Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tassels and rosebuds

I’ve finally finished my tassel belt, well at least for the time being. You know how it is, I’ll probably wear it once or twice and then decide it needs adding to! This is completely a stash and recycling project; the belt started life as one of those fabric tie belts that you get with cargo style trousers, the fringing on the belt is some upholstery fringing, the tassels are made from stash yarn, the buttons are a bunch of random metal vintage buttons from my button stash, the pearl beads salvaged from necklaces given to me by various people at different times and I’m so not a pearl person! The cowries shells were some that I’d bought at a Hafla for costuming, so yes, they were  sort of in my stash I guess. The belt wraps round and does up with poppers (press studs?)

I made the tassels at the back sort of taper down in length like a fish tail and I strung vintage pearl beads between the tassels for fun. I think this’ll be a practice belt so I’ll probably wear it with a shortish skirt. I was kinda trying out a few ideas with this belt, so it’s not for any occasion specifically; just for fun!

I love these buttons! I also really like the contrast between the black and the white. The yarn was a mixture of novelty yarns, some quite fluffy and hairy, some really silky and shiny.

I’ve also been embellishing this skirt. It’s quite a long full skirt – very gypsy like and apart from the lace panels it was quite plain. Maybe it’s the weather getting warmer, the longer days, who know, but it feels like quite a spring-time skirt and so I felt the need to add a little something to it.

I found these gorgeous little violet ribbon rosebuds that complimented the green in the skirt perfectly. So I just randomly sewed them around the bottom of the skirt! Much better!

The weather’s been beautiful today'; cold, but very sunny! It's hard to believe that a week ago there was thick snow on the ground! Now look at it! This is tonight’s sunset. Look at those lovely clouds.

And a bit later out of the side window! Gorgeous!

Yesterday I went for a check-up at Haematology and they decided that they didn’t need to see me any more unless there were specific problems with the meds. So they discharged me! Yay! I’ll only have to go to Rheumatology for my Lupus check-ups and the anti-coag clinic for my INR checks. One less set of hospital appointments means a little more time for me! Hurray! Apart from that, I’ve been lesson planning, assignment writing and today I taught a bunch of kids how to make coil pots. They were very weird and wonderfully wobbly pots but they were very young kids. Should have thought to take my camera really! It’s back to school/college on Monday with all the work that that entails! I’m going to enjoy a lie-in tomorrow I think!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Half term happiness

So it’s half term here! Yay! A whole week to catch up with work, to sleep in till 7.30, to clean house, walk the dog and to swear at my pc for it’s temperamentalness! Aaah, the life of the teacher huh! I know you guys are all jealous of us teachers and our long holidays! No really, you are, aren’t you? Soooo.what have I been doing the last couple of days? Well, you know M and I went skating on Saturday? Well, our nearest rink is in MK a town or two over thataway…it’s a nice ole drive, especially when the sky is blue and the fields and clouds are matching fluffy white!

Now, I haven’t been skating for years, but it’s amazing how it all comes back to you. After the first smack down, bum on the ice, I quickly remembered the old fancy footwork and I was away! Okay, here I look like I’m just standing still, but I was actually just gliding to the side of the rink to say hello to M, who was sitting this turn out. Poor old M, if he can’t be Torville n Dean straight away, he has real problems maintaining his interest. It’s the ADD in him!

The rink is one that the ice hockey team use so it’s quite big. I enjoyed the bit where they turned all the lights down and just had the disco lights!

I have a whole ton of chocolate orange hot chocolate that’s out of date, and I mean ooops, maybe a year and a half out of date, so I’ve been using it to make sugar scrub with. Sugar scrub is lovely on your skin and smells so yummy with the chocolate orange. It’s so easy to make, I always have a tub of it in the bathroom. I mix granulated sugar with a little coarse brown sugar, some olive oil, the hot chocolate mix and some orange essential oils. You rub it over your skin in the bath and hey presto; the sugar acts as an exfoliate and the oils act as a moisturiser and Wow your skins feels lovely afterwards. Try it for yourself if you don’t believe me..

Okay so I admit it, it’s not been aaalll work for the last day or two! Yeah, I did an assignment yesterday and I’ve been looking over the scheme of work for the new course I’ll be teaching after half term. Yikes, what was I thinking?! Two semesters of problem teens. Hmmm. Oh well, no going back now. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ve also cracked open the seal of my new Wii game ‘Fitness Coach’. Yeah, not much of a game, but more of a lets get my arse up off the computer chair and lose some of that stuff that wibbles so well when I’m shimmying! I’ve done some each morning so far. Okay, so for two mornings. You can choose whether you do cardio or yoga or core training, stuff like that.You can also change the setting of the workout area with the option for more settings as you get further into the game. Also you can choose the music from a range of styles although I’ve done the eighties and the hip-hop and they didn’t sound that different. You can also change the time that you work out for, from 15 mins upwards, so I’ve done 15mins of a few different ones so far; cardio, flexibility, core and yoga. I’ve done 75mins training yesterday and today. I think it works well if you’re familiar with the moves before hand. I don’t think it explains things so well but I haven’t done the tutorials. Also some of the yoga terms are different to the English ones that I’m familiar with and I had to keep checking the screen cos the verbal commands weren’t descriptive enough. *lol* Hopefully I’ll be able to turn the music up a little too. You can also tell it what fitness equipment you already own like a step, or a Pilates ball and it builds it into your workout. Yeah, I’m quite enjoying it so far! Craftwise, I’ve made a donut pendant using these lovely green lustre beads I found at my local craft superstore at the weekend when I went there with my Mum. The blue beads were salvaged from a necklace and bracelet set that Mum passed onto me ages ago. I think they go really well together, the blue beads really pick out the blue in the lustre glaze, and I can wear them long or short as a choker.

Aaand I’ve been making candles. I love scented candles but I’d pretty much run out, so I got the old moulds and wax out and made a new batch. Plus when I went craft shopping with Mum on Sunday I bought some new rose wax fragrance. The house smells lovely now. 

These thick pillar candles look lovely when they’re burning down; they glow in the middle for quite a while, but I use the proper thickness wick for the size of the candles, so they do burn down evenly and not just in the middle where the wax then floods the flame and it goes out, like you get with cheap pound shop candles. Yup, I’m a candle snob!

The round dimples in the red and yellow candle were made by whacking it with my small jewellery hammer. Very satisfying I can tell you! The star shaped one burns down really nicely leaving points standing up round the flame like Stonehenge or something.

And I haven’t been neglecting my knitting. No siree! I’ve been up late night horror film watching; the remake of Halloween’s been on here, so I’ve had my headphones and my super long lead and I’ve been knitting in bed whilst M’s been sleeping cos some of us still have to work! (Hee hee!) The remake’s version of the young Michael is so chilling because the kid they use is kinda cute and it’s hard to think that he could be a psychopath. Well, actually, I know it’s not impossible; I’ve worked with psychopaths and sociopaths in the past, so I do know that sometimes terrifying things come in nice packages. Anyway, I digress. I was telling you about my knitting. Ta da! Look, my BPT hoodie nearly has an arm. Yay! And look, the cables join up under the arm and carry on down. I had to wait a little whilst I waited for these bad boy DPN’s to arrive. They’re those quill needles and are kinda flexible. Not as much as I’d expected, but maybe the thinner sock ones are more bendy.

Tomorrow the plan is to henna my hair, to dance a little, to do a little work; hey, there is no plan really. I’ll just see how the day shapes up. I find that the best laid plans of mice n men, you know how it goes! Have a good one, whatever you decide to do!

Kreativ Blogger Award!

blogaward-711959 I have just received two Kreativ Blogger Awards! Thank you to both kkhymn and LittleLou for the nominations. I feel doubly special! All awardees are to share the award by nominating 8 other bloggers.

And the award goes to … Kookaloo*Starr whose crocheting just keeps getting better and better; Littlelou whose charity knitting makes me feel very humble; dragonflyducky whose felting and fibre creations leave me breathless with amazement; Theholsticknitter – a prolific knitting blogger with adorable dogs; Yarndancer - knitting and belly dancing, what more can I say; 2paw whose antipodean adventures with Harki and Peri make me smile every time I read them and Morgiana who has been entertaining me with her tales of Poland!

I really wish I could name more; there are so many wonderful and creative bloggers out there and everyone of you deserves recognition.

For all my nominees who now have received the award, pass it on and follow these instructions:

1.  Copy the award to your site.
2.  Link to the person from whom you received the award.
3.  Nominate up to 8 other bloggers.
4.  Link to those on your blog.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you nominated.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Catching up with a few things…

So what did I do with my precious few days of snow freedom? Time from work was spent productively I managed to get all my assignments done for this half term, planned my 1:1 for my ESOL student and still had time to do a few things for me! Some of them were WIP’s that I could finally finish off, some of them were things that I’ve had in my mind for a while and haven’t had time to do. The first was this hanging candle holder which will eventually be going into my eBay shop once I have the time to photograph it properly.

The second was this book bag, using the same concept as the last one that I’d made; fleece for the body of the bag which is stretchy and all cushiony, elastic to wrap round the book and keep the top flap closed and the book all snug and protected.

This one’s a bit wider than the last one and so will hold either thicker or taller books. I love the last one I made and use it all the time. I permanently carry a book round with me for waiting in the hospital or doctors, for the odd quiet minute during breaks or even for waiting in the queues at the post office! In fact the post office clerk laughs at me for taking a book in with me to read in the queue, but it has been known to queue for as long as three quarters of an hours in there!

I roughly sewed a piece of flower trim as a decoration because I thought it went with the blue of the fleece design and I added a yellow bead and matching embroidery thread to pick out the yellow from the flowers. It kind of gives it a handmade look.

Then feeling the need for a little more prettiness in my life, I finally got around to using some beads I bought ages ago, and incorporating them with some other beads from a necklace that broke ages ago.

The black and white of the dotty beads perfectly complimented the black and white in the flowered beads. I added some red glass beads for spacers to pick out the red in the flowers too and also some black and white spacers too. I love this necklace, the red really makes it pop!

I also found my new favourite way of beading; with my beading square laid over the keyboard  whilst I watch something on my laptop. The beading square I use is a very textured fuzzy fabric which stops the beads rolling about.

Okay, so I was on a roll then and reconstructed another necklace which I also now adore. Do you do that with jewellery? Reconstruct it when you’re bored of it?

This one has these cute millefiore flowered beads in black and white, with some Indian mirrored tube beads and some filigree antiqued metal beads. So now I have another couple of new favourite necklaces to wear; ho hum, where can I wear them to?

What else have I been doing? Well I’ve been making tassels. These will eventually go onto a tribal belt which is definitely a WIP and is currently a pile of tassels and a fabric strip, so I’ll show you more pictures when it’s a little complete.

I gave my 1:1 lesson yesterday to my ESOL student. It’s part of my TESOL requirements and I thought it went really well. I decided to concentrate on definite and indefinite articles as my student is a Farsi speaker and Farsi doesn’t have articles, it’s something I noticed she was weak in. At first I thought I’d pitched it too simply but then it became apparent that it was okay, she was confused about the whole articles business and she really learnt from the lesson. Hurray! Now to evaluate and document it all. I’ll have plenty of time though as I’m now on half term! Double hurray! A week off!

I just thought I’d show you what M gave me this morning – a dozen red roses! Aren’t they lovely? We’ll be popping out later for our Valentines outing which will be a romantic trip ice-skating! Um..did I say romantic? Is falling on your arse romantic? Probably not, but it’ll be great fun and we’ll have a romantic candlelit meal later on tonight. I promised to cook him steak and chips as his Valentines gift. That’s definitely the way to M’s heart! I must be mad though, ice-skating in this weather? All we really need to do is to try walking on the footpaths round here which are about two inches of compacted ice and absolutely treacherous! We walked my friend home last night and nearly went over numerous times! It seems that England is nearly out of road grit and so is not bothering with non-essential roads, nor footpaths. The long term reports predicted a mild winter, so most councils didn’t stock up enough. This cold snap from Siberia has caught everyone on the hop!

I hope your Valentines day brings you romance and fun!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Snow joke!

Yes, it’s another snow day! I’m a little relieved because I have a heavy cold and haven’t slept, but the downside is that I’m not going to be able to give the observed lesson that I’ve spent all weekend preparing! I’ve been playing with my new laminator which I bought to help me prepare professional looking materials that should be a bit more durable. I’ve been making flash cards and board games, and also these!

So I didn’t actually spend all weekend working, I was quite the social butterfly! Saturday lunchtime I went to the local Stitch n Bitch session with some of my local Ravellers. We had hot chocolate and chocolate cake and were all snuggly and warm despite the blizzard like conditions outside. Unfortunately there were also small people there with very shrill and screamy voices and I did come away with a whacking headache. I was a bit worried about my WIP being covered with sticky chocolate fingers, and a cup of tea was knocked over someone's projects that they were trying to assemble. Luckily the victim was the perpetrators Mummy so the tears were saved till later presumably. I didn’t quite like to ask what yarn had been ruined by said flailing limbed toddler, but it looked soft and silky and very expensive looking! *Eeek!* I finished my project quicker than I’d anticipated (a One Skein Scarf for a friends birthday) and so I was able to help out one of the other girls who was trying to learn to crochet. I did warn her that I don’t crochet  text book style, but she said she tried copying the books and found it really awkward, so she was happy for me to show her how I did it. It was nice that she managed to make a sizeable section of crocheted fabric by the end of the afternoon.

This is what I was making; a One Skein Scarf for my friend for her birthday. I used two shades of fingering weight green yarn, held together for a nice variegated colour effect.

My friend’s a red head, so I knew these colours would suit her. The lighter green is a mohair blend so it made the scarf lovely and soft! The funny thing was, out of seven of us who were there, three were redheads. That’s unusual isn’t it? :-)


So that was how I spent Saturday afternoon, then Saturday night I went round to my friends for a birthday party. There was supposed to be about twelve of us there, but in the end there were only seven of us; the others couldn’t get there because of the bad weather. (Our weather is coming in from Siberia at the moment!) So we had take-out pizza, silly party games like pass the parcel and we had party bags (we all took a few little bits to contribute to the bag), bright pink iced birthday cake and balloons. We tend to have adult kids parties and they’re normally riotous! The next one will be fairy fancy dress themed :-) We haven’t decided yet whether it will include a pub crawl! This was my contribution to the party bag, laminated bookmarks to commemorate the event! 

Of course there was plenty of magical glittery fairy dust incorporated into the bookmarks, most of which is still magically enhancing my desk and floor here!

I also made Susie a button brooch since she’s been admiring mine for a while.

So here’s some photos of the more sedate moments of the night.  I had to censor the others!

Susie’s Barbie pink birthday cake came complete with magical relighting candles which took about fifteen minutes to fully extinguish!

We all came away with something from pass the parcel.

Ally’s cat Bentley came down to visit the girls.

And when I got home, Pippin helped me to eat the piece of bright pink birthday cake that was in my party bag along with the sweets and chocolate; the radioactive glowing bracelet, party poppers and those things that you blow through the end and the rolled up paper tube winds out. What are those things called again?

And just because we may never see this much snow again for a while, here’s another picture perfect snow scene!

Well, I’m not one to turn down a bit of fun time, so now I’m going to go downstairs and get all my chores done as quick as I can, and then I’m going to play on the Wii for a while till M gets home. I’ve just ordered the Wii Fitness Trainer so I’m waiting excitedly for that to arrive. It’s a shame that just owning the stuff isn’t enough to get you fit, you actually have to have the time to use it too!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….

Here in Middle England we’ve been visited by Jack Frost and the Snow Queen this week. I know there are many parts of the world that get snow regularly and can cope with it fine, but here we get snow so rarely that it’s a real event. Monday was a training day, so no college, and a fine dusting of snow that the Hound of the Baskervilles and I enjoyed.

Then last night it really snowed hard; we ended up with about eight or nine inches of snow and it’s still snowing! So a snow day was declared good and proper! After M and I had finished dancing round the kitchen, we donned our cold weather gear and went up the park. The only activity going on was kids out playing, dogs being walked, sledges and tea-trays being slid on and I even saw a snow board!

I’m sitting here now looking out of the window and watching the occasional car attempting the hill (hee hee!). I’ve just seen a group of lads dragging a bath tub up the hill so I bet they’re going to have some great fun! I just watched one car skidding and sliding all over the road. You’ve got to say, where would the driver need to go that desperately that they would spend nearly three quarters of an hour plus the time of five people trying to dig and push the car up the hill?

So you’ve not stopped by to see me all excited about the snow and the fun we’re having here. You want to see the crafts don’t you? Well, the BPT hoodie has a tiny bit of an arm started. More pictures of that soon.

I’ve also done a little bit more of my freeform hat.

Keilo wanted to help me photograph it!

I’ve nearly finished an arm on my ‘Go for Baroque’ and I promise that you’ll see more piccies of that when it looks substantially different from the last photo I showed you.

And I also made this! A hot pink sweetheart necklace. A quick craft but very rewarding and matches one of my favourite hand knits. 

I thought I’d also show you another project from the vaults. This one’s probably about nine years old, but a favourite of mine.

It’s just a group of granny squares pieced together, with vintage embossed metal buttons to close at the corners of the front flap. The strap is made up from smaller squares. At the time I didn’t line the strap which I should really have done because it stretches a bit.

The orange looks kind of peachy in the photos, but it’s a really bright orange; actually all the colours are bright and vivid. When you make a crochet bag, you really need to line it because otherwise, things tend to drop out. Ask me how I know this!?

So there we have it. Lots of snow and lots of work at home. I have a one to one lesson to do tomorrow, I’ll get it all planned but I’m not holding out much hope for it. I also have a party to go to on Saturday night and a Stitch n Bitch meeting Saturday lunchtime. I’d also really like to go to see My Bloody Valentine 3D at the pictures! *Sigh* so much to do and so little time!

Have a good weekend everyone!



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