Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Just Chilling and Chilly..

Brrr. It is freezing here. It is also school holidays. That means a lot of hunkering down in front of the fire knitting and referreeing fights over t.v. choices and whose turn it is to feed the chooks/dog/rabbit. This has been the longest, coldest, wettest Winter.  Ironically, wet wild weather means that we sometimes have no electricity, which means no pressure pump, which means no water.  A small child turned on the tap outside when the power was off and because nothing happened she didn't turn it back off.  The power came back on. The pump kicked in. We lost 20 000 litres of beautiful rainwater while we slept.  Sometimes living here feels a little like living in Little House on the Prairie.  I know that I am not meant to admit that, being a farm girl originally, but I have kind of got used to suburbia and mains water and ducted heating.  Then I feel utterly ridiculous when I read some of my favourite blogs and see stories like them digging their sheep out of the snow..

I feel like life is a roller coaster right now.  We are either on the dizzying highs or the gut wrenching lows. I am sure a lot of that has to do with low Vitamin D levels and a residual back problem that needs to be managed better.  Saturday morning we had a fine morning and I got out in the garden and planted all of my bare rooted David Austen roses and weeded and pottered around and picked up lots of kindling.  While we were outside the neighbours lost a massive old gum - we watched it fall and heard that sickening crack and thud as it hit the ground. The awe was tinged with a bit of sad, and a bit of fear, but mostly gratitude that it hadn't damaged anyone or anything.  Those gums move such a lot in the wild wind. Thankfully we have only lost a few big limbs from ours and no damage has been done, besides a few sleepless nights and a couple of hours with the chainsaw.

One of our neighbour's houses got broken into - again, sadness, fear, vulnerability, a feeling that not everything is right with the world.  This is my castle. I love this house. I want to feel safe here.  I am also profoundly disgusted and saddened that people can feel that they can break into someone else's sanctuary and take what is not theirs. Not fair brown bear.

Our lovely, amazing ex-neighbours (our Nairne neighbours) are in the process of saying goodbye to their husband/father and that is heartbreaking.  I pray for a peaceful, dignified end for a wonderful man. Life can be cruel. Again, not fair brown bear!

And in amongst all the blah, there is so much good.  One of my lovely (lurking) blog readers has just added a beautiful little baby girl to their family of energetic beautiful boys.  She totally appreciates my handspun, handknit cardis so it has been fun to knit something special for her.  There has been lots of knitting in front of the fire - test socks (which are fun but kind of kooky as the designer only needs one to finish the test - so I am getting a collection of odd socks patiently waiting for their mate!) There has been glorious spinning for the Tour de Fleece.  Visits from friends. Pikelets and soup on the Stanley cooker.  Plenty of apple crumble and roasts and winter comfort food. Jonquils popping through in the garden. Sleep ins.  Reading in bed with the electric blanket on - most recently Clara Parkes, and now the new Sara Gruen novel. Lots of cuddles and snuggles with Marmalade the bunny (who loves to be handfed carrots and broccoli stalks). Before the wasted water fiasco there were long soaks in hot baths.

I am trying to find the joy and comfort in little things. Winter cannot last forever.
May you be warm and well my friends,
May Winter's small blessings and simple things bring you comfort and joy,
Keep smiling,
Nell

p.s. a photo less post. Most of my crafty photos are currently taken on the ipad which doesn't allow for blog posts.  I really need to get back into the habit of using the camera and downloading photos regularly. Apologies and cheers for those who made it to the end of a dreary read.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Winter Happy

It is grey. It is rainy. It is cold. It is Winter.  I feel like it has already rained too much. I feel like even the smallest kindness could bring me to tears today.

Today my extended family, the Cox "clan" (as we call my Dad's side) said goodbye to my Uncle Frizz. He was a funny man. Fun and kind hearted.  I am sad that I couldn't be there.

Can you maybe spot the one who is a couple of months overdue for her Vitamin D booster?

So anyhow, here are a few things that make me smile;
Our new bunny is called "Marmalade" - she is little and sweet and super snuggly and finally I have found a rabbit who likes broccoli stalks and nudges me when she wants a pat just like my sweet Kiara used to do.
There has been lots of knitting beside the fire. Mostly shawls for our rav shawl-along (A http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nelliebligh/quaker-yarn-stretcher-boomerang and then a http://www.ravelry.com/projects/nelliebligh/willowind ) then some socks for a test knit.  I love that the yarn for these was part of the Bungaree Swap/Destash so essentially free!  When they were done I put them on the end of Maddie's bed while she slept.  The next morning we had bush school.  We were sauntering along hand in hand when one of the other Mums pipes up with "Maddie, are those HAND KNIT socks you're wearing?!?!"  Not exactly school uniform but I bet her feet were nice and warm and it is nice to know she appreciates them.







She does know how to make a Mummy's Winter heart glad.
Love this kiddo and her funny ways.
Please pray for sunshine for Bush Kindy tomorrow so that I can get some much needed Vitamin D.
Stay warm folks!
xxx

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Taking Stock: June

It is time to take stock again.
Making : socks for Maddie in bright spring colours
Cooking : marmalade - golden globs of sunshine to brighten dreary WInter days
Drinking : chai tea and instant coffee and red wine
Reading: The Peppered Moth
Wanting: New long black boots
Looking: at ravelry finished projects
Playing: dumb to the copious quantities of dog hair on carpet that needs vacuuming again
Deciding: what kind of quilt cover to get (old one is in tatters)
Wishing: Winter was over
Enjoying: the cosiness of a wood fire and the luxury of owning a working stove again
Waiting: for Winter to end and school holidays to start
Liking: the possibility of two new nieces in Spring
Wondering: how Trump could have got so far in the Presidential campaign and why Americans can't see the need to change their gun laws
Loving: these two sweet kiddos snuggled beside me on the couch
Pondering: how Hannah's feet could possibly be the same size as mine - surely it was only yesterday that they fit in the palm of my hand?
Considering: that children will grow up despite our best efforts
Buying:t2 tea, coffee pods, and the right to walk 35 kms for Mitochondrial disease in Keelan's honour
Watching:Outlander - I am obsessed
Hoping:that my local library has the books
Marvelling: that even with my considerable yarn stash I still don't have the wool that I need for a new shawl project
Cringing: at the thought that I won't be there to support my Dad and my 95 year old Gubby as they say goodbye to Uncle Frizz this Tuesday
Needing: the comforts of home and family, and a visit to my remedial massage specialist (my back is not good!)
Questioning: my work life balance and why we haven't seen Mr Fluffy the koala around lately
Smelling: old dog and wood smock and garlic butter chicken kievs cooking (they still remind me of my old friend Sharon McCallum who would bake them when I came to her house for tea!)
Wearing:comfy shoes and daggy tracksuit pants
Noticing: that people that I didn't even know were reading are commenting on how infrequently my blog is updated these days!
Knowing: we have another busy week ahead
Thinking: the year is going so quickly
Admiring: people who have the balance right
Sorting: which frames are being hung where - still boxes to be unpacked and things that don't have a home (and it has been almost 6 months can you believe it?!?!)
Getting: excited about my bare rooted roses arriving in July - I will have David Austens again!
Coveting: warm woolly crocheted blankies, and big cuddly winter jackets
Disliking: the cold
Opening: new paper - the Magical Times Paper Pack to play with next month
Giggling: at my kids beating my husband at monopoly
Feeling: like I could do with an extra day to the weekend, and a glass of red wine
Snacking: on almonds, and jersey caramels
Helping: knit for charity, run a friend's kids to school, organise the Kindy stall for elections, do Friday Foodies and Bush School - do all the good in all the little ways you can (Mother Theresa)
Hearing: my kids laugh and my husband's footsteps on the stairs
Mixing: odd bits of wool to make charity mittens and more little hats
Worrying:about work - looming National Quality Standards Assessment, too much to do and too little time - and a memory like a sieve
Slicing: carrots, and onions, and potatoes and a never ending quantity of lemons and cumquats and limes for marmalade
Celebrating: family, and my Uncle Frizz
Forgetting: to go to bed on time
Winning: kisses from my husband
Pretending: it is not Sunday night (and having another glass of wine)
Sneaking: the last of the New York Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Embracing: my kids and my husband because I am reminded this week of just how fragile life really is
Knitting:shawls for our shawl-along, socks for a sock-along, and the Kyla test knit socks (LOVE this pattern)
Crocheting: a zig zag chevron in the colours of our loungeroom, taking inspiration from a skein of Kathys Fibres Rose Garden
Weaving: a turquoise and white handspun scarf
Scrapping: Christmas last year and Easter of this
Dreaming: of Spring and warmth and sunshine

Have a good week folks!
xxx


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Like Paddington

Like Paddington, I am up to my elbows in jammy goodness.  Golden globs of sunshine.  Cumquat marmalade.  I wish you could smell my house.  That citrus tang. OH MY!!! Cumquats are one good thing about Winter.  I don't know why, but to me cumquats are the quintessential marmalade fruit.  My love affair with marmalade began in my uni days when I rented a house with a cumquat tree.  I had almost forgotten about it until one of my uni flatmates posted a picture of her marmalade on toast blaming me for the fact that she is still slightly addicted and then, last Saturday, while pilfering lemons from my friend's tree, I noticed that she had two cumquats loaded with fruit.  A jar of marmalade in return became a very sweet deal.

Now, I promised New York photos.  New York seems like a dream ago now.  But at the time it really was magic.  I didn't ever expect to like it as much as I did.  Central Park was the standout. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  James has been convinced to make me my own (somewhat smaller) version down the front.  It won't happen for a while as we want to see exactly where the water pools and drains this Winter.
The Birthday Boy outside of Central Park



Strawberry Fields - my new camera makes full use of available light with the flash off so this was captured at night.




I know I am ridiculous but I have such a thing about squirrels! I love the fluid way they move. And they are just way too cute.

Check the lamp posts? And this is near where we saw a blue jay, and a cardinal and a chickadee! I know I get excited about strange things.

Hans Christian Anderson was responsible for my love of fairytales.  I didn't expect to get nostalgic here but I did!

The cherry blossom was just amazing!

The view from Belvedere castle

Tulips - everywhere we went.  I love a city that values its citizens enough to plant tulips in public spaces.

This was one of my favourite spots to just sit and watch the world go by.

Told you my new camera was amazing.  We got some great night time shots.

Believe it or not I do have lots of more touristy photos of Times Square and the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge but they will have to wait until next time.
Happy Monday,
Nell
xxx

Thursday, May 12, 2016

National Scrapbooking Month

I cannot wait to share the beautiful "Happy Times" paper pack with my customers tomorrow.  Today for the first time in what feels like forever I have had a day at home to just potter around.  Probably not as productive as I wanted it to be (housework shmousework!) but I did have such a lovely time playing with paper and I can't wait to see some of my Central Park photos on this layout.  I have just imported over 600 photos of New York so plan to share a small handful of those with you tomorrow but for now here is a sneak peek at pages from this month's workshop:


Ooh I do love that paper!
Happy Friday Folks!
xxx

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekending

Oh weekend how I love thee!  We had such a great day today.  A sleep in. A cooked breakfast. A birthday lunch for my Father in Law at a lovely local winery followed by chocolate cake and coffee at home.  We fired up the Stanley Cooker for the first time ever and I am about to eat roast pork and roast potatoes followed by apple crumble.  I finished my test knit cardigan and I love it so much.  One of the joys of knitting means that you can make something to suit your body type so I added 5 rows onto the sleeves and have a cardigan that actually fits my long arms.  I used Bendigo Woollen Mills Milky Way which is part milk fibre and part wool and has a lovely stitch definition as well as being soft and snuggly. I can definitely recommend it.
 And now of course, just like that, the weekend is over and we hurtle into the hurly burly of last week of term.  Hope your weekend was happy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hooray!!!

Hooray! We had some good news on the weekend when we accepted an offer on the Nairne House.  Settlement is mid-May.  Whilst I have lots of lovely memories of this house and I will be sad to leave my garden it is a weight off our minds to sell and move on to where our heart now is.  Partly because of the good news, and partly because of the upcoming New York trip, we went and bought another camera! WHOOO HOOOOO!!! The battery is charging and so there will be blog posts with photos again from now on.  In fact, you might get a little over-blogged as I practice using it before NY.  I went Nikon again (because I am a loyalist, and I am still sentimental over my old Nikon) hopefully that means that it will be easy to get used to because the dials are still all the same!
Tonight is Night Owls/craft group so must dash as I am in the race to the finish line with a beautiful Kanti Mama cardigan test knit.  1 and a 1/4 sleeves to go before April 11th. Knit Nell, KNIT!!!
Happy Humpday to you all.
Keep smiling,
Nell