27 November 2014

Time for one last cup of tea

Hello, come on in, it's chilly outside isn't it?
Let me take your coat and we can get warm in my room surrounded by many many quilts.

I would take you up the many flights of stairs to my uni room, talking as we went. It is such a tradition sitting and having tea now, that there are no awkward pauses at all. We get going the moment we set foot through the door.

I would usher you into my room and I would offer you one of two chairs or the bed. All are comfy and all come with a quilt. You are welcome.
As you made yourself at home I would pour the first mug of tea and offer you cookies. It is the one thing I really miss about having my own place, not having that much space to bake any more.
Ah well, the christmas holidays are nearly upon us and the kitchen at home will be busy most days with baking, cooking and stewing!

Look at that, we are on to the Christmas talk already! What are your preparations. I am quite a purist when it comes to Christmas. Christmas starts for me on the 1st of December. I really want to pop the christmas music on but I am resisting till next week.
As you wrapped your hands around your mug I would ask you about christmas presents. Do you buy them or make them? Either way I love the hunt of finding that special gift. There is always one I am particularly proud of.

I would pass you the plate of cookies and you would ask me how term has been? I think I would ponder for a bit and tell you it has been so good in many ways. The workload has been manageable, I am enjoying being surrounded by my friends again. Being a third year is lovely. On the other hand, things feel more serious. I had some PGCE interviews this week and it was emotionally and intellectually exhausting. I am so excited for what next year may bring though. I think I am ready to start career things. Did you feel like that as you came to your last year at uni?

At this point, I'm sure the mugs would need refilling and the talk would naturally turn to craft things. As you know I completed Miss Maggie Rabbit and it was wonderful. I so enjoy having something to busy my hands with. I am planning on doing some more weaving when I get home and also have a few sewing projects in the works. I am hoping santa will be kind and send me some dress patterns I have been swooning over! What are you making at the moment?
Sitting on my shelf is my project life book, we would probably take it out and look at it together. My housemate comes in and often sits with it. I think it's a very tactile book. How are you doing with project life you ask? I'm behind, I would smile. Although, that is nothing new. I do it when I have a few minutes I would tell you. It's not a project I like to force myself to do. It should be fun, and when I'm busy, it isn't fun, so I'm giving it time.

Look at that, the cookies are dwindling! They are a Beach family favourite and always seem to disappear swiftly.

Looking at me intently you would ask about time for tea. I would say, with a catch in my voice, that it is sad to see it go. That I feel so privileged that people have stopped for tea with me each month, have shared their highs and their lows. I would tell you that it has reinforced to me how much we need to share with each other, how great our love of storytelling is. I would tell you that the official meme may end but time for tea won't. The kettle is always on in my house. I won't stop chatting about the everyday stuff and hope you won't either. This blog community is magic.

The time would come for you to leave. I have been dreading this. But it has to happen. The hug would be a long one. There may be tears. But like I said, come back soon. You are always welcome.

You would walk off down the cobble street and my hand would be raised in farewell.

If you were sitting down for tea with me today, what would you say?

This is the last month I will run time for tea. I am so so grateful for everyone who has joined in other the months, everyone who has shared, everyone who has laughed with me over a mug of 'brew'. It has been an absolute delight. This last time, do sit down and write a post. It doesn't need to be long, just chat to me over your favourite drink. And if you want to get all nostalgic like me, you can find all the previous time for tea posts under the link on the sidebar!

If you would like to write a "tea" post please add it to the linky at the bottom so we can all sit and share with you! The linky will be open for a week so you have plenty of time! 

21 November 2014

Creating Miss maggie rabbit

Once upon a time, a Little Rabbit lay in pieces on a wooden desk.
She had arms, legs, two ears, the makings of two shoes and the pieces of a pretty dress.

Night by night the maker sewed her together with little tiny blanket stitches. First the arms, then the legs.
One exciting evening she carefully stitched in two dark blue eyes, a little brown nose and some whiskers.

By the beginning of November she was starting to feel more solid. Stuffing was placed inside her, from her head to her toes. Her ears were sewn on and flopped prettily down her face.
Arms and legs were attached securely to the body.

The weather was getting colder now and she felt chilly hiding under the desk. The maker found some gorgeous material from the market and started sewing up the dress, cursing the fact that she had to do it by hand as she had no machine.

It was an exciting day when the dress was pulled on over her head. It matched her ears and made her eyes shine.

The last little thing for the maker to do was to sew up the boots. They were the makers favourite bit so she saved them till last. She laced them up and placed them on the rabbit's feet.

From the makers hands had come Maggie Rabbit.
It was a happy and hard day when the maker wrapped her up in tissue paper to hand to a birthday girl.
But that was where she was intended to go all along.
And the maker was pretty sure she would be very loved.

This was my second time making a Maggie Rabbit. The pattern is from Alicia Paulson and can be downloaded as a PDF. It is such a sweet pattern and super easy. It is all sewn by hand, except the dress which can be sewn by hand but will take you just five minutes on a machine!

She is an adorable little bunny. My friend S. was delighted with her. I wouldn't say it is a speedy project but I did a little every night in front of the telly and was so pleased with the result.

The pattern suggests using national non-wovens felt. I think this can be found on etsy but I didn't have the time to get it shipped from the states so I got mine from The Eternal Maker who delivered it super quickly. The pattern suggests the colour 'sandstone' but I used 'hay bale' and I think it looked just fine!

Have you ever had a go at making toys?

17 November 2014

Me on Monday

It was a lazing around halls, planning Christmas presents, charity shop hunting kind of a weekend.

It was a, lying in, essay writing, dissertation thinking weekend. A shopping for little gifts, getting too excited about cuddly toys, wrapping up a shoebox weekend. A planning, and thinking and hoping about PGCE's and next year and tests and work sort of weekend.

This week looks busy in the nicest way possible. A few visits from the boy, getting some more words down on paper, Christmas present shopping and sending that shoebox on its way. I love this time of year. The anticipation is so lovely. I am resisting the christmas music until December. It's a test of my self control....

If you are still curious about the shoebox, click here to find out more about the work of Operation Christmas Child. The idea is simple, fill a shoebox with stationary and toys and warm hats and gloves for a child who needs some love this Christmas. 

What does your week look like?

Thank you Sian, for inspiring me with your lovely meme.

12 November 2014

Tips for buying clothes second hand

I try and buy a lot of my clothes second hand.
Partly because I like that I can donate to charity, partly because I like the joy of the hunt. Partly because I am a poor student (we'll skip over that one shall we...)

I have learnt a few things in my time in charity shops.

1. Don't go in with a fixed agenda.
If I go looking for a second hand blue cardigan, chances are I will not find it. I have learnt you can't be specific when charity shop hunting. Part of the joy is going in with an open mind, which leads me to...

2. See the potential.
I am much more relaxed about sizing when I buy second hand. I figure if a dress is too long I could always hem it, if a shirt is too big I can tuck it into a pair of jeans. I also try to remember that these things have (on the whole) been worn before. My mum for instance bought a beautiful second hand cashmere cardigan several sizes too big. It had been shrunk in the wash so it fitted her perfectly despite what the label said!

3. Will I wear it?
I am often in danger of falling into this trap, particularly if the top/dress/shirt I want to buy is a nice brand. There is a perception with buying second hand that if it is a bargain it must be worth it. That isn't strictly true though. It will only be a bargain if you actually wear the item.
While you can't be as fussy as when you are going to a regular shop, I still try and look for things that fit with my wardrobe and fit with my 'style'.

4. Keep at it.
Charity shops change their stock reasonably frequently. I often find it goes in fazes. There will be weeks when I find nothing that takes my fancy and then suddenly a flurry of items will end up in my wardrobe. Persistence is key!

5. Be aware of location.
Nicer city/town, nicer charity shops. On the whole I have found this to be true. I went to a charity shop in oxford and found a lot of Boden and Jack Wills branded clothes. The downside of a nice location is that the prices are much higher. Work out what you are prepared to pay for something depending on where you are. In Durham the charity shops are a real mixed bag. I have found some gems in there but also found some horror stories! It pays to be a bit savvy.

6. Donate!
Charity shops can't function unless clothes are donated. I try and keep the cycle going by having a clear out every now and again and sending some of my clothes to the shops.

So, are you a charity shop hunter? Do you have any tips or stories of incredible bargains?

9 November 2014

One Photo & Twenty words

Trying to capture six jumps on self timer. Ten failed attempts later I resorted to photoshop to get everyone airborne!

My challenge for you today. Find one photo and choose up to twenty words to tell its story. Jot it down and link back here. The link will stay open for a week so you have plenty of time to join in! 

4 November 2014

Barter Books

We found the bookstore by accident. I had heard the name of it but thought it would be tricky to find. Little did we expect to step off the bus and see it right before our eyes. 
The shop is located in an old station. A green bench outside sets the scene and the smells from the station cafe hit the senses as we walked in. 

I have never been in a place like it. 
Second hand books as far as the eye could see. Arranged on shelves according to theme and interspersed with literary quotes. 
A roaring fire was in one corner and visitors were sat around it in cosy chairs, enjoying their books. 

The railway theme was everywhere. My favourite part was the little train that chugged along the top of the bookshelves. 
Children were pointing up to it, following it around as it made its journey across the store. 

It was packed with people the day we visited, and rightly so. I was brought up on second hand books and library trips. I love the idea of passing books on and giving money to local shops and charity. 

I could have spent hours in that lovely shop enjoying lunch by the fire. I could have also have spent a lot of money! 
Thankfully I had a castle to get to...and this handsome man to keep me in check!