Monday, December 03, 2012

22 days...

I think this is possibly the most organised I have ever been for Christmas.
I have only gifts for my husband still to get, gifts for everyone else are all collected and ready. Most of them are wrapped! I’ve written some of my Christmas cards, though I have more to do.

But the big thing that I have done? The Christmas decorations went up at the weekend.
I usually leave it until just a couple of weeks before Christmas, but I’ve decided that since we’re not home for Christmas I would like to get the most out of the Christmas decorations, so up they went.
First, we picked up these fab tea-lights.


I’m very pleased with them. They’re from Boots, if anyone fancies them.

Then, I’ve put together this vase/stuff combination. It’s a clear glass vase with some glittery scented twigs in it. Then I’ve put gold Christmas scented potpourri, red baubles and some strings of gold beads in there, and voila: stylish but festive.

Then, there’s the tree. I always aim for somewhere between “simplistically stylish” and “the tree that taste forgot”, I think I’ve hit the mark again.


I’ve even got my special beaded baubles up again this year. Hopefully I’ll have time to make another one (or maybe more) this year, as they do look very pretty.

bauble3 bauble2 bauble1
(man they’re hard to photograph!)

So my only question is this: why doesn’t it feel festive? I really don’t feel like I’m in the Christmas spirit, even wrapping the prezzies didn’t do it for me. Is there something missing, or am I just not interested this year? While I try to work out what I need to complete my festivities, I hope that you are enjoying preparation for yours, whatever you celebrate at this time of year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Destination Star Trek London

I had the most amazing weekend recently.

For the first time in 10 years, there was a Star Trek convention in the UK. It was held at the ExCel Centre in London’s docklands.
And hubby and I attended.
Keep Calm and Make It So
Keep Calm and Make It So
We had a lot of fun, watching talks, getting beamed up
Two to beam up
Two to beam up!
Crashing the Enterprise A
Inertial Dampeners are Off-line
Inertial Dampeners are Off-line!

And meeting other trekkies
Queueing Q
And some of the actors
Walter Koenig - he didn't mention the Nuclear Wessels
Squee - I met Patrick Stewart!

For the photo shoots each person gets about 8 seconds with the special guest. I arrived, Sir Patrick said “Hello” and we smiled for the camera. As I was about to head off, he stopped me and asked “What does your t-shirt say?” I turned round so he could read it aloud, and he said: “Keep Calm and Make It So, very good, I like it”

Patrick Stewart LIKED my t-shirt, and I got him to say “Make it so” without asking him to say that. Yay!

Overall it was an amazing weekend!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I mentioned a while ago that I wanted to change the cupboards in the kitchen, and I showed you the paint samples I'd been trying out. Well, the painting of the cupboards is finished!

I'm really pleased with how it's come out. The pink works really well with the oak tops, and the Belfast sink really pops now! We still need to do some more in the kitchen, the walls need painting and the mirror needs painting and putting up, but this feels like such a victory! I love making a small change which makes a big difference, don't you?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Look!

I thought it was about time I updated the look of the blog, so here's the new look!

I'm also working on a new section on the blog, a page with all of my knitting patterns on. I'm doing that because I have a new pattern coming out soon, it's just waiting to be photographed! It's called Dangerous Socks for Girls and is going to be available initially as part of the Dangerous Socks Workbook. It will also be available as an individual pattern sometime soon after the initial release.

In the meantime, I'm working on a cute sweater from the sublime book I bought at the British Wool Weekend.

British Wool Weekend New Stuff!I'm using the actual wool called for in the pattern, and it's knitting up really nicely. I decided that I didn't want as much ease as the pattern suggests, so I'm knitting the smallest size. It looks like it will be a nice fit for me at this size, as I prefer my sweaters to be on the fitted side.

it's going to be finished pretty quickly, I hope, as it's knitted in chunky yarn. I have heard that there is more of this yarn available on sale, but since I'm meant to be using up my stash then I'm trying to refrain from buying any more. It's lovely yarn though. Soft and lofty, the coloured tweed bits are well spaced and not intrusive.

So, watch this space for the updates on the pattern page, the new patterns, my jumper, and in about 10 days Star Trek London!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Music Note Bookmark

I have a new design to share with you!

As part of Nerd Wars I wanted to make something to represent Willow Rosenburg's crush on Giles (from Buffy). I couldn't find a pattern which looked the way I wanted, so I designed one:

bookmark 1

Pattern: Music Note Bookmark by Tsuki (download now)
Sizes Available: 4cm tall
Yarn: Handspun, approx sport weight - less than 20 yards.
Hook: 4mm / size G
Other: You’ll need a darning needle for weaving in the ends.

You can make a larger or smaller bookmark by substituting a lighter or heavier yarn and using a suitable hook.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lampshade Upcycle!

I also upcycled a lampshade!

From this basic lampshade
with the help of my glue gun
I made this

I followed a tutorial from Pinterest, there are lots!

Upcycled Pinboard

I'm in the middle of re-decorating my kitchen.
We had an old pin-board, which I wanted to use in the kitchen but which really wasn't going to work in the new room.

See, it's just a basic pinboard. Dull, and a bit manky looking in places.
So what did I do?
I re-painted, quilted and covered it, and ended up with this:
It looks even more fab than this in person!
Here's what I did:
  1. Sand down the wood frame and mask it
  2. Undercoat the wood frame
  3. Paint the wood frame (2 coats)
  4. Make a cardboard frame to fit just inside the wood frame
  5. Cut out quilt batting to fit inside the wood frame, and a piece of fabric about half an inch wider all around than the cardboard frame
  6. Place the fabric face down on the desk
  7. Place the quilt batting on top
  8. And the cardboard frame on top of that
  9. Using a hot glue gun, fold the fabric around the edges of the cardboard frame - you'll end up with a padded square of fabric
  10. Place the padded fabric square into the frame and attach using a staple gun
Simple, huh?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Crafty Update

It’s time for a quick crafty update, I think!

The 5th Nerd Wars tournament is now finished, and I just scraped through 6 projects, though the yarn isn’t completed so was only half points.

Ravellenic Shawl hat MSF

IMG_0917 IMG_0921 IMG_0923

The shawl is really nice; I’m very pleased with that one, the baby hat is already with its recipient, and the flower will probably be attached to the headband.

I’m working on the kitchen cabinets, I’ve painted two doors (the little ones for under the sink) and I’m on the drawers now. Once they’re done I’ll do the big doors, then the shelf, the plate rack and finally the cupboard carcasses themselves. It’s going really well and the colour is fab.

I’ve also been working on the pin-board. I’ve re-painted the frame and now I want to cover it with my fabric. I’m considering padding it with a layer of quilt batting before I attach it, but I’m undecided as yet.
At the weekend we went to the British Wool Weekend in Harrogate. It was great again, better than last year I think! We also spent a bit of time in the next door show, which was a quilting show. We went in there mainly because the Black Sheep were in that show, and their Yarn Mountain is not to be missed! I got a couple of bargains from the yarn mountain, and some lovely things from the BWW too.

British Wool Weekend New Stuff! British Wool Weekend New Stuff!
British Wool Weekend New Stuff! British Wool Weekend New Stuff!

These were all from the BWW show. The coloured chunky yarn is Wendy Thor (great name, right?) and it’s going to be a cowl. I bought a button to go with it, which I haven’t photographed (bad blogger). The plain chunky yarn is a massive cone of undyed yarn, which with the aid of some MASSIVE needles I plan to turn into a rug. First though, I need to dye some sections of it.

British Wool Weekend New Stuff! British Wool Weekend New Stuff!

These two, and two books, were my goodies from the Black Sheep. I’m planning on making a sweater out of the lighter pink, which is Sublime Chunky Tweed. I don’t know what I’m going to make out of the DK yet, which is alpaca/merino/silk. Lush.

But first things first, I need to finish up my dissertation socks and get the pattern written up. Once that’s done then I can sort out the new e-book I’m planning.

The new e-book, entitled Dangerous Socks, will be a small sock workbook including the Dangerous Socks for Boys, Dangerous Socks for Girls, some heel and toe alternatives for both patterns, guidance for re-sizing the socks for wider/narrower feet, and (hopefully) conversion of sock patterns to mittens! I'll keep you posted on that as it takes shape.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Patience... not really one of my virtues.
Determination possibly is, which is why I’m able to knit for what seems like forever in order to create something, but waiting 5 minutes for a bus with nothing to do makes me crazy!

Anyway, I was impatient to decide what colour we’re going to paint the kitchen so I dragged hubby to Homebase last night before I went to knitting group.

The colours are (top to bottom, left to right)
B&Q – Rich Sari, Purple Purl, Berry Mid, Berry Dark
Homebase – Raspcoulis, Jazzberry
Habitat – Wine, Hibiscus
Homebase – Bubblegum

I’m fond of hibiscus; it’s not quite as bright as in the picture. Hopefully hubby and I can discuss it tonight and make a decision…

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bitten by the Home Decoration bug!

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately.
It’s the house.
I love our house, it’s spacious and has big windows. It has a good sized outdoor space and a garage with room for more than just a couple of bikes.
It’s really a good house.
It’s just the stuff inside, specifically the décor, that’s getting me down.

So, I’ve decided that something needs to be done.

In an effort to kick-start the whole process (which requires funding for some things) I’ve been identifying what I want to do in each room, and then I’m approaching them in order of how much difference the changes will make in correlation with how little they will cost.
So, a free thing which will make a big impact – that’s top of my list. An expensive thing which will only make a small or medium impact – that’s at the bottom.

So, with that in mind, at the weekend we went shopping. We actually went out to look at sofas (big cost, smaller impact) but the last thing we did before we came home was to pick up some new accessories for the bathroom.
The bathroom itself is done. It’s tiled in nice tiles, has a decent suite and floor, and a really posh radiator.
But I like colours, I like bold patterns and rooms which make you feel something when you walk in.
The bathroom didn’t do it for me.


(left to right, top to bottom) Cluttered windowsills, I already took down the shower curtain (nice, but not me) general mess and no pizazz!

But, changing the shower curtain, the soap dish and cups, new bath-mat and loo-mat, and moving some clutter into the cupboards (or bin) made a massive difference to how I feel about the room. In addition, these were things we needed anyway!


(left to right, top to bottom) Shower Curtain from Dunelm Mill, Marble Effect Soap Dish from Wilkinsons, Marble Effect Tumblers from Wilkinsons, and a Bath Mat and Pedestal set from Dunelm Mill

It wasn’t a “free” change, we did have to pay for the mats and such, but they weren’t very expensive and now we have two sets (our other set are white) which we can swap out when one needs washing.
Great stuff!

The next room I want to tackle is the kitchen.
This will be a low-cost high-impact change too.
At the moment we have a lovely kitchen, but the cupboards are painted duck-egg-blue. I’m not really a fan of that colour – certainly not as a “main” colour in a kitchen. Kitchens should be dynamic rooms, and they should feel dynamic in their colour schemes.

The kitchen is an L shape, with access into the kitchen at both ends of the L.
Kind of like this:


The plan is to re-paint all the cupboards a nice bold pink colour (the exact colour is yet to be agreed by hubby and myself) and having seen a great example of a bold kitchen while we were in France (hubby’s second cousins have great taste!) I also want to paint at least one wall lime green.
The current plan is for that wall to be the one at the same end as the doors into the garden, the one with no doors on – just a radiator.
Once I’ve done this I plan to fix up a mirror we have. It’s currently got a black surround which is a little chipped, and I think that with a coat of primer and a coat (or two) of the same pink as the cupboards, it could look amazing on that green feature wall!
Then, there’s the other wall. I’ve been thinking about this too, and also the lack of pin-boards in the kitchen. So at the other end of the L, the wall with the pantry door in it, I think that wall could also be green (might brighten up that end of the kitchen!) and on that wall I could put the big pin-board that hubby has.
However, I don’t want to put it up as-is! I want to paint the frame (pink again, of course) and then supplement the cork bit with some nice fabric, something which will still take pins, but that will look pretty.
Perhaps something like this:


I think that would be much nicer than a regular pin-board, and would work really well with a green wall and pink frame.

The final thing I want to do is to add a little more storage. We have loads of storage in the kitchen, but I’d like to add some kind of space for the ironing board. This could be as simple as some brackets on the wall to rest it behind, or could be a funky cupboard/unit thing.

Watch this space!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Holiday Update - Holiday

We had a loveley holiday in France. The weather was great, the food was excellent, and the company was great.

My favourite village was Pujols, where they had some fantastic floral arrangements

Everywhere, from lamp-posts to street corners!

In Penne d'Agenais I found a really nice rose creeping up a house that matched my outfit for the day

and I had crêpe flambé!

But hubby had his with banana split...

And there were some lovely sunsets. This one is over the village where we were staying; Frespech.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Holiday Recap – Knitting Update

Wow, I have a lot to share today! So I’m going to split it between two posts. One will be about the most recent round of Nerd Wars, and will cover all the things I’ve knitted and crocheted last month. The other will be about my recent holiday to France, and that will come in a little while. So, Nerd Wars. I’m pleased to report that I melted the cube again this month (though I haven’t yet been awarded my badge for doing so, that usually happens around the 5th)

Giving GeeksScientificIntellectual
Giving Geeks T5R2teeny hat 2shawl
Geek PrideTechnicalNerd Culture
bookmark 2FetchingsHeart Cozy

So that’s six for six. Though the cup cosy was the smallest of the projects, it actually took a while! The bookmark was designed by me (my first ever crochet design) and needs to be made into a PDF before I can put it online. It’s tested though!

As well as all those challenge submissions, I also completed the first of two pairs of socks which I am knitting for the dissertation. The second pair, this month, is going to be a challenge.
I have to finish my Ravellenics shawl and some spinning before the end of the Olympics and I’m not sure that I’ll be casting on the socks until I’ve done the shawl at least.
Perhaps I need to revisit my plan…
But here they are: Illyria socks
Illyria Socks

While I was away I started the Versailles scarf, though I confess I haven’t got very far. This is partly because I got a few repeats into the pattern and decided that I needed to change it, so I frogged it. I might try to finish it for the WIP challenge in round three of Nerd Wars (which just began)
Once the Olympics started I was also able to start my shawl. I’m knitting it in handspun and it’s coming out really well so far! I think I’m probably about a third of the way through now, so I should be on track for completing it while the Olympics is still happening!