Thursday, 17 December 2015

Crap Craft Wednesday

Yes, I know it's Thursday.

So let me begin... My little bundle of joy is now 21 months old and he has been and continues to be a hurricane like force that sweeps through our lives.  The last couple of years have been incredibly tough.  Soul destroying hard work and a house that constantly resembles a play centre following a busy afternoon.  I have had to adjust all over again to being on call 24 hours a day, many disrupted night's sleep, and the complete and utter lack of any meaningful time with either my hubs or on my own.  Solo time is so important to me.  I'm a certified INFP on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator  I love being on my own.  I spent far too much time with my thoughts, even when in company,  I find time restraints incredibly stressful and I'm disorganised to the point of chaotic.  

This perhaps explains my extremely erratic blogging pattern over the last 2 years.  I just haven't had any time and what little time I get is spent trying to claw back the housework, make sure the kids have enough clean clothes, and... sleeping, to be honest.  

However, since around midsummer I have found a pattern developing.  I no longer go to work on a Wednesday but Master L still goes to a childminder (who happens to be a very close family friend) on this day.  Miss 8 is in school which means that Wednesday has become my day. My day.  The one day  I look forward to every week.  It is sacrosanct and all the fun things I want to do are saved for that day.  In reality, once it comes around, I am either too tired that I end up sleeping through it or I am so overwhelmed with possibilities that my brain overloads... and I end up sleeping.

All this by way of getting to the point, which is that on the days that I do manage to get things done, I have a fine old time.  Last week I decided I would finally go through my vintage children's book collection and single out those books that are very old and tatty and make something out of them.

There are hundreds of ideas on what to do with old books on Pinterest but one of the simplest things I've found is to make gift tags.  You just cut them up, hole punch them and stick a pretty ribbon or piece of twine through them.  Simple.  If you spend a good couple of hours on this you end up with a collection like this one.

Aren't they simply wonderful?

I like to be creative and nothing gives me greater pleasure than to make my own objects of simplicity and prettiness and look at them adoringly afterwards.  However what I possess in enthusiasm and intent is ebbed by the aforementioned time restraints, not to mention my discernible lack of talent.  But the great thing about these is that it doesn't matter.  Anyone can sit and cut out shapes.  I have a guillotine but I didn't even bother using it.  What's more, anyone who has an interest in crafts would already have the basic items needed to make these.

The thing is I'm kind of out of control now.  I have enjoyed making these so much that I do it whenever I have a chance.  It will probably take me forever to use them all so I've taken to sticking one in Ebay parcels containing sold items along with a thank you stamp or a sticker on it.

Purchased very reasonably from Ebay

I can't stress enough how rudimentary my craft skills are, hence the rather crass title of this post. For the foreseeable future, I have christened my Wednesdays 'Crap Craft Wednesdays' and I have a list of all the creative tasks I want to undertake in the forthcoming weeks and months.  Hopefully I can continue to put this precious me-time to good use and worry just that little bit less about everything else. 


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Ethel Constance Snowdrop Raven

That was the name on a gravestone I saw in the Coniston graveyard I was wandering around in with the mister recently.  I thought it was so pretty and quite unusual for the Victorian era.  Whenever I hear names I like I think about how nice it would be to pop out a couple more babies so I can use them, obviously these thoughts are fleeting, and I rapidly come back to my senses.

Anyhow, here is something of an outfit post for you.  Since my hair has been blonde (actually it's now a sort of half and half) I've had a thing about black clothes.  Maybe it's just me but whenever I have had blonde hair in the past it makes me feel lighter and brighter, appearance wise, which I always feel the need to temper with darkness.  It made me realise just how few black clothes I actually own, a complete about face from my teenage wardrobe.  So I made a few purchases over the last few months to try and put it right.  When we went on a wee weekend break a couple of weeks back I put on my best black display and snapped a few pics for posterity.

Outfit details:-

Dress: Joe Browns
Boots:  Docs 
Cardi:  Asos
Bag: Joe Browns 

Some of you may recognise the location of the last two photos from this post.  It's actually a back alley in the small village of Alston on the edge of Cumbria.  I think it looks like it could easily double for poverty stricken Victorian London, which I suppose is why I like it so much.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Old Cape Cod

Old Cape Cod.  Falmouth, pretty shiny fire engines, retro diners, ice cream shops open till after dark, my first experience of Michael's craft store (heaven), lawn flamingos, Ocean State Job Lot, happy kids on the beach, Dairy Queen, Cupcake Charlies and sandy streets.  Plymouth; Tiny tiny Plymouth Rock, Cole Porter in my head, rainbow blizzards, endless street market and suffocating heat.  Down town Provincetown, LGBT capital of Cape Cod, rainbow flags, rainbow houses, feathers, ribbon and tulle, ice cream, gelato, lots and lots of t-shirt shops, hot dogs with cheese sauce.

Dammit I love America.  But this seems like a lifetime ago now.  I have just returned from the dark heart of the New Galloway forest where I've been drinking in the Autumn splendour.   It couldn't be further removed from this happy-go-lucky, sunny place... but I'm fine with it.  

Goodbye summer, it was fun.  Hello Autumn my old friend.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Summer in New York

Me and the fam were lucky enough to spend a few days in New York, en route to Cape Cod, during the summer holidays.  The first time for all of us.  It was very exciting and exhausting. 

It was hot.  Very hot.  So hot I actually wore shorts outside.  Here I am in Central Park wearing actual shorts.  Blazing hot summers and I are not natural bedfellows but the heat was so intense that you were too exhausted to care

42nd Street

Times Square

We visited the 9/11 Museum.  I was a little reticent at first but I found it tasteful and very moving and not at all gaudy or nationalistic.  Housed beneath the site of the twin towers the exhibits were built around the actual foundations of the buildings.

Miss 8 wasn't so interested after a while and my little man was very vocal with his unhappiness at being confined to his pushchair, that I spent most of the time in the cafe with them, bribing them with cake.  It was a long day.  27 degrees outside and absolutely heaving in Battery Park so we forfeited the Statton Island ferry idea and jumped in a cab.  I think we were all glad to get back to our hotel that night.

Found time to stop and photograph this famous piece of the Berlin Wall that was on display nearby

On our last full day I managed to spend 10 minutes at Hell's Kitchen Flea Market, just as it was packing up.  I would have loved to have spent more time in this area just looking around, walking down a few blocks to see the legendary Chelsea Hotel.  Alas, the mister and I had to sacrifice a lot of what we would have liked to see and do on the altar of parenthood.  It wasn't easy keeping two hot and bothered kiddos happy.

I loved how easy it was to buy fresh produce on any street corner, even in the more downmarket areas.

A New York subway

We had breakfast out every morning 

We spent most of the first day in Brooklyn which was great.  Such a pretty place full of tree lined Victorian terraces that I just didn't get time to photograph.  We also discovered the joys of Shake Shack, best fast food ever, and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

It all seems like so long ago now even though it was only at the end of August.  New York was amazing.  So big, so very very big.  Everything was super sized and loud and noisy.  The buildings towered over everything and they reflected the sun like giant mirrors.  I can see why some people find it overwhelming.  We actually found it very welcoming.  Not the greatest place to go with kids. Very long queues in and out of JFK after a very long journey don't make for happy kids.  Subway stations are virtually inaccessible with a pushchair and are far too hot, crowded and fast paced that we had to get cabs everywhere.  So much we didn't get to see and do that we wanted to.  I think we're gonna save that for when the kids are older and we can escape on our own.  But we all had a great time and it was a nice stop on our way to Boston for a relaxing week in the Cape.  I'll post more on that soon (when I eventually get around to it) 


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Craft Therapy

"Once upon a time, there was a thirty something malcontent who, after years and years of flat out refusal, realised she needed to grow up and help herself to try and tackle some longstanding issues she had with among other things 'real life' with the help of a therapist.  The malcontent found herself some time later in a therapists office trying to write a list of day to day activities that she found 'pleasurable'.  When on completion of that list, she looked back and realised it consisted of; travel, exploration of old buildings, photography and long solitary walks in the woods, realised that perhaps she should try to find some activities that weren't so blindly impossible to do with a toddler in tow and a home and a job to keep.  Hence she discovered, papercraft."

Good evening chaps

Just a little bedtime story there!  Well, as you can probably tell, I have been turning my hand to the odd spot of crafting.  Card making is something I have done infrequently over the years but never really had it as a hobby.  I can't think why not.  At the moment I am absolutely loving it and I don't know where it's been all my life.  I bought a shedload of craft supplies which ended up costing a fortune (massive fail on the therapy front as one of my biggest issues is compulsive spending... uh oh!) even though individually everything cost buttons.  I bought some inexpensive kraft cards and envelopes and went to work with some cut up pages of a vintage fairytale book and random embellishments.  I also purchased a huge pack of about 500 plain gift tags and set about kitsching them up with washi tape, stickers, twine and old ribbons.  It's a perfect way to wile away the odd half hour of an evening.  I have also started keeping a scrapbook which I am enjoying and which I might share on here sometime.  I'm hoping this newly acquired hobby will give me more to blog about.  Win win.

So, what else has been happening?  Hmm, not much.  I blame the summer holidays.  It is never a productive time for me.  I tend to go through the entire month of August in suspended animation.  It's always been one of my least favourite months (at least since I was at school when, of course, I loved it).  It's a month where nothing gets done.  Everyone is on holiday or wishing they were on holiday.  There are lots more kidcentric activities and, in my case, running around trying to get uniform and school supplies ready in time for the beginning of September instead of leaving it to the last minute as usual and losing sleep over it. This year I had an additional incentive to get the school preparations out of the way quickly as we had a particularly significant family trip planned for the last 2 weeks of August, but more on that in my next couple of posts!


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