Tuesday, 25 December 2012

free pattern till January 1st

I was alerted to this generous offer in a Ravelry group.  Tin can Knits  has a generous offer open till January 1st for a free pattern.  Lots to choose from.  When you have made your choice choose option for discount code and enter SHARETHELOVE in the space.  Checkout will then show  that pattern is free.  I chose a shawl called "Rosebud."  Till January 1.

A quiet day here for me, interrupted by a messy delivery which should have come yesterday.  I ordered a lot of berry type fruit and a couple of small pineapples.  Delivery would normally be on a Tuesday but obviously not on Christmas Day, nor Boxing Day. Basically three days deliveries were squashed into Monday.  A courier firm was used to help with the number of deliveries.

By 5:30 yesterday afternoon I was becoming concerned when the fruit and veg boss rang and said courier declared my address did not exist!  It took about an hour, but I had a promise from courier that I would have it by 8:00 am this morning.

That was fine, I could still get 8:30 bus to church. 8:30 came and went and I sent text to Boxfresh who pride themselves on good service.  Finally it arrived at almost 10:30.  Not happy, Jan.  I asked courier why not the promised time.  Oh, he had stuff to do and was out late last night.  He certainly wasn't out delivering.  I said I had been promised 8:00 and he looked a bit sheepish.  Then I said that a promise was a promise and I had had things to do which had to be set aside.  I got a grunt and he quickly left.  I sent another text to say it was finally here, but I hope they never use that lot of couriers again.  No pride in their work, unlike BoxFresh.

It's been a cool, grey day here and is currently about !6°C here.  A good day for having the oven on at lunchtime.  I've been very quiet and had a snooze to catch up on missed sleep last night.

Hope all had a happy Christmas.

Monday, 24 December 2012

a gift to myself

I have been without a swift for some years now.  I had one my ex-husband made from memories of the one his grandmother used.  However, one of his friends who should have known better, fiddled with it and it broke.   I've tried various methods of winding skeins since that time, none of them altogether satisfactory.  The best was around the end of the outdoor balcony table DIL lent me.  However, not all skeins fitted that.

I was poking around with online shops the other day when I saw that RenĂ©e at Suzyhausfrau had brought some in.  These are made in Sweden from birch.  It came well packed in a solid, large, cylindrical postpak.  This will be ideal  for storage for it.  So a gift for myself.  I have a ball winder already so am looking forward to winding skeins in much less time than it has taken me for some years.

As I mentioned in the last post, my son has moved into a townhouse on the Central Coast.  He has a smallish courtyard out the back which is edged by several large hibiscus shrubs.  Miss Twelve took  these two photos.

As usual, the colour red is hard to get an accurate representation.  This looks good as it is, but it is really a deep crimson and an enormous flower too.

The picture below it was also taken by her, both on my phone.  It's a double flower, a bit untidy and dishevelled but quite attractive too.  It doesn't open flat as the red one does.

There's a space where he has put some pots of herbs and a couple of hydrangeas.  The clothes line folds down against the back wall and there's plenty of room for his small BBQ.  Master Seven is very proud that he has used this twice.  Once for chops where he cooked them perfectly without help, and once for sausages which required some assistance as they flared.

Son found a  table on a street pickup.  A glass outdoor one with a metal rim and frame.  Large enough for six, so that was a good find.  The rim around the edge is a bit rusty in spots but the frame is very solid.  He had a couple of outdoor chairs from KMart so he's set up.  He BBQs all sorts of things and does a very good roast in the BBQ. It seems as if Master Seven is following in his dad's footsteps.

There are two balconies, both upstairs.  One is quite a decent width and he could also sit up there.  As I said earlier, it is no more than two minutes from the shops with a good independent butcher and fruit shop, a very large Woolies and Coles too and a KMart.  Lots of smaller shops too.  He can actually walk round the shops or through the shops on his five minute trip home from the station if he needs anything, so it's really conveniently situated.

I've been sitting outside working slowly on my Hawthorne shawl.  It's helping me settle.  The pattern is not difficult, it just requires attention to counting.  The afternoon breeze is lovely and I need the concentration on something other than family.

Now this is Christmas Eve.  I may post tomorrow after a return from church. Or perhaps not.  I'd like to get to the midnight service at church tonight, but I would need a taxi both ways.     Happy Christmas too all and to your family and loved ones.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

bits and pieces

I realised that I spoke  about this book but didn't actually show it in my last post.  This was given me by my sister, bought from a bookshop closing  down in Windsor.  There are lots of different animals and people in it and I think some of the patterns could well be adapted to other characters too.

I've been busy with lots of things and haven't done much, either blogging or knitting.

I went up the coast yesterday for a haircut.  DIL still insists  she will do my hair and I really like the way she does it.  So I'm playing each visit carefully to see how things go.  It was OK yesterday, she seemed almost as usual.  We both kept the conversation  fairly general and all seemed well.  I'll take each visit as it comes.  The next will still be in school holidays so I guess that she will be OK.

My son has moved into his own place now and a load seems  to have lifted from his shoulders.  It's a smallish townhouse but it has a large garage which he will use as a study.  He has mattresses for his children but will buy bunks for them.  Currently they are on the floor when they visit.  I went round there after the haircut and the children went too as their mother is booked for Christmas haircuts all weekend.  They seem to be coping at the moment and enjoy being with their dad.

The place is a bit dated but adequate.  It's about two minutes to walk to the nearest large shopping centre and it takes him  about five minutes to get to the station.  Took me longer, but then, his legs are much longer than mine!

He seems to be OK.  He's speaking clearly and confidently and making plans.  I  think he's better off away from the tension she was causing and several other distinctly unpleasant episodes have also  emerged.  For a while there I felt as if I had fallen into a smelly, slimy duckpond.  He admits many mistakes on his part but she just says she couldn't stay with him any  longer.  That's it.  No discussion at all will be entered into.  Obviously, other factors were there also.  He's eating properly again instead of just picking irregularly at food.  He's up in the morning and off to work instead of sleeping unless someone woke him.  I'm sure there may be some bad days, but it's encouraging to see his progress and the medication is kicking in too.

Along with the  book  above, my sister gave me this little glass tree which is very delicate.  The baubles are also glass and came with the tree.  It stands with my Nativity set  and my Christmas  angel mum gave me "for your Christmases to come"  not long before her death.  A mix of traditions of different origins but I can live with that.  I put my decorations up late and take them down early too.  Tomorrow is the last Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the year in the church calendar.  My mother followed the no decorations till after tomorrow, as her mother had done.  I've been a little bit early.  I find following the calendar like this is an ordered way of working through the year and it suits me.  Nothing slavish, just some  structure to life.  I'll take them down at Epiphany, otherwise known as Twelfth Night, January 6th.

Several places here have had Christmas wreaths on the door for a long time.  I went hunting for the Christmas themed fat quarters I bought at Hornsby when I still lived at Killara.  That's two moves and a lot of water under the bridge since then.  It took me ages to find but I eventually unearthed them.  I also unearthed some Christmas beading and embroidery which I had bought at the Crewel Gobelin in Killara.  I finally recognised I was never going to do them so have passed them on.   It didn't take long to make and it's certainly unique to the doors here.

I have started the Hawthorne shawl which was gifted to me in a Ravelry group.  I haven't done much, the rows are long and I want to be fairly sure I will not be interrupted during the row.  The shawl starts from the bottom edge and decreases in the lace for shaping  and there are then short rows to further shape the body of the shawl.

I will be at #1 son's on Boxing Day and so will DIL's  brother and family from Darwin.  I think I will be quietly at home on Christmas Day for lunch and I'm perfectly OK with that too.  I was last year.  Prawns and some spicy sauce, I think.  We've had our main family gathering and it's been pleasant basically avoiding the shops.

I hope to update again but  will offer my Christmas greetings to all just in case I don't.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

the slide down to Christmas

Almost Christmas but we've had our family lunch.  It was last Sunday and was the only day we could all agree on, so it was very early this year.  I think there was vague agreement made about the date for next year, but come late October, I'm sure no one will remember what it was.

The day went off fairly well although my poor  son was a total bundle of nerves about DIL's reaction.  I really hoped she had more sense than to be the drama queen at such a gathering, and thank goodness I was right.  This photo is a similar property up the river.  Clearer view by clicking on any image.

My niece and her partner have just bought a weekender only half an hour from their place.  It's on the Hawkesbury River out of Wiseman's Ferry and was bought because it has an approved and licensed boat ramp.  No  more will be allowed on the river..  Now I thought I knew the area but I'd never heard of Leets Vale.  It's over the river, up and over a mountain heading back to Windsor, down the other side and along the river bank back towards the ferry.  All dirt road, heavily corrugated.

Friend and I found it with less trouble than we had anticipated.  We turned into the gateway and were impressed.  Some of the few houses there are cramped but this was ideal.  It's directly on the river  and is an older style house set on five  acres of well maintained park like area.  Lots of sheds etc.  The house is old and has been added to in bits but is quite comfortable.  Lots of seats to watch the birds, sit in the sun/shade, watch the river, relax under a huge old tree.  This is taken with zoom across the river.

Niece's partner had his six year old daughter there and she slotted in comfortably to the group.  The place came with new tractor, three new beds with mattresses still in plastic, one large quad bike and two smaller.  There were several helmets available and it took about thirty seconds  for them to all learn to drive.  Fortunately these were fairly quiet and the area was large and flat.   The kids had a ball zooming around.  There were enough lifejackets for a  trip in the motor boat but a  change came over and there was a thunder storm.  All the photos here were taken in the rain.  Tables for lunch had been set up under big trees but we eventually had to give in and shift lunch to a  covered open area.  This is Miss 8, a poor shot taken in great haste in the rain.

Among gifts from my sister was this book, Stitch London.  She bought it in an old bookshop in Windsor which was closing  down and paid very little for it.  The critter leaning against the book came from a kit in the book and was called Cooey the London pigeon.  The yarn was acrylic, so the wings won't block but flip at the ends, a bit like a 70's hairstyle.  All sorts of different pieces in it, although I doubt how many I will make.

What I will make is Hawthorne in some Lana Gatto 10 ply merino.  The pattern was a Christmas gift from a member of a Ravelry group and am looking forward to it. It's from Twist Collective and I like many of their designs.  It is knitted from lace edge back, decreasing and using short rows to curve the shawl.