First off, show and tell. For a little while I've been beavering away quietly (and sometimes not so quietly, like the time I attempted to sew in a cushion zip and the air around me turned a very lovely shade of azure) in my ham fisted way on several projects for the anticipated New Arrival.
I've knitted, crocheted, cut out and sewn. I've begged the two more artistically talented people here to draw outlines of animals I could use as templates (they declined, hence woolly creatures which would never have made Noah's passenger list). I've utilised a beautiful (and new and expensive) grey wool sweater which was washed instead of the recommended dry clean (read the label, read the label) and came out Barbie sized.
A useful tutorial was found here and I managed to make a couple of items which definitely resembled bibs, even in a good light. These were joined over the weeks by a wonky rainbow blanket (the knitted blanket was more successful), a teddy with the face of a koala, a whale with a lopsided grin, a pair of little boots which just about match, a two legged cat, a couple of sweaters which may or may not fit over a baby's head and...... well, you get the picture.
My favourite was a little hooded jacket. The pattern I used was a tatty photocopy from years ago which I acquired and used for the then baby Girlie. This time round a couple of pockets were added (using the pick up stitches method no less) with a teeny bungee jumping teddy nestling inside one.
Now for the professional make. The lovely Anne very generously offered to make a baby quilt which arrived in the post quicker than you can say charm pack.
The stitching is exquisite.
And there's been one more make, a very special one courtesy of the Girlie and her mister.
The most perfectly gorgeous baby boy.
August also marked this blog's eight year anniversary. Yep, eight years of wittering about nothing in particular, documenting the ups (mostly) and downs (there have been a few) of an ordinary life being lived up here in the north east of England.
Blogging itself has certainly changed in those eight years, with many favourite blogs going down the sponsorship and advertising route, calling time, closing shop, suddenly going silent, migrating to Twitter and Instagram.
I'm not an Instagram user as I don't have one of those fancy mobile phones. I don't have a mobile phone full stop. I know, I know. Luddite or what?
It started with an aversion to that sense of being always contactable. That's still the case, though of course the other side of the no mobile coin is that I can't easily get in touch with anyone when I'm away from home and the landline. I can live with that (though feel free to ask me again after I've broken down on some long dark country road with no means of requesting assistance and the ghost of Shovelly Joe flitting between the swaying trees).
I do get that Instagram is quick, brief, easy, life-as-it-happens kind of thing. But I'm in no particular hurry and prefer to take the more measured, leisurely route.
So, call it old hat but I'll continue to while away the hours tapping away at the keyboard to keep the blog posts coming. Because for me it's about the little stories, the conversations (even if they're with myself), the words. I think it always has been.
Now for that message. A very serious one.
September is Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. Did you know that gynaecological cancer survival rates have barely shifted over the last 30 years? That, compared to the significant improvements in life expectancy following a breast cancer diagnosis, the number of women expected to survive ovarian, cervical, vaginal, vulval and womb cancer has stubbornly remained low for decades?
Sadly, too many women are dying.
Some of that is down to lack of knowledge about symptoms (and that includes GPs), embarrassment about talking about 'down below' stuff or assuming any change is just part of getting older.
If you're a long time visitor here, you'll know that in 2009 I was diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer. Malignant melanoma of the vulva to be precise. I've been so lucky to survive beyond the five year marker (five years and nine months, actually) and in July I was finally discharged from oncology after care.
Sadly, too many women don't reach five years post diagnosis.
So please make sure you know the signs and symptoms of the five gynaecological cancers and encourage your mothers, daughters, aunts, nieces, cousins, friends to do the same. You can find information here.