Sunday, October 31, 2010

My bf forever!

For this particular piece of bliss all you need is a Hello Kitty pair of plastic sunglasses, a charity shop Fez, a charity shop beggars hat and a particularly gorgeous daughter. If you don't have a daughter on hand, an incredibly gorgeous niece/ goddaughter/ granddaughter/ neighbour/ randomly sourced orphan will do.
Once you have this gorgeous lassie, take a nutcase (it helps if it's male with a serious case of gaga) and let him loose.
Tell the girl it'll be alright, she won't be all over the internet.
Take truckloads of pictures.
Congratulate yourself on the fact that you just took truckloads of immensely gorgeous pictures on a dime.
Blog it.
Kiss her goodnight and remember what she said.
And I quote.

If you steal the stars and stick them to the walls with blue tac, they'll shine for you!

Is he wearing a fez??

So... the minions (cheers, Sunny! Abigail has a new favourite word) are 'round, and since things in the Three Bed Semi are not done your average ole way, it was "dress up your offspring- day" today. Minion A is only 8 and has never been exposed to the real meaning of Hallowe'en before, and minion Aa, who this post is all about, is only 4 and even more blissfully unaware. Yet. Count your stars, guys.
I will not over- elaborate on anything, just be told that Aa(ron) is an incredible kid. Immensely well- behaved, clever, sweet, helpful, patient an LOL funny.
Here is his transformation from parents' dream to dead zombie pirate skull rotting monster ghost thing formerly known as The Bad Guy in The Mummy. Err.

Yeah, the lad is wearing my shirt. And it took me bleeding ages to get that pathetic mirror shot. But can you see how much fun there is to be had with virtually nothing? His cape/ tunic is an old pirate flag his dad cut up, and the face paint was a leftover from his big sister's last stayover.
Hell, I don't even like kids!! Can you tell how this lot stole my heart?
I noticed today how little effort (and even less money) it takes to entertain kids. And their fathers.
Beforehand, we went out and bought some toys to make sure every eventuality is covered, but it turned out that a wiggly cat toy (for Aaron) and our sheer attention (for Abigail, who will be featured in the very next post) were a helluva lot more catching than anything you could ever buy.
So, if you have wee ones in your life, try the cat approach. Bin the toy and give them the box it came in.
Kinda restored my dented faith in mankind.
Cheers, little Mister. Your ears are still ridiculously big.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Samhain! Folksy Friday and musings on life as Steff

Every three months or so, my company sends so- called mystery shoppers 'round. They have to fill in a questionnaire about their in- shop experience, the service they receive, cleanliness and all kinds of stuff.
Last week, I was unfortunate enough to encounter a mystery shopper... and fortunate enough to spot him. It's relatively easy when you know what to look for as they tend to be strangers, lurk about the shop and ask daft questions.
Well, my mystery shopper was so happy with me that he answered the question "which was the best part of your visit to shop xyz" with "The friendly customer service I received"
Cheers, mate! Truth be told, I wouldn't have been THAT good if I hadn't known it was the mystery shopper. I would have still been polite and friendly, but the reason I could answer his question instantly was that I could easily predict what it would be and looked it up while he stealthily (...) inspected the toilets for cleanliness.
My manager knows all this, but the fancy suits that receive the reports don't. So now they think I am, to say the least, the bees' knees. I'm dead chuffed! Of course I actually AM the bees' knees without a doubt anyway, but you guys knew that all along.
So, a bit of deception and a sixth sense go a long way in the life of a CSA in a bookies. Interesting. It also helps to give people a fair share of quality abuse rather than "Yes, sir, no, sir, thank you, sir". Seems to make them feel at home, and as long as they think that "Hell, man, I can't believe you're still here, don't you have a bloody life??" is just banter, all is well.

As much as I moan about work, there are good bits. Very good bits. For example the fact that it's so dead at night that I managed to finish off a crocheted cat hat (beanie with ears) and little cuffs for Abigail to wear tomorrow. She and her little brother Aaron are going to pop 'round tomorrow, and instead of taking them for Trick and Treating, we are going to dress them up as cat and dog and watch, well, Cats And Dogs. All I have to do now is crochet a little doggie beanie for Aaron, whip up a tail and take tons of pictures tomorrow when their Dad turns them into Fido and Fluffy. Well, in this case, Cerberus and Sekhmet! I'll show off what I came up with tomorrow or Sunday, as now it is time for Folksy Friday.

According to the omniscient Wikipedia,
Samhain is a Gaelic festival held on October 31–November. The Irish name Samhain is derived from Old Irish and means roughly "summer's end''. A harvest festival with ancient roots in Celtic polytheism, it was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and continued to be celebrated in late medieval times. Due to its date it became associated with the Christian festival All Saints' Day and greatly influenced modern celebration of Halloween.

I thought I'd pay tribute to the elders and give you a glimpse at what Folksy has to offer where it comes to Celtic and Gaelic inspired pieces.
As always, a click on the pic will take you straight to the shop.

Love y'all, have a wonderful Samhain/ Hallowe'en/ All Saints' Day if I don't see you before.
Please remember, if you see anything that tickles your fancy on Folksy, most sellers ship internationally, and it won't cost the world. Highstreet was yesterday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jack O'Pendant!

Guys, just a quickie before work. Honi soit qui mal y pense!

I have recently experimented with crocheting around beads. No way I am paying loads of money for them if I can whip them bad boys up myself! Give it a go, no explanation needed, if you can hold a crochet hook without stabbing yourself through the eye, you can do it.

Since it's Hallowe'en VERY soon and my beloved colleague Barbara has already got a pair of my Whee Ghostie earrings (and bought a pair for each of her daughters in law, the bats of Britain will appreciate it!), I thought I'd make her something to go with it out of an orange crochet bead.

Meet Jack O'Pendant and his 8 legged companion!
(sorry, the pictures are %$*&?!, but 'tis a dark ole day over here!)

The eyes are seed beads, the folds and mouth are stitched on. So easy, even I can do it.
It's not the best stitching job in the eorld, but the bugger is no bigger than a thumbnail, and should I ever join the Seamstresses' Guild, it will not be for my needlework skills.

Luv y'all, have a good day!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Folksy Friday: SQUEAK! and a confession

Remember that silly attempted robbery I told you about a week ago?
I have had loads of TLC since then, some really good stuff and some of it just plain wrong.
The good stuff came, in the first place, from The Man.
He always picks me up after work anyway, regardless of the fact that my shop is just a stone- throw away from home. Boy, how I love him for that.
But ever since that "fateful" day, he has been even more considerate, even more protective, even more "I'll run you a bath and light some candles" than usual. How blessed am I?
The second source for good stuff are my colleagues, some of whom have been victims to "proper" robberies. Slap on the shoulder, chin up, we're on the same team. Love it.
Let's not forget you guys, my beloved readers. You were awesome, giving me thumbs- up and all sorts of support. I'm seriously busy counting my blessings here.

The wrong kind of TLC comes frome fancy suits a couple of tiers above me who just follow procedure and offer help and an open ear when it is blatantly obvious that their mobile phone will be switched off when I need them for even the mundanest of enquiries, totally unrelated to pathetic teenage robbers. Gimme a break and cut the cr@p, guys, save your energy for getting your blackberry to work.

Today, I was emptying a machine right next to the door after joking with my manager about how ironic it would be to get robbed again. It had been a dead night up until then, no customer in ages.
So, I was busy getting the change out when all of a sudden the shop door opened- and I nearly had a heart attack.
Big mouth, tough attitude, nothing gets to me... but I nearly wet my pants.
It was just a customer, a normal, every- day- annoy- my- socks- off- at- this- time- of- night customer, but for a second, I kinda lost it, shaky hands and all.

Which made me laugh. And think.

After all, I'm not hard as nails. But don't tell anybody, guys, because now I've got a reputation, and I'd be devastated to see it go.
Well, so much for confession time, I thought I might as well share it after letting you in on mustard floorboards and 8 year old Lotus Ravenmoores.

Are you prepared for a shopping spree? Because it's this time of the week again. Folksy Friday.
I would like to share with you the cutest rodents you could possibly imagine (well, in my book, anyway)- step aside, Dr Dolittle, and make a little room for the Folksy Troop of Rats and Mice.
(click the pic to take you straight to the shop!)

In memory of all my rainbow mice and rats, here's to us, guys. You made my life a happier place, and I'll see you all over the rainbow. Thanks for being the wonderful companions were. SQUEAK.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let me tell you about face paint.

Face paint creates joy. It creates disguises. It creates art. It creates a helluva lot of mess.
But most of all, it creates photo opportunities.

Do you guys happen to know Terry Pratchett? He is my favourite author EVER, and I proudly claim this after spending my teenage years buried under Stephen King books. IT still bloody scares me.
Anyway, Terry Pratchett. Without taking you too far into it, let me just tell you that, amongst a world of other stuff, he wrote about a bunch of pictsies (sic) called the Nac Mac Feegle, otherwise known as the Wee Free Men.

They look like this:

Okay, keep this in mind.
Now... The man has started playing a game on Facebook called CastleAge. Like many games on FB, it is a bit like "the more, the merrier", which means you end up with loads of friends playing it, too.
The man created a "guild" within the game, calling it "Wee Free Men", as I have infected him a little bit with the Pratchett bug.
Do you follow so far, or is it just tumbleweed being blown across my blog?
He promised his guild members that if they achieved a certain goal, he would turn into a Nac Mac Feegle.
If you remember the post title- here's where the face paint comes in.


The Man:

Okay, so this is the first half of my post on face paint.

The second half is dedicated not to The Man, but his beautiful offspring, Abi.
She came 'round this weekend to spend some quality time, terrify the cats, make our ears bleed and get her face painted. Err.

Daddy introduced her to the wonderful world of CastleAge (no, she does NOT spend any time on Facebook yet!) and decided to turn her into one of the games' characters, Lotus Ravenmoore.

This is how it went:

In the last few pictures, Abigail (who is 8 and one of the most gorgeous kids you could imagine, inside and out) wears my furry coat, a charity shop belt and a scythe plus clawy glove her dad made for her.
The whole thing cost about £2.50 for the face paint and zero for the costume.

Heck, guys, this is a normal days' work. Can you imagine the terrors that await this blog at Hallowe'en??
I did not edit out any of the horrors of our living room, just so you know. Yes, there are bare mustard- coloured floor boards and yes, the mantelpiece and shelves could do with decluttering. But I wouldn't want our life any other way, mustard floor boards and all.

So go on, give your little ones a lick of paint. You might enjoy yourself even more than they do, for the price of a fashion magazine that'll be outdated before the next issue comes out.