Monday, 28 September 2009

Back on track!

I feel better this week already, compared to mid last week. Here's why:

Running - after my little hiccup on Friday, I felt really bad about it. So I was determined to do better, and completed the full run on Saturday. Today was the start of week six, which is run nine minutes, walk two minutes, repeated three times. So I'm actually running for a full 27 minutes now!! The real test I guess will be in week eight, when I'm supposed to run without any walking breaks in between... I found this morning that my legs were sore, but I wasn't nearly as out of breath. The walking breaks were more to give my legs a rest. Hopefully I'll be able to continue this running programme without any further hitches and possibly even come to enjoy my daily run (heh heh heh).

Knitting - I finished the monster that is X's Gryffindor scarf last night. Even added the fringe to the ends! Didn't get to bed until after midnight, but it's done :-) It measures a total of 220cm (without fringe). It took me exactly three months - started 27th June, finished 27th September. All 50,310 stitches (not including cast on and bind off). Phew!! I think it will be near impossible to get a decent pic of it laid out straight, so I took one last night kind of bunched up on the floor:


I'm glad it's finished, now I can pack it away for Christmas.

I've also done another block and a bit for the Ron Weasley blanket swap, and should get more done over the next couple of days while I wait for the 1st October, and the new homework assignments for the HPKCHC. I may also get some more socks started for my OWL.

Spinning - yes, I've finally started spinning my Ofelia fibre, and hopefully will have it done in time to submit it for DADA before the end of September. I may give chain plying a go with this one too.

I was very fortunate to get a special surprise in the mail over the weekend - as my swap package for the Harry Potter Crafter's June swap was so late, some of the lovely ladies in the group felt I deserved a special care package, and sent me this:


The wee dementor is the cutest thing ever!! Unfortunately some bath bombs got confiscated because they had pink peppercorns on them (and yet they let the ones with the rose buds through - go figure!) but oh well. Mmmm, tea! And that chocolate turtle was super yummy! They were really sweet to send this package, and I certainly wasn't expecting it. It made my day :-)

On Saturday Deane and I spent the afternoon in Martinborough visiting the wineries, sampling their wares and having a spot of lunch with friends. It was a nice relaxing day, topped off with a murder mystery evening 'Death by Chocolate'. This was run by Whodunnit Events, and was quite a good evening, well put together. And the chocolates were fantastic! I was rather surprised to find that my favourite chocolate was an interesting combination of balsamic and honey. They were supplied by Bohemein Fresh Chocolates - I recommend you try them if you happen to be in the Wellington area. We were able to have this lovely Saturday because Deane's mother came down from Napier for a visit and looked after the boys for the afternoon, and a friend looked after them in the evening while we all went to the murder mystery event. Great day :-)

Laundry Lottery - I did manage to get some washing done over the weekend as well (luckily - it's pouring down now!!) and so have some 'winnings' to share:


First up we have some empty chippie packets and another business card...


And secondly, an asthma inhaler, Deane's credit card, a Pinky snack bar wrapper, a petrol receipt, and a card from the murder mystery evening. Not a bad haul I guess :-)

This morning I received another package in the mail (I love getting parcels!!) - it was for the Australia/New Zealand Swappers food swap. I have to say I was rather impressed with the contents - I was totally spoiled:


Can you believe it??? Caramello Koalas, biscuits, snacks for the kids, Vegemite, lollies, hot chocolate mix (yum!), a cute Aussie washcloth, Australian coasters, Australian Breakfast tea bags, trail bars, Sipahh straws and macadamia nuts. I'm looking forward to enjoying and sharing these in the next few weeks!

So, time to carry on with my day, quietly plodding away at various projects inside while the weather deteriorates outside. The boys are happy playing XBox (when are they not?). I think the vacuuming can wait until tomorrow...

Friday, 25 September 2009

I cheated :-(

Yes, that's right, I cheated!! I'm sure you're now wondering what exactly I cheated on, so I'll tell you - this morning's run. I was supposed to run 3 x 8 minutes, but only managed two lots of eight. I'M TIRED!!!! Yay for fitness and being healthy and all that, but I've been completely wiped for the last couple of weeks, feeling like I need to go to bed at 7.30pm. I haven't actually done that (except one night I did go to bed at 8.30pm), but I'm guessing all this exercise is starting to catch up with me. By the time dinner rolls around, I'm knackered. I eat dinner, feel like shite (tummy playing up at the moment too) and just want to go to bed. So yes, today I cheated on my run. I still have another run to fit in this week (possibly tomorrow morning) so I'll see how I go. If it becomes too much I may have to eek it back a bit, and plateau at the 3 x eight minutes for a while. I'll keep you posted...

May I just say, that all these people who've been saying that after a few weeks you'll start to feel really good, and exercising will get those endorphins flowing making you feel happy and all that - where are my endorphins??? Do you think perhaps they've gone on holiday, and forgot to tell me? I still hate running!

Knitting has slowed somewhat also. I have finished the first pair of socks (of six) for my OWL - Christmas pressies for the boys. T's first pair is a little on the short side (eg: ankle socks) because I think I'm going to run out of yarn if I do normal sized ones. I may run out of yarn anyway, and have to use random bits of leftovers for his third pair, which could be rather interesting! X's scarf is nearly done, I'm on the 13th repeat of 14, and I think there's only about 54 rounds left to knit, or thereabouts. After that is the fringing, and then it can be hidden away for Christmas. Phew, can't wait till it's done! It would be closer to done now if I'd had the energy to knit last night, but lying on the couch was about all I could manage. So sorry everyone, no pics of FO's today :-(

Laundry lottery has been a little disappointing this week, so far only one business card from Deane's pocket, which isn't really worth photographing...

Last day of school and kindy today, X is having Hell's Pizza for lunch, T is (thankfully) at kindy for the last day (he had yesterday off too). School holidays officially start at 3pm - yay.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ummm... dunno

Why do I need a title for my post? I can't think of one, I don't think it's important, so I haven't really got one for today. Ok? Ok. Moving on!

Running - is harder again this week (no, really?) - week five now. Eight minutes running, two minutes walking. I was quite surprised I managed it yesterday actually. Hang on, there seems to be a running theme here (no pun intended) - every week I surprise myself by managing to stick to the programme. Perhaps I should just shut up and get on with it!!

Although I have to say last week didn't go quite to plan, I missed my run on Thursday because I got stuck doing kindy paperwork and sorting out some issues. Which meant I had to go for a run on Saturday. Surprisingly I was actually more concerned about getting my four runs in that week than I was about it eating in to my weekend. Anyway, I now know there's another reason why I don't want to go running on the weekend - the hard core runners are at Karori Park on the weekends!! When I got there, there was a group of three guys running at quite a pace around the track. They were joined by several other guys as I was doing my warm up - they continued to run (rather fast!) around and around the track. They would've done about 20k to my 5. They'd finished just before I did. I thought that was it, they'd stopped and were standing around talking about how one guy thought they were 'off the pace' etc etc. I figured they'd talk a bit more and then go their separate ways. No!! That was their warm up!!! Off they went, running down the street together! Must be marathon runners...

Laundry Lottery - my first 'winnings'!! They consist of four empty Wheelies packets, a snack bag, a 'Kids go Free' sticker and a foot calculator. Bear in mind this was one load of kids washing - I usually get business cards from Deane.



Knitting - has been going well. I finished my 'Sooper Sekrit' project, and have passed it on to the special recipient just this morning :-) Although, me being one of those forget-your-head-if-it-wasn't-screwed-on kinda people, I forgot to take the accompanying letter with me to hand over as well, so here it is:

Dear Margaret

Please accept this shawl as a token of my appreciation of your friendship over the last 18 months. I picked the roving especially for you, because it was called Wellington's Wednesdays. This is why:

* Wellington Wednesdays are when we get together to craft and chat, which I always find inspiring, as you've always got a fantastic project on the go, every time something different. You organised the first group, and continue to be the centre stone for every Wellington Wednesday.

* It was a Wellington Wednesday when I first saw you knitting socks, which got me interested.

* It was a Wellington Wednesday when you taught me how to knit socks for myself. This sparked my love of knitting again, which eventually grew into my love of spinning.

* It was a Wellington Wednesday when you brought me your mother's spinning wheel to try out, enabling me to continue and improve.

I've really enjoyed spending time with you and others in our group, and am forever awed and amazed by your talent, wealth of knowledge, and seemingly endless amount of crafting supplies. We'll be here for a little while longer, but I know we'll be leaving Wellington some time soon, and I'm going to miss you.

100% New Zealand merino, 216 metres, 137g of 2 ply sport weight hand spun yarn. Knit into the Sunday Market Shawl (no relevance at all sorry). I hope you like blue!




X's Gryffindor scarf is nearing completion - I'm up to the 12th repeat of 14. So far it's 178cm long. I think it'll be big enough... Here's a pic of it all bundled up in a blob:



I got my much wanted, very useful, absolutely beautiful Hiya Hiya interchangeable circular needle set recently, an early birthday present (because I ordered it!!). This has enabled me to get started on my OWL project, six pairs of socks for the boys for Christmas. I would've been able to do this without the needle set of course, but I wanted to learn how to do two socks at a time using magic loop. It's surprisingly easy:


This a pair of T's socks in the making - I apologise for the hideous yarn, but he picked it!! As you can see, I haven't quite finished this pair, but I'm past the tricky parts and just have the leg and cuff to do on them (not looking forward to the ribbing, but oh well).

I made another two squares for the Ron Weasley blanket square swap over the weekend:



Very Gryffindorish don't you think? I still have another six to make before 15th October. I'm sure I can manage it :-)

I also finished my Herbology dishcloth (although it's not actually knitting, but crochet):


I kinda like it :-)

Soon I'm going to start that Sexy Vesty and the Felicity hat I've been wanting to make for a while - the other benefit of now having my circular needle set. It's brilliant that set - it has the right size needle tips for socks, and the Gryffindor scarf, and all the sizes I need for the vest and the hat!! Awesome :-) Thank you Needle Food for stocking them - you rock!!

Spinning - still haven't done any, maybe this week...

Family - Deane's still whinging about his hand (men!!), and T's still home from kindy. He's much better, but has a phlegmy cough that I don't think the kindy teachers would like to have shared around at mat time. Although that's where he got it from in the first place. X has (sort of) stopped complaining about having to go to karate, and is kind of enjoying it again. Hopefully he can go for his orange stripe next month, maybe that'll boost him up a bit.

As for me, meetings are over for the month so I can relax a bit, work is ticking along okay, book group last night was hilarious as always and this month's book is something I've been wanting to read for a while - Memoirs of a Geisha. Next week is school holidays! sigh At least the weather is improving, so we can go to the park without freezing to death :-)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Random Updates

Well it's been several days since I last posted here, and I felt the need to post something, but wasn't quite sure what...

Running - Is going okay, although I'm now halfway through week four, and starting to wonder why I decided to do this... 20 minutes of running and 20 minutes of walking, totalling five kilometres, four times a week. I think this is the most running I've ever done in my life. Ever. Next week is going to be harder again! This week the running is in five minute bursts. Next week it's eight minutes, with two minutes walking in between. AM I CRAZY???

Knitting - Has been going well - all slow boring stuff at the moment. The 'Super Sekrit Project' is growing, although I'm not sure if it will be to my liking by the time I'm finished. Will I dislike it enough to frog it? Who knows...

X's Gryffindor scarf is coming along slowly. I'm up to the 10th trapped bar repeat (of 14) so I'm on the home stretch so to speak. My Ron Weasley blanket squares are growing very slowly - I started the third one on the weekend, and have got about 1/4 of the way through it. I think I'll finish the Secret Project first, then carry on with these. Although I still have to get started on my OWL (six pairs of socks for the boys), which is going to be yet another boring knitting endeavour. Why have I picked all boring plain knitting? Odd... I finished Deane's 'man socks' which was the only slightly-more-exciting-than-just-plain-knit-and-purl project:

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Please excuse the shite photo, Deane was in a hurry to leave for Napier when I took it.

Oh yeah, I also made this slouchy beret out of my handspun:
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The pattern is free on Ravelry, called the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret

I started a crochet dishcloth, just for something different, and have got about a 1/4 of the way through that too. It's weird looking around my lounge - there's all these partly finished projects lying around all over the place, taunting me. I really should finish some of them!

Spinning - I'm going to start spinning Ofelia some time this week (I think). I'm going to use it as a Defence Against the Dark Arts homework assignment for the HPKCHC. The homework is supposed to be something you 'fought' over summer (although in NZ we've just come out of winter, so I'll pretend). I'm thinking something along the lines of a giant praying mantis that I squashed and raked up, then spun the remains into yarn. The bright green lends itself well to a nutcase ridiculous story like that, don't you think? (Yes I know, I've lost the plot!! At least I'm aware of it)

Family - are good. Deane's having some issues with his hand, which still hasn't healed after his little skiing accident, although the facial bruising has gone. He's going to physio to help it along the road to recovery - hopefully he'll stop whinging about it soon ;-)

The boys are good. T is getting a cold though I think :-( School holidays in a week and a half - AGAIN. Seriously, where did the time go?? Oh no, I just thought, how am I going to get my running in? (possible excuse to get out of it? Or should I just stop being such a lazy cow and get Deane to look after them?)

No current news on the job front for Deane, still waiting to hear back about a couple of possibilities - I hate waiting.

Blogs - I've added quite a few to my reading list lately. There are some really awesome, creative, talented, interesting people out there (most of whom I've never met, and probably never will). It's fun to read a bit about what's going on in other people's lives, the stuff they make, the food they enjoy and want to share with others. There was this fabulous idea I came across today on somebody's blog (found it through Ravelry - she's a fellow Hufflepuff) - she calls it Laundry Lottery. I think it'll be a great way for me to remember to empty the boys' pockets before washing their clothes. I've washed far too many cellphones, empty food packets, red crayons (which also went through the dryer - the clothes were ruined!!) etc. It's a long standing argument between Deane and I - who's responsibility is it to empty pockets? Deane's, before he puts the clothes in the washing basket? Or mine, before I put the clothes in the machine? So anyway, keep an eye out, because soon I'll be adding pics of my 'winnings' from Laundry Lottery! :-) I challenge any fellow bloggers out there to jump on the bandwagon!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Oh, how I love getting mail :-)

On Monday, my parcel from Canada finally arrived!!! It was posted by Jo (in Canada, obviously) on the 2nd July. Monday was the 7th September. TWO MONTHS that took. Crazy! Anyway, it was fun to open and see all the goodies individually wrapped in tissue paper. Unfortunately, there were two mugs but one got broken. However, the one that didn't get broken was my favourite colour, so is now my favourite mug. Yay. Behold, the lovely goodies below:

Harry Potter Crafters June Swap

The boys devoured the maple candy lollipops as soon as they got home, and have chewed through about half of their Mike & Ike candy as well (for us New Zealanders, they're just like jelly beans). I've eaten all the 'Moose Poo' (just like scorched almonds - yum!) and I've made a mug cosy for the coffee mug, out of my first handspun yarn (yay, I found something to do with it! Now it's all gone...)

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The purple squooshy looking yarn in the pic is a 50/50 merino silk blend and it is gorgeous!!! It's having fun hanging out with my skein of Malabrigo lace weight yarn, they're getting to know each other, snobbing all the lesser, slightly lower quality yarns. Although they keep eyeing up my Needle Food, thinking about going over and chatting - we'll see what transpires there...

Anyway, yesterday (Thursday) I received some roving I'd ordered in the mail too. It's so pretty (imagine comical fluttering eyelashes here).

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This is Pretty Lush, 148g of 100% New Zealand polwarth

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and this is Ofelia, 154g of 100% New Zealand merino

I also got another colour, but won't put a pic up because it's destined for a special home, and I'd hate to ruin the surprise. ;-P

I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with these once I've spun them up, but they'll probably end up as scarves or shawls. Deane says I have enough scarves already, but you may recall scarves are one of my current obsessions, so I say you can never have too many scarves.

On a side note - I've completed an entire 20 kilometres this week!! Half of it was actually running!! I'm surprising myself. And it feels good to be able to say I've done a decent amount of exercise, and have actually earned the time sitting on my backside spinning or knitting. And the house hasn't been too messy this week (although don't look now!!) I might actually tidy up a bit before going to pick T up from kindy, just so I can sit around for the rest of the afternoon spinning up the special 'sooper sekrit' yarn for my 'sooper sekrit' recipient, who doesn't know who they are (hence the 'sooper sekrit' thing). Wow, I'm such a dork...

Monday, 7 September 2009

Still alive...

This week's running is a little more difficult than the first two weeks. The running time actually doubled. Last week was:

Walk 10 minutes (5 minute warm up, 5 minute walk), run 2 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 2 minutes, walk 5 minutes, run 2 minutes, walk 5 minutes (cool down). Total running time = 6 minutes. I actually ended up doing an extra walk/run cycle, just because I felt I could. And I'm glad I did!! This week is:

Walk 8 minutes (5 minute warm up, 3 minute walk), run 4 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 4 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 4 minutes, walk 3 minutes, run 4 minutes, walk 5 minutes (cool down). Total run time = 16 minutes. See the difference??

I warned several people before this morning's run that I thought I would die of a heart attack, even told T's kindy teachers that if I wasn't there to pick him up by 11.10am call an ambulance, because I'd be lying somewhere along the track at Karori Park. However I was amazed to discover that although it was very difficult and I had to really push myself, I actually managed the entire 40 minute walk/run, completing an entire five kilometres! Go me!! Didn't feel too flash at the end of it though, but I guess if I keep working at it eventually I'll get used to the whole fitness thing and won't feel like crap for the first half hour after a run. Guess I'll stick at it a bit longer...

I finished X's Weasley Sweater over the weekend:

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He loves it :-) Hopefully he'll get a bit of wear out of it before growing too big for it. I learned several new techniques while making this sweater - unpicking the cast on edge and knitting in the opposite direction to make it longer, sewing it up properly at the end so you can't see the seam (mattress stitch), and intarsia colour work (although I probably should've used fair isle, since the X was quite narrow). Oh, and patience!! Lots of frogging, picking up the right amount of stitches for the sleeves (evenly), unpicking the cast on edges was a long process, weaving in the ends!!!!!!! Not to mention the fact that I learned to spin a week or so before starting to spin all the yarn I used for this particular project :-) Excuse my boasting, but I'm rather proud of myself for completing this sweater. And I knit it in, like, a week!! Again, go me :-)

I've started Deane's other 'man sock', and I finally got the rest of the yarn for X's Gryffindor scarf so have started back working on that in the evenings as well. Busy, busy, busy. Lots of meetings coming up in the next two weeks (which will severely cut into the knitting time - bummer) so the progress on projects will probably slow down a bit. But I promise to post photos of anything I do manage to finish (wishful thinking?)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Seriously!?!

My husband, who decided to take a week off work, was given the opportunity to go skiing, which he took. A no-brainer right? He drove up to Ohakune last night, so he'd be all ready to spend a full day on the mountain today. Not a big problem for me as it doesn't really change much in the routine other than having to make the kids walk half an hour to school, and then have T walk another half an hour back home. Not to mention the hour-long round trip in the afternoon for pick up. This also means it's incredibly difficult to get T to kindy, so generally I just leave him at home on the occasional day we don't have the car. Not a big deal. One day wouldn't matter, Deane would be home tonight so tomorrow T could go to kindy, and all would be well again. I could go for my run, get back to kindy in time to sort out a slight issue with some grants information that needs to be tidied up, etc etc. No, that would be too easy.

Deane phoned me early this evening to confirm that we had $40 in the bank account, to pay for a new key to be cut for the car - he'd lost the car key through a hole in his jacket pocket while skiing. And could I please read out the number on the spare key, so the locksmith could cut the right shaped replacement key.

Me: there is no number on the key
Deane: look really closely, study the entire key
Me: there is no number on the key
Deane: there must be - look at the whole thing
Me: I am - there is no number on the key
Deane: oh

He phoned back an hour or so later to inform me that he would not be home tonight, as the only two options they had were to wait for a transporter to come from Taupo and pick them and the car up to bring them back to Wellington (which I thought would have been fine) or get a same day courier to deliver the spare key to them in Ohakune tomorrow. Yay.

I'm slightly more annoyed about the situation because Deane usually has the spare key, and I have the main key with the button push thingee on it for locking and unlocking the door. Deane in all his wisdom took the main key off my keyring, and left his set behind, here. So had he lost is own key it probably wouldn't have mattered quite so much. But he lost the main key (which probably has the stupid bloody number on it!!!) which will cost lots of money to replace. Or we can just have two 'spare' keys with no button push thingees which is just a pain in the ass, especially when you're transporting kids, along with your bag, their bags, the jackets, any creative artworks produced during the day, stray items from bags like drink bottles, lunch boxes etc etc that for some reason no longer fit in the bag... you get the point.

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow as;

a) I can't go for my run, which will totally stuff up my programme
b) I have to make T walk for one, possibly two hours tomorrow, and X for 1/2 to one hour - this is not fun, because they generally complain the whole way (read previous post re trip to Auckland - more info on children complaining about walking!)
c) I've pulled a muscle in my foot (is that even possible!?!) so walking to school probably won't be very easy. I'm hoping the issue will resolve itself overnight, but you never know.
d) I now will not be able to make the meeting at kindy to sort out the grants issue

Sigh

On a slightly brighter note, I've only got a sleeve and the neck to do on X's sweater before I can sew it up and hand it over (although I think it's a bit short - I wonder if there's a way to make it longer??? Must do some research).

And I made this really cute hat for T (all done this afternoon) - it's known on Ravelry as the Animal Cracker Hat, as Ron was wearing it in one of the Harry Potter movies, and during this particular scene they were eating animal crackers.

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As you can see from the pic, T's lip has healed nicely - no major holes :-)

My OWL was approved for the Harry Potter Knitting & Crochet House Cup on Ravelry, and there's heaps of cool homework assignments for classes this month, so plenty more to do!! Keep an eye out for more project pics (^_^)