Monday, 23 May 2016

Memorandum Monday

Monday, Monday: Come on out, then, and show us what you've got. We're more than ready! 

This weekend, here, was an ordinary one, made extraordinary by the return of our student, who has finished up his third year now and is home for three weeks before heading back to undertake an internship. So, the plain was turned fancy, as the four seats round our table were filled and (following that 18th birthday a few weeks back) for the first time we are a house of adults. There was a special pleasure in that as we sat together making plans for the rest of the summer.

So that was a first; and I have one more. Look away now if you are of a nervous knitting disposition..

..because for the first time since I started knitting socks, I took a half knitted example, and I ripped it out completely. I unravelled every last stitch. And I don't even feel bad writing about it now, thinking about it. 

I had my May Sock of the Month pattern - Down a Rabbit Hole - and a beautiful self striping blue-y green wool, as recommended by said pattern, and I had worked half a sock in the travelling stitch design. But I kept looking at it and I didn't like what I saw. It was - as The (Not So) Small One might have said when she was little, and indeed, might still say today - too..detailed. I always knew what she meant when she said that. She likes good simple design, nothing overworked, as I do, too. We choose plain over fancy and this sock had gone too far the wrong way. It didn't need the stripes and the travelling stitches. It was too fancy. On Friday night it looked like this:

and by Sunday night it looked like the simple blue version in the first picture. Plain, with just a little bit of fancy. Which is good. Unless we're talking biscuits. But that's another story.

How about you? A plain weekend? A fancy one? Little bit of both?  Did you learn anything knew, or try anything for the first time? Today might be just the day to make a Memorandum. On Monday.

Last week  Deb, Helena, Eileen, Mitra, Mary-Lou, Susanne, Fiona, MaggieKrafty Karen and Ladkyis made a note or two about what they'd been up to. Go on, give 'em a wave!

And have a good week: plain, fancy, or somewhere in between..

Saturday, 21 May 2016

It's All Treasure

When I first started scrapbooking, I wanted to cut up paper and make pretty pictures. Then I started to think more about what scrapbooking really meant to me and I understood that it had to be about the words too. And there can be no doubt that the pages I return to, and the ones anyone stops at if I'm asked to show an album, are the ones with the writing on.

But that writing takes up space: it can fill the background, flood the view. And the kind of pages I'm most often attracted to are the ones restful to the eye, pared back, easy to relax over. So I circle. I make pages with lots of story, then I think I want the picture and the pretty, so I stick the story on the back. Then I shake my head and ask myself what's the point of that? If I find a happy medium, that's a good scrap day.

Maybe this one? It's a page I made for Get It Scrapped's new blog article Six Ways to Create More Room For Journaling on Your Scrapbook Pages. I took a story I told for Storytelling Sunday back in 2013 and fitted it onto a 8.5 x 11 background by layering the text, one typed sheet over another, as if I were adding layers of patterned paper. That way I managed to find room for all of the story and here it is:

...our chest of mystery. Everyone here likes to believe that it once belonged to Harry Potter; and that would be because it has his initials H.P. placed on the lid. But it's clear he has no more use for it since it has washed up with us. Truthfully, I wouldn't be trying to grab it if I had to flee from here in a hurry: it's cast iron - I think - and I can't lift it. (Though I guess that means it might survive fire, flood or plague and I could come back for it? ). But I know you want to find out what's inside...

Well, earlier in the year I'd been planning to tell you about its quirkier contents for Halloween...Great Grandpa's false teeth, anyone? Or how about the owner-less glass eye? the locks of baby hair or the Victorian mourning envelopes? there are letters and certificates going back a century or more. The Fair family owned a grocer's shop through the years of the Great Depression; and I could show you the shop ledgers. Tucked inside you'd find letters from customers who were struggling to meet their accounts. It could break your heart, even from this distance. All of these things have their own stories.

But when I started to sift through it all this week, the thing which really spoke to me was a little blue notebook, full of numbers still recognisable as being in my Father-in-Law's hand: "Money Spent Each Term at T.C.D." His college accounts from his years in Dublin at the end of the 1940's. How much he spent on "digs", on a new saddle bag, on train fares and "outside meals": a strange world of gowns and Punch Magazine. You know why this has fascinated me right now, of course. I'll be emailing his namesake, modern day student grandson who has spent the last couple of months wondering how his student loan will stretch and I'll be telling him how lucky he is that he doesn't have to buy his own coal. I think that will give him a smile. And then I'll be tucking that notebook back into the chest, in the hope that another generation will use it as a reminder of what came before. I hope someone else comes across it at exactly the right time. Just as I did. 

Maybe now I've scrapbooked one story from the chest, I'll go back and find another. It's all treasure: the words, the pictures, the pleasure we take from adding the extras. And the finding of the stories, of course. That's the best part.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

What I'm Sending..

These are what I'm sending right right: a clutch of cards I made last week with scraps from the May Gossamer Blue kits

I've discovered that if I want to have fun making cards, I need to have the sewing machine out. Without a quick line of stitching

here or there, or a swirl of thread or even a freehand twirl

I don't know where to start and I definitely don't know where to finish. For some reason, starting with the stitching makes it a whole lot easier. I like it to look casual and relaxed and I'll use one colour until I run out of bobbin.

Anyone else have a "hook"? A special sentiment stamp you use every time? or a shape of card you find works best for your ideas?

Paper pad "Fancy Free" by Pink Paislee. Feathers and camera from Simple Stories. Wood Veneer from Simple Stories. Enamel Shapes from My Minds Eye

Monday, 16 May 2016

Memorandum Monday

It's a new week! (though when I said that here I was reminded that it's a week with an exam in it, so we're pretending it's still the old week until at least Wednesday).

There was a lot of studying, then, at the weekend

Sitting upstairs, sitting downstairs, or sitting on the stairs, where the light is nice, reading the latest story from Jonas Jonasson (who wrote The Hundred Year Old Man) and wearing socks in wool by Arne and Carlos, in the colours of The Scream. Some Scandi sitting, then.

Let's hope it was anything she was seeing for the first time! So her Dad and I didn't venture too far, While she sat upstairs, we sat downstairs. We sat, and we enjoyed it. Did I learn anything new? Mm..well..

...After trying to resist opening the new email about a sale on wool (Wool Warehouse! 35% off Drops in May!) and failing, I sat around ordering enough for another sweater (or two, ahem) and a pair of socks. I sat around a bit more then researching a new pattern for May's Sock of the Month, and I found one called Down the Rabbit Hole, which seems right for exam month.

Then we sat upstairs, this time in front of the big tv, putting in a couple of hours on our new activity binge watching (horrible phrase). Never been a fan, never felt the need, until we discovered box sets on Amazon Prime. Now we've been right through Man in the High Castle and we have moved on to Outlander. Just one more episode, we tell ourselves, with my excuse being I can knit at the same time.

What I'd really like to crack is simultaneous knitting and reading. Could I handle that much fun all at once? Ooh, hard to say. Let me think about it, just after I've reminded you that it's Get Caught Reading month. So if you are looking for a picture  for a post today, or for something new so that you can make a memorandum this Monday, grab a book off the pile! Let's have a look!

Wishing you a good week, with time for a new book or two in there somewhere..

 Helena, Mitra, Mary -Lou, Ladkyis, Karen, Susanne, Maggie, Mardi, Jane, Deb, Eileen and KraftyKaren all gave a taste of what they were trying last week. Go on: give 'em a wave! And then think about joining us.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Fab Gadget: a Scrapbook Page

It was my turn on the Gossamer Blue blog yesterday, so I made a page in what I guess you could say was two shakes of a mouse's tail

It was the wired ribbon that did it. As soon as I started twisting it in my fingers - because I just had to use it - I realised I had a tail. And then that meant I had to come up with a tale to go with it and I remembered a photo I had of a little white pencil sharpener, so I made this:

That little pencil sharpener has turned out to be one of the best 50p's I've never spent. It's not even mine: it belongs to the girl with an eye for a bargain, an interest in colouring pencils and a mother who loves useful stationery items and isn't above borrowing them when her daughter is out of the house. 

But think about it: if you were to make a list of your favourite little things which didn't cost a lot, but which work perfectly and look attractive in some way at the same time...wouldn't it include a few items from the stationery aisle?

Perfectly plain pencils, maybe? A neat little stapler? A pack of buff coloured luggage labels? What's your pleasure?
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