Thursday, 27 March 2008

Easter break

My general lack of blogging has been due to the Easter break - I decided to have a totally computer-free week! We had a great time at home in Leeds.

We spent several mornings in the garden, de-turfing and digging over the front garden, which is going to be my rose garden. I must admit that Eddy did all of the hard work - and while digging the soil over to loosen it (it's very clayey) he found enough rock to build a substantial rockery in the back garden - although hard work this is good, as it will save us a fortune - I have a friend who spent £100s on rocks for her rockery.... I did the fiddly, time consuming bits, like removing the last of the ivy from the wall, cutting back and thinning out the spireas next to the drive, and weeding (in one are I had to dig up muscari bulbs and pull the grass roots out from around them, it took ages to do a really small area. We're hoping to plant some roses in the areas we got dug over this coming weekend.

As it snowed on Friday and Saturday, we spent those mostly indoors - I did lots of Pooh and Friends Calendar. I finished the bottom row the week before Easter, and did most of the top row over Easter:

We also played Carcassonne a lot - Ed bought 2 expansion packs. I have to say that at present I can't quite figure out the 'princess and dragon' expansion, there's so much to consider all at once - and haven't managed to beat him with that expansion yet (grrr). Our friend Amy came over for food on Friday - we ate a Delia potato recepie (sliced and baked in the oven with onions, milk, rosemary and veggie stock), Greek courgette balls and artichokes and peas - all very tasty! Then on Saturday my cousin Elaine and her partner Richard joined us for a curry out, and stayed over night - clearly enjoying a dog and child free evening!

On Monday it was cold, so we stayed inside and played Carcasonne some more, and I did lots more stitching, doing most of the March block on the Pooh Calendar. Then on Tuesday we went to Matlock Bath for the afternoon - we went to the mining musem, which was great fun (although I resisted the temptation to crawl through the 'mine tunnels' in the museum, Eddy later suggested I may have got stuck in one of them - they were very small (and designed for children!?!)!!). I took him back to Nottingham, and we went out for pizza - all in all a very nice day out.

But now it's back to the grindstone, work wasn't too bad yesterday - I managed to get some research done for the first time in ages - but more people will be in today, so I doubt the quiet will last for long!

Mummy photo

I just thought I should add a photo of me and the mummy:

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Best day at work.... EVER!!

Yesterday I had a real treat - I helped some colleagues x-ray an Egyptian mummy!!!! I went to the Royal Armouries in Leeds, which has a huge x-ray machine that can handle large objects (my x-ray cabinet at work has a maximum object size of c. 40x50 cm).

I was there mostly to observe the process, but also to help work out the parameters for each x-ray - Dave at the museum usually x-rays metal objects, whereas I specialise in human bones. It was quite a challenge at first though, as I am used to x-raying single bones, not an entire body complete with preserved soft tissue and packing materials surrounded a beautifully arranged bandage. I was able to look at our x-rays to work out what features we could see - the skeleton was clearly a male, and a fairly young adult, probably in his 20s when he died.

I've never worked with mummified remains before, so being in the same room (without glass cabinets) was a real treat, and by the end of the afternoon I was helping move the mummy, and to help support it while we took x-rays from the side - this was using an very 'high-tech' combination of bubblewrap surrounded by acid free tissue paper, a pair of lab stools and blocks of special foam used by museum curators to package delicate objects! Despite working in archaeology for about 15 years I still get a thrill when I touch really old objects, and even though I had to wear gloves at all times, to protect the mummy, this was one of (if not THE) most exciting thing I've ever handled.

We worked until after 6pm, and I didn't leave to go home until after we had put the mummy back in it's crate ready for transportation back to the museum later this week. I'm still tired this morning, but I really wish I could skip work today and help x-ray the second mummy.... sadly I have to meet my students this morning, otherwise the University wouldn't see me for dust...

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Stitch 'n', well, you know

Last night we had our second ever stitch 'n' b****h with friends from work. For the first hour we did plenty of the latter over pizza, then we pulled out our crafts. There were only 3 of us, due to general illness, but we had a fun and productive evening.

I pulled out Pooh and Friends Calendar, and worked on the November block (this sounds like I'm almost there, but I started with May (although I have gone back and done April).

Here's a photo of my progress so far:

Pooh calendar 9

I enjoyed the Octover square most so far - it was beautiful colours, and was nice to stitch - not too compicated yet not so boring as the pooh squares when all you do is golden yellow and red!! This square only took me 3 days (Saturday to Monday).

Pooh calendar 11

Sonia was teaching Chrissie how to spin - it was fun watching her concentrate, get frustrated then suddenly it clicked and she was really happy. Once she'd dot a little wool spun on a drop spindle, she had a go on the spinning wheel. At this point I had a go with the fleece which Sonia and Chrissie had carded earlier that morning - I got the hang quite quickly, but had to learn how to join a broken thread really quickly!! It was fun, and my hands are lovely and soft after all that lanolin.

Hopefully we'll have another SnB next week, at mine. In the meantime, Sonia and Louise are coming over on Thursday to make lace, as our class isn't running this week. Hopefully I'll have another photo of Margaret to share at the end of the week.

Monday, 3 March 2008

March Goals

This is the first time I have put goals on my blog, so there aren't any Feb goals to review - but I finished Piglet bookmark and Above the Clouds, and worked on Asissi knotwork garden and Pooh and Friends calendar last month.

I have one main goal for March: to stitch as much as possible on Pooh and Friends calendar, in the hopes that I will finish it in the first week of April.
I'll also try and get the fabric for Fantasy Tryptich edged and on the frame, and if I get chance make a start on it.