Wednesday, 20 February 2019


It seems to me that there is a sudden desire to look closely at the throwaway culture - too much Stuff, buy it without thought, use it a couple of times, throw it away...
We took a day off last week, walked down the old High Street in Lowestoft looking into all the charity shops (and by gum, there are a lot of them). There are a few shops selling "tat" of a new persuasion - "decorative" oddments with not-much-charm, and these are well-represented in the charity shops alongside. It seems that the half-life of the average ornament is about 3 weeks...

Oh, dear.

This seems like a loss, a defeat, a failure of both taste and common-sense in so many ways.

And yet, I make decorative (and useful, please let it be said) things to sell.. I do try to make things that are well-made, will last, can be washed, repaired, worth having, not fashionable, and Oh! no slogans! (I do hate being hectored into a "good place" by the furnishings.. My late friend Kate had a lovely tea-mug which said "No, I will not Calm Down, and you can F**k Off" - this made me laugh, but I would not own that one either..

So, more and more, I want to make sure that Things Worth Mending are mended.. Hey! Can you sew on a button? And if not, why not? It's not hard.

Oil that door, fix that carpet, mend that box, tie that shoe...

Happy sewing!

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Word for 2019 - Clear

Now, I try to have a Word to live by each year. 2018s word was "Refine" and I feel this has been helpful. 2019s Word is Clear.

I'm clogged up. Actually, physically clogged at the moment, as I have a grunge-filled chest and a pint of snot every time I blow my nose, but that will pass, given time, warmth, and antibiotics....

And, in the workshop, too much stuff. At home, a little better, as I have been sorting and clearing and refining and disposing-of madly while everyone else was slumping and eating and generally being gentled into sleep in front of the TV...

But still, I won't live long enough for some of this. I have boxes and bags and shelves full of 40-years-worth of Stuff..

So, I need to get this stuff, unstuffed, clear space to breathe.. Oh, yes, breathing. I remember that...


And After..

Happy New Year, all

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Refine - my Word for 2018

As usual, I have chosen, or been chosen by a Word for the Year. And this is Refine. I see this as a perfecting, a deciding, and a casting-away-of-dross sort of a word, and it's time. Last year was hard. We did too much travelling, and there was too much chaos. In November my lovely man had to go back under the surgeon's knife, and he is still slowly recovering. It's a long process. My bones have been hurting, I feel very old and crunchy, and it's been hard to keep the work in progress, progressing satisfactorily..

So, this week, clean all, sort all, look at all, discover hidden useful things. And casting-off of stuff I'll never use unless I live to be 200...

Magpie too long, time for the underlying not-so-shiny but solid..

My plan is to take the first quarter for sorting out the Sewing Machine stuff, and making Art, I hope to do these in roughly equal parts..

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Word of the Year for 2017 - Complete

Now, this year's word (2016) was Sort.  It's been interesting, in a rather tiring way, but not quite what I expected.  I did indeed do lots of sorting - fabrics, spaces, my little workroom at home - now a fetching pale yellow and with new counters and a luxurious rug, it's much more welcoming and user-friendly.. (and the bookshelf no longer loooms)
But, I also found that I did an awful lot of extra Sorting.. On Christmas Eve 2015, 5 huge boxes arrived from that nice Mr Oakshott..  He was sorting his own space because it needed to house a new set of fabrics. I have not yet finally used all the stuff he sent, but I have made a lot of people very happy from that embarrassingly large pile..  

And I bought two large batches of sewing-machine parts from retired or deceased engineers.. One little room in a terraced house in Colchester, full to bursting with horribly greasy boxes, all jumbled and dirty, and full of treasures.. We came home slowly in a very full car, spent three days putting pieces of metal into buckets by type.  It will be well into the New Year before I finish that Sorting.  Another lot from Northern Ireland, much stained by fire and water, but still worth having..

So, I think much about the next year - it's important to rest, to take time out, to feel less exhausted.. I have been given the verdict of brittleness - my bones are no longer good, I must behave, not fall down, eat the right things and take yet more drugs.. This seems both inevitable and so unfair...

So, Complete.. Not Finish, that seems like Life Ending.. I want to find the unfinished things and complete them, but I also want to round out my skills, knowledge, aims, enjoyment.
I want to finish my round of the Dance - I am not sure where, but I do plan to go the Germany.. I may not Dance there, not sure.. I haven't heard about Scotland yet, and I'm equally not sure about that.. perhaps it needs to be somewhere else?

Still thinking...

Monday, 12 September 2016

On Volunteering

I belong to a National organisation, with subsections, regional groups, and an infrastructure largely upheld by volunteers.. This is not at all unusual, and many such exist.. They have a strong tendency to conservatism-with-a-small-c, to Rules and Regulations, to resistance to change.. This one is no different.  And I am a part of that in lots of ways because it suits me.. My tendency to iconoclasm, to questioning-the-status-quo, to rebellion, fits quite unhappily in many ways, but I still feel it's worthwhile.

At the moment

However, it may not be that for long.  Someone asked for my help, and then was stonkingly rude to me when I asked for something a little different (but within the aims of the organisation).  I'm sorry, sir, but if I ask for apples and get pigshit, I'll politely refuse... Or perhaps not that politely.

Previously, someone asked for my help, and was fantastically rude to me while I was doing the job as described and offered (and which I had done many times before without any problems).. (In public, and astonishingly unpleasantly.. If it hadn't been for EVERY single person who witnessed that episode coming to find me and apologise for her behaviour, I would have quit then and for good... )*

Now, one of the few real benefits of being a volunteer in any walk of life, is the right and the ability to tell the powers-that-be to Get Stuffed and walk away.  Many times, this is all that holds me inside, and not outside.. I'm persistent.  I've been self-employed for so many years, with all that means for getting-on-with-the-job, self-reliance, self-determination, getting up in the morning and getting on with it.  There is nothing quite like an empty bank-account and a couple of hungry children to make you want to work.. I've never been well-off, but I do have autonomy. That's worth a lot.

So, if you want to be rude to me, press on.. But don't expect me to be nice back, however much you might think you deserve it.. And, if you email me, that's Putting It In Writing, and don't be surprised if you find yourself quoted to others... Malicious, yes. Accurate, yes!  Revenge, certainly...

*I got an interesting sort of revenge.. In the following year, I lost a lot of weight and cut off my (permed) hair.. When this "person" met me again, they didn't recognise me.. They surely knew the name, but couldn't place the face.. I think they are still trying to work it out...

Sunday, 10 April 2016


My Powerful Word for this year is Sort.. I don't want to be chaotic any more, it's too much like hard work and I'm tired.. I don't want little piles of Stuff everywhere I look, getting dusty and more untidy, and under my feet.. I want to look in a box, find only what is written on the label, nothing odd, nothing extra.. I don't want said box to overflow all over again..

However.. This has had an odd side-effect. People keep bringing me little piles of More Stuff to Sort..I'm getting better at processing this and sending it on...

Back to the heaps...

Friday, 18 December 2015

You Cannot Buy Me

You cannot buy me
I am not for sale

If you try
I will probably dislike you for it

Actually, there is
No probably about it

I don't want your tchotchkes
Your little gifts are a burden
Not a blessing

Leave me to my own stuff

This does not mean you cannot buy my work
I'm happy to put the item
Into a bag for you
And take your credit card
And wave goodbye to it

Whatever is was
It's out of my heart now

Please do not try to fill the gap with stuff
That I did not request