Sunday, 1 March 2015


After terrible neglect over the past year, I felt it was time for an update. Since my last entry, I have figured out how to use my sewing machine. Lovely thing, though at some point over the last century, the manual got separated from the machine itself. This little bugger was the main culprit of my inability to thread her properly:

Threading it was a bit of a disaster. However, with some help from visiting parents, a bit of oil and a sudden flash of inspiration, I got her up and running in the end. Despite being 4 times my age, she runs beautifully and at this rate, may very well outlive me...

Then, I found this lovely fabric. Owls. Who can possibly resist owls? Especially these adorable things?

At this point I have to make a little confession. My craft stash is... a little out of control. Starting out with one bag of scrap fabric, some cross-stitch material and a knitting bag... it has grown to slightly worrying dimensions over the past 2.5 years. Roughly 200 liters of storage-worrying dimensions. Oops.
Hence I wasn't allowed to buy this fabric unless I had an immediate goal.

This goal became pillows. Lots of them. It's an excellent way to learn the ins and outs of a sewing machine and they are reasonably straightforward. Only requires a little bit of manual sewing to close the last gap (not quite brave enough to try putting in a zip). With no place to store the finished product, my owl-loving friends and family may get non-optional presents (sorry!). Well, until my fabric runs out anyway. I am actually enjoying making pillows more than I thought I would. It's simple but satisfying. Even with my very limited skills you can make multiple in an afternoon and aren't they just gorgeous?

Talking of which... I may have an hour to spare right now...

p.s. If you have any tips of getting out the creases without an industrial-grade steamroller, please share in the comments! I've tried ironing them through a towel, but it had zero effect.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Crafty in blue

A few weeks ago I completed yet another circle around the sun and to celebrate this, my friends gave me crafting presents (and some very lovely kitchen and other items too). Being faced with the enticing prospect of a week off, I found myself in a crafting kind of mood.

The winter is finally setting in here and that means... knitting. In one of my previous entries I posted a  link to the big project I am working on (the 4th Doctor scarf). Currently I am just over halfway (it has become taller than me already), but new knitting/crochet books and gadgets might have distracted me from that for a bit.

Over Christmas some very patient relatives have attempted to teach me some crochet (with limited success), so when I found a lovely pattern for potholders that involved relatively simple knitting and only chain stitches from the crochet realm, I pounced on it. After labouring over that for a few hours, I was rather pleased with the results. I finished the second one late last night (few things are as tempting to delay sleep for than a very-nearly-finished project).

The pattern called for thick knitting cotton (for a 5mm needle). I ended up going with 3-3.5 mm cotton in green and blue and using both colours at once on a 4.5 mm needle (though I set up using a 4.0 mm needle as 4.5 proved slightly too wide for the first row). The rest is alternating between knit and purl stitches to create the cross pattern and finishing off with a loop of loose crochet. 

The people I share a house with are very fond of candles. This means a large surplus amount of unburned wax which is left when the wick has burned all the way through. So off I went. Using a bowl and some oven tongs to hold it above a pan of boiling water that was slightly too big for the steel bowl (yes, it looked as ridiculous as it sounds), I melted some candle stubs au bain marie and poured it into a glass container that looked thick enough to avoid disaster when burning the candle. Stuck in a wick, secured with a clothespin over the container and let it cool off. Now there must be better ways to do this, as my candle collapsed a little in the middle like a poor imitation of a failed souffle, but it smells wonderful.

A number of years ago I encountered a lovely scrub, but the price tag was a little... daunting. Then there was a mother who wanted nothing for her birthday but a home made sourdough bread (forgot to make pictures, but the bread was delicious with the added benefit of now having a starter stored in the fridge for further use, This having coincided with me running across some lovely scrub recipes and voila, a present she couldn't refuse (recipe found here: . Coffee and sugar in equal amounts, add as much oil as needed to mix well and add a bit of honey). <-- start here and get clicking, it's quite addictive. 

Over time, I might have to make *all* the things.... time permitting of course. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Last night, I went on an adventure. My original plan for this evening involved mainly programming and Doctor Who, preferably in the reverse order. Perhaps with a bit of laundry in order to actually have something to wear over the weekend. This plan changed rather drastically when an idiot (read: boyfriend) phoned me to inform me of his latest adventure in clumsy-land. This involved a kitchen axe/hatchet, his feet and a rather large amount of blood.

Cue flailing and panic and general worriedness. Of course, he doesn't live around the corner. Noooo, Mr Hermit has to live in a little town in the middle of nowhere with little public transport after dinnertime. For a brief idea of the travel conditions, imagine this kind of foggy weather, in a poorly lit area and add wind, freezing temperatures and drizzle.

When you're done imagining that, add 12.5 miles of cycling and you have the full picture.

I tend to avoid cycling alone at night like the plague, even more so if the path leads straight through the woods for miles on end (okay, maybe just 1 or 2), but these were exceptional circumstances. Thus, I changed into something suitably warm and took off. The first few miles were okay, but as I slowly left the more inhabited areas, the fog started closing in and everything started to look really quite different from usual. Add to that the fact that I hadn't actually ever cycled all the way there by myself... let us just say I was less than happy (and convinced I was lost at least once).

But... when I arrived, I was quite proud (and freezing, but mostly proud) and found Mr Hermit drinking a beer and lounging on his bed. I confiscated the beer and, satisfied he hadn't bled to death yet, typed up my adventure.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Scarf 1

Recently I was faced with the dilemma of giving something to a close family member of a certain age. Plants/flowers are cliché (besides, other people would already do that), modern things would be too... modern. That means one decision was easy: I would make something myself.

Dilemma 2: time.

Thankfully, a solution came to me rather quickly: a scarf. Even if they wouldn't wear it, it was still the thought that counted. I still had some rather thick wool in stock (for needle size 8mm) so I got right on it.

It turned out rather nice so I thought I'd share the pattern.

Finished scarf. Yes, I am incapable of making sharp pictures.... I mean no,
the blur was purely intentional to focus attention on the... uhm... things.


Cast on 20 stitches.
5 rows of knit stitches
8 rows alternating between knit and purl stitches (producing a flat bit that curls up when left alone).
After that do four knit stitches and 16 purl stitches (a row on the back of the scarf, it should mostly align with the rows before) and the reverse on the next row.

Then shift your 4 purl stitches by two every second row. After a few rows you'll arrive at this:
8 knit, 4 perl, 8 knit. 
On the next row, start with 4 knit stitches again, making 4 knit, 6 purl, 4 knit, 6 purl and carry on, now shifting both blocks by 2 every second row.

Repeat this pattern until reaching a suitable length at which point you want to run the pattern off the scarf so to speak (so don't start a new one when the previous is halfway) and finish with 1 row knit, one row purl for 8 rows, followed by 5 rows of knit stitches.

This is the first time I've tried to describe a pattern (having never read one in my life), so I apologise if my google skills failed me on finding the correct terms. If the pattern is illegible, I hope that the picture is still some sort of guide.

If anyone ever decides to follow it, I'd be delighted to see the results! :)

Hello there

Quick introductory post. I made this blog to serve as a useful catalogue of awesome stuff for myself and hopefully share something from myself every now and then too that others might enjoy.

Those of you who know me will be aware I always have 2305982157 plans to improve myself, but it's always darned difficult to actually pull through with it. Thankfully, there are little victories every now and then, which I hopefully will share here as well.

One of those little victories from over the last year has been learning to bake my own bread. For a while, I baked all my bread myself, but then I became lazy. Hoping to pick that up again though now I've tried out a bunch more recipes and am slowly getting an idea of how the whole thing works. 

(Nommy huge wholemeal bread)