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I knit, I sew, I run, I look after children and hamsters, I take truly terrible pictures, I cook, I complain.  Sometimes all at the same time.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

What on earth has been going on?  Where has all my time gone?  It's been WEEKS since I posted anything.  It's nearly the end of Me Made May, and me has been wearing all the handmade clothes, as have the children, and I've been sewing like a demon too.  More on that TOMORROW.  PROBABLY.

KNITTING, KNITTING, KNITTING.  There's been knitting happening, but no photography, as I really haven't finished anything.  Aargh.  It'll be the end of this YEAR OF PROJECTS soon, so the majority of my list will form the basis of next year's list.  Hem.
  • Hexipuff Quilt - No change.  Hey ho.
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - My Lucy considers this to be done.  I'm going to add two yellow stripes to it, and one purple, then an orange border around the whole thing, and then it will be done. 
  • Wisteria jumper -  It needs a sleeve.  Just one sleeve.  *sigh*  But, as it is thick, thick wool, and cables, it's not going to be needed for a few more months.  Hopefully.
  • The Weather in the Streets 
I've done a couple more squares, but I forget which, and I've not made a note, so these numbers will have to do, and I'll have a count tonight or tomorrow and get up to date.
  • Yellow squares - 109/143 done - 34 to go
  • Blue squares - 56/72 done - 16 to go
  • Grey squares - 69/102 - 33 to go
  • Turquoise squares - 2/11 done
  • Orange squares - ALL DONE
  • Pink square - DONE
  • Purple squares - DONE
  • Red squares - 7/10 done
  • Dark Green squares - DONE
  • Pale Blue square - DONE
  • Pale Yellow square - DONE
  • Dark Blue square - DONE
  • Pinky-Red squares - 7/10 done
  • Hattie's 4th birthday blanket - currently getting a pink border.  So, so close to being done.
  • Miette cardigan - cropped cardigans are not very me, so I'm going to add 6 inches to the body, and then call it long enough.  
There has been no progress on any of these, so I'm going to call them the start of next year's list, despite the tiniest little outside chance that I will complete one of these by the end of June.  Tiniest chance on the planet, but still a chance.  
  • Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. Autumn project.
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons.  I had a go at making the owls, and didn't really like the way they looked, so I am going to make him a different sort of owl blanket.  Probably one that's like the Repeat Crafter Me blanket I made Hattie.  I'm using the wool I bought for him, so it won't be exactly the same.  It'll be more controlled, colourwise, as I've got a variegated main colour and white for the edges.  I'll need some brown for the owl body, but some acrylic aran weight will be great for that.  
  • Peacock Mitten - At almost a quarter of the way through this, I'm quite excited that I might even have it finished before it gets cold again.  
  • Coraline cardigan - I'm going to start this once I've finished the Miette cardigan.  It is too pretty to keep on putting off. 
  • Petrie top - it's time for a bit of selfish knitting, I think I'll start it, and see how it goes.    
  • Knitted Coco - same with this one.  I'm so close to finishing the girls' blankets, I'll need some projects to put on the sofa to wind Simon up.
  • Socks for me - I found some sock yarn.  I will take socks with me on holiday with me.  Might even get a whole pair made.  We're there for two weeks.
  • Rainbow jumper - this is an Autumn project.
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - I still need to shred the stash for this.  But I'm pretty sure I bought some yarn that didn't arrive.  Hmm.
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - Measure once, knit twice.  This is probably an Autumn project too.
Done:

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy
Nicholas' POP blanket

Monday, 11 May 2015

Uh, Shakespeare in the park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?

Good morning comrades.  Well, I'm not in such a terrible mood as I was, so I can face trying to be light-hearted about sewing again.  Me Made May is in full swing, and I've been enjoying wearing all my handmade clothes and smiling modestly when people ask me if I made my outfits.  It's all about the kudos.

Day 1


Miette skirt.  

Day 2


Miette skirt, Aiken jumper

Day 3


Spotty Francoise dress, Luxulite brooch

Day 4


Miss Scarlett top

Day 5


Pink fleece Coco, Miette skirt

Day 6


Garter yoke cardigan, striped Coco dress

Day 7


Grey Coco dress

Day 8


Bird Coco, definitely red scarf

Day 9


Spotty skirt, Miss Scarlett top (all the filters)

Day 10


Raccoon Anna dress, Myrna cardigan (from the outfit along challenge last year)

So there you go.  All the outfits, all the time.  

Friday, 8 May 2015

I’ll have a Manhattan. And kick the vermouth to the side with a pair of steel-toed boots.

I'm not going to mention the election.  I'm simply going to say that we personally will be a lot better off under the Tories, which is a really good thing, because now we can afford to spend even more money giving to the Ealing food bank, the Night Shelter and the Women's Refuge.  So every cloud and all that.  I'm glad London is still resolutely red, and that Farage didn't get the seat he wanted, and that my lovely MP kept his seat - a man of principle, not principles I necessarily endorse, but I'd rather that than the other thing.  I'm bracing myself for the next round of pissing about with education; I suspect all the SEND children I'm going to be co-ordinating will be expected to be less autistic, visually impaired, cognitively impaired and dyslexic.  I'm dreading the fact that the malevolent little meerkat will most probably be in charge again.  I feel strikes coming on.

I'm too depressed to take photos, and I was going to spend tonight sewing, but it's dark and there's gin to drink and Agents of SHIELD to watch, and so I'm going to do those things.  I might even finish my Miette, if I can find the rest of the green wool I've hidden carefully in the stash.

Me Made May pictures tomorrow when I'm feeling less furious and murderous.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Do you think it's possible for an entire nation to be insane?


The General Election is today, and I've done my patriotic duty etc etc, although I was nearly thrown by HAVING TO GO TO A DIFFERENT POLLING STATION, and nearly voted for the wrong person.  I get confused easily.

In other news, I've finalised a title for my next assignment essay: how can a policy be formulated to integrate and embed advice from outside agencies into quality first teaching?  Jolly interesting, but ultimately it will be a work of great fiction and we will carry on doing things the way we've been doing them.



I walked from Greenford to Pitshanger Lane today, which sounds a long way, but is barely 8,000 steps, according to my tracker thing.  It was all cognitive dissonance too - I walked along the River Brent, which is green and pleasant with butterflies and cow parsley and ducks and all sorts, and on my right hand side was the Ruislip Road and the E2.  Bonkers.  Still, more enjoyable than walking along the pavement.  It didn't rain, although it looked like it might several times.



All this outdoor activity and fitness is wearing me out.  I need a couple of glasses of wine and a little rest.  

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Oh, I don't think I'm a lot dumber than you think that I thought that I thought I was once

What a terribly busy weekend and couple of days that.  My nephew turned one, I went to Bristol for a day trip to see a friend and spend money at the Outlaw Craft Fair (great), and we spent Monday walking around London, looking for more Shaun the Sheep statues.  So a fine time has been had by all.  There's even been knitting happening.  

  • Nicholas' POP blanket - Finished and done and given to the birthday boy, who was predictably unimpressed by it, but my sister in law loves it, which is the main thing really.   30 circles, 30 squares, the blue border made from the remains of my Elsa jumper.  I've only had the kit for 18 months, so that's a pretty good rate of progress for me.  
  • Hexipuff Quilt - It's something like 180 out of 250.  Which is great. STILL.  
  • Lucy Attic24 Ripple Blanket - Nearly done.  I need to finish this now, although I honestly need more wool for it; some more orange is needed as it's her favourite colour. 
  • Wisteria jumper -  Still the same.  It's too warm to work on this.
  • Burton Bear Cowl for Hattie. I'm going to move this to next year I think; it's really too warm for this too.


  • The Weather in the Streets 
Still 98 to go, so no photo.  I'm still pretty happy about it, although I'm thinking that I should really just get on and finish it.
  • Yellow squares - 109/143 done - 34 to go
  • Blue squares - 56/72 done - 16 to go
  • Grey squares - 69/102 - 33 to go
  • Turquoise squares - 2/11 done
  • Orange squares - ALL DONE
  • Pink square - DONE
  • Purple squares - DONE
  • Red squares - 7/10 done
  • Dark Green squares - DONE
  • Pale Blue square - DONE
  • Pale Yellow square - DONE
  • Dark Blue square - DONE
  • Pinky-Red squares - 7/10 done
  • Hattie's 4th birthday blanket.  This is going really well.  I've made and sewn together 20, and there are another 3 to sew on at some point.  I can finish 4 more of them, but then I have to wait for the wool fairy to bring me some more wool to finish it. I've been putting empty ball bands under my pillow every night, but nothing. 
  • NEW: A Miette cardigan.   I've seen lots of these on the internet, and thought it would be just the thing to make myself to go with my soon to be finished skirt.  The skirt is gorgeous; red roses, Liberty print, salvaged from something my mum was getting rid of, which makes it super amazing: vintage, upcycling and handmade.
  • Owl Obsession for one of my godsons - it's for his second birthday.  Next up. 
  • Peacock Mitten - I'm almost a quarter of the way through the second mitten.  Still.
  • Coraline cardigan - I've wound the wool for this, but I need to finish the Wisteria jumper first.
  • Petrie top - I should probably start this one soon.    
  • Knitted Coco -see above.
  • Socks for me - I have no suitable sock wool that I like.
  • Rainbow jumper - still depressed about losing jumper 1, and in mourning.  
  • A Little Birds jumper with no steeks - still planning.  I need to sort the stash to see what I've got of this.  I might even need to sort out whether I've got the wool.  I think I bought some, but I don't remember.  How awful.    
  • Reknit an unwearably large jumper for Simon - Oh Lord, I keep putting this off.
Done:

Myrna Cardigan
Hattie's cardigan.
A pair of simple socks for the children
Garter Yoke Cardigan
An Owlet for Lucy
Lucy's Cowl
Hattie's Cowl
A Burton Bear Cowl for Lucy
Simon's socks
Boreal
A tiny jumper for Nicholas
Sparkly Owlet for Hattie
Ringo mittens
Aiken
Striped jumper for Lucy

So that's your lot.  There's been sewing happening, but no photos.  Too busy and important these days.  

Friday, 1 May 2015

Sweet April showers do spring May flowers.



Last year's "Me Made May" was so much fun, I've decided to do it again.

'I, Julia from julia's blog, http://juliacroyden.blogspot.co.uk/, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade piece of clothing every day, without repeating an entire outfit, each day for the duration of May 2015'

Let the month begin. I'm starting as I mean to go on, with my BRAND NEW Miette skirt with buttons instead of ties; made from IKEA fabric, so cheap as anything. It only took me a few hours to make and I learned how to make buttonholes using the super BUTTONHOLE foot, which was terrifically exciting in every way.


I love it, even though it's a bit big around the waist, and a bit long. I'm also wearing it "wrong"; the pattern has a centre skirt, then two big back bits that wrap around your waist and tie in the front, but I have put the front at the back, and used the back pieces as overlapping front bits, which isn't what lovely, lovely Tilly had in mind, but works for me. I knew I didn't want ties, because I really don't need more fabric around my waist; maybe I'll get a lighter weight fabric, and have a go with the ties, maybe making them quite thin. There's always options when you make your own clothes.

It's a brilliant pattern though, clear and very, very easy. Tilly is very good at clear, step by step instructions, which is great for beginners and nervous people; I made a spotty Francoise dress the other day - so quick and clear.  I still need to take photos of that one, and my pinky-red wraparound dress (a wearable toile, it's not great).

Anyway. That's the joyful tidings; I'll try to do an outfit round-up post once a week, if I remember. If you are very interested, I'm @sljuls on Instagram and Twitter, if you are interested in these things.

I STILL don't like the name of the month though.  Me no like it.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Are you holding back your fondness due to his unmanly blondness?

When I make something for one child, I have to make an incredibly similar something for the other.  So it was only a matter of time until Hattie reminded me that she needed an Elsa dress too.



I used the same pattern as before, but managed to count the panels on the skirt properly this time, and didn't have to bodge it at all.  When I made Lucy's dress, I made the overskirt in one piece; this time, I cut out panels.  The first method, but a bit bigger would have been better; sewing that floaty stuff did my head in.

As you can see, it's pretty sparkly.  Hattie insisted on having the jewels at the neckline, even if they're slightly lost in the whole.


A close up of the snowflakes; they are fabulous, silver on the palest of pale blues.  


Cloak.  It's not an Elsa dress without a cloak.  This one safety pins onto the shoulders.  

Honestly, I got this dress finished on either the Thursday or Friday night (they all blur into one in the holidays) and Hattie wore it to her friend's party on the Saturday.


She had a great time.

Monday, 27 April 2015

And the cows are almost cooing, And the turtle-doves are mooing, Which is why a Pooh is poohing In the sun.

It's definitely Spring in West Ealing, and I've been cycling around like a maniac, particularly today, when I went from home to the girls' school, back via Northfield Avenue, and around there, then to school and back again just now.  16km in total; next up doing it all in one go rather than with big breaks in between.  I'm not running at the moment because my foot hurts when I do more than 3km, and I may be daft, but I'm not so stupid that I'll really hurt myself.  I'm seeing a physio tomorrow, and he should be able to help me get back on track again.  I really, really want to do this half marathon in October, and I'll be starting my training properly in June.  

So I've bought myself a new toy - a Jawbone UP24.  It tells me how far I'm walking, how much exercise I'm doing, how I'm sleeping, and all sorts of exciting things.  It makes me go to bed at a sensible time, it gives me a small electric shock when I've been sitting too long, and it gives me a smiley face and a "thumbs up" when I hit my 10,000 step goal.  I've done that three days in a row now, and my average is over 9800, which apparently puts me in the top 30% of all UP users, which is completely meaningless, and completely exciting at the same time.  Woo, go me, etc.

It's good to be out and about at the moment; it's great to be busy, and the weather is great.  I do find myself doing daft things like jumping up and down in the kitchen, and going out for a walk at 6pm every evening to make up my step count.  I'm not weighing myself though, but I will be measuring furiously.

We've also bought a NUTRIBULLET, so we are now NUTRIBULLET wankers.  The first thing we made this morning was a pear, carrot, spring green, celery, broccoli, strawberries, pomegranate and mint smoothie.  It was lovely, if a bit chewy.  I had a ginger, carrot, pear and spring green one just now, with almonds for added oomph, and it was also lovely, if a bit strong.  It's all about the balance, but less is definitely more when it comes to raw broccoli and spring greens.  

Anyway, that's the new healthy lifestyle, and I'm really enjoying the feeling of smug satisfaction I get when I obsessively track steps and calories.  

Normal knitting, crocheting and sewing service will resume later.

Friday, 10 April 2015

I wouldn't know. I've never been hungover. After I've had too much whiskey, I cook myself a large flank steak, pan fried in salted butter. I eat that, put on a pair of wet socks and go to sleep.


Last day of the holidays today, and even though I've really enjoyed it, I'm sort of looking forward to going back to work next week.  Actually I'm really looking forward to my children going back to school; and I will actually take some time in the mornings; I'd like to spend at least one morning a fortnight doing something that isn't being at school unpaid.  After all, it's highly likely that my work schedule will change in September, so it's best to make the most of it now while I still can.  I might even do some sewing.  There's a dress I want to make as part of a Simplicity Blogging Challenge, and I've got the fabric chosen and I bought the pattern (the top pattern, the 1960s shift dress) yonks ago.  Just need to email them about it.


Anyway, what else would we spend our last day of holiday doing but something crafty, and we went to Badger and Earl again for a potato printing fun session.  The girls had a great time making their own tea towels, and choosing some fabric for another summer dress; although Hattie apparently wants a skirt now, not a dress.  She has enough dresses actually Mummy (sfx: massive sigh, eye roll).   She'll be asking for leggings next, which look easy enough.  A voyage into underpinnings, how exciting.



We all loved Badger and Earl, and I think we'll go again as a treat in half term; maybe I'll even take Lucy to make some finger puppets.   She can't sew yet, but I'll have a go at teaching her.  We saw some lovely examples, and she'd really like one of her own.  I can always help her if she gets stuck.


See these amazing works of art?  Lucy's is all her own work, and started off very careful and lovely until she realised that she could use her fingers, and then it got a bit messy.  Still great, of course.



This one is Hattie's, and she did most of it herself; I was impressed that she didn't get bored sooner.  They seem to enjoy crafty things or they could just be humouring their mad old mum.  I'm not sure I mind either way.

I do recommend Badger and Earl by the way.  It's very lovely indeed, and as I've said before, only a bus ride from my house.  The bus ride feels a lot longer when you have two children sing all 50 verses of "The Wheels on the Bus" next to you, and I apologise to all the other passengers on the E3.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.

We did some baking today.  After all the cycling and swimming and walking and looking at statues of sheep yesterday, we decided to have a bit more of a homebody day today.  The children were both exhausted, and agreed to stay in bed until 9; the plan was flawed, as the light wakes them, then they play for a while, then come down to us to get us up, which was not really early, but was definitely before 9.  I know I shouldn't complain really, and they are good sleepers both of them, but I really needed a rest after yesterday, and I didn't get one.  Sucks to be me, FML and all the other things people who are really privileged but are having a bad day say.

I like reading Joy the Baker's blog; I've ever made any of her recipes because I am a lazy, lazy cook, but these biscuits sounded amazing on first read through.  Peanut butter is delicious, chocolate is delicious, and a combination of the two sounds delicious.  Then I re-read it and wtf bacon?  Even though I love bacon, it has no place in biscuits with chocolate.  With peanut butter, maybe.

Anyway, we made the biscuits.  I did the donkey work, the girls rolled them in sugar and, of course, ate them.


Hattie has a party on Saturday afternoon, and requires a Frozen dress.  I'd better get on with it then.  Two days to make a dress is probably enough, except I've managed to lose the first page of the instructions; how terrifically irritating.  

Ho hum, I'm sure enough sequins, sparkly pink gems and floaty underskirts will make up for dodgy sewing.