Friday, 28 August 2015

Leaving - part 2

Saying good bye is aways hard. Especially when its people you like and respect.  I decided that I wanted to show my close colleagues how much I will miss them, and having come across this lovely little crochet flower patter in the Molly Makes Crochet magazine thought this would do the job nicely.

I found 3 colours that I liked and worked as flowers then made many.  It's a quick pattern to make - one flower takes me about 45 minutes.  I then added a safety pin to the back of each flower so they can be used as a brooch. And of course each is slightly different from each other so everyone gets something that is unique.  I hope the team like them.

Leaving - part 1

After nearly 9 years working at the University of Surrey, the last 4 in the Digital Team, today I said good bye and move on to a new adventure.  Its been interesting and I have learnt so much and met some lovely people, but it is now time for something new.
A couple of years ago I admitted to my manager that my current role was driving me a little crazy and I wanted a new challenge.  He introduced me to the world of User Experience (UX), even sending me to the UX Intensive conference which blew my mind!  
Here finally was something that REALLY interested me but that I could put into use in a way my knitting or paper making can't.

So after a lot of thought and soul searching I leave the University to join a 10 week full time UX Design Immersive with the General Assembly.  The programme is so exciting if rather full.  By the end of it my UX knowledge should be much improved and I should have the start of a portfolio to prove my skill to future employers.  There is no guarantee of a job at the end of the 10 weeks, but if you put the time and effort in something good is bound to happen.

Over the next 10 weeks I will probably be a little quiet on here.  No time for running or knitting when I am commuting up to London every day and trying to fit homework in too. I'll try to put up a weekly post about what I've been up to that week and you can see more of the interesting UX stuff I come across on my Tumblr.

See you on the other side...

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Paper money

A while ago a friend at work gave me about £20,000 in mostly £20 notes.  The only problem being that it was old notes which had been shredded.  He'd bought the bag years ago and still hadn't found a use for it, but knowing my interest in book binding and paper making thought I might be able to do something with it.

So this week I finally got out my paper making kit and had a go.  I think the end result was pretty good.  Its not obvious at first what its made from, it just has a nice texture and colour, but when you start to look more closely you can see little bits of print which give it away.

I've still got about £18,000 left so I guess I'll be making more at some point.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

August writers group

So after nearly 6 years running the writers group today was my last meeting.  (more on why next week.)
It's been a real privilege to run the group and I have been constantly amazed at the quality of the writing the members produce.  It's a lovely group and I am sad to be leaving.  Everyone is always so nice about each others writing, but don't think for a moment that we don't critique each others writing; That is after all half the point of the group.
It's been a bit of a struggle to fine someone to take on the group, but I think we're there now so hopefully the group will continue, although I'm sure that it will change too.

So here is the last homework that I will set.  I'm sorry I'll miss hearing what they come up with, I know it'll be nothing like what I could come up with myself.

Homework: Use this as the title of your story or poem: Mystery at the University of Surrey. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Happy birthday bear

It was 'im outdoors' grandmas birthday this week.  She's an amazing lady, and seeing as all mine have passed on, I've adopted her as my own.
She also has a passion for teddy bears; the spare bed at her house is covered with them (when there are visitors needing the sofa).
So I thought the perfect birthday present this year would be another addition to her collection, but this one is totally unique.

He's the same pattern as my first bear from HuggableBears, but in a fluffy wool, like the bunny, and I have to say I'm rather pleased with how he's turned out, and she seemed really chuffed too.

No name as yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

(NB: I can confirm that I was wrong - this bear is female and called Polly)

Saturday, 1 August 2015


For the last 10 years or so I've had a tropical fish tank.  It was a little 60l tank, which over the years had seen many different occupants, including shrimp, a reed fish, neons, snails, a ruby shark, siamese fighters, loach and a large plec called Trevor.
Sadly Trevor passed away while we were away at Christmas and we started to discuss if maybe this was the time to change.  Maybe finish with fish and get something else or go completely pet free, but as I thought about it I realised that I really like the fish.  They are relaxing to watch (better than TV) and there is always something happening in the tank.  So we decided to upgrade.
Over the first May bank holiday weekend we set up the new 200l tank.  This one has a canister filter and LED lighting, which I hope means we can keep a planted tank along with some slightly bigger fish.

A couple of months later and you can see the difference.  The plants have all filled in, all the old fish have been moved over and some new one's added.  So far so good - I hope we can keep this one going for another 10 years.