Sunday, 31 January 2010

Rubbish blogger

Sorry everyone - I've been a rubbish blogger lately. There just doesn't seem to be enough time these days!

So once again this will be a blog with lots of different components.

First of all I thought I'd show you the birthday present we made for one of Fred's friends recently:

A personalised Monster Making Kit

full of felt, needles, thread, scissors, sew-on googly eyes and an invitation to come for tea one day after school for a monster making session!

So Fred's friend doodled some ideas

(really good drawing for an 8 year old, I thought)

and then came for tea with one of Daisy's friends too

and these were the monsters they designed and I helped them create.

Pretty fabby aren't they?

Unfortunately I had to do most of the sewing because the needles I had bought weren't quite sharp enough to go through the felt. Does anyone else struggle to get the right kind of sewing needle for children - i.e sharp enough without being too sharp?

I haven't done much sewing of my own lately - partly because I have been welded to the sofa knitting in every spare moment. I think I knit more in the winter because it is a cosy, in front of the fire, type of craft. It's also very portable and I can sneak a bit of knitting into my lunchbreak at work.

I finished the Simple Yet Effective Shawl in the gorgeous wool from Michaela's raffle,

but I'm not totally in love with the finished article. I'm just not sure how to wear it - and that mistake in the middle really bugs me too! Should I "frog" it? The wool says it should be handwashed but I don't know if that is just a precaution as it is a mixture of superwash sock wool and nylon. Do you think I could get away with knitting it into socks and machine washing them? (basically it is totally unrealistic to think that I will ever handwash my socks!)

I know I complain about work (I'm really struggling with working 30 hours a week - it's WAY too much for me) but the students on the programme that I am secretary for are absolutely wonderful. Look at this gorgeous piece of homemade cake that one lovely lady brought in for me:

It's such delicious cake - and there is a lovely story behind it. In the student's home country, when they have some good news, or something they want to celebrate, they make a cake and share it with their friends and family as a way of sharing their happiness or good fortune. Isn't that a wonderful tradition? I wish we did things like that over here.

On Friday night the students had a party and I was invited too so I went along with Dot and Daisy (after first meeting my lovely knitting-student-friend Maura and her husband for a meal at Nandos). It was a great party and many of the students had brought different foods and music from their home countries (it's a truly international programme). And what was particularly lovely for me and my girls was how pleased they all were that I had come along. I think it was good for Dot and Daisy to see another side of my life.

Meanwhile, Dot's book review blog has been flourishing and she has been receiving wonderful book recommendations and even actual books through the post (thank you so much Michaela and Diana)! And thank you all for taking the time to visit her - we all really appreciate it.

It was her "Tutor Review Day" at school on Thursday so we went to see her form tutor and heard what a wonderful "model pupil" she was - which was lovely as always - and then went on a trip to The Fat Quarters where we bought this gorgeous fabric for Dot to make her first quilt.

On the way there I decided to treat Dot to takeaway Scampi and Chips from Harry Ramsden's Drive Thru. Out of curiosity, how many sachets of salt and vinegar would you expect to be given with two portions of scampi and one of chips?



Sixteen of each???????

The mind boggles really!


Jane said...

Harry Ramsdens - best Fish and Chips in the world, now followed a close second by Palmers in Yeovil. Your knitting looks great, it would be a shame to frog but I know what you mean. I love the idea of a specially made Monster kit and the monsters are so cute. Jane x

Middle Cottage Diary said...

16!!! Might come in useful if you ever go camping?

The monster making box is great. Reminds me of a 'finger puppet theatre' I made as a christmas present this year.

Just found your blog but I like it so I have added you to my blogs list.

Ali said...

Love the 'share the happiness' cake! And you're not a rubbish blogger. It's just really hard to squeeze it all in.

Sixteen sachets? How much blimmin scampi did you order?? And do people put vinegar on it? Really? Chips, I'll give you.

quinn said...

The condiment packets made me laugh! Because I live in a rather rural area, I rarely go to take-out places. Even so, my glovebox always holds several of these extra packets, usually salt and ketchup (or "catsup" - depending on I-don't-know-what)! Eventually they become grubby and I toss them, but never right away, because "they may come in handy!" (Hasn't happened yet, of course, but...)

The monster kit and resulting creations are fantastic! Kudos to the monster-makers :) And the quilt fabric looks SO Spring-y and fresh, especially on such a cold was -3F earlier this morning (-20C?) and is now a roaring 9F. The snow squeaks, and so do I!

BERTIE x said...

Hello, I love your monster making kit, what a fab idea for a present.

I live a few miles away from the original Harry Ramsdens, it sounds like your chippy is it a lot more generous than ours.

Bertie x

Kitty said...

They obviously thought you and Dot looked like you were suffering from salt and vinegar deficiency :p

I love, love, love the fabric for Dottie's quilt ... green, my favourite! x

Gina said...

Those monsters are fantastic... I'd use sharp needles even with children. They are more likely to hurt themselves trying to push blunt needles through fabric. I fancy scampi and chips now (but not with that much salt and vinegar!)

dottycookie said...

Oh, the OWLS - they're gorgeous!

I'm with Gina - I give 'proper' needles to my two and the five year old handles them with aplomb. I don't leave them alone with them for obvious reasons ;-) Anyway, kids sewing supplies are pretty impressive - she was given a pair of little sewing scissors in a cute easy to hold shape, and we only found out how sharp they were when we discovered she had given her hobby horse a rather severe haircut - hence no longer leaving her alone with them!

Don't feel bad about infrequent blogging - I'm in the same boat and I don't have your work excuse!

French Knots said...

The monster kit is a brilliant idea! As for the vinegar - my husband would consider 16 sachets just about sufficient for a portion of chips whereas I wouldn't even need 1!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Sounds like you've been keeping busy...wand warm! I love the idea of knitting by the fire! :o)

WendyBee said...

Hi Lucy, you are not a rubbish blogger - no sirree! You are one of my favorites and I am always blessed by your posts.
Let me count the ways: I was intrigued to see the Monster Making Kit. What a great idea.
Interested in your international student program - love the "share the celebration" cake idea. I think I'll have to adopt that one! I love learning about other cultures, and even adopting some of their happier traditions. It's what enriches everyday life.
And finally, it warmed my heart to see the fabric for Dot's first quilt, and not just because I love the color green! I've always wondered if I had had a daughter, would she want to sew, knit or craft with me. I did with my mother, still do. Sooooo special.
I can't thank you enough for sharing. I'll be back the next time you post, whenever it is.

LiEr said...

Hey Lucy! I LOVE your monster kit! The little spotty red-and-white salami monster is my favourite! Also, in spite of me not being a fan of print fabric generally, I really, really like those green-and-white ones that are going to be Dot's quilt. Very fresh and crisp and granny-smithy green! Lovely!

Lina said...

Love those fat quarters, what great colours. And as for Harry Ramsdens, that makes me hungry!! I miss a good fish and chips.

wonderwoman said...

love the fabric for Dot's quilt - the owls are sooo cute! the cake idea sounds pretty good too! Don't worry about the blogging too much, its supposed to be fun and sometimes other things just get in the way!!!


periwinkle said...

wow Lucy, so much to comment on - although we do seem to be following each about on Rav lol. If you find those " not so sharp" needles pls let me know, great box idea, will have to remember that one. Love Dotties fabric , she's a clever girl that one . I've never been to Harry Ramsdens - can you believe it?

Moogsmum said...

I like vinegar on my fish'n'chips....just not that much!!

I just love those monsters and the monster-making kit is genius Missus!

Dot's first quilt is going to be gorgeous. The fabrics are just fab and bear very little relation to your burbled description of them on the phone the other day - mind you, I wasn't really listening ;o)

Your shawl looks much better than mine and there's no way I'm frogging it. I've worn mine twice and am far too lazy to think of anything else to do with the yarn!


ladydi said...

I love the monster kit, and that purple monster is to die for. What a perfect idea for a birthday present, and I'm with the gals who say to let them use sharp needles with supervision. They'll be very gratified, you'll see!

The shawl is gorgeous, and only you notice a mistake, so just wear it and enjoy it. Maybe instead of a sweater on a chilly day? Definitely no frogging, and no hand washing socks. Life is too short for that.
Congrats to Dot on her good report, and starting her first quilt!! Exciting.

I've never even seen vinegar in little packets - perhaps it's a British thing?

rachelmp said...

Just love those monsters! and the fabric for the quilt too - cute x

Thimbleanna said...

Oh, you're killing me here Ms. Lucy -- I want some fish and chips!!! What a fab idea for a birthday gift -- I'll bet the kiddos loved it. Love the shawl -- the color is so pretty. I'm with you -- I'm not hand washing my socks! Oh -- and woohoo -- Dot will soon be quilting!!!

Tracey. said...

Good to see you back, I come to read quite often for inspiration now I'm learning to sew.
Wear the shawl wrapped around yur neck, like a cowboy with the long downward point at the front, wrapping the shorter edge points round. Cool and funky.
I love the monster making box idea.

Marie said...

I seem to be struggling with the old blogging mojo too. I think it's probably just the January-effect.

I totally love the monster making kit idea. What a fab gift! Might have to store that up for future usage! LOL.

And I would probably use all those packets of vinegar on my chips. I like mine floating in the stuff!


nicolette said...

The monster making box is a super cool idea and the monsters are really scary!

It’s amazing you find time to take pictures of all the fun stuff during your busy days!

Michaela said...

Monster box - love it! What a great idea, boys are so diffiult to find presents for aren't they?

I always hand wash my hand-knit socks - there's something very lovely about seeing a lot of knitted goodies on a line! If you like the shawl and wear it, then don't frog it. If it's going to annoy you so much then do send it the frog-pond. Personally I never frog anything. Love trashy's idea of wearing it cowboy style - bit like baktus, and I know how much you love that!

Helen said...

Sixteen? . . . . . . . . Sixteen packets of vinegar? I think the person behind the counter thought you were secret vinegar drinkers, in need of a fix . . . . they must have seen it in your eyes!!!

Poshyarns said...

The monster idea is brilliant, such a lovely, thoughtful gift.

I love the shawl and cannot make out the mistake at all but I do appreciate the difficulty of wearing shawls and most of mine end up scrunched around my neck where they make excellent scarves, that's definitely how I would wear that one.

twiggypeasticks said...

Go easy on that vinegar :)
Love the monsters and the shawl and I'm sure the quilt will be fab. I'm really enjoying reading Dotties blog.
twiggy x

Leanne said...

You fish and chip shop is just trying to harden your arteries. LOL. Life is always a juggle just do fell guilty when you drop a ball. Love the shawl.

monda-loves said...

Hello Mrs Locket
I also feel like a rubbish blogger too at the mo. Working (the type of work which means you go out the house all day to a job that's not at good as staying at home to sew all day) really does zap time and stems creative flow.

I love the monsters (and the kit) They all turned out great.

I do like a big of vinegar with my chips, but 16 sachets, that would make your eyes water!