Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter, followed by Spring

I finished Her Fearful Symmetry on Tuesday night. I really loved it and am rather sad that it seems to take A.N. forever to write books - it's going to be years before the next one!

I also finished knitting my hat, while watching men's and women's Ski Cross on iPlayer. The commentary was somewhat inane - the same commentator kept repeating phrases in the same places on the course. I know they're paid to fill the air with patter, and that the skiers all race down the same course a zillion times, but change it up, dude. I eventually had to put it on mute - I'd heard one too many times that the skiers in the start gate had "adrenaline coursing through their veins."

Anyway, my hat didn't turn out exactly right - I had a lot of trouble keeping the tension in the carried-over yarn and it's scrunched a bit. It's also too big at the top. And looks a lot like I'm wearing a tea cosy on my head. HOT. Yesterday was not a good day for my knitted things - I went to the library to drop off some books and somehow dropped my mittens in the road. They were there when I walked back the other way, but were v. mucky. They've now been washed and are recovering on the radiator in the bathroom.

The in-laws came over yesterday and brought with them some SPRING (also known as daffodils)!! I should really put them outside so they last longer but I'm enjoying them too much in the kitchen. I'll plant them out once they're done. It's pouring again today - I think it might have to be another iPlayer day. Maybe even soup for lunch.

The bulbs in the garden (daffs, some tulips, and various hyacinths) are all starting to poke up from the ground. They won't be flowering for a while, though. These will just have to tide me over.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Book Character, I Miss You

At some point on her blog (and I can't find the post to link to it), author Kristin Cashore wrote about how some of her favorite books involve characters that she feels a physical sense of loss about at the end of the book. At least, I think it was Kristin. There's a possibility that it was Anna of twelve22, or maybe even Valancy-S. Hmm...I read lots of writer-people blogs...

In any case, I started reading the new Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry, yesterday. A character dies at the very beginning. As in, the first word of the book is her name, the second is "died." The book, unsurprisingly, continues. I found myself missing said dead character by the end of the first chapter, a grand total of two pages later. The book is filled with homesickness, an overwhelming sense of longing, and characters who don't ever seem to be able to connect with each other. (I'm only half way through - they may all resolve into happy little pairs at the end but something tells me it won't.)

It also features what I think may be my favorite literary ghost. Yes, even better than Bob The Skull from the Dresden Files.

I remember this same sense of longing from reading The Time Traveller's Wife - I desperately MISSED both of the protagonists as soon as I finished the last page. While Time Traveller felt to me like the whole book was permeated by an overwhelming sadness, Her Fearful Symmetry doesn't feel that way. There's a definite sense of missing the characters, and it takes place in a rather gloomy London, but there is an overwhelming hopeful sense about it.

I'm actually avoiding reading it at the moment - once I pick it up the pages disappear rather quickly and there's not all that much of it left.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week 4 of the quilt-along - it's sandwich time! I had quite a bit of extra batting - they only had it in the wide width (and I've looked online and I was WAY overcharged for it). Grr. Anyway, barring that frustration, I've sandwiched the whole thing tother and pinned it.

I'm slightly worried about the quilting part - I might have to call the Sewing Machine Guru in Bury and see if there's a free-motion foot for my Silver or if I should (a) just suck it up and "stitch in the ditch" or (b) outsource it to a fellow Bury Bach Choir-er (and quilting pro), Jan Chandler.

John was in Waitrose and found this new Kleenex box design. He thought it was so funny he bought it and brought it home to show me. I'll have to ration the tissues - I think it's baaaaaarmy!

James and I made lemon & blueberry cake from the April BBC Good Food - it was pretty easy and is exceedingly yummy. It was perfectly moist with a fair bit of zing from the lemon curd and zest, cut by the sweetness of the sugar in the cake and the icing.

Mmmm...lemony blueberry-y icingy goodness.

No, really, it was good icing. See?

Monday, February 15, 2010

I Love Delia

I've been watching the "Decades of Delia" on iPlayer. We're up to the 90s, and it's riveting. My mom has all of the Delia seasons books, so it's funny seeing The Original versions of recipes that we've been eating for yonks.

Oh, and she lives in Suffolk. Not far from Stowmarket, apparently.

In other cooking news, this was my valentine's day breakfast on Sunday morning. Crassles, coffee, gj and tulips. AND the sun even came out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


After more of my usual madness during the week, yesterday I had time to get caught up on week three of the quilt-along.

I watched two episodes of Glee and an episode of Hairy Bikers on Saturday morning, which resulted in this:

A little more sewing machine time this morning, and the top is finished. WOOT! Week four (quilt sandwich, according to the rumours on the interwebs) here we come!

John was clearing out some old files and came across a bunch of old pictures. Judging by the leaves on the trees, these were taken in Spring '05, right after we got engaged. Awww. We were both looking at this picture and decided that I look REALLY young.

I don't have any pictures of my own from about 2003-2006 - my old mac's hard drive gave up the ghost (and no, it wasn't backed up), so it was fun to find these. I love the one of Rrufus. Standard issue tennis ball, unphotographable black dog, standing in an odd place with a "play with me?!" expression.

Anyway, after the quilting (and finding the pictures), I went to Old Newton to ring a quarter peal. Lots of different methods, which caused the odd small panic (mostly me). We're getting there.

We then all came back to the house, where we had a veggie dinner (with no cheese for John and no mushrooms for Jo), followed by brownies, ice cream, and BOARD GAMES!

First, Carcassonne, which takes on a whole new dimension with 6 players. We didn't use any of the expansion packs, since John and I were the only ones who knew the game. More next time! Then we played Alison's 80's classic: Escape From Atlantis. It's on Board Game Geek, and it's old-school! Finally, we played about a million rounds of Harry Potter Uno, with Lesley's special house rules. They are a definite improvement, in my book.
1. If you play a 0, you can pick a person to switch cards with. Muahaha. 
2. If you have a card that's identical (number AND color) to the one that's just been played, you can ignore any other players and slam your identical card down. You then get a bonus turn and the people who were skipped just have to lump it. Again with the muahaha.
We all turned into pumpkins around midnight. Very entertaining and exceedingly geeky!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I cut my squares and rectangles for the OTRTS quilt along today. Since I had one extra fabric, the lime green has been re-allocated to my stash. I think there could definitely be a v. cute baby quilt to be had from the various leftovers. One of my work/book group buddies is due in July - I should be able to sort something out by then!

Here's a picture of the cut rectangles, along with the instructions on ihavetosay and my super-shiny MacBook Pro of Awesomeness. And my cutting mat which I have temporarily reclaimed from the boys, who have been using it so they don't get paint on the kitchen table when they're building things. Ahem.

It mostly went quite smoothly, except for the "how to get a straight edge" part. According to the instructions:
Make a small cut on one of the cut edges (a 1/4 inch cut about 1/2 inch into your fabric). Then start tearing. This sounds a bit scary, but it won't hurt anything.
I did get a straight line, but it also seemed to leave a wavy edge and some vaguely wonky fabric. Operator failure? Quilters: comments welcome. Anyway, the rectangles seem sufficiently rectangular and the white squares are also ready to go. Monday's instructions will involve actual sewing. Swoon.

BTW, for those of you who've noticed, the new banner is a photo that James took last spring at Snape Maltings.

The book over there is my new ringing book, The Method Ringer's Companion. It's pretty funny - it's written in a conversational style and Steve Coleman has a predictably dry and British sense of humor. John, for some reason, doesn't find it funny and is mysteriously irritated when I read passages out to him while giggling. Harumph.

I was thinking about it when I rang my first QP of Plain Bob Triples (inside!) at Stowmarket last Sunday. ::happy dance:: It was one of the most enjoyable QPs so far - all of the usual suspects in what is technically my home tower. Home is where the blankie is!

Friday, February 5, 2010

But there aren't any more?

I finished reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest last night. I spent most of the last book alternately enjoying it immensely and fretting about the fact that it is The Last One. And There Won't Be Any More. And The Author Is Dead. Apparently there is drama and there are bits of a fourth book which may or may not come out.

In any case, read the trilogy. AWESOME.

Oh, and an update, for those of you who are interested in such things: I have vanquished the leaking toilet. Watch out, world!