Archive for December, 2009

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End of Year Musings

December 31, 2009

Its New Years Eve, and it feels like I was just coping with Christmas just yesterday.

(Am I the only one who finds this time of year incredibly tiring?)

I am hoping to have more to say in the new year and to update more than these weekly musings but I felt a last one of the year was warranted so here it is:

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Bored of the cold now. *pouts* Would definitely like no more snow and no more ice but as they areboth  forecast for the end of next week,  no chance there.

I’m looking forward to the arrival of spring, and my snowdrop bulbs are just starting to stick their little shoots above the soil.

Some of my simple pleasures:

Having rediscovered my favourite Turkish Apple Tea. I just need to find somewhere nearby that stocks it now!

Enjoying the gifts I recieved for xmas and planning what I’d like to spend the yarn vouchers I received on.

On my bedside table:

The first, second and third books of His Dark Materials. I found a copy of The Subtle Knife in our local second hand bookshop. Its nice seeing all the little details that had been left out of The Golden Compass film etc.

On my TV:

Well, as I’m staying in tonight its going to be Jools Holland’s Hootenanny.

Tomorrow Night it will be Doctor Who of course.

On my Mp3 Player:

The Abney Park album I got for Xmas. I am rather taken with the song ‘Airship Pirate’.

On the menu for tonight:

Gin and Tonic, and chocolate….Oh, food?

Something childish and simple like chicken goujons, chips and baked beans. I don’t feel like thinking today :-p

On my To Do List:

  • Take some project photos.
  • Take down decorations.
  • Make my doll some clothes. Yes, she’s very cold.

Done from last weeks To Do List:

  • Wrap presents and put them under the tree – done, obviously. The presents were ripped open and enjoyed by all.
  • Knit on my cowl – finished it in time to wear it on Xmas eve.
  • See the doctor yet again – done. Actual blood test results were given to me – instead of the incorrect ones I had been given which means I discovered on Xmas eve I have deficiencies of Iron, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid, so I am on tablets and will be retested in a couple of months, and my diagnosis is back in limbo till we discover if this is the underlying cause of my symptoms or just another complication.

New Recipe I’m trying next week:

The fella got Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food from me for Xmas so we will be trying a new recipe from that; when he finally decides which one he’d like to try!

In the craft basket:

My finished cowl hat and mitt set that I really need to photo;  in fact, when I’ve finished writing this I will go and charge my camera batteries and do all the project photos I need to.

Looking forward to:

The Ravelympics in February. The  12th -28th 2010.

I’m entering my “blooming bloomers” – my lilac unmentionables.

This project stalled sometime ago, mainly due to knitting socks for the fella, then making a hat, mitt and cowl set for myself for Xmas. They are all done now and its back to work on older projects.I’ve decided this is the perfect candidate for the Ravelympics2010 WIPs-Dancing event: WIPS and only WIPS. Projects must have been cast on at least a month before the games and have been dormant at least a month before the games so it qualifies on both counts.

I’m with team Purplehaze; the team for people who cope with ME/CFIDS/CFS/Fibromyalgia and other fatiguing conditions.

I’m actually looking forward to the Winter Olympics. I really enjoy watching the curling, figure skating, bobsleigh, speed skating and I am thinking about watching the ice hockey this time around.

Projects I hope to work on next year (ravelry links) :

Finishing my hexagon blanket and my bloomers and the socks that are in progress (yes, I’ve had startitis again!).

A belt bag/no hands handbag.

A Tea Mitten teacosy and a matching mug cosy.

A Gnome.

A tanktop or 3.

A knitted Acorn.

A hedgehog or two.

And my first patternwork socks.

Oh, and improving my crochet skills!

(Disclaimer: I reserve the right to forget about this list, change things on it, and make something completely different 😉 )

Lesson learned this last year:

That good, true friends are worth their weight in gold.

That a job you love can change your life.

That listening to what your body is trying to tell you is very important.

Aims for the upcoming Year:

  • To write more;  be it on here, in my journal, articles for Gatehouse Gazette or my short stories.
  • To move house to somewhere with double glazing, insulation,  a bathtub and a washing machine. Another winter in this place may drive me mad.
  • To get healthier and stronger again, but to accept my limitations if that’s what I need to do.
Anyway, have a lovely new year and see you all soon!
TTFN!
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Where did Monday go?

December 22, 2009

Yesterday disappeared into a rush of the last first class posting day before Xmas and going to the supermarket and so, here we are with Tuesday musings again.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Chilly. There is still snow and ice on the ground and I’ve got the heating running most of the time, but it doesn’t half eat gas credits. A house with proper heating and insulation is high on my list of new year wishes.

Some of my simple pleasures:

Playing the Settlers of Catan dice game that we picked up when xmas shopping on Saturday (its utter madness to venture into town, seriously!).Hmm, I wonder if Settlers is where my hexagon obsession started? Oooh I could knit Catan coloured hexagons…oooh.

A nice cup of tea to warm up cold hands.

Getting Christmas presents wrapped and under the tree.

On my bedside table:

The first and third books of His Dark Materials, bought second hand at the weekend. I need to find a copy of The Subtle Knife before I dive in though. Nothing worse than finishing the first and having the third that you can’t read because you need to read the middle one..

On my TV:

Lots of Xmas goodies; Muppet Xmas Carol, Royal Institute Christmas Lectures, Cranford Xmas specials, Wallace and Gromit, Victorian Farm repeats, Victorian Farm Xmas, and many other goodies.

Am looking forward to watching The Snowman, Dr Who Xmas Special Part 1 and 2,  and various Xmas films.

On my Mp3 Player:
I am currently listening to Dreams Underfoot by Charles De Lint, and am finding interesting learning some back story for some of the characters I’d already met in The Onion Girl.

I had to format my Mp3 player recently – it had seized up – so it gave me the opportunity to refill it with music, ranging from Ezio, to a couple of Enter the Haggis songs, to Dar Williams, Emile Autumn, and a whole host of singles from the 80’s and 90’s from pop, to rock. Perfect for dancing in your head.

On the menu for tonight:

Left overs from last night. I made a big (huge even) dish of Pasta, Bacon and Carrots in wholemeal mature cheddar cheese and herb sauce. It will last a couple of days and its good, filling and takes some of the stress off.

Its a variation on a dish my mum used to make me and the rest of the tribe, which had broccoli and cauliflower in it as well.

On my To Do List:

  • Take some project photos
  • Wrap presents and put them under the tree.
  • Knit on my cowl
  • Make my doll some clothes.
  • See the doctor yet again.

Done from last weeks To Do List:

Nothing. Am starting afresh this week.

New Recipe I’m trying this week:

Am making Rabbit and Stout Stew with Dumplings for our festive meal this year. I can get prepared rabbit from the butchers.

In the craft basket:

My craft basket overflow’eth. Therefore I am focusing on my current knitting which is a garter stitch cowl, and then I will focus on at least making my rag doll some underclothing.

Looking forward to:

Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. I’ve always been particularly fond of Christmas Eve. Its when all the excitement and things associated with Christmas really happen.

Lesson learned the past few days:

Entering the Borders (UK) closing down sale was utter madness. As I said at the time, anyone who believes in Chaos theory should go observe.

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Monday Musing and Fever Dreams

December 14, 2009

The weather in my neck of the woods:
I’ve not been outside in days but am assuming from the temperature its not warm or dry out there.

Some of my simple pleasures:
My simple pleasure the last few days has been feeling up to picking up my knitting, working a row or two, and then having to put it down again. But doing that repeatedly meant my knitting grew a little.

On my bedside table:
Charles De Lint’s The Little Country and a book of Arrow words. A notepad – am making notes for my xmas letter – and my meds. I never claimed to be interesting.

On my TV:
We rented a box set of series 2 of 24 last week and are attempting to work through it.

On my Mp3 Player:
Am listening to The Onion Girl again; I should get an Audible credit soon and am buying another Charles De Lint book. If only his books were easier to find! You can find them on Amazon but with shipping they work out very expensive. I shall have to carry on keeping an eye out and generally asking for them for birthdays and things.

On the menu for tonight:
Scrambled Eggs and Pancetta bits, possibly with sauteed new potatoes..also known as Scrumbly Jumbly in this household.

On my To Do List
Get through the week and start the list afresh next week.

Done from last weeks To Do List:
Nothing. I missed my doctors appointment, and between the fella being ill and then my catching it, very little has happened.

New Recipe I tried last week:
None.

New Recipe I’m trying this week:
I’m ill so the urge to bake is upon me. Biscotti want to be baked…damn recipe books…

In the craft basket:
The socks are still there – toe socks made with two sets of needles from opposite ends of the ball.
A scarf cowl thing to match mitts and hat already done…really need photos.
Hexagon knitting – ever present.
Bloomers – body still not finished…

Yeah. I know, I still need to get on with it all don’t I? Perhaps I should add elements on each to my to do list?

Looking forward to:
Getting better again. Unspecified flu like illnesses suck.

Favorite photo from last week:
This one from Farmgirl Fare – its amazingly textural.

Favourite blog post from the last week:
Its been around for a while, but I’ve only just seen it. I WANT this house.

Lesson learned the past few days: That if Fella, who NEVER gets ill, gets sick, then I WILL catch it no matter how many jabs I’ve had and tablets I’ve taken.

-X-

Fever Dreams
Along with the medication I take, having had a temperature the last couple of days and sleeping a lot has made my mind come up with some very odd things.
The oddest dream its given me?
Well; I had my own airship – that in itself is not that strange – but people from DS9 lived on my airship. Dax was the first mate, Kiera was Captain and the lovely Dr B was in the engine room. Even stranger? My cabin was heaped with exquisite yarn and fabric in lovely colours; rich emerald greens, deep reds, peacock teals, plummy purples, marled beauties, stunning greys, jet black, and yarns with sparkles in it.
There was beautiful wood and patchwork everywhere, and it was very nice but a little strange.

And my job on my airship?

To make pretty things. That would be such a cool job. Why isn’t that my job?

We were flying along doing whatever it is you do with an airship; I don’t think we were skypirates, but who knows; and met a giant raven who blew us off course with her wings and we ended up in a strange land…and then I woke up.

And I wasn’t worried about the strange dream. I was annoyed I hadn’t got to explore the strange land.

I worry about me sometimes.

Temperature seems to have abated for now which means slightly less odd dreams for now…but still, I better go to bed. Night All.

(Written on phone so formatting decidedly wonky…)

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Drawing a blank….

December 10, 2009

image

As I said on Monday, I was in the process of aquiring a sketchbook after being bothered by the fact I’ve stopped drawing.

Well, a little while ago my new sketchbook arrived; a A6 Seawhite of Brighton Classic Artists Travel Journal. They are pretty similar in style to my favourite notebooks, Moleskines. They have oilpaper covers, elastic closure bands and a useful little pocket at the back.

I’ve used Seawhite Sketchbooks since I was at college. They were a standard of paper expected by my tutors and lecturers so it seems somehow suitable that I would start drawing again in them.

Only problem?

I really have absolutly no idea what to draw. Inspiration has fled, and I don’t know where to start.

That blank page that haunts writer and artist alike.

I shouldn’t even been thinking about drawing. The fella is ill; he’s running a temperature and feeling horrible.

For the moment I’m escaping symptoms.

Let’s hope it stays that way, huh? Mild for him could be bad for me…

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Monday Musings

December 7, 2009

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Chilled. But its December so what do I expect? I’ve been keeping warm, and knitting things to help keep me warm too.

Some of my simple pleasures:

Friends. I remade contact with a very good friend this week; we’d both ended up in odd places and had lost contact – changes of email etc -and shes like a light come into my life. Its so very good to have her back.

On my bedside table:

My phone, tablets and a bottle of water. Have been too tired the last couple of days to read before sleep  so for the first time in a long time, there isn’t a book on my bedside table…plus I need new books..

On my TV:

Firefly mostly. The fella was out with his pals at Rock City in Nottingham at the weekend so I had my film evening, but it turned into a Firefly Marathon instead, but knitting was done, chocolates were eaten and relaxing happened.

On my Mp3 Player:

3 Daft Monkeys and Emilie Autumn. They are just about keeping me going at the moment.

I want some Abney Park albums to put on there….

On the menu for tonight:

Takeaway as I am DETERMINED to make it to knitting group for the second week running.

On my To Do List.

  • Take some project photos
  • Write some letters.
  • Iron patchwork fabric.
  • Find where my 3mm DPN’s have got to…have I lent them to anyone?
  • See the doctor yet again.

Done from last weeks To Do List:

Make some more hexagons – 2.5 made
Print and Cut Out paper hexagons.

New Recipe I tried last week:

Slow Cooked Garlic – delicious. Slow cooked in wine. Goes sweet and soft. Got rather lost in the rest of the ingredients suggested so just going to use it on its own next time.

Irish Stew – Not as nice as it could have been…you could barely taste the lamb in it and as I had used good meat it was a shame.

New Recipe I’m trying this week:

This week is a week of ordinary meals; tried and tested recipes. The pre xmas rush is upon us and therefore no added complications is essential.

In the craft basket:

  • The socks are still there – toe socks made with two sets of needles from opposite ends of the ball.
  • The mitts I am working on – photos soon
  • Hexagon knitting – ever present
  • Bloomers – body still not finished…
  • Yarn waiting to be made into something in particular…
  • Hexagon papers to cut out for quilting.

Yeah. I need to get on with some of that don’t I….

Looking forward to:

Getting the Christmas presents sorted out so I can relax.

Favorite photo from last week:


This one from Knitting Iris. I don’t know why. It just appeals to me. It may be the owl mug…or the honey, and the pomegranate in the background or the light. I’m not sure. It just appeals.

Favourite blog post from the last week:

Belgian Waffle. Her humour amuses me.

Lesson learned the past few days:

That if you stop doing things you start to lose the skills. I was watching a program last night about Kit Williams and realized I don’t even have a sketchbook in the house at the moment, and I haven’t drawn properly in…several months,  if not over a year. As someone who spent her entire teens working towards being an artist thats scary and somewhat worrying…

Acquisition of a sketchbook is being worked on….I didn’t study for all those years to lose these skills, dammit!

TTFN!

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For one week only, Tuesday Musings

December 1, 2009

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Cold, very very cold. It was so frosty last night that I had to wear socks and a jumper to bed…and today I am wrapped in blankets, and have a hot water bottle and a wheat bag.

Some of my simple pleasures:

My honey lip balm from my friend Debs company Scented Alchemy. The smell just makes me feel comforted and loved and it makes my lips feel lovely.

I cashed in my money box and bought myself a new winter cardigan – its long, chunky, its deep deep purple, it has a shawl collar,  and it has pockets 🙂

On my bedside table:

Robin Hobb’s The Ship of Destiny, part of a trilogy.

I’m slowly reading it, as its heavy and my hands ache at the moment.

On my TV:

Tonight I’ll be watching Paradox, which is an utterly ridiciulous show, about detectives solving things that are yet to happen after getting photos from the future via a astrophysics lab.Its just so out there, I can’t not watch. It is a serious suspending your disbelief show though.

On my Mp3 Player:

I seem addicted to audio books at the moment and I have The Onion Girl by Charles De Lint on there at the moment. I am a member at Audible and get one download credit a month.

He’s a Canadian writer who is credited with popularizing the gender of urban fantasy – that is fantasy set in a modern(ish) urban environment. I’m particularly enjoying a series set around a particular imaginary city called Newford and wish more of his books are available as audiobooks, or in the UK.

On the menu for tonight:

Hoisin Duck Pancakes from the supermarket. I am making all other dinners for the rest of this week from scratch so I can get away with a couple of nights of ready meals.

On my To Do List.
Make some more hexagons.
Iron patchwork fabric.
Print and Cut Out paper hexagons.
Take some photos for the blog.
Make my xmas present to myself.

Done from last weeks To Do List:

Work on my rag doll – I’ve finished her hair!
A couple more hexagons made.

New Recipe I tried last week:

That salad I was talking about a few weeks back? Well, I made some and it was a success. Bulgar Wheat, Pomegranate seeds, and the piece de resistance; slow cooked butternut squash braised in thyme and apple juice based on this recipe here.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup apple juice – I used pressed apple juice
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 cups 1-inch chunks peeled and seeded butternut squash

Combine all ingredients in the insert of the  slow cooker.  Cover and cook on high for 2 – 3 hours until the squash is tender.

The orginal recipe contained added sugar but I left it out again. It really didn’t need any additional sweetness.

I used the apple juice it had been cooked in, with all its scented wonderfulness to cook my bulgar wheat in. YUM!

Will be making it again at the weekend.

New Recipe I’m trying this week:

I’m trying a couple; Slow cooked garlic and herb pasta, and Irish Stew, both from a cookbook the fella bought me a couple of months ago.

In the craft basket:
Start some socks for myself – I’m making some toe socks! I’m even doing the two socks at once method; 2 sets of DPN’s and making two cuffs, making two legs, 2 heels and so on. I’ve got them done as far as the legs at the moment.
Hexagon papers to cut out for quilting.

Looking forward to:

Having a decadent film evening on Saturday while the boy is out with his mates. Am thinking a musical (possibly Rent) ,Little Women, and Young Victoria, some knitting, a duvet, a box of chocolates,  a pot of tea or two, slippers, pyjamas and an unplugged phone.

Favorite photo from last week:

This one from Farmgirl Fare – Donkeys Daphne and Fernando with an empty treat bucket. I just love the look they are giving the camera “Why are you taking our picture when you should be filling this bucket, hmm? Well?”

Favourite blog post from the last week:

Posy has been on a trip to York. Lovely pictures.

Lesson learned the past few days
That fairy lights really can make a place feel warmer and cozy, especially on a Christmas tree.

TTFN!