5 things I liked this week – 4.11.16

  1. Working on a good project at work.
  2. Girl Lacer getting good marks in her school assessments.
  3. Humans is back on, yay! And even though Colin Morgan has toned down his out and out sexiness for this show, he’s still not bad to look at! (I am such a perv). And of course the TV show itself is good too.
  4. Me and Mr. Lacer are back box-setting Mr. Robot and we’re now on season 2. I love Mr. Robot for pretty much everything but ooh the love and care that goes into those camera shots, it’s achingly beautiful.
  5. The High Court’s decision that the government needs to be consulted before Article 50 is revoked is fantastic. The Brexiters want more sovereign control (what are we in the Middle Ages?) and as soon as OUR courts, OUR government try and exert some control, they don’t like it! As someone said on Twitter yesterday, it’s a rise of a group of people who only care that they’re right, that only their opinions matter, never mind that the pound shot up on the decision yesterday but hey, what are facts?
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5 things I liked this week – 6.5.16

1.Work has been hectic recently, so a much quieter shift for a normally very busy client, this week was very much appreciated!
2.The embroidery patterns by Abigail Cecile are absolutely gorgeous, I love her use of applique with the embroidery.

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Image credit: Abigail Cecile Design

3. Really getting into a good book, I really liked Jonathan Dark or the Evidence of Ghosts, I’m going to be waiting eagerly for AK Benedict’s next book!

4. A day off from work! I have a zero hours contract job and in a week with just my set shifts, I have two days off a week but as it’s been really busy recently (see 1.) so I’ve been taking on lots of extra shifts, including on my days off. So I haven’t had a day off in over 2 2 weeks (I’ve lost count). I should point out it’s not all get the violins out, my working days can vary between 1 to 10 hours, usually about 3 hours on an average day, so I haven’t been working dusk till dawn on all those days I’ve been working without a break but ooh, just to have a day when I wake up and know that I’m not working! No having to remember that I’ve got a shift later and having to schedule my day around it! ‘Ironically’ and this has helped me get through this sudden massive increase in hours (and of course the increased pay has helped too!), is that I know from next week my hours will drop dramatically again and with a week with no overtime, instead of two days off, I’m going to have three days off and two of those days are going to actually be next to each other (to all those people with traditional working weeks, you know that Sunday feeling? Well, if you only have one day off before going back to work again, you get that Sunday feeling straight away). Of course with all that extra free time, my pay will drop to match it but that’s how it goes. I know that there’s some awful zero hour contract employers out there and I’m lucky in that I don’t work for one of them! I do get a warning if my hours are going to drop and there’s normally opportunities to increase my hours again if I want to and I like the flexibility. In April I was in a position where I could work lots of hours, this month I’m in a position where it suits me more to work less. Although having said that, I don’t envy people on zero hours contracts if they’re the main breadwinner.

5. Penny Dreadful is back!!!!! And the first episode was amazing, I have a feeling this is going to be a particularly good season. Although (SPOILERS) I think a lot of people would like to be seemingly cured of deep depression as quickly as Vanessa did, after a single trip to the docs and a trip round the Natural History Museum.

 

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Image credit

 

5 things I liked this week – 15.4.16

1. This cute pair in my front garden. After I’d taken the photo and was letting myself in through the front door, I heard a little girl call to her mum.

“Look mummy, there’s two snails on top of each other!”

Mum obviously imagining some x-rated snail action, “Yeugh”, she then actually sees the snails “Ohhhh, cute!”.

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2. Space X successfully doing an onboard landing. I love how they keep trying and they’re running a business at the same time, after all that mission wasn’t just a test, they successfully delivered a cargo to the space station too. Also, they have cool names for their drone ships.

3. As I thought it would be, the new All Saints album is excellent, first listen through and I was like “this is good”, second listen through and I had to try really hard not to dance in the middle of the shopping centre (I was listening as I was doing my shopping, so hard to find time to listen to music, which is totally wrong). I particularly like Make U Love Me, Who Hurt Who (I like me a good ballad), Fear (particularly for the rhythm) and Tribal.

4. My shift patterns are changing at work at the moment and I’m moving away from my work being mainly something that is, to be honest, a little repetitive, with some more challenging work on the side to being mainly the challenging work with a little bit of the repetitive work and I much prefer that ratio.

5. Girl Lacer getting a distinction in her first ever music exam.

5 things I liked this week – 19/2/16

  1. Finally finishing a commission, with a little nagging from Boy Lacer. I normally work on commissions during the day when the kids are in school because I use a big tapestry frame which doesn’t really fit in my bedroom (where I do most of my other craft work) but when it came to pick up time on the Friday before the half term holidays and I had just four small blocks of the commission left, I decided that Boy Lacer couldn’t reclaim the living room just yet, I was going to finish the thing. So, I told Boy Lacer this, which he was fine about, he was going to go on the computer anyway and although our living room is small, it’s not so small it can’t handle one person doing tapestry work and another on a computer and I sit down on the sofa, in front of the tapestry frame and instantly start eating a biscuit (not over the tapestry itself, I hasten to add) and surfing my phone, yeeess. But never fear, Boy Lacer was there to nag me out of my laziness, with a sardonic “I’m going to go home and finish my commission, she says, as she sits there eating a biscuit on her phone”. I got to work after that and finished an hour later, I won’t know what to do with myself now when the kids go back to school, as I’ve been working on this commission on and off for months, so …. if anyone needs any needlework done (I promise I’m not always eating biscuits and on my phone).
  2. I’ve been trying, since last October, to get part of my currently tangled web of medical care, transferred from one hospital to another, due to the guy in hospital A being a bit of a clueless eejit. Anyway, I have asked so many doctors who are responsible for that sort of thing to transfer me, over months and months and I had no luck, to the point where I wasn’t getting any care in that department at all (as I’d told clueless eejit that I wanted my care transferred and he got in a huff, I was, I also hasten to add, polite). Anyway, all these doctors said they would write and I’d think “yes, finally someone has listened, I’ll get my care transferred and I’ll get an appointment at hospital B any day now”, cue whistling in the wind noise and a complete lack of appointment letters. Anyway, I finally got an appointment this week! Well, an appointment letter, the actual appointment isn’t until the end of next month and I thought “yay, one of those people I nagged to write, actually did write”. The next day I get another hospital letter, one of those patient copy things and it was a copy of a letter written by one of my other doctors (at hospital B), who I hadn’t even asked about getting my care transferred because it wasn’t her department, had written asking for my care to be transferred, so that all my care was at hospital B and not spread out all over the place. I could have hugged her, she didn’t need to have done that, she’s probably incredibly busy but she still did it and I am so glad.
  3. The lovely Mr. Lacer got me the perfect Valentine’s Day present, a Game of Thrones colouring book! It’s absolutely brilliant, the drawings are really detailed, so lots to concentrate on and it’s great practice for colour choice and shading. I’m not sure it’s the sort of colouring book where felt pens would look good on it, the drawings ask for more subtle pencil, as you can shade more with those, although I thought I’d try watercolour pencils with it, the paper is not ideal for watercolour but it’s fairly thick, the colour doesn’t really leach through, it just gets a little crinkly. I also love how, because I know the story behind each picture, colouring in these pictures are so much more absorbing. I’ve got loads of colouring books but I don’t think I’ve ever finished one of the pictures until I got my hands on the Game of Thrones book, it’s very immersive.

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4. We were in Ikea over the weekend, we were very controlled, only bought what we went in for (that has to be a first) but the little food shop at the end doesn’t count. One of the things I love in the Ikea food shop is Marabou chocolate, I’ve never seen it anywhere else, well not for years and years, I think I also have vague memories of it in airport duty frees when I was a kid. It’s lovely and creamy. Marabou chocolate is (according to Wikipedia), Norwegian, although it has a royal warrant from the King of Sweden. Although looking at that Wikipedia article, maybe I shouldn’t be enjoying Marabou chocolate that much, as I see it’s got palm oil in, *booooo*.

OriginalPhoto-477483765.2588365. I had a lovely shopping trip with Girl Lacer, she’s in a play soon and needed to buy something black to wear. She’s currently in that in between stage between kids clothes and adult clothes, there was nothing nice in the kids clothes shop we normally go into, so we went into Hollister and found a lovely black dress. She looked lovely in it and so grown up and it was so nice seeing her light up with that ‘I’ve found the perfect dress’ moment. I also appreciated the comfy chairs in the changing room.

Girl Lacer then persuaded me to buy her a chess book from another shop, which she had her nose in for the entire rest of the shopping trip. I love that she can get excited about a dress and a chess book.

 

Watering

365:146 Watering

Popped up to the allotment to water between shifts today (I’m currently working loooong hours at the weekend, so thank goodness for an excuse to get my eyes temporarily out of the house and away from the screen, my eyes feel soooo tired). Everything is already looking parched and dry 😦

End of an era

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When I was pregnant with Boy Lacer and facing the prospect of being a stay at home mum for quite some time (not that there is absolutely anything wrong with that, even now, even with pretty much full time hours with the main part time job, I still consider myself, in a way to be a SAHM because I work from home during my child free hours), I needed some money, so I joined a couple of agencies and started working as a freelance private tutor and I’ve effectively been doing that ever since. Some years were good, lots of clients and good money considering I was only working when Mr. Lacer was around to look after the kids, so I didn’t have childcare costs to worry about. Other years were pretty bad with virtually no clients sometimes. The academic year of 2010-11 was particularly good however and for the first time in a long time I was actually earning enough money to be able to splash out on a few things, no more trying to eek out a wardrobe which consisted largely of clothes I bought before I fell pregnant with Girl Lacer. And although it wasn’t loads of money, again no childcare costs, so it felt like more. However I, now I’m tempted to write the word hated here, but that’d be too strong, did not like doing it, at all. Not so much the actual tuition sessions but the large amount of preparation for each lesson (as of course each student was studying a different syllabus) and the fact that after a day of doing x, y and z of stay-at-home-mummy stuff (particularly when both kids were smaller and still home for most of the day), it was exhausting at the end of the day to have to go and grab my bag, head out in the dark, wet, cold and traipse somewhere in south west London to see the client. It didn’t help not being able to drive, so I was dependent on buses and that meant that unless I left for work ridiculously early, I was guaranteed to be late, as I could never, ever depend on the buses turning up on time. And of course sometimes the buses did turn up on time, so I’d get to the client’s address way too early but unfortunately being a private tutor is not one of those jobs where if you’re early for work you can just head into the office and make a cup of tea, I had to be at the client’s front door not a minute late and not a minute early either. So that meant when I was early I was reduced to having to prowl around the neighbourhood of the client’s house desperately trying not to look like a burglar casing out possible jobs, as there was never anywhere to go and wait (except for one client, the year I was pregnant, who lived happily close to a Krispy Kreme). So of all the jobs I’ve done in my working life; private tutor was fairly low down on the list of jobs I liked doing. So at the start of the 2010-11 academic year, when amongst the large amount of clients I picked up, I picked up M, a client who I unusually committed to for 2 years, instead of the normal 1, I vowed or should I say hoped, that by the time those two years were up, I wouldn’t have to pick anymore clients up because I’d be doing something else.

And, as I’ve mentioned quite a few times on this blog, I managed to get a ‘proper’ (as in actually being an employee with actual job advancement prospects and everything) job last July, a year earlier than I had hoped for. So when academic year 2011-12 started, I didn’t pick up anymore tuition clients but I still had M, well M’s exams start in a few days, he doesn’t need me anymore, so good luck M and yay me, as of tonight, no more traipsing out in the cold, wet and dark (please no one remind me I still have to do that for ballet lessons, I’m living in dreamland right now), no more of the dreaded prepping and just one job, one’s enough*.

So, I am of course grateful that due to earlier career decisions that at the time didn’t seem to work out to well, they enabled me as I became a mother to be in a position to do this work for the last 6 years, as it enabled me to continue to be a stay at home mum, something that for me personally was important and for the family practically, specially when Boy Lacer was younger, was vitally important (as I still can not see how I could have juggled an ASD preschooler with a normal job and childcare). But I sincerely hope that I never have to do that type of work again, as I love my main, now only, part time job and can see a long term career in it. But if necessary the tuition will still be there to fall back on.

So although no more traipsing out in the cold and dark (I know, I keep mentioning that part, bet you can’t guess which part I really hated the most), I am still working evenings, as it’s the nature of the job I do now (and early mornings) but I count my lucky stars that I’m still working a job where I can still fit in work and be there for all the childcare, at least during the week days anyway.

So, what to do with all ‘this’ time (she laughs), actually with only one client this academic year, the main part time job has taken the vast lion’s share of my time for some time, so not much difference (and the shift pattern for my job is already altering so I can work a longer shift on Thursday nights, the night I used to see my client). But no more prepping or marking will be a big change, although I won’t miss it, I will miss my last link with my past science career (up until my current job, all my jobs as an adult have been science related). But no prepping time does mean that if I want to find the time to sit down and write it won’t have to be about ionic equations or soy sauce manufacture, so maybe writing of other forms may come back, no pressure.

*you know my Etsy shop may just start having a bit more stock in it …. eventually.

PS Above picture is my May embroidery journal piece (my own design, it did look better when I initially drew it on my iPad, but I use the Paper app, that makes everything look good). I thought it appropriate for someone finally quitting^ teaching (hopefully) for good.

^ There will be a good chance, *ahem* that I’ll be teaching a series of embroidery classes in June, so ummm, not really quitting.

Sketch club

(Oh I am such a Fight Club fan, I can’t see any phrase ending in club without wanting to insert it into some Flight Club lines, right I will control myself).

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I’ve joined the sketch club at work (they’ve let me in wielding needle and thread). Every week we all contribute three words and then one of those sets of three words get chosen and we all sketch (or *ahem* embroider) something to do with those words. I’m not going to say what the three words were this week, but the above was the first thing that popped into my head (although I will say that London 2012 are selling some really cute (probably plastic) ducks at the moment). I think a better message on the duck’s billboard would be ‘Everyone take public transport to the Olympics’ but I couldn’t fit it in because can you imagine everyone cycling? Nope. Me and the kids will be going and it won’t be by bike, put it that way 😉

On a side note, this was my first bit of embroidery done with pearl cotton, I ordered some on a ‘I really must get round to trying some new embroidery materials’ whim when I was forced to go online the other day to get myself some black embroidery floss as I can not buy it anywhere at the moment in the real world (so I bought 24 skeins on line, a lot lot cheaper than buying in a shop and ooh it should last me a few months at least). And the beauty of ordering online is that floss etc can be very very cheap if you buy in bulk *ahem*.

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As pretty as it is I will need to find a better place to store it as it’s going to get dusty plus it’s one of my two main mixing bowls.

And my opinion on pearl cotton? It’s thicker obviously, a feature I liked when fill stitching the handle of the billboard and when working the black lettering, I don’t think it’s very subtle though, so it will get lots of use (just racking my brains to think of the last piece of ‘subtle’ embroidery I did) but I’m not about to abandon floss any time soon, I think I will use it in more brighter, bolder abstract(ish) pieces. I think it also might be interesting using in cross stitch, it would give a thicker more chunky feel. And as someone who suffers from ‘my floss is about to run out 2/3 of the way through the piece’ anxiety, I do appreciate the greater quantity of the stuff. And heck, just looking at the balls is pretty.

And going back to the duck, my opinion on that? It was my own pattern and I’m not happy at all with the eyes and beak of the duck but I did say didn’t I that I wanted to do more of my own designs, so it looks like sketch club will be a good place to try some of that out and I do quite like quick and dirty stitching, I did most of this whilst waiting for my shift at work to start today, whereas some of the other pieces I’m working on at the moment, taking forever.