Monday, 31 December 2012

Last Finished Object of the Year

I wanted to blog about the cowl I finished before the end of the year.  I started it ages ago and had been taking it with me everywhere so I always had something to knit.  The pattern is 'Simple Ribbed Cowl'.

It was knit on circular needles and was the first project I had knitted this way.  Knitting on circular needles is not as difficult as I thought it would be and it was good fun seeing people's reactions to it (mostly confusion but one friendly lady started chatting to me about it while we were waiting for a train together).

Here is the finished cowl:

I loved the colour of this wool as soon as I saw it and the tweedy colours add to the texture of the final cowl.

Here is a close-up of the textures:

I've already started a project I was saving for 2013 as I got too excited when I found some lovely wool in the sale in John Lewis and couldn't wait.  It is a shawl called 'Trillian' named after a character in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and is the first pattern I've bought directly from Ravelry.  It's also my first project on 4-ply yarn.

It is knitting up quite quickly although I know I have a long way to go.  Hopefully 2013 will bring a lot of fun new projects.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Did you have a lovely Christmas?

I did!  Christmas seemed to come around so quickly that we didn't feel quite prepared.  On Christmas Eve, we had our family roast dinner which Eve and I helped Mum to cook.  We don’t normally do a roast as is more time-consuming so it was fun to have a change.  On Christmas, we got up early to open our presents and later went to visit family.

It has been good to see our relatives over the last few days and catch up together.  I got many lovely presents – CDs, DVDs, pretty things.  I got a sewing pattern for a skirt to replace the one that broke so I can’t wait to get sewing that now.

In the days leading up to Christmas, the number of tiny gnomes in my house seemed to increase.  I mentioned in my last post that the gnome was hoping for a Christmas party and it seems like he managed to throw the party after all.  

Where did all of the gnomes come from?

Now that Christmas is out of the way I have to get back to revision  for my January exams so will not be able to do as much crafting - roll on January 18th when they are over!

Friday, 21 December 2012

#reverb12 catch-up - Days 7-21

I'm not going to write answers to all of the #reverb12 prompts but I will answer half of the ones I missed (mostly odd numbers because they are my favourite).

Day 7: What will you take with you?
I will be taking into 2013 the drive to work - one final push as I go into my last semester at uni.  I've spent so much time over the last months filling in job applications so now I want to do the best I can at uni and be able to have my effort rewarded.

Day 9: Your favourite book?
This year I discovered the 'Vampire Chronicles' series and read 'Interview with a Vampire'.  I have been a big fan of vampires since I was young and was delighted to find a series of books that wasn't brought on by the recent vampire craze.  I quickly moved on to the second book and now have the whole series on my Kobo.

Day 11: What was music to your ears?
I have had a lot of good news this year.  The first one that came to mind was that I was thrilled when Eve got accepted into Cambridge and even more so when she got there and settled in quickly.  I was also happy when I found that The Boy and I would be graduating together next summer and when my Bestie got his house offer accepted.

Day 13: Your favourite photo of you?
My favourite photo of me taken this year is probably from The Boy's step-brother's wedding I went to in April.  My hair and make-up had been professionally done and I loved having curly hair - it was a shame I couldn't keep it curly.

I also love this picture of me in the doorway of my house on the day we moved in.  We definitely need the extra space the house has over last year's flat.

Day 15: What tingled your taste-buds?
This year I have been doing more baking and trying to be a more adventurous cook.  I have loved trying different foods with The Boy - both what we have cooked and what we have eaten out together.

Day 16: Who inspired you?
My crafting has been inspired by so many wonderful bloggers this year.  Also by the fun that is Pinterest which gives me generous helpings of craftiness all the time.  I have made a few things I've found on Pinterest and I want to make many more.

Day 19: How did you nourish your self?
I have kept myself nourished by drinking copious amounts of tea and kept myself sane by crafting.  Yarn is an easy way to escape from the stresses of uni work.

Day 21: What's on the dream list?
I don't know what to wish for in 2013 as it will be a year with lots of big changes.  One dream that came true in 2012 was to visit Venice.  It was everything I hoped it would be and I'm so thankful to The Boy for taking me there.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Some Mochimochi Land Fun

I got 2 Mochimochi Land books for my birthday and have been trying to find time to make more projects from them.  This weekend as my coursework is  now out of the way I finally had a chance to make some adorable little knitted toys.

I decided that as it is so close to Christmas that I just had to make this Christmas tree.

It was so quick to knit that I immediately had to make another project so I went for one of the most famous patterns from Mochimochi Land - the tiny gnome pattern.

It is a great little pattern and I think I'll be making more soon - maybe so this little gnome can have a party with some friends for Christmas (depends how busy I am in the next week).  Here is the gnome getting ready for Christmas:

I love these patterns!  They are so cute and so simple at the same time.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

#reverb12 Day 5 and 6

Before I start I just want to say that my project presentation went well and I didn't get asked anything I couldn't answer which is good.  My interview was competence-based which was weird as I am not used to telling long stories.  I think I managed to sell myself well but I won't find out for a while whether I was successful or not.

OK on with #reverb12.  I am enjoying having to think about different things than I would normally blog about.

#reverb12 Day 5: What was your dream destination?

That is an easy one for me - it has to be Venice, where The Boy and I spent New Year.  I had been wanting to visit Venice for years so when he arranged it as a birthday present for me I was thrilled.  Venice is so beautiful - everything I hoped it would be!

#reverb12 Day 6: What did you learn?

Hmm, this is a bit more difficult - how do you describe everything you have learnt in a year.
Off the top of my head, I've learnt :

  • to use a sewing machine.
  • to bake bread (not with yeast yet though).
  • that my friends never get bored of eating my pies.
  • that knitting isn't as hard as I thought it was.
  • how important friends and family are when you lose a relative.
  • that job applications are boring and take forever to fill in but will hopefully be worth it.
  • that making blankets takes a lot of time and effort.
Not as hard as I thought it would be.  I'm sure there was lots more I have learnt but I can't remember anything else now.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

#reverb12 Days 3 and 4

I have struggled to think of things to write for days 3 and 4.  I'm not sure what to wish for in a year's time.  Hopefully I will graduate well, I wish that I'll have a good graduate job which I enjoy, and I hope I won't be too far from The Boy.  Neither of us know where we'll be based after graduation which will be weird after 2 years of living together.

Day 4's suggestion is to think about how we are celebrating ourselves this month.  Tomorrow is an important day for us at uni as we have to give an oral presentation about our project work so far and what we plan to do next semester.  It is only worth 10% of the overall project but it is the part most people are nervous about.  I've made The Boy a little 4 leaf clover to put in his advent calendar for the morning as he is nervous too.

Another fun thing I have tomorrow is my first real job interview.  It is just a phone interview so luckily I have plenty of time for it after my presentation. It should go fine though as I have prepared well for it but it is a bit nerve-wracking.

We'll be celebrating tomorrow night with a nice meal out which will be lovely after an intense day.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

#reverb12 Day 2: Your most significant spend?

Today's hint for a post is to think of what the most significant thing we have bought in 2012 is, in terms of impact.  I can't remember half of the things I have bought this year (probably means they aren't as significant) but two instantly came to mind.

The first one was actually a birthday present from The Boy but it has helped me with my crafting as well as uni work.  My lovely Kobo eBook reader:

The second one is one that I haven't mentioned before but has helped a lot recently and has given me lots of crafty inspiration.  I had been thinking about buying one for aaages but a note in one of my birthday cards told me to treat myself to something I really wanted so I decided to spend it on - a pretty purple sewing machine.  The woman in John Lewis didn't think it would be very good which made me worry a bit, but since I got it, it has been much better than she said it would be.

So far I have only used it for repairs and for changing mine and The Boy's Halloween costumes to make them more wearable (he wanted pocket holes making and mine was 5 sizes too big - but as the only one left in ASDA the night before Halloween I didn't have much choice).  Since buying the sewing machine I have had so many crafty ideas come to me so I just need to find time to make them all now!

#reverb12 Day 1 - ok just a bit late

This month I'm doing #reverb12 hosted by Kat from 'I Saw You Dancing'.  I managed to miss the first day as I forgot all about it until this morning but I'm posting now to catch up.

Today's post is all about how we are starting the month and how we feel.  I'm starting December under a mountain of uni work.  I'm just looking forward to the coursework deadlines to be out of the way so I can have a bit of time to relax over Christmas before starting revision for the January exams.

I also can't wait to get the workmen out of my house so we can get back to normal.  Also so I can put my Christmas tree up and start to feel really festive!

Mostly, I'm excited about Christmas coming up, tired of work, and looking forward to a break.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

It's December again!!!

I have been looking forward to the start of December for ages now but unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to put up my decorations until Monday due to a combination of tonnes of uni work, looking after The Boy's little brother, and repair work going on at our house.

I guess it is a good thing in a way, as I haven't finished the crochet stocking advent calendar yet so at least I am not just missing the one decoration.

I'm more than half way and I'm attaching each one as I make it so it won't take much longer to complete.

It has got cold so quickly - I need to dig out my warm clothes so I don't freeze on my way to uni next week!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Christmas Preparations

I can't believe how close Christmas is now.  In ASDA they have a giant tree with a sign saying how many sleeps until Christmas and the Christmas market is back in the centre of Liverpool. 

I'm hoping to get a chance to put up my little Christmas tree on Saturday but we have The Boy's little brother coming to stay so I don't know when I will find time - Friday is just too early isn't it?

This year I've decided to crochet an advent calendar made of little stockings using this pattern (I just added the pattern to Ravelry here).  I'm doing each day a different colour and sewing the numbers on.

I haven't got very far as I have so much uni work at the moment but I'm hoping to get lots of work done this afternoon to allow myself some crochet time later.

The Boy doesn't know that I'm making it so hopefully it'll be a nice surprise when he sees it.  I also need to buy sweets and write some notes to put into the calendar - so much planning needed!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Few Things to Report

I have been meaning to write more blog posts but now I'm falling behind because of uni work so I'm just going to include everything in one post.

The Boy and I went to see Al Murray at the Liverpool Philharmonic on Monday. The show was so funny - definitely worth paying to see it.  We were sat on the second row so got asked names and jobs but we weren't picked on like some of the front row and the latecomers.

On Tuesday, there was a half price poster sale at uni so we all went and bought some posters.  I bought a Venice poster, The Boy bought 2 Hobbit posters and a vintage map as well as a 2013 calendar.  He also bought a Hobbit mug for himself and treated me to a Big Bang Theory mug.

Today, I met up with Mum in town while she was out doing some shopping (and starting her Christmas shopping).  We browsed a few shops then went for a nice cuppa and a cake.  Afterwards we did a bit more shopping and I bought this lovely bag in Accessorize.

I am going to remove some of the charms and replace them with nicer ones.  I'll show you how it turns out.

Another amusing thing happened while we were shopping - I was trying on a skirt as I only have 2 but unfortunately it was too large.  As I went to fasten up my skirt afterwards the zip snagged and ripped so now I'm down to only 1 skirt.  Definitely need a shopping trip now!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Housewarming Present for my Bestie

My Bestie recently bought his first home which is very exciting.  I went to visit him on Saturday night so I could see the flat I've been impatient to see ever since he told me about it.  The flat is lovely!!! Definitely worth the wait :)

I also finally got a chance to give Bestie the housewarming present I made for him:

A giant crochet blanket.  It has crochet Lego squares incorporated into the granny squares as we are both huge Lego fans.  He absolutely loved it!  His flat doesn't have heating at the moment so I'm sure he'll be glad of a blanket to curl up under.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A Tough Time

I haven't felt up to blogging for the last two weeks.  My Nan died last week after a short illness.  It came as a shock to our whole family as she was so independent and strong.  My Mum wrote a lovely blog post about her here.

She was such a big personality and we will all miss her.

This week I have just been trying to concentrate on my uni work but I am going to visit my Bestie this afternoon to see his new flat and give him his housewarming present.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween - The End of Blogtoberfest

Well, today is the last day of Blogtoberfest and I'm glad I've achieved my aim of blogging every day so thanks to Kat for hosting it this year.

Tonight we are going to a house party for Halloween then maybe going to a club or two in town but I won't be staying long as I have lectures in the morning.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Personal Improvements

Today I saw this post on Heart Handmade UK about improving your handwriting.  My handwriting has always been a scrawl so I was interested to get tips from it.

It's not that I can't write neatly, it's just that normally I'm writing too fast to care about how it looks (until later when I can't read my notes).

I was sat making notes on lecture slides today and I decided to practice writing neatly and to keep it up throughout the whole of the notes.  It felt weird as I could feel the movements in my shoulder rather than my wrist but I managed to write neatly.

My normal writing

A page of neat notes

My neater writing
Hopefully I can keep up the neat writing so I have lovely legible notes when I come to revise.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Cute Knitted Toy

I have finally got around to finishing this little toy. I had made most of him but I hadn't made his legs - I couldn't face doing all of the i-cords in one go so he kind of got forgotten until now (I do have another knitting project that is hibernating because of i-cords).

The pattern is one I have used before - Anything Animals by Rachel Borello Carroll and it knits up really quickly.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Confusing Autumn

The clocks went back yesterday and I've been a bit confused since then.  It has been getting dark earlier which makes me think it is bed time at about 7pm.

Hopefully after another sleep I won't be as confused by it.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The Brewery will be back soon

Today, The Boy went to the brewing shop again.  We haven't brewed in a while but now we are fully settled he wants to start again.

He stocked up on kits to save him the journey next time he wants to brew.

Lager and Wheat Beer kits

So now the only question is: which one should we make first?

The Boy asked me tonight if I could make a floor mat for the beer bucket to sit on.  By tomorrow.  Talk about leaving to the last minute again.  I've started it using some wool I didn't like.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Suddenly rather cold!

When I stepped out of the house this morning I was hit by how cold it has become.  I left kitted out in my badminton clothes so wasn't as well wrapped up as I normally am.

I think I'll have to hurry up some of my knitting projects, especially my cowl so I can wear that to walk to uni in the cold.  I'm about halfway through it now so hopefully I can get it done soon.

Another boy from uni has requested a scarf and, as we worked together on our project last year, he told me he should be my priority.  Luckily he hasn't chosen a colour yet so I can't possibly start it until he does.

Badminton went well today and it was a good way to warm up.  I'm inspired to do more exercise now as it felt really good but then I look at the weather forecast and see that it will be getting colder so maybe the exercise can wait.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

After a long day...

...You definitely need a way to relax.  We had a long lab at uni which is for some programming coursework and it is pretty tricky.  I had a demonstrator trying to help me for almost an hour before he gave up and told me to look at how my friend had solved the problem.

Afterwards, we were all pretty tired so 4 of us went down to the pub for a drink and a few games of pool.  I didn't play though as I think I'd be pretty rusty.

The Boy and I are playing badminton tomorrow morning after my lecture which will be good fun - although I think he'll be able to beat me easily as I'm out of practice.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my Dad's birthday and The Boy and I have just got back from a meal out with my parents in town.  It was a good meal and we sat and had a drink in the pub afterwards.

Here is the card I made for Dad:

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Knitting while working

Today at uni I was sat doing project work, well, mostly just listening to the radio signal as it was being measured and watching it on the computer screen.

Some exciting-looking radio activity

More radio activity

Anyway it didn't involve much input from me other than to sit and watch it and tune it so it was set correctly so I was sat knitting while I did it.  I did have to keep stopping to make adjustments but I still managed to make progress on my winter cowl.

I'm restricted in what I can knit at uni as I can't take more than one or two balls of wool in by uni bag and also the friends who I am knitting scarves for don't want to see the scarves before they are finished.

The winter cowl is making slow progress but you don't realise it is growing as it is knit on circular needles so you don't think about each row separately, just as one big spiral.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Creative cooking day

Today I just felt in the mood to throw random ingredients together and see how it turned out.  One recipe was an attempt to recreate the 'mini pizzas' my Mum used to make for our  lunch-boxes when we were at school.  It uses shortcrust pastry as the pizza base and then I used pasta sauce for the middle, with bits of chicken sandwich meat and grated cheese.  My Mum always baked them in a cupcake tray so I did the same.

I'm sure I made 12 but they seem to keep disappearing.  I had some left-over pastry dough so I made a little version of a calzone (folded pizza) for The Boy and I to have for lunch.

The other unusual thing I cooked today was cod stir fry.  It sounds horrible - especially because I'm not a big fan of fish - but it was tasty.  I just felt like making something a bit different so went up to the fish counter in the supermarket and got some cod.  Mixed with noodles, stir fry veg and Szechuan sauce it makes a great meal.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ooft what a pie!

The roast dinner was delicious, the football was ok, and the apple pie was sooo tasty!

All of my friends loved it and one didn't even realise it was home-made - so proud!  I based the decoration on the top of the pie on the one in my Mary Berry recipe book.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Cleaning and Tidying

We have some friends coming over tomorrow afternoon for a roast dinner (I have a vague idea how many but the numbers keep changing).  We've bought everything we need so now it's just a case of a bit of tidying up for when they are here.

I'll be baking a pie as usual for dessert - an apple pie this time.  It is nice that they always appreciate my pies after a roast dinner and I'm glad that I don't have to deal with the rest of the cooking.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Decorative Electronics

We recently bought spare phone chargers so we can keep one in our uni bags or for when we travel.  As we ordered the same chargers we had no way of telling them apart - cue my large collection of nail polish.  I decorated it with lots of different colours and it looks pretty good.

I'm tempted to paint more of my electronics chargers now!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Quick Little Make

I know I'm not meant to start projects until I finish others but I couldn't resist crocheting a cute mug cosy today - I can't have my mugs getting cold now, can I?

I used the pattern 'Hug in a Mug' by Lucy Inthesky as it has been in my Ravelry queue for ages.

It took less than an hour to make and looks really good.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

WIP Wednesday - Beau is back out of hibernation

I've decided to bring the jumper for The Boy back out of hibernation to try and make a bit of progress on it.  I managed to do so much of the front when I was away on holiday for a week in July and I want to get it finished at some point.

The wool is lovely and soft and I can't wait for the jumper to be finished so I can see The Boy wearing it.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A Little Present for The Boy

The Boy loves watching TV on his phone so when I saw this handy little stand tutorial I had to make him one.  I managed to throw this one together using some fabric scraps in no time at all.

The sewing took a bit of time but it looks very effective with the contrasting stitches on the hinges.  It is being modelled by my phone but The Boy's phone is larger so the stand will be better suited to it.

Monday, 15 October 2012

My Day and a Scarf Progress Report

I had a long management lecture this morning followed immediately by a meeting with my project supervisor to discuss my progress.  He was pleased with my progress and I'll be starting to assemble the previous Radio Telescope soon.  

I didn't stay in uni too long as I wanted to go into Liverpool to meet The Boy as he got off the train (he had been away visiting his family this weekend).  He hadn't expected to see me but it was worth the walk there to surprise him.  I also picked up another ball of wool for one of the scarves I'm making as I figured out I didn't buy enough originally - oops!  

I made so much progress on this scarf while I was sat watching Formula One as it is just knit a row, turn, knit a row, turn, for the whole scarf.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

YouTube Silliness

At the Formula One race today the celebrity waving the chequered flag for the end of the race was the South Korean singer, PSY, probably best known for his Gangnam Style YouTube video and the hilarious dancing.

The silly dancing in the video reminded me of a video we sat and watched when we were on holiday in the USA.  It was being shown on the huge screens in Times Square.  The dance and idea of visiting so many places stuck in my head for ages afterwards and I was so happy when I found it on YouTube.   Hope you enjoy it:

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Serious Stuff

As I've just started my final year of university the time has come to start applying for jobs.  By this time next year I will no longer be a student but will (hopefully) have a full time job - scary stuff!

I've spent most of this afternoon filling in online application forms for various engineering companies and sending CVs with the knowledge that I have many more to go.  I hope it is all worth it in the end!

On a sillier note, I'm back visiting my parents this weekend because I haven't seen my Mum for a few weeks.  We got to watch the Formula One together and while Dad was out today Mum and I watched Four Christmases.  It is such a funny film!  I haven't seen it before but Mum had and we were both laughing out loud at several points in the film.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Not much to report

I'm having a quiet evening in front of the tv tonight.

This weekend I have the excitement of watching a Formula One race and I'll be getting on with my knitting projects - trying to get the scarves done, but I don't have much else planned.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Looking back

I always surprise myself when I look back over the last few years and see how much I've learnt and how my crochet skills, as well as many others, have vastly improved.

This realisation has mostly come out of the fact that when The Boy's little brother stayed with us a couple of weeks ago he pointed at a picture I had painted for The Boy and asked who had done that.  When I said it was me he was like - so you bake, crochet, knit, and paint?  Yeah I am that good!

Painting for The Boy

I remember for my 18th birthday I got my first amigurumi book and that's when my crochet interest really took off.  Before then I had only made a lacy-ish scarf and a hat.  Amigurumi was a completely new concept to me - before then crochet had been about making accessories but, once I had discovered amigurumi, I couldn't stop crocheting.  I joined Ravelry about the time of my 18th birthday too to show off my amigurumi and this opened up a new world of amazing free patterns. 

My first ever amigurumi

I've started knitting more recently and my work had noticeably improved.  Since I started knitting and crocheting back in 2009, I have finished 84 projects - and a whopping 36 in 2012!

Another skill that has been improved recently is my baking (and also cooking) ability.  When The Boy met me in our first year of uni I couldn't cook at all so he used to get me to join in with the cooking and I quickly picked up how to cook.  I still get teased that my speciality is toast but thankfully that is no longer true.

Until a couple of years ago I didn't do any baking.  I used to help Mum and Eve bake but my job was mostly getting stuff out of cupboards and now I love trying out new recipes such as the damper bread I tried a few weeks ago:

Trying something new - damper bread

I wish that I had more time to draw and paint but once my uni work is out of the way the only thing I want to do is knit or crochet.  I also wish I had more time to be musical - I couldn't bring my violin or keyboard to uni because of a lack of space but when I graduate I aim to find more time to be musical!

Do you ever take a step back to look at how much you have achieved?