101 Lives of a Sofa

sofa

Some like the brown leather ones.

Or the oddly shaped like flying saucers ones, designed in high fashion labs.   Not a stitch out of place and watch out if you come near with a bar of chocolate or a glass of red wine.

Others go for the white ones that twist and turn like the Milky (Motor) Way in their living rooms.

We all search for the right one.

Some like piles of cushions scattered everywhere, with no greater plan or reason.

Others like well–matched rows of embroidered squares and circles.

And some like cosiness, comfort and low-maintenance, and the odd crumb.  So do I.

Every sofa tells a story and here is ours.

First there is the smell of spilled morning coffee and rushed routine.  A stash of cornflakes hidden by Peanut, just in case.

The sleepy hollow in the left corner from the time when I carried my boy under my heart and needed those frequent naps or just liked to lie down with my eyes closed and listen to the birds chirping and cars rushing while stroking the Bump.

A few marks where Peanut chose to wipe his nose.  Sorry about that. I know I should take better care of you but a part of me thinks that your shabby looks make you more special.

Some days Teddy 1 and Teddy 2 invade all the sofa space.

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All these crumbs and cornflakes, chocolate stains (proof of my late night writing) and hollow spots tell stories about our family.

Stories of fun games and pillow fights.  Laughing out loud.  Building dens.  Cosy evenings after long days; our feet up, plates on our laps and lazy chats.

Of Peanut squeezing through with a book, or two.  Our goodnight reads and singing along to In the Night Garden songs.

Of holding hands when life on the small screen gets too scary.  Of resting my head on BlueBeretDad’s shoulder and falling asleep when the football is on.

Of us mastering the baby babble, making plans for our future and listening to someone playing bagpipes in their garden.

Our sofa is not just another piece of furniture.

It is not about purpose and function and order.

It is more of a friend, though frayed around the edges.

It is a hiding spot for our memories.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I have received monetary compensation for writing it.   All words, images and sofa memories are mine.

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Haiku

Dear Peanut

Summer is here or at least this is what the calendar says.

We have had some lazy sunshine sipping through the clouds which means you could work on your wobbling and stomping in our local park.

Everyday you show more of your unique personality; you are a funny boy. A stand-up comedy star in the making or a mountaineer, judging by your ability to climb the Everest tables, chairs, the kitchen cupboard and the big bookshelf.

Here are some snippets of last week. Something for you to read one day and remember. Taste of your first ever ice cream. Your first magic tent. And your second summer solstice.

Love

Mum x

ice cream Gaping mouth

Soft vanilla, melting stars

Your eyes -two suns

Breeze in my hair h4

You at my skirt

Summer solstice

magic tent4 cushions, 1 blanket, 2 chairs

2 teddy bears at the gate

Welcome to Peanut’s Magic Tent

Disco Inferno

disco loveIt is an early spring and the evening smells of cherry blossom and burning rubbish. Feeling tall and pretty in my 13 year old scraggy body I run across the park past a few dog walkers and regular drunks. On my way to my first ever disco night.

A home-made botched haircut stays put with half a can of my mum’s ancient hair spray. A string of fake pearls bounces off my (thankfully still flat) chest. My tights are sprinkled with red nail varnish dots to catch those persistent runs. Every few meters or so I have to stop and put a piece of cotton wool back into my brand new red patent leather shoes. I love them so much I don’t mind the agony and blisters.

I sneak into the dining hall decorated with a narcoleptic disco ball and worn-out garlands from last Christmas. The air is muddled with teenage sweat and cheap deodorant. I check my hair and stop in the doorway. Girls, all giggles and smeared lipstick, huddle together on one side. Boys, all attitude and gel in hair, play football with an empty Coke can on the other side of the room. A few balloons hover in the middle.

As soon as Sinead starts wailing about “seven hours and fifteen days” the floor fills up with awkward fumbling and first stolen kisses. A string of hopefuls queues to the Pretty Girl with Long Curls. What I lack in hair I make up with my je ne sais quoi. I strike a pose. I imagine therefore I am Cindy/Linda/Claudia.

Nothing.

The only odd one out – the Dumbo Ears Boy supports the wall next to me.

He will do.

I glance at him and he starts inspecting the sole of his shoe.

My cheeks burn.

The drunks in the park burst out laughing when I run past them.

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Do you remember those awkward times? I would love to hear your stories!

I am linking up to  Once Upon A Time over at Older Mum (In A Muddle).  I am delighted to be joining her for a walk down the memory lane!

A Wild Meadow

Hello everyone

Still enjoying my time in Sweden.  Ah the sun and the pastries!  I know I said I would take a break from all the blogging madness but I have recently dreamt up this post.  So here it is – a quick walk down my memory lane for you while I’m away.  Oh, and before I disappear again to chase some elks – there are some great Sweden inspired posts in the making so watch this space!

DoodleBuddy

There is a wild meadow a five-minute walk away from my parent’s flat.  It doesn’t seem to belong to anyone and you can see it in the neglected long grass and half dead shrubs hiding remains of a drunken party.  Empty bottles of vodka.  Old newspapers used as a seat or cover (or both) from rain and cold.  An old decaying building that used to be a petrol station. Its dead eyes boarded up, its face scarred with an occasional graffiti of male genitals.

This is where I used to play hide and seek with my best friend, crawling on the ground, knowing my dirty knees and torn sleeves would get me into trouble later. The overgrown bushes and grass hid exciting secrets and treasures.  A lonely boot missing its laces.  A broken umbrella. A baseball cap.

This is where as an eight year old girl I took my puppy, Gapcio, for his first proper walk.  Over the years spent exploring the meadow, Gapcio never tired of digging up molehills and showing unrequited love to an occasional hedgehog.  And this was where I took him 18 years later for our last walk before he disappeared in my dad’s car.

The meadow witnessed hours of me and my friend coming to grips with our teenage angst while sitting on a fallen tree, overanalysing failed dates, drinking cheap beer and choking on cigarette smoke.  During summers a group of secret naturists took over our hiding spot to scorch their wobbly bellies in the high sun.

This is where I came to say good-bye to my life in Poland before heading off into the unknown eight years ago.

One year I brought a former boyfriend back with me to introduce him to the meadow and its magic. He looked at the grey blocks of flats rising over the city in the far distance, the weeds and dead trees around us, dried out bones of a dead bird he had managed to avoid stepping into and the abandoned petrol station building with a fresh graffiti of a gigantic penis on its front.  My heart swelled with pride.

“So, this is the meadow I told you about”

He took his time taking in all the beauty before muttering something about perfect hiding spots for criminals on the run and dodgy drug dealers.

I Can Sew More Than Bibs

As I am taking a couple of weeks off and offline I will treat you to another guest post by a great friend and very talented sewing bee – Melissa.  Especially for you from the sunny Australia.  Enjoy!

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I’ve always loved sewing. Some of my earliest sewing experiences are sitting on Nanna’s lap whilst she gently rocked the treadle plate up and down and guided fabric under the needle. As I got older (and taller) I was allowed to operate the treadle myself.

My Nanna and Mum both sew. For both of them I guess out of necessity more than as a hobby but they still enjoyed it. And their skills have been passed down. I am so blessed that they felt it important enough to show me these skills, have the patience to let me practice and to just let me try things.

By the time I’d got to secondary school age 12 I’d already accomplished quite a few basic garments. With younger siblings there was often tracksuit pants or PJ bottoms to be made and even the straight seams of the tops we done…I had even successfully made a button up pj top and set the sleeves in myself.

Year 7 sewing class was therefore an epic failure. I got told off for talking and wandering around the classroom more times than I remember. Problem was that I finished my “machine embroidered denim pencil case with Velcro closure” about lesson three and it was supposed to take the whole 10 week term. I was wandering around helping out all the other kids in my class. “your bobbin is empty that’s why the stitching is coming undone” …”ok you’ve got that jammed… best we just wriggle it all we can then cut it free” and “you’ve broken the needle – just get a new needle of Ms P and I’ll show you how to replace it”….all the while Ms P looking in my direction and telling me to sit down and stop interrupting other students who were trying to work.

Funny thing is that all these years later I have a sibling at the same school doing the same initiation to sewing project. And she too is bored to tears being one of my most regular sewing companions!

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The combination of sewing classes being a dreadful drag of time and being a teenager of the 90’s and it being so terrible uncool to wear homemade or anything not from a retail store the hobby was abandoned for a number of years.

By a number of years I mean fast forward almost 15 years. The sewing passion is back. The bug has bitten hard and I have a xmas bonus cheque burning a hole in my wallet. After weeks of research a machine is put on layby…a few more pay cheques are needed to complete the purchase.

And then I get the email of all emails….I’m going to be an Auntie (honorary) to a friends surprise miracle. Well there was no stopping me – credit card was retrieved from purse and that machine, fabric and thread were purchased that very lunchbreak!

A sneaky peak on some crafty blogs that afternoon at work and voila – a pattern was downloaded and printed out ready to undertake that night. And you know what I made first up? A pair of baby booties. A 15 year hiatus from sewing and I undertake shoes!

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Since then its been bib after bib after burp cloth after bib. Sometimes I think that is all anyone else thinks I can sew. I’m getting good at them….must have made at least 50 of them in since buying my machine. Babies popping out all over the place and my sewing skills are in the nappy bags of little rug rats in many parts of the globe.

IMG_27382011 - Matilda's newest kinder dressIMG_2703

But I promise I can sew other stuff too. Admittedly still easy stuff – no requests for formal wear please! Proficient enough to make a few easy pieces for myself as work or casual wear and a special outfit for a special person’s first birthday.

My challenge for 2012 was a homemade year of gifts. And there are no surprises that there was an awful lot of sewing done. Yes bibs featured heavily but so did vintage overalls, an apron, hair towels, pj’s, a party dress and a penguin costume for a toy monkey…a whole other blog post for the future!

The challenge for 2013 is going to be where to take the sewing skills. I’m torn between making a lot more of these baby supplies that my dear friends have loved so much and doing a little market stall – money earnt would fund a trip to visit the BlueBeretFamily of course! Option 2 is pushing myself skill wise and tackling stuff I am just too scared of right now…invisible zips, pintucks, trousers and jackets! Option 3 is to do both. Ever the overachiever?

I’ve managed a few items for myself but found kids clothing is just so much easier.  A few buttons. Lots of stretchy easy care fabrics. But womens clothes. Yikes! A flat piece of fabric is cut pinned, stitched into something three dimensional. And not only that but needs to fit around curves, allow movement and disguise wobbly bits!  The vintage 60’s culottes were a little heartache (I cut the shorts part back to front the first time) and now a whole lot of fun and aside from those I’ve only made a couple of work tops and a summer dress for me.  Maybe some selfish sewing is in order?

I often find myself hovering in the suiting and wools area of Spotlight and wistfully feeling the fabrics. I’d love to make a jacket but …and this is the problem there is a BUT!

I’m too scared, hindered by my own limitations. My own desire to not F it up. My not understanding how to make the alterations I need to make stuff fit me perfectly. Sadly Nana’s passed away before I got sewing again and my mum’s taught me everything she knows. Mum doesn’t want to do couture garments and even avoids zippers!

Sew (yes pun intended) now I am stuck. Stuck doubting my own abilities, stuck not finding a pattern that I like enough to try or reading reviews that they are short in the body or for large busts.

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I guess I’m wanting/needing my hand held in taking the next step or someone to give (or force) me to tackle something way outside my comfort zone. I know I can do more than just bibs and burp cloths. I could almost sew them up blindfolded now – but please don’t challenge me on this one as using a hot iron is dangerous enough when I have my eyesight. These poor fingers are sufficiently battle scarred from my wrestles already!

I have done more. My skills have come a long way in 2 short years. I can sew more than bibs.

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One of the best bits of sewing “advice” my mum has given me is “If YOU want something sewn or mended make me a cup of tea.” Well I want something sewn…I guess I better go make myself a pot of tea.

 

 

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