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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Diamond Patch Jumper

I started this jumper last summer. This photo was taken nearly a year ago. I then put it aside for a million and one other things, but I have picked it up again and have made a lot more progress. I'm about half way through the body (I am making it tunic length) and this time I am not going to put it aside! It will have long sleeves, I intend wearing it as a jumper over things rather than a top in its own right. I don't like wearing hand knitted tops on their own. I went to a lot of trouble to knit myself one from the first Sally Melville book and hated wearing it! Not the fault of the designer - I really like some of her designs - but just that I discovered I didn't like the feel of wearing something like that next to the skin. I'm knitting this is a 50/50 cotton/acrylic mixture than actually feels a bit like linen. It is a bit rough at the moment but has nice drape and I think it will soften when washed. It is Stonewash by Elle and I am very pleased with it. It was fairly inexpensive (I may have got it in a sale, I can;t remember, but it is a reasonably priced yarn anyway) and I think it will make a great jumper to wear with jeans. These days I nearly always wear jeans all winter! I never used to wear them much at all but I seem to have more and more pairs now and I really feel comfortable in them. The colour in the photo is very accurate. Posted by Picasa

Cant ... Stand ... Heat ...

We are having a heatwave here - yesterday about 40C, I think, and today forecast to be 43C. We don't have airconditioning so the house is only marginally cooler than outside. There is actually a crappy old air conditioner in the study, but there's only room for one person at a time in the study, and no room for a comfy chair, so it's not much use for a family of four! And frankly it isn't up to coping with temperatures like this, I've got it on at the moment and it isn't doing much at all (and it's only 10am!)

There are bushfires all over Victoria, one of which is in the same general area as George's mother. She is safe and the fire almost certainly won't get that far, but she must be suffering with smoke and worrying about what will happen. She has an evacuation plan and is a sensible person so won't put herself or the dogs in danger. In the past she would have fought it if it had got that far but now she is older she will evacuate if it becomes necessary. Everything is thoroughly insured and if you live in the country in Australia you have to be a bit dispassionate about this sort of thing.

We're in the city so will be fine, though we can see the Dandenongs (hilly range to the east of Melbourne) and they have certainly been known to explode in fire - no sign of it yet but we have a long day to get through. There is meant to be a change later tonight - will I live that long!

I have been meaning to take some photos but my eyeballs start melting every time I go outside, so although I will try to get to it it might not be today. I think I will only go outside to jump in the pool!

My scarf exchange scars stalled around Christmas - I have done the main part of it but the fancy bits remain to be done - this week, I promise! It will still be done in time.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

My Eye!

Well, it was a way to pass the afternoon - in the Melbourne Eye and Ear Hospital Casualty Department. There we were, gently squabbling over what to do yesterday afternoon, and I had one of those episodes with my eyes. I had one last winter - which resulted in a dash to the doctor and being told that it was probably an atypical migraine. When it happened again yesterday George phoned the doctor and he said to go straight to the eye Hospital - which is of course a half hour drive away.

It is a wierd thing that happens. A small swirling shimmering blob appears in the centre of my vision, gradually grows larger and larger - when it is over about half of my vision the centre starts to clear and it works its way out to the very edge of my vision and then disappears. It takes about half an hour is is very disconcerting. Then I feel shaky and unwell for several hours afterwards. I do get normal migraines, where I get a thumping headache and feel sick and shaky and have vision disturbances, but different ones (I feel like I am looking through a fog). This is freaking scary, though, because it is so sudden and so inexplicable.

The Eye Hospital was magnificent, wonderful staff and service. I had my eyes thoroughly checked over, and have to go back in three weeks time for one more test and a check up. It wasn't that pleasant - the test for glaucoma wasn't nice and the atropine drops to dilate my pupils was AWFUL!! But my eyes got a clean bill of health, and assuming the next test is also clear, which they think it will be, then we can assume that it is just an atypical migraine and I won't need to get checked out every time.

The drops in the eyes thing was horrible. I couldn;t focus on anything for a couple of hours, and bright lights hurt my eyes badly for several hours afterwards. It was odd when the focus starting improving and I could actually read again - but only one word at a time. It made me realise how slow readers must read, something I have never done.

I did a bit of sock knitting while waiting to be called. Then when I had to wait half an hour for the drops to take effect I picked up the knitting again - and I couldn;t focus on it! It seemed cruel to be stuck there with two books and a sock to knit and not to be able to do any of it!!

Anyway, today I am fine. The stress of yesterday caught up with George (he then went out in the evening to a meeting that turned out to be rather fraught - I insisted that he could go, he wanted to stay at home with me!) and he is sleeping in. The house is full of kids - Baby Bear has two friends in the pool, and they are nice kids and no trouble at all. Wombat has a friend over who is driving me mad - he keeps whining and the two of them won't concentrate on anything for more than five minutes at a time. The same boy came over yesterday morning and his mum stayed for a coffee, while his little sister 'played' with the boys - she whined and complained and wound Wombat up so badly that the visit ended very badly. They are both whiners, something I cannot stand in a child! If mine ever whine they are dealt with promptly because we find it such an unpleasant trait. I am counting the minutes till he is picked up and taken home again.

I plan to take some photos today, some for the 'B is for...' week and some other stuff. I have put my stash into ten large plastic boxes - and to George's immense credit he did not at any stage say I had too much wool!! I want to photograph that. It is part of the grand decluttering that is slowly happening. i need to go and do some more in another room today.

We have lots of hot weather forecast, which I loathe. At least we have the pool, which I will be in later on!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Of films, and curly-whirlys, and sealing wax...

In the last few days I have got to see The Chronicles and Narnia and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Two lush, epic films in one week, what bliss! I love a really richly visual film (and not all films are, or at least not to my taste). I love films where I am craning my neck to see every detail of the sets and the costumes as well as enjoying the story, and these two certainly fulfilled all that.

Narnia - I was apprehensive about this because it would have had to be pretty special to gain approval from someone who knows every word of those books backwards. And it matched up surprisingly well. I don;t know that the beginning shots of the war in London were necessary, but they didn't harm it. I disliked a couple of the voices - the wolf chief of police and the centaur general didn't sound quite right and I think they were a sop to the American audiences. Other than that, I loved it. I admit I cried during most of the film. The Narnia books were something that held me together during a not always happy childhood, helping me imagine being an empowered child in a fantasy universe. To see that come to life was pretty powerful.

I must say I was surprised it got a PG rating, I thought it warranted an M rating. The scenes of Aslan's death and the final battle scene were not remotely suitable for young children. I would still have taken my kids to see it with an M rating (they are 9 and 12) because I allow certain, carefully picked M rated films, and prepare myself for suitable discussions about them. But there were really little kids in the audience and I think their parents need their heads read. Having said that, I read the book for the first time when I was six and I have never forgotten the impact that Aslan's death scene and the girls' lonely night vigil over him had on me.

Harry Potter - also with an M rating, justifiably. The big problem with the Harry Potter films is that they started off three hours long when the books were comparatively short, and now the books are getting longer and longer, the films can;t be made commensureably longer otherwise no-one would sit through them. So a lot of the endearing details that makes the books so lovely to read is lost in the translation. But I still thought it was pretty mindblowing and loved it. It is great to see the same actors actually growing older, and I hope they manage to keep them contracted for all the films! Is it my imagination or does Michael Gambon try to sound Irish from time to time? Is it deliberate or is he chanelling the late lamented Richard Harris?

The climax was as shocking as it was when I read the book. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen it still affected me the same way.

The merfolk were every bit as creepy as I hoped they would be. I have always found mermaids and mermen creepy, never cute and cuddley as they are often portrayed, and for once they were shown as I always think of them!

As unexpected bonus was David Tennant - Ok, so he was a bad guy, but I confess to being rather taken with the latest Doctor Who. When he transformed back to himself from Old Man Moody I half expected him to say 'New teeth!' like he does when he transforms from Christopher Eccleston.

There are still films that the kids want to see over the summer and I will probably take them to, but nothing to beat these two films.

Now curly-whirlys - I had a sudden urge to make one last night. I thought it might be something I could do with the stuff that my SIL gave me for Christmas that I had dyed. So I grabbed a crochet hook and started. Well, the stuff is not suitable for actual wearing, I'm afraid, it is coarse and not very lovely to work with. So I think it will be used for art projects, of which there will be many over the next three years while I am at college! I found three balls of a soft, light, bulky acrylic that I thought would be a nice scarf and started on that. Well, it is crocheting beautifully and feels like a nice light cloud, but goodness those things eat yarn! There won;t be enough to make it as wide as I wanted. I am considering adding another yarn as well but I only have single balls of suitable candidates and I specifically wanted it to be a stashbuster so I am not buying anything for it. I might add a row of plain double crochet on the short side, I think I have enough of something suitable for that, and just have it as a narrow curly-whirly. I think I will make some more, I have a number of patterns for sundry variations of this type of thing and I like to wear scarves as accessories in the winter.

Sealing wax - I was just being silly there!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2006 ABC-along - A is for Angel

I have joined a most intriguing Along, something I tend not to do. Called the 2006 ABC-along (see the button in the sidebar somewhere), we post a picture every two weeks throughout the year, starting at A and ending up, hopefully, with Z! (I forsee an aweful lot of zebras at the end of 2006!)

This is my A picture - A is for Angel. This was taken two Christmases ago at our church during a special Christmas session for children. I borrowed a child's hal for the photo - I like the effect of the roof light above me that looks like the Star of Bethlehem. I have used sepia tones for this photos because I dislike the glowing red of my cheeks! I prefer to look this way than a version of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'll Take the Plunge

I don't normally make New Year's resolutions, mainly because I usually break them within days. But I am going to try something new this year. I am going to list some resolutions and then write a short update on each one around the first of every month. I have read somewhere that writing down things you want to do makes them more likely to be carried through, and I really want to see if that works! So here goes (in no particular order)...

1) Declutter the house. (This will take AT LEAST a whole year!) The house is beyond control at the moment. There is STUFF everywhere and it is impossible to keep clean. A systematic decluttering needs to start. I did actually do some last year, of which I am proud, but I need to carry through the momentum.
2) Be more aware of what I eat. Not go on a diet, or aim to lose weight - but to make sure that I consider what I am putting in my mouth. To think about what foods make me feel good and what foods make me feel bad.
3) Do some light exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Probably only in increments of 10 minutes, and it won;t be anything too dramatic. I am seriously overweight and I have chronic fatigue syndrome, and a bit of exercise can only be a good thing.
4) Open myself to ALL the creative possibilities available in the course I am going to start. Not to steer clear of things because they look too hard or because I don't have the energy.
5) To work on curbing my addictive spending habits. With specific reference to stash enhancement - odd balls can be purchased if I really think they can add to the scrumbling stash in a useful way, and jumper loads of yarn only to be purchased for a specific project, preferably when I am nearing the end of a previous project.

I think that's enough! I will write myself a brief account of how each resolution has fared around the start of each month. I don't actually care if no=one reads this, this is for me!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

This is the bag my SIL gave Baby Bear for Christmas. She didn't make it herself, but bought it from a local craftswoman who uses all recycled materials in her work - not only the jeans but the trims are recycled and so pretty! Posted by Picasa
This is the front side of the bag my SIL made me. I just love the different cat fabrics, I think they are so cute. The handles are rather neat - fabric ruffles over the PVC pipe you buy in hardware stores. Posted by Picasa
The mohair blend that I had a go at dyeing. I was surprised that the colours were so dull as I used the same dye as in the orange and pink sock wool. I think it will make an interestingly subtle scarf. Posted by Picasa
The four lots of sock wool that I dyed last week. This will make four pairs of socks and I will be starting the purple ones (for Baby Bear ) tomorrow, as I have nearly finished the Regia ones I am making for George. Posted by Picasa
This is the bag (back view) my SIL made me for Christmas. Posted by Picasa
Sirius in a pensive mood. Posted by Picasa
Ally (who lives with Sam) wants to know where HER Christmas present is!! Posted by Picasa
Sam (who lives with George's sister and her family) got a Christmas present too. Posted by Picasa
Sirius KNEW that was her Christmas present. Posted by Picasa

Happy New Year!!

OK, that's not an original title for a post on New Years Day, but who cares!! I always like New Years Day, it makes me feel that I can wipe the slate clean and start all over again.

It's been far, far too hot here. Yesterday did reach 42C as forecast and at one point (too late in the day for it to be like that) I felt as though I was inhaling a desert wind. The day before I visited a friend who lives two short blocks away. I had a drink of water before I left the house, and by the time I reached hers I could feel myself dehydrating again. It was so bad she actually offered to drive me home afterwards! But I refused as that would have seemed too, too silly, but goodness it was hot. And yesterday was worse. I did spend a few hours of it in a shopping mall where the air condition was making things bearable, if not cool. (I actually LIKE supermarkets in heat waves, they actually are cool. It was tempting to spend too long in the freezer section!)

Then when I came home various relatives were in the pool cooling off, having spent the day cleaning out the flat our nephew (and their eldest son) is about to move into. They stayed for an early barbeque before returning to the Latrobe Valley. We usually have people round on NYE but this year hadn't got round to organising anything, so it was a nice, early, impromptu celebration instead. And for once on NYE I only drank one light beer and a glass of wine, so no hangover today!!

And then during the late evening, almost everywhere in Melbourne cooled down - except us. It was still 30C when I went to bed and I don't think it cooled down much below that until 5am, and now it's horrible again, though it is supposed to cool down later in the day. Ho ho.

So not much knitting has happened, except for a few rows of George's sock in front on the fan from time to time. I have been dyeing wool, though, and when I get hold of the camer might take some piccies. I have, in the last week, dyed enough sock wool for four pairs of socks (having got my hands on some cream sock wool), and dyed five balls of the mystery stuff I got for Christmas. It was all an interesting experiment. The sock wool being 20% nylon, didn't take up the dyes as well as the 100% wool I have been using up till now. I expected that, of course, but it was still interesting to see the results. Not one of them turned out exactly how I had expected, but that is most of the fun of the dyeing method I use, and I was pleased with all of them. The mohair with the polyester thread running through it was interesting, too. As expected, the polyester didn't dye and keeps a faint white line through the yarn, which I think is quite nice. The mohair dyed up much darker than I had expected. Interesting and subtle, where I was expecting vibrant. It might make a really interesting, subtle scarf, I think.

George is at church, which must be very hot as it isn't air conditioned and the ceiling fans won't be enough after such a hot night. Baby Bear is reading - she spent the night on a mattress in the lounge room in front of an open door. Wombat is watching one of his Christmas DVDs, Stuart Little 3 I think. (Which is a badly animated travesty of the originals, but he likes it, which is what counts). I need to find the camer and take photos of dyed wool and the bag my SIL made me for Christmas which is just too cute to be believed. She makes lots of patchwork bags. This one wasn't actually made specifically for me, it was one she made herself but when I saw it and raved over it she decided I was a more deserving owner of it! In the last couple of years she has made me a darling little pouch with my initial on it and a little caretaker gnome button to look after the contents, and bought me a multi-coloured leathered pounch in a Provence market - she and I both love bags and I love every gift from her!!

We are one-third of the way through the summer holidays (yes, I do count!) and we haven't done a cinema trip yet. I think a trip to see the Narnia movie must be ver close, as I am certainly dying to see it and I think the kids are too. George doesn't really do movies (though I dragged him to The Incredibles and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy last year, and he enjoyed both of them) so we might leave him at home.

I am going to get out the Diamond Patch jumper this week and start on it again. I did a bit last summer and then it got put aside, and now I have decided to get on with it. It is in a nice stonewash cotton in a paleish blue. As it doesn't get that cold here, I find a cotton jumper is quite good enough for most of the winter, and i want to wear it this year.