Sunday, December 31, 2006
Still not here yet...

Nope.. he's still not here yet. We've been trying to convince him that it's way more fun out here than it is in there, but to no avail. He is a stubborn little thing - like his Dad. (Okay.. like his Mum too..)

I have had a whole night of much discomfort and we thought that maybe he may be close but the contractions (or at least what felt like contractions) just came and went. GRRRRR.... He's still wriggling around in my belly, and I really don't know how he can as I doubt there's much, if any, space in there now. I am really hoping he's just holding out to be the first baby born in the new year or something silly like that.

As I could not sleep last night, I have been reading blogs. I saw Knit From Your Stash 2007, and thought it quite suitable for my current situation of too much yarn and too little time. The rules are here (notes in green italics are mine and my own additional notes in red)

1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months. Oh good.. long enough to effectively reduce my stash and short enough that I don't fall off the wagon too quickly

2. We will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:

2.a. Sock yarn does not count. What? You think we are made of stone? Uhm... can I have a different sort of yarn not count I wonder.. I have enough sock yarn to open my own shop (oops.. I do have my own shop). I guess I have not bought much yarn in the past year, so I really don't know what will catch my fancy next year. I think my rule for myself is that yarns from new and untried (by me) fibres don't count.

2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that we really and truly do not have the yarn for, we may buy yarn to knit that gift. Does that include the baby? Or is he considered too young to "ask" for a gift?

2.c. If we are knitting something and run out of yarn, we may purchase enough to complete the project. What's the bet that if I run out of yarn, the yarn is discontinued anyway?!

2.d. We each get one "Get Out of Jail Free" card -- we are each allowed to fall off the wagon one time. Hooray! Not that I am planning to fall off the wagon or anything, but you know, accidents happen :)

3. We are allowed to receive gifts of yarn. Of course! I can't stop generous folks from giving me yarn, right?

4. Spinning fiber of any sort is exempt. Not that I need any more or anything, considering the big container full of spinning fibres under my desk and the family of alpacas living in my cupboard...

5. Swapping for yarn/fibre is also exempt

Okay, so that's my new year's resolution where knitting is concerned. That and to complete Laurel Hill, my pink cotton top from an old Sandra magazine and the Devon vest. I think that's enough for now, don't you? I don't want to be too ambitious and find that I never actually get any of it done. The problem I face with my UFOs now is that I don't feel the slightest motivation to work on them - not because it is summer and humid, but because I can't wear any of them even if I do complete them now as I am HUGE and I don't know when I will be able to shrink into them again.

Maybe that should be my other new year's resolution - be able to get back into my old clothes by April (which is when I return to work) and shrink a little more than that by the end of 07. What's the chance? I have never been able to keep any of the "lose weight" or "excercise more" type resolutions, but now that I will have a baby to run after, maybe I will be able to keep it this year.

Recap of the year that was 06

This has been a big year for me. I spent about 1 1/2 months of it in Malaysia with Chris. It's the most time I have spent back home in a year since I came to live in Sydney in 2003. Now that Bubba is arriving, I doubt we'll be able to do it again any time soon. holidays cost money and Bubbas cost money and money does not grow on trees (contrary to what some may think).

In the past year I have also gotten married and moved in with Chris. It's been a learning experience - for both of us. Although we have been 'together' for nearly six years before we got married, we never really lived together aside from the month or so I spent at his old flat when I first returned to Sydney in 2003. I moved out with a friend shortly after that, so we had not really expoerienced living together and having to 'put up' with one another's quirks till we got married. It's not been too bad at all. There are days when I miss living alone, but most of the time, I am glad I don't live alone anymore.

As you know, I also 'fell' pregnant shortly after the wedding. (I wonder why the word 'fall' is usually used together with pregnant. It's not as if one can accidentally 'fall' pregnant.. it takes a deliberate act by one if not both parties). There are things that nobody ever told me about being pregnant, such as
- your would like to wrap you in bubble wrap and sit you quietly in a corner for nine months if she could. Chris' mother has been reminding me not to do too much and to sit and rest and "let Christian do it". There are days when I feel like I should just take advantage of that as it won't last.
- you get tired - like really, REALLY tired. I just want my old body back. I want to be able to walk to the shops and not be huffing and puffing. Sure, I knew that being pregnant can be hard work and that I'll be tired, but I didn't think I'd be THIS tired.
- your belly ceases to be your own - everyone wants to pat it and feel the baby move. Sometimes I don't mind it, but it really annoys me when Bubba won't co-operate and even after multiple drinks of cold water and walking around, he won't move for many hands on my belly, which brings me to the next point...
- Bubba has a mind of his own - so he won't move for everyone else, but as soon as the hands come off and everyone leaves you alone, he kicks up a storm!
- you get attached to this strange being in your belly really quickly - It is strange, but true. Even when Bubba measure a mere few hundred grams, I was already feeling quite attached to him. I didn't think I'd feel that way till I could feel him kick, but even in the early stages of pregnancy, when I didn't feel all that pregnant and didn't wear maternity clothes, I felt quite attached to him.
- there are pregnancy and childcare 'experts' all around you - I love hearing others tell me what worked for them. It's great advice in my books when someone says to me something like, "When I was pregnant, blah blah blah really helped with the blah blah. You may want to try it to see if it works for you". Even, "When my sister/cousin/friend/colleague/stranger on the street had a baby they found that blah blah blah was a lifesaver. have a think about getting one of those" is good advice. That is quite different from some of the other stuff that I get from people who have never been pregnant or had children, such as "You should do blah blah blah. It works." How the heck do they know what will work FOR ME??

I am sure there are a million other things I didn't expect that happened during this pregnancy. It has certainly been quite an experience, and you know what? The rudest shock to my system is still yet to come. Whilst I look at the whole birth process with much trepidation and excitement, I don't think I have a real idea of how much it will or won't hurt. I don't think I will know till I go through it.

I have completed yet another year of my post-grad course this year and all I have left to complete is a project. It should nto take more than one semester to write, but it will be a challenge with a new baby and returning to work. All the same, I am determined to get it done and have that degree under my belt next year. I have had enough of school. I won't be crazy enough to take on another course any time soon. What was I thinking when I signed on for this one?!

I started a store on Etsy, and though I don't do much with it, it's been keeping me entertained with the opportunity to play with colours without adding to my existing stash too much. I am not sure how much time I will have to devote to it next year, but I hope to be able to add to the stocks, try out some new colour combinations and expand the store, especially the patterns section.

It's been a big year.. and here's to another big year ahead..


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Friday, December 29, 2006
It's nearly the new year and he's still not here yet..

We're all set for his arrival now, and he's still not here yet. I did wake up a couple of nights ago with what felt like contractions, but they just faded away after about 30 minutes. How disappointing. As you can see here, I am still very much pregnant and the little one seems to be very happy to remain on the inside.

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The cot is ready, and all his little clothes and blankets are washed. We did have some trouble getting the mobile to work, and had to return it. That was easy enough as the shop just swapped it for a new one, which we have tested and works fine. I can't wait to have a little baby to put into the cot now that it's all made up.

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Last night we put together the bath, cleaned out the bathroom (don't ask..) and put away the blankets. That's when I realised that we have a lot of blankets for one little baby. I have a blue crocheted circular one, the Lizard Ridge (which I am still reluctant to call a "baby blanket but it IS amongst the little one's things), a couple of store bought ones that were given to us, the blue and aqua one which is currently in the wash and the blue, cream and lilac one which is drying on the line right now.

Yes, folks, I did finally finish that blanket that's been hanging around for oh so long. Before I show you what it looks like, I'd like to show you this:

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That's how many ends I had to sew in and cut off. All that for one itty bitty blankie. Trust me, I am never again making one of these blankets!

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It looked a little unfinished without an edging, so I bit the bullet and put a crochet edging around it. It looks much better now, but it's drying on the line and I can't show you a picture yet. I'll have to remember to take a picture of it before putting it away. Can you tell I am proud of it? Of course I am! It was a test of my patience, and I passed (I think).

On Wednesday night, we met up with some friends for a night of board games, food, wine (though not for me) and much laughter. One of our friends had found this and bought it for us:

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Isn't it cute.. and so apt!

Christmas with the in-laws this year was fun, though it did feel sad to not have the whole family together. Chris' brother and sister-in-law now live in Jersey and this is the second Christmas we are spending without them. They LOVE (and I do mean LOVE in capital letters) presents and get into the whole gift-giving and receiving thing in a BIG way. Without them, the bottom of the Christmas tree looks so bare.

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Okay, it's not really bare, but if you have seen it in years past you'd know what I mean. Usually the floor around the tree is covered with presents and they are all stacked up high with presents - mainly for Chris' brother and sister-in-law, and mainly from each other!

The special present that we had for the family this year was this:

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These, my friends, are no ordinary jars of jam. Do you remember when Chris went to Paris to surprise his family? This is the jam they had with their breakfast whilst in Paris. He thinks it's the BEST jam ever. Not being much of a jam-eater myself, and not having tasted it, I think I'll just take his word for it. We found it at one of the local shops while doing some pre-Christmas grocery shopping and thought it would make a nice small present for his family.

I cooked a whole ham this year. I am so proud of myself. It's the first time that I've cooked a ham, and it turned out quite well, even if I do say so myself. My contribution to the Christmas eve dinner was a glazed ham and a turkey roll. I don't have pictures of the turkey roll, but it's just a turkey roll, you know, nothing special. The ham, on the other hand...

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Even the cat was eyeing it...

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We had to freeze the leftover ham as there was so much of it. It was definitely worth the effort. The glaze was a mix of brown sugar, blood orange marmalade and Dijon mustard. It added a nice sweetness to the outside which matched very well with the delicate smokiness of the ham.Oh yum!

Oh, and on Christmas day, we had lunch with Chris' extended family and dinner with the Cooper-Garrett clan (who are like a second family to me). Our contribution to Christmas lunch was roast pork and I am so glad that we decided to make that. It was a hit. There was hardly any left over, and that's something considering the amount of food we had. the relatives were very generous and threw us a little baby shower. We received all sorts of things including a cot quilt set, a music and lights thing (which will keep baby entertained, I hope) and a whole lot of hand-me-downs, for which I am eternally grateful. One fo Chris' cousins has a 4-year old and she had kept all her baby things. We got bibs, and towels and all sorts of practical things. We also got a stroller - a good one too. We gto a bed-rail, a play mat, and lots of other goodies. Yes, folks,w e are now definitely ready for baby to arrive...

Bubba, it'stime to come out and play!

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Saturday, December 23, 2006
2 more sleeps to Christmas 07 06

This year has really flown by for me. At about this time last year, I was unmarried, and didn't even think that I would be preparing for the arrival of a baby in a year. I was preparing for our trip to Malaysia when Chris would ask my parents for my hand in marriage. But here I am now.. married and living in a flat full of baby things, eagerly awaiting the arrival of a little one who promises many sleepless nights and much laughter and heartache in the years to come.

Strangely enough, although Bubba is now considered a "full-term" baby (as of today), I am not nesting (yet??). The flat is still a mess and my affairs are still not in order. I have plastic boxes of yarn yet unsorted since the time we moved in and yet more plastic boxes filled with pre-pregnancy clothes. Bubba's clothes for the first month or two are washed, but only if he is really a 'he'. If he turns out to be a 'she', well then.. she will have to wear 'boy' clothes for a few months (if she is lucky) or a couple of years (if she isn't). We have lots of boy clothes, and I am not sure I'd be bothered to go out and buy new girl clothes if I do have a little girl. I think we have all of two girl outfits - one bought 'just in case' and the other was given to us.

It feels surreal. I am not sure that I am ready to be a mum, but ready or not, Bubba's not going to waiting for me to give him permission to join us. He'll be out when he's good and ready. I have told him that he must NOT come out before Christmas as I am not ready for him, but seeing as Christmas is only 2 more sleeps away, I am fairly certain he will stay put for at least a few more days. After that, if he wants to come out, he's most welcome to. I will have his cot made up by then, I hope.

It is hard to believe that the baby is now *35 weeks old, and I have spent the last 35 weeks feeding him and carrying him around. He has been everywhere that I have and eaten everything that I have. He has been a part of me, though it wasn't really noticeable for the first 25 weeks or so. It's only in the past two months that I have grown significantly bigger (think "a ship in full sail") and significantly more uncomfortable (think "roll off the bed rather than get off the bed"). I really should take another belly photo to show you what I mean. It's as if my belly is making up for lost time and has now swelled to gigantic proportions.

My cousin asked me yesterday, "Are you excited or scared?". The two are not mutually exclusive. It's scary to think that soon I will be responsible for the life of another human being, especially one as helpless as Bubba is going to be when he is born. It is also very exciting. I look forward to caring for him and nurturing him as best I can, knowing that we created him. It's probably only natural to be both scared and excited. I'd like to think so anyway - i.e. I'd like to think that I am not strange.

We have most of what we need for Bubba's arrival, and some of what we don't need. Everyone's been very generous to us and it's been fantastic. My in-laws have gone a little nuts buying things and we have lots of baby clothes, cot sheets and towels now. We have so many things that when the folks at work wanted to give me a "send off/maternity leave" present, I didn't know what to ask for. They ended up giving us a voucher for a local baby shop, which I am sure will prove useful as Bubba grows and we need more things for him. We also have a 'surprise' baby shower that's been planned for us on Christmas day - it's a surprise in that we were not expecting it, but we were told it's happening. I have decided to stop buying things as we don't know what's coming. The only things I need now are the little things like bottle and teat brushes, baby hair brush, QV bath oil and other little things which I can get from the chemist if we don't get them at the baby shower.

On the knitting front, I haven't done much. That blue/aqua blanket is now finished - YAY! I didn't die of boredom, but it was a close call. I decided crocheting is quicker than knitting and so it has a dark blue crocheted border. I plan on washing it soon, but I have to gather enough clothes to go into a dark wash together with it as I suspect the blue yarn may run. I'll take pictures when it's all washed and dried. The weather is a bit icky today, so it's unlikely that it will get washed today, but definitely some time over the Christmas holiday.

Do you remember those squares that were plagueing me some time ago?
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I am up to 15 now, though I could have sworn that I have knitted more than 15. It sure feels like I have. Anyway, I need 25 for a baby blanket. this too will have a crocheted edge, I think. I don't want to die of boredom! I am aiming to finish the blanket before Bubba arrives. In fact, I'd be really happy if I can finish the blanket before the new year arrives (that is, of course, assuming that Bubba arrives AFTER the new year).

I participated in a stitch marker swap hosted by Robyn earlier this month. I have sent out both my sets and received one. The other is on its way. The one I received was from Patty (who does not have a blog or if she does, I don't know the URL). They remind me of hard candy, like the sort that is made in rolls and cut into shapes with funky designs and colours on the inside.
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Aside from that, not much else has been happening. I have done a little dyeing, and some new yarn will be up in my Etsy store shortly. I just have to edit the photos and list them. I will dye more merino roving when I have the space to dry it. Right now all my indoor hanging space is taken up by clothes, sheets and other silly things!

* At forty weeks of gestation, the baby is only 38 weeks old as they (meaning the doctors and nurses) always start counting from 2 weeks BEFORE the date of conception. Weird, I know.. So, while the baby is 35 weeks old now, I am 37 weeks pregnant

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006
UFO brought back to life

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Do you remember this blanket? I finally dug it out of the UFO pile and started working on it again. It's slowly growing. Currently it measures about 26in x 35in. I am plannign to add another panel to make it as close to a square as mossible, and then maybe add on a crochet edging. Crochet is quicker than knitting, and after knitting THAT much garter stitch, I think I would have had enough.

A surprise package?

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Look what arrived at my doorstep last Friday? I know, I should have posted about it sooner, but it took me a few days to take the pictures and work out who had sent it. It's from Morgan. I don't know what I have done to deserve this (random?) act of kindness. That Spinning Place is a local online shop selling handspun yarn, handpainted rovings and other lovely things. Go take a peek. Morgan sent me some handpainted roving, two gorgeous skeins of handspun wool/silk in a beautiful girly colourway, a needle wrap and some stitch markers. Thank you Morgan!

Cynthia's package

In my previous post, I mentioned getting a swap package from Cynthia. What I didn't mention was what it contained. She have been to Rhinebeck and bought me a whole lot of fibre.. mm.. luscious. She even sent me a thermos mug from Rhinebeck. That mug is going striaght into my hospital bag so that Chris can use it to have hot drinks while I am in labour. I love the fibre she sent me, especially the cashmere/silk blend. Oh so beautiful. I don't want to spin it. I just want to pet it, like a little animal! Cynthia also sent me some CVM (California Variegated Mutant) roving. I have never felt it before as it is not a breed that is local to us. Now I have, and I do want to spin that up to see what it's like. I also got some silk/wool blend and a skein of Socks That Rock in a gorgeous green. Oh and also a sticker and some stitchmarkers. I am a lucky lucky girl. I only just managed to send off Cynthia's package this week. I hope it gets to Boston before Christmas.

Last Hurrah?

Chris decided that maybe we should take a mini holiday before baby arrives. I can't believe it's only another 4 1/2 weeks till my estimated due date. The baby can really arrive any time from about next week and be considered full-term.

We checked into the Hilton in the city and had a nice relaxing weekend. The room was lovely and the only disappointment was that we didn't get the pillows we asked for. They have a "pillow menu". Yes, folks, that's right, a "pillow menu". We could ask for any pillow on the menu, and it would be delivered to us. Before we left for dinner, I rang and ordered a few pillows for ourselves as the standard pillows they provided were too soft. The pillows didn't arrive before we left and we thought they'd just leave them in the room. By the time we got back from dinner, the pillows were still not there, so I rang again. By that time they had run out of the pillows that we wanted and we just had to settle for our second choices - which weren't bad, just not exactly what we had wanted.

Dinner was at Post and we weren't disappointed. We both had a lovely meal - probably the last such meal we will have in a while since we're not planning to take the baby to dinner at such restaurants. Yes, I know people do, and it really annoys me when that happens and the kid(s) just won't sit still. It really spoils the ambience for everyone else. I refuse to be one of THOSE parents. So, folks, if I am ever guilty of that, remind me - I will NOT be one of those parents!

The portions were not huge, but we had three courses each, and a side of mushrooms and some bread to start with. We certainly didn't leave hungry. My salmon was nicely done, though a little on the rich side. Chris had the kingfish, and loved it. It had a lovely Chinese flavour to it and the fish was cooked to perfection. His oysters with Thai dressing wereperfect. He said that they really say "Thailand"" to him. I think we'll be back again when we can.

Endpaper Mitts

Have you seen these? Cynthia is knitting them and I am so inspired. She's right. They DO look like stained glass windows. I want to start my own, but I can't decide what colours to use. I can't cast on just yet anyway. Ineed to finish that blanket. Yes, really. I need to make sure I finish my projects.. one at a time. I will eventually get around to those other UFOs, I am sure, but right now, I just need to tackle this blanket. I think it will be a great blanket for throwing on the floor when baby has tummy time. It's bright, it's textured, it's cushy, and most of all, it's machine washable!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006
A Drive-by Post

Just had to post.. more details later

1. Hyacinth socks completed

This is the second sock, and colours in this picture is probably the 'truest' of all the pictures so far.

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I have started a baby hat with the remaining yarn. I think i will have mroe than enough for the hat - maybe some booties? Or just a pompom?

2. Look what arrived for me yesterday!

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This is from Cynthia. We agreed to do a Christmas swap and since she went to Rhinebeck, she bought me a whole lot of goodies. Details later...

I am amazed that it arrived so quickly. It left Boston on Saturday (which really is Sunday in Australia) and arrived yesterday which was Wednesday here - 3 days to fly across the globe.. WOW!)

3. More yarns up at my Etsy shop - go take a peek.

There is some semi-solid worsted weight yarn, some sport weight (great for heavier, sturdier socks) and some new colourways in Sock, Socklite and Alpaca.

Monday, December 04, 2006
Seeing Red

It's balanced! It's balanced! I am so proud of it as I thought I had overtwisted it when plying, but it's all turned out well.

That's the red stuff I was spinning up for Hui Leng. It's turned out quite well, despite how I feel about its redness. It's really red, and as I told Hui Leng, "It's a little too "Chinese New Year"-ish for me". If you've ever been with a Chines family durign Chiense new Year, you'll know what I mean. Chinese like red. Most Chiense seem to like that bright orange-y red that I hate. I like cooler reds, and this yarn, well, just a little too "fire-engine red" for me.

Hui Leng, I hope your daughter likes red as much as you say, cos this is REALLY red!

I also started a pair of socks for me. I used one of my own hand-dyed yarns, in the "hyacinth" colourway.

It was quick to knit. By Saturday night I had completed one side and on Sunday morning, I started the other side.

I got bored with the plain st st and decided to try a patterned stitch instead. SO the second sock is slightly different, but I am guessing that my feet won't complain.

There are two rows columns of lace which will run down the front of the sock along the midline. It's a simple pattern, btu enough to keep me from getting too bored.

I knitted while at my in-laws' yesterday and I'm much further along in the sock than the picture shows. I hope to have it done by this weekend so I can use the leftovers for some baby socks or mittens. I love this colourway.. so fresh and floral!

Oh.. and just thought I'd mention it - I have new yarns up in the Etsy store - Hyacinth is one of the new ones. I also have some alpaca, sport weight and worsted weight yarns.

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