Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Owiee, onesie

So I had my next surgery this morning at the dentist. It hurts rather a lot. Basically he's screwed the titanium rods of the implants into my jaw, and done a bone augmentation, which means he put in some new bone in a granulated form to replace the bone I've lost as much as possible. My face is very swollen, from my upper lip up to my eyes, and from my nose outwards across my cheeks. I saw some black bruising there earlier, but I've swelled more since then, and so that seems to have vanished into my face somewhere. I can't eat properly, or rather, at all. I've had some yoghurt since the op. I'm quite hungry. I'm on a soft-food diet for 3 weeks or something, and I have another appointment next week to remove my sutures. This sucks. The best thing I can say is the painkillers really work. And of course that a 3-week soft-food diet means that H and I will have more to celebrate in London when we go to see Wicked, as it'll be the first time I'm allowed real food again!

The most positive thing I can mention is that I finished my onesie yesterday, and it's very cute! I have pictures!

In production

The finished garment in all its tiny glory!

Four snaps across the bottom

And four decorative buttons at the top

This is, of course, a prototype, and I'm looking to use the feedback from this to develop a full pattern and sizing type thingy. I am rather looking forward to it, and I've already learnt loads from doing it, like to make sure the binding for the openings is cut the right way in the fabric so it stretches properly. I'm just waiting for the neighbours to come back from holiday so I can ask them to take a look at it and give me feedback. They will be particularly helpful, since they've not long had a new baby.

I'm going to stop now and go lie down again. Sitting up or standing for too long makes my face hurt and my gums bleed.

Love love xx

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Quilt fabric, onesies, butternut squash soup, bread making, grandma oat-cake, cycling, pact, success board, dentist, cat

So! Have I been busy or what recently folks! So much to tell! Okay, so not so much to tell, but some lovely photos of what I've been up to.

So I have some lovely photos of fabric for you, like this:

and this:

These are the fabrics I've been choosing for the quilt I'm going to make. I know, there are a lot of dark fabrics in there, but I have a plan, or an idea, at least, in my head of what i want. I'm intending to pair all the blues and greens with the pale cream in the top picture - it's very difficult to get a photo of it, so no justice has been done in that one - and then use the cream as a base for setting squares, and possibly for the back as well, although I'm still working my head round kinks of what I want to do with the back of it. But yeah. By using cream and then bright blues and greens, I'm hoping to get a really lovely quilt that goes with my room and looks bright and fresh at the same time.

I also have this fabric, which I'm planning to try to turn into baby onesies. I believe i mentioned in my last post that I was considering doing this, and setting up an online shop. Well, I'm taking a tentative step further forward, and I'm going to try making a couple of onesies. I've looked at various patterns online, and in magazines, and I'm going to try some mish-mashes of them and see what I prefer, and what parents of babies think, like next door. I think getting feedback from them will be really helpful, since they have a new baby girl who's a few months old and so perfect for what I'm looking at right now.

These are the fabrics I have for playing with right now, as well as the remnants of the jungle animals I made sleep bags out of before. They are both white, and you can see, one of them is brighter, with pink and purple bows on, and the other is more subtle, with pale flowers on. I know they're both a bit girly, but for now that's okay, since these will be experiments. Plus, the animals I have is gender neutral, so that's okay!

I think another thing I mentioned in my last post was an interest in making butternut squash soup. Well, I did! I even took the liberty of photographing my efforts at different stages of cooking:

Coating the vegetables in oil and cooking them through a bit...

... Stock added, and left to simmer for a while...

... Finished soup!

For the record, it was yummy. And the parents enjoyed it, too. There wasn't as much flavour as I'd hoped for, but it was still delicious. And, when I had another bowl the next day, I added a sprinkle of mild chili powder to it before heating it up, and there was all the flavour I'd been missing! Definitely a recipe to keep hold of, I think. Plus, the knowledge that I can make soup is very reassuring. It's not something I've done before, but I would definitely do it again!

I made bread the other day. Nothing special, just standard bread, white loaf. I kind of wanted to make wholemeal, but we didn't have the flour for it. Something to put on the shopping list (as well as more sun dried tomatoes!) Our bread maker is not the best. I think it as a relatively cheap one that my parents bought, and that was a long time ago, at least eight years. We recently replaced the pan in it, because the old one was warped... but the new one was as much of a problem, because it left huge deposits of flour in the corners of the tin. To combat this, we'd been scraping the corners out ten minutes into mixing. I, however, forget to do this on this particular occasion... I was quietly hopeful, however, when I saw how beautiful the dough looked in the tin, all smooth, not too wet, not too dry...

See? I almost didn't want to tip it, out, it looked so perfect! But needs must, and I tipped it out to reveal a clean tin inside! So the frustration of forgetting to tend to the corners, for nothing! Of course, I was in love with this gorgeous dough - maybe it was just the right day for bread making? - and when I kneaded it in a bit, it looked pretty in a whole new way. SO I took another photo of it:

All twisted and pretty, you know? And then of course I sectioned it off and turned it into a loaf and some rolls. Still pretty. Just not as pretty as pre-cooking:

The other bit of baking I did was with my dad. Or rather, he did the baking with me. I was merely there to supervise, offer advice and so on. We made grandma oat-cake, which is a family thing. When we used to go and visit grandma, my dad's mum, she always had a huge store of these heavenly, delicious cakey slices of gooey sweetness that we called grandma oat-cakes. They're basically just shortcrust pastry with a layer of jam and then a layer of flapjack on top, nothing special. But they're ever so slightly oily, and sticky, and moist and sweet and the brown sugar adds a darkness that mixes perfectly with homemade raspberry jam...

This stuff is like the manna of heaven, it really is. And okay, so we haven't quite got the recipe down yet, it was a little too sticky and I think there weren't enough oats in the flapjack. But each bite is like a tasty memory of fishing those slices out of the drawer at grandma's. The flavour is absolutely huge, the flapjack and jam crashing against each other in an awesome balance of sweet, heavy, sticky versus sharp, tangy. And the pastry adds a crunch to the gooey inside. Plus some structure, of course. You wouldn't wanna try to eat it without the pastry to hold the rest. But yeah. Not something you want too much of all at once, because it is very strong in flavour, and rather sticky in the throat. But it's soo good with it!

So that was Tuesday, all baking and yumminess. Yesterday H cycled round to mine. It's not a really long way, about twenty minutes cycling. But she burst through the door when she arrived, 'I... am... never... cycling... again!!' Panting for breath, grabbing a glass and filling it with water, she showed me the bike. This is not your bog standard push bike, easy to ride, fun to cycle. This is a bike built for the road. Skinny little tyres, upwardly curved handlebars, a speedometer!! I tried to ride it: I couldn't. It tips your body downward so all your weight is on your hands, and the brakes are really awkward to try and find when cycling. But H explained, 'it was the only bike we had that was whole. Most of the others are missing a wheel.' Well of course, that explains it. After all, who doesn't keep bikes once they have only one wheel and are less useful than unicycles?

The point of this story though, is that H dropped by, where we watched some more Tribe (yay!) and did lots of chatting, and caught each other up in the brief space of time before she's off on holiday again. And we made a pact. Backstory needed here: H and I are going o London in August to watch Wicked. This was originally meant to be a group trip for about five of us, but since the others never provided me with money to book the trip, H and I got to the stage where we just went, sack it off let's go just the two of us. Other bit of backstory is that I have a horrible stress habit to do with my OCD tendencies, where I scratch my arms and dig my nail into my skin. I do this because I see lots of little flaws on my skin, you know, the little tiny dots where the hairs come out of your arms. And in scratching and digging my nails in, I do a lot of damage to my arms and make the problem worse. Vicious cycle, people. Not something where just stopping is easy, because the holes for the hairs will always be there, and I'll always be aware of them. But having this awful habit stresses me out too, because aside from it making the problem worse, it makes my arms look disgusting and makes me uncomfortable about baring them. So I made a pact with H. I do my best to stop scratching my arms, and if I can keep it to a minimum until we go to London, she will let me wax her legs. She doesn't like having her legs waxed, because she had it done once before and it hurt. I have mine waxed because it's less hassle than shaving, and by the third time it doesn't really hurt anymore. So that's the deal. If my arms get a chance to heal, her legs get a break from the razor. And, to help motivate myself, like a geek I've made myself a 'success' chart where I can count down to London, and check off each day of no scratching at the same time. And it gave me a chance to experiment and make little samples of lots of techniques for card-making:

See? I have favourite squares, I do. But I love it all. It was really fun to make. It also counts me down to next Wednesday when I'm having my next bit of surgery with the dentist. It's one of the big ones, he's placing the rods in my jaw and giving me a granulated bone graft. So yeah! It's craft central here, for the rest of today I'm going to clean the kitchen floor and get making a onesie. And I'm gonna leave you with a cute picture of my cat, because I think I don't take enough photos of her, and she'll be dead before I realise how much she means to me.

Isn't she just beautiful? Posing for the camera there, too!

Love love xx

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

headache, shop, ballet show, fabric shopping, soup, sleep bag

So after my last post where I aired my grievances with shameless abandon, I was intending to write a nice, light post. But I cracked my head on a door about five minutes ago and a headache is just starting to take hold, so I'm going to keep it short instead and hope that makes it light enough.

I'm considering setting up some kind of online shop, like etsy shops, but for the UK. Whaddya think? I'm seeing lots of baby sleep bags like the one I made before, and onesies, and that sort of thing.

H holding up the sleep bag for measurement

So I went to see a ballet show today at lunchtime with my mum. It wasn't anything special, just a local dance school my mum's made costumes for before, the head being a friend. And it was good, it was enjoyable. but it was also... not. It's difficult, because I have an appreciation of it as an audience member. But then I have an understanding of it as both a dancer, and as someone who was once in that community. So as an audience member, I really enjoyed the music and the dances and so on. As a dancer I was able to really see the kids who were working hard, and the ones who were really good and enjoyable to watch. But I was also able to see when there were kids just not making the effort which was annoying to watch. I was distracted at times by the way the costumes were not all identical when they were supposed to be, and the way sometimes the movements were not as sharp as they were supposed to be. And as someone who was once an insider of the whole way it works, I was able to use experience and understanding to point out the lucky kids who were naturally good dancers or performers, or both even. I could see which kids thought a lot of themselves, admittedly with good reason. I could see who were favourites, and who were not. I could see which ones put all their effort into it for very little return, either because they got little return in terms of talent or little return as in they were always at the back. And part of me still enjoyed watching the gifted or favourites at the front (the audience part) but the other part found it awful to watch, knowing how so many of those kids at the back would work their butts off, as I had, and almost never see the front line, almost never get the special twiddly bits reserved for favourites, and almost never feel like they were actually good at what they were doing. So a wonderful show, great choreography, music, dancing, etc. But strange to watch when personal experience was applied.

We also went straight to Abakhan in Liverpool after the show, and picked up some nice fabrics for a quilt I'm going to make. As yet, I don't know how much I want my mum to participate. I don't want to hog it, but I think I want to do most of it myself. Probably. I'm not really sure.

I have an interest in making soup tonight to go with the bread I made... yesterday? The night before? Sometime a bit ago. I'm thinking butternut squash soup would go really well with tomato bread, what do you think? And this'll serve as supper for me. I know dad wouldn't consider it to be a whole meal, because, well, he just wouldn't. But I would, and I think it'll be really nice. So yeah! I'm feeling soup a lot just now. I haven't made any yet. But I'm feeling it.

So I'm gonna go and make some, and I'll leave you with some more photos of the sleep bag since it was so cute!

Love love xx

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Bread, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping, camping...

Okay, so just before I go into the tale of camping and why right now I think I would never go again if you paid me, I want to show a pretty picture of the bread I made last night!

The loaf and the rolls still in their tin

See how pretty the rolls turned out? And completely by chance they formed a gorgeous sort of pattern in the tin; I was loathe to lever them out of it, they looked so awesome. But that'll be lunch today, and hopefully tomorrow too.

So! Camping... this will basically be a huge long rant I suspect, so don't feel a need to read any of it...

I feel some backstory is needed. Now I don't know if I told you about a certain person's irritating nature, but, well, a certain person had an irritating nature. Let’s call her E. So a while ago we were on one of our pub get-togethers, and on the way there H gave me a warning. I think the conversation went like this...
H: So - about camping, when E was on the phone to me for three hours the other day she asked me to go in her car in the front seat, saying that her nan insisted she 'had someone who could drive with her'.
Me: *rolling eyes*
H: Yeah. So I said, 'No, I'm going in B's car, I'm sorting out directions for her.'
Me: Nice one, well done!
H: Ahah! Yeah well she then said she had to have someone who'd passed their driving test in the car with her, and we realised the only other person who had a driving license was you...
Me: Oh. Great. Okay.
H: Yeah so I'm just warning you because she'll probably ask you at some point about it...

The conversation continued in this slightly boring, pissed off vein for a while, but I won't bore you with any more of it. So we're in the pub, having just collected first drinks, and E turns to me and asks me oh so politely if I would mind going in her car because her nan says she must have someone who can drive and knows about cars with her. Now, let's get a few things straight. First point: I don't know about cars. I don't, I recognise companies and I know basic maintenance form my test and that's it. Second point: other people going know more about cars than I do, they just haven't taken their test yet. Third point: I really don't particularly like this person anymore because she's always doing this sort of thing, and it's dumb and childish. However, i agreed with H that if needs be I would go in E's car because when you're part of a group you have to think of others. Fourth point: E made it clear that she was only thinking about herself in this matter and not about what I want; she just wanted to be able to handpick who went in her car. Quite obviously she hadn't thought about what I might want, or what anyone else in the group wanted. And she carefully asked me, a) whilst the group was together, although everyone was chatting, and b) before I was drunk enough to flat out refuse without feeling horrifically guilty and before I was drunk enough to have a rant at her for her selfishness. So she pissed me off royally I'm afraid because she didn't think about anyone but herself, and she made me feel obliged to go with her. I felt trapped in a corner about it, like there was no choice. I settled with saying, 'I'll think about it,' rather than committing myself to the obligation or the argument. But H knew how pissed off I was that E had the balls to do that to me. So yeah. That's the backstory.

Now to the camping. We all arrive at H's, pack bags into E and B's cars, it's agreed that everyone goes with E except for H who will go with B, enabling B to put her backseats down for more packing room. The drive up was not terrible, but not very reassuring of E's driving ability, especially the point when she said she 'need someone who knew about driving in the car so they could look at the road signs.' If you can't drive and keep an eye out for road signs then just. Don't. Drive. It's clear you don't have the ability to drive safely. And when I mentioned to her that she should be able to look out for them as well as drive, she justified it because it was only her third time on the motorway. No excuse! I get that the motorway is faster, and a little daunting at first. But it's really just a bigger road. And a driver should be able to multitask, it's part of driving! You can't rely on other people being in the car with you!

Anyway! We arrive at the campsite without masses of fuss, and set about pitching a tent. Most of the group had never been camping before. But we get stuck in. It's hard work, it's roasting weather, and it's difficult because the campsite is not the best terrain, being very stony. About halfway through, E decides she can't be bothered to do any more work, and gets up saying to me, and I quote: 'I'll leave this in your capable hands.' Yeah. The urge to punch was strong. I am not naturally muscular, I am not heavy enough to put my weight behind my strength, I was hot and tired and have shit joints from doing ballet for so long. I do not complain. I carry on because now it's expected, and someone has to get the tent up, it has to be put up which means getting on with it. And by the time we've finished putting it up, I get to listen to E exclaiming about how hard the job was and well done everyone, we really worked hard, and how sore my shoulders and knees are.

We start bringing stuff into the tent, and we're stood in the centre of an eight-man tent which has two sleeping compartments at each end, discussing who sleeps where. We have it agreed: H, B and I will sleep in one end, and E, K and F will sleep in the other. But E doesn't like this, she wants to sleep in the other end. So she switches her place and mine. Without consultation, without letting me know until it's done and there's no point in changing it back. Now I don't mind sharing with K and F, I don't. But suddenly I've had no control over anything to do with me, no real say in the matter and I'm feeling a bit like shit, especially as I know that K and F go to sleep straight away but that there will be nattering in the other side where I was originally - and I'm gonna miss out on everything. So I spend a portion of the evening in my compartment 'sleeping' when in actual fact I'm alternating between silent crying because I feel so out of control of myself, and meditating because when I feel this down it has physical effects on me, like difficulty breathing.

So I'm tired and in pain, and miserable and guilty because all these things are making me antisocial particularly as I have to face E's company for the next three days. I hear her saying things and making jokes which are private jokes just between various workings of H, B and me. I feel awkward, I feel displaced and unable to control anything. I don't know where I stand or what to do or how to manage. We go on a walk in the evening, and I trail a little, taking some time for myself. And then, I divert to go to the loos before going back to the tent where everyone else already is. I'm almost back at the tent and I hear E talking about me. Insulting me. Have you ever stood there, hearing someone being rude about you in general - your appearance, the way you talk, whatever, not stuff that you can help and not stuff where you've affected them - and tried to figure out the best thing to do? It's bloody difficult, because you're trying to not hear and hear at the same time, you don't know whether to walk away again and give them a chance to change topic, or whether to walk in there and pretend that you haven't heard what they said, so many choices, and you can't work out what the best action to take is. But it make you feel like crap, because whilst you're trying to work it out, they're still talking about you and hurting you because you can't help but hear.

So that was kind of awful. Anyhoo, camping continues. Miserable weather the next day following a miserable night's sleep where I was rolled over twice by F and then walloped in the face sufficiently hard that today is the first day it hasn't hurt since. I went to sleep last, I woke up first, I'm feeling low after the previous day. But I try, I do. I laugh, I joke, I pretend not to hear E when she makes digs or says something which is nothing to do with her... yeah. We go for a walk in the evening following a pub meal, and that gives me time alone. Upon heading back, we're given the choice of going to the pub or going back to the tent. I choose the tent, not just because I don't fancy drinking, but because it's the opposite option of what E's doing. Which is a stupid reason to choose the tent, but why spend more time with someone when they make you miserable? Having got ready for bed, I ask H if she's free for chatting, since she came back to the tent too and was already for bed; and she is. I end up crying all over her (sorry!) and we work through everything, as we do, and we figure out some action plans which would help.

We're still talking when the others come back, drunk as can be. We end up getting them ready for bed, and I end up sleeping in the compartment with H, B and E since I was already wrapped up in there with H when the others came back. You would think that since the pods are designed to take four people, they would. Not when one of them doesn't move up. So I'm sleeping with my face against the pod wall, and H is sleeping like a sardine next to me because E didn't move other. And B has a whole half of a compartment to snore the alcohol away. I wake up time after time in the night to see E effectively breathing down H's neck. And at one point when I'm lying awake, H rolls over to try to find some room away from E, and opens her eyes, looks at my face mere inches from hers (there's that little room) and mumbles a 'hi' then goes back to sleep.

So the following day we had planned to go to Grizedale forest. But B is sleeping off her hangover and the weather's a bit miserable. So we do nothing all morning. The afternoon brightens up, and we have a barbecue, which is quite nice and good fun. But by now it feels like my moods are infected with crappiness because I just can't keep a smile on my face, I can't keep being cheerful and social. H, bless her, notices and texts me 'walk?' to which I agree. So, having been the ones cooking along with B, H and I go off for a walk leaving E, K and F to wash up. And H and I enjoy the walk; we follow a public footpath by a stream which is gorgeous, and we end up at a park where we play on the slide like children, and H tries out a child's swing, and we end up on the normal swings watching swallows flying right up by us so we can see them in detail. That, I think was the highlight of the trip.

Of course, it being the last night, B gets drunk again, and the weather is crap, with torrential rain all night. It's not as cramped, because B goes off and sleeps in the other side with the other drunk people, so it's just E, H and me. But does E move right the way up so there's room? Does she balls. So H and I sleep right next to each other again, with E moved up a little way. It's freezing cold, and I again get four hours sleep or so before I'm awake and listening to it raining. H is burrowed right down in her sleeping bag. At one point she turns over, and waking up a bit pulls her sleeping bag down until her face appears. She looks round blurrily for a moment, then burrows back down because it's freezing. I'm almost lucky, being up so early, because at about half five it stops raining and I take the opportunity to walk up to the toilet block and shower and do my teeth and so on. All in all I spend around forty-five minutes in there, and about five minutes after I'm back in the tent the rain starts coming down in buckets again.

Once everyone's up (except a drunken sleeping B) we pack the cars up again, and once I've dragged a hungover B out of bed, we pack down the tent. In the rain. That's almost hail. And as heavy as Noah's flood. B of course, not organising her packing early enough, has no coat, no jumper, no nothing to keep her warm and dry. So she is soaked through. Of course, so are the rest of us really, despite all waterproofs, but we at least have other stuff with us to get dry again. We end up driving home with me in my pyjama bottoms, B in her pyjamas, and H in a bin bag dress she made herself. I'm in E's car again, and she dictates the music that's on and sings to it all the way home. I really dislike her voice anyway, because it's really nasal and she sings in head-voice all the time even though it's not necessary. I don't think she's a good singer; I think she masks being a bad singer with these two techniques, and I think anyone could sound as good as she does by doing the same. But she thinks she's ah-may-zing. Feeling miserable because I know I have hours stuck in a car with someone I don't like singing songs I like badly and driving dangerously, I choose to feign sleep all the way home, briefly wondering if I can smother myself with the pillow in my lap. Let me just explain the additional driving problem that makes her dangerous. I don't know who taught her hill starts, but they should be shot. Or she should for not paying attention. When stopping facing uphill, she slows down, down, down - then SLAMS THE BRAKE just suddenly, jerking everyone onto the floor if they're not held down with camping equipment. Then she yanks her handbrake on. When she's setting off again, it's like it's a race to her as to how fast she can accelerate after taking the handbrake off. So handbrake comes off, then she does clutch, accelerator, bite, go. That's wrong. There's no argument; that is just wrong, bad, dangerous driving. And it's scary to be sat in the car helplessly watching her do this dangerous act to you again and again. Particularly when you have a hatred of hill driving. Particularly when since your road traffic accident years ago even tiny minor collisions, prangs etc send you into shock. Yeah.
But we get back to H’s, we unload the cars, there’s discussion over what to do next. H and I both know without discussion that I’ll stay over until late, so she just sends me upstairs to bed. This would really be her brother’s bed but it’s the one she uses while he’s away at uni, and it’s the one we share when I stay over. It’s confusing, I know. Everyone else chooses to go home straight away, much to H’s relief I suspect. So I slept for a few hours, leaving H to do her own thing, which would be laundry and packing because she would be going away again the next day (which incidentally was today). Then I get up, we chat about the experience of camping, both agreeing that at that moment we felt we never ever wanted to go again in a million years.
And that is the story of camping. It’s basically a long rant. Don’t get me wrong, there were some lovely bits: the scenery was gorgeous; the village nearby was beautiful and interesting; the walk H and I went on was really nice; and it was relieving somewhat to be able to talk everything through with H. But the company (besides H) was hard work and sometimes incredibly hurtful; the weather sucked; it ended up costing double what it was meant to; too much food was bought unnecessarily; and I think we didn’t all have the same expectation of what the holiday was about. H and I were thinking it would be walks and trips and that sort of thing, and for others it was about drinking. Which is fine, but if I’d known about that and the cost beforehand, I wouldn’t have gone. Time was wasted when we could have gone to Grizedale forest and played games and done Go Ape, etc. And if it had been good weather on the last morning, H and I were going to get up early, walk into the village and buy breakfast and gifts there. This would have been an exercise in seeing f the others could manage to get up on time and work on packing up without H having to sort it out and organise and do. But because of the rain, we didn’t get to do any of that. Which is a shame. Maybe sometime in the next year I’ll persuade H to go back there with me, and we’ll stay in something with solid walls and a roof and we’ll go to Grizedale forest and do Go Ape and buy souvenirs. Maybe. B asked everyone on the last night if we would do it again, same people same place same everything but the weather. I didn’t want to lie but I said yes. Would I do it again, same everything but the weather? No chance.
So now that I've bored you with my whining and complaining, I feel I need to apologise. I'm sorry. It really wasn't so terrible, but I did feel like crap for most of the trip, and you certainly learn whom you can live with. ut I'm sorry that the whole story was one big pile of crappy complaints. I'll try harder next time.

And that is all for now, I'll leave you to digest all that, and speak soon.

Love love xx

Friday, 8 July 2011

Busy, cardigan, ice cream, fancy dress, games, tribe, cloth pads, camping, mum

Busy busy busy since the last time we spoke, I think...! Let me see if I can't piece together the past few days in a way that makes sense...

Okay, so I have some photos for sharing from the recent projects I blogged about last. These include:

A lovely picture of my cardigan:

See how nicely it's gone together! I know there are still loose ends to be sorted and I haven't quite finished as I need to find the perfect buttons for it; but I've tried it on, and I feel amazing in it! The colour is wonderful, i think photos really don't do it justice. And with finishing I've found that I have quite a lot of yarn left over to play with and find something else to make. This does excite me.

I also have pictures of the two ice creams:

The strawberry buttermilk...

...And the vegan strawberry.

I think that they would be better if I had made them in an ice cream maker, which I don't have. Having said which, they've turned out fine, but a little hard. They taste brilliant. the vegan ice cream somehow tastes more like a sorbet, which is refreshing and lovely; and the strawberry buttermilk is really creamy ice cream. On the whole I would consider them to be a success, but in future I would go round to my grandparents and bribe a use of their ice cream maker from them.

So those are the crafty bits I've done. Since then I went to a fancy dress party, which was great fun! I might actually have a photo of that too... let me look...

Yep! My mum took one when we finished the costume:

The last touch to this was the painting of two rouged circles on the apples of my cheeks for a real fairytale look. It was a brilliant night, great company and some very funny games. We played flour mountain, a classic laugh; pass-the-parcel, which was oh so grownup; and a new game to me, of which I don't actually know the name. I'm gonna call it apples and satsumas. Basically, you took a pair of nylon tights and you shoved a satsuma into each toe. Then you tied the tights round your waist so the satsumas hung down in front of you, prompting many jokes about how low people's satsumas swung. Everyone lines up and puts an apple on the floor, then it's a race to see who can get their apple to the finish line first simply by whacking it with the satsumas. It's hilarious but soo difficult!

So that was a lovely night, and I slept at H's house afterwards to save confusion with the taxi and... well, just 'cause I wanted to, and that way we would be able to watch the next two episodes of Tribe, which I happened to know were major in terms of plottage!! The looks on her face were priceless, the shock and excitement crossing it were well worth the money spent on the box set.

Afterwards, I went home and finished the cloth pads completely. So now I have a pile of them just waiting to be given to new homes! Very exciting! I experimented a little with these ones; my mum's new sewing machine has lots of pretty embroidery stitches, so I added a line of one of those to each side of the flaps. It will require fine tuning in the future, but I'm very happy with the dainty little bit of pretty.

Having finished the cloth pads, I packed my bags for the following day. this pretty much leads into the camping... experience. But it's a long, long story, and deserves its own blog entry, which it will get most likely tomorrow. For now, let it suffice to say that it was not the biggest success with me. It has left me exhausted and in a bit of a low place right now. But I was just looking through the camera, and I found a beautiful picture I'd taken of my mum, so I'm going to put it up here as a lovely finish:

Isn't she gorgeous?!

So I'm gonna leave you now. this has been mainly about catching up on photos and B's eighteenth. Tomorrow you will see the account of camping. Be warned!

Love love xx

Sunday, 3 July 2011

long time, exams, Norland, travelling, work, pads, cardigan, vegetarianism, ice cream, TRIBE TRIBE TRIBE, fancy dress, camping, Fangella

Long time no see people! Sorry I haven't been here, it's just I was mega busy with exams and leaving, then I just plain couldn't be bothered. That's right, I was lazy. But I have soo much to tell you, and since I seem to be unable to sleep tonight I thought I'd catch us all up!

First of all: my exams were a triumph! I think, anyway. I actually loved the philosophy exams, found them really fun, and almost wished for more time, because I felt that there was so much more that I could say!! Now that's a first! Spanish was fine, I actually had masses of excess time, so we'll see how it turns out - hopefully it will be fine.

This of course leads on to College. I don't recall if I told you where I was applying; if not, I was applying to a nanny college. I had an interview, and I was waiting to hear back from them whether I had a place or not. I waited for months. Finally, I decided to call them and see when I could expect to hear back. Turns out they sent a letter to me months ago. All that waiting for nothing! But the lovely lady on the other end of the phone confirmed that I have a place for September 2012! So as long as I get the grades, 2 C's, I'm in! I'm feeling pretty confident about this, so my future is sort of set.

So now I just have this year between to figure out what to do with my time. I really want to travel still, although I know I can only travel for the second half of the year. But I really, really want to do something worthwhile, you know? Teaching children somewhere like Africa, or China. That would be ideal. At the moment I'm thinking about asking my high school if I could use their connection to a school in South Africa to work there for half a year. But I don't know if it's feasible or not.

My parents really want me to get another full-time job. I'm already working my 6 hours at Currys. I know, I know, 6 hours isn't much. But it's all the company can afford right now. And I agree, earning more money is important. But I still want to be able to do everything I want to, and I don't know how keen any companies would be at my taking the second half of the year off to go to a completely different country. I doubt they would pay me. or hire me, in fact.

So that's how future/career is looking right now. As to my own, personal life? Well, it's looking pretty peachy! I've been doing plenty of sewing, mainly of the pile of cloth pads I've been doing for a while. I'm getting there last bits of actual sewing to do and snaps to apply, then they're done! I'm planning to give a lot of them away as gifts and such to various people. I may keep one or two of the shabbier ones for myself. I have quite a collection of them now. And I still adore them, they still come in really handy, and I haven't used disposable menstrual products in months. Score one for the environment!

I also finished the sewing up of the last side seam of my cardigan I've been knitting since forever! Now all it needs are some tiny buttons, and it's done! At last! So many exclamation points, but I'm really psyched about this particular cardigan, I've had the wool since October, and been knitting it since about Christmas or something wacky. Admittedly, most of the time I haven't been knitting, which is why it's taken so long. But now i feel like the end truly is in sight for an awesome cardigan!

Not to be ignored are my cooking efforts I think. I've been doing a lot of cooking recently, probably to pacify the father more than anything. Since I decided I really wasn't going back to meat he decided he wouldn't be cooking for me anymore, as he refused 'to cook extra meals for somebody else'. Up until the point at which he realised that yes, I did mean it, and no I wasn't going to eat the first meaty meal he'd put in front of me in weeks, he'd been fine with cooking lots of vegetarian food. And he had no problem with cooking the meat separately to the rest of the meal and adding it to the plates of those who wanted it. But once it was actual and definite, suddenly it was a major issue. So I've cooked a lot of the meals recently, and he's eaten lots of vegetarian meals without complaint. And when he has cooked meat I've done my own thing. And it's been fine!

In addition to all the cooking, I also found time to try out some ice cream making. We had masses of strawberries int he fridge, so I figured it couldn't hurt to try my hand at a couple of recipes. I tried one vegan recipe, courtesy of David Lebovitz, and one normal sort of strawberry buttermilk recipe, the link to which I found on Gidget Goes Home's blog. Now, I have no ice cream maker, and I think they would have turned out better if I had one. But as far as these things go, I actually think they turned out pretty well! The vegan ice cream is more like a sorbet in texture and flavour, but very nice, if a little solid. The buttermilk is like real, creamy ice cream, again a little hard to get out of the tub, but rather yummy. I fully intend to ask for a cheap ice cream maker for my next birthday, since I think it may produce a lot of fun, and allow me to develop my crafty side in a new direction that I'm rather enjoying.

Usually when I get all crafty another side of my life suffers. Often it's my social life. But I'm pleased to say that this time it isn't at all. I spent Thursday afternoon and evening at H's house, having cycled there; and we started watching Tribe, season 3. I feel this needs explaining. When I was young, there was a program on telly called The Tribe. It was on channel 5, on either Saturday or Sunday mornings, I can't remember which. It was crap. It was terrible! the writing was awful, the acting was pretty poor, although to be fair it improved to some extent over the seasons, and direction was pretty missing too. And I loved it! I adored the whole thing, not seeing how bad it was at the time. And at some point years later, about 3 years ago I think, I rediscovered it and started watching it all over again. So cool of me, I know. And this time round I could see how bad it was. But I didn't care. As an original fan I remember how awesome it was to me; and even though now I see how awful it is, I still love it as much as I used to!

And what I can say is good about the program, is the concept. It's based on the idea of a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has wiped out all the adults and left only children who have to survive alone now by forming tribes. Amazing, right? Right? Okay, just me then! But I have the same love for the characters that I always had, so even though the whole thing is a shambles in all honesty, I still adore it, and know everything about the characters!

Anyway, how this links to H is that at some point in the last year we would have been talking about tv, and I'm pretty sure I was the one who mentioned this old program I used to love, my secret, shameful love. Of course, then she would have gasped and gone, oh my goodness! I used to watch that! And that would be where it all started. My sister ordered season one and, having watched it over, left it at home in my care (but remembering, of course, that it is hers!). And so H watched season one with me. Having done so, she promptly ordered season two, which we both then watched. We'd been putting off season three until after exams so that we could study - putting it off for months, you must see. And, knowing H finished her exams first, and knowing how hard she'd studied (particularly compared to me), I ordered season three as a gift for her and had it sent by amazon to her house. This meant that I received a phone call from her one morning which pretty much went:

Me: hello?
H: Why has Tribe season three just come through my door?
Me: oh... eh heh heh heh...

H and myself, with her permission

She was delighted, of course, but we hadn't had chance to watch it due to majorly busy schedules. But Thursday arrived, and having spent Wednesday evening thinking about the season to come and salivating in excitement, I texted H telling her hoe psyched I was and how much I wanted to watch it. And she was all, well, why not come round this afternoon? We can watch some then. To which I was like, There! And I brought my cardigan with me, which is where I did my last seam on it, whilst watching Tribe and clutching H's hand desperately in our thrilled, tense excitement as the event of the season happened! And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one hell of a story!

But, back to my social life not suffering, I'm going round to H's tomorrow afternoon, where we will watch more of Tribe season three and get ready for a fancy dress party, themed 'Princes, princesses and fairy tales'. I'm going as Gretel. I thought long and hard about costumes. I have a long gold dress which I could wear to go as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. But it is an eighteenth, and I know how rowdy we can be and I want to be a bit more free moving. I still don't want to look like an idiot, however. So the dress I have is great, it comes to the knees in a full skirt made of curtain material, so it's plenty free moving. Pictures of it after tomorrow evening. And of course it's a different costume, since i think many people are going as fairies, and since when did I ever want to do what everyone else was doing?

Also, on Monday I leave with the same friends to go camping for three nights in the Lake District. This should be fun, if a little... interesting. Photos of that when I get back too, I promise! So you can see, my social life is pretty sweet right now, despite all the crafty stuff I've been doing!

So that's pretty much it, a full catch up. One last thought to leave you with, though. My mum has started calling my denture Fangella. It irked me the first time, and I had no idea what she was talking about; but it's growing on me. I can see me mourning the denture when it's no longer necessary as much as I mourned the teeth coming out in the first place. Poor Fangella.

Love love xx
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