Review of the Year: 2014

Hello 2015! (Yes I know I’m a couple of days late but I’ve been busy dammit)

This year has been crazy in a good way. Holidays and gigs and time with family and time to myself. Which pretty much sums up some of my resolutions for last year. So to review last years resolutions:-

1. Keep this Blog going. Yes. Well it’s still here. Not really successfully by still here. This may turn into a “try again this year” resolution.

2. Lose the Cheese weight Well this was a fail. But not a complete fail because whilst I’ve not lost weight at least I’ve not had a gain. I’m also no any healthier which was another part of this goal but I can also file this again under “try again this year”.

In another part of my mind I have a little voice saying “Eat the Cheese”

3. Read More! Erm, no. The only book I read last year was “The Last Days of Richard III and the Fate of his DNA” by John Ashdown-Hill. It was a great read but the honest truth is I don’t fell like I have time to read everything I want to read anymore with the time I spend on other things I wasn’t to do. The other option is to timetable in time to read but then it just feels like a chore. This resolution may be missing from this years list.

4Refresh my language courses Another No. I think this one may end up not only been given up but the actual books been given to the charity shop.

5. Enjoy my university course Meh, enjoy may have been optimistic. I am working on it and looking forward to the end result but hard work is hard work and it’s very rarely fun.

6. Go to More Gigs I’ve definitely managed this one. The complete list is:- Rizzle Kicks, The Eagles, Manic Street Preachers, The Beautiful South, The Searchers and Katy Perry. I also went to the theatre quite a lot; Avenue Q, The Perfect Murder, Evita, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Beyond The Barricade, Les Miserables and Mamma Mia. This year should be just as busy I hope with one trip to the theatre and one gig already booked. (I also realise I still have reviews to do for some of these)

7. Make the hubby a jumper Well I started one, does that get me half a point?

8. Actually make something for me! I did!

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Ok it did end up been for a fancy dress but it is still completed and the warmest jumper in the world. Thanks again to Mrs Moon for the inspiration.

I also have my Fair Isle jumper which is complete but that baby deserves its own post.

9. Have more nights out I really did, and the best was most certainly Halloween, which the above jumper was made for. Whilst I’m not going to keep this resolution exactly the same I want to have just as many awesome nights out this year.

10. Learn a new skill Erm, no again. I may just pretend this doesn’t exist.

11. Continue with my crafty time I most certainly did, crafty time is the only thing that stops me from going crazy! It also gave me some lovely end results.

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12. Stop biting my Nails Well yes and no.

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My nails can look like this. However I do still bite them. And sometimes they look…well disgusting. So more consistency in my nails is next years resolution.

13. Complete Tut No. However he did get more time than the last year so I’m counting this as a success.

14 Make time for me Yes. And I plan to carry this on as well.

And for this year, well carrying on from last year I will have 15 resolutions:

1. Keep the Blog Going.
2. Stay Healthy.
3. Keep going on CLC and do the best I can.
4. Go to as many Gigs as possible.
5. Go to the theatre as much as possible.
6. Finish the Husbands jumper.
7. Complete more things for me.
8. Keep my social life busy.
9. Keep my nails healthy.
10. Complete Tut.
11. Spend more time with my sewing machine.
12. Spend more time baking.
13. Travel more, even if it’s just in the UK.
14. Discover new music.
15. Keep time for me.

All in all, last year was amazing, but I have a feeling this year is going to be even better.

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WIP Wednesday: Halloween, Bonfire and Christmas, Oh My!

Oh my giddy Aunt! Where has the time gone? I did actually write a blog all about Halloween but somehow it got eaten by my phone before it was posted.

The only reason I’m getting round to writing this is because I’ve ended up on a detour on my way home and have no knitting/crochet/craft of any description! Disaster! However it does give me time to blog.

So Halloween. The jumper I made was finished. Yes I was making it on October 30th but it was finished by Halloween. I wore it pretty much all day at work and most of the time on my night out. Want to see a picture? Well unfortunately WordPress is not been my friend today so I will have to paint you a word picture. It was the brightest Orange, with large puffy sleeves and a snuggle polo neck. Tonight Matthew I’m going to be Velma from Scooby Doo! (If you don’t get that reference go google old episodes of Stars in Their Eyes. It will be he best thing you do all week. I occasionally watch the old episodes on the channel Challenge, it makes me thankful I avoided most of the 80’s, that went off topic quickly….) Edit: WordPress is my friend again and is letting me post pictures but the chat about Stars in Their Eyes was too good to be edited out

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So yeah Velma! It was awesome I think I lost a stone in sweat One of the best nights out ever how I did not pass out I do not know My jumper got a million lovely comment bloody hope so too the effort I put into it However as great as the night out was its unlikely I will wear this jumper on a day to day basis, it was just too warm! You know those jumpers you wear on days at home when it’s cold and a little drizzly? Well it’s become my stay at home jumper.

Then it’s the husbands birthday and Bonfire Night! And almost on schedule I got a horrible chest infection and end up on a nebuliser. This is both horrible and good. Bad; I don’t like been ill and off work; Good; I get to knit more!

I even managed to complete a couple of small projects. I made some very bright, rainbow coloured socks for the newest member of the family. She is uber adorable and her mum, my cousin, was ecstatic for something not pink! Gender colours are something that is actually mentioned quite a lot at KNN on Thursday and while I think it’s occasionally nice to see a girl in a pretty pink dress the sheer amount of pink that I was confronted with when I went to buy an outfit for new member of family was overwhelming. Eventually I found a little denim dress with a yellow t shirt and tights but it was very difficult. And from the excitement of my cousin when she finally received something not pink I’m going to try and not stick to gender colours for any new arrivals.

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I have also almost finished my hearts and flowers top. The shoulders have been seamed and buttons bought. However at this late stage I don’t want to show half a seamed top so the next photos will be of it finished and on my and Bernadette (yes my dummy is going to wear it as well)

So for the husbands birthday (and before the terrible Chest Infection of 2014) we went to the theatre to see a musical performance, a full review will happen at some point in a Fun Friday post. We have also managed another musical performance and a gig since I posted so they will be getting posts soon as well, as well as the long overdue reviews for The Eagles and The Perfect Murder.

And now, well it’s only 4 weeks til Christmas you lucky, lucky people. Is Santa bringing you fruit or coal this year? I think he is bringing me yarn. Well I’m hoping for yarn. He also brought me an early Christmas present in the form of the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. I didn’t actually spend that much, my biggest purchase been MillaMia Country Escape Booklet and the yarn for the striped pattern. I also treated my Toyota sewing machine to a cosy new bag.

The husband was my partner in crime for my day in Harrogate and convinced me to buy this pattern and the yarn for the adult jumpers. He’s hoping I will have at least one done by Christmas!

I’ve also been neglecting my sewing for the longest time so treated myself to some fabrics to make my sister an apron for Christmas (the chances of her reading this and finding out are minimal so I can reveal all on here) and a Gorguss cross stitch, which I was so eager for I’ve actually started work on it last Sunday during a film marathon (it was the Tinkerbell films, I’m both ashamed and not ashamed by that fact)

I also treated myself to a workshop, Make a Vintage Clutch Bag. Whilst I do have a bag it is not photo worthy. In the slightest. Maybe one day I will pluck up the courage to show the world but that day is not today. I did really enjoy my time on the sewing machine and it gave me another pattern to work with that I know I will be confident to do, just needing a little more than two hours to complete it in.

And that just about brings me up to date. Work is mental again at the moment as half the staff are on holiday (again, we always seem to plan our holidays together) but next week so am I. Hopefully by then WordPress will be my friend again and I will be able to update with lots of pictures and blogs of my adventures.

Mini Monday: Success and Failure.

Today I feel I have failed at many things. I have not done any of the clothes washing, which is necessary now I only have 4 outfits suitable for work. I manage to rip one of the dresses straight down the side last week and repairing it would make it too small even with the most tiny of seam allowances. My house still looks like the scene of a burglary or small disaster movie. I haven’t even bother to make the bed.

I have done no exercise even though the extent of me getting dressed was to put on exercise clothes rather than stay in pyjamas.

I have only eaten nachos and a packet of M&Ms, the diet of a student (well kinda student).

I didn’t even start to make the dress that I have been planning to make to make up for the one that was ripped.

However I did bring out my longest WIP (8 years, 5 months and counting) and did about 5 hours work on it.

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Today has been successful.

Stitching Sunday: Updates!

Look updates!

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This is the sleeve of a jumper I started on holiday. I’m actually going to be making two nearly identical versions of this for two little boys in my family. So far I have one back, two sleeves and the beginning of a front. I have a bit of a dilemma of which version I want to do though, with or without a hood. As the only changes have to be made to the front neck to decide with or without a good I still have time to decide but it’s not really good to make a decision as knitting as I have discovered in the past. I think I have asked everyone in real life that I know which they prefer and most have informed me it’s my decision to make. NO! I can’t make this decision. Anyone want to help me?

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Also next look, pretty fair isle! This is the back of the nearly never ending jumper. I have just another 2cm of the plain stocking stitch in the dusky pink to go on the front before I start the fair isle on that. Whilst this project feels like it has been going forever I apparently only started it sometime in March. Hopefully at this rate it will be ready for autumn.

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Whilst the Fair Isle jumper may feel like it’s taken forever this really is taking forever. What you see is actually all I have done on it. This is the back panel of what I call Aran for Aaron. It’s a silly word play but makes me smile. I don’t think this will be completed in time for this winter.

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I also got round I washing the fabric I bought for some summer dresses. Yes summer may be coming to an end but I may get to wear something I make before the end of September. However I have learnt that drying several meters of fabric in a tiny flat is not very practical. My sudden interest in trying to get back on the dressmaking wagon is four fold:-

1. I have so much fabric I should really use some of it soon.

2. My wardrobe really needs updating. I can count on one hand the amount of outfits I own that fit, are fashionable and suitable for work on one hand. Then again I can probably do the same for my out of work clothes too.

3. I have a new sewing machine that needs to be used for more than cushion covers.

4. Look at my new friend…

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She is just begging to be draped in fabric even if she does look amazing in the nude, so to speak.

She is another of my charity shops finds. I saw her standing in the window and had to look at her in more detail. It was only when I got into the shop I realised she was for sale. As it was a case of love at first sight I didn’t care what her price was I just had to buy her. Turns out she didn’t break the bank balance at £20! In fact I think she was a bargain. Yes she has a little bit of damage around her base and she is old enough to be called vintage but to me is perfect. I’m hoping we have many happy hours together.

WIP Wednesday: I WANT TO START A NEW PROJECT!

And the bad thing is I don’t even know where all my current projects are.

Off the top of my head I have Vine Cardie, Aaron’s Hayfield jumper, Feathers McGraw, My Hearts and Flowers Jumper, Dennis the Menance Socks, lacy shawl, the Baa Ram Ewe Cowl, the extra tiny leg warmers, poor old Tut’, Art of Crochet blanket, a couple of other cross stitch (Cleo and a wedding sampler), beaded bag and…..no wait that’s it. I think. Maybe.

And yet I want to start something new.

Maybe it’s because my plan on Monday was to have a wool, craft, fun day! Yes it went a bit awry but I did buy some goodies. I bought some Scrumptious 4 ply by Fyberspates that at the moment is just for stroking. Seriously I’m say here petting it like a silky little animal.

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Plus it matches my nails at the moment.

I also found mountains of white wool in the charity shops in Headingly and decided to try kool aid dying again. Except I forgot the bit about only animal fibres. Now I know why they say animal fibres only. Luckily I only used a small amount so I still have yards and yards of white wool in various weights just itching to be used. More for me to cast on. More temptation.

So, I have decided I should finish at least one thing before anymore is cast on. Also my limited needle supply demands this happens. But what to finish? Well I’ve mostly been working on Little Vine (with the silly slippery needle), Heart and Flowers (Just starting Fair Isle section so not practical as a travel piece anymore) and Feathers McGraw (Stupid toy in a thousand pieces, on tiny needles, it’s a good job the friend I’m making it for is such a very good friend because I’ve been tempted to throw it in the bin at points). So these are going slow because I’m grumpy. As to where the others are I have no ideas.

On the other hand I did a bit of mathematics yesterday during a quiet 5 minutes at work. According to my library on Ravelry I have 1,155 patterns. So if I was to retire at 65 but wanted to knit everything in my library before then what would be the time scales? Well I would have about 2 weeks per project and I would complete them all before my 65 birthday, just. I think this proves I need to add more projects, I mean I need to plan retirement pieces as well.

EDIT: I went hunting. Tut is behind the chair, and I’m thinking he might be unfinished forever more. The small leg warmers are in the ottoman. Aaron’s jumper is in a bag on the door handle in the small bedroom/craft room/ study. The socks were in my blue satchel. The Vine Cardie was in my black satchel that I had taken to work today. The Dennis socks and shawl were under the small bedroom bed, but the pattern is lost for the shawl. This may mean I may have to frog the shale if the pattern is not found. The Art of Crochet blanket is in the pink box by the computer in the living room. Feathers McGraw is under the side table in the living room. The random cross stitch and beaded bad are in the really useful boxes in the storage cupboard. I have no idea where the Baa Ram Ewe cowl is. I’ve searched hard and it’s not in any of the usual places. However the husband may have a point when he says my craft stuff takes over the house. Makes me more determined to finish off some projects and give them a good home.

Mini Monday: What is normal?

I’m been serious here. What is normal? It’s currently 10pm-ish and I’m sat by myself, drinking an alcoholic beverage, doing a bit of knitting with Craft and Create TV on in the background. Is this normal? I think it may just be the Monday-ness talking but this doesn’t feel right. I mean I enjoy all of the above bit surely I should be doing something that normal 20-something’s do. Normally, I don’t care what people think but today….today feels different. But tomorrow is a new day and maybe I won’t feel like this tomorrow.

Which brings me onto the fact I watched “Groundhog Day” for the first time today. And honestly I know I’ve never seen it before but I was expecting a different ending. Like a totally different ending. I thought he would have to live the first day again exactly as it happened, bad points and all, to learn that you can change but you can’t change the world. But maybe that’s me thinking too much about it, or maybe not enough, which once again brings me to the point of: am I normal? Does anyone else overthink films like this.

I suppose I should also say: lookie! I completed my jacket.

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Yes it is also not normal. It’s imperfect. The sleeves are unevenly gathered, the hems on the sleeves still need tidying up, the binding is lumpy and uneven and I had a nightmare with with the interfacing. But it’s mine and it’s completed and it does fits. I’m going to give it a bit of tidy up and a neaten of the seams before modelling (plus I’m in my pjs and nobody wants to see the red-love-heart-silk-red-baggy-Scruffs I call my pjs).

Tomorrow is another day, thankfully. Unless someone wants to play a Groundhog Day Style prank on me.

WIP Wednesday: Look at all the goodies!

So this is less of an update on what’s in progress and more of a look at all the pretty things I’ve bought.

As I mentioned yesterday a parcel got delivered. My husband said it was about the size and weight of a five year old. I didn’t quite believe him. Until I saw itself that is.

It was huge.

Wanna look at all the pretties?

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I’ve already nicknamed this one my ice cream. Sound daft but it just remind me of summer and it would make a great little vintage style summer dress.

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This is to make some Christmas decoration for me and my Mam. I will show then when they are completed.

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I think it’s fair to say I have a little obsession with these colours.

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And these will hopefully make some lovely blouses.

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And this shall be a basic dress with WOW! Made from a pattern from these lovelies!

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How really, really spoilt am I? (And on a side note how amazing was last nights Bee?)

Then in Scarborough I got these goodies!

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So much! I am one very lucky girl!

There was also an amazing little shop just on the Main Street where I got this.

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Go visit them. The whole shop is a treasure trove. They even have a working antique singer which is divine.

Finally, it still isn’t block but I’ve decided I just can’t wait to show it off any longer. Here is the "hideous pink cardie" as I have nicknamed it.

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Lent Update: no idea what day I’m on. No longer craving coke. Been a little easier than I thought.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Great Things About Tuesdays!

Let’s face it, Tuesday is a bit of a flat day. It’s not the start of the week or the middle of the week or the weekend. Most people would say Tuesday has no good points. But I disagree. Here are 10 reasons Tuesdays are Awesome!

10. You get a list from me
And I get to think of one too!

9. Deliveries!
Look what I got today!

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I order this lovely package of goodness from Minerva Crafts on Saturday. Let’s face it Royal Mail would never get it here on Monday morning so Tuesday deliveries are best!

8. Everything’s Tuesday
No I’ve not gone mad. It’s the name of a song! Look honestly a song!

7. Food places are empty
Nobody treats themselves to a lunch treat on a Tuesday. Which makes it the perfect day to go. And my personally suggestion at the moment is Harajuku Kitchen in Trinity Leeds. It’s only here until Sunday so go try then really quickly!

6. Traffics not as bad
You can pretty much guarantee traffic jams on Fridays and Mondays. But Tuesdays not so bad. My train was even on time today! My train is always at least 3 minutes late!

5. Super Tuesdays!
No this isn’t something I’m making up either. Go to your local Vue cinema and you can get a third of the regular cinema price! Who needs orange Wednesdays when you have Super Tuesdays!

4. Again the same for the theatre
Here in Leeds a lot of the productions only have one week runs. Mondays opening nights and Saturday and Sunday Matinees are normally crazy. So go on a Tuesday. Often you get upgraded to a better seat and have the choice of better seats when booking. Double awesome.

3. Sometimes Tuesdays are Mondays
Ok so I’m stretching the credibility here a but but when you have a Bank Holiday Monday how many people (if you work in an office) say “Ooh it’s like Monday today, but it’s only a four day week, how lovely!” So sometimes Tuesdays can be Mondays.

2. Monday, Tuesday, Happy Day!

I just wanted an excuse to link this! How can you not smile at this?

1. Sewing Bee Day People!
Best TV day of the week! Pjs on, needles out, chocolate and wine at the ready. Bring on the Bee!

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WIP Wednesday: Simplicity K2250

Good Morning, WordPressers! Yes it may only be 8:15 but it is a wonderful morning and I am in good spirits. Ok so it’s actually a really really foggy morning but it’s not putting a dampener on my mood.

I finally seemed to shift the cold I’d gained from my lovely new colleagues and had a good nights sleep. I’ve still got a little cough but no longer a bright red nose or sound really hoarse. When I woke up this morning I even did my exercise DVD and home of the household chores that had built up. But most excitedly I got to work on my sewing machine.

Have I introduced my brother?

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Yes he’s basic but I love him all the same. He was a gift for my 21st birthday and like the traditional gifts of a 21st I will keep him forever.

So onto the pattern. I know I gave what was a little sneak peek photo the other day but I suppose I should start with the pattern.

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Sorry for the poor quality photo.

I’m not making the dress but the jacket. There are a couple of reasons for this. The jacket has no buttonholes or zippers to insert making my life easier. This is the first time I’m using my sewing machine in about 18 months and I want to just remember the basics again. Also the dress has a beautiful yet complicated wrap to the front and back. And finally I somehow ended up with two copies of this pattern so even if I completely mess this up I still have a spare, which is lucky because looking at the Simplicity Website it looks like the pattern is discontinued.

So onto the sewing.

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Yes my darts are wonky. Yes the left one in the photo, but the right hand side of the jacket, is deeper than the right. Yes it looks like I’ve somehow not managed to match the two sides at all, even the colour looks different! But I don’t care because I’m genuinely having fun.

I did decided to do something a little easier for the next stage though and make the belt.

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All 240cm of it. The picture does not do it justice. And it was sewing the right sides together and then turning it inside out. I think i over estimated how much I could complete in half hour.

As they say in the stitching world, I think I’ve found my bug!

Lent Updates: 7 days down, 33 to go. I’m not really craving coca cola and the moment and found an fantastic lunchtime alternative in Iced Tea. Yummy but less calories and not carbonated.

WIP Wednesday: 1st day of Lent

Remember my good intentions to give you all a full update today? Well it will have to wait.

I did get a little bit done on my sewing pattern but I don’t have the details to hand so I think it will have to be another day.

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It was a glorious day on Monday though so I just had to share this photo.

Also after all the pancake goodness yesterday Lent has started. At first I was like “Maybe I can give up buying yarn” but then I saw this…

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Yeah that’s me.

And I also had a very dear friend as me to make Feathers McGraw (link to ravelry). I had a bit of suitable yarn in my stash but not enough so really I have to go wool shopping!

So what else could I give up for Lent? Well I thought about bagels because they are responsible for my bagel belly but they are my favourite breakfast meal. Then I considered the internet but I need it for work. And my baby sister has just gone to The Dark Side (Warrington, Did I mention previously I’m a proud Yorkshire woman?) so we now use the internet/skype/Facebook to talk so I wouldn’t want to give it up at the moment.

So in the end I choose coke cola. My biggest weakness and only vice.

Day 1: No coke. No cravings as yet but is only 9am.

Wish me luck.