Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts

Friday, 6 April 2018

A Delightful Autumn

We're having a lovely warm Autumn. There is a dry crackle to the air but it's sunny and warm. 
The garden is still churning out food and flowers.

Check out these gorgeous Bishops Hat (Scotch Bonnet) Chillis.  My dad grew them in his garden, then at Christmas he gave the Bear one of his own propagated plants.  The fruit turns a glossy red when ripe.
I'm not sure where it is on the 'heat' scale though!

Violet and Jerry the guinea pigs are the very willing recipients of any trimmings that don't make it to the kitchen. 

I feel like I've been waiting forever for the limes to be ready to pick...

The strawberries never stop. Unfortunately we have an ongoing battle with some stealthy slugs. So far we have been keeping them at bay with coffee grounds (we have PLENTY of those) and crushed eggshells. However we have had to use occasional light sprinklings of snail bait when they get particularly active.

We're also still getting tomatoes. And mostly from the plants which popped up from compost!

Can you smell the basil?  It's amazing! 

I also planted some daffodils, jonquils and ranunculus for Spring. The ranunculus are already popping up through the soil. Our winters aren't very cold here, so I have 2 bags of tulip bulbs sitting in the fridge for a few weeks.

Lately the Bear and I have been watching this UK gardening show on the Netflix called Big Dreams, Small Spaces with a deliciously, curly haired bloke called Monty Don. Weird backwards name.

Sounds like his name is really Don Monty, but they wrote it backwards by accident.  

 He's got a beautiful voice. The narrator of the show loves to describe him as 'Englands head gardener' or the 'chief horticulturist of the UK' and other grandiose titles.

And because I don't live in the UK, I believe her!

Monty hugging his fuschia

He's kind of gorgeous!  I found a website online which described him as the 'thinking womans crumpet'.  

I think it would be more accurate to call him 'The Weeding Woman's Sex Symbol".

So the Bear and I have been watching his show and while I lust over those beautiful green, lush English gardens, the Bear draws up little garden plans for our gravelly, out of control front yard.

My favourite red Salvia

After many years of murdering poor innocent indoor plants, I’m finally having success.

I’ve been growing orchids, fiddle leaf figs, hoyas and these very groovy ‘Magic Beans’.
They are apparently a rainforest tree thingy.

I've been doing more crochet than I have the time to keep up with. I'm starting to suffer from 'Too Many WIPs' syndrome!

After completing my bolster, I began crocheting a scarf type thing in the same style. I really love making those random, colourful stripes. But it may not be long enough to be a scarf. It might have to be a table runner instead.  I've put it aside for the past 2 weeks until I make up my mind...

If you follow me on Facie or Instabrag, you may have seen my Easter Bunny Hat.

So first I saw a note from Sonofagun No.2s school announcing a FULL WEEK AHEAD of the Easter Bonnet Parade.

He dresses up for Book Week, Japan Day and some other random dress up day.  But for some reason I didn't think he'd want to wear an Easter Hat. 

So I exercised poor judgment and had a mega parenting fail and didn't say anything or make anything because #imabadbadmum .

So the evening (Monday evening) before the Easter Bonnet Parade at exactly 5 minutes past his bedtime, he jumps up and is all like:

"Mum. The Easter Bonnet Parade is tomorrow and I need to wear some sort of Easter Hat!"

and looks at me like I will say, "Yes, I know, and I've spent all weekend working on it for you and here it is, the most magnificent Easteriest of Easter Hats you have ever seen in your life and all you friends will be super jealous!"

Instead I was a total Bad, Worst Ever mum who will die a thousand Bad Parenting Fail deaths as I looked at my child.  

I thought to myself, "Oh. Shit. How are you gonna get outta this one Louise?"

I heard myself saying, "Oh really? Oh dear darling! You should have told me a few days ago that you wanted to wear a hat in the Easter Bonnet Parade. It's too late now!" 

And tried to tell myself I was teaching him a lesson in Planning Ahead.

So the next morning we arrived at school and there were lots and lots of well organized and totally Super Dooper parents dropping off children with Amazing Spectacular and Magnificent Easter Bonnetty Hat things and Sonofagun No. 2 turned and looked at me.

And gave me that look that is totally accusatory and I have failed at parenting.

Fortunately there were also loads of other parents who failed at parenting as they walked their Hatless children through the school gates with the same hunch-shouldered walk of shame that I was doing....

After dropping him at school, I went to work.  And got to my desk, turned on my computer and read my emails. One of them announced that 2 days later on Thursday (The day before Good Friday), our section of very serious and hardworking office grown ups would be having an Easter Hat Parade.

I'm not telling a lie when I tell you I have a rather substantial collection of yarn and craft items in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet.

I have yarn, spare hooks and several of those extra craft packets that are usually stuck to the front of Molly Makes magazines.

And without hesitation, I grabbed some things and over the next 2 days (in break times and at night watching Netty) made this:

Of course my eagle eyed Sonofagun No.2 was quick to point the finger and jump up and down at the evil mother who fails to make him an Easter Bonnet, then makes one for herself.

So I gave him my hat and told him he can wear it next year.  

That didn't work. In his 9 year old wisdom, he was quick to point out that it is a whole year away and I will probably forget because... (get ready for some classic 9 year old emotional blackmail)... I am a bad mum and don't love him and I should make him his favourite Tuna casserole to apologise.

Now someone who is way more forgiving of my faults and foibles is my Bear.  I am outside my comfort zone and making him a scarf in brown.

The Mothership was given some lovely alpaca from a friend (who owned the actual alpacas) and she passed it on to me.
I didn't know what to do with it because I don't really 'do' brown.

But Bear said he would like a scarf as he doesn't really 'do' bright colours.

I thought a knitted ribbed scarf would be a good manly scarf type thing.

These abominable 3 cms of knitting took 4 HOURS!!! 4 bloody long sweary hours! It was from a pattern of purl 1, knit 3 etc and just didn't work. And I'm a very slow knitter.

And I don't want to do something where I'm sitting hunch shouldered over it mumbling that repetitious sentence, " Knit, knit, crap! Bloody needle... knit..... Move the yarn to the front.... puuuuuurlllll..... one. Knit.... knit. Hang on. How many knits have I done? 1, 2, 3, 4. Crap! Put that back,!"

So I found a crochet tutorial for ribbed stitch, grabbed my 4.5mm hook and off I went like a speed demon down the rows.

So far I've used 2 out of 3 skeins and it's looking a lot better!

So that's my little ramble for this afternoon.

Thanks for visiting!



The Red Haired Amazona


Wednesday, 27 December 2017


I used to really dislike summer.

But after the long almost sun-less winter we just had, I have been yearning for sun and warmth.

My garden has gone nuts!

The sweet peas grew so high very quickly.

I had to give it a little haircut as the vines were starting to tumble over the neighbours fence. 
Trimming 8ft sweet peas when you're 5ft is a little bit like trying to get a hug from a reluctant teenage son. You try to reach up, while they don't particularly want to bend down and just awkwardly pat you on the shoulders while making short dinosaur jokes at your expense...

But they got trimmed down to top of fence level and within a week started flowering like crazy again.

I'm itching to get back into crochet after devoting the past 3 weeks to sock knitting...

I made them for the Mothership for Christmas. I'm not a speedy knitter so every spare minute while watching tv, commuting on the train or while Sonofagun No.2 did his swimming lessons was devoted to knitting.
I forgot to take a photo of the finished product to show you!

So now I get to play with a delicious ball of Scheepjes Whirl which was an early Xmas pressie from my best bloggy buddy Vicki from Off The Hook in Jolly Old England!

I don't know what I'm going to make with it yet!

The Bear and I were allowed out on our annual 1 night out of the year for our work Xmas parties. Mine was drinks after work at a cocktail bar. The Bear met me there and we then went off to his which was drinks at the Melbourne Zoo!

These smiles are saying, "Yay! I've been freed to play with other grown ups in a non-work setting! And drink free booze!"
These smiles also hide us both thinking, "I kind of want to be home on the couch in my pjs watching netflix! I'm so old and boring."

Christmas joyfully vomited all over the house!

 On the day we were joined by the parentals, my sister the Blonde Amazona as well as the divine Miss Em (aka the Blonde Bombshell) and our other friend Elise.

I made the trifle to end all trifles. The designated drivers asked for theirs 'to go' as there may or may not have been half a bottle of sweet sherry that may have accidentally been 'spilled' into it...

I call it 'Sherry with cake and other stuff'.

Although it was a bit windy, the sun was out and it was a beautiful 23c. The garden was showing off. It was nice to show off my hollyhocks to the Mothership & Fatherdom. 

 I saw them several times head down, bum up taking photos! 

My snapdragons are dwarfed!

Coreopsis 'Rum Punch'

After my last post I received many messages and comments here and via Facebook of support as well as so many of you sharing your stories of dealing with anxiety. Thank you for kind words and I'm sending all my love to everyone who also battles with this. I have only recently had this but many have had to deal with it for years! 
So a massive interwebs hug for all of us! 

The Red Haired Amazona

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

A Little Trip to The United States of OMG America Part 2: Washington D.C.

If you haven't read Part 1 yet, check it out here!

A few months ago the Bear and I discovered a wonderful little T.V. series on the Netflix called Designated Survivor.

Have you seen it? 

No spoilers but basically Keifer Sutherland accidentally becomes President of Squirrelland (AKA the United States of OMG America) and from that moment on, whatever happens in the show has probably happened in many other T.V. shows and movies before but it doesn't matter because Keifer Sutherland is the nicest, coolest President since King Barack.  

Actually the most reasonable, nicest, level headed, non- Twitter using President who doesn't piss off anyone from North Korea or any other countries with Nukes and we all love him and I totally want him to be my President foreverafter of the whole world.

Note the total lack of comb- over and I promise you that he doesn't even mention grabbing any ladies by the domestic felines or any other part of their anatomy.

And what any review will tell you which is also not a spoiler is that at the very beginning of episode 1, the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. is blown to smithereens. 

So it was totally refreshing to see that by the time I arrived in the capital city of Squirrelland, President Keifer Sutherland had rebuilt the Capitol Building.


Look, I'm probably making a controversial statement here, but I loved D.C. way more than New York.

There, I said it.

And I'll tell you why. I was born and raised and lived in Australia's capital city Canberra for 38 years.

And Washington D.C. is like the big adult, grown up version of Canberra. If Canberra was a toddler and Washington D.C. was in its' late middle age and had paid off the mortgage on a large 6 bedroom house with a garden including tennis court, and a 4 car garage with a Bentley, Porsche and a BMW 4WD to run out to the supermarket in.

And had Country Club membership.

So as soon as I stepped out of Union Station I immediately felt comfortable. The city felt like Canberra (but more adulty), the weather felt like Canberra. For the end of Summer/ beginning of autumn the weather was fairly similar. Very warm and dry.

And many of the buildings resembled Canberra landmarks but much much bigger....

Such as the Prime Ministers residence in Canberra which is The Lodge...

Quite a nice big house!  Despite all the guards and Australian Federal Police and big wall around it, it still looks like you could walk up, ring the doorbell and ask Malcolm and Lucy over for a few proseccos on a Sunday afternoon...

Then there's the White House...

Whilst I'm sure the Worlds Nicest President Keifer Sutherland would probably enjoy popping over for a few glasses of prosecco, I'd feel less inclined to pop over and ring the doorbell...
Both cities love big avenues, and big national museums and galleries. But I'm sorry Canberra: Washington D.C. does it super sized!

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of:

Alright so enough of comparisons. We had 2 full days to check out as much as we could.

There were quite a few fun options to help us see the city.
A bus which looked like a tram...

And a bus that looked like a boat!

Not only could you sit in them and do the usual tour around the city, but apparently they also took to the Potomac River for a river cruise tour!  I was all up for that but was outvoted by my much older and apparently seasick prone companion. Very sad face.

Despite all our amazing bus options, we hopped on a boring double decker bus, popped in our earphones and enjoyed a tour of the city...

It was a bit too hot to be on the top deck, so I plugged myself in at the back seat!
Our first stop was the Capitol Building.  

It was exciting to be greeted by this little guy...

A buddhist monk and his dog were taking some time to pray for the health and long reign of President Keifer Sutherland on the grounds outside the Capitol Building....

A beautiful water fountainy thing on the front perimeter. 

This handsome individual was very happy to have his photo taken.
We jumped back on the bus and headed down the National Mall passing so many impressive museums.
The Castle is the 1st of the Smithsonian Institutions and now the headquarters of the Institute.

The newest Smithsonian Museum is the National Museum of African American History & Culture.  The building was designed to resemble a crown of the Yoruba people.

I would have very much loved to see this museum, but we didn't realise that it is so popular since its opening that tickets are snapped up months in advance even though entry to all Smithsonian Museums are free.

The museum is right across the road from...

The Washington Monument!

Which is looking alot better since Spiderman was here. But the lifts still are under repair so nobody can go up to the top at the moment...

 We decided to stop by the White House to see if President Keifer Sutherland was up for prosecco and canapes.  I even brought along my little jar of vegemite in case he wanted to sample some essential Australian cuisine.

But the very very big security guards with very very big guns were somewhat of a deterent.
So we just looked at it...

President Keifer doesn't want to build any walls. Just a few fences.
To keep the rabbits out.
Have you ever been to D.C. and visited the White House Gift Shop?

I found the funnest stuff in there!

So they didn't appear to have stocked up on anything to celebrate President Keifer yet.

But I found it quite interesting that whilst there was plenty of souvenirs to celebrate King Obamas presidency, in the very shop which is the OFFICIAL visitors centre for the White House, there were things that made fun of the other guy...

If you say this with a New Zealand accent, it would be rude...

I didn't buy Donalds Deck. Photo courtesy of the White House Online Store. Yes. The official place to buy officially official president stuff right next to this guys house sells stuff that is named after his penis. Or it would if you say it with a New Zealand accent. But even if you say it with your own accent it still sounds like they're alluding to boy appendages so what's up with that America?
Look. It doesn't matter because I think it's freaking HILARIOUS! 
And it's such a small sized deck!
Highly appropriate for the king of the trolls.
Celebrate King Obamas life in a colouring book and dress him up on your fridge, make Michelle look pretty, make fun of Don's Deck and call him a troll.

We continued on our merry way as the bus took us through Dupont Circle and Georgetown.  If I was to visit the US again, I would have lingered long in these gorgeous areas...

They think of EVERYTHING! A book shop, cafe, bar and you can have dinner too!

Now this is cool. Big freaking spiders. But it's an Italian restaurant. I don't quite get the connection unless it's a restaurant where they serve cooked spiders with pasta and a nice Chianti.
My first unattractive squirrel. Somewhere in the vicinity of the Lincoln Memorial. She kept staring at me with crazy eyes, and a massive nut in her mouth. She freaked me out so much I forgot to take a photo of the Lincoln Memorial.
Our 2nd day was given over to the glorious Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

So when in Washington, should you visit this museum?

Hella yeah! 

We were here for most of the day.  I followed the exhibition rooms around as they told the history of being not on the ground. 

From when early civilisations dreamed of flight with myths about Icarus soaring too close to the sun, Da Vincis early sketches of balloon prototypes and winged things, to the Wright Brothers.

I really enjoyed reading all the displays as they lead me through the history and development of flight.

And from the ceilings hung all of the planes...

This quote was one of my favourite displays.  One sentence revealed so much of early passenger air travel that I had never thought of before.
Especially after having flown 17,000kms in a comfortable Boeing 747 with blankets, pillows, in flight movies and minimal turbulence!

And then towards space and space travel...

So I did mention my bucket list consisted of only 2 things.
1. See a real live squirrel.
2. Find a copy of the U.S. release of Desolation Boulevard by 70s glam rock band The Sweet.

I was obviously successful at one, but sadly not the other.

In Washington I found three 2nd hand vinyl shops within a 3 block radius of each other.

The first shop was Som Records.  The guy was super friendly and immediately knew which album I was looking for. He had both the U.S. release & the U.K. release in his personal collection, but sadly none in store.
He did however play an album by classic Aussie band The Saints for me though and I found a copy of Alice's Restaurant for only $5!

The 2nd shop Joint Custody also didn't have what I was looking for, but I was happy to snap up a copy of Overnight Sensation by Frank Zappa & the Mothers.

And the 3rd shop Red Onion Records also let me down but they did have a copy of Weezers Blue album which I slapped down cash for in a heartbeat.  This was a super fun find because later that night I bought tickets to see Weezer & the Foo Fighters when they tour Australia together next year.  

But some of my favourite souvenirs apart from the albums and my totally rocking cowboy boots which I picked up at a little vintage clothing shop in Greenwich Village are a selection of cheap badges from a street stall.

So whilst I have bombarded you with a kazillion photos over these two posts, I obviously took a million more photos but they were of more mundane objects which I found fascinating because they are very USA specific things which other people around the world see on movies and TV shows everyday and are almost iconic.

Like red & white ambulances, yellow school buses and Goobers and milk duds.

Sonofagun No.2 wanted to send me straight back to buy more boxes of Mike & Ike's until I reminded him are really just like jelly beans.

I also took loads of photos of gardens and streets, because the one things I noticed in both cities was all the greenery, and the style of gardening.  People throw lots of plants into every available space. Particularly in New York. I found it very inspiring.

Sadly the only yarny fun I had was knitting on the plane and this sign in the tunnel before boarding the A380 airbus to come home...

Where is this place America? And how am I only hearing about as I leave the country???

On the final leg from Sydney to Melbourne, I had enough reward points to spoil myself with a seat flying business class.  I have never flown business class before because it costs squillions.
It was exquisite! I had a cup of real coffee, with a delicious quiche AND one of the inflight movies was a documentary about crochet artists called Yarn. How cool is that?!?!

So for a little while I am going to rest my still slightly jetlagged body (does anyone else take as long as I do to catch up?) and find my crochet brain again.  It's a little AWOL at the moment. 

However the enforced plane knitting means I have actually finished one whole sock!!

I've been giving my Sonofaguns lots of hugs because it was quite difficult for me to be so very far away from them and they've been moderately patient with me.  Fortunately my lovely Bear missed me as much as I missed him!

There are so many more amazing places in Squirrelland I would have loved to visit, but sadly was only there for a short visit to a wonderous country which needs months to cover! 

For me the most important part of travelling to the U.S. was to see my cousin Paul marry his husband James. They have been together for so long I think of them both as being my cousins!

They are both the most big-hearted and generous spirited gentlemen who deserve an eternity of love and happiness together and it was a huge honour to be invited to their special day. Thanks for inviting me guys!! Love to you both xox


The Red Haired Amazona