Thursday, 27 November 2008

How to cheat at games and be a bad mother

Limekitten likes playing a computer game called "Monster Mash".

The object of the game is to stop a series of slightly ridiculous monsters from reaching the village and eating the inhabitants. You do this by constructing cannon at strategic points on the path to the village. Put them in the wrong place, and your chances of success are reduced. Upgrade them incorrectly and you're simply asking for trouble. I control the gameplay, but Limekitten gives the orders.

Limekitten's favourite adversary

We don't play every day or even every week. But when we do it is a source of much giggling. However, there came a point one evening where the monsters got the better of us, and we had to give up.

There's something to be said for being a bit technically aware. Not too technical, but just technical enough to know how to hunt down the .ini file and reduce some of the values. Like, well, the amount of points you need before you can upgrade those weapons to maximum firing capacity.

A few days later and Limekitten was amazed. "You've got really good at this, mummy. Have you been practising?".

I'll admit to feeling slightly shamefaced.

He must never know.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Extreme Crochet Pt II

The Extremeties of Making.

Specifically for the Parent Teachers Association, who like people to make things. So a lot of us made a lot of stuff.

Here is some of that stuff in a basket, waiting to be taken to school.

I was expecting my own room...

It's been crochet hell getting this lot done in time.

Some things were more popular than others, but the badger, I am pleased to say, went down very well and it's a shame I only had one.

whatever you do, don't look round..

There was also a request for some pigs. I didn't have any pigs, and have not really concentrated on porcine creations so far, so who knows what manner of pork scratchings are going to be created before perfection is achieved.

Pardon? Do I know you?

I am glad it's over, though. It now allows the time to stock the shop and get the badger pattern online. There's also a free pattern coming for the blog. Soon, hopefully. The hands need a rest, too.

I also need to reintroduce myself to the limekitten. He's been as patient as it's possible to be for a 6 year old, but I think he's had enough.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

A Nightingale Sang in East Wellow

Last weekend, the large cat suggested a walk around East Wellow because "it's where Florence Nightingale is buried". This is a man who shows scant interest in history, so I was shocked by this sudden conversion to the finest of academic pursuits. Sadly, my delight was short lived. This "Florence Fact" had come to his attention because Miss Nightingale, as well as being a nurse, was also a statistician. This was a complete revelation. I had no idea that she was numerically famous although I did know a reasonable amount about the Crimean war (and obviously, everyone has heard of Cardigan, Raglan and Balaclava, the latter being a particularly nasty form of torture inflicted on children during cold spells in the 70's). But he, being a mathematical sort of person, did. Who says maths and history don't go?!

King Alfred woz ere

Anyway, we set off, having not really had a decent walk for a few weeks, only to be met by a steadily increasing drizzle. It was just about tolerable in the churchyard of St Margaret of Antioch, where Florence is buried. I only found out this evening that the founding of this church goes back to the time of King Alfred and that the building itself contains a rather splendid medieval wall painting. So perhaps we shall be going back to have a closer peek.

Having taken a photo of the grave, which does rather stand out from the rest of the burial plots, the drizzle began to turn nasty, and on following the waymark for the beginning of our walk, we were confronted by this...

"You shall not pass!"

Well, I wasn't prepared to walk through that little lot. Having survived the infamous "Pea Field Fiasco" just outside Petersfield last year, I wasn't willing to risk a reprise with an even more menacing crop. Navigating Fangorn would have been preferable. So we returned to the car. And to be fair, it was absolutely chucking it down by then.

East Wellow is pretty and the church, even in the drizzle, looked interesting. With more time I think it would be worth exploring further. The roads are very narrow, though, so if you fancy visiting the Lady of the Lamp in her final resting place and having a walk afterwards, you may as well leave your car at the church as there's nowhere else you can safely park unless you have a motorbike or a very thin vehicle.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Etsy Observations

There are a few nice things about opening an Etsy shop.

Firstly, someone might actually like your stuff. For a generally non creative person like myself, that's an extraordinary turn up for the books, believe me.

Shop til you don't drop

Secondly, the experience so far is that the other sellers and buyers are very encouraging and constructive individuals. They genuinely seem to want to help you out.

Thirdly, even if no sales are made, people can show their appreciation through "hearting", which means they can let you know if they either like your shop, or your items. I had a new shop heart this very evening, which is always a nice and uplifting thing.

The bad news is - there are a lot of very successful sellers on Etsy, who seem to sell about 400,000,000 items per second. If you think this is hyperbole, you'd be right. But it gives some indication of the mountains which need to be climbed for a small, snail-like crocheter.

What this means is that every time those big sellers sell, they relist. And relist. And relist again. So your individual, hand crafted labour of love is on the front page of the search engine for about 3 seconds flat (during which period you are rather disproportionately excited) before being knocked onto page 2 (during which period your excitement is extinguished and you gnash your teeth and weep).

The Craft Bag of Possibilities - there is a compass and protractor at the bottom. No, really, there is.

So I'm just going to have to make more things, which is going to be a tall order, what with being a creative dullard. But there is a craft bag full of stuff in the kitchen. And some grey, black and cream wool in the yarn box. It is quite possible that a badger may well seek refuge under the dining table, point out that mountains are there to be climbed, not shirked (badgers are notoriously obstinate like that), and suggest that I give him a new set of legs and put him in the shop front.

I may well take him up on his offer.

"Careful with those pins, woman!"