Thursday, 21 February 2013

Nonsense/ disillusionment with Pinterest

Oscar Wilde didn't say this. What a pile of crock. What, was he sitting predicting the someday future escalation of motor vehicle use in his breaks from writing De Profundis? And can you imagine Oscar saying you don't love someone for their looks? Did he love Bosie for his interesting opinions and gentle nature?

Where do they get these Pinterest rubbish inspirational quotes that aren't?!!! Honestly. I shall have to stop looking at it.

And instead, I shall give you an alternative quote which is actually real, because I've just been listening to it:

Maybe there's a god above 
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.

Me too, Leonard. Me too.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

WIP Wednesday. It's ugly: but it's done

Today I'm doing a WIP Wednesday post, with thanks to the link party on Tami's Amis - the post is here.
O how I love you, Stylecraft Special DK in questionable colours
My first WIP is actually not a WIP, it is a FO. For those of you who come here for the cats and pole dancing, by this I mean, it is a finished object, not one in progress. I am not sure it is very attractive: in fact, I think it probably is not. However, I have been having the Devil's Own Job finishing anything at all, recently, and I kept starting new things, thinking, some day I will start something and it will be the One Thing which will be so effortless that I will finish it without even noticing. And then that will propel me to unearth all the other terrible lurking things and then finish them too. And then I will be a better person. Anyway, this one I did finish! So perhaps it was indeed the One Thing which will lead to me becoming a better person! I do hope so. It's a shame it's slightly questionable. I'm getting a seventies vibe, I'm getting Nag Champa, I'm getting Patsy's mother, I'm getting accessorising with brown and mushrooms...

The fence-gallery back in action, hooray
If you would like to make one too (and I can't imagine I haven't sold you on it), it's actually a kit from Get Knitted, using Stylecraft Special DK, and it was an excellent bargain, especially with free postage - nice clear pattern (I know it's just a granny square), and it's ended up a good lap quilt size, so will be very functional. It is folded up in our living room on the pouffe waiting for me to fall asleep under it in front of Judge Judy.

However I suspect my real Work-In-Progress is dealing with the backlog of Lurking Projects that for some reason I have not had the motivation to finish, but you'll be glad to know I'm making inroads there too. I dragged out my Noro Striped Scarf (pattern here - knitted as written), and I have cast off but am just finishing weaving in the ends.

Too Stressed For Noro
I'm sure I'm unusually neurotic, but I find knitting stripes with Noro a surprisingly stressful experience. This is the theory, for those of you Noro-virgins who clearly have more sense than I, who cannot resist a bit of colour: Noro has long colour runs, so, if you stripe different balls, you will have gradually varying stripes which contrast in delightfully changing ways, and it will be the perfect balance of control and surprise. What actually happens is that within about an inch you give up on the idea of delightfully changing anything and just hope for the two balls to be sufficiently different so that you can tell your scarf is striped and you will not have to cut, wind, and join another bloody end in again.

Because, however perfectly you start, and however utterly your two colours are contrasted - say, yellow and purple - within a few hundred yards there you see it sneaking up on you: the same brown on each ball. The same dark brown! So then you find yourself desperately counting coils of yarn to see if there is any chance of you getting the brown on one ball over with and started on the pink before you are in the darkest brown part of your other ball, and if you have an all-brown bit for a few inches whether that will look ugly. Or, you convince yourself that you actually have got a contrast, when, strictly speaking you haven't, which is why I have not shown you the twelve inches of muddiness in the photo above. One of my noros just gave up and became entirely green for half of its life, which meant I had to cut out all the green in the second ball, which made me furious, and means there are so many ends in one half of my scarf that it is all quite silly. And then at the point where I had nearly finished, I discovered one ball was full of knots, and at this point I was just about ready to email them, and I had to remind myself that knitting is a delightfully relaxing hobby and how meditative I was finding the whole experience.

Anyway. I have another project on the go now but I will not jinx it by showing it too soon. I will unveil it next week. The Lurking Things Project won't be done in a short time, you know: there are layers and layers of unfinished horrors. It's like sedimentary rock formation in our back bedroom. As someone with fewer scruples than me once said: I'll Be Back.

(For more (and frankly possibly better) WIPs, go and have a look at Tami's blog! - Hope you find something good ;-) )

Monday, 18 February 2013

One last pussy

Just indulge me. We're back to knitting soon (or, crochet! I crocheted something! Or, my thoughts on burlesque, fan dancing, or the Beauty Myth as it applies to yoga),
I stare moodily at the river
Whyohwhyohwhy don't I live on a cool boat with a big fat cat, being counter-cultural? It would be great. I would cook thrilling veggie meals on my little stove, and there would be homemade crochet throws on my bed and I would wear vintage and have a nose piercing.* I would drink red wine and lean back on my tie-dye cushions and I would talk to my cool friends about Important Things, perhaps strumming a few chords on my guitar, and I would not moan about not having a spare room and a kitchen diner at all ever.
It's all in the shading, you see. Somebody take me to the theatre
I just liked this poster. I should go back to drawing nudes, actually I could just follow Partner round with a pencil, especially when the weather is a bit warmer. That would be cheaper too.

The Foggy Knitter recommended an excellent blog - Streetmogs - for those of you who like to see these naughty creatures in the wild, so, this is one for you, Aunty Kath. When Partner has retired, he has occasionally stated his intention to exploit Cambridge's one enormous natural resource and run Pussy Safaris, where he will stride the backstreets of Cambridge with a flag and a posse of highly-paying tourists, shouting, 'Come on down here, if you're lucky you might see the great big hairy one who lives at number 52, and then we're off to the pub'. I am divided on whether this will be a healthy pursuit for Partner: however at least he will get some fresh air and exercise.

* I absolutely want a nose piercing. But allergies and reasons.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Stuff to buy, offers, expire tomorrow

Just a very quick post to tell you about a couple of offers which end tomorrow, just in case you do not get as many newsletters/ offers in your inbox as me because you are not quite as utterly financially incontinent and a great big old sucker,

First, Craftsy, which I had never looked at before, because it had videos: because, if you even tried to look at google on the last computer and open ITunes at the same time it used to crash and you had to restart it and swear. Anyway, Craftsy has got up to 75% off its video classes until tomorrow. I think £6.30 is a reasonable amount to pay for a class, especially considering you can do these in the comfort of your own computer room and don't even have to put your pants on, whereas if you go out of the house to a workshop you not only (generally) have to pay more money, but you also have to have on your company manners (and your pants). Also, often you have to stand about in draughty church halls drinking coffee with powdered milk in it, whereas here at home I have my nice organic Soya and proper Yorkshire Tea, why do I ever leave the house I wonder. (Craftsy also have lots of free classes, scroll to bottom, so you can try them out before laying down cold hard cash).

Secondly, half price on Sew Daily magazines, here - you can get 4 for £9.99 dollars, that is probably about £7 or so, and so if you use but one pattern from each magazine ever then that makes it worth it. Also runs out tomorrow. I may or may not have just bought something and I can confirm that if you take up this offer you will never, ever want for a pattern for an apron, a table runner, or a clutch bag again. Yes. As God is your witness, you will never go clutchless (and also remember: tomorrow is another day).

Friday, 15 February 2013

I had so much fun today. And I'm on fire

Just to show you some pictures.
Light on the water! We have had no light here since the middle of last September so you can understand why I was excited
It was like Spring here today so after my yoga class I walked the exciting way home over my Favourite Bridge. Partner thinks it is the height of tragedy to have a favourite bridge, but I am sure there are people in Paris who have strong feelings one way or another about the Pont Neuf so why I can't have a favourite bridge and a favourite walk I do not know.

I do not have a strong sense of direction but the way Cambridge seems to work is as follows: the centre and the posher side are on one side of the river, and obviously our house is on the other side. So that means I can walk home along the river, and choose which of a number of bridges I cross, and then cut across through various small terraced streets depending on things like, do I want to go to the Co-op, do I want to be waylaid by felines. I do not often go over my Favourite Bridge because it is a longer walk so, you know, it has the charm of novelty.

Our walk starts in the centre where someone was making the mistake of feeding the birds not knowing that the birds in Cambridge are as assertive as the cats and you do not mess.
Good luck getting out of this one, man with bag of bread
We move along a bit to where I came across some yarn bombing.
They come in the night and they make your lampposts woolly
Who is the mysterious Cambridge yarn bomber? It is not me because I can't knit quickly enough. (Oh, God. At work we were looking online at coffin prices for reasons which are just too bizarre, and did you know you can get a woolly coffin? But felted, not garter stitch. And also you can get one with a photograph of cherry blossoms on it, and matching pyjamas for the corpse).

Then I moved on to the other bit of the river and saw a dog out enjoying the spring air.
Can you spot the dog there?
I always want to live on a boat although then I think about chemical toilets and doubt myself. Anyway there were actually boats for sail for less equity than we have got in our house so I may yet throw in the rat race and go feeding people tea and oranges.

Then unfortunately it happened.
I don't know why they do this at you. We had rolling, then wandering up to be stroked, then rolling again and passersby probably wondering what I am doing
I never met so many of these creatures until Partner started pointing them out, but, what he did not tell me was that once I had the Power I could never be rid of it and would have to roam leafy suburbs like a kind of Tithonus, i.e. even the Gods can't take away their gifts and I am doomed to have cats throwing themselves at me forever.
Top bridge Evar. Pedestrians on the black, cyclists on the red, you can see it is working in practice
Here it is! My favourite bridge! I don't know why I don't find people standing and admiring it. It has a gap in the middle so the cyclists can separate from the walkers and it has a viewing platform too. I know someone who in her youth once came and bought a donkey from travellers in the meadow it overlooks, no-one has offered me a donkey yet but I would not have far to go to take it home.
Where a church hall notice board is, there must a zumba advert be
Notices on a church hall notice board. I always like to have a look because I am absolutely the type of person who goes off randomly attending the kinds of things they advertise, in fact, I shall be keeping an eye open for this food fair.

And a nice stained glass window from a pretty church I sometimes call in.
I suspect this depicts Jesus but who the others are I couldn't tell you
I have it on good authority from a Christian friend that even though I am a hedgewitch it is fine to go in churches and I will not be struck down like on the Omen. They are nice quiet places. I admire one of the altar cloths in this one but they did not have it on today so I took the window instead.

Spring! Thank goodness! At last! Hope it is nice weather where you all are x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Playing with photo booth

novelty will wear off soon

A new way of Bringing Up Issues

Partner has sent me a passive-aggressive Valentine's card.

Strangely enough, the other day I was thinking, I wonder if actually I have too many hobbies and whether I should cull them, in order not only to have more time to be spending staring into space, but also so I could do a few things well rather than a lot of things indifferently. Then today Partner presented me with the following.
That's how I feel when they say 'and now we come into wheel pose', bugger off with your wheel pose
With this message inside.
Obviously, the best way to point out someone's character flaw is to do it through the medium of a cutesy kitten, and I think we can all take our respective hats off to Partner for that one. Despite that, however, as I had been thinking, I have made the following list:

Hobbies I do reasonably actively (i.e. at least once a fortnight or so):

  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Yoga
  • Pole
  • Theatre
  • Cooking/ baking cakes

Hobbies that I have not been doing quite as actively and wish to do more often:

  • Guitar
  • Oil painting
  • Sketching of nudes
  • Active Blogging
  • Burlesque
  • Tie Dyeing!!!!!
  • Soapmaking
  • Developing my tarot reading

Things I wish to try although may not take up:

  • Dance
  • Swimming (have got a costume but am concerned re side coverage)
  • Pottery
  • Screenprinting

Things I feel I ought to do but actually do not want to:

  • Bloody Gardening
  • Reading, apart from books on wicca/ yoga, while on train, or popular 'erotica' when I find myself miserably ensconced in a long ridiculous court case
  • Watching Improving Films

What should I Bin From Life? (also why isn't my bin purple, why are these people special hey hey hey?)

You see, in a way, that is quite a lot, and I am beginning to wonder if, for the next stage of my exciting ongoing midlife crisis, it would be an interesting experiment to cull. To make things more manageable, I have been telling myself that a lot of my hobbies are just sub-branches of the same thing - e.g. theatre is very like burlesque, yoga is essentially the same as pole, etc etc, and, if I am creative enough, I can basically reduce the above list to three things:

  • Things where I poke a bit of string about
  • Things where you spend some of the time leaning quite a long way backwards
  • Things involving being in the kitchen and stirring things,

But I do wonder if that is just sophistry and whether, if I concentrated my efforts more, I could, ooh I don't know, have a one-woman burlesque show touring the Fens by this time next year or have quilted something large enough to cover the house. I am going to think. I am doing a fan-dancing workshop on Sunday, and I am going to think quite carefully after that. Because when one has recovered from one's crisis, one may wish to focus. Or one may not. This will take thought. In the meantime I crochet away doggedly on my blanket, three rows to go.

Do you ever feel you do too many things? Or more, if you did fewer things you could get even more out of the ones you were concentrating on?

Monday, 11 February 2013

Grey day

I try not to wish my life away, but I wish it were Spring. And apparently it's going to be minus 10 on Wednesday. Minus 10! This is terrible. It's a good job I've booked in for Hot Pilates.
If I look down though I can see a car wash and sometimes they hose down a kebab van and it's really exciting
The view from my window at work, I do think it's pretty though a little bleak. I keep thinking I will make some kind of a canvas based on these trees, with a coloured background perhaps in acrylic and then the trees all stark and linear in black. If I knew how to paper cut this scene would be beautiful (I do know how to papercut, you need a cutting board and a Swann Morton craft knife with a 10A blade, go and pick one up in your local friendly art shop. I know how but do not have the skill),
Utterly incapable of possessing a non-creased duvet cover. I am a failure as a woman and will never ever ever be a blogger with an aspirational lifestyle
Crochet-blanket-in-progress on the new grey Orla Kiely duvet. As I have explained to Partner, we buy whatever duvet is on offer for 70% off at Home Sense and I do not listen to comments about how 'the opening is not big enough and there are too many buttons'. Are we Duvet Reviewers? We are not.

I have to go now to make garlic bread to take round to someone's house for dinner. I've never made garlic bread before. How hard can it be though? Exactly.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

I can't decide

This is a bonus High Art picture for you from a shop my mother and I stumbled upon in Soho before Christmas.
Please don't buy this skull and put it on your mantelpiece if I am likely to be coming to visit
It was an Art Gallery and it was quite odd. It is interesting to have your limits tested and do you know, there was not one single piece of art in that shop that I could have lived with in my house. I mean, it was all interesting and thought provoking, but, nononocat. (I have just googled Art Soho Skulls and this is what it was - it was very interesting. From a distance). On the other hand, Dan (brother) and I went to a Light exhibition at the Hayward last Monday and I did briefly consider just taking everything out of our living room in order to get someone to install a twinkly light thing. It was amazing! I am sure this is because I am Shallow and like Sparkly Things, and have not Come To Terms With Death.
OK, look. It was carpet or computer. Do you know how much these things cost? I'm considering buying a pole as well. NO-ONE TELL PARTNER HE WILL NOT APPROVE AS WE HAVE NO ROOM
These are my ugly granny squares. I am reaching a slight point of desperation as I am Never Finishing Anything so rather than having a bag full of acrylic granny squares of which there were not enough for a throw sitting around, I decided to crochet them into a scarf. Well, now the scarf is halfway done and it is hideous in a way that may actually cause people to stop and stare at me, with a scornful sneer playing around their cruel lips, in the street and I am thinking, what I could actually do, is, border all the granny squares with white, crochet them together, and then do a thick teal border with a lime green (or something) edging, and that would look cool (yes it would, doubters), and would also be big enough. But I can't quite make the move yet to do it (or, you know, to add it to the pile of unfinished things). And then I thought, as I like the idea of a granny square scarf but just found it a teensy bit bright in execution in flourescent Special DK, what I could also do is dig out all the woolly 4-ply odds and ends that are lurking about and crochet a scarf with them. I think I've talked myself into a decision, there, haven't I? Never mind, that's all I need, another unfinished project. I shall get working on my current blanket and then perhaps I will be able to cross that off my list. {Leaves muttering about not enough hours in the day}.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Return of the mac

Well, people, I gave up blogging and now I am blogging again. My IT issues got the better of me – nothing was compatible with my computer any more and it was all just exhausting blah blah blah first world problem. Anyway it turned out there is a solution, which is, to ring up the Apple store and just try not to cry so loudly at the point where you have to give your credit card number that they can’t hear it to put the payment through. So now I have this huge flashy monstrous thing and it is not the same as the old computer blah blah blah first world problem again to which I was emotionally attached, even though it did not actually work any more. Anyway it is all fine, because I have Apple Technical Support and I am going to ring them tomorrow and say, I cannot understand Chrome and why won’t it scroll and what the hell is this thing where if you catch the mouse at the wrong angle everything wiggles and I cannot find the hard drive. I am not a person who likes technical things. This is only Partner’s and my third computer ever, and the first was a Mac Classic. So I am gritting my teeth through the inexplicable wiggling and calling of things ‘launchpad’ – why so? Have Apple mistaken me for Sheldon? Because at least I can load up blogger now and that is an improvement. And now we will be able to watch videos of cats on the internet without going off and making a cup of tea in the middle while it thinks about its buffering. I’ll be fine soon. It’s just taking some getting used to (seriously I know I shouldn’t moan about having a spanking new Apple),

Anyway, any quick developments since you saw me last. Ooh actually here’s one I would have told you if I’d had IT: I’m still Poling, and I’m in the UK Amateur Pole Performer heats in Hertford this July. No, seriously, you read that correctly. Just in case you are now sucking your teeth and thinking oh no this will end badly, it is ok: I am only competing at Beginner level where I spin and do not go upside down, but honestly I do think that is enough of a challenge. I am trying to work towards the splits for my routine, but I am still a way off yet and also something terrible happened to my right hamstring in Pigeon pose yesterday so I don’t know. I have to have a costume of at least hotpants and a crop top, so we are provisionally working on the idea of sequined hotpants and a fuckload of makeup and I am secretly having thoughts about peacock feathers. Any suggestions, don’t be shy: I am going to use this as the music for my routine. I think it will work well (imagine me body rolling to ‘et puis, je fuuuuuuuume’).

You remember I bleached my hair? I’ve just gone pillarbox red with a tiny hint of new romantic in the cut – it looks very cool I think.
Photo on 09-02-2013 at 20.19
That hand's actually attached to me and my face isn't blue! The shelf is quite untidy though. And you see those pictures? I DID THEM

I am too old: I don’t care. I did check at work that there was no dress code: I could see in their eyes that the honest answer to that was, we haven’t needed one until we acquired you how did this happen,

This is entirely and utterly the fault of Vivianne from Kismet’s Companion, who put the thought into my innocent and credulous head many moons ago and who I imagine must feel horribly guilty: I may have attended a burlesque lesson in London. I may be attending a fan dancing lesson in a week or so. I may be considering doing a course of burlesque lessons later on this year. Hmm. Burlesque. It was kind of sort of one of those things that you do and it is like, **mind blown** – I may do a blog post about this one and the Feminist Implications thereof (oh yes!!!) – yes I think I shall,

I’m still doing physical theatre. I signed up for another term. I’m still vegetarian. I’m not going to say anything about Horse Burgers. I’m still with Partner. I’m still distressingly pursued by our feline brethren (mrrrrrooooowwwww!!!). I gave up taking photos because I couldn’t share them and now I shall start again. I can do a headstand now but only against a pole and in a low-ceilinged room (I don’t know why) so Cirque Du Soleil haven’t been in touch quite yet. There, people, that’s me for you. Hello again!

And am I still knitting with all this going on, you may ask? Mais oui, although I have to say I’m not finishing much: but I’ve got a few things on the go I’d like to show you. I’m charging the camera up now for future use. God! It’s like having proper technology again!