….shame you can’t bottle it!

This afternoon I have been teaching my grandson Collin how to sew mini owl key rings. His Aunty cut out the shapes and explained about adding the features. And together they came up with several unique owlets. You could almost grasp the patience emanating from the two of them, as they helped each other to with useful advice. I think Collin made a great job of them for his first attempt at sewing. And he is so enthusiastic, you can’t teach or buy that so I’ll be encouraging him to try other things over the weekend.

From the look on his face when he was sitting at the table,  my sewing machine in front of him, I could see in his face the desire to have a try at using it.  Maybe one day next week when I have the time needed to talk him through the mechanics of using the machine. But until then he will have to be content to use the old needle and thread.

And content he was.  He is a very able learner and after being shown just once how to do something he had the confidence to carry out the instructions correctly.  I must admit I was surprised at how quickly he picked up the different techniques, but there again I have found some of the more able children I have worked have tended to be of the male sex when it comes to crafts and needlework.

And Collin wasn’t no different, but I couldn’t get him to leave it till later and go up to bed.  “I’ll just sew this side Grandma”, he said, his little fingers flying back and forth as he worked his way round the miniature felt shapes. So keen was he, it was hard to be firm and insist it was too late to still be sewing. If only I could bottle all that enthusiasm, he would make his Grandma a very rich woman.

Not a battery in sight, no TV, no technology, and no moaning or complaining he was bored, just overwhelming eagerness. And the look on his face when I took a photo of the finished product, was a testament to the level of enjoyment he’d gained from our time together

During the time we were discussing how successful the outcome, I asked what he wanted to do with these little critters.  He asked could he give his mum one as a present.  Of course I said that would be fine, I’m sure mum will be very pleased with the finished product and will proudly show it off to her friends.   Then I suggested he carry on making key rings and he can sell them to make himself a bit pocket-money. I’m sure people would happily give a pound or so for his little owls.

I am so proud of my grandson, he reminds me so much of my late Dad who was also very clever with his hands.  When he wasn’t building a new cupboard or a bookcase, you’d find my Dad removing screws, and nuts and bolts all  in the name of ‘repairing’ some household appliance or other.  And it was never fixed properly if there wasn’t at least one screw left over., or so I was told.

My dad had a knitting machine on which he knitted our jumpers. He was a competent needleworker  having been raised in a family where the talents of all, boys and girls were valued and encouraged.  His stint doing national Service ensured he honed his repair skills using a needle and thread.  He taught me how to darn his socks when I was about nine years old.  I still have his old mushroom should the fashion for  darning  socks return I’ll be more than prepared to take up where I left off.

The thing my dad made that had the greatest effect on me was the Valentines cake he made for my mother.  Three layers high, it was decorated with pink marzipan and icing sugar hearts.  I remember coming home from school to find it sitting in the middle of the dining room table like a little pink palace of loveliness.  I was so envious, I wanted to learn how to do the same, but had to wait a couple of days for him to teach me how to make the cake, minus the pink hearts.

There wasn’t much my dad couldn’t accomplish, and he passed his abilities to me.   He taught me so much, he was always encouraging me to try different things to stretch my abilities.  I tried to pass on what I know to my children and in turn those of my grandchildren who have shown an interest.

I am looking forward to introducing Collin to other areas of creativity that I suspect he’ll thoroughly enjoy.

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.

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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.

New Makes

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After a long break I’ve finally found the time to restart my sewing. I lost my confidence for a while but I’m getting back on track now.

Just this past couple of weeks I have been busy sewing away. First I recreated a little dolly I made many years ago for one of daughters.  I wasn’t sure if I could remember how they went, but after a bit of fiddling round, a smidgen of trial and  error, and  I was happy with the outcome.  The little cots proved a bit harder to make but I managed in the end.   I quilted some vintage brocade which I then used to  form the body of the carry cot.

Lining the little cots took a good bit thinking about, but they all came right in qqthe end.  They are just the right size to carry the baby buntings anywhere your little one cares to go.