Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alchemy

I'm always happiest when I'm creating things.  It's when time pauses and I become one with the process of creating.

I've been baking cakes since I was about 10 and learned to knit before that.  I can make bobbin lace and spin yarn.  As a teenager I made my own clothes and creating a home in the 14 houses I've lived in is always a pleasure.

Recently I had the opportunity to learn how to make soap.  My good friend Nicola - soapmaker extraordinaire held a masterclass in my kitchen for me, Lou and SueJ.


 There were ingredients to be weighed, measured and melted - coconut oil, olive oil, beeswax.  We created chemical reactions with water and caustic soda.



We added fragrance.  Applejack for Lou and SueJ and not one to ignore the inner hippy I went for rose and patchouli with a bit of jojoba (ok so not so inner hippy).

It was a wonderful day as we chatted, drank tea, laughed and like magic ended up with soap.



Yes that is four demijohns of cider and that's a whole other story.............

Thursday, October 06, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

I'm an Apple fan and have been for many years - long before iphones, macbooks and ipads I had computers that were just different - I was always inspired by ............something.........I didn't know what or should I say who inspired me.

Be inspired - live the life you love................




Friday, September 23, 2011

My magnum opus

Magnum opus (plural: magna opera, also opus magnum / opera magna), from the Latin meaning "great work", refers to the largest, and perhaps the best, greatest, most popular, or most renowned achievement of a writer, artist or composer.

Sometimes the term magnum opus is used to refer to simply "a great work" rather than "the great work" of a specific person.

For over 30 years I have been knitting.  I can't remember when I started but I do know that by the time I was 9 I could read a pattern and was knitting clothes for my dolls - I particularly remember a pattern for a dolls sleeping bag that I knit in 4ply navy blue - complete with zip sewn in.

During this long career with needles and yarn I have avoided knitting a jumper - bags, socks, scarfs, shawls, gloves, hats, baby things.  I remember a couple of cardigans but no jumpers.

Dalesman and I have been together almost 20 years and he has received none of my knitting goodies.  When I offered he always suggested another more worthy recipient.  A couple of years ago there was a subtle change and I realised that the occasional comments about my knitting were hints that he would like a jumper!

It is worth saying at this point that we are both very, very fussy.  It took a further two years to find a pattern that we both liked - that he would wear and that I would knit.  Then it took several months to save up for the yarn..................




I cast on between Christmas and New Year 2010 - I have been knitting for 9 months and we are having a wonderful time together.  To put this in context I work full time, I have a second job that I do about 6 hours a week, I am a mother and a wife and I am a slow knitter.  Oh yes and it's a Gansey in 4ply navy blue!




This is the front and back knit in the round for 13 inches, then gussets added, then separated and 7 inches of the front.  I am about to begin shaping for the neckline and then on to the back and the arms.

I may not finish by Christmas 2011.................a magnum opus should not be rushed.











Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lovely Things

The last few weeks some wonderful things have been happening.

Firstly a beautiful basket was gifted to me from the kind people at www.basketbasket.co.uk   I have three of their baskets now and I love every one of them.  There is the basket that is at my side during antenatal classes and births.  There is the basket that comes out and about with me that looks after my knitting, fruit, diary, book, more knitting, hair slides etc.  These are now joined by the basket for odds and ends, knitting odds and ends of course.


Dalesboy started in the sixth form........


We made jam.........



I knitted hexipuffs with a friend......




These are a few of my favourite things from the last few weeks.  It helps I find to focus on the positive.







Monday, May 30, 2011

Playlist of my life

Whilst pregnant with me each time certain music came on the radio my Mum was violently sick.

When I was seven I would go shopping with my Mum and refuse to go into shops where music was playing. I was sat on the doorstep of a shop in Leeds when I heard Elvis had died - or rather I heard the women in the shop sobbing

I still have a hatred of the song Popcorn and also of Bright Eyes (the soundtrack to Watership Down). If accidentally heard either of these songs can induce a full blown panic attack - even thinking about them now is inducing anxiety.

It may seem from this small snapshot into my musical life that I don't like music.

In fact nothing could be further from the truth. I adore music. I married music - well actually I married a DJ but there are times when it is hard to tell the two apart.

I can vividly remember times of my life by just hearing one song................

Live it up - Mental as Anything - I'm 17, at boarding school, sneaking bottles of wine into dorm, playing hockey and having fun.

China in my Hand - T'Pau - first true love, broken heart, sobbing

Amoureuse - Kiki Dee - .................... ; )

Streets of Philadelphia, Bruce Springsteen - moving into my first flat. Nicola and I had one CD and we played it constantly while we moved in. Nicola my wonderful, funny, witty, Geordie flat mate who died far too young.

Theme tune to Thomas the Tank Engine - too many 5am mornings when Dalesboy was a toddler - what I wouldn't give for just one of those mornings now.

Baa Baa Black Sheep - Dalesboy at 2 1/2 responded to my Sister in Law singing Ave Marie at our wedding by running to the front saying "my turn now" and belting out Baa Baa Black Sheep.

And so it goes on - a piece of music for each and every time of my life - the good and the bad. Certain music can make me physically sick - I think it's a heavy bassline. Some music is just pure rubbish.

But when it's right - my whole body sings. I vibrate to the beautiful rhythm and soul hidden deep with a tune. I fly through the notes - on the wing through the high and sweeping down to the deep. Pure magic.

The playlist of my life - that's one heck of a mix tape.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Out of Step

Recently I've had a sense that things aren't 'quite right' and haven't been for a while. I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was.

I've been out of step with the rhythm of my life. I've been feeling overwhelmed and anxious - too much choice and not enough 'time'.

I've begun to think seriously about the reality I'm creating - particularly because in a couple of years time I anticipate some major changes.

So the reality I've been pondering will look something like this............
  • Small dwelling - off grid, near water, little bit of land a garden really - maybe in community maybe not - if not in community then near like minded people.
  • Grow veg, chickens, eat local, eat communally.
  • Create - spin, knit, weave, sew, write
  • Doula / Antenatal Teacher - supporting families during their pregnancies, birth and afterwards in many, many ways - classes, 1:1, Doula, birth art, natal hypnotherapy, homebirth groups.
Just thinking about it makes my soul sing - I can visualise the rhythm of the days, the swell of the evening, the change of the seasons, the smell of the rain, the warmth of the stove and the simplicity of the food - whilst in step with my tribe.

Of course some of that I already have - I spin knit and sew, I work with families during pregnancy and birth. It's not much but it's a start

So I know what I'm aiming for and each and every day I do one more thing that puts me closer to that reality.

I've been thinking and dreaming a lot during the last couple of weeks and I've noticed something happen. The more time I spend in the new reality the more in step I've started to feel, I've got the rhythm of that life. Even though it's not here yet it feels so right.

Sitting quietly this morning allowing my thoughts to wonder I realised what was wrong.

Eighteen months ago when we moved from the country to the town it was for all the right reasons and it's been a good move. Dalesboy can have the right amount of independence for a teenager and whilst we juggle four jobs between two of us being in town is useful.

But I've lost the rhythm of nature. The streetlights mean I only realise the passage of the Moon by the lunar calendar on the wall. I know the elderflowers are out because someone on facebook posts a picture. I know what the weather is doing because my phone tells me.

So in a couple of years time I'm looking to create my new reality in pace with nature, aligning myself with the rhythm of the seasons, the ebb and flow of the Sun and Moon.

Next step is to look for my tribe - I'm starting in Wales in July..................