Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Mishmash of Photos & Missing Summer Already

I have a lot of love for Autumn and Winter, don't get me wrong! - they are magical and awesome, and the low sunlight is pretty much my favourite thing ever. I honestly do get excited when the first leaves start turning orange and falling, but turning your heating on for the first time and seeing the sun set earlier and earlier... I can't help missing summer a little bit. Not to be disloyal to my much loved Autumn - I love you, Autumn, I really do! I take all my best photos in Autumn! - but you just don't agree with my circulation. (I'm making heavy usage of my winter mitts right now, they were a very excellent idea.)

Anyway, I promised months ago I'd post the rest of my photos from my holiday in France, so here they are. I have been going through them and feeling nostalgic for actual warmth, tucked away in my slanket. 


St Paul de Vence




Taken by my dad. I'm on the right! I was a bit too excited to be in Cannes.
Maybe one day I'll even be able to come back during the film festival! I can
but dream..

Goodbye summer, see you in nine months! Until then, hooray for gorgeous, orange light, slankets,  hot chocolate, knitwear, and dreading the gas bill! 

alice xox

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Toy Thursday: Slinkachu & Little People

One of my favourite photographers is Slinkachu, whose book Little People was given to me by my godmother for my birthday years ago. He sets up these magnificent scenes using miniatures usually used for model train dioramas, and take the most amazing macro shots of them. They're the most bizarre, excellent mixture of adorable and tragic and hilarious, and if you haven't you should definitely take a look.

In the move to our new flat, I was sorting through all my books, deciding which to take and which to leave, and came across Little People again. (I took it with me, of course! Happily wedged between Blythe Style and The Art of The Hobbit. Our bookshelf is a thing of great beauty.) It reminded me of my brief attempts at miniature photography a few years ago, following a productive trip to Model Zone where I bought an excessive amount of unpainted models (assuring myself I would actually paint them, which turned out to be overly optimistic. I only ever painted this one, I think.)

Follow me, boys!


I'd completely forgotten about these photos, but I rather like them, they're quite strange and surreal. I think I will dig some of these out, paint them, and give miniature photography another go. I have so many unpainted miniatures! (It's a problem both Gavin and I have, although he has considerably more than me, and they're mostly of the Games Workshop variety. You can click to see my latest GW painting adventure here! I am completely in love with their Lord of the Rings line of models. Beautiful!)

121/366 The Book Thief

Some of our unpainted models have even featured in my 366, in a photo I actually really quite like. Poor things need some love, and some paint...!

And now I've said it on the internet, I have no excuse! Watch this space. ;)

alice xox

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

How To Make Crochet Jar Covers

So, a little while ago I mentioned I was addicted to making little crochet jackets for my empty glass jars. I've been making a few more of these recently (as our new flat is lacking in yarntastic storage solutions for pens, etc.) and thought I'd share how I make them. They're pretty straight-forward and the crochet-savvy could probably have worked a method out for themselves - but I always find it interesting to see how people do things, so here you go! A little peek into the crochet-logic of Alice. :)

DISCLAIMER (of sorts): I don't really do crochet patterns. I like to mostly make it up as I go and use my 'crochet instinct.' (Hey, it works for me.) This means I am probably terrible at giving instructions. I hope they are at least a little bit helpful!

Firstly, I'm assuming you know basic crochet, and in particular, several crocheting techniques:

  • crocheting in the round
  • DC - double crochet (US term)
  • changing colours (if you want to make them stripy) 

... if you can't do these things, then I suggest a day trip to YouTube! :) It is one of the best resources on the internet for learning yarn-related things.

To start with, you'll need to salvage a jar. This particular jar used to be full of pesto, and is round. (I'll deal with the issues of square jars later!) I suggest a good, long soak in some warm, soapy water to get rid of all the labels, glue, and old food smell. I used a 4mm hook and some DK acrylic yarn, but there are no particular rules, as you will be adjusting your pattern to the jar and yarn.

Next, using either a magic circle or a good old slipknot (I prefer the magic circle, because it's so seamless and beautiful) you want to chain 3 and then dc into the circle/slipknot around nine or ten times. Do more or less dc as the size of the jar requires. Slip-stitch the first and last dc together, and - voila! You have a circle. :) 

Then, continue to crochet in the round using the typical technique to produce a flat circular piece of crochet. i.e.: for the second row, work 2 dc into each dc, for the third row, 1 dc in the first dc, 2 dc in the next dc, for the third, 1 dc in the first 2 dc, then 2 dc in the next dc... and so on. Adjust the frequency of your increases if the circle no longer lies flat. (It should do if you follow this pattern, don't worry!)

Continue doing this for however many rows, depending on the hook size and yarn, until your circle reaches the edge of the bottom of the jar. 

After that, it's a very simple case of just continuing in the round with dc, no increases or decreases! I like to making my jar covers striped - I don't bother cutting off the yarn at the end of each colour and just carry it up on the inside, as it won't be seen anyway. (In fact, I don't bother weaving any ends in at all, I just tuck them in and they're pretty much invisible anyway.)

Continue up past the lip of the jar, so that you can tuck the cover over and in, giving the top a nice, deliciously crocheted edge.

Most glass jars I have crocheted covers for get smaller nearer the top - so I like to decrease a few stitches in my later rows to get a snug fit. (Usually not too many - maybe dc2tog after every five stitches.) One I have crocheted over the lip of the jar, I like to finish off by increasing 1 dc every other dc to make a little 'skirt'. This part fans out neatly inside the jar where the circumference increases, and just makes for a better fit for your cover.

Some foodstuffs are very inconsiderate and insist on coming in square jars. My favourite way to get the best shape is to actually start off by making a tiny little granny square for the bottom of the jar. (If you can't do a granny square, please give it a google! If you can dc, you can definitely make grannies, and they are the best thing ever.)

I stop using the granny square technique when it looks like one more row would reach the edge of the jar's bottom, and instead use dc for the last row. The rules are: 1 dc in each dc, 1 dc in each ch1 space, and 3 dc in each ch2 corner space. Then, proceed as with the circular jars. :)

Then, because I'm lazy, I cast off, and shove all the ends in the jar and down the sides of the cover where they can't be seen. Those who are fussier than me are welcome to weave in the ends - but I don't think it's at all aesthetically necessary.

I hope this was understandable and maybe even a little bit helpful! Please let me know if my instructions are unclear and I will do my best to correct it. Happy hooking! 

alice xox

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Toy Thursday: Shy Treeson

In the move, I was super delighted to find a toy I thought I had lost last summer - Shy Treeson! Shy Treeson is probably my favourite piece from series two, and I was so gutted last year when I thought I'd lost him. I was pulling out one of my bags from underneath my bed when he fell out. I was so happy! ♥  Treeson photographs beautifully because of his wonderful texture, and makes a wonderful pocket-sized companion.

I was super lucky with my blindboxes for this series, as there were only three I really wanted, and I managed to pick those three first time. I love the baby Treeson and his tiny cute mushroom, and the stars are just adorable!

Treeson & Mushroom


It's such a lovely change finding something in a move - usually it's the opposite. I think this is an excellent omen for our new flat. :)

alice xox

Sunday, 2 September 2012

In which Alice becomes an Adult!

I think sometime in the past 24 hours I officially became an actual, bonafide Adult! 

As I recently mentioned, I had a few interviews lined up towards the end of August. Thank you all for your super useful comments re: female interview attire! I was easily the smartest person at my group interview, but I was dressed to the same level of smartness as the staff interviewing me, which made me feel as if I'd judged it correctly. (Some people had shown up in what were pretty much normal clothes, which completely bewildered me.) Anyway, I must have done something at least vaguely right, because I was offered the job! I start work in a few weeks, and I'm really excited 

Straight away, I started looking for somewhere to rent, and yesterday, Gavin and I officially moved into our new home in Aberdeen! If that doesn't qualify me for the title of Official Adult, I don't know what does. Gavin's stuff is all moved in, and I am back in Newcastle for a few days packing up the rest of my stuff to drive up on Tuesday!

I have a very cute little packing helper who is utterly mystified by parcel tape. This is my pukifee Willow, and you can see her Flickr set here.

Getting a job, a place of your own and supporting yourself is something an awful lot of people past a certain stage in their life take for granted, but is something I've been desperate to have for years. I can't quite explain how stupidly happy the idea makes me! Also - although for the past three and a bit years I've effectively spent time unofficially 'living' with Gavin - this is the first time I'm actually going to be properly living with him and only him (and the first time in two years we'll live on the same side of the country!) This is kind of the best bit. He's the other half of my mythical hermaphrodite. (I know that sounds ridiculously weird, but click the link! It's a bizarre but really quite cute section from Plato's Symposium. It's silly, but a stupidly adorable way to think about it.)

I might be a bit more scarce on the internet for the next month, as we have to wait until the beginning of October to get a phone line installed. Until then, I'll be using a dongle, which is... well, it's not brilliant, but it's a connection, and hopefully we'll get our line sorted out soon. Maybe a bit of internet silence will be good for my crafty efforts!

a very happy alice