Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Technology versus knitting

As part of our broadband upgrade after the lightning strike a couple of weeks ago, we decided to upgrade to BT Vision, the box was only £28 and it came with a new free hub. I had it in my mind that our old hub (which got fried) cost something like £80. I thought a replacement would be at least £100. Bargain!

The new box arrived on Friday but  I reserved Sunday morning to setting it up. It says on the box that it takes 30 mins, well, they are talking out of their arses um ... they are lying toads hmmm.... they were telling a teeny fib there cos I started at around 10.30 am and finally finished at 5pm!

When I'd finished and it was all set up and working, I did get a happy feeling of accomplishment ... but BT Vision squashed my picture and fuzzed it up; everyone looked like they were hugely overweight and blurry.  Changing the aspect ratio on the TV solved the overweight bit but I had black lines down the side and I was a bit cross about not getting the full quota of inches of widescreen TV that I paid for about eighteen months ago.

It could just be the old equipment that we have to receive TV pictures, we are trying to cram 21st century technology into a 19th century house. I doubt the aerial and cabling have been changed since television were invented! These problems may be easily resolvable but not by me, I feel I've wasted enough time on it. The advantages of BT Vision such as pausing, rewinding and recording live TV are far outweighed by the disadvantages; it's all been unplugged and we have gone back to normal fuzz-free Freeview.

I had all day on Monday to forget about my stressful Sunday. We attended a 40th birthday party for sister Sharon's fiance, Martin.  We had a lovely time, lots of great food, most of his family and ours were there. Martin seemed quite overcome (bless him) with his present. We all clubbed together to send him to Rome for 5 days and 4 nights, Sharon is going with him (but she paid for herself!) He said he has always wanted to go.

Today I've been back at work making beads (yes, she came back!) and this evening I will be taking solace in doing a nice bit of knitting and having happy thoughts about how nice it is that the knitting needles I have had for forty twenty-odd years don't need upgrading, repairing or a software download. They are fully compatible with every kind of yarn that has ever been invented in the intervening time and have never needed a reboot - I just love knitting!

I've just finished this pair of Bouquet socks from Wendy Johnson's Toe-Up Socks for Everybody.

This is a lightweight scarf for Autumn which is being knitted in a lovely 2ply lace yarn with a lovely sheen that glams it up a bit. I've only got a few more inches to knit on this so it's nearly finished.
Final picture - this is a mutli-coloured blanket I'm knitting for Missy's basket using up various left over balls of sock yarn. Can you believe that I actually removed some balls from the selection I made because I thought they clashed a bit ... :-)
The only other UFO I have on the go is a black cobweb weight lace shawl I started about a year ago; I am about a quarter of the way through the border on that one.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Mardy bead muse

My bead muse stomped off on Monday in a right old temper and she hasn't come back. I know what's upset her, I agreed to two commissions last Saturday and she was a bit off with me about it at the time and on Monday, we fell out completely. I'm having to think seriously about accepting commissions in the future as she gets so-o-o-o huffy about them these days. If I'm not doing exactly what she wants, this is what happens.

All the experiments I made for the commissions ended up in my big reject jar. In fact, apart from recycled Cava and Bombay Sapphire beads, the only ones I got made this week were the very simple frit beads in this necklace. The colours are lovely but technically, not at all difficult to make. Fortunately, my jewellery muse stuck by me and helped me make the necklace (secretly, I think I always liked her just a tiny bit better anyway!) I'm sure we'll all kiss and make up next week.

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend everyone!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

A bit wet

This is the view of my commute to work from the kitchen window. I think I'll need to take my brolly with me ...

My theory about the weather is that it's getting all the rain out of the way so we can all have a lovely bank holiday!

What's it doing where you are?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

My poor toe

I stubbed my toe quite badly on Sunday. I broke my big toe once several years ago, it didn't hurt quite as much as that did but almost! It's the one next to my little toe. This toe is slightly longer than all my other toes (except the big one) and hence it's more susceptible to being stubbed.

It has gone all kinds of colours in the intervening days and it is still sore to put weight on three days later. Colour-wise, today it looks its "prettiest" ... don't worry, I am not going to subject you to the photograph I have taken of it!

I recalled reading on a couple of the many blogs that I regularly follow about an application whereby you upload a photograph and the website or i-phone application will tell you what colours are in it. I can't recall which blog it was, sorry so I apologise if you are reading this thinking "that was me!" Please feel free to tell me again :-)

A quick google revealed Design Shack with links to various web and phone applications that will do all kinds of things with colour. I selected Colour Grab. I confess I chose mainly because it sounded like it would do what I wanted plus (a minor point) the site spelled Colour correctly (apologies to my transatlantic readers!! :-))

Anyway, after uploading my pic, here are the colours my toe is displaying today (the silver is my nail polish!)

And to keep the promise I made last week before I became properly web re-enabled, here are a couple of bracelets that I photographed last week and were on my stall on Saturday. This one is made with a blue version of the red scibble beads which were a big hit during the early part of the summer.

The matching earrings that I made sold immediately. I love the combination of CIM Lapis with Fremen. I only had one rod of Fremen (thanks again, Laura!) and today I have been soaking it in soapy water to get rid of the colour label so I could make 5 more beads today (have added Fremen to my list of glass colours to buy when I next place an order).

This bracelet is a variation of my crocodile shoes bracelets. This is going to be one of the last bracelets that I make in this style of bead so get in quick if you want it!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Technology multi-tasking re-enabled

Dunnit! Crawling around on the floor, tracing the routes of wires, unplugging and plugging things back in, re-setting passwords etc. etc. all done. Internet multi-tasking is back on the Agenda. Phone and broadband now triumphantly working together at the same time - no more cursing the position of the sockets. I am a happy gal today - it doesn't take much to please me :-)

This is the last of my no-picture postings. I have time until Sainsbury's arrive with the the rest of the week's groceries so I am going to catch up on the rest of the blogs I didn't manage to look at on Friday night. Once Sainsbury's have been, there's three hours of lawn mowing to do - busy, busy, busy!

Hope you are achieving your goals this Sunday.

Edit added later: Wouldn't you know it, I had no sooner clicked "Publish post" than there was a knock on the door - no rest for the wicked, I shall catch up with the rest of you a bit later :-)

Friday, 20 August 2010

Stormy internet

I've been a bit quiet on internety things this week. Not yesterday but the Thursday before, during one of the numerous thundery downpours, our house was hit by lightning. I heard an enormous thunderclap directly overhead which was so loud, it made me spill my cuppa but DH, who was upstairs in his study, got a flash in the corner of the room as well!

It completely did for our new phone with the cordless extension which enables me to hear the phone wherever I'm in the house and also damaged our internet connection. I was still able to get broadband but we couldn't use the (old) phone at the same time. Switching between the two meant disconnecting and reconnecting everything. Of course the switches and power sockets are in the most inaccessible place under the desk. With DH working from home, he needs the phone on for most of the day so it was just such a pain til the BT Outreach engineer came, I just checked e-mails once (maybe twice) a day and left it at that.

The Engineer came on Thursday this week, he changed the surge protector and box but there was still a problem. He's pretty certain that the broadband hub has had been damaged and needs replacing. Broadband isn't handled by BT Outreach so he couldn't just put a replacement in. We had to phone up again. Fortunately, they have sent a new hub which arrived today and so hopefully when I connect that up on Sunday, that will be the end of my internet woes!

I've been too busy making jewellery for my stall tomorrow in Cambridge to fix it up today so I'll be back on Sunday, hopefully with photographs of everything new I've been up to. Because I've not been on-line much, I've had a super-productive week! :-)

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Beady giveaway

If you would like to win some lovely beads made by Laura Sparling (who I talk about all the time in my blog!) please enter her prize draw!

She has a super tutorial on how to make lampwork hearts in the September edition of Beads & Beyond so make sure you pick up a copy of the magazine as well.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

More plasma

You all knew it was only a matter of time before I came up with a blue version of the plasma doughnut nuggets, didn't you?! Yes, predictable old me, here they are. They go really well with blue denim, I have got a big batch of these annealing in the kiln as I type so they'll be turned into jewellery before the weekend. :-)

I have gone a bit mad on these plasma beads, I know but I will be doing something different soon, I promise.

This is a PS I got today in an e-mail from my sister, Sandy. She commutes to London every day on the train; she's so funny, she should have a blog herself!

P.S. You know how wet it was this morning - well, it was when I was waiting for the train anyway .... I was trying to fold up my soaking wet brolly whilst fighting for a seat this morning and the bloomin' thing sprung open again and soaked everyone in the carriage! - ooops! (it's an automatic one and you really have to struggle to get it to click) - I was very apologetic and I think the passengers saw the funny side - I kept giggling for ages after though!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Soggy bottoms

There's a blog I read called "Soggibottom". I think I came across Michele (Midge) who writes it when she started following Laura Sparling's blog. Midge's avatar is a bear and I was intrigued so I clicked to find out more about this person whose blog had such a strange name.
I'm not sure where the word Soggibottom comes from, perhaps its because she lives at the damp end of her village or perhaps it's something to do with the name of the place the Coen Brother's film "Oh Brother Where Art Thou" was set. Anyway, Midge writes a great blog about lots of things - her home, garden, restoring vintage bears (which she is an expert in), and her pets amongst other stuff. It's so entertaining, I became a follower and left a couple of comments and then, when Midge left a couple of comments on my blog, my sister Sandy read them. When Sandy saw the word "Soggibottom", it made her think of this photograph taken of us in our swimming costumes. It brings back so many memories! I guess I was about 6 and Sandy was 4 when this was taken.

Those swimming costumes have gone down in family legend because my sister and I both hated them but were made to wear them everytime we went to the seaside (or here to a swimming pool at Butlins I think). They took years to grow out of because they were so stretchy. They were OK(ish) when dry but if they got wet, they stretched even further ... mine (I am on the left here) went down to my knees if i went in the sea!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

From pears to pairs

First of all, here's a picture of some pears growing on the West wall of our cottage. This is our third summer here, the first year, we didn't get any at all because whoever pruned it before we arrived, did it at the wrong time of year and cut off the flowering branches. Last year we got lots of teeny weeny pears which we left to the wasps. There are fewer this year but they look far more promising (which they have no right to do at all as I haven't done anything to the plant at all!)
So ... clever link coming up here, from pears to pairs (of earrings!) These are the earrings that I made for my sister and I to match our pendants, Sandy has already seen the photograph, though she hasn't got her jewellery yet (soon, Sandy, I promise!)

I wasn't going to blog about these at all as they won't be for sale on my stall however, the earrings have a new component that I'm introducing to my work which I realised today I haven't told you about - the little silver bit at all top is made from PMC. The idea behind this design is that the earring is a stylised flower. The PMC silver bit at the top is the covering of the flower bud reflexed back after the flower opened. The two glass beads together are the flower, the closest flower I can think of shape-wise would be a fuchsia (though the colour is way off!!) and then the trailing bits of silver chain hanging down are the stamens.

I liked the shallow reflexed item a lot but thought it would be a lot more dramatic with lots of petals and more finely divided so I some eight petalled versions but unfortunately, at the greenware stage whilst I was refining edges and sanding out minor blemishes, this happened - I have four like this! All attempts at repairing them at the greenware stage have ended in frustration and the broken ones now look much worse than the picture - they will be recycled into PMC paste I think.
Out of six, I did manage to get two made without breaking them and here's the result on a pear (ha!) of earrings made with a couple of my orange/red plasma doughnut nuggets and some 8mm carnelian rounds. I clearly need more practice in being gentle with PMC at the unfired fragile biscuit/greenware stage. Fortunately, once it's fired, its indistinguishable from normal fine silver and can be handled normally.