Creativity Corner

Yeah, I know it’s been nearly a month since I posted anything, but life is back to its usual whirl of busyness, and sitting down at a computer to do anything other than work hasn’t got high enough up the list of priorities.

So, some pretty pictures of crafty things to make up for it:

First crafty thing: Scrapbooking/cardmaking.

Yeah, I know I’ve always said I was resisting this hobby, having way too many crafts to spend my money and time on already, but when we were down in Alexandra Mum let me loose on her craft room for an afternoon, and I got inspired by all the pretty colours to make a couple of cards:

(I sent this one to Mother-out-law as a birthday card)

(glue control is something I obviously still need to learn…)

I’m still not going to get into scrapbooking though. Really truly I’m not! 😉

Second crafty thing: Lace

I decided not to carry on with the lace class this year. Not only has the price of the class gone up, but I was just missing too many classes, and when I was actually free on a Thursday evening to go to the class, I kind of resented having to give up my evening. So instead I bought a couple of lace books, and have decided to see how far I can get by teaching myself from the books. I’m reasonably confident I’ll be able to, because I learnt enough from the classes that the instructions in the books pretty much make sense.

I’ve also decided to go back to torchon lace, because I was enjoying that much more than the Bedfordshire lace I was working on last term. But I had one last go at Bedfordshire, which I was quite pleased with:

(sorry about the rubbish focus!)

It’s a tiny piece, only about 7 cm across, so I’ve got no idea what I’m going to do with it. Anyone want a really really small hankie?

Third crafty thing: cross-stitch

Progress on the sewing machine picture is racing along. And this one I do have a plan in mind for when it’s finished.

Fourth crafty thing: banners and blankets and things

Ok, this all started late last year when I was at the union’s national conference. Some of the other branches had displays of banners and things up, and my branch’s collective eye was caught by one branch’s banner, which was a wonderfully creative piece of patchwork, appliqué and embroidery. In a moment of madness, I volunteered to try and create something similar for our branch. After some brainstorming over drinks that night, we’d come up with two possible slogans to go on the banner, so I said I’d pick one and see what I could create from it.

Of course, in the end I couldn’t decide, so being me decided to just go for it and make both 🙂 It took two long weekends of sewing (with the assistance of Jenny for part of it), but I was pretty pleased with the result (ignore the messy garden please – just concentrate on the pretty banners):

When I took them in to the branch office, everyone was suitably impressed, and they’ve already been used for quite a few union events.

But then, as an unexpected side-effect, someone asked me if I could make something in the same style but smaller as a blanket for her baby grandson. She even offered to pay me to do so!

So I created a Henry blanket:

Unlike the banners, which are just made of calico, Henry’s blanket has a nice soft flannelette backing on it. And it’s much smaller, of course – just lap-blanket sized.

Henry’s grandma loved it (and reported back later that Henry loved it too), and word got round to a few more people, so I was asked to make two more blankets. This time for babies that haven’t arrived yet, so with no names confirmed I got creative instead:

The elephants (yes, that is the same template I used for the soft toy elephants I made for TheLetterB and Tam) have flapping ears and tails, and the icing of the cupcakes is made from thick fur. Plus the patchwork borders on all three blankets have all sorts of interesting textures like velvet, silk and corduroy, so there’s lots for little fingers to explore. (Of course, the downside is I have no idea how they’ll stand up to washing, but hopefully the calico backing will stand up to whatever shrinking or warping the other fabrics want to do).

At this rate, I’m going to have to start a blanket-making business!

And the real news

This bit’s friends only, because it contains a bit too much identifying information.

One of the reasons I’ve been too busy to post anything lately is that all my good intentions of not taking on anything extra this year, and of just having a quiet life and looking after myself, kind of collapsed when I got taken out for lunch last week.

It started innocently enough. Helen (who’s reasonably senior in the union, holding a national position) rang me up and suggested we have lunch. That’s normal enough – we’ve worked together on the local branch for years and are good enough friends that a spontaneous invitation for lunch or coffee is a reasonably common occurrence. But when I got to her office, she mentioned that Megan (the branch president) would be joining us too. Again, not *too* unusual, as Megan used to be in my department, so we’ve known each other for years and again we’re friends enough that getting together for lunch isn’t unusual. And of course Megan and Helen work closely together in the union, so have developed a friendship too. But both are very busy women, so them both just coincidentally being free for lunch on the same day did get my antenna up a little.

When we got to the cafe and Megan announced the union would be paying for lunch, the tinkle of alarm bells turned into a clamour. I’d seen this “tag-teaming” tactic before. In fact, that was how Megan got talked into running for branch president, when Helen, Gaby and I tag-teamed her over coffee. And I wasn’t just getting coffee shouted for me, I was getting lunch!

Anyway, to cut a long story short (they of course knew that I knew that they were going to ask me for something, but they cruelly dragged it out for half of lunch!), what they wanted to talk to me about was to actually a fantastic opportunity. Because there’s a huge restructuring going on at the moment (thankfully not affecting my department), and because the union has taken the university to court so many times over its failure to properly consult with staff (the obligation to do so is written into our collective agreement), the university is doing this restructuring by the book, to the extent that the union has been offered release time to free key union personnel from their normal jobs to talk to affected members and prepare submissions on the changes. Helen and Megan had been given two days a week to do this union work, but Helen is about to go on maternity leave, so they needed someone to take up her two days a week. And they thought of me!

So from now until about June when the restructuring will be completel, I’ll be spending three days a week in my department doing my normal job, and the other two days in the union offices writing submissions and having meetings with the senior management of the university! It’s very exciting (and a bit scary – what if I’m not as good at this stuff as they think I am?), and who knows what getting my name known in the corridors of power might lead to?

Oh yeah, and I got a new title to go with the job, too. Because when you’re talking to important people, having a title that pretends you’re an important person too kind of helps (it shouldn’t, of course, but it does). So I’m now the Branch Vice President.

But you can just call me VP 🙂