Sunday, 27 April 2008

Green Thumb Sunday - The Sun Came Out!

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Yesterday was the warmest day of the year so far - it hit 22 degrees centigrade on our north facing verandah so it must have been much warmer in the actual sunshine. I actually managed to move my butt, pick up my camera and wander over to Mum's garden (only about 30 yards away tho') to take some photos.

Why Mum's garden, I hear you ask. Well I'm not much of a gardener really - I know loads of flower/plant names and even quite a few of the latin ones but that's just because I bought loads of gardening magazines a few years back when we were trying to design our garden. It never came to much but I did get to know quite a few plants! Mum on the other hand could probably spend all day, everyday pottering in her garden and mine as well now that hers is so full! She can never remember names though so between us, we make a good team!

One of her favourite flowers is the auricula family. She has about 20-30 different varieties in her little patch - some special named varieties in individual pots and the more common ones grouped in larger planters and troughs. These two photos are the best of the batch but once she's home from holiday and can supervise me moving the special ones around for better lighting, I'm going to do some more.

In my garden, my hostas are just beginning to show through and my darling acer (japanese maple) is doing really well. He's called Arnie 'cos he's grown from little more than a stick into a beautiful example of treehood! I used to name my special plants - Terry Triffid got eaten by our cockatiel and Sam the spider plant died of over watering. I've learnt much since then but still manage to kill houseplants on a regular basis.

Garden plants tend to fare a bit better - I only 'look after' them for the first few weeks to help them settle in - after that, they're on their own. I think that's probably a good thing given my past record, don't you?

Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Art vs Craft - My thoughts on the subject...

as suggested by Lostintheforest. Hmmm, good one this - although a bit difficult to discuss with oneself. It's more the sort of subject I would love to discuss over a meal and a bottle of wine with friends. Anyway - in the spirit of improv - I will attempt to have some thoughts on the subject although as I haven't really ever thought about it before, I suppose they will be initial ramblings, loads of assumptions and all totally open to change and/or correction! LOL

My initial thought was art goes on the wall and craft stuff is useful and perhaps decorative. Then hubby pointed out that sculpture is classed as art and that doesn't go on your wall and art cards are useful and decorative. Bang goes that theory!

Then I started to try to define in my own mind what I thought about each and it came to me in a flash (well, more of a fizzle actually - I was supposed to be processing invoices at the time) - art is more of a talent and craft is a skill. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying there is no talent in craft or no skill in art but if you think right back to childhood - who 'taught' you to draw or paint - probably no-one initially - you may have taken lessons later but initially you just did it and out came a picture. Craft on the other hand is usually something that is learned - whether your gran taught you to sew or knit, a teacher introduced you to pottery or textiles or you taught yourself decoupage/felting/silversmithing from books or internet articles.

I suppose one of the more obvious distinctions is selling price and where it sells - but is this distinction a fair one? Of course not! It's a matter of perception and educating the buyers. There is a snob value to 'Art' which craft has never really achieved for some reason. I suppose there are a few exceptions - Faberge is the only one that jumps to my mind - his work is definitely superb craftmanship but over the years has become 'Art' in many peoples minds.

<--- And as for modern art - we won't even go there. I mean come on, a pile of bricks is a pile of bricks, however you arrange them and as for the famous half a dead cow (was it? or was it half a dog, can't remember, sorry) well, that's just bloody ridiculous in my mind.

I don't think the general public really care about this debate. I certainly didn't even think about it until the other night when Lost suggested it! If I like something and have a use for it then I will buy it. I don't care whether it is classed as art or craft by some high brow, posh talking knowitall - if I have a need or use or wall space for it - it's mine! (bank balance permitting of course).

It's been a while since I've had to write a discussive piece - they were always my favourite types of essays at school 'cos I didn't need to come up with a story line - just place your arguments in a logical order and come to a conclusion. I don't think there is a conclusion to art vs. craft though - it's an evolving and never ending debate with new and old technologies thrown in for a bit of spice. What do you think?

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Moving Home - 1st Improv challenge

So todays' random subject is Moving House suggested by the lovely Claire who is in the midst of this stressful process herself.

So shall I tell you about my moves or make some suggestions for making it easier? Hmmm, well as an adult I've only moved twice. Once was when I left home to live with boyfriend (later to be my hubby) so I only had a bedroom to empty and the second time was when we left our little council flat to move into this house.

We decided that we would do the move ourselves as it was only 2 miles across town - you know, hire a transit van, get the boys in to help and run back and forth. Well, we had 3 strapping lads loading and unloading the van and just little ole me packing the boxes. Except we only had about 10 boxes which we used over and over. Except they were shifting them faster than I could pack them. Except there was no sensible female at the new house to tell them where to empty said boxes. Are you beginning to get the picture?

In the end, I was just using my whole arm to just sweep stuff into the box or tipping a drawer straight in. Needless to say, it did not make for a very organised move although it wasn't particularly stressful 'cos we were laughing so hard most of the day. It took me weeks to find everything again though and even now, 14 years later, I still have the odd box tucked away in the back of a cupboard or in the attic which still hasn't been sorted out!

So, what common sense suggestions would I make?

Pack the kettle and tea/coffee things last - even make up a coolbox with some sarnies, cutlery etc just in case you need it. A house is not a home until you've had that first cup of tea/coffee and besides, the removal men never say no to a cuppa!

Make up a mini toolkit and keep that separate too - a couple of screwdrivers, a sharp knife, some WD40, some lightbulbs (you wouldn't believe what some people take with them!) and some strong tape.

If you've got kids - keep a few of their toys or games handy. They'll get so bored - my parents kept some garden games out so at least we could play in the back garden while they were filling the house from the front!

Be prepared - get loads of boxes, label them up well and try to declutter as you pack. Try not to take all that crap with you 'cos you'll only have to find somewhere to put it in the new place :) (and if you can manage this one, you must be an amazing person because I don't know anyone who starts packing early enough and is this organised)

So, tomorrow's post is Art vs. Craft, suggested by LostintheForest. Could be a bit tough for me, this one - never really thought about it but I've got all day at work tomorrow to mull it over! If you have any random suggestions to add to my list, just leave a comment and I'll get there eventually.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

So I'm Ecletic...

and apparently, according to one of my collegues, that's what makes me interesting! I had to think about this one and you know something? I think he may be right - about the eclectic thing anyway! How did this comment come about? Well, we were chatting in the office, as you do and someone mentioned something rather offbeat and I had a story to go with it. Later, on a completely different subject, I had another anecdote to add to the conversation and so the day goes on. Not only did he call me ecletic, he also added nerd (very hesitantly though) 'cos I seemed to know stuff about some techie bits too!

If you ask people some simple questions like favourite colour, fav animal, fav author etc. most will have one or two in each category. Me? I have loads of everything which is probably why I find it so hard to make decisions.

My favourite colour? all the purples and lots of the blue/greens especially with a touch of pink thrown in.
Favourite animal? Dolphins, lions, tigers... oh and dogs and owls and whales (you get the idea!)
Favourite author - Anne Maccaffery, David Eddings, Clive Cussler, Colin Forbes, Dean Koontz (depends on my mood)
Favourite music - I like most things from Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly through to Led Zepplin, Meatloaf via Robbie Williams, Pink and Anastacia!
My photography shows this too. I'm still experimenting and learning in the various genres but I have worked out that my best landscapes are mostly flukes whereas I can pull off a lovely flower macro fairly regularly and easily.
So is there a point to this post? Yes! I've worked out at long last what I want to do with this blog or rather what I don't want this blog to be.
I don't want it to be a continuous daily advert for Etsy and its' enticing shops. I don't want it to be all about me and my rather ordinary, mundane daily doings and I definitely don't want it to be full of short waffley posts just for the sake of posting something!
So tonight I'd like to launch my new look IMPROV BLOG :) I'm setting my visitors (that's you!) a challenge - leave me a comment with something offbeat or random to talk about and tomorrow I'll post about that - whatever it may be. The only subjects to be avoided are religion and politics - too many arguments lie in those areas and I don't want to upset or offend anyone.
So get your thinking caps on and set me a challenge :)

Sunday, 20 April 2008

My First Green Thumb Sunday

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Gardeners, Plant and Nature lovers can join in every Sunday, visit As the Garden Grows for more information.
It's taken me absolutely ages to get this far so just a lovely garden statue for this week and next week, I'll be properly organised :) I need to pretty up the blogroll (the list is down by my Redbubble slideshow in the sidebar) and work out how to get some other blogrolls in there too and I need to visit all those other lovely blogs. It will probably take me most of the week so see you back here next Sunday OK?

Sunday, 6 April 2008

New Notecards

Wow, I've been busy this week, hence no posts! It's our financial year end at work so I've been sorting out all the last minute bits and pieces that should have been done already but just haven't had the time! But I finally got a few minutes to myself today and have managed to put up 2 new notecards in my Etsy shop so ta-daaaaa here they are :)

I've got one or two others to list this week but I'm going to keep them for another post in case I run out of inspiration! I need to add a photo of the actual cards to my listings so my task this week is to print and photograph the individual cards - unless I can work some photoshop magic, of course. I bought a pack of wonderfully glossy prescored photocard blanks but I don't really want to print them in case they don't sell. Yes, I know I can use them myself (and I often do) but I'm trying to keep my 'stock' to a minimum and just print to order.

I did think about taking some into work and taking orders but as I'm a temp it seems a bit cheeky! Might have to ask the boss if it would be OK - see what he says. I've also got to design a bit of packaging. At the moment, I just put the card and envelope in a cellophane bag but I want to add an extra bit of paper with my details on - just looks a bit more professional in my opinion.

I've been trying to find a printing company that will print small runs of individual designs. I really don't want 250 of each card - not only will it cost lots of dosh, it's the space requirements too. Moo do individual prints but they actually work out quite expensive, especially if you want to sell them yourself. If you have any suggestions, I'd really appreciate some links/info.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Competition Winner!

Congratulations to LostintheForest - comment number 4 was selected by the random integer generator! I ran out of time to cut up little bits of paper and write names on so I googled a random number generator, entered 1-15 (number of commenters) and set for 40 results. I then counted up how many of each integer appeared and hey presto!

So I'm off to write an email to LostintheForest to see which print she would like :) Oh happy day!