Are you fed up to the back teeth with Christmas and we haven’t even got there yet?
Oh, so am I.
At this time of year I have shopped for months for all the presents and, so far, made 45 of the requisite 60 odd cards. Having endured all the usual wrangling about who will come to whom for what meals and when; plus the jolly fun presence of people who have given the whole thing little consideration suddenly asking you what you want that can be bought locally with no effort for under a certain sum; after all this you can find yourself with Christmas burnout.
So I gave myself permission to stop completely and do something else. Not the novel. That is currently stalled while I work out the denouement in my head. It’s all-action, very exciting and complex and I get the feeling it will be better if I think about it thoroughly. I’ve already suddenly remembered a couple of things that have to happen in a specific order. It’s a bit like maturing cheese, if you get it out of the fridge too soon it will be a horrid bitter lump, if you leave it out on the cheeseboard too long it will run off and sink into the carpet. So, not yet for that.
I am also painting the fence, a delight which is very temperature dependant. I am all kitted out for painting as I type but can’t go out there until the thermometer says ten degrees, below which the paint will not work.
So what to do meanwhile?
Watching Hochanda, a craft shopping channel, I became aware of a brand of polymer stamps called Lavinia stamps and then walked right into Tracey Lavinia’s craft stall at a craft fair at the NEC. As most of the stamps featured fairies, British nature, cats and all things mystical I was immediately interested and drawn by the competence of the artistry of the drawings. Some time ago I found an image online of a fairy walking around with a dandelion clock bouncing over her shoulder. I pursued this image all over the Internet but could not find the origin of it until I walked into the Lavinia Stamps stall and was magically transported to exactly the right end of fairy land. I bought a lot of fairies and, as soon as I got home and saw the quality of the stamps, bought a lot more, having found the website, www.laviniastamps.co.uk
Then Christmas occurred in the planning stages and I did nothing with the stamps at all apart from picking them up as I passed and admiring them.
Then finally, nourished to the remote molars with all things festive, I gave my self permission to stop and make some fairy cards.
I have loved every minute of making them, these are just four of the thirteen I made, retreating to bed each night with inky fingers. You can find demonstrations on the Lavinia stamps website and all over the Internet with a search engine. Many crafty people seem to enjoy showing you just how jolly clever these fairy stamps make them feel. Apparently I do too.
I also enjoyed that cat, who seems to turn up on every other card. I do miss the cats, especially Cleo. Life feels quite empty sometimes without someone furry by your side. I keep having sandwiches with Turkey ham filling and getting to eat it all myself, which is such a waste. I think the whole point of a turkey sandwich is sharing the filling with a cat. Minky got so good at sitting on my knee. looking studiously the other way until I had given her most of the turkey; any subsequent turkey that I get to eat all of which, doesn’t taste the same.
On the other hand a stamped cat won’t bring mice in and then drop them and lose them. I really don’t miss rescuing a mouse from under the Welsh dresser late at night when I was just on my way up to bed, at all. Neither do I miss an enforced deep clean of my bed and all the bedding when people who have just caught flea-infested mice decide to sit on your bed and have a good wash.
Stamped cats have some benefits, so do stamped feral fairies. These fairies are very different to my porcelain fairies. Anything I make tends inevitably towards the small round and cuddly, I cannot do elegant, it just isn’t in me. Lavinia fairies are very tall slim and elegant and, I consider from observation, evolving artistically. Years of interviewing artists have convinced me that the best art is a separate life form that latches on to the mind of a willing artist, leaking out of the fingers and evolving in a way that a good artist is powerless to stop. I think the best ones hang on for the ride.
Very interesting. I find Lavinia fairies to be therapeutic and a great antidote to the dreaded festivities. Terry Pratchett wrote about this type of fairy very well. His were a dangerous alternate life form with their own agenda that had to be kept in their place with extreme Morris dancing. I will watch the Lavinia fairies with great interest, I think this is an arty outpost of fairyland which is taking on a life of its own.
I have sent off for more stamps which I will put aside until after the holidays when I may well be in need of fairy rescue. I have my first year cancer check up at the start of January; I think it may do me good to turn up with inky fingers.