Tag Archives: crochet

Friday Finds: A list of DIY gifts for Father’s Day

While I am informed that ‘handmade is the new black’, the joy of handmade has not spread to the men in our lives as much as the women and children. Today’s list, however, is set to change that! I have gathered together a list of links to free patterns to make a wide variety of things that will all be well received by the men in your life. Remember – handmade doesn’t mean poor quality – it means high quality because it is imbued with the love of the person making the gift!

Father’s Day is a day to reflect on the men in our lives – our fathers, grandfathers, and the fathers of our children.  I am very lucky to have known both my grandfathers, and to still have my father.  I have memories of dancing on my Opa’s shoes in the lounge room, and of my Pop taking us for outings to the only ice-cream parlour in Auckland at the time (because as an American he missed ice-cream parlours).  My Dad is truly one of the good guys.  He provides me with love and support, humour and wisdom as he has always.  I am always grateful that I am his daughter, so Father’s Day is a special day in my life each year.

As you all know, sewing is my ‘thing’ so the first part of this list are ideas that are for sewn gifts for men.
First up – a hat! I love the styling of this pattern for a men’s flat cap from aboutgoodness.com.

Another idea is an apron for Dad.  I have used this pattern from Purl Bee and really like the way that the strap is adjustable so it can fit a multitude of sizes.  When I made an apron with this pattern for a family member I used printable fabric to print a picture of the children holding a sign with her name and made the pocket from that.

Last Christmas I made my father a sun hat using this pattern from April Cobb.  The pattern is a good basic one, and you can personalise it with your choice of fabrics.  I had to include some orange in the one for my Dad because he is from The Netherlands!

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Another idea that I am keen to make myself is this tutorial for an iPhone/iPad stand from the lovely Michelle at Factotum of the Arts.

If you are a fan of making bags like me, then a cargo duffle bag is a great personal gift that he will get a lot of use from.  Noodlehead has the free pattern for this bag on her site.

For a ‘metro’ Dad in your life, Sew4Home has a pattern for this ‘Metro Bag‘.

For a Dad who likes a nice hankie, Purl Bee has a detailed tutorial on how to create a rolled-hem Hankie.

Another simple to make but thoughtful gift is a coffee cup cozy.  Hawaiian Paperdoll shares a great pattern on her site.

Another idea, and one that I have been playing with myself, is making Dad a wallet.  A nice simple pattern for a wallet is found on Allisa Jacobs website.

For those of you who like to crochet here is a list for you!

The manly man hat by Green Dragonfly is a great pattern!

I also like this ripple afghan in ‘manly’ colours (whatever ‘manly’ colours are!) from Lion Brand Yarn.

If Dad likes a bit of Dr Who or Star Wars, then Moogly has a great collection of patterns for crocheting a great range of gifts with these themes.

  Star Wars on MooglyDoctor Who Crochet Patterns - all free! Grab your hooks and allons-y! Dr Who on Moogly

Or you might like to make Dad his own Death Star Cushion with this pattern from Pops de Milk.

I plan to make these Opa House Slippers for my own Dad one day……  The pattern is on Ravelry.

Of course Dad could always use a new gadget cover – and there is a great list of free patterns in this post I prepared a couple of weeks ago – DIY Gadget covers.

As usual there are many other great lists of gifts that you can make for Father’s Day.  If you are interested in seeing more lists, or other ideas, you might like to look at the Pinterest board I have created as a place to store these ideas, appropriately titled “Gifts for Men“!

The most important thing to remember though, is that if you make a gift with love, you pass your love with the gift.

Friday Finds – a list of tutorials for making a crocheted floor rug

In the process of making the crocheted floor rug for my daughters’ room from recycled t-shirt yarn (also known as ‘tarn’ and by the brand name ‘zpagetti’) I found a pile of patterns to draw inspiration from.  I am now slightly stalled in the process of making a rug for my son’s room, so hope that by revisiting those tutorials to share with you I might kick start myself back into action!

Making T-shirt yarn

Tutorial on Mollie Makes – how to make t-shirt yarn

Clear diagram on the interestingly named Fuck Yeah Craft site – making t-shirt yarn

Video and instructions on ReleveDesign – how to cut continuous t-shirt yarn

Polka Dot Pineapple – Tutorial on making t-shirt yarn

Making rugs

Upcycle magazine – How to make an Upcycled Crochet Rug

NobleKnits Knitting Blog – How to crochet a Rag Rug tutorial

Eclectic Me – Who said Grannys don’t look good in denim?  (tutorial for a denim crocheted floor rug)

Impatiently Crafty – Round Crochet Rag Rug tutorial

Flight of the Pook has created a vlog series on Great Big Fat Crochet.

King Soliet – detailed post and lots of ideas on making Upcycled Crochet Rug

Sugar Bee Crafts – Rag Rug Tutorial

Bauta Witch has a tutorial for creating a crocheted rug, that includes lighting!  There is an English translation at the bottom of the post.

This Ripple rug pattern on the Sweet and Knit blog is written in Spanish, but is easily translated and results in a gorgeous floor rug.

It has worked!  I am off to pick up the hook again – and hopefully have some photos of the finished product before too long!

May the Fourth be with you

It feels like a long time between drinks posts.  I have written several in my head in the last week, so was quite surprised when I logged on to see how long it had been outside my head, in the real world, since I posted!  There you go – time flies when you are having fun!

I have been playing with all sort of things in the last couple of weeks.  New fabric.  New ideas.  Old ideas revamped.  Housekeeping.  Forgetting to clean the house.  The usual circus that happens here in the nest!  My May newsletter did get out on time (have you subscribed yet?  They are full of a wide variety of things, so sign up – its free!)

In celebration of Star Wars day I have made two new bags – which will be listed on Etsy in my shop later today when I have the ‘good’ photos finished.  I enjoyed making these – I learnt a bit from using my repurposed denim bag while I was away over Easter, so took a different approach to cutting and joining pieces, taking note of the stretch in different fabrics, and think that the product is much better as a result.

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The first bag is a tote so not too much to tinker with there – although I did take a different approach to the base with some extra stitching, while the satchel is where I had a bit more fun.  I used the small front pocket from the jeans I was attacking cutting up to complete a bag panel alongside a back pocket piece, so this bag now has a pen pocket and a full sized pocket under the flap, as well as the usual pocket on the back, and slip pockets inside.  I like the new ideas that come from fitting together pieces that have already been used in another form!

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I also made the eldest chick a pair of pj pants from left over flannel – she loves them and I have had to peel them off her to wash them as she changes into them when she gets home from school!  I bought some new flannel on sale last week, so will be making another pair for her, one for the boy, and one for myself.  (The middle chick has about 10 pairs of pjs so doesn’t need more!)

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I went on a re-stocking buying trip last week (where I scored the flannel) and stocked up on some printed duck-cloth, and other bits and pieces, and bought this gorgeous fabric at the same time.  A friend/customer has requested two bags for her to take as thank you gifts when she travels overseas later in the year. She wanted an Australian flavour.  These fabrics (although unfortunately printed off-shore) bear the designs of Indigenous artists from Maningrida, a remote community in the Northern Territory where I have previously spent a little time.  I love them!  My bag making got stalled when I succumbed to a bug from one of the children, but I intend to finish them in the next day or so, and show you the end results!

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I also got a bit adventurous and bought some leather pieces.  I have been looking for leather to repurpose for a while, but in the absence of any success there, some pieces from a wholesaler are a good place to start (especially as they were a very reasonable price.)  I haven’t cut into them yet but hope to start playing with some new ideas this week, so stand by for photos!

In thinking about my market display I put out a call on Freecycle to see if I could get some boxes to help with my display.  Look at the history in these!  A beautiful woman passed them on to me – some were ones that her grandfather had acquired through his work, one had been used as a nesting box for chickens – they are all boxes that have had a life, and a lot of history.  We shared a bit of our lives with each other which made the meeting even more special.  I am so lucky!  A bit of cleaning and repairing and I will take some proper photos to share.

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It really has been a busy couple of weeks – there is so much more I could share, but I need to leave you with some time for your own life so won’t go on with every detail!  One thing I will share though is that my boy had a bad start with the return to school and was struggling again, with acute anxiety episodes, and the behaviour that flows from those.  Until I took him to the chiropractor we see, who also offers Neuro Emotional Technique.  If you google this practise you get all sorts of criticism of the lack of scientific evidence, blah, blah, blah, but to be honest, after the last couple of years I tend to look at the results for my kids, rather than the reviews.  I talked to her about his anxiety and other issues and she offered to check his ‘reflexes’.  She did, and then adjusted his “fear paralysis reflex” (some mild clicks in a couple of spots).   Wow!  He was calmer straight away, went to sleep without needing me to lie down with him that night, (and the next!), and the next day had an amazing day of staying in class and coping with everything!  The rest of the week continued well too.  Now this is not a ‘cure’ but whatever hocus pocus it is, it has given my beautiful boy, and his very supportive teachers, a break, some respite, and a chance for him to succeed again.  Hopefully the effect will last a while.  If not, even these few days of calm for him have been a gift.

I am sure some of you are missing my weather updates (Uh-huh).  It is cold.  Really cold.  Snow on the surrounding mountains sort of cold.  And the kids started their winter sports season yesterday, in the cold, and the rain. (Luckily they are with their father this weekend so I was tucked up home in bed recovering from a virus while they were suffering.)  The middle-chick didn’t cope so well (her father diagnosed frost bite – massive eye roll from me) but the eldest chick, in her first season of hockey on a full pitch, scored a goal, and the boy, in his first season of being allowed to tackle in rugby (and for the Americans reading – this does not involve any padding like your grid iron players wear – they just do full body tackles) and enjoyed it and wasn’t injured.  Phew!

My plans this week include working on some business planning, SEWING, and finishing this zpagetti rug I started yesterday while lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself.  I hope that you have a great week!

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Doctor’s advice

I have been stopped in my tracks this week. The details of how and why aren’t important (because they involve someone else’s story) but the impact has been a bit devastating. (Not complete and total devastation obviously because I am still here writing, so you can all breathe out!)

The impact has surprised me. I have had what can only be described as a rough couple of years with work and home, but have managed to remain strong and resilient and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I have looked after my chicks, focussed on things to provide time for myself (well – that is my excuse for my fabric addiction and I am sticking to it!) and kept it together mentally, more or less! (Some may argue less, but that is the story of my life, not these last couple of years!). I have been conscious that it has been getting harder and harder to bounce back, but I was still bouncing back. Finding new strategies, putting yet another plan into place. Not this time. Something unpredictable happened (that normally I would have taken in my stride) and my bounce went on holiday. Boy – talk about your body telling you that it is time to stop. A sign of how bad things have been? No sewing! And I watched a DVD yesterday. Oh my goodness – things must be bad! (I normally don’t sit still long enough to watch anything on TV, let alone a whole movie!)

Of course, things aren’t really that bad. I have spoken to the experts and know that all will return to normal quite soon, blah, blah, blah. I am just quite amazed at how my mind and body decided to tell me that I had to stop. I didn’t get a choice – I just slept for the best part of 24 hours. Now I am on a strict diet of exercise, rest, healthy food, and – praise be – instructions to cruise craft forums and sites. (I love a bit of sensible advice!) Because – focussing on things that I love and that make me happy, is the best medicine! (And the chicks have gone away to attend the celebration of their great-grandmother’s 100th birthday so those things that I love and that make me happy are out of town!).

Now I already follow a lovely range of crafting, sewing, creative blogs and sites – but who am I to argue with doctor’s orders? I am off to find some more – after a walk with the dog and my mum of course! So if you have any suggestions of sites that you want to share – please do!!

In the meantime I share with you my one piece of crafting for the week. Three granny squares made as my contribution to the charity blanket I posted about last week. (Well – even with the wind knocked out of my sails I couldn’t just sit and watch a movie – I had to do something!) I might even manage a few more before popping them in the mail to Sweden!

So – share your ideas for great craft sites – purely for medicinal purposes of course!!

Friday finds – a list of 21 links to free patterns for crochet market bags

I think that Fridays are my favourite day of the week. Work is over, the weekend is stretching out in front of me, full of possibility, and there is nothing that ‘has’ to be done other than self imposed things like posting a blog post! When looking through my collection of ideas that I go to when I need inspiration I realised that I have collected a large number of links to crochet market bags. I have yet to make one, but love the concept, and, once I have finished the ripple afghan (soon, I promise, soon!) I intend to make a couple. I have made a crochet beach bag as a gift for my sister, and loved the process, so think that market bags would be similarly delightful.

On a cold and blustery day, curling up on the couch and crocheting away is so appealing… To assist, here is my list!

Crochet Grocery Bag – Fat Cat Crochet, RavelryCrochet Grocery Bag - free pattern - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/crochet-grocery-bag

l20065a-187x300Hobo Market Bag – Daisydozit

Rainbow Market Bag – allfreecrochet

Beginner Market BagCrochet Market Bag – Dearest Debi

Cotton Shopping Bag – Posh Pooch Designs

Market Bag – Hippy Hooker

Simple Market Bag – All Free CrochetSimple Market Bag

Dynamite Market Bag – Crochet Dynamite

Market Bag – Ravelry.com

Crocheted Market Bag – Ravelry

Hexagonal Net Crochet Bag – Ravelry.comRavelry: Hexagonal Net Crochet Bag pattern

Crochet bag – Fine Craft Guild

Colourful Cotton Bag – Knitting and some more

Crochet mesh bags.  Free pattern from Michaels.Sugar and Cream Crochet Market Bag – Micheals.com

Go Lightly Tote – Ravelry.comRavelry: Golightly Tote pattern by Lion Brand Yarn

Pattern for simple crochet bucket bagCrochet Bucket Bag – Joann.com

Lacy Crochet Market Bag – Red Heart.com

pattern imageProvence Crochet Bag – Classic Lite Yarns

Crochet Market Bag – Hip 2 Thrift

free crochet market bag patternMarket Bag with Floral Accent – Bobbles and Baubles

Go Green Market Bag – Suzie’s Yarnie Stuff

Being busy

This has been a busy week, with the return to school and all the extra-curricular activies (although I did discover that the middle chick’s pottery class doesn’t start until next week when I rushed to drop her off on time on Thursday! For once I was too organised!)

The biggest event of the week was the eldest chick having a gastroscopy and biopsies under a general anaesthetic on Friday. She has had this procedure before, as part of the diagnosis for coeliac disease. Last time was in the public hospital under the only surgeon in town who performs this procedure on children. She had to fast overnight for a 6.30am admission, but did not go into theatre until 2.30pm so was quite distressed. She also didn’t recover well from the anaesthetic and was very ill for some hours afterwards. This time round we had the same surgeon but as he now takes private patients, we booked into the private hospital in order to have her seen this year. Once again she fasted for a lunchtime admission….. only to arrive at the hospital and be told by the nurses that they run a book on this surgeon because he always runs a minimum of 2 hours late in arriving for his surgical lists. So instead of going into theatre at 1pm as planned she went in at 4.30. Another long day for a hungry child. To keep busy I took my crocheted afghan to work on. The upside of the delay? Quite a few more rows on it! Having busy hands really helped to keep my mind busy. I understand why knitting and crochet are so often seen in waiting rooms!

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Luckily the procedure went well, the surgeon sees no signs of the condition that was being investigated, and she recovered really well from the anaesthetic with no vomiting and lots of icy poles, ice-cream and lemonade. Her mother did need to retire to the lounge with a glass or two of wine once all the chicks were in bed after such a long day! The afghan started with only the request of the middle chick to make a colourful wool blanket. I think, after 6 months of crochet at martial arts classes and in waiting rooms, that I might be ready to finish it now! Which is great as it is still freezing here, so the blanket should get lots of use on the couch keeping chicks warm for a few months!

It was good that I had those hours to crochet, as, apart from repairs to the school production costumes, little sewing happened this week! I did, however, have time to play with pictures and colours suggested by the middle chick (and originally drawn by her) which have resulted in the new banner for this page, and the facebook page and Etsy shop. I am thinking of using the little birds to make some fabric, so stand by for a splash of little bird colour in the near future!

The week of watching the boy on his new medication has been interesting. His teacher reports that she can see a difference in him at school. I have still seen no difference at home, including over the weekend when he has been as full of energy and life as usual. The up side of this is that all my fears about him losing his spirit on medication have proven to be baseless. He is still full of affection, energy, talk, and enthusiasm. He scored two tries in his Rugby game yesterday, and encouraged his team on to score quite a few more. So the world has not ended and he is behaving well at school.

This week holds the excitement of the school production at the big theatre. The eldest chick and I have purchase the required makeup (!!!) and the middle chick and I have our tickets to attend and watch. (The boy is having a ‘date’ with his favourite babysitter!) I also need to find my balance, or rhythm, again to get the crafting groove back on after all the disruption of the last few weeks. Some of the disruption is self inflicted, as I have (gulp) started dating over the last few weeks.  It feels so strange to say that at my age, with three children, some grey hairs, and a few decades under my belt,  but there you have it.  It is early days in a new relationship so anything could happen, but when there are children involved you have to confront a whole lot of issues much earlier in a relationship than would normally occur!  Taking that step out into the unknown is so much more daunting when there are three little lives connected to yours, so at the moment I am flying blind and just keeping my fingers crossed that I am doing the right thing as I take each new step.  Talk about new adventures in life!!  A new relationship also brings up issues from the past that I hadn’t realised were not neatly labelled, sorted, and packed away.  And reminders about not repeating previous mistakes.  Not getting so caught up in the excitement that important parts of life get lost, bits of self are neglected and pieces of passion are misdirected.    As a result one of the aims of this week is to spend some time on the business plan, and taking some important steps to put the plan into action.  Because when all is said and done, if I am not exercising my creative self, the rest of my self is so much lesser.

Right –  now that the pep talk has been delivered to my self it is time to start the prep for the week ahead, to consider some order in the household chaos, and to contemplate time for dreaming.   Have a great week, wherever you are, and enjoy your creative groove, however it plays out!

Its the little things

Half way through the week already? The long weekend means that while the week feels like it is just starting, it is half way over. Which, on a cold, wet day, when staying in bed with a good book, or curling up on the couch with a dvd and some crochet is more appealing than venturing out to school and work, is a good thing!

Tonight I am pondering the little things that can happen in a day to turn a frown into a smile. While my day was not a bad day (I didn’t have to leave work to address issues with any children – yay!) by the time I got home I was feeling a bit flat. Contemplating the ongoing juggle of trying to be a competent employee and leader while also being a supportive parent to a child with ‘issues,’ and the way this is perceived by my colleagues, had me overthinking my work-life balance once again. This is not a struggle special to me – so many parents face it on a day to day basis. Trying to be a good employee, and a good parent, when the two don’t always sit well together. Combine it with a healthy dose of judgement from the media, other parents, extended family, and so many of us feel that we can’t win, no matter which way we turn.

Of course, my life is actually quite good. I have a supportive work environment, where I can have flexible working arrangements, where my staff understand that sometimes when my phone rings I need to run out the door, where I am paid very well to do a job that I like. The ‘issues’ that my family face are not insurmountable. No one is terminally ill. My children are healthy, intelligent and loving. We have a warm home, good food, warm clothes and the ability to be safe. I have found a creative outlet that keeps me sane when the walls seem to be closing in. The fact that some of my colleagues don’t see it that way is really about them, not about me.

But my mind was working through all of this, and I was wondering whether I was kidding myself that I can keep making things, be respected professionally, keep my kids safe and supported, when one little thing came along to make me stop, celebrate a success and remember that, in fact, I don’t really care about my ‘image’, but I do care that I am succeeding in many ways in my life.

The little thing? I opened up the Etsy website, and there, on the front page, in a handpicked treasury of bright and lovely things, was one of my bags. Yes. One of MINE!! The kids were thrilled, I was excited, and the world stopped spinning out of control and returned to it’s normal axis.  (It was featured as part of a treasury that you can see here.)

I let go of all the overthinking, all the teasing the problem until a new angle could be found, and just smiled and got happy. Perspective is a wonderful thing!

And having a clear head means that I can celebrate my other small successes of the last few days, and that we had a lovely family evening because I was no longer flat.  At dinner we have a tradition of each of us reporting our ‘best thing’.  The artist-in-residence had us enthralled with the report of her drama class, the boy had a list of 16 ‘best things’ that had us all smiling, and the eldest chick waited patiently to tell us the news of her class’ work in preparing for their theatrical performance.  So lovely to just sit and enjoy our time together – no TV, no fighting, and no stress.

On a personal level, I  had my first appointment with a personal trainer yesterday in a new bid to start improving my fitness.  I was very upfront about the need for the children to attend the sessions with me, and I think (hope) it is going to work.  The amusing part was watching the boy, at 6, spending most of his time wanting to lift weights in front of the mirror.  It starts early!

My recent efforts in getting more organised about this blog have paid off too, with a few new followers (hi and welcome!) and realising that sometime this week I passed the 200 follower mark (combining facebook and the blog). Another sign that I am doing okay in my own small way!

On the crafting front I am making up a custom order for a colleague who wants a bag for weekend wear, and wanted a zip up pouch to go in it (at my suggestion). So, here is the pouch I made – without a pattern. Something small – but I am proud of it!

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And finally – I offered to crochet a beret beanie for a friend who dropped in the other day and was admiring the black one I made for the artist-in-residence. While the children were training at martial arts last night I sat and started a new hat. And, in a first, did not have to unpick it once! I have about three rows to go to finish it, but for now – looking a little like a purple sea creature – here is the beret.

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So, as the mid-week ‘hump’ goes, my week is alright.  As I fall towards the weekend my approach will be to continue putting one foot in front of the other, remembering that my family is more important than anything else in my world, and that I am one of the lucky ones.  I wish you a great second half of the week, and lots of things that you can celebrate as successes.