Multiple Personalities

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For the record – I hate painting concrete blocks and ceilings. I have now forced myself to do 2 coats of masonry paint in the workshop loo before I stop noticing the bare walls and forget to finish the job. I listened to BBC Radio 4 with interest but also let my imagination drift and decided that if ever there is a post apocalyptic situation where I am forced to paint a nuclear bunker at gunpoint, I will demand that my captors shoot me. This bizarre thought must have stemmed from subconscious memory of public service adverts in the 1970’s that explained that you would need to create a makeshift shelter under the kitchen table if the 4-minute warning sounded.

I used to be a primary school teacher and occasionally wonder whether I could manage to do that as a career again. I attended a presentation at my children’s school on the new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and came to the conclusion that I would prefer not to substitute traditional spelling tests with writing words in shaving foam and continually be organising group activities in the forest. It is true that I like to go off at a tangent but I don’t particularly enjoy trying to concentrate when so much is going on at once. This is ironic since I am currently trying to assimilate all sorts of unfamiliar information while multi-tasking. I have been chasing up the local council about the parking at school as Chairperson of the Parent Council, reminding longarmers to sign up for the teaching weekend with Ferret at the beginning of July, approaching potential sponsors for the Yurt, and following up calls with all sorts of people about shipping, insurance, grants and trying to write anything useful down.

I have been trying to guesstimate the volumetric weight of the Yurt in an as yet unspecified plywood box in order to get an approximate shipping cost. This also depends on the insurance value so I have to complete a lengthy proposal for bespoke cover from an insurer that deals with artwork. I have had serious discussions with APQS this week about some electronic faults on machines that they believe may have something to do with stabilising the power supply. I was advised to invest in an uninterrupted power supply/surge protection system but the one that I bought did not mention sine waves. This involved a very complicated technical discussion with a boffin at an electronics company in the UK. Since I actually failed O-level Electronics at school, I was impressed that I managed to get the gist of what he was trying to explain.

I took Freya into Aberdeen to buy some new school shoes and made a detour into the phone shop that sells the Mifi modems for mobile internet suitable for ipads. I asked about coverage, download speeds and gigabytes in an attempt to appear knowledgeable. The sales assistant assumed that Freya was the owner of the ipad and she retorted, “Of course not – my Mother is the geek!”

The customer quilt that I was working on ended up taking me a full week to complete. I was not really asked to do a custom job on it but it was crying out for some special treatment. What I did was not tricky but it was a lot of tiny fillers in small spaces, all using thread that just disappeared into the dark Jinny Beyer fabrics. As I approached the bottom of the quilt the tension went awry unexpectedly and looked horrible on the back so I had to unpick part of the border for 4 hours. The photo does not show much of the detail of the quilting at all but I am pleased with the resulting texture. I MUST improve my quoting for jobs like this up front so that I can start to charge properly for this intensity of quilting. I simply cannot afford to be working so hard on quilts that don’t earn me enough. It also eats into the time that I have available for completing the unfinished Yurt panels and simply sewing for pleasure.

The Yurt still has not been photographed outside a castle in beautiful sunshine. It is Midsummer next weekend but we have had nothing but glowering grey skies for weeks. There is no sign of any roses, just rampantly lush weeds. I would like to hoover the garden Yurt out in case I decide to sleep out in it soon but I would rather not be electrocuted by trailing an extension lead across the wet grass. Freya went to the outdoor seawater pool at Stonehaven on a trip with the Girl Guides last week but they didn’t dare get out of the water to go on the slides as it was so wintry. She was impressed that the snack bar sold hot chocolate and chips instead of ice-creams. I would like to think that summer will arrive at the beginning of the school holidays and my husband has put up a large tent in anticipation of camping out. He and the children slept out last night despite the rain and were fairly cosy bundled up with jumpers, duvets and quilts.

I must produce some structured lesson plans for some quilting classes so that I can make the workshop earn its keep and so that I have a syllabus that I can offer to show organisers or Guild secretaries. I have determined that I will make a formal start on The Yurt Book this week so that I can just work away at each chapter a bit at a time until I have something substantial for publishers to edit and polish. I need to get tough and write myself a strict timetable for the week so that I don’t spend too much time on one thing. I have been asked to run up strings of bunting with names and occasions for friends. The problem is that I like the letters all to be embroidered on for a more professional finish which makes them commercially far less viable. It is very easy to spend a whole day on the computer researching and writing but that doesn’t directly earn me money to replenish my empty bank account. I aim to do a customer quilt next week that is on the frame for 2 days at most so that I can get a Yurt panel done too, otherwise “Potential Yurt 2” will be naked!

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