Thursday, 31 January 2008

a couple of links to keep you going....

Two very different sites and included for very different reasons

what katie did - great photos and interesting projects (even though I promised I would keep my creative notions to craftdelight)

and - a new (issue 2) online magazine for women, interesting, thought-provoking articles with a sense of humour and a smattering of vitriolic wit!

Have fun. Off to college tomorrow. I've been sketchbooking and am taking everything with me so I can have 5 hours of unadulterated artistic activity.


Just a quickie - I've decided to concentrate my craft obsessions elsewhere so projectforty can go back to what it was originally - a diary of my efforts at trying to exercise/beautify and generally be a better me (!?!?!?!?!?!?). You may have noticed that knitting and crocheting and sewing, oh my, are taking over.

Anyway.....for future reference and if you're remotely interested, all craftdelight and deliciousness will be found at It's very new so don't get too excited but it will have lots of links to glorious art/craft/design websites of which there are millions, many of which eventually link to someone, somewhere knitting a sock.

By the way, 2nd sock - ect (estimated completion time) tonight! I know, I'm thrilled too....

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

we saved the day

I think last Monday was officially the most depressing day of the year but I have to say today did not start out well. I went to a small, nameless market town in Wiltshire with my dear friend, S. We had a goodtime at the knitting shop which although small and a tad scruffy is stuffed with treasures of the woollen variety. Events took a turn for the dismal thereafter.

The charity shops were really skips with glass windows, the lovely stationers - closed, the pleasant gift shop - gone, the paper shop which is worth a mooch - gone, the library - closed and the tea shop - very nice but rammed with senior ladies who were obviously saving on their heating bills at home by coming out for a cuppa with their mates. It was all just TOO much!

We ran, and tore up towards the downs and enjoyed the views. We had to go somewhere and we ended up in Swindon. And Swindon managed to cheer us up! That was how bad it was.

The neck is much better - I've had my 3rd and final, I hope, twist and turn. We've decided that it just needs to heal now. It feels like my fleece wraps look (see above).
So, tomorrow, I think I need to 'do some domestics'. My beloved has decorated our daughter's room quite beautifully I think so I need to get some of the rest of the house looking OK too. All this creativity is very well but at some point, someone, somewhere needs to get the windows cleaned.
I went to London yesterday and saw some great stuff. Will get the photos ready for tomorrow - when I'm supposed to be cleaning windows....

Monday, 28 January 2008

still hurting

I'm still afflicted with a poorly neck but it is better than yesterday as it's been seen to by my favourite osteopath. I am so glad I know an osteopath. Today I can lift my chin as I as I want to but can't do a great deal with my right arm without feeling breathless - peculiar.

I progressed my second tiger sock last night, turning the heel whilst watching 'The Kate Moss Years' on 5life. There is something in the contrast of middle aged woman knitting socks whilst watching KM snort coke and generally misbehave whilst looking totally glamorous. I bet she can't turn a heel. There was a lot of talk about her being iconic because she never says anything, therefore we can all (i.e. ad men and people called brand ambassadors) can project whatever fantasies they have on her. If you ask me she doesn't say much because her strained, little girl voice doesn't match up to that level of surface beauty. We don't want gorgeousness to speak - the sound never matches the visuals.

Anyway, moving on - to go to college, or not to go to college. I could drive but I'm not sure it will make me feel any better and it could mean I make it worse. I'm tending towards working at home, doing lots of drawing and starting my essay. At least that way I'll give myself a chance to mend and maybe get to go to London tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Beware - art hurts

I think I am afflicted with my first episode of art-ithritis. I have a sore neck, shoulders and am developing a stoop. It's very uncomfortable. I need my favourite osteopath to sort it out but he's gone away - very upsetting. I am, however, getting a different view of the world and it's the first time I've been poorly while the kids have been too so that has given me another perspective on family life. I was bathing my daughter at 10.45pm last night and as I lay horizontal on the bed, she read her Brownie guide book to me. It was different.

Today I went to the Scrapstore. Scrapstores, I think, exist all over the country and are funded by local councils. They collect cast-off manufacturing waste for art/craft/education projects. Being a student, I can go along and be inspired with all the lovely stuff they have available. I wanted materials to wrap/tear/repair for college and came back with boxes of buttons, a huge bag of netting and some amazing plastic panels which I can mesh together and create a cage of somesorts.

I've been unable to resist working a little so have done some drawings and looked at some of the materials I gathered today. I can actually see the floor of my room and have been folding the fabrics I have promised myself I will do something with. I wonder sometimes whether I'll be able to make them into something more pretty than they are in their natural folded state.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

shopping with men (or a particular man....)

Today my beloved and I went shopping. This is not an every day, every week or every month occurence. We don't shop together often although I am sometimes found shopping more frequently. We had a good day.

The shop assistant in Clark's had the most badly scuffed shoes I've seen for a long time. They were like cowboy boots with those square pointed toes. He had almost worn the toes away. I looked to see if I could see his socks (don't get me started on socks again). It made me come over all middle-aged and tell his manager to give him a pair from the sales - what is the world coming to if boys who work in SHOE shops wear totally scuffed SHOES!

ANYWAY, several hours, 10 pairs of socks, several pairs of undercrackers, 2 pairs of boots, 3 shirts, 2 pairs of trousers and a coat later, my beloved had surpassed himself in the shopping stakes and at one point looked like a proper shopaholic with his hands full of carrier bags.

I bought some very unsensible boots in the sale - metallic, grey with buttons down the side. Not sure what I was thinking. I upset another shop assistant whilst translating the particularly Bristol pronunciation of 'lush' to my beloved, explaining to him slowly and a little too loudly that you don't just say something is 'lush' but 'lurrrrrrrshhhhhh'. She pulled faces behind my back apparently!

I also treated myself to my REN, calendula, "if this doesn't calm your skin down and stop it feeling hot", moisturiser and some totally reduced fabric from Hobbycraft in the name of art and craft. There was no decent wool to be had. Anywhere although I did find some zingy embroidery silks to get me going.

I am supposed to be going to college tomorrow but I have a virusey child in the house - again. I love winter. All that time spent watching small people sniff and groan and cough. No wonder I've turned to the yarnside.

If you'd like a little web-based mooching - have a look at Full of well lurrrrrrrrrrrshshshshshshshs gorgeousness.

Monday, 21 January 2008

onwards and upwards

It was officially the most depressing day of the year today so we can look forward to 364 days of cheeryiness. Marvellous.....I'm lusting after deliciously candy-striped American yarn produced by sockpixie (just google it to have a look). I'm pleased with my tiger-feet singular sock but I need some citrus-zing in my sights to make the January gloom seem brighter. Can I justify the expense and the inter-continental purchase of yarn? Have I become that obsessed?

I hope my beloved isn't reading this. I believe he worries about the wool/knitting/crochet thing - I can see the mild panic in his eyes that the woman he married makes socks. I would worry too.

Above is the start of my art-crochet piece. I bought 4 skeins of patriotically french bamboo yarn in La Droguerie, Paris (the MOST beautiful shop) before Christmas. I carefully liberated each perfect skein from its hook on the wall and it was placed gently into a suitably chic carrier bag. When I arrived home and opened my carrier bag, the skeins had somehow knotted themselves into conundrums of maze-like proportions. My plans for a French-style knitted something or other were scuppered. Luckily I have ART on my side. Therefore I can use the scrumbled skeins as a metaphor for chaos and disorder and the process of crochet as the force of control, creating order and beauty from destruction. And, get me, I shall be documenting the process as proper arty folk do.....

You can't wait, I bet.

Don't worry about the sock, I have cast on its friend.....

This wasn't meant to turn into a knitting blog but it's almost becoming too late.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Tiger, tiger burning bright

The first foot is finished, done, completed. I have knitted a sock. Fanfares blared and the church bells rang - not. Anyway, the sock exists. I have tried it on and it fits. As you can see it has tiger stripes. I now have a great more respect for anyone who makes socks for a living or has no alternative but to knit their own. How did they first work out how to shape the heel? It is a mystery.
Since finishing the sock I have also started a new art focused project. Provisionally entitled 'From chaos comes order', I am using the ruined skeins of bamboo yarn I bought in Paris to crochet random lengths of yarn to explore mathematical randomness. That's what I'm telling myself anyway - it might well end up as a cushion cover. I can't create yet another scarf. I've only got one neck and only so many friends and relatives who would be seen dead wearing one I'd home-made.
It's been drizzling constantly. We had a lovely evening out last night with delicious food and wine and good company. Such an occasion always helps the weekend along. The beloved stuck to his January abstinence and I did not. I have, as previously mentioned, been improving my track record but I just couldn't sit at someone else's table on a Saturday night and not have a couple of glasses of fruity/oaky/tasty red.
My room is still a tip though so my target this week is to streamline, declutter and dust. Only in one room though. We can't take the domestic nonsense too seriously....

Friday, 18 January 2008

oh the gloooooooommmmmmm

I have been watching the sky all morning, waiting for the weather to arrive from Wales, apparently. I can see drizzle now and lots of it. My instinct is to turn every light bulb on in the house but I realise that this will simply increase the speed of global warming which, we know is causing all this nonsense.

I am supposed to be at college but decided not to go as I am the only one available to collect our children from school should the need arise. Having one parent stuck on the M4 and the other in a road river would not be a good thing.

I spent the morning, fighting off a headache and knitting my sock (note still singular sock) with some of my crafty friends. It was very pleasant, particularly as one of said crafty friends has underfloor heating. This, however, negates the need for handknitted 100% wool self-striping socks.

I am still exploring tattoos, body art and tribal markings for my art project. I've also had some great photos back from Boots (so arty, me!). The film's expiry date was January 2004 so I'm pleased I have anything at all to show for my efforts.

Back at home, I've been doing some fantasy wool shopping too at, I have a craving for summer, dahlia colours to shoo the drab away.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

it's NOT raining

My photography skills are not great and are an area I want to work on at college. Here's a favourite still life of mine - bursting with florality. I thought it would cheer this mid-January day for us all....however many of you are reading this.

It's dark but I can't hear, see or feel any rain. That is one good thing. I am off on a shopping trip with my dear friends S & J and would prefer it not to be spoiled by roadlakes and torrential spray on the M4. I don't feel good about shopping in January as, like for everyone else, Christmas has taken its toll but I actually need to go. My list at the moment is as follows:
- 2 pairs of jeans for my beloved
- 1 pair of jeans for my younger beloved
- MAC foundation and mascara
- 3 rolls of Cath Kidston wallpaper
- sketchbooks
- something beautiful
- socks
- something to pretend to exercise in that doesn't look like an duster
We are always faced with a shopping dilemma. We live in a village that's 40 minutes from any relatively decent shopping - do we Bath, lovely shops but quite small ones, Cribbs Causeway - standard massive mall or Bristol - too spread out. Spoilt really for country dwellers...

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Wednesdays - not a great day for doing lots

I have had a productive, yet unproductive day with lots of tea. I am pleased to report, however, that snacks have been limited to toast and jam - not great but better than a pack of custard creams.

I have been pretending to tidy the house which, if you look at my profile, seems to fit quite nicely with my 'pretending to exercise' interest. Something, however, really does need to be done. I have started on what is called 'my room' but should really be called 'the very big cupboard in the hallway where mum sits and pretends to work/avoids housework/exercise etc.'

The gentlemen of the household are watching West Ham v. someone that isn't West Ham. I think it's something to do with the FA cup and is therefore very important. I am not. I have been trying to progress my sock - row 52 and have been reading 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity' by Jane Brocket which arrived this morning from Amazon and is just wonderful, beautifully photographed, presented and just the ticket for a short-attention-spanned Libran like myself. Lots of different beautiful things all in one book, tons of ideas and lots of suggestions on how to find out more about them - inspiring additional book purchases I suspect. Jane Brocket's blog is also a gem and can be found at

I also love the way she categorises her postings and links to books, other websites - an inspiration. I've managed the photos - who knows what can happen?

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

sock it to 'em

Sixteen rows of rib and 50 rows of knot. This is what a sock in progress looks like. It's an experiment. Please do not be alarmed. No-one will receive socks for Christmas because it's very difficult and VERY slow. I should have known. I like a big thick woolly yarn, knitted on sausage-thickness needles. Socks, I now know are not produced in this way.
It's keeping me very quiet, however, and I managed to have a snackless evening as I couldn't put let go of the needles just in case it all fell apart.
It's raining again and my neck hurts. I'm looking at the world through a lady di fringe. I can't lift my head up. This will be very useful at college where we will be mostly drawing heads, hands and feet.

Saturday, 12 January 2008

A new development

In the interests of progress and technology, be amazed at my new trick. Yes, adding photos.... not only that, adding photos of some circular crochet. I took a photo of the skein of yarn, Colinette One Zero but somehow it has been trapped in the ether.

This took some time and I can't appear to place the pictures exactly where I want them but I will perservere. I've looked at some beautiful blogs over the last few weeks and in, a small way, would like to develop mine a little further.
On a distinctly separate matter. It appears my beloved has lost 6lbs in the last 6 days. Why doesn't my metabolism work this way? He has, I admit, been a paragon of health and nutrition over the last week and I have not. At all. However, this news means that I now have to get my act together and join in. I cannot have unauthorised weightloss lying in bed next to me when I have made no effort at all. How tragic would that be?

Friday, 11 January 2008

wet, wet, wet

It took me an hour, a turn around and the negotiation of 6 road-floods to get home from college today. Those who know me well will know that driving is not my favourite thing, least of all through biblical-style storms and rain. The punto, however, lives to tell the tale although I was tempted to drive up a hill to let the rainwater drip back down the exhaust where, I am sure the water sits as I write and worry.

It's been a pretty good week all round. Progress on the artistic front, I feel. Two good days out and about incorporating knitting, chatting, writing and eating and a consistent approach to avoiding any new year dieting and physical improvement opportunities. G, meanwhile, has become a paragon of health and fitness - no chocolate all week, no alcohol and no snacking. He has started to mumble that all the treats will have disappeared by the time he is allowed any. My response? Serves you right for being healthy!

So, we shall see tomorrow if the floods have risen higher. Football in the morning and I am planning a craft-tastic afternoon.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

to draw or not to draw

College today and five hours spent drawing fabrics and accessories draped on mannequins in a stuffy mobile classroom. It was, in fact, very enjoyable. I'm not sure about my drawing expertise but I could feel it getting better after four hours and 55 minutes - I'm sure. We also got to show our piece of work which was great. Fantastic to see other peoples' work and satisfying, if nerve-wracking to show my own. I'm wrestling at the moment with the art/craft question. Can art be produced using textiles? The creative world is divided.

I think it's fascinating how some pieces and artists become revered with an almost zealous worship. Do not, for example, say Louise Bourgeois is boring. That would not do. However, interpret your innermost thoughts and ideas with a piece of embroidery thread and you shall be banished to the winnie the pooh cross-stitch section at Hobbycraft. Art can only be made in certain ways it seems, depending on who's got the loudest voice and most persuasive sales technique. It helps, also, if you've been a little controversial or look photogenic but edgy at the same time.

I would say that art courses are one of the easiest places to witness sexual stereotyping. I have observed that on my course the textiles room is stuffed with mostly young women and the print room seems almost exclusively male. Fascinating. Mmmmmmmm......

Monday, 7 January 2008

The world starts turning again....

Eughghghghghghghghg.....the proper start of the year. Isn't it January 12th when the Samaritans get most of their calls? Christmas is done, the nights are still wild and dark, cash flow is minimal and we've all got to go back to work/school/college/weekly routine.

Part of me quite likes it. Mooching about en masse for a couple of weeks is not great for the waistline or the grey matter. I am always amazed how, en famille, we manage to slow down at great speed until one of us starts to grumble and make lists. I am not at liberty to reveal who that might be. In any case, we can't sit about and eat leftovers for ever. I would appreciate any recipes that might be enlivened by a small jar of rum butter.

The Kite Runner was great. Not as great as the book but beautifully filmed and true to the story in most parts. It was subtitled and really did look as if it was shot in Afghanistan but I can't believe it was. There were no major actors in it that I recognised but the boys who played the main characters were brilliant. And yes, I cried, but not as much as I thought I would. There were a couple of interesting trailers, one about a congressman, again during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. It's all set in the 80s so there should be some great costumes.

PS: An update on knittng from the Golden Compass: I found a pattern for Lyra's hat. I also noticed that there's rather a lot of lovely knitwear coming up in 'Lark Rise to Candleford' next Sunday. Not that I'm becoming obsessed or anything.....

Saturday, 5 January 2008

world wide webathon

I've had a little more time over the last week or so to wander around the web, mainly looking for crafty, creative sites to keep me amused and stoke the fires of my imagination. On my travels I found, an online knitting and crochet-fest, and too many artists and crafts people to mention in one little post. I was inspired, however to look at this very American but surprisingly interesting list of 50 things to do in 2008. I skipped the first section but enjoyed the rest. It's at and if you've got nothing better to do for 5 minutes, it's better for your mind and body than eating another left-over ferrero rocher.

I'm going with a few friends to see Kite Runner this afternoon. I expect it will be my first real sob of 2008. I read the book last year and cried for about a third of it so, seeing the horrors and trauma that Afghanistan and its people have gone through will, no doubt, be even more distressing.

My last cry was at 'Love Actually', yes, I know I should be ashamed but it got me again. Whilst G guffawed, I cried at Bill Nighy declaring undying festive love for his manager and at that guy I always want to call Rick Wakeman's betrayal of Emma Thompson. It gets me every time and I know it shouldn't and I curse Richard Curtis for it every year. I'm just a festive sobber.

We've started the decorating. We've moved E to the spare room and cleared out her bedroom. I can feel my stress levels slowly creeping skyward. G seems to be enjoying himself and, he's right, we do need to tidy up the place after 6 years of small, greasy fingers and footmarks on the wall. I wish I had a decorator.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year

I know - 3 days late. Must try harder.

The Christmas cards are now awaiting recyclying - hurrah! The NEW Christmas tree lights have died and we are in a muddle of piles because we're having a new year sort out - or G is. I'm having a lovely time pottering about at home. I read most of a 'Thousand Splendid Suns' this morning, in bed after having got back into bed and I managed to get my snazzy sewing machine to work AND to write my name in thread. That's it, now I have the know how, I'll be the next Cath Kidston in a couple of weeks.

I'm pleased to hear that someone else shares my ambivalence towards Christmas cards (see recent comment). I managed only to send 20 cards this year. I know it sounds bah humbug but in my defence my charitable donation will make it sound less so - once I decide where it is to go? Young carers? Kids' Company? Rwanda? Will £50 stop any of the horrors? No, I suppose not.

On a more domestic note - my renewed interest in gardening has been thwarted by the local council's efficiency. We have the earliest, fastest collectors of garden waste wheelie bins in the West. They collect every other Tuesday - so, they collected at 7.10am this morning which I think we all know is Thursday. This means I have to wait another fortnight to do any more chopping and clearing. I think the allotment might have to get attacked by the secateurs instead.

I have high horticultural hopes for 2008.