It’s been a while

The observant among you might have noticed that I haven’t posted a progress report on the behemoth cross-stitch for quite a while. That’s because there has been very little progress to report. I packed it away before Christmas when life started to get busy and we were trying to keep the house tidy between visitors, and since then it’s been too hot to sew (sweaty hands aren’t great for keeping white fabric clean).

But it’s cooled down a bit the last week, so I’ve finally managed to get a bit more done:

I really do need to get on with it – I need this one and another project (that I haven’t even started yet) finished by May, plus I’ve got a few crafty things left to do for the convention, and time is rapidly running out.

I will eventually write something about our Waitangi weekend expedition (though if you’re desperate you could get a vague idea (and a lot of pictures) from the releases I’ve reported for The Reader Challenge), but in the meantime, some recent catches:

The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe – a quick catch from Lincoln.

I Am David by Anne Holm – a very appreciative finder.

Birdy by William Wharton – further proof that the best catches come from the most unlikely places.

Star Gazer by Jeanne McCafferty – this was the bookcrosser we met in the middle of the maze, who mentioned she’d picked up a couple of our books.

Hong Kong Escape by RB Goodwin – Noodles??? Though they do fit the theme of the book, it wasn’t me who left them there!

Like a Bird on the Wing by Ian G MacDonald – another pre-num from the Wellington YHA.

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift – this is my favourite kind of catch, where you know finding the book has made someone’s day.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Rudolf Wyss – looks like my regular releasing for the challenge has been noticed.

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll and Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney – a very quick catch from last weekend.

Toxin by Robin Cook – on its way to Canada.

Cats edited by Lynn Hughesnud‘s bookcrossing geocache was doing a roaring trade last week 🙂

Sleeping Beauty – another one from the geocache.

After Dark by Phillip M Margolin – I’m glad this one got caught, because (despite the blue sky in the release photo) about half an hour after I released it there was a huge thunderstorm and downpour, and I wasn’t sure its plastic bag would be sufficient protection.

The Quest for Mars by Laurence Bergreen – another pre-num from the Wellington YHA.

The Hope by Herman Wouk – a very quick catch, and looks like an enthusiastic new member.

And finally, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels – a catch from the wee release walk I did yesterday.

The finished product

I couldn’t find the screw top ring thingy for the last jar, so it’ll be a bit of a lottery whether the lid seals without it, but if it doesn’t I’ll just put it in the fridge and we’ll use that jar first.

And while I’m here, some recent catches:

The Message by KA Applegate – a catch from our expedition to the mountains that managed to travel a few km up the road between release and journal entry.

Austerlitz by WG Sebald – a third generation catch!

Hunting Warbirds by Carl Hoffman – one of the books I put a pre-numbered label in the Wellington YHA.

The Young Churchill by Frank Brennand – catches are even better when they get me bonus points for the Reader Challenge 😉

Dinner at Alberta’s by Russell Hoban – it’s a bit hard to tell, but I think this book got caught twice: once by someone at Cave Stream, who released it at Little River, then by an anonymous finder at Little River. The journal entries are round the wrong way, though, so I’m kind of guessing at what happened.

The Final Planet by Andrew M. Greeley – a catch from the Maize Maze we visited last weekend.

Coma by Robin Cook – another Reader Challenge catch.

White Jazz by James Ellroy – I’m pretty certain that’s the first time I’ve had a book caught by someone from Israel. I really should go back through my bookshelf one day and count up how many different countries I’ve had books travel to now.

The Truth by Terry Pratchett – I was so glad to get this catch. Not only is it another Reader Challenge book, but, more importantly, it was my 3000th release!

I love the smell of vinegar in the afternoon

Grrr!!! I hate it when that happens! I’d just written a long and interesting entry, and somehow hit some random key that lost the lot.

Oh well, here’s the brief version:

While we were helping rarsberry shift yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice that the plum tree at their old place was fair groaning with fruit, so in a quiet moment lytteltonwitch and I grabbed a bag from the car and stripped all the branches we could reach.

The result, about 4 kg of plums:

And at home I knew I had some more fruit in the freezer, left over from Christmas (I don’t normally keep fruit in the freezer, but Dad had brought a big box up for us which we weren’t able to eat fast enough, so rather than let it rot, I threw half of it in the freezer, knowing I was sure to find a use for it where a bit of freezer burn wouldn’t matter):

The ice crystals actually look quite pretty sparkling away on the fruit.

And all that fruit could mean only one thing: chutney! (An added motivation is that one of our guest speakers at the convention is a bit of a fan of my chutney, so I’ve promised him a few jars in payment for his talk.)

Take 2 kg of plums (I’ll think of a use for the other 2 kg later) plus another kg of assorted frozen fruit, vast quantities of vinegar, onions, brown sugar and raisins, and a few random spices, and what do you get?

The realisation that maybe that stock pot that seemed so huge isn’t big enough after all.

However, it’s the biggest pot I own, so it just had to do. And of course, once the sugar dissolved into the vinegar the volume decreased a little, and it will go down even further once the fruit starts to break down. But in the mean time it’s on a very gentle simmer, and we’ve got all fingers and toes crossed here hoping it won’t boil over.

So now I’ve got two hours to try and find enough jars… Eeek!!!

And because moem asked, my keys:

A few comments are probably necessary. No, my name is not Joan. I inherited that keyring with a bunch of keys for various cupboards and things in my office. The really weird thing is that there’s never been a Joan working in my office as far back as anyone can remember (and some of the staff have been there a LONG time).

Actually, I’m not even sure why it’s still on there. All sorts of people gave me lovely keyrings while I was on my world tour, any one of which would be better than that one. I’ve just been too lazy to change it, I suppose.

I never wear my keys round my neck, despite the lanyard (which I got from a work thing, hence the cheesy “Connect. Share. Learn. Grow.” slogan). The main reason I’ve got it on there is because it makes it much easier to locate my keys in the depths of my bag (where they’re usually hiding under a load of books and release supplies).