Autumn memories

Its been a while since I wrote on my blog. My last post was in March 2019! I did not mean to be away for so long. But I have been busy doing things and not so regular in updating the blog

It was the school holidays. I happened to stumble on a book called How to Hygge by Signe Johansen in the library online and promptly downloaded my first ever e -book loan from the library.

I have read a couple books on the Danish concept of Hygge but nothing spoke to me the way this book did . So I decided to put some of the things into practice .It really helped, I must admit.

I added cushions and a faux fur throw to cozy up our couch ,

Used dried lavender from our lavender plant for our kitchen counter

dried hydrangeas from our garden in the hall

greenery from pothos plants that I have been propagating, pine cones that I found in our walk in the Christchurch Botanic Garden

some fairy lights and some candles I made at a Workshop

Beginning of Autumn, we spent a day walking around the Christchurch Botanical gardens. Every season there is something to enjoy at the gardens, but my favourite times to visit there are Autumn and Spring.

The colours are just spectacular during this time. I’m sharing some of my favourite pictures my son shot.

Walking around the Rose garden ,the roses and the scent of roses pervading all over the garden was glorious.

We spent a good amount of time watching the ducks chase each other on the water

While the geese glided around seemingly oblivious to the commotion happening around

This swan was so graceful in the water

Creating a cozy space, having greenery inside the home, taking note of the things in nature really helped me, to focus on the beauty of simple things and take pleasure in them.

Also, during this time, a friend and I together , started a knit / craft and chat that like to call the Knit2together group in my home . This turned out to be a simple yet cozy way to connect with the ladies in my church doing something we all loved.

Practising gratitude, enjoying the seasons , connecting with nature and other people made Autumn a very lovely season for me.

Being intentional this way also helped me to forget dreading the approach of Winter .(which I would always do and work myself into a knot)

Antler Hat

Every single winter since I came to New Zealand, I’ve wanted to get a cabled hat. A cream one. Now I’m not big on wearing hats but that’s another story. Anyways, every time I see a cream cabled hat in Kmart, I’d come with some excuse not to get it .The underlining  fact behind all those excuses is one and only reason .And that is ,like every maker, I always think I can totally make that  .

Only, I never get around to making it because I’m distracted by something or the other . Another reason I’ve realised over time is that when something intimidates me, I keep putting it off until I work up enough courage to tackle it. Thats what happened to the cabled hat as well.

Then in one of the video podcasts I watch, I saw a baby cabled hat and heard of the Antler hat pattern from Tin can Knits.Since this site is widely spoken of as a beginner friendly pattern site, I decided to give the baby Antler hat a go, the smaller size seemed less intimidating. The sizes run from baby to adult size.

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A few false starts later, it was smooth sailing. I still made a few mistakes because I was too tired   and sleepy to count properly or distracted.

I used one whole skein of Heritage Polwarth   and 5 mm Chiagoo needles.

Project Details :

Yarn : Heritage Polwarth 8 ply  shade : 404 Karr Pink  Batch 103932-33

Needles : 4mm and 5mm Chiagoo needles

Pattern : Antler Hat by Alexa Ludeman

Tid Bit : “Now I’d actually pay you to make me something like that ”  Those words coming from an usually disinterested teen is high praise  I think and says a lot about the pattern 🙂

DSC_0349This hyacinth plant is special because  it reminds me of a friend who came by to spend half a day with me. When she came to visit me, she brought this lovely hyacinth plant for me. I never knew hyacinths had such  sweet scent before then.We shared a meal, learned a little bit about each other, exchanged recipes and bid good bye.

When the flowers withered, I planted  the bulbs and did not remember  about them until I saw the flowers.

They remind me of  a lovely time and also that spring is slowly making her entrance .Can’t wait to see the earth bloom and come alive with flowers of different colours.

Quick trip to Queenstown

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.lake tekapoOn the banks of the lake adding charm to the scenery ,stands the Church of the Good Shepherd .Apparently a favourite spot for wedding photographers.DSC_0499.JPGEnroute 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. DSC_0542.JPGHence 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. DSC_0570.JPGThe stunning views of the lake and town were an added bonus.DSC_0551.JPGOh ,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, DSC_0645

DSC_0681.JPGDSC_0660.JPGmy favourite past time at Queenstown is people watching , canva-photo-editor-6having a juicy burger at Fergburger , IMG_0784

(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 !IMG_7102

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.

 

Greymouth

Just before the labour weekend rolled around, J suggested we all take a trip to the West Coast to explore the area. Since none of us had any idea about the area.

Grey Mouth is about three hours drive from Christchurch and we took the Arthur Pass route.To say that the scenic drive was spectacular ,would be an understatementcanva-photo-editor

The first stop was Castle Hill, which are interesting rock formations .This kind of set the tone for our trip

The terrain itself is so different on each side the mountain. As we went up the mountains the long stretches of the dark grey river beds  with streams trickling by and dull brown beech trees, were a feast to the eyes.DSC_0086

The steep scary down hill drive that would lead into the rainforest like terrain with ferns and lilies everywhere, came as a big surprise. The gorge and the bridges simply breathtaking!

This was a budget trip for us and so we stayed in the Kiwi Holiday Park  , with its self -containted kitchen, lounge, toilets was very convenient and clean.DSC_0321DSC_0039.JPGWe however decided to sleep in tents, true Kiwi style.Crawling on all fours trying to get into the tent, sleeping with hot water bottles in my sleeping bag so as not to freeze into an icicle , maybe are  fun things to try once in a lifetime, but its not something I look forward to repeating again for fun 🙂 DSC_0030The whole town was shut down for a Bike race DSC_0088DSC_0098and so Pancake Rocks was to be our next destination.DSC_0133Rugged mountains on one side the vast wide ocean on the other, the beauty left us speechless. At the entrance of the Paparoa National Park, a Weka  ,another flightless native New Zealand Bird, took to greeting the visitorsDSC_0144Inside at the park, a very well laid out trail leads to mind-blowing natural beauty. DSC_0190The visual treat  is overwhelming  as your eyes are torn  between admiring the rock formations that look like pancakes stacked one above the other DSC_0168and  the rock formations that look like humans, the rugged  silent rocks providing the perfect foil for the boisterous wavesDSC_0155and home for nesting birds high up on them. .DSC_0222DSC_0215DSC_0181DSC_0246.JPGOn this trip,I did not cook, but picked up different salads  and food from Countdown, the supermarket and had a picnic by the river at noonDSC_0292DSC_0293DSC_0299scoured the beach for pebbles and driftwood, in the evening, ate dinner at Pizza Hut .DSC_0357Unprofessional campers that we were, couldn’t  take in the idea of shivering in our tents to sleep and so  decided to pack our tents and head back back home.

The steep drive down the mountains, covered in thick fog afforded some scary , nail biting moments, but by God’s grace, we all made it home in one piece, and fell into our beds with grateful hearts.

 

Keffiyah  Cowl

If you knew me in real life, you would probably have  heard me say that I love cowls a lot . I prefer them over scarves because of how you don’t have to fuss with them like you would a scarf if it gets out of place.

When I finished this  cowl and posted on Instagram , there were a couple of people who said it looked like the Keffiyah , the distinct red and white Kuwaiti headdress and asked for the pattern.


I decided write down the pattern and call it the Keffiyah cowl as it was indeed inspired by the Kuwaiti headdress .

It is really a very simple pattern to make

Materials

. I used Heritage Organic Merino yarn  a light worsted weight yarn

Melon Sorbet  50 Gm X 1.25skeins

Ecru 50 Gm X 1.5 skeins

Pattern

(US instructions )

SC = single crochet

DC= double Crochet

SL ST= slip stitch

CH= chain

With  Melon , CH 27

Row :1  SC in second ch from hook, DC in next ch, ( sc in next ch, dc in next ch) , repeat () till the end.

Change Colour to Ecru , ch 1, turn

To change colour, at the end of the row, draw through the new colour in the last loop of the final dc or sc in the row.

Alternatively, you can also carry the yarn through . In which case you will need more yarn.

Row :2 Sc in first dc, dc in next sc ( sc in next stitch , DC in next sc) Repeat ( ) until the end of the row.

Repeat row 2 until desired length , making sure your last row is the colour that is opposite to your starting colour.

Whip stitch the short ends together . Weave in all loose ends.

For the Scallop Edging

Start the edging at the point where the joining ends. Along the wider side of the cowl, make ch3, 2 DC  in the 3rd ch from hook. Skip two stitches . Sl st in the next stitch. Repeat around. Finish off.

Do the same on the other long side. Weave in the ends .

Dunedin

We were in Dunedin for the Unwind Yarn Festival .DSC_0179DSC_0185

We stayed in a small town called Balclutha at a motel called RoseBank Lodge. It was a comfortable place.

The eggs benedict and hotcakes at the restaurant there were really good.IMG_0971IMG_0972It was  great to walk/drive around Dunedin  to soak in the  essence of the city.IMG_5800Dunedin  a university town, with a lot of young student crowd against the backdrop of the magnificent architecture,was a unique mix of urban as well as old world charm and grandeur.DSC_0289DSC_0006interesting wall art img_0999.jpgand the locomotive museum was a hit with the boys.DSC_0493.JPGDSC_0511 hilly landscape along the harbour so rugged and picturesque It was good to spend some time sitting on the grass by the harbour, watching the seagullsDSC_0066 The Cadbury factory is a must visit, I tried  the triple chocolate drink in the cafe near by , so tasty.IMG_0975IMG_0976DSC_0307DSC_0100DSC_0338The architecture of the  railway station was simply breathtaking DSC_0097DSC_0117.JPG

IMG_0989DSC_0129DSC_0132DSC_0150.JPG However, the most thrilling, and exciting experience for us in Dunedin was going up Baldwin Street, the Steepest Street in the world.DSC_0378

having a little glitch with our car in the middle of the climb, holding our breaths until we got back downDSC_0042

and getting a certificate at the certificate shop was indeed an experience that will stay in our memories for a long long time.DSC_0430

Glentui Water Falls

Do you have special traditions for the New Year’s Eve?

Back in India and Kuwait, we always had the Watch Night Service at Church, which we attended without fail.

Here in New Zealand, we don’t have that and so J and I had our own version at home.

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Then later in the day, we joined friends for a walk around the Glentui waterfall

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The Glentui Water Fall is about an hour’s drive from Christchurch. It is so serene and lush .

(At  the waterfall, my friend showed us the little Fan tail nest they had discovered there.If you looked closely at the nest,in the picture below, you might even catch a little orange open mouth, demanding to be fed. The little miracles of nature never cease to amaze me.)

and later for a sumptuous picnic lunch of sandwiches, cheese , crackers and pesto dips

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It was a warm and sunny day DSC_1251 and the children had a blast swimming and splashing about in the Ashley Gorge river.

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