Thursday, 27 December 2007

Out of time

I wanted to post about the past year, but run out of time. We are flying to Berlin tomorrow in the early morning (what possessed me to book 7:40 am flight when it will take us at least 1.5 hrs to get to the airport?). Maybe next year will be a better one for regular thoughtful blogging. Have fantastic New Year celebration! And here is the quote that summarises how I feel about the year past:

Every life has its years in which one progresses as on a tedious and dusty street of poplars, without caring to know where he is. Of these years nought remains in memory but the sad feeling that we have advanced and only grown older. While the river of life glides along smoothly, it remains the same river; only the landscape on either bank seems to change. But then come the cataracts of life. They are firmly fixed in memory, and even when we are past them and far away, and draw nearer and nearer to the silent sea of eternity, even then it seems as if we heard from afar their rush and roar. We feel that the life-force which yet remains and impels us onward still has its source and supply from those cataracts.
MEMORIES. A Story Of German Love. From The German Of Max Muller by George P. Upton

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Crafting is contagious

After watching me crochet Cat’s scarf, my mum decided to prove to me that it is faster done by knitting. Since I don’t own any knitting needles she decided to use two of my crochet hooks to knit another scarf for the little girl at the phenomenal speed. Despite not knitting for at least 10 years, she is still brilliant at maintaining tension and reckons that she can knit something more complicated (like a jumper) without needing a pattern (I’m slightly envious of her great knitting skills). But knitting without proper needles makes things unnecessary difficult, so I went to the local charity shop and got few pairs of knitting needles.

Clive and I saw “The Golden Compass” on Sunday – beautiful sets, fantastic special effects, great actors, but somehow the film was missing a bit of the magic of the books – so I found it enjoyable, but not outstanding. However I loved many of the outfits and was wondering throughout the movie of how easy/difficult it would be to knit something similar to the coat and the hat that Lyra was wearing. When I told Clive afterwards that I loved all the knitted clothes, he wasn’t very surprised as he expected me to rave about them (I loved all the elegant clothes Mrs. Coulter was wearing as well). So since I now own knitting needles and am obviously obsessed about knitwear, I decided to learn to knit.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas, Everyone

P.S. I made it to the shops on Saturday, so well all had presents to open this morning. And I think the little girl had as many presents as the rest of us combined.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Upward growth

My sister, who loves rock-climbing, will be visiting us in early February and it looks like Cat is preparing for her aunt’s visit.

She also made few tentative steps on Wednesday on her own and by now she can make about 6 in a row without falling down, so we may have a walking toddler by the New Year.

Friday, 21 December 2007

In search of Christmas Spirit.

No matter how hard I try to prepare for Christmas it always catches me by surprise. During my childhood, being a very ordinary Russian family, we always celebrated New Year instead. Things didn’t change much after we moved to Australia. After more than 10 years of living in society that celebrates it I still need to check the calendar to find out the exact day for Christmas (without calendar I’m not sure if it is 24th, 25th or 26th).

This year I managed to send out FOUR Christmas cards, which is more than I did last year or the year before. In contrast my dear husband, who grew up with proper Christmas celebration, sent out cards to his family and all his friends long time ago. He also managed to get presents for his SA family (can I get some credit for giving him ideas and helping him find them?), our little family and my parents. I’m ashamed to say that I still didn’t get his present (at least I know what I want to get him) and since I’m not a big fan of shopping in general and shopping just before Christmas day sounds to me like the worst possible nightmare, he may have to wait for the New Year (or Russian Orthodox Christmas or Russian Old New Year) to receive his present. I should admit that I actually didn’t buy any presents so far. But I have plenty of time as I will see most of the people, who will be getting presents from me, few days after Christmas (or at least this is what I keep on telling myself).

We already received few presents. The earliest gift giver was lovely Julia, with who we had coffee and cake last weekend at the Louis Hungarian Patisserie on Finchley Road (photo above was taken by her as well). The evening was made perfectly magical by live piano music. Julia and I strongly suspect that the piano player was Russian as his entire repertoire was sweetly familiar to us. And we got a package from Clive’s cousin, who now lives in Japan (I think it’s highly exciting to have a cousin-in-law in Japan), but Clive is waiting for Christmas morning to open it (the tortures inflicted on others by Christmas traditionalists!).

This week I thought a lot about my lack of Christmas traditions. And my conclusion is that Christmas to me is much more about getting together as a family, having fun time eating, drinking and playing than it is about present giving or sending out cards. I can also create whatever traditions I want. Maybe I’ll decide to turn into Mrs Weasley and knit everyone a sweater next year (except I can’t knit). This year I’m starting with something smaller – I’m crocheting a little scarf for my cutest and most precious baby (it’s colour is actually closer to emerald – English winter light makes taking photos super hard).

In case I’ll forget to say it on the 25th – Merry Christmas to you, my Dear Readers.

Pay It Forward Update

About two weeks ago I received a package from Carol of Sand Fibers with the “Pay It Forward” gift.

She created it to match to the bracelet I ordered from her Etsy shop.

I love them both and hoping to wear them on my next outing without Cat. On my side I have few ideas for the things I can create for Rachael & Polina and aiming to send them off by the middle of February.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


(photo taken by my dad)

I fall in love very easily – with houses, cities, lakes, books, people, ideas. And from the first steps in Edinburgh I knew that I’ll love that town. Before our holiday one of my friends mentioned that she dreams of living there and I found myself repeating her sentiment. Edinburgh has everything to make it perfect for me: the beautiful skyline, the proximity to the sea and the hills, the wealth of history and culture, the cute little shops, the abundance of knitwear and relaxed atmosphere.

(another photo taken by my dad)

I drooled (figuratively) over all the beautiful designer knitwear and had to console myself with getting this little brooch by Hume Sweet Hume from Gifted exhibition at National Museum of Scotland. While there I again saw the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2007 exhibition and again I was totally mesmerized by Yoko Izawa’s work.

We visited the other standard tourist destinations, walked around a lot, Clive and I took advantage of having two very good babysitters and saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age and had a nice dinner at Mexican restaurant. Knowing that too soon I’ll be back to busy, frantic London I savoured every second of feeling happy, relaxed, comfortable. And to keep our relaxed mood, we decided to stay in Edinburgh for the whole week – so our trip to Scotland ended up being trip to Edinburgh.

Some of my photos are on flickr

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Cat's progress

I turned away yesterday for half-a-minute, only to find my child peacefully sitting on TOP of the bed looking at the book. I guess climbing on chairs and the couch is next and we shouldn’t encourage her by leaving books lying around where she can see them, but not reach as she stills dives of high places head first trusting us to prevent her from hitting the ground.

Today I was trying to demonstrate to my friends that Cat just sits down if I let go of her hands and of course she proved me wrong by happily standing un-aided. She can walk while holding onto one hand now, so hopefully un-aided walking will come soon as well.