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Rejection: degrading? grounding? just life?

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I read a blog post today that made me think about how being rejected helps to shape you as an individual. Unfortunately that post did not allow comment, thus my musings here.  It spoke not of romantic rejection but of the rejection of a personal creation.  In that instance it was something turned down by a publisher.

Luckily I have not suffered the same rejection, I have only dabbled when writing. I have had the odd letter published in newspapers and when I was in my 20’s I wrote to a magazine with my views on infertility wishing to remain anonymous.  When asked by that magazine to be named I turned it down and thus rejected them.  At the time remaining nameless was absolutely necessary for me.

I have encountered job rejection, though not too recently. When younger, I moved on quickly and easily.  As I got older it took longer to get over it but eventually one does and often it can lead to something better.

I had my fair share of romantic rejection in the long and distant past (who didn’t?).  At times I thought my love life would be over forever (woe oh woe!). I kissed a few frogs before finding my prince unexpectedly, and we are still together many, many moons later.

I had never particularly thought of having something I’d made (or created) being rejected. Yes, I have knitted, sewn, painted things for Table Sales or for gifts.  Some things haven’t sold and I understand others weren’t as appreciated as I hoped they would be.  I guess you could of call those as being ‘rejected’. In fact sometimes the things I loved most were the things others didn’t like at all!

Rejection is part of life.  It happens to us all.  It’s how we deal with it that makes and shapes us.  Family, friends and a strong word to oneself helps.  There is no time limit to picking yourself up and feeling better.  It’s understanding why it happened and how you get past it.  It’s embracing the new opportunity you have been given.  It is a lesson to be learned at any stage, at any age.  We can all flourish after rejection.

 

 

 

 

 

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No 1 Knit Top Down, More NaKniCromo and Calorie Free Doughnuts too!

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Busy few days. Inspired by https://shirleycyeung.wordpress.com/  amongst others I have started by first top down knitted item and I LOVE IT ! Having tried once before and failed badly, I choose small, a new baby project from Ravelry.com –  All-In-One Sleeveless Baby Top (6 months) & (9 – 12 months) by marianna mel    With a little help from a YouTube video on understanding construction I totally get it now.

Here’s a little bit of my progress.  topdown2It’s small but more projects going on at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

I have also finished another baby top – bottom up construction – needs a little steaming and a button, not as pleased with the button band as I should be, hopefully that will steam out a little.

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NaKniCromo on Ravelry.com – it’s take a lot of thinking about my dream project (Day 16) – not sure I have just one, just an image of several.  I guess premium yarns, dreams to knit without hiccups, perhaps at least one repeat of an item knit a few years ago. Oh, and of course, the price of the wool would be irrelevant or it would have been free!

Day 17 – Dream Tools – I favour Knit Pro Symfonie needles, rainbows even when knitting with boring yarn!  Day 18 – Technique I would like to master – I would like to be more adventurous with cables, though at the moment I have so much I want to knit that I choose more simple patterns that seem a lot quicker than the fantastic complicated cables I drawl over. Day 19 – More Yarn or Less yarn – More yarn, always more yarn of course. I am working on reducing my stash, whether knitting it or selling some to buy more.

Day 20 – Today – Favourite Tip or Trick – It’s ok to rip something back, don’t consider it wasted time, consider it a learning curve.  Also, mattress stitch, once learned I have never gone back to running stitch or oversewing seams.

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And a little sewing – remember the last post – beige and pink circles with sewing pins. They turned into these doughnuts! And now they are available to purchase at a little lovely cafe, The Teashop at Downe, Kent.  I hope customers popping by for a tea and cake will fancy taking a Calorie Free/Sugar Free cake home for later!

So as you see, a busy few days here.

 

 

Four months down in the new place

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I think I will just live in the new house for a year or so without planting much new and see what comes up and whether I like it. So far this has been the prettiest (hollyhocks) which arrived near the front door. We are fairly evergreen at the back and side of the house, some lovely trees and shrubs but there is the odd splash of colour or surprise – including a grapevine with a tiny bunch of purple grapes – not enough to squeeze out a bottle of wine sadly!

I am still finding my feet living somewhere new. I try and justify trips out if a round trip is 10 miles plus to the nearest decent sized town but I am using farm shops and small businesses too which is great. Around and about I have been lost several times, sometimes very frustrated and at others it’s been an adventure.

Sadly we had to say goodbye to one of our cats, Mercury, and it was very sad. His sister, Matilda doesn’t seem to have noticed. She is intent of finding new places of her very own, which this week seem to be various empty shelves around the house.

I have lost some storage space here – I didn’t have the heart to shift her even though she might have to find somewhere new soon as we aren’t planning on keeping this particular set of shelves.

She isn’t too keen on Florence, next door but I think the feeling’s mutual. Here’s Florence sunbathing on a wall between the houses. She actually has dementia, which could explain why she lies on a skinny brick and risks falling off regularly when she nods off! This was a particularly gorgeous day in Kent as you can see from the colour of the sky.

I haven’t much crafting to report. I managed to finish a baby blanket for a new baby due in a couple of weeks. It was actually a pattern I had used before, you could say almost mindless knitting and it’s a gorgeous lilac/pink vintage colour. I also managed to get out my sewing machine and half made a new top for myself – haven’t found the mojo to hand finish it yet. It’s been four months of jumping from one thing to another. I am yearning to be with like-minded crafters in this new area – still to find a new group to join, still avidly looking.

Four months has passed quickly. Planning ahead for autumn has slightly started, with a raid on the local hedgerows for blackberries and I’ve even picked a few pears from my pear tree but they aren’t the best, probably a bit early and only ok for selective cooking so far, hoping when the others are ready they will be better. Then there’s been a log delivery today too! Well, enough of me for now. Hope to be back soon.



Appledore

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It’s been a while since my last post. It’s totally because I moved house and I am not getting my act together except to exist on a daily basis and explore a little. Life has changed completely, from living in a busy town to a quintessential little village with a lot less going on. I am still in Kent but a very different part of Kent. We had considered many things like not having a variety of shops, but we are still getting used to not running out of important things and taking a drive to the nearest town means planning to buy a few items just to make the journey worth it. Of course, this doesn’t count the driving around to explore, which is what we have been doing plenty of in our down time.

This signpost in the next town seems to show the crossroads I have reached. I was born in Hastings, lived in a London borough (albeit actually within the County of Kent), and now I am in Appledore. Lots of history here and abouts, I might even pop the odd snippet here on my blog from time to time as I make my own history!

We are not straight in the house by a long way but we are getting there. I am still dithering in particular about how to store all my craft things so they are accessible. I am not rushing things but it does mean it isn’t easy if I have to search through a variety of boxes for something. So far I have stuck to knitting the one baby blanket I had started just before we moved. I was going to make bunting for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee but I ran out of time so put up some I already had (a lovely gift a few years ago from my sister in law).

We’ve been going for little strolls in the village, towards the canal or over the fields. We’ve popped into the little tea room too – well, why not? – it might be a few doors down from where we live but you can watch the world go by and say a little hello to friendly neighbours too. There is a long way to go before I feel completely settled. At first I thought things were just too different but maybe I am starting to find my feet a bit. Glorious sunny weather helps it feel a little like being on holiday and we haven’t tackled any projects within the house yet!

Yesterday we even popped to the beach for a picnic tea after hubby finished work. I think inspiration could be on the cusp, just need to get a bit more organised before I knuckle down to something other than relaxing. Love to read what others have been thinking about or actually getting up to. Some days the days here are long and seem slow and then the day is over and I can hardly remember what I’ve been up to. Other days just whizz by!

Sitting in the dunes above Camber Sands beach

Moved house, need to find crafting paraphernalia

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Well we finally moved three weeks ago yesterday. The build up was an absolute nightmare – a house move is certainly not to be taken lightly. Sorting and packing up twenty two years of living in a house with extra ‘stuff’ from a second home which got jumbled into the first home last summer seemed endless and not much fun at times. Not just a house move but also a relocation, at the tail end of a pandemic with a complete lifestyle change pending! I do remember one particular afternoon being overwhelmed and finding myself sitting on the kitchen floor in tears wondering why we were actually doing it. Not the only day with tears. Disagreements were plenty, misunderstandings in heaps, differences of opinions galore – in fact, how on earth did we manage the move?

Some may wonder why we put ourselves through it all. It goes back to nearly twelve years ago, I lost a significant member of my family and started to question where I was in life and how much future I had left myself, also if was I living it the way I wanted to. Ultimately the answer was ‘no’ I wanted to live differently, to have a quieter life and to spend time with people I wanted to be with. There were many hurdles to jump over. More than once I questioned whether it was a journey I might have to travel alone. I didn’t want to start out by myself but it was hard for my family to understand my frustration. I am a mother, putting my child first has always been a priority. I am a wife. Being in a partnership should always mean being considerate and respectful of each other. But, I am also ME.

So, twelve years after the idea was firmly planted here we are (yes we, husband and I). A life in a little English village, away from the humdrum of the outskirts of London. We are surrounded by countryside, though have access within 20 minutes of many amenities. Our son has left home, freely, before we made firm plans to sell up and move on. The husband, having worked tirelessly for his whole career, including forty one years in one company, has realised life too is short and lifestyle is more important that just a hard slog. In fact for the last six months the husband has pushed for a move to the ‘country’ more so than I have.

I would now like to write that I am unpacked totally, have found all my crafting supplies and inspired to make, make, make. Not quite! Yesterday I located the bunting I had previously made for my new craft room (yes, dedicated craft space just for me!), but as for the rest, it’s still in hiding. I found boxes of yarn but not the patterns. I found fabric, the sewing machine, but not the sewing threads nor scissors (and all sewists know you have sewing scissors not to be confused with any other scissors around the house). Perhaps the next time I write there will be newly crafted things to share.

Reading a book with a place you know inside it

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Just a ‘wondering’ really, not a crafty post this time.

Who else loves discovering that the book you are reading describes a place you know? At our book club last night a friend was delighted to tell us the book we’d just finished, The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave, set partly in Sausilito, California, wasn’t far away from where she grew up. It made me think of Girl On A Train by Paula Hawkins. The book covered commuting into London and the girl sees the backs of Victorian semis, pretty much reminding me of my commuting in my early twenties. Reading it felt so familiar, however, when it was made into a film it was set in the US – which ruined it for me. Then there’s Dorothy Koomson, fantastic author. She lives and writes about Brighton. I used to live in Hastings so Brighton was THE place to go as you became a teenager – oh the excitement of the boutique shops and bands that played at The Brighton Centre! Just a snippet of my easy reading tastes here. Sometimes you just have to pick a book for escapism or easy reading. Lucky for me, my lovely book club friends enjoy similar tastes.

Granny to be…

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Granny to be… finished! That is, my granny square blanket is on the home stretch. I am not going to actually be a ‘granny’ (that was a sneaky heading eh?). Two weeks ago I was rediscovering wool and fabric WIPs and deciding whether WIPS would stay as UFOs or be completed or trashed. I started this particular project about 10 years ago when I worked in a yarn store which sold beautiful Italian Adriafil yarn and it wasn’t cheap even with a discount. Over the years it has been added to off and on but just never finished. It was one of my first forays into crochet – and yes it is slightly wonky and the tension could be more standard. It started as a cushion cover, then I wanted to make it bigger into a throw for a sofa. It was to go in our holiday home. We no longer have that holiday home. Luckily I still love the yarn and the randomness of the whole thing! I wish I had more black but the yarn was discontinued years ago and I can’t source it from anywhere. I need to make it bigger, perhaps add a large border. It’s still a WIP but at least all the squares are joined and all the ends are sewn in – for now I call that a ‘win’ on the WIP front.

I rediscovered a three quarters finished toddler jumper too and a WIP became A FINISHED ITEM – hurrah! Front, back and sleeves were complete. Sewing up was half done. It was supposed to be a hoodie but I decided on a round neck for quick finishing. I have to admit the toddler it was for is no longer a toddler – but funny enough it’s come up huge – so may still fit her. You may giggle as it so obviously needs pressing. I just wanted to share a finished ‘win’ briefly, don’t judge me on my photos please – I like words, I am not a photographer and my ironing plans start tomorrow!

On a woolly home stretch

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It’s been another while since my last post and a while since I got back into serious crafting. Not that I haven’t been thinking about it, just that there have been other things filling my head most days. I have been admiring others’ hobbies and work from afar.

So, last week I dug out a few WIPs. Two I ripped back and it felt so satisfying, which is kind of weird that I wasn’t just cross with myself for rediscovering projects half done. I am having a major sort out pending a house move. I have been donating unwanted items to charities for second chance homes, including craft things to thrift stores and even selling the odd lot. A good friend gave me great advice re my guilty yarn stash. She said:

a} if the yarn isn’t a good yarn then rip it back/get rid of it – offer it to a friend (not necessarily her) or give it to someone or a group that will use yarn that’s been used before, or

b) if the yarn is good but the item isn’t to your taste then rip it back and keep it to make something else. I wasn’t to feel guilty about transporting it from one house to another.

It sounds so simple putting that down on paper. I was of the opinion that if I rediscovered a project I felt sheepish or annoyed that I’d not finished it. Many things were finding their way back into storage. I think it’s the way I was brought up, not to waste things. I remember my Mum reknitting jumpers from ripped back jumpers and adding a bit of something different to extend it’s length. She also extended the lives of various fabric items, eg. sheets into sleeping bag inners for holidays and I lost count of the number of items passed down to me from various family members.

So, what did I do first? Anyone guess correctly? Let’s just say ‘ends’ … More photos to follow in the next few days!

A little crafty, a little toasty

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My crafting mojo had recently taken a hike. We are planning to move and initially much of my craft supplies were hidden out of sight whilst we readied the house to show to potential buyers. Unfortunately, being the kind of crafter who spreads herself out when working/playing if some days I thought about getting a project out again I then also thought about the bother of putting it all away afterwards. I just couldn’t face the extra hassle. Eventually I even stopped thinking about getting projects out.

The whole planning to move house (we are relocating) seemed to take over most of my days – including many trips travelling distances to house search. During this we’ve also had Covid restrictions, though luckily we haven’t had Covid itself in the immediate family, then Christmas happened and my son moved out (that was ok, that was planned!).

Then last week I realised I just had to make something. I love making bits and bobs for the little girls in my extended family – I could hardly believe I had become so distracted I almost forgot someone’s third birthday! Diving into my fabric stash I found some wonderful pink ice cream print fabric and whipped up a cushion – perfect – and the same afternoon it went into the post (with the extra books I had bought before Christmas so she can lounge and be read to – I so love gifting books). Sadly, so quick was I to post the gift that I forgot to take a photo to share here, not so cool when I aim to chat about things I make on here…

But, it broke the craft silence – the same day I made a mini hot water bottle cover after discovering fleece and a bottle in my fabric stash (it may sound bizarre to have a random hottie bottle but I did make covers to sell a few years ago and somehow this one was missed).

My craft group meet once a week and we still sit outside in the garden of a local bakery – even when the skies are threatening and even when it’s only four degrees. Last week I tucked my warm water filled hottie bottle into my sweater and oh how toasty was I?! All in all a bit of a win-win couple of days. Crafted, used stash, met friends.

As for the house move: we fell in love with one beautiful house though sadly we’ve had to pull out of the sale due to high overhaul costs and future maintenance. That was rather a low blow. Mentally I’d moved my furniture into it and my life into that particular village. It took a while to get over the disappointment, to stop blaming each other for choosing that house, to regain any enthusiasm. However, we have since been searching again so you never know there may be further positive news on that front soon. Plus I have just put a pile of fabric on the cutting board …

P.S. My lovely relative sent me a pic so I could do ‘show and tell’ after all. Here’s the cushion with the ice cream fabric. I was told the little recipient tore off the wrapping paper and declared it was her ‘favorite cushion, the best!’ , ahh!

UFOs, Half Cut, Tangled, WIPs, Life Complexities

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This year is all about making decisions. The first decision is not to make New Year Resolutions, knowing they don’t come to exact fruition which leads to more frustration and me quietly hanging my head in shame. The last two Januaries I publicly declared I would use up more of my yarn and fabric stash. January 2021 started well but momentum was lost as the months went on. In general my zest declined with too many other things getting in the way.

So, not a resolution, but a celebration with a few crafty things completed last year, a cute grey baby set, a baby blanket and a toddler’s rag doll and dolly’s quilt (there were a more but these are my favourites).

Then admittance to things started and not finished, with photos. The best of these is the turquoise cowl (last pic) and the neopolitan sleeves of a hoodie for a four year old (luckily she has a younger sister so when it’s finally finished it will have a new recipient!) (last pic). The green sparkly jumper was finished but the sleeves were way too long so it’s been de-cuffed and is waiting to be re-cuffed. The lime green back of a cardigan turned out too long, knitted mindlessly whilst recuperating from an op – needs ripping back and reknitting. The patchwork hexies are part of an ongoing project of many years.

Then there’s things started or at least worked on in 2021, without photos. The best of these are a Cream/Silver knitted ribbon yarn top (horrid to knit with), blue/white patchwork quilt (planned for a bedroom I don’t have anymore) and a red woolly hat (would fit an elf rather than an 88 year old MIL).

Rounding off all things crafty it makes me realise I did ‘use up more of my craft stash’. There were many things sold online/donated to friends/charity to clear a few boxes. They include a big handful of patterns (including a dog coat pattern I had when I thought I might start a knitted dog coat business before being persuaded that dogs usually need easily washable/dryable coats not fashion statements!), about 2000g yarn (one was another colourway of the ribbon yarn, yuk!), decoupage papers, cross stitch books and patterns (many from the mid 90’s onwards when everyone got cross stitch birthday/new baby cards and Christmas decorations, etc), embroidery threads, etc. I even recycled etching blanks and made unique Christmas cards for 2021.

All in all, more space made for more projects. Now I just need to make another zillion things or better decisions about keeping/not keeping items so there is less to move from one house to another.

Busy Country Bees

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A French Homestead Life

I adore bees, their characters, their hard work ethic and over the years I have studied beekeeping, imported raw honey from Germany and Transylvania and can tell a good honey from a false honey.. a sly mix of sugars added to many sourced honey’s.

Sketched.

Pure unadulterated, raw honey is amazing. You should be able to clearly identify the source…sunflower, meadow, heather, forest. There should be no sharp twang on your taste buds or an aftertaste of sugar burn.

The honey should be priced around £6.00 per jar and be limited in supply. Most supermarkets honey, isn’t honey. Bees take their short lifetime to produce a mere teaspoon if honey, so how can the shelves be full? The London Honey Company has limited stocks …but it’s genuine and taste delicious. Since a few years ago they have had to supplement their range by looking further afield in England. It stands…

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Must Participate More In Class

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My son left home last week and when sorting out everything he wanted to take to his flat there was time for reflection, contemplation and I admit, some frustration too. I was keen to feed his enthusiasm, after all it’s a big step, but seeing him throwing out many childhood things I hold dear was tough (I did rescue some things!). We had a ‘practice run’ a few years ago when he went off to University, then lived in Barcelona for a few months, then Uni again for another year. However, he’s been home now for two years, the last one working solely from the desk in his bedroom with a new career as a trainee Chartered Accountant with hardly any socialising due to the Covid pandemic. What a life for someone in their early 20’s! He has coped brilliantly – but it really is time he gets to enjoy life more. How tiresome being with Mum and Dad so much at his age.

So, as we sorted out school books, etc, I came across one of my own school reports. There was more than one ‘Must Participate More in Class’. My husband laughed and said it sounded like it was about someone else, someone shy and quiet. I am not a shrinking violet these days (apparently). Then there was ‘Room to Improve’ and ‘Could do better’. I have no specific memory of anyone at school encouraging me to improve but maybe they did as I didn’t do too bad in the end. My one frustration is that I left school at an early age – wages and freedom beckoned – but I do remember the joy of that first pay packet when I dashed into the local boutique and bought a new dress for Saturday night out and then begrudgingly gave my parents housekeeping.

Moving him out was an event in itself. As usual, everything happened all at once. He finally got his keys at 4pm on New Year’s Eve. It was dusk and he had little time before he met friends at someone’s house for a New Year Party and we had plans to settle down and relax before an online quiz with family and a glass or two of bubbly. We’d been hanging around for hours waiting to hear when he could get in, cars were packed, house was in chaos, then it was ‘go go go’ ! Phew!

From cute Thunderbird to bearded weirdy in a blink of an eye!

Now there’s time to reflect back on the last few months, the last year, the highs and lows, the exasperation of not being able to just get on with life for more than one reason. In 2022 I shall take on board the ‘Could do better’ school report comment through life’s many paths. Firstly, I shall get back to blogging more regularly – my last post was in September. Then I shall make better decisions – including crafting ones – what to make/what to scrap/what to continue/what new things to learn.

I shall also make better decisions in general, biggest one being moving house. We are midway with that complex project. We sold our holiday home in France in June last year, which was traumatic, involving all sorts of PCR tests/isolation/furniture scrapping/storage, the actual sad decision to sell was spurred on by Brexit. The bigger decision to relocate in the UK is proving troublesome at times. Still, the house move here has been a dream to me for about ten years. I am embracing the fact husband seems on board now, albeit with trepidation. 2022 is due to bring many changes and celebrations. It has to be a better year than last. Good luck to others for a better year too.