The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Saturday, 27 April 2013

My allotment

Spring has finally arrived and I'm enjoying spending time at my allotment and feeling warm, hooray! These were taken about a week ago, stuff has grown a lot since then.
All images can be clicked on to enlarge them
General view of my allotment

 Stuff I'm harvesting at the moment
Chard, overwintered and growing fast now

Broccoli, with pigeon protection

Three different varieties, furthest one very early

Crops on the go, not many of these this year yet
Garlic and broad beans

Arty picture of rusty metal and pebble

The business end of the allotment

My shed
Built be me entirely from scrap wood

Water butts

Compost bins
Made from old pallets tied together with baler string

 And finally some weeds, or are they pretty flowers?!

Self sown primrose being allowed to stay

Celandines in the long grass nearby
and NOT allowed on the allotment.
I was recently considering the fact that I've been gardening now for nearly 30 years, both professionally and as a hobby (no wonder I'm tired?)
I feel I'd like to share my knowledge and experience somehow, but haven't worked out how yet. Any suggestions?

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Paste papers

This morning I ran a workshop for people to have a go at making paste papers.
A mixture of paste (in this case wallpaper paste) and paint is spread onto the paper. Patterns are then made into it with combs, brushes etc. 
They have to be hung up for a while to dry... 

the drying rack

the drying rack full
papers spilling onto the floor

a wonderful variety of patterns

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Cardboard boxes and getting organised

I'm still on a bit of a mission with my book workshops thing. They aren't always fully booked, but I love doing them and I figure if I keep plugging away then one day I'll become so well known that people will be flocking to my workshops and beating at my door begging me to teach them (perhaps?)

I have a bit of a thing about paper and stationary type stuff, and cardboard comes into that category too. Most of my workshop materials are transported around in cardboard boxes, and over the years I've gradually been decorating and reinforcing them papier mache style. Most of the time I just throw all the 'stuff' into boxes and then spend a lot of time at the workshops rummaging about for things. I've had a hankering to get organised and have been browsing through some catalogues and stores for ideas. I've finally come up with this idea of trays with dividers that fit neatly into my boxes, with a compartment for each of the different book-making supplies.
So I had a happy day cutting up boxes, tearing up paper and gluing. Here is one tray full of needles, thread, awls and tape, and an empty tray.
 Both trays full of stuff
 Tray one in the bottom of a box
 Tray two in the box..
And I have made a third one that fits in the top. I think it may have been drying when I did this 'photo shoot'. The materials cost me next to nothing, .....but they took all day to make! If I costed my time it would be cheaper to buy something, but I enjoyed myself and it beats watching telly (not that we have one, good grief I don't have time to watch telly!) I have yet to test them out at a workshop. Gosh, I might be super organised one day, but I doubt it,
...... just organised will do.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lotus fold books

I was asked to teach this lovely book structure a month or so ago, and I'm glad I was. I've taught it to a couple of groups already now, but I haven't actually made many of them myself yet, so I thought I ought to get on and have a play.

 I call them lotus fold books because they are made up of a series of pieces of paper folded into a simple origami type shape that looks a little like a lotus flower. Depending on how you stick them together you can get a variety of different books.
 I was experimenting with different colours and combinations and came up with some weird and wonderful shapes. They almost need a video to fully appreciate them, they are very beautiful when they open up.
I haven't put anything in any of them yet, but I think they would be lovely with little quotes or inspiring images.
I also picked up a pile of miscellaneous paper doilys from a charity shop because I can't resist anything vaguely stationary-like, and I've folded up a couple to make into another one of these books. Should look pretty amazing!
My next book project is to sew some more coptic books as I'd like to teach these too, and I haven't made any for ages. Here's a close up of a coptic stitched book. Pretty isn't it?

Monday, 15 April 2013

Dolphin sightings

We finally had our first sail of the season. We had to get our boat from Plymouth down to Falmouth to have some work done on her. The weather has been a bit on the chilly side for sailing, but on Friday 5th the wind was in the right direction, we had the offer of help from a friend, and the forecast wasn't toooo cold! We wrapped up warm and had a fabulous sail (and I wasn't too seasick). The best bit was we had four dolphins follow us for about a quarter of an hour. I got a couple of photos and Vince got a video of them. We reported the sighting to Sea Watch and they put our sighting on their sightings page, which made me feel slightly important!
and from our pictures and description they were identified as common dolphins.

Below is a link to the video. My camera's pretty basic so don't expect wonderful quality, but you definitely get to see dolphins!....
A still from the video!

um, not sure how to embed a video, try this link.

I'm getting really into my book workshop stuff at the moment, so more news on that coming up. 
I'm thinking of starting a separate blog for books, is that a good idea? Hmm, I'll think about that a bit more...

Monday, 1 April 2013

Craft fair

Craft fairs
Aaargh I hate them!
Lots of bloggers seem to blog about wonderful craft fairs they've been to, get all excited about the planning, share pictures of their beautiful stalls, blah blah. Me, I dislike, them ....... a lot. For one thing I don't like trying to sell things because I don't like people trying to sell me things. I never sell enough to cover my time at the fair all day let alone all the preparation time and the time spent making my books. But every now and then I forget how much I dislike them and I get seduced into doing it again, and I do have to say that occasionally I make a useful contact that leads to a dose of teaching work. At the moment I have a load more book workshops in the pipeline and I decided to have a stall at a craft fair in Exeter mainly to promote my workshops. Because I now expect to hate the whole experience I don't suffer too much on the day. On this occasion I sold a few book making materials (under £10 worth), but didn't sell a single book. I did get rid of seven fliers for workshops which was ok but not brilliant. The only sight consolation was that I spoke to several other stallholders who hadn't sold anything either so it wasn't just me! 
I did make an effort to make my stall look nice, I practised this kind of bookshelf look at home..

I made a banner with book pages.. Note the bit that's supposed to say 'handmade' on the table, it actually reads edamdnaH, because I strung them the wrong way round at first. Surprisingly I found this very amusing and it cheered me up so much I had to take a picture!
Anyway, the event was in a theatre space, which as you can see below was very black, although quite well lit, but my stall was in a slightly dark corner. Looking at the pictures when I got home I thought my stall looked like a horrible untidy jumble. This is actually quite a good reflection of how I live, and, although I'm comfortable like that, I don't think it's a good way to present my books, ho hum, back to the drawing board..
In fact I'm really quite embarrassed at how bad it looks, but I'm going to share it anyway because I have a tendency to blog about all the lovely and wonderful things in my life and I just want to share some of my angst and uncomfortableness.
On the plus side I did meet a couple of people who expressed an interest in me doing workshops in their spaces, and possibly sharing space in a pop-up art shop in Crediton. we shall see...!