And we bid farewell to cousin Mark Vann

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Aug 012023

I am still finding it hard to accept my cousin, Mark, passed away in a hotel in Naples, Italy. We grew up together. He was a clever boy who became a clever man. I didn’t always see eye to eye with him; especially in adult life, but he was my cousin, which overrides anything left unsaid.
He was a good sports man and taught me to shoot hoops accurately. Other interests took over of course and balls and toys lay forgotten.
Mark loved dogs and leaves behind Teddy.

I am at a loss for words, especially after losing my father in May. I thought I was all cried out but apparently not.

I will make this short… I just want to remember the cheeky boy who loved playing games.
Godspeed Mark.

All about the sock

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Mar 212023

February saw family turmoil. Things are still in the wire but on Friday, I took a much needed break and drove to Bendigo Woollen Mills. I did go for a particular product but also for myself.

I had forgotten how inspirational it could be. I also realized how much I missed knitting and crochet. I butted in left and right when people asked questions. I think I got on some nerves but hey, if you know the answer why not share.

A lovely lady asked about knitting socks, she had started on the magic loop method. I understood exactly her frustration. I did butt in and told her the best advice I ever got from a sock knitting book. The book was Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles by Cat Bordhi.

The world so much needs such creative people and I mourned her passing in my own little way during Covid Lockdown. It was just after I gave up knitting and design due to a personal issue. I had always kept in mind her written words, “One needle works and the other rests”. And so began my personal preference when using circular needles. Sleeves, then start when making top down neck lines etc.

I was taught to knit socks by my mother who learnt to knit them in primary school in Europe. My first and most important tip is:
Cast on any project with two needles!

They do not need to be the same size but, it gives you a lovely stretchy start especially with socks top down!

Second tip:
Swatch! Yes, always frustrating but it is great to know if you have enough yarn and also if you knit tight or not, it gives you that extra chance to go up or down a needle size.

The third tip for today is:
Don’t worry about errors, they make the sock perfect and individual! Any mistake you make can be fixed. If you dropped a stitch a few rows back. Don’t frog! Put a locking stitch marker on it, knit to the spot, grab your trusty crochet hook and pick up the ladder or tie it off if you already added a stitch to compensate for the drop. It is not a big deal. Here I would also use a ‘lifeline’ if you are knitting with a lace cable and or a lace pattern.

Try and enjoy the process! Remember, you have another sock to finish. People would sometimes seek me out on the train with their knitting emergencies. This doesn’t happen much these days but, if at all possible, I will overcome this carpal tunnel and jump back into serious knitting.

I will add photos and more hints in the coming weeks and months. Just email me for any more questions. [email protected]

Keep the craft going… you are doing a great job!

The end of January…

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Jan 312023

And another month passed. How time flies, the older we get!
Gardens are not responding well to the strange weather patterns this year. It seems everyone I talk to have had very slow starts to the fruiting season. I have also noticed, possums and possibly mice, are eating things close to the ground. They don’t seem to be fussy but I am a bit tired of losing my radishes every time.

All this being said, my tomatoes are finally making a show of things. I get so excited at each days growth spurts and I am saddened by the occasional grubs in the tomatoes and beans. All part of the garden season I guess.

Dads garden is producing more gigantic zucchini. I am in awe of his plants. He does love the garden. He loves just getting out and doing things. Keeping busy and trying to keep active.

I was diagnosed as having Carpal Tunnel. This is a big set back for me. I only just got back to knitting and spinning. I guess I need to find some new crafts but right now I am just reading and watching Netflix. I wish I was more domestic and enjoyed cleaning as much as I love textiles.

Our rollercoaster of a summer is quite odd. Hot days in the high 30’s and some cold nights in the single figures. It is all over the place. I do have to admit, the alpacas are not swimming in the trough as much. I am not for the hot weather myself but my colleagues at work seem to love the hot days. We sit at our desks, the sun hot on our backs and people walk over and plaster them selves to the windows. My work garden is doing the same. The peppermint is hugging the window at all times, as do the oregano plants. Makes a pretty picture. 😁🌸

From my seat in the train, there is not one cloud in the sky. Maybe it is time to put this away and enjoy the scenery, it changes so much from urban scape to rural landscape… I do love living rural. So much prettier.

Have a good day / night. Catch you soon.

Where did it go?

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Dec 032022

Wow, December already. I still miss my old neighbours. I miss playing the ukulele and I miss yarn craft. My fingers and hands hurt more than ever. My feet? Well, we are at vegetable peeler stage. I kid you not! When I go to bed, my hands and feet go into overtime. Each joint in my fingers feel on fire and my feet and ankles feel like they are constantly being peeled with a sharp razor. There seems just no getting round it.

So, in my head, I have all these projects going on. In reality… everything’s stands still. By the end of the day I just don’t care anymore. I just want it all to stop.

here I sit, on the end of the bed in darkness. Christmas fireworks started before dark so we sat inside, under the fan and trying not to move much in the heat.

I am listening to some of my favourite songs and marvelling at the pure magic of Dave Brubeck. I could have sworn I first heard him in a Movie called Murder by decree. I now fear I was wrong. It was in the end years of the seventies, I went to the movies with my mother and I begged he to wait through the credits to find out the musicians of this amazing sound that blew my mind. I swear there were tears in mum”s eyes, so proud I was possibly becoming a jazzer and not a rocker.

Dave Brubeck became a fast favourite. Songs I could chill to! Then, realisation, this guy called Tom Waits! I saw him on the Don Lane Show! I was in love with the gravelly voice, fingers tripping over keyboards, smoke and booze on set, I found my true idol.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still loved Jon English and Russell Morris and Brian Cadd and even David Bowie and the Bay City Rollers but, wow, to this day, I still love the pure romantic Jersey Girl and will always stop what I am doing and just melt into the music.
The next on My song list is Acker Bilk and Chris Barber along side Herb Alpert and radio head.

At least once a day I listen to my playlist and I am transported to the late 70’s not a care in the world and I feel good. Tom Waits still hits my main spot though. The passion and the artistry. I didn’t even mind when he cleaned up his act. He just mellowed into the last true Beatnik.

Right now, I am going to go back to cleaning my fridge. I will leave a decidedly non jazz tune that was our Halloween ukulele gift to YouTube here. I hope your lead up to Christmas is cool and drizzled with the smooth tones of the great Tom Waits 🎶


And that’s the whole story

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Aug 272022

The month of August has not kind to my soul. I rushed my sister to hospital – the was timing pretty good as a few hours later her appendix burst. I spent an amazing week caring for dad, working in the office and driving home to care for John, who had back pain.

John had used Dr Google to diagnose himself. He soldiered on for a week longer, his legs collapsing under him at random times. I offered to take him to the doctors several times but he was stubborn. Until last Saturday…

He collapsed in the toilet, the door closed. I had trouble getting to him. He finally dragged himself out and got to a sitting position. I am sure his knees are still broken but no one looked at those.

I called ‘nurse on call’ and she patched us through to the ambulance.

This was getting scary. I had never seen him shaking from pain. While his back was giving him lots of pain, he was paralysed from the waist down!

The ambulance carted him off to the hospital emergency ward. He was admitted, they injected marker dye up and down his spine (over 100 injections!), then did several CAT scans, after which he was transferred to the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

They found a ”mass” in front of his spine and scraped and did some stuff to his back (laminectomy, P11 & P12), 2 slipped discs and said that the ”mass” should be absorbed by his body over time.

He is now home. During this whole time, my neighbours have been feeding me and checking on me.

For the first 3 days I hadn’t eaten and drank little. They started bringing me meals and Chai. After that… I could get used to being spoilt.

With John home, they have taken to feeding him too. I am learning some Punjabi words to show my gratitude. Having neighbours like this restores my faith in the words neighbourly love.

Many thanks to the Singh family!

* John’s reason for a laminectomy was degeneration & arthritis of the spine. This leads to narrowing of the pathways that nerves travel through (vertebral canal or foraminae) and can also cause sciatic nerve pressure. It may be difficult to walk due to aching or burning in the legs after short distances (claudication).


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Jul 242022

Winter set in early. This coming week we are looking at minus figures and snow down low. Perfect to work from home I guess. But I will be back in the office unless the government issues new orders. I love the uncertainty of life these days.
I have never hidden that I have many highs in my life and sadly, as many lows. Last night I was confronted by someone else going through the same lows. By late morning I was reminded by the wonderful J that family isn’t blood. It is those who choose to bond and love people who choose each other. From Jenni and my Fairy Godchildren my family and those so far away you may never meet but a kinship keeps us going.

J has sparked my desire to spindle again and my new spindle already has a luxury yarn waiting for it.

I have also made another design. A little Beret. Photo is pre blocking. I hope to block it tomorrow. I will then write up the pattern and post it.

To my dear friends, thank you for your support and love. To J, hang in there. You are an amazing person.
Now to do a little more crochet. There is a little girl in NSW, whose favourite colours are rainbow and purple. 😁

Here comes winter…

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Jun 222022

I seem to have gone crazy with my posting the other month. I apologise greatly. I am spending a couple days with dad. Too cold now to dig in the garden, we are enjoying movies and the max shopping trips.
My succlent garden is doing well, growing slowly and only one tragedy, Gregory Pecker my Crassula Pyramidalis. I killed it with kindness. It has been replaced with a Crassula Buddhists Temple so let’s see how that grows at work.

The hyacinth bulbs at work have already started blooming and the herbs are growing slowly while I work from home.

Winter is definitely here. The Alpacas eat more, it is harder to keep warm in my ‘home office’ and the meals John comes up with are amazing and real comfort food. I LOVE WINTER!

Now I have managed to pick up a crochet hook every night this past week, I know I am not ‘cured’ but I am on the mend and I have family and friends who love me and while the ‘mental’ part of my healing has finally begun, I can get the old muscle (ppffftttt) memory going and I will finish projects that bug me!

Yes, that even means the spinning wheel will be dusted off.I think my garage would thank me for that.  my plans for a home made spinning wheel will come back to the planing table and dad and I will have something to do indoors for the colder weekends  My garden will also receive a bit more love. The raised bed, the kind Ken and Marion gave me, is currently in use growing some amazing vegetables.  I so want to try radish again  only two grew at dad’s place but, I fear right now, it is way too cold to put anything down

well, I guess I have started rambling so I should sign off. Keep warm all and enjoy the togetherness!


While I’m in a sharing mood…

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Mar 272022

I really am enjoying going back in time and pretending I am young again and my friend Tara, seems to enjoy helping me. A few things I have learnt over the last few months:

  • There really are lipsticks that last up to 18 hours.
  • Colours are great mixed.
    you are NEVER TOO OLD for shimmer and shiny things.
  • …and, I have a lot to re-learn in my old age!

Tara introduced me to SeneGence  I am loving the products! The skincare, I am enjoying a bit – but the make up, WOW!

Tara also shares her love of succlents which reminds me, I need to repot some little cuttings Tara has shared. The neighbours are out and about though so I don’t want to get stuck out there with them.

Back to Tara the magnificent and SeneGence.  Tara is frightfully honest, so if a colour just doesn’t suit me… well, I will know!

She teaches me to be adventurous and bold in how I apply my colours. The colours themselves, some colours need to come out of the standard range and some bright eye popping colours need to make it into those spots!

That being said, don’t let the colour in the tube fool you! Some are just so amazing! And if it is turning out to be a little bright, dark or just plain NO, mix it with something  put a coloured gloss on top! MIX IT UP. 

Every day I still hear my mothers voice, “Put on lipstick before going out” This in itself is really good sense she never really suffered dry lips and she was always presentable even if people popped in.

So Thank You to Tara for making me feel like a  teen again, playing with all my pretty colours and products!


My unofficial community announcement!

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Mar 232022

Guys! I felt I just have to tell everyone this!
Beat Coffee is the place to go if you want a drop of pure coffee heaven. Honestly! Today I took a moment and went into the kitchen to prepare a cup of Brazil BOM Jesus (Baby Scratch). The people already there stepped aside and let me brew my coffee slowly. The aroma wafted on the office breeze setting tongues wagging and mouths drooling for the magic smell that floated on the air.

I kind of felt bad as I only have enough for one more cup and I didn’t want to share. I did not come across this magical Coffee Roasters on my own! I have to give credit (again) to the wonderful Jenni and Annelii and Tom! We sat in the cafe and chatted over a nice brew and from the first taste, I was hooked.
I order from the website now as, I never have time to drive over when I am at dads. I have shared some coffee with friends and sent beans interstate. It honestly brightens my day the moment I put a cup on to brew!
I have said it before, you can taste the love in every sip! These funky people have sourced the most amazing beans for single origin and also have some amazing blends. I keep wanting to call them kids but I know they aren’t. Well, at least they are younger than me! These kids know their stuff. They have opened a goldmine in the northern suburbs and I am so happy they are close enough to enjoy the occasional cake with my coffee.
Please, check them out, go there if you can, at least discover their website and treat yourself.
Do it… NOW! What are you waiting for? Hyperlink above.

It’s magic

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Mar 202022

Yesterday, I cried. Fairy Goddaughter#2, Annelii, married Thomas. I sat at the ceremony and cried when Thomas saw Annelii walk up the aisle. I cried when they made their vows. I cried at the Speeches. When Bridesmaid Marissa (special Fairy Fairy Goddaughter #4) gave her speech. To date the most alternative wedding I have ever been to. It was a production! From beginning to end and not too far from me at the Mt Macedon Winery, these two kids gave us the most magical day.
The alcohol was flowing, nibbles shared and dancing, lots of dancing! Mother of the Bride, looked amazing but I knew she was stressed from beginning to end. I made a point of offering help but not butting, as I knew how stressed she already was. I just enjoyed the day.

It did bring back memories though, waking up early after a sleepover. I heard the strangest noise and ventured into the kitchen. There she was, young Annelii! She had climbed to the tops shelf of the pantry, naked, and pulled down the Rice Bubbles! She poured every last puffed rice over the floor and was doing the breast stroke. Rolling over to do backstroke, totally immersed in the moment! She kind of carried this over to adulthood. All or nothing, she reaches for the stars and together with her best friend, has set a new journey.
How I love her! I also love Thomas and I thank Jenni every day for allowing me to be a part of her children’s lives from the beginning. I wish Annelii and Thomas the best of everything. Thank you for being part of my life.