New Year’s Resolutions

Yeah I know, they’re a bit tragic but I’m doing it anyway.

  1. Read at least 34 books this year.  Easy peasy, I’m on Goodreads so I’ve set myself a reading challenge.  Click here to see how I’m doing.  Right now I’m doing fantastically well, I have read no books yet this year and I’m apparently bang on target.
  2. Lose 20kgs.  Thought I’d chuck in the traditional fat bum challenge.  Though my bum isn’t actually that fat I have spotted a bit of thigh bulge today that has to be got rid of immediately if not sooner.  Then once I’ve lost 20kgs I’ll still want to lose another 10.  Then perhaps another 5.  We’ll see. I work for a law firm and the cakeage is immense and I loathe exercising so this one is a bit challenging. I also hate exercise clothes and seriously object to any heel lower than a kitten heel.  Keep thinking about taking up running but I also very much dislike outdoorsiness. And running.
  3. Do more embroidery.  I very rarely sew. Its the one thing I absolutely love doing and yet I hardly ever do it because I used to hand sew for a living and now I don’t and it may sound pathetic but its quite emotional for me and I’m a bit frightened I’ve lost all my skills. So much as I’ve amassed a huge quantity of yarn and patterns and stuff I’m going to scale back the knitting and crochet (except for snoods and Gin Poodles of course) and get back into embroidery.  I had a small test piece framed a few years ago and the framers asked me if I’d like to make more for them to sell.  So I might not be a complete ham-fisted duffer.
  4. Stop buying mass-produced junk.  You know that ‘make it, don’t buy it’ idea floating around at Christmas? Well I’m going to stop buying things from major chains and only buy handmade wherever possible.  I’ve had my last clothes shopping spree in 2016 so from now on I’m going to make my own clothes, at least they’ll fit properly and I won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same thing. I can try out embroidery on my own cuffs and that too can’t I? I’ve got a sewing machine up in the loft and I expect that is where it will stay because I don’t really like sewing machines.  Hand made clothes last longer because they’re better and every stitch is beautiful. I’m not expecting anyone else to agree or even see the simple beauty of a white cotton tacking stitch or go into ecstasy over a button hole, but your loss and all that.
  5. New Etsy shop. Once I’ve got my fingers back to being able to pick up with a needle a single thread in any fabric without looking I’ll be able to produce work worth selling. These are not going to sit well with super kitsch knitted poodle bottle cosies or even lovely vintage style hair accessories so they’ll need their own space.

Five resolutions are enough.

6. Oh but hang on. Food. Must stop eating things that make me ill, like fried things, fatty things, dairy, and eggs.  A doctor told me years ago that the odd sensation of my throat going all thick and gagging for hours after eating isn’t really normal and should be avoided. Spose he might have a point.

7. Bugger it I’ve thought of another.  I have a half brother somewhere.  Not even sure what his name is but I should find him in case he’s the head of membership of a major ballet company or something and can get me a hefty discount.

 

Pesky rip-off merchants

Here’s one for the designer-makers. Let me tell you a story I’m sure you’ll find familiar.

Once upon a time a creative person driven to the end of their tether by working in dullsville hits on the idea of selling things they’ve made online. The D-M has a marvellous time designing and making gorgeous things and would you believe it, people buy them. The feedback is all fabulous, it makes the D-M’s heart sing every time a sale comes through. If it’s all sounding a bit fairytale take heart that it’s not bringing in enough money to give up dullsville but it makes the D-M very happy and the second income comes in useful even if the tax return stuff is a bit scary.

Things go on like this for a few years and sometimes you sell to other D-Ms. Lovely to have the recognition of your peers and all that. Then you realise one of the other DMs you’ve sold to has miraculously started selling the same item as you, and you realise they bought your item purely to rip it off. Marvellous.  Its quite annoying but as you’re pretty small fry there isn’t really anything you can do about it, legal fees being what they are.

Then it happens again, and its starting to rankle.  You’ve put in all the effort and they’ve sat there watching your good reviews stack up and just thought ‘I’ll have some of that’. I’ve had it done to me in more than one country too.

You know the type, they’ve got some skill, they’ve learned some techniques but they have not one ounce of creativity.  Fine to be an assembler of products if that’s your thing, and its fine to resell but don’t make my thing your shoddy thing.  I can’t do anything constructive about it but I can stick pins up your nose.  Well, I can’t do that either but I can make a pig-faced voodoo doll pincushion and stick pins in that, and that will have to do.  You know what? It does make you feel better. You might not be able to kick the ugly sister out of your patch or turn them into a pumpkin but take heart in the daydream that you’re giving them nosebleeds.

So my latest item will be a voodoo pincushion called She’s No Good, aimed at designer-makers who have been ripped off by talentless trolls. I’ll even start you off with a few pins.

I did have an item ready to go but someone complained that it looked like someone they knew which was unfortunate as I’d drawn a smelly pig-snouted hag (with friends like that…) so I’m currently working on a new version of a smelly looking pig-snouted hag…

Things overheard

This is a conversation someone had at me a couple of weeks ago:

Her: You know he has his own theeaytur company don’t you?

Me: No. [cringing at theeaytur for theatre]

Her: Oh yeah he’s always on at me to audition for it.

Me: Oh right.

Her: Oh yes he’s put on a lot of musical productions, he’s really into The Arts. You know the Steps?

Me: Ummm…? [does she mean 39 Steps?]

Her: You know that band Steps’ film?

Me: No.

Her: [as if I’d emphatically agreed] He was in that, in the backing, you know background for the um, man. You know the man in Steps? Him.

Me: He’s not into art really then?

Her: I’ll show you some pictures later.

 

Discipline in crafting

What do all us crafters have in common? I suspect most of us are doing this anyway, I have literally 54 projects on the go, I’ve counted them and it was a bit of a shocker, its why I never get anything done.

I’ve decided a bit of discipline is needed so I’ve been finishing things one project at a time.  No really, I have. Instead of doing whatever takes my fancy I’ve actually seen things through to the end, including sewing up and pressing.  The only bit I’ve failed at is photographing and listing the finished items.

So just in the last fortnight I’ve finished making a baby cardigan, a 50’s style knitted hat, I’ve crocheted a collar and today finished beading a bracelet.  I’m really impressed with my self-control.  While I’m blowing my own trumpet I’m going to throw in the fact that I’ve completely cleared all the ironing. It was hours and hours of work but I got it in before the energy company price hikes at least.

I made a list of all the projects I’ve yet to finish and as I finish the ones I enjoy the rejoin the list again at the bottom. Some things are just getting crossed off – like Dorset buttons.  I made a few but decided I didn’t like them so I’m giving up on Dorset buttons.

Next on the list is ‘drawing’ this isn’t really something you can complete though is it?  I put it on the list because I have lots of embroidery plans but its no good having ideas in your head, you have to get them on paper before you can get them on linen and I have limited skills with a pencil.  Its something you need to practice regularly isn’t it, like flexing a muscle.  I’m not going to be able to make a start on my embroidery ambitions until I can brush up my drawing skills.

My poor handbag now has another item to lug around and goodness knows there’s enough stuff being carted around in there every day as it is but I think I probably need to draw or at least doodle something every day to get on track. So to add to the notebook I carry in case I have a good idea about something now I have a little sketch pad. I really want to pick up a needle and all those gorgeous de Havilland embroidery threads I bought at last year’s Knitting and Stitching Show and get going, but I want to create something special, a high quality individual piece and if I don’t do the ground work I won’t achieve that will I?

If he turned back

I don’t know about you, but I like a secret. Nothing dramatic, just a little something just for me.  Silly things that I wouldn’t care if anyone found out about but the fact of doing them sneakily makes them fun.

Mostly I do this stuff when my boyfriend goes out. He’s really easy going, its not like he would mind me doing any of this stuff, its all harmless anyway.

So here are my favourite things that he would catch me doing if he turned back:

1. Chocolate biscuits and black coffee.  Just a couple but they taste even better on the sly.

2. Plucking. I’m a demon with the tweezers, someone should really take them off me.

3. My roots, again STEP AWAY FROM THE DYE TANIS. I should just go to the hairdresser and get it done properly but the thrill of gambling with ending up looking like the incredible hulk is slightly addictive.

4. QVC – the soundtrack to my life.

5. Watching old black and white films. I love the glamour and the stories are so much better. Not so keen on colour and I never watch old films that don’t have women in because its the clothes, hair and make-up I’m really interested in.

6. Playing Bingo Blitz on Facebook. I am a secret grannie.

7. Ironing, I know its weird but I quite like ironing, its the smell mainly but also I like to do it when I’m alone so no-one can tell me not to bother ironing pants.

goodbye train slobs

This week is my final week (fingers crossed) of commuting by train because I get my car on Saturday.

 

Knowing I’m not going to have to put up with them for much longer is making putting up with the slobs that sniff and hawk, the swines that try to dig their elbows into you, the cowards that try to take up all the space so you have to sit like a contortionist and the filthy gogs that put their dirty shoes on the seats even harder to bear. I’m dying to tell them what I think but I don’t really want to get stabbed….

 

I’m also wishing I could rescue the nice people, there are two really nice girls that do the same journey as me, if I didn’t hate company so much I’d offer them a lift in with me as from next week. I’m sure they’ll be alright. tempted to give them each a card in case of train delay emergencies though!

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Writer’s Block: It’s the first day of winter

I cannot say I love winter, if the fateful day ever comes that I scoop a massive lottery win, the top item on my list of things to do is 'Never see winter again'. 

Having said that, summer though lovely is a wardrobe nightmare for me as I don't suit short sleeved things or floaty things so winter is my third-best opportunity to be dressed for the season – spring and autumn are my best bets – I like boots, cardigans, big snuggly scarves and all manner of hats are very dear to me. 

I very much like having the heating on and being all toasty indoors, I have grown into being very much a stay at home woman in stark contrast to my youth when all I ever seemed to do was either go out, plan a night out or get ready to go out. 

But best of all, surely, and the only thing that keeps you going when its grim outside is….. Baileys. Mmm-mmmn. Actually I don't have any in. Excuse me.