New Year, Same Me

So there’s the big cliche of making a new start in the new year.. Mines a little late.

January so far has been a right shitter. A whole bunch of bad stuff happened, and I’ve generally been a miserable cow. Now its almost out of the way I’ve decided to start trying to better myself, mentally and physically.

I’ve been working a lot more on my degree the past few weeks. Even though I’m shockingly tired all the time thanks to the M.E, I am finding that having a genuine, vested interest in the subject matter has made me actually want to do more. Its working well at the moment as I’m working part time. I finish at 2, come home, rest/nap for a couple of hours then pick it up in the evening. It’ll be interesting to see if I can cope once I have to go back to full time.

Wedding planning is coming along nicely! So we have the venue.. Which is actually at a bike rally hosted by my families bike club (fiance and dad are both members), we have the celebrant booked, and the registry office is booked. We want a big fancy bell tent for the weekend since we’ll be there from the Thursday to the Sunday/Monday, and I don’t want to attempt getting ready in a two man tent! There’ll be live bands, food, drinks and bikes. Super exciting. I was never interested in getting married so I’ve never had any plans for it. This is entirely for Chris. I’d be happy down the registry office with a couple of witnesses, but you can’t win them all.

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Another MASSIVE cliche I shall be partaking of, is losing weight! I’m joining slimming world with my Mum next week. I haven’t weighed myself since I moved out of my flat and back into my parents with Chris, and everyone tells me I haven’t put any on, but I feel massive and unhealthy. I imagine the M.E plays a big part of it, and like, the fact that I hate every single part of me, but I don’t want to be huge at my wedding. Not when there’ll be photographic evidence. Usually I can avoid ever seeing photo’s of myself, but I suppose I’ll have to see these ones eventually.

Birb Update! He’s still a twat. He’s literally obsessed with stealing any people food he can get his beak into, but I hear that’s not an uncommon trait. His feathers and beak are a lot better now. Much healthier. We’ve started sticking him in the shower with us whenever we shower, since his idea of a wash is sticking his face in his water bowl and flapping around. Its brought his green out beautifully! I doubt he’s ever had a proper shower before so it’s taking a little time to get him used to it, but it’s pretty funny. He likes to sing and wolf whistle, which is a nice little confidence boost when you’re nakey ūüėČ

So those are my plans for Feb onwards. I just want to be healthier and generally happier. I mean, I;m not unhappy, just unhappy with myself.

Things will get better!

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Christmas Crafting!

So this year Chris and I are absolutely brassic. With my drop in work hours, paying work back for over-payments, and trying to save for a boat we just got nothing to spare. With all this is mind, we decided it might be nice if we made everyone something this year. We worked it all out and had 30+ people to buy for. After doing some math’s we worked out I could get all the supplies I needed for that many gifts for around ¬£100. This is obviously a lot cheaper that spending around ¬£20 on everyone!

Craft of choice this year was soap making! I’ve never done it, but I figured like, how hard could it be!

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I went with the old melt-and-pour option, a Shea Butter option. This is purely because me and Chris are scared of lye, which I think is a healthy fear to have considering it’ll melt your face off if given the chance. And we don’t have time to wait for everything to cure, which I think can take months. And I have no idea how to actually¬†make cold process soap. So there’s that.

Immediately I snapped a knife in half trying to cut it up, so switched to a bigger knife. That helped.

Basically everyone gets their own smelly. I was going to felt them, so they’d be all pretty and self-flanneling, but I tried it with a couple and it just takes too long. I had been standing for about 3 hours by this point as well, and for those of you that don’t know, I’ve been diagnosed with ME/CFS by my GP (though that could change again in March as I have a Rheumatology specialist appt :/ ) but I’ve been struggling a lot with leg pain, and nothing I take seems to help. So that idea got scrapped. It does mean now I have a kilo of wool roving and nothing to do with it. Typical.

soap

I made these cute little labels a month or so ago in inDesign. I think they’re cute. I wear glasses and he has a big ol’ beard, together we make 1 whole hipster, hence the images on there.

I’m relatively happy with the turn out. There’s 3 I need to re-do but the rest are ok. I feel bad since they’re so small, but I’m hoping people will understand our plight and appreciate that they were hand made.

How’s everyone else’s Christmas planning coming?

I’ve got boxes for days!

After the popularity of the Marauders Map box I did for my sister, I decided it might be worth grabbing a few more boxes and doing some other designs for my Etsy store. The last box I got was from The Works. We have a pretty store in town so I wandered down and grabbed….¬†a few.

All Boxes

I got 9 in total I think? And it only set me back 20 beans. Admittedly the quality isn’t great, and sometime in the future when I can afford it I would like some really nice solid boxes, but these will do for now. They burn nice enough, and are fine for the nerdy/geeky stuff I plan on putting on them so that’s good.

I then spend the next hour or so measuring them all up and creating simple graphics for individual boxes, so that can be included on Etsy with any I put up. And if people want to know in general.

This is a bit of a rubbish blog and doesn’t really serve much purpose other than to prove that I have been doing stuff. I also work¬†almost full time, and have a few health issues I work around as well. Not excuses, just reasons why I might not be as active as I would like.

I’ve also been working on a commission for the last week or so that has tied me up. Was a good one!

Anyways, where do you get your stock from? Are there any good online sellers of box blanks for burning?

Let me know!

-AFA

Wood Hunting

My fiance and I took a trip up to Greenham Common. It used to be an old USA Air Base, but was decommissioned in like, 95 I think? Forgive me, I’m no history buff so thats likely to be wrong.

We like to go walking together. Look for wildlife and explore places. And it’s a good a reason as any to look for crafting supplies.

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There are these big ponds dotted all round the common. I think originally they were just pits that filled with rain water. I remember them from when I was a kid and there was no pond life in them to speak off. Just giant puddles. This one had a pack of 8 or dogs playing in it. They were very interested in us and came up and said borf at us for a while before returning to the water. Their people weren’t fussed by us so we said hello and carried on walking.

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Came across a Mama Cow with two Calf’s. Mama wasn’t bothered by us at all and Chris stroked her. Babies didn’t really know what to make of us so kept their distance. There was a big old bull a ways away. We assumed he was Daddio so kept an eye on him, but he wasn’t fussed either. I suppose common cows see a lot of people and dogs and just keep to themselves. I think they’re super cute. I love cows.

We headed into the woods to look for some nice Birch logs that had already been cut down. There’s always piles of chopped down wood about up there so it didn’t take us long.

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Fella bought himself a Japanese hand saw he’s been dying to play with, so we found a nice log and he set about cutting off some slices for me to use in my pyrography. Got 6 before he gave up! It was really hot though and looked like a log of work. I supervised from a nearby log and drank some juice.

They’re laid out in my garden now, drying out in the sun before I get to burning them. Don’t really have a set idea on whats going on them yet. I’m thinking some nice inspiration quotes? Maybe something geared towards mental health as that plays a huge role in my life. Who knows.

I’m sure I’ll keep you updated!

-AFA

Wood Shopping!

For what seems like years, I’ve been trying to find somewhere that I can get some nice slabs of o’natural wood planks, bark and all. Turns out my man works near a place called Axeminster, and it’s¬†AMAZING.

Its essentially a big old store that caters specifically for wood workers. Pyrography, carving, whittling, turning, er, building? Essentially anything you can d with wood.

A few weeks a go my man sends me this pic:

wood

And I needed it all.

It took me a while, but I managed to get out there and maded off with some really nice planks of Ash, Oak and Beech. The Beech is pretty much a 2×4, but the natural pattern in the wood is amazing and I couldn’t pass it up.

I’ll be working on some bigger pieces that’ll eventually be going on sale on my¬†Etsy, but the first few will be sort of experimental for me, so not entirely sure what to expect!

My question to you, my fellow wood fans, is how do you get your wood supplies? Are there any good websites I should know about? Leave a comment for me.

In the mean time, watch this space, follow me on Facebook and Instagram, and keep an eye out for new stuff on Etsy.

-AFA