Biting the bullet


I’m not really one to follow trends, I’m rubbish at knowing what’s cool, what’s not, I mostly stick with stuff I like and if it happens to be something that fits with the world’s view of cool then so be it.

Bullet journaling has really taken off – my former boss introduced us to the concept as a way of managing tasks about 18 months ago, but it didn’t really click for me.  For the uninitiated it’s a system of organizing your time, tasks, activities; it’s a to-do list, a diary, a sketchpad, notebook, pretty much everything you can think of and want it to be.  When Jess told us about it it was not really something I needed.  My job was running the cafe and so making plans of what I needed to do took a back seat to actually doing it, but now things are different.

I’ve now got two jobs, volunteering and am attempting to make stuff and have a small social life too.  I work from a small diary to keep track of which job I’m meant to be at when, but now that doesn’t seem to be enough.

At the start of this year, Genevieve at job no. 2 showed me the start of her bullet journal and this, coupled with the fact that I’d got a Paperchase voucher, meant that of course I needed to give it a go because I’m a sucker for new stationary.

An aside: 

Do you still get the urge to rush out to WHSmith’s every September to get new notebooks, ring binders, pens and geometry set?  I really do.  I’ve been out of the education system for 11 years, but every new academic year I feel that longing to get new stuff ready for the start of school or university, as though the old stuff just won’t cut it any more, I’ve chewed through all the pens and pencils, notebooks lie forlornly half filled with ideas and snippets.  I don’t even really need a geometry set anymore, it’s very rare that I can put to good use my set square or protractor.  I couldn’t even remember the name of the protractor, I’ve actually had to just look it up in order to write this, but I know I want, no need, a new one each Autumn.  I know I’ve been conditioned to feel this way, in the same manner that while watching ‘Bake Off’ I’ll find myself suddenly with a mixing bowl in my lap, creaming butter and sugar together without really having realised it….  September for me is changing leaves, conkers shiny shoes and needing to give myself a restraining order for a stationary store.

I started gathering the stationary bits from around my room – collecting the coloured pencils, pens, a mini ruler and bought myself a blank notebook with dots instead of lines and then my mind went blank.  What should I include? What should I write? What would be useful? Can I fit in time to fill it in?  Then I stalled for a week.

Desperate for inspiration I signed up for the official newsletter, I fell into the twin rabbit holes of Buzzfeed and Pinterest – gorgeous pictures of layouts with fancy fonts, doodles, weekly and monthly trackers… It all seemed a bit beyond me.

Some of the ideas from Pinterest

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We’re made of something you don’t understand – Lefty Scum


Last night was part three of my Sparkle Dress Comedy Challenge and a trip to Sheffield’s City Hall for ‘Lefty Scum’.

 

I worked all day in Meadowhall, got changed into the sequins in the staff room behind some mannequins (getting semi stuck in the previous dress as I went) and headed to the tram stop, hoping to get to the venue on time.  I found my seat, but had to take the long way around to get to it and missed out on a trip to the bar – but then the queue was long and I have very little money left at the end of the month, so never mind.

 

I chatted a little to the couple to my left (naturally) about recent things they’d been to, I’d been to, how they’d moved up here from London recently and are looking for more stuff to do and to meet new people.  They seemed lovely and, coincidentally, the lady I was sat next to on Thursday came up and said hello to them – she the girlfriend of one of their friends, they told me.  Foolishly, we didn’t exchange names or details to meet up, but they might read this, so ‘Hello!’

 

The gig was kicked off by Josie in some great dungarees doing her bit of ‘chatting’.  I’ve never seen her live before, I’ve heard some of her podcasts: Short Cuts, Robin and Josie’s Utter Shambles, Book Shambles and as a guest on others like The Made of Human Podcast with Sofie Hagan.

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Send in the clowns


Twenty two days into February and I finally got to go to another live comedy show.  This is officially part two of my Sparkle Dress Comedy Challenge, following last month’s trip to Greg Davies in Leicester.  You can read more about that here.

 

Last night was John Kearn’s show ‘Don’t Worry They’re Here’ at DINA venue in Sheffield.  It was also my 34th birthday.  I sent a link to some youtube clips of John to some friends and invited them to come with me, but I did let them know that I’d not be offended if it wasn’t their thing.  Comedy can be very divisive, you laugh or you don’t and there’s nothing worse for me than laughing my head off with friends who just don’t get it, it stresses me out and I’d rather go on my own and enjoy it than be worried about how others are going to react.

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Back to business…


I last posted in September with big plans for streamlining the blog, actually writing something for a change but then I got confused and distracted.  Writing just didn’t seem to be high on my list of priorities, but some things have happened and I’ve got a new love  and enthusiasm for it.

So firstly, I got two part time jobs, one in Meadowhall and the other at Sheffield University Student’s Union.  They couldn’t be more different, but I’m working with lovely people at both, I have a relatively steady, but meagre, income and I’m feeling happy again.  I’ve also been making some of the felt pictures, more on that in a later post, and trying to build myself a social life again after becoming a relative hermit from habit and poverty.  As part of my self care, building my social life and getting out doing fun things more…

…let me introduce you to The Sparkle Dress:

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The Sparkle Dress was something I saw online one day in September but couldn’t think of obtaining.  I got a job and The Sparkle dress became something I gazed at as I walked past Simply Be on my way to work.  The Sparkle Dress called to me because it had all the colours of my hair.  The Sparkle Dress was something I couldn’t afford because I had to pay for other, less frivolous things, like rent and food and travel to work and Netflix.

 

I bought it on sale, no refunds because it was a bit broken (something I could easily stitch up.  It made me so happy to get it and wear it to Christmas.  At Christmas I got a ticket for Greg Davies’ show ‘You Magnificent Beast’ as a present – thanks Liz and Richard.  I decided that the Sparkle Dress should not just be worn once, but should be worn out and where better to dress as a giant glitter ball from G.A.Y. than a show called ‘You Magnificent Beast’?

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Taking a new direction


It seems like so many things have changed recently, I broke up with my boyfriend and was made redundant from my job of over two years.

It’s a shame to leave my job but in a way it’s been really freeing because I’ve had the time to decide what I want to do with myself.   I have been looking for part time jobs, no luck yet, but I’ve decided to not worry too much because something always seems to turn up.   But there are sometimes lower points and I’ve found some great support from strangers – members of the Made of Human Podcast Facebook group and the Attic24 Moorland and Moor Facebook group.   It’s lovely to be able to see the brilliant creative things others are doing and have a place to have a little chat with people you don’t necessarily know.

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Workshop Write Up: Edge of the Universe Printing Press – Book Binding and Marbling


When I was in primary school we did loads of cool art things that I don’t get to do any more.  I could do something about this; I could build a makeshift flower press; I could take out some crayons and paper and head out for a walk to take some rubbings; I could even buy a load of different pasta shapes and make a collage, but I am less likely to do any paper marbling at home.  Mainly because I can’t really remember how to do it and I don’t really remember what equipment I might need.

So when I saw that my friends at Edge of the Universe Printing Press were running a series of workshops last Summer I signed myself up straight away.  It’s just taken me this long to type up my notes about what we got up to!

I went along to have a go at marbling and book binding in a two part session.  Sarah and David divided up the participants into two groups, one tacking the marbling first and the others working on the book binding.  I had brought along some coloured paper, trimmed to A5 size, and sat myself down to bind my little book first.

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I like the cut of your gib


On Friday the 13th of May I got up stupidly early, took the tram to the station, sat on a train bound for Manchester and made my way to the absolutely huge Paperchase store that they have there. Now I like stationary as much as the next girl, but that’s not my reason for making the trek, oh no! I was going to learn a new technique for making things, lino cutting.

 

I’ve seen lino cut prints before but I’ve never actually tried it before, so when I was sent a link to the Paperchase Project craft workshops it caught my eye immediately and it turns out I bought the first ticket.

The class takes place on the first floor, but you have to pass through a mezzanine level to get there.  The lass who was teaching us introduced herself, but I’m afraid I forgot to write down her name, so if you work at the Manchester shop please tell me so that I can amend this! Continue reading

Into the Woods: in search of bluebells


As a person who grew up in a reasonably small market town, I love being in a city.  There are so many more things to see and do, places to explore than there were back home.  But, I grew up with Summer holidays spent searching for bullhead fish and sticklebacks in the river, climbing the ruins of the viaduct before I knew what a viaduct was, playing on a broken down, abandoned digger in a field, sitting on fences watching the sun start to set, heading out on scavenger hunts for rose hips and different grasses.

So much as I love twisting, turning streets, brick and steel buildings, roads filled with buses, trams and terrible drivers, sometimes I just need some grass, trees, leaves and flowers.

I’ve now lived in Sheffield for a year and I’ve barely explored its magnificent green spaces.  I have made a concerted effort to get out and about a bit more.

A couple of months ago, I packed a bottle of water, a scotch egg, a penguin biscuit and some crisps, got on the 85 bus heading out of town from Hillsborough to go exploring.  I was headed for Wheata Woods, in search of bluebells.

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#Inspiringwomen


This year I have officially joined the WI.  Having dabbled in finding a suitable group for a few years, I am now apart of Steel Belles WI in Sheffield, a very new group full of great ladies.

2015 is the centenary of the formation of the WI and as we are entering the week of the centenary celebrations I’ve been thinking about the women who inspire me and why they do.  So here’s a top 4 women (in no particular order) that I think are awesome.  They are all people I’d like to be when I grow up please, or at least steal aspects from…

Tina Fey

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I bought ‘Bossy Pants’, Tina Fey’s autobiography and it’s hilarious.  I’ve read a huge number of funny books, but I’ve rarely laughed aloud to one as often as I did with this.  In my eyes, Tina Fey can rarely do any wrong – she wrote Mean Girls, she wrote 30 Rock, created ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’, she turns up in all sorts of things and is a breath of fresh air; I even really like Baby Momma and Date Night, I know I’m somewhat in the minority with the last two.

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It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.


When I was younger, maybe 8 or 9, I loved anything on TV that involved Tony Robinson – obviously Blackadder, Maid Marion and her Merry Men and Time Team but he also did a fantastic show based on Bible stories called ‘Blood and Honey’.  I would go every week to the library and borrow the cassette of ‘Odysseus the greatest hero of them all’ that was written by Robinson and Richard Curtis, read by Robinson.  I’m not sure if anyone else got to borrow it much because I always had it.  I’m not sure how it survived so many listens.  I loved the way Robinson read it, doing all the voices and putting in all the drama, just like he did on the telly.

Mum and Dad must have been sick of listening to it over and over, because for Christmas that year they got me two new story tapes – The Light Fantastic and Equal Rites.  Of course, they were read by Tony Robinson, and so in a round about way I was introduced to the brilliant world of Terry Pratchett.  I’m not sure that my parents knew what they’d introduced me to.

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More than words


Aren’t words brilliant? You can use them for everything.  You can take them and combine them and shape them into whatever you want, however you want.  They can give you power, they can give you humility, they can give you insight, explanation, beauty.

I was reading over a book that I want to read to my class – The Wee Free Men  by Terry Pratchett – and early on, Tiffany, our 9 year old heroine is thinking about the word sussuration and how much she likes it.  It’s the sound of wind through leaves or grass and it alerts Tiffany to something odd that’s about to happen.  I love that sussuration is included in a children’s book.  Would you get a word like that in the rainbow fairy series of books?  Would you get a word like that in one of Katie Price’s children’s books?  In Beast Quest? Or even in Harry Potter?

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