Sunday, 23 November 2008

I am at one with nature.

No really, I am. Even though I live in Leytonstone! (We have a bit of Epping forest, and Wanstead flats. Therefore, practically rural. But with convenient travel links!) But this natural power to bond with animals has seeped into my garden.

In this picture, you will notice not only a squirrel hiding behind the tree, but also a robin. Ive ringed them in orange, if it wasn't obvious.

AND it was snowing when i took the picture this morning. But I'm still not allowed to hum Christmas songs at work until it's December, or a girl I work with has threatened to beat me about the head with a stapler. She'd do it, too! But she doesn't know I've still got Phil Spectors A Christmas Gift for You (the true sound of Christmas) in my head!

I haven't done the knitting I was meant to this weekend. I've got the arms left of Isla's bunny to do, then sew it all together. But I did spend a large proportion of the day, trying new hairstyles. I'm not very good at them yet, but have discovered that Victory Rolls look really rather good on me. Even with the cats eye glasses I wear. I know, I'm mixing my decades, but I think the whole thing sort of works ok in a rockabilly style. Just need those foam/net things to put in, to keep the shape of the roll. IU was trying wadding, which although it works, is white, and my hair is red/brown. They show. But with a bit of luck, and practice, I may look as wonderful as this.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Tis the season...

It is officially the Christmas season. I have made the cake- now carefully double wrapped in greaseproof and foil, and sat in a Roses tin in a cupboard. And I have my advent calendar! Thorntons, as it is every year, with my name iced on the bit on the bottom for Christmas day. It says its another 50p online- I almost had ti think again as to where to buy it! But luckily, it turns out that it's still free in the shops. Phew.

I have purchased my Christmas ringtone (Mariah Carey covering Darlene Love's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)).

But it also means, I've received a letter today, from my main charity of choice, the samaritans.

I try to donate to them as often as possible, but especially at Christmas. I realise I'm pretty lucky in my life. I may get upset, I may be far more single than I'd like, I may not have too many friends, and not be in my desired job, but I still consider myself very lucky. I'm going to my parents for a few days at Christmas, with my family visiting, and my sisters on the main day. But I know theres a lot of people who don't have that support network, if they feel bad, and this is one of the worst times of the year.

I've called the Samaritans before, and used their email service too. they've been a great help to me, and I feel I owe them- possibly my life. I'm better at dealing with my problems now, and have my family to help me, but many others don't, and are really going to struggle to stop themselves being depressed or lonely this time of year, or even not making it to the next. New Years Eve is still pretty lonely and bad for me. (I don't celebrate it anymore. It's just easier that way.)

I thought I'd post this now, rather than wait a while, as I know myself how hard finances and time management can be at Christmas (and thanksgiving as well, I suppose, for any Americans reading!), so this is still at a point where you may be able to think about this sort of thing. I don't mean for this to be any kind of harassment- everyone is free to have their own views, and feelings about this sort of thing. But I wanted to mention this, as even if it makes people maybe consider a friend or neighbour they know who may be on their own, and give them a card, or a mince pie, if nothing else. Maybe that will help them through to 2009. One little act, or cup of tea and a chat, can make the world of difference.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

my peanut has legs....

No really- the head and body of the bunny, looks like a peanut. I've completed the knitting part of the legs (not sewn up yet) so now it's a peanut, and a pair of legs. It looks a little odd at the moment, I know, but it does work. I've tried it with pins, and everything!

Just arms, ears and tail to go now. I'm doing the tail last, as it's a pom-pom, and can be as small or large as the yarn I have left allows.

My hair has also been redyed, and is now back to its proper colour. Woodstain. Means my head is soo itchy now, from the chemicals!!

The Christmas cake has now cooled, and has been wrapped up until the start of December, when it will be marzipanned. Its a word. I just added it to my computer's spellcheck, and everything! I also added 'spellcheck'...

I also made a gingerbread again, and mixed the wet ingredients into the dry a bit at a time- and stopped it having flour lumps!! I also added loads more ginger. About twice as much as the recipe suggests. It may not be to everyones taste, but in my opinion, it's lovely now.

Odi et amo

I have had some emotional trauma this week (hence the title. Latin GCSE, anyone? I actually really like Catullus poetry.) I have mentioned before my love of Nigella Lawson, and therefore bought her Christmas book, as soon as it came out. And then this Thursday, I was crestfallen.

I go to a knitting group, when I can, who meet in the basement cafe of Waterstones in Piccadilly. So I wander up there last Thursday, having tried to adjust my karma by being a good person in the Japan Centre next door (paid with a ten pound note, girl at till thought it was a twenty, and gave too much change, I handed it right back to her.) Then off to look around Waterstones, before tea and knitting. Then I saw the sign outside...

Nigella was signing copies of her Christmas book, whilst sat on a sleigh in the front of the bookshop. I was torn, and had to call my Dad for advice! He's training for the CAB so should be good on trauma. Could I justify buying a second copy, but get the chance to meet her, and get my book signed? I paid £15 online, and it would have been another £25. That's a lot for a cookbook, even if it is signed. He convinced me that it would have been too much. So I loitered for a while, and went and bought myself a nice cake to go with my tea, to make myself feel better. Hate sensible practical advice. But love the book still!

Continuing from my love of the aforementioned book, and Christmas in general, I have made the cake today!!
It's in the oven at the moment, and will be for a total of two and three quater hours. I have cut corners before with baking, and know my own tastes (butter is sometimes too rich, lining a tin can be skipped if you grease and flour it) but for this, THE christmas cake, it was all by the book. Pre-soaked fruit (in 30cl of Jack Daniels!) double lined tin, with a brown paper wrapping on the outside, and all mixed well by hand. I've got the marzipan and icing to pop on it later in the month, and now just need to work out what sort of design I'll do. I'm thinking a plain white, with some stars stuck on. Has anyone tried the edible gold stuff you can paint/dust on, or edible glitter? I like the look, but don't want to ruin the cake!

We are in the run up to Christmas in my family. The lists have to be submitted for review by this Friday. Each year, my mum sends out lists, just to immediate family really, that have to be completed and returned by a certain date in November. It may seem to take some of the fun out, but since she started, we've not had that moment of "what the $*%& do I buy her?!!" or "That's um...unusual-where did you get it from? So you have the receipt still...?" We all list what we want. My mum splits the items into who's buying for who, what's not allowed. (no kittens or time machines are allowed, apparently. They got special mention as being unavailable the second year of the lists.) Then me and her go out one day in early December and go into town, and buy stuff. A lot of stuff. It means we don't get the surprise on the day so much, but everyone else does, as although they don't know what from their list will be bought, they know they'll like all they get.

Now off to dye my hair, do some more knitting for Isla, and prep some ingredients to make gingerbread this afternoon. Its a really good recipe, I highly recommend it. But I am adding more ginger this time.

May post later, once the cake is cooked!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

yay for karma!

Today, I went to visit my nan, with my mum (her mum). We think she's addicted to bingo. Says she can stop anytime- just chooses not to! But she's 90- 91 this December, and on her own now, so who cares, as long as she enjoys herself, and it gets her out of the house.

So she told us that when she last went to the bingo, in the week, she won £500! Now this would normally be great news- especially as winter fuel bills, and the cost of Christmas is on its way, it'll make sure she has no worries about money (she's fine for money generally, but hey- it all helps, right?)

This is particularly great news though, as the same thing happened in the summer. She won £500 one week, and popped it in the safe in her house. Thought it was a once in a lifetime sort of win- it's normally only the odd ten or twenty pounds she might win. And then some bloke came and stole it when she was outside cutting the grass. He saw that there was an old lady on her own, and sneaked into her house, and stole her money. Fortunately, he got caught. Turns out he'd done this a few other times, and had assaulted one of his victims, so is now doing a few years inside.

But obviously at the time, my nan didn't get her money back. She saw it as a bad thing, but at least it was won money, and not all her savings, or something, so it could have been worse. She's quite good at seeing the best in things like that, my nan.

So I'm seeing it as karma. She's a fantastic lady, and makes the best chocolate cake in the world, and deserves only good things in her life. And now she's £500 better off again! And isn't telling anyone at all where she's hidden it!

Yay karma!

Friday, 7 November 2008

End of an Era

A certain part of my life has had to come to an end. I have realised that I'm 28, not 20 anymore. I cannot wear the same clothes I wore then- both through weight and age! So I have decided to sell one of my favourite tops I wore during my punk/metal years. My lovely purple Cyberdog top.

Ok so I haven't actually worn it for a few years. and maybe should have got rid of it a while ago, but its hard to get rid of your past like that sometimes. At least if I sell it (loving Ebay at the moment!) I get to know someone else can get to enjoy it. And I get a bit of extra cash before Christmas, of course!

Not using this as an extra sales pitch, or anything! Just marking the passing of a great top, that gave me better cleavage than almost any other top I've found!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

I hate month end at work.

I have spent the past week and a half working 9-6.30, trying to get all our work completed before the powers that be in head office turn our system off for 2 days. This happens each month, but apparently, you never get used to it!

So not been the most productive time for crafting.

However, my mum did get her copy of Knitted Toys, and photocopied the bunny pattern I need!

So I have been steadily getting a few rows at a time done, being very careful about making my increases right, and my decreases balance, and have finally got to something worth blogging about.

I've got the body done, and the bottom part of the head, so have just go the top part of the head (decreasing again- the easy part!) and I'm done with the main part. I am having a bit of trouble with the increases though. Little gaps under each one, that sort of notice when there's a few. It looks a bit like the bunny's had throat cancer, and has a hole in its neck! I'll just stitch them together inside, with a bit of similar coloured thread!

Then only legs, arms, ears and a pom-pom for the tail to go...

I'm doing the contrast colour for the feet and ears in a nice fluffy looking pink. Then a neutral colour ribbon for the neck. I had a bunny when I was little, and I like that my mum and dad didn't try to allocate a gender to it for me. He later became Bobby, but that was my choice. Worryingly, this was in the early eighties, so theres a chance I subconsciously named him after Bobby Ewing from Dallas! Lets hope Isla has more sense and taste than me!

Thats not the only Christmas prep I've been doing though. I've bought my red white and brown felt for decorations, a pack of red feathers, and half the ingredients for the Christmas cake!

I've also made a lovely gingerbread from my lovely Nigella Christmas book.

I don't know why the last bits of flour wouldn't mix in, but I decided it really wasn't going to make that much difference, and popped it in the oven anyway. There's now a bit of an odd crust on the top (little bubbles of flour in the top!) But it tastes great anyway. Maybe a bit more ginger next time though. We do have a taste for it in my family. Think I might go and have a slice with a cup of tea...

blogger templates | Make Money Online