Friday, January 29, 2010

Drawing, lace, and and a weird looking thing

Happy Friday!

No classes today, so I spent a good chunk of the day crafting (it helped that I didn't turn the computer on until 2pm). The first thing I did today was make a cell phone caddy. Basically I wanted to make something that would give a little padding between the phone and the floor in case the wake-up alarm wakes up the neighbors.

It's one of the least attractive things I've made in a while. But, at least I have a few excuses.

1. I haven't done Tunisian Crochet in about two years 2. I didn't have instructions on how to do Tunisian Crochet in front of me, hence not realizing that there's a huge bias until half way done 3. I was making up the pattern as I was going along 4. I started making it about a half hour after I woke up and 5. It wasn't meant to be perfect.

That said I've made my peace with the caddy (mostly).

I also finished my first bobbing lace.

My first piece of bobbin lace. on Twitpic

Not too bad I think.

Yesterday was my first ever drawing class. The teacher is really great, and makes sincere positive comments on the drawings. How do I know they're sincere? Because he made no comments on my first 3 drawings : )

I had expected to be taking the class with others who hadn't taken a drawing lesson before but at least three of the eight students had taken another drawing class together. I've since realized that that's a really good thing for me, since I can't realistically compare my drawings with theirs.

It wasn't until the teacher wanted us to draw with out non-dominant hand (in my case my left hand) that I made something that I considered better than what a four year old could draw.

And my next picture (back to right hand):

Ok, so they aren't that great. Or even good for that matter. But believe me, these are way better than anything I've drawn before.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It Burns!

Yesterday was Burns Night. We celebrated by eating some piping hot (it burns ...) vegetarian haggis, which was very good, and reciting, and listening to, some of Burns' poetry in the comfort our home.

Yesterday was also the first session of a cooking class I'm taking, and also the first time I've cooked chicken in my adult life. It was a very informal class, essentially a bunch of people in front of stoves making the "same" dish. Yesterday's dish was a fruity-lentil- chicken curry. I think the teacher felt a little sorry for me when I told her it was the first time I've cooked chicken, and didn't seem to believe me when I said I thought it was good for me to learn ...

And, today was the first session of my Intermediate Spanish class. I was by far, as in by at least 20 years, the youngest student there. As in yesterday's cooking class most of the students were regulars, apparently taking the same class over and over again. Thankfully there was one student who seemed to know less Spanish than me (Phew)!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Hobby! ... when I get to it

Today I went to a store called Bits and Bobs, which is a charity that recycles craft materials. Most of their stock is donated from companies, but it looks like a lot of it could come from estate sales too (lots of very random old things). J and I were pondering over the fabrics for a while because we'd like to cover our ugly old sofa but we couldn't decide on anything, and then suddenly I found this:

I am really excited. I've wanted to learn bobbin lace ever since I saw a woman demonstrate it at the LA county fair five or so years ago.

I also went to K1 Yarns, a LYS in the city centre's old town and bought a replacement set of DPs (I broke my second #0 needle yesterday). The yarns were nice, though on the expensive side, or maybe I just gravitated to the expensive stuff? They had lots of Manos del Uruguay and some yarn from British sheeps that I'll definitely go back for one of these days. They also sold cups of tea! How British.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

And a part of a sock

I've spent a lot of time this week "cramming" for the first meeting of the intermediate Spanish class that's taking place next week. I took four years of Spanish in high school, and have been told many times that I have a great accent and it sounds like what I'm saying in Spanish should make sense, so I really, really don't want to take a beginner's class. Only I can't actually remember how to say anything but the basics, so I've been looking at learn-to-speak-Spanish videos on YouTube and tomorrow will be going to the library to see what I can find there in the hopes that I can pass for intermediate when next week comes around.

My ukulele skills are getting very slowly better, though I'm not actually at the point yet where I've tried to learn a song.

So between Spanish, ukulele, watching the hummingbird in Orange County, and making interesting dinners like grilled goat cheese on toasted pieces of french bread on salad I've managed to make a little progress on the sock.

Tah Dah. I'm still surprised at how impressive self-striping yarn looks.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Wheel and Heel

Today I willingly left the warm flat and sat on a bus for half an hour to sit with a bunch of strangers.

Weird, eh.

But this wasn't just any bunch of strangers, this was a guild of Spinners, Weavers, and Dyers, and I went because I really wanted to learn to use a spinning wheel. My reluctant teacher ended up being someone, a Canadian funny enough, who was new to the guild and I think mainly came to socialize but somehow got stuck teaching me instead. I felt kind of bad, but after giving her several attempts to back out of someone else's nomination that she teach me, I resigned us both to our fates. I did end up getting the hang of it, after what felt like a long while, I'm just really glad I knew how to drop spindle first or I might have gotten discouraged. After more or less getting the hang of spinning and giving the wheel back to its owner : ) and, while asking a lot of questions from a very helpful and friendly spinner sitting next to me, I started on this:

It's a Jaywalker in self-striping Sockotta, one of the many old yarn store yarns which I purchased from dad when I went back home because all the leftover yarns were being stored in my room and the tubs of yarn were the last things I would see before going to bed. I tried to ignore them, but at the last moment they somehow ended up in my suitcase.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What, unlimited usage?

After nearly two years of crappy, unreliable, capped mobile broadband we finally were able to get home broadband! I am sooo happy. Now I can download the Bible on LibraVox, watch the season of Lost that I missed, and post pictures of Edinburgh without getting frustrated!

And two more pictures:

This is my bathtub. The black inky stuff is what came out of my shower moments after the shower started to make weird noises, and seconds after I instinctively turned off the shower and stepped out of the tub. I've left a message on the fix-it guy's mobile ....

Here's Max's socks, which I didn't end up finishing while I was in LA - I had chosen to hang out with the siblings instead.

They look oddly misshapen, but I'm pretty sure they fit him as I had him try them on many times while I was making them. I still have to send them though ...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Letting it snow

I now have a monthly bus pass!! Yay mobility.

It's still snowing, will be for a while I think, but today wasn't as cold or snowy as in past days. I went to look for my first pair of adult non-wellie boots today. And looked is an understatement. More like I searched for hours and hours. But I didn't find any that fit, looked good, and did not have a big heel. I'm looking for boots so that I won't slip on the ice and snow, not for boots that will make me trip.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Land of snow

I'm in Edinburgh!

When I left LA on the 5th the temperature was in the mid-60s F, when I landed in London on the 6th it was +1 C and snowing.

Today, it's -2 C.

I'm not very far into the unpacking. So far I've managed to unpack the toothbrush, ukulele, yarn, and dirty clothes. In other words, the essentials.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Happy 2010!

2010 is off to a nice start. Knitted with friends twice, went bike riding with mom, and it's been nice and warm here. I hear it's been snowing in Newcastle but I'm not even bothering wondering what the weather will be like in Edinburgh. Max's socks are nearly done, I just have the leg of one to do. I'm pretty sure I can manage to pack and knit the rest of the sock tomorrow. If not, well, my flight doesn't leave until Tuesday afternoon, so I'll have some time to pack Tuesday morning...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Years Eve!

Another year, very nearly gone. It wasn't my favorite year, I have to say, but I'm very much looking forward to next year in Scotland.

At least this year ended with two nice things: a trip to Disneyland, and a friend really liking some slippers I knit and felted for her (I'll post pictures of the slippers if I can ever get my camera to work).

Happy New Years Eve, I hope you have a safe and enjoyable night.