Sunday, 24 November 2013

yarn bombing

I went to the doctor on Friday and saw this.  Croydon is an old suburb, probably 150 years old but the Post Office is now 100 years old.  The building is still the PO but the inside is split between PO and a pharmacist.  Not an improvement, actually. The site is in a prominent position on top of a hill at the junction of three roads.

The yarn bombing is both knit and crochet.  The part to the right of the pillar and behind is crochet and the birthday card is done in intarsia, not duplicate stitch.

The doctor I see is behind the PO in an imposing two storey building which was once the home of the Postmaster.  No perks like that these days.

I had saved a list of several things to see the doctor about.  I see the principal of the practice who is very thorough.  However, there are normally four doctors there.  On Friday there were two and he was running very late.  His manner is not affected by this and I know I had his full attention, but the wait was a  bit much.

My blood pressure was fine but he changed the script to something he thinks will suit me better and I will have it checked in two weeks.  I was given several small sample packs of the new tablet to save me buying some.

I spent quite a while discussing the arthritis flare and now have stuff for that.  However, I also need a scan and x-ray of my shoulder as he is sure it's frozen.  It's certainly extremely painful and I don't knit at the moment for more than a few minutes.  I came away from the pharmacist with multiple packs of pills.

Family problems here and I'm not sure what will happen.  Middle son arrived with a suitcase at 11:00 pm on Friday night.  I think we are all hoping for a good resolution of this.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

summer time and the living is easy

Summer time and the  living is  easy.  Certainly lunch was easy.  A roll from the freezer, some cold beef and some salad and some summer fruit.

In my delivery this week were rockmelon, mango, peaches and nectarines.  I probably would not buy them till a bit later in the season, but they looked wonderful.  The peaches and the nectarines were firm but have now ripened.  The nectarines are  not at their best yet, but were a welcome change.

I enjoy apples but find them boring and I look forward to eating lots of summer fruit..  I have been eating small Pink Lady apples which have had a good year, but I was pleased to see a  change in the variety of fruit in the order.

It was my friend's actual birthday, the same big one as mine was, and he came for lunch.  I kept my present till yesterday instead of giving it to him last Saturday so he received it on the day itself.  I bought him a new leather passport holder from   Belmore Bootmakers. It was a good choice, he said, as his current holder is getting very tatty.  Have a look at  the beautiful boots which they make in an old factory near me, but sit down before you look at the prices.

I made him Thai beef salad, a favourite, and while it was not as spicy as the one I had made myself a couple of weeks  ago, it was good.  I think the chillies were milder than I had used.  I made a tiny dessert  each of a small meringue nest, a dollop of Gippsland thick cream and some banana and passionfruit.  He brought a bottle of Brown Bros Ruby Moscato which goes well with spices and curries.  It was a pleasant meal and afternoon.

Passionfruit?  I remembered Dad's wonderful passionfruit vines wherever he was living.  All bore prolifically and we would pick several at a time as a snack.  The two I used yesterday were $1.50 each.

I totted up the snacks after school at that price.  Ridiculous.

Still no knitting.  My left shoulder has been very painful and I have been very careful with my posture not to put pressure on it.  My right hand is swollen and puffy and today I can almost not move the thumb and other joints are painful to touch.  I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow and will have a discussion with him about medication.  This seems like a real flare of it, not  just the usual aches and pains from time to time.

Monday, 18 November 2013

birthdays, rain and not parsley

My Amazon voucher  for my birthday just keeps on giving!  I ordered this some time ago and it has just arrived.  Amazon or US Post or both, are very slow.  It's a poor picture, but the weather here is grey, very grey.  My son has returned my camera and I think he has changed  some of my settings  too, so I need to have a fiddle with it.

This is a lovely book, well set out.  Information on knitting Shetland lace, some background to it.  Various projects using it.  Pages of small photos  grouped together so various good combinations of patterns can be seen.  On that page, each small picture has a reference to  elsewhere in the book where there are written instructions and oh joy, charted instructions as well.  That's one thing I miss about the book of motifs which I have been using.  No charts.  I resisted charts for years and years and finally made myself buckle down and learn how to use them.  Now I prefer them to written instructions.

Of my very generous Amazon voucher, I still have almost $60 left.  I have bought several books, some for the Kindle and others which needed posting.  The postage also came out of the voucher, so you can see it was a generous gift indeed.

My friend had a birthday, the same milestone as mine from last August.  He had a party in a club local to him for lunch on  Saturday.  Fortunately there was  not as much rain that day until later in the afternoon.  I was diffident about the club, although I go there often with him for a lunch.  A diverse group from  some of the many areas of his life, but the service was good and people mingled.  Most of my grandchildren were there except for one with a chest infection.  Their dads have known my friend since they were at school.  He gets on well with the grandchildren and really is a surrogate grandfather to the youngest.  Their genetic grandfather has little to do with them, often forgets to even ring on birthdays and sees them about once a year.  I can't understand it, nor can anyone else.  Still, that's the way it is.  My friend has long philosophical conversations with Finn, sits and does Lego with him, exchanges  dreadful jokes  etc.

The club overlooks Wolli Creek which is a conservation area of heritage bushland.  Pronunciation is Woll-eye.  Not that you'd know it is heritage listed and protected in some parts where it is  smothered in weeds and rubbish, but regeneration work is slowly taking place.  All the grandchildren went down to the creek after lunch as someone mentioned tortoises and frogs.  None to be found.  They must have heard my grandchildren coming!

It's been quite cold and today is wet and windy with thick fine rain blowing over every fifteen minutes or so.  I have long trousers on, a long sleeve top and just before lunch, I put on a woollen cardigan too. I am pleasantly cosy but not hot at all.  I made a single serve of potato and pancetta soup for lunch which suited the day well.

The other day, similar weather , saw me wondering  about lunch.  I had potatoes from  my order.  I don't eat many at all.  I grated a medium  one, squeezed out handfuls to get rid of the moisture.  Added some dried chilli flakes, an egg and stirred in some  flour to make a thickish consistency.  I fried spoonfuls of this and served with some salad.  It really did not take long  to make and they were nice.  If you do this, be careful not to cook them too quickly or they will burn on outside and be glue like sludge inside.  I know.  This is the voice of experience speaking.

I now have several herbs growing outside.  I enjoy them.  I bought  some parsley and basil in Coles a week or so ago  and planted them. The small pots encased in a cellophane sleeve.  Most of the basil succumbed to the heat but one or two stalks are slowly coming back to life.  I have kept them moist and I may yet get something from  them.  The parsley was marked as flat leaf when I bought it.  I picked some  today and started to chop it.  It's coriander!  Now I like coriander but really wanted  parsley.  You can just see a solitary green stalk at the other end of the box.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

O Tannenbaum finale

I spent one of the hot mornings recently quietly stitching the red Heirloom baby wool around the eight little trees I had knitted.

My fingers didn't like it much and cramped up so I rested them a bit each time I finished a tree.

I enjoyed picking out the vintage buttons from a box given me by a friend.  I had many hundreds more I could have chosen from, but found enough in the ones which had been added to a plastic container. My guess is that the old bag they had been in had broken and I had just dumped them in with some other stuff.

The stars at the top of each tree are mother of pearl which I bought from the the Crewel Gobelin in Marian Street, Killara when I lived there.  I used to walk past it twice a day and many purchases were spur of the moment when I was tempted by the window display.   I bought several designs of mother of pearl buttons  and have now just about used them up.

I had been planning on crocheting a chain of the red Heirloom yarn, but in my hunt for buttons, I found the cord, part of some bought as a drawstring tie some years ago.

The only outlay on these little trees has been time.  All the materials have come from stash and I guess is that some of the  buttons are quite old.  Some are fairly utilitarian, some are shirt buttons, but some are definitely old.  The cord will go across my door with a slight curve and I'm looking forward to putting them up.  They've been a fun project.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, Wie treu sind deine Blätter!

These are not quite the words I've always known.  Treu is often translated loyal and refers to the fact that the pine is an evergreen, keeping its leaves year round. I learnt the song with the words

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
Wie grün sind deine Blätter!

where grün is green.

Do you like  my miniature pine forest?  They come from  the book of motifs I bought a few  weeks ago.

The arthritis in my right hand has receded  a bit and I can knit for a few minutes at a time.  I have been doing so as therapy for the hands.  Each tree takes about 20-25 minutes depending on my level of concentration on increases and decreases.  Then I give the hands a rest.

The trees when decorated are bunting for decorations for Christmas.  The pattern calls  for 8 ply yarn but I have used Grignasco  Bambi, a 4 ply and 2.5 mm bamboo needles.  I had forgotten just how lovely  this yarn is to knit and to wear.  The ball I had  was a leftover  from an Aestlight shawl I made as a gift  for a friend.  I have some bright red Heirloom baby yarn in merino which will trim  the trees.  That came from a jumper I made my youngest grandson before he was born.  He was eight a few months ago.  So the trees have cost me nothing except time.

They are to be strung on a cord made by casting on several hundred stitches and kitting a couple of rows.  I think I will crochet the cord and measure as I go for  what I want.  I really don't fancy the long knitted cord at all.  The book has a pattern in it for ordinary bunting  too, which looks like  fun.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

saturday sky redux, or , where there's smoke there's fire

Some years ago, probably around eight years, I took part in a series called Saturday Sky.  It was interesting picking different skies to photograph and finding frames for the photo as well as externally applied frames.  I look back through my photos and remember taking some of them especially for the Saturday Sky series.

Today there is another example.  Much of Sydney and the Central Coast has been blanketed in smoke today, much of it from  backburning before a forecast very hot day tomorrow.  The fires are contained but are not extinguished.  They could burn for weeks in deep mountain valleys unless we get substantial rain.  Then,  if wind  and temperature combine as fires need, they roar up with little warning in a different area and the nasty cycle begins again.

This photo which can be enlarged by clicking on it, shows what the sky was like here just after lunch.  The closest suburb here is about ten minutes' walk away if I were capable of walking that far.  I'm not at the moment.  I can barely see it.  The next suburb is obliterated by smoke and the harbour bridge and city skyline of major buildings is just totally hidden.  I've been inside most of the day with the doors and windows closed.  I've sneezed many times.  I don't want to think about those who really have respiratory and related problems.  According to the Ambulance Service they have been rushed off their feet attending to severe asthma attacks and other problems caused by the smoke.

I've been doing socks for a while now in a KAL in a Rav group.  I at first said I would do one pair.  I'm now on my sixth and others have done many more.  I don't usually put expectations on myself as I find it a  sure way to disappoint myself.  However, the socks have been started and finished in a reasonable manner.

The second sock in the sixth pair was to have been finished by the end of October to fit in with my calculations.  The arthritis has flared again, see comment about walking above.  My thumb on right hand often is swollen and can not be bent much off the perpendicular. That happened last week but worse was the swelling of the ring finger on the same hand.

It was so painful that scraping it on mattress as I turned in bed woke me up.  The knuckle was bruised from the swelling and the whole of the joint closest to my hand was very swollen.  I've been rubbing cream into it several times a day and it's a bit better now.  However, knitting was totally out of the question, so the second sock is still only about 30% finished.

The photo shows the swelling in the one joint.  The joints above the swollen one are fairly normal.  My right ankle is also swollen.  When the osteoarthritis was first diagnosed years ago, the doctor prescribed tablets to be taken all summer.  I don't want that, I hate the effect on stomach, but I need to get something to have in the house.  I have to get a repeat script for another medication so will raise this matter when I go.

I did not realise just how difficult it would be to get a photo of this.  Son still has my Nikon and I had to use my left hand and phone to take this.  Clumsy, very clumsy and awkward.

I just had to  edit this photo.  I realised my brother's name was clearly visible  in the inbox on the left.  A very private solicitor, holding top government positions, he would have been horrified to see his full name there.  Once I realised it, I couldn't leave it, although I doubt anyone who knew him would ever have seen it.  I've edited the photo.