- One of the benefits of being an aging insomniac is that when you get up at 4:23am (or thereabouts) for a trip to the loo, every so often you will catch a glimpse of the most heavenly sunrise through the landing window. Of course this doesn't make up for the absence of restful slumber, but it definitely helps.
- The XXSCat dog and I had an early morning walk through the woods last week, after dropping my husband at work. It was like being immersed in a huge Pointillist landscape - just a textured wall of green in every direction. Fabulous! It's only now that I'm looking more closely that I can also see a bear face peering through the leafy curtains in the tree on the left...
- This week there was an accidental poppy in the front garden. The photo is a little blurry (I had to dash out in the rain to get it) but still worth sharing - because that juxtaposition of vibrant orange and pale purple is just too delicious to keep to myself. I love poppies, and I gather seeds to sprinkle in the front garden whenever I see them, but years go by without any growing. Then suddenly a single poppy will appear as if by magic, like Mr Benn's shopkeeper, and I love it more than I would if I had a whole field full of them.
- The latest Extra Pocket Bag is a mixture of hand-printed cotton and velvet. It's really tactile and looks nicely aged, even though it's brand new. I've listed it on eBay to see if it attracts any interest, although I'm not really expecting it to sell. Just trying to figure out a way of funding my hobbies going forwards!
- Yesterday I experimented with the transfer paper I recently bought for putting photographic images on fabric. It's my son's 31st birthday this week, and I thought it would be nice to give him a T-shirt featuring a painting he did when he was at nursery. I love this painting and have it framed and hanging in my hallway (out of direct sunlight to avoid it yellowing/fading). I started by ordering two plain white T-shirts online - I wanted a spare in case the first attempt wasn't successful - and took the painting out of its frame to get a photo. The transfer paper came with very lengthy, very detailed instructions about how to proceed - e.g. remembering to print a mirrored version of the image onto the transfer paper so it wouldn't be back-to-front on the T-shirt, using a hard surface and not an ironing board, pressing for exactly 3 minutes, peeling the backing paper off straight away for a matt finish, or leaving everything to cool before peeling for a glossy finish.
Unfortunately, when I took the first T-shirt out of its packaging it had a small yellow stain on the front, making it unusable for a gift. This meant everything was riding on my first attempt, as I no longer had a spare. I read the instructions thoroughly again, spent ages positioning the transfer sheet, face-down, precisely in the middle of the T-shirt front, and then set the timer going on my phone and started ironing. I was practically holding my breath after 3 minutes, as I peeled the backing paper off. It was quite sticky and tugged at the fabric a little, but the transfer remained intact. Hooray!
Sadly, my celebrations were shortlived - although (bizarrely) it did take a full 30 seconds or more for me to realise that the image was upside down, and that in all my careful instruction-following I'd failed to check this most basic aspect of the task! My daughter, who had noticed the problem immediately but waited patiently for the penny to drop, came to the rescue by offering to use it for a pyjama top. I'm currently awaiting delivery of a third and hopefully final T-shirt (having already returned the first).
- In the face of adversity, when one has literally snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, it's important to find something positive to focus on - to lift one's spirits. So I will end with a photo of an inquisitive young squirrel in the greenest of green woods, who posed like a statue for nearly a minute, while I fumbled in my pocket and struggled to open the camera app on my phone, and let me get just one perfect shot before frisking his tail and disappearing into the leafy canopy above. Some you lose, and some you win!