Social Action For Everyone

Dawn. A high pitch scream from my daughter's room jolts me awake. Gently, I lift her from bed and coo gently in her ear. I carry her to my bed, tucking her next to me on the mattress. I stroke away the bad dream and watch as her breathing slows once more. Her brow is hot and sweaty. Tendrils of curls are stuck to her temples. I turn my attention to the notifications showing with increasing urgency on my phone. 

It's not good news. 

In those dark hours before light begins to creep into my room I work hard to organise my thoughts about our newly elected world leader. I try hard to bite down the rising panic I feel as I watch my daughter slumber, genuinely afraid for a world that continues a relentless march towards the right. These are not my family values. This is not a world I wish her to witness. 

Social Action for Everyone

I sift through my timelines and quickly see that people feel powerless and abandoned. People want someone or something to blame. They're scared and angry and I understand. I saw it here in the UK in June. There are many reasons that people in the UK voted in such an inwardly looking way, leaving us with a government that views me as homeless because I identify as a citizen of the world. It is not for me to shame someone for their voting choice though and I'm trying hard to work on my responses and understanding of why people have made the choices they have. I'm learning that not all these choices are clear cut. 

Since June I've begun taking action. Realising that I lived in an echo chamber of my own political views, I enrolled in several community projects. I wanted to take positive action in supporting some of the people I was concerned were becoming more marginalised and vulnerable. It's also hard to condemn those who voted differently to me (and that's the majority where I live) when I'm working side by side to improve our local school's inclusion programme, for example.

However, this is not about people who other than their voting choices are pretty much the same as me. This is about difference that runs far deeper than that. In one of the sessions I ran recently about inclusion, a colleague admitted that she often shies away from diversity for fear of getting it wrong. Gently, I asked what her silence communicated to people of colour, to those who did not have the same set of beliefs or sexuality that she did. Together we looked for questions she feared to ask and then we talked about where we would find the answers. It was a good lesson for me too if I'm honest. If we are asking, perhaps our children are too and more than ever, I want them to find the right answers. 

Social Action for Everyone

I have spent a lot of time thinking about how I could move forward in a way that is helpful to the biggest number of people I can be of help to. I've turned my attention to my own social media and podcast and the messages that I convey on a regular basis. I've thought hard about some of the stories I wish to tell next season. Will they be reflective of the global community I currently live in? 

I am as responsible as the next person to make this world feel like a safe home to everyone. One thing I've already learned these past few months is that by stepping outside of my bubble and listening as well as acting whenever possible, I feel less powerless. I can start with me and if I'm lucky, that ripple of change will grow. For example, I can share some of the brilliant things I've discovered online that you can be a part of today if you're feeling powerless too:

1. What to do if you witness a hate crime

2. This brilliant advice about how to be an ally if you're white came up again as it should, because it's important

3. Be clear that your place of business is a safe and accepting refuge for every community member with these transfers. 

4. The Brandjamming Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (Lego listened!)

5. Consider donating time or money to some of these causes if you're concerned about people in our communities. 

Toni Morrison Quote

It might be time to go to work and you know what? I'm ready. 

See you for Season 4?

 

#makegoodfeelgood

This week I had the opportunity to write about an event for a charity I've supported for over a decade. Mind are a charity that provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Mind campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding and I have used their services many times in my professional and personal life. (You can read the article I wrote for Mollie Makes here). 

In a year in which I said goodbye to another beautiful friend battling depression I found my thoughts once again returned to supporting Mind. This time of year can all too often leave me with the 'snowball-gathering-momentum' feeling and I know I am not alone in that. This year, Mind have created a fundraising event based on bringing people together, to craft with their Crafternoons. When interviewing Rachel Boyd, Information Manager at Mind, I was struck by the power of the online craft community. 

“Relationships with others help you to feel supported, positive and connected to the world around you, and are one of the most important things in staying mentally healthy. When it isn’t possible to see family and friends at Christmas you can stay in contact over the phone, by email, text or Skype, which can help to keep the relationships going.”

With the relocation and working out life as a single parent, a real life gathering kind of got away from me this year so I'd like to throw something out into the Internet to give a little support for those who perhaps aren't having a good time right now. 

Comforting crafting

Let's focus on a Cyber hug rather than a Cyber Sale for the Holidays. 

On Monday 7th December I would love it if you would join me and lots of others to share a positive message about our crafting. Using the hashtag #makegoodfeelgood, share an image of anything you are either currently making or something you’ve already made and love. You can share any craft from baking a cake to repairing a pair of much loved socks. When you post, it would be great if you could explain why it makes you feel good to have made it. I hope that we can remind everyone to take a little space in their busy lives to gather with friends, craft and feel good at a time that can be particularly challenging for those who suffer from mental health problems.  

yarn flat lay

If you want to link back to me @aplayfulday that would be lovely but is not essential. If you want to shout out support for Mind’s Crafternoons, that would be even better.  Any sharing and spreading of the plan beforehand is always helpful to make the ripple go a little further. Just remember to include the hashtag #makegoodfeelgood so all of us can join together online in one big crafty hug. 

If you or any of your loved ones are feeling in need of help, you can find Mind online @Mindcharity, call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463. 

Refuge and Why We're Yarn Crawling

On the eve of the Yarn Crawl, there's been a lot of excited chatter as you might expect. I've checked what needles I need to pick up, planned my knitting to take and topped up my Oyster Card. However, it seemed right to remind myself why we're Yarn Crawling in the first place after this video from Patrick Stewart blew me away earlier in the week as it appeared in my timeline. 

Refuge supports 3,000 women and children on any given day through a range of services, including refuges, independent advocacy, community outreach and culturally specific services. Refuge is committed to a world where domestic violence is not tolerated and where women and children can live in safety. I have directly seen their outstanding commitment to women and families and the fact that the Great London Yarn Crawl supports that makes me very happy indeed. 

I'll be sharing pictures and tweets tomorrow and I do hope that in some way, we help move towards a future where women and families can live without violence in their lives. 

 

If Domestic Violence is something that concerns you or a loved one, you can find information here

 

 

Traipsing Vines Wrap/ Shawl

A little while ago a pattern appeared in my Ravelry library with a lovely note. I was in one of my frantic rushes to meet a deadline and I believe there was some teething too so I forgot to share it. Luckily, I had said 'please remind me if I forget....' So here is the post I should have shared a little while ago. 

(c) Three Irish Girls

The pattern is the Traipsing Vines Wrap/ Shawl by Arlin Chondro-Halim of the Lost Geek podcast. It's = a really beautiful design that I instantly liked but even more so when I read the kind notes attached the gift pattern. 

100% of sales of this pattern during the month of January and February 2014 will go to relief efforts of Manado flash floodJakarta flood, and Mt. Sinabung eruption. Funds will be directed to local Red Cross and local evacuation sites. 

It's a beautiful pattern for a great cause. It's also brilliant because it solves the problem I always have of wraps etc. slipping off. 

Hidden half-length sleeves keep the wrap in place without distracting from the overall look. From the front, the shawl can look like a long cardigan if you let it down, or it can look like a regular shawl if you wrap it around your arms. Isn't that clever?

Please do go and take a look and download a copy. I'm currently pondering what DK yarn I might purchase at Unravel to work it up in.... And what fancy occasion I should showcase it at. 

Thanks for the pattern Arlin and I wish you luck wit your fundraising efforts!

A Song For Boo

Christmas is about coming together and thinking of friends and family and something happened several weeks ago that made me realise how important it is to nurture our relationships. We lost a beautiful person and I've not really found the words yet to express the way this saddened me. Somebody did and they've created a song, with all proceeds going to Diabetes UK, a charity very important to Boo and her family as she struggled to come to terms with her condition.

If you can find it in your hearts to buy the song, I for one would be very grateful as would her family who I know will find this particular holiday a very raw and painful one. The song was written by her former guitar teacher and his songwriting partner in her memory. 

It is a very beautiful song and I will always think of that Autumn day, staring at the stained-glass in Guildford Cathedral while surrounded by the many friends and family that came to show Boo how much we loved her. It hurt to listen to but it also gladdened my heart that her spirit lives on in all the many, many, many people she inspired. You can purchase the song through iTunes and download it

here

. If you make one holiday donation this year, I would be so grateful if it were this one. 

I wish everyone reading this the most warm wishes this holiday season and I hope 2014 brings many wonderful things into your life. 

Thank you