Once More Unto The Beach, Dear Friends, Once More.

It is very annoying when all your friends are on holiday and/or have relatives visiting. There is so much socialising to do: it wears me out!! It is the best kind of tired. The tired I feel when I am tired from too much laughing, talking, eating, and walking on the beach.

It was a milestone birthday for MissSingapore and we celebrated with a vegetarian picnic at the beach. That was her heart's desire: a picnic at the beach and then a long walk to the other end of the bay.

At the beach

For a Winter's day, it was pretty perfect. The sun shone and there was a light breeze. It was too cold to go in the water, even to paddle, but it was a perfect walking along the beach day.

You can't see the little fish

Little crabs and waves and mountains

Thousands of little crabs must have erupted all at once sometime that morning. The waves were small, but very noisy. It is true that the sea air is very invigorating. I collected lots of cuttlefish for some birds I know.

Cuttlefish

I finished a cotton doily for MissSingapore. The body is knitted on 2.5mm needles and then the edging crocheted with a 2.5mm hook. I blocked it by drawing a circle around a large saucer, dampening and then pinning each crocheted loop, making sure the first double crochet was exactly on the line. It turned out very well, thought in the picture the edging is wonky.

Doily

I also sewed her a bag version of MrsDrWho's Star Wars wall-hanging(#112)

The 18th bag #112

Here is my specially adapted Celery shopping bag (#111) It will hold three bunches of celery comfortably, four sparse bunches at a pinch.

Celery bag #111

I sewed the final Cat bed, #3, for MrsDrWho's birthday. At our house you have quite a difficult time trying to take photos sometimes.

Trying to take a photo at our house

The Cat bed has some super soft polar fleece on top, and then some Star Wars furnishing fabric on the bottom, or vice versa. There are five layers. I have photos of the first two beds as well.

Cat bed 3

Cat bed 2

Cat bed 1

When I look at Gilly in the last picture she looks very worried and sad. It was not long after Peri died, and I think it is when she started to become ill. She missed Peri Pumpkin terribly.

Here are two very happy Labradors on their rainy walk. The camera angle makes Hedy look Giant. Lorelai Gilmore is exceedingly well. She plays rough and rowdy rebel games with Hedy all the time. In fact most of the time I was editing photos, they were playing Tug-of-War with a piece of cloth. Hedy Lamarr has been wicked. She chewed a clock. We shall speak of this no more.......

Hedy and Gilly are happy

This Winter the mornings have been very icy and especially cold. So cold, that there was ice on the inside of the windscreen and tiny drops of ice frozen on the tips of the conifers at the dam.

How cold is it

A few years ago I bought some Supernatural fabric from The Spoonflower for MrsDrWho's sister. I planned to make a dress for her. And today I did. I am not confident at all sewing stretch fabric, so I used a beginner McCalls pattern, 7348. I only had one yard of the Supernatural fabric, so I bought some cotton jersey from The BlackSpot of Doomlight (tm) It sewed beautifully and has a lovely drape. The Spoonflower fabric wasn't as easy to sew. I made View A, and had to add an annoying 10cm to finish each shoulder as the yard was not quite long enough. I did some excellent pattern matching. I still have to finish the hem tomorrow. I stopped sewing before I made a mistake.

Superdupernatural dress

I have been very busy dining out and there will be more dining out tomorrow. I have made chocolate, and boozy gin, fudge and Nutella truffles. It is no wonder I have been tired!! The Labradors and I rested all day on Tuesday after the beach excursion. I think we will rest again tomorrow.


Wondering Woman

Judy-May has a new house!! How exciting!! She organised a House-warming Afternoon Tea and so I said I couldn't possibly have a catch up with my Sewing friends on Tuesday afternoon because: House-warming Afternoon Tea. In the back of my mind I had a niggling memory of something happening Thursday afternoon. I expect you can see where this is going.....

There I was, sitting at home with a present and a TimTam Brownie and I realised I didn't know where to go to find the new house. I plaintively posted on The Ravelry about said situation and feeling out of the loop. I don't have The Facebook, I am not Modern and the others are Modern. Turns out, the House-warming was today: Thursday afternoon. I took myself off to bed with a cup of tea and had a nice lie down on Tuesday!!! I am surprised we let me out of the house sometimes. My kind Knitting friends had a laugh with me this afternoon. I am wondering what I will forget next.

Here is the Wonder Woman table runner. I used one pink and two red fat quarters and just 20cm of the Wonder Woman fabric. I did a little hand quilting and fussy cut Diana for the centre of the squares.

Wonder woman table runner

MissSingapore is a celebratory age this year and MrsDrWho suggested a cup, saucer and plate. That could be my "thing" and I could buy it for her from now on to make a collection. MissSingapore is vegetarian and I just went to Cocoon by chance and there I found a gorgeous cup and saucer by LyndalT, which is animal bone free. It is Fine New China and perfect, as Miss Singapore can drink from it knowing it is free from animal products. Lyndal is an Australian and I rang to say how pleased I was. She was lovely to chat to. I am borrowing the photo from her website, I will put the clicky link here. The cup and saucer are secure in their box and I am too afraid to remove them.

Tea cup and saucer

I am knitting a doily to accompany the tea cup and saucer. It is Flacon, not a Ravelry pattern, using 4ply cotton and 2.5mm needles. I have four more rounds and then the crocheted edging to finish.

Doily

I am knitting MrsDrWho a cowl using Time Traveller in worsted Felici from The KnitPicks. Which is of course on sale now. I took it to MrsDrWho's house on Sunday to try for size and now I can't find it. More wondering.....

Time traveller wool

Vandals regularly break into The Dam area, after the gate is shut, and drive all over the grass areas.

Vandals and construction

Sandy's Dad thinks the Parks & Wildlife need to use a motion activated camera to catch them. The P&W put some rather large rocks to block the side, but the vandals just pushed them out of the way. Now they have cemented in two upright logs. Up the hill the vandals pushed the logs over and now there is a huge felled tree and more rocks. Their efforts seem to be in vain.

Vandal proofing

The construction in the dam area has not started, but I managed to kick Hedy's Billy Ball under the fence.

Billy ball is lost

She was very upset. She cleverly ran around to the opposite side because it should have rolled out there. It didn't. I had to find a stick and hook the ball and pull it slowly towards us. Thank goodness I succeeded!! Hedy Lamarr has faith in me.

Please help

Lorelai Gilmore is just smelling things. That's what she wants to do. That, and roll in something smelly herself.

Gilly smells something good

Gilly smells more smells

And now some Labradors running. Gilly sees Sandy and his Dad walking down the hill from our car and she keeps and eagle eye out for them. Now Hedy copies and does the same, but she takes her Billy Ball with her. When Sandy appears they run to greet him, and then they all run back through the gate.

 Gilly might stop and smell something and come last, but fast!!

This week I made a mash-up dessert: Lemon Meringue Cheesecake Pie. I didn't take any pictures, but Onyi has requested it for Friday Food tomorrow, and her wish shall be granted!!


Weather You Like It, Or Not.

Life has been so busy this week. Monday was a holiday, and I can't actually remember what we did. On Tuesday I went to Leukaemia Support Group and found that one of our number had died. I don't have the local paper delivered any more so it was a bit of a shock. Two of our group have died in the last six months, but their other halves have continued to attend, and we are all pleased to see them. I baked a big batch of Coconut Rough Muffins and went and spent a little time with WeeJock & Bessie whose Mum and Dad had to elsewhere unexpectedly.

Weejock and bessie

Yesterday I baked some TimTam Brownies and went to the wool shop for some knitting time with knitting friends. I went to pat WeeJock and Bessie and there may have been some slight miscommunication between their Mum and Dad because I set off the alarm. Oh, it was so loud and piercing and went straight through me. I had no idea what to do, but luckily their kind next-door neighbour knew what to do and we were able to disarm the alarm. I had to go home and have a cup of tea and a little lie down. Then I took some muffins to MrsDrWho, because I had promised to, and she is writing reports. We went to bed at 7pm last night.

Today has been just as hectic. We went for a walk, I baked more muffins, had lunch with friends. I am sitting here now and I can hear we have a mouse. It is rustling in the wall. I shall have to do something about it tomorrow. I made a scarf for one of my lunch friends, a simple Feather & Fan stitch in charcoal Jet 12ply. I knitted two halves so that the ends both had a nice curve and then grafted them together at the back of the neck. The socks are in Crunchy Salad, Fresh'n'Juicy from Opal. They are almost finished, for MrsDrWho's birthday.

Mrsmauritius scarf crunchy salad socks

I knitted the Cowl for MrsMichigan last year, but I hadn't posted it and now it is Summer, but she will have it for their Winter. It is a Craftsy free pattern in a knit-along by Kate Atherley: the Waverton Cowl.

Wave-over-there cowl 2017

Lorelai Gilmore's health continues to improve. She runs and plays with the other dogs and jumps up for a treat, even though she knows she shouldn't.

Gilly boop

Hedy is just full of happiness and wickedness. She is sometimes so happy she quivers with joy.

Hedy is so happy

For only the second time in maybe fifteen years, there are lemons on the lemon tree: there were three, now there are two. I am a terrible gardener and plants volunteer to come to our house and die. Still, I am hoping this is a sign of things to come.

La la la la lemon

The lemon tree is in The Forbidden Zone and The Labradors are only allowed in there under strict supervision. So, late in the evening when I came home from Sewing, they went mad. They went round and round the tree, one going one way to try and catch the other. It was a good game!! Hedy has laser eyes, and Gilly is so fast.

Labradors' night time circles

I sewed a new dress sometime in the last few months. It is the Cashmerette Upton Dress in some lovely Christmas tablecloth poinsettia material. MrsHouseOf paid the grand sum of $4 for four metres and gave it to me, so it was free!! I love that I didn't have to do a Full Bust Adjustment. I followed the instructions and cut out a toile and it fitted almost perfectly. I always have to raise the armholes and lower the waist a tad, but I am so pleased. I love the swooshiness of the skirt. I sewed the pleated skirt, v-neck version. It is a little loose and needs some tweaking, but I couldn't be happier. I like a loose dress when the weather is warm. I obviously have ONE pose, because each of my neighbours took these photos at different times during the day!!

Upton Poinsettia dress

The ABC TV News decided to update their weather map. That is a good thing, but when they updated it, they put the numbers for the forecast first and then the name of the town or city. I couldn't work out why I was having difficulty reading the chart when the sound was down. My eyes were searching wildly for the place name in the few seconds the map was up, and then it was gone before I could find the numbers.

I know we read from left to right, not middle to end, then back to the start and then to the middle again. I taught many children to read when I was teaching, so I know I have some expertise in this area. I rang The ABC and explained why I thought they needed to revise their chart almost three weeks ago. They said the graphic designer would ring me, but no-one did. Tonight I watched the News and something seemed different with The Weather: yes!!! They have changed the order and the place name is first and then the forecast numbers. The map is so much easier to read. I feel it is a victory for common sense and teachers of reading everywhere. Thank you ABC!!

Weather before and after

We all had a nap this afternoon, and it is very late. The Labradors are in bed already. Tomorrow I am thinking of making some Nutella-like truffles for Friday Food. It will be an experiment, so I may need a back up plan.


Dip-That-Toe

For the last two months I have either had a cold, or been recovering from a cold. And not even a bad cold. I went to the doctor for my usual appointment and she decided I didn't need antibiotics, and I didn't. But it took me so long to recover. Every day we would go for a walk, then we would go to bed until four or five o'clock in the afternoon, and we would sleep all night too. It was only last week that I started having proper days awake. Consequently I am dipping my toe back into The Internet and my blog.

There has been very little crafting: I knitted a Milo (It's Marvellous What A Difference), some socks for MrsDrWho ( Magical Happy Socks) and I made Wee Master Singapore some Shiny Gold Disco Trousers to match the Shiny Gold T-Shirt I sewed for him. Oh and I made a whole other set of pouches with Labradors on the front. I sewed one set and promptly put them somewhere safe, aka Lost. I sewed another set and of course then I found the first.

Things I have made

Lorelai Gilmore's health has continued to improve. She is feeling very well and loves to run and play all the time. Winter is here today, but we have had a few fogs and frosty cold mornings already. Gilly and Hedy love the colder mornings, they are invigorated.

Winter walk

We went to the vet for Gilly's blood test a fortnight ago. This is how Hedy waits for Gilly.

Hedy waits for Gilly at the vet

And it is impossible to take a photo of her joy when Gilly comes back. Poor Gilly, Hedy's waggy tail is a bother.

Gilly is back  Hedy is so happy

Hedy loves to play with Rafa and the ball. The ball is the thing. They both want it, they both can't have it at the same time. Rafa has the same toy, but if there are two, it is too confusing for them.

Hedy and rafa wrestling with the ball

I've had to return a whole stack of books to The Library, unread. I couldn't concentrate at all. Thank goodness I feel better, as I have lots of new books on Hold as well as the old one, back on Hold again.

I used my candy thermometer for the first time and made some Italian meringue. I made a syrup with sugar and water and brought it to the boil until it reached 120*C. Meanwhile I whisked some egg-whites. When the syrup reached the correct temperature I slowly poured it into the bowl as I whisked the egg-whites until they were cool. I don't have a blowtorch to brown the meringue. I am afraid of them, uncalled for I know, but gas and matches or an ignition spark scare me. I made some lemon curd and marscapone filled doughnuts topped with the Italian meringue and also some apple pie doughnuts, tipped with whipped cream, pecans and maple syrup. I took them for supper at Sewing. I feel more confident with the candy thermometer now, there may be more temperature related recipes in my future.

Doughnuts

Last week I went to Sewing, this week to Knitting Dining Out and I was also an unexpected Patient/Partner for the Fourth Year Doctors. I was the lucky ninth phone call to find someone to fill a gap.

And now it is time for all good Labradors (and naughty ones) to go to bed. Tomorrow I am going to ask my next door neighbour to take a photo of the new dress I sewed ages ago, and I shall endeavour to post for Friday Food and even, shock/horror, read and comment on blogs!!!

Here is Lorelai Gilmore running. She hasn't run like this since Peri Naughty died. Oh and here's Hedy Lamarr and her BillyBall and Sandy too.


The Truth, The Hole Truth.....

This is Gilly's life with Hedy

Sometimes this is what Life feels like: you are just sitting there, minding your own business, and suddenly.... Hedy!!! And not just Hedy Lamarr, but Hedy Lamarr woofing in your ear and being very annoying.  Poor Lorelai Gilmore, but every night when we go up to The Forbidden Zone to do a wee before bed, Gilly comes in the gate herself and back down the steps leaving Hedy trapped by the dastardly gate, and when I ask where Hedy is, Gilly wags her tail and runs up the steps to show me where the puppy is. Gilly is all wriggly and I give her lots of pats, even though Hedy tries to muscle in, and she is as pleased as punch with herself for rescuing Hedy.

Gilly cooling off

It has been cool, warm, humid, raining and cold today. In that order. Gilly took some time to drink the paddle pool. Since only 1% of our $900 yearly water bill is for actual water, I don't mind filling up the paddle pool for The Labradors. There is no incentive to be water conscious. We don't go overboard, but a Labrador can't drink murky water that's been paddle in by paws that have been who-knows-where.

Hedy ate too much

Hedy is handy, today she stood up on her back legs and chewed open the new bag of dry dog food that was on top of the freezer in the laundry, and I imagine she and Gilly stood under the hole while dog food poured into their mouths as if manna from heaven. I worked this out, Sherlock style, by observing Hedy's very round belly after dinner. Celery and carrot doth not a round belly make. She's too sated with food to move.

I have been doing jobs with money: new tyres and servicing the car. Thank goodness, all my worry about something leaking under the car was not needed. My rear shock absorbers (???) may need replacing but they are not urgent. Gilly has a new appointment at the vet and I need to make one at the dentist. We feel very happy that ominous tasks have been completed and turned out not to be so bad.

101 bag zippy chip

Look!! Shopping bag #101, with Christmas Koalas, because of course when you think of Christmas you think of koalas!! And a new zippy chip bag. I have remembered not to press the lining before I top-stitch the zip, because it slightly melts the plastic and it is never the same again, no matter how careful I am.

Face washers

I have been watching many and various things: the new series of Sherlock, Travelers (sp is American), Murder She Wrote (totally up to date) and The Librarians. I'm watching lots of other things like Fringe, The West Wing, Designated Survivor, Frequency, Shannara Chronicles, Enterprise, Taxi Brooklyn, The Delivery Man, The Wrong Mans(not a typo), Billions, Ray Donovan, iZombie, Younger: when the show starts to get a little bit frightening or I don't like the way it seems to be going I stop watching and change to something happy and good. Later on when I feel ready, I go back and start watching again.

Whilst watching many and varied things I have been indulging in a little more knitting. Small things so as not to make myself hot underneath them. Three face washers, because that's what we call them here, not facecloths, and the third leaf I managed to eke out of the teal cotton. I used Cottonwood 8ply and it is lovely to knit with, it doesn't make my fingers hurt.

Three colours....

The hydrangeas at the dam are looking beautiful: pink, blue and pale blue/lavender.

Hydrangeas

All the colours are on the one plant, though I think each flower is actually hundreds of tiny flowers.

Tomorrow I am going to make some more boozy fudge with Kirsch and dried cranberries, because I can't find dried cherries. We don't go for a walk on Wednesday so we can sleep in and maybe read in bed for a while. No-dog is going to need a big breakfast after The Incident in the Laundry!!! The weather forecast is for 21 and 20 until the weekend. I heard a scientist talking about heat stress on the ABC Radio a few weeks ago, and realised that what I experience in Summer is not just hating the hot weather but heat stress: headache, nausea, dizziness, irritability, thirst, weakness- but not heavy sweating. Apparently, some people do not experience heat stress and this is why they enjoy the hot weather. They just don't feel the effects of heat stress. I am happier knowing that what I am feeling is a proper thing, that I am not just a hot weather Moaning Myrtle. This Summer has been much cooler, with fewer consecutive days of very hot temperatures. The hottest day was 31.5*C, mostly it has been around 25, which is just right!!

 


Ten Things I Eight About You

Gilly is 8

Lorelai Gilmore is Eight years old!!! There are a bazillion things I love about her, too many to list. She is such a wonderful animal companion. Gilly is loving and loyal, sturdy and true. She loves to play with disposable plastic cups and to walk between your legs and have her back scratched. She makes me laugh. I was chuffed to see that when they are home alone, The Labradors sleep next to each other in the garage. Gilly has a good companion coming along nicely in Hedy Lamarr.

We sing this song about Gilly, now she is eight. I have always enjoyed Sesame Street King of 8 for Gilly.

We are so very happy that she has kept on living after her awful immune suppressed illness last year. She is still taking all her tablets, but she is as bright as a button, full of playfulness and every alert. She is teaching Hedy Lamarr to be alert as well. Hedy is a little bit afraid when Gilly barks, and this is not a bad thing: Hedy should go lower than Gilly. It is the way of the world.

Gilly and Hedy on night time alert

In celebration of Lorelai Gilmore's birthday and the fact that I have just sewn my hundredth shopping bag: Gilly and Hedy would like to give the hundredth bag away to someone. Just leave a comment and we will pick a winner next Thursday afternoon our time. The bag is made from some green quilting cotton and has a mosaic print of Gilly and Hedy on the front. I printed the fabric on The Spoonflower. It is a milestone, or a kilometrestone??, and now I have made one hundred bags in three and a half years the unit cost per bag for the pattern is just eight cents. That's as much as The ABC costs each Australian: Eight cents a day. I would pay more.

#100 bag

The bag is sewn, ironed and ready to post anywhere in the whole wide world. We will send it off to be used for shopping. It will do a good job. Even if you have never left a comment before, it will be fine if you'd like a chance to win!!

#99 bag cats

Here is bag #99, a cat bag. Though the material was cut carefully in the shop, when I tore it, it was quite wonky, and I ended up short. I used two blue jelly roll strips as an accent on the bottom. I think it looks as if it was meant to be. Roll on bag #101.

Sunflake dishcloth

Knitpicks is sending a free dishcloth pattern every week this year. I have knitted the first: Snowflake Dishcloth. Oh the agony of soooo many ends, and sewing ends into a cotton dishcloth is my idea of hell. Still, it will be very pretty, and if I can keep it up I will have fifty-two at the end of the year. Last year I was determined to sew The Splendid Sampler. I made it through about six blocks and then Hedy arrived.  I shall knit as many dishcloths as suits me and if I miss a week, I shall employ a devil-may-care attitude.

Cheese you've been a long time

We walked to the shop and I left The Labradors at the Dog Stop while I went to The Bakery. They waited: Gilly patiently, Hedy not so patiently. She woofed. Poor Lorelai Gilmore still has a fairly pink belly. Her fur is growing back every so slowly.

Hedy does rhythmic gymnastics..the stick

Hedy Lamarr is very athletic. She can leap and twist and turn and should be considered for The Dog Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastic team in three years!!

The new Donna Hay magazine has some recipes for icebox pies. Basically it is a base with flavoured ice-cream and maybe a topping. I made the Salted Coconut and Passionfruit Icebox Pie.

Ice box pie

The base is 135g shredded coconut, 75g caster sugar, 25g melted butter, 1/2 tspn salt flakes and an egg-white. You mix this together and press it into the base of a 20cm pie dish and bake for 25 minutes at 150*C. I used a flan tin with a removable base. Set aside to cool.

It would have cost $20 to buy the twelve passionfruit the recipe asked for, so I compromised with four real passionfruit and used some tinned passionfruit pulp. Bring the passionfruit pulp to a boil, add 55g of caster sugar and simmer for 6-8 minutes until it thickens. Set aside to cool.

Then Donna Hay mixes 40g shredded coconut with 1/2 tspn of salt flakes and bakes it for 1-2 minutes. It is meant to be sprinkled over the top of the icebox pie. I missed out this step as I felt it was a bit too trendy for the icebox pie recipient.

Soften 2 litres of vanilla ice-cream and fold in almost all the passionfruit. Spoon onto the base, swirl the extra passionfruit mixture over the top and then cover and freeze. Slice, top with softly whipped cream and enjoy.

There are five other icebox pies: blueberry cheesecake, pandan key lime, cherry chocolate, chocolate swirl & hazelnut and tiramisu.

We are expecting rain tomorrow, which is very exciting. The State has had to start up the gas-fired power station for the second Summer in a row. We really need some rain. I think we will cavort madly in the rain when it comes. And there will definitely be a Friday Food recipe tomorrow. I am baking back-to-school lunch box idea recipes.

Happy Birthday Lorelai Gilmore.

Baby Gilly

 

 


Friday (Food) Friday, Gotta Get Down On Friday.

I am being kind to myself after a tricky week and there is no Friday Food. This week:

  • The NBN came
  • The phone and internet did not initially
  • Nor did the silent number
  • The car is leaking some kind of fluid (sp edit)
  • We need new tyres
  • It has been hot and ever so humid

 

The actual man who installed The NBN was kind and very nice to The Labradors. Gilly was interested and sensible. Hedy was all yes I want a pat/no you are a stranger and had to be put in her little box for everyone's peace of mind. Ipad photos, so worse than usual. Hedy inspected the work.

The nbn has come

I am just treating myself a little carefully. After phone calls and emails - from MrsDrWho's mother's house because you can't email or phone if you don't have the internet or landline connected -  my ISP magically found it would not take up to twelve days (5-7 working days with two weekends in the mix) and they had enabled the internet and phone by the next day. I do despair, that I have to exert such effort, but it all ended up being sorted out and my number is silent again too.

Don't know what is leaking from under the car, I just noticed it yesterday, and we need new tyres desperately, so I am off to see what can be done about money. No point in having a car if it doesn't work. We spent all our money on Lorelai Gilmore last year and she is worth every cent!!!

Although it is hot and horridly humid, we have had a cooler summer and this morning it was cloudy so the sun didn't heat the front of the house: a boon.

So I am being grateful and telling people about what is happening. I am thinking today of James Hird. I am not an AFL fan, I only keep an ear on MrsDrWho's mother's team so I can chat to her about the games. I know only too well how easy it is to slip into a state where you believe people would be better off without you, that you are not worth very much and life seems a burden rather than a joy. I hope that whatever has happened, he can find the help and support he needs, anyone needs: BeyondBlue.

Gilly Hedy new summer beds

The Labradors have new Summer beds. They have a cool fabric outer and are squooshy but not warm, they feel airy. They are very popular, especially after the paddle pool. I think a wet cushion is a lovely cool sleeping place.

Cicadas potential friends or snacks

When my mum came to visit she came on our walk. The Labradors were astonished, as were the people, at the cicadas flying through the air. Gilly, and then Hedy, found the cicadas which had fallen to the ground but were still flapping, and they became potential friends or snacks: you guess which. They look like birds, but they aren't. The sound is almost unbearable, but to us it is the sound of Summer.

Christmas baking

I did some Christmas baking, and made cards. That's pretty much all I did. I made spiced shortbread mini biscuits, gingerbread with fondant snowflakes, vanilla pinwheel biscuits with peppermint candy cane iced on the edges, flourless chocolate biscuits, fruit cake and ganache truffles and lemon and white chocolate truffles. I am so pleased with the way they turned out and I purposefully made things that weren't covered in chocolate so they didn't melt in the heat.

Becca bag #1

Sweetpea bag #1

I bought a Craftsy course on sale for $24 and learned a new zip technique and sewed a Becca bag and a Sweetpea pouch. I am totally enamoured with the way the zip works. You cut the zipper ends off and then sew just one half to the bag and then re-attach the zipper pull. I feel very clever!!!

Bags 97 and 98

Grocery bags #97 and #98. I am almost to one hundred and I think I shall give #100 away on my blog. It is the very least I can do after subjecting readers to endless bag photos. I have some special material from Spoonflower printed with Gilly and Hedy and I shall use that!!!!

Xmas 2016 zippy chip bags

Last two zippy chip bags for the last two children at our Christmas gathering.

Hot bowl cosies xmas 2017

Also for Kris Kringle, hot bowl cosies. When you take a bowl out of the microwave, you pop it in the cosy to protect your hands.

And generally the rest of my craft for 2016: I am always amazed that I make so many things. I do sometimes think I waste my time sleeping and feeling not very well at all, but I look at all these things and I feel useful and productive. Of course I love making the shopping bags, but I like to try new things as well.

Knitted things 2016

Bags 2016

Hats 2016

Other bags 2016

Other things 2016

Gilly is trying new things, she joined in the Border Collie/Labrador Puppy chasing game. We are so pleased to see her being happy and enjoying herself. I wonder if she pined for Peri, after Peri died?

Gilly plays The Game

And Hedy is as happy as a pig in mud. She is silly happy, and extra pleased because Gilly stole a present bone from the Christmas bag and I gave half to Hedy Lamarr!!

Hedy is so happy

Here are The Labrador after the gardener whipper-snippered. They have the whole yard to play in and he even filled the paddle pool. He's a kind gardener.

Gilly and hedy after whipper snipper

Today I sat down and added one hundred and four books to my sidebar - you can only see the most recent twenty books I think. I hadn't added any last year. I think there are some I have missed. I usually take a photo as I put the book across the opening at The Library. I think there might be a few photos elsewhere. I've already read seven books this year so I hope to keep up-to-date with my list in 2017.

It is still too warm to sleep, and since we did sleep all day yesterday until 4-19pm and then all night again, perhaps we can stay up a little later. Tomorrow and Sunday are forecast to be 30*C so we should take the cool moments while we can.


Now It's Music I've Found, And I'm Tired, I'll Sleep Sound.

Oh I am so tired. I am beyond tired. Today we went for a walk and unexpectedly met Rafa and his dad. Hedy played so much she had to have a little lie down.

Hedy the ball Rafa

Then I had my hair cut and this afternoon I went to be a Patient-Partner at the Hospital. Seven people searched for, found and then palpated my spleen.  An enlarged spleen is a rarity, so the almost newly minted doctors and their tutors were excited to feel my spleen. I also had to exert myself so that they could hear the murmur in my heart. And get on the bed, off the bed, several times. I want to go to sleep, but I know if we go to bed now, I shall be awake in the middle of the night again.

Lorelai Gilmore is feeling very well. We met a new puppy, Sebastian, but I don't have a decent photo of him. Hedy, Sandy and Rafa played with him. Gilly?? No, Gilly met Sebastian's human and ascertained immediately that she had treats in her pocket. Gilly has never met a pocket full of treats she doesn't love!!

Gilly, never met a pocket she didn't like

Lorelai Gilmore has her "asking for a treat" face and paw down pat. Look at that face.

Gilly asking for a treat

Hedy Lamarr never passes up a treat, she also never passes up a muddy puddle.

Hedy in the muddy puddle

When Hedy bites Gilly, I squirt a little diluted apple cider vinegar at her. I only had to do this a few times before she realised what it meant. After that I just had to show her the bottle and say "No!". Unfortunately I left the bottle on the desk and Hedy wrought her revenge quickly, chewing off the top.

Hedy's revenge

I have been knitting something from Craftsy's new free Autumn Knit-along . They say Fall, I say Autumn. It is a gift, so I have not shown it as it truly is. I am very pleased though. It was a fun knit and looks great too.

Some knitting

I've also been trying to eat more vegetables. Tonight I had peas, sweet potatoes and potato. Yesterday I had some carrots, Hasselback potatoes with bacon and broccolini (not shown).

Bacon-y potatoes

I am tired in other ways too. A female politician has said she felt bullied by a male politician. The male Premier has decided there is no case to answer and the male politician apologised for his tone, but not the bullying. Now he is saying that he is the victim. How is it that he seems to have turned the whole thing around and made it about him?? The Premier says there should be mediation, but I think there should be a proper third party inquiry. I don't believe that putting a bully, and the person they bullied together is a good idea. I think it can give more power to the bully. No-one really know what happened, but the male politician threatening to sue anyone who discusses it seems wrong.

It is still a man's world.

Today is International Day of the Girl and a survey released shows that two-thirds of girls believe that gender inequality is a persistent problem in Australia. 40% say they do more chores than the boys in their family and only 16% feel they are valued for their brains and ability. Things have changed, but not enough. It seems that because girls have been given the same opportunities as boys, boys feel they have had something taken away from them. And when women are given equal opportunities to men, men also feel that they have lost out: I am speaking generally. I think of the way Julia Gillard was, and Hillary Clinton is, treated so poorly by men and by the media. I despair of old rich entitled white men. Women and men are certainly different, but deserve the same opportunities and respect. A few weeks ago I found a credit card on the road behind my parked car. I took the card to the police station and I had to fill in a form. The form was all "he", "him" and "his". Not even a pretence of "s/he". I do feel not as equal when simple things such as government forms only have male pronouns. I would like to see all forms with just female pronouns and then tell men that these pronouns are inclusive. I don't feel included.

What else can I talk about?? The Plebiscite for Same Sex Marriage. I cannot for the life of me work out why I can have a vote-that-might-not-even-be-worthwhile about same sex marriage, but not one about going to war or the deficit. It does seem now that The Plebiscite might be off. I think couples should be able to be married in a civil ceremony. Everyone should have a civil ceremony and then they can have their marriage blessed, or whatever, in a church if that is what they choose. And churches should be able to refuse if they want to. I don't want to interfere in their religion. I can't think of one good reason why there should not be same sex marriage. The arguments used against it sound oh so familiar to those used against African Americans, against our Aborigines and against women. And saying that children deserve a mother and a father?: even fifteen years ago in my classroom most of the children's parents were no longer together in their original family unit. There were single mums, single dads, people who had remarried, people whose spouse had died, the list goes on. I believe children are better off with two people, or one person, who loves them, rather than with two people who hate being together and make their home an unhappy or unsafe place.

I feel like Hillary after saying all that!!

And I just can't even start thinking about Donald Trump.

There. I've managed to while away an hour. Time for a cup of tea, maybe another episode of Fringe and then sleep. Tomorrow there is no walk, we don't walk on Wednesdays, so I plan to sleep all morning.

And now I plan to press "Publish" and be damned.


Chandler Bing: No, Beth doesn't die. She doesn't die, does she, Rachel?

Spoiler: if you have never read Little Women, there is a spoiler below. So, why not just enjoy this short video of an echidna outside the back gate at our house yesterday. In suburbia. Waddling along to next door's garden and a safe hiding place.

 

 

In the episode of FRIENDS, The One Where Monica And Richard Are Just Friends, Rachel lets slip that in Little Women, Beth dies. In order to ameliorate the pain, Joey and Rachel put the book in the freezer, and then, nothing bad can happen to Beth.

I would like to have put the last two weeks in the freezer. No-one has died, but it has not been a very happy time at our house. Lorelai Gilmore went for her Dental Check with Hedy Lamarr and the vet found one of Gilly's big back teeth was fractured, it needed to be extracted ASAP.

Hedy sits to attention in all the photos at the vet. She is on her best behaviour, when she isn't barking with excitement. We are working on that. Gilly's tooth came out and though her face was a little swollen, she seemed happy.

Gilly, before and after the dentist

It all seemed to go well at her post extraction check-up, but then last Friday on our walk her mouth was filled with blood.

Gilly and Hedy in the mud

We went immediately from the dam to the vet, and after a day of tests and poking and prodding, we found out that she had an auto-immune reaction to something, and had no platelets, so her blood wasn't clotting. Maybe it was the anaesthetic, or the long operation, or just the shock of the tooth coming out, as it took almost an hour to remove it. Dr David was also worried about a tumour being the cause. Poor Lorelai had to start taking steroids and more tablets to stop her feeling poorly after she had eaten. She had another blood test on Sunday. We had to go for a walk while we waited and we met Auntie Dutch, so it was immensely exciting!!!

Walking and waiting

Today she went back again to have x-rays and scans. When I went in to see Dr David I thought, at first, he said it was bad news and I wondered why he was smiling and looking relaxed. As he spoke, I realised there was some good news. Lorelai Gilmore doesn't have any cancer or tumours, and so all we have to deal with is the auto-immune reaction. Dr David seems pleased that her platelet levels have risen and we go back again next week for more blood tests. He hopes that over time the dose of steroids can be reduced to nothing, and she will be as well as can possibly be expected.

In the middle of all this I had the most horrid sinus infection that the first batch of ordinary antibiotics couldn't fix. My next-door neighbour had to drive me to the doctor again a few days later as all my teeth were aching, my face was throbbing, the glands in my neck were swollen and I was a pitiful mess really. It was a relief when the doctor said that I was actually very unwell and gave me the giant horse sized antibiotics. It has taken five days, but I am beginning to feel like myself again.

Poor Hedy Lamarr has been left to her own devices. Luckily she has been busy with a new toy, a present from her Auntie BionicKnitaWoman:

Hedy's new stick toy

She is happy to go into her little box (crate) and sleep while everyone else is at the doctor or the vet. Or lie outside in the sun.

Hedy sunny

Poor Lorelai Gilmore has been struck down with something akin to my weird and not-wonderful illness, but at least hers may be easier to treat. We aim to be positive, since I have managed to live for fifteen years when the doctors held out little hope. The vets seem to hold out quite a lot of hope for Gilly, and we are happy to grasp any straw right now.

Well, that escalated quickly. Life is going along smoothly and then it all goes to hell in a handbasket. There has been no new knitting: The Betty Spencer Hat was finished before the hell in a handbasket started, and WeeJock&Bessie's Mum likes it very much.

The betty spencer hat 2016

So on we go. And after all, tomorrow is another day and we are being grateful that there is another day to be going on with.

Let there be much more cheery news to come and maybe even some sweet Friday Food this week.


Lie-low and Stitches

In between the snow and rain and wind, we have had some sunny days, and there is nothing a Labrador enjoys more (well, apart from eating and walks) than lying in the sun soaking up the Winter warmth.

Lying in the sun

All went well when Hedy went to the Vet to have her stitches removed. We went straight into a consulting room as there was a very barky unhappy-to-be-there dog in the Waiting Room. The nurse whisked Hedy out to the surgery and Gilly waited for her. Waited and waited, even though it was only five minutes. She was quite worried.

Gilly worries about hedy

Hedy cared not one jot, she was ready to run and play again.

Hedy at the vet after stitches removed

Instead of being like an angry giant parrot on the end of a stick, Hedy was allowed to run free at last. I am not sure Gilly was so happy, she liked being Boss of the Walk. You can just see Gilly, being Boss of the Walk, far away up the hill. She was rather naughty to run up there, but since Hedy was on the lead, she took the opportunity when it arose.

Gilly far away

Now things are back to normal, with Hedy Lamarr at Lorelai Gilmore's heels.

First walk off the lead

We all went to bed yesterday and most of today as I had a migraine. The DVR in the lounge-room has decided not to Timer Record any more, so I had to use the others. I have two old DVD recorders that can only tune in SD stations. The remote control may have been on the bed so I could turn the news on. Late this morning I was awakened by a strange noise.....

Demoted remote

Oh dear, this is Hedy's first official Naughty Thing. Gilly was shocked, shocked and horrified. It can not be all Hedy's fault as she had access to the remote. It still works, but intermittently. What good luck it is the remote for the DVR that is broken. Household appliances know when your Tax Return is expected. They know. So far we need a new DVR, a new Rice Cooker and a new mixer. The Rice Cooker costs less than $20 and works very hard almost every day, so I am not so bothered by that.

I am knitting WeeJock&Bessie's Mum a hat in some soft and luxurious Debbie Bliss Andes: mulberry silk and alpaca. I have only made the ribbing, twisted ribbing, thus far and I need to buy some more short 4.5mm ends to do the actual hat. This will be the not so slouchy version.

Hat band

I am also sewing a Star Spangled Jacket. Here is a tip: always cut sequinned fabric out on a sheet or some other protective covering. Ask me how I know. There are sequins from dawn till dusk all over the house. The jacket doesn't have a full lining, and the spangled fabric is not solid, so I needed to make my brain work extra hard to figure out how to work the full lining and facings. I am almost to the putting it all together stage. When you are about to take a photo and you say "Wait" to The Labradors, this is what happens: Gilly waits patiently and Hedy just rolls on into the picture.

Star spangled jacket with help

Our Sewing night has changed this term, so I have to be organised and sew this fortnight's block and bake some cakes for tomorrow night. I am thinking of baking the Cherry Ripe cupcakes from this month's Taste magazine. I bought some fresh cherries to tizzy them up. I am not sure about the overflowing chocolate ganache. Sure, it looks great, but it is not very eater friendly.

Cupcake