Blethers and blahs

Random ramblings from a chaotic life

Storytelling Sunday

It is so good to be back blogging.  My beloved thought it would be a really good idea to update my operating system but somehow that meant I couldn’t access the disk with all my photos and project life on!  Thankfully it is now sorted, I have missed blogging almost as much as I have missed having access to my photos.  It is my own fault in a way as I feel it is much safer to keep these precious, irreplaceable things seperate from the rest of my computer, just in case anything major goes wrong.

Anyway, to get back to my story.  This story is about a girl who was so conscious of how she looked that even emptying the rubbish required full make up and fashionable clothes.  Nothing was ever too expensive, as long as she had the cash to pay for it, and no amount of time taken to get ready was too long, even for putting out the rubbish. However she hated having her photo taken and would always hide from the camera.  Then she  had children and suddenly things changed.  The children took centre stage and putting the rubbish out no longer required any make up and was sometimes even done while wearing pyjamas, though she still hated the camera and getting her photo taken.  Gradually over time she came to ignore the camera as it helped capture the little, day to day things in her children’s lives that made her heart glad.  Like trying on new swimming goggles before the excitement of going swimming, like joining in with her children’s imaginative play, like being mummy and loving it.

This is also a story about a lady who likes getting messy with her grandchildren, and without them, and had forgotten how much fun it is to blow paint with a straw and mix colours and have fun while recording an everyday moment.

This lady would like to thank you for stopping by and invite you to enjoy some of the other stories that you will find links to from here.  Happy storytelling Sunday everyone.


Edited to add – Blogger isn’t letting me leave comments this morning so I will try again later, my apologies to anyone using Blogger whose story I have read, I am not ignoring you honest 🙂


Storytelling Sunday – Generations of crafters

I love crafts, all kinds of crafts from scrapbooking to knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, cross stitch and a few others that I have been less than successful at.  I think it is genetic.  My mother was a keen needlewoman and sewed, knitted, crocheted and baked.  I am sure she would have been a scrapbooker had she known about it as many of the photo albums she kept had tags with them which told part of the story.  My maternal grandmother did all these things too but that was as much out of neccesity as enjoyment.  In fact the other day I found a lilac dressing table mat that had been crocheted from very fine cotton and was one of the many that I remember gracing my grandmother’s dressing table over the years to stop the top of it being scratched.  I also remember embroidered chair backs and sleeve covers to keep the furniture good.

There were a few down sides to having such a creative parent such as always having hand knitted things when everyone else had – what seemed to me then – prettier shop bought clothes.  Now it is far cheaper to buy than to knit clothes but then it was the opposite. This page shows me about 2 years old, wearing my handknitted togs and my hand sewn tartan trews.  My mother sewed everything by hand and never quite got to grips with a sewing machine.  I cut my teeth on a treadle machine aged about 14.  My grandad had bought it in an auction – a real one where people bid in person, because he thought I would like it.  What an understatement, I made so many clothes on that machine including most of my first working wardrobe, I was heartbroken when it died and I so wish I had kept it.  I had hand sewed things before that though and I still have the certificate I got aged 11 for making a large, red corduroy stuffed cat.

This is all put into perspective by a phone call from my oldest grandaughter earlier in the week looking for wool.  She had been sewing thistles at school and they wanted to make more things but the teacher didn’t have any other colours of wool so could I spare some?  The answer was, of course, yes and off I dashed.  The emergency parcel contained a book on needlecrafts for children, that I had bought for myself as there were some super ideas in it, some embroidery thread, some wool and some felt.  I had bought her a Harumika doll as part of her Christmas and she has hardly put it down since so I knew she would find these things useful.  The next thing I knew she had made herself a dog puppet to play with her younger brother with, which was lovely.

I wonder of my great grandchildren will also have the crafting bug?  I hope I am around to support and guide them if they are, oh and share some stash with them too 🙂


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Storytelling Sunday – anyone for muffins?

I know that Sian only does a storytelling Sunday post once a month but I am enjoying thinking of a story each week.  Last week’s story is one that hasn’t made it to a scrapbook page yet, but when it does the story is all ready to go, result!

This week’s story is one that happened very recently, in the past week in fact.  I am sure that you remember this post where I promised to let you see the doll and the finished clothes, but somehow I never did.  This week I had gone to see 2 of my grandchildren after teaching a class in their school, which they find very strange.  As I walked in Katy was playing with Charlotte, her birthday doll.  Apparently Charlotte can do the splits and touch the floor with her nose when she goes to dancing class with Katy on a Monday.  However on Tuesday she was in a lot of pain, Charlotte that is, not Katy and, no, it wasn’t because she had touched the floor with her nose.  She has really sore hands because it was cold and she had no gloves.  Katy asked me if I could make a hat and scarf for Charlotte, oh and some gloves.  I suggested that gloves for Charlotte might be a bit tricky so Katy said maybe I could make the ones with only a thumb, like muffins 🙂  I am sure she meant mittens but they will be forever known as muffins.

The colour of course has to be pink to go with the jacket she wears, which also have trousers and a skirt to match.  There is a coat all cut out and ready to sew but that is in a long line of things I need to get to.  For now here is Charlotte.

Pink outfit complete with lined jacket that has lined pockets - for a doll!

Lady in Blue - ready for a night on the town

Easter outfit

Pink PJ's - I need to make more of these

Katy applying magic cream to Charlotte’s hands because she keeps saying “ow, ow” because they are so sore with the cold.  Now all I have to do is knit some muffins.

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Storytelling Sunday 3

Last Sunday the story just sort of came due to the fact that it was New Year and full of memories of that time of year.  I sort of fell into Sian’s Storytelling Sunday link by accident, but what a happy accident it was.  I was so touched by all the lovely comments, which was an unexpected bonus, and the realisation that this was why I scrapbooked, to tell stories.  So I am going to try my best to maintain a story every Sunday.  Some will have photos, some will have scrapbook pages but all will have words from the heart.  I won’t promise that they will always be happy stories, because my life is not always happy, and I doubt anyone else’s is either, but they all add up to making me, me.

This story is about a little girl who loved to dress up.  It didn’t have to be fancy costumes or even fancy clothes, it just had to be things that belonged to someone else, preferably her grandma.  She also liked others to join in and would often coerce her younger brother, her cousins and anyone else she could find into dressing up as well.  Sometimes she would be the artistic director and put on plays with each character being told what to do in a very bossy voice.  Over the years she accumulated a diverse selection of props including the beret that her grandmother had been given when she started work as a postie, the platform shoes that her mother had clung onto since her teenage years in the 1970’s and an old flowered apron that had been an unwanted gift to someone as it had gold thread through it that was very scratchy.  Her favourite thing though was a dress that her mother had made for her Christmas party when she was 6.  It was pink and shiny and she loved it. It no longer fitted her but it did fit her younger brother and her cousins and she often coerced them into wearing it.  Given that they ranged between 3 and 5 years of age they didn’t really object and she was always able to sweet talk them into doing what she wanted eventually.

Fast forward 20 years and the little girl has a girl of her own, and a boy.  They both love to dress up and although they prefer proper costumes, hand made or shop bought, they do still dress up in other people’s clothes from time to time.  Here is a page made with her own little girl in her mum’s music festival sunglasses, her big cousin’s raincoat and her uncle’s slippers.

The Dress made for the Christmas Party

Making this dress was my first experience of working with organza and it was a fraught process.  I still have it though and it isn’t the neatest thing I have ever made but it remains part of our family history and is simply known as – the dress.

The Snow Queen

This is a photo of the original little girl, my daughter, now all grown up, with her little girl who is wearing a snow queen dress that her mummy spent many hours sewing beads onto on the form of snowflakes because that was what she wanted to dress up as.  I wonder if the next generation will enjoy dressing up too.  Happy storytelling Sunday to you, wherever you are.

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Happy 2012

As the song goes …

A guid New Year to ane an’ a’
An’ mony may ye see,
An’ during a’ the years to come,
O happy may ye be.

I wish for you all that you would wish for yourself, not least good health, happiness and the capturing of some wonderful memories.  I am sure that the years are passing faster, though the year ahead will be with us for a day longer as it is a leap year.  I know that this notion is probably just a result of me getting older but I really wish it would all slow down, just a little.

The past few weeks in particular have absolutely flown by between Christmas Day, spent quietly at home, Boxing Day spent with my children, grandchildren and way too much discarded wrapping paper, a day or so of tidying and trying to restore order swiftly followed by the boy’s 5th birthday, and more present wrapping/unwrapping.  Then a trip to see the Singing Kettle, another run round the shops during which I lost my glasses and almost the last of my patience, a visit to my baby boy which resulted in making his bed with him – literally (once we found the screws and bolts that is),  2 trips to the local recycling centre and a final clean, dust, hoover, wash windows, change beds, tidy cupboards at home in preparation for the New Year and here we are – exhausted but happy.

Many of the old traditions associated with Hogmanay and Ne’er Day are long gone but I hold onto some of them and have instilled them in my children and starting the year the way you mean to go on is a key one and that means a clean house, food in the cupboards and money in your pocket.  Even my OH who is from South Africa now just goes along with me as he knows how important to me it is.  I haven’t stayed up for the bells for a few years now but my children do and they still have a window and an outside door slightly open at midnight to let the old year out and the new one in.  I feel as though these small things tie me to my roots.  Speaking of roots I watched the film ‘The Quiet Man’ the other day and it still reminds me of my grandparents and the way the fought and argued, almost for the sake of it, but were inseparable and devoted to each other probably as a result of all the hurdles they had had to overcome during their lives.   There is something about this time of year that invokes stronger memories than normal.

For the year ahead I am going to try and join in with Sian’s storytelling Sunday.  This week’s story has to be about Maisie and Jock, my grandparents.

unknown lady, Jock, Maisie, unknown lady

This is the only photo I have of them both together and I have very few photos of my grandfather at all.  They were so different to each other.  He was tall and thin, she was short and round, he was Catholic and she was Protestant, he was laid back and she was fiery but, to me, they fitted together so well.  Life was very hard, they were poor and well paying work wasn’t always easy to come by.  They had nine children in total though only five survived to adulthood.  What I remember most about them though is that their family was the centre of everything for them and they loved us all absolutely and without judgement, regardless of the path that life took us on.  I think it was because of their religious differences, which would have been a huge hurdle due to the times and places they lived,  that they accepted everyone for who they were.  My mother often spoke of my grandfather befriending coloured people he met and bringing them home in an area where no coloured people lived and which was a place of narrow minds and small worlds.  These two people instilled in me a lasting respect for people’s differences and uniqueness and for that I will always be grateful.

To get back to the story, well it’s not really one story but a combination of little bits of story that took place on the same day every year, January 1st.  My mother and her 4 sisters, their partners, my grandmothers brothers and sisters and their partners, all the respective children and several family friends who were honorary aunts and uncles all congregated at my grandparents house on January 1st each year.  This made for a rather large number of people squeezed into a tiny wee house but we all fitted somehow and spending hours in the large cupboard under the stairs seemed more like an adventure than a hardship.  The first guest was usually Uncle George, my grandmother’s youngest brother.  He was such a quiet, gentle man, who had never married and who had a lovely sing song voice.  This was followed by what used to seem like bus loads of people and may well have been as few of us had cars.  Dinner was in sittings and was always home made soup, followed by stew, which included stewed sausages, pie paste (a puff pastry crust) with tatties and dumplings and then home made clootie dumpling and either cream or custard.  The dumpling is a fruit pudding which was mixed and  boiled in a white cotton pillowcase and then dried off in the oven.  My granny or Mum as we called her must have been cooking for hours beforehand but she never seemed stressed or harassed  and everyone got fed, regardless of how many folk had turned up, no one was ever turned away.

Once the food was over and the kitchen ‘red up’ (tidied) for the next meal the singing began.  All the adults had their own song and although it would have been nice to sing along sometimes the call was always ‘one singer, one song’ which meant that only one person sang at any one time.  For the life of me I cannot remember what song either of them sung but I do remember others.  Cousins Walter and Robert always sang ‘You take the High Road’, my Aunt Gina sang ‘Cigarettes and Whisky and Wild, Wild Women’,  Uncle George sang ‘The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen’  and someone, I think it was my Aunt Jean sang ‘I’m Nobody’s Child’ though that could be wrong as she also sang ‘Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go and eat worms!’  Fun times and happy memories.  There was always copious amounts of alcohol consumed, huge amounts of food but never a cross word was heard.  We always went home to our own houses though it was usually very late at night and I don’t remember there ever being any problems about whose turn it was to wash up or being given a row for making too much noise playing.  I like the think that it’s because that’s how it was and not just me remembering things in a rosy way.

If you have made it this far, thank you and I hope that this hasn’t put you off popping back again sometime.  I wish you and our family a happy Ne’erday and a wonderful year ahead.