Saturday, 29 June 2013

It's official......

It's official.  I am a slattern. 



1. a slovenly, untidy woman or girl.
2. a slut; harlot.

And before you ask, I refer to the first definition.  Obviously.

I expect each region has its own word(s) for such a person..... my Scottish Grannie would have referred to her as a 'clarty besom'.

Don't get me wrong.  I like things as clean, neat and tidy as the next person (so long as she's not a slattern) but I challenge anyone who has no pressing need to get behind built-in cupboards, heavy bookshelves and the like, for, let's say, 10 years, not to discover dirt and ming clinging to the skirting boards, walls and woodwork which have been inaccessible all that time.

True, I could have pulled out the storage units on wheels and had a good go behind it, or hauled out all the storage boxes under the desk to hoover, but...... I didn't.

I am shocked and appalled at the mess which is being revealed as the workroom is emptied.  

I blush to think what my Grannie would have said.  There are things growing and mutating under the storage units which would give primordial slime a run for its money.

It will take more than a bucket of sugar soap solution and a chamois leather to sort that lot out.

Not only that, whole legions of spiders, having been ousted from the moulds cupboard (and I feel I should perhaps clarify here that the moulds in question are plaster casting moulds, not the penicillin variety) have scuttled down the back of the cupboards and are massing there, waiting for me to start dismantling the run of units, at which point they will swarm out all over me.

I'm SO looking forward to that. 



Thursday, 27 June 2013

More stuff I don't understand.......

If you've been trying to make your own black hole from Professor Hawking's handy recipe in my last post, you're probably coming up short trying to source an event horizon.  Let's face it, they're unlikely to be available on special offer in Tesco anytime soon.

If this is the case, I have one available for sale.  

One careful, lady owner.
Hardly used, as new.  
Colour - black.  Well to be scrupulously honest, it's the colour of the absence of light.  So blacker than black.
Buyer collects. You'll need a large vehicle.  REALLY large.
And fast.  VERY fast.

As of tomorrow I will have no more need of it, as I will be past the point of no return.

I could spend several hours attempting to explain this whole event horizon phenomenon but take it from me, you'd be none the wiser.  It's mostly gobbledygook.

I've been slowly approaching my personal event horizon all week, edging towards it, dreading the inevitable point where life as I know it ceases to exist and I enter a strange alternative universe in which I HAVE NO WORKROOM.

This altered state may only be temporary, but I haven't been without a dedicated place in which to do what I do for over 20 years.  I feel as though I should go onto some form of life support system (which may or may not contain wine) in order to get me through the next week or so.

Quite why this relatively short time without a place in which to work should so derail me I have no idea.  It's not as if I'm going to be sitting around twiddling my thumbs for the duration.  There are 1001 things to do, in sequence, all of which require focus and concentration so I will have no time to brood.

Equally confusing is the realisation that just as I'm on the threshold of losing my creative space, I suddenly have dozens of Really Good Ideas which I am desperate to explore.

What's that all about?!

Perhaps it's only when you're faced with losing something that its true worth is revealed.  

Blimey..... astrophysics AND philosophy in one brief blog post.  So much for the internet being 99% rubbish or cats.....


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Astronomical anomaly.......

I've long suspected that the workroom might contain a black hole, into which all the stuff I'm ever looking for disappears.

However, having spent several hours this morning clearing yet more shelves, cupboards and worktops, I've been forced to reassess my opinion.

I am now convinced that the room is a portal to a white hole..... the opposite of a black hole, which spews out 'stuff' then collapses.

Having been steadily emptying the room for what feels like forever, every time I turn my back on a cleared space, I find it mysteriously fills up again.

I'm finding stuff I never knew existed...... how can that happen?

It's also baffling that such a small room can hold so much..... it's like a Tardis (another impossible anomaly).  Space elsewhere in the house is gradually filling up with workroom paraphernalia, which is taking up exponentially more space outside the room than it did within it.  How can that happen?

In other news, Small Dog has finally woken up to the fact that things are afoot and we are approaching our very own event horizon.  As a result she has started pacing from office to workroom, staring dolefully at me as I trundle around with armfuls of stuff.

She's only really content when everyone is in the same room so she can keep an eye on them.  Perhaps she's worried that she might miss out on a tasty treat if she doesn't follow me around, which is hard to credit, given that she's had breakfast and lunch already today.

Incidentally, it has been drawn to my attention that there hasn't been much emphasis on making things recently.  That is a good point, well made, so should you wish to make your very own black hole, here's the recipe.

Just sayin'.......

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Doing the happy dance.....

Every year, about this time, I bemoan my lack of backbone in knuckling down to complete the annual accounts so that we can submit our tax returns.

I habitually bang on, and on, and on, and on about how much I dislike it, all the strategies I employ in order to avoid it, my rampant dyscalculia and post pictures of the drifts of paperwork which litter the desk and floor during the process.

But this year is different.

They're done and dusted.  

Not much wailing and gnashing of teeth. 
Hardly any no melodramatic throwing myself across the desk, sobbing in despair. 
Just a teeny bit of no flouncing out of the room in a massive strop with myself for being so pants with numbers.

So there.

If you feel deprived of the experience of a grown woman breaking down in tears you can enter 'tax' in the search box on the right you'll come across loads of past posts documenting my stellar failures year on year.

Honestly, I don't know what I used to make such a fuss about.

So to fill the void left from the absence of all of the above, and because I take absolutely no delight in robbing loyal blog readers of an opportunity to titter at my misfortune, here's a neat illustration of schadenfreude.....

I shall be fashionably late......

Following hot on the heels of the serendipitous find in my last post, I discovered today that there is no way my workroom will be ready for the 'first night' on 12 July.

To say that this is a bit of a blow is an understatement.... I had been banking on it being done and dusted by then, instead of which it may drag on for up to a further week!

The hiatus has been caused by a delay in our house renovation works, which have been put back again and are now due to start at the end of the first week in July.

*frustrated sigh*

So now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Do I go ahead regardless and completely empty the workroom so that I can get on with the redecoration, which will mean that it will be out of commission for two weeks instead of just one (which, incidentally, is bad enough!)?

Or do I hang fire for another week until the work starts as originally planned?

A week more or less may not seem like much, but every day that the workroom is out of commission means that the business is effectively closed.  Not only will nothing be created, but all of our stock will be packed away and difficult to access as the contents of the room will be scattered throughout the rest of the house, wherever there's a bit of spare space.

Right now I'm inclined to just bit the bullet and clear everything out at the end of this week, leaving me plenty of time to get the room cleaned, painted, carpet lifted etc etc etc.  These things always take far longer than anticipated.  Of course the other side of that coin is that we will 'lose' the sitting room, dining room and two of the bedrooms.  If things get really bad we can always decamp to the caravan, which would please Small Dog no end.

So, I shall be fashionably late to the Blog Party, and the grand reveal of my revamped workroom.

In the meantime I urgently need to make a project management flow chart in lieu of actually doing any work.....



Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Regular readers will know that I'm a great believer in happenstance and serendipity. 

Regular readers will also be aware that I'm one of the world's foremost procrastinators and have the questionable ability to put things off almost indefinitely.

So when I came across THIS it seemed destined for me. 

It should be just the spur I need to get my new, improved workroom done and dusted, always assuming that the house works start on schedule.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Monday, Monday......

Another Monday already, following hot on the heels of a rather lovely weekend, one highlight of which included standing on Hastings beach in the teeth of a howling gale, watching the Vulcan bomber display.   On one of the passes it flew with its bomb bay doors  wide open right over our heads..... not a situation you'd ordinarily wish to be in!  Thankfully we were not subjected to 'friendly fire'.

Further highlights featured sharing a delicious, gargantuan fish platter with friends on Saturday.  It was so big it had to be served in a boat which took up 3/4 of their dining room table.

Sunday, and a trip to the tennis championships at Eastbourne and a Centre Court experience which included an exhibition match by Greg Rudeski and Mark Phillipoussis, both of whom I'd actually heard of, unlike most of the others in the order of play.  In fact I am so out of touch with the current players that I spent 15 minutes of the first match rooting for the wrong girl.

We'd gone prepared for ALL eventualities..... waterproof jackets, jumpers, umbrella, sun cream, sunglasses...... and in the event, got to use most of them, as during the afternoon the clouds parted and we were treated to the unaccustomed sight of the sun shining from a bright blue sky.  In unison, the spectators peeled off coats, jackets and jumpers and donned hats and sunglasses. 

Back to reality today though, and as if to drive the point home, the skies are leaden grey and it's been raining intermittently.  I've begun to despair of us having a proper summer this year, as we're already past mid-June and I can count the number of good weather days we've had on the fingers of one hand.



Friday, 14 June 2013

Displacement activity Friday #2

Occasionally Ebay throws up the odd gem like this one.

It's already been taken down several times for non-compliance and ends in 4 days so catch it quick before it disappears.

Make sure you read the questions and answers at the end.......

Displacement activity Friday......

Reading back over the past several posts, I think there's been rather too much of the trials and tribulations of my workroom makeover.  The fact that it occupies almost my every waking moment and even invades my dreams is neither here nor there.  

I suspect that there's only so much even avid blog readers want or need to know about my curtains (which, incidentally, are now made and packed carefully away pending redecoration) or chalk paint (bought and awaiting application) or the very precise colour of blue I want for the walls (decided upon), so I pledge that I will henceforth make almost no mention of the work in hand, and concentrate instead on more edifying spectacles.


Here's a little something which Small Dog posted on her FB page yesterday..... 

Most of the dogs I've ever known have been musical in some way or other.  Small Dog has a particularly melodious voice in the mezzo soprano range, and has been known to accompany me soulfully on the ukulele and kazoo.

She singing, me playing.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

It seemed like a good idea at the time.....!

Blimey..... is it a week since my last post?


A whole seven days?

Well I never.....

I feel I should justify this appalling state of affairs but I can't for the life of me think what's happened over the past week to explain my extended absence.

Unless you count being away in the caravan over the weekend, but that was just two nights.  And the fact I've been really busy.  

Doing stuff.

Don't ask me what stuff, it's all a bit of a blur to be honest.  I do know that most of it was workroom related.  Not anything inspiring, like actually making my new curtains instead of just thinking about it.  Or buying the paint for my cupboard doors instead of just thinking about it.  Or starting to move all the easily moveable stuff into one of the (currently tidy) bedrooms instead of just thinking about it.

But I have been busy.  

Honestly I have.

It would help if we had a start date for the imminently disruptive work on the house, which is due to commence at some point in the hopefully not too distant future.  At that point, almost every room in the house will experience some degree of disorder, ranging from slight to extreme.  

It is is because of this disruption, which is going to happen whether I do anything to the workroom or not, that it seemed like a good idea to take advantage of it by planning a complete makeover.

But..... it's all a matter of timing.  Ideally the workroom needs to be out of commission for the shortest possible time.  Realistically, the least I can get away with is a week.  And that's if everything goes swimmingly.  It might not sound like a long time but I can feel myself hyperventilating at the mere thought of it.

My rusty project management skills will therefore be tested to their limits.  When I've ever even considered a workroom makeover over the past 10 years this is exactly why I've always discounted it as simply taking up too much time/energy/effort/enthusiasm.

However our planned renovations feel like too good an opportunity to pass up.  

It seemed like a good idea at the time.......

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Measure twice, cut once......

Facebook friends will already be aware of the extreme excitment earlier today when my new curtain fabric was delivered.

It really doesn't take much to make me deliriously happy.

I bravely managed to resist the temptation to sweep everything off my desk and make a start on them right away, but it was a close run thing.

However, late this afternoon I finally gave in to the temptation to spread the fabric out on the sitting room floor and cut it to length.  My extremely careful measuring before ordering was put to the test as I checked, double checked, triple checked and quadruple checked my measurements, first against the window and then on the fabric and I was relieved to find that I was spot on, with not even an inch of wastage.

Speaking of spot on...........

Serendipity seems to be the order of the day as I painted a sample swatch on the wall by the window and the colour I've chosen is absolutely exactly the same colour as the blue in my fabric.

How good is that?!

It looked a wee bit dark to start with but it has dried to a beautiful pale blue which is just what I was looking for.

So, full steam ahead.  

I've started emptying stuff out of the workroom, which will take some time.  I've taken down shelves and the horrid, faded, grungy curtains, and I've revealed no end of dust, dirt and cobwebs on top of  the high cupboards.  I dread to think what I'll discover down behind the base unit cupboards when they're moved out in few week's time..... they've been in situ for almost 10 years with no way of getting under or behind them.


In amongst all of this I need to keep working so only stuff I don't need on a daily basis is being relocated at the moment.  I have to try to keep the period of maximum disruption to a minimum but with the best will in the world the workroom will be completely out of commission for at least a week.

According to my 'back of an envelope, off the top of my head, ball park' calculations....

Dismantling and removing ALL of the cupboards, shelving units and built-in desk unit = 1 day (not allowing for skelfs, accidents, inevitable problems, exhaustion and general fed uppedness)

Thoroughly cleaning walls, woodwork etc = 1 day (seems like a lot of time but I'll be knackered after Day 1)

Redecorating = 2 days.  I'm unlikely to get away with just one coat of paint no matter how careful I am.

Recarpetting = 1 day.  Actually this will only take about 2 hours but I'll have to allow a day as they rarely deliver and fit at the scheduled time.

Moving furniture back in = 1 day

And on the 7th day we rest.

Off course a myriad unexpected, unforeseen, accidental, unpredicted things could derail my schedule, but I have to have one, whether it actually works or not.

However, there is one thing I can confidently predit WILL happen that week..... every night will most definitely be a wine night!


Monday, 3 June 2013

I guess that's why they call it the blues.......

I'm in a blue period.

Picasso had one so if it's good enough for him it's good enough for me.

However, the blue of which I speak is a very, very specific blue.

Think periwinkle or powder blue, with just a hint of cornflower.  

But paler.

I think I must be a bit OCD with colour.  A microshade away from my 'perfect' colour is way out.  It has to be just right.  I have been known to repaint a room several times in the search for just the right shade of a specific colour.

I think that possibly this is why most people opt for neutrals.  It's impossible to go wrong with white, or off white, or something with the merest hint of.....

I wish I was more  adventurous with colour but I'm from the generation that would never, ever team navy with anything other than white (never, ever, dog forbid..... brown)

Obviously, growing up as a teenager in the 70s I've developed a lifelong aversion to purple and orange which no amount of CBT could ever eradicate.

I come over all queasy if I encounter pink and orange in close proximity, and there's something about bright, vibrant turquoise I can't cope with.

I'm reasonably comfortable with reds, but only specific reds.  Burgundy is generally a complete no-no.  But crimson..... ahh, now you're talking.

I think I've outgrown my obsessively, passionate, love affair with yellow, but I still have the occasional relapse.

Mostly I've matured into appreciating the blue spectrum (aside from bright turquoise) and that's why I'm currently torturing myself trying to find the exact right shade of blue for my workroom walls.  Initially I thought the best course of action would be white, but given that I'm doing all the cupboard doors white I thought that the overall effect might be akin to  working inside the sun.

Too bright.

The room gets a lot of direct sunlight during the day and I don't want to have to wear a welder's mask and sunglasses just to walk in.

Psychologically speaking........."the colour of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colours.  Peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is often used in bedrooms. Blue can also be cold and depressing.  People are more productive in blue rooms. Studies show weightlifters are able to handle heavier weights in blue gyms."

So, taking the salient points, I'm going to be calmer, more productive, and better able to heft heavy boxes from the top shelves, in a blue room.



Sunday, 2 June 2013

Summer days......

So we are now into June and the summer solstice is fast approaching.  It doesn't seem possible that we're almost halfway through the year already but I can't argue with the calendar.

Despite the mess in the workroom descending ever further into chaos, I have been stalwartly guarding the tiny clear bit of space on my desk and am delighted to have achieved a small miracle.....the release of a new Kit of the Month for June.

This is as much of a surprise to me as anyone else.

I wanted it to have a seasonal theme so here she is..... my little June Bride Toy Doll Kit

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I am making a limited number of these kits, primarily because I have only a small amount of the gorgeous soft lace I've used for the skirt and bodice.... when it's gone it's gone.

Orders can be placed on the website HERE  and kits will be despatched from Thursday 6 June.

Incidentally, during the research phase for this kit, I discovered that the tradition underpinning the June Bride relates to the fact that the vast majority of people in mediaeval Britain took their annual bath (presumably whether they needed it or not) in May or June.  Therefore in June they were still relatively sweet-smelling.  However to offset any unfortunate body odours, brides carried a posy of flowers, thus beginning the tradition of the bridal bouquet.

 Who knew......?

Predictably, my wedding tradition researches led me down many a winding, twisty road, ending up, inevitably, in Displacement Activity Avenue.....