These splendiferous illustrations are taken from a book called Heads, Bodies and Legs by Dennis Wirth-Miller and the appropriately named Richard Chopping, published by Puffin. I stumbled across it one day at the glorious Camilla’s bookshop in Eastbourne and had to own it. It’s not just one of my favourite books in the world, it’s one of my favourite things. If only I could draw like this.
Hello everyone. Long time no see. There’s more than one reason I haven’t been blogging (or making) much recently. The first, and most tangible, is that I managed to land myself a really amazing job editing a children’s magazine. I’m really, really enjoying it. It involves surrounding myself on a daily basis with all the things I value most – positivity, inspiration, ideas, history, talented writers and illustrators and books…lots and lots of books. I’m very lucky indeed.
The second reason is that I’ve started to feel a little bit disenchanted with blogging in general, and with lifestyle/crafty blogs specifically. Beautiful lifestyle blogs and sites like Pinterest encourage us all to measure our success as human beings against a bunch of pretty pictures instead of focusing on what’s important. The more time I spend pouring over other people’s photos of that trip they took to Copenhagen, or the £90 espadrilles they bought (or were gifted!), the more hollow and dissatisfied I find myself feeling. I’ve spent my writing career trying not to engage with that school of thought and I have no intention of contributing to a culture that makes people feel bad, and so I have decided that any blogging I do should be 100 per cent honest and real. I’ll still make things – a lot, and post them on here, and I love seeing the stuff you guys produce, but I am no longer competing against anyone to see who can be the most picturesque, because that’s not who I am.
The truth is that my house is a damn mess, my kids are constantly scruffy as hell (and not in a cute way), I no longer own a piece of furniture (vintage or otherwise) that hasn’t been scribbled, dripped, chewed or spewed on and when I wake up in the morning I look like Hatty Jacques crossed with Mark E Smith. That’s the truth. I’d rather it wasn’t but there it is. So this blog is probably going to evolve into something a bit different pretty soon. There will still be craft, though, oh yes, and the usual lolz, so do pop by and check it out. In the meantime have a look at this film which has really made me smile lately.
Do you have plans this Saturday?
Would you like some?
Then why not head down to Johnny Loves June’s Vintage and Handmade fair at The Shoreham Centre. It’s going to be awesome! Stallholders include my fabulous friends at Doris Loves, who will be dishing out temporary tattoos (in exchange for money) from their beautiful temporary tattoo station, and the lovely, adorable Sarah at Sitting Comfortably, the veritable Simon Pie-man of gorgeous homeware (but much more attractive, obvs). Throw live music, jive demonstrations, a pop up tea shop and… AND a vintage beauty parlour into the mix, and by jingo, you’ve got yourself a party! I am so excited, it’s almost obscene.
Doors open at 11am, check out their site for full details.
I know they’re really ten-a-penny, but I’m still over the moon that Jennifer Maude at Jam Made has so kindly nominated me for a Liebster Award. It ‘s soo cool to know that there are actually people on the other side of the globe who are interested in reading about my weird bits and bobs, thank you! I really enjoyed answering the questions she sent me (the idea is that you answer your questions, nominate your favourite small blogs and pose them some questions of your own). It’s kind of interesting to be the askee instead of the asker for once. OK, here goes nothing:
1. Name a place you have visited or would love to visit that is a great inspiration to you.
Marrakech, I’ve never been ( I hate flying), but I’m really inspired by Moroccan architecture. I have promised myself a trip.
2. Finish this sentence: I create because ……….
I can’t help it.
3. Tell us something interesting about where you live.
It’s underrated. Also, Lewis Carroll used to holiday here.
4. What are you reading right now?
All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville West, it’s sedate but lovely. I have just finished Gillespie and I by Jane Harris. A small portion of my brain is still wrangling with that one.
5. Finish this sentence: I couldn’t live without………..
6. What do you like to do for laughs?
Go out to dinner with my friends, drink too much wine and end up night-swimming, or doing a (bad) handstand in a park.
7. Finish this sentence: I can’t wait until someone invents a ……………
Another me, who can do all the things I should be doing, but better and with a bit less attitude.
8. What do you love to cook?
9. Most fun you’ve ever had?
Ooof good question. I’d have to say Dj-ing and mud-wrestling (clothed) at a disco-bloodbath themed party in 2003. ‘was exactly as awesome as it sounds.
10. What do you look for in a friend?
Loyalty and LOLZ… and also punctuality and a love of The Bangles ‘Walk like an Egyptian’ and someone with the same foot size as me who will let me borrow their shoes if I accidentally lose mine.
11. Do you ever hand write letters and send them off in the ……..wait for it……..actual post?
Occasionally. I think people really appreciate getting hand written post, I know I do. One of my best friends sends me lovely letters and postcards on a fairly regular basis and it always, ALWAYS brightens my day. Recently I’ve been trying to up my game a bit. Why is it so hard to find the time for these things?
My Nominees: I think I was supposed to name eleven, but actually I don’t read that many blogs on a regular basis so I’ll just do my favourites. I’m not even completely sure whether or not these blogs qualify as ‘small’, in fact they probably don’t even – they’re just my favourites. If you lot can recommend any proper small blogs you think I’d like, please go ahead and comment and I’ll check them out!
You know when you’re really into an idea but everyone around you seems to think it’s a bit rubbish, and even if they don’t actually say so out loud, you can see in their eyes that they think you’re on to a losing wicket and that you should really just give up and go back to crocheting hearts and stuff? I feel that way about my new project (and about most other things, for that matter, but mostly this). For a while now I have been trying to develop a way of writing with granny squares. Mainly so I can combine the two things I love most – crocheting (obvs) and sharing my innermost thoughts in a variety of inappropriate and shouty ways. This project seemed to be something of a natural progression from the heart, skull and Christmas tree squares I’ve designed in the past, allowing me to really personalise the blankets and banners I make for friends. Maybe, just maybe, I might start taking commissions from people who want messages crocheted for people, like – I LOVE YOU IAN FROM WORK, MARRY ME CAROL COLLINGTON or DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE MILK BACK IN THE FRIDGE AFTER YOU’VE USED IT YOU FILTHY ANIMAL – that kind of thing. Now, my alphabetti crochetti font is far from perfect – and I’m sure some of the letters need a bit more development, but I thought I’d give you a sneak peek to whet your appetite, so here are some pics.
And what does it spell? …. ARSGH. Oh.
I don’t know what it is about this time of year, this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, that makes me feel blue. When I was a kid, this was a time of excitement and fresh starts, a new school year, new challenges to be overcome, new shoes, glorious honeyed autumn light dancing in the trees. Maybe it’s a pitfall of working alone, perhaps it has something to do with all this particularly dreary weather we’ve been having, but this year all I can see is a long, dark winter stretching before me – ugh. It’s true I suffer from the occasional bout of – dare I say it – depression. It’s mild, thankfully, and not to debilitating, but still, it effects the way I feel about my appearance, my work, my ability as a writer, as a mother. I imagine (at least, I hope) that few people outside of my immediate family would notice if I was in the midst of an ‘episode’. Not because they aren’t close to me, but because over the years I’ve developed ways to camouflage it. I can still laugh, and smile, and joke around as usual, I just feel a bit… tender, is all. Quiet moments are the worst.
My making is a primary tool for avoiding melancholy, especially in those quiet moments. The things I make are always jolly, often silly, sometimes faintly ridiculous. I find it helpful to surround myself with as much colour and humour as I can lay my hands on, and although I often wish the things I made were more subtle and beautiful than they are – there’s nothing like a great big hunk of brightly coloured, cheap-as-chips yarn to put a positive spin on a crappy day. Buttons too, no matter what way you look at it, buttons are cheerful, and ribbons. In fact the whole field of textiles in general – it’s hard to feel fed up when you’re surrounded by soft, colourful, snuggly, wafty things, especially if you can forget about how good, or bad you are and just make, regardless.
What do you do to keep the blues at bay? I’d love to know.
It is customary to begin posts of this kind with loads of apologies and excuses as to why I have left it so long between blogs. But the sad fact is that I have left it SO long between posts that apologies and excuses probably don’t matter, so instead I will bring you very quickly up to speed with what has happened over the last twelve months or so, so that we can draw a line under the whole thing and move on. Lots of things have changed; mostly for the better.
The girls are now two-and-a-half. They are no longer babies, which is great because toddlers are so much more fun.
The publishing company I worked for went into liquidation after a long period of total rubbishness. It’s ok though, because I was more than ready to move on, and had really just been ignoring the fact and hoping my feelings would resolve themselves, which they did, when I lost my job.
I have been writing A LOT, for various magazines and websites including Flamingo, Tantrum, Lionheart and Dr Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure – all first class people. I will no doubt elaborate on this in further posts.
I have made loads of stuff since my last post, the most exciting being a knitted cat fascinator; nipple tassels, some knickers, another, very pretty crocheted blanket amongst umpteen other things. I am going to try and post pics over the next week or so, just so you know where we are. It’s funny how, no matter what’s going on in my life, I rarely stop making stuff. Drama just makes me want to make more.