Saturday, January 26, 2008

A small victory

I popped into town today to stock up on a few craft essentials and came across some bamboo sock dpns that were short and just what I was looking for. The ones I used for my first pair of socks were regular length and were really a little long. They kept getting in the way. Now I looked at the pretty needles for ages, I even picked them up and walked around the store with them, but at £5.00, I just couldn't bring myself to part with the money. There was a little voice in my ear saying that I had some bamboo kebab sticks at home which looked pretty much the same width (3mm) and they would be so easy to cut down and sand into the right pointiness. So, here we are; my homemade sock dpns, 3mm wide and 5 inches long, and they didn't cost me a penny. Hurray for craftiness!
My silk sari yarn arrived this morning. I think it got a little lost in the post because the seller said it arrived back on her doorstep the first time she posted it! The colours are a little brighter irl than in the photo, as you can tell, I'm still having camera issues. I think I'll have to see if I can get it serviced. It obviously wasn't the battery, there's a new one in there now. If anyone knows why I'm getting those lines, I would be eternally grateful!
You can really see the lines on this next photo. I made these starry earrings this morning whilst nursing a hangover and watching Stargate Atlantis. How nice it would be to have a Stargate at your disposal. Would would you go? Right now I would go somewhere sunny, a nice unpolluted Eden with no nasty predators or bugs. Point me in the direction of the paradise planet please!
I've also been having fun nuking stuff. I'm sure this isn't good for your microwave, but I make sure to put a mug of water in there too. I'm sure I read somewhere that that protects your microwave. I've got my craft drill all set up and ready to sand away happily tomorrow; it's too late to do it tonight, it'd be too noisy and I gotta think of the neighbours a little. (Pity they don't always return the consideration though)

I finished this earlier this evening too. Tech drawing pen with watercolour pencils on watercolour board. There are little dabs of microglitter added too for a starry effect. My mate has already put an order in for me to do one for her.

I've got a little further with this too. I'm about halfway through now. Striking colours eh? Remind you of anything? I'm not going to give any details away though.

You may all be pleased to know that Keilo has had her stitches out now and is fully enjoying the freedom of the catflap again. I'm sure she's forgotten the trauma of the hoodie now, though I may wave it in front of her just to see if she remembers it *lol*

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Given in to temptation

You may have guessed that I never got the dress started last weekend. I really must remember to prewash the fabric ahead of time. I always forget that step *lol* Anyway, the fabric is now all washed and dried and waiting for a handy free time slot, hopefully this weekend. What I did do was to alter this sweet long top. I've had it for ages, I think I bought it at a festival because it was lovely and floaty and cool. I realised when I got home, however, once I stood in front of a mirror, that it really was much too big for me. It was listed as free size, and sometimes these things come up small, and sometimes large. It's been sitting on Chi'anna for ages while I pondered on the best way to do it. Darts? Chopping it? Gathering it at the back? I've been undecided for ages. You may not be able to see in the photos, but it has some pretty embroidered detail up either side of the buttons that I didn't want to lose. I also didn't want to lose too much from the length as I wanted to be able to wear it with trousers, or crops, or anything else. I finally decided to take it in at the side, drastically shaping it in at the waist and flaring the skirt part out again. It doesn't look much in the photo, but it's a 100% improvement. It has shape now rather than fitting like a potato sack.
I've also finished a few WIPS, but they're secret projects at the moment until the recipients receive, so here's a couple of taster shots with the promise of better photos to come.

Hee hee hee!

My Opal sock yarn arrived today! It's so pretty and will hopefully knit up into a fair isle design. I really couldn't resist, I've been wanting to try self patterning yarn, and now I've knitted one pair of socks, I'm keen to try again. I also got a free cable needle with it, which was a surprise. I think a higher power is trying to tell me something. I have a secret; I've never knitted cables! Maybe I'm destined to give it a go. Probably not with this yarn though, I have a feeling that it may ruin the fair isle effect. I won't be knitting them up at the moment though as I have a few other things in the pipeline.

And yes, I gave into temptation. I was sooooo determined to leave the swaps for a little while, till money was a little easier, but then the FOC secret swap loomed onto the horizon. I resisted for as long as I could; really I did. But I was lurking in the thread and it looked so wonderful, and there were so many amazing FOC's signed up and I finally caved in, hours before sign-ups closed. I have my partner now and she's a well known and loved Craftster which is a little terrifying, but I have a few ideas of what to craft for her. Here's a little teaser of project number one.

I have absolutely no idea of who's stalking me in return. If you're reading this and you read through my questionnaire and completely freaked, I'm sorry. There have been a few people freaking out in the thread, and every time I see it, I think "I hope she wasn't freaking over me!" Just craft whatever, I'm sure I will love it, and if you're really stuck, maybe Kookaloo Starr will help you out! She knows me pretty well. There, that's my conscience eased a bit *lol* I am quite stalkable, I have this blog, wists, info for swap partners and plenty of other stuff. My partner has some good wists, she posts on Craftster loads, but I haven't been able to find a blog yet. Some people have been partnered with people with no wists or blogs and have no idea where to start. That really sucks; believe me, I've been in that boat! And as this is a secret swap, you can't even question the recipient! It is fun though!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A day of rainbows!

I'm so sick of rain! After changing the bedsheets this morning, I decided to add a cheery splash of colour to the room with my rainbow blanket. I crocheted it years ago and we quite often use it in the caravan. I'd bought in to give it a wash before the season started; I love the bright colours, it chases the grey rainy day away.
And the rainbow theme continued today. I put my hula hoop DVD on this morning, but it wouldn't play properly, I think the Virgin Media bloke buggered up the whole TV/DVD/stereo set up when he came the other day. I couldn't work out how to sort it out, so I had to wait for the tech support guy (aka M) to come home from work *lol* I'm not technophobic, in fact I like to think that I'm a techno-babe, but there are so many wires at the back of the TV, that I daren't even touch it! So with that plan thwarted, I turned my attention to the dress. Alas, I had forgotten to prewash the fabric! It's the one thing I always forget. So that plan was thwarted too; I loaded the fabric in the washing machine and it's drying as we speak. If I'm lucky, it will be ready to cut tomorrow. So the rainbow theme? It was another UFO FO. I have this wonderful rainbow scoodie made by Gringo a hippy fair trade clothing company. I've had it for years and love it, but I never wear it because it's in a cotton stocking knit, which isn't that warm, and also curls at the edges. Badly. So my cunning plan was to line it, and I figured I had just enough of the black polar fleece left from lining my Kittyville hat to do the job.

There, much better. Toasty warm and none of that nasty curling.

Rainbow and rainbows. Happy colours for a grey nasty day :-)

Friday, January 18, 2008

UFO sighting!

So January is officially UFO month here at Samsara Designs. I'm seriously tempted to join Craftsters FOC swap; I have a couple of days to decide whether I can afford it and in the meantime, I am trying to rein in all my UFO's to get them organised and hopefully finished. I have a nice black corduroy fabric to make the dress with, I cut the pattern pieces out last week and I'm aiming to get it started this weekend. If I don't manage to get any sewing done, I'll at least get the fabric cut (she says hopefully). I wanted a contrast fabric for the decorative bands and stopped at the Fabric Warehouse after school today (I did batik with the students, so it was a fun day) to see what bargains I could get in their sale *Woohoo*. I spotted this gorgeous embroidered black corduroy which I think will go wonderfully, and it only cost me £1. Happy days!
They had a 50p yarn bin too, where I got these three lovelies. Shirdar Fizz I think, unfortunately the bands are missing. I tend to pick up novelty yarns when I see them cheap because they always come in useful for accents and decorative projects.

My Tassel Edged Wrap is coming on well, I've done 10 rows now, believe it or not! I went to my Sis' last night for a mini Stitch 'n' Bitch and got another couple of rows done. Just another 10 rows to go, plus the flower and tasseled edge. It's difficult to see in the photo, but the pink yarn has a lovely shimmery silver thread running through it. I've got a confession to make too. I've well and truly fallen off the yarn wagon and ordered a skein of sari silk yarn, and a skein of self patterning (fair isle) sock yarn! Hee hee. I can't wait to pet it all! It was all on sale on eBay, so I don't feel too bad.

While searching my stash boxes for my black corduroy, I was distracted by this UFO. Ever done any latch hooking? I started this years ago, with the idea of making a cushion cover or something similar. I think the design will be more obvious when the rest of the yarn is added. It's quite a therapeutic project, I learnt to latch hook as a very young crafter and picked it up again a few years ago. I think I got flooded shortly after I started this project and it was packed away for a few years in the disruption after that. The design is my own, just a simple one to play around with, I think the rug mesh was a remnant from a local craft shop that has long since closed down. I don't think it could compete with the huge Hobbycraft store that had just moved into town. I'm not sure what to do about that lower right hand edge, I think one of the furbabies has been playing with it.

This next project is a sort of UFO FO. I made this Kittyville hat ages ago, but it was too big. I decided to line it with some polar fleece, which would hopefully make it fit a little better and also make a super warm hat. I cut a strip of fleece the right length, sewed the narrow end together, and then, turning my hat inside out, pinned it to the head band. To make the inside fit, I tacked around the top of the fleece and gathered it a little so that it was the right size. Then I sewed it to the crown of the hat. It fits like a dream now and is very snugly and toasty.

M has to work tomorrow morning so I get to have a few hours to myself. My plan is to have a go at my hula hoop DVD which I got for Christmas, and then to maybe get my pattern pieces cut out. Sis is having a Spanish booze and salsa night tomorrow night; I haven't decided whether I'll go or not, it depends on how far I get into my sewing. I haven't managed to get my overlocker looked at yet, the one sewing machine repair specialist in my town doesn't do the brand which I have, typical! I'll have to do a bit of ringing about.

Oh yeah, did any of you Brits see Spike crop up in Torchwood the other day? Sis is a big Spike fan, so we exchanged lots of texts that night. He was a little older and a brunette instead of a bottle blond, but still in a military style jacket and kinda hot. I admit it, I have a thing for bad boys! *lol* It was the main topic of conversation in the staff room the next day :-)

By the way, you may have noticed that I've sorted my camera issues out. I bought a new battery (one of those teeny tiny Li-ion jobbies) and it seems to have done the trick. No more nasty lines down my photos. The top of this years wish list is a digital SLR so that I can take some quality photos, but for the moment, I'm glad to be back in optical business!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good News

Keilos results came through. The lumps they removed were not malignant, so she's in the clear! Hurray! She's healing well, although she still has her hoodie on (which she hates) and still can't go out (which she hates). We woke up this morning to find that she'd somehow got her front leg stuck through the collar and was hopping about on three legs with one stuck out in front! How she managed that I'll never know! That cat has Houdini blood in her, I swear!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sew pleased with myself!

Well after 2 days of swearing, I've finally finished my wrap trousers! Hurray! My overlocker refused to work properly and I think I've finally figured out why. The L-shaped needle isn't coming up far enough for the straight needle to catch the thread. I'm going to have to see if it can be repaired. I gave up with the overlocker, and got out my sewing machine and the foot was missing! WTF?! I spent hours looking for it and eventually found it this morning under the wardrobe. I shall be interrogating the usual suspects. So, I managed to get the job done this evening. Tada!

I think next time I'm going to put darts in at the waist to give it a bit of shape. I also reconned the top; it's a bit low cut, so I'm going to have to wear a vest top under it, unless I can find a bit of ribbon to make it a little more decent.

I also received this beautiful scarf from Javede in the 'Pay It Forward' - Thank you so much. It's beautiful! I love the colour and the stitches.

I feel a little guilty because I haven't even started my gifts yet. Don't worry though, I will get working on them. This weeks just been a little hectic.

My Dad's 70th party was fun, despite ending up walking there in the rain and getting drenched, and M dropping Dad's present in the mud! *Doh* It was nice to catch up with relations and my cousin-in-law and I spent hours talking belly dancing. She wants to try it, so she's going to e-mail me and let me know how it goes! My family are all spread round the country, so we don't often get to be all together.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Keilo's recovery

Poor old Keilo! She went reluctantly to the vets on Wednesday for a kitty mastectomy. I had started back at school, so M had to take her. He dropped her off and we waited on tenterhooks for the vets to ring. The operation went smoothly and he was allowed to pick her up in the afternoon. We have to wait for the test results to see if they managed to get it all out, and more importantly, to see if the lumps were malignant. I feel like they butchered her, but if they managed to cut it all out, we may still have years with her, so it will be worth it. Keilos mummy (Kipper) lived with one of my best mates and she died last year of a tumour, and she was only a year older than Keilo, so you understand why we acted quickly. Look at her! She hates the collar, but it's vital that she doesn't disturb the stitches. This is when she finally crashed out , she'd spent hours running around trying to get the collar off and trying to get out of the locked cat flap.

She's a little better today, although extra clingy! I think she finds it difficult to relax with the collar on.
Apart from the drama of Keilos operation this week, I started my new job at the college. It's generally good fun, the students are full of it, one of the classes is exclusively teenage boys, so you can imagine what that's like! They think they know it all, and really, they're just little boys! It's hilarious! I've also bumped into one or two old students which is nice. I'm back at yoga and belly dancing too, which is great! I'm glad to be active again, and also to see some familiar faces.
Craft-wise, I haven't really done that much this week. I'm still working on my wrap trousers, mainly because my over locker is crap. I have worked out what the problem is though, after two evenings. One of my needles (the L-shaped one) isn't coming up and over enough, and so the straight needle isn't catching the thread. I'm going to have to see what it will cost to get it repaired. I think I'm going to get my 'Lil Brother out over the weekend and just sew them without over locking. Whilst I'm sewing, I have this beauty to recon.

I bought it for my Mum for Christmas, but it didn't 'fit' her right. The size was right, but like me, she is short, with small shoulders, and pretty much pear shaped. She just happens to be quite a few sizes bigger than me. This top wasn't the right fit for her, but with some adaptation, I can re-size and slightly shape it for me. (She gave it back to me to return it, but I've lost the receipt, so I'm going to keep it and get her something else. ) I like the fabric and basic design and I think it will look good on me as a dress rather than a top!

We had some sad news this week; DB, a raver friend of ours from the 'day' died of a heart attack. His excessive lifestyle finally got the better of him. He died in a mellow way though, after a party, so I guess that was okay with him. We often used to bump into him at festivals and he was always happy to see us. RIP DB. May your Nivarna be a mad one.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Wrap it up...

Yesterday M had another tattoo, he's been whittling about having another one for a while, and got some money for his birthday and Christmas that he wanted to use. Luckily we know a tattooist that will come round and do it in your house, so I managed to get lots of action shots. Here's a during shot:

And here's the after shot. They're both admiring the work. Neither of them realised that I had taken this one, so it's a nice relaxed natural photo. D still has the tattoo gun in his hand; can you believe he did his first tattoo at 11 years old! (His dad's a tattooist also). He did a really good job and M's so pleased with it, although he has that post-tatt ache today, and his skins feels a little warm and tender (*evil snigger*)

And look, a UFO has become an FO! My beaded goddess is finished at last. Please excuse the grainy photos. I'm having camera issues. I think it's a battery problem. I've ordered another one, so hopefully that will sort it out.

I finished her last night whilst watching the Mighty Boosh Live. (I love the Mighty Boosh, if you've never seen them, you gotta check them out! I really want to see them live at the end of the year, maybe Brixton, but at £90 per ticket, I'm going to have to save up.) Anyway, I love how my Goddess feels in my hand, she's practically palm sized and is going to be a meditational tool. She's very tactile.

I managed to cut my pattern pieces out yesterday for The Dress, but didn't get around to cutting the fabric out. I did cut out the fabric for my wrap trousers though.This is the inside of the fabric, the other side is an emerald green. It's almost reversible. I used the pattern at the edge of the fabric to make a patterned hem. Hopefully I'll get around to sewing them this week.

I cast this on last night too. Do you 'cast' on a crochet project? It's the Tasseled Edge Wrap from the book Simple Stylish Crochet. It's an English book, so I'm having to double check all the stitches because I'm so used to US terminology now *lol* I had to frog it a couple of times but I think I've got the pattern licked now. It looks pretty in the book, I just hope it looks as pretty when it's done. This book has some lovely patterns in it, I particularly like some of the long lacy cardigans and wraps.

We took the Christmas tree and decorations down this morning. It's a sad day when that happens, everything looks so plain, although the plus side is that the rooms seems alot bigger again. I've also unearthed my stepper, so I may be able to shift a few pounds.

I also listed a couple of new painted glass vases in my eBay shop, including a gorgeous large sunflowered one.

I start my new job tomorrow. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon filling out all the paperwork. I'm kinda looking forward to it, as well as the terrified first days nerves that are starting to creep in. Hopefully as it's at the local college, it will lead onto bigger an better things.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Socks Away

Yay! My fear of socks is conquered! With the help of a brilliant DIY guide from Annchen, plus this gorgeous yarn and a set of DPN's I have finally knitted my first pair of socks. The pattern is the International Sock of Doom and it's a surprisingly easy pattern and looks fab! I love rainbows, they feel so happy, just the thing for this grotty gray weather we're having at the moment. I think I need to find another way of casting off the toes though. I cast both rows off at the same time and it's made quite a chunky line there at the top. I'm not going to bother to redo these because they're my first and I love them, but for the next pair maybe I'll find a better way.

I'm really trying to finish the UFO's lying around the house. A UFO usually means it's a project that takes a slightly longer time than my usual ones and therefore gets subjected to my crafting ADD. The first of my current 'must finish' projects is my beaded goddess. Some of you may remember I made quite good headway with her during the summer, but she was put to one side once term started again and I became distracted by other things.
The other main thing is a cross stitch that my sister gave me years ago. This is what it will hopefully look like when it's finished.

It's a beautiful design, but I'm not a natural cross stitcher. I like fast results *lol* Another problem is that a small part of the material has attracted brick dust somewhere along the line, probably when my house was being reconstructed after flooding. I'm not really sure how to deal with this. Do I wash it now or should I wait till I'm finished to wash the whole thing in case washing it affects the thread colours. I don't know, maybe one of you cross-stitchers out there could advise me (Laural?)

I also have a dress I'm itching to make, McCall's 5317. I have the pattern, I've had it for over a year; I have the fabric, I now have a dress form, I just haven't had the time. I have two fabrics set aside for this pattern. One is a lovely black corduroy, which will make a nice wintery short dress kind of like this version, to wear with jeans, and the other is a gorgeous black Chinese silk brocade with a tiny coloured dragon motif running through it. You know I love me some dragons *lol* That will be for a longer 'dressy' dress. I've never really sewn with brocade, so I've been procrastinating with that one.

Next week I start my new job at the College, I'm also back at school, and yoga and belly dancing classes start up again, so if I don't have a bash at this pattern this weekend, it will probably be forgotten about again. I keep meaning to make some Thai wrap trousers, so maybe once I have my 'Lil Brother' out, I may be inclined to do those too.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I opened up a Dawanda Shop before Christmas, but I've only just got around to putting anything in it. DaWanda is kind of like a European Etsy, open to International as well as European shoppers of course, but I'm interested to see how it develops. I've just popped a few things in there for now, there's a link on the side bar if you want to drop in and see me there.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Poor Kitty!

My poor little furbaby Keilo! She has had this lump for a couple of months now, on her left side, just under her forearm. It started out as a slight lump, grew to a slightly larger jelly lump, and now has started to harden up. Finances dictated that I couldn't get her to the vets before today, but we got her in for a check up and the vet confirms that she has 2 small lumps around one of her nipples. Her mother died of a tumour last year, at about the age that Keilo is now, so I'm not surprised. They may be benign or malignant, but it will cost us about £250 just to find out, so she's booked in for the op next week. What can you do? She's one of my babies! Which of you would not do the same? By my reckoning, that will leave us about £100 to live on for the month. Keep your fingers crossed for her.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A year of Crafts

Hope your New Years went with a bang? Mine did, as you can see by this photo. Us and our friends celebrating the coming of the New Year with fireworks and sparklers (and a bit of the old mulled wine too).
It's been a good year for crafting. These are some of the things I created over 2007.

What SUCKED in 2007:
The death of my eldest cat.
Losing my Aunt to MS.
A close friend moving to Australia.
M being laid off when his work went bust.
Being bullied at work.
Health issues (always ongoing, but now I have to take medication...)
Money worries.
Having our window broken by someone throwing a brick through it.
Putting on weight.
The end of the Harry Potter Series.
What ROCKED in 2007:
M and I both finding new jobs (mine starts next week!)
Getting a new cheaper mortgage.
Knitting my first socks.
Learning how to make soap.
Successfully making jam.
Joining a Tribal belly dancing class and performing on stage.
Make glass beads on a hot head torch.
Learning how to silversmith.
Making a Christmas wreath from scratch for the first time.
Getting a dress form.
The new Harry Potter book.
Getting back our bank charges.
Getting a new double-glazed bedroom window.
Learning how to use resin.
Learning how to spin with a drop spindle.
Getting a DS Lite for Christmas!
My initial impression about 2007 was that it sucked, but in compiling my lists, I realise that it hasn't all been bad. I suppose that it's a good thing that I can see that. As every year, my main New Years Resolution is to have more fun. I have my '101 goals in 1001 days' project that I'm working on and that gives me lots of ongoing challenges, because what's life without something to work towards? My journey through life is one that moves onwards and upwards, I have no wish to live as if in a hamster wheel. When I finally depart this mortal coil, I plan to be rich with memories and experiences, not with material goods.



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