which, apart from the wedding, was pretty shitty.
The app is Jazz.
'If you make happiness your goal, then you're not going to get to it… The goal should be an interesting life."
Not much post this week for obvious reasons, but the junk mail arrived, albeit on Tuesday rather than Wednesday. A real challenge this week - one large BT flyer, and a small card inviting me to learn about philosophy in 12 weeks. (Since I spent 2 years at Uni studying philosophy and barely scratched the surface, I was a little dubious...)
The structure of the BT flyer suggested the same format as last week's effort, the 'front page' suggested the title 'EVS’, and the philosophy card became added handy pages. I'm really enjoying the postie's weekly challenge to make something out of nothing.
That was all the junk mail we got this week, from a company in Andover. So this book has to be called 'Handover'. (We did get some Christmas cards as well.)
although shortly off to new homes.
And where it all used to be looks like this now.
Believe me, this is tidy and empty compared to what it was!
Small boy and Rudolph in a rainstorm. Shortly after this Rudolph's one blew off. I hope this will not have disastrous effects on Christmas Eve.
The app is Waterlogue.
Can you spot the tinsel?
The app, once again, is Jazz, a good fallback if you want a quick edit after a long day riding the rails.
Go down to our bus station today and turn right - bedlam.
Turn left - peace and quiet.
Apart from the brass band
and the mill wheels turning and the stones grinding
and the machines to explore.
The baking demo was quiet but delicious, and we will be baking bread later with freshly ground flour.
App is Painteresque.
Not very Christmassy, perhaps, but a few hours later the three kings had parked their camels near it. Honest.
The app is Jazz.
The supply of junk mail seems to be drying up - only one lot last week, none on Monday, the usual junk mail day, and just a card and a sheet of A4 yesterday. As before, it was a challenge to combine two dissimilar sized pieces, but the challenge is the fun.
I've realised that I can't always cut the whole thing into the shape of a hand, as in this one, so only the outer sections of the fold-out pages are cut. As you can see, I've named it 'Mith & Son'.
The vintage Christmas photos I've been posting are of the Christmas decorations at The Vyne. The first one was 50‘s inspired, so of course Wensleydale and I spent more time looking at that one than any of the others.
There were a lot of things we remembered. All the ornaments looked like they were made of glass, as ours were. This meant that. inevitably, when you unpacked your decorations in December, there had been some breakages. My mother had a set of bead-like baubles on a string, which got shorter and shorter over the years. There were still a few left when I inherited my parents' decorations, but I think W. quietly disposed of the tattered and chipped remains.
The Vyne didn't have such a string, but had others we recognised - long ogees, spheres with indentations on one side, birds with tails made (I think), of nylon.
But - The Vyne's was a large, real tree. Our tree was a small, tatty artificial one which reappeared year after year throughout my childhood. And we had real candles, held in things like metal pegs, with a socket for the candles. These were only lit by adults, watched carefully while burning and extinguished quickly. There was great emphasis on how dangerous they were. They vanished much earlier than the tree
We did have electric lights as well - not a lot of white ones like The Vyne's, but a few coloured ones shaped like elongated pears. Before these were hung on the tree, there was the great pre-Christmas ceremony of checking the lights, conducted methodically by my father. (He was like that.)
The lights were untangled and spread out, and plugged in for testing. Every January when they were put away they were working. Every Devcember when they were unpacked, they weren't.
The lights wouldn't work if a lightbulb was loose, so the first remedy was to check that every one was screwed in tight. This never worked.
Another cause of non-functional lights, because of the way old fashioned lights were wired, was a dud bulb. One out, all out. The remedy for this was to get a spare bulb, and replace each bulb in turn to try to find the dud one. Even though there were only 12 lights, this took time. My recollection was that it usually worked, but with hindsight, I wonder what happened if two or more bulbs were dud, or your test bulb was. I certainly remember emergency trips out to buy more bulbs, and that dad replaced the set as soon as lights wired in parallel became available - although we still needed spare bulbs.
So, The Vyne's 50s Christmas wasn't quite like mine - but then a Tudor mansion in Hampshire doesn't bear much resemblance to a 2.5 bedroom semi in the north of England, so there were bound to a few differences...
so today it was time for some book making. The idiosyncratic size of one of the flyers led to some lateral thinking in order to make use of it, but I am very happy with the result. I had intended to make all these junk mail books the same way, but I realise it would be more than just procrastination (because, let's be honest, it was) if I challenged myself to come up with new ways to use what I've got.
Also, I need to give them titles. This one has to be 'Are you having problems with your eyes'!
Then, having fun and more time to waste (not) I replaced the pages in a used up notebook. Its odd size left offcuts which were big enough to make another notebook, so I found a scrap of card from a misprinted Advent calendar to make a cover. But I decided to needed more pages, and the offcuts of those were big enough to make a smaller notebook... (I resisted, I felt I had wasted enough time!)
It was hard work turning an uninspired photo into anything interesting. Pixie on the desktop, and iColorama on the iPad.
Although in fact it was probably more stressful than busy. In the early part of the week I was focused on preparing for Wednesday. Wednesdays are usually one of my most relaxing Uni days - arrive in time for breakfast at Costa, go to an interesting lecture, have lunch and a gossip with fellow students, and come home (albeit usually in the rain). But this week was interim crits...
Last year I coasted through them - 'I'm new around here, it's a year till my degree show, I'm still finding my feet'. But now it's 'This better be right because I've only got till April and if I'm completely on the wrong track I'm b******d.' (Let me make clear that I've had lots of helpful tutorial input so I was pretty sure I was OK, but that didn't stop the nerves.)
So I spent the weekend, and Monday and Tuesday, working out how to support the 3 gloves I've finished, adding some experimental stuff, bringing the paperwork up to date, knitting and worrying.
Wensleydale came with me and I'm very glad he did. Neither of us is good at climbing any more, but he is marginally better than me, so he hung big brown glove from a batten, while I shuffled big and medium white gloves around on their ramshackle armatures.
Note folds of big brown on the floor. There's at least another metre there. The red mark is on the wall, not the glove.
Despite all my anxieties, on the whole it was a good experience. I was encouraged by a positive reaction from a very senior member of staff who happened to be passing as I struggled to remove 2.5 metres+ of big white glove, plus armature, from the back of the car, before the crits even began. The crits themselves were also positive, with some helpful suggestions, like draping one or two of the 'resolved samples' I made over the summer on the floor. Which means I have 5 finished gloves, not 3. I can keep calm and carry on knitting
One of my ongoing concerns has been how to support the gloves, especially the big ones. Some tutors have suggested hanging them up - hence my efforts to do so - but another saw it as clichéd. Our experience on Wednesday was that it was >*^~>>~ difficult. If I can't hang them, they'll have to stand up.
But the armatures I've used for the smaller ones just aren't strong enough to support the bigger ones, and hints have dropped that they are not professional enough either. So I did what I should have done earlier, and consulted the engineers in the family. As the older engineer and I were both insomniac on Wednesday night, by dawn we had worked out a possible solution, which we will try out after Christmas. The wonders of the Internet, solving (I hope) engineering problems in your PJs.
On Friday I had a break from knitting, and went down to Walford for a course on Gelli plate printing with Alison Board, which was excellent - I learned loads, and will be a much more confident Gellier in future. But she kept us working, and I came home exhausted.
After all that we were aiming to have a quiet weekend, which I achieved, although W. had to go out to an emergency water-appearing-on-the-floor situation at the little guys' house, which fortunately seems not to be too serious. So I stayed at home and:
2. Worked on my stitch journal. I don't get round to this every day, and it is slow stitching after all, so I'm in no rush. It's a nice break when my hands have done enough knitting. The fabric is a piece of random patchwork I made a while ago for a purpose I have since forgotten...
I've come to the conclusion that the stitch(es) is not running stitch but straight stitch in some of its many incarnations.
3. Made another junk mail handbook. Only two this week, which suggests we don't get as much junk mail as I thought we did.
4. Made 1 more decoration for the Advent Bough. Well, 5, actually. We only needed 1, but when we brought the bough in, I thought that some of the decorations I'd already made might be too big, and as I came across these instructions for mass production, I made a few more.
The bough is looking good, although there has been some mind changing about it. When we first put it up, I felt it needed lights, so when we were down at B&Q buying wood from which to suspend gloves, we also bought a small string of battery powered lights. The lights looked white - until we turned them on, when they looked blue and yellow. And too big.
So I click and collected some smaller whiter ones from M&S, which are perfect - except there aren't enough of them. So I've clicked some more and will collect them tomorrow. The annoying thing is that M&S are doing a 3 for 2 offer, so if we'd ordered both of them at the same time...
According to the calendar, nest week is quieter. We shall see.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you may remember the work I made for the FDA Degree Show, 'Postage of Time', made from the envelopes from every letter we received over about 8 months.
Today I was inspired (perhaps by the need for a break from knitting) to start something similar, if smaller. Also inspired by my irritation that, despite having signed up for every mail preference service under the sun, we still get junk mail - although, as the postie said, it keeps him in a job.
I don't know if it's true elsewhere, but at Cheese Acres Monday is junk mail day. We only had one real communication today, and that was the bill from the cesspit emptier, delivered in person. (The bill that threatens to return the contents of our cesspit if we don't pay it. Needless to say we do.)
The other items were all junk.
So I used them to make a handbook. Nothing fancy, held together with staples, and cut out in the shape of my hand. The plan is to make one every day we get junk mail, as a ongoing record of the rubbish we get, although I may sew the rest, just to make them a bit more - er - hand made.
I think I mentioned that a tutor had suggested that I tried expanding foam as an armature for my gloves. I experimented with it last week, by spraying it into a sample glove, and, as suggested by fellow student C, into a latex glove. I don't have photos of the former, as it's at Uni, but I have names it 'Frankenglove'... The latex one worked quite well, so today I decided to have another go.