another cushion for another black books fan

We’re everywhere!
And by we I mean black books fans.

If you’ve never watched it, I suggest you track it down (unfortunately it was just taken off netflix – boooo!), pour a glass of red wine, and commit the next 10 hours of your life to laughing.

And then we can be friends.
And you’ll know why I have ‘I’m a happy go lucky scamp’ in almost every single social media profile.

So when Midnite Moose asked me to make a black books inspired cushion for a friend I immediately accepted.

I even imposed a crazy stupid deadline on myself so it would be ready before Christmas.

I love making things for people, and most of all I like making things for people who will totally appreciate, cherish, and love what I make. So I knew that this was going to a good home.

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I can’t find a youtube clip of that exact scene so you’ll just have to take my word that it’s funny.

Or, you know, watch Black Books already!!!
(The quote is from episode 2, but definitely watch episode 1 first. Just watch all of it.)

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Good bye 2013

2013 was awesome in so many ways.

We bought a house, went to our 6th test match together, saw plenty of live music, holidayed on a houseboat, and I helped out with the Port Adelaide Football Club.

I’ve had green hair, pink hair, purple hair, red hair, and several different combinations.

I participated in the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. I even made two youtube videos!

And I worked my way through 13 goals.

1. Open my little etsy shop. – Tick!

I opened a shop and closed it just as quickly. I didn’t enjoy knitting for strangers or the etsy fees.

2. Host a giveaway on my blog – Tick!
This was so much fun! And this is where I figured out the I like giving things away more than selling them.
The lesson to be learned is that postage is a killer. In the future small and light will be the way to go.

3. Finish Start the knitting crafting for my Pay It Forward post. – Tick!
Again this was ridiculously fun! And it was the beginning of embroidering fabric to go on a frame.
4. Knit 12 pairs of socks. – 8/12
I completed 8 and I currently have 3 on my needles. I didn’t quite get to 12 but maybe I was being a tad optimistic.

5. Sew 6 cushions.- 10/6 – Tick!

I caught the cushion making bug hard!
I even learnt how to sew an invisible zipper.

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6. Write a knitting pattern and post it on Ravelry.
I have started this one yet. I don’t know if I still want to.
Maybe if inspiration strikes I may be able to check this off my list.

7. Post a tutorial or a how-to guide. – Tick!
Seriously making a video was not what I had planned for this. But it turned out to be a really good experience. And now I have youtube subscribers. That’s a weird feeling for someone who only has two knitting videos.

8. Try a new craft, or 2, or 3.
I tried arm knitting, spinning, jewellery making, yarn dyeing. I’m looking forward to seeing what new crafts I can learn next year.

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9. Create an artwork for my apartment – Coming Soon!
I never showed you this one. But it did happen.

10. Embroider a whole song (lyrics) onto something.
This is totally my favourite embroidery ever!

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11. Sew a garment from a pattern, and wear it.
This is going on next years list.

12. Read a new book every month. (something I haven’t read before) 15/12
I joined goodreads to keep track of it all, so I realised I well and truly met this goal.

13. Crochet a granny square. – Tick!
2013 was the year that crochet and I finally understood each other. I still struggle with patterns and only have one loop on my needles, but the instant gratification is awesome.

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I’m currently deciding whether to do 14 in 2014 or, as I’m 30 next year, 30 before 30.
Either way 2014 is going to be awesome. I just know it.

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For my mum

My mum is a pretty kickarse lady. (Who would never in a million years call herself kickarse but I’m telling this story the way I remember it)

She left the country before finishing highschool, but once I was born studied at night school to become a teachers assistant and then when she didn’t really want to do that anymore she retrained again in business studies.

She’s a crafty lady who used to sew me swimsuits. Including one pink + frilly number which I believe I hated at the time [i hated pink – go figure!] but looking back must have been bloody difficult and time consuming to make!

I still have dolls she made and pottery she painted, and pottery we made together. And she did teach me to knit although it never quite stuck.

There’s only one way to repay a crafty lady and that’s with crafty love.

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I found some flowers on the Internet, and used the Rhonna iPad app to trace the letters.

I used nail polish to gussy up the frame. And glued a backing to the fabric because I can guarantee that my Nanna, who is a far superior embroiderer than I, will check the back which was not done to her standards.

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I love my mum.

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13 in 2013 update

At the beginning of the year I set myself a list of 13 things that I wanted to do this year. Now that August is finished and there’s only 4 months left in the year I thought that I would do a quick recap and reassess where I’m at.

1. Open my little etsy shop. – Tick!
Sometimes you think you know what you want but then actually when you do it you realise it’s not what you want at all.
I thought I wanted an etsy shop, but almost as soon as I opened it I realised that I didn’t.
I prefer to make things with a specific recipient in mind, rather than for a mass market. So I’ve closed my shop and chalked it up to experience.
Instead I will continue to make things and send them to friends. Even if they’re friends I have never met.

2. Host a giveaway on my blog – Tick!
This was so much fun! And this is where I figured out the I like giving things away more than selling them.
The lesson to be learned is that postage is a killer. In the future small and light will be the way to go.

3. Finish Start the knitting crafting for my Pay It Forward post. – Tick!
Again this was rediculously fun! And it was the beginning of embroidering fabric to go on a frame.
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4. Knit 12 pairs of socks. – 6/12
I’m halfway through this one. I have two pairs of socks on the needles at the moment. One which I like and one which I don’t.
After seeing Jesse’s finished socks from this week I have the sock knitting bug again.

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5. Sew 6 cushions.- 6/6 – Tick!
Woo all 6 cushions are completed! And I have one side of another one. This cushion making lark is fun. (Jazzical if you’re reading this I haven’t forgotten you, this whole buying a house lark is time consuming.)

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6. Write a knitting pattern and post it on Ravelry.
I have started this one yet. I don’t know if I still want to.
Maybe if inspiration strikes I may be able to check this off my list.

7. Post a tutorial or a how-to guide. – Tick!
Seriously making a video was not what I had planned for this. But it turned out to be a really good experience. And now I have youtube subscribers. That’s a weird feeling for someone who only has two knitting videos.

8. Try a new craft, or 2, or 3.
So I tried arm knitting which was interesting.
The jewellery making was something that I had wanted to do for ages. I can definitely see more of that in my future.
Spinning definitely counts as my third new craft. I’m still not too good at it, but I can only improve right?
I recently bought a weaving kit so that’s going to be my fourth new craft so I’ll be interested to see how that goes.

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9. Create an artwork for my apartment – Coming Soon!
This has been done but I haven’t blogged about it yet. I’m now waiting until we get in our new house. Or maybe I’ll show you it and then show you it again in our new house. I haven’t decided yet.

10. Embroider a whole song (lyrics) onto something.
I’m changing the parameters on this one. The intent was to stretch my embroidery skills and do a long project. Well instead of a song I chose a story from Black Books. Embroidery skill level ‘ 3 stitches learnt’ achieved!

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11. Sew a garment from a pattern, and wear it.
I’m going to wait until we’re in a house before I attempt this. If I’ve learnt anything from making 6 cushions this year it’s that I don’t have enough room to cut out cushions let alone a pattern. Since the fish came along this year I have lost my kitchen table.

12. Read a new book every month. (something I haven’t read before) 11/12
This has been fun. I’ve learnt to knit and read at the same time which has helped.
I’m currently half way through a new book so I should well and truly achieve this.

13. Crochet a granny square. – Tick!
I thought that a granny square would be a great way to ease into crochet and it was. I’ve now completed two rugs, many granny squares and a cushion. I’m about to attempt a chevron rug. Wish me luck!

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Because I love my little brother

I made him a cushion.

Because my family don’t understand presents without a reason it’s a “housewarming” present.

Even though he moved into his new place about a year ago.

I love my little brother.
Every so often I will get a text message just with a quote from a TV show we both like.

His text tone is from futurama. “The alien mother ship is in orbit here. If we can hit that bullseye the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Check mate.”

Even that just makes me laugh.
He calls me little sis because I’m only 5’10” and he’s over 6″.
I call him my little brother because he’s 5 years younger.

So I figured the best way to celebrate this relationship is with quotes on a cushion.
One side is from black books “feng shui is nine tenths of the law”.
The other is from doctor who (in case the tardis didn’t give it away).

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My middle brother may not be the TV geek that my little brother and I am, but his two little ones had birthdays last week and I couldn’t let that pass without sending off some knitted gifts.

You can’t really go wrong with a hat and a scarf.

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Now I just need to figure out what to do for Father’s Day!
I’m trying to track down some handkerchiefs to embroider with little success. If all else fails chocolate coated sultanas always go down a treat.

This is another cushion for my 13 in 2013 project.
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A loss, a cold, and some more embroidery

Saturday was both good and bad. I got to see my team live, and hold out the banner for them to run through. But we got absolutely thrashed.
Then with five minutes to go a cheer rang out when another games result went in our favour so we are playing finals for the first time in 5 years!!!
HeWhoFishes has never seen finals-Bek so this could be interesting. It’s like football-Bek but a bit more extreme and with more yelling / crying / drinking.

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Sunday I didn’t go more than 2 meters away from a box of tissues.
With no voice (half football yelling / half cold) I invented a code so the other half knew when I wanted another cup of tea.
It involved throwing things and miming a cup of tea. And was surprisingly effective. I think he still felt bad for bursting out into raucous laughter every time he heard me speak.

I worked a little more on my black books embroidery. And I spent quite a bit of time surfing through Wild Olive.
If you’ve never visited her blog before, she does all sorts of really cool embroidery and makes the most adorable printables. (How cute are these pencils!)
She has taught me how to do french knots, and I now know how to do laisy daisies and chains.

I made an embroidery needle book which now lives next to my scissors and my brand new stitch marker holder (thanks again Keri!).
I also went through and put all of my embroidery floss onto cardboard.
This is about as organised as I am ever going to be!

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It’s amazing the lengths I’ll go to…

To not knit a sleeve.

I just don’t want to do it. DPNs are awkward and fiddly and I need to concentrate on the cables.
As I’m currently waiting to find out if the offer we put in on my dream house was accepted or not, I’m easily distracted.

A cabled jumper sleeve is not the answer.

So I’ve been embroidering and the simple motion of putting the needle into fabric and pulling it out again is calming and relaxing.

I’m not a complicated embroiderer.
I trace things I find (I have a tumblr dedicated to thingstoembroideroncushions) using paper and pencil onto a fabric flat. Sometimes I even trace directly from my laptop.
I then put the fabric in a hoop and back stitch around what I’ve traced. Occasionally I’ll dot the I’s with a French knot but I’m not too good at those yet. Although wild olive has the best instructions I’ve found.
But that’s enough to do what I want to do.

Which is embroider quotes. And this week I’ve been obsessed with black books quotes.

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These are destined to be made into cushions.

I think I need to go over the second one with another colour. It’s not quite visible, but it says “feng shui is 9/10th of the law”.

I’ve also started my most difficult embroidery to date.
But when I found the perfect image on tumblr I just couldn’t resist. Oksoamy drew an awesome illustration for the children’s book that Manny and Bernard write one episode. And so I’ve traced it. (I actually had muscle soreness after doing 5 tracings in one night. Who says crafting isn’t exercise) and am now working my way through all the panels.

(There’s an A3 piece of paper under the fabric if you’re thinking I’m drawing it. I most definitely am not. I also use a pencil because it’s usually all I can find. )

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It’s a hard life, but someone’s got to do it

So the big news is, we’re buying a house!
Well, hopefully.

We’ve found one that we both really like, is in our price range and has ample room for fishing rods and yarn!

We’re putting in the offer today and if everyone crosses their fingers it will be accepted and we’ll both live happily ever after.

I’m not naive enough to think that this will just happen. There’s still mortgages to organise, equity to leverage and a lot of things to work out even before we can consider it a done deal. My previous house buying experience was horrible, complete with smarmy real estate agent, lost paperwork, and months of house hunting. So it can’t be any worse than that.

I don’t want to provide a link to the property in case we do buy it and then the whole Internet has my address, but here’s a little teaser.

I think I could get quite used to this view. It is a very happily situated house.

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I’ve also set to work on a cushion for my youngest brother.
He’s moved into a place with some mates, and it’s definitely lacking some homely touches.

So I’ve done one side, and am still to decide what should be on the other.

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I don’t know what I’m more excited about, a pantry, not hearing children (or pigs) running above us, or that I will have natural light!
I think the natural light wins.

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Pay it Forward presents!!!

When I posted the Pay It Forward challenge a year or so ago I thought it would be easy.
Make something for the first three people to comment on a post. Bonus because only 2 people commented.

What I underestimated was just how difficult finding the right pattern and yarn was going to be.
The two people who commented Keri and Caitlyn are two of my knitting idols.
They were two of the first knitting blogs I followed and introduced me to ravelry, patterns, yarns, and turned me from someone who had just learnt to knit, into a knitter.

The more I thought about how much I admired these two ladies, the more daunted I was to knit for them.

So I procrastinated. And procrastinated some more.
Until it struck me, in the middle of the night I scrambled to check the rules of the pay it forward post.
I didn’t specify it had to be knitted, just hand made. Hurrah!

After that the idea came quickly. Embroidered cushions.

Then I thought about cushions being expensive and difficult to post.
So I thought about glueing some embroidery to a canvas.
I was onto a winner!
Then it was a matter of finding the right quotes.

Keri is the one who held a gun to my head gently persuaded me to finally watch Buffy. So I felt a Buffy quote would be quite apt.

Caitlyn had the domain 25dancer for a reason – she’s a dancer.
And late one night I was watching Black Books with commentary and found a great quote.

And so the plan was complete.

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And some behind the scenes shots.
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And just so no one thinks I’m making these quotes up.

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**** it was only finding evidence of both quote I’ve realised I’ve misquoted both of them!!!! Whoops!!!! And I’ve waited until the recipients have received it to put up this post so it’s well and truly past the point of correction.
Eep!
Consider my hand well and truly slapped!
Note to self – always double check before stitching

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