Sunday, 24 March 2019


Mr Robot bought us tickets to Dinosnores For Grownups at the Natural History Museum in London, and our sleepover was last night.

We arrived in London early and pottered round Chinatown and Soho, then crossed to South Kensington on the Tube, which was heaving because of the anti-Brexit march. (We had camping gear with us, and couldn't risk getting kettled and missing Dinosnores, so we didn't go near the march.)

Because we were carrying stuff, and I'd need to dress in the same things today as yesterday, I went for the practical option: the Dinosnores T-shirt Mr Robot got me (of course!), my brown herringbone trousers, my vintage Dunn and Co tweed jacket, and hiking boots. Possibly a bit macho; I joked to Mr Robot that as he was also in tweed jacket and brown trousers we were in his and hers outfits, and he said they were more like his and his outfits! Anyway, looking at the photo he took of me as we waited to be allowed in, I don't think I look too blokey. Red lipstick and a good blow-dry triumphs.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

New project: sleeveless shirt

Thanks for all the supportive comments on my last post. I’m already feeling a bit better. I’m really lucky; Mr Robot is, of course, brilliantly supportive, and on top of that my workmates are fantastic when I’m having one of my wobbles. Happily, I’ve got four days off next week so I’m planning to have a nice time pottering around gardening, going to the gym, and making things*. The most exciting thing I’m planning to make is this sleeveless shirt. One of my lesbian chums described sleeveless shirts as 'the ultimate butch item', which made me laugh as I see them as part of that incredibly chic and feminine 60s look – then again, I doubt she's imagining them paired with pencil skirts and kitten heels. I couldn't find a vintage pattern in my size, so went with this modern one.

I’m going to make the simplest version, version A, with no sleeves at all. The armholes are edged on the inside with bias binding, just like my rocket top is edged on the outside, so that’s a simple thing to do. Making the collar and button placket will be completely new, however – and after watching this week’s Sewing Bee, where a few of the contestants struggled with jacket collars, I’m prepared for that to be a tricky thing.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Mosaic made!

Mr Robot gave me a mosaic kit for Christmas and this weekend I finished it!

I'm currently back on my beta-blockers, which I take when I'm stressed. Not sure what's knocked me off-balance but it's pretty bad. I've spent the weekend doing gentle things. Making the mosaic was part of that. Just me, my kit, and CDs of 1960s dramatisations of Sexton Blake*. When I'm stressed I find doing stuff with my hands, things that I have to focus on (so things like sewing, not knitting which I can do in front of the telly) is ideal. I'm so busy concentrating on whatever it is that I'm making that I can't think about other things.

The outline of the seahorse was drawn onto the backing, and the kit came with a colour picture of what I needed to do, but it was ultimately up to me how I filled it in – I didn't have to copy the exact tile shapes and layout. Cutting up those tiles and gluing the little squares in place is quite an absorbing, thoughtful activity, though the pincers are jolly tough on the hands. People who make a lot of mosaics must have stronger palms than me; if I hadn't finished yesterday I definitely wouldn't be cutting more tesserae today. It also took longer than I'd expected it to. When I first unwrapped the kit I assumed it would take a couple of hours at most, but it took many more.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Mama's got a brand-new bag

You know the feeling when you’re looking for a particular thing and can’t find it? In my case, for a few years now I’ve been looking for a small, neat, but crossbody zip-topped leather bag to replace one I own that’s getting sadly very tatty. Small and neat, because that’s how I like my bags. Zip-topped, crossbody and leather, because I want it for travelling. I find it’s easier to get money or cards out quickly and then re-fasten a zip-top bag than a bag with a flap, crossbody leaves my hands free for taking photos (and as I will be an obvious tourist, will make things difficult for bag snatchers), and having had my sunblock dissolve one vinyl faux leather handbag while on holiday, I’m sticking to leather.

Recently I found this one in Accessorize, and it is almost exactly what I’ve been looking for. Perhaps a little squashier than I was hoping for, but it's close enough. The two pockets in the front will do for things like train tickets and possibly my phone, while there’s a zip pocket inside where my work door card can go. (Nothing worse than having to rummage round for that while a queue of people builds up behind me.)

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Too Many Clients: A Nero Wolfe Mystery

People didn't discover sex in the 60s, but they sure did make more of a fuss about it. 'Racy' is a good word, suggestive of speed; it was a fast decade, and it was a sexier one. Did the contraceptive pill and the push for women's equality have anything to do with it? Possibly. I'd say the crime novels of the decade are racier than earlier ones too, though the gunplay and fisticuffs could have as much to do with the influence of noir as anything.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying: this book is far from your classic 'cosy'. It's a crime novel that could only really have come from the 60s. A decade earlier and it would have contained too much sex; within a decade the attitudes would seem prudish. How fast things moved in the third quarter of the 20th century!

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

[music] This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons

This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons
What’s this? A steampunk review? It’s been a while since I’ve covered much steampunky, hasn’t it? (Okay, my blog content’s been adrift for a while. Sorry.) I’ve really been missing steampunk from my life recently. I think the change in magazines at work has been good for me mentally; I feel like I have more energy and willpower to do things. Making sure I take time to make things on Sundays also helps, and making things always makes me feel closer to my steamy pals, most of whom I only see online most of the time. Steampunks are mind-bogglingly creative, in my experience.

As well as hoping to attend a couple of events this summer, I’ve made a steampunk playlist on Spotify. One of the albums I’ve added is *takes deep breath * This May Be The Reason Why The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing Cannot Be Killed By Conventional Weapons by The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Sleeping with dinosaurs

No, not like that, you weirdo! Sleeping beside dinosaurs.

Wait, wut? What's all this dinosaur malarkey? It's my birthday present! For some years now that Natural History Museum in London has been running events called Dinosnores where people get to spend a whole night in the museum. I've really wanted to go, but it's very pricy. Well, Mr Robot is taking me. Yesterday he gave me a number of gifts to unwrap – amber jewellery, a jar of bath bombs shaped like dinosaurs, a duvet cover with a dinosaur print – and then gave me a Dinosnores T-shirt and little 'gift token' he'd made telling me we're going to Dinosnores.