Busy, but happy

If you’d told me a couple of years ago that one day I’d be rushing home each night excited to try out my latest idea for a handmade greeting card I would probably have laughed at you. I was never the artistic one in my family – that role being reserved for my sister, who was well on her way to an excellent grade for A-Level art until she decided to drop out of sixth form. I, on the other hand, dropped art as soon as I was allowed – much to the relief of my long-suffering teacher. Stick men are the extent of my drawing skills! So it’s somewhat surprising to me that not only do I enjoying making my own greeting cards but, actually, I’m not all that bad it. At least I’ve had no complete disasters so far, and I’ve even managed one or two that I’m actually proud of.  Who could ever have imagined that this crafting business might actually be fun? I’ve even started branching out into jewellery! Not that I’ve done much with that yet.  So far I’ve only managed to make a couple of pairs of earrings and I’m currently waiting for more equipment to arrive, but once it does I shall get down to the jewellery making in earnest! I could seriously imagine dedicating a large part of my life to this making stuff for charity lark! The only problem is, I am now physically incapable of passing the stationary shops without popping in to look at the pretty paper. And of course I can never resist taking a couple of sheets with me. Then there’s the shop that sells the beads. And, of course, DaWanda, which is pretty much the German version of Etsy. Lots of materials there for both card making and jewellery making. And I can pay via PayPal, which is quite frankly dangerous! I really must start restraining myself, otherwise I’ll be finding myself completely broke before even one bill has been paid from my wages each month. Ooops!

We’re off to England for a long weekend tomorrow (my cousin is getting married), so my creativity shall have to be put on hold for a couple of days, but once I return I’ll be getting straight back into it. In between arranging my FSID tea party of course. So much to do! But when it’s all stuff I enjoy I really don’t mind not having a spare moment (my poor flat might disagree though, if it could talk! If my grandma could see my kitchen floor she’d have a fit!)

For a good cause…

I wanted to show you some of the results of the project I was telling you about in my last post, but the computer is refusing to upload photos from my camera so I shall just have to tell you instead…

After getting a few cross stitch designs onto paper, I decided it was about time to start getting a few of them onto fabric to find out whether what I’d been imagining could even work. There’s a world of difference between a few symbols on squared paper and an actual cross-stitched product! So I got some of the leftover Aida from a previous project, dug out some of the threads I no longer needed and gave it a whirl. And… success! I managed to produce a toadstool that actually looked like a toadstool! A few days before that an online friend had mentioned that she was running an auction in aid of the Shaken Baby Syndrome SUpport Network and was looking for people who made things and would be wiling to donate something for the auction. I decided this was an excellent first step on the road to my long-term goal (more on that later) and started stitching like crazy, managing to produce a bookmark, a birthday card and three gift tags, all in just over a week. Not bad for someone who works full time! The auction is on next Tuesday, so I guess then I’ll find out whether anyone is actually willing to buy my creations and whether it’s worth persuing my other idea. Which brings me back to long-term goals…

Back when I started toying with the idea of maybe designing my own cross stitch patterns, the vague idea of possibly selling them at some point also crossed my mind. At the time I dismissed it, but once I had actually started putting the designs on paper, the idea returned. What if, I thought, I created a shop on DaWanda (the German version of Etsy, for those who are wondering), sold some self-designed and hand-made cross stitched products and gave all the money to charity? Finally a hobby that might actually lead to something meaningful! Sounds good, no? Currently, though, I’m not actually sure whether I will ever be able to put my idea into practice. German law says that if I make things with the intention of selling them I am running a business, and have to register myself as such. What nobody seems to know is whether this is still the case if I don’t even want the money I’ll be earning from selling my stuff. My plan is to give every single penny to charity. No earning back the costs of material then giving the rest to charity. 100% of the selling price would go to whichever organisation I wanted to help at the time (the plan also involves switching charities once in a while to help as many people as possible). So for now I’m still researching and reading and asking questions and, of course, waiting to find out whether anyone even wants the items I’ve donated for the aforementioned auction. And in the meantime I shall continue to draw (badly) and design and stitch, so that if my shop ever does come into being I will actually have something to sell in it. Stay tuned…

Oh, and the auction that I have possible donated my creations to (if they actually manage to arrive on time) has a Facebook page here which you all need to go and look at and bid on stuff. It’s for a good cause you know…

A quick note…

For those who were interested in seeing the photos from my 101 Things Photo Challenge, I’ve create a photobucket account to upload them to. I won’t be putting all 50 up for every single month, (so you’ll just have to take my word for it that I actually took all 50 😉 ) but you will at least be able to get an idea of what I’ve been doing.
Here is the URL: http://photobucket.com/bevchenn (I had to call myself bevchenn on there because bevchen with just 1 ‘n’ was already taken. Unbelievable!)

The games we play

I still haven’t decided what to do with the photos I’m taking for my 101 things challenge. Various people have suggested Flickr, which is ok but annoys me for 2 reasons. 1) They now force you to get a Yahoo account to log in to Flickr. Any what if I didn’t actually want a Yahoo account?! and 2) The free account only allows you to put up 200 photos. Which is fine, but I am clearly going to need to put up more than 200 photos for this challenge. Obviously I won’t be putting up all 50 every time, but I have 33 themes to get through! At the moment Flickr seems to be the best (read as only!) idea I have, but maybe I’ll come up with something.

In the meantime, since a few people have shown interest, I thought I would post one or two of the photos from this months challenge right here on Confuzzledom. Most of them aren’t particularly good, but you did ask… and now you have to suffer 😉

Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Clock Patience. I lost this game.
Game of rugby anyone?
Game of rugby anyone?
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Shoot, shoot, shoot!
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
Poor elephant has noone to play with...
help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee
Help, a UFO! Oh no, it's just a frisbee

OK, that’s all folks. I have more but I don’t want to use up all my photo space in one blog post…

Unpicking when I should be stitching

I wrote two job applications yesterday – one for the job in Gernsbach that I already blogged about and one for a proofreading job in Ettlingen. I’m not really a big fan of proofreading, especially when the translation is a bad one, but I’ll pretty much apply for anything at the moment. And it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get the Etllingen job anyway – they want 2 years of experience and a translation qualification. I have 1 year of experience and am 1 third of the way to a translation qualification. Hmm, not underqualified much. I’m just hoping that there are so few English people in the local area that someone will have to employ me, if only becasue they couldn’t find anyone else. Fingers crossed please!

Apart from writing job applications, I spent a lot of yesterday cross stitching… or at least trying to. I picked up my latest project (a cat) yesterday and started to stitch… 10 stitches in I realised I’d messed up, so out they came. Second time round I actually managed to get that bit right. Then I tried to start another section, only to realise that I’d messed up something I’d done ages ago. And this time I couldn’t just pull the stitches back through with the needle – these were fully formed crosses. So out came the nail scissors. I hate unpicking those little crosses… it’s so fiddly and I have huge fingers. Seriously. I was called “man hands” at school because of them. So by the time I’d manage to unpick the affected section I was pretty frustrated. Then I went to get some thread to redo them and realised there was hardly any of that colour left. Luckily I just managed to restitch the whole area before the thread ran out, but it was incredibly close. I just hope I don’t discover any more mistakes in that colour at any point! After about an hour of stitching I was exactly 10 crosses further than I had been before I started and incredibly annoyed with the whole thing, so I gave up and read a book instead. By the time Jan came in at 1:30am I’d finished the book I’ve been reeading for the past 2 weeks (Die Templerin by Wolfgang Hohlbeing – if you’re into historical fiction, mystery and betrayal and can read German give it a go. I enjoyed). I also managed to read all of one of the books my dad sent me – Not That Kind of Girl by Catherine Alliott. Yes, it’s chick lit, and yes, I do read that kind of thing. It was a good one, so I’ve decided to keep it. One more book for my future library…