Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The lovely, busy Lesley is ending her League of Geeks today rather than continuing for another month. Perhaps she's been scared off by the amount of sheer geekiness she's unleashed? So, I'll be squashing my inner geek back into its box at the end of this post.

It occurred to me that there's something inherently geeky about being a crafty sort of person. I mean, look at all the crafty stash we accumulate. I'm only scraping at the edges of my stash to share the following:

I've finally shifted all my stitching charts and all but the biggest kits into their new home, sorted in alphabetical order by designer. Now I can find anything I want in a matter of seconds and can spend hours perusing my collection and dreaming of some unknown time when I might actually approach having stitched most of the designs I have charts for. Sadly, I think I've achieved SABLE here (stash acquired beyond life expectancy). How sad and geeky is that?

Knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn. Knitting was the first craft I ever learnt, followed by crochet. I don't do either so much these days (too impatient for knitting), but can anyone explain why I really need such a large stash of yarn? Or why I keep buying more?

Pincushions - so quick and satisfying to stitch up - what better to collect?

Finally, my geekiest collection - a collection of geeks. Or rather, a collection of Ia(i)n Stewarts. Not just any old Ia(i)n Stewart you might find kicking about on Facebook, but interesting Ia(i)n Stewarts.

Number 1 is my uncle, a retired translator with the RAF.

Number 2 is Ian Stewart, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick and writer. I used to work at the University of Warwick, but I've never met him. At one point, I did go to an evening class with his wife, and my dad does read his books .....

Number 3 is Iain Stewart, Professor of Geosciences Communication at the University of Plymouth and TV presenter. I've never been to Plymouth, never met or had anything to do with him, but he's definately the sexiest on my list!

Until today, that was where my list stopped. However, in googling links for this post, I found this list at Wikipedia which needs further investigation. I think it might be a while before I can persuade my inner geek back to sleep .....

And there's still time if you want to guess how many beads I used in my biscornu and enter my giveaway!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fun with Science and a Geeky Giveaway




This was Alexander's favourite game from the holiday (inspired by Mr Fyde, the science teacher in Captain Underpants). I had to keep a good stock of baking soda and vinegar!

We had Alexander's best friend over for dinner this week and Alexander was demonstrating. The friend was distinctly unimpressed - obviously not a geek then!

We've now got my Dad busy thinking of other simple sciencey experiments for Alexander to do. Apparently, Dad's having great fun with this task! And I've suggested to Alexander that we could grow crystals. However, Alexander seems to be under the impression that crystals mean diamond-type shiny things that are very valuable!

I've actually done some stitching, for a change, over the last few days and have finished off my latest biscornu, designed by me with the blackwork pattern nicked from a book. I call it my Tutti Frutti Biscornu.



This isn't quite what I'd planned for this biscornu as I changed my mind midway. It then became an exercise in crowding on as many beads as I could in the space available using different shapes and sizes of beads. It was fun to do and I do like the end result!

So, for my Geeky Giveaway, how many beads do you think I've used on this biscornu? Leave me a comment with your best guess. I can't give you any clues as I've no idea myself. But if you leave a comment before the end of next Friday (3rd October), I'll send something I've made to the person who makes the closest guess. It won't be the biscornu, but it may well be something I've featured on my blog this year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Geeky Family

In light of the challenge presented by Lesley’s League of Geeks, I thought I’d present my own geeky credentials.

Firstly my parents –

Dad – Science Geek – retired physics teacher
Mum – Exercise Geek – retired PE teacher

My sisters and brother –

Sister J1 – arty sister who would never be sufficiently untrendy to be geeky about anything.
Brother F – Football Geek – PE teacher and soccer coach who lives in Florida.
Sister J2 – Music Geek – professional clarinet player

My husband – Electrical engineering and veggie-growing geek – PhD in Electrical machines, fanatical about growing veggies in back garden and allotment.

And me? I end up feeling a bit like a Geek of all trades (and mistress of none!), having an engineering degree and MSc in IT, and spending as much time as possible working on various crafty things. At work I spend my time translating between plain English and geeky IT speak, and vice versa. And I have one of those really geeky good memories for complete rubbish and a whole load of things I’d rather forget.

I'm the sort of person who chooses popular science books for my Dad's birthday based on what I'd like to read myself, but really don't have the time to concentrate on at the moment. Maybe one day, I'll be able to borrow them all back from him and read them myself. One of my favourite books is Simon Singh's The Code Book. Oh, and I can get really geeky about the Lord of the Rings too.

But now, most importantly, my secret weapon!

Alexander B, age 7
Lego geek, budding science geek and Mythbuster!

So, not only am I the daughter and wife of geeks, as well as having my own geeky credentials, but I would also appear to be the mother of one too. Which, in turn, makes me even geekier as I'm the one who generally tries to answer his questions.

We have fascinating geeky conversations, such as -

Alexander - What is water made of?
Me - Hydrogen and Oxygen
Alexander - Can you buy hydrogen and oxygen?
Me (not sure where this is going) - Ye-ess
Alexander - So can we buy some then and make some water?

While we were away on holiday last month, one evening he asked me how many countries there are in the world. That's not a number I know off the top of my head, but I told him there were several hundred. He then insisted that I name all the countries I knew..... I think I got to about 120 off the top of my head and with the help of the Olympics we made it to nearer 150 the following morning. But I know there are large areas where I missed a lot eg. central Africa, Pacific Ocean......

Over breakfast on Sunday morning, I had to explain the background to the Lord of the Rings and the history of the One Ring in no more than 15 minutes without giving away the entire story as Alexander had seen about 5 minutes of the Two Towers on Saturday evening before deciding it was too scary. I refuse to tell him everything as I insist that he will read the Lord of the Rings himself one day and I can remember how magical it seemed to me when I read it for the first time. However, at the moment, I'm struggling to get him to read Captain Underpants to himself, despite the larger type and short chapters - it's a boy thing (I think).

Oh, and I found this photo when browsing around the Craftzine blog yesterday. I wasn't looking for it, honest!

Mythbusters: Jamie and Adam
Originally uploaded by oddgumi


Friday, September 19, 2008

Reasons to be cheerful

I had a generous visit from the postman earlier this week as he delivered several packages, the best of which was a wonderful PIF gift from Deb. When I signed up for her PIF last year, she fully intended to stitch something for me, but I rather think real life has caught up with us both since then!

I took this photo of all the lovely goodies -

A Just Nan chart and bellpull end, a couple of other cross stitch charts and a needlepoint design as well as several packets of beads and some gorgeous Watercolors floss. It was only later that I realised that I'd missed one of the charts she sent from the photo. Rather than photograph everything again, this seemed somehow appropriate!

French Country Baby Sampler from JBW Designs modelled by a sleeping Iona.

Thank you very very much Deb! What a wonderful, generous gift. I'll definately be stitching up Sweet Dreams for Iona!

This week I signed up for Lesley's League of Geeks! LOL - just a bit of fun! Up to 31 October, we're all competing to see how geeky we can be. Rather than turn this into a marathon blog post (and I seriously mean a blog post 26 miles and 385 yards long), I'll have to refrain from revealing my secret weapon until the start of next week - so much to blog about, so little time!

In the meantime, just how geeky is it to master the art of simultaneous baby feeding and web surfing? Or is that just extremely sad?

I think I've also finished setting up my new template. It's based on a template from Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates which Ann mentioned in her blog earlier this week. I'm really glad she did mention it too as I was spoilt for choice! And I'm just geeky enough to have managed to cobble together a version in Internet Explorer, rather than the Firefox it was originally intended for. I do think that, as there are so many different browsers out there, people should develop stuff that's not limited to only one.

Anyway, gotta go now as Iona's awake and while I may be competent at simultaneous baby feeding and web surfing (as long as DH isn't around) I haven't quite got the hang of simultaneously entertaining a baby and blogging!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Feel like a change of template, so things may look a bit odd around here while I sort it out.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A new species?

While we were away on holiday and I was neglecting my stitching, I knitted up a new monkey to join the menagerie. I think this one must be a new species.

He quickly acquired a range of names - Zero-X3, SpiderMonkey, Captain Monkey ....

Zero-X1 was pleased to welcome him.

Hmmm, think they're getting very friendly .....

Or maybe it's something to do with a certain other, human, monkey .....

However, little did we know that this mild-mannered monkey concealed a secret. And it wasn't long before he revealed his true identity.

Acknowledgements to Dav Pilkey as I've shamelessly copied Captain Underpants. But then, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery after all. Oh, and does anyone else remember Hong Kong Phooey?

Monday, September 08, 2008

I still don't get it

While I was away on holiday my brother persuaded me to sign up for Facebook. I've always been a bit sceptical of that sort of thing as I don't see what I'll get out of it.

Having signed up and set up my profile, I still don't see the point. If I want to keep in touch with my brother or sisters, I can phone or email. I've looked for people I might know and might have found one or two but it looks like most people I know aren't there. So why on earth would I want to use Facebook? Personally, I'd rather blog!

Can anyone enlighten me?

Friday, September 05, 2008


I really didn't mean to disappear like that for a whole month! I just lost the plot for a couple of weeks and had a couple of weeks holiday and the time just flew past! Now I've got so much I need to catch up with!

First of all, a big thank you to Wendy Jo who was my partner in Fair & Square round 8.

She send me these gorgeous squares along with a scissor pocket and quilting tool holder.

I sent her the squares (hexagons really) below along with a little pin cushion and some fabric. I really enjoyed stitching the Gencat freebie which I'll really need to find the time to stitch for myself.

I also owe a thank you to Sally who gave me an award via her blog while I was AWOL! I feel very proud and grateful for the compliment.

We had a wonderful holiday, firstly playing on a beach in the north west of England and then in Scotland. The beach we visited was just wonderful, partly stony and partly sandy. The stones were just beautiful, gorgeous shapes and such a smooth soft texture! We just had to bring a selection home with us.

I didn't do any stitching at all while I was on holiday, but played around with a bit of knitting and crocheting which is still on-going. Although I do have an unfinished biscornu lying around which keeps calling to me.

Before we went away, I'd got myself to the stage (again) of just trying to do too much. I have a long list of pin cushion and biscornu ideas that I was wanting to make up, but it was just getting all too much. So it was time to step back, take a breath and relax. I'll be posting the results over the next week or two.

Since we came home, Iona has been having great fun bouncing around like a mad thing in this.

She is such fun to watch as she bounces around with a broad grin on her face, blowing bubbles and dribbling all over the place at the same time!

We've recently put her onto a lactose free milk following several weeks of constantly dirty mucusy nappies. Hopefully it's a temporary lactose intolerance and nothing more long term.