Monday, March 24, 2008

Challenge Update

Last week was a joke of a challenge due to a few things. I broke the golden rule of budget shopping - no menu plan, plus I took the kids with me in the afternoon when they were hungry and I rushed so I could get them out of there, meaning I had to go back the next day because I forgot stuff, which I did when I was hungry, so got a few impulse buys ;) Brad also went to Sydney for the day on Saturday, so needed car snacks, plus lunch to have down there and something to take to the BBQ, plus it was easter and the eggs were bought at the supermarket and as if we could go past hot cross buns. I was going to make some, but with Brad working so many hours last week, we were both tired and opted for the easy option. All up, $170 for the week, so $120 over budget hahaha.

Given this is the last week of the month, I am going to make MUCH more of an effort this week, I really want to crack the $50, but the pantry is already low, so not sure we can make it til Sunday. Off to menu plan now, so hopefully I can make it work!

A few new WIP's

Well just because I don't have enough on my plate at the moment, I thought I should start another couple of projects. I love knitting, cos it is easy to take with me and spend 5 or 10 mins on here and there, or do it for 1/2 an hour while chilling watching telly before bed - less concentration and dedicated time required than sewing.

I got my 4.5 and 5cm circs last week and I just had to find out how they would go, so started on Elliana's longies. They are SO pretty, I am just loving how the berry fushia colourway is knitting up :D I've gotta pull finger with these though, so teeny elliana doesn't grow out of them before I have finished! I have grafted the crotch today, so should be able to finish the second leg in the next few days and have them sent off by the end of the week - that is the plan anyway ;)

The days have started chilling, so I also thought pulling finger on some winter woolies for Patrick and Maia is a good idea. I've started with this zoomy vest for Patrick - I already had the pattern book from last year as it was recommended for quick knits, then a few weeks ago found the actual zoomy yarn for $1 a ball at Big W, so figured why not. So far it is knitting up soooooo quick - I love it, a few hours worth of knitting and I am 2/3 through the back piece, just the front and the hood to go then sew it up - hopefully I will be finished in a couple of weeks. Patrick is very excited that I am knitting something for him too :)

Easter Fun!

It was a lovely easter weekend, apart from Brad working for most of it. He did get Saturday of though and took the kids to Sydney with him to see Poppy and go to his friends for a bbq. I worked ALL day and got heaps done, lifting some of the drowing in work feeling which was nice :)

We did a little easter craft - made and coloured in/decorated some paper eggs, but this year for Patrick, it was all about the chocolate! We didn't really talk about easter/choc eggs etc much, so he must have got the fascination from school or something, actually not so much a fascination, more like an obsession lol - every morning for the two weeks prior we were asked how many sleeps until easter egg hunt day.

Patrick had informed us that the Easter Bunny doesn't just leave the eggs in obvious places like on the kitchen bench or the table - they should be hidden and also the easter bunny is very concerned about kiddies squashing the eggs so they shouldn't be left in beds ;) We had a fun time hiding little eggs through the house in semi hard to get places, they even found a few today. The kids were so excited finding them - Patrick way more so than Maia, he was pretty generous and helped her find some when he realised that he had found more than her which is sweet. Luckily we didn't have chocolate overload either, they only had a few small eggs each, then left the rest for later. This is the booty minus one bilby which is in the fridge with no ears ;)

We had a kind of treat for dinner too - pink risotto! The kids LOVED it which was cool - the same old risotto really, but because it was pink it tasted much better of course. I was just struggling with what to put in cos we didn't have many vegies, but saw a half container of beetroot dip in the fridge that needed to be used up and thought why not. I thought it was pretty yummy too and very pretty to look at as well :)

Patrick also wanted to make a special cake for easter, and this one he did all by himself (with a little help measuring) and it was delicious!! Twas a lovely treat for morning tea today!mmmmmmm

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Finally Finished Maia's Skirt!!

Yippee - I am SO glad to have finally finished this, it has taken forever! No wonder though, when I was casting off, I realised that the skirt was squished onto a circ about a 1/4 the size of the circumference. I knew the stitches were squishy, but I didn't realise they were that squishy. I think I will be asking for some knit pics for M Day ;)

Pretty happy with how it came out though, especially considering I made the pattern up as I went along and I had no idea how it was going to come out til I finished. Basically I started the waist as per a normal pair of shorties/longies - 112 stitches for Maia's waist I think it was (she has a 44cm waist), then I knitted for a few rows after I finished the waistband - maybe 8 rows, then started increases at the hips. 1 increase at each hip, plus 1 increase 5 stiches before the marker and 5 stiches after. I did that every 5 rows (6 if I wasn't counting - ooops) til it was approx at her hips, then I continued the increases every 5 rows, but just did the 1 at each hip marker. Continued on til I thought it was long enough and finished off with a picot hem. How's that for the dodgiest ever pattern instructions LMAO.

Doing the stripes looks very pretty, but was an absolute biatch when it came to weaving all those ends in, it took me a week from the time I finished knitting, until they were all done - maybe 4 or 5 hours of weaving - very demotivating when you are already 'finished'. Next time will be in a variated yarn for sure, just knit, knit, knit til it's done.

I haven't washed it or anything yet - that might be blocking - wash and lay flat to dry?? I've gotta get more up on the techy terms ;) so hopefully the hem won't roll up after that. I've still gotta put the elastic in the waistband too, but that is a job for the morning when miss m is awake - I am pretty sure I know what she will be wearing tomorrow :)

My wool dying adventures

I had a new skill to try and master this week - dying wool. It was a lot of fun, but so far I really suck at it. I went in a swap with the girls on my EB knitting group at ravelry, basically you get given someone's details - their colour preferences etc and dye them up some wool and someone will do the same for you - easy peasy I thought, but I was so wrong.

My dying efforts were a bit of a disaster, I have completely ruined a skein of the knittery merino - I still shudder every time I look at the tangled mess of wool. I managed to save my first effort - I was intending some lovely aqua, lilac and pink, but somehow got deep dark almost black purples, deep red and deep blue - kinda nice, but not what I wanted at all. I saved it by rinsing out most of the dye before I put it in the microwave and had 'set', it's still not that pretty and tbh, I'm not sure I would even use it in it's current state, so I am going to have a go at over dying it at some stage to try and make it look a bit better - fingers crossed!

The deep dark disaster

The Save

The Tangled waste of beautiful wool :(

What I sent off in the end to my swapper turned out reasonably nice though - not what I wanted, there was supposed to be bright pink in there, but it kind of disappeared and the blue is a phantom blue - I actually dyed that bit purple, but because I have no idea what I am doing it turned blue - at least it kind of looks like it is meant to be there lol. It looks waaaay better once it is balled up, so hopefully my swapper will like it. I felt a bit bad though, so put in some BBR from monster knits in the night rainbow colourway to make up for my dodgyness ;)

I was soooo lucky to my stunning swap today in the post - my swapper sent me this gorgeous pink and purple colourway on BWM - I love it!

If you did want to have a go at dying with food colours in the microwave - this is the basic gist of it - easy if you are clever - I'll share the error of my ways so you may have better luck ;)

1. put your wool into skeins if not already (I had balls, so wound them around three chair legs)

2. soak in a 50/50 water/white vinegar solution for an hour or two, overnight if you want (I used malt vinegar for one batch cos I didn't have anything else, still worked but it STUNK)

3. squeeze excess water off (I rolled in a towel)

4. make a little bed for the skeins out of glad wrap - I put a length of glad wrap on the bench and kind of pinched the sides up to ensure no dye escapage, I also tried it laying the glad wrap on the bottom of the microwave dish and laying the wool on top as in the deep dark disaster pic above

5. mix up your dyes - I thought you needed a lot for vibrant colours, but no - this just makes a very dark muddy mess - see above ;). I started out with a few drops in say 10ml water and poured a little on, if I wanted it darker I added some more dye. It is easier to get it darker than lighter - so start out lighter and darken if you want to. I have also been recommended to cut a length of wool to test on, before pouring on your dye. Mop up any excess colour, then move on to your next colour.

6. once you have the wool all pretty colours, wrap it up tightly in glad wrap, then put in the microwave for 3 mins, then rest 3 mins, then 3 mins, rest 3 mins, then 3 mins, then leave overnight to cool down

then rinse, put a little shampoo or wool wash in if you want to get rid of the vinegar smell and bob's your uncle, lurvely wool!

If you have made a mistake and want to overdye it, just repeat the steps above, inc the vinegar soak.

As much as I would love to keep on trying to perfect the art, I already have way more wool than I know what to do with, plus trades up my sleeve with two of the best dyers in Aus, so I think I will just leave it to the experts and expand my crafty horizons other ways :D

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Nothing finished yet damn it!

Brad has been working 12-14 hour days and has worked the last 10 days straight, with another 6 to go, so not much happening on the 'spare time' projects, due to almost zero spare time. It's always a fun juggling act this wahm caper, especially in a busy work month and made all the more complicated by a phantom hubby ;)

Never mind, I will get everything done eventually! I have nearly finished Maia's skirt though - that's why I love knitting, you can take it with you and a quick 5 mins here and there means progress to be made, slowly but surely. I just have the PITA side of all those lovely stripes - masses of ends to be woven in, but a pic is coming soon :)

I failed again on our $50 challenge, I've spent $67 already and it's not even the end of the week. I was just going to get a couple of things, but I hate supermarkets and figured while I was already there I could just shop for the week. That is very dangerous without a menu plan though - I am pretty sure I could have come closer to the $50 had I meal planned and got only what we actually needed. I think I will end up with extra veg, that we will use just for the sake of using it up. $67 is still not bad though, so I'm not too worried about it.

Just had to post this very cute pic of Maia too. She is such a delicate little thing, normally happy, cruisy and content - that is until you tell her something she doesn't want to hear lol. We have been trying to get 'the look' on camera for a few months now, cos it is pretty funny, but she usually starts smiling when I get the camera out. I was already photographing something this morning when she did the look, so I got it before she changed expression - it's classic. This is a mild version after I told her she had to use the potty if she wanted to keep her big girl undies on - she wasn't so keen ;)

Monday, March 10, 2008

$50 Challenge Update

I'm not sure whether to be excited that we managed the first week of the challenge spending $77 cos that is still a pretty good effort for a week's shopping, or disappointed cos it wasn't $50. Somewhere in between perhaps ;) The extra money spent was for good reason though, we usually buy olive oil in big tins and the seemingly never ending tin was coming to an end and woolies had a super good special - 4 litres for $23. We couldn't go past it, considering that will probably last six months.

I'm not sure how we are going to go for the next few weeks, as we have already noticed a big dent in the freezer and pantry - brad thinks it should be at least the $60 challenge lol. Our menu for the week wasn't too bad, certainly not exciting, but OK. For dinners we had: spinach and ricotta lasange (2 meals), tuna and potato pie with steamed veg (2 meals), home made pizza, big fat salad, fritata. Lunches were a bit harder, cos we used the leftovers for the second dinner instead of lunch, so lots of sandwiches, baked beans, scramble etc patrick made up his own dish one day - cheesy eggy rice. We also had some treats - nectarine crumble with custard (crumble was frozen in the freezer from a few weeks back), chocolate brownies - those were good! and lots of smoothies.

Hopefully this week, we can do it!

I didn't get any objects finished this weekend either as Brad got called into work. I have done the last colour change for Maia's skirt now, so on the home stretch, yay! Few more rounds to go, then figure out how to do a picot edge for the hem and I am done - will be glad to get that one finished!!

Friday, March 7, 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Tikki. Very exciting for me as I am new to this whole blog world - I guess someone does read my blog after all LOL

Firstly, here are the rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2. Share seven facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Righto, 7 random and/or weird things about me:

1. I'm very anal when it comes to some things - like the linen cupboard. Every towel, facewasher, blanket and pillowcase must be in it's correct place or it drives me nuts

2. I'm currently longing for a bubba, hoping our stupidly crazy lives will allow it to happen sometime soon

3. I have a rediculous amount of yarn considering that I have only ever completed 1 scarf, 3 pairs of shorties, 2 newborn soakers and 3 dishcloths in the six months I have been knitting. I always think I will have more spare time than I actually do, and am hopelessly addicted to pretty things and beautiful colourways, I really need to stop buying and start knitting!

4. I am definately a swim person when it comes to sink or swim. I worked as a temp for a few years and often used to take on jobs that I had no idea how to actually do, just so I didn't get stuck with boring reception or straight typing work. Luckily I can pick things up reeeally quickly and was able to pretend like I knew how to do it all along.

5. My 'real' name is actually Susan, but I don't like it at all (no offence to anyone named susan) and as soon as I left school I changed it in all but official documents to Sue

6. I can't have nutella in the house, because otherwise I will eat it all straight out of the jar which is just disgusting - last month I managed to make my way through an entire 750gm jar in just over two weeks, with very little help from anyone else. No wonder my tummy feels a little more squishy than normal!

7. Procrastination is one of my worst traits (along with always being late - probably a result of the procrastination lol). I hate myself for it sometimes, but I just can't help it - like now. I really should be catching up on my outstanding emails, but I am here doing something completely trivial that I should do after I finish work. But hey, I gotta have a break sometimes ;)

Not sure who to tag, being new to blogging and all, but hopefully I got it right and everyone I've tagged hasn't been tagged before. Sooo I'm tagging Mel, Hayley, Tanya, Donna, Kath, Wendy and anyone else who wants to play- have fun :D

My Finish the UFO's Weekend

I have so many things that are almost finished, I've decided to make that my mission for this weekend. I have to applique Patrick and Maia's names on the playroom curtains - that has been outstanding since Christmas. Patrick's school pillow needs it's rainbow applique and I sooooooo want to finish Maia's knitted skirt - I'm so close and have been doing it since our camping holiday in January and I need those needles for another project. Brad and I also need to get past week 1 of our Italian lessons or we are not going to have any chance of being fluent in Italian by next August LOL.

Also, I have some very belated pressies for friends that need to be sewn up as well as an extra special trade and this week I got a delivery of stunning embroidered minkee cuts from Mel at Wrigglebots, so I am hopefully going to turn these into spectacular nappies.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Our $50 March Challenge

After getting two monster unexpected bills, plus having to get a new washing machine and Brad loosing heaps of hours at work, I decided to do something very drastic, kind of cos we need to and kind of as bit of a challenge to see if we can actually do it. Each week in March, I will try to do the weekly grocery shopping for just $50. Yep feeding a family of 4 for $50 a week certainly won't be easy, but I do have a few things on my side. I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to food and I tend to stock up when things come on special, so we already have at least 2 weeks worth of soy milk, plus quite a bit of rice/noodles/pasta in the pantry, I just bought 5kgs of spelt last week so we'll be good for bread and we are usually getting 3 eggs a day from the chooks at the moment.

One of the important things for me though, is that I don't want to compromise nutrition just to eat cheaply, so we won't be living on white bread, 2 min noodles and skanky vegies. I guess that makes it a little harder because generally it is cheaper to eat crap food than good food, but I just think we'll have to be a bit more creative ;)

So far in week 1, I have spent $27.50 on a big box of fruit and veg and a carton of milk, so I have $22.50 left, I'll report back in on Sunday and let you know how I go with it :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Finally A Nappy Made Just for Maia!

Maia has many many nappies, too many to count actually, but all her IB's are seconds or testers, prototypes etc - since starting my business over two years ago, I have not actually made a nappy specially for her. Since she is almost out of nappies, it was time to seriously pull finger and make her a special nappy. I took her to spotlight and she chose her own fabric. Sadly this was about six months ago - it has taken me that long to get around to doing it :( but at last, today, I finally finished it off, yay! The only time I will probably say - thank goodness she still wears nappies hahaha.

She was thrilled of course and even though she was very proud that she had been in the same pair of undies all day at daycare, she wanted to put her pooh nappy on straight away. And of course, as per the new nappy test, it was promptly christened rofl. I'm just glad she still fits it, since I cut it out months ago lol.

Pay It Forward

From Rebecca's Blog I'm a bit slow with this one, I keep meaning to blog it and then get distracted and forget ooops. I love this pay it forward, it's such a cool concept :D

The first three people to comment on this post will receive a gift from me, sometime within the next 365 days. Who knows when it will turn up, or what it will be, but rest assured, it will arrive and will be lovely! All you have to do is promise to make the same declaration on your blog, and send out gifts to three of your lovely readers. Easy Peasy.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Nappies for Baby Wombat

It's always such an honour to have friends who have known me since before the crazy days of IB ask me to make nappies for them. This bubba is particularly special - a very long time coming for his mum and dad. I made a promise to my friend one day not to ask how the TT'ing was going because she had such a huge range of emotions about it all and was getting very sick of people asking about it! I kept my promise and didn't ask her again - I knew one day there would be some good news. About 15 months later, out of the blue I found an incredibly exciting post on NC telling me and everyone that she was pregnant! I jumped up and down, screamed and cried, I was so so thrilled for her. Any second now (she hopes as she is already 41 weeks!), baby wombat will make his appearance into the world and his little bot will be super stylish from the very first nappy :D

These are some of the nappies for BW that I have been making over the past couple of months. I was given total free reign on the print ones - sometimes a little scary for my wee libran brain lol, but this is what I came up with :)

It's a mix of minkee AIO's, print fitteds and boo's. I loved making these so much, I haven't made print nappies for ages and it made me feel a bit more creative about things again which is sooo nice. I love admiring a beautiful nappy lol.

These ones are mainly smalls.

These are mediums.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Far out - I'm a Genuis!

It must be all them books I red or sumthin, but somehow, this blog is written to a genius standard ROFL!

blog readability test

I mean of course I know I am a genius, just didn't think it came across that way ;)

Unfortunately though, the reality is that I suspect this reading level rating scheme is a little random - the first time I clicked on it from one of the NC blogs I was merely rated at Junior High, but three days later I'm elevated to the grand poo-bah! So what are you?