Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Botanical beauty

I am not known as a shopping lover.  I find it a chore really, and rarely experience that 'eureka' moment.   But . . . a couple of weeks ago I did.  I saw something in a magazine that my heart could not resist.  I Had to Have It.  And today, it arrived!

I bought this beautiful botanical wall hanging online from Erstwhile, a website with a select collection of maps and botanical prints.  It is called Zimmerpflanzen, which is German for 'house plants'.   It comes from and old German Encyclopaedia, the Meyer Konversations Lexikon, and has been enlarged and printed beautifully on canvas.  

And here it is dressing my lounge room wall!

This wall had been bare for ages while I looked for the perfect adornment.  So, this lovely thing is everything I could have wished for. 

I should add that it is quite large - one metre x 90 cm.  It came with the wooden batons and string all ready to hang.  

Sometimes, things are 'just right.'  This is one of those things.  


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Welcome to Nandina's Place!

Hi and Welcome!

I have decided to simplify my blog URL and have moved all my posts and patterns over to Nandina's Place.

I hope you like my new place!  It's a bit like moving into a new house but with the same furniture you had at your old place.  Please contact me if you can't find what you are looking for.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Happy scarf

And so, back to scarves . . . as flagged in an earlier post, I have been searching for a scarf pattern that will work well using cotton yarn.

This is partly because it is getting increasingly warm.  But is is also because one of my daughters finds wool itchy and won't wear a woolly scarf.  To her, even the softest ultra-soft, baby-soft merino feels itchy - which has always made life a bit of a challenge.

But she likes the feel of soft cotton, and it does not itch her skin.  So I set about looking for a nice, soft, cottony scarf pattern for her that would work well in cotton yarn (which, of course, has less 'give' than wool).

This happy, colourful scarf is the result.  Voila!

It has been christened the 'happy scarf' because of its rippling joyous colours.

I used 8 ply (ie double knit) cotton yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills, in Pomegranate, Daffodil, Blush, Kiwi, Tasman Blue and Lavender.

Using a 3.5mm hook (but using a 4mm hook for the foundation chain), I simply followed the
example-sized pattern used in the Attic24 Neat Ripple Pattern.  This blog is well worth a look if you don't already know about it.  While attributing the ripple pattern to Jan Eaton's Soft Waves pattern, the Attic24 blog sets out the 'how to' very clearly with excellent pictures.

After completing the number of rows to make the desired length (in my case, 79 rows), I then 'straightened' the curved ends using a series of stitches of varying size (sl st / dc / htr / tr / dtr / tr / htr / tr / dc / sl st (with dtr being in the deepest part of the ripple and sl st being at the top of the curves), and  then completing another treble row.  Doing this on each end adds an extra two rows, so bear that in mind when working out how long you want it to be.

Here's what the straightening row/treble row look like close up:

(For some reason the colours are a bit dodgy in this shot, but you get the idea.)

Here's a close up of the border - a simple pattern of 5tr and dc (5dc and sc):

I find this ripple pattern easy and rhythmically enjoyable - comforting even, if you know what I mean.  And the feel of the soft cottony yarn made making this scarf a tactile pleasure.

Here is the happy scarf on the hat rack, with some of our other scarves and hats.  I hope it makes my lovely girl happy when she wears it.

One last thing on the ripple pattern:

This is a picture of my biggest ripply work - a cotton summer bedspread.  I made it last summer.

Have you made any ripple items yourself?  I am always looking for new ideas and do enjoy a good ripple to work, so please let me know if you have a ripply work of art to share or have been inspired to make a happy scarf too!

Have a happy day.


Friday, 1 November 2013

A little bit of happiness . . .

Another pictorial garden post, I'm afraid - I cannot help but rejoice in the riot of colour and movement in my garden.  I just feel so blessed to have a little piece of earth, and be able to share in its bounty.

Here are a few things in my garden that made my day today:

The rock roses (cistus) and pigfaces are in their element at this time of year.

The barrow gardens - this one has fried egg flower finishing and some self-sown petunias popping up.

And my new one has been coming along nicely since this post.  That's oregano at the front, and bronze fennel at the back.

My favourite pelargonium (geranium) is blowsily blooming, just the way I like it.

The honey locust has put on its yellowy lime fronds.

The sage (above) and thyme (below) are a such a mass of honey bees they are literally BUZZING.  The way the bees seem to be in a state of drunken ecstasy, burying themselves deeply into the thyme blooms!  You can see at least two bees in the photos above and below.    

This scruffy looking vegie bed is waiting for me to plant my tomatoes out.  In Canberra, tomatoes are traditionally planted after Melbourne Cup Day (the biggest horse racing carnival of the year, held on the second Tuesday in November), to avoid any risk of frost.  Planting them earlier is 'at your own risk'.  I can't wait till Tuesday - the anticipation is killing me!

And it is good to see the camellias (above) sending up glossy new shoots since their haircut a couple of months ago.  Some years are better than others, weather-wise, for my camellias.  This has been a good spring for them, as we haven't had too many days over 30 degrees yet.

Plants are such natural wonders, aren't they.  They feed us, keep us cool in summer and warm in winter, and look good to boot!