Monday, 29 December 2014

Thrifty Kindle Tips...

Enjoy reading on your Kindle??

Enjoy saving money??

Then read on!!

*This is for Amazon UK – I haven’t checked if the route is the same for other Amazon sites

You may already have discovered this and I might be behind the times, but I just found a good way of browsing some of the free Kindle downloads.

Of course, you can type ‘free kindle’ into the search bar, but I find that this list is harder to navigate, and brings up lots of dodgy-looking options to sift through…

So! First up, go to your Amazon UK account (click on the photos if you need to make see them bigger):

Hover your cursor (don’t click!) over where is says “Shop by department”, up in the top-left beneath the Amazon logo (circled in red).
A drop-down menu will appear:

Glide your cursor down the menu. As your cursor lands on the different options, other menus will pop up. Keep going till you are hovering (no clicking yet!) over the option “Kindle e-readers and books” (big red arrow above, underlined below).

The pop-up menu for this option has a few headings. Under “Kindle Store” you will see the option “Kindle books” (red arrow below).
This time click on that option.

Clicking there will take you to a new page that will look something like this:

Look down the options on the left-hand side. There are lots of options there (I'm intrigued by "100 books to read in a lifetime"), but look for the one called “Kindle Best Sellers”, and click on that one (red arrow below).

That click will take you to another page of Amazon bestsellers. Circled in red, you can see two options: “Top 100 Paid” and “Top 100 Free” (red arrow...).

Click for the free ones, and voila! You are free to browse the free downloads!

Lots of the books might be a bit rubbish, but if you have a good browse you should find something you fancy – and if you’re not sure, well at least they’re free so you have nothing to lose!

Top tips:

  • Use the genre options down the left-hand side to help you refine your search and to access more book options.
  • Don’t ignore the paid options – some really great new books appear for a couple of pounds or less, which is still a bargain!
  • Amazon says that the list is updated regularly, and the prices are subject to change too, so it is worth checking back every now and then :)
  • Finally, I’m sure you would be supervising if your kids are looking for books, but be aware some adult titles do still appear in random genre choices, so it’s not fool-proof for searching.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Frozen Fever Bunting! Ta Dah!!

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas!

Mine wasn’t quite as I had imagined it would be as I haven’t been very well for several days now. I have a few different tablets to keep taking though, so hopefully I will be back to normal soon!

You may remember though that one thing I had planned for Christmas was the making of a Frozen-related something for a little girl I know, who came over to Australia with her family at the same time as we came over.

I started out with plans for a blanket that could double as a play mat of some kind, but I really wasn’t happy with either the colours or the texture of the yarn I had found. I therefore put the plans on hold, until I realised that I could make bunting instead! It wouldn’t matter about the texture then, and would have the added bonus that I could miss out the worst of the colours…

I managed to leave it until the last minute to actually finish off this plan, and so the evening before Christmas Eve I was hooking away furiously to finish of the snowflake centres:

Next up was to surround the snowflakes with colour. I chose the two colours that seemed to match the Frozen theme best (out of what I had available) – a turquoise and a purple – and added a pink as I had been informed that the recipient LOVES pink!

The next morning, Christmas Eve, I added the edging to each triangle. Double crochet with occasional picots down the sides, and leaving the ends loose for decorating with beads. I had begun by leaving chains and adding a bead to the bottom of each end, but I went off this idea. I unpicked the chains and threaded 2 different-sized beads to both ends, near to the bunting triangle. I thought this looked much better!

Then, using the same colour as the edging, I joined all of the triangles together: I chained 35, then double crocheted along the top edge of the first triangle, then chained 3, then double crocheted along the top edge of the next triangle, and so on and so on until all were joined. I then chained 35 from the final triangle, before turning and adding 2 rows of double crochet along the whole length. 

And then it was finished!

I couldn’t hang it up at home for photos – there’s nothing to hang it on in the apartment, and we’re not allowed to put pins in the walls. Draping it on my sofa bed just didn't work!

I realised I could tie it to the balcony railing though – it was not lost on me that I was taking photos of snowflake bunting in front of palm trees in 30 degree heat!!

The little lady who now owns this bunting already has this great wallpaper mural from Next

Image from

Hopefully the bunting will make a good addition :)

P.S. The bunting is entirely my own pattern, I know I have rather uselessly missed Christmas, but when I am feeling better I will write up the pattern in case anyone wants to make Frozen bunting of their own!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Merry Chrissy!!

Happy Christmas from Down Under!

This made me laugh...

It’s our first Christmas here and there are just the two of us, so we haven’t been very organised…

We’re not fully sorted yet, so we didn’t put up the Christmas tree. Instead, we sort-of-decorated an inflatable palm tree to commemorate our move to the tropics!

We did put up a few other decorations as well; I love this hand knitted wreath that my mum gave me years ago. And it amuses me that this symbol of Winter is hanging from the switch for the fan that we need to keep us cool in a tropical summer!

The wreath has a matching Christmas tree, a little squashed now! The skeletons are handmade ceramics which we got from Peru on last year’s travels. They don’t look so good with nothing to hang them from! And the cute handmade card there is from my best friend’s little boy – I love getting his handmade cards and pictures!

Some of my old tree ornaments work without being hung up, so they are decorating our little Christmas corner too.

I also wanted to share these with you – looking for Aussie Christmas pictures, I came across the work of Richard Galbraith. I had never heard of him before, but I immediately fell for his busy pictures and cute characters! I love them!!

 I hope you're having a lovely time with your Christmasses!! xxxxx

Monday, 22 December 2014

Renegade Handmade

I started this post a week ago, but I was interrupted so didn’t get to finish it at the time, and then I went away for a few days to Cairns (more about that later once I’ve uploaded the photos!) so hence the long wait for this post!

The heat here is draining my energy at the moment, it’s in the mid-30s Celsius, and combined with the humidity it’s really oppressive. I also just had a wisdom tooth out, so lots of pain and painkillers to distract me further! I therefore don’t quite have the brain power for a proper post, so please do excuse me if this one seems a bit lame!

First up, I decided that my Leftover Granny Stripe is now long enough, and so I can start on the border. I haven’t planned the border much yet, except that I will be doing different colours on different sides to begin with, though I will keep the same colour for the edge-of-the-edge (probably Turquoise!). This is partly because I don’t have enough of most yarn to do a complete round of the blanket. I won’t order any extra yarn for it though, as then it wouldn’t truly be a ‘Leftover’ Granny Blanket, would it?! In truth though, another part of this reason is simply that I fancy keeping the crazy colour thing going into the edging as well… :)

I had pulled the pillows up for this photo to show the whole blanket, but then it made the blanket look short on this photo!

Next up are these cute little cupcakes, how sweet do they look?

Of course you can’t eat them, as they are bath cupcakes (what a fab idea!), and I won’t get to use them at all as they will be gifts for the other people we know here so far. But for now I can just enjoy looking at them :)

We got these little delights at a local handmade market here in Townsville, called Renegade Handmade (what a brilliant name!)

We were on Maggie Island when the market was last held, so I made sure to get to this one, which was the last before Christmas. 

The market is solely for locally handmade goodies by local artisans, and it is curated to ensure that there is a high standard of goods, and a good mix of artefacts on offer. And there really is: everything from ceramics to fabrics, felt to polymer clay, metalwork to woodwork. Things for the home and things to wear, jewellery and jewellery boxes!

These little soaps came from Meg’s Soap Boudoir (Facebook).

Another stall that caught my eye was a fantastic pottery stall called Cadaghi Pottery (Facebook). The stylised animals were so well captured, and I love the characters they have created! 

Photo from Cadaghi
Facebook page

These hanging fruit bats were fabulous, although in our apartment there is nowhere we could put them up...

Photo from Cadaghi
Facebook page

We also loved the hermit crab they had – I didn’t have my camera so I don’t have a shot of it, but we have put in a request for a hermit crab to buy at the next market in February next year, so look out for that coming up!

Another lovely lady I met there was Kylie from Jane Can Sew (Facebook). She makes lovely handmade garments in great prints, and I had been chatting to her a week previously…

I had met her when I was asking about sewing classes. There weren’t any going on (just crochet ones!), but we got chatting about her sewing. One thing led to another, and we also got chatting about the things that I have/can make, which led on to her suggesting that if I fancied selling my stuff, I could go to the market and chat to the organiser, Karissa, about getting involved!

I was very excited about this, and so I put together a small selection of my own work that I still have (as most of my stuff has been for other people!), plus I made a few small new things, and took these samples to the market. I still need to apply to be accepted as a vendor there, but Karissa said that my stuff is good enough, and that the items don’t clash with anything else on offer, so fingers crossed that I can earn some pocket money for the first time in ages!  Hopefully this will work out and I will be writing more about it in a few months' time, and also I will share with you my little makes once I've finished them off properly and taken some pictures :)

I'll also do my best to get my photos together from the recent road trip, so look out for crocodiles next!!