Monsterful Monday- brought to you by the letter R


I decided to get my ears pierced for my birthday this year. Strangely, with three tattoos (and counting), I’ve still never gotten any piercings so this was my first time. I therefore asked a friend of mine who has MANY holes punched in her where she gets them done, and she pointed me at Streetwise in Newmarket. They were brilliant. I was lucky enough to get Shane Johnston, a Master Piercer who’s been doing piercings for 20 years. He told me what they were doing at each step, explained what everything was for, spent a while fussing to get the position of each pierce just right to look symmetrical (as someone who is weird about symmetry, I really appreciated that).

It’s two counts of gratitude, really- one to the friend who recommended Streetwise, and one to Streetwise themselves for being so good. If you’re in Auckland and want to get a hole punched in you (well, one that involves jewellery), then hit them up.


Next weekend is going to be hectic as, so I was very grateful not to have too much to do this weekend beyond mainline Project Runway All Stars (I don’t love it as much as the original, but it’s still sewing crack), unpack more boxes, and knit. And also ask stupid questions while my Best Beloved plays Minecraft. Always fun.

(T) Rex

Lets face it, the T-Rex is the real hero of Jurassic World. We all know it. Even the film-makers know it. I watched it with some friends at the weekend, and it was everything you would hope from a big silly movie with dinosaurs. Including hero shots of the dinosaurs. Also, whoever thought you’d come out of a movie thinking “those velociraptors were adorable”? Certainly not me. And yet.

RuPaul (and Priscilla)

Meet RuPaul and Priscilla, the metal flamingoes who arrived as a gift from a bunch of friends for the housewarming at the magic house. The Best Beloved hid them outside the door, rang the doorbell and legged it around the back of the house while everyone else watched for my reaction. I love them, aren’t they fabulous?



I’m so grateful to the friends who got together to organise buying them, hiding them (in the garden shed no less) and surprising me with them.

And the Rest

Snuggling, living with the Best Beloved (so far so good), crafting on the train- and fellow crafters on the train, supportive friends, tea, marmalade, Parks and Recreation, co-writers and GMs, Carl’s Jr (the buttermilk ranch chicken burger is so gooooood), working out a quicker route to work, and sleep. Oh, so much sleep.

Monsterful Monday: Porcupines, zombies and cabbage

Starting with the adorableness that is a porcupine eating a pumpkin. I got shown this at Girl’s Night at the weekend and it pretty much made me melt from the cuteness. I mean, Teddy Bear the porcupine actually sounds like he’s making ‘om nom nom’ noises. I’m always grateful for things that make me smile, and this definitely did.

The Walking Dead

I’m late to the ‘Walking Dead’ party, but started watching Season 1 recently and so far, I’m really liking it. It’s got some clever twists and storytelling, interesting characters, and I particularly like how the zombies aren’t the only problem for the survivors. The inter-relationships are complex, human, fraught. The characters are rounded, people aren’t always what you’d expect, good days come at a price, and nobody is safe. Just like ‘Attack the Block‘ (which if you haven’t seen, you should), you don’t get the sense that someone being a child is any protection for them. I think that makes it a stronger, more real-seeming show. Yes, the special effects are truly disgusting- I get through watching the horrible bits by trying to work out how they achieved particular effects. And I’m always grateful for a good story to get into while I craft.

Tanuki’s Cave

I caught up with my friend Jenni and her lovely partner Anna, which as well as being lots of fun was a good excuse to finally eat at Tanuki’s Cave. Jenni has talked about the glory that is their food for years and my goodness, I was not disappointed. The raw cabbage and mayonnaise starter is one of those things you wouldn’t think would be delicious, and yet we ate all of it with great enthusiasm. And don’t even get me started on the shrimp and bacon yakitori skewers. Ho. Ly. Bejeesus. It makes me hungry just thinking about them. So I’m grateful for delicious food, but mainly it was so good to hang out with Jenni and Anna and catch up. There are some friends where it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you last talked, you can just pick back up. Jenni is one of those people, and I’m very grateful to have her in my life.


There’s a long weekend coming up (even longer as I took some extra leave either side of it- 5 day weekend, y’all) and that means planning my crafts. I’m hoping to get one of my 15 in 2015- the Flamingo Dress- either finished or well on the way to being done. Which would be terrific because then I can actually wear it. The flamingo fabric has been sitting waiting to be turned into a glorious outfit for far too long. Because I can’t get enough kitsch print fabric, not now, not ever. I’m also getting my next tattoo started, can’t wait!

The little things

Snuggles (always), making progress on crafting, Galavant, retro clothes, new red lipstick, Agent Carter, homemade hummus, bbq cassava chips, serendipitous discovery of props, sleep, Etsy, the Best Beloved (also always).

How about you? What are you thankful for this week?

Monsterful Monday

Just keep crafting

My first week of working on 15 in 2015 is done. I’ve been chipping away at a couple of the projects on the list, and gathering materials for another. So the first t-shirt quilt is edging slowly closer to being done, and I’ve made about 20 more hexipuffs.

I’ve been devoting about 20 minutes each morning before I go to work to crafting. It means getting up a bit earlier but doing something for myself that I enjoy makes a big difference to how I feel about the day. And it sure beats waking up and immediately checking e-mail.

Fun with photos

One of my Christmas gifts was a new digital camera which I’m slowly getting the hang of using. My poor old phone just about managed to limp through to the New Year, and then I had to replace it, so my Christmas gift to myself was a new phone for which I immediately got myself a couple of playing-with-photos apps which I’ve been messing about with a lot and thoroughly enjoying.

OK, I have the feeling I already talked about that. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

But! You can see one of the results of my playing with photos at the top of the page- check out the shiny new header- now with at least 75% more punk rock!

Anyway I’m hoping to make good use of the new camera to take lots of lovely pictures of things for this blog. And for myself.

Cold water on a hot day

The Best Beloved and I went to a pool party at the weekend. It’s only the third one I’ve ever attended, and the first since I was a teenager. It was also the first one where I actually had fun. I ate scones and talked about tattoos. Then I hung out in a beautiful cold pool on a hot day (SO good) and talked about knitting. A great way to spend an afternoon and evening.

Getting into gear for 2015

I know I’m a bit late to the party but I’m working on wishes and visions for 2015. The craft challenges are a big part of it, but there are plenty of other things I’d like to achieve and do. To do this I’m using, among other tools, Leonie Dawson’s Create Your Shining Year– and so far so good. We’ll see how things materialise, but I’m grateful for having access to things like this to learn and develop.

The little things

Snuggles with the Best Beloved, naps, nice yarn, Veronica Varlow, quiet time, fun stationery, the library, trips out and about, meditation, stretching the muscles, sunshine, green spaces, barbecue, kisses.

Monsterful Monday- monkey cuddlepile

And other highlights of the Hamilton Zoo, where my Best Beloved and another friend went after the Medusa LARP convention on the weekend.

It was so nice to go to a small-but-perfectly-formed convention, play in two very good games (in one of which, as the Lovecraft scholar I got the ultimate fangirl ending- hooking up with HP Lovecraft himself and in the other of which, I forgave the man who murdered me and ended up a military tactician in the Army of Heaven- not bad for a waitress) and have a blast GMing a third, plus go exploring with three friends.

I’ve never been to Hamilton before, so it was fun to get out and about somewhere new, even if we couldn’t find any cafes open (just the comic book store- yay Christmas gifts!- and all the adult shops, weirdness). Also, much hilarity ensued when we were typical big city dwellers- “WHERE IS THE COFFEE?” and my friend’s GPS seemed to want to send us back to Auckland. I couldn’t help wondering at how quickly I’ve adapted.

The Art of Asking

Turns out, if you’re having trouble working out what to get someone for Christmas, just asking them what they’d like works really well. Thus my brother gets a new coffee maker, and I get to buy him something I know he really wants. Our relationship has been distant for a long time but we’re finally getting to know each other and I’m very very thankful for that.

Oh and Amanda Palmer’s book of the same name which I’m still reading is very good and you should totally go buy it.

The Adorables

Is apparently mine and the Best Beloved’s new nickname. I love it. It’s like the Incredibles, but involves more cuddles. The BB took very good care of me this weekend. Conventions always exhaust me, and having someone to look after me was really good.


Time to visit Santa, start in on the advent calendar (no, I don’t have a chocolate one…I just get my own chocolate), and get excited about the Christmas break, which I’m so ready for. Yes, I said visit Santa. I never did it as a kid, because I was scared of Santa, but now with the weirdness of Christmas in summer, I love going and saying what I want for Christmas, and getting a photo. It makes me feel very festive. And yes, there will be photos.

The little things

Black pudding, snuggly naps, being productive, finishing projects, resisting the Black Friday sales (so proud of myself), mango chicken, the Bloggess, planning trips, crafting, exciting parcels, insane Christmas ornaments, and words of affirmation.

Monsterful Monday: who invited Moon Moon?

The answer is: my Best Beloved’s nephew, since he invited me and the Best Beloved to a barbecue this weekend, and as of yesterday one of my nickhames is Moon Moon. This is due to to my total inability to throw anything except glitter in a way that makes the thrown thing land where it’s supposed to.

I won’t lie, the week just gone has been frustrating in the extreme in some ways. But are always two sides to a coin.

So while it’s sad that I’ve been seconded to another team at work, the fact that my manager was even more upset about it than I was, and that my colleagues were also sorry to see me have to go temporarily, means a lot to me.

While Wednesday was mostly a day that turned to custard, it ended with a hair appointment (head massages make EVERYTHING better), and a lovely Guy Fawkes party where we took advantage of a friend’s house being on a hill overlooking South Auckland to watch all their fireworks (and they didn’t disappoint).

And other things have been lovely. The weekend just gone saw lots of snuggles with the best beloved, and a trip to the zoo where I saw my first real live kiwis. As in the bird, not the people. I haven’t been walking around New Zealand with my eyes shut this whole entire time. We also saw a baby red panda hiding from its Mum because it was bath time, and its twin sibling who was less lucky getting thoroughly licked. The zoo’s resident elephant out for her walk (closest I’ve ever been to an elephant!). Meerkats keeping watch. SO many birds. And not eels because my best beloved led me past their tank with my eyes shut so I wouldn’t have to see them (eels, snakes, anything like that creep me out). So OK, I was walking around with my eyes shut for a small part of the day.

The Christmas cross-stitches are going well, Friday night saw me have a stitching-and-Charmed evening mostly to myself. I’ve realised that I tend to do best either alone or in small groups- definitely not a born extrovert- and time alone helps me recharge my batteries so it’s something I’m always grateful to get- though, again with two sides to the coin, I’m grateful not to be alone all the time.

The little things:
Fruju ice lollies, watching people jump off the Skytower on flywires, mayonnaise, barbecue, nice views, my Best Beloved’s lovely family, new old books, the library, glitter, compliments from people I respect, new recipes, surprise strawberries, and kisses.
How about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Monsterful Monday: Starring Gibby the Gibbon

We had a bake-off at work on Friday, after I suggested the idea. My pink leopard print cake got a bit smooshed but apparently tasted exactly like a Strawberry Rocky Road icecream, and I’m determined to practice and get the spots right next time (which means 4 more eggs and better piping, I suspect). If you want to have a go, you can find instructions for creating a leopard-print-on-the-inside cake at the Sweet Dreams website.

I didn’t win any prizes, but I DID win the weekly hosting of Gibby the Gibbon, the office plushie, along with Lorraine the office manager who actually did most of the work. So Gibby is living on her desk for most of the week but he was on mine for a bit so I could take a photo:

Gibby the Gibbon

Meet Gibby!

Yes, I know, he’s a leetle extra fuzzy. I’m still getting the hang of holding the camera still for Pro HDR photos. Where this is going is that I’m very grateful to be working in a team of people who are so friendly, and having any kind of effort appreciated is a wonderful thing which I absolutely don’t take for granted. I’m especially thankful for Jamjar, who is also a blogger and tells me about things like the blogging meetup I went to on Tuesday, where this happened:

Blogger Meetup


We’re typing, we’re typing!

Meetup 2


You should totes go check out Jamjar’s blog, too.  The meetup was so helpful, I got some good feedback and came away feeling inspired to rock this out.  Always something to be thankful for!

I’ve got my next tattoo appointment booked this Saturday with Nursey No Mercy and I can’t wait, so thankful to have things to anticipate. Bring on the pain! I’m also rather surprised and grateful about how OK my parents are with the idea. Them not supporting it wouldn’t have changed my plans but I’ve found it difficult in the past to share things with them because of the lack of support. So even though I don’t *need* it, I’m thankful to have it.

I’m still thankful for my pink hair, which according to the Best Beloved’s Mum makes me look like Strawberry Shortcake. I’ll take it!

I’d like to be able to tell you about the Christmas crafts I have lined up. I’d *like* to, but a) I haven’t fully decided on all of them and b) the Best Beloved reads this blog and one of them is for him.

Darn, now he knows I’m making him something. And yes, I know October is quite early to be thinking about Christmas crafts, but by the time they start playing carols in the supermarket, it’s way too late to get started on anything. Unless you’re a LOT faster than me at knitting. OR WHATEVER CRAFT I AM USING TO MAKE THE PRESENTS. Ha! Now I have you guessing, don’t I?

Finally, this Thursday on the blog I’ll be sharing a craft project with you that I’ve been working on for a while, which I think is very special and which I’m so excited to show you. I’ll even be sharing how you can make one, too! It’s magical, it’s very personal, and it’s very punk rock (by which I mean straightforward, no messing about, reach into your heart and bring out awesomeness). I hope you love it as much as I do!

How about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Tired-but-happy Tuesday

Sorry folks but you’ll have to wait until next week for the Suit of Pentacles. I was at a convention all weekend, including running two games, and I am still wiped out. It was a resounding success (well done to my dear friend Anna), something I suspected when my one-card pull for the weekend was the Three of Staves/Wands- successful cumulation of enterprises.

Anyway, so tired. So I’ll keep this short and sweet and grateful:

Things I’m thankful for right now: the Best Beloved (who took very good care of me this weekend) tea, a warm bed, early nights, newbies having a good time in my games, laughing with friends, enthusiasm, healing, moving forward, the borrowing of a deliciously warm and snuggly fleece-lined cloak from my best beloved, shenanigans with my friends, meeting new people, Pin Up Girl’s Erin dress, snuggling, shoulder/neck/head rubs, spontaneous Bohemian Rhapsody, loom band bracelets, the Parlour, SARK, recharged Kindle with new Francesca Lia Block goodness, friendly bus drivers, the Post-Punk Kitchen, having limbo music stuck in my head, big strong men cringing away from me because I had an open tub of glitter, knitting, taking a round off to set up for a game and more importantly nap, paneer makhani at the end of a long weekend, getting portrait photos with my man, seeing people play roles I’d written and it being just how I’d imagined, and delicious sleeeeeeep. 

And finally, a snapshot of what one of my flatmates is like:

*Flatmate W runs up behind me.*

“Ellen! Ellen! Ellen!”

*I turn around from where I have been walking with the Best Beloved.*


“[Best Beloved] was looking for you.” *grins*

“You, sir, are a helper!”


So yes, this is a day late. The normal posting schedule was interrupted by me coming down with an evil lurgie and taking the day off yesterday to give my body a chance to properly fight the cold, which included no blogging and no internet (Candy Crush doesn’t count. Neither does chatting to the Best Beloved.). It’s something I think I’ve finally adjusted to after 4 1/2 years in New Zealand- staying home when you’re sick, especially if you have a cold. In the UK, people will crawl into work on their hands and knees. Here, you stay home, rest, get better and hope not to give what you’ve got to other people. I think it’s definitely a more enlightened approach. I’m definitely grateful this week for being able to take time off to get better!


On Saturday, I grabbed a big suitcase (and a big overflow bag) and headed over to Newtown for the Social Wool Fair, to sell as much as I possibly could. It went gangbusters! I was busy most of the 6 hours, chatting and tempting and watching people pick up pretty balls of yarn and put them down with a sigh of “I mustn’t!” (usually followed by them coming back, giving me some money and taking said ball away with them).

I was huddled in my little corner with two great ladies, Suzanne and Adrienne, both seasoned market people, on either side of me. In the lulls between customers (they seemed to come in waves) we would sit around knitting- in fact, here they are in one of the lulls (that’s my stall in the middle):

Knitting fun at the Social Wool Fair

For the last hour they did their best to talk me into spending some of the money I’d been making selling my stash on buying more yarn. There was Socks that Rock. SOCKS THAT ROCK! It wasn’t easy to stay where I was and not go throw money at one of my fellow destashers. Luckily the Best Beloved sent me texts during the afternoon with such helpful messages as “Just in case: No, no and…no” and “resist!”- because he knew I really wanted to do so. The end result? I sold about 3/4 of the yarn I brought with me, to many happy yarny ladies (and the odd man), and made $360.  I had a fun day, with good company (and delicious toasted sandwiches), nobody rubbed anything on their boobs (I think that’s the yarn equivalent of ‘you break it you buy it’), and I’m considerably less yarn-heavy.

Knitting inspiration

Obviously, it being the Social Wool Fair, there were lots of handknits on show being modeled by stallholders, customers and some adorable (and very lucky) babies.  One in particular that caught my eye (and quite a few other peoples’) was this scarf, as made and worn by the lovely Anita from Vintage Purls:

Anita in her favourite things scarf

“Make sure you get my daleks!”

Can you even? The photo doesn’t do the gorgeousness of this scarf justice. When I see something that stunning, of course I had to ask if there was a pattern, and as it turns out, it’s available free on Ravelry- called ‘My Favourite Things‘, the idea being that you use the basic formula to create your own scarf covered with your own favourite things. Lots of people have contributed charts they’ve used, and of course you can always use my tutorial from last Tuesday to create your own. I’ve added it to my queue of must-knit projects- though I’ll have to wait until I’ve knit down the stash a bit more before I can justify buying yarn for it. Anita made hers with a glorious merino-cashmere blend from Plucky Knitter- SO soft and strokeable and, she says, “it keeps the wind away from your neck!”- and I’d like to splurge a little and make this in a really fabulous yarn- we’re talking bright semi-solid  colours and lovely soft fibre- alpaca, cashmere, maybe a little silk or yak…oh yes, this will be a work of art.

Thus far my list of things I want to put on the scarf includes: TARDISes, anchors, Supernatural anti-demon-possession tattoos, hearts, skullflakes, cups of tea, pirate ships, swallows, the White Tree of Gondor, waves, beer, wolves, Star Wars Fair Isle, soot sprites (because Miyazaki!) dragons, Cthulhu…yep. This might be a LONG scarf.

Special mentions

Looking forward to seeing the Best Beloved this weekend, Burger Fuel PBJ burger, my little wheat bag, full fat Coke (the magic potion for going back to work when you’re only at about 99%), Miss Patty from Gilmore Girls (“Who wants to hear about the time I danced in a cage for Tito Puente?” MEEEEEE, I DO!), hexipuffs, the mindlessness of binding off a quilt, and being able to get tasty food delivered to your door (they do say, starve a fever but feed a cold- last night I fed my cold with Kumara chips and aioli, and a snack-size pizza from Hell’s Pizza).

What about you? What are you grateful for this week? Or for bonus points- what would you want on your own Favourite Things Scarf?