Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Crochet and a certain cat

A couple of months ago, once I felt comfortable with the basic crochet stitches and could actually watch TV and hook around my granny blanket at the same time, I realised that crochet patterns had stopped looking like a mystifying jumble of nonsense.  It suddenly dawned on me that I could comprehend and interpret the instructions into real life stitches.

It was like learning a foreign language - all of a sudden that confusing babble crystallised into something real, something understandable.

I got a pattern for a simple baby jacket from one of the ladies at work, splurged on my first skein of quality yarn (no Big W acrylic for this project!) and set to work on a very special gift for my sister's baby, due in September.

And while I was farting around taking photos of my handiwork, how could I ignore my number one baby who was quite enjoying that late afternoon sun?

For this jacket I used 3 skeins of Spud & Chloe Sweater 12ply in Turtle, and a 5mm hook.  The stitch is a half double crochet.  The edging is a double crochet using some leftover 8ply white yarn I had in my stash.  The pattern is from an old Cleckheaton knitting and crochet book.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

One down, two to go...

Can you guys believe I'm through the first trimester already?  I'm starting to realise that even though March feels like a really long way away, the time is going to go fast.  Really fast.

Whoa, look at that tub suddenly appear in Week 12! It would not have remained a secret for much longer.
Today for the first time in weeks I haven't made my morning call to god on the big white telephone, which is a huge relief.  Even so, I have been very lucky because other than the early morning spew I have been feeling great.  Fat, but great.

As you can probably gather from the photos above, I've urgently had to invest in some new stretchy clothes, especially for work, where unbuttoned pants are apparently frowned upon.  Corporate stiffs.

It was really exciting the other week to see little Engelbert on an ultrasound scan, actually looking like a human baby instead of the scary alien blob it's resembled up until now.  

We're not going to find out Engelbert's gender until it enters the world which adds to the anticipation a bit.  I'm scared that we're accidentally going to see the gender on an ultrasound.  That's if Blair ever makes it to one - I've had three scans so far and he's been on site for each one.  FIFO sucks.  Boo.
Straight chillin'

I'm really enjoying being pregnant, so far any symptoms have been mild and I generally feel super content and pleased with life.

Soon it'll be time to start planning the nursery, although I'm not really the decorating type.  There'll be no Martha Stewart tissue paper pom poms in my house.

I might not be keen on decorating, but I'm feeling far more enthused about some crochet projects for my autumnal Engelbert, there'll probably be another post on that later.

Right now I'm anticipating the day when I actually look pregnant as opposed to just tubby.  I wonder when people will start to give up their seats to me on the train?

Sunday, 31 August 2014

How very Pinteresting….

Emma has come up with a very cool idea for those Pinterest addicts among us, to actually try some of the things we've pinned.  I'm right on board with this idea as I often scroll through my pins thinking, "I really must do some of these"... but then never doing it.

So today I decided to try one of my recipe pins because, food.  And with a bumper crop of potatoes from the garden, Martha Stewart's Crispy Potato Roast was an easy choice (especially considering I have a mandolin slicer to make light work of the potatoes).

Here is the photo from the original pin:
Well hello there
Here is my effort:
Ready for the oven
And 1.5 hours later, yelloooo heaven
Look at all that naughty delicious butter
Not as pretty, and certainly far more blackened than the original but sweet lord, so tasty.  I replaced the shallots with garlic, which I added to the butter/oil mixture.

I do think the amount of butter and oil is a bit excessive, next time I will only use two tablespoons of each.  Also I covered it for a portion of the cooking time, otherwise it would have been severely charcoaled on top.

Other than that, though, a seriously excellent recipe.  I'm slightly horrified to admit that I ate nearly the whole thing myself in one day.  Mental note: ALWAYS have guest with whom to share this dish.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Melbourne and Adelaide and a new baby

Back in January, way before this pregnancy was even on the cards, I booked a trip to Melbourne to see my friend Lucy, and to Adelaide to see the old fam-bam.  Adelaide crew represent!

As mentioned in my previous post, it turned out that the trip coincided with that magical 12-week mark of my pregnancy, meaning I could finally break the news when I was home.

Melbourne was icy, as expected in late August, although Lucy kept insisting, "It's so warm!  It's 14 today!".  Yeah.  OK.  We squeezed in plenty of activities with lots of shopping and eating, not to mention the conversation which only paused when we went to sleep.  I even lashed out and took a break from the Year of Ethical Fashion and boy did I enjoy shopping in stores again.  It was a bit different to my last trip to Melbourne which revolved heavily around drinking and soft cheeses, but it was excellent in a totally different way.

Why are you not a glass of wine?
After Melbourne it was onward to sunny freezing Adelaide where I got PLENTY more opportunities to complain about the weather.  I definitely appreciate the Perth winter, which I was totally taking for granted before.  I just needed a reminder of what a real winter feels like, I think.

Cross-eyed dog
While in Adelaide I squeezed in a quick visit to my sister Hazel on the farm, heavily pregnant and yet still the perfect hostess.

After school chocolate milk!  I had one too.  Baby needs calcium
The best and only dip in the world - Gaganis Taramasalata.  We ate it by the spoonful.  Pretty sure that was a huge no-no for pregnant ladies but WHATEVER

Hazel will probably hate it but I love this photo!  That is the look of a woman who is OVER IT.
Pregnant bitches just hanging out

I broke the news of my pregnancy to Mum and Dad at a family dinner which was great fun, and a great relief.  No more secrets!  No more lies!

The best bit of the whole trip, though, was when Hazel went into labour on Friday night and delivered a little baby sister for her two boys.  I even got to have a cuddle before flying back to Perth on Saturday.  What's better than a brand new baby?  Well, not too long ago I would have had quite a long list of things better than a tiny downy little baby.  Now, I say nothing.  Nothing is better than that.

Friday, 15 August 2014

And then there were three...

Blair and I are thrilled that we are expecting our first child together, due March 2015.

This will be a long one - best make yourself comfortable.

Despite all the signs, I never really thought I was pregnant until I heard the words from the doctor.

I didn't even do a home pregnancy test before we went for the blood test.  When I spoke to the clinic to get the results I was totally unprepared, which seems ridiculous considering how long we'd been waiting for that news.

When the woman said, "Yes... I have some good news..." it took several moments for it to sink in.  She said, "You're very pregnant."  Possibly the best thing I have ever heard.

I said, "Oh my god".  I broke out in a joyful sweat (nice).  I had the good sense to grab a pen and write down the things she told me to do because there was no way I would have remembered once I got off the phone.

I was fairly far along when we found out, so it was amazing to go back over the previous weeks and realise all the things I had done while I was pregnant and I didn't know it.  That wine tour.  The weekend my six-months-pregnant sister came to visit.  That hardcore PT session where we did sprints, and my trainer told me that if I got pregnant, not to do sprints.

That night I got crabby that people assumed I must have taken up crochet because I was pregnant.  I griped to Blair, couldn't I just start a new hobby without the pregnancy brigade constantly on my back?

And I really had no idea.

I feel like I'm still absorbing the news, and sometimes it re-hits me all over again.  I'm going to have a BABY.  WHUT.

Do you know how long 12 weeks is?  

For secret-keeping, it is a VERY LONG TIME INDEED.  

It has been a daily struggle to keep this under my hat, to not even tell my parents.  Lots of people tell their parents early on (after all, you would expect their support in the event of a miscarriage) but I had my heart set on doing it in person.  I wanted to see their faces.  

Luckily, months ago I had planned a trip to Adelaide in late August which serendipitously (is that even a word?) coincided with the 12-week mark.

Then it was just a matter of buttoning my lip until that time...  And there were plenty of testing moments.

Two days after we got the news, my dad asking if there was any news on any "Cowlettes" coming into the world.  I couldn't even think what I would normally say to that question.

One of the girls at work telling me she's pregnant, and me wanting to squeal ME TOOOO.  But somehow not doing it.

Trying to think of what to write about on here that isn't babybabybabybabybaby.  Now you know why it's been so quiet around here!

Going from being a cold-hearted snake to an emotional wreck who cries at things like iPhone ads and animal memes.  Also dogs waiting outside shops for their owners.  Also a couple of episodes of Friends.

Plunging into the misery of morning sickness, and going off my food to the point of not even wanting bacon.  Some days, being unable to even bend over to empty the dishwasher without gagging.  Or sitting with Blair at yum cha, when I would normally be hoovering dumplings like a piglet, just sipping tea and feeling YUCK.

Avoiding work drinks, drinks with friends, AVOID ALL THE DRINKING EVENTS.

Secretly creating a "Maternity" and a "Baby" board on Pinterest, and un-hiding all my friends' boards of the same type that I had hidden months ago.

Becoming the world's flakiest friend who cancels catch-ups because I can't get off the couch due to bone-deep weariness.  

Discovering that life hits me a bit harder now: an hour or two in the garden requires a full afternoon's recovery on the couch.  Also requiring at least six meals a day, all carbs. Not that that is any different from normal, but at least now I have an excuse.

It has been an agonisingly slow wait to finally be able to talk about this publicly.  At the same time, I have enjoyed (literally) carrying around our little secret.  I have wondered for SO LONG what it would feel like to be pregnant.  It has not been the huge physical change that I expected, but instead an immediate and comprehensive emotional change.  I realised very quickly that I will do anything to protect my Squishy.

I am so excited for this new chapter.  It is really amazing how life keeps panning out.

Peas and tommies

YES, more photos of produce from my garden.  It's my blog and I get to decide what I post about.

The End.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Ah, Sunday

I think Sunday is probably my favourite day of the week.

There are obligations, chores and responsibilities every other day of the week, but Sunday I like to keep free for the important task of Pottering Around the House.  Preferably in my best dag-city tracksuit pants, polar fleece jumper and of course my Birkinstocks with socks.  Shut up.  It's comfortable.  It's my Sunday best.  Sometimes I even go to the shops like that.

Today I woke up feeling quite motivated which means GARDEN TIIIIME.  I planted out seedlings, repotted some things and got some other new things into the front yard.  I was quite proud of my stoicism achieving all I did even in spite of a nasty gash I sustained yesterday stupidly using the mandolin slicer without the guard.  NEVER DO THAT.  Just ask my thumb.  This is a lesson you should only need to learn once.

This guy, also a fan of Sundays
After I was finished outside, I actually dragged out the never-ending quilt project and safety pinned it all, ready for quilting!  So close to being finished!!  My wounded thumb let it be known that it did not enjoy the pinning AT ALL, so we'll leave the quilting portion for another day when I'm not liable to bleed all over the damn thing.  Still, progress is progress.  I'll have it finished by next winter no worries.  Probably.

For lunch I made an AMAZEBALLS spaghetti arrabiatta (not sure that I'm spelling that correctly, spell check wants to change it to Arabian which is definitely not correct).  I could have eaten about another three platefuls so it's lucky I only made one because, piggy.  Lucky I wear stretchy pants on Sundays.

This afternoon I picked some peas, put a fresh bandaid on thumb, and settled down on the couch with a SATC DVD marathon and a hot milo.

Sunday, you're my favourite!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The blog is not dead! ...It's just really really quiet

I'm still here!

Life has just been carrying on in its nice easy rhythm.  Which is nice, but doesn't give me much to blog about.  Since winter has set in I've also become very slack about taking my camera out which also reduces the blogging opportunities.

This morning I shook myself out of my rut and grabbed the camera as we headed out the door for breakfast.  And boy am I pleased I did.

That early morning light on the ocean is just captivating.  We haven't been down to the beach in ages and I'd forgotten how soothing for the soul it is.  I cannot wait for the day when we live by the ocean.

Look at all those crazy mofos in the water

I think I might get this printed as a giant sticker and turn one of the walls in my house into an ocean mural

It was coooold by the sea so we headed inland.  It's been so wet this winter so it was nice to soak up the sunshine for once.

I took these while I was waiting for Blair to finish up with the quack -er I mean, the chiropractor!

The garden is producing more than ever, with bumper crops of broccoli, peas and chillies.  Not sure what happened to the potatoes this year but we only got a handful.  I blame Blair.  No reason.  Just because someone has to be at fault.

For lunch today I made gnocchi with homemade pesto (with basil from our own garden!) while Blair dug the garden in preparation for the next lot of crops.  They better not fail, Blair!

I've been baking muffins and have been steadily hooking my way through a few crochet projects.

Life is very good.  It kind of reminds me of an old Gene Kelly standard.

Oh, I've got rhythm
I've got music
I've got my man
Who could ask for anything more?

*Edited to add: my sister just rang to tell me this is a very Pollyanna blog.  It's pretty pukesville isn't it.  Whatever happened to all my Pointless Fury?