Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Some thoughts on social media

Both my children, aged 10 and 12, received phones for Christmas. With each of them walking to separate schools now that the eldest is in high school, this is more to ease my mind, than for their entertainment, but they're not complaining.

They've had well supervised access to Facebook since they were 8 or so, but in the last six months, the social media usage has sky rocketed in our house. Instagram, and more recently, Snapchat have been introduced, in addition to the regular Skype and Facetime conversations that happen. Device usage has increased rapidly. The girls have introduced their cousins to kik so they can chat and send photos, and grandparents were able to send back to school messages to the girls directly, instead of via my phone.

When I was 10 or 12, it was a rare occurrence to even have a chat with a friend on the phone (landline, with a cord, remember them?). You saw your friends at school or sport, maybe birthday parties or local gatherings, and that was it. Parents or teachers were there to supervise your social interactions, and any misbehaviour or unfriendliness was quickly noticed. If someone was being left out or picked on, it was fairly obvious.

With the huge array of social media my girls have access to, I worry about how I'll be aware of this kind of thing. What if someone is being hurtful or mean, or worse, what if my girls are? I'm not just talking about intentional nastiness; there's also the things kids say that might upset someone without them realising. Without someone over their shoulder to gently point this out and correct them, will things become more ingrained before we realise?

A few things have made me ponder just what the hell people are thinking when they post on social media. Well, actually, I see things on a daily basis that make me think this, but usually they receive no more than a passing 'WTF?!' and then I move on. I need my kids to be smart about what goes on social media (if they look bad, I look bad).

One of my pet hates is people sharing news or information that isn't theirs to share. Come on people, there's no awards for getting in and announcing the news first. Births, deaths, engagements, marriages, major illnesses, new jobs (or resignations) - I've seen them all trumpeted across various social media by people who perhaps are not the right people to be sharing it. How many guests have posted happy snaps of a bride, possibly before she's even made it down the aisle? What's wrong with just enjoying the day with the people who are present, and letting the happy couple share photos once they're ready? 

Because I'm not addicted to me phone and social interactions should always be cherished without the 4th dimensional world/Internet/social media.:

(Sorry, I feel a rant building up. Back to my original point.)

So with all this in mind, I've started working on a list of things I'd like my kids to keep in mind while they're playing in the social media world.
  • Ask permission before joining any social media
  • Mum has control over privacy settings
  • Mum must know all passwords for all social media accounts
  • Do not give passwords to anyone other than Mum
  • Mum gets to check on any social media accounts when requested
  • No private or secret accounts
  • Always be respectful of self and others in the words and images used.
  • Do not share photos of family or friends without their permission
  • Social media must not be used to mock, tease, embarrass, gossip, or reveal secrets
  • Always consider any posts or messages as being permanently available 
  • Do not post information about location, school, address or phone numbers
  • Never respond to new people online
  • Do not post inappropriate or offensive images, or use bad language
  • Immediately tell an adult if any threatening or inappropriate messages are received
  • If bullying through social media is seen, tell the bully their behaviour is inappropriate, and/or report to an adult.
  • Social media must not interfere with sleep, school work, hobbies, and offline relationships with family and friends.
And some bonus Mum rules:
  • Spell check before posting
  • Be aware that not everything online is true
  • Be wise to hoaxes, and don't share without Google checking the facts
  • Be kind and encouraging
  • Use please and thank you
We've had ongoing discussions about all of these, but I think its good to have them written down all in one place. With time, I'm sure there will be more guidelines added.

Image result for social media rulesImage result for social media contract

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Naming and shaming my UFO's

Tonight when I got home from work, in the dark and with the temperature in the single digits, I spent approximately 2.6 minutes tidying up, then decided the couch and my snuggly blanket needed my attention.

And then, I may or may not have spent two delightful hours procrastinating via the Five Wonders of social media (Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tinder). Go ahead, judge all you like, I know how it sounds.

Anyway, one of the rabbit holes I ventured down, was the depths of my old Instagram pics. I found lots of crafty photos - finished blocks for swaps, quilts that have been completed and gifted and the like, but there were also way too many started projects that haven’t been touched since the day I took that Insta. 

So, with nothing to stop me (the children are away), I scrolled through my entire Instagram feed and tagged all of my unfinished projects. Okay, well not quite all of them, but all of the Instagrammed ones anyway.

If I was going to be completely honest about this, I’d go through all of my archived projects, the ones B.I. (Before Instagram) and photograph them too. I’m a little afraid that those ones would be more embarrassing, mostly because I know that my taste has changed quite a lot in that time.

The winner is my Washi crosses, at 179 weeks young:

I loved this fabric, so I’m not sure why I didn’t make any further progress with this one. I guess the next hot, young  fabric range caught my eye and I moved on.

Anyhoo, I dare you to out some of your Insta-UFO’s. Mine can be found on Instagram via #nameandshameUFO.

P.S. In case you’re wondering how the couch story ends…the need to wee trumps laziness, so two hours was my limit.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Random Thoughts #1

Ticking me off:
  • Instagrams with a gazillion hashtags
  • Anything Paleo
  • My body being unwell when I have tonnes to do
  • Instagrams of Paleo food
  • Instagrams of Paleo food with a gazillion hashtags
  • People who come to my garage sale and leave without taking craploads of my crap
  • Realising how many unfinished projects I have

Tickling my fancy:
  • Glorious autumn days that are warm, but not too warm 
  • A house that is mine, all mine (choosing to ignore the bit the bank owns...)
  • Making plans for the next landscaping project 
  • Dreaming about paint colours other than white
  • Being able to park my car in my garage again (thanks garage sale customers!)
  • Reading: Tell The Wolves I'm Home

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Project update

A little while back, I sent out a request into the crafty interwebs, asking if anyone would like to help me with a special project idea. A family I know well is going through the most dreadfully sad time of their lives after losing their darling daughter and sister, and I was keen to shower them with some quilty loving.

I have been receiving some gorgeous blocks in the mail, and admiring them on my design wall, so I thought I'd share an update photo with you.

Friends and workmates are still busy working on the other quilt for my colleague and her husband, which is growing by the day. If you have time to make a block for this quilt (which is for their son), they would all be gratefully received. He's quite a tall lad, so I'm needing more blocks to make sure this quilt is big enough for him to snuggle under!

So grateful for all the support. xx


Thursday, March 27, 2014

I have a favour to ask...

Edited to add photos of sample blocks.

In my time blogging, and through my experience with Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, I have seen time and time again how generous the quilting and crafting community can be. And so, humbly, I am asking for a little favour peeps.

Dear friends of mine lost their daughter in a tragic accident ten days after her wedding, while she and her new husband were honeymooning in Vietnam.

I am assembling a team of friends, family and colleagues to put together a quilt for them. While we can't ever expect to understand what they are going through, we want to make them a tangible reminder that they have so many people loving and supporting them always. A quilt offers physical and emotional comfort, and will let many of us feel like we are 'doing' something to help this family. 

It's looking like this team will be made up of a very small number of quilters, quite a few people who sew but don't quilt, and a number of people who rarely sew but are happy to make a block with guidance from the more experienced sewers. I also have a couple of people who don't feel like they can manage the sewing part, but have offered to make cuppas (a very important job!) if we have a group sewing session.

Now here's where my favour-asking comes in. This couple also has a son, who is grieving the loss of his sister. I would love to make a quilt for him as well, to extend the same message of comfort and support, but I feel like doubling the size of our project may be a little too ambitious for a group which is almost entirely non-quilters.

Would you like to contribute a block for this second quilt?

I need 63 blocks for this quilt - I'm going to make as many as I can - but it would be fantastic to have some help.

If you would like to contribute - please comment below or email me bronwynbeazley(at) gmail(dot)com. I'd be more than happy to send you precut squares for this project if you need me to.

The block I'm making (see below) - will be a simple nine patch. Use nine 3.5 inch squares to create a 9.5 inch block, which will finish at 9 inches once sashing is added. (My quilt maths is often wrong, so please let me know if that doesn't compute!).

Colours - mostly blues, with some grey, and if you feel so inclined, a small pop of yellow.

Excuse the night time photos - I was a bit keen to finally get some photos added to this post.

In this one, I've pieced two rectangles together to make my centre square, just to make my yellow piece a different shape.

If you have any questions - just ask!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


On the weekend, I spent a lovely couple of days at The Retreat in Woodend with Abbe, Jules, Faith and Mummy Helen.

This was my second visit, so I'm guessing that I behaved suitably well (or appropriately badly!) first time around for Abbe to invite me back. Obviously I was so caught up in the Christmas rush, I didn't get around to blogging my first Retreat visit though. (Bad blogger, what's new!)

My brain was all over the shop in the week before this trip, so I really had no idea what projects and fabric to pack, or even what I felt like working on, but in the end I had a pretty productive weekend. Maybe my approach to packing - 'just keep chucking stuff in' - was the right plan this time.

A giant star quilt - just because.

A length of bunting - just to keep up with the Bunting Queen, Jules.

Finished off some place mats the kids had been waiting on.

Some scrappy coasters - a la Beccasaurus

And I finished piecing the rest of the Drunkards Path blocks I had cut out.

I also spent a bit of time working on the design and colour scheme for a special project I am working on for a friend. By working on, I mean I brain picked the other gals in the form of, "what about....?", "or I could....", "but if I..." and so on.

Movies choices this time round seemed to be of the retro variety - Point Break, Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman - a good way to test the old memory and see how many lines we remembered.

I even managed to call in for a quick (2 hour!) cuppa on the way home with a friend who lives nearby.  All in all, an excellent weekend. Can't wait to do it again.

My daughter asks if I took any photos while away. 
"Of course I did, they're on my phone, go and have a look."
Looks. Big sigh. 
"Not of the stuff you made, Mum, I already saw them on Facebook."
"What then?"
"I wanted to see what The Retreat looked like."

So, next time, I must remember to take enough photos to keep the children happy. Very important.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Opening up about depression.

I can't really explain why this post, now. The words just came to me and asked to be written. And once written, I thought they may as well be shared. So here are the words, being shared.

April will mark eight years since I went to my GP, took a deep breath, and said, “I think I have post natal depression”.

Doesn’t sound like such a big step now, but at the time, that was like leaping off a cliff.

As someone who has always found it hard (impossible sometimes) to ask for help, this was momentous. I’d been to my GP with intentions of seeking help before, but always with another issue. I’d think, “I’ll mention it after we sort out these scripts” or “I’ll get the pap smear done first, then….” or I’d let my daughter’s sore ears/throat/rash be dealt with first, telling myself “I’ll talk about it if we have time”. (Seriously, a pap smear seemed like a better option than asking for help.)

I’d change my mind because there was a lengthy wait and I didn’t want to be the cause for my doctor becoming even more behind. I'd change my mind because the baby and the two year old were reaching the end of their patience. I’d change my mind mid-consult as I just couldn’t quite form the words I needed. I’d change my mind because I was worried I’d be told that I was imagining it, that things weren’t really as bad as I perceived them to be, that plenty of people have it much worse. (This last reason is the most ridiculous of all, as my GP is one of the kindest, most approachable and understanding doctors I have ever met.)

That’s the thing though – depression lies to you. It lets you make these excuses to yourself. It let me get away with thinking, two and a half years earlier when my first daughter was born, that yes, maybe this was post natal depression, but I’d studied psychology, so surely I’d be fine to manage this on my own. (Nope, the answer is no. Bad choice.)

Depression lies and tells you all kinds of things that aren’t true – that you won’t get better, that no one wants to listen, that you must be hopeless because you can’t manage two kids in the supermarket. (I now know that pretty much any shopping trip with a toddler will involve a tantrum somewhere along the line, and that babies have a special knack for needing you when you are halfway through something.)

Sometimes you just have to ask for help and hand the reins over to someone else. Let them decide if they have enough time to listen to you. Let them decide if you are imagining it. Let them help you to make a plan for how to deal with it.

The key message here is ASK FOR HELP. Suck it up and – ASK FOR HELP. Got it?

I didn’t really tell anyone at the time. I was feeling overwhelmed by the emotions of finally asking for help, and thought that I’d tell people when I had things more under control. I didn't want to worry people by letting them see just how fragile I really was at the time. Then, as often happens, the longer you leave things, the harder they get.

I told my husband – I said I’d been to see my doctor and we’d decided that starting medication was the approach we’d take at this point. I don’t think he grasped the magnitude of this situation though. The fact that someone who so rarely asked for help, had sought help. The fact that maybe I might continue to need help.

Depression is a hard disease to understand unless you’ve been in the grips of it. And I think that some people are just never able to fathom the way it can affect so many aspects of a person’s thinking and behaviour. Likewise, it can be hard for some people to understand that medication can help improve these things.

Antidepressants are not a big deal, in the scheme of things. If you need them, take them. But if someone is telling you not to take them, when you know you need to, that is a big deal. A big deal breaker, in fact. Enough of a deal breaker that can lead to the end of a marriage.

But hey, that’s life. Sometimes tough decisions need to be made. You make a decision and cross your fingers that it’s the right one, and that things will improve. 

And, you know, things have improved for me. I’m a single mother, but it’s no big deal, my kids are happy. I still take antidepressants, but, again, no big deal, I’m well. I often feel disorganised, I struggle to fit everything in, I get overwhelmed with big decisions, I sleep like crap, I worry about money, I wonder if my kids will turn out okay, I whinge about my freaking back. 

And, you know what? 

I’ve never been in a happier place.



And now that I’ve shared those brief thoughts with you, I think it’s time to move on to some camel-toe applique, an anti-Valentines Day rant, or a picture of kittens and unicorns.

(Insert picture of kitten and unicorn reminding us to ASK FOR HELP.)

Also, the pictures are just for pretty value. Cos you can't blog without pictures.