Skyscrapers and String


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the marbles category.

Poppy time!

Hello everyone,

I hope you have lots of happy plans for the weekend! I am on the tail end of a massive hangover from Thursday night; my old boss left and he and I are known to egg each other on and I always end up very much worse from wear on wine which I don’t normally drink much of.

The leaving do was funny, such is the climate at the place where I work there were 8 people leaving from the same department on the same day.

Even though I rested up, and relied on many cups of sweet tea and chocolate for breakfast, I was fit for very little.

Thursday was super. knitting club gathered to show the poppies we have made for sale for Help For Heroes.

Here you can see just some of the poppies we’ve made this year:

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Here you can see one of the tiny crochet poppies, this year, small is definitely the vogue, all the tiny poppies have been snapped up.

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Last year Knitting Club made £860 for Help for Heroes, this year we plan to beat that total! We also get matched funding from our firm, so it does add up.

This week also has been fun on the knitting front, I’ve done the first few rows of my autumn poncho:

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It has taken me literally years to find suitable yarn. I am loving how it is turning out already!

Also, Amber spotted that “Cats” is back on in London at the Palladium which Jon has been very keen to go to (handily near Liberty and John Lewis for pre show wool browsing..) so that meant he and Amber spent Monday and Tuesday night searching for tickets online. We found three seats together in the good rows in February after about 7 hours of researching on the theatre booking page. Good luck with that one if you have a mind to go.

My brown Colinette mitts are finished, I managed to get these sweet cabled beauties off the needles yesterday, and sewn up during many episodes of TV, one good thing about a hangover lol!

I was delighted how two long mitts came off one tiny skein, I thought that was great value as they cost £2 each at Ally Pally. I think everyone who went to the show bought some of those, I would love to see what everyone does with their mini skeins! I’ll get some good pictures once we have daylight.

Last weekend I went to visit my Mum who is in a home as she has bad dementia. It was nice to see her. She was smiling and happy, and was pleased to see me.

What a terrifying place though. I was sitting there, Mum had a doll on her lap, and she was tending to it, people with slack faces were shuffling round like zombies and there was a constant backdrop of screaming.

Mum chattered constantly, she doesn’t make much sense, and now she is losing the ability to even use regular words, so the phrases would contain random syllables joined together.

Today is going to be exciting, I am meeting my friend Lesley and we’re heading for Loop. Lesley has this year become proficient in crochet and she requested we visit my favourite shop on earth to buy wool. Once I have finished writing I am going to try to sort mine as I swapped the money I paid for my friend Mary’s ticket to Ally Pally for some red heart shimmer yarn from Deramores. I think I have a bit too much wool now in fact. But it is beautiful!

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Dilemma: Book or Knitting?

Hello all!

Putting the kitchen to rights on Sunday, whilst Jon and Amber went out together for a jaunt, and also unpacking the shopping and catching up on the laundry was a tall order, but I took plenty of rest stops after 15 minutes of working, this way I got it done then was able to go out to the gym for a long swim.

Once home, I put dinner on, then basically I could relax. But in previous times, I would have gone overboard, tired myself out, missed my swim, and then been angry and irritated with my family as I would have been resentful that I had to do all this work by myself.

Thanks to Flylady, if you sign up to her website, you learn how to declutter and clean in baby steps, then when you remodel your house, and you have workmen in, there is no embarrassing mess, and thanks to constantly being aware of the state of your cupboards and removing unwanted items, when they’re finished working for you, you can put it all back in a reasonable fashion.

One comedy item I discovered, despite two years of “Flying” was a bulging bag full of “good” carrier bags. This made me laugh to think why I’d kept them!

Another thing Flylady has taught me, is to learn to love myself. It has taken a long time, and it is certainly one of the hardest lessons. I am gradually learning discipline, and doing things to please myself, and I am less anxious, and more content all round.

Today at work, I got really annoyed and frustrated about something quite trivial, and I mulled over it on the journey home, then when I got in and started dinner, I laughed because I realised I couldn’t remember the last time I felt annoyance! Which, for someone like me, with low frustration tolerance and anger issues, shows you quite how far I have progressed.

When I tried my marbles experiment, one of the things on my “must do more of” list was reading. I am proud to say I have read a whole novel each month for the last few months! At the moment, I am reading “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, again. I am enjoying my reading so much I am facing a real dilemma about deciding between book and knitting. So I am doing both, usually knitting on the train heading to work whilst I have a seat, then reading whilst standing on the end part of my commute. This is a very enjoyable balance!

After putting dinner on I planted some mint outdoors in my window box. Very satisfying!

We still have the tumble dryer in the living room, it makes a frightful racket but I don’t mind, because I know Jon will prioritise sorting out the cupboard where it belongs more quickly than otherwise!

It is Knitting Club tomorrow, we’ll be planning our Jaunt to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally in October! I still haven’t used all the wool I bought last time lol! Is there any hope for me?

I hope you’ve had a jolly week, my world is very contented, and as Flylady says, I’m heading for bed at a decent hour. My sink is shiny too. Woozle doesn’t mind the dryer, she likes to view the world from on high! And it’s warm!

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Knitting Ambitions

Hello everyone!

So nice to feel better after ghastly germs.

This year so far has been a real learning process. Coming to terms with losing my Grandad, learning to sort out the stuff cluttering my home and my mind, and building new routines to gently bolster my world so I can live happily and productively.

You often hear it said that life is a journey, and my take on this is that it is a bit more like an obstacle course, and you have to look after yourself well, and recognise who and what is holding you back if you are going to make it across without getting horribly stuck.

I have observed that people who take care of themselves well work hard at it, and have discipline and they make extra effort and do additional tasks in their routines to make sure they get a consistently good result. They do not get sidetracked by other things and they put themselves first.

Funnily enough, some of the people who have taught me have been complete strangers I have just observed. For example, I am the kind of person who takes an hour and a half to get out the door in the morning, however even though I have lots of time, I still leave the house with wet hair tied into a ponytail. This cannot continue. On the train recently, I saw a very pretty girl in her twenties, fully made up with fabulous hair, wearing a gorgeous dress and flat sandals. As she sat applying yet more eyeliner to her already fabulous face, I thought to myself, this is ridiculous, why am I sitting here with scraped back hair?

If someone needs something doing, I’ll immediately become distracted and spend time and effort I don’t have into thinking how to fix it. Who else does this? It’s crazy! I love to do nice things for others however I am getting lost in it. I have spent the last week stepping over a skirt I was thinking I could give to someone, because its too nice to take to the charity shop. I need to stop being a people pleaser and please myself by getting the right things done for me instead.

Take my knitting. I spend a vast amount of time knitting. You would think I was entered into some kind of Oscar nomination for the amount of knitting turned out in one lifetime. What has that done for me? Well, I can confess here, that I think knitting has been a comfort activity, in the same way as other people drink too much or whatever to comfort themselves. Yes, I have learned loads, and now I am quite good at it, but seriously, my house is now full of knitted goods, and I have acquired enough yarn to keep me going for several years, you could argue I have enough materials to withstand a substantial siege. I need to diversify back into real life. I will still knit but not as a from dusk till dawn continuous activity.

But now I feel better than I did. I can do better for myself.

My marbles in a jar exercise has been a great learning tool. Since I made my list of points and filled my jar, I have learned another important lesson. It’s not so much the accumulation of marbles earned, it’s the remembering of all the different extra jobs I am trying to install as habits. I am trying to improve my daily habits so I achieve my goals and live in the way I want to live. It’s the discipline to order my time so I take care of me properly.

I think a post it note in the bathroom will help me remember to floss. The rest of the daily jobs will need grit to become properly installed as habits. All I can say is, “Watch this space”.

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Multi tasking and Marbles

Hello all!

The weather here is spectacular! Unfortunately, as the mercury rises in my Nannies thermometer, the pollen count goes up, and last night I sneezed and snuffled all night long! Jon has promised to mow the lawn today as it is like a meadow.

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The irony of relationships: the more one person tries to get their act together, the more it highlights the other’s lack of tactical planning.

I need to learn from Jon and put myself first more, trying to do the right thing exclusively for the family just leaves me feeling in last place. I tried this yesterday, the chores took a bit longer than planned, and I thought about getting it all done and leaving out the swimming. Then I wised up, and put my shoes on and headed to the pool.

This is how you end up in a mess isn’t it. Trying to please other people, when the sacrifices you make for them count for very little. My family love me just as much with me swimming as if I’d stayed in. The neglect of my fitness for the housework I would have done would have not been noticed and I would have suffered for it.

I am missing my marble jar, it is full up and I need to empty it and start again. I am going to treat myself to a new Chanel lipstick, shade 53 which is a fab rose pink colour.

Knitting non stop for the second day, on the needles is Sarah’s tea cosy. I picked colours to go with her jazzy kitchen and it didn’t go right first off. This colour way I am knitting now uses mid tones, and the clashes of brightness mute the overall effect. Here you can see the tea cosy in progress:

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The acid green/ yellow and the grey and turquoise look kind of retro I think. It will be finished soon.

Anyhow, the theme of what I wanted to talk to you about today is organisation, and I have waffled on about anything but so far, it’s the hay fever muddling my mind and making me complain about Jon and the garden lol.

After the purge of magazines recently, and the exhaustive sorting of yarn last weekend, and all week pondering on how to tackle everything has led me to a very startling conclusion, which probably will surprise no one. Even I think I have been a bit dumb lol.

I think, erm, I need to finish my current WIPs and then, drum roll, just do one project at a time.

The time when my knitting is not suitable for the train, I shall read a book on the train. I have been awarding myself with marbles for reading as I always knit on the train, hence the multiple projects on the go at once stops me reading as much as I’d like as there is always something portable on the needles.

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Here you can see, Rowan 54 has arrived. I have made myself annoyed with subscribing to Rowan, the ugly lumpy square garments in unflattering shapes, the peepholes in embarrassing places, the drop sleeves, the rotten finishing.

After breakfast I am going to have a good look, and I’ll let you know if it is any good. Despite my vastly expensive and loyal subscription to Rowan, I have vowed if its no good this time, I will not renew my subscription. Let’s See if they’ve listened.


Friday Finishing!

Hello everyone!

It’s Friday and I have the house to myself. You can’t hear a single thing. My cat is sitting next to me on a cushion of its own.

I have just finished the blue squares scarf, am on a mission to finish things after discovering I have so many project ready to start last weekend!

The colours in this scarf are hypnotic. I plan to take the remains on holiday with me to make a sideways knitted stripy shawl. I have some more skeins of the same yarn in white, so it will look jaunty and nautical, hopefully!

Here are some pictures, please note the scarf still needs blocking:

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Today I plan to start by taking a long bath, then I shall whizz round the house cleaning and tidying (which won’t take too long) and then I am going to look at Sarah’s tea cosy, which I plan to finish this weekend.

The weather is supposed to be scorching this weekend, it will be nice to have some sunshine!

Next week I am going to see a Naturopath, which is quite exciting and glamorous. Their office is in central London near Oxford Circus, apparently they look at your eyes and tongue and so on and can advise on how to get into best shape through what you eat and drink. It is a special deal through my work, who are very good, sponsoring Knitting Club, offering Bikram yoga, wonderful massages and talks on avoiding stress etc. during your lunch break.

A friend has recently converted to goats milk after finding out they couldn’t tolerate regular milk and is glowing with health. It makes me feel all Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow and diva- ish thinking I’ll be able to go all faddy about food, wear Birkenstocks, and say “please, no bacon sandwiches for me, can I have a beetroot and celery juice with some alfalfa sprouts”. As if.

I am only going out of curiosity. Plus Jon is coming to meet me after and we’re going for dinner.

In order be able to go, you have to send a copy of any recent blood tests, and fill in a food diary. I even had to say which make of cod liver oil I take. I did confess that I only take it when I remember to. Writing a food diary is quite funny, when you eat completely randomly, as I do lol.

I hope you all have a jolly day! If anything interesting happens, I will report back!


Is This Full?

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Fire Drill!

Hello everyone!

I had such a wonderful time dancing to the Black Crowes playing yesterday at Hard Rock Calling I broke my holiday sandals. Lunchtime, I managed to find some new ones, I think these will be better than the others.

Isn’t it funny how that happens in life! You try to do the right thing, have it go wrong, and then what easily comes to you in place of what you wanted is superior by far.

Thinking back to those various days where my life changed I can see there was a momentum to the fate I couldn’t have avoided.

It all works out for the best.

Following a referral from another blog, I have started to read a book recently called “Get Your S*% Together”, and in all honesty I really needed to hear the tough love message from the book.

In a recent post I wrote about relationships, and how two people can lead each other astray, and in my life, I am surrounded by kind people who just want to see me hapy, so I am quite indulged and spoilt.

Sometimes you need a fire drill to put your plans into action and get in gear!

So this evening, I am looking at my knitting stash, my patterns, and having a think about how to get going on all my myriad projects.

After the gym though, I am sweltering on a packed train heading towards a workout. Go me!


Deep Stash!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a jolly day and enjoying the weekend! I am pleased to report that my deep depression of recent months has completely gone, following the miserable weekend two weeks ago. I don’t know if it was a kind of cathartic experience, the weather improving, my holiday approaching, or whether it was knowing my dear friend Ali would always stand by me, her wise counsel or a combination of all these things.

I know that my mood is helped by becoming more organised, and I demonstrated my marble jar yesterday. I am adding another item to my marble list – for delegation, as I feel I should pat myself on the back for getting help with these jobs when I can.

Jon is at work today, and Amber and I are rattling about in the house together. Dear Woozle is looking better by the day, her abscess has healed, all the horrid scabs have fallen away and her skin is pink underneath and very healthy looking. It is a shame her little head is shaved, she looks like Sinead O Connor.

Anyhow, on the subject of organisation, today I have girded my loins and following a fabulous sausage sandwich brunch I have dived into the yarn boxes on top of my bookcase.

Here is my bookcase, it is rammed with knitting books.

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The oldest one is Kaffe Fassett, “Glorious Knitting” which is inscribed inside as it was a prize for classics when I was at school. I saw Kaffe speak, when I was about 20 years old, he has been my muse for my entire adult life. I would love one of his white paintings, he loves still lifes, the same as me, and his handling of colour and texture is marvellous. If you click here you can see some of his work.

My yarn boxes are all empty, and my yarn is all over the bed and I am sorting it out. As usual, I am intrigued with the bag of odd bits of yarn, the leftovers, the weird colours and mismatched textures. Why do I bother being serious and buying 600g of decent hand dyed yarn to make a project? I should just head to a charity shop and buy whatever old oddments of acrylic they have left and get all inspired and fizzy like I am now.

Ridiculous!

Anyhow, I am in the middle of sorting it all now, so I will run back upstairs and finish. I have found my little bag of knitting in beads that I’d lost, also, my other set of sock needles. And a completed tapestry of some flamenco dancers. I am the naffest person who ever lived.

Also I am quite ashamed at how much wool I have accrued. I was seriously planning to buy some more yarn this weekend. Aargh!

I will report back to you when I am done.

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Marbles In A Jar – Progress!

Hello all!

I wrote a while back about my marble motivation idea.

Since then, I have been observing my progress, and wanted to report back to you my findings.

The jar has been operational since June 9th, so that’s nearly 20 days.

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My points list has been motivational for some items but not at all for others. I was wondering what I could do to improve my performance, and think to see if there are any other categories I could include that I might have overlooked.

I have racked up points for cleaning the kitchen before bed, walking to the station, flossing, reading, going to the gym and weighing myself. Some of the categories have happened just the once in 3 weeks, and this is to be expected, you would not clean your windows as often as you floss.

The categories I have failed to do once are:

  • meditating
  • museum trip
  • run
  • sew up some knitting (I haven’t finished anything)
  • under budget
  • walk home

I don’t think this is too bad seeing as I had 27 items on my list. It is quite complicated to make the budget thing work, I need to think on this more, also I’ve been planning a museum trip but I can’t fit it in until August due to a busy schedule. I am having a birthday BBQ for Amber, so that takes priority.

So very pleased with the extra motivation resulting in my noticeable improvements in daily (almost!) walking to the station, flossing, reading, phoning the people I love and cleaning the kitchen before bedtime.

The marbles definitely were sufficient to make me remind myself I need to do things because they make me happy and to make sure I prioritised myself, made the time and put in the effort. I have read two whole books!

I was thinking about adding some categories:

  • not eating sweets
  • BBQ
  • blow drying my hair
  • tidying round
  • packing bag the night before
  • eating sufficient greens at dinner
  • cooking a new recipe
  • house improvements
  • paying off extra on the mortgage
  • eating fruit on weekend
  • bathing the cat
  • crafting (ie non-knitting)

The other lesson I learned yesterday, which surprised me but made me very pleased to have gotten to the root of it, was that I don’t always spend my time producing what I am supposed to do.

In work, my colleague gave me an overview of his work, it was like, during the week my role involves these tasks and I spend x hours doing this; and I wrote my equivalent list out. I was a bit shocked at how much time I spend just trying to find things out, and how so much research has deflected my prioritisation skills, or lack of. I am still musing on how to solve this one, and will report back once I have made sense of my ideas – I feel like Winnie the Pooh as I am having a deep think right now….or could my problem be just that, I simply think too much.


Motivation, and Marbles in a Jar

Hello all!

I hope you’re having a jolly weekend so far!

Yesterday I had amazing luck, I went into Monsoon with Amber after our Hummingbird Bakery cake-fest and she tried on her Birthday Dress (the yellow one I showed you earlier this week) and it was perfect. So pleased that is done, buying for fashionista teenagers is not an easy task.

Whilst Amber was trying the dress on, I mooched round the shop and found half a dozen dresses, and joined her in the changing room. To my surprise, and this never happens in real life does it, all bar one looked fantastic! As they were all holiday dresses, and this week was a bit blah! I thought ok, I’ll splurge. So I did. It was blissful!

Anyway, back to motivational stuff. I got the idea of the marbles and jar, as usual from the Flylady website.

One of the fly ladies posted that she motivates herself by putting a marble in a jar each time she does a chore, and when the jar is full, she treats herself. I liked this idea greatly. When I pondered on it however, I could see a bit of a problem. In the morning before work, I do a good dozen jobs each day, and also at night the same. I am quite good at being a Flybaby after a year of practice, my wings are flapping, definitely, and my sink is shiny. The jar would fill up in a couple of days!

After a good think, in Winnie the Pooh fashion, I decided this useful strategy would be best applied to encourage me to do those jobs I put off, dislike, shirk and forget. Such as ringing people I like. I am phone phobic. When I have the house to myself I potter about. When the house is full, I dislike calling up as I dislike being overheard.

For each item listed below each has a similarly nagging and procrastinating quality, I won’t bore you, obviously everyone understands why I dislike flossing and window cleaning, right? Some items are to be actively encouraged, they get two marbles each (in brackets after).

Reading is on there, because I never prioritise it, and I wish to be more focussed on what is good for me as a person, and I hope it will encourage me to read regularly. When I mean read, I don’t mean look at pictures in knitting books, which I excel at, right, it has to be a proper book with words and a story…

There are a good twenty odd things on my list:

  1. Make a packed lunch
  2. Read
  3. Karaoke
  4. Sew up some knitting
  5. Using up stash yarn
  6. Go to Pets at Home
  7. Clean kitchen at bedtime
  8. Charity shop some stuff
  9. eBay something
  10. Zone clean
  11. Finish month under budget
  12. Museum trip
  13. Meditation
  14. Weigh self
  15. Walk to station
  16. Walk home (2)
  17. Windows (2)
  18. Floors
  19. Gardening
  20. Gym
  21. Gym after work (2)
  22. Ring Aunties
  23. Ring Ali
  24. Floss
  25. Weights
  26. Run (2)

I have a defined list of luxury prizes, which includes new knitting books, buy wool for a project, go to Cay Tre for dinner, treat self to a Chanel lipstick, etc.

At the moment I am doing reasonably well, look!

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