Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Back blogging!

I've not blogged for months. It's been a strange year personally, and once I got out of the habit of blogging (because there was a time when I didn't have the inclination to do so) it was difficult to start again. However, I want to start again - mainly because it's something I want to do - I enjoy writing and posting images into my virtual diary - it's nice to look back at some of the things I've done. So, this is my first post after such a long time, it's hard to know where to start. Perhaps I won't - there are so many things to talk about that I couldn't possibly mention them all in one post, and not that many are good things either, so probably best left unsaid.

I'm currently in the throes of a cold/sore throat and am feeling particularly drained and aching. I have still tried to do a bit of work each day, since I work from home anyway - but this has resulted in me making a stupid mistake on the piece I've been working on! I was so annoyed with myself earlier that I felt like swearing at the top of my voice (I didn't, it's not something I do frequently). I'm lucky, however, as the customer also happens to be someone I know personally, and once I explained the mistake she is happy for it to stay so - says it will be part of the charm of the hand-made personalised gift. I thought that was such a sweet thing to say and a lovely way of looking at it that it prompted me to write about it here. I don't want to name anyone as that may spoil the surprise, but I'm sure once the gift has been handed over, I will be able to share images of the finished piece and of the glaring error I made!

In the mean-time, here are a few photos of a memory box I created for some friends, who had a baby boy earlier this year. This box and the 3 canvases (made by my friend Eve Lomax of Crafty Beggars) were given as a surprise gift to them when we visited for the first time. The Robot and Space theme match his bedroom, and they were thrilled with it, I'm happy to say.

Top view of a memory box I made earlier this year for a friend's baby 

His name on the front of the box.

The box with matching wall art
The inside lid of the box

I have since painted three more memory boxes as gifts - one for my Mum as a 70th birthday present (which I filled with special messages from friends and family), and 2 as wedding gifts. I currently have 3 more orders to fulfil, and imagine these are going to soon be the best selling piece of work I've ever created - I love the fact that I can personalise them so much, and that they are also a practical gift, not just ornamental. Well, that's about it for now, my bed is calling me and this was going to be a short blog post just to say that I was back blogging again! More to follow from now on!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

To keep or not to keep?

Sometimes I make something that I just don't want to let go of. I've got a painting on my living room wall that I painted years ago, which is on my website for sale but that I really think I would not be able to part with now! My "Spirit Of The Sahara" is a reminder of my time spent travelling across Africa when I was 19/20, and I just love to look at it daily! I may have to mark it as "NFS" before someone else decides they would like it, too!

"Spirit Of The Sahara".
I've recently also created a painted paper mache cat ornament. I bought the blank ornament online and decided to completely cover it with dots of acrylic paint. This took me such a long time that I found myself wanting to keep it the more I worked on it. I've had it on my stall once, at a reasonable price considering the amount of time spent on it, but I'm now thinking I may just add it to my collection of cat ornaments in the house, anyway! What would you do?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Guys & Dolls - Hessle Theatre Company

Chris Holmes as Nathan Detroit (L) & RIchie Donaldson at Big Jule - for more photographs see HTC Facebook Page

On Friday last week, Keith and I went to watch this musical show at the Hull New Theatre. It was a first time for both of us, although Sally, who we went with, had appeared in it a few years ago with another society and she recommended it. We were not disappointed. Having no prior knowledge of a show can sometimes be much better since you have no pre-conceived ideas of how it should be staged, who should play certain characters etc. Even though there was a synopsis in the programme, and I read it before the show began, I still was a tad confused until the characters actually appeared on stage. The synopsis had too many characters and different story-lines for me to grasp all at once, but that didn't matter once the show began.

Here's a more concise version, as shown on the Hessle Theatre Company's website recently:

In the twilight world of gangsters and their molls, Nathan Detroit is losing his grip on the institution of the floating 'crap game' (the dice gambling scheme he runs that switches venue to avoid detection by the local police) and is desperate to find the money to pay for the only location he can currently get his hands on. To seal the deal and quell the tempers of the gangsters who are gathering in town and keen to 'shoot crap', he bets his buddy, Sky Masterson, a thousand dollars that Sky will not be able to take a local Salvation Army girl, Sarah Brown, on a date to Havana.

Meanwhile Nathan, engaged for fourteen years to cabaret artist Miss Adelaide, is struggling to keep her demands for marriage at bay, whilst she continues to battle with the symptoms of an incessant psychosomatic cold that plagues her all the time she is waiting to go down the aisle...

We've seen Hessle TC performing several times over the years, and they always put on a very professional production, despite the majority of their members being amateur and having no formal training. We look out for realism whenever we watch a live performance, whether it's musical or a straight play, and I would say that 99% of the performers achieved this. Having many years of experience in amdram ourselves probably makes us more aware of how hard it is to achieve such a standard - we are limited in our theatre due to the size of it, so cannot compare in any way with such a large company. However, we still strive to be as professional as possible and I can only hope that we give our audiences as much pleasure as Hessle gave us last week.

Onto the show itself. The opening scene was a visual feast. What impressed me more than anything was how well choreographed it was. The whole company were in that scene, in Times Square in New York. I didn't know who to watch, as everyone was moving at the same time, but it was all very carefully planned and seamlessly put together - big congratulations to Martin Beaumont, the director and choreographer.

The musical numbers weren't all to my liking, although none were on my hate list either! I think I was particularly impressed with the song sung by Terry Halliwell who played Sarah Brown's Grand-father, Arvide Abernathy - his number "More I Cannot Wish You" was very moving and he had a lovely tone to his voice. It was really good to see Richard Skelton in the role of Sky Masterson - the love interest of Sarah Brown. He used to be a member at Bilton Amateur Dramatic Society, and was in the same first play I was in there 23 years ago! Back then, I think he preferred singing to acting, but to see him on stage on Friday, you wouldn't know - he was equally impressive with his acting and singing ability. His American accent was faultless, too.

I liked the comedy portrayed by Russell Fallon in his characterisation of Nicely Nicely Johnson - he even raised his speaking voice a pitch to add to that comedy element, and obviously enjoyed spending much of the time eating!!! He was central to one of my favourite scenes, the song ""Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat", and you can see a clip of it here:

What impressed us so much about that particular number was not just the way it was choreographed, which was effective in itself, but the way everyone knew exactly what they were doing and when - not one person was out of sync, and they changed positions throughout, too - credit to everyone involved with this number!

The actress playing the part of Adelaide, Sarah Lazenby, was stunning. Her acting skills and singing voice put together were first rate, and I really enjoyed her performance throughout - particularly in her solo piece, "Adelaide's lament".

I have been reflecting on the show all weekend, and it's not often that a production has such an impact, but this one certainly did. The attention to detail within the direction was evident throughout - one moment I will never forget is the scene in the Mission when all the gamblers are looking in through the window for quite some time before any of the characters in the scene realise. They are almost stuck to the glass, as if they've been paste on from the outside, and it had a really comical effect. I loved the way the signs lit up in Times Square, the backdrop for the underground tunnel with all the pipework etc, and the shop fronts such as the Barber's shop window and the Tailor's shop. It all added to the atmosphere of the production and must have taken a lot of time and effort to create (I'm assuming it was created by Hessle and not hired in, actually - but even so, the scenery was excellent).

I thought Chris Homes played a superb role as Nathan Detroit, and I did wonder if he actually does walk like that in reality or if he just created a perfect stoop for the part! His facial expressions were clearly visible even from where we were sitting in row "O" - no opera glasses required for his acting, that's for sure.

I was also mightily impressed with the "Big Jule" character, played by Richie Donaldson. I don't know how he managed it, but I've never heard such a deep voice in my life. Perhaps he just naturally speaks in a deep tone, but for this character it was perfect and every time he spoke or sang, I was mesmerised!

If I could remember the show in detail (and not just bits of it that stand out) I would write more, but as it is I will just say that I am so pleased Sally suggested we went with her, and that we were entertained from start to finish. I did not want it to end, it was that good. Oh, I also loved "Luck Be A Lady" - the singing and the choreography were both top notch.

I look forward to their production of "Oklahoma" which is their next big show I believe.

Hessle Theatre Company have a website where you can read all about their history, see photographs of past productions and even apply to be a member if you wish: Hessle Theatre Company

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Fur balls and sulking cats

If you own a cat, or have ever owned one, you will know that they can be such a source of amusement, annoyance, irritation, pleasure and amazement in equal measures (if you can indeed divide your sources into 5 equal parts).

We currently have two cats. One is an elderly moggy who we got from a friend who was changing his job and couldn't look after her due to the time he would be spending working away from home. She is called Mavis Riley (we added the Riley, I admit) and was 2 when we adopted her in 1998. Her name then was Pumpkin - something we could not bring ourselves to maintain!  She is a very pretty cat and has beautiful markings, but is also very nervous and she cowers at the slightest noise.

Oscar is a pedigree - a birman. He's nearly 10 now, but still plays and charges around the house like a crazy thing at times. He is rather like the lamb in the nursery rhyme "Mary had a little lamb" - he follows me everywhere - in fact Keith sometimes jokes that if he comes in and wonders where I am, he just looks for Oscar and knows I will be somewhere nearby! He's a bit of a rascal at times, likes to terrorise poor Mavis by "playing" with her - this usually entails him stalking her as she walks through from the kitchen to the living room, then pouncing on her and pinning her to the ground by gripping her neck with his mouth. This wouldn't be so bad if Mavis was up for it, but most of the time she just wants to be left alone and ends up hissing at him and trying to escape.

He also sulks when he knows we are going out for the day - like he did last weekend when we were at the Prospect UPMarket event. As soon as he saw all my plastic containers and table etc in the living room, he knew we were planning on deserting him. Therefore, he sneaked into our bedroom before we had chance to shut the door, and this is how I found him on our bed:

He actually looks a bit evil on this photo due to the red eye, but I couldn't be bothered to alter it and I think it adds to the "sulky" mode!

As both our cats are long-haired, they need grooming regularly - and still manage to produce fur balls at times (which I thought would be ball shaped, but they're actually tubes of fur in case you were wondering). Mavis is not so keen at being groomed, and she has a very knotty underbelly and side - she only lets me groom her head and back, unfortunately. However, Oscar adores being groomed and lays out on his back for me to brush his tummy as well as everywhere else. When he was quite young I once collected all the fur from the grooming session and rolled it into a round ball. He saw me doing this, and "pawed" it out of my hand, chasing it across the room like a football. We've played this game ever since! He lets me take it off him, flick it across the room then he charges after it, kicking it as he goes. Today, there wasn't much of his fur on the brush, so I had to use the fur from Mavis instead. I took a photo of the two balls of fur- the one he played with is about an inch high - and we get lots of play-time from this. I wonder if anyone else has ever played this game with their cat or if I am just as silly as Oscar for inventing it!

This morning, I tried a new game with it - throwing it down the hole in the middle of his cat tower - the first time I did it, he leapt straight onto the shelf where it disappeared and stuck his head down the hole, trying desperately to find it. Once I'd shown him that it had actually fallen to the bottom of the tower and he could access it from ground level, he watched me do it over and over, retrieving it each time from the base!

He's now sleeping behind me on the chair in the computer room - I'm precariously perched on the edge of the seat in order to make room for him - cats eh? 

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Easter Craft Fair

Today I will be at the Easter Craft Fair in Paull, East Yorkshire, from 12pm till 4pm.

 I will have these new A5 notebooks for sale as well as several other new items.

Monday, 4 March 2013

On my work area today.....

Wooden hanging hearts - painted with added bead embellishments.
I've been working on a few more items for this weekend's event, the Prospect UPMarket, so thought I'd show you what I've been up to so far. Some of these are finished, some nearly finished and some are barely started - but that's the beauty of working on several items at once - whilst waiting for one area to dry you simply move on the the next item! My work area looks like a tip, but I have a big tidy up every so often until it gets cluttered again with all the stuff I need to hand!

Decopatched Cat - with collar added, waiting for additional embellishments.

Wooden Hearts - first coat of paint just on.

Papier Mache Cat - painting started, lots more to do.
Dark green and lime cup-cake key-rings.

Violet and pink cup-cake key-rings.
I will be continuing with these tomorrow, as after lunch I will be helping to prepare our slow-cooker meal for tonight, then off to pick up our grand-daughters from school to here and on to Bilton for the Junior drama rehearsal tonight.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Gift Sets for Mother's Day

Here are a couple of images of my most recent works, one of which is a complete set that I intend to sell as a gift set for Mother's Day - the other is nearly a full set, I'm just waiting for the third item to dry!

I've also painted a couple more A5 sized notebooks, all in preparation for a craft fair this Saturday at the Marist Hall, on Cottingham Road in Hull. There is an event on Facebook for it, which you can look at it in detail by clicking here. The event will open in a new window.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Poggy days....

My sister and I often used the word "poggy" when we were growing up together - when we were feeling particularly ugly or generally not very good- those days when all you want to do is stay in bed and hide from the outside world. I always thought it was a word my sister invented to describe our feelings on such days, but I've just done a search for it online, and discovered that there are a couple of meanings similar to ours in the urban dictionary, interestingly enough both of which originate in the North of England!

Definition One:

A mute alcoholic concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others

rooted in North Yorkshire 
"I saw him the other day he has turned into a right poggy"
Definition Two:
Used in the north of England meaning a muddy area.
"Don't walk over there in your new shoes it's poggy!"
I only mention this word because I'm having a particularly poggy day today and I bet my sister is, too - our poggy days often coincide. On those days, I usually care little about my appearance, sometimes I don't get dressed at all. I have little or no enthusiasm for dong anything but eating comfort food and drinking hot drinks (preferably sweet ones).
However, I then got to thinking about poggy days versus painting days, and clothes-wise, there's not much difference! When I know I'm going to spend the full day painting, I actually enjoy putting on my 17year old pair of grey "slacks" (which I used to wear for work when I went out of the house to earn my money) and a paint-smeared, glue-encrusted old sweatshirt. I even wear horrible old socks, to make the ensemble even better. There's no point in even trying to do anything with my hair on days like this, so I just leave it. This usually means I have what I've termed "sprouting fringe syndrome"  - my fringe is no longer behaving like a fringe, but is actually heading off in all directions from the front of my head, rather like a peacock's feathers, only nowhere near as delightful to look at.
I am tending to have more and more poggy days as I get older, although I do still like to put make-up on and wear my "best" clothes when we go out, it's just not as important to me as it used to be. I wonder if anyone else has a special name for days when they feel like this?
I need to get changed for tonight, as I've got to leave the house for a musical rehearsal, but as the day will be spent painting and co-writing another script, I can safely stay poggy till at least 6pm, and that suits me!
I daren't really show you a photo of me as I am on a poggy day, so instead will just post this photo of me from a play, with my hair back-combed and when I was playing an "interesting" character!:

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Latest venture

"The Mighty Jungle"

I've recently completed a new project, which was prompted after I'd made the Memory Box for my sister's 40th birthday in January. A friend of mine recommended me when someone asked her if she knew anyone who did memory/keepsake boxes for babies. Eve (the friend) immediately suggested me - and I'm really grateful to her for doing so. I think creative work is always much more interesting if it's varied and have always enjoyed the challenge of doing something a little bit different. As Eve had already created a set of 3 animal themed pieces of wall art for the new boy's bedroom, I used those as a starting point and we decided on a jungle theme for the box. I recorded the progress and sent photos to the client as I went along, so thought I'd share them with you, too.

After painting the box inside and out with a pastel/mint green, I began pencilling in the design. I knew that I wanted some grass all along the bottom edge of the box, and that I would be incorporating the 3 animals that Eve had on her canvases - it was just a case of deciding what else to include and where! This is the first photo that I sent to the client, with the lion painted and the other two animals just pencilled in.

Next, I added the elephant, and the sun. When I painted the sun, I also decided to add my well-established dots to the design and that gave me the inspiration to use the same idea in other areas.

Moving on to the turtle, and the fron tof the box is nearly complete - although I knew that the grass would not be painted on until much later, as I had more work to do on the rear of the box first! My initial sketch for the top of the box is shown here, which I made on an A5 pad early one morning - but I changed it slightly when I transferred the idea to the top as you can see from the next few photographs too.

I liked the effect of the raised dots of paint on the tree and snake, so I later added them to the giraffe spots as well and took this closer photo of it to show my client:

I didn't sketch out the design for the rear of the box, I just knew in my head what I wanted it to look like and drew straight onto the box - hoping I didn't make a mistake (pencil is sometimes hard to paint over!) and thankful that I didn't. I was a bit disappointed with the dots on the snake at the back (as can be seen in the second image) as there are two different colours, green and glittery pink - but the pink can only be seen when the light is reflecting on it.

The next job was to complete the grass all the way around the bottom of the box, then move onto something that my client asked but wasn't sure if I could fit it in - the name of the baby. I was more than happy to include this, and again, early one morning I had a go at designing the lettering on a note-pad - liked the idea of putting it inside a cloud and placing the image on the inside of the lid. I've kept my original pencil design, which I traced onto the box lid to ensure I kept the proportions.

Once I'd transferred the name, I painted the cloud in white, the letters in green and filled in everything with tiny dots of matching paint to emphasise the design.  You may be able to see the detail of this more in the second image I took.

Finally, I lined the inside base of the box with some funky foam, attached some protective pads to the base of the box and varnished it all.  I then took some photographs of the finished box alongside the 3 canvases that Eve made. Our client was over the moon with the package, as was her sister, the Mother of the newborn baby! I think they go together quite well and from feedback we've received so far, it looks like we may be producing some more together!

More of Eve's work can be seen on her Facebook page, Crafty Beggars and she is the organiser of the monthly UPMarket event at the Prospect Centre in Hull city centre, so will always be there with her range of children's wall art, cotton tote bags for children and adults, hand painted jute bags, as well as seasonal bags such as personalised Christmas sacks or Trick or Treat bags for Halloween! I've previously ordered a batch of cotton tote bags for members of Hull Musical Society - with our logo on the side and I can highly recommend her.

One thing I've learned, however, during the time it took me to paint this, is that I need to speed up if at all possible (or charge per side of the box) as I worked out a figure but didn't really think too much about how long it would take me to paint so much detail! I'm pleased with the end result and obviously very happy that our client was so pleased with it too - word of mouth is always a great way of gaining new work!

You can also see more of my other creations on my Facebook page, Arty Aitch. I am at the UPMarket event most months of this year also.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Achievements and celebrations

It seems to have been quite a week here - my best friend and husband (the same person, I might add) Keith celebrated his 70th birthday on Friday 1st February. It does sound very strange saying that number out loud, since he does not seem that old to me at all - yet I know he must be since I am now 47 and he is 23 years older than me!!! Anyway, he didn't want a party or a big fuss, so he opted instead to spend the time with our immediate family at our closest Michelin Starred restaurant, The Pipe & Glass in South Dalton. Keith's sister, Lesley,  and her husband, John travelled up from Gloucestershire on Thursday to stay with us for the long weekend and as we knew we would be having a slap-up meal on the Friday night, we settled for simpler fare on Thursday evening, and dined in with delicious steak pies from the village butchers/bakers. I gave Keith a Google Nexus 7 tablet for his birthday - he did wonder if he should take it with all his other tablets at first, then when I'd stopped laughing he apologised for the poor attempt at a joke. He was obviously pleased with the gift I gave him, since he's been using it nearly non-stop ever since. Out meal out on Friday evening was absolutely superb. The staff were very courteous, our food arrived almost as if by magic and every course was delicious. In fact, I was so full of lovely food that I had stomach pain - but I was not going to refuse the dessert was I? We had a taster of olives, bread and "sausage and mash" before the meal began, all of which I enjoyed. Then I had a starter of butter-nut squash soup with sage pesto and a slice of bread. The portions were a very healthy size, not the nouvelle cuisine I was expecting, so little wonder I was struggling at the end of the night! My main course was Chicken Coq au vin with marjoram mash and seasonal vegetables. The cinnamon infused red cabbage was gorgeous, and the chicken was so tender - it tasted divine. My dessert was a chocolate and hazelnut tart with a fruit sorbet (I've forgotten what the fruit was, but I think it may have been orange). I could not manage a coffee, but I've heard that it was as good as the rest of the meal!

Saturday, we all stayed in during the day, chatting and doing crosswords - my parents visited in the early afternoon and Keith's grand-daughters, Matheea and Evie came round as they hadn't yet seen him for his birthday. We spent the afternoon playing connect 4 and doing a bit of decoupage before I took them back home at tea-time. Saturday night we had one of our favourite Italian meals - Chicken Parmigiano. It went down well with John and Les, too - I must remember to send them the recipe! We finished the meal with cheese and biscuits, did some quizzes (we all love compiling and trying to solve quizzes) that Keith and I had prepared for Christmas, and I think I fell asleep on the settee at some point!

I hadn't had much time to think about it, but Sunday evening was looming - the time for the show I'd been preparing for with my singing teacher for months!

Sunday morning I was ill. I think my body was just reacting to all the rich food and drink I'd consumed in the past few days - my stomach was not at all settled and I was worried that I wouldn't make it to the show in the evening. John and Les went home in the morning (it always seems to pass so quickly) and I tried to have a bit of singing practice, but felt terrible and had to take some tablets before I left the house in the afternoon - didn't want to be ill for my debut solo singing, now did I?

I arrived in Barton shortly after 3pm, where I was soon met by a fellow "crafter" Debbi Bain - her hand-made dolls are beautiful. She just happens to be the mother of my singing teacher and was helping out back-stage. I did my sound-check, pinned up a few running orders back-stage and got changed before joining all the children on stage for a warm-up. There were only a couple of adults performing, since the show was initially just going to be for Steph's Showbiz Theatre students, but it also included several of her private students as well. I can honestly say that I have never been so nervous about anything in my life. It was on a par with the audition I did when I first joined Hull Musical Society 4 years ago - only that was over with quite quickly. The nerves began for me on the drive over to Barton - since I was going for a sound check in the afternoon, and the show didn't start till 5, I went on my own and Keith came to watch it with my parents. As I was driving, I was physically shaking, I could feel my heart thumping in my chest and I thought I was going to stop breathing!!!

My first piece was the solo rendition of "Maybe This Time" - made famous by Liza Minelli in "Cabaret". Singing over a microphone to a backing track was a first for me, and it sounded very odd at first. However, even though I was shaky, I didn't go wrong, sang in tune all the way through and even acted out some slight movements. I wasn't entirely happy with it, since I know I've sung it better, but I'd done it - achieved something I planned to do when I first started having singing lessons earlier last year. I was now actually looking forward to singing my duet. Unfortunately, the other Helen was taken ill with flu so couldn't make it, but Steph stepped in (not for the first time either) and sang it with me. I thoroughly enjoyed singing "I Know Him So Well" with her, and we even got a cheer at the end! I feel so much more confident about my singing ability now, and hope to audition for parts in shows this year with Hull Musical Society. My parents and Keith were all impressed too, which helped boost my confidence - they wouldn't lie and Keith said that he could tell I was really nervous in the solo, but he was really moved by the duet!

I've had my weekly singing lesson today and we are now planning another duet together, since it seemed to work so well. This time it will be in Hull, some time in July. In the mean-time, I've got my first rehearsal back at HMS tonight - so hopefully will find out when our Spring concerts are planned for - I may even be auditioning for a solo in them if I'm able to.

I now feel a great sense of achievement, and am so glad that I plucked up the courage not only to join HMS, but to have singing lessons - I would never ever have had the confidence to attempt a solo in a concert without them!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Decopatch Cat

Inspired recently by Andrea Farmer's up cycled bird ornament on her blog post (Decoupage bird), I thought I'd do the same thing with a "joke" Christmas gift I received. My step-daughter and I have a long tradition of buying each other tacky or cheap items that are sometimes also useful, but will always make us laugh. This year I got two items. One was a glitzy gold evening bag, which I was challenged to use in a play. Fortunately, that was easy and I wore it on stage last week in our latest production at Bilton - much to Gill's delight! The second gift was a white plastic cat pencil sharpener- with "litter tray" (as yet untouched by decopatch) to catch the pencil sharpenings. The pencil goes into the cat's bum, and as it does so, a miaow is heard! Tacky, but true. I've since decorated it with decopatch paper in an animal print design, here's how it looks now (sorry but I can't seem to get decent shots of it with it being so glossy) and during the decopatch process:

I think it's a vast improvement and I've made more use of a tacky ornament/pencil sharpener/toy! Thanks for the inspiration, Andrea!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

AndreaFarmerArt: It's back!

AndreaFarmerArt: It's back!: Just when we thought it was gone for good, the Community Pop-Up Arts & Crafts Shop returns to its original venue. Situated again in the old ...

Monday, 21 January 2013

Latest creation

Just thought I'd share my latest creation with you - it was a personal creation for my sister and she has kindly said I could post images of it on here. As it was her 40th birthday last week, and she is the "baby" of the family, I wanted to giver her a gift that was unique to her, memorable and that she would hopefully treasure for the rest of her life. I decided to create a "Memory Box" - so (in the space of a couple of weeks, as I only hit upon this idea on 31st December) I contacted as many of her friends and family as I possibly could without her knowledge. I told them what I was doing (painting the box in one of Rachel's favourite colours) and asked for contributions from them of their favourite or earliest memories of Rachel. I was pleasantly surprised and touched by the amount of replies I received. The box I bought was much larger than any I've decorated before, so I was hoping for a lot of replies in order to make it look reasonably full! Thankfully, it did - with photos, letters, cards, poems, newsletters and memorabilia galore - even a tee-shirt from Australia arrived in time. I wrote on the inside of the box with names of places that Rachel has lived, liked or worked at over the years, and she has told me that it's brought back a lot of happy memories for her already, especially all the funny tales that her friends have recounted for her.

I may even use this idea as a selling point for large boxes in the future, who knows? They would obviously have to be made to order, but it might be a good way of giving a personalised and unique gift to someone.

I bought the box from aspire 2702 on ebay, and it is a really well made sturdy pine box with carrying holes at each end. I would definitely use this seller again and there are so many boxes to choose from!

I lined the inside of the box at the bottom with funky foam and the base of the box itself with cork.

Here are a few photographs of the finished box: