Monday, October 29, 2007

Pendants and Pins

One of the very best things about having a dog is that it forces you out into the world to catch some great views. Tonight's after-tea walk coincided with the hugest moon in the most amazing deep orange, just rising over the horizon. It just made me catch my breath and stare in awe. With the changing of the season also comes a shift in the stars we can see above us. The Great Plough was in fine view tonight, along with Sagittarius and Scorpio. Later in the evening, Orion starts to shift into the night sky, and in a few weeks, Mars becomes more obvious. M and I often spend the evening walk holding hands and staring upwards at the stars. You don't get a great view here, there are too many street lights obscuring the starlight, but if you walk up to Rabbit Field, you get a better view up there.
I'm nearly finished stash swap crafting, I made a set of embossed Celtic stationary for IntrepidYarn.
Also a couple of pendants and some crochet stitch markers. These will make up part of the 'supply' aspect of the swap with the hook holder, maybe a hook, a pattern and some yarn.
The heart pendant is one that I made from resin and those bargain ice tray moulds that I got over the summer. I strung some complimentary beads too. She likes all things Boho and Shabby Chic, so I hope it fits the bill! The domino pendant is a gorgeous shimmery Celtic design one, with a twisty wire bail. I'm going to pop that on some thong.
And these are my pendants that I've been working on. Stainless steel is a bitch to work with, let me tell you! In the end, the sawing was the easiest part. Bending those suckers was tough, even M struggled! In the end, I pinched one end in my vice and pushed the long bit over and away from me. Then I clamped it in my mole grips and tightened it up. Even though I put masking tape on my mole grips, the teeth bit a little and left marks in the metal, so I'm trying to polish them out with some wet and dry. After that I guess I have to get the craft drill out to buff them up to a high polish. Then I will be attaching some Swarovski crystals as decorative accents. I always like to have something new for Christmas for my stall.
Whatdaya think? Like 'em? They still need a little work and I have a few more to do, but I like them so far. I've just ordered 150 crystals from Hong Kong on eBay for much less than my local Hobbycraft wanted for 10! Hope they get here soon. I've already got some thong for them.
And I started Knitty's Flora last night. I made one for Karan a while ago and I promised myself one. I just LOVE the colour combo, all dusky colours, they really suit the flowery nature of the pattern. I'm hoping there'll be enough yarn left for a matching Flora hat! Something else to upload to Ravelry *lol* I'm nearly up to my Flikr limit too. I may have to delete a few things cause I can't afford to upgrade to a pro account at the moment.
I've also started on one or two things for the Stocking Swap. I have quite a few ideas bumping around in my head. Last night was the usual insomnia caused by craft swapping brainstorms *lol* Hopefully I'll get a little more sleep tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Houses, Hats, and other things

I've been rather busy lately getting some glass painted ready for all the upcoming Christmas Fairs, I've also managed to sort out a much cheaper mortgage provider, now my initial three years is up and I'm no longer 'tied-in'. This will give us around £150 per month to play with! I'm so pleased that we're managing to save that much! We might even be able to get back on track now! The other mortgage was a tracker which was our only option at the time, but it was going up by about £50 every other month. Not good!
I finished Kublai Khan and the pattern will be up if anyone's interested, I wrote it all down, just have to get it onto the PC now). I love the little point and the bobbles. M says he's not keen on the pointy bit, but hey, what do blokes know? It does look more flattering on, Zha'an's having a bad head day today, and is nice and snugly.
I also finished my Hogwarts cap, I added a tassel to the back for a more casual look. I actually wore it to MK on Friday, so I wonder if Krum recognised what it was *lol*

I started a new muff the other day. This is made up off all those little scraps of yarn that just aren't long enough to do anything else with. It should be nice and warm because there's lots of chunky yarns in there, homespun and novelty yarns, so the texture and colour is gorgeous!
Apologies for the slight blurriness, I just wanted to show off the texture. This is a 'hard-to-put-down' project, I just love seeing all the different colours and textures knit up. I call it my nebula muff, it reminds me of one of those stunning multi-coloured nebula's that you see through the Hubble!

I made some more Christmas cards last night and wrote them out. I send to my family in London that I don't see very often, I like to get them done early and my Mum and Dad pass them out when they do the 'family pre-Christmas' visits. I don't have to spend out on the expensive and very unreliable post then.

I also made some jewellery and some crochet markers for IntrepidYarn for the Stash swap, and I've been making some jewellery from cutlery, but I need to find a better way of polishing deep scratches out because the pliers made a few tooth marks in the metal, despite me wrapping them in masking tape *sigh* Steel is sooo hard! I'll get some photos soon.

Oh, I just got my partner for the Stocking Swap too; the Felt Fairy! Hee hee, I'm so chuffed, she makes some awesome stuff! I'm so looking forward to this swap! 90 people, can you believe it? It's going to be an amazing gallery!

Friday, October 26, 2007


Every year, Milton Keynes Shopping Centre plays host to the Collectormania Fayre. A ton of stalls set up in the centre square selling all sorts of collectible goodies from all sorts of cult films and TV series. The added bonus is that they also have guest stars who come for the day, sign autographs and pose for piccies. Now I'm too cheap skint to pay someone to sign a bit of paper for me, but I do get kind of a buzz from seeing stars from my favourite shows. M and I like to go and lurk round for a few hours, gawping at celebs and laughing at the die-hard fans getting autographs and photos. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan, but not a collector, even if I wanted to pay for an autograph, what would you do with it afterwards? I liken it to the eBay thrill of the auction, you're there, you're all excited, sometimes the money's in your hand before you've even thought about what you're going to do with said item.

I did however take my camera and managed to snap a few piccies. Please excuse the graininess of the photos, they were taken a little way away and cropped and blown up.

From Stargate SG-1, Daniel Jackson who didn't stop smiling and has the most amazing blue eyes!!

And Teal'c

From Firefly, Kayleigh (she was real popular):

From Farscape; Scorpius! (He was also in Star Wars) He looks so pleasant in real life and he has a wonderful voice.

From Star Trek, Chekov and Sulu (who is awake btw!)

From Star Trek Voyager, the Doctor:

And Deanna Troy chatting up one of the blokes from Heroes:

George A. Romero (mad Zombie director)!! We saw him down one of the halls and M shook his hand which he was so happy about! George seemed a great bloke!

Darth Vader (yeah, we know he wasn't the real one, we saw him last year!) and various Storm Troopers!

And to make up for the disappointment of the Weasley Twins cancelling (ah well, I saw them here last year!), VIKTOR KRUM!

He is so adorable in real life! M was not impressed about my sotto chant of 'Krum, Krum, show us your bum'!

Krum walked past me close enough to touch him!

We also saw Capt Dillon Hunt from Andromeda, the hunchback guy from 300, one of the actresses from Creepshow (memory fails on the name), an old dude from Escape from New York, and the old village chief from the original Stargate film, who is also in the Mummy. Yes, we are slight Sci-fi geeks. Apologies to anyone who isn't *lol* We had a great fun day :-) It only cost us a bit of petrol money and what we spent on some fresh cookies and pop, and we spent the whole day laughing and smiling. Priceless!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Christmas Cheer

Since the Christmas Stocking Swap sign-ups are nearly closed and there are well over 70 participants so far, I've kind of been beginning to feel the Christmas cheer a little. Seems I'm not the only one, I swiped this from Laurals Blog

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy this entire blog post and paste it into a new blog post. Change all the answers so that they apply to you.

"Tis the Season to be NICE!" Notice... 25 questions. Definitely keeping with the season.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly paper

2. Real tree or artificial? I prefer real, but M begged me to let him get a fake a couple of years ago, because real ones irritate his skin. *Sigh* I love the smell of pine needles.

3. When do you put up the tree? Two weeks or so before Christmas. M's Birthday is the week before Christmas so we always used to put it up then, but I've got a little earlier in the last couple of years. I normally buy a fresh wreath for the front door and put the tree up then.

4. When do you take the tree down? Sometime after New Year, usually the day before we go back to work!

5. Do you like eggnog? *Sicky noises* Yeuch!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? My bike!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No

8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My Sister and Mum

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A cloissone brass bell. WTF? That person didn't know me very well.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I only give Christmas cards to family that I don't see often.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Last years made-for-(UK)TV 'The Hogfather.'

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I make all my presents. And I don't stock the house with food. I just tend to buy a couple of luxuries and the regular stuff - if there's too much food in the house, you spend all your time stuffing your face. The shops are open again the day after Boxing day anyway!

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No. Not really. I have perhaps given stuff to a charity shop a few months after Christmas *lol* I very rarely get stuff that I don't like in some way.

15. Favorite thing to eat and drink at Christmas? Mums cooking and Baileys Irish Cream! Or Crabbes Ginger Wine.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Crystal tree baubles and colored lights! Beautiful!

17. Favorite Christmas song? I like most of them, except the Band-Aid one and Wham. I'm sick of hearing them! I like the Rat Pat and punk-ier Christmas tunes.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I like to go to my parents for Christmas Day itself, then spend the rest of the holiday with M and friends!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Um, probably not.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning definately! And then we have tree presents to open on Boxing day. (Little trinkets like stocking fillers)

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The commercialism.

23. Favorite thing about the Christmas Holidays? Spending time with my family and friends.

24. Most Memorable gift? M always gets me great gifts, I've had TV's, DVD players, Nintendos. I had a sewing machine from my parents one year.

25. What's the one thing you seem to never get done at Christmas time? Housework!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Kublai Khan

Hurray! The saga of the window is finally over. The new one was fitted this morning and I'm expecting a warm and quiet nights sleep tonight.

I posted my parcel for Taoj in the Weekend craft today. Hopefully it won't take too long, the last parcel I sent to Canada took over a month to arrive.

Here is the hat I started yesterday. I made quite a dent in it last night whilst watching the Mighty Boosh series one on DVD. Thanks to Karan, I was inspired to add bobbles and it changed the whole feel of the hat. I was going to make it square on top, but it's starting to look quite Mongolian (almost like a yurt *lol*), so I may go for a more rounded slightly pointed peak. I'm going to name it Kublai Khan!

I do love hats! It's the only good thing about the cold weather, I get to start wearing all my funky hats again :-)
I am missing jewellery classes, I can't wait till Mo is available again. I may get some safety pickle when I have a bit of spare cash and maybe a ring clamp. I have access to alot of the other bits I need. Here's a picture of me that Maureen sneakily took when I obviously wasn't looking. I found it on the Magnolia Studios website! I do look like I'm concentrating hard, don't I? And yes, I usually have that much stuff round me when I work, although on this occasion, there's a whole classes tools laid out there. I think there were people soldering on the other side of the studio *lol* I must have just finished soldering because my hair's tied back.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Crafting

I finished my crafting for the Weekend Swap. In addition to the necklace and bracelet I made for Taoj, I was going to make her some strawberry pincushions, but I noticed in Recent Posts that someone else has just made some for her, so I had to scrap that idea. Then I remembered seeing these cute little pyramid bags on Craftster and I actually received one in the Star swap ages ago, so I thought I'd make one using this tut. This is a bigger version, Taoj will be able to put a ball of wool in it if she wants to, and the yarn will feed through the hole above the zip. The handle is long enough to loop over something to keep it secure. Taoj is a proficient knitter and she didn't want anything knitted or crocheted, so although my sewing skills are kind of basic, I thought I'd give it a bash. I think it came out really well, and I think I'll be making some more of these!
It's all packaged up now and ready to be posted tomorrow. I hope she likes it all. I quite enjoyed this swap, it was a fast one with no time for procrastination. Pity it will take so long for it to be delivered! It's going to Canada and overseas post is always incredibly slow. I'm still waiting for an OWS package that was sent about 6 weeks ago. I don't know whether to give it up as lost, or hang on in there!

I also finished my wizard/witches hat, I just have to make a tassel for the end. I will probably wear it like this! It's so snuggly and warm that I was wearing round the house this morning whilst I was pottering round in my pj's waiting for the kettle to boil *lol*

I frogged a hat which I made last year that I was never happy with and I started on that this morning. Well, Sunday mornings aren't the same if you're not lounging on the bed surrounded by cats, knitting, with Hollyoaks on the telly and a nice rose tea cuppa . It was such a beautiful morning too, the sun was streaming in through the window and it made it nice and warm in there, despite the big hole (which will hopefully be replaced tomorrow - yay!)

Oh yeah, I forgot to say, one of the books I set free on Bookcrossing has been to Marrakesh and back! Blimey!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

WIP's and windows

Well, I hope you've all been busy boys and girls? I've been madly working and crafting; I'm painting busily for the Christmas season, for craft fairs and for my eBay shop. Here are a few WIP's on the glass front:
Here's a crochet hook roll for IntrepisYarn for the stashbuster swap. She kind of likes the whole boho thing, and her favourite colours are blues, purples, sort of ocean-y type colours I think. This is made from some lovely soft pale blue denim, with a violet print fabric for the lining and decorative detail. There's also some satin ribbon trim and a cute lilac buttonon the front, and the whole thing ties up with a length of ribbon.
The whole thing is trimmed with purple bias binding. I'm a little annoyed with the stitching on the last pocket, it kind of went a bit crooked. I hope IntrepidYarn doesn't have a hook roll already, she's new to crochet, so maybe she won't have. I think I shall also make some stitch markers and maybe print out some crochet patterns. This is for the supply part of the swap.
Karan may recognise this WIP, I liked the one I made for her so much that I'm making myself one, although I think I may add a chunky tassel on the end of mine. Speaking of Karan, check here and here for the wonderful gifts that she sent me for the HPIYP swap. I love it all Karan, thank you so much!

I finally got around to making Chianna my size and it was kind of soul destroying. I've got so used to this totally petite dress form, and now I've opened her up, she looks huge, and I keep thinking, 'yep, I really am that big!' *curses* It does nothing for my self esteem, I can tell you that! It's all that banana bread I've been eating; check out my 101 blog if you want the diet breaking recipe!

Anyway, in a drunken haze last night I signed up for the Weekend Swap 4. Basically, you sign up Friday, get your partner Saturday morning, craft your arse off all weekend and post Monday. Cool eh? So my partner is Taoj and she wanted some jewellery, and this is what I've come up with today. She really goes for the neopolitan colour scheme, pink and brown, with some aqua thrown in for a bit of a change. Neither brown or pink is something I have an enormous amount of, but I did have this lovely big focal bead, which is gold and pink foiled glass, swirled together, I added some vintage wooden beads and some pink and brown seed beads strung on some gold beadalon.

I also made a swirly wire bail for the pendant bead.

I had some lovely rose quartz beads too, which I threaded onto a memory wire bracelet with some aqua and pink beads. I made a small bead charm for one end of the bracelet to add a bit of a feature. I hope she likes it all, I'll probably make something else tomorrow, but I'm not sure what yet.

And here's another little project I embarked upon, I've been facinated with the idea of a coin ring, and found this half dollar in one of my little trinket pots. I would have prefered a pre-60's silver dollar (they're bigger and have less nickle in them, but this will do to practice on. I have small fingers anyway. As you can see, it's taking a long time, but I'm only using a small jewellers hammer. I may get a bigger hammer to whack it with *lol* There seems to be quite a large copper content in this coin. Can you see the layer?

No economies were harmed in the making of this ring (and I have no idea why I have a half dollar, I've never even been to the US) but several fingers were severly bruised. The moral of this story? Use the molegrips (or a ring clamp) to hold the coin whilst bashing it! *Adds ring clamp to wish list*

And the best news of all? The window bloke finally rang and will be coming to do the window on Monday morning! Hurray!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Stretch and shimmy!

Well, I've just got in and it looks like M partook too much of the old fire water during tonights football game and is snoring away on the bed (I just can't be bothered to shift him yet - the peace is quite nice). Since I can't tell him about my evening, I'll tell you instead.
Here goes a long story; I've been wanting to take up belly-dancing again for a while, but the class I liked the look of was on a Wednesday night, my usual yoga night, so I didn't really do very much about it. Then I was offered the chance to do a silversmithing course for free, also on a Wednesday night - initially I thought it was a one off, but it turned into something longer, as you know, 'coz I've been boring you all about it for quite a few weeks now. Last weeks class was cancelled because the jeweller (Mo) couldn't make it, so I went to my usual yoga class and found out what other times and places my usual teacher runs classes at. Funnily enough she does a class on a Tuesday night at the same church hall that the belly dancing classes were on on a Wednesday night. Then I heard that Mo had just got a part-time job, and had quite a few commissions she needed to do before Christmas, so the class was postponed for a while, I considered falling back into my usual routine, but decided that the coincidence of the Tuesday yoga/Wednesday belly-dancing was too much, so I figured 'go for it'!
I did yoga at the hall last night (and was glad I did, it's a sweet little hall that smells of incense and is much quieter than the place I normally go to) and tonight I went to belly-dancing.
It's a tribal class, so the music and costumes are much cooler. It's run by Lynne of Kookie Kaftan and it was such fun! I went on my own, but was quickly pulled into a group who all introduced themselves and made me feel less like billy-no-mates *lol* I've done belly-dancing before so alot of the moves were familiar, even though sometimes there was too much going on at the same time and I found myself circling my hips the wrong way and snaking my arms in odd directions, and I defy anyone to keep a straight face whilst they're thrusting their cleavage up ('Hello boys!'). They've been doing the class for a couple of weeks and are learning a routine for the local Hafla at Christmas (party, party, yeah!!)
So it's been a busy couple of days, but fun, and we can always do with a little more fun! No pictures though, sorry!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Swap Spoiler Alert - IntrepidYarn!

Okay IntrepidYarn do not read any further!!

Has she gone???...

Okay, so England were playing all day yesterday, football and rugby, so that was M pretty much occupied all day (he's very partisan!). So yours truely was kind of left to her own devices all day. I was very productive though. I managed to finish my Christmas Short n Sweet whilst watching Charlie Jade. It's quite a deep pink with silver running through it. It perfectly matches a pink and black batik wrap skirt that I love, so I'm really happy.
I also finished crocheting a bag for IntrepidYarn for the Stashbuster Swap. I love the clasp I made - a loop which you put the tassel fasting through to secure it. I just have to line it now.

And then last night I tackled a complete recon job. Quite a challenge, I've never done this before, but I love how it turned out, so I think I'll be whipping one up for myself soon! I present, trousers to skirt recon! IntrepidYarn wanted something to wear and she is quite petite, so I had these trousers in my stash pile - they did fit (they're a little tight now though sadly ) I didn't really wear them very much though because the waistband came up a little high and rubbed on my belly ring. So they haven't had much wear.

So I chopped the legs off where I wanted the skirt to sort of end. They were originally cargo trousers so I wanted to keep the pockets.

Then I turned it inside out and pinned along the crotch seams.

Sewed it.

Trimmed and overlocked it, cutting away the excess.

Then I cut the legs into strips lengthways.

Overlocked on one side of each strip.

Then sewed each strip end to end so I had a long narrow circle, and overlocked each seam.

Then the side that wasn't overlocked, I pleated and pinned it into place, spacing it out evenly!

I then sewed it into place and overlocked it. then I hemmed the bottom.

Ta da!

It still looks a little plain needs something else.

I foind this lovely flower trim in my stash, so I sewed that along the edge above the bottom frill!

I still need to wash and press it, I'm saving that till just before I have to send out though, because IntrepidYarn is allergic to cats and I have two! I think it's really cute and I love it! I just hope that she does!



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