Thing a Day February

Several years ago – searching on my blog suggests longer ago than I thought – there was a non-defunct website that ran a “Thing a day” challenge in February.

The idea was to make something – from scratch – every day in the month of February. I tried it in two years at least. And I didn’t manage to do everyday either year. But I remember enjoying it. Then the website changed and it got harder to participate and eventually it disappeared.

As all things do it slipped my mind. Then for some reason as I wandered the scenic route home from podiatry this lunchtime, trying to avoid the dug up path, muddy mess of roadwork hell, it popped back into it.

I googled it and there is a facebook group devoted to the challenge. I’ve requested to join and think I might attempt the challenge again this year. The group description suggests “Aim low. Fold your napkin into a shape, draw a face on your thumb, doodle on a post it note. Or aim high: make time to decorate a household object, pursue your art, cook a masterpiece, do an art journal page. Just do it! “

I doubt I’ll manage to make 28 separate things but it’s not impossible. Certainly the smaller, simpler crochet squares I sometimes make for charity are usually a one day project for me. And I was thinking of widening it out/changing it to “do something creative” so writing counts. I always thought it did but reading the facebook description, maybe not. Still sometimes it’s worth being a rebel.

I mean I would like to end the month with something more than a pile of granny squares and a folder full of new flash fiction. But if that’s all I came up with it would still be a useful experience.

Unlimited Festival 2018

On Wednesday, a friend and I went to London to visit Unlimited Festival at The Southbank Centre. Unlimited is a festival of disability arts.

We saw a variety of different art exhibits. One was a messy house, meant to represent how the artist’s disability means she struggles with cleaning. The different fabrics and wallpapers had bright patterns, inspired by the dirt in her own home.

Another was pictures by two people with learning disabilities who had spent a year exploring London and based the pictures on that. One, Ian Wornast, had drawn map like layouts in what appeared to be felt tip. I think they were my favourite.

The big thing we went for was The British Paraorchestra’s The Nature of Why show. This was a music/dance show. I will try to do it justice but a big part of it’s power is in how it made you feel. I am tired today and struggling to put it into words but I suspect I would even if I was more awake.

We knew when we booked that there would be limited seating available. It was actually a promenade show which I’m glad we didn’t know in advance as I think we might not have gone if we had. Promenade is when the audience are on the stage and turn/move/walk around as they choose while the show goes on around them.

The Nature of Why was a really immersive show. The skill shown by the dancers and musicians made for a spectacle more that worth the trip. It was on twice yesterday and if we could have got home after the evening one we’d have stayed.

But the creativity in taking the disabilities and support needs of performers and including those was what I loved. A blind musician was guided by someone dancing at floor level using her hands on his feet to tell him when/where to move or stop. The wheelchair user playing the French Horn was wheeling himself when not playing. One of the times he was playing a dancer crouched back to back with him, supported him in a tipped back position and turned him slowly as she moved.

That inclusion applied to the audience as well. There was a child watching it with what appeared to be a learning disability. He was loving it but couldn’t stay still. That was captured by the cast and included. When they were doing a stamping move and took his hand and encouraged him to stamp too. Later in the show all the performers were dancing in a line. I was in the area they wanted to dance so they broke the line so some dance in front of me and others behind. I didn’t know what to do with myself!

At the end, one of the dancers came and took my hand, danced with me. I thanked her once the show ended and she said “no, thank you for dancing with me.” The fact audience and performers were so mixed meant we could talk together afterwards which was nice.

I could say so much more about The Nature of Why. I think I’ll be talking about it for a long time. It was mind blowing, amazing and just lovely.

Two rarely seen finished objects

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how I have the curse of the unfinished object.

Well, since then I finished two of the unfinished projects I mentioned (and attempted a new project but it didn’t work)

20160115_181402.jpgHere is the hat I made with my knitting loom.  This picture shows the colours best I think – it’s a chunky colour changing yarn in shades of pinks and purples with a little black.  Because the loom knitting is done working in the round it’s done solely in knit stitch but comes out in stockinette. I finished this a few days after I wrote the above linked blog post.

20160131_180349.jpgThis is the finished scarf.  I started this a few days before my sister’s wedding back in September, finished the knitting yesterday and sorted out the ends this afternoon. It’s made with the same chunky yarn and is knitted in garter stitch on 12mm knitting needles. It’s quite wide!

20160131_180427.jpgClose up on the stithces of the scarf.

20160131_180934.jpgA matching set! Me wearing both the hat and scarf together.

Loom Knitting

I got a set of knitting looms for Christmas and since New Year’s Day I’ve been doing a little everyday.  I seem to be getting the hang of it and so far I like it.

Here’s a picture of my first project on 2nd January 20160102_104200.jpg

I’d show you a picture of it today (much bigger and with added green yarn) but I reached a point where I needed to stop or turn it into something other than a mindless learning piece with no purpose.  I showed Mum when she came round earlier and I was thinking do a bit more and turn it into either a snood or a bag.

But then disaster struck and I made my second big mistake (my first big mistake was on my third ever round so it didn’t really matter). And I couldn’t fix it.  And it was just becoming more and more unravelled as I tried.

So I can’t show you a picture and it’s not going to be a snood or a bag. It’s going to be a pile of frogged yarn waiting to be made into something else. Which might then turn out to be a snood or a bag or maybe even a hat.

I’ve been researching and watched a few YouTube videos and although at first I thought you couldn’t do a lot with these beyond round items in stockinette stitch it seems the possibilities are basically endless.  So I’m keen to do more.

I don’t think it will ever replace regular knitting or crochet (which I seem to be enjoying the most at the moment) in my heart but it’s fun, easy and so far doesn’t require a lot of brain power which makes it the perfect thing to do while listening to audiobooks or watching TV.

My biggest complaint is I don’t know what to call it “I think I’ll go do some looming” makes little sense and although I think people refer to it as knitting that doesn’t feel right to me.  Because if I say I’ve been knitting there should be a pair of needles involved. Watch this space.

Hate isn’t Funny Part Three

It’s not really appropriate to call this post Hate Isn’t Funny part three because I don’t think it was really about hate just about clueless people not thinking things through properly.  But the two posts I wrote on the same subject in February were about hate and I called them Hate isn’t Funny so it feels right to use that title for this and continue the series even if it probably isn’t the best title for this particular anecdote. /end nonsensical ramble about blog titles.

Back in February I went to see Omid Djalili and his show was quite ableist and frankly in a couple of places full of hate.  I wrote about that in Hate isn’t Funny and then had some discussion with him via twitter which I wrote about in Hate isn’t Funny part two. That saga didn’t have the ending I wanted it to have but it had the best ending it was probably possible for it to have if that makes sense.

I’ve been to a couple of musicals since then and one comedy show which was funny and generally not noteworthy at all in terms of disability.

On Sunday my friend Angela and I went to see Showstopper – the improvised musical.  Generally I liked it.  For me personally it could have been better simply because they asked the audience to list several musicals which would influence the show.  The ones chosen by the audience were all older ones – none of which I’d seen and only one or two I’d heard of.  So several of the references went over my head which was a shame.  Angela said to me afterwards that one of the musicals she thought the cast didn’t know either. But the singing was good and I liked the improvised plot they came up with and how it ended up.

Every so often they would stop and ask how they should show they’d been influenced by  a particular musical and for one of the musicals (Tommy) someone shouted out a character should be blind.  So for the rest of the show one of the characters was pretending to be blind and frankly overkilling it and coming across and pretty damn ableist.  Amongst other things frequently nearly walking into the audience or props or whatever and having to be grabbed.  For about the first couple of minutes it was OK and then it got to be inappropriate and ridiculous.

Then it was the interval and they asked that people tweet them with suggestions of how the show should continue.  I tweeted:


This is somewhat made worse by the fact that a lady I didn’t know followed me and Angela into the lift to go down to the bar and heard me comment about the inappropriateness of the blind bit. She commented that she has a visual impairment and felt like she was being mocked. It’s not my disability so I didn’t feel I was being mocked personally but I thought it was a good description for what it seemed they were doing. We talked to her for a bit and did general interval stuff.

And then we went back in the show and they read various tweets out and continued on and it was mostly good but they really needed to kill the cripping up going on it the blind bit and kill it dead.

As we left and wandered out Angela’s route to her car and my route to my flat both taking us the same way for a couple of minutes I shared with her that I should probably blog about the incident and do something about it (more of a complaint) but I really couldn’t be bothered to. Because it felt like once again something I could fight and wouldn’t get anywhere and I’d waste energy on something unnecessary. Better to just decide that I didn’t want to see them again if they were going to be ableist was my thinking.

Then Monday afternoon I went on twitter and found this tweet in my mentions:

I tweeted them back to say thank you and I appreciated it. I included my email and a day or two later (I forget which day) I got an email from one of their team admitting that when they looked back at the show could see they got it wrong. They’re going to work on it in rehearsal I understand. I thanked them and made various comments including that it would have helped to just stopped the whole blind bit after a few minutes if they couldn’t include it in a more appropriate way.

This was never as bad as the situation I blogged about with Omid Djalili, it was always about someone working in a high pressure situation and getting it wrong and hurting people. And I’m more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I wouldn’t go and see The Showstoppers again anytime soon but I’ve taken them off my list of inappropriate shows and my list of shows I don’t want to see again – if they were back here in a year or two I might well go back.

There have been many times I’ve flagged up ableism in various circumstances and not got a good response or been fobbed off by token gestures after long complaints and huge effort. I’m really glad to see one small thing – one tweet – have a positive outcome. And even more glad to hear someone admit that yeah actually they did get it wrong.

But it also pisses me off.

Because why can’t more people do that?

“Absolutely filthy”

The title of this post is what I said to my mum this afternoon on the phone when she asked how I was. It’s probably not the best title for this post but… I got nothing else.

I went to a clay workshop this morning. It was the second time I’ve done one with this tutor, I did one at the end of November as well. I thought as I keep telling people I blog about crafts I should actually blog about crafts (admittedly the main reason I haven’t blogged about my recent crafts is because they will be gifts so must remain off of my blog until finished and with the recipients) so I took a bunch of photos of my clay work as I went. I had a lot of fun with it but ended up absolutely covered in clay dust and such like – not helped by the fact that at one point I covered my clay in slip (a mixture of clay and water used to stick bits together) and then it fell over against my chest covering my fleece.

So we started off by making a bowl.

Most of us made them with lids. It was tough. You had to cut a circle and then work it round with your fingers to make the bowl shape. I didn’t find that at all easy and sort of wished I had someone with me to help me with that (often my mum or one of my friends want to do the workshop too so they can help out if needed but today I was solo). The tutor helped me and at one point when I said I thought I’d have to abandon that she told me no, it was sort-able. Then I rolled “sausages” which was also harder then it seems because you have to get them dead thin at which point mine kept falling part. Once we had sausages, (several of us cheating and putting clay through a potato ricer to get them) we could decorate our bowls or lids if we wanted to. I did a spiral in the middle and then bits going off round the edges.


Then we had the opportunity to make a jug or a mug.


These two pictures are my jug as a work in progress. I had a bit of trouble explaining to my parents that I made a jug. They got that but I don’t think they got just how “oh my god I with my spaz hands and all my issues was actually able to take a lump of clay and turn into into something vaguely resembling a jug this is a huge shocking deal” I felt about it. We got a template cut out from a cereal box and cut two pieces of clay out to that size (reversing one) by this point the amount of effort needed to roll out the clay was proving tough – can’t really put my weight behind it in my chair so the tutor did a bit of rolling out for me. Bizarrely as I was rolling it out I was obviously moving in my chair a bit and it was making the damn thing squeak.

Sticking the two sides of jug together and then keeping it open enough to stick it to the bottom felt like it needed more hands than I’ve got! Or maybe just two hands that work better than mine (my left hand is weaker than my right maybe just because I’m right handed but even then I don’t think I’ve full useage of my right). I got there. It’s maybe a little squished in places but I like it. I strongly suspect it isn’t watertight however so it’ll have to be a decorative jug rather than a mug to drink out of as I’d first hoped! I won’t be the only one in that situation however and one of the ladies there said to me after she’d abandoned her attempts at a jug.


Standing up on the base and actually looking properly jug like! Stuffed with newspaper to help with the shape. Then it was time to decorate the jug and paint both of our items.


My painted bowl. Because I wanted it to look like a sun I painted the spiral in the middle yellow and the bits coming off red to make it look a bit like rays (originally I did those first in red and then decided to do the yellow). The rest is just plain grey clay in the photo but when I get it back from being fired in the kiln the clay will have turned creamy colour.


My jug (laid flat again) after I used extra clay to decorate it and painted it.  I criss crossed a few small “sausages” of clay at the very top and then painted them and the handle blue. I was planning to leave the rest of the clay plain grey (so again it would be cream when fired) but I dripped some of the blue on the main body so I put a load of dots on so it looked more like I’d meant to do that! After I took the photo I also painted a blue line down the opposite side to the handle.


In true Blue Peter style… Here’s one I made earlier!

This is the tea light holder I made at the end of November. It was made using cutters and a tin to hold it together. It’s a light pink base with stars round it. Two different sizes of stars with the middles cut out (painted a darker pink – the light pink with some red mixed in to achieve that – and a purple) and then smaller solid stars (specifically the ones I cut out of some of the other stars on it) inbetween. Those are painted red.  I quite like it but the paint is quite patchy – I tried to do a more consistent job today.

I had a lot of fun doing this but I was absolutely covered in clay afterwards and sleepy too. 🙂

On being a writer

I know you want to sing. See. I love to sing. Nothing makes me happier.I either wanted to be a singer or the head of the Ice Capades. Hey. Do you know who the Ice Capades are? Don’t roll your eyes. They were very cool.

I went to my mother who gave me this book…called Letters To A Young Poet. Rainer Maria Rilke.

He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say: “I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff.” And Rilke says to this guy: “Don’t ask me about being a writer. lf when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing…then you’re a writer.”

I’m gonna saythe same thing to you. If you wake up in the mornin’ and you can’t think of anything
but singin’ first…then you’re supposed to be a singer girl.

(from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit)

Sometimes people ask me about writing. Advice on getting started as a blogger, or can I tell them about opportunities that are out there.

If I’m completely honest I’m probably not the best person to ask.

I love to write. Love love love it. But I don’t do it as often as I’d like to. Or even as often as I should. I’m the Queen of Procrastination.

I’ve been blogging and writing for a long time. Hell, I started doing it before blogging even existed. When I first started sharing my life online it was November 2000, they were called online diaries and everyone looked at you like you were really weird if you told them you wrote a diary and shared it for anyone to read (I’ll admit it: I was an avid DiaryLand girl. And sometimes I still miss that oh so basic but so wonderful site.)

That’s 13 years. The idea of so many years of my life being online blows my mind. If my blog was a person it would be a stroppy girl kicking and screaming and complaining that it’s not fair. And no one understands it. And if only it could be noticed and allowed to do it’s own thing it would be brilliant. A star even.

As much as the teenage metaphor started off as just a bit of fun I do think its also it’s a valid one for writing.

It’s harder then it seems. People who don’t write think it’s an easy thing. People who are just starting out don’t always understand the work involved. And there will always be times when I email a site with an idea and they turn me down, or I read an article and think “I could have done better” if only they’d let me try.

I can give advice on writing and blogging. But I’m not sure I should.

I’d probably just say its hard but it can be really worth it and you can get a lot out of it. Blogging is a great way to start in my opinion.

I could tell you about writing opportunities. If I googled them first. And I’m kinda selfish.

I put the work in. I found what was out there and made it happen. The two main other sites I write for are invitation only. I worked hard to get my slots. It makes me angry when people just expect me to get them slots on invitation only sites or let them guest post on my blog and then get annoyed with me when I say no (note for people thinking about guest blogging: do your research. I do not accept guest posts on my blog and even if I did most of what’s sent to me is a poor match. It seems they’ve just gone “disability blog” and not read any of my content).

I realise my saying no annoys you. I’ll say it again. Writing is hard work. Your expectation makes me feel you’re belittling my achievements. Your expectation pisses me off.

I could recommend articles and writers to other sites. But there’s no point in my doing so if I don’t think it’s right. My reputation is important to me and recommending or sharing the wrong stuff for the wrong site (or on my blog) could put that at risk.

I want to be helpful and support other writers. But I can’t do it for you. And I want to be a writer more than that.

The only way to be a writer is just to write.

>Two “things”


I never got here to update on thing a day yesterday.  I had planned to use whatever exercise we did during my creative writing class as my thing but it was cancelled.  So I did some journalling by hand instead.  I may scan that on and post it to my blog but I haven’t yet.

And today I’ve done more colouring.  I cut most of the outlying white space off of this one (there is some white space in the middle of it still).  I like the way it looks now I’ve changed the shape of the paper (cut round the outline of the coloured bits which makes it all pointy like.  If I could remember where my black a4 card is I would stick it on a pece.

I’m sort of toying with the idea of putting some of the colouring I’ve done up on one of my cupboard doors to make it more interesting.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have more energy and inspiration for this project now the stressful stuff that’s been consuming my energy is done with.

>Thing a Day 2009 – Day Eleven: Icon

>green flashing icon.

A new icon I made for my rarely used LJ and a few other online places. It uses free digi scrapping embellishments and rotates slowly through the images. I recoloured one of the embellishments.

This is a bit of a scrapping the bottom of the barrel “thing”,  I had very little inspiration or motivation today.  But I have been using LJ a bit more on various communities etc and have been very bored with my old icons most of which are various shades of pink and purple and very flashy.  Which is why this is green (I still love pink and purple but am on a bit of a green kick at the moment) and flashes very slowly (every five seconds).  I originally set it to a longer rotate sequence but it felt too long between changes.

I must admit I’m not overally happy with this.

>Thing a Day 2009 – Day Ten: Colouring, Again.

>This one is fit to be shown to the world so here goes…

Another doodle colouring book sheet.  Coloured in with felt tip pens.  Kinda accidental colour choices as I wasn't paying attention to which pen I had picked up to start with.
Another doodle colouring book sheet. Coloured in with felt pens. Kinda accidental colour choices as I wasn't paying attention to which pen I had picked up to start with.