Autumn · Crafts · Crochet · Fingerless Mitts · Granny Hottie Cover · Granny Square Hottie Cover · NZ Yarn · Outlaw Yarn · Seasons

Maker’s Journal : The Crochet Edition

Granny Square Hottie Cover :

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.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Until Next Time

Happy Crafting

Autumn · Covid 19 , 2020 · Life · Lifestyle · New Zealand · Seasons · small things

Chat over Chai # 3

Hi Everyone

Lockdown Diaries

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.

lots of love

Pearlin

Life · New Zealand · Outlaw Yarn · small things · Summer · Yarn Festival

Chat over Chai # 2

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year 2020

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.

Have a very blessed 2020 dear friends.

Autumn · Chat Over Chai · Expat Life · How to · Life · Life style · New Zealand · Seasons · small things · South Island · Winter

Chat over Chai #1

Hi Everyone

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?

Slowing Down

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.

Amber

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.

Talk later

lots of love

Pearlin

Crafts · Finished Objects · Handmade · Home Sewn · Life style · Sew · Summer · zippered pouch

Zippered Pouch : quick and easy

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 .

small sewing projects  are so gratifying and fun !

 

Christchurch · Hagley Park · In and around Christchurch · Life · New Zealand · Seasons · South Island · Spring

Spring Scenes in Hagley Park

A jaunt to Hagley Park to witness Spring in all its glory “is a must do  “my very first friend in Christchurch told me fondly remembering her own childhood days,when I came to Christchurch two years back. We have religiously kept up with the tradition ever since.

 The spring showers almost threatened not to let that happen this year, but over the weekend, the clouds and rains gave way to bright blue skies and gorgeous sunshine with just enough breeze to cool us down on a warm day.

Needless to say, I was so excited to be surrounded by beautiful flowers and birds and be able to click away till my camera battery died and came back home with a big smile on my face.

The ducks swam up to us  fearlessly hoping to be fed.

We sadly did not take anything to feed them. they sure seemed disappointed.

After much coaxing I managed to get one picture of Lil B among the daffodils.He didn’t want to pose for pictures because he was busy hunting Pokémon

People people everywhere, enjoying the weather

A jolly mood seemed to prevail everywhere….DSC_0259DSC_0264 (1)

I’m sure it ‘s because of the flowers, the myriad bird songs

and witnessing  new life sprout out of the once dull winter earth.ad2fa-dsc_0361

Crafts · Drawstring Bags · Handmade · Life style · patchwork · Quilt · Seasons · Sewing · Spring · Uncategorized

Spring projects

The landscape in Spring  is truly a visual treat;,flowers blooming everywhere,birds chirping,bees buzzing…. the skeletal trees sprouting tender green leaves.Its truly a sight to behold  the earth come alive with vibrant colour and vivacity after seeming dead and dry all Winter.

 Seeing the Spring fairy happily prancing about touching every tree and grass and bulb with a colour spangled magic wand, fills me with hope. Things that appear hopeless outside still has hope within and everything will turn out ok in the end after all !

As much as I dislike Winter, it makes me appreciate Spring and the change of seasons more than ever .

A friend gave me a few Kowhai seedlings, until then I had not paid close attention to these gorgeous yellow flowers or that it’s nectar is much sought after by birds!

With the arrival of spring, I have been gravitating towards sewing.It started with me making a baby snuggle blanket with some lovely woodland fabric I had got earlier in the year.

backed it with fleece and it does not have any batting .

After I finished my purple zippered pouch, I decided to seize the fact that there was purple thread on the machine and finish up the drawstring pouch that I had set aside when I ran out of purple thread on my bobbin halfway through the making of the pouch

 

J made a request for  a quilt , with fabric that I loved. He didn’t want the traditional man quilt. Still I didn’t want him to have something he didn’t like at all  so we choose fabric that we both liked Of all the fabric we saw on the Stitchbird website, the Vintage Picnic was the fabric we liked.

I decided to follow the basic jelly roll beginners quilt top by Melanie k ham. Worked up quickly and this is what I have finished so far

I’m just loving it! The splash of colours in my surroundings and in my works in progress.

Crafts · Crochet · Life · Seasons · small things · Weekly Catch up · Winter

Finished Object

DSC_0314Hi everyone,

I did not know  foggy winter mornings could be so beautiful! The entire landscape appears softened .Intriguing light behind the silhoutte of trees far away adding to the mystery. I had never seen that building before yet it adds charm to the panaroma. It seemed like a watercolour painted scenery to me.

I wonder if the  Master Painter sits there  tapping his brush on his chin musing what colours to paint that day . Each morning so grand yet so different than the day before .Never ever the same yet always a treat.

I feel completely blessed  to be able to just stay in the coziness of my home and enjoy the view through my window .

I would go out more if I did not always end up with a headache and ear ache   in spite of being wrapped under layers of  Merino and Down on cold cold days. That’s why  I prefer my little bubble, warm and cozy.DSC_0101camping on the couch, with my knitting and crochet, basking in the sunshine that makes its way to the couch through my large glass windows listening to podcasts or breakfast shows.

The shortest day of Winter just went past us  . Now Spring  must be just around the corner , no? School is out in two weeks and I can’t wait. Nothing  beats  lazy sleeping in days during Winter. I know the boys will drive me batty with loud music and non stop bickering during the  day.Still knowing they are  under the same roof as me, leaves me at peace.

A cowl scarf  got done and dusted at the said camping .Inspired by the Kuwaiti head dress .  Made of 100% NZ Organic Merino with 4.5 Addi hook,its very soft and warm.

It is going into a raffle package for a very worthy cause. DSC_0104

That and trying out a few middle eastern dishes have  kept me  distracted from getting overly  cranky over  J’s crazy work hours throwing off our routine and all. Oh  and laughing over showing up a week earlier for Big B’s troublesome wisdom tooth extraction appointment.

Until Later

Much Love

Pearlin

Cooking · How to · Recipes · Soup · Winter

How to make Pepper Rasam aka Milagu Rasam

rasamRasam is another one of  those recipes that I make often during Winter. With the flu virus doing the rounds in our home, I make pepper rasam almost everyday! Served with piping hot rice, scrambled eggs and papadam, it is one of our favourite comfort food  .
Sometimes I just like to drink it as it is so soothing to the throat.Trust me,it really is simple yet wonderful cure for cold and chest congestion.
Even though there are so many varieties of Rasam, I make milagu rasam or Pepper Rasam often because of how easy it is to make.

In traditional tamil feast, rasam was often served after Sambar a lentil based vegetable stew , to aid with digestion .My dad often said that to earn the title of a good cook , one had to first learn to make a good rasam.  For according to him, getting the flavours right for this very simple dish was an art in itself.

Ingredients to serve 4

rasam 3

Method

To grind Coarsely
1 1/2 tsp whole black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic

To season
1 tsp ghee/oil,
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies
Curry Leaves

1 small tomato.
a gooseberry size of tamarind
Coriander Leaves a few sprigs (torn with hands not chopped)
Water

Preparation

Soak Tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for about five minutes and take out the pulp. Keep aside.

Take a cup of water in a bowl,Cut Tomato into four pieces , add salt, microwave on high for one minute. Mash the boiled tomato roughly and Keep aside

Mix the tamarind pulp water ,boiled mashed tomato water and the coarsely ground mixture. Add one more cup of water. Keep aside.

In a sauce pan heat oil/ghee, add mustard seeds, asafoetida ,dry chillies and curry leaves. Let it splatter, Now add the pepper water to it. Keep on the stove until just before it starts to boil.Do not allow to boil.

In the serving bowl, add the coriander leaves,salt to taste. Pour in the Pepper rasam over the coriander leaves and salt into the bowl.Serve hot with rice or drink as soup.

 

DSC ras