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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Set the date...

We now have a date for the funeral; 12 o'clock 10th of June, just send a happy thought our way then if you can. I've spent the last few days with Mum, my bruv and sis, trying to sort stuff out. We've finally had an official document from France which is not exactly a death certificate, but as close as we'll get, so we need to get a formal translation and then we'll be able to start all the bureaucratic stuff. We talked to the funeral directors yesterday and I was able to spend a little time with Dad in the Chapel of rest (I wasn't able to say my goodbyes to him before now). Today we've spent some time with the parish priest discussing the order of mass and stuff. We've also had a ton of visitors, cards, flowers and things. We've kept our spirits up by playing my sis's Wii and being quite irreverent at times; it works for us.
I've made a small progress on my BPT hoodie, it's looking quite good. I'm impressed with my first attempt at cables.
Thursday night (the last time I was home), I felt the urge to do a little spinning and I managed to spin alot more of this blue, green and purple yarn.

I even worked out how to ply on my drop spindle and made this gorgeous silver ply yarn. I set the twist and it's been drying over the last day or two. It's a bit thick and thin in places but I love that homespun look.


Then tonight I knitted it up in some gorgeous 5mm clear needles that have a blue twist running through them. Aren't they fab? I got them free with a magazine in this cute needle holder.

What do you think? It's for my sisters birthday which is on Thursday. I'm gonna make a sort of clutch bag from it. I like the multi-coloured metallicy shiny look. I think I'll make a nice brooch detail to decorate it with, and perhaps a zip. I'm also thinking about a little bit of jewellery - a girl can never have enough jewellery.

And todays gratuitous 'kitteh' shot....here's Keilo making a nest in M's bike cover.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Everyone's home

Mum is back home. Dad is back in town too. He arrived late this afternoon to the funeral directors who say that we may need a post mortem. The coroner was supposed to ring this afternoon to speak to Mum, but we didn't hear anything. I really hope they don't need a PM. Dad was embalmed in France and sealed in for his journey back to Britain and I'd really like to think that they don't need to disturb him again.
People have been so kind; we've had so many cards, visits, well wishes, flowers and cooked meals, that it's a little overwhelming. I don't think that anyone who ever met Dad didn't like him. I had a letter today from a friend at work who described him as the sunniest person she'd ever met. That was my Dad; a sunny man. It still hasn't sunk in that I'll never see him again. We are finding it hard to get anything organised as we still don't have a death certificate. France doesn't really issue them, but we need one in order to do anything.
My brother, sister and I've been taking it in turns to stop the night with my Mum and we've all spent most of each day there, just trying to get things sorted so that when we all go back to work, Mum doesn't have anything too horrendous to deal with on her own. It's a little weird stopping in the spare room though. That was my brothers room when we lived at home. My room, that I shared with my sister has become the 'hobbies' room. The apple never falls far from the tree, eh? We all have a passion for creating - participators not spectators :-)
So my pressure release this week has been the BPT hoodie from Knitty, knitted in the deep magenta yarn from last weeks car boot sale. This is what it will look like - i.e. the photo from Knitty.

And this is how much I've done this week. It's a top down raglan pattern and very simple (so they assure me). I've never attempted cables before and now I'm wondering why! This is a very simple pattern, a good place to start. Once you get the first few rows out the the way, it's all plain sailing. Well, for now anyway. Just trust the pattern and go with it.

I don't know about you, but at times like this, I need to be busy. And there are times when I really need to be doing something that's mindless, but that I need to concentrate on a little to stop my mind turning in on itself. This has been perfect so far. You may be thinking 'Why's she knitting a thick hoodie in May?' but believe me, it's been really awful weather here the last week or so. And it might take me ages :-) How do you cope with stress?
Thank you so much for the good wishes I've had from you all. It's really easy to get saddened by all the bad stuff that goes on in the world, then something like this happens and people are so caring and supportive that you realise that most humans are wonderful and caring, and that yes, it really is love that makes the world go round.
Peace, out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Exhausted

Thank you everyone for your kind words and wishes. The last couple of days have been exhausting. With my brother and sister driving down to the south of France to be with Mum, I pretty much spent every half hour on the phone to one party or the other till around three o'clock in the morning. I also rang round family and close family friends to let them know.
Today has been spent ringing insurance people to arrange for Dad to be brought home, the family parish priest, Dad's work, more family friends, choosing and talking to funeral directors, the holiday company that the cottage was rented through, the ferry company to change the ferry home to an earlier one and car breakdown services to change the policy holder details so my sister could be covered driving Mums car home.
Tomorrow I have to arrange a double plot somewhere. Can you believe that my town has seven cemeteries and five of them are full. I hate the phone at the best of times, but to have to explain through tears why you are ringing and what you want/need to do, well, I'm shattered. I also have to shoot around to my sisters and check the house for her, then get some shopping in for Mum's and I'll probably prepare some food for them for when they arrive. They're on their way now, the ferry company know the situation and will get them on the first ferry home. I'm hoping to see them tomorrow afternoon/evening.
I'm sad that I will never see Dad again; he had to be sealed in the coffin by the police, but my sister put the phone by him so I could talk to him one last time and say goodbye. He probably won't be home till next week.
Okay, I need to go now.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Goodbye Dad

This morning my Dad passed away whilst on holiday in the South of France with my Mum. We are all devasted. He was the rock in our lives; loving, happy, charming, a real flirt, and capable - he was the best Dad anyone could ever have wished for. I miss him already. My brother and sister are driving down to Mum as we speak, and as I don't have a passport at the minute, I'm holding the fort here. The waiting is the hardest bit. I'm in touch with everybody and yet I feel like I'm doing nothing.
This is how I will always remember him; laughing and happy

How I wish I could have just one more hug from my Daddy.


Goodbye Dad, I'll always love you.




Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fountain of ...Pooch

I've always wanted a pond. There's no reason not to have one; we don't have kids, but our house had the (mis)fortune to be the 'show house' for the estate when they built it. So we may have ended up with a slightly larger garden than some of the houses, but we also ended up with a great deal less than the recommended depth of top soil. In fact, dig down only a couple of inches and you'll hit hardcore and rubble. In abundance. When we moved into the house, the garden was surrounded by very tall, very thick, cherry laurels, fast growing and prolific. The grass never grew because it got no light. There was a cherry tree somewhere there in the foliage, but it was in danger of being suffocated. So we got rid of alot of the laurels, reseeded the grass and planted what we could. We dug away a small part of the garden to make a patio and realised very quickly that this was an impossible job and without the aid of a JBC, that hardcore was going nowhere! So my dreams of having a pond were scuppered.







Then M's Mum offered me this very large pottery bowl that she'd had in her garden as a water feature and my dreams started to take form again. I wanted a fountain that Joe and the girls could enjoy in the summer but I didn't want the hassle of having to wire in a permanent feature. So I had a good look round and found this solar power floating lily pad fountain on eBay.








Wonderful! No wires, no batteries, it just floats there on the top, a little self contained unit. I may add plants to my little pond. I may even see if it's possible to have fish in there. I plan on adding some rocks so that it can be home to some frogs (although Pippins a frog hunter, so that might not be a good idea!). The spray only shoots up when it's sunny, but it's already caught Joe out by spraying him in the face when he's having a crafty slurp. He's already insisting on going out for a drink, I think he thinks it's a giant dog bowl! It's not the koi pond of my dreams, but it's lovely to be able to sit in the garden and listen to the tinkling of water.












And although the weathers not been too warm over the last couple of days, I thought I'd share some macro shots of some of the plants in the garden.


I can't remember what this is, but I love the little frondy bits on the fluffy looking purple centre.






Aqualegia. Beautiful oriental looking flowers.








Dicentra, otherwise known as Bleeding Heart. I love the little dancing fairies along the branches there.









And a dandelion clock! How I loved to blow all the little fluffy parachutes away on their journey as a child.





California lilac. Such beautiful blue blossoms.





Yes, my love of purple even extends to my garden. If the lavender bushes were in flower, you'd have had photos of them too!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm so jealous! M is on holiday this week and so he's lazing about. He has an interview on Tuesday (his work is changing contracts and he wants to stay with the original company, so he's applied to stay with them - long story.) Then on Wednesday he's going to Manchester to watch the Cup Final on the big screens at ManU's stadium. The game itself is being played in Moscow, even though both teams playing are from England. How ridiculous is that? It's made it financially unviable for most supporters to go to, so for M, this is the next best thing.
This morning was fairly bright (usual British weather, sunny and overcast) so we went to a car boot sale - the first of the season. I didn't really see much that I wanted and thought I'd be going home empty handed, then I spotted a black bag lurking on the grass next to a stall, filled to the brim with yarn with a £3 label on it!! Wow! There must be about 10 big balls here in this gorgeous magenta, and it's an aran or chunky weight by the look of it. No ball band, so I have no idea what it is, but there's loads! I mean that burgundy ball there is a 100gm ball and the pink ones dwarf it. What a bargain!

As part of the mushroom swap I've been doing, I whipped up these little beauties to make a pair of earrings with. I partially mixed a brown with a copper to give an almost mokume gane like appearance. The stalk is translucent clay. I made the bails and pushed them in before I fired them, so they're nice and snug!

And at the same time I made some beads and covered a pen. For a change I decided not to try to make the holes in the beads pre-baking, but to try drilling them after. Sometimes with small beads, they split as you're making the holes, and I thought that firing them might avoid that. The drill bit I have is just a little bit too big for these beads though, so I'm going to get some smaller bits and have another go at these.

Unfortunately the pen didn't survive though. It's a shame, it looked lovely before it was fired. I think it's because I used a clear Bic pen, I hear that the opaque pens have a higher melting point and are much more successful for covering with polyclay. I just can't seem to find the opaque pens anywhere local though. Maybe I should have a hunt round the office supply places.

I finally got round to making a necklace with the beads I made at my friends a few weeks ago. I mixed the lamp-worked beads that I made with some lamp-worked beads purchased at Hobbycraft and some purple cats eye beads. There are some seed beads with them too to stop it being really heavy.

The clear rose beads are the purchased ones and I discovered something really cool about them last night. The little speckly bits actually glow in the dark! Really! I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I first noticed, but it's true!

I finally got around to weighting my hula hoop. I bought a kids hoop from Tescos for a couple of quid (well, if I had money to burn, I might have treated myself to an adult one, but hey, who's got twenty quid to waste on a hula hoop eh?) Anyway, I picked out the largest one there which is about 32 inches in diameter (pretty much adult size anyway) and apart from the fact that it's filled with little plastic beads that sort of swoosh as you spin (kinda annoying at first, but you get used to it) it was purple and was covered with this really groovy holographic tape. The downside is that it's a little on the light side and this makes it harder for spinning. So I bought these heavy duty nuts from a DIY shop and hot glued them on. It just gives my hoop a bit more weight and makes it easier to spin. :-)

I've finished all my OWS packages and have them ready to post tomorrow. I forot to take final photos of the animal eared pantas, but I think we can use our imagination there. Karan's package is all done and I'll post piccies of that after she's received it, and the other thing was this candle burner for Sajona. I hope she likes it.




Okay, I'm off now to decide what to knit with my newly acquired stash. Hopefully the weather'll be a little nicer this week; I want the sun back!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Give me a ring!

I've treated myself a couple of times this week thanks to good old eBay! I've always loved Nag Champa Incense, it has a wonderful sweet smell that lingers after the stick has burnt down, and I recently found this Nag Champa perfume by the same brand. It smells gorgeous! I also ordered some patchouli perfume, but it doesn't smell of patchouli at all, so I'm quite disappointed!







I also spotted this fabulous carved amethyst ring which I just couldn't resist! Unfortunately I have tiny fingers so I can only wear it on my right hand index finger (my largest finger) but that's okay with me :-)





Typically the sunny weather didn't last and we're now in the middle of the rainy season again. This means that the garden is growing madly, so we'll be having to cut everything back by the time the weather is nice enough to get out there again. I think it's forecasting sun for Tuesday! I drove to work in the pouring rain this morning and was followed a a motorbike which was bobbing about behind me. It really unnerved me - I'm really 'bike-aware' as M's a Biker, but this guy kept moving from my left to my right, then he's go into my blind spot, then he'd go into the next lane. I couldn't tell where he was and daren't make a maneuver. It was a relief when he finally overtook me and I could see where he was. Honestly, riders like that are destined to be hit by a car. They just don't realise. It's hard to see them in daylight, never mind when visibilities bad, and you just can't hear them if you have the radio on. Well, you can hear M; his motto is 'Loud bikes save lives'! I actually don't think that the pipes he has on his bike are legal! They're so loud! They're custom imports from the US and you certainly know that he's there!

I've managed to catch up on a bit of crafting though. I finished one animal panta and nearly finished another. I realised later that the ears on the first panta were stupidly close together and I'm now in the process of frogging those ears back and replacing them at a better distance apart. That'll teach me to knit whilst watching a film! The black one is a knitted kitty panta, and the brown one is a crocheted bear band. They look kind of cute on, so I'm now debating on making some for myself! That'll give M something to groan about! He's used to my eccentric ways though!




I've been really good about finishing stuff off this week. My shroom now has button details!




The mycology bag now has a handle, ribbon detail and a mushie applique motif.






I'll soon be ready to post these things off to sunny California. I have a couple more things in the pipeline for the parcel and I'm still waiting for Angels Walk to give me her address as she's just moved. I'm looking forward to the weekend. It's been a busy week. I fancied going to the local folk festival Friday night, but we don't have any money and it looks like rain, so maybe it's a good thing *lol* I have plenty of crafting to keep me occupied though!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

You know that Summer must be nearly here when you can sit in the garden after work with a cool glass of wine, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. This is this weeks Friday Frolicks!

Keilo grooming herself




WTF iz uz upzid dwn?


Pippin and Norbert


Wotz n ur hanz silli Mummi?


Joe enjoying his ice lolly


High jinx from Joe and Pippin.



video

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Bring me sunshine!

If you happen to frequent any English blogs, you'll have gathered that the weather here is gorgeous at the moment. Proper sunny! It's the first real sunny spell we've had this year, so it's foremost in our thoughts and in our blogs. The sun is shining, everywhere is blooming and absolutely everything feels wonderful. I sat on the grass in the grounds at lunchtime today in the glorious sunshine, a sundress and sandals on, iPod in my ears and despite the fact that I was surrounded by lolling students, I felt on top of the world. Bring it on summertime!
So it's time to catch up on the world of craft in my little patch of merry old England. I dried my Kool-Aid dyed yarn and wound it into a lovely little ball of colour ready to be used. It still smells wonderfully fruity.

I've finished quite alot of the Mycology bag. I added a pocket whilst watching the Golden Compas with M on Monday night. It was only afterwards that I noticed that I'd put the pocket on the wrong side. See that ugly seem at the top right hand side? I really wanted that to be the back. Maybe I'll add the handle and the decorative ribbons wound through those holes and see if I can still notice it. As I put this down to photograph, Pippin laid down next to it and stretched out her paws to grab it - it looks like she's trying to nick it! This may still end up as the back. It'll just be a back pocket.

I also crocheted a pop top mushie - did I show you this already? I can't remember now. Still, it's all sewn together and stuffed. I just need to sew the buttons on it.

Remember the thick enamelled wire that I bought from the electronics shop at the weekend? I made this with it. I just wire wrapped some random crystal beads on it. They're much more twinkley in real life.

I finished a couple of OWS packages this week too. I claimed nofury for a business card holder and made her this from felt, with some vintage lace and some leaves appliqued on it.

Here it is laid out. I like the vintage lace with the beads. I think it looks like white tree blossom.

Here's the inside. Hopefully it'll serve it's purpose for her.

I also sent this domino pendant - finished at last.

And I claimed Witcheybelle again for some tree art. This is what I came up with. I used technical drawing pen and watercolour pencils, with a bit of gold ink brushed on the branches.

I wonder if she'll notice the treebeard like face on the trunk? I was actually a little reluctant to see this go, but I hope Wondra will like it. I also sent her a whimsey jar, but I forgot to take a photograph before I sent it. Silly me!

My current OWS WIP is some animal pantas for Dragonsmuse. This one will be a black kitty. I've been toying with the idea of making one of these for myself, so I'll be seeing how it turns out!

I finished the polyclay pendant I'd been working on. The experimental one? It seems that you can drill through polyclay and domino. I added a bail, varnished it with aging varnish and added some acrylic jewels.

When I get a few minutes to play with my new soldering iron, probably at the weekend now, I'll be edging this to make a pendant with. It's a glass fossil pebble that a friend made for me years ago. I used it like a worry stone for a bit and then, as things tend to do, it sat in a drawer for ages. I came across it the other day and decided that it would make a wonderful pendant. I've edged it in copper foil tape and it's ready to go.




I have one day left this week and then it's the weekend again. I hope the weather stays like this! The Hound even got an evening walk to rabbit field! I have a doggy ice lolly freezing for him in the freezer for the weekend, so he'll be keeping his paws crossed for nice weather too!

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