Archive for November, 2009

Countdown to Christmas – errr, how many days is it?

November 28, 2009

These countdown to Christmas posts must be a bit boring to read for anyone who happens across my blog, but they’re are proving quite motivational for me. There have been a couple of days when I thought I couldn’t sew in one more single end of thread, but then knowing I could add one more present to my “presents done” list gave me the push I needed to do it.

So, the count so far….

Number of presents finished: 11
Number of presents in progress: 1
Number of presents still to start: 7


Countdown to Christmas – 29 days to go

November 27, 2009

Number of presents finished: 9
Number of presents in progress: 2
Number of presents still to start: 8

I’m fed up of making things now….

Countdown to Christmas – 30 days to go

November 25, 2009

Number of presents finished: 7
Number of presents in progress: 3
Number of presents still to start: 9

I might get these all done in time after all….

Countdown to Christmas: 31 days to go

November 23, 2009

Number of presents finished: 5 4
Number of presents in progress: 5
Number of presents still to start: 9 10
(Damn – I miscounted.)

Number of presents I’m definitely not making any more: 1

That’s not bad going really, is it? Today I received the last lot of yarn I need for the remaining presents. I ordered it from Stash Fine Yarns in the UK. This is the second lot of yarn I’ve ordered from them, and I’m really pleased with their service – their prices are good, and they take the VAT off overseas orders, and both times the yarn has arrived here in a week. It does seem a bit ridiculous ordering yarn from the UK to make things that I am going to send back to the UK, but I’m not exactly spoilt for choice for yarn where I live. Apart from that fluffy novelty yarn – they seem to sell a lot of that in this little town.

Countdown to Christmas: 34 days to go

November 20, 2009

Number of presents finished: 5
Number of presents in progress: 1
Number of presents still to start: 14

Number of presents I’m thinking of not making any more…: 2

Countdown to Christmas – 35 days to go

November 19, 2009

Number of presents finished: 2
Number of presents in progress: 2
Number of the presents that are only in progress because they were started as birthday presents, and are now late: 2
Number of presents still to start: 16

And the number of days until the cut off for sending stuff overseas for Christmas: 11


Books I’ve read this year #43 – 44

November 17, 2009

“The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory

Well, this was a very readable book, but the author seemed to pay very scant regard to historical fact. It’s a good job Anne Boleyn died several hundred years ago, or I think she’d be suing the author for libel. After reading this I had a desire to read a proper history book for a change, and went to the library to see what they had, and… nothing. I have more history books than the library has. I think I’ll donate all my books to the library when I die.

“A Foreign Field” by Ben MacIntyre

This book was brilliant – it is the true account of four British soldiers who were left behind by their regiments when the British army retreated early in the First World War, and who were taken in by French villagers and lived among them undetected by the occupying Germans for two years.

I found both of these books on my bookshelf, unread. How spoilt I was when I lived in London and could buy handfuls of cheap books and not even bother to read them. Though I don’t think I’d have bought the Philippa Gregory book – that must have been a present.

The gate saga

November 15, 2009

Fifteen months ago my brother-in-law built a fence around our garden. He did a great job, and when I went away back home to visit my family, all that was left to do was the fence and gates across the front of the house. I gave my husband this picture:

and told him that’s what I wanted it to look like. Without the broken bit, of course.

However, when I came back, what I found was this:

Gates before

I stared, and stared, and then burst into tears. (Well, I was jetlagged and emotional.) “What’s the matter?” my husband asked, with a bewildered look on his face. “It’s the fence.” I sobbed. “The wood’s rough, the fence is too high, the palings on the fence are a different width to the ones on the gates, and they’re higher as well. They don’t match. And they’re not even finished! Waaaaah!”

“Don’t worry,” said my husband. “I’ll get it sorted out for you.”

For the first few weeks, I’d often ask my husband when his brother was coming back to finish the gates. Soon, he’d say, soon. Then a couple of months passed, and the gates still weren’t hung. I saw my brother-in-law. “Oh, I must come and finish off those gates,” he said. But then he got busy with work and didn’t come. So I suggested to my husband that perhaps we could hang the gates ourselves. “I’ll do it. Don’t worry,” he said.

A year later they still weren’t done. At that point, I realised what I should have known all along: if I wanted those gates to be hung, I would have to do it myself. And while I was at it, I might as well change the palings.

So, my husband and I went to the hardware store to buy a circular saw. The conversation there went like this:

My husband: My wife wants a skill saw.

Shop assistant: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

My husband: ….

Me: ….

Shop assistant: Oh, right. Right. You really do want a skill saw. Well, of course there’s no reason why a woman can’t use a skill saw, is there? Just be careful – you don’t want to chop off any of your fingers.

(They’re probably still talking about the time a woman came in to buy a skill saw in that shop even now.)

I tried to take the big palings off the fence, but after an hour of struggling wondered what was the point in keeping a dog and barking myself, so asked my 6’3″ tall ex-rugby forward husband to do it. It took him two weeks to get round to it, but about 10 minutes to actually do it. Once they were off, I cut the palings down to size, using my new saw, and I didn’t chop off any of my fingers, nor did my womb explode. Then I measured and marked where all the palings should go, and started to hang them. I quickly realised I needed an extra pair of hands, so once again asked my husband to help. Then I did all the measuring for the hinges, and drilled all the holes, and attached the straps, and my husband and I hung the actual gates together. And finally, after 15 months – ta daaaa:


Much better, isn’t it?

And look – these ones have even got a latch on them:


A couple of days after we finished these, a man came round to finish off replacing the putty on our windows. Last time he was here was before I’d changed the palings and got the gates done. He looked at the gates and said, “Your husband’s been busy, hasn’t he?”

That day, I added ‘digging a shallow grave’ to my to do list.

Another hat

November 15, 2009

Two colour spiral beanie

This one was made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky, in colours 018 (navy blue) and 020 (airforce blue).

I really must write this pattern down so I don’t have to keep working it out each time.

UPDATE: pattern now available here!

More slippers

November 14, 2009

This time for my friend’s other daughter.

More slippers

On the day of the girl’s birthday, I was chatting to my friend on facebook, and said, “Did the slippers arrive in time?”

“YES! And she is dancing in front of me RIGHT NOW saying ‘I love my new slippers’ and staring at them, not a word of a lie. RIGHT NOW.”

(Pattern here.)