Sunday, 19 September 2010

Cat Yoga

I can only assume someone has been teaching Archie some kind of strange yoga pose for relaxation, because look how he is lying. Surely this must be one of the most odd arrangements of cat limbs ever, how can he stretch his little tummy round that much? He really is very bendy.

He has lost none of his longing to sleep on my laptop, as you can see - since I've been told laptops get rid of significant amounts of heat through the keyboard, it doesn't seem like a good idea to be insulating it with all that black fluff, however comfy he is. He always knows I'm going to ask him to move.

We lost him for a bit yesterday, he's so black it's impossible to spot him in dark corners, but I'd looked everywhere and thought he must have somehow got out. Then I found him, fast asleep and curled up, in here:

Obviously he got up when I got the camera out.
This is not good - he's never got right in before and slept- I often put a load of clothes in and leave the door open while I scour the house for odd socks to top it up, throw them in, slam the door and start the cycle. This would be a disaster if he sneaked in for a nap in the meantime, so I've had to put a note on the machine saying 'Check for cat'.

Must show you this last photo, I promise it is absolutely and completely genuine. Last week I left my laptop on the kitchen table to go and make a drink, and when I got back, Archie had renamed one of my folders with his little toes. All by himself. He obviously didn't think much of the contents.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Opinions on Colour

First of all thank you all so much for all your support and comments on my last post. My mum's still having yet more tests and sees the specialist again tomorrow, but seems to think they may be closer to a diagnosis, we'll see. She sounds a bit brighter, and is glad now her endoscopy is over!

Anyway, onto other things for now.

I love colour. I'm very, very fussy too, I know which combinations I like and which I don't. None of those complimentary yellows-with-purples and blue-with-oranges thank you very much, although red with green is fine at Christmas. Just about.

As a smallish girl I remember one Christmas my very favourite present of all was a big set of wax crayons - not just your normal 7 colours, I mean a really big set with 5 greens, 3 pinks, 4 get the idea. I think I must have been about seven. I looked at all the colours for ages - I didn't want to use them, I just wanted to line them all up in a lovely harmonious order - graduating the colours - no clashes. When I was a few years older I got some posh watercolour pencils in a tin - I still have them. They always had to go in the tin in the same order - again, no clashes next to each other, just the best order for adjacent colours to merge together as much as possible.
I'm still, of course, exactly the same, because I think that sort of thing is a really fundamental part of who you are. Sadly I don't have time to spend hours lining things up in beautiful harmonious colour-sequences all day, but I can at least ban bright yellow from the garden and grow single-colour flowers in my chosen colours ( magenta and orange often - I copy Sarah Raven much of the time and get my seeds from her). I don't like bright yellow, unless it's sunflowers, and even then I prefer the ruby red ones.

Aren't people strange? I plan to become more eccentric as I age.

Anyway, I absolutely love choosing and combining colours in my felting - it's one of the reasons I love the process so much, the ability to blend layers of different colours and merge them together. I have, of course, tended to use colours I'm drawn to myself - I've never made a bright yellow anything, nor grey, nor beige, I can't wear those colours and just don't feel positive about them!
But it's really good to be forced to think outside your own box. The times when friends have asked me to make particular things in colour combinations they've chosen have been good for me, and I've discovered I like the end results even though I wouldn't have chosen them myself.

Why am I rambling about this now?
Well I had a lovely lady buy some hairslides from my website last week, and she asked if I could make two more, in navy and maroon. These are some of my normal colours, bright or light, not sombre at all.

I was quite unsure about such deep colours but made a small selection of navy, plum and maroon flowers,

and found that with the beads (beautiful lustred ones that you can't see fully in the photo) and the green leaf

I did like them after all, and I was glad to be taken into slightly new colour territory. So I perhaps need to experiment with new combinations every now and again and not be too set in my ways!

Of course we should stick with what we love best and be true to our own styles and designs, but it did make me think more about experimenting a bit. Do you stay in your comfort zone of styles and colours if you craft, or in the way you dress or furnish your home, or are you always trying new things out?!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ups and downs and being busy

It's proving to be one of those times when I feel like the days are slipping past and all muddling together, I'm sure most of us feel like that at busy times. I've sadly had much less time to post anything and I think may be entering a stage of life when that continues. Worse, I haven't been able to keep up properly with blogs I'm following, so I'm very sorry I haven't been able to comment as much as I'd like, it doesn't mean I don't care.

Lots has been happening here, not all good, but then not all bad either.

School has started again, we're back into routine, which is good, although it does bring some challenges. Son number one is now fifteen. As he is not the most organised person in the world I asked him to get EVERYTHING ready for his first day of school the night before. He said he had. At twenty past eight on the actual morning he told me he couldn't find his pencil case and that his shoe-lace had broken before the holidays. He also told me this morning he couldn't find his tie and he didn't want to use his spare one because he didn't like it any more because.......he had drawn a biro face on it last term.
I have spent half an hour today de-staining it, washing it and mending it.
Such are the joys of term-time!

Briefly, the 'downs' are that my 82 year-old mum has been undergoing tests all summer, we still don't know what's going on but there's some problem with her liver - so that's been a concern for a long time now. Her GP is one of my oldest and closest friends, and she's a thorough and excellent doctor, so she couldn't be in safer hands, but there's also a specialist involved who's still running more tests, so we're still waiting. We sadly lost my uncle, my mum's brother, last weekend too after a long illness which suddenly deteriorated, that's been distressing and more so as he lived in Canada and she couldn't go to the funeral or see him in his final days. So all in all she has needed to talk and be listened to more than normal, and is finding everything hard to take in. I'm an only child and we lost my dad a long time ago, so I need to make sure I'm available to support her even when I've got a long list of things to do. Usually she keeps busier than me with all her interests and groups - she's got a better social life than most teenagers, but right now she's not feeling well enough.

But there are 'ups' too - I've been making lots of things ready for the Wandsworth Artists' Open House event the first two weekends in October - I have an artist friend who opens her home and shows her paintings, and she shares the space with me and other artists too. Do download the leaflet and have a look through if you are anywhere nearby - it looks fantastic - so many different styles of art to see. I wish I could go myself as I want to see everybody else's work and meet all the other people involved - perhaps next year!

So I've made some more tea cosies as they were successful last year.

And lots and lots of flowers. And a few new bags.

This black one's got some sari silk incorporated into it and has come out really well. Always so hard to know what people will like but I'll send a selection.

Archie has been helping with my felt roses. First of all he helped by being beautiful and black and being a faithful companion.

But then temptation rather got the better of him:

After that he found I suggested he go out in the garden and play.

Archie scared us all to bits last Tuesday by completely disappearing from 6.30 in the morning till 8.30 at night - he's never been away for more than four hours before. I'd just printed out the first 50 'Our cat is missing please could you check your outbuildings' leaflets and had them in my hand ready to go out the door, when he trotted in calmly as if nothing had happened. And they say pets are supposed to reduce stress.

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