Archive for November, 2007

Gorgeous Girl was eight weeks old yesterday, and to mark the occasion she slept through the night! It was wonderful, though because she is a grunter, I have to admit that I got up a few times to check that she was ok. We are hoping for a repeat tonight…

Gratuitous cute kid picture:

Sorry, having trouble rotating the pictures tonight. Tilt your head to see the full-impact of that smile.

Sewing-wise I have one set of curtains up, I hate sewing curtains and procrastinate like anything when I have to make them, and the other set nearly ready to hang, just need to sew the tape to the top and add hooks.

On the knitting front I’ve cast on for a new hat with the same yarn as the last hat, pictures when it’s longer than an inch. Tomorrow is my ‘knitting for charity’ day (according to the list I’ve made for myself) and I’m hoping to pick up a project that’s been on the needles since before the Gorgeous Girl was born. Though we are having friends over for lunch (pot-luck so it’s nice and easy, we are providing a lentil salad and zuccini fritters, they’ll bring the rest) and in the evening I’ve got music rehearsal, so I may not get as much done as I’d like.

It’s Carol’s By Candlelight time again, the money raised goes to a local hospice. Unlike last year there is no mass choir, but the music director has asked a small group of us (about 8) to lead the community carol singing and present some items, as a group and also solo. Our first rehearsal is tomorrow night and we find out more information then.

The Secret Knitter tagged me for a shopping meme at the beginning of the month, since we only get paid monthly and do a big shop then I’ve waited to do it.

1. What are you proud of?

Drawing up a menu plan and shopping to the list. We have been having some yummy meals because of the menu 🙂

2. What are you embarrassed by?

Disposable nappies (diapers) – we are using cloth nappies, but put the disposable ones on at night, they don’t get as wet…but I feel like an environmental traitor.

3. What do you think you couldn’t live without?

The first watermelon of the season and fresh strawberries.

4. What did you most enjoy purchasing?

Oceanspray cranberry juice. The store occasionally gets a shipment in, we won’t discuss the fact that it is over 3 times the price of regular fruit juice and so is regulated to a special occasion drink.

5. What were you most tempted by? (This last one may or may not be an actual purchase!)

  1. Chocolate of the dark variety (bought), magazines of the house & lifestyle and cooking variety (resisted).

If you would like to play along consider yourself tagged, please let me know if you do play so I can read your responses.

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I’ve been shopping 🙂 I decided to make Gorgeous Girl a Christmas stocking for her first Christmas, and an Advent Calendar so we headed down to The Fabric Centre. This place is the size of a warehouse and sells all sorts of fabric, mostly for furnishings, but they do have some stuff you can use for quilting. I found a selction of Christmas fabrics, the second from the left is the only one that is real quilting quality though.

The two on the left are for the stocking and the rest will make up the Advent Calendar.

I also made another visit to the LYS that is closing down.

I’m going to have fun knitting this up.

Yesterday Gorgeous Girl had her last play-date with this beautiful boy.

He emigrated to Canada today with his Canadian mummy and South African daddy. We are going to miss them very much. Although Australia and Canada are quite different, it was very nice to have a friend who understood what it is to be a stranger in a strange land.

On a happier note, I have a finished object to show you. I took part in a bookmark swap recently. I haven’t received my bookmark yet, but I can show you the one I sent since I know it arrived at its destination safely.

I dusted off my shuttle and thread and tatted up this bookmark. Since I was sleep-deprived and couldn’t read a pattern properly it inadvertantly ended up being my own design, but I’m pleased with how it turned out and the recipient seemed to like it.

Hopefully I’ll have some progress to show on the stocking soon, but I’m forcing myself to finish the curtains before doing fun sewing for me, of course all this depends on how long Gorgeous Girl sleeps.

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Thanks to all of you who commented on my request for information on how to improve my hand quilting. I’ve mostly taught myself to quilt from books and the internet, and although I belong to a quilting guild they do more talking about quilting (and show and tell time) than actual quilting.

However, I’m on the committee for the guild this year, so that’s something I’d like them to think about. One of the problems is that the guild is now so big (over 60 members at each meeting) that it’s hard to do more than talk… I should try and join one of the small groups now that Gorgeous Girl is here and I’m not working…

Anyway, back to the point, Gorgeous Girl has been taking some nice long naps and this has enabled me to finish a block.

I’ve taken your advice and the next block underway is looking much better.

Yesterday Gorgeous Girl wore her newly modified top.

I just had to throw in a gratuitous cute kid picture 🙂

We went to the fabric store yesterday to look for fabrics for a Christmas stocking and an Advent Calendar – the selection was pretty limited, and quite dated, but it will do. Pictures once the camera’s batteries are recharged, somehow both sets are dead. Most annoying.

I’m enjoying seeing the bookmarks starting to arrive at their destinations in the bookmarks swap, hope mine arrives soon. Sorry someone is waking up, so no links.

Have a wonderful day.

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Oh happy day, oh joy, oh rapture (sorry, just a bit carried away with the elation of it all).

Australia has a new prime minister. Kevin Rudd.

Can you guess how I voted 🙂

Today was graduation day for Gorgeous Man’s students. Many of the relatives and friends of the students wore traditional clothes and head-dresses. I wish I could show you pictures, but it seems kind of intrusive to photograph people I don’t know to provide blogging material. I wish I could show you pictures of some of the elaborate hairstyles that the students and guests had, I also wish I could share the sound of the women ululating as their son/daughter/spouse/friend walked across the stage to receive their degree, but alas no tape-recordings (should that be cd recordings?).

Instead, I’ll share with you what was the most poignant moment of the day. Two old(ish) men marched with the graduands today. They had finished their degrees in the late 60s, but due to their colour were not allowed to march with their class and publically receive their degrees. Today that wrong was redressed. They got a standing ovation from the crowd and the students. The make-up of the student population has really changed since 1994 and now reflects the demographics of South Africa, and these two men helped pave the way.

I have to admit, I shed a tear or two.

Kerin, Gorgeous Girl wore the little outfit you sent today. I’ll take a picture when she wakes up and put it in the next post. She was very cute, and she behaved well during the ceremony.

There was a 40 minute delay before the ceremony started, fortunately I had my take-along sock knitting and Gorgeous Girl was asleep so I got quite a bit done: pictures when it’s longer than 2 inches.

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I blame Barbara for my latest venture into a new craft. 🙂 Really I do, you see she showed cute little cross-stitched onsies on her blog and I just had to do the same. Because she is an enabler a very kind and helpful person, she even emailed me a pattern to get started and gave me tips and advice along the way.

This was so much fun. But it’s a slippery slope… yesterday, as I was pulling out the waste canvas (see I’ve even got the lingo) I was muttering about Christmas ornaments to myself. This is a worry since our Christmas tree is a foot high, made of beads and wire, and doesn’t have ornaments.

I’ve decided to make Gorgeous Girl an Advent calendar (fabric shopping tomorrow if I get time) and will cross-stitch the numbers onto the little stockings. The LYS that is going out of business has beautiful threads at half price and I know where I can get linen. Barbara, I will be asking you for more advice soon. Thank you for all your help with this, I really enjoyed doing it.

On Thursday I had my first meet up with a fellow blogger: Cristina from Little Wilds. It was fun to meet her. We didn’t get a photo of the meeting, what with my crying kid and her crying kid it was hard to talk at times let alone get out the camera, but it was fun to meet up and I’m sure we’ll do it again, she only lives 20 minutes away. We would never have met but for the blogs, which is kind of cool.

Cristina is an awesome crocheter and her knitting is pretty cool too. She brought along presents for Gorgeous Girl.

A rattle ball, some very cute mittens and some lovely socks.

We had an alumni dinner on Thursday, Gorgeous Girl came along.

Just before we left (she is exactly 7 weeks old in this picture), and at the dinner

I’ve cast-on a sock as a take-along project, this is the 5th time I’ve cast on for this pair, hopefully I’ve got the maths right this time.

Today is the Federal Election in Australia. The seat we are registered in is a marginal seat, at the last election the difference between the two main candidates for that seat was approximately 150 votes – every vote there really does count. So I voted postally this week (voting is compulsorary in Australia, but if you are living overseas for any extended period of time it is optional). My vote has 14 days to make it to Australia before the deadline for postal votes – South Africa post can manage that can’t they. I won’t think about the Christmas card that we sent December 10, 2006 and arrived June, 2007… I am determined to make my voice heard and see the right man win. This time tomorrow I’m either going to be very happy, or extremely despondant…Right now I’m off to scour the internets for up-to-date election results. First Federal Election where I haven’t watched the live coverage…yes, I’m a political tragic

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This is the 4th time I’ve attempted to write up this post, Gorgeous Girl has a way of waking at inopportune moments. However, now that she is in a routine, I have crafting time. I’ve been knitting:

this is the yarn that I bought at the LYS closing down sale. I like how the colours are knitting up and it’s nice to work with. That’s probably a good thing since I bought 15 balls of it.  🙂 I’ve nearly finished, but this is the only picture you’ll see for a while since it’s a gift.

I also managed to sneak in a little hand quilting on the animal quilt.

I was hoping it would get better with time, but my hand quilting kind of sucks (and I’m not looking for compliments) I’m having real trouble getting the stitches the same size on the back and the front. Any advice would be welcome.

Melissa at Tiny Happy makes the most wonderful baby clothes and shoes out of recycled vintage material. I was very lucky this week as she generously gifted Gorgeous Girl with a pair of shoes.

They are just beautiful! Thank you very much Melissa! You should go and check out her shop – I’ll wait.

Gorgeous Girl has an honorary aunty in Australia – one of my very dear friends from high school. Kerin is an amazing scrapbooker and card maker. She sent Gorgeous Girl a package this week too, she also sent me some scrapbooking stuff to play with. Here are some highlights.

A very cute denim skirt and


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There has been knitting: sadly there has also been frogging…Moral of the story? Don’t read when you are doing decrease rounds. Apparently I can’t read and count at the same time. No pictures on the restarted item, it’s a gift.

Gorgeous Girl received some very cute hand-knit booties from my aunty in Tasmania.

She has also been incredibly blessed by the generosity of my blogging friends. I need to start paying the generosity forward now.

Monica sent Gorgeous Girl this beautiful bib,

She’s making lots of bibs at the moment, go and check them out. Monica also sent a pattern book of beautiful baby/toddler knits. Thank you Monica!

Gorgeous Man has already picked out the ones he thinks I should make. Dang – that means more yarn shopping 🙂

A parcel also arrived from Starfish last week.

My crochet skills enable me to go back and forth and round and round, but no shaping. This kimono jacket is just stunning, I can’t wait to put her in it. Here are the socks in action

Well, sock (I’m not a great photographer). Thank you Starfish (the tea and sweets were also most welcome – I’m off to make a cup when this post is finished – if Gorgeous Girl stays asleep).

Finally one last action shot, a onsie from Cathi:

on the quilt from Amy.

Thank you to everyone who has sent Gorgeous Girl adorable handmade gifts, I love dressing her in them.

There has been reading:

Book update:

Books I’ve read in 2007 –

59. The Fey:Changeling Kristine Kathryn Rusch – this was a really good read. I’m not hugely into fantasy as a genre, but I couldn’t put this one down.

60. Return to China – a survivor of the Cultural Revolution reports on China today Liang Heng and Judith Shapiro – this is the sequel to Son of the Revolution that I read last week. He gets to go back to China 4 years after leaving, in 1985, and see the changes that have occurred.

61. Next Stop – Peking R.J. Minney – this was an interesting read. Printed in 1957 it is an Englishman’s account of his time in China as a guest of the Chinese government. Parts of the writing is very dated and today would be considered paternalistic and insulting, but it is interesting from a historical point of view to see someone trying to make sense of a social system very far removed from their own.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, I hope you have a great day.

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Gorgeous Man was spending some time in the garden on Sunday when he discovered a very useful creature, he went to the car for his snake catching stick and I went inside for the camera.

This is a common slug eater – it eats (surprisingly) snails and slugs. Just a friendly reminder not to pick up snakes unless you know what it is and you know how to handle them. Also if you live in Australia remember that all snakes are protected, it is illegal to kill them and you can be subject to a $5000 fine. (ok, off soap box)

Then yesterday while doing some more yard work Gorgeous Man discovered a myriad of these little fellows.

Cute isn’t it?

Here’s a close up – look at that little face.

In other news we have Gorgeous Girl in a routine and I feel like I have my life back. I’m actually getting some time for myself. I should be able to finish my bookmark for the bookmark swap today and get it in the post and some housework will also be done.

There has been more reading while b-feeding.

Book update:

Books I’ve read in 2007 –

57. Chinese Characters – a journey through China Sarah Lloyd. She was one of the few foreigners able to travel freely in China in the early 1980s (when it was just starting to open to foreign tourists and many areas were still off-limits) and this is an account of her travels.

58. Continental Drifter – taking the low road with the first Grand Tourist Tim Moore

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was common for young men from Britain to tour Europe to broaden their horizons. The author of this book followed the journey of the first Englishman to record his tour of Europe in 1608.

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First to the victory: I’ve been wearing my pre-pregnancy jeans this week. Just my fat normal jeans, not the skinny ones, but pre-pregnancy jeans nonetheless. Doing the happy dance…

Now to the loss: One of our local yarn stores is closing and thus all yarn is on sale – they will stay open until it’s all gone. Cristina emailed me to let me know, and so Gorgeous Man and I went along to see what we could find. Gorgeous Man is wanting another jumper(sweater) and we were hoping that there’d be some suitable yarn for him.

It was very disappointing. I went with cash, prepared to spend, and this is all I came home with.

Five balls of the light stuff, three balls of the dark and 2 rotary cutter blades -the blades were a bargain 1/2 price. The rest of the yarn was very nasty acryllic that squeaked when touched and novelty yarn and fake fur. There were a few nice yarns, but they weren’t enough of a bargain yet to come home with me. I’ll go back at the end of the month and see if anything has been further reduced.

The blues are very nice though. I have some friends who are having boys and I don’t mind putting Gorgeous Girl in blue either – she got called ‘young fella’ this week and the gentleman concerned got cross when I said she was a girl, because I’d dressed her in blue.

Saturday saw lovely weather (which was a nice change after the miserable cold week we’ve had) so a group of us decided to drive along the coast and have a picnic in a botanical garden. It was very nice. On the way home we stopped at Stony Point to see a baby elephant seal which is somewhat off course resting there – it arrived Thursday.

We were able to get quite close to it.

This was a very cool experience. Gorgeous Girl slept through it all.

We are trying to get Gorgeous Girl into a routine – so far it’s working (day 2) so hopefully I’ll have more time to quilt and knit do housework soon.

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(With apologies to Virginia Woolf)

Gorgeous Girl is finally asleep and I have some time to blog! I think we are having a bit of a growth spurt since she has done nothing but feed for the last 2 days.

On Monday I took her to the quilting guild, where she was oohed and aahed over. I think she’s going to be quite the favourite. There are only a few (less than 10) of us in the guild who are under 50 – there don’t seem to be too many young quilters here, and most of the ladies have grandchildren, but 90% of the guild member’s grandchildren are overseas…

I also took Gorgeous Girl to choir rehearsal on Monday night – the first one I’ve been to since she was born. She was very good, though she fed through most of it. I’ve discovered that it is possible to sing and b-fed at the same time. There’s a performance on Sunday, not sure if I’ll be attending that one or not, there were some new pieces that I had to sight-sing at rehearsal, but nothing too difficult. It all depends on how Gorgeous Girl is on the day I guess.

I received a wonderful parcel from Cathi. There were some babygros for Gorgeous Girl – I can’t wait to put her in these.

The applique is from South African indigo (shwe-shwe) fabric. I think they are very cute. She also included some treats for Mama, some soap (which smells divine) and a hand-knit body scrubber. I should also confess that there were also edible treats which didn’t make into the photo 🙂

Thank you Cathi! It was all beautifully wrapped; but having poor impulse control, I had the parcels unwrapped before it occurred to me to take a photo.

This seems like a good place to do the meme that Cathi tagged me for as well.

Why Do You Craft Meme

1. When did you start to create and make crafts?

I harrassed my mother into teaching me to knit when I was about 9 and I remember having one of those french-knitting spools made out of an old sewing reel and later one out of plastic. I made yards of the stuff. I also remember convincing my brother to unravel his favourite blankie so that I could have the yarn to knit with (black and rainbow coloured crocheted hexagons) – yes, I’m going to hell.

I don’t remember any finished objects from my entire time living at home though.

The quilting only started 4 years ago. I read quilting magazines for 2 years before I cut my first piece of fabric. I made a cushion at a friends place while we were on holdiay in her town and was hooked. I went home with her spare machine and half-way through my first quilt bought my sewing machine.

I’m fairly late to the creating party – a late bloomer if you will.

2. Why did you start creating?

I’ve always been fascinated by yarn, I clearly remember standing transfixed for hours at the Royal Show and local agricultural fairs watching the ladies spin – it’s still a dream of mine to own my own wheel – won’t happen while we are in South Africa though.

I first saw a book of Australiana quilting blocks that belonged to one of my mother’s friends when I was in high school, I was fascinated by it (even borrowed the book), but didn’t take it up at that time.

I started creating seriously after uni was out of the way and I was working. At first it was knitting and this was a way to relieve stress and to give my hands something to do in the evenings. I liked seeing something structural and tangible grow from a ball of yarn and some sticks, and there’s something nice about seeing someone you love being kept warm by something you made.

3. Why do you create?

I create because I can. I find it relaxing and enjoyable and it gives me something to do in the evenings. It’s also enabled me to meet some amazing people and to support various charities.

4. What do you create?

I create knitted garments, quilts and tatted bits and pieces. I also make my own cards, and have dabbled in jewellery making -must get back to that sometime soon.

5. Has this changed since you began crafting?

I used to just knit, I’ve become more diverse since then. Being part of the online knitting community has also inspired me to learn more techniques and stretch myself.

6. What are your crafting goals for the future?

To actually have time to craft, please tell me I will have more time as Gorgeous Girl gets older… 😀

To finish hand quilting my current quilt.

To put on paper (and then on fabric) the designs for two quilts Gorgeous Man has suggested.

To knit more for Gorgeous Girl.

To knit lace for me using the silk Gorgeous Man brought back from the USA.

To finish my bookmark for the bookmark swap on time.

To make some more things with beads and wire.

Well Gorgeous Girl is awake and hungry, ’til next time,


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