26 November, 2013

Crochet flowers

Crochet flowers

It's so much fun making flowers, I've been having a ball! And I think it's definitely the best way to use up your little scraps of yarn. I've been working my way through a book I have called 200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments & Trims, making whatever takes my fancy, and thoroughly enjoying myself!

Crochet flowers

I borrowed Mini Motif crochet pattern from my friend Yumiko and it has some neat flowers to try out too - but in small!
 Isbn 4021904166 More crochet patterns books

Hazel had a quick look through it yesterday and instantly fell in love with the little icecreams and shoes, as well as the colourful flowers (monochrome is so not an 8 year old girl!).


There are quite a few motifs done in fluffy yarn which isn't really to my taste so much but if you google ISBN978-4-02-190416-5 there are quite a few photos of other pages in the book. Sorry mine aren't that great, but hopefully they'll give an idea of what's in the book. The designs are all charted so there's no issues with it being in Japanese.




21 November, 2013

The Little Tree

My next Christmas project is going to be crocheting a couple of little trees to go with Sarah's very cute book The Little Tree. I love that you can get the pattern to recreate Little Tree and bring the story to life in a way. I'm going to do two for my niece and nephew and they can share the book. I'm not so naive as to think they'd share a tree :)

The Little Tree

You can buy the book and see some more images at Sarah's Felt store.

I need to find a good brown for the trunk still, which means another trip out to Spotlight - when I popped in last week they were reorganising and it was so radically different that it felt a bit surreal and I couldn't quite focus on what I was meant to be doing and came away with a totally wrong brown! Sad when a craft store revamp sends you into a tizz.

20 November, 2013

Christmas comes early

It seems much too early to be sending boxes of Christmas presents off in the mail (and not just because it's early summer here!) but I've already missed the economy post Xmas deadline so it can't be. I missed it because I suddenly realised that I'd bought all this fabric to make bags LAST year and hadn't, so I had better do it this year or be totally disgusted with myself. I made 7 bags over about 5 days and pretty much wore myself out, I'm not very good at doing lots of the same thing over and over again, I get bored quickly. I'd like to make a few more though, but not for a couple weeks!

Christmas comes early when you have international mailing deadlines to meet. They were meant to be in the post today to make economy deadline - what do you reckon, should I be a rebel and post tomorrow anyways? #christmas #christmas2013 #lineddrawstringba

The pattern is the Lined Drawstring Bag pattern by In Color Order. The link goes to a free tutorial but I bought the actual pattern with a bunch of different sizes. Highly recommend it!

19 November, 2013

Teeny tiny crochet

I'm a huge fan of the delicate crochet jewellery I keep seeing in Japanese craft books. I got Knot's Itoami out of the library ages ago and fell in love with it but couldn't find any copies to buy at the time. I had another look recently and found it on Fishpond (our local NZ online bookseller) and snaffled up a copy. I've started in on just about the simplest pattern in the book but I'm thrilled with how it's coming out.

Necklace in #60 mercerised cotton with a .65 hook. And yes I'm going blind but it looks great!

It's done with #60 mercerised cotton and a .60mm hook. It takes me awhile to get the hang of it when I start but it's not too hard actually! The hard bit is focussing to be honest. I'm not quite at reading glasses stage but I can tell it's coming, my eyes don't focus quite as well or as quickly as they used to darn it!

05 November, 2013

Spelling Eggs app

Ages ago I was approached by Australian company Reading Eggs to review a new app called Spelling Eggs. I usually say no to things like that because they're often completely irrelevant both to me and my blog and/or mildly insulting when they don't get my name right or want me to jump through hoops and follow lots of rules. BUT. We buy quite a lot of apps in this house, and a goodly number of them are educational ones for Hazel. We usually get maths-oriented ones because she's a bit weaker in that area than reading and writing, so I was interested to see what she'd think of a spelling one. I also liked that it was Aussie so we wouldn't have to explain to her why Americans spell things differently and why she needs to put a 'u' in words and no you spelled that quite correctly sweetie, don't worry that it's saying you didn't (curse you Microsoft and your constant attempts to revert to American spelling!) and what lb and oz are and no I have no idea how many ozzes are in a lib and a quarter is twenty-five cents. I'm not sure how Australian grades and curriculum compare to ours, but I suspect they are essentially the same so it's easy to pick the correct grade/year to buy. We went for Grade 3 since she's in Year 3 here and it seems to fit well.

Since she's the target audience I thought I'd let her do the talking first. She kept it short and sweet and said "It's got reading and writing. I really like it because I like all the games. I like Quiz Master the best". "Sometimes I get it wrong and it shows me the right answer and then I remember how to spell it afterwards". She does honestly seem quite keen on it, although she doesn't spend as much time on the iPad as she used to - must get back in the habit of getting her to work on the apps as they have made quite a difference in her math in the past. The variety of games in the app is a good feature as she has become bored with other apps after she's collected X number of whatevers to do whatever you can do in the one game it offers.

Like most apps the learning process is gameified and it does encourage the kids to persist and spend time working through the material. Hazel really responds to it and I bet I would have too when I was a kid - if such things had been available! Flash cards were as high-tec as it got back then though. Generally she just gets on with it with no input from me at all, although I've had to help her a bit with the quizzes as some of the questions are outside her experience. I'm not sure if that's because it's aimed a bit higher than she can cope with or if it is a different curriculum issue. Either way I don't mind helping with answers as it's the spelling that matters. When I asked her how she found it difficulty wise and how it compared to what she's doing in class she said it was a bit on the easy side in terms of the actual spelling. However, that probably reflects the fact she's in the top group for spelling in her class and it would be about right for an average 8 year old in Year/Grade 3.

Reading Eggs clearly targets their range of educational apps at the 3+ age range and Spelling Eggs is their only app to cover kids older than 7. That's a shame because based on our experience they do a good job - I hope they come out with math for older kids in the near future!


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