Havana CAL and getting ready for painting

The Havana CAL is keeping me pretty occupied at the moment. With the increase in size it is really not so easy to fall behind too much. I finished part 1 in the middle of the week and now still need one more repeat of part 2 before heading to the next pattern. I love the colour transition and how the pattern transforms between parts though. Today I saw a preview of Tinna’s new pattern from her testers and I really need to do that too. Probably not a blanket but there was one cool idea of a table runner with that design.

Additionally I finally cleaned up my miniature painting area. It is getting cooler now, so it’s the perfect time to do some serious painting again. The table however is some kind of different universe where a black hole seems to dump all the crazy stuff. Usually whenever I want to paint, I am not able to do so without getting rid of all the chaos first. So this time I hope I will be able to fend of entropy long enough to finish some long runner projects.

My running practice is coming along well too. I have been practicing with my hubby this week as my running buddy was ill and this gave me some serious push. My hubby is much faster than I am but even though he was holding back really good, I was able to slightly increase my average speed and still be able to chat with him. I don’t even have sore muscles after my long runs at the moment. I think that if I am able to continue my practice that way, I might seriously hit some personal bests in the races this and next year.

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Havana and running for a good cause

Last week I was busy, busy, busy as the new Havana CAL started. I have been looking forward to it as it is an amazing piece of art and it is the perfect pattern for an adjustable in size blanket. So I did some advanced mathematics and calculated the number of repeats needed for a blanket my hubby and I can snuggle up underneath together. It is pretty big and needs much more time than expected – so sadly I will be falling behind pretty soon. However I am totally in love with it already, even though I have not finished part one yet. Still 6 more rows until I can switch to the next pattern and colour. But look how it even looks lovely on the back side! Luckily all those ends will be covered by a border because I would be hard pressed sewing them all in….

My running buddy, my hubby and I have decided that 2020 will be out year and we will do the half marathon at the Vienna City Marathon. Therefore we started training for it already and decided to do some more races this and next year that will prepare us well. So on Saturday I did not have much time for crocheting as I participated in a charity race. Each mile run contributed to raising funds for research against cancer. My goal was to run through at least 50 minutes and aim for 6 miles. I ended up with 1 1/2 hours of running and 6 miles in total – a result I am really happy with as I restarted training only one week ago.

On Sunday a really good friend came for a visit so I rather chatted and crocheted and did not work on the pictures from my vacation. So sadly you’ll have to wait a little bit more before seeing some more vacation impressions. But I promise that I will work on them this coming weekend!

Vacation apologies and new spirit

I want to apologize to my readers for not posting the last couple of weeks. I actually wanted to set up everything, so that during my vacation I would be able to release new blog posts while traveling to the other side of the world (literally).But then spirits were low and I just could not make myself craft anything – too much heat and too much stress added up to me actually sitting after work not doing anything at all. Even my hubby realized that something was terribly wrong as I only do not craft when I am feeling really really bad….

But vacation gave me the long needed break and the refocus on what I love. Travelling with my hubby and seeing beautiful places is definitely on top of this list. We spent three totally cool weeks in New Zealand traveling slowly around the north island. It was great not to be too rushed, so that we could take in beautiful scenery and a bunch of totally amazing people. I definitely fell in love with Kiwis who are so friendly and open-minded – even the staff at the airport (security and bio diversity) are laughing, friendly and having a good time. Below are just a bunch of impressions – I still have to sort out 2000 pics from my hubby and myself. I will write a little bit more over the next weeks and will pep up my posts with some stories from our trip.

Of course I could not come back from New Zealand without at least a little bit of something to craft. I was stupid enough to plan Napier on a Sunday so that I could not shop at the only yarn store I could convince my hubby to plan into our trip. But I found a nice little shop in Auckland that sold beautiful New Zealand-ish bookmarks and fat quarters. However I was not able to put the whole store into my luggage, but I know I will be coming back anyway, so next time I’ll just plan accordingly.

This Saturday I could also convince my hubby to visit the local baking and crafting show – which actually was very disappointing. I always envy people from other countries like US, UK or even Germany because there craft shows are big and beautiful and totally devastating on your budget. Here it was just terribly small and hardly anything worth looking at – until my hubby pointed out the nice little display of Wolloase multicoloured yarn bobbels. He even got quite into a frenzy pointing out one bobbel he liked after another. He definitely is a keeper ;). So we ended up with three bobbels and a hand full of beading stuff and this wife went home pretty happy.

With spirit high again I have now huge plans for the next months: one of this bobbels will become a Grinda Shawl, I will participate in the Havana CAL and I still need to finish my hubbies blanket before it gets really cold. As well I start thinking about Christmas presents – not sure what those will be this year. And a friend had a baby shortly before my vacation and I am thinking of whipping up a baby blanket for her too. So look forward to a lot of new projects on this blog soon.

A is for Apple

img_0783Another terribly hot week has passed, in which I was hardly able to do anything seriously craftsy. I am currently just playing couch potato trying my best to keep my blood pressure from plummeting to the floor and just playing dead there. Such heat has always been a problem for me since I was a teenager and time and age did not help to make it better at all.

I was lucky being invited by a colleague and friend to visit her home in the middle of nowhere in Lower Austria for the public holiday on Wednesday. It seemed that we must have been close to Siberia there as temperature was so much better that I even had chilly times (approximately 20 degrees or so) in the morning. The place was huge – and the best thing was the orchard with tons of ripe apples. So I went home with about 2 kg of apples right from (or rather below) the tree ready to be transformed into something totally delicious.

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I decided that – given the heat in the city I was returning to – I would rather stick to a quick recipe than do anything fancy. Some short pastry apple pockets and some puff pastry apple strudel. I used the ready to use version of both doughs this time as making them at 30 degrees is not a good idea. The butter really has to stay cold for both of them but the apples just couldn’t wait for cooler weather. The recipe for the filling I picked from Martha Steward’s Pies and Tarts book and I have to say: this lady really knows her art. My hubby does not like cinnamon that much and most apple recipes are loaded with it – but in this filling there is only a hint of it and therefore he has not complained a bit! Also the filling is not sweet at all as there is lemon added and as little sugar as possible. Of course such a recipe depends on the apples used but the ones I have picked have been quite sweet by themselves. The result was a nice sweet and tart little apple paradise!

Foxes finished

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Another hot week has passed here. It’s really getting on my nerves as I really hate hot, humid weather. I feel like a fish on land, flopped on the couch with sticky fingers trying to hold my crochet hook. It just does not work that way. Therefore I rather focused on finishing my diamond painting foxes. Aren’t those furries cute? I am totally in love with them and the way the final piece looks. They are now tug under some heavy books (thanks university for making me study those, so that I now have some to use for my crafts) in order to press the little diamond pieces firmly to the sticky foundation. Then I will pin them on to the door to my crafting room – hopefully without producing a diamond shower soon.

Even though I am not sure if I am able to finish until my vacation, I started the second diamond painting right afterwards. It just is addictive. This time it’s the book owl to pimp up the library door. Can’t wait to see it evolving!

Firespinner and new tools

Another week has passed with about 36 degrees each day. It’s still too hot to seriously crochet, so I decided that beading is just the right craft for this heat wave. I am still in love with Kassie Shaws patterns from “Beading beyond the basics” and have eyed the firewheel spinner pattern for quite some time. I had the dagger beads and the seed beads but not the correct rivoli as a center accent. So I tried out Pontomac Beads Eu that recently opened up and has a huge selection of high quality beads and a real good price. It was amazing how fast they delivered – three days from ordering to delivery! Not even the stores in the UK can beat that. Pontomac definitely has not seen the last of me though I hope that they will stock up to the same size as the US online store. There it’s bead heaven <3. The pattern gave me quite a bunch of gray hair – not because it was written badly but because I was plain too stupid to read the pictogram correctly. I even got my hubby to check, why it does not work, and I have to give him credit that he at least tried to help me figure it out 😂. But as you can see, I was successful in the end and am totally in love with my new pendant.Additionally I got mail delivered last week. I was able to support Etty van Urk, the Cake Dutchess, via Kickstarter to bring her own modelling tools to production. She had a really tough time with them (lots and lots of throwbacks) but now they finally arrived. And I can tell you: they are amazing and are so worth the wait! Not only are they solid stainless steal, they are so well made that you’ll never want to use your cheap plastic tools ever again! The only bad thing is now that the weather is just too hot to try them out. My fingers are itching so much!

Summer in the city

It’s really hot here at the moment. Almost every day it’s 35 degrees which makes crafting really tedious. My crochet hook is sticky in my hands and even cleaning them over and over again does not help much. I know that we were all complaining about the cold in winter and should be happy about warm weather but I really prefer a temperature up to 28 degrees. I was able to finish my summer scarf nevertheless. I am still not happy with the color scheme of this bobbel – don’t know why I actually bought it as it is way out of my confort zone. I love the green and gray but the orange is just so not me. I can’t even blame the heat as it was much cooler when I bought it. I had hoped that it might grow on me during making but even finished just I can’t see myself wearing it. So I need to find someone who would be happy wearing it and gift it to her.

After that I comtinued on my diamond painting picture and might be able to finish soon. As well look forward to some more jewellery next week!