29 May 2013

Things to do in Bristol in the rain

Yesterday it rained. And rained. And then, as if we weren't already wet and miserable, it rained some more.
I took the kids to Playspace in the morning and it was an epic endeavour. First of all, because I've only been once and that was 3 years ago, I took a wrong turn. And friend L's little boy didn't remember the way either. So I think we took the longest possible walk to get there.
And when we did we had a 15 minute wait just to be allowed in! I was fed up before we even got in there! We stayed about an hour and madam managed to get stuck at the top of the playframe! And as the only place I'd been able to sit was in a side room I hadn't seen and the poor thing had been shouting for me :(
One of the people who worked there helped her down and brought her some ice for her ankle. We went back to L's for lunch and then at about 3 headed back to K's to give her some peace and quiet so she could relax and get her head together.
Madam insisted that K took us out for tea and we headed for an Italian in the centre of Bristol. She insisted on wearing the very sweet dress that she'd been handed down from friend E. Whilst we were waiting for our food I was trying to get a nice smiley picture of madam, but she refused.
Instead she insisted on doing her best impression of one of the minions from Despicable Me. I later took that photo and did some editing on it with my PicsArt app, and I really like the results.
Sadly the poorly cough she's been working on for the last couple of days has really taken hold now and I fed her full of various remedies before bed. She seems to be less yucky snotty now at least though...
Today we went to the cinema to watch Wreck It Ralph which I've (sorry she's) been wanting to see since it came out. We then went to have completely unhealthy KFC for lunch and I let her go to the Build-A-Bear workshop this afternoon. We now have a pink teddy with hearts on her paws and inside her ears. She's called Lovely, apparently!
So now we're heading home again. Friend L has just text me to tell me the babies are here! I shall hopefully be getting to meet them asap!  

27 May 2013

Bristol on my mind

It's blog 101 and I have mainly been thinking of frightening things to blog about. But I can't think of anything... I have however been in the bosom of my lovely friend L and her fabulous hospitality. She's been like a big sister to me since I met her in Athens 8years or so ago.
She is so calming and makes me feel so much more confident in my abilities than I ever do by myself. And since I have arrived in Bristol I have been feeling happier and healthier than I have in a while. I am now seriously considering coming down here to live.
I know, I know, the other day I was going on about moving to Canada and now I want to move to Bristol. I view this as a symptom of how unsettled I've been feeling. I have ended up staying at himself's place as L has a full house, but I am actually only sleeping there.
This whole discussion about my moving has meant that I've been looking into things like where I'd live and schools etc. (I am quite a one for a snap decision). I mentioned to K that I was thinking about it and he said that we could move into his place and he would find a one bed place for himself! This would be absolutely awesome as it's round the corner from L!
And the local school is on the next street...
So, I have nothing else to say, but lots of things to think of. I shall update you, later.

25 May 2013

the blog is in triple figures!

Today marks another milestone in the life of this blog. This is post number 100, though I am equally as excited about the next post as well as I'm a big fan of George Orwell's classic book 1984 and 101 might be a fun thing to play on...
I remember reading that for university in my first year (along with Brave New World by Aldous Huxley) and being really taken with it. It introduced me to the ideas of dystopia and of the whole big brother thing. I wrote the best essay of my entire university career based on those books and a few films. That would be leisure futures for anyone who is interested!
I wish I could have done more stuff like that, I might have ended up with a higher degree classification...
Anyhoo, that's the past and it's all done with now. Maybe I'll go back to uni again one day and study something just for the enjoyment of it. I guess I could sign up to some of the Open University free courses as a start...
This afternoon I will mainly be doing laundry and working out what I need to pack for our trip. I limit myself to one suitcase as well as my backpack as I can't be supervising lots of baggage as well as a madam. She'll have her own backpack to put her toys and things in for on the train, but I'll still end up with all sorts of extras, I can tell.
I also need to sort out our picnic for on the train. I do love a good train feast and I tend to end up feeding madam almost continually as it keeps her occupied and stops her whining! Lots of sandwiches and some pasta salad are in the offing along with crisps and fruit and probably some form of biscuits...
There may even be cake.
I also need to remember to take lots for us to drink as I always seem to be really thirsty on trains. Shame I can't take booze, but being pissed in control of madam just wouldn't work. Neither would a hangover in the morning! And I'm guessing lots of diet coke is also out as it'll just make madam want some...
I am mainly excited about getting to see friend L and her vast baby bump tomorrow, but madam has now told me for the hundredth time that she's excited about going to see daddy... I know, I know that's the way it should be, but it is infuriating. Especially as she's told me she doesn't need me to be her mummy whilst we're at daddy's.
Yeah, thanks for that...
Today is also my mum's birthday and I will be playing taxi for her and dad when they go and see younger brother at the restaurant where he's sous chef in Hull. It's very nice, it has to be said. Mum made bro book it and just told my dad he was taking her. I like her style! 
Also, dad has bought her a spa day which she's taking the day before their hols so she'll be all primped and pampered and ready to go. Lovely, *not jealous at all face*.
I wish I was going somewhere nice and warm for a few days. I don't need hot (I don't like hot) and I don't want more than a few days as I just want a bit of a change of scene. Ooh, I could go to Barcelona. I've been once and really liked it. Obviously that'd probably be too hot at this time of year, but I think I could forgive it that for the amount of stuff there is to see and do... I'd also like to not take madam, but that really is just wistful thinking!
And I could get the chance to go back to the Sagrada Familia as we didn't get any time to go inside it when I was there last. It's a truly awe-inspiring building, it'd be fascinating to go inside. I shall be avoiding Las Ramblas though, far too many pickpockets!
So this is it, the monumental centenary post. I hope it was worth it!

24 May 2013

forms and foreign countries

I didn't get chance to blog yesterday I just ended up being far to busy doing other things... Mostly I spent the large part of the day with the lovely E and we went into Hull, did shopping, had lunch and then took madam to soft play.
The original plan had involved the park, but the rain and/or hail put us off! So we mainly sat at MegaFun using the free wifi to chat to each other on twitter! Yeah, we are just soooo cool!
As MegaFun is also where madam has her nastics lessons E left us at about 3.45 and we went upstairs to get madam ready and to make sure I got a table! Madam was pretty good and joined in with most of it. I realised that we're going to now miss all the lessons after half term until my parents are back from their holidays as we'll have no car and won't be able to get there (and back) without one!
We will also not be going to any lessons until madam has settled in to her new school properly. So, probably not until after Christmas. I feel bad as she really enjoys it, but I know she won't behave if she's really tired...
The other thing I've been doing is working out what to write on this job application. I have been told about a teacher's assistant role at the school one of my friends works at. I would be able to get lifts and stuffs so I don't need to worry about the car issue. It's not quite full time plus I get all the kids holidays free which, obviously, is a major deciding factor for me.
I am quite sure I can do the work, and it'll be a great opportunity to get my foot in the door. I just hope I can get an interview and then dazzle them all with my mad skillz (or something).
I've just got to tackle this somewhat enormous form, but my friend is going to check it over for me which takes some of the pressure off me. I haven't filled in an application for ages, so I'm really not looking forward to it. Add to that my aforementioned fear of forms and I am a little terrified!

I also am having traumas about a potential interview, it's even longer since I had a proper one and I have always sucked at them. I'm just not very good at selling myself. I also give much too honest answers sometimes. It's never good to tell the interviewer that in 5years time I see myself living in a different country!

I've actually been thinking about moving abroad again recently. I say again as I was seriously considering it when I was younger. Then life got in the way (I find it has a bad habit of doing that) and I didn't go. But I've been thinking about new beginnings and where I would like my life to go and the thought of moving popped up again.

I've always been somewhat of a homebody, but I actually have an unsatisfied wanderlust going on too. I did somewhat indulge in it by going to Germany and France on my year out and then I lived in Greece for a while with K. I really enjoyed those experiences, but actually where I've always fancied going is Canada.

I'm not sure why Canada, but I have just always wanted to go. Possibly as I have some family over there and I've always wanted to go and visit, and possibly as I think the scenery is awesome... Bit like my desire to go and drool at scenery in New Zealand!

So, yes, I might move, but it isn't going to be any time soon. Madam would have to be involved in any decision regarding that kind of thing after all. And I guess K would have to have a say too...

I shall go back to thinking about my form and I'll let you know if I get anywhere with it...  


22 May 2013

Bristol, trains and cross stitch

Well, after much pain and discussions with himself I have booked tickets down to Bristol on the train. I did look into the whole car hire thing but once you add in the deposit, the petrol and the fact I have to work out where the paper part of my driving license is (no, I do know where it is really) it's just far too much hassle. Compared with just turning up for the train, anyway.
Also, having put it out to debate on Twitter the winning vote came from miss_mollypops as she pointed out I could have magazines and cake! Not that I had forgotten this potential, but it is always good to be reminded :)
Also, yesterday madam picked up her prize from the raffle at one of the local sweet shops. It's called Box of Frogs so that's exactly what she won! A very large box of chocolate ones to be precise...
She looks quite pleased about it, too. I adore this photo, such a beautiful, genuine smile on her face! But, that is what chocolate will do for you! Lol... She also then got to go and spend some of the money daddy had given me (I figured he owed her some pocket money) and bought herself some sunglasses, a Barbie DVD (you have *no* idea how hard I campaigned against that one) and some more stickers for her book...
One very happy madam yesterday evening, I can tell you. One slightly less happy me as I had to sit through "Barbie: the Princess and the Pop Star" *weeps* It was just as bad as that sounds...
Yesterday evening, after madam went to bed, I decided on an evening sort of off Twitter/other social media and watched Bridesmaids and got on with my cross stitch. It always surprises me just how long it takes to do. I don't know whether that's just me, or it's because you have to stitch every row twice...
But it's finished and I will be affixing it to madam's t-shirt forthwith. My friend L (you know, who's having the twins NEXT WEEK *squee*) has asked me to do a cross stitch for their arrival! Well, to mark their arrival might be a better way to phrase that.
I am not overly confident. She showed me the one that her older son was made an it makes me feel seriously inferior! I could just do something fairly simple for them I guess. And add their names, date and weights to it... I saw the most beautiful design yesterday, but I'm not sure I could replicate it...
Ugh, the lack of sleep last night has just caught up with me...

21 May 2013

an embarrassment and some thoughts on babies

I actually am not sure where this post will take me. I've been thinking about lots of things and it remains to be seen which will come to the front of my mind whilst I type!
I am hoping not to ramble too much though... I had a slightly embarrassing incident the other day and it keeps making me feel guilty, so quick confession whilst the mind focuses on something.
The other day I was downloading a free Neil Gaiman short story for my Kindle and it contains an extract from his new book. I clicked on the link just to read the blurb and then madam managed to click on the download option and sent it back to the home screen before I could cancel the order!
Now, it's really not that I don't think I'd enjoy the book, but I wasn't planning on spending £8.99 on a kindle book! So I put out a help message on twitter, cause there is always someone who knows knocking around... And bless him, but the lovely Neil Gaiman actually was the only one who responded to tell me what to do!
Sooo embarrassing! I feel awful about it. Though I am currently reading Neverwhere because I enjoyed the radio version so much. I also have two more of his books on my "to read" pile. But it feels like a bit of a slap in the face for him! *cringes*
You're all thinking I'm an idiot for being worked up about it, but I really respect the dude...
Sadly, my mind has now decided to go blank in regards to actual things that I might want to write about. Oh, except himself is messing with my mind again at the moment.
He is being thoroughly lovely to me and has put some money into my account so I can hire a car and travel down to Bristol to go and see him (and friend L who is having her twins on the 29th May!!!!). <-- Sorry, excessive use of the "!" there, but I'm so excited that I'll be there when she has them!
He's been being reasonable and thoughtful. He actually tried to make all the arrangements himself and then realised I'd need the card I paid with when I collected the car and that wouldn't be feasible... He's been being really helpful and has actually put money into my account so I can sort it out myself. *cries*
I am worried now that if I am actually in Bristol with him my defences will come down again. You have no idea how good it feels to have us all as a little family. But arrrgh... I don't want it any more :(
Or do I? Could I forgive him? Would all my friends and family just disown me for being a complete sucker if I did. He will *always* have that hold on me. And I still like him as a friend. He is still funny and sweet and can be so useful and helpful. And he really isn't that hard on the eyes...
No, must resist...
And I sure as hell DO NOT WANT to have another baby with him. (If I say it loudly I might believe it). Seriously, I don't. I can't be a single parent again. I have so much respect for anyone who does parenting on their own, it is ridiculously hard. Why I would choose to make it harder is beyond comprehension. I struggle enough with my one madam.
Anyone who knows madam, and I love her so freaking much, knows that two of her would be beyond most peoples capabilities! And I know if I were to have another baby whilst I'm still so financially unstable is just completely crazy. I completely believe that choosing to have another baby when I'm already relying on other people (like, the government) to support the one I have is selfish. 
I cannot support madam without tax credits and income support. And my parents. How could I justify another that I won't be able to afford? And himself is unlikely to suddenly wake up and become an actual, helpful, live-in dad.
Though madam's heart would break with joy if he did come back (if I let him). She will never not be a daddy's girl. I can tell.
She and I actually have whole discussions about why daddy isn't allowed to live with us. And then yesterday when I was telling her that we were going to see daddy at half term she asked if we would be staying there forever. I obviously had to tell her no. And asked her what would happen to all her stuff if she did that. She said she didn't want stuff, just a family.
Heart. Small pieces.
How is she so perceptive sometimes? She is driving me crazy asking me to have a baby brother or sister for her... I have told her that just can't happen unless we live with the daddy of this famous sibling she wants. Hence why she wants to live with her daddy, I guess.
At least I have persuaded her she can't have a big brother or sister at last... (maybe). 

20 May 2013

strawberries on your fingers and on your cake

I have given myself a manicure before writing today. Which means a couple of things. 1. I am typing really strangely, 2. I now have nails that look like strawberries (thanks to the fabulous essbeevee for the tips )3. I can now not get my phone out of my pocket... So, sadly, no photo's to show you how good they look.
At least not today anyway!
I still have major issues with painting my nails on my right hand. I even managed to develop a tremor when trying to do the polka dots. So some of them are distinctly dodgy!
Madam and I had a whale of a time making our cheesecake yesterday afternoon and I promised a photo of the completed article. For those of you who follow me on social media I apologise for spamming you with this pic collage, but I really love it :)
It tasted flaming good too, I have to say! My mother gave me the most humongous slice for my pudding. There was a slice left which we brought home with us and madam did attempt to persuade me that she could have it for breakfast! Nice try... I think she'll find that she can share that with me later.
If anyone's interested the recipe is amazingly simple, it was just part of an advert in Heat magazine this week *I didn't buy it* 
100g melted butter
200g crushed biscuits
397g tin condensed milk
300g soft cream cheese
2 lemons.
That's it! You mix the butter in with the biscuits, spread them into the base of a 7-inch tin and shove it in the fridge to set.
Mix together the condensed milk and cream cheese until smooth (I found I needed to give it a bit of a whisk) and then add the juice of the two lemons and watch as the mixture magically thickens.
Pour over your chilled base and then bung it back in the fridge for a couple of hours. Decorate as you see fit.
We used fresh strawberries but I was thinking that, as the mixture is quite nice and lemony, you could top with lemon curd! :) I was also debating using lime juice as the acid, or orange for a sweeter finish.
Would be nice to add a bit of zest in to the mix as well, for a more grown up pud.
You can see I spend a lot of time thinking about these things, can't you...
I've been shopping this morning and I did buy another tin of condensed milk to go into my store cupboard. It'll make a great "crap, unexpected visitors" dessert... Obviously, as long as you get slightly more than half an hour for prep!
Ooh, my nails might be dry enough to try reaching my phone... You'll have to excuse the dodgy bits around the edges, I'll tidy them up later.   

I hate having to hold your hand like that to get a good photo of nails... Could be misconstrued!

19 May 2013

on cheesecakes and crossstitch

Been making slow and steady progress with my cross stitch. I have filled in the heart and strengthened the outline. I'm just going to make a picture by sewing white all around it and then I shall cut it out and sew it onto madams t-shirt :)
I'm quite pleased with it now it has that thicker outline, should've made the whole thing thicker before I started the colours, but never mind. You live and learn, as they say!
Madam and I had a good time at the Pentecostal Pizza Party. We got a couple of mini pizzas that we could add toppings to, there were some yummy salads and then lots of buns for afters. And it was all veggie! Not that I am, it was just nice to see.
This morning we voted against going to church as it was an all age service and there was no Sunday club for madam to go to. I'm sure the whole congregation will have appreciated our not being there! This is the outfit madam chose to wear to go over to her grandparents house in. The bow was on her jumper as it wouldn't go in her hair with the hat on!
Though she claims it was in no way influenced by Dr Who, I don't really believe her! :)
We were going to make a simple cheesecake for us to have for pudding tonight, but I vetoed it after madam was quite so horrendous. But we had promised a cheesecake for pudding so I brought all the stuff to make it with here and told her we'd do it after lunch if she behaved. She pretty much managed it.
I wanted to take photo's of her doing each stage of the making and use this rather good collage/effects app I have called PicsArt to join them together, like I did here with the photo's of madam posing in the spring sunshine.
But I only remembered when we were doing biscuit bashing! I'll have to get one of her putting the strawberries on top and probably of her eating the finished article :) I really like making the little collages, it's nice to have a whole series of photos together.
I did one the other day of all the t-shirt motifs I've done so far...
Which reminds me, I was going to use it to update my Facebook cover photo :)

18 May 2013

cross-stitch for the ambitious learner

I have just realised I didn't write anything yesterday! Sorry... Yesterday I got a bit side tracked by trying to plan out a cross stitch design for a Celtic Heart Knot. Bit like this one...
Now, I have never cross stitched before, so I think I was being slightly ambitious in the first place! I spent ages trying to work out how to make all the curves, given I was working in squares... I drew out the design a few times until I was happy enough with it and then I got my sewing stuff out.
I was mainly doing this on the fly, so I am quite pleased with what I've done so far. I was surprised at how much thread I was using, but I suppose given how much stitching goes in to the pattern I shouldn't be.
I'm going to finish the design off tonight and do all the colour work. I'm planning on doing 2 colours within the heart and just having the black as the outline. Given how small the design has actually come out on the fabric I might give it another go but doing a double line of stitches to make the outline with.
I'm not completely happy with the shape, I think its a bit thin. But I am glad I gave it a go. If anyone has any pointers it'd be nice to hear them!
I've also been looking at sewing machines again. I have been trying to find a replacement for the foot pedal on mine to no avail so I think I may have to replace it. I've found this one which seems to be an ok model and not too expensive (not that I have a spare £60).
I only use it for basic bits and pieces so it doesn't need to be too high tech, but I would like to have a machine again. I have a really nice little book with some good patterns in that I'd like to try. And though some of them can be hand sewn, some are quite large projects. And I really am never hand sewing pockets again! ;)
I am going to have a go at the pattern to make a t-shirt into a dress though :) I also quite like the one on how to turn a pillowcase into a simple little dress. Think it could be a useful thing to make for madam to wear when she's doing baking and things at home. just shove it on over what she's wearing, bit like an apron.
This afternoon we've got a pizza party to go to at church so madam is currently working herself up into a state of high excitement... I'm guessing she may insist on a party dress!

16 May 2013

on the blocks to studying

I think that picture completely sums up my studying... I have completely lost all my abilities to do it later on in the evening like I always used to, but on the flip side, I can't settle to it in the day either! Argh.
I've been working on the last few bits I need to do to complete my portfolio, but it just doesn't seem to be getting any nearer to being finished off. It's starting to really frustrate me!
I was hoping that I'd get the afternoon at college again, like last week, but that has completely not come off as my parents are gardening and need to get it done before the plants my dad has been baking in the conservatory for the last couple of weeks finally give up and die!
They also bought a new rose called "Hot Chocolate" yesterday which they have put in the gap the postman (and any other door to door people, of which there are many) uses to go from next door to here. It is very prickly, they're hoping the nice people will stop cutting across the garden and go round...
Madam is helping grandpa plant out some bluebells and crocuses atm... I think it's probably a bit late to be planting either, but I feel it's best I don't comment... Speaking of bluebells, I'm hoping to get up to Burton Bushes and show madam the bluebells there. There's usually a really good show at this time of year.
Anyway, back to my troubles with studying. I find that having depression means that my thoughts actually swish around in my head similar to an imperfectly set jelly. It won't hold it's shape if you take it out the mould, and we all know about trying to nail jelly to a wall.
So, I know all the information is in there. I can recall it when asked a specific question, but if I have to hunt through the contents of my mind to find something and then make it connect to something else it becomes a much more difficult task.
And also, because all my emotions are constantly heightened and I'm feeling everything at once some days then I'm shattered from all that effort of making my outside appear normal. The superb Hyperbole and a Half has written an amazing post about processing feelings whilst depressed I'm not sure my depression has ever been as deep as the authors obviously is/was, but the idea of making the effort to appear normal on the outside I identify with strongly.
Being shattered plus having no way of pinning down the jelly in my brain is really frustrating me. I have done some college work this week, but I always feel like I'm playing catch up somehow. I am incredibly glad that these blogs count towards my portfolio...
The strange thing was that last week at college the rest of the group were made aware of the blog I write and there were a couple who were interested in starting their own. I did say I'm not an expert in it, but that there were plenty of sites that guide you through it all. It'll be interesting to find put how many of them actually do go through with it.
Especially as we're having to say goodbye to each other and I know that I will miss everyone in the group. We've become more than just a teaching group. This is probably to do with the very personal nature of some of the things we talk about. The shared experiences we've been through.
And I'm so pleased we've made it. I think it seems so long since we started out on this quest. I know how terrified I was of walking in that room for the first time. The fear of the unknown, of how I might be judged. I had no confidence, just the knowledge that I wanted to do this for me and to give myself an experience to be proud of.
I was hopeful that it would prepare me for a job within the field and that it would be an extension of other skills that I hold. It was so much different to how I thought it would be, but I put that down to my personal demons than the course. The inner struggle I have constantly to battle with was actually unacknowledged at the start. And after I did seek help things got much easier for me.
The tutor has been so good with all of us. I am so appreciative of the extra time she has given me and spent on bolstering my fragile self esteem. I have felt nurtured and cared for which I can't say I've ever experienced from a tutor before. I wish I'd been able to share the things that were causing blocks to me sooner. I might have been able to put less stress on myself.
I didn't intend (again) for this post to be so rambling, I do apologise for the lack of focus! Here is a picture of some big cats in boxes to make up for it!

15 May 2013

how my girly night mutated

I succeeded in my quest to not do anything for madam t-shirt wise last night :) I actually had an evening of doing silly me things that I enjoy. Which is how come I ended up chatting on twitter whilst watching the Goonies and eating M&S caramel pretzel clusters!
I watched the Goonies with madam the other day, but as usual was doing twenty seven other things at the same time and therefore didn't get to enjoy this absolute 80s classic. I remember us getting this out the video shop for a birthday treat on many, many occasions.
I'd forgotten/not noticed how scary it is in places. But I still giggled at my favourite bits, though perhaps with a slightly more knowing adult sense of humour than before! The bit where "Mouth" is translating for the housekeeper is actually really rude, but I guess I had no concept of a sex dungeon as a youth...
How did my parents let that slide, they were always so strict? And I'd totally forgotten the bit at the beginning where one of the Fratelli's pretends to hang himself. Also, realised where that band name came from!
It got me thinking about all those favourite films we had from childhood. What made them so good? Are there really no films like that now? Where is this generations Goonies? What are they supposed to look up to?
I remember playing at being the Goonies on a treasure hunt over the Westwood. Or just plain being pirates. Cowboys and Indians (sorry, native americans), Cops and Robbers. The whole jumpers for goalposts thing. We were up trees, falling off things, in things. We used to make mud slides (sorry mum) and come home covered in god knows what.
And my mother would make us strip off at the back door and go and have a bath. I remember being shouted at. But I also remember we had the clothes to do it in. Playing out stuff, that was meant to get dirty.
Now, I got annoyed yesterday as madam came home from nursery with her nice mousie t-shirt covered in clay. I wasn't mad that she'd got it dirty, but that the nursery hadn't made her wear an apron! I'm pretty sure no 4 year old can keep clean near clay, so why were her clothes not protected. I know the nursery has aprons.
*sighs* I just hope it comes out in the wash! But if I thought she'd been going to clay herself I wouldn't have sent her in that t-shirt. I would have put her in one that was either already ruined in some way or that was maybe a bit on the small side and I didn't care about so much.
I know that madam had told the teacher that I had made the t-shirt for her.
But my question remains. Are there any films out there aimed at the kids who actually want to play. Or is it all cartoons for kids? I have no problem with Disney/DreamWorks/Pixar et al but they seem to just make princesses for girls... Though Merida from Brave was at least a tomboy. And Rapunzel sort of saved herself. (She still fell for the handsome thief though).
I want girls that get dirty and don't scream all the time. What is with all the screaming? And that have ambitions and hopes. Not to be famous. What is that? How is famous suddenly an acceptable choice? Why is it not famous for...?
Where are the kids films where the girls (or boys) are actually vaguely intelligent. And not portrayed as geeks/nerds for being so. Talk about making intelligence a bad thing...
I remember loving Labyrinth because the girl in it solved the puzzles that she was pitted against. I liked the Neverending Story because it was essentially about how reading can transport you to new worlds. I loved the Goonies because it was a proper adventure. I remember watching Home Alone for the first time and just being amazed at all the ways that kid found to get one over the adults.
These are good things for kids to know! How do they learn their potential if everything is given to them on a plate. If the main aim for a girl seems to be a princess or some form of celebrity.
I think Pink and her Stupid Girls song got it frighteningly right...

14 May 2013

a mousie revolution

Yesterday I told you I'd picked this little mousie to use as a template to make madam's new t-shirt design. I was going to use some grey felt that I already have from my bag making phase...

This is the unfinished one I was making for friend H (spot where my leftover felt birds came from!)

But madam declared that grey was boring and she didn't want grey mousies... She wanted pink. "But it's a pink t-shirt!" said I. "There are lots of pinks" was her rather indisputable response...

So we went to famous Boyes and I had to look for pink for a mousie plus pink for paws and things (different shade, obvs). But I didn't want both mousies to be pink so I got some purple too...

After we got home I realised that all the mousies I'd sketched are looking in the same direction! Moreover, I need a little mouse and a big one to make the family (or a mummy mouse and a madam mouse as was my new plan). So I made a very quick sketch of a wee mousie looking up

And it was too perfect not to be the template for a madam mousie! I am seriously impressed that that was literally the first attempt I had at drawing that wee one, and I did it in felt tip! Anyway, so I sketched a bigger version of the other mouse to be a mummy mousie.

After I got madam in bed I set to work. One little madam mousie in shriek pink and one mummy mousie in lilac. I gave them both little pink feet and hands (paws) and a bead for an eye. They both got a little black "X" for a nose and I made the tails with some purple embroidery thread. It's sewn so it hangs loose and I put a little knot in the end...

I'm quite pleased with it! I've just remembered I got some little flower buttons that I'll add later. I didn't give them whiskers as I didn't feel like they needed them. I might write something as well, as it just seems to need something else to finish it off, or am I being pernickety?

Madam is wearing the shirt to nursery today, so I hope it doesn't get ruined by whatever she has for lunch!

And here is smiley madam in her pink mousie T :)

She really does have the cheekiest grin... I'm having a night off from embellishing tonight so you might get something else to read about tomorrow!

13 May 2013

a quick update about t-shirts

I don't have much time to write now, so this will have to be just a quick word from me today.
I have been instructed by madam that the pink t-shirt I got her is to have a mouse family on it, so I did a couple of quick sketches of mice last night. I needed to come up with one I liked and also that was a simple enough shape for me to be able to cut it out of felt!
This is the one I settled on eventually

I've redrawn it couple of times to get the hang of the shape I'll need, but I'm quite pleased with it. I think I should be able to give it a bit of personality.

Just need to go to famous Boyes and get some pink felt for the ears, paws and possibly the tail... Or I could use some material scraps. Though that would involve hemming...

Speaking of which I cut out two pockets to attach to madams other t-shirt and proceeded to hand sew the hems and the stitched them on. I say them, I only actually got one completed as it took so much longer than I'd anticipated...

So tonight is for sewing the other one and then I shall move on to making cute mouses :) Not sure that madam realises how much work I put in to these things as she turned around this morning and told me her t-shirt was boring! I told her I would give it to someone else if she didn't want it and she suddenly became very attached!

Anyway, have to go and collect her now...

12 May 2013

a crafting weekend

I managed to get into town yesterday afternoon and get the embroidery thread I needed along with another ball of the chunky wool I was using to make madams shrug with.
I spent about an hour last night sewing on the bird and it's tail plumes. It's not come out quite as well as I'd planned in my head, but I'm still pleased with it. I did spend a good 15 minutes before I got started cursing whilst I tried to remember how to start blanket stitch off! I was having a complete mental block and getting myself quite wound up!
Not the calming atmosphere I was going for! Anyway, I did manage to figure it out again and here is the t-shirt after I'd finished...

Madam was very pleased with it when she saw it this morning and has asked me to make a t-shirt with a family of mice next to a house with "Home Sweet Home" on next! I'm not sure I'm up to that particular challenge! Think I will just go with my plan to make her a couple of little pockets to go on the next t-shirt I'm doing...
This is madam in her t-shirt this morning, I have no idea who taught her to flash a peace sign, it's certainly not something I've ever shown her. But she looks incredibly grown up and mature in this photo!
She looks so much older than 4 here! And I know I'm completely biased but she is so beautiful! I wish I was that pretty...
This morning I have been working on finishing off the shrug, which is just two hexagons sewn together, ingenious! I finished it just before writing this post and have got madam to try it on, but she is now refusing to let me take a photo, so I'll have to share that with you all later...
The shrug is a lovely deep blue and actually goes really nicely with what she's wearing today anyway. Bonus :) Oh, and apparently she'd like me to sew a button on at the top just so she can fasten it if it's cold.
I did buy some wool so that I could make a shrug for myself. I have to say, not a colour I would usually have gone for, but that was part of the appeal. I wanted something just that wee bit different. It's Stylecraft Harlequin Chunky yarn in Fuchsia/Spruce. So basically bright pink and dark green!
Really out of my comfort zone... 

11 May 2013

teaching myself to embroider

I've been doing a lot of thinking about my crafting recently. I really enjoy the way it calms my mind and I love feeling like I've achieved something when I complete a project. I also like trying to teach myself new skills.
I've been working on teaching myself some embroidery skills in the last few days. I was always rubbish at sewing when younger, right down to being banned by my mother from sewing my Guide badges on (there *might* have been an incident when I sewed the sleeve of my blouse closed).
But I've been embellishing little bits and pieces for a while. This mainly consists of me doing running, back or blanket stitch. I can chain stitch as well, but I have never learnt cross stitch or things like satin stitch and French knots! So this is my new quest. I have bought madam some plain short sleeved t-shirts for summer and I have decided to add something different to each one.
I did the first one the other day. I sewed on a butterfly that had come off an old hair slide and that had been in my craft box for ages. Then I added a little line of stitches to give it some movement. I foolishly didn't take a photo of it before letting her wear it. So, this is how it looked after a full days abuse!
She's asked me to do something similar to what I've done before with her pale blue t-shirt. I haven't got around to it yet as I need some more embroidery thread to make the tail! But this is the one I made when she was 2.
I made loads of little felt birds ages ago, along with some flowers and leaves. So I'm using one of these on the new t-shirt and then I'll give it the big chain stitch tail plumes. Cool, huh? It was about my favourite thing I'd done up to that point! I may add some little pockets to the other white t-shirt. I have some really nice purple batik style material.
This afternoon (after madam has finished giving herself square eyes watching CBeebies) I shall be going into town and getting some more coloured thread and also some more of the wool I've been using to make my chunky crochet shrug :)
I might also attempt to make madam put some different clothes on, she did pick an extraordinarily random outfit this morning... Sunsuit and puffa waistcoat anyone?
She was somewhat disappointed when I insisted on her wearing underwear with it! 

10 May 2013

college is nearly over

I spent the large part of my day at college yesterday, I was lucky enough to have the chance to just concentrate on my portfolio for an afternoon. I think that, other than some cross referencing that I need to get finished and a couple of short summaries I need to add, I'm ready to hand it in next week!
Part of the course is to do practise sessions to use the skills that we're learning. I had to do my final skills practise in front of my tutor yesterday and despite being nervous about having to be observed by the tutor I think I managed it quite well.
I was speaking with another member of the group and had to act as her client first as she was being assessed too. I find I can talk to this person really easily and we have a few shared experiences that we've spoken about before.
I find when I'm talking I can talk much more freely with her than with other members of the group. And it's not because of any thing that they do or don't do, it's more this understanding and empathy that she manages to give me. It's mainly because she was the first person I really spoke to about my depression, I think.
I then had to play the counsellor role and although I was still very aware of the tutor being there I did find myself mainly becoming absorbed in what J was saying and I was very sorry that I had to bring our session to a close as we'd run out of time. I was mainly happy with how I had performed in the session, but was aware of things that I would have liked to have done better.
There were moments when I was listening when J was quite emotional and I found it very difficult not to let the friend part of our relationship encroach. To some extent I find it difficult to be objective when it's someone you have a personal relationship with. It's never nice having to sit and see someone being upset, but particularly hard when it's a friend.
I am really glad I've managed to get to the end of the course as there have been moments where I just didn't think I would make it. I've managed to get over my desire to run away and I am really glad that I am going to be there to see it through.
Based on the first week were I went in terrified of what I had got myself in to, but determined to better myself. I have come a long, long way. I have admitted to my depression and am on my way to recovery. I have made some really good friends who I hope to stay in touch with going forward.
I have learnt some really interesting things and I have discovered a desire to learn more about them. Including an interest in psychology and how the personality is formed. I wish that I could go on to do the next level in September, but I can't afford it and have no way of raising £500ish before then.
So I think I'll just go with trying to find a job where I can put the skills I've learnt into practise. My ideal would be to work within a secondary school, I'm interested in giving teenagers someone they can talk to. I don't think there is enough support for them. Or at least, that they don't access the help that exists as they don't know about it. So that's my plan. Just hope I can find someone who will employ me...
Cause I hear that jobs are just so easy to come by at the moment. Still. 


9 May 2013

how does college mix with depression?

I had a good tutorial yesterday at college and managed to get my head organised somewhat. Though I still have a few things to do, I can envision getting to the end of it. The best thing was being told that I could include my blog posts as evidence in the journal writing section.
This is great news as I think I write more stuff in this format than I ever did when I was writing the journals. I find it easier to write like this. I guess because there is no pressure to fulfil any kind of brief or to keep myself on topic.
As I was walking up to college yesterday I was giving myself a talking to (I do this a lot) and was thinking about the post I wrote about my thoughts on how I see depression and I was reviewing how I'd described it. And I realised that I don't really fit the traditional view in quite a few ways.
I've always heard depression described as being at the bottom of a black hole trying to see the light again. Of the perception of depression as a black dog. As I mentioned I see it more as the Nothing from the Neverending Story than as a dog.
But then I thought about the whole being in a pit of despair thing, and it's not how I see it. I feel more like I'm on top of an incredibly high mountain, in the dark and I need to get down and I can't. I've been terrified of heights (well, falling) for as long as I can remember and yet I've never been afraid to climb.
So I feel like I've done what I used to do as a child climbed too high up a tree and now I'm stuck. I can't come down as I'm afraid to fall but I can't stay where I am either as it's not safe for me. I'm also enveloped by this all consuming darkness so I can't even see if there's a safe path for me to use.
When I was younger and stuck up a tree whilst playing out with my brothers then my older bro would climb to where I was and show me where to put my feet and guide me down step by step.
I feel like I still need that intensive support to be able to find my way from where I am to where I want to be.
My poor tutor yesterday had to sit over me and make me fill in the worksheets that I had missed. I wish I'd been able to ask for her help earlier in the process as being able to explain myself was helpful and helped lift the blocks I've been putting in my own way. I have one that I need to decide what to do with still.
It's about Guilt. And I can fill it in or not. Or I can write on it about why I can't fill it in at this time. And I don't know what to do. Filling it in is not really an option as I'm afraid it would open a floodgate that I might not be able to get closed again. So I could just remove it from my portfolio, but I fell I would be cheating to do that. So I guess I'm left with having to write why I can't fill it in.
And I guess I have to remember that this portfolio is really for me. Not anyone else. It's my handbook, my evidence that I do know what I'm talking about (mostly).
So I guess I better go and do that...