25 April 2007

Anzac Day: a holiday in the middle of the week

Anzac Day makes me all solemn and reflective. As it should of course.


Staying in bed until 9.00 am with knitting and the weekend papers (the last three weekends) and quietly reading and thinking seemed to fit the bill anyway.

Followed by the patriotic duty of baking Anzac Biscuits. Without coconut. And without chocolate.

anzacs birds eye view

I told Son #3 (our resident chef) to make them small as they always spread and run into one another.

So of course these ones didn’t spread. Teeny tiny Anzacs they are were.

anzacs grab

We packed up a few biscuits, popped some corn and grabbed a banana each and tootled off to see Mr Bean. And can I just say? That although Rowan Atkinson’s rubbery lips make me want to claw my eyes out? There were some rather funny moments during this film. Not the least of which was the face of Son #1 The Teenager when I pulled out my knitting in the cinema (in public! ack! Mum!). I managed to knit through most of the film until I realised I’d dropped a stitch (down seven rows I found out later when the lights came on) and it proved too difficult to retrieve in the dark.

I have a busy few days approaching. Work, then some frantic baking and packing as I’m off for a craft weekend away. Oh the joy! Oh the excitement! Mother leaves the house without her children!

See you next week.

23 April 2007

done and dusted

I’m exceedingly glad that week’s over.

This was the chaos of my desk at the beginning of the week.


• wristwarmers for Audrey, waiting to be sewn up;
• journal articles to read for an essay that I struggled with, changed topic at the last minute and handed in a couple of days late;
• more pumpkins awaiting their tops.

audrey's blue

I tried one on for size, warmth, etc. Pretty blue! (Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply Colonial in colourway 'Regal').


Finally everything was finished. The essay, the cup of tea, the second pair of wristwarmers.

audrey's alpaca

These ones are in Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply alpaca, colourway ‘Havana’ and are so warm and soft to wear that I think I’ll have to make a pair for myself. (Pattern here.)

I do hope you like these Audrey.

Oh yes, and another one of these featured in the wee small hours when the essay stalled.

knitted strawberries

I reckon I’ll have a whole punnet if I ever when I finish this degree.

17 April 2007

Got a deadline looming? Suse's handy home hint # 26. UPDATED.

Make bread rolls. Check.
Make two ‘Five Cup Cakes.’* Check.


Knit a strawberry. Check.

knitted strawberry

hang out washing make a cup of tea collect the mail read mail make three phone calls clean bathroom sink prune broken bits off cumquat trees check emails read four blogs (Hi! Yes! I read your blog!) write this blog post edit this blog post three times maybe four my bloglines readers will correct me I'm sure check check check check check check check

Damn. Nothing else for it.

Time to knuckle down.

*Five Cup Cake
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup sugar (I use less)
1 cup coconut
1 cup milk
1 cup sultanas/choc chips/dried fruit/nuts/seeds/whatever.

Mix together. Pour into cake tin. Bake 45 minutes-ish.

UPDATE: Moderate oven - 180 C

Strawberry pattern here.

15 April 2007

easter accoutrements, belated

rustic hot cross buns

Apart from the Easter egg hunt, our seasonal rituals were postponed until our return from the wilds. Whereupon I made these rather rustic-looking hot cross buns. I haven’t yet mastered the art of the elegant cross, and the entire endeavour was compromised "rusticised" by the fact that we only had wholemeal flour in the house.

They tasted alright, but.


We indulged in a little dyeing of hardboiled eggs.

Tumeric, paprika, blue food dye and green food dye. With rubberbands around the eggs to supposedly create interesting patterns.

hardboiled dyed eggs

The blue food dye worked best. The others, meh.

easter egg tree 2007

So the next morning we blew out about seven eggs (and made a huge tortilla [scroll down after the photo of me, if you follow that link] with them for dinner that night) and painted them with watercolours.

Son #1 offered the services of his watercolours set, but declined to participate, being too grown up for the Easter Bunny and associated antics these days [yeah again with the scrolling down, past the candles this time].

eastertree egg close up

Added to last year’s lot, we now have about seventeen eggs hanging on the easter tree.

14 April 2007

Reflections on Easter camping in the mountains

lake catani

The Victorian alpine region, or the bit of it at which we camped, is truly spectacular.

Walks in surroundings such as these were just what I needed to rejuvenate and reconnect with nature. I spent quite a bit of time just looking around and breathing deeply, especially after a particularly vigorous hike uphill. Ahem. Note to self: Must go back to yoga.


We went with friends who have three boys also, and the six children spent a lot of time mucking about in the canoe, when they weren’t climbing the cliff behind the campsite, investigating various caves and lairs or building ‘bases’ in the bush.

We met bats, wombats (our tent was pitched on a wombat highway, apparently), birds, ducks, more possums than you could poke a stick at watch from a safe distance, two very lovely rangers and other campers and hikers but thankfully no snakes.

Son #1 lost a shoe while canoeing on the lake and the next day Son #3 and his friend found it.

We learnt about how the indigenous people wove baskets and eel traps from the flax lily leaves growing in the region.

We remembered that life does go on quite happily without phones and email and the internet and television, as long as you can work out how to preset the video recorder to tape the election episode of The West Wing while you are gone.

I forgot to take my guide to eucalypts, but managed to learn (and remember!) the difference between a snow gum and a mountain gum.


(These are snow gums).

snowgums regrowing

The fire damage from both 2003 and the summer just gone was terrible horrible awful ghastly. Great swathes of burnt bushland radiated across the hillsides, some walking tracks were closed, and a signpost up near the Chalet looked untouched from the front but as I leaned on it while waiting for the others to return from a side trip up a large rock, I noticed that the back part, facing away from the walking track, was charred completely black.

fire damage and regrowth

The lush green of the regrowth was startling, and from a distance the mountain looked like an exquisite black, orange and green tapestry.

It was humbling to see the extent of the damage and the rapidity with which the bush is beginning its enormous repair job. Heartbreaking and awe inspiring at the same time.

view left

On Easter Sunday we trekked up to the (now sadly closed) Mt Buffalo Chalet where a sign invites you to write to your local MP and get this heritage-listed treasure open again. While the children were off watching hang-gliders leap off the cliff into the abyss, my friend and I nestled a few dozen teeny tiny Easter eggs into the nooks and crannies of the formal gardens in front of the Chalet for an Easter egg hunt. (Son #3 had remarked that the Easter Bunny had never before left it so late in the day to visit, but was placated when we reminded him that it was a four hour drive from home to the top of the mountain).

man meets nature

I spent several happy evenings knitting by the campfire and managed to complete a blue pair of these for a client.

The children grew filthier by the day, and no one talked about work or school or "real" life even once.

And I learnt that if you go camping in the mountains in autumn, at night when you crawl into your sleeping bag (which should be covered with three blankets), you will need to wear two pairs of woollen handknitted socks, two pairs of tracksuit pants, a singlet, thermal spencer, long sleeved tee shirt, cashmere cardigan (don’t worry, it was this one), two wool jumpers, a polar fleece jacket, a woolly hat and woollen wrist warmers.

Trust me on that.

1 April 2007

can't chat now

Currently I am doing a lot of this, followed by the decoration of this after which we are off for some of this somewhere in the vicinity of this.