Friday, 25 April 2014

Bunny Bonanza

I hope you all had a great Easter. We really enjoyed the good weather and were able to spend some time with family and friends over  the holiday.

I made myself a bunny brooch for Easter and  no sooner had Nancy and Florence seen  them than they had  to have one  , then Olivia ( my step daughter) 

 then I made one for a Swap-Bot partner 

and a friend wanted one so I have completed his  this week.

It really has been a bunny bonanza. I prefer the darker ones as I think the wool takes it's own personality better. The lighter fibres show up my (many many) mistakes and I find them harder to get to do  what you want.

I made a couple  of cross stitch bookmarks too last month, for my sister and  for someone who does a lot of  work in our  community. I was quite pleased with the way they turned out. I got the flowers from an old Jo Verso cross-stitch book that I bought in a second hand book store and  the letters I got from a HUGE free online resource here.

 I just backed them with some scrap fabric and added a ribbon as the book mark. 

I am toying with putting a few bits and bobs online , probably Folksy as I had a look and there are a lot of brooches, but none like mine. I think I will need to hone my technique somewhat. I love  the bunnies and wear mine  with pride, but as my  Swap bot recipient said " thanks for  the bunny, my sister is wearing it, she has a quirky style" ha ha ha ha ha!!!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Some new hobbies

Anyone who has read this recently will know  that I am working on a secret-squirrel project for a friend. I am getting very close to completion and hope to post next week when I have given it  to my friend.

I set myself a a target this year to make a new brooch for each month of  the year. I'm afraid what with my new hobby, and preparing  to go into hospital at the end of March I didn't get a new brooch made. I think I will start on one this week tho, any ideas??

So on to my new hobby. I came across Postcrossing by accident. It is a free website, you register, make a simple profile and request a few addresses to get you started. You then send them a postcard, a few days after your postcard is received and registered you will get a postcard from someone else. I LOVE snail mail. It is  so good to get colourful interesting mail from across the world. Everything else is just bills, so few of us send letters anymore.

I got this lovely card from a 9 yo girl in Russia, she asked me  to send her one specifically and I was happy to oblige.

I have sent and received cards from Russia ( including a really cool Sochi stamp), USA, Canada, Netherlands, Norway, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Germany and others.

This is one of  my favourite cards from Latvia, dig those shamazing weather vanes, and the stone sheep!

From a postcard I received from Canada I was tipped,  off to try Swap-Bot. This is another free to register site. This time you send through the post little gifts, things you have made, sweets, stationery etc.

 For a stationery addict like me this is highly compelling. There are many online free swaps you can sign up to, posting things on Pinterest, or visiting another's website or blog and commenting. I have learned that international postage is EXTORTIONATE, and have vowed to be  a little more selective in my swaps from now on.

It is fun though and who doesn't love to receive surprises in the mail? I love to see all the colourful stamps and the creative way people use the space on the envelopes. The last one I sent was to 3 partners, France, Canada and Brazil and the swap was to make your envelopes look pretty. These are the ones I sent ( before addresses and stamps)

And these are two that I received

Aren't they lovely? I was delighted.They were sent with a few small bits of stationery inside too- LOVE LOVE.

My current swap is to write a letter to your partner and tell them about 5 separate years in your life. This was quite fun I have to say. I chose 1976 (the hottest British summer on record), 1985 ( when I left boarding school to return to school in N. Ireland ) 1996 ( when I met the father of my first daughter and her birth in 1997) 2007 ( the year my dear mum passed away) and I am unsure about the last year, either 2009 when I met my lovely partner and turned 40, or last year, which was difficult. I will write the last bit tonight .

It has been interesting to revisit  those years, as they were all important to me, but  thankfully are all past. It has made me have a renewed gratitude for  the interesting life I have led, so far.....

Friday, 4 April 2014

Overdoing it

I got out of hospital yesterday after a middling serious operation. My home care instructions are quite clear, plenty of rest, don't lift anything heavier than 2L of milk, don't stand for more than 10/15 mins at a time. What better day then to go and witness the opening of a new landmark bridge in East Belfast.

 The "Sam Thompson Bridge"  is  named after an East Belfast Shipyard worker and Playright and links Victoria Park in Sydenham to the industrial heart of East Belfast at Queen's Island. The slogan for today was "get over it" and  the organisers wanted 2014 people to walk over  the bridge today to commemorate it's opening.

It was a beautiful spring day, the daffodils blowing in the wind and  the ducks splashing about on the river, a perfect day to make history.

When I worked in Titanic Belfast as a guide I met so many fascinating ordinary people with amazing personal stories to tell. People who when they were very small were taken to see the launch of or building of Titanic. I met the man who's first job in  the shipyard as a sheet metal worker was to make the iconic H&W for the first giant yellow crane , Goliath, that stands over Belfast's Titanic Quarter today, over 40 years later.

I met an American man on his first visit to Belfast who's uncle is in this famous photograph of Titanic's enormous propellers.

I think he is 2nd left. You can see a digitally remastered version of  this photo in Titanic Belfast.

It was for me the most interesting part of  the job. So I wanted to "Get-over" the Sam Thompson Bridge so I can tell my grandchildren that we were there making our own little piece of history. I'm shattered , sore and a bit emotional, but I am very happy we went.