31 May 2007

This bucolic life

This week’s wildlife tally

• 2 kangaroos standing sentinel at the end of the street as I come home late after craft group;
• 3 rabbits, nibbling the nasturtiums;
• numerous possums eating my roses down to bare stumps;
• 2 scorpions (1 outside on the bricks [dead], 1 on the bedroom wall by my pillow [very much alive]);
• 3 raucous cockies who broke my huge terracotta birdfeeder with their wild antics;
• 1 fox, slinking across the driveway late at night;
• 3 more cockatoos, hanging upside down from a street lamp, squawking at each other and generally showing off. Pretending to be bats?;
• 1 wobbly wallaby hopping away as I approach the letterbox;
• 1 kangaroo in the backyard.

he's baaaack

30 May 2007

one leetle baby sock

baby sock with blue

All together now …

Aaaawwwww

eeny teeny baby sock

Pattern here.

29 May 2007

Rainy, with possible thunderstorms

It's says it's going to rain for the next couple of days.

[Distractedly] Uh huh.

It would be a good time to plant those three enormous bags of cuttings Mrs Rich-Client gave us.

[Not really listening at all] Uh huh.

...

What was it she gave you again?

[Making an effort to concentrate] Um, hellebores and um, yellow lilies.

I head outside, brightening up at the thought of hellebores! Yellow lilies! I call excitedly over my shoulder as I open the door,

What sort of lilies? Day lilies? Tiger lilies? Asiatic?

...

I open the bag of hellebores and find Euphorbia wulfenii.

And the yellow lilies? Bearded iris.

I roll my eyes. And pick up my trowel.

28 May 2007

Baking [mis]adventures

cumquats

I harvested (!) these from my two little laden cumquat trees, thinking I might have enough to actually make cumquat marmalade this year. Alas, instead of the 1kg required, I only had 200g. Not even enough to halve the recipe. And nearly-quartering the recipe was going to seriously challenge my maths skills, so it was to the interwebs I turned.

And found the Tropical Kumquat Cake. Which looks really odd spelt with a K, doesn’t it?

failing at cake baking

And looked even odder when I took it out of the oven. Damn that K.

I sulked a bit. Quite a lot really. More than a grown woman should.

Until I trimmed the edges, slopped chunks of it into bowls, added dollops lashings of King Island cream and called it Pudding.

edible after all

Suddenly it was more than passable.

However my wounded pride needed further bolstering.

bran molasses muffins

To shore up my confidence in my baking abilities I turned to an old favourite. These Bran and Molasses Muffins were also sourced via the wonder that is Google a couple of years ago when a Canadian expat friend moaned that she missed this staple food of her homeland and couldn’t find a suitable recipe over here. I happily undertook some research on her behalf (I am nice like that; and I like muffins , long term readers may have noticed), test drove four separate recipes for appropriate levels of moistness, chewiness and simplicity of preparation, and presented her one day with a single muffin, wrapped in a copy of the recipe. (She promptly moved interstate and I never found out whether she approved of the recipe or not, but we like it here and I make it regularly).

And it doesn’t runneth over like the bloody c/kumquat cake.

23 May 2007

that 7 random things meme

Both Sueeeus and Jenny tagged me recently with that 7 random things meme that’s doing the rounds.

I’m bending the rules slightly and giving them seven each.

Here are 7 random photos from the past week …

9 rows of moss

nine rows of moss …

mist like waves

like those arty lighthouse photos …

turn your back for 1 min

who took this?

That’s me there, washing the dishes . This can be for those of you who wanted the see the "before" shots of the kitchen. (Note hideous pale green laminate and elderly ugly dishwasher that sounds like a jet aeroplane taking off). It all comes out on the 12th of June.

socks with view

this was taken a couple of weeks ago (when it was still warm enough to dry washing outside). The "lawn" is now green after the recent rains (rains! yes! I know!)

meg with washing

this is what the family room looks like from about April to October when it’s too cold to use the clothesline. The cat is not happy at having to share her the heater with a clothes horse.

toadstools

look at the fancy picot edging on these. Can I knit a toadstool, I wonder?

best foot forward

homeward bound.

7 random things, without photos …

1. I’m a fairly low maintenance gal. I don’t wear perfume or expensive jewellery and I have never ever had a wax or a pedicure or manicure. I haven’t had a proper expensive in-a-salon haircut in a couple of years. Mr Soup doesn’t know how lucky he is.

2. I’ve lately been reading lots of books with a historical bent. I fantasise about writing a historical novel myself. You know, in that spare time I have.

3. I failed at cake baking the other day. This upset me far more than it should have in the grand scheme of things.

4. For Mothers’ Day the other weekend I was presented with (rather earlier than I would have liked but nevertheless) sourdough toast smothered in plum jam, served to me in bed. When the boys opened the bedroom curtains with a flourish, there was an orange tree outside the window.

5. Now I have to plant it.

6. Along with the three bags of cuttings one of Mr Soup’s clients sent him home with this week. And the four punnets of blue fescue seedlings I bought.

7. I have blue eyes.

(Oh, lame I know. I ran out of random).

Ok, one more.

I want to make a rag rug.

I think I'm the last person on Planet Blog to do this meme so I'm not tagging. If you by some chance haven't done it and wish to do so, please consider yourself tagged.

20 May 2007

Meet Me in Melbourne

Come one come all!

If you're a blogger and in Melbourne on Sunday June 17, would you like to meet a few other bloggers?

The (almost) no rule Meet Me in Melbourne bloggers gathering will be in the Flagstaff Gardens in the afternoon from 2pm onwards in the vicinity of the kids' playground, near the junction of Peel, William and Franklin Streets. You can come in any guise for as long or short a time as you like. BYO picnic paraphernalia- perhaps some afternoon tea to share.

The only rule? Wear a name tag with who you are and the name of your blog.

And no excuses, like you don't know anyone or are worried your type of blog won't fit in. It's the perfect opportunity to get in touch with some of your on-line acquaintances and plan to meet up. We all share the desire to connect to each other through our blogs, so I'm sure none of us are too scary in real life.

Of course being Melbourne, the weather is something of a lottery. Please check on the morning of the meet for latest details and weather contingency plans at the following blogs:

sooz big adventure

muppinstuff

pea soup


If you'd like to help us spread the word (even if you can't come in person) please copy and paste this post to your blog. We're working hard to bring you one of those groovy badges so stay tuned...

19 May 2007

eat your vegies: a baby hat pattern

pumpkin hat

Using 8ply wool and 4.5mm circular or dpns, cast on 72 stitches for a newborn baby size (or 80 stitches for a larger babe, as long as you have a multiple of 8). Join stitches, marking the end of the round with a stitch marker. Knit until length desired.

Then start adding your green leaves:
K1 green, K7 main colour, repeat this sequence for the whole round
K3 green (one on either side of single green stitches on row above), K5 main, repeat
K5 green, K3 main colour, repeat
K7 green, K1 main colour, repeat.

Now working all in green, begin decreasing:
K6, K2tog, repeat for the whole round
K5, K2tog, repeat
K4, K2tog, repeat
K3, K2tog, repeat
K2, K2tog, repeat
K1, K2tog, repeat
K2tog all the way round.
Work an i-cord on the remaining stitches to form a stalk.
Cast off.

(Adapted from the Umbilical Cord Baby Hat pattern in Stitch-n-Bitch).


veg hats

18 May 2007

15 May 2007

baby vegetables

tomato hataubergine hatpumpkin hatstrawberry hat again

Okay. Let's have some knitting content.

strawberry hat

Remember the strawberries? Well one ended up on top of a hat, which then reminded me of all those strawberry beanies that did the rounds last century (doesn't it feel weird to be able to say that?) and I thought about how to turn the Umbilical Cord Baby Hat pattern into a vegetable hat, with green leaves on top and a fat stalk.

veggie hats

Et voila. Tomato, pumpkin and aubergine.

vegie hats

These were fast and fun to make.

I think I feel a pear and zucchini coming on. Or perhaps that's my tummy rumbling.

Update: pattern here.

14 May 2007

apparently not, and other hallucinations

During the nanosecond in which I believed I was, ahem, with child, and in which I foolishly announced it to the universe twenty-three of you, do you know what I thought?

I thought about having a party. A great big bloggy party.

And I imagined all of you in my lounge room, introducing yourselves to each other (and to me, as there are a number of you who probably don't look quite the way I picture you). I spent some time pondering over who'd be handing around the cupcakes and who'd bring champagne and who ginger beer (I know who'd bring the anzacs), and whose kids would be running amok and knocking over lamps (at this point I amended the party to evening time, and grown ups only, sorry).

Some of you escaped to the dining room to investigate the bookshelves, and a couple of you started rolling out biscuit dough in the kitchen. (You looked very fetching in my pink floral apron).

I found several of you in the study, checking out the craft supplies and perusing my bloglines (yes I saw you). A few of you huddled by the fire and discussed literature in a totally intimidating manner.

Also I had great fun imagining what you would all wear (as well as what you all look like) and then I panicked about what I would wear and cancelled the party and got on with my knitting. After all, it was late and lots of you had planes to catch home.

But it was fun while it lasted.

I hope you had a good time too.

12 May 2007

multiple choice

Yesterday I cast on 68 stitches and knitted eight rows of rib before I realised it should have been eight rows of moss stitch. I ripped it out and started again. And knitted another six rows of rib.

This morning I put the milk in the pantry and the weetbix in the fridge.

In the ten seconds immediately prior to sitting down to write this, I knocked my hip, banged my elbow and then trapped my hand between my desk and chair.

I am:

(a) a complete klutz
(b) up the duff
(c) on medication
(d) really, really tired
(e) all of the above.

Have at it.

4 May 2007

five women and a baby

Life has been a blur lately, with deadlines and late nights and more deadlines, long long meetings and lots of child-related activities on the side.

So going away for a bloggy crafty weekend was a welcome, restorative little island of calm amidst the chaos. Beautiful surroundings and inspirational and fun company in the form of four wonderful women and a baby were just what I needed. It rained, it shone, sewing machines hummed, magnificent food was consumed, and in the quiet mornings and evenings we sat around on the couches knitting, crocheting and swapping craft books and magazines. Oh, and we fitted a bit of talking in there too.

We emerged from the house once, briefly, for a late afternoon walk on the beach.

late afternoon walk

sorrento front beach

red white blue

pier

boats

I didn’t achieve nearly as much as I hoped, but I did cut out a red riding hood cape, progressed on another pair of wrist warmers, completed a knitted hat (no photos as it is part of a set not yet finished - watch this space) and made my very first soft toy.

Behold.

The Bunny.

wee bunny

wee bunny head

The bottom was fudged a bit but I learnt some valuable lessons and I’m pleased with the end result, particularly his friendly, quizzical expression. I hope his tiny new owner will grow fond of him too (at least, if I can prise him out of Son #3’s hands and get him in the post next month).

The pattern is one of the Wee Wonderfuls freebies, and he is made from a vintage (posh word for old) sheet and wool blanket. He’s stuffed with pure wool fleece from Sandra’s shop.

All in all, it was a truly great weekend, and one which was over far too soon. Thanks Sooz for organising it, Sandra for getting the house (!), Di for being my travel companion, Janet for being my roommate, Wil for being cute beyond reason and all of you for a fabulous weekend.

Until next time.