Monday, March 31, 2014

my handsome haberdasher

One day, we went to the local craft superstore to get some jeans fabric to patch up Hugh's favorite pair of jeans, which were going a bit see-through in the crotchal region. He bought half a metre, which was way more than he needed, so after he patched up his jeans, he decided to make a skirt. Two hours later, I had a new wrap skirt! How crazy is that? How did I land myself such a talented man?

He didn't use a pattern or anything. He just winged it. And it's not a simple rectangle of fabric, wrapped around my waist. It has shaping and detailing and a hole to thread the side-tie through! I love it.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


This might be stating the obvious, but it is amazing to not be living paycheck to paycheck anymore! Or worse, living on no income at all, hoping a tax return will come through in time.

There are debts I should be paying off. Well, just the one debt: my student loan. But it's amazing to be able to start saving money for trips and things!

That's all. I just feel so lucky at the moment.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mama's here!

Mama arrived in Melbourne on Saturday morning, and after a quick brunch at our favorite Italian grocery store cafe (where she tried an affogato, yum!) we headed to the beach.

It was pretty empty! This is a relatively unknown beach, and it's gorgeous. I was talking about it to my coworker today, and he was sad to hear that I read about it online, because it's one of his favorite surf spots and he doesn't want people to know about it!

Hugh bought me a new boogie board a month ago, so we did a bit of surfing while Mama explored the rock pools.

We drove to the nearby town, then walked up to their lighthouse as it started to rain a bit. The views from there were beautiful, but Hugh pointed out the storm clouds headed our way. They looked far enough away, but we only made it halfway back to the car before the storm reached us. We were drenched in seconds! Then the wind picked up and started tossing around power lines, and then the lightning and thunder came! Yikes! We took shelter in a public toilet until it let up a bit.

Since I still had my bathing suit on under my clothes, I stripped off as soon as we got in the car. We drove to Queenscliffe for fish and chips for dinner, and I had to put my soaked jeans back on for that. �� Blech!

All in all, I think it was a pretty good first day in Australia for Mama!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Work in progress: Stella jumper

I have been knitting a jumper (translation: sweater) lately. I fell in love with this sparkly wool when I first saw it months ago, but I didn't have the funds to buy it. (It's Patons Australia Stella.) I think it was $7-$8 a ball. Then it got discontinued and disappeared from our local craft store! But then I found a few left at a fabric store in the city, for half the original price, so I snatched up 8 balls.

I started to knit another Agnes sweater (from Quince&Co.), and I got most of the way done with it before I remembered that I'd seen a chunky knit lace sweater pattern in Knitsy that might be fun to try out. But that pattern was knit in flat pieces and I prefer to knit top-down in the round.

See, a bit boring.

There are lots of reasons why I prefer to knit top-down in the round: you can try on as you go, and knitting on circular needles puts less strain on your wrists; but mainly, I'm lazy and impatient. Knitting flat pieces means you have to seam everything together at the end, and I just like to be done once the knitting has finished! Let's call it efficiency instead if laziness.

Anyway, I started to knit this lace pattern in the round. It involves repeats of 8 stitches, and I arbitrarily decided when to start the repeats. When I got to the bit where you separate the sleeves from the body, I realised that my lace pattern would be a big old mess because I hadn't placed it correctly to finish one repeat and then start another. It was more like, "get halfway through the lace repeat then start the next repeat three stitches in."

So I pulled out some graph paper and started sketching, working backwards from the separation stage to the collar stage.

I made a few mistakes along the way.
Sadly, I still didn't get it quite right, but it's much better! The interruption in the pattern happens under the arms, so it shouldn't be very noticeable. I might try to write the pattern up for Ravelry, in which case I'll fix the mistake.

Monday, March 03, 2014

we're in Adelaide!

It is my darling boyfriend's 30th birthday! Happy birthday, Handsome! Since it is also his twin sister's 30th (funny how that works!), we arranged to go to Radelaide for the weekend.

It is really good to be back in Adelaide. I felt this way when we came back for Christmas, too, and I can't figure out if I just prefer Adelaide when I'm visiting short term, or if I'm only loving it because the weather is gorgeous, or if I'd actually like to move back here. It's beside the point, really, since we have no plans currently to move back here. There are no whisky distilleries in Adelaide! Yet.

Yesterday, we had lunch at Penfolds' Magill Estate. I know I'm prone to exaggeration, but the food was AMAZING. We had a five-course set menu, and there was pork belly with macademia and a creamy brown sauce, oil-poached trout that didn't have a hint of fishiness, and melt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef. The portions were small, so no one left feeling overstuffed. It was impeccable. Hugh picked a Shiraz from 1984, which was apparently a bad year for wine, but it was still really nice and smooth. I quite enjoyed it, though Hugh thought it was "past its prime." Let's hope the same is not true of boys born in 1984!

Monday, February 24, 2014


Look look look! Becky sent me presents! They are so wonderful and pretty!

This silk mohair blend is soooo gorgeous! The photo doesn't even do it justice. I know exactly what I'm going to make with it: the simple pleasures hat from Purl Bee. It's summer, but I don't see that as any reason to stop knitting winter items! I generally take so long to finish a project that it's the next season along anyway. Actually, usually it's a year and a season!

And the washi tape is perfect. It matches my journal! And there's so much of it! Becky has doubled my washi tape stash in one swoop. There are other exciting goodies too, like some color printed labels (are they from French Linen or something like that?) and some really sweet earrings. Thank you!!!!!!!

Trying on my hat on the train to work:

working from home

The elementary school just up the road from us plays Top 40 hits to signal the end of recess. I think that's so cool! I love opening our balcony doors and listening to the kids playing at recess.

I'm working from home today. My boss is on leave, so there's no one in the office who needs me, and I missed my train this morning. It wasn't my fault, in case you were wondering! I take a tram and three trains each day, each direction. My first train sat outside North Melbourne station for almost ten minutes this morning, meaning that I missed train 2 (there are actually three to choose from, and I missed all of them) and therefore missed train 3. Since North Melbourne isn't really that far from home, and I had my laptop with me, I kind of couldn't be bothered to wait an hour and fifteen minutes for the next train to Geelong. There was a train towards home in two minutes, so I made a quick decision and hopped on. And it's great!

Normally, I avoid working at home because I can't stay focused. But I've been struggling to stay focused in the office lately, and I've actually been way more focused at home today! Not that I'm going to make a habit of it. But it's good to have some variety now and again to shake things up and keep me out of a rut.

And I can go to the post office and pick up a mystery parcel. Yay!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

new health goals

Ugh. I've been "trying" to get my weight under control for the past two years. By "trying," I mean that I've been thinking lots about it and making small changes that last about a week. Do you want to know how well it's been working? Skirts that I bought two months ago are too tight for me. In fact, all of my fitted skirts and all of my jeans are too tight for me. But I can't wear the same two expandable-waistband skirts to work every day of the week.

Add to this wardrobe problem the fact that I'm working in an Obesity Prevention office, and currently reading all the dietary and physical activity recommendations for Australia as part of my job, and I end up a bit paranoid.

So here are some new goals I just jotted down. I'm trying to make them achievable so that I'll be more likely to succeed!

  1. Do Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred video at least 6 days a week.
This will be the hardest one for several reasons. One, the work-out sucks. Two, it requires a lot of physical space, which we don't have. I have to push all the living room furniture aside in order to do it. Three, Jillian Michaels is annoying, and listening to the same obnoxious patter every single day for half an hour makes me want to die. "I know some of you are saying, 'Can't I just take the stairs?' No, you can not." Thanks for the tough talk, Jilly, but actually, I should be taking the stairs more often.

     2.  Walk to and from the train station. (A 20-minute walk that I usually avoid by taking the tram.)
     3.  At dinner, once you finish what's on your plate, do NOT continually walk over to the stove to pick at the leftovers in the pan.
     4.  Do NOT indulge in evening snacks unless they are carrots or fruit. (That means no biscuits, even if Hugh is eating a whole sleeve of them.)
     5.  Do not indulge in sweets at work. Just because someone brings a chocolate ganache wedding cake for afternoon tea doesn't mean you need to have some!

That's it for now. I'm fairly doubtful about my ability to stick to those five, but really, any improvement in what I eat or how much activity I do is progress. I can always buy looser skirts x-D

Monday, February 03, 2014

summery crop tank

You guys, I finished another project. I'm so proud of myself! Actually, I still need to block it, but it's otherwise done. I used a cotton yarn Jody sent me ages ago. (Was it last Christmas? Can't remember.) I had just the right amount. Again, it's a Girly Knits pattern, called Blossoming Beauty.

Here is a picture of it in progress.

Rather than get the blocking out of the way straight off, I just decided to put it on. And now I've been wearing it all day. haha! It's nice and HOT today, but the cotton isn't too warm, and the tank doesn't cover much anyway! haha!

(Ignore the Pillsbury Doughboy belly...)

It has a racer back. I took a selfie of that, too, but the angle made my shoulders look giant! I made Hugh take a picture of me earlier pretending to be a gangster. I had my overalls down and his gangsta Mariners cap on and I was making gang signs (so politically correct), but he deleted it immediately after showing it to me! I was totally gonna post it on here, even though my tummy looked even wider and pastier than above, but I guess he thought it was just too horrendous to share. I suppose you all owe him your gratitude.

(Also, can I just say that while I've been writing this post, my wonderful boyfriend has been making me a skirt?! How awesome is that? He is totally free-handing it, no pattern to speak of, and it has taken him about an hour and a half. What a peach!)

Sunday, February 02, 2014

straya day swimming

Australia Day was last Sunday, and we got Monday off in lieu. (If a national holiday falls on a weekend, you get a weekday off, so you don't get cheated out of the day off. Isn't that lovely?)

Australia Day is a bit controversial. Some people call it Invasion Day (granted, a minority of people). It's similar in theory and execution to the Fourth of July, but marks a slightly different event. It doesn't mark the day Australia became a sovereign nation. It marks the day the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour and raised the flag of Great really it should be "British Australia Day" or something like that. "Invasion Day" works, too. So the day is a bit controversial because a) it marks the beginning of a drawn-out genocide of the native people, and b) it doesn't really celebrate much of anything anyway. Here is an Australian's much better description of the inner struggle many Aussies feel on this day (from Pip at Meet Me At Mike's).

But it was a day off, and that's what mattered to me! Actually, what really mattered to me was that it was almost 100 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course). I decided days in advance that I would go swimming. So I dragged Hugh out of bed and made him drive me 80 miles to the start of the Great Ocean Road.

Thing is, I wasn't the only one with clever ideas of swimming on Monday. The entire rest of the state had the same idea. And a good portion of them were headed in the same direction as us. And I think there were some roadworks. And the air conditioning in the car is broken.

Things got a bit dicey for a while there. A 1.25-hour journey became a 2-hour journey. I wasn't sure Hugh would speak to me for the rest of the day.

But it was all good! I picked a lesser-known beach, which was brilliant, because all the usual beaches along the ocean road were PACKED! Ours was a bit secluded and had a few families, but plenty of space to spread out and relax. It was good fun. Yay swimming! I never really stay out for long (which makes the long journey a bit wasteful), but I enjoy it sooooooo much. Here is me being happy.

I am working on my surfer 'do.

And here is us on Sunday, when we met our friends, E and J, for Straya Day dinner and drinkies. We had Malaysian roti at Mamak for dinner, and drinks on the rooftop bar of Goldilocks. We thought we'd be able to hear the fireworks at dusk from there, but alas, we could not. We did hear some live music from a neighboring bar, though.

(haha Hugh has the funniest camera face)