Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The parting gift

Before my parents left my mum knitted for me a very warm jumper/semi-coat. It was truly inspirational to see her measure, knit samples, measure, knit and re-knit. And while she wasn’t 100% happy with the result, I love it. And the little brooch by Hume Sweet Hume I bought in Edinburgh looks like it was made especially for this coat.

Now I need to find the perfect buttons for it. I’m thinking of some long wooden ones or maybe something triangular. It’s very tempting to try to search for them on Etsy, but I’m trying to resist this temptation. I saw some wooden buttons at Portobello Market which came close (but not close enough) to what I envisioned. Maybe I should attach any buttons, while I keep on searching for the just right ones or I may end up being unable to wear it for a very long time.

Monday, 28 January 2008

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Hard drives are dying

The hard drive on my personal laptop died today. Clive is hoping to recover the data. I backed up everything about 2 months ago, so I won’t loose much if he can’t. But annoyingly enough I was in the middle of re-arranging all my files, photos and videos and don’t really want to go through cleaning up and reorganizing everything again. Ironically enough last week he recovered the data of Julia’s mp3 player’s hard drive.

Speaking of coincidences SandFibers is having a give-away to celebrate her Etsy store’s 2nd birthday. And while you are there check out her latest creation – isn’t it spectacular.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Simple Wishes shop is re-opened

Скажи мне, кто твой друг, и я скажу кто ты
Tell me who's your friend and I'll tell you who you are.
Russian proverb.

This week's quote is a bit early, because Rachael re-opened her Etsy store and is having a little give-away to celebrate. All sale proceeds from her shop will be used to “bring happiness and grant simple wishes of orphaned children across the world.” So buy something from her shop or donate some money via DONATE button on her blog or if you are horribly low on cash show your support by commenting on her post (you may end up being the winner) and spreading the word.

Rachael, it’s a huge honour to be your virtual friend. Good luck with your project.

A new hat

After I saw the hat created by Mette, I wanted to make one to go with my ruffle scarf. Mette made it sound so easy, but still I kept on putting off starting this little project. My mum’s knitting without patterns finally inspired me. Unlike Mette, I crocheted from top down increasing every other round until the hat reached the desired circumference - easy, though I had to restart few times to get the shape I like. The flower is simple Irish Lace motif from Crocheting School book – lovely book of crochet stitches that I find very useful during the design stage. There is one slight problem with this hat – it is too warm for current London weather, but hopefully it will be perfect for the usual cold snap in February.

After my friend saw the hat, she asked if I can make a flower corsage for her. Everything was going well until I ran out of wool for the leaves. So I used scraps of Rowan cotton glace instead and to make the whole thing fit together better added some beads.

And here is another photo of the hat – trying to photograph a hat on oneself is hard and this is the best I could manage.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Round and round

Round and round we go – few circles around the couch; from the living room to the bedroom and back to the living room; along the corridor to the outside door and back to the opposite side of corridor to pull the books off the bookshelves; towards people and away from them; to the bench then to the plants to pick up a leaf or two and back to the bench. Cat figured out how to turn and to stop. She is walking everywhere now and to complicate things further she is often carrying something totally absurd in her hand, like an empty 5 little water bottle or two Tupperware containers smaller one inside the bigger one.

Today, for the first time, she decided to walk fully independently outside and didn’t want to hold onto my hand (or even one finger like she was doing for the last few days). She highly enjoyed her new ability to walk wherever she wanted despite few falls into the hedges and the mud. Someone should do a PhD research into the magnetic properties of the mud and puddles – she seems to be able to find them everywhere even if there is only one muddy spot on the whole street.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Harmony within and out

From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes. Cultivating a close, warm-hearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life.
Tenzin Gyatso; The Fourteenth Dalai Lama Compassion and the Individual

The small wall-area above my desk is covered with the photos of my loved ones, the inspirational quotes, the images of places, artwork and objects that I like and the crocheted gauge test samples. These small objects and pictures are there to remind me that my life is full of beauty; that I’m lucky enough to lead peaceful, comfortable existence; that many of my dreams came true and to inspire me to keep on working hard towards my goals. From time to time I update it by adding new things and removing some of the old ones.

Today I added the above photo. I took this photograph in Bangkok in September 2004 and currently to me it represents harmony and spirituality. I finished this post with “I’m far from the perfection I seek, but I’m glad that I am seeking.” And few days later I started wondering if harmony would be a better word to describe the state I dream of achieving. The harmony within myself and with my surroundings is easier to define than a vague state of perfection and therefore is easier to search for. And now every time I look up from my work the image will be there to remind me to strive to become more compassionate and to treasure the flitting moments of feeling at peace with myself and my place in the universe.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


I prefer opera over ballet and symphony music over opera, but I love Nutcracker ballet. Is it possible not to love this truly magical Christmas masterpiece? And last night I enjoyed it again at the Royal Opera House. As expected of Royal Opera House the music and dancing were superb, the sets and costumes very lavish. I always notice the sets and suspect I could enjoy sitting though an average play if I found the sets interesting. Thinking of it there are some play sets that I remember better than the storyline of the play they were for. And during yesterday’s performance I kept on thinking which parts of the sets/costumes I found perfect and what I would do differently, because my vision of the Nutcracker is slightly different. In an alternative universe I would be a stage designer, in this one I’m unable to sketch out my vision. I keep on promising myself that one day I will dig out my watercolour paints and learn to express my inner images. Maybe I should just set a date instead of talking (and now writing) about it.

I want to say a big thank to Naree, who babysat Cat. Thank you for giving me few hours of freedom to have this enchanting experience. I enjoyed every moment of it.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Good feeling about this year

Мы родились в тесных квартирах новых районов,
Мы потеряли невинность в боях за любовь.
Нам уже стали тесны одежды,
Сшитые вами для нас одежды,
И вот мы пришли сказать вам о том, что дальше...

Дальше действовать будем мы!
Виктор Цой "Дальше действовать будем мы!"

(Lyrics in russian & english translation can be found here. )
I started writing a short comment to this post by Polina, but somehow it grew and morphed into something, which isn’t exactly the answer to her. Plus I didn’t have any ideas for the usual quote of the week post, so here it is instead:

I also struggle with the recurring feeling of not belonging, of being different, of not fitting in, of still not always knowing the accepted rituals governing the everyday interactions. Having a sense of belonging to a community was one of my biggest desires for a very long time. But it is no longer as strong. I’m not sure why. Maybe leaving in London changed my perspective: there are so many people here, who are also from somewhere else and are here temporary only. Maybe it was noticing that underneath all the differences many experiences are the same (and motherhood for me is a big example of it). Maybe it was finding wonderful women I could relate to all over the world in blogoshpere.

I feel like I don't belong anywhere, but at the same time that can I belong everywhere. Since becoming a mother, my identity (or my perception of it) shifted again and I’m still trying to figure out who I am. But there are many more moment in my life when I feel that I belong. Like sitting with you, Polina, in a café in Berlin sipping tea and chatting – that is us: similar and dissimilar, connected by blood and friendship, separated by distance, but being able to meet up in different towns, countries and even continents. I’m grateful for getting a chance to experience different cultures. New experiences lead to questioning my own values and believes, which isn’t always fun. But at the same time the constant search for better understanding is integral part of my identity. I hope that by trying to understand myself, different societies, the world I’m becoming a better, kinder, more patient person.

We belong to so many places and people. The intricate web of our friendships and culture is not always easily defined from geographical viewpoint, but it exists - wide, varied, multicoloured. There is always someone, who knows all the words to our favourite songs; can reminiscences with us about our favourite hang-outs in Melbourne or gets homesick for our homecooked salad (*waves at Eugine*). After a difficult and not always happy last year, I have a very positive feeling about this one. I hope you, my dear friends in London, Australia and across the world, will have a good year as well and that we’ll get to catch up via email, calls and in person to have long rambling chats about our identities, dreams, goals.

Still Working

I went to the office twice this week for few meetings. I totally forgot how dreary the morning commute can be: grey cloudy skies outside the train windows, grey mass of business-attired people inside.

I also dropped off the signed contract extending my part-time (20hrs/week) working from home arrangement until the end of June.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Crafting in Berlin

Cat received this cute hat (and a matching scarf) from Polina.

Polina also made some lovely aprons for the rest of us as New Year gifts.

My mum knitted most of the Cat's jumper.
She finished it yesterday and I tried to photograph Cat trying it on, but all I got was a bunch of blurry photos. The bunny pattern is from Nursery Knits by Tessa Watts-Russell.

And I crocheted another scarf. (The pattern is from Crochet for Beginners by Carroll & Brown)