Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Knitmas!

I tried to make my Christmas presents to others this year

Firstly, there were the socks for my hubby...the first socks I've ever knit and this very basic ribbed (ie boring) pattern could've almost put me off knitting socks - almost, but I've already plans to knit myself some different ones in 2010.

Then, I knit Christmas pressies for some of the nieces and nephews

This is a size 2 Milo with the Owls cable for my nephew James

This versatile cabled vest was designed by tiKKi. This is a fabulous pattern, I luffs it and plan to knit it for my boy before winter (luckily though there's no hurry as the mother of the recipient of this actually knitted Tim a gorgeous wee vest also so he's got one to wear already!)

Then, there was the little skirty and shrug set for my little niece Amelia (4 1/2 months old)

I'm still yet to add the A-line skirt to my available to knit to custom items, but I can knit them for sale :) This little one was with 2 rows of the eyelet holes at the bottom for a lacy affect, and a picot cast off - but there are lots of options if you were interested. This one is a skirty, rather than a skirty soaker so that it can be worn with tights and leggings come winter.

And for my youngest wee niece - a 3 month size Kaia Babydoll

All I can say is thank goodness for Rachel's pattern! I was having a nightmare with another pattern that was turning out to be quite disastrous when I decided to 'hibernate' it and whip up a Kaia for Abigail. I knew it would turn out successful

It's interesting, I've read a few other blog entries like tiKKi and Ali lately where the authors have decided not to put themselves under the same pressure knitting Christmas presents late in December. This was something I thought I would do too - knitting them perhaps when custom orders are quiet and when the mood/pattern strikes me throughout the year, rather than put myself under the stress that I experienced this year.

We'll see how the reality of that idea goes for me though! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Labour of Love

My family draw names out of the hat to decide who is buying for which member. This year it ended up that I was buying for my brother. I asked him if there was anything in particular he really wanted and he replied 'a CD or DVD, anything action or NZ'.

Now, this made me brother buys a lot of DVD's and CD's and I was worried about picking one that he already had. There's a bit of pressure involved - this could possibly be my brother's only Christmas present and I wanted to get him something he'd like.

So that's when I threw his suggestion out the window and tried to dream up a super pressie (in hindsight I've decided that this is what I don't like about the name drawing/buying a present for one person with the pressure that it could be there only present and that I need to find them the ultimate gift)

I decided to make my brother a photo album with pictures of grandparents (3/4 now deceased), parents, himself, my siblings, rellies, friends and nibblings. This was not something I could do on my own.

I emailed everyone related and asked for any photo's of family stuff that might appeal to my brother and luckily the family responded. Photos came of reunions, weddings, Christmas get-togethers, relations etc - dating back as far as 1910 and as current as last week.

I saved them, compiled a disc of 190 odd and had them printed. Last weekend the album was constructed painstakingly (painstakingly when you lay them all out and realise you have too many...or that once you've stuck them in after the 3rd attempt at arranging that you've left out a page in the album - easy to do with the acid free tissue like sheets between pages)

Couriered to Hawkes Bay on Monday to ensure it a) definitely got there and b) that it arrived in time

And today, Christmas Day, a get a phone call from my brother in tears. He loves it and is really chuffed.

Phew - mission accomplished. Super gift status reached.

The front - a photo taken 1986, my father and brother together - not orginally a b&w pic but I made it that so that it would match the front of of the album

The start of the album - each set of grandparents had a page which included their wedding pic

Then there's a page each of Mum and Dad as children, and then together

Followed by Luke's arrival and then pages of him growing up and family pics

It included events - balls, birthdays and here, camping out at a family farm to see in the millenium

Lots and lots of family weddings and unfortunately a funeral, truly, it's like 4 weddings (in my immediate family) and a funeral

The arrival of different generations - here is my first babe, Luke's first niece

And more recent photos of get-togethers and new additions to the family

Altogether, the photo contained pics of 5 generations within it's 40 pages.

Family - there are lots and lots more photos of all of you and your weddings/children/graduations etc - I just didn't put up every picture as I wasn't sure how you'd feel about those pages being on my blog. xoxo

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!

My baby is 1! This time last year I was feeling euphoric after the 'easy' (2nd stage = 1 minute, truly, 1 minute) and safe delivery of my baby boy, a babe whose sex was unknown to Blair and myself. Timothy Peter was born weighing 7lb11 at 11:13am.

30/12/08 - Oh my goodness, look how little Penny looks too! And look at his little skinny legs!

And so, the year has flown past, a year that has been riddled with ups and downs - the biggest down being trying to manage Tim's reflux while juggling a toddler that still needed her Mummy. Tim's reflux was a 8 month ordeal for all of us and now that it's pretty much gone (I'm not saying 100% as we still have instances of reflux like reactions from Timothy) and we've been left with a deliciously contented and easy going fellow - phew!

Today, we started the day with presents in bed, a family tradition on the Greaney side.  We had my mum, sister and niece visit today with lovely gifts and stay for lunch. A birthday cake was devoured and candles blown out.

And can I just say, if you know of people who say that they have a Christmas baby, can you PLEASE not say 'oh, poor thing' rather something more along the lines of  'oh how wonderful/how lucky'. You'd probably be one of the first - but also, it really is a lovely time of the year to celebrate a birthday in NZ.

In our household Blair was home all day as work finished up for the year yesterday, the weather is stunning - perfect for going to the park or beach, people are in a reasonably good mood due to Christmas, and few people would actually forget the birthday/birthdate as they might if it was a normal date.


We wouldn't change a thing about our Timothy, we know he is an absolute gift (did I mention he snuggles in when you say 'hug' and does kissing lips when you say 'kiss' - awww).

Christmas Cookies

I'm all about keeping Christmas as stress-free as possible - I've made these Christmas cookies the last couple of years now - I love them as it's one recipe, you can split it up once you've made the batch and add various things to add variety. On top of that, I really like that I can make the mix and pop it in rolls in the freezer and slice into (uniform...I like that too - sad I know) round wee bikkies when you feel like actually baking them - so easy

The recipe is one from my mum's collection - it's fabulous!


250g butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspn vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups flour
¼ cup cornflour
1 tblspn baking powder
½ teaspn salt

Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients together and work into the creamed mixture.

Divide dough in ¼ s and add any of the following:

 ½ cup coconut

 1 tblspn cocoa

 ½ cup cornflakes

 ½ cup currants or sultanas

 almond essence and top each biscuit with an almond.

Form into 4 rolls, wrap in foil and freeze. (I use gladwrap)Chill first if too soft to handle. Thaw until soft enough to slice. Cut into 1 cm slices. Place on greased baking tray. 180 degrees c about 15 mins.

Last year I did them all choc drops and dried apricots coarsely chopped. This year I split it into 4 and did
* choc drops & dried apricots
* dried apricots, white choc and coconut
* afghan style - cornflakes and cocoa (I iced them with choc icing and added a wee slice of almond on top)
* 'santa's buttons' - pushed an indent in the centre of each one and filled with jam before baking
Yum! Penny selected some tonight for Santa - they're sitting on a wee table in the lounge with a glass of milk, the fireplace door is also open so Santa can come down the chimney and there is water and reindeer food outside.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Just A Little Christmas Baking

Penny and I have been doing some baking in the last couple of days - gingerbread cookies in a variety of Christmassy shapes. After hauling out all my Christmas cookie cutters I realised just what a range I have.

It started with some happy little gingerbread men on Friday.
Notice the little P for Penny on the cooling rack, it's what my mum used to do with leftovers :)

Then Saturday - it was time to do some decorating! Penny was given some icing of different colours to do some ginerbread painting with.

And voila! In the next pic, her masterpieces are in the lower left hand corner. The cooling racks are covered with my efforts while she iced.

Lots of these bikkies went on to go into some wee packages for some rellies today. Penny had made some Christmas cards and drawings last week, and so we packaged up some bikkies and sent them off with Shane today to take back to family in Wanganui.

And it's fair to say we consumed a fair few too...the tin is looking pretty bare again now. But we can blame Shane for eating lots too while he was here for the weekend

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A True Jack Of All Trades

I was thinking this morning about how there's nothing my husband can't do.

He's been helping me work on some Christmas presents - he's been doing some fancy stuff with the computer that I'd have no idea how to do or end up in tears with when it doesn't work out right - so Blair = computer geek

But, he's also really practical - he knows how to fix 'stuff'.
Broken handle on my knitting bag - glued and screwed *tick*
Swift needed for my yarn hobby - made *tick*
Fence and retaining walls needed - built *tick*

What I both love and loathe sometimes is he's a bit of a perfectionist with a lot of things he takes on. The house has been in a state of being painted now for many many years because the first time he prepped, undercoated and painted the house the paint all bubbled up due to many years (prior to us living here) of shoddy paint jobs. So my hubby has been painstakingly scraping ALL the paint off the house and prepping and repainting so it's perfect (and so it doesn't need doing again any time soon). Needless to say - the novelty has long worn off and the house now looks awful - but back to my husband being priceless.

He's also the kind of Dad that will help out (although sometimes a little prompting is needed) with the kids and around the house. He'll make meals, feed and bath children, read stories, kiss boo-boos, fold washing, change nappies, help ice birthday cakes - all that kind of stuff.

Now all we need are some holidays - time to just 'do' stuff at home, garden, paint, hang out - bliss. Roll on some lazy summer days!

(Oh, and did I mention, that my handy husband has a VERY important job to do on Christmas Eve, and that's to put together our present for the kids so that they have it on Christmas Day....fingers crossed that all the pieces are in the box!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Those Needles Are Buzzing

Man! It's all go at the moment on the knitting front! I've got a billion and one things that I am trying to knit my way through - but one project I have to finish before Christmas is my hubby's socks. I HAVE to finish them so that he continues to be ok with the amount of time I spend knitting! But also, I knitted him some slippers for his birthday that he just loves and that helped him to appreciate my knitting, so socks should be appreciated too.

Here's the pic of the yarn - it's actually not anything like I thought it would/should be and so really it can only ever be socks for Blair. It's 100purewool fingering weight superwash.

It was meant to be

BUT since knitting 20cms worth  of one leg in 3 x 1 rib, I've found out that it's not really sock yarn, so will be trying to knit woolly nylon with it while doing the toes and heels to ensure that they last as long as possible.

The only thing is - it breaks my just one work in progress plan as I can only knit these when he's not I am trying to snatch moments when kids are asleep or when I am at my knitting night to get them done.

I also have knit a number of other items lately for custom knits. These are winging their way to the UK as I type for a wee girls Chrissie present.

Along with


Also sent was something knitted out of Anchor Magicline, a striping 100% cotton...but what the result was will stay a bit of a secret for now while the pattern is perfected ;) Here's a sneak peak:

I've actually cast off 4 other items in the last couple of weeks or so, but you'll have to wait till the 25th before I can pop up pics - don't want to ruin any surprises or anything (well just in case people check out my blog!)