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paint

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about blogging (actually, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything, hasn’t it?), but today I thought I’d put down some thoughts that have been swirling round my head for a while. We’ll see whether this ends up very coherent I guess…

It’s probably obvious I don’t have as much time for blogging any more as I used to, I went back to work to a promotion after Ellis, and just the actual having two children is like an entirely different thing from one. Which is why I’ve gone down to three posts a week, and they are mainly pictures. In fact, at one point last year I really thought I might be done with blogging altogether, like I was maybe going to go down to two and one a week, and then just let it fade away to focus on other things. I actually have a half written blog post about this sitting in my drafts.

But then, somehow I found some enthusiasm again. I joined a couple of blogger groups on Facebook, and seeing everyone else be all energetic about blogging rubbed off on me. I definitely want to keep going, and actually I am really proud of my archives. I love seeing what’s been happening, and I actually use it as a filing system of sorts. When I recently did my permanent residence application, having the blog made it so much easier for me to figure out when I’d been out of the UK in the last five years (because that is absolutely essential for the Home Office to know apparently when I have lived here since 1999. But that’s another ranty post all of its own). And I just really like taking photos, and writing, and I know that without the blog I wouldn’t do that as much.

Colourful Fluid Drips

The thing is though, interacting with people that like to talk about blogging online also has it’s pitfalls. Because most people are in such a different place from me. There are people blogging to promote crafty businesses, students and young people between jobs or bored in low skill jobs with lots of time, people who’ve quit their day jobs to be professional bloggers even. It is SO hard to watch people do all this great work and promote the hell out of it and not compare yourself.

I just have to keep reminding myself that we don’t have the same aims. If I was really serious about growing the blog, I know what I’d need to do, at least in theory – specialise, write stuff that people search for, network more, do some SEO stuff, make relationships with brands, develop a brand myself. But the thing is, even if I had the time, I don’t want to do that. I like blogging in the old style, built around a person and all they are interested in. I want to talk about the things I want to talk about, because I like them (or hate them). I was never around when livejournal was at its heyday, but it sounds amazing. I miss personal blogging I really do, it’s all so boringly professional these days. I hope that even in its current minimum efforts incarnation, this blog gives a sense of who I am as a person, and that’s what I want to keep. I don’t want to be writing DIYs, or top ten things to do in Edinburgh, or top three ways to hyggefy your life or whatever. Absolutely zero shade intended if that kind of content’s your thing, but it’s not for me. That would be work, and I already have a job.

Drip painting

Or take instagram. I love instagram, and the random personal connections it’s fostered, but it’s just so commercialised now. So many automated comments, all that automated follow/unfollow shit based on hashtags. I’m not going to lie and say that I wouldn’t like to have more followers on there, and I do use hashtags, but not at the expense of losing the thing I like about it, which is being able to overshare random snippets of life, and have random conversations. Again, I know what the advice says – specialise, pick consistent colours and themes and stick to them. Curate a feed. I’ve watched several people do this and remove all personal content, and they’ve done amazingly, and I get it. No one goes out searching for accounts that mix children/sewing/Edinburgh/doors/sunsets/cats/knitting/food/flowers/yoga/streetart/coffee/city trips/cake. But those are the things I want to post about, and I can’t post about them in a particular colour pallette.

And I guess I just need to remind myself of all of this as I go through my online life!

Title because I have written about this before, possibly more coherently, here. Unrelated dripping paint photos are clickable for source

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Birmingham streetart pt. 6

Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart

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Sewing fail roundup

Plantain tee - lime green bamboo
Plantain tee - lime green bamboo

A bit of a sewing update today. Unfortunately, nothing I am proud of though! It started with me making a raglan tshirt from the burdastyle magazine. This is the pattern – burdastyle 01/2017 102. It was my first burda make, so ticking off something from the 2017 Make 9. I had all the fabric in stash, and it looked easy enough, so I thought I’d just bash it out. Alas, it was a complete fail on every level, which is why you’re not getting pictures of me wearing it, but here it is on the dummy:

Burdastyle raglan top bamboo fabric

First problem, the colours. I had this lime yellow bamboo and two bits of big scraps from other tops, so I thought I’d put them together. Dave said it reminded him of an 80s shell suit, and now I can’t get that out of my head.

Second, the sewing. I don’t have lightning stitch on my machine, and after trying some alternatives I thought I’d try the stitch that’s like a zig zag but made out of tiny straight stitches as it’s super stretchy. Unfortunately that made it really tricky to press anything and it actually stretched the fabric a bit while sewing. It’s really visible in places. I will be going back to straight stitch next, I don’t go in for massive amounts of negative ease, and I’d rather fix a popped seam than deal with this mess again. And the neckline is awful – by this point I knew it was a lost cause and just wanted to get it finished whichever which way. Some of my pieces also were really out (like several cms out, not just wonky), not sure what happened, so ended up having to cut things down post sewing.

Third, and I’m taking no responsibility for this, the sizing is ridiculous. My upper bust is between a 40 and 42 of the bust proper. So I cut a 40. Turns out this is humungous. As in fitting xl tshirt wearing, 6 foot 3 Dave. The sleeves are about 10cms past my hands, and the hem is over my bum, even though it looks almost cropped on the model. The neck is still big on Dave even. Here he is posing (and I did tell you the sewing is awful, I’m so embarrassed):

Burdastyle raglan top bamboo fabric

It’s one redeeming feature is that it is made of the bamboo fabric, which as you know I love. I’ve relegated it to sleepwear and it does feel nice. It just looks absolutely ludicrous.

Plantain tee - lime green bamboo
Plantain tee - lime green bamboo

So that’s that. Now on to the tshirt I’m wearing in the pictures. It’s a plantain, which I’ve made three of in the past, so I thought it would be a thing I could get right to boost my confidence. Haha, how wrong was I? I topstitched the neckline the wrong way round, so it’s pucker central, and I didn’t trim the neckline seam allowance til after the topstitching, and when I did, I cut into the tshirt not once, but twice. Argh! The puckering doesn’t even bother me that much as there’s so many of them it kind of looks intentional, but the holes are no good. Here’s a closer look.

Deer and doe plantain tee like green bamboo

I did wear this out to lunch, and then to yoga, but I definitely don’t plan on wearing it in public much in future. My sleepwear box is getting pretty full!

Still at least that was just the leftovers from the burda top which I couldn’t have used for anything else (there was about 75cms, and I had to cut the sleeves the wrong way round to fit them in).

I don’t even know what I will sew next! I have an emery that needs a zip attached, but I want to make something that isn’t full of mistakes first before I mess that one up too.

Oh, and finally, a better picture of my new coat since I didn’t show it well last time. This was the light testing picture.

Ness Anorak

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Project 52: 11 and 12/52

11/52 Milo
11/52 Ellis
12/52 Ellis
12/52 Milo

Missed last week as I was away at the weekend, so a couple each this week. we had a pretty uneventful weekend, swimming, German school (where Milo made his Leprechaun hat), playgroup, sunday lunch and meadows playpark.

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Ellis’ first year album pt 4

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The last of these!

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After the Storm furniture exhibition

Finally getting round to blogging about the furniture exhibition we went to three weekends ago (I promise to never say that I will blog something ‘next week’ because it inevitably doesn’t happen!). These pieces of furniture were made from trees knocked down by Cyclone Andrea in 2012, the pictures were taken in the places where the trees used to be. I did take some pictures in the actual exhibition, but these are just so much better, so I went with them!

The exhibition is on until 26 May, go see it! Details here.

Photos from here

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Birmingham streetart pt. 5!

Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart
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Birmingham streetart
Birmingham streetart

5! can you believe it! That’s not even the end of the pictures, that’s how much good stuff there was!

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Project 52: 10/52

10/52 Ellis
10/52 Milo

We took Ellis out on the balance bike for the first time. He totally did it for a minute, though then decided he’s rather just push it not standing on it. But still, really good job Ells!

It amuses me that they’re both in the background of each others pictures today!

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New stuff update!

Today I’m showing you a couple of new purchases. The pictures were taken a few weekend ago, and I’ve had the actual things for longer, but better late than never.

People Tree dress

The first is a dress from People Tree I got on the sales. I actually got a few things, some leggings and a base layer too from Braintree, but this dress is the only thing really interesting enough to show you. I like the contrasting direction of the stripes, though it’s kind of more fitted than I would like and the horizontal section is maybe not ideal with my stomach situation. I am generally pretty body positive, and to be honest it doesn’t really bother me that I never lost the baby weight after Ellis, but having a disproportionately larger stomach, particularly after years of having a comparatively small waist, yeah it does bother me! So jersey dresses don’t tend to be my friends as much as they used to. But I can’t hold myself back from what is basically secret pyjamas, and I reckon it doesn’t look as bad IRL when I’m moving about. It has an attached tie belt thing too, which I’ve tied at the back here for some reason, but that covers up the tummy bit too when tied round the front. I have worn this dress a lot to work on non-cycling days which is the sign of a good buy.

The other thing though I just wanted to mention about People Tree is that I get the sense that the quality has gone downhill. I haven’t seen enough to know for sure, but he fabric of this dress is definitely thinner than it would have been at one point, and I actually ended up sending another item I got in the sales back because it was faulty. I really hope I’m wrong, because I do believe in People Trees Fairtrade and organic mission, I just fear that FT doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable in terms of longevity.

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The second thing is these shoes. They’re Camper, from the Twins range, they look like the Peu model but have these two layers and one side is green one is brown. It’s very subtle tbh, compared to what the Twins models used to look like. I have worn these a lot, as this year I’ve decided that life is too short for even slightly uncomfortable shoes. The Peus are basically like trainers in terms of comfort and so easy to slip on and off. This is my third pair, I also own a bright red one and a textured grey one with red laces, and I don’t feel bad about it, because they are the best. Plus this newest pair sort of passes for brogues.

Ness coat

Item number three was a sort of impulse purchase (gasp?). It’s from Ness, a company that’s gone into administration and the Ocean Terminal shop had everything 50% off for closing down. I had about 15 minutes before a meeting back in my office, which is a brisk 5-10 minute walk away, when I discovered this, so I forewent lunch to literally race around trying this on, and bought it without any mulling it over, which isn’t like me. However, I had been meaning to look for a winter coat for a while, as all the ones I had were either too small or started to fall apart. I just couldn’t face the actual shopping so had been going about in a transitional cotton coat with a jumper under, and even that had the lining going beyond repair. But back to the Ness coat, even though it was not at all a considered purchase, it was a good one. It’s toasty warm, fits properly over my hips (coats are often a bit snug if fitting correctly at the top), and I love the print on the lining (which I appreciate you can’t really see). Weirdly I am also finding myself fit right in with the nursery mums, we had a mass play date the other day end everyone was wearing something similar. It’s quite unusual really for me to be on trend even if the trend is among mid to late thirties mums of preschool children!

So these are my new purchases, which I reckon should keep me going for a while. Definitely planning on filling any upcoming wardrobe gaps through sewing!

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