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Saturday, 28 December 2013

It's All Over Bar the Shouting

Blimey. Was it worth all of that expense, rushing around and panic just for 1 day? This year I'd probably say yes. I managed to finish all of my secret squirrel knitting projects the weekend before Christmas with a huge sigh of relief

One Goth Doll finally completed (only took me over 6 months).....

...and one Harry Potter Rabbit - finished during a Harry Potter film - who'd have guessed.

Christmas day was spent at home and was bliss. There's a lot to be said for slobbing around and eating what you want when you want. I think more people should try it. Boxing Day was a more manic affair with a 3 hour drive to Hove, 3 hours on Lancing Beach and a 3 hour drive home but it was worth it to see my closest friend and her family and the weather was lovely.

I guess now we're all gearing ourselves up for the New Year. 2014 is mainly going to be a year of penny pinching and frugality (oh joy). My 2 major aims are to find a new job, preferably one that is more emotionally rewarding and where I don't have a mentally dysfunctional arsehole for a boss; and I need to lose weight and get fit. At my age I'm fed up of being the 'fat one' so it's all systems go. I start Thai Boxing lessons on Monday!

Right, which of my 30+ unfinished projects do I get cracking with next?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Fitting Tribute

10 days to go to 'C' day and I'm hoping all the build up to it won't leave me feeling a bit deflated. The tree went up last weekend which I must admit is a job I love. I can look at the decorations and remember where each one came from. There are rather a lot of dog ones I insisted on buying every year for generations of pooches; some of my Mum's ornaments from our family tree; lace and wooden fancies from my travels around Europe which make me smile and of course this year I have to add the Alpaca wool snowflake. I do love our tree. I did expect to find Kimi clinging to the branches as he appeared to wonder what the heck was going on but after a quick sniff he lost interest.

The festive crafting projects are in full swing and I'm surrounded by carrier bags of body parts - that is all I can say. No more getting covered in PVA - that is wrapped and under the tree and one of the dog stockings is now in Worthing with Timmy's girlfriend. Timmy and Izzy's stocking are up but sadly the stockings of dogs long gone had been attacked by moths so are looking a bit tatty. I have declared war on the minuscule flying munchers and I will win.

After a lot of umming and ahhing, good ideas and bad I trotted off to the Tattooist last Friday to have what I saw as a fitting tribute to Timmy inked on my skin. After nearly 3 hours, 1 bout of almost passing out (note to self - eat lunch next time), half a galaxy bar, a cup of water and a cup of tea I had this on my thigh.....

This is the photo it was done from - I hadn't had him and Izzy long and we'd just set off on our travels in the van. The expression was typical for him and usually preceded one of his 'conversations' with me.

I am forever grateful to Marek at Eternal Art in Rugby for his superb artwork. It's made me re-think what's possible for tattoo's no:10, 11, 12.........

On a slightly stranger note - Thursday was our final Women's Institute meeting of 2013 and also our Christmas supper. We're not a huge group - about a dozen members or so, so it was quite a blow to lose our Secretary who is moving away and also our treasurer. I was voted onto the committee! and then asked if I would take over the secretary role! Well how could I refuse though it did leave me wondering how many of the local branches have one who is young enough to be their offspring, has scarlet hair, numerous piercings and 9 tattoo's oh and insists on wearing odd stripey socks. Maybe this is what it needs to drag it into the 21st century so I shall do my best. I've also been asked to teach several of the ladies how to crochet. Blimey!

Anyway must get back to the knitting. Why do I leave things until the last minute and then get into a right old panic? Note to self for 2014 - be more organised.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

It's That Most 'Wonderful' Time of the Year

Winter is well and truly creeping in. Walking out of the door almost requires arctic gear and the dogs are being made to wear their new coats to keep them warm and semi dry - this they don't appreciate one little bit. The smell of wood smoke permeates the air which is lovely on a cold, crisp day.
My creative mojo has been a bit on the sluggish side lately which is typical when I have a load of stuff to get done urgently !!!! So far though I've completed 1 dog Xmas stocking and the 2nd just needs sewing together...

I have 3 projects on the go that are Chrimble presents so can't say much or post pics but I'm up to my eyes in knitting and stuffing and PVA glue - enough said. I am apparently one of those annoying people who has written all of her cards and bought and wrapped 80% of her presents. I'm just trying to get into the mood so this Christmas isn't a letdown like the last 13 have been. We are going to Brighton on Boxing day to see my kindred spirit and her family and have a BBQ on the beach - splendid.

Yesterday I went to a local Alpaca Farm for a 'crafting afternoon' that I treated myself to off Groupon. We had 2 hours to crochet a snowflake from Alpaca yarn and when I saw the pattern I was filled with dread as I don't think my crocheting skills stretch beyond granny squares. But Hey Presto in an hour and a half I had a completed snowflake that I managed to do without much help from the tutors - lots of people there had never crocheted in their lives, and I'm pretty well chuffed with it. Of course now my mind is whirring as to how many of these I can bang out alongside my other stuff.

The yarn was beautiful to work with but a very 'ouchy' £18 for 100g. The highlight of my afternoon was meeting the Alpacas - they are just gorgeous


Never did a group of blokes look so adorable
The lady taking the class told us a bit about them and their fleece and that apparently you can buy them from the farm from £200 to £1000! Well that did it - my ridiculous 'Dear Santa' request this year (the sort you have no hope in hell of getting) is for a pair of Alpacas. I'm sure somebody in the village has chickens or sheep and lambs they'd like guarding and I could take them for walks around the village! And think of the wool I'd get and how calming and de-stressing they would be. I will be asking around when I meet up with the village crafting posse at our Festive meal. Other Half is smacking his forehead in desperation as he knows I'm serious and he imagines coming home to find an Alpaca in the garden. Life is never dull :)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

It's Never The Right Fit

Envy is not the greatest feeling but faced with several years of austerity and penny pinching it creeps up on me every now and again. After weeks and weeks of hunting for a decent 2nd hand sofa - the ones we like are too big, too expensive or too damn popular - the arrival of our neighbours brand spanking new red Mercedes has made me a wee bit fed up with 'making do'. Don't get me wrong, I love my battered wonky Fiesta and she's paid for and mine but every now and again it must be nice to buy stuff you want because it fits your requirements perfectly.
Thankfully I have enough crafting stuff to keep me busy and wool is always affordable enough to keep me in projects up to my ears. I made a special trip into the town I escaped from (Nuneaton) just to buy some Stylecraft wool for a cardy I want to knit but true to form they didn't have any in stock! Thankfully they had this pattern in the window so it wasn't a wasted journey. The Ladies at craft class will love this.

I have a week off work to look forward to. Originally it was booked off for a holiday in Poland but thanks to the motorhome sale going tits up we're having to make do with a few days out and about. Thankfully one of those days is in Brighton visiting my wonderful 'sanity restoring' friend, her fab family and their new puppy who I just happen to be making a blanket for......

...hopefully he won't have outgrown it by the time we get there. As you can see, Kimi has his sights set on it but he'll have to wait for his own creation. His training and socialisation is going very slowly. I have bought a book on dog behaviour which I'm hoping he takes time to read. I look forward to the day when he doesn't try to rip the face off every dog we meet. At the moment he seems to have an identity crisis and thinks he's either a sparrow (they tease him relentlessly) or a squirrel ( he's been munching acorns). Normal just never seems to figure in daily life around here.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Gone To The Dogs

After a much needed break in Northumberland to watch the Great North Run you can strike up a fanfare. I've finally finished crocheting the baby pram blanket before the poor child reaches its 1st birthday

Sadly unless someone decides to raise a Goth Child and wants purple or black garments I'm never crocheting such an item ever again. Me, babies and white 4 ply wool do not a happy partnership make.
I've now started on a puppy blanket which I will probably finish in days given my mushy, broody disposition to pooches and their offspring.

It's a blue blanket (colour - hallelujah) for a black Lab puppy. I'd better get a shift on as I have no doubt he will grow at a rate of knots.
Alongside the blanket I'm also going to be knitting something from this stash of patterns......

I have a commission from my youngest client ever - she is 4, for 2 badgers in frocks......and I will be making a hell of a lot of chutney from these Fugly brutes....

I grew 3 different varieties of tomatoes this year and these Black Russians are the largest and thee most disappointing so into the pot they go. Hopefully the chutney will taste divine as I have enough of the bloomin things to make 4lb's of the stuff. Every recipe I've found contains onions and garlic which are 'banned' on my new FODMAP eating plan (yes, as a gluten and dairy free veggie I really need to exclude even more foods from my diet) but I'll eat it even if no one else does.

Although I hate the fact that fleas have a more hectic social life than me ( I live for my monthly WI meeting) it does mean I have loads of time to myself to be bored out of my tiny pink haired mind and therefore need to make stuff. Those 30+ UFO's should get finished in no time now that Autumn is on its way and the dark nights are rolling in.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

That Was The Week That Was

I feel like I haven't stopped all week. Every spare moment has found me with either a hook or needles in my hands and more often than not a glass of alcohol in the other.
I finally finished this commission last week just in time for it to make its way down to Brighton as a 21st birthday present

I promised myself some time off from making stuff. That lasted about an hour and I got bored with sitting doing nothing so I did a bit of the baby blanket and a bit of another project and then I got the hump at the proposed badger cull given the green light by those dumb ass Eton muppets in Whitehall so I started on this guy and I have literally just this minute finished him.

My boss seems to think that I'm going to run off and join the Anti-Fracking brigade or something New Age'ish so why disappoint. This little chap will travel everywhere with me and have his photo taken in some prominent places. I did have the bonkers idea to knit loads and stick them in the hedgerows around the surrounding villages. Never say never.

On the non crafting front I've helped fix my own car this week (girl power). Kimi went to the Vet's for the operation that makes blokes cringe (nuts off) and I helped out at the Church cream tea's afternoon in my own special Heathen way. I've even been asked to make a tea cosy for the church teapot - a gargantuan affair that it is. I shall add it to the list. For the remainder of this evening I am doing bugger all apart from lifting my wine glass. 

Brighton next Saturday (Big Yay) to replenish my soul, catch up with good friends, have a walk along the beach and to get my ears pierced (again) ouch, ouch, ouch. If I didn't make my monthly pilgrimage then this landlocked life would drive me insane.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Blood, Sweat and Tears

There are certain things you can do without when you have crafty projects to finish urgently. I'd had a bad few weeks of stuff getting me down so the last thing I felt like doing was picking up hook and wool and cracking on with my 2 already late projects. Then just as the urge to crochet returned we were hit with hot weather and believe me the last thing you want to do when it's 27 degrees + is sit with a large woollen object draped across your lap. Now that the temperatures have cooled I am working away like a mad woman determined to finish no:1 project for a friend. Having eczema is a pain in the ass as mine flairs up with stress and heat (oh joy) so I have cracked thumbs and fingers which are heavily plastered while I work away and today I have pins and needles in my right hand and arm - Gimme A Break!! 

Once the above is finished I will get the baby blanket out of the way, finish off a late birthday present and then concentrate on finishing off some of my own UFO's. From now on I crochet/knit/paint/sew only for love and not for money.
I have treated myself to a couple of Knitpro Symfonie wooden crochet hooks so I'm awaiting their arrival with anticipation....

Sunday, 7 July 2013

A Whiter Shade Of Hell

After several weeks of dog related stress and upset I've kick started my creative mojo into touch as I have 3 projects with urgent deadlines - 2 for July and 1 for August. I had a bit of an 'Eeek' moment last week when I actually realised how little time I had left to get all these things done. It's not very easy to get motivated by something you don't enjoy doing which is why I'm trying to finish crocheting the white (yuk) baby (bigger yuk) blanket first. I don't do babies or children so this will be my 1st and last project in the dreaded white for a horrible pink, pudgy pooing and screeching thing.

My other 2 secret projects should inspire me a bit more as they're a little more on the 'dark side'.

The bill from the Vet's from Timmy arrived - much joy. I'll give them their dues they did wait 10 days before sending it but that didn't soften the blow of £765.04 and no dog to show for it. I'm slowly coming to terms with his not being here but he's very much missed. I still have to collect his ashes but I'm putting that off a bit longer as it's all too final when you have that small wooden box in front of you.

I am guilty of surfing dog rehoming websites and forums - only looking you understand. 
This is where 'just looking' gets you.........

Do not be fooled by that innocent fuzzy face. This is Kimi and he's an endless bundle of whirring energy which is probably a good thing as he's keeping me fit with his 6 walks a day. We only went to have a look (honest) as his photo looked so much like Timmy is was spooky. He came home with us that day on trial and that was that - paws well and truly under the table. He's a stray, estimated age of 7-8 which I think is way out as he's more like 3 or 4. He will never fill the huge hole that Timmy left but he's good company for Izzy and he keeps me busy.

As Andy Murray has reached the Wimbledon men's final this afternoon I'm hoping to spend my afternoon crocheting like a woman possessed whilst grimacing at the TV. Just think of those french women in days gone by who would have ringside seats for the guillotine or public hangings and knit away furiously. That pretty much sums me up!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Heavy Heart

Well today's blog was going to be about me getting back on creative track and having a mad spurt at knitting Owl tea cosies but the best laid plans etc the day has turned into one of sadness.
My 10 yr old Yorkie - Timmy, was admitted to the Vet's again on Tuesday with yet another bout of Pancreatitis. The fact that he was diabetic always makes matters worse and despite him perking up a bit by Thursday he hadn't eaten for 7 days and it was feared something more physical was going wrong with his digestive system. I knew when the Vet phoned me this morning about my daily visit that we had reached the end but you're never quite prepared for it all the same. Thankfully he went peacefully and although I am beside myself with grief I know that he is no longer in pain and no longer suffering from recurring bouts of illness and daily injections for his diabetes. 
Here was a dog I never planned on having but who had such a huge impact on my life that there is a large hole now that can never be filled.

I picked him up from Sheffield as a favour to a dog rescue, the plan being I would take him to a foster home in Hull. The family giving him up seemed grief stricken as they handed him over with a nice dog bed and half a tin of dog food. Things weren't as they seemed though as he wasn't the 'healthy' animal they'd led people to believe. He had dreadful teeth, a huge bald patch on his back and he carried his back leg. I remember sitting in the foster woman's living room while she screeched down the phone to the person who ran the rescue that he was going to cost them a fortune and that no one would want him because he was a large dog. I remember having to utter the line 'I'll adopt him and pay for his vet treatment' several times before I was heard by the over dramatic, silly cow of a fosterer and that was it, he was my dog even though I'd just adopted another one to keep my small elderly Ninja company. He had a lot of teeth out and all of his inoculation's done that week and I then had 3 dogs to get chipped and jabbed in order to get their pet passports so we could bog off around Europe. I'm sure people thought I was mad but I never regretted my decision. He was grumpy, didn't like being bathed brushed or examined by Vet's (many nearly lost fingers). He didn't tolerate being mauled by children, grew anxious when left for any period of time, ate like it was his last meal, didn't know how to walk properly on the lead or how to play. Over the last 3 years he has turned into thee most loyal companion who would follow me from room to room and have to sit by me and sleep by my side of the bed. He enjoyed being groomed and I could touch his legs feet and tail with minimal grumbling. He loved treats, ate a variety of food - all of it better than he was used to. He liked his routine and displayed odd quirks. He loved to sit in the car as long as it wasn't moving; liked to sit outside and watch the world go by; had a keen eye for the lady dogs and he would wait for permission to eat Izzy's dinner. He was learning how to play with toys and in recent months surprised us by starting to give a paw or sit up and beg for treats. As I'm sat here with him for the very last time I just can't imagine a life with him not in it.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Oh The Shame Of It

Oh dear. I had what seemed like a really good idea this morning and that was to get out all of my UFO's (unfinished projects) to see just what I had 'on the go' and what could possibly be finished off and put to use. That good idea turned into the show of shame when I realised I have just under 30 things lurking in my craft box and wardrobe in varying stages of completion.

 Goth Doll #1 which I'm knitting for a friend.....

 ....Goth Doll #2 which is for me.... assorted squares blanket....

....a commissioned blanket.....

 ...wool and pattern to knit mice....

......circular crochet cushion # 1....

......circular crochet cushion #2....

....err another cushion!

Assorted squares to be made into something though gawd knows what - a scarf maybe?!

 ....tiny squares - again don't know what they're going to be....

.....another granny blanket....

 .....a vintage patchwork piece I inherited which is older than me and apparently made by Nun's!!! This needs to be made into something special I think....

3 cross stitches - 1 was started by my Mum over 15 years ago and I need to finish it, and a Stars and Stripes apron that needs sewing up....

...wool I bought in St Ives but can't decide on what to make with it.....

..... 4 festival/gig t-shirts that need customising a year on....

......king size patchwork quilt I started in 1995 to take my mind off being shacked up with an alcoholic. It just needs backing but guess which twerp sold her sewing machine!!!?

Several years worth of patchwork and bunting fabric ( I have a fabric fetish)....

Tie dye fabric I bought in Lancaster 2 years ago to make ankle skimming skirts with - except now I don't wear long skirts anymore....

......more patchwork and bunting fabric.... fabric that my Mum was going to make into a waistcoat for me......

.....VW Beetle fabric which I intend on making into bunting for my 'not yet purchased but desperately wanted' VW T25 campervan...

.......batik fabric I bought to make into curtains for the motorhome but which will now make curtains for my campervan (see above)....

.......and finally......Mohair I got at a bear fair to cover the tatty bear (Scruff) I have had since I was a baby.

Blimey. I'm out of breath now. I think I need to set myself some targets to get this lot finished. I'm hoping to join another craft group which meets in the village pub twice a month so that may just spur me on.