The Shrinking Work Space

So, let’s share.

I like to have a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  Which is why the etui doll Ms Petui Buttonbottom came into being……..  Remember her?  She is a complete joy to me, everything I need is right there at my side, right when I need it

sdrMy working yarn is well organised.  All the relevant yarn, tools and patterns are stored in the large blue bag and the yarn being used is in the green bag, which feeds me up to three 200g balls at a timesdrMy tiny house is always tidy even though it is quite colourful – well, blue really – and no photo is complete without Siddy photo-bombing itimg_20180719_110510-effectsWhen I’m working in the kitchen, I clean up as I go.  There is never a pile of dishes waiting to be done.  When I get up the bedroom is left as good as a new one before I have first coffee.  I know it sounds awfully anal, but I’m a Virgo and I blame it all on that.  I also have an analytical mind even though I am, as many of you know, just a little on the whoopsie side……..  Doesn’t the mention of astrological sign prove that?  As further proof I offer my latest reading matter:

Image result for the placebo effect joe dispenzaI’m currently reading Dr Joe Dispenza’s   ‘You Are the Placebo’ and loving it.  I love him anyway.  He first arrived in my life about ten years ago and had a huge impact.  He is very important in educating us on how we can help heal ourselves, how we can change our thinking, how we can make our lives better – which many regard as more than a little whoopsie – but he is a scientist and brings his groundbreaking scientific research with him and that is what makes the difference for me.   (If you don’t know of him there are tons of You Tube videos you can use as an introduction, he has his own channel too).  He’s my personal hero.

But, I digress……..  Let’s get on with the point of this post.

I am so fortunate, these days I have a whole play-room, my happy place, a place where I make stuff for hours and days on end, all to myself.  My work room is well organised, but being a crafter one necessarily makes a mess when working.  Crafter’s have this thing going on where they start out with oodles of space to work in and by the time the project is finished they are working in ten square centimetres and even that is under attack

When I enter my room the desk looks like thissdr

A few hours later it looks like thissdrTim Holtz came up with his mixed media glass mat, supposed, amongst other things, to ensure that we have about 60 x 30 cm of unimpingeable working space.  It sounds great, and while I don’t know for sure as I don’t have one (if you have one, I’d like to hear your views) I have a feeling it wouldn’t stop me doing thisdavI’d just scooped up a pile of pens and pencils before taking that quick shot, I’m sorry you missed seeing the real chaos  🙂  I am working on the card in the bottom right hand corner, the piece of A4 scrap paper is the remaining available working area.  Try as I might, as the work proceeds the actual working space gets smaller and smaller and I have a plaintive thought – does everyone end up like this?

And this is just making a few cards people, painting is way worse!

So I clean up after every project and return to this once more, ready for the next foray into creativitysdrI do like to see it all clean and clear and  oh, so spacious – ready for the next creative outburst

So, how do you do it?   Do you have a dedicated space or do you work in a corner of the kitchen or living area?  Do you clean as you go or are you a happy chaos inhabitant?  Whether you are crafter, artist, writer, quilter, sewer, yarn worker, photographer, carver, or anyone else who makes something and works with tools and media, I’d love to know.  Let’s share…….

And I love that you came by today, thank you!

 

On Pavlova, Reading and Yet More Yarning ……

Okay, we’re starting with dessert today – click here to see what  Kelly has just posted about something I made last February when the ‘Blogging Babes’ got together – this was our first meal all together and the only one at my place and so of course I had to wade straight into the great Pavlova debate ………  You don’t know about the great Pavlova Debate?   Well, go on then, click here!  We’ll wait for you to come back.

That was quick – what did you think?  Did you notice where I dropped a peach slice bang into the middle of that Pav and completely ruined the entire presentation?  🙂   My friends were kind and pretended not to notice…..

Now, to reading:

My friend Derrick, he with the beautiful garden and the seemingly endless library including many older books, wrote of the book he had just finished reading and I made comment that I was going in search of it.  I found it to be out of print and Derrick generously sent on his copy to me.  I’ve read it.  Quite quickly, for even though the two stories are not particularly happy, the prose and style of the writer is such a joy to settle into I found myself reading longer than usual every evening.  He captures perfectly the sea-swept, barren lifestyle of the crofters of Orkney at the end of the 19th century.  The harsh terrain producing stoic and impenetrable peoples, their stories too reflect that terrain.  There’s a melancholia, an inevitability to the stories, but still I sometimes found myself shocked by the unfolding personal histories.davGeorge Mackay Brown’s book is two separate novellas.  Times are changing, the modern world is reaching the Orkneys, the expectations of the new generation include a wider world,  crofts are being deserted and falling into disrepair.  And yet we see how the people live on, battered by the storms of change, the actions of others and themselves – aware only of their own little world, their own hurts, their own expectations.  An accurate reflection of much of humanity in general perhaps.

George Mackay Brown writes so compellingly – there’s a poem at the end of the second story that wrings the heart.  If you can find his work anywhere I do recommend it.

From the sublime to the yarny stuff:davI’m making this, it’s maybe half finished now – it’s a prototype for an idea I have for a ‘mandala’ style wall hanging – a big one.    This one though, is simply table sized.  When finished it will be maybe 60cm diameter.   I’m not sure yet which way I will go.  Sandra  over at Wild Daffodil has been making them for her grandchildren and shared with me Lucy at Attic 24’s designs too.  So many choices!

This is where I’m up to.  It’s about 35 cm diameter and I’m half way through the pattern.  I don’t think the variegated cotton helps the pattern very much, what do you think?dav I’m still happily growing this keeping pace with Eleonora’s weekly design postings.  Even though the blanket is officially reaching ‘huge’ proportions, there seems to be loads of yarn left in my basket.  I’m loving thisdavHere’s Siddy visiting his second favourite person and her new cat.  George is a bit mean to Siddy (he runs at him with evil intent) and Siddy is trying really hard to be brave.  But he isn’t really – he’s a lover, not a fighter.sdrI’m having a tidy up in the craft room this week – yikes, it’s a mess!

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

Painting with Alcohol Inks and Acrylics

For those of you with your long term memory still intact, there may be a flicker of recognition if I show you thisbtrA  work that grew out of a sketch where I got quite brave and began to experiment with acrylic paints over alcohol inks.  I began by trying to manipulate the sky and eventually found my way forward enough to pronounce myself satisfied – or at least to the ‘let’s quit while I’m ahead’ stage.

The work progressed slowly because I had no idea what the result of mixing the two medias of ink and paint would be.  I had to give it all time to dry and cure before I went further.  It seems to be all okay – but the unknown is how long it will last.  It may scratch, the paper pieced pieces may lift – does glue work okay long term on alcohol based inks?  The inks themselves are given to fading in strong light and they make up the sky and the crone. So many questions and so few answers!  Anyway, it’s been sent off as a surprise gift and time will tell if it was a gift worth giving or a sow’s ear dressed up as a silk purse ……  🙂

Still, here it is photographed on a white tray which apparently reflects the colours quite well  who knew!!davSomething apart from the woolly kind of creations finally got finished.  There’s hope – there’s always hope  🙂

Right, back to the woolly stuff……

I love that you came by today, thank you!

Best Memoir I’ve Read This Year!!

The plastic bag sat in the parcel tray of my mailbox, the raining pouring down just millimetres away.  Once inside and dried off the package was opened revealing my copy of Geoff Le Pard’s much anticipated memoir ‘Apprenticed to My Mother’.

I flicked the book open, reading title, sub-title, flick again, copyright, published by….  flick, Introduction,  I begin reading this.  I read on.  Chapter one, chapter two, three, four.  The chapters are short, pithy, poignant, honest, vulnerable, loving.  Tears welled in my eyes but I am completely unable to stop reading, until I am interrupted first by the door bell and then the pets needs to be fed.  I tend to the interruptions quickly and return to reading until the gathering gloom of this wintery day’s mid-afternoon makes it too dark to see.

I attend to my life, but am keen to finish my day early and,as the rain continues to batter the ground, to take myself off to my cosy bed, book in hand and settle in for a couple or three uninterrupted hours.

Over the past year or two Geoff had posted little bits and pieces of this story on his blog and I felt quite familiar with much of what I was reading.  But still, the unfolding story ontinued to capture my attention.  Here is the mutual love story of two people.  She builds him up, she cares for his every need, ensures he feels like the man he aspires to be.  He writes her love poems.  They clash, they work it out, they raise two boys.  She ensures her boys will go out into the world more able to care for themselves than her husband ever could.

As Geoff tells us in the introduction, the book is necessarily also about his father.  It is about his parents relationship, but also about his relationship with them – separately and together.  It’s not detailed, it’s snippets that we pick up as the final years of his mother are told through their interactions.

It’s a peek into a way of life, a family that functions and revolves around the mother.  A real person, a woman who loves, who cares, who rules with a fist of iron,  A woman who, having put herself second all her married life, on becoming a widow firmly and sweetly gets life the way she wants it after all.

It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s tender and kind and heart-wrenchingly honest at times.

I laughed, smiled, and blinked away tears as I made my way through this memoir.

As someone who grew up outside of a functioning family it was a healing balm and quite honestly I loved it,  I hope you might too.

*Here’s a link to the Amazon kindle copy

**Here’s a link to Geoff’s blog

Still June!

Oh, lookit me go!  It’s still June and here is my second post for the month  🙂

I celebrated the winter solstice by finishing two handcraft projects and thought I’d share them before the newest projects take over my attention fully.

First here, please admire the gorgeous Persian Tiles blanket being pressed for the last time by the equally gorgeous Orlando – still convinced I’m trying to steal his soul with that damned camera…..davThe colours are pretty accurate in the above photo – aren’t they fabulous!  The yarn is wonderful it’s Corriedale Wool purchased from The Wool Company which is based in Taihape New Zealand, but has a global reach.  My friend Jan from The Snail of Happiness  arranged a wonderful surprise for me back in February and it has all gone wonderfully smoothly – all I had to do was choose the colours and follow the pattern.  davThe colours are a little washed out in the second photo, but you can see the texture and the pattern.  The edging needs to be blocked to finish the thing properly, but that won’t happen until the weather warms up a little.

And now, let me introduce you to Miss Petui ButtonbottomsdrHer name grew organically as I read your various comments and proposals and suggestions in the previous post.   Karen said she needed to be a Miss and I agreed; Val said Petunia and Norah mentioned the same name, but was more connected to the ‘P’ for Pauline and et tu (you too) which she had jumped to from ‘etui’  I liked the idea, but in the end decided to stay with ‘etui’.  So you can pronounce it Pet-you-ee or Petwee as you please.  Her last name grew from Geoff’s suggestion of ‘Leadbottom’ which made me laugh, but you will see soon why I changed it a little.  (Sometimes it’s obvious even to me that I have way too many hours to wonder around in LaLaLand!)

Miss Petui stands just on 50 cm (15″) tall and her many pockets hold all kinds of toolsdavHere I can find pen, pencil, awl, ruler, thimble, measuring tape, needles of various sizes and sharpnesses, two pairs of scissors, quick-unpick, long vision specs and cleaning cloth, a variety of stitch markers, a reel of thread, a row counter and a small magnifying glass.davHer head scarf holds pins and unseen is a large amount of blocking pins hidden in her hair.  She wears my reading specs, always ready to do a bit of stitching, hooking or sewing repairs.

Have you wondered yet how she stands up so steadily?  Miss Petui has, hidden beneath her long dress and busy apron, a container of buttons.  I found a bottle of the right height very early in her creation and worked to its specifications.  The bottle is now filled with a selection of small buttons which keeps them to hand and gives her stability and weight.  I tried to get a photo but found it almost impossible now she is finished – not to mention somewhat invasive of her privacy!  You will just have to believe me, she really is ‘Miss Buttonbottom’.

You’d think that would be it wouldn’t you – after creating my very own etui doll from scratch with no pattern and only stashed materials.  But the minute she was pronounced ‘done’ I found myself with a tiny hook and some chocolate brown yarn making another lot of rounds, growing another head – much smaller, much neater – but definitely a head……  I have no clue what this will be, but I’ll keep you posted…… Maybe…..

Here’s  a cute shot of Siddy, just so he’s not left outReady to go home March 9

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

 

June Creations

While I think and muse and potter and walk and create and just be, time keeps on flowing by and my mind turns to the fact that soon – soon – we will be at the mid winter mark of the longest night and the light will begin to return my way.

I always miss the light the most when I am in winter.  I don’t mind the cold, the wet, the sleet even.  I mind the shortness of the days at both ends and I miss the feel of sunlight on my face.  I don’t miss the heat.  I quite like not having the energy sapping, robust glint of hot summer days.  But I miss the hours the sun stays in the sky.  Soon I tell myself, the season will peak, the world will turn and the sun will start to move back towards my hemisphere.   I walked in mist this morning thinking these thoughts of waiting.  And, as we exited the park and looked up to the hill ahead, the sun glinted off the windows of houses through the mist and made me a most delightful fairy tale castle of sparkling light to guide me on and make my waiting happy.  Later, at home, I realised that only in this season can such a wonderfully serendipitous meeting of mist and light occur at 9 am.  I appreciate the reminder to be okay with where I’m at!

But still I wait, and while I wait I hook.  My Persian Squares blanket is close to being finished.  Orlando has helped, oh such a lot!

davHe pretty much ensured every component of the blanket was pressed, whether I desired it to be or not.

 

As I write this one half of the blanket is draped over the back of a dining chair

btrIt ought to be finished but I got sidetracked.

I made this

dav

Now, here’s the story that goes with ‘this’.  Do you want to hear it?  (Err, come back – that was a rhetorical question folks!)

Back in the days when I was still intermittently going onto Facebook, I logged in and the first thing I saw was a picture of a crochet etui doll.  At the same moment that I was falling in love with it, facebook did that thing it does and updated my feed in a tumbling rush of alternate posts and I lost her.  I searched, wasted an hour of my life and didn’t ever see her again.  Maybe that was the moment when I decided to quit social media (except for blogging).  Any how, I searched around and had myriad conversations, but never found another etui doll.  Maybe they aren’t called that any way – but I don’t know what else to call them.  Then, one day, when searching through my stash of yarns for something else I found a bit of brown that said to me ‘I make doll!’  “Okay!” said I and gathered it up and off we went to Happy Hooking Land.

Now I have never made a crochet doll before, I have no clue how to make one.  But undaunted I set to with hook and yarn and made a head, the rest just followed along.  I also kept no notes of what I was doing, so now have no clue how I got from the first stitch to the last.  But I do know what I’d do differently.

I also took no photos until I got to the final stage of face features placement.  As you can see from that photo I used pearl headed pins to get an idea of placement and size – and grabbed the camera.  I had my reading glasses on and when looking for a place to put them down, realised she was, among her many other talents, the perfect specs holder!

dav

I’m just the teeniest bit in love with her

 

As you can see from the pockets close-ups she holds all things sewing and hooking related.  There is more to come and her face to be finished – and a name to be given of course – any ideas?  But this has to be the most fun thing I have made in forever!

So that is why the blanket hasn’t yet been finished.  Nor this – which insists on photographing brighter and lighter than reality, but gives you an idea that at least some progress has been made…….

davFinally, here’s Siddy in his posh winter gear to say “Hello!” or “Grrrrruff!” to you all, just in case you need that kind of puppy cheerfulness in your life…..

btr

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

May

Hello my friend, apparently this is my post for May.  I didn’t intend it to be this way, but then how often does what we plan to do end up being being what we actually do?  One of my favourite quotes comes courtesy of John Lennon  ‘Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans’  and those who know me well will often have heard that little gem escape my mouth.  Usually accompanied by a sigh or maybe a rueful grin…..

I’m taking time off social media.  Blogging is the only platform you will see me on for a while – I can’t give up blogging!  But being off all those other platforms has allowed me to refocus and, when I discovered there were at least three hours in every day that I didn’t know were there, I decided to stay off.

Three hours a day means I can get a lot more done.  The Persian Tiles blanket is growing.   Thanks very much says Mr Orlando as he nestles down on a stacked pile of completed tilesdavSusanne ordered some cards and I happily made her half a dozen ‘Trois Dames’edfI went back to playing with alcohol inks and ended up adding acrylics over one of them to see what happened davNothing went awry, so, emboldened, I kept playing – now I tried to see what would happen if I added blending solution to a brush and swept it across the inky coloured skybtrWell that was interesting!  Obviously a very light touch and brush-on-paper-always technique is required.  More work is currently being undertaken  🙂

I had already begun work on creating a Wise Woman, a crone, a witch….

The initial thoughts went into my sketch bookdavAnd then I sketched her onto 300gsm watercolour paper making sure she was the right size and that the pen I used wouldn’t bleed with alcohol inks.davI then coloured her and cut her out.  And finally tried her out on the backgroundbtrThere’s a lot of work still to be done – but can you see where this is going?

So, in need of a rest from trying to manipulate alcohol ink, I made cards with some of the remaining inkies, cutting up the paper into smaller bits and taking my inspiration from something I stumbled across, and paid attention to, on one of my random YouTube playing lists.  I was quite pleased…… btrThe Seaside Stash Busting blanket is making progress – I really like it and now and then add in an extra row or two just because I can……btrThis is how I crochet in the evenings – I quite often let You Tube play a random selection of videos while I’m working, they often choose to show me animals and Siddy always sits up and takes notice, much to the consternation of Orlando and myself who must consequently adjust our positions to accommodate any excitement or anxiety shown on behalf of the filmed animals……dav It’s turning cold here now.  Night falls early and morning arrives later.  The heating is on and morning walks take longer to get ready for.  Boots, coat, scarf, gloves, hat.  Puppy.  And off we go!   No longer prepared to sit in the front garden and await our return, Orlando watches from the kitchen window.  Lucky kitty!!

So, what are you up to in May, are you in need of finding more time?

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!