Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My New Favourite Pattern

As I mentioned in my previous blog I have decided that shopping for clothes is not for me after a long and fruitless search for  something that fit, was not black or grey and didn't make me look like " mutton dressed as lamb"
Swing Jacket, Christine Jonson Sewing Pattterns
Swing Jacket
It took me three hours  to make which is the time I spent searching. I was able to fit my narrow shoulders and wider hips. Yes, I am a classic pear shape. I also have short arms and always have to roll up the sleeves of bought clothes. This is lucky for me this time as I only bought 2 metres and the pattern called for two and a half. 
 Swing Jacket

I am now on the lookout for a knit to make my second one.

Monday, 2 June 2014

I Am so Glad I Sew

I need a few new items of clothing to see me through winter.

The core of my wardrobe is black pants and a black top, either a T-shirt or Skivvy (such an old-fashioned word) depending on the season. Over this I  like to wear a bit of colour so off to the wonderful city of Melbourne yesterday to see what I could find. Well the answer is nothing. I was looking for few long line cardigans in almost any colour except grey or black. What I found was either too short, had a hood, would last through 2 washes, only in grey or black etc.

I also discovered that I don't like shopping in department stores now that they are divided into brand name boutiques. I would have had to go through all of them to rather than going to the knitwear department and soon became hot and disillusioned.

It looked like I would go empty handed but as Clegs is on the way to the station I had a look at what they had to offer and came away with a printed knit jersey which I am going to make using the pattern below.

 Swing Jacket
Swing Jacket by Christine Johnson Pattern
It should take me about the same time to make as I spent shopping. I will show you as soon as it is made,

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

In my last newsletter that we email each month I asked you to show us what you have made.using our books as inspiration.
Jane responded with these lovely images using a book she bought from us last year.
The first three were drawn by Jane's daughter.

And this one was drawn by Jane's Granddaughter, stunning.

Thank you so much for sharing this lovely work with us Jane.
What have you been inspired to make? Please share by emailing to info@candobooks.com.au

By the way the book that inspired all this is 
 One Zentangle a Day

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

My Easter Weekend Achievements

It was really great to set myself some targets for the weekend of things I wanted to achieve, all enjoyable of course.

I made some soap using my luxury recipe that includes 5 oils and goats milk and added some lime and lemongrass essential oils. Now I have to wait 6 weeks  for it to cure. The topping is dried lime rind.

My Candle making session was fun too and I am particularly pleased with the funny looking blue one in the middle. The holey texture was created by ice in the mold. All made with soy wax of course.

Handmade Soy Candles

The wood fired oven received a serious workout and I was able to start the fire without using too much newspaper. I am sure newspaper doesn't burn like it used to maybe it is the coloured inks.

Bread from wood fired oven
Fresh out of the oven

Half Eaten bread
10 minutes later

Spicy buns
Spicy buns. No crosses as I made them on Monday.

The garden didn't get a look in and my little Yoko Saito project is still to be started.
I did make a start on the tea cosy from Pretty Funny Tea Cosies but not much to show yet.

The only sewing I achieved was a bit of mending but my sewing/craft room got the full treatment. It is now tidy, organised and labeled so I am ready to go next weekend.I will show you some photos in a future blog.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

What to do with my Long Weekend ?

What bliss, a long weekend ahead.We will be open on Saturday of course when I plan to change one of the windows to feature spinning books, but that still leaves three days of free time.

So what craftiness can I get up to?

I will definitely be making a new batch of handmade soap with inspiration from Soap Maker's Workshop

I think it is also time to make some candles. There are some lovely ideas in Soy Candles.

Excitement is growing about Loani Prior's new knitting book, Pretty Funny Tea Cosies, which is due for release 27 June but copies can be reserved now.

I have been given a few of the pages by the publisher so I can get started on a window display. I think the one on the front will be my first, but can I gather the wool in time?

I am also forever trying to perfect my bread making in our wood fired oven so a loaf or two or some spicy buns are on the list.

Then there is Yoko Saito and her wonderfull designs.
I rather fancy this little project from her book Houses Houses Houses

 Houses Houses Houses

I think it is the dear little bicycle leaning against the wall the wall that appeals to me.

Then there is my wardrobe that is badly in need of some new clothes. One of my favourite patterns is 

My third version in silk is nearly finished and has been for three months. All I have to do is bind the neck and sleeves and hem it. Perhaps this weekend.

There is also the garden and my feeble attempts to propagate rosemary, keep the azaleas alive and blooming and to free the fishpond from duckweed, but rain is forecast so I might need to stay inside.
Perhaps a few hours on my spinning wheel....
Looking forward to it all.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Meet Freddie

We use MailChimp to manage our email newsletter and were much amused by its annual report for last year. Lots of very strange email campaigns and some fun statistics from this very savvy tech company.



The "Meet our knitter" video caught our eye and, yes, we still think MailChimp is a very clever technical provider! Can you imagine making that many Freddie hats? And we do wonder if this is Noom's full time job at MailChimp ...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


I am lucky enough to have several men in the family who like to wear the beanies I knit. This is a  project I really find relaxing and the latest one is from Weekend Hats
Slouch Beanie from Weekend Hats
Slouch Beanie from Weekend Hats
The yarn used was Opal sock yarn bought on a holiday in Japan, A nice souvenir of a great trip. As the family's head  measurements are a bit bigger than normal (bone headed some might say) hand knitting to measure is the way to a great fit.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Two new classes at Can Do Books

Pin Cushion 

Learn to make this adorable pin cushion from scratch. Joyce will show you how to construct the base, knit the roof, embellish the house with embroidery and appliqué, and put it all together. All supplies are included in the price. The only prerequisite is that you know how to thread a needle. Being able to knit is an advantage, but not essential.

Pin Cushion Class at Can Do Books
Little felt pin cushion

When There are 3 two hour sessions

Saturday 29 March 10 am12 am
Saturday 5 April 10 am12 am
Saturday 12 April 10 am12 am

Where Can Do Books 608 Burwood Road, Hawthorn  Phone 1300 308 261 

How much Payment of $140 is required to secure a place. You can phone or visit the shop and use your credit card or make a direct deposit or we can mail you a PayPal invoice. A refund will be given if the class is cancelled. Cancellations made within 24 hours of the class will forfeit the full fee or you can find a replacement.

Soap Making 

The other workshop we have planned is Soap Making. Learn to create soap that is fragrance- and colour-free using products and equipment that are readily available from your local supermarket or hardware store. You really won’t want to use commercial soap again.

Handmade soap samples
Hand made soap

You will learn all about safety, equipment, ingredients and recipes and go home with 500 g of pure vegetable oil soap. Then you will have to be patient as the soap will take 4-6 weeks to cure before you can use it.
If you are near the shop drop in for a sample piece of the soap so that you can try it for yourself.

When 29 March 2 pm5 pm

Where Can Do Books 608 Burwood Road, Hawthorn  Phone 1300 308 261

How Much $60 with all equipment and supplies included for this 3 hour workshop.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Decision Made

Earlier in January I showed you this bottle just before we finished the pickles in it. I didn't want to put it in the recycle bin so started to think about possible uses. 

Well, we have a couple of books on terrariums here and here they were my inspiration. 

Once planted I thought it looked good but the lid was rather plain. 

Several evenings of playing with my crochet hooks and yarn stash and my little mushroom garden grew on top of the jar.

Techniques used include double crochet, French knots, chain or lazy daisy stitch and straight stitch.

It sits on the window sill in our kitchen and we think it is a bit of fun.

Friday, 10 January 2014

What are you planning for 2014?

After a wonderful break it is now time think about 2014.

In 2013 I set my self the challenge of learning to knit toe-up socks and with the help of The Sock Knitter's Handbook and after 11 false starts on my first pair, I have now made five pairs.

The Sock Knitter's Handbook
The Sock Knitter's Handbook

The revival of interest in Crochet Granny Squares also saw the creation of the Alpaca knee rug I blogged about in June.

Soap making has also become part of my crafting world and there is no way I will be using bought soap again. Although there is a bit to learn when taking on a new craft, it is worth it when you can produce a soap that is fragrance and colour free and doesn't contain any palm oil. And oh yes, several members of the family with mild skin conditions would not use anything else either.

I am planning classes in Soap Crafting this year and will publish details soon.

Soap Crafting
Soap Crafting

So what are my personal crafting plans for 2014
  • I intend to sew more clothes again as my wardrobe is looking sad.I will have to become very efficient though as spare time is in short supply.
  • Learning Irish crochet was on my list last year but was side-tracked by Toe-Up Socks. So when The Go-to-Book for Irish Crochet Motifs arrived this week, it rekindled my interest.

The Go-To Book for Irish Crochet Motifs

  • I also plan to knit a couple of garments rather than concentrating on accessories.
  • And of course we now have over 15 shows around Australia on our 2014 calendar, monthly catalogues to send, a lovely shop to maintain and a new website to keep up-to-date with the latest information for you.
Apart form all of the above there are many unfinished projects to enjoy as well as new ones that will just have to be started as the year progresses as we receive so many amazing craft books each year.

I would love to hear about your plans.