The Ideas of March

This week is turning into being a not-obviously-productive week, but one with a lot of promise.

Job-security not being what it was (although, let’s face it, I wasn’t planning on standing around selling cards for the rest of my life), I am being forced to face the future, in an even ruder and scarier way than I had to upon leaving the safety of education. Not that I’m currently unemployed, but that it seems wise to make plans.

Pooh's Thinking Cushion

Pooh’s Thinking Cushion

It’s one of those funny old things, in that I don’t like working in retail but currently I’m toying with the idea of a small craft-business. Apparently I feel that working in Retail is somehow different if I’m self-employed. I’m still not a natural sales-person, and probably still wouldn’t care all that much about targets – which probably isn’t a good sign. Perhaps it’s the idea I have, of being able to sit around all day sewing (with or without a TV series on in the background). It’s not like I’d be having a bricks-and-mortar shop – an internet one is far more to my liking, with the occasional trip to the Post Office. Maybe the odd craft fair.

I expect there’s far more too it, though, and somewhat less of the sitting around and sewing than I might like. But we’ll see. At the moment I’m just thinking and planning, fired up with the enthusiasm of someone who hasn’t thought about all the boring admin side of it. And who doesn’t yet have to do anything about it. It might never happen. I’m a very thinky, dreamery sort of a person. I like planning things. Doing them, not as much.

But I do very much like the idea of being self-employed. I could cope with making the pittance I currently earn if I was doing so working on my own projects. And if I didn’t have to deal directly with the Public or with Head Office morons.

I need a little longer to contemplate this and really fine-tune the plans though. You know, identify Target Markets etc. I do¬† hate that phrase. Like being asked who you write for. Well, me, and people like me, is the answer. And I don’t know how to classify me, other than a youngish, vaguely intelligent, vaguely creative sort of a person. (The other description is the less flattering “vague, wishy-washy person who hasn’t a clue”.)

So we’ll see how the plans turn out and whether anything further comes of them!

Recycling Fabrics

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The first six months after I bought my sewing machine, I enthusiastically, but unskillfully, had some fun with various fabrics. I haven’t worn any of these garments since then (and I only wore them about once each anyway – they’re all terribly shapeless and unflattering).

So before I start cutting into my fabric stash, I’m going to see what I can do about re-cutting these and reshaping them into wearable items of clothing or accessories (some of the green cotton will probably become the book-bag). Practice pieces, if you will, to try and prevent the destruction of good cloth.

Hopefully this time I’ll work out a few more dressmaking techniques and become a bit more skilled in the creation of a decent wardrobe.

Week Three: What’s the Fuss?

I started this journey into plant-based eating (I still don’t call it vegan because of the honey) because I wanted to know what people were raving about. I wanted to know if I’d feel healthier (not that I felt unhealthy) or more energetic (I’m naturally lazy).

Three weeks later, I still don’t know what the fuss is about and I’m no longer avoiding meat. And I feel much better for putting it back. I might not be more energetic than I was previously, but it gives me more energy than simply plants, and really what I need to work on is becoming a do-er, not a dreamer, and to work with my lazy inclinations rather than against them.

Yes, plants are tasty and meat doesn’t have to be the main component of every meal. But I need it in my diet in order for me to feel healthy and to function properly. So I’m going to spend the rest of Lent working out the optimal balance of plants and meats.

I will continue to avoid dairy and eggs, because I think that I do feel better without them (or at least without the dairy, which I know has an adverse affect on me, without being intolerant or allergic to it), and I shall be monitoring that side of it.

But meat returns.

Pie-Cakes

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These should have been fairy-cakes, I won’t lie, but I slightly over-baked them and they could probably have done with a splash of milk in the mixture. So they have a pie-crust sort of a texture, and I think they’re a bit like bakewell tarts with the glace icing on top. Tasty.

Ingredients:

100g cacao butter, melted

100g sugar

2 tbsp apple sauce

100g flour (self-raising or plain + a heaped teaspoon baking powder)

candied peel

How to Make:

Preheat the oven to about 180C and line a fairy-cake tray with cases. You should get twelve cakes.

Melt the cacao butter over a low heat and then stir into the sugar. Add the apple sauce and mix well. Fold in the flour and candied peel until well mixed. It should end up with a doughy texture. Add a splash of milk at this stage for a cake-batter, or leave as is to try for pie-cakes.

Spoon into the cake-cases and bake for about 20 minutes.

Allow to cool and decorate as desired. I used a lemon glace icing and freeze-dried raspberry pieces.

Stitching for Birthdays

DSCN0325This makes it two April birthdays down, two to go.

This is another little Mouseloft cross-stitch kit, so easily done in an evening, which is what I quite like. If I stop doing something, I have a tendency to lose interest – I’m quite impressed I’ve got back into making the Advent calendar.

But now I’ve found that I do actually enjoy it. And I have plans for all sorts of cushion-covers and book-bags and the like. And littler things like cards and bookmarks and such like evening projects.

And I’m enthused! Full of energy and plans and ideas for my cross-stitching. I just need to order my thoughts a little better and organise myself to stitch them without losing interest…

Designing Dino

I have no book-discussion for you this week, because I haven’t been reading books this week. I’ve been flicking through and studying various cross-stitch magazines instead.

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I’ve started gathering them over the last few months, for ideas and projects, and, although I have yet to begin any, the reason I’ve been studying them properly this last week is that I’ve been plotting a design of my own, based on ones found in these.

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Ignore my notes in the corner about thread-colours!

You see, I know a little boy who’s going to start school in September, and I think school book-bags are quite boring. So I thought I’d make him one with a fun dinosaur cross-stitched onto it. I’ve picked and mixed designs and added bits of my own – like the tree and robot reading a book – and hopefully this’ll be the right size and will work. I might add in a dragonfly or butterfly in the space by the dino’s head, but I haven’t completely decided yet. I’ll work that out when I see how the rest works out!

Thinking Ahead…

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas? I suppose in a way it is. I mean, it’s not like we’ve yet reached Easter, and I do rather object to shops starting the Christmas season in the summer.

Except that when you’re lovingly handcrafting Christmassy items – gifts, decorations, and so forth – you do need to start thinking about them all early, so you have enough time to complete them.

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And when you start planning barely six weeks before the deadline, and you know, Life, you probably won”t finish in time. Like the Advent Calendar I began last November, and failed to finish in time for Advent.

So I’ve started it up again. One patch at a time…

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