Tag Archives: knitting

A Toast with Thanks

Brace yourselves for some surprising news.

Gallivanta is about to attempt something very difficult …for her….which is to write a simple, straightforward post. Will she succeed? You can be the judge.

Here we go.

My plan is twofold: to give thanks to a kindred blogger; and to propose a toast in her honour.

I want to acknowledge and thank Pauline, The Contented Crafter,  for a beautiful giveaway. Pauline is a multi-media artist, and a devoted companion to the irrepressibly joyful Siddy, and to the stately and  dignified Orlando.  She is a compatriot of mine and she lives in the south of New Zealand. The giveaway was in celebration of a very important birthday for Pauline and the beginning of her official ‘retirvivement.

The giveaway  package arrived,

just before my sudden departure to Cairns at the end of September, which meant I didn’t get to appreciate it fully until my return home at the beginning of this month. And, my goodness, when I opened the parcel, what a spread there was to appreciate. I was overwhelmed by Pauline’s generosity. There were cards, postcards, a bookmark, all lovingly created by her own contented hands and heart,

Contentment

Contentment

The Faces of Contentment

The Faces of Contentment

and sweetest of all were the Bunnies; a pair of handcrafted Hugging Bunnies, which Pauline had knitted in response to my   Happiness in a Bag post.

Kisses and Hugs and Lots of Love and Happiness

Kisses and Hugs and Lots of Love and Happiness

After my harrowing goodbye to aged loved ones, can you imagine the comfort and delight I found in coming home to the fruits of Pauline’s gentle, joyous crafting?

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most space in your heart

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most space in your heart

Now for a toast.

To Pauline; to her continued contentment, the best possible health, and a long and fruitful retirevivement. I raise my cup of chocolate, in my best Bunnykins mug. Please join me with your favourite beverage/tipple. 🙂   Let us be upstanding.  To Pauline!

A Toast to Pauline; chocolate in a Bunnykins mug :)

A Toast to Pauline; hot chocolate in a Bunnykins mug 🙂

With love from Gallivanta and Jack to Pauline, Orlando and Siddy.

Ps. How did I do?  Only two links. That’s pretty good for me, don’t you think? 😉 But perhaps still not that straightforward. Sigh!

 

© silkannthreades

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Christmas in past years

Many of us will have a photo, like this one, which I found whilst rummaging in my store cupboard this morning.

Sixties Santa and Sixties Me ?

Sixties Santa and Sixties Me ?

I think I am about 4 years old in this photo which would date this Santa meeting  to Christmas 1960. However  this date of 1960 doesn’t gel with the information I have on the photographer,   J Ambrose, who was apparently at  137 Armagh Street only in  1962 and 1964.  So, perhaps, I am older in the photo than I imagine I was.

Early Photographers in Christchurch

Early Photographers in Christchurch

I don’t remember meeting Santa, or having my photo taken with him, but I do remember that short-sleeved cardigan I am wearing. I loved it, with its lacy pattern, soft beige wool and shiny, faceted, glass-like buttons. My mother’s sister made it for me, and my only sadness over it was that it was hardly ever cold enough to wear it in my childhood homeland, Fiji.

The Santa photo, though, was not taken in Fiji. It was, I expect, taken during one of our ‘home-leave’ visits to Christchurch. And, I am thinking that Santa and I probably greeted each other at Santa’s corner in Hay’s Department Store  “Hay’s – the friendly store where everything is different!” http://lostchristchurch.org.nz/hays-building-oxford-terrace-c-1959    Hay’s no longer exists. It became Farmers in 1987. And the buildings which Hay’s, followed by Farmers, used to occupy no longer exist either, because they  had to be demolished after the earthquakes  (2010/2011).

Now, moving on from the Southern Hemisphere to the Northern one… as Santa must do, for, after all, we are amongst the first in the world to see Christmas Day.  [ Which begs the question, “Why doesn’t Santa live at  the South Pole?” It would be more convenient and fuel-efficient, considering the direction he has to travel.]

I digress….here are some photos of my first ever Northern Hemisphere winter.  This is the house in Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, where I spent Christmas in 1977. We didn’t, to my great disappointment, have a White Christmas, but, in early 1978, when this photo was taken, Mother Nature made up for the lack of snow on Christmas Day.

Valhalla 1978

Valhalla 1978

In February of that year,  I went from scarcely knowing what snow looked like to experiencing the  Blizzard of 1978.  I don’t believe I will ever forget the extraordinary day we walked in the middle of Second Avenue, Manhattan.  It was completely, and eerily, devoid of traffic. I didn’t own a pair of boots back then but I did have wooden clogs, with rubber heel and toe plates, and I found they were excellent  for negotiating the slippery pavements. ( Yay for Clogs! Does Santa have clogs? He should 🙂  Sinterklaas has a pair, I am sure.)

And here is the final photo from the cupboard rummage; me, in the aftermath of the Blizzard, in my friend’s garden at Valhalla. I cut a Santa like figure, don’t you think?

Is Santa lost?

Is it Santa?

© silkannthreades

Postal notes

In Christchurch, letter boxes are being ‘harvested’. Our Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has given permission for a community group, the  Avon-Otakaro Network,  to gather  letter boxes from red-zoned residential properties where the houses have been demolished. The letter boxes, and the homes to which they belonged, had to be abandoned following the devastation of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The Avon-Otakaro Network, which has so far collected 200 letter boxes, plans to use them to create 10 sculptures to be placed by the lower Avon River. They will be reminders of  loved homes and communities that are no more. http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/christchurch-earthquake-2011/9305950/Harvesting-red-zone-letterboxes-for-art

Just as letter boxes are changing their form, so, too, is our Postal Service. Yesterday came the not unexpected announcement that New Zealand Post  will reduce “its work force by up to 2000 staff as part of a strategy to reshape the business over the next five years.” (http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/business/9352413/NZ-Post-job-losses-restructure-revealed )  Part of that strategic plan includes a move to a 3 day postal delivery service, beginning in mid 2015.  Like any good organisation, it must continually renegotiate its terms of existence in order to survive and thrive. New Zealand Post has been doing its vital work, in one form or another, for at least  170 years and  I expect it can continue to serve for another century, if appropriate innovative strategies are implemented.

In the meantime, whilst the Postal Service and the letter boxes are  being sorted out and re-arranged, some of us are doing our best to help keep the current postal structures in good heart.

Here are my  bookmark  gifts ready to fly away, par avion, to distant shores.

Fly away my pretty ones

Fly away my pretty ones

Can you guess which one is coming to a post box near you? One will find a home, in the US, and will soon be covered in  dog hair ; one will settle comfortably in London,  next to Danny, the teddy bear, and a cat called Thomas ; and the third will go to a dedicated reader of books, and my blog, and long time friend, who lives in  Auckland, New Zealand.

But real mail doesn’t only leave my home. It arrives as well. In my broken-down-earthquake-damaged-letter box, which no one would want to harvest, I found this…..midday yesterday…..

All pink and white and pretty

All pink and white and pretty

This pink and white parcel delight contains my first purchase from  Koru Knits’ Felt shop. (Felt is our New Zealand answer to Etsy)

I always love a parcel and the treats within. Here is my treat; beautiful ‘sapphire blue’ handwarmers, lovingly handmade by fellow blogger, Lynley.

Handmade by Lynley

Handmade by Lynley

Sapphire Blue Handwarmers

Sapphire Blue Handwarmers

Of course, they won’t be needed right now, as we head in to summer, but I like to be prepared!

Included in my parcel was a lovely, and generous, bonus (because I was Lynley’s first Felt customer) ; a pink, white and blue striped apron, ( you can see a little of it underneath the handwarmers), which is perfectly perfect for me, in both colour and size.  How did she guess?

What Lynley didn’t guess is that I would put ‘pinny’ and handwarmers on, straight away, and prance around the kitchen taking photos of myself!

And, if it had been morning time, I would have pranced right out the door and taken my new garments for a walk to my letter box, just for the sheer fun of it. And, perhaps, even given a friendly wave to the postie, if he or she had been cycling by at that very moment.

© silkannthreades

Atishoo….bless me….

Atishoo and bless me, and my little cotton socks*…….I have a cold. A drippy nosed, vexatious, miserable cold. I haven’t had a cold for years, so I am feeling very sorry for myself and in need of lots of blessings. (Yes, all blessings gratefully received.)  And, yes, you could bring me some soothing hot, lemon and honey tea, too. Thank you 🙂  That’s delicious.

One blessing that came my way this morning was a lovely photo (via Facebook) from fellow blogger Mike Howe.  Followed, shortly thereafter, by another one of his soothing musical posts  http://mikehowe.com/2013/06/30/music-for-one-of-the-greatest-nature-writers/.

Another blessing will arrive about 2 hours from now, in the form of Giles, the Dogfather. Giles, and his super, doggy assistant Diesil, take my very own little blessing, Jack, for regular, joyful exercise, training, and  canine and human socialization.  Jack is a much happier and calmer dog now that I am giving proper attention to his needs.  Here is Jack on one of his outings; he was having fun, truly!  His coat keeps him warm and dry and snug. ( He won’t need a coat today. The sun is shining beautifully.)In the Rain; it really is fun!

This photo is from Giles’ Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/thedogfathernz?fref=ts  He has some fun photos of wonder dog Diesil and the other dogs he trains. Take a look, if you would like a ‘cheer me up’ blessing for your day.

Well, that’s about all my brain can cope with today. *Oh, but one more something that made me smile through the sniffles, snuffles and sneezles…. I wondered, when I was blessing my cotton socks, how this strange little blessing came about. Here is what I found; it is smile worthy:   ‘George Edward Lynch Cotton, English clergyman and educator, assistant master at Rugby 1837-1852, the ‘young master’ in Thomas Hughes’s “Tom Brown’s School Days”. Bishop of Calcutta, 1858 where he did missionary work and established schools for Eurasian children. In requests to England he asked for donations of clothing, often emphasizing “warm socks” for the children. In fact he seems to have held the simplistic view that if the children had warm socks many of their problems, mal-nutrition, disease, racial prejudice etc. could be easily solved. Little old maiden ladies all over England spent their time knitting socks for Bishop Cotton and sending them off to India. He blessed all items used in his schools, and many shipments would arrive labeled ” Socks for Cotton’s blessing” and reportedly even “Cotton’s socks for blessing”. Cotton’s socks easily became corrupted to cotton socks,

© silkannthreades

Challenging my thinking

I have been feeling a teeny bit  frustrated in recent days because I have a long list of lovely things I want to do and places I want to go, but my gallivanting has been curtailed by domestic activities. The domestic chores are not arduous, or even unpleasant , so why the frustration, I ask myself?  Is it because I am dividing the world in to pleasant and unpleasant, fun and duty, good and bad?  Is it the  old  “you can only play (happy times) once you have done your homework ( dutiful times)” syndrome niggling away in my brain? A variation of the  punishment and reward system that pervades our thinking and our society. Perhaps…..

In an attempt to eliminate frustration and refresh my  thinking, I decided that today I would challenge myself to make the domesticities of  my day as fun and inspiring as my gallivanting.  Here’s a sample of my day’s domestic amusements.

I read the newspaper.I read the news today

I poached some pears.Poached pears

I hung out the washing.Pretty in Pink

I made lunch and enjoyed a cup of my favourite Trade Aid coffee.Coffee Time

I made a pear cakePear Cake

and a loaf of herb bread.Basil Bread

I did some shopping,Shopping by the Bucketful

after which I did a few rows of knitting and read a few pages of the book I was given for Christmas Knitting and Wisdom

Then it was time to bring in the washing, cook the dinner and feed the animals and  walk the dog……..but that’s enough photos for one day.

So , how did I go with my challenge? I had fun. My frustration levels are lower but ,deep down, I suspect that, no matter how hard I try, doing the laundry will never be as inspiring as walk in the park. But, who knows, if I keep challenging myself, anything is possible!

Footnote:

I deliberately chose to photograph the section of the newspaper that covers the State of the Nation report by the Salvation Army. The report says that the Government is not doing enough to reduce child poverty, create jobs or improve housing affordability.  I have not read the report itself but it seems to me that we all need to challenge our thinking on social justice. Our  social policies, put in place, over the years, by the people we vote for, appear to be rooted in the same old punishment and reward type ideologies which have haunted our society forever and a day. This  means that people are inevitably assessed and judged as worthy  or unworthy  of support. The end result is our current society where violent offences against children have increased by 84% in the five years up to July 2012.

© silkannthreades

Random meetings?

Yesterday, through various connections, I was introduced to three remarkable people. How I missed meeting these people until now is a mystery to me, although I suspect the clues lie somewhere in the ‘wooded’ land between the laundry line and the kitchen sink.

In no particular order of remarkability, the three new folk in my life are: Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin; Janet Bowie;  and John O’Donohue.

I don’t know why our meetings happened within the space of one day. Were they entirely random? At first I couldn’t see any linkages but, on reflection, I have decided that the inter- twining threads are prolific creativity, hard work and Godliness or spirituality; theirs not mine, of course 🙂

I find each person fascinating. But, the person I most want to know better is  John O’Donohue, because I fell in love with this quote found on Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O%27Donohue)

  • “When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you. Your forgotten or neglected wealth begins to reveal itself. You come home to yourself and learn to rest within. Thoughts are our inner senses. Infused with silence and solitude, they bring out the mystery of inner landscape.” p.17Anam Cara (1997)

One day, I hope I will read John O’Donoghue’s Beneditcus: A Book of Blessings or To Bless The Space Between Us.

In the meantime, I am sharing part of a challenge sent to us with our Communion invitations, entitled Some questions you might like to ask at the end of the day – with thanks to John O’Donohue’s Benedictus

What dreams did I create last night?

Where did my eyes linger today?

Where was I blind?

What did I learn from today?

What did I read?

What new thoughts visited me?

What did I avoid today?

From all this, how will I approach tomorrow?

If you want to know what I avoided today; it was sorting out the basket where I keep all my receipts and bills and other paper that accumulates in a our supposedly paperless, computerised world.

As for Janet Bowie…. according to the Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin, she made 736 pairs of socks for New Zealand soldiers during the Great War and, for her efforts, she was awarded the world’s first and only MBE for knitting. What a knitter. And if anyone doubts the importance of warm, knitted socks in war time, google trench foot.

Sitting Knitting

This evening I am knitting. Sitting knitting and sometimes standing knitting or watching TV knitting. But  not  blogging knitting. That’s a stitch too far for my limited knitting skills. I am knitting a pot holder, made up of small mitred squares.  It will be similar to these ones that I made earlier in the year.Pretty Knitting

I use hand washable New Zealand wool, knit squares, crochet a border, then wash the pot holder in very, very hot water so that the wool felts. Great fun and very easy.