Thursday, April 30, 2015

live fast, die young...


I'm over halfway through and I haven't been sitting doing this all day.  Just call me Speedy Beady!  (And excuse the awful photo again - I snapped it on my phone in the pre-bed half light, hardly ideal beading conditions!)

Jesus, what am I doing with my life?!  This is one of those projects that makes me think that thought repeatedly.  I mean, really, why am I doing this?  Who knows?  Though I often think that about reading (because when you die your brain and everything in it will be lost*) and I still carry on doing it.  But I'm starting to really enjoy fiddling with beads and skinny needles and thread.  And now that the beaded area is getting bigger, it's reminding me of the time my sister and I went along to the Antiques Roadshow with my granny and she had a beaded Virgin Mary which turned out to be worth quite a lot of money.  Then she left it at a petrol station on the way home.  Somehow, it got returned to her at a later date, though I can't for the life of me remember how...  

I'm thinking of embarking on some crazy ambitious bead project once this one's done.  Probably not the Virgin Mary, but something equally ostentatious, naturally!  I'll make sure all my beads are the right size first, though.  All these are meant to be the same size, but the white ones are massive and the black ones are tiny.  Well, really it's not even a mm of a difference, but it definitely has an effect on the uniformity/density, as I'd feared it would.  The row with almost all green beads (about 2/3 of the way down) is how it should look and would look if my other colours were as reliably consistent.  I guess the real test will be when I take it off the loom.  Hopefully it doesn't collapse or go irredeemably wobbly in the black sections.

I think I'll finish this before the week's out.  Watch this space!

* It's morbid thoughts like these that have pushed me into this sort of occupational therapy, my own equivalent of basket weaving.  It really helps.  It's probably unhealthy distraction/denial, but in a way it's kind of close to mindfulness, which is the psychology buzzword of the moment.  I'm a natural at this crap, obviously - pointless crafts and self-prescribed pop psychology...

taking it slow

Now can you tell what it is?!

I'm picking up speed at this beading thing, but it is still very slow.  But it's quite nice to switch off and take my time with something kind of pointless.  It's either classic avoidance/procrastination or first-rate occupational therapy.  I no longer think it will take me all year to finish this.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

make it quick, make it slow

 Dulcie has been at my mum and dad's this morning and, in a bid to make sure today was better than yesterday, I decided to do some making in my new craft corner.  First of all I made these mix-and-match fridge magnets for Dulcie using a heads and tails game I found in a charity shop and some magnetic tape, also found in a charity shop!  I'd been planning to make these for many moons, but seeing a similar project in Jane Foster's new book spurred me into action at last.  They were so quick and satisfying and are really cute.  I hope Dulcie likes them.
 Once I'd warmed up with that little activity, I embarked on the first of my Craftathon 2015 crafts.  Yeah, remember Craftathon 2015?!  I might be slow off the mark, but I'm making a start at last and tackling bead weaving.  Bead weaving?  Beading?  Loom beading?  I don't know what you call it, but making things with beads and threads on a loomy type thing.
This make is SLOW!  And very fiddly and a little bit frustrating.  Plus I have no confidence that it will work because the black beads are much smaller than all the other colours for some reason (annoying) and I expect that will make it go wonky.  Ah well, I'm giving it a bash anyway, though I have a feeling this might take most of 2015 to complete and will it be worth it?  Probably not.

Can you tell what it is yet?  I know one person who might be able to guess.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Grrr!  I hate getting outbid on eBay.  This vintage pegboard was intended to play a part in our wedding but I was gazumped at the last second.  I kind of had my heart set on it, but it sold for more than I would have paid and even the (surprisingly expensive) new versions still look pretty retro, so I guess we could get a new one.  That's some consolation, but bah!  And all this in the week I realised I will never fit in my intended wedding dress, a beautiful '50s number in need of some TLC.  Let's call the whole thing off!

You may wonder what part a vintage pegboard would play in a wedding, so I guess now might be as good a time as any to start sharing some details of our nuptials.  We are tying the knot in Jaconelli's cafe, where we've been going since pretty much day one of our relationship.  It's special to us because of that, but is also special for the fact that it's a beautiful old-school cafe that's barely changed since the 1960s.  And their cooked breakfasts/coffee/ice cream are pretty special too!  We always joked we'd get married there if we ever tied the knot, but when we stared thinking about venues, we both felt that really would be the dream one for us.  We weren't sure how the owner would feel about the idea but he literally could not have been happier and has been so enthusiastic and accommodating already, which has added to our own excitement and happiness.  Jaconelli's won't hold many guests, but we are planning to invite plenty of friends to join us at our flat afterwards.  Yes, our flat.  I still can't decide whether we're geniuses or maniacs...  So most of our wedding planning so far (other than booking the registrar, buying a dress that doesn't fit and spending too much time on Pinterest) has involved working on the flat, trying to make it fit for visitors by August.

I think that's enough wedding chat for today, yes?  But do let me know if you happen to have an old pegboard that you're looking to get rid of.  Thanks :)

P.S. Look here for a photo of Baby Dulcie of the past in our future wedding venue!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

swim sunday #16

(This crochet pattern available here.)

Lengths swum this week: 38
Target total this week: 870
Total lengths swum: 876 (6 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 47 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

Just one mini swim this week since I've been feeling rubbish.   I still am, so I suspect I might fall behind this week, but I'll do my best not to.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

crafting a crafty space and crafting in it

 Part of our ongoing work in the flat, and our most recent "accomplishment", has been to repurpose what was once our bedroom into a craft/music/play/laundry/spare-bed room.  My craft corner in said room is still a work in progress, but it's getting there.  I should have taken a picture of it before I'd pulled so much stuff out today.  It's tidy again now and I hope to be able to keep it that way, though it doesn't seem likely, given my track record.  Anyway, today I actually did some crafting in there for the first time, and you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs!
 I've made loads of these pointy kitties in my life, from a free pattern by Hillary Lang, but I hadn't made one in a long time, not since Dulcie's first birthday.  The one I made today is a birthday present for Dulcie's friend who happens to be called (wait for it) Kitty.  Yeah?  You see what I did there?  We've known about the birthday party for over a month and I made this with just 48 hours to spare, but that's quite organised by my usual standards.  Honestly, I can't believe I've made it at all.  I'm so glad not to be doing a last-minute present dash and buying something that makes me feel queasy for the environment...even if the kitty has turned out a bit weird looking!
I even managed to try out this nifty needle threader today.  I got it in my advent calendar from my sister.  It's a strange contraption, but boy is it good at threading needles!

It was really quite relaxing to craft in a dedicated crafting space today.  For the last couple of years I've been dragging supplies and equipment out of storage and into the kitchen every time I wanted to make something, knowing I might have to clear it all away before I was finished.  There's still a lot of organising ahead of me, but already getting this job half-ticked off the to-do list has improved our quality of life.  Dulcie and Graham are loving the new multipurpose room too.  Progress? Progress!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

the castle captured me

I'm off work today, still feeling heart ill.  But really, I couldn't have wished for a nicer day as I've spent almost all of it reading I Capture The Castle.  If you've read it, I'm sure you'll understand how it could make even a day of illness so spectacularly wonderful.  I'm almost a bit sad to have read it, as it means I'll never have the joy of discovering it again.  And that's always a good sign.  I LOVED THIS BOOK! I loved it, I loved it, I loved it.

Thanks for the recommendation, Lynsey :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

what we did on our easter "holiday"

 This Easter was rather low-key as I was working the whole weekend.  Graham and Dulcie went to visit Graham's parents on the Sunday, and squeezed in a trip to Erskine beach while they were there.
 Dulcie had a great time, as you can see, and so did Graham.  We're still finding sand in Dulcie's boots, even now.
 Meanwhile, I spent my Easter weekend with...
..this lady!  It's Aughra from The Dark Crystal.  I spent a fair proportion of Easter weekend subtitling this film.  Let me tell you, there are worse ways to earn a living!  The Dark Crystal was the first film I ever saw at the cinema (when I was probably about Dulcie's age) and whenever the film is mentioned, my mum always casts up the fact that, when Aughra first appeared on screen, I said, "Mum, that lady looks like you!"  Oh, my poor mother...  I think it was probably the hair.  Head hair, not facial hair.  Ha!
 I wasn't entirely un-Easterish, though.  Dulcie and I drove through to visit my mum and dad on Good Friday and they'd prepared an egg hunt in the garden, complete with a book of clues and everything.
 Dulcie had a great time.  And plenty of chocolate.
And I'm sorry, but how ridiculously cute and cutely ridiculous is that hat?!  Dulcie found it in a charity shop and it didn't take much persuasion for me to part with my 75p!  She's not always in a hat-wearing mood, but I like to make the most of it when she is :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

freckle face

I keep mentioning how much I love Dulcie's freckles. Well, here they are. She seems to sprout a new one every couple of days, each one sweeter than the last. 
 Freckles, I've discovered, are impossible not to kiss. LOVE THIS FACE! LOVE THIS GIRL!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

swim sunday #15

Lengths swum this week: 56
Target total this week: 816
Total lengths swum: 838 (22 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 32 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

I'd hoped to do more this week but the pesky heart got in the way and I had to take it VERY easy from Tuesday onwards.  I've been feeling a bit better as of yesterday, though, so hopefully I'll be back on top of my game next week and will manage to stay ahead.

Swimming cap advert found here.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

sunshining day

Such a sunny day in Glasgow today!  We ran a few errands on foot in the morning, then had a picnic and a bit of a romp-around in the Botanics in the afternoon.  So easy to have a nice day when the skies are blue :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

local wildlife

Remember the Tunnocks teacake bird Dulcie and I found a few weeks back?  We took a walk to see him on Friday and found that this squirrel had ousted him!

Thank you to whoever is making these.  Wee glimmers of thoughtful fun like these make milling about with a toddler lots of fun :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

taking stock

 photo DSC08976 2_zpsgefjkxye.jpg
 I've been feeling a bit better lately (I'm crediting my new fitness regime) but have had a blip today and am feeling really quite ill.  Fortunately, my mum is on hand to take care of Dulcie so I'm having a low-energy day at home on my own.  I can't say I'm really enjoying it (I'm so frustrated!) but it could certainly be worse.  I thought I'd try my hand at one of Pip's Taking Stock lists so that I might feel my time sitting around had been something slightly closer to productive.  Here goes...

Making : a big warm dent in the couch

Cooking : red beans with coconut and cashews (a household favourite from this book) if I can summon the energy

Drinking :  Green tea at work, fizzy water with pink grapefruit squash at home (and prosecco on Friday nights, naturally)

Wanting: to do all the jobs I had planned for today

Looking: for the perfect mid-century sideboard

Playing: Crazy Chefs with Dulcie

Deciding: to take it easy today

Wishing: for more hours in the day and the energy to put them to better use

Enjoying:  the sense of achievement driving (even with its disasters) and swimming (even though it is at snails' pace) are bringing me

Waiting: for Dulcie to come back from my mum's house

Liking: the fact that Barry Manilow has been married to a man for ages

Wondering: if I'll fit into my wedding dress by August

Loving: Dulcie's freckles

Considering: whether or not to do anything for my forthcoming birthday

Buying: a very expensive vintage shelving unit from eBay. Gulp!  (See photo at top of post)

Watching: today, Come Dine With Me, but generally Wolf Hall and Toast Of London and Inside Number 9

Hoping: to feel better tomorrow

Marvelling: at modern medicine

Cringing: at my driving mistakes (and also at tiny socially awkward moments from 1985 to the present day for some reason)

Needing: to order a repeat prescription

Questioning: my friend about the contents of her Ugandan lunch (cabbage, matooke, groundnut sauce and rice)

Smelling: shampoo and soap (fresh out of the shower)

Wearing: comfy clothes that I wouldn't be seen wearing in public

Following: a trail of plastic dinosaurs and Moshis around the house

Noticing: how much easier it is to fill these things in when you're not so depressed

Knowing: I've spent too much time on the computer today

Thinking: of taking Dulcie to France for a long weekend and then organising and booking it immediately! Exciting!

Admiring: my super-strong legs

Sorting: my new craft corner

Getting: fitter

Bookmarking: does Pinterest count?  If so, food, decor and crafts I'll probably never get round to doing

Coveting: babies/other people's lives/good health

Disliking: feeling rubbish when I'm doing everything I can to feel better

Opening: a lovely parcel from Jane Foster

Giggling: more than before

Feeling: very ill today, but generally better...and also quite pleased with myself :)

Snacking: less

Wishing: this category didn't appear twice

Helping: Dulcie work out what day it is and walk along walls

Hearing: the washing machine going round and round

(This Taking Stock list is from Meet Me At Mikes.  You can copy and paste a blank one from there if you fancy joining in.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

more make-do mothering

 When Dulcie jumped in a puddle and got soaked right through to her pants but wasn't ready (or willing!) to go home, I fashioned this stylish asymmetrical skirt from her cardigan.
It kept her perfectly decent and she was able to run, jump and climb her way through a whole afternoon's fun in it.  Plus it made me feel like a Great British Sewing Bee contestant.  Whoop!

I realised later that this was not the first time I'd had to do an emergency cardigan transformation for Dulcie.  They do grow up fast, but some things really don't change that much :)  

[Translation: I'm still mothering on the hoof and probably always will!]

Sunday, April 12, 2015

swim sunday #14

Lengths swum this week: 60
Target total this week: 762
Total lengths swum: 782 (20 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 34 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

An 11th-hour swim (this morning!) saved the day.  60 lengths = 1500m and it took me about an hour.  That means I'm up there with the elite world champions and record holders!  Impressive? It would be if I was 100 years old...

Friday, April 10, 2015

having a good day

It's only nine o'clock and already my day is off to a great start.  I just found out I am the lucky winner of Jane Foster's blog giveaway this month (and they say lightning never strikes twice!) and my prize includes this book, which I'm very excited to get my mitts on.  Hooray!  Other plans for the day include returning our library books (hoping they'll let me off with the fine...) wandering about in the sunshine, squidging glitter glue and visiting the play park.  Got to be good, right?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

sometimes money can buy happiness

Since I bought my car, I've gone a bit spend-crazy, getting bits and pieces for the house.  The floodgates have opened/the moths are flying free!  I had lusted after this rug for a very long time, but never thought I was the type to spend so much on a...rug.  Turns out I am that sort now and I'm so glad!  Our living room is suddenly so cosy and homely and fun and snuggly and we ALL (cats and adults and children) feel very happy every time we're near this rug.  It's even changed the way Dulcie plays in the living room - no more pick-up-put-down-pick-up-throw-around playing, instead she sits and concentrates on one thing for ages, building towns, reading books, making up chat for her Moshis...  And she does enjoy a naked roll-around on it after her bath.  Well, wouldn't you, given half a chance?

This is actually a very special rug for another reason too.  Back in January, I proposed to the lovely Graham and he said yes.  I decided I didn't want an engagement ring, so this is my engagement rug instead :)

Big news, huh?  Graham and I have been having so much fun wedding planning and we're really happy and excited, as is our flower girl.  (Guess who!)  We're getting married in August.  I'll share some of the details soon (so much to share!) but in the meantime, feel free to have a look at the weddingy/party-y Pinterest boards I've been adding to with my sister and a couple of friends.

Monday, April 6, 2015

monstrous fashion choices

I'm often trying to think of simple but exciting crafty activities for Dulcie and I to do together these days.  She hasn't always got the greatest of attention spans (my three-year-old is a three-year-old, remember) and she can get frustrated if she feels the finished result is not that impressive.  With that in mind, this T-shirt was the perfect project for her.  I got this idea from someone's blog a LONG time ago, I think maybe from Sarah Dyer?  I can't quite remember, so please let me know if it was you and I'm not giving you the credit you deserve!
I cut the mouth shape from sticky paper and we used sticker dots for the eyes.  I helped Dulcie stick these on and then let her loose with the fabric pen, scribbling like a maddie.  I got her to peel off the stickers and add pupils, arms and legs.  Then Dulcie took it upon herself to add teeth (at which point I secretly thought she'd kind of ruined it!) and a toothbrush (which saved it again!) in his right hand.  Toothbrushing is pretty major in her life these days.  She is so proud of this T-shirt and loves wearing it.  I'm so proud of her toothbrush-drawing skills!  Check that out!

Even without adult intervention and the help of stickers, Dulcie's drawings are slowly beginning to resemble things, at long last.  This is her recent drawing of Elsa from Frozen...but you knew that already, right?!  Har!
P.S. If you're thinking of doing something similar, my fabric pens are a cheap pack from Ikea and they seem to be pretty good. This top has already been through a few washes and hasn't faded at all.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

swim sunday #13

Lengths swum this week: 50
Target total this week: 707
Total lengths swum: 722 (15 ahead of target and over halfway across the Channel!)

I'd need to swim 40 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

I'm very excited to be over halfway.  Of course, if this was the real Channel, things would just be getting harder and harder from this point on, but with my pretend Channel swim, it means I'm on the homeward strait (straight?) and it's definitely getting easier as I go.  I'm even getting swim cravings.  Oh, yes, I'm a swimmer now.  France, here I come!

I wish my local pool looked like a cat, though it would be harder to work out how many cat-lengths made the Channel...

Saturday, April 4, 2015


Drinking is a slippery slope.  Having not been drunk in over four years, one booze sesh has left me feeling the need to quaff a cocktail on the way home from the supermarket!  Goodness, the west end of Glasgow is a haven of fun opportunities when you don't have a child to factor in to the equation.  But, you know me really, even with baby-sitters, I was happy to stop at one and head home for a quiet evening in the house.  Couldn't have Friday night without Gogglebox, now, could I?
P.S. This dress was a wee £3 bargain from the Salvation Army.  I wasn't entirely sure about it, but it draws as many compliments as it does looks of horror and Dulcie LOVES it - she asks me to wear it, tells me how lovely it is when I do, and says she wishes she had one like it.  I've promised to give it to her as soon as she's big enough to wear it :)

Friday, April 3, 2015

my week in (and out of) motoring

  How insanely old does this clip look?!  It feels like it was only yesterday.  I suppose it was half my lifetime ago really.

My driving continues to be a trying experience.  I managed to add another notch to my automotive bedpost this week, bumping into another car while parking.  Again?!  Ugh!  Thankfully, my car came out of it the worst off, but I was seriously mortified and thoroughly ashamed of myself.  I even had a shame-faced mini weep over it last night.  Well, that and some other things, I've had a bit of a week of it really.  I just really need to have a decent stretch where I drive without incidence to boost my confidence.  Every time I start to feel all right about it, I do something stupid, piss other motorists off or mess something up, panic, bash cars willy-nilly...  Today I forced myself to woman-up and drive Dulcie to my mum and dad's house rather than chicken out and get the train.  It was my first motorway experience since my post-traumatic stress day of shaking and retching.  I did go the wrong way at one point and have to do a rather long detour, but other than that, it all went pretty well.  I'm giving myself a small pat on the back for not being defeated by it, but I've been home for half an hour and my teeth are still clenched and I feel quite queasy.  Hopefully the effects won't be so long-lasting this time.  I'm kind of torn between thinking only practice will make me improve and thinking I shouldn't even be allowed behind the wheel.  I am improving and it has only been a month. I need to keep telling myself that.

Other highlights of the week...?  Well, I got drunk for the first time in over four years, afternoon boozing with a friend to celebrate her birthday.  It was fun, but did confirm that I'm right in my decision not to do it on any regular basis.  I'm far too emotional these days to cope with the added influence of alcohol.  Saying that, there was much more giggling than there was weeping, but I'm not sure I enjoyed feeling like I wasn't really in control of myself.  But, hey, I've still got it!  Ha!

The day after that I struggled through work, then went to see the doctor about something and ended up being subjected to the sort of examination you really don't want to go through when you're hungover and a bit grotty.  Awful!  I'll spare you further details.  And then I ran from the doctor's to nursery to collect Dulcie who was in trouble for lying about the staff.  Gasp!  It's the first time she's ever been in enough trouble for it to be reported back to me.  I wanted to escape and deal with it later, but realised the staff expected me to do a public display of discipline and get an apology out of her.  Not what I needed right then!  But I did it, dragged her home and fell asleep immediately after dinner.  Zzzzzz!  Maybe I don't still have it after all, huh?

My life feels really weird at the moment.  It's great because I've given myself an almighty kick up the arse and am sorting things out that have been swamping me for years and being brave and proactive and positive and it feels good, but then when I come to blog (or even to chat to people) it feels like it's not quite my life.  I don't know how to represent myself any more.  Do you know what I mean?  I'm kind of doing the things that are right for me to do right now, but they're not making me a very interesting prospect for others.  I'm going to try and share some Dulcie photos here soon because I feel like I'm not doing a very good job of documenting her childhood these days and I do love having my blog to look back over.  Plus she's getting so many freckles (eeep!) and I gave her a fringe and she looks cuter than ever.  She's such hard work but I absolutely adore her.  Still glad she's having a sleepover at Granny's tonight, though :)

Dulcie's top conversation of the week:
Dulcie: These blackberries taste of dog poo.
My dad: What does dog poo taste of?
Dulcie: Blackberries.

Dulcie's inexplicable behaviour of the moment:
Absolutely EVERYTHING has to be called Ava.