Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Beach

With the first day of summer looming tomorrow, my thoughts turn to the beach.

Mr S and I spent a lovely 30 minutes one evening last week sitting on this seat and observing the beach.

There was much to see. People walking their dogs. Seagulls wheeling in the sky and stalking each other across the sand. And a ship moving up the bay towards The Heads.

Mr S was in his PJs, so I didn't want him running around, but he had lots of enjoyment sitting with his mummy. There was also a fair bit of jumping on the seat! He is very talkative, so there were lots of words to explore. And watching the dogs was a highlight. Since Mil has left us, Mr S has become very very interested in other dogs.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Cookie Monster... Where are you??

Mmmm... Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I've never made them before. But Mr S' has been watching Sesame Street and reading Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Williams - two very different things - but both featuring chocolate chip cookies. He has been talking about them for weeks, so I thought it was about time we made some. The project filled in some time while waiting for lunch to cook today. He had alot of fun touching all the ingredients, mixing and rolling cookie dough. It also meant that I had a ready made second course! He is terribly excited about the finished product and they taste pretty good too.

I know there are probably a thousand recipes for them, but we used Donna Hay's recipe from Modern Classics Book 2. It's the volume that has all the baking in it- cookies, biscuits, slices, cakes, desserts, hot puddings, pies and tarts! I've made other things from it and it's good. Although I often find her cakes a bit dry and the oven times are too quick for my oven.

I have also started knitting Mr S a cardigan with a hood for next winter. (I know they're called hoodies, and I should be 'cool' and use the word, but I can't stand it. Don't know why). After a couple of false starts, fiddling around with different patterns and stitches, I am on my way and quite pleased with the pattern that is emerging.

I'm using Zoe Mellor's Robin Hood Jacket as my inspiration. The pattern is in Zoe Mellor's The Big Book of Kids' Knits 50 Designs for babies and toddlers. But this pattern is for 14ply Rowan Cork, which is unfortunately discontinued. Most 14plys are pretty bulky and heavy. Cork wasn't heavy because of its construction. But since I can't get Cork, and I don't want to use another 14ply yarn, I am using Naturally's Loyal. It's a DK weight, 100% wool, machine washable yarn.
The down side is that using DK means that I am having to do lots of pattern modifications to make the thing work. I have also ribbed the bottom and I'll probably rib the button hole band (maybe?). The Zoe Mellor pattern uses moss stitch. Still, so far so good. And I love the orange!

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

More chocolate cake too...

My recent reminiscence about Bill Granger's chocolate cake in 'Simply Bill' led to me hunting out the recipe and making the cake again. It's a good cake. Sound. Probably not the best chocolate cake that I have ever made or eaten, but good. It's easy and quick to make if the butter is really soft. Great icing (chocolate and sour cream).
By way of comparison, the chocolate cake I made for Mr S' birthday was much richer and moister.

Mr S had a great time helping me icing it and sprinkling mini M&Ms over the top. He needs to have more sprinkling practice! Sprinkling very quickly became pushing the M&Ms into the chocolate. Mr S' side of the cake is a bit mucky. But a fun time was had by all.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

More sewing...

It could be some kind of fabric vortex, but no, it's actually a photo of the lining inside Mr S' new pajama bag.

Having dusted off my sewing machine, I got a rush of blood and made Mr S the PJ bag today. Mr S loves the pandas. He originally saw it in Amitie and was so excited. He pointed it out to me, as I hadn't seen it. I hope he keeps loving it.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

What Mr S and I have been up to!

I used to have regular contact with someone who would always ask, without fail, what I had done since we last met. I could never remember anything particularly interesting or noteworthy. Just stuff. It didn't matter, because the question was really only a ploy to enable them launch into a long list of really fab things they had done or were planning to do. The conversation always left me feeling dissatisfied and reflecting that I must be a really boring person... I don't really think I am boring. It just took me a while to work out that it's just that I don't treat my life like a 'to do list'.

I think of my life as something more organic. Continuous and evolving. I tend to live intensely in the moment, enjoying it for what it is. For instance, every work day morning Mr S runs to the car declaring at the top of his voice that he is 'running'. I love that moment. The photo above attempts to capture it. But by putting it into words, the moment seems some how diminished - smaller than when it happens. It's difficult to convey the feeling of intense pleasure experienced in that moment.

I think less about events and milestones. It's not that I don't reflect about the past or think about the future, it's just that when I do, I think less about the detail, and more about the overview. I'm more interested in the 'grand narrative', less about the individual events, which on the surface can appear disjointed and without particular meaning.

So I tend to push to the back of my mind quite quickly the granular specifics about 'what have I been doing'. That can make blogging (or diary writing for that matter), quite a test. These mediums tend to focus on events. An item that has been made, a meeting, an outing... It was only when I down uploaded a batch of photos this morning that I realised just how much I had done in the last month or so, which I hadn't shared on the blog. So here it is... What Mr S and I have been up to!...

I finally finished Mr S' textured cardigan to match the hat that I showed you a few posts ago. It's a Sirdar pattern. Gosh they do nice things for little boys. I have a stack of their patterns for 0 - 10 years that I am hoping to knit through in the future. Unfortunately the uploaded photo isn't as clear as it is on my computer. I don't know why. The buttons are wooden elephants, which come from Sunspun. My favorite yarn shop.

And the garden is chugging along into Spring. Roses Roses Roses. And a few other things too.

I love this rose (below) - Rosa chinensis mutabilis. I think Rix and Philips in their book on Roses, describe the flowers as butterfly like. I agree.

And lots of woodland plants - foxgloves, assorted apiaceae and the like. My dream garden would be a clearing carved out of a dense wood. Moist, shady.... mmmm. I think that's why I like Beatrix Potter so much.

A few weeks ago now, Mr S and I went to the Royal Melbourne Agricultural Show. It's an annual event. City meets country. Lots of animals; dog trials; craft displays; show bags; fair rides.
The biggest highlight for Mr S was sitting on a tractor that was on display.
Not sure how the salesman viewed it. As much as I love Mr S, I felt that buying one was a tad excessive! So we had to disappoint the poor salesman.
He still talks about it (Mr S, not the salesman). Whenever we see a tractor, he points to the cab / drivers seat and says "I sitting in there."

The second highlight was the train trip there and back. It was a long ride - over an hour each way. I wasn't sure how he would deal with it. But his fascination with trains kept him sustained. He loved it.

We also recently took him to his first theatre experience - The Wiggles' "Dorothy the Dinosaur Show". Again we weren't sure how he would deal with sitting in a theatre for about an hour, but he loved that too. He is very keen on their music, so he danced and jumped his way through an hour of singing.
Here he is with his grandmother.

In the last week I have pieced together the top for Mr S' new quilt. I haven't used my sewing machine in over 3 years, so I felt very virtuous! The quilt contains lots of Japanese fabric, which Superbuzzy sell online. Next step is putting on the borders.

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