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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Magnetic Distraction

On a previous post I mentioned that I had an appointment with a recruitment agency, that appointment has since resulted in a job with the NHS. The job starts next week, and I'm already planning what tools to buy with my first paycheck. In the meantime, to fill my days, I've taken my little Singer sewing machine in for a service, emailed a company about sourcing an industrial sewing machine, started collecting some vintage fabrics, and um... watched a lot of daytime telly. Don't judge me, I haven't had a television in over a decade.

I've also been using this time to work on some craft projects.
Starting over in a new country (new in that I've not lived here in 12 years), and starting over in a new career is a bit of an expensive venture, so this holiday season I'm going all out on the thrift front and I'm making my own gifts. I can post one of them now, but only because I got too excited about hiding it away for the next month and have already given this particular gift to David.

So here it is - A Guide to Making London Underground Line Magnets.

I chose this particular theme because David is a transport nerd, so we have a bit of a London Underground thing going on in our hallway,

London Underground Map and Station Clock

and in the hallway we have a notice board with rather rubbish magnets that only cost £1.00 but are incredibly useless at holding themselves up, let alone single pieces of paper:

Multiple magnets needed for each piece of paper

Close-up of rubbish magnet
I was inspired to make our own magnets by Jessica Jones' blog "How About Orange" and her Pantone Chip Magnets. Instead of using Pantone paint chips, I cheekily google searched an image of the London Underground Lines, printed out the coolest looking ones,

Cut-outs of Tube Lines

cut out strips of foam board to size and chamfered the edges,

Foam board strips

attached stick-on magnets to the back of the foam,

Roll of stick-on magnets

placed double-sided sticky tape to the front of the foam strips, and attached the cut-out Tube line names:

Double-sided sticky tape

Following Jessica Jones' lead, I used some Aleene's Paper Glaze to give the magnets a nicer finish. The glaze makes the paper look like ceramic tile:

Couldn't find a paint brush, so used a make-up brush instead. Oops.

See? Shiny.

Mmmm. Shiny.

Several coats are recommended to make the magnets look like ceramic tile.

I'll post the finished magnets, smugly holding up multiple pieces of paper, once the paper glaze has dried.


Dec 4th, 2011.

I finally got around to taking a photo of the magnets on the board, even though they have been doing a magnificent job of holding up various scraps of paper for several weeks now.

So here they are:

And here are two sets of Boston subway magnets, requested by my friend Nealia, which are now winging their way to America by post.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Inspiration for Beginners.

Source of quote here

I recently saw this Ira Glass quote on the wall of a Facebook friend, and I would like to share it with you. I've been reading it every day since as a source of comfort and inspiration. You know, I'm not one to wake up every morning looking to "seize the day" or pump my fist into the air with a "Go get 'em, Buster" attitude. My own personal style is usually one of scathing self-doubt and hesitation, mixed with an unrealistic and annoying dollop of impatience to be brilliant first time at everything I do. So I really dug this quote. It strikes at the very heart of my anxiety about starting over in a new venture, and the dreaded possibility that I might fail or not be good enough, replacing fear with enough perspective to get out of my own way.

Thank you, Ira.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Time-Out and Tea-Towels

I just got back from visiting my home town of Woodbridge in Suffolk, getting some fresh air, visiting my parents and catching up with some childhood girlfriends. It was a nice break from staring desperately at my computer screen whilst I rummage through online employment agencies, sending out the odd application and blindly hoping that my CV gets picked out from the pile of thousands that look just like mine. It's a bit of a depressing time in the UK right now, unemployment has hit its highest level in 17 years and I know that I'm not going to have my pick of jobs. Not to mention that I'm not really sure how to get employed in this country. It's been a long time. Converting my American resume into a British curriculum vitae has taken me longer than it should have, though to be honest, that's mostly because I spent ages messing around with different fonts and borders trying to make it look pretty.

I know, I know... why get a job when I'm going to be a brilliant upholsterer and make sad chairs feel happy again? Well, I do need capital to get started. And for that, I do need a job. Preferably one that will give me enough time and energy left over to begin work on my upholstery business. I have an appointment with a recruitment agency tomorrow, so that's a step in the right direction. Which leaves me plenty of time to daydream about which hand-tools I'm going to buy, and fabrics and piping, and all of the world weary chairs that are out there, looking for a new lease of life. I'm pretty excited to get started.

I'm also excited about my new sewing machine. It's not an industrial machine, which is ultimately what I will need, but a really sweet, basic Singer 337. It was built between 1964-65 and is still in perfect working order. It just needs a bit of a tune-up. The best bit about it is that it's not only a joy to look at (the colour is duck-egg blue!), but it only cost me £10 at the Moss End Car-Boot Sale in Bracknell. I'm going to use it for piping and making small cushions. Doesn't it look jolly?

Bit of a blue theme going on here. I swear it was unintentional.

And look, it has its own carrying case. In DUCK EGG BLUE!! I can tell you're jealous.

My lovely Singer 337. It's much more duck-eggy blue in real life. 

I am going to keep my eyes peeled for some vintage fabrics when I'm out and about, so that I can get my feet wet on my new machine by making some fun throw pillows. I did pick up a vintage tea-towel at another car-boot sale, and I think I'm going to turn that into a throw pillow. Something sort of like this:

Photo source found here

The really cool thing about the tea towel I found is that it's from my neck of the woods... well, almost... It's a souvenir tea-towel of an area known as the Norfolk Broads. Norfolk being the neighbouring county to my home county, Suffolk. Which isn't a big deal, unless you are my dad and have been engaged in a life-long rivalry between Norfolk's football team, Norwich City, and his home team, Ipswich Town.

It's just as well that my dad isn't a throw pillow sort of guy.

Awesome vintage tea-towel (£2.00)