Tag Archives: Writing

Knitting, nattering and crafting my way through a Pandemic

How have you coped through this Coronavirus Pandemic? Have you, like me, been catching up with projects and rediscovering your creative side? Since 23 March when Lockdown commenced and we all became embroiled in a different way of living, I decided that I would use the time to catch up on some tasks that needed doing as well as tackle some new projects.

On that first Monday, I gathered up three hoovers and sat in the sunshine in my courtyard, taking one by one apart. I managed to dismantle them clean them up, tackle the issues and put them back together again. What I liked about this time was that I did not feel guilty spending time on doing something that was useful and helpful rather than spending time on my business promoting it as, at the time. I thought there is no one to promote to, or well there is, of course, but who was listening?

One of the best things I did was complete my knitted jumper that had been on the go since 2018, when I was knitting it, whilst visiting my mother-in-law in hospital. It was completed in April – just at the time when I was storing away my winter gear! Next, I found my lovely doll, Susan, who had been with me since I was a little girl, and knitted her a brand new outfit. This comprised of a long jacket and a sleeveless dress in soft red wool. I also knitted her a navy woollen vest but she doesn’t wear this very often as it is too rough. To complete her wardrobe, I sewed her a cool red gingham dress with a cream satin belt for summer. Now she looks super smart.

I am currently in the middle of knitting a stripey sock that I started about two months ago and have not yet managed to complete, but I will. As I have quite a lot of wool, I made tassels and pom poms too. I have yet to find an outlet for these to go to. Any ideas?

I got re-energised to begin sewing again when I watched The Great British Sewing Bee. I sewed myself a lovely towelling shift dress with straps and two bright yellow buttons. I created this from a lovely (brand new) soft stripey towel that I purchased online. I have also sewed some lovely red and decadent satin cushions – one for a bedroom chair and the other for my typing chair. Incidentally, I also covered the bedroom chair with the same gorgeous fabric. A Gonk was next on my sewing list, and this was sewn from different shades of pink felt with some cheeky eyes.

I arranged lots of my bright accessories into little groups and photographed them to show off their glamour and posted on my Instagram page. Some of these are vintage and some are more modern pieces. I have also been dabbling in Sharpie pens and using them to create pictures, one of which was a rainbow

which I coloured in and displayed in my window in honour of the wonderful work that the NHS were (and are still currently) doing. I took inspiration from Instagram and experimented with my own designs. I found colouring, using felt pens and creating art work, so calming for my stress levels. I also “wrecked my journal” with all sort of scribbles, stickers and black Sharpie pens with no inhibitions and even got embroiled in a life drawing class online and managed to work with charcoal and create one or two – not masterpieces – but nevertheless such fun to do. They were displayed on my fridge for a while but now they have been recycled although I took pictures.

I was practical, too, and there was a leak under my sink. I read how to and fixed it myself. Result – one non-leaking sink and the pipes are all intact. I have also taken down a shelf and intend putting up a new one, or two in due course.

I made tea and sat out in the garden catching up with reading material and devoured so many books that now I am hungry for more.

I started typing up favourite quotations with purple ink onto lovely paper, sometimes flower sprigged and sometimes pink, and typed out Psalms and poems. Tried to sell these via Etsy but, so far, no sales. I have written some letters, and postcards, in my spare time, using a fountain pen, and then posted them off with glee to friends and family. We all love to receive news through the post.

I have found keeping in touch with friends and family either over the telephone or through WhatsApp or Zoom absolutely life-enhancing and I am amazed that I hadn’t even heard of Zoom until this all started.

We have been for long walks in the lovely park where I live. I have got up early to hear the birds chorusing, and took photographs of bluebells, daffodils, primroses and wild strawberries and lately some white foxgloves.  Our little cat, Speckle, also came for walks even as far as the castle.

We have cooked soups and baked cakes, and bread and scones. We have made Elderflower cordial and even tried to make Daisy tea. This was foul, so never again. We picked wild strawberries in my garden and if I had been too busy, I might have missed these jewels.

I tidied up all my books and put them into genres, and created a little corner for my baby grandson when he comes to stay. I put my favourite Snoopy, my doll Susan and other soft toys out so that he can enjoy these too.

I have done some writing, website and beauty blog posts, and written some snippets. I have also created some poetry and am currently fashioning a poem entitled Trembling and there have been others written in response to the current crisis.

One of the crafts that I like to do is to create lovely quotations in Pitman’s Shorthand and add these to my Instagram page. This is very encouraging and relaxing and as shorthand is a dying art, it does keep it in front of people.

I have also enjoyed glancing through the web and ordering online, and the thrill of receiving a parcel never leaves me. My daughters and I like to buy local and support small businesses, if at all possible, and I like to think that I will continue this.

Last year, I started a Bullet Journal which I had been adding to over the last few months. The list still remains uncapped, but I am sure that, given this unusual time, I will carry on and do the best I can. It is a lot of fun to tick off something that has been on the list a while. Somehow though some ideas do not get ticked off as they are ongoing. These are activities like playing the piano, hula hooping, skipping, dancing, singing, writing poetry, and all the other things that I love to do.

You may be wishing this situation to be over and yes, of course, I do too but I will relish the time that I have and keep on creating and doing, Pandemic or not.

Creating Zippy content

Ever since I can remember I have been interested in writing. At school, I liked to do the comprehension – this thrilled me much more than Maths or Algebra. When other pupils were struggling with their science or their jigsaws, I could be seen filling in a crossword puzzle or making words from a short sharp sentence! I was so excited when I was able to find words from that one sentence, and the most words I discovered, the better. These tasks fuelled my imagination for life and the subsequent writing I created. I devoured the words from a vast dictionary whilst others were devouring their food cooked in a Domestic Science class. To me, those cooking skills were not half as fascinating as comprehension.

During these down times (in the current Pandemic), I have been able to glance back at the diaries I created in my late teens and early twenties. This has been a real revelation and paved the way for the writing that I have done in later life. The diaries were a reminder that I liked a bit of a social life at weekends and that if I had a quiet weekend, I was not impressed.  However, life went on and eventually I got married and had a family. My diary did continue but in a much briefer format. It has certainly recorded the sad and the happy occasions of my existence, to the extent that I now have 53 notebooks fat and full of life’s momentous events.

I suppose because I have delved into administrative tasks as I originally trained as a Secretary, and because I am able to write Pitman’s Shorthand at speed, I have always been involved in the creation of paragraphs. It thrills me that I have kept up my shorthand writing and it came in handy when I had to take notes during my undergraduate course in Trinity St Davids, Carmarthen. When I graduated in 2008, as a mature student, in Creative Writing and English, I could not have been more excited. This was the way that I wanted my life to go.

Since then, I have been writing snippets, paragraphs and poetry and I have been creating Social Media posts for small businesses. I have even written short stories for children but, as yet, have not been able to get them published. For me, it is not about getting published but about the actual task of writing itself.

Spin along to www.so-occasion.co.uk for creating words with joy!

Beginnings

Don’t you just love beginnings? Beginnings of stories, poems, plays or even letters! Or you could like the beginning of a love story. Everything has a beginning. In this blog post I am going to touch upon some memorable and not so well-known beginnings in novels, stories, poems and love letters.

When I was a child, I was always encouraged to write letters especially if I had to say thank-you for a birthday or a Christmas present. What should I write and how should I start? This was always my question. Well, why not try “I hope you are well, as I am!” This then is how I started most of my letters as a child. Not today though. I would like to think that I start them more interestingly! As anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook will know, I love words; and I love how they knit together to cause the fabric of our lives to grow and expand and to make an interesting item. One of my favourite tweets is “A glance through my tweet collection will surely inspire.” See @SoOccasionNow on Twitter.

The following descriptive first few sentences came from the pen of Alan Bennett that wonderful and enigmatic story teller. “I ran into a snake this afternoon,” Miss Shepherd said. “It was coming up Parkway. It was a long grey snake – a boa constrictor possibly. It looked poisonous. It was keeping close to the wall and seemed to know its way. I’ve a feeling it may have been heading for the van.”

From Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour Lost” we listen to the beginning from the King “Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, / Live register’d upon our brazen tombs, / And then grace us in the disgrace of death.” Such drama that is typical of this writer from centuries past.

A more gentle beginning and full of sunshine is this from William Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils:- “I wander’d lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o’er vales and hills, / When all at once I saw a crowd, / A host of golden daffodils.” What a bright light heralding the dream of Spring and the buds of new life.

If you want love, then this letter written in 1912 should suffice. “To: My widow. Dearest darling – we are in a very tight corner and I have doubts of pulling through – In our short lunch hours I take advantage of a very small measure of warmth to write letter preparatory to a possible end …..” Written by Robert Scott to Kathleen Scott.

A woman writer from 1949 wrote “I am obliged to begin this story with a brief account of the Hampton family, because it is necessary to emphasise the fact once and for all that the Hamptons were very grand as well as very rich.” This snippet from Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford is rather long and one would have to read further into the book to gather the richness that it hints upon.

I shall conclude with a bible quotation “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This came from the beginning of John’s gospel 1:1. As perhaps is widely known, the bible is all about communication.

Space does not allow me here to elaborate any further. But if you have a favourite #beginning, please comment as you wish.