Creativity

I’ve not been very creative over the last few months, other than a cross stitch kit I’m currently working on.

However I was looking through some old photo’s for a particular one and found a few of the things I have made over the years, so I thought I’d share a few with you all.

One of the first things I made, after the basic scarf and squares, was a baby cardigan for my friends new son. It was a simple pattern to follow, although the sleeves seemed quite long and the neckline wasn’t as neat as it could have been, but for a first attempt it was acceptable, and they were happy with it.

IMG_0593

Then Oscar wanted a hoodie making for him, so we went and found some wool he was happy with and I found a pattern that wasn’t to complex but would push my limits and this was the end result.

IMG_9286

He was happy with it, after this I took a little break.

Next time I started knitting again it was for charity, the local hospital neo-natal unit put a message out across social media, they needed baby hats. I had small amounts of double knit wool and a simple pattern to follow, it was easy to knit a few of these each night and the stack soon grew. Most neo-natal units are always after hats, blankets and small squares, if you have spare double-knit wool and a little time.

To try and use up some of my wool, and I had quite a bit, I saw a pom-pom rug on Etsy and thought that looks like a simple idea, and gave it a go. It took over a month of making pom-poms every night and then a few hours to attach them to hessian backing and it looked and felt lovely on the bedroom floor next to the bed.

However these rugs aren’t good for high traffic areas, and are more decorative and after a few weeks the pom-pom’s started to flatten and come apart.

Most recently I made a few baby blankets and hats for friends new arrivals.

IMG_0643

Here’s a few of the other many varied items I have made along the way.

The needles may be away for the time being but these photo’s encourage me not to give up and with time, effort and patience I can make beautiful things that make people smile.

Advertisements

Another new job

Last summer after 14 months of working in the same place, on a temporary contract, work dried up and I was finished up. And so started the application process again, weeks of filling in forms and hearing nothing, then out of the blue a phone call and interview.

I started a couple of weeks later but the work and hours were not as described in either the application or the interview and I had no choice but to leave after a couple of months and back to the applying again. It was very disheartening.

Then out of the blue another phone call and another interview, after all the disappointments I didn’t hold much hope. I went along for an informal chat, which went well but again I wasn’t feeling very optimistic so when I got an email asking me to go for another ‘formal’ interview and tests I was surprised. It was a bit of a long shot applying for it, but sometimes you need to take the shot in the dark.

The second interview went well and the tests were simple enough, everybody seemed really friendly and chatty, busy but a good vibe about the place. I left with the words ‘we’ll be in touch’ I’d heard this before, so off I went shopping. I was just buying two new rose bushes for the allotment when my phone rang, I was offered the job ! I didn’t even need to think about it and accepted right there at the checkout.

I started at the end of November and it’s been a whirlwind few months, so much to learn, names, computer systems, and routines but everyone is really helpful and friendly. One thing that has come across since starting is the team-work is most important, they never recruit based solely on experience or knowledge but prefer to find someone who will fit with the team and a willingness to learn.

Just after starting my uncle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and they were so supportive and helpful during this very stressful time. In fact having a permanent, part-time job has given us stability. Being part-time means having time to work on the allotment, especially come summer and I can be around for Oscar.

One benefit of working is having a regular income and being able to have a holiday, but I’ll tell you more about that another time.

The statues of Liverpool

Everywhere you go in Liverpool there are statues and monuments, of people, animals and items. To commemorate events or just art work.

Like the graffiti artwork sometimes they become so commonplace that you don’t even notice them.

So I made a point of walking around the city, slowly, with my camera and here’s a few for you.

 

There are many more.

Asparagus

A few weeks ago I received an email and immediately thought it’s a scam, but something didn’t seem right. The email was from Yodel, it said ‘your parcel will be delivered today, to track your parcel download the app from the App store or Google play’, no reference numbers or links, and that was what made me curious, it seemed genuine. So I took to Facebook and asked the ‘experts’ everyone said it’s a scam, so I deleted it. Then a couple hours later the doorbell rang, and there was a Yodel van and man with a parcel for me.

The Facebook experts were as surprised as me, as I wasn’t expecting anything.

IMG_1025

When I saw the box, it was realised exactly what it was, asparagus crowns.

I had ordered them last year, around November time and it said they would delivered early spring, and I had forgotten all about them.

It was a busy time and I wasn’t able to get to the allotment that week, so I opened the packaging and left the box in the shed, cool and protected and hoped they would cope until I could get them planted.

I wasn’t sure how to plant asparagus, so decided to once again ask the experts. This time I used the You-tube experts, watched a few videos and made some notes.

It was two weeks before I could get them planted, and I wasn’t hopeful or expecting too much. I dug and weeded the patch and finally got them into the ground alongside the raspberries, it was quite simple although I did cover them with some netting as the patch seems to be a favourite digging spot for the fox, only when I’ve planted though.

Imagine my surprise when I got to the allotment two weeks later to see asparagus growing happily, not only had it settled but had spears growing. I have a four different varieties and three have started growing. Unfortunately we can’t eat any this year but it’s reassuring to know it’s doing well and we are looking forward to the beautiful fronds/flowers they produce. I’ve taken the netting off, fingers crossed the foxes stay away from it.

The ‘What If’ monster

This visitor decided to join our family recently and was a very unwelcome guest, who bought chaos and unhappiness.

It started about two months ago, when Oscar brought a letter home from school about options night, GCSE options ! Seriously, it feels too soon, where’s my baby gone. The letter explained that we would have a talk from the head of year about how the system worked and then would have the opportunity to chat to subject leaders to make an informed decision.

Oscar said he had already decided, with the compulsory subjects he was doing I.T,  geography and either art/music (or both). I was happy to support these choices. And then the monster appeared.

The closer we go to the school meeting the more we heard ‘What if’ ….

‘What if they don’t let me do the subjects I want ?’

‘What if they make me do subjects I don’t like or need for the job I want in future?’

At first I didn’t ignore the questions as such, but didn’t take the questions are seriously as I would a few weeks later. ‘They will’ ‘don’t worry about it’ etc, I didn’t realise how much he was worrying about and after a few weeks it was becoming unbearable because everything came with a ‘what if’ to the point that Oscar had started doubting and questioning every part of his life and even if it was worth living at all. He was refusing to do anything, go anywhere, other than school and home. He was struggling with everything, even sleeping and eating.

Once I realised how bad it was getting I needed proper help and spoke to a work friend, who is a trained counsellor, I explained what was happening, his behaviour and how he was coping. I had no choice but to acknowledge the fears and how great these where. So when he questioned ‘but what if’ I had to sit him down and show him I was taking it seriously and answer as fully as possible and discuss options for dealing with these fears. It wasn’t easy but over a few days he responded. It gave him security that the fears are serious and the options gave him choices, this put power back with him and slowly started building his confidence.

However the day of the meeting, and his fears hit a new high and panic set in, he got himself in such a state before we left that he had a panic attack. Thankfully I was able to talk him down and calm him, but he looked dreadful when we got to school. He couldn’t even make eye contact with friends and struggled to speak to his form teacher (who I emailed an explanation to later).

We listened to the talk, and looked through the information booklet and slowly he became more ‘Oscar’ again. He wanted to look at his chosen subjects to check they were correct for him. First was geography, one of his favourite teachers, but the subject matter for the exams didn’t appeal. However overhearing the history teacher chatting to another child/parent, he was suddenly interested. The first change of the night. Next we went to look at art (I didn’t want him to do this, but kept that to myself) again he said he wasn’t sure. Off we went, IT next, a no-brainer, always was going to be first choice and still was. But then P.E took his attention, and he started asking the teacher lots of questions, he was really interested. I’m not sure where it came from but he decided there and then, history, PE and IT, with music as an extra.

So after weeks of ‘what if they don’t let me do the subject I want to do ?’ he changed all but one of his subjects. I have used this to show him how fears can build and stop us doing things, or alter our opinions before we have all facts and information to make the right choices. Also life is flexible, and so are decisions, they can change often and that is a good thing. A choice made today could change tomorrow because circumstances change.

He is still doubting himself occasionally, but now he understands everybody does this, it is a normal thing, but not to focus on something going wrong beforehand, but deal with it afterwards, if it does and it probably won’t.

We won’t find out until later in the year if he will be given his chosen subjects, but there’s no reason he won’t and we will deal with whatever happens.

Life is very complicated and sometimes the pressure on kids is tough, but the pressure they put on themselves can be worse. Kids fears need to be taken seriously and as parents we need them to feel secure enough to tell us and be strong enough to help them deal with these, or find others who can help.

The biggest thing I have learned from this, TALK !

Community time

Our allotment association has had a community plot for a long time, before I arrived on the site. In the year I have been there nothing much has been done, other than an occasional mowing and it’s not been used.

This year we elected a few new people on to the committee and the decision was made to try and build the community on-site before doing any off-site events. It didn’t go down with some of the previous committee members but the numbers of people coming to the meetings has been reducing every meeting.

Our new chair-person came up with an idea to have a ‘community day’ once a month we come together to get the community plot up and running and build the social side. It started a month ago when a few of us turned up and made a plan of what the plot should be used for and the best way to accomplish this. We decided to create two different spaces in different places, the first would be an enclosed space, easy maintenance, grassed over with seating and a barbecue area. We can use this space for the allotment children to have a safe space to play and mix if they don’t want stay on their own plots, parents and grand parents will know they are safe too also it will be used for once a month afternoon tea’s and our yearly summer party.

This weekend we had our first ‘community working day’, six of us turned up, one I’ve never met before, and got stuck in. Two people started clearing rubbish from around the whole site, two clearing rubbish from the plot and two started clearing a space to create compost, wood-chip and soil bins.

I was one of the people working on the plot, after half an hour we had filled 8 rubbish bags and a bucket full of glass. The plot was very overgrown, mostly grass but also the previous owners crops, we started pulling these up, removing the weeds and digging over the beds. The idea is to level the plot, it’s very uneven and then cover with grass seed. Whilst working more people arrived and commented on the progress, unfortunately the weather started to turn but we took lots of photo’s and posted them to our allotment group to show the progress we made and it has encouraged more people to help, the people who can’t make it at weekend are going to do whatever they can, sometimes people need to see something happening before they get involved.

Progress is going slowly but steadily and I made a new allotment buddy. It was a win-win weekend.