Thursday, 23 December 2010

Done; aaaaaaand done!!

Phew! Such relief!! I managed to finish the Blanket of DOOM!! and the lace scarf. Yay me :-) And of course, just so you'll actually believe me, here are some pics:

X's blanket - okay, so it's not the squarest blanket in the world, but hopefully he won't notice, and love it anyway ;-) It's all wrapped and I snuck it under the tree last night - he's none the wiser. Woohoo!

And, almost a year in the making - the Fern Lace Scarf, aka My Mmmmmmmmalabrigo Lace Scarf:

Oooooh, preeeetty...

Now my right wrist is packing a howlie, so I guess I'd better give my hands a few days rest before starting up a new project. I hear Wuthering Heights calling...

Monday, 20 December 2010

Only five more sleeps

That's not long. It's already Monday. Christmas is on Saturday. Blimey.

So I've changed the heading for this 'fitness section' back to running, because I've been slack and haven't been to any Pump, RPM or Attack classes in weeks. But! I've been running, a lot, and think I'm doing pretty well. Granted, each run has been on a treadmill, but dude!! It's so much easier to keep track of what you're doing! I can run 5km in 30 minutes for a fast-paced run, or in 40 minutes if I want a more leisurely pace. I can also do a 5km run with a 20 metre climb on a hill programme in 40 minutes. Plus, for the first time ever, I ran 7km yesterday! Took me 46 minutes 40 seconds (running at 9kmph). I was pretty proud of myself :-) Don't think anybody else was though...

Knitting/Spinning/Crochet etc etc etc
Phew! Have I been busy!! Finished the socks, and have nearly finished the Blanket of DOOM!! I put in a good eight hours on it over the weekend thanks to Deane allowing me to escape the house on both Saturday and Sunday in order to sit quietly by myself in a cafe and crochet like a mad woman. Got in a bit of hand sewing that I'd been putting off for ages too, which I can include in the pile of Christmas pressies (although it is rather cheeky, but what the hey? ;->) During the days now I'm limited to knitting my Malabrigo lace scarf because - a) I have a self-imposed ban on starting new projects until I've gotten rid of all my WIPs; and b) I can't work on the Blanket of DOOM!! during the day, because then X will see it, and it will ruin the surprise.

The lace scarf is the only other thing left on my WIP list, and I'd love to have it finished, so hopefully I can get it done before the new year. I started it in February, so it will be nice to finish it before next February!! Then I think I'll start on some cardigans, or perhaps a shawl...

No spinning lately, been too busy knitting and crocheting :-( My lovely is looking rather forlorn, and no doubt feeling quite neglected. Perhaps early in the new year, I can start on some of that divine alpaca Deane bought me for my birthday. He did request some fingerless gloves made from the chocolate-coloured alpaca fleece. We shall see...

Christmas Craziness
Baking has been done!! And plenty of it!! I got some cute boxes and packaging from a cool shop in town called $3 Japan (they have some seriously funky stuff!) so it's all packaged nicely, unlike last year when I ended up using oven bags and curling ribbon :-/

One can only assume people like receiving hand made gifts for Christmas, instead of generic stuff off the shelves. Baking and crafting takes time, and patience, and a lot of love and care goes into the making of such gifts. I, personally, always appreciate a well thought out gift, or one that has been made by hand. I just hope others feel the same. Regardless, I get a lot of enjoyment out of making things for people, so I'm gonna keep doing it anyway.

Our tree was put up and decorated the weekend before last (yes, we found the decorations - after I spent over an hour making popcorn garlands so the poor tree wouldn't be completely bare). The boys have happily munched through their chocolate advent calendars - they particularly enjoy having several in one day, when we've forgotten about them for a few days (or been away) and they pile up. School finished up on Friday, T has been to his last swimming lesson for the year, X has his tomorrow. Things are drawing to a close.

Shopping is almost complete, although I feel kind of bad about the fact that my boys won't be getting anything they asked Santa for - T wanted a real bath tub (won't fit in the apartment) and BeyBlades (there are none left in the country to be had, unless you spend over $70 each for them on TradeMe. No thanks). X wants the XBox game 'How to Train Your Dragon'. Santa, however, won't be getting this game for X, because Santa thinks it would be silly to do so after X has spent the better part of a year saving up to buy exactly this game for himself. Perhaps they'll be disappointed, perhaps they won't. Maybe Santa will write a note of explanation as to why they will not be receiving the gifts they asked for...

Still a few more things to get - a couple of things for Deane, something for Mat, something for Deane's god-daughter, and then I think we're done. Oh wait, Ben & Lichelle - there's always somebody you forget about! Darn it!

Books!! Lots of Books!!
I'm kind of glad I kept a list of books I've read this year, and I think I'll be doing it again next year. It's a great way of keeping track of what I've already read, because sometimes I do forget if I've read a book or not. Especially when reading a series, with breaks between books (sometimes the breaks are rather long) - I forget which one I'm up to. In any case, so far this year I have read a total of 37 books:

An Echo in the Bone - Diana Gabaldon
The Host - Stephenie Meyer
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J K Rowling
Ferno the Fire Dragon - Adam Blade
Careless - Deborah Robertson
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
Harlequin Rex - Owen Marshall
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J K Rowling
Sepron the Sea Serpent - Adam Blade
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Journal of Mrs Pepys - Portrait of a Marriage - Sara George
On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J K Rowling
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
The Family that Couldn't Sleep - D T Max
Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
Club Dead - Charlaine Harris
The Biography of Jane Digby - A Scandalous Life - Mary S Lovell
Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince - J K Rowling
A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
Nightlight, A Parody - The Harvard Lampoon
Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J K Rowling
All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
Dead and Gone - Charlaine Harris
Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett
It - Stephen King
The Endless Forest - Sara Donati
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Steamed - Katie MacAlister
Peeps - Scott Westerfeld
Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris

That's an average of about three a month - not bad!! This total was boosted somewhat by the True Blood series, which take only a few days to read each - in one case, I read an entire book in a day. They're easy to read, and not too big. Unfortunately, I have to wait until May next year for the 11th book to be released :-( Poop! Oh well, I have plenty of others to read, and I plan on reading the Twilight series again soon. At the moment, I'm reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I've always wanted to read all the classics, its just a matter of working through them. I'll never read all of them, but a girl can try, right? ;-)

The list of books read will stay there until the new year, when I will wipe it clean and start again for 2011.

Favourite Things Right Now
1. Absolutely loving the smell of fresh nectarines - not to mention the taste. Damn, they're good!!
2. The ideas for all the many many projects I have planned for next year - just the thought of all those gorgeous squishy yarns and beautiful fabrics... sigh
3. The smell of Christmas baking, but equally, the knowledge that I've finished and everything is good to go
4. The amazing hand crafted spindles by Sourkraut - if only I could afford one. Particularly this, which of course sold straight away! She's a wonder, dear Frances.
5. Taylor Swift. Love her.
6. Reading the Yarn Harlot's blog - she's so funny! And normal (or at least, to me she is). I find myself checking the blog list every day hoping there's an update.
7. The knowledge that on Saturday afternoon I will be enjoying a lovely turkey dinner. There's just something about the way my mother-in-law cooks the turkey, and the stuffing she makes, and those to die for roast vegetables - my mouth is watering just thinking about it!!

So, only five more sleeps then...
Things should get finished in time, as long as I keep up the pace, and I can get some alone shopping time. Deane will probably take Friday off work so we can head to Napier before Christmas Day. Wouldn't want to miss Christmas morning at mum and dad's place!!

Hopefully this year I won't forget to grab all the stuff we need out of the fridge and freezer - last year I forgot the Christmas ham, so we had to buy another one. Then we had a giant ham sitting in the fridge waiting for us when we got back to Wellington. Deane put in a valiant effort attempting to eat it all, but unfortunately there was a large amount of wasted ham. It was unavoidable. I'm quite amazed that every year, he's still happy to eat large amounts of it over the Christmas/New Year period. Of course, every New Year, he's thoroughly sick of it and doesn't want to look at another ham again for at least another 12 months ;-)

So, just in case I don't manage to update again beforehand, have a Merry Christmas everyone - have a great break, enjoy catching up with friends and family, and see you in the New Year!!!

Love to all :-)

Friday, 17 December 2010

Goodbye Gran

She died on the afternoon of Saturday 11th December 2010, and was buried on the afternoon of Tuesday 14th December 2010 - what would have been her 64th wedding anniversary. During a thunderstorm no less. It was awesome - the perfect send off.

Rest well Gran, you deserve it. We'll miss you.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lookie!! Proper FO pictures!!

Finally got round to taking some semi-decent pics - apologies for the ghastly model though, it's all we could find at short notice ;-)

Le front:

Le back:

That is all.

Christmas is nearly here people!!!

And I am soooooooooo far from organised...

I know where the tree is, but I still haven't located the decorations. I haven't started Christmas shopping yet, although I have started compiling a list and have been 'price shopping'. I don't want a repeat of last year, where we ended up spending twice as much because everything I bought within Deane's 'allocated Christmas shopping budget' did not meet with his approval, so he went and spent the same amount again. Stupid. This year I'm going to check and make sure everything is 'acceptable' before purchase :-/

The two things I'm making for Christmas are both half done - the socks:

(sock #1 all bound off, and awaiting it's partner)

and the Green Lantern Blanket of DOOM!! Seriously, this endless black crochet is doing my head in. The things we do for our children!

Another goal of mine was to get rid of some WIPs that've been hanging around for a while, so I can start fresh in the new year with a whole bunch of stuff I've been wanting to make for aaaaaaages. So the Bug Out socks are finally complete:

But let me tell you, there was plenty of trial and error in the process of making these socks. Here's a good idea of what can happen when you change your tension:

Sock #1 on the left, sock #2 on the right.

Clearly, this wasn't going to be acceptable, so sock #1 turned into this:

And eventually (as seen from the first pic above) ended up being sock #3, which matches sock #2. Bless.

I also managed to finish this:

I wore it today, but don't have any 'on my person' pics of it yet, because Deane's been super busy with work and we haven't had time to take any. Not that I'm complaining much...

I finally got round to knitting my section of the Cafe man's travelling scarf:

And it's been sent on to continue its journey.

Back story:
Every Sunday, a group of Wellington knitters met up at the Botanic Gardens in the Begonia House to knit and chat and laugh, showing off their knits and handspuns. When everyone had arrived and people were starting to get peckish, they would all head into the Picnic Cafe for lunch or a cuppa. Every Sunday without fail, the Cafe man would see them walk in and simply ask, "how many of you today?", to which they would answer, and he'd set up a suitable table for them, ensuring they had the correct number of seats.

When one of the knitters, Jody, arrived at the counter to order, he'd say, "I keep forgetting to bring in some wool so you can knit me a scarf" (of course, the first time, he said "I must bring in some wool so you can knit me a scarf", and it just continued from there). This went on for many weeks, perhaps months. Eventually, Jody moved away. The Cafe man was saddened to think that now he would not get a beautifully hand knit scarf.

The other members of the Sunday knitting group felt sorry for the Cafe man, and decided amongst themselves to each knit a piece of a scarf, sending it around the group until it was long enough. The first section was knit by Karen. As Jody happened to be visiting Wellington when Karen brought in her completed section, she was excited and eager to participate in the making of the scarf, and asked to be next. The group agreed, and Jody happily took the scarf back with her to Auckland.

After a month and a half of the poor scarf sitting in her WIP pile, Jody finally picked it up, knit her section, and sent it away to the next person in the group, Raewyn. Raewyn, being a much more organised person than Jody, knit her section promptly and passed it on again, so the scarf could continue to grow and hopefully be finished by next Winter, so the Cafe man can enjoy a nice, cosy neck while travelling to and from work.

I'm looking forward to seeing the finished work ;-)

In other Christmas-type happenings, I've currently got a plum pudding sitting on the stove, steaming. It should be done by 9.30pm. Seriously, you have to steam it for FIVE. HOURS. And the mixture sat in the fridge since yesterday afternoon, getting all boozy. Oh, if only we could have Christmas in winter - then a full turkey dinner and plum pudding would make so much more sense...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Sometimes things just don't go to plan

Take this weekend for instance. T's birthday was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, after he'd been to swimming. Deane was going to wrangle the boys into playing XBox Kinect in an orderly fashion (well, relatively orderly), and I was going to go to knitting on Sunday and see a friend from Wellington who happens to be up in Auckland. Somewhere in the midst of all this, another friend was attempting to organise a Harry Potter weekend, wherein all the movies would be watched on DVD, then we would attend the latest, Deathly Hallows Part 1, at the theatre.

It all started to go wrong on Thursday...

The Harry Potter weekend was cancelled as none of us could be there for all the movies, but we would still go see Deathly Hallows on Sunday.

We received some rather bad news in that Deane's Gran had had a massive stroke, and wasn't doing well.

Only one child had RSVP'd for T's birthday, to say that he wouldn't be attending. I couldn't get straight answers out of the others, as the parents are all Korean and don't speak much English. We invited another person, but I din't hold out much hope for that working, since it was such short notice.

Deane organised to fly his brother over from the Gold Coast, picked him up at the airport at 12.30am Friday morning, and they (along with X) drove to Napier to be with Gran. T and I stayed home to continue on with the party.

At a more respectable hour on Friday morning T and I got ready for school and headed off, walking since Deane had taken the car. I finished organising the bits and pieces for T's party during the day (party bags and all the goodies to go inside them, decorations for the cupcakes I was making in place of a birthday cake, etc etc). Friday afternoon was a bit bland, but at least T had a birthday present to open. The gift sent by his nana the previous week had finally turned up (after several phone calls to track it down and having it delivered to a Post depot I could pick it up from). Once he was in bed, I had time to bake the cupcakes for the following day, and afterwards watch Eclipse on DVD. Unfortunately during this time, I was suffering a minor bout of IBS, which as far as I can tell, was brought on by eating a plate of baked beans on toast for dinner with T. Still can't figure that out... Needless to say, the evening was pretty much a write off.

It is now Saturday, and T's been to swimming. He spent most of the lesson on the side of the pool, as he refused to cooperate with the instructor (the reason for this is long-winded and I won't bother getting into it right now. He will be dropping back to the Beginner 1 class as of next week, which will hopefully help build his confidence back up). We went home and finished organising things for the party, which was due to start at 1pm. Well, nobody turned up. I sang Happy Birthday, he blew out the candles, we raided the party bags and spent the next half hour blowing bubbles, chasing them around and popping them, and having a good laugh. Bless his heart, he's completely unfazed by the fact that it's just us here. He's munched through a few unhealthy snacks (from the party bags of course) and is now happily plonked on the couch playing Banjo-Kazooie on the XBox by himself. He's just as cool as a cucumber! That makes things so much easier to deal with.

I guess I won't be going to knitting tomorrow, unless I can convince T to hang out in the cafe for half an hour or so. Deathly Hallows will be out of the question too, with nobody here to look after T for me. No big deal, since I've already seen it, but that kinda tops off the weekend for me really.

Gran is hanging in there, but it probably won't be much longer before she heads on her way to meet up with her husband and son, a long-awaited reunion I'm sure she's ready for now.

On the up side, its not raining, and I've got lots of time for knitting and reading. And my house is tidy.

Friday, 26 November 2010

My Christmas Wishlist...

... isn't very long, not really. For any friends/family who are stuck for ideas (although I never understand why, I think I'm pretty easy to buy for, but that's just my opinion) here are a few tips:

2 x skeins laceweight yarn from Vintage Purls - here's the page link just in case ;-) I want to make this cardigan.


Anything from this website, or this one, or this one, or this one.

Or a book.

See? Easy!!

In other news, I ran for a full 40 minutes this morning, at 9kmph. Yay me!! Wonder if I can build up to a full hour? Or do you think that's pushing it?? In any case, I'm getting a lot fitter, and feel better for it.

And because this is just going to be a big mish-mash of random bits and pieces (there really is no avoiding it), let's just change the subject again. My weekend in Napier was awesome!! Got to catch up with some old friends and had the best time. Saw Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and it rocked!! Totally going to go see it again. Caught up with a few of the family members, and checked in on the house - which as always needs far too much work done on it. Fingers crossed for next year...

While I was away, the boys had a blast playing XBox Kinect and laser tag for X's birthday party. He got some neat 'boy' presents and really enjoyed the weekend. Deane and his mum went to see The Rocky Horror Show. I think they liked it.

I have one sleeve left on my Cherie Amour sweater, and the poor thing has been put down again. I'll get there eventually! I turned the heel on my second Bug Out sock but as I knit it much looser (so it wouldn't cut off the circulation in my foot) and forgot to take into account the increase in size because of this, it ended up being over an inch too long in the foot. Poor thing got frogged right back to less than halfway up the foot, and has to be reknit. Then I'll have to knit a third sock, because the first one is just unwearable, I've decided. It was a good 'first stranded knitting project practice sock' though. Hopefully by the end of it I'll actually have a wearable pair of socks!

I've started another pair of socks, which will be a Christmas present for a special someone (won't say who - it can be a surprise). They're being knit one at a time on dpns though, so will take me a little longer than usual. I'm testing out the new Blackthorn needles, which are made out of carbon fibre - same stuff they use to make stealth bombers. How awesome is that?!? Once I've given them a test drive, I have to pass on my 'review' of them. So far, it's been an interesting experiment...

X's Green Lantern Blanket of DOOM!! is coming along nicely - it's not perfect, but you know what? I don't think he'll care. And if he does, tough. I'm not making another one!!

I finished spinning and plying the yarn I've been working on since October when my lovely arrived - here's the result:

128g/282m of NZ merino navajo-plied yarn - 'a design for life' colourway by maude & me. I think I might make this shawl out of it. Maybe.

The Santa parade is on this weekend, so I'll be taking the boys to that, while Deane plays paintball. Some kids just never grow up.

T will be having his birthday party next weekend - he's having an XBox Kinect party. What a surprise. It'll be December next week, and I haven't even thought about Christmas shopping. That's the problem with having a child whose birthday is on the very last day of November. Christmas doesn't even get a look in until after that. Guess I should at least try to find the Christmas decorations though. We might be having a bare tree this year - at least I know where that is I guess.

Ooh ooh ooh!!! Eclipse comes out on DVD next week too!!! Anyone up for a Twilight movie marathon? No? Just me? Oh well...

And so ends our random-item post for this week, brought to you by the number blah, the letter duh, and the colour wtf?!?

Oh wait, one more thing. The LOLcats have been spying on me:

How do they know?!?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Blogger slackness: I haz it!!

It has officially been over two weeks since I last updated - tut tut...

On the up side, lots to share!! Let's get started!!

Boy, have I been busy! Although not actually knitting, I finished up ten crochet squares for the Ron Weasley blanket swap (round #7):

I sent them off this morning with a bag of Jaffas (the confectionery, not a bunch of Aucklanders). Three of the squares were made from some acrylic I scored for free from a lovely fellow Hufflepuff raveler over in the US. Her 18 month old had tangled the skein, and her husband had spent over an hour trying to untangle it, until they decided to give up. She announced that it would be free to a good home. So I snapped that puppy up!! It arrived looking like this:

And 45 minutes later, voila!!

Guess some people just have the knack for untangling... ahem.

My Cherie Amour has been dragged out of time out (finally) and I managed to redo the top half with very little frogging (and two pages of hand written graphs and notes, but we won't talk about that). I'm now half way through the first sleeve. Hopefully I can get this done before the end of the year :-)

Also dredged back up out of the WIP pile are my Bug Out socks - I've started the second one. I'm only halfway through the foot at this stage, but have a (self-imposed) deadline of the end of the month to finish it. Fingers crossed!!

Another little something I've been wanting to make for a while was a Thorpe hat with my 'melted neopolitan' handspun - I managed to start and finish this on Sunday, with a little help from knitting group (that blissful three hours without bickering man-beasts around to annoy me). It's super cute and turned out exactly how I wanted it, but as I don't have any girls, this is being given away to somebody else:

But not without getting X to model it for me first - mwaaaahahahahahahahaaaaaa!!!

Doesn't he just look so happy?!?

Moving on... I've started a Christmas present for the above grumpy child, something he asked for years ago. A Green Lantern blanket. I spent a whole three hours one evening in front of the laptop, surrounded by cups of tea and giant balls of yarn (I kid you not - this ball of yarn is HUGE!!) nutting out the pattern for the centre of the afghan. I managed to come up with this:

It's far from perfect, but seeing how that was a trial run, I'm okay with that. I've just started the 'for true life' (as my boys would say) version of it, and will hopefully be able to iron out the kinks. Then on to the endless rounds of black double crochet that will go on forever and ever and ever and ever...... this is why I have called it the Green Lantern blanket of DOOM!! Black is hard on the old eyeballs :-/

Oh, and just for an idea of scale, I took a pic of the giant ball of yarn with a standard 50g ball:

See? Told you I wasn't kidding!

Yes, not only have I crafted like crazy, I've added spinning into that craziness as well. I finished spinning the single I've been working on since last month, when my lovely arrived, and I just started navajo-plying it this morning. I should be able to finish it in the next day or two, and make it look all pretty for the photo shoot. This skein has to look its best for the Spin-Along!! Prizes are at stake!! Prizes full of fibery goodness!!! If you're feeling a little scared and confused, refer to the aforementioned 'crazy' and this simple adjective should answer all your questions.

Woohoo! Managed a full 30 minute run yesterday!! Go me :-) Now, the hard part - keeping it going! I have discovered that running on a treadmill is easier than running outside, especially when you have a little screen in front of you telling you how far you've run, how long you've been running for, how long you have left to keep running, what speed you're running at, and roughly how many calories you've burned - not that I really pay attention to that, because as far as I'm concerned, I'm going to eat what I want, when I want to. Calories be damned!! For example, these lovely cupcakes I bought last week when mum was here:

Oh, they were good! And they were packaged up in a really cute box too!!

And you can still listen to music. And it doesn't matter if its raining outside. Or if it's too sunny and hot. Brilliant!

Other goings-on
It's X's birthday tomorrow - he's going to be eight. He's very excited. A birthday party has been organised for this weekend and he's invited five of his school friends to come over, then they're heading out to play a few rounds of laser tag. T won't be able to play because he's too little, but his birthday is at the end of the month, so he'll be able to do something else. Almost everything is organised, I just have to bake and decorate the cake, which I'll do on Thursday/Friday. On the plus side, I won't have to deal with hypo-active screaming kids. I'll be in Napier watching my friend's daughters dance in their ballet recital, and then going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. I. Can't. WAIT!!! Soooooooo exciting!!! Deane has assured me that he is fully capable of dealing with six boys all at once, and his mother and sister will be on hand to help, and look after T. I'm just going to try and enjoy my weekend, and hope for the best.

At the moment though, it's nearly time to pick the monsters up from school, so I must dash. Have a good week!!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Summer's on the way...

...although technically not here until December. But with weather the way it's been lately, I'd be happy for it to take its time. Gone are the days of rain and chilly winds, I am welcoming warmth and sunshine. Reason to wear shorts and singlet tops, and my ever-favourite $70 leather jandals (which by the way, I've had for about four or five years now, and they've still got at least that long in them again, making them totally worth the expense!! So there Deane!)

Today was one of those days (as was yesterday). This morning after dropping the boys at school, I headed off for a run around the park, managing three blocks of nine minutes, with two minute breaks in between - I'm back on track!! Even one of the road construction guys noticed, and commented on my third lap (which was actually my fourth, but who's counting?). Guess I'm pretty memorable! Or maybe he just noticed my jiggly butt...

Back home for a shower, then into town to purchase some more running gear (since I'm now going to the gym on the days I'm not running, it's a little hard to keep one set of gear always available - I've only got two pairs of shorts) and some new sunglasses (my current ones are soooo last season ;-P). I stopped in at a cafe for a sandwich and a cup of tea - my favourite giant cup from Esquires - then I wandered back down to the park with my crochet and current book (It by Stephen King - something I've always wanted to read but never got around to). I spent a lazy hour and a half lying in the sun (covered in sun block of course) reading and crocheting, and narrowly missing getting trampled by a bunch of guys playing a lunchtime game of touch rugby. Eventually I moseyed on home, made the beds (because I'd been lazy and hadn't made them earlier in the day) then headed off to pick the boys up from school. T did his homework while X had swimming lessons, and now we're home again.

Dinner is being constructed out of leftovers and whatever else, simply because its been one of those days, and I'd like to continue the slovenliness I've become accustomed to. Me, I started with an appetiser of watermelon. Seriously - watermelon!! A sure sign of summer on the way if ever there was one. I made myself leave some for Deane, because I'm such a good wife (mwahahaha), but I think I may just get some more tomorrow. Mmmmmmmm, watermelon.....

On the knitting front, I've been a busy little beaver. Deane's TARDIS socks are done, and I love them (although I may have mentioned that already). Unfortunately they're waaaay to big for me (trust me, I checked), so I guess he really will be getting them for Christmas :-(

And I also finished my Vespa shawl... thingee:

Since I finished it before the end of October, I managed to hand it in for Defence Against the Dark Arts - as a deterent for vampires:

I'm now crocheting squares for round seven of the Ron Weasley blanket swap (which are due by the 15th November!!!) and then I'll be starting a surprise present for X. He wanted a Green Lantern blanket to replace 'kiki', his dearly beloved (to the point where it literally fell apart) baby blanket. I've found the perfect green, a stupidly large 400g ball of black acrylic, and instructions on how to crochet a circle and turn it into a square without it looking stupid, so hopefully I'll be able to construct a reasonable replacement blanket by Christmas.

Spinning-wise, I'm over halfway through the braid I started for the Maude & Me Spin-Along, so I'm on track to get that finished by cutoff on the 21st November. I plan to navajo-ply it, which will be the most I've ever done, so I really hope it turns out!! Looks like it'll be around a sport weight, give or take a few WPI.

Mum's coming to stay next week, so I guess I'd better spend some of this free time I have clearing some space in the spare room. I'm not sure that's actually possible, but I should at least try. Perhaps the weather will oblige by turning nasty for a few days, giving me an excuse to stay inside. I doubt it though. Mum, I think you'll be sleeping in the lounge...

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Reasonably priced veges, anyone?

We can't seem to find any up here in Auckland - and trust me, when broccoli is $4.50 a head at the supermarket, you want to find good priced fruit and veges!! We've been trawling the internet looking for local markets, and haven't really had much luck. A couple of weekends ago we drove out to Henderson, where we thought a market was situated (according to the internet) but when we got out there, there was absolutely no sign of it. Perhaps it shut down some time ago, and nobody thought to take down the information.

Last weekend, we drove out to Avondale race course, but Deane had neglected to check the day. We'd gone on Saturday, but the market is on on Sunday. Duh. We ended up driving out to Waitakere and checking out the Oratia Farmers Market. We didn't end up buying any fruit or veges there, but it was a lovely day and we sat on the lawn, listening to Dave and Earl:

Who were thoroughly entertaining. And eating Hungarian deep fried bread. My word, that was delicious!! If you're ever at this market, get the Hungarian bread. Trust me. We came home with a few extra bits and pieces, like peanut butter and salami, but no fruit or vegetables. Oh well. This weekend, I'm going to look a little closer to home - apparently there's a market every Saturday behind Britomart so I think I'll go check it out.

Also during our long weekend, we had a few visitors - Deane's mum came up to stay the weekend, and my niece came for a drive with her dad, who was attending Armageddon with Deane and the boys. While everyone was out, my niece and I went shopping in town. That was certainly an experience. Never much of a girly person myself, it was interesting to go shopping with a little madam of five years, with very pink tastes. After much indecision over exactly what toys and hair accessories would be just right (many were picked up, carried around the store, then taken back to the shelf once 'bettered' by something more shiny and more pink, if that is even possible!) we managed to vacate the premises with a few goodies (and something for her brother) to wander back towards the apartment, stopping in at the cafe for a fluffy on the way. Afterwards, there was a bit of a hairdressing session, then settling in to watch a movie before her dad arrived back to pick her up.

She even chose a donut with pink icing and sprinkles from Dunkin' Donuts. Bless her. I think there's a reason why I had boys - I really don't like pink.

On Sunday there was the usual knitting group (although we only numbered three - I guess everyone else had better things to do with their long weekend) where I started the second TARDIS sock (now over halfway complete - I'm definitely on track to finish them by the end of the month!), then we all headed out to Whangaparaoa, to one of the lovely beaches out there. The water was warm (really!!) and it was shallow for a good hundred metres or so, so I was happy for the boys to play in the (riciculously calm) waves. Barbeque for dinner (our first of the season) and home again.

Monday was quiet, in preparation for school and work the next day, and Alison headed off back to Napier. Now we're in the middle of another week. On Tuesday I read the ninth Sookie Stackhouse book (in a day! Crazy...) and managed to go for a good run (8 minutes running, 2 minutes walking, x 3). Today (Wednesday) brought knitting at The Little Craft Store, and now it's time to get the boys in the shower and ready for bed again. I think I'll have an early night...

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Obsess much?

Silly question really - it's quite clear I do. Not sure if anyone's been paying attention to the list of books I've been reading this year, but the tail end of that list is rather heavy on the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I've just finished #8, and have reserved #9 at the library. That will leave the latest book, #10, left for me to read. And then what? Hmmmmm?? Maybe I'll read the Twilight series again...

In other news:

I finished my pair of Autumn Spring socks, and they turned out to be just fine size-wise, so no worries there. The pattern is Interlocking Leaves, and the yarn is 'Sunrise' from Grrrl Shaped Yarns (no longer available - probably a good thing. Could take years to arrive if you ordered any)

And I've started some socks for Deane for Christmas - I luuuuuuurve them. They are so cool in a nerdy sci-fi kind of way:

I'm having to knit them one at a time because I couldn't find the other end of the blue yarn (main colour) in order to do both (one from each end of the ball) and I wasn't in a position to be able to easily wind half off into a separate ball (cast on during Wednesday knitting at The Little Craft Store). Still, the benefit of doing one at a time is a) less tangles, and b) it goes faster. Of course, you then have to knit the other sock, but hopefully I won't succumb to the SSS (Second Sock Syndrome. I have it bad. That's why I always knit two at once).

Just in case you hadn't figured it out, or you've got no clue who Dr. Who is, these are TARDIS socks (Ravelry link). And they are awesome. I've had to adjust the pattern slightly to make them bigger (the pattern is written for average sized womens feet) but so far so good.

I've also cast on a shawlette-type thingee (scarf?) - Vespa (again, Ravelry link), designed by my knitterly friend (and Malabrigo/Shibui dealer) Polly of Little Country Wools fame ;-)

I had a skein of Malabrigo Rios left over from the recently knit afghan, and as this shawlette only needs one skein, I thought 'what the hey?'. Now the bigger question, to keep, or give away at Christmas?? (Pics to be posted later, it's kinda weeny at the moment and doesn't look anything like a shawl.)

I gave my fabulous new wheel a test-drive of sorts, spinning up a wee 20g sample of Vintage Purls fibre into a navajo-plied mini skein (I forget the yardage. Who cares? It's only a 20g mini skein) and have moved on to bigger and better things (well, not necessarily better, but that's how the saying goes so who am I to change it?). There is another Maude & Me Spin-Along in progress, and seeing as I have five braids of M&M fibre just sitting here doing nothing much, I figured I should probably participate (and of course there's the chance of winning even more fibre!!!). Plus, it gives me an excuse to post a pic of my lovely:

Seriously, I get the best presents!

And of course, progress pic of spun fibre (only about a quarter of the way through the fibre so far, better get cracking!!)

'a design for life', one of Miss Tracee's specialty colourways

Weekend Happenings
We managed to have a slightly more active weekend than our usual 'blob around doing nothing' weekend, which made a nice change. We drove out to Piha beach, and while the tide was out we got to have a nosey through the rock pools. Deane discovered this wee critter, which I think is just beautiful:

There were also little crabs, anemone, chitons, the usual rock pool lurkers. Unfortunately I couldn't really get any good pictures :-( Deane took a heap of the boys playing in the waves, but despite my best efforts, I've been unable to get him to load them onto the computer so I can't post them on here. Oh well...

Also during the weekend, I made the boys some new swimming bags, all ready for their first lesson this Tuesday (which went well, although they're in the same class at the moment and tend to play up, so hopefully X will advance soon and they'll be split up). The Batman one is made from a fat quarter of fabric I bought while in Wellington. I had a neat pirate fabric that I was going to use to make T's bag, but he chose the starry fabric instead. They're fully lined inside with PVC so there'll be no leaks. Yay!

They're the perfect size for togs, towel, goggles, and when they're in the pool there's plenty of room for clothes. Awesome!

This category used to be headed 'running', but since I've been going to the gym as well, I thought I'd better rename it. Anyway, the Pump class I went to last week was really good. So good, I could barely get down the stairs afterwards because my legs were oddly jelly-like. I felt the effects for a few days afterwards, pretty much everywhere. I'm keen to go back for another class - perhaps next week. Since then I've tried out a Step class (failed dismally! Far too uncoordinated) and an RPM class (which is 45 minutes of hardcore cardio workout on an exercise bike - and the instructor is ruthless!!). I think perhaps a mixture of Pump, RPM and the odd run will be a good exercise regime, covering all the bases. Sadly, I haven't been able to increase my running time/distance past 12-15 minutes (around 2 to 2.5km) so I'm going to try a different approach, going back to the 'beginner' running programme I started with last year, at about the week 5 or 6 stage and increase from there. It worked last time, so there's no reason why it won't work this time, right?

Well, I've been blabbering for a while now, and this post is getting quite long so I better get going, and knit some more of those uber cool TARDIS socks - my goal is to finish them by the end of the month so I can turn them in for Muggle Studies :-)

Au revoir!

Friday, 15 October 2010

It's here!!!!

Yay - my new spinning wheel arrived yesterday morning, and now she's all put together looking all pretty in the lounge. Simply beautiful. I haven't had much chance to actually spin anything yet, but I've given her a wee test run, and she's just lovely to spin on. Although I think I'm going to have to get a spinning chair to go with - the dining chairs are a little high, and the couch is too low.

And as if getting a brand-spanking new spinning wheel wasn't enough for birthday/Christmas, Deane came home from his work conference down south with two white alpaca fleeces. Oh. My. God!!! 6kg of white alpaca. What to do with it??? I think I'll send them off to be commercially washed and carded, then there will be hours and hours of spinning (which will probably take me years). Oh, to think of the soft cosy alpaca knitted items I shall produce in the years to come...

I swear, every year Deane comes up with awesome gifts, and I always think they can't be topped. Then along comes the next year and BAM!! Another awesome gift. I'm so spoilt ;-)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Happy Birthday to me!!

Another year older...

Technically an adult, mostly responsible, but still a little bit immature when it comes to things like Harry Potter, Twilight, and the wonderment of nature.

And yarn (^_^)

In the effort of staying fit and healthy, I went to the gym this morning, and joined in my first ever group fitness session - you may remember back in the 'old days' (;-P) there were aerobics and step classes. These have now evolved into group fitness classes like BodyJam, Sh'bam, BodyAttack etc etc. (These are Les Mills classes, there'll be different ones depending on what gym you go to). I went to Sh'bam - basically a dance/exercise class. I found it kinda fun, but that's probably because half the time I was laughing at myself getting uncoordinated and looking like a complete dork. Still, I wasn't the only one, and I was totally okay with that. It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be workout-wise, so on my way out I asked advice on which class would be a little bit harder. Tomorrow I'll be trying out the BodyPump class, which includes weights. Should be interesting. At least by the sounds of it, there's no real coordination required for this one.

Over the weekend I was in Wellington, and was lucky enough to see two rather excellent quilt exhibitions. My friend Margaret was the hostess extraordinaire and she happily taxied me around the greater Wellington area - despite me making her get up extra early on a Saturday morning to come and pick me up from the airport - and provided lodging for my overnight stay. We had a yummy lunch in Lyall Bay, and dinner in Kelburn. On Sunday I spent the morning with my good friend Jenny, who I miss dearly, so it was extra special being able to hang out with her and her partner Lee for a while, then off to the gardens for knitting. An excellent day! Unfortunately not everyone was at knitting, but you can't have everything, right? I managed to make good progess on the latest pair of socks that I'm knitting for Herbology, although they're a little big. Anybody happen to have size eight or nine feet, that wants orange socks? They'll be finished in about a week or so...

My other option is to wash them and put them through the dryer cycle a couple of times in the hopes that they'll shrink a little bit, but with superwash yarn, I'm not sure that'll work. I guess I'll wait and see how they turn out first.

Anyway, the pattern is Interlocking Leaves, and the yarn is Grrrl Shaped Yarns 'Sunrise'. The theme for Herbology this month is Fall colours, since it's Autumn where the majority of House Cup participants are, so these are my Autumn Spring socks. Orange is totally an autumnal colour, right?

Well, best be off - I have a book to pick up from the library, and items that need couriering (is that a word??)

Ciao Bella!!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Mission: Complete

On the 15th September I started an afghan for a friend's mother. This morning (8th October) I finished weaving in the ends and blocking it into a nice tidy rectangular shape (although I very much doubt it will stay that way!) This is without a doubt the biggest project I have undertaken so far, and I am incredibly proud of the end result. Three weeks! Amazing ;-) It was a mammoth task, but one I think is well deserved by the recipient, and I hope she likes it so very much.

Ta daaaaa:

And just so you can get an idea of scale for this puppy, here it is blocking on my KING SIZE bed this morning:

That's a whopping 48" x 64" people!! And I think I may have mentioned the yarn I used for this project - Malabrigo Rios. Ooh Lordy, this stuff is beautiful!! And as a bonus for me, I only used nine of the ten skeins purchased for this project, so if you don't mind KJ, I think I'll hang on to the spare ;-)

And since we're on the subject of completed missions, I forgot to post about my dad's socks that were completed back in September:

(As usual, Deane's (not so) fabulous modelling skills coming into play here)

Close up of the pattern, in case you thought they were just plain ol' socks:

For all you Cookie A fans out there, you'll recognise the Cauchy pattern (Rav link), with a few modifications so it'd fit my dad's feet (mods are written up on my Ravelry project page).

I also managed to spin up a skein of laceweight/light fingering weight yarn in the maude & me 'beds & lawns' colourway on 100% merino - standard 2 ply, 477 metres, 96 grams:

I had a whole whack of single left on one bobbin, so gave the old navajo-plying another go (previously I've had some serious (SERIOUS!!) coordination problems with this, and it's turned out a bit of a mess). I'm not sure of the yardage, but I ended up with a cute wee 20g skein of light fingering weight yarn that looks much tidier than the 2ply. I think next time I'll give an entire 100g bump of fibre a go. And hopefully by the time I get around to that, I'll be spinning on my brand-spanking-new Majacraft Rose!!! You know the one I've been drooling over for the past several months? I was finally allowed to put in an order for one for my birthday/Christmas present - eeeeek, I'm so excited!!! Unfortunately, they don't have any in stock at the moment and I have to wait for them to make me one, but hopefully that'll be very soon. I can't wait for it to arrive!!!

My dear Addy, who has been very good to me, will be donated to a good home, where she will get much use and be very loved. That's me, doing my part in spreading the fibre love :-)

And now, I'm off to pack for my weekend in Wellington where I'll be hanging out with some very-much-missed friends and enjoying more fibery goodness at the Wellington Quilters Guild 2010 Exhibition, and Sunday knitting group. Yay!!! Best of all, when I get back, school holidays will be over ;-P

Sunday, 3 October 2010

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth

Well, not mine. I have mine. Actually, I want X's two front teeth for Christmas. The ones he's been missing since he knocked them out of place and had them surgically removed at 14 months old. It's been a looooong wait, and we've become very accustomed to seeing him with such a large gap there, sometimes it seems odd seeing other children with front teeth.

Last night, just after he'd gone to bed, he was in the process of one of his many, many bedtime stalling manouvres - fluffing around in the bathroom pretending he needed to pee. He came rushing out with a big grin on his face, saying 'look what I just saw in the mirror mum!!' and flashed his gums at me. To my surprise, there were two healthy-looking adult front teeth starting to poke out. You wouldn't believe the excitement! He turns eight in a little over a month, and this was something I thought I'd never see - I had horrible thoughts of him being toothless through to adulthood, and having to spend thousands of dollars at the dentist getting false teeth (although it should be covered by ACC but you know what mothers are like - they always think of the worst case scenario).

I went to bed very happy last night. But then I had some time to think (which isn't always a good thing) and memories started flooding back about when he had his accident. The blood, the screaming, the week of awful pain he went through before we could get him into a dentist (asleep, because he wouldn't let anyone touch his mouth, it was so sore) and then the crazy rush of getting him to the hospital and waiting, waiting for surgery. My little boy, lying on the hospital bed freaking out when they were putting him to sleep, the panic in his eyes (thankfully it was quick). The wait while he was in theatre. The immense relief when I heard him cry as he woke up.

I guess, as a parent, it's natural to feel guilty when your child has to suffer pain. But a wee thing, barely a year old, having to go through something like that? The guilt!! I've always felt terrible about it - what kind of mother allows their child to fall off their bike and knock out their teeth at such a young age? I remember the questions he had when he started kindy. 'Why does everyone else have teeth, but I don't?' 'Where are my teeth?' Every time he went to see the dental nurse for his check-up, the first thing I would ask was whether those teeth would ever come through on their own.

So here I was, at 11.10pm. Lying in bed, blubbering away like an idiot. Both sad over what he had to go through, and happy that soon, finally, it would be over.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Four seasons in one day

Ah, the classic Crowded House song, how right it is about New Zealand weather. Even if it was inspired by and written about Melbourne...

Today started out cold and damp. After dropping the boys at school I headed on my way out to Pt. Chev, to the usual Wednesday knitting group out at The Little Craft Store. While sitting at the lights in Ponsonby, it started pelting down, and quickly turned to hail. By the time I'd arrived at my destination, the rain had dried up, and this afternoon the sun was shining and it was relatively warm (although according to the weather report on TV, our official high was only 13. The wind might've had something to do with that though. The weather report also kindly informed me that tomorrow will be much the same - ugh).

Some things that brightened my day:

1. I booked my return flight for a weekend in Wellington, during which I shall visit many friends, go to Sunday knitting in the gardens (yay!!!), and see the Wellington Quilters Guild Exhibition. I even organised overnight accommodation and transport with my friend Margaret - bless her, she is lovely :-)

2. Before picking the boys up from school, I made a brief stop at the supermarket, and was briefly struck with amazement at how gorgeous the fresh fruit and vegetables I bought looked - the colours are lovely and vibrant. Doesn't it make you hungry just looking at them?

Mmmm, fresh food... this collection of fruit and vegetables were bought specifically for a recipe I wanted to try out. Should be good!

3. I officially hit the 1/3 point of the afghan I'm knitting for a friend's mother.

I must admit it doesn't look like much all blobbed on the floor like that, with the appallingly bad lighting and even worse photography, but this really is a divine creation. I'm knitting it in Malabrigo Rios yarn in the Paris Night colourway, bought from the lovely Miss Polly of Little Country Wools. Yummy stuff to knit with - I keep stopping to squidge it. Just beautiful. The pattern is the Guy's Guernsey Afghan, but I don't think it should be limited to a man. It's a lovely pattern, easy to knit, and looks fabulous. And did I mention the yarn? Seriously GORGEOUS!!!! I'm not sure a guy would appreciate it anyway...

4. I finished off another Sookie Stackhouse novel - my fifth. They're a little bit addictive. Tonight Deane and I will be watching some more of season three of True Blood (the TV programme created based on the novels by Charlaine Harris) - I think he's a little addicted too, though I'm not complaining ;-)

5. The boys enjoyed a little mini 'disco' during their lunch break today at school. They both assured me wholeheartedly all weekend and this morning that they were not at all interested in going, but I gave them each a gold coin 'just in case'. Clever mum ;-) Although T, being the generous wee soul that he is, gave his coin to his friend. But he went in himself eventually anyway, 'to check on his friend'. Oh, how I love that child. He's such a dear little thing. Tomorrow they have a cake stall at morning tea, and on Friday it's popcorn and a movie. All funds are going to the Christchurch earthquake victims.

6. Tomorrow morning I'm meeting up with my friend KJ for breakfast - she's up from Wellington for Fashion Week, and I'm really looking forward to catching up.

Just two more days of school before the holidays, so next week and the week after are going to be a little crazy. I really hope the weather improves so we can get out and explore Auckland a bit. I'll be well and truly in need of that weekend in Wellington at the end of it!!

Anyway, I must sign off now. I have a cake to bake for school tomorrow!
Ciao :-)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Storm? What storm?

Apparently there was a huge storm that raged through Auckland, and many parts of New Zealand last night. I didn't notice. Guess that's what happens when you live in an apartment, with really good soundproofing...

It's a pity, I would've loved to have seen it.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Today was good, today was fun, tomorrow is another one

We got up this morning, went through the usual morning routine, and headed off to school. The sun was shining, which was unexpected, so I went for a run after dropping the boys off. Got all my housework done before having a lovely shower, then sat down to watch Dollhouse and knit for a while. A bit of pottering around, some lunch, a few emails for work, and off to pick up the boys from school (seriously, that six hours goes really fast!!) Read some more of my book for book group while waiting for the 3pm bell (trying to finish it by Sunday so I can post it back first thing Monday morning), and T came running out with a huge grin on his face, excited to tell me that his art work was 'the winner'!!

Every year their school has an art exhibition, where each child in the school makes or paints something, and the staff create an artwork as well. The staff art gets sold in a silent auction to raise money for the school, and all the childrens' artwork is displayed for parents to marvel over during a community evening. Unfortunately Deane wasn't able to attend as he was busy working, but I went along with the boys to have a wee look, and took a picture of each. X's class made papier mache flowers, and T's class did mixed media paintings of bugs.

Cute, huh? When we went to the exhibition, there was a red sticker on T's painting. T noticed it, and being the particular child that he is, he didn't want the sticker on his painting as it was not part of the painting and he didn't put it there. He pulled it off and threw it on the ground (as he often does with many things throughout the average week), and I had to explain that it needed to stay there, because it probably meant something. It did. That was the indication that his artwork had won first place in the '5 year old' category. Good thing I'd picked it up and carefully put it back on when he wasn't looking ;-) His prize is a $20 book voucher from the local bookshop. Perhaps we'll take him out to spend it on the weekend.

Once we got home, I got stuck into a project I've been meaning to do for a while, and just hadn't got round to. Surprisingly, it only took a couple of hours. Would've been less if I had ribbon on hand, and didn't have to feed the kids dinner in the middle of it all. In any case, it was a quick and easy project, and I like the results. Ta da - knitting needle roll!!!

I ended up having to make my own ties because I didn't have ribbon, and it took a bit of trial and error. But I got there in the end, and I like the result. Plus, as you can see, it matches perfectly with my knitting project bag I made last year!!

I got the pattern for this super cool needle roll from this blog - a lady named Angie from Ohio, whom I've never met, most likely never will meet, but who was kind enough to share her pattern with me and (no doubt) many others. Thank you Angie :-)

The weather man has forecast lots of wind and rain for the weekend, and possibly thunder and lightning (ah, I love me a good thunder storm!!) so I expect to get lots of knitting and reading done this weekend, while Deane entertains the boys with nerdy games and movies. I guess there are some benefits to being the only 'girl' in the house ;-)

Have a good weekend everyone!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

New and improved updates - now with pictures!

Finally got sorted, have internet, have a desk, have a phone cable. Unfortunately I think the battery in my phone is a writeoff, but that's another story.

I need to post pics of various projects and other bits and pieces, so today's update is gonna be a little bit random - here goes...

Random Item #1
Remember this hole in the wall?

With the help of Margaret's friend, and a little bit of work from me (sanding and painting), it got all fixed up, and the landlord didn't feel the need to withhold any bond - yay!

See? It's like it was never there :-)

Random Item #2
I finished one of the bug socks, but have put them away for a while so I can complete other projects. Here's a pic of completed sock #1:

And the back of the sock:

Aaaaand just for good measure, the foot :-)

I've said this before and I'll say it again, photographing your own foot is really hard!! I think I might just have to get one of those mannequin legs. Or sock blockers.

Random Item #3
I mentioned a little while ago I was knitting a hat for a friend's son in Manchester United colours. Here's the result:

I gave it to Jane at my last book group meeting before I left Wellington, and can only assume she passed it on to her son. I hope he liked it.

Random Item #4
I went down to Esquires on the weekend, specifically to get a picture of their giant cups of tea and slices of cake. It also gave me a quiet 40 minutes away from the kids where I could read a book in peace, but that was just a bonus. Anyway, I took a picture with one of our normal sized cups, just to give you an idea of how big theirs actually are:

Hmmm, not so big you think? Well look at this!!

I'm pretty sure it fits twice as much as a regular sized cup in it. Not that I've checked (don't want to look like even more of a loser than I do taking a picture of my tea and cake). And now you've got an idea of how big the cup is, here's a picture of it with the cake:

See? Told you it was big. That'd pretty much be a meal for most people. Who needs dinner when you can just have cake? Good thing I've started up running again...

Random Item #5
I made a pecan pie on the weekend. I've never made one before, and I've never eaten one. It was an interesting experiment. Things I have learned:

1. Pecan pie is super yummy
2. Too much pecan pie is not
3. Don't bother carefully rolling out short pastry. It'll just fall apart anyway.
4. Deane really likes pecan pie
5. If you think a whole pecan pie is too much food, and you'll have to try and fob some off on the building manager on Monday when he arrives at his office because otherwise you'll have to chuck it out because it'll be no good soon and that'll just be a waste of food, think again. When Deane lives with you, a whole pecan pie is not enough to last the weekend.
6. Pecan pie goes really well with vanilla ice cream
7. Pecan pie will not be eaten by my children because it has nuts in it, which is good because there's more for me (at least the bit that Deane doesn't eat)
8. Pecan pie goes so fast you can't even get a picture of the whole pie

Random Item #6
I'm knitting dad's second pair of socks, for the second time. Let's elaborate...

I made him a pair for Christmas. You may remember, white hiking socks with garish yellow, red and greenish blue 'accents' ;-) He's not really a fan of bright colours, especially in socks, so I offered to make him another pair.

I cast on a pair of Cauchy socks in Vintage Purls 'Lepanto' using 66 stitches. The original pattern calls for 60 - I figured an extra 6 might be enough. I figured wrong. After knitting the whole leg to the point where I was ready to start the heel, I tried one on Deane and it wouldn't go over his heel. Bugger. Frog, frog, frog. Giant tangle of yarn (I was working from both ends of a centre pull ball). After many hours and a LOT of patience, I managed to untangle it enough to reknit the legs, and have now turned the heels and am on to the feet. They should be done in time for his birthday on the 18th. And they fit Deane, so they will definitely fit my dad.

More things I have learned:

1. Do not work from both ends of a centre pull ball if there is any possibility that you will have to frog your work more than a couple of rows at any point in time.
2. Check much earlier than the half-way point if a pair of socks is going to fit. It'll save you time in the long run.

Random Item #7
Deane is getting old. I have proof. Look:

He has an old man ear-hair. Not to mention quite a few grey hairs sprouting up all over his head.

Random Item #8
Children are silly. At least mine are :-)

Random Item #9
My friend KJ made me the most awesome pair of slippers EVAR!!!

They are the coolest most unique slippers in the world. Totally one-of-a-kind. Nobody else will ever have a pair like them. Especially since she's sworn never to knit anything again. Which is a shame really. She has a special talent for yarn creations, don't you think? They are super squishy and warm and cosy and I love them very much. I'm so lucky to have such great friends :-)

That is all.