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we made it, sort of

cherrybag.Jpeg

This should put an end to cherries falling out the holes and rolling down the hill. Dr B doesn’t mind the colours (all of which were readily to hand when I started the bag).

Yeah, that went well. Not. I think that’s the best way to describe our Christmas, which was a topsy-turvy one, thrown into disarray by varying availability. In itself, that would not be a problem. We can work around that. Indeed, we did. But decisions to change things, and change them again, then change them a bit more… well, that was too much for me. I just sulked.

That is to say, I worked till the usual time on what is colloquially known as Black Friday. It’s the last working Friday of the year for many offices, mine included, when nearby watering holes do a roaring trade. At my place, we had an exhausted sort of in-house happy hour (the accompanying snacks were everyone’s bits and pieces of leftovers and Christmas gifts donated to the communal cause) then headed out the door. I was home about the same time as usual. From then on, I managed to misunderstand – or misinterpret or have to clarify to the point of seeming rude or stupid or both – almost everything that was said to me or requested of me by anyone else in the family, up to and including Christmas Day 😉

It reflected my level of mental and physical exhaustion, but there was no opportunity to rest or do anything I wanted to at my pace. When asked for a Christmas tree for photographic purposes, although it was considerably earlier than my traditional Christmas-tree-erecting-hour, I managed to dig one out of a box, throw a few lights and some tinsel at it, and call it ready in about five minutes flat. It looks awful, because I’ve done nothing else since, but it’s a Christmas tree. To be fair, it doesn’t look too bad when the lights are on. I put the Christmas wreath on the front screen door, complete with Santa. Major effort. Shiny-halo stuff, really. Right?!

Dr B and I celebrated a large wedding anniversary – not a particularly significant one, but lots of years – and I managed to stay awake long enough to share the toast. Then after everyone else was in bed, I wrapped some of the presents (those that required it). For the rest, I tied ribbon around a couple of hand-crocheted shopping bags and a waffle-y dishcloth (or facecloth; the recipient can decide which it’s to be) like the one I made Youngest Aunt for her birthday, attached a gift tag that included yarn-care instructions; and didn’t photograph any of them. So, yeah, I’ve been busy with making things but have no evidence. And I couldn’t get to my sewing machine, so no wine-bottle carriers have yet eventuated. Nor are they likely to, but it’s always possible I might manage them for birthdays throughout the year. In some respects, that 2018 is ending as chaotically as it has progressed is not at all surprising. But, as I’ve remarked a few times lately, we’re all still upright and relatively coherent most of the time. That might be enough for this year.

I’m about 20 stitches away from completing a crocheted market tote for Dr B (the one in the photo). It’s not in his colours, but he will enjoy using it when he goes out foraging for cherries up in the local cherry orchards. I made it specifically with small holes – no cherries should fall through them – and a long strap, so that he can wear it cross-body over his motorcycling clobber. And that’s all I have to do: simply join that long strap to the other side of the bag. Now that things have quietened down a little – visitors gone home, no more parties in sight till New Year’s Eve – I might be able to sit down and do that without too much trauma in the very near future. It will require me to count a few stitches to ensure it’s centred, but if I can find a few uninterrupted minutes, that’s all it will take. Oh, and sewing in the few ends, of course.

But you notice I said “if”? That’s because Dr B is in building mode, continuing to work on an upgrade to our pergola. It’s a big undertaking and, although YoungB and I have both helped as and when our work commitments allow, we’re not the ones doing the bulk of the work. However – you might have known there’d be a “however” – because I’m now home on so-called holidays, there seems to be this immediate assumption – there’s been no request; just an assumption – that, as well as dropping everything at a moment’s notice to assist more frequently with the building work, I’ll also take over all the domestica, including the cooking. Yeah right.

The cooking has certainly been going by the wayside since the construction started and I’m fine with that. After all, Dr B and I built our own house together. I know about the need to prioritise building work over food prep. Luckily, we have good local options for fast food that’s also nutritious: various Asian takeaway restaurants that don’t break the bank and provide authentic food that’s as good as what we’d make at home. I’m not a bad cook, and in the days when I did more cooking I enjoyed it; but our kitchen is not ours at all. It’s Dr B’s. We’ve been together for a long time and, if pressed, work well together in a kitchen – witness our having cooked and catered for a couple of rowing camps over the years – so it’s not even trying to find my way around the weird – to me – places he puts things that gets to me in this instance.

It’s that I’d like some equity! I ought to be able to get on with my own backlog of domestic work, of which there is plenty, because I have been so busy in my job-that-pays-the-bills that I’ve had next to no energy to do little more than the barest minimum of laundry and cleaning since about the end of July. I’ve been coming home and falling asleep in my evening meal (or going straight to bed almost as frequently) for almost half the year. Having a lie-in would be a good start to getting some energy back, but making inroads on those chores is by now pretty high on the list and some of them require access to my sewing machine. For example, there are these wine-bottle carriers I want to make…

I’d also like some time to read a book. Dr B goes out on weekly motorcycle jaunts (sometimes pushbike rides as well). I think I ought to be able to read a book in peace. It need only be one. I’m not asking for sufficient time out to read the entire trilogy I’m presently working my way through. But it would be nice to finish the first one which I’ve been reading for an uncharacteristically long time (I find it not good commuter reading because of the tricky typography and its physical bulk). Mind you, a good start on the second title would be fabulous, but I can’t see it happening.

On Boxing Day, Youngest Aunt and I were discussing my holiday, and what I plan to do during the fortnight I’m not at my place of paid employment. While we agreed that reading ought to feature, we also acknowledged it was unlikely to. Dr B seems to think I should be able to fit in some reading. At least, he asked if I intended to bowl over a few books while I wasn’t at work. Uuh, yeah, not so much. Unless he comes back to his proper place in the kitchen 🙂

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Posted by on December 28, 2018 in Crochet

 

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sew, wine bottle carriers?

Image may contain: drink

Bourbon bauble. Image copyright the Grove.

In the past, I have generally not been too “Bah, humbug” about Christmas. Nowadays the comparison tends to be to the Grinch, but in my neck of the woods that’s an alcoholic cocktail. In the interests of full disclosure, I advise that it’s currently the cocktail jug of the week at my local pub. I know that because I was there with YoungB the other night, having an after-work cocktail. We drank bourbon baubles (see image), whose main note is ginger, but the green looked appealing and equally refreshing. I’ll stick to Ebenezer Scrooge as my comparator, lest I confuse myself.

In any case, cocktails aside, what I’m trying to say is that in the past I have made a lot of effort not to be Scrooge. This year? OMG. It’s all too much. We have had an insanely busy year at work and there’s no end in sight, although we’ll down tools at the end of next week and not have to pick them up again for a fortnight. Now, if I could simply sleep for that fortnight, I might face 2019 with more equanimity than seems presently possible.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a round of workplace Christmas lunches that have been pleasant breaks from the office. But if you’re out having a good time, you’re not doing the urgent paperwork, even though you’re actually working. it’s a conundrum.

So, sewing? I wanted to make some shopping totes for various family members – that would be those for whom I haven’t crocheted anything – but, you won’t be surprised to hear, I have decided that wine bottle carriers are half the size and – being unlined in the version we use – considerably less effort. Dig out the owl hessian (burlap if that’s more meaningful) and stoke up a jug of green cocktail liquid: there has to be some sewing time in there somewhere!

Oh, I’m sure you’re all much better organised. But just in case you’re not, let me wish you good luck with all your making 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2018 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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then the Cup, the Cave and then

Looking for an opportunity to dress up and have fun? Can't do better than the Races!

Looking for an opportunity to dress up and have fun? Can’t do better than the Races!

I probably need to decode that, don’t I? The photo was taken at Derby Day.

If you’re in Australia, or possibly if you’re an avid horse-racing fan, you’ll know what’s coming up this week: The Melbourne Cup. In metropolitan Melbourne, it’s a public holiday. Elsewhere, we down tools for an hour or so. We have sweeps at the office, enjoy a chicken-and-champagne lunch while we watch the race and might also have silly-hat competitions and things of that ilk. Of course, it’s not without its problems and detractors and there are undoubtedly good reasons for that.

And if you’re in South Australia, you’ll know that after the Cup, it’s time for the Pageant and the Man in Red taking up residence at the Magic Cave. This year, his plaster equivalent, the one that once upon a time was on the portico of the relevant department store, will be greeting shoppers from a new locale at the Central Market. And the next C after that? Yep, it’s that one associated with tinsel. Cripes, is roughly my reaction to that idea. I’ve been watching people’s posts about how few shopping days there are left. This morning, though? Someone posted, “Next month” and I thought, well, hasn’t that come along quickly?

As I say every year, no, it hasn’t. Christmas is a fixed feast. Unlike Easter, it doesn’t change from year to year. But, yeah, heck, doesn’t last Christmas feel like it was only yesterday? And I’m sure it’s not a year since I had to fossick around and pull out the Advent calendar but, you know, it obviously is.

Sewing plans? Knitting plans? Crafting plans of any sort? Uuuh, no. Mostly, I plan to get to Christmas without killing myself or anyone else. That will rank as enough of an achievement this year, I think! What about you?

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2015 in Musing

 

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last-minute ramblings

Some roses from a friend, not for Christmas but just because

Some roses from a friend, not for Christmas but just because

You’ll have to forgive me, but this truly is rambling. I’m so tired I can’t be coherent.

Our Advent calendar has nearly completed its greeting of MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU but for the last letter and the final punctuation point, which is provided by some holly leaves. Have I managed any sewing? Yeah, nah. Had I planned any? Uuh, yeah. But all of those plans were a bit like the SMS conversation I had today with Eldest Niece.

She’s newly in a home and I thought she might like some homewares or something culinary. Coffee pods (easy, but a good gift for someone who uses them and there’s a nice variety of specialist flavours out for Christmas)? She’s stopped drinking coffee. Right. Okay. How about a runner for the dining table (my original plan, only time is now perilously short)? They don’t have one. What, not even a breakfast bar? Nope. So no placemats, either (a more time-consuming alternative, but definitely an option)? No. Yeah, right. I accept that this means I’m off the hook with one lot of last-minute sewing but it hasn’t solved the problem of a Christmas gift for her and her partner. In my defence, I’d washed and ironed the fabric and had been trying to get details of her – now known to be non-existent – table for some time from every other member of her family. So, you know, plans? Yeah.

If you’ve been trying to sew or cook or craft or knit or create something in whatever medium tickles your creative fancy, I do hope you’ve been more successful than I have. I hope, too, that your year has been less chaotic than ours. I often tell myself that next year will be better and sometimes it is. I also remind myself that any notion of a new year is purely academic, since one day simply rolls into the next and the years don’t do much but add wrinkles to your skin and grey to your hair. I don’t really mind that. Losing muscle memory is a little more worrying – I sat down to practise some scales the other day and couldn’t remember the intervallic progression for one lot; how many times have I played those things? – but I can still knit and sew. Next year I aim to include more of those because I fret when I don’t have a bit of knitting to keep me occupied in the evening or a little sewing project to work on at the weekend. I’m a nicer person and considerably less stressed when I have a creative outlet.

May your Christmas be wonderful, whether it’s a crafty one or not. 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Musing, Sewing

 

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it’s supposed to be summer

Arguments rage as to when summer begins officially – in Australia, we don’t start our seasons coincident with solstices and the like, but arbitrarily on the 1st of the relevant month; I have no idea why such a decision was taken or by whom but it was and a long time ago – but whenever it’s meant to be, our temperatures lately have been too cold for comfort. Well, for my comfort. The upside to the continuing chilliness is that it’s still perfectly all right to whip out your knitting and whizz through a few rows between time trials at rowing. So today, that’s what I did. That purple scarf? Mate, I’m on the home straight! And, you know what? One of the coaches came up to congratulate me for knitting. Yeah. Trendy as, that’s me!

She and I talked about knit and natter sessions – or stitch and bitch, whichever it might be wherever you are (and perhaps that varies according to mood) – then for a little while about knitting for payment and knitting whilst commuting on long bus trips – the two are linked, because it’s possible, we agreed, to bowl over a lot of knitting in a six-hour bus trip – and the joys and attractions of Arans and Fairisles. Dr B just sat there and grinned. Of course, he probably couldn’t hear half of what we were saying because he didn’t have his hearing aids in (he’d taken them out for cycling purposes) but obviously he caught the gist of it because, once the coach had returned to her rowers, he felt absolutely obliged to point out that, in the big scheme of things, fancy knitting is decadent. Plain knitting? Perhaps allowable. Anything else is beyond what’s required for immediate survival and therefore has to be considered wasteful of time and resources. Hmm, yes. You can tell, can’t you, that YoungB did a philosophy unit this year?? Me? I just kept right on with my very plain knitting. I mean, it doesn’t come much plainer than a long, straight, garter stitch scarf.

Of course, I haven’t really started any other of my Christmas crafting, unless you count pulling out relevant patterns, ironing fabric and ensuring some clear space for sticking PDF patterns together prior to eventual cutting out of fabric. I consider all those things progress, because I’m much more easily able to do something for a few minutes if it’s all just waiting there; but I’m scarily aware that, help, the Advent calendar is at the halfway mark and I have such a busy weekend coming up that there’s little likelihood of doing any sewing. Too bad. What gets done will get done and what doesn’t get done I plan not to mention. Out of sight out of mind, and what the eye doesn’t see the heart won’t grieve and all that. What about you? Do you have a good plan for making light of the unfinished projects and instead celebrating what you have achieved?

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Knitting, Rowing, Sewing

 

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apparently that was the weekend

Last week was, as you might expect at this time of year, busy with a lot of hearings (quick, must get it done before Christmas) and home has been a bit nuts too. I did, however, make a point of heading down to Vic Sq one lunchtime to check out the yarn bombing. Here’s a link to the City of Adelaide’s Facebook album. No, you can’t see anything of mine in any of the photos but that doesn’t matter. I found my items and they fitted right in with everyone else’s.

WordPress and I are having a bit of a stand-off about photos at present. Mostly I can’t get them to work. Sorry, about that, I’ll keep trying. But in the meantime, that link will show you VR all decked out in special Christmas finery, of which I’m sure she’d approve.

Sunday afternoon when I went out, I found my self thinking (for the first time this season, despite some warm temperatures early) that summer has finally arrived. Given that, I was pleased to have spent a few hours putting away my winter woolies. That required making some new lavender bags. They weren’t fancy, merely a handful of mix tossed into old stockings I’d cut up. I did, however, make a real one for YoungB’s undies drawer because I was well overdue to replace several I’d borrowed.

The annual Toy Run took place on Sunday too, so Dr B and YoungB headed out on their motorbikes for that. Because I then had the house to myself for a while I was able to decorate our Christmas tree. I’m not much good at it, to be quite truthful. I couldn’t honestly say I don’t have an artistic bone in my body because if that were so, I’d never have been much chop as a performer. Simply, my artistry and creativity don’t extend to decorations.

Dr B complimented me for the tree. His take on it is that, if he were in charge, there’d be no tree because he wouldn’t get around to it (not necessarily because he’s closely related to Ebenezer Scrooge). It’s been a decorative couple of weeks, you might say, and I’m now getting a bit desperate about the amount of work I want to get done before all the guests start arriving. Help! Are you having the same dilemmas or are you just one of those really, really organised people? Whichever you consider yourself, good luck with getting all the festive season stuff completed in time.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting, Sewing

 

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dark glasses

I made sure I was wearing my sunnies today when I dropped off my contribution to the Victoria Square yarn bombing. Ideally, I’d like to be able to participate in the placement but I can’t guarantee my availability. Therefore, I delivered my rose and scarf to the cafe in the square. But, you know, it’s graffiti, so I thought I should disguise myself! Just in case.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Knitting

 

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