Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Fit for purpose

Blimey, here we are in October already.  It's warmer than it was in July, which is just WRONG.  One of the most peculiar things about unseasonable heat in the Autumn is that it gets dark early, and we have to choose between sitting in the garden in the pitch black, or inside the house at 7.30 at night, sweltering.  And, it being Autumn, many, many spiders are migrating indoors, so if we have the windows open to cool the house down, they come swarming in with little cries of glee.

Sitting outside in the dark isn't as much fun as you might imagine, either.

Anyway, today it's raining, but still really warm, which is even odder.  It feels like being in the tropics, but with all the leaves falling off the trees, and everything in the garden looking tired and brown.  Including me.

I've been busy of late, trying to get myself motivated and prepared for the oncoming winter.  I am behaving like the proverbial ant in the fable, storing up for the cold days ahead.  Unfortunately, I am not storing up anything very useful, or solid, like chopped logs and salted beef.  

I spent a constructive few days making crab apple jelly, using the apples from the little tree in our front garden.  The first batch I made turned out well, crystal clear and a beautiful pink colour, so I was encouraged to make some more. Mr WithaY brought home a helpful suggestion from a colleague that I add chilli, which I did, and it made the most delicious sweet hot jelly.  It's perfect with roast chicken, and cold meat. 

Inspired, I bought a dozen small "presentation" jars and have made a load more.  Expect to receive it for Christmas, non-virtual mates!

Why yes, I did spend some time stacking them in a variety of ways, just to photograph them.

I don't have a job any more.

I also started on a commission for a friend.  She asked if I could make her a noticeboard, which I was delighted to agree to.

It all went well at first.  The fabric she gave me to make it with is gorgeous, I found ribbon to match it, and then some satin to self-cover some buttons to finish it off.  I was mighty pleased with myself, I can tell you. 

In an effort to bring my fabric noticeboard-making process into the post-Industrial age, I bought a hot glue gun recently.  They're not particularly cheap - about £25 if I remember right - and I had high hopes for it.  I envisaged a perfect series of satisfying gluey blobs being produced as required, aimed and controlled by my craftswoman-like skills to allow simple button placement and a professional finish to my work.

I was mistaken in that assumption.

Reader, it took me well over an hour to stick on 25 buttons.  You have to plug the glue gun in and wait for it to heat up - at least 10 minutes - and then slooooowly and carefully squeeze the trigger until a blob of glue is extruded.  That's the theory.  In reality, you slooooowly and carefully squeeze the trigger, and nothing happens.  You put the glue gun back on the stand, and curse quietly. waiting another minute or two, as the instructions tell you.  You pick up the glue gun and you try again, squeezing the trigger slooooowly and carefully.  Nothing happens, so you squeeze the trigger more rapidly, in a gunslinger trigger-happy pumping motion.  A blob of glue drips out, and you cheer inwardly.

You stick a few buttons in place using this technique.  You pause and make a cup of tea, smug that you have mastered the technology, and are a genius.  A glue-based genius.

You pick up the glue gun to continue your creative endeavours.  The glue gun refuses to extrude any more glue.  It is sulking.  You leave it for a minute or two and then try again.  The rapid-fire technique no longer works. You revert back to the long slow squeeze.  Nothing happens. 

You swear, louder and more fluently.  You keep trying different squeeze techniques, which makes your hand hurt.  Eventually, you coax enough glue out of the gun to stick each button down.

You are not entirely confident that they will remain in place, but by now your hand is cramping and you hate the sight of your stupid crappy not-working-properly glue gun. 

So.  I took the completed noticeboard round to my friend, and gave it to her with the caveat that the buttons might not stay put, and that she should let me know if they fell off. 

The next day she rang me.  The buttons had fallen off.  Arse.

I went and collected it, and now it is sitting on my kitchen table, looking reproachful as I try to think of a way to sort it out. 

Other news:  I have rejoined the gym.  I am hilariously unfit.  This situation will change, or I might die in the attempt.


the veg artist said...

I, too, hate glue guns. In his youth, hubby did a Conservation degree, so I can honestly claim an art technician at hand. Very useful at times!

Mary Ann said...

I have a super industrial strength glue gun that is very very super gluey hot and very very dangerous as a result...I have the scar to prove it. I used to use it all the time but now I very rarely use a glue gun for crafty stuff...I use a super tacky glue that dries clear. The glue gun glue hardens and isn't porous enough for fabric etc...:)

livesbythewoods said...

TVA, they're just rubbish, aren't they? Can I borrow your conservator sometime though?

Mary Ann, yours sounds frankly terrifying. Put it in the shed and back away slowly.