Category: life

Strange times


My beautiful pictureOn a whim, just before the summer holidays, I contacted a very wise former colleague and asked about getting back into governance.

I used to work for a number of different schools as what we call here the Clerk to the Governors.  When I finished at my last job, days seemed incredibly dark for a variety of reasons I won’t go in to here but as a result my confidence was at an all time low.

Over the last few years I have tried to learn to cope better with John’s illness and the stresses and strains that life has thrown our way, not always successfully.  I am learning to be kinder to myself and my quilting and handmade things have given me a new confidence.  Going to craft fairs and talking to people about what I do has helped me to understand the value of my abilities in a kinds of different parts of my life.

This week has done that too: an unexpected opportunity from an unlikely (I thought) source has made me see that I do have value to others beyond my front door.  I will try to remember this when stress rears its ugly head again.

I will continue to run Love Quilts and to make the things I love,; I haven’t stopped being a carer, the work I do can largely be done from home. I’m sure non of this will increase the frequency with which I update my blog!

Intercepted


Disappointment seems to follow swiftly on the heels of disappointment in my little life.  Closely followed by a swift kicking .  Are you detecting a particular tone to this post?  Sorry about that.  It seems that despite suggestions from our social landlord that due to our circumstances we may be eligible for an early move it now seems that we are not and that by the time we do move there will be none of the new houses that are suitable and adaptable left.

I know I shouldn’t have trusted the woman in the office gotten my hopes up but I just wanted something nice to look forward to.

In an attempt to cheer myself up I was playing old TV themes – it’s a game we used to like to play, our own version of Name That Tune, but during the course of this little interlude it emerges that John can no longer remember that Jason King drove a Jensen Interceptor.  The only reason I have ever heard of a Jensen Interceptor is because John used to bang on and on and on and on and …. about Jason bloody King and his Jensen bloody Interceptor.  I feel bereft.

I have a lovely report from the lovely psychologist to tell us that actually after all the brain mashing John is still average with some particular difficulties thrown in for good measure but was highly superior before.  I had actually worked that one out for myself but ho hum.  There are whole chunks of our life and of his own that he can no-longer remember and every time I am confronted with it I feel gutted again.  It is almost seven years since this nightmare began.

 

Oops-a-daisy Baby – Handmade Monday 50


I’m very excited.  Oopsy daisy is finished – yay me!  It’s made from a charm pack of Moda Oops-a-daisy designed by Keiki, about a yard and a half of matching yardage – I chose the ladybird on cream ground design – if someone knows the name – I would be delighted to add it.  It was going to be bound in plain red bias binding but due to my own inability to read a product listing correctly, when I went to collect the binding from Hulu Crafts in Modbury, I discovered it was not the right depth to bind my finished quilt.  A rummage (well it was actually a bit more dignified than that but you get the idea) through their collection of fabrics drew me to the red spotty Marshmallow and Cherry Eggs by Momo for Moda  and I bought a metre.  I have used about half so will be able to incorporate it with some of my other scraps to make another quilt top.

I was a bit worried about it clashing with the cream ladybug pattern but although the reds are not an exact match the range of other colours in the quilt make it an acceptable “happy accident”.

The finished quilt is approximately 32 x 38 so would make a lovely cot quilt and could be used as a play mat.  It has been machine echo quilted but the centre has a hand quilted heart motif where a baby’s initial could be added if required.  It has been washed on a gentle cycle and line dried – although given the weather today, I’m not quite sure how!

It has a quilt label in toning colours with my name and the year.

In other news, the thread from Cotton Patch took over a week to arrive – I didn’t pay for the express delivery so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised but it does irk me when companies take over a week to actually despatch something.  I know it wasn’t their most lucrative order ever but  I have spent quite a bit with them in the last few months. Whine over.

I’m a little early posting for Handmade Monday (well early for me anyway – and apparently a bit too early for Wendy, too) but I’ve got a busy week and the opportunity for crafting may be limited to Monday only this week – so I’m trying to save it. to try and finish Ruby – if I get her done I’ll try and post pictures too.  I’ll add in the link later because all those talented people are well worth a visit.

Repost: The Origin of the She Weevil


Reposted from my old blog which is all down the side there somewhere but  not all in very easily accessible format.  Reposted for thescroobiouspip, who asked, and if I may say  has some explaining to do in the name department!!!  Anyway, this old blog has been going on and off for quite a long time now so if you have a spare decade feel free to peruse.

Originally posted February (perhaps 19th) 2005 shortly before John had his first stroke. I am a marginally less bossy blogger than I was then, it appears.

The origins of the She Weevil
SheWeevil, she-weevil, or sheweevil: all variations of She Weevil which in itself, in case you haven’t realised, is a direct reference to the She-devil. If you are unfamiliar with the fantastical works of Ms. Fay Weldon then blogger off to the library and get familiarised. Alternatively go to work on an egg.

The Life and Loves of a She-Devil was adapted for television by the BBC in 1986 and I missed it for reasons that will become apparent further on in (read! You blog exploders, read!). During this discourse I am completely discounting the American cinema adaptation with Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr.

During the summer of 1986 at the age of 17-and-a-lot I had the ___ fortune (fill in the blank yourself) to join the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Don’t get me wrong, it was something I really wanted to do at the time but for various reasons they weren’t right for me and I certainly wasn’t right for them. I joined up on 9 June 1986 and spent the first five weeks of naval life banned from watching the television like all the other girls I joined up with. From HMS Raleigh I went up to HMS Dryad to do my Radar training. I bloggered about quite a bit and had to re-sit my final exam. Once I’d passed I was sent to work in the Cunningham Tactical Trainer. All of this time, through the summer and on into the autumn I watched virtually no TV.

After awhile I realised that I was being called She-devil by one of the hookies over in Cook Building. I didn’t know what or who he was referring me to but it didn’t sound good. When I found out I was even less impressed. I suppose with the benefit of hindsight I see where he was coming from but to me at 17 Julie T Wallace did not conform to the stereotype. At 6’2” with short red hair and flashing green eyes, neither did I but maybe I wanted to more than I knew.

Anyway. Now I’m thirty-six. When I started writing sheweevil I was thirty-five, I’ve had three children and am more Julie T Wallace than she is herself. I sometimes scare myself and often scare men. They don’t like the fact I look down on them – physically at least. I sometimes feel like a giantess and people’s children point and I get mistaken for men. Which is odd really as I certainly am more than ample in the boob department. They generally can’t believe a woman can be the size I am.

Okay now I sound like the incredible hulk. I’m not green, just a bit browned off. In my head, where I am self-deprecating in a dry and mostly humorous way, I’m a bit she-devilish but not quite, I am more me than that; more she-weevilish.

Are you getting it yet?

Coming around again


I now have Carly Simon’s dulcet tones ringing in my head but reflection on what’s gone and what’s yet to come seems to befit this time of year.  This time last year I was in a very bleak place emotionally and my confidence was at a low ebb worn away by months of high anxiety.  2011 for all its slings and arrows has been quite healing in many ways.  We have had help from a lovely psychologist specialising in brain injury who has helped us to have a better understanding of what’s going on.  It doesn’t always help to know why something is happening but it never hurts.

A combination of this and my own craftiness (you can take this as cunning or my incessant need to make things) seems to have had the desired effect an inspirational effect on John and his initial small decorative efforts have stretched his artistic muscles to the point where, as I write, he is in the shed painting again.  Not only that but he has renewed his Minigallery subscription and has done most of the adminny bits he needed to do to get it to go live.  These are huge, seven-league-boot steps forward and I don’t think any of them could have been achieved if I was still going out to work.

I am sharing my own personal favourite which I am linking to – not everyone is comfortable with the human form, so if you aren’t don’t click please.  This was painted back in 2005 from a drawing done of me back in 2004 or 2003 and it sold very quickly, too quickly to a lady in London.  I wanted to look at it for a bit longer; who doesn’t want to see themselves so beautifully depicted?

Handmade Monday 48


Though, in truth, only about my fourth I think.  This was the Christmas present that made the supreme sacrifice and didn’t get finished until yesterday.  A substitute present had to do but then a bottle of Chanel No 5 is always an acceptable substitute, n’est-ce pas?

It is crocheted in Mano Del Uruguay lace weight wool in baby alpaca, silk and cashmere in a shade called Iris (perhaps it lost something in the translation) which is much more cracked black pepper than rainbow.  I used a pattern from Cute and Easy Crochet  by Nicki Trench and adapted it, figuring that the recipient (John’s Mum) would prefer a scarf sized scarf rather than something 64 inches wide – I’m still sure that’s a misprint.

Anyway it was put away in the last minute quilt and jumper frenzy – oh there may have been some cooking in there too – who makes two Christmas cakes, I ask you? When I took it out again I found that I had made a mistake and that one end wasn’t true so I had to rip it out and start again to about 1 1/2 inches from the beginning.  It does feel gorgeous – I blocked it yesterday and think I prefer the before version but that’s me just a messy so and so.

I hope she likes it anyway – and perhaps you will too.
Welcome to every one visiting from Wendy’s Handmade Monday over here; and to all my new quilty friends please pay Wendy’s blog a visit; lots of other clever handicrafters over there.

St Distaff day blues


I thought I would share with you my latest little creation which was originally going to be called the Putting on the Itsy Bits Ritz quilt due to the combination of Moda and Makower fabrics used, but will, from now on be known as the Little Boy Blue quilt.

It is made from about 2/3rds of a Moda Putting on the Ritz jelly roll and about 1 1/2 yards of Makower Itsy Bits yardage.  This is not because I am the devil may care, throw caution to the wind, kind of woman, it’s because the lady in the nice fabric shop had matching fabric but couldn’t sell me any due to her block of the month club.  Frankly it would have been better to tell me she hadn’t got the matching yardage.  Anyway the Makower is a very near match and is for the back only, which will be stippled, so is not really a problem.

Being on a budget, I am always looking for ways to make my fabric purchase better value for money and have been busy looking at prices of the different precuts.  In the UK layer cakes and jelly rolls seem to be between £25 and £30 ($39-$46) and charm packs £8.50 – £11.00 ($13-$17), in fact it seems to me that the retailers sometimes just swap the dollar sign for a pound sign.  Imagine my delight to have found a secret (well I suppose not if I’m sharing it with you) stash of delightful charm packs.

At this point a drum roll feature would be excellent WordPress, let me introduce, Melody from Fort Worth, Texas and her Etsy shop Melody of the Heart.  I currently have, winging their way to me, 9 charm packs in three designs for a total of £62 ($93) including shipping – which works out at just less then £7 a pack – I haven’t found better value anywhere else at the moment but if you can do better …. Please pay her a visit; amazing value and a lovely friendly service too.

In other news, I am just waiting now for some batting so that I can complete Ruby and her friend.  I am currently hand quilting Little Boy Blue (see below) but am waiting for a free motion quilting foot and my try machine quilting Ruby to see which I prefer.