Sunday, December 16, 2007

6 more sleeps!!!

Well, needless to say I am beyond excited to go home for Christmas. I cannot wait to give my parents and sister a hug. I miss them so much it hurts. It is brutal that I can only go back for a week - but at the same time, I get to go back for a week!! I am just ridiculously excited to see my family and friends.

So we had a work Christmas party just over a week ago and the theme was Woodstock. We all dressed up and it was a blast. But we started drinking at noon and thank god Colin rescued me at 5:30pm - it could have got a bit messy (ok fine, messier...). AgResearch nerds sure know how to party!!

I have been having knit nights at my house with some girls from work for about 2 months now. Every Thursday they come over and we sit and knit and chat (gossip). I have always wanted a knitting group and never been able to get one up and running. This one is so much fun! The first one I just taught them how to knit, and now they're all working on stuff, some crochet, I do whatever I feel like doing. I am racing through Christmas presents. I have a pile of them on my desk. I must say it's my most creative year. I have made up all my own patterns. Hopefully the recipients will be happy.

Colin and Jenny are amazing. They have let us take over their living room on Thursday nights. We had our first one in my little room, but it was quite crowded, and a bit of a pain trucking all the chairs from inside out to my room. So now we just stay in the house. The kids all know that Thursday is knit night and Jenny is a very good hostess. We always invite her to come knit with us, but she hasn't yet. I think she just can't be bothered. This Thursday will be our last one of 2007, and our last one with Leanne as she is moving up to Whangerei. I hope that we pick it back up in the new year because it is a lot of fun.

I better get to work. Lots of things to do before I leave for Canada!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ella's tuque (beanie) and mitts

Ross sent me some pictures of Ella in the tuque and mitts I knit for her. So of course I had to share. It's so hard for me to judge baby/toddler tuques. I always end up knitting them super tiny. I made Wallis try the tuque on before I finished it up, thinking if it fits a 7 year old it surely will fit a 2 and a half year old. It was a bit snug on Wallis but seems to fit Ella fine.

Doesn't she look adorable. As usual. I feel bad for any babies that I will have. Ella has set the standard for cuteness so insanely high. She is just so sweet and adorable. I hope I can have a baby as cute as her. They called me last night and she thanked me for knitting them for her and told me she loves them. Awwwwwwwwwww!!!

It's funny, because we are heading right into summer down here, but the little peanut wanted to wear her new knitted goods at breakfast and while colouring. God I love her. She isn't even wearing a jacket to put the mitt string through, but they hang nicely around her neck. I just hope they still fit her next winter!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Jillian's sweater

Um, oh my friggin god. This is why I knit for my friends babies. This is my friend Amanda's baby Jillian. I sent her the little skull vest and this sweater. SHE IS SO CUTE!!!! This is definitely my favorite baby sweater to knit. I think it looks great.

Crystal just had her little girl, called her Gracie - I friggin love that name. I had Grace on my girl name list, but might have to take it off since I don't want my kids to have the same names as any of my friends kids. (What kids? Yeah I know. I'm a little overprepared.) But I'll have to send Crystal her little pink and taupe sweater even though I am going home in a month. Will post the bag I crocheted tomorrow. I think it looks great.

Going to see Justin Timberlake tonight - yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeha!! Come on, I know you're jealous...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My love

Since I can't have one of my own right now, I have adopted Jenny and Colin's dog, Tiki, as my own. He is a yellow lab, completely obnoxious and beyond adorable. He loves me the most because I take him for walks every morning before I go to work. He possibly loves AJ more, but only because AJ is a softie and Tiki knows that. All of these pictures are of Tiki by my little house in the back. He is always walking by it, sitting outside my door or lying next to it after a walk. What can I say? The dog LOVES me!!

I cannot wait to get a dog. I almost want to call it Tiki because I love that name so much, but I won't because there is only one Tiki. I am going to knit him a blanket for his bed before I go back to Canada so he has something to remember me by. Haha, yeah right, it's more so that I can have a part of me here with him when I go.

On the knitting front: have knitted Ella and Ang beanies and some mitts for Ella. Still working on that army/mossy green cardigan for myself, and am almost done a bag for a friend. Pictures will be up soon.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

MAJOR faux pas...

In all my knitting books, there is some mention of the rule that you don't knit a sweater for your boyfriend. You just don't. It's not bad luck, per se, it just sets the knitter up for disappointment and potentially causes unnecesaary tension in the relationship. I broke that rule. Last year I knit AJ a zip-up sweater for his birthday. I wanted to. I adore the guy, so why wouldn't I? I get it, the rule, I do get why it's a bad idea. It takes a long time to knit a sweater (especially for a guy, as most of them don't like cute little cropped or chest-hugging sweaters) and one may feel unappreciated when the sweater is not worn enough, or at all. I put all this aside. I have knit things for people I have just met, or barely know, or friend's of friend's, so I decided that if I could do that I could knit a sweater for my boyfriend. And so far so good. I knit it over a year ago. And even though I have only seen him wear it once - on his birthday last year (keep in mind that he has been travelling since March, so right after our NZ summer, and is now back in Canada so I don't even see him, let alone the sweater) - I don't care. Every hour I spent knitting it was worth it. If he never wears it again, it won't matter. He has something made with love from me. It's too bad the photo is not a bit closer up, because I quite like the detail of the sleeves, but look at how nicely it fits him. I "borrowed" one of his hoodies so I could get the measurements exact. I think is looks great on him, don't you?

I bought this awesome camoflage-coloured wool in Winnipeg at Christmas from my favorite wool store, Ram Wools. I didn't have a plan for it, but because it was camoflage I needed it. They told me it would stripe more than go patchy like camoflage should, but when crocheted into a tuque, it did go camoflage. It's too bad that this photo is also a bit far away, but look at the beautiful background. It's a photo of AJ by a volcano in Indonesia. I still have one more ball and I am making one for me because I love the wool SO much!! (It's my favorite wool to knit with. Most tuques I knit for my friends are in that wool. I forget what it's called, but I'll post it soon. I buy heaps whenever I go back to Canada because it is perfect. A nice weight wool that doesn't itch and one ball is more than enough for a tuque.)

He is so grateful too, which makes a knitter want to knit for that person even more. I am on the sleeves of my army green cardigan, which means that I have lost all interest in it. Plus it is November and time to start knitting Christmas presents. I have to put down the sleeves and go back every so often because I need to start the Christmas tuques. I have SO much wool right now in my room. I wonder if I will get through it all before moving back to Canada? Doesn't matter, I'll squeeze it into my suitcase if I have to!

Monday, October 29, 2007


This is super late as we had Thanksgiving on Saturday October 6th, but I been busy (knitting). This was the third annual New Zealand (Canadian) Thanksgiving at Jenny and Colin's and it was once again a hit! Jenny and I have perfected feeding 15-20 people. Early in the day, Wallis decided to let the neighbours know that we were having Canadian Thanksgiving by writing it on the driveway in sidewalk chalk. She is way too adorable.

Shelley and Grant (part of the original kiwi Canadian Thanksgiving crew) brought their new little baby Matthew along for his first outing at 5 weeks old. Vicki (Jenny's sister) had a good cuddle with him (as did everyone that could get their hands on him).

Sorry, no pictures of dinner. No time. Once dinner was called a wave of hands and mouths filled the kitchen. I can tell you that it did look great and tasted even better. The rest of the night was spent playing Singstar (like karaoke) and EVERYONE (even the shyest people) had a go. I may have hogged the mic at one point. I love Singstar - especially after a glass of wine or 4 :)

Wallis and Jonathan having a battle - can't remember what song.

Alaina, me and Nathan chatting on the couch about what song we will do next, while Kiko watches.

Wallis and Sidonie (regular singers that night) - with (L-R) Jenny, Roxane, James and Connor in the background.

It was another successful night. As always it was so much fun that I forgot how much I missed being at home for Thanksgiving. I wonder if they will carry on the tradition next year when I am back in Canada? Doubt it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My birthday

This was my third birthday in New Zealand and hands down the best yet. We had drinks and nibbles at the house with Jenny, Colin and the kids. Nathan, Jonathan and Dave came over armed with delicious food and a divine chocolate and hazelnut cake.

Wallis, the little helper, helped me to blow out the candles and cut the cake.

I received tons of awesome gifts from some great friends. Wallis even wrote me a story and ilustrated it. It's called Sneaky the Snake and it is friggin ADORABLE. Colin, James (Colin and Jenny's brother-in-law), Jonathan, Nathan, Dave and I all left for town at about 11:30pm. We met up with my friend Alaina, and I even met up with Rachel later on. We danced the night away and Colin and I ended up getting home at 4:30 am after a walk through the McDonald's drive-thru!!

The next day was a bit fuzzy. I slept until noon!! I could here Wallis outside saying, "Dad!! Tarra is still asleep and it's lunchtime!! I want to give her her present can I wake her up??" The answer was no, but I dragged myself out of bed eventually and put myself through a shower. I went outside to find Wallis had made me a giant T out of some wood. She still needs to paint it, but what a doll. I am a very lucky birthday girl.

I have had 29 amazing, fun and lucky years. I can't wait to see what my 30th year has in store. (Ugh... 30)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Here are some pictures from Thailand. I have quite a few so I'll just post my faves. On the knitting front I have just sewn up a tank top that I crocheted before I went to Thailand (I HATE sewing up - I often have projects completed for ages before I sew them up, it's brutal) and I am wearing today. And I pretty much love it because it pretty much rules. I'll take a photo soon because it must be seen. It's from the Rowan Cotton Tape (It's a tape thing) pattern book. Very cool.

We headed to Chaing Mai first and did a 2 day trek which was awesome. We swam by waterfalls and walked through amazing jungly sort of trees, ate curry and thai pancakes in a little thai village, and even slept on the floor in a bamboo hut. Here is AJ by a rice paddy. They are so cool.

This photo is quite embarassing, but those of you who know me will know that my ankles do NOT look like this normally. After a 12 hour flight, a 12 hour bus ride to Chaing Mai and another 12 hour bus ride back to Bangkok a couple days later, my ankles became cankles. My family was brought to tears from laughing so hard, so have a chuckle at my expense.

Hahaha, yeah laugh it up people. Just don't come crying to me when it happens to you. It's traumatizing - you worry that they will never go back to normal. Thank god mine did! Next up we have me on a motorbike by the sea (no I didn't drive it, I was on the back) and then AJ and I at sunset on Koh Lanta. It was by far the most spectacular sunset I have ever seen. It lasted so long. We enjoyed it with my friend from high school Kristin and her boyfriend Mauro.

Here is a picture of AJ bringing me a beer on the beach. This is a little place called Ton Sai and it is very secluded and wonderful. It is a short way from Krabi and around the corner from Raileh. Our little hut only cost 100 Baht/night (about 4 kiwi dollars) but here is the catch - shower and toilet outside, roof and walls didn't meet so mozzie net around the bed and power from 6pm until about 4am. Pretty budget, but alright when you only stay a couple nights. Oh yeah, and these beers were 100 Baht each, so they getcha there too.

Here is the reggae bar that AJ and I went to lots while we were staying in Ton Sai. The guys that worked there were awesome - so laid back. And they laid those mats out at night so you could just lay back and chill while looking up at the stars.

And last one for now is one from the fill moon party on Koh Pah Ngan. Fluorescent paint and blacks lights made it for me. It was a bit pricey to get painted, but looked mean so I had to! Definitely a fun night. A long haul though, AJ and I stayed at the beach until about 7:00 am, went to town for some breakfast (AJ found 1000 Baht on the ground so we had Baileys and coffees and steaks for breakkie - yum!) and then went and crashed out hard. Needless to say the next day was a rough one spent recovering.

My birthday is Sunday so I am having some friends over for drinks and nibbles on Saturday night and then we will hit town. I will most likely take a few pictures and post them next week. Have a good weekend!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Crocheted bolero

I decided to just take a picture of the bolero on its own. I can't be bothered getting all prettied up for the camera right now for a proper picture, but when (if) I can, I'll post it. I have worn it a couple times and I really do love it. It's fuzzy and warm (believe it or not). I must say that this pattern came out of the Debbie Stoller book Stitch n Bitch Crochet - the Happy Hooker. An EXCELLENT buy (as are all her knitting books). It takes you through the basics and onto more advanced crocheting. I would (and do) highly recommend any/all of Debbie Stoller's books if you have any interest in knitting/crocheting.

This is the pattern up close. It is so worth doing and I will probably do it again in another colour/wool for myself if not for someone else.

I put in some hard hours of knitting my army green cardie this weekend (it was labour weekend for us) and I am quite excited to finish that. It is going to be so nice. I wish I had a picture of Jenny, Wallis and I sitting in the living room yesterday all knitting together. I love little knitting groups. Wallis suggested that her mom and I have a knitting night at least once a week. I told her I have a knitting night every day of the week!!


I brought my camera to work today so that I could pull off some pics of Ella I took while in Havelock North. She's friggin adorable.

She keeps herself busy and although I love to play with her, it's also fun watching her play on her own.

And the lucky little munchkin has a sandbox in her backyard! It was fun building mini sandcastles with her (fill a bucket, turn it over, and there is your mini castle) - even though as soon as it's finished she knocks it down :)

My next trip to see Ross, Ang and Ella is tentatively set for the weekend of November 10 and 11th. Can't wait!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

9 hours of knitting - the bus to Hastings and back

I still haven't taken a picture of my bolero. But I'm wearing it today and was hoping that when I got home I would take a picture so I can post it tomorrow. I really do love it. I am in the middle of knitting an army green (my FAVOURITE colour) cardigan in mohair for myself. It is the business. I cannot wait to finish it.

I went to visit Ross, Ang and Ella this past weekend and had the best time!! Ella is getting so big and becoming such a sweet little girl (instead of being a sweet little baby). If you want to see how Ella really feels about me - go to Ross, Ang and Ella's page in my links. Friggin adorable. Ang and I picked out some more wool so I can knit Ella a beanie and some mitts, a beanie for Ang, and a little jumper for the new baby (due in January). Those will be quick knits so I will probably get on those after my cardie. There aren't enough hours in the day for knitting!!!

I spoke to AJ yesterday and we are sorting out him coming to see me at Christmas while I am (briefly) in Winnipeg. I cannot wait to go home and see my family, friends and my boyfriend. Hopefully I can get a lot of crocheting done on the plane :) It'll be 12 hours of hard core crocheting! I can easily get 4, maybe 5 beanies done in that time, easily...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cheating - an old photo

I have finished this crocheted bolero I started months and months ago - and I LOVE it. I have been too busy to take a photo of it to post, so I am going to be naughty and post a photo of my friend Jeff posing in a tuque I knit him when I first moved here almost 3 years ago.

Jeff Palmer is a proud Palmer, hence the tuque with his family name. He is actually the father of the sweet little Leni who I knit the blue and brown cardie for. I just realized I knit them both brown and blue things...

Tomorrow we are having our annual Thanksgiving dinner at Jenny and Colin's house. This is our third year. I love that my kiwi friends get so into a canadian holiday. We are having about 17-18 people. I have a can of pumpkin from Canada (because I taste a huge difference between New Zealand pumpkin and Canadian pumpkin) to make pumpkin pie and we are having turkey and potatoes and brussels sprouts and stuffing - the whole deal. It is so much fun that I forget how sad it is that I'm away from my family (sort of). I am actually so excited. I LOVE THANKSGIVING!!!! I am going to pig out (as per usual). Hopefully I'll have some fun pics from our dinner to post Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, September 24, 2007

More baby knits

I finished 3 little baby knits this week. This first one is for my friend Crystal who is due in about 8 weeks, I believe. It is knit in the softest, nicest wool and although it is a bit chunky I think it is quite cute. I love pink with taupe. It is an adaptation of the pattern I used for the next sweater.

You're probably thinking, was it really necessary to post both? They look exactly the same. Yes, it is necessary for a few reasons. The first being that although they look the same, this one has a different cuff and bottom. Secondly, one has stripes and the other doesn't. And the last reason is because I want to mention that the wool for these 2 sweaters cost me, in total, $12. Yeah! I know! Awesome. I love sale wool. Oh, and the best part? They took me less than 4 hours each to knit. Gotta love quick knits.

But this last one is by far my favorite. It is for Amanda's baby, who, for all I know, could be born right now, but I haven't heard anything yet. She is due this week. Anyways, this is a mini version of Chelsea's, but with a hood and a vest instead of full sleeves. It has a little tab with buttons on the front to allow an easier pull over baby's head.

My friend Alaina asked me if I could knit her an adult-sized one. Haha, back of the line, honey. Although I am knitting her a headband like the one I am wearing in the pictures I entered in the calendar contest. That headband is great. It's warm but doesn't mess up your hair like a tuque does!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Matthew Isaac Smolenski

I'm in love with this soft, tiny, beautiful little baby boy. He smells so wonderful, he is the lightest little peanut ever. He is so sweet and cute. I just adore him. Mind you, I have only been around him for about an hour, and he slept the whole time.

He was born on August 29th to my friends Shelley and Grant. Apparently the labour wasn't that pleasant. Approximately 24 hours or so and a few stitches. As baby crazy as I am when I hold them, as soon as I see the look on any woman's face when I ask about labour, I instantly realize I am not ready to go through agony like that yet!! (But are we women ever READY for labour??)

So I am now almost finished a little pink sweater for my friend Amanda's baby girl (who is due in a week). I must say it rocks. Amanda and I have very similar taste - so the sweater is pink and black with a black skull on it. I know, I know, so not appropriate for a baby, but I know Amanda will love it. It's kind of a mini version of Chelsea's skull sweater, but the skull is on the front. I will post a picture soon. Then my next task is a baby sweater for my friend Crystal who is due in about 9 weeks. AND THEN I finally get back to knitting for me!! Just kidding, I wish. Then it's time to begin Christmas prezzies. Oh and in between knitting, I have to somehow find time to wirte my thesis.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Baby fever

I'm not saying I'm getting sick of knitting mini sweaters and booties and tiny little tuques for babies. I'm not saying that at all. All I'm saying is it would be nice if I had a little break sometime soon so I could get started on Christmas presents for big people. They take longer and Christmas comes way too fast when you are a knitter!!

Having said that, I LOVE knitting for babies. It's quicker and the things are the cutest. I just finished the miniature Highlanders jersey and gave it to Shelley and I must say, I did a great job. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before giving it to Shell. I may have to sneak a picture next time I am over cuddling sweet little Matthew. He won't fit it for a few months, but right in time for the Super 14 season.

Here is Leni, my good friends Nikki and Jeff's little baby girl, sporting a little cardie I knit her a few months ago. Again with the long arms!! The patterns I follow are always saying to knit 7.5 inch arms. After this one, I have decided to shorten the arms by at least an inch, maybe 2.

Next up I am knitting for my good friend Amanda, who is having a baby girl, and my good friend Crystal, who is also expecting a girl. Didn't I tell you it was nonstop??

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Chelsea's purses

I don't know anyone who has as many handbags as my sister Chelsea. It's unbelievable. And they are all very stylie. It is quite an honour when she sports a purse that I have knit for her. I made this first one a few years ago and lined it with some black with multi-coloured polka dots material.

I love bamboo handles and always wanted to make a purse with them. This purse is the absolute easiest purse to knit imaginable. You just knit a big rectangle, then wrap the ends over the handle and sew it up. I used thick cotton wool to make it strong enough to not need a lining.

This last purse is my favorite. It is the first thing I have ever felted (on purpose). I knit it with a lightweight wool, and it was so floppy when I finished it that I thought it would be useless, but as soon as I felted it, it got a lot tougher and held it's shape much better. I love the little mini pouch, although I'm not really sure how useful it is!

One day I think I will knit myself a purse. Maybe the felted one. I just have so many people to knit for these days. Maybe if my friends stopped having babies I would have some time to knit for myself!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More knits!

My sister Chelsea took some pictures so I could show the stuff I have made for her in the past. Check it out:

This one is a skull sweater I knit for her for Christmas last year and a black tuque with cables (hard to see the cables).

This is a scarf I knit her, I don't think you can see how cool the pattern is. It's crisscross rib. I love it!

This is a pink cable tuque I knit for Chels a couple years ago. I sewed little purple star buttons on it for some sass.

This is Chelsea's boyfriend Jered in a tuque I knit for him at Christmas. She gave him the black eye for looking at another girl. Haha, just kidding, he's a rugby player and got it in their championship match - which they won.

I'm pretty much a tuque specialist, as it's an easy present (I can start and finish most tuques in 2 hours) and in a cold canadian winter - extremely useful. But that was before all my friends started having babies. Now I am a baby sweater-knitting machine. Right now I am knitting a little sweater for my friend Shelley's baby boy (unborn) that is a little version of the Highlanders jersey (Shelley and Grant's favorite Super 14 team). Will post it upon completion.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Knitty Calendar

I entered this contest. I don't usually enter contests, but this one - well, I just couldn't pass it up. There is a website called and they have issues for every season. In the issues are various patterns that you can download for free. Some of them are a bit unusual, but some of them are awesome. I have downloaded quite a few patterns. For the contest, you were allowed 3 pictures, of the same garment or different ones, that will be going in a calendar of knitty knits. The point was to make nice pictures that would look good on a wall for a month, showing off the piece (not just knitter wearing the garment, posing with a cheesy smile). Below are the pictures I entered. The little girl in the picture with me is Wallis (7), daughter of my friend Jenny and she is wearing a poncho I knit for her a couple years ago. Quite an eyesore actually, but she chose the colours and wool and LOVES it. She does look rather cute in it too. The photographer was Sidonie (13) (Jenny's other daughter). The knitty garments are the vest, the headband and the fingerless gloves. I have my fingers crossed. We had little time, so we had only one photo session, but I think they are ok. And I am just glad I entered. Wish me luck!!

We call this one "Picking grapefruit". Many kiwis have fruit trees if some sort in their backyards.

This one is called "Crossing the street".

Simply called "Cuppa tea".