Monday, 1 October 2007

I've been tagged!

The wondrous Alabamawhirly has tagged me. As the Queen of Procrastination, I relish the chance not to do what I should be doing.

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

My 7 facts:

1) I am the youngest, and only girl, in a family of 5 children. This explains a) why I am so girly (hahahaha!) and why I only have 2 children.

2) My pet hate at work (Waterstone's) is customers bringing their coffee into the shop. Think about it: what happens to paper when it gets wet?! We have to get rid of a lot of books that custies have used as coasters. Bring coffee in on my watch and I will send your arse outside: I don't care if you know what you want, I don't care if its raining: respect your coffee and give it the love and attention it deserves, BUT NOT IN A BOOKSHOP! I can't repair the books if someone accidently knocks into you, causing you to fling your latte over the art table.

3) I have 2 tattoos

4) In my final year at uni, whilst discussing my final brief with my tutor ('Mother Earth: a collection of woven fabrics in natural yarns') I informed him that I would show my devotion to the maternal theme by attending the degree show pregnant. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was. I looked great at graduation: cap, gown and 7 month bump.

5) I love chocolate but not chocolate flavoured stuff ie cake, ice cream

6) I love swearing. I like to mix them up when angry ie 'Bollocky shitty fuck monkey'. 'Cunt' neither shocks or offends me: me and a friend reclaimed it and use it as a term of affection.

7) I wore black at my wedding.

Now I have to share the love and tag 7 others:

1) Janet Bell: I love her paintings deeply
2) Udder: because I like her style
3) Stitchy McYarnpants: because her blog is a work of genius
4) a path no wider than a pencil stroke: I love her paintings deeply too!
5) Mister Rob Ryan: because I like the cut of his gib
6) Rivulette: because I'm nosy (and her work is lush too)
7) we are all angry: I love her needle-felting. And she duct-taped her car: genius!

Sorry guys!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Captain Sporadic strikes again!

As the sun lowers in the sky, creating sharp shadows behind everything it strikes, I have finally got around to bringing you my latest round of procrastinating gubbins (because, surely it would be better if I just got on with stuff than merely document it?...)
Since I last posted, I have been making and doing. The beautiful Nicky commissioned 2 pinnies for 2 equally creative chums. They had loved the 'utility pinny' I had made Nicky for her birthday so hopefully they'll be chuffed with their own. The pinnies are lined and the pockets are lined and large to make them hardwearing. The three of them work in films and theatre, making costumes and props and so need to carry a whole heap of useful stuff about. I made three to give Nicky the choice and so have one spare: I should re-do the photos and thwack it on Etsy.

Wotcha think?

one size fits all

I also made my boy wonder his own apron:

It won't stay this clean for long

I made some 'variations on a theme' felt flower badges:

...some bags (available for your purchasing pleasure over in my shop)

And after a bloody decent haircut, committed potential hair suicide all in the name of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and its midnight release. (I'm not even a full time bookslave: I work every Saturday and one Sunday a month.)

From this (its flat cos its clean + fluffy) via this

to 'oh! I look ok!'

Ladies and Gents: may I present Tonks.

I was put in charge of keeping the crowd entertained: I hate being asked to do that, and it is always me that's asked, just 'cos I'm a gobshite. Apparently, Alan Rickman was in the queue but luckily for him, I didn't see him. It took ages for me to realise why he didn't want to be spotted: being a fan of the books, I find the films annoying (admittedly, I've only seen the first 2. I will see the others, if only because I love Michael Gambon, and I think Gary Oldman would make a fab Sirius) and so my initial thought on Mr Rickman was 'Hans Gruber was here?!'
Still: how cool is that, having Snape at your shop?!
If you haven't read 'The Deathly Hallows': WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!!!?!!! (and don't give me any of this crap about it being a children's book: a good tale is a good tale)

I'm hoping to re-launch yumptatious soon and have been busy working on different ideas by actually using my sketchbook (shocking).

Etsy isn't going all that brilliantly (1 whole item sold. Better than nowt...) but I think, to be honest, I haven't put as much of my own ideas into my work as I should: they need to be a bit more personal, a bit more me. I was pleased with these purses and am going to carry on with this applique style

get them while they're hot here

One of my Flickr groups is Crafting 365, run by the fabulous Lupin, the idea being that you have to post evidence of your crafting shenanigans every day. I thought it would be a good idea, to keep me going, but I am Captain Sporadic, so it can be a bit hit and miss. Its like working to get your homework in on time!

I'm busy getting stock ready for Christmas so its sock monkey a-go-go here. Nige is going to show me how the heckadoodle to use Photoshop once and for all and then I can make the things of loveliness I've been hankering to do for an age. I will try not to rip his head off in frustration.

I think you're now up to speed: any questions at the back?

Now playing: Gomez - Blue Moon Rising
via FoxyTunes

Friday, 13 July 2007

13th July 2007 A.G. (After Gazastock)

Its now Friday and I finally feel sufficiently back to normal to tell you all about the wonderful time I had at Gazastock.
(and if you've found your way here after meeting me in the stall, Welcome!)

It was the first time that I had set up a stall and was interested in seeing
a) what people, other than friends and family, thought of my stuff
b) if anyone would buy anything and
c) if there was a pattern in what was selling; what did people prefer.

Despite knowing that Gazastock was imminent, I still had stuff to finish that I kept putting off: I'm not the most organised of people as the effort required is quite frankly exhausting. For example, the monkeys that I had finished troubled me (not literally: they weren't putting mousetraps in my bed or laughing at my shoes or anything).

So I unpicked their crotches, and like a sensitive gynaecologist, entered with care and re-sewed the seams from the inside (that last bit doesn't refer to my own gynaecological experience...).

I didn't like seeing all the knots that I hadn't known how to hide and the button eyes were just wrong; the monkeys looked lobotomized when they were supposed to look cheeky, like they'd nick your car keys and go for a jolly at the coast.
I think it was worth the effort:

check out their velvet tails!

monkey family photo

And, me being me, (that is: someone who has no concept of time and space and my place within) uttered the immortal words that spell the imminence of panic and lateness -

I'll just do this.

So when I should have been finishing and tweaking, I was making:

small pieces of hair clip joy, to bring a touch of life to even the most dowdy hair.

I also started to make some button bracelets, but stopped as they needed not to be rushed:

in descending order of finishedness: finished at the top, still on sellotape at the bottom

I also made these simple necklaces using beads I've treasured for years and some rather luscious velvet ribbon:

When I laid out all I had, I thought it was enough and it was good:

So on a rainy Thursday evening, kids in tow, we descended to a beautiful boggy field to set up Laura's gazebo and turn it into our own little groovy parlour. (Laura was selling hats: an inspired piece of buying as the sun came out and people wanted the funky, portable shade that her hats brought). We put up our tents and set off home, satisfied that there wouldn't be much to do the next day...
But life is not like that, so that instead of getting to the site by midday on the Friday, I got there at 3pm, laughing at the instruction that 'all traders should be ready for trading by 3pm'. Only the burger vans were ready for trading as heavy winds overnight had caused chaos: people, including Laura, had arrived to find that the wind had been practicing juggling in the field. Tents had been blown into the trees, our gazebo (fortunately stock-less) had enjoyed a ride across the field and apparently one of the marquees, devoid of its canvas casing, had been turned into a metal sculpture. By the time I strolled in, buzzing my face off thanks to enthusiastic quaffing of Rescue Remedy, I was greeted with tired relieved faces, still slightly shell-shocked and a festival held together with gaffa tape (Gaffastock?)
We set up shop and within minutes I had made my first sale: a small monkey, named 'Sock' went to live with a lovely young girl whose name escapes me. She carried Sock everywhere, keeping him warm in a white sock sleeping bag. That was lush: seeing the look of joy and love that kiddy had for something I had made.
In the words of Spandau Ballet, 'to cut a long story short' the monkeys sold out by early Saturday evening. The grey one went home with Stuart and the red one went with this guy.
Unfortunately, I missed the purchase and subsequent Chafford baptism of one of the big monkeys that they named Monomo. If that was you, get in touch!
The purses went well: I sold 5 of those! The remaining 3 are back on Etsy. And then a smattering of sales throughout, but almost more importantly, I had a great deal of positive feedback. People don't go to Gazastock for the shopping: they go to listen to some great music, chill out, have a damn good laugh and party hard. The fact I sold anything was a bonus!
So what have I learned: people love monkeys (and if you were one of those who expressed the wish for a monkey at a later date, please get in touch), people like to have a browse and people like options. They like choice, they like tangibility, they like to have a chat and a laugh. And we did!

I've had a week off and shall get back to business next week: 2 aprons for Nicky, a brooch for Kate, the hunt for tartan socks for Helen, a new skirt for me, some long, single-strapped bags etc.

PS Please visit the Gazastock website here and here, where you can listen to some choice tunes from the bands at whose feet we worshipped (Origami Dinosaur, The Mighty Peas: 2 faves of mine).

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

The Well and Back Again

(sign created using 'RedKid Net')

Lordy! I didn't realise it had been such a long time since my last blog: how rude of me, to expect you all to comment and then I just bugger off ('Come to my party! I'm just off to the cinema!)

What have I been up to? Well, not as much as I should have been. Sometimes, when things are going well, I like to shoot myself in the foot. Is it because I am so used to having (or making) an excuse for not working that I can't quite get used to the idea that this may just succeed? That with a little effort and creativity, I may finally be able to carve a career for myself? Its at this point that I fall into what John Gray calls 'the well' and I beat myself up that I am not good enough, who the hell do I think I am, I couldn't possibly achieve anything, I'm not original, I have no talent, I've squandered my education, I'm too old, and my current favourite self-put downs: I am useless and pointless. If I'm going down, I like to make the most of it and usually pack a picnic and a change of clothes. But I have installed a trampoline in my well and I soon bounce back again, because life is too short and the kids will be home from school and they'll be hungry.
I also think how I would react if my Mum felt like that, or my daughter and that kicks the perspective back into place.
One of my problems is my own narrow concept of design that I'm trying to break free of, where I have had a tendency to believe that good design needs to be completely original and complex. Firstly, how can 'original' be defined? True originality comes along very rarely because we are all influenced by what our senses absorb and this affects our own creative processes. (I'm not talking about plagiarism here: that's just wrong) But to strive for 'originality' is surely a quest doomed to failure. I think its best to plough through a list of ideas, trying out those 'what if?'s and see what happens: to unlimit ourselves from the burden of 'it must be different'. Because, and this is how my brain works, if we are truly individuals, with our own ideas, likes, dislikes, perversions etc, if we are true to ourselves, if we are self-indulgent in our creativity and feel free to just try it, surely something different and good will result?
Secondly, design does not need to be complicated. I used to think that for a design to be a success, it should confound the viewer: 'How the hell did they do that?!' If you've ever read Crafts magazine, you'll understand my point. But stop and absorb what things move you: are they the highly polished complex pieces or are they the simple things? Probably a mixture of the two. What objects make you go for your purse? I've been using this idea recently whilst out and about and have come to the conclusion: yes, I would buy my own products. My bags may not be the most complex, but the fabrics are gorgeous and they are very practical. They sometimes have only one pocket in them and that's because I've had bags in the past with millions of pockets and I couldn't find a thing. I personally like having one big space to rummage through, knowing full well that what I am looking for will not be tucked away, hiding in a tiny pocket. You're also not going to accumulate a load of fluff: a pocket accumulates its own corner fluff, therefore the less pockets, the less corner fluff! (should I use that as a selling point...)

In between all this mental congitatation, I've also made some stuff, which is available for your buying pleeeesher over at Etsy:

I've sold something on Etsy! Hurrah!

I went to my beloved button lady just before the flea market closed for the day and purchased these gems:

But I'm a bit of a craft slapper and for one day only got my loving elsewhere:

well, needs must...

I also got a copy of my favourite self-help book, plus another that I've always fancied reading , from a lovely charity shop:

May I insist that you read Tony Hawks' magnificent book: it will keep you from the well for ages.

Did you read this article from the Observer (Sunday 10th June)?

Its worth reading because what they say is spot on: I'm so used to images of teeny weeny models and actors that these women seemed absolutely massive:
But then you get used to them and you see that they are gorgeous and sexy.

They aren't pie-crazed women, out to shag what they can because they are grateful, they are real, strong, gorgeous women. Then I noticed something familiar: although taller, they are my size. It was refreshing to see women of this size photographed like 'normal' models: usually they are photographed looking jolly ('I'm fat and happy: besides, if I laugh enough, the jiggling of my breasts will detract you from my inner loathing') or naked, lying on their stomachs. ('I'm sexy, but only in parts'). Unpatronising photos of real women: how subversive!

I draw the line at this swimsuit:

but I have taken to sitting on stools in this fashion:

Though a tad uncomfortable, the ventilation more than makes up for it.

I have been working on,
and have now finished, a commission for my lovely chum Marina. She wanted a fabric Fender Stratocaster for her hubs, Gareth, as a wee minding for his 40th birthday. Despite thinking she should get him something unusual (!?) I ploughed ahead regardless:

what do you think?

I'm particularly proud of the whammy bar, because if you can't have a bit of reverb on your birthday, what the hell is the point?!

It doesn't have strings, you may have noticed: I didn't want to offend Gareth by installing what could, unbeknownst to me, be an inferior brand...

Despite this drawback, my son took it for a test drive....
Forget Angus Young: meet, from up coming rock band R2/D2, Hamish Young!

Speaking of music, I've been procrastinating like the beeeyatch I am on this Flickr group. Here's mine. What songs would you chose? I warn you now: it will suck you in.

My wondrous chum Andrea, Goddess of the Free Ticket, rang me up one Saturday night: the consequence was we ended up here, seeing this guy the next night and seeing this image, which has burnt itself onto my retinas:

Mr Bush, misunderstanding the phrase 'Give the dog a bone'.
(photo from George

Suffice to say, although not a massive fan, I sang along with gusto, joy and of course panache to all but one of his songs. Hubs resisted my advances during 'Careless Whisper' (ahh, memories of school discos, all mullets, rubber bracelets and kitten heels...) so I had a smooch with the girls instead.

Gazastock is looming on the horizon and I have a million and one (ok, about 30) things to finish. I am very excited, and if I sell anything, that will be even better.

Till next time...

Thursday, 31 May 2007

A comment on comments

Whilst I am of course writing this 'ere journal for my own mirth and amusement, I am aware that others are reading it too, and that's fabulous to know that someone who I may or may not know has taken the time to plough through my waffle and, of course, come away a better person as a result...(HAHAHA!!!!)

It has, however, come to my attention that people are there but not leaving comments: I have a counter, as dangerous to a paranoid sod like me as a medical dictionary is to a hypochondriac.

Am I attracting shy types, lurkers or, more fascinatingly, perverts? Or is it the hassle of filling in your details in order to post a comment? The first point, I can't really comment on, only to say 'Welcome!' (and if you're a pervert: please clean up afterwards) but the second point: once you've filled in your details, you won't have to do it again. You can then comment on anyone's blog, not just mine. You won't get your face spammed off or any other such virtual heinous crimes. I won't see your e-mail address so you can be as covert as you like.

Are you already a mate of mine, or Mr Yumptatious? Excellent: as many bloggers make new friends via the world of Blog, we are simply cutting out that stage of getting to know each other, although thats tosh as we never really fully know each other so that means we still have lots to learn! Hurrah!

Are you a family member? Now this is why I think my counter is really going up: my Mum reads my blog at the same time as my Dad: she sends him a mail telling him to read the blog whilst he sends an email telling her to read the blog. She gets the email, reads the blog at the same time, he does likewise. This pattern repeats itself all day, gradually increasing the amount of hits the blog gets. This sounds like a maths question in probability...

Anyhoo, to get you started on the comment path, I've included some template comments to cut and paste, but feel free to use your own.

See you on the other side!

My life was a hollow mockery until I read your blog, but now it has meaning, colour and purpose. I am, and remain, your loyal, humble servant.

I'm stopping off at a cake shop/off licence on my way home: what would you like?

Your bags rock my world: where can I buy them?

Do you think Robbie should get back with Take That?

I know exactly what you mean! I did the same thing with mine and I had to spend all day unpicking the bugger!

I love your pictures: are you available for weddings?

I feel your pain

Hahaha! THAT is comedy gold!

I'm a publisher and I want to publish your face off.

A valid point, but I'll have to disagree with you on that one as you are clearly delusional and have no concept of space and relative dimension. I like the monkeys though.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Take your time

We've lived in Tonbridge for just over 7 years and in all that time I've never been to the weekly flea-market and never been to the weekly WI farmers market. With the first one, I've always been put off by the word 'flea'. Are my purchases going to be infested with small bitey things? Why 'flea'? Are the blood-sucking insects known for their thriftiness? Was it started in California by scary sock-on-cock Chili Pepper bassist and Back to the Future 2 bad boy Flea?
And as for the WI: its only on for a couple of hours in the morning, so that by the time I remember, its already stopped. Crap excuse, but honest.
Any hoo, I stopped into a charity shop whilst ploughing through a typical 'mum' shopping list (you know: swimming trunks, coffee, phone top up, deodorant, life etc oh, and my favourite magazine...

check out the cover of the cd: she R.O.C.K.S.

and there, shining with the after glow of what must have been a bargain tractor (tracter?) beam were these Whittard beauties, brand new and wanting me bad.

Suffice to say, you are now welcome to take tea in the house of yumptatious.

Full of joy and clattering mugs, I finally took in the 2ftx12ft sign, proclaiming the presence of a flea market and, insect repellent at hand, went in.
One stall looked like the contents of a wardrobe had been hormonally removed by a PMT-laden woman, intent on finding an item she is convinced is in their somewhere: this would have been the table behind, catching the flying items. Fearing that I may fall in, I moved along.
Eventually, after wading through military brass, old cameras, a plethora of out of date cosmetics, glass figurines and the like, I found a small piece of heaven. Boxes of buttons, some ordered, some dumped into cardboard boxes, some sewn onto strips of card, an old wooden box full of wooden spools of aged cotton, still true of hue, trimmings and ribbon offcuts, memories of projects past. Trying not to drip saliva, I bought a few items to keep me going...

these buttons are actual size (the other ones are this big too)

I literally squealed 'Are you here every week?!' in a boy-hits-puberty stylee and somehow resisted the urge to leap over the table and hold her in a warm platonic embrace.
Well how good was my morning going?! I left the flea market skipping then resumed my normal gait as the clatter of cups in my bag suggested potential breakage. All ready to go home, I passed the sign for the WI market, today celebrating its 5oth year and finally went in. It's in a tiny little old Scout hut, containing a tea stall and chairs and a few trestle tables carrying plants, fabric peg bags, organic pressed apple juice, home-made pies, jams, chutneys, and marmalade:

this is absolutely delicious.

As I started for the exit, a lady carrying a tray of small plastic cups containing what I assumed to be samples of the apple juice, gave me a cup and asked if I would like to celebrate their 50th anniversary with them. Thanking her, I took a full, thirsty swig and a) realised I hadn't had my breakfast yet and b) this wasn't apple juice. Friends: this is the way to start the day. Champagne on an empty stomach. Classy! Suffice to say I giggled, for many reasons, all the way home.

Did my good fortune stop then! No! My Moo cards had arrived!

Some are a bit dark but are fine for what I want: they're going to be my price tags. Better get busy with the whole punch.

After strong coffee from a new mug and toast with new marmalade, I set about getting this chap ready ...

monkey, you may want to move once I finish him: he won't be so harmless then...

I think putting the controls on him activated the Force. Nothing to do with laughing at ones own jokes whilst taking photos...

A bit of evil, pocket sized. Treat your socks with love and respect, kids, or they will, like this pair, turn to the Darkside and blow up your home planet just for kicks (I don't think that champers has worn off...)