Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Dear Burglars

Sitting amongst the piles of rejected belongings, in the midst of the disaster zone I once called home, I cannot help but wonder what ever happened to someone like yourself to reduce you to such disgusting means of supporting yourself and your family. As I stare at the empty space in the hearth, where our wood burner once stood, I can only assume you must have been quite desperate to painstakingly dismantle it and remove it at your leisure, whilst consuming our wine and sifting through our family photos. I find some solace in the idea that perhaps our wood burner, which was stood useless in our empty home, is at least keeping some impoverished children warm tonight, but really, it is little consolation.

I expect too that you took the small guitar which my daughter learned her first chords on, to satisfy a yearning for such an instrument in one of your own children. Certainly it is of no financial worth to you. As a parent who works ridiculously hard to support my family, I can sympathise with anyone who struggles to provide for their own. The difference is, when I am broke and can’t buy the things my children need or want, I work a little bit harder and smarter, instead of resorting to breaking, entering and thieving.

The thing I simply do not understand about burglary is the sheer devastation you insist on leaving behind. It is upsetting to say the least to find that valuable electrical goods, jewellery, clothing and other physical goods have been stolen, but was it really necessary to piss on my children’s toys? Toss my family photos aside and brutally remove my grandmothers ashes from their resting place?

When we bought our house in France, it was the first place in my entire life I ever had the luxury of calling home. It was my dream, my haven, my sanctuary. My peace, my security and contained within those walls was a family home built with love and care. The last time we saw it, our coats hung silently by the door and our books rested upon their shelves, just so. It looked as though we had simply popped out to buy some milk and might return at any moment. Leaving that day was perhaps one of the hardest things we ever had to do, but I left with a song in my heart and a hope in my step that we would soon return and pick up where we left off, that once more we would gather around the dinner table and celebrate. I imagined we would open the front door, light a fire, make tea and simply carry on as though we had never left.

When I got the call at work, about your antics, my reaction was so severe my colleagues believed that someone must have died. It may sound dramatic, but in a way, they were right. I have spent the last 12 months trying to laugh in the face of adversity, smile through the stress and upheaval of every single one of life’s blows. Countless times I have declared that, surely, things cannot get any worse, but they do. You have destroyed my home and you have stolen more than a washing machine and some bicycles, the physical goods you will undoubtedly use or sell on matter not, you sucked the spirit out of my home that day and a part of me died with it.

Today I begin the unpleasant task of sifting through the debris to salvage what I can of my family’s belongings. It seems like an overwhelming task, I have literally never witnessed anything like it in my life. You have violated my family, my home, my privacy and above all else, you have robbed us of our security.
The worst part is, you are someone we know. Someone we must have trusted. Someone who knew with perfect accuracy how to enter our home, someone who knew not to bother taking the flat screen TV and X Box because they are broken - because really, what burglar checks out the working order of electrical goods before piling them into his swag bag? With no electricity to aid them in doing such a thing even if they wanted to. Oh you know us alright.

Perhaps one day I will happen upon you in the street wearing Simon’s watch and coat and your wife clad in my designer dress, decorated with the gaudy rhinestone jewels my grandmother left to my daughters, worthless to you but priceless to them, I hope that makes you proud. Perhaps you will be careful not to display my family’s belongings for all to see, but believe me when I tell you, the next time I look in your eyes I will know in a heartbeat that it was you, and when I find you, I will crush you with the full force of my wrath.

You are a cockroach of the highest order, you are a mere boil on the butt of humanity, a worthless and pathetic individual and if I do not find you myself, then you can be sure that Karma will.

On a final note, when my tears have dried and my will returned, when my home is restored to some order and my children calmed, you can be sure that I will pull myself up by my own boot straps and carry on. I will hold my head high in the safe knowledge that this time, this feeling of desolation, WILL pass. I will rest easy at night, knowing that I am a good, honest, hard working woman who gives her time, love, and soul freely and generously. I will move forward in my life knowing that whilst we all have a cross to bare, ultimately, we also have a choice as to how we deal with life’s lemons. I, my so-called friend, will continue to make lemonade. You have not and will not beat me, for I learned a long time ago that when life knocks you down, you get right on up and kick it’s ass. I can only hope that next time you struggle to put food in your children’s mouths, you might remember this letter to you, and do the same, rather than continuing to take your lemons and squeezing them into someone else’s fucking eye.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Popping back to say Hello

This week I am pulling 14hr days at work, 7 days a week. There has been zero time for stitching or much else really apart from work, work, work. It happens like that sometimes, and it makes the prospect of a weekend (still 9 days to go) bittersweet. Boy am I looking forward to a lie in and a lazy day at home with the kids.

The weather is turning too, which always helps. More blue sky days and the lush green scent of spring is just in the air. I can see daffodils poking their foliage up through the cold earth and the grass sending up new shoots ready for spring sun. Oh yes, Spring is almost upon us.
I am not much of a winter baby, I like it at first, cosy fires and hot chocolate being quite lovely, then come January the novelty has worn off and I am longing for warmer days and sunflowers again.

Today I am longing for it more than ever, and the landscape around River Cottage is changing daily, greener, greener and greener.....


So roll on the weekend, I want to start playing outside!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

My Sentiments Exactly

I have been wanting to make a banner/bunting for the living area. I saw a really sweet and simple to make word banner in Handmade Home by Soule Mama and decided to give it a bash.
So I needed a word, I thought about Joy or perhaps Peace, maybe Love or Family. I started drawing the letters straight on to the fabric, and well, I'm not really sure what to say by way of explanation, except with life being somewhat higgledy piggledy in recent months, I say this rather a lot, thankfully, mostly in text rather than out loud.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Emerging a little bit stronger, just a little

I am feeling better every day at the moment. I stitch here and there whilst the children sleep and the house is quiet as a mouse, save for the constant hum of the washing machine - which I must add, is indeed the hardest working member of our household by a long way, this family of 6 has a seemingly never ending pile of washing, is it just us? or is your pile always spilling out all over the place too?

Anyhow, I have been too-ing and fro-ing across London on meetings for the last couple of weeks, and managed to find time between business lunches to pop into one of my most favourite shopping haunts....


Liberty of London, oh yes.
I picked up a few wee treasures for friends, and couldn't resist a little treat for myself. This trim is by globe enterprise, and comes in an array of colours. I was after green, but alas none was to be found that day, so I plumped for silver, and I am so glad I did.


I snipped the leaves off and attached them individually to my woven cloth. I have been working on this wee corner of the cloth for a few evenings now. The curly wurly branches are now festooned with sparkling leaves and I have stitched them some more to add more texture and general tree bark nobbliness. I really like how this is coming along. Can you see where I used the variagated thread that Jacky sent me?


The chrysalis will give you a little clue as to where the "story" in my cloth is heading, although I am indeed working backwards, there is a story none the less.
Indigenous people recognise the chrysalis as the soul trapped inside in the body, I think we can all relate to that sometimes, can't we?
The humble caterpillar, chowing down on juicy leaves, before wrapping himself in his wee cocoon and emerging as a colourful butterfly, it seems right, for my cloth to share this story of transformation. It does, in some small way, represent my journey through pregnancy and PND and the light at the end of the tunnel, emerging better, stronger, perhaps even a little brighter....

I also spoiled myself and bought more gutermann threads, I love love love these metallics, oh bestill my heart.


What have you been making?

Monday, 7 February 2011

Catching Up

Gosh, has it really been three weeks? What can I say - work has been crazy, 4 kids and two parents in full time employment makes for much mayhem, it is a real juggling act. Whilst I have found time here and there to stitch, I have struggled to find the time to photograph my work and post it here (the dark evenings do not help!), alas, I am back for now, and will be posting a few updates over the next few days.

Anyhooo, I am feeling much better, MUCH better, and before I prattle on too much about this and that and my stitchery, I simply must show you this....


This is the Peace Angel Cloth, stitched completely by hand by my very dear friend Jacky, in Australia. I have been following her progress on this cloth for some weeks via her blog, and then lo and behold, it landed on my doorstep, courtesy of Mr Postman.
To say I was surprised would be somewhat of an understatement, words cannot even begin to explain how honoured I am to own this beautiful piece of art, and the gratitude I feel for the generosity and kindness that Jacky has shown in sending it to me, what a sweet treat she is, and oh what a lucky girl I am.





I simply cannot stop staring at it! It is incredibly tactile, every tiny stitch is absolutley awe inspiring, it is so very, very precious to me, I will treasure it always. It now has pride of place above the mantel in our living room, which has until now, remained very forlorn and bare. The Peace Angel cloth was just what the doctor ordered for this rather sparse spot in the house.

Jacky also included this beautiful hand dyed embroidery thread, the colours make my mouth water, it is so eye poppingly yum I just want to lick it.


I have stitched with it a little already, on a secret project which I shall reveal shortly! (oh I do love a good secret!). Thank you Jacky, you really made my day and put a much needed smile on the faces of this family of 6! <3 My woven cloth is really taking shape, progress is slow but progress is progress and I am pleased with how it is coming along. Jude's workshops are incredibly inspiring, though if I am honest, I do feel somewhat overhwhelmed to be in the presence of such an extraordinary talented group of artists, I have very much been a lurker, watching, listening, learning....


This cloth is taking on a life of it's own and it's story is unfolding in my minds eye one stitch at a time. I have added curly branches and some more leaves....


One wee nibbled leaf...


What have you been creating lately?