Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Take Five

I woke up this morning feeling like I'd swallowed a bag of prickly pears whole and convinced that it was an hour later than it actually was. Not the best start at all. After a fairly self indulgent day, involving making and then drinking copious amounts of freshly squeezed fruit juice all by myself (usually I only ever do this with children!), my head is in a much better place. But I decided very early on not to try and make sense of my second Frozen dress photos. So instead I have a few bits and pieces to share with you in a 'Take 5' post...

1) I've finished off Maria's 'Lets Go Fly a Kite' mini, with the rainbow border.

So this is another gift ticked off the making list - it's going to someone special who shares kite flying memories with us.

2) I've also been working on the machine embroidered, snowflake napkins gift. All snowflakes are now embroidered...

I took these outside to photograph but it was a bit wet - there are a few blobs of rain on them!

I just have the more boring job of hemming all of them now, with beautiful mitred corners of course! You may have noticed in my quilts that I frequently avoid mitred corners, it's not just that I don't particularly enjoy doing them, I do also genuinely (honest!) prefer boxed corners - unless the design calls for mitred which it sometimes does. So I'm not a practised mitred corner person, I did see this tutorial the other day specifically for napkins so hopefully that will help me on my way.

3) I've been doing some of the best kind of thrifting - and I must confess it doesn't happen often around here! - I've been clearing out wardrobes! Mainly the girls', a very overdue job. Slightly surprisingly I found very few items which I wanted to chop up to use in quilts or any other sewing. I had only a couple of (small) bags of clothes to keep, ones I really couldn't part with or chop in any way, and a few items to refashion. Quite a few of the clothes were too worn to be useful for anything other than the recyling centre, but before they headed off that way I checked for one other thing, often overlooked in clothes being thrown out - buttons. And happily I found lots of lovely ones:

It's hard to see in the photo, but all those creamy ones in the middle are beautiful, small mother of pearl buttons.
4) There's been a lot of Christmas sewing going on around here, but not much Christmas cooking. I'm a bit behind with this to be honest. I managed to get my Christmas mincemeat made at the weekend, see here for the recipe. But no cakes or puddings yet - aagh! And someone recommended Mary Berry's Christmas chutney to me today, I'm not a chutney eater but it would make a perfect present for a couple of people I know. So I need to get a move on, only one month to go now! How are you doing with your Christmas cooking?

5) I found this interview with Michael J. Fox, who suffers from Parkinsons, very inspiring yesterday. And it's coincided today with a conversation in which someone said to me - "I'm naturally a glass half empty person, you're naturally a glass half full person". The two together have got me up on my soap box, it doesn't happen that often, so please bear with me! My Dad was part of the conversation, and he chipped in - "Yes, she gets that from me". Now my Dad is an incredibly 'glass half full' kind of person, he could easily have 'optimist' emblazoned across his heart, he always tries to make the best of a situation and I think he fits very well within a modern day approach to 'stoicism'. But I'm not convinced that I've 'inherited' my 'glass half full' attitude from him. Possibly I've learnt it from him. I strongly believe we can all choose to be 'glass half full' people. In his interview Michael J. Fox says that he calls out to his children every day, "Choose happiness". A bit corny maybe, and they do joke about the fact that it probably makes his children cringe at times, but still such a powerful message. I really do think it's a choice rather than a gene. Maybe some people find it easier than others, but I don't think there are many amazingly lucky people out there who are 'naturally' happy all the time, it's something that everyone has to work at from time to time. We all go through difficult periods of our lives, but it's how we choose to deal with those difficulties that define us as 'half empty' or 'half full'.

I could be opening a bit of a minefield here in several ways. Maybe you suffer from depression or care deeply for someone else who does, and you might disagree totally with what I'm saying. If that's the case then please forgive me my views and we may have to agree to differ! I'm not saying necessarily that anyone has the choice to suffer, or not suffer, from depression, but that we all have a choice as to how we deal with it. Just as Michael J. Fox didn't have the choice to suffer from Parkinsons, which in itself often comes hand in hand with depression, only the choice as to how he dealt with it.

And I'm very aware that maybe it's easy for me to hold this view when I live in a warm, comfortable house, have 4 healthy children, a husband and no lack of food etc. Perhaps you feel it was easier for Michael J. Fox to deal with his illness given his wealth. But possibly this is a bit of a cop out, so often it seems that it's those with the least, living in the poorest parts of the world who manage to have the most positive attitudes.

There may be times when it's harder than others, times when we need some help to do it, but I do believe we can all choose to make the best of our circumstances rather than letting them get the better of us. And take a minute to watch Michael J. Fox, I think it's hard not to be inspired by his attitude.



  1. Thanks for sharing the link to the interview with Michael J. Fox, he is such an inspiration. I am a glass half full kinda person, and know I always have a choice to choose happiness. Depression is hard, I have watched my sister in law deal with it, coming off medications because she doesn't like the side effects, only to return to them because life without them is too hard. At times I want to say "just shake it off", but I know it is much harder than that, and much harder than just choosing happiness.

    I do agree that we all have a choice to make the best of the circumstances we are presented with on our journey though, and I think at times we all need to look a little harder at how blessed we are.

  2. Hi Sally, I don't think you should be nervous about posting this kind of thing, sometimes the Blogsphere can be a bit shiny/sparkly, and the fact is that many of us are living with all sorts of problems, illnesses and difficulties. Whilst we might not want to read about them all the time, I think a post like this is healthy. Love all your saved buttons,so pretty!

  3. Perhaps it's a bit of both? Perhaps it's easier for some people to choose happiness and be glass half full people just as soon people find it easier to eat less, or go to the gym more (for the record I'm very glass half full, not so good at leaving biscuits uneaten!). I think happiness in general life can be a choice to look for the good in your life - but I don't include depression as general life, I don't think that simply thinking happy will cure that any more than it will cure my cold - much as I wish it would!

  4. Love the kite mini! I feel so blessed as well! I am inspired by so many who make the most of circumstances to reflect Grace and Gratitude!


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