Friday, February 27, 2009

I can’t sleep for all the bright lights of this cheap hotel

Carnival Clowns, originally uploaded by marty_pinker.

I finally made it to Friday evening. I can hardly believe it. Work has been so unbelievably busy and stressful. This afternoon I managed to leave early for a massage appointment, and my therapist, for the second time in a month, looked like she was about to write my resignation letter for me. And then she spent the next hour kneading out the stress lumps and knots in my back and jaw.

Even though work is over for another week I'm already thinking about what time I'll start on Monday morning.

This is nuts.

In order to relax after my massage, I tried sitting on the couch and doing nothing. It's hard doing nothing when your brain is tick-tick-ticking constantly. Three loads of washing and a cooked dinner later, I'm now flicking through my craft books to work out which project will be first in my challenge (already a week late). I want to start so much, but I'm stuck. I don't know what I want to make. I don't know what I want to finish.


The Royal Canberra Show is on this weekend. I wasn't going to go, but then someone made me an offer I couldn't refuse. And I think together we are going to have an absolute blast. I want to look at the crochet and quilting sections in the craft pavilion, at the food and flowers and fruit and vegetable displays, and at the sheep and alpacas. And I want to challenge my friend to a game of clowns. And then maybe we'll have a dagwood dog and try not to throw up on the walk home!

But before all that happens I have 64 laps to swim and dinner to cook for our usual Party of Six on Saturday night. One of the party is only five days away from her due date, and we've been warned to have towels and boiling water on hand.

(I hope the homemade raspberry icecream I made doesn't send her into labour.)


I'm really going to enjoy my weekend - I can already feel it. I'm going to have fun with my friends and swim my stress away and forget about nasty stuff and horrid people and the economic crisis for two whole days...

Yep! Forgotten! Bring on the fun times!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

To a land where joy shall never end

Georgia's diorama

Last weekend I went to Melbourne to eat cupcakes and macaroons.

Paul's amazing macaroons

More cupcakes

And play with dolls.

Redheaded kenner

A mass of Blythes

A wonderful day was had in Spotswood with all my Blythe friends. We played and laughed and ate and ate (and ate) and became friends in real life, even though I had only met one of them before. Putting faces to forum names, and therefore faces to the owners of much-photographed and admired dolls was rather special. Accidentally meeting the gorgeous Liz from
Lino Forest was just as fabulous!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Given that crochet content (any content, for that matter) has been seriously lacking on the blog this year, I'm going to make up for it by showing you two finished objects, both entered into the Canberra Show this year, and both products of this year's stash reduction exercise.

Chevron lace cardigan

Pattern: Chevron Lace Cardigan (Ravelry link) by Milobo

Yarn: Naturally Me DK (80% merino 20% cashmere) in what I called "Catholic Schoolgirl Green". It's exactly the colour of the uniform of St Joseph's in Mundingburra, Townsville, circa 1975. (I went to Mundingburra State School right next door.)

Hook: 6.5 mm bamboo

Timeframe: January 12 - February 14. There was a good two week period where I couldn't touch it due to it being too hot to crochet.

Modifications: This is a top-down cardigan, so I added only one extra row to the sleeves, five rows of single crochet on the lapels, and four (perfectly matched) green vintage buttons. I'll probably only wear three done up.

Notes: This cardigan used about 7 1/2 balls of yarn, a miracle for any big-girl crocheted item, in my opinion. The Naturally Me yarn is the softest and most luxurious yarn I've ever used, and the fact that this cardigan only cost me $16 due to a Cassidy's sale over a year ago is an added bonus. I think this cardigan will get a lot of wear. I can't wait to get it back from the show on Monday morning - I'll be wearing it to work that day, for sure.

Around the Rosy baby blanket

Pattern: Around the Rosy baby blanket by Woodhill Design

Yarn: Patons Totem 8 ply in a guacamole colour. I think I used 9 or 10 balls. I forgot to count.

Hook: I think it was a 5 mm bamboo. Again with the forgetting.

Timeframe: December 26 - January 11. I crocheted and ripped the outer popcorn stitch about 3 times, as I kept coming across mistakes than I just couldn't live with. Otherwise I probably could have finished it on January 1st.

Modifications: Significantly less rows than the pattern stated - as the blanket was being made in wool, and it's for a real baby, it was getting too heavy to make any bigger.

Notes: I made this blanket for our friends who are having their first baby in a couple of weeks. The father was Mr QM's ex housemate and one of the witnesses at our marriage, and they are both fantastic friends to us - kind, loving and very, very giving. They don't know what the sex of the baby is, and I had 17 balls of this colour in the stash and figured it was a nice unisex colour to make a blanket in. Once I retrieve it from the show, I'll wash it, reblock it and present it to them.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

We tried to find some words to aid in the decay

Well, my break was a lot longer than I expected. I was very sure I wasn't going to come back, if I'm to tell you the truth. But I'm here now (and I'm still wondering why) and I'm ready to start sprinkling positive crafty love back over the blogosphere (isn't blogosphere the coolest word?).

As I'm struggling to get my head together these days, here's a brief list of goings-on.

* Last week I bought some craft books from Book Depository. And then in Sydney on the weekend I bought a lot more craft (and non-craft) books. And oh boy. I already have A LOT of craft books. My addiction to pretty craft books is an illness.

Craft books

(This is only part of it)

Sometimes I think it would be easier if I could keep to one craft. Like quilting. So not only is my fabric/yarn/thread/dressmaking patterns stash enormous, but my book collection is too.

So I've issued a challenge to myself. I want to make one thing from a different book each fortnight.

* After listening to a Craft Sanity podcast with Daniel Vosovic, I am now addicted to Project Runway. I watch it on YouTube any chance I get. If you sew clothes or are interested in fashion design and you haven't already discovered this show, you really must take a look.

* My house is currently half painted, the laundry has a waterfall appear everytime it rains heavily, but I am still a house-proud woman who loves to read about how others have designed, decorated and furnished their homes. So when Patricia and I were in the Kinokuniya interior design section on the weekend, looking for inspiration for her apartment, we came across an Apartment Therapy book. I love Apartment Therapy, even though they write 65,000 posts a day, (and I'm still very cross with them for using one of my photos without asking me permission or giving correct attribution), but this book is fantastic. I think it is going to become very well thumbed and I can see years of inspiration coming out of it. And *pssst* it was under $40.

This is part of my owl collection

* Let's hear it for Pip from Meet Me At Mike's! A couple of years ago I read about her stitching nights at her store in Melbourne, and I was so jealous that I didn't live close enough to go. And then last year Pip changed the format to Brown Owls, with an emphasis on the crafty and the nice. I signed up as a Faraway member, but the lack of job and income conspired against me visiting Melbourne for a meeting. But I loved reading about all their activities in Melbourne friends' blogs and it almost felt like I was there too.

Well blow me down if Pip didn't change the format again, with less formal Melbourne meets, and new interstate meets! I signed up again for another year immediately, and now there are a few of us here in Canberra and we are meeting very soon for some crafty action! I am so excited, even at my age, to have the opportunity to learn new things from other people, and most importantly to make new friends. Gosh, I sound like I'm 5 years old, don't I? But excited! I am! Hooray for Pip!

*(oh, and Pip has a book out soon, don't you know?)

* The vegetable garden is going great, I'm getting tired of salads, I'm making strawberry icecream every week with my own strawberries and I'm up to swimming 32 laps at the pool. I need to swim 32 laps - I'm eating way too much icecream.