My Ramblings

Welcome to my ramblings, my version of a blog. I intend to update it just to tell you what is happening craftwise in my life.

My Way


This is the rewritten, shortened by miles (well by Laura) Ramble!!!

I tend to write my Rambles over a week or so, I keep coming back, rewriting, adding and taking away bits and they Ramble away. The version of this one, Rambled on and on and then I asked Laura to read it, it had morphed into over 1600 words!!! Rather too long…..

So, here goes with a shorter edited version.

We are living through a weird time with lockdowns, restrictions, Brexit and general gloom and doom, time of mass information at our fingertips. We have survived and we will continue to.

Over the years I have read a few things on ‘staying positive’ and coping with life, and now lockdown. I read them, occasionally scoff at them – do these people live in the real world!!! And sometimes take just a small nugget of advice from them, I have found my own form of coping.

There seems to be a basic five things that I have taken out of all these things, exercise and nature, I am grouping this together as they sort of go hand in hand. List the positives and concentrate on them and what you can do. Limit the negative things. Follow a routine and finally be kind to yourself….

I have, for all of my adult life, found exercise, well walking which I never really considered exercise but apparently is, to be beneficial. Walking, and we are talking about a brisk walk, is a time to think and work through things. I have for years, when I have just got stuck in a problem or design, don’t know what to do, felt frustrated – gone for a walk.

We walk in all weathers, wrapped up in the right clothes and just go, we pound the roads. I do miss going out into the countryside and walking but we live in suburbia and so it’s the roads. One day we will go back to the countryside. In winter I have always tried to get out in the day, at least a few days over the week for a walk, to see the daylight, especially on the bright chilly days – it’s good for vitamin D, but it is also good for lifting the spirts.

Nature is part of walking, for looking at all the things that are growing, even the weeds along the pavements. The local park, or the odd hidden green spaces, like the church yard have become even more important over this year. There are trees and nature, you can just escape from the world of houses, pavements and cars!!! For me, my garden is also my green space, to watch things grow (and occasionally die!!), to battle the snails… find peace and space.

List the positives, I don’t physically write down the positives in a journal, I just make a point of mentally looking for the positives, through the day. Take today, a cold very wet grey day, which doesn’t appear to have any positives, after all I am going to get a bit damp when I go for my walk!!! But the positives are I am in the warm, my family are home, safe and well and I have lots of creative projects to work on plus the rain is making pretty patterns on the window!!!

The phrase ‘stop and smell the roses’ is something I keep in mind. I just stop and find something, even something small like a snowdrop or hellebore flower, a beautiful frosted spider’s web, a pretty pattern on the shell of those snails eating through my plants, a lovely square of good quality chocolate to saviour, the pattern in the clouds, to feel, see, taste, each small positive can make a difference.

Part of staying positive is limiting the time spent on the negatives, be that social media, the news, all the things that are showing the doom and gloom and that can make you feel sad, stressed and anxious. It can be also limiting the time spent interacting with people, family and friends that create anxiety or negativity.

Routine, I like my routine and having set time to do things. It certainly helps me to get up in the morning. I could, especially in the winter just curl up and do nothing, sink into a hibernation but with my routine I get through each day. Building an activity into my routine – like doing an hour’s cross stitch or 15 minutes crochet means I actually make the time to do these things, without the routine I would put things off and just wallow. I often hear ‘you get sooo much done’ said to me, it is because I have a routine, getting things done or made gives me a sense of achievement, an uplift of spirit, a sense of purpose. I have learnt not to set too many tasks, to try to be realistic about the amount I can do or to beat myself up if I don’t get everything done in a day, week or month, that just creates negativity!!! But I am not a slave to my routine, I can take a ‘holiday’, it can just be a day to do something different.

Be kind to yourself – this last one has been something that I have taken years to understand and learn to do. I am, probably the harshest judge on myself, be it my weight, fitness, what I have done each day or my creative work.

I was especially hard on my creative work, I would pick out all the faults in my quilts, the small mistakes that no one would see, I would compare what I do to other creators. Tony would make me stand six foot away and say can you see the faults? But it didn’t sink in till about ten years ago, I read an article by a top flight creator/teacher that said she had learnt to accept the faults and also to teach her pupils to stand away and look at their work from a distance, if you can’t see the slight wobble or points not matching and nor can your friends (without you pointing them out), accept them, look at the quilt as a whole, take pleasure in the beauty you have created. It is also learning and accepting your strengths and building a style of creative work that is your own.

Being kind to yourself is accepting who and what you are, not judging yourself against other people and their views, we are all different. Being kind is saying today isn’t a good day, I feel sad or anxious, acknowledging it, saying to those around you that you need space and doing something for yourself, even if that is just having ten minutes to sit in a quiet place and just breathe, doing something that is for you and good for your spirit and soul.

I am an individual, different from other people and I am content to be me, I know my strengths and weaknesses and what I need to do to cope with the world, I have learnt to ask for help, and accept what I can and can’t do. The world is scary, confusing, stressful and worrying, I take one day at a time….

New Year


Wishing you a healthy and creative 2021!

2020 was a different year and for many a very difficult year, so many things happening, situations constantly changing, in a way it felt like the year ‘didn’t happen’.

For me, the year was a time to draw into my home, relax, unwind, revaluate what I have been doing and where I want to be going, both personally and also on the creative front. It allowed me to find my creative feet and my passion for designing, to rediscover skills I had forgotten and start new things. I hadn’t realised how much I needed to stop and take the step away from patchwork and quilting, to re-find my enjoyment of designing and making quilts.

I have made a few decisions about what I want to do to re-balance my creativity. I am a patchwork quilter, and this is what I teach, but I also need to have time to do other creative projects, one thing feeds of another and more ideas and designs spin around my mind!!!

I had been struggling with my teaching and quilts, it had been taking a huge amount of my time, I didn’t know where I was going or what I should be teaching, I was trying to please everyone. I have had time to think and work out what I really love and really enjoy with quilts and from this I have decided that I will stick to teaching those areas. Laura and I took part in an Instagram prompt posting over a week and one of the prompts was ‘Top Tip’, there was loads of things we could have said, from measure twice, cut once, buy the best you can afford in equipment but the thing we went with was ‘Love what you do’. and this sums up how I feel about not just my teaching but all my creativity. By loving what I do, I have far greater enjoyment in making it and I give more to the project and I am better at it.

I guess you could say my style of quilts are based on the traditional quilts and textiles, either pieced or applique but I tend to blend/mix both styles but using modern methods of making. I love using different techniques, machine applique, hand embroidery, piecing, hand and machine quilting, all mixed together. I enjoy creating by the quilting-as-you-go method, in sections and easy to handle pieces, that you can make into other bits like cushions, runners or bags or you can substitute other designs to change the look or use. And with machine quilting, although I can do free-motion I far prefer and enjoy walking foot quilting.

So, going forward into the new calendar year 2021, I am going to stick to these types of quilts, be they big or small. I am going to embrace and work on the styles I like best and not try to please everybody I teach. I hope that all those coming to my classes, when we eventually return to the classroom will, enjoy creating quilts of this style.

I am going to balance my time, so that I have days to work on my Quilted Postcards and projects related to them, and there are two that I am working on!! more on them later in the year.

I also am going to set time to design more embroidery projects with Laura, to stitch up and sell the patterns. And also, to create Laura some skirts in the style of those from the late-Victorian/Edwardian walking skirt and also the 1930’s and 40’s. We have a whole pattern library of books that I inherited from my Grandmother to adjust and work from and as Laura can’t find what she wants, and I can make them (if I make the time!!) then that is another project for us.

I also want to complete other craft projects and try new things…. there is a whole world of things creatively I haven’t even touched yet!!!

Time to put into action all those classes and courses at college and work that I did on, efficiency and time and motion, to allow me to allocate my time to all I want to do in the right way and keep the balance between all the elements of my creative life……