Sunday, 31 October 2010

blogtoberfest over

Here it is, the last day of October.  It's a month I'm pleased to say goodbye too, although it reminds me of how close Christmas is.  It's a month I will see as a milestone with the sale of the house, although I'll get no money from that till mid-January next year.

I've struggled with Blogtoberfest tis year.  My head hasn't been in the right place at all to cope with it.  I missed one day this time around and none at all last year.  Last year I visited a lot of blogs which were new to me and I still keep up with some of them via Google Reader.  This year, I started out following blogs new to me, but haven't read nearly s many as last year.

Hopefully things will be different next year.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

moda noir shawl

So here's the finished shawl, warts and all, as I suggested in the previous post.  Taken on my phone indoor but the colours are reasonably true.  Yarn is Moda Noir from Spitlite on special, so shawl cost less than $5.

I like the colours but probably won't buy more of this yarn, not even for socks.  Down on bottom left, two of the several patches of undyed yarn can be seen.  I suppose I could try and match the colour with a texta or similar but I'm not going to even bother.  This will be used as a scarf or light shoulder throw at home in cool weather.  I'm counting the imperfections as part of the whole deal, meal deal so to speak.  It was done for a specific time and purpose as some relaxation and meditation during an unpleasant period of time when I couldn't concentrate  on anything more complex.  I am planning on looking at progress made when I look  at this and see how far I've come.

In the early stages, the colours lasted more than one row.  As the rows grew longer, the colours changed quite frequently, sometimes even within a row.  When I spread the shawl on the table this morning, I had a surprise.  I suppose it's a  form of pooling, but the shawl is split down the centre spine into a light and a dark side.

Friday, 29 October 2010


I re-read yesterday's entry just now.  "Barring something extraordinary" was what I said.  A very silly thing to say too.

This morning I decided I'd clean the fridge and the freezer above it.  It wasn't grubby, just very disorganised.  The boarder here opens lots of things, rarely seals them properly and shoves them back anywhere.  He does teh same with biscuits and soft drinks.  There is actually some rhyme and  reason to the arrangements of things in both fridge and freezer, but it wasn't there this morning.

I had half the bottom section of the freezer tidied, had thrown out nearly finished packets of pastizzi which the boarder had opened, not sealed and the contents, usually just a couple, were freezer burnt and discarded by him.  Ditto to several small cartons of good icecream.  All icy and two had gone sticky.  Suddenly a large packet of frozen meat fell out onto my middle finger of the left hand.  I thought I'd broken it.  It was bruised almost immediately, there was a cut where it had been jammed against an edge and the swelling came up quickly.  Fortunately there was no lack of cold stuff to put on it.  Swelling has gone down mainly but the bruising and cut are still there and it's very difficult to type properly with a bodgy finger.

Don't tell me to talk to the guy.  We sort of tolerate each other.  I've known him for twenty years or so and he's always known everything there is to know about absolutely everything.  DIL gets through to him very occasionally and we've given up complaining to my son.  It puts him in a horrible position.  We've taken six months to stop him putting the good carving knives in the dishwasher as it blunts the edge.  He now has a firm job, so they will ask him to leave soon, I think.

However, I'd blocked the shawl which looks fine all pinned out.  It was fairly wet when I pinned it.  It won't be dry till tomorrow.  Nothing fancy, but it's bigger than I expected.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

coming down the home straight

Day 28 of Blogtoberfest 2010.  I've missed one day but should make it through to the end now, barring something extraordinary happening.  Last year I seemed to sail through the month.  This year has been harder and my mind has been faraway some days.

However, I'm getting there.  I finished the Moda Noir shawl today but it still needs blocking.  It could hardly have been simpler and even then, at times it was too much to think about.  I love the colours but possibly won't buy this sock yarn again.  It came from Spatlite on a 20% discount day which I hadn't even known about.  I bought an embroidery and this yarn for under $15 and the embroidery was close to $12.  So it was cheap.  It was OK to knit, it reminded me of Opal but was softer.  Opal feels like string to my poor fingers.  It knitted up fine.  However at the end it was a bit splitty for about the last ten grams.  I really like the colours, deep purples and various shades of grey.  However, more trouble at the end.

About five times in the last few grams, there were places where no dye had been applied and the colour was quite white for about 20 cm.  I always found these bits when I was in the middle of the row.  Several hundred stitches.

I thought about unpicking till the end, I even contemplated cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I did neither.  I couldn't face the unpicking or the darning in of the ends.  I thought about it and decided that this was a memento of a special time in my life and I'd leave it there, warts and all, figuratively speaking.  I did this as a distraction and a meditation, not as a show piece.  I always correct mistakes and have unpicked several hundred stitches to do so.  Not this time.  I see it as a neckerchief possibly or a light shoulder shawl perhaps worn at the computer on a cooler evening.  So the white bits stayed.  It's also a reminder that very often the cliché is true: you get what you pay for and the whole shawl was under $5  Mostly, the colours are pretty and it will be warm and soft.

Coming down the home straight on other fronts too.  A letter from the conveyancing people at the solicitors came today. A possible settlement date mid-January which was what I expected and notification of a six figure deposit paid into an interest bearing account.  Please supply tax file number so maximum  rate is not deducted from what the deposit earns at a reasonably healthy rate of interest.

I'm planning a pretty cowl for one DIL with the cashmerino from Lush mentioned  few posts ago. I've ordered some beads to use with it.

Things are looking up.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

pendant bad photo

A bad photo of yesterday's impulse purchase of the glass pendant.  It's quite thick and I like the heaviness.  I also like heavy pens and always put the top back on to make them heavier and I also like heavy jewellery and cutlery.  Perhaps I should have waited till this afternoon when there would probably have been more light in my room for a photo.  For such a cheap purchase, it's attracted quite few favourable comments.  There was nothing to indicate the maker or country of origin.

For some time Cindy2paw tested the recipes put out by Coles with Curtis Stone's name endorsing them.  Feed a family of four for  $10" was the advertising for them.  She wrote about them on her blog and I tested quite a few too and agreed with her conclusions.  The servings were small and the flavour bland.  Yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald announced the Shonky Awards by Choice magazine, from the consumer body of the same name.  Guess what?  This promotion earned a Shonky.  Not for the tiny serves, three prawns for example in a serve, nor the bland flavour.  Choice rapped Coles over the knuckles for the $10 claim.  They said that the price was only under that amount if many of the ingredients were already purchased .

Cindy2paw and Lynne at Yarnivorous were complaining yesterday that Woolworths no longer took debit cards.  I was surprised as I have had no problem at all.  I don't have a credit card but only a debit card.  The photo clearly shows the use of a Mastercard debit card with no extra fee charged, just the purchase amount.  My bank statement has no extra fees charged either.This was for things I bought yesterday.  Now I'm in NSW and they are in two different other states.  Perhaps it does not happen here.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

me day

I did take some time for me today.  Witty Knitter suggested it may well need more than one day.  I know that and can see more time for myself ahead, but today was just the first after all the mess is over.  That's one good thing about an auction.  Settlement is basically guaranteed as finance needs arranging pre-auction.  Yes, things could still go wrong but it's certainly not the usual thing to happen.

I did some minor retail therapy for me today.  I really did need more coffee.  My son usually buys where he works from a man who has his own shop and roasts his own coffee at another location.  It's superb. Unfortunately the complex where he roasts beans has been shut down for redevelopment and he hasn't found another location.  He bought beans in and they were terrible.  Thin and watery flavour with no crema. So I went to where I had bought good stuff before locally.

While there I did some shopping.  I found a glass pendant, about 4-5 cm long in a tear drop or leaf shape.  It's quite thick, went well with what I was wearing.  Different shades of green with a  couple of colourful accents.  So I bought it. It cost a king's ransom.  Not quite.  It cost me just $5. Photos tomorrow if it's sunny.

I also bought some headphones for listening to the iPhone while reading in bed.  As I already wear hearing aids, I bought the ones which fit over the ear.  They also fit over the aids.  I did buy some of the bud style earlier but they were too uncomfortable after wearing hearing aids which are custom fitted to a mould of the individual ear.

I came home and did some more of the Moda Noir sock wool shawl.  Very basic pattern.  When I feel like it at quite random intervals I do a row of yarnover, knit 2 together.

When I started the shawl I was quite stressed and could not concentrate on following a lace pattern.  Now much of that stress has gone, I'm finding it boring.  Only another 30 gm of yarn to knit and that will go quickly with increases every second row.

And Jill who commented on a bed available.  Your area is definitely on the visit list.  Just not sure when.

Monday, 25 October 2010

back to earth with a bang

I wasn't nervous at the auction last Saturday.  I was icy cool.  I'd been nervous the week before, but on the day, nothing or very well hidden subconsciously.

True, I'd had a moment's panic on the Friday at the possibility of it not selling, but that thought was so ridiculous I was able to squash it.  It would sell,  but for how much?

When I was doing prac teaching as a student I was much the same.  Comments were always made about no nerves.  They were there, but I could conceal them.

Well, the facade fell apart.  I slept very little that night, wasn't thinking about it, just couldn't sleep.  I  think I had about two hours sleep.  Yesterday I was a bit of a wreck because of no sleep.  Today, there's been a letdown and things have caught up.  I've done quite a bit but have felt exhausted.  I've been surprised at the memories dredged up by the sale of the house.  I was over him a very long time ago really and should have made my move probably five years before I did.  I don't think he'll cope well with the move while I have moved twice in three years.  Seeing the house as he had it was a huge disappointment but since the sale I've been seeing the boys as babies there, remembering the good times.   There were good times.  Even my sons acknowledge their childhood and early teens was good and then things went wrong.  I really think there are at least two major mental problems, but he'll never  acknowledge that.  Memories of happy camping holidays, visitors, family dinners have all come rushing back.

I think that tomorrow will be a "me" day.  A much needed day. Not sure what I'll do, it depends a lot on the weather.  If it's good, I may go for a ferry ride.  Something different.  Pack my fairly neglected shawl knitting and get out of the house here.

I was thankful for the weather on the day.  It was a beautiful morning on the day of the auction, sunny and mild.  Then we had a deluge of a thunderstorm out of nowhere just a few hours later.  I'm glad that held off.  I've been thinking a lot about the future but I'll try to give that a break. It will be twelve weeks before settlement an d while I need to consider plans, the particulars of any real estate I look at now, will probably be quite different in that time.  If any pace I like is still on the market after Christmas, I may be able to get it for less.  January is typically a dead season here for both new jobs and selling houses.

So some TLC by me, for me seems to be in order.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

finished object at last

At long last, a finished object.  One pair of plain vanilla socks in Yummy yarn from Granny Square in King Street, Newtown, which had an official opening night earlier in the week.  I had probably enough left over to have made each leg about three centimetres longer.  It's pleasant yarn to knit and feels as if the sock should be both warm and comfortable, but I don't like the dyeing pattern which verges on pooling. I've been very slow, haven't even looked these up for a start date but it was a while ago.

They must have been a good sign.  The house was sold at well over a million dollars, although I think another hundred thousand would have been nice.  However, it's gone at a good price.  It was fine and sunny, there were lots of bidders, the auctioneer was very capable.  Best of all, it's another finished object and a real weight off my mind.  Perhaps this may be reflected in my knitting.  I've been unable to settle to anything much for quite a while now.  The only displeasing note to me is that it will be a twelve week settlement  before I get any money out of this.  But I'd rather that than no sale.

Mum's house is up for sale too, so there will be more money from that when it goes.

Things are looking up.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Lots of butterflies this morning.  The auction is at 11:30 am.

After consultation with my son, we've set a realistic reserve price to get bidding going.  There are now over a dozen contracts issued and half of them have been changed  to suit particular bidder's needs.  So hopefully, even if they don't all bid or some drop out, there will be enough bidders left prepared to justify their extra legal expenses to ensure lively bidding.  We have also set  a more than reasonable vendors' bid, although hopefully that will be passed quickly.  I just can't tell.  Agent is still not optimistic of as high a price as it could have been with better preparation on my ex-husband's part.

All my sons are coming as support, and win or lose, we'll have either a celebration or a wake afterwards. Actually, whatever it is, win or lose, it is really all win and celebration for me, although tinged with sadness at what could have been and should have been.  However, life can't be lived by saying, "What if..."  Enough philosophising.

I've accepted that que sera, sera,  and have adopted a wait and see attitude.  I will have money, probably enough, and will have more when Mum's house is sold.  I didn't want to have to use that to help buy something, but Sydney real estate is exorbitant and I may have to use some and invest the rest.  Solicitor's fees, agent's commission, conveyancing costs and stamp duty of any future property have to come out of money.

So, now for some coffee.

Friday, 22 October 2010

yummy socks

Anyone who's been following my knitting knows that not much has been happening lately.  I started these socks quite a while ago and have done nothing on them for ages.  The yarn is Yummy Yarn, 115 gm, from Granny Square on King Street, Newtown, Morris and Son's newish store here, just a walk away for me. The colour is more aqua and less turquoise than shows here.  The fabric feel great, the yarn is pleasant to work with but I'm not  enamoured of the way they have been dyed.  I am not a fan of pooling and to me, these border on pooling.

As my personal journey draws to a close of this current stage with the auction tomorrow, I suddenly felt the urge to have a finished object to match!  I dug these out this morning and finished the second leg and turned the heel.  Really, there's not that much more to do to them.

They've been a good thing to do today.  I don't feel nervous in the same was as a few days ago where i had a lump of lead in my stomach and couldn't get warm, but currently there are lots  of butterflies flying around there.

I've been sitting just plodding away on these.  Stitch after stitch, row after row.  It's  been quite calming.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

seams to me

I've been waiting for this book for about ten days.  $25 Australian even before the dollar ht parity with the US dollar.  Her site had it for the same price, autographed, but it would have cost more than that again for postage.  So I went my usual route via the the Book Depository.  besides signing really only adds more than interest value if the book were to be kept in mint condition and never used.

There are two sections, the theory and the practical and an envelope of patterns in the back.

I haven't really looked through it properly, more done a skim read of it.  The first part seems to have some useful information  about machines, sewing , cutting out, seams etc.  To me it's written in a rather twee, schmaltzy tone, but then I'm sensitive to that sort of thing.  Others may find it acceptable.  I can live with it, but it's not my style at all.  Perhaps I've read too many heavy academic tomes!

The second section is a group of projects.  There are some interesting fabric boxes, made of 9" cubes with very heavy interlining in them.  She suggests they could be used for yarn storage.  Right! 9"?  Perhaps they would store those pesky small leftover bits of yarn but not much more.  The concept is interesting and could be adopted for smaller boxes.  I doubt bigger ones would be stable.

I don't take part in swaps usually but have seen about pincushion swaps.  This picture shows something I think would work well for such things.  It's called a pincushion caddy. Interesting, I think.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Did I get this right?

Yes!  I can now blog from my new-to-me iPhone which should make things easier in Blogtoberfest.  Today's real entry is below this.

lush luxury yarn

The first instalment of the Lush luxury yarn club has finally arrived.  It's a skein of cashmerino, 110 gm with 400 metres/100 gm.  80% merino and 20% cashmere.  The remaining two instalments are one of silk cashmere mix and, I think, a pure cashmere skein.

This is a pretty blend of greys and feels very soft.  There is a sturdy notebook as well, covered in canvas.  I've taken to carrying a small Moleskine notebook in my bag, so I now have a replacement for when that is full.  I am not a note type person.  I rarely make lists and don't (usually) forget things.  However in this time of change I've been jotting down ideas as I see inspiration and also notes on styles and suppliers of furniture, decorating ideas and so on.

There were a couple of other things too, wrapped in paper, but they have, ahem... disappeared.  I ate them.  I've had no chocolate in my room for a couple of weeks, so those other offerings went quickly.

Now to add a picture.  I see Blogger has an update on their image software due but I have no idea of the time difference between here and wherever they are.  So we'll see.  OK, so it was slow, but it loaded.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Ooops!  I missed a day.  I'm not sure how that happened but it's now two days after the last date I posted. I've blotted my copybook.  Strange that. I was just talking to a friend on Saturday about writing with pen and ink at school, using inkwells and blotting paper too.  If we needed a new nib for our pen, the damaged old nib had to be produced to show it was really broken.  There would be much surreptitious stabbing of the nib on the wood under the desk to bend the nib.  I find it amusing how such memories float to the surface sometimes.  The blotting paper came in huge sheets and was cut into much smaller sections.  Again the old bit had to be produced to show it was well and truly used up before a new piece was issued.

Not many days now till the auction.  I am looking forward to having this over.  I really don't think it will reach as much as I would like but I'll manage.  I just want it finished.  Ex-husband has done a lousy job of the inside of the house, I was disgusted when I saw it.  I doubt he has cleaned the bathroom since I left, not quite three years ago.  I mean that, it was truly disgusting.

I'm still plodding away on the Moda Noir shawl.  Slow going and my thumb has been swollen and sore lately.  As have my feet been.  Yesterday the left foot was quite swollen under my flat instep and it was hard to walk.  I did walk up the road to the other side of the station.  There's a smallish place for sale there and I walked up to have a look at the outside. The photo shows the amount of flex currently in the thumb, in other words next to nothing.  It's blurry as it's very difficult to take a photo of my right hand using my left hand.  The button for the camera is on the right side of the camera and was difficult to operate with my left hand.  Hmmm, I wonder if they make lefthanded cameras for those who need them?  A bit like lefthanded scissors.  I doubt it somehow.  As you can see, there are no lines on the skin where the knuckle should show.  The swelling has obliterated them and I can barely bend it off the vertical.

Ooh, have a look at the site I just found.  A museum in North Ryde, NSW and see about school in teh good old days.  LOL.  The period of time can be chosen in blocks of about twenty years and pupils of today see some of how earlier pupils would have learnt.  Pen sets with blotting paper are for sale and there's a recipe for a jelly pad which I remember seeing used to make copies of drawings.  I'll have a look through more of the site later.  For a school excursion it's not expensive admission, $8/child.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

here's one I made earlier

I thought I'd re-post an old pattern I made some years ago and printed in my older blog as "here's one I made earlier." There is still a link to this group of patterns in righthand side bar of this blog.

Here goes:

Originally uploaded by Jan.

Young friends of mine were married a few months ago and Claire is now pregnant.  They are moving very unexpectedly to Tasmania, our coldest state.  I thought I'd make them something small to take with them for the baby and send something more later.  Baby is due late Autumn 2006.

I tried a couple of similar patterns and eventually made this up as I went.

Baby Hat Pattern
Materials:  I used just over 10 gm of 4 ply baby yarn, Peter Pan, a mix of nylon and acrylic.  Size 3.0 mm dpns or circular needle.  You will need dpns for smaller number of stitches at crown.

Tension Mine was 7.5 stitches/inch/2.5 cm.  Size 3.0 needles gave a firm fabric which was still soft.

Instructions for hat
With 3.00 needles, cast on 75 stitches.  Join, being careful to avoid any twist.

Knit in round till 10-12 cm long.  Stocking stitch will roll from the lower edge and hat size will be adjusted by having more or less roll.

Place marker to show beginning of round.

Decrease rows for crown:

Round 1. *Knit 3, knit 2 tog.*  Repeat from * to * through round.
Round 2.  Knit all stitches.

Round 3,4. As Rounds 1,2.

Round 5.  *Knit 2, knit 2together*  Repeat from * to * through round.
Round 6   Knit all stitches.

Round 7  *Knit 1, knit 2 tog.*  Repeat from * to * through round.
Round 8   Knit all stitches.

Round 9   Knit 2 together through whole round.

Round 10  As row 9.

Round 11  As row 9 but knit onto one dpn.  3 stitches left.

Using the dpn and 3 stitches, knit I cord for desired length for knot or bow.  Cord in picture is 7 cm long.

Cast off and darn in any loose ends.


Using dpns,knit 3 stitches.  Slide stitches to other end of neeedle and bring yarn around back.  Knit 3 stitches and repeat process for lengthe required.  If a thicker cord is wanted, omit Round 11, and make I-cord on 6 stitches.

Stripes, self-striping sockyarn, rows of eyelets etc can easily be incorporated.

Feel free to use this for hats for your family, friends, charities etc.  In other words, personal use only.  A link back or trackback would be appreciated if you use this pattern.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

despicable me

Yes, another non-knitting post although some is happening.

This has been a very difficult week for me and I have been wound up quite tightly, little sleep, skin problems relating to stress, more arthritis also stress related.  I'm doing the things I know help, some rest, some exercise, a small amount of alcohol or none, practising calmness etc.  Another week till sale of house and I think things should improve then.  At least I'll know what I have to work with.

A very good friend of mine has had a week of unpleasantness as well.  We went out to unwind, to talk and get things out.  This time he did more talking than I did, while I sat and listened  and made comments which, unknown to me, reinforced his ideas on certain matters.

We had an early lunch, then coffee and more talk and then went to the movies.  Both of us usually find that action movies help with stress.  Nothing on this time like that, so we went to see Despicable me.  This is an animated movie, supposedly 3D but I was just about to take the glasses off when he leaned over and said he didn't think they did much.  It's a good movie for children, those behind us were quite young but appeared to thoroughly enjoy it.  

The animation is very well done, there are lots of changes of expression on faces and many small details in the animation which add to its effect.  The plot is predictable although the way to the end explores some side branches.  The voices are well done for the most part, particularly in the young girls .  We laughed and laughed and watched all the way through the credits for the little extra bits which seem to be added to many films now.

Yes, it was a bit fluffy, but we both came out feeling much better than we had been feeling.

Friday, 15 October 2010

lights, camera, action

I went out today and found cameras in four different places.

We live in the middle of the crossbar of a T-intersection.

Last night a bit of paper in the letterbox announced that filming would be done this afternoon in the street directly opposite.  This would be from 2:30 pm. Haha!  Vans and trucks started arriving from just after 9:00 this morning, blocking off most of the road on occasions.  Around 2:00 the action started.  Several police cars with lights flashing pulled up and people ran everywhere.   Filming was done both inside and outside the house and cars soon began to bank up, although theoretically traffic would not be stopped at any one time for more than 90 seconds. Oh wait, another police car arrived with flashing lights.  This one had the word "Forensic" wherever it could be fitted.  A closer look at the cars showed they really were only pretend police cars.  Good pretend, but pretend , nonetheless.

All this was for an SBS crime show.  Now we have not had TV here for ten months and SBS was abominably temperamental at Killara, so the name of the show was not  familiar to me at all and I've now forgotten it.

As I went down Parramatta Road, I saw many outside broadcast vans parked outside the Coroner's Court with lots of people hanging around outside.  I checked the Herald site when I returned home and found a verdict had been handed down in a suicide case of a Channel 10 newsreader.

In Broadway shops I was nearly mown down by another professional photographer backing out of the Oxfam shop without checking if anyone was behind him.

I've saved the smallest photoshoot till last.  I reached the bus stop on my way out to find another shoot happening.  At first I thought it was for an ad, but now think it was a small film perhaps.  Two young people, about twenty, a props guy, another on sound, a cameraman and an older director, complete with board.  He even had the  ", action off pat."  The young couple were having an argument and the fellow carefully bent over and threw up on her shoes.  Here's where the props guy came in..  He had a tin of H***z  chunky vegetable soup  and he gave the young man  a spoonful of that straight from the tin to hold in his mouth.  Before every take, he would carefully pour into the guy's mouth some water and that's what came back up.  I hate tinned soup but never again will I see a can of that variety without remembering the photoshoot.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Almost halfway through this month, Blogtoberfest.  I almost forgot today that I needed an entry.

More  done on the shawl which is progressing slowly. The plain knitting is about all I can cope with at the moment.

My former home is halfway through the marketing for selling.  Lots of offers, all ridiculous and I spent much of yesterday answering emails from the agent.  He's obliged by law to submit all written offers so a response was needed.  I hope these translate into a bidding war in ten days or so time.  I'm finding this time at least as stressful as the earlier divorce application.

Good news for the rescue of the miners in Chile.  We no longer have a TV here, although I'll probably buy one when I move out of here, but I've been following the story.  I find it almost impossible to think about being trapped underground so long.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

elodie elizabeth

Nothing I can say today would top retromummy's production of beautiful Elodie Elizabeth, 55 cm long and over 8 pounds.  If you haven't done so already, go over and have a look at her.  She's  beautiful.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

what's in a name? ... a rose by any other name would smell as sweet

I live in a fairly multicultural area.  I think someone once counted the ethnicities represented in the eateries of Newtown at several dozen.  Certainly, there are the usual varieties around but there are restaurants too like Tibetan and the African eatery called the Kilimanjaro with the mural of Africa on an outside wall.

Some of these are responsible for some quite peculiar names and spellings.

However, there are the names which are obviously a ploy for puns or for standing out in the crowd.  When I was thinking about this post, there were lots more than I've written, but I forgot some.

Outrageously awful puns:  Most of these are centred around the Thai places. So we have Thai-rific, Thai-phoon and near the student accommodation area  on Parramatta Road near Glebe Point Road there is Uni-thai.

Just up the road from us we have a new Vietnamese noodle place called Pho Sure. So the puns aren't limited to Thai places.

Massacres of English and other languages: There are plenty of these round too.

How about the bead shop called Lavender de rock?

There's a hot bread shop just up the road from here called  Le Bake.  Fortunately the bread and the selection of types is better than the name might suggest and the service is pleasant and friendly.

I wince every time I walk past the hairdresser named Salon de African Pride.  The French teacher in me winces as well as my feelings about the name as a whole.

As you can probably guess, my knitting is not getting much attention.  I do a few rows here, a few rows there, but have found it hard to settle to anything.  Although I will still have much to do once the house is sold, I think things will settle a bit.  I'm hoping so.  I did about an hour of simple embroidery yesterday but no knitting.  My mind does not seem unsettled to me, but obviously my unconscious is having a field day.  No knitting, no concentration, vivid strange dreams.  Oh well, soon over I hope.

Monday, 11 October 2010

the last knit

I found this video on a blog about a week ago.  I've since been back hunting for that blog so I could give a credit.  I can't find it anywhere in my bookmarked knitting blogs, so I'm guessing that it may have come from a link in a blog roll or something like that.  So here goes:

 Some of the comments say it's creepy, others comment on the obsessive nature of the knitter, others just comment on the actual animation.  It's certainly different.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

bargain books

Sometimes my conscience give me a hard time in the purchases I make.  I try to be careful in  what I buy.  I like quality, I like patronising Australian businesses.  I also try to use the little money I have wisely.

I look at goods in the supermarket and try to buy only Australian manufactured or grown stuff wherever possible.  No Thai tuna or pineapple gets into my trolley.  However, I bend the principles when it comes to books.  The Book Depository gets a lot of my business.  It's cheap, the service is good and there are no postage costs.  With the dollar high right now, I've bought some things from overseas.  Just plain good sense.

When I saw this book and its companion volume over at dr k's, I decided I would like it.  Unfortunately the companion volume I is sold out and as with most shops of that nature, they may or may not get it in again.  Also unfortunately , it's a paperback.  Nothing against paperbacks, many of my best friend books are Penguins, but it's very big to be bound this way.  I'll have to be careful using it.  Then again, on the fortunate side, I now have a copy to drool over.  There's no way I could currently afford the hard cover edition.

A couple of years ago I bought the second book shown in the same shop.  I paid $7.50 for it.  The then Tapestry Craft, now Morris  and Sons, was selling the same edition.  Its price? $54.  That was a difference far too big to ignore. I've used it often and enjoy just looking through it.

The shop, in the tunnel under Central Station at the Railway Square end, has been there some time.  It has a big range of craft books currently, quite a few knitting titles and lots of other craft as well.  Art supplies, fiction, loads of children's stuff.  I'll just have to live with my uneasy conscience.

Here's a link one of my sons sent me just a few minutes ago.  A little light relief and about knitting.  Unfortunately, while there is a picture, it's not of the main subject of the text, but you will get the idea from the text.  If you don't like hearing about knitting of anatomically correct body parts, then perhaps it would not be wise to read this.  LOL.

Knitting man scarves for men.

Edited to add:  I leafed through this while I ate lunch by myself today.  I found the foreword interesting and was amused by the wry sense of humour which had also come through in the film I saw of Julia Child last year.  In the section on equipment, for example, one illustration is called, :bashers, bludgeons and other blunt instruments."

Further to my comment on Penguin book friends:  I should have looked further.  This second edition is a reprint  put out by Penguin.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Two days ago, I was off to make aioli or garlicky mayonnaise.  Mayonnaise, not the gloppy stuff in jars by names like Kr*ft.  The real deal.  I buy the expensive egg mayonnaise, but really there's nothing like the proper stuff.  Once made, it's easy the next time around.  I rarely make it because I could easily use far too much of it,  it's so good.  It bears no resemblance to the supermarket mayonnaise except for having the same name.

Aioli which came from Provence in France,  is made the same way but with the addition of garlic.  These photos are not wonderful.  The battery was getting low on the camera and the warning sign was actually flashing halfway through the making of the mayonnaise.  So the photo quality is well down.

First off, the recipe.  Lots are around on the net, even on Australian sites.  Basically, true mayonnaise is an emulsion, not a mix, of two unlike liquids, oil and beaten egg yolk.  Seasonings are really an aside.  It can be as simply seasoned as adding a pinch of salt, or ground up herbs or garlic as aioli is.

Start with the eggs.  The recipe I had used two egg yolks. Separate the eggs carefully.  Use the yolks  and put the whites aside.  They can go in scrambled eggs or an omelette or even meringue.  DIL is very keen on using organic or free range produce and that includes eggs.  These cost a bit more but they were very fresh.  The raw white was very solid around the yolk.  These came in an online order from Woolies.  The first time we used this brand, about a year ago, every egg in the dozen pack was a double yolk.  We found that pretty amazing.  No double yolks yet from this dozen, but the colour of the yolk is intense.

Garlic has been finely chopped and added and now for the salt.  Some recipes say two teaspoons, others just the one.

I put in one teaspoon of this smoked salt.  I could have used a bit more as the smoked Maldon has  a fairly delicate flavour.  We save it for special times  and use other Maldon varieties and other brands too.

Pepper as well, a fairly spicy blend from
Having done my name dropping for this entry, LOL, on with the recipe.  Do you like DIL's oil container?  It was given her by a chef friend of hers.  It holds four litres and protects the oil from the light and from the air.  This oil is beautiful, from a small farm near Parkes in the central west.  Son has bought oil from them before.  The olives for this oil were picked in May and this is extra virgin oil, from the first light pressing.  It has a lovely greenish tinge and a wonderful fresh flavour.  Son often brings home fresh crusty bread from a bakery near where he works and will have a couple of pieces lightly dipped in the oil before dinner.

The recipe called for 250 ml of oil.  That may seem a lot to mix with two yolks but it will work.

Here's where it gets a bit tricky.  The egg yolks etc are lightly beaten and the oil added.  But as the oil is a different type of liquid to the egg mix, the two will never blend if it's all tipped in at once.  With the mixer running all the time, very, very slowly add the oil a drop at a time and continue mixing.  Use a couple of tablespoons of the 250ml in this way, super slowly.

The mix will thicken and continue to thicken as the two combine.Mine is not as well mixed as I would like it to be and is still a bit runny.  My Magimix food processor is packed in my things but the measure for the lid has a very small hole on one edge to allow the oil to drip slowly through.  DIL's Magimix is a newer model than mine and doesn't have that feature.  I think I've done it a bit too quickly this time.

When all is done, some fresh lemon juice is good in it.  It's wonderful on practically anything but is very rich.

Friday, 8 October 2010

king st, blogtoberfest

October  8th today, almost a third of  the way through the month. I won't say much more about the date.  Cindy took fright when I mentioned that October must mean almost Christmas and this month is well on the way. LOL

I walked up to Newtown today to get bread to take out tomorrow.  I was wondering what to write about for Blogtoberfest today.

I walked down King Street which is like a little world in itself, although the council has cleaned up a good deal of it in the last few years.  There are all types.  The fellow outside Newtown Mission which serves free lunches several times a week.  He had long dreadlocks, almost to his ankles, coloured in different rainbow colours.  Then there are the young girls in skirts which cover no more than they should as my mother would have said.  Skimpy tops and a feathers scarf.  Lots of dogs and their owners.  Students, very old people, some street people who sleep on the streets.  Gone is the man who used to lie outside the hardware shop with his fly undone and everything exposed.  No one seems to know anything about him.

Newtown is a very political place, much of it extremely leftwing.  The Greens are conservatives when compared to some of the posters I see.

This mural has been there for years and years.  The photo is not wonderful, being taken on my phone and hard to focus properly.  There's a sign asking that it be respected and no posters be placed on it.  That's fairly well respected.

The little bit of writing in the bottom left corner is hard to read.  It refers to the story of Joseph, of the coat of many colours fame.  Joseph was a dreamer.  His dreams told of his supremacy over his brothers who hated him and tried to dispose of him because of the dreams.  The writing says in a modern translation,Here comes this dreamer.  Come now let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; we shall say a wild animal has devoured him and we shall see what becomes of his dreams.  (Genesis 37:19-20)

Thursday, 7 October 2010

moda noir shawl

Here's a progress photo of the shawl I'm making from the Moda Noir sockwool which cost me next to nothing the other day. As you can see, the eyelet row is random, quite random.  I'll use up the wool and block it, then perhaps pick up some stitches down the triangle if it's needed to keep it flat.  Perhaps even some simple crochet edging.

Cheap? Indeed.  There was 20% off everything in the shop.  I don't watch TV now so it  was my lucky day.  I haven't been to Sp*tl*ght in at least a couple of years.  The garden embroidery was just on $13 and the wool cost ?  Total was a scrape over $15.

There's no pattern really to this.  On the knit side I have a border of three garter stitches then a marker.  After the marker I do a yarnover and knit to the next marker which is on outside of the centre stitch.  Another yarnover, centre stitch knit, marker, yarnover to the last three stitches, yarnover and then garter stitch the last three stitches.  Wrong side has three stitch border and the rest is purl.

The carpet is not really that colour. It's rental carpet beige, fairly blah and will in due course be replaced.  New kitchen with some more cupboards comes before the upstairs carpet.  As does a floating timber floor for dining and lounge rooms and something drastic to the tiny backyard.  That will probably be levelled and have decomposed granite or similar spread and packed down.  At the moment the supposed lawn is really just a lot of weeds and the yard is not flat at all with bumps and dips all over it.

I'm away for Saturday again at Mittagong.  I wondered about lunch where we pool our offerings.  I went shopping this morning and bought some corned silverside which is now cooking.   I don't do it often although one of my sons cooks it at least monthly.  His children love it.

I mentioned XE currency as a good place to work out exchange rates.  For those of you with iPhones, there is a free app for the site which is easy to download and instal.

Off now to make a once-a-year indulgence - aioli.  Very yum but oh, the kilojoules!

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


I was poking around yesterday, surfing link after link when I came to Anna Maria Horner's website. Lovely fabric, attractively laid out etc.  I'd been following a link for one of her books.

I found what I was looking for at her shop, here, the book Seams to Me.  What's this?  Only $25?  A bargain, considering our dollar is so strong at the moment.  So I clicked add to basket.  Sewing is beginning to call my  name again.

Then I remembered my chief bugbear with Canadian or US shopping.  While the price of the goods is on a parity with our dollar right now, their postage is excessively expensive.  I also find it's not very reliable, sometimes being quite quick, other times taking weeks even by airmail.

I played around in their checkout page and eventually discovered priority international mail which appeared to me to be just ordinary airmail.  That would add $27 to the cost.  More than the cost of the book.  So I left the page.

About an hour later I wondered if the Book Depository would have the book, so I clicked over to  the Book Depository, logged in and searched.  The book would cost me $25.81 AUS.   In stock and that price was the exact equivalent of the $25 asked for on the other site. Free postage and I've always had remarkably good service from them, with orders arriving in days instead of weeks.  For a moment I considered some of the other books my order brought up.  After all, I'd just saved myself the $27 postage from the other site, hadn't I?  Then I realised how ridiculous my logic was and left it at the one book.

If you would like a good currency converter  have you tried XE Currency?  Very easy to use and so far, always accurate.  I have it bookmarked in a folder called "General info and other good stuff."  LOL.  Currency, bureau of meteorology, RFS sites,  train timetables, tax scales, plane arrivals and departure pages etc. All easily accessible from the one folder for my Mac.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

the long and the short of it

Two dogs lie in a moonscape of their own making.

I took this from the first floor, through two glass doors, so  it's turned out surprisingly well.  Full zoom.  I didn't even clean the glass so I'm quite pleased with the results.  If I even click one of the two locks, they wake up and bark at me.

I feel sorry for them.  The terrier was first on the scene and was bored stiff so a second dog was obtained.  He's a lovely fellow, but far, far too big for the tiny yard.  He is taken for walks but the couple work late many nights so the walks are at the weekend.  They have toys, new toys often but they break them quickly.

He's across the board which originally marked a garden edge.  All the boards but this one have been pulled out and chewed into pieces.  Where the tennis ball is, there used to be a magnolia almost two metres high.  He jumped up and held bits down, while Sascha the terrier pulled at them  Result?  Magnolia all gone.  She was jumping at some ivy on the wall the other day but couldn't quite reach it.  Baxter stood on his hind legs and pulled it down.  He ran around for a while munching at one end, while Sascha raced after him, grabbing at the trailing pieces.  She eventually pulled it out of his mouth and ate it all up, thick stalk and all.  Must have wanted salad.

She started climbing on top of him when the weather was cold.  She's only small and her coat is very short.  Sometimes she has her head under his tail, sometimes in his crotch.  This morning she was down his back with her head under his tail.  Baxter started barking at a bird, reasonably gently.  Every bark he made, she was raised off his back and let down again.  She slept.

Even funnier.  He was gnawing a bone last week.  He paid a lot of attention to the bone.  She was actually humping his hind leg while he contentedly went on chewing the bone.

We feel really sorry for them both.  They bark from boredom.  The whole yard looks the same as the picture, they've worn away the grass and ripped the plants out. They are lovely dogs really but annoy us with their barking.  Since it's a bit warmer they have been out at night and even without my hearing aids I can hear them when I'm trying to sleep.

I've done some more on the Noir sockyarn scarf/shawl.  I like the colours but there's nothing exciting to see yet.

Monday, 4 October 2010

who would have thought it - knitting

Well, knitting on a knitting blog.  How strange.  This is the Moda wool, sock wool actually, from Sp*tl*ght the other day.  It's going to be a shawl, a very simple shawl, knit till I run out of wool.

I'm not up to concentrating much at the moment and this will be very simple.  A border of garter stitch, increases on right side rows and purls on the wrong side.  Yarnover, knit 2 together across the row when the fancy takes me.  It's the knitting for when I'm not knitting.  If it's big enough when I run out of wool and cast off, I'll leave it.  Otherwise I'll use a toning colour and pick up some stitches around the edge and make a border.

Saturday was the first open house before my former home goes up for auction later in the month.  DIL thought I ought to go at some time as a form of closure.  So I went with middle son and his three children, eldest is eleven.  I wasn't looking forward to it at all.

There were a lot of people there, which is good.  Some changes were sort of OK, new fence was good.  Some were horrible.  I was undone when I walked into my former bedroom which had been beautiful.  There was my former husband folding clothes.  I thought occupants were asked to leave for such inspections.

I got outside but felt really bad and my eleven year old grandson patted me on the arm telling me everything will be fine.  Rationally, I can agree with him, but I wasn't terribly rational at the time.

So my concentration is currently shot to  pieces.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

messy desk, messy mind

Messy desk, messy mind is something I've heard for a long time.  Then again, I've also heard that messiness may well signify that the creative juices are flowing.  I'd like to believe that's true, but lately my messy desk means a messy mind.

I've been planning a spring clean for a few days but last night it all came to a head.  I was contemplating how much money I might have after sale of house.  Then I thought of debts I owe. I have some idea of solicitor's fees but at several hundred dollars an hour, they are not yet finished.  Agent's commission, conveyancing fees, then stamp duty on a new place and more conveyancing fees and...  I'd been looking at stuff around here and it's very expensive.

I found a more than reasonable place in the Blue Mountains and the meltdown started. It was in the place I had many happy holidays as a child.  Mum  and Dad bought that holiday place from the children of the people who had built it about 1900. A gorgeous little weatherboard house.  Then they bought the land next door and built their retirement place.  I remembered running in the bush, no worries at all from my parents.  We climbed trees, built cubby houses, had picnics.  I wanted my grandchildren to have a place for that sort of stuff.  The place I looked at was comfortable, newish, well set up and best of all, not much money compared to the city.

I had a restless night, knowing that there were people and places in the city that I wanted to be close to, certainly closer than 90 minutes travel from.  I know my meltdown was nostalgia fuelled and that the family would support me.  I also know that when Mum lived by herself up there, that even I often found it difficult to fit in a visit.

So this morning I cleared the desk, literally and figuratively.  The desk was very messy, papers everywhere, bits and pieces of wool,  scraps with notes on,  chocolate wrappers, knitting patterns, books, scissors, teapot, torch and even more.  Shoes were scattered underneath and the printer was littered with paper I had printed out but which needed filing away.

I've changed the position of the computer, the box under corner of the desk is the bass speaker from a small set of speakers I bought some months ago.  I've sorted and filed papers.  Some went in the cardboard recycle box under the desk, some in the filing box next to it.  I can now easily reach my backup external hard disk.  That's it with the red light to the right of the screen.  It backs up entire computer setup, settings  and files several times a  day.  All automatic.  A pile of old magazine and scribble notes went out to recycle.  The rings from coffee cups and my water container have been cleaned.

I still need to vacuum but the black stains on carpet are stains.  This place was rented for several years before my son bought it.  There are plans for new stuff but not yet.

Hopefully I've also cleaned out some junk from the recesses of my mind.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

can a leopard change its spots

The answer usually given is "no."  We'll see.

It was a beautiful day on Thursday with a coolish, sharp breeze so I went out.  Caught the bus  to the city and then on to Birkenhead Point.    For those out of Sydney, this was probably one of the earliest factory outlets in Sydney.  Possible good bargains, but rubbish as well.  While it was  on a point  near the Iron Cove Bridge and theoretically was in a wonderful position, it's always been a bit of an eyesore.  Cheap and nasty shops, lots of grime, few decent food outlets.  The worst place however to me was Sp*otlight.

I rarely go to any Sp*tlight now.  It's been almost two years since I went to the then new shop at Auburn.  That was good, no idea what it's like now.  The shop at Birkenhead Point was always a total mess.  The aisles were narrow and the fixtures too close together.  Shelves had things crammed on them and boxes spilled their contents over the floor.  I know the assistants were poorly paid, but rudeness never helps anyone, them or the customer.

What a difference on Thursday.  The whole shopping complex has had a makeover.  More lifts  and escalators have been installed.  The area outside now has an enormous clear cover over it.  Shops have been rebuilt and there seem to me to be more than I remembered although it's probably four years since I was there.  Lots of landscaping has been done outside and I sat upstairs with a coffee and looked over the water.  The food court downstairs is still being revamped but some shops open. I had  a Turkish gosleme for lunch, potato, cheese, spinach and onion.  Very nice and from a spotless, new, well organised outlet.

Sp*tlight is totally different.  There is a new outlet and everything inside is bright and clean.  It seems much better organised than I remember, and there are hanging signs marking different departments.  I can't speak for the knowledge of the assistants.  I bought only a 400 metre ball of sock wool which will probably be scarves or cowls and a Bronwyn Hayes Stitcheries herb garden embroidery.  Everything was 20% off,  so the two together cost just over $15.  The girl at the register happily looked up my card number as I just then realised that was another card stolen in the break-in some  months ago.

So I'm left wondering if leopards can indeed change spots or will they muddle to look like a giraffe or zebra.  I suppose time will tell.

Friday, 1 October 2010


October again so that means Blogtoberfest.  I've signed up again and hope that blogging will stimulate knitting and vice versa.  Things are fairly slack on both fronts.  There's a nifty new button, you can see it up there on the right side bar and clicking on that should link you to Tinniegirl who's hosting this event.  At her blog there's also a link to the giveaway page at Curlipop's blog.  Not that I'm suggesting anyone is mercenary enough to read a blog just for the giveaway. LOL.  However, last year I won some lovely gifts and even better, discovered  some blogs I did not know were out there.  Many of those are in my bookmarks folder still and quite a few have been added to my reader's feed. (Google reader, by the way is simple to use, both to enter and read updates.)

If it's October, then that means it's almost daylight saving time.  Changeover is this coming weekend in NSW.  I'm waking early already, so will welcome it.  It's pretty cool here today after a few much warmer days.  It was 10° as shown in the Herald at 7:00 am this morning.  It hasn't been that cool for several weeks.  Much more pleasant for sleeping when it's cooler.

If it's October, then Christmas will be here before we know it.  Plans are afoot here, but nothing's finalised yet.

And if it's October, it means I have a lot on towards the end of the month.  I'm not looking forward to much of it, in fact my body tells me I'm nervous, even when I have not been dwelling on it.  However, it should mean the conclusion of one part of my life and the beginning of another.

So, let October roll!