Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Rainbow Blanket

Funny how as soon as you find a solution to a problem, the problem changes! Feeds are not so long any more (thank goodness) but I rarely get through reading all of the blogs I follow now and certainly don't get into writing!

I have however finished and sent the blanket I've been working on so I thought I would share it with you. It all began when I came across this picture:

I loved the stitch and decided to make it into a blanket. I chose a dark blue for the background as the baby hadn't been born yet so it needed to be gender neutral. I started on my first day of maternity leave but didn't get as far as I'd hoped when certain someone turned up early! There followed some creative crafting time (basically whenever / wherever little one slept):


And it was finally finished last month:

I'm pretty pleased with it as I didn't follow a pattern, and I finished it within 3 months of newborn-raising(!) I would have liked it to be a bit wider: I used the same number of stitches as my fantasy blanket but didn't think about how the structure of the pattern would affect the amount of horizontal stretch. It's acceptable though, and I think the border helps.

Here it is all packed up and ready to send!

It is now in transit, I hope the recipient will enjoy it, just in time for the start of Autumn.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Book Review: I Am Malala

I read this book as it was in the book club on the SheLoves Magazine website. I want to write my review before I read the discussion post today but I'm not sure how quickly I'll get this up.

I'm not sure what I was expecting in this book, but I got something completely different. The book begins with a potted history of the nation of Pakistan, then provides some context in the form of Malala's Father's story. It slipped seamlessly into Malala's story without my really noticing. The story itself is a fascinating insight into everyday life in an area ruled by the taliban. If you've ever wondered how cities can be "Taken by the Taliban" or "reclaimed by the army"; or how people live when there is daily fighting in the streets, this book will provide you with at least one perspective.

This book struck me as I started reading it in the week that the Chilcott enquiry was published. This was an enquiry into the UK's role in the Iraq war, and was not complimentary about the decisions made or the processes by which they were reached! To read about the direct impact this had on a rural valley in Pakistan was eye-opening, and the impact that continues is alarming.

I enjoyed that Malala's portrayal of herself is so much more human than those in the media. She was a normal teenage girl, who fought with her best friend and wouldn't share with her brothers. She is so outspoken because she follows the footsteps of her father. She came from the back of beyond but almost without realising became a person of such significance that the foreign hospital she was taken to and the people who took her there were of diplomatic significance. In fact, her survival was of diplomatic significance. It's a real example of how small steps, decisions made every day, can snowball into something that effects a real change in the world.

It's a raw book. I don't think it can have been written very long after the family resettled in Birmingham.  My copy is a newer edition and there is a new interview with Malala at the back. There is a clear contrast between Malala's description of life in the UK in the final chapter of the book vs the interview, and I'm pleased the family seem to be slowly settling though their hearts are clearly still back home.

In summary I would whole-heartedly recommend this book if you have an interest in political history;  an interest in women's rights; or you just like a good autobiography. It may not be the greatest literary classic but if you try you can hear Malala's Pakistani accent in the turns of phrase.

Right, let's see what everyone else thought. The discussion page is here.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Not a "mummy blog"

I can understand why when ladies become mums, everything quickly becomes all about motherhood and children. It's totally overwhelming and you learn so much so quickly and there's nobody there to share your newfound wisdom with. I am sure there will be plenty of "mummy posts" in the coming months, but I really enjoy being part of the crafting community (before I disappeared so unceremoniously) so I hope you'll let me stay. Even if my crafting achievements are few and far between!

I have stitched on a gift this month which is remarkable as I hadn't previously done any cross-stitching since last November. We drove down to visit the grandparents at the weekend so while baby was contained in his car seat I had a couple of hours either way with my hands free!

It's a design by stitchrovia. I don't want to give too much away because it is for a surprise gift... though may be the Christmas after next before it is finished! I did enjoy doing it again though, cross stitch is a slow but satisfying craft and once I've finished my current project (more on that soon) I might try to move more quickly with it.

Monday, 18 July 2016

On the missing year... and my biggest creative achievement yet!

So it's been a year. I'm not sure it's really worth summarising all that has passed as it would take far too long, I'm bound to miss out a key event and there's a distinct possibility that my only remaining reader is my mum and she already knows!

The main event though, beyond which all others pale into insignificance; my greatest creative achievement of all; is that I have become a mum! Little S is 8 weeks old and amazing. I would love to show you ALL of the photos and videos because he is so cute but I'm mindful of internet security so I'll keep it to just one:

Perfecting his model pose

As you can imagine, life's a bit different now. He is breastfeeding (which, by the way, is HARD. Harder than anything else I've ever tried to do) and feeds a lot, so I've watched a lot of daytime TV. I'm trying to do some reading when he's settled enough for me to free one hand, and I've recently regained a tablet so thought I might have another go at blogging again. Anything to make me feel just a little bit productive beyond being the milk machine!

I'm looking forward to going back through other blogs I haven't read in ages too. Is anyone still out there? What have I missed?!