Friday, 30 July 2010

This is no time for a crisis

I think I may be having a mid-life crisis. Actually, I've been having one for at least five years. Is there an age limit on mid-life crises? (crisisses?) I only ask because I'm going to be 49 on Sunday, and it's freaking me out!

I'm being quite brave even mentioning it, as I'm normally reluctant to give my age on the internet. People have so many preconceptions. If you think I sound 30 or 70, so be it - I don't want to change your impression. However, I've decided to come clean and 'fess up. I am nearly 49 and I don't much like it.

Apart from the usual problems - aches & pains, wrinkles, feeling frumpy, and trying to avoid wearing reading glasses - I think I'm having a bit of a crisis because I feel I have yet to sort my life out. I left my 'proper job' five years ago and have managed to avoid being employed since. Instead I've been trying to find a way of earning a living from the things I enjoy. In practice, this means not earning a living, but having little or no income whatsoever. Mr Kitsch is in a similar situation, so we know we're going to have improve the situation pretty soon.
Just lately I've been getting a bit confused, because I don't think I'm very good at combining the vintage selling with the art/craft making. Whilst they do complement each other, I'm not very good at dividing my time effectively. I keep wondering if I spent more time on making things, whether I'd be able to find a more coherent style. Or at least pick a favourite medium. As it is, I find myself full of ideas, wanting to try so many things and not achieving half of them. At the same time, I'm filling the house with vintage things I don't have room for and am slow to sell. Do other people do this?
Well, I'm going to have spend some time on Art with a capital A now, as we had some exciting news this week. We've managed to book a small gallery called Room 212, for a week's exhibition in September. Mr Kitsch has been painting for a while now, and we decided to have a joint show. So I guess there's no time for introspection and crises - I need to get busy!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Creative Wednesday - Pink Box

This is a tiny little box of cute stuff - just 3 inches high. I made the 'shelves' from lolly sticks (from the craft shop - no actual lollies involved, sadly!). 

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Creative Wednesday - Button Trees and Embroidered Flower

As promised in my previous post, here are some of my creative endeavours, which also fit into the unfinished projects category. The idea is to do a creative post every Wednesday, but we'll see how that goes!

This piece of embroidery above was started with the intention of making it into something larger and more 'arty'. That probably won't happen now, so I think I'll try to make something smaller with it. Maybe just a padded ornament, but that sounds a bit dull, now I'm writing it. Hmm...

The second piece is a button tree. I made a few of these, months ago, but never finished them, because I couldn't decide how to stand them up. This one is just plonked into an old cotton reel. I'm not sure if that works or not. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Monday, 19 July 2010

Finding & Finishing

Every day, I get an email from Etsy called 'Etsy Finds', which showcases items from the handmade and vintage shops on Etsy. Every day I look through it to see what's been featured, always with a small glimmer of hope that one of my items might just make it on there. It never happens.

But then, on a busy Sunday when I didn't even have time to look at the email, one of my items, the Swedish Dala horse, pictured above, makes it on to 'Etsy Finds'! Someone reserved it, along with some other stuff, and then I got two more emails asking to buy it. And 30 people had made it a favourite item. In my dopey way, I just thought 'Goodness me, those Swedish horses are popular nowadays!', and it was only when I saw the email that I realised why. (You can see the selection of finds here.)

Needless to say, my shop was not as well-stocked as I would have liked, so I haven't been inundated with other sales, but many thanks to Etsy for including my shop. Interesting that they go for the 'tasteful' end of my offerings, rather than the kitsch stuff, like this crazy cowboy! Maybe I should have put him on the Swedish horse...
I also discovered my Flickr photostream was getting some hits over the weekend, thanks to the picture of my hallway being included on Desire to Inspire, a rather lovely interiors blog. I'm starting to feel famous!

Two blogging projects have come to my attention this week. They're both about making things, and chime in very well with what I've been thinking about lately.
(Don't be put off by this pic from an old Sindy annual, which features some of the worst craft ideas ever! Click on it to see a large view.)
First was from a Thrifty Mrs, who has launched her 52 Marvellous Makes Madness Challenge. The idea is to make something you enjoy making, each week for a year.

I had been thinking I should try to make my blogging more regular, and include things that I've made, and so the idea of a weekly 'make' sounds great. I'm not sure I can manage to make something for fun every week, so I might cheat a bit and show you some old projects.

And on the subject of old projects, I recently wrote a list of all the crafty projects I'd started and not finished. There were 18 I could think of, straight away. If I dared to look at the bottom of some bags and boxes, I know I'd find more. Sewing, crochet, art, - I start things and then move on to something new. I've sometimes tried to analyse why I do this, but quite honestly, I can't afford that much therapy! I decided recently that I should try to finish some, if only to get rid of those annoying bags of yarn/fabric/thread etc,

So it was perfect timing to find the next blogging project on Joys Quilts. It's called 'Finishing Stitches'. The idea is to get on and finish some unfinished projects that have been hanging around for too long. The deadline is the end of July, so I'd better get a move on.
Now where's my needle?

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Nature Ramble

I have to say I'm not really the outdoorsy type. But in the recent glorious summer sunshine, even I wanted to get out and enjoy it. So on the past two Sunday mornings, I've been getting out to the countryside and going for a walk in the fields.

While I was out, I was lucky enough to spot these timid creatures.

And I was delighted to see so many flowers...
The country people have quaint customs...
And I walked so far, I started to wonder just which country I was in...
I was certainly glad I had a stout pair of boots...
Yes, okay, you've guessed it. When I say 'countryside', I mean just on the outskirts of the city, and the 'fields' in question are scattered with cars and their boots full of old junk. But I did do a lot of walking - over three hours to get around the whole thing! I might take a flask of tea and pack of Kendal Mint Cake with me next time!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Long and Lovely and Lush

If you recognise the words of the title above, then it's just possible you studied the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins at school, as we did. I can't say I 'got it' back then, but the words of his poems often come back to me, when I see a bit of the old Nature being particularly splendid.

The words come from 'Spring'
"Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
  When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;"

They often pop into my head now in early summer, when I see exuberant hedgerows, bursting with long grass and wildflowers.
"What is all this juice and all this joy?" 
Our English teacher told us it was sap rising, which for some reason, we thought hilarious at the time, and tried to use the word 'sap' as often as possible in lessons.
This hot midsummer is definitely long and lovely and lush round here, and I've managed to spend some quality time lying around looking at green grass and blue sky. A very summery occupation, and a little bit unexpected.

 Despite the freedom of not having a 'proper job', Mr Kitsch and I don't always take 'days off' as such. Our work time and fun time is quite confused and intermingled. And like most people, 'free' time often involves doing chores or essential shopping. Also the lack of a 'proper' job means the lack of funds for a 'proper' holiday. So when all this good weather started, Mr Kitsch suggested a 'staycation'. In other words, stay at home, but act like you're on holiday, going out on day trips and visiting places you haven't been or don't often go to. (And not worrying about chores when you get home!)
I'm not sure we actually succeeded in having a 'staycation', but we did take some proper days off. We went to Bath, we spent a wonderfully lazy afternoon having a picnic on The Downs in Bristol, near where we live. Last week we went to the Gower, and spent the afternoon on the beach at Oxwich. I even swam in the sea (very briefly!). The Gower is where we had our first holiday together, and is always lovely. The beaches are huge and sandy and generally uncrowded.
This week we went to Clevedon Court. I don't know why, but we never managed to visit it when we belonged to the National Trust, despite it being so nearby. It's a small place, but a delight to visit. The front facade is very impressive, but I totally failed to get a picture of that, so this is the back garden with palm tree
There is also a room full of 'Nailsea Glass', which apparently doesn't come from Nailsea at all. On the way home, we got Greek kebabs, which didn't come from Greece, either. Lovely and Lush!