Sunday, 17 September 2017

Watercolour Adventure (Goal 54)

So this has kinda been my motto as of late. Physics, kung fu, painting, calligraphy... 
You always start off suckin' at it, but that's ok!
Who doesn't love a good photo-enriched blog post? Painting was a really fun thing for me as a child, and I'd gotten out of the habit. Goal 54 on my big old to-do list was to complete 5 watercolour paintings. I ended up doing more because it got more fun as I improved, and I wasn't sure what my definition of 'a painting' should be.

Commence photo dump!

Starting off copying my old nature reference books.Obviously some attempts turned out better than others, but this was my main learning stage!

Calligraphy experiments and some watercolour cards I'm pretty proud of.

Nice simple cherry blossoms and a slightly mixed-media crow and magpie for Mr Limpet's birthday.

Look on YouTube for a watercolour galaxy tutorial. Trust me, they're so easy and look awesome.

I hope you've enjoyed looking through my watercolour adventure. It's been a very enjoyable process, and I've liked having a little sketchbook to do quick doodley paintings when I feel like a bit of alone time. During a stretch of insomnia the doodley paintings also helped me forget I was meant to be sleeping, which helped me chill out enough to sleep.

Limpet x

P.S. Recently, goal 43 has also been reached, which was to move out with just my boyfriend. It's glorious, it really is. Things stay clean and, as if by magic, everything stays where I last put it down! Maybe more on that in a later post, because I had a lot of fun organising my book shelves in particular. They're pretty now.

Friday, 12 May 2017

D&D Dice Bags

D&D, or Dungeons and Dragons, is a game that I got into completely by accident. A little group of the Physicists have been playing it for a while, and I went along with a friend because she liked a boy there and didn't want to go on her own. It took a little getting used to, but I loved it.

My first campaign is finished now, and I had an awful lot of fun with Nini the goliath barbarian. Imagine a huge ginger woman who thinks she's only ten because she only has ten fingers to count on. Nini believed she was raised by rabbits, but it turned out they were just small fur-cloaked people that raised her after her barbarian village was ransacked. It was a lot of fun sending her on a voyage of self-discovery from which she learned very little. (Good at swinging a great-axe though!)

Campaign number two is going to start soon, where I will be playing as Ib Layzafeyse, a goblin who calls herself a laser monk. To be honest I just wanted to be able to use the kung fu/tai chi motto -"You're f*cking with my chi."

Instead of borrowing dice from the DM (dungeon master), I decided to buy my own. And all dice need a dice bag!

Dragon egg dice bags! As always it's a free pattern on Ravelry. The one on the right I made first, and it's so big I can fit my fist in it. I did 3 rows of 8 crocodile scales following the pattern, two rows of 7, two rows of 6, then one row of 5. I did a row of hdc at the top. 

Let me tell you how to reduce by one scale neatly:

The usual v-stitch pattern is this: 
*(dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, skip 2 st*

To reduce a row by one scale: 
*(dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, skip 2 st, (dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, skip 3 st*

To reduce a row by two scales:
*(dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, skip 3 st*

Then just sl st to the first v-stitch as before and carry on with the scales like usual.

The first one I made I'm calling my prototype. I next made a smaller one which I much prefer (otherwise I'll be tempted to buy enough dice to fill it!) by discounting step 4 in the bottom. At the end of this one I did *dc, dc, skip 1 st* around the top and then threaded my string through the skipped spaces, which makes it look a bit more eggy when it's closed.

I hope my little modifications are clear enough. The big scaly bag I'm going to give to 'girl who fancied boy' to foster a new character alliance, although Miss Layzafeyse does not play well with others.

I'm excited for my dice to arrive! Expect more photos when they do! (They're so prettyyyyy.)

Limpet x

Monday, 24 April 2017

It's Been a While

It hasn't been that long, but still, a while. I write this sitting in Krabi airport, Thailand, waiting to catch a flight back to Bangkok and from there, home.

It's been two weeks since I went outside without suncream on. I am the poster child for paranoid factor 50 application. It's bizarre because most Thai women I meet will comment immediately on my "lovely pale skin" but every other English girl wants a deep dark tan.

Waiting to take off. Bangkok airways keeps feeding us on this local flight. There's a lounge in the airport with food and drink, and they're just about to bring us another meal when we're in the air.

We came to Thailand because it's my uncle's 50th and his wife is Thai. It was a bit of island hopping, from Bangkok to Pattaya to Phuket to Phi Phi to Krabi to Bangkok again. I was expecting the whole family but it was just some of his middle aged friends and my cousin who I've never really talked to before. They organised it all quite badly and we were a bit of an afterthought because we weren't staying in the same hotels as them. On Phi Phi island we had a bad experience. Check out was at 11am, and the ferry wasn't leaving until 4pm. We planned to drink cocktails by the pier until then. However, the power to the whole island was out, and everywhere was shutting because of it. 30 degree humid heat without even a fan, dragging 20kg of luggage in a suitcase with missing wheels. I was starting to feel faint just sitting around so we dragged the suitcases to the other side of the island where my uncle and co were staying. They were just in their air conditioned pool, and it turns out they weren't even going to walk to the pier, they had a small boat booked. That coupled with having to get coaches from their hotel meant a lot of walking around for us, and a lot of waiting around. Anyway the point I'm trying to make is it would have been much better if we'd done our own thing and organised it ourselves.

Please excuse the rant, I wasn't intending it to be one.

Give me a few days to collate my photos and thoughts, and I will write a nice picture laden post all about my trip.

Khop kûn ka!

Limpet x

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Prettifying Storage Drawers

It's probably been almost a year since I actually completed this DIY, since it was back in March that I did my coat hooks. I came across the photos in my "miscellaneous crafting" folder and the sooner I get the writing down the better.

So here we have: a handy little set of pretty wooden storage drawers.

The original was something I got for my birthday. I was after one of those colourful plastic ones for all sorts of bits and bobs, but I thought this shouldn't be too hard to spruce up.

1. First paint about the outer edges of each box and down the sides too if you're a perfectionist. I just used acrylic since it won't be getting much wear and tear.

2. Next unscrew the tiny handles on the front and set them aside.

3. Glue some nice paper on the front of each box, making sure each square is the same size. I used origami paper, but anything will do. Use a screw to poke through the paper where the original holes were before the glue dries.

4. When it's dry, screw the little handles back on.

Et voila! One prettified storage box!

What do I keep in mine?
  • Dinosaurs (occasionally)
  • Hair bands
  • Hair clips/bobby pins
  • Buttons
  • Those bits of ribbon that I guess are for hanging clothes but you always cut them off anyway
  • Sequins that fell off a top
  • Used stamps
  • Paper clips
  • Washi tape
So there we have it! I think I've run out of things to cover in paper now but I'll see what I can do.

Limpet x

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Free Geometric Skull Cross Stitch Pattern

As a lil' sorry for it being a while since posting last, and because I've been meaning to do it for a while, I wanted to share my skull cross stitch with you along with a free pattern.

So this was the teaser I posted just before the new year, along with a filter-less photo of what it actually looked like. I decided a geometric rainbow border would contrast with the realism of the skull nicely, and designed it so it fits snugly inside a 6 inch frame.

I also think he'd look great with a wreath around him and a Christmas hat, but maybe that's just me! I kind of want to do one for each season of the year.

The pattern:

The pattern shown is 83 x 83 stitches, meaning that on 14 count aida it's almost exactly 6 x 6 inches. Of course you can adjust the border as you see fit, and I'm more than happy to assist if you'd like it in a different size and want some help.

In a black 8 inch frame with a black 6 inch border, under Alice on the living room wall. The angle is pretending to be artistic but really just avoiding the light reflection on the glass.

As someone who struggles to finish projects, I'm glad it's finally out and on display. I've actually been working on this for quite a while, but I lost my darker shade of grey and was forced to tidy the house to find it again!

Limpet x

Friday, 20 January 2017

Student Debt

I've been thinking about finances again, mostly because I strangely enjoy sorting them out. Maybe I was an accountant in a past life, or it's just because I enjoy maths.

There's an advert for a popular bank (the one I used to work for actually) that irritates me so much. Some young people are jumping on a sofa and reel off about how "it's so great that they give you an overdraft, I was in my overdraft by the third week, hurr hurr hurr I'm so silly." Literally every student bank account gives you an overdraft, it's nothing to write home about. Don't infantilise a whole group of people.

But anyway, a friend of mine was fretting about his student finance application recently. He was trying to work out how much he needed to live on and therefore how much maintenance loan he needed to apply for. So I said "why not just apply for the full amount? You probably won't end up paying it back anyway." It's the same reason that I chose to start third year again from the beginning rather than just coming back for January exams. I wouldn't have been able to attend lectures or redo coursework, just for the sake of saving an extra £3000 on my student loan. Seeing as this degree will cost me over £40,000 in loans anyway, what difference would that make?

The fact is that a student loan is going to be the cheapest long-term debt I'll ever have. Since it'll just take some from my earnings, I'll probably forget it's even there.

I really would recommend students just starting to work a part time job. I wish I had earlier on, but it baffles me how people can go into their overdraft so quickly. Sure, I'm pretty small and not materialistic, but some people were living on houmus and buying new clothes for goodness sake Because I make enough money working to cover my living costs right now, the maintenance loan I'll get this year will go straight into savings.

Money isn't supposed to make you happy and all that, but it's got to help...? Maybe I really am turning into an adult, if the prospect of financial security gets my blood pumping.

Apologies for the rambling post, but it's exam season and I'm procrastinating!

Limpet x

Friday, 13 January 2017

Moon Phases Bookmark

Just a short and sweet craftspiration for you today. This is perfect for when you want to spend a few minutes crafting something you can actually use, or slip a little something into a letter for a friend. (Did I tell you I have pen-friends again? It makes me very happy.)

Some very simple watercolour bookmarks!

Watercolours lend themselves perfectly to moon-like things, so here's how to do it in 5 easy steps.
  1. Draw 5 circles of the same size in a line on watercolour paper, with a compass if you have one, or just draw around something.
  2. With water, paint the moon phases using your circles as a guide.
  3. While the paper is still wet, dab a few splodges of your chosen colour into the shapes, being careful not to use too much paint.
  4. Add more colour as required and then leave the paint to dry. You can use a dry tissue to dab off paint while it's still wet if needed.
  5. Draw on any details with a pen if you like. I couldn't decide if I liked it more with or without the pen, but it definitely looks neater.
So there it is. Make just one for yourself or loads at once to give to everyone you know!

Limpet x

Friday, 6 January 2017

Come on in, 2017!

The last post was about 9 little things that helped me in 2016. It's almost a year since I started this blog and honestly I think it's been pretty helpful for me to see what's been going on and to vent my thoughts.

Here are some changes I'll be making in 2017. Just a few goals, no need to get too ambitious.

1. I have decided to do away with the Reading List on this blog and instead start using Goodreads. You're all welcome to add me as a friend, please give me lots of book recommendations! My 2017 reading goal is 26, one every two weeks. I read a bit more than that last year but I don't want to put any pressure on it.

2. Yoga! I mentioned in my to-do list that I wanted to save up my pub tips for the new year. I have done exactly that, and I have ________. When I first looked at yoga I got a bit sad because £5 per session is not cheap, but now I have the perfect use for those tips.

3. Bullet journaling. I discovered this new concept a few weeks ago and have started one. I may do a little post later on what mine looks like at the moment. Hopefully it will add some much needed structure.

4. Try and keep a 9-5. It's so hard getting work done without having to be anywhere, and it ends up ruining my evenings. I plan on doing 2/3 hours work, then 1 hour off. The hour off has to be something productive like kung fu or crafting instead of just browsing the internet. This'll be a hard one, but the bullet journal will help.

Some quick stats for 2016: (I've recently set up a Google Analytics profile so they'll be more accurate for next year.)

53 posts (at least one a week, good job past Limpet!)
~15,000 page views
In the first month we had about 100 views, and in the last we had about 4,500. I don't really know what that means, but it sounds good.

Onwards and upwards, friends!

Limpet x

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Two Thousand and Sixteen

So this year I did a lot of things differently and am living more like a human being than a messy smelly poor student. I thought I'd share with you all as a parting gift 9 little things that have helped me in 2016. It's mostly word vomit as usual but maybe there's some new ideas in there that could help you too.

1. Make your own space
Especially when two people shoehorn their houses together, it can be hard to find your own quiet space. A whole wall of our bedroom is taken up by my OH's very large computer desk. I've got just enough space at one end to fit my laptop, so the cramped space made it hard to work in there. However, I've put up some shelves above it for storage and covered the bit of wall with things that make me happy. Little bits of origami, photos, watercolour experiments, letters from friends. It's nice to have a little colourful (or not colourful if you like that) space that's your own.

Like these little origami totoros that make my storage space prettier.

2. Presents spreadsheet
This year I started keeping a spreadsheet in google drive (for on-the-go access) with family and friends I buy presents for and columns for 'past presents', 'Christmas 2015', 'birthday 2016' etc. There's two columns for each category, one for presents given and one for presents received. It's made it sooo much easier when keeping track of everything, especially this Christmas when I don't want to accidentally get someone the same present as last year.

3. Money spreadsheet
(I sure love spreadsheets!) This one I really like more as a visual aid for keeping track of spending. At the end of each month I go into it and put in the end totals for each of my bank accounts (student account, savings account, Help-to-Buy ISA etc.) with a column at the end for a running total. There's a line graph linked to it that lets me see what money was where at each time with a nice green line above them all that shows how much money I own in the world. I went back and did this all the way from 2013 when I first opened my student bank account with £50. From it I can already tell that I am so much better at managing money and having a job is so worth it. For extra fun I even went and added a big negative line for how much student debt I have. Sorry, did I just say extra fun?

4. Give yourself a pep talk
The bank was a horrible place to work in over the summer, just horrible. There's such a phobia of technology that people would rather queue up at the one business desk than let me help them use a machine, which makes the queue ridiculous and makes everyone there angry too. Ugh. But occasionally there'd be a person, a nice old lady perhaps, that'd say to me something like "don't let the bastards get you down, you're always cheerful." I kept a note of all the nice things customers had said in my phone to read through after a tough one and give myself a little kick back into gear.

5. Making the most of crafting time
Keep a list of projects to refer to when you feel like doing something different. I've got a big to-do list with no end date of all the things I'd like to crochet or cross stitch or sew. Write ideas down as you think of them so you'll never be sat around racking your brains for ideas.

6. Use photos
Take photos of everything! I take photos of books when I start and finish them, finished projects to refer back to and show others, car park numbers so I don't get lost, everything.

A photo posted by Kate Tuck (@phystuck) on

Taking a photo of this cross stitch, for example, so I can remind myself to finish the border later.

7. Conditioner before shampoo
When you used funky coloured hair dye, it gets washed out a bit when you shower. 'Shampoo > rinse > conditioner > rinse' means it gets washed out doubly as much every time I shower. So I switched to 'Conditioner ends > shampoo top of head > rinse' and honestly my very long hair is in so much better condition for it.

8. Streamline your morning routine
Little things like putting a heater in the bathroom for those extra chilly mornings, making a cup of tea for when I get out of the shower, getting clothes out beforehand, that sort of stuff. Just to minimise the 'just got of the shower freezing with wet hair dripping everywhere' moments.

9. Say hello/smile/wave a little bit when people walk into a room
It's a simple one, but it feels nice to be noticed by others. If that person is having a bit of a hard day, you looking pleased to see them might just make all the difference.

There you have it, some things to make your life just a little bit easier. Doing a bit of work at the time to make things easier in the future. In theory, anyway.

It's been a pleasure to have been here blogging for a year now. The word of next year is 'focus'- being determined and working hard to get where I want to be.

I hope your 2017 is excellent,

Limpet x

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

"It Takes Years to Develop a Personality."

Working in the pub last Friday afternoon, things got quite jolly. One of the regulars, a nice fellow called Jim, decided he was going to get into the Christmas spirit and drink Irish coffees. For some reason everyone joined in with him. So all the painters and decorators and plumbers that are usually downing beer were just sat at the end of the bar sipping from latte glasses. Don't get me wrong, they still had 7 or 8 of them, but the combination of whiskey and sugar and coffee really changed the usual atmosphere. Everyone had something good to say and I've never seen them more cheerful. It felt like Christmas! Even I was feeling tipsy by being around them.

Anyway, drunken cheerful Jim said something to me like "You're a really nice girl, Limpet. You've got a fun personality. It takes years to develop a personality, but you're cheeky and clever and it's good." Of course being in a pub I'm used to being flirted with 24/7, but this was different and once they'd all left it got me thinking.

It takes years to develop a personality.

I will admit that during 'The Bad Time' I sometimes felt like I wasn't my own person. I remembered being carefree and happy with myself when I was in school. Then after 'The Events' and having to take time out from university I was surrounded by a completely different group of people. This group were all at least 5 years older (from the kung fu club where I met my OH as well as others) and were settled in their jobs and lives. It felt almost like I was borrowing pieces of other people's personalities. I wasn't spending any time in my student house because nobody left their bedrooms and it was too isolating, so of course I felt like I was intruding in the house where I was staying. I spent months tiptoeing around not doing much with my days, waiting for my boyfriend to get home and not wanting to disturb his housemates. Going outside and meeting up with friends started to feel scary, which is partly the reason why I started doing so much crafting.

I digress, but Jim is right. It does take years to develop a personality. It's ok if you're not sure what kind of person you are when you start making your own way in the world. It's the experiences and how we deal with them that define us. I'll continue trying different things and keep doing the ones that I enjoy. My life will slowly build itself up around me as I slowly let go of those insecurities. And when my guard is down, the cheeky and clever Little Limpet that was hiding will shine out for everyone else to see.

Limpet x