Monday, 27 July 2009

Just keep spinning, just keep spinning...

As you may have noticed from previous posts, I'm venturing into the world of spinning. To start off, I bought an Ashford student spindle for the low low price of $8 (plus postage), and they were kind enough to send a 50g sample of Polwarth roving, which turned into this, possibly enough for a small hat:

First Yarn

Then I moved on to my red romney roving (say that five times fast!!), which is still on the spindle. I'll finish it eventually, although I'm not yet sure what I'll do with it. Perhaps socks?? It depends on the finished yardage I guess. There's around 220g, so hopefully there'll be enough. Maybe ankle socks :-)

Romney

My latest love however, is this:

Margaret's WheelMargaret's Wheel

He belongs to my friend Margaret. Built around the late 1930's to early 1940's by A. Toop & Son of Havelock North, who, as builders with not much to do, were contracted out by John L Moore (the designer and creator of The Karure and Miro spinning wheels) to build wheels, thought to be used during WWII to spin wool for socks. Margaret kindly dug him out of her attic, gave him a good clean, and passed him on to me. With a bit of TLC (and good old kiwi ingenuity) I got him going. So far I've managed to spin an entire bobbin, and I'm part way through the second. After having worked with him for a while, I've come to appreciate his ruggedness and simplicity, and have affectionately named him Klat. He's rickety and wobbly, and makes a soothing clattering noise when you spin. Quite relaxing in the evenings when all is quiet (eg: Deane out of the house and the boys in bed!)

This is the behemoth pile of roving I scored off a Quilt Guild member for $20, and what it's turning into:

Carded FleeceGrey unknown fleece

All up there's 595g, so perhaps I'll be able to make a jersey for X (if he'll wear it)... Anyway, I'm having a ton of fun spinning my own yarn, can't wait to try out hand dyed roving, and digging my Ashford Traditional wheel out to give it another go. I may just need my own room in our Auckland apartment (when we find one) for all my craft stuff - it's kinda running away from me a bit!! And Margaret, you're such an enabler (^_^)

I managed to get to Craft 2.0 on Saturday as hoped, lined up in the queue before 10am to get a gift bag, and proceeded straight to the Needle Food table to buy my lovely worsted weight yarn, which will (hopefully!) become a vest.

Needle Food 'Spruce'

Isn't it pretty?!? Anyway, time's a-wasting sitting here typing this post, I could be knitting or spinning :-) Until next time...

Friday, 24 July 2009

The week that was (part 2)

So, on Friday at 12.40pm I arrived at Wellington Airport, wandered through the food court area and found my best friend Tans chowing down on some Indian food for lunch(yum!). Did the standard meet and greet, wandered off to find my luggage (which took slightly less time than in Auckland - what is with the baggage departments at airports??) and we headed off downstairs to find transport home. Incidentally, it found us. Random guy practically jumps out at us and says "where you headed? $10 each, door to door, I'm leaving in two minutes". Sweet!

We arrived at my place, dropped off the bags etc, then headed in to town for a spot of shopping, a Mojo coffee (my fave!) and to get the surprise treat I'd planned for, like, a year.

Nice, slightly boring looking box...
Cupcakes

Was hiding - THIS!!! Cupcakes

And let me tell you, they were goooooooooooood :-) Mocha, dark chocolate and raspberry (the best!), and white chocolate mudcake were the flavours I'd chosen, all excellent. We had to pace ourselves over the entire weekend with these, as they were quite rich (at least the icing was). Entirely edible, even the glittery stars (marzipan) and pictures (printed on white chocolate). Yum.

Friday night we watched the Dralion DVD so Tans could see it before handing it over to my mum - slightly different to what we saw live, as this DVD was filmed in a different country, but still good. Then, off to bed.

Saturday morning we were up 'bright and early' (he he - 8am!). I put dinner on for the evening meal (I love crockpots!!) and we settled in to watch the first movie. Then the second. Then the third. Some time around the beginning of the fourth movie the boys arrived home so we sat down and ate dinner, got the kids in bed, and shooed Deane out of the lounge. Then we proceeded to watch the fourth and fifth movies, finishing earlier than expected at around 10-10.30ish. During the day we nibbled on various HP themed delights:

Goodies
Sherbet Lemons, Acid Drops (as close as I could get to acid pops), Toffee Eclairs, butterbeer (not bad, but kinda sickening), and hiding in the lovely purple starry tins care of Tania, were some yummy cashews and Maltesers. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

We were feeling a little sick by the end of the night, but it was an awesome day.

On to Sunday, which was spent wandering the streets of Wellington, trying on clothes, looking in all the quirky shops, and a wee spot of shopping (of course). Home for a bit of relaxation and girly time (sorry Tans, just had to add a pic!):
Face Masks

Some dinner, cooked by the delightful Deane, and back in to town to attend the much-awaited Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. And of course I had to get my photo for Quidditch:
Movie

Although not entirely true to the book, which was to be expected, it was hilariously funny, and an all round excellent movie. Unfortunately the enjoyment was slightly ruined by idiotic morons on either side rustling packets of various food items during the quiet times of the movie (how inconsiderate!), not to mention the awful smelly person in our row who decided to take their shoes off towards the end, and judging by the stench, had some serious hygiene issues!! That aside, it was a lovely day, an excellent movie, and I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

Monday was all go, as T had kindy so the morning was busy. We did a bit of driving around getting last minute pressies for Tania's kids, picked T up, went home for lunch, fluffed around, then drove Tans to the airport for her flight home.

Back to reality...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The week that was...

As you may (or may not) know, last week the family ventured up to Auckland to check out apartments, schools, walking distances, liveable areas with supermarkets, parks etc etc. Here's a play by play:

Tuesday evening we boarded the plane at Wellington Airport - the boys' first ever plane ride! They went very well, the only incident being that T nearly killed himself swallowing an entire lolly while we were landing. He was more upset about losing his lolly than nearly choking to death though, so all was well. Unfortunately, once at Auckland Airport, monkeys were working in the baggage department and it took about half an hour for the luggage to come out. By the time we arrived at our hotel it was 9.30pm. Considering T is usually in bed by 6.30pm you can imagine how grumpy and tired he was. To make matters worse, they sent us to the wrong room (apparently there had been a mix up with the booking) so they moved us midway through getting the kids ready for bed. Yay.

Wednesday morning we all got up, got dressed and had breakfast, then proceeded to walk (kids complaining the entire way) to hubby's Auckland work base. Ordinarily this would be about a 10 minute walk from the hotel, but with whinging kids in tow, more like half an hour. A quick tour for the benefit of the boys (I've already seen it and it's not that exciting) then we were shooed out, to go exploring on our own. I decided it would be a good idea to check out the nearest school - see what the walk is like, how the school is set out, let the kids explore the playground, that sort of thing. The walk in itself was fine, it was the boys' constant complaining that was the problem. You'd swear their legs were made of jelly! For fit, slim, healthy boys they're rather lazy. Anyway, we finally got to the school, only to find that the whole place was pretty much out of bounds, as they had diggers in gouging out giant holes in the ground, laying new pipes for cables. Oh well, back to the hotel... The boys spent the rest of Wednesday playing XBox (which Deane could not leave behind apparently. I'm secretly glad we had it, I would've gone nuts otherwise).

Once the boys were in bed, we had a babysitter look after them and went to dinner in a lovely Japanese restaurant, ate far too much good food, and wandered back to the hotel to collapse into bed, ready for the next day.

Thursday was a day for wandering back and forth looking at apartments - the main reason for going (apart from Deane working of course). We managed to drag the boys kicking and screaming (literally - I kid you not!) to an apartment block around the Viaduct Harbour, to check out a couple of two bedroom apartments available for rent there. Lovely! A well equipped gym on site, gorgeous pool, lemon trees for Africa, a herb garden, grassy area perfect for the kids to kick a ball around, very secure. Not bad. Unfortunately the manager guy managed to open a door into T's head, and he's still got the bruise :-( T was not impressed...

Dragged them back to the hotel (slightly less kicking and screaming involved) to have some lunch and lounge around for a bit, only to receive a phone call from Reception advising that the room they moved us to was booked out the following night, and we would have to be moved - again. I repeat, yay. They would call again when the next room was ready for us. Meanwhile, Deane managed to con the real estate agent into borrowing a car so we could drive around the next few apartments in the afternoon - one of which I liked, but was not in the school zone, the other of which I did not like, and it was way too expensive anyway (and small). Once back, I dragged the boys to the shop to get something for dinner, went back and moved rooms, fed them, and put them to bed.

The babysitter arrived again, and we went out to what I thought was going to be a work dinner and was not looking forward to. I was mistaken. The taxi driver dropped us off, we got out and Deane produced two tickets to 'Dralion', the current show by Cirque du Soleil. I just have to say: OH - MY - GOD - it was freaking awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I fully recommend going. I even convinced Deane to fork out another $50 just to get the DVD, which by the way mum, is yours :-) I know you would've loved to go to the show but won't be able to, so this is your consolation prize. You should be receiving it soon via Tania, who took it back to Napier with her, along with the Harry Potter DVDs. I have to say, I went to bed very happy that night, with a stupid grin plastered on my face.

Friday morning dawned, and it was all go. I barely had time for a shower and breakfast, before dressing the boys and flying out the door in order to get to town in time for the bus that would take me to the airport for my flight home to Wellington. I managed it, with a bit of running involved, and still have a bruise on my lower back from my stupid hair straighteners in the bottom of my bag digging into my back the whole way through Auckland city. Urgh. In spite of that, I was very excited to be on the way to Wellington Airport, where I was meeting my bestest friend Tans, ready to start our extra special much awaited well planned Harry Potter Weekend (next post!!)

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Knitting, knitting, and more knitting

As the title may suggest, I've been doing a lot of knitting lately. Well, since February when my dear friend Margaret got me started on a pair of socks. It's snowballed from there really...

You may have noticed the recent addition to my blog, the 'Current Projects' on the top left, yep, just over there <- If you want to know all the projects I'm working on, you'll have to keep an eye on that puppy. When you weren't looking, I added a baby hat, finished it, added a pair of socks for the same baby, finished those, started and finished a headband for myself yesterday, and I'm now quarter of the way through a matching cowl :-) In case you hadn't figured it out yet, I like making things! So the current projects will be forever changing!

My yarn stash is small, but what I do have is allocated to specific projects - I just don't have enough time to make them all. There are many more things I'd like to make, and I will eventually. Unfortunately though I think my list of things to make will grow faster than my list of finished items. Oh well, one must keep oneself busy somehow...

Anyway, just so you can get a 'visual' of all the FO's (if you aren't on Ravelry and can't check my projects page) - behold...

Lily's 'Lil Socks (okay - sock - I forgot to take a picture of both!)
Lily's 'Lil Socks
(A picture of the hat to match is in the previous post)

Headband - please excuse the awful photo of yours truly, it's really hard to take a picture of yourself!!
Headband#1

And the cowl in progress...
My Good Luck Cowl

Both the headband and cowl are made with this lovely Rowan 4 Ply Soft yarn I nicked off my friend Jeanette - if you're reading this hon, thanks (^_^)

The giant Gryffindor scarf is still in the making for Xavier and as you can see by the progress bar, I'm nearly halfway. It's going to be twice the size of him by the time I'm finished!! The bonus of that is it's going to last him years. Theoretically anyway...

Next week there shall only be progress on my Lupin scarf, as I'm limiting projects carted on the plane to Auckland to one. However, this should keep me going for the entire stay. The kids will keep me busy while we're there, so I'm guessing there'll only be minimal knitting time. Alas, I cannot take my new love, spinning.

Ooh, must share my first ever yarn!!

First Yarn

and a close-up:
First Yarn

You can clearly see it's the classic thick-and-thin novelty yarn that is customary for new spinners. However, right towards the end of that free sample scored from Ashford when I purchased my student spindle, I finally figured out how to draft properly, so now I'm doing this:

Handspun #2

Which is much more uniform, if I do say so myself. It's being spun from 240g of romney fleece I bought from the alpaca show in Porirua a while ago for $6.

School holidays have been the usual horror-fest - day one lulled me in to a false sense of security. Actually, in all fairness, it's been more like a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs (obviously, hence the reference to a roller coaster - duh Jody!) I'm really hoping the Auckland trip isn't awful, but at least I have Harry Potter Weekend at the end of it - roll on Friday!!

Monday, 6 July 2009

School Holidays... sigh

We have officially begun the school holidays - Monday is nearly over (at least for the boys). Today went surprisingly well all things considered.

Just for a bit of back history (in case you aren't aware) I hate school holidays. I love my children dearly, but by God they drive me crazy! They're the kind of kids you can deal with in small doses, after that they just get annoying. Whining, fighting, messing things up, constantly wanting snacks, refusing to tidy up, the usual kid stuff. To be fair to them, I'm probably just a really intolerant person when it comes to whining, mess and noise. I much prefer peace and quiet, which tend to go well with my hobbies, often considered solitary pursuits (unless you do them in the company of a bunch of yakking, cackling women - which makes them all much more fun!!) In any case, I usually end up teetering on the brink of insanity towards the end of the holidays, and can't wait for school to start again. Two weeks is a long time with my boys at home!

Today though, we actually managed to get through the day with very little yelling on my part, and we completely reorganised their toy room! Granted, I did most of the organising, but the boys actually helped (sort of, at least at the beginning), we went to the park this afternoon, and there was only a limited amount of X Box. Quite an achievement if you ask me :-)

Tomorrow I plan to get them in the kitchen, baking banana muffins (my freezer is crammed full of over ripe bananas - must do something with them!!) In the afternoon, they'll have friends over, with one staying the night. We've never had anyone stay over (various reasons, ie: see above, and previous post) so it should be an experience for all!

Hopefully they'll all keep each other occupied enough that I can carry on with my knitting. Here's a pic of the hat I made for a wee 6 month old baby girl:

Lily's Hat
Seriously - how cute is that?!?

And here's a progress pic of my Lupin scarf - it's really fun to knit, especially since I found out how to knit cables without a cable needle (much easier):

Lupin Scarf
Isn't it pretty??

I've been having a bit of fun learning to spin on a top whorl drop spindle too - progress so far...

My spinning
He he, looks a bit of a mess doesn't it? Oh well, practice makes perfect, right?

Well anyway, "that's all, folks!"

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Blessed be the Dry Pants

My oldest boy, dear thing, much as I love him, has been nearly impossible to toilet train. We've been battling with this issue for a solid three years!!

Although now I am happy to say (you wouldn't believe how happy!) he has been dry every single day for a good two weeks now which is, trust me, no small feat for this child. The horrors endured, the trials, the tribulations, the screaming, the crying, the beating of heads against walls, the tantrums... all mine of course, X didn't really care... and finally we have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. We have made it through to the other side. I think I can now officially say he is fully toilet trained. (Although now I've probably jinxed it, and started him on a backward slide into urinary oblivion).

I am so overwhelmingly relieved that he has finally achieved this goal, we have showered him in praise and rewards - ok, not really showered, but we have told him how proud we are, and gave him special treats and $10 to spend on whatever he likes - the usual bribery-type things. Bedtime dryness is the next hurdle although I am in no hurry to start running down that 110m track!!

T has graduated to wearing undies to bed at night - so far, two out of three nights he's been dry right through. Fingers crossed...