Monday, June 30, 2008

Cue Julie Andrews

Raindrops on
... not roses exactly but Hellebores are sometimes referred to as Winter Roses

There's not a lot flowering in the garden at the moment - and most of what is there is quite small - but by taking the shots in macro and carefully avoiding the pathetic possum-decimated roses, I can have you believing otherwise:

alyssum winter iris arbutus polygala plectranthus prostrate rosemary

... anyone care to guess my favourite garden colours?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

probably too much information again

remember this?
well, let's just say that I had a strong sense of dej√° vu on Friday night.
There was ... ahem ... movement at the station ... there was cramping, weakness, there was bleeding, there was general unpleasantness and I was very definitely in shock at one stage.
No sleep was had and anyone suggesting that the hours before dawn were a tad nasty would not be accused of exaggeration.

As with last time, an early phone call to Robyn saw her come to my rescue via the pharmacy and the rest of Saturday was spent in my jammies, on the couch under a quilt, apart from the inevitable dashes to the bathroom.
Lisette was supposed to be coming up from Melbourne with kidlets but there are some things that it isn't necessary to inflict on your friends, so we put the visit off until today.
Thanks to the wonders of modern pharmacology I was feeling fine, even though I possibly didn't look it.
Lisette and the kids duly arrived, albeit later than planned, armed with bikkies, much needed margarine - which I just realised I forgot to pay her for - and a couple of wee baggies of English Leicester fleece: one au natural and one dyed a deep coral.
Of necessity it was a shortish visit and perhaps a little manic because of that, but I think we still all managed to enjoy ourselves:
Cuppas and bikkies were consumed, [ including the one I reached for and ate automatically without even thinking about the current state of my digestive tract. Bloody typical - I can resist anything except temptation ]
...and after making the acquaintance of my menagerie, we hiked over to PNDs so that the new puppies could be cuddled and the mini horses patted and admired... and yet more goats fondled.
Ms Em proved that there's possibly more than a little bit of mountain goat in her own makeup, by bounding up and down rocks and crevices, looking for interesting minerals specimens - by which I mean that she took home a bunch of rocks - and she followed that up by proving her prowess at goat milking before they all headed off again into the gathering gloom [ and we will all pretend that it was just the way the light was falling that makes my hair look so grey at the back , right?]

Friday, June 27, 2008

happy happy goats

When I first got Robbyn she was meant to be a loaner for a couple of months because the lawn mower was still needed in Melbourne while the house was on the market - it didn't ever get used but that's a whole 'nother story...
... then I was given the opportunity to buy / rescue Rosie, and so a goat shed became something of a necessity.
It was done fast and cheap with what was on hand or could be scrounged, and looked as though a strong puff of wind might bring the roof down but it did the trick.
Quite possibly Rosie and Robbyn might, on occasion, have wished for quarters that were a tad roomier ... and didn't leak ... and maybe had a little more protection from every icy blast ... but hey, they weren't complaining
and then Rowan and Ruby arrived.
They were tiny
they didn't take up a lot of room
but here's the thing

cute wee kids grow into bloody great goats

so for a while it's been a bit squeezy up there

but not any more

On Wednesday, Robyne and Paul [ he who gives my girls their periodic pedicures ] came over for the day and Casa Caprine has sprouted a whole new extension.

I didn't think to get any shots of the man at work [ bad blogger ... BAD ] but here's Rob [left] and Jeanette ["do you have to do that?" yes, Jeanette, I do ] who popped in to knit with us for a while and stayed for some lunch. There was knitting, crocheting, quilt talk, cat cuddling, many cuppas, all in a nice warm house while Mr Independant banged and crashed around and generally had a wonderful time.

"hello ... what's this?"
"when did this happen?"
"Thankyou Uncle Paul!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sophie in [in]action

You know that thing where you have hand washed a piece of knitwear and you roll it up in a towel and stomp the bejesus out of it to remove as much water as possible? and then you probably do it again in a dry towel? Yeah, thought you did.

Anyway I was wet blocking some knitting and Sophie pointed out - as tactfully as she could - that she was of the strongly held opinion that I had left too much moisture in there, and shouldn't someone do something about it?

I present herewith the fabulous soon-to-be-patented cat-based knitwear drying system:

there were going to be exciting goat related pics but I forgot to take a photo ... so ... tomorrow

Monday, June 23, 2008

my 'interesting' weekend

So my darlings, when last we saw each other, I had been ensnared by those dastardly mucous elves and they had finally managed to grab a hold of David as well. The revolting but highly effective hallucinogenic cough syrup was flowing freely, the throat lozenges were being consumed in epic quantities, the fire was ... well... fired up, and we were settling in for the weekend.

David was pretty much out for the count so Saturday passed without incident if you don't count me falling over a log and colouring myself a deep aubergine in some interesting places. I spent most of the day on the couch and managed to read all of The Colour of Magic and half of Light Fantastic [ next one in the series ]

I was seriously considering whether or not I should pass on the 'Made In Ballarat' concert for Sunday... partly because of the unstoppable paroxysms of coughing - always embarrassing at these events - and partly that whole maternal thing of not wanting to leave David when he's unwell. Yes, I do realise that he's nearly 30, but in terms of being able to communicate how badly he is feeling, think average toddler. My head was saying that Graham the Carer knows him and is a fabulous bloke, but that whole mother thing was kicking in big time.
Brilliantly timed phone calls from Corrie in Melbourne and BFF Beryl in Tassie then convinced me that I would regret not going and that no one would accuse me of dereliction of maternal duty for doing so
... and of course on top of all that, on top of wanting to see Corrie, and the concert, there was the long looked for chance to finally meet Alice, frequent commenter on this 'ere blog who was driving down from interstate for the occasion.
Saturday night saw David and I engaged in a contest to see who would be first to cough up a lung. Not a lot of sleep was had.
Sunday morning dawned and as I struggled out to feed the goats, followed by 5 fairly vocal felines, I was starting to rethink my decision to go.
I felt ... and looked ... like something that the cats would've refused to drag in.

...but by 1pm by the grace of a hot shower and large quantities of every cough and cold medication known to humankind, I was dressed, presentable - sort of - and ready to drive nearly 100 km over country roads. Probably just as well the local constabulary were not in evidence. I'm not entirely sure that huge volumes of Hallucinogenic Cough Syrup does a lot for one's driving skills.

Fast forward to Ballarat and me walking out of the car park and as I glance at the passenger of the oncoming car, she looks vaguely familiar. It's Alice... I think... not sure what with the HCS and all ... but I smile anyway ... hoping that it is, in fact, she and not someone entirely different who is going to worry about the strange purple haired woman grinning inanely in her direction.

I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow of the concert which was very good and very long.
Just take it that they were all in sparkling form, especially Mr Hobson
who perhaps overdid things a bit as evidenced by a dreadful crack in his voice at the end of the last number : the beautiful duet " Au fond du temple saint" from Pearl Fishers.
This was sung with Roger Lemke another Ballarat born and bred opera singer but of the baritonal persuasion.
I had a very strong sense of deja vu [ wish I knew how to make this beastie do those little french accent thingies ] ...
The very first time I heard David Hobson sing was at an Australian Pops Orchestra concert back in about 1989, also with Mr Lemke ... they sang that very same duet and I was hooked.

there was some general milling around in the foyer afterwards and before we all headed out into the rapidly darkening streets there was opportunity for some photographic efforts.

THIS is what I look like on no sleep, half an inch of polyfilla and a truckload of modern pharmaceuticals:
first with Corrie and then with Alice
and trust me, these were the GOOD photos !!

Friday, June 20, 2008

the black hole in the rumpusroom

The code id da dose seems to be thinking about relocating... apparently somewhere in the region of my chest cavity holds great attraction. All those happy little mucous elves are packing their bags and heading south.
Some of their relatives have struck out on their own and set up housekeeping over at Casa David so it could be an 'interesting' weekend. David off-colour is not fun.

It's not all bad though.
I can't possibly be out working the acreage in bitter winter temperatures with a hacking cough - can I ?
No I didn't think so
and now that that I'm past the 'just-let-me-die' stage, I am finding the idea of yarny pursuits quite compelling.

With feelings of great virtue, I'm ignoring the woolly pheromones leaking out out the stash cupboard and the enticing pile of opalescent quilt possibilities piled on my cutting table and I've dragged the neverending baby shawl out of hibernation

When I packed it away I had finished the centre section - a gazillion rows of those granny square type shell clusters ... in splitty bloody Patons baby yarn ... on a 3mm hook

shouldn't take toooooooooo long to do 8 rows of border ... should it?

one hour's solid crochet gets me ... one lousy side
so four hours for one row

16 hours in and I'm up to row 4:
row 5 - doesn't look a whole lot different from row 4 does it ? this is where I'm up to at the moment

I think maybe I remember part of why it went into hibernation in the first place.

...maybe I should just start reading the Terry Pratchetts
'The Colour of Magic' arrived from England today, so one way or the other I'm set.

btw if you haven't discovered the delights of The Book Depository
go now
Reasonable prices, fast FREE worldwide delivery - England to Australia in around 7 - 10 days, except that this time it was only 5 !!
bibliophillic nirvana

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If you toddle over to you will be able to sign yourself up for a free 6 month e-subscription to one of the following aussie mags:

australian paper craft
beads etc.
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or my personal favourite aussie quilt mag:


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

and she scores

these were destined for the Op Shop [ thrift store ]
and Nadie / The Boy already had copies, so they snagged 'em for mememememe

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

feeling less than stellar

I was planning a clever review of the Buda Contemporary Textiles Exhibition with specific reference to my friend Felicity/Lisette and her 'coronation' on Sunday, and maybe even the lowdown on the week thus far
I hab a rodden code id da dose
so if you'll all excuse me, I'll just content myself with a link to her own blog post

and a cute goaty pic:
"aircon? what aircon?"

Saturday, June 14, 2008

it all becomes clear

I think The Boy has the right of it.
Sophie's secret communication was indeed a cry for help... for reinforcement by her internet comrades.
Her domain has been overun by greycoat invaders from the deep south [ Melbourne ]

Oakley has been absolutely no help at all ... being the scaredy-cat pacifist that he is, he's been far too busy sussing out the route for a run to safety via Underground Railroad

MissC was last seen building ramparts out of my wool storage boxes for a last ditch defense of the spare bedroom and has laid in extra supplies of cat nibbles in case it comes to a siege.

in related news, Sophie seems to have disappeared

and at the same time my bed has developed a strange herniation of the quilt


have they gone yet?

sorry Sophie ... the grandkittens are here for two weeks

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

message from Sophie

yhu jjjjjj777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777777\

'iukj323wqehewm s

I was under the impression that Ms S was showing me affection by climbing up onto my lap but as it transpired that was just a thinly veiled attempt at sending a message to Moggie - occasional commenter on this 'ere blog - secret cat business I suppose

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Queen's Birthday Holiday weekend - the Princess Bride version

Westley: Who are you? Are we enemies? Why am I on this wall? Where is Buttercup?
Inigo Montoya: Let me 'splain.
Inigo Montoya: No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Chris and Maz arrived around lunchtime on Saturday for the Queen's Birthday*** long weekend, and left just after lunch yesterday [ Monday ]

the time in between was spent:

cutting down trees, chopping them into smaller tree bits [ Chris ]
lugging them down to the house - or up to the house - one wheelbarrow at a time [ me ]
deciding which ones are for burning and which for turning [ Chris mainly ]
playing with my lathe [ Chris ]
feeding goats [me]
visiting the puppies and goats at PND's [all]
spinning [me]
spool knitting [Maz who won't let me take her photo]
computer [ all of us in turn ]
sewing in ends on some finished baby knitting [me]

dragging out the Neverending Baby Shawl and starting the border section [me]
afternoon tea with Felicity and friend [ all of us ]
vegging in front of the telly [ David ]

***The concept of marking the King or Queen's birthday with a public holiday in Australia dates from 1788, when Governor Phillip declared a public holiday for convicts and settlers on the birthday of King George III on 4 June. Until 1936 the actual birthday of the reigning monarch was observed, but after the death of King George V it was decided to retain the day of his birthday, 3 June, or the nearest suitable day for the public holiday. Queen Elizabeth's actual natal day is in April. This practice would've made sense if we were in the northern hemisphere but here it's the start of winter

Monday, June 09, 2008

400th post

It's always nice to know that one's friends are capable of going above and beyond in the interests of providing one with memorable blog fodder.

There I was, pondering the somewhat miserly possibilities for this, my 400th post*** and what do you know? An email from my friend Felicity in full written hyperventilation mode because she's won, not one, but two... count 'em... two ... major prizes in the inaugural Buda Contemporary Textiles Award.

Of course, I was full of good intentions of entering something and totally missed the date for submission - which I will blame on the week long migraine I had at the time - but it matters not one jot or tittle, because at least half of the prizes will be going to people that I know

Yay. I don't mind living vicariously through my friends !!

Felicity has won the first prize in the mixed media section as well as the overall grand prize.

So can I get a WOO and maybe a HOO ?

She raced up from Melbourne yesterday, to see the exhibit and of course a wee visit Chez Catsmum, which I totally forgot to immortalise with camera... so here's one I prepared earlier:

... but, in any case, she will be back next week for the award presentation, so there may be a photo op there.

in the mean time you can all go visit her blog and tell her how awesome she is

*** and actually it was a public holiday weekend, there were many visitors, good times, and interesting things done, but they can wait till tomorrow

Saturday, June 07, 2008


yarn - my handspun... jamberry [ roving dyed by Nancy Ballasteros in W.A and purchased at Purl's Palace and unidentified purple ] and blueberry [same unidentified purple roving gifted by Felicity, and BWM Delta readyspin ]
Don'tcha love that 'bright sunlight directly in the face and showing all the wrinkles' pose?

gauge - 22 stitches per 4"

needles - 4.5mm

I was told that for homespun I should go up a size or two in needles on what I'd expect and this yarn worked out to about 5 ply / sport . Seems like it was good advice... the fabric of the hat is neither too dense not too loose and, as you can probably see in the photo, drapes beautifully.
I'm pretty chuffed at how it turned out and really like the colour combo. I'm wearing it with the Yarn Harlot Scarf made from the same Blueberry and it even tones with the fingerless gloves. It will go quite nicely with black, blue, purple and red, so that's about 7/8 of my wardrobe :]

started out as a lacy beret from Cleckheaton book 956 but with a ribbed band instead of picots, and then I realised that the eyelets looked odd in handspun so just made it plain. So basically it's nothing at all like the original pattern and I just followed along for stitch and row count.

For the record though, this particular pattern book is an absolute beaut... hats, scarves, socks all in four sizes from baby to adult woman. If the discussions on Ravelry are to be believed it must be sold out all over Australia. I got mine from the supermarket for about $8 straight after it came out.

Surplice baby Jacket
yarn: Sirdar Snuggly Dk
needles: 4mm
pattern: Vogue Knitting International Spring 2007

this is the second one and I decided to lengthen the arms before adding the cuffs.
It worked well and I've since made another in blue. The colour is off on my monitor - it's not deep rose pink, more of a country red.

Friday, June 06, 2008

the cats are going to hate me but ...

could you resist that little face?

well I've been trying to for the last three weeks

but it was a lost cause

Bundy's quilty giveaway

Bernadette [ The Quilting Bee ] and I first met at our friend Jappa's Fringe Retreat at Newstead long before I moved up here, and the association continued long distance when we were both working on Anjii Solomon's book and I needed a queen sized quilt commercial quilted in a hurry.
Despite the fact that Bundy - and no, we won't go into how she got that nickname - was already waist deep in her own contributions to the book, she managed a masterful effort on my behalf with just days to spare.
NOTE to self: do not contemplate starting a queen sized quilt just 3 weeks before a major publishing deadline!
which brings me to the purpose of this post:
Bundy's blog is about to reach that first major milestone of 100 posts and to celebrate the Centpostiale, she is giving away a quilty prize.
Go visit
leave a comment
add her to your blog roll

and good luck - although of course I want to win it

Thursday, June 05, 2008

it's reasonably official

Certain members of my extended family would probably tell you that I lost any slender grip I may once have had on reality a very long time ago.

I'm beginning to agree with them.

I'm fairly certain that it's a sign of pending insanity when one finds oneself idly contemplating how long it will be before the drum carder arrives and the resultant possibilities for spinning the hair of the large and fluffy feline:

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

blink and you'll miss it

I'm trying very hard not to obsess over all of the missed photo opportunities this week:

- there was the clogging social on Sunday. Five hours of multiple pairs of feet tapping away, ten to the dozen, and did I sit down for long enough to get the camera out? Well, quite obviously I didn't.

- Monday? line dancing in the morning, more clogging at daylesford in the pm - spectacular scenery on the way over
photos? NONE

- so then Tuesday dawned, bright and beautiful, and I jumped into the car at 9 to drop Dave off, followed by a brisk drive down to Melbourne for the next session of dental attention from Saint Anthony the Blessed - my dentist since 1975. The appointment at Blackburn was at 11am and it's a 2 hour drive, so did I have time to pull over and photograph the amazing cloud formation that was capping Mt Macedon? and was there even a safe place to pull over on the freeway anyway? no, probably not. you'll just have to take my word for it: azure blue cloudless skies and there sat Mt Macedon snuggled under a cloud quilt. Clear skies above, and as I drove into the cloud, and out the other side, it might as well have been an entirely different planet ... grey, dreary and once I got to Sunbury, pea soup fog which continued all the way into Melbourne. Fog may not be fun to drive in but it does make for great photos. Which I missed totally.

... and where was that same camera an hour or so later, when Nadie and I sat having lunch after our dental appointments, and watched through the window as three extremely agile young men practised jousting on unicycles in the adjacent lane? why it was back in the car, wasn't it?


but today I was determined that wasn't going to happen again

- 10.30 and about two thirds of the Peace Choir gathered at Windarring, climbed aboard the mini buses and set off to Juniton and the St Luke's state conference. Stopping only briefly at Barker's Creek to pick up Robyn, we wended our way north singing along to the recording of the Peace Concert from last month.
A cynic might have opined that it was because some amongst us had forgotten half the words, but that is just a scurrilous rumour and not to be believed at all.

Once there, and after certain members finished having conniptions over the umpty gazillion cars in the car park, we had a cuppa and about an hour to stretch both the voices and the bodies [ note to all would-be choir directors: white t-shirts are not flattering to those of ample girth ]anyhoo, having warmed up the rusty vocal chords [ reminding ourselves of those pesky lyrics in the process]
we were actually singing during the lunch break and I do have to say that it was ... ahem ... less than ideal.
We were in the foyer, across the bank of doors, and certain persons could not see why it might be just a tad impolite to barge through to the great outdoors for their much needed smoke [ note below - the open-but-about-to-slam-loudly door ] without perhaps waiting for the current song to end. Then there was the lass who decided to answer her mobile phone and start the conversation as she also progressed outside.
Still everyone else was most encouraging and THIS time I had the forethought to hand the camera to byestander Paddy for some documentary evidence.
Despite the acoustic tiles in the ceiling [ deadens the sound ] and the continually opening and closing doors, I think we came through just fine even if they weren't exactly hearing us under optimum conditions.

and the girls were waiting for me when Dave and I got home ...

"stop that you brat ... mu-u-u-m make her stop"
"but Ruby, this horn of yours tastes gooooooood"

so just this once, I had the camera in the right place at the right time!