Wednesday, 28 January 2015

That Gorgeous Yarn Again

I have cast on that gorgeous Madelinetosh yarn from last week. I am knitting this shawl.

I cannot decide whether the garter stitch pattern is too simple for this lovely yarn. What do you think?

Currently reading (up to the last chapter), Saved by Ben Hewitt

Self-sufficiency and the reduction of the reliance on money and the system it relates to has always been something of importance to me. And I must admit to thinking there was not much different thinking on this subject out there. But this book really taught me a lot. If you are interested in reading in detail on monetary policy, you will love it! I was amazed at the actual mechanisms employed in the operation of monetary policy ie. that it is effectively 'inventing' money that doesn't really exist. 

I had always thought I was being frugal and thrifty by buying most of our goods on special or discounted in some way. But this book made me see that this isn't enough. We need to try not to participate in the 'unconscious economy' and change our transactions to the 'conscious economy'. For example, we need our transactions to be about relationships rather than money - barter, trade, giving.

After nearly finishing this book, we needed to go to the shopping mall to purchase new school shoes. And I saw it all with new eyes. Things that I would probably previously purchased to put away 'just in case' as they were on special, I saw for what they are - fear. Ben Hewitt explains that lots of our purchasing and financial activity is simply from fear - fear of disease, poverty, terrorism, loneliness and death, and that we are trying to dispel these fears, most of which are misplaced anyway. 

'This is going to sound painfully obvious, but here it is anyway. This is your life. This is your one life, and the incredibly, amazing beautiful thing about it is that you get to choose how to spend it.'

Another book that I read a long time ago that ties in with those quote and really impacted me was Your Money Or Your Life.

Reading this book was the first time it had clicked that everything you bought equated to an amount of time you had to work to make the money for the purchase. You would think this would be sensible and logical but until I actually read it in black and white, it just never entered my mind. And this seems to be the same for the majority of people. 

So as I am embarking on the Year of No Superfluous Spending, I was happy to find Saved at the library. It has given me a boost and a real goal to aim for - participation in the 'conscious economy'. 

And who has trouble knitting for 10 year old boys?! I thought I was on to a winner with this one, due to my son's obsession with cricket.

Finally, I thought, something I can knit for him. Says I, 'would you like a cricket vest like the Australian cricket team wear?' - expecting an enthusiastic yes. Reply, 'you can make me one if you like - I might wear it if it was cold enough'. Hmmm, not the resounding success I was expecting.
And I thought teenage girls were hard to knit for!

Linking with Small Things for Yarn Along.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Casting On For Something New

I do love casting on for something new. It is a habit I have to keep in check though, or I can tend to end up with numerous UFOs floating around the house.

For this week's Love Your Library Challenge, I have pulled out this free knitting book that came with Issue 100 of Simply Knitting magazine.

I am not sure how long I have had this, but I noticed that the current issue is No 129. 

I have always loved Simply Knitting magazine, particularly for the Alan Dart toy patterns. See, look at the front cover of that latest issue - how cute is the Sugar Plum Fairy! 

Do not need any more patterns, do not need any more patterns! 

So anyway, back to the point! I have cast on for the Childry Shawl from the free book, using my lovely Madelinetosh.

Still not sure if I really like the garter stitch or whether it looks a bit too simple for this gorgeous yarn. What do you think?

The younger boys are happy as they ordered some Lego with their Christmas money and it arrived today! A quick trip to the post office to pick up the parcels and they were busy building.

Linking today with Snapdragon Crafts for the Love Your Library Challenge and Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Crafting On.

A Busy Weekend

We had a busy weekend! On Saturday, we decided to drive to Robe in SA, which is a five hour round trip. Miss Ballerina wanted to log some driving hours towards getting her drivers' licence and we are contemplating the purchase of a little beach shack for holidays and to rent out. Hopefully the maths will work out on this!

On the way to Robe, Whirlwind and I knitted! I finished my Noni's Favourite dishcloth. Then I made a big mistake! I should remember (having done this before!) that no matter how much you think you will not tangle it, you definitely will tangle up a skein if you try and roll it in the car!

This is after we got home and I had been working on it for a while. I was sitting in the back seat and hubby turned around and noticed what I was doing. 'Just throw it out', he says. 'I wouldn't have the patience to fix that'. Can you believe it?! As if I would just throw out my Madelinetosh! Anyway it is all fixed now and I have started knitting it up. Crisis averted!

It was a lovely day in Robe, just a bit windy. 

Ate way too much, as we had lunch in Penola on the way and then HAD to stop in at the ice cream shop in Robe. Delicious! 

The boys played a few games of chess with Dad (love the concentration!) but Dad won!

Stopped in Mount Gambier for dinner on the way home (told you it was a looong day!)

The cave gardens in Mount Gambier
Cuddlepie really wanted to climb right down into the cave and camp there for the night.

The next day we were off to Warrnambool for two days as Legoman (who I really should re-name Mr Obsessed With All Things Sport) was attending a two day cricket camp.

Thanks to my friend, Jacinta, we had the loan of some cricket whites so he could look the part. Boy, I am glad I managed to get them white again as Legoman loves to slide when fielding and they were covered with grass stains.

He had a ball! They did video analysis, so he got a written report at the end of the camp, which he was pleased with. And he got to meet Merv Hughes, who, if you are an Australian of my era, you would know well. And he still has the moustache!

While Legoman spent two 6 hour days at cricket camp, we visited the beach, the shops, watched the hang gliders off Logan's Beach and generally filled in time.

We stayed at a lovely motel and I have a new idea for a bathroom that I love. This was the bathroom at the motel.

So love this skylight! I can imagine it would get very hot in summer though, so it would need some sort of covering to close it off if necessary, but it looks gorgeous. And it was right above the bath. I can just imagine a claw foot bath, lying back and looking at the stars. Divine.

So that was our weekend! It was a three day weekend as Monday was Australia Day and a holiday. 

And I think cricket camp was pretty exhausting!

Trip home
I must admit I was feeling a bit worn out myself!

Friday, 23 January 2015

Finished Something Really Small For This Friday

The house is still at sixes and sevens, the kids are on summer school holidays, we all have a terrible lingering cold and due to all this, very little knitting is being done. 

So just something very small that I knitted up yesterday, as I desperately needed some new dishcloths, even though, as you can from this previous post, I actually have quite a few knitted up already. But do you think I can find them in the boxes? I could, however, find this ball of yarn and some needles!

Love my rooster teacup from Miss Ballerina for Christmas. Excuse the background! The tiles haven't been done yet.
The pattern is called Sploshy Washcloth and it is a free pattern from Chocolate Mints In A Jar. I used this ball of, I think, Lily Sugar N' Cream, as the ball band was missing. Lovely summery colours.

Then I cast on for Noni's Favourite Dishcloth Pattern, a free pattern from Laws of Knitting. Only have this much completed.

I would love to hear how everyone washes their dishcloths to keep them lovely and soft. Obviously I am doing something wrong as they end up quite hard and scrunchy after a while. Maybe I shouldn't wash them in the washing machine?

Whirlwind has also been knitting, working away at his rainbow scarf. Love the way he lounges while knitting. If I sat like that, my back would be so sore!

Linking to Fibre Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins In Wonder and to Freshly Finished Friday at Hardknitlife.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

A Book From The Happy List and Some Gorgeous Yarn

Joining with Ginny at Small Things today for Yarn Along.

Due to the move, I really haven't been doing any knitting but some gorgeous yarn arrived in the mail. It is the Madelinetosh Care colourway, sock yarn made to benefit Doctors Without Borders. Beautiful yarn for an amazingly worthwhile cause.
Please note, this yarn was purchased in 2014 (before the Year of No Superfluous Spending began), lucky for me! It is a lovely last addition to my yarn stash.
And just finished reading The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge. I absolutely adored this trilogy. And was very happy to see it make Ginny's Happy List, which I will be reading through myself. There are some old favourites there that I have been reminded would be great to re-read and some new ones that I will look forward to exploring. 

My favourite quote from The Heart of the Family:

' her creativeness found its joy in the shaping of everyday life to a form of comeliness, so that it became not just something that one put up with, but something that was enjoyable and lovely in itself.'

It is not just our generation that is saying that the everyday moments are the ones that count!

Now, to find a pattern for this yarn. Sometimes, when I buy yarn so special, I simply don't know what to do with it. I am almost too scared to commit it to a pattern as it looks so lovely in the skein. Is that just me or do others suffer this too?

Also reading the latest Above Rubies magazine that arrived in the mail yesterday. Just love the cover photo!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Love Your Library Challenge

I loved the idea of this challenge since first reading about it on Snapdragon Crafts. So I was very happy to see that it now has a link-up so I can easily check out what others are up to. 
I have a LOT of knitting patterns - books, magazines, leaflets and a lot more than I thought on the computer (when did I purchase so much from Ravelry?!) Like my stash, I could probably knit for the rest of my life, and longer, with the patterns I have.
And as part of the Year of No Superfluous Spending, I will not be purchasing any new patterns. So this will be a great reminder to knit with what I already have.

These are my books. Admittedly, they are not all knitting books (also quilting and sewing), but a large percentage of them are.

And these boxes stashed in the hall cupboard are my knitting magazines. yes, two boxes full!

I love vintage patterns, especially baby ones. So at the moment I am knitting from this booklet, which I bought from eBay a few years ago. I think the lady was selling all her mum's knitting stuff. So I bought some lovely vintage pattern books from her.

This is the pattern I am knitting, This Lacy Raglan using Drops Alpaca.

Linking with Snapdragon Crafts for the Love Your Library Challenge.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Meal Plan Monday

Time to get back on track for 2015. And as regular meal planning is one of my 2015 resolutions, let's get to it!

I have said it before and I will say it again, I love Mary Berry! So another one of her books (Cook Now, Eat Later), for a particular reason.

We have recently moved house so I had run down all the freezer meals. The fridge and freezer were practically bare. Then I had a run of the events that are the reason you stock your freezer with meals! We had been in our new house for one day when I had a call that my dad was sick and needed radiation and chemotherapy. So I dashed down to Melbourne for a few days. I was already feeling under the weather when I left; by the time I returned I was really sick. The worst cold I have ever experienced.
So it seems like I have been out of routine for weeks and I am looking forward to getting back to some semblance of order. Hence the book. I am planning to cook this week's meals from it and double some of the recipes to re-stock the freezer. If I can fit it in, I am also hoping to cook some extra meals just for the freezer, like meatballs.

Monday: Penne Pasta with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes and Spinach.
Tuesday: Salmon and Fennel Fish Pie, Peach Crumble*
Wednesday: Pork, Leek and Sage Burgers
Thursday: Chardonnay Chicken with Artichokes
Friday: Pad Thai Noodles with Seafood, Melon Sorbet
Saturday: Roasted Stuffed Field Mushrooms and Stuffed Peppers with green salad
Sunday: Pea and Mint Soup with Herb and Parmesan Soft Rolls, self Saucing Chocolate Pudding

*Peach Crumble is because I want to use some of my canned Peach Pie Filling. When we moved, these jars ended up being transported on their sides and I'm not really sure if that would affect the seal. I seem to think I have read/heard somewhere that the liquid cannot be tipped onto the lid like that or it can compromise the seal. Am I correct? Or just paranoid?! 

Tonight I need to do a huge grocery shop to re-stock as well. Hopefully, next week will be a bit calmer!

Linking with At Home With Mrs M for Meal Planning Monday and I'm An Organising Junkie for Menu Plan Monday. Hope to see you there!


Friday, 16 January 2015

Finally Finished Something Friday

I have not been doing very much knitting lately, but I did finish my colourful baby jacket. And I am REALLY happy with the end result, and hopefully so is the gorgeous Ivy who will be wearing it.

Ivy (and her family) are leaving our town and moving to New South Wales in the mountains. This jacket should keep her warm during her first winter in snow country.

Lovely wooden flower buttons

I wrapped the present in a playsilk that I dyed in pale pink. We have lots of playsilks, simply because I love to experiment with colour.

Fingers crossed that I will have something for show and tell next week, as that will mean I have been able to get some knitting done! I do not like it when I am too busy to fit in knitting.

Look forward to seeing everyone else's knits at FO Friday at chrisknits
Also linking with Linda at Natural Suburbia for Creative Friday.

Chris has since informed me that she won't be doing FO Fridays anymore - I will miss them! But she has sent me over to Fibre Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins In Wonder and to Freshly Finished Friday at Hardknitlife


Thursday, 15 January 2015

2015 Resolutions

I know - running a bit late on New Year's Resolutions! But for reasons already mentioned (moving house, a few illnesses), I am starting 2015 this week.

But this has also given me the chance to peruse (borrow, cheat, steal!) some other New Year Resolutions from around the blogging world.

So here are my 2015 resolutions, with a thank you to Mavis at One Hundred Dollars A Month, whose blog I have simply loved to death for ages now; and Elizabeth at Wailliewailliewoolyeah, who I have only just discovered through Yarn Along at Small Things

1. Get Organised

Now I know all the advice is do not make resolutions that are not measurable, but this is such a HUGE area and would involve such a long list that I am going to work on this as the year progresses.
First up though would be to sort out the garage that, due to the move and the fact that we have moved to a house half the size of our previous one, has become a dumping ground for all and sundry.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

2. Create A Vegetable Garden
Due to the removal of the half dead cypress pines and a falling down shearing shed, I now have an enormous area to play with. The fence is being built later in the month for the new chicken pen to start it all off. My young chickens are currently digging up what will be the herb garden for me.

This was our old vegie garden, but I have lots more space now!

And below is the huge space available for the vegie garden. It will have a post and rail fence made from the felled cypress and I will try and salvage what I can from the rubbish piles for garden edging.

I can see the corrugated tin shed painted with a rainbow, can't you?

3. Limit Personal Spending to $0 (or as close as possible)
2015 is to be the Year of No Superfluous Spending. I have more than enough of everything I need; a fact brought home to me when I had to move it all and find space for it all!
No more stuff!

4. Purge Weekly
I will also try to keep a lid on items creeping their way into the home, which they seem to do secretly, and keep sorting through the backlog of stuff in the garage.

5. Do More Canning
I recently read about Megan from Perth in Australia who in 2012 embarked on 365 Days of Creative Canning. There are some wonderful recipes on her website that I hope to try out over 2015. Hopefully the garden will be providing some fabulous produce towards this goal!

6. Knit Down My Stash
Subtitled: And do not add to it!
I have a fairly impressive stash and it will easily keep me busy for the whole year and beyond.
To this end, I will be linking to the monthly Stash Buster Link Party at Linda's Crafty Corner. This, coupled with the Love Your Library Challenge at Snapdragons Crafts, should make it easier to not purchase any more yarn or patterns.

Not my stash, but close!

7. Blogging Regularly
I really enjoy my blogging, whether anyone reads it or not! It helps to solidify ideas, acts as a journal and keeps me on track - hopefully.

8. Weekly Meal Planning
We all know why we should meal plan and how beneficial it will be. Yet it is an area that I have been falling down in recently. 

9. Preparing Early For Christmas
This is another one that I always try and hope to achieve - hmmm, rarely get there. 
From Elizabeth at Wailliewailliewoolyeah, 'In 2015 I want to hand make and collect gifts throughout the year, and be finished by the end of November.'  
Me too!

10. Establish a Regular Cleaning Routine
Same as the meal planning, I know why this is beneficial, but it never seems to happen in real life. This year I am determined. There are thousands available - I found this one last night - love the vintage feel!

I also love Managers of Their Homes by Teri Maxwell. 

11.Bible Reading and Verse Memorisation
I really want to immerse myself more in God's Word, as all good things come from Him and without Him, the rest of this would be meaningless. 

12. Bloom Where I Am Planted
This is the one that I am having the most trouble with. At the moment, I am feeling as though my life is not my own (maybe one of the reasons why I am liking blogging so much). None of the major life decisions have been made by me - the town we live in, the house we live in, the way the children are educated, certain aspects of the lifestyle we lead. I feel quite out of control and that I have few options. So I have struggled with this one - vacillating between 'make the best of what you have' and 'why should I never get to make any decisions?' 
In 2015, I want to veer more towards making the best of what I do have and being grateful for that. 

I am hoping these resolutions will keep me on track, at least somewhat.