Sunday, November 28, 2010

Decorative doings

Today I cut out a million fabric triangles to make bunting. I ran out of time to actually sew the bunting onto the tape but there's time enough for that before the tea party on the 11th of December (I'm being very organised as am in Auckland next weekend, time is disappearing scarily quickly at the moment). It's a Royal Garden Party themed tea party, inspired by the fact that my friend's sister is returning from England and Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement the other week. I bought some blue material (blue blood/Kate's ring has a giant sapphire in it) in the Arthur Toye Fabrics remnants bin for $4 and used some vaguely blue scrap fabric I already had. My triangles are crooked but it doesn't really matter.

Also, lamest photo ever, but I knit a leaf in record time! Maybe it was just due to the relief of knitting with fatter yarn and needles (my first sock is ready to be kitchener stitched closed but The Bible tells me I need to do it in a quiet room with no distraction and lots of concentration) but I honestly knit it in like an hour. And I didn't have to mark off all my rows, I managed to just know where I was up to! I want to knit some more red and green leaves and use them as Christmas decorations, probably strung together on a ribbon or something. I have green and red acrylic yarn that isn't going to be used for anything else so I might as well.

And a random 'I love Wellington' photo. My first Kaffee Eis gelatto in many many months, on the waterfront, in the sun. The weather here has been actually amazing for the last few weeks, not absolutely brilliant every day but pretty close.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Half mast

I had been following the Pike River mining disaster news and, along with everyone else, hoping for the best even as the days passed, so I got a bit of a shock yesterday when I read about the second explosion and the announcement that none of the men could have survived it. But it wasn't until I looked out the window at work this morning and saw flags flying at half mast that I really felt the enormous tragedy of it. I can't begin to imagine what those families are going through. Even though it's so close it seems really far away.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I might as well call this blog 'Places I Go & Things I Eat'

On Saturday I went to the Rathkeale College Christmas Fete. There were whitebait fritters for $8. This was a bargain compared to Sunday's prices. There was also the cutest little Devonshire tea set-up which was also a bargain - $4 for a cup of tea and two things of yumness. The brownie was actually amazing, maybe the best I've ever had and I've had a lot of brownie.

Maggie takes some time for contemplation at the amphitheatre. It was probably about 30 seconds worth of contemplation. Being 3 years old means you don't contemplate for long periods of time when you could be doing better things, such as antagonising your 5 year old brother.

On Sunday I went to Toast Martinborough. It had rained all night and was still looking pretty grim in the morning, so Hayley and I bought and wore gumboots. They were actually the best idea ever, even though the weather cleared after a while and it turned out to be a really nice day. Hayley is off tripping around the world soon so it was nice to have a dance with her in the middle of a vineyard with the Wairarapa hills surrounding us. I love the Wairarapa (in case you hadn't noticed).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Exhibitions and so close sock

Isn't nature clever? Pink and purple flowers on the same phallic plant... I noticed it on my walk to work this morning. It's probably been in flower for days, but it's funny the different things you notice on different days.

On Saturday I went to Te Papa to see the 'Brian Brake: Lens on the World' exhibition. I hadn't heard of Brian Brake before, but I recognised his most famous image 'Monsoon Girl' - which apparently caused a bit of controversy as it was a staged shoot. It was a great exhibition, pretty big, with a huge range of subjects including another of his most famous images, Picasso and his son at a bull fight. One thing I was struck by was how many of the images looked like they could have been taken today rather than the 1960s or 1970s, especially those from India and Asia. Partly because some of the photos are of traditional festivals and places where obviously clothing and architecture remain constant, but I was still surprised by how many images wouldn't have seemed incongruous at the World Press Photo exhibition I went to the other month.

Also it was nice to find out about another internationally successful talented New Zealander.

While I was there I had a look around a small exhibition on some key events in New Zealand's social history from about the 1950s. It had bits on women's rights (legalising abortion in NZ), the homosexual law reform bill, and the 1981 Springbok tour. All things I know a bit about already thanks to history at high school and my Gender and Women's Studies major, but seeing footage from those events is still pretty confronting. I got a bit emotional watching the video about the homosexual law reform bill. Some man was standing on stage denouncing homosexuality and saying 'that sort' should be kicked to the gutter and left to die etc and it was so upsetting, to see people standing up and cheering at his words. And to think that was only just over 20 years ago.

There were some nice things though, this made me smile because that Crown Lynn dinner set is what my Nana still has. And I love the wedding dress.

There was also a small exhibition on fashion ('Enriching Fashion: An Eye for Detail') which included this amazingly detailed embroidered christening gown. I can't even imagine how long it took to embroider such tiny details. And it's white on white which must be hard on the eyes.

Not so hard on the eyes, but hard on the patience is my first sock. So close to being finished! Speeding down decrease lane I can almost taste the kitchener stitch (which I'm slightly dreading). And I'm feeling vaguely enthused about casting on the second one - even though I can't remember how I did it the first time around, considering it's been about 5 months.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A picnic, a knitted bed bug, and more movies

Picnicking on democracy

The weather has been pretty lovely in Wellington for the past week or so. Every fortnight Ed, Adrianne, and I have our payday lunch (aka Government Workers Who Lunch) and last week the weather was so nice we had a picnic on the grass outside parliament.

Bed bug (photo courtesy of Katherine)

My knitting protege seems to be well on the way to surpassing my rudimentary knitting skills. A week after learning to knit she made this little bed bug, from the book Knitting Mochimochi. In other knitting news, I have started the toe of my sock!

After a short classic movie Sunday hiatus due to busy lives, Alex, Ed, and I watched To Kill A Mockingbird last night. I read the book about nine years ago so I vaguely remembered the story and that there were some scary bits. There were definitely some scary bits in the movie. I really enjoyed it, it's definitely not fast paced - it has to have the longest court room scene in the history of film (okay that's an exaggeration, I'm sure there are longer) - but Gregory Peck who plays the Dad, Atticus Finch, has an amazing voice so I could happily have listened to him all night. And the girl who plays Scout is very grounded and believable. Apparently in real life she is now an art restorer and 'college testing coordinator'.

I have seen too many movies lately to report on them all (Made in Dagenham - a very cliched and stereotyped portrayal of an underdog triumphing story but great 1960s hair and costumes, and Jules et Jim - very strange French movie from 1962) but I highly recommend Animal Kingdom. I wasn't sure it would be my cup of tea because it's an Australian movie about a Melbourne crime family, but it was so well done. There is nothing gratuitous about the murders or violence, in fact you actually see relatively little of that. It is more about the relationships in the family and the characters - who are all very complex and well-drawn/realised. I loved how some parts were handled in unexpected ways - when the armed police burst into the house and arrest everyone it's not the usual high-energy, loud, face-paced scene, it's in slow motion with a love ballad playing. See it!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

C'est fini!

Finally, on Saturday night I had a bit of a craft time at my friend Beth's house and finished the baby pinnafore (she made a toast cushion - I wish I'd taken a photo, it's very cool). I had machine sewn the buttonholes a wee while ago and they didn't go so well. They were lumpy and when I opened them using the fabric cutting part of the quick unpick, it nipped the edges of the sewn buttonholes and the thread frayed. So I had to painstakingly handsew the edges of the open buttonholes to make sure they didn't fray more. They don't look that great but they are done and I think it looks very cute. Now I need a baby to give it to, or it's going to be waiting a long time in my wardrobe.

I saw this on my way to work this morning and I had to take a photo:

It was so mega it went right around the corner. I bet by the time whoever drew it had finished drawing, it was time for them to go inside.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

View from the Prime Minister's Balcony

I have realised I love views. Which seems like a stupid thing to say because who hates views? But there's something about viewing things from a different angle and often framed by a window that I just really like. The Prime Minister has a pretty good view, especially for watching fireworks. He wasn't there which was fine because I have no desire to meet him, but it was interesting to see his office. In many ways I guess it's like any other office, except that it has large photos hanging on the wall of him and the Queen, him and some All Blacks, him and his wife getting off a plane waving to people, and framed front pages from newspapers announcing the election results.

There is new grass in Midland Park. It's very perfect and nice to sit on. And when there's a slight breeze you can see it ripple like little waves towards you, which is very poetic and helps you forget you have to go back to work and sit at your desk.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Momentous moment

Anita finished her arm warmers! Just in time to go to the Solomon Islands for two months....where it's pretty likely she's not going to need them. But at least she has the pleasure of looking forward to wearing them when she gets back.

They are knit in Knitsch Yarns Punky and they are fricken awesome. I'm not sure if she's going to knit the thumbs on or just leave them as is but either way they warm my heart.

I am up to the toe on my first sock finally. I tried it on at Monday night Knitting Circle and it fits! So the end is in sight. Well, for one sock anyway. Ugh.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Making and baking and views

Well, I made one thing on the weekend. A spider costume for a Halloween party on Saturday night.

I stuck ping pong balls to a headband and little googly eyes to the ping pong balls. Then I stuffed a whole lot of black tights with newspaper for legs (you can't see all of them in the photo and I don't know why I tossed one over my shoulder for the purposes of the photo). I was very pleased with my efforts.

Alex did some Halloween making of the baking variety and we had a Halloween high tea on Sunday.

Then I babysat in a house with amazing views.

Looking north

Looking south (the airport is just to the left)