Monday, 31 December 2012

Out with the old....etc.

2012

What a year, so much happened....all at the beginning. James joined our little family and we moved from the Inner West to the Central Coast.

Then we kind of just sat around and did sod all.

Bit of unpacking got done, bit of knitting, bit of sewing, a lot of playing with little people and washing, lots of washing....we slid easily into a new but familiar rut.

So onto 2013

I've seen a bit of this "have a word for new year, not resolutions" thing going around the webs, popped up in pinterest, on the odd blog. Not a bad idea, so if I'm going to embrace a word for the new year it's going to be

PURGE

because this is pretty much me and it has been for a long time:


We have unused rooms of crap....as seen here, here and here:

 


Not just one room of doom....there's a spare bedroom of doom, half a rumpus room of doom and a walk in wardrobe of doom.

Our old house, while small, was FULL of storage, kitchen filled with cupboards, 3 bedrooms with wall to wall, floor to ceiling wardrobes, big laundry/storage building out the back, so for years we were blissfully unaware of how much crap we were accumulating. It all just got spirited away, unseen and forgotten about.

The crushing realization of how much crap we had became evident when we moved, into a huge by comparison house, which had very little storage. I was confronted with boxes and boxes and boxes of yarn, with nowhere to hide it and Husband became aware of how much yarn I actually had (eep). Then there were the bags of fabric and the bags and bags and bags of clothes (a side effect of working in the apparel industry and the blight of a decade's worth of sample sales).

So many toys, so many baby/childrens clothes, so many obsolete computer parts (even the husband is guilty), books, books, more books, cds, dvds....so many things taking up space, cluttering up our lives, weighing us down, draining our energy. So overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done, we don't know where to start and nothing gets done.

Even the pantry is a disorganized black hole of crap....ergh.


So, yes....2013 is going to the year of the great purge, where the wardrobes are gutted to make way for new handmade pieces, where I don't throw away a bag's worth of out of date groceries every other week (because I won't be buying anything we won't be using in the immediate future), where we'll be able to have a clutter free spare room and rumpus. Where our living space will be calmer and more zen. Where we'll be pulling our fingers out and making the outside space more useable for the boys and a pleasant place to be. There'll be more posts about completed crafting and planted gardens, may be posts about a first crop of blueberries or how amazing the tomatoes are, even what homemade elderflower cordial tastes like. It has to be a year of bringing less into the house, sending the excess out and doing more with what we have.

It has to be.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

WIP it, WIP it good.

(Note: this is a pictureless post, just really a rant about all the things I haven't done, so please feel free to not bother, it's kind of long and boring)

I've lost the will to knit again, which happens to me on and off. I've been distracted by 2 gorgeous monkeys and all sorts of pretty, quick and easy Christmasy crafting (they can be other blog posts, ha!) and haven't thought much about picking up the needles.

This is a bit bad, because there's a cardi for a friend's bub who was born in September. All I have to do is sew on the sleeves and buttons, but I just can't bring myself to pick up the project and finish it.There's been plenty of dreaming about new projects to start and dicking around on Ravelry....but lately I've been embroidering or beading some felt confection for this years tree whilst queuing more cardigans. A couple of months ago, I sort of vowed to myself not mealtimeto start anymore projects till I'd cleared out most of my wips and I haven't, so that's a bit of a plus I guess.


Weekends have been busy ripping out ugly, weedy gardens, getting them ready for some cheap and cheerful plantings till we work out exactly what we want to do and then have the money to finance such endeavors. It's really just an exercise in upping the "street appeal" of the house and making me feel less depressed every time I venture out there. The herb garden is establishing itself beautifully, I'm down there pretty much every day picking tips of this and sprigs of that to pop into dinner. I'm surprised the basil hasn't been completely defoliated. It's there really is a certain smugness to be had surveying the culinary delights of a leafy herb garden. Again, I'll take some pics at some point and do a lil post on the excitement that is my herb patch. There are also trays of seeds sewn, readying themselves for garden beds and our tummies. Lots of tomatoes and capsicum and salad leaves, also heirloom radishes. So many plans for semi-self-sufficiency.

Oh, I have also managed to whip up a few hats for the boys and partake in a tea towel swap for Trough (Craft) Room. Seriously, there are so many blog posts that plop into my head around these things, it's just finding the time to write them and take pics to make the posts prettier.

The boys are so manic, most days my head is spinning trying to keep up. Biggest is now only a few months shy of 4 and Littlest has cracked the 10 month mark. They really are the cutest, most amazing lil creatures. I love them to bits, nothing makes me happier than my crazy, cheeky niblets.

Anyway, back to the title of this post. It's a bit of a name and shame of all the wips I have sitting on Ravelry, kind of a what needs doing to them and let's see how many I can get through and finish....if for my reference only.

Garter Stitch Baby Kimono - ok, this is the bad one, for a friends bub, needs sleeves sew in, buttons and ends woven in. MUST FINISH THIS!

Scrappy Socky Stripey Cardi - Cardi for Littlest, knitting the 12-18mnths size, so it's really for next year, one sleeve, button bands and buttons and weaving in to go.
Boo's Easy Pullover - ergh, I started knitting one size and it looked too big, knit the smaller and it was just a teeny bit too small for Boo, had the great idea to knit strips to insert on the underside of the sleeves and sides of the body, sewed one in and it's all bunched and crappy. So poo to that idea, have to take out the insert and sew it up as is for Littlest when he's bigger. AND knit another one for Boo, because it's a really great pattern.

Tea Leaves - started this back in February and it was flying along, till I had to finish my Lady E for a wedding. Ok, this just needs the button bands (which I'd already knit one of but picked up too many stitches), buttons and to re-knit one of the cuffs on smaller needles (I forgot to change them over) and then deal with the ends. I love this cardi, so if it's not ready for next winter, I deserve to have my knitting card suspended.

Georgia - I started this back when I was first pregnant with Littlest, to while away the hours sitting in waiting rooms doing numerous glucose tolerance tests, but it was 4ply and felt endless and soul sapping. When I picked it up again a year later the knitting flew by, anyway, it still needs a sleeve and buttons.
Boo's Shawl Neck Jumper - I don't know why I can't finish knitting things for the boys, they're small and quick. I can't even remember what size I was knitting, so will probably frog it and restart for Boo. He's a bit of a sweaty betty, so he'll only get to wear this in the coldest days of winter, good thing it can be passed down.
Not-so-shrunken Cardi - Ugh! The fit is awful on me, I could have knit a smaller size and it needs lots of tweaking around the bust. Another for the frog pond.
2x6 scarf - This has been hanging around for years, I love the scarf, it's just a 2x2 rib, alternating every 6 rows. I wish hubby was trendier, it's a great manly man scarf. Pretty sure this one just needs to be cast off and the ends woven in. Or maybe there's another ball of yarn and I have to find it??
Leafy Goodness - this is blocked and just waiting for the ends to be woven in.
BooBot Vest - such a cute pattern and colour combo, yarn is divine to knit with too. I've only knit the back, so will finish it off for Littlest, once I work out which size I was knitting.

Drop Stitch Scarf - just needs ends woven in.

Chunky Monkey Short Sleever - Another Ugh, destined for frogging. I LOVE the colour of this yarn, just have to find the right project, it's very chunky. (just like me really)

Diagonal Rib Scarf - Lovely and squishy, this is another victim of the not-woven-in-ends malady.

I palindrome I - Blocked and ready for some weaving in of ends!

Forest Canopy - Shawl 3 for 2010 - This was supposed to be part of the "10 shawls in 2010" - FFS!!! Anyway, this was a quick knit, surprisingly, BUT needed a severe blocking but we didn't have the space in our old house, with a niblet and pins, disaster!! So now it's blocked and waiting, you guessed it....to have the ends woven in.

My One Skeiner - Shawl 2 for 2010 - blocked, waiting for ends.

Multnomah - Shawl 1 for 2010 - this came to a screaming halt when I got to the patterned edge. No idea why, it's a cute pattern.
Boo2's Telemark - way too small, frogged, just have to wash the yarn and re-wind ready for something else.
Cropped Cardi - very embarrassing to admit, but this has been kicking around since 2007. I hate the YO increases on the raglan seams. I've come so far knitting-wise and this just isn't me anymore. Will frog and re-claim yarn.
Saturday Market Scarf - This was completed and worn, but I hated the way the cast on and cast off edges were too tight for the drop titch detail. It's been frogged and awaiting a wash and rewind.

Niblet's non-sparkleberry - can't remember why this wasn't sparkling. This has been knit twice, it was too small the first time, so I frogged it and started again, but it never got there. I'll frog and wash the yarn and see if it's salvageable and use it for the Littlest.
So, there you have it. Can't half tell I hate weaving in ends. I'm going to get over the spareness of Christmas, then hunker down and get some (if not all) of these things wearable!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Quick and Cute

Whipped up this very cute little vest for a friends bub the other week, it was the first time we'd met Lachlan. His big brother Alex and Boo are the same age. Alex born in January, Boo in March. This time around Goob was born in January, Lachlan in March.

Alex and Lachlan came to visit the last miniature train day, which is just around the corner from us and the boys had so much fun (we all did)....I keep thinking about the Pineapple Coconut Upside Down Cake from Zumbo we were lucky enough to have, YUM!

Anyway, the vest took just over a ball and a half of yarn....

Details are rav'd here.

Boo is such a hot lil monkey, I've never really knit anything for him. Goob on the other hand likes to be snuggly, so I have to pull finger and get something light knit for him, for those cooler spring days....seeing as winter is as good as over.

There's half a sleeve to go on my Tea Leaves too....so that might not be seeing too much wear-action this year, good thing I won't be growing out of it.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

So many things

Where to start? There's been an awful lot going on, so I may as well just dump it all into one post because who knows when I'll post again!? I've had every intention of making this a more regular thing, but it never seems to happy.

Goobs hit the 6 month mark last week, he's such a happy little nomlet, giggling non-stop, getting scarily close to looking like crawling. As much as I love watching him grow, it's hard watching my itty bitty bubba disappear.



Boo loves his little brother so much, they were watching Chuggington together in the pic above. I know Boo wishes Goobs was bigger and less squishy, so he could play with him more.

On the knitting front, 2 projects have been finished....one that had been on the needles for 4 years (appalling, I know) and something that was finished in record time for me. Firstly, the Lady Eleanor, an epic entrelac piece, a spectacular looking knit, just not very exciting.




The next project was a super quick knit, the Gaptastic Cowl, 3 balls of Dream in Colour Groovy on 8mm needles, it is sooooooo super warm and toasty. Perfect for this arctic weather we've been having. Who knew the Central Coast hinterlands would be that much colder than Sydney?? I consider this to be the beginning of the Soccer Saturday knitting, I know it's a couple of years off, but I'm already preparing for those freezing mist filled morning watching little people kick a ball about.



I broke my self-imposed fabric/yarn buying ban, buying some fabric to make a super hero cape for Boo, so I don't think it really counts. He loves it to bits and I was pretty damned chuffed with the result. I sort of followed a tutorial from Suzy at Floating World Views. It was the first time I had ever appliqu├ęd anything, which was quite nerve wracking, there was plenty of scrap fabric practices before I was confident enough to move onto the finished product.



I started meal planning and it's working brilliantly! Just popped some black cardboard into a couple of frames and huzzah! We have a To Do list and weekly meal board. Makes things so much easier as mealtime/ bathtime looms, I already know what I have to do for dins, so there's not the old panic of "Oh god, what I am going to cook", it also means that there's a lot more variety happening, I'm not just relying on the same old fall back recipes that were too easy.



There's still been plenty of pottering been happening around the house. Doing so much, seeming to get nowhere. Mum and Dad have been a tremendous help, with runs to the tip, constructing flat-packed furniture and such. The biggest thing we've had done is getting rid of a few ill-planted trees, there was a huge Liquid Amber in the front yard, that was lifting the drive and causes the brickwork in the stairs to crack....not to mention the gutter blocking tonne of leaves and spiky seed pods that it started dropped as soon as the weather turned. It was a magnificent tree, I was a bit sorry to see it go, it was just planted in a bad spot.

Before:


After:


Still have to work out what we're doing in the gardens, I'm even erring toward natives, for easy and fuss free. Then concentrate on the backyard being where all the fruit and veg action happens.

As for things from previous posts....well, I did cook quinoa a few times, failed epically on the amaranth and millet. I haven't bought any yarn, WOO!!! And I haven't lost any weight, although I haven't put any on either, so it's not all bad!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

A Challenge....

An old knitting acquaintance of mine, Amanda, just posted about her self imposed 30-Day Pantry Challenge. It's a fantastic idea, but our pantry was gutted in the move and is still recovering. SO instead of joining in the full spirit of the challenge, Amanda has set another challenge for me....


To use amaranth, millet and quinoa in a dish in the next 30 days, photographic evidence required.

I've been wanting to embrace a more "wholefood" philosophy and purchased the aforementioned grains/seeds with this in mind. Thing is I've never cooked with them before, well I've cooked quinoa once. Boo lives on chicken, rice, beans and broccoli, so in an attempt to add some more nutritional value to his stock standard, I was going to try and sneak in some quinoa, hoping he won't notice. Fingers crossed with that one, haven't managed it yet. No idea what I'm going to do with the millet and amaranth, however I do own all of Jude Blereau's cookbooks, so I'll be consulting those ASAP.

Also as part of the challenge, I've also decided to sort out this mess....


I am a total cookbook whore....so in the next 30 days I'll be going through everything on these shelves and only keeping the books I use. And those damned boxes have to go as well....

And just because....I'll be imposing another challenge....no purchasing yarn or fabric for the next 3 months....yep, nothing till the end of August....let's see if I can do that....I added another pattern and 2 projects worth of fabric to my collection today for absolutely no reason except that the fabric was pretty. I seriously have to stop.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

a very scary post

for me anyway....

deep breath....

I think I'm finally serious about shedding some kilos, it's a weird thing for me to admit, because I really don't have any "body image" issues. I'm not unhappy the way I am, I've never felt uncomfortable in my own skin, so I've never felt the need or urge to do anything about the size of my bum.

I'm actually lighter than I have been in a long time, when I was pregnant with Big Boo I lost quite a bit of weight and hardly put any of that back on, then I lost more again when I was pregnant with Mini Boo.

I guess what's spurred me on was how good I felt once I'd recovered from giving birth to Mini Boo, I was wearing clothes that I'd never worn (working in apparel for over 10 years meant a lot of sample sales and there was a tendency to buy a lot of shit....and let's face it, a lot of it was just that!). Of course a few months on, the shine has worn off slightly, with all the day to day kid wrangling, etc.

So, as an incentive to myself, I'm putting my self imposed weight loss challenge out there for anyone who happens to read this post (which I know isn't many!) I'm not looking to lose half my body weight and let's face it, with 2 niblets I don't have time for any fancy exercise routines or classes. It'll just be a gradual chipping away of the BMI....and maybe I'll be able to fit into all those size 14's I got when working for Seduce/Katherine/Blue Juice....because I have some seriously gorgeous coats and dresses from them!....AND I also have drawers and drawers full of gorgeous fabric I'd love to sew up into non-sack like pieces....or even if they are sacky tunics, I won't look like a sack in them.

Anyway, here goes....I've made the picture small so it's not so scary! (hmm, this might also be an incentive to keep my toenails painted and pretty too)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Operation Green Bin


More housey stuff....

Our sloping block means that our "backyard" (most of it's really a "sideyard") is broken up into 3 distinct areas.

This bit is at the back of the house, very shaded with a little paved area up top that will eventually have a cubby house on it. The shade will be invaluable in summer, somewhere for the niblets to run amok out of the sun. Have to do something about the lack of lawn though.


Head down the "cranky stairs" as Boo calls them and you come to a paved section with garden beds around the edges....this is also the starting point for OPERATION GREEN BIN.





And down from there again is a large grassed area, where the "pirate ship" resides (come on, you can tell it's a pirate ship, right? - oh and excuse the washing, necessary evil)


Anyway, back to what I'm calling Operation Green Bin....

I'm missing my herb garden. I've been quietly obsessed with herbs since my mid teens, growing as many rare and interesting varieties as possible (very uncool, I know). I can't cope paying $2-3 for a bunch of herbs that aren't straight from the garden, half of which end up getting chucked, a wilted mess in the bottom of the fridge. I love just wandering out to the garden and picking a few fresh leaves of this and sprigs of that to add to dinner. Nothing beats fresh herbs. To me there's nothing more amazing than the smell of stomped on lemon thyme or brushed past basil.

So, in an effort to get the herbs growing again and make cooking more fragrant, I'm determined to send the green bin up the drive each fortnight, full of crap I've cut down from around the paved area of the yard! Nothing particularly exciting, a big job (some of the beds are thick with Nandina, which is really invasive and will need more than my trusty secateurs) but not exciting to most....just something that's going to give me back my place of zen, being in amongst my smelly, yummy leaves.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Some progress and a 3 year old

Looking back at my last post the title doesn't really make any sense, I have no idea where I might have been going with that one...anyway.

I'll start with the cute kids(and daddy) pic....apologies for the fuzziness, I'm a terrible photographer and we have a rubbish little happy snap camera.


There's been lots going on, Boo turned 3 and we had a party (and I didn't take any pics, I was so busy, DAMN IT), we've been unpacking and getting things done around here...there's still soooooo much to do, but we're getting there. Discovered a great farmers market up at The Entrance, I was really surprised to find most things the same price or cheaper than the supermarkets, and it's all organic. Definitely be making the effort to get up there as often as we can.

We've sort of got 2 rooms "finished" there are still pictures to put up on walls and a few little things to do, but over all I'm so happy with how they've turned out.

James' Room before and after




Hugh's room before and after




AND I've even managed a spot of knitting, it's going to be a Tea Leaves, I'm sort of KAL'ing with Mel and Bianca....2 people far more creative than I am!


Saturday, 10 March 2012

Mother of the year (not)

We've been in the house about 5 weeks now and things are still all over the place, my days are spent niblet wrangling and there's not a lot of unpacking or re-organising going on. This is driving me a bit mental, because the place is a mess and I never seem to be able to find anything, because I have no idea where things were in the first place.

Boo started his new kindy and seems to be enjoying it, he loves the horse and goat that live in the field beside the outside play area. I'm really pleased with my choice of kindy, it's in a lovely green secluded spot, where you can still hear the bellbirds over the sound of playing children.

Potty training for Boo had gone by the way with the move and new bub, but has resumed with brilliant results, he's doing so well considering all the upheaval. So as a reward for an accident free day I cracked open a packet mix of biscuits I had for some unknown reason, Boo helped make them with me. It was an exercise in finding baking things and also a great chance to see if the oven had any hot spots because I hadn't baked in it yet.


They didn't turn out too badly either.


The mini boo is now 8 weeks old, it's all gone so quickly, he's smiling and giggling at us, half rolling himself over already. Boo is still loves being a big brother and doesn't stop with the kisses and cuddles

It's really lovely.
If only things were tidier and more organised....it'll happen eventually.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Exploring

After a couple of weeks couped up in the new house, unpacking, reorganising, feeling overwhelmed by how much crap we have, etc....venturing out only for groceries, Hubby declared on Sunday we escape for some family time away from half painted walls and piles of boxes. We all really needed it.

Boo declared he wanted a sausage in bread, so we headed for Bunnings, needed to price up some bathroom bits and bobs anyway.

Sausages downed, we stopped off at the Sensory Park, just down the road from us in Narara. Boo had an awesome time riding his scooter around the tracks and over the bridge, he just didn't stop, while we strolled along behind him, bub fast alseep in his stroller.



It's so close, I really have to make the effort to take the boys down there again and more often....although, I'm not sure if I can keep up with speedy scooter boy.

Friday, 17 February 2012

February 2012

New bub, new house, new location, new everything!

So new manifesto/ plans/ goals for the year ahead:
• Get this new house unpacked and sorted (HA!)
• Make it a happy place for Hubby, Boo and Mini Boo….and Me.
• Don’t buy ANY yarn, for at least 6 months, anyway. (Ravelry says I have about 140k metres in my stash….FUCK!!!)
• Get the Ravelry project count to 70 and finish/frog all the WIPs.
• Watch the pennies, being on one wage again is a scary prospect, but we’ve done it before, we can do it again.
• Keep saving, even though we’re on one wage.
• Shop smarter and plan meals.
• Embrace the slow cooker – especially for making stock.
• Try making jam/ chutney.
• Learn how to use less of everything.
• Have a weekend away, just Hubby and I, once mini boo is a bit less newborn.
• Get composting.
• Plant a herb garden.
• Plant some fruit trees for next season and a passionfruit vine.
• Learn how to put in a zipper.
• Use the zipper knowledge to sew some fancy pants clothes for ME!
• Lose some excess kgs, so I look spiffy in the new fancy pants clothes.
• Get all brutal with my wardrobe and get some major piffage happening.
• Do the nutrition course I’ve wanted to do for ages.
• Make a zillion Christmas decorations for this year’s tree. (damn you Pintrest)
• Get back into doing yoga and learn how to move again.
• Take better care of myself – for everyone’s sake, not just mine.
• Drink more water, bucket loads more than I do now!
• Try to do something creative every day.
• Basically re-invent myself….pfft.

I would have posted something like this in January, but let’s face it, that entire month was pretty much a write off….with the new bub, recovering from the birth (things didn’t go so smoothly for me) and packing to move.

There'll be photos of the house soon, once we get rid of some more boxes and bags of crap.
Here's a pic of the Magnolia at the top of our drive, flowering last year....it's almost ready to flower again and I can't wait.
 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

hello little one....

James was born 13th January, which also happened to be a Friday....nothing unlucky about this little guy, he's perfection.


 And his big brother loves him to bits....


We're moving to the "big house" next week, so once things settle down a bit more and we're unpaked, I'm hoping to post a lot more....hoping.