Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas comes but once a year (thank god)

(with thanks to http://www.icanhascheezburger.com/ for this fantastic image).

Is it just me, or has Christmas snuck up really quickly on everybody this year?

I remember February like it was five minutes ago. In May My One True Love and I were in Coffs Harbour briefly, and surely that was yesterday. In September I did a different job for a month, and the sound of filing cabinets closing is still ringing in my ears. How on earth did we get to December so fast?

I swear that as I get older, the time zooms past quicker and quicker. My father says it's because as we age, we do less new things, and new things distract the brain. Therefore, doing less of them - and staying in our same old routine - means we don't notice our actions, and the days, in the same way.

When I think about that, it makes sense to me. Doing different things on the weekend - instead of chaining myself to the sewing machine - actually going out and doing things, seems to make the days longer and longer. Overseas holidays too; something happens to the time zones and suddenly a week seems like a month, because I'm busy looking at the Great Wall of China, or haggling over fabric in Damascus (where surprisingly, there was plenty of silk but no damask to be found), or visiting Henry the Eighth's castle in Leeds and imagining myself prancing about in a massive dress and corset and neck ruffle. Maybe that's just me.

When I was in school, six weeks of summer holidays seemed to stretch out endlessly. Six weeks! I even remember telling my mother (far more often than she'd have liked, no doubt) that I was boooooored. Dear sweet heaven, if I had six weeks holidays now I can guarantee you I wouldn't get bored. My wordy lordy me, oh no. I would find plenty of new things to do.

This year's been a bit of a funny one for me. And I mean funny as in peculiar, not funny as in amusing. I've not had a lot of time to do new things because I've been busy hanging on to the side of the ship like grim death as it tossed about in the waves. And now all of a sudden it's Christmas, and I can't believe how quickly it's gotten here.

Next year I think I will do more new things, to stretch my days out and really experience them. Gosh, what will I do? There's a whole world out there to play with! Where to start?
Hm, I think I can feel a list coming on .....

Monday, December 21, 2009

Markets begone!

Gasp. Pant. Wiping of sweat from brow. My markets for 2009 are FINALLY over.

Good bye markets! I love you, I really do, but sometimes you get just a little bit .... stressful. Especially in the lead-up to Christmas. You get a little bit needy. You start to demand too much of my time and attention. So I am more than just a little bit glad to shut the door on you a bit and leave you to sob quietly to yourself.

And that means I am REALLY looking forward to January. January rocks! January is my month off. No markets, no fetes, no whatnots at all. Maybe a special order here and there - but no schedule, no bookings, no places to be.

This means I have a full month of recreational sewing ahead of me and I Cannot Wait. I have a pile of patterns as high as my head that I want to try out, and mountains of fabric that are threatening to swallow up not just me and My One True Love, but the three pussins as well. They're teetering, they really are. I have to be careful not to slam any doors in the house in case they come crashing down and take out the floorboards.

I already know what one of my Christmas presents is too - this fabulous dressmaker's ruler from Nicole Mallalieu design - and I am longing to try it out. Bless My One True Love, he totally picked up on the hint: I sent him an email with a link to her site, effectively saying PLEASE BUY THIS FOR ME. Yay for him.

Ah January, you can't come fast enough for me!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Two turtlebirds - and a partridge in a pear tree ....

I am very pleased - and quite surprised - to announce that the turtlebird was happily accepted on the weekend by my poor customer, who thought it was great and required absolutely no convincing on the matter at all.

Will wonders never cease?! I am indebted to her kindness.

Thank you to everyone who helped me out with a thoughtful comment about how to improve the design for next time around (should there ever be one). It shall have a smaller head, far less turtle-like. And no green eyes, I think they were definitely a flaw in the design. And perhaps I shall make it out of this lovely Echino ladybird fabric, too.

For now, I am focused on lots more Hoots and a whale or two, ahead of my FINAL two markets before Christmas. They can't come soon enough, in my opinion! Next year I'm not going to crucify myself on the market altar in quite the same way (to adapt a wonderfully inappropriate Christian metaphor given the upcoming holiday). I really feel that I haven't had time to enjoy the run-up to Christmas because I've been so manic about having enough stock, making enough stock, selling enough stock, etc etc .... where's the joy in that?

Next year, more joy. Definitely.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it's a ladyturtle! I mean, a turtlebird!

This is the dodgy ladybird I referred to in yesterday's post. It's not a terrific photo, I grant you, but that still doesn't make up for this sorry excuse of a stuffed toy.

Ladybird? Huh. I think turtle, definitely.

I think I needed to make the base of the turtle, I mean ladybeetle, a touch smaller. That way the outer shell would have been higher and rounder - simple physics. But did I think of this yesterday when I was making it? No, I did not.

I managed to give it separated wings at least, but I'm afraid they don't make up for this debacle. I truly don't think I can charge money for this.

I may have to try presenting it to my customer to see what her reaction is. If she recoils in surprise at the turtle-like aspects of this ladybird, and fixes me with a look of stunned disbelief, I will snatch it back and quickly hasten to add that this was a trial ladybird and clearly not a successful one at that, and that I was simply showing it to her to see if she liked the material I had used. (see how it has cute ladybirds all over it?)

And then I will try again. Smaller head this time. Eyes that are not green. A better "shell".

After I took these photos, I was so despondent that I had to make some dodgy Christmas ornaments out of felt to cheer myself up. I like these much better. But I'm still in search of a polystyrene/foam wreath base that I can decorate. Anyone know where I can get a foam wreath base? Lincraft - of course - doesn't stock them. Have I mentioned how much I hate Lincraft lately??

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What a helpful pussin

Here is the quilt I am trying to work on at the moment. Sigh. It's a Christmas present for a work colleague whose friend is having a baby, due on Christmas Day.

Grimth loves quilts. In fact, he loves helping me with my sewing ALL the time. He loves to get up on the material, and chew my pins (yes, he has this very strange metal fetish, and will try to chew pins, scissors, the edge of the sewing machine, the corner of the laptop, and even the copper roofing on a little lamp I have in the corridor. There are teethmarks in it.) - and generally be very helpful and try to assist in every way possible.

If I spread out some material, he's onto it like a flash. He loves to roll around in the fabric and get curled up into a big tangle mess of legs and folds. Here at least he waited until I was doing some pinning......

I'm working on a big range of Christmas orders at the moment. And I'm not quite sure where I'm finding the time to do them, in between the four (four!) markets I have scheduled between now and Sunday week. I *thought* I was spending every waking minute sewing for those markets, but apparently I've managed to find time to get the orders done as well. How lucky!

Stay tuned for photos tomorrow of the dodgy ladybird I'm constructing. I've never done a ladybird before, and I am just working out of my head rather than from pattern, and this may yet turn out to be the fatal error. Right now it looks more like a turtle than a ladybird. So some artistic assistance may be required ... which is fine as long as it doesn't come from the pussin!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Twittering of the original kind

My eyes popped open at 4.50am this morning.

I could feel it happen. I felt myself swimming into consciousness, and I tried to resist, I really did - but to no avail. 4.50am and I was wide awake. That was it. No going back. Awake before five o'clock in the morning, for pity's sake.

I think it was the birds in the robinia tree outside our bedroom. They start a-twittering at dawn, which technically occurs at around 4.45 these days .... sigh ..... and they wake me up. Normally I'm an early riser anyway, but waking up pre-five am?? That is just beyond the pale.

So it's lucky I'm doing boot camp at the moment and I have something to go to at that hour, otherwise it would be a royal pain in the proverbial. Usually I don't get up until half-past five (I have to be on the 6.08 train - sheeeeeeesh that's early) so today I just lay there and listened to the radio; there was some Schubert on that I enjoyed until it ticked over to five-thirty. And then I went to boot camp.

Really, I should be a lot tired-er than this. I spent the entire weekend recovering from some markets, and sewing up the various orders I've got for Christmas, and making new products for the four markets that are left - I should be exhausted! So I can't explain the unearthly waking hour.

I bet by the time three o'clock comes today, I'll be face down on my keyboard, at my desk, snoring my head off.