30 June 2008

Crazy Unicorn!

You did ask... here's my dear Dotter, aka Crazy Unicorn!

Crazy Unicorn goes all coy on us :

Crazy Unicorn is astonished!

Crazy Unicorn ignores her mother :

Crazy Unicorn doesn't quite catch on :

Crazy Unicorn gets angry!

Crazy Unicorn reads Skeptical Inquirer and discovers she does not exist!

Unicorn Crazy!

My niece Jacquie is Unicorn Crazy (it's a recognised affliction) - she's suffered for years! So I decided to make her the Unicorn Headdress from New Knits on the Block by Vicki Howell (Rav link). The Book Review got in the way of knitting time, so this is a few weeks late for her birthday - but nevertheless, it's done!

Here are all the bits - 2 long 'horn' sections (long tapering tubes), 2 ears, a headpiece, and a 'base' bit. Here they've been felted (machine wash). I used Lincraft's Cosy Wool.

Sewing the horn onto the headpiece ... curved upholstery needles are the way to go! Although the pattern doesn't call for it, I put a bit of stuffing (polar fleece scraps) into the base of the horn.

Um. Oops. Bit too much flop. You in the back, stop sniggering ....

After discussions with Dotter, Hubby, and the Felting Goddess, Olivia, it got the chop, and a second felting session!

Just the ticket!

So here it is, with ears, and MUCH more solid and sturdy! I decided against adding the ring of brightly coloured novelty yarn around the base of the horn. I just need to add an elastic strap for it to be completely done, and then FINALLY Jacquie will get her 8th birthday present!

I'll see if I can get Dotter to model it before I send it off :)

This blog post brought to you today with the assistance of my new Mac keyboard - bliss! I've been clunking away on old grubby keyboards for years - this is my first brand new one, and I loves it!! So thin!

28 June 2008


Some LOLs I made featuring Lily and Lulu...

Bit now

Sheeparone Puppeh

Finor things
moar funny pictures

If you clicks on dem you can votes!

27 June 2008

The Game

I haven't played a blog game in ages ... so here goes!

1. road less traveled, 2. Chicken Enchiladas en Mole Poblano, 3. Ground Glass, 4. Purple fingers, 5. Rupert Penry-Jones, 6. Vitamin C, 7. A Desert Oasis, 8. Fruit Pavlova, 9. "Timemachines", 10. My kid and me., 11. underwater rose, 12. fields and fields of wheat

The Answers??
1. denise
2. Mexican cuisine
3. Holder High School
4. Purple
5. Rupert Penry-Jones
6. Fresh orange juice
7. Tropical oasis
8. Pavolva
9. Author
10. My kids
11. Creative
12. Jejune

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

25 June 2008

The Cardigan that used to be Mariah

You know, my Lara top is always going to be called 'The one that used to be Mariah', I just know it ...

I wasn't thrilled by any of the lace patterns I tried, so ended up using this (yo, k2tog) eyelet pattern (from the ubiquitous Pi Shawl) instead.

One sleeve is done, and the second on is on its way, and the front edge has been cast off ...

Now that I've been able to actually try it on I can confirm that :
  1. It drapes beautifully!
  2. The sleeves are in the right position!
  3. It fits!
  4. I love it! .. and ..
  5. The front lace border needs to be a fair bit wider.
So, once the second sleeve is done, I will, yet again, unpick the cast off edge (all 480 stitches or so!) and put it back on the needles, and knit more of the border.

19 June 2008

******* expensive

You might like to make a donation to help this ad go to air ... gotta love GetUp!

And here's a little beauty that I've just ordered - the Solio Universal Power Supply Charger - you can use it to charge your mobile phone, iPod, MP3 player, digital camera etc, all from the sun! I'm very excited about it, because since we rent, there's not much we can do to our home in terms of adding solar power or water tanks etc. But this is a way I can do a bit of something and stop using so much coal-created electricity. It's available from the Todae shop (Sydney)! They have HEAPS of other cool things, too (want want want).

A few answers to questions raised :

I WISH Heidi was ours, but she's not... we've decided (sadly) against getting another dog until we're no longer renting (so it could be some time). It's just too awful trying to find a place when you own a pet, almost everywhere says No Pets.

Hubby isn't an engineer (although that would have been a good career option, too), he's a theoretical astrophysicist! And yes, he's the furry one :) He's a real softie at heart, too - Heidi was upset and whining at the door when her mummy left, so Hubby got out a mattress and lay on the floor (working on his Mac laptop) with Heidi tucked up in the crook of his arm, snuggled under the blankies, until she calmed down (first photo of Heidi in the post below) Awwwwwww :)

Finally, the Unicorn Headdress is from New Knits on the Block by Vickie Howell. The pattern isn't included in the Ravelry listing of the book, for some reason... must mention it to someone or other.

The Lara Pinwheel Top is speeding along, too - I'm almost finished the first sleeve, then there's just one sleeve to go! I'm determined to be wearing it in the near future!

16 June 2008

Heidi Ho!

I'm still here, and surprised at how long it's been since I posted! Life has been more intense than usual ... but The Book Review is basically done - I'm still on call for checking the revised / corrected puzzles, but the insane amount of work is finished. Look how much paper this thing generated, and over 200 hours of work...

Dotter is going OK, but there were a LOT of medical appointments last week too, and more blood tests. She's started on the anti-TB antibiotic Isoniazid, with extra fatigue being the main side effect so far. 1 week down, 35 to go...

There has also been this ...
Puppy sitting for my MIL for 3 days... Heidi is a miniature dachshund, and it was a real treat having a dog in the house again. I made her a doggy coat (Garter Stitch Pup from IK Summer 07, Ravelry link). It's not quite finished in the photo. Had to adjust the pattern for such a looong narrow puppy!

There has also been this ...

A unicorn headdress for my niece's 8th birthday. All the bits have been made, I just need to felt them and sew the thing together. Only a week late so far!

And this ...

Hubby left the lights on in his car, so I had to rescue him at Mt Stromlo, in the dark, after a long frustrating afternoon at hospital... he tripped in the dark during the proceedings and his glasses flew off, and completely disappeared! They weren't in the bushes, they weren't in the car engines, they weren't anywhere! Current theory is the Stromlo kangaroos stole them...

Anyway. His backup glasses had no arms. So this was his solution! Patons Shadow Tweed, no less! He says they're remarkably comfortable.

The new glasses arrive this week... catching up on sleep, catching up on delayed work for other clients and my syndicator, and yet more medical carryings on with Dotter are on the list for this week. I may even *gasp* have time to read blogs! :)

06 June 2008

Consumption, anyone?

Well, in a very surprising turn of events, we found out this week that Dotter has latent tuberculosis! You probably didn't think people GOT tuberculosis in Australia, did you (I know I didn't!) - but Australia has ~5 cases per 100,000 people - a very low rate, but definitely there. There's a good information sheet available here.

There was a student with active TB at Dotter's school, in one of her computing classes, coughing, untreated, and very infectious (they've now been treated, of course, and are hopefully much better!).

The ACT Health Department / Canberra Hospital screened around 170 students and staff who were in contact with this person, and Dotter (along with others) has had a positive test result. Her chest x-ray was clear, so she doesn't have active TB, and isn't infectious (so none of her family or friends needs to be tested).

When exposed to TB, the body basically 'encapsulates' the bacteria, and it stays in the system. In about 10% of cases, the TB later becomes active, and that's when the person gets very sick (coughing, fevers etc leading to death if untreated) and is infectious.

Because of her autoimmune problems (the type 1 diabetes, and what is starting to looking more like lupus, unfortunately), she is at very high risk of the latent TB becoming active within the next few years - it's almost a certainty. The TB Nurse said in her 9 years of working in this area Dotter was the most at risk person she'd ever come across (!), and the doctor was similarly emphatic about her being treated.


She'll be on a special TB-specific antibiotic (provided free by the Hospital) for 6 months, and needs to have regular blood tests to check that her liver is coping with the drug OK, and will also be on a Vitamin B6 supplement. Side effects can include things like pins and needles in her hands and feet, and increased fatigue (!!). She'll be closely monitored over the time.

Bugger bugger bugger.

04 June 2008

Cooking that Lasts

I've been rediscovering jam making in recent weeks... something I used to do when the kids were younger (and I wasn't running a business). I'm just making small batches on weekends, even half-quantities of recipes, enough to make 3 or 4 jars of Tomato Chutney, Apple Cider Butter, Marmalade, or Mandarin & Apricot Jam (illustrated below) :

I think I've put my finger on why it's so satisfying (for me at least) - I put a lot of effort into cooking healthy meals, mostly from scratch, most days in the week. It's a lot of preparation, planning, shopping, and then effort in cooking and serving. In 15 minutes, 30 if I'm lucky, it's all gone! Which is the way it should be, of course.

But it's really really nice to put a bit of time into planning, preparing, and cooking, and produce something that will last for more than 15 minutes! Weeks, even! And, damn, it's delicious!!

Work on The Book is nearly there, but the deadline is being pushed back while we wait for the author to make the requested changes, which I'll then need to re-check. I'll happily never look at a Sudoku ever again (although I am pretty sh*t hot at solving them now, I must say, after all this enforced solving!)

Dotter is still pretty unwell, was back at hospital today for more tests. She's missing a lot of school, and it's very hard to see her struggling so much.... Her hands even hurt too much to knit. So we're enjoying the small joys in life, like warm jam on fresh bread and hugs.

ETA : She's had a positive TB test (a student at her school passed it around), and her autoimmune symptoms seem to be looking more like Lupus. Crap.