Thursday, January 29, 2009

Are we nearly there yet…?

Well m’dears, I believe we nearly are! Looky here! Do you see that hemline?Edging? You see, there at the bottom? I have finished the i-cord edging!! Woohoo! I’ve been knitting my little irregular heart out recently because I’m determined to finish this while I can still wear it, and look. My determination is starting to pay off! I only have the hood and the sleeves to do now, I just have to track down some 5mm dns….

I’ve never done an i-cord edging before, but I really like it!



It’s a nice chunky edging that doesn’t roll up to your armpits (not a good look!) and doesn’t pucker round your hips like ribbing can (also very attractive – not!). I think I’ve found a new favourite way to finish off my edges! It took alot longer than a regular finish, but oh, so worth it, don’t you think?


And my freeform hat? Yep, that’s progressing too. I’ve done the first two rows of bobbles using sample strands of hand spun/hand-dyed yarn that I picked up at a show years ago. You know the sort of thing, much too short for anything really, but gorgeous colours and textures!





I’ve done my first proper ESOL observation now. One down. Lots more to go. I also have a new class to teach, a group of ‘Education to Employment’ kids which need basic literacy, numeracy, work and life skills. A bit of a change to art (which I still do), but it’s not too far from the teaching I used to do in a mental health/rehab centre. The course starts in a couple of weeks and I haven’t even been given the scheme of work yet. Talk about cutting it fine! I would actually like some prep time here please people! I’m starting to have to turn work down at the moment because I just have so much on my plate! Still, I have a three day weekend this weekend. Monday is staff training, which is optional for hourly paid staff, so I’m going to opt out of the *ahem* very useful training sessions such as child protection (done that), dignity at work (whaaaa?) and and emotional intelligence…well, there are definitely some staff that could do with some intelligence, but thanks, I think I’ll pass on that. A few hours extra in bed studying will benefit me much more.

Have a great weekend folks!


And the award goes to....

Award - Lets be Friends

Lynda from Lynda's Book Blog has passed this Lets be Friends Award to me. Thanks Lynda!

The award says: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.

Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

Hmmmm, lets have a think! There's so many lovely bloggers out there to choose from! I wish I could give you all one! I'm thinking that Kookie, Kasia, Taz, Cazz, Lou, Cindy, Amanda and Kerstin all deserve an award, so here you go girls, with my love! :-) 

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Poor little Senka

My Sis's little kitten lost her fight for life tonight. Senka was only a few months old but suffered from massive seizures and was half blind. She was found abandoned in a car park and was a happy little soul despite all her health problems. Tonight she had a seizure she couldn't recover from. At least she spent her very short life being loved and cared for.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something looks a little fishy!

Hurray! I treated myself to one of these...

So what's so great about this you might wonder?? Well, it's a Holga camera. Not a sophisticated digital camera, but one of the old film types. A lot of the Holga's are on medium format film, and I even have a 110mm film key ring type, but they're all such a bugger to buy film for, never mind getting the thing processed. They're just a cheapo plastic camera that's a bit wobbly, a bit light leaky, but produces the most wonderful atmospheric photos. Just Google Lomo, or Holga and look at the pictures for yourself. Anyway, I saw this on eBay, it's a 35mm Holga with a separate clip-on fish-eye lens and coloured flash. In fact there's a choice of 5 colours for the flash! And because Holga's are a bit leaky, you get this wonderful vignette effect (black round the edges) round the picture and sometimes if you're really lucky, a double exposure! Oooh, heaven! I think when the film is all done, I'm going to rewind the film and take a couple again over the same film to force the effect. I really like the idea of a straight photo and then a fisheye over the same photo! Well I haven't used the whole film yet so I can't show you one of the double exposures I plan, but here's a fisheye photo I took using my digi camera and my Holga lens!

So on Monday I did my first teaching practice to real actual ESOL students! It all went reasonably well, we talked about education and English schools compared to schools from their own countries. We did a little exercise where they had to place little flash cards with schools on in the order of which they would be accessed, play school, nursery school, primary school, secondary school, college and university. Then they had to match the schools with the matching descriptive cards. We talked about academic and vocational courses, and compulsory education. We talked about where everyone went to school and what ages. Phew! I think it went okay. I just need to use different signifying body language to get attention. I'm used to working with kids and it's a slightly different skill! 

So what else have I been up to apart from the ever tedious studying??? (Just repeat after me, it's only till June, it's only till June...) Well, M and I found a local curiosity, a motte, a manmade mound, one of the largest in the country called Clifford Hill. Clifford Hill is one of the largest mottes in the country. On the north side is a cliff down to the ford which crosses the river. Together, they gave Clifford Hill its name. It's presumed to date from the 11th or 12th century and was even taller than it is now until the 17th century when the lord of the manor, William Ward, levelled off the top to make a bowling green! It's almost as large as Silbury Hill and is thought to be one of a series of Harvest Hills, ancient sacred sites where harvests were offered to the gods.


View Larger Map

The weather was so lovely and sunny (although windy!) so we decided to just go and climb that mound. And man is it steep! Joe loved it of course!

So yarn-wise, there has been little bitty sporadic bursts of action. My 'BPT Hoodie' chugs along at a speed somewhat reminiscent of a tortoise.

My 'Go for Baroque' has sprouted an arm in much the manner of the Venus De Milo


And I've just bought this freeform hat pattern. I've been coveting this hat for yonks and now the designer has released the pattern! Hurray! I know, I know. I really shouldn't start something new till I've finished one of my WIP's but honestly, can you blame me?? It's such a cool hat and how much longer will the weather be cold enough for hats?

Anyway, time to go dream the restless dreams of the overworked teacher - lesson planning, assignments, marking.....last night I dreamt that M had committed suicide...How bizarre is that? Maybe it was my guilty conscious worrying that I was abandoning him every night...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

First week back

So we're back to school; those words to strike dread into the hearts of teachers and parents alike! This week has been reasonably 'hitch-less', I've been up on time and fairly compos mentis, despite the small layer of snow that covered enough of the ground to make travelling by foot or car a pain in the arse, but not enough to make it a legitimate snow day. Why oh why does it choose to snow on the first day back at work?! For exactly the same reason why I got up this morning to find that the boiler didn't work. On a Saturday. It couldn't do this last week when M was off all week with man flu and would have been able to let a plumber in, nooo, it had to wait until the weekend, when we're going to both be at work for all the weeks after for ages.....And then it did work - hurrah! And then it didn't! And it's working again, but now I don't trust it. There is something not right in the electrickery part of the boiler switch. The thingy that makes the light come on and the time to show up n stuff. I tried my usual handyman fix-all and changed the fuse, which trust me, I didn't want to be doing at 7 o'clock on a Saturday morning. The same Saturday morning that I had to do my first teaching observation for my TESOL course by the way! So, no pressure there. Cold house. No heating. Imminent observation. Bowl of stress anyone? We were being videoed for our obs too. I actually didn't do too badly although I realised when we watched them back (postmortem constructive criticism, great fun - not!!) that I was maybe a little grammatical, so I'll have to remember to simplify things. It was a useful experience even if a tad completely terrifying. The others seemed to think that because I teach anyway, I wouldn't be nervous, but as I tried to explain to them, teaching to your peers is a completely different kettle of fish! I tend to teach teens, 13 years and upwards and alot of what you end up doing is crowd control! Keeping them focused and on task is a big part of the job. Adults just aren't like that, and your peers, well, they know when you've fluffed something, or when you've blanked or heaven forbid, got something completely wrong! After such a nerve wracking day, it was quite nice to come home and play M and Chalky on the Wii. I actually got five strikes in a row! Wow! Can you believe it! I was very proud of myself. This is what I was doing while I waited for my go:

Yes, my 'Go for Baroque' is actually start to look like a garment now, and not  like roadkill! I've just started one sleeve, that funny stumpy thing on the right hand side there! There'll also be a decorative panel along each front side too! I'm getting quite excited about this now! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I've also been working on my BPT Hoodie, but that's very slow progress and it doesn't look very different to the last picture I showed you, so I thought there wasn't much point in showing you it until there was some real obvious progress! I'll probably knit a bit in bed in the morning whilst watching the Hollyoaks omnibus (a guilty pleasure!) and drinking copious amounts of Rose petal tea. You never know, I might even get an extra row in tonight. I'm just reloading my mp4 player with some new audio books. I've listened to all the books on there a couple of times now, so it's time for a change. It holds about 4 gigs of stuff which equates to alot of books! This new batch I'm putting on will be good, there'll be some books on there that I've read, and some that I haven't. Anne Rice, some Phillip Pullman, some of the new Star Wars stuff, a bit of Clive Barker and even some Emberto Eco. Should make for interesting night-time listening for those insomniac nights.  

I have a few ideas in the pipeline. I sometimes compile mood boards when I have an idea in my mind; it helps me clarify my thoughts, or sometimes if it's more 3d, I'll create a mood bowl. It's similar to a mood board except it's kind of a bowl where I collect objects for the next project. This is what I have in my mood bowl at the moment. Any guesses?

I have a ball of thick n thin yarn in a gorgious red and black colourway. There's some vintage embroidered ribbon with flowers on, red silk roses with gold glitter on them and assorted 'bits'. 

Coins, old bits of jewellery and ethnic styled earrings, Indian embellishments...

and some fantastic vintage brass buttons from my Granddads old army uniform. I also have a bag of cowrie shells somewhere....

This is my inspiration.

The yarn will go towards some falls to wear with the headdress. Obviously mine won't be the same as the one shown here, but will have my own individual spin on it. There's a definate colour scheme going on already. The ribbon has lead the way. It was too short to use for much else, and too nice to throw away.

So things are slowly getting back to normal. Yoga class has started again (thank goodness! I neeeed to stretch and relax!), college is in full swing once again, bellydancing will start again next week. I've worn my flowered jeans several times and people have adored them! I could have sold them a dozen times, but will have to settle for inspiring people to become creative. How's your week been?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Times nearly up!

Well, well, term starts again tomorrow so the holidays are sadly nearly over - let me hear you say 'ahhhhh'! Luckily I finished my mystery project which I can now reveal below.....Ta da!!

This definitely was inspired by the Golden Compass; the film anyway. I kept looking at the bonnet that Lyra wears in the North and I just got fascinated by the construction of it. How was it made? It looked really simple, so I decided to have a go. Of course it needed a sprinkling of Samsara fairy dust to make it truly a hat that I would wear, so here it is. The one Lyra wears looked like super chunky wool, so I decided to knit mine up using size 20mm needles (like knitting with broomsticks if you're interested!) and 5 strands of yarn held together. I wanted it to look very textured so I busted my stash out, all those small lengths of yarn that just aren't enough to knit an actual garment, and just added another colour when one of the strands I was using ran out. This is a great stash busting technique if you like that textured, variegated type finish. To get that rolled over edge that frames Lyra's face I just did a plain stocking stitch edge because that curls over on its own.

The one Lyra wears in the film ties up under the chin like a bonnet, but I wanted mine to be more like a pixie hood, and I'm just a little too old to get away with bonnets *lol*, so I made giant tassels for the front corners, and added a little sparkly bead for a touch of pixie sparkle. I've been thinking alot about tassels recently because I'm mentally constructing a tribal outfit for my belly dancing and I guess that influenced the style and size of the tassels I used here.

On a domestic note, I changed the bed this morning and put my rainbow blanket on and I don't think I've ever shown this off. I photographed it so I can add it to my Ravelry projects because I do love this blanket, even though I made it years ago. The colours are as vivid today as they were when I finished it and believe me, this blanket has travelled! I normally take it away with us in the caravan and it reminds me of summer days and festivals and seaside's! Just looking at it makes me happy, it's such wonderfully cheery colours! See, cheap acrylic yarn (I was very broke when I made it and just needed a warm blanket) does have it good points. I love that I can just chuck it in the washing machine and then in the dryer and it's fine. You can't do that with quality yarn!

It was really simple to make, just a granny square as large as needed to stretch from one side of the bed to the other when placed on there diagonally, then I started a small triangle halfway along each side and made made it bigger till the whole thing fitted the bed. 

So my next job today (well, it would have been today, but M's just informed me that he doesn't feel well enough to tackle the loft), will be to take the Christmas decorations down, always a sad job because the house looks so plain with all the lights and tinsel packed away, but the positive thing is that the house always feels a little bigger when it's done. Yin and yang again. Today I'm going to have to do a bit of studying. This evening will be spent doing those 'getting ready for work' things, like organising my work bag, making a packed lunch, setting the alarm and hoping to get to sleep early enough because I've been used to staying up all night and sleeping in late!

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year here

So, did we all celebrate the end of the year in style then? Things here were random as always, friends came over, alcohol was consumed (although I did stick to my limit, which was very very hard!) and the Wii was busted out. I checked with my Anti-Coag nurse on Christmas Eve whether it would be very bad to have an extra drink or two over the festive period. Hmm, how many are we talking here she asked. An extra one, or an extra two? Because an extra one every once in a blue moon won't do you any harm, but an extra two may put you in hospital and you certainly can't make a habit of it. Yikes! So I've been good. I had an extra one on Christmas Day, and I had an extra one on New years Eve, even though I could quite easily have carried on drinking, I stopped and was disappointingly sensible. However much I'd have like to get a bit drunk for a change, I really don't fancy the idea of being back in hospital, or worse. It was amusing watching the other's get drunk though. Well, K and I watched them get drunk. He's not old enough to drink yet, so we were sensible together!

G and K came round with their dog Tia, who promptly took up guard in Joe's bed, and Joe being the chicken gentleman dog that he is, let her. Tia was very grumpy because she's allowed on the sofa at her house, but not in ours.

G decided to wear the dogs festive antlers (yeah, she'd had a bit to drink before she decided that this was a good idea *lol*)

We played bowling for hours with some great music on.

G got her first strike and was duely congratulated.

The clock struck twelve and we saw the New Year in in the garden watching all the fireworks

and waving sparklers (K is happier than it seems in this photo *lol*)

Unfortunately M's celebrations in the garden caused his cold to go onto his chest and has had to go to the Doc's today for some happy pills to sort out a chest infection. Silly boy!

Craftwise, here's the mystery project all finished and assembled. It's a sunflower hair grip. I just felt like a bit of sun in my life as its midwinter here and it'll be months before we see the warm weather return! It's two layers of felt edged in glitter, then a central circle of felt which I beaded in lots of yellows, browns and oranges. One of my aims this year is to make a tribal headpiece, so I've been thinking of ways to do the flowers. I may try to get some silk ones, or I might make some from scratch.

I also finished another Meret for a friend, this one's in white and yeah, it's another stash busting project. I'm usually not a big lover of white, but this looked good on my hair as I'm a brunette. It was a nice contrast. Luckily the friend I've made it for is a brunette too.

And here's another mystery stash busting project. Those needles are 20mm! I'm using about 5 strands of yarn so it's nice and colourful. Can you guess what it it? Ah, I'm not giving anything away here, so you'll have to see when it's finished.

So it's back to work on Monday. I'm going to be trying to get some of my outstanding assignments completed over the weekend so that I have a clean slate when the TESOL new term starts again. I've also got some lesson plans to finalise for the coming term. We have lots of new intake arriving this week, so it's possible my timetable might change again.

New Years Resolutions? Well, I try not to make too many, and this year I have alot on my plate, so my main one is to pass my TESOL course, but I think I also need to lose weight/get fit (yeah, I know, everyone seems to have that on their list at this time of year), get the hang of my microwave kiln, make a new tribal headdress and costume for my belly dancing, and to get away in the caravan a few times this year. I'm also looking at a fisheye Lomo Holga camera so I might have to splash out and treat myself I have a pocket Holga, but it takes 110 film and that's hard to get hold of and even harder to process. I'm still doing my 101 in 1001 project, so many of my goals are on there anyway.

I'm not going to review my year here, it's had a lot of ups and downs and some places I don't want to go right now, but I'd like you to know that I love writing my random scribbling's here, and I read and treasure every comment made, so even if I don't reply to you directly (I wish Blogger would allow us to do that) I really value your kind words and appreciate all your visits to my crafty blog!

Right, back to the books. Have fun and may your year be a good one!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!


I wish you all a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!



101 (2) ABC (4) art (7) ATC's (1) Baking (12) bath (3) beads (30) belly dancing (32) Birthday (22) Books (17) candles (3) Chinese New Year (4) circus (1) clothing (34) crafts (177) crochet (102) crystals (2) Drawing (5) eco (8) family (31) felt (25) festivals (10) fimo (14) friends (29) gaming (15) garden (24) Geocaching (1) Glass (25) Harry Potter (18) Holiday (42) hula hooping (2) jewellery (58) knitting (76) Meme (3) nature (14) needle felting (10) new year (5) Painting (19) papercrafts (18) Pets (33) photography (37) ravelry (15) reconstructed (14) resin (2) school (22) sewing (75) shop (4) soaps (8) Spinning (8) stamping (2) stencilling (1) swaps (68) tattoos (1) TESOL (23) tutorial (4) Walks (15) weather (23) wire (1) yoga (6)