Monday, May 19, 2008

Say goodbye, say hello...

I've decided to relocate this blog, moving it to a new address at where I'll be undoubtedly waffling away about the same sort of things as I do here.

Back when I first set up this blog, Blogger was running under release one which was considerably more clunky, slow and limited in functionality than the Blogger of today. That Blogger took my then Google login id, which was not tied to any other Google utilities and set the blog's URL using it.

Since I was only playing around back then and was using the more robust Live Journal for my primary blogging activities the default URL didn't particularly worry me. Nowadays though, Blogger is my blog of choice with my LiveJournal having fallen into disuse, other than for reading entries from folks I know occasionally. Since it looks like I'm sticking with Blogger, at least for the foreseeable future, I thought it was about time I sorted out that URL.

I'm leaving this site up and running so that any links to pages here continue to function as before, but any new updates will be to the new site. So come on over and visit me there.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Thinking bags...

Go Outdoors! called a few days back, agreeing completely that my tent did indeed have a three foot gash in the built in ground sheet and that this damage probably happened before it left the factory. I headed over on Friday night after work and picked up a replacement and fingers crossed that this time, it's as it should be.

Now we just have to find time to do a test pitch and this time, inspect it thoroughly!

I bought a couple of new books this week, Making Handbags and Chic Bags, both bought from The Book Depository. My thought was to have a go at making bags, since it would keep my sewing hand in but each bag should be relatively quick to make. Of course I hadn't reckoned on how hard it would be to find suitable supplies in Coventry.

I flicked through Making Handbags, which is a fairly basic book compared to Chic Bags (which has some very, very nice bags in it) covering basic bag designs - namely the tote, the clutch, the drawstring and the beach bag - and variations on each. I'd decided to have a go at making a basic drawstring bag, which is not disimilar to a tote, but with gromits set into the top and finished off with a clip on strap.

Sadly it was not to be.

I found some upholstery fabric offcuts I liked without difficulty after sticking my head into Busy Fingers in town. I rather fell of the wagon there, buying fabric, despite the fact that I've probably got suitable fabric in my stash, but it was pretty... And I justified the purchase after Dave commented that the fabric would make excellent breeches, so it has a secondary purpose already.

Then I walked up to Hobbycraft, thinking I'd pick up some grommits and either dog leash clips (as the book describes them) or key ring split rings. This is where I was thwarted. Hobbycraft had 8mm grommits which are possibly too small but no starter kits or die sets, to fit them. The 11mm grommits, were sold in starter kits but it was a case of you can have any colour you like, so long as it's black. Clips and keyring split rings were not to be found.

After scouring the store, I sought out a shop assistant... who proceeded to patronise me and act in a generally terse and aggressive fashion. She did try to help I suppose, but only after I stopped acting like I knew what I was talking about and apologised for expecting her to do her job.

I left the store without buying anything at all, which demonstrates just how frustrated and generally demoralised I felt by the time this woman was done with me.

So, no gromits and no clips which means I'll need to hunt down the required bits online.

On the plus side, we popped over to see Esther and family yesterday for a natter. I got to hold the latest addition and received some tips for the kind of store to search for. So far, the places which seem promising are Corsetry Suppliers (a store I already use here), leather working suppliers, saddlers and pet shops. I did look at online chandlers, who sell all manner of interesting clips but nothing quite like I was looking for. Bead shops sell lots of other things I'd like to buy and are very tempting, so I'm going to have to return for a second look. And of course, camping suppliers...

I did find out the proper name for a dog leash clip is a trigger hook - which helps no end when trying to do a search.

Friday, May 02, 2008

A sense of achievement

Yesterday was a first for me. I cycled to work and home again, which not only makes it the first time I've made that journey on a bicycle, it was also my first solo bike ride, since every previous cycle ride has been in the company of Dave.

That means I cycled somewhere between eight and nine miles, sometimes on the road and sometimes on the pavement (where the pavement was wide and had no pedestrian traffic). I made it in and back without needing to stop, managed to get up hills (slowly I admit) and all without incident. I did note how many unexpected hazzards there were... Potholes and poor road surface, pedestrians who seem oblivious to bicycles and will step out right in front of you, dithering drivers, parked cars and their doors... But I coped and at the low speed I was travelling, had plenty of time to react, so all was good.

Today, not surprisingly, I hurt - mostly in the vicinity of my right knee, which really is not happy.

However, other than the expected knee pain, everything else seems to be OK... My legs don't feel like they've been through some sort of torture and even the saddle soreness seems to be less than it was after those first journeys a few weeks back - thank goodness for gel saddle covers - all of which suggests my general stamina must be improving, even if my knee is not.

A win methinks.