Saturday, 31 May 2014

#BEDM finished!

bit of pj retail therapy - batman yeah!
WOO HOO well done to all of us bloggers who have completed the #BEDM challenge, hosted over on Rosalilium - and thank you very much to the blogger Elizabeth for arranging the challenge.

When I first heard of the challenge over on Rhiannon's lovely lovely blog The Sparkly Panda I thought how splendid what a good idea and that was that. But then 10 minutes later I thought again hmm...why not give it a shot myself? 

The reason for my taking part in the challenge was, as a very new blogger (I can't believe I only started at the end of March! This feels so much of a part of me now!), I wanted to give it a go to try at networking with others taking part in the challenge. I also thought following the prompts (when needed) would help inspire me and stretch my mind when blogging. Finally I just thought that I could treat is as an exercise to help me get used to my blog and get a feel for what I am most comfortable blogging about. For example I fundamentally prefer blogging in depth about my crafts, but like to keep it quite brief when it comes to geekier subjects  - as too many thoughts tumble around in my head and I can't express them all as succinctly as I would like (for proof, see my review of the new X-Men film: Days of Future Past). I will aim to practice this and get better, but it feels quite satisfying to know that at least, feel like I've learned a little something.

When the challenge started I thought it was a breeze as I had loads of ideas of what I wanted to write about - early on I decided not to follow the prompts regularly as they were aimed at lifestyle bloggers mostly, and I am first and foremost a craft blog and then geeky blog (if such a thing exists) - but of course this initial naivety gave way quickly as I ran out of what I felt were substantial blog post topics. You could probably see that towards the end (yesterday was literally just a filler post) and so this was a tricky challenge and has tired me out a little bit when it comes to blogging - it did a little bit at times feel more like a necessity to blog to complete the challenge, rather than a pleasure. I also in the beginning found lots of new blogs I wanted to follow, but that initial flurry of networking died down for me at least - probably because I felt a little overwhelmed by how many blogs there were to read, but it's great so many took part!

In the end though I am glad I took part in the challenge and I hope you were too! I will have to give serious thought next year if I were to take part again as, like I said, it did bog me down a little bit. I probably won't but will follow the hash tag on Twitter with interest. But I do feel I got a lot of good content out there (I hope you agree!). Did you take part in #BEDM - what did you think/feel you got out of it?

And now I am signing off for a week or so! Got to have a break from all this blogging (PHEW), get my current #DICraftSwap sorted and posted, and then it's off to Paris with M for 3 days yippee! Catch up with you all soon!

Friday, 30 May 2014

sorry - lazy post again

I'm so lame - 20 to midnight and I thought BAM I haven't blogged! And with only 2 days left to go how could I fail!

So forgive this lazy from bed unprepared post, I had some ideas for one post or another but....these things do happen!

So I won't be offended if you skim through this post quickly and ignore it - but we can't say I didn't #BEDM!

Tomorrow's thoughts on the challenge will be better, I promise :) perhaps today's slip up is a little indication of how I faired....

Thursday, 29 May 2014

throwback thursday - blankets (and another ongoing project)


Today I'm going to show you some past projects - blankets - again that I completed long before I started this blog. Strictly speaking the first 'blanket' you see is actually a quilt! I got a reeallyy cheap bundle of cream, white, and pink fat quarters from the Creative Craft Show that came to Manchester almost two years ago (hasn't come back - come back please I have money now!) and decided BAM I want to make a quilt.


I also bought some cheap floral fabric for the back of the quilt from E Fabrics and used some patchwork stash fabric for additional squares. The wadding came from Ebay and the edging was some slightly stiffer stash fabric.

This was made over my final year of Uni and before November I had no money and no job, and so I made the quilt you see! It was completely done without a pattern all on my little pink John Lewis sewing machine (love that thing - its small enough that I could take it to Uni while I left my big ol' Brother sewing machine at home). Lots of sewing, laying out pieces, ironing seams etc.


As first attempts go, and in particular without a pattern, I am very proud of it. Obviously with even just an extra year and a half experience under my belt I know I could do a much better job of this. But hey ho - no pattern, just went for it - very good job. If I were to do it now I would use darker colours, more patterns and larger panels, and take my time more slowly.


This second blanket you see is actually a blanket! Made with granny squares that I crocheted over, oh gosh, a period of half-3/4 of a year - it was very easy to lose steam after the first 50 or 60 - and as you can see they all came out different sizes due to the fact that, again, I followed no pattern and just went with it, sticking to a colour scheme as much as I could with my stash and buying more yarn as cheaply as I could (guiiiilty, still at a point where money was thin on the ground).


Again I would made the same comment that I am very proud of this, but with another year under my belt I could do so much better. One day I will find a great pattern and, not thinking of the cost, buy all the correct yarn for gauge etc and get a solid colour scheme going through. I am very proud though of the edging you see above which is just a simple double crochet (US terminology) all round the edging which was the first time I'd ever seen a stitch and thought hm I know what to do with that without googling etc. 


As a self-taught crocheter, not too bad!


And finally this is my ongoing blanket - again I started this over a year ago now and I just knit a square very infrequently when I have a lull in my knitting (right now I have SO many things to make and ideas to develop I reckon I won't be looking at this again for a long time!). It will entirely be made from bits from my stash (no buying extra for this one) and as much as I can get the squares are about 10cm x 10cm. I have no patience when it comes to gauge - bad I know - and so everything is a little wonky again. But it has character and will look amazing draped over a sofa when B and I have a place of our own :) I will finish this one with a crochet border as well.

What do you think of my creations? Soon I'll be getting my beekeepers quilt on here - almost done 10 whole hexipuffs (eesh)!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

film review - x-men days of future past *spoiler alert*

image via wegotthiscovered.com
Last night B and I went to see X-Men Days of Future Past at Cineworld (bargain Tuesdays, £5.20 each, live-saver for one who no longer has student discount) and I thoroughly enjoyed the film, but funnily enough both B and I were a little non-plussed as to the point of the film - bear with me.

this review contains some spoilers - you have been warned
The premise of the film is that in the not-too-distant future war has been waged against the mutant population by (surprise surprise) the American government funding a capitalist's venture into new-age weaponry; Trask Industry's Sentinals. However the Sentinals have evolved too thoroughly ad are on the brink of wiping out all mutant life and also human life too who they detect will have mutant off-spring eventually. And so Wolverine (the hero of all the X-Men films bar First Class - do love him though) has his consciousness sent back to the 1970's in order to recruit the younger versions of Xavier and Magneto to attempt to avert the course of history that leads to this abysmal future.

All the actors are on fine form in this film, I really enjoyed everyone's portrayal of their counterparts, Hugh Jackman as usual doesn't fail to deliver the simultaneous wit and broodiness of Wolverine, effortlessly making him a wiser character as he would inevitably at this stage. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are great, and Jennifer Lawrence of course is superb (though not in the film as much as I would like). Unfortunately Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, although perfect, really don't get enough screen time for my liking - but that is personal as the majority of the film takes place in the 70's and the screen time they do get is awesome. Also Peter Dinklage - marvellous, but I wanted more! Basically, what we come to expect from the new Marvel films - brilliant :)

I really wanted to write this review because me and B came out of the film like "yeah that was great! But now aren't all the other films technically obsolete?" Having successfully averted the dangerous future, Logan is now alone in the present day having a completely different past to the rest of the world, with only Charles having a slight inkling as to what has happened. At least Jean and Scott are alive as a result, and Rogue looks like she kept her powers! But now X-Men 1-3 haven't happened...which doesn't really bother me as such, it is just a bit, like...whu? Not very eloquent I know but hey that's my head right now.

Also, how come Charles is alive when the Sentinals are at war? Did he morph that comatose man to his image after his consciousness entered in at the end of 3? And since when can Kitty send people's minds back to the past (perhaps that's in the comics and I should know better). These were just a number of the unanswered questions I though it wouldn't have hurt if Marvel had just tied them up a little better. I rreeaalllyy wanted a few minutes on Xavier at least - they took the time to explain his walking at least in the 70s.

Of course I'm just putting these thoughts out there, as I REALLY enjoyed the film a lot, its just now I have a blog that I can express my tumbling thoughts, and believe me my thoughts are literally tumbling around, but its awesome I olive having to think a lot (and although there are unanswered aspects to the film the film as a whole tied up reasonably well, leaving that usual Marvel opening for many conclusions and future films). I REALLY liked the end - mystique as striker rescuing Logan, will he or won't he still get adamantium, where is Magneto at now - but the bit at the end of the credits? Not as good as usual...

I dunno guys and girls - not the most succinct film review, but if you've watched it I hope you know what I means and I haven't just missed something!! I really really like it and the fact that it was thought provoking, so much so that I've written a messy spiel of thought here :) what do you think of the film? Excited for another?


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

completed second simple skirt


What do you think? Tomorrow I will link this post properly to my previous skirt post, and I will also update you on my thoughts on the new X-Men film :)

update - sorry for the brief post yesterday, I was mega busy with B as we hadn't spent quality time together for weeks (revision for uni exams bleah) and we had a date night (the first for a long time - it was GREAT, X-Men and Chinese buffet mm). But in the spirit of #BEDM I still got my post up! Just slight polishing now over lunch at work.

This is a picture of my second completed 'simple skirt' - see my previous post about my first go at making the skirt and links to the original tutorial here - what do you think? I bought the plain bluey-greeny fabric from a fabric shop in Manchester and on a spur on the moment looked through my fabric stash and stuck a simple patch pocket on :)

I'm quite pleased, it doesn't quite smoothly on my hips but I think you can only take this (brilliant) tutorial so far. It is more for practice than fashion, but it definitely still looks nice and got me some nice compliments at work on Tuesday! If you are thinking of making a skirt - stop thinking and give it a try!

For simplicity's sake - here is the direct link to the Shrimp Salad Circus skirt tutorial!

Monday, 26 May 2014

product review - iphone4s case

Today I am deviating slightly from crafting to review a product sent to me for my iPhone 4S - and what geek would be complete without some sort of technology they rely on, and like many I rely on my phone.

I found out about Mr Nutcase - a custom phone case company - through a fellow blogger's review of one of their cases. They cater for many smart phone/tablet cases and covers (a quick count on their wesbite and I counted 13 products of various brands - all the biggies basically) and having an iPhone I had no problem finding my product.

The idea of Mr Nutcase, in case you can't guess, is that they provide you with a personalised phone/tablet cover using an image of your choosing. The website is incredibly easy to navigate and simple in all the right ways - nothing puts me off a new product more than a difficult to navigate website - and the branding is a little cheesy, but not in your face and so this was not a turn off at all (unlike say certain personalised card websites..).

I created an 'Ultra Light Weight Slimline Case' which normally cost £14.95 - a reasonable enough price for a customised phone case, including p&p, and they dispatch the next day (mine came within 2 days - brilliant!). The layout and steps to choosing your image stays simple all the way - the website suggests an ideal image quality for your best results, and you can alter the image/add text/add clip art to your phone case too, of if that isn't your thing you can choose existing patterns/designs submitted by other customers.

After much agonising I chose one of my favourite picture of me and B - I fancied a geeky Totoro image (doesn't have to be a picture!) but couldn't decide on a single one - and easily uploaded it, adjusted it, and placed my order.
The case is smart and fits very comfortably to my phone. The edges of the case are see through which I'm not overly keen on, and I wasn't sure I could alter that on the website (i.e. wrap round the image) - they do offer this as a 3d wrap round case however, a different product to mine, doh! -  and when the case first arrived in the post the finish wasn't great (for example a bit of plastic was left on the edge of the hole for the camera - this was very easily removed by hand however, yet didn't quite give that professional first impression).

These are very minor concerns however - for the product of designing your own phone case the Mr Nutcase website does the job very well.


Overall I am impressed with the service offered by Mr Nutcase and the case received will protect my phone adequately - their customer service is also very good; they are very ready to help which is always refreshing in an web-based stored! If I were to get another case however I would choose a different image as I think the service they offer works better with brightly coloured images/pictures rather than a black and white image which doesn't have a huge impact. The price is also a factor for me- I wouldn't normally pay this much for a phone case - but if you wanted a phone case design you absolutely couldn't get any other way then Mr Nutcase is certainly somewhere you should consider!




disclaimer - this product was kindly supplied to me by www.mrnutcase.com for review purposes on this blog. All opinions are my own and I was not sponsored to write this post. If you are a blogger and are interested in reviewing Mr Nutcase do email marketing@mrnutcase.com



Sunday, 25 May 2014

sew sunday2 - oversized tote bag


Item Made - Oversized Tote Bag
Time Taken - Elaine Paige on Sunday on BBC Radio2 (just over 2 hours, not including ironing time)

As you can see - I couldn't wait to get started with the new fabric I bought yesterday! I planned on starting my skirt today too, but about 2 and a half hours of sewing is enough for me in one go!
I bought this material intending to make another storage bag for my yarn overflow, and after trawling through my books and the internet, I found a straightforward looking tote bag tutorial on Craftbuds.

miniature heroes - today's sewing snack of choice
The sizes the tutorial gives are suggested for shopping bags, but I had in mind an oversized bag mainly used for storage and so I increase the measurements by about 5 inches - and I ended up with a rather large bag!



The tutorial is very easy to follow, clear and concise and the end product was certainly satisfactory. However I am both simultaneously proud and disappointed with the finished product.

This is entirely down to my own skills as a sewer, and the fact that I was using a pattern that was intended for on thing (a shopping tote) for another (a storage tote). Firstly, as I started cutting out my outer and lining fabric and putting the pieces together, I started to wonder if I could make this bag good enough to use for shopping as well as storage - this was my first mistake, as having started with the idea and size of a storage bag this was not going to be possible no matter how good I made it, and I set myself up for disappointment.


Secondly although a lot of my sewing was as good as I have ever got it (I was particularly proud of some top stitching along the bottom of the bag) there was enough that I struggled with to make me feel that the finished product didn't quite have that clean-cut feel. I don't usually worry about that sort of thing, but I was aiming very high today, and so again perhaps I set myself up for disappointment.

Finally the bag doesn't have the rigidity I envisioned when purchasing the fabric. I am taking this as a lesson learnt however - if I want a sturdy 'stand up' bag be prepared to buy much stiffer fabric (I was eyeing up some carpet-bag-type fabric yesterday in the shop, but it lost out to the lovely John Lewis print you see above). Yet the colours and print of the bag have made up for this.


I do take some comfort in the fact that the bag looks ten times better once actually filled with yarn (as was its intended purpose) and so I am pleased with the result, but disappointed as it hasn't met my expectations. The tutorial however is spot on - thoroughly recommend it for beginners and advanced sewers alike looking to make a bag - and so I feel cheerful that I will try this again with different motives/materials, having learnt what I need to get my desired result.


I had thought afterwards to cheer myself up baking some choc-chip shortbread, but unfortunately I burnt it in the oven while defeating a boss on Ni No Kuni - not been my day...

No matter! What crafty-things have you been up to that didn't quite meet expectations/you have mixed feelings about?



Saturday, 24 May 2014

naughty shopping

Today I went for a coffee with C in Manchester - we haven't either of us been to Manchester for aaages and it was lovely regardless of the rain! - and I may or may not have done some naughty craft shopping. I say naughty because I don't really have the budget for it this month, but oh well.


I bought this yellow Aran weight yarn from this lovely little yarn shop near the Northern Quarter that I had never heard of before until by chance I saw an advert on Facebook. Purl City Yarns is located on Port Street and is a well stocked, small yarn shop. By looking round they seemed to specialise in expensive and more specialised yarns, but I do love a trip to a yarn shop and was very happy to have visited. I was specifically looking for yellow to try and get that Pikachu case done!



I also really wanted to make another (and hopefully better) simple skirt (you can see my previous post on this tutorial here) and so this warranted a trip to Abakhan Fabrics. Located on Oldham Street this is a marvellously large fabric shop/haberdashery/yarn shop (I didn't even realise! Imagine my delight!), I got very excited here as they have such a huge range of well priced fabrics! I bought the pale blue polycotton for my skirt, the blue leaf screen printed fabric to make a stiff bag to hold my yarn overflow, and the flower screen printed fabric to re-cover some floor cushions. Funnily enough you pay by the kilo in this shop rather than by the metre...but hey it works!

Finally of course, a caramel latte and a banoffee brownie at North Tea Power, located on Tib Street in the Northern Quarter. Delicious and naughty yum yum.

Have you been spending too much on anything recently like me? ^^

Friday, 23 May 2014

currently crafting - journey wanderer

Today's #BEDM prompt - date night - is not applicable to me as B has abandoned me for camp over the bank holiday weekend, so instead I will update you on what I am currently crafting while watching Spy Hard on Netflix (I am pausing many times to laugh!)

via that game company
I am trying to make the wandering, cloaked figure the player controls on the beautiful PS3 game that is Journey from that game company (no I'm not being mysterious, they are named that). This game is moving, majestic, and perfect in its deep simplicity - I always cry a little playing this - and I grow so attached both to my own figure and to whoever you happen to meet on your journey when playing online that I wanted to make my own. The only pattern I could find on Etsy was, in my opinion, really no good and there is such an opening in the (incredibly specifically minded) market that here I am trying another of my own crochet creations!


The top picture is the book I make all the notes for my crochet patterns in (a beautiful Muji notebook that my mum bought a long long time ago and never used) and the one below simply shows the beginning of my wanderer beginning to take shape.


I am starting with the hood of the wanderer as I figure this will be the trickiest. I though about cheating and making a solid red head and sewing a black crochet face on top to create the head, but I don't think this will have a satisfactory/pleasing finish for me personally, and what is the point in creating something if not for yourself!

The work you see so far took me about an hour, quite a long time, but I made notes as I went along and am feeling hopeful about how this character will turn out. I am prepared to devote quite a while to this one though. I had to take a break though because it was incredibly difficult! I've also - in case you were wondering - put my Pikachu phone case project on hold for the moment until I can buy some better weighted yarn as the stuff I have now is a nightmare!

Fingers crossed for this one though - I want to do this game proud!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

i just wanted to share this with you ASOIAF fans

A forum of ice and fire
This website, introduced to me by friend B, is amazing for those of you who have read A Song of Ice and Fire in its entirety. There is so much more to the stories (or so we believe/hope) than we could imagine! I love reading the theories on this forum, I don't join in mind you, and it just allows you to live the tales of Westeros while we wait for The Winds on Winter.

I recommend this to avid fans - but watch out for spoilers if you haven't finished reading! If you find a good thread please do share it! I think I will devote some future posts to my favourite theories.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

craftspace

So another #BEDM prompt I can interpret today! Simply 'Workspace' - which of course for me is my craftspace, and my craftspace is my bedroom.




I currently still live at home while B and I wait for him to finish his degree (one more year) - I considered moving to Leeds with him next year, and as much as I wanted to I didn't want to financially cripple myself before we could move in together properly and also didn't want the stress of finding a job in Leeds only to leave it after a year (B is the best - really understood my decision), so instead I am saving so that as soon as he is finished we can get to looking (and no offence to my family but I can't wait to move out/in with B - I need more of my own space) and get to living :)

So without my own place to expand into I am limited to my room - the smallest room in the house (I need to breach with N the possibility of me finally moving into his room). I have to use a desk in N's room for my sewing machine, and the majority of my blogging is done on the floor, and my crafting on my bed.

Unfortunately I am a very tidy and neat person by nature and my room just does not have the capacity for all of my crafting stuff - I already have some boxes hidden in other parts of the house with overspill possessions - and I dream of drawers and shelves to suit my needs...

It's cramped and bad for my back - but while I am still living at home this is as close to a sanctuary as I can get and the whole place has my personal stamp on it (crafted too - the bunting is my own, handmade for example, as are 4 of my cushions) and until I can move out this, as you see it, is my craft(work)space.

Where do you get your creative juices flowing?


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

being adventurous


a picture i took of a sidewalk on my college campus in the states, 2012


Today I've decided to attempt interpret the day's #BEDM prompt which is 'being adventurous'. I could wtite about my time living in the USA for 9 months, braving an alien culture, away from my best friend/fiancé, but that was 2 years ago and more recently I have been adventurous in my own personal way. I am by no means an adventurous person by nature - and by adventurous I mean seeking out challenging new and exciting mysteries - but in my own cool, calm and ever so slightly cautious way I felt I was being adventerous in beginning this blog.

Those of you who have been reading with me from the start will know I started this blog as a result of a passion, a dream, and a conversation. I often (like most I am sure) dream about things without giving them a go, but this time I wanted to take the first step towards that dream, and as a result I discovered a renewed passion for my 'hobbies' (the word doesn't give my attachment to crafting and fantasy worlds nearly the credit they are due in my life) which filled me with an inexplicable excitement and hope for the next few years.

To many, starting a blog isn't very adventurous, and now I have been doing it for a few months it feels a part of me. But it is also an adventure of a different sort - one that causes me to view my everyday loves and joys through a different light, in ways in which I can share them with others, meet new people, and pursue a business/career path moulded by my own two (digital and creative) feet.

From that 'adventurous' first step I have taken some more tentative shuffles; spoken with strangers on Twitter and blogs; signed up for a craft swap, willingly submitting my crafts to the scrutiny of strangers; taken part in #BEDM which really pushes my creativity and writing in ways I never thought it might; even written my own patterns and put them up online for sale, bravely saying look what I've done, I'm proud of myself and think my time is worth a little bit of a reward. 

And this is all an adventure to me - a small and steady one that will take time and effort and not a few failures - but all of our adventures are our own, and I am very happy to be sharing this adventure with you, no matter what your passions or definitions of 'being adventurous' are. I feel the confidences growing inside me to do things more adventurous than this over time, as a direct result of taking the first baby step, and know that being happy not only in my decisions, but also in my definition of an adventure, will invoke a passion and pleasure in me that will carry me through for a long time.

Thanks for inspiring me to carry on by reading this post :) here's to being adventurous each in our own way.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

ongoing projects 5; beekeepers quilt


I bought the pattern for the Beekeeper's Quilt from Tiny Owl Knits over on their Ravely page a few weeks ago. M, my housemate and best friend from university, started working on hers a couple of years ago and I was fascinated by how beautiful it was coming along. But I couldn't use double pointed needles at that point and so just looked from a far. Then the ever patient M taught me how to knit socks and in reading blogs I saw that EVERY knitter (pretty much) was working on their very own quilt!

And so right at the beginning here I am with my first 8 hexipuffs - I knitted 3 while visiting big brother in Durham this weekend (brilliant time by the way - such beautiful weather!). And they looks great! Only 392 more to go for a decent sized quilt....are you working on a quilt, beekeeper or otherwise?

Saturday, 17 May 2014

crafting on the train

Today I am travelling to Durham with my younger sister K to visit our big brother N who moved there about a year ago. In the spirit of #BEDM I learnt how to post to my blog via email (this is my first go, currently on route from Manchester) - that and also N's girlfriend warned us that they have no internet (shockhorror).

This is just a cheeky small one to let you know that I am SUPER excited because I've been missing N a lot and also I LOOOOOVE long train journeys! A great chance to read or craft and just relax watching the world zip by, feeling detached from everything in just the right way to take a pause from life before you pick it up again at your destination- I think trains are marvellous and are easily my favourite way to travel. Do you like long train journeys?

Today and tomorrow (on the journey home) I will be reading Catching Fire (the second in The Hunger Games Trilogy - rereading in time for the third film in November!) and knitting some hexipuffs in the dappled sunshine through the window :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

struggling with pikachu



The next project/pattern I am working on after my Totoro phone case is a Pikachu phone case. I'm really excited to nail this one - feels like it has a lot of potential. However I am struggling a little bit to get it right - I feel like Ash right from episode 1 of The Indigo League struggling to train Pikachu - and when you get crafts wrong it's not a little disheartening...

Funnily enough I am staying very cheerful :) I think I felt I had such an 'easy' time of creating my Spiderman crochet character and Totoro patterns that it was only natural I should fall down eventually! I know what is the issue - the yarn. I am trying to use up some stash in my projects and I have a bit of a weedy DK yellow which is the ideal colour but less than ideal weight. I like to use a 4/4.5mm hook and this one needs a 3/3.5mm and a difference even as small as that makes a world of difference when you love a certain tool. I did try with the larger hooks but the swatch was way too gappy, and then I switched to a small one and it was too tight. So, as Goldilocks would say, hopefully my third attempt is just right!

Of course I am anything BUT averse to buying more yarn (<3) that would suit my larger hooks better, but I do really need to work through some stash and I am on a bit of a frugal month as I spent (so much) money preparing for Comic Con in July (EXCITED). So every little helps.

So instead I am heeding the advice of (one of my many) knitting bags and watching Firefly to stay upbeat :)

Have you struggled with any crafting recently? Managed to keep calm?


Thursday, 15 May 2014

#BEDM a bloggers cry for assistance

Today's prompt is share your blogging tips


i wonder if owls are wise in the ways of blogging...

Hand's held high I don't know nearly enough about blogging to share any tips with you - I have no 'tips'!
So instead I am turning this one on it's head and instead asking you bloggers, non-bloggers, readers, passers-by, and generally interesting people -

Do you have any blogging tips for me? 
Any and all comments welcome!

And recommendations for pinning on my new blog inspiration Pintrest board would ideally be appreciated as well.

I am happy to report I know one thing though without question - blog what you love, what you want to say, and what interests you.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

a song of ice and fire


Today I finally finished reading the George R. R. Martin saga (thus far) of A Song of Ice and Fire and what can I say of these books that has not already been said?

I had actually already read 6 of the 7 books almost 2 years ago but for reasons un beknown to me now I did not read the final book. I had come so far only to fall down and decide I'm only reading this because of the hype not because I enjoy it. But life is too short to read books you don't like (and I say this whole heartedly after slugging through The Three Musketeers and just regretting the effort).

But I decided I wanted to try watching the show again and before I could do that I needed to read the books again as I'm one of those people. And BAM why why why did I ever think this was over hyped as a series? It has dexterity, complexity, suspense, excitement, historical believability with just enough fantasy and unanswered questions to make Westeros a land worth escaping to when reading.

Initially I suppose I really enjoyed A Feast for Crows so much and loved reading the Southron stories so much (though I am obviously of the North at heart) that I think the initial A Dance with Dragons filled me with a longing of the southern stories again - that and the complexity was almost too much I felt I couldn't keep up with what was happening. So actually I am so thankful I read the books for a second time (technically) to better my understanding. But I was never bored and in fact I was frequently surprised by the plot! And not just deaths (as we all know they are frequent) but just everything! And now I haven't a clue which my favourite book is - perhaps actually A Dance with Dragons now comes out on top! Though I am impatient for that trial to happen!

And as a result I ploughed through the existing TV series as well - embracing the differences between the show and the books as a way of exploring the world in even more depth and sparking much more (loved) debate between me and friend B.

Though I don't know about other series watchers who have read the books - do you feel like series 4 is getting away from them a bit now? It feels as if stories are stories for stories' sake and not to further the 'game of thrones' as it were (Bran - need I say more?) And the stories are fast catching up with the books - George needs to pull his socks up and get writing!

I am happy to report I am as big a A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones as any and I can't WAIT to meet up with friend B in a couple of weeks to work on our Comic Con costumes together and to gossip gossip gossip!

Have you read A Song of Ice and Fire - or did you perhaps try reading it like I did and stop?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

next pattern project - totoro phone slip case

So I've got the pattern writing bug! And it is fuelling my creativity like no-ones business! My friend B returned to me a tested pattern for a knitted headband I wrote a few months ago with a resounding 'don't change anything' (yippee) but I am in less of a rush to post that as apparently Spring and Summer are on their way, or so I've been told.

So I have instead, since writing my Spiderman pattern (which can be found on my Ravelry store), now developed and tested a pattern for a Totoro phone slip case (designed to fit an iPhone 4 but should be easily adjusted). And I just want to share some pictures with you to see what you think!



Pattern is written and tested - I think they have come out well duplicated which means the next step is to type that pattern up!



What do you think? My next project as suggested by E will be a Pikachu phone cover - SO EXCITED

Monday, 12 May 2014

#DICraftSwap - what i recieved!

Last month I signed up for my first ever craft swap over at Hannah's blog - Dainty and Ivory. The theme was SPRING and you can read all about what I sent to Rhiannon over at The Sparkly Panda either on my blog or on Rhiannon's, or even both!

Anywho today I received my swap from Hannah - and ohmygosh I was and still am so overwhelmed! Let me take you through the steps of the gorgeousness of my gifts - I can assure you taking pictures was difficult as I was so excited.


I removed the parcel paper to reveal a neat little box and a card taped to the lid. Inside the box were 4 beautifully wrapped gifts each with a thoughtful little note as to the story behind the items inside - such a wonderful touch and it was so obvious a lot of thought went into this.




 LOOK AT THAT! LOOK!

First I opened the card (first picture) which had a lovely note from Hannah revealing that she was in fact my craft swap partner (though technically we weren't 'partnered' - read more here at Hannah's blog about the swap and what she sent/received).

Next came the flower design dream catcher (first picture) - this is going to make a wonderful addition to my room and was very expertly made.

Then the ladybird (third picture) - the note from Hannah said "...this one is a first attempt and so not 100% perfect" but I disagree - I wouldn't change it at all.

After that the Butterfree embroidery hoop (second picture). Need I say more? Hannah can't know this but the first thing I EVER made EVER was a Butterfree softie with my mum from a pair of tights and calico for the wings. Plus anything and everything Pokemon is amazing. Its just amazing. Amazing.

And finally - the crochet bag (first picture). Game of Thrones and crochet gloriousness. Just - spot - on.


I can't say enough how inspired I am by all this and have filled the bag already with my crochet materials for making my Totoro phone case. Next month's theme is GEEK and I am in my element with ideas already! Sign up is open until the 16th May so if you are interested instructions on signing up are here - if you are on the fence about signing up I would say go for it!

And thank you so much Hannah, not just for my swap but also for organising this!! Can't wait for next month!




NOTE a brief apology to #BEDM participants - I am sorry that I haven't been adhering to the prompts at all but they are all very lifestyle themed and my blog being craft driven with a geeky twist I can't follow the prompts. That being said I am still taking part and hope you are enjoying my posts!