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?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Autumn Leaves

I recently saw this project idea on :

I thought it was such a great idea but I don't have any felt so I am going to crochet the leaves then crochet them together using surface crochet on the leaves and chain stitch between the leaves.  I found this pattern for leaves which I think I'll use as it is nice and simple.

I just hope I manage to get this Autumn decoration done before the start of Winter but I'm sure it will be very quick to make.

Monday, 8 October 2012

A Lovely Project Bag

I've had this crochet bag in my Ravelry queue for ages.  My Mum has made it and I love how quick and easy it is to make.  I'll be using 10 different colours of wool and varying the order of them.  I have already bought the material, selected the yarn colours but I can't start making it until I finish some other projects - I shouldn't have started making these scarves!

Here is the wool I will be using:

I love the bright colours and they work well together

Sunday, 7 October 2012

A Blanket for The Boy

I think I've mentioned before that I was going to make a blanket for The Boy.  I'm using the Neat Ripple Pattern by Lucy of Attic24 and it is such a simple pattern to follow.  It is about 2m wide but not very long yet although it does grow very quickly.  I'm doing double stripes of each colour initially but I may mix it up at some point and maybe do single or treble stripes.

I'm choosing the colours randomly but I think it needs more bright colours to be brought in soon.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A cosy night in

Tonight, The Boy and I are having a cosy film night and watching some Pride and Prejudice (the BBC tv series with Colin Firth).  We don't really relax and watch films together too often so we've got some Ben & Jerry's ice cream,  fizzy drinks, and crisps.

The Boy has seen the 5 hours of Pride and Prejudice before and I was pleasantly surprised when he suggested we watch it tonight.  I love watching it and will quite happily sit and watch the whole thing in one go but I think we'll only watch half tonight and save the other half for tomorrow.

Friday, 5 October 2012

My Final Year Project for University

I'm studying electrical engineering and electronics at university and, like most other engineering subjects we undertake a project in the final year (or in my case final 2 years as it is a 4 year course).  One of the popular ways of showing off the projects is to make a blog and write about your progress - I had to help a friend set up a blog the other day as I am considered 'an expert'.

Last year I worked in a group to make an augmented reality phone application with the following blog:
which was mostly kept up-to-date but a lot was filled in at the end of the project.

This year, however, I am working on my own and developing a radio telescope similar to NASA's Radio Jove Project which they run with schools.  The project was run last year so I am taking over from where they left off and then hopefully improving it but at the moment it seems like there is a lot to do and I will have to be very disciplined with my work.  The blog I will be taking over soon is:

I can't wait to get started on this project!  On my 11th birthday (I think it was) I visited the radio telescope at the Jodrell Bank Observatory - I wanted to be an astronomer when I was growing up so getting to make a telescope is rather exciting.   Today, my supervisor asked me if I have an optical telescope - of course I do! so I'm hoping my Mum knows where our telescope is.  If I do one of the possible options for developing the project it could mean staying up all night at uni (hopefully not on my own) and observing pulsars.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Woolly Hibernation!

I've noticed recently that I've been doing a  lot more knitting than crochet.  This is quite weird for me as I've always considered knitting to be the one I am not as good at and often avoided doing if possible.  Lately, however, I've discovered how easy and versatile knitting can be and I just can't stop knitting!

It has mostly been using chunky wool so maybe this is my version of going into hibernation - by burying myself under a chunky-woollen garment.  Right now I'm sat knitting myself a cowl in a lovely burgundy colour using circular needles (knitting on circular needles always seemed so difficult).

The pattern I'm using is Simple Ribbed Cowl by Orange Flower and it is such a simple pattern but the result looks amazing.  I don't know if you can see the ribbing in the photo but it is more visible on the inside.  The colour of the yarn isn't as dark as the photo shows but it was taken on a phone rather than with my camera.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

I hate having a cold!

For the last few days I have been looking after The Boy as he has had a cold.  It's just a bit of 'Freshers Flu' that always happens at the start of the new university term.

He's a bit better today (I'm assuming because I looked after him so well but Lemsip and Paracetamol probably had a lot to do with it).

I woke up this morning feeling pretty rough but The Boy has been looking after me all day - bringing me tea, making sure I'm warm enough and doing all of the cooking.

It was nice being spoilt even though I feel all sleepy and ill.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Simple Scarves

I mentioned the other day that a few of the boys at uni asked me to knit them scarves and they'd pay for the wool. I found a free pattern I really liked - Sinful Ribbed Scarf by Classic Elite Yarns.  I started making one for The Boy to see how it would be to make.  It turned out to be very simple but look complicated.

I'll be making one for another friend once this one is done.  He said there is no rush to finish it though.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Start of Blogtoberfest!

“I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
                             ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

This year I'm doing Blogtoberfest again.  I'm hoping to blog every day for 31 days.  I signed up late last year but managed to blog every day once I had joined.

You can sign up by clicking the image below.

I had a productive day at uni and made great progress on my final year project and tonight we're going out for a meal at Pizza Express for our friend's sister's birthday.