'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."

Dorothy Rowe

Saturday 22 February 2014

Ups and Downs.

Starting with  a down.

I think I mentioned that on Christmas Eve morning, we woke to the sight of a large tree across the main road near our house. We could enjoy it to the full because no-one was hurt, and although it  inconvenienced a lot of people hoping to make last minute visits to Sainsbury's, it inconvenienced us not at all. 

On the morning after Valentine's Day (is there a pattern here?) we woke to this. A smaller tree, but unfortunately a lot closer to home. You may notice that there is a gate behind it. Our gate. Which opens inwards. Meaning that we were trapped. Much less fun because it inconvenienced no-one but us - and Cheese Major and the Señorita, who nobly gave up an afternoon playing with bows and arrows to come and get the gate open, pending the arrival of the tree surgeon. Fortunately the latter came very quickly and by tea time we could get the car out as well as ourselves.

Things have been generally on the up since then. We had an enjoyable trip to Milestones, together with half the juvenile population of Hampshire - and a coach load of pensioners from London who rapidly realised that a wet day at half term was not the best time to make a visit. 

The rest of the week has passed in a haze of Visual Marks, appointments, clearing and cleaning space before delivery of a new bed for Babybel (she and the VHC have outgrown the existing provision at Granny's, and are moving up one each), buying bedding for said beds, (we thought the VHC would prefer this to the existing, very pink Peppa Pig set) - and a bit of sewing and bookmaking.

Our Visual Marks meeting was spent painting cloth with dye - it was too big to photograph, but here are some samples. It is coming back next time, now it has been batched, washed, dried and ironed, (thanks to M.) to be cut into nine pieces. Each of us will do our own thing with our piece, and then they will be reunited with their siblings in the hope that we have produced something interesting. 

Of course this meant we had nothing to take home and play with, so just in case we felt deprived, W. gave us something to work on in the meantime. This. 

I have an idea. Watch this space.

Most of what little spare time I had during the week was spent fulfilling - or nearly fulfilling - two requests. Babybel has started to receive visits from the tooth fairy. She already has a container for the exchange of teeth for pounds (!?!) but the tooth fairy informed me that he has difficulty getting his fingers into it, and please could I make another one? 

In my day the tooth just went under the pillow, so I researched the subject of suitable containers thoroughly (thank goodness for Google) and came up with this. 

Unfortunately, although I know I have a small quantity of toy filling somewhere, just enough to stuff it, I can't find it... So the doll is on hold until I can go shopping. Hope no more teeth come loose in the mean time.

The other request came from Babybel herself. She snuggled up to her granny on the sofa and asked very politely if granny could possibly make her a 'blanket' with horses on it. I think she meant a quilt, but granny's quilting days are over, so I put my research skills to good use again (I knew that degree in research methods would come in useful one day) and found some fleece, from Abakhan. An afternoon's hemming and it's ready to go on her new bed. The Abakhan website has helpful advice on sewing fleece which suggests using a twin needle for hems, and it did make a very neat finish. (I know you don't have to hem fleece but I'm old fashioned.)

 I also finished last week's book of the week. When I left you I was grappling with the question of what found text to find, and how to make it sequential. Thinking about found text and grids, I had a brainwave. Crosswords! I could cut strips of crosswords, and make a sequence of grids with them, starting with a grid of one strip (loose definition of 'grid' there) and gradually increasing in size. I happened to have a book of (completed) crosswords, so I tore out a few pages, painted them with yellow ochre, backed them with Bondaweb, sliced them up and started. 

And realised that:

it was boring; and

I had severely underestimated how many crosswords I would need.


So I painted and Bondawebbed a few more, and today I managed to finish the book, which now has a title - 'Across'. If I hadn't managed to mislay it in between taking these photos and getting to my antique Singer book press, it would be being pressed at this moment. However, I did find another book I'd lost - it was still in the book press...

This week's book is much simpler. Two spray painted cardboard covers, Arc binding discs from Staples, and some pages from another of my experiments with acrylic inks. (Don't ask about my attempt to use them for marbling. I'm sure it would have worked if I had followed the instructions...)

This one - 'sun printing' - worked. I spritzed the paper with water, dribbled/brushed on the inks, and left them under some plastic stencils till dry. I love the way the colours have migrated. 

Next week will, I hope, be a little quieter, as we need to brace ourselves for a Babybel and VHC sleepover the following weekend - hence the panic to get their sleeping arrangements sorted. 

P.S. There was also some sock knitting.


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