{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

August 31, 2016

DIY || Crochet Daisy Chain

It's officially Spring tomorrow and there's nothing prettier than a daisy chain! While I made this for Emma when she was still little, you can follow my instructions to create a crocheted daisy chain, which you can make into a headband or bracelet. You can also simply make the single daisies on their own to use for other craft projects.

Note that you'll have to have a basic knowledge of crochet. If you're lacking in this department, check this link for help.

The size of the needle and the amount of yarn really depends on what kind of project you want to finish. I used remnants and would say I used about half a 50g ball for two bracelets, a necklace, and a headband (just a longer version of the bracelet), as well as some single daisies.

How to make the bracelet:

Start with a slip knot.
Ch 13.
Insert needle into 9th chain and pull thread through to make a circle or loop.
circle
**Ch 6.
Insert needle in centre, pull thread through, ch 1.
pull-thread-through
Rep four more times.
repeat-for-flower
Ch 7.
Insert into 4th chain, pull thread through, ch 1.
Rep from ** twice.
second-flower
Ch 16.

completed-braceletTo finish off, you can crochet a bead onto the end using a simple slip stitch or create a knot. Then turn the first set of chain stitches on themselves to create a loop. If you are doing the beaded or knotted version, you will need to ensure the loop is the correct fit for the bead or knot. 
You can also add another two or three daisies, extending your final chain for about 12cm, or more if you prefer, so you can simply wind the bracelet around your wrist or finish off with the knot or bead to make a headband.

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How to make the necklace:

Start with a slip knot.
Ch 10.
Join 10th chain with first.
Ch 44.
Needle into 40th chain, pull thread through and ch 1.
Work as for bracelet between ** five times.
Ch 41.
Attach bead or make knot.
Finish off.

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Let me know how it goes! I would love to see your finished results!

August 25, 2016

DIY || Reuse || Fave T-Shirt Design to Mock Biker's Insignia

t-shirt-design-reuse-collage
I love t-shirts, especially the designs and sometimes the slogans. Because choosing a t-shirt is so personal, I find it very difficult to be rid of items that are faded or no longer fit or are never worn.

If I do brave the emotions that come with ridding myself of a t-shirt, it's technically not getting rid of it because, a) I cut up the back and other straight pieces to make my own t-shirt yarn; and b) I keep the logo or slogan.

But what to do with my pile of t-shirt designs!? I decided to make myself a polar fleece vest for braving the cold when I head to the gym and using one of these for the back seemed the perfect idea. I found a vintage pattern at a charity store and decided to make use of it.

What you'll need for this project:

t-shirt-design-notions

- An old t-shirt with a favourite design;
- An item of clothing without any detail or seams on the back;
- Thin batting;
- General notions, such as sewing cotton, pins, and sharp-pointed scissors.

What to do:

1. Choose the design you'd like to put on the back of your item. If you haven't cut it out yet, give yourself a lot of leeway on all sides of the design for pinning.

layered-design-and-batting

2. Cut a piece of batting the same size as your cut-out and lay the design over the batting.

design-batting-clothing-pinned

3. Centre the two items on your base item of clothing. Pin generously.

sewing-maching-painted-design

4. Now you will have to sew over your design to anchor it to your base item. I chose to do some thread painting with my sewing machine in the colour of my design's border. You could, however, applique it or if you're really brave handstitch it. It does also depend on the design you've selected. If, for example, you have a perfectly circular design, you could simply glue the item on and then applique around the circle. Another option would be to glue to design first but this depends on your fabric.

Note: If you're choosing to applique the item, remember to make your batting a little bit smaller than the design so you won't need to worry about the batting sticking out when you trim the t-shirting away.

scissor-on-design

5. With my chosen method, I ended up with a lot of loose threads. Time to trim them! Remember not to trim too much on the inside of your clothing item (ie. where the bobbin stitches are) as they will keep the top stitching anchored.


6. Once you're satisfied with how your design looks, you will have to trim the batting as close to your stitching as possible. Pull back the t-shirting and the fabric of your clothing item so you can access the batting. Don't cut around your design yet to ensure that you don't cut too much where the batting may be difficult to trim.


7. When your batting is trimmed, cut away the t-shirting that you do not need. If you've appliqued the design, you'll just trim as close to your stitches as possible.

And you're done! I'd love to know how your project came out! Please share in the comments!

August 22, 2016

Five Things I Learnt At The Dentist

I was never a fan of going to the dentist. I'm not actually certain why, but it could be linked to the fact that my parents showed an extreme dislike of going to the dentist and I possibly caught the fear from them. I think I only ever saw my father go once throughout my conscious life and my mother has not been since before she and my father married, which was over 30 years ago.

I don't remember having a particularly traumatising experience with the dentist of my youth but as an adult I rather enjoy it. And perhaps it has to do with the dentist himself: my dentist is so interesting to talk to and forthcoming with all information about teeth and dentistry. As such, I always leave with the feeling that I have not only received excellent care for my teeth but have also learnt something.

Some of my favourite lessons include:

nitrous-oxide-historical
1. The reason 'laughing gas', or nitrous oxide, has such a giddy effect on our system is because it is giving your body a heavy dose of oxygen without all the other things we breathe in normally. And what does your brain do when you're breathing well? You feel calmer and may even think clearer. According to this article, however, it appears there is no certainty as to why nitrogen and oxygen in this formulation provides an anaesthetic effect, although it may have something to do with how tension is created in the brain between the gas, the alveoli, and the blood in the brain.

2. Why does it seem as though your the whole side of your face feels numb after an anaesthetic injection? At least for me, it was because the needle with the anaesthesia was injected into the main nerve that controls the feeling of the side of the jaw. Imagine the talents of the person performing the injection to get it perfectly numb?

3. Feeling cold on a tooth means the nerve inside is still alive. My dentist tested whether the nerve inside my wisdom tooth with the filling I had done last year was still alive with intense cold.

4. Have you ever wondered why a person has all of their wisdom teeth removed at the same time, even if it's only one tooth that's an issue? It's because these teeth require some opposition on the opposite jaw if they are to avoid erupting: something needs to be creating pressure from the other side.

colgate-plax
5. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash is not actually as beneficial as advertisers would have us believe. We have natural bacteria everywhere in our bodies and our mouths are no different. Using an anti-bacterial mouthwash makes sense if there is a wound or other issue but if we have otherwise healthy mouths, a simple flouride rinse is actually better. If you'd like to read more on this subject, here is something about the benefits and disadvantages of using a mouthwash, a comparison between mouthwash and fluoride rinse, and a guide on oral rinses.

What are your best (or worst) experiences with dentists?

{Image credit: 1. By Marco Antonio Aguilar Lizarraga - Template:Empresa dentadec, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8709732
2. By http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/f9/b7/8b6378e59c2c136332816e827d33.jpg Gallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/L0005630.html, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35870248
3. Colgate Plax By Editor182 (talk) - I (Editor182 (talk)) created this work entirely by myself.Transferred from en.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16407847}

August 19, 2016

Book Takeaways || Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho

cover-like-the-flowing-river
'Like the Flowing River' is a collection of anecdotes and notes by the esteemed author of 'The Alchemist', Paulo Coelho, and as such, it is filled with lovely inspirational stories and life lessons. It is always interesting to dip into the minds of some of the most celebrated authors in the world and this exploration of a few select records is no different. We are given a unique insight into the thoughts of a man who is knowledgeable, intuitive, and perfectly able to see not only the beauty in the world but also its secret meaning.

Coelho's anecdotes speak of everything, from milk replacements to the artistry of archery. What follows is a list of my top ten records from the collection, anecdotes that made me think, reconsider, muse, or mourn:

1. A story about how we are filled with the potential of the pencil and how we must remember: we can do great things but there is always a hand guiding us; a pencil is made better through being sharpened (or experiencing adversity or trouble); the ability to be erased (or the pleasure of retrospection) allows us to see the obvious path to justice; the graphite inside the pencil is what is really important; and we always leave a mark.

"The fool who loves giving advice on our garden never tends his plants at all." [28] 
2. The person who follows such a person's advice will only tend someone else's garden, and will miss out on valuable life experience.

3. A tale about friendship: Genghis Kahn went hunting with his falcon. He became thirsty and came across a stream, but his falcon would prevent him from drinking it. He became upset and killed the falcon, only to discover that a carcass was rotting upstream and the falcon was merely being loyal and attempting to save him. The lessons are: a friend is still a friend even when he does something you do not agree with; and, anything done in anger is destined to be a failure.

4. A beautiful statement about 'hope':
"That word that so often rises with us in the morning, gets sorely wounded as the day progresses, dies at nightfall, and is reborn with the new day." [31]

5. Confucius says: 'Be clear'. Lay down the law, set boundaries, communicate.

6. As an owner of many books, I felt a little guilty reading the thought that hoarding books or keeping them in a personal library inhibits the journey the books are meant to make.

biwa-lake-sunrise-wikimedia-commons-A-giâu
7. Considering the distrust and terror taking place in the world today, this phrase was poignant for me:
"When a stranger approaches and we think he is our brother and all conflicts disappear, that is the moment when night ends and day begins." [82] 
The moment where we recognise our fellow man as a friend before believing he is a foe is the moment we can change the world.

8. Using the story about a meditation school believing cats were necessary for meditation practice, we are reminded that sometimes the reason we continue behaviours is unknown or has passed and the behaviour is thus no longer necessary.

9. We are told about an old man who is constantly insulted and abused by the people in his village. He does nothing but bless those who mock him and when he is asked why, he answers,
"We can each of us only offer what we have." [127-8]

10. There is a story of a new Emperor of China who needed a wife. To determine which woman in the land would be best suited, he asked them to nurture seeds that he gave them and the woman with the most beautiful flower would become his Empress. A maidservant was in love with the Emperor and did everything she could to care for the seed but it would not grow. On the day all the women returned to the palace, she was the only one without a beautiful flower to offer the Emperor. She became the Empress because of her honesty: the Emperor had given all the women sterile seeds.

Do you have your own favourite quotations from Paulo Coelho's works?

{Image credit: A-giâu, CC BY-SA 3.0 Biwa Lake Sunrise}