Wednesday, December 08, 2010

When did that happen?

Folks, it’s only 16 (plus the rest of today) days until Christmas.

And although I have done most of my shopping, there’s a catch. I’ve done it online, and then this slight cold snap that we’ve had appears to have upset the postal system a little bit.

I wouldn’t normally worry about that, but I’m off to my parents’ place at the weekend, at which time I intend to leave all the gifts for my sister and her fiancé, and my parents, with my parents. Clearly I can not do this if said gifts are still sitting in some stranded lorry somewhere. Boo.

Well, I do have some things for each of them so far. I’ve had to return one item already, and so I’ve decided to buy the replacement item in person in an actual shop. I may have to pick up some backup gifts for my sister as 95% of her gift is still in the post.

(Well, I guess there’s a chance that some of it is waiting for me at home, if the post has arrived today.)

Somehow this makes me want to go out and madly buy more stuff! And then I feel a bit materialistic!

I’m only doing a little bit of Christmas knitting. One item is almost finished and will go in the post this weekend all being well. The other is for my fiancé, and he knows he’s getting a knitted thing, but he knows not what. I need to get cracking on that! I feel some in-car knitting will be required (we have a 20-30 minute commute, he drives…)

Well, I’ll cross my fingers about the parcels. They’ll understand if there are more to come! (The other year an item I pre-ordered didn’t arrive until the following February!)

Here’s hoping!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

At Last!

Finally, I’ve got round to taking and uploading some photos of what I have been up to in the past month or so!

We’ve been in the new house for about 7 weeks.

The back bedroom, which still needs photographing, has been given a new look with a fresh coat of paint on all the walls. I’m sorry to say we didn’t strip the wallpaper, that will have to wait until we get round to doing it again one day. However, I’ve painted over the floral pattern (I’m sure it’s lovely to some, but to my taste? Not so much) and the places where the previous owners’ cats scratched up the wallpaper. It’s not perfect, but it’s much more “us”. We have a nice new wooden curtain pole which needs to go up, and some rather nice curtains too. The new bed comes a week on Saturday, and once that’s in I’ll share photos. we must buy a lampshade!

The shed, which also needs photographing, has been given a couple of coats of Cuprinol Ducksback and is now reddish brown rather than grey. I’m pleased with it, and it’s hopefully not going to let water in any more. Though having moved the massive log pile from the side of it and cleared all of the brambles and mud will have helped. (I didn’t do that, Fiancé did.)

Anyway, this is the house.

New House!

There are lots of rose bushes in the front garden – they’re still flowering (in November!) but once they’re done flowering I will cut them back hard to try to get them into more even shapes and sizes. They are lovely though, lots of pretty colours!

New House!

The big window there in the garage is over a second sink with cupboards and drainer. This will, when I get it tidy and clean (and spider free), be my dying area. I’ll put the steamer out there (there’s power and water!) and the washer and dryer are both there, so I can do felting out there too! I’ll probably see about getting Fiancé to build me a bench to work on too at some point, and we’re going to put more shelves and hooks and a washing line up there too.

At the moment that area is also home to my new wormery.


I love worms. They’re one of the most amazing creatures ever. These worms are specially selected for wormeries. I’ve settled them in with the starter worm bedding, some treats (yes, you can get worm treats, how amazing is that) and some anti-acid pellets (too much acid upsets them!)
Anyway, they’re not trying to escape so I hope that’s a good sign.
We also have two large compost bins. We got the sort with bases because next door tell us that there might be rats (I figure; we’re in the country – there probably are rats, so we’ll try not to attract them)

This morning I saw some sort of hawk in the back garden! It was about the size of a pigeon, but dark brown with almost black wings, head and back. It was beautiful. I didn’t get the camera in time to take a photo I’m afraid.
There’s so much wildlife around here though, it’s fantastic!

I like my new home a lot, and I know I’m going to be happy here

New House!

New Sweater

So, After almost 3 years of having the yarn, I’ve finally finished my green sweater! It was originally going to be but I didn’t like the finished item – I think it was the wrong yarn choice, as well as pilot error (PEBNAY – Problem Exists Between Needle and Yarn).

So I decided on a simple raglan cardigan, trying on as I went. And here’s the result:

Phoenix Sweater
Before weaving in the ends!

Pattern: My Own Design (I might publish it as I’ve kept notes, but it needs test-knitting first!)
Yarn: Noro Cash Iroha (40% Silk, 30% Wool, 20% Cashmere, 10% Nylon) in Emerald (105)
Needles: 4.5mm circs & dpns
Modifications: N/A
Verdict: The yarn is lush, lovely to knit with. It’s a bit slubby but that adds to the charm I think. The cables pop really nicely in this yarn and colour. I’m quite pleased with it. It’s very warm so I haven’t had chance to wear it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Almost Settled

So, we're settling in to the new house still.

I love it!
Sunrise in Bugthorpe
Sunrise over Bugthorpe

The photo is not our garden, I'll show you that some time!

Well, we're in the middle of decorating our main bedroom, the one which has this view. I've put a coat of paint on all the walls now, so they need another coat this week. Then we should be getting the new bed soon too. We've ordered a massive bed - super king size! It's as wide as it is long! The mattress arrived already, and is stored in the garage. (We have a garage!) We've also picked up some bed linens. Curtains are next up - though the windows are big.

Otherwise things are steady here. We're getting used to the house, and the quiet. 

P.S I'll try to remember to take some photos of the needle felting I've been doing, it's great fun!

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Apres Surf Hoodie

I've been thinking about making the Apres Surf Hoodie for a long time.

In fact, it's probably since that issue of Interweave Knits came out back in Summer 2008.
I even bought the yarn I needed for it.

Well, today I photocopied the pattern so I could write on it. (Like books, I can't bring myself to actually write in my magazines. It's weird. Most (not all) of my magazines are in as-new condition.)
I've decided to make the 3rd size, which I'm calling "medium" in my head (like, XS, S, M - right?)

It's got a 39.5" bust, assuming I get gauge, so it will have some positive ease (about 1.5") - the next size down is 35.5" and so would have 2.5" negative ease. I hope that this is the right choice. I would want to wear a t-shirt or something under this hoodie as it's lace and thus see-through.
According to the magazine, the one in the picture has "minimal" positive ease and it's the Small.
While that's not so helpful since I don't know the model's measurements, I think it should be okay.
Who knows if I'll even get gauge?

I am considering knitting a gauge swatch.
Despite being a hater of swatching, this is an awful lot of stitches to knit, and frankly I don't like ripping out and reknitting things.
Whether I'll be able to get gauge in the stst and lace sections... well, we'll see!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I can haz teh internetz?

(Sorry for the I can haz cheezburger title; it had to be done)

Yes indeed we're back online, in the new house! Woot!
I really like the new house, which is a surprise to me really because I wasn't sure about it when we initially put the offer in.
Now that we're in, I like almost everything about it. We have a greenhouse (with tomatoes and aubergines left in it, thanks to the previous owner!) and a shed (with power!) along with a lovely garden which with a little TLC, a shovel and some planning should be capable of holding chickens, veggies and maybe a "bee garden" (I like bees)

I'll be back with some photos once we get into some semblance of order, we're still living with rather more boxes than I would like. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Actually moving

It’s been a while, I know. There’s been no news that hasn’t been too depressing to blog about. However, the move is now happening, we’re actually being packed as I type (how much does that rock?)

We have a bit of recycling to do on the way home, and a little more to put out in the morning, but otherwise we’re all good. The packers have their instructions on what to pack and what not to pack, hopefully they’re not going to accidentally pack things they shouldn’t. I don’t mind so much if they leave unpacked things I’d rather they did pack, that’s easier to solve!

So yeah, we’re moving out to the countryside; I am very excited!

Also, I’ve a hectic schedule for the next month now. So we’re moving house tomorrow, then I’m off to a hen party on Saturday. The following Friday is the wedding (to go with the hen party) followed by a weekend off, then my folks are visiting, then both my bridesmaids and their partners are visiting, and then? Then I think we can relax!

Somewhere in there I need to fit in painting the bedroom, moving all the furniture into the right places, unpacking all the stuff, setting up my new craft room, starting to sort out the garden and planting some stuff (hopefully) and maybe looking into chicken runs, rabbit runs, and the like.

So it’s all good. Or it will be, tomorrow, when we get the keys!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thunderbirds are... um... waiting until Thursday

So, we're not moving today. Hence blogging is happening.

We might not have a phone line after today, we're not sure.

We're still moving though, it's all (currently) still on, but we have to wait until our buyers get their mortgage sorted out (Yes, I agree, they should have done that well before they did, but sometimes people don't realise these things and I'm trying to stay positive!)

So, I've cast on something new, to help take the edge off still not having my stash: a scarf for the "Knit the York Walls" campaign (Ravelry Link to Ramshambles Group) in lovely pink yarn provided by "Wannabe18". It's Rowan Pure Wool DK (same stuff I made fiancé his jumper from)
I'm doing a simple garter and drop stitch pattern, which is actually growing reasonably quickly. Though knitting at home while off work sick has helped!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fan girl

So, I cast on for some socks about a week ago. I fancied something a bit different, so I was making up a wavy pattern using short rows. It looked quite nice for the first two repeats, but after that there was some unpleasant pooling, and the sock was also a little loose. On top of these things there were some little holes where the short row turns were, and I decided that these weren’t the socks I wanted. So, I frogged the socks and put the yarn in my bag.

We took a trip to Edinburgh on Saturday, so on the train in the morning I cast on for both socks at once. I’m making the same socks that Yarn Harlot just made which are her vanilla sock with some ribs continued down the leg. It looks like she’s done a short row heel, but I’m currently undecided about that. If I do short row heels I usually do them over more than half of the stitches, which would mess up the pattern. So, I will probably stick to my usual heel flap and turn.

Edinburgh was a full on day – I’m afraid I can’t recommend travelling to and from Edinburgh in a day on the train, and fitting two shows, lunch, the Scott monument and the K1 yarn shop. It’s too much! The main reason we were going up was to see some plays that Fiancé’s brother (FBIL) was in or wrote. He’s part of a group called Gomito. (Google them, go see their work, they’re good!) Those two plays book-ended the day.

After lunch we went to the Scott monument. I went up the first set of stairs, but those of you who know me will know that I’m not a fan of twisty staircases, and I’m not a fan of heights, and – well – I didn’t go any higher.
 Funky Architecture

We also called into K1 yarn shop. It was a tiny crafty bubble of calm in the throng that is the Edinburgh festival. I could have spent hours in there. I bought some linen and cotton laceweight, and some Zitron Trekking hand-painted sock yarn.

The linen/cotton lace is a nice pinky colour, quite delicate. With 700m it’s not massively long for lace, but I’m sure I can make something nice from it. (I have a lacey shrug in my mind, or bolero). I want to do something exciting with the sock yarn too – it’s a lovely red-orange-black fiery combination of colours. Perhaps it will become a hat, or hat and gloves (depending on how much yarn the hat takes!) I need to think about it.

And, of course, when we move on Friday I will (all being well, subject to meeting the removal man tomorrow) be getting my yarn back.

Friday, August 20, 2010

All Go (hopefully)

So, we’re due to exchange and complete on our new house on Friday next week.

Exchanging and completing on the same day is making me nervous, I’ll admit. I’m one of those people who like to know what’s happening for certain, and plans stuff. I find I’m not very spontaneous these days (I like to think I used to be, but it could just have been circumstance)

Well, anyway, we’re making plans based on the exchange and completion happening together on the Friday. Everyone involved is keen for this to happen, so it should be fine.

That means we’ve been booking the movers. This has turned out to be more taxing than I expected. The movers we were going to use are fully booked. So my fiancé has had to ring round to find someone. We decided to go with the people who answered the phone, who could fit us in, and who don’t cost an arm and a leg (though I suspect that the cost element might be the one we have the least control over!)

Now we just have to explain that we have a bunch of stuff stored at some friends’ house and we’d like that to be picked up too. We’ll see what he says when he comes to look at our stuff on Tuesday.

I guess we’d better tidy the house some more!

In knitting news, the socks I have been designing have been frogged. I liked the way they were looking, until I got onto the 4th repeat when the colours started to do weird things. So I’ve decided that they’re just going to be plain old vanilla socks. Yarn Harlot’s recent pair where two of the ribs continued down the leg were nice, perhaps I’ll do that (I’m such a fangirl)

Another workout today:
dead lift – front squat – push press, 20kg, (20, 10, 5; 20, 10, 4; 20, 10, 3) (that’s an improvement!)
bench press – sit ups, 20kg/bodyweight (12, 20; 8, 20; 7, 15)
kettlebell swings – kettlebell rows – kettlebell curls, 12kg/12kg/8kg (10, 8/8, 8/8; 10, 10/10, 10/10)
I didn’t do the jammer press, I think I’m going to ask for an alternative when I see my PT on Wednesday. I have been shown how to do a hamstring stretch on the “power plate” which is cool. (if you’ve never seen one, a power plate looks like those really old fashioned scales, but the floor plate is wobbly and vibrates. It’s odd)
I did do the X-Trainer again, 3 mins between each superset.

I reckon, if I keep improving on the dead/squat/press I should be able to manage the full 5 push presses with 20kg for all three sets soon, and then I get to put the weight up! Woo!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It could be 10 days...

...Until we move in to our new house.
Or it might not.

We will not have a firm date until our solicitor organises the exchange of contracts.

Despite this, we’ve gone ahead and ordered a fridge (we can always push the date back if needs be, we’re thinking positive!) and after getting a call from BT asking about our buyers taking over the line we’re now signed up for a BT line in the new house. (This is a bit of a sore point, actually. We’re going to be writing a letter to customer services at BT.)

Otherwise it’s still a bit limbo-ish.

I did finish the shawl I’ve been knitting, though I still don’t have any action shot photos of it!

Here’s the knit down:

Pattern: Citron by Hilary Smith Callis
Yarn: Abstract Cat Merino/silk laceweight in the Dragonfly colourway
Needles: 4mm circular
Modifications:Knit to pattern except for a slight amendment to the cast on (which I can’t remember) and knitting the last 4 rows in garter stitch rather than stocking stitch. That’s both prevented curl and also made the ruffle more ruffley as garter is fatter than stocking stitch!
Verdict (New!): I mostly enjoyed knitting this, and the end result is very good looking. The main problem with it is that as it’s a semi-circular shawl the number of stitches on the needles increases quite drastically per repeat. By the end there were over 500 stitches per row, which is a lot!

Shawl - blocking
the shawl while blocking

Oh, I should mention my brand spanking new workout program! Since I last wrote about the program I’ve continued my “diet” which is working reasonably well for me (except today, I had a bacon sandwich. It happens. I’ll be better tomorrow)

Anyway, I spoke to my PT, explained the issues I was having, that I’d recently changed the way I was eating, and that I wanted a program I found more fun.

He’s sorted out a much more weights based program for me. There’s still a bit of (low impact) cardio for me in the form of the cross trainer, which is okay I guess. But the weights! Oh, they’re fun. Not mega-super heavy, but y’know, good.

Here’s today’s lifts:
dead lift – front squat – push-press, 20kg, (20, 10, 5; 20, 10, 3; 20, 8, 3)
bench press – sit ups, 20kg/bodyweight (8, 20; 8, 15; 4, 15)
kettlebell swings – kettlebell rows – kettlebell curls, 12kg/12kg/8kg (3;8e/s;8e/s) (Had a hamstring issue here, so stopped. Will do better next time)
jammer press – straight leg sit ups, 13kg/bodyweight (5, 15; 10, 15; 4, 16)
with 3 mins on the X Trainer between each set.

It’s so much more fun than the previous programme! Okay, it’s new, and I was enthusiastic (well, a little sceptical too) about the last one. But this one – I was looking forward to going to the gym on Monday and today. That is a result.

We’re going to start going every morning again, and swimming on the off days. Worst case, if the swimming isn’t happening (tight muscles, just too tired, whatever) I can sit in the Jacuzzi or the sauna for 20 minutes instead!

Edit: I just wanted to add that I’ve been having an issue with something called an IT Band (nothing to do with the computer, everything to do with my thigh) which has been causing me pain. My PT has got me doing foam rolling (which was in my Fit Female bible too) which is very painful to do but seems to help. I'm considering getting a foam roller for at home and also thinking about getting myself back to the Tuina guys for a pummelling!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

RIP: Aran

Aran's Photoshoot

Our hamster, Aran, died in the night.

He was about 2 years old, which is good going for a dwarf Russian hamster.  He outlivd his brother (Rowan) for some months. Since Rowan died, we've been giving Aran extra treats, but not handling him as much (he liked to bite) so as not to stress him too much.
We've really enjoyed having Aran as our pet and he will be missed.

Monday, August 09, 2010


That’s how I feel at the moment, like I’m somehow held in limbo.

The house move is probably going ahead, there’s no reason for me to think it isn’t. Even so, we don’t have a confirmed move date (though I’ve speculatively booked a day off work when it’s meant to be!) nor do I know if we’re waiting for anything further.

I’m still looking forward to the move, and settling in to the new house. If all goes to plan we’ll be moving on the bank holiday weekend. Obviously that’s great from a moving in perspective. I hope it works out from a buying appliances perspective too! However, if all we manage to sort out is a fridge then that will be fine – we’ve got a week off not long after to tidy up all the loose ends! Hopefully we’re visiting my sister in the weekend there too, with a trip to Costco, which will mean that if we do have a chest freezer by then (here’s hoping) we can buy some stuff to fill it. Woot!

The wedding is definitely going ahead (ahaha) but there are a whole bunch of things that I can’t do until we’ve moved house. I’m not setting anything in motion until then either. That means that after the move I have to visit the dressmaker, visit the registrar, confirm our new address with the photographer, the venue(s), and anyone else, and make invitations for everyone. I’m actually quite looking forward to making the invitations. It’s a nice excuse to spend a few (!) hours in my craft room making things. I’m less looking forward to sourcing addresses for people I don’t have addresses for!

Fiancé has sent off his passport to be renewed, well in advance of the honeymoon. It may or may not get back to us before we move. In either case we’ll be redirecting our post for a few months – an annoyance but a requirement. Until I have the confirmed move date there’s not much to do other than sit and wait! We’re still deciding on where we want to go for the honeymoon. I’m quite keen on a twin centre holiday with a first week of doing stuff and a second week of doing nothing. My favourites so far are Mexico and Sri Lanka / Maldives (or Thailand / Maldives I think is also available). Fiancé hasn’t expressed a preference yet. Still, that’s something else we want to get started on sorting out soon.

The shawl is coming on nicely. It’s one of a small number of things I’ll share in their entirety with the blog because it’s lovely. And it’s not really a key element; it’s just to keep me warm. I’m not sure whether I’ll knit any other semi-circular or circular shawls – the number of stitches is phenomenal. I’m in the last section now, but one row is taking almost an hour!

(Picture to the right is from - more information about the pattern there.)

And the gym, that’s also in limbo right now. I’ve not been getting on with the program that my PT left me before he went away, and then the car broke down so we didn’t get to the gym, and I just haven’t mustered up the desire to go back. I have another session on Thursday, so we’ll see if he can come up with anything else. I haven’t enjoyed the “weights as cardio” thing in the program – I know that’s what turbulence training is all about, but it’s not for me. I enjoy lifting weights. I appreciate that I need to do some sort of cardio to get the results I want, but the all cardio nonsense I’m doing right now is just depressing – and it’s not giving me any results. Honestly, I’ve lost more weight in the two weeks I haven’t been able to get to the gym (but have been dieting) than I did in the two weeks where I did this program three times a week. Either I’m doing it wrong, or it doesn’t work. And I suspect it’s the former – even though I’m killing myself to get round fast, I must just not be going fast enough for long enough.
I have been for a run twice while I couldn’t get to the gym. Neither time was especially pleasant, but I made it round my 2 mile course in less than 30 minutes. No, that’s not fast. I think it might even be quite slow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

For a change...

I guess the last few posts there’s been a bit of a fitness/weight loss overload.

So, I’ll talk about something else today!

We’re still in the process of moving house. I’m hopeful that we should be able to complete at the end of August, though it does depend on our seller (the person we’re buying from) moving out in time. I don’t know what stage she’s at now.

I’m quite excited about the new house, it has so many things that we’re looking for!

We have some enquiries with our solicitor at the moment regarding some of the information in the deeds, specifically pertaining to the covenants. I suspect that I am better not detailing any of them here, for the time being at least.

Anyway, there’s so much scope for doing the things I’ve been wanting to do but not had the space for. Ranging from more dying and getting into spinning to growing vegetables.

Here are some of the things I’d like to be able to do in the new house:
  • Grow Veggies including potatoes and carrots, squash, aubergine, tomatoes, peas and strawberries!
  • More Dying not really good in an unventilated room with cream carpets which I was using in our current house…
  • Spinning I’ve been spindle spinning, but I’d love the space for a wheel. After that I’d love some more hours in the day!
  • Growing dyestuffs this is on top of growing veggies – my own dyers patch, what fun that would be!
  • Chickens I’d love some pet chickens. I’m talking two or three, not many.
  • Bunnies! I love bunny rabbits. Guinea pigs would also be an option.
  • While we’re on animlas: Doggy! Ok, this is a long term thing, not something for the shorter term, but I would love to have a dog. Preferably a big dog. My favourite breeds are Great Danes and Wolfhounds. I love Setters too, but all that hair!
  • Painting and I don’t mean rooms. This is something I’d like my fiancé to be able to do more of too. We have an easel, it will be nice to have space to put it up.
  • Cooking and dinner parties our current kitchen is small, we don’t have much space for people. The new place will be large enough to have a reasonable number of people round! I don’t claim to be a brilliant cook, but I can follow a recipe quite well*.
  • Sitting out I’m truly more excited than I should be about the prospect of getting a patio set – you know a couple or four chairs and a small table. Maybe we could upgrade the barbeque too! Alas, there isn’t likely to be much time left this year where outdoor cooking is acceptable.
I’m sure there are millions of other things I could add to this list!
But I’ll stop now.


In my current garden I have bought two more herbs. We visited a small nursery when we were back home, and they had some quite nice plants there at very reasonable prices. I picked up an apple mint (why yes, I do like mint. How did you guess?) and a small lavender called Melissa Lilac.


*when I say quite well, I mean with only one or two substitutions or changes. It’s a bit like knitting patterns, a recipe is just a guide!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One week in

So, as I mentioned, the working out just wasn’t enough for me and my drive for results. (I have a suspicion that this is also hindering me on my shawl, more on that shortly)
Well, I’ve been trying hard to eat sensibly, while still reducing the number of calories I’m eating – basically trying to be more aware of what it is I’m eating. There were two “challenges” last week in the form of the Department Night Out (more on that later) and movie night with friends. I fared better on one than the other.

So, how did I do last week?

Well, we worked out twice. I decided against working out with a hangover (remember the DNO?) so, I’ve stuck with “sedentary” for my formula, which kind of makes sense.

At my start-of-week weight, my maintenance calories was 1902
My average calories per day were 1379 (a deficit of 523 per day)
My lowest calorie day was Wednesday with 1165 calories consumed (approx)
My highest calorie day was Thursday with 1663 calories consumed (approx)

I tried seven new meals last week. I think that the carrot soup was the most successful, but it uses up a lot of carrots. I’m considering trying the same thing but with different veggies next time. Broccoli and chicken salad was also a success as a packed lunch. Brilliant!
One of the hardest things is making sure to have healthier snacks to eat when I’m feeling peckish. I’ve rediscovered my love for Granny Smith apples, which is rather nice.

So, what was it about Thursday that gave me that extra 300 or so calories? Well, if it hadn’t been for the Department Night Out I suspect I would have done much better.

I had my usual breakfast: Instant Oats made with 200ml skimmed milk and 40g of sultanas, I also had a cup of tea with a little semi skimmed milk. ~345 calories.
For lunch I was doing pretty well, I had salad with two hard boiled eggs, and 4 olives in oil. ~427 calories.
I also had a nectarine and one more cup of tea that day. ~ 51 calories.
Dinner is where I let myself down. It was a barbeque. There was free drink. I had some canapés (mostly with brie, cheese is my nemesis) which I’ve estimated at about 158 calories (yes, just for the canapés) I had one sausage and one burger (about 192 calories for both). I didn’t eat the salad, much coleslaw or the bun. I did have some sauce, but compared to what’s coming it is negligible.
I had three glasses of champagne (267 calories) and about 4 glasses of wine (356 calories) That’s one glass being 120ml.

So, it was the alcohol that did for me, I think.

As for the shawl? It’s progressing. Very. Slowly. It’s not the most exciting knit – it’s basically miles of stocking stitch, interspersed with really complicated counting rows. I have to be in the right frame of mind to do the counting rows, so it frequently stalls on those rows. I’m nervous about knitting it while doing other things because I don’t want to go wrong, even though it’s really simple! I love how it looks, and I’m sure it will be worth it in the end, I’m just glad I started nice and early, and that I’m not knitting the same thing for anyone else!
As I said above, I think that I want to see progress, and the shawl isn’t that kind of project. With it being semi-circular, the rows get so much wider that each row takes an age. I’m lucky to get one row done in my lunchbreak – and if I need to do something else, it’s not going to happen at all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Getting Fit? Not Really

So, I've been following the program set by my PT for 3 weeks.
It's hard, very tiring, and yet - I'm not seeing any results. That is pretty disheartening, as you might imagine.
I weighed myself just prior to starting this section of the programme.
I haven't really changed my eating habits - though I've stopped eating chocolate at work.

I weighed myself after one week and I had lost 2lbs. Woo!

However, since then I haven't lost any weight at all.
I have seen a change in my measurements, but I'm not sure how much of that is my dodgy measuring and wishful thinking.
None of my clothes fit any better...

Now, I confess, I am supposed to do two repeats of the program (at least) which should take 40 minutes. About half of the time I do two repeats, though it takes more like 45 minutes. I'm not really getting on with the concept of rinse and repeat. If I hated it the first time, I'm hardly going to look forward to it.
I've discovered some interesting things about how I like to exercise, which is good.
  • I don't mind cardio. 3 minute bursts are fine.
  • I dislike the bike and cross-trainer.
  • I don't dislike the rower (at the moment) and can row 600m in 2:40 if I try, at the lowest resistance.
  • While I like weights, doing them like cardio sucks.
  • Olympic lifts are fun!
  • I get bored easily - three weeks in and I want to change stuff!
  • I have results focus - I want to see changes in my body, I want to weigh less, have less girth, feel better

Now, I can't wait for my PT to sort this out. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, or what. I'm probably not going fast enough on the cross trainer, but that's only one out of 3 cardio bursts.
I know I'm belting through the weights - to the point that they're not fun.
I'm shuttling between items, no rest, barely time to have a drink.
And yet - no change.
It's not acceptable!

So, it's been suggested (by my fiancé no less) that it’s not possible to out-train a bad diet. I begrudgingly accept that this is probably true. So, I’ve looked up some recipes with reasonable calorie counts (in the 300-400 range) to have for dinner with veggies, potatoes or pasta (another 100 cals for pasta!) or to have on their own for lunches. The aim is to create a deficit in the number of calories consumed as compared to the number required.

I’m using a formula to calculate the number of calories I need to consume which is as follows:
BMR = 655 + (4.3 * lbs) + (4.7 * inches) - (4.7 * age)
(BMR is basal metabolic rate)
Maintenance Calories = BMR * 120%

So, for me that’s
BMR = 655 + 922.1 (sorry, not telling you my weight, height and age!)
BMR = 1577.1
Maintenance Calories = 1892.52
To lose 1lb per week, you need to eat 3500 calories less*
That’s 500 calories per day
So, to create a 500 calorie deficit, I need to eat no more than 1392.52 calories, or expend more calories.
Several sites recommend not reducing calories lower than 1200 calories.
So, that’s the plan. I’ve never tried calorie counting before, but we’ll see how it goes.

Tuesday night’s food wasn’t quite the number of calories I had planned because it seems that I can’t read a recipe! I scaled down all of the ingredients from a 4 person recipe to a 2 person recipe. Except I didn’t. I forgot to scale down the cheese (the cheese will be my downfall). While this made the mustard-and-cheese-stuffed-chicken-breasts very tasty, it also made them an extra 200 calories! Whoops! I had a little bit spare from having my über healthy porridge and sultanas for breakfast (I love it!) but I was probably only under by about 300 calories in the end.
Nevermind, I’ll do better today.
I’m not going to beat myself up about it, in the end if it gets to April and I’m exactly the same size and shape then so be it. All in all (and sending many good vibes to the Karma Gods) I’m the happiest I have ever been at the moment, and why shouldn’t I be? Okay, work is a bit irritating, but there’s some interesting stuff happening at the moment, we’re buying a fab new house, we’re getting married in the spring (in the Spring!!) – it’s all good, I can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) complain!

And anyway, my dress is going to have a built in corset in it.

*this is a generalisation, I gather, but should get me close enough

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Crochet Complete and Scrapbook!

So, I've finally got some things to show you

Granny Square Bag

Pattern: Inga's Haekelbeutel by Inga Joana Mertens
Yarn: King Cole Bamboo Cotton (1 skein each of the blue and brown)
Hook: 4mm (the only one I have not in storage)
Modifications: Other than using a completely different gauge, none.

Granny Square Bag

Also, I've been doing some pages in my scrapbook. I'm as far as I can go now before the wedding!

I kept the Save the Date page nice and simple, it's a printout of the pdf with some embellishment.

Scrapbook - Save the Date

This page was hard, I really wanted those three elements in there, so I had to fiddle with it for some time.

Scrapbook - Venues

I think this is my first attempt to use a "template" on a CD I received with the DoCraft magazine. I'm pretty pleased with it, and I think my scrapbooking is progressing nicely.

Scrapbook - Photography

I plan to purchase a chipboard "HOME" book to do something nice for the new house with. I'll get some new papers for that too.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

(Untitled, again)

Home Improvement

Well, we decided to accept the offer on our house, and offer on the place we wanted to buy.

They accepted!

So, we’re (hopefully) moving house very soon.

The new house is on the outskirts of a village; the village has a post office and a church, but no pub as far as we can tell! Though it’s only a short cycle from some other villages nearby where we know people. I’m quite excited about it now, looking forward to having a bit of space, both inside and out. Because it is three bedrooms, I can take over a bedroom for my crafty stuff without losing out on the guest room, which is useful! There’s so much scope for coolness.
I am trying not to get too excited at the moment though, until we have the keys in our hands!

In other news… There isn’t actually much other news. The wedding shawl is going well; I’m about half-way through from a number-of-rows perspective, but maybe only a third from a number-of-stitches perspective! It’s a pretty relaxing knit though, which is good!

I’ve done two more of the crazy workouts that my personal trainer has given me to do while he’s away in America. It’s going okay, I think. I find that if I push the cardio too much I can’t manage the weights, and vice versa. My aim is to get to a point where I can get through three circuits, or make it through two in 45 minutes; it’s taking me an hour for two at the minute which isn’t as fast as he’d like me to be going. It seems to be working though; I lost two pounds last week! I hope that I lose some this week too. We’ve been eating pretty healthily; I’ve been having fruit for a snack rather than chocolate, and three workouts a week.

We will not be getting three workouts this week, though. Well, unless we go on Saturday some time. The car has gone in to be MOTd and I don’t have a parking space at work any more. That means we’re getting the bus into work, and there’s no bus that gets us to the gym. In theory we could cycle there (it’s about 4 miles from our current house) but I’m not sure I’d want to work out when I arrived!

I must take a photo of my finished crocheted bag too, it’s in use as a bring-my-knitting-to-work bag right now, and is doing pretty well despite not being lined! I might not bother lining it, though I do have to keep anything that might fall through the holes in an additional bag!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Shoes, Shawl and Such

I have been eyeing up some shoes for a while.
They're designer (Kurt Geiger) and they looked (on screen) perfect.
I found a KG shop in Cambridge.
They didn't have the turquoise shoes in stock.
They let me try them in coral.
I loved them (I'm tempted to buy them in coral too!)
I decided to buy the turquoise ones online.
They didn't have them in my size online.
So I called the KG concession in Fenwicks in York.
They were very helpful and ordered them.
They came and were perfect.
And on sale.
So I ordered the matching bag.

No, I'm not showing you. You'll have to wait til next April for the photos! :P

I have also cast on for a shawl in the "dragonfly" yarn I got a while back. dragonfly yarn

And we're in negotiation about the house, which is scary and weird. We've had an offer, but not as high as we'd like, so we're not able to offer as much as we'd like for the house we want... ho hum. We will see.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Cakes and Flowers

Warning: Wedding Heavy Post!
Note: All these pictures have been taken from Google Image Search, I hope I haven’t infringed any copyrights.

I bought a recent guide to wedding cake and flowers. it claimed to be the “ultimate” guide, but with less than 10 pages on each flowers and cake, I think not.
It did have some pretty things in it, and has led me to consider my options further.
Fiancé and I are not especially fussed about having a massive cake. For some reason (a bit like my odd reasoning about heel heights I guess) I prefer cakes with three tiers. We’ve only discussed it a little, as we wouldn’t need to order the cake until around October (6 months prior) and I am still not sure whether I want to go high-end or not.
The cost of wedding cakes is quite high, considering what the constituent parts are, and considering how simple a shape, style and colour I prefer. I think I’d like a plain, smooth, round, three tier cake, white iced with (possibly) blue bands of the same fabric as the dresses.
I’ve seen some nicely dressed cakes with a few small flowers on them, which is something I would consider.

This brings me nicely on to flowers. We have visited a florist. I couldn’t breathe properly in there, my eyes were streaming and my head hurt, my nose was running. Basically, I had a very strong allergic reaction to the florists! I suspected that it might happen, but it really did confirm for me that I want silk flowers for the wedding. I’m not the only one in the party with allergies, and I didn’t think my allergies were that strong either!
There are other benefits of silk flowers. One of the benefits being that they last! I have an idea for the wedding flowers; I want to have the three bouquets (mine and the two bridesmaids’) made into arrangements. One is for my house, in a nice vase, as a memento of the day; the other to be made into a small arrangement to be placed on my Nanna’s grave. This might sound a little maudlin to some, but it’s something I want to do. I hope that there will be chance for me to go and put it there myself.
I don’t know what we’ll do with the buttonholes. I am sure we can think of something.
Finally the table centrepieces, these are going to be reasonably small – I’m not into ostentatious table decoration – I like to be able to see who is opposite me, and I assume that others do too! I’ve been collecting pictures from Google of those too.
I like the simplicity of some of the single flower in a glass type of arrangements, but it would need to be a big glass, or several glasses, in the centre of a round table. Though it might be nice for at home too! (I’d like to be able to use some of these at home, or give them to wedding helpers as a gift)
I’m also a fan of these fishbowl things. Simple, self-contained and attractive; these are nice and could be a variety of sizes I’d think.
Or there’s the usual vase-based stuff, with a squat vase this could be fine for what I’m interested in.

Of course, I will be discussing this with my fiancé, and probably posting several more witters for you here about it too!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Training, and not knitting!

This morning I was at the gym again. (I know, that’s no excuse for the chocolate I’ve eaten today. Diet is something I need to work on!) I have been working through the programme that I’ve been given by my Personal Trainer. It starts with some high-intensity low-weight cables. I like that; it gets my heart rate up. Once I’ve done that I do squats (I’m using a 15kg bar right now, aiming to get the form before I up the weight – do it light, get it right!) and dead lifts (also 15kg) and then clean-and-press (10kg) which isn’t the same exercise as the one we do in body pump. Then I have around 30 minutes of cardio work, which takes about 40 minutes including travel between machines and stopping to breathe so I don’t die.

I’m getting on okay with the cardio. It’s something I really don’t like doing which makes it a challenge. Even when I was doing quite a bit of running, I never liked that. I spend time on each of the static bike, treadmill and cross trainer. I don’t really like any of them, but I know that I need to get my cardio fitness up.

Still, at least I’m doing something in the gym, and it really does make me feel better for the rest of the day!
Well, until the aching sets in! I’m looking forward to a nice long hot bath!

On the knitting front, I haven’t been! I know – it’s a shocker. I bought a big bunch of new yarn recently – the pictures I took of it are rubbish!
Some of the yarn has plans. The bamboo is being made into a bag (as mentioned before), the Noro Silk Garden Sock is going to become a shrug, all being well. I need to do a bit of planning on that one, like deciding whether to knit it in stockinette or in garter – or something else! I don’t want to do any fancy patterns; Noro SGS is beautiful enough on its own.
The other Noro, I don’t know what I’ll do with that. I’ve been toying with the idea of some sort of felted thing, although it’s expensive yarn for felting with! Failing that, perhaps something smallish – a vest top or a shrug maybe. I have 5 balls, which is about 500yds I think. should be enough for a vest – especially if there’s openwork/lace somewhere on it.

A friend of mine kindly provided me with another herb! Yey! Now I have another variety of mint, Apple mint. It’s lovely, and was the other one I considered getting at Yorkshire Lavender.

So, it’s all good.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Lacey Fingerless Mittens

I’m having some bizarre issues with my Macbook, so I’ve been unable to post. Normally I wouldn’t worry, but I’ve been waiting to tell you all about my latest pattern!

Lacy Knitted Mittens Pattern:Lacey Fingerless Mitts by Tsuki (download now)
Sizes Available: S, M and L (though from feedback the small runs more like XS, the other sizes are about right)
Yarn:Violet Green, Sappho (70% merino 30% silk, colour pink ruby); yardage just over 150yds (140m) for the medium size.
Needles:2.25mm circs long enough to do magic loop, or 2.25mm dpns.
Other:you’ll need two pairs and one odd stitch marker, and a darning needle for weaving in the ends.
I enjoyed knitting these, and I hope you will too. Do let me know if you knit them – and if you like to knit for friends for Christmas these would make a lovely gift. Just click here to download the pattern and you’re away!
Thank you for reading!

Any feedback about the pattern (including errata) is very welcome, please leave a comment, or come find me on Ravelry – I’m Tsuki. Fingerless Mitts for Testing

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

In which I get Personal...

Yes, that’s right, I have a personal trainer. How wicked is that?

Originally I had organised to join a fitness class; 10 weeks, including nutrition and fitness advice, a programme to work to and group work. Sadly, there weren’t enough people interested in the evening class, so it was cancelled, but the trainer offered me 6 hours of personal training as a replacement. One to one personal training is not cheap, and this is bargain basement cost, so I decided to go for it.

I had my first session on Monday, where the PT checked out what I can actually do. He’s pleased with the weight lifting, but (unsurprisingly) wants me to up my cardio rather a lot. Well, from nothing to about 20-30 minutes for this first fortnight.
It’s not so bad when you have someone telling you what to do, how fast to run, when to stop. I’ll see how easy that is when I’m doing it on my own. I need to do the program he’s set me at least 5 times before I next see him. Given that we’re off to visit fiancé’s folks over one of the weekends in between, that’s going to be hard – but not impossible – to fit in.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

More about that...

As I posted yesterday, I’ve bought some new herbs. I don’t know where this desire comes from, but I love having plants, growing things in my garden is so interesting, so much fun, and the results are beautiful and tasty!
Herb Garden
Last year, I bought a collection of herbs from B&Q. this consisted of (as seen in the green tub picture, left to right) chives, sage, parsely, oregano, coriander (which is an annual and died over winter) and Thyme.
Now I also have Dill and Coriander (both annuals), lemon thyme, oregano and French Tarragon, and basil (in the green pot, because he lives indoors) – these were all from B&Q too, and three (yes, three!) varieties of mint. I have peppermint, spearmint and garden mint. I am considering getting some apple mint too, which I really like. I love mint; it’s a great smelling herb, and pretty to look at too. I’m trying to learn the difference between the types of mint in looks, as well as smell (from the smell it’s easier!)
Fiancé’s mum picked up some chocolate mint, which she tells me chickens are meant to like. That has the most amazing mint-chocolate smell to it! She also bought some lavender. I quite like lavender, especially as it is a nice strong smell which can be used to mask the wool smell in a house full of wool!

I’m quite excited at the prospect of having a proper garden to grow things in. I like vegetables and salads and fruit – and I love the idea of growing my own! I could spend hours in the grow-your-own section in B&Q, or perusing in a garden centre.
I’m also looking forward to having space (and hopefully time!) for chickens. I will probably wait until we’ve settled in properly before introducing chickens – perhaps after the wedding (though we’ll see, I’m not usually that patient!). The main thing I’m worried about is being able to find someone to look after them when we go away, and as that would be for three weeks after the wedding, that’s quite an ask.
Chickens need to be let out in the morning, and shut away in the evening.

The crochet I flashed up yesterday is a new bag I’m making, Inga's Haekelbeutel (in German) (Rav link) – it’s a cleverly constructed bag made from granny squares crocheted together. since I quite like making granny squares, I thought this would be a great item for me to make. as usual, I’m not using the yarn called for. I’m not even using the weight of yarn called for! I might end up having to line the bag, which I might have to do 1) before I make it up and 2) by hand.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. My sewing machine, threads and most of my fabric stash never made it to storage (friends’ house – many thanks guys, you know who you are) so I should be able to line the bag without too many problems – though it might be as easy to do it by hand, though I detest sewing by hand, so I have to consider that thoroughly!
I have noticed that my newer squares are a bit tighter – I’m not sure if I’m crocheting tighter, or what. hopefully I can block them all to approximately the same size, prior to crocheting them together. I just have to decide what order to do that in, once I finish making the squares. I’m on 5 of 8 in the blue-then-brown pattern, I’m doing 8 others in brown-then-blue.

Monday, May 31, 2010


I've bought some new herbs. We went to Yorkshire Lavender this weekend and there was a lovely selection of other herbs there, including some varieties of mint that I fancied having. Well, we also went to B&Q and I ended up with several more herbs, so on top of the six I already had, I now have some pretty new ones. Herb Garden I've also been doing some crochet... Squares

Monday, May 24, 2010


Well, the house is on the market. We were scheduled to have two viewings this weekend, but both were cancelled at the last minute. Boo. One of them will be rescheduled; the other was cancelled outright as they had bought a different house.

Oh well.

We’re going back to see one of the houses we’ve seen. I’ve also made a (short) list of other houses we could see. I haven’t done anything about it though! It’s hard to be positive about looking at houses when we haven’t even had a viewing yet. I know, it’s early days, but it’s so slow!

I’ve ordered some lovely yarn from Stash of Chester over the weekend. I have ordered some Noro Silk Garden Sock at silly prices, and some (more) Noro Kureyon. I wouldn’t have to do this if I had access to my stash. Honest. And it was 15% off sale prices – the SGS was half price effectively! What can you do?

I’m due to have my first personal training session on Friday morning. It was rescheduled from last Friday, which is a re-plan from the class I was going to do that there wasn’t enough interest for. I hope it’s motivational! In the mean time, I guess I need to sort out my diet. It should be a simple as cooking dinner most evenings rather than eating pizza, Chinese, curry etc!

Here’s a sneak peak of the mittens I’ve designed. The pattern is due to be available at the end of the month.

Lacy Knitted Mittens

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In which I rant about HDNL

So, as you can see from my last post, I’ve been ordering shoes from online. The shoes I’ve had to return were actually no problem. HDNL delivered the Barratts shoes, Royal Mail delivered the ASOS shoes. Both were left with a neighbour. Success! Well done to both companies.

So, given my success, and the fact that I had a £10 off voucher for LoveYourShoes (Barratts) I decided to give the whole shoes online thing another go. I’ve ordered some fit-flops. (You know, the ones that tone your bum when you walk)

The first problem was with LoveYourShoes. for some reason the £10 wasn’t taken off. Why would I pay the shop price plus delivery when there’s a Barratts in town? I wouldn’t. I had to wait until the shoes had been shipped before they could refund me. What a good system that is. Anyway…

They use HDNL to deliver, which was previously a success. When they delivered to my house last Thursday, I was left a card suggesting I could go to Hull (35 miles away) or arrange a new date (when I’m at work), so I called and asked them to deliver to work. Technically we’re not meant to get parcels at work, but I’ve never had trouble with it before. They said that it might be too late to schedule the redelivery to happen on Friday, but that it should be updated by Monday.
On Friday there was no sign – I assumed that all was well.
On Saturday we went out in the morning, and when I returned there was a card from HDNL. I assumed that this was a different order – something else I’m expecting in the post.
On Monday there’s another card. I’m not expecting three parcels so I suspect that something is up. I call HDNL (at 10p a minute) again.
To their credit, the chap on the end of the phone was very nice, apologetic and helpful. He confirmed that they were indeed all the same parcel (I’m assuming it’s the shoes) and that the re-direct message had not got through. He told me he’d call the Hull depot and fix it, and that my shoes should be with me on Tuesday, or today at the latest.
Well, it’s almost 3pm (HDNL are at pains to stress that they could deliver any time between 7am and 7pm) and there’s no sign of my shoes. That doesn’t mean that they’re not here with the post room, but I suspect that they aren’t there either. So tonight I’m going to have to call them again.

I wouldn’t bet on them not having returned the shoes back to the sender. If they have, I’ll probably wait for my refund and then go buy them in store without the money off. Or possibly even from another supplier who doesn’t use HDNL.

At least with Royal Mail the depot is just down the road from my house.
Not Hull.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shoe Fail

I ordered these:

but they had too high a heel - seriously, I can't walk in a 13cm heel. Otherwise they're gorgeous!

I also ordered these:

But they're not the right colour, they're not as blue as in this picture, they're much more teal/green.

So, no turquoise shoes for me, yet. Ho hum.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interesting Times

  1. favourable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs.
  2. favourable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.
  3. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.
  4. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners.
  5. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc.
  1. disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
  2. traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness
  3. having the power or tendency to conserve.
I’ve been watching this year’s British election with much interest. I confess, I have voted in previous elections without really understanding the various manifestos. I think that my fiancé has been one of the forces behind me exploring what I actually do believe in, and lining that up with what the parties say.
Now, I’m not going to go all partisan on you; who I voted for is my business.

I stayed up on election night to watch the exit polls and early results. Like most people watching, I disbelieved the exit polls – the Lib Dems couldn’t have done that badly surely? So, when I got up the following morning and saw that the exit polls were pretty accurate, I was surprised. I was also convinced that there would be a Liberal – Labour deal; a Liberal – Conservative deal was just too unrealistic. Then it happened; Dave and Nick agreed to form a coalition.

We are now entering a new type of politics, which is a Good Thing. If this works, if it provides stable and productive government, it will be very exciting.

Though I confess, Oliver Letwin and George Osbourne worry me. Very Much.

Welcome to Lib-Con, please remember to wear your ID (wait, no – that’s being scrapped) and don’t forget to pack your nuclear protective gear (you’ll still need that, we’re keeping Trident – the minty nuclear deterrent)

Monday, May 10, 2010

All quiet

We had a busy day on Saturday, plenty to do!

First, we headed into town so that I could return the two pairs of shoes I ordered online. Both pairs of shoes were amazing, but the ones from Barrats were just too high heeled (13cm or 5¼” in old money) – otherwise they were exactly what I’m after! The ones from ASOS were the perfect height, style, shape, they were comfy, but they weren’t the right colour. I want a more blue kind of turquoise, and these were kind of teal.

While we were there, we also picked up a new shirt for my fiancé, a mirror for me (my other mirror is now making the landing look nice, which is great for the house, but not so good for me) for doing my hair in the morning, and collected a new watch strap in the post for him too.

Then, at about 1pm, we met our agent again. This time it was a lady who took photos of the house for use in the brochure and online. It’s all very exciting. We also handed over our key, as we’re hoping for them to do the viewings rather than us. My mum has suggested that this will not be practical, that we might have to do some viewings, so we will see.

In the afternoon we headed off to look at two houses which are for sale. Neither was the house for us we think. Both were nice enough, but there wasn’t that wow factor. I guess I’m looking for the feeling I got with my engagement ring and my wedding dress; I should want to stay there. I should be mentally putting our furniture into the rooms, and deciding on décor.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Swallowtail Shawl(ette)

I’ve finished my Swallowtail shawl. I’m really pleased with it, though it's not really big enough to be a proper shawl, more of a scarf or shawlette.

Here’s the knit down:
Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Violet Green Merino 2ply Lace Yarn (I think it’s discontinued, sorry)
Needles: 3.75mm, 100cm long circs
Modifications: Used beads instead of working the nupps.
Notes: I used Kim’s mileage chart for the budding lace section, very useful.

Here it is before blocking (dimensions: centre back to tip 15”; wingspan 33”; tip to point 23”)
Swallowtail Shawlette
And after blocking (dimensions: centre back to tip 24”; wingspan 46”; tip to point 33”)
Swallowtail Shawlette

So, other news…
Well, the wedding-free-house-free weekend wasn’t. We’ve now been to see a mortgage advisor and got a mortgage in principle agreed. I hunted for turquoise shoes (no win). We went to see the jeweller where we got my engagement ring to ask about vintage wedding bands. It seems that there aren’t many – with the price of gold being as high as it is, people are having them melted down for the cash rather than selling them on which isn’t worth as much. We confirmed that I want a rather narrow band (2mm) and that we can’t justify the cost of having diamonds in it, and also that 18ct will be okay with my 15ct engagement ring. We also confirmed FH’s ring size, the width of band that he’d like (6mm) and the fact that his colouring suits a white gold band better than a yellow gold one. We looked into a house we liked, but sadly discovered that it’s sold, so back to the hunt for that.
Oh, and I signed up for a weight loss program and some body pump at the gym!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sad News

I realised that I didn't pass on some sad news.
A few weeks ago one of our hamsters died. Rowan That's Rowan when we first got him. He and his brother (Aran) have been with us for almost two years now.
Rowan managed to escape about a week before he died. While I don't think this was the direct cause of his demise, I suspect it can't have helped. We found him trying to nest in my walking boot. My first instinct, sadly for the blog but happily for Rowan, was to scoop him up and take him home rather than take photos.

We miss Rowan, but his brother Aran is still fit and well. He's enjoying extra treats now (he especially likes fresh veg) and seems quite happy.


We’ve been sorting out the house for sale.
It’s ready.
So, we turned this:
kitchen improvements
Into this:
Stripped Bathroom (1)
Turned into this:
Home Improvement
And lastly this:
Home Improvement
Turned into this:
Home Improvement
I’m really pleased with the result. We’ve worked really hard to get it to this point, and I hope we can sell it! Now we have to find somewhere to move to!

(Also, I bought some shoes for the wedding. They’re turquoise. That’s all I’m telling you!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A busy (long) weekend!

We’re trying to get the house ready to go on the market. It’s about 90% there now, I reckon. We need to do a spot of cleaning (like sweep the laminate and Hoover the rugs) and some bits in the yard. Otherwise though, it’s ready!
So, Fiancé is calling some agents to get them to come and give us a valuation. Once that’s done, we can put it on the market and have people come and view the place. While I’m sure we’ll get the people who didn’t read the advert (“we were looking for three bedrooms” or “we actually wanted off street parking”) I’m quite hopeful that we’ll be able to sell for a little bit of a profit. Given what’s gone on with the housing market and mortgages, I think we’re pretty lucky if we do manage to make a little profit!
So that means that we’re also looking for a property to buy. We have seen some, though they’re all sold now, while we’ve been watching the market over the past few months. Now I guess we have to get ourselves in gear and go on and look at some of them in person. I feel a busy few months coming on!

At least the weather seems to have picked up, which bodes well for the same happening this time next year (and the year after) for my (and my sister’s) Wedding.
As you know, I’m scrap-booking all the main events. I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to be creating three new pages shortly! Woohoo!
The first of those will be for the “Save the Date” emails, and then one for the venues – both now booked and, by this evening, deposits paid. The third page will be for our photographers, who we have also now picked.

I’ve also enquired about another dress appointment. I’ve only been to three actual shops, and though two of them had the right sort of thing, only one was right. I’m leaning towards going with that dress, for the least unknowns, but before I do I am going to see another seamstress. I’ve seen one seamstress, and I got a quote from her. The amount that I would be saving isn’t massive, and the risk of not knowing whether the dress she’s making is “the one” until only a few weeks before rests heavy on my mind.

And I’ve bought some yarn. It’s been a while; I’m not buying yarn at the moment without a proper project in mind. This yarn is turquoise, lace weight, from an independent dyer. It’s going to be a shawl/shawlette for the wedding. More than that I’m not completely sure, though I’m seriously considering Gail / Nightsongs, which is beautiful, or the Victorial Lace Today Lady’s circular cape in shell pattern (both Rav links). I am also going to knit myself a shrug. I’m torn between a couple of different options for the shrug too, but usually in a slightly heavier yarn.

Monday, March 29, 2010

2010 - Three months in...

We are one quarter of the way through 2010. How time flies! We’re also 13 months away from my wedding (and 25 months from my sister’s wedding!) which is very exciting.

Highlights of the past three months?

My creation
1. The highlight of January was getting engaged. In fact, that’s probably going to be the highlight of 2010 – and so close to the beginning of the year, how do we top that? (should I even try?),
2. Highlight for February would be publishing my first ever paid for pattern – Dangerous Socks For Boys - Click Here to Buy Now
3. Highlight for March is a tough one. I did enjoy our visit to the farm near FH’s parent’s, where they were lambing. Cute lambs! ,
4. Low point for the first quarter was definitely the car going bang (well, not exactly bang, but…) although the hire car was lovely!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Scrap-booking - Engaged

I have decided to keep a scrapbook of the run-up to the wedding, encompassing events from the day my Fiancé proposed to the day of the wedding (and maybe even a honeymoon page, if I have space!)

I've discovered, from my investigations into the craft world, that scrapbooking isn't simply sticking cinema stubs and train tickets into a big book (although it can be that); it's creating beautiful pages of memories to look back at in years to come. This appealed to me, not least because so many photos nowadays are destined for life in only digital form, they don't adorn the homes of their takers in photo albums or frames.

So, for me this project is as much about remembering all the fun (and possibly stress!) of getting engaged, planning the wedding, and getting married.

When we got engaged, FH (Future Hubby) and I took many some photos of the ring, both in the box and on my hand. I've printed a couple of these out, as well as some decorative writing (I know where my talents lie and handwriting is not one of them).
Then I thought it might be nice to include one, some or all of our engagement cards we've received from people (Thank you to everyone who sent us cards, they've been decorating our bookshelf these past two months!)
After some consideration I decided on just one card, which had a tasteful and beautiful picture of a couple dancing and kissing. (Well done Chris for having very good taste)

All of those items have now been combined into one scrapbook page celebrating our engagement.
Here it is for your enjoyment.

scrapbook - Engaged

I'm pleased with my first attempt at scrap-booking, I'm sure I will improve over time and this book will also be a record of that.
If anyone who does this sort of thing has any hints, tips, recommendations for places to buy stuff, and all that jazz, leave a comment!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I’ve been booking some dress-trying-on sessions for the Easter weekend.

I know roughly what I want. I know I prefer sweetheart necklines, I’d prefer a high-ish waist (I have a high natural waist) and I’d like some straps of some sort. I have some (many) pictures on my computer, and I’ll print out a few of them to take with me for inspiration for the dress shop clerks. I’m also taking my mum.

We’ve booked for one shop in Harrogate on Friday afternoon – after which we’re going for dinner at the venue we’ve tentatively booked for the reception. If the food is up to scratch and everything is generally good, I’ll be firming up the reservation. And then two more bridal wear shops on Saturday, hopefully with time for lunch in the middle.

Fiancé and Daddy will be coming with us to Harrogate – there’s a men’s section there too, and they have a good deal at the moment, so fiancé can try on a couple of (or more) suit jackets.

They’re going to finish (I hope) the kitchen on Saturday while I’m dress shopping with Mum. We might have time to go to monsoon or something for mum to look at outfits too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Knitting Update!

It’s been a while since I posted any knitting, despite having finished a number of things. I’ve been quite busy though, between decorating and sorting out wedding things I haven’t had a lot of time to do much, and the time I find spare I either knit or sleep! I have finally taken photos of the second turn a square hat that I knit. I knit this one first: Turn a Square (first time) But it was a little on the small side for Fiancé, because of him having hair to squeeze under it. That one has now gone to my dad, who hopefully will get some wear out of it. And I knitted this one: Turn a Square for Fiancé. He’s happy with it (can you tell?) as it’s warm, big enough, and keeps the rain off too! it was a fun knit, and I got better at the jog-less stripe by the time I did this one! I’m considering making one for me too; though the weather is probably warm enough now to be hatless. That also means that the in progress phoenix (sorry about the PJ top there) will probably not be finished until it’s too warm to wear it. Boo. Phoenix in progress The other completed project is the socks for FFIL (that’s future Father in Law) – he is really pleased with them, both colour and fit. I’m glad. Tony's Socks I’m thinking about making a pair for my dad next, well – after I finish the pair I’m knitting for Fiancé, and then finish the fingerless gloves I’ve designed but not knit. I’m going to get them tested as before, and they’ll be a free pattern when they’re done. The shawl is also well underway, I’m on the second half of the beaded (or nupp, as written) section. It looks really nice so far. I’m looking forward to blocking it and seeing how big it actually is. I’m also looking forward to wearing it! I’ll have to figure out an outfit to wear it with, perhaps on dress-down-Friday. Though it could be seen as quite dressy!