Last project for 2012 ?

After falling way off the radar in the middle of the year post-surgery and in the throes of the Golden Staph that hitched a ride home with me, there were a couple three lost months where nothing was read, knitted, gardened or written about. That was followed by an extended period in wrist splints so again, not a lot of note.

All things considered, given the paucity of posts, I’m thankful that so many of you stuck around.

Then Silly Season Christmas hove onto the horizon and suddenly I was back.

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of visits to Melbourne [ new grandbaby ] more visits to Melbourne [ Nadie needing emergency surgery and transfusions as a result of post-partum complications ] More more visits to Melbourne [ Opera Gala Concert  and more baby snuggling ] and finally more, more, more visiting Melbourne [ Christmas ]

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, there was time for a bit of gardening [ gentle – may I refer you to the bit above about wrist splints? ] and even some post-Christmas knitting: another cotton dress for Abby [ ravlink ]


and some crochet time. I have made a start on next Christmas’s snowflakes. About a dozen I think.

and just yesterday morning, I decided that I should make a small lightweight wrap for Nadie to use while feeding in public


… or possibly it’s for Abby’s bassinet  for days when it’s a wee bit too warm for this wool one.


The yarn is a lovely silky soft drapey bamboo and was originally ivory. I used it to knit a sort of cami thing a few years ago. Then dyed the finished garment purple. Then decided I wasn’t going to wear it and frogged it [ rippit ] Which made for an interesting mottled, obviously hand-dyed yarn where the dye had permeated some sections of the knitted yarn more fully than others.


I’ve used this stitch a lot in the past but it’s particularly suited to baby blankets.


Not too lacy for small fingers to get tangled in, looks good and works up at a reasonable speed … AND it only has one pattern row that you repeat and repeat  until you’ve made a piece the size you want … or run out of yarn … or gotten tired of doing it. … or all of the above.

So that’s my official last creation for 2012.

and here’s the link to most of the rest of it [ except the ones that I didn’t photograph and the crochet snowflakes that got given away so fast I lost my count ]

So … last one unless I get my skates on cos it’ll be the New Year in a little over ten hours.


Abby & Asher’s First Christmas

Abigail Rose 3 weeks

In a cardi made by her Mummy who only started knitting late last year


Elf hat improvised on Christmas Eve by Nannie032



and Asher Jane 5 months

Little Miss Innocence?


I think not


Oh definitely not!


Christmas House Tour 2012 Day 7: Christmas Eve

Come in. Come in.


Would you like to join me in a nice cup of Lady Grey?

044 (4)

I’m afraid David and I have eaten all the shortbreads but there’s plenty of fruit cake. There are carols playing, and the air smells of cinnamon

038 (4)

SO here we are, and for us in the Antipodes, Christmas Day is only a little over 4 hours away, so this will be our last day on the tour.

We’re in the explosion at the North Pole rumpus room,


which is the home-away-from-home of Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaus, Santa and Father Christmas … somewhere between 130 and 150 of them. I didn’t even try for an accurate count this year.

037 (3)

012 (5)

012 (2)

005 (2)

The tree in here – actually one of two in this room – has mainly folksy family type decorations.

014 (4)

A few wooden scandinavian ones,

my one prized Villeroy & Boch ornament,

some of the cornstarch & bicarb soda ones

029 (5)

015 (4)

that David helped make.

023 (4)

Here are some of my collections, gleaned over many years of sparse pickings, of Aussie themed decos.

Outside, there are no koalas on my block,  but I DO have many, many carolling kookaburras visit and  several families of the wee Superb Blue Wrens live in the rose arch near the front door, so it’s appropriate that they feature inside as well [ these ones are made from some kind of West Australian bottle brush or something similar ]

015 (3)

Anyway my dears, that’s it for now:

From me and mine to you and yours, a happy and peacefull Christmas.


and the Christmas House Tour of 2012 rambles on …

SO here we are on day 6

and this time we’re not – strictly speaking – doing one of the rooms. Are you up for a quick sprint down the hallway?

I’ve put the A/C on just for you because it’s still ‘orrible outside [ 39C/102F earlier ] and I wouldn’t want any of my North Hemispherian friends getting dehydrated.

At one end David’s door is decorated with a bright and cheerful 3’ long decal of Santa’s sleigh


that I found at the local Chickenfeed [ cheap variety store ] for $5 .

In theory I can peel it off carefully after Christmas and re-use it in years to come. Basically, at that price, if I only get the one year out of it, it was money well spent. It’s a bit bold and a bit glitzy but it’s Dave’s room and he seems to enjoy it.

the next thing to greet the eye is a Wild Goose Chase quilt that I made in the early 90s, folded over an antique [weaver’s] loom heddle most probably from Thailand.091

Then we have a collection of mini quilts and redwork stitcheries swagged down the hall.

some stitched on preprinted panels 008 (3)

and some that I adapted from applique patterns, themselves based on vintage images of Saint Nick




and none of the photos of the miniature quilts turned out spectacularly well, new camera notwithstanding, so if you want to see them, I would refer you to this post from so many years past that it’s actually off the old blog.

another decal … this time on the Linen Press


and moving on past my Log Cabin Christmas Tree quilt from the early 90s


We’re in the spare bedroom [ okay, yes. I lied. We are doing one room ]

with a Stack & Slash quilt in red Japanese prints,

a hug of Christmas bears, 0721980s Irish Chain quilt on the blanket box 071AND … ta-da …069 the glorious ox-blood red silk kimono that I was given just yesterday by lovely Toni, the former arch-nemesis and now buddy of his Beariness. Usually there’s a child sized one over the bed  – kimono that is, not arch nemesis – but it’s on the opposite wall for now.


If I haven’t Christmassed you into drivelling submission yet, meet me back here tomorrow for the [probably] final post in this year’s Tour.

That was the week that was

It all started with a phone call Saturday morning from son-in-law to tell me that Nadie had been raced into hospital for emergency surgery following postpartum complications.

Nett result: one mother who needed to see for herself that DD was going to be okay.

Cue first trip down to Melbourne for the week, which pretty much served to remind me why I dislike being anywhere near Melbourne in December. Don’t know what was worse … near-suicidal would-be last-minute shoppers, or the deranged driving of harried delivery drivers. Believe me, I do not argue with the driver of a B Double when he decides to change lanes without indicating.

The day was spent being debriefed and cuddling my gorgeous new girl, who modelled the wee dress that I had just finished


[Bendi Cotton 8 ply from the Magic Back Room of Super Discounts, 4.5mm needle, heavily modified from Yarn-Madness’ cute Bonny Baby singlet ]

All of this accomplished with impeccable behaviour from David during the five hours spent at the hospital. I simply could not have contemplated being able to do that a few years ago. [ Hospital phobia big time ]

Trip back the same day because of certain large caprines requiring comestibles, not to mention four deities felines requiring their daily food tribute.

followed on Sunday by:

my birthday / the anniversary of my beloved’s passing 13 years ago … as you could imagine always a more than slightly bittersweet day. Probably not the best day to be essentially on my own,  so a dear friend came over and had lunch with David and I.

A belated birthday lunch-with-shopping at Kyneton on Monday with my dear friend Robyn, another one of several friends who make sure my day is not entirely doom-and-gloom.

My girl was released from her incarceration on Tuesday morning. As it happened, we had already put Carer plans in place to allow me to go down and spend a couple of days with the new little VP family. Cue second [3 hour because of seasonal madness ] trip down . Obviously the visit was a little different than the one Nadie and I had originally planned … but I did at least manage to Christmassify their livingroom in record time

along with plenty of Abby cuddles

a modicum of housework

and oodles of besotted photo taking of both Abigail Rose


and her 5 month old cousin Asher. 139Ahhh, M’girls 🙂

AND  in the middle of all this bubby sweetness, a very long-planned-for and anticipated Opera Gala at Hamer Hall, followed by a totally unprepared-for invitation to the Gala Reception for the outgoing artistic director, Richard Gill [ Catsmum + high society types + opera singers past and present = fish-out-of-water … if the fish was standing unobtrusively by the wall clutching a mineral water ]

AND Riley’s 6th birthday

AND my belated birthday [ again ]

AND a lightning-fast Christmas gift exchange  because we won’t all be together on The Day

followed by:

the obligatory one-eye-on-the-clock mad dash back north, to pick up Dave [ 2 minutes to spare ] before which I managed to leave half my birthday presents, current knitting and my handbag with mobile phone and purse behind. Thank goodness I didn’t stop and fill up with petrol before discovering the lack of funds!

and two and a half hours later, after some rearrangement of the carport, including tinsel, Christmas music and a tree, welcome several busloads of David’s social club plus volunteers for

the Annual Christmas barbeque,006

016 with face painting:


011 by lovely volunteer Susan

[ volunteer Chris-who-owns-Bear’s-girlfriend-Jett channels Gene Simmons ]001

Of course there was a visit from Father Christmas, and assorted elves


and viewing of the Christmas House

all of which lasted until it was dark enough, some three and a half hours later, for them to pile back in the buses for a tour of local Christmas lights.

After a quick tidy up and the fishing of various bits of wrapping and curly ribbon out of the shrubbery:

Yesterday, knitting buddy Shar came up on the train and we went out to the farm to canoodle goats, have lunch and collect his Beariness, followed by knitting, before Shar’s train home. Dinner was followed by a fly-through visit from the Christmas elf Tara bearing my annual hamper of home baked delights [ including shortbreads, marrons, crostoli, Amazeballs, chilli nut mix and  … white chocolate pistaccio saffrom fudge … I cannot express how delightful this stuff is ]


follow all that with a visit today from yet another knitting buddy Toni, for lunch, knitting, perusal of new knitting books, pressies and the latest round in Toni’s ongoing quest to persuade Bear that she is a nice person worthy of his friendship.


and … no, wait … there was … and I forgot about … and I didn’t tell you …

Phew! No wonder it seems like a long week. Roll on Christmas!

House Tour back on track tomorrow

Christmas House Tour 2012 Day 5

so here we are today in the kitchen.

Hangout of several dozen snowmen and the odd moose.

So I guess the tree is as good a place to start as any. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the very personal tree in my bedroom, and the large elegant one in the big room. The one in here is only about 3 foot tall and is decorated with an assortment of tiny wooden German/scandinavian style ornaments, mostly angels, bells,and santas. There’s a collection of miniature antique-finish kitchen paraphenalia: a sugar sifter, egg whish, cookie cutters and so on, and this year, the collection of cinnamon cookie-dough ornaments that David helped me make a few weeks back. There’s enough spice in the recipe that the faint scent of cinnamon has permeated the whole kitchen. Just wonderful.



there are candy canes for visitors, snowmen and only the sharpest of eye ever notices that the angel on top is actually a cat.

Over on the dresser are … surprise,surprise … more snowmen


the ones in stripy hats I found at a discount shop many years ago, for something like $2.50 each, so I bought … ahh … let’s just say ‘lots’ shall we and leave it at that.

The two in front at left, I knitted from Alan Dart’s wonderful ‘Snome’ pattern. Somewhere there’s a third one in pieces that will get sewn up one day.



the sleepy child and the two pixies, currently sitting on ‘Happy Christmas’ blocks painted by friend Maz, have been around about as long as I have, while the wee gnome in the pointy hat is a more recent purchase.


They were joined today by this sweetie,


a birthday pressie from my friend Karen, who knows that I have no problem at all with getting Christmas things for my natal day. Her hat is a red and white mushroom – or would that be toadstool?

Totally gratuitous cat:042

and moving on, more snowmen, on a shelf made by my father in the early 1950s


This, as I say every year, so apologies to those who’ve been here before,

is the very first Christmas card I ever received.

013I was probably only a few days old, and it is signed from my mother’s godson, Alan John, then the ripe old age of eighteen months. Just between you and me, I suspect the hand of my lovely Godmother Gwen.

Mum used to tape it up every year [ that’s the brown marks at the top ] and when years of this treatment took their toll, I had it laminated. I apologise to any collectors of ephemera currently having the vapours over my phillistine ways, but it was that, or stop using and enjoying it.

Granted I have several other copies of the Night Before Christmas, but this is the one I used to read to the kids on Christmas Eve.

Moving on, the ladder over the bench gets an extra layer of frankly fake greenery and equally faux cranberry garland, hung with an assortment of my crochet snowflakes. On the wall behind are Danish Christmas plates and a seasonal bunting made by Tara McGrath. If you’re particularly observant, you may even have noticed the plaid bows tied to the ceiling fan. I refer you back to rule 213020

Over the window: more greenery, crochet flakes, and on the window ledge, yet more snowmen, and wooden ‘candles’ [ again the handiwork of Maz, the Crazy Haberdasher ]


Teas and coffee in seasonal tins, mostly from the Op Shop [ Thrift Store ]


and yes, even more snowflakes, Christmas plates [ although these ones are up there all year round ] and just a peak at what awaits in the explosion at the North Pole rumpus room


Christmas House Tour 2012 Day 4

and we’re still in the big room.

I thought I’d try to get slightly better photos of some of the things that were flown past in the last post. I’m not sure that these pics are markedly better, but that’s what happens when you mix warring felines and suicidal cameras.

and just so you know: the ailing ONE MONTH OLD Nikon is covered under my insurance but the cost of claiming is more than said camera cost in the first place or the local camera place can send it away to be fixed, at roughly the cost of a new one … so … I bit the bullet, and ordered another one yesterday,which means that you should only have to put up with the lousy pics for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, mooooooving on … in the corner whatnot, near the predominantly blue Arctic Saint Nicholas, are a couple of danish yule plates that escaped from the kitchen, 018


as well as a family [ herd? Does three constitute a herd ? ] of reindeer.

Some marginally better shots of some of the nativities:

this paper one from 1950, printed in the UK051



and if this one was a bit clearer 055

you could see that due to an unpacking incident, poor Joseph has had his head glued back on, the ox has had reconstructive surgery to both ears, and the ass has fared no better.

Over the doorway through to the kitchen is a swag of fake greenery with a few silver ornaments.


The cats that you can barely see, were machine embroidered in gold thread, but gold isn’t really my thing so this year I spray painted them antique silver.

so that’s about it. I’ll leave you with a couple more of the vintage postcards,

059and the advice to rest up tonight my dears, because tomorrow we’re in the kitchen and that’s where it really gets going. 058