Tuesday, 23 October 2012

London, Paris, New York

I'm armchair travelling quite a bit at the moment, courtesy of teh internets.  I am obsessed with urban exploration, despite not having the actual cojones to do any of it myself.  I have particularly admired the Turbozutek guys who broke into Glasgow zoo a few months after it closed down and accidentally found out they were yet to evacuate all the tigers.  Unfortunately those photos are long gone off the internet, but there are more from around Glasgow, and the zoo, found here.

Anyway, here is some exploration of the places you don't usually see, or times long gone, of three of my favourite cities:


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Because I need another project in my life...

I am so in two minds about this.  Firstly, this house needs a lot of work.  It has no roof.  It has bits missing off the front that I don't even know the name of.  Mullions?  Pretend wooden stonemasonry?  Window surrounds?  Goodness knows.

It has no innards and the door doesn't shut properly.  And as we're coming up for Hallowe'en, I can't help but notice that it has serious potential to be a bit, um, creepy.

If I put furniture in it I am going to have to clean it.  Do I really need that?

But then I think how much I would have loved one of these as a little girl and how grateful I am that a friend passed it on for my little girl to use once her own little girls were too grown up for it.  And I looked on Pinterest and people have pinned the heck out of the internet finding lovely little things to go in lovely little houses.  And look at this, I nearly started shopping...

But do I really have the time to do up another house when my own real house could benefit from a little TLC?  Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Day in the life roundup

More to follow, but here's your starter for ten...




Bohemia Skye (who lives near my mum, hello!)

Kate Marsden

Some days in the life which are nothing to do with us, but sound interesting all the same (thanks Mr Google):


Operating theatre

The news

Day in the Life 15th October 2012

The husband has his first day in the new job, and we are down to one car, which is going to make mornings interesting, going forward. To ease us into it, I have taken the day off work and am staying home to sort my accounts and to have a bit of a child-free potter and a rest. Having done a big clean and tidy of the house and three loads of washing yesterday, I am looking forward to having some time all to myself. I start by bundling the family out of the house, which goes well until we realise about the forgotten supply of nappies.
My office for the morning

Panic over, I put my feet up with a coffee and get to work on the sleeves of the cardigan I’m working on, while catching up on Saturday’s episode of The Thick of It via iPlayer. I decide to grab a box of stuff from the craft room and work through it while watching a film. I can’t find a film I like the sound of (your days are numbered, BT Vision) and since they took HBO away, the box sets available are a bit rubbish, too. I spy Nighty Night and remember that I’ve forgotten most of it. I stick it on and soon remember that Rebecca Front is in this too. Basically playing the same character. Hey ho. As the recycling collection is due today, I have picked up my overflowing tub of wallpaper offcuts and my circle sticker punch and get to work.

Such an improvement, and a binful of unusable remnants can go off to the recycling plant. I really am starting to make a dent in the craft room these days. This is a good thing.
I realise that it’s actually a lovely sunny day outside, and stick another wash on – I can see the bottom of the washing basket, hurray – and decide to photograph the new products I made yesterday. A small range of address labels/bookplates/gift tag stickers upcycled from some envelopes and offcuts of packing paper I located while tidying the kitchen. Find them in the shop very soon!  I’m now on my 3rd episode of Nighty Night and haven’t done anything to do with my accounts.
In the interests of getting more stuff in the recycling bin, I order up a delivery of meals from Hello Fresh so I can put Saturday’s newspaper (where I’d seen it advertised) in the bin. Hello Fresh sends me a confirmation email with a code for friends to get £20 off their first order, which in turn will give me credits towards a future order. I’ll come back and review what they send me here, but if you want to try as well, here’s the code: MVL4VC   I really like the sound of this, and with the voucher code it means that 5 meals cost roughly what I’d spend in the supermarket on them anyway. And by taking the thought out of cooking (all the ingredients measured and a recipe to follow), I shouldn’t be too tired to cook and have to resort to an expensive takeaway or ready meals. This is the plan.  I will let you know how I get on in reality...

In the meantime, I make myself a bagel and, seeing as I'm at home and not work. a not very office friendly tin of French onion soup. Once I’ve finished lunch I hang up the washing and decide that now is the time to tackle the accounts.
I head upstairs to the craft room after hanging out the washing and hoping it doesn’t freeze onto the line. Before I put the PC on, I dig all my accounts stuff out of the filing cabinet, and grab my big box of Post Office receipts. I have a lost parcel to claim for, and a damaged parcel to claim for. It’s fairly easy to find what I’m looking for once as everything’s in date order and I have a ridiculous memory for postcodes. I’m in the middle of a bigger project to try and get rid of most of the paperwork/fire hazards in my craft room – there was a lot of stuff associated with the flat I’ve just sold that needed to either be shredded, scanned or a few very important things that I’m going to keep hold of in hard copy.  Bitter experience talking there.  I am glad I am not one of these ruthless chucker outers.   My newly replaced scanner is my new best friend, mind you.

After sorting my receipts ready for finalising my tax return, I pop the rest in my recycling tray ready to take downstairs. I also round up a few things for the proper bin. I decide that filing an online tax return is more compatible with the new me, so I get myself registered. I scan in the form I had completed and save it until my registration details arrive in the post. I scan in a few flyers my dad has sent me, and a clipping from the Manchester Evening News advertising Scottish meat products to exiles down South:

I fail to find three matching purple buttons for the cardigan, but I do manage to dig out a pair of buttons to go on Amelia’s handed down dungarees from her cousin – I have been meaning to make her a new top that I found the pattern for, and won’t have time to do it today, so the least I can do is fix her dungarees.  I know there are some needles in the kitchen so I pop the dungarees in the pile of things to go downstairs and head back down for more knitting, coffee and Nighty Night. I have a look at Facebook and surf a few blogs, and find this, for the knitters amongst us.
The rest of the day gets even more boring, but I basically walk to Asda, forget to buy sweetcorn so nip into Aldi on the way back, bring the recycling bin in, find out that my husband had a good first day, watch half an hour of Madagascar AGAIN, make noodles, watch more Nighty Night, finish the cardigan sleeve and find the most amazing website ever which is going to help with my rug project no end – more on that as soon as I re-find the flipping rug canvas.
See you soon for the next Day In The Life - I will hand over the baton to someone to pick the next date once I have updated the list of contributors - please leave a comment or email me if you have blogged yesterday.  If you haven't managed to take part this time, we'd love to have you along next time! 

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Day in the Life NEWSFLASH

I have chosen the next date.  It will be this coming Monday, 15 October.

Sorry for the short notice, I hope you are all doing something interesting that day!  As much as I'd love to be halfway up Mount Hood sipping a lovely craft beer in this lounge, I will be at home and you'll all have to wait until Monday night to find out what I've been up to.

Postcard sent from Timberline Lodge

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A proper Autumn day

...needs a proper winter woolly.  This week has been amazing for the crunch of leaves under your feet, and spooky morning mist.  It feels like the whole world is in sepia, which is exactly how I like it.

So it was a bit of a shock to me when I chose this bright purple colour for a new cardigan for Amelia.  Following the pattern has involved counting, subtracting, undoing, re-doing and the occasional bout of swearing, but I only have half of the front right half, and the sleeves left to do now and it's been worth it.

The yarn has a lovely glossy effect to it, and is cotton bamboo, so while it's quite splitty to work with, I'm hoping it'll wash and keep well.  I bought it on eBay via Minerva Crafts, who I can recommend highly.  I'm so impressed with the results so far that I might be making a few more of these for Christmas presents, luckily the pattern goes from birth to 7 years so there are a lot of little girls in our family falling into that age range!

Friday, 5 October 2012



I saw some photos of Emma Cotter's wonderful work with bottle caps elsewhere on the internet a couple of weeks ago, and had to get in touch with her to let her know how much I admired it.


When I first started out with taking Girl Industries online, my key range was around materials and supplies for upcycling, as well as finished items I'd made myself.  Now officially discontinued, I used to pass on used bottletops, wine corks, plastic yarn, or plarn, made from video tapes and carrier bags.  I still carry a small range of security envelope papers salvaged from years of local refuse collectors, umm, refusing to take them (due to the glue content).

I had about 300 bottletops left in stock, but really wanted to clear them out from my craft room - they weren't big sellers and they are a nuisance to post.  Can you guess where this is going?  Fingers crossed, all the lovely independent British brewers caps, and the ahem, occasional Barcardi Breezer lid will be going into a smart yet functional trivet, or a stunning artwork, just like this:


Thank you RETTOCAMME for taking these unwanted caps off my hands.  Now I very rarely drink, and my current local authority recycles 97% of its waste, I'm moving with the times and will no longer be stocking caps or corks in my shop.  But I may yet treat myself to one of those trivets to remind me of times past, you can't beat a bit of Brooklyn Lager...