Monday, 23 January 2017

Memos, Mail, Me: Love a Pug

Ah, Monday: just the two of us, then? Christmas is finally ready to go back into the attic here at High In The Sky and the house is quiet. Our last guest left on Saturday, when Uncle Dave headed back to the States.  

...and he took his Christmas cardigan with him, bargain buttons and all

We're never quite sure when we'll see him again, so Dave time means abandoning as much of everyday life as I can so that I have space to sit and talk. We always have a lot of catching up to do. He divides his break, usually, between here and the House of Little E, so, of course, not only does he have his own news to share: he can arrive with a whole new clutch of Little E stories too. Time for a quick one? 

Little E loves animals, of all kinds, though he has his favourites, including one particular breed of dog. He owns a sweater with a picture of this dog on the front; and I found him a similarly adorned Christmas card. Which was A Good Thing given that on Uncle Dave's first morning there, Little E appeared in his room after a good night's sleep. 

"Good sleep?" Uncle Dave asked.

"Ah, lovely," replied Little E  with the satisfied sigh of a well rested man. "Because there is always a pug in my dreams."

Wait: I'm losing my focus, aren't I? This is Monday! It's memo day, it's mail day, what's new with you? day. And I do have some pleasant post to share. Though, I'll admit it, it's only truly excellent if you are into yarn (not a yarn, I've done that already). When I posted on instagram this picture of my new knitting project

The pattern is the Crofthoose yoke by Ella Gordon, on Ravelry

I asked for colour suggestions for the houses because I had ordered the main blue but nothing for the motif. At the end of last week I finally got round to choosing and my parcel arrived on Saturday

The satisfying thing about these little 25g balls is that at a couple of pounds each, I can play about with more colours than I need and use the leftovers for socks. I'm already thinking that it would be fun to make a different coloured sweater for each season. 

So that's my mail: how about you? How was your weekend? Care to share? We'd love to hear. Make a memo, open that envelope, post about your post! And here's an idea (with very grateful thanks to Theresa, who pointed me in the right direction): if you are low on mail, how about taking part in International Correspondence Writing Month in February? It's worth thinking about..

Have a good week! 

Deb, Ruth, Helena, Eileen, Alexa, Jane, Mary-Lou, Alexandra, Melissa, Krafty Karen, Maggie, Karen, Mitra, Theresa were are Mondayers last week. Go on, give 'em a wave!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Memos, Mail, Me: It's Monday (and I'm not drying dishes)

So, Monday, it looks like we're on! We threw our new idea out to the world last week and the Mondayers seem to like it. Now there's a relief! I think we might even have persuaded one or two Monday-ing Freshers to try us out: wouldn't that be excellent?

Of course coming up with a plan is only the beginning for me. First week out, I was under pressure to come up with the goods. I needed an interesting piece of mail with which to Monday. I hovered near the letterbox. I rifled through a stack of brown envelopes. I held up to the light the ones not actually addressed to me. Oh, no: wait, I didn't. But I can't say I wasn't tempted. And then it happened. The doorbell rang and a minute later I was saved. I had in my hands a very fresh looking (for it had travelled a long way..) white envelope, marked with that most exciting of stickers...


A squishy parcel from my dear blogging, scrapbooking friend, Mardi in Australia. Inside the envelope was a beautifully wrapped (yes I took a picture and a day later I used the wrapping paper on a layout) package; and inside that I discovered the nicest tea towel I have ever owned.

I will  not be drying dishes with this one. It's cute enough to be framed. So, thank you Mardi: not only for the beautiful gift, but also for saving my bacon. Today I have post to post about; and that is entirely down to you.

Of course, next week I could be back to brown envelopes; and if that's the case, I'll regress. Why not? If you have no post which pleases you, then absolutely, yes, keep on writing about your weekend, or what you have learned, or what's new. Just keep on writing! My weekend? Pretty budget conscious, thanks. We went into town to look for buttons for the cardigan I'm knitting for Uncle Dave. My usual shop wanted one of my hard earned pounds for each button. So I backed out of there and we found a different shop, whereupon The Accountant, my better half, proved worthy of his name (it's not a career, it's a lifestyle choice) and found, in the bargain box, five of exactly the right buttons at exactly the right price. Five pence. When we got home I gave him a piece of my Terry's chocolate orange to celebrate.

Have a good week! Oh, and got mail? Let's hear about it!

  Deb, Helena, Mitra, Mary-Lou, Alexandra, Jane, KraftyKaren, Karen, Melissa all joined in last week. Go on, give 'em a wave! Go say hello!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Wabi Sabi Scrapbooking

Mmm...make a page that's perfectly imperfect: what do you think?

Sian F Woot!

When Get It Scrapped asked me for a layout designed around the principles of Wabi-Sabi I had to do a little research (as it turns out my dear friend Alexa had explained it perfectly on this post from a couple of years back). It's the Japanese notion of impermanence and imperfection; that nothing lasts forever, nothing can be finished, that simple is good, authentic is best.

So what that means is that I've been enjoying Wabi-Sabi style scrapbooking all along. That's what I like. I'll very often leave a sewing thread dangling on purpose, or draw a wobbly line, or cut freestyle with my scissors instead of a trimmer, because I know that if I do these things, I'll leave a little of my "hand" on the page. You will know, in other words, that I've been there. (And if you've been hanging round here long you'll now be expecting me to quote my scrapbooking dream: that someone will find an album of mine years from now and feel something of me on each page. I want that album finder to be able to say look: her handwriting is much neater on this page, what made her concentrate that day?

Ah, you could say: the idea of an album sitting for years on a shelf isn't very Wabi-Sabi. Maybe that's right. But maybe I have an answer. 

I don't mind altering my layouts. They don't go onto a shelf and stay there, untouched. I make a page, I photograph it and share it. But that doesn't mean that it's finished. I might add an extra embellishment (because sometimes it's only when I see the photo that I realise what's missing. That's a good tip. If you are struggling to get a page to come together, take a photo and pin it up, then step back and look at it with the critical eye that comes from being one step removed). I might take away a piece (and if that leaves a little hole that needs patched, I'm fine with that). Chances are I'll add more writing, which might even cover the page and detract from the original design. But that's no problem. The words count. Is that Wabi-Sabi?

For this particular page I was pleased to find the perfect subject. A hand knitted jumper, in a natural colour, in pure new wool: that's authentic, that's imperfect (somewhere, I'm sure, if you look closely). It has recycled buttons; and when it has been worn enough here, it will probably be recycled in its whole, or moved on, or re-knitted. Nothing lasts forever. 

And that can be a strangely comforting thought.

More ideas on scrapbooking Wabi-Style can be found here at Get It Scrapped.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Memos, Mail, Me: It's Monday

Hey, Monday! Were you expecting me? It's become a bit of a tradition, hasn't it? You and I, hanging here at the start of the week, hoping we'll get a cheery wave from anyone else who feels like "doing a Monday". "Mondayers" I believe you suggested we call them. Oh, Monday: remember how we first got to know each other with "Me On Monday", as I forced myself to take more selfies and then wrote about my weekend so that there would be words to go with the pictures. Then, the year after that, we added to the diary idea and you got to hear about what was new, or what I had learned for the first time; and we both learned some very useful nuggets from the other Mondayers.

Keep reading to see why I chose this picture...

So, Monday, will we talk about this year? You know we put our heads together to come up with another twist: something else Mondayers could write about, not a rule, but another source of inspiration. The card I posted last week was a clue. The plan came to me over the holidays, as I enjoyed the arrival of cards from friends, and of interesting catalogues, of gifts I'd ordered: the mail, in other words. What, I thought, if we wrote about our favourite piece of post from the previous week? 

Weave it into your weekend story, definitely, (I like reading about the weekend); but if, like me, you need an extra something to pep up your post every so often, keep an eye on what's coming through your door or into your mailbox. It might be a card from an old friend, or a new one; maybe simply a catalogue with a photo of a challenging colour combination you want to pin to a noticeboard and think about; or something special you'd been saving up to order; or even a charity mailshot that you can't bring yourself to throw away. 

If "The Week" is one of my favourite pieces of regular post - I read it before I mail it to our student in Scotland every week - then this parcel is a favourite one off special. Some of you might recognise the wrapper...

Maybe you'll be inspired to send  more mail, who knows? When I first started blogging I was surprised and delighted by the number of cards and little packets which I discovered were flying round our community. I'd like to think that if we keep the mail gong, the writing will follow. 

....for my copy of Julie Kirk's Snipped Tales, which arrived here last month. 

It can be anything at all, though - honestly: anything. Hospital appointment? We'll wish you luck. Birthday card? We'll help you blow out your candles. And all the while, as you stalk your postman, you are very welcome to keep on trying new things, finding firsts, writing about your weekend. It's the writing that counts. Make a memo, or post And then, give us a wave. That's about it, Monday, isn't it?

We hope you have a good week, Monday and I: I'll keep picking up the links (so let me know below so I can keep an eye out for you!) and with some luck, we'll keep on waving and wishing you all the very best. Until next time!

Friday, 6 January 2017

A Million Tiny Little Things: New Me?

I had a new pencil I was going to use today: a new Batman pencil, just exactly like the one I bought for Little E's Christmas stocking and then wanted to keep for myself. (No. I didn't. Santa heard my sighing and obliged.)

One last Christmas picture before we pack it all away? The ultimate gift, from my sister to me : scrapbooking pants

I can't find my pencil anywhere. So much for my fresh new year of blogging. I can't blog without a sharp pencil because I still, even after all these years, scribble in a notebook before a finger ever touches a keyboard. It's a habit I can't break. It has kept me going for over a thousand posts now. Although, some time round the middle of December - full disclosure coming up - I did suggest to myself that I might shut up shop here at the end of the year. I did. I thought about it. I haven't run out of creative plans: not at all. If anything, it's quite the reverse. I have so many things I want to try that finding the time to write about what I've made seems to slip down the list.I'm still making like mad.

I'm still scrapbooking as much as ever I'm able (this weekend, for instance, now that the brother who has been sleeping on top of all my supplies has gone to spend a few days with Little E). And I'm delighted to be able to say that I'm going to be back with Gossamer Blue for the 2017 term, alongside all of these amazing creative brains

Gossamer Blue has exciting plans for this year and it's a real pleasure to be a part of that.

I've also been working on my contribution to

Get It Scrapped's Story + Design feature for February. I've been recording the audio for it this week and, know what? I quite enjoyed doing it. Thinking, thinking..

There has been plenty of knitting going on, too. I did four pairs of sock and two scarves as Christmas gifts. The pokemon socks for Little E

done with amazing self striping wool from London House Yarns (on etsy, follow them on IG for shop updates) made it into an IG photo before they were wrapped; and I have one more photo of

a ripple scarf in progress, with Koigu Painter's Palette yarn and a free pattern from Loop London. My current project is the can-you-finish-it-before-I-go-back? cardigan for Uncle Dave. It's a blue tweed teacher-ly number and I have managed two sleeves and a back, so I should probably go see if I can get any further with it. If I disappear from here for more than a few days, come find me on instagram! But I'll be back here very soon, possibly wearing my scrapbooking pants. I've just spotted that new pencil. Under a big pile of new books. But that's another story.
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