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Archive for November, 2009

Three more sleeps until the start of summer!

To celebrate, I changed my website header to a photo I took today (well, technically yesterday now, on Saturday) of these gorgeous daisies in the afternoon sun. Don’t they just make you feel summer rushing through your veins? Below is an alternative, but I think I like the colour and the out of focus nature of the one I chose (good for a header).

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Especially big hot pink heart-shaped earrings! Big fun earrings suit my huge mass of brown wavy hair :P

Hopefully I will have something crafty for you all next week. Have a wonderful weekend!

♥ ♥ ♥

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I spent several hours in Perth City today asking complete strangers if they would complete a short survey to help a friend with her PhD research on domestic violence against women. Over 200 people were kind enough to give their time and they received nothing in return but profuse gratitude. I sincerely thank all those people for their kindness – including those who did not have the time to complete the survey but were kind in how they declined! The issue of violence against women is one that needs to be talked about a lot more, and it is even more relevant that I am posting this now because today (25th November) is White Ribbon Day, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Violence perpetrated against women by their current and ex- partners is a leading cause of illness, injury or death in Australian women between the ages of 15 and 45, and one in three Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence in her lifetime (click here for more info). And while the name of the day focuses on women, in truth we all know that domestic violence occurs against children and men too.

People in abusive situations need help, whether that abuse is physical, verbal, emotional, sexual, or financial. No one ever wants to be in an abusive relationship, but they will remain for many reasons: whether it be out of love, fear of reprisal, fear for children,  lack of power, lack of support, or simply because they are not aware that what is happening to them is abuse. Those who have suffered and are suffering abuse need our help.

Most of us are sadly unsure and afraid of how to respond to domestic violence if  we become aware of it. There are many reasons why: we might be afraid of making the situation worse, getting abused ourselves, shaming a friend or family member, or we might be uncertain whether abuse is actually happening.

If you are experiencing abuse, or become aware of (or suspect) abuse occurring to someone else, do not remain silent. What you need to do is call someone who can help. Unless you are a professional who knows what to do, don’t try to wrack your brains about what to do (and then stay silent because you are stuck) -  just call a helpline where people are trained to give you appropriate advice that will suit your situation. Even if you aren’t sure anything is wrong, just call anyway. You will not regret an anonymous phone call, but you may regret staying silent.

If you are in immediate danger or witnessing an act of violence occurring do not hesitatecall the police. This is regardless of whether it is happening to a stranger or someone you know.  Also do not assume that if there are many people standing around watching that someone must have called – call yourself to make sure. If you are concerned that you are actually causing abuse, do not stay silent and be ashamed of yourself: you must get help too, so call the domestic violence helpline.

If you are in Australia, call the Police (000) if there is immediate danger, or anonymously call the National Confidential Helpline (24hr) on 1800 200 526, and they can either help you directly or put you in touch with a service that can (other services for Australia are listed here).
If you are not from Australia
, make sure you know your emergency number, and do a search for the appropriate domestic violence helpline (quick hotline links for the USA, UK, New Zealand, and some services for Canada because I couldn’t find a national helpline). The phone number for most helplines will not appear in your phone bill, and their websites typically provide advice to stop the website from showing up in your history.

Please make sure that you do not stay silent about this issue. Speak up against domestic abuse when the issue is raised, educate other people about the issue and how they can help if they know of abuse, and make sure you do not stay silent if you suspect abuse.

1800 200 526

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Well I reached my 1000th visitor last Thursday and I have had over 250 visits since then so I feel this post is slightly behind! I have been busy and away on holiday, but I am determined to catch up. I promised in my previous post that I would write about two lovely visitors to my site, so here they are:

Etheriel Musings

Grace of Etheriel Musings is a really lovely woman and was one of the first to comment on my site. Her website is full of all her gorgeous writing. She mostly writes film reviews, but she also writes observations of life around her. Grace is truly talented not just with how she writes, but the way she has actually thought about a movie or situation in life. You don’t have to take my word for it either – Roger Ebert (the famous film critic!) has noticed Grace and has gushed about her writing too ;). Another fun thing is that Grace is going to be visiting Perth soon, so we hope to catch up :) Go on, go visit her site!

Megnificent Made

Megan has dropped by my site on more than one occasion to brighten it with her lovely comments. Her website is fairly new as well, but I am looking forward to the crafty posts she has coming up (I got a sneak peek by looking at her flickr photos)! She writes about her adventures in Australia, cool crafty finds, items she designs, aaannnnddd she has some cute felt craft tutorials (I have to get some pink felt to make her strawberries!). She also has a couple of guinea pigs with her partner which is extra cute. If you want some craft ideas, go check her out.

Now I am sure there are many, many other wonderful visitors to this site, but I don’t know who you are unless you leave a comment and say hello :D. I enjoy visiting the websites of people who visit (unless you are just a spammer of course ;)), so don’t be shy.

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I found Bazzil just buzzing about his business in my newly planted basil this weekend. He was having quite a feast on the flowers of my other herbs (just look at the size of him!) and was hoping to have some basil flowers to finish off his meal.

“You’re out of luck, Bazzil” I shook my head, “They won’t flower until the end of summer”.

I offered him some of my special sweet spring flowers instead and he cheered up so much he let me in on the secret to getting your own buzzing bumblebees. And here it is…

Bazzil the Buzzing Bumblebee Amigurumi Pattern

My patterns are written down as I create my amigurumi, but let me know if there is anything missing.

Techniques

You will use the basic amigurumi crochet techniques: magic circle, slip stitch, single crochet (sc), increase, and invisible decrease. But you will also learn a simple way to change colours.
Note: US crochet stitch terminology is used. ch=chain, sc=single crochet, 2sc in next sc=increase, sc2tog=decrease (crochet two sc together to make one sc). I use the invisible decrease method for all decreases.

Materials

* Yarn: Yellow, Black, and White (your bee can be different colours of course!)
* Safety eyes (I used 9mm black). You can also stitch your eyes or make them out of felt
* Black embroidery thread (for mouth)
* Black/brown soft fuzzy pipe cleaner for antennae (or crochet your own)
* Polyfill stuffing
* Crochet Hook
* Needle (one with an eye big enough for yarn, and one for your embroidery thread)
* Any other materials to decorate

Pattern

Bumblebee: Head/Body

Start with Yellow Yarn
RND1:  6sc magic circle [6]
RND2:  2sc in each sc [12]
RND3:  12 sc around [12]
RND4:  sc in next sc, 2sc in next sc. Repeat. [18]
RND5:  18 sc around [18]
RND6:  18 sc around [18]
RND7:  18 sc around [18] **insert safety eyes & embroider mouth**
RND8:  sc in next sc, sc2tog. Repeat. [12]

Switch to Black Yarn with a slip stitch
[How to: Insert hook into back loop/stitch only of the next stitch, yarn over with black yarn (not yellow), then pull through both stitches to make a slip stitch. You will now have a black loop over your hook. If you want a cleaner join, you will need to join each round: as soon as you finish a RND, slip stitch to next stitch (back stitch only if changing colour, and yarn over with new colour), then chain one, and continue to next RND]
RND9:  12 sc around [12] **stuff head**
RND10: sc in next 5 sc, 2sc in next sc. Repeat. [14]
RND11: sc in next 6 sc, 2sc in next sc. Repeat. [16]

Switch back to Yellow yarn with a slip stitch
RND12: 16 sc around [16]
RND13: sc in next 3 sc, 2sc in next sc. Repeat. [20]
RND14: 20 sc around [20]

Switch back to Black Yarn with a slip stitch
RND15: 20 sc around [20]
RND16: 20 sc around [20]
RND17: 20 sc around [20]

Switch back to Yellow yarn with a slip stitch
RND18: sc in next 3 sc, sc2tog. Repeat. [16]
RND19: 16 sc around [16]
RND20: 16 sc around [16]

Switch to Black Yarn with a slip stitch
RND21: sc in next 2 sc, sc2tog. Repeat. [12]
RND22: 12 sc around [12] **stuff body**
RND23: sc2tog. Repeat. [6]
Do a couple more sc2tog to close off the hole and make the bottom pointier.
Slip knot to finish off (you can leave a small yarn tail out as a “stinger” if you like).

Bumblebee: Wings (make 2, use the white yarn)

Chain 2
RND1:  3 sc in second chain from hook [3]
RND2:  2sc in each sc [6]
RND3:  sc in next sc, 2sc in next sc. Repeat. [9]
RND4:  9 sc around [9]
RND5:  9 sc around [9]
RND6:  9 sc around [9]
RND7:  sc in next sc, sc2tog. Repeat. [6]
Slip st and finish off. Leave long yarn tail to sew to body.
Sew wings to body using the yarn tail.

Bumblebee: Antennae (make 2)

These are optional – if you have a black/brown pipecleaner you can use that instead (I used a brown pipecleaner).
1/ Chain for as long as you want your antennae (I chained 7)
2/ Starting from the second stitch from the hook, slip stitch into each stitch along until you get to the end.
3/ Finish off with a slip knot, cut yarn leaving a long tail for sewing.

Your bumblebee can be decorated with other facial features (eyebrows, eyelashes, different mouth shapes), clothing (scarf, hats, pins), and whatever other embellishments you can think of.

Now your bumblebee is off and ready to travel the world! Perhaps you might want to make some flowers for your bee to rest on?

Note: You are free to use this pattern to make as many bumblebees as you like, but please do not post this pattern anywhere else. If you follow my pattern and  blog about it I would appreciate a link back to my website (so others can make it too!). I do not mind if you sell items you make from my patterns, but please be fair and acknowledge the pattern source. More information about pattern use here: http://amysodyssey.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/my-crochet-patterns/

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