My First Pair of Knitted Socks

I’ve knitted my first ever pair of socks, and I’m pretty happy with them!

I was inspired by Kate Ulman who writes the blog Foxslane. Her blog started out as a place to share her crafty adventures but has evolved over the years into so much more.

Somewhere along the way she picked up the art of knitting socks. She started off with basic socks and worked up to using cables, lace and even Fair Isle in her sock knitting. Her socks are some of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. She has such an eye for pairing colour combinations and stitch patterns together.

Anyway, after several years of reading her blog and watching the progression of her sock knitting skills, I decided to give sock knitting a try. I can’t remember whether I asked her directly through a blog or instagram post, or whether I just read some comments that she had made in response to someone else. She recommended reading the book Socks From The Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson.

So I ordered the book off the internet, bought some sock yarn, and got started on my first sock. This was several months ago now.

At first I started a pair of socks for my husband, but before long I could tell that I had knitted the foot a little bit too long. I had measured my husband’s foot incorrectly. Silly me! I decided to frog that first sock and start on a pair for myself. Having my feet with me all the time meant I could try the sock on as went.

I think they turned out pretty well for my first pair. I used the Slip Stitch Heel Basic Socks pattern from the book. I knitted them in Bendigo Woollen Mills Transitioning Sock Yarn in the Purple Pink Multi colour way. I’m not hugely fond of the colour, but Bendigo has good quality yarn for such a reasonable price; a good combination when learning something new.

I really enjoyed knitting these sock, so much so that I have already cast on a second pair. I think I may have been bitten by the sock knitting bug. Thanks Kate!

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I’m back…

It’s been over a year since I last wrote. For some reason, blogging just hasn’t been a natural thing for me. Sometimes I’ve felt desperate to post something, but I always second guess myself. Should I be putting that out into the blogosphere? Is it worthwhile? Would anyone even care to read it?

I’m not sure if it was the name of my blog that was holding me back. ‘Housewife In Pearls’ seems like the name of a blog where you’ll find lots of recipes and tips on cleaning your house. As much as those things take up a lot of my everyday hours, they aren’t the things I’m overly fond of writing about.

For a while I considered starting a new blog, under a new name. But then I started to get a little bit sad over losing the memories I’ve already posted here. Then I thought about just trying to change the name of this blog, but I couldn’t come up with one that seemed to fit things I want to write about.

Which brought me to the question of why I want to write, and more specifically, what exactly I want to write about.

Mostly, I want to document my crafty endeavours. I want to look back on all the things I’ve created and new techniques I’ve learned. My first thought was to just use Ravelry, but I’d like to look back on things in a more chronological way. I’d like to look back in years to come and see how my skills progressed over time.

I’d also like to share special moments in my life. I’d like this to be a place that my children can come to in the future and remember all those good (and sometimes bad) times that we spent together.

I’d also like it to be a place where I can look back on my life. Alzheimer’s runs in my family. My grandmother had it, and now my mother seems to be showing some early signs of it. I already have a terrible memory. My husband is always teasing me about it. Whilst it’s a bit funny now, it scares me that one day every memory I have of this time in my life might be gone. I don’t want to forget, but if I do, I want to be reminded not through the words of others, but through my own words and thoughts.

And so I come back to the name ‘Housewife In Pearls’. Does it really matter what my blog is called? If I don’t care whether other people read my words or not, is the name really that important? And so, I’m going to keep my blog name. It’s who I am. I am a housewife and I do wear pearls. A lot. And so from now on I’m not going to think about what others might enjoy reading. I’m going to write about all the things that make me happy.

Driving through the country…

Hello friends! How have you been? Have you been on any day trips lately?

One of my favourite things to do is go on a day trip.

I grew up in a quite town on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. This town was surrounded by bush and farm lands on one side, and the great big ocean on the other. It was the kind of town where everyone knew everyone, and people looked out for each other.

When I was 18 I moved with my parents to the Brisbane suburbs. I had health issues and the warmer weather seemed to make a real difference. That was 18 years ago now, and I still haven’t become comfortable living in such a busy, bustling area. I think I’ll always be a country girl at heart.

So for that reason, I try to get out of this crazy, busy, claustrophobic area whenever I can. I don’t get out as often as I would like, but whenever I do it’s like I can finally take a full, deep breath; I don’t even realise I’m holding it in.

I feel all the stress starting to drop away as soon as we start to leave all the masses of cars behind, and the trees start to flash past the windows with greater frequency.

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On Saturday, we took a drive through the country, and down along the Condamine River Road. I love this road, even though the kids think it is much too far away. They complain in the back seat, and whinge that they are tired of just sitting still. But when we finally get there, it’s totally worth it.

The Condamine River Road has 14 river crossings. The kids always think it’s so exciting driving through each one, big walls of water splashing up on either side of the car.

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And then we stop several times to throw rocks in the water, play with sticks and find insects. It is just so beautiful…and calm…and the kids don’t have their faces glued to screens. To me, a day trip is like a magical little mini holiday away from the busyness of life.

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At the other end of the road we stop and have lunch in the tiny town of Killarney. It’s such a slow town, with very few cars driving along the roads, and a supermarket cashier that has very little to do. Whilst Killarney is a bit smaller than the town I grew up in, I do find the slowness, the quietness, to be the same. I love visiting these quiet towns; places people don’t generally think of as a place to visit. These towns are the best.

Whilst we were having lunch, Daniel was sitting in the garden playing with some rocks. At home, people would just look at you funny and move on. But in quiet little friendly towns, people stop and talk to you. They ask your little boy if he is having fun, with genuine interest.

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After lunch, we turned around and went back the same way we came. Crossing the 14 river crossings, and stopping several times to throw rocks in the water.

It was a lovely day. I can’t wait for our next little trip. Whenever, wherever it will be…I’ll be ready!

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Do you like a day trip?

Where are your favourite places to go?

 

 

 

A return to homeschool

Sometimes I just have this amazing, almost desperate need to write a blog post. I feel like I have so much I want to say, but I just don’t know how to put everything down in words. Where do I start? Do I just put it all down in one post? Do I split it all between many posts? And most of all what is the most important thing I want to say, and is it really what I want to send out into the vastness of the internet.

So much has been happening this year, so many changes. The beginning of the year started with so much hope. With Daniel starting a new Autism school, and me starting on some education of my own, it felt like the beginning of new things. Not too far into the first term however, and we were already starting to have our doubts.

For so many reasons I can hardly count, we took him out of the school at the end of term two and I am now homeschooling him again. This time I am doing it on my own, without the help of my retired teacher relatives. It was a huge decision, a leap of faith, and I’m sure some feelings may have been hurt by the decision my husband and I made for me to take the reins this time.

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At the beginning I felt so overwhelmed. Scared even. But now we are four weeks into term three, and I know I’ve made the right decision not only for Daniel, but the family, and myself.

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It is definitely a hard road homeschooling a special needs child. I started out the term with a complete curriculum package. By the end of week four all we are doing from that is the science. I’ve found that one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to choosing curriculum, so now we have content coming from lots of different sources. That’s ok. He is finding his feet again, and I am finding my feet in all of this. We still have a long way to go. He still needs to get back into doing school work after doing very little during the first half of the year. And I need to learn how far I can push him before it all blows up in my face. But we will get there, and I can already feel that we are starting to get a little rhythm to our days.

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Last Friday, we took the morning off. He had put in such a great effort all week, so we packed up our buckets and spades and went off for a play down out the water. It was such a lovely end to the week that I am going to make it part of our regular routine. The beach is one of his very favourite places. He loves to explore between the rocks, finding hermit crabs and their shells. Finding special little stones, and hiding them away in his pockets for later. It is his happy place….though, that could also be said for the bush!

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So that’s where I’m at right now. I no longer do my own study, but I did get credits for the units I completed so that’s nice. To be honest, I really don’t miss it. I hated being stuck in the office all day in front of a computer. And I get to spend all this wonderful time with my special little boy. I feel so darn lucky!

 

 

The Snow

Most school holidays we go on an adventure in our little caravan. Sometimes its to the bush, sometimes to the river, and more often than not, to the beach. This holidays, however, we went somewhere vastly different.

For the last few years we have been planning a trip to the snow. It’s been something we’ve talked about often, but excuses were always made. It’s too far to drive! Daniel would get too cold! It’s too expensive! It was put in the basket of things that would happen…one day.

At the beginning of this year we decided we’d had enough of the excuses, and the kids were just so keen to see the snow. We made the decision that we’d make it happen. We knew that we’d be doing it on a pretty tight budget, but we’re used to staying in a tiny caravan without amenities, so we weren’t too daunted. My stipulation was that we needed a car, and we needed a place to stay that was warm, had it’s own toilet and shower (no trudging to toilet blocks at night in sub zero temperatures, thank you), and that there was some room to move and hang jackets etc.

With these thoughts in mind, we decided caravan park cabins would be the way to go. In order to save even more money, we didn’t stay in the snow itself. We stayed in a small town called Jindabyne as it was only a half hour drive up to the snow each day. In the end it turned out perfect because instead of being stuck at just one snow resort, we had our choice of four different snow fields, all of which were within a half hour drive.

We also decided to drive down instead of flying and then renting a car once we got there. This saved a massive amount of money. When we discussed this with the children we explained that this was a deal breaker. If they wouldn’t sit in the car for the 2 day drive each way, then we couldn’t go. Everyone agreed that it was worth it.

Some of the cabins we stayed in on the way down and way back were pretty shady, but the cabin we stayed in at Jindabyne was beautiful. I think it must have been almost brand new and it was huge as far as cabins go. We kept the heater on the whole time we stayed, so it was a nice and cosy place to return to each day.

We drove in to Jindabyne at about lunch time on the third day. The children had been so good in the car, but were so impatient to see the snow. We already had some snow gear which we had purchased at the Aldi snow sale, but we weren’t due to pick up our rented snow gear until the next day. So what, we thought, let’s go up and have a short play to tide us over until the next day.

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So there we were, playing in the snow at Thredbo in our snow jackets paired with tracky pants and running shoes. We looked a bit silly, but we didn’t care because we had finally made it. The snow! That place that had seemed almost mythical just a few days earlier, a place just to be seen in pictures. Even as I stood there, taking pictures on my iPhone of the kids with their huge smiles plastered on their faces, I still almost couldn’t believe we were really there. It seemed unreal somehow.

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Once we’d had a taste for it, we couldn’t wait to go back the next day. This time we visited Perisher and the kids had their first go on the snow toboggans. We started off on the slow slope but soon worked up the courage to try the faster one. Let me just tell you, tobogganing is addictive.

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By the end of that day, Darling Hubby and my Isabella were snow boarding the toboggans down the slope. Isabella looked like such a natural that we decided that the two of them needed to go and have a lesson on proper snow boards. They both had a blast, but it was so hard to get a decent photo with the speed that they were going and with the number of other people around the place.

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On our second last day, something magical happened. I had hoped that it would, but I didn’t believe that we would ever be so lucky.

Darling Hubby and Isabella were off returning their snowboarding gear and the temperature felt like it was dropping by the second. As the boys and I were sitting down drinking hot chocolate and watching our breaths come out in long streams of steam, it began to snow. Just a little bit, but snow it did. At first we weren’t sure it was actually snow, but then it came down a little bit harder and little bits started to build up on our beanies and sleeves. By this time Isabella and Darling Hubby had joined us again and were watching in amazement. We were all so happy, and I think it made the whole holiday complete.

By the last day in Jindabyne the children were getting rather homesick. There was a real mixed feeling of being both sad to leave, but excited to get home…or rather, get back to unlimited internet!

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Myself, I would have stayed a lot longer which is rather odd for me. I’m normally the one that can’t wait to get home. I’m a real homebody in general. This time I found it really hard to leave. I’m not sure if it was the beauty of the place, or the temperatures. I love the cold!

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So that was our trip to the snow. We did it on a budget, but I don’t feel we missed out on anything. It also meant we could splurge on yummy food….and lots of lovely hot chocolates!

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PS. Just to prove I was there…here’s an awful photo of me with my gorgeous daughter.

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Seventh

I missed a day! Life just got in the way, as it quite regularly does.

I have one little boy who loves, loves, loves bugs and creepy crawlies. And I have one little boy who is deathly afraid of them and can’t settle down when he knows one is in his room.

I have been leaving my blogging until the evening, when the children go to their bedrooms for quiet time before sleep. At this time of the day most of my chores are done, Darling Hubby is settled in front of the TV and the children are quiet. It’s my time to do whatever I feel like. Most of the time I sit down and watch whatever is on the TV and maybe do a bit of crochet or knitting, but I’ve been setting aside this time to do my blogging each night.

But not last night. There was a flying bug in Mr Aiden’s bedroom. I couldn’t find it. Darling Hubby couldn’t find it. But Mr Aiden swore he saw it. The only way to have him stay calmly in his bed was for me to sit in his room with him. This is not an uncommon thing in my household. Nightmares, bad thoughts, flying and mysterious insects, and thunderstorms are all circumstances which require Mummy to sit in a bedroom.

After spending time in Mr Aiden’s darkened bedroom for a couple of hours last night, there was just no chance I was going to write a blog post. I just fell in to bed and was asleep in seconds.

And to tell you all the truth…I had nothing to write about anyway.

Most of the last few days have been filled with preparing for our little caravan trip and getting things ready for the new school year.

Today we all packed up into the car and went to the big Westfield down the road from us. Our mission? School shoes.

What a massive job it is to get three kids fitted with school shoes. For the last couple of years we’ve just had Miss Isabella and Mr Aiden to buy shoes for, but this year Mr Daniel starts at his new school, so he required shoes also. Quite a while later we walked out of Athletes Foot with five new pairs of shoes and a much smaller bank balance. Our job was done!

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Of course, whenever we go to the big Westfield down the road we must get Donut King. And so we did! We go out to the shops so infrequently that I find I really look forward to having morning tea out with my little family. It may only be Donut King, but the kids get so excited about it and it is such a joy to witness.

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This afternoon, when dinner was over, and the family was occupied with their own business. I sat outside on my little veranda out the back. I love to sit out there at the end of the day. The muggy heat of the day has passed and I can feel the craziness coming to a close. The beautiful Rainbow Lorikeets chirp happily in the trees close by.

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As I sat out there I thought about what I would write today. Truly I had no idea. What has really happened that would be of interest? But why not write of the little things. These are the things that make up my life. These are the things that give my life meaning.

Fifth

Yesterday I mentioned a new project that I was working on. Well here it is.

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After reading my post, First, Darling Hubby starting looking on the internet for second-hand spinning wheels. After showing me several that he had found, I decided that I liked the sound of one that was just a few suburbs away. It was an Ashford Spinning Wheel and looked to be very well maintained. After making a few enquiries I decided to get it. It seemed like a marvellous way to spend the money I got from my parents and parents-in-law for Christmas.

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The lady I bought the wheel from was lovely and very obviously a passionate spinner and fibre artist. She gave me several tips on where to buy fibres and even invited me to the local Spinners & Weavers Club. It doesn’t start back until February, but I will definitely be there. I’m going to need all the help I can get. She also writes a regular blog called Mels Natty Knits. I look forward to sitting down with a cup of tea and reading it when I get a few spare moments.

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I picked the spinning wheel up two days ago. For the first afternoon I simply practiced peddling whilst I watched YouTube videos on spinning.

Yesterday I stopped in at my closest Ashford supplier and picked up a couple of packets of ready to spin fibre.

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My first few attempts at spinning were awful, but it was so much fun. I managed to fill a whole bobbin with bumpy, twisty yarn.

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My first bobbin of hand spun yarn

Today’s attempt was much better. I must admit that when I let my mind wander a bit and stopped over thinking things, the results were much more pleasing. In some sections I was actually amazed at how well I was doing… and then it went all sloppy again because I was getting cocky.

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All in all, for two days’ worth of spinning I’m pretty happy. I never expected to be great to begin with. In fact I expect I’ll still be pretty awful in several months’ time. That’s how it was with crochet, and that’s how it was with knitting (which I’m still not great at). Everything worth doing takes time.

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I plan to make a crochet square with each bobbin of yarn I spin, no matter how bad it is. It’ll be like a memory blanket showing how far I have come.

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I’m so excited to be starting this new adventure.

Are you a spinner? Do you have any tips for beginners like me?

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