Saturday, 4 July 2015

quilting!

So Fat Mum Slim writer, Chantelle Elem has had an idea to turn her girls' baby clothes into a quilt.

This is a brilliant idea, to repurpose things that you want to keep, but can't use any more. I love it.


I also loved it when I heard about the woman who had turned a dead man's shirt collection into two beautiful quilts for his bereaved wife and daughter (there's a lovely article in The Guardian, here). Who knew boring old shirts could be rendered so beautiful?


And I loved the blanket that my sister made for her niece/mini me, out of her old T-shirts. It's beautiful, quirky, and individual, and we're never going to forget who made it.





Inspired by my sister's efforts (which are awesome despite being a little random, I decided to chop up my youngest daughter's baby clothes (only the ones with cute patterns, or that were really meaningful), and I made a floor cushion.




To ensure it would tessellate effectively, I cut a large square out of a cereal packet, and used this template where I could get it to fit. I also cut a rectangle, half the size of the square for where it wouldn't fit. The squares meant that the fabric could be turned around, but you could do any straight-sided shape you liked, or even build a picture using the fabric scraps.


I cut the fabric out, leaving about 1cm around the templates, for sewing it together, and then machine stitched it into rows, trying to ensure I kept the fabrics varied. I then stitched the rows together, and finally stitched the whole lot onto a duvet cover which I was amending to repurpose to cover a floor cushion.


I like it all a bit rustic looking, but you may be able to get more professional. Like the gorgeous quilts made out of the shirts. Alternatively, you could just pass the fabric over to someone who does it for a living... They're bound to get a better finish.


At which point I was going to recommend a local business (not much good to you Chantelle, sorry, but it's always good to do), but I can't find the details. Does anyone know the new name for Quilty Secrets?


If you like this, you might like:












Friday, 3 July 2015

on instagram

Are you on Instagram? I love the positivity to be found there, and today I thought I'd share 5 of my favourite things to follow in Instagram.

Happily, it's Instagram, so I can't easily steal my five favourite's images and share them with you. Instead, you'll have to hop over and see for yourself.


These are in the order that I happened across them in my Instagram feed.


1. Tess Holliday

I am pretty sure Tess is still engaged to Mr Holliday, so is still Tess Munster, which in itself, is an awesome name, but the girl is happy, so I'm not going to rain on her parade. Tess' instagram feed is full of pictures of her beautiful self with her fiance, her boy, her friends, her hairdresser (Gay of Thrones, also worth a follow)... lots and lots of pictures of this beautiful girl, who genuinely seems to be blown away at the rapturous welcome she's receiving, because she is totally beautiful, she has been through a lot, and it turns out, t'internet doesn't give two figs if she doesn't fit into some clothes. Go Ms Holliday, and don't ever damp down your sass.


2. Bird Bug Bee



Aly Hodge blogs at Bird, Bug and Bee, and this is her banner - gorgeous isn't it? She is a stylish single parent to three children (which always blows me away), and is a great photographer. She's worth following for flowers, outdoors, and real life, and just good pics.


I took this picture for #myweekofneutrals showing off
my gorgeous new clogs from Lotta from Stockholm
3. It's my week

Every week on 'it's my week' there's a new theme to inspire your photography. Kind of like Fat Mum Slim's Photo-a-day but over a whole week, and you can take as many pictures as you want.


The people who run it also share some of their favourite pictures, and even if the theme isn't to your liking, there are usuallly plenty of inspirational images.


4. The Other Fork in the Road


These are stupendously good images from Tosh's life. A year ago she quit what she was doing and started travelling. She blogs about it (and about suddenly getting 10K followers after Instagram promoted her work (Hi Tosh, I'm one of them)) here. It is an incredibly good blog. She's an engaging and interesting writer. Plus there are lots of great photos.


5. Caboodle Magazine


I don't really do magazines... or at least, I thought I didn't. But if someone fancies getting me a subscription to Caboodle for my birthday I'd be awfy grateful. I love their bright, cheery, home-made style. I also love the word 'caboodle'.



I'm also on Instagram, and I'd love you to check out my pictures (some are on the side of the blog if you're in the web version). I'm Ohwedo. Are you on Instagram? Who are your favourites?

If you like this post, you might like these:






Thursday, 2 July 2015

mourning the end of Season Five - Game of Thrones*: What happens next?

*Eoian, don't read this. Contains spoilers for end of series 5 plus for all the books published so far.

I mentioned the other day that I love Game of Thrones. I started reading the Song of Ice and Fire books in 2002 because I love reading fantasy novels, but like to wait until the trilogy is complete before I start reading. I just can't bear the waiting.


So that was a mistake, but I am so glad I read it. I remember everything about where I was when Ned Stark got his head chopped off. I had to read it again to check that I hadn't misread. After that I was willing to wait as long as it took to see where this complex and twisting tale would go.


I love the Game of Thrones TV series as well, and am fine with them doing things differently from the books. But now it's got to such an exciting bit - the series has caught up with/gone past the books, and some of the changes are getting interesting.


After finishing watching the last episode my mind was racing as to what is likely to happen to the characters next. I thought I'd share my thoughts. Let me know what you think.



Daenerys

We left Dany in an unfortunate situation of having an entire (very large) khalasar sneak up on her. What will she do?


Well, Dany is obviously going to awesome her way out of this situation (the dragon might help), after a little kidnapping, and kill those that opposed her, taking over the khalasar to take her rightful place as Khaleesi.


She is going to accept that you've got to keep a khalasar moving, and so take them, and the Unsullied over to Westeros, just as soon as Tyrion has learned to ride a dragon... I'm not sure how she's going to get Jon Snow on the other dragon, but suspect it will come after she's taken King's Landing.



Myrcella and Trystane

The sand snakes have killed Myrcella in order to stir up tension between Dorne and King's Landing. They have ordered a large serving, and Jaime is going to bring bloody vengeance to them.


Trystane meanwhile is free to explore other romantic options, and I suspect Prince Doran will send him to Mereen to find a certain Targaryen queen, with Areo Hotah at his side. There I fear he will try to ride a dragon and get burnt to a crisp.



Cersei

With Uncle Kevan back at Kings Landing I suspect that Cersei will be sent back to Casterley Rock in disgrace. However, she will escape having to go by having Uncle Kevan killed, no doubt in collaboration with Qyburn and Robert Strong.


She and Qyburn shall then attempt to control Tommen, guarded unceasingly by Robert Strong to keep him away from Margaery, and ostensibly to keep him safe, while Cersei goes mad with grief for the loss of Myrcella, and becomes more and more protective of Tommen. Her rivalry with Margaery will ramp up, but Lady Olleana has been pushed too far and may prove Cersei's undoing.



Stannis and Melisandre

Stannis Baratheon is dead, and the legitimate line of Baratheons is ended. Brienne has sentenced him to death and carried out the sentence herself, which is fitting for someone at Winterfell.


Melisandre knew the battle as a lost cause and got out of there before it happened, swiftly travelling to the wall, allegedly to tell them of the defeat, but really to seek out her new best bet: Jon Snow.


Sansa and Theon

In jumping from the walls of Winterfell with Theon has Sansa jumped out of the role of Jeyne Poole? In the books, Jeyne gets a frostbitten nose, causing nasty scarring, and is travelling up to see Jon Snow at the wall. In the show though, Brienne and Podrick are about, looking out of Sansa, and the makeup required for a frostbitten nose makes it seem unlikely. So, what will happen? 


I think Theon will break a leg landing in the snow, and providing Sansa with a soft landing. The pair will meet Brienne, who will help put a plan into place to kill the Boltons and put the Stark back in Winterfell. Brienne has been talking with local people and thinks that White Harbour is the place to go, but Sansa wishes to see her brother at the wall, and Theon is to join the Night's Watch in penance for his crimes.



Arya

Over in Braavos, Arya Stark is blind, but it's not permanent, and it will help in her training to be a faceless woman. She will gradually lose her list, learning to trust in Death, as all men must die.


Balon Greyjoy is still alive in the TV series, so I suspect that Arya may be dispatched as her first mission, to push him from a bridge. Perhaps while she's in the iron islands she could catch up with some other characters. What's Asha/Yara up to? When Balon dies there will be a power vacuum which could be of interest.


Ramsey

Ramsey will send a letter to Jon Snow, bragging about defeating Stannis, and asking Jon to return his sister, Ramsey's wife to him, as well as his servant, Reek. The letter will arrive before Sansa and Theon do, and will miss Jon Snow who might have told Brienne and Podrick secret ways into the castle, that they might return and kill Roose and Ramsey in their beds.


Without that information, Brienne, Sansa, and Podrick will go to White Harbour for support.



Jon Snow

Jon is dead. But so was Beric Dondarion, and happily Melisandre is on hand to revive him. Will he stay at the wall? Or take over the Lady Stoneheart role? It's doubtful he'll still need to keep his vows, having died; and it's unlikely he could remain as Lord Commander, but he will still see the threat from The Others. Perhaps now he'll have greater insight into them? I suspect that Melisandre will request his body and spirit him away to the Night Fort, where Bran will be able to communicate with him through the magic door. Jon will secretly meet with the remaining Wildlings who will help him in his battle against The Others.


So what do you think is going to happen next?


If you liked this post, you might like:

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

moving on from June: The weather project

"You know, I control the weather with my moods. I just can't control my moods is all." - Nick Cave in 20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

I would like to apologise on behalf of June.


I admit that I was hopeful early on. It did definitely feel warmer than May...


...but that wasn't hard.


June was slightly warmer than May, and did have some nice days.


But I bought season tickets to local castles imagining daily picnics! Instead, the little girl and I have spent the last term of her going to nursery watching DVDs and moaning about rain.


Halfway through June, around about the time when I walked down to fat club of a Saturday morning in my coat, wondering if I might not have some gloves in my pocket, and thinking that I couldn't remember the last June when I'd been able to see my breath: Did that mean I had a temperature?.. There were newspaper articles claiming that this was the coldest June in 40 years. My initial thought was that I could believe it, but then I realised that I was alive 40 years ago, and wasn't 1975 rather a nice summer?



So I checked Dad's photo archive (I am so glad we have Dad's photo archive - thank you for spending the time to scan all those pictures in, Dad), and found this photo of me laughing my socks off at the fact my mother is virtually naked in the front garden (she wouldn't actually have been naked in the front garden, but my mother does rock a bikini)! It was sunny, so 1975 must have been a good summer. Right? Right. It was a lovely warm, dry summer. In 1976 it snowed in Birmingham in June, but the coldest June in 39 years doesn't scan as well, eh?

Should we just give up then? Is this summer just going to be mainly rubbish? Well, we can appreciate that the rain is warmer than normal. When it's sunny it's chuffing gorgeous, and who gives a monkeys because school's out for seven weeks and we no longer care about the 3pm rain. But the weather is going to get better too. Probably. Fingers crossed.


How's the weather with you? 


If you liked this post, you might like:

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

living a day in my life

Around about this time last year I kept a photo diary of the last day of term.

I love doing this, because when you're in the busy slog of parenting it feels like lots of days are the same, and doing this makes you notice how much things change. Those kids are growing fast. Sometimes it's nice to capture the moment.


This year I captured a pretty lazy Sunday. The morning was rainy, and we were helping out, dismantling an art show, in the afternoon. How about I just show you?



7am, I was woken at around 6.15am by the little girl, but have managed to stay in my pit until now. The boy and the little girl have been amusing themselves.
8am: croissants and hot chocolate for breakfast, made by the litte girl (with thanks to Jus-rol). Slimming World fans, I did not have the croissants!
9am: helping the little girl to make a bag she'd been given as a craft kit.
10am: and then helping the big girl.

11am: coffee and chess before he cracks on with laying slabs in the garden, and I get on with some fun housework
12 noon: she won't get dressed, she doesn't want anyone else to get dressed. However, I asked her if she wanted to be my 12 noon photo and she said yes, tidied her hair a little, and put on a sad face... Then she got dressed!
1pm: finishing off lunch. The big girl tends to take her time, while the boy dashes off to play with his friends.
2pm: much to everyone's delight, we are going in the car to Granny's house to get some stuff done. My children hate going in the car and always kick up a fuss about it (while I can't get out of here soon enough!)
3pm: we forgot something and had to go back for it, so a 20 minute journey to Granny's took 40 minutes in the end! We are all glad to get there
4pm: the art show at the castle finishes, and we all rock up to dismantle it.
5pm: we're waiting for the menfolk to finish dismantling scaffolding, and it seemed best to get the girls out of the way, so we're playing with the mini farm animals
6pm: dinner! Love dinner at Granny's house. She's a great cook, and there is always something yummy for everyone. Thanks Granny.
7pm: stop off to feed a friend's animals. This is her gorgeous cat. She says he's a psycho, but I think he's lovely.
8pm: home! and time for a bounce on the trampoline before bed.
9pm: I spend some time recording my voice for Vocal ID
10pm: I'm shattered, so retreat to bed with a good book, and this is a really good book.
What do your days look like at the moment?

If you liked this post, you might like these:


Monday, 29 June 2015

dead

What would people say about you if you died right now?  Apart from the tragic loss, and how people can die from reading blogs?

Today, in the latest installment in my series of blogs inspired by Fat Mum Slim's post on 50 things to blog about, I am writing my obituary.  


I had no idea how to go about doing this, so I've taken advice from this site, which walks you through writing an obituary (which has got to be a handy thing to know).  

I may not have taken it as seriously as I might. However, I have received complaints that I do not 'big myself up' enough in this post. So I've revised this post (first published 25/10/13, republished 29/6/15), in an effort to put this right. If you can't crow in your own obit', where can you?



Obituary: Cara McKee

Cara McKee, 41, of Seaside Town, Scotland, died peacefully today, while eating a particularly good Nardini's sandwich.

She was born in West Yorkshire (the West bit is important as it shows she's a bit posher than those from the other bits of Yorkshire), on 29th October 1973, to Margaret and Tony (both from Lancashire - controversial).  

Cara went to Ilkley Grammar school, but left after completing her GCSEs to do her A-levels at Bradford College.  This allowed her to spend a lot more time in the pub, although, as she was 16 she would not have been drinking, because that would be bad.
Cara briefly left education to give being a teenage bride a go on the Isle of Man. There she learned that it's not a good idea to get married at 18, but that there was traa dy liooar to do other stuff. She also learned more than you might expect about divorce law and taxation, and that living off soup is not much fun.

She left the island with the help of her Dad (who hid in a wardrobe when the landlord turned up), and went to Edge Hill College of Higher Education (then part of Lancaster University), to read for her BA (Hons) in Applied Social Sciences and Women's Studies. She came to regret this as it's a pain to fit on application forms.  

After a series of rubbishy admin jobs, Cara managed to save up enough money to study for her MA in Social Research at the University of Leeds.  She saved money by working as a Warden in a Hall of Residence (Bodington Hall), where she met her future husband, Kenny (known to the students as 'the Scottish guy'), who was studying for a PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry. As well as studying, Cara ran a weekly pub quiz, managed a debating society, and drank more cider than can be considred healthy.

Cara started her research work at the University of Leeds in Midwifery Research, but then moved to work for the Scottish Government, on Antisocial Behaviour Research.  She packed all that in though on becoming a mother, and focused instead on spending time with her children, singing songs about spiders in church halls, and being taken for granted.  

While she lived in Suffolk she was the Chair of b.a.b.i.e.s (Babies and Birthing in East Suffolk), which was an incredibly awesome way to spend some time helping women have happier births, and supporting them to breastfeed.  

However, when she moved back to Scotland she became more focused on her writing.  Her blog, 'Oh we do love to be...' became more popular than she had imagined, and that, and her local newspaper column were what she was best known for in the end. 

However, writing as Cara L McKee, she was also an award winning* poet, and wrote short stories, as well as working on a trilogy which was not finished in her lifetime, but which is being finished by her friend, the author, Steven Weaver, and is also being optioned for a TV series by HBO, who are keen to follow up on the success of Game of Thrones with more High Fantasy. The first book in The Chapter series is currently scheduled for publication in December 2015, and is already being prepared for filming, with rumours that Kit Harington (who played Jon Snow in Game of Thrones) is likely to be cast as the male lead, with Beyonce in talks over the female lead.

Cara had also been working on a children's book, set in the same world as The Chapter series, and this is also due for publication in December, in collaboration with her brother, the emerging illustrator, Eoian Lewis.

She was survived by her husband, the boy, the big girl, and the little girl, all of Seaside Town, and lots of other family. 

The family are holding a private purvey next week, with a Humanist celebrant. Cara will be buried in a woodland plot. No flowers please, but donations can be made to the Scottish Book Trust who will be distributing 'Dobbin the Wonder Horse' by Cara L McKee and Eoian Lewis to children throughout Scotland for free in 2016.

What would be in your obit?  And what would be unfinished?

The full list of posts inspired by Fat Mum Slim's 50 things to blog about can be found here.  Some other posts you might like are:

* Placed 1st in the 72nd edition of the Writer's Umbrella