art, craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, photography, sewing, summer, travel, yarn

End of a Lovely Crafty Week

This week I’ve been off work – holidaying at home – with some lovely days down on the South Coast with Mum and Dad and then back home via a day-trip to London.

It’s been super-busy but then again the time has flown by – can’t quite believe I’m back to work on Monday…

The start of my week was with Mum – I wasn’t feeling great so we did a bit less shopping / visiting and a bit more crafting which was fine by me.  I started on a crochet shopping bag and Mum showed me these clever little pouches which hang on a door handle and can be filled with anything you don’t want to lose – i.e. keys, crochet hooks, cat biscuits, or whatever!

I then travelled back to Wiltshire and had a day trip to London (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on the train) to see my cousin Cathy and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  As a keen amateur astronomer, I was desperate to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition – having meant to go every year for the last few years.  This view is from the steep climb up Greenwich Park to the Observatory.  In the distance is Canary Wharf and the edge of the City of London.

The rather unimportant-looking line below is the Greenwich Meridian – from which all time zones are measured here on planet Earth!  This is the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), although technically we are now on BST (British Summer Time) which is +1 hour and will revert to GMT in October for the winter months.

Greenwich is a lovely part of South London – very near where I used to live, but as often happens, I only visited it once in the 9 years I lived there!  There are lots of cafes and meeting places and the park was spectacular.  Nearby is also the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the only surviving 19th century tea clipper) but we didn’t have the time or energy to visit this (it was a really warm day!)

Finally I was back to Wiltshire with some crafting and catching up with friends.  I went to Frome with my friend Anna and bought this cute bunny pencil sharpener (I won’t reveal where the hole for the pencil is!)  We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe and these gorgeous ferns appeared to be creeping up the wall as if to make their getaway…

I bought these glow-in-the-dark Toadstool lights for the garden in Worthing and can’t wait to try them out (the garden needs a bit of work first!)

I couldn’t get away without doing some yarn shopping – in Frome I happened to ‘pop in’ to Marmalade Yarns and buy these gorgeous fibres…  Firstly some Autumnal shades – Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply silk/merino mix in a shade called Burnt Orange but that I would describe as more of a conker / nutmeg mix – and secondly Skein Queen 4ply merino in Squash which is a slightly more red / orange – both delicious and perfect for a delicate shawl / wrap or scarf.

Finally, some Debbie Bliss Angel Prints laceweight in a blue/green/red/grey-brown mix – this is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf – we saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December – using a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish – delicate but effective.

I bought myself some Angel Prints in December, but never got started on it.  Perhaps this weekend will be my time to get another knitting project on the go!

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Twinkle, twinkle little star, or how to become a geek in 5 easy steps!

Evening all!

Many years ago my fate was set on seeing a little known arty farty film called Star Wars.  From then on I was either going to be a Wookie or an amateur geek.  Past childhood, I shed my excessively hirsute outer shell with a mixture of Sellotape and Immac, therefore sealing my geekdom destiny.

 

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It took several years to hone my talents with a mixture of obscure indie music, bad haircuts and copious amounts of Doctor Who.  For those wishing to explore the delightful world of geekdom, without resorting to these extreme measures, astronomy is a good way to start!

1. Start with your eyes – no expensive gadgets required (unless you are a shopaholic at Specsavers).  Learn the basic constellations using a Planisphere and/or Star Map book. Unfortunately it doesn’t show you the location of Tatooine so I can’t hook up with Han Solo in that jumpin’ bar in Mos Eisley, but a girl can dream…

 

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2. Join an Astronomical Group – there are hundreds across the country and some are better than others. My first one had great talks, but was full of pompous and officious morons.  The second one is disorganised, small, and the talks are not often so fascinating, but they provide beginners talks, the people are welcoming and – well let’s be honest – basically they’re not a load of nobbers.

3. Get a couple of useful and free apps on your phone – a red torch light (Roxanne!) as normal light ruins your night vision for at least 20-30 mins, so get in the dark and stay there! Also Google Sky Map is pretty good and Astronomy Picture of the Day is always inspirational, even if it just makes you lie in bed all day crying at the beauty and teeny-tinyness of this ol’ planet in the big scheme of things.

 

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4. Even though, quite obviously, Sir, Lord and all conquering Professor Brian Cox is every thinking woman’s bit of jam on a crumpet, do not (repeat DO NOT!) admit that he is a hottie. Just watch his Wonders of the Solar System / Wonders of the Universe and for the hardcores amongst you, Stargazing Live every Spring must be observed (geddit!?) without drooling.  And that goes double for you men!!

 

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5. Don’t try to get into something you don’t like for the sake of geekness.  I tried this to spectacular effect with Lord of the Rings and nearly got lynched in the cinema.  My crime?  Forgetting I was in the cinema, I said “oh for god’s sake, just die!!” at the (extended) death throes of Sean Bean as a beardy arrow dodger.

 


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And as for the nursery rhyme we started with – it’s pants!  Stars don’t actually twinkle, they only look like they do when looking through our atmosphere.  So put that in your pipe (nebula) and smoke it…

Happy geeking!

 

Lou x

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