Friday, December 5, 2008

pretty stuff. tasty stuff. and Doritos.

It's lovely here today. The sun is out. There's a gentle breeze. It's around 70 degrees (that's Fahrenheit of course). It's also December. I can't get over the concept of it being summer here when it is winter in NH.

I thought it would be a good day to post a few pictures. I took the pictures of the paper daisies (pink and white) near Kalbarri when we went to check out all of the amazing wildflowers in September.

The orange poppies were given to me at church in Merredin in mid-October. They were part of a beautiful bouquet someone had picked from their garden. I loooove poppies. Ohh, and natural light...I love late afternoon natural light.

The last picture isn't flowers, but it is something to feast your eyes on. Literally. Haystacks are one of my favorite Aussie foods (errr...ok apparently this is not a strictly "Aussie" food, but I did eat it for the first time in Australia, does that count? No? ok. :)). Imagine a table full of bowls... bowls of chopped tomatoes, onions, scallions, corn, shredded carrots, lettuce, canned beets, shredded cheese, sour cream, either baked beans or chili (chili in this case) and Doritos. Yep, Doritos. Add or subtract ingredients to taste. Crush Doritos first if you wish. Pile on the toppings. Devour. Yum. :)

I hope at least one of the pics tickles your fancy. Enjoy!

wonderful = pretty stuff. tasty stuff. and Doritos.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

spiders. and modems. and broadband. oh. my.

Shhhhh, don't tell the modem. Broadband is working again. At least for the time being. We still have to get a new modem because the one we have right now is working as hard as it possibly can to sync, which means no wiggle room with the signal. Apparently modems like wiggle room.

Scary Spiders 2008 - Click at your own risk!

I know it is a little past halloween, but I decided to put up the surprise anyway. There is some definite eww factor here, which is why I have turned it into a seperate blog. If you don't like spiders, I highly suggest that you don't click on the link. If you don't mind spiders, click away.

While D and I were in the wheat belt a few weeks ago, I encountered some wildlife I had previously only seen in a zoo. Shingleback Lizards, Stink Bugs, and Thorny Devils (a reallllly prickly lizard) were all on the list. There were birds that I had only seen in cages before, and they were Gorgeous, and in some cases quite cheeky. In the past two months I have also seen some amazing plant life, some that doesn't grow anywhere else in the world. With that said, some of the most interesting of the flora and fauna of the area is the spider. They can be huge and some can be quite dangerous, even aggressive, depending which species it is. The following is link is to a picture journal of some of the spiders I saw while in the wheat belt. Enjoy!

wonderful = spiders. and modems. and broadband.

Monday, October 27, 2008

growling. foot stamping. technical difficulties.

Imagine the following scenario. D arrives home after a month away and says, "Right, time to get back into it." He goes into the office and turns on the computer, walks into the kitchen makes a Vegemite and tomahto sandwich (with margareen of course), walks back in and says to himself "click Internet Explorer, check e-mail...hmmm this is odd...why isn't it connecting? It connected before I left. Click connect. Click connect twice. Turn computer off and then on again and click connect again. Growl at keyboard. Pray for keyboard's safety in the imminent future. Growl at keyboard and pray at same time. Jump up and down in front of computer deliberately so it knows how frustrated you are. Stalk out of room, growl again, and then stalk back in again. Jenn and D call service provider. Between the two of them they talk to three different people and one machine for several hours over a period of two days, regarding how to fix this. Growl again. Meet with three different phone guys four times over the next week and a half, only to have them tell us that the service provider sold D broadband on the fringe of the area that broadband is available. They admit it's their fault; and then say in order to continue service you have to go buy a more expensive modem. Hehe, it's April Fool's day right? No? WHAT! Shake head in disbelief. Growl again and stamp foot for good measure.

Yep, that's right folks. We are in the middle of a love, hate relationship with the internet at the moment. For the sake of simplicity we will refer to this relationship as "Technical Difficulties". Luckily, the service provider does provide back-up dial-up in cases such as ours. Unfortunately this means that it takes approximately 3 point 2 days to access a website, let alone upload and save information, hence the reason there are no pictures in this post. Thanks for bearing with us, I should be back online with broadband in the next few days...hopefully before the 31st. Halloween is coming and I have a surprise post for that, keep your fingers crossed!

PS - I have to say for the record that it is our frustration with the situation which caused me to type such a longwinded account of our experience. The customer service reps for the service provider were extremely kind, as were the phone guys. The growling and foot stamping were in no way directed at them.

PPS - Hi Tiff! How's the new apartment??? Hope you are loving it!

wonderful = growling. foot stamping. technical difficulties.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

hot water. sweaters. hard work. big rewards.

One chapter in the epic adventure is over.

After spending time in the coastal town of Kalbarri, we drove through a winding trail of wildflowers and spent a night in a convent. It had been turned into a bed and breakfast and while not fancy, it was adequate. We eventually made it to Perth, where we stayed with some of D's friends for the night. We spent the next morning in King's park and then travelled east to the Shire of Tammin on the Great Eastern Highway. Darren has spent the last several weeks working in the Shire of Kellerberrin next door, working on several bathrooms at an old Catholic boarding school that has been turned into another bed and breakfast type accomodation. The couple he has worked for have been absolutely lovely, they are wonderful people and quite Aussie! As for the chapter being over, we will be driving to Bunbury tomorrow to head back to the daily grind as they say. Rumor has it that we may even get to stop in a yarn store on the way through Perth! My fingers are firmly crossed. We also plan on stopping at IKEA, which should prove to be interesting. I just had my first IKEA trip in Massachusetts a few weeks before leaving for Aus and will therefore be able to do a comparison of the two. What an amazing store IKEA is! So many things to look at and so many decorating ideas come to mind...

Of course, what would a post be without pictures?

Ok, Americans...take a good look at this picture. Please note the location of the driver in the pickup. Now note his position on the road and the way the lines are painted. BTW (by the way) if you're in Aus it's not a pickup, its a ute.

Speaking of vehicles, how 'bout the cost of gas? $1.86 a liter not bad, huh? Well since a liter is roughly one quarter of a gallon, you are looking at around $7.56 a gallon. Oh and if you're fueling up I wouldn't suggest calling it'll get natural gas or propane instead of gasoline. It's petrol here.

Here is the beginning of a new scarf/shawl. Clapotis. If you're an internet Knitter I'm sure you are quite familiar with this pattern. I've chosen a fingering weight yarn instead of a worsted and am just doing straight rows until I run out of yarn, but other than that everything else is to pattern. The yarn is from NH Knitting Mama. The colourway is Purple Lilac (I love that because it is the NH state flower) and it is merino 2 ply, sock weight.

Last, because I like to save the best for last... THE CORDIAL SWEATER!!!!! Isn't the colourway gorgeous? It fits like a dream...big and roomy and comfy...and my new go to sweater! I LOVE IT! Thanks so much for dying the yarn for me Amanda! BTW - I'm making a fire here. Quite domestic of me huh? The farm we are staying at has wood powered hot water. Working hard for something really makes it that much more enjoyable. (and not just with hot water and sweaters!)

wonderful = hot water. sweaters. hard work. big rewards.

P.S. - Hi Aunt Jane! I'm so glad you came to read the blog!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

surprises. parades. and audiologists. what did you say?

Hi from Australia! It's been awhile, and so much has happened since my last post... I left Boston on September 15, traveled for more than 30 hours (5.5 hrs Bos to LA, 15 hrs LA to Syd, and another 5 or so Syd to Perth, plus layovers) and arrived in Perth on 17 September. Kindof cool how the dates flip when you fly around the world isn't it? It's almost as confusing as driving on the other side of the road, but you get used to it. With that said, today is 06/10/08, yep that's right, October 6, 2008...or should I say 6 October, 2008. To all of you at home, no, that isn't June that we're talking about...Aussies write the date out, day, month, year not month, day, year. D says its shortest to longest and though I balked at it at first, it really is quite sensible.

You've probably noticed that I didn't start out the knitting blog post with a picture of knitting. There will be plenty of knitting coming in the next couple of months, but for a while I'm also going to focus on my trip to Aus as little way of keeping in touch.
On the homefront, my sister just sent me a couple of great pics...

My Pepe was the Grand Marshall for the Firemen's Parade yesterday in my hometown. That's him looking all dapper in his uniform with my sister Beth on the left and my Aunt Ann Marie on the right. Hurray Pepe! (ps...Pepe is a shortened version of the French name for's pronountced Peh-Pay)

The second pic is of my little sister. She just recently became an for her birthday (October 3) I got her a sweatshirt that says "Instant Audiologist, just add coffee". It had her name written all over it (no, you don't have to zoom in, it doesn't literally have her name on it...but it fits her to a tee... er sweatshirt hehe). Sorry about the wordplay.

Coming of the first few weeks of the trip...a very important FO (for all you non-knitters, that means the sweater is done!)...and spiders...hey after all Halloween is coming soon, right?

wonderful = surprises. parades. and audiologists. what did you say?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

cordial cherries. 0 calories. squishy yarn. oh, and changing your mind.

I have two sleeves and more than half a back to knit. It is August 27th. I need to finish this by September 14th. Can it be done? One can only hope!

BTW - I am Thoroughly enjoying this knit! The yarn is fantastic! The color is fantastic! The seed stitch, well, the seed stitch is a bit boring...but when combined with a good magazine...the seed stitch can, and will, be tolerated. I can't wait to post the final pic!

PS - yes. you're right. i said stockinette was going to be the name of the game for this sweater. i changed my mind a little bit :).

wonderful = cordial cherries. 0 calories. squishy yarn. oh, and changing your mind. - jj

Monday, June 30, 2008

I walked to the end of the driveway a few minutes ago to get the mail. Best thing I've done all week. MY YARN IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

Ok, now that the yelling is out of the way, let me explain...

I have a favorite sweater. I bought it about 15 years ago, oatmeal in color, basic construction, fairly lightweight as sweaters go. Essentially, it is the perfect garment.
Fastward to 2008, where I have been noticing that said sweater weighs a little less than it used is starting to wear. No holes yet (Thank God!) but, I'm afraid, they may be inevitable in the coming months. Now, I was concerned about this, so I thought - I knit - why not make a new one? Use the same construction, maybe a dk weight yarn, and just knit up a new one. I thought, eh, it will be all right, hours of stockinette in an oatmeal colourway...I'll survive the boringness of it all. So I began passively looking for said yarn. Something lightweight, yet warm and oatmeal, definitely oatmeal. I didn't find anything that screamed perfect sweater to me.
Then, one day, a month or two ago, I was reading a blog post by fellow blogger , Red Sox Fan and indie dyer Amanda Dahl (of NH Knitting Mama fame). She was having a bit of a yarn sale on her blog and I was glancing through the colors going...ooohhh I wish that one hadn't sold, oh I like that one, ooohhh that's pretty...when I happened to see a skein labelled - Cordial -. It had sold already, but I was smitten. It was GORGEOUS! AND - it screamed make me into a sweater! I commented on her blog and the rest is history. She was very willing to make up a sweaters worth in dk weight Blue Face Leicester for me (omg soft!) and voila! I have just opened a package of yarn that promises to be a beautiful garment. It's not oatmeal. It's better! (Best of all it won't be boring to knit all that stockinette, given the gorgeousness of the colourway!)

Of course, you need pictures!

Here's the original:

Here's the original, plus the package:

Sneak Peek!:


This woman is very talented! Run, don't walk to her etsy shop...NH Knitting Mama

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

love. hats. family. and yarn. lots of yarn.

Currently Unpacking.

On the upside, I have the best significant other in the entire world. Long story short, he is in Australia, I am in the US. It's difficult to be so far away. Very difficult.

On the upside, He was able to come here last September for three weeks and I was able to go there for the month of February. There are also plans in the works for more international/intercontinental travelling in the coming months, and possibly more (fingers are firmly crossed...except when knitting...then it's needles crossed ;) ).

The trip to Aus was hands down the most amazing thing I have ever experienced in my life. When I arrived home I gave my dad the "Aussie" cowboy hat that D had purchased for him (he got one for himself as well and oh my...) as a souvenir. He Loved it. Apparently, so did both of my grandfathers. I mentioned it to D and he went out and got two more and just recently shipped them to me, so that all four of them could have matching hats. They were tickled pink....


I mean,

ruggedly enthused???

While we were in the middle of the move this past week, we made a point to get a pic of the three of them (my dad, and both grandfathers) to send to D. I thought I would share them here as well... aren't they dashing?

Now, all I have to do is convince D to let me post a pic of him with His hat on...

Oh, and in knitting related is my newest will probably be a pillow soon... "Ummm, Jenn, there isn't a pillow in that picture", you say, with one eyebrow raised inquisitively...? Stay tuned. :)

wonderful = love. hats. family. and yarn. lots of yarn.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Movers and Shakers. Ok hopefully just movers...I have a lot of breakables.

Moving Day.

Yep, that's right. I'm moving! At the moment I am sitting in the middle of my bedroom with my laptop on the floor and just a bed and a nightstand for furniture. Everything else is gone. In the next few minutes I'm headed to the new house to beginning the crazy unpacking process. I am sincerely hoping that it all fits! Tonight is the last night in the old house and tomorrow the bed and nightstand join the rest of the stuff in the new house. For the past (and the next) several days my life will be in utter chaos as I try to rearrange everything to fit. Unfortunately, internet will not be hooked up until Tuesday (June 3), so I won't have access to anything on the interwebs for a few days. I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll see you next week!

wonderful = settling in.

Friday, May 16, 2008

so...what do you think???

Here they of the purse I made. So far so good.

This first one is the purse on the couch (Obviously :) )

This one is a picture of the straps...

This one is up close. ...


This one is a lame attempt at using my hand as relative size :)

Let me know what you think....should I sell them on etsy???

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I just made a purse out of almost completely up-cycled materials. Trash to treasure. I love that.

There are a few things I enjoy doing so much that they easily land in the top ten in my never-ending list of hobbies. One is bargain shopping. To me it is a sport. I'm not talking just any bargain shopping here. No. Anything less than 75% off doesn't even get a glance. I have it down to a science, and while I don't do it all the time, I really enjoy doing it when given the opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I will certainly buy something if it is 25% off, and I've been known to pay full price on occasion, but for me the thrill of finding something perfectly usable for 95% off just blows my mind. Also, I have worked at retail stores where the product which has been marked down that far has to be destroyed and throw away if it doesn't sell. It feels good to rescue something from the landfill.

Now, I have honed down the process and given a few rules to myself over the years:

1. The item in question has to be something I will use or can give to a friend. If I won't use it, it's a waste anyway.

2. The quantity of the item(s) purchased can't create a SELE (pronounced seal). Seals are great animals, but they don't belong in the house. And, if you haven't already guessed, this seal (SELE) is an acronym for Stash Exceeds Life Expectancy. I have noticed this phenomena creeping away from my yarn stash and into other stashes around my house, and it is incredibly important that bargain shopping does not create more!

3. The price of the items purchased must be as low as possible, especially if I'm on a bargain shopping only expedition. We're talking pennies here...lower than a dollar is good, lower than fifty cents even better.

There are more, but I have a feeling this is going to be a lengthy post so I will end here for the sake of brevity. Using the above rules, I recently purchased several satin shirts in a women's XXL at JC Penney's.

Now, another hobby that rates in the top ten is obviously fiber arts. I love anything that involves yarn. Knitting, Crochet and most recently weaving, tablet-weaving specifically are among my loves. With tablet-weaving come some pretty spectacular lengths of very strong material that are perfect for purse straps. I made two in the past few days (See where I'm going with this).

Ok, satin shirts, handwoven purse straps....what else huh?

Well, you can probably gather from my love of bargains and crafting that I love to shop at Goodwill...really, it is a gold mine!

Yep, you got it...several 100% wool sweaters. Yes, they got a good ride in the washing machine. With soap. and agitation. and wool. comes....gorgeous felted fabric that's perfect for a purse! So, I dusted off the sewing machine (it has been too long!) and started in. Ta-dah!

The only problem is, every time I get into a craft project like this, especially one that blends a lot of my interests together, I want to keep doing it and I don't want to go to work the next day! What do you think? Etsy them? Or no? Let me know. :)

Monday, April 28, 2008

warp. weft. weave.

Well, apparently it has been a month since I sat down to write. A whole month. This is getting a bit ridiculous. I have found that part of the reason I'm not writing more often is I have been telling myself that a photo in every post is necessary prior to posting. From now on, I will write the post and then add a pic later if the mood strikes me...that means more content and less procrastinating (I hope :) ).

My fiber project du jour is....tablet weaving. I have always wanted to make and sell purses, but haven't been able to create a design I really like. In other words, would carry myself. It is really important to me to looooove what I'm creating, and I feel that's a great way to show it. I had experimented a bit with tablet weaving in high school, but had long since abandoned it for other pursuits. I had recently been thinking about how I could create the straps for my bags and voila! What better strap could there be than one woven out of 36 strands or more of yarn! Talk about strength! My father put together a freestanding loom last night for me to create the tension...tying the warp threads around my waist was killing my back. At the moment I have quite a pile of warp threads ready to be threaded onto cards, and soon I will be weaving! Can't wait to show you the results!

Hope everyone is doing well - more to come...
wonderful = warp. weft. weave. - jj

Friday, March 21, 2008

waterfalls. cameras. socks

I've decided my bf doesn't like knitting. It is a little depressing. Ok, it's a lot depressing.

I was hoping it would be a happily ever after, he will love to watch me knit, hear about my knitting, want to learn how to knit, knit his own items, lovingly wear the gorgeous handmade socks I made him, and totally understand why our house is insulated with yarn. Um, no. He doesn't really watch me knit, in fact doesn't seem to notice that I am managing to wrestle a porcupine and produce fabric from it. He tunes out the knitting talk, only occasionally noticing that I have somehow managed to change the subject from world politics to merino, or cricket to alpaca. He refuses to learn how to knit, saying (and I quote) "I already know how to knit, I just haven't done it before". I am afraid that he will not be knitting his own items anytime soon and absolutely refuses to wear handmade socks on the grounds that he wouldn't want to hurt them and would prob want to frame them instead (that was a stab to the heart I have to say!). To really clinch the deal, he says, "Well it is 36-40 degrees C outside most of them time where we will live so we don't need insulation!" Alas, my poor heart! My bf doesn't appreciate wool!

Now, there is a happy ending to all of this, and I still feel that I could easily marry and be very happy with this man despite his apparent dislike of all things fiber. The main reason for this is that he is a Photographer. With a capital P. He is intensely interested in all things camera, just as I am interested in all things fiber. We have - ta-dah - found common ground here. During our recent trip, while hiking, we discovered quite quickly in fact, that while he was out running off the track to take amazing photos of all things nature (he really is quite good) I could take my low resolution snapshots, and then quite contentedly, hang out working a few rounds on a sock. Brilliant! I had quite a few comments from fellow hikers that ran the lines of "is the rainforest so boring that you have to bring your knitting?" and my quick response was to say, no I can look at the rainforest, knit at the same time, and yes I have been in this one spot for a while"...calmly pointing at my bf (I will call him D from now on) who happened to be about 5 metres off the track taking pictures like they were going out of style. "Ohhhhhh a photographer" they would say, once more admiring the socks, then admiring his camera and then heading on their way.

In this manner I managed to finish just one pair of socks during the trip (they were only worked a few rounds at a time and I have to admit that the rainforest was quite beautiful and yes I did spend quite a bit of time enjoying it on its own). The socks have been given to D's grandmother who declared them a perfect fit and who can really enjoy them, given that she is a crocheter herself.

That said, here is one of the many "socks pics" I took during the trip (a la Stephanie). There are many cool pics to come over the next few weeks...stay tuned!

I believe this is Dangar Falls in NSW (but don't quote me yet), I will double check and get back to you... (Isn't it gorgeous...the whole country is like this!!!!! Just breathtaking...

Monday, February 25, 2008

There is a really good reason that I haven't blogged for nearly 2 months. I'm in Australia. Yes, Australia. As in 11,000+ miles from home. I haven't mentioned the trip before now because I wasn't sure if it was going to work out, but it has and I've been here for over 3 weeks. My boyfriend lives near Perth on the west coast and we have been travelling all over the place. I left at the end of January and I will be back the beginning of March. Now, that said, I think it is about time that I post a few pictures.This is me outside my house in NH, USA pre-trip. Note the winter jacket, and tons of snow...granted it is a snow bank, but still...lots of snow.
This is me a couple weeks ago in the Daintree rainforest north of Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia...note the tanktop, and lack of a winter jacket. The cool looking plants behind me are mangroves...if you haven't heard of them I highly suggest checking Wikipedia for them...they are really fascinating. They rely on the tide for survival and there is an entire salt water ecosystem in their roots. We have done a ton of travelling since and I will be putting up a whole bunch of stuff when I get back to the US next week...while I get over jetlag. See you then!

PS - Yes, I have been knitting. Not much, but I have made a pair of socks that I was supposed to finish for my bf's grandmother about, oh, last October (see previous post). I was trying to find the perfect yarn (I'm sure you understand) and I restarted them about six times (slight exageration, but close to it). I finally settled on a gorgeous colorway from Lorna's Laces...I have pics and will post them soon :) She has tried them on and announced them to be a perfect fit (phew!).