Sunday, December 31, 2006

To-Dos and Not-To-Dos for 2007

This year, I thought I'd make things really easy for myself with my new year's resolutions. I'm going to make them SO simple to keep! I actually can't remember what my resolutions were for 2006, so I'm unable to reflect on how well I've achieved them. This year, however, I'm recording them right here on Blogger for the world to see.

1. Avoid gratuitous sex. This will be very easy, as ALL sex seems to be avoiding me, including the gratuitous kind. No difficulty in keeping this baby.

2. Cut back on alcohol consumption. No worries with this one. I only buy alcohol every couple of years, and most of that goes in the Christmas baking.

3. Stop buying books on Amazon. Ok, this is a tough one. My Evil Twin has been playing fast and loose with my credit card, and I think I have 4 shipments of books on their way to me at present (that's 8 books in total). However, I anticipate being financially stretched this year, as I am most likely going to give up my day job and revert to be a Starving Artist.

4. Which leads me to....Lose weight. Hah! I will probably only be able to afford to eat twice a day, so I should be able to drop a kilo or two. Or 10, which would be more helpful.

5. Exercise more. Again, I'll be too poor to afford petrol so I'll have to walk into town instead of driving.

There! That won't be too difficult, will it?

And for the totally unrelated photo, here's a lovely Rhodohypoxis in flower to brighten up the day of those shivering under winter snow.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I wanted to write a snappy title but my brain deserted me

Here's me with my daughter Sophie and son Cass. Today
was beautiful, the best weather we've had in the week since the kids have been here, but also the day they're leaving. It's a 3 hour drive each way to Christchurch airport.

The second photo is Sophie, Cass and Erlo, who is Sophie's partner. After Sophie graduates with her law degree at the end of 2007, she and Erlo plan to live in the UK for a couple of years, and Sophie will get admitted to the Bar over there.

WAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! My baby will be on the other side of the world! Of course, she wants me to go visit her while they're there, which will force me to do my OE (Overseas Experience) as I have been NOWHERE. Well, except as a wee baby which doesn't count. I don't like flying.

So all my blogger readers who live in the UK and Europe -I might be coming visiting in 2008! And of course, if any of you are coming to New Zealand, you're welcome to come stay with me - my guest room is always ready.
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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everyone

I hope all my blog readers have a safe and pleasant Christmas season. For those of other religions and/or nationalities, I hope your enjoy whatever festivities you have.

Here's the table set for breakfast this morning, before we had the croissants with ham and cheese. I might add that this is actually a working table, and seldom used for eating off , but with 4 of us here, we need to use it. The other table in the living room has sewing machines on it. Ah, the pleasures of living alone and only having yourself to please!

Blogger has decided to upgrade me, so this is my first post with New Blogger.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Do you have the alcohol gene? Because I never got one.

One of my Christmas cakes. I wanted a fairly modest Christmas, but with the kids in charge, we have excessive amounts of food plus they all drink quite a bit of beer, so there's a lot of that too. Sigh. I appear to be the only person I know who doesn't have the alcohol gene. I can be perfectly silly without a drink.
For the creative content - I made these 2 chemo caps whil at the lyttelton Quilt Show last month. Sophie thought she'd like one (not that she has lost her hair)... I'm making this chestnut brown one for her. Very plain.
And I'm still working on The Virgin Socks. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 22, 2006

"Tis the Season..... dress your animals up in silly hats. Cressy is very patient.
And the Christmas tree lights look like they're swirling across the room. Just the slow exposure as I took the photo. The house is too small for the tree to go on the floor, so it's on the sewing table. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 21, 2006

If you don't look at the weeds, the garden is looking wonderful

It's only been a year since I planted most things in my very-neglected garden. This bit by the garden shed was (and still is) a herb garden - you can just see some parsly on the right, plus berry plants on the left. However, I'm doing combination gardening these days - planting flowers and vegetables together where it suits me to do so. I just liked the look of this little rose (climber Bantry Bay, won't always be little) and the delphinium.

The family and I arrived home after midnight so the kids are still all asleep. The weather is pretty cool for this time of year - in fact, it was predicted that there was more likelihood of a white Christmas in Canterbury (where I picked the kids up from the plane) than in London or Japan, due to the unseasonably warm winter in the Northern hemisphere and the rotten cold start to our summer. Oh well, can't control the weather so no sense in stressing! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Preserved for posterity

Feast your jaded almost-Christmas eyes on these scenes, as they may never be repeated. Hard to believe, but these are "after" shots. My second bedroom is also my stock room. And store room. And spare bedroom. Usually anyone who needs to overflow from the guest room only stays with me for one night. But this time it's different. My daughter Sophie and her partner Erlo and my son Cass will be coming down on Wednesday for 8 days. Hooray! Last Christmas I was all alone. For the first time in my life, I had no family around me at Christmas. I hadn't long moved here and I was still busy getting organised, so I really didn't mind though it felt strange, as usually other family members came to us at Christmas. But that was before I was so far away.
The usual complete mess in the stock room had to be sorted. Be thankful there are no "before" shots - you can see how much stuff is crammed into this room! This is a small house, originally a 4 room stone cottage, and it's over 100 years old. Cass will be sleeping here, and while boys (ok, he's 25 but still a boy to me) don't care too much about their surroundings (Cass slept for a while as a teenager in a converted woodshed at the back of the carport, because it was nice and dark and he could sleep in), the room was long overdue for a clean and sort. All the junk I've sorted out is going into the skip I'm having delivered tomorrow (a big metal bin for rubbish, for those unfamiliar with the term, that's dropped off by a truck and collected when you've filled it - this one holds 7.5 cubic metres of waste, and I have it for 10 days) and Cass has offered to help fill it with garden waste and the like, which I have a lot of on the property. I've also been ruthless in my bedroom, and the living room too. Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas cactus - and a question

My Christmas cactus is looking great. This plant has travelled around with me from Rotorua in the North Island to Lyttelton and now to Oamaru. It lives outside all year round through frosts and snow (Lyttelton had occasional snow, but none here - rats!).

I am still wrestling with my sock - I knitted right up to the end of turning the heel, then decided that it was too large so I frogged it right back to the ribbing and reduced the number of stitches.

I'm also wrestling with plans for my business for 2007. I know what I want to do, but I'm frustrated by lack of capital (nothing new there) and also how to actually achieve what I want to do. I'm trying to find a source of yarn, but can't get woollen mills to respond to my enquiries.
I have contacted one mill 4 times now, by phone AND email, over the past 5 weeks, and had just 1 email in return. No apologies for the delay in responding either. I told them I wanted to buy so they knew I wasn't just tyre-kicking - how do these people do business?

I always reply within 24 hours to my prospective customers this is by no means common when I'm trying to get an answer from another business. This leads me to my question -if you email a business for information on their products or services, how quickly do you expect a response? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

And this is the sun....

....rising in a very easterly position at this time of year, over Cape Wanbrow, the scene of the Great Broken Ankle Adventure 11 months ago. Posted by Picasa

Morning Moon Over Oamaru

This was taken at 5.30am (yes, I'm a lark, and at this time of year, I sleep with all the curtains and blinds open). It's hard to capture the moon looking as good as it does in real life, and this is half a moon.

To answer Ali's question from the last post, yes, I've moved on. Hugely. I am wrestling with moving creatively in a whole new direction. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What I used to do

Back in the Olden Days (ie the middle of last year), I made this row-by-row quilt as part of a group project with the Lyttelton Quilters. My blocks are the appliqued teacups. I don't make anything like this anymore, so this is of historical interest now. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

No patience

Walking before I run is a fairly unusual concept for me. I normally jump in boots and all, with much confidence about my own ability. However, I've realised that knitting plain socks first might be a good idea, before racing into complex fair Isle ones. So here's my new sock just being born on probably the right sized needles.

I know that most of my readers are in the northern hemisphere, while here in New Zealand we always have Christmas in summer. My childhood memories are of taking a picnic to the beach and playing in the sun at Christmas. While the weather isn't always kind (the best weather is in February/March these days, it seems), I've never experienced a white Christmas - but we still send each other Chrissy cards covered with snow and showing blazing fires with stockings hanging beside them. Crazy, eh? I'll post some shots of our Christmas weather when the day arrives, just to warm up the northern readers. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Getting smaller

Thanks to all of those bloggers who left comments about the Round Robin fabric. Perhaps I was being too hard on myself - like artists never do THAT.

I've decided to frog the Fair Isle sock and redo it. I have a problem with overabundant size when knitting socks, which is probably why I've never managed to knit a whole pair. Of course, it might have something to do with never checking the gauge, but I blame my tiny supply of DPNs and the fact that I always decide to knit something at a time when shops are closed. I've actually bought some smaller ones so now that I've mastered the intricacies of turning the heel, I'm going to redo the sock. Fair Isle is tricky to knit (that's why I started with it! beginners don't need to do EASY stuff!) to get the size right as there's little stretch in it.

Maybe I could force myself to do a more straighforward pair FIRST?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Comments, puh-leese!

I've talked before about the international Round Robin I'm doing. This fabric was dyed by the first person, then the second person put a resist over it and painted it with black in the cracks. I have stamped it with metallic paints using a sun stamp, then hand-painted green squiggles and black arches and some more black shading. Now it looks to me like a floral print with frigging daisies on it, which is NOT what I intended. (Actually I had no intentions at all, I just go with the flow when I have a paintbrush in my hand. )

The big question is : have I improved it? Does it look like an interesting piece of complex cloth? (OK, that's 2 questions). Or like something you'd get at the Bargain Bin at the local quilt shop? (OK, OK, that's 3!!!). Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Remember this skein, from the wool dyeing tutorial? It's pretty bright, with the lime green, mid-green, turquoise and gold combination. I think I called it rather garish at the time.
Now here it is, in combination with another hand-dyed skein in blues, rapidly becoming a sock. Looks different now, doesn't it? This is so much fun to knit that I may even get to finish BOTH socks this time! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Full Frontal Nudity

Cressy (above) and Frodo (below)
Yes, the poodles have finally been clipped. It's been over a year since their last professional clip, so their coats were pretty knotted, hence the close crop. BTW, they don't normally wear bows in their hair. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 27, 2006

Working Weekend

I spent the weekend having a stand at the Lyttelton Quilt Show. It was lovely to catch up with my friends from the quilting group there, as I don't belong to the local club. It's a tiny group, only around 10 members. Here's some photos. That's the club sales table in the middle of the room.

And there's my rather out-of-focus stall. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

No, really, I AM still a fiber artist

I know I haven't exactly DONE anything in fiber lately...ok, for months....but I swear I haven't actually given it up. I've been asked to send details of what I'm going to bring to the Tutors' Display at the National Quilting Symposium in January. This is rather embarassing, as the work is not actually FINISHED yet. However, I don't let little details like that stop me. I am going to show this diptych, entitled Otago 1 and Otago 2. Otago 1 (above) is made in vibrant hand-dyes, and represents the past of the region. The appliqued shapes are all black, and show extinct or legendary creatures.
Otago 2 is in more muted painted fabrics, and the appliques are native birds and animals which are found in this, my adopted region. The pieces will be hung side-by-side. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 20, 2006

Southern sunset

At the southern latitude where I now live, the sun sets late in summer. Regrettably, it rises late in winter to compensate. Although it's still only spring, this sunset photo was taken at 9pm. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Still More Random Fete Pix

I love the stilt walkers. This year, they had helpers.
The Pearly King and Queen. They told me they had featured in the tv show "Eastenders".
The local community constable, who had entered the Beard and Moustache Growing Contest. I think he won. Yes, his moustaches DO go all the way out past his shoulders. Posted by Picasa