Friday, 26 March 2010

Coffee is BACK!

Hurrah for the springtime weather, the daffodils and tete a tetes rearing their lovely yellow heads and for the return of the lovely Coffee. NO, I don't mean the caffeinated beverage, I mean my fellow founder of A Crafty Coffee.

Now, you all know she is having a spell in hospital at the moment, and if you don't know already, you may have read between the lines and got that she is experiencing some MH difficulties. The good news is that the new medication is taking effect and that Coffee is currently able to take 3 hours of escorted leave each day. Various peeps have been 'allowed' to escort her, including ME! Wahoo, can you believe they trusted me to keep her safe?

Now, onto more Crafty matters.
There was a great number of attendees again this morning, so when I gauged opinion on whether meeting on Good Friday was indeed a Good Friday idea, I was met with an overwhelming response ... YES! Great news indeed, how wonderful to be able to take advantage of a Bank Holiday to use the Dads to have the littlies so that many of us can continue to craft away. Of course Easter is pretty significant for me, but not so for many of the group so it will be interesting to sit and chat and see what people think of the easter story and of the Jewish and Pagan festivals also celebrated at this time.
In terms of A Crafty Day, the response is again very positive. We will really try to pull together over the next month in order to organise something for July, prior to the school holidays if we can.

Physical craft wise, SJ showed me a new stitch that she is using to create this FAB cardigan, it has a beautiful textural quality to it.
Coffee is still working on her hooded cardi, it is coming quite close to being finished now which is great.
I am still doing the applique cushion for DD. A Crafty Coffee seemed like a good idea, but I didn't allow for the fact that I am actually quite gregarious and therefore spend too much time engaged in conversation.
PT is knitting her bag AND GROWING A BABY! How exciting and what lovely news to have heard this fine morning! Congratulations to her and Mr T, we wish them all the best as they embark on this amazing journey together.
SD is still feeling relieved of some of her ME symptoms which is good, she has had some tummy trouble as a result of the pain killers though so we will pray about that. She was knitting a PS3 toy for her brother who is definitely old enough to know better but ...
I saw CK, J, DJ and HK all doing some cross stitch, AS COMPLETING the cupcake jumper, IW and KB plotting and planning, C and L crafting quietly in another corner. It really is a hive of activity on a Friday morning in Trago Lounge.

Alas, no pictures again, I PROMISE to do better one of these fine days.
Love for the week.
Crafty xxx

Friday, 19 March 2010

A Wanderer Returns

I waltzed into A Crafty Coffee this morning a little later than usual, but still before 9.30 and the place was already buzzing with craft and conversation! As I stood at the bar, a bumped into Mr Sparkles, a very good friend, and decided to sit with him so that he would feel less intimidated by the massive group of female crafters taking over the Lounge.

Sadly, Coffee has been taken into hospital, I have mentioned on here previously that she has been very unwell but things have reached new depths. Mr Sparkles was a great encouragement to talk to about this as he has first hand experience with the same illness. I am planning on making a visit to see Coffee tomorrow, all things being equal.

So, as Mr Sparkles and myself sat and enjoyed a cuppa or two, a wanderer returned! We were very pleased to welcome back DH who had to leave us owing to work commitments. She returned with a very pretty shawl she is working on, and she told us all about her job, and the interview she was having this afternoon for a new one. I was able to share with her the 'rumblings' about a crafting day and she was very happy to be a tutor for the day!

DH and myself retired to the coffee table area where there is more light. I took a quick look around and chatted to a new lady while I was on my way. I saw about 20 people again, some faces I know very well by now, but others less so. CP was tickled when I went over to sit with her and SD. She said, 'I love the way you circulate to speak to everyone, like a bride at a wedding'. I suppose I feel that since Coffee and myself 'founded' the group, I need to make sure everyone is welcome and happy and feels comfortable. It's silly really because the group would take care of itself very well without me.

So, after last week when PT and myself chatted with SD about her ME and what she would most like prayer for, I felt I should follow that up. Interestingly, S decided she would most like not to be in pain, and to have the energy to function without crashing out. I asked her how she'd been ... to which she was delighted to reply that she has had a week free of painkillers and that she has done more in the past week than she has done in ages but has not felt wiped out. I very quietly said, 'wow, what an answer to prayer'. Her friend said, 'it was all the laughter' to which I replied that laughter is a great healer but SD said, 'AND the prayer'. I feel so encouraged to offer to pray with or for people irrespective of their faith background as a result of this.

Anyway, onto more crafty matters ... two interesting things came out of this morning. Both IW and KB want to be tutors on our crafty day and KB and myself discussed having a spiritual/emotional crafting day whereby we endeavour to visually represent feelings/thoughts etc. The second VERY interesting chat was at the very end. I was intorduced to a lovely lady who wants to set up a craft based therapy group for people with mental health problems and also to have ameans for those people to be able to sell their work. I insisted that we have a conversation about it because many of our number have mental health/emotional/physical health problems and because I am aware of a group of people who want to have a premises on our High Street selling local crafts, fairtrade goods and food/drink. As we sat and chatted it became apparent that there were ways in which our groups could all overlap. How jolly exciting. WHAT NEXT?

Monday, 15 March 2010

A not so Crafty Coffee

I arrived at least half an hour later than I said owing to having a doctor appointment for myself and Kid A, followed by a 'brief' meeting with the headteacher.

Upon my arrival I could see that there were quite a number of crafters beavering away, I would say the usual 20ish but that is a guess.

What did strike me was that there was a new member to our number, PT who had positioned herself with CK and SD among others, she was offering some words of encouragement to S regarding miraculous healings of ME sufferers. S did seem to be enormously encouraged and began to really consider what she would most like to happen if people were to pray for her.

I was also THRILLED to see that Coffee put in an appearance, she is still seriously ill but to see her up and out of the house fills me with hope for her.

As far as crafting goes, I sat myself down on a long table with EN, CP and their little girls, got my applique out of my satchel ... only to discover that I had left the thread at home. Thank goodness IW had come along with a book on felt bowls from her seemingly endless crafting library.

There is a rumble within the group of the need for some kind of crafting day, like a mini retreat where tutorials may be offered, we can share food together and generally spend more time either completing a project or trying our hand at something new in a totally safe environemnt. I am going to bite the bullet with this one and look into booking a venue in the summer, for a full day on a Saturday. This should give more of our 'working' members an opportunity to join in. I added working in inverted commas because I am not suggesting for one moment that being available on a Friday morning to craft means that one does not work!

I cannot say who or what was going on around me aside from this rumble as I was probably concentrating more on the people in my immediate proximity. I do hope this does not mean that everyone else did not feel welcome. I do sometimes struggle to make sure I speak to every attendee but now that relationships are forming and deepening, it is sometimes more beneficial to spend some quality time with one or two people in deeper conversation.

So, that's it for the 12th of March. I can't wait to test the water when I float the idea of the crafting day. Any takers to bet that IW is the first to offer to be a tutor for the day?

Friday, 5 March 2010

Some say it's Spring

But as I desperately scraped the ice from the windscreen, for we were running late for school, I declined to agree. Late winter it is then.

I was in the playground this morning, gathering participants for A Crafty Coffee when the head teacher approached me and asked 'if I had a minute'. Eeek. Anyway, I went off to the head's office and AS called up to me that she'd see me there.

As I walked past the window of Trago Lounge I noticed that some young things had taken 'our' window seats! How rude. I entered and saw a significantly depleted number of crafters around one of the long tables. On I walked up to the bar, ordering myself a decaf latte but immediately changing my mind to fully loaded as I pondered on my meeting with the head. The staff in Trago are coming to know us quite well now so Pip and Vicki were able to joke with me about it being 'one of those days' before we'd even made it to half past nine.

Anyway, I took my place next to AS who is on the home straight with the cupcake jumper. PW was crocheting a blanket and had invited AN to join us for the first time. AN knits, is a parent of a boy in my Kid A's class and was planning on learning to crochet this morning. Slowly more and more people began to join us so although it was a slow start, we ended up with the usual number of around twenty attendees. It was great to welcome more than one new face and although I said hello to everybody who popped it, I am still unfamiliar with everyone by name which is a bit of a challenge.

Conversations this morning centred around a mother's choice to be a full time mum or a paid working mum. This is a subject very close to my heart and it was interesting to note how the perceptions of both the full time mother and the paid working mother have shifted over time. I am sure I have mentioned before that the mix of ages and experiences at A Crafty Coffee is one of the things that makes the group a community. Sharing experiences together and 'comparing notes' for want of a better turn of phrase, enables us to support one another and to learn from one another.
More frivolous conversations were around holidays, destinations and what makes a family holiday fun. SJ, C, AS and myself had a great chat about holidays that has left me yearning to take a spring break in Italy.
It transpires that I have mutual friends outside of A Crafty Coffee with two of our members, this is lovely because it shows me what a lovely community we are becoming and that we talk about the group with friends, peers and colleagues outside of the crafting circles.

Craft wise, we had the usual crochet, knitting, sewing and cross stitch. IW assumed her favourite teaching mode, and it was simply delightful to see a blanket brought in by a lady who was taught by IW to crochet only three weeks ago. Her choice of colours was simply divine, right up my street ... a chocolate brown edge moving into pinks, greens and mulberry. Mmmmmmmm, delicious, and it had a real vintage feel taking me right back to a blanket I had as a child, crocheted for me by my Great Nana.
There was a hint at a huge cross stitch Southampton Football Club badge up the other end of the table and my ears were definitely burning but I didn't get the opportunity to see it. CK was cross stitching up there with DJ, and a couple of new ladies who I don't know.
CC was knitting ANOTHER new item (some of these women are true pros), a garter stitch coat by Debbie Bliss. It is going to be beautiful. In the book it is knitted in a rich, dark grey. But CC has elected to knit hers in a lovely purple colour. I think it is going to be lovely. EN was knitting another sleeve to sleeve jumper. Apparently the first one came out huge and will fit her DD but she was knitting it for the bump so she is experimenting with finer needles and thinner yarn to make a smaller one.
LB was, again, working on her hand stitched tree decorations. Her DS and EN's DD managed to drive the young things off of the window seats with their antics. This amused most of us because, as I have said before, Trago is a child friendly venue. It strikes me that the British attitude to children and families is fairly unique within the context of the rest of Eurpope!

And so to me ... Sadly, Coffee was too ill to be with us this morning. But that was not going to stop me. I have abandoned myself in favour of Coffee's 'try anything' approach and I am learning to hand applique. My mentality has shifted somewhat from 'oh no, I can't possibly do that, I might make a mistake' to 'I've seen it on youtube, therefore I can do it'. A friend compared it to her son who watched the winter olympics on TV and can therefore ski!
So, this hand applique ... Kid B says to me that I need to have a word with 'the shop man' as they don't do mugs with her name on but they do do Mia, Phoebe and Lily (her school buddies). It occurs to me that the cushion cover I have not braved sewing because I am too afraid to cut the back pieces may have remained unfinished for a reason. I look up hand applique on t'internet and decide that I can indeed do it. I set about personalising a cushion for her and will post the photo in the next week or four!