Sunday, 31 July 2011

Here I go then, wish me luck!

I've not been very forthcoming with the old blog updates this week. It's all been a tad hectic since my last post, but I guess we knew it would be, didn't we?

Workwise, I've been hammering at the various things I have on my list of must-be-dones. I was hoping to be finished on the painting front by today, but not quite there yet. I should be able to put a few hours in during the evenings this week and I'll definitely utilise my weekday off for wrapping up the last bits. Lists will be required for the other stuff I'm up to, as so kindly suggested by fellow arty types. I'm in full agreement that this is the way to go. I've always been a fan of lists, they never let you down.

General life things. Well, hub booked Thursday and Friday off work to spend some time with me. I must admit to allowing everything else to fall by the wayside for those days and abandoning all to revel in some wonderful days of fun. We're both delighted to have had what class way up there in the "best days of 2011 so far". We did a bit of shopping, marvelling in the fact that we'll actually be able to make it to the end of the month without tears and tribulations. Nothing massive, just a few little treats. I got some new shoes for work and a couple of things to wear in the fantastic Liverpool sales. We went to see Captain America too (awesome film - all you geeky types must go and see it), joined by our eldest and youngest spawn. The little one was 18 on Wednesday, so we celebrated with her by way of presents, cake and general sillies. I shall refrain from my moans of how old I feel having all of them over 18 now. Gah!

I went to the hairdressers to ask about having the many years worth of hair dye removed from my noggin. I've not been keeping up with it these last months due to lack of cash and my grey is really taking hold. I thought I might embrace it and start being graceful about my age, but the quote of £94 sent me straight off to Superdrug for a box of colour. Crikey. People really pay this sort of money to have their hair done? I'll stick to DIY thank you very much.

Today I've been super virtuous and done all my ironing. I've already unearthed my old work clothes from the past few years and washed them, so it was a whole afternoon of trying things on, sewing on buttons and general sprucing. I'm pretty pleased at how much I've got. My weight has fluctuated a lot since I got most of this clobber, by which I mean I got stuff, got fatter, got new stuff, etc. I am happy that I can now wear any of it because I'm back down to how I was about 3 or 4 years ago. I don't mind things being loose, so I've got heaps! And no, I'm not regretting buying two lovely new tops in the sale for £4 each - they'll be welcomed into the arms of my bulging wardrobe. Now I just need to decide what to wear tomorrow and paint my nails accordingly. That's the one girlie thing about me, I always have my nails painted, no matter what. Really it's just a long standing habit of about twenty years and not very much at all to do with glamour or fashion.

Hub has just got home from geeking with his friends, so we're going to have roast chicken and salad together in the peaceful house. Tascha is still doing 18th stuff, dragging it out for as long as she can (and who can blame her?), so we're chilling in the quiet.

I do so hope that next time I write I'll be pleased with how things are going at the new job. Cross your fingers and toes for me?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

It's time for an update after my week away.

I had a very busy time in Scotland. My sis is mid house move, so there was lots of packing, moving boxes, loading vans and getting grubby. There was also much fun and girly talk, takeaways and silly shenanigins. Her new place is beautiful, though smaller than the old one. This is her second downsize in 12 months, so sadly she's having to part with a lot of stuff. We did get to go to ikea in Glasgow for bits and pieces though, which was nice. I do have a soft spot for Ikea but I've only ever been to the Warrington one. It was like a big adventure being in a different store. Sad, I know.

As I squeed about last time I blogged, I have six painting commissions on order. I also have eight sculpted masks to make and a latex banner for a show at the NEC. Luckily my most pressing deadline in August, the next one September and the rest October onwards. I say luckily because....

I didn't go to the job interview I talked about. I called the chap yesterday and arranged it for this afternoon, but he sounded far from interested. I would have gone, except I applied for a job online late last night and they called first thing to ask me to go and see them. The times clashed, so I chose the one who actually came across as being interested. I had my interview at 2pm and came out at 3.15 having spoken to the depot and office managers. I was successful and I start at 8am on Monday. I'm a tad shocked!

The job is at a drinks distributer locally, well within walking distance (there's that exercise I've been going on about). I used to work for a massive food distributer, so I already know how this stuff works. They have a lot of new staff who are just beginning to learn the ropes and from what they said in the interview I'm going to be streets ahead. It's quite a confidence boost to know that all the work I've done in the past will count for something. I'll have a flexible role doing all sorts of things and the opportunity to settle in where I feel happiest. There's also a bonus scheme for me, which I've never had before, so all the business I bring in will be rewarded.

I need to get motoring on all the commissions I have lined up now. Suddenly my diary is as full as Simon Cowell's wallet and I won't have time to do things at my leisure. I'll also have money again, which is a very peculiar feeling indeed.

I'm not sure how I feel about it all. It's been very fast and I've ended up with a full time job instead of part time. I hope I like it there and I hope even more that I can manage to continue my creative work. On the positive side, it means we'll not be stressing about money any more (which has been truly awful lately) and we can pay some things off.

A cup of tea and a sit down are required I reckon.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Really REALLY Good News

Well here I am in Scotland, having arrived safely yesterday after travelling on two trains and a bus to get here to Strathaven. Rather pround of myself for making it here without event or trauma!

I'm mainly popping in to report some fantastic news. I got an email today on Folksy from someone asking for six (yes SIX) paintings! she wants 5 x 7 inch versions of various ones in my shop, all with little special touches. After all I've been going through lately with my self belief this is just the tonic I needed. I'm sure we all dream of getting an email to tell us our shop has been bought out lock, stock and barrel, and this is just the same feeling. Utterly overjoyed!

Now, despite this wonderful event, I am still looking for a job. I have news to share on that front too in that i got a call yesterday from a chap who owns a business locally and is interested in seeing me when I get back home. I'm to ring him on Monday to arrange it. It's a 25 hours per week position, which would give me some time to still continue doing my artwork.

Is it possible (just a tiny bit with my eyes scrunched up), that all my woes and upsets that have brought me so low this past few months are to be fixed in one fell swoop? Can I stop holding my breath and finally relax? Will this little holiday in Scotland mark a new start in more ways than I'd ever dared hope?

Good gracious. There's a danger of me actually stopping my sadsack ways and being semi successful here. You won't recognise me!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Postie and Holidays

I'm waiting for the postie this morning with baited breath. The devil didn't bring my awaited parcel on Saturday and I really really want it today so I can take my gorgeous new things with me to Scotland tomorrow.

Jane from Pidgeonstitch (click shop name to see her stuff) has made me a series of bags and purses to match from my umbel fabric and I made myself a co-ordinating book yesterday. This is the first time in many years that I've made a book just for me and I'm madly in love with it. I'm looking forward to placing it in the bags and taking it out again to see how it looks (several times of course).

Jane has kindly sent me some wonderful photographs of the completed items and I've added one of my book just to show the whole set. Can you hear the squee?





So, I'm off to Scotland in the morning to stay with my sister. I decided last week that it was a good idea to have a break and a change of scene. The dark times have been trying to sneak in and there were a few extremely dodgy days that took some serious getting through. I have no idea whther they are hormonal glitches or if I'm going round the proverbial bend, so it's time to take action and regroup.

My sis is moving house at the moment, so I shall be helping her as much as I can. I'm also starting a sculpture type commission while I'm there, which will be a fairly long process and much fun to do. Updates on that at some point in the near future.

When I get back I will be job hunting with extreme urgency. I'm already scouring the web for suitable things, but it's a matter of huge importance that I find something as soon as possible to bring in a steady income. Wish me luck on that one!

I have packing and faffing about to do now, so it's off to the land of suitcase for me.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A Few Photos

I've just been mucking about in my photos and found these. Fancy dress things for hub and me. We always end up making the oddest costumes, or should I say I make them and he complains about having to wear them.

Cruella (I won an award for that one) and two clowns.



I won!

In unusual good news, I can report that I won a lovely giveaway this week.

This is a bit late in the posting, mainly due to strange and pressing events round here this week that I shan't bother going into right now. But I'm here now, so feast your eyes!


The lovely Rosa Lily ran a fabby competition on her blog page (click on her name to go and see) for one of us to win a whole package of her delightful makes and I was the lucky winner! Yes, me. Me who never wins the lottery or a raffle (apart from that one time in high school when I won the gigantic stuffed lion that took 3 of us to carry home, but that was more of a fail than a win as I was 16 and really didn't want an enormous lion).

So here is all my new and wonderful stuff that will today be put into position in the house. Even my hub has got involved with his recommendation that the stars ought to go in the bedroom as they'll match our theme in there (he's really coming on, isn't he? Or am I just turning him gay by instilling an appreciation of interior design? If he starts listening to the Village People I'll be having a word with him).

Go and look at Rosa Lily's blog for a cheery and uplifting experience, very different from my often miserable rantings! And a massive thank you from me :)

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

New ACEOs

Sometimes you do flowers and then there's nothing for it but to draw some skulls. One of those days.



Mid Morning Whittering

There's apparently rain coming in. I could have predicted that myself; the amount of washing I've had on the line this week cannot have helped but contribute to some massive old clouds. Sorry folks.

I've been up and painting for hours now. Breakfast is therefore required soon. To this end I have some sausages cooking, which will do me 'til tea time. I really can't be bothered with the fuss of making food, it's such a drag.

Another painting got finished yesterday and then I ventured outdoors again for some background making. It's best to do that away from the house where possible due to the mess. I'll need to hose down the flagstones sometime, as they're currently in rainbow hues, which while quite attractive, is not really what you want in the back yard. Or so they tell me.

My paintings may be going off on Friday to someone who knows galleries. Long story, but it's a last gasp at trying to get my tootsies on the ladder before we starve to death as a result of my sales fail. I'm so rubbish at this. Oh and my sister is possibly going to help me in a few months time by getting gigs for me in places where people want to learn arts and crafts. We're having big discussions about it at the moment. I do also have a college thing coming up in the new term, which is something I'm looking forward to. Once again, my favourite old phrase - who knows?

I still have the man flu. I'm not quite as wracked with coughing today so far though. I'd say I've improved by about 5 or 10%. Roll on the return of good health I say.

So anyway, here's yesterday's finished piece. Another larger acrylic painting.


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

While The Sun Shines

Adventurous me. I set up my easel outside yesterday and painted in the sunshine. Not as romantic and bohemian as it sounds unfortunately, as the corn flies and various other bugs were also all revelling in the weather. I lasted about an hour before the constant flicking away of insects drove me back to my desk. On the good side, a slightly different set of tactics did give me an unusual look to my painting and I was quite pleased with it. Check out the texture on the flowers (click the image for a bigger version where the detail can be seen properly). It doesn't photograph too well, but it's pretty nice in real life.


I also must mention that I am still being superhuman and doing loads of housework. My moaning about the place being a tip is now replaced with joy that it's looking fairly good. The kitchen has been washing-up-free and sparkly floored for well over two weeks now. Not much of an achievement for most people, but for me this is remarkable and marvellous. The bathroom is also sparkly, and my bedroom, well, it's a joy to behold. As is the way of things though, I am now noticing how desperate the walls are for some fresh paint. It's never done is it, house stuff?

Hub went off geeking last night and I set to for another bit of painting, hoping to get a little more done. Before I knew it I was looking at the clock and it was almost 10pm. I'm a bit scared to add up exactly how many hours I worked for in total, especially given that I should really be resting a bit with this damn man flu. I'm still rough as a bear's posterior.

I'd say I'll chill out today, but it's unlikely. I was up at 5am because I spent all night dreaming about what I was going to do to this next painting. I've already spent a bit of time on it before hub got up, so it'll be finished soon. I think I should name them after what goes on during the creative process. We'd have painting with flies, painting with the man flu, painting in the sunshine, etc. Not sure it's quite the thing people would be looking for though. Or maybe I should call them after the music I was listening to as I worked. Most of them would be called Led Zepplin or Vampire Weekend in that case. Not so good for differentiation.

Oh and an update on Craig's crochet. After all the lovely and positive comments from everyone he has got the courage up and opened a Folksy shop. I love the descriptions he's put in there, they're so Craig. I hope he gets some sales, as his stuff is too awesome for words and he works so hard on it in his quiet unassuming way. We heart Craig. Here's where to find him

http://www.folksy.com/shops/CraigsCrochet

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Craig's Crochet Creations

It's high time I wrote this blog dedicated to Craig so the world can see him and his work.

So, who is Craig?

Well this is him here




Craig is my eldest daughter's chap (her name is Hannah). He's a whizz with all sorts of things, but also very quiet and shy, so there's no way on this earth he would ever shout out about his skills. Which is where I come in.

Craig comes along to my craft classes (as well as coming to our house to make cups of tea, clean the yard and all sorts of other useful little jobs. He once cleaned my oven because he couldn't sleep. He's a STAR among men). He's the only bloke who ever comes along to the classes and I reckon that alone deserves acclaim for bravery.

Anyway, not long ago we were planning a crochet class. Hannah decided she wanted to learn to crochet ahead of time and came round to my house for a lesson. It took her all of five minutes to become bored, so I suggested she watch some YouTube tutorials at hime and do it at her own pace. She toddled off to do this, but yes, you've guessed it, she got bored with that too. Craig however, liked the look of said tutorials and started to learn to crochet. Within a few days he'd made all sorts of stuff and this blog is here to show the world what he's achieved all by himself. I must also add that he is colour blind, which doesn't help at all, but he manages to overcome this with aplomb.

The beginning of Craig's adventures saw him making headbands and bows, mainly because Hannah makes dreadlocks and wanted some accessories to go with them. He then discovered websites with corchet patterns for all sorts of other things and started making them.

These amazingly gorgeous items are made by Craig within a few weeks of his first ever foray into crochet. Please join me in celebration and awe. He is shy about showing them online or even thinking about selling them, but I for one reckon he's got way too much talent to hide away!


The Troops!

Well well well, guess who got marched on last night?

For those who don't know about it, there's a Facebook group called Send in the Troops. It's a service that helps with promotion and motivation for sellers and they do several "marches" each week. This involves you being there at an allotted time and following them from page to page having a look at new people and liking them. It's a fantastic way for people to see your stuff and for you to get in contact with others in the same boat as yourself.

I've been doing the marches for a while now but until last night I'd never been included in the marching pages. It's like a little lottery - you put your name down in a list each march and nthey choose randomly who they'll visit. Last night the sarge asked who was there who had never been marched on and I got lucky when I replied. It's added amost 60 new likers to my page, a handful of whom have left comments that they like my paintings and will be looking to buy one at some point. You then go through all the new people and like their pages too, which I have done this morning. How fantastic!

I won't be doing any work this morning. I do have some new things lined up, namely some acrylic paintings. I never got round to tidying the bedroom this week though so I'll be doing that after we've had some brekkie. I may get time later to put in some painting hours, but I'll see how it goes. The bedroom is a big job, due to me being an idle fruit and never keeping it in a decent state. All my own fault! I shall feel like a very good egg indeed once it's done. I shall also be taking full advantage of this sunny day and getting washing out on the line. I'll always be a laundry freak before anything else, it's quite a sorry state of affairs really, but one I accepted a long time ago.

I have a very different and awesome blog planned for sometime this week. Just you wait and see!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

2nd post for thursday

Just a quick one this afternoon. I've done an acrylic painting, a little 5 by 7 inch canvas. I quite like it and it made me feel like I've used my day well. I've also been being a cooking whizz and made a curry from scratch for our dinner. What a superwoman I feel now!

Here's the art


Time zooms by

I can't believe it's Thursday already. The weeks are flying past at an alarming rate.

Had a bit of a crash into the doldrums last night. I'm so weary of these ever surging moods. It's becoming boring now. Not so bad this morning though, so that's something to be grateful for I guess. I think I'll do some more housework with music blaring and all the doors and windows open. It may be drudgery, but it really helps sort out my frame of mind.

I've just had a message from my beloved to say he's booked tomorrow off work as a nice little impromptu holiday. How brilliant! He says he thinks I need the company and he's 100% correct. I'm so lucky to have someone who spots things and springs into action for me.

I made a few miniature paintings. I'm venturing in a slightly different direction for a bit and these are just some experiments.




Definitely going to do some landscapes that I've been threatening to embark on for ages, as well as some more decorative acrylic pieces. As always, I have ideas aplenty, but I need to order my mind a little to be able to let them out. Hubby and I were chatting last night about my work direction and I think he's right in that I need to concentrate on paintings for trawling round galleries. I'm so lost with the whole concept of actually earning, which is the typical artist "thing", isn't it? I also really desperately need to find a part time job. Time to start chipping away in ernest at that particular little rock.

So do I tidy the bedroom or attack the pile of junk that is our geek room? Neither is an attractive prospect, but once I get started I'll be alright.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Books, man flu and plucking

It's a good job there's no live webcam feed from my desk. The world would have been sniggering at 7am as I sat here trying to focus my poor peepers on sewing my latest book. It was worth the early start though, and I did help myself out a bit by making the covers yesterday. Two lovely geeky books are now complete.



I'm considering a bit of painting for a few hours now to allow my bookbinding muscles to rest for a bit. I may even get a shower and do my hair nice too. Imagine such glamour!

It must be reported that I think I've caught the man flu from hubby. Luckily we women don't suffer as badly as the fairer sex, so I'll be OK. He however has done himself out of all sympathy regarding his symptoms. I woke up with a raspy throat this morning and his comment?

"Enjoy!"

The sassen frassen low down no good son of a bleep. The nerve!

It appears that Folksy is broken right now. This is very weird and is the first time I've ever seen it happen. Facebook is very quiet too. I feel quite alone in the world, so I may go and perform my ablutions in the hopes that order will be restored by the time I return. My eyebrows could use a serious bit of topiary, so I may be a while. I'm considering doing the first pass with a strimmer, just to make things easier for myself.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Accomplished and it's only Tuesday

Much industriousness around these parts already this week. I've been cleaning and tidying (go me, eh?). You know you're getting to a good stage when you find yourself scrubbing doors and skirting boards. This is how I grade my control over my environment; whether I have sparkling paintwork or not. Sheesh, that's so sad when I see it written down.

As I mentioned the other day, I've been painting a little commission to go on the front of an album for a lady who works as a nail technician (or is it nail artist these days? I never know). It's been enjoyable, apart from the commission stress of course. Anyone who ever does specific makes for people will know what I'm on about. Every brush stroke is accompanied by an internal dialogue that pecks at you, wondering if this is going to be what the person wants. Argh! Thankfully it's gone down well, so I'm happy now.

Last night I embarked upon my new craft class regime. What a lovely night! With it just being a few of us and gathered round my dining room table it was so much more rewarding. It's just marvellous to be able to give enough attention to the girls and they were ever so pleased with their final pieces (as was I - they honestly did a terrific job). We had a gorgeous bouquet of felt, crochet and button flowers, and a series of stunning corsages embellished with gorgeous beads. We didn't wrap up until about 11pm because the time just flew by. That's an extremely late night for me, so I feel like I've dipped my toe into a strange and exciting new world. Loads of fun, and I'm pleased we did it. Anxiety free too, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

I'm off to the post office now and maybe a nice little walk. The weather's cooling off a tad after yesterday's furnace temperatures. They say there's rain coming too, which I shall try to avoid, although I'm in the mood for some thunder and lightning should it decide to indulge me.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

today we went to the river

The weather appears to have realised that it's July. Today's been volcanic. We were out first thing before it got too hot and we actually braved it again this afternoon and went down to the river for a bit. There are lots of trees alongside the marina, so that's where we plonked ourselves in the shade. My beloved hates having his photo taken, so I got that over with right at the beginning. Here he is looking wonderful in his protective baseball cap. I promise he's not the redneck sort who wears one all the time. Handsome as the day is long.


We had lemonade and cookies and read books. I love doing this, especially by the river. Too many people with dogs walking by though, and always the sorts that look like they'd eat your face (not sure if I mean the people or the hounds). Hub was vexed by the many malicious looking swans, which always seem to hate him vociferously with weird screeching noises. Also, there were two girls. One had a video camera on a tripod and the other was dressed in a Baywatch swimsuit and about three gallons of makeup, complete with the biggest false eyelashes you ever did see. They kept filming the swimsuited one running toward the camera, amidst the throngs of walkers and folks like us lazing around. Comments were made, mostly about the makeup. I tittered up my sleeve in a not so subtle fashion.

I have an injury, which I would like to say is a result of extreme sports or a very daring accident, but alas it's just a neck soreness probably brought on by terrible posture and too many hours at my desk. I say soreness, but what I actually mean is waking-me-up-in-the-night stabbing pains and barely being able to move on my left hand side. I get this occasionally and I simply won't tolerate it, so it's been Voltarol and a hot water bottle as much as possible today (super when it's 25 degrees outside, I can assure you). Hopefully it will have subsided tomorrow and all will be back to normal.

I have much work to do this week. I'm doing a little commission painting in the morning and then it's books again. It's craft evening after that, as I've changed my monthly sessions to every Monday night now. I'm doing them at home too, thus decreasing my stress levels in trying to remember all the tools and materials every time.

I think I shall be needing an early night.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Still Upbeat. May be time to look for a pod under the stairs

What an awesome Friday it's been. Socks duly worked off, but one book sold and another swapped. I didn't even get a chance to show this one off, not that I'm complaining. I loved it to bits and I'm delighted that someone else got the squee and snapped it up as soon as I put it on Facebook. It never made it to Folksy. here it is.


If you don't read geek then it'll make no sense whatsoever. If you care for an explanation give me a shout, otherwise I'll keep my geekness under wraps lest I bore you to death.

I've made another book today, in between a million other things. My cleaning frenzy from earlier in the week has continued and our house is (astonishingly) beginning to look like something other than a family of Stigs lives here. I've also been outside for a little meander to the post office. But wait, get this for excitement - we're going to the flicks tonight, for the 8.30 showing! How late is that? It'll be WAY past our bedtime before the film's even over. As if that's not enough rebellion for one day, I've also got a packet of Riesens in my handbag to sneak in with us. Shhhhh.

I feel lighthearted and happy, not quite so feckless or flakey as usual. This is wonderful. Here is today's book; another vintage dictionary page one but in purple this time. I'm rapidly running out of paper and card for these. I need a couple more sales to fund my materials. Dig deep you lot, 'elp the poor starvin' artist (tis true, I've just had the most uninspiring bowl of packet savoury rice for my dinner and it was far from good. I need protein, fruit and vegetables at my age, brittle bones and all that).