Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Self-imposed craft exile...

Regular readers (although, that's an oxymoron as I do not provide enough waffle for you to digest on a regular basis: I'm only thinking of those waistlines...) may have noticed that I have been uncharacteristically quiet on all creative fronts: the shop is still there but bereft of anything new, the blog has creaked to an emollient-free stop, and Flickr, once the place for wips, cakes and inspiration is saturated, regrettably, with my face, a self-portrait on a Thursday being my only creative outburst. Unfortunately, life has got in the way and yumptatious has taken second place to, at the moment, more important shenanigans. Last (school) year was an extremely hectic one and I am determined to redress the balance, but I need your help:

I need YOU!!!

(apologies that the crazy world of foreshortening makes it look as if I am brandishing a stump where my forefinger should be: nice.)

I need you to kick my butt, (in a creative, metaphorical sense only please: I've met a number of you and reckon that you could inflict serious damage if the need arose.) I need you to throw your creative briefs at me: tell me what to write about - be my editor (I won't expect payment...yet) Would you like me to write a review (book, music, film, exhibition etc), re-write a recipe, show you how to make something, tell you a story, give my opinion on a chosen topic etc? I will then post the results over on my spanking new blog. I struggled for ages to come up with a suitable name, fearing what pondlife Google would send my way. Therefore, I have decided against:
  • Please kick me up the arse
  • Give it to me (and make it hard as you like)
  • I need YOU to push me
  • Activate my creative juices
  • and, of course I need your briefs.
I have gone for an 'exactly what it says on the tin' approach: behold yumptatious waffle!
Just leave your suggestions over there and I'll get cracking.

In the meantime, a quickish precis of the last 9 months creativity:
I've learnt to knit, and, in doing so, created probably my most popular picture on Flickr (21 extremely wise people have added it to their favourites)

I bought some of the yarns seen here from Texere Yarns up in Bradford, the place that I, and the other weavers, bought the yarns for their final projects from back in 1993, so I was thrilled that they are still going. (I wonder if present textile students at Nottingham still go there...)
Ooh, speaking of my fellow weavers from back in the day, I recently got back in touch with an old chum of mine via Facebook, Sarah Allen, who happens to also have an Etsy shop! Go and behold her beautiful cloth: she's damn talented and a purchase from her will increase your lifejoy tenfold.

I made a couple of skirts, one from Clothkits and one made from a sneaky template:

The one on the right is made from upholstery fabric I picked up from my local flea market for £2. Check out my sofa's jealous demeanour (and rightly so.)
I heartily recommend Clothkits: the instructions are easy to follow and they provide everything: the lining, the zip, even the thread. The skirt I plumped for is designed by the wondrous Rob Ryan and comes in many tempting colourways.

I have, of course, been baking, thanks to this amazing book. Every recipe is a winner, although I do think using a food processor does help with the lightness of the frosting. (if anyone would like to buy me a KitchenAid, please feel free: I'm not proud.)

Pornography, pure and simple.

Here are a few of my current favourite things:

clockwise from top left:
my current read and I recommend it whole-heartedly! Funny, honest, informative and inspiring in a cheese-free kinda way. I swear I put on weight with her as she ate her way around Italy (something I would love to do!)
I can't stop playing this album! If you're a pedant, you'll be able to pick out all the 80's references, but that doesn't mean that this is yesterday's leftovers served up as retro. One of those album's that proves that decent dance music can have soul too. This brings me great joy!
Whilst I do indeed love this whisky, it's pictured here more in honour of my latest addiction, 'The Wire'. If you haven't seen it, I can only hope that the God of Karma rectifies the situation and brings you the best thing you can set your eyes on (other than kittens, cake, oh and I guess your children) in the form of the dvd boxed set. And if you don't believe me, listen to Charlie Brooker: he has no reason to lie to you (unlike me, who may at some point need you to lend me a fiver, or help lugging some furniture, or to hide a body)
Superhit jossticks: unleash your inner (or outer) hippy and make your world smell sweeter!
I love Lush products: they smell fabulous, they do a bloody good job and they do it all with a glint in their eye. I'd previously tried Liz Earle's facewash (after remortgaging the house in order to do so...) but my skin hated it. It loves Ultra Bland though, which seems to last forever! Hurrah!
Sainsbury's have introduced more coffee's into their Fairtrade range. Currently enjoying their Italian blend: very nice!

Summer has been and gone, but we managed to get away to Cornwall and had a fabulous time. I love it down there, the mix of raw, beautiful coastline and moors steeped in history and the ghosts of myths and people past. We had a surfing lesson which was a real epiphany, though not for the reasons I had hoped. I discovered that my body is every one of it 37 years: I have no physical strength, I have no flexibility and certainly no grace or elegance (but then I never had!) Ok, I've never been a completely fit person, but my body has often surprised me when called for. Not this time: it's gotten older, and is tired and needs help. At least the neoprene was forgiving! Me and the sea didn't get on too well this holiday: she chewed me up and spat me out as I tried to get over her hormonal waves. I took the hint and admired her from a distance.

I did, however, discover the coffee shop with the finest view:

They also do a good line in sandwiches, cakes and delicious coffee, and use Cornish ingredients where possible. We weren't in the mood for the actual gallery, though I urge you to go. Whilst in St Ives, make sure you go to Barbara Hepworth's Museum + Gallery. The garden is an oasis of space and calm, away from the cramped, yet picturesque, streets. I loved her studio: you can't go in, but you can peer through the windows at a tableaux of artistic industry: it looks like she's just popped out to make herself a cuppa.
We did pop into the shop to add to our collection of joyous inspiration:

clockwise from top left:
1) go to the Eden Project
2) pass out at the wonderment
3) after seeing her lil piggies in the Mediteranean Biome, purchase this utterly inspiring book and immerse yourself in her skillz via her website.
4) thank me later

A fabulous treasure hunt book from Alice Melvin

Postcard featuring 'St Ives Harbour (All Round)' by Bryan Pearce

This book makes me want to get the pencils and oil pastels (Sennelier, natch) out STAT! I love her work oh so very very much. Please buy me some.

Postcards featuring 'Restaurant View with Leach Jug'  and 'View from Pednolver Terrace' by Rachel Nicholson

Right, I'm off to lie in a darkened room in preparation for the arrival of my muse.
Let's not leave it so long next time.


Karen Jinks said...

ahem ukhandmade would be a good place to start missus, we always need things there so what about a book review or a christmassy tutorial or such like :D

let me think...

(I will be back!)


Deborah Champion said...

i have those socks.I also have a photo of them on flickr that has a few favorites..

Jane said...

I too have been out of the crafty loop but term time has started and I must get back to it. My son and I have just finished all five dvd box sets of 'The Wire' (we are bereft) so there is one less distraction!
*kicks Yump with one foot and self with other then falls over*

Charlotte Lader said...

I am deeply in love with Texere Yarns. They are the bees knees :-)

*kicks you gently on the bum, in a motivating and yet pleasurable fashion*

MrY8s said...

Your postings are like very nice busses... you wait for ages for one to come along and then one does, and it's smashing!

As for needing my briefs, I'm afraid I can't help, it's "Commando Wednesday". I tried to make that a Flickr Group, but didn't receive much interest...

Jennifer Rose said...

I loved the Eden project, really want to go back one day soon :D

Unknown said...

I was going to say you can start by writing my ever-so-late-causing-great-writers-block-procrastination ukhandmade article for me!

mwah x

rubyminky said...

Your new blog will not let me post - humph - unless it is just not telling me, in which case the 39 duplicate comments are me - sorry.

I command you to sally forth every, oh, lets say Wednesday to the shops. Hang around some sort of coffee emporium or craft type stall and people spot. Chat to random strangers and do mini interviews (and a photo if they'll letcha). Everyone has an interesting story. I love bite size interviews. And if you can't find anyone, people-spot and make up a backstory (the bitchier the better).

Go on Yump! You can do it! love grey x

Unknown said...

2000 words by 15th on
"Encoding Serialization: Monologic Addiction in Candace Bushnell 's Sex and the City", with crossed stitched illustrations.

(you can generate your own dissertation title if you don't like this one here: )

Hun, you could sit on a chair and still have more creativity in your exhaled air than most people can conjour up with all their hard graft. Stop worrying and enjoy what you do without the obligation.

yumptatious said...

Kala: working on my piece for the ukhandmade blog!

Dr D: what is it about socks and Flickr?! *shudders* I not only favourited the pic of which you speak, but also purchased it, such is my devotion to your cause.

Jane: Its crafting weather- time for snuggling down with a hot chocolate whilst sewing, knitting or crocheting (if only I could get my head round crochet...) At least you have been productive this year!
*hands Jane back a robust DM boot*

Charlotte: they are fab. When I went back in da day it was a huge warehouse. We were handed big plastic boxes and told to spend £50 (when you could get a lot for 50 quid...) Ahhhh: happy days!

Luke: I don't like to be predictable! ;-P Cheers hun!
I think you'll find that a group called 'Commando Wednesday' would be completely oversubscribed: I can hear the rocks being pushed aside right now! *shudders again*

Jen: oh do! I'd loved to go to one of the gigs they have there! Definitely one of my favourite places.

Birch: bring it on! (do you need a hand? Or cake?)

Grey: I don't know if I've got the balls (yet) to go up to complete strangers, but I've thought of a few people I could interview in a concentrated-nugget stylee. Cheers!

Mike: awww bless you! (how the feck are ye?!) My trouble is that I need to discipline myself to create more often: I really have run aground recently, but with a lil gentle persuasion, I hope to get back on track. I might give that thesis a bash, though...