Tag Archives: book

The Maybe Islands are Hostile to Human Life

I’ve got Jenny Doh’s Creative Lettering book out of the library at the moment and it has been inspiring me to play with letters. I made this postcard, quoting from the book I am currently reading – Jeanette Winterson’s “The Stone Gods” (highly recommended – the most poetically beautiful scifi novel I have ever read):

maybe islands postcard

The truth is that I’ve spent all my life with my binoculars trained on the Maybe Islands, a pristine place of fantasy that is really no better than the razor rocks of misery […] Maybe, baby, that promised land was there and I missed it. Look at it glittering in the light. But the truth is that I am inventing the maybe. I can only make the choices I make. So why torture myself with what I might have done, when all I can handle is what I have done? The Maybe Islands are hostile to human life.

I think I have spent too much of my life with my binoculars trained on Maybe Islands. Time to set my sights elsewhere.

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Sewing Plans & Progress, and a Beautiful Fabric Book

First up, the beautiful fabric book. I was lucky enough to win a Alex’s giveaway. Alex is a wonderfully gifted textile artist – check out her blog here. The book is made up of pages of gorgeous kimono silk, and has the most beautifully stitched cover. What an amazing tactile experience holding this little treasure is:

wintery fabric book cover
wintery fabric book inside 1
wintery fabric book inside 2
wintery fabric book inside 3

Alex said in her post “It’s a pretty miserable time of year here in the UK so I thought it would be nice to have a giveaway for my little wintry book.” It has certainly cheered up an otherwise cold and miserable week here for me πŸ™‚

Next up, the sewing progress. My good friend Paula gave me an old Sew magazine which had a dear little hexagon patchwork journal case project in it. I have nearly put together the patchwork piece to assemble it. I was only slightly delayed by the fact that I didn’t pay quite as much attention to the instructions as I should have ;-). The hexagons should have had 1 1/4 inch sides, and I used 1 inch hexies so my patchwork obviously was going to come out too small & I have ended up having to baste and piece more than I thought. Anyway, it’s coming together now and hopefully will make a lovely gift for someone (not sure who yet!):

panel in progress

And lastly, sewing plans. I am itching to make another doll after enjoying making Maud so much and recently bought this rather wonderful book:

we make dolls cover

The only trouble is, I want to make so many of the dolls that I can’t decide where to start! Should it be with Supergirl?:

we make dolls super girl

Or maybe Frida?

we make dolls frida

Or what about Fleur?

we make dolls fleur

Or should it perhaps be the tattooed man?

we make dolls tattooed man

How on earth shall I decide where to start?!

Another sewing plan I have in mind is to make my mother-in-law an apron. A while back she arrived early for a lunch I was cooking, and I still had my pinny on. She admitted that she didn’t own an apron, but probably should as she was always covering herself with stuff when cooking! I am planning to make her an apron for Mother’s Day (which is on Sunday 10th March in the UK) and have selected this pattern to use:

apron pattern

I just need to get some suitable fabric and decide whether to go for the full or half size. Pockets are a definite requirement, of course!

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Corks, Matches, Hairpins and…Lightbulbs?!

I have to share with you my latest wonderful library sale find. For the princely sum of 10p, I became the proud owner of 365 Games to Make and Play, published in the 1970s.

365 games (2)

It is *somewhat* different from modern craft books for kids πŸ˜‰

I guess it was aimed at the kids of heavy-drinking, chain-smoking parents as nearly all the projects involve corks or matchboxes or matches (including some that call for spent matches!)

365 games (3)

There’s some pretty dubious racial stereotyping:

365 games (4)
365 games (9)

And then there’s the gender stereotyping:

365 games (8)
365 games (7)
365 games (6)
365 games (10)

And I’m not sure cock-fighting is something that would appear in a kids’ book today:

365 games (5)

Best of all, for me, is the flagrant disregard for safety. Look! We have kids’ craft projects made from glass lightbulbs:

365 games (11)

Can you tell I am a little bit in love with this crazy book?!

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Learning to Live on Eaarth

Have you ever read a book that affects you so deeply that your life for ever more will be separated into “before” and “after” reading said book? For me, eaarth is such a book.

I am certainly no climate change sceptic and some would consider our family to be quite “green” – we recycle and compost; we don’t take foreign holidays; we cycle and use public transport as much as possible; we eat organic food…

However, until reading McKibben’s book, I don’t think I had fully appreciated the scariness of the predicament that we humans have placed this planet in. McKibben gives example after example after example of the effects of global warming. And these are not predicted effects. These are things that are happening RIGHT NOW. This is not a problem just for our grandchildren. This is not even a problem just for our children. This is our problem. Now. Right now. As McKibben puts it:

The planet on which our civilization evolved no longer exists.

Although the first half of the book was seriously terrifying (it quite literally gave me nightmares), McKibben does go on to talk about solutions for the future and there is hope BUT only if we radically change things. A few green tweaks here and there are not enough. We need to do some serious scaling down. In McKibben’s words:

The project we’re now undertaking – maintenance, graceful decline, hunkering down, holding on against the storm – requires a different scale. Instead of continents and vast nations, we need to think about states, about towns, about neighbourhoods, about blocks. Big was dynamic; when the project was growth, we could stand the side effects. But now the side effects of that size – climate change, for instance – are sapping us. We need to scale back, to go to ground. We need to take what wealth we have left and figure out how we’re going to use it, not to spin the wheel one more time but to slow the wheel down. We need to choose safety instead of risk, and we need to do it quickly, even at the sacrifice of growth. We need, as it were, to trade in the big house for something that suits our circumstances on this new Eaarth. We need to feel our vulnerabilities. It’s not just people in poor nations who are exposed to the elements now, but all of us. We’ve got to make our societies safer, and that means making them smaller. It means, since we live on a different planet, a different kind of civilization.

From a personal point of view, this has triggered some serious thinking about how I can prepare for this future, and as a home-educating parent, how I can help prepare my children for this new Eaarth. I strongly believe that compassion and kindness will become more important than ever. But I also think that we need to become more self-reliant and resilient. The skills for life on Eaarth are probably quite different to those emphasised in our current educational model. I believe that we need more practical skills. I undertake to help our family to learn skills like:

  • growing and cooking our own food
  • mending and making our own clothes
  • basic property maintenance
  • holistic health care

Our throw-away, consumer, growth-driven way of life must end soon. These forgotten skills (that would have been second nature to our forefathers & mothers) are in serious need of renewal. What better place to start than right here, right now?

How will you prepare for life on Eaarth?

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The inexorable elimination of the superfluous (and other adventures)

For today’s index cards, we got the acrylic paints out and had some fun! The boys produced an abstract masterpiece each. Here’s Gman’s:

icad # 18 g

And Waif’s:

icad # 18 r (2)

I used the paints to pre-prepare some backgrounds for future icads:

icad backgrounds

Watch this space to see how they develop πŸ™‚

Most of my cards (as you may have noticed) involve words of some sort and today’s is no exception. The boys and I are reading Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild” and this phrase just jumped out at me:

icad # 18 v

The context in the book is in relation to what to pack on your sled for cross-Arctic journeying, but I rather think it makes a good motto for living one’s life. What do you think?

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Taste Freedom from Defining Yourself

Here’s my index card for today:

icad # 13 v

I am reading a book at the moment, called “The Self Illusion: Why There is No ‘You’ Inside Your Head“. It certainly pulls the rug from under your feet :-). Having spent years trying, and failing, to define myself it is a relief to know that there is no self to define! Taste the freedom!

The boys have gone with much more artistic cards, choosing to draw pictures of some of the felt food they made last year. Here’s Gman’s pizza & pasta:

icad # 12 g

And Waif’s doughnuts:

icad # 12 r

Sweet πŸ™‚

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