Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Early Pressie

I saw this over on Rebecca's site. I thought it was really cool, and pretty much sums up some of the things that are important to me. Rebecca was in a sharing mood and invites others to grab her button. What a great Christmas pressie. Thank you Rebecca.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Note to self – Never volunteer for anything. I need to remember this next Christmas before I go and volunteer my services as director of the Church Nativity pageant. Not I must add because I don’t enjoy it, I do, but the stress levels of others including our wonderful vicar leads me to wonder whether they might be better off with someone else.
Having been lucky enough to get the honour twice before I know the dynamics involved. I know although it still surprises everyone else that there’s not much point in over rehearsing. November is springtime in NZ and the start of good weather. Most parents are quick to recognise the sun and head for outdoor adventures. This means that while there are a lot of three and four year olds left anyone capable of speaking more than a word or two is playing sport, sailing or just enjoying being outside after the long winter.
So if there are rehearsals in November they must take on a more flexible structure. Every child will play every part at some point and you will never have an entire cast present. Having played a variety of parts the children will be totally confused and likely to forget which part they are actually playing on the day.
To overcome this I hold just two rehearsals. One to give out the parts, (knowing full well that these people will not be the ones playing the part on the day) they will with out doubt either be sick or away for the actual performance. The other, is a dress rehearsal the day before the performance. If I’m lucky for the dress rehearsal I will have roughly half the cast and maybe a shepherd or two. I might even have some musicians. If I’m really lucky the main characters turn up and not just one king and one shepherd. Try doing the nativity without Mary, Joseph or the angel Gabriel and see how interesting it is.
If I’m unlucky all I’ve got is a handful of cute angels and sheep and very little else. It then turns into a rehearsal for me. Which surprisingly I don’t need. I also don’t need lots of helpful suggestions as to how we might fill in the gaps created by the lack of cast. Of course I can give out extra parts so that the donkey also has to read and be a shepherd, but is that really going to help with the final performance.
Perhaps there’s a magical equation at work here that I am not aware of that means simply by doing a run through with the wrong people in the wrong parts at the wrong time everything will fall into the correct alignment on the day. Sadly my experience is that on the day we will do yet another change as the original cast turn up or the stand bys are now absent.
It looks like a chaotic mess, probably because it is exactly that but until someone works out how to ensure 100% attendance during November and the dress rehearsal it’s the best I can do.
I don’t stress. I know that somehow with a lot of prodding, hissing and hands on directing it will look ok. And I do mean hands on. But judging by the painfully pinched expression on the vicar’s face she’s not that sure. She makes some suggestions, clearly unaware that the donkey already doing three roles cannot dance as well even if it does look a bit static at that point. What does she expect? Swan lake? Even if I followed her suggestions it would all go pear shaped in the morning. I am much better sticking to my original simple plan. One verse sung by all the children. One dance by three girls and narrators reading from a script, cut into handy individual sections so a stand in can simply be given their part to read.
This year on the morning of the performance, just as we got ready to go up on stage Mary was sick. Literally. See how lucky I am. With a flash of divine intervention or desperation I allocated the part to the only child I knew I could without a doubt, hiss frantic directions at. My own seven year old, who looked a tad stunned to be flung into the main part but had at least attended all rehearsals and had been there at all my production meetings. These are meetings I have with myself as I plan what I’m going to do. I try not to communicate these ideas to anyone else and that way they can’t tell if the pageant went to plan or not. Cunning eh?
My other two girls were already strategically placed and briefed to prod and position the cast as necessary. One was the multi talented donkey and the other a slightly bigger angel.
It went well as always: despite the lack of rehearsal time, the impromptu nature of casting decisions and my laisse faire attitude. It was good because with a bit of structure, a touch of music and a heap of cute kids being watched by adoring parents how could it be anything else?
Any volunteers for next year?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

An award

Thank you so much to Jane over at Crafty Conundrum for this lovely award. I really appreciate it. There are so many blogs that I visit and enjoy that picking some to pass it onto would be a mammoth task. If I visit you regularly then consider yourself awarded.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Motivation needed

It appears to have packed up early for the Christmas season and left without so much as a post it note, or Christmas card. I have almost finished the Hoodie for Sydney's Christmas present. All the knitting is done, all the ends sew in, the shoulders, sides and one sleeve are sewn in, but for the last three evenings I have just looked at it. Worse I have put it in a plastic bag as if to say I'm done with it.
I just can't seem to muster the motivation to spend an hour sewing in that last sleeve. I know I have to, or be down a present, but my new projects are way more interesting. Another Skirt,, see I did say I was addicted, I just love the way I don't have to stop and think and because I know it has to be long, I don't stop and measure every few rows either. It truly allows me to switch off. But I am also challenging myself again and have cast on for a cute summer top found in the same Issue of Creative Knitting that the Hoodie came from. It's a four row lace pattern with rib bodice, that I am knitting in Patons Serenity colourway periwinkle blue. It's the softest bamboo and cotton blend. It didn't come from my stash although it should ahve as I did have some serenity in there just not the colour I wanted. Bad knitter.
So how do you get motivated to finish off projects? I need a few tips here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Christmas Story for people having a bad day:

A Christmas Story for people having a bad day:

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

I do enjoy Christmas really, but having lived with a Grinch for several years my enjoyment has been sorely damaged.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Or at least trying to. That's what I've been doing over the last few weeks. The weather here in NZ has finally turned on the heat after some quite dull and lack weeks and everyone is looking for opportunities to be outside. It's so lovely to be able to sit and knit with the warmth of the sun on my arms.
I am still trying to figure out a way of taking my beautiful machine outside so I can sew in the sun but the lack of a deck or a long enough extension lead means the sewing machine has to stay quietly inside while I play with yarn in the garden. Of course I have to work too so it's not as if I only sit catching rays and knitting away. It just seems that way.
This was hot off the needles last week

This skirt was just so easy to make. I cast on 160 stitches and did ten rounds. I then folded it in half and did a round knitting into the cast on stitches to form the waistband. Then it was just round and round and round until it was the right length, basically once I was bored with it. The frill was just knit 2 p2 for a round then a round making one stitch on the second knit, then a round of knitting 3 then a round of making one stitch, then knitting 4 etc repeated until I was knitting 8 between the purls. I hope that's clear, I didn't have a pattern to follow but used techniques from other things. Paige loves this black skirt and swears it's too short for me and that I should let her have it. No way! I love it. It's a cotton acrylic blend that was fab to knit with and has just a little bit of stretch making it super comfy to wear. I have however bought more of the same yarn and will see if I can whip one up in time for Christmas.
I wondered about embellishing it with something but what?? Any ideas?

And finally after what feels like months I can show you the red skirt. It's the bell curved skirt from Knitty but I didn't do as many increases as I wanted a more streamlined look. I feel though I should have made this skirt a bit longer, but with boots it might just work.

It's curling a little which might be the yarn, hopefully it will settle down after a wash, otherwise I will do a row of crochet to see if that helps.

I think I might be addicted. Now perhaps it's time to try and sew a skirt.