Thursday, 26 April 2012

A Special Present and A Mother's Work

I have been wanting to blog about the special present that I made for a special friend for a while, but given that she lives in Australia, she has only just received it!  And of course I didn't want to ruin the surprise or give her any inkling at all before it got to her.  Anyhow, let me tell you all about it. 

I met Julie firstly through Facebook, as we are both studying through the School of Stitched Textiles.  I am doing the Level 3 Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting, and Julie is doing the Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery.  Although the courses are different, there is a lot of cross over and many elements are the same, particularly the initial 5 'design'  modules.  (The ones I am still slogging my way through.) So having 'met' it has been really nice to look at one anothers work and also share experiences of distance learning.  We soon realised we had a lot in common and we often email with our news and lack of progress.   But the fantastic news is that Julie has, after several years of studying, finally finished!  As a fellow C & G student I know exactly what a huge achievement this is - I am sure that Julie will agree with me that there is just SO much involved, so to get to the finish line is just wonderful.  Julie's work is stunning, and her dedication to the course has been second to none.  I am sure she won't mind you taking a look at her blog which charts all of her work, right from the beginning of the course, up until the end.   

So a little hand made gift seemed to the be perfect present as way of celebration.  And knowing that Julie loves chocolate, what better a gift than a little 'chocolate stash' bag;

I hope she likes it.  Based loosely on the Easter Bunny Bags that I made last month, I hand appliqued felt flowers of my own design onto the bag.  And then filled it with chocolate. :-)   

Now, as promised, I am going to answer the questions relating to 'A Mother's work' as I was tagged by my *real life* friend Menai on her blog.  (This meme was originally started by ).

  1. Please post the rules
  2. Answer the questions in as much or as little detail as suits you
  3. Leave a comment on so we can keep track of the meme
  4. Tag 3 people and link to them on your blog
  5. Let them know you tagged them
  6. Tweet loudly about taking part (well ok, that isn’t a rule, but how about if we start a hashtag – #amothersworkmeme )

Did you work before becoming a mum?

Yes, I have always worked.  Right back when I was still at school I worked to get extra cash and save up for a car.  I was desperate to be old enough to work in Tescos and as soon as I was I applied and was there for four and a half years, and I made some great friends.  I worked while I was at university, both when I was there and also when I returned home for the holidays.  In fact, one of my very best jobs was working for Costa Coffee, making coffee all day long - I loved it.  I even went to Costa College in London for 2 days to learn to make the 'perfect espresso!' After uni I fell into working for a Social Housing Association, doing project work.  My claim to fame for this period of my life is that I got to interview Sir Steve Redgrave.  That was a lot of fun, if not slightly nerve wracking.  But the best thing about working for the housing association was that I met my wonderful husband.  But I knew that deep down I wanted to be a teacher, so I returned to university and did a PGCE, got married and then worked for two years as a primary school teacher.  It was during the second year that I fell pregnant with Freya and I haven't returned to full time teaching since.  When she was about 1 I started doing private tuition, which was a great way of me keeping my hand in, and it was great working on a one to one basis with the children.  I really saw them progress over the time that I was with them and grow in confidence too. 

What is your current situation?

It was only because we moved to Jersey that I had to stop tutoring.  Because my husband works so many hours and often at the weekend too, I just can't make a regular commitment.  Oh and William was born so I have been a little bit  busy recently!  Looking after two children has been a real challenge; I find that their needs are just so different.  But it is starting to get very slightly easier now that Freya is used to William being around, and William is a lot more alert and aware of his surroundings. 

I find it frustrating that I don't do any 'paid' work and make any financial contribution to our family at the moment, it's something I feel guilty about, but it's just not possible.  Having said that, I have done a little bit of writing for a magazine that is going to be published very soon, I shall provide more details once it's out there!  It's not much but it means that I can buy some gorgeous fabrics for my stash with my earnings and feel proud that I earned the money myself, and writing about something I love.  Any guesses?! 

Living in Jersey, I have found it a lot easier not to have to justify why I am not working.  When I was living in the UK, I was constantly being asked 'are you going back to work?' and I just sensed that people were surprised that I wasn't.  Over here, a lot of mum's don't work at all while they have small children, so I feel a lot more comfortable, as I am not the odd one out.  Having said that, in Jersey, for mum's who have a baby, they only get 6 months maternity leave (compared to a year in the UK) and then they are faced with the choice of going back to work and putting their child in a nursery, or leaving work altogether.  I think it's madness to expect a mother to return to full time work after 6 months, and yet, sadly, many mum's are forced to do this. 

Freestyling ambitions for the future

I have chosen this topic to freestyle about because it is something that I think about a lot.  If you're reading this blog then you will know I am studying for a Level 3 C and G in Patchwork and Quilting; this is a big investment, time wise, skills wise and also money wise.  I really do hope that I can make a career out of it in the future.  This is what I am passionate about, and to make it into my career would be just wonderful.  I already have the teaching qualification and I would like to run workshops, either for adults or children, and perhaps in the future sell quilts that I have designed.  I would also like to do more writing; articles for magazines, blogs etc. and who knows, perhaps some day a book!  This is what I am striving for, and every time I work on my coursework or write an article or make a quilt that people like, I feel like I am just one step closer to that.  Time is very limited at the moment, but all I can do is use every bit of spare time I have productively and work towards achieving all of this.  I really want to make this happen!

Thank you so much for reading.  Sorry for such a long blog post.  I would love to hear your comments and your thoughts on A Mother's Work. 

I'm Tagging:

Claire of Tryingtobecrafty

Liz of Dandelion Daydreams


  1. Thanks for tagging me.
    Off to ponder my responses for tomorrow.
    p.s. did you know that you are a "No Reply" blogger and your word verification is still on?

    1. Yes, quite thought provoking questions! I look forward to your responses! And thanks, I have changed my settings so hopefully I am not a no reply blogger anymore and no word verification either :-)

  2. Great post, especially as half of it is about me, LOL!!! You really are a super special person Sarah, and your gift is extra special and lovely. I can't wait to show it off to family and friends. The chocolate is in the fridge chilling and ready to be devoured ... yum yum yum!
    Loved reading your Mothers Work, its really interesting to hear your background and is a good way for everyone to get to know each other better. I have no doubt at all that you will succeed in your dream to become a writer and professional quilter.

  3. Hello! Thanks so much for taking part in A Mother's Work Meme, I will be popping your blog onto the A Mother's Work Meme Role Call Page in a mo.

    I think we have a similar work ethic, I had a Saturday job from 16 and have always worked to earn money. And now, I work as a full-time mum AND do whatever work I can around that to earn a bit of £££. It is interesting the point you make about feeling more comfortable being a full-time mum in Jersey, I also get sick of having to explain / justify my choice to be at home to others.

    In general, mothers need to be valued more by society and also supported a lot more - be it affordable childcare for those that either want to work or have no choice but to work. And also proper flexible working legislation, that allows many more women to try and find a balance for working to earn some money and being around for their children, be they babies, toddlers or school-children.

    Oops, sorry for long comment, your post really got my mind ticking over.

    1. It's lovely to hear back from you and thank you for taking the time to reply. I agree with all that you said about mothers needing to be valued more, and certainly childcare costs, which are just so high.

      Hopefully we shall 'meet' again soon :-)

  4. Very interesting post, Sarah. And funnily enough, I just finished reading all the comments on Rachel's post on Stitched in Color regarding whether people like their crafty bloggers to include personal content - I think yes! But I had no idea that Jersey had different laws than the UK (ie, the mat leave). I am from Canada where we have a year, but our neighbors down south often only get 6 weeks - truly ridiculous and an insulting declaration of the value they put on mothering :( I am impressed that you manage to do so much with two small children - school, tutoring, and creating!

    1. Hi there, yes I agree it is nice to have a certain level of personal content on blogs, otherwise surely each quilting blog would be just the same? It's nice to build up a picture of different bloggers and their lives. 6 weeks maternity leave, that's just crazy. Paternity leave is also a big issue, 3 days I think, what does that say about the fathers role?! As for doing so much with two small children, trust me, progress is often very slow!

  5. I found your comments about different attitudes between the UK and Jersey very interesting. In the UK I always found that one of the first questions I was asked after meeting someone "new" was "What do you do for a living?" Since moving to France I find that here that question is rarely asked (and usually only after knowing someone for a while). I am just a neighbour/friend and my job doesn't matter.
    You are just across the water from me!


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