Sunday, December 18, 2016

Xmas Tree Tutorial

Can it really only be 6 days to Xmas!?! 
For those of you, like me, who'll be crafting up to the last minute, I thought I'd share a super quick and simple ornament tutorial for you to whip up as last minute gifts or to adorn your tree.

Before we begin, here's a little breakdown of the basic stitches. I'm using US crochet terms, because I always do.
sl st [slip stitch] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch, then through the loop on your hook.
sc [single crochet] :: insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (two loops on hook), yarn over and pull through both loops on hook (this is the same as UK dc stitch)
dc [double crochet] :: yarn over, insert hook, yarn over, pull the loop back through the stitch (three loops on hook), yarn over and pull through two loops on hook (two loops left on hook), yarn over and pull through remaining two loops (this is the same as UK tre stitch)
I am using 8ply cotton and a 3mm hook for this tree to keep it a nice compact sized star, but you could use and yarn and hook that you like, or have on hand.

Okay, gather your supplies! - you will need 3 contrasting shades of 8ply cotton yarn, 3mm hook, darning needle, scissors, a firm piece of cardboard, star shaped button, cotton drill tape for tag, embroidery thread, and string for hanging. 
You will be making 2 crochet trees and joining them together.
tree 1 
To start, using shade 1 and leaving a tail of approx 25cm make a magic loop (great tutorial here). 
Row 1 - Chain 3 (this is your turning ch) and work 6dc into the magic loop as pictured below. 
tree 2
Pull the magic loop up tight before you begin Row 2 like so...
tree 3 
Row 2 - Ch3 (turning ch) and turn your work. 
dc into top of the last dc from the previous Row and into each of the next 2 dc. 
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 2 dc.
2dc into the 3rd chain of the ch3 (turning ch) from the first Row. 
It should be looking like the picture below, right?
tree 4 
Row 3 - Ch3 and turn your work. 
dc into top of the last dc from the previous Row and into each of the next 5 dc. 
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 5 dc.
2dc into the 3rd chain of the turning ch from the previous Row. 
tree 5 
Row 4 - Ch3 and turn your work. 
dc into top of the last dc from the previous Row and into each of the next 8 dc. 
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 8 dc.
2dc into the 3rd chain of the turning ch from the previous Row. Fasten off.
This is the first colour section of your tree complete, we now need to add the trunk.
tree 6 
Using the 25cm tail that you left at the start slip stitch across 2 stitches at the base of your tree and ch3 like so.
tree 7 
Turn your work and work 3 dc evenly along the bottom of your tree to create a trunk and fasted off, as pictured.
tree 8 
Now make another tree exactly the same. 
tree 9 
Row 5 - Using another shade of yarn and working into the back of your work, slip stitch into the 7th dc from the egde and ch3. 
1dc into the same dc and into each of the next 5 dc.
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next 5 dc.
2dc into the next dc and fasten off.  
tree 10 
Row 5 - changing shades and working into the back of your work again, slip stitch into the 5th dc from the egde and ch3. 
1dc into the same dc and into each of the next 4 dc.
Now, 5dc into the next dc and 1dc into each of the next  dc.
2dc into the next dc and fasten off.  

Repeat row 4 and 5 for both trees but DO NOT fasten off on the 2nd trees final shade like so - you will be using this yarn to join and edge your tree to finish it off.
tree 11 
Using your cardboard, cut out an insert to wedge between your 2 trees, this is to keep your ornament flat and stiff for hanging.
tree 12 
Now, time to join your trees together.
With the right sides of both trees facing, and the tree with the yarn still attached at the back, work 1sc into each stitch along the top of both trees to join them together as pictured below.
tree 13 
Now work 2sc into the 1 corner stitch and 2 sc down the edge of the trees.
When you get to your loose ends simply tuck them to the inside of your tree and continue to crochet around your tree - this saves having to sew all of those ends in later on.
tree 14 
Continue working sc around the outside of your trees as pictured,
tree 15 
tucking in all of your ends as you go and working 2sc into each corner.
tree 16 
tree 17 tree 18 
tree 19 
When you get to the base of the trunk you will need to insert your cardboard cut out.
tree 20 
Then continue working sc around the remainder of your trees.
tree 21 
Finishing with a slip stitch into the base of the 1st sc. Fasten off.
tree 22 
Thread in your 1 end, sew on a button and attach a loop for hanging. I like to personalize my tree's with a little stitching of the year but you could stitch anything you like, a name, picture, date, etc - or skip this tag altogether, it's totally up to you.
tree 23
These trees would be great made on mass and hung in a garland. They'd also make great gift tags or why not try making just 1 tree in a chunky cotton for a cute Xmas washer or coaster.

Merry Xmas - Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

right now I'm....

...pulling up baby turnips with the sun on my back....
....noticing a mammoth beetroot hiding amongst my beet patch, pulling it up also and planning to slow roast it, like this, to enjoy with red meat and a salad for dinner tonight....
....trialling new Sourdough recipes, in search of the perfect loaf. For the loaf below I used the LunchLady recipe from her 3rd magazine, it's pretty good and super easy to make - which is a bonus.
....but I think I'm almost there with this loaf here - I've increased the hydration of my normal (original) loaf from 70% to 85% and its worked a treat!
....eating a different cake E.V.E.R.Y day. Today we're enjoying Donna Hay's Lemon Pound cake from this book, and it's simply divine...
LEMON CAKE about you? what are you doing right now?

Monday, August 29, 2016

At the End of August

Unfortunately the recent month has seen my family travelling more than we would normally prefer to. Our farmer has fallen ill, very ill, and there's been many tests, specialist visits and stays in motels over the past month, as we try to nut out just exactly what is wrong with the {rock} of our family unit. There's still a long road ahead, with many more tests still to come, but at the moment we are home, enjoying the simple pleasures and thanking our lucky stars to have a beautiful home of our own and to live the life that we do.

So today, I'm reflecting on my garden and how amazing it is producing this year despite the neglect of the past 4 weeks. I currently have Baby Turnips slowly plumping up, and this recipe will definitely be what I make with my first harvest - baked turnips, YUM! 
turnips 1
There are Peas growing in abundance almost everywhere, with lettuce and kale planted amongst the vines in spare patches of dirt. We're enjoying all parts of the plant this year, before it sets fruit - flowers, young shoots, and baby pods before the peas form. They're all simply divine and deliciously crunchy in a salad, especially with this Lime Cilantro dressing drizzled over the top!
peas 3 peas 2
We have hundreds of onions, in neat uniformed rows down the centre of most beds.  
peas 1
And at least 50 Broccolini plants which are all flowering. We're harvesting this delicious crisp veg daily at the moment, and adding it to most meals. This simple Broccolini Pizza with a sourdough base is a big hit with all members of my family.
broccolini 1
Then there's the Lettuce and Asian greens, OH.SO.MANY! With the weather slowly warming, in anticipation of Spring, I love that Salads and stir-fry's are in full swing here!  
lettuce 1
Then there's the Broadbeans, flowering and setting their pods.
broadbeans 1 broadbeans 2 broadbeans 3 broadbeans 4
With lettuce, kale, and baby turnips planted in their understory. I can't wait to try out this recipe for Broadbean pesto very soon!
broadbeans 5 broadbeans 6
And of coarse there's the beetroot, hundreds and hundreds of delicious blood red beetroot.
beets 4 beets 3 beets 2
I simply love beetroots and every year I grow an abundance of this delicious root to preserve for the months ahead.

Are you growing an abundance of produce to feed your family where you are?

Friday, June 3, 2016

Maltese Fisherman's Hat

Each year, as the weather cools, I knit hats for my family. This year I'm visiting a favourite knitting book, the Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and making the 'Maltese Fisherman's Hat' for all three of my little people - and my big farmer boy too!
Elizabeth is an amazing woman who truly did change the face (and shape) of knitting and I simply love her book 'Knitter's Almanac' and visit it often!! It's set out in months, with patterns to match the seasons and has loads of ramblings from Elizabeth about how she came about creating her patterns and ways to which you can alter them, if need be.
I'm knitting a pattern from the month of June. This month is filled with hats, simple yet gorgeous hats, and I want to knit all of them, one day!
I've knit the smallest hat first and am loving the built in earflaps and neck warmer! This hat has a seamless construction and short row shaping to create the flaps. It's knit from the bottom up and I made this hat using 6mm needles and a 12ply and 8ply alpaca held together to create a chunky yarn.
I followed the pattern exactly until the last 2 decreases at the top of the hat - I totally skipped these as it made the hat form a point at the top, like a pixie type style.
So, are you knitting for your family at the moment in an effort to keep them warm through the cooler months too? Or maybe you're visiting a favourite book - if so, I'd love to hear about that too!!

Happy Friday Friends! x

Friday, May 27, 2016

wood chopping, photo taking, sheep, and bonfires.

I've been thinking a lot lately, I always do I guess, about many things, but after reading Jane's latest post it got me thinking even more! Sometimes we can get a little lost in the 'everyday' and it's nice to stop and take a moment to reflect on the things and times that make us smile - the simple, unconscious, everyday happenings that just seem to wrap us up like a big hug and warm the heart.
Here are some of mine.....
Chopping wood with my little people,
and marvelling at how helpful and independent they are becoming.
Taking pictures with my biggest girl - she's creative and inspiring and is diving into the world of photography with such passion, it's contagious!
Sheep - newly purchased, waiting in our yards. Its been so long since we bought new stock but thanks to some much needed rain at the start of the month we now have green pasture again and can increase our stocking capacity!
Bonfires - with new and old friends, sharing food and stories at the end of the day.
I hope that you're taking some time to reflect on the things that make you smile too?
Happy Friday Friends! x

Spring Seed Swap?

I had big plans of sharing a late Winter garden update with you all this post, full of beautiful pictures of Wintry produce such as peas (...