Archive for February, 2010


Big Bones?

I seldom weigh myself. In fact, I don’t own a pair of scales so it’s something I only do for a bit of a laugh when parties are slow and I resort to exploring the contents of the host’s bathroom. I like to judge my size on how my clothes fit – I developed a rather curvy figure early on in my teens (D cup by 15 – thank you genetics) and have maintained roughly the same size since then. Oh, and I’m between a UK 10 and a 12 if anyone was wondering.

Which is why it wierds me out somewhat that people can say they’re size 20 and be lighter than I am. Last time I checked how much I weighed, I was pushing 11 stones. I know someone only one stone heavier than me who wears size 18… it all seems very odd.

Do I have incredibly dense bones? Or have I had adamantium grafted to my skeleton in a bizarre comic-book fantasy sort of a way? Whilst the later would be fabulous, I somehow doubt it.

I suppose that the lesson is not to judge your weight on numbers alone.

And please forgive the rather scanty post – I don’t really have anything to rant about or any writing/sewing projects I can share… ho hum. I’m sure my muse will return soon.

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RCPM again, and more shameless plugs.

This post was written last night but due to the bevy of blonde jokes which took place in my living room, I never did get around to posting it.

You’re probably all sick of hearing it by now, but if you haven’t already taken the hint and gone along to see Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers then you should.

I wouldn’t normally plug a band so shamelessly – unless I knew them personally of course* – but they were SO good, I felt I should make an exception. They’re playing in London tonight and if S-‘s car and my overdraft limit weren’t in the way of my getting Charlie Micra on the road to the capital, I would SO be there.

Anyways, as I promised last time, here is a link to the fabulous RCPM Cake by Misti. Not only was the cake handmade, but the lemon curd filling was too. If, for whatever reason, you need a cake in Edinburgh, you should go and talk to her.

And while I’m plugging random things – you should all go and bid on my homemade bag. Thank you all, and goodnight.

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*Incidentally, everyone should go and buy the new Februus EP because a. it rocks and b. they’re all fabulous people who deserve your support.

Selling my wares

When I lived in Soham, I got bored one day and started making a bag. Then winter happened – twice in one year – and now said bag is finished. As none of my other sewing projects have managed to make it as far as ebay, and because I’m more than usually hard-up this week*, I thought I’d see how much the bag would fetch from a starting price of 99p.

Here are some pictures of my latest creation:

To see the ebay description, just click here.

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*I unashamedly spent all of my money at the RCPM gig on Saturday. If I ever take this t-shirt and bracelet off, it’s because someone has wrestled me to the floor and robbed me into nakedness. I will speak more about how epic the gig was at a later date. If you can’t wait for me to link to pictures of another fabulous Cake By Misti, the band have a bunch more UK tour dates that I urge everyone to go to.

Describe the weather using only one sense – not sight!

Today’s writing prompt is a really tough one but, never one to back away from a challenge, here is my attempt to describe the weather with a single sense – touch.

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The wind grasped rough handfuls of my hair, as if tugging me back towards the house in warning. Don’t go out in this, it seemed to say, you are not yet strong enough. The rain too pushed me back, pasting my thin layer of clothing against my icy skin. I felt rigid, clammy, as my frail shape fought against the elements. I had to know, though. I had to find out what was at the far end of the field.

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This was a really interesting exercise and something I will definitely be taking on board when I sit down to write my book – using different senses helps to avoid cliché and you end up with something a little different to what you’d initially planned.

Valentine

I don’t ‘get’ Valentine’s day.

It’s not that I’m unromantic – I appreciate the odd pink card covered in shiny hearts as much as the next girl* – but I hate that fact that people just go out and panic-buy any old red glittery thing in a bid to “show they care”.

To my mind, it’s just not romantic if you have to do it.

Romance, to me, is spontaneous – it’s all about those little moments when you get a surprising reminder of how much that other person means to you. Like when, out of nowhere, they announce that, “You have the best bum in the world.” It’s when they rush out to buy a song they heard on the radio because you’ll think it’s the best thing since the invention of the kettle. It’s when they can look at you in your scabbiest old T-shirt, hungover and pissed off, and still think, “You’re the best company I could ever ask for.”

As soon as the spontaneity is gone, it’s not romantic. It’s love. And love isn’t something that can be proved in a day. It’s something that grows over the course of time – a long, enduring emotion that remains when the thrill of the chase has gone**. Love is stability – it lasts longer than one paltry day.

So if planning a day of spontaneous romance is as impossible as proving your love in 24 hours, what’s the point? To my mind, none at all. I get reminded every day how loved I am when I wake up to a steaming hot cuppa. I’m sure if a lot of people thought about it, they’d realise that those little benign acts are really far more meaningful than a mass-produced piece of plastic, shaped like a heart.

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*… assuming the next girl is Cruella De Vil.

** If you’re lucky.

Playing with the Camera…

This is a bit of a scrap-book entry. Whilst dutifully procrastinating, I found some pictures I took, as well as an old notebook full of little bits of writing that don’t really fit anywhere. I thought I’d share the best of them.

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She is winter and woods, frosty mornings and cloudy breaths. She is the dying light you cherish simply because you know there will be no more. She is endings, she is fading, she is cold and without heart. And because she is this, because she is hopelessness and loss, she is fragile. She is beauty.

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It was 7.30 when everyone convened to eat. Pit tossed herself absently into an armchair and rubbed her hands together as Ivy emerged from the kitchen.
“It’s not bread and jam,” Ivy said as she noted Pit’s expression of expectant glee. Pit looked confused until Nathan appeared with a tray of crusty bread and bowls of hearty chicken broth. Phelan fell on the fare indiscriminately, years of fighting for food bypassing everything Iris had tried to teach him about ‘proper manners’. He did, however, pause long enough to splutter that the meal was, “Bloody good,” through a mouthful of bread. The gusto with which he attacked the soup was compliment enough for Ivy though, who blushed a little as Phelan scrambled for a second helping.

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Another Quilt

So I finished the playmat and thought I’d share pictures of the finished mat and the steps I took to get there. In case anyone is interested.

This was, in a lot of ways, easier than the first patchwork I did because it used much larger squares and wasn’t hand quilted. That said, figuring out how best to sew everything together and deciding how I should quilt something so chaotic was much harder. I’ve learned a lot from doing this so hopefully the next blanket I do – which I hope will make it to ebay – will be as near to perfect as I can get on my machine from 1895.

Laying out the design

Laying out the design

I needed to design this quilt to be both baby-friendly and quick to make. Big, primary-colour patchwork panels seemed like the natural choice. I tried to used fun, girlie prints without making the whole thing too pink or too cutesy – hopefully I’ve succeeded.

This quilt was much harder to piece together than the last due to its irregular shapes and the fact that I had to manually fish the bottom thread up from out of the machine every time I wound the bobbin. My lovely machine needs a great deal of TLC following 3 patchwork quilts, 3 handbags, 2 skirts, 1 pair of shorts and a dress!

I layered the last two quilts by placing the sections in order, right side up, before folding the bottom section around the top to create what looks like a frame on completion. I didn’t think the squares of the backing fabric looked quite right next to any of my top fabrics though, despite their similar colours, so on this quilt I decided to try a different approach. Placing the ‘right sides’ of the front and back together, then the middle layer on top, I stitched three edges of the blanket and turned the whole thing inside out…

… which meant the final edge had to be hand stitched. Not ideal, but I think the overall finish was well worth it.

Quilting something as irregular as this blanket turned out to be quite a challenge. The first patchwork piece I did was quilted by sewing diagonal lines through the squares, radiating from the centre. The second was never properly quilted as I decided to sew buttons haphazardly across the whole thing instead. For the playmat though, I wanted to echo the big squares and simple shapes that I’d used and so decided to simply sew squares within the squares.

So the quilt was finished, and all that remained was slipping the toys into their respective pockets…

Due to time restraints, I only made two toys for the quilt – a simple ‘rustic’ looking teddy and the pretty rabbit lady I showed before.

And here’s the finished article… With a fuzzy duck and bear (that I had intended to use on a set of overalls re. Kaylee from Firefly) to add to the texture. The duck’s bottom is slightly below the lip of the pocket for the rabbit, so hopefully it looks as though he’s sailing on water…

And so comes the aftermath which Artemis – who is not as cooperative a model as Saffron – thinks is the world’s best bed.

I hope I haven’t bored you senseless with talk of quilting. If I have, very sorry.

Homemade

I’m a great one for homemade items, as I imagine you’ve realised from my rants about mass-produced Christmas presents and the various crafy pictures I post. Yesterday though, I was watching Channel 4’s ‘Kirstie’s Homemade Home’, and was suddenly overwhelmed by the desire to go rumaging round charity shops and antique shops in the search of interesting items.

I can’t tell you exactly what I found yesterday because it’s a present for someone, but after I got home, I looked it up on ebay and discovered that my 110 year old version was less than half the price of the brand new, mass-produced import. I was so thrilled with my purchase I had to share it with someone but as the only person online was the person the gift was intended for… here we are.

Speaking of homemade things, Artemis made me a present last night. She fetched me a big, juicy mouse and let it go in the dining room. Then, when she couldn’t get it out from under the book case, she howled a lot and made S- do it. When he did managed to remove all the books on the bottom shelf, hastily try to mouse proof his computer cables, Artemis decided she wasn’t all that interested in eating the mouse afterall and went to devour some of the Pets’ Kitchen food she usually turns her nose up at. Dutifully, I set out across the field at midnight in my dressing gown, half dead mouse in hand, to dispose of the body… Her majesty is now snoozing happily on S-‘s side of the bed.

P.S.  If anyone knows anything about when to plant fruit bushes*, suggestions would be much appreciated. I have a gooseberry, raspberry and blackcurrant bush waiting to go in.

Artemis, looking smug

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* Not from seed, because I’m too lazy. From Homebase ‘3 for £10’ pots.

Playmat

After the surprising success of the patchwork quilt, I’ve been asked to make a play mat for S-‘s friend’s newborn. I want to have a big, colourful mess of squares and pockets, stuffed with little toys and things that feel interesting.

I started the first of the toys to be included with the throw last night and finished her today. Apparently, she looks like Alison Uttley’s Little Grey Rabbit however the chintz factor of her dress was not intentional – I just used a big pussy bow to cover my wonky neck join… I’m not sure yet whether I’ll make her a husband in brown cord trousers and a tartan scarf but if I do, I’ll post the various stages of it on here, in case anyone else wants to make one.

“A long-ago mistake comes back to haunt you.”

A friend of mine is sending out daily writing promts and I thought I would treat you all to today’s offering. The title of this post is the phrase we were given this morning.

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This isn’t my story. I could spend time explaining how I acquired it – in the passenger seat of a Nissan Prairie back when Top Gear reviewed real cars – but I think the tale is strong enough to speak for itself.

It happened in the depths of Scotland’s amethist hills, to the sound of Cliff Richard’s ‘Please Don’t Tease’ at number one. A highland farmer watched as his dog give birth and quietly, without a word, went to fetch a bucket of water. He was a practical man, firmly believing that animals should lead a working life and adhere to the rule that only birds sported green plumage.

That being the case, he picked the emerald pup from the litter and plopped it into the waiting bucket.

And that was that.

Time passed and the farmer forgot about the dog. The puppies grew, began work, and remained the proper colour for spaniels. Winter set in, and our protagonist’s evenings began to grow darker. His nights slowly came to be claimed by his local pub.

It was on one of these such nights that the newspaper announced, black and white and taunting, that a green spaniel pup had been sold for £10,000.

The farmer sat back on his stool, smiled a little to himself and shook his head.

“Oh well,” he said, “Oh well.”