Friday, February 29, 2008

Back to Hogwarts

The next Harry Potter swap has sucked me in - 'Because we miss Harry Potter' kicks off the 1st of March - Whooppee!!

I have sort of warmed up with the FOC Secret Swap; my stalkee was the totally awesome Sevsonlygirl and she has now received her package from me - Phew! She said she liked it, so I'm quite relieved. Stalking the galleries is no good for your blood pressure when you're waiting for your partner to receive. And of course, if you know Sevs, you know that she's a huge HP fan (okay, a huge Snape fan!), so I did make her a FBB in Slytherin colours to celebrate her passion for the one and only Severus Snape. I resisted the temptation to go all out HP for the FOC swap, but it was hard!

I'm actually co-organising the HP swap with the totally amazing Superhooker - well, she's doing the majority of the work at this point, I'll be doing the gallery and sending/receiving side of things. I can't wait to get started, I have a few ideas already! I can maybe get started on the non-house specific things....I'm watching the Goblet of Fire on the movie channel at the moment and I'm really coveting a Quidditch style hoodie with 'Ginny' or 'Weasley' on the back! I'll have to see if I can find a dark red hoodie somewhere. I've been watching all the films consecutively for ideas - I haven't made it to the OOTP yet, but I'm nearly there. I'm also replaying the Deathly Hallows on my mp3 player :-) I love the bit where Snapes Patronus reveals his true love...ahhh...old bought a lump to my throat :-)

Oh yes, I got my new camera! Hurray! I'll be snap happy for a while at least! I'm still working on the dress; the bodice is now done and I'm sewing the skirt panels together at the moment. More piccies tomorrow when I've not had anything to drink *lol*

It's windy here; not the sort of earthquaky sort of feeling of Tuesday night, but still, very windy....

Egyptian Bloggers

This story from the BBC news homepage interested me; it's about Egyptian Bloggers who use their blogs as a platform for discussing political issues and debates that many people in their country are afraid to discuss. One student in particular is standing trial for religious contempt for expressing his views on his blog. Some bloggers are discussing political and human rights issues, giving eyewitness accounts and footage to events which have been denied by the authorities. I feel lucky to live in a country where I have an automatic right to freedom of speech and thought. Hopefully bloggers will change the world eventually.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ravelers in the Park!

Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure to be part of the first Ravelry Northants group meeting held in the Abington Park Cafe. Dutchoma, Nightcrickett, who brought her excellently behaved son, Max, Catknit, Honeygirl, Funkypixie and myself all took over a corner of the cafe and chatted and knitted for a couple of hours until hunger and the cold (for me I'm afraid - I can't tolerate the cold and my hands had started to seize up). There were a few sock projects on the go (including mine, the Fake Isle socks), because they are just sooo portable, Dutchoma was knitting a prem baby outfit, and Funkypixie had a very complicated lace pattern going on. I can't do lace without total concentration :-) I meant to take photos with my phone camera, but I forgot and so I found a stock photo of the cafe in the summer - I wish it had been warm enough for t-shirts on Sunday.
I had to take my socks to do, because the only other fibre project I have on the go at the moment is the Tassel-edged wrap, which is much too bulky to carry round to work on, and is nearing completion (you'll all be glad to hear!) I'm at the sewing tassels stage, and like many crocheters, I find this the most tedious part of the process!

(By the way, I also met up with GOK last week too, she made lunch for me in her fabulous Gothic basement dining hall and we talked for hours!)

I just want to be finished and done so that I can wear it, and move onto the next project, which I have already decided will be a scarf from the same book. I ought to photocopy the pages because I'm terrified of renewing it at the library and being forced to give it back mid-project *lol*

Now, I know you're all interested in the dress?! No? Well, I'm going to bore you with it anyway. Look, I've almost completed the bodice! Yay for me! I love the comfortable and tactile feeling of corduroy, and the embroidered corduroy is lovely!

M and I ordered the Bourne Ultimatum on PPV (pay per view) last night and whilst I was watching this, I finished and embellished the scarf I made to go with my Kublai Khan hat. I was inspired by a very expensive stocking stitch scarf with sequined embellishments that I saw in Accessorize for about £25. This is my version. All from my stash. Cost = nothing. It's lovely and long and will wrap round my neck about three times *lol*

All those beads and sequins are hand stitched onto satin ribbon, and then the ribbon is stitched onto the scarf.

I can't wait for a certain someone to receive a certain package!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Once you pop, you can't stop!

My soap experiments appear to have worked well. This is my half and half soap, stripped of its Pringles tube mould. In case it was a bit soft, I took the precaution of freezing it first. The wrapper came off easily and the soap cut well. This is what I looked like before I cut it. The orangey half is the half with the palm oil, scented with patchouli oil. The creamy half is the part without the palm oil in; just coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil and rapeseed oil, with amaryllis and ylang ylang essential oils. I try and avoid palm oil when I can; the palm oil industry is responsible for the slaughter of many Oran utangs and the destruction of their natural habitat, and as a vegetarian, and animal rights activist for many years, I just can't bring myself to finance that sort of industry. I don't know why I bought the first jar; it was a moment of weakness - I desperately wanted to try soap making and didn't want to use animal fats. If this experiment works, I won't need to use palm oil either - hurray!

I've had a thumping headache for the last day, one of those horrible between the eyes sort of headaches. I'd like to think it's hormonal, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's got more to do with my current addiction with my DS Lite. I've been guilty of playing Narnia until the wee small hours, yes, brain-draining instead of brain-training. I can feel my IQ diminishing as we speak! I managed to get past a really sticky bit that had been holding me back and now my sons of Adam and daughters of Eve have been merrily dashing around Narnia, bashing all the White Witches wicked minions. I also managed to get my Gamecube set up in my nest, so tonight when M is shooting stuff on the PC, I'll be taking Harry Potter round Hogwarts :-) We share a craft/hobby room, the PC is in one end of the room, and my nest with all my craft stuff is in the other end of the room. Usually I craft when he's on the PC, but occasionally I fancy a bit of gaming too, and I don't want to play downstairs on my own. I plan on getting a bit more done on the dress this afternoon. I'm currently piecing the bodice together.

Oh yes, you'll all be pleased to know that M was paid yesterday and so I have ordered a new camera! Hurray! This is the little beauty that is currently winging it's way to me courtesy of Amazon! I can't wait for it to arrive. 12 mega pixels of Fuji technology!

I tried my hand at making my own falafels this afternoon too. The recipe and stuff will be on my 101 blog. They were so yummy and so easy to make, and much healthier than ready made ones, because I baked them rather than fried them, that I think I will never buy ready made again!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sneaky suprises

Well, yesterday was a nice little surprise; I received a package from my secret FOC with these lovely things in, but was confused by the lack of identity, just a return name and address. So I notified the swap organisers asking them for more info so that I could thank my partner personally, and it turns out that this is a teaser package and the name on the package is that of a big craft shop in America. How tricksey of my partner!
So I still have a package to come and the mystery deepens *lol*
I've just signed up for the 'Because we miss Happy Potter' swap and am co-organising with Superhooker. It's a good way of dipping my toe in the waters of the swap world as one of my goals is to organise one completely. And how can I resist a Harry Potter swap?
Do you know what? It snowed yesterday! Really! Snow in February! Now I know many of you will be thinking that that's nothing, but here in Numpty, smack bang in the centre of England, we hardly ever get snow! And to get it in February! Wow! It's gone now though! Mandy came up to have the wood that Chalky had pruned from our cherry tree on Monday as she's got a wood burner and never passes up the opportunity for free fuel. I made lunch for us both and we had a good natter.
On Monday I made some patchouli soap and used up alot of my vegetable oils, but only filled half of my mould, so I decided to make some more soap to fill up the rest of it. I'd used up all my palm oil, but I still had some coconut oil, some rapeseed oil, some sweet almond oil and some olive oil, so as a little experiment, I used pretty much even quantities of each. The resulting mixture took alot longer to come to trace, but is paler and seems much creamier than most I've made using the palm oil, which is really orange. I'd like to see if I can find something else to use instead of the palm oil, for the sake of the Oran utangs , but I'm having problems finding a substitute that's vegetarian. I've been trying to find a local source for beeswax which would allow to make vegetarian soap that's a little firmer. This soap is amaryllis and ylang ylang. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

The procrastination of the dress is taken to the next step. I hate cutting fabric out. I only have one place that's large enough to spread fabric out, and that's my floor downstairs, so I have to vacuum first, and then I have to fight off the advances of the minions who are desperate to come and assist me in my endeavours.

Pippin has taken to diving into the pieces or grabbing at my hands as they're trying to pin or cut pieces. *Shakes fist* damn her! But all my pieces are cut now, thank goodness; it's a cold and backbreaking task, but now that bit's done, the sewing should be relatively easy. I suspect that the pattern I have is the wrong size, (McCalls are American right? Their sizing's different) but I cut larger just in case. So now I'm looking at this pile of fabric pieces, trying to motivate myself into pinning it all together on Chia'anna.

Oo yeah, I've taken part in some sneakiness myself and appropriated the Gamecube up to my nest. M never plays it, he likes PC games, so the games we play together downstairs are usually on the 64. The Gamecube is mostly my stuff and when I want to play it is when M's watching the football or something, so I've moved it. Mwuahahaha! Now I'm being tricksey!

Monday, February 18, 2008

All wrapped up

Look, my wrap has flowers! Not all the way round yet, but it's getting there. And when the flowers are finished I'll still have to add the tassels, but I'm liking it. It's really long and warm. I wrapped it around myself whilst I was crocheting flowers on the other day.
I've been dabbling in a spot of stamp carving too. This is a gift for someone who likes vampire literature. I hand carved the stamp on Saturday whilst the boys were all downstairs watching the football. Whoever decided that football should be played on a Saturday should be shot! I hate that such a nice sunny day was wasted. Well, not by me anyway, I was crocheting and carving my little arse off! We just should have been out and about. Bloody ManU!

I was quite pleased with the results, they came out better than I could have hoped for.

I made postcards in 3 different colours, all appropriately vampire-ish; black, red and purple.

And I have a swap package all wrapped up and ready to go. Here's a little teaser. I hope the recipient likes it.

Today's been spent doing housework, having dental check-ups (no work needed, hurray!), visiting Mum, making patchouli soap and supervising C's tree surgery. He really pruned our cherry tree hard, but I'm hoping it'll go mad once spring hits in earnest. He's coming back to do the greengage tree at the front of the house in a couple of days. Other plans for this week are to try and drag my mate out somewhere, even if it's just a walk up to rabbit field with the dogs, I've been invited to lunch on Thursday by a new friend I first met through my local Freecycle group, and then 'bumped' into on Ravelry. Small world eh? Friday I have a bit of freelancing at the local pottery studio, a jewellery party and a pottery party. Saturday I'm going to try and head into town early enough to visit a friend at her work (she's a reiki healer and does lots of complimentary therapies, so I'm being nosey!) and I haven't seen her to catch up with for ages. Sunday, the local group for my county on Ravelry is getting together a stitch 'n' bitch session in the park cafe in town. I think my socks will be the perfect project to take, small and light.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope you all had a sweetie to shower you with loving attention this Valentines Day. Mine gave me a single red rose, a bunch of flowers (which I ended up having to split into several recepticles as I only posess one small vase), and a bottle of vodka which he called my card. Now, I know he had actually forgotten by the 'rabbit in the headlights' look which he sported in the morning, but he made up for it later. What can I say? He's had alot going on this week - I've been out alot and he's been audited twice for work (one of which earnt him a payrise) so I'll forgive him. He doesn't usually forget. We celebrated the day with my card :-)

I finished the details for my FBB by lining it with some matching fabric

Including a neat little pocket

and a hand embroidered flower pin detail which is entirely removeable so the the pin can be worn as a brooch.

I made fresh pasta from scratch this week. Check out my 101 blog for the details. My Uncle was buried but I wasn't able to get the time off to attend the funeral. It was Valentines Day, so M and I toasted him with my card.

Last night I went with the girls to the Bellydance and Burlesque night. No pictures I'm afraid as I am still sans camera I said you would get very sick of me complaining about my lack of camera but it was a great night. The theatre is the tiniesy little place you can imagine. It's part of a row of old Victorian terrace houses, the two up two down variety, the bar was in the front room, the stage and seats in the back room. Very small. You were definately up close and personal with the performers *lol* The whole show was very low budget, but utterly charming. It made me think of the early days of theatre, in very small, cheap venues. No flashy set, no expensive musical accompaniment, the acts were introduced by a costumed narrater who climbed off the stage and back into her seat on the front row between acts. We had belly dancing, tribal, Egyptian and cabaret; we had poetry, we had tableaux vivant, burlesque dancing, and musical performances with performers singing along to their instruments. It was mostly a female audience with group of gay, transvestite (and one possible transexual - no-one could be sure) friends. We took the opportunity to dress up to the nines, with plenty of sparkles, basques, long flowing skirts and in my case, big boots and stripey tights, but I think I was the exception *lol* We drank lots of wine, admired the technical expertise of the performers, complained that no-one dressed up to go out any more and laughed alot. Chris' husband picked her up afterwards and very kindly gave me a lift home afterwards so I didn't even have to brave the local taxi service (which I had steeled myself very reluctantly to do). Time out with the girls is good. No-one even mentioned football - hurray!
Today has been spent in catching up with a few chores (boo), hula hooping and yoga (hurray), adding flowers to my tassle edged wrap (hurray) and entertaining M's friends who are round to watch the football (boo). They are keeping my wine glass topped up though (hurray). C has promised to come round and do a bit of tree surgery for us this week as I'm off all week on half term (double hurray and party poppers!)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

socks and pea soupers

Remember the kebab stick dpn's? I cast on with them on Sunday; partly because I was desperate to see how they worked and partly to see how my new sock yarn knitted up. I'm using the Basic Ribbed Socks pattern which was originally in Spun magazine, but I found it on Ravelry. Well, I cast on and knitted a few rows, then realised that I hadn't been obsessive enough with the whole sanding process when I was making the dpns. They felt smooth enough to the touch but when knitting with them, they would snag in odd places. So I frogged the sock back and took some fine sandpaper to them and sanded the f*@$ out of them. Then I used the beeswax polish on them that M uses on his didges and buffed them up. After that, they cast on really nicely. So remember folks, when you make your super cheap bamboo kebab stick dpns, sand them plenty to stop those hair fine splinters catching and then use a little natural beeswax polish (or similar) on them. You won't regret it.
And here is how my self patterning fair isle yarn is knitting up. What do you think? I'm a little disappointed that the purple doesn't seem to be making a distinct pattern yet. Is that normal? Are my expectations too high? Will the pattern get clearer as I go along? Are my needles too thick? Sould I go down a mil? These work out at about 3mm, should I go down to 2mm? These are only my second pair of socks and my first time using this fancy self patterning stuff, so I'm full of questions :-) I kinda like them though. The colours are a little pastel-y for my tastes, but what the hell!
And whilst we're admiring yarn, I got a closer shot of the 'still without tassel edges' wrap because you can see the silver in the yarn a bit clearer in this photo. I can't wait to get a new camera so I can start getting decent photos again. M says in about 2 weeks. I miss my camera and you lot are going to get mighty sick of me bitching about it till I get a new one *lol*

This week is the last week before half term (hurray) and my students start mock exams when they get back, so I had a little fun with them today making these textured abstract panels. They are basically watercolour board with modroc, tissue paper, foam board shapes, wire and string on them. The whole lot is painted with various acrylic colours, hot glue is dribbled over them and metalic paint and pearlex powers are applied for extra twinkle.

I did these really quick because I was demonstrating to students, but I may go over them a little with a few other bits I have at home, and maybe have a play with some canvases to see what I can come up with for future lessons. I love this technique, it's great fun :-)

The weather's real messed up at the moment, days of sunshine, with nights and early morning of thick fog. Real pea soupers. I love thick fog when I don't have to drive much; it makes everything really ethereal. I hate it when I have to drive though.

Tomorrow is Valentines Day; I have just a couple of fun trinkets for M, a packet of Jammy Dodgers with heart shaped centres and a multipack of Loveheart sweeties. He's not a real soppy romantic but he'll apreciate the fun side of this gift as well as the sugar :-) I wonder if he'll have remembered? He normally does, one year he bought me a lottery ticket and wrote me a little poem explaining the relevance of the numbers he'd chosen (like my birth date, our ages, how many years we'd been together, stuff like that). Yeah, maybe he's more of a romantic than I give him credit for although he'd hate me to say that to anyone :-) We don't tend to go overboard for Valentines Day, it's just too commercial. We tend to have a meal or do something together, maybe give each other a small trinket, nothing too expensive; it's the thought that counts. He even made me a card one year and M doesn't do 'crafts'!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Paying it Forward

Since the Recipients of the Pay it Forward game have now received from me, I'll post pictures of what I sent to Kasia and Morgan. I tried to send things that the recipient wouldn't or couldn't do themselves, I know Kasia makes beautiful jewellery and knits, but I'm not sure if she sews, so I sent this little heart brooch pin, made from felt and hand embroidered with little beads and sequins.
This is what I sent to Morgan, I know from past swaps that Morgan doesn't knit or crochet. It's the Single Skein Scarf from the Happy Hooker, threaded through the centre with a satin ribbon. Sorry about the bad photo.
Friday night was a productive night despite the yummy bottle of wine *lol*, I finished this wall hanging based on 'someones' wishlist for the FOC swap. Sorry about the bad camera phone piccy, it's the best I can do at the moment. First I silk-painted the tree and the background, using silk paints and then some glitter fabric paint, I did that during the week; then Friday night I sewed it onto some backing fabric and edged it with lace to give it a 'looking out of the window' effect. There's a channel at the top of the hanging so that the recipient can thread a piece of dowling through to hang it straight. It needs to be ironed though :-) I also made a lining for the FBB and started a felt flower pin to decorate said bag.
I had a great day yesterday, M was working in the morning, so I had a bit of time to myself for a change. I managed to get to grips with the hula hoop, averaging at least 50 hoops at a time and even managing to get up to 100 sometimes! I ache a little today though, so it must be doing something good. I definately need to get a bigger heavier hoop though. I'm using a kids one and although it's a pretty purple one with flashing lights, it's not big enough to get any of the special moves. I'm considering making my own. More on that project when I get the stuff together. I even managed to get a yoga session in too! I did my MTV Power Yoga DVD which is one of my favourites. It's one I keep coming back to, it's challenging enough to feel like I've actually 'worked out'. Although I've been to a (Hatha) yoga class and bellydancing every week, for like ever, I feel like they just maintain a basic level of fitness and suppleness. The power yoga (and now the hula hooping) takes it up a notch to a more cardio level (i.e. I sweat *lol*). I haven't had time to do any Ashtanga yoga since Christmas really, and I really felt like I'd lost some of my suppleness. I couldn't get as far into the postures as I usually can. *Note to self; try and fit in the time to do my yoda DVD's at home more regularly*
It was such a beautiful day yesterday that I popped into town for a wander; I had a couple of things in mind that I wanted to get, but couldn't find what I needed. I did find this beauty at a charity shop though for a couple of quid. It's a beautiful dusky rose corduroy and I've been lusting after the designer hippy ranges of embroidered corduroy clothing for ages, but I'm far too stingy to pay the prices they want for them. So this will end up embellished - I just have to decide on the design. I really love corduroy, it softens wonderfully and feels so nice! I like velvet for the same reason.
I saw a few things in town yesterday that have given me inspiration for some new projects; one of them being a garter stitch scarf with the edges embellished with beads and sequins that Accessorize wanted £22 for! It was such a simple design too, even a beginner knitter could have whipped it up in no time at all! Sometimes the problem with being a multi crafter is that you often look at things and know that you could make it yourself for a fraction of the cost. I decide to treat myself and then can't justify spending the money on anything I see. I just don't have the time to do everything I want to do *lol*
I've finally finished the wrap part of the tassle edged wrap during a marathon Simpsons session. Now I just have to make the flowered tassles which will hang off the trefoil motifs along one side of the wrap. I love the slight glittery effect that the strand of silver running through the pink yarn gives.
After checking round unsuccessfully for some cream yarn to contrast with the lilac for Februarys Cross your Heart square in the 12" Square CAL, I finally decided on a stashbusting pink yarn instead.

Pink and lilac will co-ordinate well enough with my sis's bedroom.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Happy New Year!

The news from the coroner is that my Uncle died from a heart attack followed by a stroke, so there's no need for an inquest. We have still to hear when the funeral is, and I don't really know whether I'll be able to attend, it depends on what day and whether I'm teaching. I'm in two minds about funerals; part of me wants to remember the person as they were when they were living, and part of me wants to support my family. My family is Catholic, so funerals and wakes are important bonding and supportive occasions. I tend to follow a different spiritual path these days which I keep private, but I am very sensitive to emotions, particularly grief and I find it difficult to function when surrounded by such high levels.
Do you like this domino pendant? I found some larger than average dominos in a car boot sale last summer and wanted to create a stamped and enamelled pendant, but the stamp I choose didn't come out very well. Not a person to be beaten, I glittered and layered the pendant with enamel to create a resiny effect and then I wrapped it with copper wire and beads for an art pendant feel. How does it look? Would you be happy to receive this?
I'm still working on my tassle edged wrap but now I've finished my FBB, I wanted another quick crochet fix. There's a 12" square crochetalong on Craftster and Ravelry which I've joined. The aim is to create a minimum of one 12" square a month based on a pattern posted by the thread organiser, and by the end of the year, you'll have enough squares to make a lap blanket at least. I'm provisionally making a blanket for my sister for Christmas next year. Her bedroom is lilac, so I'm going to keep to a basic colour scheme of lilac and cream. This is Januarys square - The Dreamcatcher. I had to modify it a little as the centre wanted to balloon out and the edges were too tight. I made the last three rows 2DC rather than dc + 1 ch, which would have given a lacier effect but made it tighter for some reason. I've done half of Februarys square, but I need to get some cream yarn to contrast.
Next week is my bellydancing classes half term (my half term is not till the week after, but she also works in a couple of other counties, and their half term is earlier) so no class next week, but I have bought my ticket for the Bellydancing and Burlesque show on the 15th February. We're having a girlie night out, no guys allowed. I'm looking forward to it :-)
I love a good excuse to dress up!

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year and my students have been getting very excited. They have tomorrow afternoon off and although they are disappointed that they won't be able to go home and get their Red Packets (containing money gifts) many of them have parties planned :-) This year is the Year of the Rat - Happy New Year to any of you who celebrate the Chinese New Year!

Monday, February 04, 2008

At the Flicks

There are quite a few great films on at the Flicks at the moment:

'Cloverfield' looks completely awesome; I can't wait to see it! I love that home video edgy realistic type horror, like The Blair Witch Project. Sometimes the suspense and imaging what you can't see is so much scarier than the goriest splatterpic. I'm trying not to read too much about it though because I've only seen the teaser trailer and I don't want to spoil things.

I also really like the look of Jumper and not just because it has Hayden Christensen in. The idea of being able to teleport anywhere in the world is mind blowing! Can you imagine the possibilities? Where would you go? I have such a long list of destinations, I could easily travel the world several times over and not get bored.

Another film on my current 'must see' list is Alien v Predator Requiem. I've been a big fan of the Alien films since Ridley Scotts atmospheric masterpiece. I love the Film Noir influence of the films he made during that period - Bladerunner is one of my all time favourite films. I know that Ridley Scott hasn't made the new film but I love the idea of the two seemingly undefeatable alien races battling it out together. It makes humankind seem so fragile and our arguements so trivial. Yes, I'm a complete Sci-fi geek; Sci-fi and fantasy.

M and I went to see I am Legend last weekend - another fantastic film (and not just because Will Smith has an amazing body), but it's a poignant film, terrifying and sad, and I have to admit that I shed a tear or two; if you've seen the film, you'll know where I mean :-) I think it's quite possible for something that humans have created to mutate into something awful, wasn't the Aids virus rumoured to have mutated from something a lab created?

My car insurance company gave me a Bogof film card for renewing my policy with them. It entitles me to Buy One Get One Free cinema tickets, so we went to the cinema in town. It's not one we normally go in as we have one much nearer. In fact, we've never been into it before; I'm not sure how much I like it, I'm sure I could hear the film in the next room (?) the walls obviously aren't that well soundproofed. It would have cost the two of us about £6 ish which isn't too bad, but at the last minute M decided he wanted a pop to take in (we'd brought our own munchies with us) and that bumped the price up to nearly £10. WTF? How expensive was that drink?! M and I normally go to the early bird showing at our nearest cinema, which means that if you go before 12am, you get in for just under £4 each. It's normally not too busy in the mornings either which is a bonus.

By the way, my Blogger spell check doesn't work at the moment; is anyone else having this problem?

Goodbye Uncle T

My Uncle T (my Mum's eldest brother) died yesterday. He retired early from his job as manager of the Bank of England many years ago and devoted most of his life to caring for my Aunt A who had multiple sclerosis. She passed away last year and maybe he lost his purpose in life. He'd been unwell for a few weeks but seemed to be getting better. My cousin P (who no longer lives near him) had tried to get hold of him on the phone all day, and finally rang the police. The police broke in and found him at the bottom of the stairs. Apparently he'd fallen down them. Goodbye Uncle T, you will be much missed by your family.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Sad news... camera has finally died. It's irrepairable. Well, it can be repaired, but the repairs would cost more than it would cost to buy a brand new one, so that's what I've decided to do. This is the one I have my beady little eyes on, waiting for payday. It's another Fuji, but at 12 megapixels is roughly 4 times better than my recently deceased model. It's about £150 otherwise I'd have ordered it by now *lol* I know that's not alot for a good camera, but it's more than we have in the pot at the moment. *Sigh*

Dragonflyducky received her 'Pay it Forward' gift from me, so I can now post a picture. This is Kerstins super picture borrowed from her blog (with her permission), because you don't even want to see the photos I ended up with. It's a felt heart brooch, hand embroidered and beaded, based on a heart felt ornament she had in her Wists.

I finished this during the week. It's a beaded CD cuff bracelet, elasticated for easy wear. I like the way the pink beads compliment the iridescent green of the CD. I nuked the CD, then chopped it up into wedge shaped pieces and baked them a little to create a more rounded 'bead'. Then I used my mini-drill to drill holes in to thread the elastic through and smoothed off the edges to make sure there weren't any sharp bits. I strung some clear beaded elastic through, alternating the CD pieces with pink and iridescent beads. I glued felt onto the back of the CD pieces to make it more comfortable to wear. It's so pretty and glittery to wear. This was my attempt at staging the piece. I had decided to try and make my photos a little better by using props and staging them; that is until my camera died. I'd been inspired by SusieJacks article on Etsy, go and check it out, she has some great tips.
And I finally finished the FBB! Yippee! I had to frog it practically right back to the beginning, but it went very smoothly the second time around, and I managed to find some silver glittery handles which went with the design perfectly. I have yet to decide on the decorative motif. Maybe a flowery button detail. And I will probably line it. Crocheted and knitted bags look wonderful, but are quite impractical as things tend to poke through. Apologies for the very bad picture quality, I've had to resort to the back up camera, my old one which M uses sometimes. I can't wait to get a new camera. I use my camera so much!
I've been trying to be a little more disciplined with my shop restocking too. It's easy to get lax over January because sales are traditionally quite sporadic during that month. People are busy recouperating financially after Christmas, but once February hits, they're starting to think about Valentines Day and gifts again. This is a little champagne glass I created for the purposes of treating your Beloved to Buck Fizz in bed on Valentines Day, or maybe a little champagne later on. Speaking of Beloveds, M and I have been together for 14 years this week. That makes me feel a little old *lol*
Today, I have mostly been playing with an iron. Okay, before I have to pick you up from the floor, I haven't bought a clothes iron (a personal policy, I hate ironing) but a soldering iron. I've been making soldered microscope slide pendants. I've been wanting to try this for a while. I decided that my stained glass lead iron was far too powerful for the job in hand (150watts of pure wicked heat) so I elected to try it with my little soldering iron. Remember to open a window if you're doing this at home, the solder fumes are toxic.
First choose your image and sandwich it between 2 microscope slides. Then you need to clean the glass and apply copper foil tape round the slides, smoothing it down. After that apply the flux to the copper and coat it with the lead free solder. Next you solder a ring on the top.

The last step is to give it a good clean.

Tada! My first soldered microscope slide pendants :-)



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