Memory Monday

Kermit Saved My Life

MHV_Mazda_323_01
My first car looked just like this one. The same make, model and colour. Although I had leather seats and not those cool tartan ones.

A welch plug blew after about 4 weeks, which meant an expensive repair job for a 20c part. The passenger side door frame leaked so that when it rained you would get soaked (we kept a towel in the car for this reason). About 200m away from my house in the morning the car would try to stall, but some tricky clutch work would stop it from happening. After a while this became second nature.

I learnt a lot about cars from little Kermit. One of my big tips was that when it’s over 35C outside and you know you’ve got a full tank of petrol but she’s behaving like she’s run out… that’s a sticking carburettor seat. Pull over, let her cool down a bit, unstick the stupid flappy bit on the carby and you can be on your way. I helped two other stranded motorists with that particular trick – they must have thought I was some kind of car genius.

Stalling was this little car’s big trick. She would stop at lights regularly, I remember pushing her through the drive thru at McDonald’s in pouring rain. I got so adept at manoeuvring her from outside that I once parallel parked her while pushing her!

Generally, however, once she got going she would go quite well with the occasional stall at lights.

bell

So, one night I was headed out down to Banksia Street. I took Bell Street which most Melbournians will know is rather steep as it joins and becomes Banksia Street near the Mercy Hospital. This was my view – the yellow arrows are pointing to a “prepare to Stop” sign and the actual traffic lights that the sign refers to. You can see that it’s quite a way away. That slope is steep!

I apply the brakes and gear down and just as I pass into the intersection the engine cuts out! I’m stopped, quite bizarrely in the middle of a crossroads late at night and in petulant denial of all those pesky laws of physics and principles of momentum and such stuff.

bell2

This is where I was, same spot as the car with the green arrow – only imagine it deserted and dark.

As I turn the key, all the while muttering obscenities under my breath a clapped out old ute with no lights on suddenly whizzed past from right to left, going the wrong way across me. Once it had passed, Kermit started as though nothing had happened and we were on our way.

If she had not stalled just at that moment I would have been hit by that speeding and probably drunk/stolen ute. As the realisation hit I found myself pulled over and shaking.

Has an inanimate object ever behaved mysteriously for you? Have you had a near miss? What was your first car?

News & Updates, Parenthood

Visiting

2015-02-28 18.09.34

Sometimes when I pick up Katja from kindergarten she runs to me yelling “Mummy! Mummy!” which is absolutely lovely. Other times she doesn’t want to come home at all. On those days she’ll develop a sudden urge to hide under the play sink, or under tables or a burning need to create all the things with the play-doh.

So it was last Friday and we finally managed to get out 20 mins after I had arrived. Once out the door Katja decided that she was not going to get the next bus, in fact she was not going to cross the road. She wanted to go “this way Mummy”, pointing up the street in the opposite direction to home. Since we had no plans and the weather was reasonable I decided to see where she would take me.

And she seemed to know exactly where she was going, round the corner and to the canal. At this point I thought I’d better check in.

Me: Katja, where are we going?
K: Alexander’s house
Me: Alexander’s not at home, he’s at Alexander’s kindergarten
K: Thinking… “Alexander’s mädchen Mummy
Me: Alexander’s mummy is at work. There’s noone at home. We can visit Alexander another day
K: But Mummy, Alexander’s house is fun.
Me: I know, but Alexander is not at home so we can’t visit him

2015-02-28 18.06.46

At this she ran off ahead – stopping only to tell me “twenty-three seven” and then ran straight to the front door of Alexander’s flat where she pointed out the number 37 (twenty-three seven apparently). She then told me to “press the number, Mummy. Number 6”. Naturally this proved fruitless and it took a little bit more time to convince her that no-one was coming home soon and we should go and get the bus.

I have to admit I was gobsmacked. It’s fair enough that she remembers the way to the flats, but to know the block number AND the flat number is impressive indeed. I didn’t even realise that she’d paid any attention – shows you that you have to be really careful what you do in front of a toddler!

Wonder how she will cope when Alexander moves house in a week?

Recipes

Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 21.06.22

These incredibly rich and decadent brownies have kind of become a bit of a signature for me lately. What’s not to love? Deep and silky dark chocolate combined with creamy cheesecake and tart raspberries and so easy to make.

Ingredients – Brownies
200g good-quality dark chocolate, I use minimum of 70% cocoa solid
200g unsalted butter, softened
400g caster sugar
3 eggs
110g plain flour, sifted

Ingredients – Cheesecake
400g cream cheese
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
120g fresh raspberries

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm lamington or shallow pan.

2. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Cream the butter and 250g of the caster sugar until pale, then add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the melted chocolate, then fold in the flour. Spread into the lined pan.

4. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar and egg yolks and the vanilla extract until smooth, then spread over the chocolate base.

5. Scatter the raspberries over the top, I tend to break them in half and spread them out flattened, and bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

6. Set aside to cool, then cut into squares and serve.

* You can also freeze raspberries in advance and crumble over the top before baking.

Elisa, Katja, Knitting

2015 Crafty Disaster No. 1

10932366_969030633126813_651567431_n

It’s only three weeks in and I’ve already hit my first craft disaster of the year! This does not bode well..

Now I have a confession. I didn’t swatch. Instead I was cocky and figured that as I’ve done some colourwork in this yarn before and got gauge with that there wasn’t any point. And to be fair, it starts off fine but it grows. I started with 7 stitches to the inch and now I’m getting 6. That’s a 3″ difference over 128 stitches. So I’m not so sure that a swatch would have seen off this particular nightmare.

I had been thinking of lining this one with something super soft and slightly less itchy, but now I’m not so sure that this will be enough to save it so I’m trying to emotionally come to terms with the idea of ripping it all out and starting again. The only saving grace with that is that as I want it to be smaller I’ll be able to reuse the yarn – good thing I hadn’t sewn in all those ends yet!

The smaller size is only 4 stitches difference so I guess I’ll go down a needle size and also down a hat size. But right at this very minute I want to shove it all in a bag and throw it into the back of the cupboard 🙁 Such a shame – I was really enjoying this one!

How would you handle this one? Would you rip back or try to somehow pull it in? Would you toss it aside or get started on a new one straight away?

In other news

We went to the Camera Obscura with E and A last week and the kids had an absolute ball. The Camera people were putting on a Toddler week and they did a brilliant job – they even set up one of their meeting rooms to be a break room complete with high chairs, toys and coffee. That was truly inspired – more venues should do this.

Elisa is now walking, albeit unsteadily unless she’s holding onto something. It’s quite scary considering she’s only 9 months old but I guess the incentive to keep up with Katja is probably a great motivator.

Yesterday E and A popped round and we did some biscuit baking, lots of fun. Although next time I think I’ll premix all the ingredients to save some time.

Knitting, Memory Monday, News & Updates

Week 2 – Christmas is over

tree

Christmas is over. And as per tradition here on the 5th or thereabouts most people pulled down their Christmas tree and decorations and dumped the tree next to their bin for collection by the council.

I have two issues with this. The first is that, well look at that tree – so much green left in it and it smells absolutely divine and yet there it is cast aside as worthless. If you are taking down because of tradition then why not keep the unadorned tree inside for a while and still get to enjoy it’s life?

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.44.20The second is that this week there are several storm warnings. And the winds have been furious. Just look at this – a full sized bin knocked over by wind, and there were plenty more of those. Trees can become deadly in weather like that so to my mind they’re best left inside where they are not going to fly into a passing car.

Anyway, we didn’t do a Christmas tree this year because Elisa is at just the wrong age for it, although we will need to next year as Katja was so excited seeing them and kept pointing them out whenever we saw one. Instead we had lots of glittery stars hanging from the ceiling and I’m planning on moving those to the kids’ room to make it cosier.

And it now is a kids’ room – we moved Elisa in there on Thursday. I was sceptical as K gets so excited whenever she sees E and has had a few nightmares in recent weeks – they seem to feature bees or snails. I couldn’t understand who Wednesday night’s antagonist was. But so far it’s working really really well. It was lovely on Friday morning to hear that she had dreamt of “stickers, lots and lots of stickers with lots of colours”.

10882013_647324922045923_230762610_n
The weather here is getting decidedly cold. Time to get out the woolies! Katja had a ball on Saturday when we got caught in a rather horrid sleety snow shower on the way home. She’s too young to remember previous snow so it was an exciting and new experience. We had to stop at very car on the walk so that she could grab some snow (which by then was a crusty layer of ice) so she could throw it in the air. Today the snow has gone, but no doubt there will be more given the weather warning sin place for later this week.

I remember the first time I saw snow. In Melbourne snow is something you go to, it doesn’t come to you. It was an exciting trip going up to the mountains and seeing snow for the first time. I remember having a hot chocolate and it was probably the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I would have been about 10 or 12 then.

When was the first time you saw snow? Do you remember it? Do you like the snow?

On the craft front my two active projects are coming along. I’m currently working on a bunny doll for Elisa and a pair of socks for me. Next week I’m planning on casting on this hat – I’m looking forward to it but want to have the bunny finished before then if possible. I’ll be using the same colours as the picture, mainly because every time I come across a picture of it I think it’s gorgeous.

So what are your current creative projects? Do you have more than one project on at a time? Do you know what your next project will be?

Reading together
News & Updates, Tatting

Hello 2015

Reading together
Katja and Elisa Reading together

Welcome to 2015! Yes, here I am again trying to get this blog thing going properly. Last year was a bit of a fizzer in blog terms. I couldn’t even reliably post a single monthly post of pics so how on earth I figured I’d handle a 10 week long project is totally beyond me! Needless to say, one kid got sick. Then the other got sick and then I got sick (nothing big, just colds) and then Christmas happened and projects just fell off the truck.

Anyway, no apologies – no point really in apologising for putting family and life before blogging! Today I am full of motivation. I’ve cleaned the kitchen and done all of my other online chores. I’ve one child currently asleep and the other is drawing pictures for me. I’ve had one grocery shop arrive and another is due this afternoon – found out that one of the supermarkets has a very very good special on at the moment for stuff that we can buy in bulk so placed a special order. Oh and half of our regular nappy order has just been delivered as well. Love online shopping! So much done and I haven’t had to bundle kids into prams, negotiate buses and deal with tantrums.

Do you do your grocery shopping online or do you still physically go to the store?

This morning I’ve also rejoined the Ring of Tatters. This is a kind of last ditch thing for me. I’ve been a member for many many years but I’ve been increasingly unhappy with them. I have many gripes which I won’t go into as that would be unfair just now but my main issue is that I don’t seem able to get an email answered. I’ve sent quite a few over a couple of years – mostly in response to things in the newsletter along the lines of “for more information email…” and I’ve never once received a response. The Ring of Tatters has a library of physical books which, now that I’m living in the UK, I should have access to and yet for 2 years of trying I was never able to borrow anything using the process that they give of emailing the librarian. I’ve been feeling very ripped off as a result. But new year and we’ll see how they go this time.

Have you ever ben disappointed by a group that you’ve joined? Did you persevere and if so what was the result? or did you just walk away?

Follow Friday, Tatting

Follow Friday – Tat-ology

-Tat-ology is the blog belonging to Fox, a Canadian who has only been tatting for 6 years as I write this. Her output is amazing and ever so inspirational.

Filled with gorgeous pictures of incredible tatting, this blog is certainly a pick-me-up and always inspires me to reach for my shuttles. The size of some of her pieces is truely daunting! What seems to take her only a few weeks will take me years to complete.

A few years ago Fox turned her hand to design and has produced some really beautiful pieces. She shares the patterns for free on her site.

Visit Tat-ology

photo