Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Making Headway Towards Christmas!

Well, my artificial Christmas deadline still stands (just about). I've finished my Christmas shopping and I'm ploughing my way through my list of jobs that have to be done before Christmas which is Friday (my artificial deadline). My jobs today included sweeping the chimney so it's nice and clean for Father Christmas to come down. I hate this job. It's dirty and I'm always anxious that I'm going to lose the brush up there. I need ten rods to get to the very top; had assembled and pushed up 7, then pulled them back to see how much soot was coming down. As I was pulling the rods down through my makeshift cardboard barrier, they seemed to be coming down much easier than they had gone up. "Gravity!" I thought, until I pulled out the rods minus the brush. I admit to exclaiming a 4 letter word (and it wasn't 'Xmas'), then realised that two of the rods were missing as well - double 4 letter word. I removed my dust sheets and cardboard barrier, thrust my arm up into the dark ( thoughts of James Herriot here) and joy of joy, grasped the errant rods and pulled - hurrah!  I was very brave and reassembled them to push them up another 2 times and with great relief have now packed them away until next year. I'd love to have a proper sweep come and do it, but I have just saved myself £45 for 10 minutes' anxiety. Of course I've now had to have a bath because I was covered in soot which is weird because the room and fireplace remained unsullied.
Next job was icing the Christmas cake. Each year my offspring expect me to come up with exciting creations for birthday and christmas cakes. The birthday cakes have included a wrestling ring, LFC logo, skateboard, sheet music, karate GI according to their interests at the time. The Christmas cakes have been christmas pudding (very easy), snowman, christmas tree; last years was a present:

Which was quite easy to do.

This year my eldest requested I make a christmas cracker. I'm not sure, I think it looks more like a sweet, what do you think? If I'd done it in black & white it could've been a humbug - get it - Bah Humbug! Ho, ho, ho!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas is Coming!!

I should learn to practice what I preach about stretching time.. It seemed that almost the whole of last week was spent in my trying to organise the local art network's Christmas sale and I don't know what took me so long, because it seemed to be over in a flash. This was the first time we had done this; we were allocated a space in the local shopping centre & had to provide our own stall. Translated, this means me borrowing tables from the park over the road, transporting them to the shopping centre (up in the lift was interesting - so much so that I decided to make the return journey ( complete with tables) down the stairs - which was even more interesting!!) I now have muscles on my muscles. It had been hard getting people to commit - why do people not respond to emails telling you that they won't be there? Along with the headache of organisation, I decided I didn't have enough low cost items for the stall so decided to expand my greeting card collection and frantically produce linocuts on handmade paper:

And guess what, not one of them sold!
Here's a couple of shots of us when we've just finished setting up the stall:

My stuff was spread over the ends of two tables.
My friend felted house did very well on the day, as did Maggie with her jewellery. In fact I purchased this lovely copper ring from Maggie with my meagre earnings; it's so me and so comfortable, I love it

The day was brightened by my youngest little pixie face coming to visit and her meeting Peppa Pig

The words "Never" and "Again" may have crossed my mind

Friday, 4 December 2009

Stretching Time

I'm currently reading 'Power Thinking' by Caterina Rando having been seduced by the illustrations. One thing that I am finding really useful this week that's in this book is the view that tasks expand to fill the time allocated to them. She says you can allocate half an hour to get ready for that meal tonight, or you can allocate an hour and a half, either way you will get ready and it will take that long- how true! She recommends setting artificial deadlines in your day by which you have to have completed tasks. well, I've been using this since Tuesday and I'm getting through stuff at a rate of knots I feel almost as productive as Fairysteps. I've decided that Christmas is a week earlier than it really is so I have to have everything done by 18th December. The reasoning behind this is, every Christmas I think "if only I had another week, I could relax and enjoy it all". So that's the plan this year, let's see if it works....
So, I've made myself lists of things to do and I'm approaching my tasks like the proverbial bull in a china shop. I'm also trying to let go of my perfectionism and finding that some things will just 'do'. so the linocut that I carved for cotton gift bags...

 Has also been used for my christmas cards...

& I found I'd freed up enough time to make some Christmas cookies for the local Arts Network meeting


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Happy Advent!

Well, I succumbed to pressure and reframed my lino reduction for the Christmas exhibition. When I saw it, the scratch was quite noticeable and I can't see how I could have missed it; I wonder... Still I went to the private view and drank 2 glasses of wine to compensate me. The exhibition is a mixed bag as per usual with some rubbish alongside some excellent pieces. The smaller pieces are all shoe-horned in together, which is a shame because it's very distracting, but practical, I know.
Christmas is never far from my mind, and at this time of year it seems to burst out of me, infiltrating everything I do. As this is the first of December, my Christmas cake is in the oven (I know, very late but the first frost today and it seemed fitting), I'm drying orange slices for decorations and the first advent bag has been opened..

This is our advent calender. I made it twelve years ago out of red and green hessian with the numbers sewn on in felt. My three children take it in turns to open one each day. My challenge is to find gifts that aren't sweets, are small and not too expensive. Today was a USB - ipod shuiffle connector so that Phoebe can now use her shuffle  again after treading on her old charger.
Anyway, the fact is my artwork is turning decidedly wintery. A small linocut that I did earlier in the year,

seemed to have distinct winter possibilities...

when printed on black stonehenge paper.

And in honour of the full moon...

Happy Advent!