Thursday, November 14, 2013


I have a new blog,

There isn't much happening there yet but it is going to be where I keep the details of my little projects, especially the ones little enough to go in the mail (hence the 'Post' of the title).

I am still addicted to Instagram so if you would like to see what I am making, that is where you will find me. Otherwise thanks so much for reading On Top Of A Lily Pad, however you came across it... life has changed a lot since Aimee and I started it three and a half years ago!

And if you have ever fancied starting a blog, do it!    And let me know  ;)

Two last things....

I have made these little Christmas stockings to raise money for Movember - details here

If you can whip up a handmade toy, send it to Softies For Mirabel, the coolest toy drive ever.

xxx Greta

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bloggity Blog Blog Blog

Blog posts are pretty rare around here these days, but with Google Reader shutting down at the end of June I thought I better do some housekeeping!

You can follow this blog with Bloglovin or I have heard Feedly is a good Reader too.

If you read blogs on your iPad I totally recommend the Flipboard app, it makes whatever you follow (including Social Media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook) into a personalised magazine and I love it!

If you are on Instagram I post my craft and baking as @gretbert, including lots of things I don't get around to writing blog posts about...

And I usually link to blog posts (and Instagram pics) through Twitter too, so you can follow that way (if you can put up with me retweeting silly things about Mad Men and Gilmore Girls).

Thursday, June 6, 2013


As soon as I found this pattern I knew I had to make one - so cute and Batman comes a close second to Star Wars at the moment with Mr 3. I think I saw him first on Instagram and then a google search for 'Batman Amigurumi' found the original blog post.

The pattern is available here on Etsy and is really easy - after a few false starts experimenting with yarn and hooks I used DK yarn and a 3mm hook. I tried to sew on the felt eyes but they puckered so I have just glued them on, we will see how long they last!

Linking up with My Creative Spaces

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Kitten Scarf

A recent cold snap motivated me to finish this infinity scarf - the free pattern 'Calm Cowl' is on Ravelry and it is very easy (I also repeated the stripe detail on each side). 

I treated myself to this gorgeous yarn from Soft Like Kittens - I used the 4ply Noodle Sock weight and a 5mm crochet hook, and it came out very light and delicate. I am obsessed with turquoise at the moment and this was a test colour, but I love the other Soft Like Kittens colours too (Annette from Soft Like Kittens is so clever, she was also Nut and Bee stationery!)

I had to block it a bit afterwards (my casting on chain stitches are always a bit wobbly), but it came out pretty tidy and just fits around my neck twice.

Linking up with My Creative Space, hosted by Kirsty

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Crazy Cute Amigurumi Turtle

This was the cutest pattern I could find for a special friend who has a baby coming soon. I hunted through my amigurumi books and Pinterest, but it was not the first time that I found an awesome pattern on Etsy. The shop is called Pepika and has many other gorgeous animals in it (like this fox!) The pattern (buy here) was only US$5 and was quickly emailed to me as an easy-to-follow PDF file.

It looks great in person because the stitches are really tight from using a 2mm hook. I gave it a purple shell and then waited to find out if it was for a boy or girl before doing a hat (yes, it is going to be for a girl!) The worst part of making amigurumi toys is sewing all the fiddly pieces together so I loved how the head and body were made in one piece.

Linking up with My Creative Space

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

New Year, New Bag

First on my list of 2013 projects-to-do was this messenger bag. I knew exactly what I wanted - turquoise Melody Miller fabric, a cross-body strap and enough room for essentials without being an enormous carryall (after 6 years of carrying lots of things for kids I am promoting myself to a smaller bag!)

The hardest part was choosing the fabric as I had ordered two fat quarters (from Stitchbird Fabrics) and they are both amazing in person. Aimee and I have been obsessed with Melody Miller fabric for two years now (see Aimee's post here), everything she does is so clever and gorgeous. In the end I went with teacups because there was more turquoise.

I used the easy bag tutorial here by mmm crafts. I have made a small version before (see previous post) but this time I followed her measurements. You can't see in the pictures but it even has pockets and magnet clasps (that I bought here).

And because I couldn't wait to use my other Melody Miller fat quarter, I also made a little sleeping bag for my kindle. Which of course fits perfectly in my new bag.

Linking up with My Creative Space to see what everyone else has been up to.

(and for all Melody Miller news, follow her super-pretty blog)

Related Posts:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Amigurumi Pencil Pattern

This might be the cutest crochet project I have done so far, and one of the easiest - small amigurumi pencils. In December I was looking for a quick teacher-thank-you gift to make and remembered these pencils from Pinterest. Unfortunately the pin no longer connects to anything and I couldn't find any information anywhere about a pattern to use or buy... so I had to make one up! In the picture above, I had figured out a pattern on my fourth attempt, the green one.

I am always looking for shortcuts (and hate changing colour) so I have kept these simple, but they would look supercute with colour changes to make an eraser on the end, or stripes, or a classic yellow pencil with black lead. They are small (about 12cm long) but I would love to make a giant one too. Like my crochet hearts last year, I made some for friends as Christmas tree ornaments  by adding a black cotton string to the top.

Please let me know if you have any questions - or if you make some!

Amigurumi Pencil (approx 12cm long)

(I used DK yarn and a 3mm hook)

Worked in the round, start with colour of the pencil body

Sc6 in a circle
Sc twice into each st (12 stitches)
*Sc1, sc twice into next st* around (18 stitches)
Sc 1 round in back loop only (18 stitches)
15 more regular rounds using both loops (18 stitches each)
*Sc 4, decrease 1 stitch* repeat 3 times (15 stitches)
Change to the neutral coloured yarn, Sc 1 round (15 stitches)
*Sc 3, decrease 1 stitch* repeat 3 times (12 stitches)
Sc 1 round (12 stitches)
Attach eyes (5mm or 6mm), embroider mouth
Stuff with fill
*Sc 2, decrease 1 stitch* repeat 3 times (9 stitches)
Change back to the coloured yarn for the pencil tip, Sc 1 round (9 stitches)
Stuff a little more (the tip doesn't need much as the stitches hold their shape)
*Sc 1, decrease 1 stitch* repeat 3 times (6 stitches)
*Sc1, skip 1 stitch* 3 times (3 stitches)
Fasten off leaving a tail, with a yarn needle use the tail to close the tip and shape with little stitches if necessary

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Softies for Mirabel

This little guy has flown to Australia this week to take part in Softies for Mirabel. Each year Pip from Meet Me at Mike's runs a handmade toy drive for some kids that need extra cuddles at Christmas.

He is actually not so little - the biggest toy I have made so far (probably 25cm sitting) - and the pattern is from one of Ana Paula Rimoli's books, Amigurumi Two! Her books have cute crochet projects that are easy to follow and sometimes she has free patterns on her blog too.

If you can make a toy the instructions are above or visit here for more info.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Daisy Doll

'Do you know Daisy dolls?' a friend asked me a few weeks ago. Her and her sister have just unearthed their dolls for the kids to play with and everyone is enjoying playing dress-ups. In my head Daisy and Sindy were the same thing - unlike most of my friends, I had a Sindy instead of Barbie - but it turns out Daisy is kind of awesome (sorry Sindy)... and I had to get one!

British fashion designer Mary Quant launched Daisy in 1973 as the 'best dressed doll in the world' and her many outfits (a few here) are amazing examples of retro fashion with beautiful details and each one has a cute name like 'Cucumber Sandwich' or 'Denimgrad'. They were manufactured into the 1980s so I figured secondhand ones would be everywhere like Barbie but this is not the case! There was nothing on Etsy, a reliable source of original Strawberry Shortcake dolls, and only a handful of ridiculously priced collectibles (some still in box) on Ebay in the UK.

Luckily it only took a couple of weeks of watching Trade Me to find a local one, this outfit is called 'Daddy's Girl' and is in pretty good condition, including white gogo boots. It seems New Zealand may have a few Daisys tucked away in storage but unlike fellow 70s doll Blythe, she has not become a hipster hobby (further proof being that #daisydoll brings up nothing on Instagram or twitter!)

Blythe is known for her giant head but I think her body is a similar size to Daisy's, so I looked at Blythe crochet patterns for some inspiration. This dress is just DK yarn with a 3mm hook, but I have found some supercute patterns for a 1mm hook so will be trying one soon. The bodice is a rectangle that fastens at the back and then the skirt I worked in the round, increasing stitches for a few rows to get a nice tulip skirt.

Miss 5.5 has not yet shown any interest in Barbie or similar dolls (and I have not encouraged any), but she likes Daisy and has decided my red dress is superior to the original one. Several inches shorter than Barbie, Daisy has more realistic proportions than the pink Amazon so I can further justify my purchase as a more PC alternative - and a bargain compared to Blythe!

See lots of other crafty projects here at #mycreativespace.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Best. Fabric. Ever*

*If you like Star Wars and comic books

I finally made some long-promised cushions from this amazing fabric I found on

I've written about Spoonflower before because it is the best idea ever - you can design your own fabric and they will print it for you OR you can buy fabric someone else has designed, and they get a commission. I can draw a little but I could never have come up with these awesome graphics, so I bought one yard of 'Icons of the Silver Screen'  designed by Studio Fibonacci.

Custom printed fabric does not come cheap, but Spoonflower has different options of size and fabric weight, and the international shipping is reasonably priced. Because I wanted to make cushions, I ordered the Linen-Cotton blend which comes 137cm wide, so you can see 1 yard is actually a lot of fabric.

The only problem I had was that there are only two lines of characters that do not repeat in 1 yard - the Star Wars characters that I knew everyone would want on their cushion - so cutting took a lot of planning!

So far I have made four cushions and a tiny baby tag blanket, and there is still enough for another small project or two (the back of the cushions is the binary print show above). And after a run of crochet projects, it was nice to make friends with my sewing machine again.

Spoonflower can now print your designs as wallpaper and decals too!!! I may have to go and lie down.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Granny stripe goodness

After stalling with granny squares, my first large crochet project is of the stripey variety. I find the stripes more satisfying as you can see the blanket taking shape as you go - and there is no joining of squares!!! I am also quicker just going in a straight line instead of having to go around corners all the time.

This is for some overseas friends expecting a baby girl, I wanted a mix of colours that would look feminine but not too pink.

It has turned out very sweet and snuggly, I hope she enjoys it half as much as my son loves his crochet blankets (at almost 3 years old he is a little obsessed!)

If you would like to try one (or a granny stripe scarf), I absolutely recommend Pip's granny square lessons and then this tutorial on the gorgeous Attic 24 blog shows how to work stripes. SO fun!

Linking up with Our Creative Space, where there are always lots of ideas for new projects...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Gos

The brilliant Handmade Ryan Gosling may have wound down, but there is something about Ryan that still has us hot under the collar.

Although he was a child star instead of an academic, Ryan has become an icon of intelligent, sensitive hipsterism (even in New Zealand!)

His versatility (clean-shaven or bearded, suit or cardigan, comedy or drama) is immortalised in the latest 'Dishes I'd Rather Be Doing' tea towel by Dear Colleen

This colouring book (yes, really!) by I Love Mel covers many faces of Ryan, and hit worldwide media this week. Because Ryan has universal appeal.

And this blank card by Geek Amour cracked me up because crochet and Mad Men are two of my favourite things! 

If you are wondering what all the fuss is about, you need to start with:

And as for the next eye-candy meme? Judging by the reaction from some of my friends to this photo recently... Hey dog?

Tom Hardy via Oh Sarah-Rose

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crochet me she did, cute I am

Yoda was actually one of my first crochet projects last year but I have only just made his robe. I think it is a great example that once you know how to increase and decrease stitches, you can make just about any shape or animal.

His pattern was only US$3.50 here, and designer Lucy Ravenscar has lots of other characters covered too.

My house is Star Wars crazy at the moment but I don't think we are the only ones - this ensemble picture is one of my most popular pins on Pinterest.

More ideas of things to make here at My Creative Space, hosted by the very clever Kirsty.

p.s. If you are looking for a Star Wars sewing project, you have to see this Chewbacca softie by Draw! Pilgrim

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Great Sock Monkey Challenge

This week I made a sock monkey for an amazing cause - The Great Sock Monkey Challenge. The goal is to deliver a sock monkey to every New Zealand child who is in hospital with a critical or long term illness.

Sock monkeys are a classic handmade toy and Aimee has written about them before here (and I have tried a sock elephant and cat, see here). If you are looking for an easy craft project, all you need is one pair of socks, some fill and needle and thread. Faces are usually stitched with embroidery or buttons but I used some of the safety eyes I have for crochet.

To be honest...  I find handsewing pretty tedious... but it was very satisfying to finish, especially when I decided he needed some accessories (the hat is to disguise his conehead!) And it was still only two nights of sewing in front of the television - this would be a great project for doing in front of the Olympics   ;)

See what other crafty things have been made this week at My Creative Space

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Colour me... rainbow

A rainbow scarf has been on my to-do list since I discovered granny stripes a couple of months ago, but this month's Colour Me Happy challenge actually made me start one!

I am always looking for shortcuts and it turns out that granny stripes are SO much easier than granny squares (i.e. less threads and sewing!) The Attic 24 blog has great instructions for stripes (and lots of other crochet projects too). The only change I made was to do clusters of two stitches instead of clusters of three, because that is what my Nana does on her stripey blankets    :)

I decided there would be no new yarn for this project so I ended up with multiple yellows and greens where I ran out of my first choice, but I think this fits with the rainbow theme.

I like long scarfs so I made the foundation chain approx 220cm, and then did two rows of each colour (except for only one row of indigo because I wanted to emphasize the violet).

This scarf was for me because my daughter prefers things to be green, green and green, but a kid-sized one would work with a 140cm length and one row of each colour.

See more rainbow projects on Colour Me There, and more makings on Creative Space with Kirsty.

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