Saturday, 20 June 2015

Catching up

I'm not very consistent at the moment- neither is life. It's busy and occasionally threatens to engulf me entirely. But I am learning to recognise the anxiety  as it comes, to rationalise it and lean into peace. I'm getting there, slowly. This is a 'new' that is above and beyond all the changes in physical situations, but within. Maybe I'll talk about that next week (although I am going to the real life sea next week so you may be kept in suspense...)

On with the Stitch-alongs. I'm late for TUSAL and Gifted Gorgeousness but I'm here! I've actually missed the TUSAL for the past few months. TUSAL stands for "Totally Useless Stitch-along" and it's an opportunity for people to show off all of the scraps they've created by stitching over the month. We moved house in April and as a consequence my TUSAL jar was packed away, and I had to move on to a smaller, travel-sized version. I still haven't gone back!

Isn't it cute?

You can see the layers much more clearly from the different projects I was working on: lots of blackwork back in April, then some bold colours from my applique in May, and finally all the pastels from the 'Storytime Classics' sampler I've finally got stuck into this month!

It is also handy to carry around with me- I like to squeeze some stitching into my lunch break when I can, or just pass the time if I have to wait a while somewhere. I made a little drawstring bag way back when I bought that baby sewing machine, and it still gets plenty of use:

Just the right size to squeeze into a handbag! You can also see the progress I've made on the aforementioned sampler from the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery; I got off to a very bad start at the beginning of the year but have completed 2 month's worth this month already, so I'm optimistic it might still be finished by January 2016.

Unfortunately it has been my main project this month, and is the only one that doesn't qualify for "Gifted Gorgeousness" (see what I did there?!)

Gifted Gorgeousness is run by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching and it's an opportunity to share any crafting that has been done as a gift, or received. Last month I could only share a teaser with you but this month I can share what I sent to Canada in the Disney Craft Swap I joined in:

My swap partner liked 101 Dalmations and mentioned that Cruella DeVille was her favourite character, so I stitched some blackwork Dalmatians and an applique Cruella for a tote bag. The dalmatians were also supposed to end up on the bag but that didn't work out, I'm pretty please with the notebook cover as well though! I really enjoyed making for somebody else- it gave me to opportunity to try things that I wouldn't have done otherwise, and I made things in a style that I wouldn't necessarily want to keep. This post is a bit photo heavy already so I won't post close-ups now, but I was REALLY PLEASED with how it all turned out.

I also included some Cadbury's Marvellous Creations chocolate (the one with popping candy because it's my favourite), some hand-dyed threads from riotous colours, and a card with an illustration of Leeds on the front.

It has also been my birthday since this time last month and I have been treated to some beautiful Gifted Gorgeousness! I was given this cross stitch kit by some good friends:

I've wanted a Bothy Threads pattern for ages but have never quite been brave enough to buy one so this really was a treat! I'm looking forward to having a go with metallic threads and a bit of beading too so that will be fun.

Finally, my wonderful husband MADE my birthday present this year. It has been very mysterious as lots of small envelopes kept arriving in the post, and then he borrowed my spray glue and got all a bit stressed out while I was not allowed upstairs, but look at this:

Isn't it gorgeous?! The postcards are all from places we've been abroad together. This photo doesn't show off quite how well it goes in the room as well. To be honest I would have been over the moon with anything he'd gone to the trouble of making for me but this is perfect. I am a very lucky lady.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Busy as a bee

Another month gone by in a whirl! It's been a busy one, but good. I've enjoyed having my feet on the ground a little more than April which was all just silly. It's that time where I review how I'm coping with all of the 'new' in my life in 2015.

There is (shock horror) not actually a massive and life-changing new aspect to my life this month! Instead we've been trying to create some degree of normality around here. We are all but unpacked, and hosted a lovely housewarming 'do' last Saturday which was a low-key affair but actually perfect for it. The sun was shining so we sat in the back yard becoming slightly pink, then retired inside and saw in the early hours watching the craziness that is Eurovision.

Oh, did I tell you I've taken up baking bread? That's new. I'm getting to be quite pleased with the product and looking forward to the weekly kneading sessions!

Also, our church congregation has moved house (just round the corner from us!) That's new too, and exciting because it means we will get much more involved in the community, and I can invite people that I already know to a church in the vicinity. So there are some new things.

The 'new card' at work is wearing off; and actually it's lovely. I had a few weeks where I started dreading Mondays and having to go back, but I found that all that needed to change was my own attitude, and I am enjoying it again! It just has been (and continues to be) such a steep learning curve: as long as I keep on learning things keep on improving!

This is a picture of the swap gift I gave you a sneak peek of last week all wrapped up and ready to post... it is now sat in Heathrow airport waiting for it's flight so I am excited that I will be able to share the contents soon!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness in May

Well Hello.

"Gifted Gorgeousness" is a link-up that Jo over at Serendipitous Stitching runs, for people to share the beautiful gifts they have been creating during the month. And for once, I'm posting on the actual day we're supposed to!

Unfortunately I can't share very much of what I've been making over the last couple of months as it's for an online swap. You can have a couple of peeks...

... but that's it. I have to say I am enjoying making this soo much! I've tried out lots of new skills and made something that I love, but I definitely wouldn't want to own. That's the joy of a swap or gift; it caters to someone else's tastes so you get to stretch just a bit further.

Have a look over here to see more gifted gorgeousness this month!

I've also been thinking about my efforts for "take a talent" and Nepal over the past couple of weeks. Here is my collection of creative Nepal memorabilia:

There are some beautiful cushion covers, a plain blue sari with bangles, a hand-made card and a calendar I had printed after I got back, with pictures I had taken.

As I was photographing these I was thinking about how little I had taken away from the country because the real gifts were the people, and the friends I made. I went there to work not play, and souvenirs seemed gimmicky in the light of that.

I've also been torn between making something pretty that people will buy 'just because'- or sticking with my initial intentions to make something along the lines of my work, that people would buy in spite of the charity aspect rather than because of it.

And (just 10 minutes ago) it came to me- if people are the treasure that I've taken with me from Nepal, people is what I could make! I'd like to make a variation on paper dolls, maybe with different sets of clothes from different cultures, and I'm not sure whether they'd be made from laminated card or cloth. I know I'd find that useful, even in the setting I'm in now.

I'm still open to ideas or offers of support (my illustration skills leave plenty to be desired) but feel much better now I've got the beginnings of an idea :-)

Saturday, 9 May 2015

One lovely blog award

I promised it last week so here we are: I very gratefully accept my "Lovely Blog Award" from Rosey at ishkabibble!

The purpose of this award is for bloggers to nominate fellow, mostly newer, bloggers that they wish to recognize. The goal is to bring attention to blogs that we think are "lovely" and enjoy reading. We hope others will enjoy reading these blogs also.

In order to accept the award, the nominated blogger must follow these rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you & link back to them in your post
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for the award
Seven facts about myself, hmm...
  1. I was born and brought up in Liverpool, but when I tell people they always look very surprised, and some even accuse me of lying! I've got a fairly generic northern accent, definitely not scouse.
  2. I like to try ALL THE THINGS. Crafts, sports, study topics, I'm rubbish at specialising. The reason I became a speech and language therapist was because I couldn't decide what subject to take at Uni, and the SLT course offered a whole range: psychology, linguistics, biology, the lot. 
  3. It may not have been a great reason to choose the course, but I love my job. I can't explain why without sounding twee but to be able to support people who have never had a voice to communicate their opinions (even just to tell me to 'go away'!) is such a privilege, wow.
  4. I love the Indian/Nepali culture and go back there at every opportunity. Part of me would like to travel to all the places (see point 2) but part of me has found such a beautiful second home for my heart that I don't know if it's worth wasting those long-haul trips going somewhere else. 
  5. Last time I did one of these fact lists I was still at uni, and one of my facts was 'I have never broken a bone in my body'. The following week I slipped on some ice and fractured my wrist! Since then I've also been knocked off my bike and broken my elbow. So there will be no 'I have never...' facts on this list!
  6. Speaking of which: I have a crazy high pain threshold. When I broke my elbow I only agreed to go to A&E because it was closer to my home, and when they x-rayed me they couldn't believe I wasn't writhing in pain. I'd only had an ibuprofen! That;s an extreme example but I do generally need a significant injury to feel pain.
  7. I run a youth group called 'Space' for high school students on an inner-city estate. I love that too and am torn between wanting to do more of it and moving forward in my job (see points 2 and 3!). It's dead scary to be responsible, and to be final resting place for the buck, but when I see the impact on the young people's lives, it's worth every minute.
Phew, that was surprisingly hard! Now I have a confession: I don't know that I could really name 10 blogs that I follow regularly! At least not ones that are new or would notice I was following them. So I'm going to name 5, I hope that's okay. To make up for it I'll give you a brief reason why you should check each one of them out.

  1. Kathi's little corner: Kathi has been blogging for a long time but has recently changed sites so you might need to check back in a little while! But she writes really lovely reflections and is worth a read (her old blog is here in the meantime)
  2. Kate at Beak up Crafts:  A beautiful blog about all kinds of crafts and soon, her growing family! 
  3. Noni at Fireflies & Cats in the Garden: We've only recently discovered each other but Noni seems to be a really fun character and I'm looking forward to reading more!
  4. Jo at Serendipitous Stitching: Jo has introduced me to all kinds of other blogs, and been so supportive of my ideas. She's got a real gift of bringing people together and does a few 'blog hops' on special occasions through the year which are great fun!
  5. Rosey at Ishkabibble: I'm probably not supposed to link back but Rosey is so friendly, and I love to read the stories behind all the stitching which make it more personal (and also pleased I'm not the only one trying things out for the first time!)
Enjoy clicking around! I had a couple of other things to share but this seems like a long enough post already, so maybe you'll be lucky enough for a second one this weekend.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

A new month, a new cause

Well, April was busy wasn't it?! I would be lying if I said I wasn't pleased it's over. But it is. We live in a new house, we are free from the flu, and regular weekend activities have resumed. Yesterday I spent a good while reading back through lots of other blogs, and found that I had been nominated by the very lovely Rosey of ishkabibble for the 'lovely blog award'!

I will respond in all the proper ways and make some forwards nominations next week, but today there is something much more important to introduce you to.

I have an instagram account which I mainly use to share my crafty exploits. Its title is @take.a.talent . That in itself is not more important than connecting with other wonderful people around the world, but bear with me...

"Take a Talent" was the name of a blog I set up a little while ago when I was challenged to take a small investment of money and grow it for charity, in this case the newly established Global Family Network. It was a church-based request and lots of people spent their money on ingredients for cakes which they then sold on a Sunday morning, but I wanted to extend the reach of our fundraising efforts so I combined one person's talent: cash with my talents: creating and Speech Therapy. I made these visual countdown cards and a £30 profit for the charity, but then got busy getting married so ran out of steam.

Here's the thing: the idea is so much bigger than one payout to one charity. What if we extended the idea, so that other charities put in something that they do well, and we used it to grow their funds?

It's important right now, this week, before any blog awards, because of these people:

And these people:

And my friend's band: 

And, in fact, all of these people too: 

I've been to Nepal twice, once for 3 months and once for 2 weeks, both to volunteer as a Speech and Language Therapist with a charity there. I've made some real friends, and met hundreds of people who were kind, and welcoming, and real. Strangers looked after me when I got on the wrong bus. I learned (a little) of the language and made friends with people who knew less English than I knew Nepali!

Last week a huge earthquake killed thousands of people in Kathmandu and all across the country. Everybody that I am still in contact with is alive and safe, but many are not and every single life has been changed. There's very little I can do right now but pray, and contribute to the funds that will transport food, aid and those people who can help, to the places they are most needed.

The need will not pass next week or next month, maybe even next year. Could this be the push I needed to start 'taking a talent' to make money for those who need it again?

At the moment, I have no ideas. I have some fabric and clothes that I bought in Nepal, and a few other souvenirs as a starting point. I don't know whether to keep with the SLT theme or branch out, or what crafts to use. But today I needed to start by sharing my intentions, and opening an invitation for anyone else to join me. I will accept help in any form! Ideas, advice, resources, time, the lot.

Who's in?

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Not Writing


Yesterday was due to be a 'Writing Tuesday'. I had actually thought about this one in advance and done some writing in a notebook earmarked for the purpose last week. But this week I have the flu, and today we have moved house, and I just do not have the brain space to be able to edit what I scribbled down and share it with you. I'm sorry. The prompt was this:

When you have a free morning, how do you take advantage of this time? How does this kind of morning differ from a morning filled with important things to do and why?

I'd love to hear what makes a perfect morning for you in the comments! When all this is over and my brain is working again I'll enjoy reading through, and next month I will be back up and running with prompts and trying to push myself again. I think maybe there was just a bit too much new, all at once.

Thank you, readers, for being lovely :-)

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Boxes Boxes

This weekend I should be updating you on how I've been getting on with my "one word" for 2015 in March: New.

We are currently approaching a house move so our house looks a lot like this:

(although admittedly there are not as many boxes filled as there should be!) We also spent an alarming amount of money yesterday on a month's rent, and a wardrobe, and a fridge-freezer, and a washing machine, eek!

So all this is to say that you might not hear a lot from me in April. We have a couple of weeks crossover to clean the old house, but some busy weekends and not a lot of time off work. See you on the other side!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Sun, scraps and swaps

The sun (or lack thereof) has been the big even across the UK today. As humans we find it amazing that our little moon can block the light of the sun, however we forget that the clouds do it all the time! Here is my picture of the sun covered by the moon covered by the clouds:

It's time for another "Totally Useless Stitch-along" check in.

There's a bit of fat orange right on the top there as I have framed up my 'Noah's Ark' Piece and used that to stretch it over some card. I promise this is my last photo of it, but I just have to show off the finished product:

The frame is actually without glass. This is partly due to my mounting skills being such that the glass really wouldn't fit, but I also worried less about it because I had been discussing mounting with a friend who said she much preferred cross-stitches not behind glass, because then you can really appreciate the texture. I like that idea so we can pretend it's by design; however I now have a 12x12" piece of glass up for grabs!

Finally, I am taking part in my first ever craft swap and my gift arrived yesterday! It was on a disney theme and my swap partner (@_ashyoung_ on Instagram) stitched a quote that I love into a frame and onto a pencil case:

I'm looking forward to taking the pencil case into work with me. I need to get cracking on my piece too; I'm still at the collecting materials stage!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Future {Writing Tuesdays}

One hundred years ago, authors and other storytellers thought we'd have flying cars and apartments on Mars by now. How do you think the world will look 100 years from now? How long might it take for the future to really look like "the future" and why? 

I remember reading a ‘horrible histories’ book as a child all about the twentieth century. It went through the decades, summarising what had happened in each one. When it reached the millennium, it had some great illustrations of us all walking around in fridge suits because it was so warm, and being transported by jet packs and driverless cars. The Millenium was a BIG THING and we looked forward to it with excitement. Weird to think that now I work with young people who think I’m ‘well old!’ because my date of birth has a 19 in it!

The thing about the present is that it’s always just that: the present. I think our lives are more futuristic than we realise. In work we’ve made the move to “agile working,” a phrase that strikes dismay in the heart of anyone familiar with the practice of it. But in spite of all the glitches and my heavy laptop bag, the truth is that I can access a massive, highly secure system from pretty much anywhere I like. We don’t quite have iris recognition but we have clever card readers and ever-changing codes and snazzy little ultra-books.

It was a massive novelty when I sat my driving theory test 12 years ago and it was carried out using touch-screen computers. Like, genuinely exciting. Now almost everybody has a tiny touchscreen computer that is diminutively known as a ‘phone’, and certainly I’d bet that every child in this country has used one by the time they are 10 if not long before.

At work I use computers that can be operated entirely by a user’s eyes. These can be programmed to operate a whole host of other assistive technologies to open doors and curtains, to turn on lights and change the channel on TV. All by using your eyes.

Admittedly, the year of the hoverboard hasn’t quite materialised as Back to the Future promised, and we haven’t worked out how to make sure driverless cars are safe yet. But if you ask me, we are already living in pretty futuristic times!

What do you think? Are you disappointed with what the decades have brought or do you think we are already ‘futuristic’? What do you think will be the next big invention to change the way we live our lives?

“Writing Tuesdays” is the somewhat non-poetic name for a challenge I’ve set myself (and you, if you will join me) to try and write more creatively, on a wider range of topics than the ones I would usually choose. The prompts are taken from “1000 creative writing prompts” by Bryan Cohen. I write every Tuesday (next time is 31st March) and would love you to join me! The themes are moving on to times of the day, so this prompt is about the morning:

When you have a free morning, how do you take advantage of this time? How does this kind of morning differ from a morning filled with important things to do and why?

I look forward to reading your thoughts!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Happy Dance time!

Let me begin with a very happy announcement:

It is FINISHED! This picture shows it before the name is on the bottom but that is done now, I'm just not going to post it on the internet. It does look so much better with all the outlining and smiles, I'm really enjoying just looking at it! I've bought a frame today so will definitely be good to go by 25th. Definitely time for a happy dance!

EDIT: I forgot it's time for a Gifted Gorgeousness check-in this weekend so this is my entry for that as well! I've started working on another gift but won't be able to show you that until its given... hopefully before 15th April.

Last weekend I hosted a 'Crafternoon' to raise money for Comic Relief. I'd bought a magazine special from 'Mollie Makes' with some themed crafts in it, I think the idea was to make things that you would then sell on but we just did the making and gave donations.

It was good fun, so busy in fact that I didn't remember to take a single photo! Here I was in the calm before the storm:

The most popular activity was pompom making: you can see the flower one I made on the table and there were some other beautiful colour combinations. It went down so well that I tried it again at my youth club on Wednesday and they enjoyed it there too! There were also some crocheted picture frames, and a bit of decoupage. We raised £30 which isn't bad for a small gathering! There were a few people who couldn't make it, and a few who wanted to do something more specifically crochet-themed so maybe we shall repeat for another charity soon.

Friday, 6 March 2015

The Present: Right here, right now {Writing, erm, Tuesdays}

It's been said that to be happy, you have to live in the moment. Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not? How well do you think you live in the moment and why do you believe that?

Do I live in the moment? Very much so. That's why I didn't write this post in advance, and filled my Tuesday with spur-of-the-moment activity, and have arrived at Friday with my head still in a spin. I'm sorry, I know that Jo from Serendipitous Stitching and my mum have both been much more conscientious than me this time round (but I haven't read them yet, I'm a bit too ashamed).

The truth is, I think there's a lot to be said for a bit of perspective. The moment is here, now, it can be amazing or it can be terrible. There can be a hundred possibilities or just a tiny flicker of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. But night always turns back to morning, and even at midday there's going to be another night.

You find me here, in the middle of a 'moment'. Last Friday I found out about a funding opportunity for the youth group I run, that would supply us for another year. The deadline is today so I was just putting the final touches on the form this morning when I noticed that they also want a printed copy of the same form, signed by two people. And a hard copy of a bank statement, signed by two more people. I spent all of last Friday on it (hence this, and my whole week, being chaotic), and have spent all of today so far on it. I'm waiting for a phone call to find out how much of the rest of my day I will have to spend driving around collecting printing, and signatures, and delivering forms by hand. 

My heart is racing. There have been a couple of tears of frustration. I have low blood pressure so it's probably around normal right now. I'm in the middle of a moment.

BUT: Perspective reminds me that before last Friday, I didn't even know this pot existed and I was sure we would keep running. Perspective says that even if this bid is unsuccessful, I now have all the paperwork gathered and some lovely descriptions of the work we do. Perspective reminds me that I've had at least two moments of similar panic this week and both turned out fine, with a bit of faith and love. 

So yes. I am EXCELLENT at living in the moment. But it's not always best.

How about you? Do you live in the moment or do you see the bigger picture? Share your thoughts or links below.

I promise I will try harder to think further ahead next week and have my writing all ready for Tuesday 17th March. We've done the past, and the present, so here's one for the future:

One hundred years ago, authors and other storytellers thought we'd have flying cars and apartments on Mars by now. How do you think the world will look 100 years from now? How long might it take for the future to really look like "the future" and why?

I look forward to reading what you think!

Saturday, 28 February 2015

New in February {One Word 2015}

Another month is coming to an end already! February is the shortest but it has still whizzed past. Time to check-in and see how I'm coping with all the new-ness in my life. Here goes...

I'm still the 'new girl' at work. This is fine, but I've had to consciously make sure I still allow myself some leeway! After a couple of weeks I lost patience with myself, feeling like I should have it all sorted out by now. Half term was great on that front: time to stop and catch up with myself, reconnect with members of the team who are based all over the place, and approach the next half term with my head screwed on. I'm sure I'll still feel new next month but I'm getting there... slowly.

Pete has become the 'new boy' too- he started his new job 2 weeks ago and seems to be loving it, but it's a very sleepy household on an evening! His journey time has proved to not really be manageable in the long term which leads me onto our next new:

We are going to view a house this week, and may have a new neighbourhood to add to the list next month! The house we're looking at is not very close to where I'm working but should be doable. It is however in the middle of where I spend a lot of my time out of work, where we have quite a few friends and where our church group is moving to later in the year so I'm happy about it.

Everything is still very much in flux around these parts, and to add to that there are a few exciting crafting things coming up: tomorrow I am going to a meet-up of some crafty ladies I met in Leeds before Christmas, this time in York; and next week I'm hosting a 'crafternoon' to raise money for comic relief! I've been trying out a couple of new crafts in advance of that so will be able to share some photos soon.

How about you: What's new?

Friday, 20 February 2015

A Tiny bit of TUSAL

There's a blog I've come across a couple of times where the writer uses the state of her laundry basket as an indication of how her life is going. I think ours would give a strong sign of our past couple of weeks- two loads down today and it's still three-quarters full! Still, normal service will resume shortly.

There has been another new moon (Happy Chinese New Year!) so it's time for me to share my scraps in the Totally Useless Stitch-along:

There are some extra greys and blues there from the novelty of sewing animals and water that aren't a variation on brown or orange!

I'm afraid I've got no further updates on stitching because you got two weeks worth on Monday. Three posts in a week, this blog has never seen so much action!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Writing about... The Past {Writing Tuesdays}

So here we are. I do so wish I had one more week to start this. The weekend was crazy, last night was full. My husband started his new job today so I'm cooking tea, and pancakes, and I have some soup to make. We haven't unpacked yet, the house is a tip. I want to cycle to work tomorrow and then we're going to a wedding on Thursday night. Yes, it's busy. But hey ho, let's throw our minds back to days gone by. This week's prompt was:

If you could travel back to any time in the past, what date would you choose and why? Would you attempt to influence past events while you were there? Why or why not?

I definitely wouldn't change anything. I'm a big fan of all the little things that happen to pull together life as we know it. Kind of like the Butterfly Effect, or that piece on snowflakes I wrote a little while back. Sure I have regrets, people I've hurt and things I will never do again, but my life would be very different if it weren't for just one of those. In light of that, my 'moment' is one that I could never have imagined would land me where I am now.

It was a bright spring Saturday, and remarkably free of "to-do"s. In fact, it was a day that cried out for a game of tennis. After a lazy-ish morning I sent out a text to the people I thought I wouldn't mind spending the afternoon with. Claire, Beci, Beth, Esther, Pete? I didn't really know Pete but he seemed nice enough and the type who might say yes to some sporting activity. I knew he liked his bike.

The replies came back and there was no tennis to be had. Beci was away, Claire was at a community day down the road, Pete was awaiting a sofa delivery. But I was welcome to pop round for something to do after lunch. I wandered down to the community day and acquired a couple of strawberry plants that were being given away. Safely installed in the front yard, I bussed it across town.

It was a beautiful afternoon as the sun shone in the back garden, and we sat out for a couple of hours just talking about everything and nothing. Later we had a pub dinner with some mutual friends and I showed up my appalling lack of film knowledge. Then I went home, happy that my Saturday had been filled with nice people and good plants.

I'd love to travel back and look down on that day again now, on our first 'accidental date' before there was even a whisper of romance.Just to soak in the moment now I know it's significance. I'd love to hear what we talked about and how we got along, the stories we told each other. But I wouldn't change a thing.

How about you? I'd love to hear when you would travel back to. Is there something you wish you could change?

Post your stories (or a link to them) in the comments and we can have some fun reading.

Next time we'll write about the Present:
It's been said that to be happy, you have to live in the moment. Do you agree with that statement? Why or why not? How well do you think you live in the moment and why do you believe that?
 We'll answer that one on 3rd March!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Gifted Gorgeousness

It’s been a busy weekend in our household as we’ve been up in Glasgow visiting friends and watching some Six Nations rugby in Edinburgh! I was never a sports fan before I got married and now I know more about more sports than I previously knew existed! Going to a match is good fun whether or not you really understand the rules (and I’m getting better…) because the atmosphere is great. Lots of sport on TV also means lots of stitching time for me and there are no prizes for guessing what my “Gifted Gorgeousness” post is going to be this month:

Yes, it’s very VERY nearly done! There are some birds flying over the top and of course the dreaded backstitching. But it will be a gorgeous gift, hopefully all done by next month’s check-in.

See you tomorrow for some writing time: I was hoping to have it all lined up and scheduled for the morning but we got back home later than planned tonight so it will probably be up after work, I’ll try harder next time!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Launching "Writing Tuesdays"... on a Friday

Well, the response to my creative writing suggestion was overwhelming! (by overwhelming I mean I had two comments and one was from my mum, but that's still way above average)

I've decided I'm going to write on a prompt every two weeks (one week is unsustainable, a month and the momentum would soon be gone) and post what I've come up with on a Tuesday, along with the next prompt. It would be great if you have a go on the same theme, to share what you've written or a link in the comments. How does that sound, good?

If no one joins me I'll just keep writing.

Here's our first prompt:
If you could travel back to any time in the past, what date would you choose and why? Would you attempt to influence past events while you were there? Why or why not?
It feels a bit like a school essay title! Feel free to answer some or all of it, for you or an imaginary character. I'll post mine on Tuesday 17th February.

Finally, LOOK:

The boat is DONE! There are some zebras and birds on top of the animals you can see are missing, then the eyes and noses, then the water, then all the outlining. 39 days to go. 6 weekends. It's on.

Friday, 30 January 2015

A month of 'new's

In an effort to keep my word in mind this year, I'm going to try and update the last week of every month. It's still January, we can be optimistic! So what's new?

I am still very much a 'new girl' at my new job. I'm getting into the swing of it, but only as I try to do things am I realising that I have no idea how the systems work! I'm trying to ask lots of different people for advice so no one person gets too fed up of me. There are a few other newbies that have started since the new year as well which is, well, comforting. It reassures me that I'm not stupid for getting it wrong! One of the challenges is being based in so many different places; I work into a different setting on each of the four days I work. It means that although I've been properly there for four weeks, I still haven't done a full week in any one setting! I think I will feel 'new' for a good while yet.

The new job has led to a few other new lifestyle changes as well- not least that I now have a 4-day working week! This was a conscious decision to try to build in some breathing space to my life, as the burnout of last year has taught me to value. It's a tricky one, because so much in our culture tells us that busyness is value, and to make space without filling it again can be looked down on. This blog has really encouraged me this month to value that space and not be tempted into re-filling it until I'm ready.

We also have a new car! Meet Izzy the I-10:

She's lovely. I am unhappy about becoming a two-car household but now that I'm much more community based and Pete is starting a new job in another town (update on that next month! yay!) it had become unmanageable. Both cars won't be used every day but there is a bit of a bottleneck on activities in the middle of the week, and being able to both do them on the same night means we do get to see each other occasionally through the week as well. TIME is what I'm learning to value this year.

I am considering starting up something new on the blog; I have been missing writing the more reflective posts that used to make up most of it's content, but have recently bought an e-book of '1000 creative writing prompts'. I'm considering having a go at one of those a week as well, just to keep the writing side of me happy. Maybe you could have a go at the same prompt each week, and we could start something?

Finally, I did allow myself to start a new crafting project this week, just for a little while, to stop me going completely crazy. It's the frosted pumpkin stitchery's Once Upon a Time sampler, so there's just a little bit to do each month. Here's how far I got in an hour last night (disclaimer: it's my first time working with evenweave, that stuff messes with your eyes/brain!):

Have you tried anything new for the new year?
Are you up for joining me in a rusty attempt at creative writing?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Same old, same old

I'm not feeling very motivated to blog just now, and I'm not really sure why.

I'm still stitching away on Noah's ark, and I reckon I have achieved half-way by now, which means I stand a chance at success! I was up to here by Wednesday:

I have since started on the giraffes, working on animals two by two! It is a bit frustrating not being able to start anything new but I am *definitely* not taking on any massive projects for a good while once this is done (famous last words...)

I was also disappointed to realise that I really should be starting a new TUSAL jar, as I was just about getting last year's one filled up! Admittedly I had cheated by adding my crochet yarn offcuts to the same jar, but it was getting there. I only got into the world of 'craft blogging' over the summer so it's fun being at the beginning of the year and learning what all the crazy acronyms mean. Here are the beginnings of my 2015 stitching:

Not a bad effort on half a month I think!

Hopefully I'm more inspired next week.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Just a little bit of panic

I'm having another attack of far too many ideas just when I'm not allowed to start anything else! I'm developing a mild degree of panic around the Noah's ark cross-stitch. The reason? The little beneficiary of this turns one in March and that is my self-inflicted deadline (it was meant to be a Christening gift but I started it the weekend of the Christening; Christmas has clearly been and gone). It's taken me four months so far and I'm still just short of halfway through the cross-stitching before I even start on the backstitch! Giving myself a few days leeway for framing, that leaves me with:

Eek! This may be the year of new, but there are no new projects allowed until this is done. After that, I really want to have a go at making one of these:

from Mollie at Wild Olive. It just seems topical. And it is beautiful.

Before I go, here's my first (nearly finished) make from my grown-up sewing machine! I jumped right in at the deep end but I think I got away with it. Just needs the buttons adding and it's done.

Friday, 2 January 2015

New {One Word 2015}

I didn’t have to think for long to come up with my One Word for 2015.

EVERYTHING is new. My job is just 2 weeks old, my husband will be starting a new job in February, and as a consequence we’re likely to end up with a new house and a new (to us) car. Not doing things by halves!

I am a human being, and that means I’m fairly resistant to change. I am working hard to be excited for it, but so far it’s a conscious choice. We’ve waited a long time for some of these things to happen and they deserve celebration even as they throw up huge extra questions about the rest of our lives.

Hopefully I’ll be able to revisit this one a bit more frequently than I did light, because with all these unknowns I really don’t have much else to say right now. I will leave you with a picture of my NEWest toy:

Happy New Year!