Sunday, 27 June 2010

Catching up

It's been a busy time recently, as I'm sure it is for a lot of us with gardens to tend, although it's been such lovely weather it's been a joy to have a garden as well as a slight chore! Here is our bench which I've newly sanded and oiled for the first time in years, I must remember to take the time to actually sit on it now! I even have a few ripening strawberries in a hanging basket. The small white globes are IKEA solar powered lights which have been great, I ended up leaving them out all year and they even glowed gently in the winter!

And here is the best view of the vegetable patch:

from this angle it actually looks like I'm growing vegetables, because the runner beans are in the foreground, although a lot of it is just flowers. Of course flowers are very nice in a vegetable patch too and attract bees, it's just I didn't quite manage the amount of veg that I'd hoped for.
I'm trying to contend with the pigeons.

So far the score is me 2, pigeons 8 - that's how many purple sprouting brocolli plants they've stripped of leaves so far. In fact you may have to look hard to see the stripped stems on the left. I didn't realise how difficult pigeons were and am hoping to try and save the remaining plants with some netting.
Archie likes the vegetable patch too:

No prizes for guessing what he's up to here. As long as he's not doing it in the neighbours' garden I'm quite happy.

Archie has only just discovered catnip - he's literally turned his little nose up at it before but something must have clicked in his brain because yesterday he was rolling around and hugging it and squashing the little plants to pieces.

I re-planted three inside an upside-down hanging basket to protect the roots - we'll see who wins that one!

Lots to be thankful for, and yet I have to confess to struggling recently with keeping up with life in general. I have been functioning slowly but have been very, very anxious about everything and pretty low, in fact very low. There are particular reasons, but the reasons don't justify my reaction - I am one of those people who has spells of being unable to find a proper perspective on reality, cycling through anxiety and worst-case scenarios of things that probably will never happen - this is just the way some of us are I guess. I'm feeling a little better this week and am trying to take steps to keep calm, including herbal tablets which I think may be helping a bit. But a lot of us get these periods where everything is hard, I guess we must all find our way through in our own way and wise friends have advised me to use whatever 'tools' are necessary to help, even if that means seeking out a doctor's advice and possibly medication. I've fought against this a lot, as many of us do, but the sensible thing is to consider all options, you don't get a medal for struggling on, and life's too short to waste days if there's help out there. So I'll take it steady and see how it goes.

Frustratingly hard to create when you're low though - I've done bits and pieces of familiar designs but nothing new. But there will be time for that later.

Yesterday though I did do a craft fair - my first one outside - it was a good location in a local village square and they had live music and entertainment on all day so there was a very good atmosphere and thankfully lots of people. I was a bit stressed setting up because of course being in the open people just came early as there were no doors to open at a specific time!! But once I'd settled and contended with the wind lifting light felt things off my display, I did enjoy the day. This is the view I had - they even had the Town Crier ringing his bell and announcing things.

I don't know whether you can see the strange monsters opposite - you may be able to if you enlarge it -the man was selling his fantasy book and these must have been his creations, there were quite a few of them, rather odd to see a row of 6-foot aliens at a craft fair but all good fun.
Here is my stall:

lovely stripy cover and larger than I've been used to which was great. It's really nice to meet people and chat to them about felt - I was surprised that two of the most enthusiastic customers were men- one bought a felt bowl and the other was looking at things actually trying to persuade his wife she might like something (she didn't in the end but he did apologise to me and say he tried hard, which was lovely of him!)
And now onwards into another week. Hope you all have a good one.

Friday, 18 June 2010

To frame or not to frame...

I've just collected this piece from the local gallery who have been trying to sell it for about 9 months. It's been an interesting experience raising all sorts of questions about the cost of framing a textile piece, in fact framing ANY piece of art, and gallery commission.

I made the felt as a sample for a larger wallhanging with more leaves in it, that I sent in for an Open Exhibition last summer:

(not a great photo but it gives some idea). The gallery co-owner bought the larger one for herself and then she is going to frame it, well her partner at the gallery is, so it will just cost her the materials. Now I can't exactly remember how large it came out, I think it would have been about 50-60cm square-ish, but to have a piece that large framed for ordinary people would surely cost a lot of money.

Anyway, the gallery ladies said they would like to frame the smaller piece and see if they could sell it. I personally like the idea of textile wall art just being hung as it is, like you would hang a quilt, so that you can see all the textures really properly, but everyone has their own opinions, and of course it's easier to dust if it's behind glass.
I think they have framed it really well, the frame compliments the piece and doesn't detract from it at all, I was really pleased, and I think it probably changed my mind about framing felt! The framed piece is about 40cm square - the cost came out at £45. So to re-coup the cost of framing, plus the gallery commission of 35% which is at the low end of what commission can be, they ended up putting the picture up for sale at £95, fully expecting it to sell. Now I'm not saying that galleries are unfair in taking commission, of course they have to, and you are paying for their running costs and customers and display and reputation, it's only right.
Now I was in the shop while my picture was displayed in the window (a very proud moment for me, probably never to be repeated!) and I could hear customers saying how expensive it was, which it is for a small picture, I quite agree!

So framed it's really expensive for someone to buy, and yet if it had sold for £95, I would have got slightly less than £17 for my several hours of designing and making, once the commission and framing cost had been taken off.

Isn't it all complicated?
Anyway, I decided I'd take it back and possibly try and sell it direct at a craft fair, which would mean that I wouldn't have to build the commission into the price.

But now we've put it up in the kitchen we like it so much where it is that we're just going to keep it!

So there we are, the dilemma of framing and costing and galleries.

Now to end on a different note, in the spirit of complete honesty about what my house really looks like, I'm showing you my magic curtain, which I made on Monday evening.

Here is my horrid utility room:

It's a bit like Monica's secret cupboard in Friends if you've ever seen that episode, it's really terrible. Note the sacks of wool and mess and broken cupboard doors (also you might be able to see that our kitchen bin is held together with duck tape). And that's only one half of the room, the other half is worse and has a computer and years of paperwork stuffed sideways into shelves (the papers that is, the computer is upright).

So here is my magic curtain:

Mess....what mess? All gone away. Surely now it no longer exists at all?

Archie helped.

What is it about cats and ironing boards?

Friday, 4 June 2010

A Senior Moment, or 'Spot the Deliberate Mistake'

I needed to make tea and re-fill the tea-caddy, my mind was on something else, can you see where I may have gone a bit wrong? At least I managed not to pour boiling water on the two teabags I'd put in the tea-caddy.
This was completely genuine, sadly. I'm currently 43, how much worse do you think this may get?

I post this in the hope that it will make any of you who have ever done anything similar, feel better, and that you might know you are not alone. Of course if there are none of you out there who have done anything like this, I should begin to worry now.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Archie recommends....

These hand-woven hogla fibre baskets from Traidcraft.

But which one to choose.....

One just about perfect for squeezing into (just):

the other one a little too large but useful for sharpening claws on the bottom and turning round and round in, and hiding treasures in.

Elsewhere there's been a bit of an incident. Archie says the important thing to remember here mummy:

is that I caught the tiny fly that was at the top of the window flying about before I crash landed on your things, you really should have moved them earlier like you were thinking about. Never put off till tomorrow etc.....
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