Rule #1 - Everyone must really, really nice to me all day, fall over themselves nice, the kids are not allowed to fight, that sort of thing.
Rule #2 - The most important part of the day is the food. There must be great consideration given to the food, it must be all of my favourite foods (unfortunately for Ted this changes on a daily basis). You must be prepared to have many conversations with me about my birthday food for many days prior. Luckily I have my sister who is equally obsessed about birthday food so there is a little relief for Ted. She lives in a different country, this does not slow us down. I don't care about the cake, you can figure that one out on your own.
Rule #3 - I pick the daily activity/trip/etc. You must grin and bear it. In fact you must act as if there is nothing you would rather be doing.
Everything else is negotiable. Presents are nice but not necessary. I would hurt someone who decided to throw a surprise party- I mean what about the food!
So for the past few years birthdays have meant trips to new, always meant-to-hit yarn stores, a yarn crawl if you like. This birthday approached (I'm a late December baby) and it was hard getting any birthday spirit going on knowing that wasn't to be. It was a low time.
Then I thought lets give that Yellow Pages another whirl and I turned up this-
Clifton Wool 'n' Things
Now the Otago Peninsula is not far from us. If I could fly (and wouldn't that be a cool birthday pressie) I could get there in 10 minutes, we look at it every day over the other side of the bay. To drive however is about 30 minutes. It is spectacular place, mostly rural with only 1 or 2 very small towns. There is quite a bit of farming, even more "lifestylers" "hobby farms" whatever you want to call them. I figured what the heck, nice trip. Off we went, picnic packed, a day of exploring planned.
We found the sign. And then the driveway down to the "store"
Saw some of these on the way, good sign.
Look across the bay to one of the last bays, that's where I live.
I wasn't thinking blog when I took these photos so I didn't get one of the "store", sorry. We went down the drive, it was about 1 km long. Down at the end, perched high on the hill overlooking the bay was a packing shed. So these folks have a Romney "coloured sheep" flock. They only sell their own wool. It is all undyed, in all stages of production. It smelt wonderful, very sheep-y. And was very, very reasonably priced. It inspired lots of visions of nice earthly, nutty crunchy knitting. It's that kind of wool that is meant to be outerwear, not as soft as merino, a little on the scratchy side, kind of like Shetland but you know it will soften over time and stand up beautifully. Even Ted got excited, but he's a New England, got to have earth tones kind of boy. He actually asked if I would knit him a sweater. This is big news in our house.
So he picked out this:
Medium brown, bulky weight, not less than 200 yards in each skein, $8.50 each! Total for the sweater $51
So I had to make one for me too of course.
3 dark brown, 1 medium brown and 1 natural in DK weight, each skein not less than 400 yards, $8.50 each for a total of $42.50 (yes I know that is about 2000 yards but I can figure out something to do with the leftovers I am sure!)
Who can resist a little handspun. I think it is about 150 yards on each she said. $7.50 each! Handspun right at the packing shed, unbelievable price! Yummy hat, yes? mittens?. I know all of her yarn felts beautifully too, hmmmm clogs?
So this little package of natural goodness set me back a total of $108.50 NZD (about $75 US)
(No sock yarn, "it's not practical, no one makes their own socks anymore don't you know", I had heard that)