Wednesday, July 1, 2015

what not to do on the hottest day of the year

Back when my wedding wasn't less than two months away (how did that happen?!) I had great ambitions for just how handmade the whole shebang would be.  That's why today, I find myself learning how to make felt balls.  Yes, I'm playing with wool and a hot kettle on the warmest day of the year.  Well, it's not THAT warm really and I am wearing shorts.  We've got workmen in today, building the bookshelves I've wanted for well over a decade and I need to be on hand for creative/design purposes (not really - I just need to choose what size of shelves my books need etc.) so I figured something like this was as productive a use of my time in the house as anything else.  I'm sure the joiners think I'm crazy.  I often get embarrassed when I'm caught making things that your average person (myself included) would think was a colossal waste of time.

Part of my reason for making the felt balls myself, when they're only destined to become one of very many garlands that nobody will particularly notice, was because I wanted to try felting, but another major consideration was cost.  Well, it definitely is working out cheaper to make my own from scratch, but not significantly so and I don't think I'll ever complain about the cost of pre-made felt balls again.  These little guys are way more time consuming than I'd imagined and much harder work too.  Thank goodness I did all that swimming to get my arm muscles ready for this!

Here's hoping my other decoration plans are a bit easier/more efficient.  And here's hoping the finished result is deemed to be worth the effort.  Oh yeah, and here's hoping we manage to get everything done on time.  Did I mention these felt balls are pretty much the only wedding-related thing so far to get beyond the imaginary stage?  Stress!

P.S.  While this isn't needle felting (I'm doing wet felting like a felting pleb) I'm going to tag this post with Craftathon 2015.  And I'm pretty sure I'm going to have plenty of wool left over, so hopefully needle felting will happen before the year is out.  The felting process is definitely weirdly satisfying, so I look forward to exploring some more.

P.P.S.  I really missed a trick by not including some variation on the hilarious, "I felt balls!"  Oh, wait, I just did :)

Monday, June 29, 2015

switch off your tv set and do something less boring instead

Dulcie and I took the bus to Edinburgh last week in order to find this house.  Do you recognise it?  It's Great Aunt Lizzie's house from CBeebies' Teacup Travels, a very old-fashioned show about ancient history.  I mistakenly thought I'd seen this house not too far from us in Glasgow and foolishly mentioned it to Dulcie before googling and finding out it was in another city entirely.  Well, Edinburgh is not that far really and is full of friends I've been meaning to catch up with, so we hopped on the bus and set off, meeting my friend Lorna once we got there.

We knew the house was somewhere in Princes Street Gardens, but where?  After a few hours' wandering, we had found some ice cream, an amazing play park, plenty of sticks and insects, a bench dedicated to Hugh MacDiarmid, a giant boulder from Norway...but no house.  Eventually we gave up and set off for home, only to stumble across the house right beside the gate we'd entered the park by!  Thank goodness, after all that, that Dulcie was actually suitably impressed and it wouldn't have been half as much fun if we hadn't had to search for it.  We squeezed in a quick cuppa (with Dulcie inexplicably stripping off in the middle of the cafe) before jumping back on the bus to Glasgow.

So a totally random daytrip, but very enjoyable nonetheless.  It's nice that Dulcie's getting to an age where she wants to go on these mini adventures.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

swim sunday #25


Lengths swum this week: 72
Target total this week: 1360
Total lengths swum: 1360

Je l'ai nage la Manche! (Translation: I've swum the Channel!)

I completed my Channel challenge on Monday, with an epic 72-length swim and 8 days to spare!  Yippee!  Given where I was at with this a few weeks back, I can't quite believe I made it, but I totally did!  I've been feeling very proud of myself all week :)

Swimming 80+ lengths a week now turned out to be easier than it was to swim 50+ lengths a week in the beginning, so I'm going to attempt to swim back in four months rather than six, meaning I should land in "Dover" by Halloween.  Yes, I'm doing it all again.  While it would be nice to think I could swim aimlessly and achieve the same result fitness-wise, I know I need a weekly kick up the arse to keep me on track and motivate me, so, in the words of Edith Piaf, "Je repars a zero," which (I think!) translates as, "I start again from zero." Quite a thought...but, weirdly, not a bad one.

For the swim back, my weeks are going to run Wednesday - Tuesday, so I'll be calling my weekly blog updates Wet Wednesday, unless I can think of something better.  If I've done my sums right, I need to swim an average of 80 lengths a week, but I'm going to try to bank more in the early stages in anticipation of the fact that August's wedding will likely throw a spanner in the works.  Watch this space/the horizon!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

keep smiling through...

I feel bad to post this since Dulcie's been close to angelic for the last 48 hours, but this photo does kind of typify life with this particular 3.5-year-old at the moment, especially life on nursery days.  She knows what she wants and she thinks she knows how to get it :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

swim sunday #24

Lengths swum this week: 110
Target total this week: 1279
Total lengths swum: 1288 (9 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 72 lengths this week to meet next week's target...AND COMPLETE THE CHANNEL SWIM!

Sorry I blabbed mid-week and made this post even less exciting than it might have been.  I actually hoped to squeeze in another swim over the weekend, but it was not to be.  But yes, I'm all set to complete my Channel swim on time by the end of the month and I'm so excited!  It seemed all was lost a few weeks back so I'm glad to have pulled it back together at the eleventh hour.  
I was doing a lot of reminiscing in the pool this week and realised how much fitter I am now than I was in January.  I can swim faster and further with less negative side effects afterwards.  I'm also finding day-to-day life much easier - I'm definitely stronger and puffing and panting a bit less.  And, of course, my heart scans have been showing better results too.  It's all good, good, good.  Hooray for swimming!

I'll tell you about my post-Channel plans once I've actually completed the challenge.  Watch this space... :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

check this out!

I know it's not Swim Sunday yet, but I'm just saying...  Getting so close!  Fate may be conspiring against me (work has chosen next week to send me on a three-day first-aid course and my usual Monday night swim-sitter can't do it on the 29th) but there is no way this Channel will not be swum on time!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

lovely (does this blog post make me sound like an old lady?)

Dulcie came back from my mum and dad's yesterday looking very proud of this beautiful bunch of flowers she'd picked for me from the garden.  Honestly, I think they might be the nicest flowers I've ever had.  Dulcie has been telling me the names of some of these and pointing out the arrangement's best features.  So sweet.  When she doesn't know the name of one, she puts on the funniest over-the-top trying-to-remember face, hums and haws for a minute, then says, "I don't bemember. Can you tell me?"  Sadly, she really does know more than me about plants so I can't help her much!
The vase the flowers are in was a Christmas gift (via the charity shop) from my sister, very similar to a vase of hers that I love and also similar to one I saw in a French charity shop but couldn't fit in my suitcase.  The cards, with beautiful sentiments inside, arrived for Dulcie and I recently from a very dear friend, just because. 
I wouldn't class myself as materialistic, but thoughtful gifts like these really make my day :)