Wednesday 31 July 2013

Thank You Elizabeth Zimmerman

Mrs Zimmerman is a legend in the knitting world. She lived from 1910 to 1999 and her books and also a TV series have helped so many knitters to understand the maths behind the process, how those numbers can be made to work for you and also how to produce seamless garments to avoid all the sewing up(that I loathe).

Elizabeth Zimmerman

I had already made a couple of the Baby Surprise Jacket several years ago when Caleb was a's unlike anything else I'd ever made as it's knit in one piece with some brilliant shapings...this is it almost finished...

Then with quick top of the arm seams and some buttons...

I saw recently that the Book Depository had Mrs Zimmerman's book, "The Knitters Almanac" for $4 with free postage so I ordered that with haste. Her style of writing is most amusing with knitters encouraged to "turn up their noses at acrylic yarns" and her description of her pattern writing as "pithy"

I've long known about the wonderful I-cord or Idiot Cord as she describes it because of it's sheer simplicity and having followed Kate's blog Needled I've seen it used as a very neat edging on some of her jumpers...have a look at this top with the dolls on the yoke, can you see the edges are very neat with that narrow band of i-cord on them?
Well it's a very simple idea, for this wash-cloth I knit to last 3 sts, slip them off the needle purlwise on every row...

So I kept reading and giggling until the penny dropped again as she describes her circular shawl, based on Pi and simply casting on a few stitches(9),Knit 1 row then with yarn forward before each stitch she doubles the number of sts in the next row. Knit 3 rows and double the sts again, knit 6 rows, double the sts ad infinitum! Genius and perfect for travelling or mindless knitting while watching sport on TV! This is my first start using 8ply yarn and 5mm needles...

It was really so very exciting but a bit too thick so I went out and bought this beautiful variegated 4ply and using a 4mm needle started another to knit on the planes in a few's un-put-downable and at this rate will be finished before we go lol Watching the colourways develop is fascinating and I worked at least another 20 rows after this pic was taken!

Have also finished a Pebbles Vest for Jacob's baby brother, Reuben...this pattern is free at that link, I've made 5 in the last few weeks, it's only in one size to fit a 3 months old baby but by changing needle and wool size you could make a smaller or larger vest...

So that's all my exciting knitting news, I'm really loving the new challenges of the Knitter's Almanac but wondering how I never realised these things before. Watch this space because Sarah over at Unbought Delicacies is working on a Mrs Zimmerman lace shawl!

Have a wonderful Wednesday

Monday 29 July 2013

Helping Australian Primary Producers

I've mentioned before the importance of supporting local producers before we lose them and have to import all our food from overseas and grown under what conditions I shudder to think.

The SPC Ardmona Group of  fruit canners have been producing fruit and tomatoes here in Australia for well over 100yrs but now with the major supermarkets importing so much produce the pressure on the local farmers and suppliers is huge and they're begging us to help.

Rhonda has started a petition on her blog today, please sign it if this concerns you and also please read the labels when you're buying tinned products...the saying is that "we pay now or we pay later"!
Tessa posted this link at the forums today.

In 2011 Queensland alone lost 45 small dairy farms, now our fruit and vegie growers are under 'attack' with cheap frozen produce coming in from China etc. Fish and seafood mass produced on Asian fish farms is just about all that is available in some supermarkets.
I'm still buying our milk, butter and juice from Aussie Farmers Direct and fruit and vegies from the Spud Shed as the fresh produce is locally grown.

Pay now or pay later.
Thank you, climbs off soapbox/fruit crate!

Saturday 27 July 2013

A Black-shouldered Kite

I'm still shaking after the excitement of this beautiful visitor and the fact that I was able to get some nice photos using the big camera. It's rather heavy for me so I stood leaning against the wall of the house and keeping my head pressed against the brickwork!

Gaynor(she of the olives/spring rolls and LARP) recognised it from my photos.
You can read more about them here, I really don't think I've seen one before and I am a keen bird-lover.
The little wild birds were ominously quiet and I think the kite was checking out the aviary next which is home to some small finches etc.


Tuesday 23 July 2013

Some Photos Of Perth

Firstly this wonderful book that Mandy lent me recently...set on Guernsey in the Channel Islands in the mid 1940s it is a series of warm and funny letters mainly from a young journalist, Julia, and her friends on Guernsey..."The Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"...just made me want to be there or at least to keep reading about these characters for many more years...hope you can find a copy to read...

The Burswood Dome was only built in 1987 but is being demolished to make way for 1,000 car parking bays! The roof was a huge inflated affair and the Hopman Cup Tennis was played there for many years as well as world famous music acts...

The gardens around Burswood are always so lovely, a touch of spring here as these kangaroo paws begin to flower...

exotic palms...

and Birds of Paradise plants, see how the flower looks like a tropical bird?

That's all for now, off to my knitting needles,
Hope all is well with you and yours,
Love from Sue

More Baby Pics

I've just updated Priscilla's blog with lots of new photos.

Congratulations too to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son, we understand completely their joy.

Thank you so much for all the loving comments you left yesterday, it means so much.

Monday 22 July 2013

Liam is Here

I'm so sorry to have been so slow at posting this both here and at Priscilla's blog. Liam was born on July 19th after a marathon 54 hours labour. He weighed in at 5lbs 1 oz even though he is 5 weeks premature because of Priscilla's cancer. It's been a very stressful time but he is thriving, nursing ferociously and winning hearts where-ever his photo is seen.
Priscilla will now be forever known as Warrior Queen to me, I have so much admiration for her strength and maturity. Enough dribble you say? Where is the lad you say?, look here..

Have you ever seen a sweeter baby? Yes of course, your own or your friend's but you must admit Liam is pretty darn special?
Will update Priss's blog tomorrow with some newer pics.
Thanks for all the support

Wednesday 17 July 2013

That Scandinavian Loaf

First of all just a wee whisper that Priscilla is in hospital now and her baby is being gently induced. There are still quite some hours to go but I'll let you know as soon as he arrives. Thanks to you all for your love and strength.

Hot on the heels of reading this post from Rose yesterday I nipped down to the shops to buy some psyllium husks and some sunflower seeds as I already had all the other ingredients...

It's dense and chewy and very nutritious and just what I have been looking for.

This is what I used yesterday and as the original recipe states there are endless possibilities for changes...

1 1/2 cups of rolled oats(not instant)
1 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of pecan nuts
1/2 cup of LSA
4 T psyllium husks, powdered
3 T coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 cups of water
1 T honey and 1 t of salt

I baked it for 50-55 minutes at 180C

I've had a slice toasted and Joe has had the crust as is, it's not too sweet but I think I'll use just a little more salt next time.

Crazy hat for cold Hippy Momma
It's very cold here today with 3C expected as the over night minimum, I have a new pile of library books and an urgent "order" for warm hats so I'm busy in the sunny living room while keeping an eye on Facebook for Priss's messages...what a modern world when can get messages from the Maternity Ward 12,000 miles away!

Talk to you soon,
Love from Nana Sue

Monday 15 July 2013


... are funny things when you have retired, truly each day is a holiday but we do have to fit in with society and those around us who are still working.
Yesterday Joe and I attended a friendly BBQ at Thomas Oval held for members of a local Facebook group who had not met each other before. In the interests of building and promoting community spirit one Admin member, Wayne, bought sausages, bread rolls, sauces and soft drinks etc and the other Admin member, Liz, and her partner, Bevan, brought their huge BBQ and a million sliced onions. Around 25-30 members turned up despite the wintry weather and we enjoyed chatting while Bevan cooked our lunch. The mayor, Carol Adams, popped in for 30 minutes on her way to her birthday celebration lunch and I met Mary, the mum of Elizabeth's kindy boyfriend all those years ago.
I didn't take any photos out of respect for the privacy of the members but I do encourage you to get out into your community and meet your neighbours. At our next gtg we plan to take along un-needed books, plants, surplus fruit perhaps from our gardens and put them out on a table for others to help themselves to.

Two nights ago I took the big camera outside to catch this sunset...and vowed to stop using my little camera after I saw how much better these next 2 photos are!

and a bunny in the woods...

On Saturday I popped into the local shops and just where the koala had been last week was a little "Petting Farm"; an assortment of lambs, chooks and ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, a mini pig, and an alpaca, all very tame and there for the children to stroke and get close to...the mini pig had a curly black and tan coat but my batteries went flat...
a bird's eye view of a shiny lop-eared rabbit...

ducklings, chickens and 3 baby bunnies ...

can you see the bunny on it's tippy toes to reach the carrots in the green basket?

and beautiful Albert the Alpaca...


The hospital was too busy to admit Priscilla last night so we're hoping tonight will be she is yesterday at 34 weeks...she looks so very healthy despite the cancer doesn't she?

Now we're on stand-by again and sending all our love to Priss and her family, I hope you will do the same.

Hope to have some exciting news from her tomorrow,
Bye bye for now,
Love from Sue

Thursday 11 July 2013

Of Babies and Birds, Balls and Bad Cars!

Lots of bits and bobs to share today.
Yesterday Priscilla met with her specialist team and they have decided to induce her labour on Sunday night if they have room at the inn, er, hospital. Liam is almost 5lbs in weight and doing very well so he may be allowed home sooner than we had hoped...we're all very excited.
At 4pm yesterday our grandson Jacob was blessed with a baby brother, Reuben. All the family is very well and the baby is gorgeous. He weighed 6lbs he is with his big brother xxx

We have a pair of parrots visit our back garden several times a day, perhaps it's the cat-free haven they enjoy. I think they're all called "Ricky" because that's what they call out to each sitting on the fence and one on the grass...

I was delighted last night to find that the Ashes cricket matches are on free-to-air television, I didn't think I'd be seeing any of the games. Although I could only stay awake for the first session it was great viewing, England were all out for a measly 215 runs but they bowled well and had Australia 4-75 at the close of play. Each test match goes for 5 days and there will be 5 matches....sports watcher's paradise lol

And the last "B" in today's post is our (b) naughty car. The wiper motor conked out on Tuesday afternoon and Gordon couldn't get the wiper off so I went to buy something called a "3 jaw manual puller" which may have done the trick. Needless to say that after trying 4 different auto shops there are none available in Rockingham and I ended up at Palatchie's Earthmoving Repairs in Compton Rd. The boss man there came out to the car and with the help of 2 screwdrivers and his mate with a hammer they popped the wiper off in a few seconds! So after 2 hours I was back at the auto shop to buy a wiper motor. None in stock, 3-5 days wait and it turned out they ordered the wrong thing anyway. Gordon is going to get a second-hand one from a wreck in Kwinana this the meantime if it looks like rain we're housebound but I'm more than ready for a day at home after this busy week! I was out for 4 hours altogether but I did get to see 4 grandchildren so that made up for it!
The wiper motor in situ, very awkward to get to...

  and the silly little burnt bit, the small vertical piece just to the right of the main motor...

That's all folk's!
Have a triffic Thursday,
Love from Sue

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Crockpot Meatloaf and Pickled Pork

I've tried 2 new recipes in the slow cooker in the last week and will share them with you. The better of the 2 by a country mile was the the start of cooking...

I adapted and doubled an old favourite recipe from my "Diabetes, Eat and Enjoy" cookbook...

500 minced meat, beef/pork or a combination of both
an egg
a cup of wholegrain breadcrumbs and or oat bran
1/2 cup milk
a finely chopped onion
chopped herbs and lots of pepper
I topped it with a sliced tomato and sprinkled it with paprika.

Shape into a loaf and place in slowcooker on a bed of chopped vegies, the ubiquitous celery stars again here
I cooked it on auto for about 5 hours and then added the baby potatoes...then I made the BBQ sauce..

In a small saucepan mix together the following, simmer for 5 minutes and then thicken with 1T cornflour mixed with 1T water. You can pour this over the meatloaf or serve it separately.

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup of tomato ketchup/sauce
1/4 cup Worcester sauce
2T vinegar
1t instant coffee
juice of a lemon

By doubling the recipe I was able to freeze half  as well as getting several meals out of the first half, it's lovely cold in a sandwich and very thrifty.

The slow cooker group had been raving about "pickled pork", a corned pork piece that they said was delicious. I bought a one kilo piece on Monday and cooked it yesterday for 8 hours with 1/4 cup of vinegar, 2t brown sugar and some chopped celery, onion and fennel. It was quite nice but the best part was the sauce I made by simply blending the vegies and meat juices, they were thick, creamy and so tasty.
We've also had Lentils and Sausages this week, a French inspired dish made with tasty Puy lentils and some browned sausages finished off in the lentils. It's very good and a dish we enjoyed first in Paris.

Coming home from appointments yesterday afternoon the windscreen wipers decided to go on strike. We went to an Auto retail shop to see if they could help but the young man there couldn't even find the fusebox! So we carefully made our way to the big local shopping centre hoping the rain would ease off. It got heavier. I called Gordie and he tried to guide me through finding the fusebox and then he had to drive over to see if he could could get them going again. No joy so eventually he drove my car home and I followed in his, my eye-sight would not win any medals these days! He plans to come over today to see about replacing the little wiper motor...what a blessing he is with his car know-how! He's saved us thousands of dollars over the years with repairs and the purchase of our current chariot.
Two hours after arriving home Mandy's daughter, T, came out of work at the same shopping centre, lost her brakes in the still-heavy rain and crashed into another car. She has a slight whiplash and a bruised knee but both cars were frightful for Mandy and Paul especially after losing Paul's parents last year.

Sending much love to my dear friend Amy and her family after the sudden passing of her father yesterday, such a sad time.

Hope all is well in your home and place,
Love from Sue

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Not Just A Girl

Just have to share the link to this set of photos and the story behind them, encourage our girls to want to be more than pretty...let's have strong and independent daughters...

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did

Tuesday Morning...

and it's not half as cold as yesterday when we had a light frost...Twitch went outside as he does, turned around and came straight back in! It seemed to stay cold all day too, by 11am I was still too sore to go shopping so I went back to bed for a couple of hours!

Not exactly Montreal in Winter but cold for us as we don't have central heating etc...

Joe and I did the shopping together later in the afternoon, he was very pleased to get $30 worth of pecan and almondine tarts for $2.97 and when we came out of the supermarket the gent from the Wildlife Group had set up his desk and he had a beautiful koala with him. He's often there collecting money for his group, sometimes he has a couple of snakes or lizards so the koala was a real treat to see as they are not native to Western Australia. His name is Junior and he is 7yrs old...

The man also had what he called a Stimson Python but Wiki tells us that is a common mistake, just as we "always" call koalas "Koala Bears"...they are not bears at all but tree dwelling marsupials...

We went to the casino on Sunday to enjoy a Christmas In July dinner while the weather is cold, this is a common thing here in Upside-Down Land, the meal was wonderful and Dad was in top form...wearing my cowl scarf as a Russian hat on the bus...

some of the very fresh mandarins, limes, lemons and grapefruit he and Mum had picked the previous day...

and the new shopping centre at Kwinana is coming on nicely(if you like shopping centres, I don't!) was called the Hub for many years but now is known as Kwinana Marketplace so if you want any imported, mass produced rubbish here is the place to come...

 On that grumpy note I shall leave you lol
Enjoy the rest of your week,
Love Sue

Monday 8 July 2013

We Went To The Soccer Match!

On Saturday I picked up Jessica, then Caleb and David and then Dad and we went to a free soccer match at Kelly Park. The Perth Glory who play in the National Soccer League came down to play a friendly against Kwinana United...the Glory Coach is now Alistair Edwards who began his own playing career at Kwinana before going on to play for Glory himself.
The club had organised free bouncy castles and face painting for the children and I was looking forward to catching up with old friends.

I took a lot of photos so here they are...David and Caleb in the bouncy castle...

The Kwinana team start their warm-up...

Dad keeps an eye on our boys...

David ran across the pitch twice while Glory were warming up, the chap in the black tracksuit kept an eye on him...he surprised me by how fast he was over such a long distance. When the game started and he was sitting on the side a high and heavy ball hit him right on his forehead...he didn't cry and just carried on eating his sausage sizzle! I could have cried.

This photo was taken by Nick Moodie, can you see Jess and I on the left? I was trying to explain the offside rule :D

Just having a little rest after running around with some of the many other children there...Caleb was told that the pig melons growing wild around there would explode if he touched them!

Then we met Maurice and Nick, it was Maurice's 81st birthday... they lived next door to us for almost 40 years!

Along came Carol and her Mum while I was talking to Danny...

Jessica took a photo of a thorn between two roses...

The match ended 4-0 to Perth Glory which was not really a surprise, the Kwinana lads put up a great fight and the 'keeper saved a penalty.
We walked back to the car via the playground...the flying fox was popular, Jessie had to lift David up so he could reach the bar...

Great Granddad gets ready to catch...

Jessie's turn and yes she was freezing lol Alistair Edwards signed her cap and several of the Glory players signed her soccer ball, a nice souvenir...

Swinging time...

Then we went back to Mum and Dad's for a cuppa and a raid on the biscuit box! Mum and Dad had picked 3 huge bags of citrus fruits for us so we packed them into the car and headed for our homes. It really was a great day, thanks to every-one at both clubs who made it happen and it's always special to spend time with my family. Caleb asked Elizabeth later that evening, "Where is Nana taking us tomorrow?" I had to laugh.

This morning the temp in Perth was 2C and we had frost on our lawn, Twitch went outside as he likes to do but came straight back in as it was far too cold for a softy rabbit like him!

Shopping day, today, I'd feel more like it if I hadn't fallen backwards into the shower recess at 1 am when I got up to use the bathroom, I have a sore head, neck and tail-bone now but it's easing as the day goes on!
Never a dull moment around here!

Have a great week,
Love Sue