One of the most useful blogs I subscribe to is called Work From Home Wisdom. As its title suggests, it's aimed at those of us who run a business from home and is always chock full of helpful hints and tips, such as "Oy. You. Yes you! Get out of bed and get some work done!"
Or "Step away from the Facebook page... how many times do I have to tell you?"
Recently there's been a series of posts submitted by readers, entitled '5 things I can't work without' which set me thinking.
What 5 things could I not work without......?
There's the obvious things, like the kiln, or my power tools. On a different tack I could even include Radio 4, which forms the soundtrack to my working day.
But when really thought about it, the answer came down to these.....
Not very exciting or glamourous I'll agree, but absolutely indispensable nonetheless.
Going from left to right:
1. Bowmaker. I have several of these in different sizes. I use it make tiny silk ribbon bows (well d'uh) as well as ribbon rosettes and pom-poms. It makes a tedious job almost enjoyable and ensures perfect results every time. What's not to like?
2. I'm not sure what to call the next thing, but if I ever lost it I would have to give up porcelain dollmaking completely. It's what's left of a longer thing, which broke several years ago. I've been using it for over 25 years so it has stood the test of time. I use it to make the stringing holes in porcelain greenware...... the soft, malleable castings which are removed from the plaster moulds. It is just the absolutely 100% perfect size. As I live in constant terror of misplacing it, or losing it entirely, I have searched constantly over the past quarter of a decade to find another thing EXACTLY the same thickness. I've tried no end of almost exactly the same size needles and bodkins, but none of them are exactly right. Even a nanomicromillimetre too big or too small and it's useless. I might request that it is buried with me.
3. The humble cocktail stick. I get through dozens of these a week. They're great for transferring teeny tiny dots of glue. For picking up teeny tiny beads and crystals. For mixing two part glues. For stirring small pots of enamel paint. For impaling tiny items to be painted. For making small holes. For poking things into other things. Stuck into polystyrene to support glued joints and painted pieces. The list is endless.
4. Sewing needle. But not just any old sewing needle. This is another of my 25 year love affairs. This needle is the Shangri La of sewing needles. It is the thickness of a human hair, and much shorter than most needles. If you can manage to see it, pick it up and thread it, it practically guarantees that your stitches will be tiny and perfectly spaced. Unlike ordinary needles it doesn't make big holes in delicate silk ribbon. I bought several packs of 6 years and years ago and I'm now down to my last two. Over time, as they are so very small and fine, they inevitably get lost. I've lost count of the hours I've spent on my hands and knees carefully doing a fingertip search for ones I've dropped on the floor. They also bend very easily. And don't even get me started on threading them. However, I use one almost every day and I couldn't work without them.
5. Tweezers. I'm a bit of a tweezer geek. Over the years I've tried hundreds, but I always come back to these. I got them from a dental tools supplier 20 years ago. The angled tips are set at precisely the right angle for picking and placing tiny things. There are ridges on the inside of the tips to hold even the smallest items securely. They are perfectly aligned and squeezing them doesn't make my hands tingle, like many others do.
So there you have it. Five things I can't work without.
What are yours?