Friday, 30 May 2008

Ungrateful little blogger

Actually, I'm not ungrateful, but I have been very remiss. I have received three lovely gifts recently and while I have thanked the senders by email, I have not posted pictures (I am sure this is not the first time I've said this).

Who is this cheeky little gnome snuggled up to Charlie's SuperMarioMushrooooom? Why, it's Hamish McGnomish, who I won in a giveaway from paper-and-string. Thank you Sarah!

Hang on a minute, that's not a gnome, it's a Happy Tree! Sarah's stitching is exquisite. I have no idea how she makes such tiny even stitches, especially given the humungous number of felty cupcakes she creates.

Second off - after I admired Ali's hand carved stamps, she sent me a big block of the carving medium to play with - thanks Ali (but was I really *that* obvious?!) Of course, now I have to actually pluck up courage to carve something - I know what I want to make but I fear my ideas are going to outstrip my ability.

And finally, Elaine from Thimbleina sent me a lovely package of fabric deliciousness and buttons in exchange for a crocheted headband. She even sent me one of her knitted dishcloths that is doing sterling duty in the kitchen. Thank you Elaine, you' re a wonderful swap partner and I FINALLY have your package ready to post.

So, to make up for my tardiness in saying thanks, can I offer you ladies one of these jam-doughnut muffins? They're from Nigella's Domestic Goddess and I've been meaning to make them for years. They are delicious but dangerously moreish ... don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


Thank you all for your lovely kind comments on my last post - I realised afterwards I might have sounded as if I was in two minds about my decision, which I wasn't; it was just a fleeting malaise and now we are raring to go!

So, in my now copious free time (tongue firmly in cheek) I've been needle felting, making some brooches based on this tutorial. I'll spare you the photos of my poor injured fingers.

They were quick and easy and I was thrilled to finally find a local source of wool for felting though I'm quite sure these aren't natural dyes ... There is another felt project on the go but it's not quite finished yet.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

We interrupt this program ...

I don't usually write about work, but today I must. Since 2000 I have proudly worked on this project, starting as a developer and moving up to being one of the (many) project leaders. It has been exciting and hard work and wonderful to feel part of research that has had a huge international impact. It hasn't all been perfect all the time - what is? - but the good parts outweigh the less than brilliant so many times.

But now I've realised that my family, especially the smaller members, need me more at the moment than the computers do; so for the next couple of years I'll be at home with them. I'm excited at the adventure that awaits us, and thrilled to be getting this chance; but still, I'm sadder than I expected to be at leaving such an amazing place.

I'm sorry, for once I've run out of words, so I'll stop now and just show you one of the three cakes I took in to share. Back to fluffy stuff next time, I promise.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Teeny tiny stitches

(Michelle, look away now!)

I am well and truly bitten by the embroidered button bug. I made a set of teeny weeny (well, 1cm) bee buttons with a plan to attach them to hair grips. Well, the first way I tried was deeply unsuccessful, then somewhere, from the depths of the tangled mess that is my brain I dragged up the memory of felt covered hair grips from Angry Chicken. And since I have a lovely stash of felt from paper-and-string, I was all set.

Here are some I've made for Michelle's gorgeous girlies as part compensation for the postage costs of sending me my swap buttons:

(Why didn't I photograph these while the sun was out? Doh!)

Mine are clamouring for some now too. I may go blind.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Going completely Loopy

Sorry, that is the most terrible pun. I am almost, but not quite, ashamed of myself.

I had such a lovely day yesterday! The lovely Alice organised a bloggy trip to Loop for a knitting workshop; I have to confess that I had no idea until I arrived what the workshop was going to be about, but I did know I wanted to go as soon as I found out who else was going - Tracy, Monica, the famous blogless Kristina, and Ali as well as Alice, of course. I am the last to write about this, which given it's only 24 hours since we arrived home is probably some sort of measure of how much fun we all had!

It was a hot hot hot day in Islington, but all was calm and cool in the depths of the Loop basement. Well, that is until we all started to confess our past knitting disasters and giggle and mess about. I felt very sorry for our extremely elegant and very patient teacher Linda, but I hope she secretly enjoyed it as much as we did.

We learned all about different techniques for sewing together pieces of knitting, making buttonholes that actually look like buttonholes and not mistakes, and three needle casting off - it's a wonder I didn't have to have a quiet lie down before my brain exploded.

There were gifts! Ali made everyone a very lovely little pouch, each one adorned with a personalised stamp, and the stamp itself inside the pouch!! I can't tell you how long I've coveted one of Ali's stamps - and this one couldn't be more perfect for a dotty person who drinks tea till it comes out of her ears. And chocolate from Alice for the Smalls, which disappeared within minutes of my welcome home. You do realise you have attained mythical status with those two, Mrs M?

We feasted under the trees on delicious quiche made by Tracy with eggs from her own chickens, and salads, and wine, and there was even an embroidered tablecloth - the height of sophistication.

Oh, and these cupcakes which we tried to convince Ali she should pretend she had made herself. They were divine - see those pretty things on the top? Dried strawberries. Oh, Yes Indeedy.

What a day it was. The workshop and the food and the wool were all marvellous but the best part was the way everyone chatted and laughed and got on so well it was hard to believe we hadn't all known each other for ages. Thank you for letting me come along, you're all marvellous! We really do need to have a vast blog picnic one of these days ...

Friday, 9 May 2008

This week I have mostly been ... crocheting

Headbands to be precise. I am so pleased with these, it's not true. They're an adaptation of Alice's beaded bracelets, just made about three times as long and with the two ends slip stitched together to make a band. I was going to use a button but decided against it in the end as they're stretchy anyway.

They couldn't be much easier, and they are using up scrumptious Rowan Cotton Glace (a dream to crochet) and glass beads from my stash.

These are the ones I produced for my Blondicles, but I hope they'll look pretty on some gorgeous dark haired girlies I making them for too!

How I wish I could wear one of these without looking very sad indeed.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Wish us luck!

In my capacity as lunatic-who-cannot-say-no, I'm helping to organise a Mini Olympics for the three smallest classes at school tomorrow. We have lots of drinks and snacks, ideas for It's a Knockout-style races, medals for the winners, certificates for everyone who is taking part, and FLAGS!

I started off trying to paint these but they looked absolutely dreadful. Really shockingly bad. So I decided to crack out the bondaweb and applique some instead, as you do.

We have thirty five small competitors on the list so far ...