Saturday, October 31, 2009

here comes the rain again

Although it can, and in summer regularly does, get very very hot up here, it's generally a dry heat ... much drier than in Melbourne ... so generally I can cope with slightly hotter temps than I ever could when I lived further south

humidity is not now and never was my friend

so when we had a lot of this yesterday
[ cue Julie Andrews singing "Raindrops on roses and ... "]

followed by 33 degrees today [ 91 .4 F]

you can imagine that it all got a bit sticky and unpleasant

and we still have a month to go before we even hit the start of summer


and this last one is Bear letting me know that he would take it as a personal favour if I could arrange his summer cut-down [ haircut ] asap before he melts

and the heavens have just opened again, accompanied by the man upstairs' light show, so I'd better shut down the computer for the night

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Thursday Treasure

One of the many groups of things that I collect are postcards ... vintage as well as the ones purchased by friends and rellies on their travels.
No one ever needs to worry about what to bring me back - a postcard or two and I'm a happy vicarious traveller.

This particular habit was started when I was a little person and used to spend many an afternoon with my grandparents, pouring over the cards - which I eventually inherited - that my maternal grandfather had sent home to his parents and sisters during his time in the Australian Army in France and Belgium during WWI, and then from England where he was sent to recuperate after being wounded quite badly [ and subsequently met my English grandmother but that's another story ]

Unfortunately my collection doesn't contain one of these:
an embroidered French silk postcard [ Google image ]

maybe one day I'll find one I can afford

in the meantime
I do have this

an embroidered French silk handkerchief sachet that he sent home to his mama

it's a little fox spotted thanks to my own dear mum's appalling habit of keeping everything in plastic *

but inside

oh, inside

is this beautiful, delicate, pristine-as-the-day-it-was-finished, silk hankie

which on the 24th of October next year will be carried by my darling girl on her wedding day

This is something I've been planning ever since I found it amongst mum's effects when she passed in '94.
Luckily for my long cherished plans and dreams, Nadie does want to carry it as her 'something old' or maybe her 'something borrowed'

* and you'll probably be happy to know that since '94 it's been wrapped in archival tissue

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Local shame exposed

If one is heading towards Bendigo, the next hamlet over is Harcourt, proud home of the Apple Festival and some of the best apple pies this side of Tassie.
These days the newly extended Freeway bypasses it completely ... the road through Harcourt and winding up over the hills through Harcourt North is the road less travelled.
As well as some spectacular scenery, it is also the home of a certain rowdy element who like to hang out on top of a large rock high above the North Harcourt Road.

I don't think I've ever gone past less than 2 or 3 local layabouts up there,
and I have counted up to 13 at a time ... in the middle of the day too
Yesterday there were only five carousing in the mid-afternoon sun as Robyn and I drove past -

and before you bother clicking on the above, I've cropped it so that you can see the miscreants more clearly:
shocking behaviour really!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Guinea Fowl Husbandry 101

Graham, the Chook Guy, had told me that Ethel'd probably start nesting around October / November and he's a man who knows his chickens
... apparently the demise of her beloved wouldn't be enough to interfere with the demands of Mother Nature

I've noticed Ethel spending an unusual amount of time in the garden in front of my sewing room as opposed to her usual haunts in the carport, with the goats, and atop the cat-run.

Sure enough, a little gentle sleuthing uncovered her secret ...

Ms Ethel's been a busy girlie

a nest sheltered by all the lavender and tucked in under my David Austin 'Leander' rose - obviously a bird of taste and refinement.

So far she's laid ten.
These eggs are infertile because of Fred's premature demise, so I have [almost] no qualms about eating them and the other three are currently sitting in my fridge.

Apparently, so long as I leave her a few, she'll keep laying at the rate of one a day for the next month or so

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

cat vs bird part 2

Today was a glorious day with a high in the mid 20s [about 77F ] after an overnight low of ... 2 [ a just above freezing 36F ]

None of the avian visitors today were quite as photographically obliging as that little Striated Pardalote yesterday, so here's a couple more of the photos I took of the sequence of events:

... now this next one is a bit hard to see in its small form but if you'll indulge me and click to open big, you'll see that the little guy is in mid hover as he reacts to one of MissC's lunges:

"Where'd he go ?"

Friday, October 23, 2009

and a young man's fancy ...

As we've already discussed this week, one of the signs of Spring is the re-emergence of all things brown-and-slithery

a much more pleasant harbinger is the arrival of some of the more transient birds:

This young fella was very taken with his own reflection in my 'less than pristine' kitchen window this morning and spent about half an hour trying to persuade the bird in the glass that he would be an entirely desirable and admirable mate.

Even my careful approach with the camera didn't do anything to cool his ardour - when I was about 6" away from him I may as well not have been there
and even when MissC discovered him
and went into full stalking mode, he mostly ignored her only taking flight momentarily each time that she rushed the glass

According to my bird books he is a Striated Pardalote [ left of the page ] isn't he a gorgeous young dandy ?

and if you scroll back up to that second photo you may just be able to see the tiny red spot on his wing

and I think we can take it as read which of this week's visitors was the more welcome !

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A close encounter of the brown and slithery kind

Erk! Yuck!

There I was, out the front, doing a bit of [gentle] garden reorganisation - yes, well, I know I shouldn't have been wielding a long handled shovel but when I tell you what transpired you'll be glad that I was.
I looked up just in time to see Bear - who was maybe 15 feet away from me - jump back at the same time as three feet of [extraordinarily venomous] Brown Snake rose up on its tail in a very threatening posture.

I yelled - of course
he took buggar-all notice - of course

so I did the only thing I could think of, which was to throw the shovel javelin style as near to the snake as I could in the hope that it would startle either Bear or the snake away from each other
which thankfully is what happened.

Bear returned to me and was pounced on, whisked inside, and subjected to a minute examination of his furry little person ... and a degree of slightly hysterical hugging

and he is currently trying to work out why I won't let him outside to go to the bathroom

now the reality is that the snake would've been out there whether I saw it or not, and I would've been totally oblivious ... BUT ... this was way too close of a call for my small and furry buddy so you'll have to pardon me for the melodramatics but I'm still slightly freaked

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

just as well I was up early

... because well before 8.30 am, the tranquility comprised of the usual early morning birdsongs and the ruminations of well fed goats were fractured by the roar of this mighty Yamaha machine

bearing the person of Chris [ occasional professional David-Carer] who had elected to spend his day off committing a chainsaw massacre of the dead trees that he had chopped down in the goat paddock while I was in hospital, thereby reinforcing my opinion that he is an asset to the area.

Now, as Chris-and-Maz can attest, normally any chainsaw action around here demands my participation as chief-picker-upper-and-carrier-of-dead-tree-bits, but not this time - the recent hospitalisation and ongoing [slow] process of recovery, y'know. So I basically futzed around in the house, made soup for lunch and generally proved yet again that I am totally hopeless at sitting around while someone else is working.

The net result after four hours of hard work - with no contributions from the recuperating person other than the aforesaid lunch and some petrol money - was the transformation of part of the goat paddock from this

to this and the incidental creation of a temporary play gym for Ruby and Rowan.

who informed me that there has been a noticable lack of caprine-centic coverage on the blog of late.
Fair comment I guess,
so here's a gratuitous extra pic:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

I can now tell you something I've been sitting on for the last 5 weeks ...
In June of next year this young man

is going to become a big brother

and just for the record, at this point I have no preference as to boy / girl, just so long as it's healthy and has a somewhat easier time entering the world than did Master Riley

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's just as well ...

that I took these photos yesterday of both the white

and the yellow

Banksia roses, even though they hadn't quite reached their full Spring potential -
because not long after I took these pics, the onset of strong winds and rain ensured that I will need to wait until this time next year to see them at their best

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I've forgotten how to be on my own

for nearly five weeks I've either
a] been in hospital
b] lovingly cared for by my darling daughter
c] because it's been a month and I should be starting to mend, rather firmly 'organised' by my BFF

who left this morning
there were two 'rehearsals' each of several hours duration when BFF had other things on the agenda but from today I am left to my own devices

sort of:

...y'see, having survived half of today, my Purl's Palace Patchwork Princesses [ most of whom are the same lovely friends that sent those gorgeous flowers last week ] are heading thiswaywards tomorrow in lieu of our normal class, so I get to ease myself slowly into the whole home-on-my-own-without-use-of-the-new car-I've-not-driven-but-which-pretty-much-all-my-loved-ones-have'

With all this stuckathomeness, there has been much progress made on the blue and white feathered star quilt but ... bummer ... I can't show it to you all anymore until next July.
'T'is destined to be a gift for some dear friends and the other person with whom it is being made is most definitely against blogging in general, and exposure of this project in particular, and while I might wish it otherwise, she has a point and I have to respect her wishes ... especially as her contributions are now in place

So here instead is a resurrected UFO that never got passed the 'cut out' stage about six years ago.
I decided to have a day away from Big Blue on Sunday and these

demanded to be let out of confinement in the depths of the Great Wall Of Fabric before they reached pensionable age:
The fabric was bought for something like US$3.50 a yard in Paducah in 1996
It's one of those dealies where you cut strips from six identical sections of the large-repeat print which are then stacked up and cut into equilateral triangles, so that one gets little bundles, each containing six theoretically* identical wedges which are sewn together to create these hexagons

Don't expect to see any progress on these in the near future - or at all - but I thought that they deserved a moment in the sun

* theoretical perfection may not eventuate with even the most precise stacking and cutting if the original fabric is not perfectly repeated or has stretched/ distorted in the finishing process, or during washing and ironing. If you want to see some truly 'unique' centres, open the first photo in BIG.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

long week no post

It's Beryl's fault you know.
She's been cracking the whip and keeping me incredibly busy [ in a taking it easy kind of way ] to the point where I've either had no time to post or just been too tired at the end of the day.
There has been lots of patchwork, some shopping which may possibly have involved a couple of quilt shops [ Village Patch, Maldon and Honeysuckle, Bendigo ] and S*******t [ souless big box craft store also in Bendigo ] several visits to The Coffee Bean - both with David and just by ourselves - much morning and/or afternoon tea / supper consumed over and above the normal intake ... and no, if you don't mind, we won't discuss what that, coupled with a complete lack of exercise, has done to what used to be my waist.

Wednesday, which was going to be a 'left to cope all on my own' day, changed tone completely thanks to an early morning phone call from frequent-commenter-on-my-blog-and-complete-David-Hobson-obsessive Ms Alice and her beloved who came for a couple of hours to keep me company while Ms B was down in Melbourne:
Bear spent most of the visit barking madly at poor Richard but was forgiven.

Then friend Corrie came up on the train on Thursday to catch up with us both, so we spent a glorious day of patchwork, chat and classical music followed by dinner at Saff's Cafe [ always good ] finishing just in time to drop the girl back to the station for her return trip ... all sadly unrecorded for posterity except for one poorly framed and slightly fuzzy pic which wouldn't really enhance your enjoyment of the blog.

Yesterday was spent sewing again and more of the same today interspersed with yet another trip into town in order to conduct a [largely fruitless] search for something Ms B needed at the Restorer's Barn and yet another stop at the Bean.

... and backing up a bit ... the OTHER thing that happened on Wednesday ? an unfamiliar car in the drive provoked Bear into a paroxysm of barking, after which it was revealed to contain Pete-formerly-next-door's daughter Narelle [ local florist ] with :
a pressie from my lovely Purl's Princesses who felt sorry for me that I had to miss our monthly knitting day.
MissC approves
and yes once again I have to admit to being a spoilt brat :]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I'm feeling patriotic

I was looking for The Sensitive New Age Cowpersons' versions of Advance Australia Fair [ the Olympic version where no one knows all the words ] and also their NEW Australian National Anthem. Couldn't find 'em on YouTube so here's Adam Hill's version instead:

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday Fotos : Feathered Star

from little things big things grow

I still have to decide which fabric to use for the corner triangles but I really need to cut out / layout the next few rounds before I make that decision
one step a a time I guess :]

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Slipped through the Net

It has been brought to my attention that once again there are finished objects that I have neglected to blog about
mea culpa

item the first:
Rell commented on Nadie's shrug in the last post and that was when I realised that you probably hadn't seen it finished - I posted pics on Ravelry and Nadie put some on Facebook and somehow in what is laughingly referred to as my mind, that equated to blogging about it.
So I've checked the relevant project page on Ravelry, and apparently I started it way back in February. Finished the main part of the knitting in March but didn't get around to sewing it up until July [ and yes, yes, we have talked before about the difference between finished-except-for-the-sewing-up-and-buttons and finished finished ]
Anyway, once Nadie was finally able to try it on, she felt that she'd like the sleeves a little longer so the easiest and best solution that I could come up with was to pick up stitches around the end of the ribbing, do some increases to add flare, and then just made cuffs in the same lace pattern that I'd used for the body of the shrug.
I have to say that I wouldn't have thought of ruffled cuffs originally but I really like the effect, and more to the point, so does the girl who has to wear it.
which she does
a lot
as evidenced in the last post
For anyone who's interested:
The pattern started life as the Diamond Lace Hug Me Tight from Patons book 1235
I used the recommended yarn [ Zhivago ] and the recommended needles [ 4mm and 6.5mm ] and did the ribbed sleeves as per the pattern, albeit with fewer stitches, but then I changed to a different lace pattern and as I've just detailed, added the froofy cuffs.
So it's not really Diamond Lace anymore now, is it ?

The second one that slipped through the net was this crochet shrug bed jacketish sort of thingy
that I finished just before going into hospital. Not that I actually needed it - the ward was kept at approximately the same temperature as a swedish sauna.
This finished object also bears very little resemblance to where it started and for good reason:
I really hate to say this but it was an appalling pattern, riddled with errors, poorly phrased instructions and even a very obvious mistake in the middle of the sample.
Also no gauge was given - which makes yarn subbing a gamble [ thank goodness for ravelry ] and no finished size either ... and all this in a pattern touted as beginner friendly.
Okay, I know it's a new magazine, but I really had high hopes for it because it comes from the same stable as Yarn Forward which is one of my faves.
Let's just say I probably won't be buying it again for a while - at least not until there are signs that the pattern writing has improved.
A real shame because some of the designs had real potential.
the specs such as they are:
Roundabout from Inside Crochet #2
Panda Purla [ Alpaca/acrylic singles ]
the pattern is essentially a slightly fluted circle caught together under the arms. I continued on and did another eight rows around the body to give it a bit more in the front and then added some sleeves which were basically as long as I could make 'em before the yarn ran out.

Like many of the commenters on Rav, I pretty much abandoned the written pattern and just counted stitches and rows from the photograph.

so there you are
and stitching on the Feathered Star block continues slowly as does my recuperation