Monday, 20 February 2017

Memos, Mail, Me: Sheep Ahoy

Monday, here's the thing, I need you to keep it to yourself: the microwave dinner, the big bag of liquorice allsorts, the no alarm clock. Just between us. Got it?

I'm on my own for a couple of days here (thanks to a business trip which definitely did not include any hangers-on), so it's probably a nice lamb chop for dinner, box set "Zelda" for afters and then early to bed with my newly arrived Shetland Wool Week Annual.

Is that my mail of the week? Why yes, it is. I've never been to Shetland, for Wool Week, or at any other time; but a girl can dream if she has the pictures, I decided as I clicked buy as a special treat. It arrived on Saturday morning; and as I took in the gorgeous photos of Shetland countryside I thought to myself - you know, bits of that look very much like bits of this, where I live, not far from here. Too much dreaming and not enough doing, Sian, so we got in the car on Saturday afternoon and we drove right round our Coast Road here. And we saw our version of almost everything in my new magazine: the rocky landscape, the sheep, we saw a lifeboat out training, and a castle, and stone walls and ruined cottages and fishing boats. We even saw Scotland.

And it was a very, very good reminder of what I have almost on my own doorstep. I will still dream of Shetland, but for now, I have some new local photos and an annual with ideas for a project or two..

How about you? Anything new? Any mail for a memo? We'd love to hear it! Last week

 Deb, Ruth, Barbara, Jane, Mitra, Barb, Mary-Lou Mardi, Alexandra, Melissa, Krafty Karen, Honore, Ladkyis, Karen, Fiona, Maggie and Theresa

made a note. Go on, give 'em a wave! And have a good week!

Oh, and thanks to everyone who made suggestions for my huge pile of magazines. Sorry, I realised  I ought to have said: we have here a special "books only" charity shop which welcomes good quality magazines. It's a great place to spend an hour. At least. The only problem is that if I take any more there, I'll probably come home with a whole different selection..

Thursday, 16 February 2017

They Had to Go: Good Bye Old Friends

Back in the days when library books were stamped out with a satisfying click and "kindle" had something to do with starting a campfire, I had a boss who believed very strongly in the power of the tidy work space. The surface of her desk was almost always completely clutter free

and she had a simple, very effective, way of achieving this state of minimalist perfection. She passed on every outstanding task, every query she took by phone, every note of a book she needed to find: all of it, passed on to the juniors. And then she carried out a desk inspection.

I can't help thinking about her almost every time I go to tidy my desk now, here at home: a desk which is often piled to perilous breaking point with stuff I might need in a minute. And I thought about her and that "tidy desk, tidy mind" mantra again when Get It Scrapped asked me to contribute to their new "Story + Design" on Clutter and White Space.

Clutter? I think I have a story or two. I can't show you the page I made for the class - it turned out to be about piles of books - so I made another one for here and now. And it's about piles of magazines:

Sian F for Get It Scrapped

Maybe you remember this photo from last year? I eventually loaded into the car every copy of Mollie Makes, from issue one, complete with kits, and I took them to the charity shop. And it felt good. But not for long. I still have to deal with the boxes of fashion and interiors magazines. If they would just budge up a bit, I'd have more room for wool. They'll have to go. I know it. But I'm stuck: are they worth taking to the charity shop too? Or is it straight to the recycling centre? Answers on a virtual postcard, please..

Monday, 13 February 2017

Memos, Mail, Me: Good In, Goods Out

So Monday, can we do it? We need to find jobs to keep us busy round the house all day. I have to stay in until the big box goes out.

dreaming of finding the sun, thanks to a postcard which arrived last week

It's been a weekend of deliveries here. Saturday, it was cold. Not below freezing cold, but by our standards chilly enough for us to draw a deep breath and turn on the gas fire. It took roughly a minute for us to remember why we hadn't used it in about four years. as the dust it had gathered since the last time we flicked the switch started to burn, the smoke alarms began to shriek. We sorted it and discovered that we were so nicely warmed through by the panic, we didn't need a fire anyway, nooo way. But we had shivered enough to make us think about Studentland and whether it was warm enough down there, if they had enough oil, so we did what I'd been promising to do for weeks now and bought them a little extra electric heater in a big box, which we delivered, with an extension lead. Students do all kinds of things to keep warm - at least they did in our day - so they're probably fine; but now they'll have the flickering glow of fake wood burning stove as

Other ways of keeping warm: a quick knit to keep her ears from freezing. Midas hat by Laura Reinbach (free pattern on ravelry. It's slouchy and comfy and uses less than a skein of beautiful sock yarn. This is from His Mermaid Yarns by Ewe Mama on etsy)

Sunday, we got up bright and early to make a second delivery, of dinners for Granny to put in her freezer. It's quite a drive, but there was plenty of student news to catch up on on the way. When we got there we discovered that Granny and Little E had been looking at old photos; and as we flipped through the albums we found a set of pictures Little E's mum had taken of us and our two before Little E has even been thought of (no - you're right - it's about as unimaginable as, mmm, no internet, perhaps?) We went back to the days of making cardboard machines and learning to ride without stabilisers and pairing a red dufflecoat with a tutu: long enough ago, now, to make us gasp. I borrowed the photos to scan and clean up, so maybe next week, if I'm on it, I'll have a fresh set of prints in the mail. 

And so to Monday and I'm waiting to send out another delivery. It's the first time we have tried using Uni Baggage to send a box to Scottish Studentland (news just in! he says that he is going to wear a kilt for Graduation in the summer! And no, Mum, you are not going to knit me kilt hose: they're coming from a shop, right?) In theory Uni Baggage sounds excellent. If it's a success, just think of the possibilities. Anything I'm tired of looking at round here? I just wrestle it into a big cardboard box and a nice man will come and put it in his van and take it away..

But that's goods out. And this is Monday and so I need to think of some mail in. Easy. This week's nicest post was a card from Deb featuring her own photo taken in Lagos. It was easy to imagine the Portugal sun warming up my hand as I read her note. She brought back happy memories of a couple of weeks I spent in Lagos some years back, staying with friends. There may have been swimming at midnight. I should look out the photos, add them to my order..

So, thanks, Deb! Now, how about you? Any mail made you smile in the last week? Anything new at the weekend? Maybe you'd like to make a memo. We'd certainly love to read it. Last time I was joied by Mondayers

  Deb, Ruth, Barbara, Mitra, Mary-Lou, Ladkyis, Karen, Maggie, Melissa, Lizzy, Honore, Cheri, Mardi, Alexandra, Krafty Karen and Susanne

Go on, give 'em a wave! And have a good week!

Friday, 10 February 2017

To Post This Spring..

It was my turn over on the Gossamer Blue blog yesterday. I made cards again. Again! Something about working on that small canvas is really appealing right now. And, of course, the more cards I make, the more post I can conjure up. So..

...this is the first one I did. I started with a white background, but eventually decided that the textured kraft looked nicer with the cork shapes. Ah, but then I had to think of a way of making the cork stand out. So I drew round the shapes and stitched before I stuck down the butterflies.

Next I went back to those little birds (from Simple Stories The Reset Girl) again ... 

...and added a little touch of gold to accent the kraft this time.

And finally I tried one on a white canvas...

...and as I stacked up my layers and stuck them down I started to wonder: do you think much about the thickness of your cards, the bulk, when you are making them? Or do you pile it on and then wonder how it will fit in the envelope?

More mail on Monday...

Monday, 6 February 2017

Memos, Mail, Me: Do What You Love

It's the Monday after the weekend before. No: not the Superbowl, not round here, instead we were looking forward to the first matches of the Six Nations rugby competition. We lost. I wasn't going to mention it at all. But when I looked at the photo I'd just taken

all green and red, I realised that I should have added something of my teams, in those colours, into the mix.

But let's not speak of lost opportunities. It's mail day, memo day, or mail memo day. Oh, it's Monday: just write about anything if your mail isn't up to much! I struck lucky this week. 

First up: a catalogue I'd been hoping for. You'll have heard me talking about Gudrun Sjoden before. I visited the shop when we were in Berlin (and I even made a page about it) and I found there a dizzying delight. But the catalogue holds its own pleasures. I'll be holding on to this one; and not simply because I can see another linen tunic in my future. No, this one is heading for the inspiration pile on my desk.

Colour combinations, page layouts, even ideas for knitting socks. It's all there!

So that was worth opening. But then I received a little packet from across the pond, followed by an envelope, and so I had a gift from Mitra and a card from Alexandra and they made my day. Thank you! Alex's card says Do What You Love so I added to my photo the sweater I've been knitting. Remember I ordered the wool for the yoke a couple of weeks back? Over the weekend the croft hooses appeared beneath my fingers as I worked those balls into the final section. I'm so close to finishing..

So before I start another row (or round, as it's on a circular needle) let me ask you: how was your weekend? anything new? do anything for the first time? Or maybe you received something nice in the mail? We'd love to hear about it. Maybe you'd think about joining us?

 Deb, Ruth, Jane, Barbara, Lizzy, Mitra, Mary-Lou, Karen, Honore, Alexandra, Melissa, BarbaraKraftyKaren, Cheri, Alexa and Maggie all contributed a memo last week. Go on, give 'em a wave! And have a good week!
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