Friday, 26 October 2012

My Happy Thoughts - A Pop-Up Book

How on earth did this project come about ? Well, if you go on over to UK Scrappers you’ll see there’s a cybercrop underway and ( never one to resist a challenge ) I decided to buy the mystery kit and see what might happen. Once the Pandora’s Box had been opened, for some unfathomable reason, the contents shrieked “POP - UP “ at me and there was no going back !  And so began to story of “ My Happy Thoughts “

The papers were quite graphic and yet I was feeling in a sort of misty mellow fruitfulness ( apologies to Keats ) kind of mood. There was one paper at least that was brambly and Autumnal and that was my inspiration. A collection of my favourite happy quotes and thoughts forested from my collection sprung to mind and so the concept was born.

Where the pop-up idea came from, I have no idea but I’ve always been fascinated by paper engineering and the cleverness of it all. I can’t claim any credit for my clumsy attempts but I had a go.

Armed with a pair of scherenschnitte scissors that I’d bought in Switzerland on holiday where they have perfected the art over the centuries and some black cardstock, I started to fashion a few trees, a woodland cottage and a little window that reminded me of Hansel and Grettel’s cottage. 

I didn’t ever think I was going to finish it in time for the submission deadline as I could have gone on forever but mercifully I was limited by the contents of the kit. I’m happy to report that I used absolutely everything. 

It’s a little whimsical which is not really my style but its nice to break out of your comfort zone now and then.

You know how you get so far into a project and then you think ... my goodness I wish I’d never started this ? WEll, I have to admit like feeling like this when I was about half way through . I couldn’t see a way out of it , I had to keep going . Admittedly now I’ve finished it , I’m mightily glad I stuck with it as it’s kept me out of mischief for at least a week.

Incidentally, the title alone was a little ironic , especially as I was going through hell and back with eldest teen at the time although as my introductory page explains ... 

“ ... happy thoughts ... to get you through the tough times “

Might as well put it to the test. I’m still smiling, so it looks like it night have worked. And anyway there’s nothing guaranteed to make you laugh more than dealing with a teen-related crisis whilst grappling with the mechanics of a pop-up plastic pennant. Kind of puts life in perspective !

Hope you like it . 

And here is kitten Jack helping out !

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Procrastination and De-cluttering ...

... sounds like the name of a crusty old tax accountant's firm and well may it . They're both as appealing . At the beginning of the year I downloaded a calendar which suggests daily de-cluttering deeds. In January it was a God-send , by February it was becoming a slight irritation and by March, a downright nag.

To make matters worse , I'd subscribed to the  email updates which would chastise me daily with a reminder as to how nice could have been if only I'd followed their advice.

Time for a spot of procrastination. It runs in our family . The boys are masters at the art but only with regards to homework. How was I supposed to clear out my 'hutch'  (which apparently is a dresser or something in US Speak and not a home for bunnies ) when I didn't have one ? Why would anyone want to de-lint their dusters when you could buy those disposable jobs from the supermarkets. There's something weirdly satisfying but also alarming about the way they gather up a year's dust in a matter of seconds.

It is now October and my hutches remain uncleared, my dusters are still lint-laden and my 'basement' ( do all American homes have to have these or something and is there a law against building a house without one ? ) remains untouched. Time to bin the calendar or better still hit the unsubscribe button at the bottom of the daily digests ? I did the latter . They made the mistake of asking me why I wished to unsubscribe and so I did but the little box with space for a short sentence was woefully inadequate and so my response got sent half way through my rant which must have been puzzling for them as if I'd been stuck down mid- sentence by an errant broom falling from a still-cluttered cupboard.

My mother , God rest her soul , had a strange habit which she used to inflict on my sister and I , on a seasonal basis. With the benefit of hindsight , I now realise that this was an early manifestation of the madness which was raging inside her. We would come home from school and find , in the middle of our bedroom floors, the entire contents of every piece of furniture from wardrobes to bedside tables , bookshelves and desks. You name it . it had been emptied. Books, clothes, toys ( and later make-up , tights and go-gos or whatever was the rage back in the 60's ) would be piled up in a bonfire-like structure in the centre of the room. A sacrificial mound of 'stuff ' . We would heave a heavy sigh , shed a tear or two and then spend the rest of the evening setting about the task of returning every last item to its respectful place.

I like to think of it fondly now as the invention of de-cluttering which was only to become a national obsession in the 90's when we all ran out of space , following the Thatcher boom years of consumerism. No doubt a post-grad student has written a thesis about the phenomenon. We will probably find it has been categorised as an Olympic sport by 2016 with the Americans as potential gold medal winners .   My Mum was always ahead of her years.

So , the calendar is still magnetised to the fridge,  the pile of ironing I did last week is still at the bottom of the stairs and my husband's 'manpile' of pocket detritus is still splayed across the kitchen worktops . Some things never change.

Today's entry for the 20th October reads " Clear out your reference files . Best done whilst watching the TV or with Music. "  I would edit this to " best done with a bottle of wine " but then they may never get cleared out , more like wiped out or binned. So . I have no idea what they mean by 'reference' files. Hurrah another de-clutter free day.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Little Rolls of Loveliness

They come in many different colours, they breed like rabbits ... well at £2 a pop they're very affordable so my collection is growing exponentially and they're called Washi Tapes.

Trouble is you can't hide them in a drawer or put them in a box, you have to display them beautifully so that they're only ever an arm's length away. I came across this today and it screamed BUY ME as I laid eyes on it .

Want to see it unwrapped ?

Want to see it filled ?

It is THE perfect size and holds 40 rolls which now means of course that I won't be able to buy any more, unless of course my lovely embossed tin container finds a mate and starts breeding like a rabbit !

You can find them here online or better still pay them a visit . I guarantee you will be entranced by every item in the shop . I defy anyone to cross the threshold and come away empty handed !

The Interior Designers of the Bird World

The Bower Bird was brought to my attention by a book I saw for sale in a local shop ( that's worthy of a whole new post ) . Intrigued, I had to go and investigate and found this video on You Tube. Oh my word , if you have a minute it's really worth a viewing. I won't spoil the surprise but suffice to say , this bird has style and what a sweetheart ... all that effort .

Monday, 8 October 2012

To all my Blog readers ...

.... apart from those who are spamming my blog , apologies but I've had to disable comments as I seem to have been hi-jacked by a flow of anonymous cowards who have bee posting comments and clogging up my blog . I don't know who any of these people are and I've now deleted them but presumably the low-lifes just go round blanket posting on blogs worldwide in order to promote their companies. Desperate measure and rather pathetic on their part. I do hope they all go out of business very soon and then comment enabling will resume.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Feed Burner

I've no idea what it means but it sounds very dramatic. Maybe it's something to do with calories or some agricultural procedure that involves setting light to cornfields.

There's a whole lexicon of jargon out there which makes me feel, rather inadequately, that I might be missing out on something fabulously clever or life enhancing or empowering.

As I write this , I'm staring at a word in the "Post Settings" column which simply says Permalink. I'm tempted to click on it and see if it transports me to a reassuring place where everything joins together nicely and forever. I just did and now I'm confused as I have to choose between Automatic or Custom . Who knows what might irrevocably happen if I make the wrong choice.

Slightly more sinister is the little screen that pops up and let's me know that someone or something out there wants to 'use my location' I'm not sure whether to be worried that my whereabouts are about to be exposed.

And then there's the cosy and inviting message that talks about cookies as if it knows my weakness.

Serves me right for entering blogland blissfully unaware of the perils and pitfalls that would bombard me along the way. But I'm about to put all that right by attending something called Blogfest in a trendy bar in London some time in November - no I'm not withholding the date and location intentionally - I just can't remember the details. Lots of very clever people will be there who can enlighten me on Burnt Location Cookies and Permafrost Post Settings.... hopefully.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The C Word

Yes it's that time of year again. No sooner has the credit card cooled down from the excess of Autumn term's new uniform and school shoes, along comes a whole new shopping opportunity beginning with C.

I'm not mentioning it by name , you all know what I'm talking about. Is it me or has it all become too much, too soon ? I used to be a big fan of the whole shebang but age has made me cynical .

So , this year it's going to be different . I'll be making my own C cards in very limited numbers ( always promised , never actually managed ). I shall be dispensing with the gluttonous trolley loads of C food ( with the exception of the wine of course ) that start piling up from the1st December and booking a local eatery instead for the day itself. I will also be turning down all C related invitations , especially those including reference to the word 'party' , with the exception of those with small amounts of true friends and/or involving alcohol. I will be refusing to be sucked into the whole C shopping fiasco, choosing instead to shop wisely online for immediate family only.

This is my plan. Whether I stick to it remains to be seen . Check back on december 26th and see if I managed to see it through.

What will you be doing differently this year ? I'd love to hear.