I finally got down to doing some stuff in my ARTHaven today. I spent quite a long time setting up the video camera on a tripod, so that I can record my work in progress when I want - if I leave this set up permanently it will save a lot of time.
Here is how it looks now:
I am highly delighted that my clip-on spot lamp will clip onto the camera tripod, so that I can direct the light exactly where I want, right onto the work. I was unable to buy a daylight spot bulb for it today, but will look on the Internet - this will give better light than I'm currently getting. I also want to put daylight bulbs in the floor-standing Anglepoise and the overhead light.
It is so thrilling to have my ARTHaven in a state where I can actually start creating in it! There's a long way to go as far as organising it is concerned - I am still at the stage where things are pretty chaotic, and I still can't find everything, but as time goes on, I am sure this will improve.
I've got a cassette player set up so that while I work, I can be converting my old tapes to mp3s on the desktop computer. There is room on the old computer table to have my large laptop set up so that I can do any graphics work on that - when I get my Cricut machine, it will be easy to connect it up to that computer.
The left-hand corner of the work table seems to have designated itself as my "hot" area! I have the iron there, and the heat gun, and on the floor between the 2 tables, there is room to prop up my glass heat-proof mat out of the way when it's not in use. I have found that ironing on the table with the heat-proof craft mat does make the green cutting mat bulge a bit with the heat, so putting the craft mat on top of the glass mat helps prevent this.
I now have rolls of cling film and baking parchment to hand, for my experiments in fusing and melting - the baking parchment is essential for protecting the iron! See more on my "Meltings" post.
I went shopping today and bought quite a few embellishments in the cake decorating department of our local hardware store. I am keen to try Penny Duncan's various flowers (see her blog: http://pennyduncancreations.blogspot.com for details.) There has been a lot of discussion on the Creative Inspirations forum on what to use for the best for the centres of the hibiscus flowers, and I found these today:
I bought a couple of bundles each of white and pink. I also found these jewelled ones in bundles, so I bought one of each:
Here they are slightly more in close up:
Perhaps we are sometimes we are a bit limited in our thinking when it comes to finding materials and embellishments for our creativity, going only to crafting shops or websites. I have found that by thinking "outside the box" a bit, there are plenty of gorgeous materials to be found in other places, like kitchen shops. Cake decorating can provide us with beautiful stuff - I've bought little jewelled stems, plastic wedding rings, and very pretty ribbons in the cake department, which I couldn't find in the local papercrafting shop - which does have an enormous stock of fabulous things - so much so that I usually have to tie a knot in my credit card before I go in there!!! There is also an embroidery and general craft shop in our town, which has different things again, and right at the top of town is an art shop which stocks all sorts of artists' materials, paints, paper, easels, you name it! They also sell a lot of general stationery. So we are very well provided for!
I also bought some little cutters in the hardware shop today, officially for cutting shapes in sugar paste for cake decorating, but I am going to use them for friendly plastic. I bought a butterfly, and a couple of flower shapes. I also found some very pretty organza butterflies which I bought to add to my collection of embellishments, and my hubby found a pack of 12 die-cut cup-cake wrappers with a very pretty design of butterflies - if I wanted to, they would be very easy to separate into their component parts, and there are literally hundreds of butterflies in the pack, all ready to be inked, painted, embellished and applied!
My hubby gave up quite a bit of his time today to help me. The hardware shop in question is almost inaccessible with the wheelchair unless I have help. I can get into the first bit (china and glass) but the main part of the shop is up 3 very steep steps, so my hubby had to drag the wheelchair up while I staggered up on foot! (There is an upstairs as well, but I didn't need to go there today - it's mostly tools and decorating stuff.) The main part of the downstairs is all kitchen stuff and it's a really really fun shop to look around! They've got gorgeous coffee pots, every sort of cooking equipment, and of course, the wonderful cake decorating department which seems to have everything! You can hire tins to bake large cakes, and stands for wedding cakes etc. and I believe they also organise cake decorating classes.
The only drawback apart from the immediate access is that the aisles are quite narrow, and they will keep boxes of stuff on the floor, making it quite impossible to get round in the wheelchair. I have discovered this in other shops too - I appreciate that in our small, old-fashioned town, they are constrained by the ancient buildings and probably lack of storage space behind, but generally in the town, very little concession is made for disabled access. This is not helped by the town being on an almost 45-degree slope!
There are lots of gorgeous little shops with real character, on the quaint steep and narrow High Street, and you can buy things that you wouldn't find in the big cities. The town has a very friendly atmosphere, and I usually meet at least one person I know when I go shopping. I really love it, but it isn't designed for disabled people!!!
When we got back and had lunch, I couldn't wait to get up in my ARTHaven and go through my new goodies, and start creating!