Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Coventina arrived today. Remember, I swapped Amber some Fleece Artist Goldilocks for one of her dolls, and it's oh so lovely.

Named for Coventina, the goddess of wells and springs, Amber writes that Coventina represents, to her, emotions and inner peace.

Isn't that fantastic!

She also has great shoes:

Like she's been standing all day in a bog. Reminds me of a pair I had back in my twenties.

She's going to live on the mantle for the time being, behind the big black crow.

Thank you amber, she's perfect.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bunnies a Go-Go

The baby bunnies appear to have moved on already. On Friday we noticed them crawling a little ways from the nest. Then on Saturday morning I saw them in the nest early, then they hopped away and were gone all day. We saw them curled up together in the evening and Nigel caught a photo of the mother returning to the nest.

On Sunday morning I didn't see them in the nest, and not in the afternoon or evening. They weren't there this morning either, so I guess that's it. They've moved on and are independent.

Mother rabbits have it pretty easy.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's 75th birthday. Hoorah!

It seems as though Dad's been around since the dawn of time,

though, that may only be the dawn of my time.

Dad's always been fond of history and being born in 1933, he might find it interesting to know that it was 1933 that saw the debut of the film King Kong and the first photo of the Loch Ness Monster. I'm not saying it was a year of monsters, just that it was a very cool year.

I went through all my old photos and found almost none of Dad. I suppose while we were growing up he was the one taking the pictures, so he wasn't ever in them. I took a gander through the internet and lo and behold I found a photo of him cutting the lawn at his lawn bowling club.

Did you know that 1933 was also the year that saw the invention of the rotary lawn mower? Spooky.

For all of his adult life Dad worked for the railway, starting out as a machinist and working his way round to management.

When Dad started his machinists' training (back in 1950 when he was 17) there were still a few steam engines kicking around and so he was one of the last group that was trained in repairing them, isn't that amazing?! (Not that he should feel old.)

Dad retired in 1988, and in those 38 years he never took one sick day, pretty impressive, no?

After the first 35 years of no sick days the railway gave him a special sticker to wear on his hardhat.

Hmmm... I think they should have done better than that, a medal maybe?

Here's some footage of CN steam engine 3254, which lives in Pennsylvania now.

I wonder if you ever worked on this one?

Happy Birthday Dad!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


This is Maggie. Mum made this doll through a series of workshops a few years back (fifteen, perhaps). She did a fantastic job on her- hand painting the face, arms and legs, sewing the body, and adding the hair and eyes. Maggie has fair skin, dark hair and blue eyes (like Mum and like me), that's not an easy look to find if you're shopping for a doll - it's always blonde and blue-eyed or dark hair and brown-eyed (sigh). She also sewed the blouse and cord dungarees. It was heaps and heaps of work.

Here she is wearing the wee sweater Mum made for her:

and here she is in the hat Mum started and I finished, the pattern called for a pom-pom on top, but I'm better at tassels, so that's what she got:

I think Mum thought these were the same yarns, however the sweater is off-white and the hat is white, sorry Mum, I know it doesn't happen often, but you made a tiny boo-boo. Still a very cute set.

Isn't she sweet. Maggie has lived with Mum and Dad a long time now, but Mum promised her to Elly "when I go". I doubt Mum is going anywhere soon, but when Elly went to visit them last week Mum insisted that Maggie return with her.

Maggie is going to live with us while Elly is studying in Ireland. She starts school this September and will be gone for three years. So now I have two foster children.

Here's the bunny shots of the day. They all opened their eyes yesterday, and started to wander a little ways from the nest.

I needed to mow the back lawn today and since they've started to move around, we put them in a cardboard box and set them in the shade on the deck (I wouldn't want them running under the mower - ick).

Dot and Gerry hiding their faces in the corner:

Here's Flipsy. A corner of his/her ear is missing. I blame Gus, though we do keep him on a lead when he's in the back.

They're growing so fast that they may be gone from the nest before I have to cut the lawn again!

Friday, July 25, 2008

More Than Bunnies

Let's open with some knitting, shall we?

Despite the blog's appearance, there's been more than just bunnies growing.

Progress continues on the seaweed stole. The dark red yarn in the photo is a "lifeline". It's there in case I make some kind of horrendous error, I can rip out all my stitches back to where ever the thread is. It's a very useful tool when working a complicated pattern. I've never used one before, but this is a design beast and my concentration skills aren't what they once were.

Since this such a slow-going project, I've got a couple of easy options waiting for me in the knitting basket.

This will be a cosy for one of my many tarot card sets. Hardly a necesary item, but it should be a quick and easy knit and I'm using up odds and ends from the leftovers bag. specifically, this yarn is Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool. It's an excellent yarn, there's lots of metreage per skein and it's a lovely combination of the softness of wool and the chalkiness of silk, a great multi-season yarn (not overly pricey either). The colours are fabulous too, I've got leftovers of purple and black - perfect for the particular tarot card set I'm knitting this for, I'm going to show them to you another day.

I've also been finishing up one of my Mum's projects. Years ago she made a doll called Maggie (there's going to be a special post about Maggie tomorrow). She's a beautiful doll, about the size of a newborn. Mum sewed an outfit for her and knit a wee sweater and most of a matching hat. In the photo you can see the pieces for the hat. I've finished the hat and will post photos of Maggie wearing her new togs tomorrow.

I know many of you want to see how the bunnies are progressing, and here they are this morning.

They just barely fit in the nest.

Elly has started naming them. The one with no white on the forehead is Flipsy, that's the one she was holding from a previous post, it flipped out of her hands right after the shutter snapped. The one with the large white blaze is Dot, and the one with the small white blaze is Gerry.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quick Like a Bunny Update

I know a few of you are waiting for a daily update on our little bunnies.

Last night it started to rain so Elly made a little cardboard cover for the bunny nest, to which Ian immediately added an addition and sign. It was very cute.

Unfortunately (being made of cardboard) it started to dissolve in the rain right away.

So instead we half-covered them with a rubber garden tub.

It kept the rain off them and Nigel and Ian saw the mother return to the nest around 8:30PM, so I suppose she approved.

In the photo you can see two of them have a small white diamond on their foreheads. They lose that as they mature.

It's astounding how fast they're growing. They'll probably be independent within two or two and a half weeks.

I'm going to share another part of the tale of the bunnies, but if you have a weak stomach, you'd best not read it (I mean you Jane).

I'll leave a little space so you don't accidentally see any upsetting text (don't worry there's no photos).

When I checked on them this morning I noticed a small bunny corpse covered in maggots a little ways from the nest. I picked it up (with a shovel) and tossed it in a garbage bag. It was much smaller than the others, so i assume it died a while back and the mother removed it.

I'm hoping I don't find any more.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Handmade July

Jane has received her handmade-of-the-month for July. I sent it off last week and then completely forgot to blog it. I made MaryElla, a bracelet pattern from knitty.com. I tweaked the pattern a little, instead of overlapping the ends and sewing on a snap, I used a provisional cast on, shortened the overall pattern and stitched the two ends closed with kitchener stitch. I've made this pattern for myself a few times, but always found the overlapped ends a bit lumpy. The provisional cast on and kitchener stitch close made for a cleaner overall look. I also made the bracelet tiny, less than 6 inches. It barely fit me (or Ian), but it fits Jane perfectly (it even spins on her wrist).

In bunny news, I'm afraid another one died overnight. I'm not sure what the mortality rate is among wild rabbits, but I wouldn't be surprised if this sort of thing happens. I removed the dead baby from the nest and found there were still three left. One must have been hiding under the others yesterday. They look bigger even after one day.

Here's Elly holding one of them. They wriggle quite a lot, and are about the size of a full grown hamster. Their eyes and ears are still closed.

So sweet.

Good Garden, Bad Dog

A few snaps from around the garden. The flowers are looking pretty good this year, there's been a perfect combination of sun and rain, and warm and cool.

Though the plants are healthy, I'm disappointed with the choices I made at the garden centre earlier this year. Last years garden was so much nicer, but I suppose I'm still learning.

I loved snapdragons as a child, we would pop their heads off and make impromptu puppets. As bedding plants I'm finding them a bit scrawny, I think they need to be placed with lower growing annuals.

I added baby's breath to the garden this year. It's a perennial, and being its first year in the garden, it's looking quite scraggly. Next year will be better.

These lovely bell flowers were a gift from my mother-in-law, Maureen. She gave them to us a few years back and this year they've been particularly good - a gorgeous shade of blue-purple and shaped like a perfect mound.

Lilies, I planted quite a few last year, but they're still looking a bit blah. Let's have a gander at some that were planted long before we bought the house.

While helping me with the weeding, Gus found this:

a tiny nest of bunnies. Elly guesses they are about a week old.

There's three left.

There were originally four, but Gus being Gus just couldn't resist taking one out of the nest to play and promptly broke it's neck.

Bad dog.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh, What Have I Done

I've discovered a new obsession, or should I say layers of obsession.

I signed up to both ravelry and facebook.

Ravelry is a knitting and crochet community where you can swap information about yarns, patterns, shops, etc. You create your "notebook" filled with your own information and you can tap into anyone else who's registered. I spent all last week-end photographing every type and colour of yarn I have in my stash, recording each size of needle and crochet hook and registering each knitting book, magazine or booklet that I own. I recorded (with photos) each project I had lying around or, for gifted ones, had photos of. It was an incredible amount of work.

I've since discovered that most people don't do all that work in two days. Shelagh and Penny have been members since last autumn and they still haven't recorded all their yarn or books. The site also allows you to swap yarn with people, which I did. I swapped Amber some Fleece Artist Goldilocks for one of her elemental figures. The one she calls coventina, it's the first photo in the post. It's winging its way to me now and I'm very excited.

I can see how ravelry could completely take over ones life. It's world-wide, so there are knitters on-line adding information at all times of the day and night, oh my...

and then there's facebook. I haven't used facebook to search out long lost friends, or I should say that I looked briefly and didn't find anyone, but I've been playing endless games with my brother and his friend (both in Victoria) and my sister (in Toronto) and my daughter (we live in the same house).

I've been avoiding signing up to both sites, knowing they could suck all the time away from the hobbies, blogging, housework and my time with the family...(should I have put those in a different order?) Oh dear, oh dear, oh, dear...

I did restart the seaweed stole that I had torn out earlier this year. I'm not sure why I had such a terrible time with it the first go round. It's complex and fiddly, but not impossible.

Since this snap I've finished all twelve of the tendrils and have started on the body of the stole.

That was quite a lot of work too.

I suppose now that I've knit a bit and blogged a bit I should really get some housework done.

First though, I'll just check facebook for any new games......

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Aaron!

There's another birthday afoot, this time my nephew Aaron is taking his turn.

Aaron is well known in the family for his limitless imagination,

his intense energy level

and his heroic devotion to his stuffed animal collection.

Since I wasn't able to find any shots of Aaron without a peculiar hat on,

I'm opting to dish up a few birthday treats on this special day. Please enjoy the following videos, hand-picked just for you Aaron!

Did you know that elephants are the only mammal with four knees?

We love our veggies!

This is the best Harry Potter film ever made,

Happy Birthday Aaron!

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Quick Update

I've had some success with that pesky Molly Ringwald. She continued to get shorter and wider the longer I left her tumbling in the dryer, so I took her out, soaked her in eucalan and arranged her on the insertable drying rack for the dryer. Instead of tumbling she just lay there in the heat, and it's done the trick. She's narrower and back to her correct length. Hooray!

If only my own shape were so easy to alter.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sewing Is So Much Quicker

Really and truly, I need to weed the garden and clean the house, and yet I continually find ways to avoid all that.

Years ago I spent lots of time sewing things for myself, and as time past I veered off towards knitting instead, but recently I bought some fabric that appealed.

And so...I'm trying to remember a few of the old tricks. One I remembered is to keep it simple. I bought this ultra easy wrap skirt pattern from Indygo Junction. An excellent choice if I do say so. In fact, it's so easy that I may buy a couple more of their patterns. This skirt was sewn in an afternoon - oh, so quick!

A great trick that I forgot was to avoid installing zippers at all costs. I chose a dress pattern from McCall's (I don't even like McCall's) that required a zip down the back. I sewed it in and ripped it out four times, FOUR!

I won't be forgetting that rule in a hurry. I still need to attached the sleeves, and do the hem, and then...well, if it's not suitable to be seen in public, then at least I'll have something colourful to wear while I mow the lawn and dig the weeds (apologies in advance to the neighbours).

I loved the fabric, purchased at Fabricland, it was fairly cheap and mostly cotton, with just s a hint of Lycra. I don't normally wear yellow, but there seemed to be enough grey to balance it out, and I suppose the lawnmower won't notice if it doesn't suit.

Hot off the needles, I finished the Molly Ringwald Tank Top from Knitscene. I worked this top in Maggi Knits Linen, but instead of pink I opted for an icy blue, only because I happened to have enough in this colour in my stash. The pattern was very quick to knit and has a bit of shaping to the waist, very flattering. I wore it this afternoon and found it just a tad on the big side, so I soaked it in water and threw it in the dryer. I've checked on it once so far, and it looks even bigger, but I'm going to persist with a hot dryer and see if I can't shrink it up just a wee bit.

I'll let you know how that one turns out.

Late today I had a message on my voicemail from Thea saying the handmade-of-the-month arrived for June, but no-one could figure out what it was,

that's a jar of homemade mango chutney and a dishcloth in blue and green to help with the dishes. Happy Homemade for June!