Sunday, 9 December 2012


Or, things I have grown to like since last we spoke on them

Admitting your faults is an important life skill. Now, obviously that is quite hard when you're as all-round awesome as I am, but I have recently had to admit two mistakes in my previous opinion, and it is only fair if I do so publicly;

- Bookmarks
I have previously espoused the bookmark as being irrelevant in the post-Gutenburg world. This is still true, but it overlooks an important point which has recently been made clear to me; when reading on a train, if you put your bookmark on the seat next to you this has the same effect as having a bag there (ie. no one will sit) without the undesirable dirty looks from people who you can just hear thinking ''huh, her bag needs a seat, does it?''

- Doctor Who
I said there was too much of it, that I could never catch up. I was wrong. There is not enough!! I did the whole lot (admittedly only the new, I'm still working on getting a the old on DVD) while the rest of my country talked about sport over the summer (seriously, I don't know how anyone can spend 4 minutes watching someone run, let alone 4 weeks) and have been most thoroughly converted to fangirl. I am using my advent calendar not so much in anticipation of christmas day for itself or any of the familial festivities it will bring, but as a count down to the new episode (and new companion! Eek!). There are so many things I love about the show that I cannot even begin to innumerate them, and I will not try because I will very quickly become incoherent*

*actually I'm now sat babbling away about River and Donna and Rory** and Nine and Angels and the Gaiman episode and  I'll stop now...

**not in that order. Maybe in that order... oh, and Rose with Ten-clone...and bowties...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Picture This

In this age of flicker groups, facebook tagging and USB digital frames, having photo albums - as in actual books full of actual prints - seems old fashioned.
But I like photo albums. I like that you can put ticket stubs, menu cards and pressed flowers in them alongside the pictures. I like that it is acceptable to give one to a friend to look at without feeling the need to also provide a running commentary in the way you do when scrolling through your 'My Holiday' PC folder. I like that, once your mum goes out of the room to make tea, you can remove all the bridesmaid pictures in which the make up ''artist's'' mangling of your face is particularly obvious and just rearrange the rest to cover the gap*.

It's the difference between a kindle and real book - it's in the tactile, the indefinable, the ability to enjoy it as an object for more than just it's contents. You can add a personal touch by writing a caption (in actual handwriting, not Helvetica). You can throw a photo album at your brother when he points out that you're in the background of that group shot, caught unawares ''dancing'' to Blondie. A photo album is more than the sum of it's contents

*there are some very sparse wedding albums in my family
This album is my favourite kind, as it contains no photos of me, moshing inappropriately or other wise - it's all craft photos of things I have made as gifts or for swaps and charity sales. It - like the rag bag sampler that covers it - is a chart of my progress and a collection of ideas tried. I have spotted some six-steppin' stuffies in the backgrounds though, so clearly some things never change...

Friday, 23 November 2012


It has come to my attention that the kitkat can only be persuaded to sit on excessively uncomfortable surfaces. She loves my pokey old wicker basket, but only so long at the broken bits of twig are sticking in her ass. She loves boxes and hatches, but only so long as they are far too small for her to fit in. She loved sitting on my new cartoon chair, but only so long as the glue hadn't dried - that way it could be sure to rip out lumps of her hair every time she moved. But, once I'd painstakingly removed all the cat hairs stuck in the varnish, (and then re-varnished) she had entirely no interest*. 
Fortunately Fritz the mouse was much more willing to pose for photos.

* to be fair, as awesome as Heck/Ditko's Ironman is, I have to admit the character is more interesting as interpreted by Robert Downey Jr...

Lots more pictures (full length shots) of the chair here

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Cunningness of Hats

This is Heather. As you can see, Heather likes stupid hats (seriously, that pom-pom is nearly as big as her head). I am in complete agreement with her about this - stupid hats are brilliant things*.
Maybe this is not true for everyone - maybe stupid hats are only brilliant for a small subset of humanity which I happen to fall into. So I shall try to explain:
 a) It is impossible to become pompous, even when talking about strongly held moral positions, while wearing a stupid hat.
b) Likewise, it is impossible to become apocalyptically angry about things you can have no (or very limited) effect over whilst wearing a stupid hat.
Clearly stupid hats are an excellent method for the regulation of the emotional state of individuals who may otherwise be susceptible to these excesses. Eg, I am watching the US election campaign on it's final role home, and simultaneously wearing a my preferred entirely ridiculous (albeit very cunning) hat. The stupidness of the headwear offsets my tendency to fly into a blind and fruitless fury at just about everything every candidate says.
Or at least it dampens the wrath enough that I don't scare the cat.

Further arguments in favours of stupid hats;
- Whilst wearing a stupid hat, when strangers look at you funny you have something to blame.
- If your hat is stupid enough it can ensure that no one sits next to you on the train
- Stupid hats encourage the development of stupid walks
- Let's face it, sensible hats are rarely very good at keeping heads warm (they don't have enough wool and fur going on usually -  and they never have ear flaps).

So, you see, stupid hats really are an important. Only, I do hope that the normal people never cotton on, because if Topshop et al start selling them, then they'll stop being stupid and start being 'trendy' and thus will loose all their superpowers.

My favourite stupid hat, done entirely on purpose.
*Only if you know it's stupid while you wear it. Unknowingly wearing a stupid hat is just a bit tragic really. As evidence I cite those two royal princess sisters (or whoever they are) at Will & Kate's wedding - you know who I mean, the ones who glued pretzels onto their foreheads. That would have been brilliant, if only they'd of done it on purpose.

Friday, 12 October 2012

What You Call ''Experts''

The fact that I stitched these outside the beer tent at an astronomy festival says an awful lot about me.

Friday, 5 October 2012

It Was Strange Glue That Held Us Together

Even in the mid -nineties, not a lot of pre-teens were into Catatonia. While most of my peer group were covering their hands in PVA for the pure pleasure of peeling it off again, I was trying to master the art of singing along in a welsh accent. In fact, I got so good at it that I decided to use it as an audition piece once (I figured I was tone deaf, so it didn't really matter what song I butchered, but at least if I showed off my accents I'd have a vague chance of impressing them with something.)
Still, things come full circle, so now, at the grand old age of pretending to be a grown up, here I am playing with papier mache and thoroughly enjoying spending the whole evening pulling gluey strings off my fingers...

The results of my ruined manicure indicate that my childish habit of not actually putting anything away properly (just hiding it in various boxes / drawers so my room looks tidy) is still alive and well. The remastered shoe box drawer is full of assorted junk that's been hovering around my bedside table for about 6 months (soooo much easier to craft than tidy away). The Goblet of Fire storage box is intended to stop the cat being able to get into her food and ending up even fatter.
All books died of natural causes prior to the instigation of this craft project

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Why I Love Harry Potter*

* the books, not the character. In fact, I can take or leave Harry himself really.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love these books just for their own sake. I could wax lyrical about the pure joy of delving into summer at the Burrow. I don't mind admitting how I sobbed at Neville & his mum, or that I'm still in denial over Sirius dying.
But what I REALLY love about the Potter books is not the books - it's the culture that grew around them.
They made it ok to be a reader, so I was just a bit less likely to get sweets thrown at the back of my head on the school bus. They meant that for the first time I could talk to people my own age about books; I could make friends with books rather than push people away, because for the first time people were reading the same thing I was.
The Potter books got big just at the right time for them to have the biggest impact on me - during the very short period of my life when I cared about being trendy - and I already had a head start because I'd already read the earlier books. It was the first and only time I have ever been ahead of the curve. When Prisoner of Azkaban came out and the rest of the world started catching up  I was 13; at 13 fitting in matters - everyone is carving out their space in the high school social sphere - and the Potter books threw a little light onto where my place was. Because of that light, people could see me and were less likely to tread on me. And, since it's hard to read in the dark, that light allowed me to keep my nose stuck in a book.
Thanks JK.

I Think Kaylee Would Approve

There are just under 6700 individually placed hot-fix crystals on these Converse.
They are very Shiny :D

Saturday, 4 August 2012


I need to get something off my chest. It's been bugging me for years, ever since I was a little girl and first learnt the lyrics to the rainbow song;

Red and yellow and pink and green,
Purple and orange and blue,
I can sing a rainbow,
Sing a rainbow too


There is no pink light anywhere, it doesn't exist. Even in rainbows, even in gay bars.

There, I've said it.
I feel better now.    
Thank you.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

This Is How I Roll

There really is something very therapeutic about colouring in. It's to do with taking the time out of your life to do something that has absolutely no purpose - it's watching great swathes of colour flow onto the paper, magically released from your pencils. It's making a vision of the world how you want it to be, not how it is or how it should be, but just how you want at that moment. It's green skies and purple trees and bright blue kittens. It's big sheets of creamy coloured potential rolled out in front of you, and the way wax picks up the texture of the grain. It's the twirly bits that come out of your sharpener. It takes no skill, there are no rules, so there is no pressure. 
You are not being marked or assessed, there's no time limit or expectation of commitment. You can play around with what works, safe in the knowledge that it won't make one blind bit of difference.
And it is always incredibly satisfying, after a hard crayoning session, in tidying all those shots of colour away, carefully sorting them into rainbow order and running you hand over them one last time before bed.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Just a Token Gift

Vouchers are clearly the best kind of present. Not only do you get the physical objects purchased with the  money they represent, but you also get an afternoon in a bookshop, wandering around knowing you can buy ANYTHING. You get to run your hand over the spines, considering weighty tomes with creamy pages bound in deep red cloth and modern minimalistic covers reflecting the laconic words within (but not the depth of meaning). You can choose between adventures in rainforests and boarding schools, in action and emotion, in past and future and times that can never be. A book voucher is a ticket to endless possibilities, and you the bearer have the privilege, as well as the responsibility, of choosing.
And then, when you've wandered for hours amidst the shelves, finally made your choice and given your boarding ticket to the desk clerk, you can head for the adjacent coffee shop to pay twice the usual going rate for a tea, rest your weary feet, snuggle in the sofa and crack open you shiny new copy of the latest George RR Martin*....
Now, I have been informed that vouchers are available in flavours other than Foyles. I can't really see the point, since it's doubtful that B&Q will have a very good selection of modern fantasy to choose from, and so my poor Sister in Law was stuck with coins wrapped in ribbon, instead of a little plastic card in matching folded paper. But, frankly, the woman was talking about spending good book-buying money on such fripperies as housewares, so she's clearly got bigger problems than just my non-specific gift giving.

*I had to stop reading the Songs of Fire & Ice series. Given Boy's brumal surname, the phrase 'Winter is coming' has a very different meaning to me...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Thou See'st The Glowing Of Such Fire

Having made Dividers and Paper, of course I had to make a folder to keep them in.
Why 73? Well, my reasons are many;
But, mostly, it's in homage to Sheldon

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Superhero Superwides...

Stationery makes me happy. Sad but true.
As a kid, I used to go out right at the beginning of the summer holidays to get my back to school stuff, because I was just too excited about the possibility of a new pencil-case to wait. And I'm pretty certain that a large part for the reason I'm enjoying studying again is that it gives me an excuse to get down to some hot n' heavy action with my highlighters and an array of different coloured biros.
But the accoutrements of a pencil case are light weight stuff when compared to the illicit highs to be found on the folders and dividers wall of the Tottenham Court Road Paperchase. Oh baby.

I will never forget the sweet bliss of discovering Woolworths extra wide dividers - wide enough to still stand out between plastic walleted documents, not so wide as to overflow the encasement of the folder. When Woolworths announced their eminent closure I stocked up on all the extra wides I could find, and, though I have used them sparingly since, but have never found a replacement source and 3 years later my supply is running low.
So, upon discovering this awesome wrapping paper, I decided to make my own extra-wides.... and while I was at it knocked up some matching note paper too
Happy times for divider heads...

Monday, 4 June 2012

A Day Too Late To Be Topical

I'm no royalist. In fact, I think the continued existence of a Royal Family in the UK is vaguely embarrassing - it belies the notion that this country is a meritocracy*. 

Now, I'm not going to bang on about how much it costs to keep the Royals, compared to how much tourism they bring in because frankly, I can't be arsed doing the research to dig through all the crap that's stated on that subject (a quick google provides me with an overall profit of 160 million p/annum, or an overall cost of 40 million p/annum, and a few number in between and that's just the first page of search results; these things are never cut and dry).
But I don't think that a group of people who got to where they are simply by being born there are great figureheads for the country.

People talk about how proud the Royals make us to be British. I don't get that, I'm afraid - in fact I don't really get patriotism at all - I'm not proud to be British in the same way I'm not proud to be human, or tall, or a natural blonde - things I'm proud of are things I have worked to achieve, not things I'm gifted by genetics or geography. So the whole flag waving thing is completely over my head.

But, despite really not understanding why we have a Royal family, even maybe being a bit of a Republican at heart, I am more than happy to sew bits of bunting because sewing is fun. So I wasn't watching the Jubilee celebrations (why would I watch that when I have the first season of Misfits on DVD?) but my needlework was be gracing some bit of Royal bunting. I'm not proud to be British, it's not my bunting design so I'm not proud of that (nor would I be if I'd drawn it - it's awful) but I am proud that I finally mastered the art of Colonial Knots. So Hurrah for that.

*Admittedly, so do a lot of other things. But the Royals are a particularly visible example.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

... Spock Lizard

People just aren't good enough at being random to play Rock Paper Scissors*.

Most people play Rock first - in fact, most people play rock 36% of the time (compared to 30% paper. The psychology behind that may be laughable, but the maths is fun). Unless, of course, they watch QI, in which case they know that most people play rock too much, so they play paper. Although if they know that you know that they watch QI, they'll expect you to expect them to play paper, so they'll think you'll play scissors. So they'll play rock...

Anyway, regardless of attempted tactics, in any game like this people will unwittingly form patterns. The human brain is hot wired to see and make patterns everywhere; it' an evolutionary thing, apparently our ancestors didn't play a lot of RPS. This results in a species where individuals use the same opening gambit nearly all the time, or tend to play the symbols in the same order, or they still think that playing the same symbol twice in a row will be unexpected. So if you happen to know that individual, they will become predictable. 

Throwing Spock Lizard into the mix doesn't help with that - it just takes a little longer to figure out a partner's patterns. But it does lessen the chance of ties. And, most importantly, it encourages dinosaur impressions.


* The Japanese version is called Chief of the village, Tiger, Mother of chief of the village. Catchy, huh?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

One More Vodka Cranberry

So, a few of my friends are lenders over at Kiva. They were discussing it recently, and one turned to ask me if I were a lender.
My reaction was predictably defensive. I do give to charity - both in time and money - but I don't earn a lot so I don't give a lot either. No one was trying to force me, it was a friendly enquiry, yet I felt guilty.

I thought about that.
I thought about the fact that I can take weekends away in hotels, or buy tickets to shows. I can be educated to degree level, then change my mind and do another degree in a whole new subject area. I can buy books, or go out for dinner, or pick up nonsense presents for the boy, or make a million other frivolous and not so frivolous purchases. Sure, I have to think about those purchases; I can't buy all the things I want, I have to budget monthly to keep a roof over my head. But, essentially I know that I can decide to stay in the pub for another rum if I want to.
Not everyone has that luxury.

And so I thought, sure, I give to charity - mostly to causes that have had an impact on my life or my families life - arts education for young people, Alzheimer's research and mental health support services. But, well, why not give a little more? I can manage it, I'll just have to cut back on my weekly purchase of Kinder Eggs.

So, these things in mind, I decided to become a Kiva Lender. I am pledging to myself, and to you out there in blogoland, that for every frivolous shoe purchase I make, I will also make a loan to someone somewhere around the world who doesn't have access to the things I take for granted.

The Ironfist zombie stilettos I brought at the beginning of April helped fund purchase of wool by Vicencia, a Bolivian lady who wants to start a blanket weaving business.
The Wonder Woman Converse I plan on getting tomorrow will help Dilbar from Tajikistan to buy a digital sewing machine in order to expand her embroidery business.

Pretty cool, huh? Cooler still, once those loans are repaid, I can just send the money out again to help someone else.
These people could have been my friends - members of my craft group maybe - had the circumstances of our births been a little different. And I'd like to think, had I not had all the opportunities I do, someone somewhere might be willing to help me buy the maths textbooks I seem to enjoy smacking my head against.
Noods x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty

There is something eternally appealing about a creature to whom the epitome of paradise is falling asleep on your head. It is one of my favourite things, to wake up and find myself wearing a purring cat-hat. It almost makes up for the times I get woken up by a whining ball of breakfast-demeaning grump who doesn't appreciate that 6AM is not a time to expect Whiskers by waitress service.

My little fleece 'n felt kitties are full of rice, so can be microwaved and popped in pockets as purrfect* handwarmers - just what this beautiful English Spring weather demands...

*I am so sorry.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Red Shoes

"They dance her out into the street, 
they dance her over the mountains and valleys"

For almost 4 years, I have worn red shoes. Red, everyday (bar one; mummy wouldn't let me be her bridesmaid in red shoes). Red flats, red heels, brogues, sneakers, boots, courts and (courtesy of a knitter friend) red slippers.

I suffer from bouts of depression. That makes it sound very simple, but it is not. My last fairly severe patch was about 4 and a half years ago. I stopped living. 

I got up, put on baggy jeans and whichever tee-shirt was cleanest, pulled my hair back with a scrunchie, went to uni, came home, and went to bed. I existed on a diet of cigarettes, Doritos and bad American reality TV, becasue I couldn't be arsed to shop or cook or change the channel. I graduated. I didn't get a job. I got a really shit job. I got a boyfriend who would rather be needed than wanted. I went to work, I came home, I smoked and I slept.
One day, a girl at work gave me a pair of red ballet pumps - she'd picked up the wrong size, and so, instead of taking them back to Primark, thought I might like them. I barely looked at them.

I came home from work, I slept, I went to work, I stood and nodded while people talked in my direction. I existed, just. I wore a hole in the sole of the pair of plimsolls I'd had on everyday for months. I spent the day with sodden feet, dirty London rainwater soaking my socks. The next day I put on the red ballet pumps.
I walked to work, looking down at the floor, but occasionally catching glimpses of red between the grey-ed out denim bottoms of my frayed jeans and the damp grey pavement. She was right, the girl at work, they were a nice colour. 
In the break room, alone, I sat in the green swivel chair, not doing anything - too bored to do anything, to boring to sit outside with the others.
Suddenly, I was doing something - I was sticking my legs straight out in front of me and spinning on the chair. Spinning, looking at my red shoes wizzing around. Spinning and laughing, laughing out loud, the first real laugh I had laughed in months, in my whole life maybe. Then crying. Face in my hands, red shoes dangling on the end of little girl legs not long enough to reach the floor, sobbing. 

I went to the bathroom and mopped myself up. 
But I remembered that I had laughed, and I suspected that I may have smiled without realising it, at those occasional glimpses of colour on grey paving slabs. I wore the red shoes again the next day. 

They were not a miracle cure, and did not herald an instantaneous turn around. But since that day my life has taken many steps, tiny, not so tiny, and occasionally backwards, towards knowing how to make myself be happy, how to make myself laugh and how to smile for no reason. All of those steps have been taken in red shoes. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Spectrums are Rainbows Too

Colin the Triceratops oversees my haul of NSS & RABCK gifts
Getting on the tube - the Northern Line, no less - during rush hour, with a suitcase, made me feel like a social pariah. Or a tourist. Uck. But needs must, and 3 episodes of Gilmore Girls (on train) 2 of the Forsyte Saga (on ferry. Am also reading books. Style envy central) and I'd got a birthday present made as well as arriving in Dublin. Hurrah all round.

First order of the day, of course, was ensuring that I was in no way involved in the ice breaker event. So I strategically positioned myself and my Non-BCer dinner companion (controversial. I am nothing if not a rebel) so that I wasn't obvious enough to be dragged in, but was obvious enough that less wiley people could spot me and, now knowing that escape was possible, come to say hello. People started drifting over (some of them muttering ominously about anagrams), and the real ice breaker (bitching about the planned ice breaker) got under way...
First up was everyone's favourite non-jazzing Belgian (he does like Avril Lavigne though, which is immeasurably worse), shortly followed by Bruce. Yes, the Bruce. Awed as I initially was, he made the cardinal sin of, having asked what I 'do' and listened to my reply, talking about the film, so has gone down in my book as being on a yellow card, coach trippers.
I was further honoured to not only meet, but actually be sort out and approached by Ardik. Both being a bit socially inept, we cracked a gag about social inept awkward silences to try to break the awkward silence, but it didn't really work and he spent the rest of the weekend avoiding me. Oh well. He did have lovely hair though, neatly sidestepping the usually repulsive 'IT guy with a ponytail' look by incorporating a sort of twist thing that rendered the whole thing very enjoyable as he walked away. 
Being sat with the Belgian (who, in a blatant and completely acceptable attempt to bribe me into giving his monopoly team bonus points, had brought me Biscuit Spread), lots of the German contingency came to join us, and talked German too fast for me to follow - which always makes me paranoid that they are talking about me*. It turned out that the paranoia was preferable to what came next - guilt. Guilt that I'm not a nice enough person to be consistently nice to people; they tried to rope me, as apparently a person of some standing in the BC world(?!?), into joining the volunteer support staff team. I think I'd enjoy it, but I can't be relied upon not to get grumpy with the obvious questions and answer with 'Are you actually retarded, or just really good at doing impressions?' becasue I've got PMT that day...

And so Friday evening progressed, and I was actually very sensible, didn't drink a lot and went to bed at a reasonable hour - I wasn't even the last man standing in the bar (but since it was the Irish, and on their own home turf, I let them take it).
So far proceedings had been spectrum free.... It couldn't last.

Saturday morning arose, and, given the completely responsible level of alcohol consumption the prior night, so did I. I was downstairs in time for breakfast and everything! (Mind you, I only really went as an excuse to show off my beautiful vintage dressing gown, since I never usually get a chance to air it in public and it makes me feel like a one of Bertie Wooster's fiancées). It was noon on convention day two before I took my first trip around the spectrum...
I was in the pool, which means I was pretty vulnerable becasue I had no excuse not to talk, plus I was wearing a latex hat. No weird situation is gonna be helped by bright yellow latex headwear. Then he got in. Mr Butterfluff man. Who, despite the pool only being 16 by 4 meters, tried to do Butterfly. Which would have been bad enough, but he clearly didn't actually know how Butterfly is supposed to progress, and instead just extended both arms sideways while flapping his hands about, and doing mermaid leg kicks. admittedly, hilarious, but rather prevented me from being about to swim without getting smacked in the face by a stray stroke.
So I ran away.

The afternoon consisted of our little band of rebels sitting at the back of the room working on our various craft projects**, being given teacher-ish looks when we occasionally burst into laughter while whispering to each other. So, for anyone who missed it becasue of our disturbances, the official talks in summery:
 - Bruce promised the same developments as when he spoke at Nottingham. They won't happen this time either. Still no word on the European Supply Store, even though it is now a year since they closed the UK one.
- The people organising Gothenburg 2013 like to show photos on OHPs. make of that what you will.
- Rachel didn't win the raffle, she missed out by a syllable. Gill did, woop woop. Fortunately for Rudi, I didn't win either, despite his entering me multiple times. The git.

Once the planned games and activities were done, our table of carefully selected normal people (Normal -ish, anyway. Despite the fondness for wool, buttons and embroidery hoops) started attracting attention from the oddballs and photographers alike, and it became obvious that our oasis was unsustainable. So we went to change for dinner.
Through a combination of carefully selecting which restaurant party to join, plus some political manoeuvring whilst taking seats, we manage to avoid  being too near to any of the more vocal spectrum folk (though loud joke lady from Nottingham was still too nearby for my taste. By which I mean she was in the same city). We discussed the weird German habit of passing books around for everyone to sign, did some hypothetical matchmaking, and drank a couple of bottles of wine....
Back at the hotel I had more than a couple of rum n cokes (Sea Dog, nice and dark).
Someone brought a couple of bottles of fizz (celebrating the finding of a previously lost wallet).
You can put the rest of the evening together for yourself

I felt somewhat rough this morning, and ducked out of the release walk. To be entirely honest, I doubt I'd have joined in anyway since it left at an ungodly hour (those are the ones with an AM after them). I'm fairly certain that it's only down to Janice & the BMI staff that I made it home in one piece.

Warning; it's about to get serious. And potentially sentimental:
Final thought for the day...
Please know that when I laugh at the spectrum folk, I do it in the full knowledge that I am one of them (I'm sure more than one person has looked at my ridiculous dresses and even more ridiculous shoes and immediately written me off). If I were a better person, I'd have the patience to ignore the spectrum and find the special, but I'm not a better person, I am a me. 
The fact is, the bookcrossing community is populated by incredible people; generous of time, spirit and energy (not to mention presents) with no expectation of return. They are, every last one of them, wonderful.
Especially the ones that give me dinosaur colouring in books :)

*Me, Self obsessesd?
Ich könnte keine GoG sein, ohne eine Egomanin zu sein...

** check out Rachel's blog, tis covered with awesomesauce and sparkley sprinkles 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012


I have a confession. This may shock those of a more delicate disposition, so please look away now if you are feeling a bit sensitive:

I sometimes drink coffee.

It all started when I realised just how few of the modern high-street coffee shop type places can make a decent cup of tea*. So, I figured I may as well give coffee a whirl, and it was a downward spiral from there.
I have now come full circle, and can no longer bear to drink the sludge they serve in coffee shops.

Maybe I'm rationalising away my guilt, but I honestly don't think that tea minds; the two things fill different needs in my life. Tea is a necessity - a best friend; dependable and everyday, a love that can be thoughtless as well as vital. Coffee is an indulgence - a lover; dark, solitary, demanding dedicated time and self-restraint.
Coffee suits the sort of spring morning where the light is weak but the kitchen floor is not cold. I enjoy the time needed to prepare - grinding the beans is like foreplay, releasing the scent - there is something coldly aesthetic about cleaning and assembling the steel parts of the pot - and pouring black treacle into a short white cup, sullying it; defiling, dirty and delicious.  
Carrying it, like a procession of one, back to bed.
It suits a more solitary, darker mood - it goes better with cynicism. It goes better with Vonnegut, and with 30's Berlin, and with acerbic feminism.
It changes the hour after Boy leaves for work from something faintly lonely as I am reluctantly dragged into the day, into a luxurious hour of isolation, a well of all-to-myself selfishness before my attention is gathered by more necessary things.

Never, ever offer me a cup of Nescafe.

*Do not get me started. It should be so simple - yet what most of them serve could barely be classed as milky water. I blame the expensive tea-bags they insist on using; the leaves are cut large to avoid tannins, but they need several minutes to brew in a pot with piping hot water, they cannot be served into a cardboard cup with milk added immediately; you just won't get any strenght. In those circumstances you need good old PG Tips; small cut leaves for a quick brew in on the go situations. 

NB. As you can tell, this Mug rug n hug set do not express my feelings about coffee - They were for Mother's Day (hello mum!) and are here merely as an excuse to mention mes amours du jour (the other one being my new rivet press. A lot of crafting in my immediate future will suddenly require rivets)

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Go on, all the cool kids are doing it...

I found a use for my craft crack.... and now I can start pushing it onto non-crafters in the form mini-quilts. Once the addicts are acclimatised to the mini-quilts, start riveting the edges and lacing them to loose leaf cartridge paper to make bookcovers. The next step is to fill said book with photos of lovely friends and happy times, thus really tugging on emotional ties, increasing the peer pressure and ensuring that they'll keep coming back for more. From there my evil homemade empire is set to take over the world.... *
My grasp of street lingo is getting better, I've been listening to the Coffee Break Brixtonian podcasts to help me pick up the accent, and when all else fails, there's always the talk like a pimp translator (definitely not powered by google)

Darling Dodos and Suspicious Smells

A quick shout out to awesome bookcrosser Wyando, who made this Dodo following my tutorial to use in his team's recent Bookcrossing Monopoly release. The bird and the book are both most excellent, and I shall let him explain in his own words;

The Story of Thursday Last (which used to be Thursday Next)
Team Wolf landed Lost on the Monopoly-Board 2012 for our first turn. So what do we do to pass the time? Get a Book. A Good Book. And before we knew it we were Lost in a Good Book. By accident, you think?

While being Lost in a Good Book, we watch the Adrian Lush Show on Network Toad. Team Wolf was sneaking around being very, very careful not to appear on the pages which were being read. And so, dodging about in the background we discovered a secret - (we don't know if SpecOps 27 already know about this) it seems that Adrian Lush, a fictional character, built an Empire in the real world under the name of "Lush Retail Ltd", as a cover operation to smuggle Welsh Cheese! All those Lush Shops have a very strong smell to cover up the smell of the Mynachlog-ddu Old Contemptible being traded from the back door...

Of course we can't tell anybody without giving ourselves away to the book readers. Hence we decided to release this book near a Lush Shop in Cologne, with some (very legal, all taxes paid) BabyBel to try to clue in the Cheese Enforcement Agency.
The release is scheduled for Thursday next, wish us luck....

P.S. Sorry about Vikwick, but you know how Dodos are, they always will be in the focus... (she is an early version 1.2)

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Craft-Crack Whore

I've always been one of those sewers who uses an unpicker more than a needle - I'm not naturally neat, but I'm anal as fuck; I'll re-do and re-do until stitches are sized identically & perfectly placed. This has been inhibiting my speed of output, yet I don't necessarily think it has a massive impact on the quality of my pieces. So... I have decided to do some exercises to combat my OCDing. (push-ups will not be included)
These little pillow patches have been made without any preliminary sketching, or even drawing out of the design on the cloth. I did not take any measurements, use a ruler or set square, and I did not have a final use in mind for most of them once complete. Most importantly, unpickers were forbidden, and I gave myself a time limit to make sure I sew'ed at a decent speed. (Notice how, in an attempt to be more spontaneous and to sew more naturally, I created a set of rules to follow. This speaks volumes).
I'm quite pleased with how they came out - especially the xkcd ones. The edges are wonkier that willy, not a single stitch is in the right place or of the right size, but I had loads of fun making them. 

Most of them are for other people, so the colour choices and motifs are not necessarily what I would want myself. To be honest, I don't really get the current trends for crafted icons. Owls are nice enough birds I'm sure, and moustaches are amusing when tattooed on fingers, I just don't understand why they are everywhere at the minute. More shockingly, I have to confess that I have never seen a single episode of Dr Who. This stems from yet another OCD of mine - I cannot watch a TV programme out of order - so to watch Dr Who I would have to go back to 1963 and work my way forward through all 32 series just to get up to date. Who has time for that?*
The pillows are really tactile - squidging them and seeing how the stuffing density changes as you sew makes them rather addictive to make. They are the crack of the craft world, and I am going to be a dealer coz I think I'll look good in the big sunglasses. With that in mind, I'm off to learn some street slang - wonder if they do classes at the community collage?
innit, bitch

*I'm secretly really impressed with myself for the plethora** of puns in that sentence. 
**Ok, ok. Not a plethora. But there are at least 2.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Character Development

Blithely sat sewing one day, Noodle's attention was diverted from the needle she was trying to thread... disaster had struck... the text of her nails was starting to show. There could only be one reason - Grammasites. The recent outbreaks of ellipses in the scene suddenly made sense... 

Yet, for Noodle, this plot-twist meant more than merely having an infestation of Adjectivores to deal with; until now she had never realised that she was fictional!

Friday, 17 February 2012

less than 3

I sure do love buttons. I'd go so far as to say I heart them.  (I'm not going to use the actual symbol because I'm not a 7 year old girl with a pink pencil case).

I may have been watching too much Big Bang Theory, I've gone a little Sheldon.

Noodle x

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Note to Self

Know what I love? To Do Lists. I blame my degree; To Do Lists were a subject area worth 40% of the grade, so it was embrace the anal retention or fail and be forced fed Imodium.

Now, I'm an professional, and I go through Post-Its at an alarming rate (I practice advanced To-Do Listing, with a variety of sub-lists organised according to the size, colour and shape of Post-It they are written on). But I know most people aren't as expansive as as me - some people don't carry their lists in their handbag, and some people (brace yourself - this bit is quite shocking) don't keep To Do Lists at all. Those people, I feel sorry for. So I have started making beginner To Do Listing packs, nice and big and friendly lookin', and erasable so any mistakes won't matter. I've even disguised them as 'Memos' to fool any phobics and ease them into the OCDing slowly. 
It's my contribution to the happiness of humanity.
Noodle x

Current Major Crafting To Dos (only including projects already started)
- Finish cushion 2 embroidery
         - work out pattern for Cushion 3; stitch
         - make up cushions 1-3
- embellish patches, sew up
         - edit photos & print
- edge book-cover; decorate
- finish hot-gemming accessories
- tidy fabric stash following Sunday's raid

Monday, 6 February 2012

Ploomin' Marvelous

I got a Peg Loom for Christmas. And then I made the rather controversial decision to actually use it. I realise that the accepted procedure upon acquisition of a new crafty gadget is to get intimidated by all the possibilities and put the toy somewhere you can gaze upon it whilst never actually using it, so filled with wonderment at what you could do that you never actually decide where to start.
But I didn't do that... I didn't give myself the chance - I just marched off to John Lewis wool sale, purchased 30 balls of super chunky, and got going.
Peg-Looming (Plooming, in my lexicon of made up abbreviated forms of words, because my it takes too long to think both words individually) is easy - really easy - but it takes time. It takes longer than epic poetry. It takes longer than a very long tape measure. This rug is the product of 3 whole series of Jonathan Creek*, plus one of Dawson's Creek (I was watching only inlet and stream themed 90's TV this month). But it was worth it, because this rug makes cats very happy. Curdle loved it, she sat on it the whole time it was being made (this did not hep with tensioning) and apparently my parent's cat Harvey now also loves it, as demonstrated by the fact that he is rapidly destroying it

Oh well

*I'll save you the trouble; that fourth season is quite spectacularly not good. Why did they carry on after Caroline Quentin left? Now, I like Julia Sawalha as much as the next Austen-fan, but she ain't no Maddie Magellan.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Game Brain

Doing A Level English Lit, I was really jealous of the Eng Lang class because they got to study Frankenstein, one of my favourite books at the time. I was stuck listening to my teacher explain every single line of Keats, clearly under the impression that we could not read  and comprehend for ourselves. Once I realised that the entire contents of the course could be found between the covers of Sparksnotes, and that I was the only student who read Shakespeare without needing someone to tell them what the plot was, I stopped turning up to class (I never could cope with boredom...). I think my attendance of 12%, coupled with my receipt of the highest mark in the school, is a testament to the quality of the teaching in the shitty comprehensive I attended.
Anyway, where was I... oh yes, Frankenstein is awesome, Keats tends to waffle and the I made the boy a themed DS cover for Christmas. Hurrah! I've never actually seen any of the film versions of Frankenstein*, but my Adam is loosely based on the Karloff-type pop culture image. See, you have to open Adam's head to get the console, cute huh? 
(Well, cute for a zombiefied head, anyway)

*Though NT filmed their stage version, which I thoroughly recommend if you get a chance to see it.
**read as slack-jawed monster groaning

Monday, 9 January 2012

Irrational Unfuntionality

So, I am now writing for geekcrafts. It's cool coz now I get to help spread the love of nerdtastic crafting. Actually, it's the opposite if cool... but you catch my drift.
In other news, I do remember when I promised to be less shit at updating this here blogette. Vaguely. That was in a time before I tried to do A-Level Maths, Further Maths and Pure Maths in 5 weeks... I'll be less rubbish once I've worked out how to apply the graphs of trigonomic functions to this set-square. Or something.