Archive for June, 2010

Smokefree Science


Once in a while, something truely random happens in life.  One of those random events happened last Friday night when I was making pizza.

DH arrived home with a big box of dry ice, which he had bought for his school band’s performance at Rockquest the next night. What followed was a rather fun, very impromptu science lesson for the kids. And slightly overcooked pizza.


FO: Olearia take two

 I’m sure that any mother of two young girls will tell you it’s just not on to knit one daughter a top and not the other one. Thus, when I looked at the leftovers of the pink and white variegated yarn from Miss 3’s Olearia, I wondered if it would be enough to make a second top striped with a co-ordinating pink in the same yarn. I decided it would be, and cast on. Part way through knitting it, Miss 3 announced that she preferred it to *her* unstripped version. Hard luck sweetie, you’re too big and there was no way there was enough yarn for a Size 3!

I did have enough for this 18 month size, with size 2 length for Miss 2 though. And it is super cute with the stripes, even if it did mean a million ends to sew in.

This used up every last bit of the varigated yarn, and around 50g of the plain – so about 160g of Ridgevale Romney DK used all up. I like the weight of this yarn – it’s a bit thinner than some DK yarns I’ve seen around, but it is nicely spun and Miss 3’s cardigan has worn beautifully despite it getting a decent amount of wear.  So it was a pleasure to have something to use the rest up on when I know it will wear well.

As with the previous occasion I knit this pattern, I found it a pleasure to knit. It is a simple, well written pattern with clear instructions for each size, and different options for the body and sleeves. Due to yardage constraints I knit the same version as before, although I am keen to try a long-sleeved version in the future.

Summary: Pattern: Olearia by Georgie Hallam

Needles: 3.25mm and 4mm 40cm circulars (I used a mixture of Addis and Knitpicks Harmonys because that’s what I had in those sizes).

Yarn: Ridgevale Romney DK, 160g

Time Frame: about 4 days knitting time in the evenings.

Beautiful Buttons

A friend of mine has recently started to make buttons for sale. I could not resist buying several sets for our button jar and to use on future projects.  The buttons come in sets of five as standard, but she can make fewer or more depending on your needs.    I ordered all super girly sets, but she has some utterly adorable sets for boys too.

 And at an incredible $6 NZ for a set, these are an amazing buy too!

And a close up…

You can see all the attention to detail – perfect! And they have that hand made beauty too – they are all individual.

If you are interesting in seeing what else she is offering, check out Nicci’s blog here or contact her at

Found in the garden

When we moved into our house six years ago (nearly!) it came with several established fruit trees – two very productive lemon trees, a prolific grapefruit, a mandarin, and a Chilean guava. The mandarin tree blew over one stormy night about four years ago, the grapefruit is hugely neglected as we don’t eat grapefruit, and the lemon trees have had some care and attention as we love their produce. But the guava, well, the birds have had the best of that. I really had no idea what to do with its fruit, and the friendly neighbourhood  Kereru ( Native woodpidgeons) love to come by in season and feast on it, which is always a treat for us.  They are gorgeous birds, really large and quite beautiful, and their distinctive sound as they fly really entrances the girls.  However it did seem like time for me to try something a mite more productive, and after asking a lady at work for ideas, I whipped up this dessert which I adapted from an Annabel Langbein recipe book.


Guava and Apple Pie

75g butter

100g castor sugar

1 egg

2t vanilla essence

2.5 cups flour

2.5t baking powder

4 T cold water (approx)

Soften the butter and beat with the sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, beat more.  Mix in the flour and baking powder, and then add water, one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is starting to form a large ball. There should be some that is still in small balls or slightly crumbly when you finish mixing.

Butter your dish and then press 2/3 of the mixture into a 22cm round pie dish or similar.


2C Chilean guavas, topped and tailed

2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

2 T castor sugar

1t cinnamon

Grated rind of one lemon

Spread fruit over the pie dish evenly, and then sprinkle the remaining topping ingredients over top. Take the remaining third of the pastry which is in small balls, and distribute these over the top of the filling.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 220’ Celsius until golden.

It is delicious served with icecream, as you can imagine!
My biggest problem with this was the annoying pips in the guavas. I suspect one is supposed to discard them in the preparation stage, but I have no experience with this. Anyone out there with wise advice?

And, if you are an Chilean guava expert with good ideas, fire away, as the tree still have plenty more fruit on offer.

More Magic

I got a delightful, and rather unexpected, package in the post on Friday. A magic yarn ball!  I signed up for swap a few weeks ago, and they don’t have to be sent for nearly a month, but my swapper clearly lives on a far more organised planet than I do!   I nearly told myself not to open it until I  have mine ready. That idea lasted ohhh, maybe 2o seconds? I’m strong on will power, eh!!

The concept of a magic yarn ball is simple – wrap small gifts up inside a ball of yarn for the recipient to find as they knit up the yarn. Clearly you can see this concepts runs into a little trouble when you try itwith 4 ply yarn. I can seeeeeee the goodies inside! I spy chocolate, a notebook, some ribbon, a pen, some buttons, and other treasures too. And it smells so gooooood! There has to be some lavender hidden away in there somewhere. The whole parcel smelled divine when I opened it.

You don’t have to have a theme for a yarn ball – but my swapper clearly knows my tastes – this ball oozes purpley goodness! And the yarn, oh, the yarn! Stunning purples courtesy of Knitsch – the colourway is Beauregard. Just gorgeous! This is lovely stuff – 100% NZ merino sock yarn. Divine semi solid colourway, mmmm. I am planning and wondering what I should knit with it already.  I am totally pumped for Knitsch too, their sock yarn is now being stocked by the Nationwide chain of knitting stores. And our local has them prominently displayed on and behind the counter too. Great work Tash!!

Back to the magic yarn ball though – I need to start planning mine now, so watch this space for some creativity 🙂

Technical Issues and other such difficulties

No, I haven’t fallen off the side of the universe. Honestly!

Things have been a little bit busy around here lately – reports for seniors, then juniors, parent-teacher interview evenings, and the ERO arriving at school have kept me busy with work.  Trying to find the bottom of my WIP/hibernating project basket has been keeping me busy with knitting, but has left me a bit uninspired. And a small girls’ birthday has kept me busy with planning, baking, wrapping, celebrating and playing.

It’s been a fun couple of weeks around here!

And I *have* taken photos to share with you, and even started a blog post or two which might eventually even be posted. But I’m suffering from a few technical difficulties with my laptop, and all the photos are on there, and I am too lazy or busy or uninspired or whatever to get a USB stick out and work out which ones I want to transfer over.

Except I am going to have to backup the whole machine as apparently it needs a new motherboard when they do the repair. Fun!

Anyway, I hope you’ll be patient with me until I get myself sorted out! There will be some (uninspiring) finished or partially finished knitting to share with you on my return. But it’s getting done, and that’s what counts!

FO: Branigan Shawlette (2)


I had the pleasure of gifting this beautiful shawlette this morning. A work colleague is going through a really tough time at the moment and it seems like there is very little one can do to support her beside being supportive and available when I can be.  I also thought that a little something she could wear might remind her of the support that she has and might give her a bit of strength when it is needed. Imagine my delight this morning when I found her wearing black head to toe this morning – the perfect outfit for an accessory like this!

The pattern I chose was the Branigan Shawl. For a couple of reasons though (time being the biggest though to be honest) I didn’t want to work a full sized shawl – something to drape around the neck seemed the best idea. So I adapted the pattern – it has three different sizes on the pattern. I worked the stockingette portion for the medium size, and then did just one repeat of chart A, and then straight on to the edging, leaving out the three repeats of chart  altogether. This made the lace portion much smaller and the shawl more compact.

I realised that the lace would get slightly covered up by the semi solid variegations in the yarn, and I’m glad I didn’t work masses of lace for it all to be a bit obliterated! 

The yarn that I chose was from stash. It is a gorgeous colourway called Gothic Rose from Vintage Purls – it is her lovely sock yarn base, which is sooo soft for shawls.  The picture below is a good representation of the colour.

Everything from almost black through pinks and plums. Gorgeous! I believe this is one of Morag’s old standard colourways and it’s therefore repeatable. I almost hated to knit it up and give it away – it’s been gracing my stash for some time now. But I really wanted a strong colourway for this shawl, for the strong woman who will wear it. In fact, she currently *is* wearing it.

I just knew I would knit this pattern again when I knit it last time, and I am glad that I did. I loved the pattern just as much this time, although I do think it looks better in a more solid yarn. But I do enjoy a sensible, easy to follow lace pattern, and this fit the criteria perfectly. So if you are thinking of knitting a shawl – or if you want to cheat and do a shawlette like me, you should check out this lovely pattern.

PS: Julia, yep, I take most of my own pictures. Lots of trial and error, really long arms (or a good stretch) and a very simple to operate camera. I roped in Mr 12 to take the back shot though 🙂

June 2010
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