Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Astronomy Lecture

We got an email sent around at work a few weeks ago about a public lecture about the Hubble Space Telescope.  I've always been interested in astronomy and, as one of my friends at work said, there would at least be some pretty pictures.

So last Thursday a small group of us made the journey after work into Liverpool for the lecture.  We turned up very early for the lecture and managed to find a pub that had nice food not too far from where it was being held.

The lecture itself was really interesting and talked about the advances that have been made in astronomy with the help of the Hubble Telescope in the 20 years it has been in operation.  Of course there were some amazing photos that Hubble has taken too.

If you want to read more about it you can find it here.  That page also has a link to a video of the entire lecture.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Meet Genghis

This is Genghis the Eagle.

The Boy told me recently that he likes eagles and wolves so I decided I had to make one of these for him.  After looking on Ravelry and just about everywhere on the internet, I found that there are virtually no free eagle patterns.  I could have just made do with a wolf but that seemed far too easy so here is my pattern for a cute little eagle.

He got his name when I made a joke that if The Boy named the eagle he would end up with a name like Genghis then realised that it was actually quite a good name after all.

Let me know if there's any problems with the pattern.
It's also available to download as a PDF here

I've been asked for the finished size.  Using a 3.5mm hook my finished Genghis was 3.5 inches tall.


·         3.5 mm crochet hook.
·         Double Knitting or Worsted wool in the following colours:
o   Dark brown
o   White
o   Yellow
o   Black (for eyes)
·         Stitch Markers.
·         Tapestry needle
·         Stuffing.

Pattern:                    (English terms used)


Dark Brown wool

Row 1: chain 18 and slip stitch into first to create a loop.
Row 2: dc around.                                                                      (18 stitches)
Row 3: 8 dc, 2 inc, 8 dc.                                                            (20 stitches)
Row 4: dc around.                                                                      (20 stitches)
Row 5: 9 dc, 2 inc, 9 dc.                                                            (22 stitches)
Row 6: 9 dc, 4 inc, 9 dc.                                                            (26 stitches)
Row 7: dc around.                                                                      (26 stitches)
Row 8: 12 dc, 2 inc, 12 dc.                                                        (28 stitches)
Row 9: 12 dc, 4 inc, 12 dc.                                                        (32 stitches)
Row 10: dc around.                                                                    (32 stitches)
Row 11: 14 dc, 4 inc, 14 dc.                                                      (36 stitches)
Row 12: dc around.                                                                    (36 stitches)
Row 13: dc around.                                                                    (36 stitches)
Row 14: 14 dc, 4 dec, 14 dc.                                                     (32 stitches)
Row 15: 14 dc, 2 dec, 14 dc.                                                     (30 stitches)
Row 15: (dec + dc) around                                                       (20 stitches)
Row 16: dec around                                                                   (10 stitches)
Row 17: decrease until hole is closed.  Fasten off and sew in ends.


White wool

Row 1: 6 dc in a magic ring                                                         (6 stitches)
Row 2: increase in every stitch                                                  (12 stitches)
Row 3: (inc + dc) around                                                              (18 stitches)
Rows 4-7: dc around                                                                      (18 stitches)
Row 8: dc around and slip stitch to close                              (18 stitches)
Row 9: (1 ch, 1 tr in same hole, 2 ch, ss) around to form 9 peaks.   
Slip stitch and finish off leaving long tail to sew.

Wings  (make 2)

Dark Brown wool

Row 1: 6 dc in a magic ring.                                                      (6 stitches)
Row 2: (dc +inc) around.                                                            (9 stitches)
Row 3: dc around.                                                                         (9 stitches)
Row 4: (2 dc + inc) around.                                                        (12 stitches)
Row 5: (3 dc + inc) around.                                                        (15 stitches)
Row 6: dc around.                                                                         (15 stitches)
Row 7: (3 dc + dec).                                                                      (12 stitches)
Row 8: dc around.                                                                         (12 stitches)
Row 9: dc around.                                                                         (12 stitches)
Row 10: (2 dc + dec) around.                                                    (9 stitches)
Row 11: dc around.                                                                      (9 stitches)
Row 12: (dc + dec) around.                                                       (6 stitches)
Row 13: dc around.                                                                     (6 stitches)
Row 14: dec around.                                                                   (3 stitches)
Fasten off leaving tail to sew to body.

Feet      (make 2)

Yellow wool

6 ch, ss into first loop, (6 ch, ss into same loop) repeat twice.
They should look like the ones shown below:


Yellow wool

Row 1: 2 ch.
Row 2: 3 dc in second loop from hook and turn.                   (3 stitches)
Row 3: 1 ch, inc, dc, inc.  Turn.                                                    (5 stitches)
Row 4: ch, inc, 3 dc, inc.  Turn.                                                    (7 stitches)
Row 5: ch, 7 dc.  Fasten off leaving long tail to sew.

Making Up

Stuff the body and head. 
Sew the head onto the body using the row before the fancy edging leaving the edging loose.
Flatten the wings and sew onto the body.
Sew up the two shortest sides of the beak to form a cone.  Stuff and sew onto the head.
Sew the feet onto the body.
Sew eyes on with black wool.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Homemade Pie

We made summer fruit pie yesterday and it is so tasty.
Here it is:

Since we started watching Pushing Daisies a few years ago we have been inspired to make more fruit pies.  It is such a happy program that it makes you want to dress in a cute vintagey way and bake pies all the time.

On the DVD box for the first one it says that this program looks like Tim Burton is the new director of CBeebies which in itself is an amusing image.  If you haven't seen it already I definitely recommend it.

Big News

I passed my driving test!!!

Being on the test was actually really relaxing and I preferred it to being on a driving lesson.

I probably won't be driving any time soon and I know I won't be getting myself a car due to petrol and insurance costs but it is definitely a valuable skill to have.

My Mum made me a little good luck car rather than a card:

It went with me in my bag to the test so proved itself to be lucky.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Formula One in Canada

The race this weekend was really thrilling! - Well, apart from the two hours in the middle when there was no racing.

I did get a fair amount of knitting done in that time so it wasn't wasted.

Wet races are always the most exciting; and it was Canada too with it's famous 'wall of champions.' 
I think it was 3 safety cars, a further 2 safety car restarts and a red flag followed by a 2 hour wait for the rain to go off.

I can't believe Vettel spun on the last lap allowing Button to win and I was gutted that Michael Schumacher didn't manage to keep his second place after the restart as Button and Webber managed to pass him because they used their DRS.

Mum and I have our own teams of five drivers and Mum picked decent drivers but I went for underdogs so as per usual my team didn't do as well as I hoped.

I'm making progress with my knitting projects though - the back of Beau is complete and I'm almost finished the last sleeve of Glint.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Looking For Inspiration

I've been busy scanning Ravelry looking for some ideas for what to crochet.  I'm thinking of a crochet motif t-shirt or a japanese doll amigurumi but I can't seem to be inspired to choose a project or start anything.

Eve sent me this funny picture the other day as she knows I love Disney Beauty and the Beast:
It made me laugh so much when I first saw it.

At work today they were impressed with the work I've done this week - which I was very proud of!  We're sat watching Pushing Daisies now as it is so cheerful and sweet.

Anyway I ought to be choosing a project to keep me amused, or maybe I should just get back to my knitting Beau for The Boy.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Highlight Of My Week!

(Or more precisely the thing that holds my week together otherwise it'd just tail off in the middle)
And here it is:
I am a bit of an Apprentice fan - some of the stupid things the contestants say is just hilarious!  Sadly that means no watching a film tonight but we don't mind.  Today's task is about selling rubbish.

Also - is there going to be a Bahrain Grand Prix or not?

I'm not really bothered either way but it would be lovely to have a fixed decision.  If it's still not definitely safe then it is best not to have a race there obviously as there's no point taking risks.

Eve brought home her English reading list today and it certainly is inspiring - it looks like I've got a new list of suggestions for books to read on the trains now!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Totoro again!!!

After another hard day of work today we've decided to watch My Neighbour Totoro again as it's such a lovely film.  Here is the mini Totoro I made recently:

At work they ran out of jobs for me to do so I was assigned transferring questionnaire results into a spreadsheet and then making pretty graphs so they can be presented some time next week.

I love Venice, even though I've never been, and so when Mum and Eve went shopping in Chester a few weeks ago they got me this little porcelain mask as it looks a bit like a Venetian mask:

As well as some books to read on the long train journeys to work every day.  I've almost finished the first one though so it looks like I'll be asking them for more books soon.

Monday, 6 June 2011

First Day of Work

I survived!!!  I'm home now.  Not feeling as tired as I thought I'd be.

I've been assigned a task to work on but it's analysing data using software that I'm unfamiliar with and my supervisor has gone to Cambridge so I am left on my own struggling through the work.

I have to get up at 6am tomorrow as I start work at 8.30 so I'll be in bed very early tonight to catch up.

We're sat watching Hot Fuzz now as the DVD arrived while I was at work (it feels weird saying that).  I ordered some presents for The Boy as rewards for working hard during exams and they've arrived now too.

Hopefully I'll be more awake tomorrow night - I'm not getting much of Beau done.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Some Housekeeping

I realised today that I am losing track of all the projects I am working on at the moment so I decided to make a list with links to the ravelry pattern pages.

I've decided that I'm going to knit some of Beau (or maybe Glint) every night after work to try and make some progress on it.  It is growing, but slowly, and The Boy keeps hassling me about when it will be finished.

Also in relation to my pattern post I found this really funny I Can Has Cheezburger picture:

At the moment I am busy enjoying my freedom by watching The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night with my sister.  We always used to watch it when we were younger and it does have some great lines - mostly just because of the amazing scouse accents :)

I am going to spend the rest of the day relaxing, probably watching more films, and playing The Sims 2.  We watched Totoro yesterday and it was even better than I thought it would be!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Mini Soot Sprites

This is my very first pattern.  I was trying to find a pattern for Soot Sprites from the Studio Ghibli films and was unable to find anything small enough so I just made it up.  I ended up making 4 of these adorable little Soot Sprites – using up the remains of my supply of this wool.

Hope you enjoy making this simple project as much as I did.

You can download the PDF here.


·         4 mm crochet hook.
·         About 2.5 metres of fluffy or novelty yarn – I used Sirdar snowflake (which has been discontinued) but Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake or another novelty yarn would work just as well.
·         Stitch Markers.
·         A small amount of stuffing.
·         10mm googly eyes (or similar size)


As the yarn was fluffy, I couldn’t really see the stitches so I used 6 stitch markers with one in a different colour to mark the start of the row.  This enabled me to see where I was meant to be putting my crochet hook so I could get the right number of stitches.  This worked perfectly until the final decreasing row where it became too fiddly.

As this pattern uses novelty yarn, in order to ensure that the finished soot sprite is fluffy you could fluff it up as you go along (like I did) or turn it inside out if you prefer the way the inside looks.

Pattern:                    (English terms used)

Row 1: dc 6 in a magic ring                                                                    (6 stitches)
Row 2: increase in every stitch                                                            (12 stitches)
Row 3: dc in each stitch                                                                          (12 stitches)
Row 4: decrease around and stuff (not too firmly)                      (6 stitches)
Row 5: decrease until hole is closed up and slip stitch to end
Fasten off and weave in ends

Other ideas:

You could use pipe-cleaners to create little arms and legs for the soot sprites.

Welcome to my Blog!

Hi, I’m Smiles A Lot.

I’m a natural optimist and love smiling (often manically).

I’ve just completed my second year at Liverpool University studying Electrical Engineering and Electronics (which I love doing).  

Outside of uni, I love to crochet, knit, draw, read, watch films, bake, and do jigsaws and word searches.  My other big hobbies are watching F1 and cricket.  I’ve never been to an F1 race but I watch it on TV almost religiously.

I have finally got around to making my own blog after being jealous of my Mum’s blog (yellowpinkandsparkly) for years and also being told that I had to wait until my summer exams were over.

The only way I got through my exams was by imagining all the wonderful things I could treat myself to when they were over.  The list started off as the DVD of My Neighbour Totoro which I have wanted to see for a while but, sadly, I missed it when it was shown on TV recently.   

 The DVD of Hot Fuzz quickly joined the list too as I’ve seen it so many times and just love it!

Besides F1, the other thing I am weirdly obsessive about is playing The Sims 2.  Although my poor boyfriend (The Boy) doesn’t understand why I like playing this game he is sweet enough to buy me expansion packs as presents and so I have been saving one (Open for Business) to play ONLY after these darn exams had finished. 

I’m sure I’ve said enough about exams – they are gone now.

I start work at my first ever job on Monday.  I’ll be working in the research and development department of a power/electrical engineering company.  This means that, instead of having a nice, relaxing lie-in on the first week-day of the summer holidays, I will be getting up at a ridiculous time and spending over an hour on trains to get to work bright and early.