Saturday, 29 August 2009

If you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all.

I've always felt there's a time and a place for the phrase above. It's not one I generally stick to if Im honest - theres always a good comment to be snuck in somewhere.

But i think here its best to abide by it. And I'm not in the best of places right now, so probably best if I wait till I've something positive to write. Unfortunately, i can tell when I'm not feeling so good, when I start shopping for stuff, particularly in John Lewis. In the past week, I've acquired a waffle iron, two tops and a biscuit tin.

Always a bit like this around holidays. They get me worked up and nervous beforehand, panicky during travel, i relax a bit for a couple of days, then get miserable about the coming home. when I get home, i have to remember what the everyday work thing is about, so it makes me even more rubbish! Just crap at change.

I will be back in a bit. When I've calmed down a bit, and have adjusted again. And hidden my credit cards.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

I just don't know what to do with myself...

I just don't know what to do with myself...

Sock monkeys: Done, and given to a very tired little girl, for her journey home. She did seem very pleased, and it stopped her being grumpy for her Dad and my sister on the drive home.

Seaside Swap: Done, and posted. may take a little while to arrive due to postal strike stuff.

Teacosy: Done, wrapped, and handed over.

That's it for now. Going to give myself a few days off from knitting, but then it's back onto the baby cardigan, and thinking of something else to make...

Off for a nap now. But....It's my (mini) holidays in two weeks!!

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Need to go to bed.

Ten to one in the morning. Ten monkeys with mouths, arms and legs, all velcro attached and checked.

Spoke to my mum today - as I'm going to my parents tomorrow (The monkeys must be ready for Sunday) she's said she'll help sew on 20 ears and eyes. Almost done.

Why did I think making 10 of them would be easy? Why didn't I start a week earlier!?

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Almost there...

Seaside swap stuff done, and in a box, to be sent.

Ten Sock Monkeys have got legs and tails sewn on, with velcro on their feet. Just the arms mouths and ears to sew on.

Year end at work, (where all the systems get turned off to be reconciled. Seriously, anyone ever heard of a company doing that!? Told friends in finance, and they think I'm joking!) so all busy and stuff, until tomorrow night at about five, when we're done. That said, not as busy as last year, when I was concentrating on a future with the company, and happy to do a bit of unpaid overtime. Not this year.

But most importantly, I've been accepted for the Anthony Nolan Register, and have to get a sample of blood taken. I'm doing this by going to my local hospital next Tuesday morning. By typing that, and publishing it to the interweb, I have to go now. No matter how scary needles are! Nobody believes that I hate blood tests and injections, because of my pierced past. But it's a whole different matter.

My parents were both on the register for many years but are now too old, so I felt I should take over. It's part of the international register of bone marrow donors, and once your on, it tends to be in for the long haul. The whole idea of how they get the stuff out is a different matter, but its something I want to do, so I'm just ignoring that bit for now!

Pics of seaside swap to follow, when I know it's been received.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Calmer now.

Rant done with. Just definitely on the lookout for a new job now! But I'm also looking into starting my AAT training as a home study. Not the same as having support from work, and day-to-day experience, but its cheaper, and it'll get me a qualification.

I have also finished the tea cosy!
It's all ready to be wrapped up with some loose leaf tea, and handed over to my sister for safe keeping until Stevie's birthday. I've already apologised to her for having a football tea cosy in her house. Now just onto the sock monkeys. keep spending any free time I have doing the odd bit of sewing on them, but still so much to go! I did get them mentioned on the radio on Saturday though. Part of a request to end Iyares breakfast show on radio 6. So now they're truly famous. Ish.

Also got to get stuff finished for the Seaside Swap, but can't mention what yet, until its sent. It is making me miss the beach a lot. I'm rather peculiar in that although most people have some kind of bouncy happy music that reminds them of summer, I have the first Disturbed album that reminds me of spending my time in Bournemouth. Some good memories, some fantastic, some not so good. But generally when photos like this were taken:

It was about 2001, and I'm the second from the left. The summer always make me remember nights out in my local rock club, with the same girls. I get the same feeling of missing what it was like, but then a grateful relief that my life although not at its best right now, is a fair bit better than then. Does make me feel old and reclusive though. What happened so I can't stay out till 4am on a school night, and show up for work, feeling fine after far too many vodkas?! Not entirely keen on this growing older thing....

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Warning: Rant to follow

I knew it was a bad day, when I dropped a weetabix on the patio this morning. (I was shaking out the crumbs from the box, for the birds.)

This could be because I was tired from staying up too late, watching Oldboy on TV. I have the DVD sat on a shelf, without ads and everything, but still I stayed up until 11pm to watch it! This is not the first time I've done this, and I doubt it will be the last. Anyone else do this with films?

On my way in to work, I was once again confronted by that disastrous fashion faux-pas, a white bra under a white top. It's a more common sight in the summer than winter, but why do -people not realise that a white bra, does not blend in, but reinforces the white in that area. Thus making the rest of your top look a bit grubby, apart from your bright white cleavage! Always wear a flesh coloured bra under a white top. Really, go and try it. I spent many months working in a New Look in Dorset explaining this to customers, and more recently bullied my mum into at least trying it. (She now accepts I am right on this, if nothing else.)

So I arrive at work, to discover I have been 'volunteered' to direct students around the college for the next two Monday mornings. All well and good, but some bright spark(under a proper work order, for the college) has taken all the numbers off the doors in the college - a maze at the best of times - so now its impossible. I have no idea where the students are meant to go, so my plan is to send them off on a long tour, then hide. It seems to be the only solution.

Oh well, at least I can sort out my future in the job, at my annual review. All gone well, generally praised, for m past years work. Mentioned on the form my aims and objectives, of maybe gaining my professional qualifications, which I've also mentioned numerous times to my manager, and always been told I have to wait until I'm out of the (year long) probation period. Fair enough. That ended last month. And today I was told that in part due top the financial climate, but predominately because of the needs and work in my role, I will not be getting any assistance with my AAT. Presuming most people won't know that this is the Association of Accounting Technicians. Very dull to most, but I want to get it, and it costs. Most people get sponsored by their company, for the money and day-to-day experience of accounting.

So now I'm sat in a job that will do absolutely bugger all for me. I'm still rather single, pretty skint, and for some reason, I have quit smoking, and pretty much stopped drinking too. Both seeming like rather daft ideas now.

At least there's cake. There'd better be a lot of cake.

All in all, a pretty crappy day. I should be dying my hair, but I can't be bothered. Normal service will be resumed later. After I've sat not wanting to do any knitting of tea cosies or sewing for the seaside swap or anything but sit and sulk. I may vent at my dad later. He's very good for things like that.

Thank you for reading this far. You are very kind.


Monday, 20 July 2009

My name is Kelly, and I'm addicted to sock monkeys.

I've now got ten of them sat in front of me, part made, all with legs, and a tail beside them ready to sew on. And I'm thinking of what colours to do the next lot in already.

Is there a 12 step plan or a support group for this sort of thing?

Friday, 17 July 2009

I didn't specify which weekend!

Ok. Been away a while. Not sure why, just didn't really feel I had anything to write, I suppose. I started to feel a bit like if I didn't write something soon, I'd end up not coming back . So here I am. Might be because I reached the first year of my blog. I started with Taste last year, and it's just gone by now. Doesn't feel like its been a year, but here I am. Year of a bad job, and singleness. Let's hope the next one goes a little better.

Taste last month was fantastic. There was a bomb scare before, so we all had to loiter about outside the park for an hour or so, but finally got in. Managed to spend far more than I should have, but no more than I'd planned. Got some lovely cakes, and biscuits, and ginger beer, and tasted a whole load of varied things, so felt a little bit sick by the end...
There was a woman doing the most wonderful fruit carving there again this year, and I'd remembered my camera so could share it with you. It's incredible how she manages it, such beautiful work. She makes it looke so easy, and then comes out with these great pieces. Don't know what happens to it afterwards, as it would seem a shame to throw it away, or cut it up to eat.

Sock Monkeys definitely seem the way forward, to win Isla's heart. These three (they were named Purple One, Blue One and Stripey One. Seemed appropriate.) are soon to be joined by a group of 10 smaller ones, with velcro hands and feet, to make chains and loops. I've got a small production line set up, with tails and mouths and eyes to be sewn on.
Her fathers tea cosy is still being made, but is getting there. Im now making a frill for the top, with "Follow, Follow..." written on it. Some Rangers anthem, apparently.

One month today, I shall be in Bruges! I've booked train tickets, a hotel, and travel insurance, and worked out when I need to get to the station. I like that I'm going on a Monday morning, when I should be going to work. I've got a little travel guide, so I know where to go, and what to see, and how to ask "Can I have a plate of chips please" (BIG on chips in Bruges. Theres a museum and everything!) Pretty much going to spend my time watching old ladies make lace, and visiting all the chocolate shops. (and yet another inspired museum!)

Well, that's pretty much it for me the past month or so. Not been that exciting, really. This weekend holds for much more tea cosy knitting, sock monkey sewing, and the baking of a banana cake and/or these lovely looking caramel shortbreads from Attic24's blog! (not sure how to do the link-back thing for blogs) Do love her crochet - I must learn how to, so I can make wonderful things in vibrant colours. Or just do similar in knitting. Probably that one.

Off to have some tea. A bloke at work tried to keep up with my tea drinking a couple of weeks ago. The poor fella only made it to 5 cups/2pm, before he admitted defeat, and had to give the standard post-lunch cup. (That's the one before the biccie or cake assisted one at 3pm.) When will these people realise I am 70% tannin...

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Quick note

Had a really busy week, and still got a thousand things to do. But in recent news:
  • Taste was fantastic. Couple of pics to come. We're off to the Christmas one next!
  • Tea cosy still going well. Should be fine for August.
  • I'm booking a holiday! Going to check my leave dates at work tomorrow, then I'm booking three nights in Bruge! First holiday on my own, so a bit scary...
  • Sock monkeys make the best presents. Made Isla three the other day, and she adored them. Did have to do a few repairs, not through her damage to them, but from her dad's over-zealous play.

A better post over the weekend, promise.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Toaster danger!

Beware the heat of toasters.

I can never be bothered to wait for the oven to heat up, and cook naan breads the proper way, so I put them in the toaster. The packet doesn't say this is the right way to cook them (but it doesn't say not to, either...) but hey, if bread is ok, what's the difference, right?

Wrong! I now have a burn on my arm from the excessive heat of a seemingly innocent naan. It burnt me through a cardigan, as well!

Beware - toasters are hotter than they look!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Very busy Saturday.

Well, not so much busy, but full.

Started off getting up and going off to the post office to collect my parcel, from the Monkey Swap! Had the card for days now, just needed to collect it.

It was a parcel full of little bundles, and two lovely cards from Jenny at Gingerbread House.

Inside, were two cute sock monkeys, a purse and a pair of socks, all monkified (it's a word now)

Didn't have much time to look at them though, as I had to get off to Tower Bridge, for the WWKIP day.

I had seen the clouds outside my window first thing, and it looked cloudy. The BBC website implied a chance of rain, later in the day. I planned accordingly, and took an umbrella, and a raincoat. And then this happened...Blazing hot sun, all day!

We saw a lot of things on our travels, including an injured pigeon, a 21 gun salute for the queen, the Red Arrows (there was an attempt at a photo, but it was rubbish!)

Many moustaches were also worn, although I changed from my finger on, as it is VERY hard to knit with yarn on your hand, so I swapped to my homage to Des Lynam. I don't think it's a bad look for me.

Finally got home in the evening, and discovered I appear to have even caught a bit of colour. Quite an oddity for me, as I'm usually the colour of milk.

Now just to enjoy the remainder of a lovely sunny Sunday, with an ice-cream, I think.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

World Wide Knitting In Public Day

It's the day to be out, bringing knitting to the masses.

Across the world, there's going to be people out knitting, willing to talk about it, give advice, teach you how, answer stupid questions. (There's alway going to be a smart-arse with a comment. Life teaches us this, if nothing more.)

But this year, as its for Prostate UK, we will be wearing knitted moustaches.

There's patterns available, for a donation, from the Stitch and Bitch website, to make a beauty like the one above, or something for more of a Daley Thompson look...

I'm off to the post office to collect my parcel, from my Monkey Swap partner! I hate it when you know there's something there, waiting for you, but you can't get to collect it until the weekend!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Three hours in...

...only two and a half home. Can't wait to see what time I manage tomorrow.

Got to love Bob Crow.

(I haven't got my monkey swap parcel yet, but I've got the red card through the door from the Post Office, to let me know its waiting!)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Ready to post

Right - Monkey Swap stuff done. all wrapped up in a box, addressed and ready to post in the morning. Obviously no pictures, as that would spoil it. Maybe afterwards though.

Now just to concentrate on the Seaside Swap...

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Forgot to mention...

I am a jinx when it comes to summer. If I buy something, it'll bring on the rain. Happened last year with some sandals, and the year before with a dress.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Determined Shopping

Since Sunday, I have been into Dorothy Perkins about six times. Three of these, this evening after work.

But this has paid off, and I am now the proud owner of a lovely new blouse, first seen on the website!
Normally, by the time I get around to buying the things I see and like, they've sold out. So I decided to go pro-active with this one, and scour it out, ending up at the flagship store. It really was far too hot for trawling around shops, but this is so reminiscent of a dress I had when I was about 6, I had to get it, without fail!

Need to get my Monkey swap stuff finished, but Flight of the Conchords has just started on BBC3, so it'll have to wait.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Back again.

Not been up to writing anything for a while. Bit of a rough patch. But I'm feeling a bit better now, and am back.

For as long as I can remember, there's been a cartoonist for The Guardian, Steve Bell, and every now and then, he's replaced, and it just says "Steve Bell is Away." When I was young, I always used to think he just took a lot of holidays, and how I'd like to be able to go off like that. It was later that my mum let me know it wasn't holidays, it was apparently due to mental health problems. I never have found out if that was true, but it does strike me as a little ironic, that every now and then, I have to go off for a bit, for (less severe, but) the same reasons.

But in my absence, I have not been idle.

My garden has been dug over, and planted up a treat. My mum came over, and we planted runner beans, french beans, geraniums, petunias, courgettes, and two aubergine plants she gave me, that she was given from George who has the allotment next to hers. I gave her some of my ocurgettes, and I think she has passed some of them on to a friend with an allotment, so it all sort of balances, in the great scheme of things.

I also happened across the BBC's Dig In campaign, and their van, in Walthamstow last week, and have got pack of seeds to sow. Theres butternut squash in there, that I love, but have never had great success with pumpkins, so am a little wary. Worth a go though.

I'm getting all the stuff together for my Monkey Swap partner. But as it's all a secret, I can't tell you any more about it. A bit worried about it - I should have been working on stuff the past couple of weeks, but to be honest, I know to only do what I feel I can handle. It's not that I can't do anything, its just what my reaction will be if it goes wrong. It's daft, but I have to be careful of getting too stressed, or upset, as it can set me off for ages!

I've also spent some time thinking about what I want from my life, and my future. I'm not happy in London, and I really can't live here too much longer and am planning my escape. (I mean in a year or so, not months or weeks - not that desperate!)

I've had some good fortune, in receiving a refund of some college fees, from my time at The Arts Institute at Bournemouth. As I didn't complete my degree, it was the refund of some of the fees. Not much, but enough for a few things. So I bought these. And loved them in the box. But they are just a little too big, so had to be returned, for a pair I could actually wear. Not so happy a bunny, as not so pretty, but practical. And comfortable. And sensible. But not red...

So thats pretty much been my past two weeks. There was a leaving do at my old job for one of my friends, so I went along to that, and had TWO DRINKS! My first since Christmas. I'm not really a big drinker these days, you'll gather. Bit of a "been there, done that" type of thing. So I really was feeling quite wobbly afterwards, and was a bit fragile all this morning!

Theres no pictures at the moment, as I appear to have misplaced my camera. Sure it'll show up - think it's a sign to clean my flat up. So its all links to pictures and sites at the moment. But I have to find it before I go to Taste later in the month!

My mum has been keeping an eye (and ear) on me with regular phone calls, and I think I'm back up a bit now, so there should be proper stuff on its way. Including my huge pile of knitting w.i.p.s. Theres a bit of a backlog...

Thursday, 14 May 2009

changed my mind

put the following bit back on. I've got McAfee, It'll be fine!

Four Day Weekend!

Yay for unused holiday two months before the year end!

Today is my Friday. Tomorrow, I'm off to my parents, for a day out in Cambridge. It's not the most exciting plan, but its a nice enough place to visit. I went with my dad on another day out earlier in the year, and we did find a wonderful cake shop, recommended by famous people. (I remember there was a quote from Stephen Fry in the window, at least!) Just got to think of some way to spend the rest of the weekend. And Monday. Maybe I'll dye my hair - roots are getting a bit too noticeable!

This is some small consolation, from my misfortune earlier in the week. I can understand being rejected for a job on grounds of being under qualified, or just not the right person for the job, but I was refused before being considered, because a form I know I submitted with my application, stating how I've never been bankrupt, or arrested, went missing. Apparently it never arrived in their office, however it did leave my flat. Possibly squirrels in the post box?

Saturday, 9 May 2009

I'm gonna ache in the morning...

Today, I have gardened. A lot. And not the nice pottering about in the soil, tending to flowers type, but the digging kind. But I now have most of my garden ready for the plants to go in, for the summer. Ive dug over beds, added compost and manure, and made wigwams for climbers.

The tall one is for runner beans, the shorter for French beans.

Theres another for sweet peas, in a pot, and one by a wall for tomatoes. Theres still some sticks left, for more tomatoes, but it was getting on for 6 by the time these were up, so they'll wait till tomorrow.

My mum came over this morning, to bring over a dress I ordered from the Dorothy Perkins website, and had delivered to her address. So she also brought over a few courgette and cucumber plants, to add to the piles I already have! I'd already been out to do my shopping, so we sat drinking tea, eating what are possibly the best hot cross buns (a year round thing in my family) I've ever had. They're from Percy Ingle - a fantastic chain of bakeries, originally from Leyton, but now spread over East London, Herts and Essex. I like to think it's supporting a local business, while getting great bread and cakes. As she'd travelled all that way, I had to send my mum back with a couple, but kept a few for myself for the weekend, to keep me going through more gardening tomorrow...

At least I've Monday to look forward to - Due to the Bank holidays and too much holiday left at the end of the year at work, I'm not working any Mondays in May! Yay for three day weekends!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Im not stopping!

Knitting my top, that is. Following a burst of activity this evening at my knitting group, and comments from others, my lovely top (which has been going rather well), may become a dress! I'm going to do a bit of research on Ravelry, to establish where to increase, by how much and whether I will have enough yarn but it should be a cross between a dress and a long tunic, just above knee length, so I can wear it with tights, or over jeans. It does mean I have to wind the rest into balls from hanks though, which I'm not looking forward to.

What I am looking forward to, is the two swaps I've signed up for! One is a Monkey Swap from Claire's Crafty Blog, and the other is a Seaside Swap from Contented. I've received the details of who I'm sending my monkey stuff to, so I'll have to have a bit of an investigation, and see what I hope will be suitable. It's a secret one, so I can't mention who, or let them know I've been looking!

I wasn't planning on being in two at once, but I saw the seaside one, and just had to sign up. I really miss living by the sea, and would love to move back down to the south coast. I still look for jobs in Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. If something half decent shows up, I'll do my best to relocate, and see the sea every day again.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Knitters of the world, unite

Anybody else see Britain's Got Talent last Saturday?

They may not be the best entry for a talent show, but these ladies made me smile.

And they've tried to bring knitting to the masses!

Oh, and the carrot cake - very successful. Could be a hard one to beat!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

The Worlds Best Carrot Cake recipe

Alas, I have not found the worlds best carrot cake recipe yet, but I am on the search.

I have a thing about rabbits. Always have, probably always will. I have a toy rabbit I was given at birth. My dad used to tell me bedtime stories about him, going off to bunny school, and I we even made him a passport for a holiday. A man at immigration in Florida stamped it for me, as I was 7, and very cute. (Can't see them doing that now!) I was never allowed to watch Watership Down unattended, due to the tears (no, really. I still warn my mum if I'm planning on watching it.) I still spend a large amount of my time, if in a car or train or something near a field, looking for bunnies. So unsuprisingly, I love carrot cake. Now, I love most cake. It is a problem, that I've learnt to accept and embrace, but I'm never going to be a size 8 (UK!) again, partially due to my love of cake. I may see a size 10, but it's 50/50. But carrot cake is a real winner, on a par with a perfect Victoria sponge.

I also believe in the tradition of passing down tried and tested recipes from generation to generation, whether within families, or swapped along the way. I remember hearing about a woman on Womens Hour on Radio 4, who had one from about 4 generations back, and the little bits of family history that were intertwined - her mothers notes, her grandmothers careful writing. And i realised that my family has many recipes that my mum taught me, growing up, that she'd picked up from her mum, and these weren't recorded. Now I have a notepad, and they are getting written, as we decide what to keep. But its also being brought with me, and I shall add new recipes as I find and love them.

So I have started a venture, to find me a perfect recipe, for carrot cake. Its going to involve a lot of grating, and a lot of cream cheese icing, but I shall find it, and pass it on.

That said, I have made a start. My first one is adapted from a book I've had for a long time - The Best of American Cookery, by Lynette Baxter. It's been made, and iced, with a couple of little amendments - I added in a bit of allspice, and knocked the honey out of the icing. Am I the only person who hates the stuff? I've not tried it yet, as it's also my dad's favourite cake, and I'm taking it to my parents house later, but I will update, to see if its gonna be hard to beat, or the page torn from the book and burnt. Its looking pretty good so far, and the raw mix tasted ok, and thats usually a decent indicator of the finished thing.

After this one, I've a recipe I found on the BBC website, and one from a girl at work. She's a girl who knows her cake, as well, so I've a good feeling about that one. Theres also a recipe on offer from another woman at work, from her mum, but apparently its a rather alcohol infused version, so I may have to go slowly with that one!

So any good recipes out there, let me know, and I'll give them a try!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

This post is dedicated to Twiggypeasticks

I listen to BBC6 Music pretty much exclusively. I even sign up to the emails, and today, received a link to an mp3 download. It's the whole interview from David Tennant appearing on the Stephen Merchant show.

Now, I'm a fan of his (David not Stephen) but I believe Twiggypeasticks is more so. I don't have too many readers of this blog, but she is one, and has left me lovely comments. So thank you. Have twenty-odd minutes of lovely voice!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Crazy blogger stuff (and magical ponies.)

I just read this on a blog I subscribe to, Bienvenue, about a virus she's had passed to her computer through the followers button on here. Apparently, it does something to link the computers, or lets them send information, or whatever it is they do. (I may have a blog, but I'm still not convinced it isn't run by teeny-tiny people running about in the wires, or magical ponies somehow)

So I'm taking off the followers thing, and taking myself off other peoples (don't know if it can work both ways, or anything peculiar like that - like I said, magical ponies...) I know not too many people see or read my little blog, but if it at least stops one persons computer blowing up...

Summer's almost on its way...

It's a rainy and miserable grey day out there, but I have big plans for my little garden...

I've got some seeds to be planted this month, for runner beans, soy beans and pak choi, but the tomatoes and courgettes are on their way already!

Ive got little poppies and sweet peas coming on too, so it should look and smell lovely and bright in the summer, as well as being practical, with the amount of veg that'll hopefully grow. I'm well prepared this year for blackfly, slugs and blossom end black spot (plagued my little tomatoes last year!)

I've also been knitting coachella from in my green silk. I was a bit nervous about the shaping of the armholes at first look, but its actually really easy and enjoyable. I'm about hafway through now, so I'm starting to think of what to do with the rest of my dyed yarn. I'm hoping they knit up as beautifully as the silk has. It's passed the moment of truth, when I get to see how it looks when knitted up to a decent size, not just my samples. Not the best pictures, but I think they shows the variation in colour pretty well. Note the purple ended needles in the picture on the right - I finally ordered a shiny new set of US 6's for my set of Boye interchangeable circulars, after I bent one (at the joiney bit!) about 3 days after getting the set! I ordered it from the same shop, DuppDupp and they arrived about two days later, wonderfully wrapped in tissue paper. It's got to be my favourite needle shop. Just a shame its so far away from me, in Edinburgh.

I'm off to get my yarn and needles in order now, to go to knit at the Royal Festival Hall tomorrow. I knitted a bit at the Trafalgar Square one, but had just come from college, so was a bit tired, but should be able to contribute a bit more this time!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

apology... my double out there!

My dad has discovered Twitter. I think there was some deal with a bookmaker, for a free bet if you signed up, and as an avid race-goer, he couldn't resist, and now has an account. (He can't remember how to get into it, but that doesn't matter now!)

So he thought he'd see if his daughters were on there, and did a bit of searching around. Not like most people would, by checking with people, or email addresses, but by name. Real name. And he found someone, with my first name, surname, and the year I was born as their ID. "How could this be anyone but my little girl?" he thought. Well, it is. I'm not on Twitter, and if I was, I'd use the same details I do here, and Ravelry, and everywhere else, not my full name!

So I apologise to the person out there, who's now wondering why someone has written to them, saying it's their dad. Hopefully no paternity questions have been asked to any mums!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

98 years, 208 days.

I don't know what to do, or to say. My grandma died today. It wasn't a surprise, she'd been deteriorating for quite a few years, and recently very ill, but it's still quite a strange feeling. So I baked cakes, in her honour. She taught me to make cakes over 25 years ago, (they were terrible, but I was about 3!) She made the strongest tea known to man - nigh on orange with sterilised milk, and spent a lot of time with her hearing aid turned off, especially when she answered the phone. She made the best egg and chips, and I miss her.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Ok - I spent a good amount of time at my knitting group last night, carefully scaling up my gauge, working out increases and decreases, and have now cast on this in this yarn:

Its the green and yellow silk I dyed at my class, and the pattern should get a pretty big amount of it used. It's a really simple looking pattern for a racer back vest I found on ravelry, from the website. So its a free pattern, using yarn I already own. Nothing had to be purchased, not even a button.

So it sort of makes up for my late night buying of this wonderful, apparently invaluable book. It was so much cheaper than the copy in Waterstones, which almost snuck itself into my bag (I would have paid first - I'm not a shoplifter, nor do I condone it!) Sometimes it's difficult that my knitting group meets in the cafe of a bookshop.

So it all sort of balances, the good of using stuff I own to knit with, with the bad of a new book, no matter how useful and vital it is to pretty much every kitchen in Italy (according to the blurb on the website) And I am pretty confident I'll use it, not just sit and read recipes, which can be addictive, and is altogether less fattening.

Im off to the V and A tomorrow, for the preview of Baroque!! Taking my mum, and then trying to lure her away from buying more tops in Zara. It may be tricky...

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

sound advice.

Do not test whether you're still allergic to a type of food mid-week.

I still shouldn't eat mussels, and I have to go to work in 8 hours.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Must knit more...

Well, my course is over. But it was great, and I learnt a few new techniques. The last session was pretty much a free run of the equipment, to dye, print and paint what we wanted, so I spent most of the day, poking at yarn with a stick in some dye vats. But its all coloured in now, in a variety of blues, greens, reds and purples.

Above is the silk yarn, that all got dyed in blue to yellow toned green.
It looked wonderful, like seaweed when i was rinsing it out.

This is some alpaca I bought at the craft show on Thursday. Its ony 50grams of it, from the Toft-Alpaca stand. Its a nice aran weight, and it was a lovely cream colour to start with. Although I like this soft olivey green, I was suprised it hardly took the dye at all. And I washed it to get rid of any lanolin first.

This cotton did not want to untangle, so it all got tied up with string, and dunked in different colours to see what happens. And it looks better than the picture! Its gone a lovely sea green blue and turquoise, with white bits where the string was, that looks like sea-foam. I wish I'd made more this colour!

The cotton-linen boucle I split into two colours. The red-brown above, which looks like raspberries...

...and the yellow green above. The white in this picture is from the flash, and its all taken the colour really well.

But this is possibly my favourite. Most of the cotton is now a lovely purple, but with blue sections. The blue is only an inch or so long each time, and is pretty random in the yarn, so it'll show as a few blue stitches on a purple background when it knitted up.

So there's loads to be wound into balls, and I've just got to decide what to knit with all of it now...

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Can't stop spending this month!

It's getting to be a bit of a problem.

Im off to Earls Court on Thursday for the Stich and Craft show, where despite my best intentions (although they're not very good ones, really) I may end up spending far more than I should on wool.

And now I've booked my ticket for Taste London. I went last year, and am off with the same girls this time. I've got my spending money paid for too - it's this odd system of 'crowns' where you pay for the coupons and spend them on different stalls.

I've just realised, I wrote about the Taste festival last year in my second and third ever posts. How time flies...

Monday, 9 March 2009

My Yarn is Wonderful!

That's the whole lot spread out, in all its glory!

I've sampled a few bits of each yarn, and dyed some a few different colourways, and knitted it up to see what it looks like. Only got to the cotton/linen stuff so far, but the rest is to be knitted up, and shown to my knitting meet-up group on Thursday, to see what shades they think I should dye it all.

Personally, I like the green/blue, and red/brown mixes. It's a lovely boucle yarn, in a cotton linen mix.

The silk is lovely when its knitted up, but splits like theres no tomorrow, especially when casting on! But it seems to be taking the dye wonderfully.

The pure cotton is so soft and squishy. I've dyed a sample in a lovely purple shade, that'll I'm rather taken with (no sample knitted yet!)

Just got to get it all wound from cones to hanks, so it can be dyed, then back to balls so I can knit it into things. Not a clue what to make yet, but it'll look wonderful in the meantime when it's dyed up.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

pics to follow!

My yarns have arrived this morning! I'm going to be late for my class today, as I'm sat on my bed looking at it all! It's wonderful and will be fantastic when dyed! Just taking a sample with me today, for testing, rather than full on dying of it all. This isn't what I want to do, want to chuck it all in my bag and run to class, but it is probably the most sensible plan, to test and think about it first.

Im really very excited and happy, and just had to tell someone, and everybody sensible will still be in bed on a Saturday morning before 9am.

But my new yarn has arrived!!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Stephen Fry and Knitting

Im sat in bed watching QI, and they just mentioned this wonderful looking place - a knitted brain museum!

kittens and yarn

I'm halfway through a course at the college I work at,called Handpainting and Printing for Textiles, and it's fantastic! We've exposed screens (well, watched while we were shown how!) dyed fabrics and printed with the screens, and theres still three more weeks to go! It's taking it out of me a bit as its all day Saturdays, but it is great fun.

As we've got all this time with dye vats bubbling away, I've ordered a whole load of yarn from Texere. £40 worth of the stuff. But it means I've got 6 balls of silk, 2 cotton and 4 cotton/linen popcorn yarn on its way to me! All undyed, so I can paint it pretty colours, and knit it into something wonderful!

When broken down, the price is actually rather good, for the yardage I'm getting. And it can be whatever colour my heart desires. Within reason!

I'm still knitting squares for this blanket, although I've had a fiddle with the pattern and now instead of being about 20x20 stiches, some will be 40x40. It's going slowly, but well. I'm in no rush to be finished, as the whole point is something I can have to just tide me over, knit a bit, put it down again, then knit a bit more. Might take a few months, might take a couple of years. But I like how I can see it grow slowly into something I like.

I have found wonderful things recently, one is my mum's mothers day present (March 22nd in the UK) The other is this. I could watch it over and over! as the website says, it is rather good. And only a little bit traumatic and scary in parts.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

sort-of back.

Just a bit of a rough spell. Taking my meds properly now, so should perk up a bit in a couple of days. But I'm also taking the advice I've always received, (and ignored) and given up smoking. This may have been partially responsible for the mood swings and depression bit recently. So Im trying to counterbalance this by keeping Thorntons afloat, and myself afloat by returning to the swimming.

The aching from yesterdays swim is starting to creep into my arms and legs now.

I did do some sewing tonight, and made a start on some cupcake magnets, and deciding what else to make in felt. Will get some pictures on here when I've made something worth looking at!

But I did find this article in my google reader feeds today. So if it helps my health, can I get posh wool on the NHS?

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

There seems to be Tom Cruise everywhere around me at the moment. New film, only to be expected.

This is all well and good, and not that disturbing, apart from giving me the earworm of "The Happy Wanderer".

Am I the only one that hears "Valkyrie" and has to add "Valkyrah! Valkyrie! Valkarah-ha-ha-ha!"?

Tom Cruise should have a knapsack on his back...

Monday, 19 January 2009

What's the vitamin C content of a Roses orange creme?

It's very possible, I'm not dying, and will be fine in a couple of days.

But right now, I'm convinced it is possible to cough and sneeze yourself to an early grave, and all the cups of tea, and sweets left over from Christmas won't save me.

I have been in this bed for two days now, and I am so bored its untrue. I have watched all my recorded Gilmore Girls episodes, the whole of the Mighty Boosh boxset my sister bought me, and called my parents four times, to request they drive down to make me tea. All four times, they refused.

So there has been no knitting, sewing, or anything resembling a craft going on in this flat since last week. there may be some soon, unless my prediction about the sneezing comes true...

Cough. Cough. Cough cough cough.


NB - So last week, I went swimming for the first time in ages. Then I'm struck down with mystery illness? (Well, sort of mysterious. Don't know the exact virus!) Does this mean exercise is bad for you? Surely this is undeniable proof!? Must rethink the healthy living plan...

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Belated New Year Resolution.

Did I see the news at 6 last night? Or the Simpsons, or Judge Judy? No, sorry, I missed all of those. As I was out swimming.

Yes, you read correctly. I am no longer an EFZ (exercise free zone) I went to my local pool, and swam and swam and swam. Blind, as I cannot swim with glasses on, even though I refuse to put my head underwater, and not very far, but I did swim.

I'd forgotten how much I missed it (I used to go about 3 times a week a few years ago) and will have to start going regularly again. And try to do more than 12 lengths!

Oh, and my dad called me trying to bond with me, as he sometimes does (it's really very sweet, and shows he loves me and my sister), as he'd found a website he thought I might like. He thinks its called Revelry, or Ravelry or something? I had to let him down gently. But I did congratulate him for his knowledge in knitting. Not bad for an ex-auditor!

I do also have two questions, and I will gladly accept any opinion on either:

1 - How easy is it to sell on Etsy or Folksy? I have done a bit of ebaying for a while now. Is it similar?

2 - What the *%$# do I buy my sister for her birthday? Its not allowed to be homemade, and she buys anyhting she wants/needs, as she earns more money than me, and is twice as fussy!! Please, any help?!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Just had a call from my mum.

It would appear that while looking all cute and lovely on Christmas day, Isla was in fact plotting an evil attack, and was harbouring the chickenpox virus!

Apparently she's now all covered in spots, so we're all just waiting to see who gets it next. Like a scabby Russian roulette. My sister and I had chickenpox when we were young and I had shingles at college, so I know its not too bad, but its still annoying, just waiting in case!

It did remind my mum of when we had it as kids though. My dad was asleep, and the three of us (me, mum, and my sister) patiently cut little shapes out of that brown paper I've not seen for years, with wet to stick glue on the back, and stuck lots of little pictures of chickens in boxes over my dad. Oh how we laughed (at him!) when he woke up!

Maybe we should let Isla know about this fun game....

So very, very cold.

I went to work on Friday. It was miserable and cold. The heating in my building wasn't turned on (no students=no heat, apparently) But we were assured that by Monday, it would all be fine again. And really, going in the Friday was ok. There was only 5 of us, and only a short day, out by 3pm. It made yesterday less harsh, and I was getting a bit bored at home anyway. But I did have to wear my coat, scarf, hat and gloves in the office.

So Monday, it's still a bit cold in the morning "Oh the heatings just getting going" they say. "It'll be fine in a bit" It stayed cold, and my gloves and coat stayed on. Then in the afternoon, the whole building gets shut, due to a power cut. Another cold day, but home early.

This morning, still a bit chilly, but getting a bit better. Much joking about Monday. Until 1pm, when all the lights, computers and plug in fan heaters turn off! WE had to wait til 2pm, in the cold, until we were allowed to go home again. Turns out it was the same problem with a fuse as Monday! So we'll try again in the morning, and may even have a whole day in the office!

But the spare time has lead to chatting to some of the girls at work, about blogs, and crafts (I work for an art school- everyone does something in their spare time) and making a living from what you love. This inspired me to actually make an effort to sew some stuff for sale. I registered on ages ago, but haven't put anything on there yet.

But today, I went and bought some felt, some magnets, and am ready to start making things. Im planning on starting with some cupcakes, like I made for a swap. Ive got some other little things planned, but thought I'd start with one I know I can do, and looks pretty good.

Now I'm scared of what if I make stuff, and nobody is interested? What if they sit there, unwanted? What is the exchange rate, and how do I price them on Etsy?! So many questions and worries. Think I need to just start my sewing off, and then get to that challenge later...

Oh and my other decision (for when the weather warms a little -I'm doing nothing in these temepratures! ) is to start swimming again. I used to swim about 40 lengths, 3 times a week, and felt great for doing it. When I first moved back to London, and to Walthamstow, I stopped. I didn't have a pool that close by, and just got out of the habit. But I've discovered that theres a pool only a 15 min bus ride from my current flat. It'll take a while to get back to 3km a week, but at least a bit will be good. I remember having the time to think. Ive always done my best thinking in water, and maybe it'll help my Etsy pricing and abandonment fears!

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