Sunday, January 27, 2008

Before and After

Every so often little areas that were once tidy, turn into THIS! Included in this melee: fabric, wool, knitting books, sewing books, textiles magazines, camera equipment, and fiction books.
It's embarrassing. You'd think it would be easy to sort out, a ten minute job at most, but let me tell you a little story.

I had a friend staying with me one weekend, and on her way upstairs one day she saw a blue plastic cup turned upside down on the second stair. "Is there a spider trapped under there?" she asked. I was puzzled as to why she would think there was. She couldn't think of any other reason why a cup would be upside down on the stairs. "Well," I said, "the blue cup fell off the shelf unit at the foot of the stairs about a fortnight ago, and I really should shift it, but I just haven't got round to it because it shouldn't have been on the shelf unit in the first place. The rest of the set is in the washing machine cupboard and I should really put the cup with the set, but the set shouldn't be in the washing machine cupboard either - they should all be upstairs in the camping equipment box but all that's obviously a much bigger job than just picking up a cup off the stairs, which is why it's still there."

So you see, the reason it's taken me so long to do this ten minute tidy up is because I have a few areas that need a tidy up: the aforementioned shelf unit in the kitchen, THE KITCHEN PANTRY (that'll take a good couple of hours), all the cupboards in the kitchen, the book shelves upstairs, getting to the bottom of the wash baskets. And to do ALL of that would take several days, hence why ten minute jobs take a long time to get round to.

Anyway, this is what it looks like now:
Hagos suggested I store some of the stuff somewhere else, but I pointed out to him that once I finish all the projects I have the materials for completing in here (Gemma jumper, purple and green jumper, mittens, socks, paperweight algae skirt, Roman glass dress, headbands, toiletries bags), it will be much reduced in size.

I'll try really hard to keep it tidy from now on, and following on from my success, I might attempt to break down the rest of the little jobs I have and do them one tiny little area at a time.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Accordion Times

My friend Janie came to Norwich this week as she was playing accordion alongside a performance poet at the Arts Centre. The last time I saw performance poetry was in Stoke Newington in London about ten years ago. One of my classmates from university was involved in an event organised by my lovely teacher. It was absolutely awful and put me off performance poetry forever (so I thought). He forgot his lines early on, after proclaiming at the beginning that he didn't need to read from a sheet.

Anyway, we met Janie at the Arts Centre for lunch, and as we were parking the car I noticed a new, little organic cafe just across the road. I was so pleased because Janie likes healthy, organic food, and the cafe looked so sweet. So that's where we had lunch. I don't remember the name of the cafe, but it's on St Benedict Street in Norwich if anyone's interested.
In the evening we went to see the show. Janie played accordion to punctuate and support the poetry of Aoife Mannix. It worked really well, and Aoife's autobiographical stories were well-observed, mesmerising, compelling and funny in places, and she performed them well, using props and movement. I'm not sure, however, that it was poetry. The rhythm and pacing were good but I didn't pick up any other poetic elements. Maybe my ears just aren't attuned to hearing poetry though. I'd certainly recommend seeing them if you can. There are a few more shows upcoming.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cat; Fabric; Reading

Isn't this the most beautiful, deep, dark gorgeous material you've ever seen? Hagos pointed out I keep buying the same material in different colours. I love it!

I have noticed my blog has been a bit confined lately: Cat; Fabric; Reading. That's pretty much it. I obviously need to get out more. Meg helping to make the bed.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Amy Butler Patterns

I have so many things I enjoy doing, and really not enough time to do them all in. I've particularly been enjoying reading again recently. I read on the bus, in the bath, and in bed. And I'm racing through books, which feels great. Currently reading The Amber Spyglass. I finished The Subtle Knife in a week. I loved the sections particularly between Will and Lyra.
I bought the above two patterns from Laughing Hens. I've long coveted the Barcelona Skirt pattern, and I've been eyeing up all the Amy Butler bag patterns for ages. I have two lots of material in my stash that I should be able to make two skirts from, and I still have my orange dress to make!
The gorgeous Meg getting in on the act!

I love the weekends. Friday night I mentally let go when I finish work. Saturday Hagos and I go up town and have lunch, read the papers, do a little bit of shopping and visit the library. Sunday I do some housework and then do nice stuff the rest of the day. I wish the weekend was four days long!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Reversible Headband

It's such a little thing to have made, but I really like it! Original inspiration came from bend-the-rules-sewing, but I adapted the pattern, ditched the ribbon and the ties and made it double-sided with interfacing in between. It took hardly any time. I'm sure I'll make a few more for myself and to give away. I thought about making matching headbands to go with the toiletries bags, to assist the face-washing!

I only listen to the radio when I'm driving or ironing (digitally). And yesterday I was listening to The Book Cafe, a weekly Radio Scotland programme, and the whole 45 minutes was about Alasdair Gray, one of my favourite writers. He's a Glaswegian writer and illustrator, born in 1934. The first book of his I read was Poor Things, set in late-Victorian Glasgow and a mutation on the Frankenstein story (from what I remember, it was years ago I read it). But I also loved Something Leather and his short stories. I was lucky enough to see him at the Edinburgh Book Festival a few years ago. At that time he was just about to take up post as Creative Writing Professor at the University of Glasgow, and I was so sorry that I'd just completed my own MA Creative Writing at University of East Anglia (though it was great) as it would have been amazing to study under Gray.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sense, Sensibility, and Selvedge

Prompted by the current TV adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, I started reading the book last week. I think I have a copy in the house somewhere but I got this copy out of the library so I could read in the bath (library books don't mind being read in the bath, whereas personal books do). I'm such a Pride and Prejudice fan I usually resort to reading/watching that if I feel in need of a passionate period drama. But I got to the point today, a hundred or so pages from the end, where I couldn't put it down, and read through breakfast, lunch, and housework (well, less housework was done than usual, due to the reading). I love the slow burn of characters being revealled in Austen's books. And the strength of loyalty and attachment.
At Christmas I was so exhausted from the many demands on my time there came a point where I drew a line under what was and what was not going to get done in the way of presents for people. So, at a more leisurely pace (I've given myself the deadline of next Christmas), I'm finishing off my Christmas shopping. I've long struggled with buying-for-buying's-sake just because it's Christmas. The sheer waste of it all bothers me. So, I try to aim for modest presents that are nice in themselves. Above is a bracelet I made for a presentless person. I bought the pink polished shell squares, and the wire and clasp, and topped it up with some beads from my collection. I love the colour combination and predictably only realised it was purpleandgreen when I was putting it in the bag. My purpleandgreen fixation is as healthy as ever. Notice my hairy arm and scratched hand!
Now that my Jane Austen book is finished, I'm looking forward to getting into the new edition of Selvedge, though I really don't like the cover. The grey and the bald head disturb me.