Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Snap Happy!

Some weeks need to be deleted and/or overwritten.

Other weeks go fine except for nothing of a digital/ mechanical nature working.

Occasionally there are serendipitous weeks when things appear to go right...this might be one of them. Ssh, mustn't scare the Serendipity Fairy!

This is an odd selection of photos but let me explain:

Come September I may be teaching a few craft classes in the Craft and Sewing Basket shop on the Quays. Its through pure unadulterated cheek I was offered them but I am really looking forward to it. Here is a sample of the Christmas Angel Doll they'll be making, though the dress fabric has only to be changed for any seasonal angel. Just how the gold one ended up with such a big head is a mystery...as you can tell this may be a rather unintentionally 'interesting' class...and I may not be invited back...
Christmas Angels
This was just a man-hole cover I passed, but don't you think it looks a bit like an all-over Ohio Star pattern?? Me quilt obsessed? Not a bit!!
And the next two were just shop displays! I liked the flowers in the top one, and the stripes, and the combination of colours in the second! I'm so bad at putting colours together to look good that the phone camera is a really useful way to keep track of visually interesting colours. Well...maybe!

Another thing I was wondering about was changing the logo for Heckety Beck's shop, and possibly changing the name to something a bit more um....classy? Middlest painted me a piece of canvas in colours I want to use for me to play around with logos and labels etc. I was thinking 'Daffodil and Ruby' but not sure. Thought it might be more easily remembered than Heckety Beck, especially if I take a stall in the Market over the winter and start building a less folksy reputation. People don't want folksy now, but well-made artisan stuff. Does 'Daffodil and Ruby' sound classy? smart? artisan? fun and cheerful? (Don't' mention dolls with big heads.)
Later this week I am going to Dublin with a friend to stock-shop for her shop. If you never hear from me again you'll know I've taken up residence in a wool or fabric or craft warehouse somewhere in Dublin and am refusing to come out!!!
They're coming to take me away Ha! Ha!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Superficial Living

Regular visitors will know that at present yours truly is living in the grand mega-metropolis of a west of Ireland country town. A pleasant country town, of course, full of interesting, nosey people all going about their busy lives.

Usual small town stuff!

But since becoming a city mouse as opposed to a country mouse I have made some surprising discoveries which, through ignorance or naivety, I find a bit shocking.

For years I have wondered how people can justify not recycling, being ecologically unconscious, shopping to support the local economy from local supermarket produce to artisan work, looking outward to considering the result of all their actions great and small, living as lightly as possible, and so on.

I had a garden so I grew fruit and veg, herbs, I composted, looked for alternative, sustainable ways to do things, recycled everything possible, reduced use of fossil fuels, water, resources, reused and repaired whenever possible, bought second hand clothes, cut down on wastage of every sort, you name it if I thought of it I did it.

Circumstances change and heck! but its an eye opener.

Firstly, choice of action is the prerogative of those who are not on the breadline. If you are so strapped for cash you can't think straight, you are going to buy the cheapest item regardless of where it came from or who made it- particularly food.

Secondly, living in a town insulates you from the consequences of your actions. If I leave a tap running I'm not going to go short of water because it is coming from the mains instead of a stream or well. Others may go short of water in the long term but there is no personal comeback on me. Ditto electricity.

If I fail to recycle, the bin men will collect my rubbish regardless; in fact recycling is a right hassle when you have no parking, live up three flights of stairs and the recycling banks are not in walking distance. And compost? Nowhere to put it except the landfill bin.

If I need something I can walk out and buy it, all I need is money in the bank. If it has unnecessary wrapping I drop it in a street bin as I walk past and once again someone else deals with it. There is absolutely nothing sustainable about my present way of living- I grow nothing and am dependant on shops for everything. Even the weather has very little impact upon a town dweller.

There are advantages to town: I use the car very little, I walk as much as possible, I don't have to shop for a month at a time as I can nip out for things as I need them, the proximity of buildings reduces my heating bill.

The end result, after ten months of town living, is the conviction that everything will carry on regardless of any of my eco-conscious practices and that nothing I do matters. In the country when you see the immediate result of mismanaging resources it seems that one's actions are important.
Perhaps each are wrong- I think it is irresponsible not to care and to carry on in a selfish manner, but I have to admit it is difficult to care when others obviously have no consideration for the environment and are happily living heedlessly with no obvious results. Perhaps living in the country gave me an inflated sense of my own importance, and perhaps living in the town has balanced that.

But in the end, if I take no responsibility for my actions because I feel no impact, than who will take responsibility for mankind's irresponsible acts? In the end as we are all paying I fear we will still be blaming other people for doing exactly what we are doing- which is nothing constructive.

Superficial living may ease ones conscience but it sure removes the impact of our actions.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Not a Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was an independent little shop. The shop started small with a range of reasonably priced, reasonable quality goods. People liked it because it was not a franchise, a supermarket, a rip-off, had all sorts of useful items and the owner knew both his customers and his stock! He would rummage for items, reach off high shelves, unstack if the colour you wanted was at the bottom of the pile, discuss merits of brands, shoot the breeze, have a laugh, tell stories, give you directions if you were lost, or suggestions if he didn't stock what you wanted. Everything was good value, including the owner!

The little independent shop grew upwards to take in another floor and stacked all sorts of new items. It followed trends, but not slavishly, and was slow to abandon old trends. If you wanted an item out of season, or out of popularity, there it was. It was always a cramped little shop because of stocking such a variety of items, but that was part of the delight of going in. It was possible to buy such a variety of goods there that it saved time dragging all over the town with cross children and paying buckets of coins in parking fees. And what's more, being a dad, the owner was pretty tolerant of cross children and even better at making them giggle.

Time passed, the owner began to show his age and it became apparent that his memory was failing. He got confused easily and didn't know where to find items, which was, naturally, distressing.

Then one bright day a daughter returned  to the shop full-time, unobtrusively taking over the ordering, organising, stock taking, locating items and keeping an eye to things. She stayed in the background whilst her Dad ran the till, chatted with the customers, told stories and jokes, and became almost his old self again, except for frequently calling on her when something was needed that he couldn't remember.

She's still there, running the show completely. She never laughs at him or makes sarky 'Dad jokes'. She never lets on to customers that she is the power behind the throne, though most people guess. She treats her Dad with respect and love and knows his frailty, and cussedness, and covers for him.

Its still an independent little shop, run by an independent man and his strong, loving daughter. Its still a great place to do all the odd errands in one place, hear a story and catch up on the chat. Its also a really heart warming place to mosey around and listen to the pair of them.

This is not a fairy tale. It will end sadly. But with dignity and self-respect intact, one man is growing old in his own kingdom, passing his time being useful and cheerful.

I don't know the daughter well enough to tell her how much I admire and respect her for each day she gives her father. She'd probably laugh if someone praised her for just selflessly doing her family duty.

But from where I stand, she's a hero.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Problem Beverage?

Is it just me or do you people have Beverage Problems?

Not as in problems discerning a beverage: if it slops its a beverage.
And not as in construction of a beverage: there's a reason companies generally label their products before they decorate the supermarket shelves, but then again, if you keep buttons and trims in a tea-caddy you deserve all you get (guilty!).
Mind you, there's the story of someone who kept their grandfather's ashes in a cocoa tin marked 'gravy'...(no offence intended)

No, I'm talking of the sort of problem where you create your desired beverage and then misuse it accidentally.

Tea, mainly. Although there have been problems with ink. Luckily turps, white vinegar and white spirit each have very distinctive aromas...but hot cocoa  and left-over gravy sauce have interchanged themselves in the past...

Back to the beverage problem at hand- literally...

I'm working on dolls at present since I've managed to convince M. that I am a competent enough doll maker to give an Autumn workshop at her place. (Faith is the key: Amen, sister!) I don't like white dolls and love working with tea-dyed calico, regular readers will no doubt recall previous accidents?

I guess regular readers can also see where this is going...

So as I am working very hard I make myself a nice cuppa tea. Oh look there's hot water left in the kettle, two more tea bags into the wide necked plastic water jug, add hot water, stir to a nice dyeing colour, gather the snippets of calico needing attention and... very carefully.... drop the lot... into... my lovely fresh cuppa cha.


Now I have to wash the soya milk out of the calico and start again.

Nothin' easy, I'm tellin' ya!

Like I say: grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....


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