Sunday, January 27, 2013

Historic Maldon

I had to take my son to Bendigo yesterday and on the way home I dropped in to the historic town of Maldon. Oh wow, what a lovely place.  With no children, husband or time limits, I was free to stroll the shops and look to my heart's content.  I can't count the amount of times I said to one shopkeeper or another, what a lovely shop you have. It was a delightful afternoon, beautiful weather, beautiful shops.  Just heavenly. 
So what did I buy, not much, a bit of this and a bit of that.
Some lace:

Some boiled lollies from the lolly shop, a couple of little glass angels; those I didn't need but they reminded me so much of the little glass angel my youngest bought me one year from the mother's day stall at school, I thought she needed a friend, or two.
Before I left bendigo I visited the Rajmahal shop; I have wanted to visit there before but it never seems to be open when I go through.  There I bought a kit for a little ribbon embroidery and another pattern for a tablecloth. So pretty.
The kit, with the dahlias, I finished last night. it is very sweet but now I need to decide what to do with it.  The briar rose one will have to wait until I can source the ribbons I need and finish one ro two other projects!
I also bought a new foot for my new sewing machine while in Bendigo. Next door to the sewing machine shop was a cheap bookstore, so I bought some books as well. One is a novel, the other a book of sock knitting.
All in all it was a lovely day of wandering around, looking at things.  It actually is not very far off the Calder Freeway if anyone ever goes up to Bendigo, it is worth the detour.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

belated season's greetings

Hello to everyone out there. I hope the Christmas and New year periods were good to everyone.
December was quite frantic in my house with school events and kids going off in all directions so life got just a bit busy and I found it hard to manage for a while.  But it is the New year now and everything has settled down and life has gone back to normal, as normal as it gets anyway! I am waiting for the school year to start and all the running aorund to begin again.

As for crafting, I have been very busy making things for others and things for me.  I have spent more time knitting than anything else really but I am still sewing.  As everyone who knows me knows, I got a new sewing machine just before Christmas, which the family would NOT let me use before Christmas Day (it really sucks being the only girl in a house of boys!!). I wanted one with a wider throat/neck so i could quilt things a bit easier.  And it is amazing what a difference an extra three inches makes.
I have almost finished my first quilt on it, but with the heat we have been having, it has come to a standstill.  progress so far...
It came from a tutorial on the 'net. I added the black borders which I think sets off the rainbow fabric. I am going to put piping around the edge before I bind it. I have had so much fun making it.  A simple pattern but I thought it would set off the beautiful fabrics in a jelly roll I bouhgt before christmas.

What else? i have been knitting, this set is for a mother to be, I can't wait to give it to her. She is a young mum and I think she is going to love this set.
Over the christmas break I whipped up this scarf; again in rainbow colours (i think I am finally at a point in life where I care less and less about what others think)
The colours are much prettier and more vivd than they are in the photo; a shame really as it looks a bit bleah here.
This is a ball of wool I bought from the Bendigo Woolen Mills; sooooo pretty. Only I sat and wondered if one ball would be enough to make anything. It felts VERY easily I am told and is strictly hand wash only, with NO agitation. So a garment is out. A scarf maybe?  And as I sat and wondered i thought I really ought to get some more just so I didn't run out when I made, well, whatever it is that Imake out of it.  So I bought two more balls, and then reality set in; these are 200gm balls; four times the size of the balls I am used to dealing with at work. So one would probably have been ample for anything I was going to make with it!!  So now I have more than enough to do whatever i want really!!   That is a lesson worth learning! but it is pretty and I will eventually do something with it.  But, after I finish one or two other things first.

Work is still going well, I am still having fun, still enjoying the customers and still collecting way too much fabric and wool!  And with my new machine, the sky is the limit. I have been having fun with the embroidery stitches; it sews rows of turtles, cars, houses, trees, as well as all sort of other stitches. 200 of them to play with.

So that is the basics of life in the madhouse.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

lace knitting

I just recieved a book in the mail that I had ordered from the Book Depository (how I love that shop!!).  It is a lovely book full of beautiful lace shawls.

And after i pored over the beautiful photos for quite a while I got down to business and had a closer look at the actual patterns.  Oh wow; what have I done I wonder???  I have only just started using charts for knitting instead of the written instructions. And while I understand the basics of it, this book seems well beyond me!  Some of the terms i have never heard before. I think it is lucky that I have other things on the go at the minute and so can't be tempted to try one out.  (if in doubt I think my motto is not to try and therefore not fail) LOL!
I do think i will take the plunge and make a shawl out of here, and I do think that once I have done one, i think I will be making many more.  Although I would like to be able to knit as fast as a certain friend of mine (you know who you are) but that is not going to happen.  So it will be slow and steady wins the race. Like a lot of things I think i have to do it to understand it.

We have just gotten back from a quick family holiday to Queensland. We dont go away on holidays very often (if ever) but with a son studying for his VCE it was a good time to have a holiday away without disturbing his studies.  We had a great time, the weather was fantastic.  We did find out however that when stung by a bluebottle (jellyfish), my son tends to blister (ouch!!)

The photo doesn't show the blisters, but this sting goes from his stomach, all the way around to the middle of his back. There was a second stinger above this one on his back that the lifeguards got off for him.  He was very brave, i think I would have been in a blubbering mess on the ground.  One good thing was the cute lifeguard who gave him ice.  Yep, no vinegar (or urine) anymore, just ice.  And time.

we did the usual theme parks, had a great time.  My hubby and my youngest son did all the rollercoasters and rides, and I mean ALL of them.  My other son and I watched!!
Rides like this:
And this...
And waterslides like this:
Makes me feel queasy just looking at them; yuk!  The family did convince me to go on one waterslide, one of the tamer ones, and I hated that (and they are not yet forgiven!!). So I will leave the rides to others. The last day we were there was the best; I sat by the pool and alternated having a swim, and reading, while the other three went off and did the waterslides.  To each their own!!

So now it is back to work and school and all the running around that that involves.  It was good to have time out though. I think we all need to take some time away, and recharge the batteries every so often. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuxedo booties

I saw a pattern for this online at Ravelry and knew I just had to make them.  Not for anyone in particular, just for fun.  They were quite easy, the pattern was easy to follow, and they knitted up really well. 
The beads are knitted in, and could probably, as was pointed out to me by a well meaning friend, be pulled off by an older baby but these are not sized for older babies so I think they are pretty safe. 

In other news, my DH has been growing some sunflowers from seeds.  We were about to put them in the garden when i had a thought; rabbits have eaten more than one plant over the years we have been here. So I get online, to discover that rabbits dont just like sunflowers, they LOVE them!  So most of them got planted behind the side gate, in the hopes that our dog will keep them safe.  We planted three just outside the gate, which have, sadly, been used as rabbit food :(  Most of the ones in the back are growing but we have lost some of those as well.  Darn rabbits!  It is a shame as i had visions of nice tall sunflowers growing in our front yard. Oh well, we will have to think of a plan B.
With the frost, drought, rabbits, I am not sure how we get anything to grow!!  We do have a nice garden, but it is all due to DH's efforts, gardening is not my 'thing', but I dont mind the occasional weeding, if I am in the mood.  Hey, I will clean silverware when in the mood; I just love seeing the difference with just a little bit of polishing.
If we actually manage to get some sunflowers to grow to maturity, I promise to post photos (do not hold your breath!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Show results

I realise that no-one is waiting with baited breath, but I will tell you all anyway...
The local show went very well. And yes i did get the Needlework aggregate again this year (eight years running!!). I have my eye on the knitting aggregate next year but that may be difficult; there are a couple of ladies who put in so many beautiful knitted things, I doubt I could compete with that.

So, these are the cards and ribbons:

You know, really, it is just a bit of fun, and a chance to show the world what we are capable of as we sit at home on our own and craft. And it is great to see what other people are doing. The hall always looks so nice when everything is set out after judging.
My two boys were stewards again this year.  They both worked very hard and did a marvellous job.  Sadly my youngest then spent the next 24 hours with shocking gastro, where he couldn't even keep water down, the poor little kid.  (okay he is 14 but he is still little, and will always be little to me).  He seems to be almost fully recovered now but it was an awful two days. I am assuming (with absolutely no proof I admit) that it is the lunch we had on the Show day. He had fish, the rest of us had chicken.  And while i love living where I do, having the nearest hospital an hour away is not an ideal situation.  I was about to take him in to the Children's when hubby suggested Nurse-on-call who were great and gave us suggestions about his management, all of which seemed to work. Thank goodness for this valuable service.
All's well that ends well.

Speaking of all being well, my eldest had a great two days away lasy week doing driver ed.  And has spent the rest of the week pointing out when I don't indicate for long enough, or hold the steering wheel correctly. Sigh, it is going to be a long two years!!  At least once he actually gets his L plates, I will be able to pay him back (insert evil laugh!!)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

a little bit of smocking

Oh how I miss sitting and smocking. I have been doing so much knitting, and loving that, and have so many more projects I want to do but I so miss just sitting and smocking something.  So this is the latest effort, which is for the local show this weekend, then hopefully next week I can sell it at an art exhibition I was aasked to contribute some smocking to.

It has turned out very nicely, and is in such a lovely floral fabric.  A friend said yesterday she can always pick my smocking; I often pick simple fabrics with not too much of a print and I usually do the smocking tone-on-tone. I did get half way through this one though and think maybe i should have done it in cream, maybe with a row or two of the deep red I used in the flowers. Oh well, next time maybe!  i need to take a lead from my friend and do some things that are more colourful; although that is a bit of the motivation behind the last dress; with the colourful smocking around the waist.
Anyway, the smocking looks like this:

And the back looks like this (because every "swishy" dress needs a lovely bow on the back I think...)

And yes, there is a petticoat underneath this; which will NOT be for sale; I do not really enjoy the tedium of making petticoats. 

As for any other news, my eldest is away with school for two days on a learner driver course. What a great idea and should be done by all schools.  Hopefully he will come home fully capable of changing gears in my manual car; it was the thing I really did not want to have to teach him.  He wont be driving out on the roads for a while yet though, he doesn't turn 16 until December, so it will be two months of playing in the driveway I think.  I am not sure what I think of him getting his learner's permit; hopefully it will for the most part go well, with few arguments!  Time will tell. We have already made a pact where he will do what he is told without the eternal questioning and arguing back and i will try to be a bit more patient. If we can both stick to that, we should be okay!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Keeping busy...

and getting not much done. Do you ever have those days? I often have great resolutions to spend a day getting lots of things done.  yesterday was one of those days, and as usual, I got to the end of the day wondring just how DID i spend my time??
The kitchen bench was a little bit cleaner, as was the table; there were just a few less weeds in the garden. Maybe if I didn't chop and change activities every two minutes I would have more to show for my efforts. LOL!

What I did manage to achieve yesterday morning was making up this little dress. It is for a friend to give to her niece for Christmas (and will help with my Show entries in a couple of weeks too!). it is reversible, and has a cute cross over back:

It just needs buttons and it is all done. Only, it is supposed to be for a nine month old, by my reckoning, but it seems much bigger than that to me.   It has been a while since I held a baby in my arms so who knows.
One thing before i go, and this is why I have not much idea of the size: i understand that babies and children come in all shapes and sizes but as parents we generally know what size our kids will fit in to. Can we stop pattern manufacturers from just putting measurements on patterns. Yes, it can be helpful but only if you have the child in front of you to measure.  We have this problem in the wool shop with knitting patterns, and we usually have to go and find a pattern that has measurements AND sizes on it so we can compare.  Can't they make our lives just a bit easier and include both?
And the next pattern that suggests cutting elastic for legs etc to be a couple of centimetres longer than the child requires; how would I know what the child needs as the leg elastic as she is in SA and I have no hope of getting measurements. So it looks like the matching panties will have to wait.

(Off my soapbox now!!)