27 February 2013

Brithday Visit to the Greenhouse

One of my special birthday treats last week has been an evening visit to Fata Morgana - a greenhouse of the Prague botanical garden. Every year, the botanical garden organises night-time guided tours through the darkened greenhouse. We booked ours in January.
The tour started at 6 p.m., when it was already dark in the greenhouse and the little frogs that live there were chirping loudly. The only lights were the ones that lit the lanes and the lake and the flashlight of the guide. We saw a lot of interesting things and as A. doesn't speak Czech, I had to translate (and I bow down in front of everyone who has that as a carreer, it was damn hard to listen and talk at the same time), but I noticed that he wasn't the only foreigner there. We saw a lot of plants and got to know much more than when we come in daytime. The whole greenhouse looked and sounded magical, but we were both definitely interested in the pond and the silver arowana fish the most (freedivers' deformation).
Silver arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) in the pond in Fata Morgana greenhouse in Prague.

25 February 2013

Moulting time

There has not been much activity in my millipede (Luculus terrestris) tank recently, the animal did not come out at night to feed, nor did it produce any waste. I was starting to get a bit worried, but I eventually discovered that it was hidden under the big mossy pillow that I brought from my trip last year and has given itself to shedding its old exoskeleton.

Last time some of my millipedes moulted was in July 2012. Now I only keep one, so I cannot tell whether it is the one that has already moulted or not, but I would say it is a different one. Here are some pieces of the old exoskeleton of which I managed to take photos back then.

24 February 2013

Belated Valentine's Day Breakfast

A few days lateValentine's Day breakfast - his and mine. A little bit of playing with pancakes, hand-cut baking paper stencil, sharp knife, vanilla ice-cream, and hot raspberries and blueberries with sugar. Yummy!!!

18 February 2013

Did I say "No heart decorations" ?

Well, then... ooops?
Yes, on Valentine's day I suddenly felt intense aversion towards hearts... But thein it turned around and suddenly a wave of inspiration came upon me, urging me to cut out some hearts, splashing around me in mixture of pink felt and threads. It might have something to do with my man coming to visit tonight. Then I hope he enjoys pink, because his life will get tough otherwise... : )

I even tried stitching out what was intended to be stars, but mostly they ended up being crosses with an occassional star hiding among them. Still, I like it. Not a single heart was cut out using a template (therefore the shapes) and here is the result. One finished ornament and a few hearts cut out of leftovers. I can sense more hearted decorations coming soon...

17 February 2013

Obsession of the week - Tunisian crochet

Compared to the lousy way the last weekend and the beginning of the week happened, this weekend is rather relaxing. I am trying to work, but not excessively, and I have fully given myself to meeting friends, drinking tea, reading, knotting a bracelet with slug pattern (coming soon) and mostly, my newest obsession: Tunisian crochet (also called Afghan crochet).

I happen to have three long hooks for Tunisian crochet already - I remember buying the two of them with my Mum in a sale in Tesco when I was a kid and using them for ordinary crochet since then, and I got the third one from my Grandmother who used it the same way. I learned about Tunisian crochet some years ago, but did not start exploring it until now.

As soon as I started getting better at it, I bought a jolly-looking cotton yarn and decided to have a nice and relaxing Saturday night. I am really enjoying how the colours mix together. In classic crochet, they stay together, however in Tunisian the rows kind of overlap, so the final effect looks completely different, especially with variegated yarns.

It is incredibly relaxing, quite easy to learn and creates a pattern similar to weaving on the top side and another pattern very similar to knitting on the bottom. It is very pretty and yet not very common, whoever I tell about it, looks surprised. The long hooks are easily found in all sorts of shops, but so far I haven't found a flexible Tunisian crochet hook with a long bendy extension that can hold many more loop of yarn and can be used for crocheting very wide items, like blankets. However, there are many available on Etsy, so maybe one day... : )

So far, I have created one giant coaster. I haven't got much use for such things, but I hope to learn to make something more useful. If you have any ideas, I will be happy to hear them. So far, I have thought about blankets and scarves.

Most of what I know, I know from this single video. I didn't even listen to the sound, only watched it. It shows the basic Tunisian crochet stitch in a very nice way.

14 February 2013


Happy Valentine's day to everyone who celebrates it! I will, too, however, in a few day's time when my dear is here to keep me company and calm my nerves and so on.
In the meantime, he spends the day by uploading photos to his work website (veeery exciting, because he has just finished rebuilding a grand piano), while the highlight of my day has been a brief meeting with an overly friendly cat (probably because of her toxoplasmosis) that often leaves footsteps in our snowy garden and crocheting more procrastination squares while watching The Big Bang Theory and wishing I was more like Leslie Winkle (Is it disturbing? Is it not disturbing? I guess it isn't. But am I in a state of a mind to judge appropriately?? I really don't know.)

Therefore, I pronounce today an ordinary day and the actual Valentine's day is postponed to next Tuesday and will be celebrated by waking up together and cooking special breakfast and all that stuff. No heart decorations.

03 February 2013

Procrastination Crochet

There are days when work goes great and there are days when it doesn’t. I am having one of those other days today. Nothing, even the shortage of time seems to motivate me. My daily strategy is to wake up really early, so that I can spend even more time by procrastinating. I even started crocheting a special thingie.
I am not sure what it is going to be, so far there are two squares with a side of 15.5cm, which might possibly turn into something awesome, but most likely just some more clutter (I feel incredibly environmentaly irresponsible at the moment).
Also, I happened to have an open bottle of wine in the fridge – and as I explained to my boyfriend earlier on the phone, there is something terribly sad about unfinished things other than work. So... I had to help it to get to wine-bottle heaven.
At least, this bright green yarn makes me think of green spring lawns which we will soon be able to enjoy. And I am optimistic and I really think that in the light of the longer and brighter days that are about to come, I will be able to do more work. Or... you know... procrastinate somewhere in a sunny field and get a tan and blonder hair at the same time.

01 February 2013

The Shop that Makes Me Bead Angels

I planned to have a completely innocent working afternoon at home, however, the evil bead shop stepped in the way. Selfishly, it lured me to its shopping window while I was going home from the bank and to pull me in, it displayed the most wonderful little beaded angels in the window.
My crystal clear beaded angel
They were so cute, so small and so after-Christmasy that I started looking at them, trying to figure out and remember how to make them. So then, the only thing I needed was the bid bead for the head. I only had little money (thank goodness!), but it was enough to buy a bag of twelve head-beads. And then I spent one episode of Gilmore Girls wiring the beads together. I am very pleased with myself, even though the ones in the shop had arms as well as wings - something to work on - but I think I already know what will everyone get with their Christmas card in ten months :)

For those interested, the evil bead shop is called Starbeads and is situated in the centre of Prague, in Národní 25 (see the map here), not very far away from the Vltava river, Charles Bridge, restaurant Slavia and many other nice and touristic things - a very nice walk, especially in summer ;-) (I might walk around crafty shops one day and write a big post about them)
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