Thursday, 29 March 2012

Too much thinking, not enough doing...

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So how have you been? It's been a while. I say this like someone is reading...I've a feeling though I sit and waffle away to myself :)

Well it's been beautiful weather this last week and I have got some sewing done in the sunny conservatory with the sound of the birds tweeting and the sight of the neighbours cats pooing...hmm not so good.

I remember reading that cats don't like strong smells, I know when I've bought cat derrent before it smelt really quite nice, but they don't like it. So after cutting the grass yesterday I febreezed the trodden down path the neighbourhood cats have made along my lawn. Yes, really. I actually febreezed my lawn!  Before now I've tried, orange peel, which is good for a day or so then the smell goes, I've thrown down bowls of water with washing up liquid in...water was quite hot though and I killed the grass -oopsy. This was all when I was trying to stop them using the veggie patch as their loo. But I gave up with the veg patch as it totally put me off eating anything from it...and yes I did make a netting lid to go over it, but these cats appear to wear utility belts for any occasion and somehow managed to claw their way through, or possibly use the laser cutter they appear to carry with them, why don't they just carry porta potties instead! Anyway, the garden smelt lovely yesterday 'summer breeze' febreeze smells even fresher in the garden than it does in the house lol Anything has to be better than 'Eau d'catpoo'
The neighbours probably think I'm totally insane, as not long after the febreezing the grass I was then hanging a Union Jack bag from a shrub taking photos for my facebook page. I'm not insane, just errrm....creative *cough*. Infact they often see me hanging a variety of items from there, it's a pretty shrub and shows off the items nicely.

The opening of this blog makes it sound like I've been really busy. I have and I haven't. I've been uber busy thinking about stuff to make, quite a bit less busy about actually making it. Orders have quietened down of late, so I was going to use this time to make up stock, of which I had very little and I'm supposed to be having a stall at a little fete in a couple of months. But My get up and go basically got up and went. I did get a couple of orders through though and this spurred me on to keep making after I'd made the orders up. But alas today all i can think about is the things that I should be doing, rather than actually doing them.

A downside of the sunny weather is the realisation that my windows are in dire need of a clean. The sun has been shining through what looks like an opaque window, it is infact clear glass, just 'in need of a clean' clear glass. My plan of action today was, school run, get home, empty dishwasher, get ironing out of the way while the weather was still a bit nippy, then out with my bowl of soapy water and get those windows sparkly clean. So far in reality, I did school run, emptied dishwasher, looked at the ironing pile and gave a sigh, made some fimo hearts and ate a hot cross bun whilst they were baking. Hmm, the day hasn't gone quite to plan. (the hot cross bun was yummmmmy though).

Oh, I also washed up some glass jars for a new project, a new project that I've been wanting to start for ages but as usual never quite got round to it. I think it's because I know it means I'm going to have to find room for even more 'stuff' and my craft storage is slowly, well, rather quickly actually, taking over the conservatory. Now considering the conservatory is the width of my house and 15ft deep, thats a whole lot of space covered in 'stuff'. :(

As I thought more about preparing the things I need to wash the windows I obviously somehow ended up on here writing this to put it off a bit longer. I WILL wash the windows today though as the weather is supossed to turn rubbish again soon and there's no way I'm going out there cleaning windows whilst it's cold. Hmm, but then again, if the sun is soon going to dissapear, no one will see that the windows need washing ;) No Claire, they HAVE to be done. Its the school Easter holidays starting next week and we have a very busy 2 weeks planned, so nothing much is going to get done  and I don't even have tomorrow to rush round as I'm at hospital most of the day.

I'm off to climb the ironing pile and possibly wash the windows. I'm taking the kids to town straight from school to pick up Jacks new glasses so I'll not get anything done then either.

Please, please, please if anyone is out there reading this, do you have any tips on how to find your get up and go once it's got up and left the building? I need willpower and determination to make this work and I'm lacking both which I find very frustrating. ANY help much appreciated!

Hugs xxx

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Spring is in the air....which makes for a much happier Claire.

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Well, it's been beautiful the last couple of days, bloody freezing, but sunny all the same. I'm so thankful for some sunshine at last, it makes everything seem so much better.

I've had a productive week so far (that sounds more impressive than it is, as it's actually only Tuesday evening at the moment. ;) I think the productiveness is al due to the sunshine, I've been sat in the conservatory, sun shining, birds doors cat pooping grrrr, but apart from the cat, it's been lovely. It's been me, crafts, music and crafting. Lovely.

My Eco Bags have been selling well this week, so I've been decorating a few more of those to have in stock. I've also been playing with a new product today.

Last week I had a look round the market in town and I saw a stall which just sold stamps, I've had some stamp related ideas floating round for a while now, but not really done anything about them, so I thought I'd go and have a nosey. Once I had squeezed my way though the elderly men who seem to be almost closing up gaps so I couldnt get a look in, which of course made me want to look all the more, what were they hiding in there?!  I soon was drawn to a massive box of little packs of stamps, all labelled up with countries or worldwide mix, I asked how much they were, I know nothing about stamps so I had no knowledge to whether they were a good price or not, but they seemed ok to me so I bo ught a few packs.

So today I sat in the sunshine in the warmth of the conservatory surrounded by stamps and PVA glue. There's something about PVA glue that instantly turns me into a 5 year old, I just need to get my hands right in and go for it.  I covered several little trinket boxes in the stamps and got very satisfyingly gloopy in the process :) This has now now spurred me on to finding more reasons to get gloopy with PVA at any given time.

Tomorrow will be back to needle and thread and possibly some fimo making too. I have an incredibly short boredom threshold, so I really do need to keep a nice mixture of crafts going or I think I'd go stir crazy....well, more so than I am already.

This weekend I'm going back down South, where I am originally from, to meet up with some old primary school freinds. I've not seen most of them for decades, so it'll be interesting to meet up.

This however brings the dilema of the fact that my ever increasing self is now not going to fit into what I'd really like to wear...or just about anything else in my wardrobe, so I'm wondering if it would be ok to turn up in PJs? I could say it was all the rage up North :) We're meeting up at a pub that is near to our old primary school. I wish we could have a look round the school, so many happy memories were made in that school, luckily they aren't locked inside the school, but inside my head :)

I actually travel down on Friday, so I've got a long weekend away, which will be nice, but I'll also miss my boys lots as I'm going alone while the boys stop home with my hubby.

But for now I'm off to bed to dream of losing half a stone before the morning, this may mean I wake up and have chopped a limb off of course, as I can't see how else it's going to happen. It doesn't help that I made a banana loaf this week and it keeps calling me to eat it...damn that banana bread!

Hugs xx

Friday, 24 February 2012

Birthdays, buttons and bumps on the nose.

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Once again, I find myself thinking, wow, it's been a while since I've blogged. I really have no idea where time is going at the moment.

It hardly seems like a week or so ago that I was starting out on this venture, stitching gingerbread men and Christmas trees...and now it's nearly March :-/

It's my birthday tomorrow - Saturday. Hmm, never a good thing once I passed 25. To me a birthday isn't a time of excitment and glee, but of a quiet *sigh* and a count up of any new wrinkles. I'm begining to think that possibly the wrinkles are actually like the rings inside a tree that show it's age, though I'm pretty sure I don't have 39 crows feet...just yet. But yes, 39 is the age that Saturday will delight me with, which I'm kind of overlooking and already stressing about the fact that after that I'll be 40! Arrghhh! I had a slight worry of turning 30, but moreso of turning 35, ever since being 35 I've assumed I was practically 40, so now with 40 looking close (ok, ok, Im not actually even 39 yet...) but with it getting ever closer, I'm now thinking, oh my goodness that means the 50 is the next milestone!

So basically, ever since I was about 35, I've thought I'm 40, so now I'm turning 39, I'm looking towards 50 - it's a habit I really need to break....before I'm 60 ;)

I've had to put my business cap on on my craft page, something I'm not too good at wearing, I can wear my mothers/cleaners/cooks/agony aunt/crafter hat no problem, but laying down hard and fast rules for potential customers isn't something I feel comfortable with. :(

It's strange really, as if I read on someones page, be it facebook, eBay a website whatever, the terms and conditions, I don't sit back and think, oh my word, how stroppy, but I think that's how people will see me when I do it. But I've come to learn that whilst I'd much prefer to keep the page as personal and friendly as I can, I also need to lay down a few rules so we are all happy. I'm hoping it's going to save me wasted hours...and money.

I've been trying to source particular buttons recently, it's doing my head in now as I can't find what I need. On the other hand I am nurturing my button obsession, which seems to be growing stronger each day :) My lovely Nan, bought out a massive tin of buttons she had saved over the years and just said, help yourself to what you want! Ooo lovely!! I thought it a little rude to just close the lid and say, ok thanks, I'll take them all ;) So spent ages choosing lovely little buttons. Now I have the dilema of I don't actually want to use them as I don't want to see them dissapear off to someone elses house :(
I did buy some lovely old buttons on a local market yesterday, they were very pretty and i couldnt resist!
I'm also finally parting with a childhood button collection from the 80s. All novelty shaped buttons, from the 'magical button tin' I had, that of course wasn't magical, but I hoped dearly that it would be one day! I've put them up for sale, but I'm doubtful they will sell, as most of them there is just one of each. Oh well, If not I'll just have to put them back in their non magical tin.

Mothers days is looming. I made my Mum one of my Button Hearts for her birthday that has just gone, she seemed to love it, so thats good :) I had been thinking of making her something for Mothers Day too, but it seems a bit of a cop out, but then again surely something handmade is much more personal than someting brought in the high street of which there are several hundred other Mothers receiving the exact same thing?

I've really got to concentrate on building stock, I keep saying it, but thats as far as it's getting. There have been several things stopping me, one reason is to do with an order..long story. The other main reason is Alfie had a brace fitted this week. It is a removable one and is purely to move his two front teeth together, he's only just turned nine and still has alot of baby teeth or adult teeth that are barely through, both my boys have been slow with their teeth, so they aren't shifting any other teeth around, just trying to make a little more room for the ones coming next. He's been very excited about the whole process, up until last night when it really started to ache :( He's putting on a very brace face though bless him :(

Considering he only had the brace fitted on Tuesday dinnertime and today is Friday, this morning he said to me, look its moved my teeth already, I went to humour him with a 'ooo yes'..but it really HAD moved them. I was quite shocked. I knew this wasn't going to be a long process, but really? Tuesday -Friday? Especially considering he had to take it out Wednesday afterschool and leave it out until the next day as we had to go back to the orthadontist because it was cutting his lip. He used to be able to stick his tongue sideways between his front teeth, but now there isn't enough room. I think he's slightly gutted at this as it's something he often sits and does, usually when chilled out watching TV or something. He also likes to 'impress' by drinking through a straw with the straw between his teeth...strange child ;) He'll have to think of another party trick now!

I had a lovely spa weekend with a friend last weekend, an early birthday present from my husband. It was soooo nice, I felt like I was walking on clouds by the end of the day, yet now it seems a million years ago. I've been very good though and really trying to pamper my skin and generally chill since being back. It's usually when Alfie is getting ready for bed, I slap on a face mask and walk around either looking like Shrek or Casper the Ghost, ordepending on whether I use the green one or the white one.  I'm never chilled out with the mask on as I am just pottering around getting Alfie sorted for bed etc, but all the same it's nice to wash it off later and my skin feels lovely. The downside to this of course, is it brings all the baddies out and I am now sporting a beautiful red bump on my nose. I can't even call it a spot, it's just a glowing red bump. The more I try and conceal it, the brighter is glows. I'm trying to decide whether to go for a temporary job as a traffic light, though obviously I can only do the red light, thankfully I don't have a yellow or green spot!

Tomorrow, birthday day, will be haircuts and parties ...sadly neither of which are mine. Alfie is having his haircut at 9.30 and he has a kids party to go to in the afternoon, I may just wear a 'birthday girl' badge too at the party and see if I can get some free jelly and ice cream ;) But I am also glad the party is not mine, I have no wish to have a room full of people there to remind me I'm another year older, afterall, I'll be 40 soon....oops, I said I'd stop that didn't I ;)

Hopefully next time I write, I shall be spot free and just glowing in a fab way instead....don't hold your breath though.


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Up and Down like a Yo-Yo

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I just re read my last post, I was shocked to see it was two weeks ago, where has the time gone?

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirl to be honest. Lots of ups and downs. Nothing major, but all the same a bit of a rollercoaster ride that I'd have been only too happy to get off at any point. I never have been one to love rollercoasters, I would much rather sit and eat ice cream whilst watching the kids whizz past on some dreadful, stomach churning, looking contraption. I'd always used the fact that Alfie was too small to go on the big rides as my excuse to stay off them, but now he's getting older, the fact is there for all to see that, yes, I am indeed a big girl and their are very few rollercoasters you will get me on.  I do love 'Air' at Alton Towers though, I feel like I'm flying, it's a lovely free feeling, though to be fair, if any bird flew as fast,randomly and upside as that rollercoaster,  I think it would end up beak first into the nearest tree.

The only rollercoaster I've been riding is my own really. There have been ups and downs with the craft venture, a couple of issues that arose really put a major dampner on the whole thing. I really began to wonder if it was all worth the stress. But then on the other side of the coin, I've had some lovely messages and feedback from happy customers, so fingers crossed the ups will always outweigh the downs and if the time comes when it doesn't I shall be hanging up my needle n thread.

My Boys and me had a flying visit to my parents this week. We arrived on Sunday afternoon and left Tuesday afternoon. My parents live down in Suffolk, which is my hometown and I live up in Derbyshire, so it's not often we get to see them. My Husband was working down south, so as it was half term we went down too and stopped with my parents whilst he was off working, then he picked us up Tuesday afternoon.  On the Tuesday morning we went and visited my Nan. She came through with a BIG biscuit tin, filled not with biscuits - normally this would be a great dissapointment, but no, not this time, as it was filled with buttons! Buttons, buttons, glorious buttons. I never knew I had a button addiction until I started this venture, though when looking back, perhaps it's always been there bubbling under the surface.

I used to have a comic delivered to the door everyweek when I was a little girl, back in the day when a comic was just that...a comic, not a poor excuse of a childs magazine with a 'free' pile of junk sealed on the front of it, all enclosed within a polythene bag, so no matter how much I assure the kids that the tat on the front will be broken within minutes and the magazine will be rubbish. I can not open the pages to show them the magazine is full of nothing and the 'free toy' really didn't warrant paying £4.99!

Anyway, the point of this seemingly random rant is, in this comic, there was a story about two children who used to go and visit their gran who had a magic tin of buttons. The children would choose a button and gran would tell them about which rich adventure she'd had that made her end up with the button. It was always something magical and wonderful. As I had such a vivid imagination - and still have, I thought if I too had this wonderful box of buttons, I too would be able to magic myself to all these wonderful places whenever I chose to. One christmas my Nan had bought me a sewing box, the same one that I use today infact, in this sewing box, amongst many other delights was a little tin with a hinged lid. I decided this was the perfect button box. Over the next few months or years, I really have no idea, I started collecting interesting buttons...well, I thought they were interesting at the time. In hindsight they were infact mass produced plastic buttons in quirky shapes. All the same I collected these 'magical' buttons in my little tin. I'm not entirely sure how I thought these buttons would somehow have some rich adventure within them, but perhaps that's where my love of buttons came started. I still have the tin, still with the buttons in it, along with lots of childhood pin badges and a magic roundabout charm bracelet. Hmm, perhaps I'm finding that I am also a hoarder? 

I have thought recently about getting rid of the little buttons, as sadly when i take one out of the tin, there are no stars, no magic, no adventure. Just a feeling of, I wonder what made me choose this plastic button shaped like a pencil sharpner? Whilst searching for buttons on eBay recently for a craft order, I came across some similar aged buttons and saw that they were selling, so now I'm tempted to sell them...but I'm torn, do I or don't I?  As much as they don't whisk me away to a magical place, they do take me back to my childhood bedroom laid on the carpet reading my comic, maybe that memory in itself is the magical place.  I am struggling for space though and any money would be a bonus, but I feel like I'm selling a little bit of my that ridiculous? They are only plastic novelty shaped buttons afterall....aren't they?

I'm also torn with the buttons my Nan gave me, she gave them to be to use with my crafts, but can I part with these buttons to someone. I'm not sure.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Another week...another worry.

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Monday morning, another start to another week. A friend called in this morning and she had a magazine with her. She read my horoscope out, I'm a Pisces, it mentioned getting creative and going online. My facebook craft page was obviously always going to happen regardless as it was in the stars ;-) 

It did not however let me know that my dentist appointment today was actually at 10.00, not as I arrived just in time for my 10.30 appointment, that didn't actually exist. My boys both have an appointment there tomorrow after school though, so I'm going to hopefully been seen then too. I did triple check with the receptionist that I had the right day and time for that one! My youngest is at the orthadontist on Friday to have a mould taken for a brace, so he will be checked over again then.

I laid awake worrying about an order I've taken last night. I'm trying to source somewhere that sells fabric at a decent price. I've found bundles of fat quarters with the perfect designs, but at astronomical prices, if anyone has any ideas I'd be very grateful.

I'm supposed to be keeping a food diary at the moment to curb my tendency to eat lots of high fat/sugar goodies. It's quite frankly driving me a little insane. All I can think about is food and as I'm looking round the kitchen at the empty packets of treat sized chocolate buttons, I'm not sure it's helping either :-/ I have the willpower of a squashed slug. Overall it just seems to be making me hungry and cranky, not a good mix.

Today I'm torn between getting on with some crafting that is here ready to be done, or going into town to try and find some decent priced fabric. I know doing the latter will ease my worry if I find it, if I don't however, it will only feed the worry. Being the ultimate queen of procrastination, of course I am sat here blogging instead to avoid having to choose between either.

I will be posting out my new Button Heart today that was a custom order. My friend ordered a green heart so i let her choose the name. So far we have the pink one being 'candyfloss' mix, the purple/pink one being 'Berry' Mix and this one is now called 'Mushy Peace' :) 

I should probably head into town as I have an extra hour before picking Alfie up today, as he is going to a  Martial Arts club at school till 4.15. I'm sure he will come home thinking he is Kung Foo Panda. I'd better tie some cushions round me so I'm ready for any attacks! The sun is shining but it's freeeezing out there -blah, roll on summer!

Hugs xx

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Juggling motherhood with crafting

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I've been spending so much on craft stock this month, it's quite scary. I need to get making and selling ASAP! Orders have slowed a little at the moment, they seem to come in waves, I'm super busy one week and quieter the next. I'm hoping to use this quieter time to build up some stock as I want to try some craft fairs at some point.

Motherhood has been tough this week so far - and it's only Tuesday! My eldest son is away on an adventure course all week, I know he's having fun he called tonight and he's been abseiling off a 50ft bridge, I can't believe he managed it, what a superstar :) Alfie, my youngest is really feeling it with Jack not being here and he had a few tears last night because he misses him. Then to top it off I discovered this evening he has headlice, or the joys of motherhood :-/ He's not had them before and he's none to impressed, particularly after me combing through his hair caked in conditioner to try and get rid of any little hitchhiker who thought it could hide from me and my nitcomb, grrrr, don't infest my children little horrid bugs, prepare to face the Mummynator!

I feel like I've pulled a muscle in my stomach this evening, I know this can't be the case as I'm quite sure I don't even have stomach muscles, I am just held up by the wobble :) I'm not sure what I've done, but it's sore and annoying. It's definately going to be one of those weeks.

On the upside, I've had a trip to the neurologist today, just a check up as I have epilepsy, but I was in on time which is a miracle! All I could think whilst sat in the waiting room was I could be crafting! I'm getting obsessed!

Another fabulous thing to happen this week was having an article put on the fabulous More Than Mummies website. I enjoyed writing it, as you can tell from my blogs, I can waffle on for hours if given the chance. But I didn't think I would have all the wonderful feedback that I've had from it. It's been such a wonderful thing to get messages from people saying what a help it's been to read it and so many people appear to have been in the same situation as me either in the past or still now. I think it's always good to know you're not alone when you're not feeling at your most positive and If me waffling on has done that, then I'm over the moon.  If you want a read of the article it can be found here.

I'm finding more and more that, as I originally hoped, the crafting community overall seems really supportive and I've made some really good friends along the way so far.

I've got lots of crafting to do next week, this week seems to be filled up with hospital appointments and relief work at school (though the money will come in handy for sure!). I hope I can get back into the swing of it, I don't like having to take a break as it's all too easy to fall out of sync and start slacking.

I will be finishing some hearts tomorrow that I started today, and hoping to get a few more bags started at least. One thing I definately won't be doing is spending more money, late night eBaying is lethal I've decided! I'm looking forward to getting all the parcels though, I'm so impatient, I want them all yesterday :)

I think I'm going to treat my sleepy head to an early night. I'm so tired and that will surely only mean wonky stitches and I get a bit fraught with wonky stitches and sit and unpick hours worth of work if I'm not happy with it!

Hope you are all having a good week :)
Hugs xx

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Organised Chaos...

Apologies for lack of blogging of late, I've been busy with...well, errm, I'm not even sure what I've been busy with, but I've been very busy.

Of course I've been crafting, finishing orders, starting new ones and trying to build a little stock inbetween (of which I'm failing miserably). I've also had several hospital appointments, which for me means hours sat on a bus. I wish I could sew whilst sat on a bus, but alas I fear my stitching would be all over the place!

I really need to get some organisation in my life. It's not a natural thing for me and whilst I prefer to know what lies ahead in my day, or open a box to find exactly which craft items I'm looking for, even knowing what I went into a room for would be a start, but no, none of those are really me. I get out of bed with some vague intention of things that need to be done, but tend to start them all and finish not many of them. Everytime I tackle my ever growing craft boxes I get a sense of wellbeing when they are all tidy, then I gain more stuff and it turns into a big ugly pile which is spreading further and further around my consveratory. As for the time spent re tracing my steps to see if I can fathom why I've walked into a room, I give up! My eldest son (12) goes away for a week with school tomorrow, I wonder if he'd mind if on his return his room has been transformed into a craft workshop ;-)

I feel I'm begining to find where I want to go with the crafts, I wasn't really sure to start with as it was all a bit of an accident it happening in the first place, typically me, no plan, it just happened. But I've gone from using alot of felt to other fabrics and also some polymer clay (fimo) items. I do have quite a low boredom threshold, so I know to keep my interest in the venture I have to have a variety of things to do.

I'm quite liking the fact that the whole process is changing in quite an organic fashion, for instance, the heart garlands which I sell so many of, were originally single hearts with a snowflake stitched on them for Christmas trees, a customer asked for one but with an intial on, these then sold like hotcakes and one person asked for a whole group of names, so I suggested they were done in a garland rather than seperate hearts. I like that, I like the way things just change in a natural flow, rather than a hard set rule. I guess thats the unorganised side of me (who am I kidding, I don't think I even have an orgainsed side!)

I'm finding out what I like, I just hope it's what other people like too. I have discovered a ridiculous love of buttons - I'm begining to wonder if I was a pearly queen in a former life!- Fabrics that I'm drawn too all seem to have a slightly quirky quality to them, I'm enjoying sourcing out vintage items and upcycling them to be loved once more and have re-discovered my love for playing, oops, I mean working, with fimo. Something I did alot of when I was back in college a few decades ago!

I'm getting more and more people talking the business side of things with me, money, accounts, stock taking etc. Whilst I know all of this is important, I still feel like I'm almost 'playing shop' and not really doing this as trying to earn some money. My husband has always been known for using spreadsheets for the most mundane of tasks, it's become a bit of an ongoing joke, but now they are being suggested for keeping tabs on everything for the crafts. I currently own two books, one for orders, one for keeping track of what Ive bought and when. To me this is fine, I understand it, I can't delete it and I can also doodle on the back pages of ideas that pop up, which they often do!

I've been decorating some bags recently, I'm struggling to want to sell them, I love canvas bags and have several already and desperately want one of mine, plus hey, it's free advertising! :-D At the moment as soon as they are made, people buy them, which is great, but I have promised myself that I will have one of my own sometime soon.

I've another busy week ahead of me, sadly not much crafting time though, but I shall squeeze some in somewhere....talking of which, I should probably be sewing right now. (what that actually means, is I really need to tidy up, but sewing seems a much nicer idea).