Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ps I love You and the Jane Austen Book Club

It was a lazy Sunday in the Boon household, a week of stormy weather set the scene for DVD heaven and sitting knitting. Once we'd managed to quieten down the troll of the house ( also known as DH) He just seems to take great delight in being the biggest grump in existence. Still this blog is not about him.
I wanted to get PS I love you and it was on order from the Video store but when I got there they'd given it to someone else. I was a little miffed to say the least but managed to control the smoke pouring from my ears and to say in a perfectly reasonable voice if a fraction more strangled than usual "what did they expect me to do now". I wasn't really expecting much of an answer but to my surprise they offered me a free new release, while they tracked down another copy for me. Still feeling a little hard done I mooched around determined not to find anything. I wasn't letting them get off so easy, but then The Jane Austen Book Club glinted at me and I melted.
I didn't read the book, it was never in the library and the one time I was going to break my resolution and buy it the shop had run out of copies. Maybe fate. I hadn't seen the movie, the troll doesn't do chick flicks. So just in case you've been living on Mars or some other planet for a while here's a brief synopsis.

As five women and one enigmatic man meet to discuss the works of Jane Austen, they find their love lives playing out in a 21st century version of her novels. Sylvia (Amy Brenneman), is shocked when her husband Daniel (Jimmy Smits), leaves her after 20 plus years and three children. Jocelyn (Maria Bello), her unmarried best friend, distracts herself from her unacknowledged loneliness by breeding dogs. Prudie (Emily Blunt) is a young French teacher, in possession of a worthy husband yet distracted by persistent fantasies about sex with another man. The many times married Bernadette (Kathy Baker) develops a yearning for one more chance at happiness. Beautiful, risk-taking Allegra (Maggie Grace), Sylvia and Daniels lesbian daughter, has quit talking to her lover. And Grigg (Hugh Dancy), a young science fiction fan and computer whiz, seems horribly both out of place and obliviously at ease as the only man to be invited into the book circle.
I enjoyed every moment and not least because in most scenes Bernadette is knitting or teaching Prudie to knit. It was beautifully done, the discussions abut the books deep enough to engage the Austen initiated and yet also include those who might not have any such previous knowledge. I like the tidy happy ending and the fact that while predictable it wasn't slushy.
In this hospital scene Prudie is knitting, Bernadette has her knitting on her lap and Allegra is making some jewellery

I enjoyed the flim so much that I really want to read the book now and will have an attack on the libraries in the area tomorrow to see if I can locate a copy.

I also managed to get my copy Of PS I love you, also for free and that will be tonight's treat. Grumpy troll has to just lump it on this occasion as it's pay back for a nasty procedure I'll have to endure tomorrow.
I just love this cute vintage toddler sweater. Isn't it just darling? I think the collar is an extra fine detail and I am sure it would look just as good today as it did in 1918. What do you think? I found it on A good yarn's site.
I am also quite taken with the little girl's hat and doll. I'm not sure how easy the pattern would be to follow and I guess I might find it difficult to find anyone who could decipher for me.

(click to enbiggen)
Well that was my Sunday afternoon (morning was church) hope everyone else has a fun filled weekend.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Busy getting nowhere

I have been very busy. Busy trying to produce the perfect cupcake without setting foot in the kitchen which would be a guaranteed disaster. The cooker hates me almost as much as my sewing machine. I know it's true. I've seen the way its gas rings glow at me and blow out when I'm not looking. I've noticed that no matter how carefully I follow a recipe it always burns. One day the cooker will pay but not yet.
I tried to crochet a cupcake. The instructions seemed idiot proof, but they clearly were not me proof. I dug out my hook and some brown pink and cream balls of wool. I was set. Several hours later ( I crochet slowly and badly) I had a brown, cream and pink thing. I can't really describe it as anything else. It did not even closely resemble the picture. So I browsed the web and found lots of other cupcake products that I'd thought I'd share with you as I can't possibly scar you all with a photo of my thing.

cute lipglosses.

dog collar

a pet bed

a bag
It would seem we all love cupcakes whether edible or not.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Blogging but not as you know it.

Manda opened this can of worms up and I found it so useful that I wanted to give my own answers. I found Ali's answers very pertinent ( apologies for some dreadful pictures and a firm promise to spare you such atrocities in future)
What makes you enjoy a particular blog (not just this one, any one that you read)?
Finding people out there who share the things I love but in a different way. realising that there is a whole network out there of women just waiting to be tapped into so I don't have to feel lonely or isolated even if I am physically. Blogs that make me feel something, joy, laughter,longing(in a healthy way)even sadness sometimes makes me feel human and alive. Through those blogs I can feel that I am just like everyone else.

What type of post is your favourite?
I love reading little stories about the cuddly toys that people have made so Kitty's Flora and Stanley had me enthralled. I guess it's the little kid in me that still gets sucked into a tale. I also like to find out a bit about the person, so little glimpses of their home and gardens, and treasures they have collected always has me interested. I like the posts about books provided it's not too lecturish, but a lighthearted opinion or viewpoint. I love posts about knitting and sewing although the sewing always makes me feel a bit inadequate until I remember to rejoice in our diversity and differences.

How important are the photographs?
For me photos depend on the topic. If it's a treasure then I want to see, and I could drool for hours over yarns and quilts. But if it's a story about your day or life then the text is enough.

Does the design of the blog attract you or even stop you from reading it?
I love looking at the different bits and pieces that people have, and long to be able to do some of the fancy stuff. I still haven't figured out how to create a good banner. The design doesn't matter to me, but I am always quite pleased to stumble upon on that shares my colour scheme.

Do you like blogs to be colloquial/regional or fairly generic?
I like them to be true to the writer. If I can't figure out what they mean , then that's an excellent reason to comment. We are a multicultural phenomenon and should celebrate as such.

An equal amount of craft and family, or does too much of talking about the kids put you off?

All work and no play can make for a dull blog. I find the blogs that focus purely on out put and FOs tend to bore me a little as I cannot connect to the person. I like to feel I've a friend out there who I am connecting with and supporting in a virtual manner.
What else? What are the best words of advice you can give a blogger?
Ask questions and try to find the time to answer all comments. Also go visiting.

So there's my thoughts. They sound pretty heavy at times and it was only as I wrote the answers I realised just how much I enjoy blogging. It has to some extent filled a need in me for companionship and female fellowship so I want to thank you all for your patience with me. I look forward to chatting with you soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More goodies from afar

A while ago I joined in with a book swap over at Zoe's knitting bag. I was to swap with the fab Sally over at redfish. The idea of the swap was find a book that had been written or first published at least forty years ago that made some reference to knitting. The section was to be marked with a homemade bookmark either sewn, knitted or crocheted.
I sent my package off and hopefully it will arrive safe and sound in the UK in the next few days, but Sally's parcel to me arrived on Saturday.

Inside was a book, one I haven't read before and look forward to delving into, a fabulous vintage bookmark filled with lavender. How I love that smell. Some purple napkins and a ball of wool in my favourite colour.

The book mark has the most beautiful fabrics which Sally wrote and told me were vintage and is finished with an arrangement of darling buttons, one pink, one green and a silver heart.

The focus is shocking as I am pretty useless at taking photos of everything.
I especially love the cute little face stickers that were on the back of the parcel and the card which you can see in the first picture. So sweet.
Thank you very much Sally I shall enjoy them all and I really hope you will be pleased with your package too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Time thief

Wanted for stealing the week while I wasn't looking. I mean it can't have just disappeared someone had the time and I certainly didn't. It wasn't even as if I had a busy week, in fact it was fairly sedate, some might even say stationary. I managed a grand total of 1 full day at work (Thursday) and Friday afternoon, ( the rest was spent at leisure at home on call for the visiting French vessel) so I can't understand why I didn't make much headway in any of my projects, the Ranger meeting on Wednesday was ad hoc to say the least and I haven't managed to post or keep up with everyone else's blog this week.
I feel the culprit may have been the timetable I drew up to allow myself to devote equal amounts of time to everything, all my crafts and interests, the family and of course reading. Therein lay a small problem that hitherto had kept its head very firmly buried in the sand ( how I wish I'd left it there). In order to feel successful as a knitter, embroiderer, crocheter, wife, mother and naval officer I need roughly twice as many hours in the day as currently exists. I plan to achieve this by moving sleep to a once a week option and making the 365 days in a year obsolete. There will now only be 168 days in a year with 169 in each leap year which will now occur every other year. Of course if that plan proves difficult to implement then I guess I'll just have to get used to being less than perfect.
I did finish an item well all bar the buttons which I have bought and will sew on tomorrow.
Ophelia is also in the final stages but may have to wait a week to be finished.
And I have started yet another project (only #4) the sleeping bag from the Sirdar baby book below, but the recipient is very hush hush at the moment.

I am also going to buy this booklet and make a couple of items for the same recipient if I can find a copy in NZ

All my patterns seem to be aimed at girls not surprising since my last three were girls and now my focus has changed to a baby boy. It seems harder to track down interesting baby boy garments, or at least there seems to be less choice. Is that so or am I just out of the loop and need to look in the right places?

Saturday, June 14, 2008


There is nothing quite so wonderful as coming home to a surprise parcel. A little while ago I was lucky enough to win a giveaway over at Kitty's cafe and it arrived today.
The excitement level was high as I gazed at this box of goodies from Canada. I could barely get near it for children wanting to see what was contained within, but I managed. The first sight was this lovely blue paisley case, perfect for having my latest project by my side.

A quick unclip to reveal layers of lavender coloured tissue paper and a cream card.

The card was an almost exact replica of Peri my darling Tonk.

The whole package smelt wonderful scented by the lemon and lavender soap which had been included along with a fantastic selection of teas.

I am looking forward to tasting these over the next few days along with the raspberry chocolates, which I have already started to eat and can testify that they are simply delicious.

Then I get to my free gift. It is just so sweet.

I love the projects and the perfect tote sized cards they are printed on,

but I can't stop gazing at the red circular needle and the red darning needle, all in a dinky zip lock case.

It almost makes me want to sew up a project just so I can use the darning needle.

I feel totally spoilt and very special, so a huge, huge thank you to Elizabeth at Kitty Cafe for making my day. I just want you to know that I will enjoy all the gifts and will especially treasure the card.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wish list

Caught a glimpse of this good idea while out the other day. It was in the women's weekly magazine from the Uk which amazingly wasn't three months out of date. I have plenty of wool so even though I no longer live in good olde Blighty I want to do my bit. It's also good to see a celebrity like Paul O'Grady taking up this cause.
Had a great day, found an Aladdin's cave of a wool shop. Wool was jumbled everywhere, no order no grouping and while this would normally make me want to turn tail and head for my favourite Wild and Woolly on this occasion I was in woolly heaven. Here were the yarns that no one seems to want any more at bargain prices. My beloved Zhivago, Serenity, Snowflake and others. 100g balls for only $2.50. I had to be circumspect though DH was with me and he kept a stern eye on the pile of wool mounting up on the counter. He was right of course. There's no point adding to the already elephantine pile of stash, unless I can guarantee living to at least 106, which I have calculated is the minimum age required to finish half the projects on the wish list. So I bought some Serenity in pale pink. An 100g ball of blue Mill shop Baby Bubbles and Mill Shop baby kids in a pale green. These will make a hat or two and just possibly a baby jacket. I wish I'd bought enough of the blue to make a baby blanket but it's probably just as well I didn't. Bankruptcy isn't really the look I'm trying to cultivate.
Hoping to have one or two FO in the next few days.
Also saw this stunning bag while time wasting, I mean browsing the web and it is definitely on my wish list. Not just because of the colour but because it has pockets for your needles and everything else.

I found it here

What's on your wish list?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I am generally quite good at making a decision and then getting on with it. I like to be moving forward and making progress b...u...t there are times when the thing that has to be done has so little going for it that I fall into procrastination mode and end up doing all kinds of things that you wouldn't usually catch me doing in a month of cold wet Sundays. I realised quite by accident and because I am sad enough to have journalled about it that I normally do the same things.
Number one on my procrastination preference list is ironing. I hate ironing. I would rather pluck out hair from certain parts of my anatomy. but when I want to avoid doing something that's what I do.
Number two is organise my books into alphabetical order, or reverse order if that's already been done
Three Empty the cupboard in my room onto the bed and sort through all the clutter
Number four will see me cleaning the bathroom and the shower screen.
Number five has me rearranging furniture.
Number six go shopping even if I don't need anything. This is not nice shopping but supermarket shopping which I loathe.
All of the above take more time and energy than the original task would ever use up but logic seems to be in short supply at those moments and I am utterly convinced that it won't take long and then I'll get stuck into the task that I seem to be finding difficult.
At least being older and wiser means I tend to only do one of the above before getting stuck in. When I was younger I did all five and then went looking for something else to do.
Are you a procrastinator and if so what do you do instead of the task?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Weekend mutterings

A weekend of odds and sods. I rose early filled with expectation. It's not often that our weekends are planned, we tend to be more of an ad hoc family, we do what the moment lends itself to, but this weekend was different. It was the weekend of the annual Craft show. My head was filled with the prospect of rows and rows of yarn, needles, accessories, needlecraft galore and hours of happy browsing, with maybe the odd purchase. We arrived and were immediately aware that it seemed a little on the quite side. My brain worried that due to middle aged fuddleism perhaps I had mixed dates. But no it was the correct weekend and the show was on. The hall was a lot smaller than I expected and although there were beads and scrap booking stalls a plenty, there was a distinct lack of woolly wonders even quilting and embroidery were barely represented. I was disappointed but the teens loved the array of scrap booking and made Christmas and birthday list wishes to last for a few years to come.
Home again I decided to settle down for a stint of knitting. I have three projects on the go at the moment. I am on the last sleeve of my peplum cardy, and that should be finished by tomorrow as it's only a short sleeve.
I am also working merrily through Ophelia in Patons Serenity Bamboo and cotton. I love this
stuff, it has such a smooth soft feel and drapes in the most flattering way. I am just disappointed that I can't source it in New Zealand. I found the batch currently in use in a yarn store down in Matamata in January in a shade of pale grey relegated to the bargain bin and bought all five balls. It was made for Ophelia, but now I want to knit with it again and have seen some wonderful colours like this

I am also half way up the back of the t-shirt top from the Knit1 magazine for my daughter, which is in a greeny brown shade of different brand of bamboo and cotton. I'm making her the first one of the three. It has a moss stitch border and little cap sleeves.
In between knitting I have been reading Nigel Slatter's Toast. It's not often I read a biography but this is for a new book club. It is a fascinating read, the way the episodes of his childhood are told through the encounters he has with food. I could empathise with so many of the dishes he describes and can remember my own childhood dishes and the battles on Sunday that would ensue over two Brussels sprouts, or cabbage. One meal I could never stand was boiled gammon and cabbage. It always smelt slightly slimy, and the salty, slippery texture of the cabbage after it had been cooked in the gammon water would make my stomach churn. What childhood meal do you remember with a shudder?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What is a meme?

A meme is:
An idea that, like a gene, can replicate and evolve.
A unit of cultural information that represents a basic idea that can be transferred from one individual to another, and subjected to mutation, crossover and adaptation.
A cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one generation to another by nongenetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes.

A contagious idea that replicates like a virus, passed on from mind to mind. Memes function the same way genes and viruses do, propagating through communication networks and face-to-face contact between people. The root of the word "memetics," a field of study which postulates that the meme is the basic unit of cultural evolution. Examples of memes include melodies, icons, fashion statements and phrases.

Well that's pretty clear then. I woke up in the middle of the night as you do and thought what the hell is a meme? It wouldn't leave me alone a bit like that tune you can't get out of your head. Think Birdie song, or Macarena. In my middle aged brain fug I originally came up with the explanation that it was a Me Me, (personal) it told others something about me. But being a reasonably intelligent if slight odd woman I realised that the word had to come from somewhere before the land of Blog took over. And it did.
In a sense a meme is still about sharing a part of yourself with others but it's more about the idea, that is being passed around, how we communicate in this virtual world, I guess that's why so many of them are tags, they are contagious. Blogging itself has actually become a meme the same way as learning to light a fire or drive a car. I wonder what the next meme will be, perhaps how to survive without fuel or maybe to operate rockets.
I feel I can sleep easier now that my brain has managed to sort out that little issue. Hope you got some sense from this post. Blame it on sleep deprivation.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday fun

We have had a busy Sunday. Family service today at church which is always lots of fun, with a mix of lively, uplifting songs and puppets to engage the children. Then we decided to head off and browse around Spotlight today instead of tomorrow as the two teenage girls have been nabbed to work. It's wonderful to see them spending their own money as it happens so rarely. My two firmly believe that they are meant to hold on to their money or only spend it on really really expensive luxuries while I continue to count every penny in order to meet their entertainment needs. We have exchanged full and frank views on this topic, but they are teenagers so progress is slow.
After much considering and touching and drooling and a bit of rapid calculating we decided on a couple of cotton and wool blends to knit the designs from the magazine knit 1 at $4 a ball. The photo doesn't really do them justice, they are a pale sage and a taupe both on the greenish brown spectrum.

They are neutral colours but should work well. The best bit was that when we checked the price we found they were only $2 for VIP customers, which of course we all are. So an even bigger bargain than originally anticipated, and we successfully resisted the temptation to then go back and get some more. However on my way out of the shop these caught my eye and I was smitten. I hold my hand up to a totally implusive buy, but you have to agree they are pretty darn cute.

What could be better than eating cupcakes from these plates. Delicious.

Even the packaging was delightful, so pink and girly.

What's your best ever impluse purchase? Shoes? Yarn? Fabric?

Then we headed over the Harbour Bridge for One tree Hill which actually doesn't have a tree any more, so should in all honesty be called no tree hill, to meet up with my best friend in NZ. She's a very clever accountant who can occasionally be a bit crafty. I give her lots of encouragement and share lots from my elephantine collection of patterns. The kids (5 girls) had fun playing on the Flying Fox and the push along train track, while we chatted away. It might be officially the first day of Winter here, but we were still able to wear just long sleeve t-shirts to stay warm, well until the sun went down anyway. And there's another day tomorrow which will be dedicated to planning this week's ranger meeting and lots of knitting.