Saturday, 28 January 2012

saturday snippets

Here's a fun Saturday snippet which my son sent me.  He and one of his brothers love very hot mustards, chillies, sauces and so on.  He said this one was so-so, possibly because how can it be hot English mustard if made in France?

I've had a couple of days recovering after having Miss M, 11, here for some time.  We filled in our time well.  Powerhouse Museum, Maritime, Australian Museum.  We saw Tintin in 3D and ended the time with a family birthday party at favourite pizzeria near here for her uncle who had a significant birthday.

However, it was tiring.  After almost six hours at the Powerhouse, a favourite place of hers, she asked if she could go home as her feet were killing her.  Mine were killing me too, only a good three hours before hers.  She checked out all the new things she hadn't seen and then visited her favourites several times over.  We took lunch and just as well.  She made ham and salad bread rolls.  Fruit and water.  However for morning tea, I bought myself a small bottle of Schweppes drink and a very ho-hum supposedly date and ginger biscuit.  It wasn't very nice and the two together cost $7.50!

At the Australian Museum, she happily toured the exhibits taking a long video on her iPod.  I bought a bath toy at the shop there for her brother.  It was a small whale which swished its tail, gyrated and dived.  Yesterday his dad rang to say he'd been instructed to tell me this was his ONLY bath toy now.  In fact, he'd been dragged from the bath to eat his dinner.  He's a good eater so it all went quickly and he went back to the bath for more play.  I hit the jackpot with that toy.

Tintin was a bit of fun.  It was not a film of  any one story but a film in the manner of Tintin.  The rolling 3D waves churned my stomach.  The 3D was much better than the only other 3D film I had seen, Avatar, which didn't impress me on many levels.

That evening was the birthday party.  It was also a time of tremendous rain.  Son from Central Coast took two hours to get here instead of just over an hour.  Son from the western suburbs  took an hour to cover what normally takes about twenty minutes.  I was dreading the start as those two DILs can be a bit touchy.  I almost suggested some deep breathing, but things turned out well.  He's now in Perth with his wife as a birthday event for the significant number.  They found some very cheap fares, well cheap in comparison to  what it normally costs to get to Perth, and have gone  for the weekend.  Back on the red-eye flight arriving early in the morning here, Monday I think. And on to work.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

still ahead

The just thirteen year old eldest grandchild decided to see how far he could push me through the week.  I've been doing a lot of minding them.  My son who was bashed is finally back at work full time.  Because he had so much time off, even justifiably, he had a lot to catch up so didn't take holidays over Christmas apart from the public holidays.  He's a manager for a not-for-profit company specialising in finding employment for those with severe disabilities. DIL took a week off but she works for a fairly inflexible company and couldn't get more time off, even without pay.  So the family has been stepping in, me in particular.  Here he is at a birthday party for mum when he was thirteen months old.  Now thirteen years old and feeling very independent.

"I promise I'll do it later, Grandma," he said.  I've seen what happens there before.  "Yes, I really, really will."

I felt up my sleeve.  Yes, there were  some cards still up there.  He forgets I had three boys, all of whom were thirteen at some stage  and all of whom seem to have  survived. "Andrew, you wouldn't perhaps be arguing with me, would you?"

Visions of his iPod or his new adult sized expensive bike being removed for a few days floated through his mind. "I'm very sorry, I apologise."  He wasn't happy, but he did apologise and did as I had asked so I said no more.

It's been tiring and I'm glad there's just one full week left.  His school goes back on the Monday and his susters' on the Wednesday.

Tomorrow I collect his cousin who is eleven.  She'll be here most of the week.  I don't anticipate problems with that.

It has meant I'm tired when I get home so I haven't been on the computer much at all.  Nor have I done much, although a sock has been faithfully accompanying me out there and back.  It has hardly left my bag.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

saturday snippets (sort of)

Yesterday seemed to disappear and along came three grandchildren needing minding.  When I arrived home, all I wanted was bed.  It was late last night and the rain was bucketing down outside.  I fell into bed about 11:15 pm and  slept in this morning. Squabbling children, a screaming tantrum thrower  and a yappy puppy do that.

So Saturday snippets have turned into Sunday lunch.  I decided to do an eat from the pantry, a bit like knit from the stash.  I can order organic eggs with my fruit and vegetable order and had about ten left.  I like eggs, but I don't think about them much and they have to be cooked just right for me.  That  means either mixed or with very firm yolks and well cooked whites.  Runny yolks  I just can't cope with and the smell and feel of the whites churns my stomach.  There was some fairly substantial white bread left in the freezer which tasted OK, especially for white bread.  So out that came.  Big thick slices of some reasonable brand.

So what would it be.  French toast, something that was one of my dad's specialties when  I was young.  Not sweet though, savoury with lots of pepper and salt.  When I first was served sweet French toast complete with maple syrup, I didn't know what had happened with my cafe order.  Thought a mistake had been made.

The top picture shows three fairly fresh eggs.  I've had them possibly three weeks and they are still far fresher than supermarket eggs.  You can see the white is still almost jelly around the yolk.  I whisked them up with a fork and had trouble whisking the egg white as it was very thick and firm.  I added some good freshly ground pepper and a bit of salt and some milk till the mix looked right.

I cut the bread slices in two and put them to soak.

In my good heavy pan I melted some butter and put the soaked bread in.  When it was nice and brown I turned it carefully.  It's easy to break, but these slices  were solid and turned well.

I had to add a little more butter for the last piece of bread but they cooked well.  I really like the eggs I get and will always buy organic over ordinary produce.  I'm not a fanatical greeny person, but in most cases I prefer the taste  and there's definitely a difference between organic and non-organic.  I suppose if I had a large young family I might have to reconsider because of cost, but the decision is easy for me now.  I buy organic milk and butter, chicken and beef if at all possible.  Chemicals etc are also best avoided.  Organic vegetables too  when I can get them at places like farmers' markets.

So here's the lunch plate.  Two slices of bread and some vegetables.  There would have been some healthy rocket s well  but when I pulled the packet from the fridge, it felt very squishy.  It was disgusting and smelt like silage, which I can assure you is very green, very rank and putrid.  Lots of good food especially in a drought for cattle but definitely not for my lunch plate.

Two nectarines finished my lunch which was very enjoyable and substantial.  Sorry about the shadow, it's not my head, I think it's the edge of the lens.  I've seen questions about it on photography forums but no solutions.

I'm psyching myself up to get back to the Transatlantic Shawl by Stephen West.  I put it down about three months ago and haven't touched it since.  Just  sort of lost interest.  However, I've seen some photos in other blogs of it and am beginning to regain my enthusiasm.  It's not at all difficult and looks good, I just haven't done it.  Mine is in a creamy white and a soft grey-green.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

afternoon tea and crochet

At afternoon tea time, I have been making myself something to drink and taking it and my new crochet book and yarn outside to the balcony where I sit and sip and practise some more.  All very genteel.  The balcony is shaded by then although it doesn't get a great deal of sun through the day and there's usually a breeze.  Just as well, I'm still adjusting to heat after the cold wet start to summer.

All these need blocking.  This is called a picot leaf.  Not quite right at one end where the picot should form the point at end of leaf.

This next is called a small picot flower which was quite easy.  It was shown as a slight spiral in the book.  It's curling a bit here much like a stocking stitch scarf.

I decided I'd not rip them back but keep them as a memento of learning new stitches and patterns.  That probably means I should darn in the ends.  I doubt that will get done.

The last is a small spoked flower.  I see I've made a mistake in the set up foundation row.  I'll probably try this one again.  With a bit of blocking it would indeed be a square.  I did crochet a  yellow and white pram cover when I was pregnant with first child.  Lots of squares joined together with smaller circles.  I also made an enormous 8 ply granny square lap rug.  Just the one square increasing on each round.  By the time I finished it, each round of colour took over one ball of yarn.  It was colourful and warm in a holiday house we built in the bush where winters were cold.

Here are three pictures of my grandmother who did such beautiful crochet.  Unfortunately the glass is broken on one and the photo itself needs restoring as there has been a fold across it.  She was born in 1897 and died in 1975.  The first picture shows here at about ten.  There's no date on the back.  A bit stiff and formal.  It's a pity the second one is hard to see.  She's sixteen and has a beautiful blouse with lots of fine tucks on it.  I can see where my curls come from.  She's wearing a lovely silver bracelet I now have.  It's hinged and has a safety chain.  The top half has  a garland of raised flowers and leaves dancing across it.

The last picture shows her at 20 years of age , on her wedding day in 1917.

You can see them a bit larger by clicking but the details are still not really clear.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

a touch of yellow

I got out the big Nikon about an hour ago and too some photos.  When i downloaded them I had over thirty photos to download.  Usually I keep them up to date.  Take, download, edit.  I found the photos of the two earlier practice runs on crochet edgings.  However, I trashed the photos, must have had one of the settings  wrong.  I may re-crochet the pieces, maybe not.  There are plenty of projects in the book for me to choose from.

It's amusing to see the results of the in-camera editing function.  I've used the line drawing outline before but though the palm should be suited to it.

Over at Project 365 I have now reached 70 or 71% of the 365 photos.  One a day.  Some of mine have been recycled and some have been when I've taken a few at a time and posted them over a few days.  However, the majority have been originals, not used before and taken on the day they were posted.  It's been a good discipline and I've learnt a lot from actually taking the photos as well as from the comments and forums. Oh, and from the discipline too.  Good word that in the sense we use it of discipline and also because it comes from the  Latin of teaching.  I've certainly experienced both.

There is a theme for each week and other themes occasionally too.  The interpretation of the theme is entirely up to the photographer.  This week's theme is yellow.  Now that's a colour I have not worn much for many years although I can remember some favourite clothes in that colour back when I was at uni.  It so happens that I bought a  top about ten days ago in a golden yellow colour.  I love the top, it's good and long and the sleeves are elbow length.  Underwear is a bit problematic as material is sheer although it doesn't look like it at first. and I think I'll need a tank top or similar under it.  I love the tucks but hate ironing them.  The top was just washed and hung dripping on  a hanger this morning.  Ironing can wait.

I took this photo about an hour ago and have put it up at Project 365.

Am off to pick another bit to crochet.  Something bright and cheerful perhaps like the clothes and colours I seem to be buying now.

Monday, 9 January 2012

a storm of crochet

I've been fiddling with some of the patterns in the new book of crochet edgings and motifs of one sort or another.

I dug around and found my crochet hooks and pulled out a deeply buried ball of Cleckheaton 5 ply crepe which I've had for years.  I chose the crepe because as I finish a motif, I take a photo and then rip it back.  The crepe yarn is fairly tightly spun and can take this treatment several times before the yarn becomes unusable.

I have some photos of more edgings but think they must be still on my  big camera.

Bear in mind that none of these has been blocked and ends of yarn are there because I rip it out after photo.This top photo is called loop daisy.  Now, who would have guessed that name? Blocking or a press would improve this enormously.

This second one is called a large simple flower.  Well, of course!  This one required that I pay attention and not forget that the pattern is written in American terms.  The height of each petal increases and then decreases and I needed to watch what I was doing here.

I need practice in keeping my tension even.  I suppose that will come with more practice.  I also see now that in lower left corner I must have put hook through the wrong part of the loop and made a hole.

We had several thunderstorms last night from early evening on.  The early storm had  heavy rain but little in the way of lightning or thunder.  Then it rained for a couple of hours and after that  we had a  deluge, accompanied by constant lightning and very loud thunder for quite a long time.

This last photo was taken about 11:00 pm last night after the rain had stopped, although there was  still lightning for several hours and some showers again this morning.  I walked through the lounge room and could see the rain water pooling on my balcony and forming drips along the framework of the table and chairs.

This photo was taken as I lay flat on my stomach on the lounge room floor to get the angle I was after.  As I said this morning to the friend who encourage me to get the DSLR, "Now look what you've got me doing!"  He just laughed.

Flat on the floor and I wondered if I'd be sleeping there!  I went to get up, was on one knee and moved the other leg to rise.  For about five minutes, every time I moved that leg, a severe cramp grabbed the back of my thigh.  It eventually eased and I carefully got up.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Saturday Snippets

I've decided to try my hand at some Saturday snippets of what ever takes my fancy - photos, jokes, pieces of news.  I'm not placing pressure on myself about this, so won't promise every single week.

This photo was taken perhaps ten years  ago  by my youngest son in Hornsby.  I found it in a long forgotten file on my computer recently.  Nominative determinism at its best.

Friday, 6 January 2012

thanks, YARN

In the edition of YARN magazine published before Christmas I had a letter published.  All letter writers for that issue were promised a copy of this book.

Now I had totally forgotten all about that.  As I went to bus yesterday, I checked my letter box.  I haven't done that since deliveries resumed after New Year's day holiday as the lift here is still not operational.    Hopefully today.  I wasn't expecting anything important, most of my bills are paid by direct debit.  Several floors down also means several floors back up!  Not worth it to pull unaddressed advertising from my box.

I found a padded envelope from Yarn and put it in my basket, thinking that it didn't seem three months since last issue.  It was this book which  had forgotten about.  I really like it, so thanks to you all at YARN.  I can crochet and do so occasionally.  A few decorative flowers here, an edging or a bit of picot there.  My grandmother taught me when I was about twelve, I think.  She was an accomplished crocheter and did exquisite work in the finest of yarns on the tiniest of hooks, so small that it was easier to run a finger along the shaft to feel the hook than to peer at it to see it.  She became frustrated when I asked for directions, teaching was not a strong point of hers.  I remember being told to just look at what she had done and do the same.  Not much help to an absolute beginner.

The book will help me improve my repertoire of crochet stitches.  There are pretty edgings, bits of lace and dozens of flowers and decorations.  It's clearly laid out and has both graphs and written instructions.  I've never followed a graph for crochet work before, always written instructions.  I certainly found them different to say the least.  While eating breakfast this morning on the balcony, I looked at a chart for a fairly simple flower.  It began in the middle of the chart shown.  I looked at each piece and then checked the written instructions to see if I had worked it out properly.

The book was published in USA so uses USA terms for the stitches.  However there is a chart of the corresponding British names for them.

So thanks to the girls at YARN for this.  I'll enjoy it.  I've always enjoyed  the magazine too and have subscribed several times.  When we moved and I knew I was moving again, I let the subscription lapse.  However, Once I was settled here, I subscribed again.  It's always a lovely surprise when the magazine arrives.  Before Christmas I realised that the last issue of the then current subscription was due.  This time I renewed for two years so don't need to worry about it for a while.  A whole eight issues will slide through my letter box.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

bits and pieces

This post is as much as test as anything.  I had major problems getting BLOGGER to let me do anything with photos yesterday.  It certainly wouldn't let me put any up.

After I arrived at Central on Monday, I took a few photos of some of the renovated parts of the old station.  This is one of the side entrances to the main area.  It's very attractive in real life.  The pink on the outside of the squares is more of a dusky pink than shows here and less of pink primer paint.  The ceiling is quite high, possibly 25'.  (I'm old fashioned about ceiling measurements and can visualise how  high that would be.  Can handle metric in most other areas.  LOL.)

This clock is on the wall just outside the entrance to the area shown above.

The writing in the centre of the clock face says New South Wales Government Railways.  Unlike many of the historic clocks around Sydney, this one was working and said the correct time.

Government Railways have been through a few incarnations since that clock was first put up.  I wonder if much has changed in that time.  Even I can remember going to the city from Burwood when I was young with my grandmother on a fast train which stopped Redfern, Central and then the city stops.  That trip was fourteen minutes.  It usually takes longer than that now for the same trip.

This is in the main area of the station looking up to the very high roof area.  As it was lateish afternoon, there was no sun shining through the glass area, so the contrast is good.  I like the outline of the beams.

The red glimmer on the left comes from streamers of Christmas decorations about three or four metres long.

Seeing as these photos seem to be going up OK, I'll try one more from the beginning of the journey at Woy Woy.

The station there was renovated quite a few years ago and there's now a transport hub with bus terminals, bicycles racks, toilets , lift access, taxi rank.  The buses always were there but the area is now covered.

This used to be a blank concrete wall, usually covered in slogans etc.  This photo shows a mural done quite a few years ago now.  The interurban trains are no longer the design shown here.  The mural shows signs of age and wear, but it hasn't been defaced.  The writing in the centre says Woy Woy, although it's a bit hard to read.

Spoke Milligan called the town the "largest above ground cemetery in the world," although that's been applied to a few other places too.  His mother lived there.  That's all changed.  Housing is cheaper than Sydney and many people commute to work each day.  There are lots of young families and a vast number of teenagers.  Unfortunately, many of them do not have a job and have time on their hands.  There's quite a bit of graffiti around the town.  However, like Sydney suburbs, it seems that if there is something like this mural, it's respected and not defaced and tagged.

Well, so far so good with the photos.  I have washing to hang on balcony and rubbish to take downstairs.  The lift broke down on the Thursday before Christmas.  Four men from Otis arrived yesterday and were here for some hours.  They took away a large piece of machinery so I hope it's soon returned.  Four flights down and back with a dodgy knee is more than I want.  However, today will be hot and I don't want it left in my store cupboard.  I twisted the knee at son's on Monday.

I also need to get back to knitting.  I have a pair of socks just over half done and I haven't touched my transatlantic shawl in at least two months.  Probably longer.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

another year's on its way

I slept in on New year's Day.  Now many probably did also, but I don't normally sleep in, regardless of the time of going to sleep.  I woke up five minutes before I should have been out of the place and on my way to the bus.  So I didn't go out.  I had a quiet day here and there was sunshine.  I'd almost forgotten what thta looked like.

I've had a few comments about the scrolling greeting in the New  Year's Eve post..

You can do it too.  I used to have a journal,  not a blog, and knew quite a lot of HTML.  I could do all sorts of fancy things  with templates and images and much more.  Most of it forgotten now.  This will be a longwinded way of showing you what to do.  If I write it out as it should look, all you'll see is the scroll result.

You need two pairs of arrowhead brackets like this< >  < >  Between the two arrows in the first pair, write the word marquee.  Between the second pair of two arrows, write /marquee. Now in between the two pairs, write your greeting.  Christmas, birthday, goodbye, happy new year, whatever you want.  Format those words with size, choice of font, colour or whatever  and there you go.  Easy peasy.

I went to Central Coast yesterday  The train up was very crowded.  I was glad I had gone to Central Station instead of Strathfield which is closer.  The train starts there and I had a seat.  I forgot my knitting but it would have been awkward doing it anyway.

It was pleasant with a breeze and sunshine.  My youngest grandchild, who was in Kindergarten last year is coming along in leaps and bounds.  He's good at following illustrated directions like complicated Lego and his sense of logic is developing too.  He knew that three sixes make eighteen.  Doesn't know multiplication tables just addition.  His dad who is on holidays asked him what three twelves would be.  No hints were given.   Instead of writing them down and adding up, he used logic.  Twelve was twice six so the answer would be twice eighteen.  There was a slight problem as he figured that out in his head as it involves carrying the one from the addition.  However he did it and was very proud of himself.