Where has the year gone!

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So it’s 2016 and I haven’t posted so far this year! Rest assured I am alive just busy. Almost overwhelmingly busy. 

I’m wandering around with only a playlist and a reading goal. The Bek who had organised a 15 for 15 and 24 in 2014 seems like a different person. 

That’s not to say I haven’t done some cool shit already this year. I’ve finished a test of a shawl I designed. I’ve already finished 3 books (including Villette which was an absolute slog! Not knowing French was nearly a deal breaker but I persevered and got to the end). I saw the live show of Welcome to Nightvale and made an “all hail” glowcloud pendant. 

   
    
 
Laneway Fest was amazing as always. Top tip – always take a yarn needle to a music festival because you never know when Cupid’s wings will need reattaching and you just may come to the rescue and then hang out with some super-rad new friends and have a super-amazing day! 

   
    
 I have some new apps which are helping with the business that is my life currently. Productive lets me tick off habits and schedule reminders for things like ‘stretch’ or ‘take medication’. It also means I don’t forget ive taken my meds and take them again which is always a good thing! 

Optimise me I found through the Career Girl Daily blog. I’ve only been using it does few weeks but I like how it trends and tells me where I spend most of my time. It’s only as good as the information you put in (which takes some time in itself) but being the data driven gal I am it’s so interesting to see how much time I spend on certain activities compared to what I think I spend on things. Housework for example! I’ve also been using the Unfuck Your Habitat app which is from the blog of the same name. My most used feature is the random challenge. Setting a timer and working towards a specific task totally works for me! 

  
  This is probably more of a brain dump then a structured post like 2015-Bek would have written. But writing it has made me realise I do have things I’m working towards even if they’re not structured goals like past years. 

  • I want to publish some more original designs this year 
  • I want to continue with my etsy store
  • I want to read 30 books
  • I want to seek out stories I wouldn’t normally read
  • I want to keep fostering good habits such as drinking water, keeping up with the housework, getting to bed before 11, stretching and exercising 
  • I want to keep up with my friends through whatever medium suits. I definitely want to keep sending letters, but I also want to text and chat and call to keep in touch. 
  • I want to study again. Maybe formal maybe not. But I need to learn something new. 
  • I want to keep studying German. 
  • I want to collect ALL the cats in Neko Atsume. 

So yeah maybe I do have some goals. Maybe I won’t put them in a pretty graphic like previous years. And maybe that’s ok. 

  
Here’s to 2016!! And fancy glasses!

(Oh and yes – my hair is currently pink!)

2015 in numbers 

6 books in ‘currently reading’ list
2 books in handbag (not on ‘currently reading’ list
7 books on bed side table (some are ‘currently reading’)
37 Books read.
 

15 levels on Fallout 4 completed
32 levels on Skyrim The Elder Scrolls completed
3 consoles I can play Dragon Age Inquisition on
5 Dragon Age Inquisition playthroughs created but not finished
1 playthrough of the Trespasser DLC completed
1 extra Dragon Age Inquisition playthrough created because I made bad Thedas-life choices
number redacted shreiks resulting from Uncharted 2 having two Dragon Age voice actors in it.
number redacted tears shed at the end of Mass Effect 3.
1 pair of N7 tights purchased
8 gold PS trophies, 47 silver and 277 bronze (all time – not just this year)
2020 xbox gamerscore
10 video games completed to credits (not including finishing dragon age inquisition on two different platforms because apparently that doesn’t count)
  

9 levels of German on Duolingo learnt 

15 hours watching new Doctor Who
20 hours watching Peaky Blinders (twice)
2 days 21 hours watching 3rd Rock from the Sun (thanks netflix viewing history – i guess…..)
5 days 10 hours and 34 minutes spent watching Supernatural (with cats)
 
30 years on earth achieved  

2 kittens became cats (look at how much Tina’s grown!)
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~17 finished objects knitted or crocheted
2 months of not writing in my daily ‘good things’ journal which kept track of finished items
1 resolution to keep better track of projects next year.
1 Frankie diary to help keep that resolution
  
1 amazing awesome care package received
16 Christmas Cards sent along with various other care packages and letters throughout the year.

  
28 cuffs stamped (plus 1 wallet and 3 necklaces)
19 etsy sales
5 patterns published on Ravelry
1451 unique pattern downloads!!! (seriously that is awesome! Thanks so much guys!!)
actual amount redacted skeins of yarn added to stash
9 skeins of yarn dyed 
  

6014 spotify tracks listened to
104 songs added to my 2015 playlist

9 of my favourite selfies all with slightly different hair!!

  

Thanks for sticking around with me during 2015! See you all in 2016!

2015

Adventures with Doug.

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Agggges ago (this post has been sitting in the draft pile for a while now) I took myself to visit the country. A specific part of the country where two friends currently call home.

It was Midnite Moose’s birthday and so I had to personally deliver a pair of socks that I had made for her.

   

 They’re made with Knit Picks Felici which I admit that I LURVE knitting with. Compared with Moda Vera’s sock yarn which was my previous go-to (non-indie dyed) sock yarn it is an absolute delight. The self striping colour ways are lovely and the merino/nylon blend is so soft and squishy.

The pattern is ampersand and I used a fish lips kiss heel as I didn’t have specific feet measurements.
I only used 50gms of Felici and played a bit of yarn chicken towards the end. I really wasn’t sure that I’d make it but I did.
They were delivered along with a punny card written on the back of a Cider carton box. I was totally unprepared and had to borrow some wrapping paper from my lovely hostess Amanda.

  
My lovely hostess also has a fantastic book collection which I put to good use. Yes I went for a 4 day trip to the country and I read a lot of books. I finished Morris Gleitzman’s series Once, Then, After, Now which was thoroughly interesting and a story I’d never heard before. I preferred the stories set in WW2 to the one in present day but they were all a good read and I may have cried a tear or 4. Fortunately this fluff ball was around to cuddle. Here is actually a do in amongst all that fluff. 

 This entire trip wouldn’t have been possible without the loan of my Dear Ol’ Dad’s car Doug.
I feel obliged to point out that I nicknamed my Dad’s car. He is not the type to name a car.
Doug has cruise control, an ipod cable, and felt a lot more stable and safe than my ’97 Mazda. Doug is a baby car compared to my old car.
I was slightly nervous while parking it as the last time I injured a car was the day after I got a new one and I underestimated just how long it was. There was some over cautious parking and there was absolutely NO chance of me driving Doug over the speed limit for fear of a speeding ticket turning up at my Parents house.
It was a constant fear running through my head of getting pulled over and having to explain I was a 30 year old borrowing their parents car. I don’t why that would be a bad thing? But nevertheless it was something I wanted to avoid. Fortunately I did. Doug was returned in one piece with more fuel than when I borrowed him and just slightly dirtier.
We had a grand old time together and now I *almost* want a new car, just so I can open the car boot with a button.

   
   
Overall it was just nice to escape the city for a while and get away from work demands. I didn’t check my work emails for an entire week! Mostly because there was no phone reception but a little bit of that is willpower and not having my work phone charged :S

Thanks for having me.

Stamping my troubles away

I was bored. All interesting crafty stories seem to start that way. 

I was bored and so I decided to experiment with my metal stamps. A while ago the lovely Lisa (from teaandcraft and co-founder of the green hair crafty ladies of Perth) borrowed my stamping set to make some leather key chain charms. 

It worked pretty well and so after impulse buying a cheap but mostly boring white wallet ($2 – cotton on) I wanted to experiment. 

  
I probably should have researched good ways to ink the letters before I jumped in and used permanent marker. But it’s a rustic sort of look (well as rustic as you get with fake vinyl and a Mass Effect inspired quote about dating a fictional race of space aliens). 

I’m definitely now on the look out for other stamping opportunities that are already in my closet. 

All my life I’ve had one dream to achieve my many goals (part 2)

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For part 1 click here

Just in time for the harsh Australian summer I received a hand knit woolen beanie in the mail. 

I was so excited that it finally arrived via my property manager because it was sent to the wrong address! (Note to self: buy Megan one of those old timey address books with my correct postal address in it for Christmas).
My property manager is on the bus home from work so it was extra incentive to get outside and walking to public transport and after picking it up I had to open it then and there.
So it got opened right there on the street.

   
  

Twitter was treated to a live opening and then plenty of bus stop selfies of me in a beanie when it was about 30degrees (86 in Fahrenheit – it’s only spring).

  
 

I am super impressed because not only did a Green Bay Packers fan knit a Vikings coloured item (GO SPORTS!!!) but she was going to start ANOTHER one after the first one hadn’t shown up.

THANK YOU MEGAN!!!! YOU ROCK!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

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It rolls around so quickly. All that build up in the shops and the media and its here before you know it. 

Of course I’m talking about the Australian cricket season and the WACA test in particular. 

It’s now 8 test matches in a row (live together) and the upgrade to members is once again worth it. Today was 31 which felt cool against yesterday’s 39 (that’s about 93 for you Fahrenheit Folks!) Being members means we have shade, an air conditioned bar and a choice of full strength beers.  

I also bought a new cushion which has a handy handle to soften up the plastic chairs. However Tina-cat has decided is her new bed. 

 So while there has been a little knitting (when my fingers haven’t been sweating on the yarn) it’s been gift knitting so no spoilers. 

It has been an enjoyable albeit sweaty few days though. 

   
    

By the end of the first day I was finding more and more unique ways of being comfortable on plastic chairs. 

   
 A massive highlight was David Warner hitting a double century and catching up on with an old Twitter friend. 

  
    

The second day we were in early and watched the team warm up and went past the classic WACA scoreboard. I felt for the scorers who spend all day inside it keeping us all updated. 
    
    
Today (the third day) we were both feeling a little tired so we watched from the seats for a bit but then retreated to the deck chairs to watch it on the big screen. We ended with a cozy setup with the radio on, sitting on deck chairs and right next to the bar. 

With the actual game looking rather evenly poised let’s see what Day 4 & 5 have in store! #cmonaussies!!

(For those wondering – my lipstick is Rimmel 16hr Provocalips in colourway 550 Play With Fire. I 100% recommend! It has mostly been flawless so far although beauty blogger I am not.)

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So like a man – a water bottle cosy

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Whoever designed the stand up meeting must have been a man. 

If you don’t understand my slightly obscure Miss Cornelia reference, read the last 2 books of the Anne of Green Gables series and then get back to me- just like a man.  

Standing meetings must have been made up by a man because they have no problems holding everything. 

I’ll back track slightly. At my work we have a weekly meeting which involves standing, with a pen and paper, water bottle (+phones etc) for an hour. 

Sure it looks reasonable on paper but in reality almost every woman who works on my floor has had to make changes for this meeting. Mostly it’s wearing different shoes for the day, or leaving their phones to ring, out loud, on their desks if they get a call during the meeting.  (Which drives me bonkers! Open plan office means phones on silent please and thank you.)

Already in these meetings I have had two incidents where I dropped and dented my water bottle. I’ve also had sores muscles for 2 days from holding an A4 notebook which I couldn’t write in anyway because my hands were busy holding things. My Physio was also quite perplexed one day when I saw her after work one day and I had pen marks all down my back from a failed attempt at using my bra strap to hold a pen and notebook. 

So I solved the problem the cosiest way I know how. I crocheted the problem away. 

(Alternatively I could dedicate my life to buying nice work clothes that have pockets, but we all know they are rare and almost mythical creatures!)

   
    
   

I didn’t really have a pattern. It was mostly improvised out of necessity. Fortunately it’s a cute crocheted pocket replacement. 

I also procured a pocket notebook which I can easily hold and write with. All of a sudden I can focus on the content of the meeting and not trying to juggle everything and not cause another scene by spilling water everywhere. 

Yes this is a pretty elaborate way to say that I even solve work place problems with crafty solutions!!!!

(Although if anyone does have good recommendations for pretty work appropriate dresses that have pockets I am ALL EARS!!!!
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A Pi shawlette 

On the car ride down to camping I cast on an Elizabeth Zimmerman Pi shawl

I followed the instructions to the letter and enjoyed all the stockinette. Perfect camping knitting. 

When I got home though I quickly realised I didn’t want an all stockinette shawl and I wanted something more like the shawls designed for the EZ 100th Anniversary
So I reached an increase milestone and slowly but surely I felt that it was time to cast off so I would have enough of the same yarn to make a lacy shawl. 
As luck would have it, when I cast off I ended up with a shrug / shawlette or my personal favourite description – a cape! The kind of cape a knitting superhero would wear. (If only there was a knitting superhero who goes around fixing knitter’s gauge, those errors you tell yourself you don’t care enough to fix but actually once it’s too late to fix you wish you had, and made sure that you never lost at yarn chicken… *sighs wistfully*)

It’s just big enough to fit across my shoulders but the circle shape is still pretty and functional   
I seriously love this shawlette and its positively gorgeous with the knitting cardigan pins I bought from Kate Gabrielle.  

    
 

Camping time!!! Good for the mind, not so good for the body

It was a long weekend last weekend so we took off to the south all set for a camping weekend. 

It was glorious. Sure there were idiots with their generator on til 2am, dogs not on leashes running amuck, loud music and general disruptive behaviour but we were away from the city in the great outdoors and it wasn’t going to spoil those 3 night we planned at Logue Brook Dam (about 2 hours drive from home).
We didn’t stay in the Tourist Park area (too touristy!), but instead drove to the other side of the lake and camped in the National Park. It was more our style of camping.

   
    

It’s not quite ‘glamping’ but we do make camping less stressful by having good equipment . We have a pop-up tent and a gazebo for shade, stretcher beds and self inflating mattresses for sleeping, and a solid set of camping chairs and table. The new addition this holiday was a hammock which was lovely and relaxing until the wind started to howl. 

   
   

 

I spent my time wisely and finished 3 books and started a 4th. 

I finished The Book Thief and tried not to cry. It was gorgeously written, very poignant but ultimately tears were shed. 

Wedding Night was on my iPad so it got read while I was working on my knitting. I’d read it before and it was a good bit of fluff to follow a WW2 novel. 

I also finished Rilla of Ingleside for the upteenth time. I found new covers for the series on Book Depository which I had to buy. 

And I started Shadow Scale (sequel to Seraphina which I raced through and loved!) but I only got about a third of the way through

(This brings my total read books for this year up to 24 meaning I’m likely to meet my challenge of 30 new books. The 24 doesn’t include any books I re-read.)

  
 The Nightvale-esque eye bag is my new knitting project bag.  It was purchased in a Cotton On sale where everything I bought (new work shoes, a floppy hat, some more shoes, cat socks, more shoes) was $5.

I googled ‘camping knitting’ before I left. I didn’t really have anything on the needles that I could knit without thinking. I needed the type of knitting that takes your mind off carsickness, can still be done around a campfire, in between scrabble moves, and which isn’t going to result in frogging the next morning. 

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Pi shawl has all the stockinette a camper could ask for.  The chapter of the Knitters Almanac with the Pi Shawl recipe has an entire section on camping knitting which put me right in the mood. I have since bought a hard copy of the book, but I found the pattern in an online preview which I print screened and took along with me.

  
  

I also finished off a pair of slippers that I needed the foot model to try on. They went to a very happy grandma. 

 
Unfortunately no fish were caught (although not for lack of trying.)
But the early morning trips to the dam weren’t entirely wasted with my brother-in-law doing a spectacular slip into the water. I didn’t see it but apparently it rivalled my less than graceful entry into the hammock the day before. 

   
   
   

Ultimately it was a fantastic 4 days, after which I felt relaxed, inspired, and like I’d had a week’s peace and quiet. It has been followed up by a week of Physio appointments and a bucket load of pain killers for my back, but sometimes getting away from it all it totally worth it. 

  

Ahh the serenity….

  
 
  
2015