Mountain cushion

This started as an early morning post because I was too uncomfortable to sleep this morning, but then breakfast arrived 🙂 It all appears to have gone well yesterday but it’s going to take a while to feel better.

This cushion was last minute birthday present idea because I had no clues what to buy and had been so distracted by medical matters the date crept up on me!


Here’s the cushion, posing on my sofa with my other wonky mountain 🙂 It’s my largest machine applique/ embroidery project so far, I’ve only made postcards before, but creating the pattern and choosing fabrics is still the hardest part.

I was aiming for mountains and a small peninsula reflected in a lake. A few years ago we were in North Wales and saw a perfect reflection of the Snowdon horseshoe, and I’ve had a poster of that photo on my wall. With the different fabrics it turned out a little abstract but the recipient still understand it 🙂

I didn’t take any close up photos to properly show the freehand sewing machine embroidery. The pieces were cut out of a hurriedly made pattern and attached to the cushion with ‘heat and bond’. I then freehand stitched around all of the edges a few times, for security and I like the look of several rounds of overlapping stitches – and I can never get the same line twice! I also embroidered curves across the water parts to suggest ripples, I knew I’d bought that blue green variegated cotton for a reason 🙂  The sky looked a little empty, so because it’s a dark cotton I added the moon and a few stars. If I had a bit longer I think I’d add more details to the view. The entire cushion is made of scraps, and I don’t have a huge amount of suitable fabric, so the back is made of dark indigo denim to keep with the water theme. At least it all turned out big enough and just about square!


Outgoing postcards – maxing out


So I’ve just maxed out my Postcrossing limit 🙂 plus a couple of cards to postcard pals and one in a Postcrossing RR. My reasons are: 1) I’m going for minor surgery tomorrow and writing cards is relaxing, and 2) I’m going to be recovering for several weeks and may as well have cards travelling during that time.

My account has been on inactive for a few months now so I’m looking forward to a stack of postcards one I move house in August 🙂 (is it an wonder I’m stressed?!).

These cards are mainly off to Russia, with a couple to USA, and single cards to Turkey, Sweden, Belarus and Germany.

From top left the cards are: Haddon Hall, Derbyshire/ a Japanese Buddha statue/ an aerial view of the Guggenheim in Bilbao/ a painting of ‘Night with a trail of stars’ from the Birmingham art gallery/ ‘deerie me’ (the only card requested in an envelope)/ artistic park view/ flowers from Ikea/ historic Derbyshire/ a birthday postcard/ ‘C’ (for Caroline)/ VW campervans/ Monday Dale/ vintage car photo/ and a postcard I got free with Derbyshire Life magazine of a pretty village (I only bought the magazine for the postcards!)

On friendship

A few days ago I went to a social event to view an art exhibition. I’m really trying now to find a social life in this city. I’ve been here a year and still have no-one close by to just go to the cinema with, or out to lunch, or any of the little last minute plans that can happen when meeting up doesn’t involve a short train journey. So I went to the (insane and incomprehensible) exhibition, and when everyone headed to the bar, I…ghosted straight out of there. To my surprise someone did actually see me leave and I had to explain that I was stressed and just wanted to go home (rather than saying actually mainly middle aged men are not a social group I’m interested in cultivating and I can’t face trying to make any more forced conversation). And there are other groups that are more female focused or aim at my age group but it’s hard work to keep going sometimes.

It’s got me thinking about a few things. How friendship requires effort and that when I’m feeling alone I need to put that effort into existing friendships as well as looking for new ones. And that some of my best friends at the moment are people I’ve never met and only communicate with through letters. And how bad I am at maintaining communication in any other format with people closer than 500 miles away! So more effort required – circular argument here I think 🙂

I’ve also been thinking about when a friendship isn’t worth the effort. Like the group of old men I feel will never become friends. I’ve never straight up ended a penfriend relationship. I’ve been friend dumped once, by email, and it was really painful, made me completely doubt my ability to be a friend, and made me wonder why anyone would like me. I hope I have some redeeming qualities and that people aren’t just being polite in return… I’ve ghosted on penpals a few times when I’ve got 5 lines a couple of times a year and thought ‘why bother?’, but I don’t do confrontation so I mainly just keep writing back. Maybe more slowly and not chasing when another letter never arrives but reading about their children’s summer activities or a recent shopping trip and trying to be that good friend.

Sometimes we just need someone out there to listen. People need connections to others, and with the terrible current political climate it’s important to know people in Russia and USA and everywhere else, and know that the news doesn’t reflect the individual good people around the world. Maybe if all politicians had pen friends the world would be a nicer place. I’m trying and failing to imagine Teresa May and Angela Merkel as penpals, but maybe they could share leadership advice and how to ignore people criticising their fashion sense…

As a shy introvert it will of course take much longer to develop in-person relationships and have more than 2 friends, but there’s still plenty of options to explore. And despite the dominance of old men in certain local groups, or racists or painful silences or when only 2 of us turn up (all recent experiences) and late night doubts, I’m still optimistic. About everything.

And if there’s any lonely people in Derby or anywhere else – hello!!!

Today’s beautiful postcards

Or, postcards that make me really want to travel somewhere lovely and take amazing pictures.

I haven’t had much post for a few weeks, but today as well as a letter I had 3 beautiful postcards 🙂


A great aerial view of Trinity-St Sergius monastery from Russia, a beautiful coastal scene from Sweden, and a view of Bursa in Turkey.

They’re all going into the favourite cards box! I actually need a bigger box now…

More handmade postcards

I’m slowly adding to my handmade postcard collection 🙂 I’ve done a couple of swapbot swaps recently and received beautiful cards.

Handmade postcard swap:

Sent to UK


Freehand machine embroidered owl. I’m not sure what it is about his face that makes him look so daft…

Received from Australia


I think this is decoupage paper, paint, stamped shapes and collage on board. It’s a lovely card. And if I made people smile today it’s because my bicycle riding is wobbly enough to be amusing…

Washi tape patchwork postcard

Sent to Australia


The colours look off in the photo, but it’s a stripey and partially woven basic design. The swap required that the tape was protected somehow, so there’s a layer of glue as a varnish.

Received from Canada


More imaginative than my creation, washi tape with marker pen decoration, protected with sticky tape.

I’m planning to make more handmade cards (and more owls) sometime, but there are so many things I’d like to make at the moment!

Happy Mail!

I had a bit of a break from swapbot recently, with illness and holidays it was hard to keep up with post too. But in the last few weeks I found several great swaps so the post is picking up again! It’s my own fault for not sending much but I’m always dissapointed to get home to no letters…

The swap required:
1 sticker sheet
5 washi tape samples
1 postcard
1 teabag
3 items of your choice

Sent to the Netherlands-


Toucan stickers, paper doilies, floral notecards, postcards, a fun badge, tea and tape.

It’s always good when recipient really liked what I sent them 🙂 and making people happy makes me happy. Maybe if everyone did snail mail the world would be a nicer place…

Rating received:  “just received your swap and it made my day. I love the doilies from Santoro. Thank you so much!”

Received from Chile-


Black on clear vintage style stickers, to do notes, tab sticky notes, very pretty tape, a magnetic bookmark, a postcard of the Japanese garden in Buenos Aires, and a tea bag in a cute origami case 🙂

I’ve only received postcards from Chile before so it was great to get a larger swap too, but I’m coming to realise more and more now that it’s the people who make the swaps extra special. If someone really cares about making a stranger happy with just the contents of an envelope it doesn’t matter where they’re from 🙂