Monday, 30 September 2013

Marvellous Monday #30

Happy Monday! Is your week looking good?

The theme for this week's Marvellous Monday is funny cats, because cats are awesome and we all need some humour in our lives!

My cat has this face on a daily basis!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Join Me

Yup, I’m writing about books again, though this time it’s a more light-hearted one!

Join Me by Danny Wallace is summarised in the tagline as “the true story of a man who started a cult by accident.”

What the blurb says:

“Bored, Danny Wallace placed a whimsical small ad in a local paper, saying simply, ‘Join Me’. Within a month he was receiving letters and e-mails from strangers all over the country, eager to sign up.

Teachers, mechanics, sales reps, vicars, schoolchildren, pensioners – all pledged allegiance to his cause. No one knew what that cause was. Least of all Danny…

Soon he was proclaimed Leader. Increasingly obsessed, and possibly power crazed, he risked losing his sanity and his loyal girlfriend. But who could deny the attraction of a global following of thousands of devoted joinees?

If only he could come up with something for everyone to do…”

(As I copied the blurb from the book, I realised it sounds a bit like Twitter!)

What drew me to read this book was that I’d previously read Are You Dave Gorman? co-written between Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace, and I found it hilarious. So of course when I happened upon Join Me, I was totally up for reading another tale of someone doing something a little off-the-wall and having an adventure as a result.

This book is comical and a little peek into someone’s spontaneity-driven life. Danny’s project comes from boredom and good intentions, and grows thanks to a few pints with a mate and an increasing number of people joining something without even knowing why! (Pack mentality, madness or insatiable curiosity?)

Join Me, which Danny’s girlfriend Hanne would categorise as a ‘stupid boy-project’ (therefore he hasn’t told her about it yet) ends up taking Danny to different countries, talking on TV and campaigning on the streets to gain more ‘joinees’. Join Me even gets its own theme tune.

This book might seem predictable when you get into the story, but the occasional surprises keep you on your toes, and it also shows the power of networking.

Spoiler (because I forgot to note down quotes): He comes up with something for everyone to do. It’s a good thing.

Read it because: it will encourage you to do good things too. (And if you buy it new, Danny gets money. Money buys beer. So essentially you’re buying the guy a beer. That’s a good thing.)

The TLDR: It’s funny, it’s mad, it’s brilliant. And true.

Elasticated Jabot

Previously I shared a tutorial for a jabot with neckband. Today’s tutorial is for a simple elastic-neck jabot, perfect for wearing with a collared shirt! Mine is messy-looking because I didn't hem ;)

You can also make this without the elastic, and attach the jabot with pins (I’ve done this before too, due to laziness!)

Once again this is easy to make and can be put together using a small off-cut of fabric.

You’ll need:

Note: Thin cotton works best for this. The fabric I used in this tutorial has the black stripes printed onto it so it wasn’t completely ideal.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Pinning Inspiration #19

I have a bit of a fondness for pompoms. So that is the theme for this week's Pinning Inspiration. Pompoms!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Marvellous Monday #29

Are you having a Marvellous Monday?
To brighten your day, encourage relaxation or perhaps inspire a little awe, today's theme is lakes.
I've posted about 'calm blue ocean' on a previous Marvellous Monday, but lakes can be an equally lovely sight!

So come along and enjoy these lovely photographs with me :)

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Jabot with Neck Band

With Halloween at the end of October, I’m sure some of you are already thinking of spooky d├ęcor and fancy dress costumes (whether that’s for yourself or someone else!)

Today I’d like to share this tutorial for a jabot, or ‘frilly neck thingy’, attached to a simple neck band. The fastening is a press stud.

I'll be posting other jabot variations in future, so if this isn't quite for you, come back again :)

I figured this out by trial and error when I made the one in the picture (hence why the top frill is slightly wonky).

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Pinning Inspiration #18

I'm feeling a little dozy as I write this, so for this week's Pinning Inspiration, let's look at bedrooms.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Marvellous Monday #28

Happy Monday! Are you having a good day?

Today's Marvellous Monday features that wonderful moment between the end of the day and the beginning of the night: sunset!

As we continue to pass through September, the days might be becoming shorter for us in the Northern Hemisphere, but the sunsets are still a sight to behold...

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Alchemist

Today I want to write about a book that you’ve probably already heard of:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

According to the front cover, it’s sold 65 million copies, so the chances are that if you haven’t heard of it, somebody you know has!

I was given a copy of this book as a gift when I visited Norway in April, though it took me until the end of June to read it.

Now I’ve read it? I wonder what took me so long.

What the blurb says:

“Dreams are made to be followed.

Life is meant to be lived.

Some books are meant to be read, loved and passed on.

The Alchemist is one of those books.

It is the story of a shepherd boy from the Spanish region of Andalusia who dreams of travelling the world in search of a treasure as desirable as any ever found. From his home he journeys to the exotic markets of North Africa and then into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him…

The Alchemist is an unforgettable fable about the essential wisdom of listening to our heart and, above all, following our dreams.”

What drew me to read this book: aside from the fact it was a gift, the main attraction was that the storyline involved travelling to Egypt! Going deeper than that, I was curious to discover what about this book had proved to be so ‘life-enhancing’ (according to The Times) to so many people.

Okay, so I can’t claim that The Alchemist has changed my life. I am still me, still spending time making jewellery, blogging and volunteering.
But it did give me things to think about. Whilst it is a translation, the messages within the story are still easy to understand.

As I’ve said with previous books, I think these things can be left up to individual interpretation, but here’s what I took away from the story:

  • When our plans are delayed or seem impossible, maybe we are gaining the opportunity to learn something useful to us.
  • Fear can be what stops us from reaching for our dreams.
  • Our days become boring and ‘samey’ when we don’t notice all the good things that happen every day.
  • Making a decision is just the beginning of things (you don’t always know where you’ll end up!)
  • Achieving your dreams may not be easy. You will be tested, and you will need patience.

I think these are things we all know, in our hearts. It is reading them in a story that makes us realise them. It’s easy to forget and become lost in the mundane, it’s easy to feel disheartened when, try as you might, you don’t seem to be getting anywhere. This book is a gentle encouragement to seek out the good things and keep aiming for what we dream of.

Reading The Alchemist, the real connection came for me when I happened upon this line:

“[…] the mysterious chain that links one thing to another, the same chain that had caused him to become a shepherd, that had caused his recurring dream, that had brought him to a city near Africa […]”

The quote I noted down was longer, but contains spoilers :)
The important part is the ‘mysterious chain’ idea. A few weeks before reading this book, I was thinking about this sort of idea as I realised the long chain of events and experiences that had led me to make a really awesome friendship (I think I followed the chain back as far back as being a pre-teen, then thought ‘I have to write this down’ and lost track!)

Some more quotes:

“To the boy’s surprise, the Englishman took a chrome-plated revolver out of his bag and gave it to the men who were collecting the arms.
“Why a revolver?” he asked.
“It helped me to trust in people,” the Englishman answered.”

“In pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path.”

“The battles may last for a long time, perhaps even years. There are powerful forces on both sides, and the war is important to both armies. It’s not a battle of good against evil. It’s a war between forces that are fighting for the balance of power, and, when that type of battle begins, it lasts longer tan others—because Allah is on both sides.”

“My heart is a traitor,” the boy said to the alchemist, when they had paused to rest the horses. “It doesn’t want me to go on.”
“That makes sense,” the alchemist answered. “Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dreams, you might lose everything you’ve won.”

“The boy reached through the Soul of the World and saw that it was a part of the Soul of God. And he saw that the Soul of God was his own soul. And that he, a boy, could perform miracles.”

“The alchemist said, “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”

You may have noticed that the quotes I included above mention both God and Allah. I found this a likable aspect of the story: The Alchemist is written by a Catholic, but it hasn’t been written to portray Catholicism as ‘the one true path’. Rather, it is more of a spiritual story. It is moralistic.

The TLDR: An encouraging and moralistic story with spiritual themes that encourages the pursuit of dreams and aims to explain why we don’t follow them.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Pinning Inspiration #17

Last week's Pinning Inspiration looked at reading nooks. This week, how about something to wear when you're chilling out with that book? The theme is customised clothes!

Some of the pins this week are from ready to wear designer lines--but offer plenty of inspiration for DIY customisation!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Marvellous Monday #27

This week, purple is the theme of Marvellous Monday.

Purple is a colour that evokes many feelings across its varying shades.

It is peaceful and calming, the sunset sky of warm summers...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Pinning Inspiration #16

For this week's Pinning Inspiration, let us daydream of the perfect reading nook....

A comfortable little place to curl up with a good book!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Marvellous Monday #26

Happy Monday! This week's Marvellous Monday is all about the view from above.

As humans, we are stuck with our feet on the ground unless we take an aircraft or suddenly sprout wings and take flight.

It is thanks to aerial photography that we see such breathtaking sights from the air, and see our planet from a new perspective.

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