Monster Alive Rd

DH bought me back the book Yarn Bombing from the library (for those that have been following my blog for a while you may remember that I requested that the library stock the book and they did!) and flicking through it again I was inspired by a pattern for monster feet. They are easy enough to do; a rectangle with some claws made out of crocheted triangles. As with most of the things that I make they are, yes you’ve guessed it, quick and easy.

The furry yarn was part of the stash I acquired from the abandoned suitcase full of yarn found by my friend at the dump. It is actually two balls crocheted together, but they were only small balls so I had to supplement with some blue Stylecraft DK.

 

I stole out in the dead of night (ok, about 9.30pm) to sew them to the bottom of my street sign. As per usual, I just concentrated in the task at hand, not looking at anyone who passed me by, possibly staring at me strangely. The joy of this endeavour was greatly increased by the addition of DH’s head torch that I bought him for Christmas, something I will definitely consider for my future yarn bombing tool kit.

 

I managed to stop quickly on the school pick up to take a daylight picture. Now, I swear this is the honest-to-God truth, the anagram of my street name is Monster Alive Rd. DH pointed this out to me this morning; how he discovered this I have no idea. You’ll have to take my word for this, as obviously I don’t want to show you all my real road sign. Some of my die hard blog fans may try and stalk me; I’m not sure my real life persona is ready for that kind of fame…But I promise you it’s true!

It's alive!!!!

 

 

A child is for 18 years, a ring is for eternity!

Shortly after the birth of Iris DH announced that he had put aside some money to buy me an eternity ring. Obviously the mega hints I dropped about a ‘push present’ after having Betty finally paid off.

I don’t wear a lot of jewellery but I have a beautiful but small engagement ring which I love. I had a mooch around the internet at traditional eternity rings but couldn’t see anything that sparked my interest.

I was looking at So Resourceful’s regular blog post where she publishes ‘Astonishing Splashes of Colour’. Among the beautiful violet themed photos I came across this ring:

Sadly DH’s budget doesn’t quite run to this beauty, but I did come across these little delights by Kate Szabone on Etsy:

Images from Kate Szabone Jewellery

These tiny bands of sparkliness are right up my street, and far more in DH’s price range; in fact I could even get two. They look great stacked together, and I could get one to represent each of my darling babies. I’m not even that fussed by diamonds, I like my jewellery colourful and pretty. I have requested a quote for amethyst and pink sapphire which would link to my daughter’s (real) names, although I do love the chocolate and smoky grey diamonds in this picture.

I’m lucky that I have thin and witchy slim and elegant fingers that will make these petite rings perfect for me (I also have freaky spindly wrists, remarkably disproportionate to the rest of my body. I’m really selling myself here aren’t I?).

Don’t they look fab stacked together?

Birthday butterflies

My lovely friend has recently moved into a new house. She lives in a village in the mountains in North Wales, and we went there for New Year. Her house is lovely, with bright white walls and simple rustic furniture, but she asked me to make her something to add a little splash of colour. So for her birthday in January I made her this pretty butterfly frame.

The butterfly pattern was from Marie’s Making, and was really easy. A bit more fiddly was the bead and wire antennae, but I made good use of my new glue gun. The butterflies themselves are actually crocheted with DMC and Anchor embroidery floss. It’s perfect for delicate creations, and while it works out more expensive than yarn, the range of colours is huge. The butterflies are mounted (with glue) onto linen in a glassless box frame from Sainsbury’s.

 

My friend loved the picture, she said it was the best present she’d ever had <cries with joy>. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos before I gave it to her, so these pictures are courtesy of my friend.

Reasons to be cheerful blog hop

Stupid WordPress doesn’t allow Linky Tool code so here is a link to a blog hop I have participated in. Mummy From The Heart celebrates a year of Reasons to Be Cheerful.

 

It sounds wanky, but regularly considering things that you are grateful for does seem to correlate with increased levels of happiness. You don’t even have to write them down, just taking a regular time to think about gratitudes is enough. So here are mine for today:

I am thankful for the 10 delicious minutes I had in bed while the baby napped this afternoon

I am thankful for the my morning at knitting group this morning – my fortnightly bit of heaven

I am thankful that my children are both asleep

Happy days:)

The cost of politics: or why if you haven’t got anything nice to say you shouldn’t say anything at all

Speak no evil, lest you be thought evil yourself

A person stands in the middle of a crowd of on lookers pointing at a someone opposite him, loudly says something derogatory and cutting about them, while all his friends guffaw from behind him, slapping their legs in delight and joining in with the jeering. You could be forgiven for thinking that Prime Minister’s Question Time was actually a bunch of boys in a prep school playground. Insulting not only the opposition, but also their colleagues, by calling them “a mug”, “frustrated” (the implication being ‘sexually’), or telling them to “Calm down dear”  will no doubt soon be followed by such gems as “Yeah, well so’s yer mum” and “I know you are but what I am I”.

 

As I was listening to Ed Miliband on Radio 4’s Today show yesterday, it struck me how exhausting it must be to constantly have to battle with the opposition, as well as actually doing the job of, you know, governing the country, or whatever it is that opposition parties do, tending to constituencies and stuff. I wonder how much more governments would get done if they weren’t constantly nitpicking at their opponents, and having to fire fight problems arising from slips of the tongue, or throw away comments.

 

That’s not to mention the financial cost of all this fighting. The US election this November is estimated to cost upwards of $6 billion, and that is without the expense of a Democratic primary. $6 billion! I can’t even begin to conceive of how much money that is, let alone what that money could be better spent towards. I’m no statistician but I am guessing a few hospitals, doctors, nurses, ensuring that millions of poor and uninsured Americans receive medical support… Instead, around half of that money is spent on advertising. While in the UK we have to watch dull Party Political Broadcasts while we are waiting for Eastenders, the US are subjected to creative nefarious attack ads accusing the candidates of all kinds of conspiracies and evil deeds. These adverts cost hundreds of thousands to produce and air on prime time TV slots.

 

But while politicians of all nations and parties continue to trade snide insults via adverts, the Today Show, or on Twitter they would do well to consider the findings of psychologists in the US who in 1998 published a study which demonstrated that ‘communicators are perceived as possessing the very traits they describe in others’. They call this ‘spontaneous trait transference’. So when Cameron is calling Miliband “a mug”, Mitt Romney calls Obama “a failed president”, or Labour MP Simon Danczuk calling Cameron a liar over rises in train fares, they risk themselves being seen as possessing the very trait that they are accusing their opponent of.

 

So can they just accept that this hectoring and one-upmanship is pointless, distracting, and sometimes even derogatory to their own cause, and just get on with running the country? I’d call them a bunch of brainless and juvenile bags of hot air, but then you’d just think that I was actually describing myself…

 

Spring is here!

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Ok, so I’m no David Bailey, but can you believe these photos of blossom trees near me? These pictures were taken on Saturday on the way to the park. The mild winter has confused nature. According to a news bulletin on Radio 4 65 species of wild flower are in bloom in Cardiff, which wouldn’t ordinarily be seen until spring or summer.

 

Spring is my favourite season and blossom trees make me very happy. Looks like it’s coming sooner than I expected!

Ooh, nice bracelet

I’m not really one for jewellery, let alone chunky jewellery, but I was flicking through a magazine and these caught my eye. It’s an Ann-Lise bracelet. Now, I don’t really know what that means but I really quite like them. I don’t even know why, as the studs are a bit intimidating, and despite nearing weeble proportions, I actually have freakishly skinny wrists. But it’s something about the soft buttery leather that attracts me. I don’t even know if that leather is soft and buttery, or what buttery leather really is. I read the phrase in a book. Ok, it was a Louise Bagshaw novel. So now you know a lot more about me than you ever needed too. I have freakishly small wrists, and rarely wear jewellery, and have terrible taste in books.

 

Be a little bit happier

I’m using my short crafting break to catch up on some reading. I find it hard to combine the two things I enjoy most, crochet and reading, so as I focus on one the other falls by the wayside. I’ve had to return the last few library books I borrowed unread, knowing that in the Christmas craft frenzy I would never have to time to read them.

You’ll see that my blog is noticeably lacking in New Years resolutions. I haven’t made any, which is unusual for me. I have given myself a short term goal for January though. A goal is different to a resolution. A resolution is something you resolve to keep regularly. A goal is something you aim to achieve, that eventually comes to an end.

My tentative goal for this month is to read 5 books. I’m not sure how realistic that actually is, but that is what I am aiming to do. The first book I started on Monday and finished today. It was The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. It wasn’t an instructional book as I expected to be, more a personal memoir of the author’s year-long project to try and make herself happier by making small changes in her life.

I really identified with the author and her personality (in fact I spent the time not reading the book stalking her on Twitter!). She maintains that she is not a fundamentally unhappy person, but has a habit towards short-temper, grouchiness, and a sense that things should be better.

Rubin managed to do a lot of research on the subject. I imagine the project was a lot easier given that she is a full-time writer and the project turned into a best-selling book. I’m not sure how easy it would be with a out of the home full on job, less financial stability, and little on hand childcare.

She breaks the task of being happy into 12 themes, one for each month, and then sets concrete resolutions for each month, marking her progress off against a resolutions chart. She is very honest about the things that did and didn’t work for her, and the sceptical reactions she encountered, not least from her husband.

The activities, and the conclusion, are fairly predictable, and there is little that isn’t really common sense. But somehow the methodical way Rubin tackled the project transformed a meaningless resolution into a real exercise in self-development.

I’m totally inspired by the book and am forcing DH to read enough extracts to make him hooked too! I intend to start my own happiness project. While Rubin maintains that every project is unique, I think that because of our similarities mine will follow a similar path. One of the books she references is even on my to-read list this month. My mum bought me a old copy of Jung’s Memories, Dreams and Reflections to read. And Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness is one I picked up from the library recently which has reawakened my interest in psychology.

Finally, if you love this book like I do, you will also love ‘Help! How to become a little bit happier and get slightly more done’ by Oliver Burkeman. It’s an appraisal of the self-help movement focusing on actual things that have been proven to work to improve your life, just a little. January is a time to make changes, but big changes are unrealistic and unsustainable. It’s the little things that altogether add up to make a difference.

HELP!: How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done