Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

Most of the crafting happening in my house over the last few months has been secret squirrel stuff. But there is a little to share.
This is how we have spent a lot of our Christmas holiday. My youngest son who has given me several sleepless nights is responding really well to new medication and is making up for lost sleeping time. Me too!
Mom's Hemlock finished and mailed only too be opened on her 80th birthday in Jan. I made her promise not to peek!
I would absolutely knit another one someday.
I sewed together a quilt for another present. It is a Jan Mullen inspired top. I have a little bit more to sew up and it will also go. I really love the feeling of making things for people I love.
I got the best Christmas presents this year - most all had to do with tea. Now, I did not announce that I needed or wanted tea related gifts but I am so happy I did. I got two tea pots, a Floating Tea Egg and thr grooviest tea cosy - don't you think?
And I have been embroidering some tea towels for me to adorn my new kitchen. I also love to make things for myself!
So, the rest of my work break will be sleeping, reading Diana Gabaldon, watching movies (both Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon are recommended highly - Twilight not so much), crafting and wishing us all a peaceful, loving and adventurous 2009. Cheers!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I put up the tree.

Somebody close to me told me I should put up the tree - so I did, and I'm glad I did. The house looks festive now. Like I've said in other posts - I'm not a big 'Christmas' girl but I don't mind a festive house. So I strung the boughs with bits of frosted fruit, gold ball, jingle bells, and lights, waited until dark and plugged it all in. Taa Daa!
I also put some clove and vanilla oil in the oil burner to make the house smell festive and OK, I did bake some Snickerdoodles too!
I also finished all my Christmas knitting and gathering and wrapping. I know I said all my friends would be lucky to get a kind word from me this year, but when it came right down to it, I couldn't do the 'no presents' thing. So I knit and gathered and wrapped. It feels nice to give - lifts my spirits.
It's snowing hard in Seattle and looks like they may get a White Christmas! I am so jealous. Chestnuts roasting, hot mulled cider, sleigh bells ring and all that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A trouble shared...

A trouble shared is a trouble halved, a joy shared is a joy doubled. I'm sure I've heard that before and it is so true. Thanks for all the lovely words and emails. Feeling alone is a scary thing that just makes troubles feel much much bigger.

Now I feel like sharing a little bit of joy - look at my raspberries! I'm so impressed with these plants. They are survivors. I have neglected them really badly and look what they give me. The sweetest 'I forgive you' fruit. Even the the little green worm tasted sweet (Ahem!)

I am still a little freaked out at the hard road ahead. But if there is sweet fruit and friends along the way, maybe it wont feel quite so hard.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not in the mood.

After some more fairly devastating family news this week all the omph has gone out of me. I'm not in the mood for anything - not knitting (all I do is sit and think), not reading (can't concentrate), certainly not going to work (people are there) or doing anything around the house. So I am indulging in nothing and Christmas will just have to come and go without me this year.

I did go out into the country this weekend - isn't it lovely?

And a old pretty cemetry - all near Gundaroo.
Maybe I need a more 'active' form of creativity to absorb me - so I don't have to think - like painting? What do you do when you don't want to think for a while?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the first day of Christmas.

My son, who is in the states told me.."it doesn't feel like Christmas when it is so cold!" Ha! for me it's just the opposite. It doesn't feel like Christmas because it is too warm. Frosty the snowman would melt before the first verse was sung. Going out to see Christmas lights in the neighbourhood with singlets, thongs and ice blocks is just wrong. Chocolates are melting under the tree!
Don't get me too wrong though. If I had to pick, I would go for the hot Christmas. Going to the beach, eating Mangos, pottering around in the garden and having a bbq is really nice. But I miss the knitted mittens, flannel jammies, snow and hot mulled cider.
Christmas knitting should be done in front of a crackling fire, with hot cocoa in hand and fluffy slippers on feet. But never-the-less I am getting into some kind of holiday spirit. I will bake Snickerdoodles and gingerbread. I will put up the tree. I will organise the office Christmas party - whoa- what?
Somehow I managed to offer to organise the OCP! Oh, well. Trivia games, pool, Secret Santa, catered food and lots of beer and all will be jolly - ho ho ho!
And I will keep knitting till Christmas is nigh!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I liked Nettie's so much....

...that I decided to knit one myself. Although I don't think Nettie has blogged about hers yet, she has inspired me to knit the Hemlock Ring blanket. She even downloaded the pattern for me. It is for someone very special who is having one of those big '0' birthdays early next year. Luckily Nettie also gave me some DVD's to watch and you know how well knitting and Pride and Prejudice go together (the Colin Firth version, of course).
I'm knitting it with Bendigo Alpaca - Natural Cream. I am using 4mm needles even tho Brooklyn Tweed uses 6mm. I knit a swatch with 6mm and the knitting just looked too loose and well, like it was cheap. I can't really explain it. It was like I should have been knitting with 4mm needles and I tried to make it all go quicker by using bigger needles. It just looked like a cheat to me. So even tho it may take me longer, I like it better.

Also I finished Bella's fingerless mitts. My mom gave me the pattern and she got it from the ladies at Tricotte when I was there last September. A trip to Seattle requires a trip to Tricotte - honest. We both bought a skein of Socks that Rock - only one skein - honest again!


These are knit with Bambino and they are darker, richer purple than the photo. You'll have to squint and imagine.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hooray!

© Steve Bell

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I bet on Honolulu!!

The Melbourne Cup was run today - the race that stops a nation. First I bet on Yellowstone (cause I've been there) and he was scratched. So then I bet on Honolulu (cause I've been there too) and that horse was the last horse to finish the race. Oh, well, I guess my one day a year of having a punt should involve a little more research then 'cause I've been there'.

This is my Cleo Knitted Collar knit with Jo Sharp wool bought from Thicket - a most lovely online shop. Wool, patterns, and lovely customer service. I only bought two balls of wool but I will buy more from Corinne (the owner) when I need more wool - big Ha!

The button was given to me by Nettie a few years ago after she made a trip to New York and gifted me two beautiful wooden buttons. I haven't washed or blocked my collar yet so it looks a little uneven but I just couldn't wait to show off the button - its perfect and I am going to make another one for the other button. Gidy up!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Slower than molasses in January!

My Granny was a great one for 'sayings'. My favorite was when she would tell me about the 'loving cup' we all carry around with us. When we do good things our cup fills up...etc. I know it sounds old fashioned now, but as a kid, I loved her stories and sayings.
But now, my computer is losing the plot - thus the 'slow as' saying. It is acting as if it's feet are mired in mud and I expect a squelching sound when it tries to move from one screen to another. I think I have used all it's juice this month already. Probably due to those baseball games I have been watching!
So, shhh, but I am loading this at work today, because it has been ages since I blogged and I miss it. Not that I have that much to show and tell.
I had to laugh at myself last night as I was settling down to my real work after my chores were done. I had three - count them - pairs of specs in my shirt front. One for DVDs, one for reading and one for close up work. Normally I can get away with two pair but I am doing some finer embroidery work at the mo. It isn't too fine but I use my Daddy's reading glasses every chance I get so... Notice they all have browny reddish frames so I have to have glasses on to see which ones I need. Oh, I just try them all on one at a time and see what I can see. It works for me.

And one of the reasons I wanted to do some embroidery was to try out my new thimble. I am a thimble girl. I like having my fingers covered but I don't like the cheap ones you can buy at the cheap shop. First of all they stink after one wear - I guess my finger tips sweat too. And they have no give. I've tried leather ones, plastic one, all kinds of homemade jobbies. But I found this wonderful silicon thimble in the US and I love it. It even has a little air hole. Anyone who does needlework should try it out.

And finally - my first pair of two circular needles socks. They are knit with KnitPicks sock wool, which is very soft and lovely to work with. It was much easier for me than 4 dpns. I have already cast on for some fingerless gloves for someone special and two circs and it is going fast and swimmingly.

By the way - that's my new kitchen counter top showing under my socks.

So - back to work now - well, not my real work - the work I do 2 1/2 days a week somewhere where I get paid - and not for blogging. Please, don't tell.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My Dogwood is blooming.

I planted my Dogwood tree over 10 years ago when I moved into my house. This is the first year it has ever bloomed and it is really beautiful. This morning I just stood outside and stared at it till I had to get into my car and drive to work. I really love it.

Oh, and rootbeer cupcakes with rootbeer frosting.
I squished the edges putting the lid on the cake tray!! Ooops - I hope noone cares.
And carrot cupcakes for Sean's birthday at work tomorrow.
I told ya I was a baking fool at the mo. Just can't help myself. I'm making everyone else happy but there is a lot of washing up to do!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I've been knitting, baking, and watching Lost.

I have been baking like a fool since I came back from Seattle. I've been baking cakes, pies, baked oatmeal, and cookies - chocolate chip mostly. And mostly I have been sharing with friends because otherwise well, I will eat it all myself! Not good.

My comfort food has always been home baked goodies and I guess I have been needing comfort food lately. I still seem to be so sad but my friends all tell me that is normal. Not sure that having an almost pathological need to bake is normal tho. Oh, well.
And I have been knitting and watching Lost every evening. I am up to the middle of the second season now. What the hell is going on? I'm loving it.

Marjanne is getting these socks because she is my heart friend and I love her.
I can't find the ball band - I think I bought this wool up in Sydney at Tapestry Craft and my even have blogged about it. I'll look later. It was nice to knit with and I made little cables down the sides. Simple and easy and good Lost-watching knitting.

I finished the Wildfoote socks too. They were almost done and the pattern was also easy - from My Favorite Socks - Mock Wave Cable by Ann Budd.
And I am teaching myself to knit on two circular needles. This is Knitpicks Kettle Dyed Yarn - Go With the Flow socks. So far I really like knitting with two circs and the Knitpicks yarn is really soft and lovely. I left a couple of balls with my mom and she has made some socks that she really likes too so when she is ready to order more I'll get in on the Knitpicks order. Lucky me!
I decided that 2009 (which I am kindof starting now) will be my year for trying new things - rather, not knitting anything that I have knit before. I need challenges and my knitting is going to be one of them.

OK - I'm off to the kitchen to put the cupcakes in the oven. And there is disc 4 of season 2 and some brown socks to knit on.

Mom and I sat and knit together almost every afternoon while I was in the states. I didn't realize how much I would miss that while I was there, but I do miss it a lot. I miss my son. I miss my mom and my brother. I really miss my Dad. Boy do I need a cupcake.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seattle, Hood Canal, Roslyn


Weekend before last I spent the weekend with my girlfriends and my son at my friend's cabin at Hood Canal. I go here for a weekend everytime I come to Seattle. It is one of the most relaxing places on the earth and the best company. My friends are loving and generous and I love it here. But what ever you do, don't tell Tyson and Barkley that I hang out with their dogs too.


There were 6 more but there isn't time for all of them. Amelia the Basett and Moose the Ridgeback cross were the quietest and thus the easiest to take photos of. But this was one time where I really did want to spend more time with the humans than the dogs (for me, often, it's the other way around).

I had a great week after the cabin 5-day weekend I had dinner with friends, stayed a couple of days with my son (and made homemade chicken stock which ended up the base for lentil soup - best ever!) shopped with my mom for a new sofa, and went to the golf shop. Now, going to the golfing store for me is like my son going to the yarn shop. Man, there was only golf stuff and nothing, nothing that could even resemble anything knitted or knitable. Luckily for me, son has grown up enough to know he needs to pay for stunts like that so he took me for a vietnamese sandwich and to the book store for a browse. I bought him The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao and had a lovely lookround.

On Saturday after second nephew's soccer game, my brother and first nephew and I went up to the mountains to my brother's place for the weekend. Along the way we stopped to watch the Husky's (University of Washington's gridiron team) game at a sports bar with 30 TV's! Really! and 25 of them were tuned into the Husky's game. Wow - it was big.

So a burger and couple of beers later....

I kid you not - this IS the life. We slept, we read, we ate, we swam, we lounged, we did nothing. There is a spa there but my brother forbade me to go anywhere near it. This is a resort where he has built himself a holiday house - a resort with ALL the amenities you can imagine. Oh, and this place is right next door to Roslyn where they filmed Northern Exposure all those years ago.
So this is my last few days here. I have restrained myself from any shopping. No books, two magazines, one skien of yarn (socks that rock!), a small parcel from KnitPicks that has not arrived yet, and one new pair of shoes. I've made up for the lack of shopping by eating - I am going to have to do more than run around the block when I get home. Oh, well - who cares, right?
So just a couple of little things - there are still drive in hamburger joints in Seattle. Yes they deliver your buger, fries and Cokes to your car on trays that fit on your open window - just like in Happy Days.
And they give you coffee cup holders on the shopping trolleys - HA!

America - you gotta love it (except for the politics which is all anyone talks about and is very exciting, confusing but exciting)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seattle too.

I went here....
to see this...


(Mariners vs The Twins at Safeco stadium - notice the exellent seats we had!!)


I went here....
to see this...
and this...
with my nephews and my mother - what a great day. We took a water taxi across Puget Sound to the Seattle Waterfront and had fish and chips on the pier.

I went here...
to see this....from here.... Another great day - I had a smoked salmon chowder that was really wonderful - good enough to match the view.
I went to the Triple Door to see her....
I have listened to Karla Bonoff all my adult life and she still sounds like she did in the 70's - honestly.

And I knit this....


What a pleasure it was. I spent almost as much time weaving in ends as I did knitting but I loved every minute. And thankfully, Harper's mom loved it too - along with the suri alpaca vest and socks knit earlier this year.

I will post photos of my weekend tomorrow - don't want to make you too jealous all at once!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Seattle

I'm back online finally - Mom's computer spat the dummy as soon as I got here so it's been until today before I could post anything.
Well, it's been a sweet and sad time but I've had some fun too. Been out and about lots in the past week and I will show you some photos in a later post of where I've been. The weather has not been that great - rained the whole second week of my visit - but, hey, this is Seattle. But it's been cold - down to 10ish over nights and not past 22 all week, a little warmer today. So much for my jealousy tan.
There has been knitting. Girlfriend's granddaughter needed a new cardigan. Lovely Bamboo/wool mix. Look at all the ends I have to weave in - whatever was I thinking? FO next post.

And of course the 'thank you' gifts knit on the spot. Hey, Sugar and Cream cotton at $1 a ball is fantastic. And the yarn shops - well, we have only been to three so far - I'm trying to limit myself and I just can't help but buy stuff when I go inside. I made a big order on Knitpicks this morning and there is at least one more shop I need/have to go to but then I might stop there - help, I dont' know when to stop!
And of course there has been food - really really good food.

Dungeoness Crab
The best Pizza slice I've ever had with really good coffee. (Bakery Noveau)
Followed by serious chocolate cake that I have been dreaming of (seriously) for the past year. Can you see the little chocolate square with the bakery's name on it?
Carl's ciopino. (Oh boy, this one was one to savour)
And Garlic Fries at the baseball game. Real potatos and lots of garlic.
OK - I think that will do for now (there has been more but I don't want to overload you too). I'm off for the long weekend with my girlfriends. I'll talk to you more when I get back.