Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Ridiculous Rules

I could have sold this bag this week.......    

......... but I didn't. And the reason for not selling it? A piece of bizarre childhood conditioning that reared it's less than attractive head.

The prospective buyer was looking for a gift for her sister and had spotted the bag at a recent event. 
"It would be great for her," she said, " she wears a lot of red ..... and black!"

Well, there it was, there was absolutely no way I could sell it to her. No way at all, because everyone knows you must never ever wear black and navy together. I had been taught this at an early age by both my mother and grandmother. A statement made with such an air of authority that the very notion of challenging it hovered for the briefest of moments before being moved on.
I never inquired as to the origins of this proclamation, nor did I ask what terrible fate would befall those refusing to adhere to it. I simply accepted it as one of the worst fashion faux pas to ever be committed, one which I would be sure to avoid at all costs.

Of course I didn't mention any of this to my customer, my years of working in retail providing me with a certain degree of diplomacy. Instead I suggested that since we were moving into Autumn a slightly heavier fabric might be more desirable, that a rather nice wool blend and elephant cord I had available would work well together.

So this........... 

A donated skirt

a ditsy print for the lining

........... became this,

....... and everyone was happy

But if anyone can tell me why black and navy should never ever be worn together I would be much obliged, the notion to challenge has finally landed!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Friends on Facebook

Okay so I admit it, I find it quite hard to deal with technology. I hate it when I inherit my husbands old phone, it takes me months to send a text. Our washing machine was made to limp along for 13 years because I loathed the idea of learning how to work a new one, and don't get me started on DVD players! 

So when a friend asked me why she couldn't find my Facebook page and why didn't I set one up my cackling response was worthy of a Stygian witch, for surely I would stumble as blindly should I attempt such a feat. Nonsense, I was told, it's as easy as falling off the proverbial, and that I could do with ease if past experience was anything to go by ( okay so my balance ain't so hot either ).

I am now therefor the proud owner of a Facebook page, and as with most of these things can't think why I didn't do it sooner.

The Graduates 1991

I organised a reunion for this little lot 9 years ago. Many of us had lost touch, you know how it is, life takes hold of you and spins you in all sorts of directions. Work and family take precedence, you become the adult you were destined to be and sometimes don't wish to be reminded of the child you were. It took months of phone calls and letters to track everyone down, but in the end the event took place , we all reminisced, then got back into our own little whirlwinds and lost touch yet again.

Since joining Facebook I have reconnected with some of those friends. Some are in different countries and time zones which makes conventional communication difficult, other I have found are just a few miles away. Whether this time it will stick I can't say. Does the ease with which you can stay in touch determine whether you will or not? I like to think that it will. If nothing else it will make the next reunion a lot easier to organise.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

No Sew Day

Some times, after a run of craft fairs, I just can't face any more sewing (is it possible to have a stitch overdose ?) I go to my workroom and stand at the door, deliberating on the day's course of action. Should I cut things out to be made up at a later date, and if so will it be hand bags or nick-nacks? Would re-folding my fabric stash be a better idea?( I'm not the worlds tidiest of workers and quite often pieces don't get put away after I've used them) I could of course spend my time tidying drawers and shuffling shelves ....again.

Today I was rescued from my pondering by this little pile of wood that was left on my desk along with a very helpful Japanese saw.

My husband is the proud owner of A.C.Guitars. He builds custom basses from some of the most beautiful woods I have ever seen and I can't bear to see any of it go to waste. After catching me rifling through his rubbish bins without protective gloves, and after making some comment about my lack of natal faculties, he now provides me with prime offcuts.  The colours are amazing  and the grain in some pieces produces a 'flame' effect as it catches the light that I didn't even know was possible in wood.

I squirrel away these small pieces and keep them safe until I find suitable stones and pebbles to adorn them, the blending of beauty that is very often hidden from us with beauty that is left in plain sight.

So I spent the day creating brooches and embellishments. Who needs a sewing machine when Mother Nature is around ?

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Fabric calling......

Well I received my 'fix' from Fabric Rehab yesterday, some fabulous upholstery weight cotton. I am hoping to turn it into some basic totes, possibly a messenger or two. 

I can't wait to get working with them. Unfortunately I will have to as other chores are calling. Instead of these brilliant and bold designs I am going to be working with this today.... 

....Khaki camouflage jumpsuits plastered in paint balls! 
Don't ask me how I managed it but I seem to be the official 'go to gal' to repair fabric related equipment for Prozone Paintball, Annan. Fortunately my discerning clients don't require me to use my invisible mending skills, rigid reinforcement being much more the order of the day.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Woman's best friend

After yesterday's craft fayre at Dumfries show I had hoped for a bit of a long lie this morning. The preparations the week before hand and the activity of the day had left me tired and washed out. Unfortunately it wasn't to be. My trusty canine companion woke me up, not in a cute and cuddly kind of way that many dog owners often enjoy ( the wet nose nuzzling your face or the playful tugging off of the bed covers are a couple I've been told) No I'm afraid it was the noise of Deefer having an epileptic seizure that woke me up.

Deefer at 12 weeks old( as far as we know)
He was diagnosed as having epilepsy 2 years ago when he was just 5 years old. At that time I was completely unaware that dogs could suffer from this condition. Now of course every dog owner I talk to has a story of some dog connected to them ( theirs, a relatives, a friend's, a friend of a friends, the second cousin of the wife of the brother of the woman who lives at the bottom of the next street!) that has/had epilepsy.

The seizures were initially very infrequent, no point putting him on medication the vet said, we would have no way of knowing if it was being effective. This year however, they became much more frequent and severe, often 3 - 4 seizures in the space of 36 hours, so he is now being treated. While it has taken a few months to get the dose to a therapeutic level (praise be to plastic cheese for the help in the administering of medication) he is now much more stable and the seizures are decreasing.

Deef at about a year old
"What do you mean grass isn't a food group? "
Is it possible to feel proud of your dog? I think it must be because I'm sure that's how I feel every time I take him to the vet's to get blood samples taken. He goes in without a fuss then promptly lies on the floor, paws outstretched, never flinching at the nip of the needle, quietly looking around as if to say "and the biscuits would be where exactly?" He has always been like that, a quiet, gentle soul, wanting nothing more than your company (but if you have a tasty treat on you as well all the better!)It's thankful we didn't want him as a guard dog, the wagging tail that greets every delivery man is a bit of a giveaway.


I was brought up with dogs in the house  so it was a natural assumption on my part that my children would be too. In the end that took a bit more persuasion than I had anticipated as my husband had never had a dog and wasn't sure he wanted to break that particular habit. He eventually capitulated ( did you ever doubt it! ) and a trip to the pound was made. Deefer and his brother had been abandoned on the street when they were about 8 weeks old but had fortunately been picked up by the SSPCA. He came home with us a week later. 
He will be the last dog I ever have. He is so good in so many ways that it would be impossible to replace him, and unfair on any that came after as the inevitable comparisons would always be made. Having never had a dog before my husband has little appreciation of how easy Deefer has made it for him to be a dog owner.  

Deef is lying at my feet as I type this, one of his favourite spots ( he also likes to stay close after one of his episodes)  Hopefully he will be there for many more years to come. So I missed a few extra hours sleep this morning, big deal. He needed me this morning, small payment for the innumerable times that his quiet company and unquestioning loyalty have helped me. Besides who could turn away from a face like this?
Deefer earlier this afternoon

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A new view of things

Craft events can be very much a hit or miss affair for crafters. I've been reading in a number of forums and blogs that many are struggling this year to find events that work for them. As far as I can tell there is no golden rule, no magic formula, no ancient Greek mathematician's hypothesis that will guarantee a good venue. 

I've had quite a few slow day this season and I have to say it can be quite demoralising.The first few times it happened I started to question everything. Was my product not good enough? Did the display do enough to enhance it? Were the prices to high/low? Had I smiled enough?........the never ending list went on and on throughout the night, leading to the inevitable insomniac e-mails to Alexis questioning why I was doing this in the first place.

All that has changed. "Why?" I hear you say ( well in my mind I hear you say it )
Well I'll tell you why since you asked so nicely. I was having a particularly slow day a few months ago when an old gentleman approached me and started asking me about my handbags.To cut a long story short he asked me whether I would be interested in some off cuts of vintage tweed his grandfather had kept and was now in the possession of his aged cousin. Never one to turn down the opportunity to buy more fabric (you can ever have enough) I said yes. A few days later he delivered the 'off cuts'.......

.....each bale ranging from 1 yard to nearly 4 yards. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to acquire it if I hadn't attended the event. The next weekend I was having yet another crisis of confidence, lots of people looking but no one buying. One woman in particular kept coming back so I struck up a conversation with her and it transpired that she really liked one of my bags but she had just bought one in a similar colour so really couldn't justify it. I offered to send her samples of other fabrics I had available, an offer she took me up on. This was the result of our correspondence....

....made from some of the tweed purchased the previous week.

Just the week after that on yet another sluggish Saturday an adjoining stall holder asked whether I would be interested in supplying her retail outlet.

So you see I now view my calender of events not as 'good days' or 'bad days' but as 'possibility days' . You never know who you will get chatting to, a surprise supplier , a future customer, or just a new friend. 
Besides, it gets me out of doing housework for the day, anything else is an added bonus.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Shopping for school shoes

Well it's about that time of year again. No sooner do the school holidays get into full swing than I have to start making preparations for the boys going back, a prospect that no one in this household enjoys much but not for the same reasons. It was so much easier when they were younger, I could use their height as a guide to buy their clothes so I didn't actually have to take them shopping with me. Those were the days! 
Now, thanks to the dreaded early teen growth spurts,at the age of 13 they no longer comply with the industry standards so I have to get them to try things on. Hauling them around the shops, trying to find trousers and shoes that fit becomes an exhausting battle of wills, my optimism being slowly eroded by their alternating apathy and anarchy. Take their shoes for instance. When one is a size 12 and the other a 13/14 choices become limited. After a great deal of searching and 'debate' these were the only options we were left with..... 

See what I mean? Gone are the neat, tidy lace ups of yesteryear, that if I'm honest they had very little say about, and in their place are these small canoes ( yes that is a 12" ruler in the foreground). 
The orange laces are a bone of contention at the moment, the alternative black set the shoes came with being far more appropriate for school I feel. I'll probably give in though, sometimes it's good to argue about the small stuff then let them win, that way they don't mind as much when you stay firm about the big stuff ( besides which I was the overall winner when it came to wearing Blazers!)
I came home from our shopping trip feeling slightly nostalgic, remembering the very first pair of shoes I bought them at the age of 14 months. The time and care it took to get them fitted properly, the teetering steps they took as they got used the extra weight on their feet. At a child's size 5 and 5 1/2 I should have know then what was in store.....

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