Friday, 29 July 2011

Positively negative

My crafting buddy Alexis must be one of the most optimistic people I know, being a proponent of the power of positive thought and the art of visualisation. Next to her I look like the harbinger of doom! With my finely tuned pessimism and gloomy outlook I'm such a trial to her. 

Our relationship reminds me very much of Oddball and Moriarty in Kelly's Heroes, a favourite film in this predominantly male household.
"Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves." Donald Sutherland would say.
"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?"

Yup, that's Alexis alright, but without the moustache, Sherman tank and 60's lingo (fortunately). Normally, that type of cheery enthusiasm would fill me with the desire to flatten the protagonist, but she manages to pull it off with such gentle sincerity that I have no option but give in and try it her way for a while. Never is this phenomenon more evident than at the craft fairs we attend.

We were at the Biggar Agricultural Show at the weekend. This is our third year at the event and it is one of our favourites, mainly because it's one of the few venues where we have loads of space to display our wares. 

Sales are generally good, although we have both discovered our taking have decreased slightly over the years, and not just at this fair. Now any sensible person would put that down to the current economic climate. 

Not me. I have myself convinced it's because my product isn't up to scratch. I'm making the wrong things, in the wrong colours, and selling them at the wrong price. This is the point at which I usually receive my positivity pep talk.

I foiled her this time though. I stayed upbeat for most of the day. Lot's of small sales had kept me going - all of the new bookmarks went - but I still hadn't had any large sales. With the seconds slipping away I turned my best Basset hound eyes in her direction, imploring her for inspiration.

"Visualise! Pick a bag and see yourself wrapping it up" she said

Well I tried. I really did. But all I ended up with was a mild headache and a wildly unfocused gaze that probably scared any prospective customers away. I would have been disheartened by my lack of success if I hadn't discovered that Alexis had picked the same bag that I had and her endeavours had been no more effective. 

So no big sales then. Strangely, I didn't slip in to my usual pit of despair. Having been in a positive frame of mind for most of the day it seemed a shame to lose it. Looks like Alexis might be on to something there :o)

Of course by the end of the week, after the plumber didn't turn up to install our new shower, the reminder for the road tax came through and our dishwasher packed in, my frame of mind had altered considerably!

Friday, 22 July 2011

No rest for the naughty

I may be a holiday task master ( " you will enjoy yourself, whether you like it or not" ) but even I can't keep going all day. Every evening I would remove my tour managers hat, put down the ubiquitous umbrella and kick off my sensible sandals. While the family breathed a sigh of relief and toddled off to find some form of technology to fiddle with I would dig in to my bag and bring out my small project box.

The summer season of craft fairs coincides with the school holidays and I always feel the need to try and do something while I am away. Fortunately I've found a way of creating and relaxing. I take a box of fabric scraps, threads and embroidery floss with me wherever I go.  

Some holidays are more productive than others, it all depends on how much energy I have at the end of the day and whether I'm left to my own devices. This year I didn't actually get around to making much ( a combination of good company, good wine and a really comfy bed! )

I embroidered some white cotton with a flower motif. I made them in to lavender sachets when I got home.

But the majority of what spare time I had was spent folding fabric flowers. I didn't realise how many I had made until I got home and had to decide what to do with them. Most became rings and brooches to replenish those I had sold at the last craft fair. I decided to try something new with the few that were left. What do you think?

colourful bookmarks

Hmmm! Not quite sure how they will work with a Kindle....

Thursday, 21 July 2011

R and R

Phew! Just back from holiday and I feel the need for a break!

There is no such thing as rest and relaxation on our family holidays. They have been likened on more than one occasion to a military operation. The comparison is made tongue in cheek I hasten to add ( at least I think it is :o/ ). 
I don't have a clip board full of checklists, schedules and logistical schematics or anything like that. I do however consult guide books and maps, looking for suitable activities. If I didn't we would end up doing all of the same things we do at home, just in different surroundings.  

This year we decided to stay in the U.K.( unpredictable ash clouds and an unstable euro were just too much added holiday stress for me to handle ) and our friend and his boys joined us. Cornwall was our destination, and did I have my work cut out for me trying to decide on the venues most likely to cater to every ones taste. There was so much choice. I'm not going to bore you by regaling you with our itinerary, even if we had one - which we didn't ! 

Suffice it to say as long as we did something cultural.....

My favourite trip was to the Minak Theatre. What a backdrop! They were rehearsing for a production of Hamlet when we were there. The adults would have loved to have stayed but unfortunately for us the performance was sold out. Besides, the boys have yet to discover the joys of Shakespeare :o) 

Seats at the Minak

......followed by a trip to the beach.......
After I made the comment that the boys looked like Selkies in their wet suits they decided to do a quick impression of seals making their way on to the beach. I was shaking so much with laughter this was the only reasonable shot I ended up with!

.......every one seemed happy. 
What made it even better was there wasn't a midge in sight to chase us indoors by 6 o'clock. Nothing says holiday quite so much as sharing a drink outside as you watch the sun go down. 

The evening tide going out

We managed to cram quite a lot in to our week away. And after all that time ruminating over books and brochures what are my two most likely to remember from their holiday? The scones and clotted cream that were waiting for us at the cottage on our arrival, and saving a small mouse from falling down a drain at Trelissik Gardens.

 What's that they say about the best laid plans of mice........

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