Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Manly Quilt

Finished and in the shop.

Thousands of hand-stitches.  Hundreds of little squares.  Mitred edges on the binding.

I like it.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Movie Review - Avengers

Today I took advantage of one of the huge perks of my job and saw The Avengers.  (Free movies! Woohoo!)  I loved it!  I laughed, I cried (a little), I tensed up and then let out sighs of relief...  I was astonished to find that I'd been in the theatre for almost 3 hours.  The movie completely pulled me in.

Some of that might have been the 3-D technology - it's only the second time I've seen a movie in 3-D and this one went better for me.  (The first time, I had a splitting headache and couldn't see straight afterwards.  This time, I was just a little squinty when I rejoined the world.)  I'm still getting used to it - it's weird to have things apparently fly out of the screen at you, or have the illusion of being surrounded in mist/clouds/whatever, but for this movie at least I liked it.  I'm still not sure it's necessary for all movies (chick flicks in 3-D would be weird, I'm pretty sure), but for an action/adventure/superhero/fantasy flick, I can see why it's gaining popularity.

The acting was good, the script was AMAZING - so many great one-liners and well-paced witty banter!  Of course, no one expects any less from Joss Whedon.  I've decided I really need to go back and watch Thor and Captain America now - they both came out in the period when I didn't have any money at all, so I missed them in theatres, but I liked the characters enough in this film that I'd like to see more of them.

Also: I've decided I love going to the movies by myself, and I like going to matinees when there aren't so many people.  I think there were only eight other people in the theatre - so I could curl up, enjoy my candy, and not have to worry about the inevitable noise a hundred other people make, or be careful not to elbow someone, or be distracted by someone squeezing past to go to the bathroom... and to get refills... and go to the bathroom again.... (this happened last time I saw a movie in theatres!)

Also: Loki.  Coolest villain I've seen in a while :D
Anyway, all that to say, I had a very enjoyable afternoon, and I might be starting to understand the 3-D hype, and if you haven't seen Avengers yet, you should remedy that situation, and soon.  Although it looks like it'll be in theatres for a while yet!  But if you do go, try not to drop your popcorn, remember to throw away your trash, and raise up the arm-rests of your seat when you leave.  Your ushers will thank you :-)

Saturday, 26 May 2012

New Job

Sorry it's been a little quiet around here!  I just got hired on at the Great Escape movie theatre (conveniently located only a couple miles from home) and so I've been busy adjusting to working -- learning how to work the popcorn maker, keep up with crazy lines,  and trying to remember what cabinet they keep the candy in!

(I had to put new buttons on my black trousers - I'd been putting it off for months but finally did it!)
So far I'm enjoying it, although I'm a little bummed because my work schedule this weekend meant I couldn't attend the out-of-town wedding of two dear friends.  So that's no fun.  Also I come home smelling like popcorn and grease.  But it could be a lot worse.  I have steady employment and I like the people I work with, and that's a huge answer to prayer!

Meanwhile on the crafting front, I'm chugging along on the manly quilt.  When I can get Conrad to stop sitting on it.  I hope I'll have finished photos and an Etsy listing by Monday or Tuesday at the latest!

Speaking of Conrad... he is not pleased with my new work schedule.  Apparently he'd got used to my being home all day, almost every day, so when I worked a 7-hour shift yesterday he was anxious and clingy by the time I got home.  Poor cat!  And now he's cuddled up next to me to nap, which is pretty unusual.  I guess he'll adjust to the new schedule eventually...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Sea of Quilt

Lately my afternoons have been spent under a sea of quilt.  With ships on it.

And my callouses are coming back, so my fingers no longer feel flayed after a quilting session.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Alps from the air

I've had a sudden longing for mountains, for high, clear places.  I don't think there's any chance of getting to such a place in the near future, but I've been slightly consoled by the photos I took flying over the Alps last spring.  These are some of my favourites.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


Poor Conrad!  This morning my landlady's son had the neighbour's dog here for a bath (K. is raising money for football in the fall so he's been doing odd jobs.)  Conrad is fine with the two dogs who already live here, but apparently this new one was just too much for him.

Unfortunately for me I was still asleep for this episode (having arrived home from babysitting at 4 in the morning.)  But what I've been told is this:

The new dog was exploring.  He sniffed at the other two cats without mishap.  Conrad was apparently unaware of his existence -- so when the dog pranced up to him, Conrad freaked.  He tore out of the kitchen, rounded the corner, jumped up onto the master bed -- and made an attempt to hurl himself out of the bedroom window.  This having failed, he retreated to the kitchen window and stayed there, arched up, puffy, and hissing, for the next two hours -- doing what K. calls his "witch cat" impression.  Finally he ventured down to the sofa, where he huddled into my lap and stuck his face in my elbow.  (He never does this unless he's had a really bad day.)

If this weren't funny enough, he seems to have decided that the culprit dog was not the neighbour's, but Jezebel, who is the same colour.  They're usually pretty good friends and play together, but this seems to be over.  So now every time he sees Jezebel he arches up and growls, and he's hardly left his windowsill.  He's showing every sign of being completely traumatized.  I wonder how long it'll take him to calm down and realize he's okay?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Working On

You can only see the back of this, because it's a gift.

Lots of projects going on around here, while I wait to hear back about jobs.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fully an Elephant

Another elephant finished.

This one is going across the country to live with a baby whose nursery is done up in brown and green elephants.

I hope he loves it as much as I do!

Monday, 14 May 2012

What I've been eating

Last week I made a big pot of refried beans.  I used to eat them burrito-style, wrapped up in a tortilla, but I've been trying to cut down on carbs a little and eat more veggies (plus tortillas cost money), so I've been eating plates of this.  Sort of taco salad but with beans instead of meat.

I just tear up a couple leaves of lettuce, scoop the beans on top, and add cheese, onion, tomato, and green pepper.  It would probably be great with sour cream and salsa, too, but I enjoy just the fresh veggies, myself.  And the beans are full of fibre, so my nutritionist is happy :-)

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Almost an elephant

I've been working on this little guy this weekend.  Another few hours, and he'll be finished.  Ready to go hang out with another little guy in a brown and green nursery!

Friday, 11 May 2012

New Toys

Look what I've acquired recently!

I decided it would be nice to have a quick, easy way to refer people to my Etsy shop, or to give them my contact information for custom orders or alterations, and to tuck into the packages I send off.  So I ordered a set of business cards.  (From Vistaprint, where they're free except for shipping.)

I also got these little clothing labels from GirlsFever on Etsy - a nice way to set apart my handmade items, and hopefully make people remember the name of my shop and come back for more ;-)  (Plus, they're just pretty, aren't they?)

I feel all grown-up and official now.

(Speaking of my shop, I put up a handful of vintage sewing patterns yesterday.  Check them out!)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

MY Yarn

Do you remember when I mentioned I was spinning yarn onstage during the opera?  I spun up about a quarter of the singles during rehearsals and performances.

This past week I finished the singles...

And turned them into a gorgeous 2-ply yarn.

It's so incredibly soft.

Basking in the sun, like a cat.*
And I can't quite get over the fact that I made it.  You know.  It used to be loose bits of fibre and now it's knittable yarn.  Weird.

But so, so cool.

The colour is hard to capture.  It's a charcoaly grey, much darker than it's showing in the other photos, but not this dark - with bits of brown and red in it.
I have no idea what I'm going to make with it.  Something cozy, with cables maybe?  For now, I'm just going to fondle the skeins and gloat for a while.

(Bonus: the first yarn I spun on my new wheel, using the fibre that came with it.  It was kind of an icky reddish brown and really sticky while I spun it.  Then I washed it and surprise!  A lovely neutral wooly colour, much softer and a bit fluffy.  But the first wash water was disgusting.  It took four washes and five rinses to get it properly clean!)

* Speaking of cats.  When I washed this, Conrad got up on the sink to watch the proceedings, and tried to run away with one of the hanks in his mouth when I wasn't looking.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Clean ALL the Things!

This morning I was accidentally lazy... slept through my alarms and didn't wake until a phone call at 10:30.  Then I lounged around in my pyjamas until the rental company called and asked whether they'd given me a mini van because I needed a mini van, and if not, could they switch it out for something smaller?  Of course I said yes, but then I figured I should put on clothes and maybe tame the bedhead.

And after the delivery of the new rental car, it was suddenly one of those days when it is necessary to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS now, at once.  So the kitchen is spotless and I tidied my room and vacuumed (even the stairs) and I'm about to put in my third load of laundry.  I'm even tempted to pull out my craft stash and start organizing, except that the voice of reason is telling me that I have to go to church choir rehearsal in half an hour and even on a Clean ALL the Things day, I can't organize my entire stash in half an hour.*

So I'll content myself with switching out the laundry, and maybe clear out my part of the fridge.  (And I am so glad that my cleaning day coincided with the best laundry drying day we've had in weeks!)

*Well.  Choir rehearsal was canceled.  But I still think I'll hold off on the organizing.  It would un-tidy everything I worked so hard to do today!

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

A Pink Elephant

In between searching for jobs and new cars, I've been knitting.

Today, this pink stuffed elephant.  Isn't he charming?

Hanging out with my oyster-shell elephant from California.
The pattern is adapted from a 1946 book called "Sewing for the Baby" (but obviously it has some knitting patterns as well!)  I made him in a soft, washable cotton yarn from my stash, and stuffed him with polyfil.  The original pattern  had only one leg in back and one in front instead of two apiece, so I added an extra strip to make him a little more realistically three-dimensional, and separated out the legs.

He's for sale in my shop, but I wish I could keep him!  The book says "This wise little elephant will enchant baby."  I don't think it's just babies who will find him enchanting.