Monday, July 28, 2014


You guys, I found this awesome magazine this weekend! It was at our local newsagent, the one with the post office at the back. I always check the magazine rack for knitting mags whenever I go to the post office, and they have a sort of decent but mostly crappy selection. So I was really surprised the other day to find Pompom Mag, a knitting magazine from the UK which, the last time I checked, was only sold in one or two stores in the whole of Australia.

But there weren't any patterns in the most recent issue that I liked, so I didn't buy it. But this caught my eye:

At first, I thought it was another slightly wanky, self-important artsy magazine. But it came with a little 30-day journal and had an article on Pippi Longstocking, so I was intrigued. I decided to splurge the $15 for it, and I'm so glad I did! I love it! I'm considering buying a copy for everyone I know! It's from the Netherlands, and this is their international version. It's beautiful throughout, and intelligent and inspiring.

It's all about mindfulness. I think Becky and John have been trying to sell me on some version of mindfulness for years. A few weeks ago at the pub, my softball friend, Julia, was telling me about how she tries to live mindfully, and I very rudely rolled my eyes at her descriptions of what's involved. I taught her to knit a couple months ago, and she was describing how she tries to knit mindfully, and it just sounded...boring!

I've heard the phrase "mindfulness" a few times recently, but haven't really known what it was. I just thought it was trying to be a bit more thoughtful and aware. Apparently, it's a whole branch of psychology! Oxford offers a degree in it!

Anyhoo, this magazine has helped me to see the whole thing from a new perspective, and maybe I'll call Julia and beg her forgiveness and ask her to teach me more.

Monday, June 02, 2014

sick day

[Crap, I wrote this ages ago and meant to post it! It's from June.]

I'm taking a sick day today. I've got a bit of a sore throat, which I'm hoping doesn't become anything more than that! So I'm knitting, naturally. I currently have three projects going. That seems to be my average, and maybe explains why it takes me months to finish any one thing :-/

On Friday, I started a bralette using a 4-ply Fiberspates yarn that I bought in Hobart (Tasmania) last year. I'm still working on getting the sizing right, so I've just had to start over, but as I was doing so, our doorbell rang. I had a package!

A package from Izzi and Tim! A birthday package! (I checked the postage date, and Izzi and Tim had sent the parcel well in advance of my birthday. They're so thoughtful! Royal Mail and/or AusPost, however, decided to hold onto it for a little while, so today is almost three months to the day since Tisobel sent it. Lol!)

There was a cute little tea infuser inside, which I took as a hint that I should make myself a big pot of tea, and that has turned out to be a fantastic idea. I bought a tea infuser in Paris that had a little green Eiffel Tower at the end, but the Eiffel Tower came off during one of my many international moves, and we've just been using the infuser without a catcher-thingey, which does not work very well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

negative nancy strikes again

We had a big meeting today with the organisation that commissioned the big project I've been working on. It was their opportunity to comment on our first draft and provide feedback. They didn't have too much to critique, and the things they mentioned should be relatively easy to fix. They did say that they'll give themselves two weeks to really go through it and make notes of all their concerns. So I came out of the meeting terrified. My boss's boss came out of the meeting really positive and upbeat about it. I had to take a coffee and muffin break this afternoon to clear my brain and figure out why I was being so negative!

I know it's no surprise to any of you that I'm a pessimist. Part of my negative feelings relating to this meeting have to do with my own insecurities about the quality and completeness of my work, and the worry that any minute now, someone is going to point out huge flaws in it. I realised that I was assuming this was an iceberg situation: the feedback they gave in the meeting today was just them scratching the surface of the tip of an iceberg. They were just being polite, surely! Two weeks from now, I'll receive pages and pages of comments and the whole bloody thing will need a complete overall!

My boss's boss, on the other hand, heard their few criticisms and assumed it was the worst they could possibly muster. As far as he's concerned, if that's the worse, then we're doing great! They failed to congratulate us on what an awesome job we did, but if they didn't come right out and say, "The document you have submitted is a massive disappointment and not what we were hoping for at all," then they must be relatively happy with it, right?

Yes. Yes, I think so. I need to go home, look at myself in the bathroom mirror, and remind myself that I'm awesome.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

busy bees

We have been busy little bees lately!

My boss and I turned in a big project last week (55 pages in Word and nearly 200 Excel tables and figures). It's a big relief to have it completed, and now I'm coasting a bit until we get feedback on it ;-D

I haven't finished any knitting projects lately, although my grey sparkly sweater isn't far off done.

Hugh and I are *hoping* to book tickets for the UK soon! We want to go in September for a distillers conference and to catch up with good old friends with whom I have been a bit crap about keeping up. (nudge nudge, Tisobel)

This is from a couple weeks ago when we took a couple friends to the Yarra Valley for wine and cheese. They are hand-painted paper flowers. Lovely!

This place serves milkshakes and nachos and hot dogs with toppings. We've been there a few times, and I never noticed this sign before!

We went to a Eurovision party! Despite living in the UK for three years, I had never watched Eurovision. The Aussies are crazy for it, though! It was good fun. The hosts didn't ask us to dress up, but Eurovision is all about the glitz and glam, right? I couldn't pass up an opportunity to wear head-to-toe sparkles!

This weekend was kinda big. I took the day off Friday, got my hair done (I don't like it ��) then met Hugh and his coworkers on a pub crawl. They started at noon. �� So by 8:30, I was struggling to stay awake! On Saturday, there was another beer and whiskey event (it was Good Beer Week), where I had a very small serve of Scotch ale, which I nursed for about two and a half hours. Sunday was softball, then dinner and dessert with James and Emma. They took us to The Lab, which serves gelato made (somehow) with liquid nitrogen. Hugh and others are a bit concerned about the lack of protective gear and the fact that the place has two huge liquid nitrogen tanks sitting right there between the bar and the customers. When I worked in a lab, we had to wear full face masks and heavy duty gloves when handling liquid N2. Ho hum! In the end, the gelato was pretty gelato-y. It's all about the spectacle, isn't it?

Friday, May 02, 2014

birthday wool

Hugh had to go to Adelaide for work two weeks ago. Since we were planning to spend Easter there as well, he decided to drive to Adelaide and stay there until James, Emma, and I flew over. Then we all drove back together. So I had to spend a week and a half without my man! Eep! It was hard. I really like being around him!

Anyway, Hugh picked us up from the airport first thing Friday morning. His parents were staying at their vacation home so that we could have the house, but his dad stuck around in town long enough to say "hello" and to give me a birthday present. What a sweetie! And guess what? It was a huge lot of gorgeous wool! What a triple sweetie! (There were five balls in total.)

It's hand-spun and hand-dyed wool from the Handspinners and Weavers Guild of South Australia. I'm not sure yet what I'll make with it. It's a bit on the stiff and scratchy side, so wouldn't be ideal for a sweater, but I'm thinking maybe a vest? Like this one from Brooklyn Tweed, called Huxley? Or maybe a shawl. Dunno.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

wish I was a mermaid

I really really want a pair of these. Then I can really be a mermaid! No matter that I get freaked out holding my breath underwater (I think it must be an asthma thing).

Also, I have a new mermaid phone case :-D I've been eyeing it up for months, and it finally went on sale. (I'm sorry, but $20 for a plastic phone cover? No, thank you. $8.46 is much more reasonable.)

She has a tiny star for a nipple! Love it!

Oh, and I bought most of the new mermaid range from kikki.K. Everyone's mermaids at the moment!

Monday, April 28, 2014

fire in the night scarf

Another sunny day, another distillery photoshoot.

I finished the very soft, very long scarf for Hugh on Saturday night, wove in the ends Sunday morning, and then dragged him out of the apartment to pose for pictures in it!

There were several grumpy faces before he finally smiled. Then there were some more grumpy faces, lol! He's so cute when he tries to be grumpy!

Hugh has been begging me for a Doctor Who-length scarf for ages. I keep buying him really pretty, really expensive wool to make a scarf, and then the scarf ends up too short because I can't afford to buy much. Hugh bought me this wool in Seattle, when he was exploring Capitol Hill one day on his own. It turned out to be the perfect amount for a nice long scarf! It's three skeins of Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky Paints, which I assume he spent a fairly significant amount of money on! It's soooo soft and wonderful.

I used the Cinder scarf pattern from Brooklyn Tweed (they have THE MOST BEAUTIFUL knitting patterns you will see ANYWHERE.) I modified the pattern, though, cutting the number of stitches in half because my wool was pretty chunky and it would have been a much wider and shorter scarf. This had the effect of making the cables much more subtle, just curvy bumps along the way, which I really love in the end. I think it was defos the right choice.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

finished object: silky salmon hat

You know that GORGEOUS silky, soft, salmony wool that Becky sent me? I made it into a hat. It is now autumn down under, and the weather has been getting a bit cooler. I've been bundling up in the mornings (especially since I leave the house before 7am) and this hat has come in very handy.

So has my new Zara puffy vest (with hood and faux-fur collar!), which is my new most favorite possession!

Guess which talented looker made this sign for his work?

Selfies in the car (Hugh was begging me to stop):

Practicing my Blue Steel:

Friday, April 25, 2014

what I'm doing right now

Right now, I am knitting a scarf and catching up on other people's (crafty) blogs.

This is the scarf, though it is now much longer. It is very soft. It will be for my handsome and stylish boyfriend.

That's all I wanted to say. Plenty has been going on lately, but I find it overwhelming to sit down and write about the events of the weekend, etc. This weekend was a particularly big one!

Here in Australia, they do Easter right. You get the day off on Friday, then technically Easter Sunday is a public holiday, too, but because it's a Sunday, and most people don't work anyway, they have to give you the public holiday another day. So you get Monday off as well, a four-day weekend. But for some reason, the universities here give you Tuesday off, too, so I had a five-day weekend!

But's that not all. Easter just so happened to fall this year on the weekend before ANZAC day, which is a day where Australians commemorate the soldiers (known as the Anzacs, or Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), who have fought for their country over the years. It particularly marks the day in 1915 when Australian and New Zealand forces landed in Gallipoli. Australia had not been a sovereign nation for long, and this was the first time Australian soldiers fought in battle as Australians. Many died in the 8-month Battle of Gallipoli, and the young (and vastly unpopulated) nation of Australia felt their loss dearly.

Anyway, all that to say that tomorrow is ANZAC day, a holiday, which means I went to work all of two days this week. A five-day weekend followed by a three-day weekend. And it's good, because I need the three-day weekend to recover from the five-day weekend!

We went to Adelaide for Easter weekend with our friends, James and Emma, and there was lots of wine-tasting, a couple very large sausages, and a rather disturbing incident involving a drunken (and possibly high) cyclist knocking herself unconscious on the side of the road in front of us. Fun times!

That's me, "bitey and an intense, long-lasting sweetness."

Monday, March 31, 2014

my handsome haberdasher

One day, we went to the local craft superstore to get some jeans fabric to patch up Hugh's favorite pair of jeans, which were going a bit see-through in the crotchal region. He bought half a metre, which was way more than he needed, so after he patched up his jeans, he decided to make a skirt. Two hours later, I had a new wrap skirt! How crazy is that? How did I land myself such a talented man?

He didn't use a pattern or anything. He just winged it. And it's not a simple rectangle of fabric, wrapped around my waist. It has shaping and detailing and a hole to thread the side-tie through! I love it.