... and the ingredients?
In my case, the ingredients include a keen interest in acquiring new craft skills - predominantly those relating to textile crafts ('Jack of all trades and master of...' comes to mind - but I get by). A firm belief that I am not an artist, have no artistic traits/skills/tendencies and yet I can 'cook up' a good idea from the ingredients to hand. An unshakable tendency to hoard fabric(new and 'recyclable')/yarns/beads/threads.... A good library of craft books and magazines, including a lovely set of vintage 30s,40s,50s needlework magazines and a bound set of 'Golden Hands'. I learn techniques, pick up hints/tips/tricks but absolutely and rigorously observe all copyrights. I am guided by a firm belief in Fair Trade principles. For some reason, a love of tiny things and miniaturisation has always been quite central to my interests. I think this may have been born of limited pocket money and shortage of materials, as a child, coupled with some favourite baby dolls which were only about 6 inches tall and for whom I fashioned many wardrobes!
Many of the other influences are even less tangible. I have always had an interest in wildlife and the countryside, in the heritage and traditions of craft skills, in growing our own fruit and veg, in the effects of colour and texture on my mood. (The ways in which certain combinations can instantly and unexpectedly unlock archived memory files - causing recollections to flood out constantly causes fascination).
Why it is that the ingredients for my soup give rise to certain broths or creamy creations and not others I have no idea. Many of the ingredients in my store cupboard are personal and unique and are only in my possession. The exact combination of ingredients in that pantry is entirely unique - much of it based upon life's experiences.
I shall try to give you an idea of the ingredients selected for today's concoction. The aforementioned fascination with things miniature, a stock of printed cotton fabrics, a (possibly) rather strange imagination, an undeniable love of 'cute' themes - which I have tried to hide (unsuccessfully). The importance of family life and precious recollections of the many milestones along the way. Lastly, I think, a family of little robins. Published in a women's weekly magazine, each chapter in their life story was only a couple of paragraphs, together with a single illustration. Every Sunday my father cooked breakfast and mum had a 'lie in'. Difficult to achieve with a young family, her solution was to let my sister and I scramble into bed with her and listen to the latest escapades of Rowly and Rowena robin. Brief in written detail, most of their family antics were hugely supplemented by our imaginations.
My imagination, coached by the author of 'the Robin Family', has now embarked on the textile illustrations of the lives of Millie Mouse and friends. Your imagination will need to supply all the details. Today's offering is 'Isobel's First Day at School':