Monday, December 21, 2009

Whitsundays - Hydeaway Bay

This is the view I have to wake up to each morning at the Hydeaway Bay housesit.
I'm playing tennis several times a week with the local ladies late in the afternoon when it has cooled down a little. Humidity is high but still the rains haven't come.
My knitting production is at an all-time low, not because of the heat but due to my wonderful social life. These country "girls" know how to enjoy life to the full.
The Dingo Beach Yarn Group have handed me many boxes of knitted items to courier back to Knit 4 Brisbane's Needy. Just to name a few there are 50 beanies, 12 scarves, 3 cartons of baby clothing, 3 adult ponchos, 6 children's jumpers, all knitted since I was here last in January. If they keep this up I may need to bring less personal things with me in future so I have room in my little hatchback on the return journey south. Great work ladies - thank you.
For those of you interested in fishing - the locals going out to the reef are not catching much. Dave, the retired butcher who knows how to spin a yarn, claims he's catching them off the Beach at night. I suspect he's simply out to stir the boat owners spending a fortune to travel out to the Reef!
My 2010 housesitting diary is filling fast. If you know of anybody needing my services please have them get in touch as soon as possible.


Our Dingo Beach Christmas Tree - the birds like it and the Lorikeets think they are part of the decorations.

The view from the verandah of my first Dingo Beach housesit. That's Gloucester Island in the background.

Dingo Beach at sunset with the tide out.

Yesterday I moved from Dingo Beach, a piece of undeveloped paradise in the Whitsundays where mobiles don't work and neither do wireless modems, to another glorious spot just around the corner, or over the hill, depending on your mode of transport. These housesitting gigs are getting tougher and tougher!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Farewell Maleny - Hello Highway

One more sleep then my homeowner Audrey will be home, 2 more sleeps and I'll be back behind the wheel heading North. The time spent in Maleny has been wonderful. The biggest bonus was discovering Dean and Jan Francis again. Tiggie the dog I will miss very much, she's so intelligent and such great company. There's something to be said for waking up each morning and gazing out across the valley of green - it's good for the soul. I trust there will be many, many more opportunities to return to this community in the future.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Red Riding Hood Project

The jacket Red Riding Hood is wearing is 2.5cm at the centre back, was knit with Rubi and Lana 2ply (which I think knits up more like a 1 to 1.5ply) on size 18 needles. I began at the front of the hood and knit from the top down. I then knit the sleeves on 4dpns needles, so no sewing up was required when completed. This very cute bear was designed and made by Lesley Stipanov of Les Bears who currently has it listed for adoption on eBay. My very creative friend, Lesley, made the little toggles using a product called Shrinky Dink which is available from scrapbooking suppliers. It takes all day to knit a jacket like this - I think I'm mad but feel much satisfaction knitting these miniature items I'll continue to do it while my eyesight allows me to.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Alice Bear's Christening Gown

My Maleny visit has been very fulfilling from a creative point of view. I was surprised but very pleased when this miniature christening gown fitted one of Les Bears tiny creatures. It was knit with 100 cotton on size 19 needles. I adore this pattern designed by Sue Osborne and purchased from Jeanette Fishwick of Tasmania. It flows from my needles. The bear's name is Alice and she as now been adopted and gone to live at St Ives (Sydney).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Maleny Sunday

Rain at last at Maleny. It is so welcome as everything has been looking extremely dry. A bonus was this amazing rainbow, the best I've seen in years.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Maleny Activities 2

The view was a tad foggy on Sunday morning but still very beautiful and it lifted very quickly giving way to a bright sunny, blue sky day.

Lesley has led me astray taking me to a yarn store and two quilting stores....however, she's forgiven because she's also included me in a couple of her bear making sessions so I've managed to complete my second handmade bear, Meg. It's only taken me about 4 years! Now I need to get busy and knit her a fine lace collar, a pretty jacket or perhaps a pretty dress and knickers.
This is the view from the side entrance of my housesit....certainly does the soul good to look at while listening to the multitude of bird calls, almost the only noise interrupting the wonderful peace on this Maleny ridge.

Had a wonderful surprise when I went with Lesley to quilting group this morning. A fellow corporate wife from the days when Bill worked at CSR Building Products was there. Seeing her brought back lots of memories of children's Christmas parties and client dinners.

Maleny Activities

Tiggie the dog who comes with my house-sit has been very well behaved for me - I think she's worked out this is the hand that will be feeding her for a while. She's such a character.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Maleny - More Knitting Production

Lesley Stipanov of Les Bears has made these gorgeous "girls" and I knit their jackets. Lesley added the embroidery while I kept knitting. They all have homes to go to.

My East Coast Adventure - Maleny

My friend Lesley was as welcoming as ever despite the fact I arrived well ahead of schedule. Her husband Gary is in the USA for 3 months exploring meditation so we've had a wonderful time concentrating on bears and their wardrobes. Simon Bear, Lesley's latest creation, is only 5cm tall from head to toe and I knitted him this duffle coat which is 2.5cms long at the centre back. What about those tiny toggles Lesley made to go through the tiny buttonholes! We don't think these photos really do him justice - in person he's an absolute charmer. Update....Simon has been adopted and is now on his way to the UK where I'm sure he will need his duffle coat once winter sets in.

My East Coast Adventure - Time With My Grandsons

Mitchell is growing up so fast. He's already preparing for his grown-up teeth. We had a great time together on the Wii Sports. Of course, he beat me every time.

Now in his 2nd year of school Nick has gained in confidence. He and I did some serious work on his Knitting Nancy. I need to get him another color wool and think about what he can make with the metres of i-cord he has already created.

Young Zac recently celebrated his birthday and Nanna brought Auntie Tanya's gift with her - I think it was a hit! Richard, Sandra and the boys were preparing to go down to the farm for the school holidays so I left on Friday morning and headed down to the Gold Coast for a Knit and Natter with Essie who I met on-line - we both belong to Knit 4 Charities Yahoo Group. The ice is easily broken when one meets a fellow artisan and it didn't take long before we were doing more nattering than knitting. My next port of call is Maleny.

My East Coast Adventure Stage 4

Next morning I turned onto the Bruxner in Tenterfield - more bends and hills to negotiate but I really like these timbered highways. There was more traffic than usual but that was just an excuse to slow down and take in the vistas.

In Casino I took a break then found the road to Murwillumbah via Kyogle. It's been many, many years since I travelled that way. The road surface is badly in need of work, but the scenery was fabulous.

When I reached the Tweed I decided to look up my old employer and friend Ivan Stroud who lives at Currumbin Creek. I haven't seen him for many, many years. He hasn't changed and I was made very welcome. After a cuppa and lots of news about "old" Elite Maintenance folk I headed up to a day ahead of my schedule. When I reached Yatala I called Sandra looking for a bed which, of course, was available. Richard was in Sydney on business but Sandra and I enjoyed a very pleasant evening chatting and catching up, once the boys were in bed.

My youngest grandson, Zac, greeted me with "I haven't seen you for a long time!" He already knows how to make his Nanna feel guilty and he's only 3 years old.

My East Coast Adventure Stage 3

From Port Macquarie I headed West on the Oxley Highway via Wauchope and Walcha to find the WOW Yarn Store and visit my oldest brother, Harry, and his wife, Yvonne, in Armidale. It's such a picturesque drive I am always happy to put up with having to negotiate the twists and turns. There was a tinge of green on the farmland south of Armidale and the willow trees were abundant with new bright green growth but the countryside was not as lush as it usually is.

WOW Yarn Store was worth a visit as she had some very unusual silk yarn which I will eventually convert into an elegant scarfe. Some 8ply Sirdar Crofter Dk sock yarn of the Fair Isle effect variety. She had some baby hats knit with it which inspired me to buy it. I will definitely visit again in the future.

Unfortunately, my sister-in-law was in hospital but at least I was able to distract Harry and hopefully cheered him up. After a long chat and a cuppa I left and headed to The Black Sheep in Guyra where they had an amazing array of newly arrived Opal sock a girl can't pass up the opportunity to restock her stash of sock yarn can she? Then it was on to Glen Innis where I spent the night in my usual Budget motel.

My East Coast Adventure Continued...

With the aid of my trusty GPS I located my friend Pam's home in Port Macquarie where I enjoyed not only her wonderful hospitality but also the wonderful view from her back balcony over some wetlands. We were entertained by water dragons, ducks with their ducklings, and all manner of other bird life. Pam's brother Vince was visiting too and as always the conversation flowed, the food was excellent and we enjoyed walking down memory lane. Bill and I met Pam and her late husband, Allen, as well as Vince and his friend Gail in Karratha when we were all travelling around Australia. Pam gave me a tour of Port Macquarie which hasn't changed very much over the last few years.

My East Coast Adventure Stage 2

Heading towards Port Macquarie I stopped off to explore Laurieton where I enjoyed a cuppa alongside the river before revisiting Bonnie Hills to check if the caravan park on top of the cliffs was still in business so I can plan to stop there on a future trip. It's still there and memories of a wonderful time spent watching whales when Bill and I last visited flooded back. The run along the coast to Port was pleasant. Being Sunday there were lots of families enjoying picnics in the many parks. There seems to have been a lot of housing development just south of Port.

My East Coast Adventure

I left Sydney on 13 September heading North in my Mazda 3. I was always satisfied with my previous M2 but this new "baby" makes the journey so easy - it almost drives itself! First stop Hawks Nest where the camp ground is just behind the sand dunes, easy walking distance to the magnificent beach.
Pristine sand, clear aqua blue water, just enough people to give the place some atmosphere. The weather was perfect for camping...not a lot wind, plenty of sunshine and no rain. Once the sun went down it definitely got cooler and after spending night one very aware of that I was better prepared on night two. No man would have wanted me dressed as I was in my check "flannies" pulled on over my day clothes and topped with my hooded zip up coat. My handknit socks were the final touch. I was warm - this chick ain't looking for a man anyway! Sorry no photos taken.
The only other glitch was a steadily deflating mattress that needed more air at around 3am - sorry about the pump noise fellow campers but these old hips and back need cushioning.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Knitted Miniature Dress = Frustration!

My first attempt to knit one of the patterns I bought at the recent Doll/Bear Show has proved very frustrating but I am DETERMINED it will not beat me. I spent the entire day yesterday to perfectly knit just a few cms of the edging to go around the collar. The next step is to sew it on - should be fun! In the meantime I've grafted the shoulders, sewn in one sleeve and am in the process of sewing in the other sleeve.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Latest Finished Project

I've called this bear/doll dress pattern Gretel and this is the smaller version. The skirt pattern is an adaptation of another I've used - I simply removed 2 rows of garter stitch and it took on a completely different appearance. Some time back at a doll and bear show I bought a small girl porcelain doll because I loved the beautifully knitted cotton dress she was wearing and the pattern on Gretel is the same one as that dress. Gretel is knitted in Rubi & Lana 100% wool. The label says it's 2ply but it knits up more like a 1ply. It's beautifully soft and a dream to use. I knit it on size 18 needles. Sadly, I hear, the Rubi & Lana store at Gordon has closed. If anybody hears of them popping up elsewhere I'd very much like to know.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back At Work

Today was my first back on the reception desk since January - a shock to the system having to get up at a reasonable hour and get the grey matter into gear. I'm only doing 3 days per week over the next 3 weeks while somebody is on leave, then I'll be free to travel again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recent completed projects

Les Bears Sophie wearing a jacket Les cleverly created by using a collar I'd handknitted which she handdyed. She is waiting patiently for her new Mum to come along and adopt her.

Goffered collar knit with 80 cotton on size 18 needles from a Furze Hewitt pattern. I absolutely love working in these fine threads. The projects are so portable too - this one was done aboard Dawn Princess while floating across the Pacific towards San Francisco with daughter Tanya.

A Baby Cot Blanket knit from yarn supplied by Knitting For Brisbane's Needy Co-Ordinator, Karen Croke. The stitch pattern came from friend Gwenda who inspired me with her multi-colored version done as an afghan rug.

Another of Les Bears creations (sorry I can't remember her name) wearing one of my handknitted jackets and waiting for somebody to adopt her.

This is my "Helston" collar finished Friday night in time to take to the Bear and Doll Show. If anybody's bear would like to be seen wearing this they just need to contact my friend Les at Les Bears.

The "goodies" I bought at the Doll and Bear Show. I'm planning on trying out the patterns as soon as as I finish this "blogging" session.

Doll & Bear Show at Blacktown, Sydney

Les Stipanov of Les Bears had a stand at the Show and I kept her company on Saturday. Disastrous for my budget because I found several "must have" items - 1ply, 2ply, silk yarn, stainless steel .75 needles, Heidi Ott dolls, miniature knitting patterns and a DVD on miniature knitting. So much for not adding to my already over-stocked stash.