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.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

We're nearly there

The internet has been connected, but Deane declined the hardware because he has plenty of techie junk lying around in umpteen-million boxes so figured he'd be able to find everything he'd need. Well, he kinda did, and we had the internet working last night. Unfortunately when I went to connect this morning, I couldn't get it to work. Perhaps I'm not looking at the laptop in quite the right way (you know how they are) but I am once again situated at Esquires cafe on the corner next door, chugging down a giant piece of carrot cake and the world's largest cup of tea in order to use their free wifi. Seriously, I've never seen such large cups and cake slices!! I'll put up a pic next time I remember to bring all the cables required to connect phone to laptop etc, or when we have the internet permanently sorted at our place. In the meantime however, all blog posts remain picture free. Boring!!

Anyway, I went to my first Auckland knitting group (of sorts) yesterday, at a new craft store out in Pt. Chevalier. The place is called The Little Craft Store and it's situated at 201 Pt. Chevalier Road. It just opened on 28th August, and it is the cutest wee place! Helen runs the shop, and she set up a new knitters group, which is held every Wednesday from 10-11.30am. Polly from Little Country Wools is the tutor extraordinaire, and I help out if needed. Yesterday was the first 'class' and I think it went pretty well. There were about half-a-dozen attendees that were keen to learn the art of knitting. Polly taught them how to cast on, and knit garter stitch. They did pretty well I think :-) Next week they'll be learning how to pick up a dropped stitch, and possibly how to purl. Should be fun ;-)

On my way there yesterday, I stopped into another place called The Little Grocer (I'm starting to see a theme here, are you? Wonder why so many places in the biggest city in New Zealand have the word 'little' in their name?). It's in Grey Lynn (which I believe is between Ponsonby and Pt. Chev) and it's a really funky little place where you can buy a coffee, yummy deli foods, breakfast, a mini noodle box full of munchies (I got Deane a box of crystalised ginger, dark chocolate and cashew nuts), and while you're waiting you can read all the weird and wonderful little notes they have stuck to their noticeboard outside. If you ever happen to be on Richmond Road, Grey Lynn, pop in! It's worth a look :-)

On to other things:

Yes, I have been running! Amazing, considering it rains pretty much every day here. And people complain about Wellington weather!! Stupid... Anyway, twice around Victoria Park does it for now (just a little over 2km) - I'll build up the distance/time slowly until I get back to 5km/30 minutes.

Haven't had much time for it to be honest - spending too much time settling in, getting the scope of the place, shopping etc. (alas, shopping is something you can't really avoid when you live 2 minutes from Queen Street. But I'm not complaining ;-P Although Deane might...) I'm nearly up to the heels on dad's socks though - sadly I had to frog the pair I had knit 30% of because they were just too small, and had to start again, slightly bigger. This pair better fit!!!

Well, that's it for now, my time's running out (damn the timer!!) The boys have fit in really well at school, and they seem happy. No complaints so far at least. More updates soon. Love to all!!

Friday, 3 September 2010

'I aten't dead'

Just waiting patiently for Deane to get his butt organised and get an internet connection for home. I think the guys at the internet cafe are starting to get sick of me...