Sunday, 27 February 2011

My life in fabric

I can sum up my Friday night in (rather lovely!) fabric (which you can buy here)

Yes it was the meeting of the reading group. Sadly a few of the group couldn't make it this time so we were smaller than usual but the dedicated drinkers readers amongst us met to discuss and debate and drink and gossip.  Oh and we also donated £2 each to Book Aid International for their 'Meet, Talk, Give' appeal meaning that 6 books will be sent to people who need them in Africa. (I have to admit to having a slight hangover the next day after a few glasses of vino!)

We were discussing One Day by David Nicholls. The general concensus was that it was an enjoyable book but not mindblowing in any way. We were all slightly annoyed by the main characters and I am clearly stone hearted as I didn't shed a tear at the shock ending unlike most of the group! Have you read it? If so what did you think?

We've now selected the next book which will be

 We are meeting again on 1 April so not long to read it!

Something that did bring a tear to my eye was reading about the Threads of Feeling exhibition at The Foundling Museum in Sew Hip Magazine this month. In the 18th century, women who were unable to look after their new born babies because of poverty or circumstance would leave them at the Foundling Hospital. More than 4,000 babies were left between 1741 and 1760. Mothers were asked to leave a small object or token, usually a piece of fabric, to be kept as an identifying record in case they were ever able to come back for their children. The fabric was either provided by the mother or cut from the child’s clothing and provide a real insight into the fashions and fabrics of the time.
These pieces of fabric and their corresponding records tell us all about the individual babies, their mothers and their lives.Sadly many of the babies died at an early age but a few were eventually reunited with their mothers. 

Many of the babies were accompanied by hearts of some description. Fabric printed with hearts, hand embroidered hearts or hearts simply cut out of paper. One baby had a piece of patchwork with a hand stitched heart which had been cut into two. One remained with the baby and one with the mother. I really wish I could attend this exhibition. It really sounds amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

On a lighter note I'm sat typing this whilst watching Dancing on Ice. Am I still alone in my inappropriate crush on Christopher Dean??!!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

What books do you remember from childhood?

I have just found out that its World Book Day on 3 March and as the next meeting of my drunken mums reading group is on Friday, it seemed like a really good time to check out The Book Aid International website to see what events were going on, how I could get involved and maybe get some good suggestions for the next book for our reading group.  Book Aid International is a charity which increases access to books and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Saharan Africa. They provided 507,787 new books to over 2,000 libraries last year alone and have sent more than 30 million books to partner libraries since 1954.  Thats pretty amazing!

I've decide to make our reading group on Friday a 'Make Talk, Give' event

You basically get some friends together to talk about a book and ask everyone for a small donation for Book Aid International. I've asked my reading group to donate £2 each. Each £2 will pay for a book to be sent abroad to schools, orphanages, refugee camps, prisons, universities, communities etc.  The website also has lots of suggestions of ways that preschool and school age children can get involved in National Book Day. Click on the links to have a look. There is also a blog.

It also got me thinking about my favourite books from childhood. I have blogged before about my love of Enid Blyton. I'm sure that I am still emotionally damaged by the fact I wasn't sent to boarding school a la Mallory Towers and St Claires as a child!! My other love though was pony books. I was obsessed by ponies and horses generally and was lucky enough (after many years of begging and pleading!) to have my own pony. I devoured these books and read hundreds of them. The one I remember the most though is

I can still vividly remember reading this book as a teenager. Its about a young girl who wants to learn to ride but can't afford her own horse. She befriends an elderly man who lets her ride his horse and they become very successful at showjumping. When the old man dies, he leaves her the horse in his will but (and this really upset me when I was younger) she has to sell the horse as she can't afford to keep it. No sugary ending where everyone lives happily ever after unlike all the other pony books. It was a real shock to me that this could happen, a realisation that the world is not always fair and that not everyone gets what they want in life.

I asked Jon which book he remembered from childhood and he choose the book below. I've never heard of it. Its was obviously a boy thing.............

Sam's choice was

He is OBSESSED with this book and Izzy's choice was

This book has beautiful illustrations inside and was a bargain from a local charity shop.

What were your favourite books as children?

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Loving u tube today!

I'm currently training to run the Bristol 10k  in May. I hate exercise of any kind and I have absolutely no self motivation so its a real struggle for me to go out and train. The only way I can do it is by joining up and getting sponsors early on. That way I have to train and I have to run the race. I've been pretty good so far. This morning I did 5k and actually left my family eating bacon sandwiches to go out and run!! When I got back Jon had sent me a link to this video on u tube. Its pretty inspirational. If this guy can run a marathon then I can do a 10k.

While I was on U tube I thought I would find and share this video with you too. Its of the Black Eyed Peas doing a version of 'I've gotta feeling' (a song I love) but with a difference. Check out the crowd and watch out for Oprah swearing!! Yes THAT Oprah!! It takes a minute or two to get going but go with it....


Friday, 18 February 2011

Am I right or am I wrong? You decide!!

Izzy's school (which is  a fantastic school) recently organised a sponsored football event for all of the children with the money raised being donated to several local charities for Lent. Fantastic I thought until Izzy came home with her sponsorship forms. The event I then found out was being organised by a private company rather than the school. The children had all been told that the more money they raised, the more prizes they would receive. So if a child raised £1 they got a certificate and stickers, if they raised £10 they won a sports bag and so on. Most children (Izzy included) came home saying that they 'had' to raise £50 so they could win the complete set of prizes (footballs, sports bag, stickers etc etc). On reading the small print it also turned out that only 50% of the sponsorship money went to the school. The rest went to the private company for organising the event and for prizes, admin etc. I wasn't very happy for a number of reasons....

1) To me children should learn that raising money for charity is about giving to something you believe in and not about what you will get in return (particularly in a Catholic school!)

2) To some families raising £50 in sponsorship from grandparents etc may be relatively easy but to other families this is just not achievable and its puts parents under immense pressure. It also puts the children from these families in a difficult situation where children are competing financially with each other.

3) Most importantly for me I think was that I could not ask family members to sponsor Izzy knowing that 50% of the money they give does not go the school/charity but actually goes to a privately run company.

4) Families who have more than one child at the school were being put under pressure to find £50 for each child.
I've no doubt that the event is well organised and great fun for the children but it just didn't sit right with me. Luckily many other parents felt the same and we jointly wrote a letter to the school expressing our feelings. The school said that they had been very careful to point out to the children that not everyone would be able to raise £50 and people should contribute whatever they could but five year olds don't understand this. When I told Izzy that she wouldn't get the top prize she burst into tears and I felt awful.We decided as a group of parents to all only sponsor our children £1 to make a point. That way all of them get a certificate and maybe some stickers but nobody feels left out and everyone gets the same. We have all decided to donate to the chosen charities directly.

So what do you think? Am I being old fashioned? Have you come across this before? Did we overreact? Have I scarred Izzy emotionally for life by denying her the footballs and sports bag??

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

We have the pox!

Chicken pox that is (or chicken pie as Sam has just told his Grandma). I wasn't expecting that although it would explain Sam's 40 degree temperature last night and his extreme grumpiness yesterday. Luckily he doesn't seem to have too many spots so I'm hoping it stays like that! Poor thing. Its amazing how quickly these things come on. This was Sam yesterday with his little cousin George looking as right as rain

 and this is him today on his sick bed

Hope he gets better soon. I'm not looking forward to the next 5 days or so stuck in the house!

I've actually been sewing this week. I've got a table at a fundraising evening for pre school coming up so thought I'd better get on with something. I made some felt tip rolls

I finally got round to making a drawstring bag for Sam in his favourite pirate material. I was quite pleased with it and have decided to make lots more to sell. My first one was with my favourite cowboy fabric

and a few more tu tu's

Plenty more sewing to do though......

Monday, 14 February 2011

Its a Hello Kitty fest!

From the comments on my post about the Hello Kitty fabric, it seems that little girls nationwide are obsessed with Hello Kitty. Izzy and her friends certainly are at the moment. I'm not sure how this happened as its not something Izzy has ever watched on TV and I only found out last week that you can get the cartoons on DVD (thanks local library!). I'm just grateful that Izzy is now interested in something other than Disney Princesses so I am embracing this phase! We went shopping today and came across some lovely (and cheap!) Hello Kitty goodies which I thought I would share for those of you who also know Hello Kitty obsessed children. Look away now if you don't like pink.....

From Asda (bought by Izzy with her pocket money!)

From H&M

I thought this was more than enough Hello Kitty for one child but was also tempted to buy some for myself too! Some hair clips for some hair clip tidies I am making and some iron on patches. I also found some cute little button hair clips and some spotty mugs for only 63p each!!

Good days shopping I think!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

I am soooo over Pom Poms

Saturdays have recently become the day that I do some sewing with Izzy. She is really keen to learn at the moment so I am going with it and we spend Saturday mornings making things while Sam is at football (no gender stereotypes in this house then!). Today I thought that I would show Izzy how to make a pom pom as I have vague memories of doing this when I was younger and I've got lots of wool lying about. I had a brief foray into the world of knitting a couple of years ago but just couldn't understand knitting patterns. They made my brain want to explode so I gave up. The reality is though that making poms poms is possibly THE most boring thing that you can choose to do FACT. Izzy has even less patience than me (which is really saying something) and her attention span lasted about 5 minutes before she said her arm was aching. I tried to finish it for her whilst giving a bit of a lecture about finishing things you have started before the tedium got to me too and I also abandoned it. Its sitting on the shelf waiting to be finished. The picture below is before the boredom set in......

We then decided that we should make something else and Izzy wanted to make a little hello kitty to hang on her door. We cut out some hello kitty fabric and teamed it up with a cute little pink spotty fabric and I showed Izzy how to pin, tack and then machine it. I actually forgot to leave a hole big enough to be able to turn it out and stuff it and so spent ages having to squeeze in minuscule amounts of stuffing through a tiny hole. Not sure I'm cut out to be a teacher! Anyway the finished product looked good enough and is now hanging proudly on Izzy's door.

Izzy then spotted some tiny little bells in my sewing room and insisted on making collars for her mouse and puppy. This was actually the thing she was most proud of when her brother came home from football and they spent all afternoon playing with them.

I actually made something last week too! A couple of tu tus for a fund raising evening that I am having a stall at soon. I have so much that I need to make. I'm starting to panic slightly. The tu tu's actually look much better than in the photo and I'm really pleased with them.

I've kind of rediscovered my love of ebay recently. I bought this gorgeous little vintage double desk last week. Its fab! Izzy absolutely loves it and has been sat at it today writing notes and making things.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Thank you Mr Postman

I received two lovely parcels in the post today. The first was from the Becky who writes the lovely Hazel and Blue blog. I won a giveaway on her blog and was lucky enough to receive the most gorgeous little purse

I was going to give it to Izzy but I'm thinking of keeping it for myself! It has a pretty pink lining too

I also got not one but two lovely pieces of ribbon. The second was a little extra surprise that I wasn't expecting. The package also contained a lovely card and some really sweet twine on a cute little wooden peg. Thanks so much Becky. I loved my parcel.

The other parcel was from a moment of madness on ebay when I was seduced into buying some hello kitty fabric. I'm not usually one for fabrics with characters on but Izzy and all of the girls in her class are obsessed with hello kitty so I thought it might be good to make some dap bags to see how they sell.

 and I couldn't resist this pretty pink one too.

Has any seen The Big C?  Its a new series on More 4.

I think that its my new favourite TV programme. Its about a woman who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I know that it doesn't sound like great fun to watch buts its very funny and very poignant and Laura Linney is fantastic in it. Last nights episode made me laugh out loud and also cry quite a lot too. Its on after Brothers and Sisters (my second favourite programme!). Thursday nights rock.