Thursday, 28 August 2014

Throwback Thursday: Puppy Therapy!

I am in the midst of dissertation stress at the moment (two weeks to go!) and I just really wanted to look at some photos of cute puppies. So, this Throwback Thursday is my mum's very cute puppy, back in April, when she had just brought him home. I was just starting my dissertation then, and spent a lot of the next month taking my laptop round and puppy-sitting and (in theory) working (but mostly cleaning up poop). These photos are from one of those very first times! He was only ten weeks old, and a serious waste hazard with no bladder control. But very, very cute, so all was forgiven.

He is far too big to get in my lap these days, not that it stops him trying. His poodle half seems to be winning on the size front!


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Ever After High: Apple White

I've been wanting to check out Mattel's Ever After High dolls for ages, as I have amassed more Monster High dolls than I care to count, and EAH are a fairly similar companion range. I finally caved and picked up the Getting Fairest Apple White, who is very lovely and has definitely won me over. I boil straightened her hair and gave it a neaten-up trip at the ends, and took her with us on our next milking-our-National-Trust-membership-for-all-it's-worth day trip!

This is Goddard's, a National Trust property just outside of York where Mr. Terry of Terry's Chocolate Oranges used to live. I'm a big fan. (Did you know they also used to make chocolate apples? I am so unbelievably sad they were discontinued, I need to sample one of those urgently.) Apple White is wearing a few pieces from the J-Doll Camden High Street's stock outfit, and looking very fancy. Gavin suggested she would suit a Victorian virtue name, so I'm thinking maybe Constance?

I really love her! She has all the things I love about Monster High, but I also enjoy dressing her up a lot more. I think the MH dolls have such awesome themes, I never actually want to change their clothes. They're just perfect as is. With EAH I'm really not as attached to their outfits, I guess, even though the dress she came with is super cute. Anyway, consider me hooked! 


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Pintsize Says Hello

This blog post is pretty much just some gratuitous photos of one of our beautiful hamsters, I won't lie to you. I will, however, also talk to you a little bit about roborovski hamsters in general, so I can pretend to myself that this blog post has a point other than 'ohmygosh look at his little ears'

Robos are the smallest type of hamster. They are seriously teeny. When the boys are in lounge mode and are fully stretched out, I think they're probably only about 3 inches long, so they're very pocket sized. (Literally!) They often live very happily together in groups, but ours fell out and now live separately, which they can also do well with. They are super fast and super active, and therefore probably not as easy to handle as other types of hamster, but they can become very tame and rarely ever bite.

We love them to bits and couldn't possibly be happier with our furry house guests, but I would be quite reluctant to recommend them to most people wanting a rodent friend. They can be not as easily interactive and tamable as other rodents, which isn't for everyone. I think you have to be happy to mostly just step back and watch their antics from behind the glass. Having said that, we have lots of fun out-of-cage time with Sputnik, but it's just really different from say, a guinea pig or a rat, who might cuddle with you for hours at a time. They just don't ever stop! For me, it's part of their charm.

This is Pintsize, who is the shy one of our boys! His favourite things are dried mealworms (no accounting for taste) and peeing in his wheel and looking at me expectantly until I clean it up so he can run it in again. (Never make the mistake of thinking tiny animals won't have you running to attend to their every whim, because they will.) He is a very lovely agouti robo with exceptionally fine whiskers - not that I'm biased, or anything.

There is also a possibly that there might maybe also possibly perhaps be another rodent on the horizon who might maybe perhaps potentially possibly be coming to live with us in the near-ish future, but more on that as it develops. Hopefully!


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Throwback Thursday: Undergraduate Adventures

It's A-Level results day today, and all the sproglings got their terrifying little envelopes! Bless. I do not envy you, sproglings. That was a scary envelope. It felt like a much bigger deal than maybe it should have. It's just an envelope. But that's easy to say, with six years between me and it!

My envelope took me to a very silly coastal town in Fife where I spent four weird years and I kinda miss it.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Perfect Crochet Ripple Blanket Pattern

I'm currently halfway (well, more like a fifth!) through a ripple blanket, and I thought I'd share the frustrations I had finding a pattern I liked (and the solution!) A lot of the ripple blanket patterns I found were too gentle a wave, I wanted a more aggressive ripple, almost a chevron. The sharper ripple patterns I found didn't extend long enough on the straights, so I ended up picking apart the anatomy of a ripple pattern and working out which bits I could tailor to my own preferences.

The pattern I ended up using is below (I'll go into adjusting it afterwards!)
  • ch in groups of 20, plus 2 turning chain
  • skip 2 loops, 2dc into next dc
  • dc in each loop x 6
  • dc3tog x 2
  • dc in each loop x 6
  • 3dc into dc
Turn, ch 3, repeat steps 2-6 until your blanket is the size you want! Simple. The only thing that can be fiddly is doing the last 3 dc into the top of the ch3, so make sure you are using that as the last stitch or your blanket will turn into a triangle! 

If you're doing stripes like me, two rows per stripe is my personal preference so each stripe has both the front and back of the crochet stitch. Just looks neater to me! (The yarn I am using is Drops Cotton Light, which is one of my favourites, and I have an accident every time it's on sale at the Yarn Warehouse.)

Below is what this pattern looks like written down (in my messy handwriting - I couldn't find a free crochet diagram program, hope I used the right symbols!) Each ripple consists of a decrease, two straights, and an increase, which is often split like this so your finished piece of crochet has lovely neat ends. The row of loops at the bottom is the number which you should chain in groups of, in this case, twenty. (Remember to chain 2, as this counts as the first dc of the increase.)

For each increase and decrease, I am working in threes. If you want a gentle ripple, you can adjust this so you are only ever crocheting two stitches together, or increasing by one stitch at a time. If you do this, you'll need to subtract two from the number which you'll be doing the initial chain in groups of. Just make sure that the increase and decrease match.

As for the straight sections, you can make these longer (which will mean you need to add groups of two to the chain number) or shorter (subtract groups of two from the chain number.) Just remember to keep them equal, or your ripple will be wonky.

Play around with some ripple swatches and see what looks best to you! :) My ripple blanket is hopefully going to be about the size of a single bed, if I've estimated yarn amounts correctly, so you'll probably be seeing more of it, including my adventures in making a ripple blanket border. I've got a lot of excellent netflix watching lined up for my blanket-making time!


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

I am Groot

So, I'm in love with an extra terrestrial plant monster named Groot. What a cutie! There are a tonne of beautiful Groot toys about now with the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Hot Toys Groot looks ohmygosh amazing, but I'm a little priced out of Hot Toys. (One day!) This Groot Funko Pop bobble-head is ridiculously adorable, though, and I am so in love with it. Those big eyes! What a sweetheart. 


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Whatever is Alice doing here in Ripon Cathedral?

I had a trip to Ripon yesterday, which I haven't been to since I was teeny, and I don't think we ever visited the cathedral. Baby Alice probably had really dreadful taste and wasn't interested in a Saxon crypt. Loser.