Saturday, April 30, 2011

greatness in the palm of your hand

I made another treasury on etsy, this time called Greatness In The Palm Of Your Hand. I had noticed that quite a few of my favourite items had been photographed on hands and I liked the way they looked together. It wasn't very easy to find enough other items to fill the treasury up (and I had vowed to have the full 16 this time around) as I couldn't exactly use any specific search terms. This turned out to be a good thing though as I stumbled across so many nice items and sellers in my foraging that I might never have seen otherwise. I think I'll try to do more treasuries this way (the hard way!) in future. You can see the treasury in more detail/click on any items that take your fancy here.

In other news... Well, I survived wedding fever without feeling the need for a sick bag. I actually quite enjoyed the ten minutes that I watched and loved both the bride and the groom's outfits. The live wedding dress recreation was frankly rubbish when I visited, but that was pretty early on, so maybe they mustered up a bit more of a celebratory atmosphere later in the day? It didn't look as though they had any lace (just a large piece of cheap white cotton) which would surely have posed a bit of a problem in the dress-making stakes... [Edit: Just walked past the shop and saw the finished dress in the window and it looked brilliant - very like the real thing and with plenty of lace! So quick to judge...]

Just back from the vet AGAIN. Poppy is still refusing to take her tablets and while she is much better already thanks to her injections, she does still need to take the tablets to make sure the infection is totally gone. I now have slightly different tablets and a syringe, so fingers crossed we'll have a bit more luck. It was a different vet today. While she was having a very close look at Poppy's lady bits, she tugged on a bit of matted hair. Poppy was most unhappy about that and emitted a hiss from her bottom before doing a mini projectile poo at the vet. So that was kind of amusing. For me, at least! I don't think either cat or vet were too happy about it... Hopefully (for your sake and mine) this will be the last cat-at-the-vet story for a long while.

Right, off to syringe the cat and maybe go for a wander before going round to my friend's for dinner. I've been promised chickpea curry, which is one of my favourites, so I'm rather looking forward to it. Mmmm!

Friday, April 29, 2011

I don't (bleurgh!)

Lydia Leith's royal wedding sick bag (still available here and still useful as we all know it won't really be over after today) is my favourite of the royal wedding memorabilia. Is it possible to be sick from extreme boredom? I am certainly feeling pretty queasy already... Maybe I'd be more excited about it if it meant I got the day off work. I don't. To me it just means that there is nothing on the telly and the vet is inconveniently closed*. Bah humbug. That said, I might be popping in to see a royal wedding celebratory event on my way to work. A local craft shop near me has someone attempting to recreate the wedding dress live and in real time. Sounds like fun, though I'll do my best to look dour-faced about it all, of course!

*Poppy is refusing to take her tablets (I drip blood as I type this) so has had to go back for more injections. This meant a post-work sprint to the vet's after work last night to get her an injection before it closed for four long days. They do seem to be working though. There's been some purring going on and last night she returned to her usual night-time position by my feet. Right now she's licking half a pound of butter (today's failed tablet tactic) off her face and paws and scowling at me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

under the weather

I have a cystitis-ridden pussy. (Sorry, couldn't resist that!) I'm just back from the vet with poor wee Poppy who is feeling very sore and sorry for herself. She's had an injection and has antibiotics (each of which is approximately the size of her head) to take over the next few days... hopefully. Poor Pops. She's never had cystitis before. Lola has had it twice and made darn sure we knew about it with lots of crying and forcing us to watch her straining in the litter tray. Poppy, meanwhile, suffered in silence and we only discovered she was ill last night when we found an alarming amount of blood in her litter tray, which made me panic and feel stressed all day at work in case it was something more serious. Thank goodness it wasn't.

As well as having cystitis, she apparently eats too much. I told the vet that she was on a diet at the moment to which he replied, "Well, it's clearly not working, is it?" The cheek! (I resisted saying, "You think she's fat? You should see the other one!")

I know I should resist blogging about my cats and their problems with their lady bits, but getting a wee fright has reminded me how much I love them. Aw! (Plus this will serve as a useful reminder to me that I do indeed love them when I'm driven mad this week trying to administer the antibiotic tablets!)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

the ripple blanket is finished!

Ta-da! I finished the ripple blanket this afternoon! (Just to clarify, this IS the exciting news I promised, believe it or not...) I realised I'd only ever shown the blanket in progress on a white background, so you probably don't know what size it is. Here I am holding it for scale. Pretty big, huh? It really wasn't intentional, but I'm quite happy that it will be the sort of blanket a baby could lie on or share with its mum. This is not the end of crochet for me. I'm brewing a few ideas of different ways to use it on a slightly smaller scale. Exciting times! (For me.)
I've been making a little animation of the blanket as I went. Yes, I have been truly obsessed. The animation is a little wonky (a.k.a. shoddy!) but it's true to life, showing the varying degrees of light etc. as the blanket progressed. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Next time I crochet a blanket this big I will weave the ends in as I go. It took me three hours to do that this afternoon! It did leave a rather pleasing pile of wool scraps though. This blanket has given me a definite love of bright and clashing colours.
Loathe to tidy up, I was playing with some of the scraps once I'd finished and did a bit of macrame. I liked the way it turned out and have a little plan for this... Garish wool is obviously my new medium of choice :)

And would you believe that this post ticks off three of my craftathon 2011 crafts? There's animation, crochet and macrame. More of all of these to come before the year is out, I hope.

Now we just have to wait for the blanket's owner to be born. Five months and counting. I'm far too organised...

no scotch eggs

Sorry to bombard you with my over-sized head. As predicted in the last post, veggie scotch eggs were sold out. I could have cried (Graham was visibly relieved!) but bravely went ahead with the picnic anyway :( I was cheered up to find salt and shake crisps. They tasted just as rubbish as I remembered - one very salty crisp and lots of totally tasteless ones - but were still worth it. I got so excited when I saw the little navy blue salt packet!
I dined with Serge, who would never be seen without his shades and baguette. (Je suis tres desole, Serge!)
After copious amounts of sausage rolls, bread, cheese, cake, crisps, creme eggs and ginger beer, we took our swollen tummies for a wee wander around the glass houses to marvel at fish and plants.
I love the succulents.
They remind me of spirographs.
I especially like really fat fleshy ones like these.
I think I should get some for the flat. Could I keep them alive? I do not have very green fingers.

Since I got home... Well, that is for another post, but suffice to say I have some very exciting news! No, I'm not publishing a book. That's always the exciting news of craft bloggers, isn't it? Yawn. (Don't mind me, I'm just really jealous. No, really!) Anyway, it's not news on that scale, but I am excited about it, so I'm off to prepare the photographs and then I'll be back to tell all. Yippee! I bet you can guess if you think about it...

happy easter

Happy Easter! I've been saving this super-cute party pom-pom chick for weeks :) I don't normally do anything much for Easter and thought today would amount to sharing this picture and eating a creme egg (mmm!) but I think I may have persuaded Graham to go for a picnic, even though the weather is not all that nice. I'm planning (secretly, so don't tell) to get some veggie scotch eggs. I've been wanting to try them for ages and today seems like the perfect time. I bet they'll be sold out/taste disgusting. Ha!
I used Easter as an excuse to make my first ever treasury on etsy. To be honest, I found the whole thing rather stressful! These eight lovely things came from my existing favourite items/sellers and I though I could easily find another eight rabbits/chick/eggs, but there were soooo many rabbits/chicks/eggs on etsy that my eyes glazed over and I had to go for a lie down. I couldn't find any way to save my treasury as a work in progress (it was either delete or publish) so I opted to go for just these eight tip-top items instead of the usual sixteen. Next time I make a treasury, I will use a good old-fashioned pencil and paper to plan it and make sure I have sixteen things to share. I actually have a plan for a treasury - something that really entertains me, but is not at all searchable unfortunately - so I will try to start work on that soon.

I'm liking the more social side of etsy these days. Well, I say social, but it's not as though I have any direct contact with anyone. The circle feature is great though. If I find someone who has lots of things in their favourites that I like, I add them to my circle and etsy shows me via my activity feed whatever they add to their favourites as they add them. I have found so many great items/shops through this. I'm quite choosy about who goes in my circle, but not in a personal way. I guess it all depends what you want to use your circle for. Some people might want to add as many people as possible for the social networking side of things. I like to add people who 1) regularly favourite things that I like too and 2) don't go crazy favouriting too much. I've had to remove one or two people from my little circle because their favouriting was out of control and all I ever saw was activity from them, meaning I was missing out on the favourites from the rest of my circle. Hopefully I haven't offended anyone by their removal... I can't handle the social side of the internet. It's a hive of potential faux pas. I like to keep below the radar, man!

(Here I have deleted a whole other post about my facebook/twitter avoidance. Some other time, maybe...)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

feeling blue (in a good way)

On Thursday I was feeling guilty about being in the house/swimming pool/office so much and missing all the sunny weather, so I decided to go for a walk and take photos of zig zags (see last post). Of course, before I knew it, this walk had taken me to the door of a charity shop and then it seemed a shame not to walk a three mile round trip to visit pretty much all of them. Despite the vast numbers of charity shops visited, it was slim pickings. All I got was a lovely old embroidery book from the 1930s and a packet of wool needles for weaving all the end in on my ripple blanket. I did, however, go wild in the aisles of a couple of vintage/second-hand shops. I took a photo of this Sellotape tin in situ because I had decided to be sensible and resist it, even though it was very lovely and in the everything-is-a-pound box. "It's a bit rusty round the edges and what the heck would I do with it?" I thought. Ten minutes later, I was handing over my pound and taking this beauty home. You saw that coming, didn't you? Well, I nearly resisted and I only bought it because I was buying some kangaroo playing cards and some old postcards anyway... Yeah, that makes it worse, I know.
I also got this little top for my youngest niece in a wee vintage clothes shop, because it was far too adorable not to and I thought it would remind her of her Scottish ancestry. I mentioned this to the girl who was working in the shop and she looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I suppose it is a little bit like tartan..."
Obviously she had failed to notice the bagpiper on the front pocket! How cute?

Talking of cute clothes for little people, you actually HAVE TO visit The Miniature Knit Shop on etsy. I am now trying to persuade all the parents I know to have more babies so they can wear things like this.
(All images taken from The Miniature Knit Shop.)
These beauties are not cheap, admittedly, but they are undeniably cute and look to be very well crafted. The little knitted guns even come out of the cowboy's holster! Eep! I'd definitely recommend visiting the shop so you can see these in more detail. Seriously amazing.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

always something there to remind me

Everywhere I go...
I see patterns...
and shapes...
that remind me...
of a certain...
crocheted something...
which proves I'm still obsessed...
even if sore fingers...
are slowing progress.

I snapped all these while out wandering this morning because they all made me think of my beloved ripple blanket and I realised I hadn't shared an update for a while.
Here's where I'm at with it so far. I'm having to take frequent days off to stop my hands from getting too sore, but I'm still probably getting a couple of stripes done each week. It doesn't matter how many more stripes I crochet, I always seem to think I'm ten stripes from finishing. I'm still loving it, though colour selection is becoming a bit more stressful as the blanket nears completion...

Despite the fact that it's not too good for my precarious fingers, I definitely see much more crochet in my future once the blanket is done. I bought a book in a charity shop last week - my usual 1960s/1970s things you can make for your home - with lots of crochet projects including crocheted owl pictures. Oooh! Right, I'm off to do another stripe. Yellow, I think.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

acorn pins are here!


I've just listed these acorn pins in my shop! £6 a pop!

F is for fox (and frightened)

You may or may not have wondered why I was up so late blogging last night. This was because I had to stay late at work to subtitle motorcycle racing at high speed (the motorbikes, the commentary and my subtitling were all high speed). Whenever I have to stay late after a late shift, which would really be late enough even if you finished on time, I find it hard to get settled because I'll always have been doing something a bit stressful and urgent, typing so fast that smoke comes out of my fingers. Once I did leave blood all over the keyboard, actually, but that was I the days when my hands were really bad. No blood now, just smoke.

So that's the state of mind I was in. After blogging, I mooched around on the old internet and then went to bed and read a good Roald Dahl story, which I enjoyed even though it was one I remembered seeing on Tales Of The Unexpected. By this time it was 2.30am and I still couldn't sleep. Graham had slept in the spare room so I wouldn't wake him up when I came in since he had to be out early today, so I was able to put the radio on for a while without fear of disturbing him. So I was lying in bed on my own listening to the radio when I heard this strange screeching noise. I switched the radio off and the noise continued. It sounded a bit like that high-pitched screech cars make as they're driving along and something (I know not what!) is wrong with them, but it was a bit less mechanical. The noise went on and on and on and the cats appeared looking very freaked out and the hid under the bed. I started to worry that the noise was Mrs Nibbles (the rabbit in our back garden that I mentioned the other day) being tortured (horrendously tortured by the sounds of it) by a fox and went to the window to check. The cats followed me, but stayed by my feet and wouldn't jump up on the windowsill. I opened the curtains a smidge and peeked out, just in time to see a very large black creature cannonball across the back garden and crash into our fence. Even once they crashed into our fence the noise did not stop, not even once they had knocked the fence right down and gone into the neighbouring garden. One of my neighbours opened his door and stepped outside and instantly recoiled in horror. What did he see? (I don't know.) He stuck his head back outside and shouted loudly and the noise, which had been a constant screech for a full two minutes or so by now, stopped instantly.

It was just the freakiest thing ever. I can only guess it must have been a fox (or foxes) but the creature I saw seemed far too big and too dark to have been a fox really and it wasn't a typical fox noise, though I know fox noises can be disturbing. I can't think what else it would have been so I am trying to convince myself that is what it was, and not some sort of wolf from a fairy tale or a panther or...something else. Once the noise had stopped, Lola jumped up onto the windowsill and was still there standing guard when I woke up at 5.30 this morning. (Lola is good at knowing when we are in danger and has a proven track record of super-sleuthfulness.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, I didn't exactly settle down for a good night's sleep after that either. F is for freaked out too :(

roll up, roll up!

Image stolen (with permission) from here.

Ta-da! I say ta-da as if these wondrous creations had anything to do with me. They didn't, but there is something about this image that means no other introduction would be quite appropriate. How amazing are these? I especially love the strongman. I had been hankering after making a strongman for my nephew, but now I don't know if I could handle the disappointment when mine didn't look like this now.

These beauties were made in Melbourne by handmade romance, a talented lady with a lovely shop (check out the bearded bloke brooches) and blog.
You know, the more [craft] I see from Melbourne, the more I want to move there - I like to think of it as the Australian Glasgow, but then I have never been so can't really compare... And we all know it would be very foolish to move to the other side on the basis of a stuffed strongman. Don't we?! (But, oh, look at his bulging muscles and his hairy chest, not to mention his lustrous moustache and his anchor tattoo... And his eyebrows? Eep!)

I'm sure I have mentioned recently that my criticism skills are not to be envied,
and I'm certain you don't need me to explain the greatness of these circus dwellers, so I will say no more about them for now, other than one final, "Ta-da!" and a parting, "How great?!"

p.s. This is not the first time that I have featured a unicyclist on my blog. Ten points to anyone who can tell me who/what/why/when/where the other unicyclist is...and maybe even a prize since I'm still sending lots of nice mail in the hope that one day I receive some. My letterbox is truly fed up of bills and election bumph.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

down at the pool

This is the view from my favourite changing cubicle at the swimming pool where I have spent the past two mornings. As you can see, my swimming pool is a bit shabby round the edges, but in many ways is quite beautiful.
Most of the graffiti is not too pleasant (lots of young team shenanigans - sheesh!) but I didn't mind this wee scrawl so much yesterday. Polar bears are cool, after all.
It's been very nice to swim in the middle lane underneath the glass panels in the roof this week. The sunshine has been pouring in, making my back nice and warm and the water prettily patterned.
I do wish I could take some photos of the actual pool. Now that I can swim in my contact lenses, I see all sorts of great stuff that I would love to share.

These are some of the things I have seen just recently:

A Chinese lady in a pretty stripy, stripy swimming suit giving her husband a shoulder massage. He liked it.

A blind lady swimming up and down in dark goggles. She had over a third of the pool to herself (so that she wouldn't swim into anyone, I suppose) while the rest of us were squeezed into the remaining two thirds, trying not to kick each other too much.

A tidal wave coming over my head and making me cough and splutter after an elderly man belly-flopped into the deep end.

A young Glaswegian boy and an old Chinese man making friends even though the man didn't seem to speak English. They used hand gestures to make up new swimming strokes and then raced each other.

A very overweight lady who had a special dress to swim in.

Old men scrubbing each other's backs in the showers and shouting, "We're not gay! We're not gay!" as they did it.

Towels hanging on the fire exit rail underneath a sign saying not to hang towels on the fire exit rail.

Lots of tattoos.

A girl bossing her friend around, trying to teach her to dive without splashing.

The bossy girl's friend belly-flopping repeatedly.

A man wearing safety goggles and a clothes peg on his nose. He looked like he had raided his shed before he came to the pool.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

sabbath bloody sabbath

I have just read the best book ever - The Comforters by Muriel Spark. I do like Muriel Spark, but had never read this one and picked it up at random in a charity shop a few weeks ago. So glad I did! I don't want to say too much about it because it's probably more fun if the book takes you by surprise, but if you enjoy reading, then read it. I can't believe a) this was Muriel Spark's first novel, b) it was published way back in 1957, c) that means Muriel Spark's first novel wasn't published until she was 39. (Could there be hope for me yet? Er, I fear not.) Look, even Poppy likes it and she can't even read!
And just because Poppy was being so cute sunbathing on the windowsill, here's another photo of her. It's hard to get a nice photo of my cats usually, but, aw, they are lovely. They're on a strict diet right now, but I suspect they may have had two breakfasts today as they weren't very excited when I fed them. Oh well, it is Sunday, I suppose. In many ways, I am having the perfect Sunday, starting the day with reading in bed until I had finished this book because I couldn't bear the thought of rushing through the last few pages on the underground.
After a leisurely shower, the cats and I had fun watching the two squirrels who live in our back garden having a fight. Yes, I know this looks like they are humping, but to the best of my knowledge it was definitely a wrestling match. It's just a shame that the only photo that came out vaguely in focus was the one of them in a classic humping pose.
These squirrels have been entertaining me a lot this year. Even the way they nap in the tree is cute. Today I think they were looking for nuts. I have heard that squirrels don't keep track of where they bury their nuts (or whatever it is they bury/eat) and so just dig randomly until they find some and that is what they seemed to be doing today. They were pulling big tufts out of the grass. The one on his back here has a bit of grass and earth in his mouth and was not up for surrendering it. He took it off to the tree with him while the other squirrel went to visit Mrs Nibbles, the very nice rabbit who lives in a hutch in our back garden.

Quite idyllic and Sundayish, you see. I've just had a cup of tea with a roll and sausage followed by a roll and jam. Mmm, lovely Sunday. So why oh why do I have to go to work for ten bleedin' hours?! I had planned to walk, but I'm now running late and have to prepare dinner to take to work as well as hang up washing before I leave. This is probably because I spent all morning lying in bed reading a good book and watching squirrels in the back garden. Harumph. I repeat, harumph.
Oh well, to distract from that rant, here is a lovely mug that I saw but did not buy in our charity shop excursion this week. I totally would have bought it if it hadn't had a nasty great chip just where you would put your mouth to drink out of it. I've been thinking about Brownies quite a bit lately, not sure why.
I have a photo of myself in my Brownie uniform somewhere. I may try to scan it soon and share it here. I truly have no shame. Anyway, I really do have to get going to work now (roll on May when I have taken half the month off - hooray!) but those of you who do not work on sunny Sundays like today, can enjoy the Cardigans on my behalf. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath indeed!

Friday, April 15, 2011

scarborough, here we come!

After a long day's charity shopping (we are pooped!) we've just come home and booked a wee holiday to Scarborough for my birthday. Yippee! I can't wait! I wonder if we'll see Jimmy Saville again...

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've got a date with a hot man and a whole load of charity shops tomorrow and I can't wait! I was busy looking forward to it (while cleaning the bathroom - I do like to multitask, you know) when I remembered that I took this photo in the changing room of one of my favourite charity shops last month and then totally forgot to share it. This sign always makes me laugh, especially as it is in a shop staffed by the extremely elderly.

Hopefully I'll have some fun finds to share - touch wood - or at least a funny story to tell after tomorrow. Yippee!

ps All the bunting is made (phew!) and now I just have to make some acorn brooches, package up egg cosies to send to France and make toad in the hole before Graham gets home... Yikes. Why do days off go by so quickly when days at work seem to last for ever?

pps If you're about to watch EastEnders...don't! I had to subtitle it yesterday and swear I am suffering from post-traumatic stress as a result. Gee whillikins, I will be staying away from Walford for a good while longer yet. My nerves just cannae hack it!

not good enough... good enough!

"Not good enough!" is the phrase rattling around my brain this morning. I'm doing my best to fight it off and I thought sharing this treasury from a few weeks ago might help boost my morale as I was so pleased when I saw it. There's my Big Daddy lavender bags sitting pretty amongst lots of things that I love, love, love, which is a very nice feeling indeed.

The creator of this treasury also makes things that I love and that would help kick the butts of those "Not good enough!" monsters. Check this out!

The Instant Comfort Pocket Box! What a lovely idea, huh? I do indeed feel better already :)

Right, off to make some more bunting in a box and remind myself that someone favourited it overnight, which I can take as proof that it is NOT not good enough. Hmm, but before I go, it's kind of interesting how much your crafty self-esteem can be boosted/dented by comments and favourites/lack of comments and favourites, I think. Does it really matter? Here's a nice recent post about that from handmade romance who, coincidentally, is maker of one of the things I love in that treasury up there.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

laying egg cosies

This egg is now so cosy I wouldn't be surprised if a little chick popped out.
I made my other two egg cosies last night. Saturday night! Rock and roll! I can't remember the last time I actually did something rock and roll on a Saturday night, but crocheting egg cosies has to be a new rock and roll low.
You can see the purple one is a bit smaller than the other two. That's because my purple wool ran out two rows before the end. It's still big enough to cover an egg though and I don't have another colour of wool that Kim would like as much. Her favourite colour has always been pink, but it changed to purple just recently and she could even tell me the exact moment this change happened (when she chose purple trainers with flashing lights in a shoe shop in Elgin) so I really wanted hers to be purple. I gave her the pink duck as a sort of insurance policy though.

I can't tell you how much I love crochet. It just makes good sense. Now that I've seen how to make a ring and crochet into it and increase, I'm thinking there are loads of things I could make from this starting point. And no seams to stitch! I did another row on my blanket this morning, just to make sure that crocheting the egg cosies hadn't made me forget how to ripple. It was OK - I remembered. Phew! How ace that I have a new hobby?! Yippee!

Now I really am off to make some bunting. I did some boring preparations for it last night after egg cosying, so I am good to go and am not letting crochet take over absolutely everything. Just.