Thursday, 30 June 2011


For my friend from Germany. She's driving up from Stanstead and then, I think, a lunch out and a trip to the supermarket before afternoon tea on the lawn and a restful evening of gossip. A weekend of friendship still fresh after 30 years.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

A real basket case.

OK, admit it, who hasn't lusted after one of these?

Or these?

But £30 for a basket, even a lined one, is too much. I love the style of Cath Kidston but I hate the prices so I try and adapt as much as possible.

I went thrifting on Friday and found this in the local Barnardo's. It was 3.99 and in top condition, but the lining was light and cream, not my style at all. But that never puts one off, does it?

It came home with me, of course, and I set off making it a basket fit for a really well planned holiday in Paris (shortly to be experienced)

The lining material is Michael Miller's Eiffel Tower in red. I couldn't resist it.

 The old lining became the pattern, cutting and sewing was a cinch and the hardest part was sewing the lining to the basket.

I was afraid I'd need a thimble but my long needle worked well enough without. I had 90 minutes and it took me 100.
By the time I had picked up the kids I just whipped the last part of the lining to the basket and sat down. I love it. It just holds enough and, since I am going to keep my money in a cross-the-body bag the fact that it is open isn't a big issue. My sunglasses, my camera, a bottle of water, the smallest cutest brolly in case and my Kindle. Enough to keep me happy for the weekend and beyond.

Now I have another inherited basket bag to line for my daughter. She, too, needs a chic bag for our continental jaunt.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Life goes blah....

I hate money.
I hate it so much I don't want to keep it. If I get any I have to get rid of it. Right away. It burns me and makes me feel dirty.
But it follows me around.
It creeps up at the end of intershopping and reminds me that I need it, otherwise that lovely red top cannot be mine.
It laughs at me when I look at books. I need its paper to buy more paper.
That I need it for the food I want to make tonight.
That I need even a little for a packet of sweets to give my kids.
And it leaves me in a never ending stream of bills and expenses that just grow and grow. No matter that I paid the gas last year, I have to pay it again. The phone bill creeps into my bank and takes the price of my top away.
The water rates creep around and shoe horn themselves into the gap where my holiday spends should be.
Even the union takes the price of a coffee and a croissant off me.
Oh how I wish I was the Queen, who never sullies her hands with filthy lucre.
Or perhaps a vampire who doesn't need Sainsburys.
Or perhaps just gainfully employed so that my little mite were a little bigger.
No, a little bigger than that.

Just a little.

Monday, 20 June 2011

My my how time flies....

I can't believe it's half way through the year already. And I'm behind already. How does that happen? I have a list of things to do today and it doesn't include a quick post here. And yet, here I am.
I wanted to post yesterday and had no time.
Happy Father's Day to anybody who is or stands in place of a father to somebody.
I have two special fathers in my life.

My Dad, who has had a bad year so far. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in March and since then life has been a round of doctors, operations, radiotherapy and struggling to get better. He still can't taste things, still has pain (more of an ache now, thank God) when he swallows and finds the tiredness of being ill tiring. He was never a sit still man and was working 3 mornings a week until they finally dragged him in for the operation. But..... it was throat cancer, thank God which has a good prognosis. And he should be OK again afterwards. Love you, Dad.

And my hero, the Father of my children.

We gave him books for Father's Day and cards that we made. We took him to Church where nobody even mentioned Fathers and then to see Kung Fu Panda 2 (love it; I am Po) and back for pasta and meatballs. Then a walk in the evening sunshine while we hold hands and appreciate how lucky we are to have him. Thank you, honey, for everything you do. Love you x

Sunday, 12 June 2011

4.30am once upon a time in the west

Can't sleep. Came down for drink of water. Found 'Once upon a Time in the West' was on. Love the music and had to stay until the end.

Sometimes insomnia has its good side.

Friday, 10 June 2011


My 9 year old really likes Taylor Swift and I encourage her. At the moment Taylor dresses well, and definitely wears more clothes than Rhianna or Beyonce. Also, she writes her own material and dates men like Taylor Lautner so, what's not to like?

Princess plays her non-stop somedays and this is one of her favourite songs. It's also been going around in my head a lot this week, having begun examining just why so much stuff is mine. It's almost the first word a child learns to say after names. Anybody who has watched a two year old playing with a friend who suddenly yearns to play with a best loved toy will have heard the cries of 'Mine!!!!' echoing around the room. We're biologically wired to own stuff. The top caveman had the best knife, the best rocks to stretch the leather, the biggest club for the biggest sex appeal. We can see through archaeology that ownership denotes status; Sutton Hoo being probably the best known British grave find and Tutankhamun's tomb the best international. The bumper sticker reads,'The one with the most toys wins.'

And yet..... we are so wrong with this. Ownership becomes possession very easily. Watch an Apple follower defend their phone against the Android phenomenon (it's a simple matter of money for me; I can't afford an i-phone and I can afford a smartphone that does pretty nearly everything an i-phone does) and you will sometimes see the irrational defense of possession. I can't throw out anything crafty, and have to steal myself to give away wool or material that I know I will never use. BUT I KEEP IT.

I've been trawling through my possessions the past 2 weeks. I'm trying to set up my craft area but that's on a hiatus while I prepare a spare room for a friend to stay. Anybody who has seen the pictures of my spare room in the past will know that I am a pack rat. When my German friend hinted she would like to come over, my initial thought was 'Oh God, we have no where for her to sleep.' I was prepared to leave the mountain in place rather than make space for a friend I have known for 30 years now. That's possession.

My things are not ruling my life. I will not let them. I am clearing and decorating the room (yes, it will have a cupboard filled with the fabric I want to use that doesn't fit in the study area) and I will have my old friend to stay. And afterwards I will make sure to place my priorities in the right order; people first, things a very definite second. Expect more visitors, more meals and time passed with friends, more family occasions for spurious reasons.

 I had a party for my birthday this years (first time in 13 years not counting the meal out for my 40th) and I will celebrate everything. It's been a hard couple of years for my extended family (Dad having cancer for one) and we are just lifting our heads above the parapet.  I'm ready to realign my life and my values. I'm ready to put my time to good use. When I die, I won't be rich, I won't have loads of stuff but I will have memories and relationships built on community and coherence.

These are the best things that have ever been mine.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Mollie Makes number 2

Girls' Own Store

Shoreditch Sisters WI

Bath, especially The Makery

Posy Gets Cosy.... love the blue walls!

And more longings to make little felt creatures... that's before Little S sees the book! Lace from Clothkits and too many adverts to search today. I need another cup of chai and a free hour to check it again. Glad I subscribed.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Can I digitise my children?

Or is there a law against it?
Ever since Willy Wonka miniaturized Mike Teevee the race to make children minimal has been on. My life has gone digital in so many ways, from the music player I use to the masses of digital photos that I take and still the quest goes on. Since I read about the new minimalists I have a hankering to be able to fit most of my possessions onto a laptop. A posh one, of course.
And the only thing that stops me is these three.

Do I save them as a Jpeg or an MP3 file? Decisions, decisions......

Friday, 3 June 2011

My heart will go on....

Tuesday marked 100 years since the launch of the Titanic in Belfast and, I expect, the start of a year's build up to celebrating (commemorating?) 100 years since the tragedy. My children know the  name but not the details so our feel-good movie on Tuesday had to be Titanic.
It's been years since I watched it and I had forgotten quite how good it was. The shipwreck is covered in detail and the information the movie gets across about what precisely went wrong without it being a lesson is amazing.
My children came away knowing that the ship was surrounded by a sense of hubris about its unsinkability, that there weren't enough lifeboats for everybody, that most 3rd class people died and that afterwards, only 7 survivors were picked up out of the water alive. And I had a quiet weep about the love story.

Anyway, yesterday we wanted a day out and decided to go to the Merseyside Maritime Museum to see their Titanic exhibition.  It's only a part of a floor, but it highlights the events and the links between the city and the ship very well. They had a children's quiz which is always good to keep 9 year olds interested and the boys spent their time well occupied looking for places where more lifeboats could have been stored.

They decided in the end that stacking the boats like plates would have been a better idea, and that they could have fitted on an extra 44 lifeboats, with a people saving capacity of about 3000 people. I loved that this was their main focus; that they recognised the biggest problem and sought to solve it. In so many ways this is what education is about and I so want schools to be able to teach and learn in this way, but class sizes and budgetary constraints make it impossible. We came away with renewed respect for the people who did brave things on the ship; the captain going down with it, the band playing on until the end, the men who followed the Birkenhead drill of "Women and children first"
And our reward was a very reasonable £7.50 Afternoon Tea imbibed in the Maritime Dining Rooms on the 4th floor of the warehouse.... lovely finger sandwiches, a clotted cream scone, delicate cakes and a pot of Earl Grey for one all partaken with a view like this;

Liverpool still looks good after all these years.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Getting closer...

How the study looks now....

I've moved in my pens and some books

Where these baskets are full of rubbish and books  now,
the plan is to fill them with material in a couple of weeks

There should be a bit of space available.

Sewing shelf, see the Cath Kidston box?
And the Aldi coffee jars underneath?

And the computer is still here      :o(

This tote carries most tools for papercrafts.

I'm pleased with the colour, it's not too dark or light. I had to keep the dark furniture (Billy bookcases from Ikea) but I lined the back with a roll of wallpaper. My 'stuff' is travelling in slowly. I can have 2 or 3 of the filing cabinet drawers and baskets to store material so I should fit quite a bit in. And I want to replace the plastic boxes that things like paints etc are in for baskets or tins, but that's an on-going project.But, for now and considering it's half term, I'm happy. I have a knitting project on the go, a crochet project lined up after that and a challenge to knit or sew a present for everyone in the family for Christmas. Yeah, right.