Sunday, 19 October 2008

Exciting things and happenings...

Hello! How are you? I am immensly perky for a change, which is terribly unusual for a Sunday night.

Firstly, I've sorted out a health problem that's been dogging me for months. I'm no longer feeling tired and irritable all the time, which is fab :) I actually feel like myself again, something that has not been the case since about May. Also, I didn't have too much work to do today, as I did all my planning on Friday and I forgot to bring a mark scheme I needed! Sod's law, but it gave me a well deserved break.

Secondly, my grey yarn arrived and I am knitting up a storm on my Unshaped Shrug. I'm about a third of the way through; it is very easy and moves quickly, so hopefully that should be ready to wear in a matter of days! It's lovely to do something quick and satisfying- I've not had much luck with projects this year. I also did a bit of Christmas-present-fabric-shopping so I have a great selection of stuff to work with. Heaven!

Thirdly, Benn and I have spent time together properly for the first time in ages... We went out for a really nice meal last night (I ordered calamari! And plaice! I've never ordered fish that wasn't battered before. Wasn't keen on mussells though. A bit bogey-like in texture) and, OK, we spent an inordinate amount of time discussing our neighbour's slightly abandoned cat and what we should do about him, but at least we were *together* and enjoying each other's company.

The neighbour's cat, who has a Turkish name that I can never remember (I call him Baldrick, because he's short and scruffy) is locked out a lot. And sits on our windowsill waiting to be let in. At all hours. We've started putting biscuits down for him because they never do and he's out a lot. I would quite happily take him in, but I know it doesn't work like that, but I'm at a loss as to what to do. He tries to dash in here when we open the door and he and Bronte are fascinated by one another. They never hiss at each other like the other cats we get. He was out there until very late on Friday, again last night and was out today too. I know they let him in, but surely, if you live in a second floor flat you don't get a cat? Or if you do, you keep him as a house cat? Also, it puts us in an awkward position because we're nearly always in on an evening and he tries to come in with us. We have to throw him back outside whatever the weather and he hides in the bush. Or we risk locking him in the hallway with no litter tray until who knows what time. I don't know what to do. I am going to speak to our neighbour and mention that we have been putting food out occassionally. Benn doesn't want him anywhere near our flat (I suggested letting him through into the garden, where he would at least be safer from cars).

Any suggestions?? (I wish my lead for my phone was findable- I have a good photo of Baldrick on the windowsill!)

Sunday, 12 October 2008

musings of a crafter..

So, I was thinking today about why I make things (even though, it seems, I rarely finish up with what I intended- or rarely finish in some cases!) and I know that Benn often looks at me when I'm having a knitting/sewing/crochet/baking related tantrum and looks like he's wondering the same thing.

The event that kicked off the musing was the fact that last night, I ordered four balls of Freedom wool in light grey and two pairs of new knitting needles (metal- thanks, credit crunch!) Now, this might not seem like a major event, but I have very rarely bought yarn this year, making do with what I have, or swapping for new and interesting things. Heck, I've rarely bought anything for my crafting. But last night, I realised that I only had my grandma's Christmas shawl to do and then I would be left with nothing else. Nothing in my stash excited me and most of it was single balls. I've been coveting grey knitwear for a while and, though I don't have the patience or the time for a larger item, I decided to finally make the Unshaped Shrug I've been planning for a year. I like shrugs, I like grey and I like knitwear. So, the perfect combination. I had a bit of a headache with gauge, but I think I'll work it out. I usually do.

So, £22 lighter, I am excited. I actually don't think I've ordered so much yarn in a year. And then I started thinking. Why make a shrug for £22 when I could pick one up in Primark for £6? Sure, I wouldn't have the tantrums or the expense, but would Primark have a decent quality, grey shrug that I liked? (Answer: no. I checked.) This way, I know who made the shrug and I get some enjoyment out of the emerging pattern too.

Similarly, I am making bags and purses with my sewing machine as gifts. I'm also planning on making some tree decorations myself out of felt and stuffing. My sewing may not be perfect, but I'm thinking about what my friends like- for one, a black cord handbag with Batman lining will be perfect. For another, a black cord purse with tasteful fabric lining (I have a lot of black cord knocking about right now) My crafting, although by no means the most talented, means that I can have an idea-usually a simple one!- and turn it into something I want but can't buy. The Christmas decorations come from that fact that this year we're getting a bigger tree, so we need more baubles.

If I can't make what I want, or I don't know how to, I look for people who do; either for instruction or to buy. Etsy has been great- a lady in Belgium made me some Christmas stuff and a girl in Vermont is making me something else... A lady in Arizona is making me a ring based on my favourite Emily Bronte poem.

I like this freedom from schlepping round shops on a Saturday. I like getting what I want and, I hope, the recipients of this new found freedom enjoy what they receive. It's better than a voucher.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Can I Have My Life Back, Please?

Uh, I am tired! Seriously, I have to really keep myself going with the use of caffeine and sugar most days and it is not. good. I suffered from a bout of seriously low morale earlier this week, so I'm not sure what I'll do to fix that long term. I'm considering all options, as they say.

Other than that, things are OK. I took Bronte to have her jabs on Saturday, we went to a cat-only vet(!) where she was given a green catnip mouse for being good! It was quite nice to go without being on the receiving end of a Rottweiler's death stare, actually. She's doing well, actually, although desperate to go outside (she can't until we've completed her injections in a fortnight and then we have to keep her in for a week after that to be on the safe side, so the first weekend of half term is when the happy day arrives!) She was driving Benn mad yesterday and the day before- he's been off sick and an over-enthuasiastic cat was not the thing he needed. She has mad mornings where she runs everywhere and jumps after phantom objects. In fact, she just made the same weird clucking noise she does when she's watching the birds... whilst stalking my tube of mascara. Seriously.

I got a huge package the other day, too. It was a Travelling Tea Box that came from Germany and I have to send it on tomorrow to the next person. You take a few bits out and replace them with stuff you've bought. It's filled with amazing stuff like yarn, tea and chocolate, and I had to restrain myself from taking a lot of stuff, but I'm regretting taking one thing- I always seem to pick the teas from the US that don't send here.. *sigh* It's like peanut butter M&Ms all over again... But I also took a pair of Knit Picks Harmonies and some Heather yarn that's kind of green and black, as well as some chai tea latte sachets (I am *addicted* to chai lattes after discovering them last week- they taste like Christmas!) and a thing that you put used tea bags in.

I'm loving autumn though; I'm seriously debating hauling my winter coat out, it's been so cold the last couple of mornings and my little green jacket just isn't covering it. I love coming home and making a cup of tea and just reading my emails (occassionally this is let down by the fact I have to do some school work..) I also bought the entire four series of Blackadder on DVD, so that's ace too. Oh and I'm working on my beret still, although it's slow progress!

Benn is going away next week, so I will have lots of time to do stuff like that and also a slightly deranged cat to keep me company. Yay!