21 November 2007

Two True Things

In the past few days I've been looking through all our photos, and have come up with a few true things to share...

True Thing #1
: I've been knitting for a long time... this is a fair isle jumper I knit in the round in the early 1980s - photo taken in 1987 (I was 23). This is the one I unravelled and turned into a cardigan two years ago.

True Thing #2 : My daughter was born naughty! Look at her - lying there, doing nothing, giving me the finger, and she's all of 5 months old! LOL! Photo taken on Christmas Eve 1991.

OK, enough distraction, better get back to The Bloody Boxes.

20 November 2007

More Secrets

My not-so-Secret Pal has been at it again! Too hot and headachy to write much, but lookit the pretty things! Thanks Abbey, you're The Best! She's told me who she is (meh, it's nearly the end of November, and she slipped up with her name - was bound to happen eventually ;) So you can pop over to her place and say hi!

Good Knitting mag - love the top on the front cover - silk, no less! And the Cook's Illustrated mag is very cool, I'm really enjoying reading it - the hand-drawn illustrations are quite stunning. Very interesting information and recipes, too.

Special treats for Lily .... although Aussie Quarantine / Customs took out the doggy biscuits (made from animal products).

Highly COOL Knitting Calender. Haven't opened the daily cards yet, that will be a treat once I've finished moving...

FUNNY Post-It notes (check the close up), lovely skin cream stuff, and 'Lady-Like Rosebud Mint lip balm' - perfect!

Mine, mine, mine, not sharing, nuh uh, no way. MIGHT let people fondle it under close supervision ;) Secret Pal tells me she has some in the same colourway (Dream in Color - SMOOSHY sock yarn, Beach Fog), so we can compare our finished objects!

Progress on Sherwood - not a great pic, I know, but I've divided at the armholes, and am nearly up to the shoulder shaping on the back! My sister and hubby and nephew Ben arrive in Canberra tomorrow - and it's too bloody hot to knit :p Doing what I can at nights. At least I can try it on the boy himself soon!

Didn't have much of a Jejune Day today - not really possible with a move a few days away - we have to be ready to go by Friday night. Didn't cook dinner though. Packed boxes, sorted things, and so on. Sent off the last package to my Secret Pal spoilee.

Also sorted out photos, I'm looking for photos of my brother Tim to scan... His condition is worsening, today his doctors said that family members who want to see him should visit soon :/ My (soon to be married) brother Ben, and (just arrived from London today) sister Jen, and mum are coming to Canberra tomorrow. It's all a bit mad. Why does everything have to happen at once?!

19 November 2007

Two Scary Things

First (and hopefully only) major catastrophe from our impending move (only 5 sleeps!) - you know that huge watertight plastic box of photos and slides and negatives and our kids' paintings from their primary school days (aaaawww), that was sitting on the balcony cos we're getting stuff out from under the house?


NOT so watertight. There was a small crack in the lid, and - who'd have thought it - we've had rain. LOTS of rain.

Every flat surface in the house has been covered with towels and drying photos.... yes, amidst the chaos of packing... perfect, just perfect.

They weren't ALL our photos, and a good proportion are duplicates... most were safely stored in ziplock bags (see, Rose Red is right!) - but there were at least two stacks of about 100 photos each that were glued together. After soaking in tepid water, we were able to peel most of them apart. Most have damage to the emulsion layer, at least around the edges, but some are ruined. The glossy ones seem to have fared worse than the satin finish ones. We've had to throw out about 40 or 50... again, many were duplicates, but not all :(

This only adds to my determination to digitise all our photos and slides. I have a damn good scanner (EPSON 4490 Photo), and need to start making use of it. Massive job, though - eeeek!

OK, time for the second scary thing - leave now if you don't like spiders ....

I'm serious ...

It's OK, no-one will think you're a wuss...

Bye! See you later :D

OK everyone else of steely disposition - here we go!

This is an example of one of the Hunstmen spiders that we share our home with - once they get to a good size we catch them and put them outside. They're not poisonous, but can give you a bit of a nip and a fright (this one was curled up inside a folded knitting pattern, so it gave me a start when I picked it up!). Hasn't it got pretty striped legs?

When they're small (under 5 cm / 2") our family calls them 'Ickle Bickles' cos they're small and cute ;) They can get bigger than this one, which is about middle sized. They can get up to about 15 cm / 6" across.

OK, back to packing - things are really happening now, everything's fair game for being put in a box! Catch you all a bit later - will comment on your blogs when I need a break from it all, but may not be often for a little while yet...

16 November 2007

Book Meme Thing

Swanknitter tagged me for this meme, and since it's nice and easy and fast, here goes :

"Open the book you’re currently reading to page 161 and read the fifth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag."

I'm reading two books at the moment, so have done this for both :

"Have you alerted the Gryphon?"
> from Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde

"They said I has to hand it over when you give me the pris'ner," said Moist, a model of stolid insistence.
> from Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Give me comedy (or murder mysteries) any day!

As for tagging 5 bloggers - if you want to do this, consider yourself TAGGED! ;D

The Friday Night Knitting Club has arrived from Janette, too - so plenty of reading on my To Be Read pile :D

Getting serious here with packing and cleaning and finishing enough work to be able to take 2 weeks off (writing puzzles at least; I'll still be dealing with book / card orders) ... catch you all a bit later!

14 November 2007

Yarn, cables, and chaos

It's arrived! Yarn #8 is finally in the shops - and look at page 5! Thanks Barb!

Here's where I'm up to on my latest painting ... bit stumped as to how to get the cables to look good, with the right amount of detail (some, but not too much) - so will just look and think about it for a few days to figure out the solution. Also need to paint the needles. Don't want to screw it up at this stage!

As you can see we're very close to moving (it's been a damned long wait!) - getting very sick of the boxes. 10 sleeps til we get the keys and the guys with the moving van show up! HUGE amount of work to do before then ...

It will be good to move out of here - this place has no insulation, is an oven and freezer in the wrong seasons (ie hot in summer, cold in winter), is too small for us, one small bathroom, tiny bedrooms, no garage, and an awful driveway.


I will really really miss this view, from the dining room, where I paint (and we have meals, on occasion ;)
Isn't it lush? I just love it. Jasmine, camellias, gum trees, green bushy things (I'm not a natural gardener, can you tell?). The whole room is bathed in afternoon sunshine every day ...

Our new place is much bigger and better, but not much garden to speak of... The potted lemon tree and daphne bush are coming with us, that will help a little. But - - still - - sigh.

13 November 2007


Feast your eyes - this doesn't happen often - yes folks, I BOUGHT SHOES. TWO pairs, no less. Upping my grand shoe count from 3 pairs to 5!

These are for my brother Ben's wedding which is only in about 3 weeks (yikes! I've got to move house before then!) ...

I bought these at the FSW in Phillip, so both were reduced price. I needed something strappy but comfortable for the wedding and reception... man, who designs fancy footwear? Have they never heard of arch support?! Took me about an hour, but eventually I settled on these Sandlers - Delta, reduced from $89.95 to $59.00. Black. Leather uppers (what there is of them!).

Not very high heels, but I honestly couldn't find anything higher that was comfortable. Another customer said they have kitten heels, but I don't know if that's right - you shoes-ey ladies (you know who I mean, Rose Red!), can you enlighten me?

And I also needed some informal but nice sandals, to wear to the family-only lunch at my future sister-in-law's family home (and yes, they're incredibly wealthy, so I don't want to look like a slob in my broken down Homy Peds!). This family lunch will be on the day after the wedding, at their house on the Brisbane River - we have the options of fishing and swimming... oooooh errrrh... !

These are BareTraps - hey Bells, they're named after your sister - Adele. Reduced from $69.95 to $59.00. Black leather tops (there was a choice of black - goes with lots; white - gets grubby; or hot pink - SO not me). A little arch support and nice cushy soles. Not too high, wedge heel.

Now we just need to get some shoes for Dotter, and we'll be all set!

Lily is doing really well on the new heart med, she's looking pretty chipper and happy - thank goodness! Don't know how long this will last, but we're enjoying every extra day we have with her :)

Jejune's Day is going nicely - wandered around the Tuggers Hyperdome this morning to get a feel for the place (it will be our new local shopping centre), then did the shoe shopping thing, and now it's time for some painting!

12 November 2007

Aching Hearts update

Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and well wishes... I do appreciate them all.

Today has been better for Lily - she is looking much happier, although she's still breathing pretty fast and is spending lot of time sleeping in her basket. The vet has put her on a new heart med, which is our last line of attack. Hopefully this will help, and ease her scary collapsing fits (probably caused by low blood pressure). If/when this doesn't work, then we are looking at needing to put her to sleep. But we've been given a little more time together.

As for my brother - the cardiologist has seen him, and says there's nothing more they can do to help. Tim isn't a candidate for a heart transplant (because of the ongoing drug abuse). He's out of hospital and back in his psych home (across the road from the hospital) on higher doses of his heart meds, but he now has the progressive failure of his liver, then kidneys, and finally lungs to look forward to because of the back pressure caused by his congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy. No time estimate given by his doctor. It promises to be pretty unpleasant, poor bugger :( It's no great surprise to any of us, we've known this was coming since 2000.

And amidst all this we're moving (finally) at the end of next week. One small mercy - the owner of our current house has decided to wait until we're out before putting it on the market, so we don't have to put up with Open Houses and suchlike - phew!

Thank goodness it's JejuneDay tomorrow (yes, I have been keeping it up)! Hope to get some painting time, more progress on Ben's Sherwood (isn't it purty?) and maybe some very very rare shoe shopping for the wedding - by which I mean I don't often shop for shoes, not that I'm going to buy rare shoes ;)

11 November 2007

It would never happen in fiction...

Not been a good day.

Last night Lily's condition deteriorated very quickly, to the point where her diuretics clearly weren't helping much (despite us cautiously increasing her dosage). She's had a couple of fits / collapses, and is unable to lie down comfortably to sleep. At times her breathing sounds like she's got lungs full of fluid - which she does - horribly gargley. Congestive heart failure does that to you.

So we've been poised for her death for most of the day. She's actually a little better at the moment, able to walk around and lie down, and her breathing is only about 60 breaths a minute instead of 120 (30 is normal). If she's still with us tomorrow, we'll go to the vet. I think I'd rather she could die here at home, though, without the added stress of having to go to the vet's... but if she's suffering too much, I don't think we have much choice.

To top it all off with a very weird coincidence, this morning I heard that my brother Tim had been admitted to ICU at Hospital in the middle of the night, with serious pain. He's had an x-ray and ultrasound, but I'm still waiting to hear from my Dad, who is waiting on the doctors, for some results. Tim has congestive heart failure, too, the same as Lily, only with Hepatitis B & C as well, and other stuff. The current theory is that he has fluid accumulating in / around his liver and abdomen.

Last I heard Tim was in a regular ward, and walking around, and ducking outside for a smoke whenever possible. He's on morphine. His prognosis isn't good, though.

So if I'm a little absent online, these are the reasons why...

10 November 2007

Make your own magnet board

The other day I was thinking, you know what I need? Yeah, yeah, ok, I know about the better health and more sleep and maybe being a bit more sensible... but for knitting, I need a magnetic board thingy, for keeping track of charts and stuff.

But I wanted to use what I had on hand... and after sleeping on it, I came up with the following solution, using flexible magnetic sheeting, as I happened to have a few sheets on hand. If you want to make this, you'll need to find a supplier, unless you have some lying around too! I'll put some links at the end...

How to Make Your Own Magnetic Chart Reader Thingy

1) Get a small sheet of flexible magnetic sheeting. A4 is fine. The one I have has a glossy white front surface.

2) Using a stanley knife and cutting board, cut a piece around 8 x 22 cm, and a smaller strip about 2 x 22 cm.

3) Slip the bigger piece, black magnetic side up, under your chart, and use the thinner piece on top, to mark your place. You can use it to hold small metallic items, too, like your Knit Picks needle key.

This nice thing about having such a thin and flexible backing piece (unlike a magnet board with a large metal backing sheet) is that this will work in a magazine, like a bookmark, and without damaging the pages. And if you prefer knitting in an armchair, with your chart lying over the arm, it still works - you don't need to sit it up on a table.

Here are some stockists of flexible magnetic sheeting; maybe you can go in with a friend, as you only need a little bit.

Rochester Magnet Company (NY)
Magnetic Flexible Rubber (Australia)
Blick Art Materials (USA)
AustMag (Australia)

It is worth asking local printers if they have offcuts available, too, I think that's where we got our strips from. Much cheaper (often free). Just look in your Yellow Pages for printers that say they print fridge magnets.

StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!


In other news, I've finished my brother Ben's wedding reception place name tags, all 196 of them! Plus their Marriage Certificate (all the names etc filled in with calligraphy, ready to be signed).

And Hubby was up in Sydney last week, and went to Tapestry Craft, and got me some KnitPicks things! He got there before me, how fair is that? Still, isn't he good?! They didn't have the 2.25 mm DPNs, hence the Pony ones (which are bloody HEAVY!). Also, the 4 mm tips, which are clearly labelled as such, are actually 3.25mm (US 4) tips :/

Today was the inaugural Stitch'n Bitch in Tuggeranong, which was lovely. There were 4 of us, Dotter, me, Friend K and Friend J - plus Judes dropped in for a bit too! Brew Bar was very good - great drinks and yummy food! A good start :)

Lastly, today I had lunch with my youngest brother Tim and my dad. We got Tim from Hennessy House (where he's back in the secure area, because he's been absconding and taking drugs again), and went to Belconnen Mall for lunch - just kebabs in the Food Court.

Conversation was difficult. Tim doesn't speak very clearly... still, he was very pleased to see me, and said that he'd heard me on the radio, and he thought I did really well. He liked that I talked about Mt Stromlo (where he first lived after my parents adopted him from Korea, when he was 5).

We talked about what movies he likes and so on, amongst the psychotic stuff about how he's god, and about the spider that used to live in his pants that took photos of everything he did 0_o He wasn't very well, had trouble walking without losing breath, was breaking out into cold sweats, and wasn't able to eat much. An hour with him was quite exhausting. Still, Dad took a photo, and I've been a slightly better sister, although I don't intend to repeat the experience soon.

I'm buggered, just shattered from the day... time for an early night!

07 November 2007

Cables Everywhere!

Here's the latest Knitting Art painting - it will feature a blue & white china cup, and my blue Mariah, with all those lovely cables! BTW Aussies, the Australian dollar is so high, it's quite economical to get CafePress stuff from the USA at the moment :D

I set up this still life on our outside table, which is always littered with bits of eucalyptus leaves and gum nuts. I've done the preliminary drawing, and first wash so far. Plus I'm experimenting with how to get a weathered wooden table look using nothing but paint - tricky 0_o

And here's Little Ben's Sherwood to date - up to Row 36 or so. I'm enjoying the little 2 stitch cables, which don't need a cable needle to do. So cute!

04 November 2007

It's all blue!

Last week I had some stunning revelations about my nephew Ben :

1) His 2nd birthday is on the 28th November (hey, he's only new, we're still getting used to a new family birthday, in the midst of 30 other immediate family members)!

2) 28th November is the day of our final inspection on our old house (ugh).

3) My sister and her hubby and Ben will BE IN CANBERRA on the 28th (very rare, as they live in London - they're coming to Australia for our brother Ben's wedding on 1st Dec). Those of you paying attention will notice that there are TWO Bens in our family.

4) OMG I could knit him a jumper! My first toddler jumper in about 15 years!

5) But he probably has heaps of jumpers, being a bloody-freezing-London resident. Let's ask, shall we?

6) He doesn't, as they're really expensive! He only has one, which he's growing out of, and my sister was thrilled at the offer!

7) So I got to choose a new pattern! Sherwood off Knitty (I'd always loved it since seeing Olivia's rendition).

8) And I got to buy WOOL! 2 balls of Classic 8ply from Bendigo, my sister chose Aztec, a cool blue (as opposed to a warm blue, not that's it's HIP; well, it might be, but I don't know about such things ;) :

Here's the blocked swatch in pattern - I'm perfectly on gauge (w00t!), the chart for the cables all coloured in, and the first 6 or so rows (note incredibly cute koala and wombat stitch markers, thanks Secret Pal!). After a quick chat with Olivia about using a 100% wool instead of a cotton wool blend, I'm making Size 4 (even though Size 2 is a more exact fit with Ben's measurements). It's fast and fun! And perfect distraction from packing and other dramas...

And here's Lily asleep on my Mariah... perfect puppy pillow!

Edit for Amy (and others!) : the reasoning behind making the bigger size is that a cotton jumper will be heavier and pull downwards more when worn, while a wool one will be more springy and light, and sit 'shorter'. It also seemed that the Size 4 suited Olivia's 2 year old nephew well, and I also thought a bigger size would be better for little people who grow fast :) Julie has a good blog post about substituting yarns here, too.

02 November 2007

Jumping for joy!

OMG. My Knitting Art stuff has been mentioned in Lime & Violet's Daily Chum blog!


Off to start a new painting!! :D

01 November 2007

Interim dress

As you know, we're in the midst of de-cluttering packing moving chaos... cardboard is THE new look, didn't you know?

Anyway, on Tuesday I was listening to Cast On (as usual lagging behind the crowd by some months), and heard again about Interim House. Dotter and I decided that we'd like to send some of our stash over to them - so I cleaned out the stash chest, and am passing along a box of goodies their way by Whale Mail. With Minties!

If anyone else wants to support these ladies with donations of yarn, knitting needles, stitch markers, crochet hooks, and so on, just leave a message on their blog with your email, and Kathy will contact you with her postal address.

Interim House struck a chord with me... My youngest brother Tim (adopted from Korea when he was 5 and I was 20) has destroyed his life with drug abuse. He's done it all, starting with marijuana at 12, and heading into heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and just about anything else that can be injected. He's done time in prison, survived umpteen suicide attempts, and now has drug-induced schizophrenia (hears voices telling him to attack people, thinks he's God, etc etc), brain damage, and a badly enlarged heart which is starting to fail. He lives in a secure facility here in Canberra, after comprehensively ruining every rehab opportunity he's been given - and there have been a LOT. He's never to be released.

I don't visit him practically ever, I can't cope, he's too creepy and scary for me ... the little brother I knew 'died' for me about 10 years ago. I'm not a great sister to him, I'm sorry to say. One of my Official Guilt Trips.

He is 27, and isn't expected to live much longer. Given what my family has gone through with Tim, I have some small understanding what the woman at Interim House are dealing with, how difficult addiction is to overcome, and how damaging it is, not just to the person, but all those around them. I think they show great courage, and it's great that knitting and crocheting are helping them in their recovery.


In Ben & Mel wedding news - I headed into Target today, as Bells suggested they often have nice outfits, and there's a 15% off everything sale on for the next couple of day . I found this, which should dress up nicely with strappy sandals and jools... and be versatile enough to get a lot of wear out of. You like it?