Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Petal: from Russia with love

It all started on Pinterest here and here. You can see more pics in here gallery here, but this is my absolute favourite.

Aren't they completely adorable? I love dragons, so I just had to track down a pattern to make my very own. And I landed on this!

See that? There's a pattern!, Downside - it's in Russian and my knowledge of Russian is absolutely zilch!

But I didn't let that stop me - the Russian translation was actually rather fun! (And how geeky is that? Well, problem solving is something I do a lot of at work.) I picked up a translation of Russian crochet terms from a couple of sites online (which I can't find any more), then I used an online Russian keyboard to type in various mysterious bits of text and copy them across to Google Translate to get an English version. Luckily, the original pattern's in a fairly standard layout and uses Arabic numbers so it wasn't too hard. Anyway, all I wanted was enough of a pattern to at least get a rough method to work on.

But I'm so delighted with how Petal's worked out!

I can see you!

Some of the translations were a bit odd - Alexander really wanted to see me put the 'handles' on (arms/hands). And I still haven't worked out what it means by 'One eyelet knit head 5 dc' - I think it's a nostril!

Or is this my best side?

I already have plans for more dragons and once I've fine tuned the pattern a bit (Petal has a slight problem keeping her balance!), I'll write it up for sharing!



To all those who've offered me positive words and encouragement over the last couple of weeks - Thank you so so much. It really is appreciated and I certainly don't feel quite so isolated and invisible for now.

Ideally, I would like to make you all a little Petal to send you, but speaking from experience, that would probably take me until the middle of next year and I'd never want to look at a dragon again - not sure how constructive that would be!

But I just want you to know that I really do appreciate every word.

Petal says thanks too!

Monday, November 21, 2011

iPod or not?

A quick poll!

I suspect my iPod touch (2nd gen) may be coming to the end of it's life. It frequently goes mad and rapidly switches itself between on and off (standby really) and back again many many times regardless of whether I'm using it or not. At times this can make it almost unusable and it's also having a knock-on effect on the battery. The standby button doesn't work any more either.

I've done a bit of digging online but not found anything relating to this particular problem. However I've been disappointed with comments I've seen around the life of Apple devices. Hence I'm starting to think mine may be on the way out.

I do love my iPod and I use it all the time. I use it as much for reading text as I do for listening to music, and also for Internet and blog reading.

But it seems to me it's rather expensive if it's only going to last around 2.5 years. So if I'm going to replace it, then what with?

So if anyone reading this can tell me how long they'd expect an iPod touch to last, could you let me know? Also any thoughts on alternatives? I know Samsung have one, but how well do Samsung devices last?

Or should I just get used to buying a new iPod every 2 to 3 years? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?

Any thoughts will be very interesting! Thanks!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The invisible woman

Firstly, thanks everybody for all the lovely comments on my last post! I’m glad you like Cedric and Celebi as much as I do!

I don’t want to moan (but sometimes maybe I should more?) and complain about how depressed I am. This blog is supposed to be about doing crafty stuff, not about me navel gazing and feeling sorry for myself. But sometimes there are too many thoughts whizzing around in my head and today I just want to get some of them out into the open to try and make sense of them.

At work, I often feel like the work I do is invisible, as am I. There are times when I can be actively involved in new IT developments, in thinking about what we do and how we should do it. And I love that bit. But too much of the time, I get dragged off to work on urgent tasks to ‘keep the lights on’ metaphorically speaking, to make sure everybody gets paid the right amount at the right time. And because payroll never falls over completely and disaster doesn’t strike, nobody ever notices the amount of effort it takes to get there.

And at home, I put all the love and effort I can into caring for my children, so that they can have the opportunity to do anything they choose with their lives. And when my DH comes home from work in a foul mood and short tempered with everybody, I do everything I can not to let his unkind words hurt us and make sure the children can stay happy and child-like.

When Iona has a bit of a tantrum or can’t talk about what’s bothering her for crying, it’s not that she’s doing it deliberately (well, not usually anyway) because she thinks that’s how to get what she wants, it’s just that she’s only 3 years old and still learning to talk to people about what she wants or likes or doesn’t like, and is still learning to negotiate. And staying calm and supportive and encouraging her to calm down and talk is not teaching her that crying is the answer.

And when Niamh does the silly things that toddlers do or won’t leave daddy alone with whatever he’s trying to do, it’s not that she’s deliberately misbehaving – she doesn’t know what misbehaving means yet. She just needs someone to be calm and supportive and to talk to her or distract her.

And getting cross with Alexander won’t encourage him to talk to you or share anything that’s bothering him and could end up completely alienating him.

And I feel like the effort I put in there is kind of invisible too as, to the children, that’s just what their mum is like, so it’s not worthy of anything special. And I can’t tell my DH these things as he’s almost impossible to have a conversation with these days.

But I love love love making things! Some days, it’s the one thing that keeps me going, that makes me feel alive. Usually there isn’t as much time as I’d like, but I can live with that. It’s the days when there isn’t any time at all that are hard.

And blogging seems to be the only way I can share my love of making things, but sometimes that feels invisible too. I think blogging culture has changed a bit over the years – people don’t comment as much as they used to – probably at least partly because to the sheer number of blogs out there! But also I think, because of feed readers which don’t present you with the opportunity to comment quite so readily – it’s just a few clicks more further away and just not so quick or convenient. And I know I’m especially bad at it these days too, for reasons that would take up a whole new blog post!

However, I would love it if you’d just stop by and say hello as you’re passing – then I won’t feel quite so invisible.

Friday, November 11, 2011

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question

Not sure whether I feel like blogging today or not, but here goes anyway. I want to share a couple of finishes, but just don't feel like saying much.

So let me introduce you to Cedric ......

(I made up the design myself, but he's based on photos I've seen around the 'net. He'll be going to one of my nephews for Christmas.)

....... and Celebi!


I'm a real softie when it comes to my kids - I said I was making Celebi for Alexander's Christmas or birthday (in 2 weeks), but when he came home from being away on a school trip for a week, and asked (not expecting a positive answer) whether I'd made Celebi yet, I couldn't lie! But I'm grateful to Alexander for helping motivate me to finish him - I was finding all the small fiddly bits rather frustrating.

Celebi's very cute and Alexander is very pleased with him. Celebi has even inspired Alexander to a bit of crafting himself as he had to make Celebi a sleeping bag for his bed!

Celebi is based on this pattern, although I went my own way a bit with some bits, like the feet and wings, and I kept changing between a 3mm and 2.5mm crochet hook.

Since I finished these two, I've been sewing up my monkey, I've started crocheting something for Niamh's Christmas, and I've been having a bit of fun (and yes, I do mean fun!) with a spot of Russian translation!

As for not blogging much, I'm starting to feel like depression probably plays a much bigger part in my life than I realised, and when I feel depressed, I know I turn in on myself  and avoid sharing things with other people, so hence I don't blog either.

And on another frustrating topic - I still can't comment on Blogger blogs!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Technological breakdown

In order of priority –
  1. The head gasket on my car went 2 weeks ago and I’ve been without my car ever since.
  2. My iPod keeps switching itself off and on constantly without any interference from me and is now almost unusable.
  3. When I try to restore the settings on my iPod via my laptop, the laptop can’t cope as it doesn’t have enough hard disk space, despite my deleting or moving everything I think I can get away without. How much space does iTunes need???? (I stayed up until 12.30 last night trying vainly to sort it out – now I need some sleep!)
  4. I really need to get a wireless router!
  5. The laptop also only has 256MB RAM, so it’s not the fastest.
  6. Our TV is on its last legs – needs a good thump whenever it’s switched on.
  7. The DVD player has decided to stop working.
  8. The video recorder (part of the same piece of equipment as the DVD player) hasn’t worked ever since Iona fed it some coins.
  9. I can’t find my mobile phone (again). It’ll be lying around somewhere with a flat battery, should turn up …… eventually.