Monday 27 April 2015

Not Procrastinating

I read in a self help book recently that procrastinating can take the form of doing lots of quite productive things, so is not entirely negative. That is the kind of procrastinator I am, one who has their washing done, the floors clean, and some things I don't need finished or bought. This weekend I decided not to be that person, but to be a person who gets the things done that have been nagging at them for a while. I was spurred on by the disappointing news that the Bethnal Green school will probably not need me after half term as they are going to use a newly appointed teacher for next year to do the PPA cover for the two days I do it. I am quite sad about it as I really love the school and the kids there and I will miss them. However, that is the supply life I suppose! Anyway, the idea of starting to take my etsy shops seriously also included an idea to start another one, in which I could sell lots of things I have collected and also some art work and supplies. I want it to be like my perfect shop-and hopefully some other people's too. In the light of that thought I closed my first shop and my first buying only account, to free up two email addresses and attempted to open another account. After a frustrating time with that (the confirmation email never arrived) I got yet another email account and tried again on Sunday morning. So I now have a shop waiting to be stocked and opened! I was pondering over names, all of the ones I thought of having been taken, when I suddenly realised I should just call it 'Circles of Rain' so that is what I have done. Next I collected lots of potential things to sell. Then I had fun finding various props to be used as backgrounds. Then I made two backgrounds. For the first on I used some white, tree like sticks which are actually perfumed (charity shop find that I knew would be useful). I stuck them onto a painted canvas, then stuck on diamante pieces from a dismantled bracelet for stars. The other background is made from what was meant to be a garden border edge. I bought it in a cheap shop last year and used it as a background for my growing beans display at school. It is a strip of wired sticks. I unwired them and stuck them in two rows onto a piece of cardboard packaging I have had for ages (again I knew it would be useful!) This used up three whole hot glue sticks. I didn't have time to take photos but took a few on my phone to play around with. I would not necessarily do this much to them for etsy but I like the historical monument feel that has been given to small plastic animals. 

Next weekend I will take photos for this shop and for the felt and crochet shop. Then hopefully the following weekend I will open all three.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Mohair and a New Place to Visit

I found a lot ( a lot!) of yarn today in a charity shop. It was such a massive bargain that I could not leave it there. It is mohair which I often find in charity shops. I have found all sorts of lovely colours in the past, mainly blues, aquas, greys and purples. Today was the mother load of beautiful colours! So I have been looking for patterns to maybe actually make myself a wearable piece of clothing. Mohair jumpers are a bit fluffy but I thought if I made something lacy it might be ok. Or maybe I could make something huge and then felt it. If not then a huge and cosy mohair blanket. I found this pattern on ravelry which is not suitable for the mohair but I like it. I only joined Ravelry yesterday. It is quite mind boggling how much stuff is on there and I am not sure if I will use it much but no harm in having a look. 
 I also took a large and heavy bag of stuff to the charity shop and while I was there thought I should have a look in Wellhall Pleasaunce. It is just near where I park (in Eltham) and I have never been in there. It is lovely! The building is a 16th century barn and is now a restaurant called The Tudor Barn (funnily enough!) which is supposed to be good.
 There was a manor house there during Henry VIII's reign. He used to stay nearby at Eltham Palace.  Edith Nesbit who wrote 'The Railway Children' lived there for twenty two years (in the house-Well Hall)

 It has a series of formal gardens which are currently full of Spring colour.
There is a bowling green and it looked like sports grounds further on. 
I love the symmetry of this view.
 I wandered around for a while. I was on my own so was keeping an eye out for dodgy types as there was hardly anyone there. I saw a man drinking from a plastic bagged bottle and avoided him but other than that nobody.
 It is in a busy area surrounded by roads which makes it all the better to find such a quiet spot. A train rattled past the empty sunken pond.
 A bus at the end of this avenue of trees.
This wisteria is huge and will look spectacular soon. I must remember to go back!

 It doesn't really show in the photo but this wall was really bowed. 
Below is the other side of the wall-with some very sensible buttresses probably due to the bowing!
 These irises will look pretty good soon too. Mine didn't flower last year which was disappointing. Hopefully they will this year.
This area of London has so many parks and gardens, and some of them are quite hidden. Recently on a walk back from Greenwich our friend showed us a little park with a graveyard of sailors. It is not far from where we live but I never knew it was there. Always something to discover!

Thursday 23 April 2015

Wandering in the City

St Botolph without Aldgate. Originally built around 1100, first rector called Norman,(Thinking about this he may have been Norman rather than called Norman!)  demolished as unsafe in 1739 and rebuilt. (Read about the history of St Botolph here)
30 St Mary Axe, (The Gherkin), designed by Norman Foster and completed in 2003. Built on the site of The Baltic Exchange, damaged in an attack by the IRA in 1992. There were plans to keep the facade of this building but it was too badly damaged. Apparently parts of it are in Tallin in Estonia, to be reconstructed. (Not sure if it has been yet!)

St Andrew Undershaft, almost right under the Gherkin. Named for the shaft of the maypole which used to stand opposite it, until it was destroyed in 1547 for being a pagan symbol. This church was built in 1532, and there has been a church on this site since the twelfth century. There is building work going on all around in this area, and it is strange and lovely seeing the old churches amongst all the steel and glass.

 One of the panes of glass fell out of this building in 2005. All the other panes were checked!

 It was the second plan for this site. Originally plans were submitted for a tower called The Millennium Tower which would have been 386 metres tall. This was not approved as it was out of scale to other buildings in the city and would have disrupted main flight paths. The 30 St Mary Axe building is 180 metres tall and does not have a huge footprint. I like the way you can walk around the bottom of it quickly. It is always windy when I have been there and there is a statue of a windblown woman nearby. I like it from nearby and far away. I think it is the curviness I like. It looks more friendly than some of London's other skyscrapers.
Windblown woman!

Tuesday 21 April 2015


 It is nearly a year since everything went wrong at my old school, and I still feel the same about teaching-that is I love it but not all that goes with it. I was asked if I would be interested in working permanently at one of the schools I work at today, and said no (but thanks for asking-politeness is important!) without a moment of doubt. Thinking about it tonight, I should probably have said yes-pension, stability etc, but this is the nicest year of teaching I have had for a long time, and I don't want to give that up. It has been hard at times but mainly enjoyable, and the weekends/evenings/holidays without school work have been priceless. I feel that I needed this year to get over what happened, because despite my vow not to let it affect me, it did. I think it was the injustice of it all, the ''Do you know how hard I have worked for this school, and after over twenty years of my life you are treating me like that and saying goodbye with no more than a bunch of flowers?' type of resentment. Anyway, I am pretty much over it now! 
I have been making lots of things recently. A bit of a creative frenzy, possibly because I have more time on my hands, possibly because of the Spring-who knows? I make things because I love doing it, and it doesn't often go a lot further. I have three empty Etsy shops, lots of things hanging around and no connection between the two. So I have begun to think slightly more seriously about what to do about that. I am not a business person type, but there is that excuse, and then there is the reality of not actually ever listing anything in my three empty shops. I am not sure what stops me. I think about it a lot! Recently I have been thinking about having a new shop, to sell some of my huge amount of ever growing lovely things. Naturally I want to keep them all, but if I think about it, some are much more important to me than others and the others could go. (An aside-I recently discovered my perfect television programme-Collectaholics. It was on last year too apparently-why did nobody tell me?!)
As the title shows I am still at the pondering stage. I will let you know if I get beyond that! In the meanwhile, here are some of the things that have been keeping me pleasantly busy...
A very small octopus. He is made from charity shop Bergere yarn. He came to the seaside with us the other week, but only came out of my bag once as I was too scared he would blow away.
 I dismantled the drawer frame under the bed. It was a danger to the cats and made it impossible to clean. I kept the drawers and this one piece of wood. I saw a crackle technique on Create and Craft. You use PVA, gesso and a hairdryer. Works like a dream. I then painted and stamped it. I covered it in wax finally, though not in this picture. I love using wax on pictures, smoothing it with my mini iron.
 The things I made in this picture are the paper things.The farm buildings were a bargain £3 and just happen to be the background. The paper things are the result of scoring and shaping paper, inspired by two brilliant books found in Rochester about paper sculpture. If I ever do any more I will share.
 Crochet basket. Easy. Not that beautiful but practical. I included garden wire in the rim so it stands up well and is shapeable. It is currently holding the miniature dolls who have found some friends and are waiting for photos.
 I went to Spitalfields market on Saturday. I don't know if I was too early, or if it was the wrong day for vintage stuff but I wasn't that impressed. I did find this little doll though and then spent an enjoyable time trying to paint her. I love her pink balloon.
 I am trying to make more cards as I have so much stuff with which to make them! This is for my friend's birthday. I am quite pleased with it. They are getting slightly more professional looking.
 This doll is as exact a copy as I could make of one I saw on Ebay. I think the original one was a cloth sixties type doll. I loved making her. I have not made a doll for ages and it has made me want to make more. This one was so simple-just one shape and then painted with gesso and acrylic.
 Last of all-a crochet ring. Impractical as you need to take it off to wash your hands but I like it. I enjoyed picking and sewing the beads into the little bowl. I sewed it onto a wire base that I made  just by twisting. It is quite big. I may make a smaller one which I will be more likely to wear outside the house.

 I didn't make the cats. But I did make a decision about one of them tonight. Lily was supposed to go to the vets to be weighed again. They were all so happy in the sun that I cancelled the appointment. I will take her next week with Cassie who has to go back to get her £100 inhaler.
The building work is getting nearer to being finished. The house is a wooden frame, then clad in white plastic stuff and then the pretend bricks are fixed on. They are made of real brick but are a lie! I have not seen this before-and it probably won't be obvious that they are only shallow once it is finished.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Brought To You By The Letter B

(Dollshouse in Otford)
(Embossed stamp, metallic ink, Brusho, in journal)
(Alcohol pens, metallic ink, in journal)
(Page from a sample book of different techniques I made recently. 
It was drying in the sun near the window when a rainbow appeared)
(Crocheted bag for crochet)
(Chocolate painting at Arty Party last week)
 Breezy Brine
(Queenborough on Sheppey on Sunday-as are rest of Bs)
 Blue Boat