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February 2006
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2paw Pittman

Yes, I am throwing a ‘Jana’!!* My left shoulder muscles are complaining about the fact that I have Dr_who_zuc_sleeves knitted the 2 sleeves for the Dr Who ZUC in 3 days!!! I am having to rest, cry that my Games hopes are over, and stomp off to the bedroom!!! I am having to knit a little, then read, or do some Project Spectrum embroidery, and then knit again. It does not bode well for a Games Medal!!!

In more medal news, I have, amazingly, won the Best Designer Sock division in the Westbury World Wide Sock Knitting Competition.  Who knew my socks really were the stuff of designer dreams? Cathy also won a prize, though I’m not sure in which division.  Thanks to Suzi, Margaret, Sandra D The_charlotte_socks_1 and Katt for giving me the news, and their congratulations!!! I would have liked to go to the WWW Sock Competition, but I have been feeling a little pale and I slept away the afternoon yesterday without a care or worry.

The Labradors had an enthusiastic walk today. They ran after (non-existent) kangaroos and played chasings and then ran about at home in the Sun. It was cool on our walk, even cold, and I wore a long-sleeved top for the first time since I don’t know when. Even so, it is sunny and warm now.

ACMA gave me great recipe packs for Christmas. They have all the spices and herbs you need to El_burrito_spain make one of 2 recipes on the pack. I made Spanish Chicken. I coated strips of chicken thigh meat in the chilli, whole fennel seeds, basil, smoked paprika and garlic and herb salt, and then fried them in olive oil, and made a salsa out of corn, tomato, parsley and red onion, and made a Spanish Burrito!!!! I spread the floury burrito with sour cream, added some luscious avocado and the salsa and chicken and devoured it like there was no tomorrow. It was utterly delicious. When I am pale and too tired to think of what to cook, I can use the great packets, and not eat toast and Vegemite for every meal!!!

Im_a_teapot I have a new ‘teapot’. It is an 8 cup coffee pot really, but in truth it makes 2 my-size cups of tea. I am drinking Orange Pekoe at the moment!!!

There is a new Spring/Summer Vogue Knitting and a new KnitSimple as well. I will have to investigate their soon-to-be-here-edness!!!

* Scroll down through the transcript to read a little about Jana's Dramas

Vote Early and Vote Often!!!

         My_colour_collection                  Do not, I repeat, do not phone the Terrorist Hotline. You may be put under surveillance and your phone tapped etc. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Harki and Peri met Winnie the Dog and her owners and siblings on our walk. We had a very pleasant conversation and the four legged animals made happy friends, and the little boy patted The Labradors to within an inch of their lives : they were so very, very happy!!!

I havAnd_so_star_albums_begine voted and I feel very happy. Suzi  has been thinking about whether voting should be compulsory or not. I am on the side of compulsory voting. People died, suffragettes threw themselves under horses and trams, were imprisoned and force fed, all in the battle to enfranchise women, and non-landowners. Voting is like a sacred privilege. It is a right to be treasured. You can scribble on your voting form, or submit a donkey vote, or even try to make your vote count.  The USA doesn’t have compulso ry voting. I rest my case!!! I love voting!!!

I have finished one Dr Who ZUC sleeve. It is still boring to look at, so,  knitting unrelated craft news :

Scrapbookin’ Star Album. Millie’s Mum, sisters and Aunt and I made lovely albums. I am so in love with this. I keep opening it, making a star, tying it up again, stroking the cover in all its lovely green shiny smoothness!! What follows are some pictures Look_what_we_made documenting the making of the Scrapbookin’ Star Album. You have been warned!!!!

Star_album_closed Scrapbookin_star_album

Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb....

Today is StLook_its_raining_1 Patrick’s Day : I love this day as you have to wear green!! Every day is St Patrick’s day for me!!!!!!

I am still knitting the first Dr Who ZUC sleeve. I keep being interrupted by the need for sleep. It is boring, and you don’t need to see it. I have a picture of rain on a flower for your visual entertainment instead!!!

After a brief window of access opportunity this morning my ISP was ‘experiencing difficulties’, and after 5 hours everything seems to be up and running again. This morning we had a fog, our first of the season. It has turned out to be a lovely day : it usually is after a foggy morning. When I was little we had the Bridgewater Jerry (sic) a big rolling fog th at would come down the river, not lift till lunchtime and then come down again in the early afternoon. The fogs here are mere puffs of smoke!!

The Labradors are so much happier now it is generally cooler. Harki is more playful and busy, and Whats_in_harkis_mouth_1 Peri  wants to play too. They had a bone this afternoon as they have been so well behaved, they can have another bone tonight when I go to a pseudo scrapbookin’ craft lesson. I am learning to make a concertina-like booklet.  It is too hard to explain, there will be photos tomorrow, I can guarantee that!!! Last night we all slept like tops, and this morning didn’t wake up till 8-50am.  I plan to have a little nap soon, in order to be able to concentrate tonight for 2 hours.

Richard Neville has had his satirical website  “closed on the advice from the Australian Government”.  The Prime Minister’s office has had it closed down. Whether or not you agree with Mr Neville’s opinion, he has the right to express it, and people have the right to read it. He is not inciting violence. He is being satirical. Feel free to access a spoof on a Howard speech in PDF form. Free speech rules. OK!!!

Auntie Captain Mrs Archer and I have, finally, watched the very last episode of Farscape : The Peacekeeper War. It has only taken sooo long that we almost can’t remember who some characters are. I  saw the beginning, and then the TV station chose to show Farscape whenever they liked, or not at all. I have only seen it sporadically and have missed whole series. When it is on special  ACMA and I are on a mission to purchase it all and immerse ourselves in the weird and wonderful world of Crichton!!!! I made the luscious rhubarb dessert from BH&G this month. It was to die for!!!!! I can remember the recipe, it goes like this…

Delicious Rhubarb Dessert

  • 2 bunches of rhubarb

  • 350g caster sugar

  • juice of one lemon

  • 50-100g raspberries

  • 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and chopped

  • 2 sheets puff pastry

  • icing sugar

  • cream, whipped – you can add rose water if you like

Preheat oven to 200*C (180ff). Line 2 trays and you need 2 more trays that will fit on top. Trim and cut rhubarb into 5 cm pieces and then place in an oven proof dish with the sugar and lemon juice and leave to stand for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, when the oven is hot, cook the sheets of puff pastry for 7 minutes, remove and cover with baking paper and then press another tray down firmly to squash the pastry. Return to the oven, still with the trays on top of the pastry, and cook for a further 7 minutes or until a bit more than golden brown. Cool on a rack and then cut in half, and then into triangle shapes.

Then stir the raspberries into the rhubarb mixture and bake for 15 minutes. It actually took mine 35-40 minutes : I didn’t want any hard bits, you’ll have to check it and see every 10 minutes I expect.  Remove from oven and mix through strawberries carefully. Cool to room temperature. To serve, place a good dollop of the rhubarb mixture, a triangle of pastry well dusted with icing sugar, more rhubarb, cream and then repeat as desired!!! It was like the nectar of the gods!!!!

Not drowning: knitting....

  I  thought that the Election campaign may have been an uplifting and worthwhile activity, but it has been nothing but name calling and fighting. Why are people so unkind??? I just don’t understand why we can’t all just get along.

Now, for all those sad people who have never read a Cole’s Funny Picture Book – You poor things!!! We had lots of these at home, with the rainbow trademark ‘swoosh’ on the cover.


Cole arrived out of the Murray River goldfields in the 1850s, opening a bookstore in the city's Eastern Market in 1865. But a simple bookstore wasn't enough for E. W. Cole. He opened the first Coles Book Arcade in the city's East Market in 1873 and, six years later, turned to publishing. Like an earlier businessman from across the Pacific pond with the initials of P. T., E. W. thought big. And little. One of the first in either hemisphere to realize the potential of the children's market, he began publishing a series of books. Called Cole's Funny Picture books, they were largely patchwork albums of pictures, puzzles, poems, jokes and stories from a variety of sources (no-one took copyright terribly seriously in those days). Cole was canny enough to realize that moral uplift was important to book-buying Victorian parents. So the funny picture books were shot through with poems warning of dangerous characters like the Vulgar Little Lady, Rude, Bad, Naughty, Cross, Nasty, Bold, Dirty-faced boy. The volumes proved so popular that new editions would still be published by the Cole family decades after E. W.'s stores closed early in 1929.

Www_sock_comp_book_mark It is raining. Really raining : there was thunder and lightning and now raindrops are falling on my head, and everywhere!!!  They even fell on the lovely bookmark the Westbury World Wide Sock Competition organisers sent to acknowledge the receipt of our socks. There was a very nice letter too, and they hope to have another competition next year.

This morning I bought seasons 1 and 2 of MacGyver. Sigh!! I have some wool and some needles – watch me fashion a Jack O'Neill out of them!!!!!! I also made a very yummy Plum Upside down cake. Dr_who_zuc_logo_wrong_side

The Labradors had a walk this morning and then a big play and as we all like thunderstorms we have been having positive play experiences while the thunder rumbles and the lightning strikes!!

The Dr Who ZippyUppy Cardigan, henceforth hereafter to be known as The Dr Who ZUC, has been ceremoniously started!! Well, I call casting on a ceremony!! I Drwho_zuc_sleeve_1 crunched the numbers and wrote a pattern and I have not let the fact that in 3 rows I will have 15, yes, that’s right, 15 colour changes, deter me. I am strong, I am invincible, I am mad!!! I have no knitting fear, I am like those surfers with the monster wave : this is my monster knit!! I have just been knitting and twisting wool where the colours join and it doesn’t look half bad. I have had to start a sleeve, as there are too many colours to cart the back about with me.

Oh, yes, and there are only 12 days in The Games. I should be knitting, not typing….

Plum Upside Down Cake

  • 185g butter

  • 220g brown sugar

  • 1 tspn vanilla extractUpside_down_plum_cake_1

  • 3 eggs

  • 330g plain flour

  • 4 tspn baking powder

  • 180ml milk

  • 1 large tin of plums ( or fresh plums)

  • extra 150-220g brown sugar

Grease and line a tin, I used a 24cm square. Preheat oven to 170*C (150*ff). Cream butter, sugar and vanilla and add eggs one at a time. Beat till just combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and then the milk. Mix till well combined. Sprinkle the extra brown sugar on the base of the tin and arrange the halved plums to cover as well. Top with the cake mixture and smooth to cover. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool on a rack then turn upside down and eat warm with cream and/or icecream.

Budding Holly

Project_spectrum_1_almost_done_1  Today I felt faint in the Funny Book Supermarket and I had to sit down and they brought me a glass of water. They were very kind.  I am, then, feeling quite pale!!

Yesterday I finished my trousers and the new zip is in and I am wearing them as I type. They are very comfortable, being stretchy, and a tad too big. I have overestimated my size again!! I shall make this pattern as soon as I find some more linen/cotton with Lycra!!!

I have almost finished my Project Spectrum Red Project #1 ( #2 accidentally being the Pincushion!!!) I embroidered while I watched Commander in Chief last night. I just have to quilt each patch and embellish with some beads and then back and bind. I do that in one fell swoop, so I quite enjoy it. The Black-Spot-Of-Doom-Light have their chair back, so I wasn’t feeling faint there. I bought the wool for the Dr Who Logo : I am making Logo #1. The Commonwealth Games start tomorrow, but I am Dr_who_logo_wool_ready_to_go_1 not ready to start tomorrow, and I have done exactly NO preparation. I work best under pressure, so I will be writing the pattern tonight!!! Katie sent me these logos when she was my Secret Pal 6, and the Dr Who Zippy-Uppy Cardigan was only a dream then : So thanks Katie!!!!!!!!!!

It wilNerdy_radio_penl have rib bands, K1 P1 because I like those best, and then ribbing continued at the side seams to add self-shaping with the rest plain stocking stitch. It will have the logo on the back, but I don’t know what the neck and /or collar will be like, but I reckon I have a while to go before I need to make that decision.

Nerd Alert : If you are offended by my sad Luddite-ness look away now!

I took my special Artemis Fowl radio pen with me on our walk this morning and I listened to the local ABC on FM and the reception was perfect. Any fairies, goblins or elves out there had better watch out for The Labradors and I. We don’t have a wickedly intelligent plan, or fiendish schemes, but we might accidentally tread on you…….Real people have a proper radio. I used to be a real person and I had a green radio....once....My_holly_is_berrying_now

Oh, and my Holly is out in berry ( or in bud - is that what it does?) right now, in all its rich red and greenness. It is very healthy but weirdly out of season. It wouldn't be Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere now, so is it just me, or the weather???

As Easy as ABC

Today it is raining and all’s right with the World. I have been out in the rain, Harki has played with her toy in the rain and Peri has sniffed excellent smells in the rain!!! It is unfortunate for our local ABC radio station as today is their Open Day and Concert celebrating their move to FM 91.70. I really want to go, but I can’t. There will be no parking places close, and the ABC is fort-like on top of a hill, and there will be lots of people and queues and nowhere to sit and I would not be able to stand up for that long. ACMA, of course, has pooh-poohed the whole idea saying no more than 5 people will attend, but I think that lots will.

I have not knitted a stitch for a whole day. I must work on the details of the non-existent Dr Who Zippy-Uppy cardigan pattern. There is no pattern at all. I have to write it!!!! I need to get the wool for the logo on the back too.  Last week showed I can knit a ball of wool a day, but I must check the duration of  Commonwealth Games and make allowances for the assembling said cardigan!!!

Nodoily_trousers_resting_outside Today I am doing nothing. I am resting and napping again and I might take the invisible zip out of my new trousers and put an ordinary zip in instead. They have been washed and then dried in the Sun. They will need a lot of ironing!!!

I saw Katt in town at the weekend with DNLPF and her baby Christopher. She had bought some wool and now she has dyed it ( and bits of herself). Sharon has been a real Poirot and discovered that you can buy Kool-Aid locally, and so I am going to order some and dye my sock wool ( some time, some where, some day)

Today is the 8 Hour Day holiday. It is a day to celebrate the fact that all workers are entitled to 8 hours work, 8 hours recreation and 8 hours rest.  Of course all workers’ rights are under threat. On of my rellies has just been told he must work 12 hour shifts from now on, 3am to 3pm one week and then 3pm to 3am the next, or he can leave. There was no consultation, no co-operation, just an ultimatum. He had to accept as he needs his job, but this is not a sign of things to come, what is to come is already here……

Project for Spectrum

Project_spectrum_pincushion I am on a sewing jag. I have made the No Doily Trousers this week, and I have made something for Project Spectrum, by accident!! I was looking at the covered measuring tape comments and someone mentioned a pincushion, so I clicked and looked and now I have made one!! They are very easy and very, very effective. I made this in a red and burgundy colours, though there is still a hint of green. I am making these for a few birthday people who I will, hopefully, be seeing soon!! I know they do craft work, so these will be great!! I want a green one for me now too!!!

Last night I went to Pierre’s for Miss Perils Of’s birthday. I always have the fish in tempura batter. It is so lovely. It was an excellent night, and I managed to talk non-stop. Consequently I am going to hell in a hand basket today!! Last night it was hard to sleep as there was a big concert for youth in the park down the road. It was exceedingly noisy. I am an old fogey now!!!!

I am about to have a big nap now, and then, perhaps a sleep after that!!!!! The Labradors are quite hot, it is not sunny, but humid and very close. They had a small walk this morning as a treat, and Harki has been playing with a bottle. Peri has a watery eye. I hope she is OK......

Whip It Up Good!!!

Covered_tape_measure Last night I finished knitting the three balls of silk/wool from the Mulberry Tree cardigan. I am about 15 rows shy of the end. I feel a lot more confident that 13 balls will be enough now.

I also covered a retractable measuring tape as per the Whipup instructions!! I love this : it is my new favourite thing!! I think you need to embellish the top, whether it be Suffolk Puff or not, before you attach it, otherwise it is too hard.

I also made some earrings and a bracelet from my wooden I_whipupped_thisbeads. Very nice and they match the only thing I can wear at the moment. I am fixated on my lace edged green top and emerald multi-green skirt with the accidental dolphins. You cA_leprecon_radioan wash these and they are dry in less than 30 minutes.  When I feel pale, I don’t want to think about what to wear, I want to wear only what I want to wear!!!

3 books and a radio for $20!! How cheap is that? The first 3 Artemis Fowl books and a radio pen at ½ price!! I want to see if the radio works…maybe later on.

The Labradors had a swim today. Peri was inordinately cute and Harki was I_made_this ambushing her and stealing her stick as she left the water!!!

Vive Le Baton

Boy_runner_and_madcage_man Today the Madcage man was running with the Commonwealth Baton. I went along and my car accidentally joined the first convoy!!! There was a veritable phalanx of police when the Madcage man ran at 10-51am at Legana. I took photos and I called out ‘Hooray for the Republic. The Republican Games for Australia. An Australian Republic’  and lots of people clapped, even officials clapped!! Then I was invited to the Apres-Run lunch so I accidentally went out!! I ate the most deliciously creamy Scallop, Bacon and Lemon Risotto. The scallops were plump and thier roe was very colourful and tasty. I am so tired now I can’t even knit anymore. I took my knitting but there was no waiting, no delay, just a hot UK baton!!

I am past the underarm cast off on the as yet still nameless wrap cardigan. I think I shall call it Mulberry Tree, and I have one in my backyard, and silk worms eat the leaves and are wrapped in silk as I will be!! I will sMadcage_man_and_baton_entourageoon have finished the third ball so I bought some inexpensive pure wool in light green to have a go at making the felted bunnies from YARN #2. I think they will be part of the Easter present this year. The Liquorice Allsorts scarf is all complete. It was quick to Liquorice_allsorts_scarf knit and I love the feather and fan pattern and the way it produces such a nice effect with the yarn.

The poor Labradors didn’t realise they were being abandoned for 3 hours so they were very happy to see me when I arrived home. I have 2 new Library books to read and I bought some jewellery bits to make some earrings and a bracelet with my new green wooden beads!!!

At the Knitting Coven one of our conversations was about covering measuring tapes, the ones in a little case with a whippy-inny button on the side. Sharon had a lovely felted cover. At Whipup today there is a tutorial about this very thing!! I think I shall be covering my 2 tape measures tomorrow!!!

Bags of Fun!!!!

My_new_green_bags I picked up my two new bags from lay by!! They are green : of course!!! One is a leather compact but many compartmented bag, and the other a lovely woven straw bag.  I must count my green bags and see how many I actually have!!!

The Labradors had to have 2/3 of their walk on their leads today as there were a veritable multitude of cars and people at the dam : at 8-01am too. It was lovely and cool and I slept all the way through the night and woke up at about 7-30, so we went for a walk before I could think twice about it. I quite like walks on the lead as thLong_suffering_harki_and_peris_bottomey pull me up the hills!!! Harki is so longsuffering. Peri bounces about, steals her toys and generally creates havoc with a plastic cup!! Harki just sits there and we catch each others eyes, and I think she rolls hers too!!!! I am glad I am not going out at all today. I am staying home, napping and knitting and stewing apples!!!

I have had my new computer for 2 1/2 years, which makes it not quite so new, and when the keyboard stopped working yesterday I was rather philosophical about it. Peri_does_the_hokey_pokey Then I turned it over and saw that it needed batteries!!! Who knew?? Not me!! I have a cordless mouse and that needs batteries frequently, but I have never put new batteries in the keyboard!! A quick swap and it was up and working just like new again.

What’s going on with the still nameless cardigan back?? It is curling like it’s part of the Canadian team?? I need a cute guy with a broom to make it stop curling!!! I Whats_going_on_here_then watched far too much Winter Olympics!!! I expect I can block it to within an inch of it’s life, but it is very, very annoying. The actual wool/silk yarn is lovely to knit with. It is smooth and not splitty at all,  though it is a little thick and then, but not terribly so. I have almost finished the second ball and will be able to start the third in an hour or so. The little piece of thread tied on marks 50 rows. It stops me having to count from the bottom all the time!!!

I am one with Sharon endorsing the acceptance of one's curviness!! I have noticed than often famous uncurvy women want their upper regions to be nigh on alpine in their curviness, whilst retaining waif-like proportions everywhere lese. I’m curvy and I’m proud, ‘cause let’s face it, I’m never going to be anything else!!! I need my clothes to be flattering and so boxy, squared off things make me look like Mrs Bucket in full flight!! That is why I steer clear of ponchos and wraps, lest I actually resemble something that needs to be steered!!!  As long as I can still fit into last Winter’s clothes, I am happy, and as I am wearing some jeans now from last year and they are quite OK, I don’t feel the urge to d**t!!!!!!

Sharon also found a link to sock blockers. My cardboard ones are just like that, except they are cardboard!! I may need to invest in some a bit later on!!!

Katt and AJ have joined Project Spectrum too!! I am looking forward to seeing what they make. I am pleased that I don’t have to totally abandon my green fetish to join in. Some people have added a little red to their project and  absolutely fulfilled the criterion, so I am happy that my special Katt Yarn, which I have named Daffodil, qualifies 100%!!!