Monday, October 19, 2009

A Stitch In Time..

It's been a big week around here. There's been knitting, there's been new additions to the household, and there's been cake of the birthday variety. Lots and lots of cake.
Wednesday of last week saw my wee boy, Master Mayhem, turn 4. He was such a tiny baby - 5lb 9oz when born, and even the 00000 size baby clothes swam on him. But so cute!
He was an IVF baby, and we tried for many years to get him. I remember saying when he was in the special care nursery when he was born that he was sooooo quiet. He almost never made a peep! I was assured that would change and it did. By the time we got him home, colic kicked in and he routinely screamed the house down every night from 9pm till 1am. We got that sorted out with the help of a chiropractor, and things were pretty good from then.
Until of course, he learned to roll. And then we got the first inkling of the daredevil within. He would roll at lightning speed around the house, getting himself wedged under coffee tables, entertainment units. I would go to the toilet and come back and he would be, just.. gone. I would have to search the whole house to find out where he had rolled to. It only got worse once he pulled himself up and started cruising the furniture! Then he got into the pantry, and the fridge, (and the cat) which was a sign of things to come.
Since then there has been numerous emergency room trips - the screw he got out of the kitchen cupboard hinges then deliberately swallowed - the faceplant into the fence outside that split his head open from eyebrow to eyebrow - the faceplant into the coffee table which cut open the underside of one eye. The measles. So far, no broken bones, touch wood.
However, he is a fiercely affectionate kid, who is only too happy to hand out kisses and cuddles, and who often tells us he loves us. (he tells the cat too, but thats besides the point) He's really creative, he loves music, and has impeccable manners 80% of the time, almost always using please and thankyou.
Like most kids he loves a good chocolate frog, 'pink milk!' (strawberry milk) and of course lollies, but his favourite food remains broccoli with cheese sauce, and he will knock over a hot jam donut faster than I can :p
Happy 4th Birthday my boy! (how'd you grow up so damn fast?)
Since I finished the Swallowtail for my sister, I had not knit anything. I felt a bit knitted out after the mammoth effort it required to finish in a short spanse of time. As often happens though, during the week, I had a moment where I HAD to knit, and it HAD to be handspun yarn. I have little fits like this sometimes. I had a skein of beautiful merino and seacell sitting here, in about a sportweight, in really subtle dark colours. I cast on a pair of mitts, and less than ten rows in, Mac proclaimed they were 'his'. I was dubious he would continue to like the colours as they were knit, but I was wrong. The seacell has knit into a really soft gorgeous fabric, and the sizing and colours suit him right down to the ground. They were a quick, and immensely satisfying knit.
Finally we have a new addition to our household. On Thursday I took a little drive and picked up she who has now been named 'Stitch'.
She is a 7 week old Jack Russell mix, cute as a button with a lovely nature :) She has made herself quite comfy in her new home, follows her chosen favourite (Master Mayhem) around everywhere he goes, and his adoration is certainly mutual. We are in the process of beginning to train her, but that said - she has most of us wrapped around her wee paw (particularly Mac - it's hard not to love someone who is smaller than your foot and has big brown eyes, huh?)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For Whom The Bell Tolls..

You know, I'd love to have a big cottage garden. A massive vegie patch out the back, filled with potatoes, plump carrots, brightly coloured capsicums, piles of tomatoes for eating straight, and making sauce. And elsewhere within the garden, fruit trees, laden with goodies, spring being heralded by massive shows of tulips, daffodils and irises pushing their way through the earth. Huge climbing vines of roses in loads of colours (particularly yellow), a big kitchen garden of herbs in every flavour, along with Lavender, pansies, gorgeous colour and flowers.

There are a couple of obstacles to this though, not the least of which is the fact that big mac is allergic to bees. You see, I have been living a double life. I am of course, me - music nut, knitter, spinner, sewer, food freak. But although I might try to hide it I also have quite the black thumb. One might go so far as to say that I am the botanical grim reaper.
Got a plant you want to die, quickly and horribly? Give it to me. Through over loving it, neglect, or plain stupidity I will manage to kill it in under a fortnight. They catch horrible diseases. They wither and crack. They burn, they get mould on them, they flatten out onto the earth and sometimes - they plain just up and vanish. 'What the hell? I swear to god I planted a gardenia here two days ago? Now there's just a hole?' I am of the opinion it upped and ran as soon as it got a chance, one moonlit night.

A few christmases ago, my mum gave me a lovely planter box, filled with four different varieties of herbs. Surely, thought I, this lot will live? They were a GIFT after all? And so began my battle with a neighbourhood tomcat. Who decided on top of my precious herbs was the BEST place to sleep. Every morning they were curiously flat and I got up really early one morning and discovered him asleep, and discovered the WHY for the flatness. So I moved it up higher, onto a ledge. He knocked it off the ledge, thus tipping the herbs out, and went back to sleep. I replanted the herbs, put them up even HIGHER, and he did this little trick again. After the second replanting, I put chicken mesh over them. He pissed in the planter and every last herb died. I guess he really did show me who was boss. I can compete with many things, but tomcat urine is clearly not one of them.

When we moved into this house it was February, In the middle of one seriously hot summer. The weekend we moved in it was above 40 degrees celsius both days, and water restrictions were in full force. So, you see the tree out the front never really had a chance. It was a really young tree, you see, and it was already convulsing when we moved in. It was the heat that truly did it in, not me. Although I suppose Master Mayhem ripping it out of the ground didn't help? At any rate, it did leave a round paved area of garden bed in the front yard looking rather bare.

Meet Barry.
Barry is, as you can see, a lavender plant. He is also, however, a hostage of sorts. You see - I said to Mac that if I could get Barry to live, maybe I could try again, you know? Get some more plants. Maybe some pansies, or again with the herbs. But first, Barry has to grow.
Here he is, freshly planted, and has been told of his fate. Live? Get friends. Die? Bin. He looks confident in rising to meet the challenge, dontcha think?

Still. I'm sure any thoughts you can send Barry's way would be appreciated. It's a lot of weight for a $6 lavender from Bunnings to bear all on his own.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Well, there's a definite feeling in the air outside. It smells like sunshine and wet earth, and the mornings are crisp and cold, but more often than not warming up into mild and sunny days. Spring is well and truly here, and summer is on the way.

From October through April, Master Mayhems kindy has a 'no hat, no outside play' rule. It's a good rule, and I like it alot because I am fairly anal retentive when it comes to sun protection. However, the rate at which he lost hats throughout the first half of the year had to be seen to be believed. Given how much my kids love hand made things though, (ecspecially mum - made) I bought a great pattern, some nice fabric and made them a brand spanking new bucket hat each.
The pattern is the 'Lazy Days' hat pattern from Make It Perfect. It comes sized from infant right up to adult, and I think it's awesome! The hats have enough brim on them to make them truly protective, where a lot of bucket style hats aren't really protective at all. I like them so much I think I may make myself one.
The hats are fully reversible, and for Master Mayhems I used an Alexander Henry fabric of soccerballs and a New Zealand print fabric with classic holdens on it ;) For Miss Chaos, both fabrics are from the midwest modern range, by Amy Butler. Tres cute!

Also, I can finally reveal one of my secret squirrels! Last weekend we headed on down to my sister's 40th Birthday party. A good time was had by all, and I am pleased to report she loved her gift.
For her birthday I knit a 'Swallowtail' shawl. It is knit from Kaalund Yarns 'Enchante' which is a 2 ply pure silk laceweight. The colourway is 'LillyPilly' which is a beautiful soft pink colour, and I used foil lined glass beads instead of knitting the nupps.
There is a total of 22 repeats of the main budding lace pattern, and I left the final 6 rows off the edging chart and bound off where I was. I like the not-so-pointy edge this created, even though it was done more out of necessity than choice. (the necessity being it was finished at 2.30am the morning of the party and I could push on no longer). It is light as a feather and barely there at all :)
Things are fairly hectic around here - it is Master Mayhem's 4th Birthday on Wednesday. So sad! I don't know where my teeny boy went, in the blink of an eye. He has gone from being a tiny almost premmie sized baby, to a small tank of a boy who does everything at top speed and breaks down any and every barrier in his way. ~sniff!~ So until I manage another post (hopefully soon - I have the Hostage Lavender to post about next time) enjoy spring, in all it;s forms.