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Whoops didn't tag these puppies

Impending motherhood…

30 October, 2010

So, birth pool is in the lounge (well, originally it turned up at my work and sat in the middle of my open plan office, all massive and logo’d up for three days that I was away = mortifying) 43 hand me down baby grows are washed and I had my last day at work yesterday. At 38 weeks this little bun is pretty much just getting a good crust on. I am still loving pregnancy, it is all pros and no cons- i.e still able to ride my bike but get the joy of people’s double takes, hehe.

I am having a luxurious day reading the paper, listening to my lovely new Brooke Fraser album, watching the odd delicious youtube video while Tim gets on with painting the halls. In the last week we have had all our halls plastered, hoping to paint and get Carpet Derek in before this baby checks out.

I just saw this image and love it – thanks Juliet.

Tomorrow we have our first Make in our lounge. Make is a monthly craft afternoon, tomorrow we are crafting up social justice patches for the Craftivist Collective’s social justice quilt. Exciting!

Craftiness, Whoops didn't tag these puppies

The 6 minute felt slipper

23 October, 2010

I think I have mentioned before that I am a rubbish sew-er, an impatient, corner cutting seamstress. This was proven to me big time today when I tried to make some simple felt slippers.

You see, excitingly, our house is progressing. This morning Carpet Derek came and laid 100% wool down on our bedroom floor after a good week of plastering and painting. This is fab, as it means that when the baby comes (I am 37 weeks today!) we will have at least one snug little room. However, today’s dillemma was that we have this lovely new carpet in one spot, and rancid, dusty (cool looking though) floor boards everywhere else. It will be far too easy for that muck to creep into our creamy lushness. Clearly, I need some slippers to leave at the bedroom door!

Having just been to a jumble sale at the Camberwell Sallies, organised by Mel, and picked up a wooly jumper for 10p, I quickly stuffed it in the machine on hot and felted that bad boy.
I then googled “simple felt slippers” and came across a couple of really lovely options. Rather than limiting myself to one recipe, I thought I should sort of mix them. I was aiming for Martha’s neatness but rolling with Mary Jane’s more freestyle feel, and um, just like when I do baking combos, it was a fail. I got one slipper. It was properly ugly and about 3 times too big. I was pretty mad after measuring my foot and cutting out newspaper and Everything.

In my madness I put my foot in the armpit of the jumper. Hello!!!! I had stumbled upon the easiest felt slipper ever- it was basically ready made! How I have managed to make the most simple of all sewing projects even more basic I will never know.

It goes like this:

  1. Put foot in armpit of felted wool jumper. Toes pointing toward wrist end of sleeve.
  2. Snuggle your foot down till it feels cosy.
  3. Cut off the excess jumper hanging off the back of heel, and excess sleeve hanging from your toes.
  4. So a straight line up from your heel (should be about 8cm or so)
  5. Sew a point around your toes.
  6. Turn inside out.

Done! Then, if you have some lace, or other goodies you’ve picked up from a carboot, wack that on and voila.

If this takes you more than 6 minutes per slipper then you are a worse sew-er than me! (Or perhaps it just means you are meticulous which means you can go far in sewing world, my friend.)

Above- the corner of my original attempt next to the proof of my practice on newspaper (it’s not worth it, even when I do practice it doesn’t pay off)
Below- the six minute beauts that will save our new carpet, hurrah!

Whoops didn't tag these puppies

Halfway through and declaring Mums Matter!!!

2 July, 2010

From one mum to be to another…

This week I am halfway through my pregnancy, it is hard to believe that in November I will be snuggling up to a tiny, slimy, startled new born. I have loved the last few months of growing into motherhood as a life swells within me. I have never felt more confident or empowered as I do right now- I have had a bit of a transformation of sorts. Prior to March I was ambivalent about pregnancy and birth, I saw it just as something to swat out the way before you get the prize. But through a bit of reading and talking to friends I have come to see it all as a mystical joy and am beginning to feel proper pleasure in my pregnancy and even in the idea of pushing a human being through a certain passageway. It has got to the stage where I am even a little cynical of hospitals, I feel as if every bit of prodding they do takes away a little bit of my new found power, so much that I am even considering turning down my big scan next week.

What a luxury this is! To be able to give or take medical care. You see, I know my odds are good. I know within seconds of anything going a bit wrong with my living room labour I will hear the wail of an ambulance siren and that within minutes I will be in a crisp, clean ward with many attendants. This knowledge gives me real freedom and has allowed me to get to this place of feeling utter trust in my body.

Last week I went to the launch of Mums Matter- a campaign mounted by Oxfam and the Women’s Institute. I saw a video there that gave a small insight into the lives of expectant mothers in Malawi, lives that would be very much like yours I imagine. It really simply outlined some of the tangled issues leading to the awful fact that 1000 women a day die in childbirth, across the world. This is just completely overwhelming.

I can imagine that for you, the normal anxieties around pregnancy are doubled, trebled, blown sky high, as you think of all the women you know who haven’t made it.

It seems tremendously unfair that I am defending my pregnancy from over-medicalisation while literally millions of expectant mums around the globe can’t even access the barest minimum of care.

You may know that just a few days ago our jolly Prime Minister and his gang at the G20 announced a commitment to maternal health and contributed more money to meet this very important Millennium Development Goal. This is all very nice but there is a serious possibility that this cash will just be taken from other areas of need which would be slightly ridiculous. As Dorothy Ngoma, director of the National Organisation of Midwives and Nurses of Malawi puts it; “This money for maternal mortality will mean nothing if it is simply recycled from aid for food or education.”

I want you to know that I will spend the next half of my pregnancy encouraging people to join the Mums matter campaign. Although we are miles away, over here we do have power and we can each take a couple of seconds to do the smallest thing to make sure maternal health becomes a genuine priority, and not one at the expense of other aid areas and Millennium Development Goals. People can just click through here you to send an email to our Prime minister and join thousands of people looking out for mums across the world.

Meanwhile my ‘dilemma’ over whether to take that trip to the scan next week continues…

Whoops didn't tag these puppies

Progress on Chez AitkenRead et le bebe

4 June, 2010
Just a quick update as I feel things have moved even since last week on both our little house and the bump…

So, the entanglement of bureaucracy that has held up our purchase of our Camberwell house seems to be nearing the end. Last night we popped over and met the vendor there, a lovely woman, who seemed confident that all would be finalised within weeks. We even have draft contracts! We are getting very excited once again, although when I saw the garden I got palpitations. I had in mind that we would move in and lay out our seedlings but in the three months since we put the offer in it has turned into the Little Shop of Horrors! It’s a jungle out there and definitely not ready for an instant BBQ.

Also, here is the latest bump picture, yes, there is actually a bump there! Can you see it?! I had many formal complaints at the last two pictures being so unbumpus. I have felt Wrigglewriggle (named by my three year old nephew) moving around and even Tim felt it the other morning. Yikes! Very exciting. Here is Wrigglewriggle: 17 weeks today! (Or so they say!)

Well, it is Friday, I am off to enjoy some beautiful evening sun. Have a delicious weekend!

Whoops didn't tag these puppies

Keep calm and eat cake

12 May, 2010

I am pretty lucky with my job (community and activism campaigner with an international development charity) in that it involves as much creativity as I can handle. I get to work with loads of inspirational people- like the Craftivist Collective who are just subversively, cross stitchingly fabulous.

But one of the other top bits of my job is the team I work with who are so crafty and creative, and, as I type, are in the corner of the office baking chocolate cakes in the microwave. Yes, we may have a brand new government, cabinet ministers may be being declared every half an hour, the future of the political landscape shifting every moment, but hey, you know what? Baking is important too.

One mug. One simple cake recipe.* 3 minutes in the mic and then 4 minutes to eat its moist, chocolatey self.

Baking taking place on our special coffee table, a massive round bit of wood left over from the Make Poverty History campaign.

*4 Tablespoons cake flour

4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Egg 3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil

Finding things, Whoops didn't tag these puppies

Car boot sales rock my world

11 May, 2010
Seriously, I just can’t get enough. until about 3 months ago I thought Charity Shops were heaven, but they have been massively usurped in favour of the archaic (I mean really, boot sales and the house moving process are the only two things to remain completely untouched by the internet revolution) wander- around -a -muddy -field -amongst- a- zillion -Mr Bean- VHS’s- Sunday morning experience.
Tea cups for 10p, ammo boxes for two quid (I bought three, not realising their violent original purpose, eek… will plant flowers for peace in them maybe) and a A Dad’s Guide to Having a Baby book for 25p. Brilliant. We also nabbed a bread maker this Sunday and have been munching hearty home backed slices non stop since. It is bargains galore; grannies who have never heard of shabby chic and young men who don’t realise the beauty that rust and flaky paints adds to an item! Ha!
Of course, the other tantalising thing is that they are so rare and hard to find, precious jewels of Kentish surburbia. This also means that Charity Shops won’t miss my custom too much as I need a daily browsing fix that Car Boots will never satisfy. Win Win for everyone.

Get yourself a local paper and look in the Classifieds section ASAP, there is some 1920’s crockery out there for 70p with your name on it!