28 June 2005

self portrait tuesday

self portrait with family photos

Self portrait with family photos, taken last week.

The knitted flowers came out of the washing machine cleaner, but not felted. Hmmm. Do they need another wash to show them I am serious?

I managed to persuade Son No. 3 to turn his knitting into a less ambitious, more achievable project appropriate for a six year old. Here is Fluffy sporting his new scarf. (And No. 3 sporting his 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' cardigan I knitted him last winter.)

And finally, I am tired of taking grainy photos with the stills option on my movie camera. I have a lovely old Pentax SLR that I take old fashioned take-to-the-lab-type photographs with, but no scanner so no emailing or blogsharing or flickring. I think the time has come to join the modern world and buy a nifty digital camera, just like real modern gals have. But what to get? Any advice? New, or on ebay? What do you all use? What should I look for? (Free knitted flower brooch to the most helpful answer! Oh god, what did I say that for ...)

27 June 2005

bloomin' rose

I ventured out into my garden today, mid-winter, and found a rose, blooming. In June! It's a David Austin: The Squire. The picture doesn't do justice to its velvety deep deep red. It's my one and only red rose.


Today was the first day of the school holidays. By 11am we had had one temper tantrum, two sulks, three fortifying cups of tea, and four great big hugs. Son No. 3, aged six, learnt to knit and ever the optimist, has decided that his 2 inches of handiwork will be a jumper.

On a creative note, I have been madly knitting flowers. Two from a knitty.com pattern and three so far from the rose trellis bag pattern (thanks Jane). Tomrrow they will be subjected to a hot soapy washing cycle and we'll see what happens. I have also Made a Start on the long-delayed curtains for No. 1 Son's bedroom ... (thanks to my best friend ringing me up and saying bring them over and I'll help you cut and measure. [Thank you!]). The material, lining, hooks and assorted paraphenalia have sat on my sewing room floor for two years. Really, I could procrastinate for Australia if it were an accredited sport.

26 June 2005

weekend bits

The Preps made gumnut gnomes last week. Son No. 3 brought his home proudly and I thought they were so beautiful I made a whole family (competitive, moi?). They are standing about gossiping, as gnomes do, on a piece of old embroidery I found in an opshop last week. Other pieces I found in the same shop:

Speaking of vintage linens, I am particularly besotted with Yarnstorm's Florence-Margery and Muriel Fay. Can't wait to meet Verity Rose. (But how can one bear to cut up those gorgeous old cloths and doilies?)

This week I've been enjoying reading Blackbird's and Susie Sunshine's blogs, both of whom are mothers of multiple boys ... hmmm, sounds familiar I think?

And to end our week of culture, we took the boys to the National Gallery to see the Dutch Masters exhibition - simply glorious. My personal favourite? It had to be the painting titled 'Mother Delousing Her Child'. Son No. 3, clearly thrilled to discover that Renaissance children suffered the 'Weekly Check' too, (albeit dressed in interesting bodices and ruff collars), shouted in glee 'Look, she's being Checked just like us this morning, Mummy!' The crowd discreetly melted away from us, and bingo, we had an unencumbered view of the remainder of the exhibits.

Note to self: iron those linens

25 June 2005


Feeling culturally smug at present. Last week I went to the Malthouse to see 'Alias Grace', the one-woman play based on the Margaret Atwood book. It was excellent and quite faithful to the book. Next week it's 'Jiri' at The Australian Ballet, and last night I took Son No. 1 to a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra concert. (Good Mother Points: 5). Son No. 1 is 11 years old and his hobbies include downloading classical music from the internet and knitting, obsessively. However, lest you think we have created a total nerd, (he IS the prototype, the one we practised on and experimented on occasionally), his other more normal-pre-adolescent-male-child hobby is building bombs. The recipe for a bomb that makes an 11-year-old boy happy, I can say with some authority, includes: sparklers, party poppers and those little caps that go in cap guns, all deconstructed and pressed into a film canister. I am hoping that by condoning this new interest and allowing it to continue, under close supervision and with appropriate safety nets in place, it will burn itself out fairly soon, although it's been a few months now ... I must admit though, the bombs are quite spectacular.

lanterns for winter solstice


and last year's lanterns, cos I just can't do night photos with this camera

23 June 2005

Happy Winter Solstice

So my exam is over and I'm free for a whole MONTH and I can now read a book of my own CHOICE and take up my knitting needles again (gnomey hat by hello yarn, thanks SouleMama for the inspiration) or go to bed deliciously early instead of staying up with textbooks till the wee small hours ... But here it is 11pm and am I in bed or being crafty with needles or catching up on important correspondence? No I'm sitting here discovering the joys of blogland!! I have found some wonderful reads, which are probably old hat to all of you old hands (?) but to a newcomer to blogworld ... well I'm just delirious. But as I am not terribly technical, and as I am rather tired, what with exams and textbooks and the fact that it's 11pm, the idea of pasting htmls and so on is too overwhelming and so I will do it tomorrow. Promise. I must confess I am flattered to find all these comments appearing after my posts, as I thought no one would ever read this, and yet at the same time a little scared. What if there are strange axe-murders out there (not you people, of course) who will track me down, or just send horrible emails.

Last night after the exam a few of us went to the pub. Now, I am at uni with 19 year olds - kids who weren't even conceived last time I was at uni. It's scary. I am the token old person, and I'm not even old. Well, I am to them. Scary. Anyway so after one glass of wine on an empty stomach and a head full of adrenalin (is that where adrenalin ends up?) after the exam, I came out of the blogcloset and told two of them I had a blog. I haven't even told my best friend I have a blog. My husband doesn't even know as he is a total computer-illiterate and doesn't even know where the on button is and is used to me spending hours in here on the computer for "research" (yes, real academic research) anyway. Anyway Fellow Students both now want their own blogs. So I have emailed them the blogger url and told them I won't give away my nom de blog until they show me they have set up their own. But now I think they'll find me easily and laugh and tell their other cool twentysomething friends and they'll all laugh at me next semester when I have to face them again. Oh stop being paranoid - they are just as daft as I am, only younger. And cooler. And without mortgages and children.

Note to self: stay off red wine

Nother note to self: keep blogging, don't care what other people think, this blog is for me anyway.

See you tomorrow.

P.S. Happy Winter Solstice (yesterday) for all you other southern hemispherites. My kids' school had a midwinter festival - everyone made beautiful handmade lanterns, gathered for a story at 5pm, then went on a lantern walk followed by soup and a bonfire. Except me. I was at the pub with my hip new twentysomething friends recovering from exam. Bad mother, bad mother! (I did get there, I was just late ...)

21 June 2005

self portrait tuesday

all done with mirrors
all done with mirrors

16 June 2005

life with a small friesian cow

This is Sailor, our 2 year old 'reject racer' greyhound, adopted in January. He's enormous, gentle, loving, quirky and very very lazy. But life is interesting with a small friesian cow about the house ...


15 June 2005

midweek domesticities

Tamarillos in the back yard

I'm reading 'Peter Duck' to the boys each night before bed at the moment. This is one in the Arthur Ransome 'Swallows and Amazons' series, which I adored as a child and read over and over. It's wonderful to see my children enjoying them as much as I did ... I was afraid they might find them old fashioned (they were written in the 1930s).

Son #3 and I had a quiet domestic day making rice pudding, doing laundry, and he watched a Beatrix Potter video in the afternoon (the no tv policy goes out the window when they're sick, I reckon ...). I ventured outside into the cold grey garden and picked some tamarillos. They were almost glowing, hanging there like little red lanterns and I couldn't resist taking a photo. We then promptly turned them into muffins. Yum.

I'm knitting some little pink flowers at the moment, which I want to turn into brooches, or a cluster on one brooch, for my brown felted jacket. The knitting bit is fine, it's the sewing up I detest.

14 June 2005

Tuesday musings ... and a soup recipe

I think I'm getting the hang of this. Here's the photo of Son No. 3 and my leg I promised yesterday. Poor babe, he came home from school today all tired, coughing and croaky ... time for a home day tomorrow. Luckily I don't have to work so we can have a day together in the warmth, out of the winter winds. And I need to start studying for my exam ...

And now I'll see if I can fix up those links at the side so they work. In the meantime, here's my favourite pea soup recipe, in honour of my new blog and its name. (Pea has been kind of a nickname for me. The mister calls me Pea, and many many moons ago when I was 17 and spent a year in the USA as an exchange student, my "host mother" called me Sweetpea the whole year long).

Curried Green Pea Soup (quick, cheap, nourishing and 3 small boys eat it happily)

500g green split peas (cooked in 3 times the water for 35 mins)
60g butter/margarine
4 chicken stock cubes
2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 cups water
1/2 cup cream

Melt butter in a large pot and stir in curry powder and mint. Cook for 2 mins and add crumbled stock cubes. Add the cooked peas (blended if you can be bothered, or just mashed a little if you're lazy like me). Add the water until desired consistency is reached, season with salt & pepper, and serve with a dollop of cream. I usually make a batch of savoury muffins (pumpkin, zucchini, or cheese & chive) to go with the soup. Good for wintry nights.

13 June 2005

Self portrait, Monday night

Let's see if I can get this photo thing to work. Here's my contribution to the Self Portrait Tuesday project, an hour early (I can't wait till midnight, too tired). Taken this morning, feet against the wall. No. 3 son found me and hugged one leg ... I might put that picture up another time ... all this technology has exhausted me for tonight.