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Monday, January 30, 2012

More tidying

First up I want to show you the sandpit now that it's all cleaned up
The lid has now been fixed and re-attached so we can close it when not in use.   Really pleased with it now.

I've also just cleaned and tidied the boys room; no before shots I'm afraid, you'll just have to take my word for it, the room was a tip.

I'll still put a couple more lots of toys up on the shelf on the left, but it's looking good at the moment, and it means that the conservatory has less toys in it now.  Hmm, might be time to ditch Winnie though; the boys are really a bit old for him.

Next step is the main bookcase in the lounge; there will be some books that go, shifting all my spinning books down a few levels as I can't get most of them out of the top to read due to the ornamental molding on the top.  The stuff that will go up to the top is the stuff we rarely read but don't want to get rid of yet.

I got a wee bit more done on my socks last night, not a lot as I've poked a hole in my finger so a bit slow and careful.  That and there was a small black purring thing on my lap that insisted on "helping" me knit so had to remove her too.

Finally, something I saw on the way home this morning; took this photo while the car was stationary so perfectly safe.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I overdid things

I did 5 loads of washing, lots of cleaning and then weeded and dug over the sandpit; now I'm paying the price.   My IBS is playing up, sure I should have seen this coming though, had to take Loperamide to make sure I could get to Ian's hospital appointment; there's often issues following that.

On the plus side though, Thomas has now stopped talking about going out and buying more sandpit sand as the sandpit now looks fantastic.  I've also put Buzz Lightyear and his mates in the sewing room; if the boys don't miss them over the next month they'll be found new homes.  They do need new batteries, but not sure I want to do that before I know if they're wanted or not.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday

Photo taken by my eldest son, took 3 goes to get a semi-decent one.  I'm wearing a sea monster t-shirt from the one-day t-shirts website a couple of years back.  Trousers are Limewire workout pants and the cardigan is one I knit from Purewool 3-ply and some handspun.   You can't see my shoes, but they're Shoe Planet sandals and very comfortable.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Just a quick post today.   Earlier this week I got George a watch from the Timex range as I'm a bit fed up with his lack of time-telling ability.   The new watch has the minutes on the outside so as well as 1-12 there is also 5-55 which is making a huge difference!  He's absolutely thrilled with it which I like too
It's a nice masculine watch for a wee boy who's quite conscious of these things.

Ian got a new schoolbag as his old one is dying.   The new one is grey and teal plaid and he really likes it too.  No pics yet I'm afraid, but it's a good size without being huge.

He went into hospital this morning to get his teeth pulled; really did not like it and tried to leave a few times.   He fought the anaesthetic but didn't win so now has 2 less teeth, a filling and all the fissures in his teeth sealed.  The dental surgeon also approved of us using tooth mousse to try and prevent further issues.   He woke up a lot better than he went down, possibly because they'd called me in to keep him calm.   An iceblock later, removal of the lure and he's at home on his computer.  Trying to keep his hands out of his mouth and the computer does a good job of that.  He's not hungry yet, but is drinking which is the important bit.   More pamol at about 1pm and I'll keep an eye on him.   I did manage to get a couple of repeats done on my socks while waiting for him which was good.

He won't be quite so happy this weekend though; will be severely limiting screen time since school starts back on Wednesday next week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just one more week

Of school holidays that is.   Busy week coming up, probably much like the last week.  I know I have a meeting with another member of the Weavers and Spinners guild on Monday morning as well as dropping the boys to their holiday programme, dropping off some work and tidying at bit.   The afternoon I'm visiting a friend and I'll have to get things ready for the next morning as well.  Dropping George off at Grandma's after the holiday programme so we don't have to worry about him while Ian's having his dental surgery in the hospital.  Might see if Grandma can drop George back home after I get Ian back as I'm not sure if he'll be up to toddling across town to get his brother after that.  2 teeth to come out and a filling as well; hoping they also seal the rest of his teeth.

Friday night I got confirmation we have a hedgehog on the premises as the cats alerted me to something outside and I looked out the bedroom window to see Hedgie toddling into the garage.    I decided to rescue him as he wouldn't find much edible out there and could get hurt; my rose pruning gloves were pulled on and out I toddled.  I found him in the back corner attempting to get under an old office chair; he'd got himself stuck!   So after a bit of shifting around of stuff I managed to pick him up and took him outside near our deck so he could hide under it.   No photo's I'm afraid, I figured he was already stressed sufficiently by me picking him up.    He seemed very healthy though, no sign of fleas or mites and a good turn of speed too.
He should be happy in our garden, lots of slugs and snails.

Yesterday I went to the guild to a gap filling event.  As it was cold and windy outside several of us headed into The Colombo (Sydenham Mall) and spun there after getting permission from the business next to us.
My wheel is the one on the left; I didn't bring my camera so had to use the one on my phone.   I'm spinning very fine Merino/Silk as I was in a previous post.   I'm almost halfway through the first bobbin; then got 2 more bobbins to go after this one is complete.   I found some more of the fibre in the stash which means I can make a 3-ply yarn; more work, but I love the way a 3-ply looks.

Today I let Thomas sleep in, but had to sneak back to get the camera when George spotted this wee guy on the window.
Isn't he gorgeous?  You don't normally get to see these guys from the underside.  I had to use the flash as otherwise there was no real detail, downside of that is we can now see just how many scratches are on the glass.

In knitting news I've finally actually done some!   My first Mermaidia sock is complete.  I made it much shorter as I wasn't sure how much yarn I had left; turns out I could have done at least a couple more pattern repeats, but I'm actually really pleased with the look of the sock at bobby-sock length.   The only thing I'm not sure about is that they seem slightly longer in the foot than my original pair despite being the same needle size; it may just be that this yarn knits up differently, it has bamboo instead of nylon in it.  The yarn is Wandering Cats Yarn Jungle Cat in the Vampire colourway; it's more pink than red, but I figure that's due to the bamboo component.

It really isn't easy to take good pictures of your own feet.  These will be lovely summer socks.  I've cast on for the second one and will be taking it with me to the hospital on Tuesday; it's a fairly easy pattern to knit.

Friday, January 20, 2012


It's been a few days of things being faulty.    First I found out that the fact that my Kindle's left hand page turn buttons didn't work was in fact not normal.  This morning I returned it to Dick Smith and upgraded it to the next one up at the same time; I didn't think they would do it, but they were quite happy to!   All the buttons work on this one.  Unfortunately while I was charging it my USB hub that I had it on had a hissy fit and now keeps cutting out my keyboard and my portable hard drive so going to have to get a new one of those; looking for one with an independent power source so I can plug it into the mains.   I use it for charging as I can't use it for the printer as that throws wobblies on a hub.   Soon we'll be setting up the new printer, but I really need to use up the last lot of ink in the old one first.

Not much knitting, work's been busy.  In fact I've claimed 30 hours this week which is 1.5 times what I normally claim.  I have however almost finished cleaning out the conservatory; about to get back to that now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wardrobe Wednesday

I've decided to participate in Wardrobe Wednesday over at Nin's blog.  The theme at the moment is 'Putting the new in your year' and I'm wearing a top I knit last year for the first time today.
The top is Spring Garden Tee knit in a cashmere/silk blend and it feels lovely!  Unfortunately it also pulls really easily and I already have some repair work to do on it; the yarn is a multi-ply which isn't really twisted very much so that's the reason it pulls so easily.   The skirt I bought back in 2010 from Dressmart and it's one of my favourite pieces.  I normally wear it with a red and black t-shirt.
Since this photo was taken I've changed as I'm back to cleaning up and I'm wearing my new shorts and a strappy top as it's hot today.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cleaning Out

Now that we're back home we've started tidying and cleaning out the house and garden.   Thomas wants an Asian themed garden across from the lounge window so we're going to be building up that bed; filling it with stones and putting some pottery in there.  I wanted to grass it over as it's full of couch; horrible stuff and really hard to eradicate, so we'll have to spray in there for a few months before we put the stones in.   The main thing slowing us down is the size of our green bin, it's going to take a few weeks just to clear all the weeds out of that section alone.

In the house we're working on the conservatory atm; it's where the boys toys currently reside and they have so many they get bored with them.   We've removed my yarn, it's now under the boys bed.   The pile on the floor is getting smaller; some of it will be given away, some sold and yet more just thrown out.   Got to try and persuade grandparents not to give the boys cheap crap from China.   I don't mind well-made stuff, but some of it has such a short lifespan it's a complete waste of resources to buy it, and as long as people buy it they'll keep making it.   The good stuff is going up for sale; there's a wooden castle that the boys haven't played with it for some time but was well loved in its day, a Cabbage Patch doll that's actually a boy is another, just have to wait for him to dry.

On the crafting front nothing much has happened over the last few days.   Been busy working and tidying; just been no time for my stuff.  I do want to finish the Mermaidia socks fairly soon though and also the Central Park Hoodie.   I've been gifted the pattern for my next cardigan which is a 4-ply (fingering) weight cardigan similar to those in the 1950's with a small piece of colourwork across the chest area in an argyle pattern.   I'll be using some Purewool I've got; the main colour is a periwinkle, the contrast is a multicoloured yarn which goes from dark green to deep pink.   I'll still be working on the shawl too as well as Mandorla socks and Ian's jersey and some spinning.  I found 2 more bags of the Merino/Silk in the pink that I'm currently spinning so I'll be able to do a 3-ply once I've dized it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


That's how many kilometers we travelled from Saturday 7th to Saturday 14th.

Day 1 - 07th January
We set off at 9am; somewhere in the Lewis Pass Ian lost his breakfast in spectacular style.   The car smelt pretty nasty for the rest of the trip though luckily I had a damp facecloth which I used to clean up the worst of it.   It was our first long trip and we suspect the windy road combined with a slightly stuffy car just was too much for the poor wee man.  Over the next few days we cleaned with vinegar, water, baking soda and also got some Fabreeze; the car is now not smelly.
Despite that wee issue the trip wasn't too bad; we stopped at Maruia Falls which was beautiful, a lot of wood in the water from the storms in the last few weeks.
You can see the falls above, also the unit we stayed in at Tahunanui in Nelson.

Day 2 was Sunday.  We trotted into town, had a look at the outside of the cathedral, services were being held so we couldn't go in, but it was nice to see a stone church that was still in one piece.  We also had a gelato at Penguino's; very nice!   We met my brother and his wife in town after a little texting; went back to the unit before heading to the wee zoo near the beach.  It was rather a cool wee zoo; even had a Morepork and a Porcupine.
After the zoo David and Karen went back to her parents place and we took the boys to the hydroslide.  Ian tried it once and was scared by it, after a few minutes recovery though he tried again and didn't want to leave!
We went back to this on our final full day; Thomas and the boys had a blast; I found it completely terrifying so only had the one go.  They actually refunded my money, despite it not being their fault!.

Day 3 we went to Rabbit Island first, we forgot our togs so had a wander around and then had to go back to change, wash the clothes, get our swim stuff and then went back.   Rabbit Island had been affected by the floods in the previous couple of weeks, the whole picnic area was still under water and the route out had quite a big wet dip that the car wasn't keen on.   We all enjoyed the place though; beautiful beach whether low or high tide.   After RI we went to Mapua which was also a pretty wee seaside township.   Thomas bought me a new bag; not sure if it's leather or not, but it's gorgeous and it's red instead of my usual black.  I love it!   Also picked up a new sunhat as my leather one is a bit too hot; there was only one that fit me; perils of a large head unfortunately.   I got a periwinkle blue crocheted cotton one; George spent his pocket money on a nice black one with a skull and flames.  Both were a good price as the shop is closing down.

Day 4 we went to Founders Park which is a heritage park very much like Ferrymead in Christchurch.  Personally I think Ferrymead is better though.  Many of the buildings in Founders Park have businesses working out of them, most are using modern equipment though which doesn't seem quite right somehow.  George managed to get a free ride on the tram, he asked the driver if he could get on, and he said yes!   He was just going to the gate to open it for the train to run.  Lunch there was very expensive; mine ended up being free though, I found the lettuce in my BLT was off, so they refunded the money.
After the park we went down the road a wee bit to visit a Japanese garden, which I have to say was absolutely gorgeous!  The boys enjoyed that more than the Park.
You can see Ian on top of a rock in the gardens and George and I are wearing our new hats.  Top right is a water weed in the garden, it was a really nice looking surface floater.

Day 5 we went to town after spending the morning at Tahunanui Beach.  I got some wool/mohair fibre from Fibre Spectrum and some beads from the bead shop there.   George and Ian got a skull bead each too.  We also checked out some toy shops and had to drag Ian out of the Lego section.
After that we went on a long walk to the Centre of NZ which was up a big hill.   It was hard work, but well worth it at the top.   Ian was stuffed though, so Thomas had to carry him out on his shoulders.  On the way back to the unit we stopped at Haven Fish and Chips and got Fish of the Day (Skate) and chips for dinner; way better than the stuff we get here in Christchurch.  Middle top photo in the collage below is the Centre of NZ.  Top left is one of many stained glass windows inside the Cathedral.

Day 6 is mostly what's in the above photo.  We went to World of Wearable Arts; well, I did.  The boys and Thomas headed into Richmond for a short space.  WOW wasn't so wow IMO; I preferred the stuff in the Canterbury Museum.  I wasn't allowed to take photo's in there, but could in the classic car bit so you can see a classic motorcycle of some sort and the Jaguar painted like the one for Austin Powers.   After that we went to Isel House.  Much better than WOW, though like WOW no photo's allowed.  They've done earthquake strengthening in there and restoration; some of the original wallpaper on sackcloth walls can be seen.  There was another lady wanting to look around when we came in, but she'd left her wallet behind so I paid her gold coin donation so she could see the place too.
After we'd finished there we visited Pestells to get some bacon (love their dry-cured bacon) and we got dinner supplies too; the boys got pink cocktail sausages, Thomas and I got a pork kebab wrapped in bacon; very nice indeed.  We dropped all that back at the unit before heading back to town as I'd found out where Cruella's was for some yarn shopping.  
If you're ever in Nelson and like knitting you must go there; they sell their own patterns which to be honest look awful in the books; however you can try on the outfits they have there to sell in various patterns and sizes.   They look a whole lot nicer on.   I fell for one in real life that I hated in the book and Thomas let me buy the yarn and pattern!  I now have 14 balls of a lovely boucle yarn in a peacock/black marle; I had planned on trying a diffferent colour, but for whatever reason the peacock always gets me and nothing else looked quite as good.  The pattern is a wrap cardigan with a lace trim that is optional; I'll be doing the lace.  It's a bulky yarn, but looked gorgeous on.

Day 7 we started out packing for the trip back before going back to the hydroslide (this is where I tried it and was too scared to do it again).  We had a bit of a rest at the unit after that; George made friends with a 14 year old and they went back to his unit to watch the Simpsons movie.  We went out after a while after prying George away from his new friend to get some real fruit icecream at Berryfields.  It was yummy, and while Ian refused his George ate most of his.   We then decided to drive a bit further and check out a note on the map for "Gardens of the World"; George really wanted to take a look at it and he managed to persuade us (I was balking at the entry fee); it was an honesty system, but if we didn't pay as far as I was concerned we weren't going in.   I had to admit to George that his wanting to go was the right thing as it was a wonderful garden and well worth the price.
After we'd finished we went and got fish and chips again from Haven for dinner and we ran into Joanne my knitting and spinning friend from Christchurch who was also up with her children for a break.

Day 8 was hometime.  We packed up and left before 8am to visit the Saturday market before we left town.  We got George and Ian a Puffin Billy Steamboat which is a wee tin boat that you light a candle and it then steams its way around on the water; very cool.  We also picked up a jar of bush honey to give to our wonderful neighbours as a thank-you for looking after our kitties.   The trip back home was quicker than the trip to Nelson, no upchucks, though I didn't feel well for some of it so Thomas got to drive a lot more than he normally does.   I did the first hour to Murchison and the last bit from Culverden to Christchurch; the rest I wasn't feeling too good.  The cats were both pleased to see us which was nice.  Some of the mail I was expecting had arrived including Ian's Melatonin as well as a couple of books.

Today was pretty quiet, I did get to Knitworld and spend my voucher from my brother; I now have 5 balls of Gedifra Shetland de-lux (which I'm pretty sure has no Shetland wool in it, but is very nice all the same); I'm going to use it for something in the colourwork field.   I also got 2 skeins of Knitsch yarn in my favourite turquoise as it's never in stock on her website when I check.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I'm back!

Just in case you were wondering I didn't forget about my blog, but I didn't want to advertise that we were away on holiday!   We've just got back from a wonderful week in Nelson, the weather luckily had nothing to do with the forecast each day which was good as the forecast was rain every day.   We had 2 days with a bit of rain, but nothing too bad. 
Thomas and I turned slightly pink; the boys didn't.  We went to the beach, the hydroslide (the boys loved it, I screamed and only took one turn down it as I found it positively terrifying!), some shopping (there's yarn and a new handbag), WOW (no photo's as you're not allowed to, preferred the one at the Canterbury museum), lots of driving.   I'll post a proper breakdown later after I've had a chance to download the hundreds of photo's I took, plus the ones the boys and Thomas took too.  That'll probably be tomorrow sometime.

I did get some knitting done, I'm 3 pattern repeats into the leg of my first sock; foot and heel done while on holiday.   I also got good use out of the Kindle and have now read Agnes Grey and  a bunch of other classic books.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Kindle cover

After the usual cleaning and tidying today I got onto making a case/cover for my Kindle.   I used this tutorial to make it; really it's a touch bigger than I really wanted but it'll do nicely till I have time to make it more suitable.  I did make some changes; it's just one fabric on the outside, you might recognise the owls from a prior post and I attached a button to close it too; the original had some nice applique but no closure.  Normally I tend to use snaps, but the positioning of it would be risking damage to the Kindle; that and the button was perfect!
Closed with Kindle inside

Open, see Kindle peeking?
Once again completely from stash which is nice; still plenty of the owl fabric left too.

I promised a photo of the spinning too; here's the two different lots of fibre:
Left is the Merino/Silk and right is the Alpaca/Silk batts

Merino/Silk singles so far
Love the look of this so far, very pretty and helps to make me feel better about the previous lot of Merino/Silk that I gave away to a friend.

Also got a spare battery for the good camera today; always good to have a spare and thanks to another friend we got it for a good price.

I'm going to have a look at my fibre stash over the next fortnight and thinking I might spin something up for a giveaway, would people prefer a singles yarn, 2-ply or 3-ply?   Also what weight?  I can manage most things, it won't be as even as millspun, but that's the charm of handspun.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I've been sewing!

I've made 2 pairs of shorts from an Ottobre pattern

Made completely from stash, pattern slightly ammended as I decided to ditch the pockets.  The fabric is a cotton gabardine with a couple of fade marks but these are casual so I'm not too worried.  Might possibly regret that later, but in general pants tend to sit better without pockets; that and I didn't really have time to do bound pockets this time.  I finished these yesterday.

Today I finished my skirt; no pattern, it's just a tiered skirt with an elastic waistband

See me twirl!   This is to replace my favourite skirt, also a tiered skirt which I bought many years ago from Ezibuy.   Unfortunately the original skirt is now faded and has a couple of holes so it really needs to be retired; I might save some of it for inclusion in a quilt.   The new skirt is completely from stash as well; a lightweight cotton fabric.

I've also started some spinning, no photos' today as they're on the other camera which I haven't downloaded yet.   I'm spinning 2 lots of fibre and will ply them together.  The first is some of Anna Harris' Merino/Silk from the old store at the Arts Centre; the other is alpaca silk batts from Doe Arnott which are very similar in colour.  Aiming at light fingering, but it won't be finished for a couple of weeks probably, going to be busy next week.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Ooh, shiney!

We'll get onto that at the end of the post.   We're going to start with a few photo's from the night before my birthday and what I did on my birthday.
Sunset the night before my birthday; I need to work on ISO and shutter speed settings I think

Saw this impressive duck on my birthday; this is at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens

I don't know when they put this up outside the rose garden, but it's magnificent.  George is investigating the garden behind it.

Little black ducks with ducklings; it's good to see these wee guys even if they are a bit late in the season.

Grant Thornton building; Thomas was on the 6th floor of this building in the big quake.  It's now on the demolish list from what I heard.

The Re-Start shopping mall; used to be Cashel St Mall; most of the buildings were demolished as they were unsafe.  Ballantynes survived mostly intact and is now up to the new building standards and open for business.

Bridge of Rememberance from the non-mall side, see the big vertical crack?   That's why it's fenced off.

There's also cracks in the main bridge just below the writing on the left, I saw some in the main arch on the left as well as some to the right of Palestine.   Really hope they can save this, it would be wrong if the memorial for those who fell, fell in its turn.

The Arts Centre; that tower used to be on top of one of the buildings.  Couldn't get a photo of where the guild was as it's inside the complex.  Hate to think what it would have been like if they hadn't done earthquake strengthening on it; people would have died in there.

The Museum where we went to see the World of Wearable Art exhibition.   No photo's allowed; though at least one person wasn't aware of that going by the flash.
 There was some good stuff that day, the boys were not so good; they behaved like wee trolls, but WOW was good, though busy and aside from sore feet I liked the walk.

FIL's new dog; lovely young animal.  This was at our nephew's birthday party

My shiny!   This was what Mum and Dad and Thomas got me for my birthday!  Yay!  Downloaded quite a few classics, and 3 cheap knitting books to get an idea of what I think of it.  So far I'm liking it and I'm going to send a few PDF's its way.

The other thing I've been doing.   Making screens for our windows. This will help to keep nasty cat out and all the flies too!   Hard on the thumbs, but very rewarding.
I've spent a fair bit of today in the sewing room.  2 pairs of shorts are almost made; just the waistbands to go on; one is a tad smaller than the other due to me stuffing up on how big the seam allowances are; but that's ok (I hope). 
More knitting done on my CPH too, 6" to the armhole on the back now.

Tomorrow I'll get the shorts finished, might get the remaining 3 screens done and I really want to make a skirt too.

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