Friday, 19 October 2018

Finding Time

Finding Time in the sense of 'finding time to get things done properly' and in the sense of 'A time for finding things'. On Sunday a friend asked if I had anything suitable to lend her daughter who has a Victorian day at school coming up soon. "Yes" I said brightly "I have a Victorian style dress, apron and mob cap in my costumes box in the loft, she's welcome to borrow that - when do you need it?" - it transpired that the date was 29th - the end of our holiday at Cornerstones. I'll said I'd deliver it before half term
So I clambered up the ladder last Sunday after lunch - and could I find it? No...nowhere. At odd moments all week I have hunted up there again [it's jolly cold now!] and looked in the top of the wardrobes, and the drawers under the spare bed.... "If it gets to Thursday night, I shall have to find time to make something".  Bob pointed out that Jack's Mother's Costume was long dress/apron/mob cap, so perhaps I could let her use that for one day?
"I'll keep checking, and decide Thursday afternoon" I said.
I continued rushing about. On Wednesday I was going out, and felt I wanted to freshen my mouth which tasted of coffee. I grabbed the bottle of blue mouthwash, poured a capful and started swishing [slowly and purposely as per the dentist's instructions] I was dismayed to find my mouth tasted vile. I'd picked up the Savlon by mistake - and it doesn't leave your mouth minty fresh!
Then on Thursday, I had a partial day of work- as an assistant in a Day Nursery. I didn't need to leave till 10am. I suddenly remembered there was a box of costumes at the back of the understairs cupboard. Oh joy! I found the Victorian outfit.
But also I found something I thought I had lost in the move here...when we did the Joseph theme at Kids' Club, Bob reminded me I'd made a coat-of-many-colours [in 2001] We couldn't find it, and concluded it must have been left hanging on the door of the Minister's Loo in the Kirby Muxloe Vestry!
But it was there in the bottom of the box and at 9am yesterday I pulled it out and cheered. Not just because I had found it - but because there is a character in the play called Aloha, a Market Trader. I'd been asked to make him  "A very colourful robe, which he can flash open, and have all sorts of dubious merchandise pinned to the inside lining.
I realised it won't take much tweaking to turn this old technicolor dream coat into the spiv's outfit.
But time was pressing and I had to leave for work. Could I find my car keys? After a frantic five minutes [I know I had them earlier....] I took the 'emergency' set instead.
The Nursery was lovely. Best conversation of the day was with a three year old boy
"What's your favourite gamer"
"I like playing teenagers"
"Why - what is it that teenagers do?"
"They fight"
"Is that a good thing, to fight, do you think?"
"Oh yes, they go out and fight the bad guys"
I checked with a Staff Member- she says he is obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He thinks that to be a teenager means to be a turtle and to battle petty criminals in the New York sewers!
I left the Nursery at 4.15 with a smile on my face - and put my hand in my coat pocket for a hankie...and found my 'regular' set of house keys. I'd had them with me all along!

Thursday, 18 October 2018

A Free Kick For The Germans

This is Stalham Baptist Church- a large Victorian chapel in North Norfolk. I have been there a few times- most memorably in 1970, when a group of us from the Girls' Brigade camped in the church hall for a week. 
Two particular incidents back then - there was a clock high on the wall of the hall - it ticked loudly and chimed every hour, and we found it hard to sleep. One of the officers rectified this, by poking a broom handle up inside it. Then she panicked on the Sunday morning, as she struggled to get it going again before the worshippers arrived [and failed] The second thing was that we were supposed to take it in turns to prepare meals in order to get our cooking badge. I made a pink milk jelly for dessert, to be served with tinned peaches [so ambitious]. After three days, it had still not set. I didn't get my badge that week!
I'm happy to say that this church is home to a thriving congregation and doing lots of good stuff in their corner of my favourite county. They even have a football team, which is doing very well in the local league.
But I didn't expect to see the church, and these guys mentioned on the BBC News Webpage recently. It appears that a German gentleman, Thomas Selinger was taking a walk along the sand on Baltrum Island- a small island off the coast of Germany 250 miles from Stalham. And Mr S spotted a football.
It was labelled Stalham Baptist Church. Mr S kicked the ball around for a while, then gave it to some boys who were playing on the beach.
Then when he got home, he felt curious about the ball - and searched the internet and located SBC. 
Yes it was one of the team footballs- but they have no idea how it got to Germany. They suspect someone may have borrowed it for a game of beach football in Norfolk- and lost it in the sea.
I hope the German lads enjoy playing with it. I do enjoy stories of lost things re-appearing in random locations.
Have you any good stories of lost things being reconnected to their owners?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Daily Bread - In More Ways Than One!

Bob and I went with Mim our Youth Minister, to Sandown Park Racecourse- for our annual trip to the Christian Resources Exhibition. As usual we had great fun, met some lovely people and discovered all sorts of resources of every kind.
This year I am just going to mention three things
[1] My lunchtime sandwich. All the sarnies were the same price, ranging from the egg-and-cress [ugh] through the usuals [BLT etc] to more fancy items [salmon and cream cheese]
But mine was amazing - I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed my Cranks "Argi Bhaji" - onion bhaji, mango chutney, cucumber and a minty yogurt dressing, in a delicious nutty brown bread. Mass catering sandwiches are often so dull, with mean amounts of filling, and little flavour. This was splendid!
[2] The Bible Society's latest publication - "Good News Bible - the Youth Edition"  I'd read about it, and been sent an extract in my mailing- but was thrilled to see it and hold a copy [and chat to the lovely young graphic designer who'd done work on it. I think this is excellent. Definitely worth considering as a Christmas gift for teenagers who are exploring questions of faith. It is bright, contemporary, and put together with input from the young people themselves. The Bread of Life for the burger generation
I love the stuff produced by the Bible Society. I was talking to the guys on the stand who were promoting the Bible Course [we are now halfway through at UCF] and enthusing about it. One of them asked if I'd like to join them on the stand to promote it to the other CRE visitors!
[3] Generous exhibitors. Nadia had said last week that when they get to Romania with the shoeboxes, they will take lots of them into the schools. She thought it would be good to take little 'goodie bags' for the teachers too - and so could I please blag her some freebies [toiletries etc] from the shopping centre. So last Wednesday I went up to the perfume counters and came away with about 50 samples of perfume [including man-scent!] Today I went to every stand which had a pot of promotional pens and asked straight out if I could have a pen for a Romanian teacher, please?
I came away with two dozen ballpoint pens, two fancy highlighters, and ten mini bars of soap! Thank you to all the exhibitors who were so generous! A cheap pen costs pence, but to a Romanian teacher with limited resources, it will prove really useful! 
What a lovely day out!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Gabriel Oak Meets The Mad Hatter

Yes, I am making more costumes...this time for the local First School's Autumn production. It is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, called "Fee Fie Fo Fum". There are two farmers in the cast. This is Dorset so I decided they should be in proper agricultural smocks.
I dug out my Alice Armes book, and made a simple pattern using squares and rectangles. One single fitted sheet made the two smocks.
Authenticity is not essential for a short production - so I skipped doing the actual smocking stitches, and just used a contrast thread and fancy machine stitches. From a distance it looks fine. But what about the hats? I had two straw cowboy stetsons. But they looked more Wild West USA than South West UK
I stacked up some mixing bowls, with an enamel one on top. Then I used a steam iron to flatten the top and sides and make them more rounded. Note the black  oven glove on the stool - it is really important to protect your hands from steam and hot metal when doing millinery! Having steamed them to shape, I trimmed the brims to make them a better shape.
Here are my two smocks and hats ready for the farmers to go a-ploughing. All I need are a couple of bright neckerchiefs and that's two more costumes crossed off the list

Monday, 15 October 2018

To Be A Pilgrim

Who would true valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent
To be a pilgrim.
Oh the bizarre life of the Pastor's Wife! On Wednesday a boz was delivered to UCF - containing Paddington Bear, who is on a pilgrimage around the churches of the Wessex Synod [our church is joint Baptist/URC so we get included]
He brought his diary and itinerary with him. I tell you, this visitation was worse than the weekend with Rosie's Nursery Bear! If there's an ecclesiastical equivalent of oneupmanship [oneupchurchship?] this is it!** In the previous two dozen stops, the bear was pictured at a funeral, a christening, Christmas specials, a choir event...His duffle coat was festooned with badges. We decided he could just tag along to things and we'd snap a picture or two.
He attended- Tiddlers' Group, HomeGroup [Bible Study - Book of Judges] OAP Lunch Club, Friday Youth Clubs, and Sunday Worship. He investigated the Ferndown Big Questions, stood on a pile of shoeboxes destined for Romania, and inspected cake,trifle and tuckshop. It was a good thing he had wellies, Suinday was exceptionally wet!
I dutifully wrote up his daily diary. I did wonder about making him some pyjamas - some hosts have pictured him sat in bed, fully dressed! But as his hat and suitcase are firmly stitched in place, I decided against it.
Pilgrims in the old days used to sew a scallop shell to their hats. Instead I opted for stitching one of the Walking The Way footprints to the Bear's headgear.
And now he has gone to Three Legged Cross*** - and supposedly to forty other churches before Easter. 
The aim of the exercise is to encourage churches to think about Missional Discipleship - I'm happy to report that UCF already has mission and discipleship high on the agenda - so I hope the bear was happy with what he observed!
**I don't think anyone else has blogged about him yet
*** yes, that really is a place in Dorset

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Eugenie - Empathy And Encouragement

Whatever your feelings about the monarchy, or lavish weddings, you have to be a pretty churlish sort of person not to wish a young couple every happiness on their special day. Eugenie's family have seen plenty of marriage breakups [her parents, Uncle Charles, and Auntie Anne...] At least her grandparents are still together after 71 years.

I admired her decision to wear a wedding dress which showed her scar. Aged 12, the princess was diagnosed with scoliosis, which meant an eight hour operation 16 years ago. This happened at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. This was then, and still is, the foremost place in Britain for such surgery.
But her father, Prince Andrew, said he was utterly horrified when he realised that many of the Hospital buildings were old WW2 Nissen huts.

Now there is a massive redevelopment plan underway - still on the original site. Lots of information on the RNOH website - and Eugenie is a patron and the new Princess Eugenie House will provide on site accommodation, with 22 ensuite bedrooms, for parents to stay whilst their children undergo treatment.
I'm glad she is speaking out, and encouraging young people who suffer this condition - and using what resources she has to help improve their situation.
But more than that, I am glad she was able to 'show off' her scar. Every single one of us carries some sort of scar- physical or emotional. You cannot go through life without being wounded at some point. How you deal with the scars is up to you. You can hide them away, be ashamed of them, try and ignore them... or you can accept them, and move on, seeking healing and life. 
I'm not criticising those who use make up to conceal facial scars, nor those who disguise post-op scarring with tattoos. Just admiring a young woman who can say "this scar is part of me, but it doesn't define me. And it is there because I chose to undergo surgery that enables me to stand tall today as I walk down the aisle with my new husband" More than that, she is someone who is giving time regularly to encourage teenagers facing the same frightening diagnosis. "I've been there, I got through it, you can too"
When someone has big problems [physical,emotional, whatever], true friends rally round - but not all can truly understand the situation . The ones who understand most are those who have been there already- their empathy and encouragement counts for a lot. 
Last week, someone I know had an unwelcome diagnosis - and a couple of days later, was invited for coffee by somebody else who'd had the same treatment last year, so they could chat about it. That's encouragement and empathy of the best sort.
I remember my Mum saying "No experience, good or bad, is ever wasted" - and sometimes the bad ones can end up being an opportunity to help somebody else.
I hope Mr and Mrs Brooksbank have a long and happy marriage [just like her Grandma]

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Ey Up Me Duck! my friends in Leicester are wont to say. 
My Essex friends are more likely to say
"Wotcher Cock!" 
I am not sure who might use 'chicken' or 'pig' as a term of affection. They are often insults. 
I've been rather busy making some quirky  animal masks [and costumes] this week. I will explain later. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

Make A Beeline For Manchester!

Every year in Greater Manchester there are more than 250 million car journeys made which are less than 1km long. That's the equivalent of a 15minute walk or 5minute cycle ride. And the authorities are determined to get more people out of cars and walking or pedalling their way around.
Having appointed a Walking and Cycling Commissioner - champion cyclist Chris Boardman - and tasked him with producing a report on city travel, "Beelines" is happening.
Taking inspiration from the Dutch, who know a thing or two about bikes, ambitious plans are underway 
Dedicated cycle lanes, more pedestrianised streets, safer junctions. 
You can read more here. I think this is excellent news, and I really hope the plans proceed smoothly and quickly.
What's really good is that other groups are coming on board with the authority's initiative. 
Liz has sent me a cartoon by Dave Walker. He's a keen cyclist and an Anglican - so the Diocese of Manchester  asked him for a cartoon showing their backing for the Beelines. Manchester, cycling, church - my daughter knows that ticks the boxes for me!
Perhaps I should pin this up at UCF [yes we do already have a bike rack, and quite a few of us cycle to church]
Update; very sorry to discover that although the new Bloomberg HQ in London has just scooped the top architecture prize, cited as "the world's most sustainable office", the building actually has a policy of not allowing bicycle couriers at their deliveries entrance [despite having extensive bicycle racks available to staff who work there] 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Only The Lonely...

Liz read this book and she said she thought I would like it too. She didn't warn me that I would need a box of tissues to hand!
Award winning debut novel by Gail Honeyman, this is now being made into a book starring Reese Witherspoon.
I think RW is a great actor [eg her sensitive portrayal of June Carter Cash in biopic "I walk the Line" ]
Eleanor is 29 and lives in Glasgow. She's worked in the accounts section of a small company forever. She does her job competently- but doesn't really relate to work colleagues. She doesn't understand them, or the way they manage their lives. 
 “I have often noticed that people who routinely wear sportswear are the least likely sort to participate in athletic activity.”
She is a loner, and knows they regard her as the office oddball with the unexplained nasty burn scars down one side of her face.
 She goes to work everyday, comes home, eats tea and listens to The Archers then goes to bed with a book. On Friday night she buys a few groceries and 2 bottles of vodka from Mr Dewan at the corner shop. She stays home, drinks a bottle #1 on Saturday, and bottle #2 on Sunday, sleeps a lot...then the next week starts.
 “People don’t like these facts, but I can’t help that. If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.” 
Eleanor is pretty blunt, and sometimes says exactly what she is feeling, without full comprehension of how it will affect the hearer
“No thank you,” I said. “I don’t want to accept a drink from you, because then I would be obliged to purchase one for you in return, and I’m afraid I’m simply not interested in spending two drinks’ worth of time with you.”
She acknowledges to herself that she is a loner- but that loneliness is probably not something to admit out loud.
“These days, loneliness is the new cancer—a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted, or that it might tempt fate into visiting a similar horror upon them.”
Then something happens- and she is inadvertently drawn into 'proper' relationships with other people - old Mr Gibbons [an OAP who collapses in the street] and Raymond, the computer geek from work, who happens to be beside her when Mr G falls.
The book tells the story, through Eleanor's own voice - funny, observant, occasionally confused. She has spent almost 30 years being an object that people had to deal with, not a person to be loved. She has accepted that this is her lot in life, and developed 'coping mechanisms'. She knows they all think she is a weirdo - and she accepts it, and gets on with her solitary existence. But one simple, unplanned act of kindness begins the journey that changes all that.
Gail, the author said "the point is that although she’s had a fairly catastrophic start, Eleanor is the agent of her own life. I didn’t want her to be portrayed as a victim, and I didn’t want her to be self-pitying either. I tried to leave space in the narrative so that the reader can feel those feelings on her behalf...the story of the transformational power of small acts of kindness, often involving food: complimentary truffles with a cup of coffee, a plate of biscuits to accompany a mug of tea."
She also points out that "computer nerd Raymond, hardly has the makings of a romantic hero – but then this is not quite a love story. It’s an exploration of platonic friendship...I think there are a lot of Raymonds in the world: he’s the sort of ordinary, kind, decent man who doesn’t often get featured in fiction.”
Thanks for the recommendation Liz- this is definitely ***** and worth borrowing from the library. But be warned- you may find yourself neglecting other tasks so you can find out what happens.  I've had to be very self-disciplined, I finished the book in three sittings, but then delayed writing this review until I had returned to the neglected ironing basket!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

No Foot Too Small...

When I was five, my Mum gave birth to a little boy, who died within moments of delivery. She never really spoke about that child - but I know she carried the sadness in her heart for the next 30 years. On the day of her death, she talked of seeing her baby in heaven. I am so grateful to those who are making it possible for bereaved families to express their grief through initiatives like this
Richard, who was a housemate of Liz and Steph in their student days, experienced the loss of twins seven years ago. His wife had almost reached full term. It was utterly devastating. 
He has set up an amazing blog, to help others in a similar situation [here
He's also been nominated for an award, for his work as an 'Awareness Advocate' 
It is incredibly easy to say a thoughtless word which adds to the unseen pain of a bereaved parent. I am grateful for men like Richard who are speaking out like this, working hard to make the conversations easier.  
I'm voting for him - read his story here, and maybe you will feel able to vote for him too.

And look out for Baby Loss Awareness Week things happening where you are. Next Monday at 7pm in the UK, many people will be marking the Wave Of Light - this is a global event. Details here 

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

What The Butler Saw

I seem to be watching a lot of stuff about The White House lately. Not just the BBC news reports [depressing!] but I'm working my way through "Designated Survivor" too. This is a Netflix series about a man who ends up becoming President of the USA after a terrorist bomb destroys all the other politicians who were assembled in the Capital Building.
Kiefer Sutherland plays a man who is thrust into this hugely powerful role with little or no preparation. Until the bomb, he was just a low level cabinet member. 
His wife is a lawyer, expert in the American Constitution [useful!] and he has a young daughter and an adolescent son. 
He is a man of honesty and integrity, and humbly trying to be the best he can and serve his country, as he believes this is the true role of the President. I am finding it well written and thought provoking, combining ethical questions, humour and suspense in well crafted 45minute episodes. 

But at the weekend, Bob and I watched another [Netflix] film set mostly in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,  called "The Butler". This has an amazing stellar cast, led by Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey - and based on real person. As part of the 'Obama Victory Coverage' in 2008, a Washington Post reporter wrote of a man called Eugene Allen, who'd been a White House butler under eight presidents.
In the film, Allen is called "Cecil Gaines" - but the story recounts how he comes up from the Deep South, applies for White house duties- and he [Whitaker] works his way up to the top - serving everyone from Eisenhower to Reagan, over a period of 34 years. He is married to Gloria [Oprah]
The film shows the rise of the Civil Rights movement, and the contrast between Cecil's son [a student involved in demos and marches etc] and Cecil -  a servant who is forced to stand silently in the corner while the Presidents and their staff discuss what to do about the race riots, Martin Luther King, Black Panthers etc.
In reality, and in the film - after he left the White House, Allen/Gaines went on a civil rights demo with his son and ended up being arrested and briefly in prison. 
Allen/Gaines and Gloria were married for 65 years, and were ardent Obama supporters. Sadly, Gloria Allen died on Nov 3rd 2008, the day before she was due to cast her vote. The film came out to mixed reviews 5 years ago. Personally I found it poignant, and thoughtful. It was well cast [Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda were a fabulous, quite believable Ronald and Nancy Reagan] and there was excellent use of historical newsreel. Robin Williams was Ike, and Lief Schrieber was a very objectionable LBJ. John Cusack was Richard Nixon. Despite the critics comments [treacly and stilted...Downton Abbey-feel] Bob and I both enjoyed it and would recommend it *****

Monday, 8 October 2018

Pass It On!

I love this quote. Sorry to disappoint those who attribute it to Einstein, I'm afraid it doesn't seem to appear in print until 22 years after he died! 

On Sunday I wanted to find a simple, and inexpensive craft activity for the children where they could be a bit creative, but not too messy! 
I started with a pack of card figures from Wilko [£1 for 15] and asked Bob to cut me some blocks of scrap wood and put slits in the top. 

That way I had stands for my people.Thanks Bob! If I hadn't had the blocks, I could perhaps have used pairs of corks to make 'boots'
Then I used more pages from my 'scrap' magazines to cut out lots of hairpieces, tops and trousers.
On each card figure I drew a smiley face on the front, and a sad face on the back. Each child used a Prittstick to dress their characters.
Once complete, they slotted the feet in place. Round the edge of the block, they stuck a strip of paper saying "Jesus turns our crying into dancing" 
Drawing the happy/sad faces on for them was a good move. I was so pleased with what they made. The younger ones did stick hair on crooked, or shorts upside down- but it really didn't matter. 
The youngest child who took part is not yet 3! Two of the older ones asked if they could do something with the left over 'clothes' - and they both made posters.
This was so simple- and yet each child made the project their personal, adding their own creative twists.
I could have made my own card figures - but sometimes a girl needs to accept she's rather busy, and if Mr Wilko has kindly prepared these neat packs, it is worth £1 to have them sorted out ready. As the rest of the stuff was scrap, even including glue these cost less than 10p per child.
We could have drawn clothes and coloured them in - but the younger ones struggle with that, and I was really pleased with what they did.
"Jesus turns our crying into dancing" Psalm 30;11
I suspect I may use these Wilko people again sometime, for other creative activities.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Precious Promises

I am so conscious recently that I am surrounded by people who need peace in their hearts.
I hesitate to begin to list the anxieties felt by the folk I know, for there are so many issues affecting us all
- global issues; tsunamis and polluted oceans, refugees and casualties of war...
-national issues; Brexit, selection of judges, failing economies, corrupt politicians,civil unrest...
-personal issues; debt, PIP applications, illness, marriage break-ups, bereavement, workplace stress...
But this I know, that in my darkest moments, I can cry out to a God who cares, and who promises to love me and be with me even when the fires are raging and the waters threaten to engulf me {Isaiah 43]
There are mornings when I do not want to get out of bed. As winter draws on, it is so tempting to hunker down under the duvet and finish reading my library book. So much more pleasurable than getting up, dressing smartly, packing my bag - and waiting in vain for a phone call about teaching work. 
This year I have started using the Bible Gateway "Verse of the Day" app - and every morning, I wake up to find an encouraging Bible verse awaiting me [it's available for PC, phone or tablet] Click here to join this free, and helpful scheme. I get a daily verse, set in context of the relevant Bible passage, and attractive photo versions of the verse. So often it is just what I need, or maybe the words I need to share with others. 
Try it out- be blessed, and be a blessing!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

What Has It Got In Its Pocketses?

Do you remember Gollum saying this, in The Hobbit? 
I wish to have a little rant on the theme of pockets!
Specifically - why are mens' garments better equipped with pockets than those designed for women?
Lucy Locket dropped her pocket
Kitty Fisher found it
There was not a penny in it
But a ribbon round it
So ran the nursery rhyme learned in childhood. How do you 'drop' a pocket? I asked. Wise parents explained that pocket was a diminutive of pouch,  and originally this was a small bag which was carried- only later was it sewn onto or into the garments.
Well that explained Lucy's mishap**.  But this is not the point. How is a girl supposed to keep her vital stuff to hand|?
I have a relative small phone. Inside its case I keep a credit card and a £5 note. Recently we went out to a Luncheon Party. I wanted to take my phone, a door key and a hanky - all the things I felt were essential for the afternoon. I had to take a small handbag with me [not dissimilar to Lucy's pochette, I suppose] but Bob was able to tuck his 'necessities' in his suit pocket. My bag is attractive and neat - but I still had to remember I'd hung it on my chair when I got up, and make sure I did not leave it lying around in a vulnerable place. My dress, lovely though it was, did not even have a tiny pocket for a hanky.
Hankies are useful - I do not like 'tucking them in' somewhere about my person- up my sleeve, into my waistband, or [heaven forfend] down my bra.
But so many dresses are lacking a 'hanky holder'
Similarly, women's pyjamas are often bereft of pockets. I have a pair of trad style cotton M&S winter pjs which do have one breast pocket in the buttoned jacket - but the teeshirt&loungepants styles I usually wear never seem to possess pockets. All Bob's pj trousers however have one or even two set in the side seams. David Gandy on M&S website demonstrates this.

If I am in bed [or lounging on the sofa] suffering with a cold, I need to know where my hanky is when I feel a sneeze coming on!
In Victorian times, men had pockets, but if women did need to carry essentials, they had little bags called reticules.
Housekeepers had the things they needed on a 'chateleine', attached to their waistband. Christian Dior apparently said in 1954 "Men have pockets to keep things in, women for decoration".
I have discovered that "Women's Pocket Rant" is a recognised thing.There are those who believe that the fashion industry is incredibly sexist, and lack of pockets is another thing which has prevented women 'breaking the glass ceiling' and reaching the boardroom. 
I've discovered that the increased use of radio mics means that when I go out preaching, I have to wear a jacket so I've somewhere to tuck the battery pack. I am not planning to get a microphone garter belt 
My friend Irene always said that an apron was pointless without a pocket. Let's hear it for the companies who do recognise the need for a safe space. I know all this business about 'it ruins the line of the garment' - if you feel like that, then sew up ther pocket so you are not tempted to put anything in it.
I am planning on sewing myself some new pj trousers this autumn - I found a suitable piece of fabric in The Stash, whilst making angel robes. There will be at least one pocket in this garment!
**Lucy L & Kitty F are sometimes claimed to be courtesans of Charles II, but there is no real evidence for this. John Gay includes Lucy Locket in his 1728 Beggar's Opera- but the name may already have been proverbial. History lesson - and rant - over

Friday, 5 October 2018

Mags-Bags And More

Nothing to do with my dear Irish friend! But it was my turn to do a demo at the Coffee'n'Craft group this week, on the theme of recycling. So I showed my friends how to make little paper carrier bags, ideal for small gift bags- using one page from a magazine.
The best mags are the ones on firm, matte paper [there's a great freebie locally called "Dorset Menu" which they often give away in delis and eateries] Another good source of paper for this craft is old maps. I had a tourist guide to Dublin [11 years old, so possibly inaccurate now- why did I keep it?] 
And from the mag pages, I made bags like these. I should have added a coin or something to show their size - approx 9cm x10cm, and 12 cm x 15cm

At the end of the demo, all my demo pieces were snapped up by ladies wishing to make their own - and I was asked to produce a guide for next time. I'm still working on that - but there's a good pdf here [Christian Aid Paper Bag] which has the basic information.
The other recycling craft I demonstrated was Juice-Carton -Purses. I first did these 6 years ago at our Holiday Club in Kirby Muxloe. [see here]

Tall thin square based cartons are good. The shorter, fatter juice boxes make a good credit card sized purse. 

Again, all my samples disappeared- these are demos from 2012! I think the ladies liked the idea of a quick craft they could teach their grandchildren.