Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Winter genes

Well well. It seems I'm being a bit of a fan of winter hibernation.

Funnily enough, I do this every year, and every year it takes me by surprise... Gradually, slowly, I'm coming to accept that in winter, I don't like going out. Others like gathering for parties, going to the local lantern parade, and things like that, but really, all I want to do is sit at home, staring into the flames of our warming fire, and feed it logs when it needs them. Perhaps a little knitting in there, to change it up a bit too.

My excuse? I'm sure it all comes down to genes. Both my parents are Russian, and I'm certain that my genes are telling me that there's 11 foot of snow out there, and going out is a serious mistake!! Add to that the memory of being quite ill the last wintertime, and I really don't mind myself staying home, right where I want to be.

Given that I feel tantrums of the ugly, flailing, snot crying sort building inside me when I go against my strong inner urges like this one, it's really in everyone's best interests that I stay right here!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Craters and Tarps

Hello. This report is being filed from the pit of renovation hell. Last Monday we had part of our roof removed, it being old, full of holes and cracks, with rat condominiums riddled through it. Yuk! From Monday night onwards it RAINED. And rained some more. Then, just when we thought it was over, it did it all over again. There are tarps up over the roof, and they are actually doing a better job of keeping the rain out than the roof was doing, so that's one upside. Hopefully roof replacement will happen in the next 2 days before rain is forecast again! There is also a large hole under our house. This is the Hole. Of. Which. We. Do. Not. Speak. It is the hole that was dug by Himself instead of taking the family camping over the summer holidays. It is the hole that he has paid people to dig since January. It is now mid-April, and the hole has progressed through a one-man phase, to a 2 blokes with shovels affair, through the, "We'd better hire a digger to get this done quicker" idea, into the oh-shit-oh-shit my wife's getting snarky downward spiral and into the Ok, Now We Need a Builder moneysink. The hole was originally in aid of just leveling the ground under the house, between the stumps, to make headroom so that when we wanted to stow junk under there, there was less swearing about hitting our heads on the crossbeams. So a large amount of dirt removal later, he had his hole. Then, our part of the world got much rain. Biblical amounts of rain - we didn't flood; we're on a hill, so technically can't - but the subsoil washed out from UNDERNEATH the stumps. The foundations of half our house were hanging in mid-air! This is what precipitated (!pun nowhere near intended!) the need for building props, a detailed plan for a retaining wall, and a whacking great slab to be poured under there. Oh, and did i forget to mention that the house stumps were then all deemed in need of replacing? Oh Yes! All of them! So that got done, too. Many gazillions of $$$$ later, we are in proud possession of a house that only has half a roof, and a crater under it. That we were possibly thinking of selling sometime soon. If I wasn't so sure that nothing else could render this more spectacular, I'd be crying...!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Crafting world unite...show some love for Japan.

Follow this link for a roundup of many creative and useful ways to help out our Japanes neighbours. And flood survivors in Australia, and the Christchurch earthquake survivors too!

Share the love!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Inspiration Monday

Oh boy, I've been pootling round the internets like there's no tomorrow... nothing like procrastinating on a Very Long To Do List to ramp up the browsing!!

But the upside is that I have some great things to share:

I can feel some sewing coming on, but this may just get in the way!

A nice list of fonts, both of the free and not so free kind here.

And oh! For the love of Ikea...and what we can do with it.
Also, even though it is hard to be far away and only be able to throw money at a problem to show you care...watch this. Then give. If you want.

Hmm....'Aunty'...I like it!

Oo er. I'm an Aunty!

Congratulations to my brother and his wife on their terribly cute little girl, born on Wed 16th March. May she live long and prosper...

Thursday, 3 March 2011

We all know Breast is Best!

Oh, don't we all love a bit of scare-mongering? Especially when it's both scandalising and titillating at the same time.

I am still hyperventilating at the supposedly unbiased reporting in this little article, which manages to seem both very rational, calm and fact-stating at the same time as being scandal-spreading and furore-stoking.

My problems with the article - and the related issues - are many, but the largest are these:
  • Breastmilk is designed to be drunk and ingested by humans. Baby humans, it's true, but since when does big people drinking breastmilk suddenly gross us out more than big people drinking something that comes out of the underside of a cow and is meant for baby cows?
  • If the article is read carefully, it can be deduced that the breastmilk was pasteruised before it was used, and was screened in accordance with blood donor screening tests before that. This gives it a pretty good chance that it won't have anything to 'pass on' as has been so subtly suggested.
  • Cow milk is no dirtier or cleaner. In fact, I have friends who will not now drink cow's milk, having grown up on dairy farms and having experienced for themselves how cows - and their milk - are treated.
  • Just because two puritanical, purse-lipped disapprovers complained, an interesting product that managed to be not only a dessert, but also a political statement, lifestyle statement (feminism, animal rights, the technologising of food, our squeamishness about our place in the animal kingdom - take your pick) and general shiner-of-light onto the dark corners of our ideas about ourselves has been taken off the market to be investigated.

I just hope that none of the disapproving nanny-state supporters have realised that any publicity is good publicity, and that all that they are achieving here is giving the icecreamists a goodly dose of airtime. (That's good for nipples too, you know.)

Monday, 28 February 2011

And now some knitting...

Seeing as we're having such a cold end to summer (what summer?!) here, I thought some knitting content would be appropriate:

I knitted this lovely little vest for Poppy's Class 1 teacher who left at the end of last year to have a baby, due any time now. It's the Pebble vest, from the free pattern at the Thrifty Knitter.

It was such a lovely little vest to knit up; I admit I got discouraged partway through, because I thought that it was taking a long time, but then I realised that as the back and front are knitted up at the same time, it really wasn't that long at all until I was dividing for the shoulders, and shaping the necklines. I have knitted two of these so far, and plan to knit as many as the mamas of new babies I know will allow me to give them - they are just lovely and too, too cute on small fry!!
I'm told they are also super-practical, because they totally unbutton to lie flat, so there's no wrestling them over a baby's head to get them on. And let's face it: the less wrestling one has to do of babies, the better.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Ramekins, a new obsession

Sunday nights are Dessert Night at our house. We instituted a weekly evening for this as I was getting sick of being asked, "Can we have dessert tonight?!" EVERY night, and also because if I wasn't asked, I tended to forget for weeks on end to actually make dessert...

So! Dessert night was the solution, and one that all of us look forward to. Even those of us who have to make the said dessert every week. To combat the onset of the same-old, same-olds I have acquired some oh-so-wonderful pottery to keep me interested: Martin Boyd ramekins!

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE these! They come in such beautiful colours, and are different on the inside from the outside, and all of us have our favourite combinations.

I first came upon these lovelies via Loobylou, who used them for shepherd's pie. Then I spent two years (yes! two years!) stalking them on ebay... and procrastinating about buying myself some. THEN, I had a feeling my grandmother would give me some money for this Christmas just past, so I went ahead and bought some. The ones I got even had 'rare side plates' that are unsigned, but have the same distinctive yummy colours of the ramekins. Yay!

Now we use them (carefully!) for a few things, not least of which is apple crumble, my dessert night fallback position. Sometimes I get them out just to play with the pretty colours...

Monday, 21 February 2011

Inspiration Monday

Ah, achievement! Posting on the day I've aimed for. Small victories; small victories. So, to my current inspirations:

This is going on my wishlist...for one day, maybe.

Some of these toothbrushes will go a long way to easing my landfill-creation related guilt.

...and one of these for a bit of Pride and Prejudice every day.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Simple Solutions...

Sometimes a solution to a problem is so simple that you feel a bit silly after you've worked it out.

I figured out the other day why our current collection of very yummy cheeses is sitting in the fridge uneaten. I diagnosed a lack of decent crackers to eat it with, remedied the situation, and now I have yummy snacks of cheese & crackers at the ready whenever the mood strikes!
Cheese and crackers FTW!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Inspiration Monday

Ok, so I can have 2 *inspiration monday* posts in a week. Can't I?

Stumbling around the internet is an interesting thing. I find myself going in circles, reading the same blogs every day, and I could be in danger of thinking that the internet is made up of yummy food blogs, crafting mamas and crazy knitters with database building skilz. (Hello, Ravelry!)
So I decided to see what else was out there.

These women have chutzpah in spades. And some good advice, too!
Dmitry Orlov, the man who predicted the GFC
This, for my friends who keep bees.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Inspiration Monday....I guess I got distracted!

Good intentions to play along on Inspiration Mondays, but...

Poppy started back to school this week, and Leo had some kinder starting preparatory meetings to get through, so we did that at the start of the week, then the weather began to ask politely for our attention.

Well, to distract myself from worrying about family who are now out of mobile phone battery power, and who I can't bother every so often for updates on their safety in the face of this, I think some inspiring links might be in order.

Getting great mileage from the constant updates on twitter here.

Thinking of using this great idea for taking the perfectionism out of journaling.

Amazing aerial shots of the world here, via Walk Slowly, Live Wildly.

And I'm grateful to have found these errata before setting out to cut into some fabric!

Hopefully we can make contact with family over the next few days, and I'll actually have inspiration on monday next week... or not. It all depends.