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?

Monsterful Monday- Two out of Seven Dwarves

I’m sleepy. I’m also Grumpy.

The last thing I feel like is writing about the things I’m grateful for, because the things that have upset me are clamouring for all my attention.

Which is precisely why I’m doing this. I need it. When I’m in a bad place, I need it so very much more than when I’m in a good place.

So: I’m grateful for good friends. For a clean, dry place to sleep- walk down Queen Street and you’ll always see at least two people who don’t have one. For restaurants that will deliver hot, delicious food to your door. For butter paneer, a butter naan, rice, and onion bhajis.

I’m grateful for how when my Best Beloved holds me, all the grumpiness goes away. For how warm he is, physically and emotionally. For how he puts up with me when I’m in a bad mood, and gives me tenderness when I’m hurting.

I’m grateful for exciting times ahead- bridesmaiding for my best girlfriend, and getting tattoos I’m really excited about. For Molly Crabapple giving me permission to use one of her stunning artworks as a tattoo. For Rock and Roll Bride arriving in the post so I can give it to the bride to be.

For considering my spending priorities, and working out what I’m really passionate about, so I can act more in alignment with the things that really get me juiced and make me happy.

Here’s to better days.

Monsterful Monday: My life in boxes

'moving II' by Robert S. Donovan-

‘moving II’ by Robert S. Donovan-

Just keep packing

The move up to Auckland, which seemed distant even a week ago is now approaching in a manner akin to a freight train. Thankfully, this weekend just gone was that rare and shimmering thing, commitment-free. Somehow, and most of the time, I end up with most every weekend booked with one thing or another, and I’m not complaining. But with the movers arriving on Friday (eek!) to collect my things, I really valued being able to hermit it up and just focus on putting things in boxes. I’m also grateful to Scott for supplying at least some of said boxes.

The furniture I’ve listed on Trade Me has all either already sold, or been bid on (so it will be going), which is another thing to be grateful for, along with the fact that there’s plenty I haven’t had to list because it already had takers.


I can’t even begin to describe how much less stressful packing for this move has been compared to the last one and the reason for it is very simple. I. Have. Less. Stuff. CONSIDERABLY less. My-clothes-fit-in-two-suitcases-now less. I’m so glad I started getting rid of things when I did, it’s meant I’m much further along in the process than I would be otherwise.

I shall call them Squishy. And they shall be mine. And they shall be my Squishies.

Packing the hexipuffs gave me a chance to count how many I have. 220! That means I’m over halfway to a single-bed-sized snuggly quilt of smooshy goodness. It will be glorious!

Come into my Parlour (well, come into Veronica’s Parlour)

This weekend just gone I watched my first recordings of Veronica Varlow’s online tarot circle, the Parlour, because it’s something I’m interested in learning more about (and now that the Atomic Tarot Kickstarter has been funded, I’ll be getting a beautiful deck of my own). I’m watching the recordings because watching the live webinar would mean getting up at 6am on a weekend (but next week it’s on a Monday my time, I might be lucky!) So far, so fascinating. This week, she covered magnet cards- cards that appear again and again for you. For me, at least one of them is the King of Pentacles, which shows up regularly in relationship-type questions since I got together with the Best Beloved. I choose to believe that makes him my own personal King of Pentacles. There’s a great community for the Parlour too, and I can already tell I’m going to enjoy getting to know them better.

Special mentions

Extremely pink pink nailpolish, sushi, warm bed and sleep, mini skeins, my Tetris skills (coming in very useful for fitting things in boxes), Youtube playlists, helpful moving companies (who can’t help but point you at people who can), and the Best Beloved, always.

Monsterful Monday

Yep, it’s that time of the week again. I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Mine involved the Best Beloved, breakfast in bed, not being booted out of bed for getting crumbs everywhere (those last two may be connected), delicious Italian food and karaoke in good company, many snuggles and finally seeing the Footrot Flats movie. I feel a little bit more Kiwi just being able to say it. Also it gives an interesting new spin on some Dave Dobbyn songs I love. I also ran into someone I first met 8 years ago- as in before I had officially moved to New Zealand, and it turns out we actually also ran into one another last year at a convention- it’s a very small world. All things to be grateful for, but here are some other highlights:


We’ve started casting for a big LARP I’m helping run, and it’s one of my favourite parts of writing and running a game. I enjoy working out what characters to offer people, and then seeing which ones they take. It’s often quite surprising which ones people choose- more often than not it’s not the one we would expect. But it all builds up to the moment of seeing everyone walk into the room as their character, which is such a fun thing to see. I’m also putting together the cast list for another game I’m running at the same convention (apparently I don’t learn). I’m always grateful that people are excited about games I run, and casting is when that starts in earnest.

Using up the stash

I have quite a bit of yarn left that didn’t sell at the Social Wool Fair, and I’ve been browsing Ravelry for inspiration to use it up- and it has delivered! I’m quite keen to adapt Lee Meredith’s Krewe cowl into a blanket pattern, using up a whole bunch of my worsted/aran weight. I’m also going through my fabric stash, and coming up with plans for the fabrics I want to keep. I’ve got some navy polka dot fabric which I think is begging to become a Jorna Dress (though I plan to lengthen the skirt to just below the knee for that retro feel).

Hotting up on the job front

The destashing and decluttering is going on with a will again, as I’ve had a few nibbles on the job hunt in Auckland. I don’t want to say any more than that, but with the move becoming more likely to be in the near future, I want to get rid of as much as I can before it’s time to start packing.


On Friday the Best Beloved and I went to ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’. It was exactly as big, loud, and over the top as I expected. As we’re both children of the 80s (well, technically I’m a child of the 70s but all my memories are of the 80s) of course we were excited to see some of the toys of our childhoods coming back, and seeing it together meant we could relax and just get on with enjoying the movie because we both knew the other person was as unironically thrilled by the prospect of a giant robot smackdown as we were. He was looking forward to seeing Hound brought to big-screen life, and for me it was the Dinobots. While I was a little disappointed that Grimlock didn’t talk (because what are the Dinobots without pronouncements starting “Me Grimlock”?), they were still epic and cool in the way that only robotic dinosaurs (or robots, or giant monsters) can be. What can I say? It’s a bit of my childhood. And they still make the proper transforming noise. These are things that matter when you grew up with something.

And the little things:

A lovely thank-you card, Wellington Library’s awesome selection, delicious cheese, exploring, crumpets, cups of tea, hexipuffs, a warm bed, and missing some of the really bad weather by being indoors.

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

Monsterful Monday- is it Friday yet?

I realised I haven’t explained why I call these posts ‘Monsterful Monday’. Monsterful is an obscure word I learned from a Buzzfeed list of archaic words we should bring back. I also like the word ‘curmuring’- it means the noises your body makes when you’re digesting (you know, those sounds that seem like they would be hunger but are actually the opposite)- yes, there’s a word for it! Anyway, ‘monsterful’ means wonderful, terrific, good stuff- and it seemed like a great thing to call a weekly gratitude list.

Conquering the FOMO

At least a little. If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym it stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was very small. Mum and Dad still remember a trip to the local pier when I was about 3 or 4, where I got to go on all the rides, and as I came away said “but we didn’t get any candy floss!”. As an adult, it’s still something I struggle with but it’s a long story and a slow process. One of the reasons it’s unhealthy is a tendency to ignore what my body/mind are telling me they need, in order to push myself to go to events. This weekend there were three LARP events- an in-character feast (think of it as live-action fanfic), a session of ‘The World That Is’ a fantastic post-apocalyptic campaign I’m in that runs a 4 hour session every few months, and a day-game (again 4 hours) for the same campaign the fanfic was for. I was intending to go to all three, but threw my back sitting on the hard floor at the World That Is session (that’s what happens when your character’s brother has been injected with a high concentration of a drug, is recovering and you’ve had to move away from the med bay with the chairs because someone has a bomb fused into their belly and they’ve cleared the area…to say a lot happens at these games is an understatement).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided that what I really wanted to do on Sunday was rest up, so that’s what I did. An older version of me would have gone to the day game anyway, worrying that if I didn’t I would miss out on something important or be excluded.

I still nosed into the paper my flatmate Blair was reading at brunch, so I’m not perfect, but it’s getting better, and for that I’m very grateful.

Rude knitting

I have a couple of friends with birthdays coming up who have a hearty appreciation of filth, and it’s a great opportunity to break out the knitting projects which make it fun to answer the question ‘ooh, what are you making?’. Actually, I always enjoy answering that question, but when the answer is ‘a ball gag’, well, it’s food for my rebellious side. And yes, I really did knit one (just need to seam it). If you’re curious about this kind of project, there are two books I’d highly recommend- ‘Naughty Needles’ by Nikol Lohr, and ‘DomiKnitRix’ by Jennifer Stafford (seriously, how can you not love a title like that?). You can also (I have discovered) search Ravelry’s pattern database for Mature Content. Don’t ask me how I found that out.

Awesome friends

I’m very blessed to have many wonderful people in my life. This week, a special mention for my friend Sophie who runs The World That Is. I was hideously disorganised about letting her know I was attending, and giving her a character update, but she was very patient and kind as always, and even gave me some personal plot in the game (which I wasn’t expecting).

Mercury Retrograde

An attack of deja vu at the weekend signalled the start of the month of Mercury bats foggy-communication technology weirdness. But it’s also a chance to reflect, work on things from the past that need letting go of, revisit and reassess. I’m working a lot on forgiveness and letting go of negative charges towards others at the moment, and Mercury Retrograde energy supports that- at least from what I’ve read. I am very much a newbie at this stuff, but I’ve found Mystic Medusa in particular to be very helpful and informative. Anything that helps is something to be grateful for! And so far my computer hasn’t gotten fried (though a colleague has had to restart her computer three times this morning).

Special mentions

Yet more serendipity supporting my bid to downsize (this week it was a work colleague offering to take old towels for the Cats Protection League- not only was I able to divest stuff, but it’s going to care for animals in need of love!), writing inspiration, texts from friends keeping me cheerful, experimental cooking (yes, again- this week it was Mac and Cheese burritos), meditation, and best of all, looking forward to a visit from the Best Beloved this weekend (hence the title of this post).

Monsterful Monday- Happy birthday, yer Maj

Queen’s Birthday!

This bank holiday creeps up on me every year, because we don’t celebrate it in the UK, but that can be a good thing because it means I often end up with a stretch of time to do my own thing (though this year I wish I’d realised as I could’ve booked flights to go see the Best Beloved). But it’s meant plenty of time to relax, tidy, sort through more of my stuff and put more of it ready to go, and of course sew and knit.

I’ve started a Super Sekrit Birthday Gift project which I won’t post a photo of here, but I’ve also finished the Grey Gardens turban. It’s very bright, and very quirky, and it makes me look like I should be a fortune teller on Balamory and I love it.

Photo of Ellen in finished Grey Gardens turban


I’ve also cut out the fabric for the Mad Tea Party dress, and I’m excited to get sewing on it.


I try to do this every morning and the past couple of weeks in particular, it’s been really great. I recently discovered The Purpose Fairy, who has a weekly guided meditation on her blog. Different types of meditation work for different people but I’ve found that guided meditation and using affirmations really helps me quiet my brain down- normally I have 100 ideas before breakfast, so switching off is a bit of a challenge! I especially recommend the Six Phase Guided Meditation- so relaxing and powerful.

Clearing the blocks and serendipity

I definitely believe that decluttering is a way to open the way for good things to come into your life. The way I see it, if you put things back out into the world they can find their way to the people who are seeking them, and the things that are seeking you have a space to find their way to you.

I’ve also been finding that when I want to get rid of things, ways open up for me to do that. I went to a local op shop which opened just the right distance from my work for me to head there and drop things off on my lunch break, and saw a poster advertising a Social Wool Fair in a few weeks- you’d better believe I got straight in touch with them about a stall to sell my excess yarn (if you’re going, come say hi!).

I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m getting there.

Special mentions

My flatmate Jenni finished editing her novel and I’m so excited for her! Cute texts and Gchats from the Best Beloved, finally getting my camera and its battery charger in the same place, lovely sunny weather (I’m enjoying being able to do my laundry while I can still dry it outside), flatmates being patient with my love of strange, experimental vegan cooking- tonight it’s portobello mushrooms asada;  X Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent (silly but had great costumes), the new Dresden Files novel on my Kindle. Finally, The Tiny Owl Knits Care of Magical Creatures charm bracelet is a really fun project- I’ve just knitted my first charm (the toad, if you were wondering)- you have to complete a challenge before you knit each one. It’s a lot of fun!

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

Monsterful Monday: Unlike other Robin Hoods, I speak with an English accent…

Time with my Best Beloved

I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Auckland. Being in a long-distance relationship, time with the Best Beloved is always top of my gratitude list. This time it involved him very patiently accompanying me and his flatmate to Dress Smart, takeout and laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe in a game of Cards Against Humanity. There were also many many snuggles and movies, in particular ‘Spaceballs’ and ‘Robin Hood: Men in Tights’- we have a shared love of Mel Brooks, but it’s been ages since I saw either movie. There were lots of bits I’d forgotten which made me laugh all over again. A benefit of coming back to cold Wellington is that whenever I say goodbye, I come back here freshly motivated to keep decluttering and downsizing my stuff for the planned Big Move.

Reconnecting with my little brother

I’ve had actual e-mail conversations with my brother this week. It’s a big deal. In the past we haven’t been close, but I feel like now that could change. He also got me a birthday present, which was very kind of him- I sent him a list of patterns on my wishlist from Colette, not in order of preference, and he picked the two I wanted most on the list! I’m excited to get sewing on one of them this coming weekend- a long weekend means extra sewing time, always a good thing. Watch this space for a Mad Tea Party Ceylon dress…

Learning new things

I had a mild bout of startitis this week, which led to me casting on the Grey Gardens turban. It’s a turban! It’s inspired by Little Edie! What’s not to like? I grabbed a ball of rainbow coloured wool last time I was in Auckland and when I saw this pattern I knew it was meant to be. I’ve never tried entrelac before, and I know a lot of people approach new skills with trepidation. But, as always, it’s much less scary to just dive in and give it a try. The great thing about entrelac is that you don’t need to know anything that’s not covered in a basic knitting book to do it. And it looks so pretty! I love the way the colour repeats lend themselves to the little entrelac squares:

Entrelac knitting example

And yes, those are leopard-print knitting needles. Why? Why not! I’ve had them for a while after winning them in a writing contest, and they add a little bit of fabulousness to the knitting process. Like so many things with knitting (I do NOT include lace in this), it looks a lot more complicated than it really is. Lace is my Great White Whale, but I’m determined to land it.


Also known as Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy. I’ve been reading any of her books I can get my hands on (and expecting some more in the post any day now), and I love them. Easy to read, inspiring, uplifting and positive. I especially like the Nap Book, and have actually started having little naps when I’m sleepy (usually on a Saturday afternoon). One of the big things I’ve got from the books so far is the idea of having permission to take care of myself and give my body what it needs. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on ‘Transformation Soup: Healing for the Splendidly Imperfect’ as part of the ongoing process of healing the past and moving on to the future.


Special mentions:

Hot cups of tea, flannelette sheets, sushi from the friendly sushi place, Silk Naturals Black Label Lip Treatment (GORGEOUS), friends who ask “what are you doing tonight? Sewing or decluttering?” (it’s like they KNOW me), meditation, buying crazy ornaments in the Typo outlet, awesome friends who give you a lift not just into town from the airport, but all the way home, cinema trips in the offing (Godzilla and Maleficent, oh yes indeed) sewing excitement and the prospect of a glorious long weekend with no fixed plans.

What about you? What are you happy about and grateful for this week?