Archive for November, 2010

At My House

The girls have been getting creative.  After our beach adventures on Saturday, they were delighted to find the picnic rug on Sunday morning. So they put it (and a huge quantity of sand) our in the middle of the kitchen floor, whereupon they had an impromptu picnic for all the teddies, cats, dolls and ponies. 

But such a special event surely needs special decorations? Their cups were soon festively decorated in an appropriate fashion.

I think that DH is finally starting to ‘get’ the crafting thing. The girls are busy decorating, colouring, stamping and making so many times a day I think it largely washed over him. But on Saturday he was in charge while I was at work, and I came home to find he and Miss 4 had made a beautiful flower. 

She apparently brought in a buttercup and wanted to trace around it. I think this construction paper, magazine and pipe-cleaner creation exceeded her expectations.  And I’m delighted to see all the small details that show what a fun time they must have had making it.

I’ve been doing more gardening and cooking rather than crafty creating – although my knitting needles are always busy. We have been eating home grown veges every night for a couple of weeks now, and should continue to do so through the summer.  The biggest challenge has been to find suitable dishes to cook with the available ingredients! Luckily the children seem happy to try almost anything when they have helped to water or pick it 🙂

At My House is hosted by Lou Lou.


Ways to avoid marking #1

I’ve got a lot of work on over the next few weeks – so expect some procrastination. Today’s prescription:

Lovely weather! Add a desire to avoid cooking and it  equals a fish and chip picnic at the beach – our first of the year. It was over 25 degrees still at 5pm, the girls had managed massive naps despite the heat, and going out felt better than marking.

Dinner done, it was time to explore. As you can see, the tide was waaaaay out. This coupled with a quiet evening meant Miss 4 was feeling quite confident. After intially exploring the beach, the girls were pleased to find I’d packed their togs. Even though it was about 7.30 by this stage, on they went, and we discovered that the water was really pleasant.  It’s awesome to see how Miss 4 has grown in confident at the beach – two years ago she screamed!  Last year she wouldn’t touch the water. And now look at her!

Miss 2 has never been shy of the waves.  She’s a teensy bit uncertain, but was right alongside her big sister.

So, with all that avoidance going on, I guess it’s time I did some marking! 

Watch this space for more avoidance techniques in action.

When you grow up

What did you want to be when you grew up? As a child, I could always picture myself as a teacher. My favourite subject at school was Home Economics – so I pictured myself as a Home Ec teacher.  Given my hobbies – sewing, knitting, cross-stitch (very rarely these days!), baking, and gardening, that’s not too bad a fit. I even went so far as to study the right subjects at Uni. I lasted less than three weeks before realising it just was not me.  I switched papers, got a BA in English and Art History, and went on to become a teacher anyway.

In between I did lots of other jobs: I sold stuff – electrical and plumbing goods mostly. I worked in an office. I was a telephonist. I cleaned houses.  Mostly these were just jobs to get by on. To pay the bills. They were okay. Sometimes I worked funny hours – split shifts were always a challenge. Working until 3am on New Years’ Eve answering calls for a taxi company certainly was, erm, fun.  I even managed to set a new record for the most number of calls taken in one hour that night.

But never has my job put me in danger. 

On Friday afternoon, 31 men were down a mine at Pike River in Greymouth, when a massive explosion took place. Two escaped with their lives.  The others? Until yesterday there was hope that some were trapped, and that a rescue may be effected.  Yesterday afternoon a second massive explosion rocked the mine, ending any hope of a miraculous rescue.

These men were husbands, partners, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, and friends. Some had years of experience in mines. One was a 17 year old on his first day at work.  All of them had chosen to work in the mine.  Their loss to their families is utterly tragic. The loss to the communities on the West Coast is tragic too. Some were civic minded – a local councillor was lost that day. Some were talented sportsmen. One was an expectant father. One was engaged, to be married next month.

With each individual, is a terrible loss. My heart goes out to each family who is grieving.

With these losses, the country is in mourning. 29 men, gone.   Flags flew at half mast today, to recognise the spirit of mourning in the community. I hope, along with the rest of the country, that their bodies can soon be recovered so that their families can bury them and mourn their loss with some sense of finality.  Until then, this tragedy will weigh heavily on the minds and hearts of all New Zealanders.

It really does make you think about the choices that you make in life though. 

One day, they got up and went to work. They had chosen their employment, a job which, from the accounts, many loved. Felt called to. Satisfied in.  Other miners who were not in the mine that day still love and are committed to mining.  For some, it was what they wanted to do when they grew up.

At My House

Another Monday, another work week begins.

We had to leave behind our weekend’s fun and go to school (my work) and preschool.

The fairy princess fun will have to wait.

Dollies will have to look after themselves for the day.

After a weekend of manic fun, the girls woke early and started right where they left off. Got to love their enthusiasm.  I faced a day of teaching and exam marking, with just a bit more world-weariness.  But we had some yummy yo-yos waiting to be iced when we got home. It’s always nice to have a plan for after school to look forward to for the girls, and while I would have liked mine with a cup of tea, I enjoyed it with sticky fingered girls instead.

After all that fun I got to make dinner – a delcious risotto with fresh veges picked from the garden – including the first of our peas. It certainly takes a little longer to get from garden to plate than frozed veges, but the freshness is out of this world.

Playing along with LouLou again this week 🙂

It just doesn’t matter which way I organise them

these skeins of yarn are just *not* a good colour match.

And I am more than a little gutted.

Before I say any more, I am not going to be getting all ranty the company who sold these to me – I am actually in the process of dealing with their customer services representatives about returning the yarn. I can’t fault their customer service. I am just gutted that I was sent these five skeins in the first place.

Now, I’m quite happy to buy hand-dyed yarn and accept that each skein will vary – that’s the way things are. If I want a nice semi-solid Madelinetosh Tosh DK in, say, Wood Violet, I would at least expect that they all seemed to be the same shade. And these are most definitely not.

Now, I guess that they could have arrived at the yarn store in separate orders, my order might have been supplied from two very different batches. They certainly seem to be. But, I do have to wonder about the role of the person who packed my order at the store and sent it to me. Seriously, if you went to your LYS and bought the yarn off the shelf, would you choose these five skeins to go together? I can’t believe that anyone would.  So, what is the role of the person who selects the yarn and packs it? Are they a shop assistant, or should I be expecting that they are more of a personal shopper?  If someone is buying five skeins of the same yarn, can they not expect that the knitter is wanting them for a garment?  If you were to knit a garment with these skeins, you’d end up with a stripy jersey!  Not quite the look we are usually hoping for. Any knitter surely would think twice before packing such an order.

And then there is the fact that this was posted to me from the other side of the world.  In this case I got free postage, but usually I would not.  Post would usually add another 25% to the cost of yarn I buy. While I’ve been told they will reimburse me for return postage, and resend yarn or refund my money, it all becomes a very expensive exercise – I’ll have close to $100 tied in the yarn before I get any reimbursements or yarn. In three weeks or so I might even get to wind some up for knitting. Oh except the colour I ordered is now on backorder. It seems like it could all have been avoided very easily.

Say these were the last five skeins in stock. I really hope that a retailer would not hestiate to contact a customer and let them know that the colour variations in the skeins were not suitable for a garment and ask if they would still like to go ahead with the purchase, or to choose another colour or yarn. After all, the goodwill they would earn from this contact would earn them far more respect from the customer than the prompt delivery of five skeins that have your heart sink when you open the parcel as you look and go “where are my other two skeins? And I don’t remember ordering these, I wonder what they are?” Followed by that acknowledgment that they really did deliver your order, but not quite as you were expecting it.

So, a bit of a challenge to retailers, especially net retailers – please put yourself in the shoes of your customers! Please be our personal shoppers. We are depending on you to be our eyes.  Think about what the customer would do if they were in the shop themselves.  We will appreciate you for it! Life’s too short for bad yarn.

 No matter which way I organise those five skeins, I just know I would regret the hours and hours of knitting that would go into a stripey jersey from yarn that is *meant* to be the same colour. Much as it pains me to part with yarn, even frustrating yarn, I will be sending it back on its way to the other side of the world, trying not to think too much about global warming and how my yarn issues are adding to it.

My new toy

As alluded to yesterday, I got a new camera 🙂

My sister asked what it was I chose in the end (after a long consultation with her husband), and this is it: Nikon D3100.  I didn’t realise quite how much of a new model it was, but given things get made obsolete so fast these days it’s probably just as well!  My BIL advised me to invest in a good lens rather than get the lens kit that comes with it… but after trying one at the shop I could not believe how heavy it was! A massive step up from my old point and shoot. So I decided to get a twin lens kit as a step into the DSLR market. And if I want to upgrade to the other lens I will do that in time.  For now, I’ve got to get used to the new camera as it is!  I’m lucky my kids think it’s a novelty.  Miss 4 happily posed with her ponies while I put it together and tried out my first shots.

Got to love  a willing model. I *do* wish she had washed her face first though!  Her sister was so unkempt I daren’t put a piccy up for public inspection. Suffice to say she needs to use a hairbrush more often. But something about being two means you can only have your hair brushed when *you* want to, not when Mummy says.

Back to the camera though.  I got it here.  The service and price were great, so they come highly recommended. I feel ever so slightly guilty for not buying locally, but the several hundred dollars I saved allievated the guilt nicely.


I’ve been secretly working on a gorgeous test knit for another designer the past week or so, and since I was planning the purchase of  a new camera, I waited until it arrived to take pictures of it. 

The top is a size 4, for Miss 4. Knit in , what else? 4 ply!

I used Vintage Purls, my yarn of choice it seems. I had more of this lovely Dolce Vintage Sock yarn left, and knowing her penchant for pink I figured I couldnt’ go too wrong.

And I adore this top. It’s light and lacy, perfect for the warmer weather. It’s really, really girly, perfect for the stage she’s going though. There are options for beaded or unbeaded – I chose unbeaded as I didn’t  have anything suitable in my stash.

And as you can see, Miss 4 was quite happy to pose and play in her new top – lovely!

I’ll keep an eye of for the release date of the pattern and let you know when it comes out 🙂

November 2010
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