Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Arthur joins the family

Anyone who follows me on Twitter will have realised I have a "thing" about squids. The giant and colossal kind.

Mr9 is a keen student of them also, and received a plushie colossal squid with matching mug for Christmas which Santa had got from Te Papa.

So when I was looking through the sewing blogs I follow and saw this, I knew what one of my holiday projects was going to be.

Thus Arthur the giant squid came to stay.  Named Arthur as the latin name for giant squids is Architeuthis (arch-ee-tooth-us).

Arthur is a comfy body pillow. I suggested a bean bag but both children agreed that he should be a pillow.  A time share arrangement is currently being initiated to prevent the fighting that began as soon as he was finished.

He has an inner pillow (a gut sac) to facilitate his cleaning. This did make the project slightly more tricky since I had to put a zip in his mouth part area rather than just sew up the stuffing inside him.  However, I have learnt from bitter experience that there will be the inevitable snot/vomit/food/other mess that will get on his outer skin so I'd like to be able to put most of him in the washing machine.

Arthur enjoys a swing. 

Arthur thinks he could come camping with us. Somehow I don't think so.

Should you wish to make a squid, there are good instructions here.  I made mine larger than this though.  I got most of the supplies from Geoffs Emporium, a surplus store and I thought I would record what I used in metric for the benefit of most of the world who uses this rather than imperial. (Don't get me started).

Arthur took about:
3m of fleece for the outer part ($7.00 per metre)
2m of the cotton fabric for the underside of the tentacles (think this was around $5 a metre)
2 squares of white felt, one of black felt for the eyes (.60cents)
and a HUGE amount of fibre fill for the stuffing... my mum had a whole lot of quilt wadding she wanted to get rid of so that went in. Plus half a bag that I had left.  Plus 1kg and a bit of some bags I got from Spotlight.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

#blog12daysxmas 5th Jan

And so we come to the end of the 12 days of Christmas.

Miss5 went off to a birthday party this morning having gone early to the shops with me to obtain a gift. Nothing quite like being organized is there?!

It has been a gorgeous summer day, not a cloud in the sky and a pleasant breeze to make the laundry dry super quick. I love the crisp feel and sun cooked smell of the clean clothes when you bring them in from the line.

The courgette plant is starting to get away on me a bit so I made some pickle. It turned out a bit saltier than I intended but will be okay I think. Chutney is planned for tomorrow.

Iced coffee pops were made and consumed by adults.

The children are spending the next week with their grandparents up north so their bags have been packed in preparation for the trip. It is strange without them but with both of us back at work next week I'm grateful they will have some time to holiday with their grands while the grandparents are still able, healthy and hearty.

Best wishes to my blog readers for the New Year!

Friday, January 04, 2013

#blog12daysxmas 4th Jan

Quietly productive day at work editing videos and keeping to myself. I am irrationally mildly irritated by the fact there are people who want to come and use the library at this time of year.. I mean, why? Well, some do appear to. Some are doing work, others are face booking and you tubing. Nothing else is open on campus including the coffee cart and I keep forgetting to bring my decent coffee in. Maybe that's the reason for my irritation.

My day was brightened by the family coming and having lunch with me after they'd been to MOTAT. (Another reason to be irritated by work.. Missing out on family outings. If I had more leave available I could have been with them. Oh well, I get to have some leave in a weeks time).

We spent the evening at the park with some friends. Miss5 is turning 6 on Monday and some of her mates were in town (the curse of having a January birthday is that most of your friends go on holiday around the party time). So we got takeaways and headed for the park with dessert for everyone. The wind was chilly but the kids didn't care.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

#blog12daysxmas 3 Jan | Books from 2012

Con has posted her reading list for 2013 - as usual I bow to her voracity and ability to achieve so many books read in a year.  Nonetheless, here is mine.

In general I found all of these books in my library - Auckland Libraries to be precise.  I rely heavily on their hold system to get the titles I want from all around the city.  If they ever start to change for this service (which is a possibility given that some of the old regions used to) I will be highly displeased.

I did buy a few books this year.  I try and avoid doing so because I have limited book shelf space.  However, with the Kindle app on the iPad and now that I have the Kobo Glo ereader I may buy more books.  We shall see how that goes.  I'm already using the Overdrive ebooks from the library on the Kobo.

This year I joined Goodreads which has proved to be a useful tool for me to find books I want to read and to keep track of those I have read.  I'm using it to help me write this post as well as my reading history on my library account.  There may be some errors due to my inputting but in general this should be a reasonable summary of my reading activity.

January (10)

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold
State of wonder by Ann Patchett
Brothers in arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Vor game by Lois McMaster Bujold
The story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
Culinary adventures in Marrakech by Peta Mathias
Corrag by Susan Fletcher
The marriage artist : a novel by Andrew Winer
Maelstrom by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
Deluge by Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough 

February (6)

The crimson rooms by Katherine McMahon
Jamrach's menagerie by Carol Birch
Rick Stein's Far Eastern odyssey
To the end of the land by David Grossman ; translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
Periodic tales : the curious lives of the elements by Hugh Aldersey-Williams
We'll meet again by Lily Baxter. 

March (5)
Stoked by Al Brown ; photography by Kieran Scott
The Scottish prisoner : a novel by Diana Gabaldon
Beauty and the werewolf by Mercedes Lackey 
Legacy by Lois McMaster Bujold
Passage by Lois McMaster Bujold

April (6)
Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold 
The worst jobs in history : two thousand years of miserable employment by Tony Robinson, David Willcock
A year in the scheisse : getting to know the Germans by Roger Boyes 
The olive season : amour, a new life and olives too by Carol Drinkwater
The painted lady by Maeve Haran
The man who broke into Auschwitz by Denis Avey with Rob Broomby

May (1)
The moon maze game by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

June (5)
In love and war : Kiwi soldiers' romantic encounters in wartime Italy / Susan Jacobs.
Skylark by Jenny Pattrick
The bone house by Stephen R. Lawhead 
The cat's table by Michael Ondaatje
The skin map by Stephen R. Lawhead 

July (3)
The warrior's apprentice by Lois McMaster Bujold. 
The sense of ending by Julian Barnes
The gallery of regrettable food by James Lileks 

August (11)
Rick Stein's Spain by Rick Stein. 
The little coffee shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez 
The tiger's wife by Tia Obreht
The particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Bender
Borders of infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold
Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-time Eater by Frank Bruni
Confessions of a coffee group drop out by Eleanor Black
Borders of infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold
Brothers in arms by Lois McMaster Bujold
Strength in what remains by Tracy Kidder
Rick Stein's French odyssey : over 100 new recipes inspired by the flavours of France 

September (5)
Burden of memory by Vicki Delany
The butcher's boy by Thomas Perry
The curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold
Paladin of souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

October (7)
Annie's ghosts: a journey into a family secret by Steve Luxenberg
The lost saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis
The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders
The king's damsel by Kate Emerson
The rook by Daniel O'Malley
The body in the Thames by Susanna Gregory
In the shadow of the glacier by Vicki Delany

November (6)
The lion is in by Delia Ephron
Dinner at Rose's by Danielle Hawkins
The midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
The alchemist's daughter by Katherine McMahon
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

December (6)
My Berlin kitchen by Luisa Weiss
Patrick, son of Ireland by Stephen Lawhead
Empty cradles by Margaret Humphries
Waiting for sunrise by William Boyd
Christchurch crimes, 1850-75 : scandal & skulduggery in port & town by Geoffry W. Rice
Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks

Total read: 70
Fiction: 50
Non-fiction: 20

#blog12daysxmas 2 Jan 2013

Another lovely sunny summer day! We tootled up to the Reptile Park at Ti Point and enjoyed a quiet morning wandering around looking at various reptiles (as you might expect). My favorites are the geckos of course, but the tortoises were cool too. I could be happy with a tortoise in my garden I think. The tuatara were not very sociable. We saw one looking out his window, and another had his tail out his door but neither wanted to be famous on my blog with their photo.

We headed back after a picnic lunch at Whangateau where the kids and I had a quick swim. The kids loved testing out their new snorkels and masks. Mr9 got the hang of it pretty quick, Miss5 was a little more hesitant but she became more confident towards the end. They just need more opportunity and practice.

We were glad we returned home when we did because the traffic on SH1 was looking pretty horrendous going north, and I imagine would have been bad this evening.

I came home and tidied up and made a few different zerts to tantalize two awesome librarians that came to visit. A lovely evening was spent nattering and consuming zert. I was thrilled to finally meet Fiona (@FiFiYI) IRL. I heart Twitter for making such things possible.

Work tomorrow mores the pity...

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

#blog12daysxmas 1 Jan 2013

Wow! What a day 2013 put on for us! Not a cloud in the sky, lovely breeze and warm sun. It makes you glad to be alive. My 365 photo project this year is going to be take a photo of something that makes me happy (http://www.flickr.com/photos/78528924@N00/sets/72157632400301088/with/8332535502/). It's on Flickr and hosted by the awesome Kathryn Greenhill, so if you are keen to join in she is the one to sweet talk. (I doubt there would be a need for too much sweet). You can follow the group on Twitter @Happy365 if you like.

Miss5 got an Ant Colony thingy to make up from her Aunty and of course, it HAD to be made today. I managed to avoid helping because I was washing walls and door frames so Daddy got roped into helping. Setting up was all good but catching ants proved difficult. One doesn't want just any old ant and those little brown bitey ones are definitely not on the invitation list. (In fact, no ant actually is but if there must be ants in this wretched thing it isn't going to be the red ones. In fact, I am of the opinion that this Ant Colony thingy should go and live at Aunty's flat she has just bought. Miss5 is resistant to this notion).

My new ice cream maker was put into action with chocolate mint ice cream churning away in the photo. Yum!

The new ice block maker also works great so I am all set for iced confections now.

Tomorrow I hope to take the family up to the Reptile Park at Ti Point.