Friday, 31 July 2015

Recent Makes

Time just whips by, and before you know it, August is here! I am currently making a large circle for Linda Sue, but that is not finished yet so no pictures. Here are some other things I made over the last couple of months and why I made them...
 Hazel, a teacher at the Bethnal Green School went off to have a baby near the end of term. I really like her and wanted to make something. I had some octopusses that I have been making for a while, so I added some flowers and made a mobile.
 I also made a card. I stole the idea from Pinterest and made my own version. 
 I made a birthday card for my Mum. I love making these little paper roses. You can make them from a spiral but I have a die that cuts out a spiral with wiggly edges for the very purpose so I used that.
 I made some octopus keyrings for the people in the nursery at the other school. I am going back there in September but only long term for six weeks then back to the daily and supply cover.
 Linda Sue and I went to Greenwich market and this little baby caught my eye. I couldn't wait to try to draw her.
 What a cute face!
 Rachel, the teacher at the local school, left at the end of term, so I got the children to draw themselves, and to tell me something about Rachel. I made the drawings and quotes into a little bound book.

 I made Alice and the other props for the tea party. I really enjoyed making her and want to try more papier mache dolls. 
I found a vintage doily pattern when looking for star patterns so made a few. I have put those on hold for a while though.
 I had some left over felt from school-the unpopular colours! So I have made some bunting to put in the shed. I have a little desk in there. I have not actually sat in there to do anything yet but I intend to.
 I have made a large amount of glue dot glittery things to go on Christmas cards which I intend to start on soon. I have had a few trials and have cut out some felt tree shapes.

 Trying out some pastel pencils I found when tidying the back room. I used acrylic paper which has a texture on it, and quite like that effect.
 My latest project was this little boat. It is Arty Party time again, and the kids made little balsa wood boats in bottles (jars). This is my version. I loved making it! The sails are masking tape stuck back to back on cocktail sticks and poked in. The band is a piece of left over copper from some fish they made. ( I couldn't let the scraps be thrown away so saved them!)
 The anchor is a die cut. The base is an old child's brick. Black acrylic, and a bit of Buff It, a marvellous product-very soft rub on shiny stuff which smells good as well.
This week has been a bit stressful. On Sunday night I had to rush Tiger to the vets, worried that she had thrombosis, which if she had would have meant the end. Luckily it wasn't that and she is fine, but the week began with a very scary night and three hours sleep! Then this morning I went to drive to work and the car wouldn't start. An expensive call to the AA later, ( I had to get home start as I broke down at home) and a bus ride to work, and I had booked a mechanic to come this evening. It was the battery-almost completely dead, so another eighty pounds later I had a new one. I had to help him test it and he explained why they die. We were standing there with the leads attached to the battery and the machine showing bad news. It was like heart surgery for a car. I am looking forward to a weekend with no major dramas!
Our lovely Tiger-still here!

Sunday, 26 July 2015

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I saw this book somewhere on the internet-can't remember where, you know what it's like! I thought it sounded interesting and worth a look. I have been trying to do my normal summer de-clutter, combined with sorting out the stuff from the shed (the new shed is up and now storing stuff usefully) so I have been thinking about these matters the last few weeks. I sorted out the back room last weekend which took me two days. I moved the shoe storage from the hall and that became my art shelves, and the wire thingammy from the kitchen plus one from the garden became the shoe storage and so on. All hard work, but resulting in a load of things going to the charity shop and a load to list on Ebay which I have been doing. The back room has more space and you can now see out of the window. Anyway, the book arrived on Wednesday and I had finished it by Thursday night. I can highly recommend this book to anyone, and especially those with far too much stuff like me. It is based on a very simple idea. Marie Kondo recommends sorting and discarding things in a certain order, starting with clothes, then books, then trickier things such as papers and more emotional things such as photos. She does not feel that doing a little at a time works, as you will never achieve what you want. (This is what all the other books I have read on hoarding recommend. They are also very complicated, such as having to think about when you last used something, or making tick lists of your habits-extra work which is not necessary, and involve a lot of denial-things like stopping yourself buying things, not going to places that will tempt you etc.) She advises doing all of each category at once. You get everything out, then go through each item, pick it up and ask yourself, 'does this bring me joy?' If not then you discard it. If yes then you keep it. It is that simple! Only an individual can answer that question for their own belongings. I tried it and it works. I suspect there are a few things that have sneaked their way into staying but overall I am happy with the choices I have made. It is as if the secret to letting things go has suddenly been revealed to me! 
 Marie Kondo has been obsessed with tidying since she was a child, and the insights into her life are interesting and make the arguments in the book all the more convincing. She likes to give personality to things, which is something that also helped me. For example, she suggests that your belongings wish to help you, and if they are not fulfilling their function then it is better for them to be let go. She also suggests thanking them for the help they have given you. This can happen as you are discarding them or as you have finished with them for the day. 
Here are my socks, sorted and folded. I didn't realise how many I had. I only ever wore about four or five pairs as I couldn't find the rest. Folding is another aspect of the book-who knew that folding and storing things vertically could make such a difference?! No more lost socks, or crumpled jumpers. I was a sock baller, where you put the pair together and roll them up. Marie says that this never allows the socks to rest, as the fabric is always stretched. I had never thought about this but it makes perfect sense.  Marie is not a fan of 'storage solutions' as these are just ways of burying things, never to be looked at again. This is mainly true for me, apart from my craft storage, which does need to be in boxes but does get used.

 My clothes were easy to do. Then I went for the books. I started to clear the shelves at 11.30 yesterday, and finally finished the sorting, and cleaning up afterwards this evening at 6. The pile near the t.v. is from the bedroom. The other two piles are from the left and right bookshelves in the sitting room, and some from other places. 

 Above are two of the newly tidied shelves. Below is the sum total of books next to my bed. The books are not all stored where I want them yet as I have four shelves worth to look into on Amazon, to see if they are worth selling.
 The removing of books and magazines (and dust!) from next to the bed has been the best part of this. It was a classic toppling piles scenario, with little room to move, and no organization. Now I have room to use this stool as a table to put the one book I am reading on. I love that! The dangling feet are those of my skeleton puppet. He brings me joy!
 During the back room tidy, I found that I own about ten typewriters. I selected three to sell. I opened the unpromising case of this one, only to find that it is lovely! A beautiful green which I love and an interesting collection of letters and practice pieces from the previous owner. It works well too.
So I am going to keep it. 
 A waterworkers' strike in 1983!

Back to the tidying-I estimate that I had about 1600 books. Now about 800 of those are in bags waiting to be distributed to charity shops from tomorrow. I am so amazed! They are so heavy, and so a literal weight has been lifted. Thank you Marie Kondo.

Friday, 10 July 2015

A Mad Tea Party

Falling down rabbit holes is still going on, as this girl in Bethnal Green knows. 
 Although lost, you will not be alone, as there are a myriad of creatures to keep you company, stories to tell and to hear, and altered states to be experienced.

This white rabbit is not so anxious as the original one, in fact he is quite calm,
 The Cheshire cat has moved from a tree to a toadstool, though he is still advising Alice in a riddleish way. 

 Listen Alice, there is a tea party going on...

 A smaller party today, with just tea, and chilli fudge for one, but a little Wonderland magic will make more. 
 Someone has left their hat behind...

There is a giant teacup or a giant's teacup, 
 a March hare, 
 and a paper pig. 
Whatever next?!
 A table of toadstools, that's what!
 Choose carefully Alice, do you want to get taller or shorter? 
 The purple one is perfect, just don't have too much.

Yes, late indeed! Thank you for visiting Alice's party. Now let's be off to visit the other partiers, via the portal of A Fanciful Twist. Hurray!

Thanks to Vanessa for hosting yet another lovely mad party, and to Kim Klassen for the textures I used on my photos.
Alice is a papier mache doll I made, along with her friend the cat, and her props the mushroom and teacup. I didn't make the pig, only painted him, but he did come in very handy! Goodbye!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Another Weekend Walk

On Saturday Andy and I headed off to see our niece's degree show, which was being held in Hoxton (I think it was Hoxton!) He suggested walking along the Regent's Canal from Bethnal Green. We had lunch in the Museum of Childhood first.
We went onto the wrong side of the canal first. I am glad we did as this derelict building and old car were waiting for us. It must have been such a lovely place when it was in good repair. Sad how it has ended up.

Crossing over we found Andrew's Road. 
Then a proposal at the top of some rainbow steps. 

There was a doll boat for me. 
And a sweet lacy window in the house by the lock. 
The harlequin waved at us as we passed by. 
And I found life advice on a mosaic.
Reflection cleverly written in the water. 
Niece Florence's show. She was on the Illustration and Graphic Design course at Brighton. The End and the exclamation mark are hers. It was an interesting show, with films and lots of books as you would expect. I read loads of them while we were there, once I had cooled down from our walk! My favourite thing was a snippet of a film I saw. It was of a bear-life sized-person with bear head and clothes who was doing things such as rooting through a bin and sleeping on a bench (sleeping rough Linda Sue!) and a quote flashed up which said ''I didn't ask to be imagined''. I just love that.
Andy's brother met us there, and his Aunt. We went for a coffee with James afterwards, though did not have a blubbery muffin.
On the way back to Bethnal Green we found this falling girl who makes me think of Alice. 
These two characters are in the entrance to a garage. Recycled car parts with other bits of clothing. I love the little trousers and the friendly waving glove hand.
I didn't look closely at how this picture was done but it looks like a mixture of pen and scraped back layers.