Shed v Studio

Yesterday it wasn’t raining, and it wasn’t windy, in this coastal position, it’s not what the weather is, but what it’s not that determines outdoor activities. So, we decided to take advantage of the calm weather, and clear ‘my’ shed out.

‘It’s not a ‘shed’!’, kindly, well meaning folk tell me, ‘you must call it a studio
No…it’s a shed. Look.

The tea towels block the sunlight (I know! Sunlight!) which interferes with being able to see the flame. They look horrible…must do something about those. I mean, they really spoil the decor…

Those pictures were taken after we tidied up and moved stuff out. We even managed to get the strip lights working again, and as long as no (more) water comes along to spoil it, I can enjoy the novelty of working lights, I am so happy about this! The roof still needs replacing, the floor needs raising by 5 inches, for some reason it’s lower than the ground outside. One thin wooden wall needs to be replaced with bricks. It’s a good size and with money spent, could be brilliant.
I found evidence of mice in the form of shredded cardboard and a nibbled sponge, and lots of droppings. The bird seed packets had been raided and there were dehusked seeds in small piles in odd places. I was happy that the mice had found an easy supper. Good for them. I wonder what they’ll do now that the seed bounty has been tidied and stashed in sealed containers. My heart says to put a few seeds out for them, my head says, ‘don’t be ridiculous!’.
One day, I will have a lovely work space, with a small shop area and a sofa for chats and a kettle etc, I can’t wait. Maybe this year, probably not at this address, there are promises of ensuring that my workspace needs are a top priority when we move. I have a bottom drawer of things I have collected to decorate my new space with. Maybe then I will be able to train myself to call it a ‘studio’, probably not though. I’d rather say ‘shed’ and then amaze people with it than call it ‘studio’ and it doesn’t live up to expectations. Also, wherever I work will be the ‘Shed of Destiny’, because it’s funny. No, I don’t know why I think so. ‘Studio of Destiny’ is not funny, not in a good way anyhow.
Here’s my old Max boy, I have no idea why he’s hanging off his bed like that, I put it down so that he’s off the freezy floor, but he’s just not that bothered.


 It’s really cold, and there’s no way I can be in the drippy, draughty Shed of Destiny so I’m feeling a bit frustrated about things I have promised to make but that I cannot. It’s thrown me a bit. I’m floating around actually considering doing housework that has been neglected. Whatever next?

Here’s a picture of our cat. We call her…’Cat’, or ‘Pusan’, or ‘Miss Kitty’, ‘Kiki’, or even ‘MingMang’, it just depends on the moment. In the early hours of the night when she comes upstairs very slowly, miaowing on every step until we are properly awake, my husband calls her ‘Poisonous Pu’. He then demands that ‘someone’ makes her shush. I just laugh, fat chance of making a cat shush by force of will. She is 16 years old, we brought her over from sunny South Africa, to freezy Scotland. She has every right to complain.




I’m so happy. Yesterday was January 4th, my favourite date in the whole year, it means Christmas is over and I can relax again. Now that’s worth a Hallelujah.

and Yeti

I have listed a few beads in my Etsy shop, I am now going to reward myself with a hot chocolate, goat milk of course, don’t want to aggravate the sinus with cow milk, but that means a trip to the shops first…it is a clear, crisp, freezing day, and will be good for me. At least, that’s what the Voice in my head is trying to persuade me anyway. That I am dressed head to toe like a yeti may well amuse people who catch a glimpse of me out and about, so any reported sightings on the west coast of Scotland of large hairy beast disguised as a woman, it was probably me.


So, the last fair (a week ago already!) is over, and actually it was pretty good for me. The morning is always ok, it’s after 2pm that time seems to drag and I want to pack up and go home, perhaps it’s because sitting still and not doing anything in particular is actually quite hard.

My Etsy shop is currently empty, that will be remedied this week. I also intend listing beads on Ebay (a first for me) but it’s a way to re-home the beads I usually take to fairs. Otherwise, I am just trying to complete the commissioned work I have, and sometimes that takes a long time and many attempts, I agonise over getting it right. Occasionally it’s a helpful process, I was recently asked to make a grey Scottish Fold cat, I had known for a while that getting the grey to be dark enough (or even to stay grey and not look brown once out of the kiln) was something that bothered me, so yes, I made a lot of beads in pursuit of the right grey, but I’ve figured out how to do it to my satisfaction, and I don’t have to go through the experimenting again.

Undone in London

I went to London recently, I really needed to get away. When I am there I don’t feel as if I have been ‘home’ unless I visit the V&A, but the walk from the flat opposite the Odeon in Holloway to the tube station was so long that I was worried that I’d get off the tube and have to go straight back home, what with my energy levels being out of my control. I am obstinate though (perhaps this is not always to my benefit because I will make myself do more than I should) but, that determination and ‘sod you M.E.’ attitude got me through the tunnel walkway from South Kensington underground, although slowly and to annoyance of the city folk with their fast feet, and into the museum, where I was immediately faced with the box suggesting a £3 donation. That threw me, I had attained a goal and was immediately faced with the issue of doing the right thing and having to rummage for change. You might think this is pathetic, but I tell you, when one has to fight through aches, pains, sleepiness and a desire to cry, it seems immense. I decided to ignore the nudge for cash, I couldn’t cope, but as I walked I found change, and there was another box a bit further along, cool, duty dispensed, no need for guilt. £3 is a piffling amount, when I have more to give away, I will. I figured the next thing was to sit down, have a break, get some lunch, and take it from there. I felt a bit lonely, no husband to lean on and take care of me (I know, boo hoo waah) and then! I discovered that the restaurant has moved! Outrageous. Nobody consulted me on this change. Huff. Magnificent dining rooms though, truly splendid. Looks like they went with IKEA designers when it came to the massive lights though, which are very pretty but…as soon as I thought ‘IKEA’, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I wandered up and down looking at was available for lunch, I looked at the prices, I looked at the portions. In the end, despite turning my nose up at fish at home where I eat it reluctantly in the name of ‘it’s good for you’ (according to my husband who cares about these things) I went with the fish pie, not expecting that I would fall in love with it and think of it often in the time since I ate it. Oh my word! It was piping hot, with an absolutely delicious, generous filling, a lightly crusty golden brown potato topping, and they hadn’t succumbed to putting cheese on top, for which I was thankful. Decent coffee too. After thoroughly enjoying the meal, I said ‘goodbye’ to the mum who couldn’t manage her two children as well as the nanny did, and with whom I had shared a table, and began wandering around visiting favourite exhibits, and discovering new things due to the stairs to the loos being closed. Rather odd to eventually find a loo where the voluble attendant tried to persuade a queue of disinterested women to go elsewhere when we had already been round and round looking for a restroom. We nearly had a sit in. Hah. No way were we budging when finding this place had involved stairs and lifts. I can hear friends asking why on earth I would mention toilets here, well, one thing I know about museums, go to the loo before before you really need to. Saves a lot of bother. Also, take water with you, museums are thirsty work.I do wish that the V&A hadn’t reduced their postcard selection so radically. Years ago it was such a joy to choose and buy cards, I looked forward to that as much as any other part of the visit, I’m so glad that I bought so many way back when. At the National Gallery one can purchase and print out a huge choice of images, I’m not sure that the V&A offer the same service, I don’t like the shop anymore, it is shiny and colourful, but there’s nothing there that I want to take home. The separate bookshop had some great books, but for the life of me, I saw no need to be selling Darth Vader headgear as well. I mean, really. In fact, puh-LEESE! Still, the exhibits at the V&A are as special and magnificent as ever (the whole point of being there) plus which, the policy on photography is fantastic. A charming uniformed lady down in sculptures told me that conservation glass is used, so even flash is ok in most areas, although there are some exceptions. Of course, there’s no point in taking pictures of a flash reflected in glass, but the photos I took didn’t need a flash and are good enough for my needs. I was especially interested in dragons this time. At the National Gallery they were terribly stern and disapproving about cameras, I am happy to comply, but maybe because a lot of people don’t appreciate why photography isn’t allowed, the two guards at the front door were a bit grumpy about getting the message across. ‘Stick’, ‘bottom’ and ‘remove’ were words that came to mind.I adore looking at the crisp ironwork against the white walls, at the V&A, that gallery is one of my favourites. Check out this detail, that thumb was made for hiking! Remember the book ‘Even Cowgirls Get the Blues’ by Tom Robbins? At one time it was a ‘must read’.

I thought the way that some of the sculptures were displayed was brilliant, even though I didn’t like the columns that some of exhibits were on, I appreciated that one could look up at the sculptures and see them as they were intended to be viewed, that was very good. This guy caught my eye, remember the joke about the wide mouth frog?

So, it did my heart good to see beautiful things, to be back in what feels like my home town, staying with my son, and I returned to Scotland thinking my batteries were charged and I was ready to go, but no, I’m not. I squeezed out a few beads in the last week, quite difficult births they were too, someone must have switched my hands round in the night. When it comes to commissioned work, I just don’t think I can do it. ‘Can’t you go in the shed today and knock it all out in one go?’ enquired my husband, risking his life with abandonment,
‘What? NO! I can’t!’
‘Well, why not? Can you explain?’
‘If you ‘got’ why it doesn’t work like that, you wouldn’t have to ask, and therefore, I don’t think attempting an explanation would be of any value, also, I’m getting really cross right now’
Mentally I was reaching for any kind of weapon with which to beat him, poor chap. Every lampworker I know goes through this, and really, it is OK, one just has to ride it out. Yes, I could go to the shed and make some duff old beads, but it would take me ages just to manage that, it wouldn’t be at all therapeutic and the customer would be disappointed. I’m not doing it.

In the words of Julian of Norwich, a feisty woman, “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things will be well.”


The Promise Honoured

 I’m struggling chaps, I am. I’ve had a good spell of lots of lovely energy, and suddenly…boomph, I’m sleeping like the proverbial log all afternoon because I have no choice with the M.E. This means fewer hours in the day in which to achieve anything of substance and my promises will take longer to fulfill, but orders and requests won’t be forgotten (God willing). It doesn’t help that I work best in the evening and it is jolly dark, cold and wet outside, that short journey to the shed feels long, but at least I have a working radiator under the table, luxury. The hardest thing is switching my brain on to consider what I have to make, whereas if I just had to pick up a rod of glass and make anything I fancied, it would be easier. I don’t want to let anyone down.

What did I manage today? I posted the necklaces off to the winners of The Cat magazine draw, hurray : )