A Major New Parliment Forms in North East.

After a very busy and tiring week I finally found a little time to sit down at my sewing machine. I have been sewing for many months now but not selling anything so the crafts are piling up in the corner of the dining room. I have given away quite a few things but have made little impact on the pile. I’ve been persuaded to have a table at a craft fair next month to see if I can sell some of the things I make so I keep on making in the hope something will eventually sell.

It can be very difficult to decide what to sew. It is something I need to do, it’s helping me to focus so much, it gives me a form of escape from the negative thoughts and nasty memories that I sometimes experience. Sewing also helps me to focus on now and helps to keep my stress levels down. Too much stress for me equals anxiety, anxiety equals panic, panic equals an inability to function with something close to normality. Sewing has always been a therapeutic pastime for me, a good stress reliever and anger outlet. Perhaps instead of dispensing pills and tonics, fabric and thread should be made available on the national health to everybody.

And so yesterday I needed to get down to some sewing again. After discussing it with my sister I decided to try making a an owl doorstop. As with most things I make I draw up my own patterns. A pen a piece of paper and hey presto a pattern for something or other, a few adjustments and Bob’s your Uncle. Only this time the door stop changed into a stuffed owl pretty enough to sit in any teenager’s bedroom.

Then one owl turned into two, then three. My sister happily sat opposite me at what was once regarded as our dining room table, cutting up sheet after sheet of felt, little eyes, little wings, pretty bows whilst I whizzed away on my trusty machine.

And so was born a ‘Parliament of Owls’. It really tickled me when I realised I’d learned at school many, many years ago that a group of owls was known as a ‘parliament’, and never once in my life had I had a reason to use the word till now. Who says you don’t learn anything useful at school!!

I put some photos of the owls on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/WishLadsQuiltsandCrafts and suddenly everyone wants an owl. Well, not everyone, that’s an exaggeration, but two people contacted me with orders. It might not seem a lot but it’s the start I need; it tells me that what I produce is alright, and my designing and sewing skills are fine, it’s just that I have not found the right things to interest people yet. But it’s so easy to allow self-doubt creep in, to allow negativity to overcome positivity.

Not being a seller, it’s difficult to price things too. I don’t want to rob anyone, but it would be nice to make enough money to replace the fabrics I have use.  Then I can carry on making  and others will gain pleasure from what I do.

I suppose just like children we all need the affirmation that what we do is good enough, that it is liked and appreciated, that we’ve done a good job.   I suspect that is also part of why I do what I do. And as long as it doesn’t harm anyone and sewing continues to have a positive effect on me and how I cope with life  then  it’s a very good thing.   Maybe we could all benefit from our own Parliament  of Owls to provide us with the affirmation  people need to live a productive and satisfying life.


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?


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.




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.








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.
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.



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.



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.