Friday, July 30, 2010

Counting Down the Days

11 days until UK Knit Camp!! I'm taking a class with Nancy Bush, another one on dyeing, and one on rare wool breeds. I'm really excited!

Except for TNNA I haven't actually been to one of these. I'm so excited I'm contemplating making one of those paper chain things we made when I was kid to count down the days to Christmas.

Anyone else counting down the days to something exciting?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dabbling Wednesday

I dabble. Or at least I used to. Have I ever mentioned that I spent a few evenings whittling when I was 12?

It all kind of ended when we started the yarn store. I became a one-craft woman and shut the plastic canvas in the closet. But then when the yarn store and I parted company I basically stopped knitting, and by extension stopped crafting.

To get to the point, I'm a wanna-be Renaissance woman, and I'm ready to start dabbling again. Needle felting has taken over my crafting life, so I'm I'm going to make an effort to try a new craft or new technique each week and share it on the blog.
So to start it off I've made a fabric flower using a tutorial by V and Co.
It was pretty simple, it used materials I had in the house already, and there's a decent chance that J might actually wear it. Woohoo!

I have no idea what next week's project will be, but I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Get thee to a scrapstore

What's a scrapstore you might ask? A scrapstore is a business, often a non-profit, which sells reused art supplies. Sometimes these are donated by individuals, but most often it's bits and bobs and leftovers donated by companies.

In fact, there used to be one in Edinburgh called Bits and Bobs which I went to a few times but it recently closed down (noooooo).

Today I went to another one called Borders Scrapstore. They had tons of very random stuff, and fortunately I was able to contain myself and only bought a few things (some acrylic felt, buttons, etc.)

If you have a decent self-control then I highly recommend going to one. The supplies are often much cheaper than normal retail prices, and since a lot of the things are scraps and not exactly new it doesn't seem quite so bad if you don't use the supplies right away.

If you're in the UK the website has a list of scrapstores you can visit. US folks can go to to see a list.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


We don't have a garden. We live in a big, noisy, often depressing block of flats.

We also have a north-facing window, so we can't really grow any plants that need direct sunlight. Which unfortunately rules out most plants we were interested in growing.

But a few months ago J bought a Gloxinia tuber.

And it's started to flower!!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's My Birthday

Yup, my birthday. Meee, look at meeeee. ok, you can stop looking at me now, you're making me nervous.

I had suddenly stopped caring about my birthday a few years ago, but it's still a nice excuse to do something... nice.

So we went and saw a French movie and ate some sushi. The film was called Bluebeard and was a little disturbing (oh well). The sushi was not bad. We got a bento box (which came with "cheese gyozas" which were basically fried velveeta-like cheese), unagi, and California roll. I don't think the server knew we were Californian. I also got a "sour grapefruit" drink. This was tonic water and some sort of alcohol in a glass, and it came with half a grapefruit and a juicer. Weird.

Any other July babies out there?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Knit one, pasta two

I hope she ate it afterwards...

I also hope this guy sees the video.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Almost Arthur's Seat

Yesterday J wanted to go for a walk. I wanted to work on the computer. An hour later ...

Here we are at the bottom of the hill, about to walk to the top of Arthur's seat.

Harrumph. Tourists.

Found out later that this called the Salisbury Crags:
When we got to the crags we were surprised to see it level off.

And even more surprised to see the path go downhill.
Turns out what we had thought of as Arthur's Seat is actually the top of Salisbury Crags, and that this hill top in the distance is actually Arthur's seat.
Hmmm. By this time we were tired and weren't really up for more walking. Maybe next time we'll get there ...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Trying not to rub it in (or fuse it in)

My giveaway package from Tamdoll has arrived!

I won some Fusi-Boo by Fairfield. So named because it's a fusible batting made from a blend of cotton and rayon fiber from bamboo.

I have no idea what I'll do with it. Maybe I'll hoard it forever and ever. Or fuse it onto my favorite coat for warmth. (Totally kidding on both counts, by the way) I'm sure I'll think of something interesting.
I was expecting the package to just have the batting in it, but Tamdoll spoiled me! She also sent a copy of her Sewn mermaid pattern and a card

and checkout the cute little re-covered matchbox with two little crochet flowers and little hearts drawn on the back of a paint card.

If there was a crafting queen prize, I'd vote for Tamdoll!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crochet has peeked in

So earlier this month I was talking about how I was itching to learn a new skill. I had been eying sewing, crochet, ukulele, embroidery, and Spanish for a while, and was heavily leaning towards ukulele and sewing.

I can't remember when it started, maybe even the same day I posted that but one day I had practiced the ukulele for a whole hour, instead of my normal 10-15 minutes. And guess what, I got much better after just that one hour. Who knew practicing would work so well :)
I haven't continued with the practicing every day, more like 5 days a week, and it's been more like half an hour of practicing, but still I've gotten pretty good at playing the camp-fire tunes in my little ukulele song book. I think I'm ready to learn an actual song now, but I haven't decided what yet ...

Still haven't started sewing, but, surprisingly I did do this yesterday:

Yup, it's a crochet pig. It kind of came out of nowhere, and I learned a new technique - the curlicue (for his tail).

I'm torn between making a learn-to-sew plan of attack, which is what I normally do, or just doing what I feel like, even if that means not learning anything. Or at least not learning anything except for The Bear Went Over the Mountain and Kumbayah.

I'll let you know what happens...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Apple Brown Betty aka sugar overload

So this week over in the bake-along (ravelry link) I've pulled rank and declared it free-for-all week (I didn't want to do a cherry pie) and this morning I just happened to have seen an old email from yet another bake-along I do over on swap-bot called 52 weeks of baking (we're on week 15), where someone had written about the apple brown betty she had made from a recipe by The Pioneer Woman.

One thing led to another, which led to me making some of the yummy (and really sugary) goodness tonight.

I have to say though that I can't see how I could eat more than a few spoonfuls if it had ice cream on it. And if I make this again I would cut down on the brown sugar.

And yes, this is coming from someone who loooves sugar.

Here's the UK version of the recipe with my notes:

3 whole Apples, she used Granny Smith, I used Braeburn
7 slices Wheat Bread
170 grams butter - she called for salted, I used unsalted (it should not be softened)
300 grams Packed Brown Sugar (mine was unpacked and there was still too much of it!)
3 Tablespoons (to 4 Tablespoons) Water

Peel and thinly slice the 3 apples. (If I make this again I might make it 4 and cover the bottom with apples). Dice or tear the 7 slices of bread into very small pieces.

Coat a small baking dish or pie plate with butter (ummm, I didn't do this, and it turned out fine, but if I were you I wouldn't skip this step, just in case). Then add 1/3 of the brown sugar, 1/3 of the apple slices, and 1/3 of the breadcrumbs (again, another layer of apple on the bottom might be nice). Repeat these 3 layers another two times, ending with breadcrumbs.

Preheat oven to 200 C. Slice butter and lay slices all over the top of the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle dish with water and a little more brown sugar (hah!), and bake, covered in foil, until done – about 40 minutes (should be bubbly). Remove foil and bake for a few more minutes until brown.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or Reddi Whip, if you enjoy feeling sick from too much sugar.

And here is my Apple Brown Betty taken with my old crappy point and shoot in incandescent lighting.
Apple Brown Betty

(can you tell I have camera envy?)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day in Linlithgow aka long pointy sticks day

Today we went to Linlithgow Palace to see a jousting tournament.

No, not a real one!

It's something they apparently do each summer, kind of a fun for the whole family thing.

We showed up right in time for a falconry show. Sadly it was so windy that it was hard to hear what the falconer was saying, and the poor birds were swooping around all crazy like.

After that was the jousting show.

Even though it was all staged the jousting sticks (they must have a name) must have actually been sharp because there was often bits of wood flying around them.
I was also amused that one of the jousters looked like a family friend (who just happens to be English).

And then there was a mini recreation of a fight between the Scottish and English. There was a lot of fake insults being thrown between the "rivals." At one point someone yelled "Go Scotland" a little too seriously...

Then on to the actual palace. It was largely built in the 1400s, and was the birthplace to James V and Mary, Queen of Scots.



And of course here's the requisite embarrassing photo of the day:

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Statues of Princes Street

I was riding on the bus the other day when I noticed a statue that I had never seen before. It was sitting in the shadow on a tree. A branch was near it's head, threatening to cover his face as if nature was slowly erasing the remembrance of this man.

No one wants to be forgotten, so here's another .15 seconds of fame for some of the statues on Princes Street in Edinburgh.

Wellington. Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. 1769 – 1852. A statesman and one of the leading military and political figures of the nineteenth century. He is often simply referred to as "The Duke of Wellington".

Livingstone. 1813 – 1873. As in, "Dr, Livingstone I presume?". Born in Scotland, David Livingstone was an explorer and missionary.

Sir Walter Scott. 1771 – 1832. A prolific Scottish historical novelist and poet. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of The Lake, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor. He was born in Edinburgh and not only has a huge monument on Princes Street, but the Waverley train station which stands not far from this monument is the only train station to be named after a novel.
Sir Walter Scott
Sir Walter Scott

Adam Black. 1784 – 1874. Born in Edinburgh, he was a publisher, and founded the A & C Black publishing company. Twice Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and represented the city in parliament from 1856 to 1865.
Adam Black

John Wilson. 1785 - 1854. A Scottish writer who was for a time the principal writer of Blackwood's Magazine, a magazine printed from 1817 to 1980.
John Wilson

Allan Ramsay. 1686 -1758. An Edinburgh poet and publisher who was involved in the early 18th century revival of Scots vernacular poetry. Best remembered for his five-part work, "The Gentle Shepherd." The statue was unveiled in 1865.
Allan Ramsey
Allan Ramsay

Memorial of The Royal Scots Grey. Commemorates the Royal Scots Greys who left Edinburgh in 1899 to fight in the South African War.
Royal Scots Grey memorial
Memorial The Royal Scots Greys

Thomas Guthrie. 1803–1873. A Scottish philanthropist who was one of the most popular preachers of his day in Scotland.
His statue reads: An eloquent preacher of the gospel. Founder of the Edinburgh Original Ragged Industrial Schools, and by tongue and pen, the apostle of the movement elsewhere. One of the earliest temperance reformers. A friend of the poor and of the oppressed.
Thomas Guthrie
Thomas Guthrie

Sir James Young Simpson. 1811 – 1870. A Scottish doctor and an important figure in the history of medicine. Simpson discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform and successfully introduced it for general medical use.
James Young Simpson
Sir James Young Simpson

Maybe I'll take pictures of the statues on George Street soon

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Christmas in July is here!

Throughout the month of July I'm doing free worldwide shipping for everything over $15 at

Yes, even my little mascot can be shipped to you for freeeee.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Hyperbolic class at The Little Knittery

My dad will be teaching a class on hyperbolic crochet, i.e. this stuff:

at The Little Knittery, in Atwater Village, Los Angeles, California, United States.

On Saturday, July 17, from 11 to 1 pm, David will be talking about and sharing and showing you how to do Hyperbolic Crochet.

$35 for the workshop, please reserve your spot soon.

Hyperbolic Crochet is where yarn, higher math, and the universe meet.

Difficult to describe, easy to learn, and then the complexity of the world opens up in your hands.

All in one class, cool, isn’t it?

Absolutely no math required or expected for this workshop.

The Little Knittery
3195 Glendale Blvd
L A, 90039

323 663 3838

Monday, July 05, 2010

Summer Day in Scotland

I hope you had a nice weekend, and a nice 4th of July for those in America.

This is how Sunday looked in Scotland:
And no, that's not fog, that's rain.

It was like this on and off throughout the day. It was sunny for a while, and ten minutes later it could rain like crazy, and then out came the sun, teasing everyone with it's warmth, then ten minutes afterward there was wind and rain and it looked like the world was coming to an end.

Weather! I never get tired talking about it.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Just Joined Etsy Twitter Team!

I'm very excited to be part of a group that combines two cool and crafty communities.

And I'm happy to be part of a team that includes wonderful shops like Regal Cottage, the shop of the week, which makes eco-friendly kids stuff like this cute baby ball:

and Frosted Treats (love the name) that does cute accessories like this cupcake necklace:

BTW, I this I need to add polymer clay to my stuff I want to learn list!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I need a new skill

For a while now I've been thinking to myself "I'd like to learn"... crochet, sewing, ukulele, embroidery, Spanish, ...

And normally when I see people asking this type of question I like to respond - All of the above!

But really, I think my head would explode if I try to learn all of the above in the same day.

Plus I'm kind of busy with my etsy shop (I've been posting a new thing each day for a few weeks now), and I have a super secret new project I'm working on...

I think out of the five I'd have more fun learning the ukulele, but I don't know for how much longer I'll have the sewing machine ...

Any suggestions? Are you embarking on a new skill?