Time flies when you're knitting!

Gosh where does time go?  I've hardly been here at all over the last couple of weeks although I've thought about blogging approximately 10 times a day, give or take! There always seems to be loads of things to blog about but either I have no appropriate photos, no photos at all or 100 photos of Mack (the dog!) and as much as I love him, this is not his blog! 

So in the spirit of giving myself a bit of a kickstart, here are a few pictures I've taken over the last couple of weeks on Instagram

The first is a cute little hat that I knitted (I doubt you're counting but that means I'm three quarters of the way through completing 4 knitted projects this year!)  

This pattern is from the Tegan Baby Hat on Ravelry.  I made it to the size 6 - 12 months and as I have no idea how big a baby's head usually is, I just had to trust it was within the right sort of size.  I tried it on my niece who is 15 months and it fitter her perfectly, so I think I may be a bit of a 'loose knitter' if that's the correct terminology.  This was a 4 needle project which was rather brave for me, all things considered, but other than being a bit tricky to handle and my stitches falling off the needles a few times, it was manageable.

Then I thought I'd have a go at this project that has been calling to me for a while

Hmmm, well after feeling mostly confident with the hat, I thought these would be a nice next step on my knitting ladder.  So I made one glove (with a few mistakes) and swiftly unraveled it without taking a picture.  I'm not sure whether the person who made this pattern has exceptionally tiny hands or whether they are meant for children, but truly the glove I made was absolutely tiny.   And I thought I was a loose knitter.  Oh well this knitting malarkey is obviously a lot more difficult than my last 3 projects have led me to believe.  But I will conquer these gloves, they just may be in an assortment of sizes! 

So other than knitting, I have also been to a couple of op shops just lately and have found some scrumptious goodies.  This crochet pattern is just gorgeous. 

I wonder whether the shape forms automatically when the zig zags are sewn together.  This has gone on my 'to make one day' list.

I also couldn't resist this cute little basket.  It's one of those ones from the 70s or there abouts with a wooden bottom.  It is in perfect condition.

And there was an obligatory trip to the beach, of course.  I went in search of some Saltwater Sandals to Barwon Heads and found a bit of coastline I'd never been to before.  It was one of those days where I was just totally astounded by the beauty of the beach and could have stayed there forever.

I'm not sure why but the tide seems to be out a lot further at the moment at the beaches I've been to.  Even at high tide there is still sand to walk on at my usual beach.  I wonder whether the tides change with the seasons as well as daily?  

This beach looked like the land that time forgot

I rolled up my trousers and got in amongst the rock pools.  It was blissful.

My treasures don't look all that exciting compared to what I usually find.  There are always plenty of cuttlefish bones on the beaches around here and I really love the pink seaweed and the little coil shells.

And so between knitting, op shopping and beach dwelling I have been doing the normal stuff, of which there are no photos. Other than those of the salads I've been making for myself.  I have found quinoa just recently and I really like it.  I cook it with a sprig of rosemary and it tastes just lovely!

And to end.....

There's a pic of Mack in his favourite position.   "Is Inspector Rex on yet"?
That dog has the life of Riley!

Hope you're well and keeping warm in the snow and cool in the sun.
I'm off to have a look at my favourite blogs now, I've missed them and look forward to having a look see at what has been going!

Jo x


The week that was

'The week that was' was indeed a busy week.  It was the week where I visited family, where I turned another year older and where I did some good things for myself. 

Warning! This post is rather picture heavy!

I had intended to try out a new Sri Lankan restaurant for my birthday dinner, but found that it was closed until February.  So instead I chose to go for a picnic at the beach, to watch the sunset and listen to the waves

I bought some nicely prepared food from a cafe, packed up the picnic basket and ate out of tiffin boxes I bought back from a trip to India.

It was quite a windy evening so the picnic rug stayed in the car and so did we mostly!  With the window open I could hear the sound of the waves rolling in and I sat with my eyes closed for a little while just drinking it in, trying to slot that sound into my memory bank.

This was the view from where I sat

And this was the beach.  We ventured out for all of about 15 minutes before we raced back up the steps to get out of the wind.

And this is a rather bedraggled picture of me.  I had a wrestle with the hair brush after that wind had whipped my hair around, I can tell you!

Earlier in the day, I met my friend from work and we went for a pedicure; the first of my four for 2013.
It's a bit of an indulgent luxury but a birthday is a perfect excuse for both indulgence and luxury if ever there was one.

  So with baby soft feet, a tummy filled with yummy food and the sound of the waves rolling in, I turned a year older.
It was a most lovely way to spend my birthday! 

Also recently I was very kindly give a Leibster award from Jo over at Binds you to Me.
Thanks Jo, I look forward to answering your questions and getting round to passing the award on.

Hope you're keeping cool in the heat or warm in the snow, depending on where you are on the globe!

Jo x


Getting all your ducks in a line

Someone asked me the other day if I'd ever heard of the saying 'getting all your ducks in a line'.  I said I hadn't and they asked me what I thought it might mean.  After a moment's ponder I suggested that perhaps it was something to do with having your ducks in a line so you could shoot them more easily?  Savage that I am!

They said 'no' in as diplomatic way as they could and gave me what they consider to be the 'official' meaning of the term by posing this next question   "what does a mother duck do to get her baby ducklings in a line?" Well she just starts walking and her ducklings follow her, she gets her butt into gear and those little ducklings just tag along, she doesn't faff around them trying to get them to line up perfectly because she knows it's an impossibility, she just moves and they move too!

This may all be sounding rather cryptic but the bottom line is it struck rather a loud chord with me.  I can tend to be a bit of a procrastinator at times, I tend to want my ducks to be perfectly in line before I get going and I really don't like that in myself.  I'd much rather be a do-er than a gonna; it's far better for my self esteem.  And so the story of the mother duck who doesn't stand around waiting for all her little ducklings to get in line before setting out on her trip, but instead just goes anyway, well I want to be a bit more like her. 

I found these little stones on the beach a couple of days after I'd heard the saying and they reminded me of the sets of flying ducks you get; the type Hilda Ogden had on her walls in Coronation Street about 25 years ago and that have recently come back in fashion.

You may have to squint and look through your eyelashes to see anything that remotely resembles a flying duck but they are unusual stones none the less.

Happy Monday
Jo x


Knitting with hot hands. A solution to squeaky needles!

It seems like forever ago that I've been here.  Perhaps the fact that I've been so keen to pop in and share my progress with my knitting and have been called to give my attention to umpteen other things has made time pass more slowly between posts.

Anyway, here I am.  I am feeling a bit pleased with myself.  For you see I have made not one but two, yes two knitted items already this year!  Granted they are only tiny but they are knitted and they are complete! 

The first of these is the Puerperium cardigan from Ravelry.  This link  should take you to the Ravelry page but you will more than likely have to register (all free) to access the pattern.  If the link doesn't work just google 'Puerperium Cardigan' to find it.

The second of my finished projects (which was actually my first project) is the Pebble Vest from The Thrifty Knitter.  I saw this vest on Soulemama's blog a while ago and thought it looked like it might possibly be an achievable first project for me. 
These projects may be tiny but they were a really exciting way of re-learning and practicing my knitting skills.  I made sure I picked a nice wool yarn in a colour I loved so that the whole process would be as enjoyable as I could make it. The cardigan involved using double pointed needles (which was totally new to me) and picking up stitches.  The vest required me to learn how to do the kitchener stitch and to make button holes.  I can see on the vest where my tension changed when I had a break and came back to my knitting but it wasn't so obvious on the cardigan.

One of the reasons I've never been a keen knitter is that I have hot hands that get clammy at times, especially in hot weather, when I'm handling yarn and when I'm stressing over getting a pattern right.  And hot clammy hands make metal knitting needles squeak like heck and make your work stick.  Eughh!  This has often meant that I've had to try various methods of drying my hands, none of which really solved the issue and the more I fret about it the more my hands get sweaty and the problem gets even worse.  It makes knitting a real chore for me and there have been many a none completed item due to 'the hands issue'.  So that is why I have never really got into knitting - it was just too much of an effort.  
So when I was making the vest, I got trough a fair bit of it before the 'hands issue' started making my needles squeak, setting my teeth on edge and making my hands even more clammier and I wondered whether I might need to put down the pins until Winter arrived.  But then I thought about how when I use a bamboo crochet hook I never have any issues and I wondered to myself whether bamboo knitting needles existed.  Hmmmm ...  So off I zoomed to Spotlight and invested in a pair of 4mm bamboo beauties.  And guess what?  They made the clammy hands issue an non-issue!  Hooray!

I was just so happy that I was able to solve the 'hands issue' and feel that I can no longer tell myself that I am a hopeless knitter.  I also have no excuses not to knit now, which is excellent.  It has been like learning to read; I feel like a whole new world of possibilities has opened up to me.

And what's more I'm raring to go again and get another project on the go. 


Thirty fabulous fun goals for 2013

I came across a new blog yesterday after following a 'like' on Instagram and found myself at Sophie's lovely blog: her library adventures.

Sophie has written a lovely post labelled thirty fabulous fun goals for 2013 and I felt so inspired by her list of lovely ideas, that I decided I'd like to have a go at making a list of my own.  I have always been a planner; I love the feeling of excitement that comes with anticipating something you want to do, of thinking about it in detail and of writing it down.  The idea of planning a year full of fun things is right up my alley.

Here are my 30 fabulous fun goals for 2013:

  1. Improve my knitting skills and complete four knitted pieces
  2.  Make some squashy, heavy cushions using some of my fabric stash as the stuffing
  3. Make some cushion covers for my sofa using pompom trim
  4. Have a giveaway on my blog
  5. Try some different teas in the attempt to find one I like
  6. Go camping at least once
  7. Make a 'manly' sleep mask for Ade
  8. Have a green smoothie at least twice a week
  9. Buy organic groceries more often
  10. Cycle more regularly... Remember 'no bike trip is too short'
  11. Set up a meditation space in my home
  12. Make myself a money wallet to assist with budgeting .... something like these
  13. Make some monthly mood boards
  14. Learn how to hula hoop - get that hoop to stay up!
  15. Make myself a couple of tunic tops in vintage fabric ... something like this one
  16. Experiment with my hair and make up a bit more
  17. Incorporate the moon cycles more into my life .... Inspiration from a fave blogger
  18. Use incense every day
  19. Treat myself to 4 pedicures in the year
  20. Find a resource to learn some conversational Japanese!
  21. Have a  monthly 'do absolutely nothing day'
  22. Have a mini holiday in Byron Bay or Burleigh Heads
  23. Have dinner out with my dear friend Hen at least 9 times this year
  24. Watch sunsets at the beach 
  25. Spend a day making skin care products and candles with my Mom
  26. Go bush walking in the Otways
  27. Have a go at making myself a bra :)
  28. Spend some time in quiet every day
  29. Have a go at making some altered art
  30. Go for beach picnics with Ade
Wow!  Surprisingly enough it wasn't all that difficult to think of 30 things I want to do.  I know some of these things are pretty big, whilst others are things I already do and just wanted to remind myself to keep doing them.  
I'll be printing this list off and putting a couple of copies around the house; one on the fridge and one in my craft space.
I look forward to sharing my progress here on my blog over the coming year.
(I've already got one thing I'm keen to share; I'll be back with that over the weekend)

Hope you're enjoying your Friday

Jo x


Looking Forward

It's 2013 and I have a feeling this year is going to be the best!

To see the New Year in we shared a BBQ with my Mom and Step-Dad, played card games and Scategories, then drove to the Waterfront to see the fireworks and to share in the city celebrations and went to bed 6 hours ago.

And now, whilst everyone still sleeps, I am wide awake with a head full of the plans for this year.  Plans that I've been pondering over the last few days and longer

Here are my hopes, goals and dreams for 2013
  • Be kinder to myself
  • Get a job that I love
  • Make soaps 
  • Experiment with making skin care products 
  • Develop regular spiritual practices
  • Focus on healthy living
  • Try Nia dance
  • Something a tad too personal to share right here!

I hope your 2013 is your best yet and that it brings for you all that you wish.

Jo x

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