Thursday, December 29, 2005

All I made for Christmas

We're still in Suffolk - I was too ill to travel yesterday and [...] is too ill to drive today. We've had a good time, but I struggle to write on my Dad's computer. I did however upload this to blogger before we came away.

This is partly as a personal archive to remember what I did and why I mustn't do it again. At the beginning of November I started on some craft projects. I wanted to have some low-energy activities to do away from the computer, something to pass the time without taxing my mental or physical resources. The intention was quite reasonable.

Quickly [...] suggested I was taking way too much on. I ignored this.

However, here are the projects I started but didn't finish;

  1. A set of placemats and matching coasters. Eight of each, each with a different painted picture on them. I abandoned this earlier in December.
  2. A resin nativity set I was painting up. Wanted to give this to them in good time for Christmas but I ran out of time.
  3. Christmas cards. This was a failure of engineering. I made them, but couldn't persuade them to stand up.
So what did I achieve in the last seven weeks?

I made twelve extremely camp crackers. They actually look better than this; the crepe paper is more a lapis lazuli blue, but my camera is a bit naff. Notice the varying lengths. Hmm.

This was probably an inefficient use of time and energy. Christmas Crackers are so cheap and available, my crackers are not so special it was worth the effort.

I made several tree decorations, but they were variations on a theme, I didn’t feel the need to archive the lot.

I only intended to decorate one candelabra but it arrived with a broken foot. The company sent me a replacement without asking me to return the damaged one. I was then able to ply the remaining feet from it, replacing them with wooden beads.

Stringing beads is very time consuming. I spent about day on every star I did and given that one of the candelabrum had to be completely undone and restarted, goodness knows how much time I spent on them.

The beads get everywhere. The contents of the clear drum of our Dyson vacuum cleaner sparkles with the volume of beads within. I keep finding them in the most bizarre places.

Glass painting was a big mistake. I fancied doing this and forgot what hard work it is until I had messed it up the first ten times. This medium is unforgiving of poor co-ordination In the end, I had to give people these suncatchers despite the bubbling and that somewhat unendearing cat - I had simply run out of time to redo them or arrange something else to give.

Of course they probably look better with light shining through them on a window - the tree in patrticular. However, I think it is time I put my glass paints away.

These heart-shaped boxes came in plain rough card but already had these funky grate designs on the lids. I then painted them and jazzed them up a bit. My camera doesn't reveal the amount of gold paint involved here. [...] suggested they might be more appropriately filled with the ashes of a loved on than chocolates.

I had a very complex and sophisticated idea for this clock, which started out as a base from which to weave baskets, but in the end I gave up and painted a sun. Well a sun with a smiley face cheers people up, don’t they?

Again, my camera has failed me in so far that the face doesn't look that skeletal in real life and there is a lot of gold and indeed, even glitter. The holes which give the face away as a former basket-base are filled with glitter glue and tiny gold beads so they look like stars. Well that was the idea.

In summary, I took on too much, turned a leisure activity into a source of pressure, learnt nothing new, got paint on the bedclothes and saved only a neglible amount of money. All this, and I wasn't especially pleased with the results. Ho hum.

Still, in principle it was a useful exercise. While I have been away, I have been introduced to Su Doku. I did an easy one which took ages, but having worked it out I did a mild one that took much less time. Then a difficult one and then a fiendish one which was by this stage, having got into the mindset, very easy. I then decided that it is probably better to spend that time which cannot be really usefully spent, making things rather than solving puzzles, watching television, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with puzzles and things to unwind when you spend most of your time being useful, but I don't.

Anyway, so far the feedback has been good. My Granny insited on keeping her cracker as a souvenir. The main mistake was putting a swanny-whistle, a kazoo and a trumpet mouthpiece in the crackers we had on Boxing Day. The light switch for my parents' bathroom is outside the door, and every time anyone went in there, the light would be turned off and the theme from The Great Escape would be performed for their torment.


marmiteboy said...

I,ve up trying to do Su Doku. It all started really well. I thought "this is a breeze, I've finally found a logical puzzle wot I can do"! But alas, once I got on to the ones that weren't constructed for the under fives I was buggered. Ho hum, back to reading books.

Hope you are feeling better and will be safely back in Whitby for the New Year.

Anonymous said...

yeah, crafts are like that...i have made some in the past for xmas or b-days that always end up being late...they take up a lot of time and are tedious...but also fun in this weird way. as you are doing the repetitive little motion, or trying to cut out that perfect shape or get that one piece to stick on, you think of quitting...but then ten years down the road if you see something you made it's kinda like...hey! that's cool...i made's unique and it took me a heck of a long gives it a bit more value than something made in a factory...yes?