Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Self Respect or, Don't Look Down Your Nose At Me!

I've been turning shirt collars.
Remember that chore?
Boring, tijus, time consuming but rather necessary if I want to continue to look respectable and hire able.

I've had this post rattling round my pea-brain for more than a month, but was unsure how to broach the subject without sounding bitter or resentful. Well, fyi, I'm neither. From my present vantage point it feels as though I'm coming to a place of occasional contentment and even (shock horror!) enjoyment, sometimes. I thought I'd never get here even intermittently so please keep that in mind if you read further.

Last week when I went to collect the 'dole' money a woman crystallised for me an attitude I have been receiving from many people, a combination of disgust, superiority, disdain and at times downright rudeness. I'd noticed it before but either I was more vulnerable than usual or she was just ruder.

So I would like to ask you what your opinion and attitude is to people who are without official employment and dependant on the pretty lousy State hand-out to keep a roof over their head and a semblance of normality to their life? Do you think the likes of me is too lazy to get off their bums and work? Are we unemployable as well as social pariahs? Are we suddenly classed as losers, boozers and tossers without a shred of proof? Does anyone think I was actually aiming for this as a career prospect back when I graduated from College and then got married convinced that I could make a difference to the world and have a great, useful, inspiring life as well as being them best mother and wife the nations had ever seen?

How many of your dreams have crashed and burned, either through your own or others fault...inadvertent probably? How many times have you narrowly escaped being on the skids through pure luck, and how many times has a stroke of good fortune happened to you through pure fluke?

What if you had not received the good fortune? What if you made life-changing decisions which inadvertently put you on the path to financial and emotional bankruptcy? What if you stand and consider people like me, and those worse off, as 'there but for the grace of God go I'? Or do you look at us and think we must have severely displeased God to end up in this situation because those whom He loves He blesses?

Have you considered the effort it takes to look respectable when your charity shop clothes are fast wearing out and you can no longer even afford charity shop prices? Have you considered how many people go to interviews hungry because they needed their money for the bus fare or petrol to get there? Yes I have a laptop and am keeping up phone and Internet charges, how else do I hope to get a job or be contacted? Yes I am also overweight, the cheapest food is better than none and it is also the least nutritious or healthy, you think I like eating rubbish?

At present I am working five different 'jobs' hoping for references, barter, the lead to employment, money making opportunities.. I call them  jobs for my own self respect, one gives me vegetables which keeps food on the table part of the week, another gives me occasional hand-outs when she can afford it and bits of fabric!! All are necessary to my self-esteem.

But as I said at the beginning, there are days that I really enjoy, and I didn't expect that from this precarious existence. I look at 'the haves' with their shopping bags and good clothes and cars and feel a twinge of jealousy, sure, but I know for certain that my higgledy piggeldy lifestyle has more potential, if less remuneration. I also look at the apparent 'haves' and wonder how much fear or loss their outward appearance is hiding. Certainly I'd like to be certain of keeping the roof over my head and being able to feed my girls when they visit without having to go begging from my parents for money, and sure I'd like to know for certain that it will not always be this hand to mouth financial scramble. But I will not put myself back into a position of being bullied or abused in any way shape or form in order to achieve those things.

So for now, yes I am one of the ones looked down upon, a drain on the State, waster and loser and whatever other judgements they care to throw at me, but they judge and find guilty without trial.

In the words of Mr. Magorian:
'We must face tomorrow, whatever it may hold, with
and bravery.'
And boy! every single day takes a truckload of each of those qualities to be got through head up and with a smile on my face.

So yes, I am unemployed; no, this was not a conscious life choice; yes, I would like paid employment; no, I refuse to see myself as down-trodden, desperate sometimes, but not at my wits end; yes, I am going somewhere even though unsure quite where!!

Statistics are real people and on the days I'm struggling to not give up on me, your attitude will make a difference.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Yarny Play Time!

A new wool order in the Craft and Sewing Basket was unpacked last week...quite yummy! And GUESS who got to play with the new yarns...in order to make up samples...of course!!

Pick me! Pick me!

Firstly there is 'Weave' by Tivoli Spinners:
Spread out it is about 2 1/2" wide and very soft to work with. The ruffled scarf is a bit passé we decided so I am going to try knitting a plain DK wool collar and use the blue to work a ruffle detail. Then I want to try it on a cushion as edging...and there's a black and white version I thought would look good on an evening bag...Its kinda different, as yarns go.
Then there is this ribbon yarn by Amazon which comes in various polka dot colours as well as a leopard print!
This was firmer to work and turned out a bit funkier than I thought- the photo does not do it justice...a bit like a ribbon boa (do I mean boa? or is that the constrictor snake thing? I mean the feather twirly yoke).

And then today they were unpacking new bolts of fabric when I went in- whoopee! What's not to like about helping out in a Craft and Sewing shop????

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Bag Handles...Hag Bangles?

The other day I saw a photo on Pinterest using craft chain and crochet to make bag handles.

So on Monday I bought me two pieces of 40cm chain and tried it out for a bag I am working on at present. It started out as a tote but is turning into a 'kitchen sink' yoke of a smart bag:
Its just that it was sitting there looking awfully boring so I thought I'd jazz it up a bit...and I guess I got carried away. Appropriate for a bag though, getting carried away...get it???????

Anyhow, back to the chain. Of course I didn't follow the original picture completely and there was a lot of fiddling and ripping, but I quite like the outcome. Then of course, I started playing with crochet cotton to see how else I could make interesting handles (the thing with handles is that one needs to make two matching and I am not exactly gifted at making things match...)

For the middle one I thought I would thread ribbon or something contrasting through the loops. Perhaps some beads on the tabs after attaching them to the bags...thinking, thinking...

Anyhow that's this week's experiment!


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