Saturday, 30 April 2011

Annual Spring Craft Fair

Tomorrow will be Moffat Academy's 5th Spring craft fair . I keep thinking every year it's going to be easier but it never is. My crafting buddy Alexis and I split the duties between us. She deals with the advertising side of things while I deal with the crafters and all that entails. Not only do we organise the event but we also take part, which can be a bit of a juggling act on the day but so far we've managed.

The adverts are out, posters are up, crafters are booked, table layout is arranged and balloons are inflated. I'm about as organised as I can be but I still can't help thinking I've forgotten something. No doubt it will dawn on me at 10.25 a.m. tomorrow when it will be too late to do anything about it.

Oh well, wish me luck!

Moffat Town Hall, the venue for Moffat Academy's Spring Craft Fair

Monday, 25 April 2011

Fabric folding.

You'd think I'd know the drill by now wouldn't you. Instead of being really pleased with myself and what I have achieved in a week I should be prepared for the inevitable setback that always follows. That might sound pessimistic but honestly it's the optimist in me that never sees it coming.

On the lead up to a craft fair I like to set myself some targets. I rarely meet them, but then I think that's because I keep hoping an extra few hours in the day will suddenly materialise. Where's H.G. Wells and his time machine when you need them? 
I had been working pretty close to target last week, well at the beginning of the week anyway. Here are a few of the bags I made 

Unfortunately by Thursday my progress started to resemble my figure, in other words it went pear shaped!
A couple of extra shifts at the charity shop to cover volunteers on holiday took me away from my workroom, and although I had every intention of putting in some hours in the evening I'm afraid while the spirit was willing the body was weak. A small glass of wine and a snuggle on the couch was all I could muster (yes I feel guilty , but only slightly). 

There would be no chance of recovering that time as I try hard not to work at the weekend. It can be such a temptation when you work for your self, but with each month that passes I am ever more conscious of the dwindling weekends left together before my boy's are off doing their own things. Plenty of time then for me to fill. So I did as little as possible on Saturday and Sunday. I didn't even have the Easter egg hunt to arrange since I was reliably informed that they were 'too big' for that kind of thing. (I think that might have been a bit of retaliation for discovering the Lindt Bunny con I had been pulling on them for years, but that's another story).

I did indulge in a little fabric flower folding in the evening though, just to have something to do with my hands. First were the brooches..... 

.......then I decided to see if I could make them smaller.........

.......then I got a bit carried away with myself.........

Ahem! Not quite what I had planned at the beginning of the week, but definitely more relaxing :o) 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Variation on a Theme

A few things happened this week that left me wondering 'is there such a thing as an original idea?' Yeah, I know, I had to go and lie down for a few minutes to get over the shock of such a philosophical question having the audacity to disrupt my day.

I have a craft fair coming up and while I've got a number of handbags ready, after a brief stock take I noticed I was short on pocket money products, smaller items that entice but don't break the bank. At a fair last year I had been sorely tempted by a beautiful silver and felt pin cushion on offer by another crafter. She had mounted a felted ball of mixed merino wool onto a sterling silver ring base. Cute and practical, what more could a girl ask for. Unfortunately it's price was a bit too steep for my finances to scale so I had to stay at base camp and worship from afar. 

So when I was thinking of a small item that would be inexpensive, quick and easy to make my mind turned to the 'pin ring' and I set about adapting the idea. Using a water bottle top, a bit of frilly elastic and some of my fave fabrics and ribbons these are what I came up with. 

I was quite pleased with the results.....for all of about 5 minutes. Then worry set in. It hadn't really been my idea, I had just adapted it. Is that the same as copyright theft? Would I get into trouble if I offered them for sale? 

I was still pondering this when I met up with some friends for lunch. We all attend a creative writing group that recently started in Moffat, and since the 2 hours once a fortnight given to the class never seems like quite enough we meet up socially for extra chat time. By our third cup of tea one of our members mentioned that after completing her new story she had taken some down time and spent it with her Kindle and a newly acquired novel. A number of emerging authors are choosing this as their platform  since it doesn't require them to have a publisher. Anyway, as she was reading she began to notice that some of the characters were very similar to the ones she had just written about. Since she was planning on submitting her story to a competition it was a bit of a concern.

Well that set me off again. And there was to be no respite. When I got home I was confronted by a sea of MDF on the kitchen floor. My husband builds bass guitars and when he is designing a new one he draws them out on MDF first to see if the shape will work ( it has to accommodate electronics and hardware, and balance least so I'm told ) and I get called in to do the 'tweaking'. No easy task since every curve, bend and swoop seems to belong to some other guitar builder, of which I am completely unaware. The conversation usually goes along the lines of "no that looks too much like a........" " no ....... have a top horn just like that" " no that bottom horn reminds me of a ......" at which point I throw the pencil at him!

One of my husbands designs,an ACG Harlot 5 string

So is there such a thing as an original idea? Or are we all just rehashing a thought that someone in the dim and distant past has already had? At what point do we have to start thinking about copyright or plagiarism? Do we have to shut ourselves away in a darkened room in order not to be swayed by outside influences in the hope of coming up with something that has never been done before? Or is it that very influence that encourages development, the original being forever improved upon as we use new materials and technology? Does it really matter who had the idea in the first place, is the journey it takes not more important?

All I know is that now I have a headache!(and it's only half way through the week!) Oh, and a basket full of 'pin rings' that I may or may not be able to sell on 1st May.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


The second week of the school holiday is halfway through and my workroom is now my sanctuary. An escape from teenage boys and their attitude.  A refuge from the urge to grab their scrawny, knobbly necks and bang their heads together (an urge usually brought about after being on the receiving end of 'the look', a teenage specific phenomenon that seems to arrive with their first dose of hormones)

I'm probably not the most even tempered person I know, so for the sake of my sanity, my sorely abused vocal cords and fear of social services I've discovered the best course of action for me to take is retreat. Not the tail between the legs kind of course, that would signify some sort of defeat. No I depart with a flourish, a dramatic exit whilst levelling a look of my own. Gloria Swanson would be so proud.

Yes, it's sad to say, but that's what family life had become in the last few months. A constant battle of wills between adults and wannabes. I'm not quite sure where my sweet little boys have gone. I'm now living with untidy, uncommunicative, cantankerous, nocturnal, slightly sniffy eating machines. But for every moment I feel frustrated and angry I also suffer for them. Can I remember what it was like to be a teenager? Only in the vaguest, dimmest recesses of my  memory banks, filed under 'never again'.

Those fledgling steps from childhood when everything starts to change. Limbs grow long and gangly, the resulting clumsiness probably one of the reasons why teenagers skulk about, they have no control so decide to lounge in one place to prevent accidents. Tripping up all the time is so not cool. Bodies sprout lumps and bumps and hair in new places, embarrassing when it happens, embarrassing when it doesn't. A lose lose situation. 

Suddenly they are more aware of their friends of the opposite sex and an awkwardness enters the conversations, so communication degenerates in to grunts. And just when they want to attract attention Mother Nature at her most perverse, and no doubt giggling maniacally up her sleeve, switches on the oil slick. Hair and faces suffer the brunt, and there goes eye contact for a few years. Orthodontists lend a hand in the transformation. My no.1 son had his braces fixed at the beginning of the month and I haven't seen him smile since.

It's not just physical changes they have to cope with. Throughout their childhood situations have presented themselves as black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. Now, as their reasoning develops they are confronted with a myriad shades of grey. So many choices to make and no guarantee they're going to make the right ones. And lets be honest here, they're going to make their own decisions, no matter how much information we give them about our own experiences. The uncertainty and pressure is so overwhelming it stands to reason there will be the occasional explosion, and as parents all we can do is absorb the blast and clean up the fallout. 

The transition to adulthood has its traumas, most experienced by every teenager there ever was or shall be, some more generation specific. So yes, I suffer for them. Doesn't mean I still don't want to slap them about the head though!
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