Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Infinite variety

Most people who have a connection to the internet have had the experience of surfing from one page to another, travelling from subject to subject in an unplanned and unformed way.  My day was like that yesterday.  I'm missing Eelco, who went home on Sunday, and trying to clear and tidy away the things I have collected recently.

I started with tidying up, and saw there were strong cardboard boxes littering the living room, which had held deliveries for my birthday, and some things from Amazon.  I began by moving them into the kitchen, thinking I would disassemble them and take them to the recycling place on Friday (it's only open Friday to Monday) but it occurred to me that I have been planning to make Christmas decorations and would need cardboard for that.

So I drifted from tidying to cutting out stars and hearts and Christmas trees, while listening to a play on Radio 4.  The iPlayer has become increasingly frustrating for me, listening mostly on my laptop, as the BBC in their wisdom have designed the page for mobile and tablet, and removed most of the useful navigational ways of seeing what's available.  Nowadays I look up the category I am interested in and have to click back and forth through the list of apparently available drama, most of which isn't available at all.

I found a Martin Beck mystery and found I have been missing these, the past few weekends.  There were several mentioned on the site which were no longer available to listen to.  I listened to the available edition and followed that with some preposterous nonsense which purported to be a whodunnit starring a fictional version of Noel Coward... strange.  A growing heap of cardboard offcuts grew at my feet while I assembled a box full of stars and other useful shapes.

In the course of making the five pointed star I wanted, I made a six pointed star, and adapted this to a snowflake.  That led me to look up snowflakes on google, and I found a wikipedia article with a lot of pictures of snowflakes.  I read the article, but the explanation that a snowflake has a six-fold symmetry because the climactic conditions are similar for the formation of the flake seemed a very poor explanation to me.  Surely if the climactic conditions were the only consideration there'd be a lot of very similar snowflakes falling all the time, which doesn't seem to be the case?

Kim has been making papier mache using shredded tissue paper and a whisk to make a clay-like substance.  I went onto Pinterest to show her some white salt dough made with cornflour, and caught site of a picture of a Swedish house lit from within. I then made a couple of little houses... having found a good shape I reversed the construction to give myself a pattern to use when next I have a pile of cardboard.  I fancy groups of snow-covered cottages and houses for Christmas....

Pinterest, and returning to tidying up, led me to think about other craft projects I have been meaning to try, and when I found a little pile of fabric which needed returning to the pile of hampers I keep that stuff in, I began to think about Mister Finch and his moths and mushrooms.  He makes fantastical creatures from fabric, and I have often lusted over them but am unable to afford them.  The only way I am getting a Mister Finch mushroom is if I make one myself I thought, and immediately began to think about how they are constructed.

So still in the middle of a chaos of untidied sewing and craft materials, I began to try my hand at a Mr Finch mushroom.  I had two completed by bedtime, one small and the other enormous.  Neither of them is anywhere near his professional finish, but I realised that little mushrooms might make lovely pincushions, and great Christmas presents.

I was still thinking about snowflakes and their beauty and variety this morning and so looked for creative commons pictures to illustrate this blog post.  I found the amazingly beautiful work of Alexey Kljatov, who is the photographer responsible for the photograph above.  The more I look at them, the more I think snowflakes are more than just a random freezing of water... I do not think similar environmental conditions explain the symmetry and beauty that Alexey has captured.  For those interested in snowflake photography, he gives a lot of information about how he makes these pictures on his blog.

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