Sunday, 20 December 2009

Let it snow....

Whilst much of the country has been buried in snow this week we managed to avoid it, until this morning, when we awoke to only a light covering of it - thank goodness! Before long the sun came out and began to melt what snow we did get, so before it was completely gone I quickly took some pics.

There are still quite a number of apples hanging on my old tree today; they looked nice with their little white hats - snow-capped and sun-kissed!

Much as it is pretty to look at, I never have been a huge fan of snow, so with any luck by tomorrow it will have gone!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Borders bows out!

Well that's it! My final craft fair of the year was last Friday and the remainder of the weekend was spent sorting out, throwing out and tidying away all my remaining products and crafing bits and pieces - now all boxed up ready and prepared to start all over again next year. I am glad to be able to have a break from attending craft fairs as I have worked so hard these past months. I started the year planning to attend as many craft fairs as possible with the intention of seeing which worked and which didn't. I will reflect on the year over the holidays and make some decisions about those that are in, out and never to be attempted again!

So today is the first in a long time that I have been able to take things easy. I did put myself under quite a bit of pressure so now I am enjoying doing things at my own pace - and catching up on some long lost sleep.

Only last week did I allow myself to start thinking about Christmas and shopping and I was devastated to discover that one of my most favourite shops in town is heading for the knackers yard! I can't believe it! Borders the bookstore in Buchanan Street has gone into administration! It's going, it's almost gone - it could be gone by Christmas and it won't be coming back! What a shame. Housed in a beautiful building it was a great place to while away a few hours, mulling over books (particulary the crafty ones) and magazines; making purchases; spending gift tokens; meeting up with friends; having coffee; passing time until the next train was due - and now it is almost no more. Now it looks like a bargain bookstore with the awful closing down signs inside and out.

Around the same time last year this happened:

VV Rouleaux also packed up and left Glasgow one year ago - another of my favourite shops in town that I frequented on a regular basis. It was a beautiful shop, expensive but full of amazing ribbons and trims. It had moved into the old, much loved, Nash's stationery shop in Miller Street around 5 or 6 years ago and had retained a lot of the old shop's character and interiors. Another great place to while away time and to make some lovely purchases.

Alas it too no longer has a presence in Glasgow. There's always the online shop but I never have purchased from it - some things you just need to touch, feel and ponder over.

Who's next?

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Good old apple tree

I decided to take some pictures of my now leaf-less but still abundant wee apple tree, before the lucky birds have their way and the apples disappear completely. I also wanted to show just how productive this tired


and neglected old tree has been this year (as in previous years amazingly!).

I think four of these are the same apples pictured in my previous and earlier blog - though a bit more ripe - still hanging around!

This photograph was an accident - but I like it!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Lazy blogger!

Hello! It's been a while! After lots of work and a hectic month of August I put behind me my experiences of large craft events and all the preparations leading up to them and allowed myself to slow down a bit - to have some free time to do - nothing very much really! Great! But where on earth did the month of August go? What happened to Summer? Suddenly we are nearing the end of October and three months have passed!!

We had fantastic weather in June and life couldn't have been better. The garden was looking good, the flowers were in full bloom, the fruit bushes and the apple tree were doing their thing and all was well. Then I got busy preparing for the upcoming events. Mid-July arrived, followed by August and all I can remember is dreich, drab and dreary weather on almost a daily basis. The lovely flowers in the garden that had been so healthy and vibrant became sopping wet, bedraggled and good for nothing! The blackcurrants and raspberries were left for the birds. The apples grew in abundance and presumably were very juicy as they hung very low on the tree ready to drop - and still it rained. So there was no incentive to get into the garden for the autumn clear up. Most of the apples are still hanging on the now leafless tree - I had no time to pick and make with them - so they are now an autumn feast for the birds!

After much hard work, many late nights and early rises and virtually no social life over weeks and months I attended two of the biggest craft events for me so far. First, the Ayr Flower Show and just a week later Edinburgh's West End Art, Craft and Design Fair. Although really tiring both were very rewarding experiences for me. I had finally put myself out there, to my biggest audience thus far, over three days, then seven days, and I coped - yeh! Lots of people bought lots of things and I was really heartened by the comments and kind words of encouragement that came my way. Many people asked if I would be attending the Country Living Christmas Fair in Glasgow this year and where I would previously have shrieked at the very idea, the comments gave me food for thought. Certainly not this year, probably not even next year, but if I work really hard perhaps it is not beyond the realms of possibility that maybe one day.... Who knows? But let's not get too carried away! I was on a high after the events and not really thinking straight!

West End Craft Fair, Edinburgh

Before this event, I was very nervous about attending Edinburgh's West End Craft & Design Fair. However, having had the experience of the Ayr Flower Show the weekend before, put me at my ease, as I had coped well there and people seemed to like my wares. In addition, and fortunately for me Suzanne had been at the WECF during the first week of the Fair and her advice was invaluable in preparing me for what was to come - thanks Suzanne! I set up on Sunday evening and was definitely excited about the coming week. The location couldn't have been better. There was I in the centre of Edinburgh! On Princes Street in Edinburgh! With Edinburgh Castle as our backdrop! I was thrilled! I travelled each day from Glasgow and although tiring it didn't trouble me one bit.

Edinburgh is a terrific city - and there was I selling my wares in the heart of it! It felt pretty unbelievable really. On leaving Waverly train station, as you rise to street level you are greeted by a vibrant, beautiful and interesting city. The architecture, the Castle, the gardens, the monuments......... and in August, the Festival! Virtually every day it rained at some point, if not most of the day, but each day I would walk with pleasure through Princes Street Gardens to and from the train station, taking photographs; enjoying the flowers, particularly the thistles; the people; the busy-ness; the street theatre; pretty much everything really! So much going on but not a great deal of time to experience it. I was located in the Marquee, on The Terrace, which was the area where you could set up your wares and leave them each night as the place was under lock and key and was made secure. The only way I could have done it really given my daily commute. Each day it was like arriving at my own little shop. We didn't open the doors until 11.00 am so it was an easy start to the day. It is difficult to know how many visitors came - on a couple of days there weren't that many, but I decided to reserve my judgement until the end of the week rather than on a day by day basis which, as it turned out, was the best way to look at it. Some days were pretty quite but on the Saturday it was extremely busy and more than made up for the quite times. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I felt that my products were well received and any inferiority complex I had given myself prior to the event by the end of my week was washed away.

The West End Craft Fair is great event and the people of Edinburgh are so lucky to have it on their doorstep on an annual basis. The standard of craft and design is very high and the setting is hard to beat. There must have been around 70 stallholders so lots of interest for everyone.

Before heading for home, finally, and after years of promising myself to do so, I climbed all 287 of the stairs to the top of the Sir Walter Scott monument on Princes Street and took in some of the sights over Edinburgh. I will post some pics next time.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Heading for a fall - an Omen?

As indicated in my previous post I suggested that my ambitions and capabilities are pretty much at odds with each other right now and I am having very serious doubts about my preparation, or lack thereof, for my next two craft events. A two-day event at Ayr Flower Show and a seven-day event at the West End Craft Fair in Edinburgh - (what on earth was I thinking when I booked these events?!) I also mentioned the Scarecrow Festival in West Kilbride, which I attended last weekend, and how I thought that might have been a mistake. Well, I went and it was - a mistake - but not in a bad way; simply that I should have been here at home working on the upcoming bigger events rather than there having a nice time.

The Scarecrow Festival is a community event held in West Kilbride every year and for the first time this year they added a craft fair to it to provide additional interest. The craft fair was held in the village hall, which had a really nice vibe about it, I felt instantly comfortable there and looked forward to my day. West Kilbride is lovely, the village hall is lovely, my fellow crafters were lovely, the weather was lovely. Suzanne came and we chatted at length and that was lovely, plus I liked being at the beginning of something that will hopefully gather pace and become a regular fixture. Despite all the loveliness, there were simply too few people there to look or to buy and so attendance was not as I might have hoped! However, the reasons I went still remain - and the fact that I enjoyed my day made it worthwhile - it just came at a bad time for me and that is the only reason for any negativity.

The Scarecrow Festival was the reason why people were there. It seems that not many people knew the craft fair was taking place at the same time and so publicity was clearly one issue. Had they known that the craft fair was on, more might have come, but who knows? Anyway, it should have been a two-day affair but as few came on the Saturday, and I couldn't imagine that Sunday would be any better, I made the decision that my time would be better spent making and not having a nice time chatting to fellow crafters. So with regret I cancelled Sunday and spent my time working my little fingers to the bone with the extra day I had.

But as each hour passed I realised how much I still have to do! (I am such an amateur - what on earth was I thinking?! )

Added to that, this morning, as I was rushing to catch the 8.30am train to my paid job, I ran to hopefully(!) just make the train. I was sure I would make it as I saw it pull into the station, saw the passengers get on just in front of me, knew the driver had seen me as I was within two paces of getting on the train. I was almost there and was preparing my thank you acknowledgement to the driver for allowing me to make it, when he began to close the doors - (I was two running paces from the doors!). Those two paces were all I had left before I missed my step and went careering, flat out, on my face, hands in front of me, spreadeagled like you wouldn't believe, at rush hour on the platform!! The train ticket collector sprang into action, leapt off the train, helped me up and asked if I needed first aid. Of course I did but refused because I had already caused enough fuss by splaying myself all over the platform, causing a slight delay to the train - which I made! - but only got on because I was so embarrassed and needed a seat and needed to crawl away - almost literally! After apologising to my fellow passengers for my grand entrance, and grateful to the woman next to me who offered up paper tissues for my wounds, I thought "Where am I going on this train - to work? I think not!" As the blood trickled down my left leg from my knee, together with the blood oozing from my two skinned hands I realised I was in no fit state for work - so I dabbed at my injuries until the next train stop, got off the train, changed platforms, and got the next train back home - to lick my wounds!

So here I am at home with a grazed and very swollen knee and two skinned palms - (and I am supposed to be preparing for the two biggest craft events of my crafting life so far! Could this be an Omen?)

(Note: Despite my injured palms I can type because I was taught to type by keeping my palms raised from the keyboard - a ruler would sharply smack the back of my hands if they were lowered! Ah, so that was the reason.....!)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Ambitions v capabilities.....!

I have been attending craft fairs for a number of years, to varying degrees of success. At the end of last year I made the decision to drop some craft fairs and to be more selective in 2009 about which ones I attend. In the coming 4 weeks I will be attending two of the largest craft fairs I have ever attempted - the Ayr Flower Show, which is over 3 days in August and the Edinburgh Festival's West End Arts and Craft Fair, 10 days later, lasting 7 days! Plus, I am going to sneak in the Scarecrow Festival in West Kilbride this coming weekend (which could be a big mistake!). I had booked the Ayr Flower Show some time ago, which I'm quite relaxed about but I only enquired about the WE Fair about 4 weeks ago as a last minute thought- and to my surprise and delight I was accepted!

Eeek! I'm beginning to have a wobble that perhaps I am being seriously over-ambitious. (Perhaps?!!)

All too often do I get my ambitions and capabilities confused! However, venue payments have been made and cheques banked so I just have to run with my decisions and give it my best!

For the last 3 days I have been working my little fingers to the bone. Apart from the occasional wander into the garden I have barely moved from my house. Last week I picked up this pine shelving unit from a charity shop in town for £10:

and spent Thursday sanding and painting it. I meant to take a 'before' pic of the unit but you can see by the drawer what the original colour was.

I removed the black metal drawer handle it had and replaced it with this lovely little ceramic handle - one of around 6 that I removed from a chest of drawers that was going to the dump.

"Et Voila"! Looks great doesn't it?

I hope to be able to use the unit for displaying some of my crafty bits. Now I have to decide what I am going to make to display on it and how many of each!

How long do I have?("Ambitions v capabilities!")

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Nature's wonder

I returned from a week's holiday in Switzerland at the weekend and since I have been home I have been busy cardmaking for Glasgow's West End Festival this coming weekend - so too busy to blog about my trip this week - though I would like to at some point. However, I just had to share these pics with someone - they are much too amazing to stay in my camera until.... whenever!

On Saturday I travelled to Glasgow from Zurich via Amsterdam. As I boarded the Amsterdam flight the sun was beginning to go down. By the time we were in the air I was on the wrong side of the plane to be able to witness the orange glow on the opposite side from me. Travellers on the 'good' side of the plane didn't seem to be aware, or care too much, about what was going on outside, which was frustrating for me (I am constantly enthralled and entertained by the sky's performances). Some of them closed their little window blinds to shut out the light, to snuggle down for a snooze, or to read their books and magazines. I was desperate to see what was going on but it just wasn't possible - until around 30 mins or so later - when this is what emerged on my side of the plane. The colours and shapes that unfolded as we made our way across the sky, were mesmerizing, and the feeling of serenity and stillness, and being above and amongst these strange but beautifully shaped clouds and colours, was like nothing I have ever experienced before. We travelled with these views for quite some time. For each mile travelled the colours, shapes and textures calmly performed - I was in heaven (well almost!). It was an unforgettable journey, the images are fixed in my mind!

Travelling at great speed and photographing through tiny and not very clean windows, not a great combination - but I am very pleased with the pics I managed to get.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Random pics, rambling thoughts...

This blog doesn't have any particular theme - it's just somewhere for me to record some of today's random thoughts and pics.
I am constantly having conversations with myself - random, disjointed, involuntary, insignifcant thoughts, that are seldom shared - not because I am poor me - but because they are in my head and usually only there when there's no-one around to distract them. Most people have random musings, don't they?!

Before heading off this morning I took some pics of flowers in my garden.

I didn't make it to any bluebell woods this year so have to make do with my tiny group of "pink"bells - where they came from I have no idea!

Here is a pic of my beautiful white Azalea, which if not photographed for another day or so, would probably not look as good, as most of the flowers are already out and any time now they will begin to turn brown at the edges and fall off.

Lovely as they are, Azaleas are too short lived for my liking!

And here is some Borage. The flowers are also star shaped and a beautiful vibrant blue. Borage self seeds quite freely and you either love it as a plant or hate it. I like it's straggly appearance and if supported well can look really nice. The seeds are also very easy to harvest.

And finally, my growing herb seedlings ready for transplanting.

This morning my day started a bit later than normal. It was a lovely crisp, dry and sunny morning and as I walked along the road, I knew I wanted to be heading anywhere but to work.

I quite happily walk the same road each morning - the sights and sounds are similar at the same time each day, so much so that I hardly notice. But this morning as I leisurely made my way along this well worn path I was aware that there was less traffic. I decided that the drivers and passengers had obviously got to where they needed to be by that time or perhaps were even on holiday as part of the bank holiday weekend. Fewer people were around on foot - perhaps the children were already at their school desks, or school was also on holiday because of the bank holiday weekend. However, with fewer distractions, I was much more aware of the moment as I made my way. Aware of the two pretty but quite different gardens sitting side by side, separated only by a small hedge - one pretty unkempt and interesting and the other beautifully manicured and coiffed; the hum of the bees in the bushes; the twittering of the birds as they called to each other; the stillness of the clouds in the blue sky and the sound of my footsteps - and my increasing awareness of the flapping left foot I seem to have developed! This flapping foot is obvious to no-one but me, and has been around for a couple of years or so. In fact it rarely registers with me - until I am open to the sound of it and then, once I am aware of it, it is all that I hear. It takes over! No matter how I try to disguise it, speed up or slow down my steps - it is there - and all hitherto sights and sounds of loveliness are drowned out and my moment of being lost in my thoughts are flapped away, as I am brought back to reality, and find myself on the platform, awaiting my train to work, to continue my day as normal.

It was pretty good day actually - hope yours was too!