Lots of loose ends that need tying up

I'm finally starting to feel a lot more like my normal self. My poor kids have had a bit of a boring start to their summer. When the doc said that the medicine can cause sensitivity to the sun, he wasn't kidding, so I've been stuck indoors. Crocheting always seems like a good craft for times when I'm feeling under the weather. It's easy to put down at a moment's notice without having to worry about trying to find my place when I return. So I decided that it was about time that I worked out how to do a granny square. nb. The light was a bit dull this morning, but you can get a better idea of the colours of the yarn used here.
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I originally started with these 2 squares from 101 crochet squares by Jean Leinhauser.
This one didn't seem sturdy enough. I liked this one, but then thought about how many of these squares it would take to make even a small blanket. That's the point that I decided to try the basic granny square, to see if it was any quicker. It was. Even so, these granny square blankets are pretty time consuming. I'm only planning on making a small lap blanket, though, so I think I'm about half way done. Ignore all the loose threads in the pictures - I've been too lazy to weave them in yet. Then there will be joining all the squares together. I think I'm too slow a crocheter to do this very often...
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My parents will be visiting soon, so don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a while. This month of illness has put me a tad behind on my to-do list. The first thing should probably be finally planting the plants I bought the day before I became ill. Plastering and painting will have to wait a little longer. I'm still not anywhere near to catching up on what's in my e-mail inbox. I had better check that the camping stuff is all still in good shape. And I had better make it up to my kids for keeping them cooped up indoors for the last couple of weeks...
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Talking of which, I'm being nagged to get off the computer so that we can get out of the house, so I had better get going. No translation of the day for today, sorry.

School's out for summer

Gulp. No school for 13 weeks.
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I think that there were just as many mums crying today as there were on the first day of Kindergarten. I stayed true to my British roots and kept a stiff upper lip. Whatever illness I had has left me with some sinus infection, so believe me, no one there would have wanted to see me bawling...
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My son has had the best ever Kindergarten teacher this last year. I really could not have asked for a better teacher. We went in on the class gift, but I think that even if I hadn't already made something extra, I would have anyway, as she is such a sweetheart. My son had told me that she likes to bake cookies. I don't know how reliable my informant is, but if even someone with my culinary abilities has an apron, I'm hoping that she might like one too, even if she just uses it when cleaning out drains or something. So I made another Emmeline apron. Side 1:
Side 2:
I added an inch or so to the pattern after reading a discussion on the sizing online, figuring that I'm pretty small-framed and I don't think that I would want mine any smaller. I'm not so sure that I needed to, though (maybe I used bigger seam allowances than those recommended when I made mine?). I hope it fits her ok. Still, at least the mirror got dusted. Here's how they look without the weird side lighting:
Ok, the gloomy weather we've been having lately is wonderful, but it is awful for taking pictures. Alright, now I've played around with the colours on the computer, so hopefully this will give you an idea of the actual colours:
I'm not ready for my son to be a first-grader. Does he have to grow up this fast?
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Thank you for the sympathy for my sewing machine troubles. The needle had stopped moving because some part had come loose under the *wheel thing on the right side*. The big round thing that you turn to move the needle up and down (I'm guessing that there probably are technical terms for these things). I popped it open and tightened the part, so hopefully that will be ok now. As for the tension nuttiness, when I next got the machine out I noticed that there was a small piece of metal on the *metal thing that you put the bobbin in* that was a fraction out of place and caught on an edge. Now I'm wondering how I was even lucky enough to manage to sew that final bloomin' line of topstitching without the thread going nuts.
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I'm still scared of the sewing machine, but now that I've poked around it a bit, I do feel like I'm starting to get to know it a bit better, even if I can't name the parts...
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Translation of the day:
UK English: plaster or Elastoplast = adhesive bandage or Band-Aid in US English.
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I think people here think that I am raising two little hypochondriacs, as my kids keep demanding a plaster after they've taken a tumble. Americans think that they are asking for plaster casts...

Blood, toil, tears and sweat

One line of topstitching had me close to giving up sewing for good.
My daughter's preschool teacher seems to like neutrals, so I decided to make her this tote bag as part of her end of year gift. I figured that reusable bags are useful. I have lots. Most of mine seem to have a WIP (work in progress) stuffed in the bottom, which might be why someone like me believes them to be useful.
(That's the shadow of a plant on the right of the photo, by the way - not grime)
All was going well. I did manage to give myself a cut lip (there's the blood) while turning the handles, but we all know that sewing is fraught with danger. I flipped the bag through the opening and found no glaring errors. All that was left was the line of topstitching around the top.
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I had to rip that bloomin' topstitching out about 5 bloomin' times. Why the tension was suddenly off, I don't know, but I adjusted the top thread tension, then decided the screw on the bobbin thing was the problem. I didn't notice that I was about to run out of bobbin thread, of course. And then.... my needle stopped moving. And that's the point where I was blinking back the tears.
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That one line of topstitching took me over an hour. I think I have fixed the machine.
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Here's the lining. There's a tiny error in that line of topstitching, but hopefully she won't care. I can't bring myself to risk ripping it out and redoing it. I have visions of the machine just deciding to spontaneously combust or something if I go near that topstitching just one more time...
Lately, a lot of my limited computer time (my husband is a gamer) has been spent on my grandmother-in-law's 90th birthday celebration. I've been designing invites and reply cards, scanning hundreds of photos for a slideshow, downloading music and putting together playlists of of 30s and 40s music (it turns out that rather a lot of people have written songs about their 'honey', but I think that I did finally find the one that she remembered...). After seeing all the work that goes into organising flower arrangements and the like, I am so glad that I got married on a clifftop at sunset with just two witnesses present.
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The party went well, though. I was going to say that my blog should be a little less neglected now, but, considering that I'm ill at present, the end of the school year is fast approaching, my parents will be visiting etc. etc. that's probably a rash thing to say. Still, I'm trying to think up ideas for a giveaway for my upcoming 100th post, even if it might be months before I reach that milestone at the current rate...
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Translation of the day:
UK English: blooming (usually pronounced bloomin') = darned in US English. Often used as an intensifier or as an exclamation of surprise or anger. It's a minced oath used instead of 'bloody'. Using 'bloody' would have got me a clip around the ear as a kid, though. I think I would have just about got away with using 'blooming'.