love?
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Ignoring the compost bin, this is an avocado tree. Another food that HWFs doesn’t like, but this one came with the house so no special effort required. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an avocado on a tree so I’m looking forward to that.
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The oranges that I was looking forward to making marmalade didn’t quite work out as planned. We only got about 4 off the tree which were edible, the rest had squishy parts which turned scaley after a while. Still we learn when things go wrong so there will be more potash in the soil next year, and if that fails a call into the gardening show on talk back radio.
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There may have also been a slight incident involving the brand new greenhouse. The day after planting seeds into those little tiny pot thingies, there was a bit of a storm and the wind knocked it over. Poor greenhouse.
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The pea hay that mulched the tomatoes sprouted some peas. So they were rescued and planted into their own pot. Surprise peas!
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Of course there are some pretty things too. What sort of garden doesn’t have flowers.
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I’m not sure that I would be proud of a weed, but if you are going to be proud of a weed, it might as well be a big one. He insisted on showing off his handiwork.
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So even though it is smack bang in the middle of winter and most trees have lost their leaves, there is still a little growth happening.
I just need a old rocking chair.
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(and that’s your blooming lot for the week)

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Media spotting!

I’ve been excited about this for some time and somehow managed to keep it a secret until it was released.
I’m featured on the latest episode of Hollis Jay’s podcast ‘Myriads of Thought‘!

Hollis is a supercool lady who talks about her life, geekery, and things that are generally interesting and awesome.

She also finds cool people who make cool things and interviews them (thats where I come in).

I must admit that I hadn’t listened to an episode before she contacted me, but I’ve listened to every episode since and quite a bit of the back catalogue.

Check my interview out from the 1:22 mark, or just listen to the whole thing. I am among some awesome company this week.

Seriously I am still chuffed that people like what I make enough to buy it let alone interview me about it! Thanks Hollis for having my words on your show. Its strange to hear something I wrote not in my voice and Australian accent.

Listen to it here or I’ve put a transcript below.

1. Introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Bek. I live in Perth Australia in a 100 year old cottage where I’m lucky enough to have a crafty room all to myself where I can make as much mess as I want. I taught myself how to knit 3 years ago and that opened my eyes to the crafty underbelly of the internet. I met a whole heap of awesome knitters and multi-crafters and realised that making something I could touch and see is a really great feeling, particularly as my day job involves sitting at a computer.

2. Tell us about your shop.
I sell metal stamped cuffs and rings as well as hand made earrings and stitch markers. I have some pre-made cuffs but mostly people like to personalise and send me a phrase which means something to them. I also have a custom order option so if you like something that you’ve seen on my blog like embroidered cushions or a pair of earrings that I don’t have in my etsy shop, you can request them and we can work something out.

3. Can you go in the making of one of your pieces from beginning to end?
For a custom cuff the first thing I need is what’s going on it. I take that and write it on a piece of paper to get a feeling for the length and also as a reference for spelling. I’ll also google it, if it’s not a reference I’m familiar with because I’m curious like that.
From there I visualise how it will look, particularly if it’s over two lines or is front and back.
Depending on the size of the cuff requested, and the length of the phrase I pick out the right size stamp set. Then I tape the cuff to my anvil and figure out where to start. Then I hit each letter with a hammer. It’s quite noisy and deliciously satisfying. Once I’ve finished the stamping I use a sharpie to colour in the letters. I let that dry and then wipe off the excess with rubbing alcohol and give it a bit of a shine.
I then bend it using a bracelet bender which creates a nice shape. Then I resist the urge to keep it for myself!

4. Do you have a favorite piece in your shop? What is it, and why?
I have a soft spot for the cat earrings as they were my first ever sale.
I really love a ring that I made for myself that has mine and my partners anniversary date on the inside and a heart on the outside. That’s really special and even more so because I made it. I think that’s the wonderful thing about custom pieces. The personal touch makes them unique and meaningful. I’m also currently working on an embroidery with the firefly theme song. It’s going to be epicly awesome.

5. Is there a particular genre that inspires your pieces, and if so what is it and why?
Definitely pop-culture references! I keep a notebook with me at all times and anything that makes me cackle or think hmm this would be good on a bracelet goes straight into the notebook. This happens a lot whilst watching television or listening to music.
I also have a tumblr, thingstoembroideroncushions.tumblr.com which collects all sorts of random quotes and phrases from around the internet.

6. What scares you?
Birds. I am one of those people who ducks down in their car if a bird flies at them. Don’t ask me for custom bird earrings please!!

7. Who or what motivates you and/or inspires you to create?
Words are still a major part of how we communicate. There are so many writers out there who can say things much better than I ever could. I take the bits that mean something to me and transplant them into a different context such as a cushion, bracelet or a ring.
Once they’re out of context they can take on a new meaning and a new significance. Some of my favourite nights are me and my best friend getting home from a night out, watching Black Books and quoting it back and forth. Now that she lives further away, we do the same thing over twitter! I have forged friendships through a shared love of the same tv show. I know I’m not alone in this. I’m taking something that people already love and connect over and making it visible and wearable.

8. Are you more spontaneous within your work or more precise?
I should be more precise because as soon as I make a spelling mistake or mix up the direction of a stamp I have to start all over again. But I’m pretty disorganised and spend half the time picking up letters and trying to figure out what they are. I’m definitely spontaneous with earring making and stitch markers. I put everything out in front of me and just experiment.

9. Who are your favorite artists, writers, and musicians? What are your favorite books, films, television shows, etc?

There’s a website where you put in tv shows, how many seasons you watch and it calculates how long it would take to watch every episode. I got to 100+ days before I stopped and backed away slowly. Needless to say I love the medium of television and it’s detailed storytelling capability. I tend to reference Black Books, Coupling, 30 Rock, Doctor Who, Buffy, Angel, Community, Parks and Rec, Bobs Burgers, Firefly, and Arrested Development the most. I recently marathoned Leverage on Netflix which had so many ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ pop culture references. I like that in a television show.

Editors and Blood Red Shoes both released albums this year which I cannot stop listening to (or scribbling down lyrics in my notebook). I also love Cold War Kids, Silversun Pickups, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club, Sugar Army, The Shins, Wolf & Cub, Phantogram and The Decemberists.
I once started to write the lyrics to Neutral Milk Hotels – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea on my bathroom wall, but only got about half way through.
Total Eclipse of the Heart is me and my best friend’s karaoke song (and so I made her a cushion with the lyrics on it).
If I’m having a bad day then the Once More With Feeling soundtrack never fails to brighten my day.

Growing up my parents could never get my nose out of a book. My current house has an epic, all the way to the ceiling, bookshelf which I will eventually fill!
I have a whole section of bookcase dedicated to Jane Austen and associated books (Jane Austen Book Club is one). When I moved out of home I took the whole Anne of Green Gables series with me which I still regularly re-read. I like Sophie Kinsella, Maggie Alderson, and Lauren Weisberger for instant girly gratification. I enjoy Philippa Gregory and in particular The Cousins War series. I’m a sucker for a narrative style where the same story is told from different perspectives.
I just finished the Duncan Lay series Empire of Bones which I really enjoyed. And I’m anxiously awaiting the third novel in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothsfuss.

I think Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two of the funniest and awesomest people around. They’re the type of people that inspire me, as well as the everyday people that I’ve met through the internet that are doing all kinds of cool stuff.

10. Promote yourself. Shamelessly. :)…:)
You should visit my shop because I guarantee you’ll find something you like. Or if you don’t I’ll try and make it anyway. Who doesn’t like one of a kind-custom stuff!

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I am also still updating my song of the week playlist so check that out in you’re in need of some new tunes!

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FO11 – topographie hat

I don’t know which yarn fairy* I’ve pleased but Ravelry is now available for me to peruse from my work PC.
Previously it was in the same list as facebook, twitter, and pintrest and whenever I tried to access it, instead I got a red screen telling me that Ravelry was not an acceptable website to view at work.

Of course I absolutely agreed with that decision! The last thing I need is for my already short attention span to be distracted by another SQUIRREL!!! I mean time wasting website, when I’m desperately trying to focus on work.

But I do get a lunch break, which I usually spend untangling my brain and catching up on blogs, news, and now I can catch up on all thing Ravelry.

Which has made me realise just how neglected my account has been this year. And also how many more objects I’ve finished that I had forgotten about. (My Sisters Knitter recently blogged about why we remember what’s unfinished more than what we’ve finished. It’s worth a read as well as the Psychology Today article which inspired it.)

My topographie hat somehow made a mention in Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, but then I forgot about uploading any photos or updating my projects page.

Which is unusually odd as I actually wear this hat all the time! I love it’s slouchiness, and I think the pattern really makes the colours pop.

The yarn used is a custom dye from Ladybug Fibre Company in the colourway I call ‘Port Adelaide Agression’.
It’s Teal, Black, and Grey self striping in fingering weight, which I’ve held double. The pattern then asks you to watch what the colours do and so whenever the two strands matched I purled instead of knitted. I think it creates a bit of interest in what would otherwise be a pretty basic hat.

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*the yarn fairy may just be my work-friend in IT whose daughter is learning to knit and so I keep sending him ravelry links of things which might help her out.
He’s probably annoyed that he can’t open them at work so he waved his magic IT wand.
It’s nice having friends in IT.

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FO10 – SPARKLE SHAWL!!!!

Remember that gorgeous yarn from my lame attempt at video blogging?
Well I’ve made it into a shawl. and it is epically awesome.

The yarn is yarnvszombies Vampire (75/20/5 Merino/Nylon/Sparkle) Sock Yarn in a colourway inspired by the Fourth Doctor.
The pattern is 22.5 degrees by Martina Behm.

The construction is so simple it was my football knitting for many weeks. Something to keep my fingers moving and not stress drinking or eating, but simple enough that I could still concentrate on what I was watching and not take my eyes off the screen.

The row of scallops made me really nervous. They just didn’t look right on the needle.
Even though I had never made knitted scallops there was something about them. Fortunately I ignored that instinct because once I began to cast off it all fell into place and looked like it should.

I can’t wait to make another one and experiment with different yarn types and different gauges.
It would also be a great base for trying other decorative edgings.

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if you can clean an oven, you can clean me

You know it’s been a while since you’ve blogged when wordpress has disappeared from chrome’s most used sites.

Yes, yes I have been missing in action.
I had a whole 6 days off work!
Not all that fun though because I t was on doctor’s orders so there was no crafting, but there was a lot of television. I then went back to work before becoming infected by the cold, so I spent almost 2 weeks curled up on the couch with my teapot and Netflix/WatchSeries and resting.

If anyone hasn’t watched Orphan Black yet, go and watch it immediately.
The acting performance by Tatiana Maslany is incredible, especially as she juggles many different parts.
I cannot recommend it highly enough. Such an interesting story which keeps you guessing, but hooks you in.

I also finished off Season 3 of The Killing, Season 2 of Bomb Girls and have now watched all 10 seasons of Greys Anatomy.

I wasn’t expecting to like Archer so much but I did. So I watched all 5 seasons of that.

I started watching Being Human and got through 3 seasons of that before getting bored. I may still watch season 4 just for completeness.

I actually used this site to see how much television I’ve watched, but I stopped when I got to 100 days. It got a bit alarming. Especially when you consider the amount of times I would have re-watched shows like Friends, MASH, How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock, let alone the amount of times I’ve watched Black Books!!!

Unfortunately, all of this television watching has left me with a lack of new shows to watch. I watched 4 episodes of The Walking Dead before getting bored. I tried watching House of Cards but quickly gave up.

So if anyone has any television recommendations please share.
And cross your fingers that my second half of the year is healthier than the first.

Maybe I did sneak in some knitting.

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Stop! Pajama time

It’s bloody cold here at the moment.
And that’s not just me saying that, a radio announcer said that exact quote last week.

So I figured that the first project from Tilly and the Buttons – Love at First Stitch would be the Margot Pajamas.

I wanted them to be warm so I stopped by the local grocery store and picked up some flannelette sheets (which were on special – $10 reduced from $25!)

Tracing the pattern onto baking paper was the hardest part. I tried 3 different types of tape and about 5 different pens before I found a combination that vaguely worked. Even then they look a bit mangled.

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Cutting out using Tillys instructions was almost easy!
Considering that’s the part which has tripped my up in my sewing adventures before that’s a win!

Then I diligently set about to sewing the pieces together. Even using the zigzag stitch to finish the edges which I’d never done before.

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Once I’d sewn the legs together I looked at the instructions for the crotch and realised I’d sewn the two fronts together and the two backs together.
I had to unpick and start again.

But I won’t be making that mistake again!!!!

After that they went off without a hitch.
Ta-da!!! Pajamas!!!!

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Too lazy to write. – FO9 Seafoam Shawlette

Shawlette Pattern

Tilly & The Buttons Book

yarn vs zombies

My shop

The tablecloth incident

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FO #8 Sunshine & Lollipops

I still don’t know what quite possessed me to make a bright yellow cardigan.

I guess it’s like when you see a paint sample and it looks really pretty, but then you put it on the wall and are overwhelmed by the overall effect.

When I was surrounded by the 40% off all yarn sale, with all those yarn fumes and balls of squishy goodness, the yellow Moda Vera Ayanna looked beautiful.

Teeny-tiny needles are not my friends at the moment so I’ve been looking for bulky yarns and chunky patterns.

Fezziwig absolutely flew off the needles relatively speaking. It still took me about a month to finish but as someone who is trying NOT to knit it still felt like it was going quickly. The construction was really easy, sure picking up 200+ stitches was a bit of a pain, but not having to attach sleeves more than made up for that. I’m terrified of patterns that have attached sleeves. It just sounds like a recipe for disaster.

The best thing about it is that it’s so warm. It’s like wearing a wooly blanket made from sunshine and lollipops with pockets!!!

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#KCBWDAY7 – Looking Forward Looking Back

This week I’m participating in Knitting and Crochet blog week hosted by Eskimimi makes. Every day there’s a different topic to prompt creative and inventive ways to enjoy writing fresh content for Knitting And Crochet Blogs.
To find others participating in Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – search the unique tag 5KCBWDAY7

Todays topic – Looking forward to next blog week, and looking back from this time last year.

Last year there were a few things I wanted to do.
I want to have completed my 13 in 2013 project. – Tick-ish
I want to learn more crochet and how crochet instructions work. – Urgh kinda
I want to have finished a jumper or cardigan. – Big Tick!
I want to get better at cables. – Big Tick!
I want to finally figure out what this pattern is! – Almost
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I made a cabled jumper which I am massively proud of. I’ve started a crochet blanket, but still have trouble with crochet instructions. I completely forgot about finding that pattern. I found a few variations though which I had fun playing with. And my 13 in 2013 was successful enough for me to want to repeat it again this year.

So where do I want to be by the time the next blog week comes along?
– I want to be selling stitch markers.
– I want to have a photo of every knitted item I make. Bonus points if I put it on ravelry.
& I want to have tackled something with colour work in it. Even if it fails massively its something I really should try again.

I would like to say that this week has been really awesome. Thank you Eskimimi Makes for once again organising a brilliant event.
It you haven’t already I highly recommend looking up any of the tags for the blog week #5KCBWDAY7 or DayX and making some new blog friends.
See you again next year!

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#KCBWDAY6 – Views Of Others, Views Of Yourself.

This week I’m participating in Knitting and Crochet blog week hosted by Eskimimi makes. Every day there’s a different topic to prompt creative and inventive ways to enjoy writing fresh content for Knitting And Crochet Blogs.
To find others participating in Knitting & Crochet Blog Week – search the unique tag 5KCBWDAY6

Todays topic – Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire, how do others view you.

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