You’ll find me on Instagram as @tinyotterpaws. Or click here if you are on a clever phone. Join in if you like, it’s fun to see what everyone gets up to. If you do, or just want to see what we are doing, then check out the #IGdayinthelife hash tag.
Have you seen Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt yet? I really loved it. It’s on Netflix, give it a go.
A few catchphrases from the show caught my attention, and I decided to make a free cross stitch chart from one of them for you. I know, I’m too good to you. Let’s hear it for breakfast!
If you feel inspired to cross stitch this one, you can clickez here – LetsHearItForBreakfastChart.
I’ve also finally fixed the problem of the disappearing free cross stitch charts and put them all on a static page together – you’ll find all my free cross stitch charts here. There’s also a link at the top of the page here, if you’re not viewing on a reader.Apologies to anyone who has recently tried to download a chart and not received the chart!
I made some badges for some pals who also loved the show and added a few sets to the shop. I was so chuffed when Netflix instagramed them, look!
Yay! If you’d like your own set, you’ll find them here.
I did the Blog Every Day In May challenge last time around (or was it two times ago? I can’t remember) and quite enjoyed it, so I signed up again this year. Of course, I’ve had a pretty busy week since I decided to do so, so haven’t gotten round to even starting it until now. So I’m blogging retrospectively every day in May for a bit.
The first set topic is to introduce yourself, so for anyone who hasn’t been reading this for years, firstly, you’ve really missed out (ho ho, not) and secondly, here’s some fascinating facts you might not know about me already.
1. My day job is in television – it sounds exciting but it’s really not anything than a relentless endurance test of the soul, mind and body. I work in Access Services which is providing subtitles, audio description and sign language translation for most of the UK’s broadcasting companies (everything except ITV and Channel 5, basically). I used to be a live and pre-recorded subtitler but I’m now a duty manager, planning who does what and then making sure it all happens. It’s all the stress of live television but none of the glamour.It’s long hours, stressful at times but you do get to watch a lot of telly. Sometimes, I remember that we’re providing a magical service to some people who would be lost without it and that makes me happy. I’m really great in a crisis though, as a result of my job. It’s the one thing I can blow my own trumpet about without cringing – bring me a problem and I can think of 5 ways to creatively tackle it quickly. It’s why I think I am pretty awesome at my job.
2. I’ve been running my own business for over 10 years. Some aspects of it I really like, some I don’t. Some days, I have an overwhelming urge to pack it all in and never think of it again and others I want to drop everything and immerse myself in it. Lately, I’ve been enjoying not worrying much about it and taking time to create things for myself or friends. It’s made me remember that it can be fun and relaxing to cross stitch!
3. After vowing never to buy another house, I recently did. Other things I’ve vowed never to do include: get married (11 years this year), sell on Etsy again (considering a return for the VATMOSS headache for my patterns), go in a hot air balloon (so far, so good).
4. My brother lives in Siberia. I was hoping that he’d blog/instagram more when he moved there, but so far, all he’s done is talk about the weather and ask us to post him gravy granules. It’s not as cold as you’d think it is there but it is apparently a lot harder to make a stew than you’d guess.
5. My husband and my dog are both Welsh. I’m outnumbered by Welsh males in our house. We sort of rescued our dog, Max. He was taken in by a 93 year-old lady in the Lake District after his original owners had to give him up the day they were moving house. He’s a big Labrador, and quite active, so he soon proved too much for even a sprightly almost-centenarian. We were starting to think about getting a puppy when my friend Sarah suggested that we drive down and meet Max. We agreed, on the understanding that we were not taking him home with us that day. A few hours later, we were driving back with him in the back because he was just adorable. He’s really a massive part of the family and I can’t imagine life without him. I’m forever grateful to Sarah’s parents living next door to the old lady who took him in.
6. I really like giving things to people, gifts, unwanted possessions, etc. I am always the one who brings cakes into work. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I am forever giving things away. I just like making people happy in small ways.The joy of gift-giving is something I’ll never tire of. I like helping people find great gifts for people that are really well-suited to them.
7. I really like driving. I only passed my test a few years ago, later in life, and since then, I’ve become quite a confident driver. However, the past month or so, I’ve had a string of incidents where I’ve been completely abiding by the rules of the road and other drivers (all male, all white BMW/Audi/van drivers) have cut me up and then verbally abused me rather rigorously, which has knocked my confidence a bit. I’ve started driving different routes to work to mix it up a bit, but it’s really stuck with me and I hope my stupid brain lets me forget it soon or it will be sad that I’ve let them fuck my mojo up.
8. I do all my best thinking in water. I can spend hours in the bath, or in a pool, and a lot of my best ideas have come from wallowing in water. I’d love to swim more but I don’t often get the time. I’m a Pisces, of course.
9. I’d love to live in America one day. My family in Cincinnati really want us to go out there, too, but we’ve been unable to secure jobs/visas so far. I firmly believe that it will happen one day though. Until then, we’ll just make do with frequent trips there. Next time, I might even pluck up the courage to try driving on the wrong side of the road.
10. I really like horses. I enjoy a trip to the baseball. I love the beach. I’m addicted to Coca Cola. I lived in Thailand for a bit a few years back. I have an irrational hatred of lollipop ladies. I could happily eat soup for breakfast and toast for dinner. I’m a bit addicted to Netflix, too.I don’t eat fish or seafood of any kind because ewww, it’s been in the sea and I’ve peed in there. I just want everyone to get along and have a quiet life, really.
It’s been a long time in the planning, but today is the day to introduce Plant Flair to the world! They’re something I’ve had in my mind for ages and now they are finally real and ready to go.
The little tags are laser-cut from birch wood and I think they are perfect for adding to a plant to give as a gift – just stick the tag in the soil, and away you go. The tags also come mounted on a lightweight notecard with matching stylish envelope, so it’s easy to post as a fun message, too (at large letter rate, fact fans).
The cards are A6 size, and the tags are approximately 10cm from top to tip and are mounted on the notelets with a little glue dot that’s easy to remove.The envelopes are really snazzy – lined in the same green as the card with a self-seal closure. Stylish!
These here tags are not suitable for children due to their dinky size and sharp point – please handle them with care. You could even use them on a cupcake or something – particularly the happy birthday one – cute! I’ll probably have them done in acrylic at some point to make them more suitable for food use.
I’m super-pleased with how these turned out! And am so pleased they are finally here! You can find them on my Not On The High Street shop now, priced at £3.95. I’m also thinking of adding a slightly cheaper loose, un-mounted option too. And I am delighted to say that they are selling already!
I’m also somewhat chuffed that they have caught the eye over on Instagram of the founder and president of NOTHS, Holly Tucker – she loves them! High praise indeed! That made my 4.30am alarm call today a bit more palatable. Hoorah!
I couldn’t bring myself to write about my dream job for today’s BEDM, as it would only highlight to me that I should really have stuck in at school and not got sidetracked by firstly, ponies and secondly, going out and getting drunk and listening to great music. I would have been a vet if I had stuck at it. I’ve written a bit recently about how I believe you can still have a successful career without a degree, so I think I got that topic covered.
Instead, let’s talk about fridge magnets. Oh, yes, this blog is nothing if not diverse and wide-ranging in the topics it covers. Lee and I have tons of fridge magnets. Every time we go somewhere, we buy one, the tackier, the better. We probably have over 50. At the moment, in the house of horrors, they are all in the garage, hidden away, as the fridge in the kitchen is integrated behind a cupboard door. But when we move, I look forwards to seeing them daily and reminiscing.
Anyway, for my birthday this year, along with other awesome things, my good friend Marceline gave me a Stickygram gift voucher, good for a whole sheet of magnets made up from images from my Instagram feed. This is an ingenious idea and I am only sorry I didn’t think of it first. The service was super-easy to use and the best bit about the ordering process was that there was none of that “oh, give us your credit card details even though you have a voucher” and I managed to check out in about 5 minutes from start to finish.
What else would I have chosen but a sheet of Max magnets? Max-nets! I got one of Pumpkin too, for my friend Sarah, as it’s such a cute photo. A Stickygram voucher or indeed a sheet of magnets would make such an awesome gift to commemorate a special day or holiday – I am already thinking of who I can give these to for Christmas (oh, yes, I went there with the C-word).
This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way. I just really liked them.
I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.
We were in America last month, visiting family, shopping, touring around Tennessee and generally having a whale of a time. I always love the food in America, the land where anything can be deep fried and served in a bun (and I say that in admiration, as a Scottish person).
We ate so many amazing things and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably have been licking your screen for the whole time we were away, as I posted loads of food porn photos.
Here’s a selection of our eats from our trip:
Mmm, breakfast burrito from the hotel on the day we left – so good.
Massive big ice cream sundae from Graeters in Cincinnati – an ice cream institution! It’s a must-have on every trip. This had cookie dough and some other gooey delights in it.
Corned beef sandwich and potato pancake at Izzy’s, Cincinnati. A Man V Food restaurant! But we didn’t take the challenge.
Skyline chili with just a little bit of cheese! Cincinnati chili goes back to the 1940s and is a special recipe with cinnamon and other stuff in it that’s unusual. It’s served over spaghetti with a massive handful of cheese on top for a 3-way. Add onions and/or beans for a 4- or 5-way. I like the 4-way with onions, easy on the cheese.
Oh, Cheesecake Factory, I love you but my thighs do not. Cookie dough cheesecake – OH YEAH.
Breakfast at the Loveless Cafe, Nashville. Oh, MY. The biscuits (scones to you and I) are like little clouds, I think I ate about 87 of them. And that thing in the pot is hash brown casserole. I’m drooling. I think I need to come back and write about Loveless a bit more at some point.
Basically, if you haven’t had a Five Guys burger, you lose at life. They are, quite simply, the best burgers, ever.
Aww, MAN. The barbecue we had in Pigeon Forge, TN will go down in Brown family history. LEGENDARY. Also we stayed in a Christmas-themed hotel there and ate ice cream in the hot tub by the Christmas tree, but that’s a story for another day. As is the tale of our best meal in Cincinnati. Now I have to go find breakfast. Pronto.
I’m blogging every day in May as part of BEDM. Find out more here.