Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Maori and Marmite...

Well, I'm still here. I've lost count of how many overs of cricket I've watched now. I started to keep a tally but that got boring. Bank Holiday Monday was spent watching three 20-20 matches. For those of you who have no idea, that's 120 overs of cricket which took approximately from 11am through to 8.30pm. Ugh. Jake played in the first of those and the last, so at least I had the pleasure of reading my book whilst snug in the car (with the slightest hint of sun behind the clouds) for the entire second match.

Oh and what a book. The first I've really enjoyed for a while. I dusted it off and read the first few pages. It didn't look promising. I read a few more pages and thereafter it was one of those unputdownables. That isn't a word but it should be. I didn't even realise until a little way through that there was a handy glossary of Maori phrases at the back. It doesn't spoil the read if you aren't fluent. I'm guessing it's one of those books that's a bit like Marmite. You'd either love it or hate it, I loved it, and I love Marmite too!

The Bone People will be a hard act to follow.

As well as reading good books and watching cricket (and washing mountains of kit) I've been steadily working on my earrings. I'm getting more technical but often the simpler designs are the best. I enjoy the designs that involve whacking holes with my hollow punch set or setting eyelets best! M has started on these rustic display cases for me (crap photo's, sorry!). Currently waiting to be hinged together and fitted with a clasp and carrying handle. My contribution was measuring out and screwing in all those pesky hooks. Fifty per case and there will be two cases eventually. I've made almost fifty pairs for one display case and I think I will bite the bullet and book a small local craft fair when I've made enough to fill the second case. I'm doing some simple necklaces too. Since acquiring some leather offcuts most of the designs now incorporate leather. It won't please the vegans (as Ella pointed out) but at least they are industrial offcuts and therefore a recycled product of sorts.

Ella wore the black and silver leather pair (pictured top right in the last photo) out for the day last week, and again today and they looked quite eye catching. M did mention that for every pair she decides to snaffle it's a pair I can't sell but we told him that they needed to be road tested first!

I haven't dreamt up a name for this little sideline of mine yet. Eventually I will be able to move my little wooden table and tools into our shepherds hut and spread out a bit. It's taking over our sunlounge/living room at the moment. If they actually sell I will stick with it and do a few fairs per year. If not, my hut will become a crochet and reading den (and spare bedroom for guests!).

We attempted to kick start our hut building by buying some authentic wheels from ebay. Unfortunately the seller turned out to be a time wasting idiot. We have at least been refunded. Back to the drawing board. I'm reluctant to use ebay again so we will be visiting a few salvage yards soon. M won't hear of buying a hut kit, more's the pity. At least this year he has admitted that we need industrial hedge trimming gear for our beech and laurel hedges, and help with filling in an old pond/flower bed to create a third parking space for Ella's new car.  I'm secretly hoping we can also have a new path laid so that I can hang the washing out without wearing Wellies to tackle the cow parsley lawn. This is where Jake playing men's cricket comes in very handy; there's not a trade that isn't covered amongst the various teams he plays for. Landscape gardener? Tick.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

That time has come...

Having a large gin at 11.30 in the morning would be wrong wouldn't it? I mean why?

Putting a teenager in front of a steering wheel is crazy. I need the gin, and I'm not even the one in the passenger seat...yet.

Did I tell you that I had the final hair cut that revealed the grey in all it's silver glory? It's rapidly turning white as we speak. I can just see her eyeballs roll when I trot that joke out at the next fifteen cricket matches.

We are extremely fortunate that M's previous job was driving instructor extraordinaire. Apparently he had a first time pass success rate of 96%, but as we keep sniggering, 'he didn't have Ella to teach did he?!'

She asked why I call her 'spatially challenged'. I say it's because despite advice to the contrary she cannot get the hang of NOT leaving her doc martins or converse boots in the middle of a room where someone could trip over them. Despite having three days of 'home alone' and becoming more familiar with the dishwasher she still can't seem to get the hang of putting dirty dishes IN it. Our dual section laundry basket marked LIGHT and DARK completely bamboozles her.

E was absolutely amazing as a small child at certain things. She seemed to have a photographic memory, indeed memory games were a breeze. Put thirty random household items on a tray, show her the tray, take one item away and ask which one was missing and she'd get it every time, and she was not even three. Fast forward three years and teaching her to ride a bike was another matter. If she didn't have to pedal she could steer. If she didn't have to steer she could pedal. Putting the two together however, resulted in several short journeys into the nearest ditch.

Right now, at this very minute she is behind the wheel of a car, yes, a C A R, with an engine and everything! On a real road with traffic. Terrifying! I'm home alone, drinking strong coffee (not Gin) playing loud music and periodically talking to the dogs and telling them it will be fine, just fine, and they mustn't worry.

I've taken a detour from crochet lately. I sorted out some art and craft supplies and came across some jewellery bits and bobs. I bought some titchy pliers and a small hammer and I've been having quite a lot of fun bashing eyelets and tweaking wire findings. Nothing too adventurous at this stage but with a few more leather off cuts I could get quite carried away. I've got a Sissix thingy with a tag cutting die which is handy for the backing cards. Most of the designs have met with E's approval and she's had a few 'samples' and worn them out and about so I'm encouraged to try a small craft fair somewhere at some stage. I've done some wooden and tin designs too, I thought I'd do a few 'ranges' and see what sells best.

I quite like the idea of moving my little old desk into the shepherds hut in the garden (when it's built) and working on my earrings with a warm and cosy wood fire going, bare toes on a sheepskin rug, dogs at my feet...ah yes. Paradise.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Sock progress and silver hedgehogs...

I've waivered a little with the crochet sock. For a while it didn't look like it was going to work out. I thought the sizing was going baggy but I now realise it's probably ok and so I've picked it up again and I'm on the home straight! I loved the camouflage bit after the ribbing and now it's boring old stripes but hey, it's a sock, not a work of art!

This is one particular project where I'm grateful for the knit pro hooks I have. I loved the knitting needle version but don't always use them for crochet. It depends on the yarn. In this case the sock yarn is soft enough to wear without discomfort but it's very fine so it seems to catch easily. The slightly longer, slightly more pointed head of this hook makes it much easier to direct it through the small stitches. I find myself moisturising my hands more often with this project too as the yarn picks up the slightest rough skin.

The mug I happened to be drinking tea from whilst photographing the sock is one I call my hedgehog mug, for obvious reasons. I've picked up all sorts of interesting shaped pottery mugs lately, I really must photograph some of them before they too end up smashed on the kitchen floor. We've lost four that way lately.

That's not the only hedgehog in the house so it seems.... I picked another random hairdresser today and had the final inch of dyed hair chopped off! It had paled to a very light brown through not being 'topped up' and repeated washing with clarifying shampoo, it wasn't a bad shade but it was preventing me from seeing just how grey I really am now so I was keen to be rid of it.

With the final swish of the hand mirror so I could see the back I can honestly say I was in shock! Going grey after years of dying should come with a health warning! I spotted my first grey in my twenties and back then I didn't think through the implications of dying it out, it was just something I thought women automatically did. It would have been less of a shock to just let it happen over the years but maybe I needed the confidence of not having grey hair when I was in my twenties and thirties. In my forties I just want to be me.

It's a little shorter than I'd choose but that's not providing the shock factor every time I look in the mirror, it's the colour. I don't think it will be many years now until it's white. It's certainly very pale now. The kids have handled it reasonably well. Jake is just genuinely puzzled as to why I want to cut that last bit of dyed hair out, or why I'd want to stop dying it anyway. E gave me a sideways look that said she wasn't sure. Before she went out on a babysitting job I asked if she was thinking of running a brush through her hair (it had the wild windswept look about it) and she said that she wasn't which was fair enough but she couldn't help adding, 'says the woman with hair like a silver hedgehog'. Quite like the use of the word silver but wasn't very flattered about the hedgehog! It doesn't stick up that much!