Monday, 26 May 2014

What I am focusing on - blog hop

I was asked a couple of weeks ago by Sandie at itchifingers if I would participate in a blog-hop, so I straight away said yes, I would. However, when the time came for me to get down and write my post I wasn't feeling too well. May has been a very hectic month for me, I was exhausted, and on top of everything else I was suffering from cystitis . Over the past week I've been on a course of antibiotics, my cystitis has cleared up, I've been taking it steady and now I'm feeling a whole lot better.

I was also asked to nominate 3 people for the next leg of the blog hop, so I have chosen three of my favourite crafters, each in a totally different field, and each producing work that I love. They are Tracy, Karen B and Karen R, and I'll introduce them to you at the end of this post.

A quick word about myself, I am retired, living in Wiltshire and loving my life right now. I have four sons and 5 grandchildren. I craft for pleasure (my own) rather than for any other reason, and although in the past I have sold a few of my pieces, most of what I produce is for myself or for giving to others. I'm never shy of trying something different, and have indulged myself in all sorts of various crafting activities over the years, I've been knitting for over 60 years (gosh, gasp!), dressmaking for more than 50 and crocheting for about 45 on and off. I've dabbled in photography, drawing, painting, writing, quilting, fabric art and card-making, as well as home renovation, decorating and home furnishings.

The questions posed for me to answer are as follows:

1) What am I working on now?

Just over two years ago GM (my husband, affectionately known as the Green Man, because of his predilection for wearing green clothing) and I moved into our "forever" home. The house is just the right size for us but one or two things needed some attention, which we have slowly been sorting over the last two years. Currently, after some major plumbing works, we are in the process of installing a decent extractor fan, altering some of the electrical circuit, removing the old extractor hood, moving our gas hob and fitting some more wall cupboards in the kitchen, then that area will require painting and a bit of tiling, so thats what I'm focusing on right now - being electricians mate, painter and general gopher and cleaner-upper. At the same time I've recently bought the fabric for some new curtains for our bedroom, which I shall be making over the next month or so. I'm knitting myself a sweater for the winter months, and shortly I'll be embarking on three matching sweaters for my granddaughters aged 3.5, 1 and one month.

2) How does my work differ from others of its kind?

I think it differs from others only in that my ideas come from inside my head rather than from any sense of fashion or anything that I've seen. When I knit I follow patterns but I do make the odd change here or there. I haven't made any clothing for myself or for anyone else for a while, but when I did I became quite adept at altering patterns to fit, or making my own patterns by cutting down old clothing. My painting could be described more as paint blobbing than any attempt at illustration. I am self-taught at crochet and quilting and am still in a learning process for both of these crafts. So really, all of my work is just personal to me in whichever way I decide to go at any given time. I don't copy anyone else, but if I see something I like and want I'll have a go at producing it in my own way.

3) Why do I create what I do?

I knit and crochet to make things for myself and my family - although it's many a long year since any of the sons (aged 43, 38, 25 and 23) and grandsons (aged 16 and 12) have worn anything that I've knitted! I take photographs just because I love to, and I use them to illustrate my blog, for the last three and a half years I've participated in 365s, a photo a day, on my blogs. Home-making speaks for itself. Paint blobbing is just something I do now and again for relaxation or a change. I started quilting a couple of years ago, I made a quilt for my oldest granddaughter and I shall make a couple more for the younger two. I'm not sure if I'll make any more after that - that will very much depend on how many more grandchildren I'm given. I also often make specifics for my friends' grandchildren, I've knitted rabbits and various other toys, and crocheted cot and carrycot blankets.

4) How does my writing/creating process work?

I have no idea, I just dont like to be not doing anything, and I turn my hand to whatever needs to be done. During the summer months I create less than during the winter, as my focus is more on my garden, I grow vegetables for our own consumption and am looking forward to taking on a garden makeover once the work on the house is finished, probably next year. Every now and then, if something tickles my fancy, I might sit down and compose a limerick. I love letter writing, I have penfriends in Cornwall (Karen B, see below), Virginia U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand, I'm a member of a group in Post Circle, and also a member of Postcrossing, I write my blog, I have several friends with whom I communicate regularly by email, and last year I started to write a book - however as yet I'm stuck on chapter three and I doubt I'll be bothered to continue! Sandie (above) and I have discovered that we seem to have a great deal in common and have also been swapping letters, we hope to meet up later this year.

So, there you have it, I'm not your normal sort of crafter, I dont stick to one thing, I just flit about here, there and everywhere. A couple of years before my retirement in 2008 I started running my own business, I am a Phoenix Trader and you can visit my website here. I've always loved beautiful stationery ever since I was a child, my dad was a jobbing printer and used to bring home all sorts of bits and pieces of paper. Back in my late teens/early 20s I worked for him as a Girl Friday/van driver in central London and I am still to this day hooked on the wonderful scents of paper and printers inks.

As this is a blog-hop I would now like to introduce you to three ladies for whom I have a great deal of respect, each a wonderfully talented crafter in their chosen field.

First is Tracy, whose blog is Mad About Bags. (You can see an example of Tracy's work in my own blog header). Tracy is a 44 year old married mum with three children and lives in the rural outskirts of the newly appointed City of Essex, Chelmsford. Sewing has always been a big part of her life as her Mum was a seamstress and made all her and her sisters clothes. Tracy's passion for creating was kick-started after an accident at work meant she had a lot of time on her hands and a cross stitch shop just around the corner! This creative journey has had its peaks and troughs with the arrival of her children and a couple of building projects. With all her children now in full time education and a husband who doesn't mind her obsession with fabrics, yarns and sewing machines (she has several!) she creates individual and bespoke items in her workroom in the garden. 

Secondly we have Karen B of Me My Camera Eye who says: My main interest lies with photography but I enjoy several pastimes, which include knitting, scrapbooking, reading, gardening, writing and the dreaded exercising and spending time with my family (hubby and two girls), my big problem is that I don't have enough time to do all of them on a regular basis. I work as an enablement worker for Cornwall Council. I really enjoy challenging myself and love sharing what knowledge I have with others.

And last, but by no means least, is Karen R of Just K Jewellery who says: I live in Hampshire in the UK although I grew up and went to school in Windsor. I'm mum to an adult philosophy teacher son, mum to a sweet little rescue tabby cat and partner to Nick who's learned to live with my jewellery-making taking over our home. I started making jewellery for myself in 2005 and soon became totally addicted. I'm self taught using books from the library and lots of experimenting. I've been working with resin since 2008 after going on a silver clay workshop where I was introduced to the work of Sherri Haab. I bought her book about resin jewellery and as soon as I read it I knew this was what I wanted to do. All the resin pieces I use have been made by me in my workshop at home - and I love finding quirky and unusual items to embed in resin.

Thank you Sandie for inviting me to take part in this blog-hop, and thank you also to Tracy and the two Karens for agreeing to be the next victims participants.


Sandie said...

I have really enjoyed this post and getting to know more about you Joy. You sound as though you have a real zest for life and thank you for being my blog hop tag - I knew you would be inspiring and make me smile (shame we don't have video attached but then again... perhaps not!!)
Just image me smiling here and looking forward to visiting the two Karen's and Tracy posts :D

karen said...

Great post Joy, thank you for nominating me. xx

Maria Ontiveros said...

I really enjoyed reading your thoughts. I've been asked to participate in this meme as well, but I'm having a bit of trouble coming up with my answers. Will definitely get to it in due time!