Thursday, July 27, 2006

I have some knitting to do.

clockwise from top left ; Blaise's backpack, Flash's sock, zephyr for the Sheep shawl (not started), test knitting, lovely ripply scarf in kidsilk haze and jo sharp's silk georgette.

For the past few months I have been flat out designing, knitting and trying to get the website up and running, now that it is up, I have tweaking to do, but not the same volume of work as I have had. I knit on stock items everyday for at least 4 hours (I call it "going to work") but because I have launched the website during the "off' season (high summer in the northern hemisphere, spring on the horizon in the southern) I have a bit of time to play with every day (and I am NOT going to spend it doing housework) so I have piled my UFOs onto the table next to the couch, and will force myself to finish them while I still can (the test knitting is just there for show, I have to finish that today to ensure that the pattern is correct)

I feel a bit like I am "in waiting", I am in that no-man's land of online stores - the Just Jussi store is there, but until the advertising and links kick kind of isn't there, I have had over a 1000 unique visitors, they are there for the free patterns, not to buy, but at least it helps the search engines to take notice.
It is so hard for me to just sit on my hands and wait - people who know about this stuff keep telling me that it will take 6-8 weeks to get a sale ,and I've had 2 in a week (to people who are not related to me or friends!) but I know it will take time and lots of effort to generate more.

Ok time to move my butt, and to show that I am not knitting 24/7 I will share a recipe;

Sticky Date pudding

200g pitted dates (chopped)
1 teaspoon baking soda
150ml boiling water
125g butter
125g brown sugar
2 eggs
125g self-raising flour

Put the dates, baking soda and boiling water in a bowl, stir and leave for 20 minutes.
Beat butter and sugar until creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating until light and fluffy.
Stir in the flour, then the date mixture.
Pour into a medium size baking dish or casserole.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180°C check with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked.

While the pudding is cooking, make the sauce
200g brown sugar
50g butter
1 cup (250ml) cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 1-2 minutes.

When the pudding is ready, remove from the oven and coat the top lightly with enough sauce to produce a sticky glaze. Return to the oven for 2 minutes.

Serve with extra sauce and whipped cream.

This is the standard recipe, we do something different, when the pudding is cooked we serve it up piping hot, cover with Monin gingerbread syrup and eat with vanilla icecream or custard.

enjoy! (and to those readers in the northern hemisphere, print this out and stick it in your cookbook, with all of that beautiful weather you have no need for comfort food!)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Zombie baby

Blaise was certain it was breathing...

Thanks for the kind comments and emails...and visits, the website has had over 200 hits, which makes me happy. I did get some negative feedback from a guy who said that Tesco's and Asda had cheaper baby clothes...well...yep...thats nice.

Today I bought and took delivery of (God bless the internet) the "creepy zombie baby" which frightened Blaise when she came home from school, he/she/it will serve as the intermediate stage between hiring the stunt baby and where we are now with a homemade baby body. It's amazing how much better the clothes look on a real-live dummy, though I do like the zombie better when it is headless.

Now if I can just resist the urge to take it into Blaise's room when she is sleeping..."!"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Birth is a difficult, life-changing process, you find strengths you didn't know you had, and new depths to those around you, the outcome may not be as you expected - positive or negative, but the experience leaves you a better person.

The delivery of my website is like a birth in some ways, I have worked hard, I have been constrained by the limits of my webserver - the fact that it is only "so" wide and you have to scroll vertically, the fact that I don't own a baby at present, so have to wait until I can pay a stunt baby to model the clothes. I don't want these barriers to stop me doing what I enjoy, they will be overcome in time.
Friends and family have gathered around and seen either a gorgeous addition to the family or a little red-faced monkey. I am not so blinded by maternal affection that I do not see the flaws in my creation - so please feel free to leave your comments - but constructive criticism please! I am still tender.

The free pattern for my newborn baby singlet (pictured above) is available there

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

a few more of my favourite things...

Kids are back at school, YAY! finally I have the house to myself, although I love Blaise very much, I felt like her siamese twin as she sat at her laptop next to me for hours on end, hopefully for a good cause, she has entered a couple of short story competitions, with the amount of time she spends writing she should make out like a bandit!

well, this is the kind of post you write when you know you should post but also have other deadlines, so i'll catch you up on what I have been listening to, because I can't show you any knitting. I sometimes write about the music I like, and most of it isn't available on I-tunes, but youtube is not so anti-antipodean so here are some links to a few favourites,(leave to load with the sound off then replay at volume) first off

Fur Patrol
(so named after one of the band member's posse of cats who would "patrol" the garden)
song 1 "Andrew"

song2 "Lydia"
Flash took me to see them soon after we met, the concert was in a small theatre off K Rd in Auckland, Galatos st I think...we were both in black leather coats, the place was packed, but we managed to hold our own in a booth because the kids around us thought we were cops - too funny!

Bic Runga - magic

song 1 "When I see you smile"

song 2 "sway"

and this is for my mate Jase, to see if he is awake!

Underdaks ad

or maybe it's for you Al!

ok, enough of's more kiwi music

song 1 - Alright this has to be my favourite rock out summer at the bach (holiday house) song (needs to be LOUD)

I am also listening to a lot of podcasts, some knitting (though most of the goodies are on hiatus at present) I am particularly enjoying listening to Penn radio (Penn Jillette from Penn and Teller) he is though provoking AND hilarious. Jeepers all this listening, I must be getting some work done huh?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

that's the story

The school holidays are drawing to a close, and I have been spending time with Blaise - today we are going to the movies to see a comedy "Sione's Wedding" which as the name implies is about a Samoan wedding, I am so excited, I have missed the Pacifica aspect which is evident in everyday life in Auckland, and an old friend is also in the movie - when we were younger I had to be careful when we were together, he is so funny that I would spit out my drink or accidentally hit my head while laughing, of all my friends back then he taught me the most, that to be yourself is more important than being popular, and to be able to make people laugh is one of the best gifts you can have, plus he gave me the title of "Miss Pink Chardon 1984" thank goodness my taste in alcohol has improved since my teens.
Which segues nicely into this, if you know New Zealand this will make you laugh so hard, if you don't know New Zealand this will make you wonder...anyway it's an ad for 42 Below Vodka, it is full of sheep (just like NZ) and it is choice...bro.

Friday, July 07, 2006

what to do...

about Blaise - just when she had recovered from the gigantic , disgusting tonsil episode, she went to the playground and sliced her finger open on the slide, she was taken to a local pharmacy, where her companion's Mum worked, and she cleaned and dressed the wound, and advised Blaise that it wasn't bad.

Next morning Blaise comes to me and tells me that she is worried about her finger, here am I thinking it's a wee off to the GP (who is threatening to give my family a recurring appointment) it's not a wee cut, she has filleted her finger, the skin is hanging on by a thread, and it is too late for stitches (almost used the knitting abbreviation sts there) the best we can do is stick it down with sticky strips, keep it elevated and hope for the best.
We returned home, Blaise was sent to bed (no computer!) with yet more DVDs ( Mirrormask - I must watch it), she kept her finger up near her shoulder, looking all the while like a demented criminal mastermind, she eschewed the washing up (yeh, like she was desperate to do it) and covered the hand with a plastic bag when showering.
This morning, three days later, we returned to the GP, he was surprised to see that the skin was a healthy pink, the digit was re-wrapped and Blaise is under orders to bend and stretch the finger at least 50 times a day - I am her trainer...and I am ruthless.

I received a comment today from Veronica - she followed my Shibori tutorial(in the sidebar) and has excelled, you must go look at her beautiful work, I must learn Spanish - she sounds so excited, I don't know what she is saying, but I know she is happy.

Thank you to everyone who commented this week - I have tried to get to all of you individually, but have missed out those who do not have their email on their blog ( go to g-mail and get one!)I have also been amazed at the response my last post received - I was so happy to hear from so many people who had thought about this issue - I don't care what decision you make, so long as it is the right one for you and your family.

And lastly, because I have to:

"Go the Blacks!!!"

jeepers - never thought you would hear those words from this non team-player did you!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

What's in a name?

On the weekend an in-law discovered that Flash and I were married, I didn’t realize that this person didn’t know, she is rather difficult and I walked myself straight into a minefield…to the point where I could see her daughter waving “no, stop” at me, but I just kept going.

The issue was not the marriage – the issue was “the name”

The conversation (interrogation) went a little like this:

So you actually are a Bloggs* now?!

Well, no, my name is still “Justine Turner”

Whats wrong with Bloggs*, it’s my name, it’s a good name

There is nothing wrong with Bloggs* – but it’s not my name

Well, it actually is…oh, after all the trouble we went to, to find out your last name – and you actually were a Bloggs* all the time. I am so angry!

I am not doing this to upset you, I prefer to be called “Justine Turner” it has been my name for 38 years, and it is unlikely that will change, you wouldn’t ask Flash to change his last name.

But he is a man, and you are a family now – the Bloggs* family

I am married to Flash Bloggs* but my daughters are named “Turner” I don’t want to add to the upheaval in their lives by changing my name – so there has to be a big explanation every time I take them to the Dr or visit the school – given that I am still the person who engages in 99% of these activities with the children.

(note how I completely ignored the “he’s a man” statement – I am silly, but not suicidal)

I am so angry about this!

(husband finally got the desperate telepathic messages and came into the lounge- abruptly ending the conversation)

I am an intelligent woman, I am a nice person – therefore you would immediately surmise that:
a) I have a reason for retaining my maiden name after marriage and
b) I am not doing it to hurt anyone.

I figure that’s all anyone needs to know, if they are curious they are welcome to ask me (nicely) but they are not welcome to attack me for my choice.
If Flash and I were to have a child, I would probably add his name to mine, not hyphenated, but in the tradition of some North American women “Justine Turner Bloggs*” however Flash and I are not going to have a child, so it isn’t an issue.

Flash’s last name isn’t the easiest name, people always ask twice, it isn’t terrible, but in his explanation to people of me retaining “Turner”, he simply says “well you wouldn’t want to be a Bloggs* if you didn’t have to be” he also ensures that if we are going to any event for business reasons – the organizers know my name ( usually to escape the inevitable comment from me “ Mrs Bloggs* ? jeepers Flash you didn’t tell me that your ex-wife was going to be here!” boy am I lucky he has a wicked sense of humour ) most people are aware enough to understand, and when introducing myself in these situations I just say “Hi – I’m Justine Turner – I'm married to Gordon” that gives them my name, and answers their unsaid questions.

I am not dogmatic, I do not have a problem per se with women (or men) changing their name after marriage, it does give the family cohesion, but I have a problem with it being automatic, names have magic in them – your name quite literally is your identity – so giving it up should be done with thoughtfulness and awareness.

I would love to hear your views and experiences…did you change your name happily – leaving your old one behind like a discarded cocoon? Or did you feel bad inside and not even know why? Did you question the convention internally – but were too scared to rock the boat? Did you and your partner retain your individual names and negotiate when naming the kids. Or did you choose a whole new surname together?!

* - not his real name, oh that it was - I probably would change my name then...imagine "Justine Bloggs" because it's who I am and what I do!