cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.¬† Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.¬† I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).¬† It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir¬† Patrick’s monocle.¬† I met the real Sir Patrick¬†once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two РOpening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop¬†for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.¬† Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.¬† For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four РYarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.¬† Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there. ¬†Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.¬† The first time we’d all been away together for several years.¬† Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky¬†goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.¬† I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.¬† Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom¬†has been bookended by Star Wars. ¬†In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars¬†soundtrack – I have never departed¬†a cafe in such a hasty fashion¬†before… ¬†In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit¬†to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family. ¬†There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves Рart and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting,¬†thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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Geek Weekend Part II – Friends and Enemies

After a busy week I’ve finally got the time to post my second part of my trip to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. ¬†Please note this post does contain the odd spoiler…

Firstly Рthe ones that used to scare me the most when I was little (and occasionally now!) Рthe Cybermen.  It was interesting to see the development of the Cyberman over time.  Not surprisingly the older ones, which I vaguely remember from behind the sofa, seemed more frightening, I think it was the gapey mouth!

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Next up, some of the¬†more recent ‘New Who’ baddies – The Foretold (or Mummy) – pretty creepy… ¬†One of my favourite episodes of David Tennant’s regime was The Girl in the Fireplace – here is one of the Clockwork Droids. ¬†I must admit to a ridiculous thought as I walked past that it was going to move!

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Two more of the most sinister looking enemies of recent years follow Рthe Peg Dolls and the Smilers (or Winders), together with one of the naughtier Silurians (cover your ears Madame Vastra).  In the reception area they had a Smiler booth РI was very loathe to approach it, what a coward!

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No Doctor Who enemies collection would be complete without the ubiquitous Daleks.  My little cousin had great fun with the Dalek on the right as you could climb into him and control his weapons.

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With all these baddies around, thankfully The Doctor does have some friends to help him on the way, old and new. ¬†Firstly the Face of Boe (AKA Captain Jack), and one from my childhood (yes, I am that old!!), with a brief reappearance in David Tennant’s reign, K-9.

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Finally, some of my favourite recurring characters – the Paternoster Gang – Jenny, the Silurian Madame Vastra and the Sontaran Strax. ¬†They (particularly Strax) seem to get the best lines! ¬†¬†My favourite is from¬†Strax: “I suggest a full frontal assault with automated laser monkeys, scalpel mines and acid.”

 

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So it’s well worth a trip to Cardiff Bay to visit the Exhibition, and on the way through you get to save the world as well (no spoilers on that, but it’s great fun, interactive and a little bit scary!!)

Happy travelling!

 

Lou x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Geek Weekend – Part I – Costumes

Ood afternoon!

Yesterday I accompanied my cousins to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff – highly recommended for any Who fans…

I visited a couple of years ago (during Matt Smith’s Doctor) and they have recently re-energised it and the exhibition with a more interactive Peter Capaldi episode which is at times quite spooky, but very enjoyable.

Afterwards we wandered through the exhibition and bought some goodies at the shop. ¬†More on that later – I thought I would start with the costumes which were quite magnificent. ¬†Please excuse the quality of the pictures as I only had my mobile phone camera on hand…

Firstly, some of Clara’s costumes. ¬†She’s not my my favourite of companions, although she has her moments… ¬†She is so incredibly tiny – I am sure my biceps are wider than her waist!

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On to one of my favourites, River Song. ¬†She is an amazingly powerful female character. ¬†One of the things I love about Doctor Who is that they don’t just write in two-dimensional girlie roles. ¬†All of the companions (and now Missy of course!) are complex, usually clever, resourceful and funny. ¬†River Song had (or should we say, has!) this in spades.

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On to some of the character costumes – the attention to detail and styling on these were quite astounding up close and personal.

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I can’t do a blog on Doctor Who costumes without including The Doctor himself. ¬†Firstly – my first Doctors. ¬†I have no¬†recollection of Jon Pertwee, I think I would have quite enjoyed his incarnation of The Doctor. ¬†The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, was my first Doctor. ¬†I found him extremely scary at the time – big eyes, big hair, very tall and that booming voice (well I was very young!)

As a keen knitter and crocheter, I have always fancied making a¬†scarf or two, based on a variation of Tom Baker’s scarf. ¬†Perhaps one in a thinner, lighter fabric, not so wide and¬†certainly as long as possible – but maybe¬†not quite the 24 feet long scarf that the Fourth Doctor had at one point.

Peter Davison was my favourite at the time, he was quieter, more sensitive and, of course, very handsome! ¬†The celery stalk was a bit of a strange addition to the costume, but it all added to the quirkiness of The Doctor which we all know and love…

 

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So here they all are – in order, including the War Doctor.

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My least favourite Doctor was Sylvester McCoy.  He had some fun with the part, but it was no surprise to me that the series was cancelled at that point.

With ‘new Who’ I¬†was thrilled that Christopher Eccleston took the part of The Doctor. ¬†He and Russell T. Davies brought something fresh and new to a character that we all loved, and thought we knew! ¬†but my Doctor is (and probably always will be) Ten – David Tennant (he really was a skinny boy!)

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He just encapsulated the role so brilliantly and could play light and shade and everything inbetween.  Although Eccleston brought it back in style, to my mind, it was Tennant and his relationship with Rose that sealed the success that it now is.

Who is your favourite Doctor and why?

Happy geeking!

 

Lou x

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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 ‚Äď 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‚Äôt show you the location of Tatooine so I can‚Äôt hook up with Han Solo in that jumpin‚Äô bar in Mos Eisley, but a girl can dream…

 

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2. Join an Astronomical Group ‚Äď 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‚Äôs be honest –¬†basically they‚Äôre not a load of nobbers.

3. Get a couple of useful and free apps on your phone ‚Äď 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‚Äô 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‚Äôt 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 ‚Äď it’s pants!¬† Stars don‚Äôt 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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Geek Chic Week (end)

Brrr it’s freezing here in the UK…

It’s a fine excuse to spend a lazy weekend at home with nothing much planned apart from crafting and geeking out.

This fantastic book has just popped through the door (thank you Amazon!) and I’m really excited to start some geeky new projects. ¬†I have had a few ideas in my mind for a while, but have now been sidetracked by the fantastic Princess Leia hair buns hat and Padme Battle Cape sported by the model on the front cover!

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OK – so they’re not practical (can I see myself wearing either to work?) but there are some really fun projects. ¬†I surprised myself at my lack of geeky knowledge of the books / films in this – I’m not particularly keen on comics (I tend to think that’s more of a boy thing) and most Fantasy is not really my bag, but I love a bit of Sci-Fi…

With the cold weather and my general laziness this weekend I have decided though to spend some time researching the two geeky gifts I want to make next (one of which is for myself!)

Firstly, since I started knitting two years ago, I wanted to make myself a Tom Baker-style scarf. ¬†Yes – for the uninitiated I’m talking about Doctor Who. ¬†Tom Baker was my first Doctor (I came in on the very end of his reign) and although I found him quite frightening in many ways (particularly the hair and teeth) – I always loved his scarves.

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What I’d like to do though is a finer version – just as long but using finer wool (perhaps DK or Aran). ¬†I love this idea which I found on Pinterest

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This is actually made from beads – it’s really gorgeous. ¬†Perhaps rather than a DK / Aran one I’ll make one in lace / 4ply. ¬†That would be a bit more complex methinks…

I have also found this wonderful pattern for a Death Star by the brilliant¬†Pops de Milk¬†– this is so mega-cute that I think I’ll make one for me and one for a friend, who I hope will love it. ¬†He’s even geekier than me, so no doubt he will be impressed!

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But for this weekend, I’m going to stick to a Star Wars day today (original trilogy of course) and then tomorrow I may be Star Trekking (yes, geek fans I may be letting you down by admitting I prefer the J.J. Abrams reboot to any previous Star Treks) ¬†And now he’s in charge of Star Wars. ¬†I may be just a little excited about that…

Happy crafting!

Lou x

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