Archive for January, 2010

Garden Renovations

You might recall some months ago I posted about my vegetable garden and said that I had a desire for a berry garden, in some new garden boxes. Wellll, lucky girl that I am, my father read that (yep, he’s a follower 🙂 ) and when he was planning a summer ‘holiday’, he had planned it to accomodate building one for me. Yay!

I had in mind a patch of grass behind the back garage (to my husand’s delight, we have two garages at our house, a single at the front and a double with workshop at the back. Never, ever, shall he have cause to complain about the size of my yarn or fabric stashes, given the size of his carparts and computer parts stash!) But I digress…

The previous owners of our house had kept a caravan in the spot I had in mind, and it featured some slightly uneven ground, overgrown pavers on part, and a sunken concrete edging on one bit. Messy in other words. My father and husband went shopping for timber, and then my father built the boxes before they worked on installing them together.

Here are some progress pictures.

End of day one: two boxes, no dirt, pavers gone, uneven ground, but amazing progress.

Dh hard at work: we got dirt! You can see our two lemon trees just beyond the vege boxes, and another fruit tree at the back too.  Our other vege garden is behind the flowering shrub you can see.  It’s wedged in between three fences, making it extremely sheltered from the winds. Which is just as well as we’ve had winds blowing a gale all day here today.  I imagine there will be some carnage there despite its sheltered nature.

All ready for growing.  By the end of the second day, the boxes were filled with dirt and ready to plant.

Here’s where I stopped taking pictures. The next day was a dump day – Mum had been busy renovating other parts of the garden – pulling up some older shrubs that were well past their best while Dad was working on the boxes.  Then a general tidy up resulted in dirt being put back on the path, filling in other necessary holes and so on.  After Mum and Dad left I dragged the family out to buy a few more berry plants to put in, and I’ve filled the boxes up with seeds so that we can take advantage of the summer growing season – so I hope that these will be productive enough for real ‘growing’  pictures before too long.

I have to admit that I was mostly tied up with looking after my not very well wee girl while all the hard work was going on – which was disappointing in many ways as it’s always good to get stuck in and accomplish stuff like this. But I am very grateful for my lovely tidy yard and great new berry boxes. I am looking forward to next summer and being able to wander out and collect berries from my own berry patch.

Thanks Dad!

So, I finished a pair of socks

Okay, so maybe they need blocking before they are ‘finished’.

Oh, and not quite a pair. They are different sizes – one is a size 5, the other a size 8. 

Oh yeah, and, um, slightly differnt yarn and patterns 🙂

I think I have knitters ADHD! I would have knit sock #2 of the green pair except I couldn’t find my needle to graft the toe together. So for some reason instead of casting on #2 on my second sock needle, I cast on another sock altogether! Oh dear, there may be no hope for me! 

Sock #1 you’ve met before: Kai-Mei for my blog giveaway winner.

Sock #2 is another of Cookie A’s patterns from the Sock Innovation book, Angee.  I liked the sample in the book so much I am using the exact same yarn and colourway.  Aside from my sock clubs, I think this must be a first for me. I ordered the yarn last year and it has been calling to me from my stash – it is some Colinette Jitterbug in Ginger Cinnabar. Oh my, it is so wonderfully squishy and delicious, I am so glad I got three colourways when I ordered it! I have a blue and a purple skein to decide what to knit with now 🙂

So, while it isn’t exactly conducive to finishing Nikki’s socks, I’ve been enjoying my little project-on-the-side. Sorry Nikki, the other one is on the needles now.

The other one of both pairs that is…

When the going gets tough…

The tough go shopping.

That’s how it goes, isn’t it?

Well, you if imagine that we have had a stressful few days, you would be right. Despite not diagnosis on her leg issues, Miss 1 is improving and is mostly walking by herself most of the time now after a good number of days off it.  We had a couple more GP visits and another set of x-rays but she is officially a trooper and coped really well. So, somehow when I found myself in front of the laptop with some non-medical-crisis time on my hands, I managed to discover the Needlefood sock club was a) open and b) sold out. Whoops, an entry somehow fell into my shopping cart 🙂 I have a sample from the Blendy Box and the skein I recieved for Christmas, but am yet to acutally knit with Needlefood sock yarn. But I’m looking forward to it.

And in the meantime my parents have been helping out and undertaking some big garden renovations and routine garden maintainence too. More on that later 🙂

Oh, and I signed a contract for one term’s teaching (rather than the whole year) which I officially start today, but the students don’t start until Tuesday 🙂 What better way to prepare than to buy a new work wardrobe (What, lesson planning you say? Hmmm, you might have something there. Maybe tomorrow.)  Anyway, I had fun!

Gosh, shopping without three children is quite enjoyable 🙂

I am hoping that I can managed to fit a wee bit of knitting into my work day – staff meetings are bound to be much more enjoyable with yarn after all! Some sock projects might well be the pefect project to pack into my work bag.

Times when you are glad that you knit

So, Miss 1 has a sore leg. She isn’t walking, and spent nearly a whole day marooned on the sofa with me before she realised she could still crawl. Now, you can probably predict the story ahead: yes, we have been to the GP twice. Yep, Accident and Emergency too. Yes, many hours of waiting: waiting for appointments, waiting for X-Rays, waiting for blood tests.

Oh, sometimes I am so glad I’m a knitter! I remembered to pack spare nappies, wipes, a snack for Miss, my cell phone, wallet and the sock I am working on. And that was plenty. Because, let’s face it: waiting room magazines are a bit on the sucky side. But knitting, well, that usualy only sucks briefly around the time it throws a curve ball your way (like the fact you didn’t bring your pattern – but in a good news/bad news kind of way, I’d knitted it twice before and had the general idea of how it went.)

So, let me present to you the socks I’m making for the lovely Nikki, my blogiversary giveaway winner.  She chose green, and I am using some Araucania Ranco sock yarn (in the creatively named shade ‘112’) to knit her a pair of Kai-Meis. And, in a piece of good luck, she has tiny feet (despite several entries from people with self-confessed large feet, I scored a size 5 gal!), so I am adapting the pattern for 6o stitches instead of 66 to enable a better fit.  This is sock #1.

But, Miss 1’s medical explorations have revealled only this: she can’t/ won’t bear weight on her left leg. It’s sore. No spiral fracture has shown up on the x-rays. Despite the slight temperature she is running, she doesn’t have an infected joint. So, it’s either an irritable hip which should fix itself, or a spiral fracture which will show up  on the x-ray only once it starts to heal. Either way, in the meantime we have some more waiting to do – waiting to find out what happens, whether she will start to walk again by herself in the next few days and whether she will end up in plaster in the hottest part of the year (eep!). And in the meantime, I’ll keep knitting.

Oh, and thinking about whether to accept either of the relief teaching contracts I’ve been offered – both of which are part-time, differing durations, but both will mean the girls have to be booked into full-time daycare.

It’s in the box

 The money or the box? That was the question I was faced with – should I chance spending $35 plus postage on a ‘Blendy’s Box’?  Like the iconic Kiwi radio and TV quiz show,  It’s in the bag: The money or the box it was a little like entering the unknown. I could keep the money or risk it all on the box, contents unknown. In the quiz show, the contestant risked money for a ‘bag’ of their choice, it might be a great prize, or a total booby prize.  All was filmed in front of a live studio audience shouting advice. “Money!” “Bag!” “MONEY!” “BAG!!!!!!” MONEY!! BAAAAAAGGGGGG!!!!!! and so on.

Me, it was just my own curiosity. I haven’t bought a yarn and fibre sampler box before. NZ hasn’t had one before, and it is not something I have seen much of overseas although I know they are very popular. So when the boxes were being put together, I registered my interest but didn’t get over excited. When they went on sale last weekend, I totally forgot but when I sat down for my evening knitting time, I discovered they had gone and sale and there were three left. And, well, they got my money and I got the box.

Super service! It arrived first thing Tuesday morning. I don’t know whether I should admit this or not, but, well, I don’t know my courier driver’s name, but I recognise the sound of his van speeding down to the end of our culdesac first thing in the morning. And there was my box.

Here’s what was inside:

I don’t think I got the booby prize, but it’s a bit yarn-lite. I adore the sock yarn samples from Grrlshaped yarns (50% silk 50% merino – yum) and Needlefood, and the sari yarn and alpaca are lovely too. Less said about the boucle the better though (although the supplier has some delicious yarns, not sure why they sent this one in?).

 There is some lovely silk to spin, if I spun, and some other goodies too from Fab Fibres which are cute.

 There were also lots of little goodies, some very crafty things and an awesome pair of leather bootie soles and crochet pattern along with stitch markers – these are calling to me!

However, the end of the day, I was a little underwhelmed over all.  So I am thinking next time, I might just keep the money.

Muffins and stuff

First up I thought today I would share my super yummy muffin recipe for Rhubarb and White Chocolate Muffins. I just adapted my basic muffin recipe, and at knitting night I was asked to share it – so I figured you all might like it too. This is the time of year I find myself inundated with rhubarb, and I thought others might be too. When my zuchinnis get into full production I will share my favourite recipes for them too 🙂

2 Cups of self raising flour (or 2 C normal flour with 2tsp baking powder added)
3/4 Cup caster sugar
1/2 Cup sunflower or canola  oil (or light cooking oil, not soya or peanut)
1 -1.5 cups of rhubarb, cut into small chunks and precooked2 eggs lightly beaten
3/4 Cup milk

White chocolate buttons to taste – I guess we use between 1/4 to 1/2 cup? (Don’t use “Melts” as they don’t work in muffins for some reason!)

2 T raisins
Put all ingredients except rhubarb and white chocolate in a bowl and mix for 1 minute (or ‘just’ mixed, do not over mix) Stir in rhubarb and white chocolate. Spoon into muffin tins – makes 12.

Cook @ 190degC for 20 mins 

I can’t guarantee how long these last for – there are never any left past two days at our place 🙂

Yesterday was baking day at our place, whereas today I spent a good amount of time in the garden waterblasting our fence ready for painting. (Waterblasting is sooo misnamed, it’s not really a blast at all). The sun decided to join me outside and the day turned out to be a stunner. Dh suggested we have an impromptu Fish and Chips picnic at the beach for dinner.  Which the seagulls and sandflies really appreciated. So did the kids – who did all the stereotypical things for the age and gender – the boy dug holes, Miss 3 climbed a beautiful pohutukawa tree, and Miss 1 enjoyed the sand and running away 🙂 

FO: Leaf T-Shirt

And now it’s all done!

Knit in Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, this pattern is so super simple – one size for all, you cast on the same amount for every size and just increase until it is big enough for your arms plus one inch.  Having done this last year, I knew a couple of things – one inch bigger than my arms was a bit too big, and, the pattern would work best with a few stitches cast on under the arms to prevent holes. So, I implemented these changes.

Having read on Ravelry about this yarn shrinking, I knit the top extra long. And it didn’t shrink. Hmm. Just as well I like my tops long!  I also left the bottom just to roll up this time instead of ribbing – I may live to appreciate this move very much.

Perfect to wear while knitting…

I used just a tad over three skeins of yarn for this, which makes it quite a yarn economical project. It knit up beautifully on 4mm needles, which makes a lovely change from the 2.5mm needles for socks. 

And what’s that I’m knitting now? I decided another seasonal knit might be in order. So I’m knitting up a shrug for cooler mornings or evenings. I’ve only been meaning to make one since last autumn. And it finally made it to the top of the queue, and it’s enjoyable knitting so far.

And with that the photos end – for some reason practically every photo taken of me in this knit is deeply unflattering. Oh dear, perhaps I ate too many mince pies over Christmas?


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