Cross Stitching – Approach With Caution

Today I was hit with the Spring Clean vibe really hard and decided to gut my bedroom. Don’t ask me why it had to happen on the sunniest day of the week or why I didn’t think to postpone until the weather turned for the worse. It was nice letting the natural light in through the patio door right enough, and I did open windows to air the flat out a bit (which felt like a very grown up thing to do).

The Spring Clean of 2017 is still a work in progress, but my desk is now a workable area which is really exciting (if you’re excited by things like giving objects a specific home on/under a desk, which I am) and I have set up my laptop so I feel more in the zone for writing and generally more productive with less clutter in my space.

As part of the clear out, I have created my own little craft corner which houses everything from photography books to knitting needles, my sewing box, colouring books and my calligraphy set:

Ain’t it cute?! And super tidy, considering it’s my stuff we’re talking about, and the ridiculous volume of things there were to find a home for. I have all my sheet music hidden at the back too. It’s a very handy wee hidey hole!

Although my love for crafts and arty ways to pass time span a whole variety of activities, my newest hobby is cross stitching. And I must admit, it is bloody marvelous.

My sister got me hooked with this wonderful kit she gave me for Christmas:

(kit available from the Geeky Stitching Co)

Cute, right!?

Cross stitch is a great way for me to spend my time for several reasons – it’s a creative outlet, it’s plannable (I now have a square paper jotter to sketch potential designs in *squee*) and it keeps both my hands and mind busy. It’s also great when partnered with a bingeable series on Netflix.

(available here)

So, cross stitching is my latest craft love. I won’t lie, I went a little crazy at Hobbycraft this week, buying hoops, cloth and this:


And just because it’s so darn beautiful, here is my collection in rainbow fashion.


This particular set of 100 threads was £16 and worth every penny. So, yes, I have well and truly caught the cross stitch bug.

However, it is not a hobby without peril. Please, folks, tackle the stitching with caution.

You see, a lot of my cross stitching is done while I’m lying in bed. This is a prime location for many reasons; not least comfort and space to spread out all materials while exerting as little energy as possible for retrieval (I can now reach my sewing box without having to physically leave my bed – result!)

It is a pretty safe bet that if I am working from my bed, I will be in pjs or some other form of loungewear. I detest lying in bed in jeans after 7pm and the bra comes off as soon as humanly possible – if I was wearing one at all to begin with.

It is at this precise moment that cross stitching transforms into something of a safety hazard for me.

What you have to understand is that I am not the most elegant of people. Nor the most coordinated. I approach most things with gusto and grace just waltzes on out the door before I get a look in. This doesn’t really affect me in everyday life. Just don’t ask me to slice a bagel or sidle up to the barre.

When my klutzy tendencies do affect me, though, is the moment my bra comes off and the embroidery hoop is picked up.

Let me clarify – needles are sharp, my boobs are unprotected; injuries ensue.

I won’t lie, blood has been drawn a handful of times and my boobs are not the only victim. My fingers, thighs and elbow (I don’t even know) have endured the stabby stabby from my cross stitching attempts. My boyfriend’s eye has had a few close calls too – he knows to swerve when my arm starts extending to pull through a long thread. (Personally I blame him – it’s not my fault that I’m left handed and he sits on my left…)

I suppose the moral of the story here is to:

1. wear protective clothing when handling sharp objects, especially embroidery needles, and

2. work out seating arrangements before readying said sharp object for stitches to avoid other casualties.

As much as I detest wearing padded bras, it would seem they are part of the uniform necessary to keep my poor wee tatas safe from the evil pointy stabber.

I’m sure there’s some poetic irony to be pulled from a needle creating beauty despite its cold, painful composition, but it’s too late in the day to deduce it.

Currently, I’m working on a piece inspired by a stall I’ve fallen in love with in the Royal Mile Market at the Tron Kirk. I bought a wonderful little ring from the stall and ever since I’ve been more determined to spend time refining my witchy side.

This hoop is going to be magical and I’m attempting to channel my best moonchild vibes to give it the mystical edge I’m desperate to create.

Updates to follow!

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New Year – New Approach

Happy 2017!


It’s been a bustling start to the year for me, work came round pretty quickly and there was no easing back into the routine. We hit the ground running with a live stream to prepare for and a huge research-and-write project to get stuck back into.

With life being pretty hectic, I hadn’t really had the chance to put much thought into my New Year’s Resolutions.

In the lead up to Hogmanay, I had thrown the usual remarks

“I’m going to get skinny”

“I’m going to stop eating so much”

“I’m going to exercise more”

But as expected, January 1st rolled round and I didn’t touch a single vegetable. Quelle surprise.


A few days later, I had a really interesting conversation with my flatmate. She told me she doesn’t believe in New Years Resolutions because they’re damaging. At first I didn’t understand, but for some people – myself included – it makes perfect sense.

New Year New Me is a slogan cashed in on by many a brand. It’s everywhere in the run up to Christmas. People lamenting how much food they ate on Christmas Day, but it’s okay because they’ll start being healthy again in the New Year.

This is a problem for 2 reasons.

Firstly, it can breed illness. This sounds a tad dramatic but for lots of people the build up and quasi-determination and nothing-but-lettuce diets and extreme exercise regimes are unsustainable. This is an exaggeration, for sure, but you get the idea. This punishing and super strict mindset ends in disappointment and – more often than not – a negative self-image. I know I’m guilty of it. For some, this will result in illness, poor mental health and often poor physical health too.

The second problem is the now societally-accepted ‘festive overindulgence’. There are articles all over the news just now about sugar being the most readily available drug on the market, but as we draw closer to December 25th, we throw all good intentions about healthy eating out the window in favour of Chocolate Oranges, Christmas cocktails and fancy nibbles.


This “I’ll be good in the New Year” mentality makes excessive overindulgence not only acceptable, but expected. This is almost worse than the gung-ho diet and exercise overhaul people put themselves through afterwards, because their minds and bodies have gotten used to the sugars, fats, alcohol and unnecessary treats they’ve allowed themselves. This makes falling off the bandwagon so much easier.


These are both things I have been guilty of in the past. The very recent past. But it gave me a lot to think about. I still wanted to be healthier, but maybe I didn’t have to buy into the whole overhaul-your-life philosophy? While it fits some people and they see real, sustainable results from their new resolution efforts, it obviously hadn’t been working for me, so why not take a new approach?

My flatmate gives herself goals without a specific deadline. They are achievable processes that won’t mean she goes into the following year having ‘failed’, because instead of completely changing something, she focusses on improving or learning more. So I decided to do the same.

I have decided to focus on kindness (thanks to a wonderful colleague for giving me the idea).


I want to be kinder to myself, especially with the nonsense my brain has been putting me through recently. I will actively give myself more time and patience to work through things, and focus on relieving stress in productive, fun ways.

To keep up the self-kindness, I’m going to carry on doing things that make me happy. One thing I am absolutely determined to do is to pour more attention and energy into my blog. I enjoy it, similar to journalling, and it’s a good way to force myself into new situations so I have things to write about. (As a side note, watch this space for some teenage-angst-born creative writing that I’ll be sharing with you next week. Trust me when I say they make me cringe.) I do struggle sometimes to think of things to write about, but I’ll be getting my planning cap on over the weekend to map out some potential convo topics. I say convo, but it’s really just a one-sided ramble…


Crafting is another thing I want to get better at. Hobbies are a soothing, productive passtime and provide the downtime I need to maintain a healthy work/play balance. The repetitive, but brain-engaging nature of my chosen activities will be kind to my mental wellbeing (although at times, perhaps not my sanity…). So far I have knitting, calligraphy and photography to be getting one with. There is definitely huge room for improvement on all creative fronts and I’m determined to take up my passions again and fill my evenings with little rays of sunshine in crafty forms.


Finally, I have a goal with a deadline. I want to, after 6 months, be able to say that I’ve sustained a manageable exercise routine. Kindness to my body is as important and works in tandem with my kindness to my mind. I sounded so sage and wise there…I think.

I have signed up for a 2-hour Tuesday yoga class and am hoping to drop into a dance class every Wednesday. For someone as unfit and asthmatic as me, that’s enough to get me started. Plenty of achievement and progression to be seen from those activities if all goes well, so sticking at them when the going gets tough is the first hurdle!


So, there you have it. My first post of 2017. Kindness through happy thoughts, crafting, exercise and a hell of a lot more writing appear to be on the horizon for me. I hope you have big dreams and high expectations for the year ahead – no matter what form of resolution, goal setting or planning you subscribe to!

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