... because life's too short to do anything ALL the time . Creativity and positivity are my "hiraeth"

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Prima! Prima! Prima!

So, after months of secrecy, I can finally proclaim my love for Prima magazine and the loveliness they have shown me.

Of course I'm thrilled with the photos and it was so kind of them to allow me to use them on the blog too, they didn't have to do that.

The whole experience of being involve with Prima, has been lovely, and of course I'm thrilled with the article. I feel some hand made "thank-you" cards coming on!

I'd like to take the opportunity to welcome my new followers, of which there are several. Page hits wise, we're just coming up to the 30,000 mark and I'm astounded by that. Thank you to all the lovely people that have helped me in every way.

And just to top it all off, how inspiring as a whole is this month's Prima?! So many fabulous ideas for things to do and make, and I'm feeling so inspired that it's starting to keep me awake! Literally, that does happen - if I don't have enough of an outlet for my creativity it builds and builds in my noggin until I can't take any more and burst into a frenzy of creativity! I'm really trying to keep it all under wraps though as I've got so many thing s half done and so much I want to tell you about...and I'm trying desperately hard to forget temporarily that it's best friend birthday season coming up. I have two, and a whole lotta lovely ideas for pressies for my ladies what I love dearly.

So until later, enjoy your extra hour in bed, and if anyone can explain to me how I can get more housework done on the days I work a double shift than on my days off, I'd be really interested to hear from them!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

This One Hurt!

Ok so this is new. I've never had my pictures arranged nicely before, and I like the "collage effect". Makes getting them in the right order utterly impossible, though!

So, via Twitter, another new friend from the thing I'm allowed to talk about tomorrow, welcome! It's lovely to make your acquaintance, and even better if you can teach me to knit! So, my chair........
This chair has been seat-less in my back yard for ages. I was looking at a book on the weekend of home projects and that kind of stuff and I had a flash of inspiration.

Although I must be honest, half way through this project, I was beginning to wish I hadn't. It hurt, a lot!

Plaiting that amount of fabric - that's a whole single duvet cover and one side of a double duvet cover, hurts. Especially plaiting it so tightly. And weaving taught, tightly plaited fabric, that hurt too.

My hubby had to make me a wedge to pack the fibres together to fit them in, and my word did I need it. And all from my good friend Pug-face's old bed sheets! Recognise them, mate?!

The chair frame is wound with twill garden twine. I already had a massive ball of it, but I did have to buy another as I ran out. All together, I used about one ball, which cost about £3. Gives a really nice effect, don't you think? And covers the warped, stained and generally wrecked wood in an interesting way.

So, with aching shoulders, sore hands and a happy heart, it is finished and I'm really pleased with it. Another bizarre, mismatched and odd piece to add to my luckily bizarre, mismatched and odd collection of things!

Oh, and my hubby's started his own blog too. It's all about recovering from and adjusting to life out of the services. It's an eye opener. http://stephenbrunell.blogspot.com/ Have a little look, I dare you!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Every Time I get a new Follower and/or My Page Hit Count Goes Up, I Get Butterflies In My Tummy!

I don't have a tea cosy for my big tea pot, so I've been thinking about making one for ages now, so today, I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is. I fancied doing a "whole something" today, I'm currently working on a bigger project, re covering and re upholstering a chair, but I fancied doing something that I could both start and finish today. Sometimes one just needs a quick win. And a new hat...
Might wear it out on the weekend.

So this is the finished article and I'm rather pleased with it actually. I quite like it. As the pet teenager spent the weekend away with some friends who are into the whole 1940's "keep calm and carry on" thing so me and my kitchen have become 500% cooler over the weekend, despite not really doing anything. I hope you treat me with the respect that being that cool deserves! Ha ha ha

It's made of 11 pieces of fabric, cunningly and "expertly" (!?) sewn together by my trusty steed. The blue and the red used to be the fronts of cushion covers I inherited but didn't use because the back was a rather revolting bright snot green, and the white is a piece of damask cotton also from a cushion cover I bought very cheaply 10 years ago, but I used half of it to reupholster a chair a couple of years ago, so it's a nice use of the left over piece, and the remainder or the layers are an old fleece babies blanket that I was given by one of my W.I. ladies in a bag of children's clothes I'm yet to find a home for. I might just have me a little look in it to see what else I can use.
... and here it is in action. Quite fetching, I hope you'll agree.

Next mini-project is a pair of union jack cushions for the kitchen, my lovely comfy chair. And I've made some things that I've not really talked about yet so a little feature on them will be coming up soon, I think. Of course, all the fabric will be sourced from existing supplies, I'm playing with the whole red, white and blue thing in some kind of experimental ways that I hope will work out, so it may not be a traditional union jack thing ...

I need SO many more hours in the day than I currently have!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Perfect Way to Spend a Saturday Night (?!)

Husband and dogs all being hung over!
Days like today I thank the heavens for my reclaimed belfast sink!

Well I had to try one .......

So, it's Saturday night and I'm too exhausted for dancing. We did a little of it last night, me and rent-a-crowd, and the husband is still more than a little off colour because of it, much to my amusement!

So, I have a Saturday evening to myself, the pet teenager is away for the weekend, it's cold outside, so most people would curl up with a good book in front of the fire.

I decided to make 65 toffee apples.

Never having made them before and having encountered a few horror stories, I was more than trepidatious about the process, and I learned some valuable lessons about what NOT to do as well as only burning myself once, so I think it's an evening well spent!

What, exactly, are you planning to do with 65 toffee apples, I hear you ask?! Well it's like this ...

We ate 2, so that's 63. We had to make sure they weren't poisonous!

5 are "practice ones" that are being taken to our friends house tomorrow, so that's 58.

8 have been boxed up and will be sent on Monday to my lovely friends DEAR SUPERSTAR as I am personally responsible for their nutritional safety and the upkeep of their energy supplies while recording their genius new album - but it's a secret, don't tell them. So that's down to 50.

35 are for the local youth club, I promised I'd make them for the ever cash strapped group that do SO much for the local little tykes, and I'm hoping that the blog, the W.I. and my new exciting P.R. venture will all get some lovely publicity out of it, so that's 15 we're down to.

Given that the main subject of conversation in our house over the last 2 weeks has been toffee apples, once the teenager gets home, I'm not sure how many of those 15 remaining ones will make it to Halloween, but that should see an end to them, obviously topped up with some home made Halloween cakes for the kiddies....

....so I suppose, what I'm saying is, if I want to take a dozen to my brother and sister in law's bonfire night bash, I'm going to have to make some more! Crikey. That'll be nearly a hundred in a month. And I'd never made one before tonight!

Ooo and peeps, check out THIS blog, www.beverleylovestosew.blogspot.com - no don't actually, Beverley is an utter GENIUS and it makes mine look lame! Ha ha ha ha

Oh well, on with the washing up, I suppose.

Peace :)

Friday, 22 October 2010

We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities. Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

A GOOD time, not a long time. Enjoy it.

The resilience people show on a day to day basis is astounding and it never ceases to amaze me.

My good friend and incredible artist is just making her way back to work following the sudden and unexpected passings of two of her very closest family members within just a few months. The dignity with which she negotiated the process of mourning was incredible, and her ability to pick herself up after this most incredibly tough time is a real credit to her, but it was so grossly unfair to have happened to her in the first place. I don't think I'd have been quite as dignified.

So, I find it incredible and utterly unbelievable that my wonderful sister-in-law-to-be, who has already kicked the butt of the "C" word already, is having to summon all her strength and courage to do it all over again. I also find it incredible that this happens after my brother in law meets the woman of his dreams, after a horrific "previous life" and years of unhappy singledom, and this is how they will have to spend their period of being newlyweds, fighting it all over again.

My other good friend is in the process of kicking it's butt, she's doing incredibly and I'm so very proud of her, graciously giving it "the bird" at every possible opportunity, despite her being, like my sister in law, (in my opinion) one of the people in the world for whom this is a total and utter injustice. The Mumatron, being a marvelous example that it can be done.

Having all this occupying our minds on a frequent basis, when hubby and I received news of our super best friend's head injury, we begrudgingly took it on the chin and once again tried to gather our strength to support the ones we love. Steve spent a week with his bezzie mate in the last month, to try to make things a little easier for all concerned, we hope it helped. But we wish we could do more. Receiving a phone call yesterday to tell us that there is damage to the brain when it was previously thought that there wasn't, was a bit of a kick in the teeth, once again, for all concerned. I'm sure the damage is repairable, it had better be.

So, given all this, it was rather a shock to find out that my step-father in law, is considerably worse than we had thought. As is often the case when news like this is received, it's the nearest and dearest that take the hardest hit, and frankly, we're all rather concerned about my lovely Mum-in-law and the other couple of nearest. It's news that I don't think any of us could ever really deal with, and we hope to goodness we never have to deal with. Trying to support a loved one while grieving so very deeply ourselves is a nigh on impossible task.

We all through around sayings like "at least we have our health" and "live for the moment" but we never really appreciate what we are saying until it's utterly unescapable. The clarity that comes with a prognosis or an expectation is unique, it's just such a massive shame that we can't keep it in or everyday lives.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Evilness and the Ego

Today I have mostly written about 5 blogs. In my head, sadly I've not put any of them down in "type", although that may be a good thing as I've been on such a roller coaster of emotions today.

The funeral of one of the people I helped look after was today. It can only ever be bittersweet. It's so sad that the world has lost another wonderful person, but when our health is failing us and we are shadows of our former selves, we can only hope that those concerned now have some peace and rest. A good friend of mine said not long ago, a quote from his Grandfather, I believe, "you can spend your life worrying about keeping people happy but the turn out at your funeral will be mostly dictated by the weather". Forgive me if I've used that quote before, but it's a personal favourite. I thought it was sad today that only 30 or so people were there to say goodbye to someone popular, well traveled, good hearted and known. People can be so fickle.

And mean. People can be mean.

We all like a laugh, I know my sense of humour is darker than most people's and I have inherited my father's gene for being a total misery guts/bah humbug type, but sometimes I think we could all learn a lesson from Thumper Rabbit's Mum. "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". And don't air your dirty laundry in public. NEVER air your dirty laundry in public.

We all have skeletons, things we don't talk about, things we aren't proud of. Most of the time, things happen to us in our lives, whether we like it or not, and the very best thing we can do is simply make the best of a bad job, put it down to experience and move on. Relationships start and end, always in the same ways. They might have different circumstances but they are all, in essence the same. No one ever gets into a relationship with someone they dislike, and no one ever breaks up with someone they adore. Sometimes people make decisions that in time prove to be wrong, people sometimes aren't entirely honest with other people, so promises made can no longer be kept in the light of truth.

If it's not your business, don't bring it up. If someone needs something being said to them, never do it in front of others. It stops being about "that thing" and becomes an ego boost and show of force for you, and it will only ever inflict pain and suffering. Conflict is the very worst way to address anything. Conflict NEVER solves anything.

Patience, caring and kindness achieves everything.

This is a quote from John Harris from the website http://www.tpuc.org/

Always entering into conflict or at least being willing to enter into this element maintains in me that this element is always present, which has resulted in one inevitability – it has become even harder to release myself from its grip. But I now realise through studying subjects such as history that it is very apparent that this element has to be maintained for the world as we know it to function effectively. History maintains without doubt that nothing has ever been sorted out without some form of conflict, so dictates by default that nothing ‘will’ ever get sorted out without conflict being involved. This to me seems that we are always presented with a negative approach called the ‘what if’ syndrome which is now called the ‘precautionary principle’ which has always been the engine of the legal/law systems over centuries. It is quite obvious that if you wish to maintain control through negative elements, then you need the negative elements to be maintained. This creates another default that manifests within those who wish to go against the control, being they - by default - try to use the same, because they are relying on a version of history that tells them this – a fact that has been very much relied upon. Although I can only speak for myself I have now determined that all history we are taught is not a true account of events, it is in fact an account written to deliver a very specific version, without doubt to maintain the negative element, which in turn maintains conflict.

A little "high brow" for what I'm on about, perhaps, but in essence, it just means that because everything in history has been achieved through some form of conflict, it does not mean that it is the only way. In every one of those conflicts, people have died needlessly. Conflict only ever guarantees one thing. Pain to someone.

In 2010, it still astounds me that we're all still learning how to be nice to each other. I think Freud had rather a lot to say about egos, I wish I knew more about what he did say about them. But next time you catch yourself saying or doing something mean, ask yourself what your motivation is. Not very many people deliberately set out to cause others pain, so you'll probably find that it's to do with massaging that most evil and selfish of aspects of ourselves, our ego.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

There's Nowt as Queer as Folk

People suck. They really do.

No matter how much effort you put into things, or how much commitment you show, there's always someone waiting in the wings to wee on your chips.

Of course it's up to you if you let them.

A good friend of mine a certain Mr Mitchell, told me that one of his Grandfather's favourite sayings was that "you can spend your whole life being nice to people but the turn out at your funeral will be mostly dictated by the weather".

How very, very true, and it rather puts things in perspective for me.

The gentleman who had a go at us fruit and veg volunteers (note the word VOLUNTEERS) this morning because the delivery was 15 minutes later than usual. The miserable over privileged, show off who didn't see why he should have to manouvre his car around mine while I was trying to park for 15 minutes in a dark and deserted street within a half mile radius of my penultimate late night call. The snobby local woman with NOTHING to be snobby about, turning her nose up at our community generating efforts, I've had them all today and it's quite a challenge to maintain a sense of humour through them all. They're just the main ones.

But on the plus side, the co-op orders are going up, Jess and I are feeling better (yay us!) and I've talked myself into making 50 toffee apples next weekend. 35 are for the local youth club and they're thrilled at the donation, and seeing as my family have talked about nothing other than toffee bloomin' apples for weeks now, I thought I'd better make them some too! I'll get some nice photos out of them too, I think.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

General Yuck

So I've broken myself. Gone and burned myself out, I think. Dispensing wise advice is one thing, following it yourself is something else as my good mucker Mrs Pug will confirm.

I haven't been this off my feet for quite a long time, a good 10 years I'd say. I am feeling rather a lot better so far today, but I'm trying hard to listen to the body and do what it tells me. At the moment it's telling me that I'm not to eat, so I'm not. I am drinking and that's all that matters at the moment. There will be a nap shortly. The stomach is taking industrial action.

So I had some good news yesterday. Over at fruit and veg HQ, we were told a couple of months ago that we had been nominated for a voluntary work award from GAVO (Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations) and we heard yesterday that we have either come first or second! I'm rather pleased with coming second, I didn't think we stood a chance.

Other than that, I have very little to report today as I've not been in the real world for several days, not so sure I am yet.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Autumn, Autumn, I love Autumn

In case you'd not noticed, I LOVE autumn. I think it's to do with the amount of red stuff that's about.

It never ceases to amaze me how nature manages to pull of these miracles every year, without fail, all over the place. How does something so red and rich and vibrant come from green plants? I'm sure some clever clogs can tell me exactly how but I don't want to know. To me it's a miracle. So I've pickled some miracles. Quite a lot of them actually. I'd like to say that they're for the hampers, but I know I'll just eat them.

I cooked the beetroot, and was left with the gorgeous red water, far to lovely to throw away, so I thought I'd have a go at some natural dyeing. So the towels you can see here, are in the process of being transformed for practice!

Beetroot, cabbage, pickling, harvest, colours, nature's miracles, beetroot dying, towels, time of year, autumn

I Think I'm Missing Something...

Note to self: read blog three times before posting today.

I'm so tired, but have sooo much to do. I'm off soon to visit a friend in hospital this evening (get well Jessy Poos :-) and then when I get home, I hope to watch some t.v. in my pyjamas but I will mostly end up face down in bed snoring loudly the second I walk through the door.

Earlier today, feeling a little overwhelmed and bemused as to how so much can need doing after such a short stint of extended working hours, I wrote my "Must Complete Today Even If Your Head Blows Up" list which is different to the standard "to do" list, and the "extended long term goal" list, and I'm pleased to say that I've completed all of my urgent things, but mostly because of guilt.

You know you go to someone's house, who you know is really busy, a community person like me, who also has a job, (but, granted no at home kids or dogs or goats) and you just think to yourself "how in the world do they do that!?". Mid afternoon, you could actually perform brain surgery in any room (that I could see) and it wasn't even apparent that all the junk was stuffed in cupboards, and she's enjoying an hour's sit down with a bit of telly. How?! How is it possible?!

This lady is the key community member around here. She has a job, her husband has a business AND is a councillor, they run the community centre which is in permanent use multiple times a day, and she's just raised £500 to buy new Christmas decorations for the centre. Only a few months ago, they raised £2,000 or more at the fun day, they're in the thick of rehersals for the pantomime their putting on and are already starting the Christmas preparations. And there wasn't even a big pile of laundry in front of the machine! I just don't get it.

So I came home and pulled my finger out through shame. I was quite pleased that I had a joint of ham in the slow cooker and the veg prepped for tea but all of a sudden I felt really rather insignificant.

Sad smiley.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Monday Morning Bluesky

There's nothing like autumn sunshine.

Up reasonably early, husband is home after his trip away with his best mate, so I had to take full advantage of the small window of yoga opportunity that I had. So I did. I loves it I do.

Having put in a multitude of work hours over the last week, I'm now regretting agreeing to work extra today, but very much looking forward to my day off tomorrow. Monday mornings are so busy after my all consuming weekend on, so I'm trying to summon up all my powers of organisation, deliberate-ness and presence to try to get done what I need to today.

Having been super efficient and organised and booked the hotel stays for the big weddings of this year and next year, I'm currently wrestling my creativity because I've been thinking for a while now about making some luggage (well, holdall type things) and I've earmarked certain bits of fabric with which to make said luggage. I really don't have time to start a new project just at the moment, I have other projects as yet unfinished which really need to become finished.

Not to mention a house that looks like a bombed out brickyard. All be it a very pretty brickyard!

But, I've booked myself some reflexology as a little treat for being so good and I can't wait for that.

And I'm coming to the realisation that I'm going to have to reactivate my facebook account. I don't miss it one bit, but it is a very useful vehicle for keeping in touch with certain people, and being part of the online community. I suppose I'll just have to have a massive friend cull. Twitter is SO much better and what I want from the online community, but facebook has it's place. I regret to report.

I'm actually missing some of the people...