Thursday, August 27, 2009

Time’s a-wastin’.

Tomorrow is Charlotte’s 8th birthday extravaganza. She has planned an enormous Build-a-Bear party for basically everyone she knows, except the neighbour girl who recently (oh, who am I kidding, ‘continuously’) bossed her around.

And that’s what is known as ‘comeuppance'. NO CAKE FOR YOU, HA.

At this very moment, party being tomorrow, I should be cleaning something, or baking something. Instead, I’m posting about a couple of books I keep meaning to talk about: “Socks from the Toe Up” and “Mother Daughter Knits”.


“Socks” is the baby of Wendy Johnson, who writes Wendy Knits. This book has got some cool stuff, plus lots of tips for basic toe-up sock construction. The patterns are nice. (Weirdly, though, many of them don’t continue all the way around the back of the leg – the patterning is just on the front.) My favourite so far are the Labyrinth socks (Ravelry link) but I haven’t cast them on yet…just need the perfect yarn.

This is a great book if you’re a sock knitter in general, and especially if you usually knit them top-down and are wondering about a switch. Wendy has included instructions for a good heel-flap imitation, too, so you won’t be limited to short-row heels.

Socks from the Toe Up gets:



Mother-Daughter Knits” is from Sally Melville and her daughter Caddy Melville-Ledbetter. Sally is apparently a friend of my mother-in-law, and I think I might try to wangle some kind of introduction – based on this book, I would LOVE her. (And her daughter, too.)

There is a lot of good stuff in this book. I’m impressed with the sections on fitting body shapes – they’ve gone to a lot of trouble to explain the theory and application of knit design, including changing parts of the pattern to suit your figure, and what to wear WITH your chosen sweater shape. I like that – so often, as they say in the book, a nice piece is ruined by an off bit of styling.

I love the Camelot Coat, designed by Sally. I also like Caddy’s Minidress, although that is not my usual style (cap sleeves, argh!) – but the back is marvellous.

I see a lot of pattern books and mostly they are the same old, same old, but this one really appeals. There is more good information than I expected, the sizing range is generous, and the designs are pretty. Check out “Mother-Daughter Knits” if you get a chance.

Mother-Daughter Knits gets:



And now I really must go plan the cake. Charlotte wants layers of both vanilla AND chocolate, plus real buttercream. I believe this to be in honour of the “Buttercream Cub” from Build-a-Bear.

Which, by the way: cute, but what a racket they’re pulling. They are masters of the up-sell – and now they’ve got my daughters trying to pull out their own teeth in order to get money to spend at the Build-a-Bear Workshop.

Literally, they are trying to pull out their own teeth. Emily actually succeeded in getting one out, last night, but she’s in the lucky position of having at least three teeth that are currently in varying degrees of looseness, and are therefore potentially extractable for the Cause. Charlotte doesn’t have any loose teeth at the moment, but the way she’s pushing them around, she soon will.

Off to whip some butter. The cake has to be especially soft and creamy, so my children will be able to eat it with their bare gums.

Friday, August 21, 2009


It's busy. This is how I have felt lately:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

No Foolin’.

Hey, lady:

You are wandering around the grocery store with one ear glued to a cell phone, your iPod in your other hand, diamonds dripping off you, shooting verbal abuse at your two children between the inane, slanderous conversation you are having with your phone, and loading your cart with chips, diet mixers, Red Bull and Lean Cuisine.

I followed you around the aisles for forty minutes, getting my own jobs done, and I think I have your measure.

I do not believe you are a yogini studying balance and centredness, no matter how many lululemon logos you are sporting – I counted four. Five if I include the bag. You can wrap yoga wear around your soft, dimpled, privileged arse every day of your clueless life, if you like. When I look at you, I see Kmart clearance.

Peace out.


Friday, August 07, 2009


I had a bad day today. But I am making a pot of soup for supper: turkey vegetable noodle, a consolation. Biscuits will happen later, and these two things together are almost certainly going to make the world right again.

I would like to have had some homemade bread with it, but maybe that will be for tomorrow. There’ll be leftover soup, of course, and it’s nice to know lunch is taken care of. I do have to remember to bash up the dough tonight, though.

I was poking through my spice cupboard looking for little glass jars of dried whatnot for the soup, when I realised that back in May, I invested in some 2” pots of various things…

what need have I of dried herbs in July? Forethought provides.

Lovage, winter savoury, English thyme, rosemary, purple sage.

Thanks Mum for planting the bush beans.



I keep forgetting to tell you about an absolutely charming series I discovered: they are by Shire Books. Wonderfully no-nonsense books of information about quite specific subjects, they are replete with history and facts, and amazingly concise. I have “Baking and Bakeries”and “Spinning and Spinning Wheels”, but I long to get “The Woollen Industry”, “Flax and Linen”, “Markets and Marketplaces of Britain”, “Evacuees of the Second World War”……oh, just all of them. I’m trying to scheme how I could get the government to pay for them, seeing as they would be for school.

Leadbetter Spinning and Spinning Wheels, by Eliza Leadbetter: from why wool must be spun, to how to work a spindle, to how to comb flax, to what a niddy-noddy is for.

Baking and Bakeries, by H G Muller: from Pompeii to Pillsbury, a fascinating look at the staff of life. This book is so cool – did you know that, in the 1830s, the main cause of lead poisoning was bread baked in an oven fired with old door and window frames painted with white lead paint? Or that the bread of the early 19th century might contain large amounts of plaster of Paris, white clay, alum, copper sulphate and bone dust?

Anyway, if you get a chance to take a look at this line, do pick it up. I think they’ve just released “Beach Huts and Bathing Machines” and “The Slave Trade”.

Finding out is so fun.