Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pink Rope and Macrame.

 Eeeeek, I was searching for paracord on trade me (New Zealand's version of ebay) and came across this pink paracord - so perfect for macrame. Of course I snapped it up with a sweaty fury and then waited anxiously for it to arrive in the mail.
On the day it finally appeared in the mailbox, I was on my way to town and bought this huge, glass bowl to use the rope with. I found one for $25NZ ($20US) - it really is big - so felt it was quite the bargain. Of course the first thing I did was start knotting up the moment I came home. 
The air plant in the photographs was borrowed from another little terrarium and has since returned to its home. A trip to the nursery will be my next job!
 I'm also really excited because my Christmas postcards and magnets arrived at the end of last week. If you order a copy of 'Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon' between now and the 10th of December, you will receive them as a little thank you treat with your book. AND did you know that the books come wrapped AND postage is free so I can send them for you to anywhere and anyone in the world! Hassle free Christmas shopping at its best.
 Here is a bee in our blossom tree. I had to include it because it is so sweet and there is also a burgeoning pink theme in this post.
 And to top it off, my favourite pink rose in my favourite teacup with pink roses...
Lots and lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday Morning Baking.

As I mentioned yesterday morning, Archie woke in a baking mood. After trawling through my favourite cookbook, 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' by Nigella Lawson, he settled upon her Jam Donut Muffins. One thing I love about Nigella's recipes (we are on first name basis) is that with an extra egg and gluten free flour, they translate so easily into a gluten free version. I can say from experience that this is not always the case!
 He did the whole thing by himself from start to finish and with such happiness.
Hugo of course thought it was the best thing that has ever happened in our kitchen.
 Yum!
 YUM!
We were allowed to have one each. The rest had to be saved for dessert because Poppa was coming over for dinner.
Awwwww. Archie loves his Poppa.
Lots and lots of love,
Kate. xxooxxooxx.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Good Morning..... or Evening!

I hope you are having a lovely weekend. I'm still in pyjamas mid morning and feel like I should commit to clothing soon but it's soooooo snuggly. I've just finished an unputdownable thriller - 'Wolf' by Mo Hayder and have a stack of new choices waiting for me - I'll photograph them later. And I have only had one cup of tea so there are many more waiting for me to drink. I have a few must do crochet projects to work on which is always nice. And Archie is currently perusing cook books to find something to bake. Wahoo.
I hope you find yourself sandwiched in a cosy bit of time and space this weekend too.
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.
p.s. If this is sounding too idyllic, I had better let you know that the house is a mess and any cut could turn gangrenous.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Stanley's Christmas Count Down....

This was Stanley's first Christmas. He was just a little lad, firmly swaddled and braving the snow. I do feel sorry for his mother as she looks exhausted in the photo. On the other hand, Stanley's father looks so content. He travels for work so was very relieved to be home Christmas Eve. His job? Stanley's father works alongside a travelling magician, he is the rabbit that jumps out of the hat. Not the most regular of hours but as he constantly reminds himself, somebody has to do it.
This is one of the photos from the inner leaf of 'Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon'. Stanley's mother stuck some family snaps into the book with washi tape which was very kind of her. 
Now.... the count down is on for Christmas. If you would like to order a copy for some lucky person's present and they (or you) happen to live in Europe, America or the UK (or anywhere else), be sure to order by the Friday 5th December to make sure that it arrives before the big day. If you are in Australia, you have a few more days with the last being Wednesday 10th December.
BUT the best news is that I have ordered some postcards of Stanley's first Christmas and I will send one out with each book ordered over the next few weeks. Yay. Usually I pop in a little card to say thank you - this one I will leave blank so you can send it (or keep it) or do whatever you like with it.
As for the book, sales are going really well and I am starting to receive some lovely reviews (which are always nice). Kat Goldin from Slugs on the Refrigerator, my crochet hero and author of 'Crochet at Play' and 'Hook, Stitch & Give', had this to say....

"There are few things I love more than watching people do what they love and so, when Kate Bruning from Greedy with Colour published her children's book Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon, I immediately clicked over to etsy to ensure one would be arriving on our doorstep.
From the moment it was opened, it became our new favourite, with Georgia declaring Stanley her best friend and insisting I read it every time I sat down.I have long loved Kate's sense of colour and whimsy in her work - from her awesome bicycle bunting to her crazy awesome hot air balloons - Kate brings fun to whatever she is making.
Stanley and the Hot Air Balloon pulls all of that together in one beautiful package. The idea is so simple- the first half of the book is the adventures of Stanley the bunny. The second half of the book includes patterns for making many of the elements seen in the story. Its a truly amazing work of art - the story is sweet and relatable, the photos are lush and full of detail and the patterns are sweet and simple. I can not recommend it highly enough.  We love sitting and looking at the pictures and just taking in all of the details".

Sooooo, only if you feel like it, hop on over here and make sure Stanley (just like his dad), arrives in time for Christmas!
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Macrame and Candles - A Skill Swap Morning.

 Gaaaahhhhh! I have been missing blogging so much! The past few days I have seen me falling into bed each night exhausted and unable to speak, let alone write. So I am posting even if words are only used sparingly.
And thank goodness I have something fun to write about! Today my friend Maddy (who made the dream catcher) came over and we had a morning of swapping skills. Maddy taught me how to make soy candles (wahooooooo!!!) and I shared my extremely meagre knowledge of macrame.
 This is Maddy in action.
 In this day and age it's a wonderful thing that we can sign up here and there for classes but they are expensive and something that just isn't always in the budget. I love the idea of bringing different talents together and sharing knowledge for the joy of it. It would be a great thing to set up some kind of forum bringing people together in this way. Thinking cap on!
 I made a couple of quick nets (?) and have swivelled with a new direction - crocheted, macramed, bonsai balls - there is going to have to be a catchier title than that! Watch this space.
 I can't wait to get going!
 I love, love, love candle making - it really is one of the most relaxing crafts ever, especially when you have a lovely teacher.

And here is some bunting I bought on the weekend. I'm so annoyed because I lost the label telling me who made it. The colours are sublime though aren't they. 
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

How to Crochet an Advent Christmas Caravan!

 Welcome to the caravan park where things aren't quite as they seem......
Thank you so much to Black Sheep Wools for sponsoring this project with yarn and offering a discount on the yarns used to all Greedy for Colour readers (the code will be at the end). I've loved developing this pattern but it has involved a lot of work and time so I thank you for your patience! Still, there's plenty of weeks until Christmas so get your hooks out.
Who needs a new advent calendar when these Airstream caravans can hang from your Christmas tree? This is such an appropriate Christmas decoration in the southern hemisphere as our summer break happens during the festive season. The roads are choked with people tootling off to their holiday destinations towing campers, camper vans and caravans.
These caravans can also be filled to the brim with goodies. Up for it? Let's go.
Materials
1 x DMC Natura Just Cotton Bleu Layette 05
1 x DMC Natura Just Cotton Noir 11
1 x Twilley's Goldfingering Silver 5
2.5mm hook
1 small back bead
stuffing
1 button
1 x ice-cream container lid or similar flat plastic
Abbreviations
For this tutorial, all terms are U.K.
ch = chain
ss = slip stitch
dc = double crochet (single crochet in U.S. terms)
st/sts = stitch/stitches
yarn a = Bleu Layette
yarn b = Silver
yarn c = Noir
For the body
Make 2. 
Refer to the photos above.
This section is worked from side to side.
Row 1. Using yarn a, ch 2 then work 3dc into the 2nd ch from the hook (top left photo). Ch1, turn. (3)
Row 2. 2dc into each of the next 3sts. Ch1, turn. (6)
Row 3. *1dc into the first st then 2dc into the next st*. Repeat ** twice. Ch1, turn. (9)
Row 4. *1dc into each of the next 2sts then 2dc into the following st*. Repeat** twice. Ch1, turn. (12)
Row 5. *1dc into each of the next 3sts then 2dc into the following st*. Repeat** twice. Ch1, turn. (15)
Row 6. *1dc into each of the next 4sts then 2dc into the following st*. Repeat** twice. Ch1 but don’t turn. (18)
Row 7. Work 12dc across the semi-circle’s flat base. Ch1, turn (right photo). (12)
Rows 8-9. 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Ch1, turn. (12)
Row 10. 1dc into the first st, skip the next stitch. 1dc into each of the following 8sts then skip the next st. 1dc into the last st. Ch1, turn. (10)
Rows 11-12. 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Ch1, turn. (10)
Row 13. 1dc into the first st, skip the next stitch. 1dc into each of the following 6sts then skip the next st. 1dc into the last st. Ch1, but do not turn. (8)
Row 14. Work 30dc around the sides and arch (top photo). Do not include the flat base. Ch1, turn (middle left photo).
Rows 15-30 (16 rows). 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Ch1, turn.
Cut off yarn. 
Row 31. Count 7sts along the previous row worked. Reattach yarn and pull through the 7th st. Ch1, 1dc back into the same st (middle right photo). Work 1dc into each of the next 4sts then skip the following st. 1dc into each of the next 5 sts, then skip the 6th st. 1dc into each of the next 4sts then skip the following st. 1dc into the next st. Ch1, turn. (15)
Row 32. *1dc into each of the next 4sts then skip the following st*. Repeat** once more then 1dc into each of the following 3 sts. Skip the next st then 1dc into the following st. Ch1, turn. (12)
Row 33. *1dc into each of the next 3sts then skip the following st*. Repeat** once more then 1dc into each of the following 2 sts. Skip the next st then 1dc into the following st. Ch1, turn. (9)
Row 34. *1dc into each of the next 2sts then skip the following st*. Repeat** once more then 1dc into the next st. Skip the following st then 1dc into the following st. Ch1, turn. (6)
Row 35. *Skip the first st, then 1dc into the following st*. Repeat** twice. Ch1, turn. (3)
Row 36. Ss into the last st. 
Cut yarn. 
Row 37. Return to the first st of the last row and reattach yarn. Ch1 and work 1dc back into the same st (bottom right photo). Work 11dc across the base of the semi-circle. Ch1, turn. (12)
Rows 38-39. 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Ch1, turn. (12)
Row 40. Work 1dc into the first st, skip the next stitch. 1dc into each of the following 8sts then skip the next st. 1dc into the last st. Ch1, turn. (10)
Rows 41-42. 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Ch1, turn. (10)
Row 43. Work 1dc into the first st, skip the next stitch. 1dc into each of the following 6sts then skip the next st. 1dc into the last st.  (8)
 Cut yarn leaving a long tail to stitch down the 2 sides.
For the Door
The door is worked from side to side until the final round.
Row 1. Using yarn a, ch 2 then work 3dc into the 2nd ch from the hook. Ch1, turn. (3)
Row 2. Work 2dc into each of the next 3sts. Ch1, but do not turn. (6)
Row 3. Work 4dc across the semi-circle’s flat base (top right photo). Ch1, turn. (4)
Rows 4-6 (3rows). 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Ch 1, turn. (4)
Row 7. 1dc into every st until the end of the row. Bind off. (4)
Round 1. Using yarn b and starting at the bottom right hand corner of the flat base, ch1 then 1dc back into the same st (top right photo). Work 1dc into each of the next 2sts then 1dc into the corner st. Ch1 then work 1dc back into the same st. Work 4dc up the side until the arch is reached. *1dc into the next st, then 2dc into the following st*. Repeat** twice. Work 4dc down the side then 1dc into the corner. Ch1, then ss back into the first dc of the round.
Bind off.
Stitch a small black bead on for a door handle (bottom left photo).
For the Window
Using yarn b, ch2 then work 3dc into the 2nd ch form the hook. Continuing to work into the 2nd ch, ch1, then 3dc, ch1 then 3dc, ch1 then another 3dc (top left photo). Ch1 then ss back into the first dc made (bottom left photo). Cut yarn. Pull on the tail leftover from the primary ch to tighten the central hole (top right photo). Tie the 2 tails together then snip one very short, leaving the other to stitch the window to the caravan.
For the Wheels
Make 3. 
The wheels are made in continuous, spiraling rounds.
Round 1. Using yarn b, ch2 then work 4dc into the 2nd ch from the hook. Ss back into the first dc. (4) Cut yarn
Round 2. Change to yarn c. Ch1 then 1dc into the same st. 2dc into the next 4sts then ss back into the first dc. (9)
Bind off.
To Assemble
Stuff one of the bodies to give the caravan a temporary shape. Pin on the window, door and wheels then un-stuff and stitch on. 
For the Numbers
Cut a 60cm length of yarn c and then gently separate out 3 strands to crochet with. Leaving a 22cm tail, ch15 then bind off. Pin to the caravan in the number's shape and stitch on. n.b. Some numbers such as '1' may need less then 15ch.
To Assemble
Carefully insert the inner body into the outer body so that they line up and then pin. This stage requires a bit of jiggling and stretching (think of a pair jeans one size too small), stay strong - they will come together. Stitch around the base of the two bodies.
For the Base
The base is worked in continuous, spiraling rounds.
Round 1. Using yarn a, ch 2 then work 6dc into the 2nd ch from the hook. Ss back into the first dc. (6)
Round 2. 2dc into every st until the end of the round. (12)
Round 3. *1dc into the first st, then 2dc into the next st*. Repeat ** until the end of the round. (18)
Rounds 4-18 (15 rounds). 1dc into every st until the end of the round. (18)
Pressing the base flat, trace around the shape made onto a piece of paper. 2 more rounds will be crocheted on the base so flip it around on your template to mirror the shape on the other end. Cut out the paper template shaving off an approximate 2-3mm so that it will fit inside the base. Place paper on plastic and cut out the plastic base Insert the plastic base into the crochet base then complete the following two rounds.
Round 19. *1dc into each of the next 2sts then skip the following st*. Repeat ** until the end of the round. (12)
Round 20. *1dc into the first st then skip the next st*. Repeat ** until the end of the round. (6). 
Bind off.
To Assemble
Stuff the body then insert the base making sure it rests just below the lip of the body (top photo). Pin into place then sew one side of the base and the body together (bottom photo). 
For the Button Loop
Using yarn a, ch14. Bind off leaving a decent tail at either end and stitch it to the open edge of the body. With a pin, mark out the best spot for a button (left photo) and then stitch the button on
For the Draw Bar
Using yarn a, ch10. Bind off leaving a decent tail at either end and stitch it to the front of the caravan (bottom right photo).
Thread a 15cm loop of yarn c through both layers of the roof. 
Fill with stuffing, spray liberally and leave in a warm place to dry overnight. 
Fill with the most wonderful goodies and dot them about the tree to be found each day throughout Advent.
 The boys are quite keen on this project..... hmmmmm.
Or you could make an apartment building of caravans. Imagine the tiny ladders reaching up to the top story. Even more fun than a caravan park!
I hope you are braver than me and begin with a caravan marked '1'. I'm making mine backwards this year so I know that there will be something on Christmas morning!
Black Sheep Wools have been amazing as they gave me carte blanche to choose my materials. I have an absolute passion for DMC Natura Just Cotton and Twilley's Goldfingering, so it was an absolute joy to discover that they stocked them. The cotton gives a natural stiffness to the project and comes in the most wonderful colours and the Twilley's Goldfingering has long been a favourite since I first used it for making the Christmas bauble pattern
Here are some other colours I used in this project: 
Twilley's Goldfingering Antique Gold 4
DM Naura Just Cotton in the following colours -
Geranium 52
Aguamarina 25
Golden Lemon 43
Thank you so much Black Sheep Wools, it has been so much fun to work with you and an especially big thank you to Lesley whose idea it was to embroider numbers onto the caravans' side.
And now for the code!!! Type GREEDY14 at Black Sheep Wool's check out and it will give you a 10% discount on all shades of DMC Natura Just Cotton and Twilley's Goldfingering from today until the 24th November. 
Have fun, love Kate xxooxx.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Crafting with Willow.

The boys starred in the making stakes this weekend. Jonno cut a big wreath of willow for the boys for to craft with and they came up with the most wonderful projects. Archie and Hugo observed an artisan making willow whistles on our trip to England earlier this year. With a memory fresher than min, Archie managed to successfully recreated his own. The only problem being that he couldn't resist whistling it whenever he was standing next to me.... so impressed with his craftsmanship but a constant high pitched whistling can tend to become a little frustrating over the course of an afternoon. Eventually I gently suggested that our dog Bertie was perhaps being driven to distraction and the whistling thoughtfully softened out.
It's so pretty though!
Hugo decided to make a hot pie server which is always useful to have on hand.
I have to say that I was blown away by his work. Just beautiful.
Hugo's hands are kind of amazing. They are so little but have the surety of an old man.
Look at that face.
At one point it began to slip so he reworked until it held perfectly. So, so, so impressed.
And here are some roses from my garden. I can't begin to express the joy they bring to me each year.
Love.
I hope you had a lovely weekend too!
Lots of love,
Kate. xxooxx.

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