May 2015 Mystery Challenge: “Moments and People Throughout History”

Last August I spent several weeks in hospital and discovered Facebook in a whole new way. I was about to leave its manipulative clutches when, by chance, I discovered a group of irreverent folk who chatted about life, sewing and stuff. I shamelessly snuck in on the tail of another person and amazingly enough they didn’t evict me!

This group is full of designers, creative types; and some with both colourful pasts and  colourful language! I’m so glad to have it as a bit of an outlet where I can be myself and not feel judged. That said, I’m pretty much in awe of all the creativity bouncing around and when someone asks to ‘friend me’ I’m almost speechless with delight.

When the Mystery Challenge was recently announced, in turn I panicked, became gleeful, worried about how the heck I’d create something by the end of March, and back pedalled faster than a duck near a weir!After a bit of reassurance about my misunderstanding the parameters I decided to give it a go … And here I am.

Admittedly having a web designer for a son helped, especially as he talked me through the whole WordPress thing. Sadly he’s not an enabler, and after a brief education he said “off you go, mum, there are lots of learning tools to help you along.” Jee thanks!

The topic for May is … “Moments and People Throughout History”

Where, oh where do I start?

We’re meant to give a few ideas out so our secret partner can choose something for us. Being English I think that history is part of my very essence. My mum is English, my dad is Irish. Not generations back, but ‘right off the boat’ as they say. My dad left Ireland at 18, but he’s from a wee town and if he goes back for a week it’s hard to understand his brogue. I was brought up in Southern England, had a convent education and spoke clipped Queen’s English. Fortunately a lot of traveling and nursing in an eclectic multinational mix has softened those edges. For many years I was told off for being abrupt. It upset me dreadfully as I’m a bit of a softie .. Well, until my Matron hat is on of course!

Great Glen
Great Glen

You can’t grow up in the UK or Europe without absorbing your physical culture. I am fascinated by stone circles, lay lines, castles, ruins and fossils. Churches seep with eons of historical suffering, hope, prayer, peace and despair. Living in the Scottish Highlands and Central London have fed my historical passions. Cornwall, Tintagel, Camelot, Witches, Elves, and Magic. I believe in fairies at the end of the garden and the angels that watch over us.

My darling Andy
My darling Andy

I’m not sure that there’s a fashion period that fascinates me most; if it’s pretty, kitsch or ‘hippy chic’ it appeals to me. One of my husband’s early chat up lines was “if I could I’d dress you in Valentino. You have the figure for it.” … Swoon! No wonder I married him.  I’d love to make one. For now I follow a young chap called Mitchell Carr on Facebook. His corsets are amazing! Coco Chanel is inspirational for releasing women from corsets!

Life Boat College
Life Boat College

Water: Growing up on an island nowhere is far from the ocean or waterways. I was a proud lifeboat volunteer while we lived in both Northern Scotland and in central London. In London I volunteered with the RNLI. Such history!

I was in a car accident aged 14 and decided motorbikes were safer. Call it teenage logic or that my dad was a biker. As a teenager I used to stand in the street sniffing the oil and fuel mix of vintage Norton Commando bikes, Indians, Triumphs and the like. I was a biker chick ’til I was 22. I didn’t have a boyfriend often: it’s hard when someone’s chatting you up and a big bloke comes over and says “is he troubling you?” … By the time I’d turned round, said ‘trouble’ had disappeared. I had a knack for finding old chaps who’d ridden and raced bikes in their youth and now serviced them. I’d sit and listen to their stories. I knew my forte wasn’t maintenance so I’d take them fags and cookies instead.

My Triumph Tiger
My Triumph Tiger

I love Triumph motorbikes and was the proud owner of both a retro Thunderbird and a modern Tiger. Himself says I grew horns when riding my Triumph, and yes, I had little devil horns on my helmet. It was a sad day to sell it when we moved to Canada.

Quilting: I started quilting years ago when friends had babies; but when it became apparent I couldn’t work a friend introduced me to a local quilting guild. I have learned so much from these amazing ladies. Amish quilting appeals to me, though I haven’t yet tried one. From structure comes harmony and from blending plain colours and different shapes comes beauty in texture and sight. One of the things that sticks with me is that ‘Only God is Perfect’. As such, no quilt is meant to be perfect and, as far as I am aware, if a quilt looks too perfect a deliberate flaw is introduced. That resonates with me so. Being chronically unwell has made me more humble and I hope, more accepting.I used to think quilting was for old ladies but oh how wrong I was.  I am particularly drawn to The Modern Quilt Guild; the simplicity of it appeals to my sense of order. That said I also love the plush vibrancy I see in quilt shows reminiscent of Victorian scrappy quilts.

My mum's 75th birthday quilt
My mum’s 75th birthday quilt
"Quinn's Quilt"
“Quinn’s Quilt”
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Oh Happy Day .. my first post!

I’ve contemplated writing a blog for a long while but felt, it was a bit arrogant. After all, who wants to read what I had to say? I’ve written creatively and technically (as a Registered Nurse) over the years, and had articles published in both streams. I’ve taken both creative and business writing courses. Boy, oh boy, I know which I prefer!

Two comments came from friends a while ago, and they have stayed with me  .

One said after reading a short article I’d written ‘You write how you talk. You really ought to author a book.’

Another after reading a book review, ‘You have a beautiful voice Trisha. You should share it with the world.’

Two things prompted me to start ..

I’ve been invited, in a loose roundabout way, to participate in a design challenge through a Facebook group. The kicker for me was having to blog about what you’re creating. ‘Oh boy!’ I thought. ‘Do I have it in me to do this?’

The other … I’m currently testing a secret pattern for a designer I admire and respect (and that, folks, is the definition of a friend). I aspire to being one of her regular testers and perhaps if I have a blog she’ll keep me on? No pressure, eh!

Mainly my blog will be about my creative loves – sewing, quilting, and food.

As my blog grows I aim to incorporate other categories. I have multiple food allergies and it can be hard to find safe places to eat, and safe food to make. I plan to add the recipes I adapt and resources I find.  I have complex chronic health issues, and find it hard to access accurate information and resources. I’d like to include a reference guide with resources in this category. I’m a great believer that being educated about your own ‘stuff’ empowers and enables us to make informed decisions and choices about our care and in our lives.

Welcome to my blog. If you like it, stick around. If you don’t .. Well, check back sometime and see if I improve enough to impress you