Friday, November 30, 2007

the latest in Christmas fashion accessories

Ruby and Rowan model the latest trend in caprine Christmas couture for the junior miss:
...and before you all think that I've completely lost whatever small claim I had to sanity:
they need to get used to wearing collars, medium sized dog collars are about right for the moment,
these ones just happened to come in red
and it's a complete co-inky-dink that Rosie's collar is also red.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Tour day 4

Even though the decorating is pretty much done - just one tree to go - I'm sticking to my 'one room a day' schedule as far as the blog posts go so
today it's Nadie's room, otherwise known as the Guest Bedroom if she's not up here.

not much in the way of decorating in here - the Log Cabin Christmas Tree quilt was my own design, made in the early 90s, although I've since seen similar - I guess if an idea's simple and obvious enough, multiple people will think of it.
ETA for the quilters: you might want to click for big on the tree quilt and check out the insanely , painstakingly perfect matching of the checked fabric on those mitred borders. To swipe Caity's line, I am now a RECOVERING perfectionist.The geisha tiles were birthday pressies in 2003 from two dear friends, and the rest pretty much relies on seasonal coloured candles... and bears. bears are always good. I just realised, looking at the photo, that the big brown bear doesn't have his Christmas hat on yet. Now where is it I wonder?

and completely off topic - this is Missy at the 'Cat TV' intently watching a tiny skink on the bricks.
Later it was a smallish frog who was very quickly relocated to the dam.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the Christmas Tour day 3 and a pressie

Missy's room - otherwise known as the Spare Room and/or the Yarn Stash room
I'm reasonably restrained in here - not even a tree.
MissC was a little unsure about all her new ursine room mates but is now quite philosophical about it all, and loves 'her' Log Cabin quilt.
Little does she realise what awaits her on December 1 [ mwahaha ...cue portentious doom-laden music]

and speaking of doom, keeping the 1990 Log Cabin company, we have THIS [ahem] 'delightful piece' which is the very first chrissy quilt I made back in 1985 - which you can probably tell from the very WHITE white and the fire engine red - and let us not talk about the ripply border and binding.
Things I learned from this quilt?
-If you're going to hand quilt in red thread on white cloth, your stitches need to be pretty damn near perfect or else the whole world will know...
- don't try to hand quilt 10-stitches-to-the-inch through half inch puffy polyester batting [ except that it was all we had - apart from INCH thick poly batting - back then, when dinosaurs ruled the earth ]
and also...
- red hailspots on white will read as pink from more than 3' away

Following Caity's not so subtle hint in the Comments yesterday, I headed for the Post Office first thing this morning and found...
vintage knitting books from her Nanna's collection. Woo! and may I add, Hoo!
Not one but TWO 1930s Madame Weigels Tea Cosies books, albeit a little worse for wear, and a perfect little gem from the CWA on Wartime Knitting
Just what I needed to cheer me up.
ooh ooh ooh
... the temp has dropped 10 degreesC in 10 minutes and the heavens have just opened so please, keep your fingers crossed for some good rain. I need to catch the cross breeze, so just hang on while I open a few doors and rescue the garden umbrella - one high-wind-assisted umbrellacide is enough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Relentlessly Cheerful Superwoman is having a bad day so I've sent her off on hiatus.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Yesterday was "putting up the lights" day - not that I have much in the way of lights -
and today I "did" the outside so even though you've already been into the rumpus room, come back out and we'll start again properly.

Welcome to my Christmas home,

Now that we've done that, would you care to join me for tea and shortbread on the verandah?
Oh and please don't feed ChrisMoose - he's stuffed already.

We can listen to the baby kookaburras learning how to carol.

Earl Grey? I'll have Chai, I think - those wonderful Indian spices have a very Christmassy smell, don't you agree?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ... least around here
I've decided that the most practical way of showing you the reality of Christmas decorating Chez Catsmum might be to do it one room at a time.
Last year, as always, I took copious photos but not in any logical fashion, with the result that I have multiple multiple multiple views of some bits and none at all of others. Of course I only realise what I'd missed when I went looking for it as a visual reference for planning this year's placements.
Christmas Edict Number One -
this year it SHALL be different. In theory the house will be systematically photographed one room at a time.
SO I'm starting the Christmas Tour with the rumpus room. Partly because it's at one end of the house [ and I can work along from there ] and it seems like a logical place to start and also because it's done. There are slight differences from last year because the furniture has been moved and of course that affects the placement of some of the stuff.
BTW What do you think would be a good collective noun for a large group of fat men in red suits? A jolly of Father Christmasses ? A hohoho of Santas?? A gift giving of Saint Nicks ????

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

consider this a warning

If you're feeling a little Christmas phobic,
if the tree counter in the sidebar gives you the screaming heebies
best look away now.
In fact you might want to avoid this blog completely till the New Year

Once upon a time I used to start putting up the Christmas stuff on the first of December. That was in the days when I could do it all in a day or so. Gradually, I made and acquired more stuff, it took longer to get done, and so the starting date crept forward to the weekend before the start of December.
Which would be this weekend coming
... except that Chris and Maz arrive tomorrow and I prefer not to have anyone here for the first day or so because it's complete and utter chaos as I dust, wash and put away the blue things and drag the boxes down from the shed, allocate them to their respective rooms and go at it. Yes, I know that Maz would understand why the house is a mess.
Yes I know that she'd want to help and believe me, this isn't close to finished yet, so I'm sure there'll be plenty still to do
Maz is known to do a fair amount of the Christmassing herself... but ... I want to enjoy my guests and not be buzzing around like a blue arsed fly, making them feel in the way.
So I started yesterday...
slight pause to allow for the squee of seasonal joy from Sheepy...

and here's a not at all gratuitous shot of Oakley 'helping' by jumping up onto the buffet and demanding that I tell him what a gorgeous boy he is.
another brief pause... this time for you to admire last week's RFO directly behind His Royal Fluffiness.

... and anyway, after I'd finished my devotions before the altar of male cat perfection, I tried to remove him so that he wouldn't upset the skinny Santas who are always a little precariously balanced at best... and
I knocked the whole row over ...

ETA this is driving me flamin' bonkers
the all too familiar scenario transpires thus:
a commenter says " no photos" so I check - photos seem fine - I even comment back to that effect. Then I check back an hour or two later and ... the Catsmum she no see the photos ...
grrrrrrrrr. So then I go through all the rigamarole of putting them back but now there's those little white outlined boxes where the photos used to be and for all I know, in some RSS feed version floating around, there are two sets of the same photos! Can someone tell me why Blogger hates me specifically??

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The shoes I was going to show you today need feet in them for you to have any hope of seeing what they're like.
Today got to the high end of the 30s [ so about 97 for those of you still in farenheit ] with the resultant swollen up tootsies.
Not pretty.
There are very few pairs of shoes in my wardrobe that I would willingly squeeze on at the moment.
So here are some that don't actually require the presence of a foot model:
I've never actually worn them out. Just like owning them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shhh! Reading...

New Kerry Greenwood:
Can't talk now ... reading

back tomorrow for Shoesday.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baby did a bad bad thing

I confess
I'm a bad blogger
Four times ... FOUR ... in the last week I've had Blogworthy visitors, and how many photos did I take?
Last Saturday, friend Val G dropped in on her way from Melbourne to Bendigo. This was her first visit up here and how many photos to mark the occasion? How many shots of her goat snuzzling?
Then Friday, Nola's little caravan came up the driveway on it's annual pilgrimage to the Bendigo Swap Meet. Photos?
Half an hour after Nola left, Nadie and The Boy arrived.
Photographic evidence?
what's even worse is that she was looking particularly fetching in one of the knitted headbands I made her last year, that I don't have any photos of for my Projects page on Ravelry, and even THAT didn't prompt me to grab the camera.
and no, not finished the saga of lost opportunities...
This morning I had an unexpected drop-in visit from Barb and John MacG who had also gone up to Bendigo for the Swap Meet... but I could be telling you pork pies, because the photos of happily smiling visitors?
All I've got for you today is an FO - angora scarf for Auntie Fay's 80th birthday :] I'm sure a soft fluffy scarf is just what she'll need, seeing the temps all week have been 30C and above [ up round the 90-95 F mark ]
Specs for anyone who's interested: One Skein Garter Lace Scarf:
Pattern: my garter lace mittens. Cast on 38 and follow the pattern till you run out of yarn!
Needles: 5mm
Yarn: Louisa Harding Kimono Pure Angora - 1 x 25 gram ball
Unblocked, it measured only 26" - wet blocked out to 37 "
so I didn't end up breaking into the second ball and I'm going to make one for myself.

Late yesterday, the Man Upstairs decided to sponsor a bowling tournament for elephants - and judging from the celestial fireworks, perhaps a celebratory disco as well - and then apparently all that elephantine galumphing must've broken a pipe up there because the heavens opened and down it came. This is what four damp goats look like when huddled against the house because the rain is coming down too fast for them to make a break for the goat house.
Apologies for the crappy photo but I wasn't about to stand out in the downpour anymore than they were.
Net gain - 27 mm or 1"

ETA Blogger it seems has eaten my photos again - which happens about once a week - so here they are again... plus those dinky little squares, that I can' t get rid of, where the photos used to be.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Colour me disappointed

I have an announcement to make:
I love Norah Gaughan
well not LOVE love

... but I could honestly say that I adore her design sensibilities, her scientific curiosity, her mathematical abilities.

Her Knitting Nature is a fabulous read and not just for the knitting ... who knew Phylotaxis was so fascinating?
I will admit to never having actually finished one of her designs but the Brea Bag is THIS close, [ imagine that said in Maxwell Smart voice with appropriate finger gestures. ]
and now a small side journey - did you know that Gaughan is pronounced Gorn? Like Vaughan but with a G ? The inner voice was pronouncing it Gay-gan.
Anyway, moving on: when I got an email this morning alerting me to a new free Norah pattern, I was over there quicker than you could say " Bob's your auntie's live in lover" [ extra points if you get the pop culture reference ] with the expectation of something wonderful.
don't like it
if it was just the yarn or the colour I disliked - well - I could see past that, but am I alone in thinking that anyone bigger than a size 8 is going to look like an elephant? an elephant wearing saddlebags?

ETA okay maybe it IS just me. I checked Lotus on Ravelry and 49 people have queued it and 2 have cast on already.
ETA some more - just checked again and in the last hour the queued number has dropped back to 42 - so I guess a few people have thought twice about whether it really is for them. Ve-rr-ry in-ter-est-ing.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the day could've started better

The day did in fact start out perfectly fine - goat wrangling and so on - but THEN it got to 9am and David and I headed to town at which point one of my younger neighbours decided to tear out of his several-hundred-metre-long-downhill-all-the-way-picking-up-speed driveway without
a] slowing down
b] actually looking
I saw him - just as well because usually I might not have - and stood on the brakes...
ok dirt road, so I wasn't exactly doing Formula1 speeds but still, stopped pretty damn suddenly as neighbour, completely oblivious, tore off like a bat out of hell ... no doubt looking in the mirror and wondering where in hell the old bat in the green Subaru came from.
...and as I sat there, heart pumping furiously and almost hyperventilating, is where the s**t hit the fan in a truly spectacular manner.
Most of you are aware that David is severely autistic. Autistic people cannot cope unless they are in total control of their environment and one of the things that causes David anxiety is any sudden and unexpected application of the brakes. Result: full blown panic attack and some fairly savage biting of his own arm. Bad enough that the adrenalin was still coursing through my system but to then have to continue the drive into town with someone screaming, red faced, and tearing at their own flesh with their teeth [ yes, seriously, there was blood drawn ] wasn't the best. Particularly so because I was just about to drive 50km for a class at Daylesford and didn't really have the luxury of time to calm him down.
Mother Teresa I'm not. There were some decidedly uncharitable thoughts.
Anyway we made it into town without me running into any trees or other cars.
The placement worker who met him at the door deserves a medal for her calm and unflappable manner as I handed over this still unsettled, bloody individual for Bandaids and Dettol.

deep breath
think serene thoughts
admire the scenery
deep breath

Anyway by the time I reached the venue - the Anglican Bishop of Daylesford's Residence no less - that was all behind me, the sun was shining and fortified by a nice Earl Grey with extra sugar - for shock y'know - we were set to go.
What had started out so ... not nice ... soon turned into a fabulous day.
and - after 24 years teaching adults - I finally had a male student!
John and his partner Kath did the Silk Paper class together and we all had a ball.
After which we toddled home with John and Kath to meet their Australian Shepherds and, perhaps more importantly in my book, the goats, whose names I have since forgotten, but aren't they handsome ex-boys?

and just so you can appreciate how warm the day was,
Zoe left my framed silk paper kimono [ class sample ] in the car for maybe an hour after she got back to the shop and the frame MELTED !! Literally melted. Now, of course, she wants to replace the frame despite the fact that it was a $20 cheapy from an Asian shop and so not something that needs to be worried about. It could've just as easily melted in MY car yesterday.

oh and in case you hadn't noticed... when I went over to the updated Blogger this week so that I could do the Christmas blogerating, I lost all of my Blogs-I-Like list and also all of the knitting and quilting webrings I'm part of... bugger bugger bum.
I've managed to reinstate the Australian and NZ Knitters one but I've lost SCQuilters, FibreArts Bloggers, Knitty Kitty, Knit1Blog2, and any others that I had and can't call to mind at the moment. Bum