Saturday, January 29, 2011

Frosty Sunday

Since the other two fish seem to be doing well and aren't showing any symptoms of being sick, we decided to get a new companion for them.
Frosty the Goldfish

This is Frosty Sunday, as in ice-cream sunday. He is settling in well, despite being slightly smaller than the others and at first being very cautious of Stripe.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Too much?

ANZAC biscuits

Yesterday, to celebrate the Australia Day, we baked some ANZAC biscuits. It looks like there is enough to last until my sister arrives here on Saturday night, but just in case there isn't I ordered some extra groceries for her one week stay:
- chocolate spread
- two types of ice-cream (I was tempted to get three, but wasn't sure if they will all fit into our freezer)
- Jaffa Cakes
- ingredients for a cheesecake
- maple syrup for crepes, pancakes or waffles (or maybe all of the above)
- ingredients for chai mix

Oh, and one of the fridge shelves is full of jelly. Katya spotted a multi-coloured jelly in a cafe, so of course we had to make some using four different flavours/colours (Last time I made jelly was about three years ago, so I underestimated with how much we'll end up).

And I'm tempted to make some type of sweet buns. And if I can find tapioca before my sister's arrival, I certainly will be making tapioca pudding (Lovely recipe, though I usually replace the sugar and one cup of milk with sweetened condensed milk. I had a craving for tapioca pudding for weeks now, but none of the local supermarkets seem to stock it this winter).

My sister has a sweet tooth, but do you think I'm going a bit over the top? (Did I mention she is only here for one week?)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taking the lid off

Crochet flower broochesIf you study is going to be fruitful, let it be because you use the information as a set of tools to take the lid off your own creativity.
James Walters "Crochet Workshop"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I thought I’ll do a sewing post, since I occasionally brave my trepidation of trying something new and actually use my sewing machine.

One Saturday afternoon, way back in November, I managed to sew two little items. I’m still marveling at that achievement, since it usually takes me at least 30 minutes to get the tension on my machine right and mostly the correct tension is achieved by weird magical combination of the frustration and turning the dials at random to the settings, which I’m sure I tried before without any success.

Pink Pillowcase

This pillowcase for my daughter was made from the fabric sent to me by barmyowlscoo following very detailed directions of the Sewing 101: zippered throw pillow tutorial. My daughter loves it to the point where the first day she took the pillow everywhere with her.

New wallet

I also made myself a new wallet to replace the one stolen back in May. I followed the Noodlehead's Gathered Clutch Tutorial, but reduced the size.

Bean bag chair

In December I finally got around to making a long promised bean bag for my daughter from the fabric she choose (trust me, I wouldn't choose fake fur, specially in pink, bright orange or red colours). Afterwards all my clothes and the craft room were covered in bright fluff, but the excitement on my daughter’s face on opening her Christmas present made it all worth it. The instructions, I found online, were for both child & adult sized bean bag chairs and I was tempted to make an adult size one, but am glad that I didn’t as the bedrooms in our house are so small that even a child-sized one will be taking a big chunk of the floor space (at the moment it is getting in a way being put to a good use downstairs in the living room)

Lion pillowcase

I also made a matching lion pillowcase – the initial plan was to knit both the front & the back, but I didn’t have enough fluffy yarn for the back and therefore the knitted back panel is now used as lining for the birds’ nest. My husband thought that a square lion is hilarious and went into a fit of laughing on seeing the finished item for the first time. My daughter thought it odd and not very likable - I guess one can't always be successful.

Fish pillowcase

Making pillowcases is super easy even for a total sewing beginner like myself. So one evening in the midst of being sick, instead of sleeping, I made another one to give to a friend, who was staying with us at Christmas. This is the worst wobbliest sewing I’ve done in a very long time, but I thought that (a) it is better to give a wobbly present than no presents at all and (b) he loves fish and is sentimental enough about my daughter to appreciate her drawing of our three goldfish (She told me that the fourth orange blob, in the top left corner, is a penguin).

First doll

And finally this year I made two knot dolls – one for our baby & one for the friend’s. She is due in four weeks and I was (and am and will be) shamelessly using her to explain/demonstrate to Katya what will be happening to my body and later to our lives.

BTW I didn’t get around to making the Christmas stockings, so we did the same thing as last year – used airplane socks instead. Luckily I have many of these – various traveling friends give them to me thinking I’ll find a good use for them. Anyone knows if they are suitable for making sock monkeys?

Sunday, January 16, 2011


BanksiaWhen you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
Kahlil Gibran "The Prophet"

Last year I made two new wonderful friends. They are interesting, fun, kind, creative, beautiful and inspirational women. Their friendship made me feel more positive about life in general and improved my confidence in myself that was shaken by some unpleasant interactions.

One of them, who is currently holidaying in Australia, sent me email this week to let me know that she got her dream job in Sydney. I'm so happy for her - not only she will be going home to her own country where she can raise her daughter surrounded by family, friends and warm, easy-going people; but she also going to do something that she loves.

However, it will be very hard to say yet another good bye.
Sailing Away(Photos are from last year's trip to Melbourne)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two trimesters down, one to go

On Friday night, Husband: "Oh my, you are so big and there are still four months to go. Imagine how huge you'll be!"
I: "Only three more months" (and I really don't want to think about how much bigger my tummy will grow)
27 weeks

P.S. I should add that his comment and the look of total incredulity made me laugh, though I probably would've had a different reaction if it was coming from someone else.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Circles and LinesIt is necessary to be somewhat underemployed if you want to do something significant.
James Watson

Thursday, January 6, 2011

(Non New Year's) Resolutions

Did you make any new year’s resolutions? I’ve opted not to make any new ones, since I have plenty made throughout 2010 that still need to be implemented.

Firstly, books. We have lots of books, which isn’t a problem in itself since I love books. Few months back we were chatting about potentially moving into the countryside and I asked my husband if he would prefer to live in a small town or a village. His reply was “If we live in a village, the closest library could be miles away, therefore a small town would be better for us”. Since most people usually think about proximity of supermarkets, hospitals, school and such I queried him on his choice. His reply was sweet, amusing and very accurate: “I thought about what makes you happy and the only thing I could come up with was frequent visits to the library”. Hence, the books aren’t the problem in themselves, but the combination of all the unread books and my current reading speed means that I have plenty of reading material in my own house to keep me occupied for years. Once I came to accept this realization, I decided that I have to read at least three books that I already own before I can buy another one or borrow one from the library.

In the same vein, I probably should have some resolutions about my craft stash, craft interests or my Ravelry queue. However, recently I was relatively good at using whatever I have on hand, seem to manage to keep Ravelry queue at around 300 items and feel like learning a new skills or a new craft allows me to gain a better understanding of other ones (the more I learn the more I notice how everything is connected to everything else); therefore I’ll just keep on learning and making and loving it. I may aim to get through Crochet Workshop by James Walters and Knitter’s Handbook by Montse Stanley, to improve both my crochet and knitting skills.

I keep on dreaming about learning more about photography as I still use my DSLR as point-and-shoot camera instead of exploring all the possibilities it has to offer, but I have no plan or even remotest idea of how best to start myself on this learning journey. Anyone has any advice?

One area of life I want to concentrate on in the next few months is meal planning. We eat reasonably well, but lately the meal preparation was ad-hoc and last minute, which makes me feel stressed and also occasionally results in buying food items that go off before we get a chance to use them. My plan is to designate a meal type to each day of the week (roast on Sunday, soup on Monday, etc), write down 2-3 meals of each type and once a week figure out the meal plan for the coming week. Hopefully that way we won’t waste food and I’ll avoid getting stressed about what will be on our table for dinner that day.

Few years back I came across a blog-post by a creative coach, who instead of making new year’s resolutions choose one word to describe what she wants the year to be, and this year this post by Kate of Foxs Lane reminded me of it. Looking back we had the year of travel (2008), the year of visitors (2009), the year of existing (2010). It feels like all we did last year was get through one day at the time. Although there were some life-changing decisions made during it, which may explain why everything else pails into insignificance. After spending about 9 months in the adoption process: getting in touch with our local adoption social service, having interview with them, attending training; and finally in May arriving to the point when we could request the Home Study, we faced the reality of how long it is likely to take to get through all the bureaucratic hoop jumping first in UK and then in Russia before we are likely to welcome a child into our family (at least another 2 years) and after that we would have to stay in UK for another 3 to be able to send update reports back to Russia. And being as homesick as I am for Australia and all the other things happening in the extended family, I couldn’t commit myself to 5, 6, 7 or maybe even more years of staying here. There were also other reasons, which all added up to making the decision not to go ahead with the international adoption the right one. And yet it is profoundly difficult to accept the right decision, when it feels so wrong, selfish and shortsighted. Another hard decision was made few months afterwards when we committed ourselves to staying in UK for further two years.

The arrival of 2011 feels sudden, but also highly welcome. I don’t want to choose any emotional, high-reaching or profound words for it, thus I want it to be a year of walking. I love walking, I used to walk for hours just because I could. There are so many wonderful walks around London and UK and some of them, like Thames Path, I wanted to do for years.

Walking Shoes
Recently I bought good walking shoes that are described as “classic walking boot for extensive walking and moderate trekking”, so if I don’t do any interesting walks this year I’ll feel a bit like one of those people, who buys a huge 4-wheel-drive just to drive their kids 500 meters to school and never takes it off-road. Maybe I can convince my sister to do a walk or two with me, when she is here in early February, though slow walking with a pregnant woman could be not her exact idea of tourist fun.

As you can see I don’t really need any additional fresh resolutions, but I’ll love to hear which ones you’ve made?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


There is no interest in realising the possible, but it is exceedingly interesting to perform the impossible
Sergei Diaghilev

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you.
I hope this year will bring you health, happiness, fun adventures, lots of laughter, love and realisation of your dreams.
New Year 1982New Year 1982

(The socks on my feet were knitted by my mum. Maybe I'll go cast on the socks I was planning to knit for months).