i love reading blogs, really i do. i love reading blogs that are packed with beautiful, skillful, inspirational projects presented in an attractive, professional way, really i do. i don't long for the days when every homepage was hand coded, with attendant blinking text and pictures that looked as though they'd been taken underwater, really i don't. but lately i find reading all the beautiful, skilfull, inspirational, attractive, professional blogs can be as dispiriting as encouraging.

i find myself thinking, well i could take pictures that looked that good if i had a £2000 camera or a studio setup or a climate where the sun shone more than 2 weeks a year. i could make fabulous quilts if i had a stash the size of a planet, a dedicated sewing room and a fancy sewing machine. i could build a wonderful stash if i had access to quilting shop on every corner and a yarn shop on every other instead of having to double the price of everything with shipping. i envy all these talented bloggers their time, space and money.

we have one quilting shop and no (really, not one) yarn shops in a city with a population of over 300,000. the choice of fabrics in the uk - even online - is very limited and mostly dreary and/or extortionately priced. we seem to have lost any make it yourself culture we may have had in the past, so the raw materials just aren't available. this is changing in the yarn world i think, but only at prices that exclude the vast majority. to buy internationally adds not only shipping but often customs and duty fees too. i chose to give up work when M was born and while we're by no means badly off we have limited means and live in a 2-up 2-down. all my crafting is done on the kitchen table/sofa, my materials are crammed under beds and chairs and into any spare space i can find.

the one luxury i have gained through all of this is time, although not as much as you might think. having M at home full time up until september meant that my crafting was still squeezed in after bedtime, although i was able to get some of the household chores out of the way while she was around, giving me that evening free time. since she started nursery school i have 3 afternoon sessions of 2 1/4 hours to call my own. and now i'm close to handing over the voluntary paperwork that often occupied this spot i feel i have a huge horizon opening before me :)

and after all this whinging i do remember to count my blessings. i don't believe for a minute that the glossy surface of a blog reflects the whole of the blogger's life, and i wouldn't swap my life for anyone's. as a family we've benefited greatly from my choice to stay at home in many areas. it gave me the impetus to start this whole crafting gig in the first place, and i like to think that necessity is the mother of invention. there is a certain kind of identikit style that stalks the craft blogland, a unifying aesthetic, the same fabrics pop up over and again, the original ideas are adopted/adapted by many and quickly lose their impact.

which is why i'm drawn back more and more to blogs like shannon's that plough their own furrow and inspire through force of originality and determination rather than purchasing power. i was sad to see the end of thriftcraft as the one thing i have in abundance nearby is charity shops and i welcome inspiration for repurposing materials that are available, affordable and unique. although given the huge following that hillary lang (deservedly) has i guess rashes of similar if not identical thrifted projects were likely to spring up across the globe too. can't win i guess :D

can anyone suggest any good thrifting blogs or blogs-of-limited-means-but-unlimited-aspirations that i may have missed?