Right, it's blogging time again - yippee! I plan to do two posts this week: one - this one - for regular, bloggy-type stuff; the other, a photo blog (phlog?) dedicated to the wonder that is the Australian Open of Surfing, an annual surfing and skateboarding competition. I had a wonderful time at the Open this week. It wasn't the greatest weather every day and the swell was pretty small on the days I went, but what an awesome event to have in your back yard! Surfing aside, this week I have been....

...cycling in the wind and rain. Far more enjoyable than it sounds (top tip: just go out for as long as it is making you happy rather than feel obliged to pedal for hours "because it's good for you" or, in my case, because I have made the effort to get the bike out. Ridiculous: it's actually no effort, but sometimes just unchaining it can be redefined as a lot of hassle).

Bikes are great - everybody find somewhere safe to bike and go for a ride! It's lovely. If you can't ride, see if you can persuade someone to ferry you around in one of those chariot things on the back, or try a rickshaw. Cycling is awesome once you get over the squashed hair and security issues. I never leave my bike anywhere, which makes it a rather impractical mode of transport, so for me it's purely a pleasure thing. I suppose I could use it to go and post a letter (yes, I still do that) or something else that doesn't require walking away from the bike. It's pretty annoying that you can't just leave your bike somewhere and expect it to be there when you get back. Wouldn't a world without the threat of crime be so much more relaxing? I'm not going to start on the topic of theft: it is beyond my comprehension. I have also been...

...baking! I wanted to bake for Valentine's Day, but also wanted to avoid making a cake or anything that would take days to get through and make us feel gluttonous and unromantic in the process. So I came up with four fabulous ideas:

  1. Halve quantity of recipe.
  2. Make something that can be shared with many.
  3. Add notion of health (fruit, oats, etc) to reduce guilt.
  4. Throw something red in to hint at Valentine's Day.

Result: oat and cranberry cookies boxed up for work colleagues with a couple left over for home.

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Completely delicious. First time I had made them; the recipe was actually for oat cookies (sorry, "classic" oat cookies - are oat cookies classic?) but I had cranberries in the cupboard, and they are red, so in they went. I was very pleased with them up until the point that I looked at the pitiful number of cookies left over for us and wondered why I had thought halving the quantities a good idea (in my defence, it did look like an alarming amount of demerara sugar).

So, yesterday, I found myself reinstating the original quantities and conjuring up another batch.

IMG_0184 Meaning that we actually ended up with 50% more cookies overall than if I had just stuck to the original quantities in the first place. I have therefore packed up another batch to give away today.

All this baking (and subsequent eating) has meant I have been washing my hands every five minutes as I strive to avoid getting cookie debris all over my...

...crocheting. Yes, my blanket continues to grow: here are this week's new arrivals...

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Now, that first one is clearly ridiculous. It was supposed to be an eight-petal flower with a square around it (exhibit A, Your Honour):

IMG_0676 I did not notice this until I had started on the surround, gone to join it up and realised I had made a triangle rather than a square. I looked back at the pattern, saw my mistake (six petals instead of eight - this then threw all the other instructions out too), started laughing and was about to undo it all when my man said it looked good and "couldn't I do something with it?". Hmm, like turn it into a square, you mean? Well, I could have a go, but it would be as quick to undo and redo it.

So it proved. No mean feat, but I just about made it into a square and it is roughly the same size as the others. Hopefully this particular square will not stand out a mile in the finished blanket, but it does make me smile (and my man was very impressed with my triangle-into-square skills) so perhaps it doesn't matter if it doesn't look like the rest. Anyway, here is my pile of squares so far:

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Ooops, found this one on floor post-pic.

IMG_0199 It's probably my favourite anyway, so it's welcome to have its own picture.

Oh, I also started another blanket this week.

IMG_0663 I have wanted to do this pattern for a while now. It is moving quite quickly thanks to a rainy weekend and I love it already. The colours used in the original pattern are absolutely beautiful and it was tempting to replicate the look; however, it is always fun to experiment too. I can definitely see more of these blankets in my life. Mmm, blankets. So much wool, so much time, but I am very excited at the thought of having my own handmade blankets in our home.

Any other business:

  • had our first huntsman spider living with us for a week in the bathroom. I'm not sure where he is now but I hope he is okay - he was fascinatingly large! I apologise to anyone who can't bear even the word "sp*der", but I thought it may cheer up those who think my life in the sun is too perfect! See, there are drawbacks!
  • went to see my new friends at what the love of my life charmingly describes as "wool club". It's more meeting up in the evening, having drinks and chatting, with the occasional bit of knitting/crocheting thrown in (I am the token crocheter).
  • sneak preview of the forthcoming surfing phlog.

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