If you want to get ahead, get a hat

Ah, the wonders of the Internet: a little bit of browsing turns up this pattern for a hat from Simple Beans. A bit more Internet searching turns up instructions (with photos) for how to do FPDc and SC2tog. Now I have a hat and feel like I'm starting to get the hang of this crocheting lark.
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Despite my husband helpfully informing me that I looked like (a) a gangster or (b) a leukemia patient while wearing my hat, I like it. nb. I might have been indoors, wearing a dressing gown and the hat at the time of the second comment - we're stingy with the heating in this house...
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Translation of the day:
UK English: dressing gown = bathrobe in US English (in case you had forgotten)
UK English: parky = cool, cold, chilly in US English
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As in, 'the weather might be warm ouside, but it's a wee bit parky in our house of a morning'

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What to do next: get out all the paperwork and start on the taxes, tidy the house, or make a top for my daughter. Hmmm, that's a tough one...
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Well, first things first, it's pancakes for lunch today.

Rainy day

Once it was mentioned that an 8 year old boy had given his seal of approval to the melted crayon hearts, we decided that we would use up the rest of our broken crayons and make some more for my son's Kindergarten class, too.
I'll admit it, I wasn't really looking forward to thinking of something else to make, anyway. I don't get very excited about hearts and pink frilly things. The main reason I look forward to Valentine's Day is that as soon as it's over the stores start stocking Cadbury's Creme Eggs ready for Easter. Well, it is the only time of year that I can buy English chocolate here without having to pay import store prices. American chocolate just doesn't compare...We had a rainy time last weekend, so the kids and I spent a nice day huddled indoors. We made cookies (heart shaped as I couldn't find the gingerbread man cookie cutter - they didn't last until Valentine's Day, though...).I faced my fear of commitment and finally got around to putting some paint on a peg doll. It was just a practice version using what paint I had on hand, but I think there will soon be more around here. Can anyone recommend a varnish?
And you're probably wondering if you're experiencing déjà vu, but no, this is just yet another baby blanket using the Catherine Wheel crochet stitch. Yep, I've even used the same yarn as a previous one, but you can blame my 3 local yarn shops for that. Apparently they all had big sales to clear out stock (without telling me...), then didn't bother to restock. All that was left was empty bins and all those weird colours that no one wants to buy, so I was kind of relieved to finally find these yarns in the third store I tried.
It is different from the previous blanket, in that the stripes run in the opposite direction. I'll pretend that that was on purpose and not just the result of my poor counting when casting on...
The main reason that I am mentioning this blanket, though, is that it is the first time that my husband has asked me to make something (it's for a workmate whose wife is expecting - I'm experiencing the usual worry about giving a handmade gift, especially as I do not know them that well). Normally my husband views my making things as just an annoying hobby...
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Translation of the day:
UK English: crisps = potato chips in US English
UK English: chips = french fries in US English
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It's not just the chocolate that is a disappointment in the US. Crisps in England come in all sorts of flavours, such as prawn cocktail, Worcester sauce, ketchup, barbecue, roast chicken and stuffing, ready salted, cheese and onion, smoky bacon, bacon and cheddar, mango chili, salt and vinegar..., ok so that's all I can remember off the top of my head, but I know I am missing a few (someone told me that 'squirrel' is a new one, is that true???). Americans, it really is about time that you demanded that prawn cocktail flavour crisps grace the supermarket shelves over here...
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Take care,

A very belated thank you

I was editing the links in some old posts when I came across this blog post. I can't believe that I never noticed that I had hit 'save as a draft' instead of 'publish'. Sorry to these lovely ladies.
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I'm not usually a winner. I rarely have any luck in competitions, so it was a big surprise to me to find out that I had won not one, not two, but three giveaways. It completely makes up for all those years of holding the losing raffle ticket... Look at all these goodies (and excuse the poor pictures):
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from the Sewing Sistas:

from Sew What:

And last, but not least, look what Mr Monkeysuit sent me as a thank you for just a peasant blouse template: all this (those are cute little wooden magnets in the poorly photographed red packet) and a pattern for this sweet dolly. Thank you all so very much!

Melting hearts

When I was growing up, Valentine's Day was pretty low key at my primary (elementary) school. I don't remember anyone getting a Valentine card. After all, Valentine cards were only given to someone that you wanted to be your Valentine and most of us were too busy playing British Bulldog to worry about that sort of thing. It probably didn't help that I had short hair (mum said I was less likely to get nits that way) and was occasionally mistaken for a boy...
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Things are different for my two kids. The American way seems to be that everyone gives everyone else in their class a Valentine. So that's about 32 Valentines this year. So I'm getting an earlier start than last year.
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Project #1: crayon hearts for my daughter's preschool class (instructions can be found here). I found the silicone heart baking tray on clearance at Michaels. Crayons came from the big bag of broken crayon pieces that is around here somewhere. I cut the pieces up further into more equal parts, but I don't know if that helped.
Pop in the oven, melt, cool and voilà:
I've still got lots of broken crayon bits left over. Maybe my son's kindergarten class might get some, too. Looks like I also need to give my kids lessons on not pressing so bloomin' hard when colouring with crayons...
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No translation of the day today. I'd better clean up a bit around here if I want to stand a chance of getting a Valentine from my husband. That, and my mum has started reading my blog and, just like that, I can't think of any nice clean English slang off the top of my head... Hi mum.
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PS. Both times my hard drive crashed I lost a bunch of my links. If you are wondering why you haven't heard from me in ages, please drop me a new comment: there's loads of blogs that I can not remember the addresses for and would like to read again. Thanks.