An elegant sufficiency

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Small steps

Dear me, progress is so slow on the room clearing front. I did, however tackle the large sheets of paper and bits of artwork which had accumulated on top of the shelving, Old C&G designs, rolls of paper and general "stuff". Threw a lot out but still have a lot to store. Any suggestions where I might find a second-hand plan chest? How do you store the large A1 or A0 sheets of paper and card?
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Still knitting

All of that clearing up leaves me in need of a bit of therapy, so I took out a bag of Colinette yarn I've had in my stash for ages, and began to knit a large shawl on 7mm needles. It grows very fast indeed, but is quite heavy on the hands and I must say, I prefer working with sock yarn!

I don't know which side of the work I prefer


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Later that day...

Well, it's a start. I thought I'd begin with some of the most challenging shelves. This corner is almost done.

Still some way to go, however, and I haven't even begun to pack books yet (there are as many on the other wall...)

Where is it all going? In the garage.


Work in Progress

We're lucky to have a large "playroom" at home which I shared with Edward when he was younger. Ever since he went off to university, we've talked about smartening it up and putting it to better use - over the years it has become a bit of a dumping ground for cast-off computer equipment and other stuff we couldn't be bothered to find a better home for. I think it happens to us all - if you've got a spare room, no doubt you too find it hard to resist putting "stuff" in there!

We decided ages ago that it should be our study/office, since that seems to be where we spend most of our time these days. Added to that, living in an open-plan house means that a room with a door is very precious and a practical place to play music. So, our current study will become a music room, and the computers and paperwork will go downstairs. The main part of the room will be an office and I will keep my workroom along one wall as previously.

This is "my end"; my studio/workroom, how it was last week, with part of Mark's 3000+ CD collection alongside. As you can see, finding a place to work has become a little challenge in itself!

And yes, those large sheets and rolls of paper did once fall on my head as I tried to remove one...

Three, getting on for four, years later, Edward has graduated from university and we still haven't done a thing about this grand scheme, except to talk to the builder about putting in a new wooden floor and underfloor heating. As you can see, though Edward has moved into his flat, he leaves behind his old TV and other stuff too (bless him!) - maybe we should have started earlier!

A week ago, the builder suggested that it was about time we began the project and since he had a month in his schedule, how did February sound? (I think he quite liked the idea of an indoor job during the cold weather!) We are set to have the room empty and ready for him to begin work on the 12th and boy, is there a lot to do!

Yesterday, we made a start, though. I put away all my machinery (including my new Embellisher, boo hoo), disconnected the computer, hoping that I can remember how to get my POEM embroidery machine all set up again when we put it all back. We put all the dead computer stuff into the car to take to the recycling place today and arranged for the two old sofas in the room to be collected by the other recycling service next week.

This is how it looks now.

Some way to go, I think. Today I will try to clear some of the shelves.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Guilt Free Shopping?

Yesterday we had business in Swindon, so took the opportunity to pay a visit to the outlet mall there to "invest" in a large piece of Le Creuset we've been intending to buy for some time. The promotional signs all had this "Guilt Free Shopping" tag, which both of us felt rather uneasy about.

Why might we feel guilty about shopping anyway? Because we're buying something we don't need? Perhaps. But hopefully we've thought about what we're buying and as far as our own buying habits go, I think we're past too many impulse purchases. Maybe it's because we might be tempted to buy something we can't really afford, which I think is far more likely to be the cause - in which case is the Mall itself really right to absolve us of such guilt?

I'm going to get uncharacteristically puritan here and say that I don't think shopping should ever be guilt free. Most of us have far too much "stuff" anyway - I count myself as top of that list - and whether the guilt is induced by financial, social, ethical or any other conscience, I think we should never allow our shopping to become totally guilt-free.

All of which is illustrated by the fact that we have no idea just where we will store our new (very) large Le Creuset casserole.
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

One year on

Here we are, on the first anniversary of An Elegant Sufficiency and we've been without power all day due to the extreme weather we've been having. Above is a picture of the small River Frome, which normally flows steadily down the valley but which, this morning, was a raging torrent. All over the county, it seems there are trees down and reports of damaged buildings, such was the force of the gale which blew across the country this morning.

Thankfully is all seems calm now. Our power returned about an hour ago, though I just drove home through several other darkened villages so some poor souls will still be anxious about the state of the food in their freezers and so on.

Anyway, thank you to everyone who has encouraged me to keep up the blogging and especially to those of you who leave such nice comments. They are appreciated, every one!
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Remembering good times

I have mixed feelings about scrapbooking - detest that "business" of putting together pages of emotional self indulgence, recording a picture-perfect image of the world and buying into an industry where it's ok to copy, to lift and to follow every step of someone else's creativity. And yet, I enjoy looking in scrapbooking shops for the very details I love to include in some of the things I make, enjoy the inspiration of some of the "mistress scrappers" like Ali Edwards and sometimes, I even make "memory books" myself.

I've found that, after a very special event, a meeting of friends or family, one thing which is really appreciated is a collection of the photographs taken and a few memories recorded. I suppose these could simply be printed out and put into a small album, with labels of when and where taken and who's in the picture. But somehow that's all too straightforward and with my usual "why make it easy when with a bit of time and effort, you could make it a little more challenging" approach, I usually make little hand made books for the key people involved.

This year, rather than make concertina-style books from scratch myself as I've done in previous years, I decided to take an idea from the aforementioned Ms Edwards, and customise a ready-made 7gypsies mini tag book (Bought from the Craft Emporium whose extremely efficient service I highly recommend) and a few sheets of Basic Grey papers (in the "Fruitcake" series) I've done six of these small books, all ever-so-slightly different, and tailored to the person they were made for and am about to drop them into the post.

I've quite enjoyed putting them together and hope they'll hit the spot. From previous experience, I think they will do exactly that.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Out in a minute...running late

So why do I choose now to play and fiddle about with my blog?

Just loaded Snap, a neat little plaything. Hover over that link and see what happens. Good, eh?

Brightening up a January day

Couldn't resist these fantastic blue anemones whilst shopping yesterday. They are huge and all the same beautiful blue, which coupled with the fresh green leaves, brightens up a dark, rainy January day very well indeed.
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Incredible paper art

Just came across this YouTube video which is quite awe-inspiring. I love the way the negative shapes left behind after cutting become part of the overall product. Great work.

The work is that of Peter Callesen . Why not sit down with a cup of something and spend a happy hour looking through his amazing work? Highly original and meticulously worked, this takes the skills of papercutting into an entirely different zone.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Home again

On our last night in Luzern, we booked a table on the "Raclette boat" and enjoyed melting cheese whilst sailing around the lake - more fun than it sounds, I assure you! This morning was my first day in the office since mid-December and I think tomorrow just has to be spent sorting out some of the piles which have arisen about the place.

I guess life is getting back to normal.

It's good.

In answer to Phil's question, below, the raclette pans we used were small, individual ones, shown in the photo above, which were placed one per table. They were "fired" by three nightlights underneath the pan, and we soon realised that it would have been better to have it all lit and hot well before starting. Being non-smokers, however, the lack of a light on our table meant we had to rely upon our waitress to light it for us, and I think we must have been the last on her circuit. The first few slices of Kaltbach cheese melted very slowly indeed, so as there were four on our table, we asked for a second pan. There was an ample buffet table with constantly replenished supplies of potatoes, mini corn, tomatoes, pickles and cheese In no time at all, we were melting cheese faster than we could eat! We drank Fendant wine, from Valais (delicious), enjoyed the "Gemuetlichkeit" of our fellow diners very much indeed and very much recommend these "Fondue- u. Raclette- Schiff" trips as a great way to spend an evening.
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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hotel Art 9

The walls of our hotel room here are simply painted white and have no further adornment. There is plenty of hotel art, however, shared with the whole world as it's out there on the walls of the building. We like to think our home from home here is the prettiest of them all, of course, though there is competition a-plenty.
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Another foodie post

Oh dear. Anyone would think I was focused on food these days. But yesterday we got together with a bunch of longstanding Swiss friends and with their encouragement, tried a "local speciality". There can be few less risky places in the world to order such an unknown dish - certainly years ago, whilst travelling through the Caucasus and stopping by a restaurant in Shemakha, Georgia (or is it Azerbaijan?) the "local speciality" was not exactly what we might have chosen! But Luzerner Chuegelipastetli turned out to be delicious, and not only did I get to eat it, I was taught to say it as well!
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Wool shopping

It's great to be in a place where sock wool is so commonplace that it's available in any of the small or medium-sized stores around here. Needless to say, I made on and restocked with a few balls. Some of it I've had before - the Blauband yarn in the slim balls is very good to use and comes in some delightful tweeds and mixtures - above there's a couple of balls of navy blue flecked with rainbow colours and some fairly plain bottle green (which is intended to become a lace shawl). But I've not used the 6-ply Regia and will be pleased of any advice re size of needles/pointers to a good pattern for it. I also found the two brightly coloured cottons, labelled "Potholder yarn". Perhaps a couple of dishcloths a la Mason-Dixon will appear shortly?

I also found a bag of cream/white buttons for just SFR5 (about £2.50). Don't know what will become of those but it seemed like too good a bargain to pass by.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Socks Away!


Just finished my socks tonight. Plain old Angel Yarns free pattern with Opal Yarn - they fit well, though they are a little snug until they've been washed.

Restocked with new yarn in the Luzern Co-op today - bought a few balls, in fact, which I'll photograph and blog tomorrow. Next pair on the needles will be for Mark and they'll be red. His choice!
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Chilly day with friends


It's been rather chilly here, though the snow has stayed up in the mountains and there's been just the odd spot of rain. The skies have stayed mostly overcast with just a glimpse of blue sky. As a result, we relied upon some lovely friends to bring the sunshine with them as we all got together for lunch today. Conversation was good, old times remembered and plans for the next meeting hatched (Lake Maggiore, May 2007). The food was delicious, not to mention the wine.

We sat down for lunch around 1pm and got up from the table around 4pm. A great way to spend a day, I think.
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Monday, January 01, 2007

We are in Luzern


The Geschnetzeltes were great - sorry to leave you with the washing up.
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