Walking in the woods Feb 2017

Walking in the woods Feb 2017

This morning my youngest came downstairs with a pile of clothes in her hands and announced that as it was a nice day we were going to the woods.  Now normally I’d agree that letting a 9 year old dictate what the family does in this way is not a good parenting tactic but given that a – she’s autistic and hates leaving the house much of the time and b – we actually all love walking in the woods, then I agreed that it was a good idea. It also saved middle child moaning she was bored during another day stuck at home with the awkward little sister while the older sister was out with her friends. She has no excuse to be bored, ever, not for even a moment, she could always go and tidy her bedroom (my favorite suggestion when she dares does say she’s bored of course).

Thor's alternative hammer

They found Thor’s Hammer! Apparently . . .

It was a nice day too, not too cold, quite warm in fact considering it is still February, the sun was out, there was no rain so a perfect day to get outside and enjoy nature in it’s winter clothing. And the colours, I love the colours at this time of year, at first glance it may all look grey and brown but there are so many different shades of brown, grey, green and even a little gold here and there involved!  I find so much inspiration in nature for fabric work – from textile art projects through applique, to colour combinations and more.  So I took the camera and grabbed some photos for my inspiration files.

hill scrambling

if there is a hill, it must be climbed

I spent my pre-teen childhood years in the countryside but it wasn’t a countryside of rolling hills and woodlands as we were out in the fens, it was flat fields for miles with a village plonked on top of a hill here and there. If you know the fens you’ll know what those hills are like, if you don’t then they’re definitely not the hills of Derbyshire that are just a few miles from where we live now.  My kids are growing up in a city but I still want them to learn about the countryside and, most importantly, to always have an appreciation of nature and the world around them.  Luckily, despite living in a city, we don’t need to get in the car to go and find all the wonderful natural woodlands we walked in today – they are right on our doorstep, less than 10 minutes walk away.  There’s another blog post in here I feel, saving that note for another day!

Somehow I have taken over 400 photos today.  And the girls are in less than 20 of them!  Thank heaven for digital photography, back in those childhood days of mine they would have cost a fortune to get processed before I could even see if any of them are any good. Fortunately, or unfortunately for me, most of the 400+ have actually come out lovely which makes it very hard to pick the ones to share. So here’s just a few selected at random and the rest, well I’m sure I can find other reasons to use them in blog posts in future.

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Guess what I’ve been trying to finalise today? Like the title doesn’t give it away. Yes, yes, yes I know they are important not just for customers but for me but boy oh boy are they boring.

pages and pages of highly interesting legal stuff.

pages and pages of highly interesting legal stuff.

But this is the world of online free information isn’t it, there must be some website out there that can help surely? Some place I can download a template to just copy, tweak and paste onto my own site? Oh yes, in fact there are dozens. And none of them say the same thing! And it’s all still boring.

Besides, it’s not the legal stuff I need to know as I know all that, I know what your rights are and mine as well. I’m pretty well known in some places for correcting those who dare to run businesses without knowing any of this stuff, I may even have been a little bit too forthright on the subject on occasions, I know how things should be done by the book and have every intention of sticking to and expanding on ‘the book’! It’s writing it all out in a way that isn’t full of legal jargon, that makes sense to everyone, that is interesting, even amusing if and where it can be and hopefully not 37 pages long that’s my stumbling block.

Take the privacy policy for instance. Feel free to go look but chances are what you’ll find over the next few days will be an ever changing garbled attempt and at times a totally blank page when I’ve deleted it all in frustration. I’ve just looked to see what I’ve left there this evening and found some gobbledygook about cookies that make me sound like a right loon. Okay so I am a loon but I don’t need to be making that quite so obvious in what should be a serious document. I could actually summarise my entire privacy statement in one sentence –

“I won’t use any information you give me for anything other than to provide your order.”

Not the right kind of cookies it seems

Not the right kind of cookies it seems

But that’s not good enough because of the cookies.  I know what a cookie is, and yes I do mean the computer version although I confess I know a lot more about the food type, but I use a 3rd party system to run this website and I’m not sure exactly what cookies it is using or what each of them does so I need to find that out. And that means I need to find out how to find that out.

And even once I have found it all out just how do you explain cookies in an interesting, slightly amusing, non boring way?

Is it really true that my cookie statement can’t just say “chocolate cookies are yum, double chocolate cookies are better, triple chocolate even better. I have a lovely recipe for cookies  would you like it?”

Apparently it is. And that’s boring!

Photo by Tookapic

Almost ready to go

Things are almost ready behind the scenes now, the site has had it’s bath, dried itself off and laid a selection of outfits out to choose from. Now it just needs to get dressed and paint it’s face.

And maybe add a spritz of perfume and a nice piece of jewellery or two. Then check the contents of it’s handbag.

So hold onto your hats and get ready for the fun, watch our facebook page and twitter feed for news of the next steps and launch date – it won’t be long!

vintage sewing machine photographed by Annie Spratt

Vintage? Antique? Probably second hand either way.

I discovered today that there are still people who go ‘yeuuck’ at the thought of something recycled. Suggest they buy second hand and their nose screws up in a rather less than endearing way.

Then there are people who will buy recycled, but not second hand.

And to make things even more complicated there are people who will buy nearly new, or pre-loved, even vintage but not second hand.

Yet I can’t find anyone who won’t give space in their home to an antique.

What’s the difference?

reuse reduce recycleWhether you call it recycled, re-purposed, up-cycled, re-made, re-fashioned, restored, nearly new, pre-loved, vintage or any other of the myriad of synonyms for either it’s still second hand.

And if it’s an antique chances are it’s not only secon

d hand but third, fourth, fifth or even more hand!

Has anyone ever breathed brand new air? Or drank brand new water? No. Not at all. Never, Not since the dawn of time, unless of course you believe the story of genesis in which case Adam did. Actually not even then, because the animals were already here and using it.

That beautiful dress you spent a weeks food budget on had probably previously been on another person’s body, maybe only for only minutes in the changing room but still, it had been worn. And as soon as you’ve worn it once it is used, second hand, once-loved. So what difference does it make if you’ve worn it a handful of times or someone else has?

Old books on shelf photographed by Thomas Kelley

Books, lovely old books no doubt read by many before and still to be read by many more.

Man has been recycling as long as he’s been breathing, he just didn’t make a fuss about it before. He used something, when it was no longer useful for that purpose he used it for something else. The concept of brand new is very new in mankind’s history. The concept of only brand new being worth while is even newer.

And we can’t keep it up, the world just can’t support this forever.



(* sung in the style of Sinatra. Or Robbie. Whichever you prefer.)