Monday, August 26, 2013

Some things

I spent some time on Sunday trying to take a beautifully-composed photograph of Turkey (not shown). Sometimes the hens and Turkey pose perfectly and the lines are right and there's something in the look that I really love. And at one point Turkey was in front of the house and she looked MAGNIFICENT and I quickly put my camera in place, pressed the focus - and then she moved! Before I could take the shot.

But this post isn't really about Turkey, it's about how I try to line everything up in my life so it all works well and I'm prepared in advance. I like being prepared. And I need to delegate even more. I had just started practising delegating but I can see I need to do even more of it. I tend to think I can do everything myself and then I wonder why I'm TOTALLY exhausted and not enjoying life.

And then tonight I read one of my favourite blogs, Soulemama, and read that my favourite web cat, Banjo, had died. I've followed stories about Banjo for years. And about the relationship between Banjo and Adelaide, Soulemama's daughter. The photographs of them together are so sweet. They loved each other as a girl and a cat should. Such a beautiful friendship. So now I'm sad.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Holiday crafting

So here is the black fleece dress, without arms. The photo doesn't do it justice at all. I actually love the shape. I'm thinking of making another in white, but I might wait to see how this one wears before making further fabric decisions.
I can't say anything about this photo at all because I'm turning it into a Christmas present (check back after Christmas).
This dress. Crikey. I don't even remember when I started making it. In Norfolk anyway. I got the material very cheaply from Ikea. It's 100% cotton but it has a stiffness to it. Anyway I cut out the front and back of the dress years ago, and only just pulled it out again to cut out and attach the arms. It all came together very quickly, so I don't know why I dragged it out so long.
Our friend Clarence's (Rik's) stuffed marrow. It was the best curry I've ever tasted. Haggis and I had half each, though it was way too much but we ate most of it. Delicious.

We've also been devouring Game of Thrones. We watched the first episode months ago and didn't fancy it at all, so discarded it, but running out of any other series made Hagos suggest we give it another go, plus our neighbours are currently enjoying it. And now we're HOOKED! Sometimes we've been doing four episodes a day, and staying up until 1am to watch them. Great rollicking fun. My favourite characters are Tyrion Lanister and the Queen of Dragons.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sewing frenzy

I've had a sudden urge to sew again, after having a prolonged knitting period. I love dresses, and wanted to find a pattern for a simple, slightly-fitted dress.
I had some black fleece material that I bought ages ago and never did anything with, so yesterday I traced the pattern and cut out the fleece. Unfortunately I didn't have enough material for the arms so I'll have to buy more fleece next week, but I'm hoping to sew what I have together today then add the arrms later. I'm hoping to make further dresses in cord and possibly tweed.
It's the Edinburgh International Book Festival here at the moment. On Monday I went to see AL Kennedy; on Wednesday Hagos and I went to see Alasdair Gray; and last night I saw Denise Mina.

I much prefer Alasdair Gray's fition, and I went to the event knowing it was based on an essay he'd written last year, "Settlers and Colonists." I thought he explained the point, succinctly, within his first answer, however it was dragged out by the Chair and by some audience members later too. Anyway, he is incredible fun and the part I enjoyed most was when he read a section from a work-in-progress of his translation of Dante's Inferno. His rhythm and scanning and various other poetic devices were fantastic. 
We met our friends Rik and Jenny and baby Bramble before the Alasdair Gray reading and Rik gave us the marrow on the right from his allotment. I thought I had to photograph it next to my own courgette for scale. They are small but tasty!

Tomorrow we're off to The Peebles Poultry Show. Much excitement about that.

Hagos is currently supposed to be in Beirut doing a gig, but it was cancelled two days before travel due to the singer injuring her back. I had finally come to terms with him going to Beirut, but I was looking forward to him coming home again. Having read both John McCarthy's and Brian Keenan's accounts of being held hostage there I felt very uneasy about H going. I kept an eye on the Foreign Office's advice to travellers and wasn't sure a gig fitted into the category of 'essential travel only'. Hm. I felt slightly better when the location was moved from Baalbek to Beirut (for security reasons) but, anyway, it took me only a moment to adjust to it being cancelled.

Next post will hopefully include lots of jumper news/progress.

Monday, August 05, 2013

A year and a half's promise fulfilled

A year and a half ago, on a wintry walk in the countryside with our friends and Godsons, I made a flippant offer to my youngest Godson, JJ, to make him a pair of mittens. I'd just made his mother a pair to match my own. I made the offer without thinking, he said yes, we carried on our walk and I thought no more of it. 
Every single time I've seen him since, in the last year and a half (so, on average once a week), he has asked me "How are my mittens coming along?" He asks with such optimism and expectation in his voice - every time! Even when I squirm and pull a face and laugh and say, "Er, not very well." And then change the subject. The very next time I see him he has defaulted back to complete HOPE. 
I had tried re-drafting the pattern of my own mittens in a smaller size, but having not much patience for this I quickly abandoned the project. Then there was a breakthrough. About four months ago he said, "They don't have to have stars on, they could be stripy or have squares or circles." So I made a conscious effort to go looking for children's mitten patterns (I wanted them to have the Norwegian shaping at the top) and I found Norwegian Mittens and Gloves and thanks to Amazon I was able to look inside the book online and I saw they had child's mitten patterns. I asked if he would like reindeers on his mittens, he said yes, et voila! In a relatively short space of time, the mittens are now knitted. He wanted them in the same colour as my mittens. I think they've turned out really well. Now I want reindeer mittens for myself (luckily there is an adult reindeer pattern in the book).

I'm planning to wrap them up, take them round and then WAIT until he asks, "How are my mittens coming along?" And I'll be able to say, "THEY'RE FINISHED!!!"
And this is a sweet photo of our hens, and Turkey, out of my upstairs window. I love when they all hang out together. They're a great bunch, all with their individual personalities.