Friday, April 25, 2008


Last month I bought an autism alert sticker for the car, from a woman [on ebay] who has a couple of autistic kids.

It is one of those things that I didn't know I needed until I saw it... and then I realised I absolutely had to have one. It says " Warning: occupant with autism may not respond to verbal commands"

think about it
what would happen if Dave was in the car with me and I had an accident that rendered me non-responsive?? the possibilities are horrifying.

the price was reasonable and it duly arrived from interstate.

well anyway, Nadie and I thought that we'd support this seller some more, and jointly ordered several badges, keychains, etc which I paid for with Paypal THREE WEEKS AGO.

since then - nothing

Obviously I understand the ramifications of life with autistic family members so I was trying to cut her some slack

About a week ago I emailed her asking when they'd been posted.

So far I've had zero response

This lass quite possibly has more than enough on her plate, but then so do I. How hard is it to fire off a short explanatory email, or to get someone else to do it if PC problems are the cause?

Obviously I don't want to use the Ebay/Paypal " Goods not received" process unless I really REALLY have to - and I do have 60 days to do that

and I'm still hoping they'll turn up

but I'm feeling bummed about the whole thing

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My week in review

This week has pretty much been more of the same as the last few - without the trauma associated with death and funeral - all good stuff but I'm feeling really really tired. Going to bed tired and waking up the same.

Corrie came up again from Melbourne for the weekend, escaping a hospital bound hubby who had just had a hip replacement. She'll be tied to the house once he gets home , so took the opportunity for some R & R when it presented itself.
She spent the weekend knitting, relaxing in the sun, and generally vegging out. Substitute basting the crane quilt for the knitting, and you've pretty much got my weekend too.
We had the most beautiful pasta with pesto for dinner on Saturday made with Corrie's home grown fresh basil, and a beautiful hunk of really good parmesan.

Sunday night I sat and hand quilted after dropping Corrie in town for the train. Must say that I'm not much enjoying this batting. It's a needle punched poly and we chose it because of the weight factor for posting the finished quilt to the U.S. but I'm regretting it already. It will probably be fabulous for the machine quilted bits, but it's very needle resistant and my stitches aren't coming easily.
Monday? the usual - coffee, dance class, quilting, another dance class
Tuesday - quilt class here and more hand quilting followed by the 45 minute drive to Maiden Gully for clogging. Very hard to tap dance when the air is a pea soup fog of smoke from fuel reduction burns! The so called Department of Sustainability and the Environment, or DSE, is better known round here as the Department of Scorched Earth!
Yesterday - Drove Jeanette over to Daylesford, pottered at Purl's Palace, bought a new book - of course - on the history of hand knitting in Couture, checked out the wee new patchwork shop where I bought some of the Very Hungry Caterpillar range to make something for Riley because it's DIL Christina's favourite kid's book.
Our friend Robyne L [ knitter, quilter and she who's hubby gives my goaty girls their pedicures ] spotted my car and tracked us to the quilt shop, so we all hied off to lunch at the Himalaya Bakery where we also met up with Kath, who is another knitter/ goat owner / lovely person.
Back to Castlemaine, via Hepburn Springs to admire the banners that Robyne had made for this weekend's Swiss-Italian festival, and then about an hour at Goldfields Quilters - put in about 6 stitches - and off to pick David up, and home for a while.
Out again at 5.30pm for Peace Choir Practice, complete with some very original vocalising from Dave - and home to feed some very grumpy goats.

Woke up with a sore throat and the snuffles, so maybe a cold in the offing but as tomorrow is Anzac Day and therefore a public holiday, I don't have to go into town. I was planning to go to the other singing group for the first time tonight while David is at his social group, but if the throat's a bit dodgy, perhaps not.

I promise that I'll take it easy today - really - just some tele and hand quilting.

ETA Ruth has absolutely perfect timing... after I wrote the above, I took Dave into town and found THIS waiting for me at the post office: 3-and-a-bit balls of tealish green ( or greenish teal ) Andean Alpaca and tiny wee crochet hook attached to a keychain for emergency dropped stitch repairs.

Friday, April 18, 2008

remember that crane fabric? now with better photos

If your memory is really, really, really good, you might remember this group of fabrics from back in January
Since then there has been little in the way of visual evidence that anything was happening - just the occasional comment dropped in to try and convince you all that I was doing something other than just non-stop knitting and spinning

but for all you know that might just have been a cunning smokescreen on my part

after a lot of sitting and staring at the group of fabrics and much cogitation, just lately I HAVE been working on it into the wee small hours
ladeeeeeeeeeez and gentleplums
without further ado
I give you
[drum roll please Maestro]

one untitled, Japanese inspired quilt-to-be
for one of Corrie's U.S. based sons

please ignore the basting - that's only temporary
possible titles at the moment:
Tsuru2 [tsuru means crane]
Edogawa by moonlight
Seigaiha [waves]

feel free to tell me what you think - so long as it's constructive

Thursday, April 17, 2008

there's a bear in there

you all must try this
my friend Val sent me the link
absolutely guaranteed to put a smile on your dial

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

with apologies to Sheepie...

... for pinching her Wednesday Night Bullet Points idea again, and without the actual bullet points

- yesterday was BIL's funeral. A very, very long and emotional day and I won't burden you with the details except to say that the person eulogised bore almost no resemblance to the person we knew [ but that's probably a good thing ] and MIL was as gutted as one would expect.

- I have a sore right bicep today because of how hard MIL was holding onto me, or possibly from how hard I was holding her... either way it's nagging just enough to let me know it's there.
ETA it has been pointed out to me today that there is actually a thumb shaped BRUISE there

- Ms Rosie threw her head up as I was trying to give her her meds this arvo. I saw stars for a second and now have a split lip, and a small cut inside my mouth where my teeth got mashed into my lip.

- For a while there, I looked like I'd gone 6 rounds with Mike Tyson.

- today was spent raking leaves and bark, and building, and then setting fire to, an assortment of bonfires as the summer fire ban was recinded on Monday. The entire area was blanketed in smoke from [ one assumes] fuel reduction burns, so I figured my little lot wasn't going to make the air quality any worse than it already's just amazing how far that smoky smell travels... but when everything around here already smells of smoke, what the heck.

-I LOVES me a good fire!!

- the goats disagree.

- tonight was choir practice [ do you like how I sneaked that in? ]
Yes, friend Robyn and I, and some of the staff, volunteers and clients at Windarring have joined the massed community choir for the Peace Festival in May. Rob and I are even thinking of joining the singing group / choir / whatever-you-want-to-call-it that just happens to meet on Thursday nights when Jessie and Dave are out with their social group. It's better than sitting home alone which is what I usually do on a Thursday night... granted there's usually some knitting or spinning or quilting going on but still...

- neither Rob nor I are known for our singing ability

- Dave is getting heartily sick of hearing me practice along with my CD - the same half dozen or so songs - over and over and over again.

-Rob and her Martin both luuuurrrved the SBJ I made for their grandie.

- Nadie totally approved of the purple wristwarmers

- and DDIL Christina seems pretty happy with the black alpaca Coronet I made for her.

-normally all confrontations between Sophie and Fred/George take place through a window and she is free to make whatever remarks she likes about their lack of breeding and appalling lack of toilet training, without fear of retaliation, but she was out enjoying the morning sun with Nadie and I the other day and discovered just how big they are up close - here she is being really really brave, which is to say cowering behind a convenient plant pot.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

once more with photos

You've already had the overview of the last week or so and today I'm taking the easy way out... sort of along the lines of Sheepie's Wednesday Night Bullet Points but without the bulletpoints and obviously not on Wednesday night either


there was a longer version of the Frothy Gothy Wristwarmers for Nadie in Cleckheaton Country 8ply. Unfortunately they itched

then there was that French Market Bag I was talking about. I decided to make it much bigger because when I actually looked at the measurements on the pattern, it was teeny weeny. Not at all what I needed. Of course THAT meant I needed a whole lot more yarn, so I over-dyed some bright orange-red Twilleys Aztec to a scarlet and an oxblood - note the terribly technical drying set up -and knitted in irregular stripes of my handspun, the orange, and the two overdyed colours.
It is therefore a wee bit unfortunate that I didn't get around to taking a photo of it pre felting because I must've had the water temp up a bit too high.
Now don't get me wrong.
It felted perfectly
but the problem is that all the original red-orange commercial dye ran away, leaving me with the bits I'd overdyed perfectly intact, and everything else a fairly grubby looking peach colour.

brief pause while I retch at the memory

so once more unto the washing machine my friends - with a solid whack of Landscapes Sarsparilla - and my orange bag is now:

Which is fine because I'm much more of a purple girlie anyway
What else? Well,Nadie chose the buttons for her Fisherman's Rib hat so I finally got around to sewing them on and you can't see 'em cos they're at the back
I also frogged her favourite pair of Country Silk wristwarmers that had stretched, and then reknitted them
and seeing I was on a roll with the whole fingerless gloves thing, knocked out this pair of Cabled Gauntlets in BWM Caprice Alpaca Wool blend
which are also for Nadie provided there's no issue with the itching

and this is how that Surplice Baby Jacket - for friend Robyn's new grandson Hayden - turned out:

There was even time for a little of the spinning goodness:
I started with some red/purple/aubergine hand painted roving, split it into separate colour runs, and spun the red, then the purple and finally the aubergine, and then plied it with the same hand painted purple roving that I used for Blueberry. Please ignore the cat hair I've only done one small hank because I wanted to see how it would ply up while Nadie was still up here and hopefully I'll have time to do the other half this week... and it's a lot darker than the photo is showing at least on my monitor

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I...she...and...and then... and...woa !!

yes it has definitely been one of 'those' weeks.
After the migraine - more or less - vacated the premises, the week ran something like this:

Friday - started with coffee in town after dropping David off, then out to Fryerstown for a dance class, followed by some willow harvesting because the vet thinks it'll do Rosie good. General pottering - there was probably some knitting or spinning in there too but I can't remember.

Oh yes, there was also a visit to the GP who informed me that the abdominal pain I've been trying to ignore for the several weeks that it took to get an appointment is diverticular disease. He also said that normally he would advise more fibre but he knows I eat enough of that to sink a battleship so no suggestions offered. I have just looked up a few websites and they DO suggest cutting out legumes - peas and beans - and corn ... bugger... there goes a significant portion of my diet. Botheration.
Nadie was due up on the 6pm train, but arrived at 7pm because some 'nana was standing on the tracks down in Melbourne disrupting services.
Anyway, after collecting her, we all toddled up to Windarring for the opening of their ceramics exhibition [ if you're a local and you're in the vicinity of the North School, pop across the road and check it out ]. Unfortunately, because of the train situation, we got there an hour late, and David's pieces had already been sold ... dots! Bugger. I wanted to buy the bowl for Stephen and Christina :[
David thought the champers was a bit of alright but got totally overwhelmed by the noise and the crowd and had to be led outside for a while. Nadie and I played tag team to see the exhibition.

Saturday - up bright and early, packed up the car, picked up friend Jeanette who was doing my class, and off to Daylesford where I spent the day teaching shibori. Usually I teach EITHER on silk or on cotton - not both - because the dyes used are quite different, but this time we had a go at doing both. It worked okay - not perfect, but I know how to change the situation for next time. The problems were not of my making unfortunately. Why yes, I did use blue dye. How did you guess?

Nadie held the fort with David - thanks sweety. Television and spinning after tea.

Sunday - Farmers Market, Supermarket, lunch at the Botanical Gardens, followed by general pottering ... and Nadie created the most delicious Saag Aloo - spinach and potato curry - and Aloo Ghobi - potato and cauilflower - for dinner. We started watching Torchwood series2 after dave went to bed but I conked out on the couch.

Monday - Nadie and I had a leisurely breakfast on the verandah after I got back from town, and spent the rest of the day hitting all the local op shops but no great joy there. Nadie's SweetyDarling, Chris, brought her car up after work and they - once again - held the fort with Dave while I went to daylesford and taught a clogging class for the ONE person who showed up.
At some point on Monday or Tuesday, Chris installed my new printer and generally debugged the 'puter. He also bought me up a very spiffy ergomonic computer chair!

Tuesday? - Quilting class here, Nadie and Chris pottered around and headed off about noon, taking this bag for delivery to our friend Terry G for her birthday. I only just realised that I forgot to get a photo of it felted, so Nadie? if you haven't delivered it yet, can you take a pic please? Tuesday night I was supposed to be dancing in Bendigo but Karen was sick and I was tired, so I sent David off with Graham the council carer for an hour or so's drive-and-feed-Graham's chooks, and instead of having a rest, I got my second wind and spent the night working on Corrie's commission piece - no photo yet.

which brings us around to yesterday -
coffee in town with Jeanette [ and Tom and Donna and her twinnies ] and then off to quilting, where I continued to work on Corrie's thingie and then, when I'd done as much as I had brought with me, knitted some of Nadie's gauntlets until it was time to collect Dave again at 3pm.

Of course as you know, if you read yesterday's post, just after that, I rang my sister-in-law to check on Jim and was told he had lapsed into unconsciousness. He passed away at 5.15pm and the rest of the night was a bit odd. Ringing my kids several times, composing a notice for the paper, wandering around feeling sort of lost, heart palpitations, general feelings of displacement and unease... you probably all know what I mean. Not the best night's sleep but well, that's hardly surprising

and I still haven't told you about the books... and the yarn .... and....
sorry got to go now or my head will explode.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Vale Jim Iacuone

April 12, 1949 - April 9, 2008

My brother-in-law is at peace finally
and my poor little mother-in-law has just lost the last of her four children
I feel oddly dislocated and strange and sad and missing Marc. Losing his brother is another step in the finality of losing him. Only MIL left now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

too much input this week and my brain is mush so all you get today is a cute LOLcat and the promise of a proper post tomorrow

Thursday, April 03, 2008


The migraine lasted until Tuesday night, gave me a day off yesterday to enjoy with my friend Corrie who was up from Melbourne and made a reappearance late this afternoon. It has been medicated into submission - now that I can keep the meds down long enough for them to do some good

Yes this was a bad one
No you don't need the specifics
Yes I'm okay now
although the goaty girls had to make do with self serve

Corrie and I spent yesterday working on a quilt I'm helping her with, and then I got stuck into the commission quilt with the cranes. There was much Mozart, Bach, and some Vivaldi.
Dinner was my world famous vegan pumpkin and sweet potato risotto [ pinched from Donna Hay by way of the Phillip Island Quilters, and friend Beryl, and modified at each step ]

Once David went to bed, there was Jane Eyre and a modicum of needle/ hook manipulation:
she - Corrie, not Jane Eyre - doing the second of a pair of lace shawls for her friend's twin grandbabies, and moi on the brain-dead post-migraine bag crocheting and general pottering around.

Corrie was introduced to my equally world famous scrambled tofu for brekkie - she being newly vegan and in search of easy, tasty recipes - and I suspect it will be on the menu at her place from now on, along with the risotto, judging from the positive reaction.

ETA - Recipe follows at end of post

Thus fortified, we hied ourselves hither to Daylesford where more than a few Corrie purchases were enabled at Purl's Palace, Kabuki and InspireU2shine and okay, yes, a couple of my own

Friends were encountered [ Hi Jodi, Hi Kath ] but sadly not photographed

and a fabulous lunch consumed at the Himalaya Bakery

more shopping back in Castlemaine, at Habadash and then Corrie was on the train back to Melbourne.

I have a gazillion things to show you, a couple of great books to talk about and it's all going to have to wait for tomorrow because my head is at that fuzzy half asleep post migraine stage so I'll leave all the rest

and because Mia asked:

Scrambled Tofu

300grams [ 12oz or so ] Firm tofu - drain and crumble with fingers
1/2 onion or chopped chives, spring onions, scallions
minced garlic
black pepper
temari or soy sauce

heat a tablespoon or so of light olive oil in a wok or frypan
gently fry minced garlic - anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon depending on taste
add 1/2 finely chopped /sliced or diced onion [ or add chopped chives later ]
1 teaspoon or so of tumeric - you can also add chilli if you like
**at this point pop your bread in the toaster**
dump in the drained crumbled tofu
liberal dusting of cracked black pepper
stir and gently heat through for a minute or two
add a good glug of soy or temari sauce

serve on toast

for a light lunch, add frozen peas and /or corn