Monday, March 31, 2008

Animal antics

Feeling a very strong animal theme right now after stumbling across this gorgeous pattern at Lickety knit.

So I had to visit Ysolde and get my own pattern. I tried hard (ish) to be strong but Elijah and Sophie were totally irresistible.

I just had to have him and Sophie. I am off to my social knitting group tonight held in my LYS to find some blue and pink wool. I just won't tell DH that I'm buying even more wool. I can only give up one thing at a time and it's books right now. I can't waiti to get stitching on these cuties. Everything else will just have to shift a little further down the pile.

So to continue with my animal theme....
if you were an animal, any animal, what would you be and why?
I would choose to be a cat, not just any cat, but an oriental cat because I regard myself as definitely high maintenance and without sounding awful really need to know that I am adored. (I know the kids do ) I love attention. I am also quite independent and like to have my own space around me and I can at times be incredibly perverse. I have done things just because someone said I couldn't and I cannot tell you how much trouble I have sometimes had to extrapolate myself from. I can be cute and cuddly but watch out I can hiss and scratch if I need to. I am a bit highly strung and a very active whizzing from task to task, and multi-tasking is a given but I can also be lazy and chill out in the sun while contemplating the birds in the sky and just how do they manage to fly? As the saying goes...

I think my servants must be lost in the post.

So over to you. What animal would you choose to be? Any other cats out there?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Today's the day for...

considering all the things you were going to do this weekend and then putting them off yet again. I am guilty of doing this all the time. I have things that need to be done, like getting the wood ready for the winter, sewing up my son's jumper, washing the dogs(they both really need a bath) and every time I get caught up in something else. Yesterday I had so much fun with the girls as we began our knitting projects that nothing else happened. That's ok it was a good day, but today I feel as though I really ought to be busy and get things ticked off my to do list, but it's Sunday and I want to relax, and do some more knitting and some more reading. So in order to successfully avoid doing any of the housework type chores we went for a walk up North Head and enjoyed the view. I guess there's always tomorrow.
So here's the view from North Head. Well worth the walk.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Today's Treasures

In between being at work, which I can assure you, is very different from actually working, I wandered up the main street outside the Naval base here in Devonport. An after lunch stroll, in the interests of keeping fit. This just happens to be my favourite street anywhere outside of Brighton. It has a cheap craft shop where lots of goodies just wait to be found, two bookshops, one for new and one for second hand books , a wool shop, the wonderful and last but definitely not least a fabric shop. Pure heaven. I could spend all day there but of course I have to appear at my desk occasionally and not just at tea breaks. It gets a little conspicuous.
Today was an excellent day. I found some pink wool which I plan to use in my PIF

Some fabric which I have a few ideas about but nothing solid, that's because... shh can you keep a secret? I don't really know how to sew. I have a machine and I can thread it up but then it gets a little.. messy. Still with such lovely fabric I'm sure this time... there won't be any casualties.

I just couldn't resist the stuff, I mean it only cost $3.00. I just know I can do something with it.

But the best thing was this book. How have I lived without it? I love Usborne books. THis is just great, I love looking at it and everything is so well presented that it makes me itch to stitch.

I can't wait to round up my three daughters and get them busy making.

There are so many fun things to make, I want to make them too. We're going to the Warehouse tomorrow (sorry LYS) to get some Sean Sheep acrylic, which is only $1.50 for 50g, (about 50p for those in the UK), for the girls to have a play with. They have some beautiful colours like Pink Snow and Blush.

I don't see why the kids should have all the fun, so I guess I'll grab some wool and knit along with them.

Treasures indeed. Hope your day was filled with a few wonderful finds.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unexpected gifts versus expected gifts

Which is better, unexpected gifts or those we expect? Tough call I think. I love the build up to a celebration whether I'm the giver or the receiver. But for now let's think as the receiver. The fluttery bubble of anticipation that gurgles around inside making you smile every so often. The warm fuzzy feelings of longing and desire as you ponder the possible presents about to head your way. It's such a pleasant sense of anticipation, moments that can last much longer than the day itself.

But then again the glorious rush, like the fizz of champagne at something unexpected. The fireworks of joy of knowing someone out there cares when you weren't expected it. That's pretty heady stuff too. You feel as though you're glowing, all that kindness.
What do you all think? Would you rather have something unexpected? Let me know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Comfort food

I know Easter has hardly crept around the corner and the mountain of Chocolate hasn't even got a slight dent in yet but all the images of snow from the UK bloggers set me thinking about food. It doesn't take much to get me thinking about food but this was comfort food, the sort you love to eat when it's cold outside, or miserable inside, the food that never fails to bring a smile to your lips and cheers to your stomach. The food that lifts you when you're just that bit low. It goes without saying that chocolate of any kind is top of the list.

So for me it has to be rice pudding. That's number one on my list of comfort foods. I love the texture and the taste, and the sheer milky creaminess of it, with or without rasins and sprinkled with a dash of nutmeg. Yum yum.

Number two would be crumpets. Hot toasted crumpets with more butter than is good for you. Butter that melts into the crumpets and oozes into a yellowy puddle on the plate.

Nothing beats being able to curl up with a good book, a piece of knitting, the cat on my lap and the dog at my feet, in front of a real fire and a plate of hot buttery crumpets. How could I not feel better?

So what's your ultimate comfort food? What food makes you smile?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pay it forward

It’s the Pay It Forward Exchange. It’s based of the concept of the movie “Pay it Forward” where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on. So here’s how it works. I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on the blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don't quite know what I will make, or when exactly I will get around to making it but it will be within the next three months.

My thanks go to Leanne for the idea and the above words. She said it all so succinctly there was little point in re-inventing the wheel.

I believe that the world is still a good place and that acts like these are what make it so special.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter Everyone

Wishing you all a wonderful day. May it bring a breath of fresh air into your life where ever you may be in the world.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I'm going on a bunny hunt

Thank you Country Cottage Chic for the idea
Yesterday, I was all excited and ready to go. Camera charged and flash ready. I dashed from room to room. But there wasn't a bunny to be found. Not a one. It would seem that we could do any number of bears including a sailor bear and one with a shamrock, a variety of birds, owls, in particular and cats galore.
So today I tried again at the Royal Easter Show. I was duly rewarded with a range of bunnies to choose from. Some real, some not as well as a mottley range of other creatures not entirely related to Easter.
First the Great Cadbury's Bunny who is very fluffy and friendly and gives out lots of marshmallow eggs.

Some ceramic bunnies on a stall

Then the lucky dip bunny, not eggs but an assortment of other surprises

Some fluffy rabbits making up a display
And another one

Two Mini Rex in the petting section.

three day old Chicks. Cute as.

And finally friendly alpacas

Littlest daughter helped me a lot on the hunt. She kept her eyes peeled and would ahve taken a lot more photos. She is enjoying being an only child while her siblings are away at Easter camp.
What will you find on your bunny hunt? It would be great to see your results.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Which Heroine are you

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Apparently I am Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! I am practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though supposedly tremendously sensible and allow my head to rule, I have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.
Hmm close enough I suppose. What about you? Take the quiz and let me know.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bunny adventures

What a day it's been. I entered an 8.4km run which was fine, but because of the traffic and the lack of forethought to pack a mobile phone, I ended up walking the 8.4kms back to the start line ( one of the few straight line races NZ has) to meet hubby at the alloted time. Whew! So for a relaxing afternoon I thought, but when I arrived home the girl bunnies looked like they could do with a bit of freshing up so I let them out of their runs to explore while I did the necessary. All was rabbity fun and frolics with the girls enjoying the chance to run and chase. But while I went to fetch clean water, one cunning girl made her escape. I knew she could not get far, a garden either way, so I searched left, no luck,
I searched right no luck.

Hmmm. I decided to wait and see rather than walk miles seeing if she was around. It was a fairly hot day and I was certain she would want to be in the shade. 30 minutes later and the sound of next door's dog barking alerted me to her reappearance. Unfortunately the barking also scared her under their deck. NZs don't have patios we have decks. There was a gap of about 30cms, and it was about four foot deep ,enough to see her but not enough to get her out. She refused to look at us and then disaster she decided to try and dig her way under their house. Drastic action was required. Time for hose woman to arrive. First second eldest daughter tried the directions while I used the hose. Nothing achieved because by the time she told me where the rabbit was , rabbit was not. Then daughter took over hose. Better surely. Sadly no. I was wet pretty quickly as daughter kept pointing the hose at me. So I tried to do both, lying down and looking under the deck while aiming the hose. Success. One very disgruntled and wet bunny out in the open. She did however get some basil and mint to help her feel better about the whole experience.

Boy if I was tired before I am totally shattered now.
I may just fall asleep over my knitting tonight.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

63 things about me

Please feel free to use these questions yourself. It would be great to get to know everyone. I found the questions on Lucy Locket. Thank you Lucy.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7.30am woken by littlest daughter. Up and out for a 10km run while she watched TV.
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds everytime.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? National Treasure II for dear hubby
4. What is your favourite TV show? Desperate Housewives, Pushing Daisies surreal as it might be.
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Cup of tea. Full cooked breakfast on the weekends which hubby cooks while I run.
6. Favourite cuisine? Italian, any pasta, homemade meatballs yummy!
7. What is your middle name? Jayne

8. What food do you dislike? Curry, can't even bear the smell of it, but I love Chili.

9. What is your favourite CD at the moment? Celine Dion

10.What kind of car do you drive? A mazda people carrier, but I only drive occasionally. Normally I ride a pink 250cc Honda Forza.

11. Favourite sandwich? Tuna mayo with cucumber, or smoked salmon and cream cheese

12. What characteristic/s do you despise? People who just can't seem to appreciate all the blessings they have
13. Favourite item of clothing? Pretty bras and knickers although I can only wear white at work. Darn uniform.

14. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would
you go? I would love to tour Europe again. I really miss the closeness of Europe since moving to New Zealand.

16. Favourite brand of clothing? I wish M & S and Next would come to NZ, but other than that I buy what looks good not what has a name.

17. Where would you retire to? If I have money New Zealand, probably Pukekohe which is 40 mins from Auckland. If I am slightly ok for money, Italy or France and if I am poor as a church mouse perhaps back to England and live off the pension!!
18. What was your most recent memorable birthday? Next year's when I will be 40
19. Favourite sport to watch? Tennis if I must, only with strawberries and cream though

20. Furthest place you are sending this?
Depends who reads it on my blog. Hopefully back to the UK. Hello Hampshire

21. Who do you least expect to send this back to you? I always expect
the best of people!

22. Person you expect to send it back first? Anyone.
23. Favourite saying: Always look on the bright side of life

24. When is your birthday? 26th August

25. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Morning, I love getting up early
26. What is your shoe size? UK 4 NZ 6.

27. Pets? Are you kidding I have a zoo. A rainbow Lori called Jemima, 2 cockatiels, Charlie and Spike, 6 rabbits, Caramel, Fudge, Cocoa, Sparkle, Cinnamon, Toffee, plus however many babies they have, currently waiting two litters, 2 dogs, Shiz tsu's Sasha and Ollie, Sasha due to whelp in 4 weeks, and finally a Tonkinese cat called Peri.

28. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Not right now
29. What did you want to be when you were little? A teacher and a writer. Managed teh teacher working on the writer.
30. How are you today? Not all that. On top of the world
31. What is your favourite candy? Chocolate. Has to be Cadbury’s

32. What is your favourite flower? Yellow roses

34. What are you listening to right now? Bunny town on Disney channel, well littlest daughter is due to go to bed soon
37. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Pink, soft and gentle, well that's the one I'd like to be but most probably purple, bright and bold.
38. How is the weather right now? A little humid, glorious sun, Perfect BBQ weather
39. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My son.
40. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Lucy Locket Stumbled on her blog and took up her invitation. Thank you Lucy Locket.

42. Favourite restaurant? Portofino and The Grapevine

43. Hair colour? DArkest brown with a tint of grey
44. Siblings? 12. I'm the eldest
45. Favourite day of the year? Easter day.
46. What was your favourite toy as a child? Carrie and Christopher these twin dolls. My friend had all their accessories and I was so jealous. Thankfully she was a cool mate and always let me play with them.
47. Summer or winter? Actually I think I like Spring and Autumn
48. Hugs or kisses? More of both please.

49. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate

50. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes please chaps.

51. When was the last time you cried? Reading A Thousand Splendid Suns. Seriously sad book
52. What is under your bed? I don't think I should look, probably a shoe or a stray sock, a cat toy or two.
54. What did you do last night? Went to youth group with the kids.
55. Favourite smells? Laundry fresh of course
56. What are you afraid of? Spiders a bit if they are huge and hairy, not being liked

57. Plain, buttered, or salted Popcorn? Buttered.

58. How many keys on your key ring? 6
59. How many years at your current job? 1 year. Well 6 months if I take out the training period

60. Favourite day of the week? Sunday. I like to go to church and then chillin the afternoon
61. How many suburbs have you lived in? Moved far more than was healthy
62. Do you make friends easily? Sometimes. I make acquaintances very easily Depends on the person. I like to keep my circle small so I can focus on a few good friends
63. How many people will you be sending this to? Dunno yet.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Things I've learned from knitting

I saw this as a book title on and it made me think about all the things that knitting has taught me. I thought I'd share some with you.
1. Patience, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a sweater finished without a bit of effort
2. It's okay to leave the pattern sometimes. Life doesn't come with a guide and while it's nice to follow a set path and to have an idea where you're going, there are times when it's fine to deviate and see what else is out there.
3. It's better to give than to receive, there is real joy in seeing your work go out and belong to someone else. My house couldn't contain all the things I've made. Plus I love knitting baby clothes and my babies are all getting way too big.
4. Mistakes happen. You can't always prevent the mistake but it's how you deal with it that matters. Rarely is a mistake so bad that you have to give up totally.
5. To be a peace with my thoughts. In a world that seems at times to move with lightning speed, knitting has taught me to sit and think.
There are more, but it's Friday and a busy day of Youth group for the girls with multiple drop offs. What has knitting taught you?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Carrots, Eggs, & Coffee!

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...You will never
look at a cup of coffee the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her
life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how
she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired
of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was
solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots
with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots
came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second
she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee
She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She
fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She
pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled
the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her
daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.'

'Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the
carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother
then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After
pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.
The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter
then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced
the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However,
after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and
became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had
protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through
the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground
coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling
water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity
knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot,
an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems
strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and
lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but
changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a
death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have
I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same,
but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit
and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes
the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.
When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor.
If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you
get better and change the situation around you. When the
hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you
elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?
Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough
trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human
and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of
everything; they just make the most of everything that
comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based
on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you
let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around
you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is
smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Today is a beautifully sunny day. I watched the sun rise over the water and once more realised just how lucky I am to have the opportunity to live and work in NZ.
Although we are heading into the autumn the weather is still warm and dry.
Living here makes me appreciate The Garden Party which we had to read at school. Then in the Uk it didn't really connect, but now I fully understand what Katherine Mansfield was getting at. I think she is one of the best NZ authors. My all time favourite author has always been Jane Austen, with Emma being a particularly loved novel. I think Mr Knightly beats Mr Darcy anyday, but then I too go for the older man.

I also love Dracula, and have taught it to many students purely because of my own fascination with the gothic genre. I have been to Whitby and seen the steps up the the Abbey and you can sense the darkness of the place.

But I am a bit of a book tart I am ashamed to admit and will read anyone at least once, with the exception of Sci fi. I don't mind the odd fantasy but I really can't get into the other.
Recently I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Mosse's Labyrinth and Sepulchre for their gothic atmosphere.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Things I love right now

Inspired by the latest round of blogs to put my own list up. Obviously I love my children and dear hubby but I won't put photos of them here, so the first thing I love right now:

Number one: Earl Grey Tea in the mug my daughter bought me for my birthday last year. It is so bright and colourful that you can't possibly feel sad when drinking from it. It's amazing because the mug isn't my usual style at all. Clever girl.

Number two: Knitting, just goes without saying that without knitting my life would be somehow a lot less enjoyable. I just want to join a knitting group now and life would be perfect.
Number 3: My pink scooter. It is so lovely and people just can't help but stare when I go past. I had it sprayed especially and it makes me feel happy just looking at it.

Number 4: Books even if I can't buy any right now. I'll live. After all I have so many still to read on my bookshelf.
Number 6: Baby rabbits, our lop has just had her first litter of lop eared babies adn they are so so sweet. This one is the lightest colour and already has a very loving home awaiting her.

number seven is being in control of my finances rather than them being in control of me. Long may it last.
Number 8 is my Tonkinese cat Peri (Sprite or fairy in Syrian) Long awaited and much loved.
Number Nine: Teddy bears. My favourite is Lavender Bear a gift from a friend afar. I just need to master getting it up the right way.

And finally Sun sand and sea all of which are in abundance here in NZ.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I have had this yarn for about six months but I have not yet found anything I actually want to knit with it. it feels lovely and I found all these pluses about it. Has anyone else knitted with Bamboo and got some nifty pattern or some cool pics. I don't want it to just languish at the bottom of my stash pile.

Bamboo is a grass that is harvested and distilled into cellulose that is then spun into the yarn.

Positive Things About Bamboo Yarn
Bamboo is a renewable resource.
Bamboo can be harvested without killing the plant, and it only takes a few months before the plant is ready to be harvested again. That makes it an environmentally friendly choice.
Bamboo yarn, when not mixed with unnatural fibers, is biodegradable.
Bamboo yarn is often dyed with more natural dyes that are safer for the environment.
Bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial.
Bamboo also has ultra-violet protective properties.
It sounds like the sort of yarn of the future, but it's no use if I don't make something with it.

Book club blues

I long to set up a book club but having only lived in the area for a few months I still don't feel I have enough clout to start one of my own. It's not that I am totally shy but I have a slight tendency to hang back and assess the situation before I plunge in and take over. Not good I know.
Busily knitting a purple scarf that is going to wing its way from NZ to the Uk to be a Christmas pressie for my best friend there. It's her favourite colour and will be perfect for the wintertime in the Uk. She can think of me as she walks the dogs.