Advice wanted

I wanted to have a quick go at crocheting in a circle, instead of rows, so I had a go at this sweet mushroom pattern (found here: http://orangeflower.typepad.com/orange_flower/mushroom-crochet-patterns.html). The reason why I wanted to have a go at crocheting in a circle is this:My great-grandma crocheted this wee blanket. I love that my kids have played on a blanket made by their great-great grandma. That I laid them on it as babes, just as I was laid on it as a babe. In fact, I took up my friend's offer to teach me the basics of crochet, as I wanted there to be someone who could make wee blankets for the next few generations to come.

The problem is that there are now a couple of holes like this:I'm hoping that I can find some matching yarn and repair these holes. It might be easiest to remove the individual squares and replace them, maybe? If anyone has any advice I would very much appreciate it. I have been searching for a pattern to make squares like this, but haven't had any luck so far:Am I right in thinking these are called 'granny squares'? I told you that I am a complete beginner at this sort of thing... Translations for the day:
I might as well continue the car theme from the last post, I suppose. Here goes:
UK English: accelerator = gas pedal in US English
UK English: handbrake = parking brake or emergency brake in US English
UK English: indicator = blinkers or turn signals in US English
UK English: hood = convertible top in US English (just to further confuse the bonnet / hood issue, I'm guessing)
UK English: gear lever = stick of stick-shift (manual transmission) car in US English

Automatic cars are very rare in the UK and I was rather nervous about driving an automatic for the first time when I moved to the US. I worried greatly about the car not being capable of selecting the correct gear etc. Then there's the fact that Americans drive on the wrong side of the road. Oh, and Los Angeles drivers are not generally the most pleasant of folks. So, it didn't help my nerves that my husband was talking a foreign language ("turn off your blinkers and hit the gas"...) while trying to be a supportive passenger on my first few forays onto American streets... It took me about 6 months before I was willing to drive on the local freeways.

Now I feel I should be publishing a warning to those same LA drivers: I've now bought a stick-shift car. I haven't driven one in ten years - and that was back in the UK, so it was all on the other side of the car. I'm a little rusty. I completely understand if you don't want to venture onto the local roads for a few weeks. I'm sure it will all come back to me soon...

Corners, cars, dogs and dolls

Sorry that I left you looking at a bag made out of construction paper for over a week. It's almost time to file our tax paperwork here in the States. Which means that I've been avoiding going through the mountain of receipts and have been spring cleaning our cupboards and under the beds instead... I know, I know. I'll be good next week.
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Anyway, it's quilting month at SewMamaSew (http://www.sewmamasew.com/blog2/) right now and I've been planning on making my daughter a doll quilt for her birthday for a while now, so, when my aching back convinced me to take an evening off from random furniture moving, this is what I decided to do instead: my first attempt at a quilt.(It's a bit wonky as I didn't smooth it out very well for the photo, sorry - the overcast skies meant outdoor picture taking and I didn't want to press it down on the damp surface)

I'm actually very pleased with it. Mainly because it was only after I started sewing the pieces together that I started wondering about whether the corners would line up and whether it might have been a much better idea to pick a design that didn't have matching corners. I briefly considered stopping and looking for tips on the internet, but the kids were in bed and these peaceful moments are scarce around here. The idea of quilting has scared me for some time now, so I decided to jump right in / seize the moment / strike when the iron was hot (literally) etc. You get the idea. That, and I didn't want to get scared off by reading more obscure quilting terminology...
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I was pretty surprised, therefore, when the corners did in fact meet up - especially as I was just using my old and cracked school set square.
The dog is my own drawing. K loves dogs, so it seemed appropriate. Thank you for your tips on how to put an embroidery pattern on the fabric. I used one of those disappearing ink pens on this one and that made it very easy peasy. Now I've just got to stuff, quilt and bind the edges on this thing. It would probably be a good idea to look up how to do that on the internet, I'm guessing...
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Meanwhile, today's word(s) of the day translation is related to automobiles:
UK English: boot = trunk in US English
UK English: bonnet = hood in US English
UK English: wing = fender in US English
UK English: windscreen = windshield in US English
UK English: tyre = tire in US English
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A couple are self-explanatory, others will leave a US mechanic looking at your shoes with a puzzled expression, when you tell him that your daughter has locked the car keys in your boot. As happened to my friend and her family. Despite the mechanic's obvious concern about her father's sanity, he was eventually convinced to follow him to the vehicle where, with a bit of pointing, all became clear...
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Take care all.


Separated by a common language

To be fair, I think Americans have a far harder job understanding me, than I do them - mainly thanks to an education by Hollywood, I'm guessing. To avoid absolute confusion, I do try to remember to use American terms, but sometimes it's only when I notice my friends laughing at me that I realise that Americans don't use a certain term.

Probably my favourite story was when my dad was on holiday in the U.S. and had been playing with a new propelling pencil that he had purchased. He went into a stationery store and after fruitlessly searching for the item that he wanted for several minutes, he went up to the two young cashiers at the front of the store and asked, 'Would you be able to tell me where I can find some rubbers, please?'. At which point the girls blushed, then finally one of them stuttered that maybe he would have better luck in a pharmacy store down the road. Thinking that that was mighty strange, my dad went out to join my mum, incredulously wondering what kind of stationery store doesn't sell rubbers!

It was at that point that my mum informed him that to an American 'rubbers' refers to condoms and that he would probably have better luck if he went back in and asked for 'pencil erasers'...

Maybe I should start posting a word of the day translation as a public service...
US English: rubbers = condoms in UK English
UK English: rubbers = erasers in US English
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My son's school held a party today to celebrate Valentine's Day. I had learned from last year that over here a card for every member of his class is expected, plus a small gift (eg. a lollipop). I was very proud of myself for remembering to buy some small chocolate hearts and bouncy balls - and for only eating just under a third of the bag of chocolate hearts by myself (well, I had to divide them up equally amongst his classmates, didn't I?). I didn't do so well at remembering the cards, though. What with my husband accidentally putting my calendar in the recycling bin, today rather snuck up on me. It wasn't until I returned from swimming yesterday that I remembered. I faced the choice of running to Target or making some cards quickly (ruling out putting J to work on them). The fact that the swimming had left my hair a scary shock of nutty random curls turned out to be the deciding factor - the general public does not deserve to be permanently scarred by images like that. I decided that this picture that I drew for K's room would be an ok image, scanned it, added a wee bit of colour, then printed it 4 to a sheet of card. Bags were quickly folded out of the kids' supply of construction paper, decorated with stickers by J and Bob's your uncle. No doubt there are now kids across town saying 'What on earth is this rubbish? I prefer the Spiderman card I got from X'...
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oops, translation of the day #2: UK English: rubbish = trash in US English

Merci beaucoup

I am a winner! It's not often that I get to say that, as the times that I have won in life are few and far between. Hmm, I was once one of the runners-up in a National colouring contest when I was a little kid. I'll never know if my felt-tip pen running out (resulting in a, well, let's call it, unconventional improvised pattern) helped me win, or cost me the top spot...

Anyway, back to the present day. I've actually won two prizes. The first comes with a confession. I won these beautiful pamphlets, papers and bone folder back in October in a giveaway that http://heylucy.typepad.com/ held. That was during my camera troubles, so I didn't get to post a picture right away.
That is when I decided to do the worst thing possible: I put the envelope 'someplace safe'. I should have learnt by now that whenever I put something 'someplace safe' I will never remember where that 'someplace safe' is. So it was with a great deal of relief when I found it last weekend 'someplace safe' (in my old art folder - I hadn't wanted the paper to get bent... yes, it makes sense to me now...).

The second prize is from http://mylittlesewing.blogspot.com/. She held an embroidery contest that I entered my little red and white pin cushion in and look what I won: Here's a close-up of the embroidery on the pocket:
(Please excuse my poor photos, by the way, it's dark and windy, so these were taken in a hurry - I didn't even think to put something in the bag to weigh it down).

Ladies, thank you very much.

Pancakes and doodles

Just some doodles for a wee project that I have in my head for my daughter's room. More soon, unless it all goes pear-shaped, that is. It's been a while since I have done any drawing...
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On a completely unrelated note, can you believe that this blog has had almost 2500 visits? That's almost 100 per post! Admittedly, the vast majority of those were probably searching for something else entirely (the Lil' d mentioned in the last post, most likely...), but even so. When I started this blog I never imagined that anyone would read it, so thank you for making me imagine that I'm not talking to myself (even if I am...).
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This is just a quickie - there are pancakes to be made for today is Pancake Day! (aka. as Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrove_Tuesday). I'm off to make sure that my husband hasn't used up my eggs on such lesser fare as omelettes...

Bad hair days

It's enrollment time for my local school district. Not that they like to publicize that. They don't even seem to want to publicize when they are holding a fair for parents to check out the local schools. Luckily I found out about both at the last minute. This last week's entertainment has mainly consisted of lots of school tours and trawling through the hundreds and hundreds of pages of school reports. Fun.
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This hasn't left me much free time, so please keep your expectations for this post low. Especially as my knuckles are all seized up thanks to the freezing temperatures in my house (yes, I know it is warm outside in Southern California and no, I'm not 80).
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The problem:
'Aha', I thought, 'I know a solution'. So I quickly knocked out some hair clips:
'Success', I thought.
It lasted about 5 minutes....
Never fear, I have a plan B:You don't want to know what plan C is... nb. Plan B is knitted from a pattern in a Knit It! magazine. Very easy - obviously, as I can do it.
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In other news, I have come out to my husband: I have finally told him that I have a blog. Now, on my last post I mentioned some of the difficulties of living in a country that only pretends to speak the same language as me. It turns out that, to him, Lil' d doesn't sound like the only pleasant childhood nickname a short person has had in her life. No, to my American husband it sounds like a rap artist's name (annoyingly it turns out he's right - I googled it). So he's been laughing - I'd like to say with me, but it feels a little like it's at me... My apologies to anyone who has landed up here expecting a rather different Lil' d...