Losing the Plot

It’s funny how some days you think you have something all ready and prepared to write, but there’s something – not quite right about it. I don’t think I’ve ever really had a Plot to lose, never having been the sanest of people. It’s more fun being a little crazy anyway. Except for when the thought returns of running my own little stitchery business. It’s funny, given the recent taste of management and my current work in admin for a small business. Can’t say either role is what I want to do with my life. That, and being a sales-person is not my calling. I’m just not interested in persuading people to buy things. Buy it, or not, I don’t mind.

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So you see, being a retailer is probably not the sort of career I’d do much good in, even my own retail-business. That, and I’m not too keen on People. I don’t like them. Nothing but trouble, are People. Particularly customers. And yet, the thought of designing and selling stitchey-patterns is quite appealing, although the dealing with HMRC and VAT-MOSS less so. So we’ll see what the future and the Fates have in store…

Why must flights of fancy have such horrible practicalities?

Be Careful What You Wish For

Apparently, a full-time, 40-hour office job is The Job. Something to aspire to, sitting in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day. The sort of thing to keep hands clean.

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One good thing, of course, is that I spend my evenings stitching. My Dinosaur is progressing nicely. It’s more fun stitching it now I’ve managed to get out of the block-green and can do the pretty patterned spiky bits. Although I think I’ve finished with those, so it’s back to the green.

One bad thing about the spending all day every day in front of a computer screen, though, is that I don’t want to spend my evenings on my laptop. Don’t mind watching things while I stitch, but that’s different. More noise in the background with something to look at when I rest my eyes from my stitches. But hours spent writing? Not so much, which isn’t so good.

I don’t think much of the 40-hour week office job ideal.

Penguins Christmas Shopping

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A little retail therapy solves everything. I’m looking forward to getting a little time to stock up on my Stitchery stash. I’m also looking forward to stitching non-festive scenes and items. I’ve been making little lists of projects from my magazines. I’ll be glad to get a room of my own to call my Stitchery and to settle in with my needle and threads.

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Clearly they’ve gone shopping for each other’s presents. And lots of fish. I’m impressed neither looks very stressed. Must be getting it done early, before the rush hits.

Simple Raspberry Fairy-Cakes

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It was one of those moments when I really wanted cakes, but hadn’t the energy to do anything very complicated. An unfortunate side-effect of two six-day weeks. I’ll be so glad when the Boss-Man returns and I no longer have to be in charge.

But I really needed cakes. Or cookies.

So I had a rummage in my cupboards, and these were the result. The icing’s a sort of glace icing, but with some white chocolate powder as well.

For the Cakes:

100g softened butter

100g self-raising flour

100g caster sugar

2 tbsps raspberry jam

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to about 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the raspberry jam. Fold in the flour and vanilla essence, then stir in the milk.

Spoon into fairy-cake cases and bake for about twenty minutes.

Allow to cool (if you can wait that long) and ice as desired.

Honestly, it only takes about half an hour from start to finish.

Snowbunny

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It feels a bit weird to be stitching such a wintry scene while the sun shines warmly outside. It’s also quite weird considering Christmas so far in advance now that I’m out of the sort of Retail which begins its Christmas campaign now.

However, needs must and all that.

I counted up my patches when I popped this one into my “Current Projects” box. When I’ve done my next one, which is my last Mouseloft kit, I’ll have eighteen. Which means I need to hunt around for another six. I already have a plan for a big patch for the twenty-fifth one for Christmas Day.

But I think after my next one I might have a little break from Christmas kits and have a go at some of the quite pretty ones I’ve found in my various magazines. Mark and I are going to be moving soon, and I’m going to get stuck in with decorative items. And setting me up in a little Stitchery-office of my very own.

Writing Procrastinations

I sat down this evening with the fixed intention of getting through the section I’ve been working on so far this week. I feel like I’m nearly there with it, and I wanted to get it done. I want to get on with the book, and get it completely finished; not just this draft, but done. Well, except for a final edit. But you know what I mean.

But as I was walking home this evening after work, another scene, entirely unconnected, I’ve considered before popped into my head. It wanted to be written. I don’t yet have its full story, and I haven’t plotted anything really for it, but since it wouldn’t let me be, and it certainly won’t let me write about my troll, I thought I’d better get it down.

I feel it has great promise for a later work, if I can work out the details and quite what’s going on…Here it is, in all its unedited wonder!

***

A phone rang. It was a cheerful, if tinny, ringtone, and it shattered the stunned silence of the congregation.

Eventually, unable to bear it any longer, Serena said: “You know, I think it must be hers!”

It seemed as if everyone turned to stare at her, to condemn her for daring to say anything at such a time. With an irritated noise, Serena pushed past the people in her row to reach the aisle where the body lay. Reaching into a pocket with her gloved hand, she pulled free a phone, which was indeed ringing.

Carefully holding it close enough to hear, but not so close as to touch it, she answered. “Good afternoon; how may I help you?”

She listened, a look of bemusement crossing her face, and pressed the speaker button. The voice of the caller filled the room.

“…calling about the non-fault accident you had recently.”

“Well, goodness, what timing!” Serena exclaimed. “But really, my good man,” she said resuming her previous, somewhat imperious manner, “don’t you think that your time might be better spent ringing the ambulance than – to whom did you say you wanted to speak?”

“Um, a Miss Diana Smith?” The voice, a male one, sounded nervous and unsure of himself. Clearly his script did not allow for such deviations and he was questioning what little he did know.

“Miss Smith? Yes, well, quite. If you know about her accident then I would suggest telephoning to the ambulance, not her; Miss Smith’s accident is serious. And, yes, I rather think the police might want to know, too. Immediately, my good man!”

And with that, Serena hung up. Around her, she could see several people doing exactly what she had just told the nameless man to do. She wondered briefly if he would do so. She shrugged, feeling that she had done her duty, and returned the phone to its owner’s pocket.

Plotting the Dream

I’ve talked a lot about dreams, and making dreams a reality, recently. I’m still working it out, mostly because I have minor issues with consistency. I normally have a high boredom threshold, but when it comes to doing things, I can run out of steam quite quickly. Like the marathon-runner starting at a sprint. Full of enthusiasm, I plot and plan and make notes and write pages of research.

And then, just like that, I have no desire to actually make the ideas reality. Perhaps it’s because I’ve thought it all out and written it all down. As if just by doing so, I have done it.

Pooh's Thinking Cushion; yup, it's the cushion again! Required for lots of thinking...

Pooh’s Thinking Cushion; yup, it’s the cushion again! Required for lots of thinking…

So I haven’t really got anywhere with all those plans for a crafty shop. I have, in fact, rather gone off the whole idea. I don’t want to be making the same things, even if in different fabrics each time, over and over again. I thought about designing and selling patterns, but the thought of all that VAT-nonsense for such a small endeavour is just too tiring for words. Really, I just want to be making things for me: clothes which fit and suit me, bags just because a woman can’t have too many (or is that shoes? No matter!), teddies and dressing-up things for small children I know.

And, besides, after only a week of being in charge, of even only a small business, I can’t wait for the boss-man to return. And I’ve decided that I never want to run my own shop or retail business full-time. It is by far too stressful. And I am more than ever confirmed in my belief that the customers are what’s wrong with working in Retail. I don’t mind the admin (actually, that I quite like; I know, I’m weird), but I do dislike dealing with customers. Sorry, customers. I’m just not a people-person.

Instead, I shall focus on my own world, where they know and love me. There is something wonderfully focusing about trading in one rubbish, just-for-the-moment, it’ll-do job for pretty much another. If I want my dreams of being a writer and novelist to come true, then I’ve got to get my arse in gear and get on with it. My time is limited, so I must be more efficient with it.

And get Mark to do far more of the housework.