Thursday, 29 May 2008

You gotta see this

This is the severed arm model that I have been working on at work with the aid of the fantastic Kirsty who put all the grass in for me! It's now almost complete- all I have to do is find some maggots from somewhere to go on the stumpy bit and all will be done. Mwhahahahahahaha.
More photos once it's finished and in the display case a-comin' your way.


I love freecycle!

Freecycle treasures

I managed to bag myself some wool on freecycle yesterday which I was very happy about as I'm sure you can imagine! Went round and picked it up after I'd had my tea and then spread it out across the lounge floor in order to be able to sort it out. One bag had three identical mohair jumpers in it- well, identical except that one was blue, one red and one yellow. The yellow one was the most complete, having only one sleeve missing. Unfortunately this didn't turn up in the other bag and there was no spare wool for it so I couldn't finish it off. The blue one had a back and one sleeve complete but the front and other sleeve had been ripped off the needles half way through so that won't get completed either (the wool they are in in mohair and I just can't bring myself to pick up all those stitches). The red one however has all its bits and just needs sewing up so I shall finish that one off and donate it to charity (mohair not really being my thing).
The other bag was an absolute wonder. There were three pattern books of colour work, some with design by quite famous people. One of the pattern books was obviously in use for a stunning piece of colour work that I untangled from a ball of bobbins and bits of cotton yarn at the bottom of the bag. It's not something that's to my taste in any way as it is obviously very 80's but the work and skill that went into making it is astounding. The yarn is expensive Rowan cotton (some with the original comedy 80's ball bands attached) and the pattern is kind of Inca style I think. There's only one bit (the front?) and it's not quite finished but I just don't have the heart to rip it back so I'm thinking that I might try and finish it off and then keep the piece as a memento or sort of inspiration square. The other option is to turn it into some kind of cushion so that it is being used but it really is too fab for that. I'll have to think on it for a bit but first I'll have to remember to take a photograph and I'm going to take the piece along to my knitting group next Tuesday to show them all as I'm sure they'll be just as impressed as I am by it!.
On top of this there were a few small odd balls of wool that I have either added into my stash or will go into the charity knits box at the Jam Factory as well but really this colour work piece was worth the whole trip alone despite the fact that I didn't really get any quantities usable yarn out of the deal.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Lettuce picking

Managed to get home on time from work for once yesterday which was just wonderful as it meant that I got a bit of afternoon sunshine and the time to sit down in the back garden and re-pot all my seedlings. Most of my plants are doing really well which is just great and some of them are doing even better than that. I have a ton of tomato, cucumber and lettuce plants which needed splitting up and moving around. Nearly all of the seeds that I put out sprouted and you are supposed to take out the weakest seedlings but all of mine seemed to be doing well and there were no obvious losers so I've separated them out and given each of them their own pot and we shall just have to see how they do now. I could potentially end up with about 50 tomato plants but I figure that I will be able to re-home them if needs be. The lettuces proved to be more difficult to sort out however. I tried thinning the seedlings but they are closely packed and when you try and poke around to find the base of a small one amongst all the others you end up damaging them as they are very delicate. After swearing a bit and trying to think of cunning methods to employ I figured that the best way to thin them would be to eat them. So we are going to pick off a few leaves from the lettuces at the edges of the rows every day for our sandwiches which should thin them whilst at the same time providing us with an ongoing crop. Both the husband and I were tickled pink that we are able to harvest something from our garden so soon after planting it all out and we had to spend a few minutes proudly inspecting both the leaves and the finished sandwiches. The husband gets to eat them today at lunchtime so I shall have to remember to ask him how they tasted. Fresh baby salad leaves should be yummy.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Birthday treat

My birthday present from the husband was part 1 of the course of 'Design your own knits' which I attended last Saturday at the shop Get Knitted in Brislington/Bristol. I won't go on about the course too much as it was only covering the basics of converting tensions into sizes and that kind of thing but I simply have to enthuse about the shop. It was easily the biggest knitting store I've been into in this country. John Lewis has knitting sections that get pretty big but they don't have the same kind of range as this store. So great range, spacious arrangement, comfy sofas to stop and have a sit down on, free tea, coffee and filtered water, free biscuits and sweets (!), toilet, huge pattern section, amazing range of needles and accessories inc. all the hard things to find like knitpicks, wooden dpns & circulars and massive range of wool (I did mention that already but I really was astounded- they even had some of the more hard to get American yarns in store and in large enough quantities that you got to choose the colour you wanted! For example, both Lorna's Laces and Wildfoote could be found in store!!!). The prices aren't cheap but rather are fair if that makes sense. It's not somewhere I would go looking for bargain wool but if I had money to treat myself or wanted something in particular to fit a pattern then this is the place to shop. I'm a bit against their website as I don't find it the easiest to navigate and it's very pink which gets my back up before I've even begun but I can see myself tootling off for a day trip in the car to the store sometime soon as it only took a couple of hours to get there.
I will report more on how the course went in a separate post as I want to put up a couple of pages of my sketches to help explain what I'm going on about!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Dr Who + Knitting = Upset BBC

Guardian article
The Australian article
The Sun article(!)
And finally, get the inside scoop from the person in question (not that it is all that enlightening if you read any of the three articles previous to this).

For those of you that can not be bothered to read through all the stuff above and want to know what on earth I have gotten myself all excited about then let me enlighten you.
Basically what happened was this: Avid fan creates Dr Who characters (from new series) using their gift of knitting. Patterns were posted on the Internet for free but covered by the legal bit of thingy that means you couldn't sell the pattern or the stuff you make from it so as to preserve the BBC's intellectual rights. Some twit then sells a pattern or toy and BBC (rightly so) get a bit cross about this BUT in a typical over-reactionary fashion they then tell said person to remove all their patterns from the Internet. And it's not even like they where all that great- I mean they were cute and you could tell what they where if you'd ever seen the program but not to the point where they were exactly like the program.
It's all very, very, silly.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Must cheer myself up

Stupid woman that I am. I promised myself that May would be a good month- there are so many fun things to be doing and stuff we have planned that I shouldn't be feeling down in anyway. Maybe I just need some more caffeine or a chocolate bar or something. Whatever it is I shall now go out and hunt it. I'm bored of feeling miserable!

Saturdays child

Humph. I have the gloomies today- I think out of nervous anticipation of my birthday on Friday which is going to be crap, I just know it is. I have come to dread my birthday. Not because of any silly regrets about getting older (though my 25th was a bit of a shocker on that front) but because for some reason, my birthday is really important to me. I've never really understood where that feeling came from but it's stuck with me no matter how much I try and tell myself that it really is just another day of the year. My defence tactic so far has been to try not to expect anything to happen- or try to expect that only awful things will happen as that way I can't be disappointed. And I really do have the worst of luck on my birthday. For someone who isn't really all that lucky normally I seem to have even less on my birthday if that is at all possible. So I've stopped arranging parties or planning things to do though none of this stops me getting excited for some weird reason. Which has made me all upset as I sit here and despair of the whole thing and my brain descends into little sinking circles to the point were I just want to crawl into a big hole and die.
And this happens every year, without fail. I end up feeling crap about myself for a week. It's like my gift to myself though why I can't just buy myself some flowers or something I don't know. They would be much more appreciated!
I blame the parents. If they'd had more forethought and planned better I'd have been born on a different day to Saturday (I've been haunted by the childhood rhyme 'Monday's child' ever since I first learnt it) though I guess it's better than a Wednesday birth!. For those of you that need a refresher on this:

Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child works hard for a living
And the child that is born on the Sabbath day
is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Oh, and the best bit

From the weekend was getting to spend half an hour in the wool section of the John Lewis on Oxford Street. It's not their biggest ever (the one in Kingston is better) and I didn't buy anything but it is great therapy for nerves.
Also I checked out the price of bamboo knitting needles. They only had pony ones (not as good as clover) but they were about £4 a pair which makes my other recent win even more pleasing. Did I mention this yet? I won a complete set of 12" Clover bamboo knitting needles from Simply Knitting. It was 18 pairs in all! And I only bought the magazine on the recommendation from a friend in my knitting group and entered the competitions on the last day that they were open for.

What a wonderful weekend

I have just had a lovely, lovely weekend :p
Saturday was spent doing some work in the garden in the morning. We managed to smash up the very badly done brick patio bit at the back of the garden and take all the rubble to the tip. The tip was blessedly empty of grumpy people and we managed to get in and out in two shakes of a lambs tail. We had lovely lunch sat out in the sunshine and then went for a quick trip around Headington in order to postpone the trip to Tesco's as it was reported as being very busy by the neighbours. We must have left it just long enough as by the time we got there the crowds had thinned out nicely. In fact everything set itself up so that we had an easy, relaxed and productive day in the sunshine. It really was too nice- the kittens thought it was the best thing ever as there were tons of bees to chase and we were at home to make a fuss of them whenever they wanted.
Sunday was an excitement as I was off to London for a free make-over and photo shoot. I won a competition on-line(!) which was quite bizarre as I don't win things and I only entered it in order to get entries to another prize draw. I didn't really give a thought to what would happen if I won the make-over day! So I was more than a little surprised to find that I had won it but figured that it was free so what the hey, might as well just go for it. I booked it as close to my birthday as I could get so that I'd get to see some friends (am not organising a party- experience has taught me that it's not worth bothering with- I really am unlucky normally so I have no idea what has prompted the recent lucky streak that I'm going through but I'm not going to count on it in any way!) and after some minor skirmishes over who could and couldn't come I managed to round up a group of ladies for the event.
We had our make-up done first though there was less of the consultation bit than I would have liked. Not that my make-up wasn't fabulous but it would have been nice to receive a bit of advice on what colours would suit my skin tone etc. But then I don't really think that the company was set up for that as the emphasis was more on the photo shoot bit than the pampering beforehand. I got great purple eyeshadow which I was very pleased with though the concealer and powder they used on my skin was so thick that it blotted out my freckles. I was particularly chuffed with my hair however as they put it into big loopy curls that I got to bounce around for the rest of the afternoon and I still have them now. I paid very close attention when it was being done in the hopes that I will be able to replicate it at home as it only needs some straighteners (I find it weird that they would use straighteners to make curls- anyone else with me on this???) and touch of hairspray to finish.
We then had our pictures taken about twenty million times. It was quite good fun once we'd kinda gotten into the grove though the poses felt really unnatural to me and so I didn't look all that comfortable in most of them. We were given the opportunity to purchase them at the end but they were quite expensive (as suspected) but I treated myself- well, the husband really, to one as I was really pleased with it. It's the best picture I've seen of myself in ages (since I got married in fact) and it's nice to have at least one for posterity. I gifted it to the husband as an early wedding anniversary present. If I'm feeling brave then I will put it up on my blog at a later date. The other girls had some lovely photos as well and two of them also bought pictures of themselves that where absolutely cracking. If I had lots of money then I'd have been tempted to get some group shots done- or go back with other friends or family for some fun pictures but seeing as how my money tree has failed to take root I guess I'll just have to keep using my own inexpert hand. I had been really worried and anxious (it's not really me after all) about the whole thing beforehand but I'm really glad that I went. It's not an experience I'd have bothered organising otherwise because of the cost but it was nice to do it just once.

Friday, 9 May 2008

It was so good

The gig last night was AMAZING! There was a relatively tiny crowd so I got to stand right at the front with free space all around me. I can't believe it didn't sell out- but then I don't think it was well publicised. Not that I mind in the least as it was the best gig I have ever been to (and that's saying something).
Also, I had the best opportunity I have ever had to meet Jesse but completely chickened out of the whole thing and had to remain at a good 10 metres distance or be sick. But the wonderful husband went up, bought me a t-shirt and got it signed for me. It's now hanging up in the bedroom at home so that when I lie in bed in can see the writing on the back. But it's okay as I figure that I can sort of work up to it as I'm going to be going to Jesse's gigs as long as he keep playing them.
In the meantime I shall continue to worship at the alter from afar.
Mmmmm, look at the beautiful man....

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

I'm so excited!!!

I'm going to see Jesse Malin play at the Carling Academy (argh! I hate the fact that it is now the Carling Academy- I shall have to revert to calling it the Zodiac-that-once-was or I shall go mad!) tomorrow night. I've spent the whole day listening to his latest album to make sure that I know my lyrics in anticipation for an evening of singing along with the gorgeous man. AH! Yum! This will be the 4th time I've been to see him live. He's just so good on stage. And so yummy. And he makes me feel as though he is singing just for me.
I could just melt...
(big sigh)
I have no money for buying t-shirts or any of that malarkey but I am taking the adult view on the situation and thinking fuck it. I'm sure the credit card will stretch.
Just typing about it is giving me the shivers. Had better go and try to control my excitement ;p

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Isle of Skye

From our Easter holiday this year. It was one of the few moments of sunshine that we had whilst on Skye and it happened to occur whilst we where in a particularly pretty part of the island. This one has to make it into the top ten of my favourite photos from the trip.
I felt obliged to take this photo seeing as how it had lined itself up for the shot so well!

And this is the view out from Plockton which is (one of) the place(s) that the series Hamish MacBeth was filmed. The house at the front of the little group you can see in the distance is the one that was used as the police station (I think- I mean, it looks just like it after all!).

I'm posting this for you

yes.... you know who you are!
And for the rest of you who have no idea what on earth this picture is about then let me tell you that it's a piece of creative genius, dreamed up by a friend and penned by myself.
This fab bit of art is entitled 'Cockroach Swimwear Model'.
The original drawing can be purchased for £1,000,000 (or two toffee crisps).

Bank Holiday Weekend

I have just had a lovely lovely weekend- and what did I do with my time? I did some gardening. Yep, that's about all I did and I LOVED it. The husband and I did lots of terribly grown up things like cutting the grass, going to the dump, stacking bricks, digging in compost and laying out the vegetable patch. It made us feel as though we had done a lot with our weekend even though in terms of number of hours spent working the total was quite low. We managed to have a lie in every morning, followed by a slow lunchtime start. We then spent the afternoons in the garden enjoying the small amount of sunshine that we had. We finished at about 7 each evening, had some dinner, fed the cats and then settled in to watch the telly and play cribbage.
Cribbage is a relatively new fascination for us. I bought a pegging board for the husband the other weekend when we where doing our monster charity shop run to say thank you for coming to the shops with me. The only reason he wanted it was because some of the Red Sox players play cribbage. Anyway, so we invested in a pegging board and then spent a few hours puzzling through the rules. We then gave up on cribbage until a friend of ours popped over on Friday night and taught us how to play (bizarre twist of fate there). We are now temporarily addicted to cribbage and have been playing on and off all weekend. The best thing about it is that the games do not take too long so you can sit down for a quick game and get up again within twenty minutes- it doesn't just suck your life away like a lot of the other games that we end up playing.
Anyway, that aside.
So the garden is looking great- with any luck we will be getting a ton of veg out of it though I can imagine that it will all come at once and we will be forced to give most of it away (I mean, just how many leeks can one person eat in a week?). All of my tomatoes, lettuces and cucumbers have now sprouted so we should have a bit of salad stuff as well. The gourds that my mum gave us (purely ornamental) are doing well though I think they'd do better in a more sunny position but I used that for the veg so they'll just have to struggle on. I will make sure that they get fed lots to try and encourage them along a bit as I really want them to grow up and under the outside porch bit on strings as I think it will look cool. I've done a quick map of the vegetable plot so that y'all can see what we've got going down. Whether it all grows or not we shall just have to wait and see!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Friday is a glad day

Yay! The weekend is nearly with us. Just one more day of work to get through and then I can go back to sleep. I have been needing a lot of sleep this week for some reason. Mostly because I have been feeling sad a lot which becomes quite wearisome after a while. Not sure why I have been feeling sad either - maybe I have just been struck by the melancholy but either way all I have really done this week is work, knit a little and sleep. I went to bed at about nine both wednesday and thursday night with a hot water bottle and I keep waking up feeling almost as tired as when I went to bed which is the annoying part of it all.
All of this makes for quite a boring post I have to say. The only really notable thing that I have done that I can think of is turning out to vote yesterday evening. It was quite uneventful however. Turn up, give number, give address, take paper, tick box, fold paper, post vote, leave. One good thing though was that I bumped into one of my friends from my knitting group who had been away ill. I got to see that she wasn't dying and heard all about her planned trip to Venice. She and her husband are going by rail which sounds lovely. I've always had a fancy to do the trans-Siberian or orient express routes. Just think of all the knitting that you could get done whilst the scenery travels by. I always picture that kind of journey in a very 1930's black and white style. How romantic, sigh, but then common sense kicks in and tells me that I'd get bored after a while. Maybe I'll just stick with the fantasy...