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!