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?