Archive for January, 2012

Things I’m Loving

It’s hard not to be in love with the holidays. So I thought I’d join Kirsty in taking some time to be thankful for the great stuff that’s surrounding us.

I’ll start with the obvious – staying at someone else’s house means I don’t have to get dinner on the table every night, clean the house (obviously I do help out some though) or even get up early each morning with the kids. I go do to jobs and find someone else has done them by the time I get there (washing never mysteriously gets down off the line and folds itself at my house!)  so, very grateful for that.

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This next one really needs a sense of scale – but please believe me when I tell you this is a BIG key. At least as long as my hand. I’m really grateful not for the key, but what it represents.  Each night for the past three nights, this key has inspired a unique, impromptu story by my Father in Law to the girls at bedtime. So far, I’ve heard about the key to Pixie Hollow, yet more pixie stories, and tonight, the story of a Snow Petrel whose three wishes allowed him to find his way home.  Very grateful for the awesome memories that are being created each night with these lovely stories.

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Very thankful for my biggest girl, who is growing up so fast – she lost her first tooth this week. (and no, that’s not all her natural hair!)

And also very thankful for a lovely afternoon spent relaxing with friends – the girls so enjoyed a playdate with other wee girls, being able to play in their yard, borrow their dress ups, build a hut with them, and do art and craft as well. Such a gorgeous, gorgeous day too. Got to love the long Canterbury days.

Oh, and sorry for the photo quality – I suddenly realised that although I forgot my camera, my IPOD Touch does at a pinch. One more reason to love the thing!

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Holiday Reading

I’m in the middle of my big summer holiday break, and have a thesis to write… so I’ve been procrastinating with all the good books I can find.  I thought I’d share my picks of the bunch with you – some will be familiar to friends reading this blog as I took their suggestions over what to buy!

I finished off the school term with some Camilla Lackberg novels. I owe the librarian at school for her suggestion (and yes, I’ll return the book pronto Maureen!), as I really enjoyed these. One awesome benefit of teaching, for me, has to be the school library. I can saunter in on  Friday and come out with a pile of weekend reads – and they even loan DVDs, which has allowed me to catch up a little on the recent movies I’ve missed by being too cheap to shell out for the cinema experience. Ah, but back to Lackberg – I read all four of the Patrik Hedstrom books, The Stonecutter, The Preacher, The Hidden Child, and The Gallows Bird.  Lackberg writes in her native Swedish, I read these in translation, and even found myself buying the final one in Kindle format when it wasn’t available from the local library.  Can’t wait for The Drowning to be released now too!  These are mystery stories, set in Fjallbacka, a small Swedish town.  It was lovely to read more stories set in Sweden after my Dragon Tattoo-fest last year. I enjoyed the main characters, and was engaged by the various stories.  A good, fast read.

I was totally captured by The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This is Morgenstern’s debut novel, and what a way to start! I loved the imagination behind the story itself – and the realms of what is possible within the circus and magic, but the pace, structure and description really added to this.  I was really fortunate it was as engaging as it was – this I took with me on a recent trip overnight where I had far too much caffine and couldn’t get to sleep until after 3am.  The Night Circus kept me company.

I found the main characters Celia and Marco very sympathetic, and the cast of minor characters were also very engaging. There were a raft of them, and their relationships were tightly interwoven, as were their fates.  This book isn’t just for circus lovers – it has tension, mystery, romance and magic within its pages. Definitely one to re-read for me!

I also really enjoyed Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin.

I’ve been jumping about genres a little bit – this is a little bit mystery, a bit drama. Set in Mississippi, it explores the tensions of small town life through two major characters – Larry, a white boy who grew into a man, shadowed by suspicion about a girl who went missing after his date with her, and Silas, a black boy who moves back to his old hometown as a policeman.  The tensions that occur in the short period after another local lady goes missing are contextualised with flashbacks to the 1970s explaining the history of Larry and Silas’ friendship, and look at the way their re-acquaintance affects their present lives.

Larry and Silas aren’t the most sympathetic of main characters.  But as you get to know more about the history of each through the flashbacks, you come to care more deeply for them.  The novel is well crafted in this, and other regards, and I enjoyed it.

Some lighter reading was found in a bit of chick lit – Three Girls and Baby by Rachel Schuring fulfilled my criteria. It was cheap and fun.  Just $2.99US in Kindle format, it did me nicely.  This book looks at the life of Ginny, and what happens when she falls pregnant to her former boyfriend when she’s fresh out of college and fresh from their breakup.  There are some fun times to be had for her and her two besties as they decide to stay flatting together despite the pregnancy and to raise the baby together.  Realistic? Maybe not, but since when is chick lit meant to be realistic? It’s supposed to be escapist isn’t it!  Anyway, there are Kindle editions available of two follow-up novels already – which given the first book was released in July 2011 defies belief really! The speed at which the world moves these days is kinda scary!

Anyway – that’s it from me for now.  I’ve got more holiday time and more books on my Kindle waiting reading, not to mention a nice being Amazon.co.uk order waiting for me at home (I hope!) so I’ll be found with my nose buried in a book for quite some time to come.

FO: Beyond Puerperium Sweater

I was looking through some photos on my laptop and came across some of yet another long unblogged project (or two….). So, since you were deprived of photos yesterday, I thought it was time to show these to you.

May I present to you, the sweetest wee baby outfit!

Knit to the versatile Beyond Puerperium sweater pattern by Kelly Brooker, this is a fabulous wee knit.  It has sizes from 0-2 years, and three yarn weights: 4ply, DK and 10ply.  Knit all in one, it’s a raglan sweater with offset opening, perfect for dressing a baby. I knit the 0-3 month size, as it was for a baby whose mother is very tall, and baby was rather overdue. I thought I’d rather knit this size than the NB one. There is a free version of the pattern for just NB though, so worth checking it out if you’re after a great baby gift.

I used stash yarn, not at all sure what it is now, sorry. I do remember getting it from an Aussie knitter’s destash. I was a little nervous because I had only 100g of Dk weight yarn and the pattern stated 110g. I felt lucky to finish it with leftovers. And so I decided to make a little hat to go with it!

This is a little Benji beanie – one of my patterns, and another multi-size pattern. This is the smallest, NB size, but it goes right up to an XL men’s size.  It  knit up super fast, and is amazingly soft as I used Sublime Merino for the main yarn.  Although both yarns were DK, it knit up fine on 4.5mm needles and created a lovely fabric (the pattern states 10ply yarn).  I finished it off with a button from stash – a sweet wee Buttons by Benji ladybird button.

It was so satisfying to make a sweet wee set up entirely from stash yarn and buttons, and was lovely to acquire a new pattern that I know I will use over and over again.

Happy New Year!

I thought it was well past time I popped on to wish you all a very happy New Year. 

 

If you thought I must have been busy, you’re right! We welcomed the new year at home and since then have travelled to Christchurch, tonight will be our fourth set of beds in a week.  AND we’ve had three different candle-blowing-out occasions (with a grand total of thirteen candles blown out, despite the birthdays totalling 115 years. Some things just don’t add up! And that’s with one person getting TWO lots of candles.)

I have been taking my needles and knitting with me though, and I’m making good progress on my first project for the year, which is a lovely cardigan, Making Waves by Mary Annarella. I cast on in lovely MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light, which is a 4 ply single, and is knitting up beautifully. The colourway is Amber Trinket, which is a stunning combination of colours – I adore these photos of Lina’s cardigan which made me fall in love with this colourway. In typical Tosh fashion, no two skeins seem to be the same, so I’ve had to alternate skeins through the body and I’m hoping the sleeve skein has enough of the various colours in to avoid having to do so in the arms too though.  Looking good so far – about four inches down the first arm. 

Apologies for the links rather than photos – guess who forgot to bring their camera??


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