Normality still hasn’t returned since half term and what with the normal Christmas madness, I doubt it’ll return again now, until January, so things still feel slightly odd. The current bout of oddness has been due to Mr. Lacer and the kids going to the mother-in-law’s this weekend, without me. I had been due to go, but thanks to last week’s illness, I’d got even more behind on my Christmas stall preparation and although I had planned on taking my crafty stuff with me, I just needed every second to work this weekend, so I stayed at home and sewed and sewed and sewed.
Saturday was ‘embroidered pieces day’, you see the plan for my stall, which is turning nothing like the stall I’ve been imagining in my head for going on years now, out of necessity really – and wanting to invest the smallest amount of money possible (I’ve been raiding my current craft supplies to do this, when possible), anyway, the plan for the stall is Christmas decorations, Christmas decorations and more Christmas decorations, as they’re cheap and don’t take that much time to produce (theoretically) however as far as my business will go, with my etsy shop (newly opened, but with currently nothing in it, hence me not giving out the address yet), I will be concentrating on larger embroidered pieces and I’m trying to think of my stall as an advert for my etsy shop, so I’ve planned to have a few larger embroidered pieces on the stall as well, if I sell them on the night, great, otherwise they’re (hopefully good) adverts. So, I spent Saturday working on the larger pieces, my plan is to have three embroidered cushions and two framed pieces and by 2am on Sunday morning, I had finished the three fronts for the cushions. I’m really pleased with them, they’re my own designs (obviously) and I’ll put them up here when I’ve sewn them up into cushions. However, they took me, pretty much literally all day (and the first one I’d done the day before, so it took me all day to do two), which made me think about pricing, I don’t want to make my stuff too expensive, but I am also not going to undersell myself. There will be two large cushions and one small one, I think on the stall I’ll be selling the two large ones at £25 each and the small one at £10 and if they end up in my etsy shop, I’ll have to put the prices up to £30 and £15, to cover fees etc. and I was sitting there worrying on Saturday that that would be too expensive, even though I knew at the same time, that even at those prices, I was working for less than the minimum wage, considering the time it took for me to do each piece.
However, it was a fun Saturday, whilst sewing I finished listening to my current audiobook, which took four hours, which was slightly frustrating, as I had to listen to nearly an hour that I had listened to before, as the book had been split into five audiobook chapters of an hour each and after I had nearly completed the second chapter, last weekend, when I had been out shopping, I must have left it running by mistake, so I had lost my place and it had looped back to the beginning again and there’s no way of forward winding it on my iphone. Even so, it made the four hours pass quickly and when the book had finished, I was rather disappointed that I’m not getting another Audible credit until the end of next week! So I listened to documentaries on iPlayer instead, I’m quite a fan of documentaries, but don’t get to watch them (or listen, if I’m sewing) that often, as if I’m watching TV, most of the time it’s something both me and Mr. Lacer would want to watch and he’s not a great fan of documentaries, so I watched listened to the latest Horizon, about black holes, which was absolutely fascinating and had the most beautiful analogy comparing black holes with waterfalls, now being scientifically trained, science documentaries are always a bit hit and miss with me, most of the time they’re aimed at people (obviously) with a more general scientific knowledge, so they can get a bit boring, but the Horizon documentary on the black holes seemed to be aimed at someone who knew a little bit about relativity and extended it for them. So, thanks to their analogy comparing black holes and waterfalls, I now know a bit more about something, which is always a nice feeling. Science documentaries (or any documentaries really), always make me curious for stories to, I think they’re a great source of story ideas and in this one in particular I found it fascinating how all these scientists were basically sitting their waiting for a new ‘Einstein’, someone to come along and sort out why Einstein’s theories fall apart in black holes, it was great imagining who that person would be and what would happen.
So, after a spot of science, I then went for a spot of history, watching the first two episodes of Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain, that was fascinating too and rather shaming as well, I had no idea that the inventor of concentration camps and eugenics was us, the British. Absolutely shocking what we did during the Boer War. I loved all of Marr’s stories about the various politicians though and all those black and white photos, they looked like that had a lot more character than our politicians these days.
I didn’t just spend all day sewing and listening to my audiobook and documentaries though, as I did end up needing to go out and get supplies at about 5pm. Oh it felt so decadent being out when normally I’d normally be doing tea and bedtime! I got my supplies from John Lewis’s haberdashery and went upstairs to check out the curtain fabrics (we’d been needing to replace the kids’ curtains for some time and Girl Lacer speeding up the process with the aid of some projectile vomiting whilst she was ill). Curtains are tricky in our flat, as beyond the mess, our flat actually has a neutral decor, I didn’t want neutral curtains in the kids’ room though, that’s boring, but certainly couldn’t have anything too fussy, also couldn’t have anything too boyish or too girlish, for obvious reasons and didn’t want anything too young, as the kids’ will be in that room for at least another five years and I don’t want to replace the curtains again. So, in all the great, fantastic, rather large range of curtain fabrics in John Lewis, I found precisely . . . one, a large, light green and cream check, I didn’t have the window dimensions with me though, but I reckon the whole thing will cost me about £25, bargain considering the rest of the flat’s curtains cost £40 a pair, one of the many times I love sewing!
After the curtain fabrics, I went down to Waitrose, it was just meant to be for some croissants, I didn’t even bother picking up a basket, but with my sudden feeling of freedom, I ended up arms laden with a sewing magazine, two pizzas (buy one get one free), two miniature puddings from The Pudding Club* . . . and some croissants.
Sunday, despite going to bed at 2am, I had to set my alarm and be up and sewing at 8am, Sunday was Christmas decoration sewing day, so getting a lot more actually produced. I made stars, Christmas trees, buttons and Christmas stockings, I still need to make snowmen and some more stars, just doing those four groups took me all day again. I’m really pleased with my Takashi Murakami inspired stars.
The Christmas trees were a pain, I’d had a bright (read stupid) idea to use sparkly thread, which is always a nightmare to use, despite it looking good in the end, so I like the trees, but I’m not making them like this again!
Then I worked on the buttons, which were my original bright idea (read stupid again), I’m not happy with them, I worked several variations but I’m still not happy with them and they took way too much embroidery on each, for something that is never going to sell for that much.
Then finally the stockings, which was a last minute idea, a lot simpler than the buttons, a lot quicker to make and in my opinion look better to.
So, I’ve still got a busy week ahead of me (and I haven’t done any NaNoWriMo for three days now, oops, but I had a feeling this would happen, the stall is more important, also with the NaNo, I’ve now got to that awkward stage where it’s approaching the middle of the book, you know that spot where you’re over the honeymoon but not at the finale yet, so it’s easy to get distracted by other stuff, doesn’t help that I’ve just thought of an excellent idea for another story, which I want to think about but I’m having to stop myself, but I think I’ve just got to expect that I think of all my new story ideas when I’m the middle of something else, the trick is just to remember, but not work on the idea, until after I’ve finished the last one!). Lots more sewing to do first.
*Anyone been to The Pudding Club in Mickleton? Back when I was working, I had to go away a lot for courses and a lot of the time it would be in one of those awful hotels besides a motorway, the ones with awful food, but someone in hotel procurement or whatever, obviously had a soft spot for puddings, as occasionally instead of the hotel in nowhere land, we went to the hotel in Mickleton where The Pudding Club is based and it was absolutely wonderful, even though the pudding club wasn’t actually on whilst we were there, all the food is divine, you know, one of those places where when you think of your favourite ‘insert favourite food item here’ and that hotel is the place of my ‘all time favourite steak’ and my ‘all time favourite risotto’, whether I can remember any of the training I had, that’s a different matter. The hotel rooms are lovely to and some of them are pudding themed as well, I was lucky enough to stay in the spotted dick room once!
PS I don’t put photos up on my photo blog much anymore, so worth a mention that I have just put two on, after playing with a new gadget, the photos are here and here.