Wednesday, 18 April 2012

diy: crocheted beanies

So recently I've gotten back on the knitting/crocheting bandwagon after not having done it for a while. To say the least, it's been great and I've gone a bit crazy with it.

My favourite thing to make at the moment are beanies and berets. They are so simple to do {I can usually do one in a day} and you can play around with them as much as you like. I was trolling the internet for patterns and just really couldn't find ANY that I liked from start to finish. Whether it was the colour choice, the type of stitch, the overall look - there was always something wrong!

So I did what any normal person would do and began constructing my own patterns. This DIY tutorial features:



What you'll need:
1 x 8ply skein of 100% acrylic yarn for main colour {the brand I personally love that at the moment is simply Lincraft Sport Wool}
1 x 8ply skein of 100% acrylic yarn for contrast colour
5.00mm crochet hook

ch = chain
sl st = slip stitch
sc = single crochet
dc = double crochet
hdc = half double crochet

NB: This creates an adult sized, female beanie. 

Rnd 1: Ch 4, join with sl st to create ring. {Alternately, begin with a magic ring. I prefer this method, however, the end result is only slightly different.} Ch 2, work 11 dc into ring.

Rnd 2: Ch 1, work 2 sc in each dc around.

Rnd 3: Ch 2, dc in SAME STITCH at base of beginning ch. *2 dc in next sc, dc in next sc, repeat from * around.

Rnd 4: Ch 1, work sc in each dc around.

Rnd 5: Ch 2, dc in SAME STITCH at base of beginning ch. *2 dc in next sc, dc in each of next 2 sc, repeat from * around.

Rnd 6: Ch 1, work sc in each dc around.

Rnd 7: Ch 2, dc in SAME STITCH at base of beginning ch. Dc in each of next 3 sc. *2 dc in next sc, dc in each of next 3 sc, repeat from * around.

Rnd 8: Ch 1, work sc in each dc around.

Rnd 9: Ch 2, dc in SAME STITCH at base of beginning ch. Dc in each of next 4 sc. *2 dc in next sc, dc in each of next 4 sc, repeat from * around.

Rnd 10: Ch 1, work sc in each dc around.

Rnd 11: Ch 2, dc in each sc around.

Rnd 12-15: Repeat Rounds 10 & 11.

Rnd 16: With CONTRAST COLOUR, work sc in each dc around.

Rnds 17-23: With MAIN COLOUR, work hdc in each dc around. This section can be as long or as short as required. Fasten off.

Make sure all loose ends are tied in tight knots and weave/sew loose ends back into the beanie. 

Tips + Tricks:
\\ I prefer to use acrylic yarn because I find it to be cheaper and more readibly available. It does not stretch as easily as wool and so if you are making a project that could end up being a bit too tight, bear in mind that it may not be too easy to stretch.
\\ Changing the hook size will alter tension and the overall look and feel of the project. Tension is also dependent on how tight or loose you personally crochet. 
\\ Different brands of wool can feel completely different, even if they are for example both 8ply. The best way to determine the feel of the end result is simply to just hold both skeins at the same time and see which seems softer. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a skein is, the nicer it usually is to touch and work with. This is definitely NOT always true so keep your eyes peeled for soft, bargain wool!
\\ The colours can be changed and even when you use the colours can be changed. I created this pattern because I wanted a block colour hat that wasn't bland. The subtle use of the contrast colour worked perfectly for me but you're absolutely more than welcome to change it as you please!
\\ I crochet little flowers in the contrast colour and attach them with a needle and thread onto the line of contrast colour. This is optional and really, you can add anything: flowers, butterflies etc. You can even add a pom-pom on top!


Best of luck -- if you make one, let me know and make sure to take a picture!!

Monday, 16 April 2012

weekend away

I have some great news! 
There is very likely going to be a post every single day this week. I can only assume you're incredibly excited by this.

On the weekend I went away with friends to celebrate some upcoming birthdays. The three day trip involved a lot of alcohol (unsurprisingly), card games, board games, costumes, beach cricket, tennis, a backyard fire and a lot of driving. I won't lie, I had a great time.

My poor little camera had quite the workout this weekend! Stretched it's little legs in time for the impending engagement party I'm going to be snapping some pics at next weekend. There's no possible way to post every single photo taken and I have to say, I'm pretty glad. After sculling a lot of alcohol I apparently 1) allow inappropriate photos of me to be taken and 2) don't photograph terribly well. 

I thought I should share some photos, so enjoy :)

{beautiful girls} 

{Justin as Danny Zuko} 

{all of us only slightly intoxicated} 

{jungle creatures} 

 {dress ups: pikachu, hermoine, snow white}

{hair frustration coupled with alcohol} 

{we kidnapped scooby doo}

{burritos and coronas, win}

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend :)

Friday, 13 April 2012

friday five


So, let's kick off the end of the working week on a happier note! If you missed it, I wrote a little tribute to Grandad on Tuesday. That day marked the one year anniversary of his passing and so I kicked some emotional butt and wrote a super awesome little tribute to him which you can find HERE.

The other night I plugged in my new, super swanky PINK headphones with crystals on the buds {see picture below} which came from Japan {shout out to B + K} and listened to YouTube's "recommended" song list.

Little did I know that this would be the start of the end...

There was meant to be an awesome photo of my headphones here but seeing as I've gone bush this weekend, internet sucks balls. I'll post it when I get back to broadband!

Ladies {and gents}, I give you the new loves of my life: 

Oh yes, I went there. I'm there. It's over. You should keep talking to me though because I'm adorable and it's really not my fault that I fall for British/Irish boys. It's seriously not my fault, it's like a genetic .. thing. Justin understands and he still loves me regardless, so you should too! So today's Friday Five is...

Five Reasons Why I Support One Direction 

1. British/Irish: Like I really need to say anymore. Any accent from that region just makes me weak at the knees and my heart melt a little bit. I literally cannot help myself!

2. The "cool" factor: They don't really rate themselves a boy band {which is a bit odd} because they're all technically solo artists that just melded into this "band" and here they are. Thus, they are cool. They weren't a bunch of wanky teens sitting around going "I'm so hot, let's form a band!"

3. ONE of them can actually sing: Okay, they can all sing to varying degress. But one of them does ALL of their harmonies and it's really cute that he's actually heaps talented. He's not my favourite though...

4. Car songs: That's the category for their music - can be played incredibly loudly in my car whilst I sing along, knowing every single word. That's what I like when I'm driving to the station of a morning - winding down my window, screaming out "YOU DON'T YOU KNOW YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL!!" and tapping it out on the steering wheel. 

5. The "bone-able" factor: Is that too much information? Care factor zero. I would jump two of them I reckon. Probably not ACTUALLY because I feel like I'm far too old for them {only ONE year older?!?!?} and because Justin is a babe. I really think he could be a trendy British boy if he wasn't a carefree Aussie boy.

NEW LIFE MISSION: Make Justin British. 

If you don't like One Direction, I don't care. 
What's your life mission?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

in memory of my Grandad

Disclaimer: This post is going to be a little bit sad and a lot long - sorry!

As you know, my blog is called For My Grandfather. Just over to the right there you'll see that his name was Charles Bentley. And between you and me, I am so super proud to have known him. 

Today, April 10th, marks the one year anniversary of his passing. In preparing this post I had to ask myself, is this something I really want to put on the Internet? And the answer is yes. Why? Because, to me, this kind of stuff can only help people.

When I began writing this I was so overwhelmed with sadness and grief and all I wanted to do was curl up in a little ball and go back to when things were a lot less complicated. Spending a few days reflecting though, and hanging out with my Nana, I had a bit of a revelation. Nana is okay with this, because as Grandad got sick she had time to wrap her head around it. Yes, it was an incredibly tough time for her. But she has an amazing inner strength that simply wows me. 

We were talking about grief the other day and she said she has been able to identify the stages and confidently say that she has gone through them. I had to step back back and think, if she can do this then I most certainly can.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I'm beginning to be okay with this. Death is a part of life and when you first experience it, it shakes you to your core. Things that previously retained so much value and were pivotal to your life suddenly become inconsequential and meaningless. This is completely okay as long as, at some stage, you're able to get back on track and give meaning to the things that make life wonderful. 

I didn't think that I was at the stage but it dawned on me that by creating this blog and living each day by staring my blog title in the face, I was beginning to win. I have become able to live my life and recognise things that I value and have that be completely okay. I write about things that matter to me, that make me laugh, that are important to me and I do all of that with Grandad in my heart. He becomes no less important and neither does his passing simply because I choose to live my life in the best way possible. I view it as a little daily tribute to him.

Today in particular, I find it very important to share his story. His passing haunts me to a degree, but not to the point where it's a negative. I have turned it into a positive in a way, a reminder to say things that need to be said before it's too late and to cherish and live off only positive memories. 

In the last couple of years of his life, Grandad developed Multiple Myeloma. This is a very aggressive and very rare form of cancer. It essentially attacks the white blood cells in your body, whose job it is to create antibodies and protect you from getting sick. This cancer eats away at your bones from the inside out, making it extremely painful. One of the most common places for it to exist is within the spinal cord and that is where Grandad had it.

Grandad, being Grandad, didn't tell anyone he was in a pain for a really, really long time. He would only mention his headaches and dizziness in passing, but these are all symptoms of hypercalcemia which is often associated with MM. To think back now though and to imagine the amount of pain he was actually in on a daily basis is devastating.

To make matters worse, Grandad was developing Alzheimer's Disease as well. He began to forget a lot of things and at many stages, he didn't know who he was anymore. I think this is the part that really upsets me. To forget who you are, who you love and what you do terrifies me. I witnessed some of his confusion and disorientation and I'll tell you, it breaks your heart. 

People diagnosed with MM are given approximately 4 years to live. This cancer goes unnoticed quite a lot because people attribute the pain to other, less serious medical issues. Many times it was thought that perhaps Grandad had fractured a bone.

Once it became apparent that Nana could no longer take care of Grandad because he was in that much pain and was just having too much trouble remembering, he was moved to get professional care. This is where he stayed for the remaining months.

This is where I should stop to tell you that Grandad was eternally grumpy. He had absolutely no patience for anyone or anything. He preferred to do things himself because it was quicker and he usually did a better job {I am completely the same as Grandad in this regard!} Having people take care of him was the worse thing imaginable for him. He couldn't stand not being able to do things himself. 

As grumpy as he was though, he could laugh at any joke. He loved jokes and a good sense of humour and would practically laugh himself out of air and then wheeze himself back. He used to go as red as a tomato and then habitually smooth his hair when he was embarrassed.

I learnt so much from him and that didn't even occur to me until after he passed away. Many of the things I love now, I love because of him.

I had been fighting with myself in early April of last year, feeling a need to fly back to New Zealand to see him. Up till that point I didn't feel this sense of urgency. My gut just wasn't saying to me that it was time. In March and April though I felt off. I can't explain it, it's just this feeling that something isn't quite right. I tried to find a time to fly over but between work, university and other excuses, I just couldn't manage it. 

I finally had enough, got my priorities in order and booked a flight for Monday 11th April 2011. 

He passed away on Sunday 10th April 2011.

I was actually out when it happened, watching a friend's soccer game. I looked up and I saw a rainbow and I thought, 'Wow, that rainbow is so beautiful..' It hadn't been raining and that's what surprised me. The sky was overcast and like it wanted to rain, but it hadn't. This rainbow just wanted to be seen. I feel like I should've known then that something wasn't quite right.

I just missed him, by one day.

Now there are some things that I just simply cannot share here because they are just too, too personal but I hope that I have done the right thing by writing this down. I don't want him to ever be forgotten. I also wanted to write this down so that maybe if your priorities aren't in the right order, this can be a wake up call. 

Life is too short and you cannot wait. I waited, I let life get in the way of living. I missed my moment and that's something I'm going to carry around with me for a really, really long time. I have learnt my lesson - we need to make sure that those you love know that you love them. Tell them every single day. 

Grandad knew that I loved him and I know that he loved me. I just wish I'd said goodbye.

I really hope this has shed some light onto what I'm doing over here in my corner of the world and I hope that, when you read my blog title, it can be a little reminder to you to not let life pass by.

If you have any questions or you've been through a similar thing, I am all ears :) 

Happy Charles Bentley day everyone!

Monday, 9 April 2012

photo challenge

Specifically, the 'April Photo a Day' challenge.

Chantelle @ Fat Mum Slim hosts the Photo a Day challenge monthly and even though I'm jumping on the bandwagon 9 days late, you know what, DEAL.

To help you deal you can look at 5 days worth of photos taken in ONE day {that's all I could manage today!}
But yeah, bam.
Bitchez be hatin'. 

I shall do weekly round ups of my photos but you can follow along everyday via Twitter or via Instagram - whatever floats your boat kiddies!

#3. mail + #5. tiny + #8. inside your wallet

#4. someone who makes you happy + #7. shadow

I'm missing #1, #2, #6 & #9 but you can expect them tomorrow!

If you decide to join in, let me know :) Hope everyone had a good day today!

Friday, 6 April 2012

friday five

five things I just plain love at the moment

1. Kindle: there are no words for this amazing, amazing toy. I have spent the past few days with my face buried in so many books!!! It's so easy to use and read on, the battery is amazing, it's so light and I just adore it. I even carry it around my house with me wherever I go. Toilet included.

2. Liam Hemsworth: anyone else? I think it's the fact that he's an Australian {go aussies go!} We really do produce the hottest men. They have no idea they are so attractive and they are attractive in a really bogan, not typically attractive way. Point is, the scene where Gale is standing there, looking stoic at the reaping? Even Justin agreed it was a sight to behold. And by agreed I mean he raised his eyebrows at me when I audibly sighed. 

3. Whiteboard: this sounds strange but it's kind of not. Sorta. I've rediscovered my passion for sniffing whiteboard markers {right??} and discovered a cool little trick for sorting out everything that needs to be done. Also, rubbing something off a whiteboard is a nice feeling.

4. Hair: mine in particular. It's at a length where it's acceptable and even though it's cut blunt across {I'm going to get this rectified when I have cash}, it's now at the length where when you put it up, it looks "full" as opposed to "I have short hair and putting it up in a little up-knot looks so stupid". I find myself preening a lot - I'm so conceited.

5. German chocolate: who knew?! There's going to be a post about this VERY soon, potentially with pictures of me bathing in the stuff. That's all I say. 

What is your favourite, favourite thing at the moment? 
Be as conceited and materialistic as you please! 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

guest post: emily

Bonjour! Emily @ Emmy June was (is?) one of my lifeline peeps. When I found myself sinking into a sad little pit of uninspiration, sadness and general blankness, Emily stepped up to the plate with her cape on and her undies on the outside and said 
'Never fear, Emily's here!'

So naturally I felt incredibly safe and that the wellbeing of my blog was going to be just fine. 

For those of you who don't know, Emily is a Michigan-born, LA-based, underwearontheoutside-wearing lady friend of mine who I have blated with. Twice. I like her THAT much. We have plans to do it several more times before she departs Australia, where her and hubby Jefftastic, have been living for a year now. 
Hope you enjoy reading what inspires her! Be sure to check out her blog here!


Hi Jasmine lovers!  My name is Emily, and I blog at Emmy June {born in May}.  Jasmine and I became fast friends through our blogs and it wasn't long before we began plotting a meet-up.  Well, friends, we did meet-up for a blogger date.  And it was awesome.  You can read about it here.

What inspires me to write?

The desire to capture a moment, a detail, an experience, with the hope that I can share it, save it, and revisit it.

This inspiration comes to me through variety.  Through uniqueness of experience.  When we moved to Sydney, everything felt so different.  So new.  So worthy of a photo....of a story.

It never fails to inspire me

However, there are also times when a week flies by and I cannot even remember what I did.  These are the times when my writing can feel forced and uninspired.  During these times, I draw inspiration from my fellow bloggers.  Some bloggers inspire me to get out and seize the day.  Other bloggers inspire me with their writing.  Their ability to capture the mundane.  To make it funny....and interesting.  That's actually my favorite kind of inspiration.  It makes me want to raise my game.  I begin looking for humor and interest all around me.  Surely, if their trip to the grocery store had me in stitches, there must be something funny in my life that I just didn't notice.

For example,

Michelle @ Mish Lovin Life inspires me with her humor.

Her badass marathon trainer face

Devon @ The Mermaid Chronicles inspires me with her surfing and her love of the ocean.

This girl can shred

Anna @ Glitter, Small World inspires me with her poetic writing.

Her beautiful, yet tragic stories from Africa

Lindsay @ Trial by Sapphire inspires me to be more Earth-friendly with my beauty products and cleaning supplies.

Thanks for allowing me to share my inspiration!

What inspires YOU?