Thursday, October 26, 2006

Tag and the Dinosaur

Tag the wire-haired fox terrier meets new squeaky toy - Dino the Tyrannosaurus Rex (since deceased).

Hurrah for Hats!

Here is my first ever proper big hat that I knitted myself yesterday whilst having a 24-fest. I am very proud of myself for this! I didn't have a pattern or anything. Just lovely Rowan Big Wool and some massive knitting needles. Hurrah!

Now my brother wants one too. Minus the bobble. And in a different colour. He's a 'cool' snowboarder, so my design will be gracing the slopes of Tignes in the not too distant future. If I can find a colour he likes... I wish the Big Wool wasn't so expensive though.

By the way, after taking this photo I realised how awful I look at the moment - check out the bags under my eyes. Even my mum commented on them. Great.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Flip Flop Flyin' Pictorial Atlas of the World

Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Flyin' (and FlyinG - the blog) is working on his third book! His is the blog I read the most and also the one that made me have my own blog (whoopee, I hear you cry). Anyway, I think he's great. The book is his version of an Atlas. He had the idea, did some bits, then decided to do it properly, mentioned on his blog that he needed a publisher and then lo-and-behold two approached him on the same day. I made a suggestion for that Atlas (24 January 2006 entry)... hurrah!

And, small world stuff - when I went on the ski trip in March this year one of the girls I was sharing an apartment with, Siaron, actually knows Craig. She used to work at Lateral and now does fashion illustration, textile design and other graphic design-type things and has her own brand called su-ma. When she was at Lateral she contacted Craig to do a website thing called 'sneakerbuilder' and he told me because of that that she was instrumental in him realising he could do the graphic design thing for a living. How cool is that? She's such a lovely person too. Hurrah!

p.s. sorry for being a bit of a name dropper, but I like to talk about interesting people - especially when I've met them or have something vaguely to do with them. People doing their own thing inspire me!

Fantastic photography

Wow. Just been browsing the Designers' Block blog and discovered The images on there are amazing and diverse.

Here's a very small selection from their Photo of the Week:

Friday, October 20, 2006

Where should I take my ideas?

Working stifles creativity. Or so I said last week, or whenever it was. But not working for more than about two weeks also seems to do the same. I don't know what I spend my days doing at the moment. A bit of emailing checking, a bit of MSN-ing, a bit of rowing club women's squad organising (that's a job and a half - semi-volunteered to help out. Why?), walking the dogs or walking the ponies with mum, eating (waaaaay too much), not exercising enough... and that seems to be about it at the moment.

I don't really want a job though. Or at least I don't know what type of job I want. I don't really want to just fall into something again if I don't have to. I'm not work shy. Maybe I could/should go and work in a nice shop somewhere for something to do for a bit. But it's probably not really what parents had in mind for me. Or that I had in mind for myself after leaving my previous job. Not that I really had a plan. I had lots of ideas though. Too many to be any use.

I think I also thought now was the time to Do My Own Thing. I always thought I'd have my own business after working with or knowing people who do and thinking I could do better (or at least do some things better). But doing what? I don't know. I really really really don't know. I don't have one burning ambition, one thing that I think needs bringing to this world. Something that I want to work all hours bringing to fruition. I want to have a life as well. Not that I'm actually doing much at the moment. The old cliche about busy people doing even more stuff is true.

I can't decide what I'm good at either. This is going to sound big headed, but I think things change a little when I'm working somewhere. I have had my 'randomness' commented on a few times, which apparently brings some different ideas to the table. And also just changes things a little in the atmosphere. I don't know if that's actually true. It's nice to think it is though. And whilst I'm here in my own little blogging world, I can have whatever I want to be as the truth! I also question things. And I have ideas about things. But not on the spot. It doesn't work like that.

Anyway, rambling now. My one big problem is having ideas and not knowing where to go with them (hence today's blogging title), how to develop them, which people to talk to, how to protect the ideas, etc, etc. Just don't know.

I've had a few ideas for little books. Not novels, just little books. Do I write them? Or sell the idea first? Or try and get an agent? Or try and find a publisher? Which publisher or agent would I go to? Do I find my own illustrator? Can I protect my idea?

I've also had an idea for a documentary/travelogue for TV and a book, etc. Again, who do I go to? I can't afford to just go an make it. How do I get financial backing? What do I need to do to sell the idea? Who do I go to? How can I protect it from being copied?

I've had some ideas for clothing lines and brands. How do I find a manufacturer? How do I get them to make the designs I want in the fabric I want? Where do I go to to source fabric? And how on earth do you do a cash flow forecast for a business plan?!

And then I've had some bigger ideas and some ideas that some other companies might like to use. Can I sell them the ideas? Can I be a silent partner in something bigger with people with real money to make the bigger ideas happen?

See, I just have no clue at all. Road to nowhere... (actually the road to Exmouth in Western Australia).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


©2005-2006 ~tyt2000

In another aimless internet ramble I came across this photograph entitled 'Freedom'. I think it's great! I found it on DeviantART, but I have no idea how I came across that.

Help the old people

So, prior to today the only thing I've ever knitted is a scarf. And I just knitted it (as opposed to purling as well). I did it last Christmas. I was actually knitting it for the Boy (you know who), out of non-wool yarn cos he's allergic. But he laughed about knitting (when I hadn't told him it was for him) so I kept it for myself. Anyhoo, innocent drinks do a regular campaign over the winter called Supergran to knit hats for their little smoothie bottles to raise money for Help the Aged. They were sending out 1000 knitting kits and I got mine today. They are so good with their marketing stuff. So I decided to knit a mini hat today. Some people do some amazing things. I was proud just to make something that vaguely looked like a hat. Had a bit of an issue when it came to sewing on the bobble (how are you supposed to do that??), but I think you'll agree (you'd better do) it's not a bad effort!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What Am I Meant To Do?

So have been working for a couple of weeks now. The three days a week thing turned into all five days last week. Think of the money, think of the money. Anyway, they have a new person now (after I turned them down, natch) so only need me for another week. Which means I have to ponder what to do again. Grrr. I really have no clue. I don't think PR on a permanent basis is for me though. Too much annoyance. At least I know I can actually do it if I put my mind to it. It's definitely not rocket science, as everyone used to say to me (and I agreed with them then anyway), and some of it is admittedly fun. But to be honest, at the moment, I can't be arsed.

Went to London at the weekend to visit friends. Had a really nice chilled time. Haven't seen them since before I went away. We chatted, boogied, ate lots, drank a bit, went for a run in Regent's Park past London Zoo (quite surreal and I'm sure I heard a lion roar). Great.

And then went to a gig last night as part of Oxjam. Great gig at the Waterfront in Norwich: Lick the Dice (all about 12 years old I think, but very snazzy on the guitars), Lot 55 (cute guitarist who looked like a a slightly rosy cheeked younger brother of Gary Oldman), The Pistolas (freaky lead singer, bit too heavy, but great last song) and CORD, who I have mentioned on here before. Their first album is out this week. James (lead singer) is looking more and more like a rock star. And despite the skinny jeans, dodgy shiny jacket, side-parted slightly longish hair and MAN JEWELLERY, he is still incredibly sexy on stage. Don't know what it is.

Sorry (although by reading this you have no idea that I've been elsewhere on the internet for the past half an hour since writing the previous paragraph), just got totally distracted by You Tube. Another one of those 'damn-why-didn't-I-think-of-that' things. Just been bought by Google for $Xbillion!

Anyway, you know what, I really don't have anything interesting to say. Working every day really does stifle creativity...(!)

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Just found a new website, via a blog via a blog via a blog that I found randomly the other day whilst researching something completely different. Anyway, the most recent blog lady is an author called Elizabeth Crane and the website she recommended is Free Will Astrology. I was just looking at the archive of my lovely star sign, Leo, from last November time (around the time of meeting man-boy - sad I know) and found an entry I really like, just as something to remember/think about anyway. It's from the week of 17 November 2oo5...

Psychotherapists talk about how each of us has a false self and an authentic self. When we're in the grip of the false one, we don't love ourselves unless other people love us. We're addicted to status and other superficial standards of success, and we chase after all sorts of meaningless desires that can't possibly bring any lasting gratification. When we're anchored in our authentic self, on the other hand, our motivations are rooted in a love of life. We pursue our dreams because they're interesting and exciting, not in order to impress anyone. The coming weeks will bring a showdown between your false self and authentic self, Leo. If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the authentic one.

Also, from the week of 25 May 2006...

Commit random acts of the coolest kindness and most intriguing beauty you can dream up.

And from the week of 1 June 2006... (these are great!)

A team of Japanese cultural analysts was assigned the task of figuring out the best possible pick-up line. The winner: "Rainen no kono hi mo issho ni waratteiy-oh." In English, that's "This time next year, let’s be laughing together." I present this expression for your consideration, Leo, because I think it's a perfectly poetic way to alert you to imminent developments in your life. As I understand the astrological omens, you're about to experience transformations whose power to fascinate and amuse you will not fully ripen until June of 2007. They may be subtle at first, but will slowly build in intensity as the months go by.

Ooh, and this one from 13 July 2006. It's all very encouraging (and probably quite dull for anyone reading this - so go and do it for yourself and be encouraged/spooked out!)...

"Nature loves courage," said visionary philosopher Terence McKenna. "It shows you it loves courage because it will respond to your brave commitment by removing impossible obstacles." While I believe this is always true, Leo, it's especially apropos for you right now. You've fallen short of your potential because you have not yet summoned more than a fraction of the boldness that lies within you. But this is a turning point when you finally have what it takes to tap into your dormant reserves. I hope you rise to the occasion, and so does nature.

And this one from 17 August 2006. It's all kind of ringing true in some parts. Quite pertinent. But also good things to think about anyway.

"Raising kids is like making pancakes," muses Brian Copeland in his show Not a Genuine Black Man. "You always mess up the first one." A similar idea might apply to a certain multi-pronged project you've been working on, Leo. I'm not saying you should abandon or throw away your initial effort. On the contrary, like rookie parents whose inexperience has slightly tweaked their first-born, you should be thorough in trying to undo your mistakes. But I also suggest that you immediately get started on the next creation in the series, being sure you've learned all you can from the consequences of your earlier ignorance.

And so it goes on... 24 August... (by the way, if anyone got reading this far, you can probably stop now, I'm just putting them in here for my own benefit now so I have them written in one place!)

Psychologists Ed Diener and Martin E.P. Seligman cite 150 studies that suggest economic factors have little to do with happiness levels. For example, the Masai of Kenya, whose per capita income is under $300 a year, are as satisfied with their lives as the 400 wealthiest plutocrats in America. People living in the slums of Calcutta are slightly less filled with well-being, but not much. Your assignment, Leo, is to explore the personal implications of this. Can you get to the point where you truly feel that your ability to enjoy life has little to with how much money you have?

And 14 September...

Every year 1.5 million Turkish students take a day-long college entrance exam. It's a grueling maze of complicated yet often inane questions--an absurd attempt to quantify intelligence with a one-size-fits-all standard of measurement. Three quarters of all students fail, and thus face the prospect of unemployment in a country where only higher education guarantees a decent job. This year a lone rebel rose up in defiance against the oppressive tradition. Sefa Boyar announced he'd strive to give the wrong answer to every question on the multiple-choice test. Naturally, he had to study hard to make sure he wouldn't accidentally get a few right answers. Be inspired by Boyar, Leo. Resist or subvert the soul-shrinking hocus-pocus of a bunch of humans acting like machines. Unlike Boyar, do it in a way that enhances your chance to achieve success on your own terms.

Enough navel gazing now.

Lovely lemons!

Had some friends over for lunch today and made my favourite party pudding - chilled lemon flan. It's sooo easy to make but tastes lush. The recipes from an old copy of the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook that my mum won for being Head of Choir at school! Ha, just looked - published in 1970! Anyway, it's a dinner party staple seeing as you can make it the day before and it doesn't take long (apart from the chilling bit).

Chilled lemon flan

For the flan case:
4oz (it's an old book remember! or 115g ish) digestive biscuits
2oz (55g) butter
1 tbsp castor sugar

For the filling:
Quarter of a pint of double cream (ish - doesn't have to be exact)
6oz can of condensed milk (I think the cans you can buy in the UK are a bit bigger than that - I used most of a can though)
2 large lemons

Crush the digestive biscuits until crumby (my word, not Hamlyn's). Melt the butter in a pan, add the sugar then blend in the biscuit crumbs. Mix well. Turn the mixture into a 7-inch pie plate or flan dish and press into shape round the base and sides with the back of a spoon. Bake in a slow oven (bottom Aga oven!) for 8 minutes (how exact do they want to be?!). Remove from the oven and leave to cool. (Obviously leaving the flan case in the pie plate or flan dish!)

Mix together the cream, condensed milk and finely grated lemon rind. Slowly beat in the juice from the lemons. Pour the mixture into the flan case and chill for several hours until firm.

Serve with cream. Yummy! Nice and fresh and zesty.

Hey Gringo!

Well, the party went really well! We had 35 people, so I think we raised about £400. My chilli con carne went down a treat. As did the chocolate chilli cake. It was a great idea to open the invitation up to the juniors - they added to the numbers, they're a nice bunch, and they behaved really well. Everyone did the salsa lesson, which was cool! Some of the guys didn't have a clue. The instructor made the girls go to a new partner every time we did a new move, so that was good too cos it made you talk to more people. So funny everyone crammed into the gym. And I'd put a washing line in zig-zags across the ceiling and roped fairy lights round it. It looked pretty! Everyone loved the sombrero raffle. And the pinata worked as well. We didn't have anything to hang it from so I had the idea of attaching it with string to the end of a broom handle! Worked a treat. Those pinata things are much sturdier than they look as well. In the end one of the juniors ended up bashing it in on the floor to get the sweets out! So, yes, I think a good time was had by all.

And now to another recipe...

Chilli con carne! This is an excellent recipe from I'll write it down in here again, just in case that link ever disappears (plus I made a couple of minor amendments, and I only did the chilli, not the salsa stuff, and just served it with rice and a green salad and grated cheese).

Chilli con Carne

Serves 8-10

4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (or just buy the ready chopped stuff like I do and put in 2 heaped tsp)
1kg lean minced beef (well Tesco only had 800g packets, so I used that much and didn't alter any of the other amounts)
2 tbsp (heaped) of tomato puree
2 large red chillis, halved, deseeded and chopped (or, again, buy the ready chopped stuff you can buy in a jar and put in 2 heaped tsp)
2 tsp mild chilli powder (unless you like your chilli hot hot hot, Tesco's mild chilli powder was just right)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
150ml water
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
15g dark chocolate, broken (I had that organic fair trade chocolate - Divine - and just used a row of four pieces)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2x 400g tins of red kidney beans, drained (it also says rinsed, but I didn't bother and I'm still alive)

Heat the oil in a large, deep pan (or a nice Le Creuset casserole). Add the onion and garlic and fry gently until really soft. Add the mince and fry, stirring, for 10-15 minutes, or until browned. Add the tomato puree, chilli and spices and fry for a further 5 minutes.

Add the chocolate, tomatoes and water, and season. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the meat is tender (if you have an Aga and a nice Le Creuset casserole then shove it in the bottom oven for 30 minutes).

Transfer the meat to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving the juices in the pan. Add the beans to the meat. Bring the juices to the boil and reduce by about half. Skim (or pour) off any fat. Pour over the meat, mixing well. Season.

Cool and save or later, or heat through in a new pan and serve with rice, grated cheese and a green salad (we had lettuce, red peppers and tomatoes). Ta dah!