Thursday, May 28, 2009

Buttons, buttons, bane of my life!

Well, well! Halfway through May and the weather absolutely can’t make it’s mind up as to weather it wants to be hot, hot, hot, or not, not,not! In fact we pretty much have both all on the same day! I have managed to get some crafting in though, I rethreaded this set of vintage beads from a sort of chained smoking necklace into this hippy-fied  long necklace by threading it onto thin bootlace thong and tying a knot either side of the bead cap to secure it.  

I’m not usually one for pearls but these have a nice mellow colour which is kind of appealing.  

Then after seeing a button necklace being worn by another blogger (inkberryblue was it?) I was totally inspired to rummage through my stash to come up with my own. I threaded through gold crochet thread and arranged the buttons alternate back to back so that when I flipped the necklace over, I had a different set of buttons there. Two necklaces for the price of one!

It’s not quite choker length but sits just slightly lower. Very Coraline!

And my second button extravaganza centres round my search for the perfect button for the jacket that I’m revamping at the moment. I really wanted some turquoise ones but couldn’t find any the right size that I liked, and I didn’t have any in my stash that were suitable. So in the end I painted the existing buttons with some pink sparkly nail varnish. 

They’ll be perfect now!

And I also whipped up this little camera case from fleece one night. I have a padded camera case, but it’s too bulky to fit into my pocket when I’m out walking, so I made this to protect it when I’m out and about. After all, what’s the point of having a pocket sized camera if you can't fit it in your pocket?!

The girls from work and I tried out a new restaurant for lunch yesterday, which was lovely! I had a chilli pasta dish (Penne al'arrabiata) which was very hot and garlicky but as M was in Manchester watching ManU lose the European Cup Final (snigger) it didn’t really matter. We had a lovely time trawling around the charity shops before hand and I found a lovely green retro psychedelic summer dress which will be lovely either on it’s own, or with jeans.

We should be getting a tow bar fitted on the car tomorrow and then we’re planning to go away for the weekend! We’ve been checking over the caravan for the last couple of days, cleaning bedding, vacuuming, making everything nice for the weekend. We’ve sorted out the electrics and we now have power in the caravan! Hurray! I can’t wait! It’s going to be so good to get away, even if it is only for a day or two! M’s Mum has promised to feed the girls and we’ll take the Uberhound with us. We have the site already booked at the bottom of Glastonbury Tor! I hope the weather’s good!

We have lots of swappers joining up for Round Three of the Hippy Swap over on Craftster, I can’t wait to get crafting!

Hope your half term has been good?!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Making hay while the sun shines…

It’s half term! Hurray for holidays! I have a week off now. I have to do a bit of work, one of my assignments for my TESOL portfolio was done on the wrong pro-forma so I have to transfer it and tweak it a bit. I might have known it wouldn’t be that straight forward *lol*

You know I’ve had this verucca on my foot for years; seriously, years! Probably about thirteen years now. Every now and again I’d go and get it frozen and I’d regularly use all that stuff from the chemists, and natural things like thruja and lemon oil, absolutely everything. Alot of people think that if you leave them alone, they go away on their own, but I have this auto immune disease which has probably prevented my immune system from dealing with the damned virus! Now someone suggested I try duct tape. Yep, that stuff you get from the DIY shops. I cut a small square and taped it onto the bottom of my foot over the verucca and this is what it looks like today. I’ve had the tape on (not the same bit, fresh stuff every day or so) for about two weeks and it seems to have lifted the verucca out of my foot. Sorry if this is grossing you out, but I was fascinated. How does it work? Look you can see where the skin thickened up round it to cushion my foot. That slit is where the verucca was. I’ll keep an eye on it and see if it comes back. I mean, a no chemical was of tackling veruccas? Bloody brilliant! 

It was Dad's anniversary the other day, he loved sunflowers so I took some up to the cemetery and kept some here to remind me of him. I love the colour, so sunny!

My friend Sarah sent me this through the post to mark the day. A sunflower cushion which will go wonderfully with my garden blanket to make my garden bench comfy for the summer.

Anyway I’ve been a little naughty the last couple of days and instead of studying I’ve been enjoying the sunshine trying to get the garden into a bit of order ready for the summer. I’ve been moving plants in the garden, this is a fuchsia and a rose bush moved to new sunnier positions where I hope they’ll flourish. I’ve moved Norbert and Figment to watch over the new plants too.

As always I had company whilst I was toiling away.

I have a new bucket of cherry tomato plants to nurture thanks to M’s mum.

And some runner beans and strawberries…

The aquilegia look beautiful…

The sun beamed down on us all day…

And gave us the most fabulous sunset…

And I finished the body of my Sunkist! Just the arms and neck ribbing to do now and I’m done.

I’ve managed to embellish my jacket a little more with some blanket stitching around the sleeves and pockets…

I’m not sure if I’ll do any more. I’m debating blanket stitching around the whole thing now, along the bottom of the jacket and up the sides and round the collar. What do you think?

Current weight loss stands at 9lbs! I’m starting to get back into clothes that haven’t fitted me since this time last year!

Oh yes, I’m organising another Hippy swap over on Craftster, head on over if you want to take part!


Monday, May 18, 2009

And now, the end is near….

I hardly dare say it, but I’m getting to the end of my final assignment FINISHED!!!! I’ve handed in almost all of my portfolios now, just the last one now and I’m getting near to the end. The last bit is the most difficult bit for me; I seem to have spent ages on this one – a phonological analysis of a recorded transcript from my language student *Sigh* Still, it’ll all be done soon, we have the moderator coming in a couple of weeks to interview us all, not a pleasant experience but one that must be prepared for. My art students have all done their exams now and we are in the middle of marking. The moderators for those courses will be coming in a few weeks also. My other students have another month or so, so there’ll be some money coming in for a bit. I hate being hourly paid! I’m trying to sort out some work for the summer, invigilation and summer schools, but I’m really really looking forward to not having to study! What will I do with myself? I’m definitely going to have to spend some time in the garden! Apart from the odd bit of tidying up, I haven’t spent any time in the garden this year. It’s looking a bit like a jungle out there at the moment!

So what have I been doing the last week or so apart from nose to the grind stone working? Well, I’ve repaired a fine shrug which was viciously attacked by Pippin!


She made several great big holes in it, probably trying to make a nest in it! 

So I found the finest yarn I could and crocheted some little flowers from it.

Then I sewed them over the holes.


I finished off the centre of each flower with an iridescent sequin. Look, good as new!

I’ve also finished the body of my Sunkist! I just have the sleeves to do now! My garden blanket is growing slowly, and in anticipation of some wonderfully free crafting time, I’ve decided to organise round three of the Hippy Swap over on Craftster! I must be a glutton for punishment! More paperwork *lol* Anyway, if you want to join in, head over to Craftster, I haven’t started sign-ups yet, but contribute to the thread and show your interest Wink


Monday, May 11, 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

Yes, it’s been a busy, busy week or two here in the world of Samsara! This is pretty much what I’ve been doing for the last week or two, or indeed since the last time I spoke to you:

  • I finished and handed in one portfolio
  • I finished another portfolio to be handed in tomorrow night (1 more to go)
  • I finished an assignment to be handed in tomorrow night
  • I took on teaching my group for another class because the teacher had resigned!
  • I went to bellydance class – the Hafla is not far away now!
  • The dishwasher blew a fuse and tripped the house power out several times, but I managed to find a brand new one for free on Freecycle!
  • I went to yoga
  • I started dieting seriously (as opposed to half-heartedly) and I’ve lost half a stone so far!
  • I dyed my hair a black cherry colour on impulse
  • I went to see Coraline in 3D with my best mate!
  • I went to see the new Star Trek with M – amazing! Yes, I’m a sci-fi fanatic and I’m not ashamed to admit it!
  • I knitted more of my Sunkist
  • I crocheted more of my garden blanket
  • I’ve taken the Uberhound for walks
  • I’ve tidied my space endlessly in ‘task avoidance’ jobs
  • I’ve played Wii with friends

M blew up the main PC (thank goodness for my trusty little laptop here *kisses keyboard reverently*) and we’re waiting for a new ‘thingy’ which will hopefully sort it out! Luckily I have TESOL stuff backed up here on my laptop, and on several memory sticks, so I’ve been able to manage.

As you can see, the knitting and crocheting has been going swimmingly!

I finished early today because my students had an exam, so the Uberhound and I went for a walk along the canal near my house. 

Everything is blossoming! Very very pretty, although a pain in the arse for those of us who suffer from hayfever!

The sky was a beautiful blue today although there was a cold wind blowing.

I don’t walk this way much in the winter, it gets too boggy, but it’s lovely when the weather’s nice and you get barges travelling along the Gran Union Canal!

Joe often takes a slurp from the canal; I remember when he was a puppy, he was mooching alongside the canal and all of a sudden I heard this ‘plooooop’ sound and he’d disappeared! I saw this panicky little head pop up from the water and splashing as his little paws tried to gain purchase on the bank. In the end, I had to reach in and grab his collar and scoop my arm under his bum and haul him out! I was drenched! I’d never be able to do it now, he’s much too big; I think he weighs almost as much as I do now! I tell him now that if he falls in, he’s on his own! 

Phew! What a busy couple of weeks it’s been! What have you been up to? Wink

Friday, May 08, 2009

Raise your glass!

Okay, you all know how I love glass right? I mean, you’ve seen my Flickr badge down there on the left? I love the way the sun shines through coloured glass (a memento of my childhood – I would sit with the family at mass watching the sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows, seeing the colours reflected onto the walls, people, seeing the way it blended…my fascination with light and colour and glass goes back a long long way) I love to paint glass, often using preloved glass from charity shops, turning an unwanted item into something beautiful to be admired in a sunny window, or with the aid of candlelight.

I love glass beads and glass jewellery, having played with a torch and hot glass whenever my friend with a studio had the time to let me lay. I’ve soldered glass, made it into jewellery, and fused it in my little microwave kiln. I’ve made it into mosaics, cut myself endlessly as I’ve scored and cut it into the shapes I saw in my minds eye. Well recently I’ve been loving glass a whole lot more… my local council finally sent out the glass recycling boxes to each house! Hurray! They do a collection for household rubbish, garden/green rubbish, paper, tins and plastic. We had to go to the nearest recycling centre to recycle glass, which is ridiculous when you consider that it’s probably the easiest to actually recycle! So anyway, they will be doing a doorstop collection from June (why the wait??) but this means that they will be cutting one of the garden cuttings/green bin collections! Still, it’s a start. My council are generally incompetent so this is a step in the right direction! I’m a big fan of recycling and glass can be recycled 100%!

The other reason for me to love glass? Well, I’ve been reading about the hazards of plastic, heat and dioxins – did you get that email chain letter warning against heating food in plastic? Well, I did, and I know it’s a hoax and everything, but you know, I have this auto immune disease, my sister and I are both allergic/sensitive to a lot of environmental chemicals, and you do start to wonder. So I’ve been transferring stuff frozen in plastic into glass Pyrex or into stainless steel before I cook it. I also don’t like the amount of energy required to produce plastic, how unrecyclable it is, and how much environmental damage is done by discarded plastic. Check out what the Independent has to say about the worlds rubbish tip

Also, it has been estimated that one million birds and 100 000 marine mammals die each year in the world's oceans by eating or becoming entangled in plastic rubbish. Many different types of litter can be found on the seashore. This includes rubbish left behind on the beach, thrown or washed overboard from vessels. Ocean currents can bring litter from other countries. Beach litter includes plastic packaging, glass, polystyrene, fishing nets, fishing line, cans, nappies, wood and paper. Many facial scrubs now contain micro particles of plastic which get washed down the sink, into the water system and the sea, and is eaten by fish who think that it’s food. They then starve because their belly is full, but it won’t pass through their system. Read more about the dangers of plastic here


Check out this cute video!



You want another reason to love glass? Check out this glass artist,

and this one


Sunday, May 03, 2009


OFSTED have been and gone – hurray! I survived the inspection and the whole college breathes a sigh of relief! I didn’t get observed which I am mightily thankful for – I think I’ve had more than my fair share of observations this year! In celebration of the the passing of this much anticipated and dreaded event M and I decided to go to Glastonbury for the day on Saturday, but life is never that simple in the world of Samsara and my Uncle had a big birthday party in London on Saturday. We couldn’t go on Sunday because M’s sister was having a big birthday BBQ. Hmmm. Looks like it’ll be Monday then. Good thing it’s a Bank Holiday weekend! Oh yeah, did I mention that it’s a BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND!!! Woo hoo! Double excitement! You know what that means?? A three day weekend! Oh yeah Baby!!! So the order of the weekend was Stitch n Bitch Saturday lunchtime whilst M watched the footie, then big family party Saturday night, a lie-in on Sunday morning, a family BBQ on Sunday afternoon and then hopefully Glastonbury on Monday unless something else comes up *lol*

I might get a little crafting in, I haven’t done much on my BPT hoodie recently, but I have been crocheting flower squares for my garden blanket. Look how pretty it looks already!


I’ve done a bit on my Sunkist – the yarn is from my stash and was donated to me by a friend at work. It has no band on it so I have no idea what it is. I love the colour but the texture is a little strange.

It’s quite hard for yarn, but it’s clearly knitting yarn. It’s plied so it’s not for rugs or anything like that. It’s very acrylic by the feel of it. I knitted a swatch, washed it and shoved it through the tumble drier, and it feels a little softer. I’ll repeat the process and see if it softens up more. It’s knitting up really quickly though – I love top down raglans!

I have approximately a month left for my TESOL course, a month in which to get all my assignments finished and marked before the moderator comes to interview us. Something else to stress about!

Hope you have a great weekend! x



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