Monday, 31 January 2011

Booky wooky goodness

There's been a lot in the news recently about closing down libraries in an attempt to save money. This really makes me sad.

My memories of childhood were of spending Saturdays with a visit to the library. It started with my school library, which happened to be close to where I had my swimming lessons. Then, when my sister and I were a little older, it moved to the one which was close to the supermarket. My parents used to drop us off at the library whilst they went and did the food shopping and wandered round the shops. It suited us all perfectly. They would get peace and quiet to run around the supermarket without two bored children hanging off the trolley, and we would get to be kids. I'd race to the kids books and quite happily spend 2 or 3 hours picking up the maximum limit of books I was allowed. Then, if I had time left over, I'd start reading another and get as far through it as I possibly could. When I got home, it would be a quick lunch and then I'd disappear off into my room for a few hours of peace and quiet so that I could just read and read and read as much as possible until my parents called me down again. I think I must have read every Judy Blume book, every Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High... I probably read all the teenage girl books in the whole place.

Even as an adult, I've been a member of various libraries when I need some new fiction. I can't imagine my life without them. There's nothing like devouring a good book. I really hope that as many as possible can remain open, and that people get behind the libraries to prove how necessary they are to the community, especially to fire up the imagination of children. The story of the community who withdrew every single book from the shelves of the local library to show how valuable it was to them warmed my heart. I just hope that the councils and the government sit up and listen.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Projecty Goodness

I've realised that I very much enjoy being part of little projects with like minded people. I've noticed more and more of these types of things cropping up online; whether it was just me not noticing, or that there are more people doing it now I'll never know.
But anyway, here are some of my favourite things to be involved in at the moment.

1. Pledge Music. You hand over money for some exclusive items by particular artists, you get little video or textual updates throughout the course of the project. It means that they don't have to go through a record company and you get something interesting, but one of the things I like is that you feel involved throughout the process. I'll be getting some lovely Madina Lake signed goodies. On top of that, a portion of funds raised is sent to charity. How fab!

2. Kickstarter. A much more all encompassing site where you can fund/get funding for a project. They do music, but also business startups, and all sorts of other things - you name it, it's on there. Each project sets a date by when to receive funding. When the date rolls around, if the target is reached, the project is funded and you get whatever you signed up and paid for, and if not then that's the end of it and you aren't charged any money. Again, you get updates through the life of the project, which is nice :o) I signed up for the TikTok/LunaTik projects which look like one of the most successful projects on the site, and it's exciting to follow the progress.

3. Lovedrop. This started only this month, but I love the idea. Not a registered charity, but a bunch of people looking to help one person each month. Lots of people give a little money, and that can make a huge difference. The team are motivated and focussed, they are easy to like, and having watched their progress for a few months now, I have every faith that this project is going to be really successful. The main thing I like about it is that you see where the money is going, who it is helping and it doesn't just disappear into a big pot. Seeing where my money goes and how it can change someone's life is something I really like, but more than that, there's a whole forum where people can discuss other ways to help, so the project really can go a long way if everyone chips in time and ideas as well.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Happy New Year!

I'm a tad late with this, but we're now firmly into 2011.

I was supposed to be being made redundant on Monday, but that has now been pushed back until the middle of the year, which is great news for me. I felt pretty happy about that, even thought I had been looking forward to some time to myself, I was also pretty glad to get back into the office and a routine after the Christmas break.

2010 was pretty good for me all in all, I did well with the cross stitch, not quite as well as I'd have liked, but still I stayed focused on it all year and didn't do too badly. I saw some really amazing gigs - I saw 4 of my top 5 bands more than once during the year, which I thought was pretty good going, and a whole heaps of others as well. I kept the blog going, built up my network on Twitter and just caught up on a lot of stuff that I needed to.

I hope that 2011 will be even better. Again, I intend to finish 4 cross stitch designs, see a lot of live music, keep up with my blogs and be more active on a couple of things I really like the sound of - It Starts With Us, Lovedrop and Lovebomb. I'll be leaving my job in the middle of the year, so I hope to be doing something new and interesting by September - I have a few ideas for that in mind but more on those later in the year.

Oh and I'm also getting married to the much hen-pecked and nagged Rob! 2011 is going to be pretty packed, but a lot of fun I hope.

I hope your 2011 is wonderful.