Late to the podcast party

I’ve just discovered that I can listen to podcasts at work! Well rather, I’ve discovered Stitcher which means I don’t have to plug my phone into my computer.
This technology has apparently been around for a while because I’ve lost a bit of geek cred thinking this was a new concept.

Pod With No Name is the reason I discovered this ‘new’ technology. The fabulous @sebsharp has been plugging this podcast for ages and for good reason. It was an entertaining half hour of Australian accents and hilarity.

After that I thought about what to listen to next. So I typed in Doctor Who.
I checked out a few different podcasts, giving them a 2 minute chance to impress, but only listened to Doctor Who: Radio Free Skaro all the way through.
I liked the way it felt like I was hanging out with people who talked the way I did and loved doctor who the same way I do.
In real life I only have one person who I can chat with about all things who and that’s my little brother. Who is very awesome but it’s nice to have more than one opinion on things.

(On a side note I am superduper excited to be seeing Doctor Who at the cinema on Saturday night!!!!)

So then I thought I’d see what popped up when I typed in knitting.
There is a heap of knitting podcasts which again I gave the 2 minute test to.
I listened to Jane and Jen knit funny, which was quite entertaining.

And then I found Electric Sheep.
If you haven’t listened to her podcast before I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I have listened to all the back catalogue that stitcher will allow. She has a wicked sense of humour and I have snorted my tea once or twice whilst listening.

I have messaged my boyfriend about a pub next to a yarn store that we need to go when we’re in Europe next year from her recommendation.
I’ve been inspired to make infused gin again. (I have made lavender infused gin before but I don’t think I posted about it, nevertheless it was delicious.)
I have now made a cardigan which she spoke about which was going to be today’s blog post, but I’ve blabbed on about podcasts for long enough already.

My partner got home from work while I was sitting on the couch listening to her Christmas Panto and I was laughing so hard he thought I was broken or drunk or both.

So if you have never listened to a podcast before, or have never listened to Electric Sheep, both have the Beks Stamp of Approval.

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A tale of 4 cowls

My best friend has the misfortune of supporting a football team with terrible colours.
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Its also difficult to find nice options in the predominantly male clothing options (or icky t-shirts) available.
So I was thinking about this and made a drunken yarn purchase.
I found this yarn on etsy and just had to!

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So now I’m trying to find the perfect pattern.

I’ve narrowed it down to the following. Clicking the photo will take you to it’s ravelry page.

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Weeble-wobble cowl.
This has interesting construction and I’m interested to see how it’s made.

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Stratosphere Cowl
This one has an interesting zig zag part but would show off the different colours really well.

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Chevron Sunshine
I’ve not done chevrons before and think that this pattern would also show off the brown & gold nicely.

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Woodstack
I really like the lace on this. It would be a bit of a challenge but I still think its elegant without being too much.

Ultimately the decision will be made by the recipient, but tell me what your favourite is.
Is there a pattern you’d recommend? Is the perfect pattern not in my shortlist?

Arm knitting (or keeping yourself out of trouble for an hour)

And now for something completely different. (But not really. More like a variation on a well blogged theme.)

I was surfing through tumblr the other day (follow me if you like endless reblogs of things I like) and I found the video below of arm knitting.

The concept intrigued me so I decided to try it for myself.

The results were pretty satisfactory.

First I tried using 3 different 8 ply yarns. That looked terrible. Absolutely hideous.
So I finished that off and filed it under ‘big mistake’.

So I found some super bulky 12 ply from my stash and started again.
This time it was a success.

The process is really quite strange for someone used knitting with needles. It was a lot of fun though.
I’d definitely recommend trying it at least once.

It does require an uninterrupted block of time. At least one of your arms will be covered in yarn at any one time!
Even if you’ve never knitted before the instructions are very simple and gratifying.

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etsy love – hungry designs

Every so often I have a conversation with someone who reminds me that I spend a lot of my life on the internet.

A joke about drinking out of mason jars and pintrest weddings fell absolutely flat. Explaining pintrest weddings also fell on confused ears.

The phrase “that would make a great tumblr”, also crashed and burnt.

And because I’ve been excited about my etsy store (which is still coming, but soon), I’ve been talking to people and I’ve been genuinely surprised at the people who just say “huh?”.

And it’s in those moment where I show people my handbag, show them my bracelets, and my necklace, basically show them my etsy purchases which I carry with me all the time.

This delightful brooch is a product of the oh-so-talented Amanda Whitelaw.

Who I followed on instagram (search hungrydesigns), which led to me buying a tote for my friend last Christmas, and then this brooch for myself.

Her designs are whimsical, edgy, sometimes dark, but always witty. And they’re one of a kind.

Her etsy shop has all kinds of delightful illustrations which are made into brooches, postcards, pocket mirrors, and I think I heard a whisper about tea cups.

The tea cups have me particularly excited.

I particularly love this kitchen aid brooch. How cute would this look on an apron!

But this is the brooch that adorns my bag. Since I bought my new camera I’ve been taking it around with me as much as possible, so I’ve turned into a bag person.
I love it! It turns an ordinary Rubi bag into something unique.
I love the whimsy of the baloons. It often distracts me thinking about the places she can go, or has been. All the things she has seen whilst drifting around on baloons.
I wish we could travel by baloon more.

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Pay it forward

While I was reading my morning blogs I came across this post from Keri.

And I think this is just the thing to keep me busy whilst I figure out my health issues.

These rules are from Tara over at The Little Things

Here are the rules if you want to join in:
1. I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me. It will be sent sometime in the next 365 days. It will be a surprise. We all love getting surprises in the mail, right?

2. To sign up and receive a gift, you must play along, too. Pay it Forward on your blog, by promising to make a surprise for the first three people who comment on the post.

3. You must have a blog (that is updated regularly, as I will blog stalk you to find the right gift for you). Include your blog address in your comment. A Ravelry handle could also be very helpful, so add that too please.

4. After commenting here, you must repost this or something similar to your blog in 48 hours. If not, I will choose the next person who comments…Its that simple!! 🙂

I am looking forward to playing this fun game with my fellow bloggers and making something special and handmade just for them

And since I’m in Australia I’m more than happy to ship internationally.

Just another boring weekend

But that was just why I wanted.

I rediscovered Enid Blyton and spent Saturday reading the entire St Clare’s series.
As a result, smashing and cracking as adjectives have crept into my vocabulary.

I also watched this wonderful famous five parody.

I rediscovered tumblr thanks to the new iPhone app. Hello wasted hour’s of looking at doctor who tags.
find me here

I also finished my first item for my etsy store!!!

That’s the really exciting one.
I also failed at making a sponge cake. I turned it out and it was still liquid in the middle even though it was brown on the outside. It got tipped back into the pan and back into the oven. Needless to say it was very flat.
Even the whipped cream on top didn’t whip.
But they say practice makes perfect. I may just try again.

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The versatile blogger award

I was nominated for the versatile blogger award from caity rosey who is a very talented knitter and I always enjoy reading her adventures in knitting. She has a wonderful sense of humour and I always look forward to reading her latest posts.

So I checked out the versatile blogger award website for the instructions.

“When you consider nominating a fellow blogger for the Versatile Blogger Award, consider the quality of the writing, the uniqueness of the subjects covered, the level of love displayed in the words on the virtual page. Or, of course, the quality of the photographs and the level of love displayed in the taking of them.

Honor those bloggers who bring something special to your life whether every day or only now and then.

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.
Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.”

So without further ado here are 15 blogs which I read regularly and enjoy.

1- caity rosey thanks for the award!
2- when did I become a knitter always knits wonderful things
3- not all tea and scones is cooking herself through the CWA cookbook and has been the inspiration for quite a few meals in the Sparkles household
4-her name was Greta is on a bit of a break at the moment, but her blog is still a place I go for inspiration. She always finds the best stuff from around the web. (she also has a new blog which is chock full of pretty things to knit
5- sarahcastically has such a great sense of humour, some awesome tastes in music, and loves sport.
6- from wonderland with love takes the most beautiful photographs. Her blog is always so beautiful.
7-sweet spy necessity makes me want to sew better
8-living apockylypse is a geeky, multicrafter who is always on the go
9- silver sparkly lining bakes cupcakes good enough to eat through a computer screen
10- magical day dream gives me polka-dot envy.
11- wee pleasures another great knitting blog. Anyone that knits cabled socks is a sorcerer to me
12- scathingly brilliant has a gorgeous blog, with gorgeous pink hair.
13- one sheepish girl knits beautiful things also.
14- dots or stripes knits, bakes, and crotchets
15- the hairpin I just love it so, even if it’s not a blog in the strictest sense

And so 7 things about me.
1 I eat lemons. I love the way they finish off a meal.
2 I hate brushing my teeth, but it has to be done.
3 I collect tea pots and tea cups. I just need a bigger house.
4 A good hot cup of tea solves most of life’s ills
5 I have a stubby holder from most events I’ve been to. Festivals, sporting events, gigs, I have a stubby holder.
6 I’m always picking the dirt from underneath my fingernails.
7 My feet are always cold. Always.

Items for sale

Hey guys.

I’ve got a pair of super cute polka doy converse for sale on eBay.

These were a birthday present to myself, but they don’t fit. 😦

So if anyone out there is a UK size 9 (which is 42.5 in other numbers), go and check them out.

I’m devastated that they don’t fit because they are really cute and pretty rare.
So rare I can’t find them in my size.

I was really hoping that my first sale post here was something really awesome that I made myself. But these polka dot converse deserve an awesome home.

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I’m a sucker for a quiz meme

I love an opportunity to talk about books, and this meme is courtesy of sarahcastically

These are the rules, because Myspace surveys always have rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favorite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to pass the Q&A on to: Well if you want to continue it, go forth!

Favorite book cover:

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I know I’ve spoken about this book before, but it’s influence on my life was so profound.
And it really does have a great cover.
It sums up this book so well.

What are you reading right now?
I’m still trying to read the Sweetheart Season by Karen Joy Fowler.
I’ve started it so many times, but each time I get to the end and have no idea what has happened.

Do you have any idea what you’ll read when you’re done with that?
I have a lot of books which need a first read but I’ll probably end up reading Persuasion again. It’s such a comfort book, which starts calling to me in winter.

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
On my shelf I have Game of Thrones by George R Martin, The Red Queen and The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory, The Captive Queen by Alison Weir, and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams, all sitting on my shelf waiting to be read.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
I have a readers digest knitting pattern book. I don’t really buy print magazines much, I prefer to read them on my iPad (love Mollie Makes).
I do have a fishing magazine and some Simpsons comics, but they’re not exactly my taste.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
There’s only about 3 books that I’ve taken back to the second hand bookshop, and none of them I really remember their names.
There was one i think called 20 times a lady, who had made a pact with herself to never sleep with more than 20 men, and when she gets to her 19th she figures she should have found her ‘soulmate’ by now and so hunts them all down.
It’s a flimsy premise, but the narrative style and writing style were horrible. As well as it having a really predictable ending.

What book seemed really popular but you actually hated?
Wuthering Heights. I really didn’t get that.

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
I want to be really profound and say some classic book but Milk Run by Sarah Mlynowski gets recommended the most in real life.
It’s a chick flick waiting to happen.

But seriously everyone should read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – its wonderful.

What are your 3 favorite poems?
I tried to like Walt Whitman in high school. Song of Myself I can still quote parts of. But the only poetry I’ve really read was in Lord of the Rings.

Where do you usually get your books?
I have a second hand book exchange love and hate within walking distance of my house.
But I recently bought my first ebook for my ipad (the latest Sophie Kinsella), which wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be.

Where do you usually read your books?
The couch, in bed, in the sunshine on the banana lounge, at the dinner table, doing the dishes… If I’m in the middle of a book just try and make me out it down, I dare you.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
“Just one more chapter!” And then 5 chapters later, “just one more chapter”, until mum or dad had to put the light out, and I would read under the covers, usually until I tried to fall asleep with a book in my hands (it sounded so romantic in books, but never worked in practice), or I just couldn’t keep my eyes open.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
I read the Deathly Hallows twice in one day when it came out. I read all three of the Hunger Games within a week, and I’ll devour any Sophie Kinsella or Maggie Alderson novels when they come out.

Have you ever “faked” reading a book?
Not really. I’ve faked reading a book before seeing the movie, but I’m always scared someone will ask me how did you like ‘this part of the book the movie left out’.

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Not just because of the cover, but I have hunted a particular version of a book to match a set.

What was your favorite book when you were a child?
Anything by Enid Blyton, particularly the naughtiest girl in the school series, or cherry tree farm series, or the faraway tree series.
Then later Guitar Highway Rose (above) and The Wind Blows Backwards by Mary Downing Hahn

What book changed your life?
I’d say without The Famous Five books my childhood would have been a lot more dull.

What is your favorite passage from a book?
The last line of Northanger Abbey.
That book is so full of wit and catchy one liners.

Who are your top five favorite authors?
1. Jane Austen
2. Enid Blyton
3. Sophie Kinsella
4. Maggie Alderson
5. Lauren Weisberger

What book has no one heard about but should read?
Milk Run.
Why it’s not a movie already I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve been reading and re-reading it since I was in high school I overrate it, but I still relate to it and keep finding that it strikes that balance between funny, and romantic.
It would make a great chick flick.

What are your favorite books by a first-time author?
Is this debut novels? I don’t know.

What 3 books are you an “evangelist” for?
I think everyone should read Anne of Green Gables. It’s such a wonderful series, and I’m always sad when I meet someone who has only read the first one, or hasn’t even read that. So everyone should read Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island.
You don’t get the full Anne and Gilbert story otherwise.
And the read Rilla because it’s so full of romance against a hideous backdrop.

What is your favorite classic book?
I think I’ve mentioned two of the 6 Austen’s by name, but Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey are special friends.
Pride & Prejudice because everyone needs some Darcy in their life.
Sense and Sensibility, I swing back and forth who to relate to.
Mansfield Park gets a little squicky and as for Emma, I’d rather watch Clueless.

5 other notable mentions?
1. Mad About The Boy – Maggie Alderson, I still remember reading the first chapter in the book store and laughing hysterically. This started me on the Maggie bandwagon
2. Twenties Girl – Sophie Kinsella, I know I’ve mentioned Sophie before but I never really read the shopaholic series. But I have got 4 of her others, and I think this is my favourite. It really made me laugh, and reminds me of holidays.
3. Chasing Harry Winston – Lauren Wiesberger. It has a chapter title ‘panties is a vile word’
4. Ethel Turner – Seven Little Australians. It’s an Australian classic and one of the first books to make me cry
5. The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory. Apparently it’s the most fictionalised of the Tudor novels, but I like the story and it’s got me more interested in historical fiction, which I never was previously. But mostly I like the story, even if it isn’t true to history.

Well that’s a bit of a walk through my bookshelf. It’s been pretty culled over the years and it’s not as diverse as I would like, but I do tend to gravitate towards easy reads. And I do love a good romance story.

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The polka-dots remind me of sunshine.

I made another hairpin skirt.
This time with a sewing machine and with more material.

I adore it!

I used more material than last time to make it really gathered. I also made it even longer as I’m sick and tired of skirts that I can’t bend over in. This skirt design is so super easy it took me less than an hour. Three seams, some elastic and you’re done.
And top tip, the polka dots mean that it’s really easy to see where you’re cutting. I measured everything in polka-dots!

I want to twirl around and sing songs to woodland creatures.
(Maybe it’s because of my new The Little Mermaid iphone case that I’m thinking disney. I’m so supercool.)

I may even attempt to take some decent outfit photos for this one (instead of hiding out in the work bathrooms). Now that’s me stepping outside of my comfort zone.

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