Monday, 23 March 2009

Odd behaviour on trains...

Well, last Monday I had to go to Doncaster for a meeting. I had to take the train, because the local authority I work for won't pay car mileage to travel outside of West Yorkshire.

I didn't mind, I quite like train travel and was pleased to discover that I was travelling in an almost empty carriage on my outward journey. I had settled my self down with my magazine and cup of coffee when, lo and behold, there was a woman stood looking very pointedly down at my bag on the seat beside me, intimating that she wanted me to move it so she could sit down. She didn't say anything, she just kept looking at the bag and looking at me.

What.....? The carriage was nearly empty, she had about thirty other seats to choose from and she wanted to sit right beside me. Why?!

I was feeling a bit Monday morning-ish so I somewhat ungraciously moved my bag onto my lap and let her sit down beside me. No sooner had she done so than, being now somewhat cramped, I managed to spill the remainder of my coffee all over the table (thanks, missus, I was enjoying that drink). I said "Damn!", rather loudly, and she promptly got up and went into the next carriage, leaving me scratching my head and yearning for the rest of my coffee.....

As if that wasn't enough, on the journey home I was with three of my colleagues. We wanted to sit together as we only meet up every six months and it's good to catch up. We walked through quite a bit of the train in search of suitable seating and finally found a spot. There was a man sitting across the gangway from us, who commented something to the effect that he had "thought he'd got the carriage to himself". We must have mumbled something in response but sat down anyway, since it wasn't one of the designated "Quiet" carriages.

We were soon deep in conversation but as our journey progressed I became acutely aware that our neighbour was listening to everything we were saying. And he was making no attempt to conceal the fact, he just kept looking across at us with undisguised interest. Two of my colleagues had their backs to him but even they felt uncomfortable - that old psychological trick of staring intently at the back of someone's head to make them turn round certainly works!

It wasn't even as if our conversation was particularly riveting. OK, it was of interest to us but I wouldn't have thought it would have captured a total stranger's attention for more than a few moments! I became so uncomfortable that eventually I withdrew from the conversation altogether and studied the view from the window instead. Perhaps I was over-reacting but boy, was I glad to reach my stop!!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Creative Plastic

Well, somewhat over three years ago I applied to buy my computer through the "Computers At Home" initiative where I work. I've just finished paying for it (hooray!!!) and have also recently re-discovered some of the little extra bits and bobs I bought at the same time and somehow forgot of which was a box of Creative Plastic.

I do hope Creative Plastic doesn't have a "sell by" date (I certainly can't see one, anyway!). Because rediscovering it has coincided with my having got really excited reading the latest issue of "Bead", where the regular "Bead Soup" challenge involves shrink plastic and coloured pencils, no less.

It reminded me that some time ago I did some designs using the Gimp photo editing programme, with the Creative Plastic in mind. I began with images of flowers and - er, well, basically just played around. I can't now remember exactly how I achieved the images you see at the top of this post but suffice it to say that many, many filters were used.....

So this weekend, as well as completing and framing in acrylic (see post below) my next piece of embroidered felt, I may well also be cooking up some Creative Plastic!!

(Sorry, still trying to work out how to show links!)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

First in the hand felted pendant range finally listed.

Lightning quick post as it's taken ages to get this listed - but here it is, folks, hopefully the first of many:

Will post at greater length tomorrow when there's more time...

Have a great evening, all!

Edit, March 17th: And this is the lovely Folksy seller I bought the roving from to make the felt:

And while I'm at it, happy St Patrick's Day if you're celebrating tonight! Saw a few guys dressed up as leprechauns in town today, looked like they were getting ready to have lots of fun. Don't know why we had our St Patrick's day parade here days ago, though...?!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Work in progress.

Finally managed to get the chores (bills and stuff) finished around three o'clock this afternoon so here's what I've been doing since!

It's the first stage in creating a pendant. Now I've finished the embroidery the next step is to decide by how much of a margin beyond the dimensions of the felt I want the two rectangles of acrylic glass to go that are going to form the outer layers of the sandwich. Also how many holes I want along each side to wrap the fine wire through to create the sandwich. Also what bead I'm going to use to bring the wires up through to form the wrapped loop that the spring bail will go through.

After that I'll do the cutting then it's down to Roger to do the drilling of the holes (I'm not going anywhere near that Dremel for fear I'll break it, I'm pants with electrical machinery!)

Then it's down to doing the wirework and deciding what hanging options to offer. I haven't any Sterling silver wire or spring bails in at the minute, only silver plated, so offering Sterling chain (which I do have) seems a non-starter. I think I'll offer either s p chain, cord/thong in various colours and materials, or ribbon.

Signing out now, have a good evening all!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Shortest post ever - and no photos, sorry!

Hooray!!! After a mind-blowing hour on Tuesday on Google, I finally managed to source the right material to use to "sandwich" my up-coming embroidered felt pendants. Acrylic glass, 2mm thick, from Wickes. Got a huge sheet for just over £14 - great! Given that I'll be doing different shapes and sizes there's bound to be some wastage but hey, I'm looking at dozens here!

Looking forward to a weekend of creativity...

Have a great Friday evening, folks!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Six years on.

March 4th is nowadays a double celebration for us - Roger's birthday and another year and a day's distance from my mastectomy. Dazed and confused as I was after I got my diagnosis, I can remember being completely distraught when I found out that my operation was scheduled for the day before his birthday. I'm sure I even remember asking for it to be changed...!

My first memories of waking up after the operation - one, just being so glad to be alive (I'm terrified of general anaesthetics) and two, being in intense pain. I was offered a choice between Paracetomol and morphine and chose the latter. Didn't have to have any more pain relief while I was in there so it must have been the right choice!

So instead of us celebrating his 53rd birthday in our usual style my wonderful husband spent it hospital visiting - bearing with him my evening meal, a feast of garlicky king prawns, salad and French bread. Heaven!!! And he wasn't alone - every evening that week as he walked across the car park with my meal he saw several other people carrying covered trays of food.

I was extremely lucky, especially considering that I had buried my head in the sand about my lump for a whole two months before I did anything about it. I had all my left side underarm lymph nodes removed as well as having a full mastectomy and they were all clear. I didn't have to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy, just medication. Two years later, when the bit they missed first time round was removed, a battery of tests told me I was still clear and regular checkups continue to confirm that.

Of course I realise it could come back and bite me on the bum anytime but the further away I get from it the better I feel. And I keep a hundred percent positive attitude. When I was first diagnosed I thought, "No way are you going to get me" and I still feel just the same.

I want to say to any one (it can affect men as well as women): for goodness sake a) check yourself regularly and b) if you find anything that doesn't feel right go seek medical help a.s.a.p. The sooner it's diagnosed, the better your chances of survival.

Who's the little fellow at the top? He's the lovely pressy Roger bought me along with the first of my meals, because he knew what a big deal it had been for me going under the anaesthetic.

Well, I'm off now as it's time to get the fillet steak on the go and open the St Emilion for the birthday meal!

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Self discipline - to an extent.

Well, today I finally got the "toning but not matching" necklace I spoke of in my last but one post listed on Folksy - whew, that was bit of a marathon as the site is slow today to say the least!!

Since the necklace is made with the same rocailles as the earrings I've used the same piece of fabric for the background and I think it works really well! I just need to summon up the energy to find suitable fabrics/papers to re-photograph all the other pieces in both my shops now.....

I've made a late New Year resolution and that is to work on one piece at a time and get it finished. I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this up as it's certainly not my usual way of working but I was beginning to feel overwhelmed by the ever-growing pile of unfinished projects.

I think it might work if I say to myself, one piece of jewellery at a time, one fabric craft project at a time. So for instance I've just started another necklace; this one's going to be netting stitched on to a two-drop peyote band. I haven't decided the netting pattern yet, it may be symmetric, it may be asymmetric. I've a few scribbled sketches which I'm carrying around with me to add to or strike off from as the inspiration takes me.

I've also decided to cut up the more colourful of the pieces of felt I made to embroider on and then sandwich them between clear acetate to make pendants.

The peyote band which is the foundation for the necklace is repetitive and time consuming and so is something I can do while watching the TV; the embroidery requires fresh creative juices and so will be fitted into the "hour after I get home from work" slot. (Yes, I know they're both going to end up as jewellery but you get the general idea.....)