Monday, August 23, 2010

On Thursday Island

We are here. And have intermittent Internet access after all. I don't know why I'm so surprised - so many of my cousins are on Facebook!

Cairns was busy and tiring. Early mornings, long days, late nights. Trying to fit everything and everyone into two and a half days.

Now we are T.I. and it's much more relaxing... And that, to the children, to my city-bred computer-addicted children, means BORING. Ack! Hopefully they'll catch up on lost sleep soon and start being more pleasant to each other. There was an incident that ended up with a bleeding nose this afternoon. Not fun. Thankfully Atti recovered quickly and spent the afternoon trying to work out how to use the borrowed Xbox.

Despite all that, I'm happy as larry. It's gorgeously warm. A nice 30°C with an incredible and constant strong wind blowing in from the east. We're staying in my (late) Grandmother's old place - a world of memories brought forth. Even the walls are still the same colour!

It also helps that we have occasional 'net access so we're not completely cut off from the world. Best of both worlds, I say!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Sounds rude, but it's not. It's where we're headed for the next ten days. Sunny, tropical Far North Queensland. Specifically, Cairns and Thursday Island. The kids are ridiculously excited. I'm more trepidatious... I hope they are good flyers!

I've probably packed more knitting projects than I can possibly hope to complete but, hey, better to have too many than not enough. And the same with books, for that matter. At least I remembered to pack my reading glasses.

We will have limited internet access while we're away. Maybe none! I'll miss you all.

See you later!

P.S. Note the time on this post? Yep. Time to get some sleep... Taxi's coming in five hours.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Scowl

We found out a couple of weeks ago that the Director of the boys' After School Care Program is leaving, after 8 years there! Dante was quite upset about it all, especially after not getting off to a good start with the new Director (during his hand over week)...

I wracked my brains for present ideas. Something safe like a Dymocks book voucher, perhaps? But I really wanted to hand make something for her. Because that's what I do... Decide to hand make something and leave it to the last minute. I think I thrive on the stress of it.

Then a new yarn shop opened up last week, not five minutes from work. I've been waiting for it for ages it seems, eagerly watching for signs of activity as we drive by every day. Of course I had to drop by on opening day. And to bring a shop luck you've got to buy something on its first day. Looking at all those beautiful balls of wool and cotton brought an idea to my mind. I'd knit Sarah a cowl. She lives in the Blue Mountains, land of ice weather and chill winds. Something nice for her to wear to keep her warm would work. I've seen her wearing scarves so I knew she'd like it.

I searched Ravelry (a really great knitting and crocheting resource, if you haven't heard of it) and found a great pattern, which I'd actually added to my queue a couple of years ago and never started (or finished). The Spiral Cowl (affectionately known as the "scowl" for some reason) knitted up quickly and easily (except for a major misread of the pattern by me. Oops!) and I managed to finish it with an entire hour to spare!

Photo taken in a hurry on a friend's iPhone under horrible work fluorescent lights. The colour is much deeper in real life (see next picture).

What I loved most was the picot edging. Never done it before, always being too scared of it. But, you know what? Easy! Not that complicated!

Can't wait to make one for myself now!
More details here, on Ravelry.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

City to Surf - a recap

Last week I mentioned I was entering in the big race today. Well, it turns out that 80,000 people did the same thing and this morning we ran and jogged and walked 14km from the city to Bondi Beach.

I left the house this morning feeling completely unprepared, having slept fitfully and suffering a bit of sunstroke from spending a few hours in the park yesterday. My training was incomplete, my health not 100% and I was nervous as anything. I caught the train in and everywhere I looked, even at my local train station, there seemed to be people wearing sandshoes and sporting clothes. I calmed myself by knitting on the journey in. Yes, I carried a small knitting project with me. How could I not??

Got to Hyde Park in the city and there were even more crowds. The major theme for the day, obviously. Met with my brother and sister-in-law and we queued up in our starting group. The atmosphere was fun. People were excited, nervous and a little cold! Lots of cheering and clapping when the first group went off (funnily enough the winner would have crossed the finish line just as I was crossing the start. Heh).

The gun went off, the surge began and we were off. "Let's run!" my sister-in-law exclaimed and then zoom, she was off. My brother and I looked at each other and laughed and started at our own, slower pace. A steady jog.

And amazingly we kept it up the entire time. Jogged the whole way. Made it up "Heartbreak Hill" with nary a scratch. Upped the pace a little on the downward stretch around the 11km mark. No sign of Prisciilla although we kept in contact by phone a little along the way. I checked my timer as we rounded the corner to Bondi - 95 minutes. I tried to up the pace a little more (to try and beat the magic 100 minute mark) but my body wouldn't budge! Took us another ten minutes to reach the finish, but we did it. Sore but smiling! (And my incredible sister-in-law beat us in by a few minutes, even after stopping for a toilet break (and queueing for that!) half way through!)

I have to say that I am so very pleased with my effort today. I honestly did not expect to be able to do anything but walk. Having my big brother by my side was wonderful. He encouraged me and kept pace with me and made the whole experience so much more enjoyable. And knowing my sister-in-law was somewhere up in front inspired us to keep going in the (vain, it turns out) hope that we might catch up with her!

Thanks, guys! I'm really looking forward to doing it all again next year, but perhaps with a little more preparation this time!

P.S. We took some pictures with our mobile phones. I'll add them later when I get a chance.

Friday, August 06, 2010


I recently discovered the blog of Jo from bubala who is also a mother of three here in Sydney. Lately she has been making bread and the other day she wrote about making cinnamon scrolls. They sounded just too delicious and too simple and easy not to try making them myself!

So yesterday (my day at home with Elora) I made up a batch of dough and in the afternoon I made the scrolls. I probably used more butter than Jo and forgot the sultanas but it didn't matter.

They turned out wonderfully! Soft but not too soft, sweet and cinnamony and delish. We had them for dessert and the kids demolished them in no time. "Mmm. They're like doughnuts!" Atti said as he reached for his second.

They were so good I decided to make another batch this morning and took them to work. I remembered the sultanas this time and used a little less butter and a little more cinnamon. They weren't bad either. We demolished them too!

Thanks, Jo, for the inspiration!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Ice Cream Dress

I did it. On Saturday I decided to get stuck into making an Ice Cream Dress (or rather, the blouse) as part of the Ice Cream Social. And by dinner time I had it completed!

I just used some cheap poly-cotton fabrics I had lying around, since it was sort of a rushed job and a first try. I made size 3T for my 3½ year old.

I have to say that I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Fairly professional looking as long as you don't look too closely at the stitching... I can't sew perfectly straight yet, and there were a few places where things didn't turn out quite right. Will have to ask the expert about it if I see her one day.

I chose a blue button for the closure. There was a little too much pink going on for my liking.

It fits the girl, just. A little tight around the arms, but she did have two layers on underneath. Should be alright in a couple of weeks' time when we head to Far North Queensland to visit family (and for a break - the tickets were cheap! I'll write more about that soon).

She wasn't in a very good mood when I asked her to try it on... this was the best picture I could get.

What a great cranky face! Don't want to cross this one!

I can't wait to make the full dress (View A) with pockets. This time a size 4. I might even get Elora to help me choose the main fabric. She might be happier to wear it then.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

One week to go

I don't think I mentioned that I entered the City to Surf back in June. I was feeling optimistic. There was plenty of time, it was over two months away. Plus my brother was going in it, and my sister-in-law said that it was probably his last time. How could I not go with them?

Heh. The weeks flew by incredibly fast, as they always do. The past couple of weeks I've been fending off a head cold/respiratory virus thingy that the kids have happily brought home and spread around. Cough, splutter, sniff, sneeze. I've still managed to keep it mostly at bay, but it's also meant that I've been tired, unfit and generally lazy. AND NOT TRAINING. Eep.

Now there is one week to go and I think I am even more unfit than I was when I entered. So much for my running. At least I know that I'll be able to walk it with ease!