Together We Are Magic – a papercutting for you

 

The weekend was bitterly cold! I went shopping just across the border in Newry. There are two shopping centres just a few minutes walk away from each other, the Quays and Buttercrane, and in those few minutes I thought my face would crack with the cold – it felt as though it was frozen solid!

Radio Nova dedicated the weekend to playing romantic records. As the drive to Newry was a good hour and a half each way, I heard a bunch of them and thought there were a few dubious choices in the mix particularly Paul Young’s ‘Every time you go away you take away a piece of meat with you’. Well, that’s as romantic as a bluebottle on the bum.

I think I’ve dodged a bullet as well. I applied for a job in October last year and heard back from the company just last week. I had to create something (there was a spec) and send it back to them. Then a technical  interview over the phone – an hour long. Apparently, that went well as I was asked to give dates that I would be available for interview from then to the end of Feb. And, the interview – or should I say, series of interviews all on the same day, would be for approximately 5 to 6 hours… They also asked my salary expectations…

In the meantime, I Googled to get some clues as to what sorts of questions and technical exercises I should expect from the interviewers that could require a whole working day, pretty much. I stumbled upon many, many, many reviews about the company and I am talking about technical recruits and OMG it sounded horrendous.

One review described the interview process as one of pushing your boundaries to the limit to see if you could take the pressure in the actual working environment. That reminded me about a documentary I once watched where some girl wanted to make it as a porn star and got *shudder* ‘interviewed’ by the horrifically  vile Max Hardcore. Luckily, the film crew got her out of his clutches and back to Britian. I hope she changed her career plans and never looked back. An evening playing Thumblies with Freddie Kruger would be way more fun.

Reviewers described a culture that sounded more toxic than the atmosphere on Jupiter. Hard labour, long hours and poor wages for the skills and experience they wanted. Kiss up and kick down. Bullying disguised as ‘guiding improvement’ and ‘standard raising’.

I was hoping I’d have the pleasure of being able to turn them down professionally and just withdraw from the process without editorialising the reasons why, but I think my salary expectations did that for me. I saw the role re-advertised the same day that I gave them salary information.

Coincidentally,  I subscribe to Eric Barker’s blog and his most recent post was called How to Overcome Bullies at Work. He cited Bob Sutton, a Professor from Stanford Uni, and the one piece of advice he gives to all his students:

When you take a job take a long look at the people you’re going to be working with — because the odds are you’re going to become like them, they are not going to become like you. You can’t change them. If it doesn’t fit who you are, it’s not going to work.

There you go. I really did dodge a bullet.

So, changing tack completely and happily, I’m giving you a free paper cutting file – just in time for St Valentine’s Day. It’s not totally soppy. I think it says plenty in a lovely way. You can download the SVG here:
Together We Are Magic

You’ll need a cutting machine, obviously, but it cuts well and isn’t too intricate or fiddly to weed. I hope you like it and remember, somebody, somewhere, loves you. Have a happy Valentine’s day.

Time to fly

The grey bird (see the last post)  is winging off to Cavan to make its nest with a lovely lady in a lovely traditional Irish cottage. He’s stuffed with Highloft and lots and lots of lovely, fragrant lavender to enjoy and relax to. Bye, Bye, Birdie.

I have lots of strips from wooly blankets rolled into a ball to make lots more birdies. Well, one of them is a ball. The other is like a heap of boiled spaghetti, respectfully called ‘His Noodliness’.

The colours are beautiful and warm. I just wish it had the wild beardy trim like my Big Grey Ball:

Like a big, wooly cabbage, isn’t it? I’m using it up on Wooly Sam birds. All along its edge it has a wild, wooly beard. The sort that properly clever good-at-maths professors have! Lol! The kind they can tuck a couple of protractors, a slide rule and a bunch of doughnuts in with no sign of bulging.

And other kinds of wooly balls – how about this furry ball of fun? Gracie wanted a selfie but couldn’t work the camera. Told you she didn’t sleep all the time!

Jess wasn’t interested. She was too busy looking out of the window:

Sky TV.

Something got her laughing. Probably my joke… Lol.

I got stitching and made a Spool Bird. I’ve wanted to have a go since reading about them here: Spool Bird

Quick and easy to make and ideal for stuffing with Lavender and High Loft. She’s sitting on the heart over the fireguard. The contrast isn’t great but you get the idea, besides, you’ll see lots more if you Google for  Spool birds. This picture does remind me that the fireplace will be gone in the next month or so – see the post below for the beautiful new firesurround waiting to be installed. I am so excited.

Posing the Spoolie got Gracie interested. She keeps an eye open to see what fun she can have. When I’m baking and spending a lot of time in the kitchen, Gracie sits by the radiator and watches me. She had a marathon viewing over the weekend.

This yum-yum piggy’s bum is a Salted Caramel  and Peanut Butter Cupcake. I’ll write up and post the recipe. It’s a definite keeper. I wasn’t sure at first but after leaving them for a couple of days they came to life and are proper gorgeous!

I also made The Mary Berry Simnel Cake. Drop-Dead-Gorgeous. I think it’s my favourite cake ever. More than Christmas Cake. It keeps calling to me like a siren to dash me on the rocks of Big Knickers and steel girder-reinforced bra contraptions. I’m having to exercise tremendous willpower to stop myself eating it all. Oh, Mary Berry, how do you stay so slim?!

Anyhow, Google for the recipe and make it. If you like fruit cake, you’ll LOVE it. Trust me on this.

Finally, I posted a  set of bootees on Etsy:

The bootees aren’t a new design but the box is. If you want to see more pictures of them – or are interested in buying them – click on the ‘I Sell On Etsy’ badges on this site and it will take you straight there.

Have fun and don’t forget to smell the flowers.

Victoriana Pergola

I have been busy making another pergola. This one is inspired by Victorian wrought iron work. It’s a slice-form and folds flat which means it can be sent in the post, with suitable, rigid, protection, naturally.

I used Conqueror Concept, metallic champagne, for this one. It’s beautifully irridescent and gives it a lustre that adds even more to the beauty of it.

Conqueror Concept is becoming very hard to get, though, and am on my last pack. Even Amazon don’t seem to get any in stock. I think it’s been discontinued but would be delighted if proved wrong!

Every step of the build was photographed and written up. Every photo was edited with Photoshop and the layout and text created with InDesign. It took me around thirty minutes to make, maybe less. I can’t be sure as I was trying to take pictures and write notes throughout the process. Not easy, especially with nosey kitty-cats that want to see what’s going on!

I’ve put it on Etsy so if you’re interested in buying the SVG template and making your own, just click the Etsy logo on the page and it will take you straight there.

Hope you like it.

Hugs, Ell

Pergola Lovelies!

This post is a Thank You to Mary for sending me her beautiful and gorgeously lush photographs of the pergolas she made from my templates. Didn’t she make a really super job of them?!

I love the orange and white – juicy colours that really pop. I love all of them, actually, the Christmassy ones, the chocolate and white Woodland Pergola and the lilac and white. Finally, the classic and classy all-white snowflake dome – sophisticated and stunning.

Mary bought the templates from my Etsy site and had her first model made within the first day of purchase (I think that’s correct allowing for time zone issues – Mary is in the USA).

Thank you for sharing them with me and I’m delighted to showcase them here (with Mary’s permission).

Hope you enjoy looking – I do!

To see my other templates, click the Etsy logo on the page to visit my shop.

Woodland Pergola – now for sale on Etsy

Labours of love. Ah. Where would we be without some passion in our soul? Making this woodland pergola had my soul dancing, I’m telling you. It was hard work with lots of intense focus but I loved it. It will be tweaked because some of the cuts are so fine and flimsy they demand more care and caution than a clumsy mumsie like me can always give.

As first cuts go, though, I’m fairly (very!) happy with this. I designed it in Illustrator and cut with machine. The slots that connect the structure together need to be fairly closely aligned and quite slim and I didn’t trust my skills with the scalpel to do it all by hand.

It has foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits, flowers, leaves and stars topped off with tiny little acorns and leaves at the top. And all put together in layers to form a lattice, slice-form structure. Up against the light you can see details clearly. It’s not so easy to see them when it’s not in direct light, though, so will be cutting the next one with contrasting papers.

This one shows the hedgehogs a little clearer.

I like the ways the foxes have come out, tail-to-tail looking back at one another.

See what I mean about some of the cuts being to fine? That’s a 1C coin being held next to the acorns to give you a better scale of it.

And, being a slice-form, it folds flat!

*** All tweaks accomplished. One thing I did change was to make the acorns on top far more of a solid to give them more strength and also, they actually look prettier for it.  Now for sale on Etsy: Woodland Pergola

Thank you for looking. Hope you like it.

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