Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween

Happy halloween! Hope you have a spooky evening. I know I'll be having nightmares about the costume Noel Edmonds has been wearing on Deal Or No Deal all week... That show seems to be on TV more than is humanly possible and I am sure I did more than my fair share of subtitling it this week, shuddering at the sight of Noel every single time. I now don't have to go into work for over a week, however. Woo hoo! I'm on holiday! I just got home from my last day and ate (lots of) Chinese food with Graham. Now we are going to watch Psychoville with a glass of wine and then head to bed. Thanks to some neighbours having a very noisy halloween party in the back garden until all hours (including drunken flirting at shouting volume, which was admittedly quite amusing, and singing New York New York) I am very tired today. But I am happy. Amazing what the prospect of a week off does for your mood! :)

ps To elaborate on this happy vibe, I was going to watch tomorrow's EastEnders on my lunch break today because I so didn't want Janine to get squashed by a train and I just had to know what happened and know now, now, now. Lo and behold, I ended up having to subtitle it, so I got to see it and got paid for the privilege! It also means I have an extra half hour of free time tomorrow. Being on holiday rocks!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

cribbins does calypso

This week's gem from Brian Matthew's radio show - Bernard Cribbins singing Gossip Calypso. Who doesn't love Bernard Cribbins? I can't believe I had never heard this song before. It was just what I needed to cheer me up before heading to work for the day. I'm actually bringing you this song from my lunch break and listening to it again has almost taken away the pain of the JLS concert I've been subtitling. Maybe I'll be able to survive the rest of the shift if I can just keep this jaunty tune in my head.
Hooray for Cribbins! Hooray for Calypso!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a sneaky peek

Do you remember my winter pom-pom fetish* last year? Well, this year it's back with a vengeance, but I am determined that more people will feel the fuzzy love with me this time around. Here's a wee sneaky peek at something pom-pom related that I'm working on just to get your pom-pom juices flowing. I really am slaving away behind the scenes these days, but don't feel like I've had that much to show for it. I've got lots of projects on the go that are about 70% done so hopefully I'll have lots of fun new things to share here over the next couple of weeks. Hooray! For now though, I need to go and buy cake. Well, it IS on my to-do list after all.

* Now I'm looking forward to google analytics telling me how many people have found my blog by googling "pom-pom fetish"!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

no real news but quite a few shoes

To-do lists are so good for my brain and general well being. I made one recently for the first time in ages and felt a great sense of achievement ticking things off it. Here's my new to-do list for this "weekend". (Tuesday is the new Saturday. It's all very confusing.) I'm really just sharing my to-do list so you can see my spiffing new notepad. Isn't it lovely? I got it from Anke Weckmann (a.k.a. Linotte) who is one of my very favourite etsy sellers. It's just the right size for a manageable to-do list and will be perfect for writing little notes to pop in with parcels too. When I make to-do lists I like to add some really easy and enjoyable tasks so that I can feel efficient even during downtime. That's why watching Mad Men is on here - not exactly a task I admit, but I will still give myself a big generous tick when it is done :) You'll see I have only ticked off one item so far today (change sheets and tidy bedroom) but this was quite a big job, involving sewing on buttons, heaving around mattresses, doing 3 washes, hoovering, sticking old cinema tickets in an album, getting distracted by the craft-book shelf...
While I was tidying the bedroom, I realised that I should throw out these shoes. I was wearing them up until about a week ago and yes, that is my finger you can see poking through the enormous hole in the sole... I'm not very good at throwing things out, but these are in the bin now. Fortunately I got a new pair of boots from a charity shop last week, so will not be a shoeless wonder.
I don't think even this shop could have saved those shoes. I snapped this last week because I liked the before and after signs on the shoes. I was glad we stopped to look in this window (that we must have walked past hundreds of times) because it turned out to be rather interesting. As well as repairing shoes and making nameplates for your door, the people who run this shop will engrave a personal message onto a glass Irn Bru bottle! Genius!
This window display was not so genius, but still made me laugh. Can you see why? They obviously get a bit over-excited when a let is agreeed. I like to imagine the staff shrieking "Agreeeeeeed!" as the new tenant signs on the dotted line. Maybe they even have a special let-agreement dance.
I saw this transfer on a cot in a charity shop last week. My sister and I used to have these style of transfers on our bedroom door (and in our cot though I don't remember sleeping in a cot) when we were little. I had a total flashback when I saw it. Did you?
This photo is actually from a charity shopping day out in May, but I realised I hadn't shared it so I thought I may as well include it in this catch-all blog post. I love the random assortment of items on display. Graham and I love trying out the fitness equipment in charity shops, even though it nearly always ends in one of us falling off. When Graham tried out a similar fitness machine in a charity shop in France it nearly ended in death by balcony plummet. Health and safety standards are very different on the continent! ;)

Friday, October 22, 2010

the beautiful crafts book

The Beautiful Crafts Book
Sterling Publishing Company (New York) 1976
You can tell from the contents page (if you hadn't already worked it out from the cover and title!) that this book is going to be pretty special.
These are just a few of the examples of painted glass. Most of the projects in this book are painting related. That's a bit of a shame for me as painting is not one of my skills, many though my skills may be ;) I can still appreciate the ideas though and live in hope that my brush skills may improve with age and experience.
I want this bird table so much. The flowers really remind me of... something (any ideas?) and the roof is a beautiful colour and the bird looks like a fish. Awesome! Plus this garden looks nice and warm. I'm stubbornly refusing to put on the heating just yet and am fairly frozen today, despite the hot water bottle I carry around with me everywhere. I'm considering making a macrame neck strap for it. I'm sure I must have a pattern for a macrame hot water bottle neck strap in one of these books...
How incredible is this puppet?! I could see it making an appearance in the Clangers or something.
Here's a set of dominos made to fit inside a matchbox. Matchboxes and dominos feature heavily in my life these days, so of course I had to include this. We went charity shopping yesterday and found a huge array of domino trophies and medals and a really nice set of dominos. I was tempted to buy them (I get terrible pangs for obvious collections and always want to keep them together) but left them for a bona fide domino player. Hopefully.
Easter eggs, just one of many, many, many decoration ideas. I'm aghast at these eggs. In a good way. I'd go so far as to say that I'm flabbergasted by them. Yes, I am agog.
These are examples of painting on fabric and I love them! Well, I probably don't love the lampshade actually, but the lamp as a whole is good. The notebook with the pram is definite love though.
Painted napkin rings. Lovely. If you like these, I am sure you will love Ellen aka The Night Owl. Unfortunately her shop is closed for a holiday, but check back because she paints the cutest wooden items.
My painted stones have never turned out anything like this. I would like to get back into stone painting though... I have great crafty plans for 2011. I should add stone painting to the list.
I actually want these tea towels for my kitchen, the one on the left especially. They're made using stencils and fabric paints.
Here's some wall art. My own wall art is languishing in a darkened room unfortunately as our new shelves have stolen its spot. I'm determined to find a new location for it though. I am still very proud of it, even after all these years... It was one of the first things I ever blogged about. Look!
Wooden birds in a tree, made from scratch and not just painted.
And finally, wooden boxes painted to be super pretty. Hooray for The Beautiful Crafts Book!

Sorry for that rather whistle-stop tour of such a good book, but I have to get up for work in just over six hours. Ugh. Still kind of looking for my blog mojo, but am hoping I'll find it when I have a week off work (soon!) and then normal blogging service will resume.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

knitting and knotting

This week I have been knitting by the fireside and loving it. It's the first time I have knitted on circular needles (the best knitting experience I have ever had - perfect for someone who hates to purl) and today I finally conquered my fear and learned to knit on four needles, as you can see above. Turns out all the people who had been telling me how easy it was were actually telling the truth. I'm nearly finished this little project (but it's a present so I can't show you what it is) and may actually knit a matching item since I am enjoying the knitting so much. Having a working fire certainly helps. My life is all about the cosy right now.
Last night my friend Bernadette came round for a pyjama party, lured in by the promise of blankets, hot water bottles and the fire. At approximately 7pm last night, I actually found myself in the middle of the supermarket saying in all seriousness (before collapsing in a crumpled heap of shame), "But what if we finish our Tia Maria before the X Factor is finished?!" Yes, we spent the evening watching the X Factor and drinking Tia Maria in our jammies, but, as you can see from the picture above, we also did some macrame and made each other a friendship bracelet right into the wee small hours of this morning. We thought we had picked totally different colours from one another, but they were almost identical. As well as macrame-ing, we scared each other with talk of ghost stories and Bernie used her new-found psychic powers (and magic stone) to answer all our questions. Even the magic stone could only narrow the predicted X Factor winner down to a (long)list of seven acts, though f you watched it, you'll know that was no mean feat! All in all, it was a pretty classic pyjama party really.
Here's more evidence of the crafting and cosiness bug. At the moment I am only doing crafts that can be carried out while sitting in front of the fire, usually with at least one cat (Poppy in this case) for company. This was the snipping and trimming of the bazillion pinwheel brooch kits I've made. The colourful scraps look lovely, I think, and so do the finished items. Yay! My need to be near the fire is kind of limiting my creativity, but as we all know, sometimes limits open up new avenues - the rediscovery of knitting and macrame to name but two!
As well as hovering round the fire and tying numerous knots, I've also been busy making some changes to the furniture and layout of our living room with Graham, putting together new shelves from IKEA etc. The cats have been loving all the cardboard boxes this results in. Here's Lola making one into her new favourite bed. Isn't she beautiful? Sigh... It's the first time I've really set up home, if you know what I mean, and it's making me really happy. We're not quite finished yet, but it's all going well and the living room is such a nice place to be already.
Talking of cats, look at this lovely knitted lavender cat that arrived in a surprise package yesterday. My friend Lorna (who lives in London now, so I never get to see her) sent it to me for no particular reason, always the best reason to send mail. I absolutely love this cat! She has mismatched button eyes, blue eyelashes and has speckled pink knitted fabric on her back. Mrkgnao! She's feeling quite at home on our new shelves already and smells good too, which is where she has the edge over the real cats...
And to finish this totally random post, here's some nice graffiti I saw on the way home from the cinema this week.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

lorelei (ei-ei)

Oh dear. According to Spotify, I have been listening to Lonnie Donegan for almost 2 hours. I never thought this would happen to me... It's all because I heard (and loved) this song on Brian Matthews' radio show the other week. If you are ready to be turned into a Lonnie Donegan fan, press play and listen all the way to the end. I love a song with a story and songs about kissing, so this one was always going to be a wee winner for me. While listening to Lonnie Donegan, I have been putting together pinwheel brooch kits by the hundred. I guess I'm not ready to give up on crafting for Christmas after all...

p.s. I know I have mentioned Brian Matthews here before, but he really is the best thing about Saturday mornings and makes a perfect breakfast companion.