Sew exciting..!

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THIS arrived on Tuesday!

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I learned running stitch and Satin Stitch (How did I manage before YouTube?!!)

 

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Then… (VERY exciting) I did a (sort of) button hole!! It’s like a whole new world of possibility opening up! I can ACTUALLY do like… a PROPER button hole. I don’t think I ever will… but that’s not the point!
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And then I did this.
Stitching paper garlands.
NOW we’re talking… !
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Sew…

Although the world won’t care, I am so excited about a secret purchase, that I just have to put it out there in Cyberspace.

In the UK, we have a BIG supermarket corporation which introduced a points system (and is now frantically back pedalling as it loses money hand over fist..).

As you shop, you gain points and at regular intervals, your accumulated points are turned into cash vouchers to spend in store. “So what?” you say.

“Ahhhhh,” I respond, “less SO what…and more SEW what?”.

Yes. I doubled my points and ordered… sewing machine not a clue

…a brand new toy!

And nobody else knows about it.

Just me, and now you.

Most Memorable Settings

The challenge has been set at http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com

I’m not sure how it all works, this tagging posts and linking up thing, but I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try on this, my not-used-very-much-at-all blog. I think I did set this one up as a writing blog. Not that my other ‘usual’ space isn’t, but the other is a bit more specific, more personal.

Asked to quote a passage that I will always associate with a beautifully crafted setting, I have to refer to American writer, John Steinbeck.

The opening paragraphs of Of Mice and Men read like poetry:

A few miles south of Soledad, the Salinas River drops in close to the hillside bank and runs deep and green. The water is warm too, for it has slipped twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlightbefore reaching the narrow pool. On one side of the river the golden foothill slopes curve up to the strong and rocky Gabilan Mountains, but on the valley side the water is lined with trees- willows fresh and green with every spring, carrying in their lower leaf junctures the debris of the winter’s flooding; and sycamores with mottled, white, recumbent limbs and branches that arch over the pool. On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them. Rabbits come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening, and the damp flats are covered with the night tracks of ‘coons, and with the spread pads of dogs from the ranches, and with the split-wedge tracks of deer that come to drink in the dark.

The graceful stillness of this place is almost tangible. It makes me desperate to feel the warmth of the water, the dry heat of the dirt tracks and the cool of the Sycamore shade.

When a writer has described the natural world this tenderly, this delicately, it stirs up a sort of ache in me that I find very difficult to explain or understand. The closest I get is to compare this ache to a feeling of homesickness. The tug of something tinged with desperation and shades of sadness. Something in descriptions of the natural world makes me long to return somewhere I often haven’t been.

There are so many other examples I could give… Hemmingway creates settings to die for, and Khaled Hosseni whose ‘Then The Mountains Echoed’ I’m reading at the moment, is an incredible writer who can conjure up scenes so palpably that I can imagine the sights and smells of Afghanistan as though they are part of a memory.

Rebel

If your default state of mind involves a relentless drive towards perfection.Rebel

If the eye flinching, wincing, mincing voice of piercing criticism carries through veins and synapses

If your head is bent and darkened by the brightness of those around you

If you cannot bear the bird that longs to nestle in your palm, for fear that it will turn and peck your sockets hollow

If your thoughts are spurs and feelings, whips that lash your saddened soul

and your mind set is a thirst that’s only quenched by a glass half full

then hear the call and heed it

Rebel against your own state of mind.

New Leaves

Okay folks! I’m going to level with you and you’re probably not going to agree with me…

You know all those beautifully crafted books on the ‘inspiration and motivation’ table in your bookshop? The ones which, somewhat irritatingly for those who are OCD enough to care, won’t sit right on your bookshelf at home because they’re too small, or too square, or too thin?

The soothing, matte cover entices you to pick it up and slide your palm across it… and when you open it, you’re met with a spectacular array of orange sunsets and waterfalls and extreme close ups of droplets sitting heavy on thick green  leaves.

Each photo is laced with wise words we see stitched on cushions, coasters, coffee cups and small, extortionately priced pebbles and metal tokens.

I’m being facetious. But I hope you get the idea that I’m really not the kind of girl who buys into the ‘little book of calm’ culture.

Now I’ve prefaced my post with a stinging crit, I’m going to contradict myself royally by admitting that I saw one such little book in a charity shop and, having been quite moved by words I’d never heard before, I bought it!

One of the things that I believe about life is that every one of us, without exception, needs to believe in new leaves. No matter how good or bad we are, no matter what our race, creed, culture, we all have areas of our lives in which we need to turn over a new leaf.

Arnold Bennett inspired this reflection by putting it like this:

The chief beauty about time

is that you cannot waste it in advance.

The next year, the next day, the next hour
are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose.

Arnold Bennett

I love the idea that at any given moment,  I can turn over a new leaf.

It doesn’t matter about the charred mass of rubble behind me, it doesn’t matter about the blotted page I’m standing on now, the next step is onto an unspoilt canvas.

God put it like this:

“I–yes, I alone–will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again”.

(Isaiah 43:25)

New Living Translation

And so it is, that I have to swallow my cynicism, and allow hope, once again, to permeate my soul.

I hope you can too.