Sock knitting and cress growing

It’s easy to see why kids are infant school/primary school grow cress (or was that just us? In the 80s/90s?) – I planted a lot of seeds in the past couple of weeks – our balcony is covered with pots. I tend to them daily, a little bit of water, angling them for the best sunlight, working out how to protect my little pots from the wind.

So far, out of my almost 40 pots, the only thing to grow is cress.

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This is one of three pots of cress currently growing, and it turns out you don’t need to do a whole lot for it to grow, it’s really rather self sufficient. Now if only my other seeds were so keen to show themselves…

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Inspiration #BEDM

So, I already missed a day of Blog Every Day in May. Whoops. In my defence, I wrote a post but didn’t polish it up, and then yesterday (the missed blog day) was such a poopy work-day, I was tired and wanted to go home and hide. So I did.

But I’m back, today with an inspiration post.

Five things that I love to pin on Pinterest!

First up – ideas for my future home.

http://www.pinterest.com/katskii/future-home

Next, drinks. Cocktails, juices, summer coolers, winter warmers. Yum!

https://www.pinterest.com/katskii/drinks/

It wouldn’t be Pinterest without fairy lights, homemade pompoms and bunting. Being a crafter, my Garden Party board is full of my favourite things. Swoon!

https://www.pinterest.com/katskii/garden-party/

Bike porn – insert heart-eyed emoji!

https://www.pinterest.com/katskii/bike-porn/

And crochet – this board seriously needs some love, but it’s still a pretty thing.

https://www.pinterest.com/katskii/crochet/

Having a poke around my Pinterest boards has made me want to lose 3 days straight to pinning stuff… But work calls. C’est la vie!

A crafty handmade update #BEDM

Almost two years ago, I blogged about Making my own happiness – a blog post is here. It was a post done to part reassure myself that I’m not failing at life, part to help people and reassure them that they’re not failing at life, and part to show off my crafty wares.

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Crafting is a big part of my life – often it comes in tiny bundles, fitting neatly into my handbag (although I should be fair and admit that my craft supplies are instead taking over my home…) but the act of making something, with my hands, is one of my favourite things. Even better if I can make things for the people I love.

So I wanted to show a few snaps of things I’ve been making over the past few months. On the plus side – lots of pretty projects. On the downside – I only have iPhone photos of most things, and not many photos of finished articles. Lesson learnt.

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In October, when Tao and I went to Oslo (blogged ) and I promised I’d knit him a scarf in less than a week (on top of working full time at the time). The above is a snap from December of us both wearing handmade scarves – his was a rushed little thing, and was made quickly; mine was a Christmas gift from my own crafty mama.

Since then, Tao and I have had a long-running scarf joke, so over my Christmas holiday, I made him two more – I only have a photo of the in-progress blue scarf, but it was a huge success.

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(Also, backdrop for that scarf photo – bonus photobombing by a beautiful tile I got for Christmas – again, from my crafty mama!)

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The next two recent makes were a pair of mandalas – a mandala is a spiritual and ritual symbol representing the Universe, in Hinduism and Buddhism. They weren’t made for any real spiritual reason, more-so because I thought they were rather beautiful. They were a Christmas present for my mama.

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Bonus photo of the crochet Toad (of Mario fame) blanket I made for Tao – I’ve blogged the finished article, but the first photo is is a work-in-progress pic.

As I mentioned above, part of my love of crafting is that my projects tend to be quite small and portable. The Toad blanket was made up of hundreds of crochet granny squares – which in themselves are small and handbag-friendly. I was able to crochet anywhere and everywhere I went – until it came to stitching it together. I stitched it together in rows, before stitching each row together. I then added the blue sky and green grass corners. I love it – and it’s 7.30am here and Tao is currently napping underneath the blanket, so I’m going to speak for him and say he loves it too.

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This little beauty was the beginning of a scarf for Tao’s mum, for her birthday. Tao and I picked out the most beautiful yarn, seriously good quality. I finished the scarf in good time – and then promptly got a really awful cold on the weekend of her birthday, so I couldn’t go over to see her – but I’m told it was well received.

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And finally this little lady in progress is my current cross stitch project. It’s almost finished, and it’s been a super soothing craft to work on.

My cross stitch (or whatever I’m crafting at the time!), my boyfriend, and some food = ultimate happiness.

Project 365 – part 4

The final chapter.

This is the part that feels most relevant to my life at the moment – that might be because the last photo was taken 6 days ago, so it’s not that surprising. But this final quarter starts at the beginning of December, and actually, it’s a pretty good quarter.

December through to February saw me do some more travelling (Warsaw, Jersey, Cannes, Manchester), spend super happy times with my family and best friend, throw some colour into my life, and learn some new stuff.

Festive December…

December saw a lot of pre-Christmas crafting, my nails snapped (need moar calcium?), I got a new iPhone, I had another trip back to my parents (see photos with my mama and my Lauren), I acquired a super sassy hat (blue glittery tophat!) and sated a work-Christmas-party hangover with a trip to Five Guys. Christmas was spent in Poland which was relaxing, with board games (including a Polish game about queueing in front of shops in the 1980s) and walks in the forest. New Year was spent with my best friend, eating a lot of Turkish food, playing with sparklers and having sekrit times.

New Year – January…

The New Year continued with time spent with my best friend – on the first of January we went on the London Eye, which I absolutely loved. We also visited Winter Wonderland (btw HOW BIG is the German Beer Hall there?! it’s amazing!). In contrast to last month, my nails were now screwed because of wearing false nails. C’est la vie! This month also saw me get my bangs cut back in, travel to Jersey for a beautiful few days for work, try a street dance class and do Fire Marshal training for work.

The final month – February…

February was the final month of my Project 365 – by now, it was completely ingrained in me to photograph something everyday. The month started with a weekend in Cannes for the Midem music hack weekend. Such a surreal weekend, I loved it. I also became a qualified First Aider (spent part of the afternoon flouncing around pretending the mannequin was my boyfriend.. I thought more people would do this, apparently not..). I travelled to Manchester to see Childish Gambino, ate the biggest pancake ever at My Old Dutch, received the most beautiful flowers for Valentines Day, went to a London Fashion Week event, visited Greenwich, bought a dress, and generally continued to love London.

Phew.

Once again, I have to say thank you so much to you guys for reading and revisiting my year in photos with me. Part of me looks back and thinks not much has changed, but a bigger part of me is amazed at how far I’ve come. I’ve loved looking back at the little details in my life, laughing at how silly things have been, seeing myself move on from sad times and throw myself into the good times.

I’m already 5 days into my next 365, and can’t wait to share that with you.

Project 365 – part 3

First up, I want to thank you all for reading my garbled round-ups of the first half of my Project 365, for clicking through my snaps, and for putting up with my constant banging on about how great it is.

I especially loved the comment from one of my mama’s friends, that she enjoyed looking at the randomness of the photos.

That’s how I like to see it myself – even during the most mundane of days, where I stayed in bed ‘cos I was sad, or said very little at work ‘cos I was uninspired, I still think documenting the little details, and remember why they were important enough to photograph (or conversely, why my day was crappy enough to warrant a photo of an apple), is important to me.

The next quarter covers September through to November. This was as rocky as the previous months, in all honesty, and my closest friends were there for me a lot. This quarter spans heartbreak, mistakes and distracting myself from that, but also some brilliant times spent my best friends and parents, Christmas cake and seeing Newcastle play.

September up…

September started with Patrick and I going to London Mela, a huge south Asian festival in west London. This involved dressing up and eating a lot. September also saw some crazy rain vs crazy sun, spiderwebs, a new passport and some vegetables. This is the month I started my hexagon quilt, which grew rapidly; but probably the real highlight was a weekend in Amsterdam with my best friend – one of the best trips ever, I’m still so happy from it.

October here…

October saw me leaving my job at Reading Room, an agency I’d worked at for 18 months. I left behind some brilliant colleagues and clients, and a social life that will never be beaten. I also spoke at 2 conferences (The Digital Barn, and 12 Devs), which were so much fun. Thank you to the people who listened to blahblahblah on! In between leaving my old job and new job I went home to my parents for a week, which saw a haircut, dancing with my best friend, and cuddles with my mama bear. I also baked Christmas cakes this month, including the little mini cake shaped like a rose. A pretty good month actually.

November saw the suckiest moments of the year, but also a great big whopping highlight – I started my new job at feelunique.com – as witnessed by photos cropping up of freebie products, and dressing up for the COPRA ball (an annual ball for retailers in the cosmetics/perfume industry). I spent more time crafting, took a late-night rickshaw with Patrick (drunk + G.A.Y = makes sense), and went back to my parents for a weekend where we ate a lot of Christmas cake and went to a football match.

All in all, a successful autumn.

Project 365 (part 2)

So yesterday I posted the first quarter of my Project 365 (a photo a day for a year). I humblebragged about how proud I was, and going through the next section of photos has been no different. It’s so interesting to see how far I’ve come, in the space of a year – how much has changed, how much I’ve done, and it’s really lovely to look back on photos of relatively insignificant things and think how fun they were.

The whole process is making me realise how much I value the little details in life, which has made P365 so worthwhile.

So here’s June…

June was the start of the summer heatwave – it saw me eat at some goooood places (Hache burger, Meat Liquor, that fancypants 1920s stylee French place near Piccadilly.. name escapes me..), also this was the month I hung out with the Queen at the trooping the colour, tear a ligament in my foot, and finally spend a lotttt of man-hours making origami hearts. They were made for a summer garden party for my parents in July, and I still love looking at the progress of the hearts – I made 400 of them in less than a weekend. It. Was. Glorious.

July was this…

The heatwave continued, London was a sweaty mass. The month started with a sciencey event where I learned about alcohol (by drinking a fair amount of free booze… all in the name of science!), a trip to Poland for the aforementioned party – look at those hearts in situ! I was in love with them! July was also my birthday (the 17th! represented here with a chocolate ball and raspberry sorbet ball.. heheh balls..), the month my hair kinda exploded with volume, there was free Eton Mess in Soho Square, and I bought kabanos.

August was good…

It started with a little photo-montage of how I made origami stars (which I then didn’t blog..), and my new camera arrived! What a little babe! I had lunch with a dog in a pub; Patrick and I got hammered and barged into Ed’s Diner for the most amazing chips; I worked on my portfolio site. I also flew to Berlin for a long weekend – another garden party, plus boardgames and photobooth fun! Lauren came to visit, we played Guess Who! amongst other sekrit activities. This was also Notting Hill Carnival month, where Patrick and I accidentally joined the parade and shook our booties.

I’m getting all nostalgic looking back at these photos – for about 90-95% of them, I can still remember exactly what I was doing, how I was feeling, why I snapped that photo, what it means to me. My actual memory is pretty shoddy, and I’m a sentimental person, so being able to flick back on photos and remember every feeling (good and bad!) is a novel experience. My next post will be autumn, which holds some sad memories, but also some exciting changes. More tomorrow.

Making my own happiness

So, I should preface this by saying I’m quite a sensitive person – unless it’s constructive, I don’t handle criticism well; I don’t get along with angry people; I’m inherently a happy person and I think everyday happiness is a choice. You can either get on with things, be grateful for what you have and be happy.. or.. you can be miserable.

But even happy people get sad, and this just so happens to be one of those days for me. I struggle with people who are immediately challenging, or aggressive, or defensive, or argumentative; I try the old ~water off a ducks back thing, but sometimes it just doesn’t work.

A wise woman once asked me “what do you do to make your time worthwhile?” and after refuting my answer of getting drunk in the pub after work with work friends, I started thinking some more. After a few days, I realised I do have a whole heap of things I enjoy, that I do for my own happiness, and (gasp!) aren’t rude or saucy in any way. So let me present the tangible things I’ve done recently, that have made me happy…

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My friend Kate and I found a really cute job in Greenwich where you can paint your own pottery – this is the finished work (mine is the blue/green, Kate’s is the orange). Just an afternoon of playing with paint and making a mess was enough to make me smile.

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This is the beginnings of a Christmas present I made for my mama last year – see the finished article below. They’re crochet granny squares, hundreds of them, and it was honestly one of the most cathartic things I’ve done.

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These are the famous origami hearts I made – they looked so beautiful strung up. I made 400 of them in 1 weekend, and it was such a nice process – my hands make-make-making, whilst the rest of me watched films.

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This is the point where the original few hearts became 400 of them. I love the colours of them, together in a box.

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Of course, I take hundreds (thousands?) of photos – even photos of cameras make me happy. This is my latest baby, to replace my previous Olympus Pen that died a sad death recently. I love taking photos and looking back on them, months or years later. So much changes, and we miss it even happening.

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As well as origami hearts, I made these tissue paper pompom flowers for the party in Warsaw in July. Because they’ve got a lot of wiggle room and don’t need to be perfect, it was the best afternoon task – just snipping and tying and poofing out, no worries that they’ll look bad.

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Origami stars are another way I occupy my hands – I have no idea what to do with the hundreds of stars I’ve already made, but they look cute stored in my wine glasses, vases and bowls. Again, just keeping my hands busy, and coming out with something so sweet, really makes me happy.

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Pancaaaakes, and big long lazy brunches, are some of my favourite things. I rarely have time for proper breakfast, I just grab something and eat at my desk, but the process of cooking can be as fun as the actual eating. I’ve realise it’s about keeping busy and doing something with my time – and having something so nice at the end.

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Even “borrowing” a colleagues heart-shaped hole punch made me happy – I love playing with patterns and shapes, and this is such an utterly pointless piece of paper, but it’s cute, and it was fun to play with.

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At Easter, I went home to my parents and with the help of some Polish “egg dye”, we decorated eggs. A fun little afternoon of dipping and dying and painting is time well spent.

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I’ve been a knitter for years now, and as with the crochet, it feels almost soothing for the soul to knit – I can do other things at the same time (read, watch a film, chat to friends) and suddenly I look down and I’ve made something lovely. You definitely don’t get that with buying something in Primark, trust me.

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Calligraphy is a relatively recent hobby – in spring this year I invested in some inks and nibs, plus a pad of paper, and I just started going. Practicing the alphabet is a brilliant way to get stuck in, I found it really calmed me down, and the calmer I got, the smoother the letters – so, in a bid to improve, I made myself become even calmer and relaxed.

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I also like secretly decorating the light switches at work with cute little faces. Because, well, why not?

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Over Christmas/New Year, my mama started teaching me how to knit lace patterns, and I loved sitting with her, laughing at silly things and talking, and learning more techniques. I love this little swatch of work.

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And finally this – this is the crochet blanket I made for my mama for Christmas (this is before the loose ends were tucked in/tied/cut off!). The idea is that it goes from a mix of light blues/grays/greens, through to medium, and then dark navy and greys; when you shake it out I wanted it to look like waves (my parents went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy in October last year, I wanted it to remind them of that). A huge piece of work, which I was still finishing on Christmas Eve, but I’m still so in love with it.

So there you go – I do have things that make me feel worthwhile, and I do them myself, I don’t rely on anyone else. Because happiness really is a choice.