Books I’ve read this year #3

January 21, 2010

Silas Marner” by George Elliot.

I love this book so much that I’ve felt a little sad ever since finishing it. It’s about 20 years since I last read Silas Marner, and almost thirty years since I first read it during English lessons when I was at school. We used to have a book to read each term, and would spend a lesson a week taking it in turns to read aloud to the rest of the class. I hated those lessons as I hate being read to, and I used to read the books under my desk at my own speed, and then have to scrabble around trying to find the page the rest of the class was on when it was my turn to read out loud.


Books I’ve read this year #2

January 21, 2010

“The idea of perfection” by Kate Greville.

I’m going through my bookshelves at the moment, trying to root out all of the books I’ve either not read, or have started and haven’t finished; this is one of the latter. Four years ago I really struggled with it, and after a few weeks I thought enough was enough, and gave up on it. When I took it off the shelf the other day I found an old bus ticket in it marking my place, and was surprised to see that I had actually almost finished it: I had stopped reading it with only six chapters left to read. This time round I finished it in three or four days. I’m glad I’ve finally read it, if only because this is one of the many, many books I shipped halfway round the world when I emigrated. I can’t say I loved it it any more the second time round than I did the first, but at least I now know how it ends.

In case you’re interested, the blurb on the back says, “The Idea of Perfection is a funny and touching romance between two people who’ve given up on love. Set in the eccentric little backwater of Karabrook, New South Wales, pop. 1374, it tells the story of Douglas Cheeseman, a gawky engineer with jug-handle ears, and Harley Savage, a woman altogether too big and too abrupt for comfort. Harley is in Karabrook to foster ‘Heritage’, and Douglas is there to pull down the quaint old Bent Bridge. From day one they’re on a collision course. But out of this unpromising conjunction of opposites, something unexpected happens; something even better than perfection.”

Books I’ve read this year #1

January 18, 2010

The first book I’ve read this year is “About a boy” by Nick Hornby. It must be almost 10 years since I first read this, and I loved it then, and loved it just as much the second time around. I also love the film, which I’ve seen a few times (I have a weakness for Hugh Grant, and the film also has a great soundtrack and was filmed around where I used to work in Clerkenwell, so I get to do that “Ooooh, look, there’s blah blah blah” thing you do when you see familiar places on film). What surprised me, though, was how different the film is from the book, which I must have noticed when I saw the film for the first time, but had completely forgotten since. I must be getting old…

First finished project of the year

January 14, 2010

OK…. so I started this in 2009, but I finally got it finished last week, and it is on its way to a sweet baby boy in snowy England as I type.

This is the Aviatrix baby hat, designed by Justine Turner, and the pattern is available as a free download on Ravelry.

The pattern specifies DK yarn and 4.5 mm needles for the body of the hat (do hats have bodies? Maybe not…), and 3.25 mm needles for the ribbing and strap, but I had a ball of Rowan Cashsoft Aran lying around which I loved the colour of, so I thought I’d give it a go with that. I used 5 mm needles to get the gauge, and used 3.75 mm needles for the ribbing and strap. (I’m sure no one else will be interested in those details, but if I don’t write it down in fifteen different places I will forget for next time). I love how this came out. I hope it fits!

Books I’ve read this year #48 – 51

December 28, 2009

“The private lives of Pippa Lee” by Rebecca Miller
“The English: a portrait of a people” by Jeremy Paxman
“Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson
“Doors Open” by Ian Rankin


December 28, 2009

Oh dear, I didn’t mean to disappear for so long, but the last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy. I hope you all had lovely Christmases. We had a beautiful, sunny day up here, and spent the day hanging around on the beach and stuffing ourselves silly with lots of lovely food. It was the hottest Christmas we’ve had since we moved to New Zealand, and was perfectly lovely.

So, would you like to know how my Christmas present making went in the end? Originally, I was planning to make 20 gifts, but one of those was a commission for a friend, and she said she didn’t need it by Christmas, which was a relief. I then abandoned another three, leaving a total of 16 gifts to make. And I got 14 of them made and posted in time for Christmas – woohoo!!

I made a lot of hats:

Two little hats for my god-daughter and her sister:

Two little hats for two little girls

And two little hats for my nephew and my godson:

Two little hats for two little boys

A much bigger hat for my brother:

Christmas presents (2)

And another for my brother-in-law:

Christmas presents (3)

UPDATE: the pattern for the hats above is now available here.

A Durango and Robin’s Egg hat for my step-mother:

Christmas presents (5)

And a modified version of that for my dad:

Christmas presents (6)

But I didn’t just make hats – oh no. I also made slippers. Three pairs in all – one for my mum, one for my sister, and one for my friend.

Christmas presents (4)

For my niece and my eldest god-daughter I made tutus using this tutorial. I couldn’t get rolls of tulle locally, so had to use normal tulle and cut it into strips, which took ages. I used 6 metres of 54 inch wide tulle for each one, and cut it into strips 4 inches wide by 36 inches long. But they came out lovely and puffy – I had to squash them down into really small packages to post to the UK.

Christmas presents

And finally, I made a hooded cardigan for my middle god-daughter.

Hooded cardigan

Books I’ve read this year #45 – 47

December 5, 2009

“Little Women” by Louisa M Alcott
“Notes from a small island” by Bill Bryson
“Kiwis might fly” by Polly Evans

All re-reads.

Sooooo cute

December 5, 2009

Countdown to Christmas – errr, how many days is it?

November 28, 2009

These countdown to Christmas posts must be a bit boring to read for anyone who happens across my blog, but they’re are proving quite motivational for me. There have been a couple of days when I thought I couldn’t sew in one more single end of thread, but then knowing I could add one more present to my “presents done” list gave me the push I needed to do it.

So, the count so far….

Number of presents finished: 11
Number of presents in progress: 1
Number of presents still to start: 7

Countdown to Christmas – 29 days to go

November 27, 2009

Number of presents finished: 9
Number of presents in progress: 2
Number of presents still to start: 8

I’m fed up of making things now….