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Snow Everywhere

I live in the UK.  In a big valley in the North West.  This means the mountains to the North and South get the snow and we get the shelter.  And lots of rain. 

If it snows, it falls lightly, and melts as soon as it hits the ground.  Occasionally in February we get a flurry that sticks for a day or two.

But tonight something magical happened.

Our Christmas tree

My Significant Other and I have spent the evening with his two beautiful daughters.  Every Christmas we get together and have a special Christmas.  We eat too much party food, exchange presents, and watch a Christmas film.  I totally love it.  This year (and last year, because we love it so much) we watched "It's a Wonderful Life". 

Tonight, just as James Stewart was standing under the Christmas tree at the end of the film and the Christmas ornament jingled as Clarence Oddbody AS2 gots his wings, it started to snow.  Not in the film, but outside the window.  We had the curtains open and we could see the huge flakes as they floated in sheets.  It was beautiful.  And very special.

I love red hearts

In order to make the journey home, the car needed to be pushed up the hill by four kind men, who just happened to be passing, as my Significant Other steered.

The car slipped and slid, bumped and rolled its way home.  I thought it was due to the snow and ice on the road.

Harrison loves Christmas

It was only when the car was parked up that I saw it had a totally flat rear tyre.

So two Christmas miracles happened in my neck of the woods today. 

It snowed tonight.  

And the car made it home safely through a snow storm with a totally flat rear tyre.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. 

I'll be back in a couple of days with pictures of the presents I have made for everyone.  It's causing me great difficulty not to be able to splash them all over a post right now, but I don't want to ruin anyone's surprise in case some of my family and friends are misguided enough to read this blog...

Grab My Button!

Earlier this week, I decided it was time to throw myself, with gay abandon, into the magical, mysterious world of computer technical stuff.  Being fairly computer illiterate I felt this was going to be something of a challenge.  But I also felt the pay-off was going to be worth the squinting, fevered swearing, and lip chewing. 

I had decided I wanted a blog button.  One of those little gems of computer wizardry that can transport you, with a click, to a new and previously unexplored destination in the blogosphere.  

I have been collecting pretty blog buttons since I began blogging way back in the distant past of August this year. 

It's a little like collecting jewellery.  Go with me on this one. 

Each button is small, pretty and decorative.  And when you have a few clustered together they look stunning.  See.  I was going somewhere with the analogy...

I sat down at my computer and had a think.  What did I need?  

I needed a photo that represented Mimi and Tilly, The Blog.  I picked a picture that I use as my profile picture here.  I took it in Prague.  The first year that my Significant Other and I spent together.  He took me to Prague for Christmas.  The picture was taken in a shop there that stocked vintage style dresses, jewellery and fripperies.  It was a complete boudoir of loveliness.

Then I realised I needed to know how to vandalise this gorgeous image with words slashed across it. 

I had a think.  Nope no idea. 

It was time to bring in the big guns.

So I emailed my long time friend L, who is a Computer Programmer.  I think.  I'm not sure of her exact job title, but she works doing lots of technical things with computers and has travelled the world to do those things with computers, so I'm going with Computer Programmer until she tells me otherwise.

L was a complete star.  By the end of the day she had emailed me back with two lists of fantastically clear instructions that she had taken the time to write for me.  First, a list giving details of how to vandalise my picture with text.  Secondly a list of how to turn this vandalised picture into a blog button.

I sat down and followed her instructions to the letter.

Four pots of tea, and several hours of serious squinting and lip chewing later, here it is:

From Mimi and Tilly

My blog button.
 I am a proud woman.

You can grab this button by cutting and pasting the following html into your blog:

<a href="http://
//"><img src="http://
JPG" /></a>

So, a huge, heartfelt thank you to L.  You can find L's blog at Thoughts On Stuff.   L, and her partner D, write a fab blog about their lives and their travels. 

On a completely different note, I am currently drying a whopping amount of sliced oranges over my radiators to make Christmas decorations.  The house smells fab.  I'm hoping it won't take too long as I am currently building up quite a sweat.  

Here It Is In Silver

Here is my seed pod inspired ring in silver!

You can see the copper model for this in the post Here's One I Made Earlier.   This ring turned out to be more difficult to make in silver than in copper,  I think because I was copying something I had already made, rather than just playing with wire.  And also because I got a fit of the vapours.  Mistakes with silver tend to make me shed a tear.

Even if I say so myself, I think it is a little bit gorge.

My sister doesn't know it yet, but it's for her.  For Christmas.


My sister's fingers are narrower than mine
 so I had to model the ring on my little finger
which wasn't quite long enough!

I'm making another one of these seed pod inspired rings for myself.  I'm also working on the silver version of my seed pod collar/necklace.  Soldering silver is a bit of a challenge. I feel like I'm abusing the silver by having at it with a huge blow torch.
Silver also melts fairly quickly, so it's much easier to make a mistake.  You'll be pleased to know I'm rising to the challenge.

My Art Journal

I have a thing for stationery.  Paper, pens, cards, notebooks.  I've been like this ever since I was a child.  If truth be told, I'm a stationery nerd.

When I was little, if I was given a new pen, I would spend the afternoon writing.  Or re-organising my pencil case.

Photo courtesy of Gaeten Lee at flickr.com

I remember being given sheets of pale pink paper.  I was about 7 years old.  It was the 1970's.  Pink paper was a big deal.

I took out my favourite pen and wrote a mini newspaper.  With stories of people I made up.  I remember I wrote about a guy who wore long johns for some reason.  He was also tall.  I called him Long John.  Which at the time I found hysterical.

Check out the origins of this pink paper.  They didn't have this is the 1970's.
Available from Whipsnade Zoo.  Photo Courtesy of http://www.zls.org/

This stationery nerdiness has never left me. 

If you take me anywhere near a stationery shop, I have to go in. 

When my Significant Other was studying at University a couple of years ago, I was thrilled.  I went with him to visit his university campus.  Having seen his lecture rooms, the restaurant with mounds of lovely food, and the student bar, I found the student stationery shop.

It was like coming home. 

Piles of notebooks in every colour of the rainbow.  Mini packets of mini highlighters.  Pencils, erasers.  Pads shaped like lips.  And oodles and oodles of art illustrated greetings cards.  And all at lovely I'm a very poor student so can't spend lots of money on stationery prices.

I bought a pack of mini highlighters and went back into the student bar where my Significant Other and our friends were.  I extolled the virtues of my new purchase.  Hand bag sized.  Easily accessible if I wanted to colour code something in my diary in a hurry.  Pretty.  Teeny tiny.  And they came in a neat little case.  You could hear the tumble weeds blowing gently across the bar floor.  

Whilst my friends hit the bottle, I hit the highlighters.  I re-organised my week in colour, while enjoying a nice glass of gin and a bag of crisps.  Oh, Happy Day!  Stationery, alcohol, and crisps. It just doesn't get any better.

A couple of years ago my significant Other did a wonderful thing.  He took me out to buy me a present because it was Wednesday.  We went to Staples.  He bought us both matching mini chocolate brown filofaxes.  Great for his pocket, great for my hand bag. We were the Howard and Hilda of stationery.  It was fantastic.  For two reasons.  Firstly, my partner isn't big on stationery but he's an In For A Penny In For A Pound kind of guy so I totally appreciated the gesture.  Secondly, we got to whip them out in unison when people asked us if we were free on certain days.  Awesome.

I started collecting handmade paper when I was in Japan in the 90's.  I went to Asakusa Shrine during my first weeks in Tokyo and found a small shop that sold nothing but sheets and sheets of hand-block printed washi paper.  There were layers of it hanging from the ceiling so that you could run your hands over the edges.  And walls and walls of colour.  Purples, reds, golds and pinks.  And the smell of paper everywhere.


I don't think I'd be overstating the case if I told you it was a happy day for me...

I brought sheets of paper back with me from Japan, and have acquired more over the years.  I have kept all of this paper lovingly wrapped up, in my cupboards.

Until this week.

When I went out on purpose and bought an art journal.  As a means of spurring me on to actually do some more creative art work on paper.  (Take a look at Creative Irony to see my first attempts at art work after a very long time!)

It was time to crack out the big guns.  Time to tear into the stored stash of Japanese washi paper.  Which had, up until this point, only been lovingly stroked.  It was time to be kind to the paper and let it fulfil its papery destiny.

So, I had at it with scissors and glue.

Here are some of the results.

A general mood board of seed pod inspiration.
With seed pod painting.

A quick pencil drawing of seed pods

A painting of sycamore seeds, using ink washes.

My collage of sycamore seeds.  Lots of rich velvets in this one.

Etching in metal and printing on velvets.

Hot wax and inks.

It felt good.  I'm glad I did it.  There are still sheets of washi paper left to use another day.

I finished my seed pod inspired ring in silver and seed pearls today.  I'm wearing it right now. Even if I say so myself, it's a little bit gorge.

I'll take some pictures to share with you in my next post.

I hope you're having a great week.

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