Monday, 21 April 2008

This latest discovery

Good old milk. It's not especially amazing, and yes its the whim of a hormone-addled pregnant chick, but I have (re)discovered milk these last couple of months. On its own or chocolate milkshake, I can't get enough. Smitten.

Afternoon tea at work is a walk across the way to caf to buy a litre of nice cold milk. My colleagues think Ive gone bonkers. (that is not an open invitation to agree!!)

A couple of big glasses before bed sees me through the 2am munchies.

And since I'm trying to limit my caffeine intake, a choccy milkshake is the go when I'm meeting friends or colleagues for coffee.

I'd just like to thank all the cows out there....cheers!


This is my latest discovery, Part II:

I drafted the above before dinner, but now that we've had dinner, I have to share this with you:

Pirate Jim loves brussels sprouts! He scarfed three at dinner, in preference to the sausage also on his plate. That boy loves his veggies!

I wonder how long that miracle is going to last....

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

On the move, and desperately seeking...

Today we pick up the keys to our new house and start moving. We have been packing and cleaning and moving furniture downstairs (with the very welcome help of Bells and Sean on the weekend - thankyou!). My Dad is coming up today for a few days to help Beloved actually relocate stuff.

So now the telly is sitting on a box covered with a sarong and we are playing freezer roulette for dinner and reminiscing about we were students and this was standard practice! All we need is the bricks-and-planks bookcase to complete the look.

Of course moving house means moving phone and internet connections, so we'll be offline for the next few days. Not that I've been particularly communicative the last weeks (sorry if I owe you an email! I still love you, honest!), but at least I could be found if needed. I'll check back in when we're all hooked up again.


I also have a request. My non-blogging, non-Ravelrying friend, Dr Fe, is desperately seeking a discontinued yarn. Its for a Zoe Mellor pattern (fair isle cardi - Rav link) that she'd like to knit for her daughter, Little Miss M. I thought I'd throw the request out there and see if anyone has a ball lurking at the bottom of the stash. Hell, even part of a ball might do it - its for part of the the pattern, not the main colour.

She's after just one ball of Rowan Cotton Glace in the colour Bud (800). It seems to be as rare as hen's teeth. If you can help Dr Fe out, please let me know.

Alternatively, if you can suggest a substitute (that will knit up fine in fair isle in combo with the Cotton Glace - she has all the other colourways for the pattern), please let me know too! It seems to be on of those annoyingly unique yarns - not quite a 5ply, listed as DK in yarndex....


See you on the other side of packing box hell.....

Sunday, 13 April 2008

This is my ....perfect dinner party guest list

What a corker of a theme for this week's meme. I maintain this list in my head - but of course as soon as I have to cough it up, the cached version has crashed! As soon as I post, it will pop back to the front and centre of my brain.

Anyway, here it is:

"You are of course hosting this dinner party with your significant other and you can invite 6 other guests.. All we would love to see is your choice (images please) and your reason why you chose that particular person... " (Since this is a dream list, Ive taken the premise that being alive isnt a prerequisite!)

Geoffrey Robertson, QC: We used to get shown Hypotheticals in class at school, and I've always admired his intellect and presence. Since I learned some years ago about his background as an international human rights lawyer, he's had a firm place at the top of my list.

Jill Dupleix and Terry Durack: Husband-and-wife ex-pat Aussies who have lived in the UK for years as food writers and critics, Im a huge fan of Jill's approach to cooking (she is unasahmedly a self-taught home cook raised on a sheep farm) and have long enjoyed Terry's writing. They have eaten their way around the world and would make fascinating dinner guests.

Katharine Hepburn: Her autobiography was the first I ever read. Not only am I a fan of her body of work and range as an actor, but she had a fascinating upbringing in a time of great change. She was taken to suffrage rallys as a child, was encouraged by her (very liberal) parents to frankly speak her views and attended college, not a terribly common thing for a woman in the 1920s. She had a remarkably strong personality - how else do you account for her loyalty to a drunk who refused to leave his wife for her, despite their decades-long affair.

Andy Goldsworthy: is a Brisitsh scultpor and photographer whose work I find inspirational. He works with entirely natural, found materials in their natural setting, just rearranging them. Although I did find a pic of him, Im sure he'd appreciate that I post a pic of one of my favourite works of his, called Soul of a Tree.
My Nan, Shirley Ida McMillan (sorry no electronic pic available): Nan died in 2000 and I miss her in a way that sneaks up on me at unexpected times. She was truly one of the kindest people I ever knew, who was a tireless charity worker and never had a bad word to say about anyone. She taught me the importance of seeing things from other people perspectives. Soppy, but true - my list, my wish!!

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

This trinket box

It's in here somewhere. I'm afraid you'll just have to imagine the treasures that are contained within. (And I'm also very late, but we wont dwell on that!)

This is just a small (tiny!) portion of our belongings, all packed up in anticipation of the move into our new house in about a week and a half.

We have finally found a house, after being given notice to leave our current home because the owners are selling. We got confirmation today that we can move in on the 16th of this month. Phew.

I'm quite excited about the move, because the new house is in the same suburb (which we really like), has nice central heating and is all on one level (unlike the last three houses we've lived in. I'm totally over stairs!). There's just the rest of the packing and the moving between us and a nice, warm, stairless new home.

So I'm sorry that I can't really share on this great meme this time round - maybe I'll revisit it when we're all settled in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

To market, to market

I finished the Embossed Leaves socks just before Easter, and as we were going to visit my parents for a few days (unlimited baby sitting!) I felt needed a project that would work up fairly quickly and not require a whole lot of thought on my part. Relaxing knitting.

Enter a pattern I have long wanted to try out: the French Market Bag. Added bonus: it requires felting which I have also long wanted to have a crack at.

So here it is:

Yarn: Lincraft Cosy Wool (dk), 2 strands held together throughout

Sticks: 6mm straights

Mods: I ignored the yarn weight and gauge recommendations - the finished measurements had the bag quite small, and I wanted mine bigger. I knit the base flat according to the pattern, and picked up the body stitches as stated, but then just knit and knit until I thought the sides were high enough.

Here it is before felting:

Felting: having a front loader machine, and being a felting novice, I wanted to be able to control the process, so I opted for using the dryer. I soaked the bag for an hour or so in warm water with some wool wash added, rinsed it cold water, wrung it out in a towel, tied it in a pillowcase and put it in the dryer with a few beach towels on hot.

I checked it every 20 minutes or so, rewetting it after about an hour and a half. It took about 2 and a half hours to loose stitch definition and get a tight fabric.

I wasn't sure how the Cosy Wool would shrink. It seems to have shrank quite a bit more vertically (the base went from 36 cm wide x 32 cm long to 28 x 22; height went from 30 to 19 cm). Although I had added extra height to the bag sides, I made the handles to the pattern and they seem too short. Lots too short. Even in the unfelted version, I cant see how they would come out as long as those in the "model" bag from the pattern (hindsight is a wonderful thing).

I am considering (credit to Beloved for this idea) knitting and felting two straps, then cutting the existing handles and sewing in the pieces. It may make the handles weak though - your thoughts are welcome!

And finally, this pic is especially for 2paw, who also cant take a photo without the obligatory Lab supermodel hogging the limelight!