28 January 2009

a room with a view

breakfast at Wye

A long lazy beach weekend with friends finished up our series of Amazing Beach Holidays.

after a swim

We swam and skiffle boarded and boogie boarded and laughed like loons.

they dug quite deep

The children dug a tunnel to Russia. At the end of the day we made them fill it in, turned to leave the beach and one suddenly said Where are my sandals? Uh oh.

Now it's back to reality. I'm at work this week (except for today), the children are making the most of their last week of freedom before the school year begins, and the forecast is for Melbourne's hottest heatwave in 100 years with four or five (I'm not counting any more) of days over 40C in a row. Today it's going to hit 41C and I'm planning on ignoring the weeks and weeks worth of housework, laundry, errands, phone calls and paperwork that have built up into a teetering tottering tower of intimidation and guilt, and meet friends at the river.

I hope you're surviving the weather this week, whatever it is in your part of the globe.

23 January 2009

artichokes

artichokes7

It's high time we had some knitting content on this blog.

artichokes2

These socks are called artichokes because the pattern reminded the designer of the shape of artichoke leaves, so my hand dyed sock yarn was the perfect choice for this project.

artichokes3

I think these are possibly the fastest socks I've ever knitted. I cast off Mr Soup's globetrotter socks at about midnight on Christmas night and immediately cast on for these and did two or three rounds before collapsing into bed. I spent every spare minute of our week on the Bellarine Peninsula knitting on them, kind of obsessively, finishing them in Queensland at my parents' house on the 11th of January.

The colour in these shots isn't quite true; it's a little flat. In real life they are a much more appealing and lusciously lively green. But I was on Dad's computer and couldn't trick around with his photo editing software. I tried but it all ended with bad words like four ducks bake and clucking bell.

artichokes5

I love them, absolutely. The colour thrills me, the pattern is pretty, and they fit beautifully without being tight or baggy. The only minor amendment I'll make when I knit this pattern again (and I will knit it again), is to change the turning of the heel into a neat little triangular shape like the beautiful Hedera socks. A minor quibble however.

Oh, I'd also make them slightly longer in the leg. I have lots of yarn leftover so could easily have done a couple of extra pattern repeats.

Vital Statistics
Pattern: Artichokes by Megan Humphrey
Yarn: Elizabeth from Live2Knit, hand dyed by me
Needles: 2.25mm bamboo dpns
Cast on: 26 December 2008
Cast off: 11 January 2009
Made for: me!


Ravelled.

21 January 2009

Every day is a gift. That's why they call it the present.

I read that rather twee quote today in a Kate Atkinson book (One Good Turn - recommended. Note, the quote was ironic; Atkinson was taking the mickey). After I'd picked myself up off the floor from where I fell in a swoon from its saccharine sickliness, I thought Actually, there's something in that that I should learn from. Kind of like the choosing joy thing or the attitude of gratitude.

And then I picked up my camera.

pink umbrella

This is our beach umbrella, purchased the other day. The children were kind of horrified that I bought a hot pink one but the alternatives were yellow with slogans all over it, or blue and green tartan at twice the price. Also, I figured lying under a yellow umbrella would not be flattering to one's skin tone (jaundice?), whereas the pink one might facilitate a rosy glow. Actually it makes everyone look slightly sunburnt but what the hell.

My main reason for selecting hot pink was so that when I emerge from the water after a swim, I can see exactly which spot to return to on the beach. No stress or embarrassing gropings for other peoples' towels involved. (Those readers who wear strong prescription glasses will know exactly what I'm talking about). This is particularly important at surf beaches where the tides are strong and you often exit the water several dozen metres away from your original entry point without realising. (Can you tell I've been previously traumatised?)

pink umbrella

This was taken this afternoon. All of these were actually. If you click on that one above it will take you to the flickr page where you will see that I became somewhat enamoured of the "add note" facility.

he's a natural clown

And that is Son #2. He's so talented. (Straight horizon this time. Go, me!)

20 January 2009

spoilt

We are being spoilt rotten this summer.

First there was our 'proper' family holiday on the Bellarine peninsula, then home for a couple of minutes days to unpack, wash and repack before the boys and I headed off to my folks' house in Queensland for 8 days. While we were away, the mister rang to say he had been asked if we'd like to house-and-dog sit for a week at a beachfront house on the other side of the bay from where we'd been earlier and seemed too good an opportunity to pass up and should he say yes?

Well, duh. I didn't even bother to unpack this time.

And so ... here we are.

Canadian Bay beach, Mt Eliza

Roughing it in a Mt Eliza mansion with amazing light ...

(well, ok maybe I exaggerate, but there are mansions here like you wouldn't believe, and anyway the house is significantly posher than our own)

fun with evening light

... a bountiful garden

from the garden

and a rather special attraction who likes to wake you up at five past dawn by leaping onto your bed and enthusiastically licking your face. (The boys like this bit more than I).

Chocky

There have been lazy days on the beach,

blue umbrella

(that's not me, that's someone who set up in front of me at the beach. I liked the look of her umbrella against the sky).

knitting time in the evenings in front of the biggest tv screen I've ever seen in my life,

summer knitting

and best of all, a gingerbread house to celebrate the newly minted teenager (Son #2).

the birthday gingerbread house

The gingerbread house had been secretly purchased the week before Christmas and stashed away in the top of my wardrobe, ready to be majestically produced on Christmas morn. Two weeks later in Queensland I woke up at 3:00am with the stunning realisation that there was a magnificent sugary confection still sitting in my wardrobe. I rang Mr Soup and told him the whole sorry tale, which he thought hilarious; while we were still on the phone he got out the stepladder to climb up and peer into the top of the wardrobe. Miraculously the little house was unmolested by the mice and bats that reside at our place and make occasional nocturnal excursions down from the roofspace into my wardrobe (TMI?), and so it travelled to Mt Eliza (again, secretly) and became a birthday cake instead.

Suffice to say we have been blessed, and I don't dare complain that I'm sick to death of my suitcase.

Believe it or not, while writing this post, I received a text inviting us to stay at Wye River (yes, in that house, Sue!) this weekend. Good grief.

17 January 2009

long way up

I'm still sorting through photos so you're going to be bored with inundated by delighted with! Suse's Holiday Snaps just a bit longer before we move on.

Q1

On our last day, a couple of hours before hopping on the plane, we decided to go up to the top of the twentieth tallest building in the world.

Le Corbusier

Those in charge use famous quotes to make us believe the building is art.

Q1, 20th tallest building in the world

I'm not sure whether it's art, but it's impressive. And certainly very very tall.

South Pole, from Q1

Not to mention very very far away.

Q1

We stayed up there for quite a while, and became all thoughtful-like,

reflections on the floor

... and slightly competitive over size.

Dad's coffee

Then we had a coffee that cost almost as much as a small car,

Melbourne, from Q1

and went home.

16 January 2009

jiggity jig

coming home

Coming back down to earth ...

Home to unpacking, piles of laundry, grocery shopping to restock the pantry, dismantling the Christmas tree, bills and mail to be dealt with. New shoes, haircuts and sorting of wardrobes, ready to start the new year. There's jam and chutney to be made with the glut of summer stone fruits, neglected citrus trees to be nursed back to health, knitting and sewing projects to be planned, tentative thoughts about a project with some of my photographs. And 2009 simply must be the year that I return to yoga seriously and do something about fitness and wobbly bits (says she, having just consumed a cup of tea, three chocolate biscuits and a nectarine for breakfast).

Other random snips ...

I've completed my first pair of socks for 2009; post to come in the next few days but also detailed here for my fellow Ravellers.

I was mightily unimpressed with my eldest child when, at the airport, he said in a loud voice at check-in What about your knitting needles, Mum? and I was promptly told to get them out of the cabin baggage and into the checked luggage. I had purposely packed bamboo rather than metal needles, but the friendly attendant said that if staff know about them, they can't let them be taken onboard. Two precious knitting hours lost! And I hadn't put a book in the cabin baggage because I had intended to knit. I spent the flight alternately twiddling my thumbs and glowering at the teenager.

I might do a 2008 reading round up at some point when I locate my book notebook; I lost it at some point in August and from then on my book tally lived on a scrap of paper floating about in the car. I'll see if I can find and reconcile the two and post them as I read some absolute crackers in '08 that you absolutely must know about.

What else? A day at SewJourn looms, courtesy of an online win, and the first of the Craft Retreats for '09 approaches. More A-line skirts ahead! Perhaps a quilt!

Also, for those of you on Flickr, I'm participating in Molly's 365 in 2009 project, taking [attempting] a photograph a day. The whole project is here, and my own set here. I'm excited about this one - it's pushing me to think about composition and selection and the possibility of turning some of my shots into cards, or [gulp] a calendar for 2010.

Okay, time for some serious interaction with the washing machine and then I might reward myself with a browse through the several hundred unread posts in my bloglines and see what you've all been up to. I hope you've been good.

12 January 2009

more of the same

three leap

Leaps off the sandhill into the waterhole ...

hiding

hiding from the camera ...

dive

getting my new bathers wet. It's all go around here.

I'm exhausted.

Edited to say: I know, I know, it looks terrifying. The pictures are misleading somehow but I can assure you that the sand hill right next to the river was very steep and high, and about six inches offshore the water depth dropped sharply so that you couldn't even touch the bottom. Earlier we had seen teenagers doing backflips and all sorts of death defying feats into the water. I forbade mine to do somersaults and flips (and thus am now officially the meanest mum in the world) but allowed them to bomb, jump and dive.

sun, sand, surf

leaping legs

palm trees

Oof, it's hot up here.

9 January 2009

notes from a summer holiday

A fat book and a drink that isn't quite as lurid in real life.
Bliss.

dappled

A spot of beach cricket.
Keeps the y chromosomes busy.

Patrick

The mister receives his first pair of handknitted socks, cast off on Christmas night. We are pretending that in real life they are not too small. Not at all. They will stretch. They will stretch.
Done. Tick. Check. Phew.

slightly too short

Memorial to John Batman. The butt of many Robin jokes.
Da na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na

Da na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na

They still dirty their clothes.
Even while on holiday.

at the clothesline for the third time today

In other news: internet access reaches the wilds of Queensland parental home. Liveblogging the summer holidays commences.
Excellent.

5 January 2009

Mosaic Monday

Completed knits of 2008, wips not included.

Completed knits 2008

Clearly I am a small project kind of gal.

Happy new year to you all. We're back from our little beach holiday, but now packing to go and spend a week with the parentals at the other end of the country so I'll be absent from this little space a bit longer.

I hope 2009 brings you joy, harmony and hand knitted socks.