Saturday, 31 July 2010

Self Storage...........confidence

I was reading a request for volunteers yesterday, to aid a community theatre/installation event and their theme is to be centred round, 'Self Storage'.
As in how much odd stuff must be stored places by us, like the old car that one day will be worth a zillion squid........or the Darleck someone once won in a  competition, but his wife wont let him keep at home?
Storage containers hidden away in anonymous places, with facets of a persons life in them.

It all sounded an interesting concept, but then it occured to me, it related to me too.
Now I have all my personal memories, clutter n craft stuff around me, in 3 bedrooms and 2 ground floor rooms, some is even in the kitchen............
Much awaiting being stored correctly, in clear sight, for when I look up for inspiration in my workroom, once lovely son finishes fitting the shelves for me........(... lol will I still be alive by then though?)

What I have put in storage ...is ... me.
The penny dropped you know? Ive stashed myself away, the woman I was, am - but unable to be now, because I no longer have the confidence.
I dont feel worthy enough to be ...me, anymore.

I've become the age where I am invisible, no one listens with interest when I speak, younger folks no doubt think Im an old fart, what'd she know?
 And Ive succumbed to standing back and down, not bothering to give an opinion because it basically hurts to be ignored or talked down, as if I have no justifyable opinion worth listening to.
Of course no guys whistle as I walk by any more lol.........well, Ive lived well enough without that to be fair for so long, and most blokes my age, probably have false teeth anyway and maybe can't whistle ! Though in truth, I reckon they are too busy looking at younger women anyway.

My kids are too busy, not interested in what I do with my time, they have their own lives - quite rightly. They have never been into spending time with Mum, not since they were bairns.
Thats how I wanted them to be right? Independant?
So having already lost their Dad, they'd get by when Im not around either. Well, Im victim of my success there, they just expect me to get along okay, and after this many years alone, Ive coped, and do.

It wont dawn on them that its my dads birthday tomorrow and that I still miss him - like they get upset on their own Dads birthday or death date.
I have told them of course in the past, but they wont recall the date of their grandfathers birthday or date of his death and why should they? It only really means something to me.

What Ive done, is stash myself away in a form of self storage, within myself, but at what cost?
I keep my own councel, though apologies go to Mary, who I doubtless unload to too often by email.......probably as well we live at each side of the world now  lol  but she couldnt mean more to me than if we were related.

Ive become hermit like. I get in a right tizz with myself if Im asked to go anywhere, imagine I look an overweight mess, feel uncomfortable and out of place, cant settle, need to escape when I feel the panic set in and cannot tolerate looking at myself in a mirror or shop window!
Which is a bugger cos you have to do that each day, just so you know youve no bogeys on the end your nose and your hairs not stood on end before you go out! ..........
I think I must embarass my kids by simply being around them and my daughters boyfriends family, make me feel inferior and of no consequence, yet they are really nice folks and have made me welcome...so no common sense in that idea at all!

Ive stopped doing, trying to be me, Ive simply become their old Mum, his Nannie and money lender, though I dont get it back very often, so good job I dont moneylend for a living!
But me, where am I? Where have I gone?
Im stashed away within me, no locked cage could be more secure.
I perhaps find escape on a beach, places like Spurn Point, and my craft work, it allows me, therapeutically to 'do' something, which maybe expresses a part of me.
But I know its not enough.

This isnt meant to sound as if Im sorry for myself, its of my own doing afterall and Im not really.
I couldnt handle being so hurt again, so have avoided other relationships, concentrated on bringing up my kids............but Ive gotten quite lost along the way and I can see that now.

Funny how you read an article and things fall into place.
I doubt it will change the fact that my confidence is shot to hell, Ive become a loner, living parallel to the world I inhabit, not believing I have a place in it maybe.
I find voice on a webpage that few folks will ever read......there has to be summat Freudian(?) in that too lol

But if I were to give advice to anyone, dont do what Ive done......... get out there and LIVE. Be braver than Ive become, please.

hey ho...........time for tea, redbush this time.......it may refresh my throat, which is really sore and having lost my voice, makes it even more ironic that Ive wittered on here, about all this, like this!
Nowt so queer as folk and Im a prime example ...

Monday, 26 July 2010

Bargain buys, jardinare painted and spooned flower update too ..

Not sure Im that happy with the change in background colour on the blog page, but cant seem to find the lighter, bubble pattern I had before now......bother! I should have leftw ell enough alone!

My grandson Jack has a silky label fetish, so I have made him some 12" squares of silky fabric, backed fleece with labels all round the edges. In the hope that he might prefer them to trailing his TWO cot blankets round the place with him for security lol
It would make life easier for his Mum Im sure, if she only had to monitor the one smaller blanket!
Cute eh?
So saturday I had the pleasure of Jack and on sunday I helped his dad and girlfriend Caz, do a car boot stall. Well I say 'helped', all I did was encourage them to get round to doing it at last, though I did go along with them. Mind you 3 folks sat on one stall wasnt necessary so obviously I went allecking round in search of Treasure!

Stumbled on these fabulously ( steam pressed in?) stretchy ladies tops for 50p each......well I just loved the colours and figure they HAVE to machine embellish surely!

and the 20p each little girls clothes were such lovely fabrics I couldnt resist them either.... I fancy nine patching them or maybe strip piecing the small pieces. The Per Una ladies skirt to left of centre should make fab flower pins and patchwork too, so not bad at a £1......shame it is too small for me!
The lacework will be dyed and at 10p each.........well why not indeed.
I also picked up 2 woolies, so hand washed/felted them when I got home and this is one of them on the line drying. The other is pale pink and out of camera shot. The fab wool blanket behind them my pal Jean, picked up for me at a charity shop. Thanks Jean!

To show how sad I am, I washed all the small clothes, and cut them up the same afternoon........so I now have an ironed larger fabric piece pile, a smaller ironed piece pile ( bodice bits etc) and a small stash of flowery, pretty buttons plus a bag full of cutaway seams, plackets etc lol
Waste not, want not, I say!

Infact the upper pin was made from the zip out of the Per Una skirt later sunday evening. And Jean? Recognise the lower pins fabric? Found sat late morning at scrapstore? lol My hunch worked out, and at its centre is some of the seam from one of the wee dresses.
They are laying on an old piece of wallpaper (thanks Jean), that I have glued pink and white tissue paper on, for a later project to stitch into.

I have done some simple stitching on the spooned flower piece and added some tulle, afew beads and voile in. Not sure it needs much else, so will let it sit a while and see whether it strikes me as complete as it is....or not... but its not a UFO, okay?!

Oh and since the weather this weekend was so good, I painted my lovely old apsidistra (?) stand and also a pine table with a drawer in, that Id been meaning to DO sumthing with for ages. So they now go together really well.
I tried knocking back the previous paint on the stand, but someone had damaged the top inlay so much with scrubbing at it and the inset glazed tile was also very damaged. I'd found a fab paint, called 'Crochet' but its a strange shade of subtle green, so felt that would look just right.
I removed the small tile on the top and will keep my eyes peeled for an old single tile at car boots etc to set into it at some time.
its irrelevant in a way, since Ive stood a lamp on that section anyway!

Well Im off for my tea........Mary, another pal of mine, and I are on the Dukan (-ish) diet and are on the first day of the attack phase.
So Im off to see what protein I can find to eat, to stave off the fact that Id rather have a glass if red wine! Sheesh.....

Friday, 23 July 2010

lemontreecreations.blogspot - Stencil Giveaway!

http://lemontreecreations.blogspot.com/2010/07/cutting-edge-stencils-allium-twins-and.html

Almost forgot!
But lemontreecreations.blogspot.com has a fab giveaway well worth looking at.
Cutting Edge Stencils have donated a couple of stencils to folks who enter a comment.........and honestly what cracking stencils they have in their showroom!
Erin at lemontreecreations has worked wonders with 'allium twins' which is a simply wonderful stencil and also a delightful leaf sprayone, on reclaimed wood.
Do drop in to see them!

Larkin Toads, Flower Spoonin stage 2

Now Kingston Upon Hull is not THE most wonderful of places, though we have a great deal of worthy history and many, many redeeming features. Well yes, we were a whaling port once upon a while, when it was okay to slaughter whales..........so times change, as we know, thankfully.

And William Wilberforce lived here and we have his house to meander through with its fascinating (and some appalling) exhibits about his life and his anti slavery fight.
Atta boy Will!

Amongst the oodles of other historically interesting things about Hull, we also had the poet Phillip Larkin, as librarian at Hull University for some 30 years.  He wrote the poem which said parents '**ck' us up, bless him.
Most recently, a series of toads.........yes toads, were erected around the city over night, in time for the celebrations that took place to welcome the return of the Clipper Race vessels. Toads since he wrote two peoms called Toads as I understand it.

Now I'm more literate and arty than yaght-y, so all credit to the crews who went all the way round the world on these boats and Im sure it was one hell of an adventure for them.....But I still find it hard to understand why our NHS had a million pounds 'spare' a year ago, ( that wasnt invested in equipment/nurses/direct health issues) to buy a clipper, for folks to sail round the world in/on....However I'm just a tax payer, what would I know of these mighty money matters.

Hull came in 4th so not at all a bad run for our money and by all means theres promise of some £20,000,000 of business deals going to be made , off the back of this year of sea miles .............but I cant help but wonder how much of that our NHS will get back?

Anyways, there was all sorts of fun stuff going on around the town, street jugglers, artworks, craft stalls, music on stages set up for the night, jazz at the marina, lots of smiling faces ................ and these toads to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Phillip Larkins death too.
See some of them below
St Georges Rd Toad, outside a school.
Hawthorne Rd Toad, an area which had a bad reputation so its being syetematically flattenbed and new homes rebuilt there. Which will be great as long as they dont move the roughshods back in!


Topographical Toad nearby, is quite cleverly painted showing the port of hull, its estuary and shipping.


http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2010/05/hull-to-honor-philip-larkin-with-giant-toads/

Now I havnt photographed all 40 - yet lol.........but several were damaged within days of their unveiling of course, by mindless twats, who have little interest in poetry in any case..but are just as likley to tag a motor car as a piece of artwork in the community!
The fabulous Punkphibian Toad had his mohican pulled out and the Nasa toad had his space suit damaged and others have been tagged!
So the huge amount of money in conceiving them, placing them and now upkeeping them, seems to me another waste of finaces, but some of them are very charming and beautifully painted, to be fair to the artists who took on the commissions.
I will post pics as I stumble on them in later posts. Theres alot online about them and some fab pics on the BBc site to see them in all their glory.
Now I have begun to work on the flower spponed pieces I mentioned in a  previous post..

Ive got thus far with stitching one of the spooned pieces. I have laid one and two layers of voile over the stained flower impressions, then machine stitched round two of the flowers and hand stitched the other two. Ive used variegated Madeira threads and a sparkly Madeira too, with some perle in the centres so far.
Ive got no great plan, just winging it as I go along, but don't intend to stitch all the shapes in, so watch this space.
Okay a mozzie has snook in through the open window, so had best go on swatting patrol or it will eat me overnight!
But, if your in the area, do come and see our Toads, they will make you smile Im sure and the ones round town are on a  kind of trail, so you can
see all else of interest as you trundle round too!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Car Boot Treasure and Embellished fabric

Went to car boot for a wander last sunday morning and the wind was a joy, although it was whipping up a dust storm all around. Least if you wear glasses you have some protection!
I saw this forlorn plant stand and fell for it, (£5)though someone must have tried to sand it back in places and then given up I imagine. I love that the tile is cracked with wear and age, then noticed that there is a smaller dark green glazed tile fitted centrally on the top too. Someone has tried to glass paper the paint over the tile, off, so the edge of that smaller tile is scratched abit. But it seems as if the top has an inlaid patterning around the tile, so it may be worth stripping it all back to see what woods are under there. It might be too easy to simply paint it again and it is a medium oak, without varnish underneath, so maybe worth faffing with abit.

It was oober hot sunday, so I bathed the dogs, which resulted in me being as wet as them as usual. So we three had to sit out back for an hour to dry off thoroughly, me with a book (Peter Robinson, whose Detective protagonist is a Yorkshire bloke working  in and around Yorkshire), little Max chasing flies back and forth, which is his self exercising routine and Rocky, totally miffed...........as you can see!

Now this morning, Monday, I am in creative mode whilst the guys finish laying the laminate downstairs. Its overcast and damp so much cooler thankfully today. The dogs started off the morning upstairs in my bedroom, whilst the front door was open for the workmen.........and despite both dogs having been out earlier.......they both pooed on the bloody floor!
I was in the workroom next door, embellishing away (results below) so didnt hear them tell me they wanted to go out.... but the whiff travelled through the door!
So clean up that, air spray, phew........that's better!
Completed my embellishing, took the dogs downstairs for a while and one of the cats must have snook up into my bedroom...... so here am I sat reading emails and I hear scrat, scrat.  Then a strong smell, AGAIN! Fergus cat had pooed in a box of fabrics, tucked away under my bed!
The animals dont like workmen in the house any more and are making it very plain lol
By good luck the box he'd chosen to use had all voiles and the like in seperate plastic bags, so I was able to remove said bags and debris! and the fabrics are pristine ........... sooo lucky. And I now know where the voiles are! Bonus!
So clean it up, more air spray..............cup of tea..and here I am back to business lol
So below, space dyed fabrics I made a week or two back, being used!
Now I've had a rest, but got the embellishing bug, so am off back to smash some more fabric to death, but this time some of the brighter fabrics I dyed.
Then if my Creative Gene holds out, I want to start layering and stitching my Flower spooned pieces. Wow, what I could with myself if I were to retire now! ( 4 day week starts in Septemeber though and that's a 3 day weekend of course - waheyy)

Friday, 9 July 2010

Flower Spoonin' Respite Day

.... Was told yesterday late afternoon that the lads would come today to lift my faulty laminate - ( that was laid in april - that replaced the laid in 2008 laminate - that had to be lifted this year for repairs to the underfloor areas and plaster, where workmen ( spit) in 2008/9 had done a negligent and crap job - when I wasn't bl*~#y flooded!

So......taken today and next monday off work to manage the animals and the faultily fitted laminate was lifted, removed and new stuff brought in and the relaying has started. Spent last evening frantically packing books and belongings, so slept like a log last night!
It looks smashing this stuff, driftwood-ish coloured and named, by Pergo.
I really like this, let's hope they get it right this time! (Esp since it's my son fitting it and he wants to live to a ripe old age I imagine !)

Anyways it was soooo hot today, so I sat out back under the umbrella and lazily did some Flower Spoonin', which is an altogether more dignified version of Flower Pounding I reckon. As we get older we need to conserve energy and can easily bust a  gut, so it's Flower Spoonin for me and it works just fine!

I had soda soaked cotton fabrics, space dyed them, but they were very subtle and decided to use some as a backdrop to printing with flower heads as base for further work.
I chose those flowers that were most abundant just now in my garden out back, like the pansies, lobelia and geraniums, and a lavaterra, a red thingy flower and some bibrant dark blue ones that grow tall, whose name escapes me.

Now the thing is, that when you Flower Spoon a red flower, you may get a purple stain on the fabric and not red at all. One of my lobelia blues came out a fab turquoise, so its accept serendipity, or you need to trial each flower if you want an exact patterning.
So pics below ..........the first is one I did is ready for stitching and adding to now.


Now I quite like the muddled hues on this which settles nicely on the lightly dyed background fabric.








But to show the process as it goes along see the other pics below. Its easy enough to do and requires little pressure, so I cant see the point of pounding the hell out of a flower or leaf, if you can do much the same with a glass of wine on the table and a spoon in your hand? Surely?
You see, lay flower on the dry fabric and gently but firmly  pressure down on the flower petals with the spoon, in the position you want the flower stain to lay.








This light scarlet geranium gave a purply stain, see?
The lobelia flowers give a sweet stain shape and the stems and leaves do too.
The next patterning I did was on a colour catcher from the washing machine, that had picked up very little dye in a wash, but was no longer pristinely white.
No idea what the red flower is but I bought a tray because they are such a vibrant red and reminded me of a flower bed I saw in spain recently.  They have stained a darker red and the leaf I used for the outer edges is a small brocolli leaf, within reach of where I sat!
So there you are, something simple to do under a parasol for the odd hour or whilst out on a picnic with the kids.
I will post what I do with them, going to use tulle and voile to tart them up abit I think, with hand and machine stitching. But they could be used as they are for cards of course. Just allow the stain to dry and lightly brush off any remaining leaf or petal debris.
Naturally you cant wash them, ( though I havent tried!) and they may fade in due course, so dont rely on them outliving you and becoming a family heirloom. But kids would have fun doing it I reckon, well I did!And if you have fallen flower heads in the garden, then it's not garden plant abuse, so give it a try!
I'll show you mine if you show me yours!
OH by the way, there's a neat Giveaway over on
Stashbooks is one of the blogs I follow and they have a cracking give away for some lucky person, but it ends 11th July so hop on over!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Viking helmet

Now this pic isnt too clever I know, its pretty dark. But it does show the finished vegetable strainer Viking helmet finished at least, in profile.

The leatherette neck cape is simply paper clipped into position, again, using the holes in the strainer. So the paper clips go through the several thicknesses of foil and then through the strainers holes, fastening inside.
I did wrap selotape round the outside of the foil, again for strength and also glued fabric over the inside paper clip fastenings.
Since this is for a special needs child, I need to err on the side of prying fingers and make sure he doesnt injure them!
The foam axe and sword were cheap enough to buy, but the  sword will easily snap half way along its length and has a short plastic tube central to it so I figured it needed reinforcement.
So I have used heavy duty, self adheisive silver paper ( wish I knew where I got it from!) and throroughly wrapped the swords blade round and round, in the hope that it gives it a week or two's longer life! 
I wrapped the handle too.
It gives an almost metal feel to it for a touch of realism, for a child with little sight.
The axe on the other hand I will leave as it is, it is altogether a more sturdy item and may last to be used again anyway.
I still havent taken a pic of the finished shield nor the blessed island model...please dont let alkl this anticipation get to you........lol go and have a gin!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Succulent, voile and lace

Well my 'whatever it is succulent', IS going to flower.  Havnt seen one of these flower before, so am abit like an expectant Mum! I know, sad or what .....
And here is a quick pic of the fab voile I picked up at car boot I mentioned  in a previous post and some of the small lace edged cotton whatever they are's I got the same day.

Now what to make with them lol my thinking cap is on!
But would much appreciate any ideas! :)

Viking helmets


I'm making up Topic Boxes at work and also putting together a Viking Box Book for a special needs lad.
So shields, swords, axes and Viking helmets are called for..... so after abit of research and foraging, I came up with the grey waste bin and the orange veg strainer... watch this space lol (£1.29 and 74p so it wont break the Education Budget..)
The waste bin was easy enough to cut away with scissors and with some sanding off at the edges, to be sure it wasnt sharp at all, its should fit the bill for a blind child.
Now it could look better with abit on the top, am still undecided about that. Little point in painting it, its very flexible so paint likely to crack off and its a passable enough metal shade for a child with partial sight.
Of course it is plastic so no authentic metal feel to it.
This veg strainer with the handle and its opposite side nobbly bit sliced off, fits the head neat enough.
I blethered it in double sided tape and then covered it with tin foil.
I used the tinfoil treble thickness, then that folded in half so it made a nice sturdy 'fabric' to wrap the strainer in.
I wrapped selotape round that so it was less likely to tear too.

Now this could work, esp for an adult to wear as fancy dress. But I decided against painting the bucket, since its so flexible the paint would crack off Im certain.

Here you see the helmet with a nose guard on it. This was tin foil wrapped mountboard that was cut in a wide T shape. In order that the forehead band would lay well rounded, I bent the mountboard before foiling it, over scissor blades.
 Like when you curl Christmas tape or daffodil leaves, to make them shape and curl.
Anyway I double sided taped the band to the helmet, but also trapped it in position with strong threads which went through the foil and the holes in the strainer and then back under and through istelf again.
That should keep the band in place firmly.
 I opted to go for a leather  neck cover at the back but havent taken a picture of it finished yet, so that will have to be in a later post sorry!

Now I also had to make an island for a lad and for some daft reason I made it rectangular-ish! But using modroc, gesso and paint this is what it looked like at first.

Spot the volcano, natural harbour and the where the river will run through it...cue for a film that lol

This is it on a base board, with the sea and the start of the beach.

And here with the river in situ, but again I havent taken a pic of the finished island.
A pic with the added textured areas of grassland, scrubland and forest will be in a later post. This will need a 'key' naming what texture represents what. This will have large sized print and braile too.
To think they pay me to do this, am I lucky or what lol
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