Monday, 21 February 2011

Making do and Mending

Modern clothes (at least the kind I can afford on a teacher's wage) are rubbish. I tend to buy my clothes from various brands of one clothing giant and I've noticed recently that they are just not lasting the course; cardigans that develop holes in the seams after a couple of wears or a wash, trousers where seams are not properly sewn. I have a sneaky feeling that clothes companies are trying to squeeze profits in at a time when everyone is suffering by lowering the quality of their garments, yet charging the same price. Bad form.

I also buy a lot of clothes off eBay (I have a weakness for Monsoon skirts and they are very expensive to buy new... they are also not the brand I am complaining about) and find that the quality of older clothing from aforementioned clothing giant is better- thus backing up my theory.

You may ask why I don't take things back- usually because a) I've lost my reciept or b) I notice too late to take advantage of exchange policies. So I've decided to declare war on my clothes before I look like someone who doesn't care how she looks.

For example, I am going to repair those trousers with a bit of black thread and a needle. I have a skirt (also known as the 'cabbage' skirt because of the pattern; I think it is supposed to be a peony pattern) that I have worn on and off for nearly four years. I love it, yet the zip is broken and the black and white colouring bores me. Hey presto, new zip and a dye bath- new skirt. I have socks with holes in them- I am lucky to have the skills and the resources to knit new ones with easy to fix modifications.

But what irritates me a lot about the 'make-do and mend' movement is that I find a lot of the websites inherently patronising. Make do and mend shouldn't just be the preserve of ladies who lunch and yummy mummies, but a lot of the sites and books appear to be aimed at those core groups. What about skint officer worker? Struggling pensioner? It's nice to be able to afford high quality stuff and do it to make your clothes look a bit different and/or save the planet. But what if you're doing it because you genuinely can't afford new clothes or a sewing machine (or are scared of them, like I am)? What if you can't afford Amy Butler fabrics or new clothes from quality labels?

Anyway, I must dash. I have some darning to do.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Forward thinking..

At the moment, a lot of my view of life appears to be focusing on the things coming up in my life. I'm never very good at doing this at the start of the year, so I've decided that the end of February is pretty apt.

Spring is on its way. I have proof: the first sweet peas of the year have poked their heads above soil:

I love sweet peas. I find that all gardeners have a plant that they love above all others. Mine are sweet peas. I love them because they are lanky and all about instant gratification. I only planted these last Sunday and I could see one rising yesterday. When I got up, seven others had decided to shoot up overnight. This year, I am protecting my pretties from slugs by growing them indoors as long as I can get away with.

(Oh, and they are a mixture of heritage sweet peas- the Spencer and Grandiflora- so I have no ideas what colours I'll be getting)

I've been having my first go at colourwork and finding it rather pleasing- these are Fiddlehead Mittens, which are totally not as scary as I thought they would be. Now, you may think that I'm just showing these off (which, yes, I am), but they also fit into the 'forward thinking' category, because it is highly unlikely that we will get snow down here in the south east until the end of this year. Therefore, they shall have to be put somewhere safe. They are VERY small, which is fine for my freakishly small hands and if you were to knit them for usage in the UK, I would advise against lining them. If you must, maybe some light cotton to stop the yarn snagging against jewellery, rather than a knitted lining.

Of course, the major thing in my life right now is planning a wedding; I have found my family and friends to be so generous when it comes to helping us out and I am genuinely excited, despite the fact that a few relatives on either side have seen fit to throw obsticles in the way. At the risk of sounding twee, at least these stroppy relatives make you appreciate the good ones..! Anyway, a lot of the wedding stuff is now done.

I have decided that I am going to seriously look for a new job. The old one is just... old now. I've been there for four years and it's time I tried somewhere new. I'd like a few things to be different in a potential new job, but we'll see what comes up. The only criteria I'm holding myself to at the moment is that either it's closer to home or, if it's a similar distance, there are other factors to make my life easier (such as my own classroom or earlier finish time) So I'm not being unrealistic, I think.

Add to that I'm planning Benn's birthday stuff for the 28th, I'm going to just have to make sure I get some breathing space in the next few days/weeks/months.

Friday, 11 February 2011

A post about writing

Writing, for me, is one of the most enjoyable things I do. Yes, it's lonely and yes, I am very, very self-critical, but I love it. Before I trained as a teacher, I trained as a journalist. Some days, I wish I had stuck with the journalism route. If I had, I might enjoy my work more. But que serra, serra and all that. I've made choices that have led me down certain paths and, for now, they might just be the right ones. Who knows.

My brain frequently pops with ideas for articles and novels. I am trying to write a novel and I find it very, very hard. Whoever said that everyone has a book in them probably never wrote one. They are hard things to write and everyone has an opinion on how you should do it and you probably won't agree with them. I know I don't always agree with things some people say to me, no matter how much I respect their viewpoint. This has happened to me today and, although the idea is a good one, it will not work with what I'm writing now. But I will take it on board... who knows, tomorrow it might work.

A dream of mine is to be paid to write, although I'm not sure how I would go about achieving this (I also have various other dreams- a farm, my own business... it seems I am an unfaithful daydreamer...)

However my life turns out, I know I won't always be a teacher.