Monday, 29 August 2016

Memorandum Monday: Sneaks and the scent of a Campfire

Ah, Monday: you of the Bank Holiday which isn't. Round here it's a half hearted try at a day off: you can't go to the bank, or listen out for the postman, or get a doctor's appointment, but you may haul yourself out of bed at the same time as usual and go to work. Some shops open, a few don't, and it's rarely warm enough for a BBQ.

Because it isn't a long weekend for us, then, we didn't head to the coast, or make many plans. We did a little here and there of whatever we liked. For the first time in seventeen years I have no children going back to school this week, so there were no name tapes to sew on and I was free to finish up my September projects for Gossamer Blue

September Sneaks

and to keep knitting a sweater I hope will be done for our girl's new kind of new term. She was away all weekend. She flew in  to Manchester so that she could volunteer at "Wellies and Wristbands": a huge Guide Camp Festival extravaganza. We've had a couple of messages. One: I've had chicken curry for dinner two nights in a row (given that we always eat curry every night when she's away because she loathes it, that's volunteering of the highest order) and Two: I'm in charge of bouncy castles and fun fair (fun fair? geddit? see what they did there? When she was little we used to tell her we had been going to call her Spring Fair, or Harvest, or Christmas, or Craft).

She'll be back tonight, wondering how her new landlord has been getting on with the "improvements". The answer is I've chosen a possible carpet, but we can't get it measured up until Tuesday (carpet shop NOT open today); and I've picked out a decent oven for her baking, which we'll confirm this morning ( oven shop IS open today). And her brother has made a start on weeding the little garden at the back. 

But none of that is anything new. I've been buying carpet from the same man for twenty years. So, let me see...around this time every year The Accountant receives two complimentary tickets to the local Youth Orchestra concert (he did a talk for them this year about becoming self employed, which I think is a kind of cool and forward thinking thing for an orchestra to organise for its young musicians) and usually he takes his flute playing daughter; but as she wasn't around, I stepped in. I wore my new green dress. It was a nice night. There's a picture on instagram. And that's about it for today. My knitting looks autumnal, so I'll save it for again, which means it's over to you. Anything new? Anything you learned at the weekend which you didn't know before?

 Deb, Helena, Eileen, Mitra, Mary-Lou, Susanne, Maggie, Karen and Ladkyis shared last Monday. Go on, give 'em a wave! And have a good week.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

All There in Black and White

Before I start I have to tell you that I can't say anything about Bumper Gate, or Crash Gate, or even Gate Gate, as it is variously known round here, because I'm under some kind of embargo. Or maybe it's a restraining order? It can be a little difficult to keep up, living with a half-way-to-being-a lawyer

Sian Fair for Get It Scrapped

Keep Up, or Keep Your Head Down; both are good options, with Keep Your Head Down just having the edge right now, what with - well, you know what with. It wasn't me! I don't get to drive the little white car nearly often enough. It's a lot of fun round the city, easy to park, too, except when - sorry, sorry, I can't seem to stop myself. Come on, Sian, think of the consequences.

Maybe I should talk about the page instead. It came about because Get It Scrapped asked for a layout using an on trend colour combination (for this new blog article). I don't often begin with the colour, so I let this one stew away in the background for a few days until I realised that all I needed to make a start was a black and white photo, which would give me a free hand to choose any fresh colour combination I liked. It was chance that about five minutes after deciding this I spotted a pin of a picture from Instyle magazine: pink and green it would be.

I had a different title in mind when I started; but this one appeared in my head as I worked and it was too hard to resist. It's a jokey reference to the whole colour combo idea, and to the photo, and, of course, to those rules. You can read the rules for yourself. I have nothing to say, except it wasn't me! And I can play The Smiths in my own car, thanks!

With grateful thanks to Get It Scrapped, for another page which probably would never had been made without their suggestion. I've been with the team for three years now and I'm delighted to say that I'm staying on next year too. It'll be my pleasure

Monday, 22 August 2016

Memorandum Monday

...and with our holidays over we're back into our usual routine here. Mmm..maybe not quite. As soon as the A Level results are announced, the planning begins: only a few weeks until our girl starts her new life; and so we spent part of the weekend thinking about where she might live.

I'd been a bit hesitant to suggest one of my places: who wants their Mum as their landlord? That's like having your Mum as your ..mum, but with added bills and possibly less hot water (memo: get the boiler serviced); but there's a good chance it'll work out (memo: suggest she takes some of her baking paraphernalia to fill all those cupboards, then I'll get my kitchen back and she can still be here with fresh brownie deliveries in about ten minutes). We'll see how much cleaning and painting goes on this week and take it from there.


"Celtic Ballad" pattern from the Drops Design website, knitted in Drops Lima

while I worked hard at not interfering, I kept busy finishing up the purple sweater I started at the end of June. It's the first bottom up, in-the-round one I've made; but I can see myself getting seriously obsessed with this technique. I've cast on another one already. I just need to backtrack a little and (very) swiftly decide on a plan for August's Sock Of the Month before I get going in earnest. This will be the winter of the yoke sweater.

Autumnal coloured crazy Zauberball yarn to the right..maybe for socks?
So, what did I do that was new this weekend? Apart from signing up a new tenant, not a lot. We did talk a lot about all the new things we had been doing the Sunday before..

...when I learned that driving an East German Trabant car (simulator only, folks, have no fear, I'm not on the road) is very hard work.

How about you? Anything new? Maybe you'd like to make a memo and share. We'd love some new Mondayers! 

 Deb, Helena, Eileen, Maggie, Fiona, Krafty Karen, Melissa, Mitra, Ladkyis and Barbara took some notes last week when I was away, and the week before. Give 'em a wave! And have a good week.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Not Tryng For Gnomic

...because although I'm most definitely short, showing you this deeply unflattering photo probably isn't too clever..

...but it is the best illustration I have of our trip. I got so excited my hair blew up. 

Berlin is fantastic! We feel like we only scratched the surface of everything there is to see. And the shops? I'm already trying to work out if there is any way I can go back to do my Christmas shopping. I have lots more pictures, many, many stories and some new things to add to my wardrobe; but for now, here, it's exam results day and we are celebrating. Our girl is off to university next month: School of Psychology, here she comes! 

So I'll share some projects which appeared on the Gossamer Blue blog wile I was away; and then I'll dash. It's good to be back, but I have a cake to organise...

I was inspired by some little Simple Stories journaling cards to square everything up this month

More details on the Gossamer Blue blog

See you Monday, if not before.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Best Foot Forward: My Process, My Way

I wait til the house is quiet, everyone settled into late Saturday afternoon, and I creep up the stairs. I have a page in mind. There is a sheet of pale blue, soft, perfect for a background, lying on my desk. I pick it up, knowing I have a photo of blues and whites, with just enough black to set it off..

Sian Fair: August at Gossamer Blue, a process
Pale blue paper from Fancy Pants Designs. Labels from Gossamer BLue

I have two prints of my photo. one 6x4, one half that, so I make a quick decision about proportions: big canvas? small? prominent photo? I go for my new favourite tarter point of 8.5x11, for each page I've made lately in this size I've been pleased with.

So I trim my paper and lay on it the smaller photo. This is a page about going to the opticians (or is it? isn't it really a page about age?) and for that I like the notion of having the picture in amongst other pieces, so you have to pick it out, decide what you are looking at and how it fits. Can you read the next line? Is it an "0"? maybe it's a "c"? Are the dots clearer on the red or the green?

I have black in my photo, so I pick out some black accents for my embellishments: black glasses from Fancy Pants Designs Puffy Shapes. There are words on that sheet of puffy stickers: it would be a challenge for me to use "Grandpa" on any page, there is a definite lack of Grandpas in this family. But if I snip at it it becomes "grand"

which is a word we use a lot round here for any test which goes well.

I think again about alphas, then. I want hand cut letters you can just about see; and to get the pattern of flowers the right size I cut them from journaling cards (Simple Stories Snap! pack, Gossamer Blue August Life Pages Main Add On) instead of from a larger patterned 12x12 sheet. I lift a black pen and add outlines. It looks wrong: too much black in the wrong place on the page, so I have to cut my letters again, just squeezing another set. 

Now I'm hunting through the Life Pages kits I see labels I could use for extra journaling, a perfect little sticker that says "looking forward". I mount them on scrap card so I can play about with their position. I cut a speech bubble from another Life Pages card, pick up a fine nibbed pen so my writing looks as if I've thought about it, slowly, carefully, and I fill it with words.

I toy with all my elements, moving them round the page. I decide I want a border of darker flowers, so I must trim more of that pretty pale blue away, leaving a neater space. Time to commit. But it's not quite right. I need something to hold it all down and pull my eye right round. I have green threaded into the sewing machine. I slide my blue background under the foot and stitch freehand in repeating wavy lines round and round, driving my frustrations at my eyes into that paper. Then it's done. 

The sticking down is the quick bit. If I go slowly I go backwards, changing my mind again, so I work quickly. And, then, before I call it finished, I set it aside and I walk away. It won't be finished until I have one more look. Tomorrow.

A page for Gossamer Blue, August.

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