Cracking out the knitting sticks

IMG_4092As we roll into winter its well and truly time to roll out the knitting sticks.
I’ve been on a bit of a roll of finishing projects, some quite recent, some very old.
A couple I love and would love to share.

And I have plenty of new projects waiting to get started.

But one at a time…

My beautiful niece had a baby recently and I wanted to knit her something traditional and groovy.

So I made the Edmund Wrap Sweater by Sublime and it turned out great.

Sadly, my niece lives in Colorada, so I’m not likely to see him in it. But maybe she can send a photo!

What’s your favourite baby pattern?

Sublime and seductive, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

There’s alot going on in this garden!

Sublime and seductive, The Garden of Evening Mists has it all.
Intriguing characters in a fascinating historical context, written with lyricism and a deep philosophical heart.

Teoh Yun Ling is returning to her past before she loses her memory. A prisoner of the Japanese during the war, she and her sister had a dream that kept them going, the dream of creating a Japanese garden. Her sister didn’t make it, but after the war, against the backdrop of the Malayan Emergency, Yun Ling became the apprentice to the former gardener of Emperor Hirohito.
Now a retired judge, Yun Ling returns to the garden they created. As her story unravels, memories and secrets are revealed.

Malayan Communist soldiers during the Malayan emergency

Love, guilt and memory haunt this beautiful book. But don’t be fooled. Despite all the dreaminess, the story moves along at a cracking pace, sweeping across multiple characters. This book is immensely readable and beautiful. Not a simple combination to pull off!

I am in absolute agreement with Claire Armistead at The Guardian, this book should have won the Booker!
Vikzwrites is also a fan
I liked Matt’s insights on the book too.
It is my absolute favourite book of the year so far.

The book even has a kamikaze pilot love story subplot!

Hukosai’s Shower Below The Summit

An intriguing and inspiring look at Black Saturday

Sergeant Roger Wood, central character in Kinglake-350

Kinglake-350 is a non-fiction account of the happenings in and around Kinglake during the Black Saturday bushfire disaster of 2009. Hyland creates a ripping story around the experiences of Acting Sergeant Roger Wood, on duty in Kinglake on the day of the fires.
The book centres on Roger Wood’s experiences as he fights to save what he can of a town under extreme attack from nature. He goes about doing his best for the locals in his community, all the while cut off from his own family, unable to find out whether they are alive or dead.
Woven through the story are plenty of interesting, scientific asides. Covering topics like how bushfires behave, climate basics or, of most interest to me personally, how people behave in disasters and what makes a hero do what they do.
There are some tremendously sad events described. Hyland very sensitively handles the tragedy of the day’s events and individual’s experiences as well as the psychological aftermath for the survivors.
I expected this book to be grueling. But it wasn’t. Yes, it is sad. But beyond the sadness, I found this book uplifting. An intriguing and inspiring portrait of the heroes, fighters and survivors in this little community.

Read the Herald Sun article: “Intimate Look at Black Saturday”.

Watch Adrian Hyland talking about Kinglake-350 on the First Tuesday Book Club website.

by Adrian Hyland

I found a hidden bar at the back of a burger joint! Bill’s Bar in Collingwood.

Did you know there is a bar behind the silver door in Huxtaburger on Smith Street?

There is.  Bill’s Speakeasy.

And they make great drinks.  And play cool music.


And when you walk back out past the hipsters queueing for their wagyu burgers, the looks you get are priceless.  “Wha-aa?”

Get on it!

Bill’s Bar

Enter through Huxtaburger
104 Smith St

Collingwood 3066

Discoverd thanks to Broadsheet

All the fun of the Show

Welcome to the craft pavillion!

I grew up in the country. And I’ve always loved the show. The animals. The cooking. The showbags.
Now I live in the city.
But luckily, for a few weeks every October, the country comes to the city.
And I love it!
Tomorrow’s the last day, so try and get along.

Angry Birds Cake

Old McDonald Cake

Anne-Marie Primmer is the queen of the cooking at the show. With over 70 entries and heaps of wins, her bake goods dominated.

There’s some pretty weird craft on show too…

I said weird, didn’t I.

There is also super cute craft, like these knitted cupcakes.

And of course there is plenty of dog primping

When Swans attack Hawks. And win.

It is a sweet feeling when your team makes the Grand Final.
It’s awesome when you manage to snag a ticket.
And it’s a brilliant day out.
Winning, just makes it the sweetest feeling of all!
Thanks Swannies!
Cheer! Cheer!

I love the crazy fans. I met this lovely lady in the queue for the ladies.

Getting ready is half the fun. Just a shame it was freezing, so these little beauties were hidden in boots.

Moving to the South of France- Swimming Home

Unfortunately not me, just my next Booker Buddies book.
I read “Swimming Home” by Deborah Levy.
It’s transported me to the south of France.
Rather nice backdrop, but I was a bit ambivalent about the book itself.

Swimming Pool at Chateau Marmont (yes, I know that’s not actually in France)
by Tyler Shields

I must say, for the first few chapters I was pretty ambivalent about this book. Insert crazy cat (Kiity Ket to be precise) into the set piece of two middle class couple staying at a home in France with the blossoming teenage daughter of one of the couples.
Tensions within the relationships are sharpened by the intruder’s presence etc etc.
But after a couple of chapters, the book really grew on me and an almost thriller like tension took over as I wondered how the twists and turns would impact everyone in the story.

A compact stealthy unsettling novel, I ended up not being able to put this one down.

For some other points of view, here are a couple of other reviews:
Hooked Bookworms review on Booker Marks
Reading the 2012 Bookers review
Penny’s Review on Booker Marks

Hotel Negresco in Nice

Making Stuff. Super cute, super easy baby’s blanket you can make in one evening.

Our neighbours have just had a little baby.
I wanted to give them something hand made for little Oliver.
I found this wonderful pattern on Prudent Baby.

I found the gorgeous bunnies at Funky Fabrix.

It took one night in front of the telly to knock it out.
Really love how it turned out.
Hope Oliver loves it too!

Do you have any super easy baby projects that you can knock out in a hurry?

For some lovely craft inspiration, check out And Sew We Craft!