Wednesday, 12 October 2011

weekend, birthday presents, writing, dentist, rant

So! Last time we spoke I was up in Newcastle visiting the wife! In fact, it was my birthday! Well, it was a lovely day! So to recap on the rest of the time I spent with H... we broke into the new season of Tribe pretty quick and got through some of it, which was awesome. I have a picture of it:

How ace! She gave me a really lovely card, too:

And I loved that. She was like, 'I felt really weird buying a card that said "wife" on it in the shop, I think they all thought I was a bit strange. I could have pretended  I was buying it for my dad...' And she gave me a new nickname of Bow-chicka-wow-wow Beth! So I had a really lovely birthday with her and it was all I could have hoped for. And then on Monday she had a lecture in the morning, so I stayed in and did some writing and finished Anne Frank's diary. I really enjoyed reading it, but it was hard to feel an emotional connection to the horrific events described because it read like a work of fiction. then we went and had lunch at costa in town and went for a good old walk all round Newcastle city centre. The only thing it seemed we could cross off our list of things to do was watching a film, so we took a leisurely stroll back to the uni. We stopped in a park on the way and messed around on the playground and swung on the swings and chatted while it was sunny. Then we went back and watched Shawshank Redemption, which is an amazing film and I love it! And then we ate and had to head to the train station for me to go. I hate leaving, it makes me so miserable. I know it's not forever, I know she's still there and still a friend and coming down in a coupla weeks. But I still feel wretched having to walk away from her!

Dad picked me up from Piccadilly station and we got home at about 11.30 Monday evening, and I opened my presents with mum on the parents' bed. I got lots of lovely things! I got:

Delicious days by Nicole Stitch, Fire by Kristin cashore and 1984 by George Orwell
 These wonderful books from the grandparents! All books that I wanted, so I was very happy and I now have lots of new reading material which I'm itching to get into!

And I got:

 This wonderful sew-it-yourself doll from my parents! It comes with a pattern for a dress, too! And they bought me some stuffing for it so I should have 'most everything I need for it! So I'm itching to get started on that, too, but it's having to wait whilst i do my sister's belated birthday present. And:

These beautiful letter writing papers were from my sister! I love them very much, and I know they'll come in handy! I've already used quite a bit in writing letters to lots of different people today. I truly enjoy writing letters, it's a most enjoyable experience. I also enjoy receiving letters! I spent a little time today rearranging my desk so that it could be used properly for writing letters.

Aside from writing letters I've started a diary for myself. It's all very well writing on here, and I enjoy it. But I don't always want to write about everything happening in my life, or every emotion I've felt during the day, so the diary sort of allows me to do that part in private. It's very important to me, as important as this blog in fact!

I also had the dentist first thing this morning. Nothing major, just a checkup with regards to my next surgery which he reckons will be about halfway through November. He has reassured me that I shouldn't react tot his one like I did to the others since it's less invasive and less intense. But it's sort of near to the end now, so I'm quite excited about it in some ways! A year after all the problems started I think I'll have the problems solved again. It was last Christmas - Boxing Day, in fact - that everything really became troublesome. And with a bit of luck, come this Boxing Day, I'll have some new permanent teeth!

One last thing for tonight. It really frustrates me every time a sweetcorn advert pops up, because they claim tat it's one of your five a day. Sweetcorn is not a vegetable!! It's a cereal crop, and therefore it cannot be one of your five fruit and veg per day. And now baked beans have started saying the same thing!! Now I get that beans are a pulse and therefore a form of fruit/vegetable. But really? Baked beans? One of your five a day? I think I would be unwilling to count them considering their sugar content.

That's all for now!

Love love xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Newcastle, birthdays, Tribe, tomorrow

So here I am, in delightfully sunny grey Newcastle! Sorry, did I write sunny? It hasn't really stopped raining all the time I've been here! But that's okay, it's given me a chance to use my new brolly a lot, and I've been enjoying that! It's fun because I can see the raindrop and ducky pattern from the inside, which makes walking far more entertaining! I've also been enjoying my new coat and gloves; my hand are wonderfully toasty and I feel a thrill every time I wear the coat.

It's also my birthday today. I'm not really big on birthdays, because I feel that when I get excited I then end up being disappointed because not many people remember my birthday. If I just don't make a fuss then they don't feel bad when they realise they forgot it, and I don't have to listen to, 'why didn't you tell me it was your birthday!' three weeks later which naturally makes me feel guilty that they forgot, and that's kinda screwy. So yeah, birthdays: not really my thing, just a day with lots of false expectations and some misery because I know that if I feel that expectation and excitement then I'll be miserable when it doesn't happen!

It's lovely to be up in Newcastle with H for my birthday, though. She cheers me up and understands my feelings towards my birthday and yet at the same time she can be excited for me which is amusing. She gave me an awesome card, which I promise I will put up a picture of when I get home. She also gave me season four of Tribe!!! Oh my goodness, I'm so excited about that! It is ridiculous, it really is, but we love it, and I love that she knows me well enough to get me something with such personal meaning. So we're going to start watching a bit of that tonight, which should be fun.

And tomorrow we're going to try and cross something off the list of things to do. We're not sure what yet, but something will be crossed off by the time I go home, I'm determined!

That's all for now, a shorter post than my usual essays; we have to go out and pick up some snacks!

Love love xx

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Packing, Manchester, Curious

I'm about to go and pack ready to head up and visit H on Saturday. I know, I never shut up about it! I'm just so excited to go and see her, I've missed her majorly. So far on my list of things to pack, aside from the obvious, are a pair of her shoes, some vege mince, and Tribe. I know, she actually managed to find someone else who likes The Tribe without getting lots of weird looks! So yeah, packing needs doing.

I went to Manchester today to pick up the tickets for Saturday from Piccadilly Station. It was quite an adventure on the whole! I also did some shopping whilst there: I bought a brolly:

The ducky handle!

Isn't it cute! I just couldn't resist! I needed a new brolly anyway, but I was just going to get a plain black one when I saw this treasure! I also bought some gloves:

Purple knitted ones

dark blue suede ones

I feel a great need for gloves at the moment, they are my thing just now that I want lots of. I bought a coupla books - Anne Frank's Diary, which seems to be on offer just now with some kind of 60th anniversary to do with it...? And Stephen fry's autobiography, which I thought would be really interesting to read. I figured it would give me some really interesting books to read on the train. I like new books for train journeys! And I bought some earrings, because it's been years since I bought any and my everyday ones are rather worn now.

There were a few curious moments today which made me wonder.  One of these was on the train heading into Manchester. There was a guy sat across from me, and he wanted to purchase his ticket from the ticket man. But his card wasn't reading in the machine. I offered to pay for it for him, but he said he would sort it out at the station. Then he said, 'Thanks. I really appreciate you offering to pay, it's incredibly thoughtful.' I didn't really think it was! It was a cheap ticket, so it wasn't costing me much, and if I were in his position I wouldn't know what to do, and I'd hope that somebody would be kind enough to offer to pay for me! When did it become something that just 'wasn't done'? It's the sort of thing to pass along. Strangers aren't all evil, and you're m,ore likely to find strangers than people you know when you're most in need of some help. So lets stop being so distant and isolated from the other strangers out there, and offer to lend a hand sometimes! It's what you would want if you were in need.

Another thing that made me think was when I was buying the books from a well-known book and stationary store. As I got to the tills, there was just one cashier on, and she looked tired and weary and glum. There wasn't a spark about her. I placed the books down, and asked her how long she had left. She looked at the clock on her screen and looked up and said, 'oh only about half an hour now'. Already she seemed brighter, and when I said, 'that's not too bad then, is it!' with a smile on my face, she smiled back. I just wondered, when did we stop treating cashiers and people working in shops like people? When did they become brainless automatons? A smile and a friendly word, a small show of kindness that takes no effort can make a big difference to somebody's day! I think it's important to remember that we're all human, and we all have ups and downs, and try to treat people thus, regardless of how they're crossing your life.

Just a thought, you know. I don't know why these little gestures should be unusual, it's not as though either costs you much, and if you were in the receiver's place you would gain so much from it! that's all for now.

Love love xx

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Quilt, childminding, rant

So I promised I would go into a few more details on making that awesome mammoth quilt for H, and I will, right now!

So it was born from my determination to create something for the wife to take to uni that involved lots of photos of some of the loveliest times we'd spent together. This felt particularly important to me, because she often creates beautiful memory books or collages of photos for people which have huge sentimental value, and I felt it was about time she had one. Also, I wanted to give her a present that really meant something. I already had the few little bits for her - clear nail polish; a book containing the word 'akimbo'; a tin full of carrot cupcakes (the recipe for which will be posted on here at some point); and some new socks. But all these bits, whilst having meaning, weren't really a big deal. And I wanted something lasting that she could keep with photos of us from some of the happiest moments. I'm such a sentimental flannel, aren't I? I wanted it to be different to the things she always did for people, though, because it wasn't about just copying her thoughtfulness, it was about showing her how much I cared. And, since I had such a big pile of sewing to do yet, it made sense to plonk a huge project at the top of the pile and give myself just four weeks in which to do it!

At first I thought I would have to order fabric printed with the pictures on it, since I had tried printing onto fabric and found that whilst it worked fine, it washed straight out. But when I looked at the cost of ordering the fabric to be done for me, it was ridiculous. To get different photos it looked like it was going to cost me 40p per cm, and I wanted pictures of different sizes, some as big as 6 inches square.

One of the 6 inch squares

Then I found this product that lot of blogs seemed to refer to when printing pictures onto fabric at home, Bubble Jet Set. So I order some and gave it a go, following the instructions on the bottle and advice from various blogs and websites that had experimented with it. It basically involved soaking your fabric in the Bubble Jet Set, allowing it to dry and then ironing it onto freezer paper and feeding it through a inkjet printer. Once you'd done that it needed hand washing to set the inks completely, and you had your pictures. I was actually really impressed with how it came out; it was just like fabric to the touch, soft, pliable, and the pictures looked really good, especially for something done at home.

I experimented with colours in the pictures to make sure they looked their best once they went onto fabric. This involved doing sheets with tiny versions of the pictures on to ensure they would look their best when I printed them in full size. I'd already done all of my setting squares and made the rest of the squares as far as I could without the pictures, which was just as well, because the process of getting the pictures onto fabric took quite a while. I did a few at a time to get it done faster, but it was the most time consuming part of it. I was very aware that I had a deadline, although i finished it about 10 days in advance of the deadline, which was brilliant.

I tried to vary the sizes of the photos and the way they looked to keep it interesting!
 I made the back from 3 colours: the brown of the setting squares, the cream for the background, and one of the teal shades. I then used teal thread and created a label for the back at my mum's suggestion. It simply said whom it was for and the date that it was made.I think it worked out pretty well, even if it was a little wonky in places!
  I then quilted it all together, and created a binding for the edge from some of the fabrics I'd used in the main part of the quilt, randomly mixed up. I did a decorative wave to sew the binding into place, because it's a safer option than trying to do invisible stitching with a machine. I chose the wave because I'd already used it in quilting on the border of the quilt, as well as some little hearts down the sides. And with that, it was done!

It meant a lot to me to do it myself for her, and put the work in. my mum kindly offered to help out, because it was a lot to do in four weeks, and we were both aware that I hadn't made any quilts before at all (!) but I told her that I wanted to do as much of it myself as possible. It was my work that had to go into, my love. And I achieved what I wanted to: I made a quilt that I felt was incredibly meaningful, at least to me, and every stitch that went into it was done by me, every part of it was done by me, right down to sandwiching the layers together and the ironing of every seam, even all the hand washing of the photo fabric! It truly was a labour of love.

The colour of the water after every hand wash
So that is the epic saga secret of my first quilt!

Other news I have is of the childminding I did. I enjoyed it immensely, and I managed fine the second week on my own, although i missed H a bit during nap time, when in the first week we had joked around and read aloud from books and just generally frolicked in our usual way. But the lovely couple I was childminding for really surprised me. I was aware that I was childminding for them because they had recently got a new childminder but she was on holiday almost straight away, which was when I was filling in. but the lovely couple said that the children had been so happy with me looking after them, and that the couple had been so pleased with the arrangement that they would like me to continue childminding for them for the rest of the academic year!! How about that! I naturally said 'YES!!!' and so they have just given the new childminder four week's notice, which means that in four weeks I start a new wonderful job looking after two beautiful children!! I can't wait, although it probably means that I'll have to leave my current job at Currys. But I don't mind, because the childminding will be more enjoyable, more fulfilling, and more valuable to me come next September! So yeah! Though I never expected it, I'm absolutely overjoyed at how that's panning out so far!

My last point today is a bit of a rant. I was out shopping with my dad this evening, just for groceries, you know, and he loaded the shopping into the car and I took the trolley back. The trolley bank was a bit messy, with trolleys not slotted into each other and taking up a lot of space, so I naturally sorted them and tidied them and slotted our trolley in and left it looking neat. About ten seconds after I'd done so, we were pulling out of our spot and a lady nearby took her trolley to the bank, seemed to be pushing it neatly into place, then left it unpushed in. What on earth!! She made it messy again all for the sake of saving two steps forward!! I do not understand! I had literally just tidied it up, it would have been no extra effort to put her trolley in neatly, but no, she was too lazy to take the two steps it would have taken to put her trolley in neatly! How rude! If there's one thing I cannot stand it's people who do not put their trolleys back where they belong neatly. It is unbelievably rude to just abandon your trolley, be that right where you parked int he middle of the car park, or at an angle in the trolley bank. It just shows laziness and ignorance and a lack of courtesy for anyone else. It's actually selfish in my mind. I had just made the effort, right in front of her, to sort the trolleys out and line them up again, and she had just made my work completely pointless. An adult woman, mark you, because adults are generally the ones doing the shopping that requires a trolley. How can they expect children to have good behaviour when they don't themselves? And how dare they complain about young people's behaviour when their own is so bad! It actually makes me really angry, because it is plain and simple rude. And because it's a rudeness and a laziness over something tiny! It takes almost no extra effort to do the right thing in this, and yet people still don't. It just really irks me is all!

That's all for tonight!

Love love xx
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