Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Random Entertainment

I love books.

I’ve always been an avid reader. As a kid I devoured the entire collection of Famous Five books on a weekly basis. Later as I teenager I read Stephen King and Dean Koontz and Richard Layman until I was too terrified to turn out the light. More recently I've been enjoying the plethora of urban fantasy-thriller books that seem to be the thing to write these days - Kim Harrison, Lauren Hamilton, Keri Arthur.

I tend to get pretty tetchy if I don't have at least a couple of books on the back burner waiting to be started. A couple of weeks ago I ordered this book from the book club we belong to:

I ordered it and proceeded to read through the previous 3 books in the series thinking it would be nice to reacquaint myself with the characters before I started the new one. I got to the end of the third book, and Breaking Dawn still hadn't arrived. Panic started to creep in. What would I read? So I reread a couple of books by Patricia Briggs (Moon Called and Blood Bound) which are small novels so I thought I would just get through them in time for the new delivery. Cue the Bank holiday weekend. The book still hasn't arrived. I HAVE NOTHING TO READ! Trauma.
All was not lost however. Whilst I was in Tesco stocking up the food cupboard I noticed their paperbacks were on offer. 2 for £7.00. Bargain. So I bought this:

Having not read a Dean Koontz novel for quite a while I thought I would give it a go. Then I hit a problem. Not being in the least bit in the mood for Chick Lit reading there were no other books in the offer that I fancied reading. Could I have bought just the one? Hell on! They're on offer - what's the point if you don't buy two? (bizarre women's shopping logic. I know you hear me on this one). Then I spotted this:

and randomly decided to buy it. For any of you not in the UK who don't recognise Richard Hammond, he presents a motoring show in the UK (amongst other things) and in 2006 was involved in a near fatal crash whilst driving a jet engine powered drag car. Ouch!

Now, I don't really like cars much, but I have to confess to being a bit of a closet Top Gear fan. Even considering that though, I don't usually read biographies unless it's someone I really like. I have to say though, I really glad I took the chance on this book. WOW. What a great read. Obviously being a biography it tells the story of how his childhood influenced his career etc but the main part of the book concentrates on the run up to and the aftermath of the jet car crash. Told in alternate chapters by himself and his wife it's a really emotive book which deals with how the crash and his resultant brain injury impacted him and his family. It was so good I read 3/4 of it in one sitting.

The Dean Koontz novel I bought was equally as good a read, but for totally different reasons (obviously). As a writer he manages to conjure up a sense of foreboding out of the most seemingly innocuous things. The whole thing gave me chills. Fantastic!

It's seems to have been a weekend for stumbling across randomly* excellent pieces of entertainment. On Monday I spotted this DVD whilst shopping and had to buy it (for the title alone):

What a great movie this is! Kind of like a "Stand by Me" for 21st Century girls, only without the dead body and the pre-pubescent brat packers. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I can't wait till Gracie is old enough to watch it. It made me want vintage Levis though.

Bizarrely I seem to have been over come with book and movie reviews today. Not sure what that's all about. Care to share your latest read or watch? My "to be read" pile is still dangerously low until my Amazon order arrives and I can always use some inspiration.

In totally un-book or movie related news. My car. My poor car. 'Tas gone off to that great scrapyard in the sky *sigh* As fuel and insurance are getting ridiculously expense these days, and as we can't get by without a vehicle each we completely made Kendo's day on Saturday by heading down to DK Motorcycles in Stoke on Trent and purchasing a new motorbike (not brand new, but new to us). It's a Suzuki GS500E. Blue. Shiny. 5000 miles on the clock even though it's only 5 years old. In short, Kendo's like a kid waiting for Christmas (especially as he can't collect it until next Saturday). He had to give it a quick try in the shop though, just to make sure it was a good fit and all that......


Still no crafting action around here. I have been naughty and signed up for Shimelle's "Learn something new everyday" class which starts Sept 1st so I have promised I will finish the last few "My Freedom" layouts before then. Only a couple to go until I'm done.

Right. That's it from me. It's taken me 2.5 hours to write this as I'm in work and keep getting interrupted (damn those pesky work colleagues!) so apologies if it's a little disjointed (which probably doesn't matter as it's mostly drivel anyway!)


*This was not a test to see how many times I could randomly get the word randomly into a blog post. Honest. Obviously it's just randomly popped into my head as the word of the day. Totally random.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Monday, 18 August 2008

Festivals, Guitar Heroes and Superlambananas

I know. It’s been a while. There has been mentalness (is that even a word?) here. Work is crazy busy at the moment with the onslaught of manic students who didn’t quite make the grades for their chosen course at the University of Liverpool, so want to come to use for their foundation year so they can eventually get where they want to be. It’s madness I tell you, madness!!

Other none-work-related stuff has been going on around here too and I feel it’s long past time I blogged about it, and even it if wasn’t, how could I pass up the opportunity to show you this:


Which would be the loverly Louise having a bash at Guitar Heroes III (after a day long drinking session…. In the rain!).

The reason for the day long drinking session (in the rain) was this:


The Eclectica Music Festival 2008. You might recall we went to this event last year and saw Echo and The Bunnymen, and more importantly The Lancashire Hotpots perform.

This year's headliners were The Levellers (sounds of an era!) and Shed Seven. Louise and Rob managed to off load their kids overnight, as did we (thanks Nanny Winne and Nanny Tish :)) so we were let loose out on the lash sans children for once. It was great to get together with Lou and Rob and not have to worry about whether the children were trying to kill each other, or skydiving off the furniture.

We had a great day out, in spite of getting absolutely piss wet through because it chucked it down all day long. Here’s a couple more pics from the day:


Paula and Karen in the pub before the gig started.


Gotta love the look on Rob’s face in this one!


Kendo. Ste. Rob. Aka “All the beards on one side”.


The Levellers on Stage.


Shed Seven on Stage. Only me and Paula were nuts enough to brave the rain on this one. The rest of them stayed in the pub. WIMPS!


Yes. It really was wet enough to warrant a Kagool. With the hood up.

Despite the crappy weather, we really did have a great day out. Roll on next year I say.

The only thing slightly marring my Saturday fun was the knowledge that I had to get up and go to work on the Sunday (I know. Work! On a Sunday! Goes against my very nature!) I had to head up to the University of Liverpool for the day to check on the results of the people who had been made offers on our Foundation courses. As work days go it wasn’t that bad, but still. Sunday? That’s not good in any shape or form.

I’ve been up at the University for most of last week and it occurred to me that even though I’ve been in Liverpool all week I spectacularly failed to take even one photo of one of these:

Superlambanana by davey_flex

It’s a Superlambanana. Obviously. There are loads of these around Liverpool and the surrounding areas, all decorated differently, as part of the 2008 European Capital of Culture celebrations that are taking part in the city this year. They don’t really serve any purpose. They’re just cool!

I didn’t take any photos, but fortunately there’s a whole world of flickr-using superlambanana spotters out there. Hurrah! Here are the ones I saw most this week:

Superlennonlambanana by georgeupstairs

Superstudentlambanana by Sam the Sham and the Photos

And my absolute favourite, this one. Which is situated on Edge Lane Drive, the main route into Liverpool, which is undergoing some serious redevelopment.

Superconelambanana by Jordan Hatch

My completely chaotic couple of weeks has been topped off by the discovery that my car is poorly. Very poorly. Poorly in the “might cost more to fix it than it’s actually worth” sense. I’m rather sad about that, because I like my car a lot. It won’t start at all and it seems there’s a problem with the Nissan Anti-theft System that is has (which has to be dealt with by a super duper Nissan diagnostics computer). It’s going to the garage this week, but it doesn’t look like there’s much hope at the minute. Looks like it’ll be the bus for me for a while *shudder*.

Despite it being more than two week since my last blog post, I have absolutely no crafty items to show you. I haven’t so much as picked up a glue stick. It’s depressing. Hopefully I can get my act together this week and get something done. In the meantime, I’ll just leave you with this (again) to entertain you:


Sorry Lou ;)


Monday, 4 August 2008

A Mixed Bag

It’s been a busy old weekend at Casa De PTC. On Friday I finally lost the plot with my messy living room and had a complete blitz in there (including a good toy cull and moving all the furniture around). Possibly not the best idea to attempt to do this with a 4 year old and a not quite 2 year old in the room! It was a pretty tricky operation (number 1 priority – move the TV to keep them occupied whilst doing the rest!) and was going vaguely okay until Egg decided to dunk his Archie Bear into the (dirty) mop bucket! Nice. As you can imagine, it was quite the drippy mess, and poor Archie ended up here once again.

Sunday saw our bedroom getting the same treatment. Only for Grace to remark this morning “I miss the messy room Mummy”. I think it was because it was far more obvious to me when she’d been messing with stuff on the dressing table that she’s not supposed to touch! Little monkey!

As well as my cleaning marathon I’ve also managed to get a couple of scrapbook pages done, so I’m almost up to date with the “My Freedom” class prompts.

The first was the layout for the “Play” prompt. The journaling prompt for this was to tell the story in pictures, so I’ve used little index prints in place of some of the words in the journaling. I’m not sure what’s going on in the middle of this LO. The paper piecing mirrors the design on the patterned paper I used because I felt it needed something in the middle of the page – but I’m not quite sure it’s working. All well, too late to obsess about it now!




The second layouts was about “Creativity”. The journaling prompt for this was to write a list of instructions for your own creative process. I started with a list for this (as you can see for items 1-4) but somewhere from there it seemed to morph into a flow chart, so I thought I would stick with that idea when I put my journaling on the layout – it seems a good insight into how my mind works when it comes to creative things. Kendo just shook his head when he saw it and said “Oh no! It’s a flow chart! You’ve been working in an office WAY too long”. I think he might have a point ;)




The craftiness hasn’t ended there this weekend. It occurred to me this week that I haven’t baked anything in an age. I can’t remember the last time my oven saw the presence of a cupcake! It’s a tragedy. Having decide I had to bake something I finally opted for not cupcakes, but cookies (this is PTC after all!) and whipped up a batch of my very favourite cookies (Tollhouse cookies – walnut and chocolate chip – YUM!). They were barely cooled before Kendo sharked his first one and I think he ate about 5 last night (as you might have guessed, they’re his favourite too). The recipe I use makes a pretty big batch and normally I only bake half and put the other half in the fridge but I was a bit naughty last night and baked the whole lot (in larger cookies than normal). Tollhouse cookie goodness for the rest of the week, well, a day or two anyway. Here’s a couple in all their cookie-glory. Do you like my little cupcake board….. it was a my Mother’s Day present. Very apt I thought.


I can also now share with you what I made for the Russian Doll swap over at I’m a Ginger Monkey, as my swap buddy Margy has received is safe and sound. Or rather, has received them safe and sound.

I pondered for ages what I was going to make for this and whilst doing a bit of a web search for some inspiration I stumbled across this amigurumi pattern by anapaulaoli. This is the first amigurumi I’ve even done and I was so please how it came out (despite having to unravel a couple of the pieces several times after forgetting to up the stitch mark in and losing my place – Grrrr!). Here’s the finished articles.

Firstly all stacked together:


And separate:


I think Margy liked them! She was a fabulous swap buddy and I really enjoyed making them for her.

Right then, I think that’s enough updating from me.

I just add one more thing to add. In case you hadn’t noticed. They’re back!! And they’ve got a funky new website and a giveaway to boot. I’ve missed those monkee antics! Hurrah!