this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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The transcience of bricks and mortar

In the UK we have a very emotive relationship to our buildings. Prince Charles and his passion for preserving heritage juxtaposed with someone like Norman Foster, who has been widely credited with bringing British innovation to the international stage, demonstrate the wildly disparate attitudes that exist.

In the economic downturn, one strong measure of public confidence was the effect on house prices and house buying. News articles abounded with stories of people frustrated with being unable to afford their own pied à terre, with corresponding opinions regarding how the Government was or was not managing the situation effectively. Unlike many countries including our continental counterparts, we are a country obsessed with acquiring our own “real estate” however insignificant its footprint when compared to those who are in possession of vast country pads.

In recent floods that have ravaged significant areas of the country, one of the most devastating things has been watching home and business owners in despair as they inspect property that has been damaged or destroyed by water. The repercussions extend far beyond simply being deprived of shelter from the elements, and the most traumatic consequences are often eventually emotional ones.

That’s why this magazine article interview with photographer Marcel Heijnen was so interesting to me. It suggests a completely different approach. Heijnen poignantly portrays these objects that we project our need for security and permanence onto, as what they really are: beautifully untrustworthy, prone to modification and destruction.

Photographer reflects the changing face of Asian cities | Marcel Heijnen

Click through for video article about photographer Marcel Heijnen


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Woolly whimsy

I was doing some pretty knitting lately for a friend’s wedding. Here is a poor photo of some of the cute and delicate buttonholes I knit. I ran out of time to take proper photos of them, but they are really pretty, knit using 3.5mm needles and a Rowan yarn called Kidsilk Haze Glamour in cream, a fine yarn with sequins in it. Not the easiest yarn to work with for this kind of thing, but the pattern was thankfully not too difficult itself and easy to commit to memory, so that I could concentrate on keeping an eye on where my needle was going. I think it is easier to knit with using a slightly larger needle but we liked the effect of having smaller stitches. Only one of the flowers has been finished with a button in the photo below.

flowers

And there were also other flowers made using the Rowan Kid Classic yarn which I haven’t photographed. I crocheted a couple of takeaway coffee mug cosies for the happy couple with the leftover yarn. Here’s the beginning of the first one, using a well-written photo tutorial from the firefly hook as a guide. I’m using a 4mm hook here with the yarn in drought and then I crocheted a couple of small hearts in feather and sewed them on:

mugcosy_wip

Ahh! I managed to get my act together and take some photographs of the finished mug cosies. Although I was tempted to add a border of some sort with the Kidsilk Haze Glamour I ran out of time… I don’t have a takeaway cup at home, but the cosies fit these glasses and really make them so pretty!

mugcosy

A closer view… I love the colours. I think I might make myself something with the remaining yarn too! No idea what yet… but in the meantime, I’m dreaming of creating gorgeous yarn storage like Stephanie’s from the lovely blog All About Ami and I’m catching up with The Great British Sewing Bee on the BBC iPlayer. I’m still working on eventually breaking out the sewing machine I’ve had sitting under the stairs for almost two years, but I haven’t prepared a good space for a sewing corner yet, so… this girl will just have to dream for now…

mugcosy_close


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What’s News?

I wanted to celebrate the fact that Getty has made millions of images free to use and that WordPress has done some tweaks to make it easy for us to do this…but the site is probably overrun by enthusiastic bloggers because it was not available for ages!

I thought it would be interesting, on the back of International Women’s Day, to see what kind of photos would come up when I searched for “women“.

The images that emerged gave a far from “international” representation, and so many were of young women shopping, having coffee together, working out or partying! You can draw your own conclusions from that, I can’t claim to have trawled through all 10492 pages resulting from my search and I most certainly did not take scientific statistics based on the pages I did look at.

I can only say I did quite enjoy looking through the site, and will be enjoying it in future I believe. I’ve always enjoyed visiting Getty images exhibitions when I’ve had the chance to drop by. The debate over them making images so readily available for free use is a hot one… I’m not going to enter into any discussions or assert any opinions on anything mentioned above under the pretext that raised blood pressure would not be beneficial to me right now… any excuse to be lazy. But feel free to say your piece ;)

I’d just like to know whether anyone did this while they were pregnant (see below)? I must say, having started my antenatal classes recently, I was really relieved that the other couples don’t seem to have swotted up too much on all the available (overwhelming) information out there…

I’m preferring trying to up my R&R quota… but does that mean I’m in denial? I think today, the baby has mainly been listening to BBC News on repeat in the background whilst I’ve been continuing my attempts at organising my life doing lots of filing and tidying my desk… an ongoing losing battle perhaps…


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Feeling lazy but lively

I did want to publish a woolly post today. It’s long overdue. And I had an idea for a Meaningful Monday post last week… but promptly forgot what it was… I’ve been missing you guys, but am feeling increasingly tired and weighed down by a very lively creature in my belly that I can’t wait to meet. Not long to go now…

I’m not personally dancing that much these days… but I hope this video spreads a little of the joy that gorgeous blue sky, with wispy hints of cloud stretched across it, on a whole day full of sunshine has been making me feel today. And this is how I feel about my London Town too. I’ve been feeling a bit WOW today in short… hope that you enjoy what essentially is a Cadbury’s chocolate advert. Ahh well, maybe Cadbury’s will send me a few bars of Dairy Milk just to make my day unbeatable? HAha… a girl can dream big :P

I hope you are all well…Take care! xx


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RIP Robin Redbreast

The robin is apparently Britain’s favourite bird. This sprightly little creature with its iconic bright, cheerful red breast is an uplifting sight particularly in our typically dreary weather.

Robin Redbreast - Lincoln Inn Fields Park - Holborn, London | Keven Law

Photography by Keven Law from Los Angeles, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The closest I’ve come to a robin before today, was really quite close. Whilst I was pulling out weeds in the garden during a past, seemingly distant summer, one hopped right up at about 2ft away. I could not believe it was so close. The robin is not a timid bird, not our urban ones anyway. I remember stopping what I was doing in wonder, and staying very still so that I could observe it.

Sometimes, on a down day, the D.H. Lawrence poem, Self-Pity, comes to mind. I am often challenged by our frail, feathered friends and how enthusiastically they go about their daily business for the short time that they are on earth.

I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Last night, I found a lot of tiny feathers and dust in my bathroom. They seemed to have emanated from the extractor fan. I cleared everything up hoping that I would not find any more in the morning. I didn’t. The builder currently fixing up some bits and pieces in my home at the moment, kindly offered to take the vent cover off from the outside, to see what was in the flue. We found a beautiful, lifeless, yet peaceful-looking robin. I have never held such a delicate bird before. Despite having shed a lot of feathers, presumably in a bid to get out of the vent, it did not resemble the mangled mess we had envisaged at all. It was the most beautiful, immaculate thing – as though it had just dropped dead without having struggled at all.

Holding this near-weightless creature in my hand, a sombre feeling came over me. I was filled with a sense of awe and reverence. I felt sorry that it had somehow managed to get in and become trapped and was thankful that the bathroom fan is out of order at the moment. I was also thankful that we had found it before the flies got to it… The circle of life. A funny thing. Awe-inspiring and awful all at once.


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Happy Valentines Day!

Well just a quick post to wish you all a happy Valentines Day. I don’t really get involved in this fest but there’s no reason to avoid it. So I thought I’d share a photo of the POM bottle I keep water in at the moment, to make sure I remember to stay hydrated. I love it, it just makes me smile every time I use it.

POM bottle

And this is another photo… it shows a bit of a round belly and some knitting. It’s what I’m busy with at the moment, knitting some pretty things for a friend’s wedding next week. I still haven’t sorted out my outfit, argh! I sure hope she has some sunshine for the big day, it’s almost been chucking it down and blowing up a storm non-stop…

Knitting Belly

Now I’m going to take a break and make some silly chocolates with Google’s latest Doodle… have a lovely weekend and take care! <3

Valentines Google Doodle

Valentines Google Doodle


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Drawing your fears

I’m posting a quick one today. Stumbled across a comic blog by animator Fran Krause that I’m really enjoying. It also made me wonder what my deepest, darkest fears are …I’d love to submit something and see what he makes of it!

One comic that made me smile is this one below. When I was younger, I often had nightmares. My dad told me that my grandma warned him not to sleep on his left side as he’d be sleeping on his heart and that it would give him nightmares. Following that innocent tale, I developed a slight obsession with sleeping on my right side until I was a teenager. It’s all come back to me since seeing this comic.. and it’s relevant because there is lots of advice suggesting pregnant women should endeavour to sleep on their left side. Please click through on the picture to see the full comic. What would your deep dark fear be?

I ALWAYS SLEEP ON MY RIGHT SIDE | FRAN KRAUSE

I ALWAYS SLEEP ON MY RIGHT SIDE | FRAN KRAUSE

On another note, I came across a great #linefebruary sketch on Twitter by Russell, whose art blog I love following. Being a bit ignorant, I asked him what the hashtag was all about. Here’s the result…

Don’t hate. It’s a scribble by an insomniac. I might just get hooked though and not want to sleep – I love the idea, and there’s lots of great sketches to discover! Let me know if you take part…

Have a great weekend x

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