Thursday, 22 May 2008

Almost a nearly published photographer... kind of

I had a message in my flickr account this morning, telling me that one of my photos has been shortlisted for inclusion in the next edition of the Schmap England Guide.

There will be no fee if my photo's selected for inclusion, and many of the pictures they had for the last edition were hardly professional-looking, but nevertheless I'm chuffed. Very chuffed indeed. Yay me! I love the idea that from all the pictures on flickr, somebody looked at mine and kind of liked it. This was the photo...

I took it last summer at Blenheim Palace (near Oxford) on my miniviv (aka Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim).

In other news... I'm all pshyched for tonight's Eurovision semi final. I loved what I saw of Tuesday's semi final (I missed the first part because we were at pottery), and am absolutely thrilled that Boznia & Hertzegovnia are through to the final. J's making himself scarce tonight, so it'll just be me, the cat, Eurovision and a tin of lager. Awesome!

And tomorrow night... we're very, very excited about this... tomorrow night we will be going to our very first ballroom dancing lesson!

This will be us...

It will be fantastic, and we will prove to be naturals on the dance floor!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

So much to do...

I feel I've become very slack recently, both with my blogging and my crafting... So this morning I'm forcing myself to make a public note of where I am, what I've been up to, and what I want to do.

I am full of good intentions regarding finishing my unfinished - but newer, younger and shinier projects and activities keep attracting my attention. I am an activities / crafting / hobbies tart. I don't think I can help it. The best I can do is recognise my weaknesses and try to mitigate for them... or something.

The main work in progress is The Cross Stitch. It could have been long finished if I'd have continued with the same enthusiam that I had when I started. Of course, that level of dedication isn't really sustainable, and may have had detrimental long-term implications on the health of my neck, back and shoulders, my eyesight, and my relationship. But I haven't abandoned it. Here it is as of this morning, you'll notice that not much has really changed since my last post. But it will. For the coming week I pledge to dedicate a portion of time to the stitching every day.
(Edit: I pledge to try to dedicate a portion of time to the stitching every day.)

I'm afraid I have many, many hours of stitching ahead of me! :o)
Also above, is the bag I blogged about last week. It's getting there, but I'm caught in a cycle of knit/frog with the handles, which aren't quite working out for me. I want a cable pattern running the length of the handles, but I haven't settled on a pattern and width that I'm happy with yet. I may have another go at that this evening...
Below is my first attempt at embroidery. It isn't very even, elegant or refined, but I have an excuse already prepared - I didn't want to iron the vintage iron-on pattern my mum gave me, so I very cleverly traced it using and iron-transfer pencil, but I can't have pressed hard enough with the pencil because the transferred image is the faintest purple line I have ever seen in my life. Don't believe me? See for yourself! I was spending more time squinting for the line than concentrating on even stitches.
However, despite this, I am secretly a tiny bit pleased, and am even happier again that I've cracked the french knot, which has eluded me since childhood. Apparently it's all in the twist. No pic of my French Knots here today, though, sorry...

The next embroidery will, I hope, be a little bit less clumsy, and I will show it proudly on this blog as and when it is stitched.

Moving away from fabric and yarn for a moment... we went to pottery class! It was brilliant! We made these....

I think they're pretty ok for a first attempt at the wheel... The pots at North, Centre and South-West are mine, at North-East, South-East and South are J's, at East is the teacher's. The catastrophe located at the Western corner is one of mine, which I swear was an absolute masterpiece - the entire studio had gathered around to 'Ooooh' at my natural skills and ability at the wheel (at least they had in the fluffly pink warmth of my imagination), when something happened which had absolutely nothing to do with any lack of skill on my part, and it fell over. I tried to rescue it, but just made matters worse.

We're going again on Tuesday, I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

It was an accident... I couldn't help it

I popped into Dunelm Mill this morning to pick up a pot of oil for my sewing machine, and look what I found in the bargain bin...

The Rowan Spray I bought weeks ago was still there, and were still 99p each - and there were other colours and other yarns in there as well.

I'd come to a pause on the bag I was knitting on the other day, because I didn't have enough yarn to finish it just the way I wanted to, and have been mulling over an alternative that didn't feel too much like compromising. Happily now, I don't have to - because I accidentally bought a new ball of red, and three balls of green (because I quite fancy making another).

But I don't know whether I'll do any knitting today. I have so many projects on the go, and so many burning ideas for new fantastic projects, that I don't know where to turn. My list of projects to finish and start are...

  1. Finish the red knitted bag
  2. Knit a green bag
  3. Finish the Kewpie cross stitch
  4. Do the mushroom cross stitch (the one in my free pattern, link on the top right, over there)
  5. Make an embroidered notepad cover
  6. Make a key fob for my sister
  7. Design and embroider a banner for this blog
  8. Design and embroider a banner for for Etsy
  9. Make some stuff for Etsy
  10. Make a hessian shopping tote with felt applique
  11. Learn how to do pottery and ceramics

As it's now the weekend, I could make a good start on this list, but it's gorgeous and sunny outside, too warm for knitting, too bright to take my laptop out (I'm doing the Kewpie cross stitch straight from the computer because I don't have access to a colour printer), and impractical to take the sewing machine outside. So I might do something else instead. I don't know yet, I haven't decided.

(Wouldn't it be lovely if I could win just enough on the lottery that I would never have to go to work again, and could spend my days doing interesting courses, making stuff, pottering about and being happy. About £3million or so should do it.)

Monday, 5 May 2008

The things I did today

I dunno.... you'll get no blog posts for ages, and then three come along all at once! :o)

Look! I've been knitting!

I bought this yarn in Dunelm Mill some time ago - it was in the bargain bin at 99p a ball, and it was all I could do not to buy the whole load. There was some blue cotton-net Debbie Bliss yarn there too, but I was good and didn't buy any.

So I'm knitting a bag. It will be a lovely bag, and once it's finished and lined and pressed, I will show it to you properly.

I will probably also post my knitting pattern, just in case anyone likes it enough to make their own.

And here is a picture of Lovely-J looking devastatingly handsome in a medieval helmet and sword at Caerphilly Castle earlier today.


Happiness in Barcode form

This is just a super-quick post to share the joy of this best-ever website that I have just found...

It generates bar codes. I have coded my date of birth, his date of birth, my name, his name, the cat's name, my sister's name, my parents wedding anniversary....

Hours of geeky fun. :o)

I've been slack, but now I'm back.

Wow, how slack have I been? It's been over a month since I blogged... I seem to have been too busy to blog or to make stuff, but I can't for the life of me think what I've been doing with my time!

But I'm back now. And I intend to finish that blessed cross stitch, and I want to learn to embroider properly, and generally get back to playing with fabric and stuff. I might occasionally have some bits and pieces to show on here.

One thing I have been doing over the past 3 weeks is "losing weight". So far I have lost 8lb. (Yay!). My weighing days are on Fridays, so I might start posting my losses/gains on here as well - to shame/encourage me to stick to the plan.