I am always a bit confused around this time of year. I am a spring summer type of a person and so autumn and winter are a teensy bit of a challenge for me. I do partly enjoy the seasonal changes and always try to make the most of the cooler seasons but if I'm 100% honest I look forward to them being over; I want to press the fast forward button and get to spring tomorrow. I just don't find that there's all that much to look forward to in Winter, other than the coming of Spring. Am I alone in this? I have found over the last few years of living in Australia that Southern Hemisphere seasons sort of don't make sense to me. Let me elaborate.
Here in my world the trees have lost most of their leaves, the
blooms have died back and the nights are dark by 6.30ish, May brings the last month of Autumn, the heating is on most days, especially in the mornings and I have been filling my hot water bottles! And whilst
these seasonal changes find me with the desire to get cozied in for the
Autumn, when I look at Northern Hemisphere blogs my mind is tempted with images of cherry blossom, the
hopes of the summer with outdoor adventures and the impending 10pm light nights spent at the caravan. And part of me misses that life and I know that it's okay to miss some things sometimes.
I don't have that life anymore and I'm totally okay with that but I have found myself wondering
'when am I going to get used to the fact that Winter no longer means
Christmas'? (I know I said the C word in May!) Here Winter doesn't bring the colossal lead up to the big day and I may be in the minority but I really do enjoy the excitement and the planning that comes along with these festivities. I suppose I feel like Winter in the Southern Hemisphere is a bit of a
none event really in so much as I have 30+ years of conditioning that Winters have Christmas and then 6 months later the
Summer arrives and brings with them annual holidays and 6 weeks off school - both seasons have something big to offer. And
here in Australia the Summer gets it all - I mean Christmas and the summer holidays. Brilliant when it's Summer but then there's a bit of a void in the rest of my year.
With me being the sort of person who always likes to have something to
look forward to, Summer and all its wonderfulness of celebrations seems
like a long way off and I am keen to get some 'good stuff' on the radar to
perk up the idea of Winter.
So if you are still with me after reading my ramblings, give yourself a pat on the back
and answer me this if you will,
what are your perks of Winter? Do you have anything that you really
look forward to doing during the more nocturnal months that are not related to the C word? I really am
open to suggestions as to how to make my winter something
to look forward to as opposed to turn my nose up at. Because at the
moment it feels like it's a necessary but painful wait until we get the
good stuff in the summer and I am not happy to wish any of my days away! And for anyone in the Southern Hemisphere, what does Winter mean to you good people? I am currently compiling a list of Winter Perks and would love to hear about yours.
Answers on a postcard to...... Jo x
Apologies for the absence of photos - They don't seem to want to load onto this post today
In my last post I mentioned that I'd been crafting a little. I had been keen to make a chevron quilt but as I have about a hundred projects on the go, I wasn't really too keen to commit to another big project. But I did really really want to have a go at a chevron patchwork.
When my sister in law was over she had bought a couple of big super squashy cushions, the pads of which she couldn't fit in her case, so she just took the covers with the intention of buying new cushion pads back in England. She left the two super squashy cushions here with instructions for me to make some cushion covers for myself and use the cushion pads in them. Ooo yes purlease! So I got my measuring tape out and did a few little calculations to find out how big to make the squares to fit the cushion. Once I'd chosen my colour scheme I got snipping.
After a few hours of working out my technique I ended up with this....
So far there is only one but I do have plans for sister cushion in orange, grey and white.
I've got to say that I've still got the urge to make a chevron quilt, I just love the way the colours look with the white fabric. I wish I'd had the courage to make Syd's quilt as a chevron, but I will just have to wait until I have a legitimate excuse to make another quilt.
Thanks for your lovely comments on my last post.
I tried to find the pattern on the net for the monkey hat I made but unfortunately it's no longer available. I downloaded it a while ago and had saved it. Sorry about that.
And the new job is nothing super exciting, it's an admin job. Having had a while off work from ill health, it's just been lovely to get back to being part of a team, to be learning new skills and to have a routine. I feel very fortunate to have found a job I really enjoy, especially have had such a big career change.
Well I say! I've been gone a while! I have thought almost every day about writing a post but haven't quite got round to it. I've popped in to a few blogs every so often and have really missed keeping up on the blog grapevine. So here I am, I'm back in blog town! There is so much that has happened over the last couple of months that I hardly know where to begin.. Perhaps I'll give a brief overview...
The last time I wrote I was cleaning the house ready for my parents and sister in law to arrive. Well the house got cleaned, they came, we had a wonderful time and they left five weeks after arriving... They bought me some lovely goodies from back home
I went to a festival just outside Byron Bay; I hired a camper van and drove there from Brisbane (having flown to Brisbane from Melbourne). At the last minute my Mom decided to join me - hoorah! a road trip with my Mom. It rained a LOT but we had great fun and I got to tick off another of my thirty fabulous fun goals for 2013.
I got a new job and am loving it! It's a change of career for me and I am really enjoying the challenges of learning new processes and meeting new people.
I've also got my craft on on a few occasions.....
I made a quilt for a new little baby. I have never done free hand stitch writing before, but as his name was only short I had a go and it worked out really well.
The parents didn't find out the gender of the baby so I thought this 'Gumnut Baby' fabric would be a good gender neutral colour scheme.
I also made him a little name bunting to go above his cot.
And I wrapped it up in brown paper with blue ric-rac ribbon
I have also been making a couple of hats for my youngest niece
I made this monkey hat from a free pattern and with the thick yarn I used, it only took me an hour or so to make.
I made this hat from the 'Tegan baby hat' free pattern I used here. With the scarf I just cast on 30 stitches and knit stocking stitch, adding a slit in the scarf so that the one end can be slipped through. I am going to line the scarf with some nie soft fabric because I think it's a bit too itchy for a little neck. It reminds me of a shetland wooljumper I can remember being made to wear when I was little *shudder*. I found that the Homepride Man's head is the perfect model for my niece's head size!
And over the summer I wore my Saltwater sandals at every opportunity! I just love these shoes sooo much, so much in fact that I bought myself another pair in dark brown (I am wearing them as I type)
So there is a very brief run down of what I've been doing. I have some other makes I am keen to share, so I will most definitely be back soon.
Plenty of plums, although they are so small this year
Yummy looking menu at a cafe in Queenscliff
My sunburst crochet cushion
Basil I love you
Amish oatmeal (before the oven)
Folk table cloth thrifted and drying on the line
I don't think I shared the flying ducks I made last month. I used off cuts of pine and cut them out on the band saw. Then at the weekend I finally got round to hanging them.
considered covering them in vintage paper but I think for now I like
them in natural wood. If I decide to I can always cover them in the future. Since I learned how to use the tools in my hubby's workshop
last year it has meant that I can make things for myself which I would
normally have to either get him to make or buy and I love that.
These are my little reminder to myself to start moving and the rest will follow!
It's been a bit hectic around here
We had been
waiting to hear whether my In-Laws were coming to visit us, hoping that
they would but not really thinking they would. Then last week they
booked some last minute flights and arrive on the 13th of this month giving us 14 days to get the house ready.
So we've had two rooms to
prepare, an extra bed to source, new seating required and numerous other
jobs that need doing for a house of 2 to become a house of 5, alongside
other commitments I'd already made before I knew they were going to
visit, plus it will be my father in laws 80th birthday while they are
here so there have been plans to arrange. My mother is law and I are very different when it comes to the joys of housework;
she being the kind of lady who irons everything including undies and me
being the kind of lady who irons nothing if I can get away with it. So
there is a little bit of pressure to have the house looking better than
it looks on a normal clean day!
A few weeks ago Jo from Binds you to Me passed the Leibster Award onto meHere is a little about it - "The
Liebster Award is for bloggers with under 300 followers and the rules
of the award is that the nominee must link back to whoever awarded them,
write 11 random facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions from
the award giver, and then nominate another 11 bloggers and make up 11
questions for them to answer. It's a great way for new and undiscovered
bloggers to meet new people, get more followers and find some blogs that
they want to follow."
Here are my answers to Jo's questions - 1. Where is your most favourite place on earth? For a girl with the travel bug, this is a hard question. I've always loved the Greek Islands but I would also love to return to Varanasi in India, that was a magical, crazy and wonderful place! 2. What is your happiest memory? Probably the trip I took up the west coast of Australia when I was 25 with a Dutch friend in a $800 van we bought. I loved that trip so so much. 3. What is your favourite book? I love sooo many books I really don't have one particular fave. 4. What scent brings back the most memories to you? The smell of eucalyptus trees reminds me of holidays in Australia before I lived here. 5. What prompted you to start a blog? I like to journal, so this is kind of my way of keeping track of what I get up to. 6. What or who is your inspiration? I think it would have to be my Mom, she's a strong but gentle woman who had enormous amounts of tolerance 7. Favourite cookbook? Feast by Nigella, It's my absolute go to book for whenever I need to find out how to make something; Nige has all the answers! 8. Velvet or silk? The hippie in me says velvet. 9. Do you believe in Karma? Yes I do 10. Lamps or candlelight? I
use lamps every evening but in the winter there's nothing like
candlelight. Plus my mom makes soy candles so I always have a supply of
wonderfully scented candles to burn, so I've always got them on hand. My random facts:
I didn't learn to ride a bicycle until I was 21
I love gnomes and toadstools and all things folky and whimsical; probably as a result of my Irish Nan who used to tell me stories of the fairies who lived at the bottom of the garden
I went to an all girls secondary school
I have a sister who is 17 years younger than me and two brothers who are 5 and 6 years older than me
When I was 20 I worked in Greece for a summer and learned Greek at evening classes for a while
I would love to teach English abroad
I used to be painfully shy and would blush at the drop of a hat, I have worked really hard to overcome that
I am a hippie at heart, in my head I have dreadlocks and live in a caravan in the woods!
All of my immediate family live in Australia, except for my Dad
I had 5 years of piano lessons but was never a natural and can hardly play anything now
I have a real phobia of the sea and what lurks within (ie. sharks)
Bloggers I am choosing to pass the Leibster Award on to are:
If you could visit anywhere in the world where would it be?
What's your favourite flower?
Give the name of your best friend. What are 3 of the best qualities about them?
What music / song do you listen to when you need to fire yourself up?
Can you speak another language?
What is your favourite meal and how often do you eat it?
What are you reading or making at the moment?
What does your typical Sunday consist of?
Where was your last holiday?
Do you have a nickname?
I know it is a big deal to do all of this and don't feel like you have
to do it all if you aren't up to it or if you've had a leibster award
previously. Do anything you feel you want to or nothing at all! Maybe just have a nosey at the other blogs I've shared if you've not looked at them previously if you have the time. If you do choose to participate, I look forward to reading your random facts. Hope all is well in your worlds Jo x
Gosh where does time go? I've hardly been here at all over the last couple of weeks although I've thought about blogging approximately 10 times a day, give or take! There always seems to be loads of things to blog about but either I have no appropriate photos, no photos at all or 100 photos of Mack (the dog!) and as much as I love him, this is not his blog!
So in the spirit of giving myself a bit of a kickstart, here are a few pictures I've taken over the last couple of weeks on Instagram
The first is a cute little hat that I knitted (I doubt you're counting but that means I'm three quarters of the way through completing 4 knitted projects this year!)
This pattern is from the Tegan Baby Hat on Ravelry. I made it to the size 6 - 12 months and as I have no idea how big a baby's head usually is, I just had to trust it was within the right sort of size. I tried it on my niece who is 15 months and it fitter her perfectly, so I think I may be a bit of a 'loose knitter' if that's the correct terminology. This was a 4 needle project which was rather brave for me, all things considered, but other than being a bit tricky to handle and my stitches falling off the needles a few times, it was manageable.
Then I thought I'd have a go at this project that has been calling to me for a while
Hmmm, well after feeling mostly confident with the hat, I thought these would be a nice next step on my knitting ladder. So I made one glove (with a few mistakes) and swiftly unraveled it without taking a picture. I'm not sure whether the person who made this pattern has exceptionally tiny hands or whether they are meant for children, but truly the glove I made was absolutely tiny. And I thought I was a loose knitter. Oh well this knitting malarkey is obviously a lot more difficult than my last 3 projects have led me to believe. But I will conquer these gloves, they just may be in an assortment of sizes!
So other than knitting, I have also been to a couple of op shops just lately and have found some scrumptious goodies. This crochet pattern is just gorgeous.
I wonder whether the shape forms automatically when the zig zags are sewn together. This has gone on my 'to make one day' list.
I also couldn't resist this cute little basket. It's one of those ones from the 70s or there abouts with a wooden bottom. It is in perfect condition.
And there was an obligatory trip to the beach, of course. I went in search of some Saltwater Sandals to Barwon Heads and found a bit of coastline I'd never been to before. It was one of those days where I was just totally astounded by the beauty of the beach and could have stayed there forever.
I'm not sure why but the tide seems to be out a lot further at the moment at the beaches I've been to. Even at high tide there is still sand to walk on at my usual beach. I wonder whether the tides change with the seasons as well as daily?
This beach looked like the land that time forgot
I rolled up my trousers and got in amongst the rock pools. It was blissful.
My treasures don't look all that exciting compared to what I usually find. There are always plenty of cuttlefish bones on the beaches around here and I really love the pink seaweed and the little coil shells.
And so between knitting, op shopping and beach dwelling I have been doing the normal stuff, of which there are no photos. Other than those of the salads I've been making for myself. I have found quinoa just recently and I really like it. I cook it with a sprig of rosemary and it tastes just lovely!
And to end.....
There's a pic of Mack in his favourite position. "Is Inspector Rex on yet"?
That dog has the life of Riley!
Hope you're well and keeping warm in the snow and cool in the sun.
I'm off to have a look at my favourite blogs now, I've missed them and look forward to having a look see at what has been going!
'The week that was' was indeed a busy week. It was the week where I visited family, where I turned another year older and where I did some good things for myself.
Warning! This post is rather picture heavy!
I had intended to try out a new Sri Lankan restaurant for my birthday dinner, but found that it was closed until February. So instead I chose to go for a picnic at the beach, to watch the sunset and listen to the waves
I bought some nicely prepared food from a cafe, packed up the picnic basket and ate out of tiffin boxes I bought back from a trip to India.
It was quite a windy evening so the picnic rug stayed in the car and so did we mostly! With the window open I could hear the sound of the waves rolling in and I sat with my eyes closed for a little while just drinking it in, trying to slot that sound into my memory bank.
This was the view from where I sat
And this was the beach. We ventured out for all of about 15 minutes before we raced back up the steps to get out of the wind.
And this is a rather bedraggled picture of me. I had a wrestle with the hair brush after that wind had whipped my hair around, I can tell you!
Earlier in the day, I met my friend from work and we went for a pedicure; the first of my four for 2013.
It's a bit of an indulgent luxury but a birthday is a perfect excuse for both indulgence and luxury if ever there was one.
So with baby soft feet, a tummy filled with yummy food and the sound of the waves rolling in, I turned a year older.
It was a most lovely way to spend my birthday!
Also recently I was very kindly give a Leibster award from Jo over at Binds you to Me. Thanks Jo, I look forward to answering your questions and getting round to passing the award on.
Hope you're keeping cool in the heat or warm in the snow, depending on where you are on the globe!
Someone asked me the other day if I'd ever heard of the saying 'getting all your ducks in a line'. I said I hadn't and they asked me what I thought it might mean. After a moment's ponder I suggested that perhaps it was something to do with having your ducks in a line so you could shoot them more easily? Savage that I am!
They said 'no' in as diplomatic way as they could and gave me what they consider to be the 'official' meaning of the term by posing this next question "what does a mother duck do to get her baby ducklings in a line?" Well she just starts walking and her ducklings follow her, she gets her butt into gear and those little ducklings just tag along, she doesn't faff around them trying to get them to line up perfectly because she knows it's an impossibility, she just moves and they move too!
This may all be sounding rather cryptic but the bottom line is it struck rather a loud chord with me. I can tend to be a bit of a procrastinator at times, I tend to want my ducks to be perfectly in line before I get going and I really don't like that in myself. I'd much rather be a do-er than a gonna; it's far better for my self esteem. And so the story of the mother duck who doesn't stand around waiting for all her little ducklings to get in line before setting out on her trip, but instead just goes anyway, well I want to be a bit more like her.
I found these little stones on the beach a couple of days after I'd heard the saying and they reminded me of the sets of flying ducks you get; the type Hilda Ogden had on her walls in Coronation Street about 25 years ago and that have recently come back in fashion.
You may have to squint and look through your eyelashes to see anything that remotely resembles a flying duck but they are unusual stones none the less.
It seems like forever ago that I've been here. Perhaps the fact that I've been so keen to pop in and share my progress with my knitting and have been called to give my attention to umpteen other things has made time pass more slowly between posts. Anyway, here I am. I am feeling a bit pleased with myself. For you see I have made not one but two, yes two knitted items already this year! Granted they are only tiny but they are knitted and they are complete!
The first of these is the Puerperium cardigan from Ravelry. This link should take you to the Ravelry page but you will more than likely have to register (all free) to access the pattern. If the link doesn't work just google 'Puerperium Cardigan' to find it.
The second of my finished projects (which was actually my first project) is the Pebble Vest from The Thrifty Knitter. I saw this vest on Soulemama's blog a while ago and thought it looked like it might possibly be an achievable first project for me. These projects may be tiny but they were a really exciting way of re-learning and practicing my knitting skills. I made sure I picked a nice wool yarn in a colour I loved so that the whole process would be as enjoyable as I could make it. The cardigan involved using double pointed needles (which was totally new to me) and picking up stitches. The vest required me to learn how to do the kitchener stitch and to make button holes. I can see on the vest where my tension changed when I had a break and came back to my knitting but it wasn't so obvious on the cardigan. One of the reasons I've never been a keen knitter is that I have hot hands that get clammy at times, especially in hot weather, when I'm handling yarn and when I'm stressing over getting a pattern right. And hot clammy hands make metal knitting needles squeak like heck and make your work stick. Eughh! This has often meant that I've had to try various methods of drying my hands, none of which really solved the issue and the more I fret about it the more my hands get sweaty and the problem gets even worse. It makes knitting a real chore for me and there have been many a none completed item due to 'the hands issue'. So that is why I have never really got into knitting - it was just too much of an effort. So when I was making the vest, I got trough a fair bit of it before the 'hands issue' started making my needles squeak, setting my teeth on edge and making my hands even more clammier and I wondered whether I might need to put down the pins until Winter arrived. But then I thought about how when I use a bamboo crochet hook I never have any issues and I wondered to myself whether bamboo knitting needles existed. Hmmmm ... So off I zoomed to Spotlight and invested in a pair of 4mm bamboo beauties. And guess what? They made the clammy hands issue an non-issue! Hooray!
I was just so happy that I was able to solve the 'hands issue' and feel that I can no longer tell myself that I am a hopeless knitter. I also have no excuses not to knit now, which is excellent. It has been like learning to read; I feel like a whole new world of possibilities has opened up to me.
And what's more I'm raring to go again and get another project on the go.
I came across a new blog yesterday after following a 'like' on Instagram and found myself at Sophie's lovely blog: her library adventures.
Sophie has written a lovely post labelled thirty fabulous fun goals for 2013 and I felt so inspired by her list of lovely ideas, that I decided I'd like to have a go at making a list of my own. I have always been a planner; I love the feeling of excitement that comes with anticipating something you want to do, of thinking about it in detail and of writing it down. The idea of planning a year full of fun things is right up my alley.
Here are my 30 fabulous fun goals for 2013:
Improve my knitting skills and complete four knitted pieces
Make some squashy, heavy cushions using some of my fabric stash as the stuffing
Make some cushion covers for my sofa using pompom trim
Have a giveaway on my blog
Try some different teas in the attempt to find one I like
Go camping at least once
Make a 'manly' sleep mask for Ade
Have a green smoothie at least twice a week
Buy organic groceries more often
Cycle more regularly... Remember 'no bike trip is too short'
Set up a meditation space in my home
Make myself a money wallet to assist with budgeting .... something like these
Make some monthly mood boards
Learn how to hula hoop - get that hoop to stay up!
Make myself a couple of tunic tops in vintage fabric ... something like this one
Wow! Surprisingly enough it wasn't all that difficult to think of 30 things I want to do. I know some of these things are pretty big, whilst others are things I already do and just wanted to remind myself to keep doing them. I'll be printing this list off and putting a couple of copies around the house; one on the fridge and one in my craft space.
I look forward to sharing my progress here on my blog over the coming year. (I've already got one thing I'm keen to share; I'll be back with that over the weekend) Hope you're enjoying your Friday
It's 2013 and I have a feeling this year is going to be the best!
To see the New Year in we shared a BBQ with my Mom and Step-Dad, played card games and Scategories, then drove to the Waterfront to see the fireworks and to share in the city celebrations and went to bed 6 hours ago.
And now, whilst everyone still sleeps, I am wide awake with a head full of the plans for this year. Plans that I've been pondering over the last few days and longer.
Here are my hopes, goals and dreams for 2013
Be kinder to myself
Get a job that I love
Experiment with making skin care products
Develop regular spiritual practices
Focus on healthy living
Try Nia dance
Something a tad too personal to share right here!
I hope your 2013 is your best yet and that it brings for you all that you wish.