Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How Many Sleeps Until Santa?

Hugo & Renly lapping up the Sunday morning sunshine
Hugo has asked me this almost every day.  If it isn't "How many sleeps until Santa" it is "How many sleeps until holidays?" or even  "How many sleeps until the weekend?" - for Hugo it's all about "The Sleeps".  He is starting to get so excited, he loves the festive season.  Getting the tree up, helping with my preparations, watching the slew of holiday movies & asking all those difficult questions like "What doesn't it snow here for Christmas?".

The boys getting their holiday movie fix.
Louis of course has a much more pragmatic view of the festive season.  We have already had to have the 'Santa Talk' to him.  You see, Hugo is still very much a believer, where as Louis refers to it as 'the Santa myth' made up by parents to bribe their children into being well behaved before Christmas.  He has held this belief since he was 4, he's now 8.  So when I said to him that I didn't have to worry about gifts from Santa for him this year, his reply "Stop being so ridiculous, I still want presents, you just don't have to lie about where they come from!" - Don't get me started on the tooth fairy.

Louis posing in his new vest, the yellow actually really suits him.
As well all the festive prep I have also found time to get a good whack of knitting done & have managed to dust the wheel off & do my first spinning since the 'broken claw' incident six months ago.  Louis Wasp vest from the previous post is completed and already worn with the cooler weather and I have cast on a chunky kimono top for me (well that's the plan at this stage).  I have also idly started crocheting another 'granny scrap' blanket, the perfect chill out project, and am eyeing up doing another Summer Cardigan for me - possibly in the new Stirling Alpaca from work.

The first skein of homespun since the 'Broken Claw'
The spinning has been great, so good to get the wheel back out.  I know spinning for me is a little like coal to Newcastle, but you can beat spinning for relaxation.  There is something almost trance like in the process, I really do enjoy it.  So with now 14 sleeps until Santa, I'd better get my skates on and keep moving!

A fun festive 'Rainbow' skein.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunshine.

One of the beautiful decorated cakes by the PAS students - Garden was the theme
It's been great to get out into the Spring sunshine.  When the wind hasn't been tickling us up, it has been wonderful to look out at the garden, see the roses blooming, sun shining and the boys racing about outside.  It has also dawned on me that it is one month until Christmas.

Louis, Hugo and Renly just loving Pakowhai Park
I have been somewhat organised so far.  The first gifts have been ordered, I have the Christmas cards, the meat for the big day is ordered, Champagne is in the fridge, Christmas tree is up & my nuts are all at home getting ready to be roasted (Christmas nuts - not Dr. Phil's!).  Not bad going with a month still to run.

Out backyard Guy Fawkes display - complete with fire precautions!
I have also been wearing my "School Mum" hat and was the official photographer for the Port Ahuriri Wine and Food Festival a couple of weeks ago.  A great event and so much fun.  It's been a joy getting involved at the school, especially when the Ginger is really in the groove at school and Hugo is rocketing away.

Mum with her niece's new baby boy 
For them Spring has been action packed.  As well as the PAS festival, there was Guy Fawkes, so little boy heaven, and we started the month by travelling up to Gisborne to celebrate Nana Buscke's 65th birthday.  I have just thoroughly enjoyed watching Mum's great pleasure in celebrating her birthday.  She is seriously Gisborne's most excited new superannuatant, such a joy.

The vest I have nicknamed 'Wasp' - as our Ginger can have a sting in his tail from time to time.
I have also been busy on the needles, completing a project for me and almost finished the long promised yellow vest for Louis.  I have even done a wee bit of gift knitting and am now being sorely tempted by some of the new yarns we have at work.  I love the holiday knitting and so much done over the Christmas break, these are the sorts of problems one likes to have!
The Summer Cardigan by Georgie Hallam.  Already well worn!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Dawn, New Day.


It has been a month since I have returned from Rainbow R&R.  A time to get emotionally put back together, centred and calm.  I has a wonderful time away.  The most important decision that I had to make each day was help Nick decide what it was we were going to cook each day for dinner.  I spent time, wasting time, with a variety of animals on their property.  From foals to a crazy kitten, it was wonderful.  This is a collection of some of the images taken last month during this recuperative period, and whilst early November has thrown me a massive curve ball emotionally, I at least, have had the strength to be able to bounce back and keep moving forward.

Me with my new BFF - Seb the Siamese
This is what I like to call "Ironic Beer Drinking"
One of the many slow food inspired meals - this after the Hobsonville Farmers Market
Westbrook Winery - part of  the West Auckland nostalgia wine tour 
All little laying humour at the Hobsonville Farmers Market
I did try to knit - made difficult as Seb liked to help.
I did get knitting done though, my entries for the HB A&P Show


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Knitting my way back to happy.

Jess with her wee angel Hayden
 It's amazing what having a few extra hours means.  Since the medically enforced slow down I have been more nimble to be able to cope with the curve balls my life tends to throw.  It started with the sad passing of my brother's partner, Jess, losing her beloved son Hayden.  Hayden was born with an extremely rare form of dwarfism & was only expected to survive days, maybe weeks after he was born.  However wee Hayden had other ideas and 6 and a half years later, he smiled, laughed and murmured his way to his own set of pearly wings.  My new situation meant I was able to easily get away to help support Stuart, Jess, Nina and Seth with their loss whilst helping the boys experience what it means to celebrate the passing of a life, especially of someone that they knew.

Renly goes head with Reg the ram & his harem
As well as taking the boys, I also made sure I packed Renly & some restorative knitting.  Having some time on my parents small lifestyle block meant I had time to explore adding a slouch beanie to the Ever After collection.

The world worst selfie, but I'm stoked with the slouch!
I had a few balls of the Heritage Silver Lining in Red, a yarn I am totally addicted to, so cast on just before leaving.  Having knitted a few beanies lately I felt a little more confident in the crown shaping and I think I may have cracked it.  I would like to churn out another just to make sure, but I am thrilled with the prototype and have already worn it.

Just onto the border, a very enjoyable knit
The KAN project is almost complete, the lovely Wrapped in Leaves by Alana Dakos.  Just knitting the leafy border and hope to have it complete very, very soon.  It's such a simple, yet effective pattern, my favorite kind, which is looking very Autumnal in the warm Pumpkin Alpaca that was liberated from the depths of my stash.

The four Art Deco inspired Vintage Random Prints
Confession time.  I did sneak a peak at my Skeinz email.  This revealed that the Vintage Deco inspired random prints I have been waiting for have finally hit the shop.  I just couldn't help myself, I had to pop into work to have a look and also got to squish the two new Heritage Alpaca colours.  It seems so unfair not to be able to share these yarns with everyone on skeinz.com, so I did take the 6 balls home to photograph & upload yesterday.


Its hard looking at these and not casting on.  So I did just that, keeping in the leaf theme and using the Heritage Alpaca in Porcelain with the Vintage Clarice Cliff for the leaves, I cast on an up sized Leftie from Martina Behm.  The colours of the Clarice Cliff have left the leaves looking more like Iris flowers, an effect I am really enjoying.  This will be the perfect project for me to take away on Rainbow R&R in a couple of days.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dealing to the 'Black Dog'

I'm so lucky I have this on my doorstep to escape to.
It was Winston Churchill who described it as his 'Black Dog' and John Kirwan has been knighted over it, for me Depression has been a constant companion since my teens.  I love the work JK does, working on the stigma within not only a sufferers psyche, but in the wider public also.

This is what my 'Black Dog' usually looks like when my life is in balance.
I'm lucky.  My 'Black Dog' ninety nine percent of the time is a happy smiling, tummy scratching, tail twerking black bulldog.  Something I don't mind at all hanging around.  I was lucky enough early on to learn coping strategies to keep the this pooch under control.  Herbal supplementation (and yes, I know I'm from Gisborne, but not THAT type of supplementation) in the form of St John Wort, plenty of sleep, a healthy diet are all important to keeping you on track.  So too is a great support network of family & friends, those who care and love you without judging you & when tell you to take care of yourself when they see the dog starting to get agitated and snarl.

There's nothing better having friend who turn up with 'emergency supplies' when you have had such a  bad day.
So when this past few weeks I realised I hadn't been attending my mental needs as diligently as I should, being told by a medical professional that even Wonder Woman would struggle to get her dog under control after it had morphed into a massive, snapping, lathering mutation reminiscent of the Hunger Games, it was time to put the brakes on.

Flowers that just brightened up my week.
The worse thing about your own dog going feral, is the effect on those around you. In my case it's the reaction from The Ginger.  He's a lean mean racing machine.  Like any child with ASD, when everything in the team is working well, he's runs like a dream, when the alpha starts going off line, all sorts of problems start cropping up.

Like JK, cooking is a great stress reliever.
So the next month is about getting myself back on track & getting The Ginger fine tuned and running back to his best.  The form it takes is a months enforced leave from work, a weeks 'Rainbow R&R' with the gay hubby, a family break during the school holidays and of course a lot of knitting.  SO if you think a 'stray dog' might have followed you home and is hanging about, do not be afraid to get help, because taming this beast isn't has scary as you might think.

It was wonderful to take time to have a great cup of coffee with a school mum today.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's in the KAN.

Winner of the first KAN photo competition - Alice Best. 
It's been three weeks now since KAN 2014 wrapped up.  This year was epic.  Bigger numbers, more classes, more trading, simply a much bigger event.  I am not a professional event organiser.  I do KAN because I am passionate about yarn craft and I wish to see it not only survive, but thrive, so when you are thrown a massive snafu a week out from the event (the local council not allowing our venue to occupy their brand new function room - the one we had book), it was, too say the least, panic stations.
KAN sponsor & all round stunning woman - Tash from Holland Road
This is were people make all the difference.  People like the team at East Pier (our venue) who worked tirelessly with me to nut out solutions.  The Crown Hotel, where I had already booked teaching space, banding together to pull in all the resources we could muster in Ahuriri to make sure this event went ahead.

Sue Schrueder one of the KAN tutors and Margaret Stove MBE
Also the people that attend KAN.  It was the Kanannites, especially those who have been coming for years, who share in my passion for yarn craft and have the vision to know how incredible KAN will be next year, you all made this event so very, very special - Thank you!

Vanitas was launched at KAN this year - Divine!
This mutual pulling together created an atmosphere that had such a buzz, one which filtered out to the locals that braved the rain to come out in droves to check out the event on the public market day on Sunday morning - quite overwhelming.

The Port View Room was one of the gems discovered after the snafu.
Now I have some perspective I am so excited about KAN 2015.  East Pier will have been completed and the venue, with vast trading and social spaces, all with uninterrupted sea views, will just be awesome.  The Crown Hotel are back on board this year with their beautifully appointed conference rooms and the technically pimped out Port View Room has also been booked again.  I'm in discussion with the tutors to create a class schedule that will have you all salivating & a new improved registration system will be in place to help getting yourself booked in a breeze.

Just a hint of socialising went on
If you want to get a feel for the KAN experience, pictures were uploaded to Twitter & Instagram using #knitaugustnights & make sure you join the Knit August Nights Facebook page.  East Pier will also have accommodation available next year, along with the excellent Crown Hotel, Navigate Seaside accommodation & Harbour View Motor Lodge - each of them seconds away from the venue.  I hope to see you next year!
Persian Poppies was one of the sold out classes this year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Counting Down to KAN

Napier's getting ready for all those 'Bright Sparks' coming to KAN
Knit August Nights is now just  a few weeks away and I am at that nice place where oodles of swag is starting to arrive and my living room is starting to resemble my office at Skeinz - and even greater dumping ground of knit paraphernalia!  Mother Buscke is arriving next week as my ultimate bag stuffer, sorter & keeper of the peace between the Macdonald boys.

The mysterious Crochet Hairpin
 The best part is opening all these boxes and seeing what interesting and weird and wonderful things there are out there.  One such item from Mike at Arthur Rowe Ltd was a 'Hairpin Crochet Staple'.  Now I admit my crochet skills are rudimentary, but even all my years selling knit & crochet accessories I have not come across such a device.  Looking slightly gynecological in nature (you can tell I'm married to a doctor!), my friend Sapphire & I were quite intrigued by this mysterious 'Hairpin'.  The packaging suggested it was something from the 'retro' collection at Arthur Rowe (I have some FAB-O items from the Retro collection - Thanks again Mike), so I was well and truly stuffed to think what on earth it was for.

Sapphire following "Uncle Google"
Since dear darling Sapphire is a fully blown member of "Gen-I", she took one look at the mysterious 'hairpin' and announces, lets Google it.  And what do you know, it appears that our 'Hairpin' or Crochet Loom as they are now know, are very much alive, well and making a come back on You Tube.  Used to make those long elongated stitches & fringes in crochet, we both then set out with our You Tube to figure out how exactly it worked.  It was great fun, so if you are one of the lucky ones who gets one of these gems in your KAN goody bag, just remember "Uncle Google" has the answer to this mysterious device.

The Epic bedspread
Speaking of crochet, I have finished my epic "Broken Claw" crochet project.  A king sized crocheted bed spread.  It was perfect to keep from going insane and not being able to knit.  The needles are now back out & yesterday was the first day that I was able to knit for any length of time without feeling like my finger was going to drop off.  What I need to do now is figure out how to keep the bulldog off my cream master piece!
Five minutes after it was placed on the bed. Really Renly?!