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:

Knitting
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.)

Spinning
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!

Exercise
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.