Archive for December, 2006

I decided, on Friday last week, that it would be nice to make MIL some socks for Christmas. So we went and picked out yarn. There were two choices in my local yarn store… and I got busy knitting. Here is the final product, finished this morning.

and being modelled

They turned out quite well. I think there’s enough left over to make a pair of socks for me. he he he. Look, they even match!

I’ve also had a finish in the charity knitting department

This cute little hat pattern comes from the Opal website. Here it is being modelled by the beautiful Heidi

I was given her when I was about 8 and I’d just finished reading the Heidi series of books. The rest of her clothes were handmade for her by my Oma’s (grandmother’s) neighbour in Germany and sent to Australia for Christmas one year. She also has an orange set with white trim and a white set with orange trim.

We went to Cape Point yesterday, but the weather was terrible so we didn’t stop. We did get to see a lot of baboons though. (If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll know about my obsession with baboons).

By lunch, the weather had cleared so we had a picnic at the Rhodes Memorial.

This is not my picture, I borrowed it off the official website.

It’s a memorial to ego if you ask me. It’s very impressive, unlike Cecil Rhodes’ track record in this country. A picture of the handsome devil.

Did I mention that Gorgeous Man won a prize? Let me give you some background so that you can understand the magnitude of this prize.

We love to read. When we married we combined two proffessional and personal libraries and we’ve been adding to it every year since. We brought roughly 40 boxes of books with us to South Africa (they formed the bulk of our household goods), for Christmas I received (among other things) 3 books and two magazines. Gorgeous Man got one book and some old copies of National Geographic to add to his collection…um, oh yes the prize.

Gorgeous Man won a collection of 12 books from Penguin! Including the new Jamie Oliver cookbook. We have lots of reading to do. Well I do, he’s finished most of them already.

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One of the things I love about this area is the prevelance of eucalyptus trees – I know that they are feral pests here, but they really remind me of home. This is one of my favourites

That piece came home with me after the photo shoot and is currently gracing my dinner table.

Christmas Eve we went to two night markets near us. One was a craft market and was very sedated with elevator-type music playing and stalls spread out one an oval – a cherry scented candle (made locally) and a hand-painted cushion cover of a chameleon came home with me.

The other night market is only 1 kilometre or so from the other, but has a completely different feel. This market takes place under the Christmas lights in Somerset West.

There are traders jammed onto the streets

the music is loud and most of the items for sale is made of plastic and imported from China, but it was fun to go and look.

A while ago (when I had the miscarriage) Gorgeous Man’s youngest sister sent him some money to buy me some flowers. Instead he bought a rose and we finally got around to planting it out this week.

This pot came with the house and used to hold a huge ugly ‘tree’ (some sort of succulenty thing), Gorgeous Man and his step-father pulled it out of the pot and planted it in the garden, and put the rose in their for me. MIL bought the sun jewels to go around the base of the rose.

There are 3 colours in the pot and I just love them. I wander out every day to look at them.

Christmas we spent with Simone , her husband and daughter, and her sister and her husband and 2 children, her brother and his wife and son and her mother,  and two of my students for next year (who have arrived early) and their child. It was a full house, but lots of fun. The kids got to swim in the pool before and after lunch, one of the benefits of a summer Christmas, (Gorgeous Man watched them for about 2 hours after lunch before being relieved by other adults) and we got to sit around and relax. I forgot to take photos though.

I have been knitting. I decided it would be nice to make a pair of hand knit socks for my MIL (yes I know it is the middle of summer, but eventually winter will come). I didn’t realise she had such big feet – a full two inches larger than mine! One sock is done and the other is nearly finished so should have photos soon.

I was tagged by Beth to do the six weird things about me meme, so here goes.

1. I have one pen at work that I use until it runs out of ink. I get very upset if that pen goes missing before it is finished. I always have a second ‘back-up’ pen in the drawer, but it doesn’t get used until it’s its turn.

2. I carry my stress/anger in my right big toe. If I am angry or upset with what you are doing or telling me it won’t appear on my face or body, but my right big toe will be pressing into the floor with a vengence.

3. I recycle paper with a passion, I will write on the back of misprints and scraps and then put them in the recycle bin. When I was teaching high school in Australia I had a scrap paper drawer for students who forgot to bring paper to class or who wanted to do rough drafts. At first the students wouldn’t take ‘used’ paper, but after a few weeks we got to the point where they were asking for it and learning to value paper and it’s cost to the environment.

4. I hate getting my haircut. I put it down to my teens, when my best friend cut my hair from the age of 13 until I moved away to go to college at 17, even then she’d cut it every time I came home for holidays. It was always a different style and it always looked good. Now I can never think of what to ask for/describe what I want and usually leave it for so long between cuts that I go in and say I’m sick of it, do what you want. This has led to some very dodgy haircuts…

5. We used to have a house full of reptiles in Australia. We had two snakes (children’s pythons) and a variety of Australian geckos. We had a license to keep them and we used to breed the geckos. Those babies are very cute.

6. Gorgeous Man and I don’t fight. We get grumpy with each other occasionally, but it usually only lasts 10 or 15 minutes, and we don’t yell at each other or say nasty things. My friends tell me this is weird because they fight with their husbands/partners.

I’m not going to tag anyone, if you do end up doing this drop me a line and let me know, I’ll be interested to see other people’s weird things.

Hope all of you had a great Christmas. Thanks for reading my blog. I’ve had a great time in the last 5 months getting to know those of you who have stopped by and said hello.

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Yesterday we took MIL and her husband for a drive. We went to the top of Sir Lowry’s Pass, and looked at the ocean, Gorgeous Man’s mother picked up some lovely wood carvings from Malawi and a stone carving from Zimbabwe from the sellers who are set up at the top of the pass.

Then we drove through the mountains to Franschoek.

This is not the road we drove on (it is paved) this is just a section where you can stop and take pictures.

This town was a centre for the Huguenots settlers who fled France in the late 17th century. Now it’s a lovely wine growing area with lots of picturesque buildings and excellent restaurants. We visited the Huguenots Memorial Museum. Which was really interesting.

This is the orignial deed to some land in the area. I love old documents.

They had lots of information about Europe and the political situation that caused the Huguenots to flee, as well as lovely old furniture and this,

an unfinished quilt top from the mid to late 1800s. If you look closely you can still see the stitches. I also found this ‘table topper’,

but this piece had no information about date or maker.

It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

I’ve been tagged by Beth  to do the six weird things about me meme. Right now MIL is waiting so it will have to wait for another day. I’m going to have some problems narrowing it down to 6.  🙂

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I finally bit the bullet yesterday and bought some buttons to truly complete my finished objects. I hate sewing things up, so I’ve only done one item so far, 2 more to go.

This yarn is from Starfish, she was my pal in the Favourite Colour swap I did in the middle of the year. I found the perfect button to match, please don’t look too closely at the seaming at the shoulder.

Most major intersections in our area have people who brave the traffic to sell items. I love driving through and seeing what they have. Items for sale range from beautiful roses, cases of fruit, whips made from recycled tires, hats, bags, sunglasses, and mobile phone chargers. But my favourite stuff is the craft. They sell a variety of beaded items and I’m getting a nice collection of flowers in my office, they also have tractors made out of wood and tin which I have my eye on.

I bought my Christmas tree on Sunday, from a guy on the side of the road.

It sits on a box in the corner of our living room, with presents underneath. It’s not very big, but I like it a lot. All of the decorations are wired on, the craftspersonship is superb, and I smile every time I look at it.

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Mother-in-law and her husband arrived safely on Friday, and the curtains were finished. Gorgeous Man picked up the hooks on the way to the airport and hung them when he got home with his mother, so we cut it close, but I wasn’t sewing them when they walked in the door.

The Carols by Candlelight went reasonably well for an outdoor event and considering that the musicians were given a different score/order of singing than the choir and audience. Gorgeous Man took some photos from the audience This is just before the lighting of the candles. It was really lovely to be on the stage and look out into the darkness and see all the twinkling candles and the parents with their children. I couldn’t really take a picture for you from there though.

It’s finally starting to look a little bit like Christmas at our house. I haven’t felt too inspired this year. I have a brass Christmas tree that holds tea lights. We bought it from Oxfam in Australia and it sits on our TV every year. Yesterday I bought a South African Christmas tree, from a hawker on the side of the road. It’s beaded and is very cute. I’ll post pictures next time I get to the computer. Both trees are items that give back to the community through their purchase. For me this is what Christmas should be about…

The performance of O Holy Night in the church went well. I didn’t feel to bad in the end about being asked to understudy P for the Carols, she is off to Singapore in March to do the Phantom of the Opera season there, so it’s not like she isn’t really good. Though Gorgeous Man’s assessment of her singing made me laugh (he hates opera).

“She attacked that song, wrapped it in a little ball and jumped up and down on it. Her high note at the end made me want to stick my fingers in my ears.”

Fortunately (for him) he tells me that my high note at the end of the song in the church service (b flat below top c for those muscial boffins out there) did not want to make him stick his fingers in his ears. I didn’t have a chance to rehearse the song with the choir and that was a bit nerve-racking, I like to be really prepared and it made for interesting conversation afterwards. Two of the choir members told me how lovely it was and then asked if I was going to be making singing my career. I didn’t know how to respond to this because at 33 I’ve really left it a bit late to start a singing career now. Turns out they thought I was much much younger he he he. (There are some benefits to never smoking, and cleasing, toning and moisturising every day since I was 12).

I started working on a baby jersey with some of the yarn sent to me by The Heathen Housewife but half-way through realised I wouldn’t have enough yarn and frogged it, so no new knitting pictures today.

Knitting is a wonderful de-stresser. I’ve been knitting a lot lately…

Finally a picture from my garden, of one very confused iris which decided to flower this week. This plant sits under my bedroom window at the front of the house next to our tomato plants which are giving us a really good crop of tomatoes at present.

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My mother-in-law is arriving tomorrow afternoon so I don’t know how often I’ll be able to get to the blog while she is here. On the upside, we’ll be doing the tourist thing with them so I’ll get to visit some places I’ve been before and some new places. We probably won’t go with them to Robben Island (I’ve been twice now) but we are planning to go up Table Mountain by cable car and do some day trips around Cape Town.

It should be fun. Remember those curtains I had to make? Still not done…fabric is washed though. I’ll work on them this afternoon before the sound check for Carols by Candlelight and again Friday morning. I’m sure they’ll be done before they get here…

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Just to clarify, I’m not pregnant: dude from yesterday was just a rude, stupid, middle-aged man who happened to offend me with his comments.

I am such an enabler, I really can’t help myself. When I met Simone at the beginning of the year she was knitting scarves, since then she’s made two hats and I’m currently helping her knit socks. (I’m not a knitting pusher really). In keeping with the crafty theme, yesterday Simone came over and used a sewing machine for the first time:

She’s making a Christmas table cloth – on the window in the background is my design wall (currently unused). I’ll make a quilter out of her yet. he he he, poor girl won’t know what hit her…

I didn’t get any sewing done, but that’s ok because I got to knit. I frogged Simone’s sock and reknit the heel for her so that she could have another go at turning it. For me making the first sock was just about following the pattern, but Simone is managing dpns, following a pattern and shaping for the first time. Her sock is looking great, it’s just taking us a few false starts to get there.

In Australia life is a lot more laid back than here in South Africa. Most of the smaller shops in the town – not in the malls, but on the street front have little gates. When you want to go into a shop you stand at the gate and call out and the shop keeper buzzes you in. I’ll try to get a photo of this without looking like I’m casing the joint.

Banks and post offices work quite differently. It took Gorgeous Man and I 10 minutes and the assistance of the bank security guard to enter the bank the first time we went. It was very much like the country cousins come to town… This photo shows the entrance to the post office in town.

The exit is identical, but on the other side of the building. To get in you must open the first door and wait until it closes (this is the important bit we kept missing) and then push the second door. If South Africa ever decides to enter the space race they’ve got the airlocks covered. This design is to prevent mobs and large groups from entering the building.

This type of door is not universal. The bank and post office in the main mall have ‘normal’ entrances because security is a little better there.

This was new to me and I found it interesting, I thought others might too. It’s the small things, often, that remind me that I’m a stranger in a distant land.

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Choir was interesting last night. I seem to have established myself as the resident knitter. I was arranging my music – we have a new order for the last two performances for the year, when most people came in. At least ten of them asked where the knitting was, one woman actually asked for the pattern that I was knitting – it’s a free internet pattern so I don’t feel bad about passing that along. I’ve converted another one.

There was nearly blood shed last night too: One older gentleman came up and asked what I was knitting, I told him it was a baby’s jersey for Hottentots Holland Hospital Helpers. He then PATTED me on the stomach (don’t touch me you freak) and commented that he couldn’t see anything in there. I’m telling you if all four dpns hadn’t been engaged I’d have stabbed him in the hand.

Moving right along… The gifted knitting needles do fit in the container that I use to store my needles

This originally held a calendar that my MIL brought for us when she was working in China. The calendar went up in my classroom at school – I was teaching Chinese History and I kept the container for my knitting needles. I also used one of the pages in the calendar to cover  a shoe box which now holds my (rarely used) rubber stamps.

Problem is, this is now full to the point of bursting, so I need to make a needle roll. I have the fabric that I want to use, but I’ve only ever seen needle rolls on-line and never in person. I’m not sure how hard it will be to create one from scratch. I’m thinking I might have to play with some scrap material before cutting up the good stuff.

In all my free time of course…

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We had our inaugural braai (South African for barbecue) on Sunday. We broke in our new BBQ with a small gathering of friends and a lot of food!. Since the men cooked, I got to sit, chat, drink coffee and work on thisI think that in my joy at finding self-striping sock yarn, I may have picked up different dyelots, but they don’t match so it shouldn’t matter too much. These are my ’round the house and watching tv socks’. I need to finish some of the charity items before I venture back to the LYS to buy the dpns I need to make jaywalkers. I did the toe shaping and finishing after everyone had gone home, I can’t talk and shape yet.

I feel a bit odd about doing this, but some of you have been asking, so Gorgeous Man has set this up for me (I’m not technologically literate enough). If you would like to hear my track from the cd you can go here.

The cover of the cd, this is taken on our campus.

Tonight is the penultimate rehearsal before the Carols by Candlelight, and I’m going to go, and smile nicely…

Typepad and Livejournal hate me. I have been trying to leave comments to folks that I normally visit, but keep getting a message telling me that I have been identified as spam and can’t post. Any ideas on solving that one?

Please spare a thought for the bushfires in Australia today.

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The first Christmas cards from Australia arrived today, which was very nice. It’s lovely to hear from old friends, most of whom have been pretty slack this year since we’ve been away. It always interests me when you move away from your friends, sometimes people you don’t expect keep in touch really well and others who you were quite close to don’t.

Anyway moving on to the bounty. My step-mother-in-law (hello G) sent me this, It’s going up in my office. Very cool.

I also got given this today, a bunch of knitting needles. One of Gorgeous Man’s colleagues is retiring and they are moving and downsizing, after over 30 years in the one house they have a lot of downsizing to do! At last I’m seeing some advantages to moving house/state/country every few years, you only keep what is really important to you and jettison most of the superfluous stuff, but I digress.

His lovely wife gave me her entire knitting needle collection! Apparently they have been sitting idle for years, she told me all she ever made was a jersey for her and one for one of her children, her husband was complaining the other day that she never made him a jersey, I told them about the curse of the boyfriend sweater and that seemed to make him feel better.

There are sizes in there that I don’t have and the shiny plastic ones are really heavy and I’ve never seen them before, I think they might be old. I hope I’ll be able to fit them all into my knitting needle container. I’ll show a picture of that in the next post since I think it’s kind of cool.

I don’t understand the local weather patterns here. Yesterday it was well over 30 degrees c (about 75F), today is cold and rainy and I’ve got the heater on. Oh well, I guess I’ll be able to wear my completed socks sooner than expected.

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