Grand opening: Stinewriting on Etsy

I picked up my wife’s christmas present two years ago from Etsy. Some custom soft leather labels for her to sew into the clothes she was making. Came all the way from an artisan in Vladivostok! I thought they were quirky and unique.

I don’t know if I spelled her name wrong or something but after Christmas Day, I never saw these labels again!

Anyway I share Christine’s post with you:

Stine Writing

https://www.etsy.com/listing/813236079/handbound-journal?ref=listing_published_alert

Only a few items for now but the inventory will be growing!

Handbound journals

After watching a video https://youtu.be/pb5ckTXwCwY via someone else’s blog post, I have begun making hand-bound journals. They will be for sale on ETSY. I can make them customized for a more personal gift. I will be adding more, with different details to each one. Right now I have each listed as a single product because I make them all differently.

Please check my shop out and share!
Thank you for your support!

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Dulce et Decorum est

In Melanies Share Your World prompt the other day, I adopted what I think was a forthright tone. She proposed a statement, and I said that yes, with a couple of modifications, I could happily go along with it.

Her original statement was:

In your opinion, does patriotism require the belief that one’s country is the greatest on earth?

and with my modifications, it became:

In your opinion, does patriotism require the desire that one’s country is the best it can possibly be?

It has made me think some since (, so just in those terms, it was an absolutely brilliant post). At the time, I gave a couple of examples, largely to do with fighting for changes to society in order to hit that best it can possibly be goal. While I still feel that is a perfectly valid example, I feel I should probably have also given an example of how patriotism might also mean protecting – again, fighting for – our societies against elements that would harm them.

As a Britisher, for example, I am in absolutely no doubt that somebody like Hitler would have harmed my society, if he had been able to do so. Not just my society, but all our societies. Passage of time has only made clearer exactly what he was about.


I could also not help thinking about Melanie’s word, believe, versus my word, desire. It is significant because just that one word made the difference between agree/disagree with her statement. It raises a bunch of questions for me.

First, if somebody believes their country to be the best, does that mean that it can do no wrong? Does that mean that everything there is already perfect, that nothing could be better? If we look around us, I would suggest that things are not perfect. That being the case, how do we highlight those things that are imperfect? Do we bother? Or, do we just suck it up and pretend everything is okay? If we all pretended, nothing would ever change. So if we do think things need to change, how do we go about that? If change is via the ballot box, what do we then do when the ballot box fails us? Where do we go?

Second, what exactly is their country? Well, that’s why we have politicians – to steer the country. So, the government chooses its diplomats to go out and represent the country in the big, wide world, or at the UN. Or at bilateral summits, say. Each time, the government is pulling the strings.

Governments are elected politicians, they can’t just want somewhere to be great, they must work out how to make it great, what buttons to push. And importantly, they are subject to periodic re-election; we will fire them if they are not up to scratch. So, given that the government might change, and given that the country is represented by its government, how comfortable are we just to say, sweepingly, I believe that my country is the greatest on earth?

I’m not, especially when my country might be run by a government I do not support, whose standards might be very different from my own. I am happy to decide on a case-by-case basis whether, in my opinion, my country is doing right or wrong, I am not at all happy to give a blanket affirmation that it always does right.

And I consider myself to be extremely patriotic.

Tick Tock Tuesday #33 (26 May 2020)

I thought I’d create a new challenge. It is a challenge primarily for me, because I’m new to this platform, and because you don’t really know me yet, nor I you. As my name suggests, I am recovering from a stroke, and I like to push myself in all kinds of little ways… including getting to know the Wonderful World of WordPress. Although this is something I will be doing, I invite you, if this idea takes your fancy, to play along with me and share with me some of your own selections.

My plan is: each Tuesday, until I run dry, I shall post some piece of art with which I have some connection – which has helped to mould me, which makes me tick. Okay, a piece of art is a bit vague – it might be a piece of music, a movie, a book, a painting, or ???? – so my phrasiology is deliberate. It might be anything – I will play this post by ear, so I’m not sure what I’ll think of each week. And, I’ll keep posting on the theme weekly until I run out of ideas.

My rules? Well, I’m not big on rules! My choice will be something with which I feel a connection. That’ll be the important thing, just having some kind of fleeting affection for something probably won’t be enough, unless I’m using my choice as an example of something bigger.

It will be one choice per week – I’m aware that long posts can be quite onerous to read, and I’m in no hurry to complete this so if I have two ideas, I’ll probably hold the second until the next week.

In that same vein, I’ve created this block as a Reusable Block, which I intend repeating for every post on this theme. The block ends with a full-width separator, so if you want to skip ahead each week it doesn’t really matter.

I probably won’t post any lyrics, or any kind of analysis – if you like my choice, the information will be out there for you. But I will try to briefly explain why I feel a connection to my choice, just to try and enhance readers’ understanding of what makes me tick.

I will tag my posts TTT and I will go looking for other posts with that tag. If you’d like to join in, please do the same, or comment, or pingback to this post, and feel free to reproduce my graphic. Lastly, I look forward to reading about what makes you tick.


Last week I touched upon an artist that I didn’t really like – Jim Reeves. I’m going to go a step further today and actually feature a band that I never really liked, a singer that I never really liked, but a song I have always loved.

Freddie Mercury and Queen are just not my style. Even when I listened to them in their heyday I just couldn’t feel anything for the music. They released a few good tracks over the years, but I never felt any more than a gentle appreciation – who can forget the hilarious video of Break Free, which I still enjoy today. But even as they rocked Live Aid in 1985, I conceded that they were great showmen, but I was never a convert.

Freddie took on a whole new dimension after his death, in particular that last period when he knew the end was near and wanted to record as much as possible. The songs from that time – I’m specifically thinking of Innuendo – showed Freddie in such a vulnerabile state, who can fail to be moved by him? For my money, the music they produced was the very best of their career.

This one is a very hard watch, Freddie looks so unwell, but a beautiful song.