Hi, I’ve been thinking about how I could find the words to write this post for months. Life has been incredibly difficult since New Year for us as a family. At times it’s felt like we’d slipped into a parallel universe thinking at some point I’d wake up and be back in my ‘old’ life.
I don’t want to go into details about what’s happened, suffice to say it’s been health related and we have lost a very special person in our lives. Grief is a tricky thing to navigate and I’m on that road now with my boys. Life will never be the same for us but we have to look to the future now.
I have always been a passionate advocate for creativity helping me in tough times, and it truly has in the past. This time though, perhaps my feelings were too big so my creativity and need to make just slipped away. I ‘had’ to make a few crochet items for a commission I was working on and that forced me to get lost (temporarily) in the mindless rhythm of crocheting, but I can honestly say that in the past six months I have probably crocheted for pleasure a couple of times – the most recent of which was last night, which got my thinking about my blog & podcast.
I had big plans for the podcast this year – which haven’t happened. In fact there is still an episode which was due to be published in early January just as our difficulties first arose. I have felt a bit guilty at times because I have a lovely audience out there (some of whom have contacted me directly to check on me – which is lovely) and I always prided myself on being reliable and regular in my podcast episodes. I don’t like to let people down.
In addition to what we’ve been dealing with emotionally, I have had to take on more paying work recently to support my family and that has eaten into my spare time which in the past would have been spent having lovely chats with fabulous creative people about their lives for the podcast. The impact this additional pressure would have on the podcast going forwards has worried me, as it’s a big part of who I am, but the podcast doesn’t bring any financial reward – only emotional and in fact, it actually costs me money to make.
With this in mind, I think the time has come to face up to the future of Making Stitches. The plain facts are that my time is a lot more limited nowadays and will be for the foreseeable future but I would like to continue with my podcast and blogging adventures albeit in a reduced manner. So hopefully, in the next few days, that outstanding episode of Making Stitches Podcast due out in January will make a late appearance and some more ‘stand alone’ episodes will follow later in the year.
If there is still anyone out there still following my blog who hasn’t disappeared since I hung up my blogging hat in January, thank you for hanging on. And to everyone who has been checking on me in my absence – thank you, it’s nice to know I wasn’t forgotten. Please bear with me, and I will pop back again from time to time, hopefully with happier news and some colorful crochet…
Hello there! It’s the last day of November already eek! I’m not ready for December!!
It’s been a busy old month – perhaps that’s why it’s gone so quickly. It’s only now I look back at what we’ve been up that I’ve realised it’s been quite a lot.
In the latest twist of the Covid story it’s also been a month of regular trips to our local testing centre every time anyone gets a cough or sniffle or we are alerted about a close contact. I think we may have been about 10 times lately – I’m thinking of asking for loyalty points!! Fortunately all tests have come back negative.
Here’s what we’ve been up to this month…
A golden tree at the end of the rainbow
Yet again this year, after over a decade away from the UK I have loved seeing the beautiful colours of autumn this month. I may no longer have little people at home who like to make pictures out of autumn treasure, but I can’t help but pick up pretty leaves when I see them!
No it’s not Christmas yet!!
Eek – am I the only one who gets freaked out by early Christmas decorations? I took Littlest out for hot chocolate on 1st November to a local café and they had a huge tree, giant baubles… the works! On the first of November!!! Maybe I’m just a Scrooge but it’s seems a bit early to me. This photo was of the Trafford Centre on the first Saturday of November…. Christmas lights galore!
Meeting real people in real life!
One evening early in the month, I had the most wonderful time ‘out out’ in Manchester. Since February/March last year I have been a virtual member of a super community for podcasters.
After months and months of zoom virtual meet ups where we hear from real ‘professional’ podcasters and swap advice and help amongst our community, I actually got to meet everyone in real life!! What a thrill. (People were so much taller than I expected after spending so long just seeing them on my phone/laptop screen 😂! )
The occasion for this meet up was to celebrate the club’s 3rd birthday and the 30th meet up in total. There were drinks and even birthday cake!
If you are a podcaster yourself or are thinking of starting your own podcast do come along to a future zoom. The group’s called MIC’s Podcast Club and although it’s based in the North West of England, there are members from much further afield (like America) and I was still living in Gibraltar when I first joined. You can find them on Twitter @MICsPodcastClub and maybe one day you can have the thrill of seeing your own podcast up in lights on the wall of a real-life meet up!
Costa del Ship Canal
Littlest’s football match got cancelled one week and instead the team coach opted to run a team building training session in our local nature reserve.
It was a perfect morning for it – definitely worth setting the alarm for an early start on a Saturday!
Just look at those blues and the golden leaves….
That water almost looked Mediterranean – well almost – it is the Manchester Ship Canal!
Plastic hedge be gone!
In this era of everything needing to look perfect and be convenient, we end up with situations like astroturf and plastic hedges. I am not a fan at all. I’m a bit more slap dash and enjoy going with the flow with nature, plus I really enjoy gardening. So when we inherited this delightful plastic hedge at our new home last year, it’s days were numbered. It did a lot better than expected as other jobs took precedence but this month, it’s time was up.
It didn’t take long, it was so rotten inside it practically fell apart – very little force was needed at all. I’m looking forward to installing a rather more environmentally friendly replacement soon!
Yorkshire Sculpture Park
A few weeks ago I received a message from a lovely friend I used to know in Gibraltar. She, like me has moved back to the UK and is now based in the South East of England. She wanted to let me know she and her partner were having a few days up North and would I like to meet them at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park? Yes! Was my answer!!
Before we moved to Gibraltar, we lived in Wakefield just a stone’s throw from YSP and it was a regular destination for us as a family on a weekend. It was so lovely to be able to go back there – albeit briefly while the Little Postcards were at school.
The weather was so kind to us. It was very cold but it was beautifully sunny. The perfect conditions for having a wander through the beautiful park and sculptures.
We didn’t spend too long together as I was clock watching to get back across the Pennines in time for school pick up, so we didn’t get to see the whole of the park but one exhibition both myself and my friend (who’s also a crafter) enjoyed immensely was one by Joana Vasconcelos who likes to create amazing things out of everyday objects… like giant stilettos out of pots and pans…
…. Lots and lots of crochet!!! Viva crochet!
Just look at that intricate work!!
But the next fabric structure stopped us in our tracks… it was huge!
The photo doesn’t do it justice – it was giant and filled the huge exhibition space. It was a combination of patchwork, embroidery and very complicated crochet.
The photo above shows the end of one of those tentacles and was over a metre in diameter.
There were also pictures made of bulbous crochet structures…
How about this for a giant pouffe for your living room?
There was also a sculpture made purely of red plastic knives & forks..
And then more examples of intricate crochet covering everyday household items…
And a fabulous chair…
The Joana Vasconcelos exhibition is on until 9th January 2022 both in the underground gallery and with pieces in the open air too. The artist’s work is said to be “sculptures that comment with a feminist perspective on cultural identity and tradition and celebrate the creative lives of women” – YSP Guide.
It was a lovely visit to the YSP and fabulous to be able to see my friend again – who I hadn’t seen since pre-Covid times. I can highly recommend a visit if you haven’t been, I’ll certainly be back when I can spend longer there.
Sock knitting update
Remember the pair of socks I was knitting thanks to Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum’s fabulous book?
Well they’re finished!!
I now have toasty warm toes!
In other crafty news, I’m currently working on Eleonora from Coastal Crochet’s Winter Walk Scarf CAL.
It took a while to get started as my hand-dyed skein I’d been saving for the right moment got into rather a big tangle…
But I got there in the end…
And I’m on my way!
Making Stitches Podcast
In podcast news, there have been 2 new episodes this month – both of them yarn inspired.
The first was with the hugely talented and inspiring crochet designer Emma Leith. You can find that here.
The second was a real treat to record because it meant I was able to go ‘back stage’ at the fabulous Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn and speak to Sara Mulvey. What a joy it was to have a proper chat with Sara after months of watching her videos through lockdown – it was such a positive part of a rather unpleasant time. You can listen to Sara’s episode here.
My first ever crochet patterns have been launched and are available to buy from my Etsy Shop!
There’s Flora the Gardener and Hope the Snowdrop and all being well they will be joined by some more friends very soon!
And that’s just about it for this month. I hope November has been kind to you.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Edit: I forgot to mention the snow! We also has some of the white stuff fall in the last few days – super exciting even if it was very cold!!
This time last week, dozens of intrepid walkers were preparing for the challenge of the year: the Med Steps 5 Challenge. Organised by the Gibraltar Prison Service and with all funds raised going to Cancer Relief Gibraltar, it’s an event which is growing year on year.
After a few wet days, the rain held off meaning everything went to plan. Individuals and teams of walkers and runners set off for up to five laps each of the Mediterranean Steps.
One walker even attempted to complete the challenge in high heels! In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast I meet some of the people behind the event and take you along with me for the walk.
The third annual Med Steps 5 Challenge is due to take place this month. The Challenge which sees teams and individuals climb the Med Steps 5 times to raise much needed funds for the Cancer Relief Centre here in Gibraltar is a wonderful event.
Last year over £7,000 was raised from the event and every single penny went to help people undergoing treatment for cancer as well as supporting their families.
It may be hard work but I can’t think of a more beautiful place to hold a fundraising effort!
In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast I met Steven Belilo, who’s one of the organizers behind the event. He told me all about how you can get involved yourself – so there’s no excuse!
Here’s on of the huge birds which I mentioned in the podcast being seen off by the resident seagulls:
If you want to sponsor one of the walkers taking part in this year’s Med Steps 5 Challenge, please have a look at Sandra Capano’s Just Giving Page. Sandra is a good friend of Postcard from Gibraltar who has supported my blog for a long time.
For more information on the Med Steps 5 Challenge, check out their Facebook Page or Twitter account (@MedSteps5). You can pick up entry forms for the event at Trafalgar Pharmacy or pop along to Cathedral Square on Wednesday May 3rd where you can meet the team.
This podcast was recorded and edited by Postcard from Gibraltar. You can subscribe to the podcast feed on iTunes and PodOmatic.
The lush green Alameda Botanical Gardens are the green lungs of Gibraltar, lying at the heart of the community at the southern end of Main Street and below the iconic Rock Hotel.
It’s home to plants and trees from all over the world, as well as an open air theatre, a children’s playground and a wildlife park. In recent years a scheme has been rolled out to encourage school children to get their hands dirty, many of whom don’t have access to a garden of their own.
The Alameda Gardening Club which operates on two days a week helps children learn about the origins of the food they eat as well as forging a respect for the natural world around them.
In this podcast I met up with one of the education volunteers, Lucy Hart to find out more about the scheme they run here and heard exciting plans for the future.
In a first for Gibraltar, the education team at the Alameda Gardens have launched a crowd funding project in order to build a BioDome outdoor classroom for the children of the Gardening Club.
Gibraltar is unique in so many ways and one of the things which makes it so is its diverse community and that community’s ability to live together amicably. Here, people from many diverse faiths and backgrounds live together in tolerance and respect for one another.
A think tank, called Understanding Gibraltar, has been set up to look at why and how the different faiths and religious groups here can live side by side so well and with a view to perhaps exporting the Gibraltar model elsewhere in the world.
In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast I caught up with Joshua Lhote from Understanding Gibraltar to find out all about it.
In this episode, I meet Aaron Seruya, a barrister who put his legal career on hold to follow his dream of creating an exhibition of paintings featuring comic book heroes.
In his Superhero Experience Exhibition, Aaron marries two of his life long passions; art and superheroes. But what made him put his career on hold to follow his passion? A real life meeting with Superman here in Gibraltar.
You can see Aaron’s 71 paintings at his exhibition at the Fine Arts Gallery in Casemates Square from 3rd to 16th May.
People are turning to their phones and tablets more and more these days to keep abreast of the news and find out what’s happening in the world. In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast, I caught up with Giordano Durante, editor of the online news service; Your Gibraltar TV, to talk about this new age of news at our fingertips.
On returning to his native Gibraltar after studying Philosophy at University in London, Giordano worked at the Gibraltar Chronicle and as a prison warden at the newly opened Windmill Hill Prison before joining YGTV. Now the news service’s Editor, he told me how in this age of Facebook and Twitter, Your Gibraltar TV is often the first port of call for many people when they want to read the news.
Are you a fan of Manga or perhaps have harboured an obsession with comics since childhood? Are you fascinated by science fictions films or is table-top gaming your thing? If you answered yes to any of those questions you are in for a treat very soon.
The first ever Gibraltar International Comic Con takes place in Kings Bastion on the ‘May the fourth’ weekend and is expected to draw fans of all genres to the Rock for a weekend of workshops, cosplay, competitions and lots more.
In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast you can hear from three members of the team who are working behind the scenes getting everything ready for the event :
If you would like to get in contact with me about a future podcast, please send me an email to email@example.com or via Facebook. You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram as @postcardfromgib
In this episode of the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast I catch up with Gibraltar based blogger and founding editor of parenting e-magazine Mum on the Rock, Polly Lavarello.
After moving to Gibraltar from the UK, Polly set up her blog Polly Mixtures and soon found herself climbing the UK parenting blog charts as she documented her experiences of having her first child. A problematic pregnancy meant Polly had to be hospitalised in Cadiz, miles away from friends and family.
After her blog took off, Polly decided to turn her attention to the wider parenting community in Gibraltar and created Mum on the Rock. Now into it’s second year, the online magazine is a valuable resource for parents in Gibraltar. It offers a ‘What’s On’ diary for family friendly groups and events along with features written by locally based parents and grandparents.
You can also listen and subscribe to the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast on iTunes. I would love it if you would also take the time to leave a review as that means more people will be able to find me in future. This Podcast is also available on the PodOmatic App for Android and iOS devices.