21 May 2013

When life gives you mud, make... mud pies?

No, no recipe in this post. I know, bummer, right? I went for a nice long walk with my parents, brother and his girlfriend, and my sister last Sunday in the woods. It was a rare, sunny day in what has been an absolutely dreadful month of May, so the forest floor was muddy and the tracks hard to walk on at times, but we managed.

You could tell that we've had a crappy spring season so far: trees were just beginning to blossom or grow their leaves, barely any flowers anywhere, tons of dead leaves on the ground... But the greens were vibrant and alive, and when the sun was shining it was absolutely gorgeous. The temperature was nice, and we were under cover of the trees so we barely noticed the winds. Perfect weather for a wander through the woods. Plus, all the rain from the past week made the pine trees smell amazing!

Sometimes, we'd come across weird stuff, like this single bright orange-leafed tree in a sea of green. With the sun shining through, it almost looks like a flock of butterflies!

We slowly made our way uphill to the half-way mark and could see how much rain had fallen in the past few days: there were mud tracks like this one all along one side of the path, where the water had made its way downhill.

And then there were parts of the woods that looked like, well, this. Car tracks where the mud was still soppy and where you could easily sink down past your ankles if you weren't careful. We decided to not go that way. Nobody brought their bathing suit.

There we go, the top of the hill! This is the Austerlitz Pyramid, a monument built by the soldiers of Napoleon in 1804. Why build a monumental pyramid in the middle of a forest, you ask? Because the French general Auguste de Marmont, who had amassed an army on this site so they could fight back any invasion armies the British would send, was afraid his men might get bored. Yep. That's history, people. It's not all about epic battles and heroism. Most of it consisted of waiting, eating, sleeping and fighting off boredom.

Oh, hello, little sis. I wasn't the only one dragging a camera around. My partner in crime here and I were constantly lagging behind the others because we were taking pictures. On our way down the hill, I left my camera in my bag and enjoyed the scenery with my own eyes and not hidden behind a lens, but we still had to wait on occasion for this shutterbug to catch up. I guess it runs in the family!

12 May 2013

Treasure hunting

Two weeks! Two whole weeks, it has been, since Blog week! I'm sorry, you guys, for being absent. These past two weeks have just zoomed by! First, there was the marriage of course. The weekend after was filled with doing absolutely nothing at all. We were absolutely knackered on Saturday so we slept in until 2pm, and did basically the same on Sunday. We stayed indoors on our last official Queens' Day, watched the coronation on the telly, and only left the house to get food. Or, well, I did make it to the gym on Monday, my sister had a big mouth and said she could follow my workout schedule so I took that challenge and made her regret ever saying it! (No, I'm kidding, I took it easy on her and let her lift without weights on the barbell or with heavily reduced weights on the machines. I'm not thát cruel!) But apart from that... The past two weeks have basically been all about working and sleeping.

And some crafting. I managed to squeeze in some knitting during work as a distraction method as sometimes not thinking about a problem can help me solve it. Knitting it is! I learned that I was making my knit stitches the wrong way, solved that, and learned how to increase by knitting in the front and back stitch, and how to do a ssk-decrease! It was a lot easier to figure out once I fixed my knitting technique. I hope to soon start on a nice project, but so far it's just been practice round after practice round. I'm lacking inspiration on what project to begin with, anyway. It'll come again, though, I'm not worried. Until then, I'm content to potter along with my bamboo needles and pink blob yarn!

And speaking of blob yarn. (Queen of segues, that'll be me) My MIL was digging around in her attic because they're redoing almost the entire house and it needed to be emptied, and found a bag of yarn. Now, I don't know about you, but most of the times when someone tells me 'Yeah, so I found this bag of yarn here stuffed away in my attic...' I'm not overly excited from the start, because my first thought is 'BUUUUGS!'. I may be an entomophobe. Maybe. But my curiosity always wins over my aversion of bugs so I took it home with me, and sorted out its contents. It was... Special, to say the least. Let's take a look, shall we?

Oh yes. We're off to a good start. Glitter yarn? Check. Fluffballs? Check. Mystery cakes? Check, check, check, cheeeck... Lots of labels, though, that's good.

Pile o' cakes! Green, fluffy, and shiny. Most of this is wound in a nice, tight, and surprisingly flat-topped cake which makes me think it was done with a ball winder. I should ask her if she has one of those hidden in the attic, too! That would be a real treasure! This, however, is plain strange. I think it may have been a garment, as it looks like there's plenty for a big project, which got frogged, but who knows? All I know is that it's green, exceptionally fluffy, and filled with sparkly bits.

Well now. I hope you're enjoying my baby-pink, fluffy, sparkly balls. Of yarn. There's four in total, of different sizes, so once again this seems to be the remains of something else. This yarn is extremely rough to the touch, though, and only partially because of the sparkles.

What a glorious, glorious fluffmonster... This is the same stuff as the green cakes, only purple! I wonder if it went together... In a big, green-and-purple, hairy sweater, or something. Like a sweater made out of skinned muppets.

More balls! They're baby-blue and green, this time. Oh yes. I am totally blue-balling you. There's two of them, and judging from the wobbly ends, this was also the result of ruthless frogging. Nothing about fibre contents or anything but I'm going to hazard a guess and say it's babby-melting acrylic.

Another cake! This stuff is equally fluffy to the green and purple yarns, making me wonder if there is an amount of angora hiding in its contents. It looks to be wool, at least for a part. Far too fluffy for my taste, though. But hey, at least it's not glittery.

Unlike what the label claims, there really is nothing special about this pile. It's dark red, cotton-like acrylic. Around 300 grams in total. If the colour wasn't so dull I would probably have a use for it, but now... Who knows.

Now, this is somewhat exciting! Not because of the yarn. Nope, that's just more hairy, glittery nonsense. But these balls all have their ball bands still attached! I think it is the same yarn as the green and purple ones, so at least I have an indication of type, content and length, as soon as I weigh the green pile, that is. For what purpose, I honestly do not know, but it's something!

More fluff! This is the first pile that I would actually consider using. It's a 50-50 wool/acrylic blend. I'm thinking new mittens, because it's so so so soft, but there were bits of dead leaves and plants hiding in it so I'm not using it until it's been in quarantine (read: ziplock baggies) for at least 6 weeks.

And now... The finale...

Bam. Oh yes. Is it a rabbit? A bad wig? Nope. It's Patons High Society. Oh yes. High. Society. See that fluff? Apparently that was high society back in the day. I don't even know when that day was, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the last two decades.

But can it get better? I mean, if this is already high society, than the next one must be Royalty.

Oh yes, people, we have hit the motherload! The trifecta of gaudy: it's a weird wine-red colour, it's fluffier than an angora rabbit, and it's got sparkles. If that's not the pinnacle of High Society, I don't know what is.

Seriously, I have no idea what to do with 90% of this stuff, so I don't know if I'll keep it or toss it. If you see something you really want, though, leave a comment or message me on Rav or something and maybe we can work something out!