Sunday, September 30, 2007

Always Take the Weather With You

Hurrah for Carolyn – who remembered what I had forgotten! – I could see in my mind’s eye a pair of gorgeous red lacy socks with a balck beaded cuff (and due to the fact that my brain disappeared at about the time my daughter appeared I didn’t know whether it was a fabulous design idea of my subconscious, or if I’d seen it somewhere). A cursory search of the usual suspects (own books,, some free internet patterns) didn’t turn it up, but she did! Of course, the Yanr Harlot made one from a kit!

So here’s to Carolyn and her functioning brain! – mine gave out years ago! I’ve emailed the kit supplier, and asked if it would be possible to buy a copy of the pattern, and am awaiting their reply. I really hope they say yes, because otherwise I am going to have to design my own, and we know what that will mean! Nightmares and a probably unwearable sock! Not to mention copyright issues, unless I make it entirely different. Ay me!

For those of you who have signed up, the Southern Summer of Socks starts today!!! – Unless, of course, like me, you have a handicap because you started early! So my SSS starts tomorrow – Yay etc. I will probably try to finish my Clapotis before I continue on the socks though – because having too many WIPs is slightly stressing me – I am so close to finishing Juno and the Clappy has 4 repeats to go before I start on the decrease section.

I really like the Happy Clappy. And I think I may make a wool one next autumn, but next on the needles are several pairs of socks, some Christmas presents, Black Dog’s swing jumper in Silk Garden and Bella in the Amerah silk and Bendigo cotton. That’s more than enough to keep me occupied until nearly Christmas.

It’s been a very blustery and changeable end of September. We’ve had gales, huge amounts of rain, hail, some sunshine, snow in the mountains and yet, spring still marches on.

You’ve got to love the way nature goes “Nup – don’t care about the weather. This is spring, and I’m going to wear my best clothes!”.

My Princess is currently sick – she went to the cinema for the very first time on Saturday with her best friend and best friend’s mother and came home complaining of a headache and sore eyes. She’s been running a fever since then, along with general down-ness and complete lack of appetite (most unusual for the Princess). She’s better today, but still somewhat demanding, so I’ll leave this now.

But as I leave, just a thought. KMS was discussing the’Friend’ thing on Ravelry. I’m with her, in that I don’t think that Ravelry’s a popularity contest. But just to make me feel better, all my blogpals are Ravelry friends, right? Have I missed anyone I should have invited? If I have, it’s because I haven’t had a chance to spend much time there, but I really don’t want to feel like Sleeping Beauty’s mother – let me know if you’re feeling overlooked and sad, because trying to exclude people is not the aim (despite being elitist and invitation only!!). Remember, it’s about yarn and knitting and the size of your stash!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Handicap Stakes

I’m glad we’ve got that whole handicapping thing out of the way. Most of you seemed to think that holding off and giving the SSS a days head start was a reasonable handicap – so we’ll stick to that. I do enough frogging because I’ve completely stuffed up – it sort of seemed to be mocking the knitting Goddess to frog when you haven’t made a mistake!

It’s been a particularly tumultuous day here in Tassie – in 24 hours we’ve had torrential rain, sunshine, blustery winds, hail, more sunshine, more rain, more wind and generally more of everything – we’ve probably had snow up in the mountains.

My mother used to use an old saying about March in the Northern Hemisphere coming ‘In like a lion and out like a lamb’. That probably accurately describes September in Tasmania. Some days let you know that summer isn’t far off, and other wild blustery days point out that it’s not that long since winter finished. As September finishes in 2 days, I hope the weather gets its act together and goes out like a lamb (mmm….. lambswool).

A friend of mine’s mother has just returned from a holiday in New Zealand and purchased for me some glorious Touch wool (in turquoises and greens) some Touch brushed mohair (in green, turquoise and purple) and a boucle mohair mix in reds and browns – she also snagged a tiny sheep and 2 gorgeous sheep buttons and the lovely bag it all came in. I owe her some money but she’s got great taste!!

I think I mentioned in a previous post the prospect of incoming books. I decided to blow this months allowance on and purchased some knitting books which are either ludicrously expensive or completely unobtainable in Australia. I am awaiting their arrival and will dutifully add them to my ‘IN’ list when I have them in my hot little hands. They don’t count as ‘In’ till they’re here (just as they don’t count as ‘Out’ till they leave the premises!).

The Accountant returns in a very short time – we are looking forward to his return – especially the children and especially the Princess (did I hear any murmurs of ‘Daddy’s little girl’? – too right she is!).

I’ll pop this up and try to get photos of the new wool soon. In addition, I’d like to point out that Donni’s yarn is tooo gorgeous – but will not be cast on until after the official SSS start date. (I won’t be caught again!) But certainly (as per some backroom discussions) the thought of the Rosered yarn in a lacey pattern with a yet to be determined black cuff and even possibly beads (which I have never knitted with) is rather fetching. All ideas and pattern pointers gratefully accepted!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

And the Answer Is........

Well, in answer to the question posed in a recent blog, most of you seemed to think there was rather a dead heat between knitting and sex, but that knitting while talking about knitting (and eating Kate’s orange and dried cherry brownies) was pretty darn good (notice how I get my ‘G’ rating). There was some thought that knitting during sex was probably NOT a great idea, but that crying out ‘Yarn over, mohair oh mohair!’ during the throes of passion may also cause a little trouble in the marital bed!

On the plus side, life has remained fairly good, as although the Accountant is away on business, my wonderful and entirely un-evil stepmother is staying which means I have an adult to talk to during the day and, as she knits, I have an adult knitter who loves my children to talk to during the day – a wonderful state of affairs.

The Princess finally went to her first class at Circus School and thinks it is wonderful. She’s the littlest one in the class, but was trying to hula hoop while spinning herself (don’t bother trying it – it really doesn’t work!), doing forward rolls, balancing on a board on a cylinder and suspending herself upside down from the uneven bars – heaven in fact!

Destructoboy has used his powers moderately wisely in recent times – not destroying too much, but is enjoying Grandma’s visit.

I have knitted on my Clapotis, popped some pictures up on Ravelry – made a mistake about when SSS was starting and fallen off the wagon in both the yarn and shoe departments. Oh, and the book department, too – just in case I forget later.

I have ordered some Neon from Bendigo, received some glorious sock yarn from Donyale (Rosered and Burnt Butter – too, too gorgeous – I had to snap them up, and now I feel like a yarn pig but they’re mine, mine I tell you hahahahahahahaaa… Sorry – just lapsed there for a moment).

The mistake was casting on a sock for a party, and then knitting a bit while chatting to the Knitting Knight. What? Of course you take a sock when you go to a party. This meant I jumped the SSS gun, so, while I did consider frogging and starting over, I have decided I would offer a compromise. As I have spent around 2.5 hours knitting this sock, I offer the option of taking a handicap. I suggest that I don’t start the SSS KAL until the 2nd of October, which would make me about even with the 2.5 hours of knitting I’ve done and therefore, fit into the spirit of the KAL and salve my conscience.

What do you think? Would honour be satisfied with this solution?

In the throwing myself wholeheartedly off the wagon department, while roaming childlessly through our local CBD, I saw, fell in love with and bought these:

These are very high and very narrow red polka dot wedges which I couldn’t resist. I also bought 3 bras on sale, so my ‘IN’ count in the de-cluttering report will be rather higher than I was thinking. (And my ‘OUT’ count not as high as I was hoping).

Visit SSS and sign up – even if you think you might only knit one pair – it’ll be fun and I am looking forward to it. For those of you who think I’ve rather stuck my neck out on the personal challenge front, consider that one pair of socks could satisfy nearly all my challenges – if I, for instance, were to knit a toe-up pair of fairisle cotton socks with a cable! (I’m not really planning to but…)

I also think that Donni’s Rosered yarn demands something very lacy and sexy (perhaps that I cold wear with high polka dot shoes?). I’ll get back to you on that one.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oh, It's a Beautiful Day!

Hurrah for school! Princess is back at kindergarten today, I have the house to myself this morning and all is right with the world.

It is a beautiful day, so what am I doing? Well may you ask. I am uploading photos to my Flickr account, blogging and playing with Ravelry!!! Yay – I’m also intermittently looking out the window and deciding that I’ll take Destructoboy out to play when I bring him home.

So while my photos upload, I thought I’d update you all.

The Happy Clappy has been making progress – to the detriment of Juno – I’ve had a couple of evenings when I haven’t been able to concentrate much on the pattern for cables, so I’ve been working on the Clappy instead. I’m enjoying knitting it, although last night I frogged a row four (get that – four) times because I’d been so tired the night before I’d left cryptic instructions as to where I was up to when I finished for the evening. The instructions were SO cryptic I tried four times to get the counts right until I finally realised that my note meant I had FINISHED row 6 – and NOT THAT I WAS ABOUT TO START IT!!!!

Once this minor problem was sorted (and an hour of knitting time wasted) we were all fine. Now, I should have picked this up before – and, indeed, most people with half a brain WOULD have done so. The problem was compounded by my suddenly getting distracted (Look – something shiny!!! What was that again?) and attempting to knit row 6 of the next section. When I finally realised I needed to knit row 8, it was all plain sailing! (Some days I am soooo dumb!)

In the middle of all this, I realised that I would need some simple knitting – OOOOOOHHHH way back on Friday night – so I head-started myself on Summer of socks and cast on a Feather and Fan sock in The Knitting Ninja’s Tulip colourway. This is sooo pretty – dusty rose, spring green, pastel blue and wine. I have been knitting a plain sock in Patonyle blue faux fairisle, but I’m very bored with it.

Casting on a new travelling sock is breaking a number of self imposed rules. This brings my WIPs to 4, makes me put the Patonyle’s into hibernation, slips Juno down my list – and enrages the Accountant – mainly because I took Tulip to a party on Friday night, evangelised about knitting and chatted to a lovely Grandmother about the best heels!

I decided on another Feather and Fan for a travelling sock, because I have knitted so much of this pattern that I find it easy to knit in cars (or at parties), and I wore my other F&F socks in my Mary Jane’s the other day and was entranced by how pretty the pattern looked!

So, Southern Summer of Socks Challenges:

These are self imposed and I’m quite looking forward to all of them:
1. Knit at least 5 pairs of socks (in addition to normal knitting)
2. Knit at least 2 pairs of Red Bird Knit Sock club socks (yes, the September parcel has been posted and I have knitted no kits)
3. Knit at least one pair of Toe-up socks
4. Knit one pair of real Fairisle socks
5. Knit at least one pair of cotton socks
6. Knit socks only from stash (or socks kits) with one exception – I am allowed one ‘Get out of jail free’ card providing it is to meet one or more of the requirements above (eg. a purchase which assists me in knitting a fairisle, toe-up sock in cotton – well , maybe not, but you get the picture!)

If I meet all these challenges, I will do something nice for myself, like buy some more Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn or something – the reward needs to be thought on a little.

I’d also like to ensure everyone notices that (apart from the socks) all knitting is being carried out by Knitpicks Options needles – quick plug – don’t forget Donyale’s competition and the fact that you can get Knitpicks from her – including the new options later in the year in the lovely wood – but get behind me because I said I wanted some first!!!

Speaking of Donyale, I was a total Yarn Pig yesterday, and bought two of her lovely Yarn Cakes – remind me to stick them in my ‘In’ list at the weekend. I also threw myself off the wagon in order to purchase a Turkish Spindle from Yarn Magazine – who have their Spindle Special on again.

That’s more than enough for today – most of you are probably so bored you’ve already left.

I will have pertinent, witty and amusing stuff for you tomorrow – or the next day – bah!! Who am I kidding? It’ll be the same stuff – you know – wool, yarn, knitting, that stuff – see you then!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Is knitting better than sex?

Which is better?

Talking about knitting, knitting, or talking about knitting while actually knitting? (Or is it talking about knitting while knitting and eating brownies stuffed with dried cherries?) As I have no stitch and bitch group in my immediate vicinity, and very few people who either understand or share my knitting obsession I rely on my blog pals to fuel this particular interest.

Have had a great few knitting days. Friday was the visit from Jill the Super-cabler! And then yesterday I had a visit from the Knitting Knight’s road trip. A lovely day spent playing with yarn, talking about knitting and food and socks and yarn and knitting and children and gardens and knitting and stash and knitting and so on.

The Knitting Knight’s family is just lovely and supportive of their mother’s knitting prowess. I also received a gorgeous handcrafted sock knitting bag from the young male Knitting Knight (his first outing on the sewing machine – and mightily impressive – photos later). Kate made me highly envious with her Dish Rag Tag - so I think I will be forced to sign up next year.

It was a lovely weekend and great to meet co-bloggers (bloggista?) in person. She has, of course opened the floodgates and now can expect a return visit from Chez Tinkingbell at a future date!


Here’s the ‘In, Out, Shake it all about’ list.

For sheer quantity, this one will be hard to beat!

4 tonnes (cubic metres) of firewood
2 trailer loads to the tip – this includes dead furniture, old guttering tiles sacks and stuuf including treated wood and wood with paint
7 bags of childrens clothes – sold on ebay
10 skeins of Rowan 4 ply – sold
2 balls sock yarn – sold
2 more bags of sheets and toys to the child care centre
4 (?)forgotten – patterns to Taph – evil laughter
3 toys – gifts
1 bag bibs and smocks – childcare centre
1 bag childrens shoes – gift
2 pairs boys shoes – gift
1 bag – lifeline

1 knitting pattern book
4 balls Jo Sharp Kid mohair
20 skeins of Rowan 4 ply
1 handcrafted sock knitting bag from a young friend of mine
1 apricot shirt from the op-shop

Shake it all about

8 cloth nappies turned into dusters/ wiper uppers

I’m very taken with the de-cluttering – but seem to have spent such a long time (and so much effort) cluttering, feel that a high level of de-clutter may take a while.

Off to survey the possibilities for round 4 of de-clutter. More later!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Short and to the Point

It’s OK everyone – I haven’t been hit by a bus – merely lots of visitations and social events!

Also had Princess return after a mere 7 hours sleep (instead of the usual 12-13) a little on the feral side – she slept well last night and should be OK by tomorrow. It’s been very social, with the lovely and blogless Jill visiting to carry out her threat of teaching me to cable without a cable needle. I have done one row of Juno using this technique and think that if I practice I will improve. She is quite right – once I have it organised I think it will be faster, and has the advantage of not needing a third hand!

Tomorrow the lovely Knitting Knight is visiting – so I’m looking forward to meeting her and her brood – should be great fun, and her children and mine will probably form a pack and run free!

It was going to be a very deep and meaningful posting today, but it may have to wait until Sunday!

Enjoy the fun of Friday and the 2 days of potential knitting stretching out before you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I've got the Clap, too! The Happy Clap, that is!

I’m in! I’m in!! I finally got my Ravelry invite this morning (when all my broadband for the month has gone – but DON’T tell the Accountant!)!

I’ve registered and Firefoxed and Flickr’d. I’ve added some of you as my friends (please don’t be upset if I haven’t added you yet – I will). I haven’t yet toured Ravelry or uploaded anything because I’m much too dazzled by the colour and movement! (Oooh – sparkles … Oh pretty stuff……. ) Excuse me – got a little sidetracked there!

I can see, that like puppies, kittens and babies, Ravelry has an enormous potential for time wasting. (Like I’ve got SOOOO MUCH time and I can afford to waste it.) But what’s a girl to do?

In addition, I’ve become a flirt – a flibbertigibbet (I’ve ALWAYS wanted to put that in a sentence!). I am officially a lightskirt. – I cast on for my Happy Clappy last night (joining Georgie in the KAL). I had a really bad back ache and really didn’t feel up to concentrating on Juno, so I cast on – and I can really see the appeal.

But I’m afraid that this is merely the beginning of a downhill slide in my moral knitting purpose! Last night just before sleeping I was thinking that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I were to cast on for another pair of feather and fan socks – I could make them in Happy Spider’s Pink Grapefruit colourway, and I love my others so much and they wouldn’t take long……

I can see I need to put a little more monogamy in my life. 2 WIPs is OK – 1 complex, one for travelling. Even three – 2 as above and one simple largish project to work on when brain not up to …what? Sorry, didn’t catch that – too busy justifying myself. Where was I? Yes – and then maybe another simplish one – like feather and fan socks or another swing jumper.

It’s thin end of the wedge stuff, folks. So, despite my inner urgings, I’m taking a stand. No more WIPs until something is finished. Collar or Clapotis or socks – one has to be finished before another is on the needles. (Let’s see how long this zeal lasts!). I’m sure to be finished with something in a week (aren’t I?)

In other news, the Princess has headed off to her first ever sleep-over. She’s staying with a little local friend in a house she knows well. It has the added advantage of being very close in case there’s a 3am call for collection. She’s so keen on the idea that she packed her bag YESTERDAY, and despite going to the friends at 1pm was up AND HAD DRESSED HERSELF AND WAS POKING ME AT 7AM.

This is the girl who often resists getting dressed until lunchtime and had one memorable rainy day when she was still wearing last night's PJs when she went up for her night-time bath because her mother had given up the fight at about 2pm!

It will be strange – the night-time ritual of bath, stories and songs without my Princess.

It’s a big step, your first night away from home. Hope everything goes well – and not just because I don’t really fancy getting up at 3am!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

When Ass Meets Class

I half watched TV last night, while doing one and a half repeats on Juno (I’m aiming for 2 a night – it MIGHT happen), and what I watched confirmed a pet theory of mine. I was watching free-to-air TV (as none of the movies on the multitude of Satellite TV Movie channels did anything for me) and ended up with CSI and Damages, as the best of a poor lot (this was on the basis that the ABC probably required more concentration than I was willing to extend). My theory is that when ass and class meet head to head, class will always be the loser.

The Ass/Class theory has been with me a while, and has almost always applied to TV – especially anything with Eddie McGuire involved. Anything with the word ‘Reality’ in front of it is also there and anything which audiences vote on is likely to be there too. All definitely cases of Ass beating Class. I mean – more people voted for American Idol than the American President – Oh my Sainted Aunt!

Barnum had a similar theory – he suggested that no-one ever went broke under-estimating the intelligence of the average punter. As he was also the man who came up with the whole ‘Never give a sucker an even break’ idea, this worried me.

What really worries me is not that the TV executives under-estimate the intelligence of their audience, but that they actively seem to be working to minimise their expectations and extend their stupidity. Journalism masquerading as ’60 minutes’, Morning television pretending to be current affairs, daytime TV purporting to offer political analysis. To say nothing of supposed quiz shows, so-called reality television and docudramas, all this stuff seems to me to work very hard at squashing any original ideas, critical faculties and insight out of their audience. And don’t even get me started on advertising!

This is NOT television reflecting reality, but rather television actively attempting to shape the world – or at least its perception.

Which is why I don’t watch commercial television much.

All of which brings me rather neatly to children’s television. (What a great segue!) I love ABC kids. I enjoy watching their offerings with my children. They never watch commercial TVs kid’s offerings (See above re advertising). But those of you with young kids are likely to be aware of the 4-430 line-up on ABC. We watch Peppa Pig, followed by the beautifully animated Bottle Top Bill. Then we have Shaun the Sheep (an Aardman animation, by the crew who brought you Wallace and Gromit) and then my favourite – Sitting Ducks. This half hour of TV (usually preceded by Playschool) is a joy.

It has no advertising. It has no suspicious content, it is perfectly designed for kids (and big kids who love good animation). Why is it, that when they make such crud for adults, they can make such joyous, original and intelligent shows for children?

My only concern is that after longer than I can remember, the ABC is changing the time of Playschool. For at least the last four years, the 3.30 timeslot has been sacred time in our house. 25 minutes of quiet, while I can organise dinner and do the washing up. I’m not sure how long Playschool has been in that slot, but I have a feeling that it’s almost as long as Playschool has been on the air.

For me, the main charm of crap TV will always be that allows me to do complex knitting! If I don't have to concentrate on the script, story or characters I can do lace and cables! (And go to the loo in the ad breaks!)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Rubber Ducky, You're the One....

Sssssh! Can you keep a secret? I sneak off for baths! That’s right – I slope off at early hours of the morning when I waken early and can’t sleep, and submerge myself amongst bubbles with a book, a face mask and my glasses fogging up!

Why do I sneak off like that? Well, much as I love my children, the only way I can claim a little time for myself is to sneak down to the bath very early on a Sunday morning and spend an hour floating in bubbles. Then I get back into my pyjamas and sneak back into bed. If I don’t get the timing absolutely right, I end up with a 5 year old girl – screaming (literally) down the stairs into the bathroom, stripping as she runs until she jumps in with me.

I really don’t mind my little girl joining me in the bath, and playing games and splashing. It’s just that my baths are a quiet and relaxing time, and always, by the time she gets there, the water is starting to cool off and I have to stay for another half an hour in increasingly cold water playing boat, bubbles or whatever other game she invents!

Yesterday was a lovely spring day – which can only mean one thing – spring cleaning! We attacked the courtyard, pulling up weeds, tidying the pot plants and planning plantings in the big bed against the wall. All winter, the courtyard gets no sun, then around now it starts trapping the sun, and the old red bricks of the wall start preventing frosts. So this year, instead of grass, I’m going to plant tomatoes and lettuces (and maybe a cucumber) in the bed to catch the sun. The warmth of the wall means no frost there as well, so even a late frost shouldn’t get my tomatoes!

On the Seven Things Challenge:
Well, the shoes – obviously – 2 pairs of Birkis (pls see previous post to admire their beauty!);
1 apricot top from the Op shop, and 4 patterns from same;
1 boys summer hat and 2 tops for children (winter sale at local children’s wear shop);
Vogue Knitting and Creative Knitting;
1 skein Marion’s sock yarn;
My Sublime lay-by paid off (plus the stash bag gift and 2 balls cheap Jo Sharp DK);
My Lay-by from Local haberdasher paid off - 4 balls leaf green Patons, 2 Christmas presents and buttons for the squatty sidekicks;

In: 17 balls of yarn, 15 other items

2 bags cot sheets, baby blankets and ancillary stuff for the child care centre
1 toy also for above
1 bag of clothes for Lifeline
1 breadmaker (running) needs new washer and probably loaf tin – ready for Lifeline
3 Patons patterns – to Taph!!!
9 bags of childrens gear listed on Ebay (not yet sold – finishes tomorrow)

Out: 17 bags of stuff!

That has to be in front, doesn’t it?
I’ve also organised pram, cot, portacot, car seat and so on to be listed in the classifieds – though that will be next week.

We also attacked the wine cellar – although that does not qualify as de-cluttering because we work out what needs to be drunk, but organising it did mean removing and re-organising all the half empty boxes, so maybe it qualifies – 5 empty boxes gone!

Further to a post from a while back, I have seen two movies this week I really enjoyed – for entirely different reasons.

We watched 300 the other night, and I was very impressed. It was stylised and stylish, used lots of CGI as an integral part of the look, told an old story well (even if it did takes some liberties with Herodotus), and I really enjoyed it. Deeper than it looks – lots of allegory and poetry mixed with the mythology. I can see that it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was mine – and considering some of the pap I’ve noticed recently, a huge step up!

The second was ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’, also a non-Hollywood production. This is Spanish (the Spaniards are making some noteworthy films) and set in the era of the Spanish Civil War – gorgeous, interesting, phantasmagorical, surreal. In the words of Molly Meldrum ‘Do yourself a favour’. It was beautiful, but not great for complex knitting (subtitles!).

Knitting. Here is one repeat of the cable pattern from Juno’s collar.

I am enjoying it, but I can’t let my attention slip at all! Luckily, the pattern is written out, rather than charted (I’m not great at charts), and is a 16 row repeat over 38 stitches. I’m having trouble coping with the cable needle – which keeps trying to escape, especially on the cables at the very beginning of the rows – first stitch goes onto the cable needle! So far, I’ve only had to tink half a row (although I’m sure that will change).

I love the way the cables look, and I’m very proud of the 3D nature of the knitting, but I cannot see any way in which I am likely to become a FAST cable knitter. In one and a half hours last night I did one pattern repeat. 16 rows over 38 stitches- hour and a half! – even the monkey socks I could do 2 repeats at least! (11 rows over 60sts on DPNS)!

All tips on increasing speed and growing 3rd hand gratefully appreciated!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Heaven, I'm in Heaven

I certainly am in heaven – for lots of reasons! I’ve been getting some lovely emails from blogfriends; the new for Fall 2007 is out; my kids have been (mainly) great today – they’re currently making glue on things from our local cheap crap shop – Chickenfeed – which occasionally has craft kits and so on that I buy up and stash for wet days; I’ve got the Interweave which arrived last week, supplemented by Vogue Knits and the massive downloads and print-outs I’ve just spent the last hour doing, working my way backwards through older Knittys; I’ve finished Juno’s second sleeve, which means that tonight is sewing and bands, and then the COLLAR is in sight!!

I also got some great yarn Karma – so I’m looking forward to that; but best of all, I finally paid off my Sublime lay-by – so I have that in my hot little hands!! The lovely ladies at my LYS have a loyalty scheme – when you have spent $100 dollars, recorded on your little card, they give you a present. It sort of depends what they’ve got around – so far, I’ve received a scarf looping thingie for making non-knitted scarves; a calculator (very useful – lives in my sock kit along with other useful items) and today I was given a bag of 6 balls of toning yarns – like a mini-stash – mine’s in blues and turquoises – one of my two favourite combinations (blue/green/turquoise/purple – water and sea colours, and orange/yellow/red – fire and autumn colours). The yarns are roughly the same ply, but different materials and just lovely – stash in a bag!

I really do like my LYS. The ladies who run it are experienced in knitting, needlework and cr*****t; they knit up all the yarns they stock, so you can see and feel them. The range is good (if conservative – I took in my silk and my A-maizing for them to play with), they stock most main brands and a few books, and have just started stocking Fibertrends patterns and Naturally yarns. The down side (such as it is) is that some harder to get and rarer yarns are not stocked. I discussed the Mission Falls 1824 with them, but because there is no call for it, they don’t stock it.

My fabulous sister-in-law (the one living in the ACT) adores this shop. She says that she feels welcome and not at all intimidated. They also stock a number of plus size patterns. All in all, it has a very low wank-value-quotient (WVQ).

Some yarn shops I have visited have a very high WVQ (I won’t mention Manuka in any way, shape or form, but some of you will know what I mean). Think of the shops you visit regularly. Is their WVQ high or low? Are the sales assistants rude or helpful; happy or miserable? Is there an automatic 25% surcharge on everything in the shop, simply for being sold from THAT shop in THAT location? Are you made to feel small, rustic, un-hip, or un-cool? Or welcomed, assisted and at home?

I find I have a lower tolerance for wankiness as I get older. Unlesss, of course I have been drinking heavily, when I am just as likely to roar with laughter and make loud asides about the tastelessness of certain articles.

I was reading Catsmum’s post, about style. I have none – or at least none that doesn’t go with being a stay at home mum. I’ve passed the vomit-on-your-shoulder stage, but not the vegemite and jam and chocolate on your shirt stage. I need a visit to a hairdresser. I need to lose more weight than I care to contemplate. I need a stylist and a shopper and a facial and most extremities waxed. I need a new pair of jeans, and a manicure. None of these things are likely to happen in the near future (except maybe the jeans if there’s a sale).

And you know what? I don’t really care. My daughter thinks I’m beautiful and my son thinks I’m soft and comfy and give great cuddles. I can throw most things I wear (except the jumpers) into the washing machine. I’m fat and happy and a pretty good cook. – I’ve got the new Knitty, Juno’s getting to the exciting stage and I’ve got blogpals – who are also the knitia – or knitsters – or kniterati – or kniternals.

I’m as happy as a clam!

Heaven, I’m in heaven!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let's talk about Spring, Baby!

Let’s think about spring for a moment. I love spring. The first day I can wear shoes without socks always feels as if we are finally on the way to summer. In this little piece of Tuscany we like to call Tasmania, spring is a fabulous season. Daffodils, jonquils and narcissus blanket gardens and grow wild in paddocks. The grass is so green it’s almost blinding. Little white lambs gambol and caper (gambolling is a thing only a little lamb can do) and run back to their mothers and bounce off again.

Fruit trees burst into blossom. They explode so quickly, I am always surprised you don’t hear a “BANG”. The deciduous magnolias put some real effort into their blooms and so do the camellias. Rhodos and azaleas look splendid. Trees start gearing up to put on leaves again. Spring is fun when you have four real seasons.

My major complaint about living in Queensland was that we were left very short of seasons. You really only had wet, dry and jacaranda (though I adored jacaranda and the way they stood in lakes of purply blue petals). The lack of proper seasons was reflected in the fact there were no proper spring flowers – if you wanted tulips or daffodils you had to put bulbs in the crisper of you refruigerator. No raspberries or currants, no good apples and pears, I missed proper summer fruit – although I was deeply in love with mangoes.

I adore all the seasons. Spring with its lushness; summer with its fruit and warmth; autumn with the crunchy leaves and harvest; winter with blustery winds and very occasional snow. I missed the seasons in Queensland and in Hong Kong. I love being back in Tasmania and watching the rounds each year.

Late spring brings the joy of lilac and crab-apple. One of my friends swears by checking the warmth of soil with her bottom – if the soil’s too cold to plant things, so is her bum!

Spring is done properly here. I saw my first bumble bee yesterday. I know that they were introduced to Tasmania, probably smuggled in by tomato and capsicum farmers. I know that they compete with native bees. But they’re so gorgeous and furry and buzzy and just too darned cute for words, how can you not love them!

Life is good and generally happy. Still de-cluttering – started a new bag for Lifeline last night, and I need to get some stuff listed on ebay (maybe tomorrow) and try to clear out another room. Currently 3 rooms of our house are junk rooms! This means they contain boxes and piles of junk that need to be sorted, housed or disposed of. Much of the junk comes from my Dad’s house. When he died I inherited most stuff, and when my stepmother moved out of the house 2 years later I got more! All of this needs to be sorted, and much will move on to new homes, one way or another.

Some of it has serious sentimental value and some has historical value. So it needs careful sorting and cataloguing (a task best accomplished without assistance from children! I plan to tackle the dining room at the weekend, then perhaps the big room the following week. Bits and pieces in between!

If I get this right, I’ll end up with more room for yarn, books, and shoes. A win all around, I think.

For those who are interested, the Birkenstocks came courtesy of ebay – just type in Birkis and your shoe size (European style). The cat ones also come in sheep, lion, cow, pig and horse varieties.

So here’s a toast to spring! Join me in a glass of something bubbly and alcoholic – oh it must be champers (let the appellation controlee lot deal with that one)! Yay, Spring!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shoes, glorious shoes, red, orange and flatties!

Shoes. What can I say about shoes that hasn’t already been said, and often better? And usually by Rosered. I love shoes. While I was a poverty stricken university student, I was known to spend my rent on shoes, and then grovel to the landlord, or landlady for extra time to pay.

Back then, I was on first name terms with the owner of the most expensive shoes store in this state’s capital city. He would see me, across the street (the busiest street in the CBD) and call my name to tell me he had a new shipment of Italian or Spanish shoes in. That’s how much time, and money, I spent in his shop, at a time when I had no money (but lots of time)!

I still have some of the shoes I bought then – 25 years ago – as testament to their quality and beauty – and to the fact that I don’t wear heels much anymore. And to the fact that over the years I was willing to spend money to maintain, and re-sole and re-heel them. Some of the shoes I passed on to my step-mother – who still wears them.

I have a weakness for shoes. In the past month I have bought 5 pairs of shoes – you saw photos of 3 pairs on my great day, but yesterday, 2 pairs of Birkis arrived from Germany. They are fun, whimsical and fit perfectly. They are flat. I generally wear flats or very low heels these days. Partly because I live in the country (heels are no good on mud, gravel and puddles). Partly because I am a stay at home mother (heels are no good for picking your way between Lego pieces, dress-up clothes and while emptying potties and wiping up sick, or for pushing strollers). Partly because I have no life, and so, unlike Sarah Jessica Parker, I go nowhere and wear no designer clothes. And partly because I generally wear jeans and jumpers; or capris and t-shirts (depending on the season).

I did weaken 2 years ago and buy these gorgeous bronze bits of nothingness – nothing, that is, except straps and heels. I bought them for a wedding – I’ve worn them twice – but I love them anyway. I made holes in the lawn. It was fun.

I love Rosered’s shoes. Just beautiful, and back when I worked in an office (in the dawn of pre-history) I wore shoes like that.

When we lived in Hong Kong, I used to visit shoe street (between Causeway Bay and Happy Valley racecourse) and there was a stretch of ultra expensive Italian shoe stores, and then a stretch of knock-off stores. You’d grab the owner of your selected knock off store and tow him past the windows of the Italian ones going “I want THAT colour, with THOSE heels, and THAT toe”, and he would have them made for you by next Wednesday. And they would be beautiful and not expensive. I still have the most glorious pair of green snakeskin courts from him. But I never found the perfect pair of orange shoes.

I adore orange shoes and red shoes. I had the most wonderful pair of low Italian orange wedges that I wore and wore until they literally fell to pieces one wet day in Hong Kong. I couldn’t ever get a pair as good, and they were past even using as a pattern. I live in hope of one day finding another pair.

At one stage I had 4 pairs of red shoes. One pair of Italian red leather courts, lined in cream glove leather with high heels (still have them), one pair of leather flats, a bit like highland dancing shoes (fell to bits), one pair of satin ballet type shoes with long laces up the leg and one pair of red boots. These days I have fewer – but can almost always be seduced by gorgeous shoes in lovely colours (I have no discipline).

Despite never wearing pink, I even had a pair of flat pink t bars which I adored and wore to death.

When it comes to shoes, or sock yarn I have the self discipline of a drunken sailor. Speaking of sock yarn, this Marion’s sock yarn I bought on ebay arrived to day – Yum!

I also took the 2 boxes of toys, the ride-on, and a bag of books to the child care centre and sold the combustion stove, its hot water tank and all flue pieces and it’s gone, gone, gone. (Given its size and weight, that has to be worth around 25 normal things) Its removal also means that we regain the use of the back room it was sitting in.

The de-cluttering continues – just call me Imelda.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Warning: Fatuous Motherhood Statements Ahead

What can I say? I have the cutest kids in the world! This morning, Princess did not wake until 8.30am (go on, other mothers – hiss with jealousy, especially when I tell you that Destructoboy did not wake until 10.00am and they were both in bed asleep by 7.40 last night!). I currently have a really sore back (I think I must sleep like a pretzel) so sweet Princess snuggled up for cuddles, then she and the Accountant went downstairs – I staggered down to the bathroom and was about to insert myself into the shower when the Accountant burst in and told me to get back into bed NOW!

The Princess had made me toast, spread it, cut it and made the pieces into a butterflies (we do this in our house – ‘Look a boat – a dog etc), and carried it up on a tray (well the Accountant carried it up the stairs and Princess did the flat sections) with a card she’d made. I was so impressed!

Today she’s going all out to be as wonderful as possible. Helped make Destructoboy’s lunch, got herself dressed in clothes she picked out (don’t ask), sweet, sweet, sweet!

So how come half the time she’s the exact opposite? A mystery on the cosmic scale!

Now, Kate is responsible for the ‘In’ items this week – because of her mentioning this, I immediately had to look, so I bought the latest Vogue Knitting (I don’t usually Vogue, but goodness – have you SEEN this issue) – I want to knit probably 10 things from it right now, now, NOW!

And it’s got very interesting interviews with the old guard and the new (I only buy it for the articles, honest). And because I saw the Vogue, I also got the Creative Knitting – hopeless – all the spine of an ice cream cone, that’s me!

I have, however, sorted all the children’s clothes, so, more for Lifeline etc. I even sorted some of mine. I managed to buy only what was on the list at the supermarket yesterday and put on blinkers while walking past everything except the news-agency (see above).

I’m attempting to rationalise the pantry. We have a walk-in pantry, and I worry we will all starve if it’s not full. I have finished playing freezer lotto for a while – I actually know exactly what’s in there and it’s all labelled – though freezer lotto definitely had it’s fun side! Ahh, the anticipation of having no idea what you’d pulled out for dinner until it had thawed! Luckily, I’m pretty sure my freezer has no tripe or liver hiding down the sides.

Tomorrow is the official start of school holidays (the first weekend doesn’t count), so a degree of rattiness lies ahead. Juno’s first sleeve is up to the armhole, so I hope to get the shaping finished tonight. I think there’s ironing to be done also, so I’m unlikely to get the second sleeve cast on – the collar keeps getting closer though.

So, on the to-do list are the Polyglot socks (again), the Happy Clappy KAL, and I think I have to make Black Dog’s glorious swing jumper again (and probably again and again), but this time in Silk Garden. I washed it yesterday (really don’t ask – but check Jejune’s post about dangly scarves) and realised that I wear it and wear it and wear it and love it to bits, so another one is definitely the go – and it’s a 2 week knit (for me – 16 hours for real people). What could be better?

Thanks for all your advice re photos – it obviously is an Australian problem that they take forever, so while I can’t make them faster, I’ll take Rosered’s advice, and just do something else while I wait!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I'm not the Wizard of Oz, but....

I’ve just been sewing a heart back on a red devil. This sounds much more exciting than it is. Princess was given a rather unattractive red devil yesterday – which she adores and I am in awe of its general ugliness and tackiness. It showed how tacky it was by the heart it was holding coming adrift today while we were out and about. So I’ve just sewn it back on. Daughter thinks I’m great, son wants the BIG scissors and other pointy injurious equipment from my sewing box, and everybody is happy.

Well, except for the fact that I need to admit to a few more items in: hair bobbles for daughter, in the vain hope that this will stop her screaming when I tie back her hair for school. There are three very cute sets of bobbles and 2 sets of clips. I also acquired 1 new bra on sale, and daughters summer sandals – also on sale, and somehow a ball of clearance Jo Sharp wool slipped in there too. I’ve also bought some wool on ebay, but I won’t admit to that until it actually arrives – there has been some Jo Sharp kid mohair I’ve had my eye on, and I fell off the wagon. (I’ve barely got ON the wagon, at least as far as buying wool goes, so we shall pass a veil over that).

Juno has both fronts finished and a sleeve started (just) and I didn’t mention that I’ve been using my KnitPicks on her – these are so nice to use – I’ve also succumbed to the lure of some KnitPicks DPNs for socks and in a shameless plug, I’d like to point out that the wonderful Donyale has Knitpicks in her online shop and is running a competition with giveaways – so run on over and check it out!

The Accountant has been ribbing me about knitblogging (hah hah very punny – noticed afterwards!). He thinks it a sign that I am a sad individual – I point out that most knitbloggers have very full lives, that I am not a good example (not having anything resembling a life) and that I have made some lovely friends. Also, that this way I can talk about knitting to my heart’s content – and the people who visit me actually know what I am talking about.

I am extremely envious of Madmad’s tech savvy with her photos – very ghoulish and lots of fun – I just want Blogspot to upload my photos faster (it seems to take ages and those of you who have lots of photos have either found a much faster way than me or have things you can wander off and do between uploads). I hereby welcome any and all tips on getting photos to upload faster, because I am slow, slow, slow.

In other news, we are sending George Dubya Bush back where he came from tomorrow – we don’t want him any more – we have our own pale imitation (and I don’t like him much either). I feel so sorry for any of you trapped in Sydney, Dear Readers, it must be a complete pain in the wazoo (notice how I miss out on Rachel’s ‘R’ rating!)

Off to make stuffed potatoes for dinner – with cauliflower cheese and big meaty mushrooms – because I like all that and I don’t care if no-one else does! Enjoy your weekends!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Wrap your sleeves around me

I have a problem with sleeves. Either I have very short arms, or most patterns have very long sleeves. In addition to long sleeves, there is also the problem that I think ¾ sleeves were designed in heaven, and I hate tight things around my wrists.

Long sleeves are pushed, rolled or folded up until they are out of my way and about 10cm clear of the wrists. I regularly take this amount off patterns, and still end up with long sleeves! The current fashion for sleeves to your fingertips simply means that I have to roll them up further.

Long sleeves get in my way. They drag in my dinner, fall in the washing up, swipe the kitchen benches and we’re not even going to discuss what happens regarding the potty and toilet training stuff!

I was 35 before I could reliably wear anything white. Even if I drank only water and ate white bread, my white top ended up covered in red wine, coffee, spaghetti Bolognese and beetroot. White trousers or dresses were (and with small children still are) out of the question. I am a grub. I can’t help it. I attract dirt and crumbs and sticky stuff. And long sleeves are just asking for trouble.

What is it with these sleeves? Is it like the mandarins of ancient china with their sleeves and fingernails? Do sleeves like this scream ‘I am not a mother – I do nothing grubby during the day and am single, so I don’t do housework’?

It’s like teetery high stiletto heels. I love them, but I not only live in the country, I have kids. You know you’re middle aged when you look at the divinest shoes and say ‘No – I can’t push the stroller in them, and I just won’t get the wear out of them’. Mind you, didn’t put me off buying the gorgeous bronze sky high stilettos I’ve only worn twice and the last time served only to aerate the lawn!

Thanks for your lovely comments. Yes, yesterday was a crappy day. The biting incident – I thought Destructoboy was leaning in to give me a kiss on the cheek, when he sank his teeth in and refused to let go. I tried to prise his jaws apart with a finger, and when that didn’t work (and I thought his teeth were going to meet in my flesh) I smacked his face (not hard, just 2 fingers, but it gave him a shock). I prefer not to have holes in my cheek, and while I don’t usually condone smacking, I could think of nothing else to make him let go! Hissing imprecation did no good, not did begging, so the slappy tap it was – it worked, and every adult in the performance leaned around and glared at me! I was really surprised my face wasn’t spurting blood!
This is what I have to contend with!

Today I helped the kindergarten kids walk down to the local hall for the Town and Country Spring Fair. It’s not really a fair, but most local schools and organisations have fundraising tables – our school sold chocolate. The kids filled themselves on fairy floss and other sugar, bought second hand soft toys and showbags filled with useless stuff for $2. Princess had 5 whole dollars to spend and ended up with a large bag of assorted crap.

I ended up with this. He followed me home, mum, can I keep him?

She thought it was wonderful. I thought the best things was that all the kids, hopped up on huge amounts of sugar, were going back to school for 3 hours, and not coming home!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Lure of the Foreign Legion

Good afternoon.

I am hereby submitting my resignation as Mother and joining the Foreign Legion. While I realise this will force me to learn French, that’s OK – I also understand that there is very little toilet training involved and someone else cooks your meals and washes up.

I am also quite taken by the idea of solitude, hot desert sunshine, a complete lack of children and the possibility that someone else may have to do my washing and ironing. If I fail the recruitment test, I will immediately put my hand up to become a nun, preferably in a silent order. Although that may involve cooking, I can probably cope with that as long as I get some time to knit. I will also get some time where I am not:

a) Shouting;
b) Checking that people are listening to me;
c) Getting them dressed;
d) Putting them on the toilet
e) Being bitten on the face – in public;
f) Trying to give children a cultural experience while they run around like mad things, shouting;
g) Apologising to other adults and children for my childrens’ behaviour;
f) Hoping the floor will open up and swallow me when I am exposed as an appalling parent.

From the above, you will probably gather that it has been a BAD DAY.

Unfortunately, I don’t think they let you resign from Motherhood. I am counting the hours and minutes until the Accountant appears at the door and I can drink my first (and second and third) glass of wine.

It started out inauspiciously at 6.30am, with a gentleman ringing our doorbell to tell us that one of the neighbour’s cows was out on the road. Generally, cows on the road are considered a BAD THING. Anyone who hits a cow with their car, no matter how appallingly badly, stupidly or illegally they are driving is in the right and the owner of the cow is at fault. A cow can do a great deal of damage to the average small car (or even the above average large car. The cow also comes out of it badly.

This meant throwing on clothes, calling the farmer (who lives about 25 minutes drive away) and walking quickly the 500 metres to the cow, whereupon the man who’d come to the door had already got the stupid animal into a paddock – entirely wasted walk in the cold.

I compounded the awfulnes of the day by opening the refrigerator door and having an entire, unopened bottle of wine fall to the floor and smashing, meaning massive and delicate clean-up operations involving 750ml of very nice wine and a shattered bottle worth of glass spread all over the floor while trying to get lunch for children. I am shattered at the idea that this bottle was wasted, but luckily it was in the back room on lino, not in the kitchen on floor boards - with children (perhaps it would not have shattered if it hit floorboards? A depressing possibility).

I took the beasts – sorry – children to the school performance of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’, a particular favourite book of ours. It was sweet, the Preps (5 and 6 year olds), Grade 1s and Grade 1 & 2 combined class (it’s a small school) each doing the same piece, with increasingly more speaking and singing as the age group increased.

Why is it that other children sit quietly, watch the performance and clap at the end, while mine crawl all over each other, other children and any adults unwise enough to sit near us? I am so going to make it my life’s work to embarrass the pants off them as they get older. Destructoboy even found an alternative route out of the hall, and took off at high speed across the school grounds.

So I’m tired, grumpy, and in need of caffeine and wine (not necessarily in that order). And knitting. I definitely need the calming and restorative powers of knitting. I finished the first side of Juno the other night and got up to the increases on the second front. I actually thought I’d done the left front and was working on the right, but closer scrutiny (I’m really bad at telling which is the right side when knitting rib) suggests that I’ve finished the right and am working on the left, so there you go. Regardless, one side is done and I’m doing the other. Probably finish that tomorrow night (frogging and the knitting godess permitting) and start sleeves. Hurrah – looking forward to taking a great leap into the unknown and knitting that collar.

No, no little discreet cables for me to practice my first cabling, Uh uh – I’m going the gusto – it’s a huge and very visible cable collar for my foray into this new skill.

Off to herd cats – sorry – children. Have a nice night – I intend to get these munchkins into their beds at the earliest opportunity. And then sit knitting quietly until my bedtime. I even start a new book in bed tonight – just finished Kim Harrison’s ‘For a few demons more’, great fun.

I’m wilting at the sheer excitement of my life!

Monday, September 3, 2007

An update and certain political comments

Computer running? Check. Third coffee? Check. Bathroom clean? Check (What? You thought I never cleaned the bathrooms – well, as little as possible – but it does get done. Eventually.) Alone in the house? Check. Quiet? Check. Smell of vomit gone? Mostly.

It’s been a fun night.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while (its whole 2 month life) may remember the great vomiting incident of July. I say ‘great’ meaning lots, not ‘great’ as in ‘Hey that was fun, let’s do it again soon’.

Had an incident last night – luckily a lonely and isolated incident. But the washing remains – the entire bed folks, not just a sheet or two, but every single thing on the bed, including blankets, doona, mattress protector, pillows, assorted teddy bears and dolls, to say nothing of the Princess herself. A shower at 10.30pm for a five year old in tears in not the most fun thing for them to do.

Drawing a veil over this whole awful incident, I will replace it with good news – the fridge is back – this means more space for all the stuff I fill it with and an endless supply of cold filtered water which we have really missed – you can definitely taste the difference.

On the de-cluttering side, I delivered 2 bags to Lifeline (another bag in the offing), but bought a top and 2 dresses for me and some kids clothes for, well, the kids. So the net loss is more like 1 bag – but there is more to go, so I haven’t lost hope yet!

Juno has one front finished, and the second cast one, so I feel as if there is some progress being made.

And speaking of progress, I’m absolutely disgusted that the Gunn’s pulp mill appears to be going ahead – haven’t our politicians noticed that most Tasmanians, especially small business people in the area don’t want a stinky water polluting mill which uses native forests. With any luck, the coalition may realise it’s in a marginal electorate, with more votes in stopping it than in letting it be built – and it’s an election year. You never know your luck in a small country town.

It’s been a fairly open secret that Gunn’s actually runs this state – personally I think we might as well sack our entire state parliament and let Gunns run the place – they do anyway, and at least we’ll save on the parliamentary salaries that way. It wasn’t quite so obvious under Jim Bacon, but after he died, Lennon was in Gunns’ pocket so the rest was a foregone conclusion. The best analogy I heard about Paul Lennon taking over from Jim was that it was if the nightclub manager had dies and the bouncer took over.

Mind you, our Liberal ‘Opposition’ is a bit of a waste of space – given that they never actually seem to oppose the ALP on anything. The Greens are the only real opposition, and there aren’t enough of them to block legislation – Boo Hiss!!!

Politics of this fair, green isle aside, I think I’ll stick to my knitting. If you’re all very good, there may be some photos this week!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The grass is as high as an elephant's.....

Well, there’s Father’s Day over and done with for another year! The Accountant received a beautiful coaster from the Princess (made in Kinder) along with the requisite hand-made card and key-ring, along with 2 shirts and a lovely silver punch-server. I also extended myself and made Brioche for breakfast (the little bobbles on the top were the most popular bits for children).

Took daughter to the local circus annual performance. These guys run a circus school and the Princess has been hanging out to turn 5 and thereby be allowed to go to circus school. I’m hanging out until she turns 15 and runs away to join the circus!

She’s been able to turn somersaults since she saw a child do it on Playschool when she was 18 months old. She’s also in love with being upside down on the monkey bar on her swing – so anything which might allow her to swing in the air turning around while upside down has her vote. I prefer the idea of circus school to ballet – as a veteran of the ballet wars (I danced for 17 years) I know what the injury rate is. I stopped being serious about it when I was taught how to wrap my toes so that when they bled (not IF – WHEN they bled) they wouldn’t ruin the inside of my pointe shoes.

I have the feeling that circus is a wider range of skills and possibly more fun and less seriously pink and girly.

I took Princess to Cirque du Soleil when we were in Canberra earlier this year – she didn’t take her eyes off the stage and sat with her mouth open barely speaking through the entire performance. Anything which renders the Princess speechless is to be seriously encouraged.

Just returned from assisting with a post Walk-a-thon BBQ at the school, so am feeling seriously diligent and dutiful – quite enough overt motherliness for one day, I think.

Juno is progressing nicely – up to the armholes on the left front, despite having to frog 25 rows because I forgot to do the increases, and then frog 10 rows after re-knitting because for some weird reason my subconscious decided I needed increases on both sides (I probably do, but let’s not get into that).

I also followed Taph’s lead and am trying to spring clean. Two boxes of toys are ready for the local not-for-profit child care centre, along with a ride on toy, one very large bag of assorted clothes etc is off to Lifeline, one bag of nappies and baby stuff off to a friends for her little one, another off to another friend for her little one. A box of crockery and kitchen ware is also half finished for Lifeline – so that’s seven boxes and bags and lots more than 7 items. – Still heaps to go to attempt to de-clutter this place!!

Kate was talking about the nude Olympics her children engage in – my children love running around sans clothes and now that Destructoboy has been toilet trained and nappies are a thing of the past – he is often to be seen sprinting past – willy waving in the breeze. Now that spring is here, summer’s not far away, and that means nudie splashing in the paddling pool and slippery sprints through the garden (although I insist on shoes – some thistles always get missed when I chip the lawns - well grass – not nearly well enough looked after to be actual ‘lawn’. I don’t worry about lawns – I’m like Peter Cundall – lawn is just green stuff you walk over on the way to the fruit trees and veggie garden).

Garden's currently doing a great job of burgeoning – first of the blossoms (Kentish cherry) have bloomed, as have camellias and rhodos. I have 2 camellia trees which stand over 10 metres high – yes, 10 metres. I think they are probably quite old. They look very beautiful at the moment, as do all the others about the place.

Hurrah for spring – and for all the things which grow and require me to do absolutely nothing to make them look beautiful!