642 Things…

On Saturday I was having a bored wander around my local shopping centre, I’m not keen on shopping centres, I’m much more of a markets sort of person but there are no markets where I live or nearby not decent ones anyway after you’ve been spoilt on the markets of London.  Anyway, Cargo is closing down, I’m not sure if all the Cargo shops are closing but the ones near me most definitely are and they are selling off literally everything from sofas to till rolls.  I’ve been buying up odds and ends of Point of Sale items  dirt cheap to use at craft fairs and have so far managed to resist buying up discounted bedding (one of my shopping weak spots) when what I really need is a new saucepan.

So to look for a heavily discounted medium sized saucepan in an ice cream shade, naturally I start with books and notepads. I love a notepad, I have tons of them dotted around, most of them empty of anything but vague good intentions.  I’m just talking myself out of buying a lovely little blue and white striped feller with something trite in French on the front when I spot a nice weighty looking pad called 642 Things to Write About.  20% off. Anyway turns out this is a like a writer’s unblocker, a sort of writing plunger thing.  I leaf through it and its got all these great prompts like ‘Choose how you will die.’ or more cheerfuly ‘The greatness of sandwiches’.  Now what sort of brilliant idea is that for someone who neglects their blog?  Its a lovely thing too.  So I didn’t buy it.

I left the shop and dawdled home thinking that I should have bought it.  It was the last one too.  When I got home I thought some more about going back to buy it but I’m a lazy mare so I didn’t.  Sunday I checked the price on Amazon, the Cargo one was a good price, but its Easter Sunday so all the shops are closed except the Coop so I went and bought some brocolli, greekish yoghurt and a Bounty there.

I promised myself that if that last book was still there today I’d buy it and it would transform my blogging life to something more inspired than going on about my knitting. So off I trotted again today with my hair all wrong and wearing summer clothes for Storm Kate with a parka, looking like a parakeet on benefits to see if it was still there. And there it was there.  So I bought it. £6-odd! Should be £11.99 so that’s better than I could have got it from Amazon and its in my hand already.

So next time I let you know how I’m getting on with knitting poodles I will also be able to share with you my valuable thoughts on sandwiches.  There’s progress for you.

Unravel – photography workshop booked!

Why do all the craft festivals come at once in the south east? I love going to them but I could do with them being spread out a bit more.

We do a bonus ball sweepstake at work, I’ve won it for the second time now, only £15 each time, I never seem to win when it rolls over above £50. Mustn’t grumble though because that’s ticked off my first craft festival booking of the year.

For £27.50 I’ve now got a weekend pass to Unravel at Farnham Maltings at the end of February.  I’ve booked on to this workshop: https://farnhammaltings.com/events/unravel-click-1-purl-1-beginners-photography/ A beginner’s workshop in photographing your crafty projects, aimed at those who want achieve great pictures without the professional equipment. Photographer and knitter, Louise Walker will show you how with just a point and shoot or smartphone. The workshop will explore the use of light, props and basic photo editing. An ideal chance to improve your ravelry, etsy and instagram. Please bring your digital camera or smartphone and a finished project and prop such as fabric for a backdrop (optional). Suitable for all levels.

Sounds brilliant doesn’t it?  I do badly need some help with my photos, I had a fantastic piece of luck last year when Dawn Elliott and Vintage Vi agreed to take photos of my snoods for my Etsy shop in return for a bit of cross promotion (www.dawnelliottphotography.co.uk and www.vintagevi.co.uk). If you have a look at my Etsy shop all the good photos of a woman wearing a snood are modelled by Vintage Vi and photographed by Dawn Elliott, everything else is taken by me and frankly doesn’t do my work any favours.

The Unravel workshop is such good value, 2 hours of tuition for basically about £15 I think.  I’m going to take along one of my snoods, my nice little camera that is capable or much more than I have worked out and I thought a vintage headscarf to use as a backdrop.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Last year I did a knitting with beads workshop at Unravel with Fiona Morris that was fantastic.

If you don’t know about Unravel its well worth a visit if you are local.  Its a festival of knitting with workshops, exhibitions, tons of shopping and its all held in a fantastic venue.  The Maltings is well worth a visit at any time of year just for the café, last year I had the most ginormous bakewell tart.  If you are going, I would recommend going on both days, its a bit of a crush and you’ll need a few hours to see it all. I like to have a look on the first day and spend on the second day. I’m kidding myself again that I’m not going to spend any money this year but if I can get a seat in the café I’m going to invest heavily in cake.

HMV – taking themselves to the skidpan

Yesterday morning I popped in the huge HMV store in Guildford, just on a whim, on my way to work.

I was looking for that new Jools Holland CD which they never have in stock but I did pick up six impulse buys. Yes, that’s right six, and one of those was a double album.  There were two staff in the shop and I think there was only me and one other customer. When I went the tills both staff members came over too. So far so good, eh? But. I waited right in the middle of the bank of tills, one assistant stood at one end with his back to me, writing on a clipboard, the other one logged in to a pc at the other end and started typing away.  At first I thought he was logging into a till to serve me so I walked towards him a few steps but then i was obvious he was using the pc instead so I just sort of hung around feeling a bit out of place.  Both assistants ignored me.

I had so much stuff in my hands I actually dropped the double CD on the floor, the case smashed to smithereens but I picked it all up and was still going to buy it, the case doesn’t matter. Still the staff ignored me, despite me making a massive noise smashing the stock right in front of them. So I gave them a countdown, 10 down to 1. When I got to one I said, quite loudly “OK then, keep them” and dumped my stack of CDS on a shelf and left the shop.

And you know what, that isn’t the first time its happened to me in there. Its no wonder they’ve hit the skids.

Gem & Bead Fair at The Maltings, Farnham

This morning I went to the Gem and Bead Fair at The Maltings, Farnham. I went to the one they held there in the summer and spent most of the day there wafting about buying everything in sight and still went home regretting not buying some things. I've been looking forward to today's fair to put some of those missed purchases right and to have a lovely day looking at lovely things.

So I was a bit disappointed to find they had less than half the exhibitors/stall there this time and it was pretty much all gemstones with only the odd finding or supplies stall tucked away in a corner. To be honest I could have left within 20 minutes if I hadn't been absolutely determined to make a day of it but in the end I went round the whole thing 4 times, had a coffee and cake, and stroked the cat for a while and eked it out to 2 hours. Here is that lovely little cat – http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanis1000/6410958681/

Anyway, I was looking for supplies to make some Shambala bracelets and despite my moaning above I managed to buy quite a lot of waxed cotton thread, some glue, 20 organza bags, lots of teeny tiny cloisonné beads and a few strings of half-price gemstone beads from the Notting Hill chap including some of their experimental faceted freshwater pearls.  

Here is that stash which hopefully will transform into saleable bracelets very soon. 

Bringing some order into things

The thing with me is I like rules and regulations. I don't like things to just happen, which is partly why I am really not keen on getting presents but we'll save that for another time. Ideally I want a fatalistic reason for things to happen, everything from when to do the washing up to choosing which brand of shampoo to do next.  For things around the house I use weekly lists like this one:

Its a fairly simple system. I go by the time if it is 11.49 I'll add the numbers up (15) and choose something to do from line 15 of my list, I change around the list every Friday.  This is fine for at home but doesn't help me choose what to buy when I get to the shops so what I've started doing recently is to just buy the next thing along on the shelf from what I bought last time. Just to be clear on how mental I am, I'm only doing this with make-up and toiletries in Superdrug. So far it's working out really well, normally I would just buy whatever is cheapest or on special offer but this is forcing me to try things I wouldn't normally have bought and eventually I'll be buying more upmarket brands.  To keep track of what I liked and more importantly what I didn't like I'm going to do little personal reviews here for future reference. 

At some point I'm going to reach the end of the aisle at when that happens I'll either go back to buying the things that have the best reviews or move on to another shop (Boots at Fleet or Debenhams at Guildford).