Thursday, December 22, 2011


This picture made me smile and I thought I would share it with you. A real performer, Zimmy is happy to be dressed up in all sorts of costumes to have her photo taken. She seems to love the attention. Zimmy belongs to my son's partner and has her own facebook page - Zimmy Dog. She is a real campaigner and fights for several causes, among them, Oscar's Law - a movement to end the cruelty of puppy farming in Australia, the Winter appeal for Animal Rescue, and Save Lennox, an ongoing issue in Ireland.
With only a day to go it looks as though Santa Zimmy has her paws full with getting her Christmas presents ready for delivery.

With all the hype, tinsel and coloured lights it's easy to forget what Christmas is all about. I hope yours will be blessed and peace filled and your New Year will be full of promise and opportunity.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Sometimes something happens that makes a day really special. Yesterday was one of those days for me. Our daughter had announced that she was taking us to the Royal Melbourne Zoo. The man of the house has been eager to visit the Zoo for ages as we haven't been there for many years. We were keen to see the new enclosures that have been built to make the animals more comfortable and so were looking forward to our trip. The day before our visit our daughter let me in on the secret she had been keeping - the trip was actually a combined birthday and Christmas gift for me and the treat was that I would take part in the 'Elephant Experience' where I would be able to go behind the scenes to help feed Marli, the baby elephant who is now about 19 months old and also meet her mother.
Words can't describe how beautiful the experience was. Like anyone who truly loves animals I hate cages but sadly, for many of the planet's beautiful, endangered animals the spacious, natural enclosures at the Zoo are an insurance policy for the species.
I avoid the tendency to anthropomorphize. The most important needs for an animal's welfare are food and safety from predators, an absence of boredom plus the space to enable them to behave like animals. The Zoo is staffed by dedicated keepers who have these needs and the welfare of their charges as their top priority. They are doing a marvelous job. The elephants are fed in a manner that will encourage them to forage, are provided with plenty of space to amble and socialize.
What an experience. I loved every minute of my time with them. I can't remember when a birthday gift has given me so much joy.
Must go now. I hope your weekend will be a good one. Bye until next time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Our Special Day

The Gala Day for the woodworkers has come and gone, and some of us are feeling that weird rudderless feeling that happens when you've spent a whole year working toward an event and suddenly it's over. It was marvellous seeing all our work stacked up ready for presentation. Everything looked so colourful. In all we shifted 600 toys, carting them back and forth like an army of ants as we loaded them into the various vans that were to take them away. Next thing is to get together to decide what we will make next year.
It's all go here as I imagine it is at your place with only 17 sleeps to go.
Over here in Oz we will probably be enjoying our Christmas family get-together in the shadiest spot we can find while we watch the youngsters cooling off in the swimming pool. Hard to imagine folk in other parts of the world wrapped up in the warmest clothing they have.
Wherever you are, I hope you will be able to enjoy some of the peace that the season represents.
Bye for now until next time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The've Done it Again

Those lovely ladies from the Pakenham Patchworkers and Quilters have once again presented the woodworkers with the quilts that we need to dress up our dolls beds and prams - 48 in all, if I've counted correctly. I've photographed just a few of them here. Each one is a tiny masterpiece of stitching executed with the same care and precision that would go into a quilt for a full size bed. These women are such a giving bunch who present their beautiful work unstintingly to several recipients. Apart from their patchwork they also knit and crochet scores of little garments, teddies and blankets for needy newborns and where these aren't suitable they hand out cheques to welfare organisations.
I'm so grateful for people who feel the need to give when there are so many who need to receive. They make the world a nicer place.
I hope yours was a good weekend and your week will be good too.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

An experiment.

With the discomfort that I have had of late with my thumb, I thought I'd drag out the knitting machine and give it a run. A really simple project is a pair of mittens which I made up in an hour or two. They turned out well and fitted the man of the house perfectly, but the enjoyment of clicking away with my trusty needles just wasn't there. Into the bargain there was a lot more sewing involved as the thumb has to be knitted separately and sewn in place. So back to the handknitting it is. I made another pair on two needles and one pair on four DPNs. The DPNs win hands down (oops, sorry for the pun). In the first picture I've photographed one mitt from each handknit pair. That's the two needle job on the left with the seam down the side. The pair in the second picture is the machine knit ones. The only thing better about them is the nice smooth knitting and the neat rib in the cuff. I'll keep on with mittens for a while as I plan to give them to the nearest collector for the homeless. These are pure wool and lovely and cosy - plus the colour is more serviceable for the life they will lead.
Must be off now. It's the woodworkers annual dinner tonight and I must get ready.
I hope you will have a wonderful weekend.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Last Chance Monday

I know it says Sunday in Blogland but over here in Oz it's Monday and the last one before our big Gala Day at the weekend. That's when we will give away all our toys. There will be others working through the week but I won't be able to attend. Today I painted lots of blue paint on lots of aeroplane wings - not an exciting job but we've got to get them all finished today so that they can be assembled in time. (it's all go in the paint shed with everyone getting in everyone else's way). I grabbed one of the 20 little beds for a photo, with one of the little crochet covers that have been donated to us. I'm never going to win any prizes for my photography. The legs aren't crooked and there is no white paint on the bed, that's flash glare. And here's another picture of the little trains that we do. They're a lovely tough toy and will take a fair bit of punishment before they have to come back for repairs. That's what's so good about wooden toys - they can be mended when they're played with a little too enthusiastically.
Must go now. I hope you have had a good weekend.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How I Spent Today

These are some of the 24 old-fashioned hobby horses that Stuart, at the woodworkers club, has made to be given away in two weeks time. Since my painting job in the paint shed is finished I gave Stuart a hand to tack the horses bridles in place and glue their eyes on. Santa's Little Helpers, are putting all their effort into finishing up the toys we have been working on through the year and excitement is mounting as we scurry about making sure that nothing is forgotten. For me today was fun. I hope you enjoyed your day.
Bye for now until next time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ready & waiting.

I thought you might like to see the lovely, traditional rocking-horse that was made by one of the woodworkers. Bill makes one of these beauties every year as first prize in our annual fundraising effort. I think this is the 12th one he has made. It is about the size of a small Shetland pony and will take the weight of a fully grown man. This year, due to ill health in the family, Bill needed some help getting the horse finished so Bob stepped in to give him a hand.
Bill is always generous with his knowledge and will happily teach other members of the club how to make a horse like this, concequently he has a number of pupils (several of them women) who turn out their own rocking-horses. I did think I might join his group but the materials to make the horse are expensive (those stirrups and the saddle are real) so I didn't indulge myself.
I'm thankful for nice people like Bill and Bob.
Just finishing up jobs to do in the toy workshop now. We'll be giving them away to our favourite charities in 3 weeks time.
I hope your week-end will turn out to be a good one.
Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

That time of year again

I can't believe I'm making our Christmas cake again. Here it is, all ready to go into the oven. It's no secret that I'm lazy and would happily buy one of the cakes put out by the Lions charity but our grandson is allergic to nuts and so I like to know exactly what goes into anything that he is going to eat - and he loves this cake. The beating and blending is better than a work-out at the gym, now I need a sit down and a cup of tea.
One of my favourite plants is in flower again. It's an annual that self-sows every year. I have no idea where it came from originally and no idea what it is. Can anyone out there tell me? The flower is about the size of a delphinium, and I thought that was what it is but the leaf is different. Here is where someone tells me that it is highly illegal and I'd better pull it out before I am visited by the drug squad. I hope not because I like it and it will go on flowering for the whole Summer. And before anyone asks, yes, I am still crocheting & knitting - slower these days because of this wretched thumb but I'm getting there.
Timer for the cake has just gone off so I'd better go and turn the oven down for another hour-and-a-half.
Bye for now, until next time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


A friend gave me two large balls of this strong green coloured yarn. Although the colour is a little bright for baby wear I thought it would make a nice blanket and teamed it with the paler mint shade. Oops! I thought I had enough of the paler shade but discovered my mistake when I reached this point. Disaster!! What to do now? I really don't want to pull the work out so I hunted about in the shops for some more of the pale green. Fortunately it's a popular shade at present so I was able to find a very close match and if I arrange the squares symetrically I think I can get away with it. Note to self: Make absolute certain you have enough of a colour before jumping in at the deep end. I thought I'd learned that by now - obviously not.
All that said, I'm not even sure that I like the uniform colour - it is a bit bright. I will get on and finish the blanket though as it's nice and cheerful and may suit someone with a different taste from mine. Slow going unfortunately as my grumbly arthritic thumb is making things difficult. I'm thinking of trotting out the knitting machine that I haven't used for years.
Dear old Penny the border collie has gone home again after a one week stay with us. Her lovely coat collects all sorts of weird and wonderful bits & pieces which she happily sheds when she comes inside, so I must say bye for now and get the vaccuum cleaner working.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

First time effort.

A visit to our daughter in Queensland always includes a trip to Mt. Tamborine to a craft market. Quite apart from the beauty of the area, I love the market for its relaxed atmosphere. I can always be sure to find something to bring back to Melbourne. I fell in love with these little beaded angels and bought a kit for two. Although I admire the work when its done by others, and I love the bling that beading creates, beading is not my thing - but I just had to have a go at these. "Not difficult," said the stall holder, "You just thread the beads on to the safety pins..." and she went on to describe the method. "Yeah. I can do that," I thought. So, when I got home, I sat down with pliers and a soup plate to hold the contents of the little plastic bag containing the necessassary directions, beads and gold wire. Huh!! That was when I discovered that I had developed a few extra thumbs and several extra fingers. I did manage to get my little angels made up and I only said one bad word when the wire sprang from my fingers and flung beads in every direction. Just as well the kit contained a few spares. Pat at Bead Knitting & Crochet, I salute you.
I still have the directions and maybe I'll have another go at more angels at a later date. In the meantime I'll get back to my crochet hook and my knitting needles. Aaah. That's better.
Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A different hat

I thought you might like to see one of the tiny treasure's I found in Mercy's basket. It's a little needle case worked in double crochet. (American single crochet). I thought it such a cute idea that I decided to make one like it. The crown of the hat holds a thimble and the base takes the pins and needles. It was really easy to make. I used a fine crochet hook that is labelled 2 and a half, which, I think is American No. 1 and English 12. The wool is baby weight which we in Oz call 3 ply. I used wool because Mum always said that it protects needles from rusting. I added a flower for good measure because it was a little plain without. A little gift for someone who sews, perhaps, or something to put on a Mother's Day stall. I love the really simply edging and think I'll use it on my next blanket as I'm getting a bit bored with picot. It's just one double crochet and two treble in every second stitch. In American terms I think that's one single crochet and two double crochet. You may have guessed that my crochet talents don't run to very ambitious projects. Granny squares are pretty much my limit, but I'm pleased with this little thing. Thanks Mercy.
The sun is shining and I'm off to pull some weeds from the garden. After 3 days of being hampered by heavy rain I'm suffering from 'shut-in-itis'
I hope you're having a nice weekend. Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mercy's basket

Some time ago, Mercy, a dear old friend of mine died – 6 months before her 100th birthday. Her sister asked me if there was something that I would like to have as a memento of my friend and I chose her work basket. Homemade and a little battered after many years of use the basket is by no means a valuable item - to anyone else but me. I knew that I would find in it the usual workbasket items: needles, pins, thimbles, embroidery scissors, several crochet hooks, fine darning wool etc. The basket is one of my treasures.

Mercy’s almost 100 year old eyesight made it difficult for her to pick up the stitches that she sometimes dropped when she worked on the crocheted blankets that she churned out incessantly and so I had, on many an occasion, to delve into her workbasket for a crochet hook with which to rescue the work. Back on track Mercy would set off again, her crochet hook flying in and out. The blanket had to be finished because Mercy was already planning her next one. At her request I would start the centre of another blanket for her to go on with in case she got into a pickle before my next visit. Idle hands didn’t suit Mercy one bit.

So you can see that Mercy’s basket is a special link between us.

I never asked who made the basket but I can see that is constructed by using coloured raffia to stitch together the needles of the casuarina tree, also known as sheoak. It is built on a plywood base and lined with dark red satin that is quilted on the inside of the lid to form a pincushion. The button at the centre of the lid is a gumnut from a flowering gum tree (eucalyptus). What a great way to make something useful from next to nothing.
I’m guessing that the basket is probably about 50 years old. I keep promising myself that I'll have a go at making one but I've never got round to it. I use the basket all the time and think of Mercy whenever I do so.
Must go now. I've just finished a Woodworker's newsletter and so there's lots to catch up on around the house.
Bye for now until next time.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The pile of granny squares that I showed you a while back has at last become the blanket that I intended it to be. As I knew it would, the sewing up thing took forever, hampered, as usual, by my arthritic thumb but now it's done and I'm so pleased with it that I have started on another. The picture here doesn't do justice to the colours, which are actually more pastel than they appear in the photo.
A couple of weeks ago I made a resolution. "No more yarn purchases until I've cleared some of my stash." Hah! that was a waste of breath, you know what happened the very next time I ventured into our local op-shop, don't you? Yep, another five balls of yarn followed me home, just begging to be used in the new blanket. Well I couldn't turn them away, could I?
Compulsive yarn buyer that I am I'm now working on the psychology of 'flooding'. You know, that's the theory that burying myself under so much yarn that I will feel revulsion and will never buy any more. I don't know if it will work but oooh I am so going to enjoy finding out.
Now I think I'll start on the pale blue first.......
Bye for now until next time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Morning's Work

This is what kept me out of mischief today - painting the doll's double bunk beds that you see here. And if you think it takes absolute ages to paint them you're right. A sticky business it is too because it's awkward getting into all the corners and I always come off second best. Denis, one of the woodworkers, designed these bunks from an actual human sized set. We counted 52 parts for each set and there are 12 sets in all. I haven't even bothered to do the maths but it works out at an awful lot of bits. They are really good to make because they can be made from all sorts of offcuts. The darker coloured pieces in this set started out as louvred cupboard doors that were given to us when one of the members decided to update his 1970's kitchen.
The beds look really beautiful when they are dressed with the patchwork quilts that the Pakenham Patchworkers make for us and I'm told by the charity leaders that the bunks are a popular toy. I know I would have loved one when I was little.
Last night I finished the last crochet square for my baby's blanket and am in a state of eager anticipation as I look forward to start sewing it up tonight.
Gotta go now. I don't think I can wait until tonight.
I hope your day was a good one. Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Almost there

This is the beginning of the blanket that I've been working on. I've calculated that I need 121 squares. If I've counted correctly I have another 33 to make to complete the number, then comes the fun of sewing it up. Yes I'm actually looking forward to that part. I usually lay all the pieces out on a bed and move them about to get the best colour distribution which can be quite difficult if some colours clash but I've tried to use shades that will play nicely together.
You know those 'one day' activities that you've been promising yourself - well the man of the house has decided that, for him, 'one day' has come and has bought for himself a beautiful Nikon camera. He has always wanted to take up photography as a hobby and is having lessons with the man who runs the Active Images shop in our local shopping centre.
Of the two of us, I am the more computer savvy (don't laugh) and am learning to use the Photoshop program that we have installed on our computer, so that we can work on his pics together. Please wish me luck as I think I will need it but I'm looking forward to doing miraculous things with my own pics too. (Loud chomping sounds here! Have I bitten off more than I can chew?)
I wish you luck with your newest projects and hope you're having a good weekend.
Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tree Hugging

We're tree huggers from way back. We've never done the tie-dyed clothes, toe-rings and dreadlocks thing but I have actually seen the man of the house with his arms wrapped round a tree trunk. If you were there in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens on that day about 20 years ago, I was the woman standing about pleading, "Do you intend to hug every tree here?" We once drove for 9 hours through California USA to Yosemite National Park, so that the man could visit the magnificent Redwoods there. We couldn't hug the Grisely Giant because he has been fenced off to protect him from marauding tourist like us. At 2000 plus years even giants need a little TLC. For me there's something soothing about losing myself in the contemplation of a living thing that is so old that it was already a mature tree before our present day calendar began. What tales it could tell if it could talk.
So when a tree is destroyed I am always sad - odd coming from a woodworker but we mostly work in plantation pine and our woodfire uses the trees that have fallen on our property. It is with great joy therefore that I announce the arrival of the first flowering of the regrown wattle tree that was blown down in our garden a couple of years ago. Just the day before its demise I had been admiring the beauty of the green and gold tracery against the blue sky and the next day it was a heap of firewood. Then in a few months new shoots started to show from the remaining roots and now it is taller than I am and putting out the flowers that I enjoy so much. One of the day-to-day little things that makes life pleasant.
I hope there are plenty of pleasant things happening for you.
Bye for now until next time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Success - Well almost.

By George I think I've done it. Well, not quite, I still don't have the pictures of your work to go with your blog names but onwards and upwards, that comes next. Meanwhile I'll leave you with my best wishes and this pretty rose, one of the many that grow in the gardens of the Old Cheese Factory at Berwick, where the Woodworkers have their workshop. It was taken a few weeks back; they're all pruned at present and preparing for the next season of blooms.
Bye for now, until next time.

Update: As you can see, I now have the pictures I wanted. Thanks to two lovely ladies, Pat (Pattas) & Maria (Aussie Maria) for their help.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Meet Miss Lucy

With all the pretty dolls that are available today I love the idea of making one from scratch. One of my favourites when I was little was a nicely shaped baby doll that Mum made for me from cloth. She had embroidered features and curled embroidered hair. I named her Suzette and loved her to bits. I've made lots of cloth dolls over the years but I thought a little wooden one might be fun, and here she is. I confess I got the man of the house to turn her head and limbs as I have only the most basic skills at turning. I made the body from cloth because the idea of all those jointed elbows, shoulders etc. daunted me and it also makes her easier to dress. She is 29cms long (11 and a 1/2 inches). Her hair is coloured fleece which I glued onto the head - probably not the best choice if she is to be played with as it won't stand rough handling. The rest of her is quite sturdy and I like to imagine a little person from about 100 years ago playing with her.
I looked in on Pattas a few days ago and found that the side bar of her page now has pictures of the recent blogs of those that she follows. I love that idea and would like to be able to promote the blogs that I follow in the same way. Pat is a most obliging person and told me how she achieved this but I still haven't managed it. I haven't learned to do links yet either. Hang in there, as soon as I can I will show your beautiful work on my blog, attributing it to you, of course. (Pattas is the pink beaded flower in my list of followers).
Such lovely Spring-like weather here today. Time to get out the needles and knitting cotton for the Summer cardigan that I have been promising myself.
Bye for now until next time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two long days

The man of the house finally got into hospital to have his maintenance job done (a stent in his heart). Although it is one of the so called 'minor cardiac procedures' it is still messing about with that very vital organ and of course it's dangerous. Yours truly was a nervous wreck while pretending not to be and the man himself, to outward appearances, was quite matter-of-fact about the whole business. I've asked him if he was pretending too and he says he wasn't. He expected everything to be alright and was looking forward to being able to get back to his old self as he hasn't been at all well lately. The eternal optomist. His faith was justified and he is home again now and being fussed over by a very relieved me.
One good thing about sitting around in hospital for a couple of days is the amount of knitting that one can get through. I took my rainbow blanket along as it doesn't take an awful lot of concentration, and I was pleased with the progress I made. I am really enjoying this blanket because I love the vibrant colours. I think the royal-blue and purple are too close together and next time I would chose a paler purple but otherwise I am happy with it. I plan to turn this into a bed size blanket as I think it would look lovely on the bed of either a boy or a girl.
I've got to be off now. Shopping to do. I hope you are having a lovely day.
Bye until next time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Change of Heart

A friend gave me three balls of acrylic yarn in three different colours so I decided to use them to work some fair isle. Smarty didn't bother with a pattern but invented her own, knitted in the round on a circular needle. All went well until I got to the underarm and needed to work back and forth for the yoke. !!! the design wouldn't work that way and I found myself at the end of a solid row of colour and needing to work back with two colours. This meant that the colour I needed to use was back at the beginning of the row. Now I could have continued in the round and cut the armhole out on completion, but I'm not brave enough for that. So out came the graph paper and pencil while I sat and worked out the shaping for a circular yoke. By this time the urge for fair isle was fast fading but I ploughed on. A third of the way up one sleeve I knew that I was heartily sick of the idea, but continued on the sleeve, muttering all the while that I might yet end up pulling the whole thing out.
At this point an interjection from the man of the house stopped me mid row, "For goodness sake pull it out - you know you are going to, why waste any more time on it." There spoke the voice of almost fifty years experience of watching me finish with gritted teeth, something I'm disliking insensely, or worse, almost finishing it before pulling it out because it just isn't right.
So, the colours are now being added to a crochet baby blanket. Perhaps it's not as pretty as the fair isle would have been, but much more soothing to do. I know I dislike sewing up but I'll put up with that for the pleasure of working happily. The man of the house is enjoying the serenity coming from my side of the lounge room too.
I hope you're happy with what you are working on at present.
Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Invisible Mend.

Well, after considerable rummaging I have turned up the directions for the Swiss darning mend mentioned in my last post. I hope you can make some sense of it. I have used it twice before, once for a bachelor friend, to fix a hole in his Sunday best sweater, and the other for another friend whose puppy had chewed a hole in her husband's brand new sweater. Oh dear. In the interests of the popularity of both the puppy and my friend I had to make that mend as un-noticeable as possible. The problem, in both cases, was that I didn't have matching wool but found as near a match as possible and both of my friends were happy with the result.
The mend is started by using a crochet hook to pick up any stitches that have run, then using a thin strand of yarn connect the stitches at the top and bottom of the hole with long stitches so that you can use them as a foundation for your mend. Next take your mending yarn (the same thickness as the knitted stitches) and work back and forth across the hole in duplicate stitch, working a few stitches into the knitting at each side to ensure that the damage won't spread. Finally turn the work to the wrong side and darn all loose ends away. Your mend may not look as good as new, but it should look better than a darn.
Another good way to cover a hole is to crochet little flowers to scatter all over the sweater, covering the hole with one of the flowers. - Presto! A new sweater. Though I'm not sure how a male would take to that idea for his sweater.
Must go now. I hope all is well at your place. Bye for now until next time.

Monday, July 18, 2011


My favourite cardigan. I made it about 30 years ago and it can still hold it's head up for those smart casual occasions (good old pure wool). I wash it really carefully and don't wear it for gardening etc. which has probably helped it to retain it's looks, but a moth has found it and left a tiny hole. Now I am really moth-phobic and fill my cupboards with all those smelly things that are supposed to keep them away. Cedar balls, lavendar, camphor, you name it my shelves are full of it but obviously this moth liked the atmosphere. I stopped using naptholene years ago when I learned that it is as bad for me as it is for the moths but it really did work.
Anyway, the disaster gave me the opportunity to try out a mending technique I learned from a needlecraft magazine a few years back. Rather than darn the hole, I used the Swiss darning method that copies the knitted stitch. Since it was only a tiny hole it wasn't difficult and I'm really pleased with the result. You can see the mend but it doesn't scream at you as a darn might.
It looks as though it might be time to dig out the pattern book and knit a replacement. I suppose thirty years is pretty good going for a cardigan.
If I can find the instructions for the mend I'll show them to you in case you would like to try it out.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just dropping in

My friend Joe, the woodworker, gently reminded me, a couple of days ago, that I have been neglecting my blog. Of course, he's right, there has been a deafening silence from my corner of the world. Yes, I am still knitting like mad, sometimes doing a bit of crochet and woodwork, but you know how life happens while you're making other plans - well life has taken over and I'm running to catch up. I know there are lots of you out there who have discovered that having a partner who is not well takes up most of your waking thoughts, and now I have joined you. The man of the house is to have an overnight stay in hospital soon, although we don't know when, and we are sort of marking time waiting for that to happen. He has medication to help but we must take things quietly for a while.
That said, life is not gloomy, we are still enjoying a lot of laughs and non-strenuous exercise in our lovely winter sunshine.
A question from a little girl in the supermarket yesterday, to her mother, kept me smiling for ages. "Mum, is it posssible to chew up a chain & spit out nails?" Mum continued unpacking her trolly and made some non-committal answer, while I had a quiet giggle. I'd forgotten that kids ask such wonderful questions.
Anyway, before I go I'll just show you Joe's latest woodwork effort. It's a collection of oddly shaped little blocks that fit together to make one cube. Joe tells me that it can be put together 240 different ways although he has only discovered one. Joe hasn't been well lately either. I'm thinking of you Joe and sending my best wishes.
To the rest of you out there, I hope you're feeling on top of the world
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Op-Shop Perils.

I found this cone of lovely stuff at our local op-shop. The picture doesn't show it but the yarn has a silky sheen with a slight slub to the texture. Greedy little me grabbed it and headed for the counter to pay for it, believing it to be acrylic - just what I wanted for the base colour of the crocheted blanket I'm working on. Sure the yarn is very fine but that's OK, I can use 3 or 4 strands together to get the thickness I want. What a surprise when I got it home and did the flame test. It certainly isn't acrylic and definitely not wool as it burns too enthusiastically, although it does burn to an ash that simply disappears leaving no residue at all. When I wound off several skeins and washed them the smell was not that of washed wool and they shrank. Curiouser and curiouser. Could it be linen? Maybe viscose? Surely not silk, the quantity is huge, weighing well over a kilogram. The odd thing is it is cold to the touch and doesn't get very warm at all so I won't be using it for a baby's blanket, especially as it is very flammable. Further experiment showed that the knitted swatch I tried, with 3 thicknesses of yarn, washed without further shrinkage and the fabric is lovely and soft. So all is not lost, it looks as though I will be treating myself to something lacey for Summer. This is actually the first time I've tripped up over an op-shop purchase. I've had some lovely bargains in the past and am still hopelessly addicted. I'll just have to go back until I find the yarn that I need for my baby's blanket won't I?
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blogger's Block

What to say when there's nothing to say? I suppose I'm not the only one to suffer from it. You know those times when there's so much going on in your life, but nothing that would be of any interest to anyone else. It's been like that for us of late - lots doing - gripping stuff even, but only to we who are caught up in it. In short, the man of the house has been struggling with ill health for months and continuous trips to a confusing number of specialists have proven only frustratingly un-enlightening. At last we know, and it is mendable, entailing a short stay in hospital, probably only overnight. In a couple of weeks he will, hopefully, be his old self again. It has been a long, anxious time for us and I am very grateful for this new turn of events.
Another reason to be grateful is shown in the pictures here. We have a friend who parks his caravan on our block as he has no room on his own. A couple of nights back we had some really violent winds overnight, so much so that the man and I dragged our bedding into the lounge to sleep as we feared that the very large Ash tree outside our bedroom window might fall victim to the elements. It didn't but one of the old cypress trees that border our property did and here is the result: To quote Maxwell Smart, "Missed it by that much." Despite the rather frightening sight we found when went out to survey the results of the storm, the caravan had only the tiniest dent from a branch no thicker than my wrist.
Scarier for me was watching Greg, the tree removal man, clambering around to clean up the remaining branches. I couldn't help but think, "I'm glad that's not my bloke up there." But Greg likes to do it and he does it well. Thanks Greg.
Winter solstice has passed. Warmer days on the way. How lovely.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Messy Monday.

This uninspiring, un-beautiful mess is where I spent most of my day today. When all those pieces of wood are sorted they will become kits for pencil cases. We at the woodworker's club have a program that we call 'Kits for Kids'. We cut out kits for, not only pencil cases, but breakfast trays and small tool boxes. This year we are adding shopping-list boards and mug trees as well. We drill holes for the nails so that the wood won't split, then sell the kits for a nominal fee (we're a not-for-profit club) to local organisations such as schools, church children's groups and sometimes to groups for the active elderly in retirement homes etc.
When we get 150 kits together, we will be off to the local Special School where, with the assistance of the teachers, we help the children there to make up the kits. The children that attend this school are intellectually challenged to varying degrees but they are able to weild a bottle of glue and whack a nail with a hammer and love doing so. When the job is finished they have something they can take home and present to their parents with great pride.
For me, having a child come to me, hugging his work to his chest, smiling as he thanks me for helping him and announcing "You're my best friend." is the highlight of my day and always leaves me with a rosy feeling.
I always remember to take my ear plugs with me cos its a really noisy time.
Must go now. I hope yours was a nice week-end.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


That's it. I can't take any more. These balls of yarn have been sitting there, taunting me for a couple of weeks. A friend gave me some of them and, inspired by their rainbow hues, I added a couple more to complete the rainbow spectrum. I love the bright colours and have yielded to their beckoning - one rainbow blanket coming up. Yes, they're acrylic, but the blanket is destined for the local welfare centre and mothers who may not have the facilities to enable them to wash pure wool with the care it needs. I will knit it in the garter stitch patchwork that I enjoy so much. Being something that I have done often, I can take it to knit in the car on long drives. Then I can knit without thinking about it while I enjoy the scenery. I have also started some crocheted granny squares with the leftovers from my last blanket. I don't know whether to call them WIPs or UFOs; a little bit of both, I think.
I can't believe we're almost halfway through the year already, can you?
Must go now. I'm still messing about with that newsletter and I've got to get it out this week.
Bye for now until next time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Old time sparkles.

With beading so popular today I thought you might like to see these necklaces from a craft article of 1928. This magazine is The Australian Woman's Mirror. from July 1928 and is interesting to compare with today's magazines. Apart from the lack of gossipy articles on who's sleeping with whom or pregnant to whomever else, the articles are pretty much the same as we have today. Lots of recipes, home hints, craft patterns and jokes, the instructions for making these two little necklaces are there too. That little one is a choker.
I really like beadwork, the blingier the better, with lots of sparkles etc. and have a shoe box of saved up beads waiting for me to turn them into something magnificent. Another one of those 'one-of-these-days' projects - sigh. Humans don't live for 200 years, that's my problem, because that's how long I'd need for all my 'one-of-these-days' projects.
Anyway, I have a newsletter to get out and here I am nattering on to you. Gotta go. Hope you are warmer than I am, it's freezing here today.
Bye for now until next time.