Thursday, 31 January 2008

We axe for what we want

The Vikings were alive and well in a small corner of Bristol last night, when I hosted a tribute to Up Helly-Aa... or Up Hell's Alley Without a Fire Extinguisher, as somebody re-christened it (you know who you are)... which is really quite apt and has been making me giggle every time it comes to mind :o)

Thankfully, no extinguishers were needed: the Vikings-in-residence were very well-behaved, and the burning of the cardboard 'galley' (handmade by Mr Newlywed) went off without a hitch - nay, nor even so much as a single singed beard hair. Phew. Although there was one slightly nerve-wracking moment when a guest attempted to put out the final embers with the dregs from his glass of highly flammable whisky... Hmm.


... During...

... During again, this time more energetically...

... and After.

So, a good time was had by all (I think). And just before I move off the topic, a quick update for all you beard-fans out there: there was some passable beardage on display amongst the guests, but no-one else had knitted themselves any Instant Whiskers. Funnily enough. They did, however, appreciate laugh at my own attempt... but one guest asked if the beard could magically morph into a monkey, à la the cars/robots in Transformers. I despair, I really do: you give people the world, and they ask for the moon on a stick.

Not a monkey; but very cosy on a winter's night

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, Waldorf would like to say thanks so much to everyone who has entered my 100th Post Giveaway - he's been quite overwhelmed by the number of commenters who are willing to give him a safe new home. If you haven't entered yet, there's still plenty of time: just leave a comment on this post before Sunday evening.

Wanted: new owner for one small monkey. Fully housetrained. May smell slightly of tea.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

100th Post Giveaway

Can you help this monkey?


Waldorf is one of the few known members of the rare (and bizarre) Monkey-Martian species. Sadly, he is currently in urgent need of re-homing, in order to protect him from great peril in his current location:

Could you provide a good home for Waldorf? Waldorf likes cups of tea, bread-and-butter pudding, and listening to the radio. He dislikes sharp scissors, doing the washing up, and beards. He describes his natural habitat as "sitting on the sofa", but he is also very fond of being taken on day trips in nice handbags.

If you think you could help, please act now: leave a comment on this post by 6:00pm on Sunday 3rd February, and you could save Waldorf from the bearded monster in his life.

Thank you.

The small print:

1) Waldorf isn't at all fussy about where he goes to live, so comments are welcomed from all and sundry. If you've stopped by and haven't said hello before, now's the perfect time!

2) One comment will be drawn at random on Sunday to determine the winner.

3) Please come back to find out if you've been lumbered with him.

Monday, 28 January 2008

More of *that* beard; and an announcement

Firstly, I must just thank everyone who responded so seriously to my plea for an axe knitting pattern..... but, guys: I was joking! I'm not going to knit an axe. I mean, honestly, what kind of crazy person do you take me for? (Please don’t answer that...)

Next, to those of you who implied that a knitted beard was in any way peculiar... well, I think you need to look at this:


It suits him, doesn’t it? Go on, admit it: it does! Thus, I feel that the creation of the beard was time (and yarn) well spent, because Shifter can wear it once my Viking party has taken place and I no longer need it.

Speaking of which, the party’s on Wednesday, and my costume is still a little on the minimalist side... in that I haven’t quite got round to doing anything other than the beard yet. But I expect it’ll all be fine: surely once the key piece has been completed, the rest just falls into place, right? No? Oh...

Crashing swiftly on, then: I have an announcement to make! If my rudimentary maths skills serve me right (doubtful, I know, but let’s wing it), I make this my 99th post. And that would mean that my next post will be... (does quick sum in head) my 100th! Hurrah!

Anyway, that being the case, it’s just possible that I may have knitted a little something for a 100th post giveaway......

..... but you’ll have to come back tomorrow to find out, because I couldn’t possibly spill the beans today :o)

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Stylish and practical

Just a quick post to share with you the ground-breaking new item I knitted up last night.....

Are you ready?

OK, then. I give you:

Knitted beard-and-tache combo!!

Obviously, it may have been better if I'd waited until I could have sourced yarn in a blonder shade..... but I was just TOO EXCITED about my new project to wait, so I knitted it with whatever I could find.

It's going to be the key piece in my forthcoming "Instant Whiskers" collection, and I think it's pretty snazzy, even with the colour-mismatch. I'll be quite the knittist-about-town with this strapped to my chops.

....... OK, OK, that last bit may have been a bit of a fib. You don't need to worry that I've finally gone right off my trolley.

I have, in fact, knitted this for a sane(ish) reason: I'm putting together a Viking costume, and felt that a beard was a key component. Because what self-respecting Norseman would be seen dead at a party without the adornment of some impressive face-furniture? None! Exactly. So, there you go: perfectly sane, after all.

Now, does anyone know where I can get a knitting pattern for an axe......? ;o)

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Something wonderful for sock monkey fans to look at, sadly not made by me

How cool is this?

[PS - this is my entry in the "shortest blog post ever" competition, sub-category "posts that are shorter than their own titles". You wouldn't want me to lose by writing more, would you? No, I thought not. You're far too nice for that.]

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Picture me

A few days ago, I saw this fun post from Lesley at Tintock Tap.

It's a sort of meme thing I suppose, but with a twist, and it was the twist that appealed to me: you answer some questions about yourself, and you type each answer into a Google image search. Then, for each question, you post one of the images from the first page of results.

I thought it sounded like fun, so I decided to play too... only then I discovered that Trashalou had tagged me with a seven random facts meme, by which time I'd already written most of this post. So, Trashalou: I'm responding to your meme pictorially. I hope you don't mind. I'm afraid you get twice what you bargained for though, because there are fourteen pics, not seven.

So here we go...

1) Age you will be on your next birthday:

2) Place you would like to visit:

3) One of your favourite places:

4) Your favourite object:

5) Your favourite food:

6) Your favourite animal:

7) Your favourite colour:

8) Name of a past pet:

9) Where you live:

(and may I just say, you should be thankful that I didn't go for this picture - I warn you, only click on the link if you have a strong constitution!)

10) First teacher's last name:

11) Your middle name:

12) A bad habit of yours:

13) Your favourite flower:

14) Your favourite holiday:

PHEW!! - all those pictures to upload. I'm quite exhausted now. But it was quite fun, though :o)
I'm not passing it on, but if anyone else wants to give it a go, do feel free - and please let me know if you do, so that I can come and have a nosey at your pictures!

Monday, 21 January 2008

You might as well face it...

... you're addicted to baking, NBM!

As you may have seen from my last post, we currently have a rather large box of M&S biccies on the go at the house of chicken. Nonetheless, NBM decided yesterday that what we really needed were blondies:

... and lemon drizzle cake:

... and ginger biscuits:

Honestly, that girl just couldn't stop baking! It's just as well we had visitors round yesterday for afternoon tea (very civilised, don'tcha know), or we'd still be eating the home-bakes in a month! ..... wait, what am I saying?? That would have been good, wouldn't it? Damn, I missed a trick there....... :o)

Anyhoo, just to make things a bit more ridiculous, some of our visitors got the wrong end of the stick and brought yet more cake with them:

... but, sadly, they took it away with them again when they left, as they seemed to think we had enough already...... shame.

Anyhoo, in other news: while the ongoing writers' strike may have led to the cancellation of the Golden Globes ceremony, blogland awards abound at the moment... so much so, that I have somehow ended up with (fanfare, please) not one, but two awards! How exciting! So, thanks so much to Kitty for her 'you cheer me up' award:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

and to Lesley, who gave me a 'best geek' award - cheers, Lesley ;o) (Oh, OK then - it may have been a 'spread the love' award, really. But in my heart it's for best geek!)

I've lost track of the passing-on rules for different awards, and I'd really like to cop out and say that I'm passing the awards on to everyone whose blogs I visit - because I like all of your blog homes. I wouldn't stop by if I didn't!

So, I'm going to give the 'spread the love' award to anyone reading this - because that seems in the spirit of spreading the love, right? - and then, since it seems churlish not to, I'm going to amalgamate the 'you make my day' and the 'you cheer me up' awards ("you make my day all cheered up?"), and bestow this new, hybrid, two-for-the-price-of-one award to: Kitty, Lauren, Lesley, Lucy Locket, Melissa, Michaela, Monkee Maker, paper-and-string, Trashalou, and Working Mom Knits.

I know you've all probably got the original two awards already, but I'm sure you'll find space on the mantle for another. Please don't feel that you have to start dishing them out again though, or things might get silly :o)

... and I'm now worn out from all that linking (and uploading of gratuitous homebakes photos), so I'm off now. Think I'll go and use up some of those ginger biscuits... it's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it :o)

Saturday, 19 January 2008

My new accessories

No, I haven't been shopping for shoes and handbags (sadly).

I've been to Staples and purchased these:

Wrist rest for keyboard.

Mousemat / wrist rest hybrid.

Thank you to those of you who made suggestions about being cautious regarding possible RSI / carpal tunnel syndrome - I'm going to get it checked out soon I think, but I thought these gel-filled cushion thingies might be a good idea in the meantime. Because heck, if they're no use as wrist supports, I can cut them up and use them to enhance my cleavage. (Seriously, the mousemat's a little chicken fillet-y for my liking. It's weird.)

I've never explored Staples properly before, and I was pleasantly surprised. I thought it would be mainly boring office supplies... but then I remembered that I'm actually quite keen on boring office supplies. What can I say? I just really like stationery. And it turns out they have fun stationery, too. I got myself these:


And then, because sore wristage seemed like a great excuse for avoiding doing any work on the computer, I spent some of the afternoon on this:

Mmm, biscuits

... and some of it on this:

Mmm, knitting (and more biscuits)

Lauren, you'll observe that they are Marks and Spencer's biscuits, so I hope this will put your mind at rest regarding the calibre of the biccies we serve with our cups of tea - definitely no tat. I'll pop one in the post for you on Monday, along with that cuppa you wanted. OK? :o)

And Monkee Maker: obviously, wrist pain prevented me from walking to the shops for a RaWCC muffin. Oh no, sorry, my mistake - it was my extreme laziness that was the problem. Anyway, suffice to say that while the biccies were of excellent quality, they were clearly nowhere near as restorative as a muffin would've been. So next time you're passing, do feel free to pick one up for me. Ta. :o)

Anyhoo, I'd best be off as I've got laundry to hang (Saturday night round our place is a riot of entertainment. You can tell, can't you?)

*Please be aware that the inherent fun-ness of a metal ruler and a cutting mat is non-negotiable. Anyone who wishes to question this position should refer back to when I told you that I really like stationery. All stationery.

Friday, 18 January 2008

A short post...

... because it hurts to type - I keep getting wrist pain when I use a computer which is a bit pants. Even worse, last night my wrist hurt when I tried to knit, too :o(

So, today's post is brief. Less typing. More knitting. And on the knitting front, fingers crossed my wrist will be OK today and that it just ached yesterday because I'd been at the computer all day beforehand. (Obviously that fingers crossed thing isn't literal: have you ever tried to knit with your fingers crossed? No, I thought not.)

So, I'll take my leave now, but I can't go without a quick piccie. It's terrifying, so please don't have nightmares:

Hairy Lee does King Kong

Happy weekend :o)

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Health and Safety advice

... courtesy of this fab card:

Please take heed!

Also, while I'm here, there is one other matter I need to touch on: does anyone else have Nellie the Elephant firmly lodged in their head now?? If so, you have my abject apologies. And if it's any consolation, I can reassure you that you're not alone, because SHE'S BEEN DRIVING ME TO DISTRACTION!! Grr.

Anyway, please don't let good old Nellie (or anything else) distract you from the important shoplifting info: do please remember the advice, and stay safe out there. (Especially you, lauren - I know you have trouble with your back at the best of times, and I wouldn't want you to go aggravating anything.)


Monday, 14 January 2008

Up and down

This time last week I thought I'd have happy news to post, because my Mum was finally discharged from hospital after being there since the end of October. Unfortunately, when I heard about my Mum being discharged from one hospital, I also found out that my Grandma had been admitted to another, with a chest infection.

However, today my Gran was also discharged and allowed home - hooray! Good news indeed - just so long as no-one else in my family decides to adopt a "one out, one in" policy with regard to medical institutions!

On the other hand - albeit on a lighter note - I'm feeling irritatingly plagued with hormones today. So much so that I heard someone humming Nellie the Elephant earlier and nearly got a bit tearful.... look, it's quite sad when the Head of the Herd's far, far away, alright?? Not to mention how scary it must've been to say goodbye to the circus and head out on her own. Moving stuff.

(If you're not familiar with Nellie, you can hear a version of her song here. You only have to watch the first 30 seconds for the song; please don't feel you have to sit through the cartoon that follows. I didn't. Although I do seem to remember watching it quite a lot in my childhood... funnily enough, it seemed better when I was six.)

Anyhoo, that's me today. Unfortunately I haven't got any piccies to perk up this post, as the irritating hormones have also given me laziness and can't-be-bothered-itis, so I haven't taken any photos recently. Or made anything that I might be able to take photos of.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go and concentrate on a repeated episode of QI. Cheerio for now.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Words cannot describe

... how much I love this cartoon by Doug Savage:

.... and I don't even know why. Curious.

But that's not really why I'm here today. The main thing I have to tell you is this very exciting news: the lovely Lesley has nominated me for a 'you make my day' award - thanks Lesley, I'm so touched! You make my day too :o)

Now, the next thing I'm supposed to do is nominate ten other people for the award, but I'm going to postpone that for a short while - I'm still dithering hither and thither about it, as I'm not sure I know ten other people in blogland (and certainly not ten people who haven't already got the award). These things require thought, and that's something which I'm not capable of on a Friday afternoon. Oh gosh, it's making me come out in cold sweats just thinking about the responsibility of it all... But watch this space and I'll come back to it, hopefully very soon.

Anyhoo, I'm off to brew up now as I think it's time for the inaugural cuppa of the weekend. Hurrah.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


A little while ago, I sent my blogging buddy Melissa a teeny tiny PG Tips monkey. Recently, I recieved a fab package from her in return, which contained this gift box (note the wrapping paper - it's an orignal piece of artwork that was designed and created by her little boy):

How lovely is that? Inside was something that's also very lovely - this cute monkey necklace:

Melissa, you're very kind (and talented) to have made this for me - I'm sure I don't deserve it, since all I did was send you something I got for free at the Supermarket! But thank you very much, anyway :o)

In other necklace news: to those kind commenters who helped me out with my Secret Santa dithering, I was pleased to see that my giftee wore her necklace today. It doesn't neccessarily mean she likes it, but I'm taking it as a good sign that she doesn't actively loathe it. Which is a good starting point, I feel.

And finally, I leave you tonight with the song that's been stuck in my head all week. I did a search for it on that famous video-sharing site, and the one below is the first that came up. So now I have the image of that man stuck in my head too. And he scares me slightly...

Monday, 7 January 2008

I'm just a map geek

We went on a lovely walk yesterday through the deer park at Ashton Court, and my goodness, those beasties have some fearsome antlers.

Sadly, I didn't take a camera, which was very foolish. So, instead, I thought I'd post some pics from another walk we went on a while ago with the Newlyweds, at the Forest of Dean Scultpure Trail.

Here we are at the start of the trail. That wooden structure behind us in the first sculpture - a sort of giant chair thing.

Note how excited I am about being in charge of the map. Mrs Newlywed is more enthusiastic about her orange squash... and Mr Newlywed looks rather peeved, but don't worry about him: he soon cheered up when he found out that we had slabs of cake in our pockets.

Here we are at another sculpture (vaguely gravestone-esqe thingies, meant to symbolise deforestation, if memory serves):

Mr and Mrs Newlywed are having a meaningful conversation about the sculpture. I'm still engrossed in the map.

Just like I am here...

... and also here...

Honestly, maybe it would have been better if the map had just been printed with the words, "look up, you silly bint!"

I think I got my nose out of it eventually; certainly for long enough to take piccies of this:

and this:

But I think my favourite sculpture was this one:

The artist had taken a dead tree, and cut it into lots of different-sized cubes, and reassembled it into one massive cube that stood on the spot where the tree once grew. Poetic, innit?

I like to think that if I hadn't spent all that time studying that map so scrupulously, we might never have found it. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it :o)