Saturday, December 27, 2008

paradise by the sea

Time for a break, so we are off to Apollo Bay for a family holiday... and when I say a family holiday, I mean a FAMILY holiday! We will be staying with my Dad... my sister plus her husband and kids... and my brother plus his wife... all in a 3 bedroom holiday house. So it truly is a family holiday!

Looking forward to it... but will very much miss Mum. I haven't been to Apollo Bay since her burial three months ago, and I know that I need to visit the cemetery... but I am dreading it.

I plan to do lots of unraveling while I am away, so I can re-stock my stash. So if you happen to be down that way... and see a mad woman sitting in the park, unraveling what appears to be a perfectly good jumper... come over and say hello to me! I'd love to meet you...

So I'll be disappearing from blog land for a little while, but should be back feeling well rested by mid-January.

As the New Year approaches... I will be meditating on these 'rules to live by'... I believe they were written by Robert Louis Stevenson. There is something in them for all of us:

Make up your mind to be happy.
Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

Make the best of circumstances. No one has everything and everyone has something of sorrow.

Don't take yourself too seriously.

Don't let criticism worry you. You can't please everybody.

Don't let your neighbors set your standards; be yourself.

Do things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.

Don't borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than actual ones.

Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish enmities and grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.

Have many interests. If you can't travel, read about places.

Don't hold post-mortems or spend time brooding over sorrows and mistakes.

Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

Keep busy at something. A very busy person never has time to be unhappy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

topsy turvy delight


rags - close


ball - close


I've used a Jean Greenhowe pattern, take a look here for details... you will need to scroll about halfway down the page

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Well, now that the gifts for the boys are all sorted... I can focus on the cinderella doll for Little Miss Four. I knit the pieces for her weeks ago, and now it is just a matter of the assembly.

JUST a matter of the assembly?

Who am I trying to kid here??? These things take forever to put together!

I'm using a Jean Greenhowe pattern, take a look here if you want an idea of what I am up to. Scroll about halfway down the page and you will see a topsy-turvy cinderella doll. That's the one I am making.

So here is my progress on sad cinderella...


I've used crazy yarn for her skirt... rather appropriate for her 'rag dress' I thought... especially with all those exposed knots.

And if you look really closely, you might recognise that hair. Remember the tutorial I made about recycling yarn from a jumper. I was complaining that the yarn from that particular garment was a bit 'straw-like'? Well... it makes for perfect doll hair!

Monday, December 22, 2008


the alien for Master Six has been brought to life


red hair... pieces of yarn tied firmly to the top of the head, and then I have untwisted the ply

red hair

12 arms... six down each side... I went with a curlicue look for these

curlicue arms

10 legs... made them long and hairy... a decision which I know I will regret when my son's room is covered with the little hairs which shed (especially when they play tug-o-war with those legs)

hairy legs

8 eyes... a small piece of vinyl sits behind the buttons

multiple eyes

and here his is in all his glory! what do you think?


Sunday, December 21, 2008

another gift completed!

Okay... I am really pleased to finally have this gift finished. It's actually a sage green colour, but it looks a little blue in the photo.


It's the first time I have knitted a scarf in a 4ply (fingering weight) yarn... and it seemed to take forever! For a while there, I wondered if it was ever going to be finished...

I do love the pattern though. As far as lace patterns go, it's quite simple to follow and easy to remember. And I love the finished effect, too.

Now, get ready for the biggest surprise of all... I actually blocked this scarf!!!

Mind you... that just means that I laid it out nicely on the ironing board... gave it a spritz of water... put a cloth over the top... gave that a spritz of water... then carefully and lightly steamed it with my iron on the WOOL setting. Pretty fancy, hey!

You might recognize this pattern, as it is a scarf that I have made before. If you want to take a little stroll down memory lane with me, you can see other versions of the same scarf here and here and here.

The scarf pattern is not available online, but I did find instructions for a feather stitch pattern which you could use if you were interested in making something similar. Don't be confused if the photo looks a little different... they have shown the RIGHT side of the work, whereas most of my photos show the WRONG side (which I find more interesting)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

no time for words...

Okay, that's not entirely true... I'm just being a bit lazy!

Here's the progress of the alien for Master Six:


Friday, December 19, 2008


Am I the most irresponsible mother on the face of this earth?

Well... Master Six thinks that I am!

He might not have said it in quite those words, but he gave me one of THOSE looks. You know the kind I mean... a look of despair, disgust, shock, horror and disbelief... all rolled into one.

Now what could I possibly have done to deserve a LOOK like that, you wonder?

Well... it all has to do with this hand made Christmas idea.

At first I didn't really know what to make for the boys. After I thought on it for a while, I put a couple of ideas together. They love their cuddle toys... and they love to 'design'. So I would let them 'design' a cuddle toy, and I would make it for them. It seemed simple enough.

And it was... in theory. For example the alien for Master Nine is all done and wrapped, waiting under the tree.

Alas things are not moving so smoothly with Master Six. He drew a monster for me weeks ago. But I can't find it! In fact, I don't recall having seen it at all... but he swears that he gave it to me to look after. Well, I have turned this craft room upside down looking for it... and it is definitely not here.

Master Six is horrified that I could have been so irresponsible with his precious design. He is so affected by the situation, that no amount of coaxing or bribing could get him to sketch another creature. Apparently I had my chance, and I blew it!

We finally agreed that he could give me a list of characteristics, and I would work from that instead. Take a look at the list... I think he is trying to punish me!

  • 12 arms, 6 on each side
  • 10 legs
  • 8 eyes
  • red hair... on his head, not all over

So I've drawn up a quick sketch... a very quick sketch indeed!


Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well, I made a slight alteration to the original plan for the eyes. I was thinking about using a purple button in the centre, but it just didn't work. The purple was too bright, and didn't really tie in with any of the other colours on the alien. I thought about adding some purple trims here and there, but I think he is busy enough without adding to it. So I substituted with a couple of brown buttons instead.


Inside each of the antennae are three bendy drinking straws... with means their position can be changed as the mood strikes. I love the pom poms on the end, too!


So... this was the original play dough model:

sam's alien - model

And this is my cuddly version:


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

one more day...

One more day and I should be done...

I still need to add the eyes... maybe eyebrows... and the antennae...


Not feeling quite so bleargh about him today. I think that the addition of the mouth has made quite the difference. It never ceases to amaze me that such small things can add so much character.

Fingers crossed, I should have him finished by tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

don't give up...

I find this to be the really disheartening part of a project...


As you can see, the alien had a body... wings... and feet. Granted, they do need to be attached - but the basics are there.

And yet it looks bland, uninspiring and ugh!

I know it WILL get better. So much of what really makes a project special is found in the finishing touches. But at this stage I always start to wonder "what was I thinking"

I'm going to make a concerted effort today... to really get stuck into this toy. I need to push myself through the "ugh! barrier" and find my happy place. After all... Christmas is getting close now!

Monday, December 15, 2008

bell completed

I still think this flower is a bit on the large side... but I'm loving the look of the felt with the aged bell... and the colours of the felt are just perfect.

bell finished

As you can see, I have added a couple of green leaves. They were a bit 'flat' on their own, so the embroidered stitching around the edges helps lift them a little, and because I have use a golden colour... it helps tie the leaves with the bell.

Now all I need is that hook in the ceiling... and to hang it somewhere that I can play with it easily, but the children can't!

bell finished (closeup flower)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

perhaps a poinsettia?

I've been thinking about how to best decorate this bell, and decided I would try out a felted poinsettia flower...


Started out with some red and green felted jumper pieces and some beads. I made a cardboard template for the petals, and cut out eight pieces from the red felt.

1 petal

2 petals

Then started sewing them together, alternating beads and petals, until all eight were on.

all petals

I also attached a circle of brownish coloured felt to the centre of the flower... oops... bit of a blurry shot, sorry!

centre added

Now I need to think about the leaves, and exactly how I want to use the flower on the bell. It has actually turned out a little larger than I had anticipated.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

an old christmas bell...

bell before

This old Christmas bell once belonged to Mr Goldfish's grandmother.

I don't usually put it up, but I think it's time to put a hook in the ceiling... so that I can hang it up and everyone can enjoy it. It actually plays a tune. You pull on the... um... glitter ball... I'm sure this part of the bell has a name, but I can't for the life of me think what to call it! Anyway, you pull on the glitter ball, and away the music plays. There's the odd 'ting' missing from the melody, but that just adds to the character, in my opinion!

Before I hang the bell, I would like to add an embellishment. It just needs 'something'. So I'll spend some time today thinking about that, and see what I can come up with.

Meanwhile... did you see the cherries on our tree??? Mmmmm... delicious!


Friday, December 12, 2008

rainbow scarf pattern

My boys have recently discovered how much fun it is to ride their bikes out in the street. Although we live at the end of a court, and therefore there is no passing traffic - I'm still a bit nervous about allowing them out unsupervised. It was a beautiful afternoon here yesterday, so I found myself a nice shady spot on the footpath... set up a chair... brought out my basket of rainbow yarns and started hooking.

It was brilliant. The boys rode around until they were exhausted, and I got one of my scarves done!

Mr Goldfish was out doing some Christmas shopping last night, so after the kids were in bed, I had the place to myself. Instead of fussing about with chores, I indulged in my crochet and got the second scarf completed!

both scarfs

red scarf - closeup

I feel a bit cheeky calling this a pattern... more like instructions, really...

I've used a 5.0mm hook, and mostly 8ply yarn... although the red was a 12ply... the green and violet were 4ply, so I worked them with two strands held together... the indigo was even finer, so I held three strands of that together as I worked

basically, you can use whatever you like!

my yarn types were varied, too... the red is wool, the orange is acrylic, the yellow is wool, the green is cotton, the blue is something hairy, the indigo is a novelty ribbon yarn, and the violet is wool

again, this is YOUR scarf... so use whatever you like!

the scarf is worked sideways in sc (US)

just chain the length you want the scarf to be. I pop it around my neck to check the length. I usually like this type of scarf to sit an inch or two below my waist line... so I use that as a rough guide for my chain length... bearing in mind that there will be a tassel added also. Keep the chain loose for two reasons... 1. it is easier to work into the chain on your first row if they are not too tight, and 2. your scarf will tend to twist on itself if the chains are too tight

sc into the 2nd chain from hook, and every chain after that until you reach the end

leave a tail of a couple of inches and fasten off

turn work and add the next colour... continue working in rows of sc, leaving long tails at each end

I've worked 13 rows in total

red - orange - yellow - green - blue - indigo - violet - indigo - blue - green - yellow - orange - red

on the second scarf I worked the colours in reverse order

violet - indigo - blue - green - yellow - orange - red - orange - yellow - green - blue - indigo - violet

when the rows are completed, firmly knot each 'tail' to the one next to it... these will form the tassel... I chose to add a little extra to add some bulk, but it all comes down to personal preference

then I just trimmed the tails to an even length, and blocked the scarf lightly using a steam iron

red scarf

purple scarf

Thursday, December 11, 2008

an entire rainbow of colours

red - orange - yellow - green - blue - indigo - violet

rainbow colours

Little Miss Four only has one more session left at pre-school for the year. So it was time to organise the Christmas gifts for the staff there. I thought I could involve my daughter by allowing her to choose a bag for each of them.

I have so many bags already completed here, that she was spoiled for choice.

But things didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped, and the outcome is that she would like her 'teachers' to have a rainbow scarf each. I should have stood my ground and encouraged her to choose a bag instead. But instead... I'm thinking... "Oooohhh... rainbow scarves... they sound like fun... haven't made them before"

I love a new challenge... so the plans are set for rainbow scarves... yarn is organised, and off we go!

Of course they will be QUICK, SIMPLE and BRIGHT. I have until tuesday, but hopefully they will be done by tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a bargain I couldn't say NO to...

Crochet hooks for fifty cents each? There's no way I could pass that up!

Fabulous sizes, too... 10.0mm... 12.0mm... and 15.0mm...

fifty cent hooks

Despite my rapidly growing hook collection, I didn't have a 12.0mm or a 15.0mm hook, so I picked up a couple... then a couple more... and a couple more after that!

They will make wonderful Christmas surprises for my crochet buddies. These sizes are wonderful for experimenting with all those alternative 'yarns' which I love so much, and they aren't always that easy to come by.

Wonderful timing, too... as today is our last crochet meet for the year.

hooks for friends

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

another accidental hat

accidental hat on sam

This time I have made the "accidental hat" in an adult size, as a Christmas gift.

Master Nine is modeling it here for me, although it is a smidge too large for him.

If you haven't read the story behind the original accidental hat, or would like to see instructions on how to make one yourself... click here for more information

accidental hat on sam - closeup

Monday, December 8, 2008

master six produces a necklace

ben's necklace for katie

You might remember I've talked about our plans for a hand made Christmas in the Goldfish household. Basically, instead of buying gifts for one another, we will be making them.

Well... over the weekend, Master Six worked on his gift for Little Miss Four. She is very much a girly girl who loves her jewellery, so he was very keen to create a necklace for her.

I was actually quite surprised at his forethought with this project. Twelve months ago he would have strung on a random handful of beads and the job would have been finished in two minutes flat. But he has matured a great deal this year. There was a long involved process of choosing the beads... then laying them out in the order he wanted... then measuring to check the length of the elastic... all very precise and planned. It was beautiful to watch him putting in so much effort, all because he wanted to make something really special for his little sister.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I'm back

Recently I shared with you a Christmas wreath which I had made from rags. I loved that it was made entirely from recycled materials... but the colours I chose were far too subtle for my taste! Very unusual for me to play it safe with colour. I'm not at all sure what was going on there. Subtle - tasteful - safe - reserved - it's like I was possessed!!!

click here to see the original wreath, and the instructions for how to make one

Well - I'd just like to announce that I'M BACK

My home has been treated to a much more suitable wreath... which better reflects the people inside! It's a little smaller than the last one, but I love it.

I have to say a big thank you to Mrs S... who I know stops by this blog from time to time. Thanks for thinking of me when you sorted through your fabric stash. Those scraps which were useless to you, have created my wreath. I even used the cardboard box (which you sent them in) to cut the base from. I thank you... and my front door thanks you!

The wreath just needed a little something extra... so 'borrowed' a bell from our Christmas tree, to complete the look.

bright rag wreath

Saturday, December 6, 2008

what's in a name?

One thing I have noticed about kids... is just how much they LOVE seeing their own name printed on something... maybe it's the MINE factor, but whatever it is... they love it.

So a gift with a child's name on it, always goes down a treat. Something that is clearly just for them. Not for sharing... MINE... MINE... MINE... MINE... MINE...

This cushion makes for a simple gift idea. I have used a ready made cushion with a removable cover, but if your sewing skills are up to it, you could make it from scratch.

noah cushion

It's just as easy as it looks. First I cut my stars from some scrap fabrics. Then I embroidered the name on to the large star. I used some iron on interfacing to position the stars on the cushion cover, then worked a blanket stitch edging around the outline - securing the star in place.

noah cushion - closeup

It's really that simple!

I've made quite a number of these... sometimes I'll cut the individual letters from scrap material and sew them on to the cushion... just for something different.

Friday, December 5, 2008

it's just a triangle

This shawl pattern came about after I saw a fabulous simple shawl, made by another crochet fanatic. I'm not usually into shawls (although I can feel that changing) but I loved the simplicity of this particular one.

Now I don't mind paying for patterns... but in this particular instance I was NOT paying $7... I mean to say... IT'S JUST A TRIANGLE!!!!

I won't be telling you how much yarn you will need... or what size hook to use. I can tell you that I used my crazy yarn and a 6.0mm hook for my shawl. When I worked up the shawl for my daughter, I dropped down to a 5.0mm hook, which I think I prefer. But this is YOUR shawl... use whatever YOU like.

shawl in progress
a progress shot of my shawl... using 6.0mm hook

and my daughter's shawl using a 5.0mm hook


you are starting at the centre top of the shawl, and will be working back and forth in rows, turning your work as you go

start with an adjustable ring

row 1 - ch3, 2dc, ch2 (this forms the 'point') 3dc... tighten your ring... ch3 and turn

row 2 - 2dc into the first space between the dcs of the previous row, continue to dc into each space until you reach the 'point' of the shawl... 2dc, ch2, 2dc... then continue to dc into each space until you reach the end, working 3dc into the final space... ch3 and turn

repeat row 2 until you are happy with the size of your triangle! easy

since this is a free pattern, it has not been tested... if you find any errors, please let me know

there are progress shots below... I haven't put any captions on them, but they should help you to visualise the pattern