29.08.12

Things I do not like

  • Leggings worn as trousers, without an adequate bottom-covering top. I don’t care how skinny you are, I don’t want to see you in that much detail, thank you.
  • Emails written in text talk
  • Text talk
  • White chocolate
  • Startitis
  • Bad language
  • Caked on foundation
  • Pretentious people
  • Doing the accounts
  • Pushiness
  • Soap operas
  • Talking on the phone
  • Open toed booties
  • Mess, dirt, clutter
  • Disloyalty

Things I like

  • Black coffee
  • Chilly nights
  • My super short haircut
  • Cats that sleep cheek to cheek
  • People that rock their own style, regardless of trends
  • Woodsmoke in the air
  • Boiled eggs
  • Pen & wash
  • Converse Hi-Tops
  • The smell of stationery shops
  • Fairy lights
  • Fat baby feet
  • The smell of silk
  • Red lipstick with freckles
  • Fresh margaritas
  • Bedlinen that has been dried outside in the sun & wind
  • Elderly couples who hold hands
  • Categorised book shelves
  • Tweed jackets with elbow patches
  • Pie
  • Integrity

22.02.12

“We must do creative work for the inside of us, not the reaction of the outside world.” – SARK

I am needy. I hate to admit this, I’m embarrassed to admit it. But I am. I crave approval. I want pats on the back, and congratulatory speeches and kudos. I want a Princess crown and a seat of honour and a best in show certificate.

And I want this at every single thing I do.


This is not good. It stifles you. It weighs heavily upon creativity and slows you down.

I have read, and reread the words of SARK, quoted above. I get it, cerebrally, but I don’t get it emotionally. When I create something, I want it to be recognised and praised. To me, that’s the whole point.

And yet it is so NOT the point.

I dabble my toes in the water of many different forms of creativity, and never get any further than that with any of them, and this is why. I give something a go, and then sit back and wait for the crowds of well-wishers, the trumpet fanfares, the bouquets flung onto the stage.

And they don’t come. It’s mortifying. Worse still is the next stage. I go, needy and slightly whiny, to my desired audience, and request feedback, in a gently passive aggressive way. Sometimes, I will seek the opinion of a loved one on my work. We both know I don’t want their opinion really, I want a gold star, but you can’t come right out and ask for that. There are certain protocols to being an adult.

But it doesn’t work, they never say the right thing, or they don’t say it enough times or with enough emphasis.


I sulk. I abandon the project and refuse to talk about it ever again.

Or at other times, if my creativity has found an outlet in some form of crafting, I may offer to make something for a loved one or friend.

Heaven help you if you are on the list of my potential crafting recipients. It’s a weighty responsibility. 


The first hurdle to be got over is your reception of my offer. If you are very very clever, you will pick up on my initial hints, dropped like bait into the water. If you are wise and compassionate, you will immediately seize upon these hints, and fervently beg to be allowed to receive one of my pet projects.

But sadly, not even the closest of my loved ones, who know me so well, tend to pick up on my hints. I am forced to come out into the open, and make an Offer. I do this casually, of course, because, y’know, it’s cool if you don’t want my crafting (it really isn’t). This is probably your last chance. Jump at it, if you have any love or pity for me. Seize it eagerly. It allows me to leave with some shred of my dignity. We can both pretend it was your idea.

Or you could be quite honest, and say, no thanks.

There are certain advantages to this course – primarily, I will never ask you again.

I may never speak to you again either, so you’ll have to weigh that up too. I may even tell everyone, with hot indignation, how you spurned me.

(They will sympathise with you, don’t worry.)

But let’s assume you said yes. You might even be genuinely excited about it. Let’s hope so. You will need that to get you through the next few stages.

  1. Planning. I will bug you, to the point of madness, about what I am to make, and in what colours, and which style, and what exactly do you want, and are you sure? Are you sure???
  2. Making. You will need progress reports and photos/show’n'tells at every stage. Every half stage. There will not be a step along the way that you will not share with me. You will feel that it would have been easier to make the thing yourself. You may be right. But we’re in this together now, and don’t you forget it.
  3. Giving. This is the most critical stage. Much depends on how you receive this project. My nerves will be strung out. I have already made up my mind that this things Sucks, and that you will Hate It. I will be in a state of bitter resentment, directed mainly at you. Why did I agree to this? Why did I think I could do it? Whatever you do, do NOT be honest about how you feel or what you think of it. Even if I set a crafty trap for you, by pointing out its flaws and mistakes myself. Coo. Squeal. Make little moaning sounds. Hold it to your chest. If you can produce a few tears, better still. 
  4. Maintenance. Oh yes, you thought this was over, but it’s not. I need you to tell me, every time I see you, how amazing it is. How much you love it. How and where and when you are using it. How much you appreciate my work. How talented I am. How I should really sell/exhibit my work. Bonus points if you can get your friends/family to mention to me how much you love it and how amazing it is. 
So, there you have it. I am a High Maintenance Creative. How you go from that to creating just for the fun of it, just for your own satisfaction, I have no idea. If you know, do tell me. 
I might even make you something, as a thank you gift. 
You’ll love it, I promise.

Mitten Pattern, and Change

Do you remember the Winter Cottage mittens? I’ve just made the pattern available to everyone, and it’s free! The Ravelry link is here, and the pattern is here.

On a completely unrelated topic, I don’t know about you, but I don’t like change. I mean, I really don’t like it. I resist it with every fibre of my being. Old, goooood. New, baddddd. It drives Tony crazy. He is one of those people who embrace change, actively seek it out. he is constantly looking for newer, better ways to do things, innovations, adjustments, inventions. While he creates the new, I cling tearfully to the old.

As an example, my laptop has been on its last croak for about a year now. When your entire life is dependent on the Internet, a reliable, fast computer is essential. So, about 7 months ago, we went out and bought a new laptop. You may have heard me mention it. It was new and shiny and superbly fast. I loved it. And so, I couldn’t bring myself to use it. I used it only for the yarn photographs, using the old laptop for everything else. I had to tread on eggshells with it, especially on the Sunday updates, when everything moves fast and I have to have several programmes running. My poor old laptop could barely cope with Internet Explorer, let alone a whole bunch of programmes. And, to add insult to injury, it went through charger cables at about one every 3 months, for some reason.

So last weekend, I came to a momentous decision. After months of Tony nagging me to use the new laptop, and rolling his eyes at me every time I complained about the old laptop’s slowness and habit of freezing and crashing at the worst possible moments. I would make the change over.

Don’t tell Tony this, but why did I wait so long??? It’s bliss working on the new laptop (even though the shortcut keys are all in different places, which is still throwing me off).

Maybe change isn’t so bad after all.

Maybe. 

us v. US

I’ve been listening to Bill Bryson’s Notes From A Small Island this week. This was written about his farewell tour of Britain before moving back to the States. He often muses in the book about the difference between the two countries. For example, the weather. In the States you get dramatic weather. In Britain, a weather forecast once read, “Warm and sunny, with some rain and cooler temperatures.” Which just about fits any day you care to select in a year’s worth of British weather.

Anyway, the book got me to thinking about some of the differences between the two countries. Our strengths and weaknesses. Here’s what I came up with. Feel free to add your contribution!

Things Which Britain Does Better Than The USA

  • Period dramas
  • Chocolate
  • Irony
  • Tea
  • Fish & Chips
  • Beer

Things Which The USA Does Better Than Britain

  • Sitcoms
  • Coffee
  • America’s Next Top Model (have you ever seen the British version? Dire!)
  • Customer service
  • Ok, pretty much all TV shows
  • Restaurants

Uh, I thought I’d be able to come up with more than that. Help!

 

My Favourite Spoon

Does anyone else get really attached to inanimate objects? I mean, really emotionally involved, with things like spoons and socks and quilt covers? Because I do.

I’m currently in mourning, because following Tony’s car accident, they decided to write our car off as an insurance loss. I never got to say goodbye to her! And now, before she’s cold in her scrapyard grave, he’s gone and bought a new car. And it’s nothing like the last one. It’s like my cat died, and he immediately went out and bought a python as a replacement. It’s indecent. I hate the new ‘car’ (imagine me making vicious speech marks with my fingers as I say that) passionately. I want my old car back. I want it back.

And I have many other attachments to objects, many favourites. I have a favourite spoon (it has a delicate dotted border on the handle, and just the right bowl depth for a perfect mouthful of food), a favourite mug (and if Tony brings me tea in any other cup, it gets sent back to be decanted into the right cup). I hurry certain items of clothing through the laundry so I can wear them again, I use one particular pillowcase over and over until it’s more holes than fabric, and even then I can’t part with it because I’d feel too guilty discarding it just because it’s got old and ragged.

Now, the oddest thing about all this is that I don’t know why something becomes a favourite. Why did this one particular spoon win my heart? Why do I favour my blue stripy mug over all the other lovely cups I have? Who knows. Love is a strange thing to explain.

Even love for one’s cutlery.