Friday, November 28, 2008


I have been analysing my creative process. It basically consists of
1) no planning, and
2) the MIM principle (More is More).
Yep, when all else fails, I just cover every single bit of open space with, it saddens me to say, stuff. Paint and crayon and felt-tipped pens and highligters and ribbon and magazine pages and stickers and pictures and wrapping paper and plastic and sewing patterns and fabric and bits of yarn and thread and old charms and beads and sweetie papers and leftover bits of ring reinforcement stickers and tissue paper. The More the Merrier is what I say ...
I have cleverly (if I may say so myself) combined several things for the same letter. This one is called Ladybird on a Leaf with a Lime background. Well sort of lime anyway.
M is for Map and also for anairaM and Marbled paper. The map is of our local area - I live just off the top of the page! And the scottie dog was included just because it is cute. And also because people walk their dogs next to the railroad track. Nine Notes. I first wanted to make it Nine Nonsense Notes, but I couldn't find any nonsensical things to say. Jeez, can you believe it?
Oh. Oh!!! or Oh-oh! (It is my own drawing, I hope you like it ...)Pink and Purple Paisley.
Now my head is tired. Being creative is hard work!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A little charm ... goes a long way

Dear people, I have posted the outcome of my Proofreading Woes in a comment (here).
In between the work, to keep my spirits up and my heart light, I do a little crafting. The online course I am doing had some charms made from polymer clay the other day. I am not sure what polymer clay is and neither did the lady at our local craft shop. She gave me some modelling paste that air-dries though. Here is Elsie's charm below (Elsie is our crafty craft course cutie and she blogs at A Beautiful Mess).Here are the ones I made - The Bluebird of Happiness:
For some or other reason Blogger keeps rotating this picture - how annoying! (also it has recently started centering my pics, and is it my imagination, or are they smaller than usual?)Anyway, please rotate your neck sideways 90 degrees, and face forward. Observe the blob on the body. That is a wing, a wing that is attached as a separate(!) feature to the body. I am very proud of that wing, so I hope that no-one will make nasty comments about blobs and so forth.

A series of hearts:
I poked holes in them - which did not go right through - but I quite liked the look on the reverse side, so have decided to keep them like that. Also, I don't think I should paint them.

Two kind-of-round-pendant-thingies-with-doily-impressions:
I will also keep these unpainted, I think. Not sure how I will use them.

And, then, inspiration struck. I was eating pistachios and thinking that the shells were so cute, one should be able to do something with them, so I came up with this:They are only prototypes - the little bodies made of magazine paper are a bit rough and ready, and also the heads are not perfect. Plus the shells keep falling off the 'clay' insides, so I had to stick them on with Bostik. But I'm kind of thinking, refine the design, add wings, and I have angels!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Infinity, jokers and keys ...

This one is dedicated to Svetlana - I have even made a little John Wallis tag for her. The rest is as before, except this time I have used the leftovers from ring-reinforcement stickers as well.
This one comes with a pocket, cunningly fashioned from coffee filter paper, with a little Joker card from one of my miniature packs tucked into it.
These two pages make use of gift wrap which a friend left at my house. And a teeny golden key which I've had for ages and ages.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Being taken advantage of ...

As I am writing this, I am so incensed that it is difficult to find words to adequately describe my feelings. The final 12 chapters of proofreading arrived this afternoon (a day and a half late). When I opened the package I found that there are now 114 pages more than the original page extent in my contract, i.e. I was contracted a specific fee for 528 pages, but the final book now appears to have 642 pages! This represents an increase of 21.5%. When I queried it with the project manager, and pointed out that I would like an increase of 21.5% on the original fee, I was told that this is not possible as they have a fixed budget for proofreading on this title. An email to the managing editor has elicited no response yet.
It is difficult to make a decision on how to proceed. To dump the project at this point is not an option for me, I have invested too much time in it already, and frankly, I depended on it for December's income. What is more is that I declined another project (albeit a smaller one) because of this one. The publisher also asked me last week to accept changes to the original schedule because the typesetters were having problems and so the second and third proofs will now only be done in January - and I will probably only be paid my fee at the end of February, not in December as originally discussed. I accepted this (albeit with gritted teeth and and eyes lifted heavenwards) as I am usually very accommodating (perhaps too much so). To now be told that I am expected to do 21.5% more work - for free! - is frankly insulting.
The project manager on a previous occasion (before this fiasco of page extent came to light) described the book to me as 'a nightmare' - one she wanted to be 'rid of' as soon as possible. The job thus far has been the worst proofreading job I've ever had - it is clear to me that many, many things slipped past the editor (who was probably in the same boat as I am now - fixed fee, and then suddenly found out that it entailed much more work than she anticipated. She must have decided to give up halfway - how else does one explain sentences that stop midway, paragraphs that are missing, words that make no sense at all, fullstops in the middle of sentences, misspellings and so forth? And the typesetters did an absolutely sloppy job, at times completely ignoring the styles that have been agreed upon for features.
I am pretty sure that what the publisher has done (i.e. change the terms of a contract) is illegal - but a suggestion from a friend to see a lawyer is not realistic, I'm afraid. The time, aggravation, and more importantly, money(!) it will cost me, is probably not worth the effort. It will also completely destroy my relationship with this publishing company, and believe me, in our current financial climate, this is not something I want to do. I have been freelancing for almost 19 years in various fields, and although I feel that freelancers (in certain fields) are sometimes taken advantage of, this is the first time I have ever been treated like this by a company. The company in question is not a tiny fly-by-night publishing house, it is one of South Africa's biggest educational publishers!
So, dear friends, forgive me for blowing off steam here. What to do? what to do?? Any clever and/or witty suggestions will be much appreciated. In utter disgust I downed tools for the day, and went to see the new James Bond movie tonight, substituting this company (who shall remain nameless -for now) for the baddies, and vicariously experiencing extreme pleasure with every skop, skiet & donner(*) executed by Daniel Craig. It helped a little. I also bought my first pack of cigarettes after having stopped smoking 3 years ago. Not so good ...

*skop, skiet & donner - Afrikaans term used for movies which contain a lot of action-type violence. Literal translation= kick, shoot and beat up.

Monday, November 24, 2008

f, g, h

Some more alphabet goodness happened over the weekend ... The Function of Fish: coffee filter paper, recycled gift wrap, magazine pages, t-p inner, paint.
Glamorous Glitter: t-p inner, paper serviette, soap packaging, magazine paper, paint, cellophane bag with glitter, pink sticker.

Heart: recycled paper and index card, paper serviette, security envelopes, plastic foam heart sticker. Tomorrow - j, k & l

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bear Boy.

First 18 chapters finished! The publisher should deliver the last 12 chapters on Monday, but for the moment, I am free! Free! FREE! as a bird!! Or as a Bare Bear Boy, for that matter. Which is what I made last night.
It is a project from the online craft course I am doing - I am giving it to my niece - who will be returning from Scotland soon - as a Welcome Home prezzie. She is about 22 years too old for it, but hey, it is the thought that counts!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow.

Dears, I will be back on Saturday. Proofreading is taking its toll.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brilliant Moi ... needing some help

I don't mean to blow my own whistle, but sometimes I'm such a genius that I even amaze myself. One of the online craft course projects is to create a mini-journal from recycled paper - she used Starbucks cupholders and other papers. South Africa being Starbuckless, I made mine of ... wait for it ... cut-open toilet roll inners! I also used some bits of scrap paper, magazines, paper serviettes, old index cards, and coffee filter papers.
Being in an alphabet-letter-crazed state of mind (first nine chapters of proofreading finished, typesetters to deliver the next 21 chapters this week ...) I decided to make a little alphabet book with my mini-journal. All the letters were cut from magazines or packaging. Here are some of the first pages:

I have called it Alphabet Love. T-p roll with paper serviette embellishment.

I Heart Alphabets. T-p roll, scrap paper, paint & paper serviette embellishment.

Scrap paper, torn pretty paper from old envelope.
Scrap paper and t-paper roll, scrap bits of marbled paper, envelope window, tin butterfly decoration.
T-p roll and painted scrap paper. Printout from internet maths course.Scrap paper, printed gift tags, paint and beaded doll charm.
Scrap paper, handmade mini-mini envelope (left bottom) with little 'e' inside, handmade mini-envelope (right) from inside of old security envelope, big 'E' inside.
Old calendar page, scrap paper, coffee filter paper, fabric leaves from old fabric flower, tiny beetle peg from old birthday card.
Now here is the help I need:
1. Should I add the word on the page (e.g. Leaves or Doll)? My inclination is not to ...
2. I need suggestions for words/concepts for the following letters still:

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Journal

In the online craft course I am doing, we have been asked to keep a journal and receive prompts on what topics to journal about. I've decided to spend only 10-15 minutes on an entry, and as opposed to my art journal, use only pen and a minimum of colour. Today I did the topic - A Personal Sadness/Disappointment...
Perhaps some background is needed here. The biggest chunk of my working life has been in the IT industry - that is what I chose and what I trained for. In my 30s I got a bee in my bonnet about changing my career (I think one should have at least three careers in one's lifetime), and as I've always been interested in psychology, I did a Psychology degree part-time, while still working in IT and raising 3 kids. Having got my degree I applied for the Masters programme, was rejected, and then spent a year working in a Centre for Troubled Adolescents. A year later I was selected for a Research Masters, was awarded a grant (yay!), prepared the topic for my dissertation and had it approved (yay!!), and suddenly ..... just like that ..... I was cured. Magically, I did not want to be a psychologist after all. Isn't it weird?
But today, wading my way through pages and pages of the BADLY typeset psychology textbook that I'm proofreading, I experienced a moment of sadness. How did I start with having a dream of being a psychologist - and ended up being a proofreader (the lowest of the low ...) of psychology textbooks instead?
Oh well. Here are some other pages in my new journal...
This one was inspired by a comment of Esti of pintama el dia ...
Have a lovely weekend, dears! Here's hoping that you are doing something more interesting than proofreading ...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fabric Project List

The success (which is how I've decided to view it) of my Paper Projects has prompted me to expand my horizon, spread my wings boldly and bravely, and attempt some Fabric Projects. (Well, fabric and wool.) Here are some of the beauties that have caught my eye, and that I want to try out over the next couple of months:
I wish I can remember where this is from, it is so cute. I'm thinking it could be a keyring, a decoration or maybe a mobile. Or something.

Okay, I know I can't make the dress or jacket. But I want to make some of those Round Fabric Thingies (they have a name, I know, but I seem not to have bothered to remember it). The outfit is from Pocka Booka via Design Sponge. I want to dolly up an old jersey with some RFTs.
Since I'm probably not going to get a real live puppy, I might as well make myself one of these. But not in green, I think. I mean, who wants a green puppy? Oh. Maybe this is not a puppy... (From ... oops, I don't know ...)
Now this seems super simple. I mean, even I will be able to make this doll. (From Fruenswerk2 if you look here)
Granny squares! Actually, I have some lovely off-white cotton yarn from Prince Albert. I want to crochet a cushion cover with it. (From Purlbee via evencleveland.) I'm pretty sure I should be able to do it. I did after all crochet a monstrous Purple Triffid brooch, didn't I?

You may recognise this one. It was on my Paper Projects list, until I read the instructions and I realized it's made out of fabric. (from How About Orange)

I'm quite keen on this lovely pompom conceived and created by the elegant and clever editor of Into Construction. Maybe I can try and make a tango version?Just love this doll from Inside A Black Apple! She is super-cute and it will be fun to try and make one. Just hoping Ms Mirabelle will not be too upset or jealous. Once again I promise to post the results of each of my projects. I can already hear Ms Mirabelle sniggering from inside the box where I'm storing her until proofreading season is over ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recycling Heaven

Those who know me really well will know that I (rather obsessively) collect toilet roll and paper towel inners. No, I don't know why either. But I've always believed that one day The Truth would be Revealed. I would one day know how to re-fashion those ugly cylindrical bits of cardboard into something beautiful ...

... like Yuken Teruya's Forest made of toilet paper rolls (found via Oh Joy!)
I am in Recycling Heaven ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

While Waiting ...

I have been waiting all morning (and part of the afternoon, it seems) for my Giant Proofreading Project to arrive. (It is a Developmental Psychology text - I may entertain you with quotes from it as the week progresses ...)
Anyway, let's just say that the time has not been wasted. I started on my first ever online course - a fantastic craft course that a very sweet and dear friend of mine gave me as a Christmas gift! (Thank you, dear - mwah, mwah, mwah!) I have as a result this morning started a new journal, collected materials for a mini book, and made a painted cover for one of my scrapbooks. (I might post some of the results at some point.)
The rest of the time I spent hopping to different sites, looking for interesting recycling ideas. I found Oooms, a Dutch design duo who designs the most amazing products -
like this light made out of cable ties ...

... a cable-tie chair ...

... these beautiful wine glass lights ...
and these twig memory sticks ... which I think will look pretty cool on my laptop!
Some of their designs are quite bizarre, like their Road-kill Rug. (Don't look if you're squeamish!)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shwe Shwe Shoes

A while ago I posted The Wren's beautiful shwe shwe bag...

Then I found Quail's site with the most amazing shwe shwe shirts and dresses ...

And now I've discovered these shwe shwe shoes and boots by bokkie.
Just love them. I'm thinking of getting a pair ... they do come in adult sizes!