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!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Lots of things

Ok, so this post doesn't have much focus - but never mind, there are some pretty pictures!

But first of all, have you seen that Trashy is hosting
The Second Ever Trash Raffle
to help raise funds for Haiti
She already has some fabulous Amy Butler goodies to be won - so pop on over!

And talking of Amy Butler, look at the gorgeous wallet that my friend Jane made for me for Christmas

I love this Amy Butler lace fabric and Jane chose the bit I liked the best for the front piece (I know this because I showed her exactly which bit it was!!!)

Many of you will know about Michaela's clever idea to organise a bloggy-diet where we tried to lose as much weight as possible with the promise of super lovely raffle prizes at the end.

The following were my really super lovely, lovely prizes:


Sock wool - to encourage me back into her Sock-Startitis-Club I reckon

Gorgeous 100% alpaca Ni-Mu
100% Merino 4ply
And the one I really nearly didn't get - this beautiful Thistleknits. Both Michaela and Lesley (who sent it in as a raffle prize in the first place) were planning on "knitting needles at dawn" for this one!

So I have been trying to do it justice and am knitting my first almost-lacy shawl using the SYES pattern.

It's already bigger than in this picture but there are an awful lot of stitches and do you know what? I have to do PURL! You know I don't like purl! Pah!

So I have some simple knitting in the round to redress the balance - no purl here, no siree! See, I didn't even rib the cuff!

All this means that I have been spending an awful lot of time on Ravelry messing about uploading photos of my wool and finding perfect patterns.

Even Dot has a Ravelry account now!
(She's getting to be quite a whizzy knitter in her spare time - and has already discovered how to knit and read at the same time! By the way, thank you all SO MUCH for your wonderful and supportive comments on her new blog - to say she is thrilled would be a massive understatement! But keep an eye on it - she practically reads a new book each day!)

Sunday, 10 January 2010


Thank you all so much for your lovely and thoughtful comments on yesterday's post. Just saying how I was feeling has made me feel a lot better and your kind comments helped even more.

When you look around you can often see lots of other things that help take the "uns" away.

Like going for an evening walk through the new deep snow with the rest of the Lockets and watching heart-in-mouth as they slide down a steep bank in the park that has been so well used during the day that it has become compacted ice - and brilliantly slippy

then treating everyone to fish and chips from the new Chippy in the village, spotting this amazing snowman on the way home

then coming in to a roaring coal fire and watching the original Dr Dolittle on DVD.

My knitting didn't work, nor did the necklace I made this afternoon and we're no longer predicted to get the heavy snowfall that was forecast so it looks like we'll be at work and school as normal tomorrow, but I did discover that a (very) few of you shared my happiness at neatly fitting tin contents so I thought I'd amuse myself by showing you my most satisfactory storage solution:

this tin -
which contains my gadgets and gizmos for putting in press-studs

can you see how well the handles of the gadget fit round the teeny tiny box that holds the gizmos that insert the doofahs?

And the flat tins (which used to contain charm squares and a CD pattern) now hold all the doofahs that you use with the gadget and gizmos.

And it all just fits perfectly.............................

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! How I love using this tin!

How I love knowing that everything I need is just there and easy to find.

How I must need therapy.

So moving swiftly on, why don't you have a look at a blog written by a much saner member of the family?

Go on! She'll be ever so pleased if you do..........

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Feeling a bit "un"

Sorry I haven't written a Happy New Year post before now - but I'm feeling a bit "un".

Do you know what I mean?

No? Didn't think you would really!

I'm just feeling a bit flat and all the un- words like


un-motivated (or should that be "de-"?)




un-economic (why do I keep spending money I haven't got?)

and then a few of my own inventions like



(and I'm the kind of person that really NEEDS to feel bouncy and sparky)

un-thin - oh yes, very definitely un-thin

although I'm not necessarily completely un-happy

but it means that I'm wandering around blogland seeing all your lovely posts and inspiring New Year's Resolution type ideas and it's just making me more aware of how un-resolution-y, how nothing-y I feel. Which then makes me go all introspective.

But the problem with being introspective is that I don't much like the view.

So I haven't been blogging and now that I'm back at work I'm really struggling to keep up with reading and commenting - but I'll keep trying.

But enough of all that. Do you want to know what has been going on?

It's been snowing!

Had you noticed? ;o)

And last night is snowed and snowed and snowed so we have loads and loads of the white stuff - and very pretty it is too - unless you actually want to go somewhere!

Frustratingly, despite all the white stuff and the nasty-pasty icy roads the Little Lockets are blessed with practically the only schools in the region that have stayed at open which means they've had to go to school (not happy) and I've had to go to work (really not happy) and I've been late every day and had to leave early some days so my timesheet is looking really bad already this month which means I will be trying to catch up for ages :o(

Mr Locket and the Littles have gone for a walk and a bit of sledging but it has just started to snow REALLY heavily again so I'm not sure how long they will last. I've stayed at home to tidy - can you tell how hard I'm working?

I've done lots of knitting lately - but forgotten to take photos.

I made Mum a lovely Noro Blossom scarf like this one

Dad a pair of Cash-Soft mittens

Bossy-Big-Sister Ally a Mousie by Ysolda

My friend and childminder Janice a pair of silk and merino mittens a bit like these

and my friend Jane a Noro Blossom scarf and mittens just like


(modelled by mad-dottie-locket)
I've also caught the lets-knit-hats-in-one-and-a-half-hours bug from Anna and Moogs but as Mr Locket and Fred are actually wearing theirs at the moment there's no photographic evidence.

And I bought lots of lovely bargain wool at John Lewis this week - the one perk of working in Newcastle centre being the ability to pop into the shops on the way home.

But my new obsession has been jewellery making so lots of family and friends received bracelets for Christmas made by the Little Lockets. Here are a few I've made for myself

and this is the gorgeous necklace and bracelet that my much cleverer jewellery-making friend Alison made for Mr Locket to give me for Christmas

But, being the sad kind of person that I am, what REALLY gets me excited about beads and jewellery making is playing around sorting them into these little boxes and arranging them "just so".

And I really love how the boxes fit perfectly inside this tin.

I have another tin that the contents "fit perfectly" in and it makes me happy every time I use it!

That says a lot about me really, doesn't it?! Hmm, perhaps I should have kept it to myself!!! ;o)

Ok then. For someone who isn't in the right kind of mood for blogging, I seem to have wittered on for rather a long time - but it's put me in a much better frame of mind so for those of you who have made it to the bitter end - thanks for reading!

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!