Saturday, January 28, 2017


When I said we would be out and about for January - it wasn't entirely true - what I really meant was my husband and I would be taking a two-week holiday in CALIFORNIA!!! Isn't that the most exciting thing ever? We had the best time, and I will probably bore you about in posts for weeks to come, because this is the first holiday just the two of us have had together since our honeymoon to India 18 years ago. My husband is wonderful to travel with ... I'd forgotten. Isn't that sad?

It started when my family very kindly offered to have the boys again in NZ for a couple of weeks in January ... and my husband and I were just going to work like we did last year ... but then we thought that's stupid! Seize the chance! Where can we go? So we did a process of elimination - rejecting anywhere with snow or anywhere that would take more than 24 hours travel door to door - then figuring out where we most wanted to go, and decided on the West Coast of the USA. We flew into LA (via Melbourne) and back out from San Francisco (via Sydney) and hired a car for the whole two weeks to drive up the coast, a bit inland, north as far as Eureka, then back to San Francisco for the last few days. And it was awesome. We had such a wonderful time, and could have happily done double, or triple, the time ... So I've tried just to pick a few photos that sort of represented what we did.

The food! The wine! I don't think we had a bad meal in two weeks. This is wine-tasting, with snacks, in Paso Robles.

The wonderful scenery. We went for an afternoon's hike in Pinnacles National Park - I have never seen rocks like it! And for almost all the time we had glorious weather, crisp and clear.

The redwoods. I haven't really got any photos that can properly give the scale of the trees, and what it is like to be alone in a redwood grove, with the raindrops still dripping down. I have seen a lot of trees in my life, and been in a fair few forests, so I was just kind of expecting the same, but bigger. It wasn't though, it was special. 

The history. This is on the tour we took of City Hall in San Francisco - not a particularly old building (1916) but quite beautiful and very interesting because of another word I didn't know before I went - docent. Enthusiastic volunteers who take you on tours for free and tell you amazing things. We must be firmly middle-aged because we loved it! Gentle two-hour walks being told things by people who have all this astonishing knowledge. 

And of course we loved San Francisco. We had a little one-bedroom Airbnb apartment a couple of miles from town and we walked and walked ... 15 km one day according to my phone and the equivalent of a 57 storey climb! Hah! 

I will no doubt blog more on this because it was just so awesome. It was my first time in the US (I don't count Guam) so there was all the culture differences too, although not as much as I thought. My husband says I shouldn't judge the country by the places we went to but it all looked pretty good to me!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A plaid

When I did the sampler I really liked the green and black colours together, so I did a plaid scarf using them. I dyed the wools variegated, which gives more interest but muddies the effect of the plaid. I quite like it, but it might have been better with solid colours.

There is a website called, where you put in colours and fiddle around with numbers of threads and it shows you what the plaid would look like! Isn't that cool? And quite addictive.

I got a weaving book for christmas which has tricky lace weaves and other different stitches you can do even with just a rigid heddle like mine, so I am experimenting with that. Most of it is ridiculously time-consuming of course, but interesting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Just sitting and melting

It's been a hot week here and we've just been sitting around melting, eating icy poles and keeping ourselves entertained. Number two son got Sims4 for Christmas so me and him have been playing that - we both love making little people and dressing them up. It's like dollhouses.

Number one son has been off camping with some of his friends in the state park about half an hour west of here. There was (rotating) adult supervision - my husband spent a night out there and said it was beautiful. Hot, but not as bad as in town, and nice to be among the trees. Millions of flies though, which sucked. The purpose of the camping trip was for one of my son's friends to make a zombie movie, which is an audition for some performing arts program, I didn't get the full story. Lots of make up and  running away screaming.

And here is my husband breaking in his new Christmas boots. Very stylish.

I'm not sure how much posting I'll be doing on the blog over the rest of the month ... we'll be out and about. And I can't even be in the sewing room at all in this temperature!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

At the beach

We've just had a lovely week at the beach - much needed at this time of year. Canberra is horrible - dry and hot and still and empty and boring. The beach is rainy and busy and noisy and fun. Mind you - when I say busy and noisy I mean in comparison with the rest of the year - we are not talking the south of France here. If I see more than eight people on the beach I think it's crowded. We did lots of swimming and went for lots of walks and watched lots of movies and read lots of books. We played Scrabble, and I won every time. I'm surprised they keep playing.

We had two forty-degree days which I've never experienced there. Usually you get a nice on-shore breeze that keeps the temperature reasonable, but it failed us this time and it was meltingly hot. Luckily the water temperature is still arctic, so we could submerge, get cold, come out, get hot, submerge, get cold ... repeat until beer o'clock. It was only a couple of days, and the change had come in by New Year's Eve, so the sandcastle competition was the traditional cool and drizzly weather.

It didn't stop number two son having a swim though. He is the speck on the far right.

For the first time we are renting out our house for the rest of the summer. Or at least we are trying to - we are going through the very pleasant but utterly unfocussed local real estate agents and they haven't quite got round to advertising it yet. I thought it would be nice to use a local business but it may be a mistake. The whole thing may be a mistake to be honest. We didn't really buy it for rental but we're not going to be down there and it seems foolish to say no to some income at the peak time of the year.

So before we left yesterday we shoved all our stuff into the lockable cupboard and scrubbed the house from top to bottom. Which it needed - in three years we hadn't quite cleaned out the freezer or washed the windows or wiped out the cupboards. So even if we don't see a cent out of it at least we'll have a nice clean beach house.