Craft! Learn crochet for £1 and help a charity

What are you waiting for? Here’s a fab deal I found today:

http://www.lovecrochet.com/crochet-snowflake-kit

From their site:

“This kit has everything you need to learn to crochet a snowflake. Our fabulous kit contains 10g of delicate Three Bears Cotton yarn, a 4mm hook and an exclusive pattern written by blogger Bella Coco. This free kit has been created to support the Home-Start Snowflake Appeal. All items in the kit have been donated by LoveCrochet and Three Bears Yarn, we just ask for a £1 contribution towards postage. Once you have made your snowflake, don’t forget to donate it to a Home-Start family.”

Learn a craft for £1 – maybe add a small donation for the charity too?

Have a brilliant day.

Melanie

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3 ways to honour your hobbies and your heart

Cheesy headline? Yes. Got your attention? Hope so! Yesterday I had a clear lesson in the importance of hobbies and passions in our lives. I also had a clear lesson in the importance of research.

So what happened? Well there I was reading one of many lovely blogs (thanks Bekki at The Creativity Cauldron) and switched to Twitter when I stumbled across something. I’m an amateur aviation nerd and how amateur I am was quickly revealed in all its glory. I found out that the only surviving flying Vulcan (think Falklands War, think delta wing, think yes she really is a nerd!) – but also think please read on. This beautiful jet was going to fly today. Possibly one of the last times ever in my neck of the woods. *sniff*

So I abandoned the cat (not impressed), abandoned the groceries (not impressed with the later to be revealed leaking washing up liquid-gate) and jumped in the car. I managed to get there just in time. It was pouring with rain but I didn’t care. I waved as she flew over and I can’t lie I shed a few tears. I know it is a heap of metal and I’m a heap of a mess. But hey we all have our passions. Anyway enough with the details. What can I and hopefully you learn from all this?

1. Organised research

You love going to the theatre, cinema, sports game, craft / antique / specialist fairs, airshow… Whatever. The same rules apply you need to get organised. Set up a list of favourites or bookmarks and then check them regularly. You never know where it might lead. This year led to many wonderful things including the Vulcan flypast.

2. Get nosey

You know those REALLY annoying people. No I’m not thinking of the Kardashians although… No I’m thinking of people who have fabulous weekends ALL THE TIME. You know the sort of thing. “I took a steam train ride to the seaside.” “I went to a show at London Fashion week.” That sort of thing. Get nosey. Get asking them about it. Yes they may gloat but that’s ok. Life is about experiences and hell if there is a way to shortcut to the good stuff then let’s do this.

3. Get booking

I have a confession to make. No I didn’t read Fifty shades of grey. No I um how do I put this? I have recently got into watching darts. Lakeside darts. I don’t quite know how it happened but I find the atmosphere amazing. So I had made a mental note that I must book up when they run an event. So what happened? I was on their site just as they announced tickets for £7.50. I hesitated and thought I’ll book tomorrow. Big mistake. No tickets left the next day. Fool! So don’t faff about like I did. Book!

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

PS: So this is a clip from the weekend – check out the Simpsons style sky. The kids screaming with excitement (pretty much like I was yesterday). The car alarms going off. And finally the very British and respectful round of applause. Good night XH558.

Do you make time for hobbies?

Does any of this sound familiar:

I don’t have time for hobbies. I work full time and commute for hours. My friends/kids/pets/work/laziness come first (delete as applicable).

If we repeat things often enough we can begin to believe the hype. That we can’t do X because of Y. And well don’t even get me started on Y. And so on.

Doing a hobby doesn’t have to mean acres of free time or free cash. But I can find myself caught up in the hype. Not realising that hobbies can help create space for us to think clearly. Like… doh!

I got a current craft project out at work during lunchtime and was inundated with people asking ooh what’s that? I swear it got more attention than if I was flashing around a new smartphone. Interesting stuff don’t you think? I didn’t do it to get attention (honest) and even did my best to hide my wool stash in my craft bag (guerrilla style crafting). Camouflage jackets and night vision goggles are available at all good outlets…

I really need to do more hobbies. And not be afraid of being seen as a nerd. So what if I like arrow word puzzles… Nerds of all countries unite! So what are your hobbies?

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

@BookWriteHer

Simplifying the garage. Round 2 *ding ding ding*

Last weekend saw the removal of the first layer of clutter from the garage. If you look carefully the garage clutter is not dissimilar to the Jurassic coastline. Seriously. Layers of stuff from different times. If you look carefully there are probably some fossils called Mybrokenchristmaslightfittingus. 

The last session unearthed stuff not being used such as grass feed. The grass is now looking just brilliant. This week was a bit of a random round. I was kindly reminded by Fred the Thread (https://fredthethread.wordpress.com) about fabric stashes and remembered one such stash in the garage. A friend had passed it to me and from day one I should have either said a polite no or passed it on immediately. None of the fabrics I liked and with the best will in the world I didn’t possess a sewing machine that can cope with very thick upholstery fabric.

This is the thing with clutter. It loves people who procrastinate even a tiny bit. So instead of making a decision there and then, being open and honest to the gifter – no instead I packed it into one of the Jurassic layers of the garage coastline. So simplifying and minimising isn’t just about looking at what you have. It’s about becoming an armed guard at your front door. Of course some stuff is fleeting, kids want balloons, hell I love ballons. But think about your tactics for stuff coming in. That’s just as important as sorting and simplifying what you have.

So this week’s treasures from the garage include some lovely flower seeds – bought with much enthusiasm before making their way to the garage. Some tennis balls. I love tennis and so these now sit with my tennis equipment (look at me I’m growing). And finally, the best treasure of all. Seeing the garage look a lot less cluttered. Let’s go treasure hunting, use our stuff and simplify our lives.

Have a a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer

Finding flow with hobbies

Life can be very distracting. So easy to lose focus and drift along. Pushed around by the currents of life.

My pursuit of hobbies can be full on or napping quietly like an old dog in the corner. One thing remains constant. A desire to find a sporting activity to burn off some stress and some muffins. But I find myself playing a very quick game of snakes and ladders. Lots of “Well I can’t do that because of that reason. And I can’t do…” and so on. I then have cup of tea and a muffin and forget about it for a while. Also the frustrating  thing is that whenever I play tennis, I really enjoy it. I don’t (frankly can’t) think about anything else while I am playing tennis. In many ways the perfect hobby. It requires your full attention. You’re in flow.

We all know a bit of exercise is good for the heart and mind. I’ve been weighing up whether to join a local tennis club for about a year. It’s about £20 a month and for me so far a year of procrastination. I know the sum of club membership doesn’t always equal regular activity. I also know that it’s hard to get into a hobby if I don’t give it a damn good try.

I googled – youtube tennis inspirational – and found this:

Time to dig out the racquets. Have a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer

Time to play and hobby

Today was a stressful day. And so I decided to attack it with a hook. A crochet hook. No persons were harmed during the production of this blog. Maybe just my pride.

I was reminded again today how easy it is to (a) get wrapped up in silliness and (b) over think things. Without knowing my day in store I decided for the first time ever to crochet in public. Yes I know I’m so radical. So I packed my crochet project with the aim of finding time for it during the day.

The poor crochet hook felt my angst. I fumbled along a couple of rows during a break today. And while I didn’t crochet as mindfully and focused as I would have liked it did help. It distracted my thoughts even if only for a tiny bit. It helps that I am so useless at it that I have to focus much more than a normal person.

I think kids do this instinctively. It’s the holidays for many school kids here in the UK and my usual commute was punctuated by kids also commuting but for days out. The lucky things. So did these young kids stare blankly at a screen as that’s what everyone else was doing? No way they were too busy playing. With books. Puzzles. I spy. You name it they were playing it.

So what happened to us? Why do we approach grown up activities such as commuting without seeing them as kids do – as time to play or hobby?

Space to hobby

Yesterday I wrote about how I had hemmed in (no pun intended) a beloved sewing space with clutter. How initially I thought it made no sense but realised it was emotional clutter. Probably, for some of us, the hardest clutter to deal with.

Clearing excess kitchen paraphernalia is much easier unlike the emotional clutter of childhood books, cards and memories. I emptied two large shopping bags and began sorting through. What I realised was that the bags had become a time capsule and other stuff had made its way to the bags like old financial papers and very old receipts. That’s the problem with clutter, it breeds more clutter.

I consolidated two large bags into one storage box of bits I want to keep that can slide under Kensington the desk. It feels so much better. And two bags of stuff went to the local charity (thrift) shop. Some stuff was harder to say goodbye to – old schoolbooks for instance. But the ones in question held no specific fond memories. No witty comments from teachers. Nothing special. And I thought do I want to hold onto this – or have this space back for life and hobbies? Put like that it made it much easier.

The task of freeing space so I can once again use my sewing machine has been achieved. In part. I can use it but there are just 2 or 3 more large bags to be sorted through which I aim to do in the next few days. These are currently to the left of the table. I could leave these but I know they will free up more space for sewing fabrics and supplies (currently sitting on the table). I lust after Frugal Queen’s organised space http://www.frugalqueen.co.uk/2015/01/before-and-after.html – isn’t it lovely?

Finally before I leave I’ll be doing a post in the next day or so about a lovely newish bloggers award I was very kindly nominated for. *big smile*

Have a brilliant day,

@BookWriteHer