Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Chinese New Year

Kung Hei Fat Choy!!

Chinese New Year is a much quieter affair for us now than it used to be when I was a child. I used to love Chinese New Year. There were so many traditions that we followed, like all the cleaning, visiting family, all the food, the visits to the Buddhist temple etc.

Then as a teenager, I used to go to the Chinese New Year Fair that the Chinese/Vietnamese community put on with all my friends, going on the dodgy rides, eating heaps and staying out late because we could. We would also go to the Buddhist temple for the midnight firecrackers, the insane amount of incense people burned and stayed out late because we could.

This year, we celebrated with a lunch at my sister's place. My parents came up to have lunch with us and there was roast duck, pork, and chicken. There is my mother's special dish of chinese mushrooms with chicken, dried scallops and this fungus stuff that looks like hair. This is also the first year I actually have to give out those red packets due to my married status. I kind of wish that we did a bit more so that my nephews can experience the fun, the culture and the traditions that all comes with being Chinese.

I'm also currently working on Rosamund's Cardigan in Malabrigo Worsted. It's getting a bit big for my commute knitting but that's ok. I've decided to start reading more on my train ride to work. I've set myself a goal of reading 20 books this year. I'm keeping track on Goodreads and hope to post here as well. I'm not that good at writing reviews but will give it a go. I'm currently reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Might have something to do with the movie and the new BBC series.

I've also decided to try to be a "morning" person in 2012. This may sound a bit strange but I've always had great difficulty getting myself together in the mornings. I used to skip breakfast so I can have an extra 15 minutes sleep. I've been getting up at 5.30am most mornings and the plan is get something done. I've been going for runs in the morning as I no longer find the time or energy in the evenings. The problem with being a morning person, is that you can't also be a night person. This means that as I type this at 10.53 pm, it is way past my bedtime.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Review

Death Comes to PemberleyDeath Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One of the girls in my bookclub picked this book because she's an absolute Jane Austen fan and Pride and Prejudice is her all time favourite. This is her pick. Based on the fact that "Pemberley" is in the title.

Admittedly, I read a Sydney Morning Herald book review before starting on it and so may have coloured my judgement on the book. The reviewer was quite scathing on the fact that James' writing style is dark to Austen's light. Also, the reviewer mentioned how the book started off rehashing the whole Pride and Prejudice story.

I tried not to be too annoyed when I read was reading through the retelling of the original P&P and hoped the mystery part would be compelling. If I were PD James, I would just assume the reader will know the original P&P story and if they didn't will give them a reason to go and seek it. I was disappointed because it just wasn't the compelling murder mystery I was expecting. There was nothing overly dark and sinister and the plot seemed to have been written without much excitement.

I listened to PD James' interview on the radio and she said that she tried to write in Austen's voice. I think she failed miserably. The only thing I thought that might Austen would have focused on was the shame a scandal would bring to Pemberly.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 09, 2012

Karcha Graffiti

The egotistical part of me loves to see my name all over the place. The BFG had some fun with his Karcha high pressure cleaner and the bit of manky concrete outside our house.




Reply to comments:
Fiona - WIP is "Work in Progress". I decided to just jump right in and try making clothes. I made some cushions when we first moved in and I also want to make a small quilt when I have the time.
Katie - The top fits but can do with a bit of adjusting. It looks alright from neck down to the bust but I was excited to use the one step button hole feature on the sewing machine. I'm making another and trying practice.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Making and a forgotten WIP

Today is the last day of my holidays and it's back to work tomorrow. I've had a great mini holiday mostly at home with the BFG. We've gone swimming most days at the local pool, made it once to the beach on New Years Day and pretty much mooched around the house most of the time.

I've done a bit of reading (new Kindle for my birthday), and mostly relaxing. I had plans to repaint the house, but a few days before my holidays, I just did not think that I would have the energy to embark on such a large project as painting the house!

So instead, I've been busy doing other things, like making this top. It's the Sencha pattern from Collette. It was easy enough to make, but I'm a real novice when it comes to sewing. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out but I know for sure that there are a gazillion mistakes. 

Front

Back - buttons from All Buttons Great and Small

I also had to clean out one of the drawers in the cupboard in the craft room and found these two embroideries I had made at least a year ago. They are from the iron on transfers from Sublime Stitching and they are motifs by Inside a Black Apple. I have a feeling I was trying to make drawstring bags for the BFG and I (for Christmas). How lost was this WIP? I'd completely forgotten I'd made them. I still need to sew them up into bags.


The best time I've had so far these holidays is spending time on our deck enjoying our new outdoor setting. We also got an umbrella for it as well seeing as we don't have a covered deck but I had to take it down when we had really strong winds one afternoon. Incidentally, I also broke the BFG's toe while trying to put it away. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Keep on Posting

Hello!! I'm back. Well sort of. I feel guilty about this blog. I still love blogging, but as Pom Pom says, life gets in the way. So just a recap on what I've been up to.

       Visiting my parents in Goulburn in Spring when the canola fields were out in full yellow force.



Pandering to little people (note - he's not mine! Some days I wish he was and some days I'm glad to hand him back)



Making copious amounts of caramel popcorn - recipe here.



Still running - mostly just doing the Bay Run but I did do the City to Surf for the first time this year and again the Bridge Run.



Visiting friends in Dungog and trespassing to see abandoned historic farmhouses.



Eating Danish hotdogs at the Danish Christmas Fair



Drinking French beer at the Belgian Beer cafe



Christmas in the City



Knitting shawls with Danish yarn



Baking Christmas cookies and making the kitchen a mess!!



Birthday dinner at Assiete



Playing with my new Mac Book Pro on our new outdoor setting (we are officially all grown up now! We own an outdoor setting!!)



I'm looking forward to 2012 because I finally feel settled. We moved into our new home in late March 2011, and got married a week later. The house still isn't how I want it to be. But as the BFG says, "we don't have to do everything straight away".

I realised that I really suck when it comes to resolutions. So rather than have resolutions, I've got some goals I'd like to accomplish in 2012.

First up is swimming lessons. I sort of do know how to swim but know that I can improve. We also bought a 20 pass to the local swimming pool and we're going to try to go every day for the rest of our holidays.

Secondly, excercise more. In the last few years I've been pretty good with the running but I only really run enough to get through a running event or to keep my weight at bay. I think I really should try to improve, either through speed or distance. I also need to be more consistent with the running too. The BFG bought me a new pair of fancy schmancy runners so have no excuse now.

Thirdly, be happy. Throughout 2011, I felt like some days were such a battle. Not that I can't get out of bed type of battle, but more like, "crap, who do I need to chase up now" type of battle. It's tiring and makes me cranky. This year, I'm just going to tackle these people and problems like it's just another task to get done, rather than get all antsy and angry about it.

And of course, I say this every year blog more. Now that I have a new computer, yet again, no more excuses. I have a lot to say and sometimes I don't think the BFG really wants to hear all of it.