Wish Lads Pages and Blogging

I have had my WishLads Facebook page for several months now, and it has been my main showcase for the items I make and sell. I have generated a few customers there, but naturally I would like to expand it into a little business where I can sell my crafts and quilts at reasonable prices. I find my Facebook page a good way of sharing my daily thoughts, nothing too heavy, just general greetings or observations, and somewhere to post the photos where my friends can see them without cluttering up my wall.  If you haven’t already visited, please feel free to drop in sometime and like my page.  Here is the link if you’d like to call in for a sit down and a quick cuppa and a chat.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wish-Lads-quilts-and-crafts/659011644143047?ref=hl

Comments good or bad are always welcome, please be honest but I’d prefer it if you did not swear as my grandchildren often pop in too checking to see what I’ve been up to and to make sure I’m behaving myself.

I love  having this  blog too.  Ones of my grandsons suggested I use WordPress as a shop front to attract a greater audience for my goods. He showed me the basics then left me to it. I know he is always available to help me if I ask, but I am an independent person, pigheadedness my hubby calls it and if i an truly Honest, I honestly preferq to do it on my own. I get a lot of pleasure from writing and sharing my thought with others and it’s a good showcase for my goods. Sometimes it’s good for me just to get things off my chest, a trouble shared is a troubled halved. So I benefit from writing too.  But I am still learning how to use WordPress and I often make mistakes and lose what I’ve written, or I forget to save any corrections that I make and sometimes I lose the illustrations I have added, or think I have added.  I learn by doing, reading, and making mistakes so forgive the errors, I will keep trying and I will get there eventually.

I have read the hints and ideas others have blogged about but sometimes it reads like a foreign language. the only other language I speak is ‘Geordie’, so I am afraid it is all gobbledygook to me. I have a few loyal people who follow my blog; a few who send comments about the things I make; and a few who ‘like’ what I write so I can’t be doing too badly.

I have good friends who send messages that are a great boost to my confidence. One lady in particular seems to choose to contact me just when I’m finding it a tad hard to cope, and she always says something that makes me think, ‘get off your bottom woman, stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something with your life’. Then I bounce back up, albeit (I love that word) for a day or two, but enough to get me motivated again.

Rarely am I stuck for things to write about as I have a head stuffed full of all sorts of knowledge and nonsense and enough time on my hands to jot them down.

I hope there us something on my blog you have enjoyed looking at or reading. I hope I have been able to share with you the pleasure I get from writing and making the things I do. And I hope you call back regularly and, like my grandchildren, look to see what I’ve been up to.

 

 

 

 

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Nobody Steps Twice Into the Same River……

Nobody Steps Twice Into The Same River…..

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This intrigued me when I heard it the other day, and it set me off thinking again. Initially I thought what a silly thing to say, but then when the little wheels started grating round and round in my head I realised that it was a perfectly logical statement that made a lot of sense.

Each year on a summer’s day my family would march off to the local railway station, sit waiting on the same wooden benches to wait for the old steam train to draw up hauling the same old coaches filled with the same excited people all off on a jaunt to the seaside. Each year we set off for  a little bay called Cullercoats, situated on the scenic and beautiful Northumberland Coast.

Each year my grandparents, my Aunty, Uncle and their family would join ours for a fun-filled day, each year saw a new addition to the family wrapped up safely in the same old pushchairs.

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Each year my nanna would fashion a ‘table’ out of the same sand, cover it in the same red and white checkered table-cloth to furnish us kids with a unique table from which to eat our pooled picnic.

Each year I would wait in line at the little hut at the bottom of the ramp, next to the shawled old lady who sold the same old willicks and mussels collected by her and her family from the same rocks for the usual summer customers. Reaching the head of the queue I’d pay a few pennies for hot water to fill the dark brown boody teapot to make the tea, then ever so carefully carry it back across the damp sand to be given pride of place in the centre of the plates of stottie bread sandwiches, cakes, biscuits, bread and jam.

Each year we would tuck into our feast like it was going to be our last, chatting to each other incessantly, until one of the adults told us to quieted down.  The silence would last a minute or two before exploding into the same all chatter.  Each year there would be another mouth to feed as our families slowly expanded, so babies bottles would have to be mixed and cooled, until eventually everyone, young and old, had their bellies filled.

Each year we children would strip down to our underwear, replacing our overly warm clothes with our swim suits. We always came warmly dressed in anticipation of the changeable north-easterly summer weather. It could be so hot one moment, then a wind or a sea fret would spring from nowhere and we’d be glad of the extra warmth of the cardigan or jumper our parents had insisted we’d worn. Often after the fret and the wind, the rain would then pour down from the heavens, then the sun would be back out drying everything up. However, nothing could ever spoil our day, so we would shelter under hastily unfurled umbrellas determined to have fun regardless.  Many a game of rounders has been played by children running around with brollies or large hankies tied over their heads to keep their hair dry.

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Each year after a plodge in the same cold North Sea, we’d climb the same wall to walk to the end of the same pier, scrabble about on the same rocks below before returning to the fold.  Wrapped in the same big towels we used year after year, we would eat and eat, complaining about the inevitable grains of sand that snuck into every nook and cranny, between the pieces of our stottie, and lying in the bottom of our cups when we drained our tea.  And once the food was all  gone, the cloth would be shaken to scatter the crumbs across the sand, for the squealing, diving seagulls who has been waiting nearby.  Crockery and cutlery would be packed away in the shopping bags and the adults would settle down in the same old striped canvas deck chairs, hired for the day, so they could have a grown-up natter and a game of pontoon whilst the kiddies played. Each year we followed the same timetable, the same tradition, on the same old sandy beach.

Each year our hunger sated, the thought of pirates drew us to the dark dank odorous caves, where we played out fantasy after fantasy, searching for treasure, rescuing each other from roving brigands, from sea monsters and imagined creatures of the deep. We’d scream into the darkness, hearing the noise bouncing of the cave walls till the echoes faded and died.

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And each year we would take our few pennies up to the shops, buy ourselves a stick of seaside rock or a sugar dummy, then ‘lose’ our remaining few pennies in the one arm bandits before returning to the beach.

 

 

Each year buckets and shovels in hand, we would build the same huge sand castles decorated with same treasures we’d found at the water’s edge; shells and feathers, drift wood and seaweed, precious stones, pebbles and rocks, they all found a place in our glorious designs.  And of course the obligatory moat; no self-respecting castle would be complete without one. How else could our beautiful princess locked up in the high tower escape when the tide came in?

Each year the friendly competition between families would spill over to include  other families  near by who would collaborate in our fantasy  buildings.  Teams formed by children and adults would compete against each other in a variety of ball games and the beach would ring with laughter and screams of delight.Each year we would approach the inevitable clearing up time with little enthusiasm as the kids scrambled around trying to find their socks and shoes, vest and knickers, buckets and spades. Each year the adults would join in the hunt for the missing articles whilst at the same time trying to round-up all the youngsters from amongst the other kids spread across the crowded beach.

 

And each year, at the end of a long day groups of tired, sleepy children would pile into the same Cullercoats train station, then climb onto the same old train, homeward bound.  Huddled together in the old carriages, the whistle blowing and the steam leaving vaporous trails in the darkening sky, sleepy children curled up together, dreaming of the wonderful day we had all had, but nonetheless happy to be returning to our homes.

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And so the pattern went year after year. Nothing changing. Except it could never be the same,  for everything  changes. No matter what we do or where we go, who we are with and why we are doing it,  whatever the weather or the occasion we can never ever fully recreate the exactly same situation or scenario that we have previously experienced. Nothing and no one stands still in time. Each second of every minute sees the tiniest of changes that can alter the following second, then the next and the next and so on, infinitum.

So, yes can can step in the river twice , except it can never be the SAME river. As the water flows each molecule is constantly being replace, each stone,  pebble,  grain of sand is moved and worn ever so slightly in the current, the temperature changes constantly so it can never be the same twice.

Nobody steps into the same river twice, or in our case, onto the same sand or into the same sea twice.

 

Ten Good Reasons…….

I saw this a couple of days ago and thought it was so relevant to me.  I love fabrics, the colours, the textures, the smell of the newness .  I love fabric. 

 

10 good reasons to buy fabric

1. It insulates the cupboard where it’s kept.

2. It keeps the economy moving. It’s my duty to support the cotton farmers, textile mills and fabric shops.

3. It’s less expensive and a lot more fun than psychiatric care.

4. It keeps without refrigeration. You don’t have to cook it to enjoy it, you don’t need to feed it, change it, wipe it’s nose or walk it.

5. Like dust it’s good protection of previously empty spaces in the home, ironing board, laundry basket, dining room table etc.

6.   It’s not immoral, illegal or fattening. It calms the nerves, gratifies the soul and gives a good feeling.

7.   It’s a contest, the one who dies with the most fabric wins.

8.   Because it’s on sale.

9.   Because I’m worth it.

10.  I need to buy it now before the hubby retires and starts joining me on my shopping jaunts.

 

Author, Neil Laird.

 

Do other people feel the same ‘need’ to purchase fabric? Are you able to justify the huge piles stored around your house?

I WILL…….

Whilst I was in town the other day, I realised how much I had missed certain elements of shopping. As leaving my house to go out has been an issue for quite a few years now, most of the shopping I do is online.  Most times I am happy with my purchases but there is always the return service if I an not entirely satisfied: although I do tend to pass goods onto members of my family rather than sending them back. So it’s a win, win situation.

There is not much, if anything, that you cannot get online these days and over the past few years I have purchased a huge variety of goods, including fabrics, threads, clothes, shoes,  food, gardening supplies, a couple of tv’s, wallpaper, furniture and even a pond. During some of my dark days I have even researched the purchase of coffins, much to the amusement of my family, but that’s another story.
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It was only when I found this little fabric shop in our Grainger Market the other day, that I realised just how much I have been missing. The feel and smell of the fabrics was exquisite; a fantastic sensation you can not get through a laptop or iPad screen.  The myriad of colours was so overwhelming and appealing, making my choice of fabrics very difficult.  There was so much in front of me that I just wanted to buy and buy and buy; I really had to keep a tight hold on the reigns or I would have ended up bankrupt. This is a new experience for me, buying fabric for no other reason than I like it, with little or no initial idea what it will eventually turn into.  The memory still makes me tingle with excitement.

I had a lovely chat with the owner of the fabric shop, something you can not do when online shopping: it made me realise just how much I have lost out on while I have been ill. The lady and I discovered we both shared a passion for fabrics as we immersed ourselves in roll after roll of beautiful stock; my head was buzzing with ideas. I shared my thoughts and dreams for what I planned to make and became quite excited at the thought of making something I had not done for a very long time. I must have seemed like a young kid let loose in a sweet shop, with my hubby on the outside looking on, patiently waiting till I had had my fill.

I departed with a bag of beautiful fabrics, a hole in my bank balance but with a huge smile on my face. I  left a promise with the owner that I would be back soon to make further purchases. The rest of my outing passed in a bit of a haze as the anxiety washed over me but I held tightly onto my hubby’s arm and followed were he led. Eventually we descended on a large department store and in the haberdashery department I found a pattern for a baby and toddler dress.

I woke up quite early the next morning, filled with excitement and a craving to get started on my little project. The night before I had been unable to resist getting started even though I was extremely tired after my trip out. After my hubby had gone up to bed I cut out and prepared some of the material ready to sew together when I next woke up next day.

Out of all the effects of my anxiety disorder and the symptoms of PTSD that I have, the hardest for me to deal with  has been the loss of my ability to be create things from nothing: to start off with a length of fabric, a few pins, a pair of scissors, a pattern or an idea of some sort and a desire to produce something I can share with others.

I started out full of confidence that I could do this, I could make these oddly shaped pieces of fabric into something resembling a dress. I cannot remember how many years it has been since I made clothes for anyone, yet there had been a time when that was all I made, clothing for every occasion, for all ages: wedding dresses, outfits for an entire jazz band, including the purple frilly knickers, and clothing for my own children were just some of the things I had made. And NO they were not made from the old curtains like Maria produced for the children in the Von Trapp family, as one of my daughters laughingly tells people now.

This new venture of mine was a huge struggle to start.   I could not remember how to assemble the pieces, nor could I remember the order in which to sew the fabric pieces together. I was constantly referring to the instruction sheet that came with the pattern, but I found that even more confusing. So, after a few tears of frustration I sat for a while to calm myself, had a cup of coffee, took a few deep breaths and slowly started to assemble the dress. I pictured my new great-granddaughter Alice wearing the finished article, I wanted to do this for her and me, and eventually it started started coming together.

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Oh dear, what had I done. No sooner had I finished a pretty pink dress than I grabbed my scissors and the beautiful blue fabric that I had purchased and before long there was another partially finished dress laying on my table. I was enthused, I could do this. It was all slowly coming back. Yes, I made mistakes, but hey that’s what stitch rippers are for. An understanding, supportive and patient husband with a stitch  ripper is a wonderful gift.
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Using parts of the pattern and a sheet of paper I then created a pattern for a tunic dress. Great I thought, I would line the dress so it would be reversible. But my enthusiasm outshone my ability, I could not figure out how to put it together. I had experienced the same problem when I went to line some bags I had made a little while aG, but I had managed it then and I was determined I would  do the same this time. Somehow I slowly Thought it through, and after several false starts was able  to get it sort of right. I had to pull it apart several times but I was not going to let the fact it was wrong dampen my enthusiasm. I could do this, I could. I told myself over and over till I calmed down again and then eventually it all came right.

 

 

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And I did! Not once, but twice. I had created four toddler dresses in a day, 100% more than I had done for a long time. I was so proud of myself; what a lovely positive feeling to look at them and realise, I had done this. I still need to go shopping for buttons but I will have to wait a few days before I can get myself out shopping again. I will probably swap the buttons for press studs unless I can remember how to make the buttonholes. But I will work it out and do it because I WILL completely finish them all.

And hopefully I will eventually remember how to put photos into my posts. I’ve forgotten for now and make no apologise for the fact they are scattered all over the place in a higgledy piggledy fashion.

 

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Home sweet home

My fortnight in the sunshine and heat has perked me up no end.  Travelling amongst so many people is quite stressful for me, so the first couple of days into my holiday are usually spent with me sleeping, partly from struggling to cope with the anxiety of being in the crowds and having to cope with the resultant exhaustion, and partly because of the medication I take that enables me to cope enough to be able to have a break from home.  This time was no different, and although it meant missing a few meals it wasn’t enough to have any long-term effect on my weight.  The grounds of the hotel were large enough for me to find isolated corners where I could enjoy time on my own and when I felt able to,  I enjoyed chatting to some of the individuals I met during my time in the hotel.

I used to enjoy swimming and messing about in the water, however, it has been many years, probably about ten to fifteen, since I was last able to go in a pool. So whilst I was on holiday I did try going in the heated indoor pool: the outdoor one was so cold it was enough to freeze my follicle. Unfortunately, the anxiety of being in the water was so bad I stayed in the pool for only a short time. But I was pleased with the fact I actually got into the water. It’s a dreadful thing to be so frightened with no tangible or sensible reason.

One day back home and I was coughing and running a temperature. I’m slowly getting over a throat infection but it has slowed me down a bit for the last week. I have a couple of patchwork quilts I need to finish but my confidence has deserted me whilst I’ve been poorly, so today I stared a new project to help me get back on track.

Yesterday I had braved a trip into our town centre where hubby and I had our lunch. We had a lovely wander round the market and found a little shop where I purchased some fabric for baby dresses from a very friendly lady. Considering this is the first trip into our town centre for about ten years it turned out to be quite a successful day. Though there were times when I thought anyone observing me would think I was behaving strangely, hanging onto my hubby’s hand like the end of the world was imminent. But I survived and returned home exhausted, but with a bag of beautiful fabrics.

I’m On My Way, I’m Coming Home….

For the past fortnight I have escaped the cold and rain of home, having swapped the British weather for the hot sunny days and balmy nights of foreign shores. This is my second visit to Tunisia and like the previous one I have once again enjoyed the friendliness of the people both in and outside the hotel which is beautiful and airy.  The art work round the walls depict a life far removed from what I’ve known, and the comfortable seating invites you to lounge around and relax, perfect after the ample feasts served in the bright and roomy restaurant.
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The way of life here is so different to ours, the people are more laid back than at home; everyone seems less intense, working at a far slower pace than we normally do.  From what I have observed during my time here Health and safety has yet to be invented; painters balance precariously up makeshift ladders, hang from ledges that back in the UK would only be inhabited by pigeons. I’ve watched repair men use grinding tools and blow torches without gloves, goggles or overalls and when observing them at work they appear to use the tools correctly without messing about or taking unnecessary risks and so survive to work another day.  They put themselves at enormous risks every working day and nobody blinks an eyelid.

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On the other hand it appears that everyone is allowed to think for themselves, make informed choices and accept responsibility for any mistakes they may make.  Remember when accidents were just that?  Accidents?   Sometimes preventative,  sometimes caused by human error, but either way we all used to be responsible for our own follies and errors.  You won’t find any Accident claim solicitors here yet, there is not one in sight, bliss.  Unheard of back home!!

 

One of the greatest differences between home and the hotel was the amount of freedom afforded children on holiday. I didn’t hear a single adult say to a child, “don’t do that, you’ll fall, trip, hurt yourself, scrape your knees”, or other parts of their anatomy.  Boys and girls ran around inside the hotel and out: kicked footballs, plodged and swam in the pool, pretended to be red Indians, sorry native Americans, spacemen, bank robbers and pirates.   They chased each other and generally used their imagination and behaved like children used to do.  By the same token, I never saw any children bleeding, crying, or looking too terrified to sneeze in case they had caught a cold and would be huddled off to bed by over-protective parents.   The children ran and laughed and played, made friends with others from different countries and cultures and thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing it. They interacted with grown ups in the restaurant and by the pool, out at the crazy golf, and in the lobby and were generally very happy playing in the sun.

What was very striking to me was the lack of  warning signs pasted as far as the eye can see and no government departments telling us what we should or shouldn’t eat, how or how not to live our lives. I ate my fruit and vegetables every day because I enjoyed them, not because some official decided what was best for me. I had chips without worrying the cholesterol police were going to drop on me from a great height. And I even treated myself to a bowl or two of banana ice-cream, I presumed this counted as one of my twenty a day (or did they again raise the number that is good for me whilst I was away?) I even dared to have a little glass of wine or two with my meals, only lunch and dinner, I didn’t want anyone gossiping about the old sot having rose with her cornflakes.

Anther thing that was fairly obvious to the untrained eye was that The Highway Code and speed limits are virtually non-existent.  Yesterday, whilst waiting for the noddy train to take us back to the hotel, I observed a large 4  X 4 try to park in a small gap.  The driver hit and shoved a little beaten up old car along the road, before deciding there really wasn’t enough space for his vehicle, before driving off up the road to park elsewhere.  Drivers here appear to be more tolerant if slightly reckless, nobody I observed got angry if someone made a mistake.  Everyone seemed to drive at such a speed they were able to stop instantly if the need had arisen. There were no road markings but the drivers allow ample room for each other, and for pedestrians crossing the street.  In one way it is a very simplistic way of life, but not one I particularly envy. I don’t think I would like to completely adopt the Tunisian way of life but where the children and their freedom are concerned I think we have lost so much in the last thirty of forty years, and would gladly welcome it all back.