Monday, December 31, 2007

A final FO for 07

A string of stinking hot days is probably not the best time to be knitting but I decided to pump out one last FO before New Year's.

With hindsight, perhaps cotton yarn might have been a wiser choice for a 40+ day, but hey ... not knitting at ALL would be a wiser choice for a 40+ day ...

Superknitter can knock one of these out in about three hours. I didn't keep track but it was at least double that long and maybe triple.
I'm not a slow knitter so I'll claim extra consideration because of the steamy weather. [ but Yvette lives in steamy steamy Queensland so there goes THAT excuse ]

4mm Ivore
Sirdar Snuggly DK - a little less than 1 x 50gram ball of blue plus remnants of yellow and white
Yvette's amended BSJ [ not available ]

At this point the hot spell is supposed to last at least until the weekend.

David goes on camp Tuesday to Friday - and I just hope they have aircon. ETA they did
What am I doing while D is away ? Not a bloody clue. If the weather stays like this, not a lot.

David and I won't be doing anything special tonight - toooo damn hot to go to the fireworks, I'm afraid, but if you are going out, have a great and safe time. Happy New Year folks and drive carefully please! I'd like to see you all back in '08 :]
ETA Blogger ate a whole bunch of photos today [ January 13 ] so I've just spent over an hour putting 'em all back - apologies to those of you who read through Bloglines or some other feed because they're all going to show up as new posts again

Saturday, December 29, 2007

toooooooooooooo hot

The goats want you to know that it has just hit 39.6 C [ and we're not at the hottest part of the day yet ]
In case you're interested that translates to 103.28 F

I live in the southern [ cool ] part of the country!! and we have 2 more months of official summer and probably four more months of summer-like weather still to come!

Will someone please remind me why I didn't move to Tassie.

Sunday Update: 3.29 pm and it's now 40.3 C [ 104.54 F ] in the shade

Friday, December 28, 2007

catch up

In all the rampant Christmassing of the last month, I've been a little remiss in posting about the knitting/crochet/quilting/etc side of life. So, apart from the umpty gazillion snowflakes which you know about, and the snome, what have I been up to?
Just this afternoon I've finished the second garter lace scarf in Louisa Harding Kimono Pure Angora. It is blocked and drying as I type I enjoyed making Auntie Fay's one - and having just spent a fruitless 10 minutes looking for a post with photo of same to link to, have just realised that I didn't ever show it to you finished - so here it is being modeled by 'Elsie' over my mum's 1950 wedding dress:
I DID enjoy making it so some more LH was acquired to make one for me [ shock! horror! ]
a little summer top for Master Riley in Patons Breeze slubby cotton that I've had since about 1969. That means that both of the oldest yarns in my stash have been used this year. I've still got several balls of the Breeze left and currently no firm ideas for what to do with it but I'm sure that something will present itself.

Crochet: more snowflakes

Quilting: auditioning fabrics for a commission piece with a deadline of May 24. [ no photo yet ]

and I'm not sure what category you'd file this under ... fibreart maybe?:
this is the silk 'paper' piece I created for my DDIL for Christmas. As taught to me back in March by the lovely Felicity, the 'paper' is made from pure silk tops fused together using textile medium. The embossed areas were formed over some slubby yarn I bought in April, at the Fibre-and-Clay exhibition at Jackie ???'s studio [ Marcie help me out with her surname please ] and then painted with Shiva Oil Paint stick in antique copper.
Can't remember what else I've been up to so this is your bloomin' lot.

Oh ... nearly forgot ... D'you remember the Decorate Your Blog For Christmas Contest over at Soozii's Hobbies !!!! IwonIwonIwon!!!!! so thankyou to anyone who voted for me :]

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fursday Fotos

for a somewhat late but wonderful aussie take on a traditional Christmas carol, visit Nadie's 100th post.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Some Loose Ends

This little guy was bought in the middle of the year, popped at the top of the cupboard because I couldn't be fussed unearthing the approriate box from the shed, and at some point since then he's fallen out of sight, behind the box containing gift bags. So I have only just rediscovered him, brushed him off, and apologised profusely for making him miss out on most of the festivities, visitors and the admiration that would've undoubtedly been his due. He has magnanimously forgiven me on the condition that it must NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!

the snowmen in the kitchen have been joined by this gorgeous country snowman plate [ and matching cake server ] from my dear friend Jeanette.

This stained glass star is something incredibly precious to me. You've probably noticed that I don't go for bright Christmas colours a lot, and this is certainly bright, BUT my late husband Marc made it for me in the mid 90s as well as three smaller decorations. Last year I gave each of the kids one of the smaller ones along with their gifts [ meaning of course that David's one is still here, in his room ] You can't really tell from the photo but it's not flat - there are three faces - red, green and yellow

and now an explanation- most of you don't know about why I'm so spectacularly OTT with the Chrissie decorating. I have always put a fair bit of effort in ever since the kids were small, possibly because my own parents didn't, but then eight years ago last week something happened which has caused me to go into Christmas Hyperdrive ever since. My husband of 25 years whom I adored and who adored me, died after a hard fought battle with cancer on my 46th birthday. Needless to say, family and friends are never 100% sure how to handle the day - December can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster and this is how I deal with it.

and just in case you've forgotten:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

How NOT to make Gingerbread

Decide to make gingerbread on the spur of the moment because it's Saturday afternoon, three days before Christmas, pretty much every thing's done, except stuff that you don't currently feel like doing anyway, and it's pouring rain. [ wonderful, wonderful rain ]

Receive a reminder about the rain approximately every thirty-two point five seconds from four sodden and very vocal goats who have spent the day watching their paddock ooze slowly down the hill into the dam, while trying to keep their feet dry.

Goats really, really, really hate getting wet - really, and get very upset if they're cut off from the goat house by the rising tide.

Decide to overlook the fact that the aforesaid rain is going to reduce any nascent inclination that one might have entertained to do a shopping run into town for the actual, correct ingredients, with the attendant fun of battling all those people doing the ritual 'OMGIT'STHELASTSATURDAYBEFORECHRISTMAS WHATAMIGOINGTODO shopping. Anyway, the creek was already well up and over the road when I came in last night, so I'd have to go the long way round because it can only be higher after all the rain ... so there! It's decided. Another good reason to stay in!!

Choose an American recipe despite knowing full well that American measures and Oz ones are not even remotely the same.

Assemble what we will laughingly refer to as 'the ingredient list', discovering in the process that you have no brown sugar [ that's okay, ordinary raw sugar will do, won't it?] and try to remember whether 'All Purpose Flour' is American for Plain or Self-Raising. Decide that as there's no raising agent listed in the recipe that it must mean Self Raising. Does that look like 5 cups in there ?? No? Well, it'll have to be Plain Flour then [ which, it transpires later, is what I should've been using all along ]

As one has already thrown common sense and caution to the winds with the whole ' no brown sugar' thing, and you know that your measuring cups and spoons aren't those pesky U.S. ones, decide that BY EYE measuring will do just fine.

Do the melting of the sugar, molasses [ which you DO have if only because of buying it for Rosie the goat, who hated it ] spices and margarine and then dump in about three of five cups of flour before you discover that you have no more self-raising and it's going to have to be plain anyway. David helpfully dumps in the last of the plain flour... considerably more than the more-or-less two cups still needed but that's ok because most of it lands on the bench - which is fine, we'll need that later for rolling out.
MAKE NOTE TO SELF: Buy more flour - both kinds.

Decide to use the 6" fancy schmancy gingerbread mould shaped like a quilted heart that Evelyn gave me. Guess how much dough it will take to fill it evenly to the edges... ERR ...Guess again. Why ruin the spirit of adventure at this late stage? After all, the cooking instructions helpfully tell you to bake for 10 - 30 minutes [!!?!!] depending on size and thickness, so why not have a wide variety of thicknesses to experiment with, right? and what's 300F in celcius again?

Guess temperature and baking time - after all why depart from a method that has worked for you thus far? [ for the record, my guess of 150F was only 1.1 degrees out. ]
Demolish first two finished cookies with David's help. ANOTHER NOTE TO SELF: too floury, needs more ginger but otherwise ok. Maybe a bit longer in the oven too?

Add more ginger to the remaining mix. Make half-hearted attempt to mix it through evenly.
Go to roll out remaining mix for small cookies. Discover that you can't find the rolling pin then remember it's outside with the dyeing supplies [ don't ask ] so use the side of the spray can of cooking oil instead.

David uses remaining mix to make gingerbread men and Christmas trees ... which actually turned out quite edible albeit perhaps a little bit rock-like.

Discover that the House Elves have been reading altogether too much J.K.Rowling and have gone on strike... Lazy little sods. Write a blog post about the experience to postpone having to deal with the clean-up.

Melbourne yesterday:

A house full of new birthday pressies and what's his favourite toy?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy First Birthday Baby

Master Riley David Iacuone celebrates his natal day today - and I would've put this up sooner but the thunderstorms in the area meant that I lost the internet connection for over 12 hours ... His Uncle David and I are heading down to see him tomorrow arvo so hopefully there will be more recent photos to share tomorrow.
When I took the first one he was 2 weeks old
the second was at not-quite-10 months [ and with a whole 2 teeth ]
he apparently now has 7 chompers.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Vee haf veys of making you VOTE ....

Vell, achktually vee don't
all vot vee haf iz a cute kitten [ Sophie at 6 weeks ]

Sooziii has now put up the poll for best decorated -for-Christmas-blog so if you haven't already, please go visit the contenders - there aren't many of them - and then vote for...
whoever you want to

and in a vaguely poll related segue... some absolutely vital statistics that I have been neglecting shamefully:
snowflake tally '07 - 31 [ given or about to be given away -19, which unless my maths skills have totally deserted me leaves 12 for moi ]

# of decorations redistributed by the feline population of 5 [ because my grandkitten and great grandkitten were visiting ] : 7
# of them for which MsC bears direct responsibility to my sure and certain knowledge, not counting, of course, the middle of the night: 0

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas House Tour 07

Have a shortbread and grab a glass of something festive. We have egg nog for those in the Northern Hemisphere and fruit punch for us south of the Equator.
BooMama has 'sponsored' a worldwide house tour today so those of you who've been touring my place for the past two weeks are just going to have to sit through it again.
No, it's ok...
I can hear Sheepy hyperventilating from here :]
I wouldn't do that to you - because, for a start, it would take an hour to load and it just might cause the internet to explode and I wouldn't want to do that
So, at the main instigator's suggestion I'm just posting the RumpusRoom with links to the rest if you're so inclined.
it is here, here, here, here, here, here [ still with me?]
here, here, here,
here, here, and here

and there's more but I'll stop now - you can check the archives
Hope you enjoyed your visit and have a very happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Knitting

Even though there were UFOs I could've been finishing [ What? ... No! ... Really? ] last night I just couldn't resist casting on for a Snome
and what's a Snome?
well, I'd guess a Snowman Gnome
He was a pretty easy knit - although the acrylic boucle yarn I had on hand wasn't exactly nice to knit with, especially at the tighter than normal gauge needed for a stuffed toy... squeak, squeak, squeak and bloody hard on the hands. I originally wrote "quite hard" there, but it was more than 'quite' - it was definitely bloody.
...he was however only moderately fiddly to sew up.
I wasn't about to go out and buy a whole ball of orange - a colour I would quite likely NEVER use again - so I went down a needle size and used stranded embroidery thread for his carrot nose but followed the directions for the larger snome's nose.
size 3mm and 3.25mm needles, unknown white boucle, red Caressa and green BWM Classic 8-ply.
Pattern: Snome by Alan Dart, Simply Knitting, #34 November 07. This is the small version.

and as this post is devoted once again to things of a seasonal nature, and we're in the throes of early summer, here's a far more appropriate Aussie image: the first Christmas beetle of the season

oh and btw it RAINED this morning!!!! Not a lot, but definitely wet stuff.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Foto Friday

Some bits and pieces that I couldn't fit into other picture heavy posts:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Do you have any idea... hard it is to find Australian themed Christmas decorations at all, let alone ones that aren't twee and hideous?
I found these at a local gallery a couple of years ago and even at the 'after Christmas' reduced price they were still $12 EACH.
They're carved from some kind of Western Australian bottlebrush...
and in case you're not up to snuff on 'Aussie Animals 101', they are [ from the top ]
an echidna [ I have a visiting one of these ]

koala and kookaburra [ no koalas but heaps of caroling kookas ]

and finally a platypus [ none of them here either ]