The Thinker….?!

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Thought you might like another glimpse of Tiny House on this cold day…

Sometimes I just need a sit-and-think session.  To the outside world it must look as if I’ve shut down and I have certainly had my share of comments: “are you ok?”, “cheer up, it might never happen!”, “are you actually going to do anything today?”….!  But I think most creative people would understand this need.  I suppose all I am doing is shutting out all the ‘noise’ of the world and looking at the thoughts in my head.  A wood fire helps the process I find.

Recently I have been looking at other blogs and websites and I’m absolutely amazed at their number and diversity.   People are doing all kinds of things: recycling, upcycling, repurposing, designing, sewing, knitting, crocheting or simply sharing how they have made a beautiful home and life for their families.  Take a look at the likes on my Facebook page (glamupcycling.com) for a selection of my favourites.  They are very inspiring and often uplifting, and it’s good to know that there are so many interesting and lovely people in our world.

Well, this morning the much awaited beginners’ crochet group went ahead and I wasn’t disappointed.  I met some lovely ladies and Verity, who runs this and many other workshops, asked if I would like to collaborate on some projects.  Yes I would please!  We will be getting together soon to work out exactly what this means and I’m very excited to be getting involved.

I was listening to the song Nothing Arrived by The Villagers as I ate my home made soup at lunch time and the line ‘I waited for nothing and nothing arrived’ jumped out at me.  It’s true – you have to go out and make things happen.

I didn’t achieve much crochet but I’m determined that the next time I see Verity I will be wearing the bow we were supposed to make!  Off to the charity shops to find some wool I think…

To Market, to Market…

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The Tiny Production Department.

Today I have finally been able to book a place at the Bath Artisan Market!  This means I have an outlet for my work at least once a month.  It’s so nice to be working towards something definite.  This was at the top of my “to do” list today and I’m so pleased to be able to tick it off.

The market is held at the disused Victorian railway station “Green Park” so it’s under cover.  Luxury!  There will be a Valentine theme for the first market on 10th February and Chinese New Year will also be celebrated, with dragon dances and other treats.  Come on down if you are in the area!

While I was making a batch of my little heart brooches yesterday (see photo in previous blog) it occurred to me that I could honestly say that, like Goldilocks and her flowers, I liked each one more than the one before.  I was varying the colours of threads and buttons as I went and each new combination was a delight to me.  I suppose that sums up why we crafters enjoy what we do so much – nothing ever has to be exactly the same and the only rules are those we choose to make as we go along.

I have further batches of brooches to make up but I have realised they are something portable I can do in front of the fire when I visit The Accountant this weekend so I shall crack on with other things.

I’m still trying to get my head round all the jargon one has to learn to become proficient at blogging/facebooking/website building.  If only all providers used the same terms to refer to the same things it would make our lives a lot easier.  I wonder how much time the average small business proprietor spends dealing with such on-line matters?  I have huge admiration for those such as Laura After Midnight (see link) who find time to post so many interesting snippets on their blogs.

Tiny House seems to be struggling to keep itself (and therefore me) warm today so I think the outside temperature must have dropped again.  A very light powdery snow is falling and the light is just beginning to turn towards dusk. Hot chocolate time I think!

There’s a pile of fabric at my feet, they have just played Kate Bush on the radio and, all in all, life seems rather good…

 

 

Waiting and Stitching…

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I DO like a couched thread…

As I mentioned in a previous Blog, I am waiting for my domain name to be released so I can move it to a new provider and start building a new website.  And now I am also waiting to find out whether I have a pitch at the Bath Artisan Market (www.bathartisanmarket.com).  Sometimes it seems that one of the main features of setting up a small “handmade” business is waiting and worrying.  But I have such lovely visions in my head of what I want my business to look like that I am able to keep myself calm and happy.  Honest!

The sitting room and kitchen at Tiny House are knee-deep in fabrics of all descriptions as I type.  I am in the process of designing and making products for the market I hope to attend on 10th February and am resolved not to hit the charity shops until I have made at least a sizeable dent in the fabric stash I already have.  But I always work on a small scale (see the brooch above) so it’s going to take a while!

I love to hand stitch, my “cupboard of all things” is working much more efficiently since its clear-out and the Bose is playing The Buena Vista Social Club, so all in all it’s been a mellow morning…

Upcycling Forever!

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A one-off GlamUpcycling business card/swing tag.

When I think about my propensity to turn old things into new, I realise I’ve been doing it for most of my life.  It’s just that there was never a name for it and it certainly wasn’t fashionable.  In my childhood and even young adulthood it was born from a necessity to spend as little as possible on craft materials and a desire to make my hand-me-downs look like something new and mine.

When I type upcycle into “Word” it asks me to hyphenate it and it can’t define it in the Thesaurus.  (I probably don’t have the most recent version and it might have caught up in the last couple of years).  But the on-line Oxford English Dictionary has quite recently included the following entry:

Verb: upcycle [with object]. Adjective: upcycled.

  • reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher     quality or value than the original

It’s great that language, and therefore popular culture, has recognised upcycling.  It shows that attitudes to the so called “throw away culture” have definitely shifted, and long may they continue to do so!

Of course, sometimes I’m in danger of becoming obsessed, and I have visions of Tiny House bursting at the seams as yet another bag of scraps and off-cuts is added to the stash.  But when is a scrap too small to bother keeping?  If you are a machine embroiderer, for instance, even snippets of threads can be scattered onto fusible Vilene and then worked into and over to create a new fabric.  A creative mind can probably come up with a way to make something new out of anything eventually.  The problem is where to keep the “trash” while the thought process happens.  Answers on a postcard please…

And that brings me very neatly to a great illustration of exactly what I mean.  Most people receive postcards, greetings cards etc from friends and family over the years.  Some do the sensible thing and get rid of them after a period of time, but not a would-be upcycler!  I am extremely proud of my business cards, which I also use as swing tags on my finished products.  They exactly embody the spirit of upcycling as defined by the dictionary entry above.  Plus, they are fun and every single one is unique.  They take me a little while to make (especially as I usually end up reading them all before I cut them up!) but I think they are SO worth it.  People seem to be intrigued by trying to work out what the writing says from the tantalising glimpses around the edges.  And they often spend some time deciding which card to take – do they want a fragmented view of Skegness on the back or a vase of pretty flowers?  If I hadn’t stashed my postcards, my business cards would probably have been the same as everyone else’s!

The weather here in the South-Westish of England seems to have settled for now and my little town is functioning quite well.  How the population of countries that regularly receive huge dumps of snow must laugh at us when we grind to a halt in four inches or so.  But rest assured we are laughing too –we are extremely good at laughing at ourselves!  There is nothing a Brit likes better than a story of a gritting lorry stuck in ice or a snow plough caught in a drift.  It’s that famous British love of irony!

Oh, and The Accountant did make it through the snow to me!  He has put up a new wooden venetian blind at the kitchen window of Tiny House.  The blind was far too long and we had to remove over 20 slats.  Funnily enough I was looking for a source of very thin wood for a project I have in mind.  In the words of Hannibal Smith, I love it when a plan comes together…

Let it NOT snow!

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Ah, look – a little corner of Tiny House.

Somebody has stolen my car and left a large pile of white fluffy stuff in its place.  The snow, though very pretty, has brought about a calamity: my beginners’ crochet group has been postponed until next week !  I was all geared up for a bit of hooking and also looking forward to meeting some crafty people in my new home town.  I had on my rugged boots and everything.  But maybe this means I can start playing the Michael Buble Christmas Album again..?!

The Accountant is supposed to be driving up from the deepest lanes of Somerset for the weekend but will he make it?  I am lucky that I live within walking distance of all the necessaries in life here, so I will survive (hey, hey!).  I must check with my neighbour whether she needs anything.

All of which has absolutely nothing to do with this blog.  Sorry!

I have just been informed that, due to my own stupidity, my domain name is now stuck where it is for the next 60 days.  Then I can move it to the provider with whom I plan to build my website.  Maybe this is a blessing in disguise as it will stop me trying to do everything at once and giving myself a massive brain ache.

In the meantime, having started these pages yesterday I feel the need to follow the tutorial offered on the site; so that’s what I will be doing this morning, with a steaming cup of hot chocolate at my side…

Humble beginnings, big plans!

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One of my cute fabric corsages made from charity shop finds (washed!)

I’ve been in the process of setting up an upcycling business for a while now but have never taken the time to actually ‘get it out there’.  This week I have transferred my domain name to a new provider ready to build a new website, and started this blog. So it is with some trepidation and a bit of a jargon-induced headache that I write this.

A typical GlamUpcycling week would involve a rummage through a selection of charity shops, washing and ironing my finds, designing products, writing kit instructions and making up prototypes.  And, of course, making stock to sell at future markets and via my website (under construction – and that’s another aspect of my week!).

I’ve done all this before and it’s become a familiar process.  What’s new is that this time I plan to do something called “marketing” as well so that a few people might actually become aware of GlamUpcycling.  Genius – I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!

Everybody I meet in the crafting world says that you HAVE to have a strong on-line presence and interact on-line as much as you can.  Although I did build myself a simple website before, I never got round to telling the world it was there so I might just as well not have bothered.  With my new site I will conquer the world!

Speaking of conquering the world, I was in Rome for a few days this month.  What a beautiful city – neither words nor pictures can do it justice.  What struck me was that although we chose to meander through back streets, we never came across one run-down, sleazy area.  Everything was gently faded, somewhat jumbled in places, but always lovely.  And on our last day I came across the ice cream parlour of my dreams.  Over 100 flavours of ice creams, mousses and sorbets.  And little tables to sit at outside to rest while enjoying the wares.

Ah, Rome.  Everybody should go.  Preferably not all at once.  Do try to form an orderly queue…

But I digress.  I have just finished clearing out my “cupboard of all things” so that I can really get organised.  I have the tiniest table to work at because I live in the tiniest house, but this will only help me to be creative.  I have always loved small spaces.

I am aware that I want to add pictures here of parts of my tiny home, my “cupboard of all things” and other inspirational things but this is my first blog and, like a child learning to walk, I tire easily!  So I promise to add more interest another day.  But for now I’m all blogged out…