Every month I make plans to do a weekly update on my making and things I’m enjoying at the moment ,but then just let that thought slip through the cracks.
We are in level 2 of lockdown.Covid -19 situation has been so much better in NZ than in other parts of the world. I have so so many things to be grateful for , but in this time of uncertainty,I have been quite scatterbrained. While I keep reading and hearing about how we all navigate these surreal times in our own ways, I hate to admit that I have been struggling with anxiety as well.
I am trying , to be productive and positive. Sometimes I win and sometimes I lose. However , I ‘m not giving up and I try to focus on things that bring me joy.
I’m writing down everything, to keep track of my schedules, the things I do ,to keep track of things and slow down and enjoy.
Like I said before, I’m trying and giving myself grace to fall down and get back up again.
Signs of Spring are popping up everywhere in the form of daffodils, cherry blossoms and hyacinths, I just hope we will have gone back to level one normality by the time Spring and Summer rolls by.
Recently I bound off a few projects off my needles, Skyping Beanie , Rafa’s Hat and the Colour Affection Shawl.
Skyping Beanie :
Winter this year has been hard for specially Jacob,after staying away for three years in the middle east. He specially requested that I make him a hat to wear when he takes Amber for her walks and when he works out in the garden early in the morning or late in the evening.
It always is a pleasure to make things for my family because they love it . They have worn whatever I’ve made them proudly announcing to every one that asked that ‘Pearlin/mumma made it’ . Isn’t that enough to make a maker’s heart itch to cast on things all the time?
I could have finished it long back but as per usual, I didn’t have DPNs to finish the crown part. I had order some online, and by the time they arrived , I had lost track of what I was doing and made a few mistakes before I got back into rhythm with the project.
I used the Vanitas yarn I got in my goodie bag at Craft Camp Nz. It is super soft yarn made with baby alpaca and organic merino from Outlaw yarn again.
Project Details :
Pattern : Skpying Beanie by Halldora J
Yarn: Outlaw Vanitas in Nostalgia
Needles: 4mm Chiagoo Circulars and DPNS
Project Notes :
This was a really quick and wonderful pattern to knit.
While Jacob really loves his Skyping Beanie , and wears it often, he is someone who doesn’t like wearing too much colour. He requested another Skyping Beanie in some shade of grey or greyish blue or shades of black . When I saw Outlaw Bohemia Worsted in Ebony, I knew he would love it. I did plan to make a Skyping Beanie, with it but then I wanted to try a different pattern and decided on Rafa’s Hat by Joji Locatelli.
Project Details :
Pattern : Rafa’s Hat by Joji Locatelli
Yarn: Bohemia Worsted in Ebony
Needles: 3.75 mm Chiagoo Circulars, 3.5 mm Dpns
Project Notes :
This was a another lovely pattern
I did not have 3.75 mm DPNs for the crown decrease and so used the 3.5 mm DPNs I had on had , it did not make a big difference .
The yarn was a dream to work with . The result is another cozy , warm beanie for the winter cold.
I also finished the Colour Affection Shawl , I was working on. While it seemed like it took forever to finish, it worked up pretty quickly in the end. My co-worker Ethan has offered to block the Colour affection shawl for me and so its with him, until he can find time to block it and finish it completely.
Finishing projects has been a struggle for me lately . I had misplaced two works in progress somewhere.That put a damper on my spirits and I kind of lost my making mojo.
The Granny Square Hottie cover came about as a result a scrappy make along. I had a big tangled mess of yarn which I had frogged from an abandoned project . When I found a hottie bottle without a cover , covering it up with granny squares seemed like a great plan. And it indeed was !
So quick and easy, with the granny squares getting done in just three rows each , I kept reaching out to them until it was all done. The Hot pink colour and the cream ( Kan Ten and Curiosity) made it a very bright and cheerful project.
I think the vintage buttons that came along as a free gift with Molly Makes magazine, tied the cover so well together. It is one of my favourite features of this project, on top of how this hottie cover came along.
Moreover ,an added bonus was the immense satisfaction, of pretty much using up all the yarn ,that was a frustrating pile of tangled mess mocking me.
I roughly followed Alexandra Mackenzie’s Granny Square Hottie Cover pattern.
Pattern Details :
Pattern : Granny Square Hottie Cover by Alexandra Mackenzie
Yarn : Outlaw Yarn Bandit DK in Kan Ten and Curiosity
Hook : 4 mm
Project Notes :
A few things I did differently from the pattern first and foremost , were the granny squares themselves . As a result I had to adjust the number of squares I made for the cover. I also joined the squares using single crochet rather than whip stitching them around. I was really happy to have a guideline in the pattern to follow and then make modifications to suit my needs.
Easy Victorian Shell Mitts :
While I do love a quick and easy granny square, nothing makes my soul sing like a feminine lacy pattern . I have made these mitts before in a cotton mix yarn called Main Line from Knit picks, now discontinued , when we were in Kuwait. For the Winters in Kuwait , that was good. After coming to Christchurch, a 70% cotton and 25% merino did not cut it for the Winter chill here. My hands were froze constantly and I have been meaning to make another pair in Merino.
When I first joined the Outlaw yarn team , Deb gifted me a Bohemia Worsted Yarn in the colour Royal and immediately I decided that I was going to use it for these mitts . Only, I never got around to making them. Even though they are a very quick and easy pattern that hardly takes more than an afternoon to finish the pair.
When I finished my granny square hottie cover, I was pumped up to crochet a little more and decided to just get these mitts done too. I had to go up a hook size than the pattern called for as I could not get the gauge right.That took a bit of time , as I started with a size smaller like I had done the first time, then the size called for in the pattern and finally going up a hook size . Yet, it did not take more than an evening to finish the Mitts.
The Polwarth, Possum and alpaca mix in the yarn makes these mitts so cozy , soft and extremely warm to wear. I love how the yarn and the colour bring out the beauty of this pattern. Needless to say , I’m so pleased with how they turned out and have this long overdue project ticked off my list of to do things.
Pattern Details :
Pattern : Easy Victorian Shell Mitts by Bron Green
Yarn : Outlaw Yarn Bohemia Worsted in Royal
Hook : 5 mm
Being able to create these two projects with yarn I had in my stash, after not finishing anything at all for a while ,has truly been a magical making moment for me.
What a couple months it has been! No one saw this dark cloud coming huh? The leaves have started changing colour . We had a couple of earthquakes like we didn’t have enough already with the Covid 19 Pandemic.
All businesses except essential services have closed and we are still in level 4 lockdown.It feels strange to see caution tape in the park near our home.
The uncertainty of days after the lock down is lifted ,kind of looks bleak at this pointNevertheless , never have I been happier to be living in NZ like at present. I admire our Prime Minister for the decisions she made during this critical time.
Moreover , since I enjoy being home, it hasn’t been too hard for me .All essential things are available without any hardship. More than anything however, I am so thankful for the family time this quarantine has allowed our family to have. It has definitely helped keep my spirits up , to notice little things and enjoy them.Like someone close to us pointed out, its a strange blessing for us.
The boys are having online classes, although they miss their friends and going out, they seem to be happy to be home. We have now become used to online Church Service, Zoom Bible study, chats and Knit groups . Its good to be connected this way, although I do miss going out to cafes with my friend.
I had to clear out my craft room for my son and now I really don’t have a designated space to hide sew or knit.My routine has gone off the window and I am trying to hold on to some sort of schedule ; successful sometimes and unsuccessful at other times.
I must admit that I have been feeling like I have ten tabs open inside my brain and unable to think clearly. So now I have decided to not check my phone as soon as I wake up. Instead , I wake up at 6.45 a.m when my alarm goes off, brush my teeth, drink a cup of warm water, pray, shower , have breakfast, attend Bible study and only after that, I check my instagram and emails.
This has helped me not feel overwhelmed all the time.Plus I’m taking it easy and not stressing over unfinished projects. I do regular updates of my day on Insta-stories, I rearranged my journaling space and now enjoy journalling my day to day updates and sometimes do creative art journaling with soft music playing in the background.
With everyone being home, a lot of food is being cooked and polished off in like ten seconds
.I may have put on weight but I have gone off sugar during this period and was surprised that for the amount sugar I was taking in, it hasn’t been that hard to give it up.
The one being that has single handedly been drawing us out of our respective spaces of the house, keeping us all distracted, entertained and our spirits up, is our sweet adorable Amber. I think she is the happiest to have all her humans at home all the time.
Have a blessed time my friends and please stay safe at home if you are able to.
I hope you all are back to work after enjoying lovely Christmas and New Year holidays.
I have been long gone from the blog ,but I have been busy posting on other social media, which is You Tube and Instagram in bits and pieces. If you would like , you can catch up on my 12 days of Vlogmas on my You Tube channel Planetpearl.
The year 2019 seemed to whiz past , mostly because it was a year of huge personal growth for me.
I started working at Outlaw Yarn HQ . People who know me really well, know its a dream come true for me.
Once I read about a research that found ,that people who worked in Flower shops were one of the happiest . I can understand that , because how is it possible not to smile when you are surrounded by flowers, right?
As a fiber craft enthusiast, I feel the same way working in a yarn store( or Wool Shop as some people like to call it here ). It is hard not be happy surrounded by all the colourful yarn and meeting some really cool people , seeing the amazing projects they make. Needless to say, I’ve been enjoying it immensely.
It also opened up the opportunity for me to meet Steven Be . THE Steven Be . Which was one the year’s highlights for me.
He helped me cast on my Pearl Sweater. Which I thought was so cool. Really who would have thought I would meet him right ? And that he would be so down to earth and humble ,to patiently take the time to teach an absolutely beginner sweater knitter , how to do a cast on, explain the garment structure and make sure I got it right. Surely if that is not being generous with one’s time, I do not know what is !
Ever since I met him, I have been fan girling gushing talking about what a wonderful person he is to know! So much inspiration, wealth of knowledge , so positive and funny.
One of the things I checked off my Bucket list in 2019, was attending Christchurch Woolfeast as a stall Vendor ,selling my Hold and Cherish project bags . Two of my close friends and my son gave me so much support and made it a wonderful success.
Another wonderful experience was flying over to Wellington to attend Craft Camp. It was such a well organised camp which helped me meet some amazingly talented women.
I learnt to dye yarn along with Steve, my younger son, which was a great exposure to art of yarn dyeing for both of us.
I also tried weaving which I really loved too.
I’m really proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and I’m really pleased with how the year 2019 went for me craft wise.
For the year 2020…
Regardless of how my personal life is going, I always get excited about a New Year. It’s always a time to reflect on the past lessons and look forward with hope, to another year of inspiration and learning .
The plans for this year include ,moving towards a more intentional ,slow living and uncluttered lifestyle.
I have already cleared out my closet of clothes that I do not wear, to be donated to Salvation Army. Which does make me feel better about putting my thoughts into action.
I also hope I will be able to keep up with my blog more regularly, sharing more of my creating journey ,towards a joyful life.
With that said,Thank you so much for being part of my creative journey , for your encouragement and support by way of likes and comments. Appreciate you all so much.
The idea to start the Chat over Chai series, has been on my mind for a while now. In spite of sharing a lot on the blog, I felt a certain disconnect, so I’m going to try a bit of blogging like old times.
This is basically simply a catch up series ; to connect a little bit more, by offering a sneak peak into things happening in my life , to chat about things I’m really enjoying ; on the crafty side , slow living , cooking , current favourites – different things , I can share to make note of, look back on , enjoy and be inspired to grow and thrive.
You might want to grab a cup of chai (tea or coffee – whatever you prefer) for this one
This year, Autumn and Winter went by really fast and we are into Spring which is really like being in a whole new world.
It’s just so lovely seeing the world come alive with birds chirping , flowers blooming , there seems to be an aura of gaiety in the air.
While I have struggled a lot with the colder months, I have learnt that slowing down and doing a few extra things, that I normally never did otherwise during these months, helped me a lot to keep up my good spirits.
How did my version of Slowing down look like?
This was pretty much my every day routine during the cold months. I’m sharing it on my blog hoping that it will help someone feeling down as the temperatures, daylight and sunshine go down
Making my cup of tea, taking time to sit down and enjoy drinking it , feeling the warmth of my tea , warm up my body
Look out my door , make note of the sunlight flooding the mountains with its golden glow or the clouds completely cover up the mountains
Send Steve off to school,
Snuggle with my baby Amber, listening to my favourite gospel music, reading the Bible and praying
Taking time to shower and get dressed in presentable clothes in the morning with care, put on my favourite perfume,
Go for a walk once in a while with Amber
Do a bit of skin care once a week
Gratitude Journal every week
Use Bargain box for dinner ( this way, I did not have to do much meal planning but still had the recipes and the ingredients ,had a chance to try something new and different.
In the evenings, I often lighted up some lovely scented candles, put on some dreamy jazz music , kept the heat pump on and cooked dinner.
I added fairy lights where every I could, added cushions and throws to create cozy and warm around me.
Once a week I went out for brunch with my friends, or invited them over to just chat over home made ginger chai, it felt good to have those little moments of just sharing and enjoying the friendships
I joined a low impact exercise class which helped immensely as well.
Some days when I just did not feel up to it, I just let go, ordered food from Uber Eats and spent time with my kids watching re runs of Castle lounging on the sofa.
Weekends were a little bit different. We slept in , cooked some delicious meals to last at least a couple of days so that when I felt uninspired to cook, there was something to heat up and eat ready at hand.
I’m sharing these here in the hope that it will help someone who needs it. However these are not set in stone things to do, do what soothes your soul the most .
How do you cope with the Colder Months?
If you also do some of these things please share them with me.
Or if you have some other things that helped you cope through the colder months, please share them as well.
Rotorua came on as a place of interest to visit ,when my brother asked about the place. We had visited Rotorua around 2013, and had a chance to visit the Geysers and the Maori Cultural centre, but we couldn’t remember much of the place. So we decided to take a quick weekend trip to Rotorua to have a relaxed trip and visit places things we did not see before.
It turned out to be a nice weekend away to enjoy some relaxed time with family and experience Rotorua , like a local.( well, almost like one)
As soon as we landed in Rotorua, we hired a rental car so that we could go everywhere easily together as a family. It also is a preferred mode of transport as J enjoys the flexibility and ease of driving his own vehicle.
We had booked a one bedroom unit at a motel called Rotovegas ; which actually consisted of a nice family room, kitchenette with all the utensils and gadgets ( we did not use them) toilet, bathroom, and two bedrooms in the upper level. And the best of all , our own heated Spa tub in an enclosed area. Their service ,rooms , the spa pool and the general swimming pool I must say were all good . We had a lovely stay here.
On the day we landed, with all the excitement of travel, we skipped lunch and decided to have an early dinner. Staying in Christchurch and not having many places to go for a South Indian vegetarian Dinner, we literally jumped with joy when we saw this restaurant called Steam
The dosa , sambar and chutney was as close to the authentic dosa sambar and it made me very happy.
The next morning , we got up early and bright , went to have breakfast .As we found a parking around Hinemoa street, we decided to park the car and take a walk around and we came upon this cute French Cafe called Le Cafe De Paris
Being a francophile, I dragged everyone in with me for breakfast.The ambiance was old world simple and cozy which I loved, the food was yummy and the service so good.The only thing I did not like at this place was the smoke filling up in the room , as the crepes were being cooked. We all enjoyed the crepes though.
After a scrumptious breakfast, first on the itinerary, we had the Redwood Treewalk . When we planned this walk, we had no idea what to expect but were totally blown away by the beauty of the magnificent redwood trees. The stroll on the 20 feet high wooden suspension bridge was an exhilarating
as well as informative experience with boards placed in strategic places.
Then we went to Rotovegas where the boys went on luge rides. We had our lunch and snacks here before heading to our last stop for the day.
Our next and final stop for the day was the 3D Art Gallery.We walked around leisurely, taking pictures , pretend playing and laughing around , it was not crowded at all . All of us enjoyed the gallery as it was so much fun!
The boys were too tired for the day to go out for dinner with us so they requested that we get them McDonalds . Which we did , as it was not very far away from our motel.Later J and I went back to Steam restaurant ordered the same dosa sambar , went for a walk in the empty streets and wound down for the day.
Our flight the next morning was late in the afternoon so we went out with a boys for a leisurely walk around the city centre admiring the street art and getting a feel of the place.
We then had breakfast at a cafe called Capers Epicurean where the food was good but I felt it was not the place to go if one was in a rush .It was quite busy when we went and took a while for us to find seats and settle down before we could order.
With this trip we found out that taking short trips away from home and just enjoying a change of scene was immensely refreshing. We felt that doing a few things together with out rushing around made us appreciate the time we spent sight seeing around Rotorua and each other’s company better than the busier travel schedules we have had before.
We had left Amber with a dog sitter, by the end of day two , we were all missing her like crazy. So we were are all so ready to come back home.
How We got there :
By Flight : Air New Zealand direct from Christchurch to Rotorua.
One can never get enough of the beauty ,South Otago region offers. When my cousin visited New Zealand with his friends, we decided to tag along on their two day trip .
First stop was Lake Tekapo. About three hours drive from Christchurch, the deep turquoise waters against the backdrop of the rugged brown Southern Alps is just breathtaking.On the banks of the lake adding charm to the scenery ,stands the Church of the Good Shepherd .Apparently a favourite spot for wedding photographers.Enroute to Queenstown, stopping at various Scenic Outlooks to admire the magnificent beauty of the landscapes meant our supposedly six hour drive from Christchurch to Queenstown ,was stretched by a couple more hours. Hence we reached Queenstown late at night .
Ready to crash ,The Scenic Suites hotel where we stayed, with its spacious bed and clean self contained utilities ,offered just the cozy comfort we needed. The stunning views of the lake and town were an added bonus.Oh ,the breakfast of eggs benedict with english muffins and bacon we had at the hotel restaurant was large , filling and scrumptious.
Of all the adventure sports that Queenstown offers,
my favourite past time at Queenstown is people watching , having a juicy burger at Fergburger ,
(one of the best tip we received and found immensely helpful to avoid the serpentine queue ,was to order beforehand on phone and then go get the burger . )
Or grab an ice cream at Patagonia. Not only do they have a wider variety to choose from but you can also create your own cone , add things you like . So fun and so so yummy !
or walk on the side path gawking at all the sights and sounds enjoying the touristy vibe of the town.
Looking at the pictures just makes me want to go back there.
As the days get longer and longer, day breaking at around 5.30 am and stretching late into 9.00 pm, knitting and crochet have taken the back seat
I’m on the sewing machine a lot more than usual these days.
Fabric selection and cutting, the two things that really threw me off sewing in the first place, don’t seem as daunting for me . I’m not sure if it is getting comfortable with time or the fact that I can walk into a fabric store and get help with fabric selection etc. It could be a combination of both.
Anyway, I found this gorgeous mint with gold cross cotton and steel fabric online a while back , didn’t have any plans for it when I got it.
I needed a pencil pouch , I’d been dying to make a zippered pouch, I found the perfect lining and zipper , with gold metal zip, like I wanted.It seemed like the stars had aligned when I found this pattern and tutorial at The Busy Bean.
Trying to sew a combination of a iron on batting as interfacing and metal zipper was indeed a wee bit nerve racking , but I plodded on .