Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Crafty Stuff

Well, I said I'd try and include on here some of the 'craft' projects that I've done, so I thought I'd post a few pics. There really aren't that many! I need to pull my finger out and get on with some more things.

Anyway, this was the first big cross-stitch design that I attempted, way back in 1999! I'm not really into the flowery, cottage scenes, but the butterflies were nice to do.

The following year, I did this one - I liked the sentiment - how true!:

And in 2001, I completed this - intricate, but enjoyable:

I'm sure I've done other smaller projects in the intervening years, but this is the only one I have a photo of:

I love frogs, so couldn't resist this!

I haven't done any cross-stitch for a long time, but I have recently taken up knitting and crochet. I think I mentioned previously that I made a knitted pouch for my mp3 player, which was very so-so, and then I knitted a dishcloth, which is very much in use. No photos of those.

The next thing I tackled was a crocheted blanket for the cats, and this is what I ended up with:

Reasonably happy with it, although it's kind of a bit twisted in the centre, and it doesn't want to lay flat. A couple of people have suggested that it's probably down to the tension, which I think might be right - I'm probably pulling it a bit tight in places, especially once it starts to get bigger and a bit more cumbersome to hold in my lap. However, the cats don't seem to mind - here's Millie, looking quite pleased that she's got the favourite spot on the chair!

I enjoyed doing that blanket, so decided to do another one! I think these colours are quite suited to Millie actually! They haven't come out too well in the photo, but it's cream, camel and dark brown.

I've got the same problem with this one though - I straighten out one edge and another one goes a bit wavy. Again, I think it's my tension - I'm pretty sure I didn't add or miss out any stitches. It's only my second attempt though, and I'm still learning. I'm sure a more experienced person would know how to fix this by maybe adding an extra chain space here and there or something like that, but I'm not quite at that stage yet!

I think my next project is going to be more dishcloths, as my boyfriend keeps asking me to do another, and I have a couple of balls of cotton (in my slowly growing stash) which I can't really use for much else! Not the most exciting thing in the world, but it will get me back into the 'knitting habit' as I've been crocheting for a while. Also, they're nice and easy to do, and don't require a massive amount of concentration!

Bye for now!

Friday, 8 October 2010

There's Never A Forever Thing...

In December, after a world tour taking in 4 continents and 15 countries, the Norwegian band A-ha will split up, for good. Their career has spanned 25 years, with worldwide sales of over 35 million albums, and more than 25 million singles, making them the best-selling Norwegian music act in history.

As the band breaks, so does my heart.

I fell in love with A-ha when I was 6 years old. Their music has been the soundtrack of my life. Through all my ups and downs, they have been the one constant; the one thing guaranteed to cheer me, lift my spirits, comfort me, excite and invigorate me. I will never, NEVER, tire of their music.

I have an early memory of my dad teasing me about yet another teenybopper or boy band whose charms I had fallen for. I can't remember who it was, but it was another in a long line which included the likes of Jason Donovan, Brother Beyond, Bros, New Kids On The Block etc (hey, I was young, I was going through 'a phase'). He said something like, "oh, it won't last, you'll go off them eventually. Same goes for A-ha..." to which I responded vehemently, "Oh no, not them! I'll never go off them, they're different! I'll always love A-ha!"

They are, and always were, different. They played their own instruments, wrote their own lyrics and produced their own albums. Their songs are at times catchy, fun and 'foot-tappy' and at other times heart-breakingly beautiful and moving. All held together by Morten Harket's incredible 'falsetto' voice which, some say, spans five octaves.

I have grown up with A-ha, and although my musical tastes have changed over the years (thankfully!), if you ask me "who is your favourite band?" theirs is always the name I will say.

I recently spent a couple of evenings adding the majority of all their hit single videos to my Facebook page, in chronological order. Seeing how they've changed over the years, and hearing how their music has matured with them, made me feel very proud to have been able to enjoy their work for the last 25 years. Posting their last video 'Butterfly, Butterfly (The Last Hurrah)' also made me feel sad. I can't quite believe that that's it - that's the end.

I'm hopefully going to go and see them in concert in November - it will be the first and only time I'll see them perform live and I'm sure there will be mixed emotions that day!

It's almost a year since they announced that they were going to split, and to be honest, over the past few months I've avoided reading too much about them, or about the concerts that they've been performing around the world. I feel as though I've been a bit disloyal; it's the last year of A-ha the band, and I've been kind of ignoring them. What kind of fan does that make me? I realise now though that I've actually been in a kind of denial - I know the end is near, and I've only been trying to avoid thinking about it. Watching the videos the other night on YouTube finally brought it home to me that they really are splitting up, and after the tour finishes in December, A-ha will be no more. They have left behind them a fantastic legacy though - 25 years of incredible music and memories which will live on forever in the hearts of their thousands of fans around the world.

My response to my dad's teasing all those years ago is as true now as it was then:

I will always love A-ha!!

The first...

... and the last...

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