Friday, January 29, 2016

Newness

3 new things: 


  • Today, I painted our hallway ceiling. It has taken me considerable time and planning to get to this point, including persuading the husband that its a worthwhile job. Its actually been quite fun - helped that the hall is pretty small in terms of paintable surfaces. And already the ceiling looks great! So clean and not-quite-white. 
  • Today, it rained. While I know that rain in itself isn't new, it has been so long since we had any rain that I've almost forgotten what a good solid 24 hours of rain is like. Its delicious. Also, thunder & lightning! Brilliant. 
  • We have new chooks. They aren't brand new - we got them a few months ago, but the new thing is that they are finally all laying. We got one older chook (2014 hatchling) and two young birds. The young birds have finally started laying, lovely little brown eggs. They are Isa Browns, and are called Gingerbread, Whitey (thanks, 5 year old child!) and Baba Yaga. This is Whitey (white feathers around her collar), at the kitchen door. They are the friendliest hens I've ever known, and just desperate to be around us as much as possible. They also quite like the rabbits (you can see their hutch in the picture too), although the rabbits seem a bit puzzled by them. 



Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lessons learned

Things I've learned in the last 2 days: 

  • I'm hopeless at daily blogging. 
  • I can put up a blind
  • You can google anything. Even how to use an electric drill. Even how to identify that the thing you found in the shed is an electric drill. 
  • Thunder does not equal rain, however hopeful you are
  • A hall full of inflatable bouncy castles and small children is one of the noisiest places on earth. Also fun. 
  • Left over roast lamb shepherd's pie is one of the best things to eat. Ever. Possibly even better than the original roast lamb. 
  • Despite my awareness of how much I had overscheduled my holiday, I am incapable of not adding in more tasks. Blackcurrant jam? Elderberry syrup? Why not. 



Just because, last week mum and I ate at a new restaurant in Hobart called Aloft. This was the view from our table - during the meal, a seal came swimming by. It was pretty cool. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Get out

A cure for the overwhelming feeling of being home on holidays with too much to do - get out. And about.


We headed up to Mt Field National Park this morning. Its been a grey, overcast day here, not cool but very still and a bit eerie thanks to quite a lot of bushfire smoke haze (the fires are not near us, but the smoke is getting blown here). We got to Mt Field by 10am, and trundled around the Russell Falls track. I haven't done this walk for many, many years, and it is still good. The track is pusher/wheelchair friendly so its an easy stroll. We saw around 8 pademelon/wallaby/potaroos, some trout in the river and some black cockatoos, despite quite a lot of (quite noisy) people. On our return, we came across an echidna, who was engrossed in his ant-finding duties and just ignored us. 


But the day was young, so we drove up to Lake Dobson. I don't think I've ever been up here, or even heard of it, so it was an adventure for everyone. The dirt road is narrow at times, but otherwise in good nick, passing through a range of bushland. Eventually you end up in alpine bush, which is beautiful. There is an excellent block stream (like a river of boulders) on the way.


It was 11 degrees when we arrived a Lake Dobson (12 degrees cooler than at Russell Falls) - there were some slightly underprepared visitors around. But it was quiet - so very quiet. Not a breath of wind, very few birds (surprisingly?) and the track is big enough that the people are well dispersed. Its only a 30 minute return trip, so easy enough for the kids. And it is spectacular - some of the best Tasmanian landscape I've walked through in a very concentrated area. I only had my phone so the pics are not of great quality.





You can see that it is usually much wetter than at the moment - there is so much moss and lichen - but it was still spectacular. The pandanus palms were so alien and gorgeous, some with their long dry curls hanging down. And so many of the small plants were in flower or fruit. Just a beautiful experience.
On the hour drive from home we managed to buy locally grown blueberries and blackcurrants, local honey, and drink locally made fizzy blackcurrant juice! Also, the hops in Bushy Park are just spectacular - its a beautiful drive. Happy Australia Day!
Tomorrow - back to the home duties, and maybe a kid activity or two...


Monday, January 25, 2016

Preemptive triumphant return

So, one whole year without posting. Unintentional, really, although at some point early last year, amongst parenting and partnering, working (and working...), knitting and sewing, cooking and running, trying to find time to see friends, trying to be present...well, I decided that the blog was one thing too many. So I stopped writing, but not thinking about it. And it turns out, one year later, I still want to write this blog. I don't care at all about how many or who reads it - I love having an online, words and pictures record of my life. Because things keep changing, and I keep forgetting things, and it seems important. So here I am.

So, late in 2014 I turned 40. Because we had lived in 3 countries in 3 years, very few of my friends were where I was. So I had a quiet celebration with my family, parents, and one very old, very dear friend who has seen me through many earlier birthdays (and her partner and son). And I decided that instead of one big bang of a party, I would make 2015 the Festival of 40. And I did. It kind of fell over about half way through, but you'll see why in a minute.
It went something like this:

  • Actual birthday!
  • Seeing Cat Empire live at MONA
  • Running a 10K (Run the Bridge)
  • Seeing old friends (lots of this!)
  • Seeing more of Australia (we had a family holiday driving a campervan from Melbourne to Sydney up the coast - most excellent)
  • Skiing (this was only just achieved - we finally had a ski season here in Tasmania (it doesn't always happen), drove to Ben Lomond on their most busy day when they had sold out of almost everything except hot chips, and I managed to get 2 hours on the slopes, most of which was spent in line for the 2 tows that were working - pommel tows!! - but still, skiing!)
  • Went to the footy with my eldest & my dad (this replicates a key family experience, so probably means nothing to anyone except me & my dad)
  • Bought a house



Some roses I grew this year, in lieu of a more content-related photo. To be fair, I really didn't do much - other than net them to stop the possum from dining out on them every night. But for a few weeks I had 6 big vases of roses in the house - it was spectacular.

So after we bought a house, everything went a bit quiet - until my 41st birthday, when we ate at Stefano Lubijana's Osteria, which was on the list from day one (and very lovely too). Obviously buying a house was an enormous thing, and there is lots more on that topic, but it really filled in September to December :)

View from the Osteria.

So here I am today, on the first day of a week of staycation holidays with the boys. Its the last week of the summer holidays for them, so a fine mix of boredom and routine of being at home. I knew on Friday, when I struggled to leave work with everything in some semblence of order, that I had over-planned my week off - that I would find myself frustrated with not getting through everything I wanted to do. And lo, on Monday, here I am. So here's the plan - every day this week I'm writing on this blog to remind myself its a holiday! And it doesn't matter - stuff is getting done, but the point is to enjoy - time at home, time with the boys, time by myself. I just sat with a glass of wine on the path outside, looking at the Derwent River and our two unfriendly rabbits, and realised how lovely it is just being here. I might do it again tomorrow.

Tomorrow is Australia Day. We are hoping to drive up to Mount Field National Park and have a look, although the highlight is usually Russell Falls, and we've had so little rain here that I'm not sure they will even be running. But we'll go anyway. It will be lovely. I'll knit in the car.

PS A noisy miner bird just landed on the open window next to me (they like to berate their reflections, thinking somehow that its a stranger that needs to be seen off), and (obviously surprised) gave me a right earful. Its lovely living in the sticks.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Again with the baby quilts

Ok, last post about these baby quilts. Promise.

 
So first, I made the one with the orange border. Interestingly, its the least good, I think, in many ways. I like that as I made more, I improved in my sewing and accuracy and such.
 
 
But I still like the colours & the fabrics. This one is destined for NZ, in the not too distant future.
 
Then in the middle, I made one from a pack of precuts. I don't remember what the precut pack was called, but it was Moda, and I bought it at The Needlewoman, a lovely quilt shop in central Hobart. I also bought that bright orange border fabric from the first quilt there. They are lovely, and tolerant of small clumsy children.
 
 
After discovering how much time precuts buy you, I sped through this one. I wanted to try quilting with a contrast thread, and also quilting a little more than I usually do (see a theme here?!) I think it came out fine - it looks a little wonky in the picture above as its been folded for a while, but its quite sweet in real life. You can see where my machine got serviced (if you really look), and it really shows how much of what I was struggling with earlier was my machine - the stitches are much more even post-service.
 

  

I love this fabric selection - its cute and bright and modern all in one.  This one is heading off to the UK in a month or two, fingers crossed!


And that, for the time being, is the end of the baby quilts.

Friday, November 14, 2014

More small quilts

So the baby quilt production line continues....
 
 
This was my third in this batch. The colour scheme is not my personal favourite, but somehow I had a small stash of pink and acqua fabrics, and it was clear that they weren't going to disappear any time soon unless I actually used them. So I bought two more fat quarters, and turned them into this:
 


The baby I have in mind for this one was born a few weeks early, but got home last week and so with perfect timing I finally bound it, and its ready to go in the mail.


This one got delayed as my trusty old (ancient?) sewing machine finally gave in. I took it to the repair place, and regretfully told the lady that I had never had it serviced (or actually even oiled or cleaned it much) in its 21 years of life, and she just smiled a patient smile and said they would call me. They did, and now my machine is back to its old self - well, even better than its most recent form of its old self.


Which made quilting this lots of fun. So I just kept going a bit more than usual.


 I decided early on that I'd try something new in each of these quilts. This one I wanted to do a pieced back (which I did) and to do more quilting than I usually do (which I also did). It turned out great (I think), and I'm really glad I tried both. I feel a bit nasty giving these lovely people a baby quilt with white backing, but you can't be too precious about these things :)


I love these quilts so much, that I took quite a few picture (noticed?) so I'll post the others in a separate post. I'm sure that's enough for any dedicated reader for today!