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Reflections 2019 w05

I bumped into my friend the other day whilst walking in the downpour we had. And, with not seeing each other for a long while, had a chat, as the rain got even heavier.

He was working, making a delivery, and had to wait for the homeowner; I was already sodden, due to leaving the house with no adequate rainwear. Light showers were forecast and my clothing matched that forecast, the lack of dark clouds also gave me the false confidence of going for the walk when we did.

So here we were, standing under what could have easily been a draining bathtub, water flowing off the few areas that where fully waterproof, both of us were soaked.

But it was not this that got me to thinking…

It was how differently we viewed the weather. I dislike the rain, there are exceptions – like the spring showers that can come out of nowhere, then disappear just as fast when shelter is found, not enough to get you wet, but enough to get you to steam when the sun shines once more, rainfall on a tent etc. But he said he preferred the rain, this cold, winter, drenching  – over the snow.

I prefer the snow, especially walking in it. One can get around the walk much dryer than the same amount of liquid in rain form. A good layer of insulation and the snow can sit on the jacket to be shaken off occasionally, even Spot collects it on her coat. One has yet to get stuck in the snow in this car, and the last time I had to abandon a car was over a decade ago. But he drives a van, and apparently they hate the snow. He does not particularly like driving/walking in the snow either.

To put this into perspective we are both the same age, both live in the same area and drive on similar roads, we experience the same weather.

Its not like he has worse weather conditions.

But one  wonders…

Do I see the weather through an artists eyes, or practical eyes. How he spoke it was practicalities for him. I can see both.

Which perspective shaped my view of the snow to the point of having to walk in it when it first comes. Or are there hidden memories locked away in the dark recesses of my mind that hold the key to my positive viewpoint???


Reflections 2019 w04

Finally I have the pattern for the fox head at the correct size, at least for machine sewing it together, a note one will have to make when making a pattern again.

I do not know why the pattern comes out slightly larger when the masking tape is transferred to a flat plane, but apparently it does a little, well it does with this combination of modelling medium and this masking tape, it was a pain to get it ‘stick’ to the model maybe that has something to do with it. We will see in the future.

One now appreciates the cost for the patterns now that the time has been put in to get it to where it is at the moment, it could do the head as it is, but one is playing with the pattern to equalise the seams on the face.

Overall, one is happy with the second prototype head. This allows me to see where the final shape can be created with some more hand stitching as construction joints, the head is being stuffed rather than skinning a foam head like with the puppets. So the stitching will draw the facial features together where needed.

One has also played with the hair trimmer on the fur, and yes that is as messy as you would think, so the look should be as I imagined it to be.

Just the body, legs and tail to pattern out. It should be plain sailing after the legs are modelled.

Reflections 2019 w03

Some people have a natural ability to tune emotions out, it’s a defence mechanism to prevent emotional pain. Some tune out the good emotions, also as a defence mechanism against pain. ‘Staying’ with the darkness seems less dark if the light is not allowed to shine in to illuminate the shadows edge.

Especially if the light shows us we are much deeper in the shadows chill than we thought.

Even if the choice was to hide in the shadows, away from sight, it does not guarantee that we won’t stumble in the darkness ever deeper, unknowing, until it is to late.

And when the mind is in wracked in pain, there is no positive.

The rapids have just got to be rode out, hoping that the rocks do not cause too much damage before the water calms and a chance to get out appears.

But sometimes those rapids just seem to keep on going, knock after knock, after knock.

I have a friend that is in the rapids at the moment, in the pain; hiding in the shadows. But she is with help. That is going to be the the difference between scrambling to shore, and not having enough strength, slipping back into the water to travel the rapids some more.

The journey is going to be hard and the trek up the bank steep and long, but, we, her friends believe she has the strength left to do it. And we will lend her our strength when we can.


Reflections 2019 w02

One has a project build that has been requested, and over the last couple of weeks materials have been bought, techniques have been tried and an idea has been formed.

Except one part.

One part is staying elusive and it now looks like one will have to create the pattern for it, I have not been able to find anything close to a match for my vision.

As with all my ‘next projects’, my skill level requirement is going to increase. It will be a new build, using the sewing machine in a new way, with a new pattern, one that has yet to be created. For most parts one can lean on other patterns and alter a little, or alter a lot, but the general sizing of the material has already been done.

But no, not this part. I am going to have to make a model, make a paper pattern, add seam allowance, factor in darts and curvature.

If one was making a foam model (for a hand puppet) one would not be worried, but this is about the size of a grapefruit. A skin sack that will only let me know if it worked when it gets filled.

I’m going to have to make a prototype.

Even when the project has been completed one could ruin everything when trimming the fur to get the desired look I want. sooo much could go wrong.

Could one have done a similar pattern? Did the request state that the level one is trying to attain? Yes and No.

But I do know if I did a simpler plush toy style, I would then be kicking myself for not trying to get my vision created. Until a time it was created, and then one would feel as though I cheated the person who asked for the project in the first place.

And my inner critic needs no encouragement.


Reflections 2019 w 01

The new year, only this year one is not on facebook.

I always disliked the ‘gym jocks’ whiny complaining, that fatties were using their machines, and that it would not last past January. That it was pathetic to start at the new year, also if they really wanted to get fit they would do it at some other time in the year, regardless if they were using a Christmas present or bonus income; from the busiest time of the year. That they go at peak times…like after work, or before it – how rude – that is for gym goers.

Or how about the advertisers pressure to look ‘ beach body perfect’ for summer, that kicks in just after Christmas dinner.

Does it matter?

Do they not benefit from having a profit making gym?

Have they never thought that there may be a correlation between the newbies being treated like lepers and a sudden drop in new faces by the end of the month?

Or are they too much of a one syllable word user, dragging their knuckles across the ground, to work that out. (Yes they too have stereo types)…Stating the comments and stares are just a toughening process – weeding out the week.

Just like the assholes at school gym class.

My own experience of a gym was no changing cubicles, communion showers and nut sack dragging pensioners walking around naked. As soon as you went in the second door you may have been confronted by a man stark b……. naked blow drying his pubic hair. Mixed in with this were the posers, younger and more used to working out – also naked, striking poses one presumes they saw in a gay mag. Why else would you be doing such displays in front of a male only audience. At least at a nudist beach you have both sexes wandering around – together  – which the ‘I’m not gay!” poses would make more sense if it was not for the gentleman only members.

One is not a prude, I just don’t want to see your junk. If one was so inclined to do so, one would ask you on a date…Like a normal person. And just because one is using the gym, it does not make me automatically gay. Nor does it make such behaviour ‘Normal’.

No; no gym for me. One is currently waiting for the chiropractor to have an offer on, get my back cracked and then join the yoga club at the same practice.

So if the stereotypes are to be believed. One is going to the elitist fashionable exercise group – in slacks. Should be fun. 😉


Reflections 2018 w52

Ahh, the last one of the year and it’s late. Routine has been so disjointed I have only just realised it is the end of the week.

So now I write this on New Year’s Eve.

I could wish everyone a happy new year, and hope that next year is better than this one….but there are things in the future, looming overhead. A present that has been hastily wrapped, which may contain a gift, or a turd, no one knows for certain.  I just cannot see any good coming from it if fags, petrol and beer prices go up, it’ll be like a football team loosing a compotition , that already is excuse enough to go on a rampage for some.

No, next year will go down in history because we have made sure the spotlight is on us…

An Englishman, Scotsman and an Irishman walk into the bar…

Which one will be the joke?

And why have the welshmen always been forgotten to be invited into the jokes?

Reflections 2018 w51

Today I had my first visit to a shop called Abakhan, and it has been the best material shop I have been to so far.

The quest was to get better fleece than I have, and look at their fur, also better than I have, and get a more puppet appropriate foam, than what my more local material shop has.

The shop is brightly lit, with loads of space, materials neatly stacked on repacks, and equipment down one large wall. The pricing one has come across with the local stores is by the meter, here it is also by the kilo. Kind of confusing for the novice, but the staff are super helpful.

I must have looked like I had wandered into the wrong store, as I was almost immediately greeted with a “hello, can I help you?”. To be fair one did go woah wen I went through the door. With it being my first time I asked where the items I was looking for lived, and they were either fetched for me or I was shown where they were.

I am so glad I went in with a list, as one already came out with more than what was on it. I suspect it would have been far greater if I had gone just browsing, as it was I overspent. And I know I am going back there often for more supplies.

The lovely staff member who had helped me was the one who served, and commented on my purchases as an interesting project so I showed her a picture of the done puppet, the now usual aaaah response was had. I felt that if I showed what I was doing, and if I go regular enough, maybe in time I go I won’t look out of place (as much) when my sewing prodgects expand and I go browsing.

One has been using the cheap fleece one has to practice with a sewing machine that is as old as me, if not older, I inherited from an aunt. It feels so natural to use one feels like one can try any setting. And one has gone through a few. Problems have been had, but that has been little more than pebbles to overcome, nothing has set me back with using the machine.

Except one plush teddy bear. My fat fingers, no instructions to go with the pattern, and limited space for sewing, I suspect there was no seem allowance on it either, led me to the understanding – one should not make a 5.5 inch tall (sitting) bear until better at using the machine. So I looked for more plush patterns and found a load at, so I made a version of their owl.

So much easier with instructions…but I did not follow all,  I altered to suit what I had and to practice new stitches with the machine. One never knows when appliquéing will be useful on a puppet. Now I have done it I may be using it more.

Soft toys may seem strange for a bloke to practice on, but they offer a wide range of shapes to get to grips with. If the charity shops can sell them – bonus. Later on the skills learnt could be creating clothing or equipment for walking/camping. A travel bed is going to be one of the first for Spot.

The puppet building will be looking better and better with each improvement, bellow is the puppet (base pattern by and the owl plush.