On Friends, UFOs and Getting Crafty

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The day our third and youngest was born,  we didn’t contact many people.  Facebook could wait.  But I did send a text to one old and dear friend to let her know the baby had arrived safely.

Lisa didn’t have my new cell number, but at our age, friends don’t have babies every week. I hadn’t bothered adding my name.  The answer returned swiftly: “Congratulations, but I don’t think we know each other.”  

Once she knew it was me, her next text read  “How did that happen?”. Whilst Lisa had a genteel upbringing, the question was not about how the baby came to be, but how it could be that a whole pregnancy had passed unnoticed.

Life slips easily into a series of days made up of nothing more than the struggle to get to work, do the chores, feed the children and get some sleep. Days become weeks then months where nothing remarkable happens, there are no specific memories to look back on.  It is not that these days are unhappy, but they leave me with the feeling that life is just sliding by. I’m not making the most of our precious time together: life is not being lived lavishly.

This is not to say life is quiet and restful. There are the times you look at your diary only to find that your next completely free weekend is in two months time. (In our case, usually indicative of the state of our daughters’ social lives rather than our own).  There is a world of difference between having lots of things to do and living a rich and full life.

This year I’m on the look out for more opportunities to spend time with the people that matter.

Against that backdrop, I must also explain that in some far corner of my brain apparently untouched by feminism or rational thought of any kind, I nurture a deeply held belief that my happiness is dependent on my house meeting Martha Stewartesque standards of organisation.  Those of you familar with the clutter affecting many rooms of said house will no doubt be surprised.  The truth is, I am a failed neat freak.

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Part of this clutter is directly attributable to numerous UFOs or unfinished objects: incomplete craft and sewing projects, half knitted sweaters, unfinished mending, baskets of leftover yarn and the like.  So when sister-in-law Kate and I talked about doing some more needlework classes, I had to admit that what I really needed was to get on top of work I already have on hand.

There’s not a lot you can’t teach yourself out of a good book.  Now with the internet, blog tutorials and youtube.com, it’s that much easier to do.  But I have fond memories of going to my great aunt’s weaving circle in Wadowice, or my aunty’s quilting group in Waipawa: women sitting around together working companionably on their respective projects, gentle chatter going back and forth, some laughs, the pleasure of company without any particular pressure to converse.  This is what I have looked for in needlework classes, but they have never really delivered.

So this year Kate and I decided to do something different and organised a monthly get together cum craft night.  We could meet in our own homes, but we have enjoyed the added benefit of holding the evening in the studio section of Made on Marion. Long time friend and proprietrix Maryanne Cathro is on hand with ready advice and every conceivable piece of thread, paint, glue or haberdashery one could need.

We gather on a Friday evening after work, everyone brings a bottle or something to nibble, we sit, catch up on each others lives, and work on our respective projects until we go home, tired but relaxed to our families and the weekend. For a couple of friends, this has been a chance to try something new in a safe environment, for others, a spur to pick up something already familiar, perhaps reinvigorated by new ideas from others or the shelves of Maryanne and David’s store.

What with being unable to type and wield a hook or needle at the same time, my own progress has slowed since I started this blog.  I had imagined being a few projects up by now.  But the afghan throw I started earlier in the year is still going.  I’m hoping to finish my squares over the next month. It ought to be done and adorning the back of my sofa before the winter is out.

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15 thoughts on “On Friends, UFOs and Getting Crafty

  1. Gosh it is SO beautiful, all colours I also love and in combinations I adore. Like a bowl of fruit, with leaves still attached. My feeling on colour is if I can eat it, I like it. Hence my ambivalence to blue colourschemes 😉

    • Dear Mrs C,

      What about that quilt expo last May? I picked my three favourite quilts, choices, as I recall, influenced heavily by colour. Turned out that of the three, two were yours.

      But what about lush cobalts, turquoises, aquas, indidgos? Soft denims. All those lovely sandy brown/grey neutrals that make the other colours look so good. Is that the link: colours you could eat or colours that make colours you can eat look even tastier?

      I do have a soft spot for lapis/cobalty shades in ceramics. Something about the light and bring

    • Looking at the pictures again it kind of reminds me of the coloured glass in old fashioned paperweights. You’re going to need to help me pick the right colour for joining up. I’m after a beige neutral – got anything in store?

      • Yes there are several naturals in the 8ply range. Auditions must be held with the rest of the cast. The table top does look nice, evidence of such colours making the grade! 🙂

  2. That is so beautiful, it is like the Chartres cathedral of throws, so many little rose windows. Gorgeous!

    It’s a wonderful thing to get together to finish work and natter. Yes, Natter. Some years ago some friends and I did a folk painting course. When we got chucked out for laughing too much, we decided to meet at one friend’s house every Monday night. We keep it up outside school holidays and it has been the most amazing source of support and excellent laughs all around. We’re all different ages and it really does give a lovely feeling of community which otherwise I wouldn’t have. Also, there’s a surprising amount of work gets done( as well as tea drunk and cake eaten) and I wouldn’t have started the 100 Days Project had I not had the encouragement from the group and the time in it. I feel very grateful for the company of these raucous ladies. Whenever i feel like I’m too tired to go my husband always encourages me to set off with ‘you always feel better for going’. And he is definitely right. You have inspired me to blog about this now! xx

    • Thank you Jennifer. Friends, talking, creative work – how could it fail to be good therapy.

      I’ve had more than the odd dirty look for not taking needlework classes seriously enough. Is it some kind of Victorian hangover that people think learning and fun must be mutually exclusive?

  3. Pingback: In the company of ladies | Small Acts

  4. I know exactly what you mean about months sliding by without feeling like you are actually living them. That mostly happens when you have so much to do but sadly most of that to do list is made up of things you have to do as opposed to things you want to do.
    I love the idea of a craft night and the pictures you shared are so beautiful

    • Welcome to what is by comparison with yours, Sawsan, a very humble blog. You are quite right about the “have to” “want to” distinction. If you liked craft night, I’m sure you will like the next post about what came next. Now if only I can find time to finish it. (You will know the feeling I’m sure.)

      Helena

  5. Pingback: Food Night: Because One Thing Always, Always Leads to Another | Life Lived Lavishly

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