Friday, 22 July 2011

And the winner is....

All above board, the Whippet chose the winning ticket

and then took it off to his dinosaur blankie to eat it. 
Well done Sue!

In other news, this lovely bracelet arrived today:

courtesy of Bee - thank you, I love it!

My, look at those leeks in that photo - I should have planted them out ages ago.  I've also got some more in a seed tray that I should have pricked out several months ago.  So that's what I'm going to be doing tomorrow - some rather overdue gardening tasks!

As I'm also going to be on the bland white diet, I baked a white loaf instead of a half-wholemeal:

My now-perfected no-knead bread recipe. 

480g bread flour, 1/4 tsp yeast, 1 heaped tsp salt, 360ml water, mix with knife to shaggy dough, leave 12 hours, tip onto floured worksurface and flop about a few times (the dough, but feel free to do likewise), drop into well-greased tin and leave 2 hours, put into cold oven and set for MAX temp ie. 230C for 30 mins, turn down to 200C for 25 mins, Bob's your uncle.

It made a mean sandwich, but I won't be allowed all these salad veggies tomorrow:

Thanks to my beloved father and his dodgy genes, I've got a colonoscopy on Monday.  Ironically, I have to stay off the wholegrains, fruit and veg tomorrow in preparation for an unpleasant Sunday spent mostly in the bathroom, or drinking litres of water to wash down the dreaded meds, with the only "food" allowed being lemon or lime jelly....After the day-before, the actual procedure is a doddle - this will be my fourth. 

So when I finally surface from all that, I'll be about ready for a holiday.  And what with a few weeks living on the beach in one of the best tents in the world followed by long treks across the country for my most aged relative's 90th birthday and a cousin's wedding later on in the holidays, I'm going to take a bit of a break from blogging.  See you all soon, and happy holidays!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Marking time

Here 'tis then, my 100th post! 
To celebrate I wanted to do a little giveaway. 

After mounting all my Art Trail work on canvases, I had lots of little pieces of wood left over.  I think they're supposed to go in the corners of the stretcher bars to stretch the canvas.  I started to bung them all in, then didn't think I needed them so I took them all out.  I have loads now, littering my desk.  I wanted to do something creative with them and I wanted to make something for my giveaway.

One idea was to wrap the little bit of wood in fabric and thread and beaded wire and use my new toy*  to attach a brooch back:
 (*glue gun! hot dribbles of gluey stuff! the Girl is also mightily excited by its arrival)

It looks huge in this photo, it wasn't.  Past tense - it has been dismantled, after it was deemed too strange and lumpy, and because it didn't hang properly on a Tshirt but just looked odd.

So then I tried this (sorry about the lack of focus - story of my life):

A flatter piece of embellisher felt/embroidery stuck on to a black-painted small piece of wood, with brooch back attached (hot glue!).  But again, it didn't hang properly - it sorted of wobbled over to one side.  So now it's on my bag strap.

At this point I gave up.  Anyone got any bright ideas on how to use up lots of little rectangles of wood?  (They were pointy, but I hacksawed the ends off and sanded them smooth.  Almost DIY).

SO after all that, my giveaway is now going to be one of my little books! 

A tiny little handmade book, with lining paper pages.  The pages can be removed when they are full and either replaced with something similar, or you could then use the cover as a credit card holder - there are little pockets inside each cover which hold the pages in place, which could then hold credit or business cards or whatever you wish.  The cord just wraps around and the beaded ends can be looped through to fasten.

To win yourself a little book, just leave me a comment on what else I could try to do with all my little pieces of wood!  I'll ask the Birthday Boy to pick a name by pointing with his needle-nose:

One doggy birthday cake, two candles.  Please can i eat it now mum i'm drooling all over the mat.

Special mince and carrot doggy cake with yoghurt icing and bacon sprinkles.  Yum!

NEXT on the agenda, I've been nominated for one of these awards!

Thank you Bee!  In return I would like to nominate Emma, up there on the island of my ancestors, Chloe and her birdies and last but not least Linda - I am in awe of anyone who can stick at anything for 34 years, but especially teaching!

MEANWHILE, here are a few photos of the Art Trail bits that didn't get their close up before:

The books sold really well, bestselling item at 36%.  Pictures/hangings came in at 29%, but I didn't sell as many as I would have liked.  But then again, I'm not sure anyone else at our venue sold anything much.  I could be wrong there.  We had a fair number of visitors, but not as many as I would have hoped for.  However, I had very positive feedback and everyone said they loved my work, so that was a massive boost to the self-confidence!  And as a direct result I've already got four people enrolled in my course for next term, and the brochure's only been out a week!

Here are some of my brooches - these came in at 11%, the same as bookmarks:

I sold loads of these, and had to make more mid-week.  They're laminated paper and sheers, with machine stitch and an embroidered/beaded cord.  I worked out that eight of these takes about the same time as one brooch, and the money is the same - swings and roundabouts.  I only sold a few brooches, but that's the same as quite a lot of bookmarks...

And I really enjoyed making these cards, but people seemed to prefer the bookmarks:

Cards were only 9%.

The remaining 4% was a bag, made a year or so ago, found in a drawer mid-week and added to the display, sold at 4pm on the last day!

So all in all, it was a hugely tiring week but very good to do - I made a lot of new contacts, my course is almost certainly going to run in September now, and I made a bit of dosh for my holiday spending money - (except I've already spent some of it on my new gluey gun!).  It took two days to tidy my desk and the end of the table, but I finally closed the doors of my desk/cupboard yesterday.  Only to open them again to help the Girl make a Button Babe and a Birdie brooch for her teacher and teaching assistant:

Phew!  Time for a sit down.  But don't forget to enter the giveaway first! 

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hutterly Xausted

Just a quick one to say I'm still here, just!  Joints are aching and the eyes have crossed and the hair is more grey than before, but I'm still here!

I pulled a late one on Thursday, staying up until 1.30am to make 47 cards - much to the Whippet's disgust: "trying to sleep here, Mum, blimey" - and then got up at 6am to start labelling and bubble-wrapping.  Basically, I did Wednesday's job all Thursday evening, and Thursday's job in the early hours of Friday much for schedules and timetables, huh!

Then with the help of Mr Gonecycling and his hammer and spirit level (he's not too bad, really) we finally managed to set everything up a mere two hours behind schedule.  Here's a little look:

I realised it's the first time I've ever done anything like this - I've done City & Guilds exhibitions, but that's different...

I hope nothing's fallen down overnight!

I'm in a show home on the outskirts of town, so lots of pristine white walls.  I'm also supposed to be sharing the space with a macrame jewellery maker, but she was very late arriving to set up, so late that I didn't meet her - I hope I left enough space!  I'll check on it all again later today. 

There's a hideous black shiny fitted wardrobe in the room, so I put my little sales table in front of it:

Fingers crossed...

Then there was just time to drop off my Art Trail competition entry (theme: Play and Recreation),

walk the dog (still upset, with confused ears all morning due to all the wrapping and packing and comings and goings), watch the Shuttle launch, before collapsing on the sofa with a cup of tea...only to have to get up again an hour or so later to go the the Art Trail launch party...and I was finally allowed to sit down with a glass of something toothsome at about 9.15pm. 

But it's not all over yet!  Oh no!

At least it's the Girl who's under the spotlight today and not me.  She's doing the town Festival parade at lunchtime, a piano concert at teatime and a violin concert at suppertime.  Whether any of us are actually going to be able to eat a meal at those times remains to be seen.  I think we'll take the day off tomorrow...