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Monday, August 30, 2010

A Tidy Wardrobe Is A Tidy Mind



I don't know where I heard that but I'm willing to buy it.
I don't think those miserable wire hangers from the dry cleaners were really looking after my clothes or doing me any favours. I went against my principles and bought some proper wooden hangers.
I had a good hard look at some items that haven't seen the light of day for at least a year now and they have been banished.
Some long over due repairs have been done and I have high hopes that looking for something to wear is no longer a hit and miss operation in dark winter days when I can't even tell navy from black!
My shoes have been stacked neatly in the hanger on the left and the air is now free to circulate around my clothes. A moisture absorbing hanger thingy is taking care of the rest.
No longer will my wardrobe be a tangled puzzle of wire. If I am not wrestling and fighting with my clothes surely that translates emotionally and spiritually to me.
I have created Wardrobe Zen.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mt Field National Park

The walk to the falls.

How great Thou art.
After the falls we drove about 20 mins further up the mountain to the Lake Dobson area which is a water catchment area and beyond a popular cross country skiing spot.

I was so glad I had just put new tyres on all round.
Playtime was brief as we hadn't expected to be in the snow and were ill equipped for a proper snow fight. They loved it and squealed like 7 year old girls.....including Craig!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Knit With Me 22


I hope you have worked out last weeks' pattern. Ever the optimist I kept going knowing in the back of my mind it couldn't be right. To be fair I was at a Ravelry knitting meet up and was getting to know the group and absorbing lots of other information at the time. Unlike most of my fellow sisterhood, I do NOT manage to do OR think two things at once!
The end result of a flawed pattern, an optimistic nature and a single mindedness resulted in.....
a Barbie doll skirt.
I haven't knitted one in a long time but back in the day a lot of my goofed projects turned into Barbie doll skirts....or Barbie blankets. I'm sure you had a few.
The Ravalry meet was great. Naturally it is lovely to meet new people especially those with similar interests. I loved their chatter as they knitted and had my eyes opened to new ideas and possibilities.
Oh dear! I've forgotten the names of everyone already but the lady on my right had found some Patons Bluebell at the op shop. It was cream with a gold thread through it. I would have passed it over but she was making a frilled edge baby beanie with it and alternating with a bright pink. Charming!

This week I have chosen a pattern called ladders. It is knit over multiples of 8 +1 so I am casting on 49 stitches. It goes like this....
Row 1 and 3: *K5, wl.fwd, sl 3 purlwise*, K1
Row 2: P1, *wl.bk, sl 3 purlwise, wl.fwd, P5*
Row 4 and 8: P
Row 5 and 7: K1 *wl.fwd, sl 3 purlwise, K5*
Row 6: *P5, wl.bk, sl 3 purlwise*, P1

 wl.fwd means wool forward
wl.bk means wool back
sl. means slip
purlwise - as if you were putting the needle into the stitch to do a purl
This is not (as with most) as complicated as it looks. Enjoy....
and consider looking up your local Ravelry group.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Russell Falls

I was hoping to meet up with Rina from Our Slice of Heaven who was visiting Tasmania this past week but it was not to be. I hope she had a good time and didn't let the weather deter her, we sure didn't. Craig and I stayed with the girls in Hobart at the weekend. I felt so proud of them as we all went to the polling booth as a family Saturday morning to cast our votes in the Federal Election.
After voting we headed to Russell Falls which is about 40 mins drive from Hobart. Though it is a wet and muddy place, especially in winter, it is quite accessible for all ages. We saw plenty of wallabies but were disappointed not to catch sight of a platypus (in the quiet waters of course).
The water was bucketing down with the recent rain and snows. The reason the photo above looks grainy is because the entire area was awash in mist and spray from the falls. The falls were very loud making speech impractical and we gazed in a kind of reverential silence and awe soaking in the wonderful atmosphere. You know when it makes you feel all tingly and places something positive in the solar plexus area?
Craig looks like he has an elaborate woollen turban on his head but it is in fact his favourite snow balaclava that he he wears scrunched up on his head. I've never seen him wear it in true balaclava style and I haven't the heart to tell him people take quick second glances because it looks like a pair of undies on his head!
If you are feeling energetic then a short but steep walk up the mountain will bring you to Horseshoe falls. While the track is great, it is not wheelchair accessible. This is the kind of exercise I like, something with a good "pay off" at the end. The last time I brought Tegan here she was only 3, that was 20 years ago. Entrance into the park is $24 for a day pass per carload. The facilities are really good and the tracks well maintained and we felt we had value for money.....
but that's not where the fun stopped....
there was snow in them thar hills....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boat People

While we still wait to find out who will be forming government after the federal election at the weekend, I'd like to take a moment to express some "ponderings" on the subject of "Boat People" as this was included as a major policy by both parties and a bit of a catch cry for the Liberals.
The term "boat people" refers to illegal refugees that come to Australia via Asia. They pay exorbitant fees to smugglers for a very precarious, dangerous and squalid sea crossing. Some families cannot afford to send everyone so some children are separated from siblings and or parents. They flee their counties for a better life and usually for political persecutions not because they want a bigger house or better car. They want an education for their children that is often denied them on racial or political grounds because of the "sins of the father".
We have a wonderful social security system in this country and these refugees are entitled to and in fact do get, medical treatment, education, housing and a modest payment.
This seems to be the scariest thing for most Australians. I reserve the right to say "most" here otherwise why was it such an election issue? It is a valid concern and of course people have the right to ask where and how their taxes are spent. How do we constantly pay thousands of dollars for people coming to our shore who are not even our own?
I put it to you that it is more scarier to have people who are our "own" who are now third and fourth generation welfare recipients who now know nothing but breeding future generations of welfare recipients. These are the people costing us a spiraling out of control fortune. They have no pride and no aspirations further than bigger TVs and tailor made ciggies.
When I was young I worked in a Japanese restaurant with quite a few "boat people". They were from Vietnam and were working 70hr plus weeks trying to save to be able to sponsor the rest of their families who were caught for years in camps. 
Which brings me to the next Australian catch cry "keep jobs for the Australian workers". Most people think that refugees will mean less jobs for Australians. News flash - Australians don't want these jobs. Most Australian children coming out of school with job aspirations believe that they will be walking into the management positions! They think a certificate guarantees them the right to start at the top, not the bottom. They want to be in hospitality but not on Friday and Saturday nights because they want to party with their friends. 
The next concern that Australians raise is about border security. Also a valid concern. This is the real world and there are real baddies and we want to keep them out. Political asylum seekers are not necessarily trouble makers but it is fair to say that we would rather keep our society tempered and tolerant. I put it to you that there are a lot more breaching our borders that we have allowed in than we know.
I have also worked with people who have flown into Australia and then just stayed....for years....and they work...and they even get tax refunds from the government! I also know someone who received tax refunds but was invisible to the child support agency. Definitely a bit of left hand/right hand blindness in our government; but that's not unusual for any government, they are huge accounting firms but you would like to think simple cross checking works. 
The Mercury newspaper on Saturday had a wonderful article in it's magazine about Mr Hung Nguyen, a valuable and well respected local surgeon without whom our community would be the poorer. I thought what a shame it was that they had not published this story sooner instead on voting day. While I don't think immigration policy was the be all and end all of party picking this election, I do think it sheds light on the "character" of a party.
Mr Abbott, while I do want a responsible government with sound policies and solutions to illegal immigration, I felt your slogan "I will stop the boats" was simplistic, knee jerk and another opportunity to "Dumb Australians Down". It was embarrassing.
I sincerely hope that whoever forms government they can put strategies in place to restrain illegal immigration, expedite valid immigration and start inspiring Australians back into the workforce and paying taxes instead of taking taxes. We need it for our elderly, infirmed and unfortunate.
If you have read this through I'm sure you have a comment.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Knit With Me 21

Tassel Stitch

This really does look as the name suggests doesn't it. At first glance I thought it would be a cable needle required stitch but it is a little more unusual than that. I haven't tried this before but as I am going to a Ravelry Group Knit tonight (L'ton SnB) I thought I would have plenty of experienced knitters on hand if I get confused. It is knit over multiples of 6+1.

Tassel Stitch
Row 1: *K4, P2* K1
Row 2 and 4: P1,*K2, P4*
Row 3: As for Row 1
Row 5: *Put right-handed needle between the 4th and 5th sts and draw through the loop, K1, P2, K3*, K1.
Row 6: P1, *P3, K2, P2tog*
Row 7 and 9: K1 *P2, K2*
Row 8 and 10: *P4 K2*, P1
Row 11: K3, *as for row 5 from * ending the last rep K1, P2, K1.
Row 12: P1, K2, P4, *K2, P2tog, P3*

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Winter Whispering Pines

A friend of mine recently pointed out that "it was about time to change the dresser because it's nearly Spring". Technically it may be Spring next month but this is when our Winter gets well and truly underway. Now is the time for heavy snowfalls in the highlands and winds racing up from the South Pole bringing icy temperatures that make your nose sting deep inside.
I found these serene Japanese porcelain plates at the local op shop for 20cents each!

The bowls were $3.00 each and the smoky glasses were $2.50 each.
These will be great for water glasses or sweet dishes.
I love the pine/fir tree pattern because it evokes a wintry white feeling of serenity like the silence in the snow. It accents easily with white of course but I could easily mix it with my pink plates also. Add a piece or two of cork wood and a couple of pine cones and candles to the table and the mood is complete.

A four place dinner setting for under $25.00. Frugal and flash.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Walking Home - Winter

In Winter.....
the sun sets early and quickly, there is no lingering twilight. The temperature drops noticeably as soon as the sun disappears beyond the mountains on the western horizon. The surrounds are overwhelmingly monochromatic; the window panes, the footpath, the fences, the clouds, all are varying shades of grey, charcoal and soot. Even the word "dusk" sounds grey.
The cold cement of the footpath seems to eat my footfalls muffling the sounds of my steps. I pass the houses in the streets in total anonymity, no-one hears me, no-one sees me, they are insulated within. The blinds are pulled and curtains are drawn shutting out the cold and locking in the precious warmth.
The smell of smoke from newly lit fires is strong.
Occasionally I hear a lone bird's short song but they are not to be seen. They have tucked themselves away early for the night.
There is snow on the mountains standing out stark white against the deep plum of the mountains. The trees are skeletised and form lineal silhouettes against the sky.
My mind is quieted and at peace. My skin on my face feels young and fresh from the icy wind but I have my mouth and tip of my nose buried in my scarf and by now my breath has created a tropical micro-climate.
How good it is to finally reach home. I appreciate the comfort and shelter all the more. I remember as a little girl, lying in bed saying my night-time prayers to God and being thankful the roof over my head and my nice warm bed with lovely clean sheets. Simple comforts that I am so grateful for still and thankful that I was born into this life.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jason Mraz - Make it Mine (Music Video)

Loving this so much. It makes me feel so positive and cheerful and dare I say....
empowered in my life....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Knit With Me 20

Trellis Stitch

I'm really excited to have finally found my cable needle so I'm keen to try this pattern. It will certainly be eye-catching and bold in the blanket. I always used to think cabling was a really complicated and scary thing until I tried it one day (using a double ended needle) and realised it was just holding stitches out of the way really and then putting them somewhere else. If you haven't tried cabling I urge you to give it a go with these small squares we are doing. It is a nice little square for a first timer which is less daunting than a whole jumper and as you progress in knitting confidence, it is nice to have something a bit more brain twisting in your repertoire.
This is knit over multiples of 6 so I'm casting on 42 stitches. Sl = Slip  cn = cable needle

Trellis Stitch
Rows 1 & 3: *P2, K2, P2*
Row 2 and Alt Rows: K the P stitches and P the K stitches of the previous row
Row 5: *Sl 2 stitches on to cable needle and leave at back of work, K1, P2 from cable needle, Sl 1 on to cable needle and leave at the front of work, P2, K1 from cable needle*
Row 7 and 9: *K1, P4, K1*
Row 11: *Sl 1 on to cable needle and leave at front of work, P2, K1 from cable needle, Sl2 onto cable needle and leave at back of work, K1, P2 from cable needle*
Row 13: Repeat from row 1.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Second Hand Wedding"

I went to the State Cinema for the first time last weekend when I was visiting the girls. It was first built in 1914 and has had a very rocky road over the last 100 years with changing fashions and trends and probably the biggest threat of all was televisions in every home. Today it is thriving as a small independent cinema and renovations have enabled the building to house five cinemas now (some very intimate and lounge-like with double seater sofas), licensed cafe and a return to the original facade.

We saw a very entertaining New Zealand film called "Second Hand Wedding" and came away feeling light and happy. There were some very funny moments but I loved the "ordinariness" of it too; the bargain obsessed mother with her life long adoration of John Rowles was a great character.
We had the cosy cinema 5 with beautiful sandstone walls and leather lounges that seats about 20 people. With everyone laughing together it was like being at home with friends. Tegan also introduced me to a lolly called sour mandarins which were divine. Such a great mother and daughter day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Knitting Hiatus

Pardon me.......
I haven't managed to pick up the needles this week......
in fact I haven't been able to pick up much at all this week!

There has been a lot of work and a lot of ordinary old living to do.
I will tell you that I am having a loving return to Aneka Manning's "Good Food" and re-discovering again her sensible, healthy, fool-proof and most importantly seasonal recipes. Tonight we enjoyed a sumptuous Traditional Chicken Soup and have left-overs for lunch tomorrow. It's hearty, healthy and soooo frugal, it ticks all my boxes!

I washed the poodles today with a view to clipping them tomorrow. I bath them in my shower hence there will be NO photos...but I will tell you a funny story....
not hilarious, just ironic.
I renovated my brown faux marble Masonite bathroom with gold-look taps and yellow bath and turned it into a modestly priced white and black serene efficient space. I did allow myself one extravagant folly.... a Grohe shower fitting (OK I got taps all round too but they weren't that dear). The shower head WAS however and my builder thought I was insane. "But it's got seven shower settings like "rain" and "champagne" and "jet" and it's fully adjustable for height...blah blah blah"
I get in, I have my shower (it's set on "normal") and I get out. has been wonderful for the dogs. They have "champagne" for their face washing and and Bella has "massage" forcing dirt and grass out of her tightish curlyish hair and Lucy has a modest "rain" setting as hers has never really changed from the soft puppy coat. really is a dog's life.
Seriously though, poodles are a lot of work and tomorrow I have four hours of clipping and toenails etc tomorrow so although they are easy to live with and they don't shed and have hair more like humans than dogs, I urge people to think really carefully before buying them or the designer versions that are becoming so fashionable. The hair doesn't stop growing and needs to be brushed regularly and the ears!!! Oh my goodness they need plucking to ensure they have healthy air flow to prevent infections etc. These dogs really suit people who are willing to bond closely with their dog and have time to spend on them. They are very active and can be exuberant and need to run and explore outside a lot. They are not meant to be cotton-wooled.

Painting by Matthew Lake

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