Toto-Phone!

Gentle reader,

Do you have an iPhone? When you got your iPhone were you like me and obsessed about just. the. right. case? My gadgets are my children, and it just won’t do to put them in just any ol’ case. I bought a case that was designed to make my phone look like a green monster, and I loved it. But it was made of this stretchy silicone type stuff, and it’s since stretched a bit out of shape and I’m terrified of it slipping out and getting damaged. Eek!

Well, Morris & Sons – in their infinite wisdom – recently got this piece of awesomeness in the store, and it’s the answer to my prayers!

Image credit to Leese Design

It’s made by a Korean company called Leese Design, and you can buy them there or at Morris & Sons (for $25! That’s cheap for an iPhone case). The case is a snug fit, which is what I was after, and each case comes with the needle, a few threads, and a little design booklet. But, me being me, I had to do my own design, natch, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m faaaairly cray about My Neighbor Totoro.

I want a Totoro all of my own so I can hug him and pat him and love his face! So, I got out my graph paper and drew out a design and got to stitching! I’m using some floss from a cheap bulk pack that we got from somewhere, so I don’t know how it’ll turn out color-wise. If they turn out totes fug, I’ll drop back into Morris and gets some decent ones. I’m properly stoked with the chart though. I’ll do up a clean copy eventually and share it with y’all.

What’s your name? TOH! TOH! ROOOOOOOAAAARRRRR!!! ❤

I’ll have to keep my stretchy green monster for a bit longer until this one comes together. It’s perhaps a bit sad, but I can really see myself getting a few more of these treasures and doing a few different designs so I can switch them up on a whim. They’d also make really neat gifties for any Apple-fan peeps.

Look at his little face! ^_^

What phone do you have, and what case have you got? Share some gadget love. You can even go post pics of your funky cases over at the Facebook page!

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I Have So Many Loves For GlassTieStudio

Gentle reader,

I’m pretty lucky. Like, so lucky it’s almost cray-to-the-azy. One of the ways in which I am lucky is that I have some of the best ladies in the world in my life. One of those ladies is one of my dearest, most precious, delightfulest friends Elise (we totes went to prom together where we made everyone jealous of how awesome we are, or at least, that’s my story ^_~ ). She’s one of the most unique, beautiful people I’ve ever met, and she’s in New Zealand living her dream working for WETA now. Are you totes jel? Sure you are, natch. We also share a determined vow to find a portal to Narnia. We leave no wardrobe un-rummaged!

Now, Elise’s mother is one of those other amazing ladies. Beth is super-extra-special to me, because when I was in America, I really missed my Ma (I’m an only child, so my parents were – still are! – my besties), so, I borrowed Elise’s mom to get my mothering fix. I think of her as my American Mom or my MeriMom, as I call her. You can’t not love her! Impossible! She’s the most! And making some foreign-stranger-child feel welcome and safe is a gift that could only come from a capital-G Good heart. But, why am I gushing like a babbling brook about her? Cuz she’s also an incredible glass artist, and she’s just opened an Etsy store too, and I wanna show her off!

GlassTieStudio is amazeballs. No lie.

Those colors! That plate! Are you dying? You should totally go there and add her to your fave stores. G’on! Get and do it HERE! So much loves.

Of Veggigurumi And Undead Books

Gentle reader,

I had the lovely opportunity of visiting Stephanie and Megan at Can Do Books in Hawthorn today. If you’re in Melbourne and you’ve not been, you really must go. Their selection of crafty and arty books are totes amazeballs, and the prices are kind of jaw-droppingly reasonable (which is a bit of a rare thing in Australia, actually!). We had a chat about some opportunities to do some really cool stuff together, so I’ll keep y’all posted. In the meantime though, do you mind if I show off the purchase I made while I was there? The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt!

Back from the dead!

The 4-1-1 on this book is that it was well popular and then it went out of print for a number of years (the publication details lists it’s last edition as being printed in 1988!). Demand was so high though that people went properly crazy and apparently second hand copies were selling for the $200 ballpark on eBay! Oy! But, it’s been revised and updated and is back on the shelves. Zombie book! It’s alive! I had a quick flip through and was overcome with the desire to take it home with me, so I did, as a matter of fact. I think these will sell like gangbusters, because it’s the kind of book that if you only ever bought one book about knitting, this would do perfectly. Seriously, this thing is so big you could brain someone with it. I tried flipping through some more on the train and I nearly dislocated my arm! And considering it only cost $49.99, let’s be real, I kind of feel like a stole it, just a lil’ bit. I’ll tell you some more about it when I’ve had more time to pour through it (seated safely at the table, mind. No more dislocations).

Meanwhile, I have some crochet FOs to show you! Back when I was at the Loch Quilt and Craft Festival, I was crocheting while I was sitting at my table, and I don’t know what possessed me, but I started to whip up some vegetables, or ‘veggigurumi’ as I like to call them. I did the aubergine first. Now, I would sooner eat my own sick than eat aubergine, but I think they’re pretty and I love their color. And this yarn colorway was even named “Rustic Aubergine” (Morris Estate 14 ply), so I suppose that might have sown the seed for veggigurumi. And the carrot was next because I happened to have a red-orange yarn and I actually do like carrots. So, there you have it!

Do carrots and aubergine even go together? I haven't a clue.

Anyway, I was really quite happy with how they turned out, actually! I think aubergines are a bit longer, but I wanted it to a be fat little nuggety one. I can’t quite remember what yarn the carrot was made of, but I suspect it was Sean Sheep from Big W (don’t pooh-pooh the Sean Sheep from Big W, it’s actually quite lovely!). The green bits were from some Magnum Soft, which is a pretty decent acrylic yarn if you’re on a budget. It’s quite squishy and not at all scratchy or plastic-y). I feel like I need a few more items for the collection, for a fruit/vegetable bowl or cornucopia if you will. Perhaps an apple or broccoli, I’m not sure.

Also, if you missed it, I’ve opened an Etsy store, which you can visit here! And, if you go to this post and comment, I’ll send you a coupon code for 15% off, just ‘cuz I love you. ^_^ Truth be told, you can comment on any post and say you want a coupon code. Ask and ye shall receive.

Have you bought some awesome books lately? Share, share, share!

Who Has An Etsy Store? Mr. Thumbs Over Here!

Gentle reader,

The title of this post probably makes no sense to you right now because for it to work you’d need to see me pointing at myself with my thumbs… so, read that title over again and image me doing just that. Thanks for humoring me; you’re the best! ^_~

But, the point is, I have an Etsy store now! Hurrah! You can find it here. There are eleven amigurumi for sale at the moment, and I’ll probably add a few more smaller items over the next week. Also, I will be taking custom orders via Etsy too.

Cute critters for sale!

And as a special treat to all my lovely blog followers who make me feel all happy and squishy every time you say hello or leave a comment, I’m going to be giving out coupon codes for 15% off any item in my store. All you have to do is to leave a comment asking for one, and I’ll email it out to you. I’ll be giving out the codes until the end of February (though, if you miss that end date, try anyway, you might be lucky ^_~ ), and the code will be valid until the end of March.

Also, if you have an Etsy store of your own, feel free to share a link in the comments! ^_~

A Sock, A Beret, And A Tune

Gentle reader,

After the Loch festival, I’ve been laying low – also because of some dental work, oy! – but I’ve been pottering away at some thing here and there, and I also had my phone upgraded to an iPhone 4S, so I figured I’d test out the camera and show you some stuff!
First up, while I was visiting my folks over Christmas, I’d decided that I was going to knit my Ma some socks. She’d bought me the book “Closely Knit” by Hannah Fettig for a Christmas gift, and then I asked her to pick out some sock yarn. Now, Spotlight in a smallish-biggish town doesn’t have the greatest selection, and the yarn my Ma chose didn’t even have a ball band, so I’ve got no idea what it is. It’s not what I’d have chosen for myself, but it’s not for myself, now, is it?

I like to call him "Halfie".

At any rate, I’ve knit the first sock which I’ll send to Ma for a fit before I do the other. I feel like it’s a little big (considering it fit me comfortably), but I knit it by the pattern according to shoe size and my Ma’s foot length, and my tension was slightly tighter – maybe two or three stitches less over four inches – so, I dunno, I’ll see what she thinks when she tries it.

The pattern in the book was really easy to follow, and explained the stuff I hadn’t done before really clearly. I’d never done the folded picot edge before, and I probably squealed myself silly when I’d done it and declared “I’M GOING TO KNIT ALL OF THE THINGS WITH A PICOT EDGE!!!“. Also, I’d never done a top-down sock or used Kitchener stitch to cast off before, so they were good times had.

It wasn’t all fun and games, obviously. It never occurred to Little Stupid here that knitting a heel flap with self-striping yarn looks pretty naff and I ought to have used a plain yarn or an afterthought heel. Which I already knew, but my mind left me for the duration of this sock. I particularly hate the single-row stripe on the top of the foot. Oy. Well, next time I shan’t be so daft, promise. Another weird thing: my stitches are usually quite even and neat, but they’re a little bit cray-to-the-azy here… I did notice that the yarn was particularly twisty and I had to de-twist a LOT more than usual, so I’m going to put it down to that.

Anyway, the book is super nice, and I’d definitely recommend it. For the Australian peeps, Ma and I found it at Lincraft for $7, which is a serious find considering how neat this book is. I almost felt like we were stealing it, y’all! Anyhoo, I’m planning to knit up a few of the projects and reviewing it. Hands up if you’re interested. There’s also a really nice plain sweater for gentlemen in here that I’m pondering.

Meanwhile, all summer my receding hairline and I have been bemoaning my lack of summer hats to hide my hair trauma and prevent scalp sunburn, but other things took precedent and I neither bought nor made any. And then, after Loch, I figured I’d put my new-found crafting freedom towards more hats, but really, summer’s nearly over, so I thought to heck with that idea, I’ma make me a new beret! I do love a good beret. So, I pulled out this Cleckheaton book, “She Knits” and, FYI Cleckheaton, He Knits too.

Gettin' my beret on. Well, not for a while yet.

Now, I love the Cleckheaton Country yarns, but I love Morris Estate better, so I bought myself some balls of Estate 8 ply in a lovely dusty, tweedy green (Sage 8046) and got started. It was really hard to make the color to come through accurately on my iPhone, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one. It’s green and yummy; truth. I know, green is so unusual for me, right? The pattern is not the most exciting thing as far as knitting it goes, but it’ll be a nice pick-up-put-down project while I do other things. I’ll keep you posted!

To finish off, I wanted leave y’all with a song! It’s been a while since I’ve shared some tunes, and this album is making me fall in love with it all crazy-like, so here ’tis. I love me some shimmery, shiny, melancholy, synthy deliciousness.

Do like knitting socks? How do you deal with Second Sock Syndrome? Also, feel free to share your fave tune of the moment! Commentses? I heart them!

– R

Putting Pen To Paper

Gentle reader,

I’ve been pondering posts I can do that don’t require a camera, and Robbie over at Knitxcore must have unwittingly read my mind, because he posted this handwriting meme which seemed like a fun thing to do. So, here ’tis!

Green pen!
1. What is your name
2. Blog URL
3. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
4. Favorite quote
5. Favorite song (at the moment)
6. Favorite band/singers (at the moment)
7. Say anything you want
8. Tag 3-5 bloggers

I’ve always been really fussy about my handwriting, which is not to say this is terribly neat, but I can’t write crazy fast. The moment I try to write something quickly, it just explodes into an incomprehensible mess. It made taking notes at school and college a bit of a production, I’ll tell you that much.

Here are the peeps I tagged; go check ’em out, they’re lovely:

Tony at BonitoClub
Katie & Reuben at House of Humble
Stacey at Veggie Mama
Sian at Sian Lile Makes
Laura at Kit & Nancy 

I occasionally love to write letters or notecards, there’s something special about handwritten notes. Do you like your handwriting? Do you write with pen and paper very often? If you do this meme, comment with a linkie!

– R

The Loch Village Quilt And Craft Festival

Gentle reader,

This weekend past I was fortunate enough to attend the Loch Village Quilt and Craft Festival. The committee that organizes it had seen my interview in the Sunday Age and invited me to attend as a “featured artist”. My dear friend Judith and her husband Charlie and I went down on the Saturday and stayed at the Royal Hotel in Loch before setting up a table at the festival on the Sunday.

Loch is a beautiful little spot to the south-east of Melbourne. It’s surrounded by picturesque hills and quaint little buildings. Sybil, the lady who saw my article and invited me was so sweet and generous, and went to so much trouble to make me feel welcome. I sold a few things, gave out some cards and got to chat to some really lovely people like Megan from Can Do Books, the ladies from Sunspun yarn store and Kay from Kay’s Artycles.

Unfortunately, this wonderful weekend was preceded by our house being broken into earlier in the week, and they stole my camera! So, I couldn’t take any pics, but luckily Judith snapped some for me.

You can see one of Judith's dolls in the background in the upper left. And stinky ol' me to the right. O hai!

Lessons Learns From Having A Market Table/Being A “Featured Artist”

  • Being on display or being made the center of attention is nerve-wracking and awkward and makes me really anxious. This seems completely stupid since I used to act and sing on stage. Oy. But, I kinda knew this.
  • Peeps are surprised to see a guy crocheting (but, surprised pleasantly most of the time). I kinda already knew this too.
  • No one laughed at my prices. This is reassuring! And I got some great compliments!
  • As a result of the nerves and anxiety of the first point, I start saying weird things that I’ve never ever said before, like answering questions in the affirmative with “Yeah, yep!”. Who says that!? I do apparently. Eugh.
  • If I keep selling things, it will defs be an online affair. Etsy? I’ma do it!
Pics courtesty of Judith, 'cuz she's wonderful.

It was such a great experience, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity and it was definitely worth it. Though, it did really reinforce for me why this malarky is called “The Shy Lion”. I’m much more at home doing business at a desk. I should work on that though. There are so many great peeps out there and I wanna meet ’em and craft with ’em!

As for the break-in, well, I don’t want this to become a place to vent some drama, but it was pretty upsetting! It’s the second time; we were broken into before Christmas too. At the end of the day, it’s just stuff, though not having a decent camera will make blogging a bit difficult. But, these things were sent to try us, and we must rise above!

How was your weekend? Have you set up a table at the markets before? How’d it go?

– R