Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

I've been so busy knitting that I haven't had time to update my blog (in other words, I've been lazy). It seems as if everybody I know is having babies at the moment, so it has been a great time for me to experiment with baby knitting. I've done several hats, and a few baby cardigans as well. The hats all got finished, but the cardigans all need finishing touches, like buttons, or ends sewn in.

One of the things I've had to do a bit of with a one of the cardigans is picking up stitches. Since that is a theme on one of the blogs I've discovered, I thought I'd put the link here. This has the added benefit of being handy if I ever want to read it again.

I was going to add some photos, but flickr has changed something, so I'll figure it out tomorrow. For now, I'm going to finish watching the 4th installment in the Fast and the Furious pics, so I can go see the new one that is out at the movies. I need my Vin Diesel fix.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

is it that time already?

I can't believe it has been a year since I've put anything on this blog. I guess I have been busy with work and knitting, so I haven't had much time to blog. I was also busy going to the gym nearly every day, until my back decided it didn't want to be happy. I have only been to the gym once in 6 weeks, partly from fear that it will stir up my back, but mostly because I had completely lost my motivation. Unfortunately I lost my daily routine, and with all the rubbish food I have been eating (hello McDonalds), have put back on the couple of kilos that I lost.

I decided to do something about the unhealthy eating I was doing, and bought a 5.5L slow cooker today (15% off). It is a version with a timer, so hopefully that will come in handy. I also bought a 24cm Le Chasseur cast iron casserole dish (50% off) from DJs, so I can cook things on the stove or the oven. I am aiming to have fill-up-the-freezer days, by using the slow cooker and the dutch oven I'll be able to make a soup and a casserole.

To go with these, I bought a couple of cook books that were on special at Myer (35% off). I got the Women's Weekly Slow Cooking book, and Slow Cookers by Jane Price. If I can decide what to make for dinner tomorrow, it will be a day of slow cooking and hopefully fast knitting! I think I have done quite well out of the mid-year sales this year.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I think I have been possessed.....

by a strange new addiction! I have never liked exercise, so much so that I usually do anything to avoid it. I usually joke that I only run for vomit bowls (in my job as a nurse), or for drugs/blood etc.

Last year a gym opened a few minutes drive from my house. I decided that I would join up, to try to get fit. The advantage with this gym is that it is on the way home from work, so in theory I could go there on the way home from work.

They have now been open for 6 months, and at the start of April I signed up for their 12 week challenge. That involved having an assessment with a personal trainer, and getting a program designed for me. You get bonus points for classes that you attend, and the winner gets a years membership to the gym.

I have not done too badly so far, considering the extra challenges I have had to struggle with...

These photos are of food we enjoyed at the Scquilters retreat in Adelaide in mid April. I had been really good for a month before this, so I allowed myself to let loose a bit. The dinner the night before the retreat started involved a plate full of all sorts of goodies from the buffet, followed by a plate full of desserts from the buffet. On my dessert plate (I wish I had a photo) I had seven desserts. I was good though, I didn't eat everything on my plate. I ate some of everything, and all of a couple of really good things.

The dessert at the Saturday night dinner was just devine. I could go on about how fantastic it was, but I think devine covers it. We had dinner that night at the Glenelg Football Club, which was special in its own way - my Grandad used to play for them after WW2. He was a great footballer from all I have heard.

Anyway, back to the original topic. Gym and exercise. I hate exercise. I always wondered why people felt good after doing it, I always felt like I was going to die, and wondered if I did in fact I did have any of those feel good hormones that are supposedly released by exercise. Until this week. I ended up off work for two days this week with the return of a headcold that I had thought was gone, until my sinusses decided to nearly explode on me and let me know they were there. On those two days I kept thinking about going to the gym, but you shouldn't do that when you are sick it is bad for you (especially when you are having a sick day). I could not believe that I actually felt the desire to go to the gym, before that I have always gone because I felt I had to.

So yesterday, after my 10 hour shift, I went to the gym. And exercised for almost 90 minutes. I did the bike, rowing machine, and the weights machines. After such a long day, and a hard workout, I felt good. Energised. I think I may have some of those feel good hormones after all. I am getting stronger, and fitter. Stronger is good, I completely failed all of the strength tests at the 12 Week Challenge assessment. I need to be able to do better than that at the final assessment.

I know I won't win the challenge, I can't get to enough classes with my shiftwork and being on call, so I won't have many bonus points (and I was away for 3 weeks). But I know that I have given it a good shot. And begun to like exercise - but not running. Two weeks ago I did a cycle class (like the spin classes), and then the challenge class run by the trainers assigned to my group. They can be really hard task masters, and I have to admit I didn't like it when I wanted to slow down and walk and one of them ran behind me so I couldn't stop. I think I more running than I had in 20 years. Talk about sore muscles!

I left the gym last night in time to be on call for the whole weekend (except Sunday night). I won't be able to do any classes, because I won't hear the phone over the music. I plan to sit now and watch a movie and do some knitting. And eat easter eggs that I have been slowly consuming since I came home from my 3 week holiday to Adelaide and Mildura. I will manage to use one of my yoga dvds that have been sitting in the cupboard for the last few years. I think that is the only exercise I will manage this weekend, I find it is too hard to keep the pedals going at a good pace if I don't have the iPod blaring loud music. I discovered yesterday the Ash Grunwald's music has a great pace for rowing and doing weights.

I am only a couple of rounds from finishing a hat, after that I can work on my Forest Canopy Shawl again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wrap me up

Ok, it has been too long. I have been up to lots in the last 3 (is it really that long) months, and have meant to post about it here but just not quite got there. I thought that since I am avoiding going to bed, I could post some updated photos of my Clapotis now.

I really love this wrap, but it did need to be washed a couple of times to soften it up. I was able to wear it a couple of times while I was away at the Scquilters Retreat in Adelaide in April, and it received some vary favourable comments. The colours in it are just delicious, I think I am now addicted to Noro yarns. For the colours, not the softness of the yarns. Or the knots.

My next post will include photos and details of other projects I have been working on, two of which I started while on my holiday. I can't believe it is a month since I flew back from Adelaide (or it will be tomorrow). I will also have to put some photos up of the Retreat. I have booked my leave for next years retreat in Bathurst, whether or not I will be able to afford it will be another matter. I am starting my savings this week.

I need to go to bed now, but I am sure I will have nightmares because I have enjoyed my cheese and biscuits a little bit too much since getting home from work. I had to do something - Grey's Anatomy had started already, and I can't watch Private Practice till I have watched the GA episode. It will be so exciting this week!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Shawl obsessed

Two of my WIPs at the moment are shawls. One is the Fallen Leaves wrap by Dory Brown. I am really enjoying this pattern, as can be seen here:

I was working on this every spare moment, until I needed an easier project to work on at the Canberra Quilters first night meeting of the year. I didn't really like the idea of ripping back because I wasn't concentrating on the pattern. The project I decided to work on was the world famous (in knitting circles at least) Clapotis. I had bought the yarn in 2006 at the craft show. I am using Noro Silk Garden, and it is very pretty. I love seeing the colours change as I knit. I can't wait to drop all the stitches, I have already started dropping some of them more than the few rows that the pattern says to do. I have waited till I've been a couple of rows beyond the one where you drop the stitch to be on the safe side. I don't think it matters if you drop all the way to the bottom before finishing, but I am still trying to resist just in case.

Some of you may notice the ring stitch markers, thanks again to WithaQ for that tip. At the moment I have about 8 electric toothbrush heads floating around in the drawer needing to be used, all without the little colour rings you are supposed to use with them. They make great stitch markers. I am trying to convert all my family into using electric toothbrushes and giving me the rings (hint hint, Mum I am talking to you)! The other stitch markers are the pretty pink beaded ones I got from Donyale last year when I bought the lovely baby alpaca. That is going to be for my special Clapotis, the Silk Garden version is my practice run.

I didn't end up doing any stitching at the CQ meeting, I think it was about 200 degrees inside the church hall, so hot that I thought I was either going to be sick or pass out. I really started this on the 6th of February. I have hardly put it down, except to go to work or waste time on the computer. I am on the 12th repeat of the straight section, so not long to go now. The photo was taken early on, it is much longer now.

The first weekend of my Clapotis Adventure, it was really hot here in Canberra. It got to 40 and 39 degrees on the Sat and Sun, way too hot to spend at my house, so I went and sat at Mum's in the aircon. It was good timing that Dad's cousin was in town, so I was able to spend some time with her. She was visiting from Mildura, so it was a bit cooler for her here than back in Victoria.

On the Sunday I spent a lot of time in front of the TV, watching the terrible news of the bushfires. I had the last two Mondays off work, so knitting this shawl while watching the news has been therapy for me in a way, I guess. It has had quite a few tears fall on it, especially today while watching the service today for the day of mourning.

As well as the two shawls that I am doing, I am also working on some hats to give to bushfire victims. I figure it gets cold in winter where the fires were, so they will be well used. I love knitting in circles, so these will be quick and useful projects to give away. I have to find out who is collecting knitwear for the bushfire victims. The mother of one of my neighbours wants to knit some things as well to give away.

On the car front, I decided on the Suzuki Swift. I now have a really cute little car, though it is amazing how dirty they can get in 3 weeks. I will take a photo of the car tomorrow, and also of the Clapotis in progress. I should also do some weeding and pruning tomorrow, and go to the gym. Hopefully I can get up early to do that, before going to have a massage and hang out with the nieces. I love having a 3 day weekend, this will be my third one in a row. Pity that the last first one only came about from a nasty gastro bug brought interstate.

Next weekend is the Canberra Show, so I will be there watching the nieces behaving like perfect little angels (I hope) and checking out the craft exhibition. I can't wait to see what everyone has made. I know that QM has a gorgeous cardigan that she has put in the show, if only it was my size, it would have gone home with me. I have printed out the pattern, and will decide what yarn to use to make one for me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Decisions...rotten damn things

I started thinking the other day that since my car is a '96 model I should consider upgrading to something newer soon, while it is still worth something as a trade-in. Turns out that I wouldn't get nearly as much for it as I hoped, so I decided that I need to seriously consider buying something newer, and soon. I have a reliable Corolla, but I don't know how much longer it will be reliable for.

My last car was a Laser, also a reliable car. Until I spent loads on it and it still decided that it wasn't going to go up hills without hugely backfiring and dying. That was not long after I started my first nursing job. I got totally pissed off with that car as you could imagine, and bought the Corolla on the way home from work one day! This time I want to take a bit longer to decide what to buy.

I don't want to have to get a loan, but I think I will have to get a small one to allow me to get something that will hopefully last me till 2020 (I have had my current car since 2001). I am totally confused about what I want, but know I want good visibility because my car is terrible if you want to see behind you. I also have trouble judging where the front of the car is, but that is because I am short. Some of the other things I want are CD player - to get with the modern world, keyless entry and good economy. My car does have a bonus that you don't have to turn off the headlights, it does it for you.

Any suggestions for little cars that are comfortable, safe and easy to park would be well appreciated. I am going on the weekend to do more research while my Corolla is being serviced. I am not sure how logical it is to get the car serviced, it is due and really does need a service. But I don't want to spend much on the car if I am going to buy something better, and hopefully in a really cool colour.

On a knitting note, for once I am not working on a hat! I am doing a scarf for my sister in Paton's Jet. Her birthday is in August and I am planning a matching hat and scarf for her.

I am also attempting a lace shawl as a gift for another friend. I am using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby, details will be on my project page on Ravelry when I get around to adding them. This has been an interesting project so far, it took me 3 attempts to get past row 1, I then forgot to purl row 2 and moved straight onto row 3! I have managed to get nearly through the second pattern repeat, with the help of my tracking system. I am not sure where I read about it, I thought it was on Bells blog but I could be wrong (just skimmed her lace posts and couldn't find it, so probably am wrong. Even if I am wrong, her blog is one of my faves and worth checking out).

Anyway, the system I am using is to have index cards with the instructions for one row on each card. I have them all hooked onto a little ring thing you get at the newsagents. This was an issue to start with, recently I had thrown out stationary stuff I thought I wouldn't use. Index cards and the ring thing were amongst stuff I tossed. To make the cards easily readable, I printed out the instructions so that each row would fit on one card. I just wish I could remember the easy way to do that, instead of having to create tabs. I vaguely remember that there is something in the print options. The system is working so far, and I also remembered to weigh the ball of yarn after the first repeat so if I am close to running out of yarn I will know if I'll have enough yarn for one last repeat.

I couldn't be bothered taking pics now, I should be going to bed so I can get up early for a long day at work in the blessed air-con. Before I decided to buy a car, I had gone to research getting a split-system air-conditioner in my lounge. Apparently, according to the plans, there is nowhere I can put it because I have townhouses on each side of me, and not enough wall at the front to make it affordable. The options I was given were out of my budget at $4000. While being depressed thinking of another year in the hot weather, I had the brainwave to get a newer car - at least that will have decent air-con!

I must be enjoying the challenge of lace, I am sitting here trying to work out how many hours till I can come home and knit some more of the shawl. I promise some pics next time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

It is that time of year again. When I was vaccuuming the house tonight I realised that I hadn't made a decision to put up the tree, so it is still sitting in the cupboard where I found it today while looking for a ball of yarn that I had lost. My house is looking decidedly unChristmassy, except for the cards on the shelf above the kitchen splashback, and the presents needing to be wrapped sitting on the table. Amongst those presents are a selection of pressies for my neighbours gorgeous baby girl born today. I am assuming she is gorgeous, I haven't met her yet, but her parents are great people. Congrats to G and S on the birth of little K! Merry Christmas.

Back to the ball of yarn. I have been looking for it for about 3 months, which is when I last put it in a safe place. Since then, I have turned the place upside down numerous times looking for the rotten thing. Of course, I found it in the last place I looked, which was also a place I am sure I have looked before. Now if only I could remember which project I had decided I was going to use it for. It was either mittens or a hat.

Speaking of hats, one of my great work mates bought me flowers for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, so I returned the favour by making her a hat. I think I became addicted to Patons Jet while I was making it, it is great stuff to work with. When I get time I will post a pic of it. Right now I have to find a pattern on Ravelry that I thought I had printed.

Hope you all have a great day tomorrow, whether it be close to family or far away from them.
I know I will have a great day, my wonderful Mum makes her delicious Christmas Pudding while watching the Christmas Eve carols. Can't wait to eat it tomorrow.