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

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Goal 66: Get my ears pierced!

It's done! At 21 years of age I have gotten my ears pierced for the first time ever!

I've been wanting to do it for a while and one Saturday after kung fu we decided to all go into town, so I thought I may as well get them done while the others do their shopping. The mister held my hand and we all went for ice cream afterwards while I felt very proud of myself.

I got 4 done at once, two ear lobes and two helix piercings in my right ear. Initially it was just going to be the two cartilage ones but then I saw all the cool earrings that existed in the world and wanted part of that.

Look how tiny my ears are! I have basically no ear lobes at all.

My internal monologue went something like this:

"10 year olds can do this. How bad can it be?
Oh that's actually quite a big needle.
It can't be worse than giving blood.
The needle's getting closer.
Oh god that thunk was the sound of puncturing cartilage.
Ow. Actually that wasn't so bad.
I'm really glad I'm not squeamish."

After that the metal bit gets pulled through the hole and there's a bit of internal screaming at that point. But since I had the cartilage done first I couldn't feel much after the initial pain. The cartilage stung constantly for about a day and it took a few days before I was able to sleep on my left side which just had the lobe in.

I am so excited for 10 weeks to go by so I can change the jewellery, assuming they heal fine. I'll be sure to post pictures of my newly decked out ears when that happens. Roll on February the 4th!

Limpet x

Friday, 25 November 2016

Luna the Crochet Dragon

Just wanted to share my latest project with you. I got commissioned for the first time! My best friend Tanya from secondary school asked me to make her a purple dragon. I sent her some photos of crochet dragons and she chose this one:

Luna the dragon in her new home.

I took a long-awaited trip to London to visit her and we had a really fun weekend. It was filled with calisthenics, old chick-flicks, food, and a Captain Morgan's themed night out where we got loads of freebies. Tanya was the envy of her whole student flat and Luna got lots of love and cuddles; she's practically a house pet.

Confession time: I thought it'd be really easy to put Luna together on the train up there but it ended up being quite an involved operation with lots of sewing. So after 4 hours of bumpy public transport her tail wasn't finished and she had no eyes! Tanya didn't mind me finishing her off though and was fascinated by the whole process. I'm really proud of Luna and a little sad to give her away.

The pattern can be found here on Ravelry. It's in Spanish but is easy to follow with Google translate. For more dragon-ness I added some small wings from the crochet cthulhu pattern here where they have a nice photo tutorial.

This is the second time I've finished my crochet at the last minute, but I'll try not to make a habit of it. Also, just look at Luna's eyes, she's so cute!

Limpet x

Monday, 14 November 2016

Doing a Physics

It's been a bit radio silence over here, hasn't it? Well that's because life is good! I am busy and have been doing a physics!

Pile of textbooks and lecture notes just to prove to you guys that I actually do work sometimes. On top is my Crystalline Solids course which is technically quantum chemistry and is really weird.

I've recently finished the group work section of my dissertation module. "Group work, in a dissertation!?" I hear you cry. Well yes, that's my thought on the matter too. In a proper subject like physics, no less. The thing is, we have to prove that we're capable of working with others. For physicists that can be a bit of a challenge (most of the stereotypes are true). Rather than letting us just get on with our dissertation they thought this module has to be the one with teamwork thrown in.

First we had to rank a list of topics based on preference, then get put into a group of four and split up the topic to write an abstract and do a presentation on it, before writing a proper dissertation by ourselves. For example, I was in the group for 'semiconductor nanowires'; researched 'the applications of semiconductor nanowires' in the abstract and presentation; and will write my own dissertation on 'nanowire photonics.' So I guess it's good in that you start off with a big topic and narrow it down to something you're interested in.

While writing the abstract was fine, the presentation was terrifying. I made the mistake of working the night before when I had to get into uni at 8am, so I was trying to educate my pub regulars on the growth of nanolasers to make myself a bit more confident. Growing lasers that are in the scale of 10−9 metres is pretty damn cool to me, but turns out it's super hard to explain a scale that small to people. Each individual nanowire can have the ends cleaved off to function as a teeny tiny laser cavity. I can't wait for them to actually make these.

An array of ZnO nanowires, which can be made less than 100nm in diameter (ie. fitting 10 trillion wires into a square cm). This is what I love about physics: at one end you've got the impossibly small, and at the other you have the vast incomprehensible expanse of the universe.

These zinc oxide nanowires in the photo above are actually used on some solar panels that are getting really, really efficient. Nanotechnology could be the future! My individual dissertation is going to be the photonics applications (photonics=photons=light=lasers and LEDs and optical fibres and stuff) so I get to delve even further into the crazy things nanowires can do.

But anyway, the presentation turned out going really well. I knew all my stuff and answered some complicated questions and they seemed impressed with us. My boyfriend was such a rock throughout the whole thing and me getting stressed and antsy about talking in front of people. He bought me coronation chicken sandwich fillers to munch when it was all over and drove me there early and told me "I'm so proud of you, little one". That's often all I need to get through something, just to know that someone is proud of me and rooting for me to succeed. 

Getting back into physics has been so great. It's what I'm meant to do in my life; I've been feeling productive and useful and it's lovely.

Just give me a few years and you'll be talking to a proper physicist!

Limpet x

Monday, 24 October 2016

Hepialus humuli

I was in the garden today, doing some sketching. I spotted something attached to the spider webs that cover this big wall of ivy we have, and it was a dead moth.

I feel affection towards moths; they're so fuzzy and cute. So I took him down and the naturalist in me took some pictures of him lying on the ivy leaf. He has one black eye and one white eye, and it's just his exoskeleton and bits of fluff and wings left.

Why is your eye white, little moth?

It reminds me of a time last July, when I'd first moved into the other house. I was sitting outside and I spotted something fluttering among all the overgrown vines on the ground. It was a big fluffy orange moth, and it was covered in ants. It kept trying to fly away but couldn't. Its wings weren't working, and every time it touched the ground again more ants would crawl onto it. I was filled with horror at what it must be like to be eaten alive, so I saved it. I coaxed it onto a big leaf, carried it to a safe place and squished all the ants. After that it just lay there, and died. It was a beautiful moth, but its wings were deformed and different shapes to each other. It's hard to describe what I felt then. I wanted the moth to survive over the ants so I killed them, and then the moth died anyway. The moth would probably have never survived, but I couldn't just watch it be eaten. I tried in vain at the time to try and find out what moth it was but couldn't because the wings weren't a normal shape. Months later I was flicking through a nature book in a charity shop and saw it. It was a ghost moth, Hepialus humuli!

It was a female ghost moth that I saw because she was bright yellow. They're called ghost moths because the wings of the male are pure white and he hovers, rising and falling, over low ground in his search for a female. I think the one I found today is most likely a common swift, which is in the same family as the ghost moth. He definitely has a similar look about him. In death, that is. I didn't get to meet this one when he was alive.

It makes me wonder: their lives are so short, but do they feel as long as ours? I just can't equate our long lifespan to the less than a year they get. Does a second feel like a minute to them? Do they even have a concept of time? Probably not. I suspect we humans are one of the few that have evolved a sense of our own existence, rather than the live-eat-breed-die that drives everything else. Does a moth ever feel it's coming near the end of its life? Does it ever think of all the little eggs it's laid? Or is it driven by pure instinct? It makes me sad to think of a life that's so easily taken. We don't have predators, we don't have to find our own food, we don't breed every year of our adult lives. In return we're left with such an abundance of free time that we don't know what to do with it so we invent philosophy and think there must be a meaning to it all. Maybe that's why seeing a dead moth brings such a feeling of insignificance to me. I get the same feeling from looking out at the cosmos.

We are all made of star stuff, moths and all.

Limpet x

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Crochet Cuttlefish

And now for something lighter! I tried out the free pattern I posted last month to make a crochet cuttlefish, and then made him a friend using a different pattern just to spice things up a bit. I chose these father fetching purple colours which don't have a name or a brand really they're just cheap from The Range. My frugal nature just winces at spending more than about £2.50 on a ball of wool, and the supermarket is good enough quality for me.

Two different patterns of crochet cuttlefish.

The dark purple cuttlefish I made using the pattern already posted on this blog here. It ended up a lot bigger than I was expecting, and the head and body don't really need to be done separately. I do like the almond body shape and the eye bulges though.

The light purple cuttlefish is also a free pattern here; he's a bit smaller and rounder. I slip stitched around the head and body join just to make it a bit clearer, and also added two tentacles. (Cuttlefish have six arms and two longer tentacles for grabbing food.)

What I've realised from making these cuties is that I think I could make my own patterns. I've got a good grasp of shapes now and tentacles especially are really fun to make. My next project is a dragon for a friend who'll be in the same purples. If anyone has any ideas or patterns you want to see me try just let me know.

Crochet is fun!

Limpet x

Saturday, 15 October 2016

S.A.D. but it's Alright

Just wanted to drop a quick note to say that, actually, I am okay. I'm going to be okay. Things are pretty good at the moment. Physics is going well- I've learned so much my brain feels like it's going to drop out. I'm trying to wrangle myself a job at a company that develops optical fibres on Mondays and Wednesdays since my days are free. And finally, it's nice to have money again! My pub work covers all the rent and food and stuff so I've got my student finance sitting pretty and untouched.

Yesterday I ordered a lamp with the power of a thousand suns that's supposed to help with seasonal depression. So when I have to be indoors at home studying, the light from that can gently warm my face and convince my body that it's summer! Yesterday I also organised a trip to see a school friend in London that I miss, and got back in touch with a few people.

The future is bright and all that, even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

Limpet x

Friday, 14 October 2016


I'm starting to think I may have SAD- Seasonal Affective Disorder. It was around this time last year that I started to get really depressed, and this time there's no situational reason for it. I don't know what to do, I feel so terrible. Just crying for no reason and feeling useless and feeling like I have no friends and I'm somehow not good enough as a person. I can't keep myself busy enough to ignore it.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Mushroom Forest

Today was stomping around the New Forest, that turned into a mushroom hunt just because there were so many. We found some edible ones- chanterelles and portobello, and some deadly ones- death caps.
Here's a cute little baby death cap!

You can click on the photo to see a few more pictures from the day. I just love being outdoors though, it makes me happy. And when I'm happy I want to share that with all of you!

Forests and fungi,
Limpet x

Monday, 3 October 2016

Goal 9: Go Back to University

Today's the day! Today I go back to university! It's been a very long 9 months and I feel like a completely different person. I've had so much life experience since then, and illnesses both physical and mental have matured me a lot as a person. I haven't become cynical, of course not, but I know what the real world is like now. Things are serious, and I'm ready to do what it takes to get my degree and my dream physicist career afterwards.

Love yourself, you can do it! Don't give up!

Limpet x

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Goal 36: Go Fossil Hunting

It was the best Sunday, and exactly the kind of thing I wanted to get from my Big Old To-Do List. I had an amazing time doing something I wouldn't have usually done and it made me a very happy little limpet.

And of course, there were a lot of limpets on the beach.

As promised last week, here's a photo dump of the fossil hunting part of my day.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Adventures into the Wild

On Sunday, I'm going fossil hunting on the Isle of Wight! I couldn't be more excited and I've been planning it. Booking the ferry, finding out what else there is to do, etc. (like going to a monkey sanctuary.)

Something any self-respecting nature lover must have: a decent pair of walking boots. I left mine in Kent (whoops) and they had holes in anyway so I went to get some today and they ended up being an amazing bargain.

£10, £10!

I have funny shaped feet and that usually makes buying shoes difficult. My toes are too long and my heel has a bony lump that sticks out at the back. However, I got to this place and found a pair that fits me just perfectly. So I got some big stompy waterproof boots for hunting dinosaurs at the beach in, for £10 when they should have been £80.

Expect a monstrous post after Sunday, with lots of photos. Hopefully I'll find some really interesting things to show all of you!

Limpet x

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Free Cuttlefish Crochet Pattern

This is not my pattern. It was written by Steven Wyckoff of, and I found it here on Ravelry. Unfortunately the pattern no longer exists anywhere on the internet, so I am posting it here as found originally. It's just too cute to be taunting so many people on the internet with no pattern.

Take it away, Steven!

Saturday, 17 September 2016


At the pub, and I walk into the toilets. Like an unexpected slap in the face, my boyfriend's ex is looking at me with pure hatred in her eyes. I'm shocked; it's like I've walked into a physical barrier. My body's gone into fight or flight mode. I sidestep into the nearest cubicle. All the happy alcohol-and-friends feeling has leaked away and I'm conscious of my own heartbeat. I go to the loo and when I come out she's gone and left the pub and I feel like I've just avoided being stabbed or something.

There's nothing I can do, is there? It's too far gone to ever try and smooth things out between us. I've become someone's enemy. It's a difficult thought to stomach.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Goal 63: Bind a Book

In a rather fetching yellow and with added origami paper for extra oriental effect: my first bound book! 

This will contain nature sketches and such.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Rescue Snakes- Dealing With Mites

(I promise this will be the last snakey post for a while)

"Two snakes, four snakes, what's the difference?"

So we were thinking. We like snakes, and there are lots of snakes out there that need a home. These two lovely creatures are a morph called mahogany (we affectionately call them 'the hogs'), which unfortunately isn't very popular as it looks very similar to a normal. We got them from a man in South Yorkshire when we went to visit family up there, and he really didn't know what he was getting into when he bought them. They weren't terribly looked after, but it was dirty and they hadn't been handled much. Also, they had mites. He didn't tell us they had mites, the bastard, we only found out when we'd got them home. I hate to think how long they'd had them.

Friday, 9 September 2016

My Reading List

You may have noticed a new little page labelled "Reading List" pop up on the side of this blog recently. As the name suggests, this is all the books I've read/want to read within the time frame of my Big Old To-Do List, which I haven't actually decided yet. I'll be updating it regularly when I get more books and finish them, but as any reader knows it's tricky to keep on top of the ever-growing pile!

Stole Dune from my parents and I've been a sci-fi lover ever since.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Baby Octopus Crochet

On Sunday I went to the christening of my boyfriend's cousin's baby (1st cousin once removed?) and it was the first christening I've ever been to. I didn't even have one myself and my boyfriend had a naming ceremony instead because his parents are hippies. It was the first time I'd met this branch of the family and I can now proudly say I've met every single one of them. Boyfriend family challenge = complete!

Anyway, I wanted to make a good first impression so I thought I'd make a baby toy with my new-fangled crochet skills. I started it on Thursday and finished on Saturday morning as we were driving up in the car (I had to buy some black wool from ASDA on the way for the eyes.) Here he is, sitting on my knee in the car:

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pet Snake Number 2

When we decided to buy a ball python, the idea was originally to get a female and keep her until she was big enough to get her a boyfriend. Of course that didn't work because we fell in love with Cuddles. After that we figured, "one snake, two snakes, what's the difference?"

Because my boyfriend picked out Cuddles, I got to search for this beautiful little girl. We drove to London to pick her up, and the man who bred her had about 700 snakes all in plastic tubs around the walls in his bedroom. That's the life of a proper snake breeder I suppose. Fingers crossed we won't get to that point! Our snakes live like kings and queens, no plastic tubs for our babies.

Meet Nymeria the ball python!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Goal 33: Get a pet snake

If you're scared of snakes, just skip this one and go to the next, ok? But remember people are allowed to like different things. 

First some background. A friend of mine got a ball python called Noodle, and my boyfriend and I met him when we went to visit. I'd never considered snakes as a pet before, I thought they'd hate it and would much rather be in the wild. And besides, you can't play with a snake or cuddle up with it. I was very wrong. Noodle was strangely cute, with his little puppy-dog mouth and his tentative way of exploring your clothes. He curled up in my hood and sniffed my ear with his tongue, and seemed very happy indeed to be slithering around all these warm trees. I've been wanting a pet for so long, but I don't have the time or money yet for a dog or anything else, especially with renting houses and landlords being funny about fur.

So we talked about it a lot, did a huge amount of research, and then bought this little fellow home:

This is Cuddles the ball python!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Fiddling Around With Finances

So as you know by now, I've been trying to get my life back in order since the beginning of this year. The aim was to get grounded and mentally stronger before I resume my degree in September. I've had my peaks and I've had my troughs, but overall it's going well and I'm in so much more of a happier place now.

Whilst the first part of this year was about taking some time to myself, getting back in touch with my crafty side, etc. this obviously wasn't good for my finances. So when I was ready, I started work. It started with pub work and then I managed to find a temporary 9-5 with good pay for three months. Thanks to working very hard and moving into a cheaper place, my money situation has got a lot better and I can think about savings.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Goal 1: Well-paid Summer Job

My well-paying summer job this year was at a bank in the big town centre. I was basically the person who stands at the entrance and says "Hello good morning how can I help you?" really fast before they've walked past me. Just directing people and showing them how to use the machines really. It's very boring work, and it's horrible standing in one spot all day everyday. However, it's 9-5 and they pay me £9.84 an hour to do it so it's nothing to be sniffed at. Even when I have to spend 20 minutes explaining an overdraft to someone that doesn't understand negative numbers.

Today is my last day at the bank (writing this in my lunch break); I've spent 3 months here now as it's a temporary position. I've also kept up my pub job, just working 3 or 4 evenings a week there. I won't lie, it's been a real challenge working from 9am til midnight on those days, but it's what I needed to get my finances back on track. Now I can just work at the pub and start catching up on university work before I go back in September.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Goal 40: Watch a Meteor Shower

On the 11th of August, I went on a spontaneous shooting star hunt with friends to try and see the Perseid meteor shower. It happens every year between July and August, but this year was supposed to be an extra good one. It's caused by our planet crossing the orbital path of Comet Swift-Tuttle. The rubble and dust from the comet crash into our upper atmosphere and set alight as we pass through, creating shooting stars.

While the meteors shoot around all over the place, they all come from the same point in the sky. This is called the radiant of the meteor shower. With the Perseids, it's up and left a bit of the Perseus constellation (seen as three bright vertical stars) and underneath Cassiopeia (W shape of stars.) Thanks to this I now recognise the Perseus constellation too, which goes a way towards goal number 46 on the big list.

I was planning on using the 60 second exposure setting on my camera to photograph the sky, but this is the best I got! I don't have a fancy camera or anything, just a little digital one. Each star in the image here is only a few pixels, and I had to turn the brightness and contrast way up to see anything at all. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

My Big Old To-Do List

Before reading this post, have a look at my Big Old To-Do List (which probably needs a better name.) Writing lists I find fun initially, and then they make me guilty when I don't do everything on them. My problem is I set myself time limits that I don't often stick to and then think there's no point because it's so overdue. This one's different though. 

Keep on trekking on, friends!

This is a to-do list with a really big time frame, like a couple of years. This means I can use it to set goals and improve my lifestyle and try out new things. And when I'm a bit lost for what to do, I can have a look at it and work towards one of my goals. Some things on it are easy, and some will be tricky, but I can add more to it and update it as time goes on. It might turn out that not drinking tea for a month is a pointless goal, for example, because tea is really good.

Also, things that are season dependent like watching meteor showers or breeding snakes you might miss the first time round. Whereas with a to-do list that spans more than one year, you've always got another chance to try again if you miss it.

Crossing them off as I go, and keeping track with this blog, I'll hopefully begin to get my life in order. My Little Limpet Life™.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Musings, or the Long Debated "What Should This Blog Be About?"

I'm not very good at writing about myself; I'm not really self-centred enough. I wanted this blog to be about all the crafty things I'd made, to inspire people and show that it's easy to be a little creative. It was going to be focused on that, with maybe just a touch of my life thrown into the mix. I like a lot of the posts that I've written, but since I've been working two jobs I just haven't had the time for it. My style of writing for a lot of it is just not very... me, I suppose. I've been reading other similar blogs and just unconsciously copying mannerisms and ways of saying things, and I apologise if it's ever come across as "look at me, this is what I did." Maybe this blog will survive as something else now that I don't have an abundance of free time. Maybe a sort of diary blog, if anyone would be interested in that. Who knows? The future is mysterious and full of surprises. I won't delete any old posts, because I want to look back on it in the future and cringe at it all, like reading your 12 year old diary and realising how irritating you were.

Also, I finally figured out how to change my email address on Blogger so I can log in with my new phone and start posting again. Happy days!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Bad-Mannered Bookmarks

Everyone has those days, or those people, that just ruin your mood.

You may be familiar with Julie Jackson's subversive cross stitch, one of the first to lead cross-stitch astray by making it rude and snarky. It's an amazing form of art therapy and so I decided to make a bookmark of my own.

Bookmark with the words 'Fuck off, please.' cross-stitched in green.
I sealed the edges with fire!

Stitching words takes so much longer than it takes to say them that in my mind, it transformed the venom into something more jovial. Now it's just a cheeky bookmark and a reminder that often it doesn't really matter if someone's trying to mess up your day, as long as you care enough about yourself to dismiss them.

Bad manners and bookmarks,

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Fiona's Needle Book

Introducing: the very first gift that I made with my sewing machine!

My friend Fiona lent me her sewing kit ages ago so I could use her embroidery threads for some cross stitching. As a thank you I made her this needle book, as she didn't have anything to organise hers.
Purple Needle Book

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

I Can't Sleep

(This post is a sort of confessional word vomit, you have been warned.)

Hey there, internet.

I've been neglectful of you, as usual. But don't worry, I'm not going to parrot "apologies for the lack of post, I've been really busy, PLEASE DONT LEAVE ME I CAN CHANGE"-type stuff. We've all got lives and other things going on, so I know you'll forgive me.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Cardmaking Take Two

Friends and gentlefolk, welcome to the second edition of card making!

First of all we have a card to go with my "Your Father Smelt Of Elderberries" cross stitch from last week. It features the first half of the Monty Python quote in my favourite stampey stamps, a little pen hamster, and some elderberry foliage from my nature stash.

Next, an RSVP card. A good friend of mine decided she wanted an afternoon tea party for her birthday and sent out handmade invitations in the post. It was so lovely to get snail mail, so responding by email or facebook seemed too impersonal. I whipped up this little card with an open-able envelope and some shiny washi tape and popped it in the post right back to her.

This next one is a shameless rip-off of something I saw on Pinterest. Please don't judge me too much. The lava is made from some bubbly orange paper and the rest is just pen and coloured pencil.

I'm going to have to provide some back story now, so here goes. I started playing DnD recently, and my character is a massive ginger goliath with the mind of a child who thinks she's only 10 because she has ten fingers. Her name's Nini. Nini believes she was raised by rabbits, but they were actually just small Inuits wearing a lot of fur (but don't tell her that.) This card is for one of my favourite people; he runs the DnD group and is regularly vexed by Nini's antics as she tries to domesticate every animal we come across.

Making your cards is so easy and fun, that even I can do it. Until the next time I make cards good enough to show off,

Friday, 20 May 2016

Your Father Smelt of Elderberries

It's been a while since I've done a new cross stitch, and I had this frame that needed filling. It's too large for a photograph, and I'd had my eye on this monty python cross stitch pattern because I love the font. I didn't have as much room as the pattern so I split the text up into three lines instead of two and added some different berries that filled up the empty space better. 

'Your Father Smelt of Elderberries' free cross stitch pattern
"Your mother was a hamster!"

Friday, 13 May 2016

Cthulhu Crochet

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!
This is the first time I've ever tried crochet, and this is what I made!

Crochet Cthulhu
An adorable little Cthulhu!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Prettifying Coat Hooks

New house= lots of space for home improvement!

Coat hooks are something you don't need to spend much money on. Get the cheapest ones you can find and decorate them with wrapping paper instead! Or varnish them or paint them. If they're going outside you'll need weather-proof varnish but these are on the back of the bedroom door so PVA glue will do.

DIY wrapping paper coat hooks

What you will need:

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Fixing Ripped Jeans

How old is your oldest pair of jeans? 

One of the very few advantages of being absolutely teeny tiny is that you don't grow out of clothes from your teens. I've had this pair of blue jeans since age 14 and they're turning white now. As a sort of project for myself I refuse to throw them away, and will instead keep fixing them. Eventually there will be more patches than original material.

So here we have the casualty of me running up the stairs too vigorously: a big old hole in the bum.

You can see the faint outline of an older repair to the left. I REFUSE TO GIVE UP ON THE JEANS.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

I'm back!

It may have been a little while... perhaps the two posts a week was slightly ambitious. I will try to post regularly from now on. Quite a lot of stuff has been going on recently, the most significant of which is moving house. I'm moving in with my boyfriend and his other housemates, so I'm just trying to slot my whole room's worth of stuff into half a room now. The plus side is the communal areas means there's room for all my books now!

The best part of moving is the neighbourhood cat, who we call Shouty on account of her mewing constantly. Her real name is something in Polish and I think she comes from the garden behind ours, but she's so pretty and visits us for attention which she always gets.

Shouty the cat

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Butterfly Box

First, I want to apologise for this Sunday post not being a Friday post. I tried my best but I was away from home and had bought the wrong camera cable with me. I don't know where this other cable came from, but it was one of those awful ones that are only for one thing and yet you have dozens of them. All the pictures were right there waiting but I couldn't get to them!

In absence of the photos for what I wanted to write about, and in keeping with it being Mother's Day recently, here's the birthday present that I gave my mum last year. It's a 15cm wooden cube with a photo on each face, except I did a little cross stitch for the lid.

Photo cube with butterfly, name, and birthday cross stitched lid

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

You and Me Against the Zombies

I don't know if this was just my school but they had 'Pivot stickfigure animator' installed on all the computers. I had a bit of a nostalgia-fest and made a rubbish live action version of this card I'm about to show you:
Pivot animation of zombie fight
Pfft, zombies are always interrupting.

I'm the sentimental type. I like to keep little notes and doodles that people have given me, and I like to give them out. It's nice to give and receive little reminders of love and appreciation.

I also know a good thing when I see it; my current relationship is very very good, and likely to be my last. I fully trust him to have my back in the impending zombie apocalypse, and that's not something to take lightly. Which brings me to this impromptu card. It's not a special occasion or anything, just another day when I'd been feeling low and he'd set me off giggling like a small child at fart jokes. This is a "thank-you for existing" card.

'It's you and me against the zombies' card
Little K and Big K, zombie bounty hunters.

This card isn't particularly exciting, I know, it's just stamps and felt-tip pen. But it's personal, and sentimental, and I like that.

Zombie apocalypse, are you prepared?

Sunday, 6 March 2016

It's Mum Day!

Today I learned that Mother's Day isn't very consistent around the world. It can be in every month except January and September, which is pretty strange. In the UK at least, it is today. So happy mum day to the British, the Irish, the Nigerians, and the islanders of Jersey (Jerseyans?), Guernsey (Guernseys?), and the Isle of Man (Manx, I think.)

My mum doesn't like soppy generic poems, or rude jokes, or cards that follow the theme of 'Mum runs around after the kids all day and this is her one special day of rest but don't forget you've got to wash my sports kit and can I have chicken nuggets for dinner please'- she just isn't like that. I'm thankful that I started making all my own cards now, because it saves me from standing, staring blankly at the cards in the shop, trying to pick between two cards that will both be received with a polite smile. Yeah, I'll skip that if it's alright with you.

She is, on the other hand, a florist. So it's safe for me to assume that she likes flowers, and I especially know she has a fondness for the wild roses that grow all along the dog walking paths where she lives. I raided my battered nature guide stash to find some pretty dog roses (interestingly named as such because they were used to treat the bites of rabid dogs in the olden days.) You can also eat the fruits of them, or at least I was a fan of scoffing rose hips when I was younger and wilder.

Mother's Day card with cut-out pink roses on a red background and stamped greeting.
Nice try, internet. But you shan't know my name!

This simple card and matching envelope involved cutting out the flowers with a craft knife (mine is actually a budget scalpel) and then gluing onto a card base with some fetching pinky-red background. I used my favourite alphabet stamps as usual, and it ended up looking rather elegant. I also love precision-cutting with craft knives, it's very relaxing. Probably also a mental throw-back to the good old school days of cutting and sticking.

The moral of this is that (assuming your mum is nice) you should probably be reasonably nice to your mum all year round, because it's most likely Mother's Day somewhere else in the world.

Have fun, go bake some cookies or something!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Things I've Bought From Charity Shops: Part 1

...So it begins. A semi-regular blog feature, how exciting! Presented to you all this fine day are a selection of things I've bought at my local charity shops. Although you can measure how run-down a place is by the amount of charity shops in the high street (we have 7 on one short stretch, not even kidding,) they often don't get the love they deserve. Charity shops are a veritable treasure trove for people who like cheap stuff. You can never find what you're looking for when you want it, but if you have a bit of forward planning and don't mind buying your winter jumpers in July then go have a look. You could even consider volunteering at one so you can nab things as they come in and for some CV padding.

Apologies that I don't remember which charity shops these came from, but I like to wander up the high street and go into each of the seven in turn. Statistically speaking it'd be Age UK because we have two of those.

Without further ado, and all photographed on my lovely leopard-print bedsheets for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

March Update (Blue Hair!)

This past week has been really busy for me, my hunt for the elusive job is proving difficult. I'm in the awkward position where I'm not quite a student at the moment, so I'm not allowed to apply for the usual internships, and I have to explain what 'suspended for health reasons' means. Not so much fun. Still, I've made some new connections and have gotten pretty good at eating on a tight budget.

I don't have anything much to share today, unfortunately. I'm partway through writing a nice beefy piece on charity shops so you can have that on Friday. Also coming is a Sunday bonus post about the Mother's Day card I made.

I did dye the underside of my hair blue, however, so here's a photo of that! (Using Directions neon blue on bleached hair.) Priorities...

Directions neon blue hair dye underside on bleached hair
So bright, so blue. I'm wearing my -10°C thermals because my radiator is broken (again.)

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Books: The Snow Child

I found The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey in one of the charity shops along my road, in the cheap student/Polish area of Southampton. The cover just beckoned me, with its snowy fairytale silhouettes on a dark blue background.

The Snow Child book, showing white silhouettes of a girl and a fox on a dark blue background.

Friday, 26 February 2016

A Spot of Blacksmithing

This post is more of a short and sweet 'Look what I made!' than anything else. You see that vicious looking hooked thing below? I made that with steel and fire and brute force. Well, maybe that's not completely truthful. My brother helped me to do it last week. He's training to be a blacksmith and he's set up a forge in the garden which is made out of a metal bin and a lot of coal and a air bed pump. 

It's a hook that can be hung over the tops of doors, for people like me who aren't allowed to drill holes in their walls. Could also be one half of a grappling hook, or a weapon for the impending zombie apocalypse.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Christmas Card in February

I went 'home-home' last week to visit my mum and brother, seeing as I had a bit of free time. I wouldn't say I regretted it, but it became apparent very quickly to me that I've outgrown the house of my parents. There was just something weird about it, I felt out of place. Maybe more on that in a later blog post, though.

Unbeknownst to me, we'd been booked in for dinner with the grandparents I haven't seen in a few years. My mum asked if I'd got them a Christmas card or present and said that she hadn't either so I'd have to make one. Oh and by the way we're leaving in an hour so I'll have to make it quick. Surely it reaches a point (like February) when you can just cut your losses and forget about Christmas cards, but she was quite insistent.

I made myself a mug of tea, grumbled to myself a bit, put on the tv, and sat down with all the craft supplies the house could offer. I miss my alphabet stamps already. *sad face*

Luckily for me, I found this pair of crimping scissors and set of rubber stamps in the cupboard that I never knew we had. I have no idea where they came from, and they needed a good wash beforehand.

The ink pad was all dried up and I didn't have my craft supplies with me so I experimented with using felt tip pens instead. I found one that took longer than the others to dry which was perfect. I had to work quickly to cover and stamp the thing before the ink dried and went patchy but the poinsettia stamp looked really pretty like that, so I decided to use that one on my card.

Using some shiny gold paper as the main background, I made a really simple Christmas card. Using the snowflake stamp multiple times on some blue paper, and the poinsettia stamp on a bit of crimped ivory card, I layered them at slightly jaunty angles. Unfortunately the poinsettia stamp didn't come out as nicely as I wanted in the final version because I'd practised on a different type of paper. I also used the snowflake stamp again with a blue felt tip to make a matching envelope.

Also, these matching bookmarks! Made with the same materials as the card with the addition of a hole punch and some ribbon. They were starting to curl up quite badly so I sandwiched them between some heavy books as they dried. I know that home-made paper bookmarks are something you usually get little children to make and give to people, but I don't see why they can't be refined a little for a more mature audience. I was really out of ideas and time, too.

And there we have it! A 30-minute(ish) solution to a family argument. (With my mum, not my grandparents. They wouldn't have minded either way. It's sometimes just easier to give in to what people want, though.) The visit itself went surprisingly well, it was nice to catch up. My grandma also makes amazing roast potatoes, and that made everything worth it.

Merry February!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Some Thoughts On Depression

This may be a little dark, I wrote it to try and explore my thoughts on a particularly bad day.

I still don't really know what depression is. I mean, I know what it is but I just don't know how or why it managed to creep up on me. I thought I was just lazy, initially. When my boyfriend left for work in the morning I'd just lay in bed, staring blankly at the ceiling. It felt like I was punishing myself for not wanting to get up and do anything, by refusing to let myself enjoy not doing anything. I'd let myself get stuck in the guilty cycle of the procrastinator- not being able to let go of the thing you should be doing so your procrastination becomes guilty and impossible to enjoy.  I used to be able to drag myself out of that at the last minute and get my work done. It was always sloppy and I'd resent myself for not living up to my potential, but at least it'd be done and I could breathe for a little while. And then, one day, I started to let the deadlines come and go. I knew I probably wouldn't hand assignments in so I stopped picking them up. I let my record pick up zero after zero, and still I felt like it didn't matter. Who would notice? It's not like a friendly school teacher was going to pull me aside and say "I noticed you haven't been doing your work lately, is everything alright at home? Do you need some help?" And that's the thing, it was only me that was responsible for my failure.

I just wanted desperately for someone to see through my facade, to see that I did care deep down. I still don't know if anything would have pulled me out of that spiral of indifference, but it would involve people, I know that much. I feel like if someone, anyone, had looked me right in the eye and asked "Are you okay? You've not been yourself recently" then I would have broken down completely. I would have fallen to the floor and wailed as if everyone most important to me had died. Because I had lost a part of myself. I'd lost the quiet, geeky girl who loved to learn. She wanted to invent something important, to make the world a better place. Instead she'd found that physics was just an unfeeling string of numbers, and she herself was just an ID number in a computer system, only given value by how high her own numbers were. Her teachers and her parents had let her believe that she could do anything she wanted, that she was capable of anything.

The academic slump when you realise that compared to everyone around you're just mediocre really hurts. Maybe I just took it harder than most? I think I'd let it become too much a part of who I was. Maybe I'll find that lost girl some day, when I've sifted through my box of thoughts and pieced myself together again.

I think I'd better stop writing for now.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

My New Sewing Machine

For Christmas, I got my very own sewing machine. I feel like this is another little step in my quest to become a self-sufficient adult. When I asked for one I was expecting a little cheap portable thing, but instead I got this, 'The Beast'. I don't know much about sewing machines but I know that Singer is a good brand and it was probably embarrassingly expensive.

I intend to make very good use of it and am quite excited to start, although I have no table to use it on. I shall hunch over it on the floor and probably operate the foot pedal using one knee. Ah, the joys of student housing.

'The Beast.' I should think of a more friendly name for her. Any ideas?

Friday, 12 February 2016

You're Gorgeous

So, that day is coming around the corner again. Having not been much of a Valentine's person in the past, this year I finally get what the fuss was about. Other people can be pretty nice sometimes. Not most of them, of course, just a few. (If you're a people person then I envy you, but I've most likely got a touch of Asperger's or something else that makes me shy of talking to people.)

I adore my new alphabet stamps and, after having a few Valentine's card ideas, I settled on this design so I could use them. The main 'you're gorgeous' writing in the middle is just cut out of flowery paper. You could replicate this with any song lyrics that need a bit of emphasis for a personal touch.

Not heard the song? Here you go! Aside from some pretty questionable lyrics, it's a sweet sentiment.

'Because you're gorgeous, I'd do anything for you' card using stamps.
The colours look a bit strange here, but you get the idea.

I like how it's quite simple, and also not too soppy. It's something that we say to each other a lot, the personal touch is especially nice for occasions like this. I'll also let you in on a little secret: the edge is cut so close to the words because I managed to smear ink everywhere. Top tip- wait before ink is dry before putting your hand on it.

My plan for this Sunday is just a really chilled day together. I'm going to make ginger biscuits, we'll make a pillow fort on the floor and play on the game cube in our underwear all day. We will also be seeing Deadpool at the cinema if the crowds don't scare us away.

I hope you have a good weekend. And you're gorgeous, too!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

New Stamps!

eBay is the best. I picked up this set of alphabet stamps in a little wooden box for a mere £4.39, and I am going to use them for everything. They'll give my cards a slightly more professional touch and I have to say they're pretty fun to use. I also picked up a cutting mat and a craft knife so I can be a lot more precise when creating stuff to use on cards.

Set of stamps in a wooden box and pigment inks.

One thing I noticed when using the stamps is that it was very easy to get ink on the edges of the rubber pads and for that to touch the paper. You can see what I mean from the photo below on the left of the paper. Unless you're careful when dabbing the stamps on the pad you end up with an ugly ink outline on each letter. To stop this happening I used the craft knife to carefully slice off the edges of each stamp. This fixed the problem and meant I didn't have to worry too much about how hard I was pressing down when stamping.

Close-up of letter 'A' with stamping examples.

I've got a few uses for these new stamps coming up, including a Valentine's day card that I can show you next week.

Happy stamping!