Saturday, 23 June 2012

Retail, Ranting and Reading

So I had me a little bit of retail therapy on Friday. First port of call was Hobbycraft, because I wanted to buy some toy stuffing for my amigurumi bees. I also wondered if they had 'safety eyes', although I couldn't really see any on the website. I got there about half an hour after it had opened, so it was lovely and quiet and I had a really nice leisurely stroll round. Eventually I remembered what I'd gone for and got my stuffing, plus a few balls of yarn fell into my trolley too, including some Debbie Bliss. Ooops. I did find a pack of eyes but it still said 'not suitable for under 3 years' or something, so I'm not sure if they're safety eyes, so I didn't bother with them. I bought a sheet each of black and white felt, because I thought I could make some eyes with that. Oh, and a pack of 100 black pipe cleaners which I thought I might be able to use for legs.

Bee #2 looks like this:

I crocheted the eyes in the end, and I don't mind that they're a bit wonky, it adds character!

Not loving the wings though...

"Hello, how are you today?"   "Busy busy"

As you can see, they are both legless, so the 100 pipe cleaners might've been a bit of a waste of money. Quite a lot of the patterns on the interwebs have left the legs off as well, but I don't think it detracts from them, so they might stay that way. When I went shopping after Hobbycraft, I bought a big pack of cotton wool, it's kind of in a pleat, and in the end #2 is stuffed with that rather than using my new toy stuffing. I put more in, so he's firmer than #1.

I also thought, while I was on an amigurumi roll, that I'd make a little ball for the cats. The first one turned out bigger than I wanted

and I didn't stuff it enough, so it's not as round as it could be. Second attempt is smaller and a better shape

A couple of Christmas' ago, my mum bought the cats a little plastic mouse that rolled across the floor on something like a ping pong ball, but you could take a little cover off the ball and shake in some loose catnip, which came with the toy. They weren't too fussed about the toy, but I've still got the little container of catnip, so I decided to shake some of it into the middle of the cotton wool as I was stuffing these balls. I think they might be able to smell it, although I don't know if I put enough in, and they've never gone really wild over catnip before, but I just thought it might help a little. They have played with the balls briefly - Millie likes to pick them up in her mouth and carry them into another room, so I think she'll prefer the smaller one for that. I just hope it doesn't get too soggy.

As well as the amigurumi, I've also made another dishcloth, using this pattern, which I was directed to from here. It says it can be done in less than an hour, but I don't think I'm that quick. Having said that, while I was making it there was a power cut (due to the torrential rain, I think), so I broke off to light some candles. It was still daylight, but I didn't know how long the power would be off and I thought it was best to do it while I could still see. In the end, it was only off for about 20 minutes, so nothing exciting! I used a lighter to light one of the candles, and managed to burn my thumbnail! The edge of it went all brown and shrivelled, so I had to cut it off. One of many reasons why I've never been a smoker, I can't even use a lighter!

Diagonal Dishcloth
It's worked in the back loops only, as is this one which I started ages ago, and finished yesterday because I wanted to start the above one (I was at the end of a row so I just decided it was big enough and fastened off!)

I'm assuming I will have consulted a pattern for this one too, but I'm afraid I don't know whose, although there's not much instruction needed really. I'm hoping these two fare better than the last one I crocheted - I think I made that one up as I went along, doing trebles and bobble stitches, but once it started to get wet it stretched, so your fingers go through the holes. I don't like that.

* * *

[Warning: Rant follows!] So as I said, after I'd been to Hobbycraft, I went to a local shopping centre with a view to buying some clothes for work, specifically some tops. I've been wearing jumpers all winter, and even through spring into summer, apart from the really really hot days when I wore a shirt. So I thought I should try and get some more summery type clothes. I do like it when it's warm and sunny, but clothing-wise I prefer to be covered up, so the cooler weather suits me better. But I thought I'd make an effort and get something appropriate for summer. Everywhere I went, the trend seemed to be little tops with very short sleeves, or no sleeves at all, a bit like this. Now I know there are a lot of women, myself included, who are a bit self-conscious about their upper arms, and the dreaded bingo wings. But I bought some of these little short-sleeved tops (because like I said, there wasn't much else to choose from), and then I ended up buying a cardigan to wear over them! Which kind of seems to defeat the object! Why can't they make the sleeves just a little bit longer? I've worn one of the tops today at home, and another, much worse, problem that I've discovered is the gaping neck. I did try them on before I bought them, and I usually do fairly rigourous tests in the changing room (bending, stretching, twisting etc), but I can't have been as thorough with these. It looks fine when I'm standing up straight. But when I bend forward to, say, load the washing machine, the world and his wife and anyone else who might be looking gets an eyeful!! The trouble is, how can I put this?, I'm not exactly blessed in the chesticle department, so there isn't really much to see, or rather, you can see straight past... them, to my big fat belly! If any clothing designers are reading this (ha!), why can't you make appropriate necklines? I'm not saying everything has to be a polo neck, but why do they have to be so low, and why do you seem to assume that all women have a large chest to 'fill it out', because some of us don't!!

So there's no way I can wear them for work, because I have to do far too much bending over (ooh, missus!). Just getting my milk out of the office fridge would give my male colleague nightmares if he looked up at the wrong moment! But I'll wear them at home, and if anyone has any suggestions as to how I can somehow make them less gapey, I'd love to hear them. I did think about wearing a scarf with it, as they seem to be all the rage at the moment too, but I have a bit of an issue with summery top + scarf. Like when you see teenage girls wearing skimpy hotpants and Ugg boots - it's either warm enough for shorts, or cold enough for furry boots, make your mind up! God, I soooo don't have a clue about fashion, do I?

[Rant over]

* * *

I've been forgetting to mention that I've done a bit of reading lately, and updated my book list over there on the right. I never managed to finish The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, there was just so much detail in it - names, dates, places etc - it was a bit heavy-going for a bedtime read. So I moved on to A Change In Altitude by Anita Shreve. I've read quite a few of her books already, and consider her a bit of a favourite. This one was only so-so though. It was about a couple living in Kenya, who along with two other couples, decide to climb Mount Kenya. Whilst crossing a glacier, one of the party is killed. There's a question of who was to blame, and the tragedy rocks the marriage of the main couple. I thought the death was going to be a major part of the story, but it just kind of... happened, and then the rest of it was about their relationship. Maybe I was being a bit morbid, hoping for more gory details? In the end, the couple climb the mountain again so it kind of comes full circle, with one of them coming out the stronger of the two, and I get that that was the theme of the book. It was ok, just didn't do much for me.

Next I read Let The Right One In, which was translated from the original Swedish, I think. There was a film, in Swedish, and then more recently an American remake. I haven't seen either one, although I think Chris has got them so I might get around to watching them. It's a story about a young boy, Oskar, who befriends a young girl called Eli. It turns out Eli is a vampire. If I wanted gory detail, I got it by the bucketload in this! But really it was about friendship and loyalty, and also a couple of school bullies getting their come-uppance!! I actually really enjoyed this book, and like I said, I might try and watch one (or both) of the films.

I've now started Songs Of The Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult, but as much as I usually love her books, I haven't really got into this one. It might just be because I've been busy doing other things, and got my crochet bug back again.

I also succumbed the other night and downloaded Fifty Shades Of Grey onto my Kindle! You've probably heard about it, if not read it yourself, the erotic fiction that's sold more than Harry Potter or something. I was curious to know what all the fuss is about. I'm a few chapters in and to be honest, it's a bit crap. It's a kind of car-crash of a book - awful, but you can't help reading it. The writing is terrible and clich├ęd; the biting of the lip seems to be the modern-day equivalent of the heaving bosom, and who actually says "oh my!"? I'll perservere with it, but I'm not in any rush, it's not what I'd call 'unputdownable'.

Anyway, that's all for now. One more day of freedom left, and then back to work on Monday, boo, hiss!!


  1. I know what you mean about the gapping fronts of tops, I have the same problem, if they just cut them that little bit higher and not so wide it would be so much better. A little cami underneath is the only way I get around it. The kitties and little bee's are very cute.
    xx Sandi

  2. I usually wear cami's underneath too, but it just doesn't seem right to have to wear one under a little t-shirt! That might be my only option though...


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