Self-drafted shirt version 2.0

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Full view of shirt as worn

I remember learning at University about the intricate mechanisms involved in embryonic development. So many processes have to happen at just the right time, in just the right order, and in just the right amount to produce — for example — five separate digits on the end of the hand that it amazed me that any of us are born with the ‘standard’ body plan at all. Since I started fitting patterns, and more recently drafting patterns myself from scratch, I’ve been experiencing the same kind of wonderment: how did I ever buy anything ready made that even vaguely fitted me, when there are so many variables to account for?

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Fujifilm X100T

Fujifilm X100T

It started while we were on holiday in Norfolk earlier in the year. Mr. Bsag had just got a (new to him) camera on eBay (an Olympus OM-D), and was trying it out as we wandered around enjoying the sun. I was using my Sony RX100, which I love, but in the bright sunshine, I couldn’t see what I was framing. The screen is quite good, but in bright sunlight you are basically holding the camera up, pointing it in what you hope is vaguely the right direction, and pressing the shutter. It is very hit and miss. Mr. Bsag’s Olympus had a viewfinder, and he passed it over for me to try. And oh, I had forgotten just how much I love pressing my eye up against that tiny window and looking out at the world through it. It’s not just that you can actually see what you’re doing at when it’s sunny, but — to me at least — it is a much more direct experience. That tiny window on the world is all that you can see, but that makes what you want to capture much more obvious.

And that was it, really. While I still love the Sony for its impossibly tiny size, I really wanted to get a camera with a viewfinder again, and peer out of that little window on the world. After a lot of weighing up of pros and cons, I settled on a Fujifilm X100T, and managed to find a used, but good quality one with a lot of extras on eBay.

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Carolyn pyjamas

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Carolyn pyjamas

My latest sewing project has been a lot of fun: Carolyn pyjamas. I’m normally a t-shirt and jersey pyjama trousers kind of person, but I was taken with this pattern for ‘posh pyjamas’. I bought the pattern, and then around my birthday, I made a special visit to John Lewis to get some fabric befitting of such fancy night attire.

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Bullfinch socks

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Bullfinch Socks

I’ve knitted my first pair of socks. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. I hadn’t knitted for ages, and was so rusty that I actually had to look up how to do knit and purl stitches. So why did I suddenly embark on knitting socks? The short answer is that I fell in love with some yarn.

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Replacing TextExpander with Keyboard Maestro

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If you use TextExpander at all, or follow people who do on App.net or Twitter, you will have noted that there was something of a kerfuffle after Smile (who make TextExpander) announced that they were changing to a subscription model (and thereby increasing the price of using the software substantially). I won’t go into all the arguments (you can read a round up of various opinions collected by Michael Tsai here). Smile have since altered their position, providing a much reduced lifetime subscription cost for current TextExpander customers, and promising to maintain the current version 5 for those who preferred its features to those of the new version. I’m not a great fan of subscriptions, except for more conventional services (like Dropbox and so on) where it makes more sense, so by this point, I had already looked around for an alternative and switched. I was reminded that I already own and run plenty of applications that provide snippet expansion as one of their features: LaunchBar, Alfred, Dash, Keyboard Maestro, and it is even built into the operating system in El Capitan. After a bit of thinking, I went with Keyboard Maestro and have been very happy with the switch.

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Natural sounds

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We’ve just got back from a week’s holiday in North Norfolk (I’ve posted a few photos here). In recent years, we’ve taken to renting a cottage in Blakeney, which is a bit unadventurous, but it has exactly what we need: the sea, huge skies, open spaces, and best of all, quiet. I think quietness is what we both crave most from a holiday destination, and it is the thing which is most difficult to find at home. We’re not looking for silence (that would be creepy — particularly in Norfolk if you’ve watched a lot of MR James adaptations!), but a predominance of natural sounds, particularly bird song.

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Agent Carter

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We don’t subscribe to any cable or satellite TV channels (though we do have a LoveFilm subscription for films on DVD1), as we generally find that there’s more than enough material that we want to watch on the terrestrial TV channels. Just occasionally, however, a series that we want to watch is shown on a channel that we don’t have access to, and we buy the series on iTunes. I’ve done this for the two series of Agent Carter, and I am hooked.


  1. I know — how quaint!

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Dual cat alarm

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Regular readers will know that I sometimes write reviews of various kinds on this blog, particularly reviewing new technology. Today, I would like to review the Dual Cat Alarm (or DCA), which I seem to have acquired. I don’t remember actually wanting such a thing, but apparently I have one, whether I want it or not. Readers who also find themselves in possession of a DCA may be interested in my finding regardings the settings. Let’s face it, if you have a DCA, you will be chronically sleep deprived and — most likely — unable to stay awake long enough to read to the end of this review, so I’ll give you the short version now: the settings do not work.

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