New Things….

….but not new things I have made.

It’s been a funny couple of weeks.  Very cold weather meant that I spent most days last week wearing my coat indoors between 9am and 3.00pm and getting very little done whilst J was at nursery.

And then at the weekend there was a great flurry of things happening.  First off I dropped my phone (one held together with gaffer tape no less) down the toilet.  I spent most of Friday and Saturday trying to get it dried out enough to assess the damage.  In the meantime my parents visited us on Saturday and within the haul of goodies they brought with them were:

A knife (I’ve got lots of knives so I made them take it back)

A First Aid kit for the car (I’ve got one in the car, one in the house and one in with my camping gear, so I made them take that home too)

Some teeny little stockings for the Christmas tree (ok, I’ll keep those then)

A couple of belly dance belts (ok, I’ll keep those too)

Chocolates (go on then, twist my arm….)

Another box of chocolates (owww, more arm twisting)

A bottle of wine (ooooh, ok, if I must keep it….)

Secateurs (long story, don’t ask)

A laptop (REALLY?  you don’t want it?)  It turns out that my mum got it from a friend who got it as an incentive when he bought a phone.  He didn’t want it, gave it to my mum who in turn spent three weeks playing Solitaire on it, decided she has no interest in anything it can do for her and so has given it to me. !!!  A while ago a friend came round to my house with her laptop and after identifying the network and putting in the password the laptop wouldn’t work.  I later Googled this (just in case I ever got a laptop – which in fairness seemed unlikely) and found out that I probably needed to get a dongle as my PC is wired, not unwired.  But on Saturday I got the laptop to connect via my home broadband and so now I was feeling all….technical 🙂

About an hour after my parents left my ex called to say that he had an armchair, did I want it?  Yes please!  We currently have a sofa that me and the two kids can get onto and the only chair in the sitting room was a creaky and uncomfortable wicker one – now we have a big old armchair so it’s all getting quite comfy.  I’m already looking forward to sitting in the wicker chair in the garden during what I hope will be a balmy summer (well, I can hope can’t I?)

And on Sunday I discovered that the dunking my phone took meant that the battery couldn’t hold a charge for more than 6 hours, and all of my photos, music, vids were wiped, and the camera would no longer work.  Time for a new phone.  I now have a pretty good touch-screen phone, nothing too flashy and got that to connect to the home broadband earlier so now I’m really teched up!

You may notice that no-where in this post do I mention dancing/classes/making stuff…..I’ll save that for later in the week, so in the meantime why not click on over to 1st Unique Gifts and see what the very crafty people over there have been up to!

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Project De-Stash

Sometimes I really wish that I had a room all to myself for my stash of stuff that I use to make things with.  The set-up I do have is pretty good though, everything is stored in the under-stairs cupboard in various boxes and I’m pretty good at storing like with like – the feathers are in one box, the jewellery in another, lace and little bits of fabric in another and so on.

For ages though I’ve been meaning to have a good sort out and (against my magpie hoarding tendencies)  sort out all of the things that I’m probably never going to use myself, get them photographed and get them up for sale, either on Ebay or on Etsy.

Over the last week I’ve sifted and sorted, and today I have taken many many photographs.  I don’t have enough time today to get them all edited, so that’ll be my job over the next few days – editing and describing and then getting them all up on-line and hopefully selling them.  All monies from project de-stash are going to be put towards a new tent for me and the kids so fingers crossed!

In the meantime, pop over to the 1st Unique Gifts blog to see what everyone else has been up to.

Oh what to do….?

Suddenly I am child free this afternoon….

So here’s the list of what I need to do before 4pm:

Get ready for Hipnotic tomorrow; costumes, music, get paper plates from somewhere (why couldn’t I find paper plates in Morrisons?), make cakes and hide them from the kids, do some more dance practice, housework, ironing…..

Actually, scratch the ironing….

Or……..shall I have a cup of tea and read a book and have a nap?

The latter is very tempting……maybe that can be my reward if I manage to squeeze everything else into the next hour?

Spiderman and Supergirl

It’s a shame I’m so precious about posting pictures of my children online or you would get to see a cracking photo of my son (two years and nine months) in a Spidey costume (complete with muscles) and wearing a red sequined cowboy hat…..

For now you’ll just have to imagine it….

Two nights ago I wore a sequined Baladi dress for a talk I gave at a branch of the local Women’s Institute here in the UK.  I figured practice clothes were too boring, full on costume bling might have been a tad too much.  So I wore a Baladi dress and took some other props and based my talk around costume genres and changes within belly dance culture before doing a touch of teaching to end the night.

But the point is my daughter (aged seven) was blown away by the dress and asked if she could have it when she was big enough.  Apparently I looked like a Princess (sometimes even a compliment from a child is a massive compliment!)

Tonight, when she should have been getting ready for bed she decided to go and dig through the box of dressing up clothes and found an old Shalwar Kameeze dress (sans sleeves that I have used for a costuming project) and came down-stairs, resplendent, happy that she had something similar to what I had worn.

To keep up with the gang my son came down, Spiderman costume in hand, insisting he put it on.  I helped him put it on and much laughter ensued as they danced for me (he in costume and aforementioned hat), before they played Super-baby (where he jumps off a chair into her arms which always ends with a banged head to at least one of them and tears and a cuddle before bed).

Twenty minutes later, Spiderman and Supergirl (as he called his sister) were dispatched to their beds after the foreseen bump and a cuddle (by Supermum no less, although I’m pretty sure that internally they were calling me something less flattering).

Supergirl was happy to step out of her costume.  Spidey was less happy, and so he has gone to bed in a padded acrylic costume, worn over his pyjamas.  I guess I now have to go up and relieve him of his super-powers or I shall be awoken by a very hot, smelly boy at a ridiculous time in the morning (ie, earlier than I would like and not quite early enough to get another couple of hours sleep in before we all have to get up).

Wish me luck.

Slowly but surely….

…I’m moving everything from one site to another.  I really want to get everything shifted and the site closed down as soon as I can, particularly as I read about other people’s vain attempts to get their sites closed with this particular web-host (I’m not going to mention names until things get ugly…) as I’ve done the sums and it costs me too much for what I can achieve with it.  So let’s get shot of it.

…I’m honing my search engine optimization skills.  An art if ever there was one.  This is something that I have put off for quite some time, but I really need to get my act together and make sure that I tweak and tweak and tweak until I get the results I want.

…I’m working on a choreography for myself.  This is always a tricky one as I often feel as though I am lacking time for this area.  See above…..

…I am making notes for lessons plans for September belly dance classes.  I have some great ideas for the ladies who attend my classes (including the learning disability class) and I love teaching so it’s all worth making sure that after the summer break everyone gets to do something that challenges them.

…finishing a custom order and getting ready to start another and also try and make some new items to put up on my Etsy shop, Blackwillow Boho.

One of the keys to selling on Etsy would seem to be having lots in your shop.  But that is only one of the keys.  But I have to say that I’ve had more sales and views of my items through Etsy than I have through the existing costuming website so all’s well, I just have to build on it.  It’s hard hard work though, particularly when you’re starting out there.  Don’t let anyone tell you that selling online is a doddle….

In all honesty I’m unsure where this surge in creativity has come from but I’m not knocking it.  Sustaining it is the difficulty, but then who ever said life was easy.

It should also be added that I do spend time with my children.  I seem to be at the back and call of my daughter and her current obsession with Webkinz and Bin Weevils websites, as well as collecting snails and generally playing with and attending groups with my young son.

I’m hoping to have a night out with friends this week, so maybe that’s the start of a mini social-life too!  Eek!  Can I do it all?  Watch this space…….

It comes in and it goes out again…..

With a *landscaped* garden full of stones it was inevitable.  What’s surprising is that such a small boy could throw a stone with enough force to break a window.  But he could, and he did.  Next door now have a broken double glazed window and I have a big hole in my pocket.

Or rather, I have been on the end of a karmic joke of sorts.  At the precise time that a customer was paying me for a custom costume my son aged two years and almost 9 months threw the stone and broke the window.  Luckily, the neighbours didn’t scream at me (they’re nice people) and obviously I had to offer to pay for the damage.  Even more luckily my neighbour’s brother is a window fitter and can get her a replacement for exactly the price I charged my customer.

It comes in and it goes out again.