I'm going to take a break for a few days. The news was not good. Thank you everyone that has given me their support in the last week.
I love this picture but it needs a couple of disclaimers. First of all my mother will hate it - she is famously unphotogenic and hates pretty much every photo ever taken of her. Which is a shame because she's always been beautiful. Although I too accept that this is not the best photo of her ever taken.
Also, Jim says he was having a bad hair day and that it's not the best picture of him either.
Also, my tummy looks enormous here.
Bella looks good though.
But I still think it's a great photo. We don't get a lot of photo's taken of the four of us.
Dad wasn't allowed in the photo because he wasn't wearing stripes.
Amanda is having a week of what she loves and I thought that as I could do with focusing on the good things, the things that make me happy, I would join her.
1. Red roses in my favourite jug.
2. New Ribbons from here.
3. Gorgeous new Liberty fabric.
4. New Japanese book.
5. And the best thing in the world.
Bella doing the dishes! Hehe.
Thank you so much for everyone's kind, kind words. I've appreciated every single message and they have all really made a difference. And I'm sorry that I haven't responded to them yet.
Things here are ok. The week is going horribly fast and I just don't want it to get to Thursday when we have our next scan. As long as I can avoid the scan I can pretend that everything's just fine. I am trying to stay positive though.
The one thing that I am finding is that I just can't concentrate enough to get any work done, which is a pain in the ass, as I usually manage to lose myself in it. Hopefully by the end of the week everything will be back to normal though.
And thank you again for all the crossed digits - please don't uncross them just yet.
We didn't have a very nice day today. I don't want to go into it in detail, but it involved a lot of tests and being threatened with being admitted in to hospital for the next week. After a lot of negotiating we all agreed that I could come back home with the absolute proviso that I return to hospital the second there are any changes. So we're now just waiting to see if this pregnancy is going to last. Fingers crossed, hey? (believe me, that flippancy is just an act).
Bella's away at my mom's tonight, and I have to admit I'm missing her. A lot.
I was listening to a new (to me) podcast today by Creative Mom and she said something that really made me sit up and listen. Amy was talking about how being creative is pretty much what defines her and yet most people that ask how she is would never dream of asking how she is creatively.
I have some great friends and a great husband but I don't think a single one of them would ever think to ask me how my creativity is. I ask them how work's going and how they feel etc but no one ever says to me 'how are things flowing'. And I wonder why that is. I wonder why such a massively integral part of my being is completely ignored by most of society. If you think about it, being creative is still viewed as somewhat flaky. I mean it's lovely to produce pretty things but it's not really relevant to who we are, is it? Most people would feel silly asking someone how their creativity is today and yet we all ask how our health is.
For me, being creative is absolutely central to my physical and mental health. In fact this post is fueled by the fact that I have had no creative work time to myself for over two weeks and I feel bloody awful because of it. And yet when asked how I am, on a number of occasions today, I replied that I was tired but fine. Which is just not true. I am tired yes, but I am also buzzing. When I haven't created anything for a while my head starts buzzing slightly. And it keeps buzzing until I start working again. When I was a bank manager my head buzzed continuously for 2 years. And I ended up signed off sick for a year. I had a real illness but I still believe that my body was also just completely knackered from being ignored for so long.
I'm sure there are lots of you that understand exactly what I mean (I hope!), but when was the last time you told a friend about that feeling. I can't even imagine trying to explain how not being creative affects me, to one of my 'normal' friends. They would think I was mad, and yet they think nothing of saying that they would go crazy if they had to be a sahm and couldn't go back to their careers.
I think I really realised how isolated this made me feel when Bella was 6 months old. At that point
everyone in my life who had been in the same situation as me suddenly returned,
in part, to their old lives. Every single new mother that I knew returned to
work. And I, apparently did not.
I say apparently, because my work is not really that. It's not actual work. Even I don't really see it as work. When asked in a survey yesterday if I was in employment, I replied no. Well, it was a lot easier than replying that yes, I worked from home as a ... as a what?...as well as raising my daughter full time.
There is no real title for what I do. And I think that that's part of the problem because what I do doesn't have a real name. I can't say I'm a crafter because that simply has no relevence here in the
So how do I define myself? I sometimes say that I'm a quilter, but that's not really true - I don't make many actual quilts, and certainly not enough to define me by them. I'm not a seamstress. I'm not a fibre artist. I'm not a toymaker. And I'm not an artist.
I am a mother. And it's a job that I truely love. But I don't want it to be all
I am. I want to be as valid in society as everyone else. I want people to know
that they can't just pop round on a Monday afternoon - because I am, in fact, working.
Bella is at the childminders and I am at work - even if I am indeed, at
I would never dream of asking one of my 'working' friends to not go to work today, so that I can spend time with them. And yet, absolutely no one I know affords me the same respect.
And is this because I don't have a title? If I was a book keeper that worked from home I'm pretty sure that people would understand when I said that I had work to do. Or actually maybe it all stems from the fact that I have such a hard time seeing myself as really working. Maybe if I didn't feel guilty about my work and the fact that I spend a lot of my time trying to find a way of doing it instead of lavishing Bella with all of my attention, maybe then I wouldn't have such an issue with saying that I can't do something today because I have to work.
Or maybe it really does all come down to the fact that the type of work I do really is not respected by society. I have a lot of friends that buy my work. And I have friends that often say how useful I am because it means that they can buy unusual gifts from me. But at the same time they say things like - 'Oh you're soo clever'.
Now, I know a radiographer, 3 nurses, and a teacher (amongst others) and I've never once said 'Oh you're so clever' to any of them. Can you imagine how silly it would sound if I said 'Oh you're so clever for being able to read that x ray'? Or 'Oh how clever of you to teach that child to read'.
Now I don't know if that just comes across as petty and I do know that they're complementing me, but they are also assuming that I need that kind of praise. And I wonder why, when they would simply never expect it whilst doing their own job.*
Hmmm, I didn't really intend to have a bit of a rant about this. But it is
something that just won't go away. I need to define myself. Both to my
friends and to myself. I need to have the kind of barriers that a job title
And I have to say that that discovery surprises me. And I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one that feels this way, am I?
* can I just clarify here that I do like it when you guys say I'm clever!
This motley crew are on their way to Wisconsin as part of a wholesale order. Don't they just make you wish it was christmas?
I've got so much to show you but unfortunately the weather has been so bad that I haven't been able to take any photo's, so the interesting stuff will have to wait. Suffice to say, on Friday Jim and I went to the biggest Quilt Festival we have here in the UK and I bought a lot of lovely, lovely fabric (did I hear you say Liberty?? Mmmmm) and then I spent today unpacking boxes and boxes of my childhood belongings. I found my original topsy turvey doll and lots of Holly Hobby stuff and my dolls house and oh so much more. I even found my business card for the Maroon Hand Two Gang - remember that Grainne?
But as I said, no photo's yet, so I'm going to post pics of our latest WIP instead. A couple of weeks ago I suddenly decided that I had to put tongue and groove cladding up in our kitchen. I've always loved the way it looks when painted white and haven't liked our kitchen for ages. So we started by ripping off the dado rail (it wasn't original and wasn't put on properly) as it was at just the wrong height for the T&G.
The cladding is only going up as far as the dado was and then the wall above will be painted green.
It's probably going to take us weeks and weeks to finish, because we can't really do any of the work when Bella's around and of course I'm now completely knackered all the time.
I want it to look kind of Victorian coastal when it's finished (yes that is a style). The only problem is that we actually need to rip out the existing kitchen and completely redo it from the floor up, but we just can't afford it - especially as we now also need to create another bedroom too! So I'm hoping the the T&G refit will just give the room the lift it needs.
Other than that, I'm still finishing off a couple of things and also working on a very important quilt that needs to be finished asap, as I have a friend that could really do with being wrapped up and cuddled.
My morning sickness is totally bearable at the moment, but the tiredness really isn't. I keep wanting to start a project and then I realise that I just can't carry my rapidly expanding butt up the stairs to my studio. Ack.
Sorry for such a dull post. And yes I did say Liberty...
When I was pregnant with Bella, for no apparent reason Jim got the hiccups all the time. All. The. Time. And when Jim wasn't hiccuping, Bella was. Honestly, it drove me nuts. I was either feeling hiccups or hearing hiccups constantly. Nuts.
So here I am pregnant again (it feels very strange to say that), and here Jim is hiccupping again. Why??? WHY does me being pregnant mean that Jim has to hiccup almost 24 hours a day? Why, why, why?
I'm telling you, he's a weirdo.
Although, as it turns out, I'm a bit weird too (although not as weird as Jim, honestly) because I can't stop sneezing. And I sneezed my way through my last pregnancy too. Huh.
I'm still reeling a little from last weeks discovery. I really did think that this month had been a bust and had spent a couple of days feeling quite sorry for myself, so seeing a positive test was a bit of a shock. Albeit a very nice shock.
The reality is beginning to sink in now though. And oh boy, the tiredness is sinking in too. I can't believe how tired I am. And I'm actually having an easy week this week because Jim's on annual leave, so I've been able to go to bed when I've needed to. How am I going to cope over the coming months though? How did you all cope being pregnant with a toddler? I have to admit that this aspect is scaring me a little.
Anyway, back to the real reason we're here. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do a very important commision. A very special little boy (and the future Mr Bella) started school yesterday and he needed a brand new napmat to take with him.
I've never seen a nap mat before but Grainne (my oldest and bestest friend) explained what she needed and I just took it from there. And had so much fun with it.
The first thing that I did was choose the fabrics. I really wanted something bright and fun, whilst still being boyish. And I just love this combination.
This is actually the back/bottom of the mat, but when it's rolled up it's the only part you see, so I wanted it to be the main part of the design. I made it in the normal quilt sandwich way and machine quilted it. Before hand sewing the binding on I added the pillow case.
The front/inside of the quilted part is a blue gingham and the blanket part is fleece.
The whole thing rolls up and is held together with velcro straps and has a carrying strap.
We don't have these over here, so I made it up as I went along and am pretty pleased with how it turned out and most importantly, the recipient is pretty happy with it and did indeed nap on it yesterday! I'm definately going to make more and may put some in the shop .
And while I've got you here, I have to say a big sorry to the lovely (blogless) Melanie in Germany. She very kindly sent me a lovely parcel last week and with everything else that's been going on, I just haven't had a chance to show it off. Sorry Melanie!
She sent me some beautiful Laura Ashley fabric - in fact it's the blue version of the fabric that I use for the Princess dresses! And some yummy hot chocolate (already long gone) and pastilles. Which is great timing because sucking pastilles was the only thing that helped with my morning sickness last time. And look at that super cute zip up pouch! Gorgeous!
It was a real surprise to get this parcel and so very much appreciated!! Thank you Melanie. And yay for good mail!!
Working on a christmas order for a shop in the US. It can be quite difficult getting into the christmas vibe when it's still only August, but I have to say that once the fabrics started arriving I really started enjoying it.
And here's my newest, most exciting Work In Progress...
It turns out that I made a slight mistake when I said that we'd failed to get pregnant last week. Yep I am actually pregnant! And still a little shocked. And already suffering morning sickness. And very, very happy. And did I mention shocked! And yes Toni, I promise I will take care of myself!
Wahoooooo! (and eeeeeeeekkk)
Thank you to everyone for your kind words about our crappy week. I still feel guilty, but from what I can gather that's pretty much a given for the next 40 years!
It's sunday, so that means car boot sales. I've been getting more and more selective about my thrifting lately. I keep feeling a little funny about the amount of stuff I've been bringing into the house. I know that I'm not spending much and that it's a form of recycling, but I'm still aware that I just keep aquiring more and more things. And in the recent past I've bought things just because they were cheap and cute, not because they were necessary or they really spoke to me. And that's something that makes me a little uncomfortable so I'm trying to stop and think before handing over my pennies.
Today was quite a successful thrift day though. I found a few books that I've been wanting to read for ages and some good books for Bella. I also found this print.
It's a print of a 1916 London Transport poster by Edward McKnight Kauffer.
Kauffer was an American who moved to Britain in 1915 and shortly afterwards was commissioned by London Transport to design posters for them. His work was incredibly influential and included posters, theatre costumes, carpets, textiles and book illustrations and he ranks as one of the most significant designers of the 20th century.
I love his work and would happily sell my left little finger to own an original! But getting a print for 50p will do me for now.
I also got this cute little tin. It still has it's original contents.
Actually this counts as buying something because it's cheap and cute, but ya know, it was cheap and is cute, so what's a girl to do.
Ok, before I post the next photo, I have to tell you that every time Jim looks at these he says "What colour are they Manda?". And pretty much only because he's a smug git! Oh and also because they're orange.
Yes, today I bought two orange mugs, But good lord look! Is that not the cutest vintage mug you've ever seen? And how much does it remind you of a Denyse Schmidt pattern? And just look at that handle.
Other than those few things, I also found a wooden dolls clothesline and peg set for Bella (Oh Toni, I'm going to have to make her a little peg apron!) and a big box of buttons and the sun was back today, so it was lovely to wander around the car boot sale all morning.
This afternoon the three of us just messed around. Oh and Bella discovered the meaning of life...
Chocolate biscuits and buttons! What more could you ask for?