Monday, January 29, 2007

Red Back Spider Discovered

I was spreading mulch (by hand - no gloves) when I came across one of Australia's most dangerous spiders - the Red Back Spider. She was feeding on the green praying mantis (to the left of the photo).

The female Red Back Spider has the red stripe down her back and can live for 2-3 years. The male is much smaller, no red mark on his back and only lives 7-8 months.

The bite is highly venomous and characterised by intense localised pain and around the bite site. Other symptoms may include sweating, muscular weakness, loss of co-ordination and, in severe cases nausea, vomiting, convulsions, etc.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Saturday Sky

Four seasons in one day ..... this time last week we were sweltering on a sultry Saturday. Today we even had the heater on ...... don't forget we are having Summer!!! Today it was cold, windy, raining, sunny..... we had it all!!

This photo shows the figs on our self sown fig tree ... so who is going to get the figs first ...... us?? or the birds?? The birds probably will win !!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Creating and Spinning a Fibre Sandwich

Each year the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria conducts "Summer School" during January. This is two weeks of different workshops, not necessarily to do with spinning or weaving.

I was the tutor for a "Creative Carding and Spinning" workshop. My dear friend Ellen was my wonderful assistant.
We created a "Fibre Sandwich" in the morning. I lay a sheet down on the floor and we all proceeded to lay various fibres onto it. We used wool, mohair, alpaca, baby camel, flax, cotton, bombyx and tussah silk and glitz. Then I sprinkled cut up cotton threads on the top - they looked like sprinklers on top of a cake!!

After the "Sandwich" had been completed Ellen and I divided it into portions and we put them into brown paper bags. The bags were tossed around and then handed out to the students. I thought this was the fairest way to distribute the "Sandwich".

It was a very interesting session, with some students spinning worsted and some spinning woollen. Most of them pulled the fibre directly from the brown paper bag and spun as it came. To make the day easier, I supplied commercial thread to ply with.
Don't the skeins look yummy and good enough to eat!!! It was a fun morning and everyone enjoyed themselves.....

There is more to a fibre sandwich than just bread and filling !!!!!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Saturday Sky ... and it's raining !!

Can you believe this photo ..... the last week has been extremely hot, humid and so uncomfortable - yet today we had rain.... and at long last! The rains brought welcome relief to the bushfires in Victoria. They have been burning since 1 December and has burnt over 1,000,000 hectares of beautiful forest. Australia is experiencing severe drought conditions and here in Victoria our major drinking water reservoirs are very low. We can only water our gardens with a hose twice a week for two hours in the morning and two in the evening. I recycle my washing maching water into a wheelie bin and then bucket it out onto the garden.

Today Chloe (our Border Collie/Kelpie X dog) and I began dog obedience classes. I thought it was for deliquent dogs but it was for juvenile dogs (same thing??). Mind you Chloe is 18 months old now and the other dogs in our class were around 6-8 months old. I think Chloe thought she was "mother" to them and I felt like a grannie!!!

I was extremely pleased with her progress today, especially as the classes began last Saturday and we had to miss that class.

We will show them next week ..... just how clever she is !!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Crazy English Language

The undermentioned was taken from Briana's blog

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.

There is no egg in eggplant,
nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted.

But if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea, nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends,
but not one amend?
If you have a bunch of odds and ends
and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught,
why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes, I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play
and play at a recital?
Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
Have noses that run and feet that smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down;
in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saturday Sky

This beautiful pink shrub is an Oleaner Punctatum. When we were kids, these plants were in nearly every garden..... now it is unusual to see it anywhere .... maybe it might be due in part that all parts of the plant are extremely poisonous. This shrub is not in my garden but in the garden opposite our house. So I am fortunate to look out onto it and admire the lovely flowers.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Sultry Saturday Sky

Today has been a very unpleasant day weatherwise. It has been extremely sultry, very hot and northerly winds. Where I live, a north wind is a hot wind .... great for drying clothes!

Although as I write this, there seems to be a change in the air. The wind is changing direction and it seems a little cooler outside.

Today I have done some drumcarding and spinning. It is too hot to knit, and especially too hot to do housework!!!! Anyway, there is always tomorrow for housework!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Felted bag and Fudge

I have just finished another felted bag, using my handspun (mainly wool with some alpaca and mohair). After knitting the bag, I threw it into the washing machine with the towels/sheets and it felted quite nicely!!

I came across this yummy fudge recipe on blog.

I thought YUMMO, but when I looked at the recipe, I realised that it is one of my own favourite recipes!

One-Bowl Chocolate Fudge
16 oz. semisweet chocolate squares or chips
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Microwave chocolate and milk on high, 1-2 minutes, or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir half-way through heating time, taking care not to let the chocolate burn. Remove from microwave and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add vanilla and walnuts. Spread into greased or parchment-lined 8” square pan. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Cut into squares.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Catching up with Photos ....

In Dec, I took part in the first Aussie Knitters Swap. My swap partner was Donna from the Blue Mountains. She sent a beautiful pale blue baby alpaca mobius which is so soft and wearable ..... in fact I can't wait until the winter to wear it!! She also sent a beautiful red candle, not only smelling devine but it lovely on my Christmas table.

Now I must tell you what happened when I received Donna's parcel. I was so excited that I wanted to let her know straight away that I had received it. She didn't forward an email or blog address ..... so I thought I was being clever when I looked at the Aussie Knitters database and sent an email expressing my delight and thanking her for her generosity. Can you imagine how I felt when I received a return email from Donna in NSW saying that the mobius sounded just devine but unfortunately SHE didn't send it ....... there must be two Donna P's in the Group !!!


Julia (my OSSPE Pal) sent me a lovely surprise package before Christmas. And indeed it was a lovely surprise.

She sent samples of Shetland, Wensleydale, Karakul and Teeswater/Wensleydale fleeces. These are types of sheep/fleeces which are unavailable in Australia. As a spinner it is really exciting to get these samples. Due to strict quarantine restrictions in Australia, they had been processed. I keep looking at them, just like a little kid in a toy shop! ....... and there was more ..... Julia sent packages of Koolaid and Great Value powder drink mix. These are wonderful for dyeing wool ....

Julia thank you for sending this lovely box of goodies. I had to smile though, on the outside of the box on the Custom's label, the koolaid/powdered drink packets had been circled in red!!! ???

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Blog Design

As it is the first day of 2007, I thought I would change the look of my blog. Why???? ...... knowing perfectly well that I was going to get into all sorts of bother !!!

Still I went ahead and did it ....... and yes, I did get into trouble ........ lots of it. I finally worked out how to post a "button" to the side. Now they are all uneven and the Saturday Sky ring is sitting next to and not underneath another button.

Still I perservered, didn't lose my cool (although I ate more chocolate than I should have!), and sort of accomplished what I set out to do. Tomorrow, I will have to get another site counter. It is always interesting to see where those people who look at my blog live.

I was about to go to bed ..... but thought, no Viv, you can get that site counter TONIGHT ..... and I did ..... !!!!!!!!! So now all that is left for tomorrow, is to work out how to re-arrange those buttons!!

SP9 December Parcel Contents

My SP9 Pal Sue has certainly spoilt me and I thank her so much for her generosity. After her being sprung leaving the package at the front door, I was eager to see what was in the box. I contained myself, and opened the box on Christmas morning.

Inside the box each item was individually wrapped. It was so exciting, I felt like a little kid opening Santa's presents. ('Cause I have been a good girl this year ..... I really have!!)

... and this is what was inside the parcels. A beautiful pair of handkitted sox, made from Knit Picks yarn. They are so lovely on my tooties!! ..... bring on winter !!!

There were 2 balls of Crystal Palace Yarns (Aran Print 100% wool) in a beautifyul mulberry/pale blue colour; two balls of Sugar and Cream Cotton (red/green/blue/dark cream in colour and the other one in greens/blue and mauve colourings; a face washer and Christmas talc..... yes there was even more ...... a lovely cream dishcloth/facecloth (it is far too nice to use on dishes!) AND a delicious Glace Christmas Fruit cake (yummo!). There was a lovely handmade Christmas card with all of this ..... I wonder if Sue made it? Thankyou Sue for my goodies, you really are a generous SP9 Pal.