Monday, 2 March 2015

My February …

The weather this year continues strange, with only a few days over 25oC this month. Earlier this week, I even noticed that mellow haze which starts to filter into the bright summer sunlight at the start of autumn. Normally I don't start seeing that until late March! I'd be tempted to jokingly call this the Year Without A Summer if I didn't know better. We've had years before where it's been relatively cool and wet in December and January, and then scorching hot in March and April. So, as much as I'd like to, I'm not breaking out my scarves quite yet!


Craft-wise, I've been having a lot of ideas, but not often able to follow up on them. Thoughts of starting a course of study seem even less appealing when I realise that I don't have the time or energy for activities that are enjoyable and relaxing, let alone ones that are good for my career. At other times, I get urges to work on old projects that are still packed. I have to stop myself from buying more materials and starting on a new version!

What I've been sorting ...
I've been getting urges to go op-shopping lately, specifically for some clear glass mugs to serve tea in. I'm acutely aware however, of how much stuff there already is in my house. If I'm not careful, it'll start looking like an episode of Hoarders! So I decided that before I can go op-shopping, I have to choose 20 items to donate in return. I actually managed 22 and Husband quite a few as well. We took them to the donation bin just today.


I couldn't help buying this adorable pen holder when I was at Typo the other day, though.


What I've been reading ...
Earlier in the month, I read Beautiful for ever : Madame Rachel of Bond Street - cosmetician, con-artist and blackmailer by Helen Rappaport. It's a salacious tale, all true, of a poor fishmonger who dragged herself out the slums of 19th-century London by becoming a beautician and promising to make her clients "beautiful for ever". Society ladies paid thousands of pounds for her lotions and treatments, plus extra to guarantee discretion. Victorian society put a huge value on natural beauty, and no respectable woman would admit to using anything other than soap and water. Society ladies were forced to hand over their jewels rather than have their husbands find out about their spending habits. Much dodgier things were also going on at her exotically-decorated bathhouse, and when it was found out, a scandal-hungry public couldn't get enough. A fair portion of the book deals with the court cases that were brought against Madame Rachel, but the author manages to keep this often-dry subject matter light and interesting. Darker subjects like poverty, anti-Semitism and misogyny are sensitively handled. Madame Rachel was a truly vile character, there's no denying it, but Rappaport steers a very neutral path, avoiding either censuring or idolising her subject. I enjoyed this book very much, and I'd like to seek out more from the same author.


What I've been seeing ...
I've really gotten into the Hipstamatic app on my ipod again. There are way too many lens and filter options to choose from, so I use the random function and it often works well. I've been taking every opportunity to take a few snaps -- while waiting in line to order lunch, walking back from meeting up with a friend, at a function centre with a beautiful garden and duck pond. I'm finding this very satisfying. I don't have to wait until I get home to create something; I can just whip out my ipod wherever I am and take a few photos. There's something soulful in taking the time to see things.




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