Wednesday, 22 August 2012

London's ups and downs, Walking, talking and friendliness, Sheffield and sewing

Les Mis was utterly amazing! I loved every minute of it, and so did the wife! London in general was not so brilliant - Saturday was fine and lovely; we sat in a park with drinks for a bit, chatting, then went back to our friend's flat and chilled a little. The wife and I left him in the flat and went out to an italian restaurant where we had some lovely salad. The weather was so, so hot! It was like being on holiday abroad. We chatted a lot, then headed for the show. Sunday was pretty horrific though. I was exhausted and woke up straight after a horrible dream, which put me in a bad mood. And so I was not in a mood to talk, really, which meant that the wife and the friend held conversations which didn't involve me. Added to that the fact that I couldn't hear the conversations very well, or had nothing to add to them since they were conversations about times that the two of them had spent together; and that made me feel left out and less inclined to try and be involved or add anything. And so - blame was on both sides, I was moody and withdrawn and I know that. But they didn't try to include me either. And then I found myself feeling really sick as we were headed back to the friend's flat, so I veered off towards a tree where I could sit down and, if need be, throw up. Unfortunately it was in the opposite direction to where we were headed, and they didn't notice me moving away from them. After a couple of minutes, I got up and headed for the park where we'd been sat the day before so that I could lie down without looking like an idiot. After about 5 minutes the wife came to get me, and after realising that I was both sick and miserable, and after finding out why, she was then miserable too. So we collected our things from the friend's flat and then sat and read in a cafe between our stations for going home. All in all, not the best end to the weekend. And if I could redo it, I would. I would tell them I was feeling crappy and why, and then make an effort to involve myself in conversation. But I can't redo it, so we've all dealt with it and moved on. But overall, it was actually okay - Saturday was lovely, and the evening at Les Mis with the wife was brilliant!

Yesterday I met up with my friend DT. he's lovely and has been in Ecuador for the past 6 weeks. So we just had food and drinks and chatted and walked. I bought a second-hand DVD of Memoirs of a Geisha, after enjoying the book immensely.

And today I'm in Sheffield, with another friend - EH! I arrived today, and I'm spending the night then going home tomorrow. It should be fun. We're currently at hers, but I think we're going to go out for cake, then do some baking probably and just chill in general. I know I have a lot of sewing to do at the moment, but I will try to get it done when I get home, over tomorrow and Friday and the weekend. Promise!

Love love xx

Friday, 17 August 2012

Weekend at my sister's with lots of knitty things, The week since which involves some Sewing and Baking, a haircut briefly mentioned, this weekend in London and the sudden future, Fill In the Blank Friday

Wow - it's been a busy week!

So I spent last Saturday to Monday at my sister's, which was really nice. Whilst I was up there she passed a knitted hat:

and scarf:

and shawl:

onto me, which was really lovely. Aren't they pretty?! But then she also passed a whole bag of different yarns to me to take home and use if I could find a use for them! They're really gorgeous!

It was a fairly quiet weekend, which I really liked. We spent Saturday afternoon and evening at her flat, and as far as I remember we cooked supper then knitted and watched the film Wanted - a fairly terrible film, but amusing and easy to watch; happy stupid!
Sunday we went to Edinburgh in the afternoon, as my sister had a show to go to at the Fringe. It was mad busy there, which I didn't like. But we escaped into the calm of Edinburgh museum, which was kind of awesome and very interesting. I saw the Chronophage, which I really liked. It was enjoyable to think about, because it has these LED lights in it which denote the hours, minutes and seconds. The second lights would flash up all around the circle every second, moving one full revolution and one extra light forward so that it stopped on the next light every time - like a hand on a normal clock. But this means that it had to travel faster than one revolution a second. Isn't that geekily interesting?!

We also saw the animals room, which was amazing! I didn't grasp the full height and size of animals like giraffes and elephants until I was stood right next to the taxidermied bodies of them. They're huge!! I wouldn't even come up the entire height of the elephant's leg. I found it really interesting, and I found out that they don't taxidermy fish, as their skin is too fragile. Instead they make casts of them.

So that was really fun, and once the museum was closing we went with a friend of my sister and had supper in a little bar/cafe type thing. I finally had the fajitas I've been craving for about 3 months, and they were delicious! Then we walked along to the road my sister's show was on, and said goodbye to her friend, then told me how to get to the train station if my sister wasn't back in time for the last train, then plonked me down in Beanscene, and entirely scottish train of cafes. It was lovely in there. I sat and drank some tea, and knitted and people-watched. And, bizarrely, I saw the wife! I knew she was in Edinburgh that weekend, but it's a big place, and I didn't think we'd see each other, so I didn't tell her that i would be there. But there she was, walking straight past the window! I saw her at the last minute, and did a double-take. I realised she would be headed for the train station to go back to Newcastle. So I didn't call to her. I guess it just felt a little too much like a scene from a storybook. And my life isn't a story.

Anyway, my sister didn't seem as though she would be back  in time to catch the last train, so I set off for the station without her; but she did make it after all, so we headed back to Stirling and collapsed into bed. Monday she was working, so I lazed around in bed in the morning and read a Batwoman graphic novel, then made cheesecake brownies. My sister's SO fried some potato scones for me - I don't think I've ever had them before, but they were oh so very good! Then I packed all my stuff up, and went to Beanscene in Stirling to wait for my sister. We had a drink in there, and we got a full free drink card because they forgot to make my drink at first. Then we went to a little sweet shop and I bought some rosy apples and 'soor plooms'. We walked to the station, said goodbye to each other, and I got on the train and came home. Not altogether that exciting a weekend, but comfortable and relaxed, and the kind I like!

Since then I've been to the dentist, and she proclaimed my new false teeth beautiful; I've baked some, and I've sewed a lot. I finally made the pyjama top to go with the bottoms I made a while ago:

and realised I loved the top and thought it so gorgeous on that I was a little disappointed that it was going to be a pyjama top. I might wear it during the day sometimes!

And I made the same pattern in another fabric:

I love this on too, but not as much as the other! But I love them both very much, and feel good when I wear them! I made a huge batch of cheesecake brownies to use up some of the glut of cream cheese we had at home:

I love the cases! See, they're all spotty!
And I followed a recipe for Angel Layer cake. It wasn't very successful, in truth. It's basically like 2 giant meringues in different colours:

It's lovely meringue, don't get me wrong. But it's not Angel Layer Cake. Back to the drawing board!

I got my haircut today - no pictures, sorry! And I also dyed it this evening. See, told you it's been busy! And I still found time to put laundry through, do the dishwasher, eat, sleep...!

Tomorrow I'm going to London to see Les Mis with the wife - can't believe it's finally here! I'm very excited to see it, and looking forward to seeing the wife again! I miss her when she's not with me. And then next week is majorly busy too - meeting up with my high school form tutor and a friend; childminding; visiting another friend; and then there's less than a week before I leave! I have barely a handful of free days left before I go. nanny college was so far away when I first applied, I thought it would never happen. And now it's swiftly becoming a reality!

So last for tonight: Fill In the Blank Friday!

The best thing to do on a hot day is open all the windows, wear as few clothes as possible, drink cold drinks and lie around in the half dark with a book. Alternatively, carry on as though it's any other day but complain about the heat a lot!

The best place to be on a hot day is somewhere cold! Maybe swimming in the sea? Otherwise outside in the shade, assuming there's a strong breeze.

The best thing to eat on a hot day is fruit - watermelon, if possible. And salad. 

Hot days are few and far between in England. They're good for ripening fruits and vegetables, and can make going for a ramble very enjoyable.

My go to uniform on a hot summer day is a loose cotton dress - and underwear, obviously - and nothing else. No tights or socks or shoes, no cardigan. Just a nice dress to let any cool breezes flow through and over my body!

The scent that reminds me of summer is the smell of Asda's giant M & M cookies. Weird, I know, but they smell warm and slightly spicy, and always remind me of how it smelt out in the middle East when we used to live there. Specifically, it makes me think of the evening walks we used to take. And I vaguely remember some kind of droopy tree which dropped lots of leaves and these long seed pods. Couldn't tell you any more than that, though; I was only 6.

My favourite thing about summer is the time I spend with friends in it. The planned excursions and fun we get up to in summer is brilliant!

And that's all. Well done if you managed to get to the end! See you in a few!

Love love xx

Friday, 10 August 2012

Fill In The Blank Friday, Visiting

Just a quick Fill in the Blanks!

The age I will be on my upcoming birthday is 20. Shock horror! No more teenage years!

The best birthday present ever would be harmony between all magical and non-magical peoples... oh wait. No. That's Gilderoy Lockhart. My favourite present is seeing people I love. But not for so long that I start wanting to tear my hair out and scream!

My favourite birthday to date was last year's, my 19th. I don't have the best track record with good birthdays, and last year all my friends were going to uni so there would be nobody around to celebrate it even. But the wife invited me up to Newcastle to spend it with her, so I had a glorious birthday with her, and we went out and explored a bit, and bought cupcakes which made awesome birthday cake substitutes; and we watched some Tribe and just generally had sweet sexy wife time! (in which nothing even remotely sexual went on, as usual).

Birthdays make me feel miserable, usually. Because I know I should be happy because it's my birthday - and yet almost nobody ever makes any effort with my birthday. In fact, almost all of my friends tend to forget it. And then when they realise 2 weeks later, they say, 'why didn't you tell me it was your birthday?!' As though I should feel bad for them making no effort, even though it's my birthday! Sorry, it's something I find really annoying! And I guess that's why I always try to make an effort for other people's birthdays. I would hate for anyone else to feel the way I do on my birthday. I would hate for anyone else to feel that there are so few people in their life willing to make an effort.

The worst birthday I ever had was ummm... I don't know. Birthdays are so often filled with good and bad, and any that are particularly unimpressive I don't bother to remember. I don't remember very many birthdays - 2 or 3 of them, that's all.

When I was born my mum was relieved, I think, since she started labour the week before! I was also a little blondie from birth to about the age of 7 at which point my hair darkened into a fairly standard brown.,

So far my favourite age has been this age. Life is so content right now for me - I have people that I love and who love me, I have my studying and then career to look forward to, independence coming, and a strong faith in a loving God. Otherwise, I would have gone with anywhere between baby and 5-year oldness, since I'm pretty sure they tend to be easy, worry-free years for most people! 

And that's it! I'm spending the weekend at my sister's, so no promise of any posts during that time. Maybe, but unlikely. Until Tuesday!

Love love xx

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Long Post, Letter Writing Paper and a Seal, the Wife's Birthday Gifts, QATWII Latest Block, A Baby Blanket and a Broken Knitting Needle

I did promise an update, didn't I? (Be warned: this is a loong post!)

So, I've spent some time this week writing letters to various people - the wife, EH, and the wife's friend by weird circumstances. I really love writing letters, I have some gorgeous writing paper! Want to see? Of course you do!

There's this one - not my favourite, but nothing wrong with it, and it was good quality and a good price. It is quite pretty, just nothing majorly special. It was from paperchase, like a lot of my letter writing paper!

Then there are these 3, also all from paperchase. The far left has birds on it, the middle buses and the far right butterflies. I really like these. The butterflies are my most recent purchase of letter writing paper, and I love them. But I'm particularly fond of the buses, because they're so quirky and fun! Want to see the backs of them, too?

Fun, right? Of course, I say the back, but other than the butterflies, this is the writing sides of them! You can't see it, but the bird paper has a faint pattern of leaves drawn on it.

None of them are lined, which is a little frustrating for someone like me who can't write in a straight line. But I made myself a guideline sheet which I paperclip underneath, and that works fine. I only use one sheet per letter, too. If I run out of room - which I often do! - I have some packs of double-sided lined A5 paper which I use. this way my writing paper lasts longer, I don't end up with lots of excess envelopes, and I save some money!

And finally, I have:

The colour hasn't shown up too well on this, but it's a very pale sort of turquoise which is really pretty. I love love love this! The birds are beautiful, and both sides of the paper can be used. Like the others, it has decorated address labels with it, and this one has some stickers for sealing down the envelope.

I like my letters to be as pretty as possible - I like pretty things! And a lovely friend of mine, EH, gave me a gorgeous wax seal for sealing my letters which I adore:

 I use it on pretty much all my letters. Sometimes the seals survive the postal system; sometimes they don't. I don't tend to find out if they have or not, but EH has let me know on occasion. You can see here it's actually lying upside down. But it's fairly simple, but lovely!

I do love receiving snail mail from friends. Email just doesn't compare; you don't usually get warm fuzzies when you see that you have a new email. But seeing that letter posted through the door and knowing a bit of your friend's personality and affection is inside is just lovely!

Another thing that happened recently is the wife's birthday - Happy Birthday, wifey! She finally opened my gifts to her today, and loved them! I never showed you the card I made, did I?

Again, see how I matched it to the gift-wrapping? I like to keep a theme running through...

 ... And on the envelope, too. Yes, I do have a stamp which says 'wife' on it. And yes, I did use it as the only identifier on the envelope. The wife would know it instantly!

 Okay, okay! And one last photo of the card with the gifts!

Pretty, no? The wife opened them this evening, and spent a little time looking through the contents, which were:

 The Bloggess' memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened. It's an amazing book, really hilarious. And since the wife and I both enjoy the blog, I thought what better gift to give her?

But then opportunity presented itself. When I visited the wife in May, we went on a day trip to durham, and whilst we were there we found this little shop tucked away, which looked like someone had lifted the roof of it off and poured in all the contents from 3 1950's houses. But in the window of the shop was this:

That's a taxidermied cat, people. For people unfamiliar with the bloggess, she collects various taxidermied animals, especially ones in clothes. Well, this cat had gold-tipped fangs, false eyelashes and earrings in. Not exactly clothes, but kind of awesome in a creepy way anyway. So we snapped this photo of it and then I emailed it to the Bloggess, who has a fairy godmother to take care of her emails and stuff. Her fairy godmother emailed me back, really sweetly too !), and offered me a signed book plate for my copy of the book. Then I emailed her being really rude and asked for 2. She was lovely enough to oblige, and so the copy of The Bloggess' book for the wife became a little bit more special, being a signed copy now!

I also wrote a message to the wife on this page, but I'm not going to show you that - it was personal, and none of your business!

I also bought her this:

Awesome, huh? I chose this book specifically, because faith is very important to the wife and me, and it's something we share. So it felt fitting to get her the book themed around faith a little.

But THEN another opportunity presented itself. Crazy, huh? I mean, I got the wife the Bloggess' book, and then the opportunity to put a signed book plate in it came along. And I got the wife a Postsecret book, and then... Frank announced that he was doing a tour in the UK. Something I don't think he's EVER DONE BEFORE!! I wasn't sure how long the tickets would last before they were all sold out, so I had to make a quick decision. I bought. 2. Tickets. Really!! I wrote a message in the front of this book too; but then I also wrote a tiny note in the back of this one, inviting the wife to come to Postsecret with me. She didn't notice it at first. But then when she read it, she looked shocked, then held up the book to the webcam to show me, then said, and I quote, "Are you JOSHING me?! is this real? Seriously?!" And I said that no, I wasn't joshing her, and yes it was seriously real, and then she looked at her calendar to find the dates and found where I'd written over those dates to mark them off her calendar already, without her knowing. And she freaked in a hazy excited joyful whirlwind, and we laughed and smiled and life was super sweet!

So, did you manage that saga? Still with me? because I have just a couple more things to show you. First is my latest block for the QATWII:

Do you like it? It wasn't actually too challenging once I worked out what I wanted to do. I found the pattern on the Quilter's Cache.

And here it is with the other blocks made so far for this quilt. I just hope the recipient likes it! I have yet to put it up on flickr - that's tomorrow's job!

And I had a minor disaster this week. I was knitting this baby blanket I've been making for a friend, which I've been working on for rather a while now. I tend to warp my needles rather a lot - I don't know if it's my tension, or what. But this happened:

No, your eyes do not deceive you. That is a bamboo knitting needle snapped in half. And I don't happen to carry spares in every size imaginable. Fortunately the pattern and yarn are very forgiving, so I simply switched up half a size; and so far, I can't see where the change happened. Would you like a sneak peek at the blanket? The pattern is free from Ravelry, and in due course I will of course credit the designer. But for now you'll have to content yourself with a peek at a corner of it!

My friend knows what sex the baby is, but is currently keeping it to herself. So I'm hoping this lovely light green will seem neutral enough. It's certainly pretty - at least, I think so, anyway! I hope she likes it!

And... I think that's just about all! I did go on a 2-hour walk today, to a nature park place near my house called the Flash. But otherwise, apart from cooking supper a lot, that's all there is to my week! Oh - I did work 2 days, and they were fine. Fairly unremarkable, usual fun to be had with lookign after a 3-year old and 6-year old.

Love love xx

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fill In the Blank Friday

My actual post will come later!

I am proud of how well I've kept up with friends this year, despite the distance between us all.

This weekend I will try to do some sewing, some knitting, some baking and some walking.

A secret dream I have is to create a business selling things I've designed/made.

I can't handle people who don't know how to be honest with themselves. You know, those people who have 'the best of intentions' and promise they'll say/do things that they're never actually going to make enough effort to do. By promising that they'll do whatever it is, they're lying both to me and to themselves, even if they don't realise that they're lying. 

The most annoying thing in the entire world is when you notice a really irritating habit in someone and then can't focus on anything else when they're around! Like nail-biting, or really noisy chewing.

The most relaxing thing in the entire world is reading a good book in bed with a cuppa next to you.

I think everyone should have more compassion. I think we need to remind ourselves that everyone is a person, a whole and entire, complex person. All too often we see people as one single categorisation or aspect of themselves - like seeing criminals only as their crime, or overweight people as their weight. If we all thought a little more, and tried to care more everyday, I truly believe the world would be better. In fact, I think that's the only way we could ever have a utopia on Earth!

So that's this week's. And I will definitely update you on what I've been up to tomorrow!

Love love xx

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