Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Road Trip and Uke

First, a piccy. This cute little Ukulele was given to me today by my completely awesome parents. I have started singing a fair bit, and wanted to learn an easy instrument to accompany me. A couple of people suggested that I learn the ukulele, so when Dad saw this purple one up at The Planting Festival (was held this last weekend at Woodfordia - the Woodford Folk Festival site), he just knew he had to buy it for me. I am so excited. I have already been online and learnt a few easy chords and am picking up a learners manual in town tomorrow. I had thought to teach myself guitar, but was finding it too difficult for some reason, but this is great.

Mum and Dad giving me this uke has topped off an amazing weekend. On Friday, my friend Naomi and I took off on a 4 day, 3 night road trip. We had one plan: To go to Mullimbimby to go to "the Crystal Castle" and to Ballina so we could go to Thursday Plantation. After that, we just went wherever we felt led.

So Friday started off with us leaving at about 9:00am. We got to Mullimbimby at about 10:30 or 11:00am. We had a good look around, had a lovely lunch then had more of a look around and shopping. Naomi bought quite a few crystals as well a beautiful Sugerlite stone and silver bracelet that she gave to ME!! (it is sooo pretty). We also had photos of our Auras taken which was a very interesting and amazing experience. They seemed to be so spot on, it was uncanny. One of my spirit guides or angels even showed up on mine, so that was awesome.

From Mullumbimby we headed down to Ballina where we got a room at The Slipway Hotel (I keep on wanting to call it the "Slipway Inn" - think about it) for the night. Once we had settled in and I'd had a bit of a nap (Naomi went for a wander in the main st while I rested) we went to find something to eat. The food and atmosphere at the Slipway didn't really entice us, so we decided to wander down the street to see what else was available. We ended up going into one of the other pubs (The Australian Hotel) where we had another awesome meal and listened to live music by Birdie, the lead singer of a band called The Quiet Excitement. During the evening we got talking to some of the locals, including the owners of the pub and (during his breaks) Birdie himself. Much fun, laughter and singing was had. Once we were finished there, we headed back to our room to plan our next days movements and go to bed.

On Saturday morning we had a couple of hours to spend looking around town before the Thursday Plantation was due to open, so we had a leisurely breakfast in a local cafe, then went to East Ballina to see the coast line and beach. At East Ballina we found this old cemetery on the headland, so we quickly pulled over and went for walk through, looking at some of the graves. The view from the cemetery was amazing. Once we finished there, we drove further along the headland to the lookout, where we spent quite a while just looking up and down the coast and gazing out at the sea.

When it got to about 9:45am, we headed back to north/west Ballina to the Thursday Plantation. We had a wonderful time walking through the maze, the rainforest walk and the shop. All around the plantation grounds are sculptures and artwork. Some really good, some really obscure but kind of cool (like the door in the middle of the rainforest path, the skeleton made of metal found in the maze, and the pillars of breasts at the start of the maze), and the completely eyebrow raising "artwork" that almost anyone could do, even a ten yr old, but cost a mint.

The plan after the plantation visit was to drive across through Lismore and then up to Nimbin for a leisurely saturday lunch, wander and shop. Unfortunately, as we arrived into Nimbin, we saw a big sign saying "Nimbin MardiGrass - This weekend!". Oh, shit.... There were people (and police) everywhere. Naomi doesn't do crowds well, and I wasn't keen on being involved at the mardigrass, so we decided to just drive through the main street. We pulled into the carpark at the Nimbin Candle Factory on the other side of the town, and had a nice quiet time looking at the candles, getting a tour and taking the chance for a loo break. We were thinking we might have lunch there, but as it was obvious they were only selling Vegan food, we decided to keep moving and see what we could find further along the road.

So, we got back in the car and headed further north, then west heading towards Kyogle. About 1/2 way between Nimbin and Kyogle, we stopped at a tiny locality that I can't remember the name of and had another lovely meal of meat pies and salad at the shop/ postoffice/ cafe/gallery. Then we kept on driving all afternoon - first to Kyogle, then down south to Casino. At Casino, we stopped into a motel that I'd been to before with Lachlan and asked for a twin room. Unfortunately there were none available, so we decided to head due west to Tenterfield as it was only about an hour away and we were planning to go there the next day anyway and it was still reasonably early in the evening (about 4:30pm or so). The trip to Tenterfield, although lots of glare because of the sun setting in the west, was one of the most beautiful legs of the whole weekend. Just glorious!

It's about 9pm now when I'm writing this, and I need to go to bed now, so I'll stop for the moment and write of the Tenterfield "Experience" (because an experience it was!) and the following two days tomorrow. Sorry to leave you hanging, but come back tomorrow evening for the next installment! LOL.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas presents.

This year for all the kids (my nieces and nephews), I made them washcloths. I also made Sophie and Arun their own bath bags. The washcloth patterns I sourced from Ravelry - except for the loveheart one that I made for Lucy, which I designed myself. I was going to make the the other two boys a bath bag each (different design using pure acrylic) but ran out of time, so they got some small store bought toys instead.

The Bags I made from my own pattern in my head. For the main body of the Bags, I dyed some natural coloured pure wool (that was given to me by my Mother In Law) with food colouring. I then crocheted it up and chucked it into the washing machine to full it and shrink it. that way, the mums can wash the bags without any worry. The patterns formed by the dyeing and crocheting process turned out great! The yellow bags top was crocheted with Acrylic and the Green bags top was crocheted with a cotton/acrylic blend that I picked up from Kmart for $1 per ball. Bargain!

Bne SnB Secret Santa Swap.

This year, on the 5th December, the Brisbane SnB (Stitch & Bitch) Group held a Xmas Secret Santa Swap party at the home of the lovely Tash.
Below is the gift I got from BubbleBee (aka Lauren). Isn't it wonderful? the knitted item is a little cap, and the yarn is Baby Alpaca. :-)

##Oops!! just found out that I got it wrong. I actually got this gift from TwistedKitten (aka Christine). Sorry Christine!! *blushes and runs to hide.....*## 29/12/09

Below is a piccy of the present I gave to my Swap partner Slipsthrufingers (aka Kathy). She is a keen "Ducky things" collector, so I made an Amigarumi duck (my first amigarumi toy) and a duck washcloth. Both patterns I got from Ravelry. The little things on the washcloth are stitch markers that my friend Naomi made. She made me a whole heap to give away and sell, so I thought Kathy would like a couple of sets. The yarn is hand spun cotton plied with an acrylic thread, that I picked up from the QSW&FA Christmas Fair. So pretty!

We had a wonderful day and much fun and merriment was had by all. I think more photos can be found on my flickr page (I am Sanity Is Yarn on flickr as well as Ravelry)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Spinning Pretty

Goodness, December already!! So much for trying to post more often, but November sucked pretty badly, so you don't want to hear about that. But things are a bit better this week - Good friends, my Dad coming home from England tonight, christmas is in the air, school is just about over (thank god - I'm ready for Rory to be on holidays!) and I've been very productive.

Last night a dear friend gave me an early Christmas present - Look what I got!

(sorry for the blurry photo!) I believe it is First Editions Sliver. Don't know what the name of the colourway is, but it's very pretty and extremely bright.
I was very keen to see what it looked like spun up, so this morning I got on my wheel and started spinning - so far I've done one bobbin of singles:


The colours do get a little muddied by the spinning process, but they are still really good. It actually tones it down a bit so it might be a little more wearable anyway. I am thinking about making a "jane hat" (one of those beanies with ear flaps) out of it and a neckwarmer if I have enough too. That will be really cool!

Over the last couple of weeks I have been madly knitting and crocheting ready for Christmas. I decided to give all my nieces and nephews something knitted this year - photos will be posted after the various christmas gatherings so that the receivers don't see it beforehand. ;) More needs to be made anyway.

I have also been working on a couple of small gifts for my secret santa swappee in the Brisbane Stitch N Bitch Christmas Swap. The party is on Saturday afternoon, so again, I'll post pics of what I made and who it was for etc, after that.

If I have time, I am also thinking of crocheting some some small christmas tree decorations for not only our tree but for my families trees. If I don't get them done by this Christmas though, it is no matter, I'll just do a few during the year ready for next christmas.

so many projects... so little time..... *sigh*

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Finished yarn

Last night after posting the blog update, I finished spinning the blue night owl batt and then plied the blue singles and yellow singles together. Here they are separately as a reminder:

I wasn't sure how they would look plied together and although I knew it would be an interesting and textured yarn, I didn't think I would like the colour / effect it would produce. Thankfully, I was wrong - I wasn't a big fan of the yellow/green/ orange singles, but added with the blue, it turned out fantastic!

I've called the yarn "Orange Flecks"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Busy Spinning

Today has been a productive day. First up this morning I had a meeting with Rory's class teacher and Special needs teacher. It went well and was very positive. yay! Then I came home and started on about 4 loads of washing - mainly bedding stuff. In between each load, I got heaps of spinning done. The first thing I had to do was finish plying some purple wool I started a while ago, then put it on the Niddy Noddy (skein maker) (piccy above). The skein is about 190g and will go with the other 196g of the same yarn I spun up at Mapleton Camp back in July. I am hoping to make a nice shawl thing out of it.

After getting the purple yarn off the wheel, I started spinning two of my batts from the Fibre Fun Day. Here is the White one I decided to spin first (turns out that it had a lot of blue in it though, more blue than white):

I then spun this pink/green one:

And this is the result of them plied together - Pretty. I reckon it looks a bit like a "mixed lollie bag".

After I had put the "mixed lollie bag" yarn on the Niddy Noddy, I started to spin the yellow/orange/green batt I made on Wednesday night at night owls. Here it is 1/2 spun up so you can see the batt as well:

Once that was spun into a single thread I put on a new bobbin and started to spin the blue/green batt I also made on Wednesday night. I haven't finished spinning this yet, but here is a pic of it about 1/3 done:
Once the blue is spun, I am thinking of plying it with the yellow to create a very different and textured yarn. It will be interesting to see what it turns out like!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Some knitting photos....

I have completed a couple of items in the last few days.

A cotton washer for someone special (shh... it's a secret!)

Finally finished this beanie for Deb at bowling - Have been working on it for weeks as I got distracted by reading Jane Austen novels :)

Some pretty batts that I made up on Wednesday, made up from some of the leftovers from the fun day. Will make more next week with the rest of the left-overs. The Electric Drum Carder is so much easier and quicker to use than the hand drum carders. Such Fun!!

Fun Day Photos

Colin, Chantelle, & Julie... Along with the mess of fibre on the ground.

Lindel's new hair do!

table of 23 batts. I wish I could have felted them all down into a pretty table-cloth!

Kylie, Lindel, Betsy and Vicki

The three batts I got. Purdy!

I unfortunately did not get any pics of Jacquline, Jen or Annie. Hopefully someone else did and I can copy them later.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fibre Fun Day 10th October

Yesterday, I had a great day. I invited over some knitting and spinning friends to have a Fibre Fun day - making batts of wool on a couple of small drum carders for spinning, spinning and eating LOTS of yummy food that people had brought. 10 people came!!!! We had an absolutely wonderful time, pooling our stashes of fibre and creating colourful batts.

One of the group was also dyeing skeins of wool in a pot, using mulberries as the dye source. It was going really well until for some reason my portable gas stove that she was using decided to burst into flames! That was a bit of excitement to say the least. Thankfully I had a fire blanket handy in the kitchen that smothered the fire pretty quickly - but it ended her dyeing session and completely ruined the little stove and melted & warped the plastic table it was sitting on. Oh well, what's a decent party without a little fire? LOL

The reason (other than to get together to have fun) I decided to have this fun day, is because yesterday was my "heart day" - the anniversary of my first open heart surgery when I was one. It is like a second little birthday to me, as until then I really didn't live or develop like normal babies. Most years, in celebration of this, Mum makes me a love heart shaped cake. It was so nice, because one of the ladies, on hearing this prior to the day, cooked a love heart shaped cake especially for me. :D I nearly cried in happiness, because my mum is staying with my grandmother at the moment and so wasn't going to be making one for me this year. And better than that, when I cut it, every one sang "happy heart day" (like happy birthday) to me!

So I had a great day, am feeling extremely blessed to have so many wonderful and like minded friends, even if I am completely exhausted today and will probably have to rest a lot for the next few days. It was so worth it.