Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finished Uni! (again....)

Well thats it - I'm a teacher!

I finished my course last week, and there was much celebration amongst the different factions. Some of us "Techie" teachers include 3 ex-chefs, so on Wednesday night we chose to celebrate the end of the week at the Mystery Creek Woodbox in Hamilton. OMG - what a nice way to spend the afternoon!! Food was magnificent, company great, and the setting ideal.

It was a busy week, we did a course on Education outside the Classroom (school camps, field trips etc) and by Friday we were well and truly pooped! Here are some of the photos of the Friday afternoon celebration.....

As you can tell - the setting a little different, but still just as enjoyable! This kicked on from about 1pm til 5pm, and then another party started at 6pm which went until the we small hours of the morning. Alas - both nights I was driving, so there was no great drinking for me, but it was nice to spend time with people's whose company I enjoy.

Tough year, but a good one. I have a Science job all lined up, which will be great. Its a catholic boys school, where I was on practicum. Apparently I did alright there! It means that we will be staying in this house for at least a couple of years as its a nice 15-20min drive for me to school each day, and where we are is great.

So now I am a free woman!!! I have swaps to organise, Christmas to get together, knitting to do, house to clean, and somewhere in there I have to earn some money to keep this family ticking over summer as my first pay check is apparently mid Feb.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shots from Prac

Photos updated...

So I finished my second prac a couple of weeks ago, and I decided to knit a couple of things for my associates - plus of course the mandatory box of roses choccies :)

Steve was my coordinator and my associate for Hard Materials Tech, so he had to put up with me for about 10-15hrs a week. The poor bastard! Occasionally he was heard to say - stop your moaning woman, or, man, am I at home? You get the drift. Needless to say we got along well, there was a healthy amount of mutual respect (which was of course favoured in his direction) and at the end of the day, we were happy to go back to our normal lives.

I decided to make him a hat - Turn a Square Sorry non-ravers.

It was made out of Noro Cash Iroha and Silk Garden lite, and I have to admit - it a little funky! This wool was actually knitted 3 times before it made it into this hat. First it started as a Fake Fair Isle - unfortunately floats carried too tight (I was optimistic so I knitted the whole thing before blocking and failing) and it was frogged. Then it started as another fair isle, but I got sick of that, and then I began this one. I was actually pretty concerned about the colouring, but it looks awesome on. Really funky, great shape and lovely and soft. Yay!

SO I only had 2 other assocaites this prac - one for Physics and one for junior Science. I was so lucky with all of my associates in all of my pracs this year, but John and Sandy, and the classes were awesome. I decided to knit a dishcloth for them, with the choccies. I *guess* they were happy?

For John - here

And for Sandy this one ( a rav link again - I'm sorry.....)

Some little mushies....

These form part of my next swap for TNN. Its a hand dyed wool swap, with some extras. I dyed the wool up ages ago, and I have been having trouble deciding exactly what do theme it around.

Its nice having a theme :) Sort of ties everything together.

So this is one part of my swap - and I hand felted them this morning in the kitchen, and they are rocking cool!!! Like really - I wont show an after pic as I want the whole swap all captured together, but these are just so nice.

Pattern is here and can I just say its rare that my finished items look like they do in the pattern, and this time they do :) Happy little knitting fi!

Hopefully I will have the swap off in about a week. I am working on the big part at the moment, and I think that I will have to hand felt it, which IS NOT COOL.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fifth post in one day!!

Wow - the big five!

I have had heaps to post over the last month, but unfortunately my iMac went kaput. Turns out that the same problem has no happened 3 times and been repaired under warranty, but when the computer died within 3hrs of having it home from the last repair, that was it.

Apple Asia have been fantastic!! There were massive receipt problems as it was an ex demo, that had been put in the wrong box - so my receipt matched my box s/n, not my actual computer!

They informed me yesterday they are collecting my old puter, and replacing it with a brand spanking new iMac, whcih is just fab. While my old unit was only 18mo, and was working wonderfully (except for one small issue....) a new one is even better :)

So I have been surviving on my 12" laptop for the last 4w, which has been a killer as its very small, and veeeeeery slow - thus no downloading of photos, and no working on Rav for my projects or stash.

I have heaps to update when I get my new unit, so here's hoping the data transfers from the old unit to the new one go smoothly, and I dont lose any important things - like photos and files.

Woodlands Shawl - WIP

This is one of my many WIP's at the moment. Woodland Shawl

I actually helped someone with their's last week - the same lovely person that gave me my strawberry plants, so its definitely a deal that I got the best out of :)

Anyway - I am knitting this in flydesigns - Flying Sheep BFL. Its supposed to be DK weight, but it feels more sportweight to me. I have added an extra 2 repeats on the side, and its going really well. I am about 1/3 into my wool, so I expect it will be short and wide, which is fine since I have lots of long shawls.

Dont you love it when you get into a lace pattern, and you dont have to look at the chart anymore. Even better, when you can knit lace and have a conversation. Even better still, knit it around your small children.

I am really looking forward to finishing this one. I think it will be stunning once it is blocked.

Noro Scarf

I made this a couple of weeks ago. Totally, totally love it!!

It would have been no good as a shawl, the pattern I think needs to have a twisted stitch either side of the dropped stitch, like the Clapotis, because only a week of wearing it has made the dropped stitch merge grossly into the next stitch. So there isn't a great thickness to the shawl, and its more long and thin.

However - what a scarf!!! I love this baby!! 3 balls of Noro Silk Garden, and it is a blissful joy to wear. It looks like a nice chunky ribbed scarf, without the weight. It was going to be a gift, but its too nice to give away :)

A rainbow magic cape

I have no idea why - but I decided to make the kids capes. I had some old lining fabric there that I always planned to make something out of, but never got around to it. Turns out it was a perfect amount for 2 rainbow capes.

So roughly - this is how I did it.

Cut out a massive half circle of paper, then halved it, and divided it into 3 segments. Voila - templates.

Then I lay the template on the lining, and cut the segments in order, then overlocked them together.

Following this I decided to line the cape, and I had some pink T-shirt material around. Cut this out using the quarter circle left over from before (on the fold) and sewed around the two together. Turned inside out, top-stitched and quilted in the ditch, then cut a circle out from the top.

I overlocked that, put some grosgrain ribbon on to bind it, and thread through some elastic for the next piece.

Madam is quite happy with her rainbow cape, although it is a bit rough!!! I know a little girl in Oz who would love one, but I fear that my sewing wouldn't be up to her mummy's standard on this project ;) Still - its fully machine washable, and should be able to be played with as much (or as little) as she likes.

Bragging about the garden.....

We have a kick ass garden going at the moment - like really, its going great guns! On a daily basis we are picking peas (well the kids are munching on about 5 pods a day each) spinach, lettuce, and yesterday we picked our first cabbage which was awesome. SOOOO crunchy!

So I thought I would post some bragging shots as heaps has happened since we have nearly been in this house for a year.

So the first one is of my "fernery" - pretty small so far, but give it time! This little corner beside the garage was originally a spot filled with convulvulas, and white tailed spiders. Yuck. Shane ripped out the fence, and cleaned up the spot by removing about 6" of soil. Then we saw how bad the garage wall was next door! Anyway, we want to hedge it up, so we have planted a couple of camellias, and at the back were there is the most shade, we are doing a fernery. SO far I have 4 ferns in - they will all grow in different directions, and I still want to put in a couple of cabbage trees. In 5 years the corner will look amazing!

Next up is my favourite bed:
This is as you come into our car area from the long drive. I have put in a couple of lavender, some rosemary and other herbs, 3 silver birches and a weeping cherry. All around the front are miniature flaxes, and there are the last of the spring bulbs dying off. The edging was done by Shane's dad - the bricky on his first trip to visit us, and its using all the original rocks that were in the garden - over weedmat. Inspiring.......

Shane put this bed in about 2w ago - its another vege patch, looks great right? It has tomatoes up the other end, and potatoes in the rest of it. Just up from it is my new compost bin that we made for a university project. Can't wait until the new fence goes up and we can finish it using all the old palings.

These are some of the fruit trees we have put in, and in behind we turned over a chunk of soil for a potato patch. There are about 6kg of spuds in this year, hopefully we will have plenty to share with friends and family, plus feeding ourselves for a couple of months.

So on to the current harvest! Spinach has been doing fantastically! This is the last of our perpetual spinach, which has been amazing. Great flavour, constant cropping. I've been eating it 2-3 times a week, and its doing well. Unfortunately its about to go to seed, so we might not have much time left with it. Lettuce have just come out of the patch on the right, so I planted that up today with carrots and radishes.

This patch shows our current lettuce crop with a bit more. Up on the top is radishes and carrots (just starting to come through!) On the bottom is some more strawb plants, and my sunflowers. There are 6 there, and they are the giant variety and apparently you can eat their seeds. Yum!

Close up of the straws - they were all free thanks to a friend Shae, and they are thriving! They desperately need pea straw as the fruit is beginning to form and I dont want them to get rotten.

In this shot you can see our cabbages, the end of the celery and the broad beans - whose pods are just starting to form. Not a great lover of broad beans....... Hopefully we find a home for them, and I can't wait to free up my patch again!

These are our peas, which are cropping well, and the cauli's that shane put in. He actually had about 30 caulis in, cause he thought they were broccoli, but we pulled them out as we really, really dont need 30 caulis! 15 or so will be fine. in the bare patch is beetroot and onions, just starting to come through - I expect I will have to thin them in the next few days.

Brag over - there is lots more I could take photos off, but I will leave it there for now as its a bit of overload. I love this garden - everything is thriving with the aid of our worm juice, NZ weather and good compost. The kids are growing up being able to pick food straight from the yard and its fabulous :)

I have more seeds in trays today. Cherry tomatoes, capsicum, watermelon and cucumbers. Some will have to be grown in pots unless we can finish cropping the broad beans and peas in the next few weeks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Its a tough life...

Being a 20mo.

From this one day at 9am (Fathers Day choccies)

To this the next. Falling asleep at 9am!!! Man I wish this kid would learn how to sleep at night!

We had hoped the grommets would make a difference to his sleep patterns, but it seems we were too late. This kid is well and truly in his bad habits now (which involve being in with mum and dad every single night.....)

Maybe one day soon he will surprise us and sleep though til at least 2am?


Sunday, August 31, 2008

Spring is Sprung!

The grass has rise.....

Wow - Spring is hitting our garden in a big way! Waikato has had a heap of rain in the last month or two, and the vege garden is loving it.

When we moved into this house it had almost nothing planted in the gardens. 1 Lemon tree, a feijoa, a small mandarin tree, a cherry plum tree, and a couple of bitsy things. In fact - it seemed to us that the people who had the house before us hated all things green!

Its immensely satisfying when spring rolls around, and you can take photos like these of things in your yard that are thriving, that weren't there 12months ago - and wouldn't be if you hadn't bought the house.

We have lots more plans, but they are waiting on our boundary fence being corrected.....

I've just sowed 2 egg trays of seeds to be planted in a few weeks, so it will be a matter of clearing some space. And of course we have the seed potatoes there ready to go in, once the garden goes in.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tough week...

Wow - been a tough week in this house.

Hamish (20mo) got his grommets on MOnday. What a crappy day - man I hate hospitals.

I couldn't go with him when he went under, so that was Shanes job.... I am bad. But I couldn't do the vax either, so I am OK with not having my kids do pain. Gee - I dont do pain!!

I was called through when he woke up, and I praise everything above that I am still feeding. How to shut up a screaming toddler in a recovery ward! Phew.

He seems to be hearing more. You can see him quietly pontificating new noises, like the small plane that went over the house at dinner. I guess he is starting to hear things a little differently? He is talking non stop, and needs some translation, but is starting to get his message across.

I have been knitting. I am nearly finished on Rainy Day Sock, this was my Ravelympics project that got brushed aside, but I will finish them as I think they are pretty cool.
And I made this dishcloth out of some Cara cotton/microfibre I got from Spotlight a couple of years ago. It was meant to be something else, but I have decided to use it in the kitchen, and maybe share the love for cloths for Chrissie. Cool pattern tho - Chinese Waves, and its really easy, and very chunky for the kitchen.

So far its done one machine wash, and lots of scrubbing up, so people with this in your stash - washers might be the goer.

I am on practium at the moment, and its tough going. I am in the hard stuff, starting to teach about 2-3 times a day with all the planning, and of course both science topics I didn't do in my last prac. Electricity and Chemical Reactions. Oh well. The kids are all fantastic, hardly any behaviour stuff, which is awesome. A few smart alecs, but generally a really satisfying experience.

And finally - a note about my new big purchase. I was lucky (unlucky??) enough to get a place in the Wollmeise Sock Club. This was pricey.... It comes from Germany and i is seriously coveted worldwide! There was a lottery - I entered for a lark, and Uh-oh!! Luckily I have managed to find some fellow woolaholics to share the burden of the price tag, and I dont feel anywhere near as guilty anymore. Yes of course - 8 skeins of hand-dyed beautiful sock wool would be awesome, but you know - 4 is just as good.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Yarn Swap - sent and received!

I recently joined in a yarn swap on TNN - the NZ Nappy network for hand dyed wool. There was more than just that criteria though, The swap had to be themed - and had to also include a recipe, a pattern for the wool, a knitting gift and a small gift.

So this is the lovely surprise I received in the mail on Tuesday :) An Apple for the teacher. Isn't that cool??

I'm not sure what I will use the wool for - its great colours, limes, green, pink yellow - all very cool as these are colours I have trouble getting when I dye with the acid dyes I have. It looks like a handspun, or a very loose 5-8ply wool. Loverly ;)

And of course my lovely swapper went above and beyond - there are all sorts of gifts in there. Tea bags, a knitted cloth, a cool bag, some apple cinnamon dessery stuff, a bath bomb, an apple decal - I'm sure I am forgetting something....

Anyway - thanks to my swapper in Ham, which I dont think is where she is from - maybe?? All gratefully received.

I sent this off to someone in Australia - its a fire themed swap since Aussie is so hot ;)

Sock wool, the firestarter sock pattern (love this sock!!!), some KP DPN's, a recipe for an above ground hangi, and a flames dishcloth. I feel a bit ordinary since my swapper put so much into their package, but I know that everything I sent was still OK. And the receiver seems to be happy. I see she has put the pattern in her ravelry queue.....

Love swaps :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On a farm visit

I meant to post these shots last month - but I never got around to it!

So when Shane's older daughter visited from Aus last month we decided to do the touristy thing and pop off to the agrodome. This is a kiwi icon tourist spot in Rotorua - all about sheep and farming. Its actually an organic farm as well, so it was lovely to go around.

We started off with the sheep show!

The presenter talks in a very excitable way about the different breeds of sheep, and one by one they bring the well trained beasts in to line up with their sign! Then they get the dogs in, and the dogs show their amazing trainability by jumping over the sheep's backs to get in line with the whistle.

During the show he sheared a sheep, adn then called for people to milk the cow. I did it - and milked my first cow! Very easily I might add - all the breastfeeding over the last 3y might have helped ;)

We got to get up and talk to all the dogs and sheep afterwards - spot which is Jenna, and which is the sheep - hard to tell with those curls...

Then we popped off on the farm tour where we saw the organic kiwifruit and feijoa farm, and sampled some wine and honey. Yum. WE got to stop off along the way and feed the farm animals. Jenna LOVED IT!!!! She got right in amongst the action - must have dished out about 5-8 handfulls of feed, right in the thick of it.

Hamish preferred the stragglers, and was pretty happy to run off after the 1 or 2 sheep that were by themselves.

The farm tour was topped off with expensive shopping and terrible cafe food, but all in all, a great day out for the whole family!

Shane almost never takes good photos of me with the kids - but I have to say I love this one, and I am very happy to have a great shot of me with Hamish :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A couple of other hats...

These are some of the other hats I recently knitted.

My hat is the Feather in Her Hat, made with nearly 2 balls of Jet. I love this hat, and I wear it nearly every day at uni. Very warm!!!

(Modelled by Shane....)

I also made Shane a hat - Jacques Cousteau, which is a fun hat doing the rounds on Ravelry. Shane's hat is made with Bendigo Woolen Mills 8 ply rustic.

I made the large size, and did the full length, but it is too long. I think the length would have been fine if I had made the smaller size, but I reckon you would have to have an enormous head to need the full sized, full length hat!

Death by Hat!!

This weekend the Death by Hat comp started through Woolaholics, a knitting community I belong to.
The "targets" were released on Saturday morning, and the pattern released at 2pm NZ time Saturday afternoon.

My target isn't a NZer, so it will take about 5-7 days to get to her in WA, so I thought I had better get cracking! I have no doubts that I will be killed quickly - I expect I will only knit one hat, so here is my finished product. Actually - not quite, its blocking at the moment :)

The pattern is the slouchy copy cat hat, and it was really easy to knit - using about 2 balls of Kureyon, colour 150.

I am sure my victim will be happy to die with this hat ;)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Its been awhile.....again!

Man - uni studies get away from you.

While I have been knitting, and buying wool, I admit that I am almost overdone when it comes to computers. While I love checking my forums (which are woolaholics, TNN, Nappycino and Ravelry) I admit that the last month has been dedicated to Edlinked.....

A particularly depressing site that is all things education, assessment and assignments. I am nearly over essays. In the last 4 months I have gone from overproducing essays to underproducing, which is a big shift for my mind.

Anyway - I am on practicum from next weekend, which means busy times for super-study-mumma.

Regardless of all the uni crap, I have been knitting!!! I have made an awesome hoody for Hamish which I will photograph this weekend. I am very proud of this one ;)
I have also been doing the baby thing - but in the spirit of babydom, we knit and knit for 2 days in our spare time, and in the desperation to provide newborn knits to the babe, we dont take photos...... And I have to say that I was REALLY proud of one of my knits. A gorgeous hat in cotton, that was so choccy-raspberry and delicious, and it takes all of my power to ask the very non-emotional 22 yo father "Does the hat fit!!!!!" I will err on the side of maturity and experience, and leave that one alone. Suffice to say I made an effort, and the reaction in the young chaps face was priceless and will entertain me on long dark nights to follow....

Speaking of which - how about the weather, and what about those all blacks!! Who cares!!! I am personally gutted that the Waikato Magic lost the final of the ANZ netball champ, and I hope they get there next year. After living in Oz for the last 8y, its lovely to feel a sense of pride in a team that I know I belong to.

Enough of the chatter - I'm hardly poignant when you consider the amazing bloggers out there.

Next post will have pix!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Frog a friend

Tagged by Kelly , this is my frogged friend.

Sadly my rainbow vomit argosy was not panning out the way I hoped it would. In fact its usually a good sign that the project is better off frogged when it actually looks nicer in the ball than knitted up......

And now I tag Sam :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I truly am the queen of procrastination.

Ask me when my essay is due.
Ask me how much I have done....

Its so not pretty!

So yesterday I decide to make piccallili. I hunted the web, as you do, and found this recipe which looked pretty good, genuine, and I am sure I remember watching this guy cook on some show.... Rick Stein's Piccalilli recipe

If you dont know what Piccalilli is, its a kinda cauliflower pickle chutney, seems to be an english foody thing and its served with things like ham off the bone.

Good recipe - I enjoyed making it. I only made a few changes to the recipe - fresh ginger and pickling mix with solid nutmeg and allspice etc. After 24hrs of soaking, simmering, bottling etc, here is the product.

Very yummy, I have soaked up the sauce with a garlic pita for lunch, and now the pickle gets to age for the next month or so, then we can crack it open :)

I shouldnt imagine we will eat all 8 jars, so I think we will have to gift some.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pay attention!!!

Do you want the best meat lasagne recipe around?

I am finally Ok with sharing my personal recipe....... So pay attention - I have been told its the best, and its by far my favourite!

So start with an onion and garlic. According to taste, but I do about 1 onion/500g of mince, and about 3 cloves of crushed garlic.

Put some oil (I use olive) in a pan, heat, and add the diced onion and crushed garlic. Also add 2 anchovy fillets or the equivalent amount of paste. Heat until the onions start going clear, and the anchovy is well mixed through the mix. Believe me, the anchovy is worth it!!

Add the mince. I usually try to add half pork, half beef, but it works OK with half beef.

Brown mince and ensure its all broken up well. Large chunks are not pretty.....

Add tomato. I usually add peeled whole tomatoes. For 500g of mince you probably need about 700g of tinned tomatoes and the juice. I like whole tomatoes as they are easier to pick the skin and core out. If you wish add a tub of tomato paste (50g or so) and some water, but if you haven't got paste, add another tin of tomatoes.

Add the following:

1-1.5 cup wine (white or red, but I think white is nicer)
About 1-2t of white sugar (helps with the acidity, especially with tinned pure tomatoes)
Concentrated Vege stock 1T or so. I love Vegeta if you can get it.
Dried herbs, try italian or mixed herbs
pepper and salt to taste (depends on what stock you use)

Cook for about an hour. If it starts looking dry, add more water, about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir whenever you walk past.

Ideally this sauce should cook for about 3 hours. Its worth it, I swear :) Add water to stop it drying out, and just keep the cycle going.

Thats my spag bol sauce but I mix it with a few other things to get this.....

So you have to do homemade pasta. Anything you buy is rubbish in comparison. I find my breadmaker does a great job of the dough. About 4 eggs, some salt and about 300g of flour is enough for a large lasagne.

Cheese/Bechamel sauce

Hmm - I am a bucket chef when it comes to this, but I generally do about this:

Heat 75g of butter, and about 2T of cornflour in a pot, stir until its a paste. Add about 100ml of milk, mix and then add about 5-600ml of milk.
On a steady heat (not too hot, not too cold) heat sauce until it thickens. It should be heavy, if that makes any sense at all...... If after about 15mins, its not thickening, try adding another t or so of cornflour in T of cold milk. Eventually you will get a lovely sauce.

Add cheese - lots of it. I usually doa mix of something easy like colby or tasty and then some fresh parmesan. For 500ml of milk you need about 3c of grated cheese.

Time to assemble!

Put a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of a ovenproof dish. Then the cheese sauce, just enough to cover it. Sometimes I add veges in now, like tonight I put a couple of layers of wilted spinach in. Then a layer of pasta sheets.

Meat, cheese sauce, pasta until you are at the top of your dish. Leave some space because the dish will rise in the oven.

After the last layer of pasta, put a small amount of cheese sauce, and a little grated cheese. Before the kids, I then used to sprinkle paprika, grated pepper and salt over
the top, but that has got the kybosh.....

Bake in an oven (180deg or so) until the sauce is bubbling and the top is a nice golden brown.

Leave for 10 minutes or so to settle, and then cut and serve. Everyone will enjoy!!!!

And the result is.....


I really mix this up, its one of those fluid things that changes texture and taste everytime I make it, but generally its awesome!

Sometimes when I am doign the onion stage I might add some grated carrot and celery which is apparently the true italian spag bol sauce. Its not bad, but tastes nicer when you have an equal pork/beef mince mix.

If I have them, I also use fresh basil, oregano and thyme towards the end of the dish. Lovely, jubbly :)

I don't know anyone else who sweats anchovy with their garlic and onion, so if you copy this, give me credit!

Everyone thinks their spag bol sauce is the best, but really, this one is pretty darned awesome!

Feathers in her hat

I am seriously happy I knitted this hat :)

I had coveted it for a very long time, and finally I got up the urge (or the procrastination) to cast it on.
Couldn't put it down, my kids and partner felt starved of attention all afternoon, but after about 6hrs, it was done.

I love it!!!!!!!!

I wore it all day, and then I said to DP "Hey, you try it on" and he wouldn't take it off!!! So now I have to knit him a new hat - he has chosen the pattern, and I just have to get it done if I want my hat back :)

Link is here

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Poor me :(

I am such a tragic old thing.

Today I am the excited recipient of a MOON BOOT!!! See picture for further clarification.

I have a veyr bad ankle, sprained numerous times over the years - usually attributed to alcohol or netball.

This time it was netball, and bugger it all within 4 goals in the game. We went on to lose, and I felt awful on the sideline :(

So me an my new moon boot will be firm friends for at least a week. I have a fracture clinic visit in a week which should clarify if the darkish area on my film is a fracture or nothing, but hopefully it is just a sprain, and I can take this monstrosity off in a week or so.

Still - makes it hard for uni for the next week!! I will be getting a lift with a friend that thankfully lives about 200m from me. But still, I feel pretty bad getting dropped off at the gates while she has to hunt for a car park :(