December 31, 2010

Bye Bye 2010

My lovely husband is sick with the flu like most other people in the world so tonight is a quiet affair, no crazy street partying for us old farts.

Instead I thought I'd take a moment to recap my year a bit:

*A year a go today we were flying back from the states so that means it has been a year since I saw my momma :( ...

*I had a horrible job that made me physically sick and gave me nightmares. I was a forensic photographer for the police and had to photograph crime scenes and assault victims. It was horrible seeing murder victims, suicides and the worse was dead babies. I'm not sure how I will recover from such a scarring experience as that but I'm off to a good start. I quit my job at the end of October which was incredibly liberating, but at the same time losing that amazing government salary was really sad. But my health comes first as my incredibly supportive husband often reminds me. And I am happy to say I haven't had a nightmare since I left that place.

*I started my own freelance photography business! Eek that is quite scary and as I am still in the process of getting it going I don't want to jinx it by saying something too optimistic.

*I have sooo many ailments in my life (I am not a hypochondriac, I am just unlucky) here were the top five of 2010:

-I sprained my groin in July at the T in the Park music festival by getting my wellies stuck in the mud while the rest of me carried on and I had to go to the hospital
-I sprained my ankle in Amsterdam
-I have had a chest infection, a ton of migraines, bad acid reflux and nausea.
-Chemicals splashed in my eyes at my forensic job and I had to be taken to the hospital in ambulance and had 3 liters of water poured over my eyes that were pried open by an evil nurse (think the brainwashing scene from A Clockwork Orange).
-I had severe anxiety attacks that felt like I was going to die (yet another perk of my old job).

(This is an honorable mention: I am lactose intolerant and I ran out of pills in Madrid and I had to through a chocolate ice cream cone away without eating it on the hottest day ever)

*Billy and I went to both Madrid and Amsterdam this year.

*At the end of our Madrid trip I was almost mugged. The escalator going down to the subway was broken so we had to walk down carrying all our luggage. Billy was in front of me and I was struggling to get my bag down when I turn quickly to see a 18 year old woman with her hand in my purse. I yank myself away from her while my luggage fell down the escalator (breaking my new boater's hat) and the guy who was with the mugger caught me before I fell down the escalator myself. The girl who tried to mug me did the catholic cross the heart thing because she was afraid and I was in shock and couldn't do anything but stare at her. In that moment I was so confused I couldn't even talk.

Everyone was staring at me and I couldn't say anything (a very rare thing for me). I eventually turned and got down the steps and they scurried off. She didn't get anything from me and hopefully she learned her lesson but I was so horrified that I didn't say anything. I still bothers me to this day. Now when someone walks too close to me I get paranoid.

*I built my first snowman (Phil) this year.

*Our 3 year-old niece made me her best friend. She calls me Auntie Zoo.

*I gained 10 pounds which are about to go bye bye.

*I won Scottish Music Photographer of the year in a competition judged by the iconic photographer Harry Benson.

*I bought a sewing machine and a fold-up bike.

*I made my first dress.

*I watched many World Cup games. Go USA!

*And finally I started this blog.


Next... my resolutions.


December 27, 2010

AFI Top 100 List

Billy and I love to get comfy on our couch and watch a film on a Friday night. Our Love Film queue shows that most of our films are foreign, most star Penelope Cruz and most are independent. So in order to stretch out from our usual subtitled fare, we decided to watch all of the film's on the American Film Institutes' 100 Years, 100 Movies list that came out in 1997. Another list came out in 2007 but it took out Rebel Without a Cause and that caused me not to choose that list.

We are going to blog about the movies and rate them. Billy in not happy about the musicals!

We started yesterday, which is Boxing Day here in the UK and a national holiday and we are going to try and watch them all by next Boxing Day. Billy writes for a living so it isn't really fair to put my malarkey next to his. I got "A's" in all my journalism classes, but I am not a natural writer. It takes work for me and usually I don't have the patience but I think it will be fun.

December 25, 2010

I am enjoying a very stress-free Christmas morning. The monkey bread is in the oven, I am waiting for America to wake-up so I can skype my family and I have the Radio Times in front of me filled with Christmas TV choices. This is going to be a nice day. Merry Christmas everyone!

December 24, 2010

Billy's Birthday

My honey turned 30 yesterday. Thank god. I am so tired of him telling me how old I am (I'm a year and a month older) and how young he is being in his twenties and all. We went bowling and played some pool and air hockey. I finally beat him on the last game we played and I was quite obnoxious about it.

I made him chicken katsu curry (my specialty) with edamame and a cupcake for dessert and we watch episodes of the office (us version) that we downloaded. It was quite a nice day though I woke up with a c shape seared into my skin after burning my hand on dinner and the whole flat smells of curry.

I can finally reveal the secret of my Christmas bunting which changes to say "Happy Birthday." Its quite nice that Merry and Happy have the same amount of letters. I added an "!" to fill the space after birthday. Billy really hates when I decorate for birthdays and holidays (except Christmas) so I thought this would be a simple way to celebrate his day.

December 20, 2010

A Christmas Story...

I'm really excited. I am about to start reading "A Christmas Story." You know the movie that is played 24 hours on TBS Christmas Day, well that started out as a story by Jean Shepherd. I saw this in Barnes and Noble when I was home last Christmas and knowing that I'd be away from my family this year, I was determined to get a copy and read it. I hope it is better than the movie!

December 19, 2010

Knitting Project #7

It is snowing AGAIN! Edinburgh is getting hit pretty hard right now and my poor husband is out in it. Being nice and warm inside I decided to finish up a project. I needed to make my husband a new stocking as the one I made him two years ago was horrible. It was before I had ever knitted a sock so I didn't understand the heel.

This new one isn't perfect. I would have liked more red in the foot but I ran out. I will probably make him another again in a few years. By the time we retire he will have a ton of stockings!!

The pattern was easy enough but I did not like how the heel was turned because you didn't actually turn it. I don't think the finished product looked nice and I ended up sewing the seams. It will do for now.

December 17, 2010

My guilty pleasure...

I have always been an avid reader and growing up in the late 80's and early 90's the Babysitter's Club was my favorite. I joined they Babysitter's Club Club and I got a book every month and details on how to start my own Babysitter's Club.

I guess I really like the BSC books because I really wanted to have friends like that. I however had friends that liked me when it was convenient for them and they always seemed to know I was different than them no matter how hard I tried to pretend I wasn't. Its okay though because they are all probably still in the same town and I have a wonderful life.

Anyways I think this explains why, every year, I still watch the Babysitter's Club Christmas Special. I got the vhs as part of the club and I think I wore it out.

So this is my guilty pleasure, except I don't feel so guilty.

December 16, 2010

Baked Project #11

Okay, yes marshmallows aren't baked but that's okay. I guess they are boiled and whisked but that makes for a bad section title. I made these bad boys a few days ago and they are all gone. Billy ended up taking half of them to work to save us from a sugar coma. I would categorize these as not so easy. It took me FOREVER to get them off the baking paper. So next year I think I will make up some hot chocolate and give out that with the marshmallows for a nice pressie.

We actually don't give out many presents because our first year married I had only been in the country for a month and a half, the second year we went to Florida and this year we are skint. Boo. And The Gap is having a %50 off sale and I am so sad. Billy and I are only doing stockings this year. I have his all done but I can't write about it because he is my most devoted reader.

His birthday is the 23rd so he usually gets the "Oh this is for your birthday and Christmas." I however am big on birthdays and even if we can't afford much I try and make the day all about him.

December 11, 2010

Sewing Project #11

I am actually quite proud of this bunting because I came up with the idea all by myself. I always save the spare buttons that come with store bought clothes and I've been wanting to do something with them for a while. I also did applique for the first time ever! I thought it came out quite well considering I was using super cheap felt.

We are renters, so we are very limited to what we are allowed to put on our walls I have to think of things that will leave the least amount of damage. I think if I were going to change anything about it, I would have used interfacing on the back but I had a different plan for it originally.

December 10, 2010

Robert Ryan

I know I should be working right now but I am really, super tired and I really can't get motivated. So instead I'm going to write a post about this artist whose work I love. Robert Ryan is a London-based paper cutting genius. I have drooled over his Etsy site since visiting his shoppe in La La La London. But the best is that he created a lot of very cool stuff for John Lewis. I want this vase! The prices aren't too bad considering it is JL but I still can't afford any. Stupid being skint.

December 9, 2010

Almost Legal...

I sent out my application today for my "Indefinite Leave to Remain" visa. Basically it means I can stay in the UK permanently but I have no recourse for public funds. I've been in Scotland for just over two years and my current spousal visa is about to expire. I think this is how they deter people from becoming residents because you have to pay 900 pounds for the sucker (on top of the 500 pounds I had to pay to get my first visa).

In three more years I'll be eligible to get citizenship. I can't wait to have a British passport because then I can live and work in any country in the European Union. I'd love to move to Paris or Madrid.

But there is something terrible scary about sending my two passports (the one with my visa expired so I have to carry around two), Billy's passport, our marriage certificate and all of our financial information out in the mail. Eek. And to top that off, the postal service here is backed up because of the weather.

Anyways, here are the ID photos we took. For some reason they keep Billy's photo on file as well. In the end we had to go to one of the booths because the photos I took at home kept printing weird. We're not allowed to smile and we both had hat hair. I think Billy looks like a bible salesman in his tie.

December 8, 2010

Knitting Project #6

Okay, so I don't usually put up more than one project in a day, but I am really trying to catch up with all finished stuff. These are constellation fingerless gloves from Lion Brand. I love the cabled ones in Gap but I wanted ones that didn't go over individual fingers so that I can wear my leather gloves underneath. I used two skeins to make the wool chunkier and they are really super warm. They fill in the gap where my gloves end and my sleeve begins.

Sewing Project #10

I have to send out my momma's presents tomorrow so I photographed the gardening apron I sewed last week. My mom is the greatest person ever and she deserves much more, but I'm skint this year so instead I made something using leftover material.

She, being a mother and all, always loves home made gifts the most. Momma spends most of her time in her garden in Florida and since she started it she has stopped feel arthritic, lost weight and is happy. I made this apron using the basic dimensions from this tutorial, but I figured the rest out my self.

PS It is really hard to take a photo of yourself wearing an apron when you're too lazy to dig out your tripod. Its not the best photo, but you get the idea.

December 6, 2010

Knitting Project #5 & Sewing Project #9

This is the dress that I made in my sewing class with Lubi. I finished it about a month ago but I've been too busy (or lazy) to put up my studio lights and take a proper photo. Well tonight we had to set up the lights to take id photos for my visa so I thought I'd tick something off my long list of things to do.

This is based on a New Look pattern, but we really didn't keep to it that much. We changed the front and we just used some maths to figure out the skirt. I don't really like dresses with these sleeves, but I wanted to do the hardest ones in class so that other sleeves with be easy for me on my one. I want to make either one with three-quarter sleeves or sleeve-less with a boat neck. I really think it would look great in a tweed and quite fitting as I'm in Scotland.

This scarf is a quickie I whipped up when my husband needed to keep warm. It really is too short but I only had a little bit of man acceptable colors available to me. I tried to convince him to wear a cowl but that was a bit much for him. I really like the pattern for a guy and I think I will make it in gray when I can afford more wool.

I still have fingerless gloves and a gardening apron to photograph and put up. I really should keep up on these things better.

Oh and I found a shop in Edinburgh that sells my favorite winter tea! Yay.

December 4, 2010

Knitting Project #4 & Sewing Project #8

Billy and I trekked through the 2 feet deep snow today and happened upon a Christmas tree seller. We were going to go for a fake tree as we thought we couldn't afford a real one this year, but they were selling four feet tall trees which are really just the tops of bigger trees. So we bought one with a stump to put it on and they delivered it to us tonight. I love this tree. I think it is my favorite that I've ever had. I can't really explain it but all the ornaments on it were either made by us or had some significance.

I have been knitting little stockings since October. I think someone saw one and thought I might have been 'expecting' but the only thing I was expecting was a tree! I used super cheap yarn I bought my first Christmas here from Pound Stretcher, similar to a dollar store.

While waiting for our tree Billy and I made our ornaments from book pages. I sewed and he cut them out from an old book. He was quite pleased to cut up the Dan Brown book and I wasn't sorry to see it go. I saved the rest for future projects so books purists shouldn't worry.

Our star was made our first year we lived in Scotland together. We were super poor and couldn't afford a proper star. We made it out of tin foil and cardboard and we will probably keep it for the next forty years. We like it so much that we made one for my mom's tree last year when we were in Florida for Xmas. Though that one was spiced up with some amazing glitter glue!