Friday, 30 March 2012

FO Friday 80: Mad Hat Skillz, I Haz Them

Whimsical Tarot

Why, yes, I am feeling somewhat genie-like this morning, and proud too - in spite of the dire biblical warnings threatening destruction (the haughty spirit going before a fall, but I am not haughty today). My burgeoning self-satisfaction is because I took these unprepossessing items:

(which I blogged about here) and have transformed them into this:

The model under the hat ? In time-honored Blue Peter tradition - a cute little something I made earlier, but it is still a WIP ...

Now, is it 'MadHat Skillz' ? Or 'Mad HatSkillz' ?

Go see what other people have made earlier at Tami's Amis ...

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

WIP Wednesday 86: Audrey's Great-Niece

Robin Wood deck

This vibrant Queen of Wands shows my exuberance in creating Mini Diva's Easter Bonnet for her school's Easter Parade; it isn't finished yet: I have some tidying up to do, affixing the crown to the body, and positioning what I thought was a witty little addition, found on eBay, which is in the mail to me as we speak.

Come back on Friday to see the finished creation in all its glory; until then, pop over to Tami's Amis to see what other Spring projects are in progress ...

And because I can't stand Judy Garland or the song 'Easter Parade', you can have something relevant to the title and way more fun instead:

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

WIP Wednesday 85: Blue Skies

Old English Tarot

So today is the quickest of quick WIP Wednesday posts, as the sun is out, it's very mild, and I simply must go and cut down the dead perennials that I had left over winter both for practical reasons (seeds for the birds, protection for the new shoots) and aesthetic reasons (the structural plant skeletons look lovely when frost-rimed). You know, I can almost believe that myself if I try hard enough ...

As you know, I'm taking part in a KAL: Lily's Slice of Pi, designed by Chrissy. Here is what mine looks like after completing Chart B. There are supposed to be 259 stitches on the needle, but quite frankly, I'm taking Chrissy's word on that as it's way too skinny yarn and way too bendy needles for me to count: I need to use circulars because it's going to get even bigger, but I don't really like them - I can't rest them on anything like I do my straights, and they slip, and it makes me a lot slower.

Interesting arty-looking shadows provided by Genuwine Equinox Sunlight ....

Don't forget all the other beautiful WIPs over at Tami's Amis....

Monday, 19 March 2012

Ostara: Paint a Journey with New Life

Whimsical Tarot

So, egged on this time by Good Twin, and then Evil Twin, I signed up for the Tarot Blog Hop without really thinking about it, or what might be involved. You'd be amazed (or maybe you wouldn't, actually) if you realized how often I do that kind of thing. But anyway. Turns out it's themed, and I must post a link to both the randomly assigned blog in front of, and behind me. If you see what I mean. And we must all post at a certain time, which I will need to go check as I'm not too good on Eastern Central Pacific Mountain time and what its equivalent might be here in sleepy Suffolk where time passes at a much slower rate. No, I'm not a physicist, why do you ask ?

Anyhoo. The topic given is as in the title: ''Ostara: Paint a Journey with New Life''. No hassles, I thought. No doubt something will pop into the old brainbox by the due date and I will scribe an inordinate amount of words both witty and enlightening that will encapsulate THE meaning of Ostara forever. Or until the internet breaks.

Here's the thing. I discussed it with the Twins, who, I am sorry to say, were obviously keeping their bestest ideas for themselves, as they offered me such lame and hackneyed solutions as writing about the garden and plants springing back to life from winter dormancy. Bit of a cheat, though, if I look at the state of my garden currently. Inspired by them - which just goes to show you what bad influences they are - I came up with the idea of talking about motherhood. But again: way too obvious, plus, I am crap at it.

DH came up with some ideas that could have been cool, which of course I dismissed out of hand because he thought of them, and I didn't and also that made them not cool.

And then I thought I could tie it in with a rant about New Age people and how right now so many of them seem to be thinking and wittering way too much about nothing at all important or even very interesting (and you can forget educational, for sure) rather than DOING whatever it is that is their pet discipline. But that rant has not reached its full gestational period just yet, I am not irritated enough to craft the withering mots justes that will be required. Plus I am actually quite cheery at the moment, and to be convincing when one rants, one must feel it, one must have suffered somehow, a bit like method acting.

After all of this, I was almost so tired out by thinking that I thought I would really have to use one of those lame old ideas. But no. Salvation appeared in the nick of time in the form of Youtube.

I re-discovered a film clip, that for me, paints a journey with - and to - new life: it illustrates the vicious cycle of hopelessness and emotional suffering of XV The Devil, and then new life and calm of XVII The Star that follows the incredibly painful yet transformational XVI Tower life experiences:

 Please don't forget to visit Alison and Mary as part of the Tarot Blog Hop.

Friday, 16 March 2012

FO Friday 78: Buses

What with not having finished anything and the swap, it seems like ages since I've done a FO Friday - and in fact, it is: the last proper one was FO Friday 67; and there was that in-between Wednesday one. Of course, now it looks as if I have been stockpiling against some kind of craft zombie apocalypse.

You remember that Uber-Cool Brother confessed to losing the 2nd scarf I made him ? Well, the third time is the charm, so he has now received the scarf made from 2 skeins of scrumptious Drops Alpaca (such brilliant prices, very reasonable, purchased from Garn Studio with the aid of my friend Miss.Mags) in the colorway '6834 Dark Petrol'  using the 'Flemish Block' stitch pattern; unfortunately, I  cannot get the color right in any of the photos - it is really a navy blue shot through with turquoise/teal, not the flat charcoal back color presented here:

Then Mini Diva's birthday approached, which meant a slight hiatus from knitting that resulted in this:

And I have also completed my 2nd Lady Bertram, using Crazy Zauberball in 'Indian Red', destined for my Auntie Hazel:

I wanted more shawl body than edging, compared to last time, so I kept increasing the stockinette section until I had 122 stitches on each side of the 2 spine stitches; I completed the first set of charts, then repeated charts B and A once more, which left me with a mere 10 or 15 yards of yarn left after binding off.

So now I must focus on Chrissy's Lily's Slice of Pi KAL, and the other VIP (Very Important Project) that has a fast-approaching deadline ....both laceweight on skinny needles, both moving as dispiritingly slowly as the most turgid of molasses ....

Pop on over to Tami's Amis to see things finished more regularly and in a timely manner.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Blog Hub Swap: Extra ! Extra !

Victorian Romantic

Well, today really was the last day of the Blog Hub Swap - and an extra bonus day was lovely to have ! Even though we already know I have to check my Ravelry inbox (can we say ''pattern'' ? ) would you like to see what Denise sent me ?

How kind, even though I am no longer a mod ! And her accompanying email said it was also a thank you for organizing the swap - which is almost done; there is just one person who is still awaiting a package, which is being shipped internationally to the USA via a three-legged one-eyed decrepit old mule, I think - this poor person has an estimated 10 more days to wait before delivery ....

And this is the pattern that was in my inbox, Denise's very own La Vitre Scarf -  pretty, lacy and with added bling if wished; this will definitely get used.

Thank you so much, Denise, for being such an excellent swap partner, and taking so much obvious time and trouble to find all those lovely gifts for me: I truly appreciate them, and you.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Blog Hub Swap 2012: Day 7

I am sad that it's almost the end of the swap: having a carefully thought out surprise to open every day has been very uplifting and cheering; I am extra lucky, though, as Denise has already told me to check my Ravelry inbox on Day 8, tomorrow, when there only had to be 7 gifts ...

But I have got in advance of myself there; today, having trekked up the hill to Mini Diva's school twice already since she forgot her swimming kit, and she and I are both WAY too OCD to even begin to contemplate 'borrowing' the school's own ooky spare stuff that has been worn by who knows who with whatever bugs and might not see a washing machine except for termly and is just left draping around in damp corners ... SHUDDER ... that's just  ... nasty .. However, as I was saying, it was lovely to get back and have a package to open.

So anyway - you didn't expect a horror movie synopsis this early, did you ? so that must have been an enjoyable detour - back to the good stuff, Day 7:

Hmm. Let's check the card for any clues:

 I am none the wiser. Nothing for it but to shred the tissue paper:

Oooh ! Some beautiful handmade floral cards, with envelopes. As it goes, I shall have the perfect use for these - do you remember me telling you about this year's knitting goals ? One of the shawls has already been made and sent to my Great-Aunt Vera. My Auntie Hazel's is off the needles, washed, blocked and awaiting photographing and then mailing: and now I have just the right medium on which to write the accompanying note, as well as for the other two shawls for special ladies which remain to be knitted this year ...

Thank you, Denise.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Blog Hub Swap: Day 6

Victorian Romantic

Once again I managed to control myself until at least one child was in school, and the lovely men from Anglian Water had arrived to replace whatever it was that broke last week. Here is the package labelled 'Day 6':

And the part we really want to see:

A 1oz and 1 1/2oz liquor measure. I used the English equivalent, both optics and measures, throughout my previous career, starting with 1/6 and 1/3 gill and moving to 25ml and 35ml when everything went metric.Except the Great British Pint. Which is thankfully, still a pint - the politicos don't want a revolution.

And to go with it ?

A recipe book ! But not for boring food - it's for cocktails ! That's what we call a win ...

I think the Cranberry Cobbler is definitely a Must Try - doesn't it look inviting ? Well, 11:35am is almost lunchtime, isn't it ? Close enough to count ? Please ?

And the back page:

And the card that accompanied today's gift explains everything:

Well, I'm definitely getting a much clearer idea of which of my blog topics tend to stick in Denise's mind !

Monday, 12 March 2012

Blog Hub Swap: Day 5

Kids are at school, washing machine is on, and everything else can wait while I open the package labelled 'Day 5'. Looks interesting, doesn't it ?

Light, box-shaped, has something in it that moves when shaken ... what could it be ? Why wait to find out - a millisecond later all the lovely packaging is shredded, and reveals that Denise's sense of humor is far dryer and a lot more subtle than it has any right to be, for an American:

I put 'tea' into the search box on my blog, and got 6 pages full of posts where tea is mentioned. I guess I drink quite a lot of tea. But I have never drunk Newman's Own Royal Tea, Organic Green Tea blend, from California.

Green tea sent to England, famous as a nation of black tea-drinkers, from the country that revolted against England over a tax on black ie. Indian (not green ie.Chinese) tea. And on the back of the box the instructions for making it not only include microwave instructions (a blasphemy for all true tea drinkers) but say that milk may be added ... oh my. 

Biting wit as dry as Bob Newhart: Denise haz it - in spades. I luff Denise, I luff this gift, and I'll try the tea ...

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Blog Hub Swap 2012: Day 4

I apologize to Denise for the lateness of today's post - it was warm and sunny today, so once the household chores were done, we were outside ...

I knew from Denise's introductory card that I was to check my Ravelry inbox on Day 4, and this also was the message in the lovely handmade card I opened today:  so upon hotfooting it over to Ravelry, to my great delight, I found that she had gifted me the pattern for the Late Hours Shawl by Kristina Vilimaite (AnimaKnits on Ravelry), which has been at the top of my queue since 31st July, 2011.

I can't remember if there was a specific reason for me to queue it other than its prettiness: but you will agree, I'm sure, that it is totally worthy of its place. The original took 366m/400 yards of DK weight yarn to make a shawlette size, so I could possibly use the Farmhouse Silk DK from Day 3 - allowing (as Denise reminded me in her comment on yesterday's blogpost, thank goodness) for the blocking and drape of silk/cotton/ blends. But then her message suggests that I may like to use something from my stash instead ... aaaah ... too many choices! 

Yet another lovely gift, and one that I will most definitely use: thanks, Denise !