Friday, April 24, 2009

April Walkies!

So the dreaded week crawls ever nearer…OFSTED is arriving in three days and tension is at an all time high. Students are being drilled, paintwork is being given a quick lickety-lick, lawns are being trimmed quickety-quick, classrooms being tidied and there are emails galore buzzing round the intranet like a buzz of angry wasps just looking to sting someone good and proper. This about sums up the atmosphere at the moment. Everyone is certain that the stinging tail is waving at them. Ah, the sweet smell of terror!

The girls (my fellow work conspirators) and I have been amusing ourselves with trivial quizzes. The college has issued everyone with a plastic card about the size of a credit card (no money attached to it though sadly!) with the college’s policies and values printed upon it with the *suggestion* that we may want to familiarise ourselves with them. We’ve been compiling a list of *suggested* uses for said card; some that people have actually used, and some that we imagined during raucous tea breaks! We’ve been trying to make it a ‘101 things to do with your values card’ list; favourites so far have been windscreen scraper, hair remover cream applicator, chewing gum remover, missile launcher….you get the picture! I have heavily censored this list, the suggestions got more filthy as the week went on!  

The weather has lovely this week, in the twenties and as warm as a summers day. Well, a summers day here in merry old Blighty anyway. Actually it was probably alot warmer than most of last summer! Everyone here has pretty much declared summer anyway. People have donned capri’s and summer dresses and strappy sandals - yes, there has been actual flesh exposed people! Not too much by me unfortunately, I haven’t plugged my epilator in much this year yet I’m afraid! Luckily I find that long skirts and long boots help to disguise the winter pelt. Yes, I’ve been working that hard people; I haven’t even had time to keep the old bodywork properly maintained! Still prompted by the nice weather I find myself doing strange and bizarre things, like abandoning my paperwork and walking the dog in the park with my camera. Here’s some of the interesting piccies I took…

An old steam railway runs through part of the park – it runs every now and again…

I stumbled across the prehistoric bones of the old railway abandoned on the path…

The sunbeams shone brightly through the dappled leaves, each one blazing like a miniature sun!


The leaves reaching up for the warmth and the light like a child reaching for the arms of it’s mother…

I love exploring all the hidden nooks and crannies of the park, you’re always stumbling across the most interesting of sights…

The Uberhound loves to explore…

…and smell the wild flowers

All in all, nice walkies!

Oh yeah, there’s been some knitting ‘n’ stuff! I’ll take some pictures over the weekend!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bees and beads!

The last couple of days have been gloriously sunny and the local bees have been taking advantage of the blossoming flowers by collecting everything they can, especially from my Dystentra  (Bleeding heart) – look how caked his back legs are with pollen!

I’ve been working so hard!

But today my friend dragged me away from the books to go to the local bead show held at  Towcester Racecourse – Sarah Hornik was supposed to be there, but I think she was at the Flame Off which was yesterday – I didn’t see her today which I was most disappointed at.

The weather was lovely and the sky was blue…

and inside there were naked flames as exhibiters demonstrated their skills.

My haul for the day, although I didn’t buy as much as I could have…

I did treat myself to this dichroic cabochon though and I’ve already glued a sterling silver bail to the back so I can wear it as a pendant. It’s huge and sparkles like a thousand fireworks twinkling in the winter sky! It’ll be like wearing one of Klimt or Hunterwasser’s works of art!

I also found this lovely polymer clay focal bead which I can’t wait to make into a wearable piece of art!

And what else have I been up to? Well, I’ve been customising this plain old sage green jacket. It’s lovely and soft, almost velvet like to the touch. But very plain. The sleeves were much too long for me, so I altered them using this process which I admit is completely my own sort of mackled together technique and would probably make a seamstress drop all her pins in horror, but it worked for me, so I’m passing it on to you, in case you ever feel the urge to alter a lined jacket sleeve! So I measured how much I needed to lose off the length…

and then the scary bit – cut off just slightly less than you need to…

Make sure you cut through the lining too…

Then with the sleeve inside out, turn the edge over once, then again pinning as you go, so that all the edges are folded into themselves and won’t fray…

Then you can sew the edge and the lining so that it’s all neat.

And there we go, my cack-handed and very unprofessional way of shortening a jacket sleeve!

Look, all neat and shortened now! I’m probably going to embellish the sleeves a bit anyway, but at least they’re the right length!

And here’s where I am with the whole project. I found a beautiful butterfly appliqué patch and these matching flowers..

I had been intending to go for a leafy theme, but I saw these and was inspired! They’re all sequined and embroidered, and the embroidery thread I'm using for the swirls co-ordinates and makes me feel all summery!

So far, I’m loving it! I have some more swirls to embroider on it and some iridescent flower sequins to add to it too. What are you guy’s up to?

Right, back to the books then, and work again tomorrow! Holidays are never as long as you’d like!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Theatres ‘n’ Things!

Hey dudes! How’s the Spring Break treating you all? Things have been fun here, though I haven’t done nearly enough work *not freaking out yet but give me time!* but I have had fun! Friday night some friends came over for a natter and we listened to music and played the Wii until the wee small hours. I totally whooped them on golf despite their boasts that they played virtual golf on a regular basis! I managed to get one under par for the tournament and I don’t even know what that means! Everyone was suitably impressed though *lol*

Saturday night the family and I drove down to London, parked on the outskirts and then caught the Tube into Central London to the West End where the show was. The piccies are a little dull, but it was almost seven o’clock at night, so I think they were reasonably clear for almost duskiness!

After collecting the tickets, and leaving Mum and Bruv in the Sherlock Holmes pub,

me and Sis went for a stroll across the Thames, checking out the lovely view, with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on one side of the river and the London Eye on the other.

Then we headed back to the pub for a swift half with Mum and Bruv, and onto the theatre. Our seats were high high high up in the gods but it was okay because we could just about see, and we had a lovely view of the painted ceiling.

The theatre was great although I don’t think singing is Graham Norton’s forte – he was okay, but clearly his voice doesn’t have the stamina as it was wilting a little towards the end of the show; maybe he was under the weather or something. The other guys were great though! The guy who played Zaza’s maid was fabulous and the Follies were amazing *even if their pins were amazing and much better than mine could ever hope to be – sigh* !

M and I never made it to Glastonbury on Sunday, we woke up and the weather was awful and it had been raining Saturday aswell. We had visions of wet us and wet dog (phewww) attempting to scramble up the Tor, and round Avebury, and even worse, visions of the wet and muddy Uberhound stinking up the car, and not being able to shelter anywhere because, hey, it’s Easter Sunday and every where's closed. *So there’ll be no crystal shopping either then* It’s a postponed trip, not a cancelled one. Maybe we’ll make it this weekend. On Monday, a cousin came up to visit Mum from London with her fiancé, so we went over for lunch with the Uberhound because cousin and her fiancé love Joe and would have given me a bollocking if I’d have turned up without him *lol* Joe loved it of course, he spent the day getting loads of fuss and loads of grub. I think he ate so much that I practically had to roll him home!

And guess what? You might want to sit down here….I have an FO folks!!! Yes, a real actual finished object! My ‘Go for Baroque’ was finished last night whilst chilling out in front of ‘Underworld – Rise of the Lycans’. Hurrah! Yes I know that there are a few ends to weave in and I have to add the ribbon trim, but essentially, it's finished!

I even got as far as casting on the second sleeve on my BPT Hoodie! How’s that for productive!

Actually that was later whilst watching the new Red Dwarf, but still last night. It wasn’t a good night for sleeping last night – I was all tucky up-y and falling to sleep when there was a huge kerfuffle at the cat flap which completely woke me up, so I spent the rest of the night listening to The Stand (by Stephen King) on my MP3 player and crocheting squares for my flower garden blanket. Good thing I didn’t have to get up for work today. Although I have been working hard today. I’ve been evaluating and analysing a text book for my TESOL course! Boring!!!

And now I have a quandary; You see I started back on my Pink Sherbet today and I’m really not feeling it. I think I’ve lost the mojo on this one. It’s been so long since I picked it up that I’m not in the groove with it anymore. So I’m really considering frogging it and starting something simpler. The pattern’s okay, but my head’s just not in the right place for a complicated lace pattern and I can’t remember where I am with it. Sooo, I haven’t quite decided yet, but that’s the way I’m leaning. Frog it and use the yarn for a simpler pattern where the lovely colour and texture of the yarn will be more obvious.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter Weekend

Well my little Easter Bunnies, how is Good Friday treating you all? True to form, the weather here is unspeakably grey and drizzly today, not a sunbeam in sight. I have been pounding the keyboard furiously this week so far and have managed to make a dent in the OFSTED paperwork so I’m feeling ready for the weekend and a little fun. Mind you, it’s not been all work this week – Wednesday I had an 8am blood test at the hospital so took advantage of being out and about in what looked very possibly like it might turn out to be a nice morning and packed Joe into the car so that when I had been blooded, we could head over to the nicest park on that side of town, Bradlaugh Fields. The park is named after the eminent Nineteenth Century freethinker and politician Charles Bradlaugh. (Charles Bradlaugh is a fascinating character, in case you haven’t heard of him you can check him out here ). Anyway Joe and I had a lovely stroll about; Joe doesn’t mind when I keep stopping to take photos while M sometimes gets a bit impatient. As you can see in the photo below, the sky was a lovely blue and you could see for miles.

Joe splashed in and out of the streams.

We found the remnants of the old Woodhenge

We admired the glorious yellow flowers of the blossoming gorse bushes

We sat by the chestnut pond for a while – I don’t know why it’s such a pastel green colour.

And nearly stumbled over this fairy ring.

While pondering here I wondered where the name toadstool originates from. Was it in fact from the use of the fungus for little toads to rest their weary legs upon? Did fairies turn naughty toads into toadstools for watching their secret midnight frolics? I discussed this with Joe but he just gazed at me with his head cocked on one side and was saying nothing.

So once I got home I did a little research and discovered that the word "toadstool," (a commonly used name for mushrooms that have an erect stalk and a wide cap) is from "Tod", the German word for death, and the deadly, poisonous nature of certain mushrooms is probably the  origin of the word toadstool. The etymology of toadstool is further compounded by the poisonous nature of toads. Many European folk tales refer to toadstools as places where poisonous toads sit on poisonous mushrooms in the forest, a myth perpetuated in whimsical drawings accompanying fairy tales and other stories intended for children.

So I wasn’t too far off then!

Tired out by our adventure, Joe and I travelled home again.

I’ve also been knitting hard…look, I’ve practically finished one whole arm on my BPT Hoodie!! Squee!

I actually would have completely finished the i-cord edging (which I love, love, love by the way!) but the pattern says to graft the last couple of stitches and I’m not quite sure about grafting. I’m going to have to check that out *lol*

My flower granny square blanket is coming along nicely. I love how you can just bang off a square in minutes and feel all productive! They will all be edged in white and joined together for a lovely coloured kaleidoscope effect. This is all from my scrap stash, you know, those little bits of yarn that really aren’t big enough to do anything with? I do seem to have a lot of them hanging about! It’ll be a lovely flowery blanket for putting on the garden bench to lounge on in the summer. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough to lounge in the sun over the summer.

I have lots of floral square patterns to try out and I think the overall effect will be lovely and colourful – a mosaic of colours!

I’ve now done both arms on my ‘Go for Baroque’! I’ve also done the front panels on either side and I’m now edging round the front panels and round the neck. Then I’m *gasp* done!

I know, I can’t quite believe it either! It seems to have taken forever! I’d have finished it much sooner without all this study, but hopefully it’ll all be worth it in the end!

Tonight we have some friends coming round for an evening of Wii and frivolity, and then tomorrow night I’m going to see ‘La Cage aux Follies’ – Hurrah! Sunday I think M and I are going to go to Glastonbury for the day. We’ll climb the Tor, spend some quiet time in the White Chalice gardens, look around the town at the lovely hippy shops and visit the old ruins. The weather says it’s going to be nice weather, so I’m quite looking forward to it! I always feel rejuvenated after visiting Glastonbury!

What are you doing this weekend?



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