Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Crafty old bird.

I don't know what's come over me lately. I've just made a(nother) life changing decision - more about that another time - but instead of concentrating on that as I should be, I've become a nesting, domesticated, crafting demon! I've always dabbled on the outskirts of domestic goddessdom creating handmade cards, salt body scrubs, button and wire hearts, knitted shaggy scarves and the odd victoria sandwich, but lately I seem to have these overwhelming urges to create things, both edible and otherwise. I'm quite unstoppable: if I get an idea in my head, I'm off, as though on a mission.

Here's some I made earlier:



Then there are the crochet flowers which I can't quite master but I won't rest until I do:

Cakes are appearing more and more frequently. Not much left of this one (coffee sponge with blackberry jam):

But the biggest development has been in a previously totally uncharted territory:

A couple of weeks ago I had this screaming urge to buy a second hand sewing machine on eBay. Me, someone who hasn't used a sewing machine since forced to recite, by my Welsh needlework teacher, "Pin and tack, Mrs Williams" in response to "And what do we do before we touch our machines, girrrrls?" (We actually used to recite "Pin. Attack Mrs Williams" but she never seemed to notice.) My lack of interest in sewing machines since then also, I'm sure, has something to do with my long buried memory of Angela Turner managing to spear the needle straight through her index finger which she morbidly insisted on waving at us all as she was scuttled off to the medical room. Anyway, I bought a little machine. Then a week later, I bid on an enormous pile of fabric squares. Well, the most GORGEOUS little cotton squares plopped on my doorstep and I had the best fun just sorting them into piles. The DDs came into the room to find mummy sitting on the floor going "LOVE!", "quite like", "not keen", "spots", "stripes". DD1 walked over, kissed me on top of my head, smiling, and said "You're such a geek, mum".  I couldn't disagree.

Until recently, I saw sewing as something other people did. I've never had much confidence in my abilities in this department, worried that I wouldn't get it 'right'. But I have high hopes for these lovely scraps. DD1 requested some shabby chic bunting, DD2 fancies a patchwork cushion and I saw an amazing patchwork tablecloth on a crafting blog...

Last weekend I spent a wonderful sunny Sunday afternoon, sitting at my kitchen table, door open to the garden, Radio 2 in the background, measuring, cutting and sewing for my first project - bunting. I got as far as I could with what I had. Tellingly, I hadn't made the time to pop to the haberdashery shop to buy the bias binding as I thought I wouldn't need it for ages (perhaps still not believing I would actually get that far). Well, I'd have finished that baby if I'd had the trim. When the DDs returned, I proudly displayed my work-in-progress and even whizzed up a little fabric heart for DD2 while she watched to show them how easy it is. They were as amazed as me. I've since pinned the tape on and I just need a quiet evening with lots of concentration to finish this:

My future goals after these projects are: to relearn to crotchet  (I made a blanket as a child and am determined to do that again); to cover a cork board in fabric and ribbon to make a pretty noticeboard for my kitchen, a craft a material blind for my porch and to turn an old jumper into a cushion cover. Oh, and some little raggedy stuffed creatures to hang on twigs for Easter. It's all so wonderfully twee!

But here's why I'm embracing it for all it's worth: for years I suffered from general, then post natal, depression and during that time the world was a dark, black, lonely place where anything other than functional and austere was just not noticed, let alone appreciated, by me. Though thankfully the depression left me a long, long time ago and I've been noticing all this wonderful, feminine creativity around me for ages, I am finally in a place where I feel I want to be a part of it. I'm still learning to be kind to myself and not aspire for any kind of impossible perfection, just to be the best me I can be. That goes too for my bread, bunting and button hearts - in all their imperfect glory! And this new direction is filling me with more joy than I ever thought possible.


  1. I LOVE this post! Go you girl friend!!! So know what you mean about depression & post natal depression x. I've been paralysed by it in the past, unable to do anything. But how wonderful to start to see the joy in creating lots of lovely things for the home and yummy things to eat for not only the ones we love but for OURSELVES! If I'm not stuffing a home made cake in one of the girls faces I'm hanging bunting on them.....it rocks!!! Your bread looks extra yummy. Hopefully I'll be brave enough to try my hand at bread making soon :D

    Love & hugs to you fellow crafter, sewer, baker & all round home maker :D

    Jo x x x

  2. Aw, Jo, that's lovely, thanks so much. At the risk of sounding like a mutual admiration society, I love reading your blog too and have long suspected a kindred spirit there!

    You must give the bread a go - it couldn't be simpler and my girls loved making it too!

    Love and hugs back!


  3. A little bit of this and that is what kept me going the last few months Paula ! Some things im very bad at and others not quite so, but it has been a bit of therapy and very satisfying.
    lovely post - would have suited the site.
    Sarah x

  4. Awesome blog, good to know life can change for the better no matter how we feel about ourselves... you're an inspiration :-)

  5. Sarah - I know what you mean about therapy, absolutely! :-)

    Iain - thank you. It's all about being postive and working out what you enjoy, then embracing it. x

  6. Hey Paula
    What a wealth of talent you have. Glad to see that you are sticking with the 'positive doing' from an earlier post. Love the bunting - is it for Wills and Kate?
    Glad that you are on the up and curious about the other life changing decision.....
    Go girl!

  7. Ooooh Lovely! Just shows how much pleasure we have within us (without batteries too)!

  8. Paula ivegotadrill30 March 2011 at 09:55

    Mum in the Middle: Wills and Kate can make their own bunting now that I know how fiddly that bias tape is to sew lol!

  9. Here's to hoping my wife gets the same "bug". Fresh bread and cakes every day would do very nicely!

  10. 'Every day'?! Gary, I love your optimism! *chuckle*