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One week’s craftiness, stamp, fold, knit

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Whilst sitting for the last two days, full of a cold, plied with warm drinks and watching a plethora of catch up tv I have been thinking how lucky I am to craft so often and meet with lovely like minded friends, new and old, whilst doing so.

Last week I helped a friend run a Christmas card making class.  We used a dye cutting machine, stamping, glitter dots, ribbons and other embellishments.  I managed to snap just a couple of photos before the ladies headed home.  Most of them loved the cards so much they said they’d find it hard to give them away!

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Then Monday night this week I met with other crafty friends for our final pre Christmas get-together to do a joint project.  This time was an introduction to origami, making these super stars.  There was a bit of wonky folding along the way but we had a good selection of finished ones by the time we were full of wine/cake/the evening was over!

I had my sewing machine out at the weekend but can’t show off what I made yet.  I will reveal all on a later blog post.

Finally, some knitting, quite a bit of knitting since Sunday.  I knit at home in the quiet, when listening to music, when watching tv, in the car, whenever I can really.  I knit a lot for myself and for charity and I love gifting to friends if I think they’ll appreciate it though sometimes you are never sure if people really appreciate hand made presents.

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However, a few weeks ago a good friend  (of nearly 40 years, we met when we used to pull each others pigtails!) and I were out walking and I noticed she was wearing a hat I made for her several years ago.  She loves the hat but it’s losing it’s oomph and she gently hinted it might be time for a replacement. I’ve made the one she wore several times and was determined not to go down the same route.  I chose a new pattern, dived into my stash and .. a lovely new hat is done. I enjoyed making it so much I made myself one too!  I shall just have to make sure we don’t wear them at the same time .

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I also attacked a few more rows with my chunky grey shrug and started a prem baby cardigan as I heard a family member’s latest arrival may be making an appearance sooner rather than later.  Now back to the sofa and onto the next Box Set and if my fuggy head lets me a little more knitting too.

 

 

 

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A tranquil weekend with a bit of grey (shrug)

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Adjective: Tranquil – free from disturbance, calm

My tranquil place last weekend, Houlgate beach, Normandy, France.

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There was the odd other person there but mostly just seabirds strutting their stuff.

It was a bit chilly to knit at the beach (well, it is November!), so back to the house for some more calm, a hot chocolate, yarn and sticks.  The basket of grey from last week is growing slowly into a chunky shrug.  Progress so far.

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I feel so lucky to get to France as often as I do.  Home away from home.  Jusqu’à la prochaine fois (until the next time) …

 

A woollen tale: A basket full of opportunity or just another disaster?

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I was going to use up some of my yarn stash, yarn left from blanket making about three years ago. I found a jacket pattern and picked up sticks.   It started well, growing quickly, that was the idea, get rid of it quick then treat myself to another woolly purchase and not feel guilty that my stash could rival a yarn stores’.

Then I noticed a mistake half way down one front panel.  I ripped it back and corrected it.  I knit a little further.

Having made a few things over the years that have either been too small or too big, the wrong shape, the wrong style I decided to try and ‘wear’ the panels to gauge how this might turn out.  Urgh! It was so bad that this is now what it looks like …

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So I still have that part of my stash and who knows what it may turn into.  The world of knitting patterns is vast. My own imagination runs riot.  One day this will make one or several successful items, maybe just not this week. I am sure I am not the only one who has the odd disaster. I would love to read about others so I don’t feel so alone, though I do look at is as an opportunity rather than a complete disaster, at least I hadn’t finished it then found the mistake or realised it looked so horrid!

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As a stop gap, I finished another hat for a friend’s charity sale.  Baby size, quick knit, scraps from my stash.  You could say I am slowly depleting my yarn stash, SLOWLY being the word.

Did anyone else here go to the Creative Craft Show at Excel in London last weekend.  Lots to admire, some Christmas treats purchased, lovely people met and business cards taken away for future shopping.  I resisted adding to my yarn stash – I guess that was another success for the week.  Thinking positive!

Bowls not necessarily full of cherries per se, idioms, proverbs and misinterpretations

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English is a funny language. I was meandering around the internet and was going to blog saying ‘life is like a bowl of cherries’ as I was having a good day, had enjoyed great company and so on.  Then I decided to actually do my own mini research about the saying and I realised someone could misinterpret my words.  You see, those actual words, ‘life is like a bowl of cherries’ are often used sarcastically or humorously as an idiom or turn of phrase whereas I have always used them at face value.  I don’t think I have ever turned them around.

cherriesYou see, I would think it is akin to taking from a luscious bowl of juicy fruit.  If you dive in then you take a chance on something nice.  Dive in once, one chance, dive in twice, two and so on.  So, if life is like a bowl of cherries then life is good. It is good today – if my earlier companion is reading this!

 

seventiestrousersWhat about ‘honesty is the best policy’? Is it? I tend to think so but I can waver on this one.  When asked ‘does my bum look big in this?’ I might not answer exactly, but if I did think the vision unflattering I would suggest a change of outfit as the person may look better in something different.  I wouldn’t say they had a big rear, but would be kinder with my words.  Remembering a recent shopping trip with a friend makes me giggle. I picked up a pair of trousers and asked her if she thought I could wear them.  Her answer was ‘not when with me’.  We roared with laughter so much the shop assistant frowned at the disturbance of her peace!

 

At another angle, I am definitely a ‘glass half full’ kind of person.  I have been told I have a sunny personality,  I hope I think in more positive ways than negative.  Even saying ‘glass half full’ could start a discussion about proverbial phrases and are you a ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’ type.  Which, if any, is correct?

Proverbs, another whole host of sayings that can get confusing.  ‘A watched pot never boils’ – yes it does if it’s on the correct heat source and you don’t take your eyes off it! ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’ – yes it can (in my family it does) but sometimes it makes you realise you aren’t looking forward to that person coming back! You see, just a couple of strange examples here.  I could spout for hours.

I enjoyed English at school, one of my favourite subjects. Perhaps I need to go back to learn how to use it properly.

As I finish, I shall end with a favourite of mine

A little of what you fancy does you good….

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Now sitting knitting ..

 

I’m feeling a little rested, a little smaller and right now life’s good, if a little stripey

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It’s wonderful to grab some winter sunshine when the UK is starting to turn grey. I have recently returned from the lovely island of Antigua.  It was a week of R&R, quality time spent with hubby and memories to keep me going as the days turn shorter, the temperature declines and Christmas tunes start playing in each and every corner.

Here’s the view from one of the beaches on Green Island – we had a little boat trip there one morning.  The sea was clear.  The sands were white.  Wish I was there now …  (I thought so much of this yesterday when we had torrential rain, thunder then hailstones here in Kent!)

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Browsing through recent snaps I also looked at photos of a holiday in September last year.  It was a wonderful trip to Mauritius.  Again, a week of R&R. (Very indulgent, very lucky I know.) Being particularly self critical (who isn’t when faced with themselves in swimwear?!), I hate every photo of myself as I had never been as big as I was then.  It inspired me to lose weight, which has been a steady journey and occasionally I can remind myself on days like today, that it has been worth it.  I am lighter, a dress size smaller and I feel fitter than I have for a long time. Yes I fall off the sensible eating wagon sometimes but overall it’s going the right way.

As regards crafting progress: Over the last few months I had been slacking and I wasn’t particularly proud of myself.  I couldn’t settle into anything.  I got distracted easily, switching between a little knitting, going wrong, ripping it back, reknitting, summer projects didn’t get finished, last winter’s projects still lay half done.  I tried to sew, I cut fabric out. cut wrong, changed projects, didn’t do it well. I embroidered a bit, not a lot, I even tried to tackle a sweet little embroidery that’s been in a hoop for several years.  Nothing was working.

Now it’s November and a good friend needs hats for a charity sale.  It’s got me back into knitting and I have to say SUCCESSFULLY FINISHING too.  I am using up some yarn scraps. The styles and sizes are flexible.  I love stripes and pompoms so I guess there will be a few more like these.

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All in all it’s a perfect start to hopefully a good winter and a good winter knitting season.  I knit more in the winter.  I expect many of us do.  Do you?

Here’s wishing you all a happy November.

 

Sunshine, Knitting and a Mermaid!

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Sometimes we are lucky enough to enjoy a few days extra sunshine in September, a bit like an extended summer. Last week was glorious nearly every day – and living inland frustrates me. I was born and brought up at the seaside in Hastings in East Sussex, though not lived there for many years.  I left and moved to Westcliff on Sea in Essex (for love!), that’s a few years ago.  Now I live in Kent, away from any coast.  I regularly need a ‘seaside fix’ to keep me sane.

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Last week I took a trip to see the sea at Whitstable, one of my favourite seaside places (if you follow my blog you will have seen beach huts and views along with me). A stroll along from Tankerton, a meander through Whitstable town, a little sit down on the stones with my knitting – how perfect to enjoy the peace and the vista! I sipped a cappuccino whilst looking at tethered boats and I admired a mermaid at Harbour Market. http://harbourmarketwhitstable.co.uk/

 

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I even saw a mermaid!  This is handknitted and crocheted and is attached to a fabulous wall of caged stones at Harbour Market. I am guessing it was put there but local knitty artists.  The wall itself contains some artwork on stones from the local community.  It’s really interesting to take a look but difficult (or nigh on impossible) to take a good photo of the stones.  It’s a fabulous place to stop off and watch the world go by.

Anyone else enjoying the last few days of an Indian Summer?

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.